Dear Friend,

While there were many ups and downs this past legislative session, we ended our work on-time with a continued bipartisan budget agreement that avoided the approval of any new taxes while restoring funding for a limited number of key programs. We restored municipal aid and funding for education that helps support local services while reducing the need for increased property taxes.  We were able to restore eligibility for the Medicare Savings Plan that support low-income seniors and the disabled with accessing care and prescription drugs.

We invested in critically needed workforce development programs to ensure we have a pipeline of employees meeting the needs of some of our major employers like Pratt and Whitney and Electric Boat as well as hundreds of smaller manufacturers who make up the supply chain. This year’s legislative session was three months long but with compromise and a focus on the best interests of the state, we were able to pass legislation that moves Connecticut in a positive direction.  

Sincerely,


While the 2018 legislation session was the “short” session lasting only 3 months the General Assembly reviewed and debated 1407 bills. By the end of the process, we ended the legislative session with:

187 Public Acts -  a bill passed by both chambers of the legislature that is a new law or amends an existing law

28 Special Acts - a law that has a limited application or is of limited duration and is not incorporated into the Connecticut General Statutes. A special act might apply to a single organization’s charter, the creation of a task force or study, and bond authorizations, among other unique things.

1 Resolution Act - A resolution act proposes an amendment to the state constitution.

If you would like to know more about legislation passed this session, go to www.cga.ct.gov/olr/actsaffecting.asp

Feel free to follow-up with any clarifying questions.


Protecting Consumers

Due to multiple recent data breaches at companies like Equifax, Target and Anthem, we passed legislation to assist consumers with protecting their credit records. Companies can no longer charge a fee for placing or removing a security freeze on a credit report and consumers will now get two free years of credit monitoring after a data breach.

We also passed legislation that prevents utility companies from reporting a customer’s nonpayment to a credit rating agency until the bill is 120 days delinquent. The legislation also prevents cable and internet companies from reporting a customer’s nonpayment if the customer has initiated a complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal with regards to service.

Reverse mortgage lending has become a predatory practice. Lenders often prey on the vulnerabilities of those facing tough financial burdens. Connecticut now requires counseling for those considering a reverse mortgage so a homeowner will have all of the information, including the risks, prior to entering this type of arrangement.


Food Allergies In Schools

The legislature made several changes to education laws to better protect public school students with life-threatening food allergies. The changes include:

  • Permitting any student with a medically diagnosed life-threatening allergic condition to possess and self-administer his or her medication with written authorization
  • Requiring school transportation carriers, by June 30, 2019, to provide specified training to all school bus drivers, including training on identifying anaphylaxis symptoms and administering EpiPens
  • Extending the protections of the “Good Samaritan” law to cover school bus drivers rendering certain emergency first aid in response to a student's allergic reaction

Town Aid for 2018-2019

  East Hartford Manchester
Education Funding $50,282,400 $35,611,737
Aid for Roads $583,293 $643,916
Local Capital Improvements $524,303 $506,944
Manufacturing Tax Exemptions $4,447,536 $1,072,449
Other Aid $1,806,158 $2,173,107

Reducing Prescription Drug Costs

Recognizing that prescription drug prices are a key driver of rising healthcare costs, we passed legislation to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable by increasing transparency in how they price their products. This landmark legislation requires health care companies to provide data to the insurance commissioner and legislature regarding:

  • Covered outpatient prescription drugs, including the most frequently prescribed drugs and those provided at the greatest cost
  • The value of all rebates when calculating plan premiums
  • Identification of prescription drug “sponsors” (i.e., the entity responsible for its clinical trials) to notify the Office of Health Strategy (OHS) when it files certain applications for new drugs

This information will help us understand the dynamics of prescription drug pricing so that we can act accordingly to enact legislation or regulations to help control costs.


Essential Health Benefits

A new law requires individual and small employer group health insurance policies to cover 10 essential health benefits and prohibits the policies from including annual or lifetime limits on their dollar value. The benefits, which most policies must already cover under the federal Affordable Care Act, include ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn health care, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and rehabilitative services, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services, and pediatric services. The new law also requires insurance policies to cover contraceptive drugs, devices, and products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including a 12-month supply when prescribed by a licensed physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse.


Capitol Update 2018 (pdf)