This year’s legislative session finally drew to a close at midnight on Wednesday of last week. With this year being the “short” legislative session, much was crammed into the short time the full legislature was actually meeting in session. It is typical in the last week of session for many long nights of debate. This year was no different with last minute debates on budget revisions, fracking waste disposal, hospital conversions, and the Budget Implementer Bill. The General Assembly passed more bills on the final day, most in the final hours, than they did over the previous 12 weeks. The Senate, for example, passed 71 bills on a consent calendar in the last few minutes of session and they approved the massive Budget Implementer Bill with barely 15 minutes to spare. This year 1,265 bills were introduced with a final passage of 259 bills. After passing only a single chamber, a total of 86 bills died on the calendar.
Two major pieces of legislation that all small business owners should be aware of are the State-run Retirement Plan (previously SB-249) and the Comprehensive Tax Study (previously HB-5545). Both pieces of legislation were passed as part of the Budget Implementer Bill (HB-5597), however the retirement plan will exist as a study for the time being, with the feasibility of a program to be evaluated and recommendations made back to the legislature in 2016. Also in 2016 the legislature is set to receive a report regarding a comprehensive study of the state’s tax system that will be set in motion by the provisions in the implementer legislation. Small business looks forward to participating in and closely monitoring the study as it develops over the next two years.
State legislators will now either be retiring (at least 21 as of now) or preparing for the upcoming campaign season. All 187 legislative seats are up for election this year as well as the six statewide, constitutional offices (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, Comptroller and Secretary of State). Both Republican and Democratic party nominating conventions will be held this coming weekend, with events beginning on Friday May 16, 2014. While it is expected that Governor Malloy will be re-nominated on the Democrat line, the Republican Convention will select its nominees at this time. Current Republican candidates include 2012 nominee and former Ambassador Tom Foley; state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney; Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton; Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti; and Joe Visconti of West Hartford.