top of page

Legislative Update

Ann Gadwah

April 2023

unnamed - 2023-03-30T202116.403.jpg

It is about half way through the 2023 session of the Connecticut General Assembly. Bills have been raised and had public hearings, and many committees have completed their work and sent bills to get a vote from the full House and Senate. Many of Sierra Club’s 2023 legislative priorities, which include measures to address climate change, environmental justice, waste reduction, toxics, and wildlife, are making their way to a vote. 


Climate Change & Environmental Justice: Connecticut promised to cut climate pollution and protect our future — but our state is not on track to meet its obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underscores the urgency and need for action. Take Action: Tell your state legislators to keep Connecticut's climate promise and do more, including supporting bills that address climate and environmental justice. Here are the current bills that must be enacted into law:

  • SB 1145 An Act Concerning the Establishment of Sector Specific Subtargets for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions: This bill will update the Global Warming Solutions Act which mandates greenhouse gas emission reductions in Connecticut. Updates include a net-zero target by 2050, targets for heating and cooling and the gas system, as well as natural lands, and authorizes DEEP to make regulations and take actions to achieve the target. It also requires a renewable energy alternative analysis for any proposed fossil fuel infrastructure.

  • HB 6397 An Act Concerning Zero-Carbon Emissions: This bill declares a climate emergency, and requires DEEP to develop a comprehensive roadmap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • SB 4 An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Present and Future Housing Needs: This is a comprehensive bill for tenants to increase protections, affordable housing and access to energy efficiency and clean energy programs. Take Action: Ask for your legislators to support SB 4.

  • HB 5634 An Act Increasing Funding for Energy Efficiency Programs: This bill will fill a projected gap in the state’s energy efficiency program.

  • SB 961 An Act Concerning Carbon-Free School Requirements for New School Construction: This bill will promote the construction of carbon-free schools.

  • SB 979 An Act Concerning the Establishment of the Connecticut Home Energy Label and the Tree Canopy of Certain Municipalities: This bill will supply energy data to prospective renters to understand the energy use of an apartment they might rent. It also aims to increase tree canopy coverage in urban areas. 

  • SB 1083 An Act Establishing a Transportation Carbon Budget for the State: This bill will set a transportation sector carbon budget.

  • SB 1147 An Act Concerning the Environmental Justice Program of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection: This will strengthen Connecticut’s Environmental Justice Law by allowing DEEP to reject permits in areas already overburdened with pollution. Sierra Club is urging that this be a requirement, not an option for DEEP

Waste Reduction: Connecticut has a waste crisis — we produce far too much waste, we are the most incinerator reliant state in the nation, and the pollution from incineration is harming the health of the communities near the incinerators and our climate. To address our waste crisis Sierra Club, alongside the Zero Waste Coalition, is advocating for an all-out effort to reduce waste from the start and divert waste that could be composted or recycled. Take Action: Urge your legislators to pass waste reduction legislation before them and do more to address this crisis. Here are the bills that must be supported.

  • HB 5577 An Act Concerning Surplus Food Donation and Establishing Food Composting Requirements: Compostable organic matter makes up over 40% of total waste in Connecticut. This bill only addresses a fraction of compostable organic waste, but getting it out of the waste stream will make a difference. 

  • HB 6606 An Act Concerning the Use of Certain Products Made from Polystyrene 

  • HB 6608 An Act Concerning the Distribution of Single Use Straws and Stirrers by Certain Restaurants: 11% of waste in Connecticut is plastic. Single use plastics like straws must be banned to reduce overall plastic waste.


Toxics: Several bills before the General Assembly will strengthen protection from dangerous toxic chemicals. Take Action: Ask your legislators to protect Connecticut from toxics. Bills include:

  • SB 963 An Act Concerning Neonicotinoids for Non-Agricultural Use: This bill will restrict the use of these insecticides and help stop the decline of keystone insect populations.

  • SB 100 An Act Establishing an Account in the General Fund to Provide Grants to Towns that Need PFAs Testing and Remediation

  • SB 962 An Act Concerning the Use of Certain Rodenticides will prohibit the use of second-generation rodenticides in order to preserve hawk and other raptor populations in the state. 


Wildlife: Wildlife and their habitats are under unprecedented threats. Protecting wildlife is critically important and connected to our human welfare. Take Action: Tell your legislators that you want them to protect wildlife. Bills of note include:

  • SB 1148 An Act Authorizing Certain Killing and Hunting of Black Bears and Prohibiting Bird Feeders and Other Unintentional and Intentional Feeding of Potentially Dangerous Animals: While Sierra Club supports prohibiting bird feeders and other unintentional and intentional feeding of bears, Sierra Club opposes a bear hunt. 

  • HB 6607 An Act Concerning the Nighttime Lighting of State-Owned Buildings at Certain Times for the Protection of Birds: Excessively lit buildings and reflective structures attract and disorient migratory birds, leading to deadly collisions. 

  • HB 6813 An Act Authorizing the Establishment of a Seabird and Shorebird Protection Program: This bill will create seabird and shorebird protection areas along the state's coast. 

  • HB 6484 An Act Concerning Certain Harvesting of Horseshoe Crabs: This will prohibit the hand-harvesting of horseshoe crabs whose eggs are critically important to migrating shorebirds. 

  • SB 963 and SB 962: These bills are listed above in the toxic section — and are also important measures to protect wildlife.


All these bills and more can be found on our 2023 Legislative Priorities. Thank you for reaching out to your legislators and urging them to take action!


Take Action: Tell your state legislators to keep Connecticut's climate promise

Take Action: Ask for your legislators to support SB 4

Take Action: Urge your legislators to pass waste reduction legislation

Take Action: Ask your legislators to protect Connecticut from toxics.

Take Action: Tell your legislators that you want them to protect wildlife

Ann Gadwah is Advocacy & Outreach Organizer with a focus on our legislative work at the State Capitol.

bottom of page