Rep. Gail Lavielle Sworn in, Begins 5th Term

Posted on January 18, 2019 by admin


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Announces Plans and Initiatives for 2019 Legislative Session

HARTFORD – On Wednesday, State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton, Norwalk, Westport) was sworn into her fifth term representing the 143rd House District. Rep. Lavielle will serve as the highest-ranking Republican on the joint Appropriations Committee and will remain on the Transportation Committee and Education Committee, where she previously served as Ranking Member.

“I am excited to begin my fifth term in office and I thank my constituents for the honor of representing them once again,” Rep. Lavielle said. “The challenges we face in 2019 are very real. We have five months to draft a balanced budget with structural fiscal reforms that will close the deficits, grow the tax base, and restore the economy over the long term. This can be accomplished by keeping taxes low for businesses and residents, easing the regulatory environment, reducing unfunded post-retirement liabilities, and making sure state government does not spend more than it can afford. If there’s one thing we certainly cannot afford, it is delay. In 2017, budget negotiations concluded several months later than the June 30th deadline. I will do everything in my power as Appropriations Ranking Member to keep our committee, and the budget process, on schedule.”

This session, Rep. Lavielle will introduce a bill requiring the legislature to pass a revenue package before a spending bill can be approved.

“Connecticut’s persistent budget deficit is reinforced by our budget process, which is currently flawed,” Rep. Lavielle added. “A budget should be based on how much we can spend – how much taxpayers are willing and able to afford — and then the Appropriations Committee must decide where and how that amount is spent. The General Assembly, however, does this in reverse. You wouldn’t buy a house without knowing how much you have in your bank account, so why should Connecticut decide how much it wants to allocate before determining how much revenue it can expect? When we appropriate before we finance, we run the great risk of falling short, which will ultimately result in tax increases or one-shot revenue collections to make up the difference. We need a better system and the bill I am proposing would help the legislature, and state government, live within its means.”

Following through on her commitment to seek meaningful fiscal reforms, Rep. Lavielle hopes to pass her bill eliminating the estate and gift taxes, which contribute little to the state’s total revenue. These taxes have been cited as major burdens for seniors and small business owners, and as incentives for them to leave the state.

In addition to her budget-related initiatives, Rep. Lavielle will introduce legislation banning ghost guns and guns produced by 3-D printing, a bill eliminating the Board of Regents, another prohibiting the consolidation of the state’s community colleges without legislative approval, and a bill concerning vaping, which would label vaping devices that are often used by young teenagers and resemble flash drives and other objects as nicotine delivery devices. Furthermore, she will submit a bill permitting electric vehicle manufacturers, including Tesla, to sell their cars directly to consumers as opposed to selling through dealerships as current state law requires.

Rep. Lavielle will also reintroduce a bill preventing a sitting governor from reducing a town’s education funding midyear. Similar legislation was proposed during the 2018 session, and passed in both chambers, only to be vetoed by then-Governor Malloy. The bill was called for an override during a veto session later that year, but did not secure the necessary votes.

The 2019 Session will adjourn at midnight on June 5. In odd-numbered years, legislators vote on a biennial state budget, which they must pass before they adjourn.

Rep. Gail Lavielle Named Ranking Member of Legislature’s Appropriations Committee

Posted on December 19, 2018 by admin


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Will be Lead Republican on Legislature’s Budget-Writing Committee

HARTFORD – On Tuesday, State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton, Norwalk, Westport) was appointed by House Republican Leader Rep. Themis Klarides as Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s joint Appropriations Committee, a role she will assume when the 2019 session opens on January 9. Rep. Lavielle will maintain her memberships on the Education and Transportation Committees.

Rep. Lavielle, an Assistant Minority Leader who will be sworn in for her fifth term in the state House in January, previously served for three terms on the Appropriations Committee, where she was Ranking Member of the Transportation Subcommittee. She also has experience in leadership of a large, prominent committee, having served for two terms as Ranking Member of the Education Committee. As a member of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, she has worked on the revenue side of the state budget as well.

The Appropriations Committee, the largest committee in the state legislature, is responsible for determining funding for the state’s departments and agencies, and for drafting the biennial budget, which is approximately $40 billion. The committee also deals with state employee salaries and pensions – the largest fixed cost in the State of Connecticut. For years, Connecticut has run large deficits, most recently surpassing $5 billion. Due to the difficulties of resolving the massive shortfall, the legislature missed its June 30, 2017 deadline and did not resolve the situation until late October of that year.

