Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This was a session dominated by the budget. Although there were no easy solutions, we made significant cuts and approved a balanced budget, without borrowing and without tax or fee increases.

Improving public health, supporting our veterans, and encouraging financial security for everyone were featured elements of some of the major bills approved by the legislature this year.

Keeping Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family is our ongoing responsibility. Though the 2016 legislative session presented one of the toughest budget challenges in decades, we succeeded to help move our state forward.


Standing Up For Veterans

We stand by our veterans. I am proud to report that we approved new laws that enhance areas of job attainment, entrepreneurship, and quality of life issues for veterans. We also passed a resolution urging the nation’s leaders to provide VA benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans who were
exposed to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.

The legislation will:

  • Give a price preference of up to 15% for veteran-owned businesses bidding on state contracts.
  • Broaden the scope of the law that bars discriminatory practices in our state’s armed forces.
  • Require the Labor Commissioner to establish a clearinghouse to help highly-trained veterans and armed forces members find jobs that match their unique skill sets; a database will be created to match them with available jobs.

Investing In Our Future

Innovation Places
Concentrates nodes of entrepreneurs, tech talent, support organizations and research institutions in walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods.

Entrepreneur Support Programs
Provide $5 million a year to support a range of needs for entrepreneurs, such as residencies, coworking space and mentoring.

Entrepreneurial Learner’s Permit
Establishes an Entrepreneurs Learner’s Permit Program that will allow new businesses, particularly information services, biotechnology and green technology, to be reimbursed for fees associated with state filing, permitting and licenses.

Added Support for Growing Small Businesses
$1 million a year for 5 years to support firms that have made it past the startup phase, and mature companies that have plateaued but have the potential to grow.

University Innovation Ecosystems
$10 million of seed funding to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems at all of Connecticut’s colleges and universities, public and private.

Connecticut’s Growing Manufacturing Sector
We are making Connecticut a leader in high-tech manufacturing, which starts with an educated workforce that will meet the growing demand for the advanced, computer based technical positions of the future. We are bringing awareness to children starting in Middle School and offering advanced tech degrees at our universities.

Combating Abuse

Combating the Opioid Epidemic
We passed legislation that will address the opioid abuse and addiction crisis in Connecticut (HB 5053). Specifically, the bill will improve access to Naloxone, or Narcan, which is used to treat opioid overdose. The legislation also limits first-time painkiller prescriptions to a 7-day supply, strengthens the prescription monitoring program and releases health care professionals and good Samaritans from liability for administering an opioid antagonist, such as Narcan, to treat an overdose. Opioid addiction is a nationwide problem that affects all ages, genders and ethnicities. I believe this bill will help save lives.

Temporary Restraining Orders/Domestic Violence
Women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm. Connecticut is taking great strides in protecting women and children from domestic violence by requiring a person to temporarily surrender firearms after being served with a temporary restraining order. Connecticut averaged 14 intimate partner homicides per year from 2000 to 2012 and firearms were used in 39 percent of those 188 homicides. At least twenty other states, including Texas – the bastion of gun rights – have passed similar laws authorizing or requiring the surrender of firearms at the ex parte stage.

Sexual Exploitation/Human Trafficking
This legislation strengthens laws against trafficking of human and sexual exploitation. It adds membership to the Trafficking in Persons Council and strengthens its scope, enforcement and notice of state trafficking laws.

Supporting Our Seniors

Especially during difficult times when we struggle to balance the state budget, protecting our older citizens remains a high priority.

This year we passed legislation in many areas of concern to seniors:

  • Notice of nursing home closings or bed reductions for residents - when nursing homes or long-term care facilities plan to close or cut back on beds, the Department of Aging’s ombudsman must submit a letter to each patient detailing the rights and services available to the patient.
  • Utilization of patient-designated caregivers - nursing homes now will be required to allow a resident being discharged to designate a caregiver who will work with the nursing home on a plan for post-discharge tasks.
  • Installers of residential stair lifts - this legislation creates a residential stair lift technician’s license, making it easier for homeowners to have stair lifts installed in their homes by allowing more contractors to be licensed to perform these installations.
  • Security deposits for age-restricted public housing - the elderly or disabled who want to live in state-assisted public housing now will be able to pay their security deposits in installments instead of the usual lump sum.

Capitol Update 2016 (pdf)