Connecticut suffers from years of policy decisions that have made it inhospitable to job creators and increasingly unaffordable for its residents. The COVID-19 pandemic created new hurdles, and more than ever we need the legislature to take steps that prove to residents that their state government is willing to take action to improve their quality of life. Our state's potential lies dormant, and our effort to restart Connecticut is driven by these principles:
Positioning our state's economy for growth remains a critical endeavor, and we must act now to ensure our educational system is preparing the next generation of workers.
The pandemic has intensified pre-existing issues and challenges in our communities, and today they demand even greater attention from members of the General Assembly.
Bureacracy steeped in politics has left residents frustrated. You deserve government that is open, fair and responsive to your needs while offering transparency at all levels.
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We hope that virtual learning is temporary, but the reality is that the state and school districts have invested heavily into this virtual structure. That fact, combined with the uncertainty of how long the virus will linger, means distance learning could remain a part of our educational landscape. We should do everything we can now to get it right for the future, to set baseline expectations as a means to help students achieve critical educational benchmarks while also preventing the opportunity gap between suburban and urban school districts from growing wider. This includes teacher training in remote learning at no cost to towns. HB 5783
Students with Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) should have the opportunity to pursue their goals in technical or career schools without worry that their school could send them back to the district in which they reside. We've proposed repealing policy that allows those schools to make such moves. HB 5616
Require a portion of current or future federal COVID relief dollars to be used to replenish the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, a move that would reduce the future tax burden on businesses already struggling to recover from the pandemic. HB 5607
Amend the state's general statutes to continue the suspension of the “experience rate” component of the Unemployment Insurance Tax that businesses must pay to account for the many lay-offs that businesses were forced to make during the pandemic. This will prevent Connecticut job creators from being penalized for layoffs they were forced to make either as a result of state mandate or otherwise necessary due to the pandemic. HB 5954
Throughout the pandemic, businesses have faced the challenge of reacting (and adjusting) to guidelines and restrictions imposed by the governor's administration. The general statutes should be amended to require any order, etc., that restricts a business' ability to operate come with 10 days' notice before it becomes effective in order to give businesses ample time to react. HB 5759
We should use a portion of current or future federal COVID-related dollars to provide additional funding to help individuals who need mental health, suicide prevention, and substance abuse services/programming. Additionally, escheats funds—unclaimed money, etc., controlled by the state—should also be targeted as a source to provide such services to those who need them. HB 5474, HB 5475
The need for addiction and mental health services has only grown during the pandemic, and the general statutes should be amended to require the state's Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to enter into partnerships with existing private providers to dispatch mobile unites which provide health screenings and services to veterans, the homeless and other vulnerable populations. HB 5476
Through legislation, we're seeking to provide expedited support services to victims of domestic violence by amending the general statutes to allow victims to apply for temporary state services without the requirement of listing their spouse's income. Our legislation also comes with a requirement for a 90-day case review following the initial application. HB 5470
Residents of communities throughout Connecticut have grown increasingly concerned over brazen car thefts that have grabbed headlines. Through legislation, we've sought to reduce motor vehicle thefts by persistent juvenile offenders by, among other steps, automatically transferring to adult court cases involving juveniles and motor vehicle theft; permitting courts to order GPS monitoring for juveniles awaiting a court hearing; and requiring the Department of Children and Families to investigate if a juvenile is charged with larceny of a motor vehicle. HB 5473
Drug addiction, and opioid abuse in particular, continues to pose significant challenges for Connecticut families and professionals who seek to help them. This legislation seeks a statewide expansion of the CRISIS Initiative Pilot Program, which is a collaborative effort between law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community partners to connect people battling addiction with treatment options. HB 5586
We've proposed a requirement that a portion of current or future federal COVID dollars be made available to domestic violence prevention agencies and organizations to cover increased ongoing costs due to COVID, including but not limited to the costs of increased hotel stays, personal protective equipment, and the provision of necessary additional resources. HB 5742
We remain concerned that legislative action taken during a 2020 special legislative session treats law enforcement officers unfairly, and we've proposed legislation aimed at restoring the due process rights of the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. Among our many proposed changes: ensuring that officers have the ability to review, with representation, video footage from body-worn or dashboard cameras if an investigation is initiated later than ninety-six hours after the recorded incident; revising the prohibition on consent searches; and increasing the reimbursement rate for nondistressed municipalities for the aforementioned recording equipment. HB 5692
Over the last couple of years, media headlines detailing troubles inside quasi-public agencies such as the Connecticut Lottery Corp. and the Connecticut Port Authority have highlighted the need for greater transparency. The general statutes should be amended to require entities with board members appointed by state and municipal government to be subject to the state Freedom of Information Act and the Code of Ethics. HB 6193
The state's Auditors of Public Accounts produce reports that often highlight problems and waste in state agencies and programs. We believe legislative committees of cognizance should hold public hearings about these audits and have proposed legislation that would require it. HB 5460
We've proposed updating our civil preparedness and public health emergency statutes and executive order emergency powers to reflect post-Cold War realities and emerging threats, and to retain a legislative role in defining the duration of such powers. HB 5653
We must create a culture of transparency in the awarding of state and quasi-public entity contracts by requiring them to be subject to competitive bidding. We've proposed amending the general statutes to subject all state and quasi-public agencies to Connecticut's current statutory requirements for competitive bidding of state contracts while also providing the State Contracting Standards Board with additional oversight and enforcement powers. HB 6194
Politics shouldn't play a role in settling disputes over contested elections for state representative and state senator. As it stands, whichever party controls the legislature maintains an advantage in determining the resolution of a contested election. We think that's unfair, and we've proposed expanding judicial oversight over contested state legislative elections. HB 5541, HB 5461
The pandemic has squeezed the finances of many Connecticut residents and business owners. We've proposed that the general statutes be amended to suspend for a period of one year the penalties and fees for the late filing of permits and taxes as well as the mandatory 25 percent penalty for the late filing of personal property declarations.