Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2019 legislative session has ended and I wanted to share with you some information regarding the accomplishments of this year. We worked to create an honestly balanced budget without having to raise taxes, while maintaining aid to our cities and towns, and preserving our tax exemptions for seniors.
We passed legislation to ensure health insurance coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and mammograms and ultrasounds. We also developed a paid family and medical leave program, so people do not have to face financial hardship to care for themselves or a loved one.
In addition, I supported legislation to promote and expand Connecticut’s manufacturing industry. This new legislation seeks to establish a network of people to determine the training needs of the state, spread awareness of manufacturing careers, generate more jobs, and ultimately ensure a better future for Connecticut. Concurrently, these bills work to connect the next generation of innovators with Connecticut manufacturers.
I have worked tirelessly with members of the Southeastern Connecticut delegation on both sides of the aisle to ensure Groton & Ledyard are properly represented.
Repealing the Business Entity Tax. Protecting the Care for Kids Program. No income tax on Social Security. Our biennial budget – which was delivered on time and within the parameters of the constitutional spending cap – includes these important advancements, and more.
The budget provides fiscal stability with no increase in the income tax or broad-based increases in sales tax rates, and does not cut municipal aid. It’s balanced and protects taxpayers now and into the future. We continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens while investing in the middle class and encouraging economic growth for all of Connecticut. And we succeeded in preventing Governor Lamont from cutting aid for education and increasing taxes on seniors.
Paid Family Leave
In the event of a medical emergency, Paid Family and Medical Leave allows workers to care for themselves or a loved one without having to face the threat of financial ruin. The program which I was proud to support provides replacement wages so patients and caregivers can take time off and still make ends meet.
Pre-existing Insurance Coverage
I introduced legislation which will expand health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. It passed unanimously and protects residents from changes in federal law. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, if someone had a pre-existing or chronic condition, insurance companies could refuse coverage – impacting fifty million people.
I fought for legislation to require health insurance coverage for ulrasound screenings for any woman 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 co-insurance, co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses for breast ultrasounds and mammograms.
Work Force Development
Connecticut manufacturers like Electric Boat are hiring. This year I worked hard to make sure that our workforce is prepared for the high-paying manufacturing and technical jobs of the future.
We passed legislation:
- Creating a workforce pipeline and job creation task force.
- Requiring regional school districts to develop goals for career placement in manufacturing, law enforcement or military careers.
- Expanding the advanced manufacturing certificate program into additional public high schools and institutions of higher education.
Based on the Blue Ribbon Tourism Commission, this legislation is designed to help make Connecticut more visitor-friendly. We are reopening the state’s six highway visitor welcome centers in Danbury, Darien, Greenwich, North Stonington, Westbrook, and West Willington. We are working to improve signage promoting state attractions, and establishing a Tourism Council to oversee the marketing of our beautiful state.
In-State Tuition For Military Families
Connecticut will grant in-state tuition to the spouses and children of service members stationed in the state who may get orders to move elsewhere. This legislation allows reduced tuition to follow the student.
Getting Veterans The Help They Need
We increased the property tax exemption for certain disabled veterans and service members. This additional financial benefit will hopefully make Connecticut a little more affordable for those that have given so much for our country.
Sexual Harassment Prevention
I supported legislation that lengthens the statute of limitations on reporting sexual abuse and assault. It also increases the training required to prevent sexual harassment from taking place. Now specifically, it extends the statute of limitations for the prosecution of sexual assault and risk of injury crimes involving a person 21 or younger.
We have cleared the path for energy from offshore wind generation. Connecticut will procure up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power resulting in green energy technology, renewable energy goals and new, good-paying jobs and economic development in New London, New Haven and Bridgeport. This will help achieve our energy consumption goal of 40% renewable energy by 2030.
Protecting Our Water
A major accomplishment of the 2019 legislative session was the State Water Plan, which safeguards our water supply as a “public trust” to ensure our water resources are protected, and that clean drinking water is accessible for all.
Early Voting Will Increase Turnout
We took the first step to allow early voting by passing a resolution to amend the state constitution. This would allow for in-person voting leading up to Election Day for any state or municipal election or referendum. Voters should have every opportunity to cast ballots. If the resolution is approved again in the 2021 legislative session it will appear as a question for voters on the 2022 general election ballot.
Supporting Craft Breweries
I sponsored legislation to make it easier for craft beer, wine and cider businesses to sell their products directly to consumers. The new law is pro-business, pro-consumer and pro-Connecticut, paving the way for more jobs and growth of our local and state economies.