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Conversation with Senator Derek Slap


Our next ProWo meeting is Tuesday, October 10, 10am. Either in Elizabeth Park or via Zoom. More info coming.

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Dear ProWo, We had a lovely evening with Senator Derek Slap on Monday, August 28, in Michelle’s backyard. Thank you to members of Call to Action for joining us, and thank you for hosting, Michelle!

Derek introduced himself and summarized his priorities, but he also invited us to speak up about our concerns, and he listened.

Derek is the co-chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, Vice-Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, and a member of Aging, Appropriations, and Public Health Committees.

If you would like a more detailed summary of our discussion, or you attended the meeting and have additional details to add, please email admin@prowo.org.

Quick Summary of Legislative Priorities

The Pay Equity bill is his first signature legislation. While the bill stalled in previous legislative sessions, it was passed in 2018 as a bipartisan effort. Connecticut was one of the first states to enact such a ban – now law in many states across the nation. The bill has been expanded during following legislative sessions.

Derek also played a role in helping Connecticut become a national leader in combating age discrimination. He introduced a bill to keep questions about age, high school and college graduation and attendance dates off job applications. The bill was passed with strong bipartisan support in 2021.

Derek is an advocate for improving access to healthcare for all children, regardless of immigration status. He is also a champion for the environment, gun safety laws, and voting reforms such as early voting. Derek has also been a leader in the effort to improve governance and transparency at The Metropolitan District (MDC)



Next Legislative Priorities

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Death with dignity Legislation around climate Affordability: health care, housing, child tax credit, continue to pay off pension deficits Teacher shortage Issues in college admissions Tweaking legal cannabis legislation Mental health (Rep. Tammy Exum is a leader). Legislation around AI, social media

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“Do you think the current fever for Trumpism is here to stay, or is it waning? How do we focus on offense?"--Derek Slap

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Conversation

We had a wide ranging conversation. Here are the topics I can remember! If I missed some, email admin@prowo.org.

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Do our letters and phone calls make a difference? One of Derek’s most challenging tasks is to evaluate what is noise and what is not. For example, he received a lot messaging to oppose gun control efforts. Our letters/phone calls keep that kind of messaging in check. Universal Pre-K A new law sets a cut off age to enroll in kindergarten. But what about Universal PreK for children who are not able or not ready for kindergarten? We need to do more. Messaging We need more honest and transparent public messaging from the Democratic legislators so we can better understand the issues and help spread the word.

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Spending Cap We are making progress on more progressive legislation, but it is slow. We have a lot of moderate Democrats. For example, one reason we could not extend HUSKY benefits to children up to age 18 is that the cost would exceed the spending cap. The spending cap has done some good things, but how do we balance that with the current policy that is cruel (and actually a lot more costly). Civics Education Legislation was passed in 2023 to require civics and media literacy education by the 25-26 school year. But how robust is the curriculum?

Followup on Civics Education

Interested in working with Rhonda on this, or want to know more? Email admin@prowo.or

After the meeting, Rhonda wrote a separate letter to Derek, following up on this conversation. She advocated for a “comprehensive curriculum of age-level-appropriate civics/government and media education for every elementary/middle/high school student.” She also suggested to: “…encourage and reward student leadership and initiative by holding an annual luncheon honoring student leaders (across a range of topics like student government, community service, good citizenship, voter registration, environmental initiatives, etc.) nominated from every high school and community college in the state...This seems like it would be an easy and worthwhile program to implement.” Read the complete letter, which includes a link to the current curriculum for social studies.

Finally

Derek looks at the long view. He know some legislation can take years to pass, but he is committed to optimism, hope, and persistence. He is a strong believer in connections across the aisle to create more bipartisan legislation.

Progressive Women of Greater Hartford Mail: admin@prowo.org


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