CT Agency Corner – Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – Solid Waste Advisory Committee Holds Final Meeting of the Year

Last Tuesday the state’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) held its final meeting which featured the unveiling of draft results of the state’s municipal solid waste characterizations.

The waste characterization study was commissioned by the state in order to identify what’s in CT’s wastestream and to further look into how consumers are using the state’s single stream recycling program. Here are some the eye-drawing statistics from the study. These numbers are based on waste from residential, restaurants, offices, retail (large and small), grocery stores and hotels:

  1. The total amount of waste has dropped by 2.1% since 2009 despite the state’s overall population growing by 2.3% (3.52M to 3.6M).
  2. The most common material found in CT’s municipal solid wastestream was food waste at 23%. The second highest – Paper (11%).
  3. The total amount of food waste in CT’s wastestream since 2010 has increased by 68%.
  4. The material that’s recycled the most in CT is paper at 54.6%. The second highest percentage of materials found in single stream recycling are non-recyclable contaminants (18.2%).
  5. Despite living in a very digital era where people are constantly replacing electronics, computers and televisions are being thrown away less than in 2010.

For more information on the preliminary results of this study you can view the findings in its entirety here.

CT Agency Corner – Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – DEEP Lauds 6th Place National Ranking of Energy Efficiency

Last week the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released their rankings of energy efficient states and out of 50 states Connecticut ranked 6th which was partially attributed to CT’s energy code, reduction in electric usage and financial incentives for “green” initiatives.

ACEEE stated that the six policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency were utility and public benefits, transportation, building energy codes and compliance, combined heat and power (CHP), state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency, and appliance and equipment standards. Upon the announcement of the rankings, DEEP Commissioner Klee provided further details into the determination of the rankings that CT received a perfect score in building energy code compliance and produced enough success in their energy efficiency programs to be the equivalent of removing 466,259 cars from roads.

ACEEE also provided scorecards for certain large cities in the country in which CT had only Hartford that was considered for the ranking. The City of Hartford placed 45th in the country under the same standards as the states but it was cited that the city has been making a high level of investments in electric and natural gas efficiency programs.

CT Agency Corner – Department of Consumer Protection – Medical Marijuana Recipients Grows; RFP to Decide on New Dispensaries

Last week the Department of Consumer Protection released the latest data regarding registrations in Connecticut for patients that have enrolled to participate in the medical marijuana program.

According to the information released, the number of registered medical marijuana patients in Connecticut grew 26% over the past month and a half which included an additional 1,369 patients qualified, bringing the total number statewide to 6,726:

Fairfield- 1,601
Hartford- 1,403
Litchfield- 433
Middlesex- 369
New Haven- 1,764
New London- 654
Tolland- 264
Windham- 238

The Department of Consumer Protection currently has an active bid with the intent to select more dispensaries in the New Haven and Fairfield County area to open as brand new state regulated medical marijuana dispensaries. This is being done in an effort to serve those enrolled in the program with closer access to medical marijuana since the numbers published today reflect that about 50% of these patients live in Fairfield and New Haven County.

The applications for all potential dispensaries interested in receiving a license to open a dispensary was due last month and winners of the RFP are scheduled to be announced in the coming months.

CT Agency Corner: Council on Medical Assistance Program Oversight

The Council on Medical Assistance Program Oversight held its monthly meeting today and provided two critical announcements that received a large amount of attention during the meeting.

The first piece of information was that call wait times this past September have dropped dramatically, compared to wait times a year prior. They have dropped by 73 percent, going from an average call wait time of 90 minutes to 24 minutes. Related to this statistic was another metric released regarding “total calls abandoned,” which was also reduced during the same time period by 58 percent-there were 15,916 calls in September 2014 versus 6,611 calls in September 2015. Rep. Johnson (D-Windham) was very pleased with the improvement of these benchmarks considering the large amount of residents who could lose access to these benefits such as SNAP and Healthcare coverage if the applications are not processed adequately.

