Getting Ready For The 2010 Legislative Session

January 26, 2010

The upcoming regular session will begin on Wednesday, February 3rd, and end at midnight on Wednesday, May 5th. What will happen between those dates can best be described as a frenzied whirlwind of activity as legislators hurry to meet various deadlines, attend committee meetings and public hearings, and keep appointments in their districts – all while staying in touch with their constituents.

This year, I will take on a new challenge as a member of the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee. This committee oversees legislation dealing with the state departments of Public Health, Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Developmental Services, as well as the state Office of Health Care Access. Furthermore, the Public Health Committee also deals with health issues, emergency medical services, licensing boards within the state Department of Public Health, nursing homes, pure food and drugs, and controlled substances, including the treatment of substance abuse.

I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the important work of the Public Health Committee. In addition, I will continue to serve as a ranking member, or leading Republican Senator, on the General Assembly’s Banks Committee and Human Services Committee, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee.

The most important task before the General Assembly this year is resolving the state’s persistent fiscal problems. Besides closing the existing budget gap, an important part of that job will be crafting responsible, workable and creative initiatives to restore prosperity to our state. The national recession, along with the state’s fiscal problems, continue to exact a heavy toll on Connecticut’s families and businesses. Unemployment is at 8.9 percent, and state government is facing a projected $500 million budget deficit for this fiscal year. As I have said before, and will continue to say, Connecticut would be better served by a smaller state government that can provide necessary programs and services at a more affordable cost to taxpayers.

I will continue to work in a bipartisan manner with my legislative colleagues to reinvent state government. And, I will offer several legislative proposals this year that I believe would benefit the communities in the 32 Senatorial District and the state as a whole. I have offered some of these proposals in the past – and will offer them again this year because it sometimes takes more than one session to get legislation adopted.

Highlights of the legislative proposals I will present this year include:

  • Providing a “safe harbor” for teen victims of human trafficking.
  • Require municipalities that receive more than 35 percent of their local government budgets from state funds to submit to state auditing.
  • Exempt small municipalities from the state law requiring them to post their meeting agendas and minutes on-line.
  • Permit municipalities to keep the proceeds of the marijuana and drug tax collected as a result of local arrests.
  • Abolish the business entity tax.
  • Mandate that drivers’ licenses issued to non-citizens be effective only for the length of time they are entitled to reside legally in the United States.

In the weeks ahead, I will explain my legislative proposals in more detail. As always, I will look forward to hearing from you. I value your opinions, and am always grateful for the opportunity to share my ideas with constituents and, in return, listen to your ideas and concerns. Please contact me at my legislative office in office at 1-800-842-1421 or via e-mail to [email protected].