Artificial Intelligence bill advances out of General Law Committee
CRN working with bill sponsor on some needed changes
Labor Committee holds hearing on important bills impacting retailers
Other news and notes from the State Capitol
CRN Legislative reception
News and notes from around the state

  • On Tuesday of this week, the General Law Committee voted to advance a comprehensive Artificial Intelligence bill. 
  • That bill deals with several important issues surrounding the emerging use of AI in political races, workplace settings, and other areas. 
  • And because all sizes of retailers are users or “deployers” of AI, we have been watching this bill very closely. 
  • In debating the bill, it was clear the General Law Committee, led by the chief sponsor of the bill, Senator James Maroney (D-Milford), knows the bill is not ready for a full vote of the General Assembly and that more work needs to be done. 
  • The Committee did make some changes to its original draft, which you can view by going here

 

CRN working with Sponsor on the bill

  • CRN has a good working relationship with Sen. Maroney, especially after working together on the data privacy bill and ensuring that key provisions of that bill protected retailers. 
  • With respect to the AI bill, we have reached out to Sen. Maroney a number of times about our interest in this issue and will continue to work with him to ensure that no unintended consequences that might be harmful to retailers end up in the bill. 
  • We will keep you posted on our progress with Sen. Maroney on this important issue. 

 

Labor Committee holds hearing on a number of bills impacting retailers

  • Also, on Tuesday of this week, the Labor and Public Employees Committee held a public hearing on three bills that impact various retailers. 
  • CRN submitted testimony on those bills, which include testimony against a bill that imposes new scheduling restrictions, one that heavily regulates retailers who have a warehouse in CT, and one that impacts our members who are in the rideshare industry. 
  • You can view the scheduling and warehouse testimony by going here and the rideshare testimony by going here
  • The Labor Committee has a March 26th deadline to report bills out and we will keep you posted on the progress of these and other bills before the committee. 

 

Other news and notes from the State Capitol 

  • On Monday of next week, Rep. Kerry Woods (D-Rocky Hill), the House Co-Chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, will be holding a press conference outlining her support for HB5247 An Act Concerning Employee Health Benefit Consortiums.  
  • Rep. Wood has asked CRN to join her at that press conference, which will be seeking to demonstrate the number of business groups that support that bill ahead of an Insurance Committee meeting that is scheduled to take place on Tuesday. 
  • At that meeting, the Committee will vote on whether to advance the bill out of its committee. 
  • Also, next week, the Finance Committee will be holding public hearings on Wednesday and Friday. You can view their agendas by going here and here
  • We have good news to report on a bill dealing with bio-degradable and intentional release of balloons. CRN had testified against that bill and you can review our testimony by going here
  • Earlier this week, Sen. Rick Lopes, (D-New Britain), informed us that he WAS NOT moving forward with the bill this session. 
  • The Environment Committee is holding a public hearing today. You can view the agenda of bills for that hearing by going here
  • State legislators are counting on the last shreds of Connecticut’s $2.8 billion COVID pandemic relief grant to help them untangle complex budget issues.  CTMirror’s Keith Phaneuf has that story here
  • Connecticut regulators have approved the first round of pilot projects in a new program aimed at accelerating innovation across the electric grid.  That story reported by CTNewsJunkie here.
  • College access and the ability to afford it were on the agenda Thursday for the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.  Details of their actions reported here by CTNewsJunkie. 
  • A fond farewell to CTNewsJunkie co-owner and editor Christine Stuart, who announced today that she is leaving journalism after more than two decades, most of it covering the State Capitol.  Hartford Business Journal reports that news here.

 

CRN Legislative Reception update

  • Please mark your calendar for May 1st as CRN will be hosting a Legislative Reception at the State Capitol from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. 
  • Our Legislative Reception will allow retailers to gather with members and staff of the General Assembly in a casual setting and provide an opportunity for us to talk about key issues pending before the General Assembly. 
  • It is free to attend, and we really hope you can join us. 
  • If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to email CRN President Tim Phelan at tim@ctretailnetwork.com

 

News and Notes from around the state

  • East Hartford land-use officials signed off this week on a new recreational cannabis retail shop, as well as a separate cannabis warehousing and packaging operation.  That’s in addition to two cannabis businesses — a cultivator and retailer, respectively — the town previously approved.  More from Hartford Business Journal here.
  • Philip Morris International (PMI) has announced its support of the Women’s Business Development Center, as part of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative.  Fairfield County Business Journal has the details here.
  • Officials at Bristol Hospital have announced they will eliminate 60 jobs.  WFSB reports that news here.
  • Connecticut projects totaling $21.8 million are set to benefit from a nationwide grant program from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Six different Connecticut projects are receiving federal funding.  Details reported by NBC CT here.
  • Four Connecticut towns were included on Yankee magazine’s “2024 Best Places to Live in New England” list.  CT Post has the highlights here.