The second critical announcement was addressed by DSS Medicaid Director that DSS and the State Innovation Model (SIM) panel reached an agreement and approval by the Center Medicaid and Medicaid Innovation for a one year delay in implementation of the shared savings model from January 2016 to January 2017. The payment system being constructed by the SIM panel is called the shared savings model and is aimed to help achieve higher standards of care for up to 215,000 and be an “upside only” model. This model is geared to specifically prevent negative modified reimbursements for providers who do not achieve the goals laid out in the program.

CT Agency Corner will continue to cover these meetings and provide updates on other large topics of interest as they’re discussed by the committee.

CT Agency Corner – DEEP – State Begins to Strongly Emphasize Recycling Amid 2024 Deadline

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) recently presented to an advisory board about the tougher enforcement the agency plans on taking regarding state recycling boards.

In the presentation, DEEP advised the Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee (SWAC) that there must be separation between solid waste and recyclables by all collectors or face a $2,500 for each violation and up to $10,000 for a subsequent violation. The state, in legislation during the 2014 session, set a goal of achieving a 60 percent recycling rates by 2024 and is using these and other types of enforcement policies as an incentive for raising the rates for each municipality.

DEEP, through their efforts in trying to increase recycling rates, have also provided notice municipalities for not reporting to the state on their total estimated municipal solid waste for the year. Having this data has recently been stated by DEEP as a top priority for the agency since they would like to use the metrics in determine the true recycling rates for each community in Connecticut.

In terms of individual regulations for recycling, DEEP in their presentation reminded those who attended of the following regulations currently in law:

  • Each person who generates solid waste from residential property shall separate recyclables from solid waste.
  • Multi-family dwellings/property managers shall make provisions for the separation and collection of recyclables and solid waste.
  • No person shall combine previously segregated recyclables with other solid waste, including haulers.

 

Primary Election Results

Wednesday, September 16th was the Primary Election in Connecticut. In previous editions of Election Headquarters, we gave you the inside story about two contested mayoral races. Here’s how they turned out!

 

In the race for mayor of Hartford, incumbent Pedro Segarra lost to challenger Luke Bronin. We highlighted this race as one to watch, given the seeming insurgence of Bronin and the importance of the Primary to the General Election-in Hartford, the winner of the Democratic Primary is almost guaranteed to win the General, given the high number of Democratic voters. Bronin defeated the incumbent Segarra by a margin of 55-45 percent. Nearly 10,000 votes were cast, overall. On Tuesday the 22nd, Segarra announced that he would not continue to run as an independent, and endorsed Bronin. This graceful exit by the incumbent mayor all but ensures Bronin will sail on to a November victory.

 

In our other highlighted election, there was also a dramatic result. New London saw its incumbent mayor lose his Primary as well. In a city that only just started electing mayors for the first time in its more than 300 year history, the first mayor to run as an incumbent, Daryl Finizio, lost the Primary Election to city council president Michael Passero by a stunning margin of 61-39 percent. The two candidates had clashed several times throughout the campaign, as the community began to rally around Passero. Finizio conceded to Passero, and pledged to support him in the General Election as he will face Republican Bill Vogel. New London leans Democratic, so that bodes well for Passero, but a Republican win is not out of the realm of possibility here. We will continue to monitor this one as November approaches.

 

Here are additional Primary Election winners from across the state:

 

Republican Primary Winners:
Bethel: First Selectman- Will Duff
Durham: Selectman- John Szewczyk
East Haddam: First Selectman- Mark Walter
East Windsor: First Selectman- Robert Maynard; Selectmen- Richard Pippin, Jr., Steve Dearborn
Ellington: First Selectman- Lori Spielman
Killingworth: First Selectman- Robert Drew
Naugatuck: Mayor- Tamath Rossie
Somers: First Selectman- Lisa Pellegrini
Stratford: Town Council District 2- Mark Dumas; Town Council District 7- Marianne Mitzi
Waterbury: Board of Aldermen District 2- Ruben Rodriguez

 

