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.
Please know that I sincerely appreciate hearing from the constituents who 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.
As your State Representative it is truly an honor to serve the town of Norwich and its residents. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
TACKLING THE 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:
- Increase access to Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses, and:
- Allow any licensed healthcare professional to administer Narcan.
- Require municipalities to equip their first responders with Narcan.
- Allow pharmacists to prescribe Narcan.
Limit opioid prescriptions, reducing the risk of addiction, and:
- Caps first-time adult prescriptions at a seven-day supply.
- Caps all prescriptions for minors at a seven-day supply.
- Contains exceptions for certain medical conditions.
Add more on-the-ground experts to the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council, such as:
- An emergency medical technician.
- A licensed drug and alcohol counselor.
While there is still more work to be done, this legislation is a historic step forward in both combatting opioid overdoses and preventing new cases of opioid addiction.
PROPERTY TAX RELIEF FOR VETERANS
This year we provided more property tax relief for many Veterans. Depending on the veteran’s 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.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE / TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
Women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm. Connecticut is taking great strides in protecting women and children from domestic violence by requiring a person to surrender firearms after being served with a temporary restraining order. Another new law was created to help prevent sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Reasons for the legislation:
- The days following service of a temporary restraining order and the days leading up to the first court appearance are the most dangerous for a victim of domestic violence.
- Nationally, domestic assaults involving firearms are 12 times more likely to result in fatal violence than those involving other weapons or bodily harm.
- Connecticut averaged 14 intimate partner homicides per year from 2000 to 2012 and firearms were used in 39 percent of those 188 homicides, making them the most commonly used weapon to commit intimate partner homicide in Connecticut.
This legislation strengthens laws against trafficking of human and sexual exploitation. It adds membership to the Trafficking in Persons Council and strengthens its charges.
- 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.
ESTABLISHING A FIREFIGHTER CANCER RELIEF PROGRAM AND OTHER BENEFITS FOR FIREFIGHTERS
It is important that we recognize and take care of firefighters who place themselves in harm’s way every day – and sometimes lose their lives – to protect us and our property. Studies have shown that firefighters are exposed to numerous carcinogens and toxins that can lead to serious illness and sometimes death. We passed legislation establishing a relief fund for wage replacements used toward career and volunteer firefighters who are battling work-related cancer.
We also passed legislation that:
- Grants a municipality the authority to offer a municipal property tax relief program to retired volunteer firefighters, fire police officers and EMTs who volunteered at least 25 years of service.
- Allows for municipalities to authorize inter-local agreements so that even if the retired volunteer no longer lives in the town in which they volunteered, they can still remain eligible.