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Speaker: Not enough support to override veto of prison bill

July 20, 2021 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Speaker of the House Matt Ritter said Tuesday there are not enough votes in the House of Representatives to override Gov. Ned Lamont’s veto of a bill that limited when isolated confinement or seclusion is used in Connecticut prisons.

Advocates for inmates have been urging the Democratic controlled General Assembly to overturn the Democratic governor’s veto, arguing that an executive order Lamont signed to address the issue falls far short of what’s needed. A rally, organized by the group Stop Solitary CT, is planned at the state Capitol on Friday to persuade lawmakers to “vote their conscience.”

The legislature is expected to hold a “veto session” July 26 to consider whether to attempt an override. Two-thirds of each chamber must vote to repass a vetoed bill.

“The original bill received 87 ‘yes’ votes when we approved the legislation in June,” Ritter said in a statement, referring to the House, released Tuesday. “Without a commitment of 14 votes from the other side of the aisle, we cannot reach the override number of 101 votes.”

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Lamont said previously he vetoed the bill because, as written, it put “the safety of incarcerated persons and correction employees at substantial risk” by imposing “unreasonable and dangerous limits” on the use of restraints, among other measures. Instead, he issued an executive order that, among other things, directs the Department of Correction commissioner to increase “out of cell time” for all incarcerated individuals, including those in “restrictive status.”