Financial Literacy, Senior Center Upgrades, and more

June 2, 2023

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Dear Neighbor,

Happy Friday! There is less than one week left of our legislative session, and there is still much work left to get done, including the passage of our budget. The next few days will be long but critical for residents of Connecticut. Things are moving very quickly now so please don't hesitate to reach out about any policies you've been tracking.

Financial Literacy Bill
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed HB 1165: An Act Concerning Financial Literacy Instruction. The bill came out of the Education Committee and has now passed both the House and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The newly passed legislation will require students, starting with classes graduating in 2027, to take a half-credit course on personal financial management and financial literacy.

Connecticut ranked 21st for statewide financial education access in 2022, according to Next Gen Personal Finance, a non-profit provider of personal finance curriculum and professional development in the United States. Just 15.3% of Connecticut high schoolers are currently guaranteed to take a personal finance course of at least one semester before graduating. Passing this bill makes Connecticut the 18th state in the nation to guarantee financial literacy classes to high school students.

No matter what your background is, financial literacy is a vitally important aspect to every child's education, and it is one that is critically under-taught. Through this bill, we are setting up all of our children for future financial success.

Funding for Our Intellectually, Developmentally Disabled Population
We are delivering on key legislative priorities this session by addressing specific concerns affecting our Intellectually, Developmentally Disabled population, which has been lacking adequate funding and services for far too long.

HB 5001 is a comprehensive multi-year measure that expands vital services to these vulnerable individuals, so that their most basic needs are properly met. This new bill complements the children's mental health legislation that became law last year.
Key provisions in this wide-ranging bill, which reflect strong bipartisan efforts, include the reduction of waitlists and updating a decades-old approach to serving this community.

In addition, this bill establishes a solid framework to address:
  • Housing Needs
  • Educational and Transitional Services
  • Transportation
  • Day Programming
  • Career and Job Coaching
  • Life Skills Training
  • Behavioral Services

It is my goal to continue working on finding solutions that not only bring a level of relief and peace of mind to guardians and family caregivers, but to the individuals who are developmentally challenged to help them reach their best potential.

Senior Center Upgrades Funding
Big news! Connecticut has been awarded $10 million in state funding from the American Rescue Plan to upgrade and enhance our senior centers. $9 million of this funding will be distributed to municipalities, which can use the funding to support upgrades at their local senior centers through:
  • Facility improvements, which can cover a variety of capital improvements, including air and HVAC systems, lighting, accessibility features, vehicle acquisition, maintenance, and repurposing.
  • Programming, which can include the acquisition of program registration software, web design renovation capability, extended senior center hours, and special or focused entertainment or programming, while also encompassing expanded staff hours to support those programs when applicable.

The remaining funds will be used by the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services to support its statewide senior center activities. Learn more about this exciting announcement here:

Memorial Day Commemoration
Another beautiful weekend, surrounded by community, honoring the brave men and women who sacrificed everything to protect our democracy. As (Ret.) Lt. Commander Brian Vahey said at the Sea Ceremony on Saturday, “We should pause and reflect on the additional meaning of the flags flying and the anthems being sung.” I think it’s a good reminder to always try to hold that meaning close to us.
Other Bills that Passed
We passed some important legislation this week. Here's a quick recap:
  • SB 922: Under this bill,Connecticut higher education institutions can no longer withhold transcripts as a means to collect debt.
  • SB 1117: Expands protections for victims of human trafficking by prohibiting hotels, motels, and similar operators from offering discounts on many hourly rates.
  • SB 1018: Expands your ability to collect the small remaining cash balance of a gift card and it eliminates the requirement to provide the proof of purchase or a gift receipt.
  • SB 1017: The task force goal of SB 1017 is to ensure that our local emergency services and firefighter departments have enough personnel to keep our communities safe and protected.
  • SB 1102: Exciting news for healthcare! S.B. 1102 expands pharmacists’ roles to include ordering and administering COVID-19, HIV, and influenza tests, prescribing HIV-related prophylaxis, and administering epinephrine cartridges. Plus, mobile pharmacies are now allowed with DCP’s approval.
  • SB 953: Modernizes Connecticut's racial profiling law to reflect the reality that often race is not the only motivation for detention, but a major contributing factor.
  • SB 1103: Data privacy is a high priority - SB 1103, establishes regulations and procedures for how state departments will regulate and use artificial intelligence and creates a working group to look at certain issues concerning AI.
  • HB 6901: Connecticut is the fifth-highest student debt holder in the nation. HB 6901 establishes a program to reimburse some student loan payments for certain Connecticut residents and incentivizes them to stay in our state.
  • HB 6599: Intimate partner violence is a leading contributor to death during pregnancy. To help identify and circumvent tragedies, HB 6599 requires the distribution of educational materials to pregnant and postpartum patients on intimate partner violence in birthing hospitals and healthcare providers.
  • HB 6762: This bill includes provisions for early childhood education, special education, audits of state and local testing requirements, a Multilingual Learners Bill of Rights, and the establishment of task force to study and develop strategies to improve and promote civic engagement and instruction on civics, citizenship, media literacy and American government.
  • SB 913: The reality is some people witness traumatic incidents on the job. SB 913 expands coverage to make all employees eligible for workers' compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress injuries.
  • SB 1108: Students should not have to choose between their education and their reproductive health. That’s why S.B. 1108 requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the UConn Board of Trustees to establish a plan for providing reproductive health care services to students living on residential campuses.
  • SB 956: SB 956 Requires written hospital and nursing home discharge plans for patients, to include the date and location of each follow up medical appointment and a list of medications the patient is taking.
  • HB 6796: Expands on legislation we passed last year to prevent the theft of catalytic converters by allowing the sharing of information among law enforcement units in other states, creating a uniform approach to the sales and penalty for the theft of a catalytic converter and establishing a task force to further study how to deter these thefts
I'm committed to ensuring your voice is heard. Please don't hesitate to call my office at (860) 240-8585 or email me if there's anything I can do for you. Be sure to follow @LeeperForFairfield on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on everything I'm doing at the Capitol.


Jennifer Leeper
State Representative


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