Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am pleased to share with you this update on the recently concluded legislative session. Each year, our goal is to forge a path for a stronger Connecticut, and the 2017 session was no different. We worked to pass bipartisan legislation that improves the lives of working families, encourages economic growth, and makes critical investments in the future of our children, as well as our state.
I am committed to fighting for you and building a solid Connecticut for future generations. The policies we passed support our small businesses, spur workforce development and ensure that we are making Connecticut more affordable for our young people and our seniors. Although the regular session has concluded, I will continue to work to keep Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
I hope you find the enclosed information helpful. Our future is stronger when we work together, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can ever be of help to you or your family. It is my pleasure and honor to serve as your state representative.
Protecting the Interests of Consumers
HB 6992, An Act Protecting The Interests Of Consumers Doing Business With Financial Planners, establishes advertising and disclosure requirements for financial planners who are not subject to certain federal laws concerning investment advisors, securities and retirement products. It also prohibits these financial planners from expressing or implying special training, education or experience unless they meet specified requirements. It requires disclosure to consumers, upon request, whether they have a fiduciary duty with regard to each recommendation they make and requires the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner to post on the department’s website certain information regarding financial planning professionals and consumer’s rights. These simple changes will help protect consumers from financial planners that try and take advantage of them. (PA 17-120)
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Connecticut faces a very real problem with its current opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction touches every corner of the state, every economic stratum, and every demographic. It affects our cities as well as our rural communities. House Bill 7052 is the next step in this fight. This bill limits the maximum opioid drug prescription to 5 days, requires health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment and facilitates the destruction of unused medication, ultimately helping to reduce addiction and overdoses. (PA 17-131)
Simplifying the Licensure Process
At a time when our state’s nonprofit providers are seeing funding reduced we are attempting to make the licensure process more efficient for all parties to save the organizations’ resources. We established a working group to address means by which certain nonprofit providers can forgo duplicative state licensing requirements for certain license and certificate renewals if they are accredited by an accepted national accrediting body that has requirements no less stringent than the state’s. (PA 17-21)
Strengthening Workforce Development
The manufacturing industry is making a comeback and we are working to ensure a strong and educated workforce for the increasingly competitive high-tech jobs of the future.
- HB 7271, AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL SYSTEM AS AN INDEPENDENT AGENCY, ensures the Technical Education and Career School System will have stronger oversight, more effective governance and will produce a better prepared workforce. (PA 17-237)
- SB 1026, AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS, provides flexible and multiple pathways to learning, including cross-curricular graduation requirements, career and technical education, virtual learning, work-based learning, service learning, dual enrollment and early college courses taken in middle school, internships, and student-designed independent studies. (PA 17-42)
Rebuilding our Transportation Infrastructure
A strong transportation infrastructure is vital to businesses. By focusing on legislation that will help replace the aging infrastructure we currently have, we will make Connecticut more appealing to new businesses.
- HB 7138, AN ACT CONCERNING LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT OF MAJOR TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS AND PLANNING, sets up an independent Transportation Policy Advisory Council to increase oversight of large transportation projects, protect taxpayer dollars and assess economic impact. (PA 17-192)
- HJR 100, RESOLUTION APPROVING A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PROTECT TRANSPORTATION FUNDS, will guarantee that all tax dollars allocated for transportation are placed in a lock-box and can only be used for this purpose. This will be on the ballot for everyone to vote on in the 2018 election.
Government Administration & Elections
I currently serve as the House Chairman of the Government Administration & Elections Committee. This committee has cognizance over a wide variety of issues including campaign finance, voting and elections. This past session I was a leading proponent of the following issues:
- HB 5589, AN ACT CONCERNING CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM, would limit the amount of money individuals, corporations, or organizations could give to independent expenditure groups participating in Connecticut’s elections. It would also prohibit foreign nationals from making contributions and require a greater degree of disclosure on the part of individuals and corporations, including shareholders, making those donations.
- HJR 95, RESOLUTION PROPOSING A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PERMIT EARLY AND REGIONAL VOTING, proposes a constitutional amendment to eliminate the requirement that electors gather on election day to vote for state officers and state legislators and authorize the General Assembly to provide by law for an in-person, early voting period.
Unfortunately, while both of these bills passed the House, neither passed the Senate. Next Session, I will continue to advocate for these priorities.
Connecticut’s Bipartisan Budget
The bipartisan budget protects our communities and includes critical support for our schools and small businesses. It also includes smart structural reforms that will help address Connecticut’s fiscal challenges. The budget:
- Avoids borrowing and underfunding pensions
- Eliminates the practice of pension spiking
- Does not include income or sales tax increases
The budget also strengthened our existing spending cap. Under the new cap, funding for pensions, distressed municipalities, and money used to receive matching federal grants will all come under the cap over time. This is important because it more accurately reflects what we are spending as a state and will force future legislatures to prioritize spending on programs that work and that our communities need. To be sure, our fiscal challenges are not over, but this compromise budget is a step in the right direction.