- Associated Press - Monday, July 31, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Latest on Senate vote on the state employee concession package. (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

The Connecticut Senate has given final legislative approval to a state employee concession deal that’s supposed to reduce the projected $5 billion state budget deficit by $1.5 billion over the next two years.

The evenly divided Senate voted 18-18 Monday in favor of the agreement. That required Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to break the tie, casting the deciding vote in favor of the deal Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy negotiated with union leaders.

Democrats say the deal includes significant savings, which add up to $24 billion over 20 years. But Republicans say it doesn’t solve the state’s long-term fiscal problems and locks future governors and legislators into a pension and health care agreement until 2027.

Democratic Senate President Martin Looney said the deal moves lawmakers closer to a two-year budget.

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2:45 p.m.

The Connecticut Senate has begun debating a state employee labor concessions package that’s needed to help save $1.5 billion over two years.

Monday’s expected vote comes a week after the House of Representatives approved the deal 78-72.

Unionized state employees are gathered outside the Senate chamber, hoping to persuade lawmakers to approve the agreement, which is seen by Democrats as key to finally passing a new two-year budget.

Republicans and some Democrats have expressed concerns about whether the labor agreement reached between Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and union leaders saves enough money. They worry it includes a four-year no-layoff clause and locks in pension and health benefits until 2027.

Every vote counts, given the 18-18 partisan divide in the Senate. Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman can break a tie.

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12:30 p.m.

The Connecticut Senate is meeting in a special legislative session to cast the deciding votes on a state employee labor concessions package that’s needed to help save $1.5 billion over two years.

Monday’s expected vote comes a week after the House of Representatives approved the deal 78-72.

Republicans and some Democrats have expressed concerns about whether the labor agreement reached between Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and union leaders saves enough money. Some also worry it includes a four-year no-layoff clause and locks in pension and health benefits until 2027.

There’s an 18-18 partisan divide in the Senate. Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman can break a tie.

Senate members are also expected to vote on amended agreements that could lead to Connecticut’s first casino on nontribal land.

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