May 13, 2022
In This Issue:
From Paddi's Desk
CT Agency Corner
Municipal Roundup
Inside Scoop
This Day in CT History
A week without a session!

This week was a bit different than the past 18 weeks as we're still unraveling what exactly happened during the 2022 session! When the gavel came down at 11:56 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4th folks immediately refocused their attention to the two statewide majority party conventions scheduled for just two days later! Team Sullivan & LeShane were engaged at both of the day-and-a-half events, and you will see some interesting reports on what really happened last weekend in Connecticut politics.
 
You’ll see there were some surprises and some confirmations of what folks thought to be true. But I think the most interesting thing was to see who was coming out of hibernation after multiple years of isolation, social distancing and mask-wearing. Both conventions made it through the weekend without being cast as a “super spreader event!” Maybe, just maybe, we are starting to learn to live our lives, stay careful but not exactly comfortable, but less worried about the potential for a fatal outcome.
 
Unsurprisingly, the Capitol and LOB are still limited in access to the first and second floor. With the session adjourned, it’s been quite the ghost town for sure, as partisan and non-partisan staff also dig out after the session and maybe use some of their “comp time” to recover, regroup and then to get back in motion and review all the various task forces, agency studies and other commitments made during the session.
 
The Governor is making haste about putting his signature on some of the major pieces of legislation passed. As the last three days of the session experienced a huge log jam of action caused by the quickly spreading COVID cases among key staff, and even legislators. We anticipate that the dozens of bills that made it through the final three days will take a bit longer to hit the Governor’s desk as they move through the process. This process includes being codified by the Legislative Commissioner’s Office, checked by the Attorney General for any legal implications, reviewed by the Secretary of the State’s Office (and embossed), and then finally getting that final review from the Governor's legal team before he etches his name on the bottom of the public/special acts that hit his desk.
 
We will look for a late June or early July veto session—which needs to be held even if they just gavel in and then out for technical reasons. But we won’t know for sure if there’s going to be any trouble in river city until the last bill makes it through the aforementioned process. For the most part, the Governor’s office was pretty open about the items they would support and those that he would not, and many of those proposals ended up dying at the stroke of midnight last Wednesday. Though there are a couple of workplace and business issues that we’re hearing rumblings about—which are generating a lot of negative chatter within the Governor’s office. It's an election year… so ummmmm…it’s unclear how the Governor will react.
 
In the past, the Governor hasn’t been afraid to stand up for his pro-business principles despite heavy union lobbying. But, with an election in November, and a fairly, well-organized rematch with Republican Bob Stefanowski coming his way, his thinking could be altered.
 
We'll see.
List of Legislators not Seeking Re-Election

We would like to give a huge thanks to the following legislators that will not be seeking re-election this year for all they have done for Connecticut. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors!
  • Rep. Cathy Abercrombie (D)
  • Rep. Dave Arconti (D)
  • Rep. Harry Arora (R)
  • Rep. Whit Betts (R)
  • Sen. Dan Champagne (R)
  • Rep. Tony D'Amelio (R)
  • Rep. Joe De La Cruz (D)
  • Rep. Laura Devlin (R)
  • Rep. Mike France (R)
  • Sen. Paul Formica (R)
  • Sen. Will Haskell (D)
  • Rep. John Hampton (D)
  • Rep. Brandon McGee (D)
  • Sen. Craig Miner (R)
  • Rep. Chris Perone (D)
  • Rep. Bill Petit (R)
  • Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R)
  • Rep. Emmett Riley (D)
  • Rep. Sean Scanlon (D)
  • Reo. Charlie Stallworth (D)
  • Rep. Brian Smith (D)
  • Rep. Stephanie Thomas (D)
  • Rep. Dave Wilson (R)
  • Rep. Mike Winkler (D)
  • Sen. Kevin Witkos (R)
CT Becomes 5th State to Enact Consumer Privacy Protections: What are they?

Governor Lamont this week signed into law Senate Bill 6 which makes Connecticut the 5th state in the union to regulate how brick-and-mortar businesses in addition to internet companies use the data of consumers.

The legislation, which takes regulatory framework from California, Colorado, Utah, and Virginia, took about two years to be fully adopted after previous versions of the package were changed with multiple versions. There was even disagreeing action between the House and Senate.

The bill’s legislative champion Sen. Maroney (D-Milford) was quoted this week citing that the Connecticut privacy law includes stronger consumer protections than were included in last year’s draft bill, but they were balanced with input from the business sector to make sure they’re able to comply. Maroney said his team met regularly with companies, lawmakers from Colorado and other states, as well as with the Connecticut Attorney General’s office and privacy advocacy groups.

