The 13th Senate District deserves a state senator who understands the needs of our community and will fight for working families. I will stand up for our shared values in Hartford.
As Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee, Senator Abrams worked on a number of initiatives that will improve the lives of thousands of Connecticut residents. She took on the drug companies to cap the cost of insulin and combat rising prescription drug costs, helped pass Paid Family Medical Leave, expanded access to tele-health, and helped lead Connecticut’s coordinated response to coronavirus.
Leading the Response to COVID-19
Serving as Senate Chair of the Public Health Committee, Senator Abrams worked hard to help Connecticut stem the blow of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, she has met with health care workers and fought to help them receive more personal protective equipment. She knows her constituents, many of whom have been impacted by COVID-19 directly or indirectly, need help; she worked to help them whenever possible, connecting them with vital local resources in our communities. This pandemic has been an incredible challenge, but she knows our state is resilient and will bounce back.
There are new challenges that come with navigating a pandemic, too. In July, the legislature met where she voted to approve legislation expanding public access to absentee ballots for the August primary and November general elections. COVID-19 has been shown to disproportionately impact older populations and marginalized communities. With absentee ballot applications accessible by mail, everyone in the state can choose between voting in person or dropping a ballot into a local drop-box this fall.
Further, we know the COVID-19 pandemic will leave lasting damage when it ends. Businesses will struggle in a weakened economy and families will struggle to recover financial losses caused by unemployment or underemployment. It’s just as important to ensure our state’s pandemic recovery meets the needs of our state’s population.
Capping the Cost of Insulin
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, we continue to find ways to improve public health. In the face of continually rising insulin prices, Senator Abrams supported a cap on out-of-pocket monthly cost of insulin at $25 per month, with noninsulin drugs like glucagon at the same price level and equipment and supplies capped at $100 per month. This will save Connecticut diabetics thousands of dollars per year.
Providing More Accessible Health Care through Telehealth Services
Another important health care improvement passed during a special session this year was to expand telehealth services among the public. Senator Abrams led the charge to increase the public’s access to health care services. By expanding access to telehealth services, she ensured that people needing medical attention can seek it safely without even needing to leave their homes.
As many as 95 percent of people who become addicted to nicotine do so before they turn 21, exposing them to a potential health risk for their entire lives. The spike in use of e-cigarettes in recent years has only made this problem worse. That’s why Senator Abrams led the Senate’s passing of “Tobacco 21,” legislation increasing the age of access for tobacco products from 18 to 21. We know that many smokers first access tobacco in high school, often from peers over the age of 18; by cutting off that potential connection, fewer youths will have exposure to smoking.
Breast Cancer Screenings
Approximately 3,500 women each year in Connecticut are diagnosed with breast cancer, and Senator Abrams worked to expand access to breast cancer screenings by lowering out-of-pocket costs when women receive ultrasounds. Dense breast tissue can mask anomalies such as tumors; this legislation expands on standing law that recommended additional ultrasound screenings. Reducing the upfront costs will allow more women to get the treatment they need and will undoubtedly save lives.
Mental Health Parity
Far too often, mental health and substance use are not treated equally in medical care compared to physical illness. This unfair standard further burdens public health. That’s why Senator Abrams voted to pass legislation that ensures insurers care for mental health and substance use disorders at the same limits as medical and surgical benefits, also requiring insurance coverage of substance abuse if required by a court. To properly treat these disorders, we need to remove the stigma surrounding them.
Senator Abrams believes that health care must cover essential benefits including emergency room visits, prenatal care and ongoing care for children, prescription medicines, lab tests, home health services, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Everyone should have access to affordable, comprehensive health care.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
According to the United Nations, the United States is just one of two countries in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave to its citizens. This comes as the state’s number of households with two working parents increased from 33 percent in 1970 to nearly 50 percent in 2015. This requires mothers and fathers to work soon after their children are born, robbing them of important development time with their newborns; it also requires families with members who become ill to choose between work and care, a choice no one should have to make. With Paid Family Medical Leave, that changes. For up to 12 weeks, Connecticut employees will be able to take paid leave to care for newborns, family members with serious health conditions, their own serious health conditions, an emergency due to a family member on active duty, or to serve as an organ or bone marrow donor.
Gun Safety Reform
We must continue to work together and advocate for commonsense gun safety reform that protects our children and our community. While Washington stood in the way of protecting us as a nation, we acted here in Connecticut. In 2019, I was proud to support and co-sponsor three strong pieces of gun safety legislation and I’m honored to have the endorsement from Connecticut Against Gun Violence and named a Candidate of Distinction by Moms Demand Action.
