A busy week at the State Capitol as adjournment closes in
Privacy bill and Captive audience bills pass in the State Senate
News and notes from the State Capitol
News and notes from around the state
CRMA participates in roundtable discussion on economic development issues
CRMA Golf Outing update
Program note

  • The Connecticut General Assembly is finishing up a busy week as legislators move closer to adjournment day on May 4th.
  • The House of Representatives was in formal session on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week and capped of the week by approving contract agreements between the state and various state employee unions with a mostly party line 96-52 vote.
  • The State Senate is expected to adopt the measure today.
  • Keith Phaneuf of the CT Mirror does his usual great job of outlining what was in the 4-year agreement that includes raises and bonuses for the roughly 46,000 union state employee union members impacted by the contracts.
  • You can go here to see that story.
  • In a bit of a surprise, the House announced they will not come back into session until Tuesday of next week, leaving just 11 potential session days to complete their work.
  • We will continue to update you on the activities of the General Assembly as they work toward adjournment.

 

Senate passes Privacy bill

  • One of the major issues that CRMA has been involved with during the past several years was one that dealt with consumer privacy.
  • This year, the bill in question was SB 6 AN ACT CONCERNING PERSONAL DATA PRIVACY AND ONLINE MONITORING. CRMA again was actively involved in the issue and worked closely with other business groups and the sponsor of the legislation, Sen. James Maroney (D-Milford).
  • We are pleased today to report that the bill passed the State Senate yesterday, with most of the protections that we had requested, including protections for loyalty card programs, increased threshold amounts for compliance, as well as protections for retailers who do not mishandle consumer data.
  • The bill is not perfect we know, and we still would have preferred a federal solution on this issue but given that we know that is not likely anytime soon, this bill in our view is good product.
  • CTNewsJunkie reports on the Senate debate here.
  • The House is expected to take up the measure and pass it before adjournment May 4th.

Senate passes Captive Audience bill

  • As pleased as we might have been about the outcome of the privacy debate, we are disappointed that the State Senate passed SB 163 AN ACT PROTECTING EMPLOYEE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CONSCIENCE.
  • The measure now goes to the House where the Speaker said this week that he expected it would pass there as well. The Hartford Courant reports on the Senate vote here.
  • We will continue to work with our other business coalition members in voicing our opposition to the bill in the event we can stop it.
  • We will need your help in that effort so if you can reach out to your state rep or state senator please do so and if you aren’t sure who that is, please email us at tim@crmaonline.com

 

News and notes from the State Capitol

  • On Wednesday of this week, the State Senate passed SB 179. This bill would increase from $3 to $5 the amount a consumer can request a retailer return in cash the amount left on a gift card. The bill now awaits final action by the House.
  • The Senate voted 24-11 to ban the use of Styrofoam containers and trays in schools and restaurants by July 1, 2024. The bill goes next to the House for consideration.  CTNewsJunkie has the update here.
  • Among the major issues remaining for the General Assembly when they return are adjustments to the 2-year budget that they adopted last year. And things got a little more complicated this week when the latest revenue numbers were released and show that that State’s budget surplus numbers increased yet again.
  • Both House and Senate Republican caucus immediately called for more targeted tax relief, including cutting the sales tax, while Democratic leadership called for caution as only a portion of the surplus can be used due to federal restrictions on the use of those dollars.
  • CT Mirror outlines some of the back-and-forth among the caucuses and the Governor’s Office here.
  • Industry associations and small business groups – including CRMA – are calling on state officials to steer federal pandemic relief funding to cover Connecticut’s unemployment debt as an alternative to raising taxes on employers. Hartford Business Journal has the details here.
  • With this year’s political conventions just weeks away, candidacies are coming (and going) across the state, including increasing political advertising on television. CT Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas looks at spending in the race for Governor here.
  • In the crowded field for the race to be Connecticut’s top election official, state Sen. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown, leads in fundraising, new reports show, but several candidates are within sight of the threshold to qualify for public financing. CT Post has an update, here.
  • More news on the Sec of State race on the D side. Darryl Brackeen Jr. of New Haven decided this week to drop his bid for the Democratic nomination for secretary of the state.
  • So that leaves five Democrats still seeking support at the upcoming May party convention: Stephanie Thomas, Martiza Bond, Hilda Santiago, Matt Lesser and Josh Elliott. On the Republican side, Dominic Rapini and Terrie Wood, and Brock Weber are seeking the office. New Haven Independent has more here.
  • Meanwhile the race to be the Democratic nominee for State Treasurer is getting crowed.
  • Dita Bhargava of Greenwich has announced she’s launching a campaign for CT State Treasurer. The Greenwich Sentinel has the story here.  New Haven Democrat Erick Russell is also running for the Democratic nomination for treasurer.  The Hartford Courant has the update here.
  • And, Karen DuBois-Walton of New Haven has also officially thrown her hat into the ring for state treasurer. She made that announcement this week one day after a fellow Democrat, Erick Russell, also formally jumped into that same statewide race. The New Haven Independent reports the announcement here.
  • Juliemar Ortiz, former press secretary to Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, has announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 23rd Senate District in Bridgeport. She is one of three candidates, including incumbent Senator Dennis Bradley.  Only in Bridgeport has the story here.

 

News and notes from around the state

  • Connecticut’s COVID-19 positivity rate this week reached its highest level since February, official numbers show, as the state continues to experience an uptick in coronavirus transmission. The Hartford Courant has the latest numbers here.
  • Mohegan Sun has announced plans to invest $15 million in improvements to the resort casino. Hartford Business Journal reports on the plans here.
  • A three-way partnership involving Hartford HealthCare and the Yale New Haven Health System has secured approval to bring a highly advanced form of radiation therapy for cancer to a planned facility in Connecticut. Hartford Business Journal reports on the collaborative plan here.
  • Average gas prices per gallon in the U.S. are up slightly from last weekend but down about three cents from a week ago, while Connecticut’s price dropped about two cents during the week ending April 18. CTNewsJunkie reports on the prices here.
  • The Stamford Partnership has announced the launch of StartLab, an initiative designed to encourage local startups and early-stage businesses. The plans are highlighted by the Fairfield County Business Journal here.

Economic Development conversation

  • CRMA was pleased to participate in a great conversation hosted by CEDAS, the Connecticut Economic Development Association, about what is happening in Connecticut’s retail community, and the key steps that economic development officials can take to assist local retailers.
  • We want to thank CRMA Board member Mike Goman of Goman/York for leading this conversation and CRMA Board Member Don Jones of Verite Capital Partners for adding his expertise.
  • You can view this panel discussion by going here.

 

CRMA Golf Outing

  • If you haven’t done so already, please visit the CRMA website to review our invitation and fill out a registration form for this year’s CRMA Golf Outing, coming up on Tuesday, June 28.
  • We hope you will join us or support this event in other ways. The Golf Outing is one of the biggest annual fundraisers for CRMA to support our work on behalf of Connecticut retailers year-round. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.
  • We’ll be back at the Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford again this year for a day of camaraderie, delicious food and great fun!
  • Hope you can join us on June 28!

 

Program Note

  • Upcoming: “Elevate your Business with Amazon” a local event happening on April 28, 2022 from 9:00AM – 3:30PM at the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT.
  • Amazon’s Global Procurement teams have partnered with Connecticut-based Diverse and Small Business Advocacy Partners to educate small and diverse businesses on how to be Amazon contract-ready. The goal is to drive economic impact in the region.
  • Learn more from at this link for the event. Space is limited; reservations due by April 25.