“I am honored to take on this new leadership role, and I am grateful to Republican Leader Klarides for the appointment,” Rep. Lavielle said, following the announcement at the Capitol. “The gravity and depth of Connecticut’s fiscal crisis cannot be overstated, and no matter how you view the situation, it is clear that real structural, long-lasting changes in the management of the state’s finances will be necessary to restore Connecticut’s economy. During this session, we must of course be attentive to the many non-financial issues that are important to the state’s residents, but at the same time, we must be laser-focused on the serious financial problems that affect the state’s ability to implement and enforce good policies in every area. Together with my caucus, I am confident that we will continue to offer workable proposals to reduce spending, improve the business climate and grow the tax base, reduce taxes as spending cuts and revenue growth permit, and invest intelligently in infrastructure, education, and essential social services.”

Although the state is expected to finish the year with a relatively small surplus, the projected deficit, beginning July, 2019, is an indicator of the continuing challenges ahead.

“With a new administration come new opportunities, and I hope that our new governor will be open to ideas from both sides of the political aisle,” continued Rep. Lavielle. “The legislature does its best work when everyone moves past politics and works together. For the last four years, I have enjoyed an excellent relationship with my Democratic counterparts in Education Committee leadership that allowed us to accomplish much together for the state. I would welcome the same kind of relationship with my counterparts on the Appropriations Committee, and I hope that we will be successful in working together to improve Connecticut’s finances and economy.”

While Ranking Member of the Education Committee, Rep. Lavielle authored the first comprehensive education mandate relief bill passed in years. She also has worked successfully to stop the proposed transfer of teacher pension costs to towns and to make the state education funding formula more predictable. She will continue to advocate for more equitable funding for Norwalk’s schools, better career and college preparation for students, school safety for students, teachers, and staff, and restoring the solvency of the teachers’ retirement and healthcare funds. The Education Committee oversees the Department of Education, local and regional boards of education, and legal matters pertaining to unionized teachers.

A longtime member of the Transportation Committee, Rep. Lavielle will continue to advocate for improvements to Metro-North, more cost-effective spending on infrastructure, better access to electric vehicles and construction of the infrastructure necessary to serve them, and a more efficient DMV. The committee oversees the Department of Transportation, including highways and bridges, navigation, aeronautics, mass transit and railroads, and also has cognizance of all matters pertaining to the State Traffic Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Rep. Lavielle worked for more than 25 years in finance, marketing, and communication, holding executive leadership positions in both the United States and France with Fortune 500 companies. She served as Chief Executive of a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group and as a Senior Vice President of Suez Environnement, the leading international water and wastewater services company. Before her election to the legislature, she served on the Wilton Board of Finance and Energy Commission. In addition to an MA from Yale and a BA from Cornell, she holds an MBA in Finance from UConn. She and her husband live in Wilton.

The General Assembly will convene on January 9, 2019 for a five-month session that will end at midnight on June 5. In odd-numbered years, legislators must vote on a biennial state budget, which they must pass before they adjourn.

Rep. Lavielle Signs Petition to Call a Special Session and Stop Governor’s $10 Million Toll Study

Posted on July 25, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) signed a legislators’ petition this week to request a special session for the purpose of prohibiting the expenditure of taxpayer funds to study and evaluate the establishment of tolls in Connecticut.

Last week, Governor Dan Malloy issued an Executive Order directing the state Department of Transportation to prepare a plan implementing tolls and study its impacts. On Wednesday, the Bond Commission, which he chairs, approved his request to borrow $10 million for the study.

The study would explore tolls on all major Connecticut highways, including Interstates 95, 91, and 84, along with the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.

“The governor’s demand for $10 million in bonding to study tolls this summer was surprising, particularly because the legislature just recently twice considered and failed to pass bills that included toll studies: HB 5391 in 2018, and an amendment to HB 6058 in 2017. The Executive Order therefore directly circumvents the clearly expressed will of the legislature,” said Rep. Lavielle. “For that reason, I am joining the members of my caucus in submitting a petition to convene a special session so that the legislature can exercise its authority to direct how taxpayer money is spent and stop a project that we, as well as many of our constituents, feel to be inappropriate.”

Rep. Lavielle expressed her agreement with State Comptroller Kevin Lembo (D-CT), who sits on the Bond Commission and voted to oppose bonding $10 million for a toll study, saying “The Bond Commission should not act as a replacement for legislative action.”

