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Connecticut Lawmakers Propose Debt-Free Community College

The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford

Connecticut legislators are expected to debate the two-year $43 billion budget deal Governor Ned Lamont reached with Democratic leaders last week. This comes in the final days before the legislative session ends Wednesday.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says one of the highlights of the deal is debt-free community college. It would take effect in the second year of the biennial budget.

“Which is an amazing thing for the struggling students of Connecticut – to pay back debt student loan. They’d only have two years for the standard degree of college debt. And if they go on to an advanced degree, which we’d like them to do, they’d have the typical four years of college debt.”

Aresimowicz says Connecticut would leverage federal dollars to make community college debt-free.

He says the budget agreement also does not change the state’s education cost sharing formula. Cities and towns would expect to receive funding for public education consistent with the state’s last budget.

Meanwhile, during a rare weekend session on Saturday, the House approved a bill to overhaul the state’s workplace sexual harassment and rape prosecution laws.

Judiciary Committee Chair Steven Stafstrom says the bill would stiffen the mandate for employers to provide sexual harassment training for employees under the supervision of CHRO, the state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

“The training requirement could be satisfied via a video that would be supplied by CHRO free of charge. So there is not going to be cost on employers that way.”

Also under the legislation, the five-year statute of limitation for felony sexual assault crimes would be extended to 20 years.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.