Overview of Legislative Process

Connecticut's state legislature is known as the General Assembly. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In accordance with the Constitution adopted in 1965, senators and representatives are elected for two-year terms from single member districts of substantially equal population. The House and Senate meet at the State Capitol in Hartford. General Assembly committees meet and hold hearings in the adjoining Legislative Office Building.

SESSIONS

REGULAR SESSIONS

Odd-numbered years: Sessions begin on the Wednesday following the first Monday in January and adjourn not later than Wednesday following the first Monday in June. The 2005 session runs from Jan. 5 to June 8.

Even-numbered years: Sessions begin on the Wednesday following the first Monday in February and adjourn not later than Wednesday following the first Monday in May. Even-year sessions are limited to budgetary, revenue and financial matters; bills and resolutions raised by General Assembly committees; and matters the speaker of the House of Representatives and president pro tempore of the Senate certify in writing as emergencies. The 2006 session runs from Feb. 8 to May 3.

SPECIAL SESSIONS: The governor or a majority of the members of each house may call a special session of the General Assembly.

VETO OR "TRAILER" SESSION: If the governor vetoes any bills after a regular or special session ends, the secretary of the state calls a legislative session for the sole purpose of considering whether to override the veto.

MEMBERSHIP

THE SENATE: The Senate has 36 members. (The Constitution provides for a Senate of between 30 and 50 members.) Its political party composition is 24 Democrats and 12 Republicans.

THE HOUSE: The House has 151 members. (The Constitution provides for a House of Representatives of between 125 and 225 members.) Its political party composition on the opening day of the session is 98 Democrats, 52 Republicans, and 1 vacancy.

TERM OF OFFICE: Two years.

ELECTED: In November of even-numbered years.

ANNUAL SALARY: $28,000 plus $5,500 expenses for senators and $4,500 for representatives, plus a 40.5 cents-per-mile travel allowance.

OFFICERS

Senate President: By virtue of his office as lieutenant governor, presides over Senate; refers bills to appropriate committees.

Senate President Pro Tempore: Elected by Senate; presides over Senate in absence of lieutenant governor; appoints Senate chairmen and committee members.

Speaker of the House: Elected by House of Representatives; presides over House; appoints House chairmen and committee members; refers bills to appropriate committees.

Majority and Minority Leaders: Majority and minority leaders preside over party caucuses, direct party strategy, assemble party members for important votes, serve as party spokesmen, and serve as ex-officio members of all committees.

ORGANIZATIONS AND PROCEDURES
At the beginning of each session, the Senate and House adopt separate rules for conducting business and joint rules governing committees and procedures for introducing and reporting bills. The General Assembly holds joint conventions to inaugurate the governor and other state officials; receive the governor's state of the state, budget and adjournment messages; and conduct other necessary business.

 
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