Gov. Malloy gives his final 'State of the State' address - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Gov. Malloy gives his final 'State of the State' address

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Gov. Dannel Malloy presented his final State of the State address on Wednesday, the first day of the legislative session. (WFSB) Gov. Dannel Malloy presented his final State of the State address on Wednesday, the first day of the legislative session. (WFSB)

Connecticut's governor presented his final State of the State address on Wednesday, the first day of the legislative session.

Gov. Dannel Malloy gave his speech around noon time that included more details about his plan to bridge the 2019 state budget gap.

"Historically, when I come before you to begin a new session, I spend much of my time focusing on our state budget and my ideas for keeping it in balance. This year, I began that conversation a little early," Malloy said.  

Earlier this week, Malloy said his budget is an extension of the framework of the bipartisan budget adopted last year. The plan includes no sales or income tax hikes and repairs the state's Special Transportation Fund.

"And last week, I issued a detailed plan to shore up our Special Transportation Fund to the benefit of every business and every family in Connecticut. Those plans and their supporting legislation are now before you," Malloy said. 

Malloy also spoke about "fairness." 

"No matter your creed or culture, no matter when or how you or your ancestors arrived in this country, fairness is a common sensibility we all hold dear. It is a touchstone of what it means to be American. And here in Connecticut, the pursuit of fairness has been a constant throughout our history," Malloy said.  

The governor said in Connecticut they have been driven by "fairness." He used the examples that Connecticut was the third state to legalize gay marriage and the first state to raise the minimum wage to more than $10. 

"Connecticut Fairness means we help those most in need. It’s why we’ve welcomed vulnerable people when other states would not – from our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico, to those fleeing war and poverty around the globe," Malloy said. "Simply put, Connecticut Fairness means we take care of one another – especially our most vulnerable. We reach out to one another across our great cities and towns, across our neighborhood streets, and across the aisle here in state government."

The governor said he wants Connecticut to serve as a national leader. Malloy said he is hoping to work with Connecticut General Assembly on the following items: 

  • Preserving the key elements of the Affordable Care Act, including passing a state-level individual mandate.  The Governor believes health care is a fundamental right, and that Connecticut residents must be protected from efforts in Washington to undermine health care access for millions of Americans – including the end of the individual mandate.  He also called for legislation that ensures contraceptive care remains cost-free for Connecticut women.
  • Building upon Connecticut’s landmark “paid sick leave” laws.  Since Connecticut became the first state to guarantee paid sick time for employees, eights states have followed.  The Governor’s proposal aims to close loopholes in the existing legislation and expand it to cover even more workers.
  • Redoubling Connecticut’s clean energy and environmental protection efforts.  The Governor’s plan calls for the creation of a new comprehensive resiliency plan to give towns and cities the resources necessary to adapt to the realities of a changing climate and for the adoption of a renewable energy standard in which 75 percent of Connecticut’s energy comes from clean sources by 2030.
  • Passing a statewide ban on bump stocks and other “rate of fire enhancements.”  The Governor’s proposal would ban “rate of fire” enhancements, including but not limited to bump stocks, binary trigger systems, and trigger cranks, which are inexpensive and allow weapons to fire at machine gun-like speed.
  • Increased Protections for Young Adults in the Criminal Justice System. During his first few years in office, Governor Malloy successfully implemented legislation to raise the age that young people are eligible to be tried in juvenile court to 17. The result has been a clear reduction in crime, and significant savings for Connecticut taxpayers. The Governor’s proposals this session continue to gradually raise the age further through age 20, expand youthful offender status through age 20, codify best practices regarding incarcerated women, and restore the use of special parole to its original intent.
  • Make it easier for Connecticut residents to cast their ballots.  The Governor supports a constitutional amendment to allow early voting.  He has also signed an executive order directing his administration to explore the possibility of implementing “vote by mail” in Connecticut.
  • Raise Connecticut’s minimum wage.  In 2014, Connecticut became the first state in the country to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.  The Governor is committed to working with legislators to once again raise the minimum wage this year.
  • Ensure experience, and not salary history, determines wages.  The practice of asking potential employees about salary history often leads to underpayment throughout a person’s career.  This impacts women and people of color disproportionately.  The Governor’s legislation would encourage employers to base salaries of new hires on experience and qualification – not past salary.
  • Create comprehensive standards to prevent workplace harassment.  

