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State Legislature Heads Into The Homestretch: Scheduled Adjournment on May 7th

Date: April 30, 2014

As the 2014 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly enters into its final week, the pace of action at the state Capitol has been slower than usual.  Last week, both the House and Senate were in session a total of four days, and this week both the House and Senate will be meeting in session in nearly every day, including the possibility of the weekend, as is customary of the last weekend of session.  Despite this surge of session days, so far, the pace of legislation has been slower than usual.  With only a week to go until the Constitutionally mandated adjournment on May 7th, so far approximately only a dozen bills have passed both chambers.  Notably, one of the first bills to clear both chambers earlier in the session was Governor’s Senate Bill 32, which phases in yearly increases in the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2017.  Other notable legislation clearing both chambers was the final passage of the “UTC tax break bill” (House Bill 5465) in the Senate last week, which now heads to the Governor. 

In other legislative news was the release of lower than expected tax revenue numbers last week.  Disappointing tax revenue projections are not helpful to the Governor’s plans for the previously announced budget surplus, including the $55 per person rebate proposal. In light of this information, last week lawmakers on both sides of the aisle had expressed their concerns about the impact this will have on passing a budget before the end of session. Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney conceded that the rebate program may need to be scaled back, possibly by reducing the number of taxpayers receiving a check rather than lowering the already modest amount of the rebate, while Senate Minority Leader John McKinney called on the Governor to scrap the program entirely.  And on Monday, the Governor announced that they would indeed be doing away with their rebate proposal, along with other plans for spending the initial projected budget surplus as state revenues continue to lag.  With this year being an election year, one can be certain that legislators will be following the revenue numbers closely as they craft their budget adjustments during the last days of session in an effort to avoid the need for a special session.  

Also, last week saw the election of the newest member of the legislature, Rep. Robyn Porter, who was elected in a special election for the 94th District (New Haven, Hamden). 

In other governmental news, while the state’s health insurance exchange has drawn national attention for its enrollment of nearly 210,000 individuals, disappointingly, however, was their report that only 78 businesses took part in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), covering only 330 employees in total.  And in other health news, a battle continues to play out over competing bills dealing with the issue of hospital conversions (non-profit to profit, and vice versa) in Connecticut.  

Some other bill updates from last week on matters of interest to the small business community are as follows:

HB-5274, AAC Unemployed Individuals and Discriminatory Hiring Practices - passed the House

 

SB-220, AAC the Inclusion of the History of the Labor Movement & Free Market Capitalism in Public Schools - passed the Senate

 

SB-232, AAC the Manufacturing Reinvestment Account Program - passed the Senate

 

SB-258, AAC Bad Faith Claims or Assertions of Patent Infringement - passed the Senate

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