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Rep. Srinivasan: “I Am Disappointed.”

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The current fiscal year ends tomorrow, and Connecticut still does not have a budget. I am disappointed that we were not called in to the House Chambers today.

It is incredibly frustrating that our proposals have been so offhandedly rejected by the majority party, especially considering that for the first time in modern history they failed to produce a budget until this afternoon. Their statement that was released with the budget calls it a “revised” plan, but make no mistake, this is misleading given that they had no previous budget to revise. This fact is unprecedented and speaks loudly to their overall failure to fulfill the basic requirement of state government leadership.

Missing the deadline, and the increasing the chances for a prolonged budget debate, results in huge problems for our towns and cities who count on state revenue to help run local government. Those most at-risk and in-need of social services will undoubtedly be affected.

House Republicans have produced three balanced budgets without increasing taxes. We have determined how Connecticut can hold municipalities harmless, restore education funding, protect our most vulnerable citizens, and help Connecticut move through this fiscal crisis. Our most recent plan accomplishes the following provisions:

• Phases in exemptions/reductions on taxes on Social Security and pension income, and the estate gift tax
• Places a hard cap on bond issuance at $1.3 billion per year
• Maintains current Education Cost Sharing disbursements to towns, and adds an additional $20 million for education spending
• Implements a state government hiring freeze
• Increases our focus on fraud prevention and recovery

Our vision for the state is to control spending, impose structural changes that result in significant savings to guard against future deficits, and get a handle on exploding pension and healthcare costs. These are all core elements of our budget proposals, which I was ready to vote on today. Our budget deserves to be called. We do Connecticut residents no favors by circumventing the tough decisions like this. Rest assured I will do what I can to make sure that these important decisions are acknowledged and our critical work is done. We, House Republicans, have been doing our jobs, have a full budget and are ready to lead.

Connecticut will be run temporarily on a Continuing Resolution, which continues providing funding at a rate based on the previous year’s budget, until July 18th – when we have been called into a special session to vote on the new budget, as the majority party is not ready today, tomorrow, and apparently does not anticipate being ready, to vote on their budget for approximately 20 days. It is unfortunate that they do not feel as confident in their plan as we do in ours.

It is the darkest before dawn. The new era of leadership with a bold vision and ready to make the tough decisions is around the corner.

For more information and documents on our latest and past budgets, please visit www.cthousegop.ct.gov/budget. I will do my best to keep you updated.

Rep. Srinivasan represents the 31st district of Glastonbury.

Rep. Srinivasan Looks to Clarify Authorities on Bill that Gives Medical Administration Rights

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HARTFORD – As Ranking Member of the Public Health Committee, State Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) co-sponsored H.B. 6025 to allow medical assistants to administer vaccines under supervision, and to study the prescribing authority of naturalistic practitioners. The bill was not approved by the Senate, however, and therefore will likely not be passed this year.

Self-Driving Cars in Connecticut?

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HARTFORDState Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) stood in the House Chamber last week to inquire about the specific duties to be fulfilled by a proposed task force meant to study how self-driving cars would be regulated in the State of Connecticut. He opposed the bill, S.B. 260, which also requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), in consultation with the departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Transportation (DOT), and Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), to establish a pilot program to allow manufacturers and fleet service providers to test fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) in up to four municipalities.

The bill has since become an effective law as Public Act 17-69.

Rep. Srinivasan Co-Sponsors Positive Measures in the House

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Bills Relate to Education, Transportation and Public Health and Safety

 
HARTFORDState Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) has co-sponsored numerous bills that were recently approved by the House of Representatives. The bills range on topics from education to transportation, healthcare, and public safety. Each piece of legislation is one that Rep. Srinivasan voted in favor for to increase the wellness, opportunities, safety and quality of life of Connecticut residents.

Education
  • B. 7202 – Creates a postsecondary educational division of the Connecticut Technical High School System.
  • B. 912 – Delays higher education requirements, and creates additional ways for those requirements to be met, for school readiness staff.
  • B. 1026 – Extends, for another two years, current graduation requirements that students earn at least 20 credits to graduate. Therefore, “heightened” requirements that students earn at least 25 credits are postponed and would take effect with the freshman class beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.
  • B. 7276 – Allows local and regional boards of education to follow a unified regional school calendar, expands the type of alternative education for expelled students and reduces the number of school employees who must receive training in student restraint and seclusion.
  • B. 1021 – Ensures that undergraduate tuition payments made to institutions of higher education are not construed as fraudulent transfers under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.
Transportation
  • B. 6051 – Requires the Commissioner of Transportation to submit an annual report to the General Assembly regarding the Hartford-New Britain busway.
  • B. 5682 – Redefines “manufacturer” to exclude a person constructing or assembling any trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating of ten thousand pounds or less.

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Rep. Srinivasan: “The Need for a Special Session to Balance the Budget is Deplorable.”

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Today is the last day of the 2017 regular legislative session. It should be the last day the House of Representatives convenes for this year, per the General Assembly rules. Special sessions are called after the House adjourns as an emergency option to adopt important legislation that, under compelling circumstances, could not be addressed during the regular session. It should not be a common occurrence, and yet it has been an overused crutch for several consecutive years.

I would have liked to inform you that we approved a balanced budget today before session ended, as that is what we have been here to do since January 4th when session officially opened. But the first thing the House Speaker did today was call House Joint Resolution 63, a Resolution Convening the General Assembly in Special Session. It says: “We the members of this General Assembly judge it necessary that there be a special session of the General Assembly…and that the call of the session be solely for the purposes of considering and enacting the following legislation: (1) The state budget for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and revenue to balance the state budget for said biennium; (2) Bills and resolutions needed to implement the state budget for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017; and (3) Bills concerning (A) state bond authorizations and their underlying programs and projects, and (B) school construction.”

The resolution was adopted in the Senate yesterday, and the House followed suit this morning.

Ironically, though the text of this resolution deems special session “necessary,” I find it completely unneeded. Our legislative work should have been done by now; that is the primary reason we are here. We had plenty of time over the past five-plus months, and I consider it irresponsible that Democratic leadership did not come up with a budget to vote on before the end of session, given where we are with the sinking deficit and inevitable spending cut decisions on the horizon.

This is a superfluous expense to Connecticut’s taxpayers that should have been avoided. We have to do our work in a timely manner and be aware of the costs we are placing on taxpayers as we waste away our time and draw out our work longer than necessary. That is the responsibility we are being charged with. We cannot push that responsibility onto another day. Eventually we have to make the tough decisions. This resolution is unacceptable.

When we get called into this special session, we need to get adequate support staff in Hartford to run the session efficiently. We need a balanced budget, and I regretfully cannot give my constituents a good reason for why we didn’t create one in this long session, and have to go into a special session to do it.