As passed, the legislation (1) Sets responsibilities and privacy protection standards for data controllers, (2) Gives consumers the right to access, correct, delete, and obtain a copy of personal data and to opt out of the processing of personal data for certain purposes, (3) Requires controllers to conduct data protection assessments, (4) Authorizes the attorney general to bring an action to enforce the bill’s requirements and (5) Deems violations to be Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) violations.  

Consumers in this legislation are now intended to be more in the “driver’s seat” of how their data is handled which also leads to the sharing of cookies from websites. This initiative first began in the California legislation which is why all websites (that are in compliance in California law) are required to seek your permission before sharing your cookies with other IP addresses. Virginia was the 2nd state to enact legislation related to privacy that was very much perceived by industry leaders as a good standard and balance in regulating the sharing of consumer information. Colorado and Utah took additional steps that prioritized how global “opt-out” provisions work for consumers and set timelines for their respected Attorney General divisions to make the final decisions on how to move forward.

The Connecticut legislation was mindful over the “opt-out” provision being more controversial, which in laymen’s terms means having the ability to tell an organization that they cannot sell your data. The law kept this in mind in establishing a January 1, 2025 timeline to implement this change since it is more consistent for companies to comply with the new laws if other states can follow the same uniform standard.

There will likely be more revisions to the law made before the 2025 timeline is implemented and the first set of provisions in the law become effective next year.

Convention Time, Republican Edition!

The Republican State Convention kicked off Friday with Bob Stefanowski handily securing the party's endorsement against his only opponent, former marketing executive Susan Patricelli Regan. This was the first time in several Republican conventions that there wasn’t a knock-down drag-out fight for the nomination. If you’ll recall four years ago, then Mayor Mark Boughton won the nomination narrowly against a crowded field, only to be beaten by Bob Stefanowski in the primary. While celebrations were in order, there was no time to relax for the other candidates seeking endorsements in their respective races. The two most competitive contests of the day were for U.S. Senate and Secretary of State.
 
Former House Minority Leader Themis Klarides won the GOP endorsement for the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Richard Blumenthal, but the road to victory was not smooth. Late Friday night, multiple texts were sent around by various campaign operatives accusing Klarides of being soft on the issue of abortion, and highlighting the gun control legislation that Klarides helped pass in the wake of Sandy Hook. Those two issues drove some of Klarides' support to the more conservative Leora Levy and Peter Lumaj, who is no stranger to these conventions as the conservative darling of the right. Levy, and Lumaj, broke the 15% threshold and will see their names on the primary ballot later this year where they will compete against Klarides. There was certainly a sigh of relief from convention goers that there wouldn’t be multiple ballots to decide the nominee, with Klaridies receiving about 56% of the ballots cast.
 
The most surprising and contested race was the last race of the convention, Secretary of State, which lacked a clear front runner headed into the convention. The three way battle included Representative Terrie Wood (R-Norwalk), current Mayor Erin Stewart Aide Brock Weber, and businessman Dominic Rapini. In the end, all three will end up on the primary ticket, however Rapini walked away with the party endorsement. Both Brock Weber and Terrie Wood received the required 15% of delegate votes to qualify for the primary. This took several ballots and several hours of contested back-and-forth between delegates. Ultimately, Rapini, the most conservative candidate, and the first person in the race, won the nomination. To date, neither Mr. Weber or Rep. Wood have signaled that they’ll head to the primary to contest Rapini.
 
Most of the other contests, however, were quite uneventful. Representative Harry Arora received the party endorsement for Treasurer, and defense attorney Jessica Kordas received endorsement for Attorney General. Both were unopposed at the convention. Mary Fay, a West Hartford town councilor, secured her endorsement for comptroller after Patrick Rowland, a late entrant in the race, took his name out of contention.
 
All in all it was an exciting couple of days. As the primaries approach and the races go into full swing, we will be sure to keep you in the loop!

Convention Time, Dems Edition!

After a few days of climbing out of stacks of printed bills and amendments, we found ourselves preparing for the Republican and Democratic State Party Conventions on May 6th and 7th. On Friday and Saturday, I was on the ground floor for the Democratic Convention in Hartford watching and listening to see the drama unfold. Being in person for the convening of Democratic delegates from across the state as they nominated their choice for U.S. Senate, Attorney General, Governor, Comptroller, Treasurer, and of course, Secretary of State was riveting. All was going well at the convention and as the weather turned, we finally got to the most spirited contest of the day, the Secretary of State’s race.

