Three Important Bills Signed In To Law

March 9, 2021

Last week, Governor Lamont signed several bills into law that make great strides to moving our state forward.

H.B. 6514 offers incentives for data centers to locate in Connecticut. Data centers are buildings, a group of buildings or section of a building used to house computer networks, hardware and data storage systems. This bill will bring a new industry to our state and spark job and economic growth.

H.B. 6515 prohibits workplace discrimination based on hairstyles that are commonly associated with people of color, such as afros, Bantu knots, braids, cornrows, dreadlocks, and twists. A 2019 study found that Black women are 80 percent more likely to alter their natural hair to accommodate social norms or work expectations and 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hairstyles. With the passage of the CROWN Act, Connecticut becomes the 8th state to ban discrimination on the basis of natural hair or texture.

H.B. 6516 addresses constituent concerns across the state with respect to inequitable taxation when working from home and unfair burdens on the poor.

The pandemic has changed the way people work. Many Connecticut residents who normally commute to Massachusetts or New York have been working from home. The bill creates a state income tax credit for the 2020 tax year for many residents who normally commute to another state and would apply to any resident who paid income tax to any other state that requires nonresident employees to pay nonresident income tax on income earned while working remotely from Connecticut due to COVID-19. Those residents will be allowed a credit against Connecticut state income tax for the tax paid to the other state.

The legislation also repeals the unfair practice of seeking repayment of state assistance by our family members, friends or neighbors who may have needed help in the past but have since lifted themselves out of poverty. The policy, known as a "welfare lien," treats public assistance as debt and is a huge roadblock to upward mobility and home-ownership.

H.B. 6516 also modifies the PILOT program formula (payment in lieu of taxes) that will bring economic equity to many of our cities and towns.

The bills signed by Governor Lamont mark the first in what I hope will be an incredibly productive session.