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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: Little Legislative Work Getting Done in Hartford

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  April 1, 2020 --

The Connecticut legislative process has almost come to a complete halt. The Governor closed down the Legislative Office Building and the Capitol to all outside and non- legislative activities. All hearings and committee meetings are on hold as of this writing. The popular Ag Day at the Capitol (sponsored by the Dept. of Agriculture) was canceled. The State Grange Agricultural Committee usually has a booth supported by the Legislative Committee.

Before the shutdown due to the virus, the Grange was supporting two bills. We submitted a letter of support for Senate Bill 26 – An Act Exempting from the Personal Income Tax Proceeds from the Sale of Agricultural Land Development Rights to the State. The feeling is that this bill will encourage more landowners and farmers to protect their farms and farmland. We were ready to support House Bill 5345- An Act Concerning State Review of Farmland Preservation Transactions. This bill would decrease the amount of time it takes to process the paperwork to protect our state’s most valuable farmland from development. The committee hearing was cancelled before we could send in testimony.

Even though the Legislative building is closed to the public, some legislative activities are still going on.  The Legislative leaders are still actively working on the budget adjustments. The Governor and different commissioners have requested some minor budget adjustments and changes and these were being addressed in the budget

draft. Lawmakers are also pursuing an expedited process to adopt the 2020 budget as much as a month early. Traditionally the budget is not voted on until the last days of the session or sometime in a special session.

We should be grateful that in 1991 the legislature voted to return to a two-year revenue and savings plan. The present biennial budget was approved in the 2019 session so the state has a working budget right

now. Because of that, the budget is basically balanced so residents and municipalities have a basis to work with.

As far as other bills that have been proposed this year, it is unknown if any will be able to be moved along. With public gatherings being limited, public hearings cannot be held, which is a necessary part of the bill process.

Say safe and well everyone.



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