February 8, 2019

Senator Abrams, Senate Democrats Announce “A Connecticut For All” Agenda

Bill proposals aim to strengthen gender equity

photo of Senator Abrams.

Today, State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams (D-Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire) and the Senate Democrats announced “A Connecticut for All,” the fourth of four legislative agendas for the 2019 legislative session. The series of bills outline the policy proposals from Senate Democrats to strengthen gender equity and build a state for all our residents.

Sen. Abrams spoke regarding Senate Bill No. 395, legislation aiming to prevent limited services pregnancy centers from using deceptive advertising practices.

“The women of Connecticut are entitled to authentic, comprehensive medical care in all areas, including reproductive health. The women of Connecticut are entitled to honesty regarding medical services, particularly when it comes to timely care like that needed when faced with an unplanned pregnancy,” said Sen. Abrams “If your center does not offer comprehensive reproductive services, including abortions, or if your center does not offer comprehensive care such as emergency contraceptives, or if your center does not have medical staff on site, we simply ask that you make that clear.”

“It seems simple, but despite public outcry, municipalities’ objections and media attention, these deceptive practices continue,” said Sen. Abrams. “In Connecticut, there are 25 such crisis pregnancy centers, including a mobile van that travels around the state under the guise of being a comprehensive reproductive health center. Would we allow this in any other area of healthcare? As the Senate chair of Public Health, I believe that being deceived, delayed or blocked in finding the healthcare you seek is a threat on public health. Therefore, it’s time for legislation to put an end to the false, misleading and deceptive advertising practices of limited service pregnancy centers. It’s time for the women of Connecticut to be given the honest, authentic care they deserve.”

Additional legislative proposals in the “A Connecticut for All” agenda endorsed by Sen. Abrams include:

Senate Bill 3: Time’s Up Act: An Act Concerning Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

“Connecticut laws regarding sexual assault have some of the weakest protections in the country,” said Sen. Abrams. “Today, we take our first step toward changing that. This act aims to strengthen the statute of limitations for sexual assault, so victims can come forward knowing their attacker can face justice when they are ready to do so. When sexual assault crimes are already reported less often than other crimes out of victims’ fear, we owe it to those victims to empower them.”

“Sexual assault isn’t all we need to fight, unfortunately,” said Sen. Abrams. “Sexual harassment still exists, and when more than 80 percent of all sexual harassment claims are filed by women, up to 80 percent of people who experience it do not report it, and 75 percent who do report it are retaliated against, that is simply unacceptable. We need to protect everyone in Connecticut, and this bill would take significant steps to implement sexual harassment training, create protections for victims and strengthen current provisions to ensure our workplaces are suitable for everyone.”

“In addition to Senate Bill 3, Senate Bill 697 goes further, providing a balanced approach toward gender equity,” said Sen. Abrams. “The last few years have shown the pitfalls that exist with nondisclosure agreements, which effectively remove a victim’s voice while shielding harassers. By barring NDAs in settlements, we prevent the truth from being hidden away and provide workers with additional knowledge that could stop future harassment before it starts. At the same time, there are too many cases where employees will leave their job because of sexual harassment or assault, only to move on to another employer, who may have no idea what they’ve done in the past. Senate Bill 761 would hold employers accountable for masking what went on under their watch.”

Senate Bill 765: An Act Concerning Equal Pay

“While we’re working toward ensuring equal pay, there’s still work left to be done, and examining our current procedures and practices is a great place to start,” said Sen. Abrams. “There may be room for improvement in many of our current legal standards for equal pay, and we owe it to ourselves to examine these possibilities.”

Senate Bill 394: An Act Concerning CT protecting women from unfair health and wellness mandates

“With continued pushback at the federal level against women’s health, including possible battles to come against abortion rights, this bill would establish a new council to protect women’s health, monitor that federal legislation, and determine the proper actions to take to ensure Connecticut remains a leader in women’s healthcare,” said Sen. Abrams.

Senate Bill 792: An Act Concerning Discrimination

“When nearly half of transgender youth feel hopeless and worthless in the modern day, it’s clear that discrimination continues to rear its ugly head,” said Sen. Abrams. “We must work to counteract the rhetoric and policy coming out of the White House and on a national level to prevent discrimination in any way, shape and form. This bill would establish a task force to consider what state laws may be necessary to strengthen protections against transgender discrimination in our schools and workplaces.”

Senate Bill 533: An Act Concerning Expanding Access to Diaper Changing Tables

“This bill is just another step toward true equality,” said Sen. Abrams. “Diaper changing stations are all too commonly found solely in women’s restrooms, even as fathers’ share of childcare is increasing. By ensuring these stations can be found in both men and women’s public restrooms, we prevent fathers from having to delay changing their child’s diaper, or doing so in awkward or even unsanitary locations, while striking back against antiquated gender norms. This bill would require all newly constructed or substantially renovated buildings with public restrooms to contain at least one diaper changing table for women and at least one diaper changing table for men on each floor of the building that is open to the public.”