Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am pleased to share with you this update on the recently concluded legislative session. Each year, our goal is to forge a path for a stronger Connecticut, and the 2017 session was no different. We 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, assist in the fight against opioid addiction 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.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Connecticut faces a very real problem with its current opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction touches every corner of the state, every economic stratum, and every demographic. It is a problem that my family has fought as well. House Bill 7052, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion And Abuse, is the next step in this fight. This bill limits the maximum opioid drug prescription to 5 days, requires health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment and facilitates the destruction of unused medication, ultimately helping to reduce addiction and overdoses. (PA 17-131)
Representative de la Cruz testifying on the opioid epidemic in front of the Judiciary Committee.
Senate Bill 957, An Act Concerning The Regulation Of Gaming And The Authorization Of A Casino Gaming Facility In The State, authorizes the operation of an off-reservation casino gaming facility in East Windsor while maintaining the current slot revenue sharing agreement with the tribes, and expands revenue sharing to slot and table games in East Windsor. It also allows for the expansion of off-track betting sites in the state. This bill helps protect jobs in our state, specifically in Southeastern Connecticut, while bringing additional revenue into the state. (PA 17-89)
Technical High Schools
We passed House Bill 7271 which would establish the technical high school system as an independent agency. The reorganized system will have stronger oversight, more effective governance and will produce a better prepared workforce. This underutilized asset also gives our kids the best chance to build a career in many growing fields. (PA 17-237)
Representative Joe de la Cruz speaking with Groton parents during a budget forum at Fitch High School.
Helping Small Businesses
Most small business owners have no trouble investing their time and effort, yet they sometimes struggle to find the financial backing required to get their ideas moving. House Bill 5583, An Act Expanding Investment Eligibility Under The ANGEL Investor Tax Credit Program, allows accredited investors who seek to consult and mentor prospective small business owners to contribute to a fund established to support the growth of small businesses. When small businesses grow, the state thrives. (PA 17-110)
Honoring Gold Star Families
Senate Bill 918, An Act Concerning A Municipal Option Property Tax Exemption For Gold Star Parents And Spouses, allows municipalities to provide a property tax exemption to a parent or surviving spouse of a service member killed in action while performing active military duty. A municipality may exempt up to $20,000 or 10% of the property’s assessed value. (PA 17-65)
Identification on Reentry
A valid form of identification is needed to secure a job, housing and open a banking account. When someone is released from a correctional facility, many times they do not have any identification. HB 7284, An Act Concerning State Identification for Inmates Upon Reentry, ensures that someone possesses a state identification card or drivers license upon release from a correctional facility. This helps to guarantee that those reentering society are given the best opportunity they can to receive gainful employment or even find a place to live, and additionally cuts the rates of recidivism. (PA 17-106)