Weekly Legislative Update, April 8th

Committee Work is Finished as Sine Die Approaches

On Friday, April 5th, the appropriations committee finished their official committee business, wrapping up all committee work for the 2024 session. Committees may still meet to act upon referred bills. That is when a bill or resolution is passed by one committee, but sent to another to be voted on.

Now the attention turns to the chambers. Monday, April 8th marks one month until the legislature adjourns sine die. The House and Senate will begin to meet on a more consistent basis for the remainder of session. This means that bills will move quickly and due to the short session, many proposals will be left on the table.

Appropriations and Budget Reworks

The leaders of both chambers, Senate President Looney and House Speaker Ritter, gave an update on their proposed budget on Tuesday, April 2nd. To the shock of many, they stated that they would not be adding funds to the budget in 2024. However, they reassured the public that they would still be adding $300 – $400 million to higher education and social service providers. This is being done by going around the statutory requirements of the fiscal guardrails. In order to complete this maneuver, some services and projects will receive small cuts, as well as a reduction in the rainy day fund surplus. The appropriations committee affirmed this move on Friday in their final meeting, where they declined to make significant changes to the budget.

The full story is by Keith Phaneuf of the Connecticut Mirror and can be read here.

Short-Term Rentals and The Housing Market

Connecticut grapples with an ongoing affordable housing crisis, but amidst the struggle, another housing market force has emerged unchecked: Airbnb. Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO pose a significant challenge for local governments, sparking debates around regulation and zoning in residential areas. Critics argue that these rentals exacerbate housing shortages, drive up prices, and create neighborhood disturbances. While some cities like Denver, New York City, and New Orleans have taken steps to regulate or even ban short-term rentals, many towns in Connecticut have yet to address the issue through ordinances or zoning laws.

Recently, Connecticut lawmakers proposed a bill to grant cities and towns the authority to establish short-term rental licenses via ordinances. Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff highlighted the urgency of the matter, noting how these rentals hinder housing accessibility by prioritizing short-term profits over long-term residency. However, responses from major short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO were notably absent, indicating a reluctance to engage with local authorities on the matter.

Read the full story from The Hour’s Katherine Lutge here.

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