“The governor’s emergency declarations expire September 9th, and through his recent decisions it’s become increasingly apparent that the legislature must be ready to act that day to provide much-needed checks and balances,” Klarides and Candelora said. “We must also have the flexibility to act on crucial issues that arise ahead of that date, from helping the governor develop common sense ‘reopen’ policies to ensuring that municipalities receive their fair share of federal relief dollars.”
OPENING DAY DOINGS
SESSION DAYS - BLOW BY BLOW (as we followed it) IN HOUSE AND SENATE
COMMITTEES WE FOLLOW:
TOLLS whenever? How about tolls getting in the way of other things?
PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS. "Green New Deal" bill SB354: "An Act Establishing a Green New Deal for CT"
LINK to JF deadlines for all Committees - this Session we are watching P&D gavel to gavel (sometimes after the fact) and also those of particular interest.
CLOSING DAY - INCLUDED PASSAGE OF AN IMPLEMENTER BILL - OUR REVIEW OF WHAT WE FOUND OF INTEREST
FREEDOM FROM THE PRESS
Hartford COURANT/CT MIRROR
Hartford COURANT Editorial
CT MIRROR on how the tolls bill is to be voted upon - so that all Democrats can vote on the same bill at the same time? Who needs both legislative bodies then?
CTNEWSJUNKIE rport on Senate Republican proposal on quasi-public agencies (CT PORT AUTHORITY example):
COURANT Editorial on "combating hate crime and right-wing extremism" proposal
Results in Greenwich Special Election - Harry Arora elected State Rep.
RETURN OF POT...
WHAT HAPPENED TO PROPERTY TAX RELIEF?
OPENING DAY FEBRUARY 5, 2020 AND THEN...
COURANT : https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-connecticut-legislative-session-opens-20200205-lvbfyqogl5dqbfhpstcvpcevfy-story.html#nws=true
STATE OF THE STATE: What we heard.
- No more fiscal crisis.
- We had a failure to communicate.
- Thanks to all commissioners.
- Identifies who is doing what. From which sector of the economy.
- Hospital agreement.
D.A.S. Commissioner streamlines government 2-way communication with public. Transportation, former P&D chair. to the fore.
- Of retirements.
- Of applause...sometimes slow in coming...
- Gosh folks, aren't we doing nifty - everybody loves everybody in CT
- Free college (community college, but means tested)
- And the nexus between transportation and housing: https://ctmirror.org/2020/02/04/lamont-to-propose-millions-for-affordable-housing-construction/
Prior to the State of the State address, OPM Secretary McCaw outlined major features of budget adjustments. Regional Performance grants are back!
THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF LEGISLATIVE PICTURE:
LINK TO COMMITTEE DEADLINES
"Usual suspects" we follow (Joint Committees of the C.G.A.): How does each relate to affordable housing/planning enabling statutes?
Follow this one: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB05127&which_year=2020
And the bill text: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/h/pdf/2020HB-05127-R00-HB.PDF
Do like New Jersey: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/h/pdf/2020HB-05246-R00-HB.PDF
OPIOID CROWDING OUT GROUP HOMES
Expanding definition of group homes: http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=17206
Planning & Development, and this Session we're only watching P&D public hearings (in chronological order) and the C.G.A. Sessions
House Co-Chair. Ranking Member show how it is done:
The organizational meeting of P&D votes only concepts into the mix after introductions. Agenda of first meeting: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/pddata/ca/pdf/2020CA-00210-R001030PD-CA.pdf
By-by local control, maybe: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB05132&which_year=2020
The tweaks here: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/h/pdf/2020HB-05132-R00-HB.PDF
Bill of interest: Zoning rewrite for fair housing: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/h/pdf/2020HB-05132-R00-HB.PDF
Pet shop power to localities? And then Public Hearing (more than 6 hrs.)...
PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA FRIDAY FEB. 21
PUBLIC HEARING: http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=17192
- HB5135 (Signs)
- HB5134 (very specific to Mansfield) passed referendum posting error - validation ASAP. Coordinated with roof replacement.
