The legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee co-chairs skipped the masks, but they were very socially distant.
Firefighters left the State Capitol last year in a fury over the refusal of House leaders to call a vote on legislation providing them lost-wage coverage for work-related cancers. Just after midnight Wednesday, they watched a bipartisan compromise pass unanimously with the blessing of the municipalities that once thwarted them.
Expanded workers’ compensation benefits for firefighters with cancer, an issue derailed in the Connecticut General Assembly last year by a loud and bitter lobbying battle between municipalities and labor, seems likely to be resolved by a bipartisan-led compromise.
The Senate voted 25 to 11 early Friday for legislation expanding workers’ compensation for police and firefighters, overcoming complaints that the new unfunded mandates would be financially ruinous to cities and towns in Connecticut.
The House Republican minority controls the fate of a heavily lobbied labor bill that would expand workers’ compensation coverage in Connecticut by declaring some forms of cancer to be an occupational hazard of firefighting. The GOP is expected to offer a compromise to a bill strenuously opposed by cities and towns.
Today is the national observance of Equal Pay Day, a date that marks how far into the new year a woman must work to earn as much as a man earned in the previous year. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, Connecticut women are paid approximately 78 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.
In the worlds of business and labor, Connecticut’s political identity is shaped by the partisan and ideological collisions that take place this time of year in the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee. Inch for inch, its agenda Thursday had more controversial issues than most committees confront in a year.