Difference between revisions of "Connecticut"
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*[http://www.clrp.org/ Connecticut Legal Rights Project]
*[http://www.clrp.org/ Connecticut Legal Rights Project]
Revision as of 19:06, 18 March 2017
- 1 Updates
- 2 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 3 Elected Officials
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 4.1 Federal Elections
- 4.2 2018 Key House Elections
- 4.3 State Elections
- 4.4 Local Elections
- 5 Obamacare / ACA
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Benefits / Tax Cuts
- 11 Housing / Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights / Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections / Worker's Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
- 2/24/2017: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed an executive order protecting the right of transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room corresponding to their gender identity, after the Trump Administration revoked the federal guidance on the issue.
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Connecticut lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- SB 1 Bill to establish work-funded paid family and medical leave introduced to the State Senate.
- HB 6212 Bill to establish work-funded paid family and medical leave introduced to the House.
- HB 6208 Establish a $15 minimum wage by Jan 1st, 2022.
- SB 591 Establishes an Immigrant Bill of Rights.
- SB 590 restricts state and local law enforcement from participating in immigration enforcement.
- SB 494 codifies into Connecticut law the current ACA requirement that contraception be made available cost-free.
- HB 6709 Makes Connecticut a "Sanctuary State," prohibits law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
- HB 6574 requires candidates to release their tax returns from the past five years to appear on the state's ballot.
Harmful bills proposed by Connecticut lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- HB 5297 "Blue Lives Matter" bill, would include members of law enforcement in hate crime protections.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
- Governor, Dan Malloy
- Secretary of State, Denise Merrill
- Speaker of the House, Joe Areimowicz
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you are registered to vote.
Register to vote here. The deadline is 14 days before Election Day if you register by mail or online, or 7 days before Election Day if you register in person. Bring proof of identification the first time you vote. A non-photo ID is requested every time you vote.
2018 Key House Elections
House Republicans and Democrats have named their targeted seats for the 2018 elections. Midterm elections are typically very challenging for the party in control of the federal government. Only presidents with job approval ratings above 50% have been able to stave off losses. Since 1982, the party in control has lost an average of 28 seats,, which would seem to give the Democrats an advantage. Republicans, however, are optimistic, noting that Democrats have had great difficulty getting their voters to turn out for midterm elections.
In the state of Connecticut:
- Democrats have not declared a target.
- Republicans are targeting:
- Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), who won the last election with 63.2% of the vote.
- Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-05), who won the last election with 58% of the vote. Republicans believe they can turn these blue seats red.
- Connecticut 2nd State Senate District - February 28th Douglas McCrory
- Connecticut 32nd State Senate District - February 28th Gregory Cava
- Connecticut 115th State House District - February 28th Dorinda Borer Keenan
- Governor's Race in 2018 against a Democratic incumbent candidate 
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 260,000 people in Connecticut (or 7.2% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 248,000 people (or 6.9% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/25/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.
- The number of uninsured people in Connecticut is predicted to be 203,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 390,000, a 92.3% increase.
- Connecticut is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Connecticut could pay up to 33% more for the same coverage, compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 36,000 jobs could be lost in Connecticut upon repeal. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- Connecticut is estimated to be in the top 10 states for total negative impact from a repeal, and in the top 5 states for both economic impact and growth in uncompensated care costs.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay Strategy, young adults in Connecticut could pay $816 More in 2018.
- CT has 143 law enforcement agencies in total, including state, city and town, college and university, security, and tribal agencies.
- The ACLU conducted a report on police transparency and accountability in the state of Connecticut. This study focused on complaint policies—whether agencies were abiding by the law to post forms online and accept anonymous complaints. The ACLU’s findings recommended an immediate need for legislative action. Without accepting anonymous complaints, issues such as police harassment can easily go unrecognized, contributing to the lack of trust in community and in police accountability.
Important links for education and action:
- Find out what bills are being proposed including their statuses, at LegiScan.
- Learn more about all CT government activity, including sessions and a directory of all House and Senate members:
View documented data from policing in CT.
- Nearly 1 in 7 Connecticuters are foreign-born.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 5.1% of the state's population, around 100,000 people, in 2012.
- Immigration boosts the housing values of surrounding communities. From 2000 to 2010, immigration added an average of $2,961 to housing values in Hartford County, $2,691 in New Haven County, and $3,862 in Fairfield County.