- HB5136 (retired police limit of hours of work); Windsor Public Schools in favor. Confirmed that the Windsor School systems thinks this is very important.
- HB5137 (energy purchase power) - First Selectman of Somers - solar energy. Net Metering. Farming v. Solar energy companies. VIRTUAL NET METERING threat to local tax revenue. Property taxes undercuts viability of the industry.
Grid-scale not this bill - only for residential use. SQUIRREL Sunrun.
Green Bank guy says this should not be used to destroy the economic benefits. Nothing to do with property tax (Gresko). CCM. CCM disagrees. Offers amendment. Tax on 3rd party owners.
ALL ADOPTEES NOT EQUAL; AFTER PARENT(S) OF ADOPTEE DIES, CHILD GETS INFORMATION. 40,000 DENIED RIGHTS. MASSACHUSETTS OPEN DOCUMENT LAW. D.N.A. TESTING. FACEBOOK!!! Rep. Winkler.
- SB113 - adopted people's rights to know. Medical background secret. Why 1983 limit? "Ancestry.com." Time line (1935 original legislation). Tom O'Dea - Catholic Charities compromise (1983). Another. And another. And another. And another and yet another...stress, original birth certificate. Burden of secrecy and health related stuff. Making good decisions.
- HB5138 - mergers of fire departments study. Volunteer fire departments to share services (Enfield). Day shifts don't have volunteers. Consolidations. Streamline the system. Rep. Rojas (adding on to Sen. Cassano) on the ball calling for regionalized fire departments. Apparatus is the big cost - purchase is done as reasonably as possible...merger ain't so easily done.
- HB5132 - Home Builders - doesn't change statute but does add "MUST COMPLY LANGUAGE OF FAIR HOUSING." A.P.A. in favor, as is Partnership for Strong Communities & others. Non-conformity
AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOC. (L), ZONING ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS (R)
- HB5135 SIGNS but content neutral...non-conformity - 5 yrs limit attached to abandoned non-conformity..
AND WE PICKED THIS UP THE NEXT DAY...
- HB5131 - CONSTRUCTION - Public Hearings before $25 million projects go out to bid. NOT A GOOD IDEA. Sen. Cassano brings up good points about quasi- publics.
TAKE CARE OF THAT DAM BILL
- SB112 - DAMS - Real Estate lobby - "disclosure" requirements to Nature Conservancy supports the changes and the bill ("Are you aware of the dam on your property?"). Save the Sound.
- HB5133 - Light House adaptive reuse. Penfield Reef Lighthouse. "Columbarium"
More than six (6) hours of testimony and much of it rather emotional for C.G.A.
NOTE: This Public Hearing has some items of interest to Weston ("Blight").
PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA MARCH 2, 2020 at 12 Noon
We are watching this on March 5th...the bills being heard are: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/pddata/pha/pdf/2020PHA00302-R001200PD-PHA.PDF
- HB5302 - BLIGHT, New London Mayor Passaro asks for last session's bill to allow smaller cities to do this, too. COST supports it, and others.
- We note that this is the link to submitted testimony for this Public Hearing: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CommDocTmy.asp?comm_code=pd&date=03/02/2020
Environment, perhaps the busiest Committee this Short Session? We note that they always seem to generate the highest number of bills JF'd - so they can make sure to get a second crack at them...in Short Session!
Public Hearing FEB.21: Our first bill to watch - had a public hearing 2-21 and didn't get anyone excited: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/s/pdf/2020SB-00097-R00-SB.PDF
BLUE PLAN HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HJ1&which_year=2020
Followed by Governor's Bill: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=11&which_year=2020
Energy & Technology,
NET NEUTRALITY COME AGAIN IN CT: https://www.ctinsider.com/politics/thehour/article/Fierce-battle-over-net-neutrality-but-is-there-a-15092607.php?_ga=2.176674597.1698190029.1582943757-722493863.1555703438
In the event the link doesn't work for everyone, summing the argument up is this:
- Trump is against it and has zapped "net neutrality,"
- The other side says, from the HOUR article:
"...Passing a bill would cost taxpayers money, as the regulatory authority, PURA, says it would need five to 10 additional people and a complex, new set of rules. There is also a concern the state could face costly litigation from the the federal government and ISPs, said state Rep. Charles Ferraro, of Orange, the ranking Republican on the energy and technology committee.
