Cathy Osten


Cathy Osten



July 28, 2020

Senator Osten Votes for Absentee Ballot, Telehealth, Insulin Price-cap Legislation

Special Senate Session Gives Final Approval to Requested Public Policies

HARTFORD – State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) today joined with her colleagues in a special session of the Connecticut State Senate to approve a host of new public policy initiatives that the public demanded in order to expand the use of absentee ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, cap out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving insulin, and continue telehealth medical consultations during the coronavirus crisis.

The bills – which were approved by the House of representatives last week – now head to Governor Lamont, who is expected to sign them into law.

“The absentee ballot bill was an absolute must-do, considering the COVID crisis and our looming state and national elections,” said Sen. Osten. “The public health bills on insulin and telehealth are going to keep thousands and thousands of people healthier in Connecticut. All in all I’d say it was a successful special session, focusing on public health and improving democracy, which is exactly what state government should be doing for its citizens.”

Highlights of the bills approved today by Sen. Osten include:

Temporarily Expanded Absentee Voting
This bill allows Connecticut citizens who are concerned about contracting the coronavirus at a polling location this year to vote instead by mail – an option which had previously been denied them. Connecticut law currently only allows state residents the right to vote by absentee ballot for six specific reasons:

  • If the voter is on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces
  • If the voter will be absent from town during the entire time that polls are open
  • If the voter is ill
  • If the voter has a physical disability which prevents them from voting in person
  • If the voter’s religion prohibits them from voting that day
  • Or if the voter is working at the polls in a primary, election or referendum

The global COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 48,000 people in Connecticut and killed more than 4,400 state residents, has raised concerns about standing in line at the polls, or voting in a crowded polling location – especially for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, who are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus.

The new bill amends Connecticut law for 2020 only to allow for absentee voting due to “the sickness of COVID-19.” The bill also allows any person who is in line to vote before polls close at 8 p.m. to access Connecticut’s “same-day registration” procedure at that polling location, as long as they meet all of the state’s voter eligibility requirements (existing state law only allows for same-day voter registration from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. at specific locations in town, but then the voter must proceed to their own local polling place in order to cast their vote.)

Capping the Price of Insulin and Related Supplies
The bill caps a person’s out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $25 per month, caps noninsulin drugs like glucagon at $25 per month, and caps diabetic equipment and supplies (such as blood glucose test strips, glucometers, lancets, and syringes) at $100 per month. The bill also authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense up to a 30-day supply of ’emergency’ insulin if a person has less than a seven-day supply and would otherwise not be able to obtain any lifesaving insulin.

The bill continues for the foreseeable future the temporary waiver of customary restrictions on online medical health care services (“telehealth”) so that during the COVID-19 pandemic more patients can be attended to in the comfort of their own home.