Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It has been my honor to work on your behalf in the Connecticut House of Representatives this year. House Democrats led the way in passing significant legislation during the 2018 session of the General Assembly to help protect and improve the quality of life for Connecticut families.
I would like to share some of the most important laws that passed this year. I am proud of our accomplishments, and I hope you agree.
We passed a bipartisan budget that fully restores funding to the Medicare Savings Program, increases education funding over 2018 levels, funds the Special Transportation Fund so projects can continue as scheduled, does not increase or add any new taxes, and maintains our “Rainy Day” fund at the highest levels in a decade.
This budget included an increase of $2.2 million in state aid to West Hartford, with a 16.6% increase in Education Cost Sharing funds over what we received last year.
As always, do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions as to how I can better serve you. Thank you, again, for entrusting me with the priviledge to work on your behalf in Hartford.
Protecting Women’s Health Care
The Affordable Care Act contains ten essential health benefits including maternity and newborn care, prescription drug coverage, preventive and mental health services, and chronic disease management that all Americans are entitled to have covered in their health insurance plans. As Congress and the President attempt to dismantle the ACA, we passed legislation to safeguard these benefits to ensure that no matter what happens in Washington, Connecticut insurance policies must still cover these basic services. Additionally, we went a step further and required coverage for a twelve-month supply of contraceptives.
In an effort to strengthen police and community relations, I led the way on the Public Safety and Security Committee to provide funding for police department equipment. A new bill expands upon programs regarding dashboard cameras for police officers. Now, more types of equipment will be eligible for state reimbursement, and municipalities will be reimbursed for replacing dashboard cameras purchased before 2010.
Promoting Manufacturing Careers
Continuing our efforts to encourage students to consider careers in manufacturing, we are working to develop mobile manufacturing training labs that will visit middle and high schools to educate students about advanced manufacturing. This continues our work to invest in our community colleges and technical high schools, and our belief that technical education and career training can lead students to family-supporting jobs.
Making Connecticut Safer
The tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas last year demonstrated the ability of bump stocks to dramatically increase a gun’s destructive power, effectively turning semi-automatic firearms into a weapon that can shoot as fast as a machine gun. We responded by making it a crime to own or sell a bump stock, or similar device, unless you are a licensed military contractor.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Over 60,000 of our residents sought treatment for substance abuse in 2016 alone. One of our challenges is providing adequate treatment and recovery services. To help address this, we set up a system where sober homes can register with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services so families will be able to check if a sober home is registered with the state. It also establishes certain marketing and advertising requirements, keeping the consumer’s best interests in mind. Under this legislation, sober homes must have Narcan onsite and residents must be trained in its use.
Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you shouldn’t have to fear being arrested if you call the police. However, nearly 20% of the time when a victim of domestic violence calls the police they are arrested along with their abuser. This year we’ve updated the law to discourage this practice and will now direct police to arrest the person who they identify as the dominant aggressor.
Protecting Our Environment
Climate change is here. As a means of protecting future generations, current law requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% of its 2001 levels by the year 2050. In an effort to speed our progress, we doubled down with legislation to reduce GHG emissions by 45% of 2001 levels by the year 2030. Under this legislation, the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection must work with electric companies to develop a long-term plan for lowering the cost of electricity while meeting this new goal.
In addition, we overhauled a number of our energy programs, and here are a few highlights:
- Increased our state targets for use of renewable energy over the next ten years;
- Expanded towns’ ability to use renewables
- Better protected energy efficiency funding
- Restored $10 million to help homeowners make energy efficiency upgrades