February 6, 2019

Senator Haskell Adds Support to Senate Democrats’ “A Smart and Responsible Connecticut” Agenda

Bill proposals aim to strengthen our economy, economic competitiveness, and education system.

Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Wilton) stood with Senate Democrats as they announced “A Smart & Responsible Connecticut,” the second of four legislative agendas for the 2019 legislative session. The series of bills outline the policy proposals from Senate Democrats to strengthen our economy, economic competitiveness, and education system, and Sen. Haskell added his endorsement of educational reforms.

The legislative proposals in the “A Smart & Responsible Connecticut” agenda endorsed by Sen. Haskell include:


Senate Bill 273: An Act Concerning Debt-Free College

“As chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, I’ve spoken to so many business leaders who tell me they have struggled attracting the next generation of workers to start their small businesses, their careers, their families in Connecticut, and a big part of that is our student loan crisis,” said Sen. Haskell. “In Connecticut, 70 percent of our workforce will need some form of higher education beyond high school to meet the needs of our business community by 2025, and yet according to recent estimates, Connecticut has the third-highest average per-capita student debt in the nation. Estimates put our student debt at more than $35,000 a head. This is holding young people back as they make those crucial decisions about what state they want to become residents and taxpayers of.”

Senate Bill 435: An Act Concerning Student Loan Forgiveness

“Not only would this create a more business-friendly environment by reducing our corporate tax obligations, but it will directly empower our next generation of workers,” said Sen. Haskell. “When employers help their employees pay off some of that student debt, it makes the state more attractive to the next generation of young workers. Our agenda has an eye to the future and an ear to the group. We recognize students are the best investment we can make and want to work with the business community to provide the skilled workers they desperately need.”

Senate Bill 637: An Act Concerning Reimbursement for Special Education Costs

“Our municipalities already often struggle under increasing economic strain, and this bill would relieve that pressure while ensuring our schools can meet the needs of every student,” said Sen. Haskell. “Every week, I talk to superintendents who struggle with the unpredictable nature of special education costs. I also talk to parents of special needs students who understand that the promise of public education applies to all children, no matter their abilities. The state must play a role in realizing that promise and helping towns afford fair and equal schools.”


Senate Bill 440: An Act Concerning Captive Audience Meetings

“Captive audience meetings should not be allowed in any way, shape or form,” said Sen. Haskell. “They’re an abuse of authority by employers that force employees into meetings that may go against their political or religious views, and those employees have no recourse or protections against them. This bill would change that for the better, ending the unfair practice.”


Senate Bill 526: An Act Concerning Allowing Municipalities to Amend their Fiscal Years

Senate Bill 696: An Act Concerning Unemployment Insurance Reform

“Allowing towns and cities to amend their fiscal years gives them increased freedom to organize their finances how they see fit, while unemployment insurance represents an important part of our state’s economic backbone,” Sen. Haskell said. “These reforms will work well toward helping cities, towns and the state at large, giving more ability for municipalities to take budgeting into their own hands and ensuring workers have the means to support themselves while keeping the state’s economy intact.”