Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for giving me the privilege to represent you in the General Assembly. It is an honor to serve as your legislator in Hartford as I work with many of you to make our state the best it can be.
This year’s legislative session was dominated by the state budget. There were no easy solutions and sometimes hard decisions had to be made, but in the end we approved a budget that is balanced, without state tax or fee increases, without borrowing, and without dipping into the Rainy Day Fund.
I am proud that House Democrats led the way in passing significant legislation to help protect and improve the quality of life for Connecticut families. Improving our education, taking care of our seniors, and encouraging financial security for everyone were featured elements of some of the major bills approved by the legislature this year.
Recruiting Minority Teachers
As in most states across the country, teachers of color are underrepresented in Connecticut schools. To recruit more minority teachers, we 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. I am pleased that the New Britain school district and Central Connecticut State University are both participating in this pilot program.
States around the country have been working to improve their laws on reading intervention to address the growing problem of under-treated dyslexia. Connecticut continues to make ground in this area by establishing new requirements for teachers who obtain endorsements in remedial reading and language arts as well as for reading consultants.
Beginning next year, would-be teachers seeking such endorsements will undertake a reading and language diagnosis and remediation program as part of their teacher preparation
Helping Our Seniors
Protecting our older citizens remains a high priority. If we do not look out for them, no one else will. This year we passed legislation in many areas of concern to seniors, specifically with 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.
Ensuring Access To Legal Services
Everyone must be treated fairly under the law and ensuring reliable access to legal services is a keystone to that fundamental right. That’s why the legislature ensured funding for legal services for the poor.
Access to reliable counsel for criminal defendants has not been a problem, but the same has not been true in civil court. A newly established task force will examine this issue and report its findings to
the General Assembly later this year.