History was made in Hartford, Connecticut as the State House of Representatives gave final approval to landmark, common-sense Paid Sick Days legislation that will protect workers, ensure public health, and create stronger and healthier environments in homes and businesses alike. After a lengthy debate, the House voted by a margin of 76-65 to give hundreds of thousands of employees in the service industry the right to earn paid sick leave so that they will never again have to worry about losing their job or the roof over their head because they or a family member get sick.
Last week, the Connecticut Senate approved landmark legislation (SB 913) to establish paid sick leave as a vital economic and health security measure. The bill is now before the House of Representatives, where it enjoys strong support. Governor Daniel Malloy has advocated the legislation throughout the session, and campaigned as a champion of the policy in both the primary and general elections last year. Enactment of SB 913 would set a precedent as the first state-wide law broadly granting workers the right to accrue paid time off.
As Paid Sick Days legislation advances in Connecticut, Progressive States Network asked State Rep. Zeke Zalaski, Chair of the Labor & Public Employees Committee and a sponsor of the bill, for his thoughts on the benefits that the law promises to bring to workers and families in his state, the motivations behind corporate opposition to the measure, and how Connecticut may be setting an example for the rest of the nation.
This past week, the Connecticut Legislature took a solid step towards fiscal stability by approving a $40.1 billion budget that includes progressive measures. Despite several elected officials across the states opting to rely predominantly on cuts and failing to either invest in communities or support the middle class, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy's insistence on "shared sacrifice" has stood in bold contrast to flawed right-wing budget policies.
As the prospect of a federal government shutdown looms in Washington D.C., states are nervously preparing for the impact it could have on their already strapped budgets and their fragile economic recoveries.