I am pleased to share with you this update on the 2019 legislative session. We worked to pass legislation that improves the lives of working families in Connecticut, encourages economic growth, and makes critical investments in our state’s future.
Our two-year budget is fiscally responsible and takes care of Connecticut residents. We are helping seniors by maintaining the tax exemptions on Social Security and pension income. We also rejected the governor’s proposal to shift local teachers’ pension costs to Mansfield property taxpayers.
We repealed the business entity tax starting next year to help small business owners, expanded the Angel Investor Tax credit to encourage local investment, and passed a new tax credit for craft breweries to help this industry grow.
Over $2 billion is currently set aside in our rainy day fund – a sign of fiscal stability. We have also taken steps to further manage pension liabilities ensuring future pension payments are sustainable and reliable.
Our state’s bond rating has improved twice in four months. We have already begun to see lower long-term borrowing costs because credit ratings agencies have upgraded the rating on our bonds. Connecticut is moving in the right direction.
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 me if I can ever be of help to you or your family.
Leading The Higher Education Committee
Debt-Free Community College
One policy choice that I am proud to share is the creation of a tuition and fee-free community college plan. Students will have the opportunity to attend college without worrying about accumulating massive amounts of debt. Governor Lamont is required to present a plan to fully finance the program for an anticipated September 2020 launch. The state will pick up all tuition and fee costs for first-time community college students after scholarships, grants, and other aid awards are applied. PA 19-117
Addressing Critical Needs of Students
As many as 15% of Connecticut college students are food insecure, meaning they may skip meals in order to make ends meet. We’ve directed public colleges to collect data on current efforts underway to help these students. With the right data, we can determine if existing programs are sufficient and we can spread best practices to better meet student needs. Special Act 19-25
Supporting Mansfield Working Families
Minimum Wage Increase
Over 300,000 Connecticut workers will receive a pay raise as the state’s minimum hourly wage gradually rises to $15 by 2023. The wage increases to $11 on October 1 and increases by $1 four more times by June 1, 2023. In 2024 and years thereafter, the minimum wage will be indexed to the rate of inflation. This is an important step in fighting the dangerous increase in income disparity that has significantly hurt our middle class and working poor. PA 19-4
Paid Family and Medical Leave
We passed an historic bill that will provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to financially protect you when your family needs you most. In the event of a medical emergency, this new program will allow workers
to take time to heal or care for a loved one without having to face the threat of financial hardship. Families with an infirm or aging parent, new parents who want to bond with an infant, and people with unanticipated medical emergencies will all benefit. Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance equaling up to 95 percent of an employee’s weekly paycheck will be funded by employee contributions. PA 19-25
Justice for Sexual Assault Survivors
We have lengthened the statute of limitations on reporting sexual abuse and assault for crimes against people age 21 or younger. In addition, this new law increases penalties for sexual assault on a mentally incapacitated person, and increases the training required to prevent sexual harassment from taking place. PA 19-16
Protecting Our Environment
State Water Plan
The legislature approved the State Water Plan for the management of water resources in our state. The plan is required to balance the needs of public drinking water supply, economic development, recreation, and ecological health.
Water is a public trust and must be protected and preserved for future generations. The State Water Plan is essential to protecting our waterworks from private companies and big business. HJ 171
Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban
To reduce the amount of plastic polluting our environment and waterways, we have banned single-use plastic bags in Connecticut. Until the full ban on these bags is implemented on July 1, 2021, consumers will pay a 10 cent fee on single-use plastic bags at checkout. The statewide law does not preempt local ordinances, like Mansfield’s. Remember to bring your reusables! PA 19-117
Procuring Offshore Wind Energy
We have cleared the path for offshore wind energy generation in order to lead in green energy technology. Connecticut will procure up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power. This will help achieve our energy consumption goal of 40 percent renewable energy by 2030. The law includes provisions to minimize impacts on the environment and fisheries, and the construction of the off-shore array will create a positive economic impact and good-paying jobs. PA 19-71
Sensible Gun Regulations
Three new gun laws will further reduce gun violence in our state.
We banned “ghost guns” – homemade weapons that have no serial numbers and circumvent our background check laws. PA 19-6
We passed Ethan’s Law to require the safe storage of all firearms in a home with children under 18. PA 19-5
Last, we now require that guns left in a car be kept out of sight and locked away, either in the trunk, a locked glove box, or a locked safe. PA 19-7