Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

March 28, 2022

Public Health Committee Moves Several Priority Bills Closer to Becoming Law

Today, the Public Health Committee – led by State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), the Committee’s Senate Vice Chair – voted to pass a number of significant priority bills, sending them to the House and Senate floors for further action and bringing them a step closer to becoming law. The bills range from providing increased oversight in long-term care facilities to improving health care for inmates, addressing children’s mental health, increasing the number of professionals who can administer reproductive health care, fight the state’s continuing opioid crisis and improving indoor air quality in schools.

“I am encouraged by my colleagues’ dedication to improving public health in a variety of manners throughout our state,” said Sen. Anwar. “While these bills range in their intended purposes, they all will play a significant role in improving and benefitting the health of so many in our state. I look forward to advocating for them on the Senate floor.”

Among the bills given “joint favorable” status by the Public Health Committee today, sending them to the House and Senate floors, include:

  • Senate Bill 254, “An Act Requiring Long-Term Care Facility Residents To Undergo A Criminal History and Sexual Offender Registry Search,” would require additional oversight of long-term care residents including criminal background checks. This legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Anwar, was introduced in response to an incident that occurred at an East Windsor care home in spring 2021. A registered sex offender in a neighboring state staying at that home allegedly attempted to force an employee to perform a sex act. This legislation is aimed toward closing a loophole in current laws – nursing home operators are not currently required to inform law enforcement when they admit a registered sex offender from another state.
  • Senate Bill 448, “An Act Concerning The Delivery of Health Care and Mental Health Care Services To Inmates Of Correctional Institutions,” would require the Department of Correction to provide necessary, appropriate health care and mental health care services to inmates in correctional institutions. Recent reports have shown that the state has not offered health resources to inmates at an effective level, not only harming inmate health but costing millions in lawsuits against the state.
  • House Bill 5001, “An Act Concerning Children’s Mental Health,” would improve the availability and provision of mental and behavioral health treatment, as well as substance use disorder treatment services, to children. Among its advantages would be prolonging expansion of telehealth services; incentivizing the expansion in mental health providers available to state residents; and require insurers to cover a greater share of mental health services. These advances would aid the treatment of mental health issues rising among Connecticut youth today.
  • House Bill 5261, “An Act Increasing Access To Reproductive Health Care,” would allow a woman considering terminating a pregnancy to consult with her physician, a physician assistant, an advanced practice registered nurse or nurse-midwife; current law requires consultation with a physician.
  • House Bill 5430, “An Act Concerning Opioids,” would take steps to protect the public from the opioid crisis, including allowing the purchase and distribution of fentanyl testing strips for harm reduction purposes and allowing methadone to be administered through a mobile narcotic treatment program. In Connecticut, the number of individuals injured or killed by opioid-involved overdoses has risen each year since 2012; the bill’s measures will align with federal standards to fight the opioid crisis.
  • House Bill 5479, “An Act Concerning Indoor Air Quality In Schools,” would improve air quality in schools by requiring school HVAC systems to be maintained and operated in accordance with current standards; it would also require indoor gymnasiums meet temperature standards to keep children safe. The Department of Public Health would establish a routine indoor air quality monitoring program through this legislation, and schools would be required to ensure complaints of poor indoor air quality can be filed and investigated by officials.