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State Senator

Carlo Leone

Representing Stamford & Darien

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Senator Leone Votes for Absentee Ballot, Telehealth and Insulin Price-Cap Legislation

Special Senate Session Gives Final Approval to Requested Public Policies


HARTFORD – Today, State Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) joined his colleagues in a special session of the Connecticut State Senate to approve a host of new public policy initiatives that seek to expand the use of absentee ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, cap out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving insulin, and continue telehealth medical consultations during the coronavirus crisis.

The bills – which were approved by the House of Representatives last week – now head to Governor Lamont, who is expected to sign them into law.

"Today, the Senate reconvened to address critical issues involving the health and safety of residents across the state," said Senator Leone. "This pandemic has resulted in changes in our daily lives and routines and we must prioritize our health and safety and that of others as well. Expanding access to telehealth services, capping the cost of insulin, and allowing individuals to vote in the November election by absentee ballot, are all initiatives that will protect people during this difficult time."

Highlights of the bills approved today by Senator Leone include:

Temporarily Expanded Absentee Voting

This bill allows Connecticut citizens who are concerned about contracting the coronavirus at a polling location this year to vote instead by mail – an option which had previously been denied them. Connecticut law currently only allows state residents the right to vote by absentee ballot for six specific reasons:

  • If the voter is on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces
  • If the voter will be absent from town during the entire time that polls are open
  • If the voter is ill
  • If the voter has a physical disability which prevents them from voting in person
  • If the voter's religion prohibits them from voting that day
  • Or if the voter is working at the polls in a primary, election or referendum

The global COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 48,000 people in Connecticut and killed more than 4,400 state residents, has raised concerns about standing in line at the polls, or voting in a crowded polling location – especially for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, who are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus.

The new bill amends Connecticut law for 2020 only to allow for absentee voting due to "the sickness of COVID-19." The bill also allows any person who is in line to vote before polls close at 8 p.m. to access Connecticut's "same-day registration" procedure at that polling location, as long as they meet all of the state's voter eligibility requirements (existing state law only allows for same-day voter registration from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. at specific locations in town, but then the voter must proceed to their own local polling place in order to cast their vote.)

Capping the Price of Insulin and Related Supplies

The bill caps a person's out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $25 per month, caps noninsulin drugs like glucagon at $25 per month, and caps diabetic equipment and supplies (such as blood glucose test strips, glucometers, lancets, and syringes) at $100 per month. The bill also authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense up to a 30-day supply of 'emergency' insulin if a person has less than a seven-day supply and would otherwise not be able to obtain any lifesaving insulin.

Telehealth

The bill continues for the foreseeable future the temporary waiver of customary restrictions on online medical health care services ("telehealth") so that during the COVID-19 pandemic more patients can be attended to in the comfort of their own home.

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