Dear Neighbor,

This year’s legislative session has concluded and with it the passage of new legislation that will shape our state for years to come. I’m proud to say that we passed a bipartisan budget by the end of session. The budget funds transportation infrastructure, as well as restores cuts to education, the Medicare Savings Plan, Renters Rebate program, and HUSKY A, without increasing income, sales or other state taxes. It also maintains the “Rainy Day” Fund reserves at the highest level in over a decade.

We worked on policies that support small businesses, workforce development and making our state a place where we can proudly raise our families. I am committed to fighting for you to build a bright future for Connecticut as well as our Stamford 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.

Sincerely,


Jobs

Motivating companies and making Connecticut more business friendly to create jobs and improve our economy is a top priority. Recently, we assisted 15 companies with their plans to relocate, and create new jobs in the state. $80.7 million in low-cost loans, grants-in-aid and other programs designed to increase economic growth was approved – in return 15,006 jobs are expected to be retained, and 3,894 jobs created.


Safe and Healthy Home assistance

Lead abatement remains a serious issue to all residents in the state, but it is most dangerous to our state’s children. There are also other toxins that children may be exposed to every day at home. Homeowners may now access funding to address the abatement of not only lead, but other environmental hazards including mold, allergens, asthma irritants, carbon monoxide, pesticides and radon.


Medicare Savings Plan

We eliminated a decrease in MSP eligibility that was scheduled to take effect this year. In doing so, it maintains the program’s current income eligibility limits and many who were at risk of losing support can continue.


Renters Rebate

The Renters’ Rebate Program provides rent and utility reimbursements to older adults or totally disabled renters whose incomes do not exceed certain limits. We corrected a problem created last year, and the program should run smoothly again this fall.


HUSKY A

Medicaid eligibility for parents and caretakers under HUSKY A was expanded by raising the income limit from 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 150% FPL (e.g., from $27,637 to $31,170 for a family of three for 2018), reversing a previous cut made last year.


Investing in Middle Class Families

Women still earn less than men and this inequity is perpetuated by the practice of asking for salary history during the hiring process, ensuring that women who were underpaid at their first job continue to be underpaid. This session we strengthened our pay equity laws by preventing employers from asking about wage history.

In response to the recently enacted federal tax law, we passed legislation to protect, as much as possible, the state and local tax deduction. The changes at the federal level will likely increase taxes on families in our community. Under our new state law, towns can create non-profit charity-type programs that still qualify for federal deductions, to both preserve local services and reduce your federal tax burden.

We also continued to work with the business community on earned family leave. Every working person in Connecticut should be allowed take paid time off when they or a loved one gets sick. In addition, I supported a proposal to raise the minimum wage, so no one who works full time lives in poverty. Unfortunately, neither of these proposals had sufficient support to become law this session. These policies are essential and I will keep working on them.


Minority Teacher Recruitment

The State Dept. of Education (SDE) will work to develop new alternative routes to certification for paraprofessionals, charter school teachers, and veterans. SDE will also work with vendors to allow certain teachers to retake their licensure test for free if they do not successfully pass the first time.


Other Important Legislation

National Popular Vote
I supported legislation to enter Connecticut into the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. This will ensure that every vote counts and that you, the voter, decide how to commit our state’s Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate that wins the national popular vote. PA 18-9

Life-Threatening Food Allergies
Several changes were made to education law to protect students with life-threatening food allergies. Students will now be authorized to carry and administer their life-saving medications. Bus drivers will be trained in how to recognize a life-threatening allergic reaction, how to administer vital medication, and will now be protected under the “Good Samaritan” law when they do so. PA 18-185

Stamford Transportation Center Improvement District
This bill creates a Transportation Center Improvement District in the City of Stamford to allow this new district to authorize bonds to be used on public infrastructure projects such as sewers, water lines, road improvements, and other infrastructure needs. This district will be located near the Transportation Center. SA 18-9

10 Essential Health Benefits
The Affordable Care Act currently requires health insurance plans to cover ten essential health benefits and we passed legislation to ensure that Connecticut policies must still cover these basic health services no matter what happens nationally. PA 18-10

Dreamers
A new law allows certain students and honorably discharged veterans without legal immigration status access to institutional aid to attend a state public higher education institution. They must meet certain residency, age, and criminal history requirements as well as file with the institution an affidavit about their intent to legalize their immigration status. PA 18-2

Veterans Benefits
This bill extends certain state benefits to veterans with a qualifying condition who were discharged under circumstances other than dishonorable or for bad conduct.  Under this bill, a qualifying condition is a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury, or a military sexual trauma experience disclosed to an individual licensed to provide care at U.S. Department of veterans Affairs facility. PA 18-47

Reverse Mortgages
Reverse mortgage lenders often prey on the vulnerabilities of those facing tough financial burdens that are looking for help. These mortgages are complex and this can 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 an informed decision. PA 18-38


Capitol Update 2018 (pdf)