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Connecticut legislature considers pandemic pay, but effort could be scaled back

Nursing assistant Michelle Bryan (left) and respiratory therapist Karen Clinton don personal protective equipment before entering the room of a COVID-19 patient.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff/OPB
Nursing assistant Michelle Bryan (left) and respiratory therapist Karen Clinton don personal protective equipment before entering the room of a COVID-19 patient.

A bill before the Connecticut legislature, if passed, would provide pandemic pay for essential workers who staffed grocery stores and hospitals during the worst of the pandemic. The current proposal would give full-time employees $2,000 and part-time employees $1,000.

But the scope of the bill would most likely be scaled back, Speaker of the House Matt Ritter, a Democrat, said Tuesday.

“Any bill that comes out, you will see a substantial reduction in who’s eligible and a substantial reduction of the payment,” he said.

The cost of the relief package is estimated at $750 million and would be paid for with federal COVID relief funds. Ritter says to meet the hefty price tag, the bill would violate the legislature’s spending cap rules and burn through federal relief dollars.

Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. She loves hearing what you thought of her stories or story ideas you have so please email her at aoshinskie@ctpublic.org.