Thousands of bills will be introduced this month for the six-month legislative session and many will die, but hundreds will be debated and may actually become law.
The variety of bills increases during the odd years because the bills don’t have to be tied to the budget and any individual lawmaker can introduce one.
While every bill has a story behind it or a constituency here are some that have caught our eye, perhaps because they are unusual or because they give us insight into what lawmakers are thinking. And at the moment these bills are simply concepts with few details.
Rep. Keith Denning, D-Wilton, has introduced several, including one that would allow for the use of “terramation” for the decomposition and elimination of human remains. For those unfamiliar with the term, terramation is “human composting.” There are currently six states that allow it.
Denning has also introduced a bill that would allow for the direct-to-consumer sale of automobiles. Dubbed in past year’s the “Tesla bill,” it would allow electric car dealers to sell directly to consumers and bypass the dealership model of business.
A bill introduced by Reps. David Yaccarino, R-North Haven, and Rep. Brian Lanoue, R-Griswold, would allow the processing of rabbit meat in the state. There’s an environmental argument to be made that rabbit is more environmentally friendly and creates fewer emissions than cows.
Another introduced by Rep. Irene Haines, R-East Haddam, would prohibit the release of helium balloons, “To limit the harm to Long Island Sound and other state waterways.”
Some seek to re-litigate old issues considered settled by previous legislatures.
Rep. Craig Fishbein, R-Wallingford, has renewed a call to create a “moral and philosophical objection
s to the immunization requirements.” In 2021, Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill that eliminates the religious exemption to childhood vaccines. The law was upheld by a federal court. Connecticut never had a “moral and philosophical objection” law to childhood vaccines.
There are other issues that have become perennial like establishing a black bear hunting lottery.
Rep. Karen Reddington-Hughes has taken up the mantle of the retired Sen. Craig Miner and proposed establishing one.
She’s also seeking to allow for Sunday hunting. Something that’s currently not allowed in the state.
On the fiscal side there are several proposals to eliminate the newly established highway user fee.
And in keeping with the fiscal guardrails Lamont has promised there are several proposals to extend the Bond covenants attached to the 2017 bipartisan budget lauded as part of the reason for the state’s current surplus.
Early voting requirements will also likely get a vote this year. For the first time, legislators will be able to consider permitting a period of early in-person voting as a result of a ballot question approved by voters during the November election. The bill was introduced, but doesn’t say how long early voting would be allowed.
And since lawmakers received a bump in pay this year, at least some lawmakers don’t believe mileage reimbursement is necessary. Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, is proposing eliminating the stipend for herself and her colleagues.
Lawmakers will also be considering proposals on the cost and reliability of energy in Connecticut this year as they take office days after a hike in the electricity rates of Connecticut consumers.
Rep. Christine Conley, D-Groton, is proposing that lawmakers vote on the hikes themselves.
There’s also a matter of those tax credits approved before last year’s election which have since expired like the child tax credit. There are several proposals to reestablish it.