Sine Die! 2018 Legislative Session Recap

In accordance with our legislative goals for 2018, CAHS has been tracking legislation that reflects our agenda of empowering family economic success, generating economic growth, and ensuring state fiscal responsibility. This recap summarizes the state budget and other legislation passed this session.

The 2019 STATE OF CONNECTICUT BUDGET

On the final night of the 2019 legislative session, SB 543, a bi-partisan budget, was voted out of both chambers and is now awaiting the Governor's signature.  There were minor cuts to many programs but there were not the scathing cuts that were feared, due in part to increased revenue.  Unfortunately, much of the revenue is a one time increase. This budget also increases the Rainy Day fund to $1.1 billion. With this in mind, the budget projection for the next budget cycle includes a $4.5 billion dollar deficit, which is left as a parting gift for the next administration to solve!  

Here are some key components of the budget that was passed:
  • The temporary influx of funding from hedge funds and wealthy individuals resulted in a $1 billion-plus surplus this year.  Still a forecast for a $4.5 billion deficit for the next biennial budget.
  • There was bipartisan agreement to restore many funding cuts, including the Medicare Savings Program for the elderly ($130 million) and HUSKY A health insurance for adults ($12 million), transportation ($29 million that helps avoid bus fare increases), and municipal aid ($70 million).
  • The budget also includes a 1% Cost of Living Adjustment, the first in years, to benefit nonprofit social service agencies, and a $5 million increase in TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families).
  • While part of the surplus restores funding and goes to pay for a $300 million deficit this year, the Rainy Day Fund is boosted to $1.1 billion.
  • The bond lock remains in place but was reduced from 10 years to 5.  This is still problematic.
  • No changes were made to collective bargaining, a concession from Republicans.

Other budget items of interest are highlighted in the next section.

The complete budget can be found HERE
Other Budget Lines of Interest

Department
Budgeted 2018-2019
Change with Bill 537
 
 
Commission on Women Children and Seniors 
The CWCS was included in the budget with no additional cuts. 
 

Personal Services
400,000
400,000
 

Other Expenses
30,000
30,000
 
 
Commission on Equity and Opportunity 
The CEO was included in the budget with no additional cuts.
 
Personal Services

400,000
400,000
 
Other Expenses

30,000
30,000
 

Office of Policy and Management

 
Private Providers

 
31,037,000 
 This reflects a 1% cola for state funded providers.  
 
Department of Health and Human Services
 
HUSKY  B Program
5,320,000
5,320,000
 
Medicaid
 [2,616,365,000]
2,608,368,000
Includes the MSP funding and HUSKY A!
Safety Net Services
[1,840,882]
1,326,321
 
Programs for Senior Citizens
[7,895,383]
  0
Moved to another section of budget 

Department of Education
 
Family Resource Centers
5,802,710
      5,802,710
 
Talent Development
[650,000]
2,150,000
Large increase in funding
Vocational Agriculture
[10,228,589]
13,759,589
Increase in funding
Adult Education

20,383,960
    20,383,960
 
Bilingual Education
[2,848,320]
3,177,112
Slight increase
 
Office of Early Childhood  Most programs remained whole or had minor cuts. 
 
Even Start

[437,713]
295,456
Lapsed funds
2Gen - TANF

[750,000]
412,500
Lapsed funds
Care4Kids TANF/CCDF
130,032,034
130,032,034
Does not include the $14,000,000. of additional federal funding

Office of Higher Education 

The consolidation of community colleges needs to be resolved to ensure all community colleges remain open and all students have access 
to higher education.

Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Fund
33,388,637
 33,388,637
 
 
Community Tech College System
[138,243,937]
134,043,547
 
Connecticut State University
[142,230,435]
138,303,424
 
Developmental Services

[9,168,168]
8,912,702
 

 

LEGISLATIVE SUCCESSES!  
 EARLY CHILDHOOD 
 
H.B. 5169, An Act Concerning the Recommendations of the Office of Early Childhood: 
PASSED both the House and the Senate
This bill gives certain priorities to homeless children including a 90-day waiver on health and immunization document, so that a homeless child is able to attend early learning programs. It also excludes relatives who provide childcare, and are Care4Kids recipients, from certain background checks, and codifies other technical changes to statute.  
 
 
H.B. 5449 An Act Concerning the Alignment and Merging of Early Care and Education Program Funding Streams, Eligibility, Rates and Policies 
PASSED both the House and Senate
Authorizes the Commissioner of Early Childhood to retain up to two per cent of certain appropriations for purposes which include evaluating and improving child care programs, to revise state law to be in compliance with federal law, to authorize the commissioner to review and establish rates for school readiness programs, and to expand the use of un-expended school readiness funds to assist in services for children transitioning into preschool and from preschool to kindergarten.  

