That’s a Wrap – 2018 Session Recap

May 17, 2018

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Last week the 2018 legislative session came to a close. It was a busy year and many important bills made it across the finish line, including a state budget. Below are some highlights about what legislation I worked to pass this year, including a link to more information about how the updated budget will impact you. Thank you to all for your feedback and input throughout the session on these bills and many others.

What Passed…

  • Bipartisan Budget Containing No Tax Increases – The budget that passed resolves the fiscal year 2019 state budget deficit, restores funding for the core functions of government, and does not implement any new tax increases. The compromise plan eliminates the projected budget shortfall in fiscal year 2019, restores funding for the Medicare Savings Program and HUSKY A – coverage for working poor parents, directs more funds toward the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare Fund, and protects municipal aid. It includes recommendations made by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. It also fully funds the state’s transportation fund to allow all transit projects to move forward without new taxes or tolls. In other good news the budget also reduces the state’s tax on the sale and storage of boats and marine dyed diesel fuel to help make our boating industry more competitive with nearby states. Learn more: http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/2018/05/sen-somers-releases-statement-re-passage-of-bipartisan-budget/#.WvxaoU2ovq4
     
  • Bill Strengthening Connecticut’s Commitment to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Senate Bill 9 renews Connecticut’s efforts to enhance renewable energy and become more efficient, while also implementing important cost constraints to protect consumers. Last year lawmakers worked to secure and stabilize our baseload power to create a bridge to a renewable energy future. This bill addresses the next steps. It creates a shared solar program, supports the fuel cell industry, doubles the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, better protects the state’s energy efficiency fund, and implements ratepayer protections. It also specifically locks in a long-term purchase of Plainfield Renewable Energy’s remaining electric output – PRE is a key component of the state’s renewable energy mix. This bill will help Plainfield have a stable revenue stream for the next ten years. Learn more: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2018/BA/2018SB-00009-R01-BA.htm
  • Bill Increasing Accountability and Transparency at the Whiting Forensic Institute. This is a bill that I Introduced which specifically addresses the alleged patient abuse at the Whiting Forensic Institute. The reports coming out of Whiting were truly shameful and I am relieved that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle saw the importance of this legislation. The bill encourages transparency by requiring that any employee at the hospital who comes in contact with a patient is now a mandatory reporter regarding suspected abuse, it also requires DPH to perform on site investigations and also creates an independent oversight taskforce to critique the operations of the hospital. Read more about the bill here.  
  • Bill expanding telehealth here in Connecticut. This bill brings Connecticut into the 21st century by allowing health care providers to offer medical services through the use of telehealth. Senate Bill 302 allows prescribers to prescribe non-opioid prescription for psychiatric disability or substance abuse. I look forward to seeing how beneficial this bill will be for our state!
  • Bill providing protections to residents living in sober homes. House Bill 5149 ensures that people accessing sober homes have a level of assurance that they will be in a safe space and will be living among their peers in a supportive environment during their recovery period.

Have questions about these bills or other legislation? Always feel free to contact me at Heather.Somers@cga.ct.gov or call 860-240-8800.