February 7, 2019

Senator Abrams, Senate Democrats Announce “A Healthy Connecticut” Agenda

Bill proposals aim to strengthen our health care system, environment and energy system

photo of Senator Abrams.

Today, Sen. Mary Daugherty Abrams (D- Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire) led the way on healthcare issues as the Senate Democrats announced “A Healthy Connecticut,” the third of four legislative agendas for the 2019 legislative session. The series of bills outline the policy proposals from Senate Democrats to strengthen our health care system, environment and energy system.

Abrams, who is the Senate Chair of the Public Health committee and the Children’s Committee, introduced Senate Bill 769 and Senate Bill 364. The legislative proposals in the “A Healthy Connecticut” agenda discussed by Sen. Abrams include:


Senate Bill 769: An Act Concerning The Prevention of Opioid Use Disorder

“There has been a steady increase in opioid deaths among Connecticut residents, from 357 deaths in 2012 to 1,038 deaths in 2018,” said Sen. Abrams. “In 2016, Connecticut ranked 11th among all states in the highest rates of overdoses with 27.4 deaths per every 100,000 people. We must never forget that each of these numbers represents real people—our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors. Therefore, I cannot imagine anyone could disagree that it’s essential we continue to address the opioid issue in our state. We owe it to everyone in Connecticut to fight the scourge of opioids because every life we save is worth that fight.”

This bill would require the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council to provide the Public Health committee with specific recommendations that will assist in expanding access to substance use disorder treatment services and detoxification.

Senate Bill 397: An Act Prohibiting the Sale of Flavored Electronic Nicotine Dispensing Systems at Retail Establishments

“Vaping products play an important role in helping adult cigarette users turn to less harmful products,” said Sen. Abrams, “but they also pose a major health threat to our youth, especially considering that the tobacco industry has used vaping to target them, and specifically used flavor products to draw them in. As the Senate Chair of both the Public Health Committee and the Childrens Committee, I believe it is imperative that we protect our children from what the Surgeon General has declared is an epidemic. Vaping companies are using flavors to seem kid-friendly, but there’s nothing kid-friendly about nicotine, other chemicals used to create these flavors, or the life-long health issues that can come as a result of early addiction,” “Banning the sale of flavored electronic nicotine dispensing systems will help put an end to this insidious conspiracy targeted at our children. We must stop today’s children from becoming tomorrow’s customers.”

This bill would ban the sale of all flavored vaping products other than tobacco, mint and menthol flavors.

Additional policy proposals endorsed by Sen. Abrams include:


Senate Bill 469: An Act Concerning Utility Response Times For Restoration of Electric Service and Utility Minimum Staffing Levels

“We owe it to everyone in our state to provide them with stable power, and ensuring our utility companies remain responsible for the services they’re contracted to provide is a great start,” said Sen. Abrams. “Improving response times in the event of a frustrating power outage helps families and businesses know when they can resume their lives, and putting minimum staffing levels in place ensures that improvement.”

This bill would establish minimum staffing levels for utility line crews and related utility employee positions in order to improve utility response times for restoration of electric service after power outages.

Senate Bill 375: An Act Concerning Nursing Home Facility Minimum Staffing Levels

“The better staffed our nursing homes are, the better care patients there will receive,” said Sen. Abrams. “We owe nursing home residents, and their families, the care they deserve and that they are paying for. This bill would require nursing homes to disclose direct care staff numbers and make it accessible to patient families, making them more accountable.”

Senate Bill 750: An Act Concerning Mental Health Prevention and Treatment of Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Senate Bill 770: An Act Concerning Mental Health Prevention and Treatment for All Children

“To fight the unfair stigma of mental illness, we need legislation like this that will protect our younger generation,” said Sen. Abrams. “Mental illness can manifest itself in different individuals all throughout our lifetimes, but if we are able to notice it early, we can better protect our children, giving them the medical treatment they deserve. Additionally, continuing this safety net through college, where students’ stress and responsibilities can negatively impact their mental health and sometimes reveal conditions they were unaware of, we keep them safe and give them the support they need during trying times.”

Senate Bill 4: An Act Concerning The Affordability and Accessibility of Prescription Drugs

“Any and all relief we can get for the hardworking citizens of our state, especially concerning the extreme costs of prescription drugs that only continue to rise, is vital,” said Sen. Abrams. “I welcome any and all efforts we can put toward lowering the price of medicine so no one has to make tough choices between their health and their groceries, their rent or other pieces of their livelihood.”

This bill would have the Insurance Commissioner consider affordability in reviewing health insurance premium rate filings.


Senate Bill 588: An Act Prohibiting Off-Shore Drilling in Connecticut’s Coastal Areas

“Off-shore drilling represents a threat to Connecticut’s coastlines, its environment and its economy, and I welcome legislation like this that would protect our beaches, our wildlife and our businesses,” said Sen. Abrams. “Disasters like the Deepwater Horizon and its effects on the Gulf Coast show that we should not risk even the possibility of such a similar event happening anywhere near our state.”