This is the archived website of former Governor Dannel P. Malloy. These pages are being preserved by the State of Connecticut for historical purposes.

This is the archived website of former Governor Dannel P. Malloy. These pages are being preserved by the State of Connecticut for historical purposes.

Governor Malloy greeting constituents at an event

Championing Social Progress

Connecticut has a well-earned reputation for fairness. In his 2018 State of the State address, Governor Malloy said that “no matter your creed or culture, no matter when or how you or your ancestors arrived in this country, fairness is a common sensibility we all hold dear…and here in Connecticut, the pursuit of fairness has been a constant throughout our history.” During his two terms, the Governor built on that tradition by championing initiatives that promoted the fair and equal treatment of all Connecticut residents.

  • Fairness in the Workplace

    “This is good public policy and specifically, good public health. Why would you want to eat food from a sick restaurant cook? Or have your children taken care of by a sick day care worker? The simple answer is — you wouldn’t. And now, you won’t have to.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy on final passage of paid sick leave law, June 4, 2011

    Even after the Great Recession, the economic gap between the rich and working poor continues to grow while many historically marginalized groups continue to be subject to harassment, oppression and unequal treatment in the workplace. Through his tenure, the Governor fought tirelessly to improve fairness in the workplace by promoting safer working conditions, mandating critical employee protections, closing the gender wage gap, lifting low wage workers out of poverty and providing formerly incarcerated people with a true second chance by removing barriers to employment. Many of these initiatives became the rallying cry for fairness across the country as other states followed Connecticut’s lead.

    Progress during the Malloy administration


    Enacted the nation’s first statewide paid sick leave policy, guaranteeing service workers earned sick time.
    Raised the minimum wage — became the first state in the nation to reach a $10.10 minimum wage.
    Convened a gender wage gap task force to address pay inequity and ended practices that perpetuate wage gaps such as pay secrecy policies and the use of salary history during the hiring process.
    Implemented the state Earned Income Tax Credit to support hard working families.
    Banned the box to prevent employers from asking about criminal history in an initial application and ensure offenders receive a second chance.



    Employees should not face the choice of going to work sick or losing their job. Parents should not have to risk losing a paycheck to care for their sick children. Colleagues should not have to risk exposing their coworkers to illness because they risk being fired. Employees who come to work while sick can unintentionally spread germs to their coworkers and customers, spreading illness further. Employees who are not offered paid sick leave by their employer tend to delay medical care, which could lead to more complications, expensive health care, and more days out of work.

    Therefore, guaranteeing service workers access to paid sick leave was one of Governor Malloy’s top priorities during his inaugural year. Specifically, legislation focused on ensuring workers in food service, hospitality, and healthcare occupations had access to paid sick time in order to prevent them from spreading illnesses to their colleagues and clients.

    Connecticut’s paid sick leave law Guarantees roughly 500,000 employees sick time who previously had none. The Connecticut model allows employees to earn one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked, capped at 40 hours per year. Eligible employees include service workers paid on an hourly basis in businesses with 50 or more employees.

    A year-and-a-half after implementation, the Center for Economic and Policy Research surveyed employers and many reported improvements in morale and office health, and few employers found abuse of the law. In fact, three quarters expressed support for the policy.[116]


    Out of Connecticut’s workforce of 1.7 million people, there are an estimated 70,000 to 90,000 workers who earn the minimum wage. Governor Malloy steadfastly believed that no person working full-time should earn a paycheck below the poverty line. Particularly because most minimum wage workers are adults and 60 percent are women. Increasing minimum wage is one of the most effective ways to raise children and families out of poverty. When workers do not earn enough to cover their basic needs, they resort to public assistance to supplement the lack in wages, in turn leaving families in a perpetual cycle of poverty. A study by the University of California, Berkeley[117] found that 51 percent of New England State’s public assistance spending supported working families.

    In 2012, Governor Malloy worked with Senator Looney and the General Assembly to increase the minimum wage for the first time in four years. By implementing the increase over a four-year period, the state provided predictability for the business community.

    Upon full implementation in 2014, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. During the past six years, the annual earnings of a minimum wage worker increased by nearly $4,000 annually.


    In 2018, women in Connecticut were paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men.[118]  The gap was greater for minority women; black women in Connecticut were paid 58 cents and Hispanic women were paid 47 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in 2018.This wage gap affects women of all backgrounds, at every age and at all education levels. These lost wages mean women have less money to support themselves and their families.

    In January 2013, Governor Malloy convened the Gender Wage Gap Task Force to study pay inequity and make recommendations to close wage gaps. Members of the group came from a range of backgrounds including public and private sector leaders, nonprofit advocacy, labor, and human resources. During its study, the task force collected data from the Connecticut Department of Labor, consulted national experts, and reviewed comprehensive studies from well-respected research institutions.

    In its final report issued in November 2013, the task force made a number of recommendations to increase awareness, promote education, support working women, promote business best practices, and continue to monitor wage gaps.[119]   In the years ahead, the administration introduced proposals to combat the wage gap.

    Governor Malloy signing pay equity legislation
    Joined by young activists, state officials, and lawmakers, Governor Malloy signs legislation that strengthens Connecticut’s efforts to secure equal pay for equal work for women in the workplace and help prevent unintended wage discrimination. (May 22, 2018)

    In 2015, the Governor led the passage of legislation to end "pay secrecy" – a practice among employers that frequently hinders pay discrimination from being pinpointed. It is now illegal for employers to prohibit their employees from disclosing their own compensation information or inquiring about the wages of another employee. Furthermore, in 2018 additional legislation to prohibit employers from inquiring about salary history during the hiring process was signed into law. Inquiring about salary history can have the unintended consequence of perpetuating wage gaps.


    Personal Care Attendants

    Connecticut undertook many initiatives to rebalance the state’s Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) system during the Malloy administration to shift from a reliance on nursing home care to home and community supports. As a result, the need for a large, stable, and well-trained home care workforce increased, including the need for personal care attendants (PCAs). PCAs provide personal care under a Medicaid or state-funded program, but are not state employees. 

    To improve the stability, quality, and availability of personal care attendants, Governor Malloy issued Executive Order No. 10 in September 2011, allowing PCAs, to organize and collectively bargain such issues as wage standards, training, and professional development. The executive order was codified in 2012[120] and the PCA Workforce Council was established to represent the interests of the state and individual self-directed PCA consumer-employers.

    The administration and PCAs obtained legislative approval for two collective bargaining agreements, first in 2014 and a successor agreement in 2018. Under the 2018 agreement, PCAs who were below $15.00 per hour were raised to $14.75 per hour, after which they receive $0.25 per hour increases on a schedule through June 30, 2021. PCAs who were at $15.00 and above will receive wage increases of 1.5 percent on a similar schedule. Additionally, the agreement provided for workers’ compensation coverage and increased training and orientation funding for PCAs.

    Child Care Workers

    As Connecticut undertook many initiatives to improve early childhood opportunities for young children, the need for a large, stable, and well-trained childcare workforce increased. Childcare providers who serve the Care 4 Kids program receive subsidies from the state, but are not state employees.

    To improve the stability, quality, and availability of these family child day care providers, Governor Malloy issued Executive Order No. 9 in September 2011, allowing childcare providers to organize and collectively bargain such issues as state reimbursement rates, benefits, and training, and professional development. The executive order was later codified in 2012.

    As a result, a collective bargaining agreement was approved in 2014 that provided general rate increases of 3 percent per year for all licensed family child care providers through 2017. Additionally, the agreement included parity increases to cover differentials between providers and increased rates for special needs children. A successor agreement was in negotiation in 2018.

