Dear Friends,

It’s truly been an honor to represent you as your State Representative in 2019. The 2019 regular legislative session concluded on midnight of June 5th. Included in this newsletter are a few of the highlights of legislation passed this session that I am most proud of and that I think are of particular interest to Manchester and Glastonbury.

A good deal of my time this session was spent serving as the Acting Chair of the legislature’s Banking Committee.  With that job came the responsibility of guiding all of the Committee’s priority legislation through the House. Three of these bills I am particularly proud of are detailed in this newsletter – a student loan tax credit for employers (SB 72, PA 19-86), a low interest loan program for homeowners with crumbling foundations (HB 7179, PA 19-192), and the extension of the Judicial Foreclosure Mediation program (HB 6996, PA 19-145). All of these involved a tremendous amount of time and hard work, working across the aisle and with the various stakeholders and agency officials to get to the final product and get these bills passed.

Of course there is always more work to be done, and I am already working on preparing legislation for next session. My focus continues to be creating economic opportunity and enhancing quality of life for all, improving educational outcomes, and working on long term solutions to Connecticut’s fiscal challenges. As always, I encourage you to reach out with any questions, comments or suggestions. I am happy to meet or talk any time.

Best,


Protecting Homeowners

Crumbling Foundations
We passed comprehensive legislation addressing numerous issues relating to homes with crumbling foundations, including the creation of a low-interest loan program. (HB 7179, PA 19-192)

Foreclosure Mediation
We extended the state’s Foreclosure Mediation Program for mortgage lenders and homeowners to use mediation to avoid foreclosures. (HB 6996, PA 19-145)


NewsBriefs

Tobacco 21
We heard loud and clear from teachers and parents that e-cigarette use, also known as “vaping,” is on the rise among middle and high school students, so we took action this year and made the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape products illegal for those under 21. (HB 7125, PA 19-159)

Help For First Responders
We passed legislation which will provide workers’ compensation benefits for police officers, parole officers and firefighters suffering from PTSD due to events in the line of duty. (SB 164, PA 19-17)

Expanding Access To Health Care
We expanded health insurance coverage for preexisting conditions, and for mental health and substance use issues.  
(HB 5521, PA 19-134); (HB 7125, PA 19-159)


The State Budget

The biennial budget was delivered on time this year, under the spending cap and includes important advancements like a plan for debt-free community college and the social security and pension tax exemption for seniors. We successfully avoided proposals to cut education aid to towns, create dozens of new sales taxes, and increase taxes on seniors. This budget provides fiscal stability with no increases in income tax rates or sales tax rates, and it doesn’t cut municipal aid. We preserved the “passport to the parks” fund, reopened the highway rest stops, and increased access to health care for kids and seniors. I was also pleased that my first two legislative proposals - to eliminate the Business Entity Tax for small businesses and to create a real estate conveyance tax exemption for sales of homes with crumbling foundations, were included in the budget. (HB 7424, PA 19-17)


Education and Workforce Development

Student Loan Tax Credit
We created a tax credit for employers that make student loan payments on behalf of an employee. It’s a win-win for employers and employees with student loan debt. (SB 72, PA 19-86)

Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program
This bill expands manufacturing certification programs into public high schools through partnerships with our local colleges. (HB 5833, PA 19-103)

Inclusion of Computer Science
Computer science is a foundational skill for 21st century jobs. We passed legislation that adds computer science and computer programming to the list of subjects to be taught in public schools. (SB 957, PA 19-128)

Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention
We passed legislation which creates an annual hiring goal of 250 new minority teachers and administrators across the state. (SB 1022, PA 19-74)


Protecting Our Environment

  • We passed legislation to continue deployment of solar energy, increasing green jobs and economic activity. (HB 5002, PA 19-35)
  • We passed the State Water Plan, which protects our water supply as a “public trust” to ensure our water resources are protected, and that clean drinking water is accessible for all. (HJ 171)
  • We authorized the procurement of energy derived from offshore wind. The passage of this legislation positions the state to grow as a leader in green energy technology and ultimately help Connecticut achieve its renewable energy goals, while also growing Connecticut’s maritime industry. (HB 7156, PA 19-71)

Protecting Public Safety

Ethan’s Law
We passed several sensible gun safety measures this year including “Ethan’s Law,” named after Ethan Song who tragically lost his life due to an improperly stored gun. The bill requires the safe storage of all firearms in a home with children under 18. (HB 7218, PA 19-5)

Banning Ghost Guns
We also banned “ghost guns”– homemade weapons that have no serial numbers and circumvent our background check laws. (HB 7219, PA 19-6)


Capitol Update 2019 (pdf)