Dear Neighbor,

Most of my time in the General Assembly this year was taken up with work on a resolution to the state budget crisis. We got it done, but the solution did not include many of my priorities such as raising new revenues to prevent cuts to programs for seniors, aid to cities and towns, education, social services, and more. We have always been careful to keep our top tax rates below New York’s, but, now that our neighbors have raised rates on top earners, we in Connecticut should do the same. With that in mind, I am now looking forward to 2018.

My agenda for the New Year includes the following:

  • Establishing a simple and fair structure that redirects the tax burden from hard-working families to the wealthy and corporations.
  • Adequate funding for our schools and higher education to help grow the economy and ensure that our children are able to thrive and prosper.
  • Continuing to seek relief for seniors.
  • Making sure utilities provide reliable service and are accountable for storm preparation and storm cleanup.
  • Allowing tourists with out-of-state permits to purchase medical marijuana while visiting Connecticut. This can make it easier for the state to book large conventions and other events.
  • Legalizing the use of recreational marijuana and taxing its sale and distribution to raise much-needed revenue. Massachusetts is expecting to reap more than $30 million from Connecticut residents in the first year they begin the sale of recreational marijuana.
  • Taxing internet sales transactions, not just over the counter transactions.
  • Seriously discussing tolls, a sugar tax, sales tax on services, changes to the overall tax structure, and more, in an effort to place the state on solid fiscal footing.

I want to thank all of you who reached out to me during the year with your questions and concerns. Do not hesitate to contact me about any issues that are important to you.

Thank you for your support,

Preventing Domestic Violence

Connecticut is a leader in the effort to end domestic violence. A new law adds stalking and stalking through social media to the list of domestic violence violations; increases the penalty for committing a family violence crime while on probation; and requires a pre-sentence investigation of anyone convicted of a family violence felony. PA 17-31

A special thanks to the Prudence Crandall Center for their advocacy against domestic violence.

Pregnant Women In The Workplace

For far too long, women have been losing out on opportunities to advance in the workplace due in part to unfair treatment with respect to pregnancy. Women’s full participation in the workforce is essential in a successful economy. A bill passed this year strengthens current protections for pregnant and nursing women under the state’s anti-discrimination law. It requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for these employees, such as allowing them to sit while working, modified work schedules, and time off to recover from childbirth.

Additionally, this bill goes further by setting up protections that prevent an employer from discriminating against pregnant women. No longer will a business be able to deny employment opportunities because of pregnancy, or retaliate when reasonable accommodations are requested. Under this landmark legislation, employers are required to notify their employees about these rights. These protections are critical to women’s financial security and are good for families and the economy. PA 17-118

Seniors Get A Tax Break

We are one of only 13 states that taxes social security income. I believe this is unfair because of the burden it places on seniors. I am proud to have sponsored and help pass a new law exempting social security from the state income tax starting in 2019. Emergency Certified Bill 1502, PA 17-2

More Opioid Regulation

I serve on the Public Health Committee, chaired by our own Senator Gerratana, that has oversight of Connecticut’s fight against opioid overdoses. This session, we took action and passed legislation to combat drug abuse and addiction. The legislation reduces the maximum opioid drug prescription for minors from a 7 day to a 5 day supply, requires health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment, requires medical providers to discuss opioid risks with patients, and eases restrictions on destroying unused medications. PA 17-131

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) has a toll free number (800-563-4086) that connects residents seeking treatment and services for opioid addiction to local walk-in centers.

Providers specific to New Britain are:

Farrell Treatment Center
586 Main Street
Mon-Fri 8:30 am - 8 pm
Outpatient services at Farrell
available in Polish and Spanish

Community Mental Health Affiliates
125 Whiting Street
Call 860-224-8192 for hours of operation
Services available in English and Spanish

Hartford Dispensary
70 Whiting Street
10 am - 1 pm

Wheeler Clinic
75 North Mountain Road
Mon-Thur, 10 am - 5:30 pm,
Fri 9 am - 3:30 pm

Capitol Update 2017 (pdf)