    Nursing Home Workers

    To support nursing home workers in 2015 the Department of Social Services (DSS) was authorized to provide Medicaid nursing home rate increases. These increases totaled $38.6 million when fully annualized and supported wage increases, pension programs, health insurance, and training enhancements for more than 200 nursing homes, as well as new pension plans for more than 40 homes. Of this total, $26 million supported wage increases for workers providing care of residents, such as nurses, aides, attendants, recreation workers, and social workers, as well as housekeeping workers, dietary workers, and laundry service workers.

    In 2018, the Malloy administration authorized DSS to implement a 1 percent rate increase for all Medicaid home and community-based services, home health (excluding nursing), and state-funded home care services to be directed toward wage increases for workers. An additional 9 percent increase in the companion rate will also be implemented.


    For many years, Connecticut leaders had been trying to establish a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to provide substantial support to low and moderate-income working families, and in 2011 it became a reality. The EITC incentivizes work and promotes fairness in the tax system for those working hard to provide their children with food, medicine, and other necessities. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Combined with the federal credit, state EITCs help working families avoid poverty and the hardships it imposes on children.”[121]

    In his very first state budget proposal, Governor Malloy called for the establishment of a state EITC and in partnership with State Senator Marty Looney, passed it.[122]  As of 2018, the EITC rate was 23 percent. In 2016, nearly 200,000 state residents claimed this credit and, in total, between 2011 and 2016, the state EITC put nearly $650 million back in the pockets of working families to help them make ends meet.[123]


    Places of employment often come with an innate power structure that can leave too many people vulnerable and open to abuse. However, all people have the right to feel secure and free from harassment at work.

    In the months leading up to the 2018 legislative session, awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace and in our broader society skyrocketed, thanks to brave women and men coming forward with their experiences during the #MeToo movement. This prompted employees and employers to examine their workplaces’ cultures, training and prevention efforts, as well as existing protections and processes, and to identify opportunities to improve workplace civility and recognize the dignity of all.

    In December of 2017, Governor Malloy issued Executive Order No. 62, directing the Department of Administrative Services to review state agency sexual harassment policies and make recommendations to improve the state’s existing training and procedures.

    Building on DAS’s review, a quarter of a century after Connecticut first passed an anti-sexual harassment law, legislation was introduced to update and broaden Connecticut’s existing anti-harassment training requirements and content. The purpose of this proposal was to better address modern challenges, and to spark a substantive dialogue about respect, boundaries, and basic human decency by improving and expanding training in all workplaces, and to better prepare and empower bystanders to help stop harassment.

    While the legislature failed to pass this or any proposal related to addressing sexual harassment during the 2018 session, the Governor remained a steadfast advocate for these important and commonsense reforms.


    Governor Malloy championed sweeping criminal justice reforms to reintegrate offenders, drive down crime, rebuild communities, and rejuvenate the state’s economy — what he called Connecticut’s “Second Chance Society.”

    In the United States, it is estimated that between 60 and 75 percent of offenders remained unemployed a year after being released, increasing their likelihood of becoming repeat offenders.[124]  Obtaining employment is one of the most difficult obstacles facing ex-offenders when they return to their communities. To address this problem, the Governor supported legislation introduced by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus to “ban the box,” prohibiting employers from asking prospective employees about their prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on an initial employment application, except in limited circumstances. This law was enacted in 2016 and helps to ensure that individuals who have made past mistakes do not unnecessarily struggle to find employment, increasing their chances to be successful and reduce recidivism. [For more information on the Second Chance Society see the Criminal Justice Reform chapter on page 98]


    The Malloy administration took many steps to ensure workers in Connecticut were treated fairly. At the same time, there is more work to do to ensure that all workers, and in particular hourly workers, are able to prosper and thrive.

    Many minimum wage workers are forced to work multiple jobs to meet their most basic needs. The state must incrementally increase the minimum wage on a regular basis. A phased-in approach would allow employers ample time to prepare for the increases. Additionally, these increases in minimum wage will ensure that workers in direct service to our most vulnerable residents are paid fairly.

    Workers should not be forced to choose between their job and their health or family’s well-being. Since the passage of Connecticut’s paid sick leave law in 2011, nine states and Washington D.C. have followed Connecticut’s lead by enacting paid sick leave laws. Connecticut blazed the trail for paid sick leave, but also continued to seek out ways to improve the law and cover more workers. Connecticut’s law should be updated to cover more workers and align more closely with neighboring states. Specifically, Connecticut’s current paid sick leave law should be expanded to cover employers with 20 or more workers, (rather than those with only 50 or more workers), and to provide all of their hourly workers with earned paid sick time. 2018 legislation to this effect failed to pass.

    All workers deserve to work in an environment free from harassment. The state’s anti-harassment training requirements need to be strengthened to ensure workers are properly trained in bystander intervention, workplace civility, and acceptable behaviors in the workplace.

    A paid family and medical leave program guaranteeing workers wage replacement and job security for themselves or a loved one would be life-changing for employees and prevent many families from falling into poverty. At the same time, this is a very complex policy issue and expensive for states to build from the ground up. That’s why, as Connecticut continues to study the feasibility of enacting such a program, the state should urge the current federal administration to make good on the President’s campaign pledge to create a federal paid family and medical leave program.

    Finally, the next administration should continue to value its partners in labor and respect collective bargaining.


    116. Center for Economic ad Policy Research: Good for Business? Connecticut’s Paid Sick Leave Law 
    117. The Public Cost of Low-Wage Work in New England, University of California, Berkeley (2016)
    118. National Partnership for Woman & Families: Connecticut Women and the Wage Gap
    119. The Gender Wage Gap Task Force Report to the Governor: The Gender Wage Gap in Connecticut: Findings and Recommendations
    120. Public Act 12-33: An Act Creating A Process for Family Child Care Providers And Personal Care Attendants To Collectively Bargain With The State 
    121. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Policy Basics: State Earned Income Tax Credits
    122. Public Act 11-6: An Act Concerning The Budget For the Biennium Ending June 30, 2013, and Other Provisions Relating To Revenue
    123. Connecticut Department of Revenue Services Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Annual Report
    124. National Institute of Justice: Research on Reentry and Employment

  • Welcoming Immigrants and Refugees

    “Our state has a long legacy of acceptance, compassion, and fairness. Regardless of whether your family settled in Connecticut 300 years ago or three days ago, you are welcome here.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy, State of the State address, January 4, 2017

    During the eight years of his administration, Governor Malloy worked hard to ensure that Connecticut remained an inclusive and welcoming state to all. We have a long history of celebrating the immense value immigrant families bring to the state’s communities and the contributions they make to the state’s economy. These values were demonstrated throughout the administration as Connecticut welcomed refugees when others closed their doors, made higher education more accessible to undocumented youth, and created certain safeguards for immigrant communities in the state.

    Progress during the Malloy administration


    Governor Malloy received the prestigious JFK Profile in Courage Award for openly welcoming refugees to resettle in Connecticut.
    Enacted the TRUST Act to foster cooperation between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.
    Granted in-state tuition at public universities for DREAMers and equalized access to institutional aid.
    Issued drive-only licenses to undocumented Connecticut residents.
    Created and distributed guidance to assist families, school districts, and local law enforcement on immigration matters.



    When other states and nations were not welcoming those seeking refuge, Connecticut proudly welcomed refugee families to resettle here. Despite the intensive, years-long vetting each refugee was required to complete, more than half of United States’ Governors hid behind the guise of security concerns, and denied entry to the women, men, and children who had fled the Syrian civil war. Despite this political climate, the state maintained our commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment. This spirit of kindness was best demonstrated in 2015, when Governor Malloy personally welcomed a Syrian family to Connecticut, who had previously been turned away by the then-Governor Michael Pence of Indiana.

    During the peak of the refugee crisis, Connecticut had 819 refugee arrivals in fiscal year 2015 and 837 in fiscal year 2016. This was nearly double from the yearly average of 416 refugee arrivals seen between fiscal years 2005-2014.