- Immigrants made up 17.3% of Connecticut's workforce in 2013, according to the US Census Bureau.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Connecticut would lose $5.6 billion in economic activity, $2.5 billion in gross state product, and approximately 24,000 jobs if all unauthorized immigrants were deported.
Connecticut has passed laws that permit police officers to ignore a federal "detainer" order—an order to hold an undocumented immigrant for later retrieval by federal immigration authorities—if the immigrant in question has not committed any serious felony. Because of this, the Connecticut Mirror speculated that the state may be especially targeted by the Trump administration.
- CT Bill 6709 would establish CT as a Sanctuary State for Immigrants.
- CT Proposed Bill No. 591 would establish an immigrant bill of rights.
- Proposed Bill No. 17 would assist students without legal immigration status with the cost of college.
About 500 refugees came to Connecticut in 2016, with the majority coming to New Haven. The state is home to a unique refugee resettlement agency called IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Resettlement Services), which pairs refugee families with American co-sponsors who provide support for their resettlement. IRIS itself also provides refugees with an apartment paid for by the agency and furnished with donated furniture, and assists refugees in job placement.
- Connecticut implemented automatic voter registration administratively in 2016.
- Connecticut has online voter registration.
- In 2014 Connecticut had 11,375 incarcerated people, all in prison.
- 45,039 individuals were on probation, while 2,640 people were on parole.
- 2.9% of the prison population was serving life sentences, while 0.6% were serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.
- The black imprisonment rate per 100,000 individuals was 1,392; the white rate was 148 and the Hispanic rate was 583.
- 0.61% of the Connecticut population is disenfranchised due to felony convictions, compared to 2.66% of the black Connecticut population.
- Connecticut spent $764 million on corrections expenditures in 2014.
CT Proposed Bill No. 600 would extend the provisions of the Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act to cover pedestrian stops, and thereby provide a more complete view of racial profiling in a community, and to further provide a data-focused view into police interactions with youth, who most often encounter law enforcement during such stops.
CT Proposed Bill No. 6624 would require the Department of Corrections to provide offenders reentering the community with state identification cards or motor vehicle operators' licenses, as applicable, and a 30-hour outreach training program authorized by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Connecticut residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 92,000
- Adults and children: 267,000
- Children: 160,000
- In 2015, an average of 248,204 households and 442,161 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in any given month in Connecticut. In 2011, approximately 11% of the population of Connecticut was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per Connecticut household was $239 per household and $132 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 22,548 households, including 11,401 families and 16,216 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in any given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Connecticut was $698 in 2014. Average benefits in Connecticut have fallen in value by 28% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 10,822 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in any given month.
- In 2015, there were 6,772 Social Security recipients reeiving on average $410.80 per person, for a total of $2,782,000.
Housing / Infrastructure
- 109,700 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Connecticut had 36 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In Connecticut, there were 3,902 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 449 families, 216 veterans, 111 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 467 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Connecticut received $742 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Connecticut, more than 81,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Connecticut households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 34.9% of Connecticut’s bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 73% of Connecticut’s roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $294 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
Women's Rights / Reproductive Justice
- Connecticut has 17 Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, 13 centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 40,118 women of reproductive age.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There were 59 abortion providers in Connecticut in 2015.
- In 2014, 12.1 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Connecticut had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws exist.
Women and Wages
- In Connecticut, 13.5% of women live in poverty. Single mothers make up 32.6% of women living in poverty, while women age 65 and older make up 8.5%.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.82, which is two cents above the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.59 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.48 for every dollar made by white men.
Domestic Violence in Connecticut
- In Connecticut, 1/3 of all criminal court cases involve family violence.
- In 2011, there were 11 intimate partner homicides. A gun was used in eight of these homicides.
- In one year in Connecticut, 46,750 victims were served by domestic violence relief programs.
- In one day in 2014, Connecticut shelters served 1,109 victims of domestic violence; 44 were turned away due to lack of resources.
Religious Freedom Law
Religious Freedom laws protect the right of people to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. A State Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enacted in Connecticut in 2001 to protect religious minorities, and the governor has stated that it does not allow for discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals because of the other statutes in place protecting them.
Connecticut has passed nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, foster care, insurance, credit, state employment and adoption, but not jury selection.
Connecticut has passed nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in second-parent adoption, surrogacy and foster care, as well as laws granting parental presumption and de facto parent recognition for same-sex couples. The state has not passed laws on consent to inseminate (meaning that in case of the insemination of one member of a female same-sex couple, the partner not carrying the child is not automatically recognized as parent).
