Dear Friends and Neighbors,

House Democrats 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.

This was a session 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 – that cuts $830 million.

Improving public health, increasing public safety, and encouraging financial security for everyone were featured elements of some 
of the major bills approved by the legislature this year. 


Connecticut Jobs: Our Number One Priority

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

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

Entrepreneur Support Programs – provides $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.

Connecticut 500 Project - 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 500,000 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.

Ban the Box

An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment was created to prevent employers from requiring people to disclose a criminal record when first applying for a job. On job applications, people are frequently asked to “check the box” for any arrests or convictions. Under this legislation, the box would be banned and employers would be prohibited from inquiring about a criminal record during the initial application process – but would still have the ability to inquire about criminal history during the interview process. Some employers, such as law enforcement and school districts, which are required to verify an applicant’s criminal history, would be exempt.

Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit

The House unanimously approved pro-business, pro-job growth legislation that establishes an Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit pilot program to encourage and assist first-time entrepreneurs in certain business sectors by reimbursing them for state fees associated with forming a business. Our vision is to attract new businesses to Connecticut and to encourage entrepreneurship and job growth in our state. 

First-time entrepreneurs wishing to start new information technology, biotechnology, and green technology businesses are eligible for funding. Under the program, entrepreneurs may receive reimbursement for any state filing, permitting, or licensing fees associated with forming their business in the state. 

This is a pro-business law with bipartisan support that will benefit Connecticut’s economy.

Capitol Update 2016 (pdf)