"Long Session 2021" begins January 6th and ends June 9th

Weston Legislators
Senator Haskell also - but he does not serve on committees of interest.  We very much like his vision of the broader picture - good speaker!

Planning & Development Committee (we think) last year's bill (2020):  https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/TOB/h/pdf/2020HB-05132-R00-HB.PDF

Housing Committee
What's in the hopper?  Some things that are in P&D but with different bill #

Public Health Committee
Who said we have a "part-time" Legislature?  More than 1 year into COVID-19.

CT FUTURE CAUCUS (under 45 yrs of age, bipartisan)

It is now time for machinations:  Watch out for "strike all and replace" - it is like a shell game.


Money for free from Appropriations Committee??? 
And a thoughtful note on CT fiscal position:  https://ctmirror.org/2021/03/10/lamonts-budget-would-borrow-nearly-220-million-to-pay-off-borrowing/
Long term care workers rally - CTNEWSJUNKIE

biennial Budget Message report coming...some other issues coming up - like criticism of CDC re:  decision on J&J? 

PH 3-2-21 of Public Safety Committee on all kinds of gambling expansion from the Governor: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2021/TOB/H/PDF/2021HB-06451-R00-HB.PDF

And what is the schedule?  Dates?  How does a bill become a law?  Hint:  JF deadline approaching fast (3-22-21).
All actions take place online and via Zoom which encourages public input, believe it...

Mrs. Fox never attacked a chicken coop.  Darien resident, Greenwich head of Housing Authority). Rep. Fiorelo.  Bias and prejudice against Asian-Americans. Rep. Winkler the culpritGIS.  GIS Chair;  new bill undercuts purposeCan 1068 and others be reheard?  No water and sewer.

WATCH THE LEGISLATURE MONDAY MARCH 22 beginning at 10am (P&D COMMITTEE) - WestCOG testimony.
Resumption of the battle on Home Rule-SB1066 (see above agenda for 3-22-21) as well as SB1068 (statewide property tax) Robin Hood style.

Election process is making it more accessible.  Only 2 statements covered in an hour...

