Deal: Looney remains boss but GOP to share power in state Senate

CT CapitolThree days before Christmas and state Senate Democrats and Republicans have finally reached a deal on how to share power in the evenly divided upper chamber of the Connecticut General Assembly.

Democrat Sen. Martin M. Looney will remain as the leader of the Senate as Senate President Pro Tem, but current Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, will become Republican President Pro Tem.  Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, will continue to have authority for calling bills to be debated on the floor, but now Republicans will have the right to mandate a vote on what business comes before the Senate.  Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, will become deputy Republican president pro tem.  Also, Republicans will also place a chairman each committee, creating Senate co-chairs for joint legislative committees with the House.

Leaders have been trying to reach a deal on power sharing responsibilities since the November elections, when Republicans gained enough seats to earn a 18-18 split in the Senate.  Democrats argued they were still the majority party because the Lt. Governor, a Democrat, had the right to break tie votes.  Republicans were prepared to go to court to fight that argument.

Meanwhile, Looney continues to recover from kidney transplant surgery earlier this week at Yale-New Haven Hospital.