Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am pleased to share with you this update on the 2017 legislative session. Each year, our goal is to forge a path for a stronger Connecticut, and this past session was no different. We worked to pass bipartisan legislation that improves the lives of working families, encourages economic growth, and makes critical investments in the future of our children, as well as our state.

I am committed to fighting for you and building a solid Connecticut for future generations. The policies we passed support our small businesses, spur workforce development and ensure that we are making Connecticut more affordable for our young people and our seniors. Although the regular session has concluded, I will continue to work to keep New Britain and Newington great places to live, work, and raise a family.

I hope you find the enclosed information helpful. Our future is stronger when we work together, so please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if I can ever be of help to you or your family. It is my pleasure and honor to serve as your state representative.

Sincerely,


Investing In Transportation

Connecticut’s aging transportation infrastructure has a real impact on our bottom line. According to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the average motorist in Connecticut pays an extra $864 per year because of driving on roads that are in need of repair. That’s why I’m glad that as part of this budget, we agreed to a long-term plan to move more sales tax revenue into the Special Transportation Fund. There is still a lot more we need to do, but this was an important step forward.


Strengthening Domestic Violence Laws

Connecticut has long been a leader in addressing intimate partner violence with strong policies that strengthen victim safety and increase offender accountability. Under Public Act 17-31, we continue to update our laws by: expanding existing laws on strangulation and stalking; acknowledging the use of social media as a modern means for stalking; and increasing the penalty for committing a family violence crime while on probation.


Capping Spending

The budget strengthened our existing spending cap. Under the new cap, funding for pensions, distressed municipalities, and money used to receive matching federal grants will all come under the cap over time. This is important because it more accurately reflects what we are spending as a state and will force future legislatures to prioritize spending on programs that work and our communities need.


Supporting Small Businesses

As I know first-hand, running a business is hard work. We should not be adding in red tape along the way. To address these concerns that I’ve also heard from manufacturers and small businesses in our community, we created a one-stop hotline that business owners and entrepreneurs can call to find out about all of the services available to them and regulations that may cover them. In addition, we continued to fund important programs like Small Business Express, the Manufacturing Innovation Fund, and the Women’s Business Development Council. Many of these were eliminated in various budget proposals, but I fought to make sure they were funded as part of the final compromise deal because they actually work at creating jobs. (PA 17-158, PA 17-2)


Training our Workforce

Having a highly skilled workforce is critical to attracting new businesses, keeping the high-performing companies we have, and connecting our residents with good paying, quality jobs. That’s why we created a landmark initiative within the Department of Labor that will strengthen existing workforce development programs and implement new job training opportunities using a mix of public and private funds. In addition, we are moving the vo-tech schools out from under the State Department of Education so they are able to be more responsive to job market changes. We are also requiring our state’s colleges and universities develop a plan to offer an online mechatronics course, which is a growing field with the manufacturing industry. These efforts will help us rebuild a stronger middle class in Connecticut. (PA 17-207, PA 17-237, PA 17-242)


Reducing Prescription Costs

The cost of prescription drugs places a large burden on many of us, especially those living on a fixed income. Often times, cheaper generic medications are available to the consumer. Unfortunately, existing rules in some contracts between pharmacists and health insurers require pharmacies to charge a copay and when a drug is cheaper than the consumer’s copay give the difference to the insurer. Some contracts also forbid pharmacists from suggesting less expensive alternative medications. This legislation removes those cost drivers. In addition, it increases transparency in prescription drug pricing for the benefit of the patient. Public Act 17-241 also strengthens patient notice requirements around the facility fees charged by some health providers.


Preventing Opioid Abuse

This year in Connecticut, more people will fall victim to drug overdoses than from car accidents and gun violence combined. This session, Connecticut took action and passed legislation to combat drug abuse and addiction. Public Act 17-131 reduces the maximum opioid drug prescription for minors from a 7-day to a 5-day supply, requires health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment, requires medical providers to discuss opioid risks with patients, and eases restrictions on destroying unused medications.


Capitol Update 2017 (pdf)