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Bristol Legislators to Host June Coffee Hour

Posted on May 29, 2018 by admin


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BristolState Reps. Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock D’Amato (R-77), and State Sen. Henri Martin (R-31) invite Bristol residents to join them for their monthly Coffee Hour event on Friday, June 1 at Rodd’s Restaurant (854 Farmington Ave., Bristol).

The public is invited for coffee and conversation from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to meet with their legislators in a relaxed setting and hear the latest updates from the State Capitol, including the issues that shaped the 2018 Legislative Session.

All residents are encouraged to attend and discuss any legislative or local concerns. Coffee will be provided.

Those unable to attend the event but would like to discuss any concerns may contact Betts and Pavalock-D’Amato at 800-842-1423 and Martin at 860-240-0022.

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Reps. Betts, Pavalock-D’Amato, Petit Applaud Compromise Final Budget Deal

Posted on May 11, 2018 by admin


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Cite Medicare Savings, Teacher Pensions, Transportation Funding

HARTFORD – State Representatives Whit Betts (R-78), Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77), and William A. Petit, Jr. (R-22) voted in support of a compromise budget, noting that it fully restores Medicare Saving Plan funds that were cut, adds money for teachers’ healthcare and provides more money to the Special Transportation Fund without raising taxes.

The final budget plan that passed by a vote of 142-8 on the final day of the legislative session, is the result of lengthy negotiations with Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. The budget adjustment does not contain any tax increases, a critical requirement that Republicans insisted on.

“This budget adjustment is a compromise that does not increase taxes on Connecticut residents. It also funds the Retired Teacher’s Healthcare, and provides aid to assist with emergency placements of the developmentally disabled. The budget allows for the most vulnerable residents to be cared for while moving Connecticut forward,’’ Betts said.

“My top priority was to ensure that the Medicare cuts made, which I did not vote for, were reinstated in full so that seniors would not lose their benefits on July 1. Not only does this budget plan restore the Medicare cuts 211%, it also provides $1.8 million for State Supplemental Program (Old Age Assistance). While this budget is not perfect, it provides a path forward so that we can continue working on the issues that matter to the people of Connecticut,” said Pavalock-D’Amato.

“We’ve achieved a compromise budget that helps to ensure the state of Connecticut moves forward. This is by no means a perfect document, but it does provide necessary adjustments to the existing budget which fully restores the Medicare Savings Plan, and provides help for those we need to protect, including the disabled and the elderly. We’ve also addressed Governor Malloy’s holdbacks on municipal aid and educational funding,” said Petit.

The plan will also provide $29 million more to the Special Transportation Fund for road projects by accelerating the existing tax on new cars. The funding will ramp up dramatically in the coming years, and all municipal aid and education cost sharing funding will remain whole in 2019.

Republicans were able to negotiate numerous provisions from their budget plan into the final legislation, including a hard hiring freeze on new state employees to save $7 million.

In addition the deal features:
$16 million in additional funding for Retired Teachers’ Healthcare to bring the state’s portion of funding to 33%
$5 million for emergency placement for DDS patients
$9.5 million for coast of living increases for private providers
$1.8 million for Old Age Assistance.4 million for Aid to Disabled
$16.2 million for Community Colleges to cover fringe benefit costs
An additional $12.5 million to support VoAg students
$1 million for dairy farmers

Republicans also were successful in including some provisions for long-term structural changes, such as allowing for volunteerism at the local level to ease burdens on towns and cities, and hiring a consultant to come up with $500 million in savings for Connecticut.

The GOP also blocked a proposal that would cut funding for military funerals.

Republicans also secured language in the legislation that would inhibit Gov. Malloy’s ability to cut funding for towns and cities as he did under his authority following the passage of the bipartisan budget last October.

The Senate approved the budget unanimously by a vote of 36-0; it heads to the governor’s desk for signing.

The 2018 legislative session came to a close at midnight on May 9.

 

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Betts, Pavalock-D’Amato Applaud Passage of Drug Pricing Transparency Legislation

Posted on May 11, 2018 by admin


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Bill Addressing Rising Prescription Drug Costs Heads to Governor’s Desk

HARTFORD – State Representatives Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) praised the unanimous passage of legislation aimed at curbing increasing prices for prescriptions, the fastest growing cost in healthcare. The legislation, HB 5384, An Act Concerning Prescription Drug Costs, seeks to impose additional disclosure and reporting requirements concerning prescription drug rebates and the cost of prescription drugs.

“Prescription drugs can be incredibly expensive, and this important measure will address the issue of their rising costs. My vote in support of this measure reflects my response and commitment to the many constituents I’ve spoken with, who simply cannot afford these large increases,” said Rep. Betts, a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato, a member of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, said, “These new requirements will hold pharmaceutical companies accountable to maintain pricing transparency with consumers. For people who rely on long-term maintenance medications, or life-saving treatment medications, and especially for those living on a fixed income, including seniors and the disabled, this bill will go a long way to ensuring the pricing stability that people rely on when managing their healthcare costs.”

