Let’s eliminate the pharmaceutical ‘gag order’ that costs patients money

Connecticut lawmakers need to continue their history and proactive approach to patient-focused legislation by passing a bill that will ensure patient consumers are not paying too much for their medication. S.B.445 would put an end to an insurance industry secret—where pharmacists are contractually prohibited from telling customers if there is an option for them to pay less for their medically necessary, and sometimes life-saving, prescription treatment options. It seems crazy but it’s true.

Education funding: An investment in Connecticut’s future

The lawsuit decided last fall and currently in appeal, CCJEF v. Rell, confirmed what we already know about the way we fund public education in Connecticut: while we might spend enough to educate our state’s public school students, we do not share our funding equitably. The reality is that many of our highest need communities need more resources to support their students. This is too important to wait to address for another year.

East Windsor casino fails the Jimmy Kimmel test

The Jimmy Kimmel test is very simple: No family should be denied medical care, and any legislation that falls short of it fails this test. But this test can be applied to a third casino in Connecticut. It’s simple, really. All lawmakers have to do is ask their constituents: Do you want a casino in your town? Here’s how the conversation might go. …

The National Popular Vote is not an end run of the Constitution

Last Thursday, the Connecticut House of Representatives debated a bill, HB 5434, which would include Connecticut in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. When this bill passes in enough states, the NPV Interstate Compact will change the way the American people elect the President of the United States. During the Connecticut House debate, an argument was made that the NPV Compact is an “end run around the Constitution.” This assertion is not true.

Legal marijuana is coming to New England; Connecticut should benefit

Last week, House and Senate Democrats announced a budget proposal that, among other things, would tax and regulate marijuana. As a Hartford City Councilor, this was welcome news. Back in March, I submitted a resolution to support marijuana legalization as a way to generate revenue for our struggling cities that would not increase tax rates. But more importantly, marijuana legalization would create jobs and business opportunities for our youth, something Connecticut needs even more than revenue.

Legalizing marijuana is irresponsible and will harm teens

Proposing that the state will potentially raise $200 million in new tax dollars from sales of retail marijuana is misguided and irresponsible, yet this is exactly what is being suggested in the Democrat’s version of the budget that was just released. … Even though I am still a high school student, I have checked some of the published scientific research on marijuana and I know that marijuana is a harmful substance. The scientific research is very clear that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent brain development can negatively impact areas of the brain related to learning, memory, motivation and emotion even after use has ended.

Why the National Popular Vote (H.B. 5434) has to be passed now

The grassroots citizens’ campaign to have the Connecticut General Assembly join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has steadily picked up supporters, to a degree unprecedented in the five previous attempts the bill has been introduced to the legislature. Despite a legislative setback in the House this week, the bill has come farther than anytime since 2009.

Connecticut residents shouldn’t have to subsidize Millstone’s bottom line

Dominion Energy – a company headquartered in Virginia – is asking Connecticut residents and businesses to pay more – through what is effectively a tax on your electric bill – to keep its Millstone nuclear plant afloat — even though it hasn’t produced any evidence that it needs the money. … We urge Connecticut’s legislators to consider the negative impact this legislation will have on the budgets of Connecticut residents and businesses. This is an avoidable disaster that will negatively impact our customers and our state for years to come.

Let Tesla sell their cars in Connecticut

Fourteen years after its founding, Tesla is on the cusp of achieving a significant milestone in its mission. The company will soon roll out the Model 3, a mass-market affordable electric car with a 200-mile range. The Model 3 has the potential to make automotive history, helping to usher in a revolution in electric vehicles. Sadly, Connecticut currently blocks Tesla from selling its cars in the state, posing a significant obstacle to achieving their mission. It is time for state lawmakers to right this wrong.

Legislators must approve family medical leave bill

This past January, Connecticut lawmakers introduced two paid family and medical leave bills: Senate Bill No. 1 and House Bill No. 6212: An Act Concerning Earned Family and Medical Leave. The legislation passed through the Labor Committee successfully in March, but since then supporters of paid family leave have anxiously awaited further action from the Assembly. With less than a month to go before Connecticut legislators adjourn for the summer, Connecticut citizens need to demand that our representatives take action on these bills and pass paid family and medical leave in Connecticut.

Do education reform right — with an education adequacy cost study

Despite all the fiscal and other challenges paralyzing Connecticut, there is an opportunity in the 2017 legislative session to take the first real step toward comprehensive, rational and constitutional education funding reform. That first step is authorizing an education adequacy cost study be conducted in our state as called for in Substitute House Bill 7270.