HARTFORD- On Tuesday, the Public Safety and Security Committee voted unanimously to pass two key legislative priorities of State Representative Brian Lanoue (R-45), through committee and will now await further action in the General Assembly. The two bills were included in a public hearing last week, when Rep. Lanoue testified in favor of both H.B. No. 5178, An Act Concerning the Expansion of the CRISIS Initiative Pilot Program Throughout the State, and H.B. No. 5173, An Act Allowing a Personal Income Tax Deduction for Stipends Paid to Volunteer Firefighters and Volunteer Ambulance Members.
CRISIS functions as a collaborative effort between both state and local law enforcement, along with mental health professionals, and community partners to provide individuals battling addiction with treatment options. Additional training is offered to give law enforcement advanced de-escalation tactics for calls related to mental health, overdose, and substance abuse related calls. Connecticut State Police, along with local police departments located within the Troop D & E jurisdictions are currently implementing the program. The bill would allow CRISIS to be expanded state-wide if passed.
In an attempt to recruit and retain volunteer Firefighters and EMS personnel with the hopes of giving people more incentive to serve their communities, An Act Allowing a Personal Income Tax Deduction for Stipends Paid to Volunteer Firefighters and Volunteer Ambulance Members was also passed through the Public Safety and Security Committee. The concept was proposed as a bi-partisan bill during the 2021 legislative session, which passed through committee but never made it to the House Floor for a vote. The bill would exempt a portion of Connecticut taxes on stipends paid by a municipality to volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel.
“These are major leaps forward on these two very important public policy initiatives. I want to thank Co-Chairs, State Senator Cathy Osten and State Representative Maria Horn, Ranking Members State, Representative Greg Howard & State Senator Dan Champagne, along with the entire Public Safety Committee for working together in such a bipartisan way to support our police, firefighters and EMS personnel by advancing these two crucial pieces of legislation forward,” said State Representative Brian Lanoue.
The 2022 Connecticut regular legislative session ends on May 4, 2022.