September 4, 2020
The latest from the folks across the street from the Capitol

From Paddi's Desk
by Paddi LeShane

So what's the beef in Hartford?

Today, upon the insistence of House and Senate Republicans, the "Committee of 10" met to review the extension of COVID-19 emergency orders issued by Governor. The Senators and House Reps were careful not to downplay his original orders, but did raise the issue that the Connecticut of today is not the same Connecticut from March-and rightfully so. Everyone knows more about the virus now and Connecticut residents and visitors for the most past have buckled down and followed through on the Governor's executive orders. What the Republicans were really concerned about is the precedent the extension sets...

Isn't the legislature the branch of government that sets the policy? And the Governor's Administration is the branch that makes recommendations, negotiates and executes the policy set by the legislature?

Much like a CEO running a company, it's the legislature that really sets the vision and the direction of the state. The Governor's Administration is more like the CFO, COO and CMO. To me, that's what today's meeting was really all about.  

The Governor is sticking with his restrictions on a variety of small businesses-many are struggling to stay afloat and properly function under the orders. State government is still shut down for the most part and working remotely under less-than-ideal conditions. Even the legislature is preparing for a second special session where they will once again be using the remote processes they first tried out earlier this summer.

There are significant issues brewing for the 2021 Session, it will be interesting to see how CT-N will be able to carry all of the remote happenings with its limited channels. There's more than 20 committees to cover and there will be thousands of Connecticut residents trying to take part in the process, stay informed and see what decisions are being made. For many, trying to deliver testimony and hear important debates through Zoom just doesn't cut it.

After all, it was just a few centuries ago that folks here became very upset with our buddies across the pond over government action without proper representation

CT Agency Corner  
Where the State Stands on Their Labor Agreement 

by Mike Johnson

Labor Day comes at an auspicious time in our state history this year: The Governor and legislature will be forced to close an over $8B deficit forecasted over the next three years with very limited options for achieving labor concessions to help offset the savings.
The state last negotiated a deal with the state labor bargaining unit in 2017 in order to help solve a budget deficit without raising taxes. The positives for Governor Malloy at the time were obvious:
-$1.5B in concessions  
-Three mandatory furlough days 
-Frozen wages through 2019 
-Creating a new tier for future hires that switch to a defined contribution plan.
In return for these concessions, the state extended the worker benefits contract to 2027 and allows unions that grant wage concessions also would be largely exempt from layoffs through the 2021-22 fiscal year which ironically is the end of the first fiscal year in the next state budget.
What could happen during this discussion is that the labor unions may be forced to see layoffs in the 2nd fiscal year of the budget if there's an impasse over negotiations in their long-term contract. That will be hard to manage considering the protections that exist, however there are not a lot of other palatable options available. 

This Day in History - Geronimo Becomes Last Native American to Surrender to U.S. Army

On September 4, 1886, Apache leader Geronimo surrenders to U.S. government troops making his 30-year battle as the last Native American warrior finally come to a close. He  formally gave in to U.S. forces and signaled the end of the Indian Wars in the Southwest.

What many may not realize (including me before researching this) is that Geronimo and a band of Apaches were sent to Florida and then Alabama, eventually ending up at the Comanche and Kiowa reservation near Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory. There, Geronimo became a successful farmer and converted to Christianity. He even participated in President Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade in 1905!

I just purchased on Amazon today his autobiography, published in 1906 as Geronimo's Story of His Life and look forward to reading it!

In This Issue:

by Ryan Bingham

The war of words continues between late night host John Oliver and Mayor Mark Boughton and the City of Danbury.  The last we left this saga, Mayor Boughton offered to name the city of Danbury sewage treatment facility after John Oliver, because he was 'full of'... you know what.  This week, John Oliver emphatically accepted that offer and even suggested that he'd pay for the signage and donate to local charities.  Check out the hilarious clip from John Oliver here 

The ball is in Danbury's court to determine whether or not they'll accept the offer, if not, then let the bidding war commence on the John Oliver Memorial Waste Water plant in a town near you! 
Last week there were two energy related conversations happening in our state.  One at the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) and one with the legislature's Energy and Technology Committee (E&T).   Both were in reaction to the response related to the storms that knocked power out at hundreds of thousands of homes and the other the sudden increase in energy utility bills that worried many struggling home owners.  On the municipal side, representation from some of the state's municipally owned distribution companies said that they didn't have the same problem.  Identifying a quicker reaction to those power outages within their jurisdictions and lower bills for ratepayers.  According to Chris Riley of Norwich Public Utilities, 

"Some customers were only out for an hour or two," as opposed to many other non-municipal customers who were out 5-7 days. They credit the mutual aid between municipally owned utilities and their ability to react through knowledge of the smaller, more local systems."

Election HQ
by Michael Johnson 

The State campaign finance  program deadline is rapidly approaching towards its October deadline and the total amount of qualified candidates is lower than normal.

Part of what's contributing to this is the difficulty of fundraising during the pandemic and also the difficulty of performing "retail campaigning".

We have heard and seen a number of legislators execute successful door knocking drives and community work that's helped highlight someone's political record. Many candidates are now door knocking more frequently since there's a fear that by the middle of fall the state could see a second wave of large scale infections.

As of now candidates will  only be eligible to receive a portion of their grants. You can find these percentages - here