Staying Focused on Jobs
As we continue to focus on reviving the economy, we remain committed to growing jobs and supporting local businesses. Last month, we passed a Jobs Bill that will extend job-creation programs to more Connecticut businesses and help more job seekers find meaningful employment.
The new legislation includes:
- Expanding the definition of a small business from 50 employees to 100 employees thereby making them eligible for the Small Business Express Program and other jobs programs created during the October special session.
- Expanding the Step Up program to give businesses incentive grants to hire post 9/11 combat veterans returning from overseas.
- Launching a “Connecticut Made” marketing campaign to spur local businesses both for production and retail.
- Creating a “Connecticut Treasures” program. DECD would lead an effort to promote Connecticut’s many rich educational and enjoyable tourist destinations.
- Offering incentives to local companies that relocate jobs from overseas to Connecticut. Assistance would include loans, tax incentives and other forms of economic development.
Free Park Passes for
We can never give enough thanks to the brave military men and women who have sacrificed so much—sometimes life or limb—for our freedom. However, now we can offer our disabled veterans a small token of our appreciation for their heroic service: a free lifetime pass to state parks.
As vice-chairwoman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I fought for passage of a bill last year that established the free lifetime state parks pass for military veterans with a service-related disability. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, I joined members of the Disabled American Veterans to get out the word about the new parks pass. Passes are available from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection at the agency’s headquarters in Hartford and at various parks and field offices throughout the state.
To get a pass, veterans must provide a photocopy of their current Connecticut driver’s license or other legal proof of residency, and a copy of their Veterans Administration (VA) Card or VA benefits letter indicating the service-connected disability. DEEP also offers the Charter Oak Pass, a free lifetime state parks pass for Connecticut seniors 65 and older.
Use this link to the DEEP website to find locations to obtain a Disabled Veterans Pass or Charter Oak Pass.
Voting Made Easier for
People who have permanent disabilities should not face obstacles that make it more difficult for them to exercise their right to vote. In fact, the opposite should be true.
I helped lead passage of a bill that will remove barriers to voting for permanently disabled individuals. As a result of this bill, citizens who have permanent absentee ballot status due to a permanent disability will automatically receive an absentee ballot in the mail in advance of each election, primary or referendum. This measure will streamline the voting process for Connecticut residents who face the daily challenges of disability.
Voting is one of the most fundamental rights that we have in this country and we should do everything in our power to give all citizens equal access to the democratic process.