Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It has been a privilege to serve as your state representative these last three years. My priorities have remained the same throughout it all: to make Connecticut a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.
Since the 2019 legislative session has come to a close, I wanted to share with you an update on some of the great strides we have made this year. As many of you know, my family, like many others, has faced addiction issues. I am pleased to report that the legislature has passed reforms to strengthen regulations surrounding this issue that impacts 70,000 Americans each year.
In 2017, I lost my son to gun violence and have made sensible gun legislation a priority ever since. This year, we put in place common sense gun reforms by enacting a safe storage law and a ban on ghost guns.
As a person who entered the job market in 1989, I am appalled at the decline in the middle class. I am proud to say the legislature took steps to put more money in working people’s pockets by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and developing a paid family medical leave program.
I am honored to represent my district. I will continue to fight for all of Connecticut’s residents and thank everyone for the support I have received throughout my first three sessions in Hartford.
Making Connecticut a Great Place to Live
Our balanced budget provides fiscal stability at a time when our state needs it most, and also honors the financial commitments we have to the communities we serve. The budget contains no increases in the income tax or broad-based increases in sales tax rates, and makes no cuts to municipal aid, all the while protecting our taxpayers, middle class, and most vulnerable communities. As a whole, this budget prepares Connecticut for a better future.
This budget maintains the tax exemptions for Social Security income and phase-in of a tax exemption on pension income, and protects the Medicare Savings Program. We repealed the Business Entity Tax for small businesses, and funded the Care4Kids program.
Support for Working Families
Raising Wages: No one working full-time should live in poverty. That is why I championed increasing Connecticut’s minimum wage this year. This legislation will help over 300,000 Connecticut workers who make less than $15 an hour. The wage will increase on October 1 to $11 an hour, followed by incremental increases until it reaches $15 by June 1, 2023.
Paid Family Leave: In the event of a medical emergency, Paid Family and Medical Leave allows for employees to care for a sick loved one (or for themselves) without having to face the threat of financial ruin. The program provides replacement wages whereby employees can take time off and still make ends meet.
Health and Public Safety
Protection For Pre-existing Conditions: Building on work we accomplished in prior sessions to codify the Affordable Care Act provisions into state law to guard against changes on the federal level, this session we required that certain short-term health insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, if someone had a pre-existing or chronic condition, insurance companies could refuse to cover them, an unjust policy that impacted 50 million Americans nationwide.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic: This session, the legislature passed a crucial measure in the fight against the opioid epidemic. This new legislation mandates some important safeguards: practitioners who prescribe an opioid drug for over 12 weeks now must offer or discuss a plan to help patients avoid addiction; higher education institutions now must make more readily available opioid antagonists such as Narcan to students and staff; and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and other official treatment programs will offer opioid antagonist educational programing for those affected by addiction.
Covering Police and Firefighters for PTSD: We passed legislation to provide workers’ compensation benefits for police officers, parole officers and firefighters suffering from PTSD due to events in the line of duty.
Banning Ghost Guns: Seeking to protect people from gun violence, we are making it illegal to build a gun without a serial number, build a plastic gun that isn’t detectable by a metal detector, or have an unfinished firearm frame without a serial number.
Ethan’s Law: Named after Ethan Song, Ethan’s Law requires the safe storage of all firearms in a home with children under age 18.
Support for our Veterans
Providing Tax Relief to Veterans: We passed legislation to increase the property tax exemption amounts for veterans with a disability.
Getting Veterans the Help They Need: I am proud that we passed legislation that connects veterans with local communities and creates a contact person to help veterans access resources.
Green Jobs and Workforce Development
Offshore Wind: We have cleared the path for offshore wind energy generation so Connecticut can become a leader in green energy technology. We anticipate a positive economic impact with the creation of good-paying jobs and economic development in New London. Under this bill, Connecticut will procure up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power. This will help accomplish our goal to achieve 40% renewable energy by 2030.
Workforce Pipeline and Job Creation Taskforce: Connecticut manufacturers like Electric Boat are hiring. We passed legislation to create a workforce pipeline to help connect our next generation of innovators with our state’s manufacturers.
Promoting Careers in Manufacturing: I was proud to support legislation which requires local boards of education and regional school districts to develop goals for career placement for manufacturing, law enforcement, and military careers for students choosing not to pursue an advanced degree.