This bill makes several changes related to prescription drugs, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and health carriers (e.g., insurers and HMOs). Among other things, it requires:

  1. Information about new drugs in the FDA approval pipeline so we can better plan for new drug spending on the state employee plan and Medicaid.
  2. Insurers must include information on the top 25 highest cost drugs, top 25 with greatest increases and the portion of premium that increased because of drug spending on plan when they file their rates with the state Insurance Department.
  3. Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) must disclose rebates they received from drug companies and amount of rebate they passed onto consumers versus the amount they retained. Connecticut would become the first state in the country to require this.
  4. Insurers must either provide consumers with point of sale rebate at pharmacy counter or certify that they are using rebates to lower premiums.

The bill passed unanimously out of the Senate on Tuesday; it now heads to the governor’s office for signing to become law.

Betts, Pavalock-D’Amato Support Domestic Violence Arrest Reform

Posted on May 9, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD –State Representatives Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock D’Amato (R-77) joined fellow legislative colleagues in the Connecticut House of Representatives in supporting a dominant aggressor provision within the existing state laws dictating arrest protocol in cases of family violence.

The bill, SB 466 An Act Concerning Dual Arrests and the Training Required of Law Enforcement Personnel with Respect to Domestic Violence, requires a peace officer, in responding to a family violence complaint made by two or more opposing parties, to arrest the person the officer determines is the dominant aggressor (the person who poses the most serious ongoing threat in a situation involving a suspected family violence crime). Current state law includes a mandatory arrest provision, whereby both parties involved in the domestic dispute may be arrested.

“I’m proud to stand in strong support of this important bi-partisan legislation, which stands up for victims of domestic violence,” said Rep. Betts, a co-sponsor of the bill. “Due to the mandatory arrest provision, the dual arrest rate in the State of Connecticut is nearly three times the national average. When law enforcement is called to a domestic dispute, the dual arrest provision meant that more often than not, both the aggressor and the victim would be arrested. Not only will this measure provide law enforcement with the authority to arrest the perpetrator of violence, but also empower victims to come forward and report without fear of prosecution.”

Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato, also a co-sponsor of the bill, added, “I’m pleased to see that Connecticut has finally joined its New England neighbors in adding the dominant aggressor provision, in support of the victims who’ve had to endure abuse and suffer in silence, for fear of being arrested if they reported to law enforcement. This bill is a tremendous step in the right direction to support victims and the many young children who are traumatized by the experience of witnessing their abused parents being arrested by law enforcement.”

According to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 27% of family violence dispatch calls result in a dual arrest. Additionally, intakes as a direct result of a domestic violence arrest account for 32% of what is on the criminal docket for courts across the state, creating a huge logistical and financial burden for the state. In addition, dual arrest often decreases the victim’s safety, creates additional trauma for the victim’s children (children see a victim arrested and develop distrust of authority), raises a defense for the aggressor when the victim has been arrested and charged, and creates a larger legal Financial burdened for the victim.

The measure passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 147-1, and the state Senate earlier this week by a vote of 36-0. It was transmitted to the governor’s desk for immediate signing.

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Reps. Betts, Pavalock-D’Amato Welcome Special Olympics Athletes to State Capitol

Posted on May 8, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – State Representatives Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) attended a send-off rally for Special Olympics athletes that will be competing in the Special Olympics 2018 USA Games hosted by Seattle, Washington, in July.

Betts and Pavalock-D’Amato were joined by legislative colleagues, welcoming the athletes, coaches, and supporters to the State Capitol, and sharing words of encouragement to the men and women that will be representing Connecticut in the national competition.

“Thank you to the athletes, unified partners, and coaches for coming to the State Capitol and share your energy and enthusiasm with us! Congratulations to all of the athletes who will go on to represent Connecticut this summer. We know you will all do an excellent job and make us proud,” said Rep. Betts.

“To be an athlete takes hard work, determination, and sacrifice. I’m so proud of all of the athletes who’ve worked so hard to make it to the USA Games this year, and I wish them the best of luck in their competitions. We’re particularly proud of Dale Akerley from Bristol, and we’re cheering him and his team on,” added Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato.

Following the rally, Betts and Pavalock-D’Amato met with Bristol resident Dale Akerley, the Unified Sports Partner of Special Olympics Athlete Anthony Thibeault of Southington, congratulating them on their accomplishments and wishing them well in Seattle. Akerley and Thibeault will compete in Unified Golf.

(Pictured L-R: Coach Kevin Smith, West Hartford, Athlete Anthony Thibeault, Southington, State Rep. Whit Betts, Unified Partner Dale Akerley, Bristol, and State Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato.)

More than 4,000 athletes and Unified Sports partners from all 50 states will be competing. The 2018 USA Games will also celebrate Special Olympics’ 50th anniversary.

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