Legislative Update March 1

March 1, 2024

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2024 legislative session has begun to gain momentum! Across my three committees (Appropriations, Judiciary, and Veterans and Military Affairs), many concepts were raised, an important step in the process of deciding which bills will be brought in front of the legislator this session.
Now that the session is underway, I want to remind you of ways that you can remain informed about the important decisions being made and the process that your legislators follow:
  • The non-partisan Office of Legislative Research (OLR) recently released the 2024 Major Issues Report. This comprehensive document highlights and summarizes key issues the legislature could take up during the upcoming session.
  • You can view the Connecticut General Assembly's upcoming events by checking out its schedule on the CGA official website.
  •  Follow CT-N for live coverage of committee meetings, as well as House and Senate floor debates.
  • You can register to monitor any bill's journey as it goes through the legislative process. By signing up, you can enter the bill number and receive real-time updates. Stay informed with email notifications whenever there's a change in the bill's progress.
  • Visit this website for information on how to testify on a bill at a public hearing.

Thank you for your support. Representing you in the legislature is a great honor. 

A Top Priority: Childhood Nutrition Programs
I am thrilled to share exciting news about my commitment to promoting the health and well-being of our community’s families and children. In response to the vital need for improved childhood nutrition, we are working on crafting comprehensive legislation that ensures mothers and children who are eligible for federal benefits are enrolled in these programs with ease and confidence.
WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children) enrollment in Connecticut is among the lowest in the country at 46%. Not maximizing participation in this program is resulting in worse outcomes for the health and nutrition of young children. 
Child nutrition is important for many reasons including:
  • Strengthening the child's immune system
  • Providing essential vitamins and minerals
  • Enhancing brain development
  • Encouraging physical growth
  • Setting the stage for healthy eating habits for a lifetime

Healthy nutrition is also tied to preventing chronic disease, improving mental health, and helping build strong bones and teeth. 

As this priority bill moves through the legislative process, I urge you to show your support as we move forward. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of our youngest community members.
Reproductive Rights Caucus Priorities for the 2024 Legislative Session
Recently, I joined my colleagues on the Reproductive Rights Caucus to unveil our priorities for the 2024 legislative session. Together, we have developed an agenda that aims to expand and protect women's rights in Connecticut. We remain committed to ensuring that all individuals in our state have access to the comprehensive reproductive healthcare they need and deserve. 
Our priorities encompass a range of issues, including enhancing access to reproductive healthcare for students on public university campuses in Connecticut and aligning fertility healthcare insurance coverage with the accepted medical standards, which explicitly include LGBTQIA+ individuals, single people, and others. Additionally, we are dedicated to guaranteeing timely, evidence-based, and compassionate care for patients facing pregnancy-related complications. 

Furthermore, it is crucial for the Connecticut Reproductive Defense Freedom Act to explicitly safeguard providers who prescribe medication via telehealth, irrespective of the patient's location. As the provider cannot verify the patient's physical presence in Connecticut during telehealth consultations, we strive to ensure their protection from any legal consequences while delivering legal telehealth services.

Greater Measures to Enforce Mental Health Parity
I also had the privilege of attending a press conference hosted by Comptroller Scanlon, Attorney General Tong, Senator Lesser, and Mental Health Connecticut. The event focused on the pressing issue of mental health parity in our state.

Together with my colleagues, advocates, and healthcare professionals, we are urging all insurance companies to comply with our state's mental health parity law. This legislation requires that coverage for mental health services must be on par with that of other medical conditions.

Our goal is to guarantee that everyone has equitable access to the care they need and rightfully deserve. It's important that every individual can utilize the full range of treatments available for mental health concerns.
Changes to Kindergarten Age Requirements 
Starting in the 2024-2025 school year, the eligibility for kindergarten will change. Children will need to be five years old by September 1st to automatically qualify for kindergarten, moving from the previous cutoff of January 1st.

For those with children turning four between September 2nd and December 31st, waivers are available. However, the process varies by district, adding to the stress for families, especially with preschool availability at its lowest in nearly 20 years.

In response, a united group of parents, advocates, and bipartisan lawmakers are pushing for a $50 million boost in early childhood education funding and a proposed one-year delay in the new age requirement's implementation. Delaying the start date would provide families and school districts with crucial preparation time, create opportunities to expand preschools, and allow for the hiring of additional staff. It also opens the door for childcare providers to establish new businesses, benefiting our community's economy and supporting our youngest learners.

We believe that flexibility is vital in this transition, not just for our children's educational prospects but also for the well-being of all those involved.

Utility Companies Propose Rate Hikes
Eversource and United Illuminating have proposed rate increases to the state that, if approved, would result in more than a 10 percent hike in energy bills for consumers. Specifically, Eversource is seeking a 19 percent increase, which could mean an average of $38 more per month for customers. United Illuminating has proposed a 12.3 percent increase, potentially adding about $30 to monthly bills.
These rate increase requests have met with strong opposition from legislators who are advocating for the interests of Connecticut residents. As your state representative, I stand firmly against the proposed utility rate hikes. Such increases would place an undue burden on individuals, many of whom are already navigating a challenging economic landscape.  
While these requests are currently under review and would potentially take effect in May, please know that there are resources to help manage energy costs. I encourage you to visit the Energize Connecticut website for energy efficiency programs. 
Recognizing Women's History Month
As we commemorate Women's History Month, I want to express my profound respect and admiration for the remarkable women who have shaped our nation and the world. This month provides us with a special opportunity to celebrate their achievements and contributions throughout history. 
As a legislator, I am committed to supporting and advocating for policies that promote gender equality and empowerment. It's essential that we recognize the invaluable role women play in our society and continue to break down barriers that hinder progress.

Let's all use this month as a catalyst to educate, advocate, and take action. May we also take a moment to express gratitude to the women in our lives who inspire us daily with their strength and resilience.

If you have any issues, concerns, or feedback, I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to email me directly or contact my office at (860) 240-8585. 


Hubert Delany

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