2014 Legislative Scorecard

Here are our positions on bills that address our issues. 

Contents:
The Zero Waste Solution
Safeguarding Public Health
Safer Kids, Healthy CT
Consumer Protection
Healthcare
21st Century Transportation
Democracy 

The Zero Waste Solution
Our Zero Waste Program works to protect public health and boost our economy by decreasing waste and increasing reuse, recycling, and composting.

Increase Recycling and Reduce Incineration, SB-27          
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Recycling and Materials Management Strategy”)

Governor Malloy introduced this measure that would: increase Connecticut’s goals for reducing waste and increasing recycling; create “Recycle CT,” a non-profit dedicated to recycling education and research; create clear steps and a timeline for repurposing Hartford’s incinerator to protect public health and save taxpayers’ money; refocus the agency in charge of waste to look to the needs of towns and seek recycling solutions; and empower the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to give towns and cities the ability to combine efforts and lower costs to achieve waste reduction and recycling goals.

Update the Bottle Bill (SB-67)
ConnPIRG position: Support 
(title: “An Act Concerning The Inclusion of Juices, Teas and Sports Drinks under Connecticut’s Bottle Bill”)

Connecticut’s bottle bill saves cities and towns money and reduces litter but it does not cover many bottled drinks that are now available in stores. The Updated Bottle Bill, SB-67, would expand bottle deposit to products such as juice, tea, sports drinks and favored water.

Taxpayer Subsidies for Incinerators (SB-404)
ConnPIRG Position: Oppose
(title: An Act Concerning Building Permit Fees for Class I Renewable Energy Projects and Renewable Energy Credits for Trash-to-Energy Facilities")

 We oppose any efforts to further subsidize incineration with tax-payer or rate-payer dollars, which SB-404 would do.  It is time to stop paying for pollution.

Safeguarding Public Health

We advocate for protections and rules that make sure our food, drugs, medical devices and other products are safe to use. 

Block Disposal of Toxic Fracking Waste in CT (SB-237)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Prohibiting the Storage or Disposal of Fracking Waste in Connecticut”)

To protect Connecticut residents from out of state pollution, SB-237 would prevent the storage or disposal of toxic fracking waste in Connecticut.

Safer Kids, Healthy CT: Safeguarding Public Health
Our Safer Kids, Healthy CT program works to ensure that parents don’t have to worry that everyday products could endanger their children’s health and safety.

Protect Children from Toxic Chemicals (SB-126) and (HB-5036)
ConnPIRG position: Support
(SB-126 title: “An Act Concerning Children’s Exposure to Toxic Chemicals”) 
(HB-5036 title: “An Act Concerning Children’s Products and Chemicals of High Concern”)

To protect consumers’ right to know if everyday products contain toxic chemicals, SB-126 authorizes the Department of Public Health (DPH) to establish a list of chemicals of concern. HB-5036 directs the Commissioner of Public Health to make a list of chemicals of concern to children’s health. These measures also authorize DPH to make recommendations every two years to the General Assembly on how to mitigate the risks of such chemicals to children.

Ban Toxic Fire Retardants in Children’s Products (HB-5035) 
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning Toxic Fire Retardants in Children’s Products”)

Some fire retardants are toxic chemicals that can threaten the health of children in particular. HB-5035 bans the manufacturing and selling of children’s products that contain specific toxic fire retardants.

Protect Children from Toxic Pesticide Exposure (HB-5330)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: An Act Concerning the Application of Pesticides at Parks, Playgrounds, Athletic Fields and Municipal Greens.)

Some commonly used pesticides have been linked to cancer, birth defects, reproductive effects or causing brain development problems. HB-5330 prohibits the use of these pesticides in areas in which children commonly play unless the pesticide is used to protect human health, such as by controlling mosquitoes, and even in this situation the public must be made aware that a pesticide is going to be applied.

Consumer Protection
Our consumer program works to give consumers the information they need to protect themselves in the marketplace, to alert the public to hidden dangers and scams and to ban anti-consumer practices.

