On February 3, 2016, the 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly began. The session is scheduled to adjourn on May 4, 2016. Numerous proposed bills affecting Connecticut employers and employees will be unleashed during the session, most of which will never see the light of day.
The Labor and Public Employees Committee will be where the “real” action will initially occur. Hearings on those bills deemed somewhat worthy by the Committee will likely take place later this month and early in March. The deadline for the Committee to approve and “forward” bills out of Committee is March 17, 2016. Bills affecting labor and employment issues may also emerge from other committees (such as the Judiciary Committee).
While it is difficult to forecast with certainty as to what the General Assembly may consider, there may be consideration of 1) workers’ compensation coverage for severe emotional trauma, 2) the installation of firm timelines for the issuance of awards by the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration and the State Board of Labor Relations, including interest arbitration awards under the Municipal Employee Relations Act, 3) paid FMLA leave, 4) revisions to the “prevailing wage” threshold for public construction projects, 5) work place bullying, 6) municipal retirement changes and the “double dipping” issue, and 7) further adjustments in the investigatory and hearing procedures for the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Of course, attempts to resolve the state’s continuing fiscal crisis (in this election year) will likely predominate during this session.
Working Together will follow the action at the General Assembly and report on any significant developments as they may occur. Of course, there is always the potential for last minute surprises, including bill provisions emerging with little or no debate. Stay tuned.