Weekly Legislative Update, April 1st

Welcome back to the Weekly Legislative Update. This blog is written and maintained by Dan Baribault. In this week’s update, we look at the House and Senate Sessions on March 25th, the insurance committee’s inability to move bills forward, fights over the rainy day fund, and calls to clear house at PURA.

House and Senate Sessions, March 25th

Both chambers of the Connecticut Legislature met last Monday. They simultaneously covered judicial, executive, and legislative appointments from superior court judges to new commissioners for various state agencies. With all committee work wrapping up this week, we expect that beginning next week or the week after, session days will become more frequent.

Insurance Committee Fails to Advance Any Legislation

Two weeks ago, the insurance committee cancelled two meetings that would have served as their opportunities to pass legislation to the chambers. Now, their deadline for advancing bills has passed and any hope for relevant legislation lies in the hands of other legislators. The policy proposals must now be amended in to existing bills that have made their way to the House or Senate.
Insurance committee Co-Chairs Sen. Cabrera and Rep. Wood apparently failed to reach an agreement on a mental healthcare parity bill. This caused a rift between the leadership that resulted in the cancelation of the final two meetings. Speaker of the House Matt Ritter said, “It’s a byproduct of years of adversarial relationships that just keeps boiling over, and everybody could have been better than they were.” Both Rep. Wood and Sen. Cabrera have assured that they will make every effort to find legislative vehicles for the policies brought before the committee.
The full story is by Jenna Carlesso of the Connecticut Mirror and can be viewed here.

Fights Over The Rainy Day Fund Intensify

Top Democrats including Speaker Ritter and President Pro Tempore Looney have called on Governor Lamont and his office to loosen the budgetary guardrails. The top legislative Democrats argue that it is time to use some of the funds saved. They want to use the money to help fund childcare, education, and social services. The Governor argues that this move would violate the established principles of the fund and risk others trying to dip into the $3.3 billion available.
The full story is written by Keith Phaneuf for the Connecticut Mirror and can be read here.

Minority Leader Candelora Confronts Governor Lamont on PURA

The Republican House Minority Leader, Vincent Candelora, submitted a letter to the Office of Governor Ned Lamont concerning the leadership at the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). In the letter, Candelora states that PURA Chairwoman, Marissa Gillett, is actively interfering with both the legislative and executive branches’ power concerning utility rate controls. Moreover, the Minority Leader has called on the Governor to fill two vacant positions on PURA’s board. The Governor has declined to appoint new individuals, stating that there is no interest in changing the current membership.

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