First hand experience in shaping the Connecticut bottle bill law since the 1980s. Front line advocacy centering on issues of unclaimed deposits, expansion, handling fees, curbside recycling, and container size and materials.
State Recycling Laws:
Mandating Recycling in Municipalities
Advocated for legislation mandating the State of Connecticut revise its solid waste management plan to include a strategy to recycle at least 25 percent of state waste, and requiring regulations that designate items required for recycling. Under the new law, no item designated as recyclable can be accepted for landfill or incineration.
Promoting Recycling and Concerning Packaging
Participated in negotiations for legislation promoting state purchase of goods made from recycled materials, as well as requiring coding for plastic bottles identifying their composition.
Reduction of Packaging Material and Disposable Products
Participated in negotiations for legislation aimed at reducing solid waste by imposing a tax on packages composed of unrecyclable material.
Privacy Rights for Physician-Patient Records:
Licensure and Handling of Asbestos
Participated in negotiations for legislation that changed licensing and training requirements for people doing asbestos abatement-related work, as well as authorizing that state to inspect premises and impose penalties for violation of asbestos abatement laws.
Lobbied for passage of major legislation exempting soft drink containers from individual item pricing in retail food stores, drafting language and ushering the bill through final passage.
Health Care Reform
Participated in discussions on law that eliminated the requirement that the Commission on Hospitals and Health Care hold hearings on certificate of need applications of a similar nature at the same time. The bill that passed applied only to leases or acquisitions valued over $400,000.
Certificate of Need:
Health Insurance Reform
Lobbied for major reform intended to assist employers with less than 25 employees purchase group insurance. The bill as passed restricted the use of preexisting conditions limitations, and required insurers waive limitations for employees who were previously covered.
Health Care Access
Instrumental in crafting key components of major health reform legislation that established the Office of Health Care Access and the health Care Data Institute within the University of Connecticut Health Center. Successfully lobbied to secure confidentiality and indemnification provisions for providers or others who disclose or report data to the institute.
Connecticut Health Exchange
Successfully advocated for adding representation of a small practice physician –not employed by a hospital, health system, health plan or academic institution – to the Statewide Health Information Exchange Advisory Committee. The appointment ensured input into the development of a state health exchange by a physician representative of the majority of those practicing in Connecticut.
Managed Care Reform
After several years of lobbying for comprehensive managed care reform, instrumental in drafting and successful passage of landmark legislation that addressed quality of care issues and patient protections, incorporating significant disclosure requirements, state oversight, provider fairness and prohibitions relating to financial incentives and gag rules.
Standards in Provider Contracts
Worked for several years lobbying for legislation strengthening and requiring fairness in health care contracting process between providers and insurers, specifically addressing the concerns of physicians regarding contracting and reimbursement. Successfully passed final legislation that included timely payments for electronic claims, network adequacy provisions, ban on product clauses, and a standards for denying services previously authorized.
Successfully lobbied to incorporate language for monitoring of motor vehicles and dealers by manufacturers. Ultimately the bill allowed monitoring at the discretion of the DMV, but ensured manufacturers held a seat at the table.
Compliance with Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act:
Gaming & Tourism
Successfully lobbied to pass legislation clarifying that crane type vending machines are not games of chance and therefore should not be deemed “gambling devices” as defined in Connecticut state statutes.
Funding for Tourism Promotion
Instrumental in crafting and passing legislation creating the Cultural Heritage Development Fund – a capital account dedicated to providing funds for state historical societies, museums and other humanities organizations allowing for the creation of new programming and exhibitions.
Successfully lobbied to include representation from Connecticut’s independent colleges on the Connecticut Educational Technology Commission (CETC). The CETC was established to oversee educational technology in the state, ensuring that the state’s schools and libraries are prepared to meet the latest standards in computer and information technology. The legislation also charged CETC with implementing the Connecticut Education Network, the first-in-the-nation online education network, linking K-12 and higher education institutions via the internet.
Facilitated participation and passage of the state’s first school choice program. Parents with students in under-achieving districts would be entitled to send their children to abutting school districts at the expense of the state school choice program.
Tax Exempt Status for Non-Educational Properties
Maintained tax-exempt status for independent college with non-educational facilities on property owned by the school. The law previously mandated that the institution was required to pay property tax at any location not being used for classrooms or student-related projects.
CHESLA Student Financial Aid Program
Established a loan-forgiveness program for higher education institutions that did not meet certain reserve standards set in the student financial aid program. The law required these schools to reserve 5% of their fiscal year increases in aid for community service work study placements.
Operated at the center of negotiations for the creation of the Department Energy and Environment Protection which included an expansion of incentives for alternative energy generation, creation of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, a goal of reducing energy consumption in all state buildings by 2013 and established a code of conduct of competitive electric suppliers.
Promotion of Renewable Energy
Initiated a brand new energy department in the state that would have maintained and distributed solar renewable energy credits, developed discounted rates for electric company customers in low-income electric customers and created new energy efficiency standards for all products manufactured in the state and sold elsewhere. Despite the item being voted, it laid the groundwork for another reform bill that would eventually accomplish similar goals.