    Governor Malloy was recognized for his unwavering support of refugees when he received the 2016 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. This incredible honor is awarded to public officials who made conscientious decisions without regard to any professional or personal backlash. Other recipients of this award include President Barack Obama and Congressman John Lewis.

    The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation presented Governor Malloy with the 2016 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for his stand on Syrian refugee resettlement.
    The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation presented Governor Malloy with the 2016 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for his stand on Syrian refugee resettlement. The honor was presented by Jack Schlossberg (right), President Kennedy's grandson, and attended by a Syrian family (center) that was welcomed by officials in Connecticut after being denied resettlement in by officials in Indiana. (May 1, 2016)


    TRUST Act

    In 2008, the federal government launched the Secure Communities program. The goal of this program is to identify immigrants in U.S. jails who are subject to deportation under federal immigration law. This federal immigration enforcement and deportation program relied heavily on cooperation from state and local authorities to provide information to federal authorities on undocumented individuals in their custody. By 2011, the program had been expanded to 1,595 jurisdictions in 44 states and territories.[125]   The Department of Homeland Security’s own task force on Secure Communities raised concerns about the program’s impact on community policing efforts and recommended that the program focus on serious offenders rather than those who committed civil or other minor offenses.[126]

    Connecticut sought to ensure that immigrant communities would not be afraid to seek assistance or cooperate with law enforcement, particularly victims of crime due to fear of deportation. To accomplish this goal, the state unanimously enacted the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools Act, or TRUST Act, in 2013 (Public Act 13-155[127]). Connecticut was among the first states to limit its participation in the Secure Communities program.

    Connecticut’s TRUST Act defined the circumstances under which local law enforcement would cooperate with immigration authorities as it pertained to a person in custody in the state. More specifically, it established specific guidelines for honoring an immigration detainer request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Such requests would only be honored if the person is convicted of a felony offense, has a previous deportation order, or poses a significant security threat. By establishing these parameters, the TRUST Act sought to avoid turning over to ICE immigrants who posed no threat to the safety of our communities. The TRUST Act also established a 48 hour maximum for detaining a person when an immigration detainer request is honored.

    Fighting to Keep Families Together

    The practice of separating families, regardless of immigration status, dishonors the very soul of this nation. Governor Malloy used every lever of his office, to stand in support of families in danger of being separated due to an impending deportation. He encouraged federal officials to grant stays of deportation, attended rallies in support of families, crafted guidance to help families prepare for potential ICE actions, and provided resources for school districts to help them serve the children left behind.

    In late spring of 2018, the Trump administration announced a zero-tolerance detention policy, which required prosecution of all who enter the country without proper documentation. This policy also required that any parent traveling with children have their children stripped from them by the federal government. This policy was one of the most inhumane and cruel practices our country has seen in recent history. Thousands of infants and children have been taken from their parents, separated from their siblings, and placed in detention centers.

    Governor Malloy openly denounced these actions and stated that Connecticut stood firmly against participation in the implementation of this policy or using state resources to carry it out. In this spirit, Governor Malloy refused to deploy the Connecticut National Guard to the southwestern border to assist the federal government implement this policy, and alternatively wrote to Secretary Azar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with suggestions for the reunification of families and offered state assistance to aid in the reunification process.


    Guidance for State Residents in the Face of Federal Uncertainty

    To assist families who had concerns regarding the Trump administration’s actions on immigration enforcement, the State of Connecticut developed and published a toolkit with guidance on creating a family preparedness plan in the event a parent or guardian is detained or deported by ICE. The plan provides templates for guardians to record their child’s important information, a list of legal documents that should be included in the plan, and step by step instructions on filling out a Standby Guardian Form to prevent children from landing in foster care. The toolkit was made available in nine languages online.

    Additionally, in response to hostile immigration executive orders issued in January 2017, the administration issued guidance to every school superintendent and police chief in the state outlining recommended protocols to inform decision making in their respective communities. The recommendations were drafted in conjunction with the Commissioners of Correction, Education, and Emergency Services and Public Protection. The memoranda for law enforcement cited the TRUST Act and included the requirements for honoring a voluntary detainer request. This document also clarified that state and local law enforcement agencies are not required to engage in enforcement of federal immigration law. For superintendents, the memoranda provided guidance on best practices for supporting students, responding to attempts to question a child’s immigration status on school grounds, and the provision of resources for immigrant families regarding their rights.

    Access to Higher Education for DREAMers

    Children residing in the United States have a right to public education regardless of race, national origin, immigration status, or the status of their parents or guardians. Connecticut was committed to providing a safe, welcoming, and supportive school environment to all children. Undocumented students attend American schools and are an integral part of every community. Unfortunately, these same students faced several barriers in when it came time to pursue higher education.

    In an effort to make higher education more accessible, Governor Malloy signed a law granting in-state tuition to undocumented students in 2011, Public Act 11-43[128]. This was be the first step in making higher education more affordable and attainable for undocumented youth. In 2015, Governor Malloy introduced and signed Public Act 15-82[129] easing the requirements for accessing in-state tuition by lowering the number of years that must have been spent in a Connecticut high school from four to two.

    Governor Malloy signs legislation allowing undocumented students attending Connecticut public colleges and universities the opportunity to qualify for the state’s system of financial aid, which they were already paying into.
    Joined by college students and legislators, Governor Malloy signs legislation allowing undocumented students attending Connecticut public colleges and universities the opportunity to qualify for the state’s system of financial aid, which they were already paying into. (April 27, 2018)

    Furthermore, during both the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions, Governor Malloy, along with Representative Gregg Haddad and Senator Beth Bye actively supported legislation that would equalize access to institutional financial aid. Previously, state law unfairly denied access to this funding stream for undocumented students, despite the requirement that a portion of every student’s tuition went into funding this aid. In 2018, Governor Malloy signed into law Public Act 18-2[130], which granted undocumented students access to this merit-based institutional financial aid system.

    Drive-Only Licenses

    The act of driving is essential to everyday life. Depending on where a person is located and whether public transit is available, getting to a grocery store or a doctor’s visit can require extraordinary effort. Often, undocumented individuals resorted to driving without a license out of sheer necessity without the training and oversight that a driver’s license provides. To ease access to driver’s licenses and ensure public safety, a “Drive-Only License” program was created in 2013. A drive-only license cannot be utilized for federal identification purposes but the program allows undocumented individuals to apply for and obtain a driver’s license (Public Act 13-89[131]). This measure enabled more drivers to obtain automobile insurance, making the roads safer for all drivers. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers the driver’s test in several languages including Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish. As of June 30, 2018, the DMV issued 43,205 drive-only licenses and 49,839 permits.

    Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

    Under federal law, an immigrant youth who is under 21 and meets specific criteria may apply for special immigrant juvenile status. However, Connecticut state law denied immigrants access to this program because of its overly restrictive definition of “minor”. To assist those who were denied their right to access this program, Governor Malloy signed Public Act 18-92[132] expanding the definition of a minor for purposes of applying for special immigrant juvenile status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. If a person has this status, they are able to legally remain in the country.


    First and foremost, Connecticut should continue to be a welcoming state where all are welcome to live, work, and raise a family. As the federal government seeks to target and malign immigrants and refugees, the state should continue to defend the founding principles of the nation.

    The state should also consider reducing maximum misdemeanor sentences to 364 days to avoid triggering an immigration referral and potential deportation for minor offenses. Under federal law, a felon is defined as an offense that carries a sentence of a year or more. Since misdemeanor sentences in Connecticut have a maximum sentence of a year, a person could be considered a felon under federal law despite the actual crime. By reducing the maximum to 364 for a misdemeanor charge, the discrepancy between misdemeanor and felony sentences would be eliminated.


