During the last session, DAS fought to ensure the passage of several pieces of legislation that made it across the finish line and were signed into law by the Governor. Specifically, bills were signed into law that:
- Give DAS authority to purchase the Capitol District Energy Center Cogeneration Associates (“CDECCA”) energy production plant that produces and provides steam and heated and chilled water for the Capitol Area System. The Capitol Areas District heating and Cooling System (“CAS”) services a closed loop distribution system for various state-owned buildings and purchases the necessary thermal energy through a supply agreement with CDECCA energy. After the purchase, the CAS intends to modernize the plant in phases making the plant energy efficient and ultimately saving the state and the private users money.
- Create a new $150M HVAC grant program to support indoor air quality improvements in school buildings. We will issue more details about how and when to apply for these grants in a few weeks.
- Make various changes to School Construction statutes with a primary intent of increasing transparency by, for example, including non-priority list projects in the report provided to the Governor and General Assembly and eliminating the ability for contractors to “self-perform” on school construction contracts.
- Provide funding for the Connecticut Education Network (CEN) to improve Wi-Fi connectivity and broadband for public spaces, including funding to expand broadband to municipalities and libraries, and funding to support the CEN charter school fiber internet connectivity program.
We also worked hand in hand with advocates, legislators, and others to ensure the success of proposals that affect the work of our agency. A few new responsibilities for DAS after this legislative session are:
- Host links to job opportunities for all branches of state government on its website, including Judicial Branch and Legislative Branch employment opportunities;
- Convene working groups related to digitizing State Building Code records and creating apprentice programs for individuals pursuing careers as building officials; and
- Require each new construction of a state facility costing over $100,000 to include level two EV charging stations in at least 20% of parking spaces.
These are just a few examples of the hundreds of pieces of legislation that passed this session. For a more comprehensive overview of all the legislative action, please check out the full 2022 DAS Legislative Summary.
Many thanks to everyone working hard to implement these new laws, and as that work gets underway, we are looking forward to the 2023 Legislative Session!