This year’s legislative session has concluded and we passed new legislation that will shape our state for years to come. The headline from the session is the passage of a bipartisan budget that funds transportation infrastructure, restores cuts to education and restores funding for the Medicare Savings Plan.
Some reductions in municipal grant formulas were offset by large increases in Education Aid and PILOT. Overall state aid to Mansfield will increase by over a half million dollars to $19.3M. This helps pay for great schools and services and to hold down property taxes.
Additionally, the state recently gave final approval to release $3 million in bonded support to Mansfield for the four-corners sewer project.
I hope you find the enclosed information helpful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of service to you or your family. It is such an honor to serve our community.
Moving Toward Pay Equity
Women, particularly women of color, still earn less than men. This inequity is perpetuated by the practice of asking for salary history during the hiring process. As a result, women who were underpaid at their first job continue to be underpaid. This session, we strengthened our pay equity laws by protecting new employees from inquiries about their wage history.
Fighting for Middle Class Families
In response to President Trump’s tax law, we passed legislation to protect, as much as possible, the state and local tax deduction. The changes to this deduction on the federal level will likely increase taxes on families in our community. Under our new state law, towns can create non-profit charity-type programs that still qualify for federal deductions, as a way to both preserve local services and reduce your federal tax burden. Unfortunately, the IRS is already pushing back on these efforts. So I will keep working for tax fairness.
Banning Bump Stocks
The tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas last year demonstrated how bump stocks dramatically increase a gun’s destructive power, effectively turning a semi-automatic firearm into a weapon that can shoot as fast as a machine gun. We acted to make it a crime to own or sell a bump stock or similar device, unless you are a licensed military contractor.
Helping Local Homeowners With Crumbling Foundations
To assist homeowners with concrete foundations damaged by pyrrhotite, a new law establishes a $12 homeowners insurance surcharge and requires that 85% of the proceeds be deposited in the Crumbling Foundations Assistance Fund. As more and more homeowners learn that their homes is affected with a crumbling foundation, the legislature has acted to provide some help.
Treating Dreamers Fairly
With bipartisan support, we passed the “Dreamers’ Bill” to allow all Connecticut students to apply for student-generated financial aid. Financial aid at public colleges and universities is funded with a portion of tuition paid by students without regard to their immigration status. Now dreamers who meet specific residency criteria, may apply for this financial aid.
Fighting Climate Change
To protect future generations, we are speeding up progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in CT by setting more aggressive goals and time frames. The Department of Energy and Environmental protection must work with electric companies to develop a plan for lowering the cost of electricity while meeting these goals. We also require the most recent sea level change update to be included in state evacuation plans, the state’s civil and preparedness program, and various plans of conservation and development.
Increasing Sustainable Energy
The legislature overhauled a number of our energy programs by increasing our targets for use of renewable energy over the next ten years, expanding towns’ ability to use renewables, better protecting energy efficiency funding and restoring $10 million to help homeowners make energy efficiency upgrades.
Ensuring Quality Health Care Coverage
As Congress and the President attempt to dismantle the ACA, we passed legislation to safeguard ten essential health benefits to ensure that no matter what happens in Washington, in Connecticut insurance policies must still cover these basic services. The Affordable Care Act contains these benefits including maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, preventive and mental health services, and chronic disease management that all Americans are entitled to have covered in their health insurance plans.
Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you shouldn’t have to fear being arrested if you call the police. However, nearly 20% of the time when a victim of domestic violence calls the police they are arrested along with their abuser. This year we’ve updated the law to discourage this practice and will now direct police to arrest the person who they identify as the dominant aggressor.