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Rep. Pam Staneski: 2017 Major Public Acts

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The Office of Legislative Research has released a summary of the most significant, far-reaching, and publicly debated acts adopted by the General Assembly in the 2017 regular session.

Here are a couple of bills that I supported this session that will become law.

Hate Crimes

I was proud to support a bill to strengthen hate crimes laws by making the commission of a hate crime a felony and increasing potential penalties upon a conviction. The bill sends a strong message that Connecticut will not tolerate hate crimes. With the latest rise in anti-Semitism and bomb threats against the Jewish community in Connecticut and throughout the country, we need to make sure these threats are punished to the fullest extent of the law. (PA 17-111, effective October 1, 2017).

Prescription Opioid Drug Abuse

Like many other states, Connecticut is facing an increase in the number of emergency room visits and drug overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics (e.g., prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl). A new law includes several measures to address this issue, such as (1) generally reducing, from a seven- day to a five-day supply, the maximum amount of opioid drugs a minor may be prescribed; (2) allowing a prescribing practitioner to issue a standing order (i.e., non-patient specific prescription) to a licensed pharmacist for an opioid antagonist; and (3) requiring certain health insurers to cover specified medically necessary, inpatient detoxification services for an insured diagnosed with a substance use disorder (PA 17-131, various effective dates).

Affordable Housing

I enthusiastically supported reforms to the Connecticut’s affordable housing system which gives towns more incentives in achieving a moratorium on affordable housing preventing predatory developers from bypassing local zoning boards. (PA 17-170, effective upon passage).

Mileage Tax Study Ban

A new law prohibits the Department of Transportation from spending any state money on a study of, or other activity concerning, a mileage-based user fee system without legislative approval. A mileage-based user fee system is one in which motorists pay a fee for each mile they drive (sSB 76, as amended by Senate “A”, effective upon passage).

Click here to read the full 2017 Major Public Acts Report.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at Pam.Staneski@housegop.ct.gov.

Rep. Staneski Op-Ed: On to Special Session

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At 12:00 a.m. on June 7th the General Assembly gaveled the 22-week regular legislative session to a close. At 12:01 a.m. on June 8th the Speaker of the House gaveled the House into “special” session. So, what does that mean?

The official list of what can be considered during this special session is outlined in Senate Resolution #63 and was passed by both chambers on the last day of regular session.

The following is the Resolution:

Resolved by this Assembly:

That pursuant to Article III of the amendments to the state constitution, and Rule 33 of the Joint Rules of this session, we the members of this General Assembly judge it necessary that there be a special session of the General Assembly, that said session be convened not earlier than 12:01 a.m. on June 8, 2017, 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.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the clerks of the Senate and the House of Representatives deliver a copy of this resolution to the Secretary of the State forthwith.

In laymen’s terms we didn’t get the budget done in the allotted 22-weeks, so we are giving ourselves more time. This isn’t the first time that the General Assembly has been called into special session to do a budget and it won’t be the last. The process is complicated and has been made more so by the current fiscal climate of our state. Hard decisions must be made (and truthfully should have been made years ago). If Connecticut is to move forward we must plan for a fiscally solvent future.

This is not the year for legislators to use the implementer bill to “include” legislation that died during the regular session; leaders must stand hard against this practice and keep the work of special session to the limited call of the resolution. Does this mean that bills that were not voted out of both Chambers can be part of the budget solution? It does, but ONLY if those bills made it out of Committee and relate to the implementation of the budget.

I don’t know what the budget will look like when it comes to the House for a vote. I do know that it must be one that offers structural changes to how we budget, a Constitutional spending cap, and a bonding cap that will not tie the hands of future generations to more debt.

Anyone wanting to share your thoughts on this or other state matters can contact me at Pam.Staneski@housegop.ct.gov, you can always call me directly at 203-530-9838 with any questions of if I can be of service to you.

Staneski, Local Legislators to Host ‘Pizza & Politics’ End-of-Session Update

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ORANGE/MILFORD- House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) and State Reps. Charles Ferraro (R-117) and Pam Staneski (R-119) are hosting a Pizza and Politics event to provide residents with an end-of-session update. The event will be held on July 13th from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Gabriele Ristorante Italiano, 326 Boston Post Road, Orange, CT.

The lawmakers will give a recap on legislation that passed and proposals that failed during the 2017 Legislative Session, which ended at midnight on June 7th.

Residents are encouraged to bring their questions or concerns that they may have about legislation or the state budget to the event.

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to connect with the legislators, please contact them at (860) 240-8700. Due to the unlikely possibility of a cancellation, please check www.RepStaneski.com before the scheduled meeting date.

Rep. Staneski Celebrates Animal Therapy Awareness Day

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HARTFORD- State Reps. Charles Ferraro, Pam Staneski, Nicole Klarides-Ditria joined Connecticut’s Kid Governor  Jessica Brocksom, therapy dogs and their handlers today at the Capitol for Animal Therapy Awareness Day. (L-R) Handler and Therapy Dog  from Allan’s Angels Therapy Dogs, State Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria, Connecticut’s Kid Governor  Jessica Brocksom, State Rep. Pam Staneski, State Rep. Charlies Ferraro.

 

Staneski and Ferraro Visit Orange Business Expo

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ORANGE- State Reps. Pam Staneski (R-119) and Charles Ferraro (R-117) attended the 15th Annual Orange Business and Community Expo on June 14th at the High Plains Community Center.

Pam and Charlie visited and networked with over 50 businesses and vendors and asked them how Connecticut can be more business friendly.

Both legislators thanked the Orange Economic Development Corporation and the businesses for coming to the expo and taking the risk of owning their own business.

Rep. Staneski said “I wanted to reiterate to these great local companies that small business is the life bread of a community and we will continue to fight for pro-jobs, pro-growth economy. We are here for them.”

“The Orange Chamber and First Selectman Zeoli work tremendously hard to create a business-friendly environment locally, and we need to take their direction as a state,” said Rep. Ferraro.  “Our state’s economy relies on our small business community, and we need to work together with them to find solutions that will help them grow and remain in Connecticut.”