A controversial bill aimed at modifying the state's earned family and medical leave narrowly made it through another hurdle.
The bill failed last year and returned again this year, passing through the Labor Committee, narrowly passing by one vote.
One representative changed her vote in the last hour after speaking with leadership on the basis that bonding funds would not be used.
It now moves forward to the House of Representatives.
The push for paid family and medical leave in Connecticut has been a priority for many retirees and new parents.
“We need to be able to have people have the ability to stay home and take care of their loved ones or take care of themselves,” said Stacy Stableford, an AARP volunteer.
Connecticut currently has a law that allows employees to take unpaid time off for family and medical reasons.
Democrats have been pushing a bill for people to get paid for it.
“For a lot of us as I am doing right now, take care of your elderly parent. I don't have to choose between leaving her alone or having her be a burden on the state to take care of,” Stableford said.
The bill aimed to create a state-run program that would offer up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to covered employees during any 12-month period.
It would've been funded by a half a percent payroll deduction for everyone in the state, and there would be no opting out.
“A paid family leave bill such as this one is in concept a wonderful one that I wish we could deliver to the people of Connecticut because they deserve the best they can get. The only problem is this is coming with a huge fiscal note,” said Senator Scott Frantz, Co-Chair of the Finance, Bonding and Revenue Committee.
Frantz said it's an estimated $13 to $15 million in start up costs and around $20 million to run such a model.
“I also support family leave, I think we all do. I don't believe this is the time, this is the place to be doing it, and this is not the way to do it,” said State Representative Terrie Wood.
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