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Trumbull Legislators: Comprehensive Bill to Combat Opiate Abuse Signed into Law

May 31, 2016

A Bi-partisan Bill which Limits Opioid Prescriptions to Seven Days; New Partnership Created between the State, Yale, and Insurance Carriers to Develop a Strategic Plan on Fighting the Epidemic

HARTFORD- State Reps. David Rutigliano (R-123) and Laura Devlin (R-134) today applauded Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s signature on legislation that will expand the state’s effort to combat the opioid epidemic.

The state representatives were accompanied by local Trumbull prevention advocates at the historic State Capitol bill signing.

Rep. Rutigliano said, “This bill works to provide meaningful actions and strategies to combat opiate addiction provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), addiction and recovery specialist, and member of our community that shared their real life experiences turning that information into action. It is our hope that out of their pain some good may be done to help others. With this law Connecticut is way ahead of other states in efforts to curb this epidemic; it’s just a shame that we have to be.”

Devlin said, “I want to thank both Community Addiction & Recovery Education and Support (C.A.R.E.S.), Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking & Drugs (TPAUD) and Tee Doonan from HeroinKillsCT for their dogged advocacy. While there is no silver bullet solution to the opiate crisis; this bi-partisan legislation is a major step forward,” said Devlin. “This law can and will save lives and will go a long way towards cutting off opiate addiction before it even begins.”

Melissa McGarry, Project Director of the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking & Drugs (TPAUD) said, “Substance abuse is having a devastating impact on families in Trumbull and across the state, but we are tackling this issue through a true community collaboration. TPAUD members and partners like The C.A.R.E.S. Group and Tee Doonan from HeroinKillsCT have been educating the public about this crisis, and the ways we can help our residents. We are grateful to our local legislators for their efforts to pass this lifesaving piece of legislation.”

Rutigliano and Devlin held a legislative opiate addiction community forum in January which helped legislators develop many of the concepts that ended up in the final proposed bill.

Rutigliano and Devlin thanked the Governor for including all major stakeholders to the table that resulted in a unanimous and bi-partisan proposal.

The legislation, Public Act 16-43, is comprehensive in nature and incorporates several provisions, including:

    Limiting the prescription of opioid drugs by:
      prohibiting, for adult patients, an initial prescription of opioid drugs for longer than seven days
      prohibiting, for minor patients, any prescriptions of opioid drugs for longer than seven days and requiring the prescriber to discuss the risks associated with the drug with the patient and, if present, the custodial parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of the patient
      allowing, for both adult and minor patients, a prescriber to give more than a seven-day supply of opioid drugs if, in the prescriber’s professional medical judgement, the acute or chronic pain condition requires it and requires the prescriber to note such condition in the medical record
      Requiring municipalities to update their existing emergency medical services plans to ensure that the emergency responder likely to the first person on the scene of an emergency call is equipped with and prepared to administer the overdose reversal drug naloxone and has been appropriately trained to do so
      Closing a gap in current liability language related to a licensed health care professional who administers an opioid antagonist
      Prohibiting commercial health carriers from requiring prior authorization for coverage of naloxone
      Requiring the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council’s state plan to include, by January 1, 2017, a goal of reducing the number of opioid-induced deaths in the state
      Making several changes to the state’s electronic prescription monitoring program to help facilitate prescriber and pharmacist compliance

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Taxes

Reps. Rutigliano & Devlin Say ‘No’ to CT Mileage Tax

TRUMBULL- State Reps. David Rutigliano (R-123) and Laura Devlin (R-134) today came out strongly against a proposal which taxes how far Connecticut residents drive, a so-called mileage tax.

The Trumbull lawmakers learned last week that Connecticut is participating in a multi-state application for a federal grant to study the feasibility of a mileage tax.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has joined with several other states to study the concept of charging drivers according to the number of miles they drive. Connecticut has also committed to spend $300,000 in taxpayer funds in the study should the grant be awarded.

The idea of a “Mileage Tax,” which would charge citizens for every mile traveled, surfaced a year ago when the governor was looking for ways to fund the massive $100-billion, 30-year Transportation infrastructure plan. The State Department of Transportation now has a renewed interest in this tax and wants to study the feasibility of imposing it on you.

A ‘mileage tax’ would be assessed on you, the driver, based on the number of miles you drive your car per year, and would be determined by a Global Positioning System (GPS) installed in your car. The proposed tax would apply only to Connecticut residents, not to out-of-state drivers who use our roads daily or drive through our state.

Rep. Devlin, who is a member of the legislature’s Transportation committee said, “I opposed this mileage tax last year when the concept was presented by the Governor’s Transportation Finance Panel to our committee, and I still oppose this tax now. The number one thing I hear from my constituents is “enough already!” – We are overtaxed as it is. And without a secure “lockbox” there is no guarantee that new revenue raised would actually be directed to improving our infrastructure.”

