Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2018 Legislative Session was “short” in duration but “long” on substance. One of our signature accomplishments was reaching a bipartisan budget agreement (for the second consecutive year!) that will strengthen our state’s financial footing. The budget agreement does not raise the sales tax or income tax and restores municipal aid and education funding that would have been cut beginning July 1st.

Other noteworthy achievements include legislation to address the pay disparity between men and women who perform the same work; establishment of a fund to assist with the removal of lead paint in homes; new workforce development programs that match students at vo-tech and trade schools as well as community colleges with businesses seeking to fill job vacancies in manufacturing and other industries; health care protection for women and all citizens; accountability for the rising cost of prescription medicines; a ban on bump stocks; and joining the National Popular Vote Compact to directly elect the president of the United States.

Over the last two years I have worked tirelessly with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do what’s best for West Haven and New Haven and all of Connecticut.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of service to you or your family. It is such an honor to serve our community.

Sincerely,


Protecting Women’s Health Care

  • Americans are entitled to healthcare coverage, that’s why the Affordable Care Act contains 10 essential health benefits, including maternity care, newborn care, prescription drug coverage, mental health services and chronic disease management. With Congress and the President working to dismantle ACA, we passed legislation to safeguard these benefits in Connecticut with healthcare insurance policies continuing to cover these basic services. We went a step further and required coverage for a twelve-month supply of contraceptives. PA 18-10
  • Connecticut has a high rate of breast cancer among the 50 states. We redefined ‘mammogram’ to include tomosynthesis – a three dimensional image proven particularly useful for women with dense breast tissue and known to reduce the rate of false positive test results. By requiring insurance companies to cover all forms of mammograms, we can reduce out-of-pocket costs and achieve more early detection. PA 18-159
  • In an effort to ensure pregnant women have access to health insurance, we passed legislation allowing them to obtain coverage under a special enrollment period within 30 days of an official medical confirmation of pregnancy. Allowing enrollment at any time of year lessens the financial burden and stress of being without pregnancy coverage. PA 18-43

Investing In Middle Class Families

  • Women, and especially women of color, still earn less than men. This is perpetuated by the practice of asking for salary history during the hiring process, ensuring that women who were underpaid at their first job continue to be underpaid. We strengthened our pay equity laws by preventing employers from asking about wage history.
  • In response to President Trump’s tax law, we passed legislation to protect, as much as possible, the state and local tax deduction. Changes to the deduction on the federal level will likely increase taxes on families in our community. Now, municipalities can establish non-profit, charity-type programs that will qualify for federal deductions – reducing your federal tax burden and preserving local services.
  • We partnered with the business community on earned family leave so anyone working in Connecticut can take paid time off when they or a loved one gets sick. I supported a proposal to raise the minimum wage, too, so no one working full time has to live in poverty. Unfortunately, both of these proposals lacked enough support to become law, but I will continue to support them.

Supporting Our Veterans And Military Families

  • Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury, or are the victims of military sexual trauma deserve support as they recover and reintegrate into civilian life. However, when someone receives a less-than-honorable military discharge, he or she is usually ineligible for services. New legislation allows these veterans to access the state services they need – and earned – while defending our democracy.
  • If an armed forces family is a ordered to serve in Connecticut – and a family member is a certified teacher – it can be difficult for that person to qualify as a teacher here. To address this issue, we created a “military spouse teacher permit” that allows the spouse to transfer their teaching credentials to Connecticut.

Making Connecticut Safer

  • The tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas last year demonstrated how bump stocks can increase a firearm’s destructive power – turning semi-automatic weapons into a rapid fire machine gun. We made it a crime to own or sell a bump stock. Licensed military contractors are exempt.
  • Schools must be a safe place to learn, so we increased funding for school security measures by $15 million. Districts can use these funds for entrance upgrades, bullet-proof glass and security cameras.
  • I supported legislation to review the use of more social-emotional learning in school curriculum. Studies show it helps students reach their full academic and social potential while improving the school climate and reducing the potential for classroom violence. Unfortunately, this bill did not pass the Senate.

Fighting The Opioid Epidemic

  • In the ongoing fight against opioid abuse, the legislature approved initiatives to curb their use while improving state and local response and intervention. Prescribers are now prohibited from writing scripts for immediate family members and the use of overdose-reversing treatments such as Narcan have been broadened. PA 18-166
  • More than 60,000 residents sought treatment for substance abuse in 2016 making it a challenge to provide 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. Families can now find out if a sober home is registered with the state. It also establishes marketing and advertising restrictions that have the consumer’s best interests in mind. Sober homes must also have Narcan onsite and residents must be trained in its use. PA 18-171

Capitol Update 2018 (pdf)