Bill To Ban Smoking In Restaurants Clears Committee
Bills to restrict smoking in public places and to extend eligibility for unemployment benefits cleared legislative committees Tuesday.
The public health committee approved a proposal to give towns and cities the right to pass their own laws governing smoking. Last year, the committee sent the same bill to the Senate floor for a vote, where it died.
The health committee also approved a bill that would ban smoking in all public restaurants.
Meanwhile, the labor committee approved extending unemployment benefits to some part-time workers and newer members of the workforce who are not eligible, with a plan to use federal money to pay for the expansion. The committee also approved a bill that would offer employment protections to service workers at Bradley International Airport who might be displaced when service contracts are terminated.
The committeealso approved a proposal that would give collective bargaining rights to certain farm workers, while setting restrictions on the kind of job actions the workers could take.
Besides the actions taken Tuesday, the labor committee also has approved a bill that would impose wage and other standards on companies that receive more than $500,000 in economic development aid from the state.
Also, the committee has passed a plan to increase Connecticut's minimum wage to $7 an hour in January 2003 - up from $6.70, a level that went into effect in January, after a 30-cent increase. The additional money would make Connecticut's minimum wage the highest among the six New England states, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
State Rep. Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden, co-chairman of the labor committee, said he expects a "good response" to several proposals, including the increase in the minimum wage, the extension of unemployment benefits, and the standards for economic development assistance.