Legislative Agenda

2020 Legislative Agenda

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Connecticut Chapter priorities are designed to make progress toward the NASW 2016 Grand Challenges of tackling our nation’s toughest social problems. Such challenges include: Ensuring healthy development of all youth; Closing the health gap; Ending family violence; Advancing long and productive lives; Eradicating social isolation; Ending homelessness; Creating social responses to a changing environment; Harnessing technology for social good; Promoting smart decarceration; Building financial capability for all; Reducing extreme economic inequality; and Achieving equal opportunity and Justice. Additionally, in 2018/2019 the NASW national board established 5 social justice priorities. The 5 priorities are: voting rights, criminal justice/juvenile justice, environmental justice, immigration, and economic justice.

The Education for Legislative Action Network (ELAN) committee CT Chapter refers to, and bases the main objectives of our work off, the above National goals. Specific to Connecticut, ELAN CT (henceforth is referred to as NASW/CT as ELAN CT is its sub-committee) pledges in 2020 to actively support and/or introduce legislation that meets our approved priorities in coordination with CT advocacy coalitions (when appropriate). Additionally, NASW/CT pledges in 2020 to work in a bipartisan manner with CT legislators, particularly with social work legislators while informing and activating our NASW/CT member network, and in turn the clients they serve, promoting advocacy on a grassroots level. NASW/CT pledges in 2020 to organize our membership to advocate in areas where we are uniquely impacted regarding specifics to the social work profession and larger social justice issues facing our state.

All Encompassing Proposed Legislative Goals and Priorities for NASW/CT:

  1. Racial and Social Justice
    NASW/CT supports legislation that specifically promotes: reduction of inequities relating to race and ethnicity, LGBTQIA+ rights, and maintaining a woman’s right to birth control and all reproductive health services. We support access to prevention and early treatment options for young people struggling with substance use, Medicaid coverage for undocumented, gun safety, police training on mental health and crisis intervention. This organization works toward people in Connecticut having and sharing their voice; because of this we support early voting access and voting reform. We support legislation that ensures all residents are treated equally and with respect in all areas of their lives.
  2. Economic Justice
    NASW/CT supports legislation that specifically promotes: student loan relief, maintaining the earned income tax credit, reducing lead paint issues, education funding, wealth tax, school-based health centers, affordable housing, continuing the fight for pay equity, and ensuring death with dignity. NASW/CT has fought for the economic justices of all people in the past and continues to work toward equality. We also support work to fight climate change by working on topics such as water, fracking, poor air quality, and renewable energy.
  3. Criminal Justice
    NASW/CT supports legislation that specifically promotes: bail reform, juvenile justice reform, elimination of solitary confinement, increases in mental health services during probation, voting rights for those on parole, prison phone justice, and clean slate laws. NASW/CT supports hospitals and community based mental health and substance use services.
  4. Safety Net Services
    NASW/CT works toward fighting for the programs we have in place currently and ensuring that they continue to help our neighbors. Some of these services include, Home health care, Medicaid benefits, medical savings plan, TANF, Care4Kids, SNAP benefits, substance use and opioid treatment support services, mental health services, dental insurance, and a public option. Keeping these protections is extremely important for the success of Connecticut.
  5. NASW/CT Public Funding and Revenue Goals:
    NASW/CT holds the position that every Connecticut resident and family should be able to meet their basic human needs. We jointly oppose cuts to safety net programs that serve Connecticut’s most vulnerable populations and support proposals that prevent individuals and families from falling into poverty with little to no, or inadequate resources to self-sufficiency Increased revenue or reallocation of resources advocated for may include: voluntary tax contribution for additional mental health service funding, tax reform that increases for households with incomes at or beyond $500,00 and appropriately balances taxes for households with incomes at or lower than the federal poverty level, “sunsetting” increases of various tax breaks, reinstituting the luxury tax, sugary drink tax, reallocating funds from incarceration to decarceration, restoring capital gains tax, promoting an equitable formula for state school funding, and regionalization of public services.
  6. NASW/CT Professional Guild, Education, & Research Issues for 2020:
    Professional guild goals to be focused on in 2020 are: the role of social workers in the community to increase discussion around the importance of voting and the upcoming census, economic justice, and immigration issues. NASW/CT is focused on increasing the number of social workers in various settings including, but not limited to: schools, nursing homes, municipal settings, and in the criminal justice system. NASW/CT will work to connect legislators to relevant social work research on issues before them. A goal of NASW/CT this legislative session is to connect and build an informal caucus among all current social work legislators (seven in total).
  7. Working with NASW National on Federal Legislation:
    NASW/CT will work with National to activate members to act on Action Alerts from National and build relationships with CT US representatives and senators on national issues. The legislation currently identified for support are: Medicare Reimbursement, Affordable Care Act Integration, Student Loan Forgiveness, the Social Work Reinvestment Act, the Older American Act, Child Welfare, Mental Health, the Social Work Safety Act, and Social Work Advocacy. We hope to encourage the coordination of other legislative committees in the other states as part of the NASW Chapter Legislative Leadership Group and work with the advocacy and legislative staff of NASW in Washington DC.