“'The principles of net neutrality are pretty clear as far as not engaging in throttling and what have you, and we have not yet in the state of Connecticut seen any instances of that and these companies have agreed in principle to agree that that doesn’t happen,' Ferraro said. 'Many people seem to agree that we have a bill before us that is kind of looking for a problem that isn’t there, and we have that problem with a lot of legislation. So we’re a little bit hesitant to see the urgency.'”
Our first bill to watch: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/s/pdf/2020SB-00097-R00-SB.PDF
And from the Governor: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/h/pdf/2020HB-05021-R00-HB.PDF
DRAMA ON TOLLS: There have been front page reports on foot-dragging
PUBLIC HEARING Feb. 24, 2020: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/h/pdf/2020HB-05197-R00-HB.PDF
Does there have to be a bill that tells people to slow down before they pass a garbage truck (or similar vehicle)? In Weston, garbage trucks back into driveways...
PUBLIC HEARING MARCH 2nd at 11am AGENDA:
A number of bills of interest we think to Weston, also including alternatives to Governor's Toll proposal: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=SB00271&which_year=2020
LEGISLATIVE TIME FOR THIS COMMITTEE...PARALLELS THE FEDERAL RELATION.
- HB5191 CT AIRPORT AUTHORITY - Temporary towers (200 ft.). "Temporary weather tower" don't have to have lights on top??? When a temporary tower for weather or within 5 miles of an airport has to have a light on top even if under 200'. Rental car revenue. "Commercial activity on airport grounds" you have to register. Competitiveness question on benefits - 401k opportunity??? Siting Council for the "temporary" towers? M.O.U.? What about the Governor's suggestion of a second airport? Not just yet (probably not Tweed - too close to Bradley - Sikorsky opposition not as strong as in the past). Extending a runway takes years with F.A.A.
- HB5324 - Cross-Country Coach at Quinnipiac University. Runners need this bill. Adds that he thinks Tweed expansion good idea. This bill relates to Weston's issue of coordinating pedestrian downtown. Add in stoplights and speed cameras. Rep. Lemar needs to strengthen distracted driving laws. Rep. Devlin asks for some comment and clarifications - even in "backroad" territory. Don't you think rural people should be instructed this way. "Red Light Cameras" bill...wear a vest (with reflective material).
- HB5324 - "COMPLETE STREETS" - allow for reduced speed limits in municipalities. Width of travel lanes - narrow them! No sidewalks in Prospect. Dropped speed limits done in Sen. Osten's town. She worked with states to drop to 15 miles and hour. Enhance ability to enforce. Up to 15 miles an hour lowering only - Rep. Lemar (who as a local legislator to do "complete streets"). Change language to "stop" from "yield" (illegal to change sign to that). INTERSECTIONS the biggest problem (JMO). J-Walking laws enforcement - New Haven "sting" on pedestrians? 2020 14 fatalities so far this year. "Roads designed to be shared." Allow municipalities to control speeds. Motor vehicle accidents to children. LOWER SPEED LIMITS. Most deadly year for pedestrians.
- HB5191 - asked by House Chair. to comment on another major airport.
- HB5323 - Minority Leader of House will be putting in language of bill this afternoon. Opportunity. Once or before the "threshold" of 5%...then pay it off. Great questions. Requirement to have DOT be reigned in (my words); a way of reducing permanent future payments. Importance of new sources of growth. Democrat Morin says he trusts experts and not politicians.
- HB5021 - PORT AUTHORITY - nice start buy should go further (more disclosure).
- SB271 - RIF TIFIA - Went down to D.C. and Dept. Commissioner and a lot of folks. OFA has done the math. This plan takes advantage of low interest rate.
