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Dear Friend,

It is my honor to represent you in Connecticut’s House of Representatives. As your state representative, I fight to give the people of Hartford and Windsor resources and opportunities to succeed. This year, I secured $100,000 for Youth Service organizations in our area including the Supreme Athlete mentoring program and BSL Education Foundation.

Our low-income residents will benefit from the state budget due to an expansion of HUSKY A eligibility to 160% of the Federal Poverty Level. Also, our budget protects seniors by maintaining the tax exemptions for Social Security and pension income, as well as by rejecting an asset test for the Medicare Savings Program.

I am proud to say that small businesses in our cities will benefit from the repeal of the Business Entity Tax, and craft beer breweries will further benefit because we instated a tax credit in order to help this growing industry continue to thrive.

This year, I had the honor of being appointed Chair of the Housing Committee by our Speaker, and my colleagues chose me to Chair the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus (BPRC). In this newsletter, you’ll read about some of the pieces of legislation I championed in these roles.

More work remains, and I welcome your ideas. Please contact my office with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,


Leading the Housing Committee

I was proud to be appointed Chair of the Housing Committee at the start of this legislative term. Fair and equitable housing policies are vital for a just society, so I was honored to undertake this role. Some of the bills I led through the House were:

  • A bill which would require housing authorities to provide voter registration applications to prospective tenants. This is a way to make voting easier for folks by making registration accessible and convenient when they move and find permanent housing with a housing authority. Though this bill stalled in the Senate, I am looking forward to once again championing this concept in our next legislative session. HB 5844
  • A bill which will help municipalities enforce local ordinances dealing with the maintenance and safety of properties by requiring nonresident rental property owners and project based housing providers (PBHPs) to file the landlord’s or agent’s current residential address with the municipality in which the properties are located. Renters deserve and demand landlords who care for our community and are not simply looking to cash-in on federal housing funds. My bill is simply common-sense and way overdue. HB 7225; PA 19-168

Giving Working Families The Support They Deserve

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 bed rest, 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 is now financial peace-of-mind. SB 1; PA 19-25


Enriching our Children’s Educational Experience

African American, Black, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies
We are expanding social studies to include an important part of our shared culture: African-American, Black, and Puerto Rican and Latino history. Through the teaching of this curriculum, we all become more aware of both the hardships and accomplishments of our fellow Americans. It helps all students to have a fuller picture of the challenges and resilience of our African American and Latino populations. This also gives students of color the opportunity to learn more about their own history and the significant contributions their cultures have made in Connecticut and the rest of the country. HB 7082; PA 19-12

Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention
It is important for the minority students in our state to have more teachers who not only look like them, but understand the challenges they face in our society, so we passed legislation which creates an annual hiring goal of 250 new minority teachers and administrators across the state. SB 1022; PA 19-74


Raising Wages

Over 300,000 Connecticut workers will receive a raise as the state’s minimum hourly wage gradually rises to $15.00 by 2023. In 2024 and years thereafter, the minimum wage will be indexed to the rate of inflation. Here is the schedule of the incremental increases in the minimum wage until we reach $15 an hour:

  • $11 an hour on October 1, 2019
  • $12 an hour on September 1, 2020
  • $13 an hour on August 1, 2021
  • $14 an hour on July 1, 2022
  • $15 an hour on June 1, 2023

HB 5004; PA 19-4


Strengthening Our Democracy

Early Voting
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. This resolution passed by a majority of both the House and Senate, and if approved again in the 2021 legislative session, 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. HJ 161

Restoring Parolees’ Right to Vote
I also championed a bill that increases voter access by requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles to offer voter registration applications and submit them to local registrars. The bill also restores the right to vote to formerly incarcerated individuals, as many other states allow.  When formerly incarcerated individuals are treated as fully human, and fully capable of accepting the responsibility of voting, they can confidently rejoin society. And being connected to society will reduce recidivism. Though this bill stalled in the Senate, I am looking forward to once again championing this concept in our next legislative session. HB 7160


Capitol Update 2019 (pdf)