I am pleased to share with you this update on the recently concluded legislative session. Each year, my goal is to forge a path for a stronger Connecticut, and the 2017 session was no different. I 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 support our small businesses and spur workforce development. Although the regular session has concluded, I will continue working to keep Connecticut 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 don’t 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.
Angel Investor Tax Credit Program
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.
Pregnant Women in the Workplace
For far too long, women have been losing out on opportunities to advance in the workplace due in part to unfair treatment with respect to pregnancy. Women’s full participation in the workforce is essential to a successful economy. Public Act 17-118 strengthens current protections for pregnant and nursing women under the state’s anti-discrimination law and expands protections that prevent an employer from discriminating against pregnant women.
Under this landmark legislation, employers must participate in education about their responsibilities in these matters, while also notifying their employees about these protections; which are critical to a family’s financial security and are good for the growth and stability of our economy.
Public Act 17-207 creates a Workforce Training Authority and a related Workforce Training Authority Fund to develop and implement job training programs for businesses relocating to Connecticut and train or retrain state workers to achieve workforce development goals set by the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission (CETC).
Banning Civil Forfeiture Without A Criminal Conviction
Under Public Act 17-193, property seized during a lawful search associated with certain criminal allegations may only be subject to forfeiture proceedings if the search results in an arrest. It also requires the court to return seized property to its owner unless there is a guilty or no contest plea, a guilty verdict after a trial in cases where the property was related to the offense, or a dismissal from completing a pretrial diversionary program.
Licensing of Barbers and Hairdressers
Public Act 17-112 will exempt Connecticut residents seeking to become barbers or hairdressers in Connecticut from submitting criminal history data as a prerequisite to licensure. This legislation will give people who have a criminal conviction an opportunity to pursue a career as a barber or hairdresser so they can further support their families and the communities in which they live and takes steps toward ensuring everyone has the opportunity to earn a sustainable livelihood.
Public Act 17-239 codifies procedures and provides for greater transparency concerning solitary confinement and adds training and wellness initiatives for correctional staff. This new law also prohibits the solitary confinement of minors and will give training and de-escalation techniques to employees who interact with inmates with mental illness.
Body and Dash Cams
At a time of heightened tensions between police and communities, the legislature passed Public Act 17-225, which will allow municipalities to tap into a $9 million reserve of state funding to purchase dashboard cameras for police cruisers.
Increasing transparency will help improve the trust between law enforcement and communities. Recording police interactions with the public not only promotes police accountability, but it also helps resolve civilian complaints against the police. Indeed, a win-win for us all.
Under our current system of pretrial detention, low-risk offenders are routinely held in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. At the same time, more dangerous offenders are released because they can afford to pay. Under Public Act 17-145 a judge would be prohibited from setting bail for those charged with misdemeanors unless the judge determines that person poses an immediate threat to the public.
Banning Conversion Therapy
“Conversion Therapy” is a barbaric belief that psychological and emotional abuse can change the sexual orientation of gay children. This session, we took a critical stance and banned this dangerous practice in our state. Connecticut joins six other states in outlawing “Conversion Therapy” and I hope this sends a message to the rest of the country to defend our LGBTQ community’s rights. (Public Act 17-5)