The 2019 Legislative Session has come to a close. We passed a balanced budget on time without income tax or broad-based sales tax increases or cuts to municipal aid. Though imperfect, this budget increased education funding for Ansonia and Derby, access to Husky A and the Medicare Savings Program, created more than $450 million in budget savings through new state employee healthcare efficiencies, and addressed teachers’ pension liabilities without shifting any cost burden to our towns among many other provisions that protect Connecticut’s working families.
We passed hundreds of pieces of legislation, including expanding insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, creating a military to machinist program for skilled veterans re-entering civilian life, and many others that move Ansonia, Derby, and our state in the right direction.
I appreciated hearing from you about the issues that matter to you during this session and encourage you to continue reaching out. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by email, phone, or at one of my local community events. It is such an honor to continue to serve you and our community.
Fighting for Families
Established a Family & Medical Leave Insurance program funded through employee contributions so that no one has to choose between a paycheck and caring for a sick family member.
Over 330,000 Connecticut workers and around 5,600 Ansonia and Derby residents will see pay increases and a better quality of life as a result of the minimum wage increases starting this year and continuing gradually over the next 4 ½ years to $15 an hour.
Nearly 300 families in Ansonia and Derby will benefit from increases to Care4Kids early childhood education funding.
The legislature implemented expanded tax breaks on social security and pensions, and fully funded the Medicare Savings Program.
As promised, education funding from the state for our schools will continue to increase in Ansonia and Derby. Ansonia will receive an increase of $605,415 each year, equaling a total increase of over $1.8 million over the next two years. Derby will experience an increase of $414,815 each year, equaling a total increase of over $1.2 million in ECS funding over the next two years.
As both cities are Alliance Districts, these ECS funds are protected by Alliance statutes, meaning that the increased state funds must be used toward initiatives to improve educational outcomes for our children, while towns are held responsible to maintain their foundational educational obligations.
The state also settled a CT Hospital Association lawsuit that was a major liability for CT. It allows small hospitals like Griffin Hospital—the 104th district’s largest employer—to have stronger long-term financial stability, and is a settlement supported by CT Hospital Association.
I successfully secured funding for Ansonia high school students who want to pursue the Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program offered in Derby. State PILOT funding was maintained for both Ansonia and Derby.
Business & Economic Development
Business development and employment opportunities were some of the most discussed topics this session. I supported multiple pieces of legislation to get our workforce trained, bring in more businesses to CT, and to ensure that the skilled workers, students, and economic-drivers that are already here are able to stay here.
HB 5833 An Act Establishing a Pilot Program for the Expansion of Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Programs – this bill, which I wrote, sponsored, and passionately advocated for, provides opportunities for high school students and adults to access the training needed to compete for the 12,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs currently open in our state.
SB 570 An Act Concerning Opportunity Zones – extends certain tax credits and priority status to businesses developing in federally-designated “Opportunity Zones” like here in Ansonia, which will help attract additional business investment.
SB 1030 An Act Concerning The Transfer Of Hazardous Waste Establishments – we live in a region with a high number of brownfields. I listened to local investors’ concerns that the Transfer Act was holding back brownfield development in CT. We revised the Act to make it easier for brownfield properties to be remediated and developed, which will stimulate economic growth, support real estate transactions, decrease the presence of brownfield properties in the state, and unlock new opportunities for development in the 104th.
SB 647 An Act Streamlining The Liquor Control Act – makes various changes to CT’s liquor laws to help breweries like Bad Sons Beer Co. in Derby grow and thrive.
SB 72 An Act Establishing A Tax Credit For Employers That Make Payments On Certain Loans Issued To Employees By The Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority – gives businesses a tax break if they help repay their employees’ student debt: a win for businesses looking for creative ways to bolster their compensation packages, a win for retaining younger workforce talent, and a win for those struggling to afford their bills with large student loan payments.
104th District Future Fair - Nov. 2nd
On Saturday November 2nd, I will be hosting the first annual Future Fair at Emmett O’Brien Technical High School. Future Fair will include educational and job opportunities as well as various ways that you can get involved in the community and help shape its future. There will be arts and entertainment, non-profit organizations for those who need support or just want to give back, and area businesses showcasing all the Valley has to offer. This will be an event for people of all ages to come and have fun while also displaying the many opportunities and services available in our own backyard, as well as ways you can get involved in the community. I look forward to seeing you all there!
This session, we passed numerous pieces of legislation expanding healthcare benefits to more Connecticut residents, including:
HB 5521 An Act Expanding Required Health Insurance Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions – redefines the “pre-existing condition provision” to include pre-existing conditions whether or not medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received before the coverage effective date for certain short-term health insurance plans.
SB 164 An Act Including Certain Mental Or Emotional Impairments Within The Definition Of “Personal Injury” Under The Workers’ Compensation Statutes – allows for police officers, parole officers, and firefighters to receive certain workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD caused by traumatic experiences on the job. It also requires a feasibility study for the future expansion of these benefits to EMS personnel.
HB 7125 An Act Concerning Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits – requires equal treatment for mental health and substance use disorder benefits and drugs prescribed for the treatment of substance use disorders and substance abuse services. All healthcare needs should be treated equally and seriously, whether it’s an illness of the brain or body.