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Lamont, legislative leaders reach bipartisan accord on relief bill for workers affected by shutdown


Gov. Ned Lamont and the Democratic and Republican leaders in each of the General Assembly’s four caucuses have reached an agreement to adopt emergency certified legislation that will enable nonessential and essential federal workers who are working without pay to receive unemployment assistance under a public-private partnership.

That partnership, between the state and private banks and credit unions, was announced earlier this week.

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The legislation is currently being drafted and will be released as soon as it is finalized. The four legislative leaders said that they anticipate to schedule a session of the Senate and the House to vote on the bill on Tuesday.

Under the partnership, nonessential workers, as well as essential federal workers who are required to report to work without pay, will be able to obtain interest-free loans provided by the banks or credit unions and backed by the state. The initial loans will afford impacted employees up to one month’s net pay, capped at $5,000. In the event that the shutdown continues, participating banks and the state will work with impacted employees to provide additional funds.

Federal employees interested in the loans should contact their bank or credit union to determine whether it intends to participate in the program. If it is not, loans may also be available through a bank or credit union other than employees’ usual financial institution.

“Connecticut’s business community is stepping up to the plate to help our state’s citizens, who through no fault of their own are finding themselves unable to pay for essential bills to support their families,” Lamont said. “This is an innovative partnership and I want to commend the banks who are working with our administration to provide this assistance.”

“Within the limits of state authority, it is imperative we do all we can for these federal workers who are being victimized by President Trump’s extreme and irrational policy,” Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney said.

“I applaud the governor for thinking outside of the box and developing a collaborative approach to assist workers who are facing challenging times,” Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said. “Uniting state and private-sector efforts is an inventive way to achieve our shared goal of helping federal employees most in need. I appreciate the governor’s work to unite lawmakers on both sides of the aisle behind this solution. I also congratulate him on his openness to working with Connecticut businesses that are eager to help Connecticut residents.”

“These are our family, friends and neighbors who by no fault of their own are being unfairly punished by a breakdown in Washington,” Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter said in a joint statement. “We appreciate Gov. Lamont, the Connecticut Bankers’ Association and the participating banks for finding a way to help those impacted by the shutdown and we will take the action needed by the legislature in an expedited manner to move this forward.”

“I am proud to support the emergency legislation to assist federal workers in Connecticut most adversely affected by the continuing partial government shutdown,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides said. “This is a bipartisan response that will positively affect hundreds of workers and their families.”

In addition to creating the loan program, the bill permits municipalities to defer property tax payments from impacted federal employees and prepares the state’s unemployment insurance system to offer benefits to essential workers if the requisite changes are made to federal law.

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