Sierra Club Connecticut's Legislative Committee is dedicated to the passage of laws which protect the public’s health and our shared environment. It is comprised of members who advocate for or against particular legislation proposed in a session. We take positions on bills that are consistent with the Club's mission, and with what is best for the people of Connecticut. The legislative team keeps up with bills as they are introduced into committees, follow them through the process, and let our members know how to show their support or opposition via email alerts. Combining the work of our Legislative Committee with the grassroots support of our members gives us the ability to influence the Connecticut General Assembly to vote in the best interest of the environment, economy and people.
2023 Legislative Priorities
All people deserve equal access to clean air, healthy climate, and a sustainable future. Sierra Club Connecticut is focused on just and equitable approaches to reducing emissions and pollution in our state, and investing in our most vulnerable communities so that everyone can thrive.
Climate, Health, and Equity
Clean energy in Environmental Justice communities. In vulnerable communities, where less investment has been made in building improvements, homes are draftier, less efficient and wasting energy, all of which make high energy costs even higher. The legislature has an historic opportunity to invest state and federal dollars in energy efficiency, weatherization, solar and electrification in multi-family housing in Environmental Justice communities - reaching residents who need it most. The result will be lower energy costs and decreased consumption which is good for people and the climate.
Fossil free new construction. The legislature must also ensure against future air pollution that impacts health and climate by requiring new equipment (stoves, water heaters, and furnaces) to have zero health-harming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and by prohibiting fossil fuel combustion in new construction (residential, commercial, schools and public buildings).
Energy transparency protects renters and buyers from energy burden by telling them the energy costs of a dwelling before they rent or buy.
100% zero-carbon electricity generation. In 2022, the General Assembly passed Public Act 22-5, requiring 100% zero-carbon electricity supply for Connecticut. Now the legislature must act to include electricity generation in this goal. Why? Connecticut is a net exporter of electricity; we generate more electricity than we use. This excess electricity generation pollutes our air and will not be covered under PA 22-5.
Require state agencies to comply with climate law. The Global Warming Solutions Act mandates a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut by 45% below 2001 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. But, state agencies are not required to comply with this law. The legislature must require state agency decision making to align with the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Housing and tenant rights. Housing is a human right. The current eviction and homelessness crisis in the state is disproportionately impacting our most vulnerable residents. There are not enough resources to address the immediate crisis and the current safety nets in place are often not getting to folks that need them. We must extend the eviction moratorium, institute fair rent practices, expand affordable housing and re-examine housing affordability.
Reduce Waste and Incineration
Pass a strong Extended Producer Responsibility law. Connecticut continues to face a waste management crisis both on the state and municipal levels. Producers of packaging, tires, smoke detectors, and batteries must be held responsible for the entire life cycle of their products, from production to end of life management, through an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) law.
Reduce single-use plastic and organic waste. Single-use plastics like straws, plastic bags, polystyrene and balloons increase our waste stream and pollute our land, air, and waterways. We can reduce our solid waste by more than half by banning single use plastics, improved recycling and separating organic wastes for composting.
Reject so-called “Advanced Recycling” and prohibit new waste incineration facilities. Continuing to burn plastics and other waste releases toxic air pollution and is not true recycling, nor an acceptable form of energy production. Instead they are greenwashing that requires a continuous supply of waste to feed the beast, giving no incentive to reduce our waste stream. These facilities are all too often in Environmental Justice Communities, adding more pollution in areas that are already overburdened.
Strengthen Protection from Dangerous Toxic Chemicals
Further reduce PFAS exposure. PFAS are known as forever chemicals, because they do not break down in the environment, and are linked to health problems in adults, children and infants. The legislature must enhance monitoring of PFAs including more groundwater testing and water standards. Legislators must also turn off the tap of PFAS at the source by prohibiting its use in cookware, textiles, cosmetics, and all packaging.
Ban Neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids kill bees and birds. They contaminate waterways and ecosystems, harming wildlife and human health. We must ban Neonicotinoids to protect the health of humans and ecosystems.
Rodenticides. Sierra Club supports a ban on rodenticides. Rodenticide ingestion or exposure results in secondary poisoning in raptors and other non-target wildlife. Birds, predators, scavengers, insects, insectivores, reptiles and occasionally even humans can become victims of rodenticide poisoning.
Increase wildlife protections. Wildlife is under stress from habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, pollution and other stresses. Legislators can protect local wildlife in 2023: banning steel leg traps, prohibiting the use of wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts, promoting bear education over hunting, and requiring lights out during migratory bird season.
See activity on bills we are tracking here (bills will begin to be introduced in January 2023):
2023-24 Connecticut General Assembly Information
Visit cga.ct.gov to:
Find Your Legislators
Find Legislative Leaders
Look up Bills
See the Legislative Calendar of Events
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
There is a lot you can do, and boy do we need your help!
First, call your representatives and let them know exactly how you feel about these bills. The Connecticut General Assembly website has done a good job of providing an easy to use directory. Go here to access it and find out who your representative is and what their number is!
Besides that go here to subscribe to our mailing list, after signing up we can send you up-to-date emails on when and how to act to make sure Connecticut is moving in the right direction!
For more information, contact
Arthur Helmus, Chair
Sierra Club CT Legislative Committee