HB6640 - development bill.
SB1068 (60 watching 240 minutes in) -Rap. Devlin; local control - someone who couldn't testify last week.  Socio-economic, neighborhoods.  State-wide property taxes.  "Fair Share" taxing small towns to death? 
HB6448 - ACIR - Towns can best practices from "Executive Orders" - Local Government of the Future idea.  Sec. 9&10.  Promote regional planning.  Sen. Hwang - are you eliminating the less ept public?  Sharkey says the answer is to provide the access.  Where is transparency?  FOI?  Devil is in the details!  Cassano asks about role of COGS.  Reduced costs to towns.  Oh really?  ACIR is not advocating mandated regionalization.  Ans: RTIP grant for "seed $$."  You get a better price?  "Racist" to have 169 towns?  Creates divisions - unintentional racisms ("racial inequality").  We went to lunch at 11:50am...HB1066...12:30pm back from lunch.  In time to hear First Selectman Camillo of Greenwich.  Rep. Dubitsky asks what Greenwich is doing that other small towns might do - form a Housing Authority.  Federal $$.   ADU has to be inside of a residence ("accessory dwelling unit").  GREEN AND OPEN SPACE VITAL.
HB6639 - Filchak - regionalization of building code officials (this is a pilot).  Towns do share without going thru a COG - Chaplin.  Interlocal agreements important.
HB6448 - Governor's Bill:  OPM testifies.  Remote access as a citizen's actions.  Telephone meetings not open.  Now they are legal.  A.D.A.?  "Slippery slope" argument.  "Hybrid" approach.  Sharing of files.  1981 ruling now obsolete - FOI.  Identification of speakers.  But want to talk to FOI.  Sec. 3 line 65 - if 2 members talk, public must allowed to be in on it.  ACIR the place to set up better wording.  Restaurant?  Outdoor dining becomes staff - but local site plan review is in the bill. 
1068, 6645, 6641, 6647, 6639.  COG.  Save $$.  Adopt 2018 Plan.  "Continuing Committee" - GIS municipal parcel layer for the state. 
SB1068 - Mathew Mandell - Westport Chamber of Commerce - climate change impact.  Westport is better than everyone else, of course.  All the bills are interconnected.  Build-able lots?  Infrastructure?  TOD's have to work. Saugatuck.  Train station is at sea-level.  Fox in the chicken coop.  Mandell says in the 1970's there was racist real estate business.
SB1068 - Hamden resident. #13 of 67 and it is 2:50pm...
HB6641 - New Britain Town Clerk - replace "shall" with "may."   
HB1068, HB1066 -Wilton guy. NYTimes article.  Huge inequities. Blunt instruments.  Clear will to move forward on Affordable Housing.  8-30g HB6448.  Exclude very small towns.  Serious enforcement teeth.  Accessory apartments.  Keep it simple and straightforward.  "Naturally occurring" affordable housing.  "Deed restriction" question.  Lemar denies that he has punitive language in his bills.  Developable land?  Affordable is affordable. 
HB1068 - opposed.  Trumbull teacher.
HB6646 Sec.3&4.  Crumbling foundations.  Too watered down...3:53 we took a nap...6:09pm and Sen. Hwang asked about watershed etc..
HB1068 - against - "one size fits all" and Darien resident and Greenwich Housing Authority (Sam Romeo).  Sen. Hwang asks if proposal for 300 units is going anywhere...but...long-standing commitment to affordable housing.  Personal property rights.  Budget:  $14 milllion.  1930's & 40's.  Veterans' housing in late '40's.  Housing Trust Fund in process.  Cut red tape!!!  Infrastructure first!!!  
HB6647 - GIS trainer pro and another from working group.  Lose local control?  First step to eliminate Town lines?  COGs?  OOPS - 7:53pm everybody bounced off.
HB6646 - against.
SB1068 and others - no one is aware - he is opposed.  "Racism" and no cost...NOT TRUE - scripted.  Overreaching.  Organized groups.  To find all the bills is all over the place.  Greenwich resident tells legislature where to go.  No counties.  Dumps on 1068.  "A virgin" at testifying...
COST - covers the full agenda, it seems!  Betsy Gara awesome the best testimony of the day - under question brings up water and sewer...9:30pm we're out of here...went on for more than 13 hours.

WATCH THE LEGISLATURE MONDAY MARCH 15 (Planning&Development Committee) L-R


Senate Session parallels House SESSION.

SENATE MARCH 23, 2021, 11am.
We did not spend the day watching.  Here are links to what happened in a few areas of interest:

Police Accountability - https://ctnewsjunkie.com/2021/03/23/senate-sends-changes-to-police-accountability-law-to-governor/
COVID fund control - https://ctnewsjunkie.com/2021/03/23/bill-giving-lawmakers-oversight-of-covid-funds-headed-to-lamonts-desk/
Special powers for Governor extended - https://ctnewsjunkie.com/2021/03/23/lamont-democrats-seek-to-extend-executive-powers-over-republican-objections/
PLUS a pro restaurant bill passed unanimously:  Extends out-door dining until Fall of 2022.

SPECIAL SESSION IN SENATE OCT. 1, 2020 AT 11AM - not yet (it is 11:30am now) - we'll keep track to see if anything different happens here...

It is the judges still at 2:09pm.  Over by 2:30pm.  And now the second Special Session begins!

At 4:20pm I was able to watch the debate and vote.

(L) In favor because it sets measurable standards.  Not finished yet...at 6:06pm roll call vote unan. and now at 8:23pm, Transfer Act bill called (R)



HOUSE SESSION March 25, 2021

Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergency powers

HB6672 - Emergency Certification
April 20 to May 20 proposal.extension - Republicans argue that there has to be a loosening of the reins.
"...The provisions of this subsection shall not limit the Governor, or any department head, state agency or municipality from exercising any authority granted under said sections of the general statutes, from the effective date of this section through May 20, 2021, provided the exercise of such authority is done in accordance with said sections of the genera statutes. After May 20, 2021, nothing herein shall affect or limit any authority conveyed pursuant to section 19a-131a or 28-9 of the general statutes."

