Busy Time at the Capitol

May 20, 2019

We are in our final few weeks of the legislative session and I wanted to provide you with some updates.

Business Growth and Job Creation

As Chair of the Commerce Committee, it has been an honor to help lead passage of over a dozen bipartisan bills out of our committee that aim to support business growth and job creation in our state. We have passed bills supporting workforce development initiatives for students, angel investor funding for startups, and manufacturing apprenticeship tax credits for small businesses. This week, it was an honor to bring out two bills on the house floor that will better attract and retain businesses to CT:

HB 7308: One Stop Shop Business Portal

This bill aims to move the state closer to creating a one stop shop portal, where businesses can access all the permits and licenses they need in one location. If you have had a negative experience trying to access a license or permit from a state agency, I would love to hear from you so we can improve the process.

HB 7008: Public Private Marketing Working Group to Better Recruit Businesses to CT

We have an incredibly talented workforce, strategic location, and much cheaper office space than our neighboring states. This bill aims to better market these positives in order to recruit businesses to our state. If you have ideas on how we can better market CT and upgrade our Still Revolutionary slogan, reach out to me directly with your feedback.

We also had another successful Women Owned Business Day at the Capitol and thank you to the hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs who came up to the Capitol!

Environment

Due to reports of lead in our water at many schools across CT and the fact that schools are not required to test for lead in our water, I introduced legislation this session that would require CT schools to test for lead in the water (HB 6533) and I will continue to fight for this to ensure that our students and teachers have access to safe drinking water.

Pedestrian Safety

Stamford has walkable neighborhoods and great shops and restaurants to walk to...but crossing the street, even at a crosswalk, can be dangerous. Pedestrian safety is a critically important issue to Stamford and we must do everything we can to protect pedestrians in our city from any more tragedies. We approved legislation to expand the circumstances under which drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks (HB 7203).

Gun Safety Bills

The House passed three common sense gun safety bills that will make our state safer from gun violence. These include HB 7218 - requiring loaded or unloaded firearms to be securely stored when minors are in the home, HB 7219 - banning ghost guns, and HB 7223 - strengthening storage requirements for handguns in unattended vehicles. I’m grateful to many constituents and advocates like the Stamford MOMS Demand Action group who came up to the Capitol to testify and advocate for these common sense measures to protect our kids from gun violence.

Early Voting

It was an honor to support the Early Voting Resolution that passed the CT State House and Senate. This Resolution proposes an amendment to the State Constitution to allow for early voting in Connecticut. CT is one of 12 states that does not allow for early voting. Allowing for early voting will help modernize our election system and provide greater flexibility, convenience and access to the polls for citizens, thereby strengthening our democratic process and increasing voter participation in our elections.

Education

I am working on is fighting for more ECS funding for Stamford schools so that our schools get their fair share of funding to support our teachers and students.

Fighting for Funding to Address Mold

One of the biggest challenges facing our schools right now is the issue of mold, which has had an enormously disruptive effect on many students, teachers, and administrators. We are doing everything we can as a Stamford delegation to fight for funding for mold remediation and will continue to advocate for more state resources to address this issue.

SB 937 Student Loan Forgiveness Program For Early Childhood Educators

Pre-school teachers are doing incredibly important work for oftentimes very low pay. This bill, that I co-sponsored, would help early childhood teachers receive reimbursement for their education.

SB 957 Computer Science Instruction In The Public School Curriculum

If you can code, you will find a job waiting for you. I co-sponsored this bill to ensure teachers and students are well versed in computer science and coding. The bill adds computer science to the public school curriculum and requires teacher preparation programs to add programming and coding to their skills curriculum.

Budget Negotiations

Over the next several weeks, we will continue to negotiate the state budget and I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a responsible, balanced budget. Together we can pass a budget that addresses our long term debt, makes our government more efficient by reducing excess spending, while at the same time funding necessary services to improve our schools, roads, and to make our communities safer.

I would love to hear your feedback and ideas about the budget and other issues. If you have ideas or input, reach out anytime by emailing me at: caroline.simmons@cga.ct.gov or calling my personal cell phone at 203-962-4619.