The 2022 session of the state legislature got started this week. Members of the Woodbridge delegation provided these thoughts about the work ahead.
From Representative Mary Welander: This year brings many of the same concerns to the legislative session, and some new. The main challenge is the shortened calendar; officially a part-time legislature, this short time-frame (as well as the budget-adjustment focused agenda) poses challenges for getting legislation through.
I will continue to prioritize access to mental health services for children and adults. I have been working on legislation for months with a select bi-partisan committee assembled by the Speaker of the House. We hope this will create solutions for immediate, short term, and long-term problems in this area.
I am reintroducing legislation that I hope will be taken up by the public health committee; inspired by a local family seeking to provide legal protection for families who have suffered a stillbirth. This would guarantee a minimum amount of time after this tragic loss to make important, yet heartbreaking decisions.
I will also be focusing my time on the Education Committee toward the systemic problem of special education funding. An unpredictable cost for every district, we need to do some serious work to alleviate this financial burden on our schools so every child has access to the support they need to be successful.
Mary can be reached at email@example.com.
From Senator Jorge Cabrera: Despite unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, Connecticut is in prime position to thrive for years to come.
Before we move forward, we must look back and honor frontline workers who kept our state going during the darkest days of 2020 and provide them with retroactive pandemic pay. These courageous folks worked in grocery stores, healthcare facilities, taught our children and more. I am committed to ensuring they are rewarded.
The past two years have exacerbated mental health challenges, shining a light on mental health care. We need more social workers and more therapists. I’m working on legislation to improve pay for mental health professionals and remove licensing roadblocks so when people need help, help is available.
Unresolved mental health challenges have the potential to lead some young people to vape, and flavored vaping products make the unhealthy choice more welcoming. I’m focused on stopping that by banning these harmful, predatory products.
I am also focused on providing property tax relief for homeowners, and for renters, too, as they sometimes shoulder property tax increases from landlords. We accomplished much in 2021 and can do even more in 2022, thanks to a robust rainy-day fund, surpluses and funding from our federal government.
From Senator James Maroney: I am going to focus my efforts this session on a few key pieces of legislation.
One result of the pandemic is that we are all online more often, for everything from shopping to communicating with friends and family. But what happens with that data? Who sees where you’ve been, what sites you’ve visited, how long you visit those sites, and how much you spend? I am working on a Consumer Data Privacy law to give Connecticut consumers the right to see what data is being collected about them, correct that data, delete the data, opt out of the sale of their personal data and opt out of tracking for advertising purposes. In addition, it creates responsibilities for companies to protect your data and minimize the data that is collected about you. As more of our daily lives moves online, this is becoming a critical issue.
In addition, I will co-host, with Representative Welander and Senator Cabrera, a Veteran’s Suicide Prevention Policy Summit on March 10, at which experts will speak on potential policy ideas. While this session will move very quickly, I am always open to hearing from constituents and will continue to advocate for improved workforce development opportunities.