CHCC Government Relations Article November 2020
State Launches Small Business Grant Program With Federal “CARES” Act Money
Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) recently announced the creation of a Small Business Grant Program to assist small businesses that have been impacted by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide eligible small businesses in Connecticut that have fewer than twenty employees or a 2019 payroll of less than $1.5 million with a one-time grant of $5,000. DECD estimates it will begin accepting online applications the week of November 9, and all of the funds are anticipated to be disbursed by December 30. In order to be eligible, small businesses must have 20 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees and have experienced a 20% or greater downturn in revenue. More information on eligibility requirements, upcoming webinars, and other aspects of the program will be published on the state’s business portal at: https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/CT-CARES-Small-Business-Grant-Program.
Storm Response Investigations Continue
Recently the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) hosted three public hearings (virtually) where legislators and the members of the public could share their concerns about the state’s two primary electric distribution companies’ (Eversource and United Illuminating) responses to Tropical Storm Isaias in August. Each of the hearings can be viewed on demand online at the Connecticut Network CT-N. Despite the legislature passing “storm response legislation” (House Bill 7006) during last month’s special session in Hartford, it is likely that PURA will issue their own response and new policies upon the conclusion of their investigation.
New Faces At The State Capitol Post-Election
Regardless of the outcome from next Tuesday’s state legislative elections, one thing is certain – there will be many new faces in Hartford as there are several open seats that are the result of retirements. In the House, there will be at least 16 new faces, and in the Senate, at least 1; but given the number of strong challengers in both political parties, those numbers are surely subject to increase. Beyond new legislators being seated, there will be shifts in legislative leadership, as 3 out of the 4 legislative caucus leaders are not on the ballot (Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides). Further underscoring the state legislative races are the large number of competitive races that are rematches – with 8 out of 36 senate races and 26 out of 151 house races matching up the same opponents as the 2018 elections. Several of these rematches were decided by fewer than 100 votes last election cycle, so no matter your political affiliation or preferences for the Presidential election, please do your civic duty and be sure to vote in your state elections on November 3rd!
Election Season Is Here - Tell Legislative Candidates Your Workforce Needs!
All 187 state legislative seats are up for election on November 3rd, and it continues to be the perfect time to remind them of CHCC’s top advocacy issue – the need make changes to the state’s restrictive hiring ratios so HVAC contractors can hire additional apprentices. While CHCC continues to lead efforts behind the scenes at the state Capitol along with representatives from other open shop trades as part of the statutorily appointed Ratio Working Group per Public Act 17-76, all legislators and legislators-to-be need to be educated and informed about this important jobs issue.
Now Is A Good Time to Find and Contact Your State Legislators Working At Home During Covid-19
Have a question? Want to express your opinion? Just want to know who represents you in Hartford? Go to the website below and enter your home and/or business address to look up your state legislators. All it takes is a few quick clicks and you can visit their official webpage, email them, or get their office phone number to make a call. Remember - as a CHCC member, your voice matters! And, now more than ever, with many lawmakers stuck working at home during Covid-19, they want to hear from you more than ever, so please take a moment and reach out on behalf of your industry!
As always, if you have questions on legislation or regulations or if you would like more information on an issue, please feel free to contact the CHCC Office or CHCC’s Lobbyist Andy Markowski of Statehouse Associates at: (860) 707-3620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.