Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



June 16, 2023


One week after the completion of the 2023 legislative session, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) is proud of the important role he played in the Senate, leading the passage of bills from the Energy & Technology Committee to transform Connecticut’s utilities while also adding his voice to ensure legislation enacting positive change throughout the state became law as well.
Sen. Needleman was elected in 2018 to serve the 33rd Senate District; now in his third term, he continues to advocate on behalf of the 12 communities he represents. In addition to the Energy & Technology Committee, he is Vice Chair of the Planning and Development Committee and a member of the Commerce, Finance, Revenue and Bonding and Transportation Committees.

“In a long and challenging session, I’m proud of the accomplishments my colleagues and I were able to achieve on behalf of Connecticut and our constituents,” said Sen. Needleman. “My foremost goal this year was to support legislation that would improve Connecticut’s energy utilities, and Senate Bill 7 promises to do that. That’s just one of many bills we managed to pass successfully; I’m especially encouraged by the passing of the state budget, which will cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of households. That’s meaningful financial support that will aid our state and indicative of the improvements we fought for on behalf of Connecticut.”

Any discussion of Sen. Needleman’s role in the Senate this year must begin with Senate Bill 7, which seeks to address Connecticut’s energy utility companies and improve the service and standards state ratepayers are accustomed to. When state residents pay some of the highest energy costs in the country, they deserve the gold standard from energy utilities, but all too often, they don’t get it. Senate Bill 7 seeks to improve that. It will end the practice of allowing utilities to charge ratepayers for their expenses in arguing rate cases and their expenses in building political influence. It further allows PURA increased authority to order rate decoupling for utility rate cases, which aims to tie performance metrics to the best interests of ratepayers, not maximum profit. Importantly, the bill also creates a program for residential or small business ratepayers to participate in rate cases before PURA, evening the playing field.

The Energy & Technology Committee experienced further successes this year, passing legislation to study the state’s hydropower assets; preventing utility service terminations in rental units, protecting property from potential damage. He also played a key role with House Chair Rep. Jonathan Steinberg in extending the state’s utilities shutoff moratorium to 2024, important given continued financial stress experienced by thousands of households. Further, Sen. Needleman played a role in supporting legislation that will work to prevent deadly wrong-way driving accidents, improve upkeep of veteran gravesites and increase protections against domestic violence and support survivors of domestic violence, among many other bills.

In addition to these successes, Sen. Needleman was proud to add his vote to the passage of a number of important bills in the Senate this year. These included the state’s bipartisan, Democratic-led budget, which will provide income tax cuts to hundreds of thousands of Connecticut households; legislation that will promote student academic success while increasing transparency of how school districts spend money; the advancement of early voting in the state, which will be available to voters for the 2024 election, and the advancement of “no-excuses” absentee voting, which will return to voters on the 2024 ballot; legislation to protect children’s mental health and provide literary freedom to libraries; a bill which cuts down on red tape in the health insurance industry that can delay care and frustrate patients and doctors alike; increased protections to survivors of domestic violence; overhauls of Connecticut’s energy regulations with a focus on ratepayers; expanding debt-free community college; adding personal financial literacy requirements to the state’s education system; and securing funding to support Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.