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Political Scene




 
Rep. Wilson opposed minimum wage increase
 
HARTFORD - The House of Representatives debated raising the state’s minimum wage for over 12 hours beginning on the evening of Wednesday, May 8 and concluding in the afternoon of Thursday, May 9. State Rep. David T. Wilson, R-Litchfield, opposed the bill, but it ended up passing by a final vote tally of 85–59, with two Democrats joining all Republicans in the dissenting vote.
 
“We tried to make this piece of legislation better by offering several amendments and counter points throughout the lengthy debate. Despite my best effort to persuade my colleagues to oppose the minimum wage increase at this time, it did pass,” stated Rep. Wilson, who represents Bethlehem, Litchfield, Morris, Warren, and Woodbury. “It’s a sad day for Connecticut. As a direct result of the state government’s actions, businesses will be forced to make tougher hiring decisions and it is more than likely that this policy will decrease participation in our workforce as a consequence.”
 
In total, Republicans called eight separate amendments to offer language changes in an attempt to improve the bill. All were rejected by the majority party.
 
In the approved legislation, it calls for incremental wage increases over the next four and a half years. By June 1, 2023, the minimum wage will be $15 per hour for all employees throughout the state. In the following years, the minimum wage will be dictated by the commissioner of the Department of Labor by using the federally set employment cost index. In essence, this gives unfettered power to the executive branch by allowing it to unilaterally set the minimum wage without future legislative approval.
 
The legislation came before the Appropriations Committee merely hours before it appeared on the House floor. Rep. Wilson opposed the legislation, however remained optimistic that substantive changes would be considered. There was no consideration of changes, based on the timeline of the bill coming before the entire membership of the House of Representatives.
 
Lawmakers were given roughly thirty minutes to digest the content of the bill before it was put up for debate.
 
Rep. Wilson said, “There were several opportunities in which this legislation could have been made better. It is clear that there was a partisan push to jam this legislation through our legislative body, regardless of the unintended consequences that action might carry. This bill restricts employers, which will have a devastatingly chilling effect on summer employment opportunities and beyond. Industries such as healthcare, tourism, and entertainment will immediately suffer if this legislation is approved by the State Senate.”
 
Taxpayers and employers are faced with over $2 billion in proposed tax increases over the next two years, in addition to the minimum wage increase. The legislation awaits further action in the State Senate.
 
 
Democrats pick Larsson to be new chairman
 
Alex Larsson was recently unanimously elected as the new chairman of the Litchfield Democratic Town Committee.
 
Larsson attended Western Connecticut State University, where he received bachelors and masters degrees in history. He is now the president of the Connecticut Crossroads Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to document the history of Litchfield County and the wider region by recording interviews with residents, both young and old. He is also a former competitive soccer player and currently coaches youth soccer. He also serves as a member of the Litchfield Parks and Recreation Commission and the Conservation Commissions.
 
Larsson ran unsuccessfully in 2018 as the Democratic candidate for state representative in the 66th District.
 
The Democratic Town Committee meets the first Tuesday of every month and welcomes new members. The committee is seeking individuals interested in running for positions in this year's municipal election. For further information contact Larsson at alexlarsson2356@gmail.com or vice chairman Joe Manes at jbmanes@att.net.
 
 
 
 
Republican Town Committee seeking candidates
 
 The Litchfield Republican Town Committee is seeking candidates to run for seats on town boards and commissions in the November municipal election.
 
Candidates are being sought for the boards of selectmen, education and finance, the Board of Assessment Appeals, and the Planning and Zoning Commission, as well as for town treasurer and tax collector. Those interested in running can be a Republican or an unaffiliated voter.
 
For more information, contact the Litchfield Republican Candidate Committee at litchfieldrepublican@gmail.com or 860-567-8518.