Dear Friend,

The bipartisan two-year budget was easily updated in a bipartisan fashion. The $1.2 billion in better than expected income allowing us to put over $760 million in the rainy day fund, restore education funding for towns, maintain the Medicare Savings Plan for seniors and the disabled, and restore basic medical care for poor children.  

Predictions of Connecticut’s demise proved incorrect. Pratt and Whitney, Electric Boat, Sikorsky and Infosys are hiring tens of thousands of workers and doubling the value of their contracts with Connecticut’s smaller manufacturers. Now we’ll train Connecticut’s citizens to qualify for these new highly-paid jobs through apprenticeships offered by industry, labor unions and state high schools and colleges. Please contact my office if you’d like additional information.  

The legislature passed and the Governor signed valuable legislation which I initiated or co-sponsored and you’ll read about in this publication. More work remains to be done on minimum wage, net neutrality and clean power. Your ideas are welcome.

Sincerely,


Bipartisan Budget

For the second time in just over six months, the General Assembly has approved a bipartisan state budget. State education funding to Hartford schools (under the Education Cost Sharing formula) jumped from $200,268,244 to $202,231,881 in the coming fiscal year – an increase of more than $1.9 million over last year after the Governor’s cuts. Windsor schools jumped from $12,093,273 to $12,146,934 – an increase of more than $53,661.

Key components of the budget agreement include:

  • No income, sales or other state tax increases
  • Increases State Aid for Education over 2018 levels
  • Restores funding to Medicare Savings Program that helps low-income elderly individuals and the disabled pay for the cost of medicine and health care premiums
  • Restores 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
  • Restores $12 million to the Husky A program

The bipartisan budget also restores solvency to the Special Transportation Fund (STF). The budget allows the state to avoid cuts to mass transit, any fare increases and keeps all of our transportation projects on track.


Protecting Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act contains ten essential health benefits including maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, preventive 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. (PA 18-10)

Additionally we:

  • Expanded access to tomosynthesis – an advance mammogram (PA 18-159)
  • Improved access to insurance for pregnant women (PA 18-43)
  • Continued the fight to curb opioid use and overdose (PA 18-166)

Pay Equity

In Connecticut, as it is around the country, working women earn less than men. Women would have to work an extra ten years just to make up the disparity in wages over their lifetime. This important new law prohibits employers from asking about your salary in previous jobs which is a major contributor to perpetuating low-paying salaries and the gender pay gap.


Reentry

Connecticut has made tremendous strides to help ensure that those reentering the community after incarceration are given every opportunity to succeed. Recently, it was reported that our prison population has been steadily decreasing and I believe it is due to the work that our state and private advocate groups do hand in hand. Because of a bill I championed, the Commission on Equity and Opportunity will be tasked to study housing options and recommend an evidence-based housing policy for those reentering the community after incarceration. This legislation will ensure that we continue this approach and work to create more programs to help keep our residents out of a perpetual cycle of incarceration.


Protecting Seniors

Reverse mortgage lending has become a predatory practice. These lenders often prey on the vulnerabilities of those facing tough financial burdens who are looking for help. Due to the complexity of these reverse mortgages, they often result in devastating outcomes due to misrepresentation or misinterpretation of the product being offered. Connecticut now requires counseling for those considering a reverse mortgage so that they will make a decision after receiving factual background information.
My office heard the concern and issues raised by senior citizens, veterans and people with disabilities regarding their transportation needs. We created a task force to study these transportation issues and make recommendations for future legislation and programs.


Capitol Update 2018 (pdf)