Legislative Session: Victories, Losses, and a Budget Still to Come

The General Assembly adjourned the regular 2017 legislative session sine die at midnight on Wednesday, June 7. A new state biennial budget was not adopted prior to adjournment, but Governor Malloy and legislative leaders continue negotiations and are expected to convene a special session once they reach agreement. The fiscal year ends June 30th.

Despite the contentiousness of the session, the labor movement was able to score a number of legislative victories for working people. Here is a round-up of our victories and losses:

Note: All of the bills that passed still need to be acted on by the Governor before they can become law. There is also the possiblity that some bills that were defeated will be inserted into the budget implementer during the special session, so we need to remain vigilant against further attacks on working people.

Worker Victories

Good bills that were passed

  • HB 5590 – Establishes a number of workforce development and job training initiatives at the Department of Labor.
  • HB 6668 – Establishes protections for pregnant women in the workplace.
  • HB 7316 – Establishes comprehensive transparency and review of the Department of Economic Development’s business assistance and incentive program.
  • SB 353 – Establishes a working group of union and non-union industry trade group members to review hiring ratios for apprentices, journeymen and contractors.
  • SB 957 - Authorizes the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes to jointly establish and operate a casino in East Windsor.

Bad bills that were defeated

  • Imposing further state employee concessions by enacting statutory changes eliminating collective bargaining for state employees
  • Eliminating overtime from state employee pension calculations
  • Moving state employees from a defined benefit to a defined contribution pension plan
  • Establishing a statewide Municipal Accountability Review Board that could set aside collective bargaining agreements and act as the arbitrator in financially distressed municipalities.

Worker Losses

Good bills that were defeated

  • HB 6208 – Would have increased the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2022.
  • HB 6554/HB 6973/HB 7313 – Would have closed the carried interest loophole for hedge fund managers requiring them to pay income tax rates, not capital gains tax rates, on their earnings.
  • SB 1/HB 6212 – Would have created a paid family leave program
  • SB 27 – Would have required workers’ compensation coverage for PTSD related care for fire fighters and police officers
  • SB 989 – Would have strengthened the state’s contracting laws by imposing additional requirements on proposed privatization contracts and ensuring appropriate staffing levels at the State Contracting Standards Board.

Bad bills that were passed

  • HB 6266 – Caps the healthcare costs mixed martial arts promoters are required to provide fighters injured in the ring at $20,000 per match.
  • HB 7174 - Permits phlebotomists to flush IV’s with saline, a licensed function that should be performed by registered nurses.

For a full summary of the end of the legislative session and more details about the unfinished business for the special session, please check out the latest edition of our legislative newsletter, The Worker Bee.