Democratic Primary Winners:
Bridgeport: Mayor- Joseph Ganim; Board of Education- Dennis Bradley, Ben Walker, Faith Harrison-Villegas (tie), Maria Pereira (tie); Council District 130- Kathryn Bukovsky, Scott Burns; Council District 131- Denese Taylor-Moye, Jack Banta; Council District 132- Evette Brantley, John Olson; Council District 137- Mita Feliciano, Aidee Nieves; Council District 138- Anthony Robert Paolette, James Morton; City Clerk- Lydia Martinez; Town Clerk- Charles Don Clemons
Hartford: Mayor- Luke Bronin; Treasurer- Adam Cloud; Common Council- John Gale, Julio Concepcion, Glendowlyn Thames, Thomas Clark, James Sanchez, rJo Winch
Middletown: City Council- Mary Bartolotta, Robert Blanchard, Carl Chisem, Gerald Daley, Grady Faulkner, Eugene Nocera, Robert Santangelo, Thomas Serra
New Britain: Board of Education- Merrill Gay, Nicole Rodriguez, Carlos Pina
New Haven: Board of Alders Ward 1- Sarah Eidelson; Ward 11- Barbara Ann Constantinople; Ward 12- Gerald Antunes; Ward 14- Berrios-Bones; Ward 18- Salvatore DeCola; Ward 20- Delphine Clyburn; Ward 28- Jill Lila Marks
New London: Mayor- Michael Passero
Norwalk: Common Council District A- Eloisa Melendex, Steve Serasis; District B- Travies Simms, Phaedrel Bowman; Board of Education District A- Yvel Crevecoeur; District B- Erik Anderson
Portland: Town Clerk- Keighly Kinsella
Stamford: Board of Representatives- Virgil de la Cruz
Suffield: First Selectman- Melissa Mack
Waterbury: Board of Aldermen District 4- Michael DiGiovancarlo
West Haven: Mayor- Ed O’Brien

CT Agency Corner – Department of Transportation: More Fastrak Funding

This week Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s Office announced that the State Bond Commission will have a $7 million allocation up for approval that expands the state DOT’s service area for Fastrak into the Connecticut River area and into East Hartford and Manchester. The bond commission will meet next Tuesday and will consider allocating this funding to purchase buses and other capital equipment necessary for the level of recipients utilizing the expanded services.

CT Agency Corner featured an article regarding this expansion a few weeks ago when it was first announced to include direct transportation to UConn football games from downtown Hartford and also direct access to certain local schools east of the Connecticut River. This expansion is aimed to build on the over 1,000,000 rides provided through the existing service area with the hopes of potentially drawing more and more people to travel to and from downtown Hartford.

CT Agency Corner will provide more follow-up news updates in the future to continue providing this and other featured transportation news such as the New Haven to Springfield train line status and the Let’s Go CT! initiative to repair bridges and highways in the state.

Quick Facts- Legislative PACs in Connecticut

What is a PAC? Connecticut law outlines the role of a PAC in state elections. It’s a political action committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect or defeat candidates both at the state and local levels. Most PACs represent partisan, business, labor, or ideological interests.

Federal Law also defines a PAC for federal elections, and the two definitions may be different. In this issue, we are only talking about Connecticut PACs-specifically two types of PACs related to the Connecticut General Assembly-Legislative Caucus PACs and Legislative Leadership PACs.

 

Legislative Caucus PACs: The members of the same political party in a house of the General Assembly may establish a single Legislative Caucus PAC. The name of the PAC typically reflects whether it’s created on behalf of House or Senate Democrats, or House or Senate Republicans. The funds of these PACs are used to work toward growing the respective caucus’ membership numbers through candidate recruitment, training, and support in elections.

 

Legislative Leadership PACs: The speaker of the House of Representatives, majority leader of the House of Representatives, president pro tempore of the Senate, and majority leader of the Senate may each establish a single legislative leadership PAC, while the minority leader of the House of Representatives and the minority leader of the Senate may each establish two legislative leadership PAC. Similar to Caucus PACs, legislative leaders use their personal Leadership PACs to conduct activities to grow their numbers. Use of these entities can be a way for leaders to gain influence or support among their colleagues.

