Climate, Childcare, and more

May 3, 2024

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Dear Neighbor,

Happy Saturday! We're only a few days out of the end of our session, and the work continues.

In this eblast, you can read about legislation helping our climate, our childcare system, and more. You can click on the links below to navigate between sections.
        Significant Zoning/Housing Bills Passed
        On Friday, we voted on two significant bipartisan zoning/housing bills. I fully understand and recognize how important smart, responsible housing and zoning policies are. I have spent years advocating for exactly the kind of amendments that I'm proud to share were included in HB-5390 referred to as the "Work Live Ride" bill.

        This year's version of the "Work Live Ride" bill is a vastly different proposal than we've seen in past legislative sessions. There has been a lot of effort to listen, specifically, to Fairfield County suburbs.

        This is a fully opt-in initiative in which a municipality can choose to create a Transit Oriented District (TOD) zone (or not) and that decision goes through a local municipality's TPZ public process. Not only that, Fairfield is already grandfathered in because we've done this work in the Fairfield Metro area and this bill prioritizes us for key infrastructure funds.

        The second housing bill was HB-5474. Most importantly, this bill incentivizes the development of middle housing (duplex, triplex, cottage clusters, etc.). For municipalities who have or create a zone that allows for this middle housing as of right (which Fairfield already has 2 of- Zones B and Zone C), each unit earns .25 HUE points toward an 8-30g moratorium, regardless of affordability. Since we already have these zones, our town should earn points for this development. Additionally, this will award points for all the units developmd in our TOD.

        Additionally, the bill:

        • expands various municipal options,
        • studies municipal design review processes,
        • allows for nursing homes that shut their doors to be converted to multifamily housing with reasonable parameters,
        • fixes some limitations on housing vouchers,
        • allows municipalities to create Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District to rehab/renovate deed-restricted housing if the owner renews the 40-year deed restriction

        We are in a historic housing crisis with 1 in 4 adults in CT living with family members and tragically growing homelessness. These bills won't solve all of our challenges, certainly, but they do help incentivize new supply to help meet demand in an environmentally friendly way to reduce both sprawl and carbon emissions.

        This is an all-carrots approach to incentivize municipalities who want to, to develop a transit-oriented district and awards communities with infrastructure funds and HUEs. After years of negotiating, I believe these bills strike the right balance between being responsive to the concerns of our community while taking steps to help address our housing crisis.

        House Passes Comprehensive Climate Bill
        Connecticut is committed to mitigating the climate crisis. The first step is acknowledging there is a crisis.

        This week, I joined my Democratic colleagues and voted to pass one of our top legislative priorities this session, HB 5004, also referred to as the 2024 Connecticut Climate Protection Act. Protecting the environment and working to combat the effects of climate change should be a shared priority because the act of doing nothing is far-reaching and touches every aspect of life on Earth.

        This bill:
        • Updates the state's Global Warming Solutions Act to make our greenhouse gas emissions targets more in line with other states in the region;
        • Creates incentives for businesses and municipalities that engage in clean economy sectors or engage in environmentally sustainable projects;
        • Plans for transition to clean economy, workforce training and long-term policy implementation; and
        • Supports and expands nature-based solutions, such as preserving marshlands and forests

        We can make a difference in the quality of life for future generations of Connecticut residents. The time to start making necessary changes is now.

        The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

        Early Childhood Care and Education
         High-quality and affordable early childhood care and education contribute to a robust economy and help ensure the success of families and future generations.

        Connecticut has one of the highest costs of childcare in the country. It's why we crafted and passed HB 5002 in the House to make childcare and early childhood education more affordable and accessible

        This House Priority Bill:
        • Creates the “Early Childhood Care and Education Fund,” to be used for childcare and early childhood education programs
        • Establishes the Early Childhood Care and Education Fund Advisory Commission that will report on the health of the Fund and annually update recommendations on how to best use its resources
        • Invests in teachers and assistant teachers in state-funded school readiness programs and state-funded childcare programs
        • Requires a study on the availability of space in state-owned properties that may be used for early childhood care and education programs

        These are sound investments in our state’s future and will go a long way toward helping parents earn a living and provide for their children’s care and education.

        The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

        Additional Legislative Updates

        Below are some other great bills we passed in the last couple of days:

        • HB 5226 - Protecting our environment: Establishes a state stewardship program to manage the collection and recycling of certain batteries
        • HB 5280 - State law enforcement will join the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) databank making firearms easier to track
        • HB 5430 - Requires a study on migraine treatment for women and veterans, who disproportionately are affected by migraine disorders
        • HB 5200 - Improves access to healthcare for disabled people
        • HB 5436 - Makes it easier to become a teacher in Connecticut
        • SB 395 - Prohibits Connecticut healthcare entities from reporting medical debt to credit agencies
        • HB 5182 - Makes technical revisions to the education and early childhood statutes
        • HB 5199 - Establishes a task force to study the shortage of athletic trainers in the state
        • HB 5227 - To require the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to release liens within a certain period of time when such lien has been satisfied
        • HB 5283 - To classify parole officers as peace officers
        • HB 5330 - Implements the recommendations of the Department of Transportation concerning certain environmental hearings, the Office of the State Traffic Administration, bicycle traffic, traffic authorities, variable speed limits, public transportation, motorcycle helmets and reckless driving
        • HB 5437 - Creates the Educator Professional Development Mandate Review Advisory Council, which will advise on the costs and effects of mandates related to educator professional development and in-service training
        • SB 222 - Expands Paid Family Medical Leave to include employees who work at businesses that operate on federally recognized tribal land

        You can find the full list at

        I'm committed to ensuring your voice is heard. Please don't hesitate to call my office at (860) 240-8585 or email me if there's anything I can do for you. Be sure to follow @LeeperForFairfield on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on everything I'm doing at the Capitol.


        Jennifer Leeper
        State Representative


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