The 2019 legislative session has come to a close, and we have accomplished many of the goals we set out to accomplish in order to get our state back on track.
The budget passed on time, and will invest in education and provide fiscal stability with no increases in income tax rates or broad based increases in the sales tax or cuts to municipal aid. It is not only balanced, but protects taxpayers into the future. We are protecting our most vulnerable, investing in the middle class, and encouraging economic growth for Connecticut.
As a member of the Banks, Environment, and Planning & Development Committees, I championed policies that aim to support our local small businesses, spur workforce development and ensure that we are making Connecticut more affordable for our young people, seniors, and working families.
I appreciate hearing from you about the issues that matter. I look forward to continuing these conversations. Please do not hesitate to reach out by email at Kenneth.Gucker@cga.ct.gov or by phone at 860-240-8585.
Fighting Invasive Species In Our Waterways
Combating invasive species is a big issue for Candlewood Lake – and I am extremely proud to have worked with my colleagues and the Environment Committee to get the support needed to pass legislation that will help protect our waterways from invasive species brought in on boats. This measure will help New Fairfield and Danbury as well as adjacent towns, with controlling harmful species such as zebra mussels, milfoil, and others. The legislation establishes a fee collected from in-state and out-of-state owners of registered boats that will go towards our efforts. The bill also authorizes DEEP environmental conservation police to enforce municipal noise ordinances on the waters of Candlewood Lake for any bordering town.
Supporting Small Businesses
Our state’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They offer jobs, economic growth and highlight the best Connecticut has to offer. I am proud to have supported several initiatives that aim to assist our business community and improve our economy. A good place to start is supporting students interested in careers in manufacturing and addressing the demand for more career and technical teachers at our tech high schools so students can be ready to join the workforce upon graduation.
For small businesses, we aimed to fix the Transfer Act to make it easier for more real estate transactions to take place and to help clean up more contaminated properties. We also expanded the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program for small businesses & startups.
In addition, we will now provide matching incentive grants for tourism districts, to encourage private sector investment and we have officially reopened our state’s Visitor Welcome Centers to make sure people know that we are open for business!
As the son of a breast cancer survivor who understands well the impact of this process, I supported legislation that will require health insurance coverage for breast ultrasounds for any woman who is 40 years or older. Coverage will be granted when the patient has a recommendation from her doctor, has a personal history of breast disease through the biopsy of a benign tumor, or has a family or personal history of breast cancer. The measure also prohibits insurance from charging coinsurance, copayments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses for breast ultrasounds and mammograms.
Paid Family Leave
In the event of a medical emergency, Paid Family and Medical Leave allows workers to care for themselves or a loved one without having to face the threat of financial ruin. By providing up to 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave Insurance per year, equaling up to 95% of an employee’s weekly paycheck, we will provide financial protection to those who find themselves in an unanticipated medical emergency. This will help pregnant women on medically-ordered bedrest, families with an infirm or aging parent, and new parents who want time to bond with their infant. The program is funded by employee contributions. If you or your family has an emergency, there will now be financial peace-of-mind.
No one who works full time should live in poverty. That’s why I was proud to support gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This legislation will help over 300,000 Connecticut workers who make less than $15 an hour. The wage will increase on Oct. 1 to $11 an hour, followed by incremental increases over the next 4½ years.
This legislation will:
- Combat persistent pay disparities between races and genders
- Stimulate our economy
- Raise the minimum wage incrementally until it reaches $15.00 an hour on June 1, 2023
- Index future minimum wage increases