“Today too many people are falling behind financially, even as they work harder and harder.  The gap between the rich and the working poor continues to grow.  Too many historically marginalized groups are still subject to harassment, oppression, and unequal treatment … This year, in the face of growing national inequity and unfairness, I want to begin a conversation about a series of commonsense changes we can adopt to advance our proud tradition of Connecticut Fairness," Malloy said.  

The governor added that these Connecticut Fairness proposals are focusing on helping "ensure that every Connecticut resident, regardless of their background has the opportunity to succeed."

“We can strive to be ever more inclusive and ever more compassionate.  We can stop the tides of prejudice and hate from washing away our progress and drowning our ideals," Malloy said. "Our fight to build a more just and more equitable society can never be deterred.  History will judge us by our action this year, this session, to build a better, fairer Connecticut.”

Democrats seemed to embrace many of the governor's plans including pay equity, paid family leave and affordable housing.

"I think many of those issues have been obscured by the budget crisis we've had over the years," Senate President Martin Looney said. "But, he went back to his roots today which is why you saw a celebration on the democratic side."

Republicans however were less receptive. House Minority Leader Themis Klarides said she felt the governor needed to talk about cutting taxes and bringing jobs back.

"The biggest problem I had with the speech and should be glaring to everybody in a state that has billion dollar deficits," Klarides said. "He never uttered a word about the economy and what he's going to do to try and change that."

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) said the governor's State of the State was "clearly a reflection of his anger with Washington, but it was short on details when it comes to moving Connecticut forward."

"The governor used a lot of rhetoric about fairness. Yet earlier this week, we saw a budget from Gov. Malloy that was anything but fair to Connecticut residents. In the face of the economic problems that proliferated under his administration, the governor wants to tax low income families more, cut services and health care support for the elderly and disabled, and add more burdens onto residents and job creators. His words don’t match his actions. Today he talked about creating a fair shot at a good life for all people; but the reality is his budget does not offer that opportunity. Certainly some of the broad items mentioned by the governor have bipartisan support, but the overall purpose of his speech was not to offer an implementable plan for progress. It was rhetoric and big promises that played on the discontent with Washington, instead of focusing on Connecticut. In a short legislative session, as the state faces continuing budgetary issues and economic stasis, we have to be laser focused on solutions for our state and its residents. Politics should not be used as a distraction," Fasano said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“While the time for paid family and medical leave for American workers is long overdue," Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said "the Republican paid parental leave proposal announced today is woefully insufficient and harmful to working families." 

"Workers should not have to permanently cut their Social Security retirement benefits in order to spend time with a newborn child, and any paid leave plan that reflects the needs of working people and families must address the need to deal with a personal or family member’s serious illness. Legislation that reflects the Independent Women’s Forum plan to raid Social Security to pay for parental leave benefits would jeopardize workers’ future retirement security and would hurt women, low-wage workers and workers of color the most. Any such proposal would break the promise of Social Security program, which provides millions of Americans with economic security in their retirement. Instead, Congress should work to enact FAMILY Act—which would provide real paid family and medical leave to ensure workers have a safety net in their time of need," DeLauro said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“This proposal would put pressure on Social Security’s already strained resources,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott. “While I’m encouraged there’s bipartisan support for paid family and medical leave, we should not shortchange Social Security benefits for seniors to accomplish that desirable goal.”

In a statement on Wednesday, Camila Bortolleto, campaign manager for Connecticut Students for a Dream, said “We are disappointed in Governor Malloy for criminalizing our immigrant parents by saying CT does not ‘punish children for the actions of their parents’. We cannot win progress for our state while playing into the narrative that only some in our community are deserving of dignity. The fact remains that undocumented immigrant students in CT do not have equal access to higher education because they don't have any access to any institutional financial aid, making college impossible for most families. Institutional Aid is student-generated funds that colleges set aside from tuition revenue in order to be used as need-based aid to support students with financial need. It is funded by tuition dollars that all students pay, it’s not tax or state funded.  Undocumented immigrant students contribute to these funds by paying tuition, but DO NOT have access to the pool of aid they help fund. This in unjust. Until Connecticut corrects this injustice by passing legislation that equalizes access to institutional aid for all students regardless of their status - Connecticut does not and will not embody the “Connecticut Fairness” that Governor Malloy spoke of so highly today.” 

The address was Malloy's last. He announced last year that he would not seek a third term as governor.

To read the full speech, click here. 

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