CCAG 2014 Legislative Wrap Up
SB 237 AAC Prohibiting Storage or Disposal of Fracking Waste in CT: Just minutes before the end of session, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed SB 237, which establishes a minimum three year moratorium on the processing, storage, and dumping of toxic fracking waste in CT. This was the most complex and possibly most emotional of the environmental issues this year and in the end industry won. With strong popular support, the Environment Committee raised a bill banning fracking waste. DEEP backed a bill regulating fracking waste. The moratorium is a small step toward keeping toxic and radioactive fracking waste out of CT. Unfortunately, other provisions in the bill fall short of the mark and more work is needed to ensure CT does not become the fracking industry’s toxic waste dumping ground.
There is no doubt that we all have a tough fight ahead of us and to that end CCAG will be monitoring the future of this legislation VERY carefully and will be working toward a complete ban as part of a sustainable energy future.
More on Fracking: Although CT does not have shale to frack CCAG has signed on to join the Global Frackdown scheduled for Saturday, October 19 when we will stand united with communities around the world as a part of the global movement in calling on governmental officials at all levels to pursue a renewable energy future and not allow fracking or any of the associated infrastructures in our communities or any communities. Fracking is not part of our vision for a clean energy future and should be banned. www.globalfrackdown.org
SB 126 AAC Children’s Exposure to Chemicals: The Chemical and Toy industries spent a lot of money to oppose this common sense bill to identify chemicals of concern to children. Voters will have to consider that information when heading to the polls this fall. This bill had no fiscal note, was fully supported by the Department of Public Health and had over 40 legislative co-sponsors (plus a tremendous amount of public support). But the chemical and toy industries lobbied hard and the bill did not get called for a vote. We will continue to strengthen policy maker and public support for this and expect to finally have a win next year.
SB 27 AAC CT’s Recycling & Materials Management Strategy - Solid waste reduction: Gov. Malloy’s proposal will more than double the state’s recycling rate, increasing it from the current level of about 25% to 60% over the next 10 years. At the same time, it will reform the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, which owns and operates a waste-to-energy incinerator plant in Hartford’s South Meadows section, into an entity that operates more efficiently and has a renewed focus on the importance of recycling. This is a positive step forward in moving to a zero waste future.
We will be weighing in during the public participation phase of implementation of the legislation that began as SB 27 but was incorporated into another bill, which passed. It requires a total restructuring of the agency known as the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority and an RFP process for re purposing the site known as the mid-CT project, one of the largest municipal trash incinerators in the nation.
HB 5126 AAC An Agreement Among States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. The Connecticut Legislature dropped the ball on the National Popular Vote again this year. House Speaker Sharkey would not call the bill to the floor for a vote before the legislature’s adjournment. The bill, which was approved by the GAE Committee by a 9-4 vote in March, had more co-sponsors (52) than ever before thanks to citizen outreach and support. Additionally, Governor Malloy endorsed the bill in February, stating, “An equal vote for every American citizen, regardless of in which state they happen to live, is the fairest and most democratic way to go.”
Showing what's possible, NY voted to join the compact, with overwhelming, bipartisan support and a quick signature from Gov. Cuomo. That brings the compact to more than 60% of the way toward enactment, and means that CT is entirely surrounded by states that have passed the NPV (NY, MA, RI, VT and NJ). CCAG will continue to keep the momentum going on this and we expect to finally have passage by next year.
SB 11 AAC The CT Health Insurance Exchange Board of Directors: We strongly opposed ef- forts to create a new conflict of interest in selecting an insurance broker to serve on the Exchange Board. We urged the rejection of this bill and are pleased to say that it did not pass. .
HB 5069 AAC Low Wage Employers or Large Employer Responsibility Act: Low wages paid by large, profitable employers like McDonalds and Wal-Mart result in taxpayers subsidizing their workforces through their workers utilization of the social safety net. CCAG and allies introduced this bill to give these employers (with 500 or more employees) a choice to either raise the pay of their workers or to pay a fee to the state to offset the public costs of their low pay. Although this bill did not pass this year, CCAG continues to work to ensure that our tax dollars are not used to line the coffers of big employers, and that they pay their employees a living wage.
SB 32 AAC Working Families Wages : CCAG supports Governor Malloy’s proposal as a good start in increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017. This bill passed and the Governor will sign it.