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Bills passed in the 2024 CT legislative session

Connecticut lawmakers were presented with hundreds of bills in the 2024 session on dozens of issues, from state housing to solving the state's housing crisis, but few become law. Although many bills were placed on the calendar for a vote, a lack of political will or time as lawmakers worked into the final minutes before the end of the mandatory session at midnight Wednesday limited the number of bills approved. Here's a look at what happened.

Budget stabilization and commitment

Instead of opening the state budget for an overhaul, lawmakers approved a $360 million spending package that allocates millions in unspent federal pandemic aid to fund higher education, child mental health, local governments and nonprofits, etc.

Lawmakers also approved nearly $2.5 billion in bonds for capital projects next year. The package includes up to $625 million in bonds through 2031 for the UConn 2000 development project, under the condition that the university's philanthropic commitments total at least $100 million over the next eight years.

Paid sick days, strikes

All employees will soon be eligible for paid sick days under House Bill 5005.

The legislation paves the way for a three-year phase-in of Connecticut's sick leave requirements for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. According to the law, employees are credited with one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees who have worked for their employer for 120 calendar days are entitled to this time. You can take a maximum of 40 hours off per year.

Gov. Ned Lamont said the expansion of paid sick days “puts Connecticut at the forefront.”

“You have to work hard these days. Make sure you retain your employees and that they can stay. I don't want people coming to work sick. We did that, and hats off to us,” Lamont said.

The governor wasn't as enthusiastic about another labor victory, the creation of a state fund to pay striking workers.

Lamont told reporters he would not support House Bill 5431, which would establish a $3 million fund, led by the state comptroller, to provide financial assistance to striking workers.

“I support the right to organize, I support defined benefit plans, I support expanded health care and I want to make sure we have a strong workforce,” Lamont said. “Does that mean I want taxpayers to subsidize striking workers? I don’t think I do.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney said Lamont's opposition to the bill is something Democratic lawmakers “regret and hope he will change his mind.”

nurses

Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1, a comprehensive health care bill that strengthens protections for nurses and home health aides.

The legislation was inspired by the death of Joyce Grayson, a 63-year-old visiting nurse who was found dead in the basement of a nursing home after a home visit with a registered sex offender.

“SB 1 was really significant,” Looney said. “It provides protection for home care workers and seeks to create a system of building security so that people who need home care can receive it, but the workers who provide it have greater protection. “That's important.”

Lawmakers also passed House Bill 5058, which would allow Connecticut to join the Nurse Licensure Compact. The move would ensure that nurses can obtain a multistate license to practice in any state that is a party to the compact.

Housing

This session, House Speaker Matt Ritter, a Democrat from Hartford, said the Legislature has made “incremental progress” on housing but “certainly hasn't accomplished everything that people might have hoped.”

The highlight was House Bill 5474, a proposal that incorporates many of the Majority Leaders Affordable Housing Roundtable's concepts to promote affordable housing development.

It requires municipalities to allow developers to convert vacant nursing homes into apartment buildings. Additionally, it allows cities and towns to regulate short-term rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo rentals. The bill also requires landlords to notify their tenants in writing 45 days in advance of any planned rent increases.

“I think we’ve made some progress in housing,” Lamont said. “We have increased in population in recent years, which is a good thing. The only thing that can slow us down and endanger us is if there is no place for people to live.”

Lamont said he is a fan of the provisions in HB 5474.

“I like the fact that this creates additional incentives for workers, housing and affordable housing in the city centers. I like the fact that there is a little incentive as to why you want to do this. I like the fact that you get extra credit if you dose accordingly and feel relaxed relief with 8-30g. I think these are all ways we're working with our municipalities and communities to create more housing there,” Lamont said.

Elderly care reform

Ritter said Connecticut lawmakers “have had a really good year in terms of focusing on elder care and aging-in-place legislation.”

House Bill 5001 makes sweeping changes to the state's elder care system by increasing oversight, simplifying access to Medicaid and requiring the state to maintain a virtual registry of home care providers.

Effective July 1, 2026, HB 5046 prohibits new nursing home residents from being admitted to a room with more than two beds. The bill also provides, among other things, penalties for health care facilities that fail to comply with corrective action plans.

Training

After a report by Dalio Education found that one in five youth are at risk of not graduating or already lacking access to education and employment, lawmakers are now requiring the state data system to provide annual reports on out-of-school youth Connecticut submitted.

The provision is included in House Bill 5437, a comprehensive education package that, among other things, takes steps to address school climate and imposes limits on the number of days schools can suspend students from school.

House Republican leader Vincent Candelora of North Branford said the data collection component is “definitely a big highlight” for Republicans.

“For us, many of the education reform bills were important, for ECS (Education Cost Sharing), to create a more equitable funding stream for our communities, but also to start the path of data collection and try to engage in recovering our costs “ The youth have reconnected with the classroom,” Candelora said.

Lawmakers also passed Senate Bill 327, a proposal that would create a task force to study the impact of hate speech and bullying on children's mental well-being, physical health and academic performance.

House Bill 5436, among other sweeping changes, simplifies the state's teacher certification process.

Charlene Russell-Tucker, commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Education, said the certification requirements were last updated in 1998.

“We are extremely pleased with the passage of HB 5436 and believe it is a major step in the right direction to modernize our certification laws, reduce barriers, and recruit and retain a diverse workforce,” Russell-Tucker said in a statement statement on Thursday.

Russell-Tucker said the creation of the Connecticut Educator Preparation and Certification Board “will bring together the expertise of qualified and experienced educators along with the State Board of Education to continually develop standards and proposals that lead to long-term, meaningful change.”

Deaths in the line of duty

This session, state lawmakers passed a bill to expand the definition of a “line-of-duty death” and provide more benefits to the families of fallen officers.

House Bill 5279 grants police, fire, and EMS chiefs the authority to declare that an officer, firefighter, or EMS personnel has died in the line of duty “if the death was caused by a cardiac event, stroke, or pulmonary embolism within 24 hours.” .” after… a shift or training.” For some surviving families, the expanded definition will allow access to cash benefits, tuition waivers, health insurance and retirement benefits.

Senate Bill 341 codifies a “Fallen Officer Fund” under the Office of the State Comptroller to “provide a lump-sum death benefit totaling $100,000 to a surviving family member or beneficiary of a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty or.” “Injuries sustained in the process” were the direct and immediate cause of the officer’s death.”

In addition, family members can maintain the deceased official's health insurance for up to five years after his or her death.

Candelora said the legislation is an important initiative for the Republican caucus, which pushed for the fund's creation last year.

“The Fallen Officer's Fund … will now extend health benefits to families where an officer is killed in the line of duty,” Candelora said. “I was pleased to see that the Auditor General is also pushing this agenda and working to get the bill off the ground.”

Anna Harden

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