Speaker says meeting historic
Legislators met in the historic House and Senate chambers in the Capitol after flooding caused them to evacuate the State House. Lawmakers met in the historic chambers for the first time since 1985. Officials cut power at the State House, which also controls the heating and air conditioning in the Capitol, so lawmakers worked with the windows open and without a cooling system.
Lawmakers suspended rules that require them to wear a coat and tie.
With the heat and lawmakers cramped into a smaller chamber, Hammett said he was unsure how members would respond. He said they were very productive, passing the General Fund budget and measures that some members had tried to get through for years, including one that creates a state boxing commission and another that increases the penalties for eluding a police officer in a vehicle.
"This is the most productive day we have had in a while," Hammett said.
He credited the productivity to the Senate beginning to pass bills sponsored by Republicans in the House and to the good spirit from lawmakers being in the historic chamber. The speaker said the decorum from House members was good.
Hammett said he enjoyed being back in the historic chamber, where he had been a legislator, but had not presided over the House.
The acoustics in the Capitol are not good and it was difficult to hear the proceedings.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen