Despite the objections of legislative Republicans that too many non-budgetary items were being taken up, state lawmakers used this week’s special session to finish some of the business they could not settle in the regular session that ended in May.

The bills passed on largely partisan lines with most Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing.

Packed into the two bills they approved on Tuesday (SB 501 and  HB 6001) were proposals:

  • Expanding the state’s small business job-creation programs
  • Making changes to municipalities’ property revaluation phase-in options. Creating programs to boost Connecticut products and tourism
  • Addressing the funding crisis in the state’s underground storage tanks
  • Encouraging energy efficiency improvements at commercial and industrial facilities

Also as part of their state budget-implementing work, lawmakers eliminated the minimum-staffing requirement for state police, and made roll-your-own stores in the state subject to $5,250 annual licensing fees and their customers liable for cigarette taxes.

They also approved the merger of the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA) into Connecticut Innovations Inc.

Many lawmakers and observers were concerned that the bills’ size—a combined nearly 700 pages of proposals—went far beyond the normal scope of the follow-up special sessions that usually deal only with budget-implementing bills.

The bills also were not made available for review until just before the session began, and many of the proposals contained in them were never subject of public hearings.

Still, some of the measures, such as the small business job-creation proposals, already had widespread and bipartisan support but got lost in the political shuffle at the end of the regular session.

Conversely, not taken up this week was the proposal from the regular session to increase the state’s minimum wage.  With Connecticut’s job growth still struggling, many lawmakers were reluctant to increase the entry-level wage.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or bonnie.stewart@cbia.com.