Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

June 8, 2023

Freshman Senator Herron Keyon Gaston Leads and Passes Several Bills this 2023 Legislative Session

This legislative session, state Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport) took action to protect the Connecticut community and passed common sense legislation as a first-year Senator. Senator Gaston, was elected to serve the 23rd state Senate district, representing parts of Bridgeport and Stratford, in the November 2022 election and in a short period of time, has authored, introduced, and led passage of several bills as he chaired the Public Safety and Security Committee.

“The work accomplished this legislative session is a starting point as we continue to protect children, families, and communities across our state,” said Sen. Gaston. “My first legislative session taught me that there is much work to be done. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a voice while exploring potential issues for so many and working to find a solution. I am proud of my colleagues and I for passing bills that will only further our progress as a state. I look forward to continuing to be an advocate for my constituents in Bridgeport and Stratford as well as residents who are hopeful for change all around Connecticut.”

This legislative session, Senator Gaston led Senate passage of a bill that requires police officers to inform drivers of the reason for a traffic stop and encourage additional police officer trainings on de-escalation, use of force, customer service, diversity, and bias. He also led passage on legislation that will require police officer training on strategies including crisis intervention. This bill will also develop recommendations on how police officers and social workers may collaborate.

Senator Gaston championed and led passage of two additional bills including one that will create new programs in our state to help reduce gun violence. It will require law enforcement units to hold community roundtables to discuss with community representatives gun violence prevention methods. The second bill establishing a new, four-year contract that provides annual pay raises for state troopers. The trooper trainee salaries will increase by 35% over several years. The general wage increase for troopers is 2.5% per year for three years, plus a one-time bonus of $3,500. The contract is an important step with trooper retainment.

Senator Gaston co-sponsored two important bills that passed this legislation with strong bi-partisan support. The first being An Act Concerning State Voting Rights In Recognition of John R. Lewis. This bill named in honor of the late Georgia Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, is designed to protect democracy in Connecticut and voting rights for all Connecticut citizens. As the late John Lewis’s former intern, Senator Gaston was proud to stand up in his honor to codify anti-discrimination protections for residents in our state when they cast their votes in elections.

The second bill he co-sponsored this session is legislation that raises the legal age to marry in the state to age 18. Senator Gaston is acquainted with such abuse having a family member who unfortunately had to endure a painful arranged marriage. Connecticut has a moral obligation in standing on the right side of this issue in alignment with surrounding states who have passed similar pieces of legislation.

Senator Gaston voted in support of several pieces of legislation including: an arbitrated award granting 35,500 state employees an average of $25 a week for the year they spent working closely with others at a time when there was no COVID-19 vaccine and the COVID-19 infection process was largely a mystery; expanding the eligibility for veterans’ specialty license plates and driver’s licenses to include former members of the National Guard and former reservists who do not qualify for federal veterans’ benefits; adding personal financial management and financial literacy to the high school graduation requirements; studying the impacts of a potential repeal of the state’s motor vehicle property tax; aims to protect libraries from the onslaught of book bans by conservatives that have been prevalent across the nation and providing positive health and wellness to CT children; increasing protections against domestic violence; combating gun violence; protecting voting rights in Connecticut; expanding the state’s debt-free community college program; creating more ease at the polls; and securing funding for the city of Bridgeport.