Governor Ned Lamont has announced that businesses will receive a roughly 10% decrease in workers’ compensation rates starting in January 2024. This is the tenth year in a row where businesses have seen a decrease in workers’ compensation rates, due to a decline in workplace injuries and filed claims.
According to a press release from CT.gov, the Connecticut Insurance Department approved a 9.8% decrease to voluntary market loss costs and a 10.5% decrease to assigned risk plan rates. These rates have decreased every year since 2015, with the biggest decreases happening in 2019, with a 16.8% decrease to voluntary market loss costs and 19.8% decrease to assigned risk plan rates.
These lower rates will allow businesses to save more money. Since 2015, it is estimated that businesses have saved over $300 million as a result of these reduced premiums. According to Lamont, businesses will be able reinvest this saved money into employees and the companies themselves.
Lamont also noted that this spells good things for workers as well. “…[this decrease in workers’ compensation rates] is the result of an ongoing drop in the number of claims filed, meaning that workplaces in our state are getting safer and safer,” Lamont said.
Gov. Lamont swears in CT’s new public safety commissioner
On Nov. 13, 2023, Ronnell Higgins was sworn in as the new commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection by Governor Ned Lamont. This comes after the previous commissioner retired earlier this year.
According to an article by NBC Connecticut, Higgins has met with the author of the investigation into the state police’s falsifying of tickets. This investigation, which released a report in June 2023, found that tens of thousands of traffic stops may have been falsified in an attempt to show more infractions for white drivers and less for minority groups. This report came out soon before Higgins’ predecessor, James Rovella, stepped down as commissioner.
Higgins says his foremost hope taking over this position is to restore the trust that was lost in the state police. Higgins has meetings scheduled to try and answer more questions about these falsified tickets. He also outlined what he is going to prioritize as the new commissioner, which included looking at professional standards, ensuring that practices align with policy and more.
CT sees largest decrease in vaccine exemptions amongst all states
According to a report by the CDC, Connecticut saw the largest decrease in childhood vaccine exemptions across the United States, defying a national trend where over 40 states increased in the same metric. The current national exemption rate is 3%, an all-time high.
In Connecticut, the exemption rate dropped to 0.8%, a decrease of 1.5% since the year before. Approximately 97.3% of all kindergarten students received their required immunizations for the 2022-23 school year, as compared to the previous year where 22% of kindergarten classes did not meet the 95% vaccination rate necessary for community immunity.
This decrease is reflective of a state law that was passed in 2021, which removed the option for parents to exempt their children from vaccinations due to religious reasons. This law was passed in response to a steady rise in vaccine exemptions.
Although this new law has succeeded in its goal of decreasing vaccine exemptions, the law has faced opposition, with thousands protesting in Hartford when the bill was being passed. The law is facing multiple suits in state and federal courts, and has been upheld by judges so far.
Across the U.S., a large majority of states saw an increase in vaccine exemptions. According to an article by CTNewsJunkie, 10 states have exceeded a 5% exemption rate. The authors of the report are unsure of the reasons behind the national increase. This could be reflective of an increased opposition to vaccinations or of nonmedical exemptions due to inconvenience or barriers to vaccines.
Proposal to end the sale of gas-powered vehicles in CT faces opposition from state Republicans
On Wednesday, Republicans at Connecticut’s General Assembly stood in opposition to proposed regulations which would phase out the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. These mandates come in the face of Connecticut’s goals to “reinforce market trends toward zero-emission vehicles,” according to an article by CT Mirror.
This General Assembly meeting comes two weeks before the legislature’s Regulation Review Committee’s consideration of these mandates. These regulations follow the latest revisions to California’s clean air standards, which would see new gas-powered vehicles be manufactured and sold less starting in 2027 and finishing by 2035, where the manufacture of gas-powered vehicles would be prohibited. Connecticut has been committed to following California’s clean air standards since a law was passed in 2004 that said they would.
Connecticut’s Regulation Review Committee has 14 members, and is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans have unified against the proposed regulations, but some Democrats have expressed doubts about the regulation as well. If even one Democrat on the committee votes against the implementation of this, that would stop the regulations from being adopted.
Governor Ned Lamont stands behind the proposal. Lamont believes that the implementation of these policies will create a healthier and cleaner environment in Connecticut. Republicans insisted that they remain intent of helping create this healthier and cleaner environment for Connecticut, but stated that they believe this choice should rest with the General Assembly, and that these regulations take away citizens’ choices.