HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State lawmakers are heading back to Hartford on Wednesday to vote on two leftover issues affecting the state’s hospitals and thousands of restaurant workers.
More than a dozen restaurants and restaurant groups have been taken to court by employees that claim they were underpaid for non-service related work.
Restaurant owners claim they were just following guidance from the Connecticut Department of Labor that turned out to be flawed.
On Wednesday, the House will take up a compromise measure to address the problem.
“We’re trying to help those restaurants that acted in good faith but, at the same time, preserve legal remedies and rights for those workers who were defrauded by their employers at certain restaurants,” said House Majority Leader, Rep. Matt Ritter (D-Hartford).
Governor Ned Lamont, who vetoed a previously approved bill on this issue because he said it too was flawed, said, “We’ve got a bill in place that allows those restaurant workers who felt like they were disadvantaged, they can go get their just compensation, and, by the way, we’ve given certainty and clarity to the restaurants.”
While that’s being debated in the House, the state Senate will take up the other big leftover issue. It will approve an out-of-court settlement with the state’s hospitals over a long running legal case over the state taxes they pay and the reimbursement they get for taking care of patients on Medicaid.
“We have dramatically reduced the costs to the taxpayers of Connecticut, and we kept faith with the hospitals, they have signed on to this agreement,” Lamont said.
It’ll cost the state about $900 million as opposed to several billion.
“It is better to resolve this issue now, have predictability for the next eight years than to have protracted litigation and be looking at exposure potentially $4 billion down the road,” Ritter said.
“It’s good that we settle this lawsuit, and (or) face a $4 billion liability claim but remember how we got here,” added Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven).
He and the Republicans blame former Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democrats for approving the hospital tax scheme in the first place.
Transportation and the “truck only tolls” plan is not on the agenda for Wednesday. That political hot potato has been pushed to January.