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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: General Assembly Zooming Forward

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  February 1, 2021 --

The 2021 Connecticut General Assembly opened on January 6th with a whole new look. The Legislators assembled outside for the obligation ceremony then went back to their offices for the opening remarks and Governors address. Session rules have been adapted to allow for needed safety changes. Legislators will now be able to view the session and vote from their offices in the Legislative Office Building with only the leadership in the chambers

Bills for the 2021 session have been proposed by Legislators and have been assigned to the various committees. The committees are determining which bills will be brought forward for public hearings and hearings are being scheduled. The Capitol and Legislative Office Buildings are still closed to the public so the public hearings are being held via ZOOM and YouTube Live.    Individuals who wish to testify must fill out an On-Line Testimony Registration Form which can be found from a link on the Connecticut General Assembly Bulletin web page under the committee you bill has been assigned to. Anyone can view the hearings using You Tube Live without registration.

The Budget will be the primary focus of the session. They never addressed any revisions to the last two-year budget during the 2020 session. The Governor will be presenting his FY 2021-2022 State budget to the  General  Assembly in  February  and  they  will  begin negotiating from there. The good news is that we are currently expected to end the fiscal years with a surplus. The bad news is there are a lot of expenses relating to the pandemic that still need to be addressed. One thing to note is with the increased revenue the state can now borrow more money under the revenue and bonding law.

The current pandemic will be a big influence in the budget and in many bills that will be proposed this year. I have seen a bill already asking for personal protective equipment be tax exempt. There are also a couple bills addressing the use of the Declaration of Emergency which is allowing the Governor to issue Executive Orders during the emergency. The bills would require Legislative approval on the continuance of emergency declarations and for any continuations of executive orders.


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