Senate Zoom

Clean air and resources for child victims of domestic violence are close to the top of the Senate Democratic agenda for this legislative session. 

Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, said there are currently few resources for children who through no fault of their own become victims of domestic violence. He said the legislation they plan to introduce will provide $1.44 million dollars of funding to community programs that provide professional support to children and young adults affected by domestic violence. 

“The vestiges of family and domestic trauma can last a lifetime,” he said, “without intervention we see a cycle of violence repeated that we can cut short.”

The money will provide the equivalent of a full-time advocate at each of the 18 member sites to help children and families to process what they have experienced so they can thrive, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Meghan Scanlon, has said.

Winfield also said the bill will aim to protect the public from online harassment by requiring apps to disclose their vetting process so users will have a better understanding of the community they are joining. 

Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport, said that they are also working to create a statewide network of different programs in order to provide support to those affected by gun violence. 

“We have an extraordinary, experienced group of people that are working on creating and implementing a statewide plan to put an end to gun violence. They bring their lived experience in addressing the many facets of gun violence. We as a state must come together and coordinate services and funding to fight this issue, it must be a multifaceted approach,” she said.

“We want to put an end to gun violence that happens across the state,” she concluded.

Gov. Ned Lamont made several proposals this year to deal with guns. 

One change would broaden the ban to include otherwise-covered weapons purchased with an arm brace rather than stock. Another would remove an exemption for weapons manufactured before 1993. If passed, both changes would allow a period for people who already own impacted guns to register them with the state.

The administration is also seeking a change to the state’s open-carry law, which currently prevents police officers from asking for the permits of residents openly carrying firearms in public. The proposal would allow law enforcement to request the permits of people bringing weapons to polling places, public buildings and transit, as well as protests and demonstrations. 

Earlier this week the legislature’s Public Health Committee raised the concept of creating an Office of Gun Violence Prevention and another that would classify it as a public health crisis. 

Senate Democrats also want to reduce emissions from the transportation industry by expanding access to electric vehicles. 

Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford, and co-chair of the Environment Committee, said that transportation accounts for 40% of the state’s CO2 emission. 

“We need to use every tool at our disposal to reduce transportation emissions and build a environmentally friendly transportation infrastructure,” she said. 

Cohen also said that this bill will increase access to electric vehicles, build new and improved charging stations, move to all-electric school busses, and incentivize businesses to cut their emissions. 

They want to use state bonding to pay for electric school buses and “adopt stricter air pollution standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks operating in the state.”

Last year the state adopted a highway user tax for large tractor-trailer trucks. The state is expected to collect around $90 million a year from the tax. House Republicans proposed getting rid of the tax at a press conference a half-hour later.