Gov. Lamont urges toll vote, passage of recreational marijuana in State of the State address

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Gov. Ned Lamont's State of the State address Wednesday in Hartford set the tone for what lawmakers would like to accomplish over the next several months and coming years.

The governor didn't shy away from what he called the "elephant in the room" – a vote on bringing tractor-trailer tolls back to Connecticut.

He told lawmakers from his own party to get off the fence and finally vote.

"Having the best workforce and the best workplaces doesn't matter unless people can actually get to work," Gov. Lamont said.

That vote has been delayed at least another week to Feb. 18 at the earliest. Democrats have blamed scheduling issues.

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Beyond a transportation plan, Gov. Lamont wants to ban flavored vaping products and create a 50% tax on all electronic cigarette pods.

He also hopes to have recreational marijuana legal by the summer of 2022, with state lawmakers voting on the measure next year. The governor also outlined a plan to hire 170 new state troopers to address a looming retirement crisis and the legalization of sports betting – but only if the state's casino operators agree.

Additionally, Gov. Lamont proposed limiting Connecticut's new debt-free community college program to families making less than $75,000 a year.

"No more bad-mouthing the state of Connecticut," Lamont shouted. "This is an amazing state. Everybody knows it's an amazing state. The rest of the country is looking at Connecticut in a new light, so should you."

Lamont closed his speech by commenting on the recent spat of anti-Semitic hate crimes across the country saying Connecticut will not be poisoned by it.

"That's not what Connecticut is about, and that's not what America is about," Lamont says.

 House Republican Leader Themis Klarides responded to Gov. Lamont's State of the State Address saying although she agrees with some of the governor's ideas that "there's a lack of trust of state government especially when it comes to tolls."

Lamont also released a full 2021 Budget Summary Wednesday.


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