Senator Hwang Issues Statement Regarding His “No” Vote on Omnibus Special Session Legislation

Sen. Tony Hwang today issued the following statement regarding his “No” vote on an omnibus bill during the state legislature’s June 26th special session.

“Today, we witnessed a continuation of the abuse of the “Special Session” mechanism by the majority. Since 1900, there have been just 146 total special sessions called in this state. But, since 2000, there have been 63 called, nearly doubling the total amount for the prior 100 years. The majority has grown arrogant in power, giving a broad definition of what specific issues can be used to call the General Assembly back into special session.

Senate Bill 501, 137 pages of “emergency certification” legislation, was publicly released just a few hours before it was debated on the Senate floor without public input. This supposedly urgent bill was raised and voted as an omnibus package that contained many unrelated policy issues such as commercial/personal car tax increases, water utility regulations, banking procedures, school construction projects, and historical building preservation. All of this was decided by a single vote without any ability for the voting Senators nor the public to separate each issue to judge the merit and impact of each policy.

I heard many of the public’s concerns on specific issues before this bill came to a vote. But the late public release of this supposed “emergency” legislation is an example of one-party power arrogance and a general lack of transparency. This disrespect to the spirit of the civic engagement process was sadly on clear display today.”

Senator Hwang ultimately voted “No” on SB 501. Beyond the flawed process, two critical elements stood out in his objection. First, the legislation allows the sale of Aquarion (owned by Eversource) to multiple bidders which would place it outside the rate-setting jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). This would mean their water rate increases would no longer be subject to public scrutiny and could result in rates being raised for thousands of consumers without oversight protection. Second, the bill would impose a five percent increase on municipal car taxes. At a time where residents are already feeling the burden of rising property taxes, energy costs, and food bills, Senator Hwang felt that it would be unwise to raise the car tax due to current economic struggles faced by families.

“I supported multiple amendments to address flaws in this bill. Ultimately, each amendment failed along partisan lines. Due to process issues, lack of transparency, lack of opportunity for people to voice their concerns, and the abuse of special session powers, I voted no on this legislation,” Senator Hwang remarked.

The post Senator Hwang Issues Statement Regarding His “No” Vote on Omnibus Special Session Legislation appeared first on Connecticut Senate Republicans.

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