Democratic lawmakers present agenda ahead of new session

(WFSB photo)

This year’s legislative session is just hours away, and Democrats are talking about what they would like to see happen.

In addition to solving the state budget's problems, Democrats are supporting certain policy issues, like raising the minimum wage and paid family leave.

The legislative session starts on Wednesday, and the governor will be giving his State of the State address.

Democrats put forth their agenda, but with the huge budget deficit, paying for some of the ideas may be challenging at best.

Pay equity, improving women’s health care, increasing the state's minimum wage, paid family leave, and reducing student debt are some of their ideas.

Democrats have been pushing to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

"My view would be to have the minimum wage go up to $11 an hour next January and then $1 per year until we reach $15 an hour,” said Democratic State Senator and Senate President Martin Looney.

New York state recently raised its minimum wage to $15 along with paid family leave.

“Let’s face it, even if you are making $15 an hour it’s still not sustainable in the state of Connecticut. You actually need to make twice that, so imagine not getting a paycheck for six weeks when you are home with your newborn,” said Democratic State Rep. Robyn Porter.

Republicans and some business groups have been critical, they say forcing companies to pay more and mandating paid leave will hurt businesses, and they also question where the money is going to come from for some of these plans.

The GOP Senate president says, "without saying how they are going to pay for any of it, Democrat lawmakers are laying out proposals for completely new state expenses.”

Many of these ideas were brought out last session but were overshadowed with the budget problems, and that could very well happen again.

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