We've all heard about the difficult biennial budget, the Governor's big transportation initiative and the fact that we have three new leaders heading up the legislative caucuses. Governor Malloy has made several promises during the course of his campaign that he would not raise taxes, now he is looking at a projected 182.3 million deficit. Governor Malloy will deliver his budget address on February 18th which is expected to contain many budget cuts. We anticipate the budget will be the biggest issue of the session but here are five issues/dynamics that we expect to bubble up during the 2015 legislative session.
- New tech versus old: Even though the market may be ready to accept new technologies, the public policy realm usually lags behind. Look for emerging tech to debate best regulatory approaches and traditional interests to maintain a competitive edge.
- Black and Puerto Rican Caucus: I've worked with this caucus for about a decade now, its numbers and influence have increased over the years. Look for them to weigh-in on major issues such as the biennial budget, transportation initiatives and judicial/executive nominations. With several members in key positions of influence and enough members in the House to carry out hours long filibusters they can and will exert their influence. Already early in the legislative session they may have dashed a judge’s chance of being nominated for another term.
- House Republicans: You wouldn't think that being outnumbered by 27 members is much of an advantage but when you get down to the committee level the additional membership can shift the debate on bills, especially if joined by a few willing Democrats. We anticipate the additional members will shift the dynamics of the House of Representatives.
- Energy and Technology Committee: Three of four the Committee leaders are new to body as well as 12 new members will make one of the most technical and heavily lobbied committees that more challenging. The Committee is expected to address the increase in distribution fees that both utilities received from PURA. It is also unclear whether the committee will address PURA’s request for more independence from DEEP.
- New Senate Leadership: New Senate President Senator Looney will have his own way of running the Senate with the help of the new Majority Leader Senator Duff. Senator Looney has a great relationship with the new Minority Leader Senator Fasano. It is anticipated that there will be a lot more cooperation between the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
DePino, Nuñez, & Biggs are here to help you with any questions you may have during the legislative session.