April 6th, 2018
Welcome to In the Loop!

From Paddi's Desk

Right on Track

This week, every committee of the General Assembly wrapped up its 2018 session business, and the House and Senate chambers are now bracing for a wild ride in the next 22 days.
As we've mentioned 1,000 times before, the session must gavel out at midnight May 9th, according to CT's constitution. The state GOP is leading off the convention marathon on May 11-12th, followed by the State Dems on May 18-19th. We will soon learn who will be the party nominees and who will secure 15% of the delegate count at the last ballot to challenge the party nominee for the August 14th statewide primary.
Reason why this is important - in the last few sessions the legislature has returned into special session in the months following adjournment to take up important (?) items that they did not take up during the regular session. With statewide conventions and local town committee conventions, this will be next to impossible. We will truly see a rush to the finish in the next four and half weeks.
There are huge labor bills facing the legislature, as well as the question of what to do with the second and final fiscal year of Governor Malloy's term. Then there's the crumbling foundation issue of northeastern CT, the commercial casino bill for the upper Fairfield County (aka Bridgeport and New Haven), the shoring up of the Special Transportation Fund by placing electronic tolls on most of CT's roads, the approval of Justice Robinson as Governors Malloy's second Chief Justice nomination, and the dozens of nominated Superior Court judges as well. Those are just the high profile issues on deck - there are more than 650 bills that have cleared committees, and all have someone advocating their passage or defeat.
The House Speaker and the President Pro Tempe of the Senate will serve as the conductors of this train as it heads on to the express track, attempting to get to the final station with all passengers on board.
Everyone sees the massive amount of approved committee bills sitting on the calendar and are wondering if they can all be addressed before the final gavel goes down on the joint session of the CT General Assembly this year. With too much to do, too many folks deciding not to run again and too much at stake in the fall elections, many speculate that the desire to take on controversial bills will decline as the train speeds to the final destination.
Separating the chaff from the wheat will be an enormous task of the four caucus screening committees. At the same time, they will have to leverage representatives from the several large delegations in the House to ensure that they get the "special attention" needed to get anything through both Chambers and onto the Governor's desk.
The most interesting conversation I had this week was when the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) held its first "transition team meeting" to start the process of transitioning the Governor's office from this administration to the next.  That caught me by surprise, because while we all know it's coming, kicking off the planning and organizing means that time does fly by fast and the train is starting to leave the station, for real! 

CT Agency Corner   

"And May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor" -Budget Hopefuls 

by Mike Johnson

As tax day approaches, the state prepares its latest deficit estimation but State Comptroller Lembo shared what many see as a sign of good news.
This week Lembo announced that the latest budget estimates are $198M in the red, but there could be a light at the end of the tunnel such as a strong paycheck withholding numbers given the uptick seen in the stock market. What could be a sign of positive income tax returns would certainly be welcome news to those who anxiously await what the latest projections will look like before the legislature tries to act on a budget before session ends on May 9th. The state non-partisan offices within the executive and legislative branches must give a final consensus revenue estimate by April 30th, which would in theory only give about nine days to have their numbers reflected their current estimates.
So, what would this mean for the budget negotiations? If the numbers result in positive net revenue then the budget may actually receive some buffer room to not have to drastically adjust the budget in an election year. This is probable the most desirable result for anyone running this year so there will be a lot of four leaf clovers and good luck charms being displayed on the 15th!
Did You Know?

This Week in History

Dr. King Assassinated, 1968

Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968,  Martin Luther King Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis,  Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers' strike and was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.

In the months before his assassination, Martin Luther King became increasingly concerned with the problem of economic inequality in America. He organized a Poor People's Campaign to focus on the issue, including an interracial poor people's march on  Washington, and in March 1968 traveled to Memphis in support of poorly treated African-American sanitation workers. On March 28, a workers' protest march led by King ended in violence and the death of an African-American teenager. King left the city but vowed to return in early April to lead another demonstration.

On April 3, back in Memphis, King gave his last sermon, saying, "We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop...And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land."

