Flame retardants in kids’ clothes unnecessary and toxic

This past weekend the Connecticut General Assembly House of Representatives voted to support a ban on certain flame retardant chemicals in children’s products. Their vote to support HB 5299 made the statement that our State Representatives are listening and actually hearing that these chemicals, once touted as necessary to save lives are actually causing illness and death both in their inanimate state as well as when they are smoldering after being ignited.

Connecticut must not balance budget by denying basic medical care

One of the most effective tools available to doctors in screening patients for common medical issues is imaging – ultrasound, x-ray and mammogram. With a simple radiological image, doctors can diagnose or render preventive and primary medical care, avoid emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Yet, as the nation is moving towards making health insurance more available and affordable, the state of Connecticut cut reimbursements to radiology providers for Medicaid payments by 42.5 percent last year, and this year are looking to make that cut permanent.

Unemployment calculation bill would reform CT’s compensation system

I am a Connecticut employer who has kept his family business here despite the oppressive and stifling atmosphere including overwhelming taxes and regulations. I have been outraged at Connecticut’s Federal Unemployment Tax Act tax on all employers because of the state government’s inability to responsibly manage our federal loan, and the illegality of a tax on businesses who do not vote or have a say in government. I now see a wonderful opportunity for the state to correct its course by reforming Connecticut’s unemployment compensation system like the states surrounding us have done.

Support for Connecticut ban on use of toxic flame retardants

In the 1970’s flame-retardants were found to be carcinogenic and highly absorptive so they were voluntarily removed from children’s pajamas. Since then these chemicals have found their way back into our children’s products although the toxicity and danger to the health of children has remained the same. Flame retardant exposure is linked with cancers and immune suppression, learning disorders, lower IQ and hyperactivity, hormone disruption, reduced fertility and birth defects.

The data is clear: Paid family leave would benefit Connecticut

This week I am in Connecticut with the state’s Campaign for Paid Family Leave, a coalition of advocates pushing for the passage of a smart system of paid leave. This system is entirely employee-funded. It will offer workers 12 weeks of paid time off to welcome a baby or care for themselves or an ill loved one. It will be paid at 100 percent of a worker’s earnings, which is essential to ensuring that lower-income workers can afford to use the benefit.

State Board of Education demands action on teacher evaluation

On April 6, I attended a public meeting by the Connecticut State Board of Education (SBE), in which members of the SBE vigorously debated the merit of further delays to implementation of real teacher evaluations in Connecticut. They were discussing the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council’s (PEAC) recommendation to permit school districts to go yet another year without incorporating the results of the state mastery test as one of multiple measures in a teacher’s evaluation. I applaud the SBE for pushing back on PEAC’s recommendation and drawing a real line in the sand.

Pro-Tesla bill brings promise of investment in Connecticut

Connecticut used to be home to some of the world’s most innovative companies. From Eli Whitney to Samuel Colt, from the frisbee to the submarine, our state has long been a pioneer, setting the standard for businesses that change the world. Despite these setbacks, or maybe because of them, Connecticut is taking a good hard look at itself and the kind of state it wants to be. Will Connecticut welcome innovation and open the doors to businesses wanting to invest in the state or slam that door shut? Fortunately, there are positive signs from some of our leaders in Hartford that the door is open.

Eliminating college program approval regs is the right choice for CT

If you owned your own restaurant and wanted to create some new signature meals to attract new patrons and increase your competitiveness, how would you feel if you had to wait for state government officials to review your suggested dishes, taste those recipes and approve their preparation before you could offer them to customers? To make matters worse, what if that process could take a year or more and, meanwhile, up the street and in surrounding towns, other restaurants were not restricted from changing up their menus as and when they saw fit? For many of Connecticut’s private non-profit universities and colleges, this hypothetical example of unnecessary government oversight is analogous to a program-development challenge we are facing.

Phase out the tax on ambulatory surgical centers

Regarding CT House Bill 5493, phasing out the tax on ambulatory surgical centers. The tax structure ought to be enabling and empowering surgical centers to achieve the Triple Aim in order to bend the rate of increase of the unsustainable per-capita cost of health care — especially since surgical centers deliver the goods that are expected of them to our friends and neighbors.