Connecticut legislators eschew partisan bickering and act on gun violence prevention, reproductive freedom, health care access, cutting fees to consumers and more.
In a week where Republican-led states continued to chip away at individual freedoms, the CT legislative assembly took a different tack, passing bills to improve the quality of our lives and expand our freedoms.
PREVENTING GUN VIOLENCE
The CT House approved a comprehensive bill to reduce gun violence, stop mass shootings, and prevent firearm accidents and suicides. Among the provisions are:
EXPANDING REPRODUCTIVE CARE AND PROTECTIONS
This week the House voted to allow specially trained pharmacists to prescribe hormonal birth control and also to legalize vending machines that dispense an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive commonly known as Plan B. The pill is already available over the counter and without age restrictions. Last year, we became the first state in the nation to pass a safe harbor law. It protects abortion seekers and providers here from prosecution by other states for procedures performed in Connecticut. Last week, the state House of Representatives strengthened that law with a bill extending protections for medical providers who offer abortions or other reproductive care.
QUICKER ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
Senate Democrats passed a bill to reduce the burdens of “prior authorization,” a cumbersome process that delays patients’ care while medical professionals seek approval from insurance companies to treat them. The bill would also limit step therapy, where insurance companies require patients to exhaust less costly medications before approving medications they require. The bill also protects newborns from denial of coverage by giving parents additional time to enroll them for health insurance.
PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
After the murder of a woman last year by her ex-boyfriend, despite having both a restraining order and a protective order against him, Senate Democrats made strengthening protections a priority. They passed a bill that would expand the use of GPS monitors which track movements of domestic violence offenders. That increases the chances that first responders can reach them quickly if restraining orders are violated. The bill would also prevent assailants from collecting alimony from the victims of their abuse.
IMPROVED ELDER CARE
Too often, abuse or neglect of seniors goes underreported. A bill passed the House last week which would expand the professional classes legally required to report suspected elder abuse. Another bill seeks to increase the number of state residents eligible for adult day care services, offering a lifeline to family caregivers.
Tired of seeing credit card charges for subscriptions you forgot you had? A bill passed by the CT House would put a check on automatic renewals by requiring businesses to get your approval before charging you. Less hassle for you and more money in your pocket.
REDUCING TRAFFIC FATALITIES
Wrong-way driving crashes here tripled in 2022. These are the deadliest kind of automobile collisions. The House passed a bill requiring the Department of Transportation to implement wrong-way driving countermeasures and include instruction on reducing wrong-way driving in driver ed programs.
TAX CUT, ANYONE?
And with a fiscal year once again expected to end in the black, state lawmakers have the luxury of arguing over the size of a historic cut in income tax rates. Business reporter Dan Haar predicts savings for most households of $300-$600 in addition to child tax deductions.
The legislative session draws to a close on June 7, and our state reps are working furiously to get these and other bills improving our quality of life, expanding our freedoms, and growing our economy over the finish line. That beats culture wars anytime.
Source: Greenwich Democrats