Marlborough State Rep. Proposes “Biz in a Box”

State Rep. Robin Green, R-Marlborough, wants to create a one-stop shop for first-time entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own business. Her bill, which she calls “Biz in a Box,” would connect potential small business owners with a mentor who can guide them through all the financial necessities and bureaucratic requirements that come with opening anything from a massage studio to a daycare center.  Green said that the idea came from her own experience starting a business. Twenty years ago, she said, she founded Discovery Zone Learning Center, a daycare center with three locations in Hartford County.    “When you

More

Lawmaker Proposes Savings Accounts for First-time Homebuyers

HARTFORD — State Rep. Tom Delnicki, R-South Windsor, has proposed a bill to establish a first-time homebuyers savings account program geared toward graduates of Connecticut universities and possibly trade schools, with the goal of attracting and keeping young working people in the state.   “We all know if you become a homebuyer or a condo buyer, you’re more apt to stay in that state, and we keep losing a lot of good folks that are highly educated, that move out of Connecticut. My thought process is let’s do something to try to keep them here. Basically, this will give them a

More

Legislators Pledge No Cut in Municipal Aid at Annual COST Forum

In a Wednesday forum hosted at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Organization of Small Towns, state legislative leaders took questions from town officials on their legislative priorities.  The forum was moderated by WTNH anchor Dennis House, and included both Republican and Democratic leaders. Speaker of the House Matt Ritter and House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney and Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, all fielded questions ranging from municipal aid to Eversource. Though lawmakers largely avoided making commitments to specific policies, together they expressed a commitment to provide municipalities with the full level of state

More

Looney Would Shift Sports Betting, Marijuana, Capital Gains Taxes to Distressed Communities

State reimbursements for tax-exempt properties have steadily declined over the past five years, leaving already distressed municipalities even more strapped for cash.   The PILOT, or Payment in Lieu of Taxes, program, pays municipalities a percentage of what they would receive for a property if that property were not either state-owned or being used for a tax-exempt purpose, such as a hospital or a community college. The current PILOT program is authorized to reimburse 100 percent of lost property taxes for any towns where more than 50 percent of the town is state-owned property, and at 45 percent for all other

More

Cathy Osten Talks Mental Health, Workers Comp and Her Priorities this Session

State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, returns remotely to Hartford for her fourth term representing a district that stretches from Marlborough to Ledyard. In a conversation with the Connecticut Examiner, Osten shares her legislative priorities for the upcoming session. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What are your top legislative priorities for the upcoming session?  I’ve always been interested in mental health awareness and improvements in the system. I’ve been meeting with people about this throughout the pandemic and even before. The initiatives I’ll be focusing on during this session have been on the forefront of my agenda

More

Lamont Joins Massachusetts, Rhode Island and D.C. in Carbon Cap and Investment Plan

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont and the leaders of two other northeastern states and the District of Columbia signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to pursue substantial reductions in motor vehicle pollution and invest $300 million per year in modernizing transportation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.  Governors Lamont, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, and Mayor Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia represent the first states of a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia to join the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program.  The program, according to a

More

Change Could Help Regions Compete for Federal Dollars

HARTFORD — A new proposal by the State of Connecticut and the U.S. Census Bureau would adopt Connecticut’s nine planning regions as “county-equivalent” geographical units used for tabulating census data. If approved, the change will increase eligibility for federal grants in the nine regions, which are represented by the Regional Council of Governments (COGs) made up of member municipalities. Many federal grants are designed for and around counties, making cities and towns in Connecticut ineligible. If the state’s planning regions are made equivalent to counties, then municipalities can join together through their COGs and submit for federal grants, said Sam

More

It’s All in the Details: Connecticut Moves Toward Legalizing Marijuana

Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey all voted to legalize recreational marijuana on November 3, joining eleven other states and the District of Columbia. Just 15 states still outlaw marijuana in any form, and Connecticut is not one of them, having decriminalized possession in 2011 and legalized cannabis for medical purposes in 2012.  New Jersey joins three other states in the region, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, which already legalized cannabis products. New York and Rhode Island are also mulling over the issue, and Connecticut’s state leadership has made it clear that marijuana legalization is a priority for the upcoming

More

Audit Cites Long-standing Vacancy for Backlog in Discrimination Hearings

HARTFORD — A years-long vacancy in a key position at the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities appears to be delaying hearings on some of the most difficult to resolve cases alleging discrimination, a state audit released this week highlighted. State statute requires the commission to have three “human rights referees” who conduct hearings on contested cases alleging discrimination in the workplace, housing or public accommodations. Since June 2014, the commission has had only two referees, with one position sitting vacant.  The state audit released on Tuesday found that, as of April 21, there were 269 cases awaiting a hearing

More

Lamont Announces Broader Reopening Scheduled for October 8

Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Thursday new guidelines for the third phase of reopening from a state-mandated shutdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. The new rules are scheduled to go into effect on October 8. Under the guidelines, restaurants, hair salons, personal services, barber shops and libraries will be able to increase capacity from 50 to 75 percent indoors.  Outdoor events venues, such as race tracks and soccer stadiums, will be allowed to increase from 25 to 50 percent capacity, and indoor performing arts venues will be able to open at 50 percent capacity, with masks and social distancing. 

More

Formica, Osten and Somers Talk Recovery, Absentee Voting, EEE and Tourism Dollars

“Let me just say we live in a great state — and the greatest part of this great state — and I have full confidence that our economy is going to recover here, but we’ll need to take thoughtful and prudent steps in order to do that,” said State Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, during a “State Senators’ Update” virtual meeting on Wednesday. “The reason I say that, is I believe the underlying economy to be stronger than the great recession of 2008 and 2009. I think once we get by this health and safety portion of the reopening …

More

Lamont Designates $2.5 Million to Rent Assistance for Undocumented Immigrants

/

Nearly three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Ned Lamont designated $2.5 million to help families and individuals ineligible for federal CARES funding to help pay rent. The funding was approved by the legislature in 2019 in a line item for homelessness and rental assistance. “Housing is the single largest expense for most families in Connecticut,” said Seila Mosquera-Bruno, the Connecticut Housing Commissioner. “By providing rental support for families who are most in need and least able to access other forms of assistance, we can help them to stretch tight family budgets to afford other expenses including food, transportation to

More