Doug Hardy / ctnewsjunkie
Sens. Martin Looney and Len Fasano and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (Doug Hardy / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Legislative leaders met for about an hour Thursday and decided to return to make some adjustments to the bipartisan budget Gov. Dannel P. Malloy mostly signed on Halloween.

Malloy vetoed part of the distribution of the money collected from the hospital tax because he felt the language included in the budget would caused the federal government to reject the state’s request for additional federal reimbursement. There’s no guarantee that even with the new language, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will approve the additional funds, but the administration believes it has a better shot.

Jennifer Jackson, CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, said the hospitals are fine with the new language.

“We want to thank the members of the General Assembly for their ongoing support,” Jackson said. “We also want to thank the Administration for working with us to come to an agreement; we look forward to passage of the legislation and working with the state to implement it.”

The agreement does not settle the lawsuit the Connecticut Hospital Association and 20 hospitals filed against the state back in 2016.

Legislative leaders said they would also modify language regarding the renter’s rebate program.

The language essentially stranded $13 million for the program with the state, at the same time as it made it the municipalities responsibility to dole out. The money is to help subsidize the rent of elderly and disabled renters.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said the money is there in the budget and was always meant to be used for the program.

The Senate is expected to return on Tuesday, Nov. 14 and the House is expected to return on Wednesday, Nov. 15 to make the changes.

Legislative leaders also promised that their session would be televised by the Connecticut Television Network.

Last week, the nonprofit operator for 18 years terminated its contract with the Office of Legislative Management when it was unable to come up with an agreement regarding the scope of services and the $1.2 million budget. The budget fell far short of the $2.4 million the Connecticut Public Affairs Network thought it bid on this past summer.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said the intention of every member of this leadership team was never to shut CT-N down.

“But there needed to be alternatives looked at for funding and putting them back on the air,” Klarides said. “We never planned on having them be off the air.”

Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said they plan to hire a group of former CPAN employees, “maybe 12”, that would be moving over to operations for CT-N.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said “we will ensure that the public receives gavel-to-gavel coverage.”

The legislature’s Public Health Committee meeting also will be carried live Monday, Nov. 13, according to legislative leaders.

Fasano said he believes it’s healthy that the contract will go back out to bid in the Spring and he believes there will be much more interest.

CPAN was the sole bidder on the five-year contract. It had been operating the network for 18 years.

Press conference Thursday at the Capitol on the hospital tax, …

Legislative leaders talk about plans for next week to fix hospital tax and the renters rebate program, and some plans for keeping CT-N running temporarily

Posted by on Thursday, November 9, 2017