Rep. Rutigliano said, “The majority party in the legislature and Governor Malloy continue to pass and sign tax hike after tax hike and still we have end up with state budget deficits. This proposal will crush already overburdened and overtaxed middle class taxpayers.”

The Trumbull lawmakers also said they see a mileage tax as an invasion of privacy. The mileage tax would be calculated by a GPS tracking device installed in one’s vehicle which would collect data on the miles driven by state commuters.

Rutigliano said, “This is an overreach of state government and an invasion of the personal privacy of law-abiding citizens.”

“This program will also create an administrative burden on our state.  A mileage tax implementation would require expanding state government with the hiring and oversight of more state employees, said Rep. Devlin. “We proposed a transportation plan, ‘Prioritize Progress’ which is a viable transportation solution which provides for an annual transportation funding mechanism guaranteeing at least $1 billion annually over the next 30 years with no tax increases or tolls. Our proposal provides for flexibility in setting transportation priorities and gives Connecticut a sustainable and predictable funding plan to support future generations.”

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State Budget 

Rutigliano, Trumbull Legislators Condemn ‘Sham’ State Budget Plan

May 14th, 2016

roposal ‘Built on the Backs’ of Local Property Tax

HARTFORD- State Reps. David Rutigliano (R-123), Laura Devlin (R-134) and Ben McGorty (R-122) strongly opposed a state budget proposal today in the General Assembly’s special session which provides only a stop-gap solution, pushing Connecticut’s financial problems into the future, slashing mental health and addiction services as well as further punishing our state hospitals.

House and Senate Republicans along with the three Trumbull representatives offered a better, balancedsolution for the next fiscal year as well as a plan for the future.

“This budget reflects the wrong-headed priorities of the Democrat majority. They decide to go after the most vulnerable in our state by eviscerating our state hospitals with a $130 million cut, said Rep. Rutigliano. “They also slash state mental health and addiction services – while the state is in the midst of an ongoing opioid addiction crisis in our state.”

Rutigliano, Devlin and McGorty hosted an Opiate Addiction community forum in January and worked with Trumbull prevention advocates to craft legislation that passed the General Assembly last month.

“This budget, forced by the majority, is a “get me through an election” budget. It represents business as usual, with no long term structural change that will turn our state around. Connecticut can and should do better than this budget. It relies on fund sweeps, and the hope that state residents drink, smoke and gamble to provide additional revenue,” said Rep. Devlin. “Budgets cobbled together like this will only encourage more companies like GE and our residents to leave our state.”

“The budget that the majority Democrats put out today is more of the same and worse,” said Rep. McGorty. “It is balanced on the back of local property taxpayers while making deep cuts to education, hospitals and social services.  Without meaningful structural changes to the way we budget, we will never get the state back to the economic strength it ought to have.”

The Democrat-majority plan will:

Cuts to the Most Vulnerable and Needy

  • The cuts to hospitals are deeper than the Democrats’ original plan. This proposal includes a $30 million state cut to hospitals and creates a $130 million total cut to hospitals
  • There is a $1 million cut to grants for DCF Psychiatric Clinics for Children
  • $13.8 million cut to DMHAS includes $5 million cut to young adult services, $7 million to grants for mental health services and $1.7 million to grants for substance abuse services at a time our state is grappling with opioid and opiate abuse epidemic.
  • $580,000 cut to the American school for the deaf
  • $2.2 million cut (1%) to services for the poor- TANF
  • 1% Reduction to Connecticut Home Care Funding
  • Fire training schools are cut by 24% ($120,000)
  • Cut the Office of Early Childhood- $10.8 million

Cuts Education

  • $32.2 million cut to the Education Cost Sharing
  • $4.3 million cut to Special Education
  • Eliminates $23.3 million grant for school transportation and $3.4 million grant for non-public school transportation

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Rutigliano: CT Residents Still Have the Heaviest Tax Burden in the United States… and it’s Getting Worse

April 11th, 2016

Connecticut Residents Still Have the Heaviest Tax

Burden in the United States… and it’s Getting Worse.

According to the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax research group, Connecticut continues to have the latest “Tax Freedom Day” of any state in the nation. Tax Freedom Day is the day each year when the average citizen has made enough money to pay their combined local, state and federal tax bills.

With the highest tax burden per capita of any state in the nation, it’s no wonder our Tax Freedom Day comes later than any other state: May 21.  That’s eight days later than last year.

To put it into perspective, each of us will spend more on taxes in 2016 than we will on food, clothing and housing combined.

The state budget is perpetually in crisis, with a deficit for the next fiscal year estimated at $930 million by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

Until state leaders curb spending, create a stable tax and regulatory landscape and stop passing legislation that fuels Connecticut’s anti-business climate, we will continue to suffer from a lagging economy and shrinking workforce.

I will continue to work hard this session to change the unfortunate direction Governor Malloy and legislative Democrats have taken this state.

If you have additional questions, please contact me directly at David.Rutigliano@cga.ct.gov.

I hope this is helpful,

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