H.B. 5450  An Act Concerning the Staff Qualifications Requirement for Early  Childhood Educators:   
PASSED both the House and Senate
By law, state-funded early childhood education program staff must meet an increasingly advanced level of educational attainment over the next three years. These heightened staff qualification requirements increase in three distinct phases. This bill extends the duration of each phase by two years, giving staff more time to comply with the education attainment requirements.   It also requires the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to complete an analysis of the state-funded early childhood education staff qualifications requirement, within available appropriations, and submit it and the office's recommendations to the Education Committee by January 1, 2020.

H.B. 5220 An Act Authorizing Third-Party Fingerprinting Services
PASSED both the House and the Senate 
This bill authorizes the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection to enter into agreements with independent contractors to provide fingerprinting services to facilitate the processing of criminal history records checks.    

TWO GENERATION SYSTEMS CHANGE   
   
S.B. 437  An Act Concerning a Two-Generation Initiative:
PASSED both the House and Senate.
This will begin to facilitate the flow of information between partner agencies in the two-generational academic achievement and workplace development initiatives. This bill is a first step towards a coordinated system designed to serve a whole family.
 
H. B. 5335 An Act Concerning the Alignment of the Coordinated State-Wide Reading Plan with the State's Two-Generational Initiative: 
PASSED both the House and Senate. 
This bill (1) requires the State Department of Education to include the alignment of reading instruction with the two-generational initiative in its statewide reading plan and (2) allows the Office of Early Childhood, in its two-generational initiative and within available appropriations, to consider the alignment of state and local support systems around the statewide reading plan for students in kindergarten to grade three.
 
HIGHER EDUCATION

S.B. 4  An Act Assisting Students without Legal Immigration Status with the Cost of College
PASSED the House and Senate, signed by the Governor
The "Dreamers" bill extends eligibility for institutional financial aid to attend a state public higher education institution (i.e., UConn and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities) to certain students, including honorably discharged veterans, who lack legal immigration status. The aid is funded by tuition revenue set aside by the public higher education institutions for full- or part-time students who are enrolled in a degree-granting program or a pre-college remedial program and demonstrate substantial financial need.
 
 
DATA MANAGEMENT AND PROCESSES  
 
S.B. 359  An Act Prohibiting the Dis-aggregation of Student Data by Ethnic Subgroups in the PSIS
FAILED- passed through committee but was never called in either chamber.  
CAHS testified in opposition to the bill, which would have prohibited the collection of disaggregated student data on specific ethnic subgroups unless such student data is required by federal law or collected uniformly across the entire population of students. Disaggregation is an essential analytical tool that can help policymakers better understand trends across and within groups within communities.   
 
H.B. 5517 An Act Concerning Executive Branch Data Management and Processes
PASSED both the House and Senate
  
To increase access to data by executive branch agencies by codifying the provisions of Executive Order 39, to create a Connecticut Board of Data Analysis Technology Advisory Board, to require the Office of Policy and Management to establish and oversee a state-wide process improvement initiative, to require towns to transmit certain property assessment information to their regional council of governments or the Office of Policy and Management and to permit state agencies to suspend regulatory requirements for paper or facsimile submission of documents or data.

S.B. 256 an Act Concerning Racial and Ethnic Impact Statements
PASSED through both the House and Senate 
This bill requires that a racial and ethnic impact statement be prepared for any proposed bill, at the request of any legislator.  
 
Same Time Next Year!

H.B.5371 An Act Establishing the Free 2 Start Scholarship Program
Failed- Died in Appropriations Committee
To provide scholarships to students of low and moderate income families that cover the unpaid portion of such students' tuition. The bill would have addressed the significant barriers that the cost of college poses to lower-income residents, while also boosting enrollment in colleges and helping develop the highly-skilled workforce Connecticut needs.
 
S.B.1 and H.B. 5387 An Act Concerning Paid Family Leave
S.B.1 Failed- Died in Committee, H. B. 5387 Failed- Passed through committee and then died before being called by either chamber
To establish a paid family and medical leave system in Connecticut.
NEXT YEAR CWEALF! 
 
H.B. 5388 An Act Concerning a Fair Minimum Wage
Passed through committee and then died before being called by either chamber
To provide more economic security to Connecticut families by increasing the minimum fair wage, from $10.10  to $15.00/hour

S.B. 321, An Act Stabilizing Working Families by Limiting "On Call" Shift Scheduling.
This bill, which would have required employers to provide advance shift notices to their employees, died by a vote of 7-6 in the Children's Committee. 

H.B.5331  An Act Concerning the Children's Report Card
Passed through House only
This bill establishes a 38-member leadership committee that the Children's Committee, beginning January 15, 2019, must consult with annually to review certain aspects of the report card and determine how to best measure progress towards achieving the desired results. Currently, the Children's Committee must consult with a working group of representatives from various public and private entities that provide services and programs for children.

S.B. 214 An Act Concerning Community College Consolidation 
The decision by the accreditation body not to allow the Connecticut community college consolidation plan to go forward as planned derailed this bill. The fate of the community college system has yet to be determined.
 

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