Special powers for Governor extended - https://ctnewsjunkie.com/2021/03/23/lamont-democrats-seek-to-extend-executive-powers-over-republican-objections/
PLUS a pro restaurant bill passed unanimously:  Extends out-door dining until Fall of 2022.

Still going on at 4:41pm...we'll pick up after dinner...5:52pm...Special Session 9-30-20

SPECIAL SESSION ongoing...first, appointments.   House on Wednesday, Senate on Thursday.

7001 - Transfer Act (Rep. Simmons brings it out from Commerce)  - speeds up clean up, discussion about environment.  Bipartisan.  VOTE:  Unanimous.

7003 - Hemp.  Federal rules changed and while they were at it. people used info to steal product - no more announcing locations of farms - unan. 143-0...

Tribute to outgoing Minority Leader and Speaker Joe.  Both of whom will not be back.

After dinner...the disaster bill.  What disaster - many different kinds.

"...The most time-consuming process for absentee ballots is opening two separate envelopes and then flattening out the ballots so that they can be placed into an electronic machine in the same way that voters place their ballots in the machine when voting in person. The outer envelope could now be opened in the four days before the election, and officials would make sure that the inner envelope had been signed to verify the vote. The inner envelope with the actual ballot would not be opened until election day."

7006 - Everything including the kitchen sink with be put on the power company.   Microgrids, resilience grants.  Rate increases.  Too big. 

Next Long Session he will ask for investigation for real solutions.  Why "may?" and more piling on Eversource.   "Break It Up" is the cry.

it is 8:30pm and it is obvious that 7006 will pass - but another better bill/study will be developed in the Long Session 2021. 

NOTE:  136 - 4 after a 3 1/2 hour debate.

Housing Committee as well as Planning & Development
Senator Hwang on Housing (Ranking Member) and on P&D in 2021.  He ran a Zoom on Land Use and Zoning Legislation impacting local communities on Youtube now

Last JF and JFS for P&D in long meeting March 31, 2021 has been going on for hours and hours...we are looking for 1024, 6107, 6611, 1066, 961.  "Blunt instrument" is being used to describe a particular bill but frankly, I would think that the previously mentioned bills might be described this way.  PARTY LINE on all bills we've listened to...and according to CT MIRROR this is what is going down...and now the Woodbridge Public Hearing on "racist" zoning is closed...

And a P&D meeting to deal with Tourism Bill substitute (HB6603) on Monday, April 12, 2021.  We are watching this at 2:30pm thanks to CT-N.

AN ACT CONCERNING TOURISM.  Introduced by the Commerce Committee

To (1) allow two or more municipalities in any regional tourism district to jointly appoint one representative to the regional tourism district boards of directors, and (2) require that a representative of the Connecticut Tourism Coalition be a member of the Connecticut Tourism Council.  Not the Tourism Caucus.

 Motion made by Co-Chair Sen. Casanno, seconded by Senator Hwang.  Role call to JF unan. by all present.

At right Sen. Haskell, who is one neither of the Committees we follow.  Although we do watch his outreach on D.E.I. ("diversity, equity and inclusion").  Wilton story here:  https://www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com/news/article/Control-over-our-own-community-Fairfield-16091721.php?utm_source=CTNewsJunkie+Main+List+With+Publication+Groups&utm_campaign=b5799aeb7b-MCP_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a493d2308d-b5799aeb7b-95953073#taboola-2

Public Health Committee includes Chair. Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (from Westport at left) and Member Rep. Anne Hughes.  As well as Dr. Petit (r)

PH COMMITTEE meeting March 29, 2021
Dr. Petit makes excellent points at Committee review of bill DPH might want but no "pro" testimeny was persuasive so far

2021 JF deadline looming!!!  (This note made on March 19th.)  For the most part, "JF" status means bills then go to the floor to be considered for new laws.

This Committee has set up Sub-Committees to deal with COVID-19 impact on Nursing Homes.
FROM PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEE PUBLIC HEARING:  Link to May 11, 2020 consent order.
Interesting what you can learn when you dig deep into public documents...we have personal experience at the facility referred to, and all we knew at the time was that the initial outbreak at this facility had been devastating