Posted on June 17, 2019 by jdooley
The 2019 session ended at midnight on June 5th, and although there were some good pieces of legislation to come out of this session, I was quite disappointed by the lack of bi-partisanship on the major issues debated.
In 2017-2018 legislative sessions the legislature worked together across party lines to pass meaningful legislation and a budget that put Connecticut on a path toward fiscally responsibility.
Some positive legislation that passed this session included:
- Stopping the governor’s plan to shift the teachers ‘pension costs onto the towns.
- Securing the continued phase out of the state income tax on Social Security and pensions
- Passing a mental health parity bill which treats mental illness and addiction like physical illness
- Increase the criminal penalties for those that manufacture and sell fentanyl
- Extending compensation benefits for PTSD treatment to firefighters and police officers
This year’s state budget was passed without any input from House or Senate Republicans. We had a nearly 600 page budget document dropped on us Sunday night before the vote on Monday. I voted against the budget because it was loaded with nearly $2 million in new taxes and hits to small businesses and without cuts to Connecticut’s bloated government.
Watch my budget remarks from the State Capitol, here.
You can watch the state budget debate here: https://ct-n.com/ondemand.asp?ID=16418.
Some of the one sided, partisan legislation that passed was:
- Making Connecticut a ‘Sanctuary State’ for illegal immigrants.
- A new payroll tax for a poorly written and unsustainable Family Medical Leave Bill. (Watch my video remarks)
- Approved (12) unaffordable state union contracts costing taxpayers $100 million
- Earmarks for legislators to gain votes for the state budget
- Diverting/Raiding $171 Million from the Special Transportation Fund ‘Lockbox’
- Relying on $450 Million in non-existent labor and health savings to balance the state budget
Although, tolls became the number one issue during the session, with the details changing weekly sometimes daily to try a win votes, no vote was taken in the State Senate or House of Representatives on a toll proposal.
Before the 2019 regular session ended, the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, along with the governor announced there would be a special session on the issue of tolls if the majority can convince enough members to vote for whatever plan they put together.
Many members who are on the fence on tolls do not want to support a bill having heard loud and clear from their constituents that they oppose the toll proposals they’ve shared so far.
I will keep you up-to-date as the summer moves forward.