From UCAC Lobbyist Andy Markowski of Statehouse Partners 

State Lawmakers Meeting During “Short” Legislative Session In Hartford

Both chambers of the Connecticut state legislature is meeting in Hartford this week as they get down to business during this “short” legislative session, which started in early February and now runs through May 9th. During a short session, which always falls in the second year of the state’s biennial budget cycle, the Governor proposes and the legislature decides on any adjustments that may be needed the second fiscal year of the state budget. Normally there are changes made based on declining revenue estimates or increased spending needs, but this year, notably, the legislature’s budget committees (Appropriations & Finance) will not be putting forth a legislative budget adjustment bill, instead choosing to let the budget framework that was passed last year remain intact. At the same time, the legislature is trying to calculate how much unallocated federal money remains from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and then determine how to spend those funds which must be allocated before the end of this year. Long story short, don’t expect any major budget changes coming out of Hartford before the end of this year and definitely don’t expect any changes to state taxes, good or bad, at this point. 

The state budget situation aside, there are still plenty of other issues for the legislature to deal with. Even though it’s a “short” session, there have been over 1,400 bills introduced. UCAC has been reviewing them all and is currently tracking 47 different bills of interest. These range on topics from the often controversial “right to repair” movement (Senate Bill 3 – currently applies to certain home and consumer electronics but not to motor vehicles); to bills that would require all businesses in Connecticut regardless of size or industry to provide up to 5 days of employer-paid sick days (or “paid time off”) to their employees (House Bill 5005); to bills that would require prevailing wage and apprenticeship program requirements on public utility projects (Senate Bill 137); to bills that would require contractors to be responsible for any unpaid wages owed to employees of their subcontractors (Senate Bill 409); to bills that seek to address climate change by, among other things, studying the future of natural gas in the state (House Bill 5004). 

Meanwhile, it turns out one of the hottest topics the legislature was expected to deal with this year has not taken up much time or attention so far. The so-called “electric vehicle mandate”, or proposals that would require Connecticut to adhere to California’s zero-emissions standards for new vehicles, is not moving forward through regulations or statutes. Instead, the legislature’s Transportation Committee has put forth a bill (HB-5485) that would create a 40-member Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council, which is tasked with studying and developing strategies needed to ensure future deployment and integration of electric vehicles in Connecticut. Despite being only a Council at this point, some are still concerned about the direction and speed the state may be moving and seeks further clarification of whether Connecticut is indeed still going to follow the California standard or instead the federal EPA standard as is done in other states. Either way, legislation dealing with electric vehicles and their impact on Connecticut, from consumers to the grid, and everything in between, is not going away, so stay tuned. 

The 2024 State Legislative Session is Underway; Now is a Great Time to Reach Out to your State Lawmakers 

Tell them what matters to you and others in the Utility Contracting and Site Development Industry. Have a question? Want to express your opinion? Just want to know who now represents you in Hartford? Go to this website and enter your home or business address to look up your state legislators; with a few quick clicks you can visit their official webpage, email them, or get their office phone numbers to make a call. Remember – as a UCAC member, your voice matters!

If you have any questions on legislation or regulations or if you would like more information on an issue, please feel free to contact UCAC Lobbyist Andy Markowski at: (860) 707-3620 or andy@statehouselobbying.com