Sandy Hook tops agenda for new Speaker of the House

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- The 2013 General Assembly Session starts Wednesday, and the new Speaker of the House says a response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook will be the first thing on the agenda.

The state of Connecticut has an enormous budget deficit projected for next year, and proposed changes on energy policy and transportation, but they will all take a back seat starting tomorrow. Proposed changes in the state's gun control laws were filed by some lawmakers less than a week after that shooting.

The new key player starting on Wednesday will be the new Speaker of the House, Brendan Sharkey of Hamden. The seven term state representative says that the state's gun control laws will take center stage for at least the first two months of this session, because that's what the public expects in the aftermath of Sandy Hook.

"The important thing is to make sure we're having a dialog about what makes sense as an actual response and that we respond," Sharkey said, "but at the same time we respond quickly to what... because I think that's what the public is expecting from us."

Even though Gov. Dannel Malloy has just appointed a task force to come up with a legislative response to Sandy Hook by the middle of March, Senate President Pro Tem Don Williams, who is returning for another term, and the new speaker say they will not wait; they're putting together their own group of legislative committee chairmen to move even faster.

"To work as somewhat of a task force and an expedited way to produce legislation that we can act on hopefully before the end of February or the beginning of March," Rep. Sharkey said.

The governor and many others have already expressed support for a ban on high capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used by the Sandy Hook shooter. The new speaker is already on board.

"I've always been in favor of banning them," Rep Sharkey said. "I never had an opportunity to vote on it because it never actually has come up for a vote before, but I would have if it had come up in committee or on the floor."

As for Public Safety Committee Chairman Steve Dargan's proposal to make gun owners' names and addresses public, Sharkey says the argument that it will only tell potential thieves where they can steal guns makes a lot of sense.

"That's a legitimate counter argument and so I don't know what the quite right answer is on that."

The governor kicks off the new general assembly session with his 'State of the State' address tomorrow. The governor tells News 8 that Sandy Hook will be a big part of that speech. and News 8 will carry the governor's address live on Wednesday starting at Noon.

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Connecticut (change)

Connecticut has 169 cities and towns, which serve as the fundamental local political subdivision of the state. Connecticut is the 5th of the original thirteen United States.
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Governor: Dan Malloy
Lieutenant Governor: Nancy Wyman
Attorney General: George Jepsen
State Treasurer: Denise L. Nappier

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