It’s about halftime at the Connecticut General Assembly, where state lawmakers have been meeting primarily virtually since January as they review thousands of bills and listen to hours and hours of online public testimony. Committees have largely wrapped up their initial work drafting and voting on legislation dealing with all aspects of state government. Every committee with the exception of the “Big 3” have all wrapped up their initial committee work. Judiciary has their deadline this Friday while Finance and Appropriations have deadlines of 4/22 and 4/23, respectively. The lull in activity we are experiencing is common as nonpartisan staff review bills and legislative leadership starts their work on which bills need amendments, referrals, or are ready for final action. Some of the more controversial bills that have passed their respective committees include sports betting and online gambling, nonmedical exemptions from vaccines, and legalization of recreational cannabis.
Cannabis Bill Passes out of Committee
The Judiciary narrowly passed a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana on a 22-16 vote earlier this week. After a contentious public hearing in late February, lawmakers have made several changes to the bill including various social equity provisions in conjunction with the marijuana bill. A main argument of legalizing marijuana, especially amongst democrats, is the role that social injustice and criminalization of marijuana play in lower income and urban communities. Republicans unanimously voted against the proposal, citing concerns over the impact of marijuana legalization on children and what they considered to be too-little funding for addition recovery services. Sen. Kasser (D- Greenwich), Sen. Anwar (D-South Windsor), and Rep. Fox (D-Stamford), joined the Republicans in voting no.
It is expected that the House may go in session as early as April 19th. We will begin to see more action and movement on bills as we approach early April. With a little over two months left of this year’s session, we are expecting both the house and senate to begin to convene in their chambers more often as the end of session approaches.
Travel AdvisoryAs of March 19, 2021, Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No.9S, Section 1 regarding travel is
no longer in effect.
Connecticut residents and travelers to Connecticut should follow travel- related guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH). Mandates and requirements are not currently in place in Connecticut.
Governor Lamont’s Executive Orders
During a public health emergency, the Governor essentially can run the state via executive order. Please review the Governor's most recent Executive Orders: 10E PROTECTION OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY DURING COVID- 19 PANDEMIC – ABSENTEE BALLOT USE FOR AN ELECTION, PRIMARY, OR REFERENDUM