Dear Friend and Neighbor,
Thank you for giving me the privilege of representing you in the CT General Assembly. It is such an honor to continue to serve you in the legislature. I wanted to provide some updates on what we worked on in the 2019 Legislative Session. The 2019 Legislative Session was “long” in duration and “long” on substance. The House passed a budget which is responsible, stable, and funds the Rainy Day Fund at historic levels. With significant investments in education, job growth, and economic development throughout the state, the budget holds the line on spending.
- We’ve increased funding for education from the Governor’s budget and we blocked the cost shifting of the teachers pension.
- Through an agreement, the budget funds local hospitals to expand access to healthcare and protect thousands of jobs.
- Expansions were made to the Angel Investor tax credit and starting next year a repeal of the Business Entity tax to support small business.
With this budget, we’ve made significant investments in Connecticut’s middle class by:
- Supporting the start-up funding for the Paid Family Medical Leave program.
- Funding the workforce development pipeline to better match our curriculum with employer needs.
- Increasing funding for Higher Education to help stabilize tuition and improve the long term stability of our college and university system while establishing a plan for debt-free college.
The budget also makes investments in Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents by expanding funding for essential programs like HUSKY A, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels while rejecting the Governor’s asset test for the Medicare Savings Program. Now, we have heard a lot of criticism from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle – but the truth is, despite being offered a seat at the table, Republicans offered zero cuts or policy ideas. Ultimately, they did not offer a budget. We’ve worked hard to present a budget that is a reflection of our values and aspirations for the future. With this budget, I believe we offer not only growth, but security for the residents of Connecticut. Over the years I have worked tirelessly with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do what’s best for Bridgeport and Connecticut. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of service to you or your family.
Paid Family & Medical 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. By providing up to 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave Insurance per year, equaling up to 95% of an employee’s weekly paycheck, we will provide financial protection to those who find themselves in an unanticipated medical emergency. This will help pregnant women on medically-ordered bed rest, families with an infirm or aging parent and new parents who want to bond with an infant. The program is funded by employee contributions. If you or your family has an emergency, there will be financial peace-of-mind. (SB 1; Public Act 19-25)
Keeping Guns in Cars Locked Away
Due to the increase in gun thefts from cars, we are now requiring drivers to keep guns locked away. Guns that are kept in the console or on the floor of the driver’s or passenger’s seat are often stolen from cars and used in violent acts. Having an unsecured gun in plain sight, increases the risk of theft, as well as gun injury and death. We hope to reverse this trend by requiring guns to be kept out of sight, locked away.
This law requires gun owners who wish to keep a firearm in their car, to store them either in the trunk, a locked glove box, or a locked safe. This will help prevent gun theft and further violent acts. (HB 7223; Public Act 169-7)
Pre-existing Insurance Coverage
This session, we expanded health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. Passed unanimously, this protects Connecticut residents against any changes to federal law. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, if someone had a pre-existing or chronic condition, insurance companies could refuse to insure them – impacting fifty million people. As a result, hospital emergency rooms and Medicaid were forced to absorb these costs, resulting in higher prices for everyone.
This legislation will:
- Assure that patients receive treatment and insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions.
- Codify federal Affordable Care Act protections.
- Save lives and money.
- Prohibit some types of short-term health insurance plans from containing a pre-existing condition provision.
No one who works full time should live in poverty. Connecticut families will have more economic security as the state’s minimum hourly wage gradually rises to $15 by June 1, 2023. This legislation will help over 300,000 Connecticut workers who make less than $15 an hour. The wage will increase on October 1 to $11 an hour, followed by incremental increases over the next 4½ years.
This legislation will:
- Combat persistent pay disparities between races and genders.
- Stimulate our economy.
- Raise the minimum wage incrementally until it reaches $15 an hour on June 1, 2023.
- Index future minimum wage increases.
More convenient Motor Vehicle Licenses and Registrations
While the Department of Motor Vehicles has made great strides in reducing wait times, we will always look for ways to improve their services and further reduce the burden to our residents. We have given you the option to extend your vehicle registration to three years and your driver’s licenses to eight year durations so that you will have more time between needed visits to the DMV. (HB 7201; Public Act 19-165)