Can’t get enough of the bills raised by the legislature this year? I’ve got you covered.
Every year I compile a massive list of interesting bills throughout the first weeks of the legislative session, only a fraction of which make it into my roundup column.
But this year I wanted to share the whole list, because it’s a cross-section of the wide range of work the legislature is doing. I’ve added a short piece of commentary for each, which you can feel free to ignore.
Please do click on the bill number to go to the bill’s CTNewsJunkie page, where you can register your own opinion and vote up or down!
Interesting Raised Bills for 2020
Bill No. Bill Title Description Commentary HB 5001 AN ACT EXEMPTING ALL AIRCRAFT FROM THE SALES AND USE TAXES To provide a uniform sales and use taxes exemption to all aircraft Susan says… I mean, we all own aircraft, right? This is middle-class tax relief! HB 5017 AN ACT INCREASING ACCESS TO FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS To provide feminine hygiene products to women who otherwise may not be able to afford such products. Susan says… This is a great idea. These are basics that should be available to everyone who needs them. HB 5022 AN ACT EXEMPTING SENIOR CITIZENS FROM THE PASSPORT TO THE PARKS MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEE To exempt senior citizens from payment of the Passport to the Parks motor vehicle registration fee Susan says… This is but one of many similar bills. Many legislators absolutely hate Passport to the Parks. HB 5029 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TAX CREDIT FOR GRADUATES OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND PRIVATE OCCUPATIONAL SCHOOLS IN THE STATE To establish a personal income tax credit for in-state graduates with a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or an advanced manufacturing certificate who live in the state Susan says… This is part of the Live Here, Learn Here initiative to keep students in the state. I hope it works. HB 5034 AN ACT ELIMINATING THE ESTATE TAX To eliminate the estate tax. Susan says… The Republicans do keep trying. HB 5040 AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN EXCISE TAX ON AMMUNITION To establish an excise tax on ammunition to increase funding for gun violence prevention and reduction efforts Susan says… The Second Amendment doesn’t say we can’t tax the heck out of your bullets. HB 5044 AN ACT CONCERNING IMMUNIZATIONS To protect the public health by ensuring adequate and appropriate immunizations of children Susan says… Please vaccinate your children. Because I bet this bill doesn’t ever see a vote. HB 5052 AN ACT CONCERNING THE THEFT OF WASTE VEGETABLE OIL OR ANIMAL FATS To establish the theft of waste vegetable oil or animal fats as larceny in the fourth degree Susan says… This was a great Simpsons episode. This bill comes up every year, though—is it that big of a problem? HB 5055 AN ACT CONCERNING A PROPERTY OWNER’S LIABILITY FOR THE EXPENSES OF REMOVING A FALLEN TREE OR LIMB To impose liability on certain owners of real property for the expenses of removing a tree or limb that falls on an adjoining owner’s private real property Susan says… This one is ridiculously complicated. To establish liability, you have to have an arborist inspect the tree and find it dangerous within the past five years, but the owner doesn’t have to let the arborist on their property. HB 5056 AN ACT CONCERNING THE UNLAWFUL DISSEMINATION OF INTIMATE IMAGES To elevate the penalty for dissemination of intimate images in the case of dissemination to multiple persons by certain electronic means Susan says… Getting a handle on this problem is a good thing. HB 5080 AN ACT ELIMINATING STATE FUNDING FOR THE XL CENTER To eliminate any current state funding for the XL Center Susan says… Sure, just let the roof fall in. HB 5104 ‘AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IMPORT, SALE AND POSSESSION OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS, LIONS, LEOPARDS, BLACK RHINOCEROS, WHITE RHINOCEROS AND GIRAFFES To prohibit the import and trade of any big six African species Susan says… If you’re keeping a giraffe in your bathroom, shame. HB 5113 AN ACT REQUIRING LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL FOR THE MERGER OR CLOSING OF INSTITUTIONS WITHIN THE CONNECTICUT STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES To require legislative approval for the merger or closing of institutions within the Connecticut state colleges and universities Susan says… This is in response to the fantastically unpopular Malloy administration idea to merge all of the community colleges into a single entity. Good. HB 5118 AN ACT REQUIRING LANDLORDS TO PROVIDE SECURITY SYSTEMS AND LIGHTING IN RENTAL PROPERTY HALLWAYS To require landlords to provide security systems and lighting in rental property hallways for the safety of tenants Susan says… Landlords should be doing this already. It’s a shame the government needs to force them. HB 5126 AN ACT CONCERNING INSPECTIONS OF RENTAL PROPERTY PRIOR TO OCCUPANCY OR TERMINATION, LATE RENTAL PAYMENTS AND DESIGNATION OF A RENTAL HOUSING OMBUDSMAN To permit tenants to request an inspection of rental property prior to occupancy and after notice of termination of a tenancy, to cap late fees for rental payments and to create a Rental