I hope this mailer reaches you in good spirits.
Enclosed please find some information on important legislation passed by the General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session.
The biennial budget passed on time with no change to the income tax or broad-based sales tax increases. We protected tax breaks on Social Security and pension income and avoided cuts to municipal aid. This fiscally responsible budget invests in education and the middle class. It protects our most vulnerable and encourages economic growth for Stamford and all of Connecticut.
I’m proud we were able to pass legislation protecting our youth from tobacco use before the age of 21, and required insurance coverage of pre-existing medical conditions because Connecticut residents deserve to have peace of mind that they won’t be denied coverage because of a prior illness. We also passed the Mental Health Parity Act to require insurance companies treat illnesses of the brain the same as illnesses of the body.
I hope you find the enclosed information helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out by email, phone or social media with your questions and concerns. It is my honor and privilege to serve as your state representative.
Mental Health Parity
During this legislative session we unanimously passed the Mental Health Parity Act which gives people with mental health and substance use disorders the same access to care as those with cancer and heart disease. I find this very important for people who often suffer in silence. One in four Americans has or will be affected by mental health or a substance use disorder. It should be just as easy to receive treatment for depression or addiction as it is for heart disease or diabetes. (HB 7125; PA 19-159)
Protecting Our Democracy
Early Voting Increases Turnout
We took the first step toward allowing early voting by passing a resolution to amend the state constitution. This would allow for in-person voting leading up to Election Day for any state or municipal election or referendum. Voters should have the greatest opportunity possible to vote. This resolution passed by a majority of both the House and Senate, and if approved again in the 2021 legislative session it will appear as a question for voters to decide on the 2022 general election ballot. I feel it is a great way to increase voter participation in our elections. (HJ 161; RA 19-1)
Career In Manufacturing
We have heard from manufacturers that they have good, family-supporting jobs open, but we lack a trained workforce interested in manufacturing careers. To change this dynamic, we have developed a program for our public and private colleges to partner with our public high schools to provide students with a pathway to earning an Advanced Manufacturing Certificate while enrolled in high school. The program may also allow for the school to provide evening and weekend classes for adults looking to earn their certificate. The goal of this program is to help people secure a career in the manufacturing industry while contributing to its growth. (HB 5833; PA 19-103)
We passed Ethan’s Law, named after Ethan Song who tragically lost his life due to an improperly stored gun. This law requires the safe storage of all firearms in a home with children under the age of 18. (HB 7218; PA 19-5)
Covering Police and Firefighters for PTSD
During this legislative session we felt it was very important that we passed a law that provides workers’ compensation benefits for police officers, parole officers and firefighters suffering from PTSD due to events in the line of duty. (SB 164; PA 19-17)
Caring for Our Seniors
In order to ensure the proper care for seniors, this session 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. (SB 827; PA 19-115)
Research shows that if you haven’t started smoking by age 21, you likely never will. We made the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape products illegal for those under 21. Nicotine creates addiction in teens, and 95 percent of adults who smoke started young. Nationwide, e-cigarette use, also known as “vaping,” is on the rise among middle and high school students. This law seeks to keep nicotine out of the hands of minors. (HB 7200; PA 19-13)
Green Jobs and Net Metering
Replacing fossil fuels with green energy is good for the planet and our economy. This legislation will help continue deployment of solar energy, increasing green jobs and economic activity. (HB 5002; PA 19-35)
The Inclusion of Computer Science
To keep our youth competitive in the world of technology, computer science has been added to the list of subjects that must be taught in public schools and makes computer programming a required component of computer science instruction, rather than a stand-alone topic. (SB 957; PA 19-128)
Meals on Wheels
I’m proud to share that we increased funding for the state’s Meals on Wheels program in order to keep our seniors fed. A new law I supported requires the Department of Public Health develop recommendations to track client nutrition and quality of care. (HB 7163; PA 19-157)
In-district Transportation Projects
Below are the current projects that are underway in our district.
- Noroton River Bridge Project: The project consists of the replacement of the bridge which carries U.S. Route 1 (East Main Street) over the Noroton River at the city/town line of Stamford and Darien. The construction phase began in January 2019. The proposed bridge will feature a newly constructed roadway section consisting of four 11-foot travel lanes (two in each direction), one 11-foot left turn lane, two 5-foot shoulders, and sidewalks of varying width on each side of the roadway. It is anticipated that construction will be performed in 4 stages. The project is expected to be completed on May 1, 2021.
- Courtland Avenue Project: this project is 95% complete with the exceptions of the new traffic signals at the Intersection of Route 1 and Route 106 and the Intersection of Route 106 and Hamilton Ave. The traffic signal work has been delayed due to the mast arms that support the new signal heads being found damaged upon delivery. It is anticipated that all work on this project will be completed on or around October 1, 2019.
- Exit 9 Bridge Replacement: this project is expected to be completed in November 2019.
Llame A Mi Oficina
Estoy comprometido a luchar por usted y a construir un Connecticut sólido para generaciones futuras. Yo espero que usted encuentre útil la información incluida. Nuestro futuro es más fuerte cuando trabajamos unidos, así que nodude en contactar mi oficina al 860-240-8542 si en algún momento puedo ser de ayuda para usted o para su familia. Es un placer y honor servirle como su representante estatal.