The latest from the folks across the street from the Capitol

From Paddi's Desk
by Paddi LeShane

As we enter May, it's kind of eerie at Sullivan & LeShane.

This week we should be cranking at full steam, finishing out the final days of the 2020 legislative session. Instead, we're getting cabin fever and looking forward to the next phase of this worldwide emergency. As folks learn more about the crisis and companies develop certain cadence of operating, it is kind of uneasy to think of yet more changes as CT looks to returning to a different normal.

As we've previously reported, the CT General Assembly is out of session. Well, technically. There will be a very small number of (under 5) individuals convening on May 6 th to officially adjourn the session. There are different rumors that we might see a special session at the end of May or by the middle of June. However, that all depends on the impacts of a slow and deliberate process to get back to on-site work to address the certain budget short falls and also to address some issues that can't wait for the 2021 session.

State elections are all starting to gear up, though it is interesting that there are still many sitting legislators who haven't yet declared their re-election campaigns. As we reported, three of the top four caucus leaders are retiring, and there's a scramble for who will run for those vacancies. In the House with Speaker Aresimowicz leaving, it's assumed that Majority Leader Matt Ritter will seek the Speaker's office. Then there's a contest, according to rumors, for the Majority Leader's office. In the Senate, so far Democratic Senate leadership is standing firm with no resignations announced as of Friday afternoon.

This week, Governor's team reported some details of how the state's reopening will look and there's more to come as the days go by. We've stayed busy and kept our folks updated through a variety of traditional communications as well as some different efforts. We've been reaching out through virtual meetings, socially distanced one on one visits, group chats and this week's Greetings from Hartford newsletter for legislators. The response has been terrific. While we're all focused on family, friends, neighbors, our work and our community, we're all missing the relationships of sharing information, engaging with folks on a personal level and the general "people part" of government. Then there's the joy of victory and agony of defeat that the last week of session always provides, which keeps the juices flowing and makes us want to tear our hair out. We'll adjust, but it's eerie.

Not much else to report, not much caught my eye this week. We're all looking to see state government come alive in the weeks ahead with announcements of doors being opened along with very close monitoring of hospitalizations and positive diagnoses. Only time will tell. All scenarios are being discussed, played out and thought about not only at the state level but at the local levels, for sure.

As I'm wrapping up this week's column, the horns on Capitol Avenue are back, but we're unsure why! The regular Monday 5PM "car rally" seeking the government to allow citizens to get back to work aren't due today, but the five cars out front with signs that can't be read are mad about something. I just googled " car rally in Hartford" and now I know. The workers at McDonald's are rallying for a union to form at the local McDonalds restaurants. With fewer than half a dozen cars in the parade, it will be interesting to see where this goes.

Stay safe, hope for some sun and catch you next week.

CT Agency Corner
How Sequencing the Reopening of the State Will Occur 
by Michael Johnson

Governor Lamont announced that next week, the state will begin unveiling a sequenced plan for returning non-essential businesses into operation. When that occurs, the big question on everyone's minds will be how are these decisions being made and what will the standards be in "the new normal?"
The state is in quite a different position than other areas of the country, and unfortunately it's not a good one. This region ranks as the top infected area in the nation for positive COVID-19 cases. CT itself is continually hovering around the top ten states, while the densely populated states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York constantly have travelers coming in and out of CT.
The Governor joined a regional pact with nearby states such as NY, NJ, PA, RI and MA to help establish the conditions for their reopening, but states like South Carolina and Georgia already started the process of reopening last Friday. Those states, who saw a huge backlash from local mayors and residents concerned over timing, saw businesses not wanting to be part of the reopening under the fear that an infection would occur and permanently shut its doors as a consequence.
Connecticut's approach will certainly be slower than those other states, but it will be important to consider how testing will affect changes and appointment businesses will need to address waiting room areas.
In addition, PPE masks and gloves have been discussed a lot as part of any requirement for reopening, including for not only those working at the business but also guests and visitors. Will there be increased sanitation requirements that partner those restrictions? Will there need to be regular audits of businesses complying with the guidelines by local health departments? How will the state implement testing into all of the areas where the public will have a large amount of exposure?
Everyone will be holding their breath to see how CT handles this very intense moment.

