Legislature Adjourns 2022 Legislative Session, Bids Adieu to Numerous Members

In the waning days of the 2022 legislative session, which adjourned at midnight Wednesday, lawmakers passed a $24.2 billion adjusted budget-tax package for FY 23, approved raises for themselves, state employees, and Constitutional officers, and bid farewell to numerous legislators who have announced they won’t be returning (the current total estimate is north of 30). 

Welcome to election year in the statehouse!

Perhaps the adjective that best describes the 2022 session, which began on February 9th, is compressed.  Committee deadlines and public hearing schedules were abbreviated; and many bills awaiting action or languishing on the Senate and House calendars were lumped together into larger agency and omnibus bills or into the budget to help ensure passage.   Apart from gun violence proposals, which fell by the wayside, many of the issues that were declared priorities at the session’s outset, including bipartisan measures to address children’s mental health needs, made it across the finish line.  Below is a brief compilation of some of the issues that made the cut as well as some that ended up on the cutting room floor.  Note:  This list is by no means all-inclusive.

Measures that Passed

  • Mental Health—Three bills—SB 1, SB 2, and HB 5001—represent the bipartisan package of mental and behavioral health bills, which passed overwhelmingly in both chambers.
  • Data Privacy—Several years in development, this bill broadly aims to protect consumer data privacy and give consumers more control over the processing and use of their personal data.
  • Lead Poisoning—Strengthens and aligns CT lead poisoning prevention standards with federal standards.
  • Health Care Spending Benchmarks—Codifies and sets annual health care cost growth benchmarks, health care quality benchmarks, and primary care spending targets. 
  • Opioid Fund—Authorizes the state to fund a trust for opioid epidemic survivors and victims and expands settlement fund uses to include opioid abatement research, among other things.
  • Absentee Ballots—Expands eligibility/criteria for use of absentee ballots.
  • California Emissions Standards—Authorizes the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner to adopt California’s emission standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and accelerates and promotes use of electric vehicles, buses and infrastructure.
  • Zero Carbon—Requires and codifies the state goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity to zero by January 1, 2040.
  • Name, Image, Likeness—Eliminates the ban on student athletes using, or consenting to the use of, a higher education institution’s institutional marks, logos, trademarks, etc., when performing an endorsement contract or employment activity.
  • Reproductive Rights—Expands the number of medical professionals allowed to perform abortion services and protects providers and those from out-of-state seeking abortions in CT from lawsuits.
  • Captive Audience—One of two priorities of organized labor this session, the bill expands state protections of free-speech rights of employees in the workplace, by protecting employees attend meetings.  Provisions of the bill raise questions of pre-emption under the National Labor Relations Act.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Propane Tanks—Requires the establishment of statewide stewardship programs for gas cylinders supplied to consumers for personal, family, or household use and discarded at certain locations.
  • Juvenile Justice—Expands existing law on juvenile serious sexual offender prosecutions to also cover certain homicide and firearm crimes; makes various changes to procedures when a juvenile is arrested following an alleged delinquent act, such as (1) generally requiring an arrested child to be brought before a judge within five business days after the arrest; (2) allowing the court to order electronic monitoring if a child was charged with a second or subsequent motor vehicle or property theft offense; and (3) in certain circumstances, increasing the maximum period, from six to eight hours, that a child may be held in a community correctional center or lockup without a judge’s detention order.

Measures that Failed

  • Predictive Scheduling—Sought to require employers with at least 500 employees within the U.S. or globally to pay certain types of employees (i.e., those employed in retail, food service, and hospitality establishments) half of their regular pay rate for any scheduled hours that the employer canceled or reduced.
  • EPR for Packaging—Would have required creation of a product stewardship program for recycling paper and packaging.
  • Non-compete Agreements—Would have set limits on the use of covenant not to compete provisions in employment contracts.

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