Dear Friend,

I am proud to report that this year’s General Assembly adopted a budget that makes significant investments in the residents, businesses, and resources of our state, while providing fiscal stability and encouraging economic growth. The biennial budget, signed by the Governor in June, was completed on time, and is balanced. It includes no broad-based increase in the sales tax rate, and no increase in the income tax rate. The budget preserves grants to our cities and towns, and funding for our schools. It allocates $2 billion to the “Rainy Day” fund, without shifting the cost of teacher pensions on to towns and cities. The budget protects social service programs, maintains the tax exemption on social security and pension payments for our seniors, and requires a plan for “debt free” community college for our young people.

I am honored to represent you at the State Capitol, and am always available to discuss issues of concern, or lend a hand. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Sincerely,


Workforce And Education

Earned Family and Medical Leave: This legislation, which is funded by employee contributions, enables workers to take time off to care for a child or sick family member, and still make ends meet. This program has been implemented successfully in several neighboring states. (PA 19-25)

Minimum Wage: Connecticut’s minimum hourly wage rises incrementally over the next four years, until it reaches $15. The lower “tipped wage” for restaurant workers is retained, and a new “training wage” for those under age 18 is established. (PA 19-4)

Business Taxes: The business entity tax will be eliminated in 2020, which many businesses have been advocating for years. The capital base tax on corporations will be phased out over four years, and the “angel investor” tax credit program has been extended by five years. (PA 19-117)

Debt Free Community College: This legislation directs the Board of Regents to create a debt-free community college plan in which the state would pick up all fee costs for students’ first 72 credit hours (minus scholarships, grants, and aid awards). The aim is to make our community colleges accessible and affordable to all. (PA 19-117)


Caring For Our Seniors

Expanded Medicaid Eligibility: We expanded access to Medicaid by raising the income limit to 160 percent of the federal poverty level. This will enable many more lower-income seniors to benefit from this vital program. (PA 19-117)

Protected the Medicare Savings Program: By maintaining the current income eligibility levels, and rejecting an “asset test,” we preserved the ability of many seniors to afford their prescription medications. (PA 19-117)

Social Security and Pension Tax Exemption: We are phasing out the requirement to pay state income taxes on social security payments and pension payments, which will bring us into line with the practice of many other states. (PA 19-117)

Meals on Wheels: We were able to increase funding for “Meals on Wheels,” a crucial program that provides nutritious meals for seniors in many of our communities. (PA 19-117)


Making Connecticut Healthier And Safer

Insurance Coverage for Mammograms: This legislation will require health insurance coverage for ultrasound screenings for any woman who is 40 years or older, has a recommendation from her doctor, has a personal history of breast disease, or has a family or personal history of breast cancer. It also prohibits insurance companies from charging co-insurance, co-payments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses for breast ultrasounds and mammograms. (PA 19-117)

Ghost Guns: A new law prohibits anyone from creating a “ghost gun” (a firearm without a unique serial number or other identification mark). It also prohibits manufacturing a firearm from polymer plastic that is not detectable by a walk-through metal detector. (PA 19-6)

HIV Prevention: Due to the stigma of HIV, many LGBTQ youths do not seek treatment at the precise time it is most urgently needed. This new law allows doctors and nurses to provide HIV-prevention medication (not a vaccine) to minors without parental notification. This medication greatly reduces the risk of an infection. (PA 19-109)

Sexual Assault and Harassment: A new law contains several provisions on sexual assault, workplace sexual harassment, and related issues. The law extends the criminal statute of limitations for various sexual assault crimes, extends the time for alleged victims under age 21 to file a civil lawsuit related to sexual abuse, expands requirements for employers on training employees about sexual harassment laws, and gives claimants more time to file a complaint alleging employment discrimination. (PA 19-16)

Gun Storage: A new law expands the crime of criminally negligent storage of a firearm to include situations involving the unsafe storage of a loaded or unloaded firearm in a home with a minor under age 18. Another new law prohibits storing a handgun in an unattended motor vehicle if it is not in the trunk, a locked safe, or a locked glove box. (PA 19-5 and PA 19-7)


Energy And The Environment

Fracking Ban: To ensure that any pollutants generated by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) do not enter Connecticut, we widened the state-wide fracking ban to apply to all gas and oil extraction activities. (PA 19-112)

State Water Plan: We adopted the state water plan, which defines our water supply as a “public trust,” ensuring that clean drinking water is accessible for all. This plan manages the water resources of the state, balancing the water needs of the public, business and industry, recreational users, and good environmental stewardship. (HJ 171)

Plastic Bags: We are phasing out, and in 2021 will ban, single-use plastic bags that stores provide to consumers. This environmentally-friendly legislation is expected to greatly reduce the amount of plastic bags littering our roads, waterways, and parks, and causing damage to recycling equipment. (PA 19-117)

Renewable Energy Programs: This year’s legislation will extend renewable energy programs, including traditional net metering and the Green Bank’s renewable solar investment program. In addition, it expands the virtual net metering cap, which will reduce energy costs for municipalities. (PA 19-35)

Coastal Resiliency Funds: This act allows a municipality to establish a “climate change and coastal resiliency reserve fund,” which can be used to pay for municipal property losses, capital projects, and studies on mitigating climate change hazards and vulnerabilities. (PA 19-77)


Capitol Update 2019 (pdf)