All of the usual rules of how time works cease to apply when it comes to a day at the legislature. Hours are somehow simultaneously very very long and far too short. This is my second legislative session with NARAL and it didn't take long to remember the unique mix of excitement and action combined with a healthy dose of just waiting for things to happen that is session time in CT.
We are a little over three weeks into the session and things are really starting to move now. This week saw our staff, board, and volunteers stepping up to write and present testimony, and supporting our advocacy allies in their work. Check out the highlights:
Protecting Access to Healthcare
The big excitement this week was a public hearing on Thursday in the Insurance and Real Estate Committee on H.B. 5210. This proposed bill does three things that are crucial to protecting and advancing access to healthcare here in our state:
- Protects, in state law, the women's preventive health services currently covered by the ACA (these include STI screenings, domestic violence screenings, whole women's health visits, and access to contraception without cost-sharing)
- Protects, in state law, the 10 Essential Health Benefits as currently required by the ACA (which includes maternal healthcare)
- Improves access to birth control by allowing an individual to receive a 12-month supply of birth control with a single visit to the pharmacy
I am so grateful that here in Connecticut, the state I'm proud to call home, there are some amazing pro-choice legislators who stand up for our reproductive rights. With their help, and the help of some amazing volunteers, advocates, and allies, we testified in support of this bill and made sure the members of the committee knew that this bill is a priority for residents of the Nutmeg State.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Another important update from this week is that the proposed bill to limit the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers officially has a bill number! H.B. 5416, An Act Concerning Deceptive Advertising Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers is the bill to watch! Keep an eye out for a public hearing date and be ready to write and submit your testimony to show how much you care about access to reproductive healthcare, free from deception.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
CLEAR YOUR CALENDARS! On Thursday, March 8th it's time to celebrate International Women's Day by showing up at the Legislative Office Building! Beginning at 2:30, the Labor Committee will be holding a public hearing on S.B. 1/H.B. 5387: An Act Concerning Earned Family and Medical Leave. This hearing will also include bills on pay equity and increasing the minimum wage, so it's a BIG day for pushing common sense, progressive issues forward for the people of our state.
Fair Work Week
On Tuesday, March 6th, at 11AM in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building, a proposed bill to stabilize working families by limiting "on-call" scheduling will have a public hearing before the Committee on Children of the Connecticut General Assembly. Working people in front-line service jobs—who are more likely to be women and people of color—are especially vulnerable to harmful scheduling practices that strain families. Are you a parent who has struggled to balance childcare with on-call schedules like in restaurants or food service jobs? Are you a business owner in support of this legislation? Are you a collect student struggling to take classes with a volatile work schedule? Submit your story here!
Support Andrew McDonald
Last, but not least, we support the nomination of Andrew McDonald for Chief Justice. He is highly qualified for this position, and his nomination is supported by the legal community in CT. We know that the courts have a huge impact on the future of reproductive rights. We cannot let partisan politics stop the nomination of judges here in CT. Sign the Petition to take action.
There's a lot to cover this session, and I'm excited for more hectic days of lobbying, testifying, and not getting enough sleep in the name of reproductive rights advocacy. Join me!
Author: Brenna Doyle, Deputy Director.