BREAKING NEWS:   https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/coronavirus/lawmakers-want-to-know-more-about-lamonts-reopening-strategy/2279148/

Governor asks for a 2-item Special Session but only if there is "consensus on a package" -  
https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20200610_special_session_agenda/

Petition circulating to call a Special Session: 
https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20200527_republican_lawmakers_want_a_special_session/

“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.”

CTNEWSJUNKIE for NBC video on when and if Legislature will call a Special Session: 
https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/when-can-connecticut-lawmakers-get-back-to-work/2275951/


THE LEGISLATURE NOT PLEASED EITHER (D & R).
(L) Reps. Rojas & Candeloria liken the Legislature to a potted plant (my words).  CT going down the fiscal drain soon?

PAGING F.O.I.
Speaking of turnover...https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20200421_first_female_to_lead_republican_caucus_wont_seek_re-election/#more


   

Faces you should know and get familiar with (besides Governor Lamont)  - Dr. Cartter (r.) has the data...


Lembo - CT Budget impact of COVID-19: 
https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20200401_state_budget_deficit_grows/#more


Legislature action:  Creates Committee

 

NEW RULES

LINK TO C.G.A. ABOVE...SESSION FROM FEBRUARY 5th TO MAY 6th 2020...
O.F.A., O.L.R.
 
          
SHORT SESSION DAYS 2020

Picture links above:   C.G.A. Calendars; Committee Deadlines, Progressive Caucus, Tolls and P.F.A.S.  Vaccines...





TABLE OF CONTENTS TO ACTIVITIES DURING SHORT SESSION:   OUR COMMITTEES

OLR
  REPORT IN ADVANCE OF SESSION: 
https://cga.ct.gov/olr/Documents/year/MI/2020MI-20200109_Major%20Issues%20for%202020.pdf

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
https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-tolls-vote-postponed-again-20200219-xbbgm7m4s5ax5axaogczidc2ay-story.html#nws=true

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?
https://ctmirror.org/2020/02/11/dems-truck-tolls-vote-next-week-but-theres-this-one-thing/

CTNEWSJUNKIE rport on Senate Republican proposal on quasi-public agencies (CT PORT AUTHORITY example):
https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/story/20200211_republicans_question_lamont_administration_over_quasi-public/#more


COURANT Editorial on "combating hate crime and right-wing extremism" proposal
https://www.courant.com/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-state-police-hate-crimes-senate-democrats-0126-20200126-5q4rbymplzb6ndritdhdy2uqgq-story.html


Results in Greenwich Special Election - Harry Arora elected State Rep.

RETURN OF POT...
https://www.thehour.com/local/article/Senate-president-Time-has-come-to-legalize-14991621.php?src=nwkhpcp#photo-13291403


WHAT HAPPENED TO PROPERTY TAX RELIEF?
https://ctmirror.org/2020/01/21/lamonts-property-tax-relief-pledge-comes-due-in-february/




DEMOGRAPHICS:

https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20200120_new_yorkers_relocating_to_fairfield_county_softens_connecticuts/


INTERESTING POPULATION NET MIGRATION STORY.  In Weston, you get what you pay for...
Maybe if they are high on weed they'll say "Yes" to tollsRead all about population change Census estimates 2018 here.




TOLLS

"To leave no stone unturned" is an idiom that means to do everything possible to find something or to solve a problem.  From Google.

The alternative - or at least the Minority version via C.G.A.:  https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=SB271&which_year=2020





"LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED" LIKE BEING STONED?

How unimaginative!  C.G.A. using the old "wait 'til next Session" trick (after election) to do bad things to CT voters...yet again?

------------------------------

From Channel 12...and now Governor understands his Party better - Westport NEWS
Lamont elected to lead association of northeastern governors
Posted: Feb 15, 2020 11:45 AM EST
Updated: Feb 15, 2020 11:45 AM EST


       
THIS THURSDAY FEB. 20 MARATHON AT C.G.A.?  HOW ABOUT AFTER RE-ELECTION? 
NOPE:  https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-tolls-vote-postponed-again-20200219-xbbgm7m4s5ax5axaogczidc2ay-story.html#nws=true

Over the President's Day weekend we wonder what the next week will bring.  Answer:  Check debate about "60% vote" to turn truck tolls into all vehicle tolls.

We believe we are correct in saying "congestion pricing" concept back on the table to gain Greenwich "yes" vote in Senate.  See cartoon above. 





PLAY-BY-PLAY




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.


          
Tsunamis: 
D.A.S. Commissioner streamlines government 2-way communication with public.  Transportation, former P&D chair. to the fore.


DETAILS
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?




OUR FAVORITES:


  
 
Housing.

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. 


REGIONAL DEPT.
  • 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)
  • SB114
  • 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.
 

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







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:

"...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.'”









Transportation.

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 



Co-Chair. Lemar
LEGISLATIVE TIME FOR THIS COMMITTEE...PARALLELS THE FEDERAL RELATION.
     


                 
LUNCH...

        
     


  
        
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...





EDUCATION

 
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...
https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=SB21&which_year=2020



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.


            
Against HB5190. 
$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...














PUBLIC HEALTH

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

  • Dillon, Kokoruda express disappointment in limit on crumbling foundations, non-profits.  VOTE HB5518: 126  - 17 abs. 4
2:17pm transmit to Senate.  More nominations.



      
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.