2019 CT Legislative Session Wrap-Up

6/13/2019
By Michele Mudrick Drew Page

The 2019 Legislative Session of the Connecticut General Assembly ended June 5th. There were several issues that Michele Mudrick, the Legislative Advocate for the Connecticut Conference, was following throughout the session. Here is an overview of some of the issues that did or did not pass.

Minimum Wage (CT Conference Supported)
A bill was passed which increase the state's minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 over the next four and a half years. The first increase will set the minimum to $11 beginning in October 2019.
 
Family and Medical Leave (Supported)
Workers will be able to take up to 12-weeks paid leave for sickness or family sickness payable on a sliding scale. The law includes a per week maximum and includes a plan for funding the program through a new payroll tax. The new benefit will be available in July 2021.
 
Energy and Fracking (Supported)
Two more bills passed involving the environment and renewable energy. The first concerns a state-wide ban on fracking activities. The second authorizes the state’s Energy Commissioner to solicit proposals from off-shore energy providers.
 
Firearm Safety (Supported)
Two bills involve gun safety. One involves requirements for the safe storage of firearms, whether loaded or unloaded, in a home with a minor under eighteen years of age. The other bans guns without serial numbers and regulate those which are sold in a form requiring the purchaser to finish assembly or that are homemade or of 3-D printed.
 
Criminal Justice (Supported)
A law passed which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s criminal history. Another lay increases fairness and transparency in the Criminal Justice system.
 
There were several bills the CT Conference supported but did not pass in this session.
 
Studying Gambling
The state has a law that requires a gambling impact study every 10 years. A proposed bill this year to begin a study never made it to vote. The last study was done in 2008.
 
Adoptee Birth Records
A bill that proposed granting access to all adopted persons over 18 or born in CT only passed the Senate, but never made it to vote in the House.
 
Immigration
A proposed bill prohibiting health carriers from refusing to grant, renew, or continue policies based on immigration status never made it to a vote.
 
Public Option for Health Care
A bill which would have established a public health insurance choice for small businesses and individuals was blocked by insurance company opposition. A revised version of the bill would have authorized importation of drugs from Canada, a reinsurance program and some cost containment measures. The revision passed the House, but never made it to a vote in the Senate.
 
Calls for Incarcerated Persons
Finally, a bill providing cost-free telecommunication services for incarcerated persons never made it to a vote.

The CT Conference did oppose some bills and were happy that these bills did not become new legislation. One of the bills presented a case for levying fees on non-profits through deposits in lieu of taxes. The bill never made it past a public hearing. Also, no bills expanding gambling in the state passed during the session. One such bill proposed a new online lottery to pay for debt-free community college. Though the CT Conference does support debt-free education, it opposes online lottery sales or any expansion of gambling in the state.
 
We would like to thank all clergy and lay leaders for your calls, texts, emails, and personal meetings you made with your State Legislators and the Governor. Your voice made a difference in getting much of this legislation passed.
 
Special thanks to the CTUCC Advocate Corps members for going the extra mile in response to Action Alerts to get involved in helping a bill pass. If you are interested in learning more about the CTUCC Advocate Corps and Michele Mudrick’s ministry, and receive emails from Michele about what she is working on and how you can help, please join the CTUCC Advocate Corps here.