Housing Ombudsman within the Department of Housing Susan says… This seems like a great idea. Too many landlords treat tenants like garbage. HB 5129 AN ACT CONCERNING A TRANSITION PROGRAM FOR INCARCERATED PERSONS BEING RELEASED FROM PRISON To require the Departments of Correction and Housing to establish a transition program to ensure that incarcerated persons obtain housing prior to their release from prison. Susan says… Excellent. This addresses a real problem for people getting out of prison. HB 5133 AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF THE PENFIELD REEF LIGHTHOUSE AS A COLUMBARIUM To authorize the use of the Penfield Reef lighthouse as a columbarium (a place where cremated remains are stored) Susan says… Sign me up! I love this idea so much. Really, if this passes I’m reserving a space. HB 5141 AN ACT PROHIBITING THE SALE OF ENERGY DRINKS TO PERSONS UNDER SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE To prohibit the sale of energy drinks to persons younger than sixteen years old. Susan says… Okay. Should we also require an ID for espresso? Still, this is a sound idea, energy drinks aren’t great for kids. Or anyone. HB 5146 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A YOUTH SUICIDE PREVENTION PILOT PROGRAM To require the Department of Children and Families and the Office of the Child Advocate to establish a youth suicide prevention pilot program Susan says… Good idea. Sadly necessary. HB 5147 AN ACT ADJUSTING STATE LEGISLATOR SALARIES FOR INFLATION To adjust state legislator salaries for inflation since the current rate was established in 2001 Susan says… For many reasons, this is a good idea. It’ll never happen. HB 5148 AN ACT CONCERNING THE FUNDING OF SMOKING PREVENTION EFFORTS To prevent smoking Susan says… This bill would require a portion of cigarette tax money go to smoking prevention programs. Which was supposed to be the point! HB 5152 AN ACT DECREASING LEGISLATIVE POSTAL COSTS To decrease the amount of state funds used for legislators to send mail Susan says… Can we decrease it to zero? HB 5153 AN ACT ELIMINATING THE INCREASE IN THE GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION FEE To eliminate the recent increase in the greenhouse gas reduction fee Susan says… Seriously? HB 5162 AN ACT REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LEARN HERE, LIVE HERE PROGRAM To require the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development to establish the Learn Here, Live Here program to help graduates of any institution of higher education or certain certificate programs of private occupational schools save toward a down payment on their first home in the state by segregating a portion of their state income tax payments for up to ten years after they graduate. Susan says… Good idea, I hope it helps. Losing young people has been very hard on us. HB 5168 AN ACT AUTHORIZING SPORTS WAGERING IN THE STATE To authorize sports wagering in the state Susan says… I would not place bets on this happening. HB 5172 AN ACT CONCERNING ACCEPTABLE FORMS OF CURRENCY AS PAYMENT IN LOCAL BUSINESSES To prohibit persons who offer consumer goods and services to the public from refusing to accept cash as a form of payment. Susan says… This is fine—but what about cash only businesses? HB 5180 AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROVISION OF CATERED FOOD AND BEVERAGES IN FUNERAL HOMES To enable funeral directors to offer catered food and beverages to persons attending funeral services. Susan says… Please have Pizza Hut cater my funeral, thanks. HB 5215 AN ACT CONCERNING THE INCLUSION OF CLIMATE CHANGE INSTRUCTION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CURRICULUM To include climate change instruction in the public school curriculum of the state. Susan says… Sad but necessary. This warm winter has me freaked out. HB 5242 AN ACT CONCERNING THE RISK OF HOMELESSNESS FOR THOSE RELEASED FROM THE CUSTODY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION To require the Department of Correction to assess the risk of homelessness for incarcerated persons released from its custody and to create a program to address such homelessness and to require additional reports to measure the extent of such homelessness Susan says… Re-entry programs like this are vital. HB 5290 AN ACT CONCERNING INTERSEX PERSONS To address the needs of the intersex community who have suffered from discrimination and inaccurate documentation of their sex by providing relief from such issues. Susan says… I’m very pleased to see this. Hopefully this was done with input from the intersex community. HB 5278 AN ACT REVISING CERTAIN ABSENTEE VOTING STATUTES To revise certain absentee voting statutes to no longer require that an elector be absent from his or her town of voting residence during all the hours of voting at a primary, election or referendum Susan says… Why not just get rid of these rules for absentee ballots altogether? HB 5283 AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL ETHICS To require every municipality to adopt a code of ethics and the Office of State Ethics to develop a model municipal code of ethics for municipalities to adopt. Susan says… Today I learned that towns don’t currently have to have a code of ethics. Great. SB 6 AN ACT CONCERNING THE LEGALIZATION AND TAXATION OF THE RETAIL SALE OF