Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2019 Legislative Session has come to a close, and we have accomplished many of the goals set out for this year’s agenda.
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 continuing to fight to build a brighter future for Connecticut and our community.
As the Chief Transportation Financial Officer for the House Democratic Caucus, I am invested in and focused on coming up with the best long term solutions to support our transportation infrastructure needs. I will continue working until we have a plan for tangible, sustainable progress in order to keep Connecticut growing and moving in the right direction.
We passed major legislation that will help the working families of Connecticut. Starting in October, the minimum wage will go up to $11 an hour. Each subsequent year, it will go up an additional dollar until reaching $15 an hour in 2023. This wage increase will result in dollars being spent in local communities around the state and help over 330,000 people improve their quality of life. We also passed legislation creating a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program which is the most comprehensive and generous in the country. Paid for by employee contributions, workers will be able to care for themselves or a loved one without having to face the threat of financial ruin. This will help create stability in the workforce and within our communities.
I hope you find this information to be of use, and please know that Norwalk’s working families remain at the heart of each vote I cast in the House Chamber.
As always, please reach out to my office if I can be of service to you or your family.
Our biennial budget was delivered on time and under the constitutional spending cap. The budget invests in education and provides fiscal stability with no increases in income tax rates or broad-based sales tax rates, and doesn’t include cuts to municipal aid. It is balanced and protects taxpayers into the future. We are protecting our most vulnerable citizens, investing in the middle class, and encouraging economic growth for all of Connecticut. (PA 19-117)
This legislation will:
- Maintain the tax exemptions for Social Security income and the phase-in of a tax exemption on pension income
- Increase education funding for Norwalk
- Protect the Care4Kids program
- Re-open highway welcome centers with 24 hour restroom facilities
Protecting Our Democracy
Passing with a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly, we took the first step in amending the state constitution to allow early voting. The proposed change would allow for in-person voting for three days leading up to Election Day for any state or municipal election or referendum and also provides for no-excuse absentee voting. If approved again in the 2021 legislative session, it will appear as a question on the 2022 general election ballot. (HJ 161)
Supporting Our Seniors
We are increasing funding for the state’s Meals on Wheels program in order to support our seniors. Additionally, legislation I supported requires the Department of Public Health to develop recommendations to track client nutrition and quality of care. (PA 19-157)
Health And Safety
Research shows that if you haven’t started smoking by 21, you likely never will. We have made the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape products illegal for those under 21. Nationwide, e-cigarette use, also known as “vaping,” is on the rise among middle and high school students. This law seeks to keep nicotine out of the hands of minors. (PA 19-13)
Pre-existing Insurance Coverage
Passed unanimously, we are protecting our residents against any changes to federal law by codifying federal Affordable Care Act protections and expanding on them to prohibit some types of short-term health insurance plans from containing a pre-existing condition provision. (PA 19-134)
This legislation will require health insurance coverage for breast ultrasounds for any woman who is 40 years or older, has a doctor’s recommendation, has a personal history of breast disease through the biopsy of a benign tumor, or has a family or personal history of breast cancer. It also prohibits insurance from charging co-insurance, co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses for breast ultrasounds and mammograms. (PA 19-117)
We passed three important gun safety laws this session. One requires drivers to keep their guns securely locked up in their cars to reduce gun thefts. Another bans making “ghost guns” in your home. And finally, Ethan’s Law requires the safe storage of all firearms in a home with children under 18. (PA 19-5, PA 19-6, and PA 19-7)
Supporting Our Veterans
In-State Tuition for Military Families
Connecticut will grant in-state tuition to spouses and children of service members stationed in the state who may get orders to move elsewhere. Allowing in-state tuition to stay with the student helps Connecticut support our military and their families by making higher education more affordable and accessible. (PA 19-172)
Property Tax Exemption
We increased the property tax exemption for certain disabled veterans and service members. This additional financial benefit will hopeful make Connecticut a little more affordable for those that have given so much for our country.
Protecting Our Planet
Green energy is good for both the planet and our economy. We passed legislation that will help continue the deployment of solar energy, increasing green jobs and economic activity. Offshore wind generation is moving forward and will create good-paying jobs, boost economic development in the surrounding cities and towns, and help CT achieve our renewable energy goals. We also passed the State Water Plan, which defines our water supply as a “public trust” to ensure our water resources are protected, and that clean drinking water is accessible for all. (PA 19-71, PA 19-35, HJ 171)
Connecticut Is Open For Business
- We repealed the Business Entity tax starting next year. This will help small businesses and encourage start-ups.
- We expanded the Angel Investor tax credit to small businesses, minority and women-owned businesses, and more industries.
- We created a new tax credit for craft beer breweries to help grow this booming industry.
- We created a plan and various incentives to market CT as a bioscience hub.