I am pleased to share with you this update on the 2017 legislative session. Each year, my goal is to forge a path for a stronger Connecticut, and the 2017 session was no different. I worked to pass bipartisan legislation that improves the lives of working families, encourages economic growth, and makes critical investments in the future of our children, as well as our state.
I am committed to fighting for you and building a solid Connecticut for future generations. The policies we passed support our small businesses, spur workforce development and ensure that we are making Connecticut more affordable for our young people and our seniors. Although the regular session has concluded, I will continue to work to keep Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
I hope you find the enclosed information helpful. Our future is stronger when we work together, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can ever be of help to you or your family. It is my pleasure and honor to serve as your state representative.
Removing Healthcare Barriers
The cost of prescription drugs places a large burden on many of us, especially those living on a fixed income. PA 17-241 removes barriers at pharmacies that have prevented some patients from being able to receive a cheaper generic medication, and also increases transparency in prescription drug pricing for the benefit of the patient.
Independent Consumer Advocate For Hartford County Consumers
An independent consumer advocate will now have a place at the table with the Metropolitan District Commission to represent consumers when the MDC addresses rates, water quality, water supply and wastewater service quality to ensure any decision is in the best interest of the consumers. (PA 17-1)
Small Business Hotline
Running a small business is hard work. We must give entrepreneurs the tools and resources they need to succeed. This bill creates a statewide information hotline providing prospective and existing small business owners with customized advice, education, and network resources in one place. (PA 17-158)
Revisions to the High School Graduation Requirements
In 2010, the number of credits a student must earn to graduate high school increased from 20 to 25. This new law helps ease the struggle to implement this change by allowing towns more flexibility in determining which high school courses are appropriate to reach that increased number of credits required for graduation, so long as those courses align with state standards. This law also allows more mastery-based courses to satisfy state requirements; and eliminates end-of-year requirements for certain courses. (PA 17-42)
Other Important Legislation
- Holding Private Schools to the Same Background Check Standards as Public Schools: In response to the scandal at Choate School in Wallingford where several teachers were accused of sexual abuse over the course of decades, we passed legislation that holds private schools to the same background check standards as public schools. In addition, we strengthened reporting requirements for when abuse is suspected. (PA 17-68)
- Social Security Tax Exemption for Seniors: As a part of the budget, we passed a provision phasing in an exemption of social security and pensions from the state income tax starting in 2019. This will help provide much needed tax relief to those who most need it and allow them to keep more of their own money. Another new law requires landlords to return any security deposit that exceeds one month’s rent if the tenant turned age 62 after paying the deposit, upon request of the tenant. (PA 17-236)
- Renters' Rebate: An unfortunate change that came with the state budget was transferring the administration of the Renters’ Rebate program to the towns, which had resulted in a delay of renters' rebate checks going out this year to the many seniors and those eligible who rely upon it. The good news is that after we spoke to our legislative leadership we were able to pass legislation to fix and restore the program. Renters should see no difference and those who have already applied can expect to see checks in December.
- Child Care for Working Families: With the State budget that passed we were able to restore funding to the Care 4 Kids child care subsidy program. This funding will allow for the program to reopen enrollment and begin to address the 5,769 families who have been on the waiting list. This is a program that helps low-income families afford safe, quality child care and allows parents to remain in the workforce.
- Electronic Proof of Automobile Insurance Identification Cards: This session, I supported legislation that permits the operator of a motor vehicle to provide proof of auto insurance coverage to a police officer through an app on a mobile device, rather than a printed copy. By doing this, we would have joined 48 other states in allowing this convenient practice. HB 5135 passed the House, but never came up for a vote in the Senate, so it is not law.