“I hope my colleagues from both parties will recognize their responsibility to defend taxpayers from this attempt to collect more revenue from them and to make them fund yet more borrowing, and sign the petition for a special session,” added Rep. Lavielle.

Legislators have until Thursday, July 27 at noon to submit enough signatures to convene a special session of the General Assembly.

Rep. Lavielle Update: Circumventing the Legislative Process – The Governor’s $10 Million Toll Study

Posted on July 19, 2018 by rjoslyn


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As you may have heard, Governor Malloy this week announced that he is requesting from the state Bond Commission $10 million in borrowed money to pay for a study on the implementation of electronic tolling in Connecticut.

Toll legislation has been considered by the General Assembly in each of the past five years, and it has never passed.  Thus far, significant public opposition has prevented its passage in the legislature.

In the face of that opposition and despite several studies already completed, the governor nonetheless issued an Executive Order for the DOT to proceed with a study that he says will demonstrate what a toll plan would look like and how much it would cost commuters.

The move is surprising, particularly because the legislature just recently twice considered and failed to pass bills that included toll studies: HB 5391 in 2018, and an amendment to HB 6058 in 2017. The Executive Order therefore directly circumvents the clearly expressed will of the legislature.

I agree with state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who said, in explaining his plan to vote no on the request in the Bond Commission, “The Bond Commission should not act as a replacement for legislative action.”

It is also noteworthy that in the case of each of these two bills, the studies were projected to cost $5 million. The governor is now asking for twice as much to accomplish the same thing.

I feel that the request is inappropriate, particularly given the state’s precarious financial circumstances. I would like to share with you here a letter that my colleagues – House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and Finance Committee Ranking Member Chris Davis – have sent to the governor asking him to remove the request from the Bond Commission’s agenda.

I stand with my colleagues in urging the Bond Commission to refuse the governor’s $10 million request, and will join them in petitioning for a special session in the event that the Bond Commission approves the request.

The Bond Commission is scheduled to meet on July 25.

Click on the image below to read the full letter:

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions about items on the state Bond Commission agenda or any other state issue.

Rep. Lavielle: 2018 End of Session Legislative Review

Posted on July 9, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Below is a link to the 2018 Legislative Review that my office has recently sent to residents of the 143rd district. The report summarizes major developments during this year’s legislative session, including a recap of the state budget process. For any of you who may have moved within the district or have just recently arrived, I wanted to share it with you electronically as well.

To see my Legislative Review in an easy-to-read format, just click on the images below.

-FRONT-

-BACK-

Please don’t hesitate to call or email me if you’d like to discuss the issues outlined in this End of Session Review, or any other questions or concerns you may have.

 

CT Early Childhood Alliance Names Rep. Lavielle a 2018 Children’s Champion

Posted on June 29, 2018 by admin


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The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is recognizing Rep. Gail Lavielle as one of twelve 2018 “Children’s Champions.” The Alliance recognizes legislators for their leadership on issues that impact the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of health development, early care and education, nutrition, and safety.

“Each of the legislators we’re recognizing this year stood up for children to protect funding for child care or to push policy change that supports families with children,” said Merrill Fay, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Legislation passed this year includes: A bill that will make it easier for homeless families to obtain child care, thus helping parents work and change their situations. Another bill that passed will allow the CT Office of Early Childhood to prioritize infants and toddlers if there is a Care4Kids wait list. It will also make it easier for the OEC to adjust provider rates for School Readiness and state-funded centers. An Act mandating insurance coverage of essential health benefits including pregnancy and immunizations also passed this year.

“The earliest years are the best time in a child’s life to build a strong foundation for physical and mental health and lifelong learning abilities,” said Rep. Lavielle, who is Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee. “That’s why education and services for young children are such an integral part of my work in the legislature. Children who are well prepared both intellectually and emotionally to enter school progress the fastest, and are best equipped to learn new material, make friends, and take advantage of educational and professional opportunities as they grow older. I thank the CT Early Childhood Alliance for its recognition, and I am honored to be named a Children’s Champion. I am grateful to this distinguished and caring group of professionals for their hard work and dedication to improving the lives of the children of our state.”

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security, for children ages birth to eight. The Alliance’s goal is for all children in Connecticut to enter kindergarten healthy, eager to learn, and ready for school success.

Rep. Lavielle Votes to Override Governor’s Veto of Bill Preventing Mid-Year Cuts

Posted on June 27, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) voted on Monday to override Governor Dannel Malloy’s veto of Public Act 18-35, which would have prevented future governors from making cuts in the middle of a school year to Education Cost Sharing funds allocated by the state budget to individual municipalities.

