This was the second year we were able to pass a true bipartisan budget. This budget increased funding for Waterbury and included a restoration of the Medicare Savings Program, as well as funding Husky A, something that was a concern to many in Waterbury and throughout our state.
As House Chairman of the legislature’s Housing Committee I spent my time on issues related to housing and housing programs. We were able to pass legislation addressing lead abatement as well as other environmental health hazards that still remain in Connecticut households. We were also able to pass a bill requiring the Commissioner of Housing to make recommendations regarding state-funded elderly and mentally disabled housing.
Some of the legislation I supported this session was the National Popular Vote, 10 Essential Health Benefits, and a Sewage Right to Know bill which requires notification of sewage spills in a timely manner.
I am proud of what we were able to accomplish, and appreciate the opportunity to serve the citizens of Waterbury.
Money Back to Waterbury
|Education Cost Sharing||$136,614,823*|
|PILOT Real Property||$3,021,121|
|PILOT Colleges & Hospitals||$3,706,103|
|Pequot / Mohegan Grant||$2,637,435|
|Town Aid Road Grant||$1,069,319|
|Local Capital Improvements||$1,527,828|
|Grants For Municipal Projects||$2,516,158|
|Municipal Revenue Sharing Account (MRSA)||$3,284,145|
|Municipal Stabilization Grant||$2,298,414|
|Waterbury Municipal Aid Total||$158,570,155|
* Includes additional aid to support students displaced by recent hurricanes.
Youth Violence Initiative
This year we passed legislation which gives the city of Waterbury a grant from the Judicial Department through their Youth Violence Initiative. This grant is part of a program to reduce violence among young people. The city will work with community-based organizations to provide job readiness training, mentorship, and conflict mediation to high risk youth, including those involved in gangs. Some of the money will also go towards organizing safe, pro-social activities.
Lead abatement remains a serious issue to all residents in the state but most dangerously to our state’s children. However, there are also other toxins that children may be exposed to every day at home. Homeowners may now access funding to address the abatement of not only lead, but other environmental hazards including mold, allergens, asthma, carbon monoxide, home safety, pesticides and radon.
Minority Teacher Recruitment
Increasing the number of minority teachers in our schools is one of my legislative priorities, and this bill is an important step toward diversifying that workforce. This is more than a feel-good bill - the research firmly proves that children of color perform better when they have teachers of color. All children should have a chance to see themselves in the educators they look up to. Public Act 18-34 changes the teacher certification laws to make it easier, in certain areas, to obtain certification or cross endorsement, requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to take certain actions to recruit and retain minority teachers, and adds members to the minority teacher recruitment and retention task force.
By an overwhelming vote, the legislature voted to approve a contract that raises wages, increases holiday pay and provides workers’ compensation for thousands of private sector, personal-care assistants who are directly employed by their elderly and disabled clients, but paid through state and federal programs. The House voted 127 to 16 for final passage of the contract negotiated on behalf of the workers by the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, with a PCA Workforce Council created under legislation passed in 2012. The Senate voted unanimously.
Before the General Assembly passed legislation on National Popular Vote and banning bump stocks here in Hartford, I was pleased to host a Mock Congress for Granville Academy students where they were able to debate these two bills. Split into the House of Representatives and Senate, students shared their ideas and sentiments with each other on whether or not they wanted to pass this legislation. They voted to pass both bills. The desire of these students to hear one another’s opinions and ideas ensures that we can expect our Waterbury students to one day make a difference, even in Hartford at the Connecticut General Assembly.