July 2, 2021
In This Issue:
From Paddi's Desk
CT Agency Corner
Municipal Roundup
From Inside The Golden Dome
This Day in CT History
Welcome to summer! Hot, hot, hot weather... hot, hot, hot news! 

The Legislative Office Building (LOB) will officially reopen on Tuesday, July 6th – hip, hip, hooray! I can’t wait. I love my job because as a lobbyist its part problem solving, part crisis management and 100% interacting with people. The past two sessions were so far from that mix.

In 2020 after a mere five weeks, the doors of the Capitol were locked due to the COVID-19 pandemic and no one was to be seen for almost nine months. As the election season crept along, there were sporadic in person events but after the election, things pulled back again and the doors of the Capitol and LOB were still locked. We spent a number of weeks on zoom calls and lobbying through text, email and cell phone calls with a few here and there in person meetings in district with legislators.

I think our clients would agree we made the best of it, and they got what they needed but not necessarily what they desired. All in all, the 100% virtual session kind of worked out. Zoom/YouTube public hearings for the most part were efficient, educational, and convenient for out of state clients but lacked some real give and take that an in person hearing would create.

Chamber sessions were a mix of your worst nightmare, scary moments and the thrill of victory over the littlest of little successes. Committee leaders were as accessible as they could be given the demands of their time but even some agreed it was difficult to get a feel for the committee temperature on controversial issues. Caucus Screening Committees became our lifeline for session days as they teed up the “go list” for the day. And rogue amendments created a ton of anxiety in our office across the street from the State Capitol. Our team rallied key legislators to respond when other parties authored oddly drafted language or terrible policy decisions with harmful impacts to our clients’ businesses/operations. While session days were in reality shorter than in previous sessions, they seemed to drag on and proved to test our “metal” everyday! It helped when only one chamber was in session at a time but the last ten days saw dual competing chambers with long drawn out debates and tense parliamentary motions.

In the past month since the legislature adjourned, everyone has been chasing rumors that the buildings of the Capitol campus would not open as planned, but yesterday it became official. Open sesame!

The Governor announced in late June that state employees who weren’t already back in their offices were expected to return after the long 4th of July holiday weekend. This week we’ve seen signs of crowded parking on Capitol Avenue and traffic starting to get congested at the multiple intersections surrounding the Capitol campus indicating state employees and others who work in and around the Capitol are returning to their offices little by little.

I can’t wait for Tuesday! I already know my first activity on Tuesday - I’m taking a tour around the LOB, stopping into the many committee rooms to check in and say hello to old friends and meet new staffers who arrived during the lockdown. I’ll definitely be stopping in at the cafe for my morning Diet Coke and to see who’s in the coffee lines looking for some “howdy” handshakes, a welcoming laugh or maybe a few hugs - I can’t wait!

It’s back to normal - or maybe a new normal - for sure. In any case, I’ll be a happy lady.
CT DEEP Issues State Park Reminder ahead of Holiday Weekend

It's no secret that over the past year the state parks have seen an uptick in use from residents looking to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Going into the fourth of July holiday weekend, the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), together with the CT State Police and local officials sent out a reminder to visitors who's holiday plans include visiting a park to plan ahead and expect crowds.

State parks with swimming, beaches and boating are expected to reach capacity early on in the day, and officials are reminding visitors to arrive early and have a back up plan in case they can't get in to their first choice. Even with parks back at full capacity and COVID restrictions lifted, many are still expected to be full early in the day, as early as 9:00 am. Once parks are full, they remain closed to new visitors for the rest of the day, even if visitors leave. Officials are also asking visitors to pay attention to parking, and warn that violations can result in fines or towing.

DEEP has a list of the 110 state parks on their website, and offers up-to-date closure notifications on the CT State Parks Twitter accoun@CTStateParks, and on the What’s Open Outdoorspage.
It’s been a pretty crazy last year and a half for CT’s students and parents. Masks for students, distance learning, trying to figure out how to log in to zoom, online classroom boards and everything in between. There is no doubt that this summer many of those same students and parents are waiting with bated breath to determine what next year will look like. The health and safety protocols and updated guidance from state officials has yet to be released and although many teachers and some students have been vaccinated (about 86% of teachers are vaccinated) things may not change much.

Some local boards of education are contemplating keeping the protocols in place until such a time that there are more approved vaccinations for students aged 12 or younger others will go by the state guidance that may come out over the next several weeks. One thing is for sure, the State Department of Education told public school districts in April that they will NOT be required to provide remote learning this fall. 

The CDC continues to recommend several mitigation strategies, including masks, regular hand washing, and proper ventilation and clearing. The concern on behalf of state public health officials and the reason why any decisions regarding masks have not been made is that they have yet to determine to potential risks associated with the variants that still exist and are growing in the country. For now, students and parents will enjoy the summer and stay tuned for any updated guidance on how their particular school district will address these ongoing concerns. 
Bill Signed from Governor's Council on Women and Girls

In another ceremonial bill signing this week, Governor Lamont, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, and several women including advocates, staff, and legislators gathered as Gov. Lamont signed SB 883 An Act Concerning Recommendations of the Governor's Council on Women and Girls.

Proponents of this bill celebrated the culmination of months of work, where the Council on Women and Girls, chaired by the Lt. Governor and OPM Secretary Melissa McCaw, considered a number of policy proposals to advocate for this session. One section of the bill makes a change in campaign finance laws to allow candidates to use campaign funds for child care. This proposal came to be after a candidate running for office in 2018 was denied this use by the State Elections Enforcement Commission. She took the case to the CT Supreme Court, and won.

Among other things, the bill also makes changes to the appointment processes for Boards and Commissions, detailing specific goals to reach by 2026 to achieve more diversity.

Legislators also took this opportunity to highlight the need to continue working on bringing more women into the legislative and executive branches in order to be more representative of the State as a whole. Rep. Dorinda Borer (D-West Haven) noted that in the last decade, women have only gained seven seats in the legislature, less than one per year, and two thirds of the seats in the legislature are currently held by men.
July 2nd, 1812: Connecticut Refuses to fight for the United States

It would be a gross understatement to say that the War of 1812 was unpopular in Connecticut.

As a region, New England was fiercely opposed to the War of 1812, which the Yankees collectively viewed as a frivolous and economically disastrous war waged by President James Madison against the British Empire. But Connecticut took its opposition to a new level — one that almost provoked a constitutional crisis for the still-young United States of America.

In the spring of 1812, Connecticut’s Governor Roger Griswold — just re-elected to a second term because of his staunch opposition to “Mr. Madison’s War” — received a request from Major General Henry Dearborn to commandeer five companies of Connecticut militiamen for federal service. On July 2, Governor Griswold delivered his reply: a flat-out refusal to release Connecticut’s militia companies to fight in the war. Citing the U.S. Constitution, Griswold noted that militias were supposed to be summoned by the federal government “to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, or repel invasions,” and since the United States did not appear to be in any “imminent danger” of invasion, he would not cede control of the militia to General Dearborn.

Griswold continued to resist the federal order to turn Connecticut’s troops over to federal control for months, instigating court proceedings that ultimately ended up in the Supreme Court. That body ruled against the recalcitrant governor and ordered the Connecticut militia to join the war effort. Roger Griswold, however, never learned that he had lost the case. He died suddenly in October 1812, prior to the Supreme Court’s decision.

The full article, provided by CT Humanities, is available here.
Sullivan & LeShane, Inc.
www.ctlobby.com | (860) 560-0000