Joan Hartley

State Senator

Joan Hartley

Chief Deputy President Pro Tempore

An Independent Voice

March 27, 2024

Senator Hartley, Representative Meskers, Senator Martin and Representative Harrison listen to debate during a Committee Meeting

On Tuesday, State Senator Joan Hartley, Senate Chair of the Commerce Committee celebrated the committee’s success as members advanced their final bills to the Senate and House floors.

“In the years since our state and the entire world was halted by COVID, the work of the Commerce Committee has been critical in developing a post-pandemic plan,” said State Sen. Joan Hartley. “The pandemic shined a light on existing issues and exacerbated others, and we now have an opportunity to take a comprehensive approach to not just rebuild, but to meaningfully support the business environment here in Connecticut. I am eager to now discuss these proposals with the General Assembly at large as we continue to prepare our state to welcome the unfolding future business climate through focused tax credits, developing our workforce and investing in affordable and quality childcare. I am so grateful to my co-Chair Representative Meskers, Ranking Members Senator Martin and Representative Harrison and the incredibly hardworking committee staff for their work this session.”

HB 5432 establishes a working group to develop a plan to expand Mystic Seaport tourism, investing dollars into eastern Connecticut’s well established yet rapidly growing tourism industry.

SB 248 establishes the CT-Ireland Trade Commission. This initiative aims to enhance bilateral trade and investment between our governments, facilitating the free exchange of business and academic ideas without imposing additional costs on taxpayers.

SB 249 expands the Early Childhood Business Incubator program to allow providers operating outside a private residence to receive family childcare home licenses if they’ve partnered with a childcare organization. Early childhood education is an economic issue; parents cannot work if they cannot access childcare, and the lack of sufficient infant-toddler care costs our state $1.5 billion in economic productivity annually.

SB 250 requires the Department of Economic and Community Development to establish a pilot global entrepreneur in residence (GEIR) program to facilitate partnerships between Connecticut institutions of higher education, student entrepreneurs and private employers. This proposal seeks to increase our state’s talent diversity through a public private partnership for universities and businesses, spurring economic development and keeping talent in our state.

Manufacturing and bioscience are two industries that the Commerce Committee has a particular interest in. The manufacturing industry has a long history of success here in Connecticut, and the bioscience industry is seeing explosive growth here in our state. Both industries require significant investment into research, development and infrastructure, and with SB 379 and SB 157 we establish important tax credits and incentives to attract these businesses to our state, and promote growth in existing businesses here in Connecticut. Both of these bills now head to the Finance, Bonding and Revenue Committee.

Aside from the two bills that have been referred to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, these proposals now head to the Senate or House floors for deliberation among the General Assembly as a whole.

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