2024 CT Legislative Session Recap

Advocacy, Community, News

Published July 8, 2024

It’s been a couple months since the legislative session ended and it was widely seen as making very little progress on climate. You can read more in this excellent article by Jan Ellen Spiegel: CT legislature ends session with no major climate change action – again

While the supreme court is making it more difficult for the federal government to act, and as our state is experiencing heat waves, wildfire smoke, flooding, and ever-increasing energy burden, CT has the responsibility to protect its citizens and act decisively on climate.

Here is a summary of where things landed.

Bills that didn’t pass:

  • House Bill 5438 for $145 Million of energy efficiency funding for EnergizeCT programs didn’t get voted out of committee.
  • Senate Bill 11 was voted out of committee but never got a vote on the senate floor. It was a Governor-proposed bill that would have given tools to municipalities to fund resiliency and climate mitigation. It also would have required state building code to incorporate optimal greenhouse gas reductions and cost-effective resiliency measures.
  • House Bill 5004 was the big Climate bill this session. It was voted out of committee and it passed the House, but was never brought to the senate floor for a vote. It called for climate change measures including advancing and implementing the state’s goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the phasing out of the use of natural gas, investment in renewable energy and green economy startup businesses, planning to install 310,000 heat pumps, incentivizing sustainable purchasing by local governments, and the enhancement of nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change. The discussion on the house floor for this one was painful with many Republican representatives questioning basic climate science. Environmental advocates lobbied unsuccessfully to have it addressed in a special session that was called to handle some other outstanding legislative business.
  • HB 5390 supporting the development of transit-oriented communities. This was the Desegregate CT bill this session. It was voted out of committee and passed the House but was never called for a vote in the Senate.
  • SB 191 to require the diversion of food scraps from the solid waste stream and prohibit the redemption of out-of-state beverage containers. Voted out of committee passed by the senate, but never brought to the House Floor.
  • SB 301 Submitted by DEEP for energy-efficient appliance requirements and an affordable housing grant that was included in the HB 5524, the bonding package, Voted out of committee, but never brought to the senate for a vote.
  • HB No. 5052 Governor’s solar for schools bill made it out of committee, but was never brought to the House floor for a vote. A component made it through in the HB 5524, the bonding package, though the amount of solar it allows for is small.

Bills that passed:

  • SB 292 championed by Clean Water Action, this bill requires transparency for intentionally added PFAS in consumer products including carpet, fabrics, and upholstered furniture.
  • H.B. No. 5232 Solar bill to (1) establish a uniform capacity tax on solar panels, (2) extend community benefit agreement requirements to more renewable energy projects, (3) allow* expedited permitting for solar canopies – *as modified by HB 5524, (4) revise programs of the Connecticut Green Bank, (5) Identify potential solar project sites as part of the Integrated Resources Plan, (6) eliminating caps on solar tariff program.
  • H.B. No. 5523 Section 54 doubles low-income EV rebates (requires that such rebates be at least 200 percent more than the standard rebate) Section 55 allows DEEP to divert “excess” RGGI funds previously earmarked for CHEAPR away from supplemental EV rebate funding to other programs that “support the department’s engagement with EJ communities.”

HB No. 5524 The bonding package included a lot of sustainable efforts that had been proposed under different bills as follows:

  • (Sec. 18 & 64) Multifamily Retrofit Grants – Requires to use up to $20M of the $125M Multifamily revolving loan fund for grants
  • (Sec. 51) Micro grid and resilience fund increased from $25M to $40M.
  • (Sec. 57) Heat Pump Rebate Program – $25M, unfortunately because this was tied to language in HB 5004 which didn’t pass, this section is nullified.
  • (Sec. 58-59) Climate Resiliency Revolving Loan Fund
  • (Sec. 113) Modifies HB 5232 to allow, rather than require, municipal planning and zoning commissions to (1) establish a simplified process for applications to build solar canopies and (2) act on land use applications for solar canopies within six months,
  • (Sec. 116 & 117) (1) allow additional residential homes to be served by a single exit stairway and (2) encourage construction of safe three- or four-unit residential buildings under similar requirements for certain one- and two-unit residential buildings; requires those adopting State Building Code amendments to consider the housing shortage,
  • (Sec. 160) Excludes certain energy-related funds from the state funds that must be subtracted from the total project cost when calculating a school construction grant,
  • (Sec. 167) Prohibits DAS from including new construction projects on the priority list if the project plans do not provide for single-user toilet and bathing rooms,
  • (Sec. 169 & 170) Indoor Air Quality Grants, Makes endowed academic and charter schools eligible for grants, Requires DAS to reconsider previously rejected applicants, Earmarks up to $15 million of an existing bond authorization for grants to purchase equipment and materials for constructing and installing individual classroom air purifiers
  • (Sec 173-175) Requires PURA to initiate a docket by January 1, 2025, to establish a program to encourage solar facility and energy storage installation at public schools,
  • (Sec 176) Generally requires school boards, before submitting a priority list application, to have a solar feasibility assessment performed for the school building that is the subject of the application.

Engage with your State Legislators

Remember you can always email or call your state legislators to let them know your thoughts. They are a good place to start to understand the best way to engage with the legislature to support your priorities.

Reference Build Better CT

This is where BuildGreenCT collaborates with other organizations on building sector policy initiatives.

For earlier updates, refer to 2024 CT Legislative Session Updates – Part 1 and Part 2