State Lawmakers Return To Capitol To Vote On Two Bills

AP
December 15, 2019 - 12:52 pm

Photo by WTIC's Will Purcell

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 HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut lawmakers plan to return to the state Capitol on Wednesday to vote on two outstanding issues that were hammered out over the summer and fall.
 The General Assembly has scheduled a special legislative session to consider a recently announced settlement agreement reached between Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont's administration and the Connecticut Hospital Association. It's in regard to a contentious tax on hospitals that was first imposed in 2012.
 The agreement calls for the state's hospitals to withdraw legal claims that potentially exposed the state to as much as $4 billion in liability. In return, the agreement increases Medicaid hospital rates by about 2% per year for seven years while stabilizing the amount of taxes hospitals pay the state.
 Jennifer Jackson, CEO of the hospital association, has called the agreement ``a win for patients, hospitals and the state`` while Lamont has said it marks a new chapter in the state's relationship with the hospitals.
 If approved by legislators, the agreement will result in the withdrawal of all pending legal claims filed by the hospitals against the state that challenged the hospital tax. Also, all rate appeals filed by hospitals challenging state Medicaid payments will be pulled.
 Lawmakers are also expected to vote Wednesday on a second bill that addresses concerns raised by restaurant owners facing class action lawsuits over state wage and hour rules. Restaurant owners have urged the General Assembly to clarify the Connecticut's wage rules, saying certain inconsistencies have become the subject of litigation. Some owners are facing the possibility of paying costly fines and back wages after being told for years it's legal to not count every minute their servers and bartenders perform a side task other than serving, so long as it's less than 20% of their shift.
 Wednesday could be the first of two special sessions held before the Legislature convenes its regular session in early February. A major statewide transportation improvement that includes truck-only tolls on a dozen bridges across Connecticut could be voted on in January, as well as a major state borrowing bill.