Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am pleased to report that the state legislature delivered a two year, biennial budget on time and under the constitutional spending cap.

The state budget provides fiscal stability with no increase in the income tax or broad based sales tax, and does not cut Hamden’s municipal aid. In fact, we are one of the few towns that saw an increase from the prior budget. It is a balanced and moral budget that protects taxpayers now and into the future while continuing to protect our most vulnerable, invest in public schools, the middle class and economic growth for all.


The State Budget, Making CT a Great Place to Live

In addition the budget (PA 19-117):

  • Raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next four years
  • Maintains tax exemptions for Social Security income and phase-in of a tax exemption on pension income
  • Establishes a paid family leave program for all employers, funded by employees
  • Avoids a costly and disruptive nursing home strike
  • Keeps the “Passport to the Parks” fund
  • Increases funding for our public schools
  • Protects the Care4Kids program
  • Repeals Business Entity Tax starting next year
  • Increases access to health care
  • Incentivizes purchasing a zero-emission car to reduce greenhouse gases
  • Protects the Medicare Savings Program and Funds Renter’s Rebate

Supporting Our Seniors and Healthcare

Tackling Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: In order to ensure the proper care of seniors, we modified continuing education requirements for physicians to include diagnosing and treating cognitive conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, delirium, related cognitive impairments and geriatric depression. (PA 19-115)

Pre-existing Insurance Coverage: We required more health insurance plans to cover pre-existing conditions. Passed unanimously, this protects Connecticut residents from any change to federal law. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, if someone had a pre-existing or chronic condition, insurance companies could refuse to insure them – impacting 50 million people. As a result, hospital emergency rooms and Medicaid were forced to absorb these costs, resulting in higher prices for everyone. (PA 19-134)

Promoting Social Justice

Building Trust: We encouraged more trust between residents and law enforcement by making changes to the state’s civil detainer laws. Individuals will no longer be automatically subject to transfer from local law enforcement to Federal ICE authorities. Exceptions include those arrested for serious felonies or on a terrorist watch list. This legislation will protect residents from civil immigration detainers without a judicial warrant, protect their privacy from Federal Immigration authorities and provide training to law enforcement on this new law. (PA 19-20)

Time’s Up: This legislation extends the statute of limitations related to the reporting of sexual abuse and assault. It also increases the training required to prevent sexual harassment from taking place. For example, the law extends the statute of limitations for the prosecution of sexual assault and risk of injury crimes involving a person 21 years or younger. It also increases penalties for sexually assaulting a mentally incapacitated person. (PA 19-16)

Prohibiting the “Gay Panic” Defense: We have prohibited the use of gay and transgender “panic” as a criminal defense. In the past, defendants have used a victim’s real or perceived sexual orientation or identity as an excuse for killing or injuring that person. (PA 19-27)

Exciting News For Hamden’s STEM Academy

This fall, a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy will open at Hamden High School. The Academy will greatly assist the school in its mission to provide students with extensive, career-focused STEM learning opportunities in the health, engineering and computer science field using technologically-advanced classrooms to better prepare our students for future careers in hard-to-fill health care and high-technology fields. I was proud to work with the school administration on this innovative project, and to secure $500,000 in bonding to pay for renovations and improvements to the school’s infrastructure for the Academy. This includes electrical and telecommunications updates, building modifications and the purchase of specialized lab tables, equipment and computers.

Supporting Working Families

Paid Family Leave: No one should have to face bankruptcy because of a serious medical condition. That is why I proudly voted to create a Paid Family Medical Leave Program. The program will provide replacement wages whereby employees can take time off and still make ends meet. (PA 19-25)

Raising Wages: No one working full-time should live in poverty. That is why I was proud to support raising the state’s minimum wage to provide more economic security. Beginning October 1, 2019 employees will see their hourly wage increase from the current $10.10 per hour to $11. Incremental increases will raise the minimum wage to $15 by June 1, 2023, which in the end will benefit over an estimated 300,000 workers. The legislation will help combat persistent pay disparities between races and genders, and stimulate our economy. After the $15 minimum is reached, future increases will be tied to the Employment Cost Index.  (PA 19-4)

Preserving Our Environment

Green Energy: We passed legislation to continue deployment of solar energy, increasing green jobs and economic activity. This legislation will:

  • Extend renewable energy programs, including traditional net metering
  • and the Green Bank’s renewable solar investment program
  • Expand virtual net metering cap which will reduce energy costs for municipalities
  • Require DOT to put together an inventory of property that is suitable for Class I energy resources: for example, solar energy on lands adjacent to state highways (PA 19-35)

State Water Plan: A major accomplishment of the 2019 legislation session was passing the State Water Plan, which identifies our water supply as a “public trust” to ensure our water resources are protected, and that clean drinking water is accessible for all. (HJ 171)

Fracking Ban: No fracking waste in Connecticut! This policy ensures that pollutants generated by fracking do not enter our state. This legislation will widen the state-wide fracking ban to apply to all gas and oil extraction activities to also include the sale, acquisition, application and processing of fracking, natural gas, and oil waste. (PA 19-112)

Protecting Public Safety

Ethan’s Law: We passed several sensible gun safety measures this year including “Ethan’s Law,” named after Ethan Song who tragically lost his life due to an improperly stored gun. The bill requires the safe storage of all firearms in a home with children under 18. (PA 19-5)

Banning Ghost Guns: This year, we banned “ghost guns” – homemade weapons that have no serial numbers and circumvent our background check laws. The bill also regulates guns made on a 3-D printer. (PA 19-6)

Capitol Update 2019 (pdf)