Teacher Retirement, Baby Bonds, and more

May 19, 2023

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Dear Neighbor,

Happy Friday! After another busy week of the Connecticut General Assembly's legislative session, I have some updates on our work. For your convenience, here are some helpful links to all the information included in this email:

An Act Concerning Retiree Members of the Teachers' Retirement Board
During our legislative session Wednesday, the House approved HB 6489: An Act Concerning Retiree Members Of The Teachers' Retirement Board.

This legislation increases the number of retired teachers on the Teachers' Retirement Board from two to four. There are more than 38,000 retired teachers in Connecticut, and they deserve representation on the very board that oversees their retirements benefits. Teachers contribute directly to their pensions and retirement health care when they work (and do not receive any Social Security in Connecticut). 

One of our top priorities this session has been passing legislation supporting our teachers. This includes legislation to increase Education Cost Sharing funding, to improve teacher recruitment, to streamline teacher evaluations, and to improve the teacher certification process. As a former Board of Education member, supporting our students, teachers, and retired teachers has always been, and continues to be, a top priority of mine.
An Act Concerning Municipal Blight Ordinances and the Fine for Littering
A couple of weeks ago, I told you about HB 6892, an anti-blight and receivership bill. I'm happy to report that Tuesday, the bill passed in the House on a bipartisan vote of 108-43. The bill will make the restoration of abandoned blighted property more effective for communities, while also expanding the current population threshold so more towns are included.

As the Co-Chair of the Main Street Working Group, I have heard directly from municipalities of all sizes about how important this bill is to the economic growth and vitality of their communities. I commend the House for passage of the bill, and look forward to it becoming law.

Funding for Baby Bonds Program
I applaud the commitment and creativity of the governor’s office  to fund the Baby Bonds Program. This first-of-its-kind statewide policy is designed to invest directly in Connecticut children born into poverty while simultaneously narrowing the generational and racial wealth gaps in our state.
Under the current law, $3,200 would be placed in a trust on behalf of each baby born into HUSKY, the state’s Medicaid program, starting July 1. Those investments would grow over time and recipients could access that money between the ages of 18-30 for things like higher education, starting a business, or putting a down payment on a home.
This legislation will bring us one step closer to financial equality and facilitate the pursuit of the American dream for those who thought it was unattainable.
An Act Concerning Erasure of Criminal History Records
The House of Representatives passed HB 6918 on Tuesday that makes important clarifying and technical changes to the groundbreaking Clean Slate legislation signed into law in 2021, which can now be fully implemented and deliver on the promise of a fresh start for hundreds of thousands of people in education, employment, and housing without the burden of a long-past criminal conviction.

Business organizations and chambers of commerce have lined up behind Clean Slate legislation in Connecticut and throughout the country, recognizing it as an economic driver by enhancing someone's ability to be gainfully employed, start a business, and secure housing.

Other Bills that Passed
We passed more important legislation this week. Here's a quick recap:

HB 6775: Expands protections for seniors by increasing the number of mandated reporters for suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or when a senior needs protective services.

HB 6872: Will ensure election officials and presidential electors do their duty as prescribed by law.

HB 5314: Attention consumers! Under HB 5314 businesses will no longer be able to charge your credit card, debit card, or third-party payment account without your consent for automatic renewal or continuous services.

HB 6746: Sadly, wrong-way crashes and deaths have been on the rise in our state. We took action to help reduce incidents and minimize fatalities.

HB 5902:Food allergies can be life-threatening. H.B. 5902 establishes standards that restaurants must follow to ensure customers alert staff about their allergies. The bill will also require informational posters to be displayed in restaurants to ensure increased safety and awareness.

HB 6561:Protecting our children is the most important part of youth athletic competition. HB 6561 creates a task force that will study safety measures for all sports.

HB 6077: Connecticut has a rich history of remarkable stories. HB 6077 establishes a process to add additional statues outside the Capitol that reflect the diversity, character, and accomplishments of the state.

HB 6820: Health care providers shouldn’t face out-of-state repercussions for doing what’s legal in Connecticut. H.B. 6820 protects Connecticut providers performing safe and legal reproductive health care services to those who need it.

HB 6898: The House approved HB 6898, which requires the Attorney General’s Office to submit a report on the settlement agreement with Juul Labs. In April, Juul Labs agreed to a $462 million settlement between six states, including Connecticut, for their role in marketing addictive nicotine products to teens.

HB 6677: Families who are tasked with taking care of loved ones need a lifeline. HB 6677 will require the Department of Social Services to develop a plan that will increase the number of residents eligible to receive adult day services.

Fairfield Public Library Book Sale
This Sunday, May 21 is the Friends of the Fairfield Public Library Book Sale from 1-4:30 pm at 1080 Old Post Road, a great chance to support your local library! Books, DVDs, and other special items will be priced between $1-$5. All proceeds go to the Fairfield Public Library - swing by if you can!
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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