 

Legislative Leadership and Legislative Caucus committees may only contribute to and make expenditures benefiting legislative candidates. Candidates participating in the Citizens’ Election Program may not accept contributions from one of these legislative political committees, though these committees may still make organization expenditures on behalf of such candidates.

 

Contributions and Limitations: Registered lobbyists are limited in the amount of their contributions to these PACs. One may only contribute $100 dollars per calendar year to Legislative Caucus or Legislative Leadership PACs. Lobbyists are also limited in the period of time in which contributions are permitted. Lobbyists are restricted from contributing during the course of the regular session, or also during any special session, to prevent any impropriety or perception of impropriety. Legislative Caucus or Legislative Leadership PACs can also hold events and publish advertisement books where corporations can purchase ad space in order to support the PAC. The maximum limit is $250 per calendar year for each PAC.

 

If you have any questions about Legislative Caucus or Legislative Leadership PACs, please contact Paddi LeShane at pleshane@ctlobby.com – we’re more than happy to help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of political fundraising in Connecticut.

 

*Source: http://www.ct.gov/seec

CT Agency Corner – Governor Releases Rescissions for This Year’s State Budget

In anticipation of falling revenues in the state budget, the Governor used his rescission authority last week, which included $99.2 M in cuts to state agency programs and estimated $3.5M in cuts to the legislative and Judicial branches.

Normally funding that’s directed to programs within CT’s branches of government needs to be proposed by the Governor and approved by the legislature however, the Governor has the authority to cut up to 5% of any line item and 3% of any fund without seeking legislative changes in circumstances where there is a large enough deficit in the current fiscal year. These cuts come in anticipation that capital gains revenue will ultimately be down due to the financial market corrections that have occurred in the past month, and could ultimately be extended further if revenue estimates continue to decline throughout the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30th 2016.

In order to forecast potential revenue drops that may be occurring in the next quarter, the Governor’s budget office (Office of Policy and Management) and the non-partisan legislative budget office (Office of Fiscal Analysis) followed a law titled “Consensus Revenue Estimates” where the two budget offices must agree on a total anticipated deficit that is used when projecting an increase or shortfall of revenue that’s different from what was originally budgeted. This total is used when considering the total surplus or deficit and allows lawmakers and the Governor’s Office to plan on potential financial policy for the coming months ahead.

As of now, the Governor is set to offer his budget for the next fiscal year on the first day of the 2016 session, which, this year, falls on February 3rd. This would need to be approved by the legislature in order to advance.

2015 List of Municipal Primaries

Town Party Office
Bethel R First Selectman
Bridgeport D Mayor, Board of Education (Districts 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139), City Clerk, Town Clerk, City Sheriffs, City Council (Districts 127, 130, 131, 132, 138)
Bridgeport R City Sheriff
Durham R Selectman
East Haddam R Selectman
East Windsor R First Selectman, Selectman
Ellington R First Selectman
Hampton R Tax Collector
Hartford D Judge of Probate, Mayor, Treasurer, City Council, Constables
Killingworth R First Selectman, Board of Finance, Zoning Board of Appeals Alternates, Fire Commissioner, Regional Board of Ed-2yr Vacancy
Lebanon R First Selectman
Middletown D Common Council, Board of Education
Naugatuck R Mayor
New Britain D Board of Education
New Haven D Board of Alders (Districts 1, 11, 12, 14, 18, 20, 28, 30)
New London D Mayor, City Council
Norwalk D Common Council (Districts A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, B2), Board of Education (Districts A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, B2), Second Taxing District Commissioner
Portland D Town Clerk
Somers R First Selectman
Stamford D Board of Representatives
Stratford D Town Council (District 3), Zoning Commission District 1
Stratford R Town Council (Districts 2,7)
Suffield D Selectman
Waterbury D Board of Alderman (District 4)
Waterbury R Board of Alderman (District 2)
West Haven D Mayor, City Clerk, Treasurer, Tax Collector, Board of Education, Board of Assessment Appeals, Councilman at Large, Councilman