Dear Neighbors,

This year’s legislative session has concluded. We passed new legislation that will shape our state for years to come. The key to the session was the passage of a bipartisan budget, the second in two years.

We worked on policies that support small businesses, workforce development and make our state a place that we can proudly raise our families. I am committed to fighting for you to build a bright future for Connecticut and Bridgeport.

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.

Sincerely,


Bipartisan Budget

  • No income, sales or other state tax increase.
  • Increases state aid for Bridgeport schools by over $1.3 million more than we received last year.
  • Prevents municipal aid cuts (this includes securing $5 million to reimburse Bridgeport for the Car Tax Transition Grant).
  • Restores funding to the Medicare Savings Program and Renter’s Rebate, which will now remain the responsibility of the state.
  • Restores $12 million to the Husky A healthcare program which assists more than 13,000 people, many living here in Bridgeport.
  • Prevents cuts to the Greater Bridgeport Transit system.
  • Restored partial funding to the Energy Efficiency Fund, juvenile justice programs and developmental services.
  • Maintains reserves in the “Rainy Day” Fund at the highest level in over a decade (over $1 billion for the biennium).

Issues That Matter To Bridgeport

Car Tax Reimbursement
Bridgeport’s legislative delegation was able to secure $3.1 million in supplemental car tax reimbursement money from the Office of Policy and Management in April. According to a previous agreement passed last year, municipalities with car tax rates above 39 mills would be made whole for the difference between the cap and the higher tax rate. In addition, as a part of the budget adjustment bill passed in May, we secured $5.3 million for the car tax transition grant for fiscal year 2019. This additional state funding will allow Bridgeport to stabilize its property taxes and make further investments in city services, infrastructure and education.

Casino Proposal
This legislative session, the Bridgeport delegation and I led the passage of a bill in the House of Representatives that would create an open and competitive process for casino gaming facility in our state. This could include a proposed location in Bridgeport that some estimate could lead to the creation of over 7,000 jobs. The bill failed to be called for a vote in the Senate, but we hope to build on momentum to further invest in the revitalization and restoration of our state’s largest city.

Jobs and Economic Growth
For Bridgeport to be the economic driver our state needs to thrive, it is vital that we continue to invest in economic development and creating jobs. This session, we successfully lobbied for seven Bridgeport census tracts, including our downtown, Steelpointe Harbor, Bridgeport’s West End Eco-technology Park and the Cherry Street Loft area, to be designated as Opportunity Zones making them eligible for federal tax incentives. This designation, coupled with legislation we passed to encourage brownfield revitalization and investments in the growing industries of advanced manufacturing and bioscience, will encourage increased investments in real estate and businesses here in Bridgeport.

Neighborhood Revitalization Zones

Bridgeport hosts several Neighborhood Revitalization Committees, devised of dedicated volunteers who work to set neighborhood priorities, devise plans to revitalize the area and improve quality of life for area residents. This session we were able to successfully pass Public Act 18-110 which puts in place necessary safeguards to ensure these dedicated volunteers are protected against certain civil actions. By extending these protections we will help increase committee participation and hopefully encourage more residents to have a say in how to improve their neighborhood.

Water Pollution Control Billing
Responding to complaints from residents, we passed legislation that will create more oversight for the Bridgeport WPCA. PA 18-174 allows the Bridgeport City Council to lower the interest rate on delinquent sewer bills as WPCA collection practices have come under criticism. The bill also places the WPCA under oversight by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.


Supporting Our Veterans & Military Families

This session, as Co-Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I led the passage of a bill that renames the state military training facility in Niantic to Camp Nett in honor of Connecticut Army National Guard Colonel Robert B. Nett, a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on December 14, 1944. This bill also changes the name of the state military training facility in Windsor Locks to Camp Hartell in honor of Connecticut Army National Guard First Lieutenant Lee R. Hartell, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on August 27, 1951.

Also, when members of the armed forces receive orders to come to Connecticut, and their spouse is a certified teacher in another state, it can be difficult for the spouse to start over as a teacher here in Connecticut. To address this issue, we created a “military spouse teacher permit” that allows the spouses to more easily work as teachers in our state.


Reducing the Costs of Prescription Drugs

Recognizing that prescription drug prices are the number one driver of rising healthcare costs, we passed legislation to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable by increasing transparency and requiring them to explain large price increases for drugs that have a substantial cost to the state. Additionally, insurance companies must now submit information about which drugs are most frequently prescribed and which are provided at the greatest cost. By collecting more data and holding drug companies accountable, we can get closer to lowering drug costs for Connecticut residents.


Pay Equity For Women

In Connecticut, women working full-time earn 83 cents for every dollar paid to men. Each year, Connecticut women lose a combined $5.5 billion due to the wage gap. Women still earn less than men and this inequity is perpetuated by the practice of asking for salary history during the hiring process. This session we worked on strengthening our pay equity laws by preventing employers from asking about wage history that will help effectively ensure women earn equal pay for equal work.


Capitol Update 2018 (pdf)