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State Representative Lanoue Unveils His 2022 Legislative Priorities

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HARTFORD— State Representative Brian Lanoue (R-45), announced his comprehensive legislative proposals for the 2022 regular session that began on February 9th, 2022.  Rep. Lanoue has sent a total of eight legislative proposals to various committees, including several concepts that were drafted in previous sessions.

With public safety being a main concern across Connecticut, Rep. Lanoue has requested that the Public Safety and Security Committee consider raising a bill that would exempt Connecticut taxes on stipends paid by a municipality to volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel. The bill would help with recruiting and retaining volunteer Firefighters and EMS personnel, with the hopes of giving people more incentive to serve their communities. During the 2021 session, H.B. 5722, An Act Allowing A Personal Income Tax Deduction For Stipends Paid To Volunteer Firefighters And Volunteer Ambulance Members, received bi-partisan support and passed through the committee process, but never made it to the House Floor.

With electric rates soaring over recent years, Rep. Lanoue had a measure of success when he introduced H.B. 6525, An Act Establishing A Task Force To Study Electric Distribution Companies, with State Representative Doug Dubitsky (R-47), which passed unanimously through the Energy and Technology Committee, and through the House of Representatives, but a vote was never taken in the Senate. On January 25th, 2022, Rep. Lanoue requested that the Energy and Technology Committee draft a bill to once again establish a task force to study utility companies in Connecticut, while addressing accountability and competition in the electric distribution market.

“During COVID-19, our volunteer first responders, families, and seniors on fixed incomes were hit disproportionately hard. We need to use every tool in our tool box to incentivize members of our small, rural communities to continue to volunteer as firefighters and ambulance members,” Rep. Lanoue said. “Exempting state taxes from their annual stipend checks will hopefully be another step in that direction. We also need to make sure our ratepayers get treated as fairly as possible, and the best way to do that is to explore competition and choices in the energy distribution market,” he added.

He has also re-introduced a concept which has been proposed over the last two legislative sessions. In 2021, H.B. 5440, An Act Concerning Rabbit Processing Facilities, would benefit farmers locally as it would give them the ability to process rabbits on their farms in Connecticut. With farmers feeling heavy financial burdens over the last several years, Rep. Lanoue requested that the Commerce Committee draft a bill which would enable farmers to serve as direct food sources for customers, which would include restaurants and hotels to drive revenue for local farms across Connecticut.

“This bill would allow farmers in our district and state to test the market demand for rabbit meat. Many restaurants and those in the hospitality industry have expressed their willingness to sell the product, and this bill allows for a more affordable and cost effective state inspection process over more burdensome federal regulations,” Rep. Lanoue added.

Dating back to his first term in the legislature, Rep. Lanoue has been an advocate to increase services for those with addiction, mental illness, and people with disabilities. He requested the Human Service Committee to draft a bill which would create a taskforce to study potential accommodations needed in regard to state government services utilized by blind persons. In addition, Rep. Lanoue and State Senator Heather Somers (R-18), have requested that the Environment Committee draft two bills that would focus on bodies of water in Connecticut that include – establishing clear requirements for funding to combat aquatic invasive species within Connecticut’s lakes, rivers, and ponds. Also to give law enforcement the ability to enforce laws and if necessary, make arrests on any part of waters lying on the state borders in their respective states of Massachusetts, New York or Rhode Island.

The 2022 regular session will adjourn at midnight on May 4th, 2022.

Written by: Mike Minarsky

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