With a new legislative session slated to begin on Wednesday, the Office of Legislative Research (OLR) released a report highlighting major issues the General Assembly may seek to address. The 18-page report identifies dozens of issues regarding a variety of subjects from environmental concerns to judiciary matters and labor.

The topics OLR identifies in the report are based on interim studies, research requests, non-confidential discussions with legislators, other legislative participants, and executive branch agencies, as well as OLR’s own knowledge of the issues. The office also consulted with the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) and the Legislative Commissioners’ Office (LCO) to select issues.

A chronic problem the General Assembly might look to address is the ongoing workforce shortage. With Connecticut’s pandemic recovery lagging behind the national rate, the legislature could explore potential remedies. The report notes that potential solutions may include making it easier for workers to return to and remain in the workforce, expanding the state’s paid sick leave law to cover more workers, limiting the use of non-compete agreements, and restricting certain employers from changing employee work shifts without minimum advance notice.

Additionally, the legislature may also look at ways to better align the state’s workforce training programs with an employer’s needs.

Another issue up for consideration is the growing black bear population. According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), black bear populations are expanding in Connecticut, raising concerns about potential conflicts between humans and bears. 

The legislature may consider similar measures that have been proposed in recent years, such as authorizing regulations on hunting black bears in Litchfield County, expanding the circumstances under which DEEP may issue permits to landowners or lessees for trapping and killing nuisance wildlife and requiring DEEP to report on the best nonlethal methods for deterring bears from habituating areas densely populated by people.

As the new year begins it brings with it the long-awaited start of recreational adult-use cannabis sales in Connecticut. The brand-new industry could see changes to the laws governing its regulation and licensing requirements and procedures by the General Assembly. Additionally, the legislature may consider proposals to differentiate the medical marijuana industry, integrate the hemp industry and establish new license categories, according to the report.

The report, and the full slate of issues that might be addressed in the upcoming legislative session, can be viewed here.

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Tom Hopkins wrote for CII from April 2022 to February 2023. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist.

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