Legislative Session Review: Connecticut

By Jason Phillips | June 7, 2018

Connecticut - Adjournment Graphic

Connecticut adjourned its 2018 legislative session sine die on May 9, and Governor Dan Malloy (D) finished acting on the bills sent to his desk on May 24. Governor Malloy signed a bipartisan budget with no tax increases on May 15, but expressed concern that it includes too much spending and will lead to increases in the state deficit. Lawmakers relied on the state’s emergency reserves to generate funds for the budget instead of implementing the governor’s deficit reduction plan. State legislators acknowledged the need to balance spending in the future but defended the budget, arguing that it includes necessary funding for economic growth and core services. Among these measures, the budget provides additional funding to the state’s Medicare Savings Program, which benefits seniors and people with disabilities. It also restores funding for cities and towns after the 2017 budget imposed large municipal spending cuts that fell mainly on education.

Legislative Highlights

  • Governor Malloy signed a bill providing a pay raise to healthcare workers caring for people with intellectual disabilities, increasing their minimum wage to $14.75 per hour from its previous rate of $13.53 per hour. Broader bills to increase the state minimum fair wage to $15 ultimately failed to get a vote in either chamber.
  • A bill that would have cleared the way for the state to negotiate sports gaming rights with its tribal nations failed to gain traction during the session. However, following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision granting states control over sports gaming, a special session to address the issue may be in the cards.
  • State legislators considered bills that would have legalized recreational marijuana, but the bills were unable to get a vote during the frantic second year of the session.

Election Preview

Connecticut voters will go to the election booths on November 6 to elect a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, comptroller, all 36 state Senate seats, and all 151 state House seats.

Governor Malloy is not seeking a third term in office, and voters at the state Democratic convention overwhelmingly endorsed former U.S. Senate candidate and businessman Ned Lamont as their candidate to replace him. He will be challenged in the primary by Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and business executive Guy Smith.

On the Republican side, the party’s chosen candidate is Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who will contest the nomination with Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Westport tech consultant Steve Obsitnik.

Along with Governor Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepsen, and Treasurer Denise Nappier are not seeking reelection, contributing to a total of at least 10 primary contests in August.

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