Connecticut Legislators Helping During Times of Need

Michelle R Morra

In the Fall Semester of 2011, the university and the rest of Connecticut experienced some very unusual weather occurrences that had many in the state out of power, out of their homes, and looking at huge bills to repair their homes and clean-up their streets.  Now several Democratic lawmakers are looking to pass a law that would extend the Price-gouging law to include services such as roof clean-up and repairs, lodging, and more.

The law currently states that once the governor of Connecticut declares a State of Emergency, businesses are banned from price-gouging people on items that would be rare to get ahold of in the time of the emergency.  Right now, the law includes such items as generators, dry ice, and perishable food.  But as we have seen from the last two major storms that have hit Connecticut, Hurricane Irene and winter storm Alfred, other services need to be covered to prevent people from being taken advantage of in a time of need.

The bill was originally brought to the Senate last November but didn’t get passed because there wasn’t enough time for it to go through the House.  The new bill will extend the law to prevent special services and businesses from making unfair profits.  For example, it will prevent roof cleaning and repairs from gouging since it is a necessity to repair ones roof, and it will also prevent hotels and motels from price-gouging lodging when a family may need to stay in a hotel for weeks after a storm when they have no power or other necessities such as water for showering and cooking.  Other services would also include snow removal, flood abatement services, and other post-storm clean-up or repair services.

Senator Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr. (D-Brooklyn) submitted the bill on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 for support from legislation.  The senators made their case to other legislators; Senator Looney said that it would extend the bill “beyond the goods it covers now, [to] ensure consumers are well protected when it comes to services and lodging.”

If this law was to be extended, it would provide Connecticut Residents more protection from price-gouging and also provide a more defined definition of gouging all around.  For now the law is going through the process of passing through the Senate and then the House.