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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Sen. Osten Applauds Signing of New ‘Derbygate’ Law She Helped Write and Pass

NORWICH -- State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) today welcomed Governor Dannel Malloy’s signing into law of one of her hallmark bills from the 2017 legislative session, Senate Bill 4, the so-called “Derbygate” law which will help renew public confidence by preventing a reoccurrence of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC) trips to the Kentucky Derby.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that electric customers in greater Norwich would prefer to have their fees pay for infrastructure and service instead of trips to the Kentucky Derby for mint juleps and big hats. This new law will help prevent a recurrence of that,” Sen. Osten said. “I’m also very pleased that this law passed on a unanimous and bipartisan basis in both the House and the Senate. Every single legislator voted for it. I think that speaks to the necessity of the bill.”

Senate Bill 4, now Public Act 17-73, “AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC UTILITY COOPERATIVES,” prohibits municipal electric energy cooperatives like CMEEC from holding meetings, public hearings, strategic retreats, or similar activities outside of the state. The law requires CMEEC, its member utilities, and member utilities’ municipalities to post notices, agendas, and minutes for meetings and public hearings on their websites.

The law also requires CMEEC to have a forensic audit of its books and accounts conducted annually by an independent auditing firm and post the audit’s report on various websites, and that—for each of the CMEEC’s member utilities—the law requires the board to include one member, appointed by the legislative body of the member utility’s municipality, who is a commercial or residential ratepayer of the member utility operating in the legislative body’s municipality.

The CMEEC controversy began last year when news reports detailed how CMEEC board members, staff, guests and municipal officials took very expensive trips to the Kentucky Derby. The trips were not related to CMEEC’s main job, which is to negotiate wholesale power agreements for Norwich, Groton, Jewett City, and Norwalk.

The new law takes effect October 1.

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