Although the House voted 103-33 to override the governor’s veto, the effort failed to achieve 2/3 support in the Senate, which allowed the veto to stand.  The legislature also failed to override vetoes on several other pieces of legislation that passed in both chambers earlier this year, as Senate Democrats sided with Governor Malloy.

“Before the governor’s recent decisions to withdraw education funding for districts in the middle of the school year, we had never seen this happen, and the impact was severe for many districts,” said Rep. Lavielle, who is Ranking Member of the Education Committee. “It was clear to many of us that the legislature must not allow this to happen again. Contrary to what the governor said in his veto message, this bill was not about how funding is distributed among towns. It was about timing and ensuring predictability and stability for school districts, towns, and local taxpayers. While I was pleased that we were able to override the veto in the House, it was very disappointing to see many Democrats in the Senate, where the bill had originally passed unanimously, reverse their prior votes to sustain the governor’s veto. Killing this bill showed tremendous disregard for the importance of education, and it was a slap in the face to everyone in local government trying to manage town and school finances effectively. The issue is not going away, and I am determined not to let it rest.”

All seven of the governor’s vetoes were sustained in the General Assembly’s special session on Monday. “These bills were designed to help taxpayers, school districts, and towns, and I will continue advocating for them,” said Rep. Lavielle.

Rep Lavielle Update: Public Information Meetings on Two Norwalk Bridge Construction Projects

Posted on June 22, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Public Information Meetings on Two Norwalk Bridge Construction Projects

The CT Department of Transportation has released dates for two upcoming public information meetings scheduled for next week that will serve to inform local residents about planned construction projects to repair the I-95 bridge over Strawberry Hill Ave. and the Stroffolino Bridge over the Norwalk River.

In the spring of 2019, work is anticipated to begin to repair elements of the Stroffolino Bridge, which takes traffic on Rt. 136 over the Norwalk River from East Norwalk into South Norwalk.  The DOT has scheduled the public information meeting regarding this project for June 25, 2018, at 7pm, at Norwalk City Hall.  Follow this link to the DOT’s website for further details about the project and the meeting.

As has been reported, the bridge carrying traffic over I-95 on Strawberry Hill Ave. is also scheduled for rehabilitation, beginning Spring of 2019. The DOT scheduled the public information meeting regarding this project for June 28, 2018, with discussion beginning at 6:30pm, at Norwalk City Hall.  Follow this link to the DOT’s website for further details about the project and the meeting.

You may consider attending these public information meetings if the construction projects could affect your commute or your neighborhood or if you would like to learn more about plans for the repairs.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you would like to speak with me regarding a DOT project or any other state issue.

Rep. Lavielle Issues Statement Regarding Anti-Semitic Language at Westport Lacrosse Game

Posted on June 4, 2018 by rjoslyn


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WESTPORT – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) issued the following statement to call attention to reports of insults and jeers, which several observers called anti-Semitic in nature, used at a playoff lacrosse match between Staples High School and Fairfield Prep.

“I am saddened and alarmed to hear reports that a cheering section of Fairfield Prep students used anti-Semitic slurs and other disturbing insults to taunt some of the student athletes on the field. I hope that Fairfield Prep will acknowledge the gravity of this language, and that it will do everything possible to ensure that the students involved understand why their behavior was unacceptable and why comments of this nature are hurtful and cannot be tolerated either at a high school sports event or anywhere, in any circumstance or directed at any person. I hope we hear from the school that it recognizes it has a serious issue and about what further actions it intends to take.”

Rep. Lavielle: Retire Your Unserviceable American Flags in Norwalk

Posted on May 30, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Following our Memorial Day observations this week and in anticipation of Flag Day, my Norwalk delegation colleagues and I are offering a way for Norwalk residents to dispose of their worn or unserviceable American flags in a dignified and respectful way.

The U.S. Flag Code specifies that American flags no longer fit for service must be properly disposed of, and we are offering this service free of charge, in conjunction with Riverside Cemetery in Norwalk.

There are three primary drop-off locations in Norwalk. The drive begins Tuesday, May 29 and will conclude on Thursday, June 14.

Residents may also drop flags off at the American Legion on 60 County St in Norwalk.  Flags can be dropped off in any condition throughout the year.

Please contact me if you have further questions on the flag drop-off, or any other inquiry related to state government. I can always be reached at Gail.Lavielle@cga.ct.gov or by calling 860-240-8700.