    125. American Immigration Council, Secure Communities: A Fact Sheet
    126. Homeland Security Advisory Council: Task Force on Secure Communities Findings and Recommendations September 2011
    127. Public Act 13-155: An Act Concerning Civil Immigration Detainers
    128. Public Act 11-43: An Act Concerning Access to Postsecondary School
    129. Public Act 15-82: An Act Concerning In-State Tuition Eligibility
    130. Public Act 18-2: An Act Assisting Students Without Legal Immigration Status With the Cost of College
    131. Public Act 13-89: An Act Concerning the Issuance of Motor Vehicle Operators’ Licenses
    132. Public Act 18-92: An Act Concerning Guardianship Appointments for Individuals Seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

  • Improving Resiliency and Disaster Relief

    “Take these next few hours before the winds pick up to charge your cell phones, to make sure you have filled your bathtubs with water, and to fill any other containers you have with drinkable water. Make sure that you have fresh batteries in your flashlights. Make sure everything on your property that isn’t nailed down is inside. Make sure that you check one last time on your neighbors, particularly if they are a senior citizen or a person with a disability.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy speaking to Connecticut residents during a news briefing from the state’s Emergency Operations Center as Hurricane Sandy was approaching toward the state, October 28, 2012

    Over the past eight years, Governor Malloy has successfully managed seven major natural disasters by working with agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other nonprofit partners. The Malloy administration continuously worked to ensure the State of Connecticut is as prepared as possible for natural disasters and other major incidents to support residents as they try to recover from these catastrophes; as well as working with communities as they seek resiliency in their long-term planning.

    Progress during the Malloy administration


    Managed eight Presidential declared Major Disasters, including administering more than $300 million in federal disaster aid.
    Convened the Two Storm Panel in 2011 to conduct an after-action review of Tropical Storm Irene and October Nor’easter, and implemented recommendations to improve state response and storm resiliency throughout the state.
    Organized state efforts in wake of catastrophic storms to assist evacuees from Puerto Rico and elsewhere following the same recovery process we would use if the storms had happened in Connecticut.
    Issued Executive Order No. 34, directing state agencies to follow the National Incident Management System, which standardizes emergency management across all public and private sectors.
    Developed the nation’s first Cybersecurity Strategy in July 2017 and Cybersecurity Action Plan in May 2018.



    During the last eight years, the state experienced eight severe weather events that rose to the level of a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration under the federal Stafford Act. These storms ranged from a record-breaking major blizzard starting in January of 2011, to Superstorm Sandy, to tornadoes and damaging windstorms of May 15, 2018. For each storm, the Governor convened a Unified Command at the State Emergency Operations Center and managed each emergency following the State Response Framework. Using the structure of the five state Department of Homeland Security (DEMHS) Regions, the Governor received updated status reports from state agencies and key private sector partners and held conference calls with local leaders both to learn firsthand of any emerging issues and to share information regarding available state resources. Following the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the Malloy administration also instituted an Emergency Support Function (ESF) 15 emergency communications group to make sure that messaging was available to all state residents, including those for whom English is not the preferred language.

    Governor Malloy and state emergency management officials hold a unified command meeting at the State Emergency Opera-tions Center in Hartford to prepare for an impending winter storm. (January 26, 2015)
    Governor Malloy and state emergency management officials hold a unified command meeting at the State Emergency Operations Center in Hartford to prepare for an impending winter storm. (January 26, 2015)

    Eight Presidential Major Disaster Declarations were requested and received, which made various federal disaster aid programs, or direct federal assistance, available to Connecticut residents and municipalities, as well as to state agencies and certain nonprofit organizations. These programs have brought in more than $320 million in federal disaster assistance, and a number that will grow with the declaration for the May and September 2018 storms.

    The State Response Framework, and the Unified Command concept, is used not only to address natural disasters, but in response to large scale planned events such as parades or other emergencies as well. Examples of its use in other tragic events include the Sandy Hook shootings and the Kleen Energy explosion in Middletown.


    In 2011, in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, and followed by the October Nor’easter, the Two Storm Panel was convened to conduct an after-action review of the response to those storms, and to make recommendations for improvement. Connecticut adopted many of these recommendations, enhancing emergency management functions at both the state and local levels:

    • Issued Executive Order 34[133] establishing the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) as the standard system for preparedness, response and recovery related to emergency incidents.
    • As part of the SRF and at the direction of the Governor, created an implemented a plant to restore electricity and utilities to citizens in conjunction with the private sector.
    • Standardized making the process of debris management in the wake of a major storm.
    • Created the State Disaster Recovery Framework, a system of working groups to address all aspects of disaster recovery.

    An Emergency Planning and Preparedness Initiative (EPPI) was instituted providing an opportunity for participants to convene their Incident Management Teams and Unified Commands to address potential scenarios in a non-emergency environment. The first EPPI exercise took place just before Superstorm Sandy and helped ready the state for that disaster. Also, state agencies made it a priority to recognize their emergency response and recovery roles under the State Response Framework and State Disaster Recovery Framework. State agencies have identified Incident Management Teams to assist with agency responsibilities in an emergency, as well as developing and maintaining agency Continuity of Operations Plans.

    The state further achieved first-time accreditation in 2015 through the nationally recognized Emergency Management Accreditation Program.


    Puerto Rico was still reeling from Hurricane Irma when Hurricane Maria made landfall just two weeks later as a Category 4 storm on September 20, 2017, further devastating the island. In the wake of the storm, thousands lost their homes and the vast majority of the island was left without power for months. The devastation on the island forced many to evacuate and move to the mainland. As of June 2018, an estimated 13,000 people who were displaced relocated to Connecticut.

    In late September 2017, the Governor’s Unified Command convened to coordinate and collaborate on an operational response at the Governor’s direction. An Evacuee Hurricane Support Planning Group regularly met to discuss the status of evacuees, as well as to address issues as they emerged. This group, and the smaller Disaster Case Management Working Group, as of October 2018, continues to meet and hold phone calls.

    After arriving in Connecticut, a number of households received temporary shelter at local motels and hotels under the FEMA Temporary Shelter Assistance program. When FEMA proposed to cease funding for the program, the Governor of Puerto Rico requested FEMA to extend Temporary Shelter Assistance funding. One such request was initially approved by FEMA and later redacted, to prevent these families from losing housing, the state provided $235,000 for hoteling to supplement shelter assistance funding through July 31, 2018. The state also provided an allocation of $600,000 for the Department of Housing, and $500,000 to the Department of Social Services to further assist displaced families.

    Many of the families displaced by Hurricane Maria included school-aged children. As evacuees relocated to Connecticut, some school districts enrollments increased. Ultimately, more than 1,700 displaced students enrolled in Connecticut schools between October 2017 and June 2018. To assist with education needs, Connecticut provided an additional $400,000 for the SDE to assist the top six school districts with the largest student enrollment increase.

    Relief Efforts on the Island

    While providing assistance to those in Connecticut was a priority, there was a dire situation left behind on the islands. Governor Malloy deployed a C-130H cargo plane full of supplies and seven airmen from the Connecticut National Guard to assist with relief efforts in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. After the drop-off of supplies, the airmen flew to Georgia to be on standby for follow-up missions. In 2017, the Connecticut National Guard was deployed to assist relief efforts in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and Florida and Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma. Under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), the state also sent a contingent of Connecticut State Police troopers on a two-week mission to assist the island.


    Governor Malloy’s administration led the nation in Cybersecurity, by engaging with public, private and regulated utilities and publishing a Public Utilities Cybersecurity Action Plan.  This plan, developed in conjunction with the electric and water utilities, outlined how to assure the public that appropriate actions are being taken to protect out critical infrastructure. Two confidential annual reviews of the utilities have been held since that time with reports that describe sustained improvement in cybersecurity posture as measured by the Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model.

