Gov. Lamont Signs First Bill: Bipartisan Legislation Allows Federal Workers Impacted by the Shutdown to Receive Financial Assistance Through a Partnership With the State’s Banks and Credit Unions
New Public-Private Partnership Enables Federal Workers in Connecticut Who Are Otherwise Ineligible to Receive Unemployment Assistance Obtain No-Interest Loans from Private Banks with the Backing of the State
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont this afternoon signed emergency certified legislation he proposed last week that will enable both essential and nonessential federal workers to receive no-interest loans during the shutdown of the federal government through a public-private partnership between the State of Connecticut and private banks and credit unions. The partnership guarantees that federal workers in Connecticut, some of whom are still required to work while not receiving a paycheck and are otherwise ineligible to apply for unemployment assistance, will be able to receive financial assistance during the shutdown.
The idea for the partnership – the first of its kind in the nation – was developed between Governor Lamont and the state’s banking community. Because the loans will be backed by the state, legislation was needed to approve the partnership. Democrat and Republican leaders in the General Assembly quickly indicated their support for the proposal and their staffs worked cooperatively with the Governor’s Office to develop the language. The legislation was approved this afternoon by both chambers of the General Assembly, and it was immediately transmitted it to the governor for his signature.
The legislation becomes the first bill signed into law by Governor Lamont, who was sworn into office on January 9.
“This unique and innovative partnership will help federal workers access the funding necessary to pay their bills and put food on the table during the shutdown,” Governor Lamont said. “Its quick, bipartisan approval by the General Assembly is an example of what we can accomplish when we partner with the private sector and come together as leaders, rather than Democrats or Republicans.
“I’m proud that the first bill I am signing into law has strong bipartisan support, was created through a collaboration with the state’s business community, and provides aid to people who are in need through no fault of their own. It should serve as an indication of the way in which I plan to govern – inclusively, smartly, and in a way that reminds people that government can be part of the solution. I don’t know when the shutdown will end, but I do know that the State of Connecticut and the private sector will continue to work together to help those in need. I thank all of the legislators who quickly voted to approve this bill.”
The legislation permits federal workers who live in the state to receive loans from banks and credit unions that amount to one month’s net pay, capped at $5,000. In the event that the shutdown continues for an extended period of time, participating banks and the state will work with impacted employees to provide additional funds.
To date, a growing number of the state’s financial institutions have contacted the Lamont administration indicating their intention to provide the loans, including Webster Bank and People’s United Bank.
Federal employees who are interested applying for a loan under the partnership should contact the bank or credit union of which they are a member to determine whether it is participating. If it is not, loans may be available through a bank or credit union other than that employees’ usual financial institution.
In addition to creating the loan program, the legislation Governor Lamont signed today permits municipalities to defer property tax payments from impacted federal employees, and prepares the state’s unemployment insurance system to offer benefits to essential workers if the requisite changes are made to federal law.
The legislation is House Bill 5765, An Act Establishing the Federal Shutdown Affected Employees Loan Program and Providing Additional Assistance to Federal Employees.