Fate of “The Big 5” Legislative Items Remains In Question During Final Month
With less than a month to go in the regular legislative session, and now that all committee deadlines have passed, the ultimate fate of the so-called “Big 5” legislative issues that were outlined by the media and lobbyists at the beginning of the session are still in question. Tolls; legalization of marijuana; expanded casino gambling and sports gaming; a $15 an hour minimum wage; and the creation of a paid family medical leave program for all employees were expected have all dominated legislators’ attention throughout the session. However, of all these issues, so far, only the minimum wage bill has made a major step in the legislative process.
$15 Minimum Wage Bill Passes House After Marathon Debate
After a historic 14-hour debate, last week the Connecticut House of Representatives passed House Bill 5004, which sets the state on a track to mandate a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2024. During the all night debate, which stretched well into the morning of the following day, many legislators stood up to express concerns such a wage would have on small businesses and the state’s economy as a whole. The bill, which passed on a nearly party line vote, 85 – 59, now awaits action by the State Senate. If passed by the Senate, it is expected to be signed into law by Governor Lamont, who has expressed his support for this bill. The first incremental increase would be this October 1, when the minimum wage would increase to $11.
State Budget Negotiations Ongoing
After the Finance and Appropriations Committee put forth the legislature’s version of a proposed state budget, there are still many unanswered questions. While these proposals dropped a majority of the sales tax provisions that were originally in Governor Lamont’s budget proposal, such as taxing home renovations and repairs, the legislature’s budget does include a new capital gains tax surcharge on top income brackets as well as a 1% increase in the sales tax on meals and drinks at restaurants. While the revenue package does propose finally repealing the $250 business entity tax, on the other hand it instead increases the annual filing fee for businesses with the Secretary of State’s office. A final state budget package is now being negotiated between legislative leadership, committee chairs, and the Governor’s office.
House Passes Major Wind Power Bill
Earlier this week the House passed a major renewable energy bill, HB-7156, on a wide bipartisan vote. This legislation establishes a process for DEEP to procure up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power, to be developed in federal waters off of coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Long Island, and with the port of New London expected to serve as a major staging hub for the future developments.
Statehouse Digest – News You Can Use from around the Capitol
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