We are two-thirds of the way through the Connecticut General Assembly legislative session that began on January 6th and will conclude on June 9th, 2021. A lot can happen, so to help, we’ve summarized the activity related to the arts & culture sector from the past two months. If you missed our recap of the first two months of the session, you can read it here.
The beginning of March saw some early progress with S.B. 146, An Act Authorizing Sports Wagering, Online Casino Gaming, Online Lottery, and Online Keno. This bill will bring with it new revenue through the taxation of these gaming pathways. As written, the bill proposes to set aside 10% (up to $20 million) from the new tax revenue for Tourism Marketing, which is not the same as the Tourism Fund that benefits arts, culture, and tourism through an approximate 60/40 split.
We worked with our partners at the Connecticut Tourism Coalition to file joint testimony to amend the bill to deposit the revenue into the Tourism Fund along the 60/40 split. Increasing funding for the arts through new state revenue sources is a major priority for CAA and we will continue to monitor the bill as it progresses.
Another major priority for CAA is H.B. 6119, An Act Concerning Arts, Culture, and Tourism Funding. Since the bill has been drafted into a formal bill, we put out an advocacy alert for the Commerce Committee to vote the bill out of their committee. They did so with a joint favorable vote and we are awaiting its next steps. You can keep track of the bill on the CGA website.
Zooming out to the national level, the American Rescue Plan sends funding directly to town for their leadership to use in ways that work best for their circumstances. We drafted a letter to municipal leaders asking that 1% of that money go towards supporting the arts in their town. This effort emphasizes the need for leaders at all levels to commit to the arts and demonstrate that the arts are part of their communities.
Americans for the Arts hosted their annual National Arts Action Summit, a week-long event with details on different talking points for the arts & culture sector at the national level. CAA served as the State Captains for Connecticut this year, and in this role we met with other advocates that signed up for the summit to discuss our strategy for bringing our understanding of the actions to be taken at the national level to our Congressional delegation.
Lastly, the week after the Summit, we met with each of the members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation to share our talking points and urge them to support legislation that would positively impact the creative economy at the national level.
May and June mark the last two months of the legislative session and we expect them to be active months. To stay up-to-date on arts bills, the state budget, and other major events that impact the arts & culture sector, get connected by following us on Twitter, Facebook, signing up for our emails, or becoming a member.