The Connecticut General Assembly is on the countdown to a June 7th adjournment. Although a little less than a week is left there is much business to do and legislators will work round the clock to complete as much as they can before sine die (adjournment of the legislature). Among the business left to finish is the more than $50 billion dollar budget that the State will operate under for the next two years. All parties involved have been working in concert, and a bipartisan budget is expected to pass.
One of the biggest issues left to be settled deals with affordable housing. Legislators have pledged to help alleviate the problem through several means that cannot seem to be agreed upon. The pros and cons of rent caps, zoning reform, and services for the homeless have been batted back and forth but have come to no resolution or compromise. New incentives to build denser housing close to train and bus stations, as well as a bill that would require municipalities to host their “fair share” of affordable housing to meet regional needs have met with tough opposition. Legislators are still hopeful a compromise can be worked out before the session closes and are working to that end.
Labor issues have also been a big topic of conversation. Predictive scheduling and expansion of paid sick leave to all companies, even those with only one employee, are two of the issues that are still on the docket. LDAC has been working with a coalition of business groups to kill both bills. The coalition has been successfully lobbying the moderate caucus to hold firm and keep the bills from being modified or taken up on the floor of the House. So far, this has worked. The unions have continued to press even harder on the paid sick days, as the Senate has passed the bill leaving only the House vote left, as opposed to predictive scheduling. Governor Lamont has also been directly involved, lobbying individual members of the moderate caucus to change positions. We will continue to work to oppose these bills in the waning days.
As a budget vote draws closer, it is unlikely that the Highway Use Tax (HUT) will be repealed. We do expect a change in the reporting requirements to be modified to quarterly instead of monthly as well as an exemption for agricultural vehicles. It is still possible for a suit to be brought against the implementation, as it was in Rhode Island, but at least six months of data needs to be collected to show the disparity before it can be filed. We will keep you posted on that issue moving forward.
We also expect another bill to pass regarding carbon emissions. Led by a large group of shoreline and inner city legislators, many are negotiating to give DEEP the ability to propose plans to reduce carbon emissions. A trigger in the amendment ensures that the plan be brought back to the legislature for approval to safeguard against unrealistic proposals DEEP may try implement.
The legislature will be working hard over the next week, and although we do not expect any surprises we will be monitoring and engaging on anything that looks like it may impact LDAC members.