It has been a stressful session, but a successful one. The Connecticut economy continues to be hit by the Wall Street, big banks, and foreign investors panicking over things like the low cost of gasoline (I think that’s a good thing), the Chinese economy, and most recently the panic over the “Brexit.” These special interests refuse to restore the good, solid middle class jobs we enjoyed in the 1990s. They refuse to pay their fair share of taxes. They demand special treatment, more state services they won’t pay for, and more bail outs.
It was a struggle, but I worked hard to make your values Connecticut’s laws, including the difficult spending cuts. For the first time since 1973, the state is spending less this year than it did last year. I used my annual survey (thank you for participating) to see that your priorities were met. That included funding Medicaid and Medicare and other health care services; increasing money to Danbury’s schools; protecting senior citizens and veterans, and even reducing prison costs. Thank you for helping me make decision making easier.
If you have any questions on the issues I’m reporting on, or anything else, don’t hesitate to contact me. And if you ‘d like to get my regular e-mail reports, send me an email request.
Leading The Fight Against Heroin And Opioid Abuse
Last year, more people in Connecticut died from heroin and prescription drug overdoses than from car accidents. This epidemic is ravaging communities, devastating families and ending young lives more than any other cause of death.
Since I took office, I’ve made fighting this staggering crisis the central focus of my first term and this year I was proud to help write and pass the most comprehensive law in the nation that deals with our heroin and prescription drug epidemic.
This legislation - which passed both the House and Senate unanimously - was the product of months of listening to parents in my district and from across the state who lost children, and to doctors, law enforcement, chronic pain patients and health experts.
What I learned and what the data shows is the primary cause of this epidemic is the large number of unused and excess prescription painkillers in our society. If we can reduce the number of excess pills that are dispensed for acute and temporary pain by limiting the number handed out in the first place, we can make great progress towards solving this problem.
My bill attacks the root cause of this epidemic by:
- Limiting all first-time opioid prescriptions for adults to a 7-day supply for acute pain.
- Exempting chronic pain patients and the terminally ill who rely on these drugs, and allowing any patient to go back to their doctor for a subsequent prescription if still in pain after 7 days.
- Requiring doctors to discuss the dangers of addiction with a minor and their parent/guardian when prescribing an opioid.
This bill will not immediately end the opioid crisis, but I believe this legislation will save lives by limiting the excess pills prescribed for minor pain that have flooded our society, while protecting access for those who truly need them for pain management.
Connecticut Jobs: Our #1 Priority
This year we made economic growth and support for small business our number one priority. Through Connecticut Innovations, an organization we developed 25 years ago to help boost our tech companies, we are investing millions of dollars where they will do the most good: supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by providing them with the concrete support they need to take them to the next level and create jobs.
Expanding Mammogram Coverage
Last year I toured Guilford Radiology and saw first-hand the benefits of new technology known as tomosynthesis, or a 3D mammogram. These mammograms are much better than regular mammograms at spotting breast cancer and this year we passed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover this cutting-edge technology.
Combating Domestic Violence
Women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm. This year we took great strides in protecting women and children from domestic violence by requiring a person to temporarily surrender their firearms within 24 hours of being served with a temporary restraining order. Nineteen states, including Texas, have this law on the books.
Promoting Clean Energy
We are making a great deal of progress in promoting clean, reliable energy. Several laws provide incentives in the form of credits for excess electricity generated through clean sources such as solar and wind. These monetary incentives will help to expand the use of clean, renewable energy while keeping our environment clean.
Taking care of our older citizens is a priority this session. We passed legislation to make sure patients are notified of their rights and of available services when nursing homes or long-term care facilities close or reduce their number of beds. We also required nursing homes to allow residents being discharged to pick a caregiver to help them with their discharge plan. Other legislation allows for elderly or disabled tenants of state-assisted housing to pay security deposits in installments.
New Funding For Our Towns
I’ve been proud to have helped deliver new funding important to Branford and Guilford including: $450,000 for the almost-complete Guilford Green parking lot, $70,000 for Branford and Guilford schools to purchase Google Chromebooks, $85,000 for open space preservation in the Westwoods and $20,000 to address the invasive weed issue in Lake Quonnipaug.