Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As many of you know our regular legislative session adjourned on Wednesday, June 5th. The session was marked by many positive legislative initiatives we passed that will help Connecticut residents.
This session, I had the honor of being a Deputy Speaker in the House of Representatives. I was proud to serve on the Transportation, General Law, and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees. I had the privilege of introducing, co-sponsoring, advocating for, and supporting a variety of important legislation. Some of these measures are highlighted in this newsletter. I hope you find this information useful.
More work remains, and I welcome your ideas. Please keep in touch and contact me with issues, concerns or suggestions as to how we can better serve you. Your input will help us make our community an even better place to live, work and grow. Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving you.
Emil “Buddy” Altobello
Tackling Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: In order to ensure the proper care for seniors, we modified continuing education requirements for physicians to include diagnosing and treating cognitive conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, delirium, related cognitive impairments and geriatric depression.
Background Checks for Caregivers: Keeping our vulnerable population safe is a top priority. We expanded access to background checks to help identify potentially dangerous individuals seeking jobs that have contact with the elderly.
Making CT Affordable for Seniors: We maintained the tax exemptions for Social Security income and the phase-in of a tax exemption on pension income to help make our state more affordable to seniors.
Meals on Wheels: We increased the funding for the state’s Meals on Wheels program in order to keep our most vulnerable seniors fed.
Honoring Our Veterans
In-State Tuition for Military Families will be granted to spouses and children of service members stationed in the state who may get orders to move elsewhere. Allowing in-state tuition to follow the student helps Connecticut support our military and their families.
Increasing tax exemption for disabled veterans: We increased the base property tax exemption for certain disabled service members and veterans by $500. By doing so, we also increased the additional income-based exemption for such service members and veterans, which is calculated using the base exemption, by $250 or $1,000, depending on their income.
Connecticut actually has many high-paying jobs open, but the complaint we hear most often from businesses is that our state’s workforce is not adequately prepared to take on 21st century jobs. So, this year, we’ve taken the following actions in order to help our residents succeed in today’s industries:
- Increased funding for the Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative to $2 Million a year
- Increased funding for the Jobs Funnel Program to $1 Million a year
- Allocated funding for a new Green Jobs Pipeline
- Passed a law which requires schools to teach computer science, and
- Improve opportunities for teacher training in this subject.
Protecting The Environment
State Water Plan: A major accomplishment of the 2019 legislation session was passing the State Water Plan, which identifies our water supply as a “public trust” to ensure our water resources are protected, and that clean drinking water is accessible for all. (HJ 171)
Fracking Ban: No fracking waste in Connecticut! This policy ensures that pollutants generated by fracking do not enter our state. This legislation will widen the state-wide fracking ban to apply to all gas and oil extraction activities to also include the sale, acquisition, application and processing of fracking, natural gas, and oil waste. (PA 19-112)
Green Energy: We passed legislation to continue deployment of solar energy, increasing green jobs and economic activity. This legislation will extend renewable energy programs, including traditional net metering and the Green Bank’s renewable solar investment program and expand virtual net metering cap which will reduce energy costs for municipalities. (PA 19-35)
Mammogram coverage: This legislation requires health insurance coverage for ultrasound screenings for any woman 40 years old and older who has a recommendation from her doctor, has a personal history of breast disease through the biopsy of a benign tumor, or has a family or personal history of breast cancer. It also prohibits insurers from charging coinsurance, copays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses for breast ultrasounds and mammograms. (PA 19-117)
Better Outcomes for Dyslexia: We established a task force to make recommendations about whether universities are complying with licensure requirements related to dyslexia instruction and whether current in-service training/professional development models are appropriately informing teachers on how to meet the needs of students with dyslexia. (SA 19-8)