    Connecticut broadened cybersecurity to the entire state when announcing the state’s first Cybersecurity Strategy in July 2017. The Connecticut Cybersecurity Strategy was based on the seven principles of executive leadership and awareness, literacy, preparation, response, recovery, communication and verification. The cybersecurity strategy discussed the seven principles and assessed the challenges faced by the following five sectors:

    • Connecticut State Government;
    • Municipalities;
    • Business
    • Higher Education; and
    • Law Enforcement and Security.

    The specific sectors were selected due to their prominence throughout Connecticut as well as their role in any major incident. Despite having been applied specifically to those five sectors in the Cybersecurity Strategy, the overall principles can be applied universally to reduce cybersecurity risks.

    Building upon the Cybersecurity Strategy, a Cybersecurity Action Plan was released in May 2018. The Action Plan follows the strategy laid out by the Cybersecurity strategy and sets forth the steps needed to strengthen the state’s ability to defend and recover from cyber stacks. Further, the Action Plan’s purpose is to facilitate coordination across public and private sectors.


    In order to be better prepared for the next inevitable disaster, it is essential for all emergency management partners to continually train, and plan. This must include maintaining support of the annual statewide emergency management exercise run by the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (currently known as the EPPI or Emergency Planning and Preparedness Initiative), which provides state and local leadership to enhance preparedness.

    The key to successful preparedness, response, and recovery is a coordinated and integrated program of emergency management and homeland security, which is the mission of DEMHS. It is important to continue to support DEMHS functions, including continued implementation of the State Response Framework and State Disaster Recovery Framework and other emergency management planning, training and exercises, such as Policy Working Groups and State EOC Task Forces under the DEMHS Advisory Council, as well as recognition and support of effective regional emergency planning teams that provide for collaboration and coordination at the local level.

    Recognizing the significance of collaboration, state agencies must continue to recognize their critical roles as partners in the state’s emergency management program, including following the National Incident Management System and Connecticut General Statutes Section 28-5(e), maintaining agency Incident Management Teams, agency Continuity of Operations Plans, and support of state emergency preparedness, planning, response, recovery, and mitigation activities.

    Successful emergency management and preparedness involves identifying emerging issues and maintaining current initiatives. Specific examples of current programs that should be supported and enhanced are the school security and safety planning and exercise initiatives, as well as the state’s significant cyber security initiatives, including the DESPP/DEMHS cyber security committee established under the auspices of the DEMHS Advisory Council.


    133. Governor Malloy's Executive Order No. 34

  • Supporting the LGBTQ Community

    “Today’s decision marks a historic moment in U.S. history and reaffirms everything this great nation stands for — equality, liberty, and justice for all. It’s a day that Americans across our state and country can celebrate.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision concerning marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, June 26, 2015 

    Throughout his administration, Governor Malloy not only pushed back on attempts to restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community, but also introduced proactive measures to ensure that all residents of Connecticut can live safely and thrive.

    Progress during the Malloy administration


    Prohibited discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
    Banned the use of conversion therapy — a dangerous and discredited practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation.
    Enacted first in the nation presumptive placement for transgender inmates.
    Issued multiple executive orders protecting transgender rights.
    Safeguarded the right of individuals to serve in the Connecticut National Guard regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
    Issued travel bans for state business to states that enacted discriminatory laws targeting the LGBTQ community.
    Launched an initiative to recruit LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents.



    Protecting Gender Identity and Expression

    In 2011, Governor Malloy signed Public Act 11-55[134] to protect individuals from discrimination based on their gender identity. Public Act 11-55 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment, housing, public accommodations, granting credit, or other laws over which the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities has jurisdiction. Subsequently, the Obama administration announced in 2015 that the military was exploring ways to end what they dubbed an “outdated” ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.

    In response, Connecticut took action to ensure that state law accounted for this coming change. With Public Act 16-153[135], the state expanded protections for LGBTQ members of the Connecticut National Guard, and put Connecticut on the map as one of the first states that moved to protect all individuals who answer the call to serve.

    Standing up to Discrimination

    People should be treated equally and fairly regardless of their gender identity or expression, not just in Connecticut but throughout the United States. After Indiana and North Carolina enacted legislation that was discriminatory toward the LGBTQ community in 2015 and 2016, Governor Malloy issued Executive Order No. 45[136] and Executive Order No. 52[137], respectively. These executive orders directed all state agencies, departments, boards and commissions, the University of Connecticut, and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities to immediately review all state funded or state sponsored travel to those specific states. Governor Malloy lifted the travel ban on state-funded travel to Indiana after the state enacted legislation that provided some protections to members of the LGBTQ community. As of November 2018, the travel ban to North Carolina remained in effect. While some states enacted discriminatory laws, the federal government also sought to roll back protections for LGBTQ students.

    Governor Malloy, joined by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, signs Executive Order No. 45 banning state-funded travel to states that have enacted legislation to protect religious freedom but do not prohibit discrimination for classes of citizens. The order was written in response to recent developments in Indiana. (March 30, 2015)
    Governor Malloy, joined by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, signs Executive Order No. 45 banning state-funded travel to states that have enacted legislation to protect religious freedom but do not prohibit discrimination for classes of citizens. The order was written in response to recent developments in Indiana. (March 30, 2015)

    Discrimination, harassment, and bullying have no place in classroom. Every child, no matter their gender identity or expression, should be treated equally and fairly in a safe, supportive environment. In February 2017, the Trump administration sought to roll back federal guidelines protecting transgender students in public schools. In response, Governor Malloy issued Executive Order No. 56[138], which clarified that the new federal actions did not change state law prohibiting discrimination based on a child’s gender identity.

    Five months later the Trump administration once again sought to discriminate against transgender individuals by banning them from serving in any military capacity. The Governor took swift action in issuing Executive Order No. 60[139] which reinforced the state’s nondiscrimination policies within the Connecticut Military Department. Specifically, the order directed the Connecticut Army and Air National Guard to take no action that discriminates against service members in enlistment, promotion, or any other aspect of their services merely on the basis of their gender identity or expression.

    Conversion Therapy Ban

    Conversion therapy is an abusive practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, while masquerading as legitimate therapy or medical treatment. This practice has long been discredited and seen as dangerous for youth who are subjected to it. In 2017, Connecticut banned this abhorrent practice for anyone under 18 years of age. The law prohibited licensed health care providers from conducting conversion therapy, any violation of this law is considered unprofessional conduct and is grounds for disciplinary action. Other non-health care providers engaging in conversion therapy while conducting trade or commerce will be subject to penalties under the unfair or deceptive trade practice laws of the state. Lastly, this law bans the use of public funds for the purpose of practicing or making referrals for conversion therapy.

    Fair Treatment of Transgender Inmates

     In February 2018, the Department of Correction issued an administrative directive to ensure that inmates who are gender non-conforming receive appropriate, respectful, and equal treatment. This directive — one of the first and most comprehensive in the nation — specified the appropriate protocols for inmates who identify as gender non-conforming and/or are intersex. Later that year, with Public Act 18-4[140], Connecticut became the first state in the nation to guarantee that transgender inmates be presumptively placed in a prison facility that correlates with their gender identity. Additionally, Public Act 18-4 codified portions of the earlier administrative directive, such as allowing the inmate to determine the preferred gender of the correctional officer who will conduct their searches.

    Inclusive Adoption Policies

    As of May 2018, there were 4,300 children in the care and custody of the state. Of those, about half are not expected to return to their biological families. While other states were attempting to prevent same sex parents from adopting children, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families launched an initiative to recruit LGBTQ families to become foster or adoptive parents. Through this initiative, the state hopes to identify at least 150 more foster families, ensuring more children have access to loving and supportive homes.


