Connecticut’s State Legislature is well into the 2021 session. There are a few bills in the current session that are likely of interest to CTPA members. Those relating to trees are listed below. Those relating to pesticides will be covered in a separate post.
In reviewing the list, note that there are a couple with Public Hearings coming up this week (the week of March 1st). Public Hearings are being held virtually. If you are interested in watching or participating, please visit the web page of the respective Legislative Committee for details. If you wish to submit comments, also visit the Committee web page for further information.
The bills can be tracked on their own web pages. The bill numbers are linked for easy access.
Please feel free to share your interests regarding these or any other legislative activities with the CTPA Board. Greg Foran, Kevin Wyatt and Pat Flynn are the best contacts for this on the Board. You should also feel free to contact Cathy Dvorsky at the CTPA office.
List of Tree Related Legislation:
HB 5598: AN ACT CONCERNING A PROPERTY OWNER’S LIABILITY FOR THE EXPENSES OF REMOVING A FALLEN TREE OR LIMB.
This is a new bill. It would define that responsibility of a property owner if his/her tree were to fall on a neighbor’s property. It would give a role in this to arborists.
Public Hearing date: March 3, 2021 – Judiciary Committee
Note – Bills 5059 and 5356 were basically identical bills that are now stalled.
SB 950: AN ACT CONCERNING THE REPLACEMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITY POLES AND REVISING VEGETATION MANAGEMENT IN UTILITY PROTECTION ZONES.
This is a revision of an existing statute. This bill would substantially increase the authority of utilities to do tree pruning and removals within the utility protection zone when there are 3 phase wires within that UPZ. This has direct reference to the authority of the tree wardens in these situations.
Public Hearing date: March 4, 2021 – Joint Committee on Energy and Technology
HB 5936: AN ACT CONCERNING DAMAGES INCURRED BY A PROPERTY OWNER DUE TO FALLING TREES OR TREE LIMBS FROM NEIGHBORING PROPERTY THAT IS OWNED BY THE STATE.
This is a new bill. It would create a statutory assumption of liability by the state in the case of a state-owned tree falling in whole or in part onto private property with such liability being limited to the actual costs of removal by a licensed arborist.
No Public Hearing date set as of yet. Joint Committee on the Judiciary
SB 266: AN ACT CONCERNING NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS AND HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS.
This bill is an update of the Home Improvement Contractors Law. It would state that “home improvement” does not include “tree cutting or the grinding of stumps of trees or shrubs”.
Public Hearing held on January 28, 2021. Passed out of the Joint Committee on General Law and is on its way to the Office of Legislative Research and the Office of Fiscal Analysis. (note – edited March 2, 2021)
HB466: AN ACT CONCERNING VEGETATION MANAGEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION.
This bill would require the Department of Transportation to manage vegetation along highways and railroad corridors to curtail unnecessary tree pruning and removal and to prohibit the use of clear cutting in lieu of vegetation management and conserve urban and edge forests through adherence to guidelines developed to accomplish such goals.
No Public Hearing date set as of yet. Joint Committee on the Environment
SB398: AN ACT CONCERNING DEAD AND DYING TREES ON MUNICIPAL ROADS AND PUBLIC LANDS.
This bill would establish a five-year 2 municipal grant program to address dying trees along municipal roads 3 and on public lands.
No Public Hearing as of yet. Committee on Appropriations.
HB6441: AN ACT CONCERNING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION.
This bill would allow each town to create a buyer’s conveyance fee that could be used, among other purposes, for the funding of environmental projects, including, but not limited to, urban forestry and planting of trees.
No Public Hearing date as of yet. Governor’s Bill, Joint Committee on the Environment
HB6164: AN ACT REQUIRING THE PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY TO ADOPT REGULATIONS FOR NATURAL BARRIER PRESERVATION AND MAINTENANCE
A bill to require utility companies to maintain and preserve natural barriers, including trees or other vegetation, between such company’s facilities and any residential neighbors to such facility.
No Public Hearing as of yet. Joint Committee on Energy and Technology. HB6165 is identical.