I am pleased to share with you this update on the 2017 legislative session. Our goal is to forge a path for a stronger Connecticut, and this session was no different. 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 help support our small businesses and spur workforce development. Although the regular session has concluded, I will continue to work to keep New Haven 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 do not hesitate to reach out to my office if I can ever be of help to you or your family. It is my pleasure and honor to serve as your state representative.
Good News for New Haven
Emergency Generators At Bella Vista
This year we passed Public Act 17-62, which requires emergency generators in certain senior housing establishments. This law will protect some of our most vulnerable citizens during power outages.
PA 17-62 requires the owners of senior housing complexes to install and maintain one or more emergency power generators capable of providing a minimum of 4 to 12 hours of power to each unit for heating, water, lighting and critical medical equipment.
This legislation comes after a major brownout incident that trapped nearly 1,000 Bella Vista residents inside its towers with temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees. Bella Vista is a privately owned multifamily housing project in New Haven and many of its buildings are 15 stories in height.
Construction to Rebuild Fort Hale Park Pier
New Haven is set to enhance one of its greatest natural assets – the Long Island Sound – by rebuilding its Fort Hale Park pier. The structure was leveled by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. In the years following the destruction of the pier, we’ve collected city residents’ input and held community forums to create a proposal to rebuild the structure.
The new pier will stretch across 360 feet – 10 feet longer than the former structure – and will be 12 feet wide. The structure will also include a hammerhead walkway, or a “T” shape, that will be 140 feet long and 16 feet wide. The pier is slated to open next spring.
This project would not have been made possible without the hard work of Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, who helped secure $1.8 million in funding from the Connecticut Bonding Commission in July 2015.
Enhancing Community Policing
A measure that will allow cities and towns to tap into a $9 million reserve of state funding to purchase body cameras and dashboard cameras for police cruisers passed the Legislature.
Public Act 17-225 will establish a task force to review the use of police body cameras and expands access to funding for its purchase. Additionally, it will allow the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to administer an available grant program to reimburse municipalities for costs associated with purchasing equipment.
Body cameras can become a critical tool towards more transparency as we grapple with restoring trust between police and the public. For many local police departments, body and dashboard cameras have proven to be essential devices that protect citizens from police misconduct and enable officers to do their jobs more safely.
Recordings will not help resolve all cases, but will help shed light into investigations. It is a win-win for police enforcement and the public.
Steps To Combat The Opioid Epidemic
This year in Connecticut, more people will fall victim to drug overdoses than from car accidents and gun violence combined. This session, Connecticut took action and passed legislation to combat drug abuse and addiction. Drug abuse and addiction affects everyone regardless of economic or social stature. (Public Act 17-131)
- Here are some of the legislation’s details:
- Reduces the maximum opioid drug prescription for minors from 7 days to 5 days
- Requires health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment
- Facilitates the destruction of unused medication through RN’s employed with home health care agencies
- Increases data sharing between state agencies regarding opioid abuse or opioid overdose deaths
- Increases security of controlled substances prescriptions by requiring scheduled drugs be electronically prescribed
- Expands requirements about information regarding provider communications about the risks and signs of addiction, and the dangers of drug interactions to cover all opioid prescriptions – current law passed in 2016 is just for minors
- Allows patients to file a voluntary non-opioid form in their medical records indicating that they do not want to be prescribed or administered opioid drugs.
Championing For Pregnant Women In The Workplace
For far too long, women have been forced out of their jobs due to unfair treatment with respect to pregnancy. Women’s full participation in the workforce is essential to a successful economy. It was necessary to pass legislation allowing for more accommodations for women in the workforce who choose to start a family. Some of these new accommodations include more frequent and longer breaks, being allowed to sit while working, modified work schedules, and time off to recover from childbirth. Additionally, this bill goes further by setting up protections that prevent an employer from discriminating against pregnant women. No longer will a business be able to deny employment opportunities because of pregnancy, or retaliate when reasonable accommodations are requested. Under this landmark legislation, employers must participate in education about their responsibilities in these matters, while also notifying their employees about these rights. (Public Act 17-118)
Center For Victims Of Domestic Violence In New Haven
New Haven is seeking to make its community safer by establishing a centralized service center for domestic violence victims in our area. The center seeks to gather all of the people and services made available for domestic violence victims under one roof. Services available include: police, prosecutors, victim advocates and other providers. This will simplify the process for victims, who could be directed to as many as 30 different offices and providers before receiving the services they desperately need.
This project would help create a safe space for countless New Haven residents and is necessary in order to provide an opportunity for people in crisis. I am proud to have been a part of this planning process and hope to see it completed soon.
Helping Connecticut’s Small Businesses
Most business owners have no trouble investing their time and effort, yet they sometimes struggle to find the financial backing required to get their ideas off the ground. Public Act 17-110 expands eligibility for the Angel Investor Tax Credit to include small businesses. This program incentivizes accredited investors who seek to consult and mentor prospective small business owners and support their growth.
Running a small business is hard work. We must give entrepreneurs the tools and resources they need to succeed. This session we passed Public Act 17-158, which creates a statewide information hotline providing prospective and existing small business owners with customized advice, education, and network resources.