One day after speaking those words, Dr. King was shot and killed by a sniper. As word of the assassination spread, riots broke out in cities all across the United States and National Guard troops were deployed in Memphis and  Washington, D.C. On April 9, King was laid to rest in his hometown of Atlanta,  Georgia. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute to King's casket as it passed by in a wooden farm cart drawn by two mules.
In This Issue:
The Real Scoop

In a time of fiscal turmoil, what are some ways to get our state back on track? Economic development incentives have been thrown around as an idea for years, but do they really bring growth? 

An article by the Brookings Institute examines the value of economic development incentives, specific to the local level. How should we evolve our incentives over time?

Read more  here.


by Ryan Bingham

2018 Deadline updates
This week marked the start of a new fundraising quarter for so many seeking elected office in the 2018 elections. More importantly, it also marked the last quarter of fundraising before the state conventions for both parties.
The Republican Party convention is May 10-11 and the Democratic Party convention is the week after, May 18-19th. Most candidates will wait until some point between this week and the reporting deadline of April 15th to announce what the haul was for their campaign.  Many gubernatorial candidates have already hit major fundraising marks, but this week Mayor Erin Stewart of New Britain announced that she had raised over $100,000 in her first quarter of fundraising. She was late to announce and has some serious catching up to do to meet the $250,000 state requirement to receive the Citizens Election Program (CEP) grant funding for her campaign. 

In the next few weeks, we will see fundraising numbers from many state legislators and constitutional offices to see where they've matched up to their fundraising targets or expectations. Mayor Joe Ganim also released that he now has raised over $500,000 in his campaign for Governor, although he is not eligible for the CEP program funding.
Last week was also the deadline for local town committees to select delegates to their respective conventions. Now, statewide candidates will be calling these folks to garner support at the convention for the nomination to the line that they're seeking. Although rules haven't been set for the conventions yet, normally a candidate will need 50% plus 1 delegate to receive their party endorsement and any candidate wants to primary would need a minimum of 15% of the delegate vote in order to granted a line on the primary should they choose to.  
Here are a few other dates we'll be watching and reporting on:
  • State House and Senate Conventions: May 9th - May 29th (This is where we'll see if there are any potential primaries.  We have already seen many candidates announcing intentions to primary)
  • Petition Deadline for Primary ballot access: June 12th (This will be important to see any candidates that were not endorsed or didn't receive enough votes in a convention to petition onto the primary ballot)
  • Quarter 2 Fundraising deadline: June 30th 
  • Primary Election Day: August 14th

Behind the Scenes

By Chelsea Neelon

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with with Representative Cara Pavalock-D'Amato of the 77th House District to hear more about her time as a legislator and some thoughts on the 2018 legislative session. 
What are some of your legislative priorities for the upcoming session?
- It is always the budget; that is number one. I really like the dual arrest bill that's out there. It will reduce arrests when someone who reports domestic violence and the police come to the house. The other bill I really like is a local one. It gets rid of the individual consumption limit for people to purchase alcohol at breweries. That was a request by our local brewery. I was really glad to see other representatives put in similar bills on this issue too. It is a growing industry so anything to help out CT businesses is always great.

What legislation are you most proud of getting passed?
- It would probably be my service dog protection act bill. I had a constituent spur this legislation. There was a sort of gap in the law, and when people have a service dog and people get upset when the individual tell adults or children that you cannot pet the dog because the dog is working. This constituent was telling me how she would be chased down by people or people not reacting in an appropriate way. The service dog became an extension of the individual. Now, anyone who does anything to a service dog after notice that you cannot touch the dog can receive a misdemeanor offense.

What is your favorite memory as a legislator?
- As strange as it sounds, I really enjoyed by first session when we were debating the budget. I felt like Representative Sharkey locked us in the Capitol for almost three days, or that's how I explain it to people. (Laughs) We were allowed to go home a few times! We all took turns speaking on the bill, it was a real bonding experience and I learned about the process that way as well. It was very exciting.

What is your favorite late night session snack?
- Coffee is of course the best, but I'm going to go with sushi. I'm going to put that out as a hint!

Upcoming Events:

No upcoming events!

Check back for updates soon!