In the midst of a cold 24 hours, the S.O.S. candidates met delegates, huddled backstage with current elected leadership and significant others, and tried to chart a path to their own 15% of delegate support which would trigger their name being allowed on a primary ballot in August. Maritza Bond, Stephanie Thomas, Matt Lesser, Hilda Santiago and Josh Elliott were the options and each came with a different day-of focus. Senator Lesser was there the earliest working the room, Representative Thomas had the best campaign showing with a TON of volunteers (bonus staff chants and megaphone), Representative Elliot made sure to have stickers handed out to delegates early, Representative Santiago had the best swag (chip clips for all her rally signs, snacks, and purple shirts), and Maritza Bond had a HUGE group of volunteers at her side walking the floor. It took two ballots for Rep. Thomas to handily take the victory after increasing her lead (first ballot, Bond and Elliot dropped) to 43.8% (809 out of 1,873 votes), with Lesser at 28.59% and Santiago at 28.06%. She won and took the stage as the nominated candidate for S.O.S. Quietly, throughout the entire campaign, she met delegates, met individually with Democratic Town Chairs, and stayed out of the fray to take the victory. The candidate from Norwalk’s support was overwhelming in a big crowded field, taking many by surprise. But the Fairfield County delegates who know her best told me during the morning that her calm demeanor, work ethic, and outright good natured politics made her the best choice for the job. To them, her rise to the nomination and support among delegates was not a shock at all, it was as she is, authentic.

The nominations for Governor (Ned Lamont), Lieutenant Governor (Susan Bysiewicz) and Attorney General (William Tong) all went to unopposed incumbents, and the well-known Comptroller candidate (Sean Scanlon) was unanimous. Erick Russell took the Treasurer race handily over Karen DuBois Walton and Dita Bhargava on the first ballot. Most importantly, the Secretary of State’s race drew the most eyeballs. While many might have seen these as a gathering of a few thousand delegates, ready to celebrate a slate of candidates heading into November, these events were nothing short of fireworks. Since Representative Thomas’ nomination, it remains unclear just how the other candidates will respond and if they will primary in August. Representative Santiago has told many she is still weighing her options. Senator Lesser dropped out and will run for his Senate seat. Maritza Bond and Representative Elliot appear to be looking into what a potential primary may look like while also understanding that given the support Rep. Thomas received, it will be an uphill battle. As things progress, our team at S&L will be right there following along!
 
May 13: The Electric Car Debuts. In Hartford. In 1897.

Today in 1897, outside his factory in Hartford, successful bicycle manufacturer Albert Augustus Pope unveiled what he considered to be the future of the automobile industry: the battery-powered Columbia Motor Carriage. It was the first demonstration of a mass-produced electric car in American history.

Weighing in at 1800 pounds and reaching a top speed of 15 miles per hour, the Columbia Motor Carriage thrilled crowds of onlookers as it effortlessly powered up steeply-inclined city roads, unhindered by muddy road conditions. The next day, the Hartford Courant published a rave review of the vehicle under the headline “HORSELESS ERA COMES,” noting that even first-time drivers could “manage and turn [the vehicles] about with as much comfort and success as they would have in driving the gentlest horse.”
Pope, a Civil War veteran who made his fortune as head of the largest bicycle manufacturing company in the United States, had founded the Columbia Electric Vehicle Company in Hartford only a year earlier, in 1896. A true pioneer of the early American automotive industry, Pope firmly believed the future of transportation lay in self-propelled carriages powered by electricity, not gasoline. Electric cars were much quieter, cleaner, and safer than their gas-powered counterparts, and most cities could supply residents with the electricity they needed to recharge the Columbia Motor Carriage’s four massive batteries by the dawn of the 20th century. For the next several years, Pope’s factories produced the lion’s share of American automobiles, with his creations totaling nearly half of all U.S. car production in 1899.

Pope’s automotive success, however, was relatively short-lived. Electricity was a pricey commodity, and most rural areas didn’t have access to an electrical grid, limiting the appeal of electric cars to those who lived near a city center and could afford an expensive utilities bill. Furthermore, technological advances in the earliest years of the 20th century rendered internal combustion engines much safer and cheaper than ever before, resulting in cheaper gasoline-powered cars overtaking the automobile market. Even after several attempts to adjust to market demand — including dramatically increasing production of gas-powered vehicles — Pope couldn’t compete with automobile factories like Ford, which had solely invested in gas-powered cars from the beginning, and the Columbia Electric Vehicle Company (since renamed the Columbia Motor Car Company) folded in 1912.

The original article from the CT Humanities Council can be found here.
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