Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This was a session 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 – that cuts $830 million in state spending.

Keeping Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family is our ongoing responsibility. Though the 2016 legislative session presented one of the toughest budget challenges in decades, we succeeded to help move our state forward.

Sincerely,


Assisting Connecticut Businesses

To encourage job growth and improve Connecticut’s business climate, we passed laws that would allow first-time business owners to receive reimbursement for the initial costs associated with starting up a business, address the teacher shortage issue in the Connecticut Technical High Schools System (CTHSS), develop programs to introduce students and their parents to careers in manufacturing, and adopt the Connecticut Uniform Limited Liability Company. Act to offer companies a greater level of consistency regarding the formation and dissolution of LLC’s.


Recruiting Minority Teachers

As in most states across the country, teachers of color are underrepresented in Connecticut schools. To recruit more minority teachers, we’ve passed legislation that will improve the size and scope of the Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force and encourage minority students to pursue a college degree in education by establishing a pilot program in certain towns. The program will allow minority students to earn college credits while in high school and take an introductory course in education.


Standing Up for Veterans

We stand by our veterans. The legislature passed several measures this year to support veterans; one 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; another broadens the scope of the law that bars discriminatory practices in our state’s armed forces; finally, we approved a resolution appealing to our nation’s leaders to recognize Blue Water Navy Veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange.


Supporting Our Seniors

Especially during difficult times when we struggle to balance the state budget, protecting our older citizens remains a high priority. If we don’t look out for them, no one else will.

This year we passed legislation in many areas of concern to seniors:

  • Notice of nursing home closings or bed reductions for residents –When nursing homes or long-term care facilities plan to close or cut back on beds, the Department of Aging’s ombudsman must submit a letter to each patient detailing the rights and services available to the patient.
  • Utilization of patient-designated caregivers – Nursing homes now will be required to allow a resident being discharged to designate a caregiver who will work with the nursing home on a plan for postdischarge tasks.
  • Installers of residential stair lifts – This legislation creates a residential stair lift technician’s license, making it easier for homeowners to have stair lifts installed in their homes by allowing more contractors to be licensed to perform these installations.
  • Security deposits for age-restricted public housing – The elderly or disabled who want to live in state-assisted public housing now will be able to pay their security deposits in installments instead of the usual lump sum.

Ban the Box

The Fair Chance Employment law was created to prevent employers from requiring people to disclose a criminal record when first applying for a job. On job applications, people are frequently asked to “check the box” for any arrests or convictions. Under this legislation, the box would be banned and employers would be prohibited from inquiring about a criminal record during the initial application process – but would still have the ability to inquire about criminal history during the interview process. Some employers, such as law enforcement and school districts, which are required to verify an applicant’s criminal history, would be exempt.