There is a saying in legislative politics, “When you have the votes, you vote. When you don’t, you talk.” Now we can add, “And when you lose, ask for a non-binding referendum.”

Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, one of the truly sober-minded members of the General Assembly, made a proposal tonight that he knows will be rejected out of hand. On the losing side of a death-penalty repeal vote, he asked Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to veto the measure and instead schedule a non-binding referendum.

Malloy supports repeal, so why would he veto a bill passed by the Senate 20-16 and the House 86-62?

“The people of Connecticut deserve an opportunity to have a greater say on this important issue that will have serious ramifications for public safety and criminal justice,” O’Neill said in an email. “A non-binding public vote would enable lawmakers to make a responsible decision based on the thoughts and beliefs of the people of Connecticut.”

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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