Dear Neighbors,

Together we led the way in passing significant legislation during the 2016 session of the General Assembly to help protect and improve the quality of life for Connecticut families. I sincerely appreciate hearing from the constituents that reached out to me to express their opinions on this year’s legislation. I know these are tough times; please know that your concerns were definitely heard.

This session was dominated by the budget. Although there were no easy solutions, we approved a budget that is balanced, without tax or fee increases, without borrowing, and without dipping into the Rainy Day Fund.  Significant spending cuts were made.

Improving public health, increasing public safety, and encouraging financial security for everyone were featured elements in some of the major bills approved by the legislature this year. 

It is truly an honor to serve you. Thank you for your time and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. 

Sincerely,


Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit

The House unanimously approved pro-business, pro-job growth legislation that establishes an Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit pilot program to encourage and assist first-time entrepreneurs in certain business sectors by reimbursing them for state fees associated with forming a business.


Supporting Connecticut’s Growing Manufacturing Sector

The manufacturing industry is making a comeback and we are working to ensure a strong and educated workforce for the increasingly high-tech jobs of the future. In order to meet the growing demand of manufacturers, we established a committee that will educate middle and high school students about careers in manufacturing, provide manufacturing training, and study workforce needs to introduce students and their parents to careers in manufacturing.


Consumer Protection

This year we addressed important consumer protection concerns by providing increased privacy for cellphone and internet subscribers, controlling the disclosure of customers’ information in criminal investigations, and requiring service stations to post a notice informing customers if a 24-hour hold will be placed on their credit or debit card account.


Ending The Sales Tax On Parking In State Parks

Helping municipalities to meet their budgetary needs and keeping taxes in check have always been priorities - this measure accomplishes both. To relieve the cost associated with collecting the current sales tax on parking fees, we exempted seasonal parking lots with over 30 spaces or parking lots operated by the federal or state government from the sales and use tax. This not only aids the municipalities, but also will save consumers money.


Public Safety

Firefighters risk their lives every day to protect citizens within their community, but the risk does not stop once the fire is out.  Each fire burns toxins into the air that firefighters absorb, even while wearing proper protective gear.  These toxins highly increase risk of certain cancers each time a firefighter is exposed.  Prior to this legislation, firefighters who contracted cancer had to return to work while still recovering because they did not have proper compensation as they already cannot receive short/long term disability or social security. During this session, the Legislature established a self-sustaining relief fund to cover lost wages, without raising taxes.  Now, both volunteer and career firefighters will be able to take necessary time to recover from cancer they’ve contracted while on the job protecting us. Other legislation allows municipal property tax relief for retired volunteered firefighters, fire police officers and EMTs who volunteered at least 25 years of service.


Human Trafficking

This legislation strengthens laws against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. It adds membership to the Trafficking in Persons Council and strengthens its charges. It also: 

  • Creates agency trainings to enforce trafficking laws
  • Improves annual record-keeping
  • Shifts some criminal responsibility away from minors charged with prostitution and onto those who solicit prostitution from     minors
  • Expands scope, enforcement, and notice of state trafficking laws 
  • Makes it easier for rape victims to terminate the parental rights of assailants

Regionalism

We are looking to increase municipal efficiencies and regional cooperation. The law now allows non-adjoining municipalities to share the services of a resident state trooper or other law enforcement personnel.


Standing up for Veterans

We stand by our veterans. The legislature passed measures that will facilitate veteran employment with a resource network for specialized skills in the Department of Labor and preferences in state contract bidding for veteran-owned small businesses and approved a resolution to our nation’s leaders to recognize Blue Water Navy Veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange. 

We also provided more property tax relief for many Veterans.  Depending on the veterans’ income level, municipalities may assess their property up to $20,000 less than the property’s actual value. Municipalities must also in certain circumstances waive the interest on delinquent property taxes owed by members of the active military when they are serving out of the state.


Farms

To boost our state’s agriculture business, we are encouraging companies to work with farmers to provide locally grown products to our school children. We also improve the database for the Connecticut FarmLink program, which connects those who want to sell their farm or land with those who wish to buy it.  Lastly, farm wineries will have the opportunity to sell wine two hours earlier than they are currently allowed, starting at 8 a.m. instead 
of 10 a.m.


Protecting Pollinators

Honeybees don’t just give us delicious honey, as pollinators they’re also crucial to the environment and local agriculture. That’s why we passed legislation to address the collapse of bee colonies and ensure our pollinators remain healthy. This legislation will prohibit the use of certain harmful pesticides and encourage the planting of pollinator-friendly vegetation.


Promoting Clean, Reliable Energy

We are making a great deal of progress in promoting clean, reliable energy. Several laws provide incentives in the form of credits for excess electricity generated through clean sources such as solar and wind. These monetary incentives will help to expand the use of clean, renewable energy while keeping our environment clean.


Supporting Our Seniors

Taking care of our older citizens is a priority. We passed legislation to make sure patients are notified of their rights and available services when nursing homes or long-term care facilities close or reduce the number of beds. We also required nursing homes to allow residents being discharged to pick a caregiver to help them with their discharge plan. Other legislation allows for elderly or disabled tenants of state-assisted housing to pay security deposits in installments.


Tackling CT’s Opioid Epidemic

In recent years, Connecticut, like other New England states, has seen a heartbreaking increase in fatal opioid overdoses. Earlier this year we passed groundbreaking legislation to combat this crisis. This lifesaving law will allow any licensed healthcare professional to administer drugs that reverse opioid overdoses, require municipalities to equip their first responders with the opioid reversal drug Narcan, and cap first-time opioid prescriptions at a seven-day supply.