Senator Cohen Named a CCM 2021 Legislative Champion
Senator Christine Cohen (left) receives her CCM 2021 Legislative Champion Award. She represents District 12 towns of Branford, North Branford, Guilford, Madison, Durham and Killingworth. (Photo courtesy CT General Assembly)
State Senator Christine Cohen (D-District 12) has been named a 2021 Legislative Champion by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) for her work and leadership on modernizing the recycling system in Connecticut for solid waste management, and for passage of legislation that allows cities and towns to establish stormwater authorities, which will help them effectively manage and comply with state and federal stormwater requirements.
CCM is Connecticut's largest, nonpartisan organization of municipal leaders, representing towns and cities of all sizes from all corners of the state, with 168 member municipalities. Sen. Cohen received her award at CCM's annual convention dinner held last night in Uncasville.
This year, Sen. Cohen helped lead passage of House Bill 6441, AN ACT CONCERNING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION, which allows all municipalities (rather than just New Haven, New London and Norwalk) to establish a municipal stormwater authority – if they so choose – to assess fees to help handle stormwater management, reduce runoff and minimize pollution. This bill also creates new funding mechanisms to address climate resilience and expands the authority of municipal flood and erosion control boards to include flood prevention and resiliency, as well as establishing joint boards should they so choose.
Sen. Cohen also helped lead passage of Senate Bill 1037, "An Act Concerning Solid Waste Management," which, among other provisions, modernizes the state's bottle bill to assist towns in reducing the amount of trash to haul. Additionally, it provides dollars to municipalities based on the number of nips sold in each town on a quarterly basis. These payments made by the wholesalers of the 50mL containers will be used to support environmental actions taken by municipalities. The bill also outlines an incentive program for towns that would like to adopt a unit-based pricing program for solid waste disposal (i.e. "pay-as-you-throw").
"Every year it becomes increasingly more clear that environmental policy is directly tied to economic policy, including local mill rates and budgets, as cities and towns and their residents share a greater burden of disposing of trash or dealing with the financial fallout of global climate change," Sen. Cohen said. "As Senate Chair of the Environment Committee, I believe the state has a role in assisting its cities and towns to help manage their financial responsibilities to better handle their environmental responsibilities, and that's what these two bills do. I want to thank CCM for partnering with the state legislature to ensure that the environment and local residents are both protected and provided with the resources they need to remain healthy and secure."
"Senator Cohen has proven herself to be a true champion for towns and cities," said CCM Executive Director Joe Delong. "Her leadership and commitment on two key municipal initiatives, modernizing Connecticut's bottle bill and enabling towns to establish stormwater authorities, were instrumental in ensuring their passage. More importantly, her willingness to meet with us and provide access stood out and is greatly appreciated by municipal leaders."