Tax Credits for Green Buildings
Worked on creating a corporation tax credit for investments in LEED certified building projects. The investment funds helped mitigate expenses for construction costs, interest paid during rehabilitation period and closings for construction or mortgage loans.
Assessment of Personal Property for Public Service Companies
Negotiated a compromise in language regarding the assessed value of utility personal property. The first proposal would have established a fixed valuation based on the original cost but was later amended to institute a registration procedure with the DPUC and leave the value of land unchanged.
Created more options for consumers in the electricity market by expanding the choice of electric vendors by 20%. Negotiated the restructuring of existing markets in order to eliminate floor rates and allow new energy providers to provide quotes to consumers.
Cogeneration technology and Renewable Energy
Helped existing private power utilities earn incentives for utilizing renewable energy in their plants. Cogeneration technology became more sophisticated and an emerging market was allowed to expand under this legislation.
Succeeded in keeping a statute in place that allows in-state businesses to receive the film tax credit for producing interactive website content. The tax credit had come under a large amount of scrutiny but was able to remain intact in order to encourage more businesses to receive state assistance for these types of creative design.
Film Tax Credit:
Interstate Banking and Branching
Amended the state’s interstate banking laws to allow out-of-state banks to provide additional expansion of branches upon merger or acquisition of an in-state branch.
Limited Liability Partnerships
Established the creation of Limited Liability Partnerships for professional workforces that preferred the flexibilities of having contractors in LLPs rather than LLCs. Faced significant opposition in the early stages of consideration but ultimately succeeded in passing the concept which has benefited all LLPs that have formed in the past twenty years.
Home Banking Computer Services
Passed legislation allowing out-of-state banks to provide home banking computer services to Connecticut customers. Home banking was the first electronic transfer of funds available in the commercial banking industry and required transformational legislation to modernize transactions in the financial services industry.
De Novo Banking
Created legislations that amended interstate banking laws in order to phase-in de novo banking. This legislation acknowledged the right for out-of-state banks to establish themselves in the state to either become a state bank or promote commercial/residential lending for its institution.
Property & Casualty Insurance
Initiated a change in state life insurance statutes in order to allow companies to issue accelerated death benefits to policy holders. The special conditions provided in the amended law include those who have medically determinable conditions of less than a year to live and a condition where there is an absence of extensive or extraordinary medical treatment.
Accelerated Benefits for the Life Insurance Policies:
Participated in negotiations for a concept that would have provided motor vehicle owners an exemption of liability in cases where a party leases the motor vehicle from the owner and an accident occurs during the contract period.
Limited consideration for many bills and amendments which would have mandated insurance companies to not use an applicant’s residential/work location as a basis for underwriting premiums.
Achieved the enhancement of competitive telecommunications services in the state. Amended the statutory definition for certain telephone company packages such as business and home office services from “noncompetitive” to “competitive” in order to expand market coverage for more providers.
Telecommunications Competition and Promoting Broadband Internet Competition:
Telecommunications Customers Rights
Carefully negotiated the initiative to alter the appearance and content of consumer invoices from phone companies. Requirements included identifying items where disconnection could occur if payment is not remitted to a company and to separately list every tariff and tax on the bill.
Competition in Telecommunications Industry
Expanded competition among phone providers by instituting key provisions increasing the flexibility of pricing in the market. These provisions enabled the DPUC to modify the floor on rates, regulate the separation of certain services and extend competitive telecommunications provisions. Also helped negotiate original laws that regulated the types of telephone and fax marketing allowed to be conducted with consumers. It was created to protect consumers from unsolicited advertisements.
Cell Tower Siting
Monitored controversial provisions regarding the jurisdiction over the siting and development of cellular towers. Negotiated with all parties to establish a compromise between municipal leaders and the ultimate sign-off of the Siting Council.
Implementing the Recommendations of the Telecommunications Task Force
Successfully implemented recommendations of a task force seeking to promote competition, permit alternative forms of regulation, and encourage the development of an efficient telecommunications infrastructure. The recommendations were the first to establish the DPUC standards of competitiveness which included categories titled noncompetitive, emerging competitive and competitive.
Negotiated and passed legislation requiring the judicial department to disclose a job applicant’s most up-to-date criminal information to employers who are performing background checks. Our vision for incorporating a client’s technology solutions into the state was enhanced by moving this bill through the legislative process and favorable consideration by the Governor.
Release, Sale and Accuracy of conviction information:
Successfully passed landmark tort reform which invoked changes in contingency fees, structured verdicts, joint and several liability, collateral sources, frivolous suits, certificates of merit and the study of noneconomic damages awarded in malpractice class action suits.
Maintained the importance of expediting medical malpractice settlements in order to ensure that professionals and members of the public involved would not have cases open for long periods of time. Thresholds on awards received by a successful plaintiffs were also considered in the legislation in addition to having other medical professionals included in the malpractice insurance coverage laws.