Dear Friends,

As always, I am pleased to share with you a few updates on the recently concluded legislative session. Each year, our goal is to forge a path for a stronger Connecticut, and the 2017 session was no different. While we still have much to accomplish, this year we worked to pass bipartisan legislation that improves the lives of working families, encourages economic growth, and makes critical investments in the future of our children, as well as our state. I am committed to fighting for you and building a solid Connecticut for future generations. The policies we passed to support our small businesses, spur workforce development and ensure that we are making Connecticut more affordable for our young people and our seniors. Although the regular session has concluded, I will continue to work to keep Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family.  

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 my office if I can ever be of help to you or your family.

Lastly, I am honored and humbled to serve as your state representative for the 5th. Now more than ever, I am committed to mobilizing and training the next generation of progressive organizers and leaders because real, lasting change doesn’t just happen on its own—it requires consistency, it requires organizing, and it requires people like you. Please enjoy this holiday season with friends and loved ones.

Thank you,

Small Business Development

The newly passed state budget maintains funding for important programs that our small businesses rely on, including: the Bioscience Innovation Fund, Angel Investor Tax Credits, and the Women’s Business Development Council. Each of these programs provides resources and guidance for growing industries and Connecticut-based entrepreneurs. While the overall state budget reduces state spending for a number of programs, it is important that we not abandon successful programs that are creating jobs.

Fighting The Opioid Epidemic

Connecticut faces a very real problem with the current opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction touches every corner of the state, every economic stratum, and every demographic. It affects our cities as well as our rural communities. House Bill 7052 is the next step in this fight. This law limits the maximum opioid drug prescription to 5 days, requires health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment, and facilitates the destruction of unused medication, ultimately helping to reduce addiction and overdoses. (PA 17-131)

Bipartisan Budget Good for Hartford

I am proud to announce that the bipartisan state budget provides Hartford with the financial and structural tools it needs to avoid bankruptcy and put itself on firmer financial footing. This includes an additional $40-$45 million appropriation of municipal aid to Hartford on an annual basis.

Bipartisan Budget Good for Connecticut

The budget strengthened our existing spending cap. Under the new cap, funding for pensions, distressed municipalities, and money used to receive matching federal grants will all come under the cap over time. This is important because it more accurately reflects what we are spending as a state and will force future legislatures to prioritize spending on programs that work and that our communities need. In addition, because it passed with such a significant majority, it will be harder to change the definition of the cap in the future.

Stranded Tax Credits

Our bipartisan budget adopts a new business-friendly policy that encourages private investment in growing Connecticut businesses. In-state companies will be able to apply certain unused “stranded” tax credits to hire more people, expand their business, or invest in startups. A similar program was used to help United Technologies Corp grow their aerospace and engineering base here a few years ago. According to one report, this proposal is expected to generate significant job growth and economic investment.

Reentry Into The Community

I believe that if you have been convicted of a crime and completed your sentence, you deserve a second chance to be a productive member of our community. It is important both for the individual, and all of us who are their neighbors and friends. There are some innovative programs already underway that work with formerly incarcerated people to put them on a pathway to success. This session, I proposed legislation to study existing programs and look at ways we can expand employment opportunities. This will continue to be an ongoing effort of mine at the Capitol. (SA 17-15)

Rep McGee hosting the Reentry Roundtable at the State Capitol. This group is looking for ways to help those re-entering the community find gainful employment.

Making Education Accessible

Every student learns differently. But for too long our high school graduation requirements were too rigid to allow for schools to recognize alternative pathways to learning. This year, we revised high school graduation requirements to include career and technical education, virtual learning, dual enrollment classes, internships, and other intensive programs where students are learning work-place skills in addition to what they would learn in a traditional classroom setting. Providing children with pathways and choices will help guarantee that more will pursue their education. (PA 17-42)

Renters’ Rebate Program

With the passage of minor changes to the bipartisan budget, we have successfully resolved the issues with the Renters’ Rebate program and eligible participants will still receive a rebate similar to last year’s amount.

The Connecticut Renters’ Rebate Program provides rebates to older adult or disabled renters whose incomes do not exceed certain thresholds.  Between April 1 and October 1, qualified individuals can apply to their local assessors once a year for state reimbursement for rental payments they made in the preceding calendar year. Married couples can receive up to $900 and a single person will be refunded a maximum of $700.

Capitol Update 2017 (pdf)