Three Maroney bills head to governor’s desk
State Senator James Maroney (D-Milford) applauded the state House of Representatives passage of three bills he championed this legislative session. One of the Senator’s bills will provide college loan debt relief to Connecticut residents, another will expand coding and computer science curriculum in public school and the last will create a program to assist veterans with starting manufacturing careers. The three bills advanced out of the state House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support and will head to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk to be signed into law.
“I am elated to see all three bills receive bipartisan support in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate,” said Sen. Maroney. “These three pieces of legislation mean improved education in our schools, relief for our state’s college graduates and jobs for our state’s veterans. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with state Senator’s Alex Bergstein (D-Greenwich) and Will Haskell (D-Westport) on Senate Bill 72, which will provide student loan debt relief, and to both chambers for their support on my other two important pieces of legislation.”
Coding Curriculum for All
Senate Bill 957, “An Act Concerning The Inclusion Of Computer Science Instruction In The Public School Curriculum, Programs Of Teacher Preparation And Alternate Route To Certification Programs And The Creation Of An Adjunct Computer Science Instructor Permit And Computer Science Endorsement,” has the goal of every school in the state of Connecticut offering computer science education. Before passing the state House of Representatives by a 133-17 tally, it passed the state Senate unanimously.
In addition to promoting computer science curriculum in our schools, SB 957 will also make the following changes to teacher preparation and certification laws relating to computer science:
- Makes Connecticut the first state in the country to require that teacher preparation programs offer instruction in how to teach “programming and coding” to their existing computer and information technology skills curriculum
- Requires the State Department of Education to create an endorsement and eventually a certification in teaching computer Science
- Requires the Office of Higher Education (OHE), in collaboration and consultation with the State Department of Education (SDE), to develop an alternate route to certification (ARC) program for computer science teachers, which must include mentored apprenticeships and program admission criteria
- Asks the DECD to help facilitate internships for college students with companies in our state
- Asks DECD to perform an analysis of the workforce needs in our state, and work with the other relevant agencies to develop a plan to prepare our workforce
- Includes discussion of STEM and Computer Coding jobs in student success plans.
Providing College Loan Debt Relief to CT Residents
Senate Bill No. 72, “An Act Establishing a Tax Credit for Employers That Make Payments on Loans Issued to Certain Employees by the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority,” would provide a tax credit to employers making payments on their employees’ student loans. Students who attended the Connecticut State College University systems would be eligible and those who received loans through that body would be eligible for loan relief as well. This legislation passed the state Senate 27-8 and made it out of the House by a 138-8 vote.
This program is designed for employees who are full-time workers who have lived in Connecticut and been employed full-time for at least five years after graduation. Starting in 2022, each employer who makes loan payments directly to state loan authorities can claim a credit equal to half of the payments they make during any given year. The program allows them to receive these tax credits for no more than five years. The maximum payment available in a given year is $5,200.
Connecticut student loan debt more than doubled from 2008 to 2017, increasing in size from $8 billion to $17 billion. Connecticut realtors testified earlier this year that first-time home buyers are delayed up to seven years from making a purchase due to student loan debt. Sen. Maroney said earlier this year that this bill serves as an excellent recruiting tool for companies looking to attract new workers to the state of Connecticut.
Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans
Senate Bill 968 will establish the Military to Machinist Program, which will accomplish the following:
- Assist veterans in earning an advanced manufacturing certificate from a qualifying certificate program of an institution of higher education.
- Certificate holders will also be aided in finding employment with any eligible business* in the advanced manufacturing field.
- A designated liaison from The Workplace will assist veterans in obtaining funding for their education.
- The liaisons will also be tasked with helping eligible businesses apply to The Workplace for a grant to subsidize on-the-job training and compensation for new employees and tax credits for apprenticeship training in manufacturing, construction and plastic-related trades.
- In addition, the bill creates a special Veterans Platform to Employment program that will assist long termed unemployed veterans in gaining employment.
*Connecticut businesses in good standing regarding state and local tax payments are considered eligible businesses.
The Military to Machinist Program will go into effect Oct. 1, 2019 and was voted out of the House and Senate unanimously.