Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for the honor and privilege of representing you in the General Assembly. As I reflect on my first year in office, I feel truly blessed for the opportunity to serve you and our neighbors at the State Capitol.

Recently I voted in favor of a bipartisan budget agreement that passed both the Senate and the House with an overwhelming majority. While this is not a perfect budget, nor one I would have written myself, it prevents the governor’s drastic cuts to Cheshire, Southington, and Wallingford.

I worked hard with members on both sides of the aisle to ensure that this budget protects our towns, maintains vital social services, and invests in the growth of our economy.

My priority is working for you, and I’m proud to have passed several pieces of legislation in my first session, including laws that will:

  • Provide police training on working with children with autism, based on my successful Logan’s Project in Cheshire, to help keep all kids safe.
  • Strengthen workplace protections for pregnant employees, which will bolster our economy by enabling women’s full participation in our workforce.
  • Protect our children through the creation of a new felony crime, “commercial sex abuse of a minor,” to prosecute individuals who solicit minors for sex.

I’m also working in our district and communities to tackle the opioid epidemic, support local manufacturers, ensure our veterans receive military funeral honors, and prepare our students for the STEAM and high-tech jobs of the future.

One of the best parts of my job is hearing from you - your thoughtful input helps me serve you better. As we prepare for the 2018 legislative session, I would love to hear your thoughts on how we can move Connecticut forward.

Wishing you Happy Holidays and a joyous New Year,

Supporting Education Funding

One of my top priorities is ensuring that we are fairly funding our local schools to provide our children a high quality education. This year we adopted a new formula for education aid that takes into consideration all of the factors that go into student success and provides every school district with support. I have loudly opposed the governor’s efforts to slash our towns’ funding, and I will continue to fight for aid for Cheshire, Southington, and Wallingford. The governor’s original proposed budget and executive order both devastated our towns’ municipal aid, and I have worked hard to restore this funding so that towns can avoid raising property taxes.

Protecting Children With Autism

I authored legislation passed this session to provide police training on locating children with autism who wander from home. Children with autism are 90% more likely to wander than their neurotypical peers, and often wander towards water. Traditional search methods for finding missing children – such as the use of lights and loud sounds – may actually scare autistic children. This legislation is modeled after my successful “Logan’s Project” in Cheshire, named after a Southington teen, and will not cost the state any extra money to administer.

Rep. Linehan testifying with Logan before the Public Safety Committee in support of  a bill based on Logan’s Project.

Fighting The Opioid Epidemic

This session, I cosponsored legislation that further strengthened our opioid overdose and addiction prevention efforts by reducing the maximum first-time opioid drug prescription for minors to a 5-day supply, requiring health insurers cover medically necessary detox treatment, requiring medical providers to discuss opioid risks with patients, and easing restrictions to facilitate the destruction of unused medications. On the local level, I have worked with the Central Naugatuck Valley Regional Action Council to bring the Adolescent Substance Abuse Brief Intervention & Referral to Treatment (A-SBIRT) program to our schools. The program trains staff to recognize signs of substance abuse in students and intervene appropriately.

Rep. Linehan and Cheshire Councilman Sgt Jeff Falk utilize and promote the prescription drop box located at the Cheshire Police Department.

Support for Cheshire, Southington and Wallingford’s Small Businesses

In my first term I have made manufacturing and workforce development a top priority. I toured EDAC, Industrial Heating Corp., and Marion Manufacturing to speak with employers about their visions for the future of manufacturing in Connecticut. This past spring I organized the first-ever Student → Manufacturer Connection Fair at the Capitol. Hundreds of students from our technical high schools and colleges attended to meet with manufacturers from across the state. The Fair was so successful that it will become an annual event. It is my personal goal to help connect students with prospective employers offering well-paying careers.

I am proud the budget invests in Connecticut’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which supports the growth of our advanced manufacturing sector by encouraging  collaboration with universities, providing assistance with business development and technical needs, and matching funds to leverage federal grants. The budget also maintains funding for important programs such as the Bioscience Innovation Fund, Angel Investor Tax Credits, and the Women’s Business Development Council.

Clockwise from top left:  Students meet with representatives from Consolidated Industries at the Student → Manufacturer Connection Fair; Rep. Linehan speaks with Jeff Hughes of EDAC, the inspiration for the Fair; Rep. Linehan tours Industrial Heating Corp.; Rep. Linehan visits Marion Manufacturing.

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

As the Vice Chair of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I proudly cosponsored legislation that allows municipalities to provide a property tax exemption to a parent or surviving spouse of a service member killed in action while performing active military duty. A municipality may exempt up to $20,000 or 10% of the property’s assessed value. Over the summer Governor Malloy’s executive order eliminated funding for military honors at funerals for veterans. I worked with the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to ensure no veteran is denied this service by connecting veterans’ families with regional groups that provide military honors.

Rep. Linehan  meeting with a WWII veteran.

Rep. Linehan attending a send off for the Connecticut National Guard at Bradley International Airport.

Helping Our Seniors

While we made difficult choices as part of this budget agreement, ensuring that Connecticut is an affordable and accessible place to live for our seniors is a priority of mine. The budget funds the CT Home Care Program for Elders and Dial-A-Ride, services that allow seniors to stay in their homes longer. In addition, the budget takes steps to ease the tax burden on seniors, such as maintaining the $200 property tax credit and phasing out income taxes on Social Security and pensions. Moving forward, I believe these initiatives will create a fairer tax code and generate economic growth for our state.

Bonding and Spending Cap

I was proud to support a $1.9 billion cap on state bonding. This cap will help to control the projected increases in debt service payments and will require the governor and State Bond Commission to prioritize which projects are most worthy of bonding. With this cap, and by reducing bonding this year, we expect to save nearly $30 million in debt service payments in the next fiscal year. The budget also strengthened our existing spending cap. Under the new cap, funding for pensions, distressed municipalities, and money used to receive matching federal grants will all come under the cap over time.

Capitol Update 2017 (pdf)