Connecticut Legislative Session 2023: A Productive and Engaging Session for CHEFA
The 2023 legislative session in Connecticut proved to be a lengthy and eventful period, running from January 4th to June 7th. With a total of 3616 pieces of legislation introduced, it was a session that witnessed a significant increase in bills impacting or naming CHEFA and its subsidiaries.
Out of the vast array of legislation introduced, 25 pieces were directly related to, or named CHEFA and/or its subsidiaries. These bills were spread across six different committees, including Higher Education, Banking, Finance, Revenue and Bonding, Government Administration and Elections, Human Services, and Aging. This increase in the number of committees engaging with CHEFA indicates a notable growth compared to the previous year’s session, which saw only 12 pieces of legislation impacting or naming CHEFA, and three committees actively engaging on CHEFA related legislation.
This increase in activity is a clear indicator that our outreach efforts are working. Furthermore, these efforts have positioned CHEFA as a reliable source of information within the legislature and the broader community and are establishing the organization as a significant player in the legislative decision-making process.
The increased presence of CHEFA was exemplified by its engagement with committees such as Human Services and Aging, which have not pursued legislation related to CHEFA in recent sessions. This expansion demonstrates CHEFA’s growing influence and recognition within the legislative landscape.
Prior to the start of the session, CHEFA proactively reached out to legislators, initiating its outreach efforts in early November, shortly after the 2022 General Election. This proactive approach has paid off, as a growing number of legislators now contact CHEFA preemptively before drafting or filing legislation related to the Authority or its subsidiaries. This demonstrates that CHEFA is becoming a well-established source of information, trusted by lawmakers when dealing with matters involving CHEFA and its subsidiaries.
Notable bills and initiatives that that received final passage in the 2023 legislative session include:
SB 1104 – Priority Bill, CHEFA Proposal:
One of the prominent pieces of legislation was SB 1104, a priority bill introduced by CHEFA. This proposal eliminates outdated and obsolete provisions within CHEFA’s enabling statutes, streamlining its operations, and ensuring efficiency. Additionally, the bill expands the definition of projects eligible for financing. This will enable CHEFA to extend its financing activities beyond traditional brick-and-mortar initiatives.
HB 5441 – Student Loan Subsidy Program and ADTLS Expansion:
Another significant bill, HB 5441, establishes a student loan subsidy program specifically for police officers in distressed municipalities. Additionally, it expands the existing CHESLA Alliance District Teacher Loan Subsidy Program to include paraprofessionals and counselors in alliance districts, effective from January 1, 2024.
While the police officer loan subsidy program did not receive funding during this session, the funding for the expansion of the ADTLS program was already secured through the State Bond Commission’s authorization in 2022. As a result, the ADTLS program expansion will proceed as planned, utilizing the allocated bonding resources. CHESLA will postpone designing the framework for the police officer program until a funding source is identified and secured.
HB 6689 – Loan Subsidy Program for Healthcare Professionals and EMS Personnel:
HB 6689 creates a loan subsidy program for mental healthcare professionals, nursing professionals, and EMS personnel, scheduled to be effective from July 1, 2023. Although the legislation received an initial bond authorization of $10 million, final action from the State Bond Commission is still required to secure the necessary funding.
In the interim, CHESLA aims to engage with the proponents of these programs to explore the possibility of consolidating them into a single program. This consolidation would facilitate streamlined administration and potential adjustments in the future, ensuring an efficient and effective framework.
Overall, the 2023 legislative session in Connecticut marked a significant period of engagement and impact for CHEFA. With increased involvement across multiple committees, the Authority is solidifying its position as an influential participant in the legislative process. As CHEFA continues to expand its outreach efforts and establish itself as a trusted resource, its impact on the health and education sectors is set to grow even further in the future.