Lamont gives an upbeat state of state to kick off the legislative session
OPM secretary briefs money committees
The Labor Committee signals priorities in first meeting
News and notes from the State Capitol
News and notes from around the state

  • A very confident and relaxed Governor Ned Lamont addressed a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday of this week and presented them with a State of the State address along with his mid-budget adjustments plan. 
  • Lamont focused his speech – which is designed to give members of the General Assembly his budget highlights and adjustments – by taking sort of a victory lap highlighting his accomplishments during the past three years. 
  • Included in his mid-term budget adjustments are his continuation of keeping overall government spending inside the all-important fiscal guardrails, along with paying $500 million of state debt. 
  • Mark Pazniokas from the CT Mirror sums up Lamont’s speech perfectly in one word: Steady.  You can go here to read Paz’s story. 
  • Chris Keating of the Hartford Courant also has a look at the Governor’s budget address. You can go here to read that. 

 

OPM briefs lawmakers on the details

  • Prior to the governor’s budget presentation, his Office of Policy and Management Secretary Jeff Beckham held a press briefing outlining the governor’s budget adjustments in more detail. You can go here to watch that presentation. 
  • But the real work of briefing for Bekham began the next day when he went before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee to review the spending side of the Governor’s budget and to answer questions from members of the Committee. 
  • That didn’t go as smoothly, as members of the Appropriations Committee raised concerns about how the Governor’s budget handles spending down ARPA money and the administration’s insistence on staying within the budget guardrails. 
  • You can learn more about House and Senate Democrats’ reaction to the Governor’s budget by going to articles by CT Mirror here and CT Examiner here.  
  • The CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf also takes a look at how the Governor’s budget has rankled some in the higher ed world. You can go here to read that story. UConn plans to ask the state legislature for an additional $47.3 million for its Storrs campus and $12.6 million for UConn Health.  Hartford Business Journal reports on that here.
  • Secretary Beckham is scheduled to brief members of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee regarding the Governor’s revenue package today. 
  • Among the provisions of the Governor’s revenue package is a bill that would have CT residents who work for NYC companies but do the work remotely in Connecticut pay Connecticut rather than New York income taxes for that work. 
  • You can go here for more details on that proposal. 

 

Labor Committee signals priority issues in FIRST meeting of the session 

  • It didn’t take long for the Labor Committee to get going and send out very strong signals regarding the big issues that they will be dealing with this session.
  • As you can see from their agenda here, the Committee is making paid sick leave for ALL employers a number one priority. They got an endorsement of this issue when Governor Lamont included expanding paid sick leave as part of his budget address and included it in his legislative package.  WFSB Channel 3’s Susan Raff reported on those plans here.
  • The Committee will also consider doing away with the tip credit and will once again take on the issue of warehouse workers and expansion of the paid family leave act. 
  • You can take a look at all the “concepts” that the committee raised by going here.
  • We anticipate that the Labor Committee will also raise a bill regarding predictive scheduling. That could take place next week when the committee meets again.

 

News and notes from around the State Capitol 

  • Yesterday, the Insurance Committee held its first meeting of the year, and among the issues they raised was a bill that would allow associations like the CRN to form Health Insurance groups – Association Health Plans. 
  • We will keep following that bill as it moves along. 
  • The Capitol Complex is closed on Monday for President’s Day, but things will pick up during the rest of the week. 
  • The General Law Committee will be meeting on Tuesday. We are certain they will raise a bill dealing with Artificial Intelligence. The Public Safety Committee will also be meeting on Tuesday. 
  • The full House of Representatives will be in formal session on Wednesday. 
  • As we go to print today, the Environment Committee is meeting to raise issues as well.  We will keep a close eye on the activity of that committee. 
  • After spending nearly four years investigating the actions of the Connecticut Port Authority, Attorney General William Tong’s office released a report yesterday announcing it uncovered ethical violations but did not find evidence of broader illegal conduct.  Details here from Hartford Business Journal.
  • The Motor Vehicle Tax Task Force held its seventh and final meeting this week, and released its report for the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee, but did not reach a consensus,  CTNewsJunkie reports on the task force here.  

 

News and notes from around the state

  • Overall passenger traffic at Bradley International Airport, from January 2023 through November 2023, was up 8.1% from 2022, but 7% behind pre-pandemic 2019, according to Connecticut Airport Authority data.  Corporate jet use is increasing, as Hartford Business Journal reports here.  
  • Avelo Airlines is adding four new routes at Tweed New Haven Airport this spring, to Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville, and Destin, Florida.  Fairfield County Business Journal has the details here
  • The Council of Small Towns (COST) met this week to discuss key issues facing Connecticut towns, including improvements to transportation infrastructure.  WTNH Channel 8 reports on the conference here.  
  • Nearly 40 years after it opened to great fanfare and subsequent years of success, the Crystal Mall in Waterford is filled with vacancies and uncertainty.  Details reported here by CT Insider.  
  • Coffee is being replaced by cannabis at a Manchester drive-thru location.  The Hartford Courant has that story here.