Financial Literacy Education (HB-5490)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning Financial Literacy”)

College students are prime targets for financial products and services that can be confusing, invasive and even misleading. HB-5490 would help to provide information to college students about how to protect themselves when applying for credit or debit cards that have been advertised on their campus.

ID Badges for Home Improvement Contractors and Salesmen (SB-207)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning Requiring Home Improvement Contractors and Salesmen to Obtain and Display Identification Badges”)

To discourage unscrupulous practices, this bill would require home improvement contractors and salesmen to obtain and display a photo identification badge when selling products or performing services at consumers’ homes.

Protect Personal Medical Information Privacy (SB-208)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning Pharmacy Rewards Programs and Protected Health Information”)

SB-208 would provide consumers with plain language explanations of the terms of pharmacy rewards programs so that consumers will know fundamental aspects of a program such as if the program gives a company access to their personal medical information, if that company may share personal medical information with a third party, and how a consumer can revoke authorization to access personal medical information.

Stop Unsolicited Commercial Texts and Calls (SB-209)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Prohibiting Unsolicited Commercial Text Messages and Increasing Penalties for Violations of the Do Not Call Registry”)

SB-209 prohibits unsolicited commercial texts just as unsolicited commercial calls have been prohibited through the Do Not Call List. This measure also increases the penalty for companies violating the Do Not Call List.

Hold Gas Companies Accountable for Wasting Energy (HB-5410)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning Lost and Unaccounted for Gas”)

Consumers currently pay for gas companies’ waste, or loss of gas. HB-5410 incentivizes gas companies not to waste energy and ratepayers’ money by not allowing an increase in rates or fees for any loss of gas above a maximum amount to be set by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

Make Electric Utility Rates Transparent (SB-2)
ConnPIRG Position: Support if strengthened
(title: “An Act Concerning Electric Customer Consumer Protection”)

Many Connecticut residents have been paying much higher electric rates than the standard offer as rates can increase significantly after initial “teaser rates” expire or through variable rates.  SB-2 would force disclosure of electric utility terms and rates on consumer bills so that consumers will be more likely to be able to avoid rip-offs. ConnPIRG would support this measure if disclosure is combined with a prohibition on the abusive practices in electric utility rates.

Protect Consumers Against Unscrupulous Debt Buyers (SB-225)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning Consumer Remedies Against Debt Buyers”) 

SB-225 brings Connecticut in line with national norms for consumer protection in credit by allowing consumers to hold creditors accountable by winning compensation if their creditor engages in abusive practices that break the law.

Healthcare
We work to advance common sense solutions to the problem of the rising health care costs in ways that cut waste and improve quality of care for Connecticut residents. 

Access Health CT (SB-11)
ConnPIRG Position: Oppose as amended
(title: “An Act Concerning the Duties of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange”)

Access Health CT, the health insurance exchange of CT, has the authority to negotiate premiums with health insurers on behalf of consumers. Following an amendment, SB-11 does nothing to direct the exchange to use its authority to negotiate behalf of consumers.

21st Century Transportation
As Americans decide to drive less, we work for a transportation system that reflects and supports the ways we now choose to travel. 

Protect Bicyclists, Joggers and Walkers from Careless Drivers (SB-336)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning The Penalty For Causing Harm To A Vulnerable User Of A Public Way”)

Too often, careless drivers who harm bicyclists, joggers and walkers are not held accountable for the harm they cause. SB-336 establishes a substantial fine on careless drivers who seriously injure or kill other people sharing the road.

Democracy
We work to foster a more responsive, representative democracy by limiting the influence of special interests and special interest money on our elections and increasing opportunities for citizen participation. 

Protect CT’s Clean Elections Fund (SB-445)
ConnPIRG Position: Support
(title: “An Act Concerning the Citizens’ Election Fund”)

SB-445 ensures that the Clean Elections Funds is able to support all candidates by helping resolve a problem with the timing of funding which causes a temporary block in cash flow.

Let Big Money into CT Elections (SB-443)
ConnPIRG Position: Oppose
(title: “An Act Concerning State Party Federal Accounts”)

SB-443 weakens the firewall between state and federal funding of campaigns and could lead to an influx of lobbyist and state contractor money.

Defend the CFPB

Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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