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CT's legislative session is over. Here are some bills that crossed the finish line

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven (L-R) and Sen. Bob Duff confer on the senate floor on the final day of the 2024 legislative session.
Joe Buglewicz
/
Connecticut Public
Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven (L-R) and Sen. Bob Duff confer on the senate floor on the final day of the 2024 legislative session.

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Connecticut’s 2024 General Assembly has come to a close.

Legislators advanced a variety of measures, but the short session, which runs from February to May in even numbered years, limited the time lawmakers had to consider and pass legislation.

Several bills did not get taken up by both chambers by the midnight deadline after Republicans’ prolonged debate Wednesday, which ended with concerns over funds that would go to low-income workers. A wide-ranging bill addressing climate change, and a proposal to create financial incentives for affordable housing close to public transit didn’t pass.

Several key measures passed the General Assembly in its final week, and now head to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk for further action.

Expiring pandemic aid disbursed to higher ed, CT agencies and more

Lawmakers did not make formal adjustments to Connecticut’s two-year budget, but instead proposed a bill to allocate $372.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. The Senate passed the budget stabilization bill late Tuesday. A large chunk of the funds, designed to help with continued pandemic relief, go toward the state’s public higher education system which faces proposed budget cuts.

The federal dollars are also going to fund state early childhood education, nonprofits, and services that address mental health, in addition to municipal aid.

By the end of this year, state governments are required to disburse the ARPA stimulus dollars, and spend them by the end of 2026.

Election security and transparency

One of the final bills to pass the Senate on Wednesday mandates video surveillance at ballot drop boxes, and would limit replacement absentee ballots to only the applicant. This is to better monitor potential voting irregularities, though relatively rare, as the Associated Press has reported.

Its passage comes as voting integrity, especially around absentee ballots in Bridgeport, has come under increased scrutiny. A judge ordered the city to redo its mayoral primary and invalidated the results of last year’s general election after reviewing videos that appeared to show two Mayor Joe Ganim supporters dropping papers into an absentee ballot drop box. Ganim, a Democrat, won the redo of that election in February.

Improvements for home-based care

The legislation bolstering care for the state’s older adults is intended to help more people “age in place” — which proponents emphasized was important with the population of older adults expected to increase in the coming years. It cleared the Senate on Tuesday, with unanimous support.

Sen. Saud Anwar hugs constituents after HB 5058, which creates a process for nurses to get a multistate license, passed in the Senate at the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 in Hartford.
Joe Buglewicz
/
Connecticut Public
Sen. Saud Anwar hugs constituents after HB 5058, which creates a process for nurses to get a multistate license, passed in the Senate at the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 in Hartford.

The bipartisan proposal creates a home care services provider registry to help people find aides more feasibly, and facilitate background checks of providers. It also grants presumptive medical eligibility — temporary Medicaid coverage — for home-based care, so people do not have to wait for insurance approval, and have the choice between living at home and in a care facility.

Expanding CT's paid sick days law

This measure will phase in paid leave to almost all workers in the state over the next three years. It passed the Senate Monday night, updating existing paid sick leave law, which only mandated sick days for workplaces with 50 or more employees.

Under the measure, employees would get an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours they work, with a limit of 40 hours of leave per year. In 2025, workplaces with at least 25 employees would have to offer paid sick days, and in 2026, employers with 11 or more workers must offer the days. By 2027, workplaces with at least one employee must give paid sick days.

The next time legislators are scheduled to again write new laws is January 2025.

Pro-Palestine supporters rally outside of the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 in Hartford. Hundreds gathered outside the Connecticut State Capitol on the final day of the legislative session.
Joe Buglewicz
/
Connecticut Public
Pro-Palestine supporters rally outside of the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 in Hartford. Hundreds gathered outside the Connecticut State Capitol on the final day of the legislative session.

This story has been updated.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. She has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.