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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: Small Town Issues

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  February 5, 2016 --

The Connecticut General Assembly convened on February 3rd in Hartford for a budget only short session. This is traditionally for revisions to the budget only and not for general bills. Of course this is not always the case and general items are sometimes added to the agenda.  We may remember that the General Assembly had just been called into session in early December for a special budget adjustment session.  That was because the state is experiencing a serious budget deficit.  I believe that the number was approximately $1.3 billion. There were quite a few discussions going on about suggested budget adjustments. Most notable was hospital Medicaid reimbursements. The Governor recommended cutting by half the amount of money that the hospitals would receive for Medicaid reimbursements. Hospital reimbursements were reduced in the fi nal amendment but not as much as requested by Governor Malloy.  Human services groups were also concerned about possible cuts. We will see what changes will be presented for this budget session.  There have been talks of revisions to state employees and retiree benefits and contracts, but that is brought up every session.

I expect one of our focuses this Legislative session will again be watching the Community Investment Act funds.  Last year the Governor tried to redirect all of these funds into the General Fund for other purposes.  He did get some if it but much was retained.  We also are always watching the funding for the Department of Agriculture and their programs.  Rural agricultural land preservation and restoration is also always a priority for us as well.

Gordon Gibson will again be our voice in Hartford at the Capitol. Copies of our Legislative Guides will be given to all members of the General Assembly as well as to the Governor and Lt. Governor. The Granges should have already received their copies. If you did not receive yours or would like another copy either contact the Todd at the State Grange office or Alma Graham.


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