    The state’s role in preserving and protecting rights for the LGBTQ community is more pressing now than ever. As the federal government rolls back hard-fought anti-discrimination safeguards, Connecticut should be vigilant in identifying opportunities for the state to step in. This is particularly important given the federal government’s efforts to undo a Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that prevents healthcare providers and hospital systems from discriminating against transgender patients, and Trump’s scrubbing of the word “transgender” from their public materials. Connecticut must continue to offer equal protections to all of its citizens, even as the federal government refuses to do so.

    Connecticut should also examine opportunities to ensure that LGBTQ minors have access to essential sexual health services. Future law makers should consider removing all barriers regarding the parental consent requirement for minors seeking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which greatly reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

    Additionally, non-discriminatory policies should continue to be supported and reinforced wherever possible. Connecticut made strides in protecting those who come in contact with the judicial system by creating the first in the nation presumptive placement for transgender inmates. At the same time, a practice known as the “gay panic defense” should be banned to protect crime victims. This defense is often used by perpetrators who use a victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation to justify their decision to act violently during a confrontation. This is absolutely unacceptable. Connecticut should join states like Illinois and California in banning this defense and ensuring justice is properly served.

    The state can also support increased access to information, services, and advocacy by the LGBTQ community. There are a number of providers and advocates throughout the state working in silos that could be organized into a coalition or network. States like New York and California have established a network which encourages collaboration, the exchange of information, improved relationships with the government, and statewide advocacy.


    134. Public Act 11-55: An Act Concerning Discrimination
    135. Public Act 16-153: An Act Concerning the Military Department’s Nondiscrimination Laws
    136. Governor Malloy’s Executive Order No. 45
    137. Governor Malloy’s Executive Order No. 52
    138. Governor Malloy’s Executive Order No. 56
    139. Governor Malloy’s Executive Order No. 60
    140. Public Act 18-4: An Act Concerning the Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Persons

  • Protecting the Right to Vote

    “Voting is the most basic tenet of our democracy. It is incumbent upon us to use 21st century technology to give people better access to the ballot box and not impede participation in our electoral process.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy upon signing Public Act No.12-56, An Act Concerning Voting Rights, on June 4, 2012

    The right to vote, and the ability to exercise that right, is fundamental to the preservation of democracy. Along with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Governor Malloy sought to make it easier for every citizen to exercise their right to vote in the most convenient, comfortable, and secure way possible. Each of these initiatives increased voter participation and the accuracy and currency of the voter rolls.

    Progress during the Malloy administration


    Enacted same-day voter registration, allowing another opportunity for busy voters or those who have moved recently to register and vote in the right location.
    Increased penalties for individuals attempting to interfere with a person’s ability to cast their vote.
    Implemented online voter registration, increasing convenience for new voter registration and for updating details or changing address.
    Became one of the first states to implement Automated Voter Registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles, modernizing and digitizing compliance with the National Voter Registration Act to provide swift and convenient electronic voter registration for eligible DMV customers.
    Entered into the National Popular Vote Compact, which will award Connecticut’s presidential electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.



    In 2012, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in direct response to nationwide voter suppression tactics, Governor Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman joined Secretary of the State (SOTS) Denise Merrill to announce a comprehensive legislative package aimed directly at expanding and preserving voting rights.

    Election Day Registration

    In an effort to improve voter turnout, Governor Malloy introduced and signed into law Public Act 12-56, An Act Concerning Voting, which granted Connecticut voters the ability to register to vote on the same day as the general election.[141]  In order to make this new rule feasible for the 169 municipalities in Connecticut, the law allows previously unregistered voters to register and vote in a central location in each town on Election Day, and also allows any eligible voter with a registration anomaly to correct it and still vote on Election Day. This improvement helps eligible voters who move frequently, newcomers to the state, and those with significant work and school commitments to register and vote on Election Day. It also resolved inaccuracies in the voter rolls immediately on Election Day without the voter having to use a provisional ballot.

    Curbing Voter Intimidation and Interference

    To allow individuals to cast their ballot free from harassment Public Act 12-193, An Act Increasing Penalties for Voter Intimidation and Interference and Concerning Voting by Absentee Ballot, became law. It increased the maximum penalties for violating certain election laws related to influencing or intimidating voters, making them class C and D felonies. Under this law, the following crimes received increased penalties:

    • Circulating misleading instructions to any voter;
    • Influencing or attempting to influence any voter to refrain from voting by force, threat, bribery, or corrupt, fraudulent, or deliberately deceitful means and with the intent to disenfranchise the voter;
    • Threatening, forcing, or bribing a voter, suppressing or destroying any vote, or falsely or wrongfully announcing results;
    • An employer who, within 60 days before an election, school district election, or municipal or school district meeting, attempts to influence, threatens, or later retaliates against an employee in connection with the election or meeting;Inducing or attempting to induce an elector to do anything that enables anyone to see or know how the elector or another person voted;
    • Tampering with a voting tabulator or defacing or destroying a ballot or any other device used to vote, with the intent to cause the voting equipment to incorrectly register votes.

    Connecticut citizens deserve every tool possible to easily cast a ballot. The administration improved the antiquated voter registration process by making necessary upgrades to election technology.

    Martin Luther King III, son of minister and civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., meets with Governor Malloy in his office at the State Capitol in Hartford to discuss pending legislation the governor introduced to preserve voting rights and expand access to voter registration in Connecticut. (April 23, 2012)
    Martin Luther King III, son of minister and civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., meets with Governor Malloy in his office at the State Capitol in Hartford to discuss pending legislation the governor introduced to preserve voting rights and expand access to voter registration in Connecticut. (April 23, 2012)

    Online Voter Registration

    To make voter registration more efficient and to create a more accurate voter file, Public Act 12-56 brought Connecticut’s electoral process into the 21st Century by creating a modern online voter registration system for any citizen who has a driver’s license or non-driver identification. The system verifies the voter’s identification by checking their records and signature in the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) database, allowing rapid, convenient, and secure registration without mailing in a form or postcard or having to drive to the registrar’s office. Online voter registration has vastly reduced paperwork, improved the speed and accuracy of voter rolls, and given eligible voters easy access to register from their phones or computers. Connecticut has registered more than 200,000 new voters via Online Voter Registration since the system was implemented in 2012.

    Automated Voter Registration (AVR) at the Department of Motor Vehicles

    In 2016, the DMV, in partnership with the SOTS office, eliminated the need for their customers to fill out paper registration forms, which enabled electronic transmission of voter registration applications and changes of address to registrars in all 169 cities and towns. This process not only expedited voter registration for Connecticut’s citizens, but also streamlined the verification work conducted by our registrars. The system is fully auditable for the date, time, location, and DMV employee who conducted the transaction, allowing registrars or the Secretary of the State to resolve any concern directly.

    In the two years following implementation, more than 100,000 new voters registered through AVR, making it the single largest source of new voter registrations in the state and garnering praise from election experts nationwide. In addition, 130,000 registered voters had their voter registration updated automatically after submitting a change of address through DMV. Meaning, 65,000 voters did not have to update their addresses separately with their local registrar. And for people moving to a new town, there was no longer a need to register again.

    In addition, the DMV is moving to a fully electronic AVR system. This system will take advantage of technology upgrades to give the voter full control over their registration transaction, make the process even faster by showing DMV customers their current registration status, and allowing them to make any required changes on a touch screen. The system, funded through the administration’s innovative Information Technology Capital Investment Fund, will also provide electronic confirmation, receipts, and reminders of election dates, as well as eventually integrating the ability to submit an address change online. In addition, this electronic upgrade will enable faster processing of all transactions at the DMV, not just those involving voter registration.


    Elections matter. It is vital for every citizen to know that every vote counts, especially at a time when other states are passing laws suppressing voter turnout. Since our nation’s founding, five U.S. presidents have won the office without winning the majority of the electorate, two of these elections have occurred in the past twenty years. In 2018, Connecticut passed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact[142], an agreement among states to award all their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins our country’s overall popular vote.

