February 4, 2019

Sen. Haskell Gives Support to Democratic Legislative Priorities for 2019 Session

HARTFORD, CT—Today, State Senator Will Haskell, D-Wilton, gave his support as Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly announced joint priorities for the 2019 legislative session. The legislative package focuses on establishing a paid family and medical leave program, raising the minimum wage, investing in job training and the state’s workforce pipeline, supporting small businesses, making prescription drugs more affordable and increasing access to the ballot box.

The legislative package includes the following proposals introduced by Sen. Haskell:

Paid Family and Medical Leave
Senate Bill 1: An Act Concerning Paid Family And Medical Leave

Paid family and medical leave is necessary and beneficial to our modern workforce. Connecticut families should be able to care for loved ones or themselves in their time of need. No one should have to face the prospect of economic ruin when presented with serious family needs such as caring for a newborn, a spouse, or their parents.

“I grew up with a single, hard-working working mom. She went back to work just two weeks after I was born — an experience that is shared by 25 percent of mothers in the United States,” said Sen. Haskell. “For me, this bill is about much more than just politics. In an advanced economy like ours, no one should be forced to choose between advancing in his or her career and starting a family or caring for an ill parent. Financed by employee contributions, this policy is an important step in creating a fairer workplace and bolstering Connecticut’s economy. It’s especially important to note that the next generation of workers increasingly considers work-life balance when deciding where they should start their small-businesses, careers and families. Paid Family Leave will help Connecticut attract a workforce for the 21st century.”

Increasing the Minimum Wage
Senate Bill 2: An Act Increasing The Minimum Fair Wage

Raising the minimum wage is long overdue in the State of Connecticut. Numerous large corporations and other states have already taken steps to increase their minimum wage so workers can earn a fair, adequate and ‘livable’ wage. We must do all we reasonably can to help workers support themselves and their families.

“A $15 minimum wage will provide a raise for tens of thousands of Connecticut workers,” said Sen. Haskell. “Imagine trying to support a family on $10.10 an hour. While it seems impossible, it’s a reality for far too many across the state. This bill would help working parents put food on the table and empower consumers to drive economic growth.”

More Affordable Prescription Drugs
Senate Bill 4: An Act Concerning The Affordability And Accessibility Of Prescription Drugs

Democrats stand united in the belief that health care is a right not a privilege. Left unchecked, the pharmaceutical industry raises costs on consumers and limits access to prescription drugs. When a person is sick they should be able to get the prescription drugs they need, and this legislation will reduce prescription drug costs.

“The cost of a single month’s supply of insulin is over $500. Nearly every constituent I speak to, no matter their political affiliation, has expressed frustration about the ever-increasing price of prescription drugs,” said Sen. Haskell. “Health and wellness must be affordable for all Connecticut residents. It’s a priority of mine to make sure that no one is forced to make an impossible choice between going without important medication or missing payments on their bills.”

Job Training & Workforce Pipeline
Senate Bill 5: An Act Concerning A Workforce Pipeline And Job Creation

Building upon the success of the workforce pipeline initiatives from last year, Democrats will expand these workforce development programs. It is critical we have an efficient, effective workforce pipeline to meet the growing needs of Connecticut employers.

“Connecticut’s economy can’t thrive without a highly-skilled, tech-savvy workforce,” said Sen. Haskell. “By creating this pipeline, we’re empowering both young people and businesses, providing the educational grounding to bolster our economy for generations to come. As Chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, I believe it’s our committee’s job to foster greater communication between employers and educators, thereby ensuring that workers are equipped with the skills they need to succeed.”

Early Voting
SJ 14: Resolution Proposing A State Constitutional Amendment To Permit Early Voting

Democrats believe the more people who are able to vote, the stronger our democracy. Creating early voting in Connecticut will ensure that everyone has the ability to vote and will modernize our voting system.

“As the Vice-Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, I feel strongly that our state laws should encourage increased participation in the Democratic process,” said Sen. Haskell. “This legislation will provide more opportunities for everyone to make their voice heard, no matter who they vote for in the privacy of the voting booth.”