It has been my pleasure and deep honor to be your voice in Hartford during the 2019 legislative session. As a taxpayer and consumer, I understand the need for efficient government. As a legislator, it is my duty to serve the needs of my community. Making decisions that affect families, businesses, and the environment cannot be taken lightly.
This year I served on the Human Services, Insurance, and Aging Committees. In all three committees we discussed very important legislation with some bills getting passed and signed into law while others did not. That means there is more work to be done.
As I prepare for next year’s legislative session I invite you to share your ideas and concerns. Please join me Friday mornings at Greiser’s on Route 136 (299 Center Rd) in Easton for my weekly ‘constituent coffee’ from 8:30 a.m.-9:15 a.m. If you can’t make it, feel free to call my office at 1-800-842-8267 or email me at email@example.com.
Making CT a Great Place to Live
Our biennial budget was delivered on time and under the constitutional spending cap. We successfully pushed back on Governor Lamont’s efforts to cut education aid and increase taxes on seniors, resulting in a budget that provides fiscal stability with no increases in income tax rates, increases in broad based tax rates, or cuts to municipal aid. It includes important advancements like a plan for debt-free community college and exempting social security from income tax. We are protecting our most vulnerable citizens, investing in the middle class, and encouraging economic growth for all of Connecticut.
- Maintains the tax exemptions for Social Security income and the phase-in of a tax exemption on pension income to make CT more affordable to seniors
- Avoids a costly and disruptive nursing home strike
- Keeps the “Passport to the Parks” fund
- Increases education funding
- Protects the Care4Kids program
- Re-opens highway rest stops
- Repeals the Business Entity Tax
- Increases access to health care
- Provides a tax credit to craft beer breweries
- Incentivizes purchasing a zero-emission car to reduce greenhouse gases
- Protects the Medicare Savings Program, and increases funding for
- Meals on Wheels
- Establishes a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Health and Human Service Network
Paid Family Leave
In the event of a medical emergency, Paid Family and Medical Leave allows employees to care for themselves or a loved one without having to face the threat of financial ruin. The program will provide replacement wages so that patients and caregivers can take time off and make ends meet. If you or your family has an emergency, there will now be financial peace-of-mind. I was proud to testify and vote in favor of giving working families the support they deserve.
Mental Health Parity
Diseases of the brain and body need to be treated equally in society and by insurance companies. 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. One in four Americans have 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.
Pre-existing Insurance Coverage
This session, we required more health insurance plans to cover pre-existing conditions. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, if someone had a pre-existing or chronic condition, insurance companies could refuse to insure them – impacting fifty million people. As a result, hospital emergency rooms and Medicaid were forced to absorb these costs, resulting in higher prices for everyone. Passed unanimously, this protects Connecticut residents against any changes to federal law.
Covering Police and Firefighters for PTSD
We have passed legislation which will provide workers’ compensation benefits for police officers, parole officers and firefighters suffering from PTSD due to events in the line of duty. Our first responders see violence and death on a too frequent basis and we must help them cope with the effects of these tragic experiences. The legislation also requires a study of the feasibility of expanding these benefits to include EMS and Department of Correction employees. We aim to include EMTs in next session’s legislation.
Protecting Our Planet
Green Jobs and Net Metering
Green energy is good for the planet and our economy. We passed legislation to continue deployment of solar energy, increase green jobs and economic activity. We hope to create new and viable career opportunities, benefit the environment, and help protect our planet for generations to come.
We have cleared the path for offshore wind energy generation in order to lead in green energy technology and help achieve Connecticut’s renewable energy goals. We are looking at a positive economic impact and the creation of good-paying jobs, as well as economic development in New London, New Haven and Bridgeport. Through this bill, Connecticut will acquire up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power. This will help achieve our energy consumption goal of 40% renewable energy by 2030. I am serving on an environment subcommittee to ensure provisions to protect and minimize impacts on the environment and fisheries.
No fracking waste in Connecticut! We expanded and strengthened existing laws to ensure the pollutants generated by fracking do not enter our state.
Protecting Our Water
A major accomplishment of the 2019 legislative session was passing the State Water Plan, which defines our water supply as a “public trust” to ensure our water resources are protected, and that clean drinking water is accessible for all.
Protecting Our People
We followed the lead of responsible gun owners and passed several bills to ensure that our families are kept safer. Two are based on safe storage of firearms. “Ethan’s Law” requires the safe storage of all firearms in a home with children under 18; while another law requires that firearms are kept out of sight and locked away in vehicles. Teaching gun safety in public schools was also included in Ethan’s Law.
We also closed loopholes in our current laws by banning “ghost guns” – homemade weapons that have no serial numbers and circumvent our background check laws, and regulating guns made on a 3-D printer.
Keeping People in Their Homes
Foreclosures have affected many Connecticut homeowners from wealthy communities to inner cities. We are helping families stay in their homes by extending the state’s Foreclosure Mediation Program for people facing tough times. The program requires mortgage lenders to use mediation to avoid foreclosures. Since the beginning of the program in 2008, it has helped nearly 30,000 homeowners reach settlements, allowing them to keep their homes.