Legislative Update - April
State Legislature Enters Second “Half” of Session
Nearly all committee work is done… legislative budget proposal forthcoming…
Though not technically the halfway point when looking at the session dates on the calendar (this year’s “long” legislative session runs January 6th – June 9th), from a “procedural” standpoint, the legislature has now entered the second “half” of the session in Harford as nearly every committee has completed their work and passed their
JF (“Joint Favorable”) deadlines. Next week, however, the two remaining committees, those that deal with the state budget - Appropriations and Finance – are expected to wrap up their work and release the legislature’s version of a spending and revenue package in response to the Governor’s original proposal from back in February. After that, budget negotiations will begin in earnest between the legislative leaders and the Administration in an attempt to reach a budget agreement prior to the end of session.
While Governor Lamont has remained steadfast in his call for no broad-based tax increase, there are members of the legislature who would still like to see various revenue changes, including higher taxes. As the state budget picture begins to come more into focus, a few key questions are:
How will Connecticut allocate the nearly $2.65 billion federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act? Will the income tax withholdings and estimated quarterly payments continue to hold strong? How does the extension of the tax filing deadline to May 17th now impact the timing of the budget?
State budget issues aside, other “big” issues remain for the legislature to tackle, including a state “public option” health insurance plan, legalization of cannabis, legislation of sports gambling and i-gaming, vaccine exemptions for schools, various unemployment and workers’ compensation changes, affordable housing legislation, the “Transportation Climate Initiative” (Senate Bill 884), and many more.
Additionally, CHCC continues to actively track legislation dealing with workers’ comp reforms, unemployment comp reforms (House Bill 6633), changes to the Department of Consumer Protection statutes (House Bill 6100), occupational licensing reciprocity with other states (House Bill 6445), and extending the apprenticeship tax credit to pass-through entities (Senate Bill 993 – currently pending before the Finance Committee), changes to prevailing wage rate determinations (House Bill 6738), and possible changes to the OSHA-10 card validity (Senate Bill 662), among many others.
State Legislature Grants Extension To Governor’s Emergency Authority To May 20th
Late last month, both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate met to consider and pass House Bill 6672, which ratifies the current declaration of public health and civil preparedness emergencies by the Governor in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Effectively, this legislation extends the Governor’s authority until May 20th. It is unclear if all currently in force executive orders will be extended beyond April 20th or if they will be selectively extended, however, a bipartisan group of legislative leaders have been meeting and reviewing all currently in force executive orders. Also, late last month the state Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision upholding a challenge to the constitutionality of the Governor’s emergency authority during the pandemic. In addition to extending the Governor’s authority until May 20th, the legislature also recently passed House Bill 6610, which relaxes restrictions on and expedites local zoning and permitting to allow for expanded outdoor dining for restaurants as well as retail activity.
The 2021 State Legislative Session Is In Full Swing - Now Is The Time To Speak Up And Educate Your State Lawmakers - Tell Them What Matters To You And The HVAC Contracting Industry! Ask Them To Support More HVAC Jobs!
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