Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you for your continued support. I am proud to serve you and our great city, and it has been an honor to represent you this legislative session.  

This session was dominated by the budget and there were no easy solutions. I worked to protect my legislative priorities like funding to Milford Hospital, our schools, and state funding to the City of Milford as we were able to maintain most of our funding when other towns and cities were drastically cut.

I am pleased to report that a few Milford businesses applied for and were granted over 2 million dollars in grant funds to grow their businesses, create 61 new jobs and retain almost 300 jobs right here in Milford.

As always, I welcome your input and appreciate all those who have contacted me over the last year. Please continue to reach out to me by calling (800) 842-8267 or sending an email to Kim.Rose@cga.ct.gov.


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 post-discharge 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.

PROTECTING OUR TREE CANOPY

I heard from local town officials and residents about how utilities cut, prune, and remove trees and shrubs in our community.

I sponsored legislation requiring utilities to provide advance notice to towns and tree wardens of their trimming schedule. In addition, it expands the options for removal of wood generated by tree work, including allowing residents to take wood for their use. 

This legislation:

  • Requires utilities intending to conduct vegetation management to begin annually providing town officials with a plan of proposed work.
  • Requires utilities to remove any debris related to their pruning.
  • Allows tree wardens to post notices of proposed shrub removal or pruning on groups of shrubs, instead of each individual shrub.

PROMOTING CLEAN, RELIABLE ENERGY

We are making a great deal of progress in promoting clean, reliable energy. Several laws provide incentives in the form of credits for excess electricity generated through clean sources such as solar and wind. These monetary incentives will help to expand the use of clean, renewable energy while keeping our environment clean.

I co-sponsored legislation that will enable Milford to benefit from the Zero Renewable Energy Credit (ZREC) through the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). 

In 2015, Milford was awarded $2.9 million by DEEP to build a micro grid at five critical facilities. The micro grid will allow City Hall, Parsons Government Center, River Park Elderly, Senior Center and Harborside Middle School the ability to continue to operate and provide shelter and services to the community during times of utility grid outages and reduce the impact of future storms.


CONNECTICUT JOBS: OUR NUMBER 1 PRIORITY

This year we made economic growth and support for small businesses a priority. Here are some of our 2016 initiatives:

Innovation Places – Concentrates groups of entrepreneurs, tech talent, support organizations and research institutions in walkable, transit-connected, mixed-use neighborhoods.

Entrepreneur Support Programs – Provide $5 million a year to support a range of needs for entrepreneurs, such as residencies, coworking space and mentoring.

Tech Talent Development Fund – 10-year goal to at least double Connecticut’s stock of software developers and other tech talent we’re short on. Tactics will include recruitment from out of state, upskilling or reskilling current workers in other fields, and bolstering education programs in this field.

Added Support for Growing Small Businesses - $1 million a year for 5 years to support firms that have made it past the startup phase, and mature companies that have plateaued but have the potential to grow.

University Innovation Ecosystems - $10 million of seed funding to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems at all of Connecticut’s colleges and universities, public and private. 

Connecticut 500 Project - The main goals are to create a net increase of 500,000 private sector jobs over the next 25 years; increase the state’s population by 5,000 new residents; create 500 new startup businesses; increase by 500 the annual number of students graduating from state colleges and universities; and maintain CT’s top five ranking with respect to productivity, higher education and per capita income.


PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN

This year, numerous laws were passed to promote the wellbeing of children in Connecticut. 

The House passed legislation to combat childhood obesity and ban toxic chemicals from kid’s products. While this legislation didn’t make it to a vote in the Senate, I will continue to support these measures in the next legislative session. 

We’re also ensuring children receive a high-quality educational experience by safeguarding student data used by schools and making improvements to the Office of Early Childhood, such as improving notification to 
parents when a childcare facility is unlicensed.


SUPPORTING OUR VETERANS

I am proud to report that we passed new laws that enhance areas of job attainment, entrepreneurship, and quality of life issues for veterans. We also passed a resolution urging the federal government to provide VA benefits to Blue Water Navy Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.

The Legislation will:

  • Give a price preference of up to 15% for veteran-owned businesses bidding on state contracts.
  • Broadened the scope of the law that bars discriminatory practices in our state’s armed forces.
  • Require the Labor Commissioner to establish a clearinghouse to help highly-trained veterans and armed forces members find jobs that match their unique skill sets; a database will be created to match them with available jobs.

BUDGET CUTS

There is no smoke and mirrors with this budget. Almost every line item in the budget was impacted. It cuts spending by $830 million:

  • Without dipping into the Rainy Day Fund
  • Without borrowing
  • Without tax increases

We made the following structural changes that will reduce long-term obligations and create a more sustainable budget over time: 

  • Non-union state employee wage freeze & insurance co-pay increase
  • Salary pension cap for retiring non-union state employees
  • Reduced the size of state government

Even big-headline projects faced cuts. We are delaying some of the Governor’s transportation initiative in order to protect legislative priorities like:

  • Hospital funding
  • School funding 
  • Property tax relief
  • Funding for state colleges and universities