Sen. Leone: Priorities and choices??? Escape hatch only for transportation??? Forget-about-it, no-free-lunch, puts us in a pickle, and lots of other homilies...RAINY DAY FUND. Build America. Pledge amount for Tifia. Pledge a thing (i.e. rail line) for RIF. Rep. Steinberg: Market correction may bring in $$ is answer to his question. Market volatility???
We are out of here at @4pm...
TOWN CRIER AWARD
First meeting of Education Committee produces "concepts" including one surrounding Special Education funding. Republicans flag this.
PUBLIC SAFETY & SECURITY
REGIONAL DISPATCH incentive:
We note this bill: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB5086&which_year=2020
ONLINE GAMBLING: Back for another try...
CT MIRROR Report related: https://ctmirror.org/2020/03/03/lamont-and-tribes-are-deadlocked-over-sports-betting/
PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY MARCH 3rd at 11am: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/s/pdf/2020SB-00021-R01-SB.PDF
For the record, no one seconded it - vote in committee to draft: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TS/s/pdf/2020SB-00021-R00PS-CV1-TS.pdf
SB21 - the only bill out there on gambling this short session (Osten).
Combined Tribes presentation; legislator asking about East Windsor commitment - still there because awaiting zone changes.
CLAIM OF EXCLUSIVITY
State in favor of that but "Sports Betting" not included in original compact (legal book making). Certainly risk and reward.
Foxwoods (& Mohegan Sun) thanked by legislator for community involvement
HB5167 includes a study - Internet gambling. Online gambling most addictive.
REVENUE v. SOCIETAL IMPACT:
Consequences of expanding gambling..."leaving money on the table" argument.
What does Internet gambling mean?
UK and Australia have Internet Sports Gambling - directed to kids. Within game betting - real-time betting.
What if we had done a study 20 years ago?
Now is the time because we have our own data on cost-benefit. Slot revenue 50% comes from people with gambling problem. Rep. Hughes against online gambling - social costs found too late. Seductive. When asked what the people of the 135th think, she says they are neither here nor there (my words).
PRO-SB21 QUESTIONED: AND ANSWERED...TOURISM. NO EXCLUSIVITY ON THE NEW THING ("POST BINGO")
Should you throw out your marriage for an open marriage, just because time is changing? And I don't know $$ because I'm not a gambler. Who comes to work at casinos.
We note that the LWVCT did a Concurrence with LWVPA years ago (Weston LWV debated and won this study/Concurrence) "No further forms of Gambling in CT"
HB5168 - SPORTS BETTING MONEY TO PLAYERS UNION. IF IT IS GOING TO BE IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. HOW WOULD THE COURT LOOK AT COMPACTS?
Once you legalize sports betting protection once it become legalized. Should college and high school games be regulated? Sen. Hwang: How do you "investigate" athletic game - due process? Pete Rose???
SB21 - Bridgeport Casino supporters.
$25 billion lost. STAND-ALONE SPORTS BETTING. INVITED BY CHAIR.
Commercialized gambling. Out of control gambling. Let's be smart (UCC rep and Director of 501c3). LWVCT in coalition. UK stats and Australia. Sports gaming NOT in CT compact.
Compacts include "video facsimile" associated words doctrine. Zero reference to sports betting. "I-Gaming" is casino (bet made in casino); Rhode Island authorized betting thru casino. Indian Gaming something else.
Does it matter where the server is located?
We are out of here at 4:30pm...
All-nighter Public Hearing on vaccination mandate.
GOVERNMENT, ADMINISTRATION & ELECTIONS - https://ctmirror.org/2020/03/05/lamont-is-lenient-on-spending-cap-when-it-comes-to-partnership-with-dalio/
PUBLIC HEARING FRIDAY MARCH 6, 2020
A Committee Bill making Partnership for Connecticut, Inc. subject to F.O.I.A.: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/s/pdf/2020SB-00367-R00-SB.PDF
This should be entertaing!
ALMOST HALF OF MAJORITY IN HOUSE
The CT MIRROR article quotes Co-Chair. as saying “We are laser-focused to roll out these priorities.” ...Rep. Anne Hughes, D-Easton, co-chairwoman of the caucus...added the relative brevity of the 2020 General Assembly session — just over 13 weeks ending on May 6 — won’t bean excuse not to act. As it did last year, the caucus again will focus on reforming a state and municipal tax system with highly regressive levies like property and sales taxes that shift much of the burden onto the poor and middle-class.
