The following report is from Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut (LDAC) lobbyist, Carrie Rand-Anastasiades of Nome Associates, and NRLA Manager of Government Affairs, Ashley Ranslow.
The Conn. General Assembly finished their regular business June 7, but failed to find a way to close the $5-billion-dollar budget deficit the State will face for the next biennium. Lawmakers will now have to spend the summer in special session until they can come to agreement on a proposal to do so. Much infighting has occurred. Both the Governor and House of Representatives proposed alternative or mini budgets. The Governor’s was predicated on cuts while the House of Representatives’ proposal included tax increases. Governor Malloy has stated that he does not want a budget that leads with revenue. As none of the parties could agree before the June 30 deadline, a new fiscal year, the Governor is forced to operate under Executive Order to keep the State running. Executive order also allows the Governor to make cuts under certain parameters.
House Democrats state that they will pass their budget on July 18, the day after the votes on the labor concession deal are finalized. With the close numbers in the House and Senate, doubt remains if a budget can be passed by that date, leaving the State in limbo.
The LDAC had a very successful session in terms of labor legislation. The large Republican gains in the House and Senate helped to thwart all adverse measures such as increases in the minimum wage, paid sick leave, paid family medical leave and predictive scheduling. It is noteworthy, that this is the first time in fifteen years that a minimum wage increase is NOT on the books. We know that most of these proposals will return next year, as lawmakers head to an election cycle. We will keep working with the Republican and moderate Democrat base throughout the summer and fall to solidify support against these measure in the next legislative session.
The one outstanding issue LDAC is still working on is SB 821, an act concerning Roofing, Window and Siding Consumer Warranties and Post Sale Warranty Work Reimbursement for Power Equipment. This bill requires manufacturers of windows, roofing and siding to pay any claim within 30 days for both materials and labor. LDAC members mounted a huge grassroots campaign within a short time frame, sending emails and making calls to leadership and members of the House of Representatives against this bill. Unfortunately, SB 821 passed narrowly (by only 10 votes) on the last night of session, during the final hour.
Because this bill is so onerous, the LDAC and Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) have asked Governor Malloy to veto the measure. Members once again have written numerous letter to Governor Malloy making this request. They have also contacted members of the legislature to intervene and request a veto as well. Many of the legislators have done this on their behalf. Joe Cecarelli, Ashley Ranslow, and Carrie Rand-Anastasiades have met with the Governor’s staff to explain why he should veto the bill as well. The Governor has until July 7 to make a decision if the bill will become law. LDAC and members have truly left no stone unturned in this process. Although the Governor only vetoes 6-8 bills per year, we feel we have made as strong a case as possible and are hopeful that this will be one of them