Did You Know?
This Month in CT History
April 30, 1998
The Day the New England Patriots Left Connecticut in the Cold
In 1998, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was seeking a new home for his franchise.

After failing to secure stadium deals in South Boston and Rhode Island, Kraft set his sights on CT. His quest for a new stadium coincided with Governor John Rowland's dream to revitalize the Hartford riverfront area south of the intersection of interstates 84 and 91. John Rowland worked to arrange a 'sweetheart deal' worth hundreds of millions of dollars with Kraft that, among other generous incentives, rearranged the development plans to revolve around a new state-of-the-art stadium for the Patriots on the banks of the Connecticut River.

The state legislature overwhelmingly approved the plan in late 1998, eager to regain a professional sports franchise following the departure of the Hartford Whalers in 1997. Then, on April 30, 1999, Kraft suddenly announced that he was pulling out of the deal to move the Patriots to Hartford. While Kraft cited concern over construction delays as his reason for breaking the deal, news soon broke that Kraft had accepted a counteroffer from Massachusetts to build a brand new stadium in Foxborough.

In This Issue:

by Ryan Bingham

This week, we're taking a look at a survey from, who has a research center that has been conducting surveys of teachers and school district leaders every two weeks since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The focus of this week's survey was tracking educator morale, student engagement, remote learning and other trends over time.
Some interesting factoids coming from the survey include teacher engagement. Right now, engagement with the majority of students on a daily basis is at about 30%, weekly at about 25%, and 15% of teachers said there has been no contact at all. 46% of students who do not meet the standards for school work will have no consequences whatsoever, and only 3% of school districts throughout the country have announced that schools will be closed to the end of this year. Morale was markedly lower, with students moral suggesting that morale was somewhat or much lower at about 60%, which matched up with teachers who responded similarly at about 60%. It's certainly tough times for all professions and students these days.
While students are not able to participate in their normal extracurricular activities, some parents are trying to get creative with graduation ceremonies as it's expected that large gatherings like graduations/proms will not be permitted in June. There has been an interesting movement throughout the state to try to do something different this year. Organizers say the plan is simple. In the last week of June, have every high school hold their graduation outside in an athletic field or stadium on the same day for everyone. Eric Persons, a parent, explained, "Each senior will only be allowed two guests, all attendees would be given hand sanitizer at the entry gates, all the entry gates will be provided with body temperature checkpoints."
And it doesn't stop there, social distancing will be enforced by having the guests pair up and separate from one another. The proposal reached the Governor's ear earlier this week on Monday. At his press briefing, Gov. Ned Lamont said, "I haven't heard about that, it seems like an interesting idea. You know we frown upon big mass gatherings, but you described something that may be an ingenious way to allow some young people to have a nice end to their senior year of high school, so let me think about that."

Executive Order Update
by Chelsea Neelon

As the nation has seen the spread of COVID-19 progress across all 50 states, Governor Lamont called has continued to use his power to create Executive Orders to ensure the overall public health and safety of CT's residents.

We want provide you a deeper dive into Governor Lamont's Executive Orders since last Friday, April 24th. Learn more below.

* Regarding additional flexibility for Medicaid-enrolled providers to perform telehealth through audio-only methods for new patients.

* Regarding the extension of payment time for sealed ticket revenue due to the state; Waiver of notarization requirement for embalmer's affidavit accompanying death certificates; Temporary suspension of controlled substance registration; Modification of state contracting statutes to facilitate the emergency procurement of essential services; Modification of state contracting authorities to facilitate the emergency procurement of essential services; Modification of state construction requirements to facilitate the emergency provision of construction and construction-related services; and Extension of existing contracts to prevent gaps in necessary services.