Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

February 4, 2019

Sen. Kushner Joins Senate And House Democratic Leadership To Announce 2019 Legislative Priorities

HARTFORD — State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) joined Democratic House and Senate leaders today to announce the Democrats’ joint public policy priorities for the 2019 legislative session, a package of family friendly legislation including paid family and medical leave, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, investing in job training, and making prescription drugs more affordable.

“It’s great that paid family leave is at the top of the Senate agenda as Senate Bill 1. This is the time, this is the moment – we have to pass it this session,” said Sen. Kushner, who is Senate Chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, where the minimum wage and paid family leave bills have been filed. “I spoke with so many voters at their doors last fall and I found unwavering support for paid family medical leave. It was never a partisan issue. People have families and parents that they need to take care of. And this is the program that will help them do it. Its passage will make us stronger as a state.”

A September 2018 poll by Alan Newman Research for the AARP of Connecticut found that paid family leave is supported by 85 percent of Connecticut residents. An August 2018 poll by Quinnipiac University found that 63 percent of Connecticut residents support increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, including 73 percent of women polled.

“These are important quality of life and vital economic policies for our state. The proposals outlined here will build upon the critical policy work we have accomplished in past years and will respond to the priorities of the people of our state,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven).

“The people of Connecticut spoke loud and clear that we need to move our state forward,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “These legislative proposals will build a stronger, more prosperous Connecticut for the middle class and our families. That means paying our residents a fair wage for a hard day’s work, helping them with training to get a new job, giving them access to affordable prescription drugs and helping them if they must take time off from work to care for a sick family member.”

The legislative package includes:

Paid Family and Medical Leave
Senate Bill 1: An Act Concerning Paid Family And Medical Leave
House Bill 5003: An Act Implementing A Paid Family Medical Leave Program

Paid family and medical leave is necessary for a 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.

Increasing the Minimum Wage
Senate Bill 2: An Act Increasing The Minimum Fair Wage
House Bill 5004: An Act Raising 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.

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.

Job Training & Workforce Pipeline
Senate Bill 5: An Act Concerning A Workforce Pipeline And Job Creation
House Bill 5001: An Act Ensuring That Students In This State Receive High-Quality Skills Training

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.

A Green New Deal for Connecticut
House Bill 5002: An Act Concerning The Development Of A Green New Deal

Our “Green New Deal” will look to encourage economic growth and job creation through programs focused on improving energy efficiency, expanding renewable energy, ensuring long-term sustainability and strengthening infrastructure resiliency. This will help us transition to a much-needed climate-safe economy and move us closer to the ultimate goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Support for Small Businesses
House Bill 5005: An Act Supporting Local Businesses

We aim to continue to step-up our support of local businesses by streamlining government services and expanding access to capital for small businesses. This will build upon the recent work we did implementing one-stop shopping and a dedicated business hotline at DECD.

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.