Tips for the 2021 Legislative Session

Connecticut’s 2021 legislative session began with an outdoor swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, January 6. However, that is the only in-person legislative event scheduled thus far. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the legislature will convene and pass bills virtually via Zoom, offering a unique opportunity for individuals across the state to voice concerns – some, perhaps, for the first time.

While this year’s session is sure to be riddled with requisite Zoom obstacles, reminders to mute mics, and other technical difficulties, it’s also sure to be more accessible for folks who cannot travel to the capitol building for public hearings. NBC Connecticut has more information regarding rules for this year’s General Assembly, including requiring an agenda for public hearings to be posted by 6 p.m. the night before a hearing instead of midnight. For some, this offers the opportunity for legislative participation for the first time.

Here are some tips for following the 2021 legislative session with CFSA:

Track Bills With Us:

Wondering if your legislator introduces or co-signs a bill? Interested in a specific committee’s legislative trajectory? The Connecticut General Assembly’s website has a feature for the general public to track bills introduced and co-sponsored by representatives and committees of choice. Anyone with an email address can create an account and select the legislators and committees they would like to follow. The Connecticut General Assembly’s website also provides tools to find your legislator. Register your email address and select how often you want notifications about bills here.

The Connecticut Food System Alliance uses systems thinking in our work, as well as a racial and social justice lens. We take a broad approach to tracking bills that might have an impact on the food system: issues of public health, labor rights and minimum wage, and land use often end up on our tracked bill list. Tracking a bill does not mean the CFSA supports or opposes the bill – only that it would have an impact on the food system. If you think anything is missing, let us know!

To see the latest actions taken on a bill, click on any of the linked bills and scroll down to the bill history. There will be a list of dates and actions taken on those dates. When a bill has been passed it will say Signed by the Governor.

We are tracking the following bills in the Connecticut legislature:

Senate Bills

House Bills

House Joint Resolutions

Learn How to Testify at a Public Hearing:

While this year’s public hearings will be different due to the virtual format, the CGA website provides information on how to prepare for your testimony. This will be updated with more information as this year’s session progresses. As mentioned above, agendas for public hearings will be posted to the General Assembly’s website at 6pm the night before.

Learn How to Read Legislation:

The General Assembly’s website has a helpful visual for understanding how a bill becomes a law in Connecticut. Additionally, Connecticut Network has a helpful cheat sheet for understanding the jargon used in these bills. 

Follow Connecticut Network for Live Coverage:

Connecticut Network has a livestream of all Connecticut State Government activities. Streaming is available on their website and YouTube for free.

Join the Listserv:

CFSA Coordinator Meg Hourigan will be sending weekly Food & Farm Legislation updates to our listserv. Send a message to Marcella at communications@ctfoodsystemalliance.com to be added to our list of allies!

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