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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: COVID Ripples Through the State

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  August 3, 2020 --

I hope you all have been staying safe this summer as we adjust to our new normal. Last year we were starting discussions on potential issues for the upcoming legislative season. We were looking at banning plastic straws and Styrofoam food containers. There were discussions on expanding the bottle bill beyond soda and water bottles to include juice, iced tea, and sports drinks.

Two major topics that were introduced in the 2020 session were highway tolls and the legalization of recreational marijuana. These topics are very likely to reappear in the 2021 session.

In July the Governor convened a special session to address some new major issues that have arisen. Some of these topics were due to adjustments that must be made due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Others were addressing political activism issues occurring in our society.

The pandemic has forced us to look at healthcare coverage, accessibility, and practices. We are now seeing an increase in the use of medical appointments occurring remotely using “tele-health” computer access. This has required us to adjust some medical insurance rulings to include payment for “tele health” appointments.

This is a Presidential election year. Our Governor has already signed an executive order allowing the excuse for “COVID-19” as a reason for requesting absentee ballots in Connecticut for the upcoming primary voting. The Legislature will now be addressing allowing the COVID-19 excuse to expand absentee ballot access in the Presidential elections at the special session.

Rules and procedures  will be changing for the upcoming Legislative session as the pandemic continues. We will probably end up seeing more public hearings done remotely with fewer in-person meetings. The Grange will still be monitoring bills and issues that will be presented to the Legislature. We need to have you, as members, let us know your feelings on the various topics so we can accurately communicate these concerns to the legislators. This is done through your resolutions submitted to the State Grange.

Resolutions should be submitted to your local Grange for action. The deadline for resolutions to be submitted to the State Grange is September 15. It is very important that these resolutions be submitted on time this year due to the adjustments we have had to make for the State Grange convention this year. Please remember that individuals cannot submit resolutions directly to State Grange. They must go through a Community or Pomona Grange.


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