ANALYSIS | It’s over: the winners and losers of the 2022 session

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Speaker of the House Matt Ritter Credit: Photo by Christine Stuart

The legislative session was short, but the House and Senate were able to get a lot of business done this year, including passing a $24 billion budget with about $600 million in tax cuts.

Here are some of the proposals that were approved by both houses of the legislature before the clock struck midnight Wednesday and are awaiting action from Governor Ned Lamont, along with a few others that did not make the cut.

the Winners

Mental health services for children

Lawmakers signaled early that they intended to prioritize mental health services for children after several hearings on the subject revealed the pandemic had exacerbated existing gaps in available services. Before the end of the session, the legislature passed three bills dealing with children’s mental health. HB 5001, SB 1 and SB 2 all seek to address the children’s mental health crisis highlighted by the pandemic. They come with a hefty price tag of $223.2 million.

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Click above to vote and comment SB 1: AN ACT REGARDING CHILDHOOD MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH SERVICES IN SCHOOLS

The bills address an expansion of funding for school health centers and increase the number of early childhood slots. It also sets aside funds for the recruitment of minority teachers.

Trade unions

State unions were able to earn $3,500 in bonuses and 2.5% in raises and steps that total $1.87 billion over four years.

The General Assembly also passed the “captive audience” bill, long called for by state unions. It prevents employers from requiring employees to remain at meetings where they express political or religious views.

Taxpayers

Representative Greg Howard Credit: Photo by Christine Stuart

Connecticut taxpayers will see $600 million in tax cuts over the next year, including the continuation of the free bus fare and the 25-cent gas tax exemption through Dec. 1 .

Parents will be able to claim a child tax credit of $250 at the start of the summer up to a maximum of $750 for three children. Low-income working families will see an increase in the earned income tax credit. The budget also expands eligibility for a property tax credit from $200 to $300.

Other tax breaks include a provision that allows 75 cities to lower their car taxes and another provision accelerates a plan to eliminate taxes on pensions and annuities.

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Click above to vote and comment HB 5506: ACT ADJUSTING THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2023, CONCERNING PROVISIONS RELATING TO REVENUES, SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND OTHER ITEMS OF EXECUTING THE STATE BUDGET AND AUTHORIZING AND ADJUSTING STATE OBLIGATIONS

The budget leaves much of its surplus unspent, ensuring the state can make a projected $3.58 billion contribution to its long, unfunded $95 billion retirement debt.

Representative Joe De La Cruz, D-Groton Credit: Hugh McQuaid/CTNewsJunkie

Legislators

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Click above to vote and comment HB 5406: AN ACT CONCERNING A STUDY OF STATE REVENUE POLICIES

Connecticut lawmakers voted this year to increase legislative pay for the first time in 21 years. A bill approved in back-to-back votes Tuesday raises the legislator’s base salary from $28,000 to $44,000, keeping it roughly in line with inflation for the past two decades. The bill also avoids the need for future debates on the subject by linking remuneration to the employment cost index, which will be adjusted every two years if necessary.

The bill will also impact the compensation of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, comptroller, and attorney general by tying those salaries to the compensation of state judges.

Data privacy

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Click above to vote and comment SB 6: A LAW REGARDING PERSONAL DATA PRIVACY AND ONLINE SURVEILLANCE

Senate Democrats made good on one of their unmet priorities last year by adding Connecticut to a small but growing list of states passing regulations to protect consumers with more transparency and control over personal data collected at about them by internet businesses.

The bill, approved by bipartisan votes in both houses, gives consumers the right to view or delete data and opt out of its sale or targeted advertising. It forces some companies to disclose and minimize the data they collect. The bill also limits targeted advertising to children and the sale of their data.

voters

Voters who wish to vote by post in the future will have this possibility. The definition of illness, a valid excuse for not showing up at the polls, has been expanded to include COVID-19. The legislation also allowed commuters who were away for much of Election Day to vote by mail.

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Click above to vote and comment on HB 5262: AN ACT TO REVISE CERTAIN ABSENT VOTING ELIGIBILITY STATUTES

Losers

Electric vehicles parked outside the State Capitol building Credit: Hugh McQuaid/CTNewsJunkie
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Click Above to Vote and Comment on SB 214: AN ACT REGARDING THE SALE OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN THE STATE

Tesla, Rivian, Lucid

A familiar proposal to allow direct-to-consumer sales of premium electric vehicles, often referred to as the “Tesla bill, has expired on the Senate calendar for the second year in a row. The bill sought to create an exception to a state law requiring automakers to sell their vehicles through franchise dealerships. Proponents argued that the change would boost the adoption of electric vehicles and create jobs. Dealers and mainstream manufacturers say it would just give a handful of companies an unfair head start.

Ban on flavored vaping

Before it could reach the House or Senate, the tax drafting committee opted to remove both the outright ban and the nicotine cap from the bill and restrict the sale of vaping products. flavored at adult-only tobacco shops. In addition to concerns about promoting an underground market, some lawmakers feared the original bill would reduce access to vaping products for cigarette smokers seeking cessation aids.

Aid to dying defenders

A bill that would have allowed a mentally capable person who had only six months to live to receive an order to end their life has again failed after a referral to the Judiciary Committee. This is the second year in a row that the bill has successfully cleared the Public Health Committee but failed to win support from the Judiciary Committee.

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Click above to vote and comment SB 88: A LAW REGARDING ASSISTED DEATH FOR TERMINATING PATIENTS

In the past, the bill has drawn support and opposition from both sides of the aisle. Proponents argue that the policy, which has been adopted in one form or another in 10 other states, gives dying residents a choice at the end of their lives. Opponents, including some religious organizations and people with disabilities, argue that the bill endorses suicide rather than improving end-of-life care.

Cannabis advocates in Hartford on April 20, 2022 Credit: Hugh McQuaid/CTNewsJunkie

Cannabis bazaars

Cannabis advocates who rallied outside the Capitol this year suffered a defeat on the last day of the legislative session when the Senate gave final approval to a bill that would prevent cannabis bazaars. These bazaars were places where the cannabis community gathered and sold goods or products, then handed out cannabis to anyone over the age of 21 who paid an entrance fee.

The bill still allows the gift of cannabis between family and friends.

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Click above to vote and comment HB 5329: A CANNABIS LAW
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