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The CONEG Connection   June 29, 2017

CONEG State Legislative Activities

As the legislatures in many CONEG states begin to wrap-up their sessions, there has been a flurry of activity as Governors sign dozens of bills into law. However, FY2018 budget discussions remain at a standstill in many of the states.

Connecticut – regular session adjourned June 7, but budget discussions continue. With slim party margins in both chambers, action on some measures proved challenging. However just in the past month, Governor Malloy has signed legislation to create a ‘lock-box’ that could prevent legislators from spending transportation funds on non-transportation matters as well as legislation authorizing manufacturers to test fully autonomous vehicles in Connecticut.

The Governor signed a bill to keep the FY2017 budget in balance however, he doesn’t expect the legislature to pass a FY2018 budget ($20B) before the end of fiscal year on Friday, and has offered an alternative spending plan. See Governor Malloy’s Prepared Remarks from Today’s News Conference Regarding the State Budget.

Maine – session extended to continue budget discussions. Governor LePage has also vetoed a handful of bills in recent weeks including measures to rewrite Maine’s mining regulations. Governor LePage has recently signed a bill to improve transparency in consumers’ electric bills and also has also vetoed a measure that would allow airports to regulate and charge fees to transportation networks.

At this time, discussions between the Governor and the legislature on a two-year budget ($6.8B) remain at a standstill. Facing a potential government shutdown, Governor LePage has prepared a Civil Preparedness Emergency Order.

Massachusetts – legislature meets throughout the year. Most recently, Governor Baker signed legislation authorizing $200 million in transportation funds for municipalities across the Commonwealth. Legislators voted to place a proposed "millionaire tax" constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot.

It is unlikely that Massachusetts will enact its two-year budget ($40.32B) before Saturday’s start of the new fiscal year, but Governor Baker has signed an interim budget that would prevent a government shutdown.

New Hampshire – session ends July 1. Legislative action is in high gear in the session’s remaining days. Last week Governor Sununu signed 38 bills including measures to change the types of projects funded by the state’s energy efficiency fund and to study long term goals and requirements for drinking water in the seacoast area.

The legislature also passed an $11.7 billion two-year budget that was signed by Governor Sununu on June 28.

New York – legislature meets throughout the year. Most recently, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to allow ridesharing services to operate outside of New York City beginning June 29, and a bill to direct the Public Service Commission to develop an Energy Storage Deployment Program.

Governor Cuomo signed New York's 2017/2018 budget bill ($153.1B) on April 10. (New York’s fiscal year begins on April 1.)

Rhode Island – scheduled to adjourn this week. The Rhode Island legislature is busy passing dozens of bills in the final days of the session. Recently Governor Raimondo signed legislation creating a statewide solar permitting process.

The Senate appears to be on track to pass the House-passed $9.2 billion FY2018 budget and send it to the Governor this week.

Vermont – Session ended last week. Governor Scott has recently signed bills supporting the state’s rural economic development, forest economy and farms, development in downtowns and village centers, and the state’s farm to school network. Earlier this summer Governor Scott vetoed marijuana legalization legislation over concerns with its impact on public safety, including impaired driving.

After Governor Scott vetoed the legislature’s proposed budget earlier this month, a compromise budget was passed last week and Governor Scott signed the bill yesterday ($5.8B).

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The Coalition of Northeastern Governors ( CONEG) is a non-partisan association of the Northeast states. CONEG encourages intergovernmental cooperation on issues affecting the economic, social and environmental well-being of the Northeast. CONEG coordinates regional efforts by the Governors and their Administrations that benefit the Northeast.  Subscribe here.