Summary Of Major Legislation PassedAugust 15, 2019
Beyond enactment of the two-year budget, I’d like to highlight some of the major bills I fought to get passed that will improve the lives and safety of everyone and ensure Connecticut’s future success.
Sensible Gun Regulations
With more deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio this past week, we saw once again the urgent need for sensible regulation. This year I succeeded in getting several important bills passed.
- Banning homemade firearms sometimes known as “ghost guns”
- Requiring safe storage of firearms and ammunition in homes
- Requiring development of firearm safety programs for schools
- Requiring safe storage of firearms and ammunition in motor vehicles
Helping Businesses, Creating Jobs
Working with other lawmakers, I worked for the repeal of the business entity tax starting next year to help small-business owners. I also wanted to expand the Angel Investor Tax credit to encourage local investment and give a new tax credit for craft breweries to help this industry grow. Those bills, I'm very happy to tell you, were passed, too.
To bolster employment opportunities and create jobs, we increased funding for the Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative, allocated funding for a new Green Jobs Pipeline, gave more funding to the Jobs Funnel Pipeline and required schools to teach computer science and improve opportunities for teacher training in computer science.
Minimum Wage Increased
More than 300,000 Connecticut workers will see their minimum hourly wage increase to $11 Oct. 1, and that extra pay will go right back into the local and state economies, benefiting not only workers but also our communities and local businesses while producing more revenue for the state.
Gradually by 2023, the minimum hourly wage will increase to $15 and help fight the dangerous increase in income disparity that has significantly hurt our middle class and working poor.
Making College Affordable
I've always believed that everyone should have the opportunity to attend college, so we created a plan to have a debt-free community college program. Beginning in 2020, the state will pick up all tuition and fee costs for first-time community college students after scholarships, grants and other aid awards are applied.
Our state has the third-highest accumulated student loan debt in the country. This legislation will change that and allow students attending regional-technical colleges to graduate without debt and encourage them to start their careers in Connecticut.
Giving Help To Our Seniors
Helping the state’s seniors stay in their homes and in Connecticut is always a high priority for me and we continued the phase-in of the income tax exemption for Social Security and pension income.
We also funded vital programs like Meals on Wheels and protected the Medicare Savings Program as it stands. We’ve expanded access to Medicaid by raising the income limit to 160 percent of the federal poverty level.
About 522,000 non-elderly adults – or one in four residents – in Connecticut have what would be considered to be a pre-existing condition. One of the most popular provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, prohibited insurance companies from dropping or denying coverage for someone just because they had a pre-existing condition.
We passed bipartisan legislation putting these protections into state law in the event that the Affordable Care Act is ever repealed, so that no one in Connecticut has to worry about losing coverage.
Protecting Immigrant Communities
I wanted to strengthen existing law for people seeking a better life and I worked on legislation known as the Trust Act. This law will establish better trust between residents and law enforcement authorities on the local and state level by preventing them from detaining an undocumented immigrant unless they have a judicial warrant.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
In the event of a medical emergency, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act allows workers to care for themselves or a loved one without having to face the threat of financial ruin. Paid for by employee contributions, the program provides up to 95 percent of an employee’s weekly paycheck for up to 12 weeks.
Click here for more details of the major bills passed in 2019.