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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: An Uncertain Session for General Assembly

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  December 1, 2020 --

Thanks to those who submitted resolutions to the Connecticut State Grange  Annual  Session. We ended up with 10 resolutions this year. Due to the challenges of the first ever viral session, the State Grange Board of Directors had to make adjustments as how resolutions were presented to the delegates. This is the first year that we did not have session committees to review resolutions and make recommendations for action.

The    resolution    concerning the sale of Grange property was sent on to National Grange. This resolution has been submitted to National Grange in previous years. Presently when a Grange sells its property, the local Grange only gets $1000.00 from the sale with the rest going into an escrow in the local Granges name. The Grange then received a yearly interest payment on the principal. This resolution would have increased the amount that the local Grange would receive to $10,000.

There were five resolutions which were adopted concerning legislative issues and these will be added to the State Grange Legislative Policy Guide. The Legislative committee met in early November to review the resolutions and go over the guide. We plan to have the updated guide finished and ready to deliver to the Connecticut General Assembly when their session convenes on January 6th.

With the current pandemic we do not know how the legislative session will operate this year. This was an election year so the  first day of the session was traditionally the swearing in of the new General Assembly  members  and  adoption of the rules for the session.   This was always a massive gathering with family members and friends attending the session to witness the swearing in and a lot of social gatherings after.

The caucus leaders will  have to determine the rules on how the General Assembly will meet as well as the committees and how committee hearings will be held. The hearings are where the public is able to testify on the different proposed bills.   The public has a right to express their opinions on the  bills  so  these  public  hearing must happen somehow.

Another question is on the actual voting on bills during the session. With uncertainty of the impact of the virus, will there be a way that will allow the members of the General Assembly to vote remotely. This has not been encountered before and there is no  precedent or policies to guide them. A new normal?


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