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Lamont’s veto stops West Haven from sidestepping military equipment ban

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles at Fort Benning, Ga., in 2013.
Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles at Fort Benning, Ga., in 2013.

Gov. Ned Lamont’s second and final veto of 2022 will stop financially troubled West Haven from obtaining a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected military vehicle known as an MRAP.

Senate Bill 258, the measure vetoed Wednesday evening as the governor finished his review of the 170 bills passed by the General Assembly, would have made two changes to Public Act 20-1, the police accountability law passed in 2020.

One change would have made “unobjectionable technical and clarifying changes to the provisions regarding dashboard cameras,” Lamont wrote in his veto message.

But the other would have made an exception to the prohibition against the acquisition of most surplus military equipment by local law enforcement, a policy that Lamont says he supports.

“Public Act 20-1 appropriately prevented the acquisition of MRAPs, and I believe it is inconsistent with the intent of Public Act 20-1 and the type of community-focused policing my administration supports to make an exception to this prohibition,” Lamont wrote.

West Haven was trying to acquire an MRAP from Farmington, which had obtained the vehicle prior to the ban. Its stated use was rescues during flooding of the shoreline town.

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and by a 129-15 vote in the House.

Last week, the governor sided with municipalities and vetoed Senate Bill 204, which limited immunity in negligence cases involving a police cruiser or other municipal vehicles.

The governor signed 168 bills into law.

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