March was an extremely busy month for the CT General Assembly. Committees were working hard engaging in public hearings and voting on bills that will make their way to the House and Senate floors. Many bills have died and we are now left with a set of proposals that have a real likelihood of passing. Although most committees completed their work, the Finance Revenue and Boding and Appropriations committees have until late April to continue working toward a legislative budget and tax package. Many of the bills listed below, will continue to be worked on with additional substitute langue before they are ready to be voted upon before the full legislature. As work continues over the next couple of months LDAC will continue advocating on these initiatives as well as others that may come to light.
The two most onerous bills that were voted on by the Labor committee dealt with expansions of Paid Family Medical Leave (1179) and Paid Sick Days (1178). The bill dealing with PFML prohibits disability benefits from being offset by benefits received under the current PFML program. Expanding CT Paid Sick Days is a bill sponsored by Governor Lamont. It covers all private sector employers and employees and broadens the range of family members paid sick days can be used for. It also increases the rate at which employees can accrue leave from one day per 40 hours to one day per 30 hours, with a maximum accrual of 80 hours per year. The bill that would increase the amount of funding to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund was referred to the Finance Committee. We continue to advocate for additional State funds to be allocated so that businesses will not bear the burden of paying the loan back to the Federal Government. We are hopeful the Legislative budget will include provisions for this.
Planning and Development Committee:
This committee voted on several important bills including Incentivizing Housing Production (985) as well as Mixed Use Housing in Transit Oriented Communities (6890). Housing production incentives is sponsored by the Governor and funding is included in his budget. Mixed use housing is a hotly contested issue especially in Fairfield County as it requires apartment like dwellings to be built in certain areas and sets up an Office of Responsible Growth to deal with communities that continue to prohibit such construction. Both bills were voted out of the committee but along party lines, meaning all Republicans voted against the bills.
The Environment Committee voted on two bills of concern regarding Energy Efficiency in rental Housing (979) as well as another initiative that deals with Reduction of Green House Gas Emissions (1145), which could require the purchase of new vehicles to come into compliance with the proposed law.
Although the Finance Committee is still in the process of completing its work, they have held hearings on the Sunsetting of the HUT (5290) and are expected to hold a hearing next week on a proposed Payroll Tax on CT employers. Votes on these proposals will not occur until late April.