Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2018 Legislative Session was “short” in duration but “long” on substance. We reached a bipartisan budget agreement (for the second consecutive year!) that will strengthen our state’s financial footing. The budget agreement does not raise the sales tax or income tax, and it restores municipal aid and education funding to Farmington that would have been cut beginning July 1st. As a result, Farmington will see an increase in education aid, as well as an increase in overall state grant money.
Other noteworthy legislation includes: “pay equity” to address the income disparity between men and women who perform the same work; new workforce development programs that match students with businesses seeking to fill job vacancies in manufacturing; protection of essential health benefits; and accountability for the rising costs of prescription medicines.
We continued to pay down our legacy pension liabilities, bolstered the “Rainy Day Fund” reserves, restored funding to the Medicare Savings Program, and restored funding for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of service to you or your family. It is an honor to serve our community and our state.
- New legislation encourages the expansion of mobile manufacturing labs to community colleges and public schools. (SA 18-24)
- An expedited and improved permitting process is a way for businesses to more easily navigate a path to starting a company and creating new jobs in Connecticut. (PA 18-146)
Achieving Pay Equity
Women, especially women of color, continue to earn less than men. This is largely due to the practice of an employer asking for salary history during the hiring process. We strengthened our pay equity laws by preventing prospective employers from asking about wage history. (PA 18-8)
Protecting Women’s Health Care
- The Affordable Care Act contains 10 essential health benefits that include, maternity and newborn care, prescription drug coverage, mental health services, and chronic disease management. Regardless of what happens to the ACA at the federal level, we passed legislation to safeguard these benefits in Connecticut. (PA 18-10)
- We redefined ‘mammogram’ to include tomosynthesis – a 3D image particularly useful for women with dense breast tissue and known to reduce the rate of false positive test results. By requiring insurance companies to cover all forms of mammograms, we can reduce out-of-pocket costs and achieve more early detection. (PA 18-159)
- We passed a bill to ensure pregnant women have access to health insurance. A woman can now get coverage during a special enrollment period within 30 days of official confirmation of pregnancy. This reduces the stress and financial burden of being without coverage during pregnancy. (PA 18-43)
Protecting Our Environment
We made progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Connecticut’s new goal is to reduce GHG emissions by 45% of 2001 levels by the year 2030. The bill also factors rising sea levels (due to climate change) into the state’s planning process. This legislation requires the incorporation of the most recent data on sea level change in planning documents, including various plans of conservation and development. (PA 18-82)
Prescription Drug Costs
Recognizing that prescription drug prices are the number one driver of rising healthcare costs, we passed legislation to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable by increasing transparency and requiring them to explain large price increases for drugs that have a substantial cost to the state. Additionally, insurance companies must now submit information about which drugs are most frequently prescribed and which are provided at the greatest cost. By collecting more data and holding drug companies accountable, we can get closer to lowering drug costs for Connecticut residents. (PA 18-41)
Making Connecticut Safer
- Schools must be safe places to learn, so we increased funding for school security measures by $15 million. School districts can use these funds for entrance upgrades, bullet-proof glass, and security cameras. (PA 18-178)
- Last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas demonstrated how bump stocks can increase a firearm’s destructive power. We made it a crime to own or sell a bump stock in Connecticut except in the fulfillment of a military contract. (PA 18-29)
Promoting Renewable Energy
We increased our state targets for the use of renewable energy over the next ten years, expanded the ability of municipalities to use renewables, instituted better protections for energy efficiency funding, and restored $10 million toward homeowner energy efficiency upgrades. (PA-18-81 and PA 18-50)
- No income, sales or other state tax increases
- Increases overall state grant dollars for Farmington
- Increases education aid for Farmington
- Restores partial funding to the Medicare Savings Program
- Restores funding to the Energy Efficiency Fund
- Restores funding for individuals with developmental disabilities
- Maintains the “Rainy Day Fund” reserves at the highest level in over a decade