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Special Session September 30

Posted on October 2, 2020 by cthomas


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On September 30, the House of Representatives was called into session to discuss various pieces of legislation that we were unable to vote on during regular session, and others that were drafted this summer. Working deep into the night, we confirmed four judges and passed several bills that may be of interest to you.

HB 7006: The Energy Bill

HB 7006, colloquially called “The Energy Bill,” addresses electric company performance and accountability. This bill creates a performance-based rate-setting process, gives regulators and the public more time to scrutinize rate increase requests, ties CEO compensation to performance, and more.

It also outlines new punitive measures should their response to a storm be deemed inadequate. This includes a 4% penalty out of their annual distribution revenue (to be credited to customers), a $25 per-day credit to customers who lose power for over 96 hours, and $250 in compensation to customers who lose power for over 96 hours in order to replace spoiled food and medications.

HB 7005: Absentee Ballot Expediency

HB 7005 makes a few technical changes to how absentee ballots may be handled to make it easier for towns to process them. One is that while in prior elections, voters could take back their absentee vote before 5pm on the day before the election, they now only have until 5pm four days before the election to do so. The bill also allows clerks to begin creating the ballots’ outer envelopes up to four days before the ballots are received if they so choose.

HB 7010: School Construction Bill

HB 7010, which among other things distributes grants for school construction, included a controversial grant to the Norwalk School District to rebuild Norwalk High School. The section includes matching 80% of the total cost of funding, while most projects receive 50%. The school district was also given an extension to submit their application, as they missed the June 30, 2019 deadline to be considered for this process.

Many legislators expressed the unfairness that a project, especially one estimated to cost $189 million dollars, could be added at the last minute ahead of other schools who met the deadline and were vetted through the proper process. An amendment was proposed to remove the project and instead include the original $11 million requested by the district, which failed.

Below, you can review other pieces of legislation passed during this Special Session:

  • HB 7001: this is a technical change to the Transfer Act that will make it easier to assess pollution liability on properties as they are sold.
  • HB 7002: makes changes to fees for judicial marshals.
  • HB 7003: creates compliance of the state’s hemp program with federal regulations.
  • HB 7004: clarifies that condominiums are eligible for the special loans available for the repair of buildings affected by crumbling foundations.
  • HB 7008: revises the state’s Environmental Justice Law.
  • HB 7009: adjusts deadlines for certain property tax exemptions and municipal matters.

The bills passed in the House were also passed in the Senate on October 1 and await the governor’s signature.

Please reach out to me if you have any questions about this legislation or any state issue.