Connecticut Lodging Association
Coronavirus Update 3/2/2021
Paolino Public Affairs Consulting, Inc. Legislative Report
As always, attached is your weekly legislative report! The General Assembly was busy this week. Between committee meetings and public hearings, they also held the second session of the year. On Wednesday, three pieces of emergency certified legislation were passed in the House of Representatives. One increases funding to municipalities, changes tax penalties for commuters, and eliminates welfare liens. Another prohibits discrimination against natural black hair styles, and the last provides tax incentives to data centers. These bills are going to be heard in the Senate next week, then on to the Governor's desk. You can find the bills here: H.B. 6513H.B. 6514H.B. 6515. Also, today the Judiciary Committee is holding a public hearing regarding cannabis legalization, to which Governor Ned Lamont said he intends to fully support. Here is that legislation: S.B. 888

Regarding COVID-19, the Lamont Administration on Tuesday unveiled a new vaccination schedule. This new plan extends eligibility based on age, a switch from being based on essential-workers. The Governor expressed that is the best way to ensure that residents receive the vaccine in the most equitable manner. “In a perfect world, we would have enough doses of the vaccine to get it to all 3.6 million people in Connecticut right now, however each state is being given a very limited supply, which is why we must take this phased approach,” Governor Lamont said. “Connecticut’s healthcare providers have been doing an amazing job getting the vaccine to people as quickly as they can, and using age as the only qualifying factor is one of the reasons why they’ve had success so far. The last thing we want to do is complicate the process for them and cause delays that slow things down and exacerbate issues regarding equitable access."
House Passes American Rescue Plan
The House of Representatives passed the Biden Administration's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan late last night by a vote of 219-212. This legislation is a critical step towards addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis facing the hotel industry. 
The American Rescue Plan includes: 
  • An additional $15 billion to support the hardest hit small businesses; 
  • $7.5 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding; and
  • $160 billion to fight the pandemic and an extension of the employee retention tax credit.
The legislation also further extends unemployment benefits with a $400 supplement and includes another round of stimulus checks for working families. The House legislation includes a $15 minimum wage provision, however earlier this week the Senate Parliamentarian ruled this provision violated the Byrd Rule and would be stripped from the legislation in the U.S. Senate. The legislation is expected to go to the Senate for discussion late next week.  
Unfortunately, this legislation does not include industry specific relief and AHLA continues to call on Congress to immediately implement additional long-term grant programs for industries and workers that have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that thousands of mid- to large-sized businesses in the hospitality sector do not qualify for PPP and have received no relief during the pandemic.