Hate crime laws
Connecticut does include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group, and does have required reporting of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people.
Connecticut has passed anti-bullying laws covering cyberbullying that directly mention LGBTQ+ youth and enumerate model policy as well as alternative discipline. It has also passed laws requiring school suicide prevention policies and transgender inclusion in sports, and collects data on LGBTQ+ health. It does not have laws protecting LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy, nor laws addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, and lacks inclusive sex education and juvenile justice policies laws.
Health and Safety
Connecticut does include LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections in ACA exchanges and bans insurance exclusion for trans health care. It does include transgender health care in state Medicaid and inclusive health benefits for trans state employees. The state allows gender marker changes on drivers' licenses and birth certificates.
- Connecticut is ranked third in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $10,285 per student.
- As of 2013, Connecticut ranked third in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $69,766 per year.
- 89% of students in Connecticut attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 68% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 1.3% of total public school enrollment.
- Connecticut's overall graduation rate is 87%, which is above the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates are as follows:
- White: 92%
- Latino: 74%
- Black: 79%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 93%
- American Indian: 85%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 76%
- Limited English Proficient: 63%
- Students with Disabilities: 65%
Consumer Protections / Worker's Rights
- Connecticut’s minimum wage is $10.10, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 but lower than Connecticut’s living wage of $12.12.
- Connecticut has passed legislation for paid sick leave.
- Connecticut has no paid family leave law.
- Connecticut is a state with no Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can not prohibit unions, that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers, from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. They are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Connecticut is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Connecticut also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Connecticut does allow for implied contract exemptions. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer.This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Connecticut does support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted this in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- Two leading sources of electricity generation in Connecticut are Natural Gas (47.7%) and Nuclear (49.9%).
- Connecticut has 14 sites on the National Priorities List.
- Approximately 0.44 percent of Connecticut's land is federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black and Latino adult populations had the highest air pollution exposure indices—of 55 and 54 respectively—compared to an overall index of 41 and a White index of 36.
- In 2012, Native American adults in Connecticut were most likely to have asthma (13.3 percent) with Black and Latino adults as the second most likely (12.3 percent), compared to an overall average of 9.5 percent and a 8.9 percent of the White population.
- The relevant environmental agency in Connecticut is the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, which is federally granted its authority by the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Pollution Prevention Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
- The Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA) established policy for the state of Connecticut to require Environmental Impact Evaluations for any state action that could potentially impact the natural environment.
- Connecticut's Department of Energy & Environmental Protection had a planned operating budget of $178,000,000 in 2016.
- 10.8% of Conneticut residents live with a disability..
- Of those living with a disability, 70% are not in the labor force and 20% are living below 150% of the federal poverty line. In comparison, of Connecticut's population living without a disability, 26% are not in the labor force, and 13% lived below 150% of the federal poverty line over some point in the last year.
- Connecticut residents are protected from discrimination in housing under the Discriminatory Housing Practices Act of 1997. The act forbids landlords or sellers from, among other things, asking about a buyer's disability status, requiring that tenants "live independently," discriminating based upon receipt of government disability benefits, or denying housing on the basis of mental health history.
- The  Every One Counts program] through Connecticut's Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities aims to ensure that persons with disabilities have the same right to vote independently as all other citizens of Connecticut. The initiative registers voters, monitors polling sites, trains registrars and advises on election legislation.
- Individuals in Connecticut who have experienced discrimination on the basis of disability status may file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).
- Connecticut's Patients’ Bill of Rights statute establishes specific rights for patients receiving services from an inpatient or outpatient facility for the diagnosis, observation, or treatment of a psychiatric disability. The Bill includes the right to humane treatment at all times, the right to agency in treatment, the right to refuse medication and the right to discharge planning.
- Connecticut law restricts the authority of conservators—legal guardians of persons with disabilities—in order to preserve individual autonomy.
- The Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership (CTBHP) is a working collaborative between the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Social Services (DSS). The CTBHP ensures timely access to an integrated, high quality behavioral health service system for Connecticut’s Medicaid populations, including low-income adults and adults with disabilities.
Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.
Environmental and Environmental-Justice Advocacy and Organizing Groups
State and Local Disability Rights Organizations
Local News Sources
Relevant City and County Information
- Find your local state representative at Find My Legislator.