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Thursday, May 08, 2014

An Eclectic Last Night: Hospitals, Fracking, Eels — and Deals

By Mark Pazniokas and Arielle Levin Becker

www.ctmirror.org

The General Assembly moved fitfully through the last day of its 2014 session Wednesday, as the Senate offered six hours of tributes to departing leaders and House Republicans voiced at length their opposition to a fracking waste bill, preludes to a final burst of deals and votes before midnight adjournment.

“A reminder to senators to stay close to the chamber,” Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, told senators after 8 p.m., warning them of the frequent roll call votes about to come. “It’s going to be fast and furious between now and midnight.”

In quick succession, the Senate and House approved a hospital regulation bill that had been the subject of fierce lobbying by the hospital industry and labor unions representing health care employees. It removes an obstacle in existing law that makes it difficult for hospitals to operate as for-profits in Connecticut. But it also gives the state more oversight on sales of nonprofit hospitals and new regulatory authority over transactions involving physician practices.

The last major piece of business was passage of a 314-page supplementary budget bill, a last chance, catch-all measure packed with provisions from bills that failed to win passage during the 13-week session that began Feb. 5 and ended by constitutional mandate at the stroke of 12. Final passage in the Senate came minutes before adjournment.

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