The 2019 legislative session accomplished many of the goals set out for this year’s agenda and I am pleased to report on the progress we made. As House Chair of the Transportation Committee, I have seen and heard from constituents and residents across the state that our transportation infrastructure needs major investments. This is one of our top legislative priorities and I will continue working until we can achieve real progress in order to keep Connecticut growing again and moving in the right direction.
The budget, which makes critical investments in education and provides fiscal stability with no income tax or broad-based sales tax increases, or cuts to municipal aid, was passed on time! This budget is not only balanced, but protects taxpayers into the future. We are also protecting our most vulnerable, investing in the middle class, and encouraging economic growth for Connecticut.
We worked on policies that support small businesses, workforce development and make our state a place where we can proudly raise our families. I am committed to continuing to fight for you to build a brighter future for Connecticut and our community.
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 my pleasure and honor to serve as your state representative.
Paid Family Medical Leave
In the event of a medical emergency, Paid Family and Medical Leave allows workers to care for themselves or a loved one without having to face the threat of financial ruin. By providing up to 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave Insurance per year, equaling up to 95% of an employee’s weekly paycheck, we will provide financial protection to those who find themselves in an unanticipated medical emergency. This will help pregnant women on medically-ordered bedrest, families with an infirm or aging parent, and new parents who want to bond with an infant. The program is funded by employee contributions. If you or your family has an emergency, there will now be financial peace-of-mind.
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 has 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.
This legislation will:
- Ensure all mental health and substance use issues are covered by insurance
- Make mental health treatment more available, accessible and affordable
We took the first step toward allowing early voting by passing a resolution to amend the state constitution. This would allow for in-person voting leading up to Election Day for any state or municipal election or referendum. Voters should have the greatest opportunity to vote possible. This resolution passed by a majority of both the House and Senate, and if approved again in the 2021 legislative session it will appear as a question for voters to decide on the 2022 general election ballot. It is a great way to increase voter participation in our elections.
Green Jobs and Net Metering
The legislature passed a green economy and environmental protection measure that will lead to the deployment of solar energy in our state and increase green jobs and economic activity.
Here is what this legislation does:
- Extends renewable energy programs, including traditional net metering and extends the Green Banks renewable solar investment program
- Expands the virtual net metering cap which will reduce energy costs for municipalities
- Requires DOT to put together a land inventory on which lands are suitable for Class I energy resources such as solar energy on lands adjacent to state highways
Promoting Careers in Manufacturing
In order to make sure that we are properly educating and training our students to take advantage of good paying, high-tech jobs, we passed legislation that requires school districts as a part of their student success plans to create and provide evidence of career exploration including manufacturing careers and develop career placement goals for students choosing not to pursue an advanced degree. The bill also requires the Department of Education to study the demand for career and technical education teachers in the state’s technical high schools, traditional public high schools, and community college advanced manufacturing technology centers and recommend ways to expand opportunities for experienced manufacturing professionals to become teachers.