September 3, 2021
In This Issue:
From Paddi's Desk
CT Agency Corner
Municipal Roundup
From Inside The Golden Dome
This Day in CT History
Anyone Remember that Famous Beatles' Song – Come Together, Right Now, Over Me?
Looking back we remember that at the end of this past session, after dealing with intense complicated and emotional issues, the last couple days of session were beginning to feel like D.C. had invaded the usual peaceful and respectful CT legislature. There were rumblings that a majority of the freshman class, and even a number of veteran legislators, were frustrated with the limited number of legislators allowed in the chamber during session, as well as the lack of bonding and personal one-on-one opportunities to get to know each other better. 

At the closing ceremony of the House, Speaker Matt Ritter (D) and Minority Leader Vinnie Candelora (R) made a commitment to finding ways to hang out in a fun, bipartisan way to ensure that collegial relationships are able to form across the aisle. These efforts were conducted in hopes of returning to the Capitol in January with a shared understanding of each other - their quirks, their passions and their hopes and dreams.

It worked! It seems that Minority Leader Candelora and Speaker Ritter asked their caucuses to “come together, right now, over them” and join forces to cheer on Hartford’s beloved professional baseball team, the Hartford Yard Goats – complete with special visits from the team’s mascots Chompers and Choo Choo! About 1/3 of the house members returned to Hartford late in July to catch up, hang out and even meet some new colleagues for the first time.

At the same time, a week later, two freshmen from each party organized a casual picnic in Meriden for families. Organizers Rep. Stephanie Thomas (D) and Rep. Tammy Nuccio (R) succeeded in providing the perfect outing where folks made efforts to find folks they had not met previously in the Legislative Office Building (LOB) and talked about their first session as an elected state representative. It seems as if several additional events are in the works with different themes spread out across the state.

After 18 months of isolation and social distancing, it’s terrific to hear about these events and know that next session has a chance to return to the fierce but respectful debate on tough issues. Members might return to the old traditions of fighting like cats and dogs under the dome, but they will catch up after the gavel goes down to see what’s cooking in other parts of the capitol with folks from the caucus across the aisle. So far there has not been a mention of a similar formal senate gathering, but historically the Circle has been a bit more closed. The Senate does take the time each session to put down the political posturing and remember why they ran for office – to make CT safer, economically stronger and a great place to live, work and play!

Along those lines, the team at Sullivan & LeShane has also been busy gathering folks together in casual, fun and “ethically friendly” outings for our annual fishing derby, the resurrection of a long-ago women’s forum for business women and legislators, a Hartford Athletic soccer game night in the beautiful Dillon Stadium, as well as smaller, fun bipartisan get togethers designed to create comradery and a sharing of thoughts and ideas. I mentioned earlier this year that lobbyists are naturally “people persons” and the past two sessions took a lot of that enjoyment out of our jobs. We are determined to get it back and to celebrate the differences we all have. We are committed to finding the similarities we all can share in order to help get CT back on track after an exhausting 2 years.  
It appears as if there definitely is hope – for sure!
Gun Enthusiasts Sue Cities in Role-Reversing Lawsuit

The Connecticut Citizen's Defense League (CCDL) is suing city police chiefs from four major cities for what the group is calling "blatant disregard for member's rights to bear arms."
According to the CCDL, the communities being targeted in the lawsuit are Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury. 

The CCDL claims they were forced to bring suit after learning that these cities are unjustifiably delaying law-abiding city residents’ applications for municipal firearm permits, the first step in applying for a state-issued pistol permit.

This is a big reversal from past positions where manufacturers of firearms have had to defend themselves from lawsuits brought forward by families who have had loved ones fall victim to gun violence.

“In addition to violating these citizens' constitutional right to access the permitting process, these cities are notorious for violating their residents' constitutional rights by excessively delaying the application process. The CCDL is standing up for the residents of these cities, many of whom are minorities fighting for their right to keep and bear arms for personal protection. It is unfathomable that those charged with enforcing our laws would so blatantly violate them by delaying the process to exercise a constitutional right,” said Holly Sullivan, CCDL President.
In New Haven, after hours of debate about the length of the term and about who stands to profit, a committee of City of New Haven alders unanimously advanced a proposed 43-year agreement between the city and Tweed’s airport authority. That was the outcome of Monday night’s four and-a half hour meeting of the Board of Alders Finance Committee. The sole topic for discussion, debate, and a subsequent advisory vote Monday night was a two part order related to Tweed New Haven Airport. The first legislative item would have the city sign a 43-year amended and restated lease and operating agreement with the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority. The second would repeal a city law that prohibits airplanes that weigh more than 160,000 pounds from using Tweed. There was much spirited discussion about the length of time of the agreement, which seemed to many to be a significant period of time. The rationale being that it would take a huge investment, and that 43 years is the best way to pay back that investment. There are several triggers within the agreement that allow the City of New Haven to revoke the agreement. 