    Connecticut was the twelfth state to join the compact. The agreement will go into effect among the participating states once the state’s signed on representing an absolute majority of votes in the Electoral College. With Connecticut’s participation in the compact, the effort is currently at 172 of the 270 Electoral Votes needed. When fully realized, the compact will guarantee that the candidate that gets the most votes wins.


    Connecticut must continue to promote full participation in the democratic process by making it even easier and more convenient to vote. Early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and voting by mail should all be adopted to remove barriers to every citizen’s ability to vote. Those who work long hours, double shifts, or jobs constrained by inflexible schedules should not be stripped of this fundamental right simply because they cannot make it to the polls. In addition, same-day registration, which has worked well for general elections, should be extended to primary day for people who are not already registered with a party.

    Connecticut should also revisit the effort to expand voter access through early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. The restrictions Connecticut currently places on absentee ballot access are relics of a long gone past and must be removed. Reintroducing the constitutional amendment that passed by the General Assembly in 2012 and giving the voters another chance to understand and approve of this measure is the next logical step in increasing voter participation.

    Consistent with the Governor’s Second Chance Society initiatives, the General Assembly should allow citizens returning from incarceration to have their voting rights immediately restored upon their entry into parole increasing their sense of ownership and responsibility in their communities.


    141. Public Act 12-56: An Act Concerning Voting Rights
    142. Public Act 18-9: An Act Adopting the Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote

  • Fairness for People with Disabilities

    “Connecticut has a diverse and talented labor force, and that includes the skills and experience that persons with disabilities provide. Nobody should be excluded from the workplace because of a disability — employers can benefit greatly from celebrating the diversity that our workforce offers.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy commemorating National Disability Employment Awareness Month, October 2016

    Connecticut has a long tradition of being at the forefront of championing social progress. Throughout his administration, Governor Malloy focused on guaranteeing fairness and access to all persons and sought to engage the disability community to ensure that the perspectives of people with disabilities were represented in his administration.

    Progress during the Malloy administration


    Created a new agency to serve as a model for coordinated disability services in Connecticut — the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS).
    Implemented Text to 9-1-1, a new emergency telecommunications system which now allows texting 911 to increase access for people with disabilities in emergency situations.
    Created a cabinet-level role of Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community — a first for any administration in the history of Connecticut.
    Implemented person-first, respectful language across the Connecticut General Statutes, which updated all outdated terminology related to the disability community.
    Updated the International Symbol of Access — passed legislation updating the International Symbol of Access in Connecticut to an active, dynamic symbol.
    Implemented Diverse-Ability Career Fairs; a series of jab fairs for people with disabilities.



    Created a New Disability-Focused Agency

    In 2011, the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) was created through Public Act 11-44 from previously stand-alone agencies and units within other agencies to provide more consolidated services and supports for people with disabilities. DORS programs, policies and practices are designed to promote employment, independence, equal access and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. The department strives to be a resource for information and technical assistance for other stakeholders in Connecticut as well.

    DORS Level Up Program and App

     Level Up provides students with disabilities with the tools, training and resources to work competitively and forge a path to independence. Vocational services are made available in school settings, outside of school hours and in the summer months. The Level Up app was created to help students ages 16 to 21 stay connected to their Level Up counselor, make appointments, get notifications for activities and events and track their achievements.

    Level Up provides a full range of services:

    • Vocational counseling that helps students connect with jobs based on their interests and abilities
    • Job search tools, from resume writing and interviewing skills to informational interviews and job shadow experiences
    • On-the-job and hands-on work experiences
    • Assistive technology services such as adaptive equipment for mobility, communication and work activities
    • School-to-work services that support success along the way such as self-advocacy, peer mentoring and workplace readiness training
    • Access to benefits counseling to advise students and families on how employment impacts benefits
    • Ongoing support and access to additional resources beyond the school year

    Text 9-1-1

    Text 911 provides residents with the ability to send a text message to 9-1-1 from a handheld device in emergency situations when it is either unsafe or they are unable to place a voice call. This technology provides increased protections for residents, and is specifically intended for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. It is also intended to be used when people are in certain situations where it would be unsafe or impractical to place an audible voice call, such as during a home invasion or when a person is incapable of speech due to a medical emergency.

    Implemented Respectful, Person-First Language

    The Connecticut General Statutes contain numerous examples of outdated terminology used to refer to members of the disability community and others. In 2017, Governor Malloy requested all state agencies to research their respective statutes and identify any and all outdated, disrespectful language for replacement. The result was passage of Public Act 17-202, An Act Concerning the Use of Respectful and Person-First Language, which updated antiquated language and replaced it with person-first, respectful language.[143]  Examples of person-first language included in the legislation include the use of “a person/individual with a disability” instead of “the disabled” or “the handicapped.

    Updated the International Symbol of Access

    In 2016, the state updated the International Symbol of Access with Public Act 16-78, An Act Modernizing the Symbol of Access for Persons with Disabilities. The law established a more active, dynamic symbol. The new symbol is to be used on all appropriate placards, signs and parking spaces going forward. In addition, the word, “handicapped” is to be removed from all signs and replaced with the word “reserved”. Connecticut became the second state in the country to implement the new symbol into law.[144]


    A New Cabinet-Level Role

    In 2014, Governor Malloy established the role of Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community, a new, cabinet-level role in his administration. The purpose of the liaison was to be both an advocate and ombudsman on behalf of the state’s disability community within the Governor’s Office. Furthermore, this person increased outreach on behalf of the executive branch agencies to people with disabilities and provided practical public policy advice to better serve the disability community in employment opportunities, programs and services. In addition to serving as a liaison between state government and residents with disabilities, other duties included evaluating and recommending improvements to how the state provides information to, access for and communication with people with disabilities.

    Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities

    Through Executive Order No. 19, the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities was formally established in 2012. The Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities currently invests in technology, training, public policy and new business development that address the following areas:

    • Enabling individuals with developmental disabilities to have fulfilling lives in their own homes in their own communities and encouraging the closure of state-run institutions.
    • Promoting self-direction and supported decision-making in lieu of guardianships and paternalistic, institutional custodial care.
    • Supporting self-advocacy through training programs and direct support of grassroots advocacy groups such as the Cross Disability Lifespan Alliance, People First and CT KASA.
    • Assisting parents with developmental disabilities to be more involved in their children’s school and community activities.
    • Developing more effective means for individuals who live with developmental disabilities to enter the workforce in meaningful, employment.
    • Creating opportunities for individuals who live with developmental disabilities to pursue post-secondary education.
    • Increasing the availability of On-Demand Transportation for individuals who live with developmental disabilities for travel to work, community and leisure activities.

    Diverse Ability Career Fairs

    The Department of Rehabilitation Services with the Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities, the Department of Labor (DOL) as well as other public and private agencies to develop and launch a series of career and resource fairs for job seekers with disabilities through funding made available through DOL’s Disability Employment Initiative. The career fairs also provide opportunities and information to employers who are seeking to diversify their workforce. This collaboration has grown into an annual event that has been well attended by both employers and job seekers.


    The Malloy administration took many steps to increase opportunity and enhance services for persons with disabilities. At the same time, there is more work to do to ensure that all persons with disabilities are able to prosper and thrive.

    There are four key focus areas the next administration should continue to explore with respect to per-sons with disabilities; education, housing, transportation, and employment.

    The next administration should research further ways to make our education systems across the state more inclusive and accessible, particularly by studying systems in the state that are successful in this regard. This would benefit children with disabilities not only academically, but socially as well. It is critical that this is continually studied across the board, from our smaller school systems, to our largest. Educating our citizens with disabilities will increase their opportunity for employment.

    The next administration should consider other ways to develop more accessible housing for persons with disabilities within the state. Models such as smart homes with attention to universal design, may assist in the creation of more housing options. One specific model of home does not necessarily work for everyone, therefore, it is vital to consider the options available and study them for feasibility.