Ban on Ghost Guns
Public Act 19-6 closed a loophole that allowed individuals to anonymously purchase guns without serial numbers. This new law will protect residents and prohibits the manufacturing of a firearm without a serial number, the manufacturing of a plastic gun that can pass through security if the grips, stocks and magazine are taken off, and the sale or transfer of an unfinished frame or lower receiver without the unique identifying mark issued by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP).
Safe Storage in Homes
Public Act 19-5, also known as Ethan’s Law. Current law required a gun owner with children aged 16 and under in the home to store a loaded gun in a locked container. Ethan’s Law raised the age to 18 and requires unloaded guns to be stored in a locked container as well, providing less opportunities for future accidents. The bill also requires the State Board of Education to develop a K-12 gun safety guide, which will provide younger people with a better understanding and awareness and help work towards a decline in gun related incidents.
Safe Storage in Cars
Public Act 19-7 prohibits the storing of a handgun in an unattended vehicle unless it’s in the trunk, a locked glove box or a locked safe. The thefts of guns from cars is a growing issue nationwide and a number of large cities have seen an increase each year of over 40 percent. This bill will protect children inside of cars and lead to less gun thefts and ensure fewer guns end up in the wrong hands.
We need leaders who will fight to end gun violence and Senator Abrams is committed to continuing that fight.
Increasing the Minimum Wage
Fighting for an economy where everyone prospers is a top priority. Senator Abrams was committed to increasing the minimum wage when she ran in 2018 and she was proud to support it on the Senate floor in 2019m giving 336,000 residents of Connecticut a raise. Hundreds of thousands of workers are struggling each and every day to provide for themselves and their families. This wage increase means groceries in the fridge, food on the table, gas in a car and a roof over a head. The minimum wage goes up incrementally, increasing to
- $11 on October 1, 2019
- $12 on September 1, 2020
- $13 on August 1, 2021
- $14 on July 1, 2022
- $15 on June 1, 2023
Workforce Pipeline and Apprenticeship Initiative
In 2019, the initiative was expanded to help train people seeking employment. This initiative will directly place up to 10,000 people into good-paying jobs and will address the workforce needs of many of the largest companies in Connecticut. The bill also requires local and regional boards of Education to develop career placement goals for students and authorizes schools to provide students with materials regarding different career options.
Working families are Connecticut’s most important economic resource and the vital foundation of long-term growth and prosperity.
Protecting Our Rights
Being a pro-choice State Senator, Senator Abrams fully support a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. She fought and defended attempts to defund reproductive health services that will limit access to services that women are legally entitled to and worked to provide women with more protection in the workplace. Mary is also very honored to be endorsed by NARAL and Planned Parenthood because of their support for a woman’s right to choose.
Time’s Up Act
Senator Abrams co-sponsored the Times’ Up Act, Public Act 19-16, that took a number of steps towards protecting women in the workplace. The bill protects women who come forward with harassment claims at work, it makes sexual harassment training mandatory and updates our existing sexual assault and workplace discrimination laws. The Time’s Up Act also updates our states statute of limitations for civil suits and sexual assault, which prior to Public Act 19-16, were tied for the third shortest statute of limitations in the country.
Council on Protecting Women’s Health
A new council was established to help protect the future of women’s health care in Connecticut. This council will monitor legislation at the federal level relating to women’s health and if it has the potential to be negatively impacted. There are constant threats to women’s health in Washington, such as attacks on affordable and accessible reproductive health services, and this council would advise us of those and how we can prohibit them from affecting health care in Connecticut.
Senator Abrams remains committed to fighting for a woman’s right to choose, a safe working environment and providing protections for women to continue to received affordable health care.
As your State Senator, I will fight any attempts at deregulation that negatively impact our environment. Connecticut is a beautiful state and we must protect our land and natural resources so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy them.
As your State Senator, Senator Abrams will fight any attempts at deregulation that negatively impact our environment. She received a 100% score from the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, which can be seen here.
As Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee, Senator Abrams lead passage of the State Water Plan, which puts Connecticut families over corporations. The Plan, the first of its kind in the state, is designed to balance the use of the water to meet the needs of all residents. It protects the water quality and quantity for all current and future waterways as regulations and conditions continue to change. It reaffirms that water is a public resource to be conserved and preserved.
Connecticut is a beautiful state and Senator Abrams will continue to fight to protect our land, water, air and natural resources so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy them too.