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Lawmakers pass $46 billion budget; recreational marijuana remains in limbo


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    HARTFORD, Connecticut (WFSB) — Lawmakers hammered out the state budget with less than 24 hours remaining in the legislative session.

It was the first bipartisan budget since 2018.

A truck tax was also passed.

However, Democrats and Republicans continued to spar over legalizing recreational marijuana.

Legislators returned to the capitol on Wednesday morning to continue the debate.

Overnight, lawmakers said they passed the two-year budget.

This is a little bit unusual because normally the budget is the final piece of legislation that lawmakers hash out during the session. This year, there was greater consensus on the budget in large part because of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money. Legislators were able to craft a two-year $46 billion budget that does not call for any tax increases or spending cuts.

Twenty-two House Republicans voted for it. It now heads to the Senate.

The House of Representatives also passed a truck mileage tax which requires that drivers of heavy weight trucks be charged a fee per mile.

It was something for which Gov. Ned Lamont had been pushing.

“I congratulate the Connecticut General Assembly for making a concerted investment in our state’s infrastructure to improve our roads, bridges, and allowing us to provide even more support to public transit,” Lamont said. “This highway use fee is designed to be paid by only one group of vehicles: the heaviest tractor trailers which do the most damage to our roads, especially those which use our state as a pass-through and never contribute to the improvement of our infrastructure. Those responsible for the most wear and tear of our roadways must compensate the state to ensure our residents have safer roads and bridges to drive on, and this proposal accomplishes that goal. I look forward to signing this into law, as it is a critical step forward for our state when it comes to competitiveness, keeping our economy growing, and providing for safer travel for our residents.”

Democrats and Republicans in the house are still arguing over the proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill passed narrowly in the state Senate and Lamont supports the idea, but Republicans in the House threatened to try and kill the bill through a filibuster if they can’t reach an agreement with Democrats.

Both sides still have some leverage because the governor has already said if no agreement is reached regarding marijuana before the session ends at midnight, he would have no qualms in calling for a special session dedicated to the issue.

‘We have not made a decision, but we have made one decision, we will be voting in the next week on that bill,” said Rep. Matt Ritter, a Democrat and the House speaker. “It could be today, could be tomorrow, could be Friday, could be Saturday, could be Sunday. We will be getting that bill passed.”

The current legislative session ends at midnight.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were no plans to call marijuana to a vote.

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