End of Session Highlights

June 6, 2019

With the 2019 legislative session completed, I want to give you an overview of passed legislation that is particularly good for Enfield. Before I go into the highlights, I want to thank you for giving me this incredible privilege to serve the 58th District and represent your voice here at the Capitol.


  • SB 922,An Act Allowing Students to Apply Sunscreen Prior to Engaging in Outdoor Activities

This bill passed by both the Senate and House was championed by our very own resident, Lori Gates. The bill would allow students to self-apply over-the-counter sunscreen products while in school prior to engaging in outdoor activities.

I am proud to represent residents that are advocates of good legislation. Click here to learn more.

  • HB 7250, An Act Concerning the Improvement of Child Development Through Play

The bill requires the Board of Education to allocate twenty minutes of undirected play as an alternative to twenty minutes of physical exercise. Nothing in this bill prohibits a board from offering more than twenty minutes a day of undirected play or physical exercise.

It has been reported that a decline of play in schools has led to an increase in depression, anxiety, narcissism, and behavioral issues. Undirected play promotes social emotional and cognitive skills, providing an outlet for energy that allowed students to focus better in the classroom.

Thank you to KITE-Key Initiatives to Early Education for their advocacy and hard work.

  • HB 7111, An Act Concerning Revisions to the Comprehensive School Health Education Curriculum and the Availability and the Availability of Information on the Dangers of Vaping for Use by School Districts

The education curriculum is outdated considering the public health curriculum does not include the recent development of e-cigarette technology, its proliferation, and the health risks associated with vaping. The public curriculum does not include the role of consent and healthy sexual relationships. This bill would update the public curriculum to include these two issues specifically.

  • HB 7215, An Act Concerning School Climate

The bill makes numerous changes to the laws related to school bullying and safe school climate, which are:

  1. Require local and regional boards of education to develop safe school climate policies
  2. Require schools to assess school climate
  3. Require the Department of Education to develop a social and emotional learning assessment instrument
  4. Establish the duties of a safe school climate coordinator
  5. Require local and regional boards of education to establish a social and emotional learning and school climate council in place of the existing safe school climate committee
  6. Require the Department of Education to develop a model safe school climate policy
  7. Require local and regional boards of education to provide training on the prevention of and intervention in discrimination against and targeted harassment of students

Enfield's Scantic River

  • HB 5002, An Act Concerning a Green Economy and Environmental Protection,

The bill will authorize the procurement of energy derived from anaerobic digestion and to require the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management to study the return on investment from fully implementing certain provisions of the general statutes.

The bill is a comprehensive green energy bill that will boost our renewable energy industry, making this bill of particular interest to Enfield and surrounding towns. In August, Enfield residents were sickened by the smell of liquid cow manure being applied to fields behind their houses on Jewel Street. Now, the Scantic River has an abnormally high E-Coli count especially in the summer because of which the river is closed to recreation.

HB 5002 creates a new framework for expanding anaerobic digestion, which is the process of capturing and refining methane gas that is emitted from the breakdown of food and animal waste. This captured gas can be mixed into a variety of products and used for numerous applications from heating homes to powering farm equipment.

Treatment through anaerobic digestion can greatly reduce the amount of pathogens in animal waste. The by-product of digestion is methane gas, which can be used to power the farm. This bill will provide farmers the relaxed regulations to implement this technology and join us in healthy management of our natural resources.

Public Health

  • HB 7267, An Act Concerning Public Options for Health Care in Connecticut

The bill is a comprehensive approach to lowering health care costs and ensuring high quality coverage for the following reasons:

Reducing Costs in the Individual Market

  1. The legislation establishes a state-level reinsurance program that will lower premium costs for the individual market.
  2. The program should allow the state to receive more than $25 million in federal investments.
  3. Recent analysis indicates that such a program could reduce premiums by about 5%.

Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

Currently, average brand prescription drug costs in Canada are roughly half that of the United States. The bill establishes a program to allow for the safe importation of prescription drugs directly from Canada, which will result in significantly lower prices for consumers struggling with the rising costs of their medications.

Reducing Total Health Care Costs

For decades the growth in health care costs has exceeded the growth of the overall state economy. This problem is not unique to Connecticut, and as a result health care now accounts for about 20 percent of the gross national product. To begin to contain health care costs on a state-level, the bill establishes an annual Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark in order to understand how much health care costs can grow across the entire state each year, beginning in 2021.

  • SB 1057An Act Concerning Opioid Use Disorder

Despite the opioid overdose epidemic is stabilizing, it still remains 1.7 times higher than the national average. This is attributed to local and state overdose prevention procedures. This bill will continue to help drive down the opioid use in our state.


  • HB 7424, An Act Concerning the State Budget

The budget makes significant investments in education, job growth, and economic development throughout the state while holding the line on spending.


  1. Increases Enfield's Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Funding for both years of the budget.
  2. Increases funding for afterschool programs for both years of the budget.
  3. No cost shifting of teachers pensions to Enfield.
  4. Level funding for the town side state grant money.

Fiscal Responsibility

  1. Income tax rates do not increase
  2. Closes the two year projected deficit
  3. Stays within the constitutional spending cap

Teacher Retirement

Changes the funding methodology and benefit design to the Teachers Retirement System. This would save Connecticut $183 million the first year and $189 million the second year.

Employee Pension and Healthcare Savings

A $181 million saving in the first year and $275 million saving in the second year.

Protecting our Hospitals

Maintains FY19 taxation and appropriation levels.

Supporting our Local Businesses

  1. Repeals the Business Entity Tax.
  2. Phases out the Capital Stock Tax.
  3. Expands the Angel Investor Program.
  4. Reduces the Craft Breweries Excise Tax by 50%.

The passed budget offers not only growth, but also security for the residents of Connecticut.


HB 7179, An Act Concerning Crumbling Concrete Foundations

The bill does the following:

  1. Require the Commissioner of Housing to establish a grant program to support the development of methods and technologies that reduce the average cost of repairing and replacing concrete foundations in this state that have deteriorated due to the presence of pyrrhotite.
  2. Establish an innovation board to review applications for grants filed as part of such program.
  3. Appropriate the sum of eight million dollars to fund grants awarded as part of such program.
  4. Modify the Healthy Homes Fund surcharge.
  5. Redefine the term "residential building" as such term applies to various statutes concerning crumbling concrete foundations.

There are a lot more bills to highlight, which I will continue to share with you. Please keep an eye out for my office hours in the next few weeks. Please feel free to contact me by phone at 800-842-8267 or by email at Thomas.Arnone@cga.ct.gov if you have any questions or concerns regarding legislation discussed this session.