The 2019 legislative session came to a close on June 5th. Here is a quick rundown of the bills that Health Equity Solutions supported, opposed, and/or monitored that we thought it worth sharing.
Bills that passed:
Community Health Workers: Although S.B. 859 died in the House Chamber, the Community Health Workers certification provisions was included in the State Budget (State Budget summary sections 160-182). Beginning January 1st, 2020, there will be an official certification program for community health workers through the Department of Public Health. These individuals serve as liaisons between the community and the health care providers helping to navigate complex systems and issues. The bill is waiting for the Governor's desk. (Support).
S.B. 1, An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave: After almost 6 years of advocacy by the Paid Family Leave Campaign, other grassroot organizations, and legislators at the capitol, Connecticut finally passed a paid leave program. An eligible employee is entitled to a total of twelve weeks of paid leave. The replacement wages would consist of a maximum of 95% for minimum-wage earners, and capped at a $900 a week. The program will be funded by a payroll tax of 1/2 and 1%. The paid leave benefits program will be available beginning July 1, 2021. To find out more information click here. (Support).
H.B. 5004, An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage: Beginning in October 2019, the state minimum wage will increase from $10.10 to $11, and thereafter each subsequent year will increase by $1 increments, eventually reaching fifteen dollars per hour by October 15, 2023. (Monitor).
H.B. 7165 An Act Concerning Medicaid Coverage for Donor Breast Milk: To provide Medicaid reimbursement for donor breastmilk deemed medically necessary. (Monitor).
Bills that did not pass:
S.B. 134 An Act Concerning Public Options for Health Care in Connecticut: To enable small businesses and small business employees to participate in the state employee health plan. (Monitor).
S.B. 851, An Act Prohibiting the Disaggregation of Student Data by Ethnic Subgroups in the Public School Information System: We submitted testimony on opposition of this bill. We believe the ability to look at data in subgroups by race and ethnicity is critical to being able to track disparities, bot only in education but in health as well. (Oppose).
S.B. 1078, An Act Concerning Doula Certification and Medicaid Reimbursement for Doula Services: This bill passed unanimously in the Senate, but died on in the House chamber. (Support).
H.B. 7267 An Act Concerning Public Options for Health Care in CT: Would require the Comptroller to establish a public option health insurance program and contain an option for small businesses insurance. (Monitor).
This work could not have been done without advocates at the capitol and constituents calling their legislators this session. This is the time to thank your legislators for their support and votes on issues that matter to you!
In preparation for the 2020 legislative session, we are planning listening sessions throughout Connecticut during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of August. If you are interested in participating in one of the listening sessions, please be on the look out for our RSVP email. For any questions, please reach out to Samantha Lew, Policy Analyst at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 937-6432.