Working Families Win Some, Lose Some In 2018 Legislative Session

While the Trump administration seeks to dismantle any and all things Obamacare, Connecticut legislators, in the waning days of this year’s legislative session, passed a bill that protects important health benefits that are part of the 2010 reform package. Legislators also passed a law that seeks to reduce the times police officers arrest both the victim and the aggressor on domestic violence calls, or so-called “dual arrests.” And they, in an attempt to close the gender wage gap, passed a bill that prevents potential employers from asking job applicants about salary history. About that last one, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said, “This inequity is perpetuated by the practice of asking for salary history during the hiring process, which can disproportionately ensure that women who were underpaid at their first job continue to be underpaid throughout their careers, creating a cycle of poverty and causing real harm to families.”

But let’s give an honest grade for what happened—and what didn’t happen—in the session that ended at midnight May 9. Connecticut legislators’ effort was a solid C for what they could do for families—or, if we’re feeling generous, maybe a C+. Too many pieces of legislations that could have made a big difference in a small state were left on the table, died in committee, or never got traction.

Trump Misfires On Arming Teachers

An AR-15, when fired, sends bullets into soft flesh and shreds organs beyond repair, according to a trauma surgeon who treated victims from the Parkland, Fla., school shooting on Feb. 14. The shooting left 17 students and faculty members dead. It was one of the deadliest shootings in the United States. Three of those have happened in the last five months.

Intimate Partner Violence Remains Pervasive; Efforts Seek To Break The Cycle

West Hartford resident Adrienne Doughty recalls the summer night in the family camper when her then-husband hurled an object at her that whipped past head before shattering a window. The sound of broken glass brought a neighbor running. That started the 62-year-old on a long path of healing from what she describes as primarily emotional abuse from her former husband whom, ironically, Doughty thought would protect her after she’d been the victim of date rape and sexual assault by a supervisor. “In those days, you couldn’t say anything,” she said. Doughty found her voice at a workshop on intimate partner violence (IPV) offered by Susan Omilian, an attorney-turned-advocate of IPV victims after her 19-year-old niece was killed by her boyfriend. “Susan’s workshop was pivotal.

ADHD Drug Use Rises Sharply Among Young Women

A growing number of reproductive-age women are taking prescription medication to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), data show, but doctors warn the effects of such drugs on pregnancies are largely unknown. The number of privately insured women nationwide between the ages of 15 and 44 who filled a prescription for an ADHD medication soared 344 percent from 2003 to 2015, from 0.9 percent to 4 percent, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ADHD medication use increased among all age brackets within that group and in all geographic regions, data show. The biggest spikes were seen in women ages 25 to 29, among which medication use jumped 700 percent, from 0.5 percent in 2003 to 4 percent in 2015. The second-largest increase was among women ages 30 to 34, which had a 560 percent increase from 0.5 percent to 3.3 percent, according to the CDC.

It’s Time For Paid Family Leave

During the recent Women’s March in Hartford, Susan Eastwood, a board member of the nonprofit Permanent Commission on the Status of Women in CT, wandered among attendees and asked them about paid family leave. First, she asked women pushing strollers—ostensibly, women in their child-bearing years. They told her compelling stories about not having enough money to take time off from work. But the older women were particularly passionate. They are caring for elderly parents, for adult children with significant medical needs, or they’re batting their own health issues.

First Women Marched, Now They’re Running

Amy Schneider, 31, of Stratford, came to Hartford last Saturday toting a colorful sign she made that said “Fight Like a Girl.”

At Bushnell Park, she joined some 10,000 people at the second annual Women’s March to chant, mingle, and remind themselves that the fight isn’t over. In fact, it’s just begun. The day after Donald J. Trump took office in January 2017, millions of women and men headed to D.C., New York, and places like Hartford to protest. This year all around the country women and men gathered again to march, and to mark a year’s worth of unprecedented political action, with hundreds of women who’d never considered entering political office running and winning, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. In Connecticut last summer, Yale’s Women’s Campaign School had 500 applicants for 80 slots in its five-day summer session.

Heavy Drinking Among Women At All-Time High, Despite Health Consequences

An ever-increasing number of women in the state are drinking to excess, state and federal data show. Statewide, female admissions to acute hospital emergency departments for alcohol-related reasons rose by 4.8 percent between fiscal years 2012 and 2016, according to the Connecticut Hospital Association. The female-only Eden Hill Recovery Retreat in Canaan fills an average of 10 to 12 beds per month; earlier in the center’s eight-year history, rarely were there more than eight beds occupied at a time. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine note an increase in the number of women enrolling in studies that examine the effectiveness of a medication to curb one’s desire to drink alcohol. The uptick in problem drinking among women in Connecticut mirrors a national trend.

The Assault On Contraceptive Care Has A Long Reach

In October, President Donald Trump announced new regulations that loosen the requirements that employers provide coverage for contraceptives, which was a pillar of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Trump’s government expanded the reasons an employer could skip out on coverage on moral or religious objections. If in the recent weeks your employer just got religion, you should know why. Trump is messing with a woman’s important right to accessible and affordable birth control. The birth control mandate, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “had a large impact in a short amount of time.” Within two years of the policy taking effect, says Kaiser, just 3 percent of women with employer-sponsored insurance had out-of-pocket expenses for oral contraceptives (the most expensive and the most popular kind).

Why Women—More Than Men—Can’t Sleep

Millions of Americans will have a hard time falling or staying asleep tonight, and research says most of them will be women. “Insomnia is definitely more common in females, and it seems to begin fairly early on,” said Dr. Meir Kryger, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine who studies sleep. Sleep problems can appear in women as early as their teens or 20s, he said. Various research shows women are more likely than men to experience the sleep disorder. Women are about 1.5 times more likely to have insomnia, said Kryger, who has written several books on the topic, including “The Mystery of Sleep,” which was published in March.