2017 Summary of Legislative Session
The Connecticut General Assembly's 2017 regular session ended on June 7, 2017. The session closed without passage of a budget; a special session is expected to be called over the summer.
STILL TO COME IN A SPECIAL SESSION:
- State Budget & Revenue Package - Connecticut has been cutting the state budget in the last few years to deal with the combination of lower than anticipated revenue and rising non-discretionary obligations like unfunded pension liability and debt service. With dwindling state revenues and the prospect of cutting essential programs that serve young children, the Alliance supports efforts to find other revenue options. Click HERE to see research and options provided by CT Voices for Children. The Alliance is closely watching as the state budget is developed and urging that appropriations for early childhood programs remain in the state budget including Care4Kids and HUSKY. Connecticut's young children should come first. A Special Session will be called to pass a state budget and revenue packages.
ITEMS THAT PASSED:
Budget - The following 2 budget related bills did pass before the end of the session.
- HB 7323 - The Deficiency Bill was approved by the House on May 25 and the Senate on May 30 and covers state expenses that have unavoidable cost overruns, such as Birth to 3 (by Federal law must serve all children who are eligible)
- SB 1059 - Deficit mitigation bill was approved by the Senate on May 30. This bill reduces appropriations and takes money from the rainy day fund and other unspent account to cover revenue shortfall in the current year.
Early Childhood Workforce Issues - The current 2017 and 2020 staff qualification requirements are unlikely to be met because 1) Low compensation in the early childhood field makes it difficult to attract and retain qualified staff, and 2) too few institutions are currently allowed to meet the staff qualification requirements.
- Senate Bill 912 - postpones the dates requirements take effect, expands the degrees allowable to meet early childhood staff qualifications to regionally accredited institutions. The Alliance supports making it more accessible for teachers holding a bachelor’s degree in early childhood or related fields by regionally accredited institutions. Passed in the Senate on May 17 and in the House on May 30.
Universal Prek Study Bill
- Senate Bill 954 - requires the State Department of Education working with the Office of Early Childhood to develop a plan to implement universal preschool beginning in 2022. Approved by the Senate on May 17 and the House on May 19.
ITEMS/BILLS THAT DID NOT PASS
Early Childhood Workforce Issues
- House Bill 7155 - Requires the Office of Early Childhood to create an early childhood educator compensation schedule based on degree, years of service and other factors, and to review current incentives, and analyze the costs to achieve the recommended compensation. Passed in the House on May 10.
Paid Family Leave - Two bills will establish a paid family leave system in Connecticut. The Alliance supports these bills.
- Senate Bill 767 - This bill aims to reduce childhood obesity by prohibiting or limiting the serving of sweetened beverages, prohibiting or limiting children's access to mobile cellular telephones, computers, video games and movies and increasing participation in physical activity in child care settings. Awaiting action by the Senate.