Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This spring the legislature passed a bipartisan budget update, which protects municipalities, hospitals and critical services such as the Medicare Savings Plan for seniors and the disabled, and essential medical care for children in need.
We accomplished many large goals this legislative session, including enacting fair student aid for undocumented students, the passage of the National Popular Voting compact legislation and the banning of bump stocks.
I championed the first attempt at significant zoning reform in forty years. This legislation will help address the problem of slow home growth and exclusionary zoning practices in Connecticut. Although the bill did not pass out of the Senate this session, it was a historic first step toward addressing the housing issues that plague the state.
The legislature is committed to restructuring Connecticut to adapt to a changing world. I welcome you to read further about new laws going into place to protect our citizens.
Personal data breaches at companies like Equifax, a credit-rating agency, demonstrated the need for new consumer legislation. To help consumers, I sponsored a bill that forbids companies from charging a fee for placing or removing a security freeze on a credit report and gives two free years of credit monitoring to people affected by a data breach.
We also passed legislation making it illegal for utilities to report a customer’s nonpayment of a bill to a credit-rating agency unless it is delinquent for at least 120 days. In addition, the legislation prevents cable television and internet companies from reporting a customer’s nonpayment, if the customer has initiated a complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal regarding service.
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.
We improved our system for collecting, transferring, and analyzing sexual assault evidence. Under a bill I helped pass, if you are at a health care facility and say you are a victim of sexual assault, the facility is required to connect you with a counselor who can help. We also required the State Police to implement an electronic tracking system for sexual assault evidence collection kits. Together these improvements to our system will better identify perpetrators and support victims.
Women, and especially women of color, still earn less than their male counterparts. This inequality is perpetuated by the practice of asking for salary history during the hiring process, ensuring that women who were underpaid at their previous job continue to be underpaid. This session we strengthened our pay equity laws by preventing employers from asking about wage history.
10 Essential Health Benefits
The Affordable Care Act contains ten essential health benefits including maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, preventative and mental health services, and chronic disease management that all Americans are entitled to have covered in their health insurance plans. As Congress and the President attempt to dismantle the ACA, we passed legislation to safeguard these benefits to ensure that no matter what happens in Washington, in Connecticut insurance policies must still cover these basic services. We also went a step further and required coverage for a twelve-month supply of contraceptives.