When Speaker of the House Matt Ritter said that the next month is going to be busy, he wasn't kidding! The Connecticut House of Representatives met twice this week and passed a ton of legislation, of course not without controversy. The bills that passed out of the lower chamber this week included breastfeeding in the workplace, insurance discrimination, access to original birth certificates for adoptees, and a bill expanding telehealth services. Another notable action taken in the House was the approval of a constitutional amendment regarding the state's voting laws. The amendment would allow ballot questions before state voters to consider changing the constitutional language on Connecticut’s election policies. The amendment passed 115-26, and it now moves to the Senate.
The Connecticut State Senate also had a full agenda this week. They met on Wednesday at 11am and were in session until around 3am the following day. A bulk of the controversy was regarding SB 901, which expands the option to vote by absentee until November 3, 2021. The Senate also discussed and passed HB 5596, the bill extending telehealth coverage - which passed on a bipartisan basis. Another notable piece of legislation that was passed out of both chambers and signed by Governor Ned Lamont was HB 5377, which removes COVID-19 related layoffs from the unemployment experience account.
Regarding COVID-19, on Monday it was announced that Connecticut is the first state in the nation to fully vaccinate more than half of its residents. This is a huge milestone for our state, and the country as a whole. The May 19 date in which many COVID-19 restrictions are going to expire is quickly approaching. The following graphic from the state is the new guidance which residents can expect. Most notably, the indoor mask mandate will still be in effect until the Governor announces otherwise.