The problem of garbage-filled recycling bins continues to foul up efforts to boost recycling levels in Connecticut’s capital city. Public records show Hartford is recycling more material since reports of a major drop off in recycling loads earlier this year, but the city still burned about 75 percent of its curbside recyclables from May to the end of July 2021. The issue is the high levels of contamination within the recycling, which includes items that don’t belong and should be in household waste bins. Public Works director, Michael Looney, said that they have been starting to crack down more on contaminated bins, sometimes leaving them curbside without pick up to send a message that residents need to clean up their act. 
Bet on Connecticut!

This past session, legislative leaders declared an ambitious goal: that newly-legalized sports betting/online gambling platforms would be up and running for September 9th - the date of this season's first NFL game. Emergency regulations were drafted and submitted swiftly after the legislation's passage. The legislature's regulations review committee approved these emergency regulations for the new gambling market on Tuesday. The committee's republican members were miffed due to the regulations' silence on permission to use a joint bank account to fund an individual's gambling account. Senator Kissel argued that since there was no prohibition on using a joint bank account, one spouse may drain their family's resources by gambling, without the other spouse knowing. Rep. Rutigliano expressed his concern with the process, "We should have taken our time. It is outrageous that we are trying to beat the NFL kickoff deadline." These emergency regulations will be valid for 180 days. A vote on final regulations will most likely come early next year.

Despite the administration's dogged determination for a timely set-up of sports betting platforms, it does not seem likely that everything will be ready to go by the 9th. Connecticut must wait for the U.S. Department of the Interior to approve the changes made to agreements between the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. Licenses for operators and key employees must also be approved before any bets can be placed in Connecticut. Mashantucket Pequot chairman Rodney Butler believes that the Department of the Interior will take action within the next two weeks.

Once everything is approved, and the betting platforms are legally allowed to operate, the state looks to receive some substantial revenue. Nearby Pennsylvania and New Jersey are on pace to clear $1 billion in online casino revenue in 2021. Michigan, the latest state to launch mobile casino apps, is on track to surpass $870 million in operator revenue in just the first six months of operation. While a much smaller state like Connecticut will not see anywhere near these revenues, they can still hope to gain $88 million in operator revenue, and $17.6 million in state taxes annually at full maturity.
September 3rd, 1824: Marquis de Lafayette returns to Connecticut on a "Last Man" tour of America

Today in 1824, the venerable Revolutionary War hero Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier — the Marquis de Lafayette — was hailed by adoring crowds as he journeyed through Connecticut during his 1824-1825 “Last Man” grand tour of America.

Having joined the Revolutionary War effort almost fifty years earlier as a teenager, Lafayette was now in his late sixties and the war’s only surviving Major General. Lafayette’s American visit began at the request of President James Monroe, a fellow Revolutionary War veteran. He was eager to both commemorate the United States’ fiftieth anniversary and strengthen diplomatic goodwill between America and France. Lafayette arrived in New York City on August 15, then journeyed through several Connecticut coastal communities including Fairfield, New Haven, and Old Saybrook on his way to Boston. A few weeks later, Lafayette journeyed westward and re-entered the Constitution State on September 3, 1824 after a stop in Worcester, Massachusetts. He had originally intended to travel all the way to Hartford on the 3rd, but the overwhelmingly large crowds that had gathered to greet him in Worcester delayed him so much that he was forced to spend the night just over the Connecticut border at the famous Springs Hotel in Stafford Springs.

Lafayette, without question the greatest celebrity in America at the time, was greeted by adoring, patriotic crowds at every turn of his American tour. His stop in Tolland and overnight stay in Stafford Springs on September 3rd were no different . And the next day, when he arrived in Hartford, he was, in the words of Lafayette’s secretary, “welcomed by the whole population with the most lively demonstrations of veneration and love.” After being escorted by an elaborate military parade, lionized in a speech by Governor Oliver Wolcott, and greeted by hundreds of schoolchildren (including those from the American School for the Deaf), Lafayette boarded a steamboat and continued his tour southward, stopping at Middletown the next day before returning to New York City.

In the span of only 13 months, America’s favorite French ally and “Last Man” of the Revolution would visit all 24 American states on a grand tour of the nation whose independence he had played a vital role in helping secure. Today, numerous streets, public plazas, buildings, and schools throughout Connecticut are named in Lafayette’s honor. Several can trace their honorific origins to 1824, when the beloved Revolutionary War veteran traveled through the state.

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