Sen. Harding Statement on 2024 Session

May 9, 2024

Sen. Republican Leader Stephen Harding issued the following statement regarding the adjournment of the Connecticut General Assembly’s legislative session.

“It is an honor to lead the Senate Republican caucus. Republican senators worked as a team to stand up for common sense policies which improve the quality of life for Connecticut families. Senate Republicans also worked together to stand up against policies which put burdens on Connecticut families and job creators. For hours upon hours, Republican senators stood in the Senate Chamber, posing tough questions about Democrat-backed bills like the paid sick leave mandate which will crush jobs and hurt mom and pop businesses across Connecticut. Our senators’ stamina and strength sent a message to the majority: Senate Republicans are invigorated. Senate Republicans are willing to go the distance in order to defend taxpayers’ wallets and consumer choice. That clear message resulted in other Democrat-supported legislation not being taken up for debate. The anti-consumer choice electric vehicle mandate study bill is an example, as is the “Green Monster” climate bill which would have given an unelected bureaucrat unfettered new powers to raise taxes and create new government programs. Senate Republicans made it very difficult for majority Democrats to advance their agenda. I thank each and every one of my Senate Republican colleagues, as well as our hard-working Senate Republican staff, for their commitment to common sense and to helping the people we serve.

Among my disappointments is that budget gimmicks are back in style under one-party Democrat rule at the State Capitol. The responsible fiscal guardrails that Republicans fought to put in place in 2017 have been broken. That lack of fiscal discipline is irresponsible and has set us up for tax hikes.

Majority Democrats also didn’t see the need to pass real election reforms despite the embarrassing ballot stuffing fiasco in Bridgeport which we all saw on video. Where is the accountability? Democrats are content with the current system because it works for them. The ballot stuffing will continue.

Majority Democrats were also unwilling to pass Senate Republicans’ proposals to change the direction of our energy policies to stop future increases in electricity costs and eventually reduce them. Connecticut ratepayers are frustrated, and rightly so. They feel the pain every month when their electric bill comes, and that pain is only getting worse. Our goal as lawmakers should be to pass policies which put consumers first. People on Main Street don’t see that happening under the current one-party rule. That is unacceptable to us as Republicans. We need real reform, and our solutions offered that real relief and stability.

Another disappointment was that Democrats were unable to pass any bills to lower health insurance costs for Connecticut families this year. A prime example: bipartisan legislation which would have allowed working and middle-class employees to get more affordable insurance by pooling their resources together didn’t advance. That legislation had the support of the Women’s Business Development Council, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, and the Connecticut Non-Profit Alliance, to name just a few groups. The only losers in this scenario are the overburdened working and middle-class families across our state who are dealing with unaffordable health insurance costs. Republicans will continue working to relieve their burdens.

Each and every member of the Senate Republican caucus will now go back to our senate districts to speak directly to taxpayers about the issues they care about. We have clearly framed the issues, and we feel our message will resonate with working and middle class families up and down Main Street.”