Dear Friends,

House Democrats led the way in passing significant legislation during the 2016 session of the General Assembly to help protect and improve the quality of life for Connecticut families.  This was a session dominated by the budget. Although there were no easy solutions, we approved a budget that is balanced, without tax or fee increases, without borrowing, and without dipping into the Rainy Day Fund – that cuts $830 million.

Improving public health, increasing public safety, and encouraging financial security for everyone were featured elements of the some of the major bills approved by the legislature this year. Keeping Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family is our ongoing responsibility, and though the 2016 legislative session presented one of the toughest budget challenges in decades, we succeeded to help move our state forward.

Sincerely,


Animal Cruelty

This year, we sent a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in Connecticut. We passed legislation that makes malicious and intentional animal cruelty a class C felony, which carries the potential of jail time or a fine of up to $10,000. The legislature also approved a law that aims to increase animal cruelty conviction rates by allowing judges to appoint volunteer legal advocates to assist prosecutors in animal cruelty cases.


Connecticut Jobs: Our Number 1 Priority

This year we made economic growth and support for small business our number one priority. Through Connecticut Innovations, an organization we developed 25 years ago to help boost our tech companies, we are investing millions of dollars where they will do the most good: supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by providing them with the concrete support they need to take them to the next level, and continuing to invest in education so that Connecticut workers are trained in the 21st century skills our companies need. For more information, go to: www.housedems.ct.gov/ctjobs


Recruiting Minority Teachers

As in most states across the country, teachers of color are underrepresented in Connecticut schools. To recruit more minority teachers, we passed legislation that will improve the size and scope of the Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force and encourage minority students to pursue a college degree in education by establishing a pilot program in certain towns. The program will allow minority students to earn college credits while in high school and take an introductory course in education.


Children

This year the House passed numerous laws to promote the wellbeing of children in Connecticut. We worked to keep kids safe and healthy by passing legislation to combat childhood obesity and ban toxic chemicals from kid’s products. We’re also ensuring children receive a high-quality educational experience by safeguarding student data used by schools and making improvements to the Office of Early Childhood, such as improving notification 
to parents when a childcare facility is unlicensed.


Firefighter Cancer Relief Program

It is important that we recognize and take care of firefighters who put their lives on the line for us. This legislation establishes a relief fund for firefighters who are battling work-related cancer. Other legislation allows municipal property tax relief for retired volunteer firefighters, fire police officers and EMTs who volunteered at least 25 years of service.