MARIJUANA To legalize and tax the retail sale of marijuana Susan says… I doubt the votes exist for this. SB 5 AN ACT CONCERNING INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS AND NET NEUTRALITY PRINCIPLES To require Internet service providers to register and pay registration fees and to require the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to apply net neutrality principles to Internet service providers and enforce such principles with civil penalties. Susan says… I remember caring about net neutrality. It seems like a lifetime ago. SB 19 AN ACT CONCERNING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES To (1) establish a Council on Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey to create a sexual misconduct climate survey for use by institutions of higher education in the state, and (2) protect students who report being a victim or witness of sexual assault, stalking or violence from disciplinary action by the institution of higher education. Susan says… Not sure what good another survey will do, but protecting victims is very important. SB 31 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A CREDIT AGAINST THE PERSONAL INCOME TAX FOR THE PURCHASE OF A GUN SAFE To establish a nonrefundable credit against the personal income tax of up to one hundred fifty dollars for the purchase of a gun safe for personal use. Susan says… Only in America. Sigh. SB 56 AN ACT ESTABLISHING TAX CREDITS FOR TAXPAYERS THAT REFRAIN FROM USING GASOLINE-POWERED LAWN AND LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT To establish tax credits for individual and commercial taxpayers that refrain from using gasoline-powered lawn and landscaping equipment. Susan says… Finally, an excuse to let my yard revert to meadow/blight! SB 89 AN ACT CONCERNING SCHOOL LUNCH DEBT To prohibit disciplinary action against public school children for unpaid school lunch charges and to allow any public or private parties to donate to pay off such debt. Susan says… I hate that we even have to address this. What sort of monsters put third graders in debt because they wanted to eat? SB 98 AN ACT CONCERNING THE DRAW DOWN SCHEDULE ON LAKE BESECK To provide for a longer six foot draw down period of Lake Beseck in odd-numbered years in order to increase the likelihood of root exposure for aquatic plants to temperatures that assist in the effective management of such plants. Susan says… I have no idea what’s going on here, but it sounds cool. SB 105 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A RIGHT TO HOUSING To establish a right to housing for all residents of the state. Susan says… This is interesting! I’d like to know more. Looks like a bill to establish services to help people pay rent/utilities and/or provide emergency housing.
SB 108 AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE OPEN CHOICE VOUCHERS PILOT PROGRAM To establish a pilot program to enable certain families participating in the interdistrict public school attendance program to move to the town where their children attend school. Susan says… Great idea. Prepare for a flood of racism disguised as concern for property values or some other nonsense. SB 117 AN ACT REDUCING THE SUBSIDY FOR CTFASTRAK To reduce the subsidy for CTfastrak Susan says… Republicans will never stop hating the busway. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Sampson, is from Southington—which is outside the range of CTFastrak. SB 118 AN ACT CONCERNING FEES RECEIVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES FOR COMMEMORATIVE LICENSE PLATES To require that the fee paid for a commemorative license plate be used for the purpose for which the license plate was created and not be deposited into the General Fund. Susan says… The “I thought they did this already!” Act of 2020, also known as the resigned sigh bill. SB 128 AN ACT CONCERNING FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE To provide tuition-free community college for Connecticut residents. Susan says… Good luck! SB 192 AN ACT CONCERNING A LIST OF THE ONE HUNDRED MOST DELINQUENT CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGORS To end the publication of the names of delinquent child support obligors. Susan says… How else will we keep track of Robert Hyde? But I’m okay with a little public shaming in this case. SB 227 AN ACT CONCERNING A FAIR WORK WEEK SCHEDULE To prohibit the practice of on-call shift scheduling. Susan says… Good. This is a lousy practice. People need to know their work schedules in advance. SB 237 AN ACT CONCERNING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DUE TO AN EMPLOYER OTHER THAN THE STATE UNDER THE STATE CODE OF ETHICS To apply substantial conflict of interest provisions in the state code of ethics for public officials and state employees to conflicts involving the public official’s or state employee’s nonstate employer or spouse’s employer. Susan says… So, if for instance the Speaker of the House were to be employed by the state employee union, that would be a conflict of interest in the future. SB 17 RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO PERMIT EARLY VOTING’ Constitutional amendment to allow early voting Susan says… I’d love to see this. I wish it didn’t take an amendment to the constitution to allow it.
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.