    Connecticut is a unique state in that it is a blend of highly concentrated populations in and around the larger cities, as well as many rural pockets with lower population density. The next administration should consider opportunities to further increase accessible transportation options. Examples might include creating partnerships with ride-sharing companies to increase availability of transportation choices for persons with disabilities. It is critical to increase transportation options that present as few logistical challenges as possible and involve shorter distances.

    An ongoing commitment to a coordinated disability services approach within state government is essential. The next administration should also continue to use the Governor’s Committee on Employment for Persons with Disabilities, and consider elevating its profile.

    Strengthening partnerships with Connecticut businesses who see disability as part of an overall diversity and recruitment strategy can be a tremendous opportunity for the next administration.

    These four areas can serve as a road map to independence for persons with disabilities. Taken collectively, a focus in all of these areas increases the likelihood of success for all Connecticut citizens with disabilities.


    143. Public Act 17-202: An Act Concerning the Use of Respectful and Person-First Language
    144. Public Act 16-78: An Act Modernizing the Symbol of Access for Persons with Disabilities

  • Diversifying State Government

    Governor Malloy strongly believed that government should reflect the people it represents — from its agencies, elected officials, and our judiciary. Governor Malloy appointed many “firsts” to the judicial branch, created a new cabinet level position and increased representation in state agency appointments.

    Progress during the Malloy administration


    Increased female and racial and ethnic representation within the judicial branch by 10%.
    Women consistently held approximately 50% of the Governor’s cabinet appointments.
    Created cabinet-level role of Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community to give a stronger voice to people with disabilities.
    Appointed the first openly gay state Supreme Court Justice in Connecticut history.



    By the end of the 2018 legislative session, Governor Malloy had nominated 92 of the 187 sitting superior court judges. Women and minorities represented a significant percentage of those judges, holding true to the Governor’s belief that “the court should look like the people who appear before it.” Of the 92 judges nominated by Governor Malloy, women represented 43.5 percent and minorities represented 26 percent.

    During his effort to diversify the bench, Governor Malloy made the following historical nominations:

    Honorable Carmen E. Espinosa

    In 2011, he nominated the Honorable Carmen E. Espinosa to the Appellate Court. Upon her confirmation, she became the first Hispanic judge of the Appellate Court and in 2013, Judge Espinosa’s elevation to the Supreme Court made her the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice in Connecticut. Prior to her first nomination, Justice Espinosa served on the Superior Court since 1992, where she was the first Hispanic and Hispanic woman Superior Court Judge in the State of Connecticut.

    Honorable Nina F. Elgo

    In 2017, Governor Malloy nominated the Honorable Nina F. Elgo. Upon her confirmation she became the first Asian Pacific American Appellate Court Judge. Prior to her appointment, Judge Elgo served the Superior Court since 2004, where she heard civil matters in Hartford Judicial District and served as presiding judge for the Child Protection Session in Middlesex Judicial District.

    Honorable Richard A. Robinson

    In 2018, Governor Malloy nominated the Honorable Richard A. Robinson and upon his confirmation, he became the first African-American Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the state. Prior to his nomination to the Supreme Court, Justice Robinson served as a Judge of the Superior Court in 2000 where he served as Presiding Judge for the New Britain, Ansonia/Milford, and Stamford Judicial Districts. In 2006, he was appointed as Judge of the Connecticut Appellate Court.

    Honorable Andrew J. McDonald

    Additionally, Governor Malloy nominated several members of the LGBTQ community as judges, including Connecticut’s first openly gay justice of the Supreme Court, Andrew J. McDonald. He nominated Justice McDonald in 2013, after serving as his General Counsel from 2011 to 2013 and State Senator from 2003 to 2011. In 2013, his nomination to the Supreme Court was confirmed 125-20 in the Connecticut House of Representatives and 30-3 in the Connecticut State Senate signaling strong bipartisan support.[145]  In 2018, Governor Malloy nominated Justice McDonald as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. If approved by the legislature, he would have been the first openly gay Chief Justice in history of the United States. However, divisive partisan social politics took its toll on the nomination, with the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate vehemently opposing his elevation.[146]


    “Let me be clear  Connecticut’s state government would not function without the contributions of women serving at every level, including many of the most senior roles in my administration.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy on International Women’s Day 2017

    Women & Minorities Held High Ranking Positions in the Governor’s Senior Staff and Cabinet

    Over the course of his two terms, Governor Malloy surrounded himself with the diverse talent of women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community taking on many roles in his senior staff, including General Counsel, Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Policy, Director of Government Affairs, Director of Communications and Executive Office Administrator.

    In his cabinet, the Governor continued his commitment to diversity and a truly representative government. During his two terms, Governor Malloy raised the percentage of appointed positions held by women from 40 percent in 2009 under the previous administration to 51 percent in 2017. He also continued to make great strides in correcting the under-representation of racial and ethnic minority groups in the executive branch.

    To commemorate International Women’s Day, Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman (center) pose for a photo with many of the female staff and appointed officials who work within the Malloy administration. (March 7, 2017)
    To commemorate International Women’s Day, Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman (center) pose for a photo with many of the female staff and appointed officials who work within the Malloy administration. (March 7, 2017)

    When making appointments to state agencies, Governor Malloy was very thoughtful. He made sure his appointments for the top level position in state agencies were not only extremely well qualified but also came from diverse backgrounds. Governor Malloy made history when he appointed Reuben Bradford to lead the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). He was the first African-American Commissioner to lead this agency traditionally led by white men. Upon Commissioner Bradford’s retirement, Governor Malloy continued to make history by appointing Dora Schriro to DESSP, becoming the first woman to hold that position.

    Created Cabinet Level Role of Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community

    In 2014, Governor Malloy established the role of Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community, and appointed Jonathan Slifka to the new cabinet-level position. The purpose of this position was to be both an advocate and ombudsman on behalf of the state’s disability community within the Governor’s Office. This role also increased outreach on behalf of the Governor and executive branch agencies to people with disabilities and provided practical public policy advice to better serve the disability community in employment opportunities, programs, and services. In addition to serving as a liaison between the state and residents with disabilities, other duties included evaluating and recommending improvements to how the state provides information to, access for and communicates with people with disabilities.


    The judges at each level of the court are by statute approved by the Judicial Selection Commission, a bipartisan commission constituted of attorneys and public members appointed by legislative leaders and the Governor. The Governor is limited in his nomination of candidates to those who have been approved by the Judicial Selection Commission, and it is critical for the justice system of our state that we attract more qualified attorneys from diverse backgrounds to apply for consideration by the commission.

    Every effort needs to be made by the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government, and by the leaders of the legal community, to encourage women and minorities to apply to the judicial selection process, so that the people on the bench reflect the people appearing before it.

    The three branches of state government should continue to work with the Connecticut Bar Association, affinity bar associations, and other legal professional groups and stakeholders to encourage and mentor attorneys to gain the experience necessary to successfully navigate the judicial application process.

    In addition, it is critical that leaders in government and the private sector continue to hire and promote more qualified attorneys from diverse backgrounds to the positions where they will gain legal experience and professional interactions with that will prepare them well for eventual service on the bench.

    The next governor should also continue to seek candidates for high-level positions within the Executive Branch that will reflect Connecticut’s rich diversity and the communities we serve. These positions are responsible for the majority of interactions between the pubic and their government. It is imperative that the people setting the tone for these interactions have the same diverse background as the people they serve. Only through this increased representation can we create a government that truly works for all of us and not just a chosen few.


    145. SJ 14: Resolution Confirming the Nomination of Andrew J. McDonald, Esquire of Stamford to be an Associate Judge of the Supreme Court and a Judge of the Superior Court
    146. HJ 25: Resolution Confirming the Nomination of the Honorable Andrew J. McDonald of Stamford to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and a Judge of the Superior Court