Until the session’s end on June 6, Connecticut lawmakers will be voting on more than 700 bills ranging from government transparency, the environment, education, healthcare and — of course — taxes and spending.
Since January, Yankee Institute has been sounding the alarm on ideas limiting free market opportunities, property rights and individual liberties, while praising the good that expands those principles. Though several of the ‘bad bills’ have died in committee — like rent caps, eminent domain to create bike paths, hiring more tax agents, the Green Amendment and a ‘TCI Gas Tax on steroids’ — there are still plenty to ‘take action’ on.
Here are five that should concern you. Our full list can be found here.
S.B. 1166: An Act Concerning Implementation of the Connecticut School Climate Policy
While seemingly innocuous, aiming to improve the “quality and character of the school life,” the bill would compel boards of education to adhere to state guidelines regarding school climate, thereby — once again — removing local control from districts who may not agree with ‘social emotional learning’ (SEL). To opponents, SEL has become a lightning rod (or a trojan horse) that would “condition children to become social justice activists for progressive causes,” as Peter Wolfgang, president of the Family Institute of Connecticut Action, testified. With math and reading test scores plummeting in Connecticut, teachers and administrators should instead focus on the basics in teaching students these subjects without the extra, real-world politics distracting from what will actually increase their opportunities in life.
S.B. 938: An Act Concerning Unemployment Benefits for Striking Workers
If passed, S.B. 938 would “allow striking employees to collect unemployment benefits after a period of two consecutive weeks striking.” How is that fair? This is an extremely misguided concept, requiring employers to pay benefits for workers who are not working. Additionally, as Andy Markowski (the National Federation of Independent Business State Director) testified this actually “undercuts the purpose of unemployment,” taking away “benefits from those who are unemployed through no fault of their own.”
H.B. 6633: An Act Concerning a Needs Assessment and Fair Share Plans for Municipalities to Increase Affordable Housing
If passed, Connecticut would join New Jersey as the only other state to require “fair share” housing plans for each municipality — as well as penalties if they fail to submit plans. And there’s a reason why New Jersey has remained alone for nearly five decades, as the state is number one in highest property taxes, according to Rocket Mortgage. Connecticut isn’t far behind. Passing H.B. 6633 will make a bad situation much worse in terms of affordability and overbearing government regulations. Our families and towns cannot afford this bill to pass.
H.B. 6890: An Act Concerning Qualifying Transit-Oriented Communities
Known as the ‘Work, Live, Ride’ bill, the legislation would require towns to create transit-oriented developments (TOD) — or walkable neighborhoods. If not, municipalities risk losing state-funded grants. Municipalities with at least one passenger rail or rapid bus transit station that has over 60,000 residents will need to rezone for 30 dwelling units per acre. Those under 60,000 are required to build 20 per acre. Towns with any bus stop with over 25,000 residents would need to rezone for 20 units per acre and those with less must provide 15 units per acre. Towns without a transit service will have to rezone for 10 units per acre if a neighboring town has one. Development must be within a half mile or “reasonable distance” of a bus or rapid transit station.
H.B. 6890 completely rips zoning decisions out of locally elected officials and into an unelected coordinator in the Office of Responsible Growth. Meanwhile, the bill provides no local public input or an appeals process.
H.B. 6929: An Act Concerning the Film and Digital Media Production Tax Credits
Connecticut’s film tax credit program has been the equivalent to a box-office bomb, with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) reporting the annual state revenue decreased by more than $58 million. If that wasn’t enough, the program has suffered a cumulative loss of half a billion dollars since its inception; and the former DECD commissioner David Lehman called for a reduction or outright repeal of the film tax credit this past year.
Yet lawmakers are still ignoring the warning signs, blinded by Hollywood’s glitz and glamor to the detriment of Connecticut’s taxpayers.