Lawmakers shift focus to state budget after legislative session

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State lawmakers are focusing on the state budget now that the challenging legislative session is over.

Despite passing several bills before the midnight deadline, lawmakers have not agreed on a plan to cover the state's projected two-year, $5 billion deficit.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said Thursday that he's hopeful, but also preparing for the possibility that leaders would need to run the state without a budget for some period of time when the new fiscal year begins July 1.

Some of the measures that did pass, however, include a constitutional amendment to create a lockbox that would protect transportation funds. It's a move that several Republicans opposed.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides spoke against the measure during a post-session news conference Thursday afternoon. She has previously called the proposal disingenuous.

Lawmakers also passed a bill to build another casino in the state.

Among the bills that did not pass were a measure that would protect women's health benefits if the Affordable Care Act is overhauled and a bill to allow Tesla to sell electric cars in the state.

The biggest obstacle for legislators remains coming up with a budget and gathering enough bipartisan support.

"The pressing issue before Connecticut is putting its fiscal house in order after decades of ignoring what was coming down the tracks aimed right for them," Malloy said. "That job will not be completed in any one governor's period of time. But we could make substantial additional progress in doing that in the coming months."

Lawmakers are now looking ahead to a special session to pass a two-year budget before the fiscal year ends on June 30.

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