Monroe teen among beneficiaries of state driving bill

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Maxton Busa, 15, left, with, from left, his mother Sandra, father, Jim and brother, Ethan, 17. Maxton, who has low vision will be able to drive in Connecticut after passage of Senate Bill 333 this week.

HARTFORD, CT — State Rep. Tony Scott, R-112th, issued the following statement Tuesday after the House advanced S.B. 333, “An Act Concerning Recommendations by the Department of Motor Vehicles” Monday.

A portion of the larger bill will allow people who use bioptic lenses to acquire a driver’s license. The bill awaits the governor’s signature for passage.

Macular degeneration, which leads to the use of bioptics, can happen to anyone, and is more likely to occur as people age. According to the National Eye Institute, the rates of age-related macular degeneration have gone up in the U.S. in the last 20 years and were projected to top 5 million by 2050 due to an increase in our aging population.

“When people speak up, it can result in progress and real change. Monday, I spoke in support of S.B. 333, a portion of which will give people who use bioptic lenses the ability to obtain their driver’s licenses,” Scott said.

He continued: “This legislation, which passed unanimously and has already passed the Senate, was the result of my constituents in Monroe, Sandra Gabriel-Busa and her son, Max, who came forward and brought it to my attention. Under existing law, Max, who is on the high school wrestling team and involved in Boy Scouts, can’t take his driving test in Connecticut because he was diagnosed with Juvenile Macular Degeneration at the age of 10 and needs bioptic lenses in order to get behind the wheel.

“His vision is lower than average, but the loss of sight has plateaued. Because he can’t drive, his ability to see his friends, travel to college or get a job is restricted.

“Working with Max and his mom, we brought forward this truly life-changing legislation that – as long as it’s signed by the governor – will require the DMV to issue driver’s licenses to people who wear glasses with bioptic lenses if the applicant otherwise meets regulatory vision standards and license requirements.

“I was proud to work on this with Max and I encourage anyone who has their own issue to reach out to me so we can enact that change together.”

State budget passes House

State Rep. Tony Scott

State Rep. Tony Scott, R-112th, issued the following statement after the House advanced a proposed state budget, which passed along party lines early Tuesday morning.

Republicans offered an amendment to that budget document that would have prevented certain taxes from being implemented and would have reduced the state’s income tax, among other proposals that would have provided immediate relief, according to Scott, who said it failed along party lines.

“This is a budget proposal with hundreds of sections spanning more than 600 pages,” Scott said. “It was dropped on us at 5 a.m. Monday morning, hours before we were to debate it. It’s nearly impossible for anyone to read this document with attention to detail so that we could honestly discuss and debate this on behalf of taxpayers.”

He continued, “while this budget does include some Republican initiatives – from extending the suspension of the gas tax, to some breaks for middle- and lower-income residents – it clearly does not go far enough. With all the extra tax revenue we have stemming from inflation, we should do more to give the people their money back in more tax cuts immediately.”

“To be clear, by no stretch of the imagination is this a bi-partisan budget. The majority party chose not to include Republican leadership in the process while building this document. We were not even allowed in the room to have a discussion.

“There are items in this massive document that were voted down in committees by both Democrats and Republicans, but they were quietly slipped back, ignoring and circumventing the proper process.

“And this budget represents an increase in spending of 6.4 percent and includes large raises for public sector employees. For instance, judges will receive a 5 percent raise, but they just received a 4.5 percent raise last year. That’s just one of the expenditures in a bloated document that was composed without the input of the Republican minority.

“Some of the proposed cuts included in this budget also are only guaranteed for one year and fail to consider the long-term financial future of our state. It simply does not go far enough, to provide relief to families that are financially strained due to rising prices in nearly every aspect of their lives.”

Tax Relief Plan

Prior to the budget vote, Scott and fellow Senate and House Republicans proposed a $1.2 billion tax relief plan “for working and middle class families.”

Scott said the proposal would reduce the state income tax for low- and middle-income families and individuals, reduce the state sales tax and eliminate the meals tax, extend the gas tax suspension, cut the tax on diesel, expand property tax relief, eliminate the state’s new truck tax, accelerate the elimination of the income tax on pension and annuities, and reduce burdens on job creators.

Rep. Tony Scott can be reached by email at [email protected] or by calling 1-800-842-1423. To follow his work at the Capitol, visit his website or Facebook page.

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