Others more casually as the Session requires - such as F, R & B, Approps, and others above. Note that we have included the "Progressive Caucus" here.
ABOUT TOWN PLAY-BY-PLAY REPORTING...we note Committee deadlines extended for COVID-19 cleaning "solutions."
SESSION DAYS 2020 and now extended a bit Committee deadlines
We will be following Session Days in reverse chronological order, selected committees.
C T H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S
MAR. 11, 2020 (12 noon)
Began at 12:30pm...E-CERT and Bonding as well as usual nominations, (i.e. student members of State B.O.E.) bill business and "reading" of bargaining agreement.
Nominations Committee appointments to various positions in the Judicial branch and others...
EMERGENCY CERTIFIED BILL
BRINGS OUT HB5518
HB5518 - BOND PACKAGE - sounds like Xmas!!! COVID19 $$ -
- Amendment 'A' by Rep. Davis. LOC 3087 (removes stuff and adds VOTEC money and add Transportation Board, and school construction stay where it is). Nope 57-89 abs 5; he will vote yes anyway.
- How will COVID19 $$ going to be allocated?
- XLCenter $$ - Dubitsky; Coronavirus should be taken from surplus.
- Amendment 'B' (LCO 3072) : Rep. Zawatowski. Adds the money to STEEP grants. (Unfriendly amendment comment). Same 2 Republicans voted with Democrat unanimous. 57-87 abs. 7
2:17pm transmit to Senate. More nominations.
- Dillon, Kokoruda express disappointment in limit on crumbling foundations, non-profits. VOTE HB5518: 126 - 17 abs. 4
SEBAC - refinanced. MOU refinancing the 25% not done already (@); extending the debt bottom line...forever?
- Total increase is greater by extending it.
- How could the State afford to pay off debt any other way? 2047 - what's the plan then??? How are we going to pay it off??? ANSWER: The SEBAC people will all be dead by 2027?
- Four Democrats voted "no" and all Republicans 85 - 63 - abs. 5 (our guess) and we're out of here now (3pm) ...not over yet, caucuses taking place, perhaps waiting what the Senate is doing?
MAR. 4, 2020 (1PM)
Eleven % increase to managers. Republicans point to the rest of the private sector and the cuts to social services and cry whoa!!! Party line (one vote on both side differed).
Under 90 minutes. Adjourned.
FEB. 26, 2020
HOUSE APPROVES JUDGES AND OTHER MEMBERS OF JUDICIARY SYSTEM BUT NOT WITHOUT AT LEAST ONE "NO"
Recesses after 1 hr. 30 minutes...subject to the call of the chair...Consent Calendar Number Two (2:27pm)...and here is another one to be complained about.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Which legislators had reasons to not be in attendance. Adjourned.
C T S E N A T E
MAR. 11, 2020, 12 noon.
After 2pm and not in Session yet. Nothing doing when we checked at 3pm either.
MARCH 4, 2020
AFSCME award in line with SEBAC.
The Senate began @ 1hr late. Fasano praises commissioner but...
Sen. Osten (Appropriations Committee). Sen. Formica asks how managers can become unionized workers (50% plus one in "bargaining unit" voted)?
Supervisor to union movement is a fake economy not a C.O.L.A.
18-15 in favor with Sen. Haskell and Sen. Kassen (both Democrats) voted NO.
CONSENT CALENDARS adopted.
Finished around 4pm.
FEB. 26, 2020
LOTS OF CALENDARS
Senate voting on Consent Calendar Number One - unan. Transmit to HOUSE. "Standing at ease"
CRITIC OF FAMILY COURT.
KOORIS RENOMINATED TO PORT AUTHORITY. SEN. FASANO VOTES "NO."
Fasano makes a terrific point on another matter - Leone surprised by the renomination.
CONSENT CALENDAR #2 approved en mass
And it is over...after a few more judges.