June 17, 2021

Sen. Haskell Votes Yes On Budget Implementer Enacting Biennial State Budget, Supporting Debt-Free Community College, Democratic Accessibility

Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) joined the Senate in support of the implementer bill enacting the state budget. Critically, this legislation provides robust funding for free community college for Connecticut high school graduates and enhanced voting opportunities for his constituents.

“There are a lot of good things included in this legislation, and I applaud my colleagues who have worked so hard to bring this document across the finish line,” said Sen. Haskell. “But I wanted to take a moment to spread the word among students and future students in Connecticut: you can now get a degree at your local community college without going into debt. So long as you graduated from high school, your state will pick up the tab and help you pursue a career of your choosing. The bills we pass are just words on paper unless we spread the word in our community, so it’s critical we all share the opportunities unlocked by the PACT program.”

The PACT program enables Connecticut high school graduates to access 72 credits of debt-free community college. The program, currently in place but underfunded, will now receive long-term funding through the proceeds of internet lottery gaming, or iLottery. That will empower thousands more students to pusue a degree and launch a career here in Connecticut.

The legislation also establishes new standards to improve voting in Connecticut, most prominently by implementing a new online absentee ballot request system that Senator Haskell has fought for since he arrived in the State Senate. The bill also improves automatic voter registration and mandates two hours of unpaid time off for employees so that they can vote in elections. Finally, it restores voting privileges for previously incarcerated people who are parole. All of these reforms are designed to bring elections into the 21st century and make voting in Connecticut more convenient.