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Connecticut state Sen. Donald E. Williams Jr. has a new job at the Connecticut Bar Association. But not all of his colleagues at the Legislative Office Building are happy about it. It’s not every day the senate chairman of the Legislature’s influential Judiciary Committee joins the CBA staff. The uproar from senate Republican leaders is that Williams, a democrat, apparently didn’t expect when he requested the State Ethics Commission to advise him on whether his taking the job would pose a conflict of interest with his high-profile role in the Legislature. The commission responded yes, it would be “problematic.” But Williams took the anyway, arguing that a prohibition of this sort would miss the point of having a citizen-legislature. “There are times, I suppose, when we [state legislators] all wish we have private fortunes,” he quiped. But without outside employment, the General Assembly, Williams contends, would be limited to mostly retirees or recent college grads who could get by for a little while earning around $20,000 a year.

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