Category Archives: Jonathan Harris

Jonathan Harris goes on Food Stamps

For the past three weeks, I learned from The Associated Press, West Hartford’s own Sen. Jonathan Harris has been limiting his intake to what he can afford on Food Stamps.

Here’s what he said:

“On the spiritual side, when I did eat, I was more present,” said Connecticut state Sen. Jonathan Harris, D-West Hartford, who just finished three weeks on food stamp funds. “Usually I’m watching TV, shoveling things in, not thinking that I am blessed.”
Harris said he’s lucky to have a car to get to a grocery store and a kitchen in which to prepare food. And like {Oregon Gov.] Kulongoski will have to do, he had to resist the free goodies at state receptions and business lunches.
The experience has helped him as a policy maker, Harris said, in discussions such as whether to expand the earned-income tax credit in Connecticut.
“I personally felt how a few extra hundred dollars in the bank to supplement my nutrition would make a major difference in my life,” he said.

Now this is fascinating. I suggest we put the whole General Assembly on Food Stamps, and keep doing it for a few months. It’d be eye-opening, except for Fairfield County’s delegation, who would all cheat.

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Filed under Earned income tax credit, Food Stamps, Jonathan Harris, Politics, West Hartford

‘Plan B’ should pass soon

It appears that state legislators are ready to pass a bill that wouild require any hospital in Connecticut to provide the so-called Plan B emergency contraceptive to rape victims.

“We’ve been patient,” state Sen. Jonathan Harris of West Hartford told the Associated Press today.

The measure has been held up by four Catholic hospitals, including St. Francis, who claim it might infringe on their religious beliefs. Whether that’s true or not, I leave to the theologists. But hospitals are for providing medical treatment, not promoting anyone’s religion. They should not have a choice about whether to offer contraceptives to rape victims. In fact, they should not be able to deny any legitimate medical service solely for religious reasons. They are hospitals, not churches.

I’m proud of Sen. Harris for standing up for what’s right, as he usually does.
 

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Filed under Catholic Church, General Assembly, Health, hospitals, Jonathan Harris, medicine, News, Plan B, rape

Sen. Harris pushes for state EIC

Bravo to Sen. Jonathan Harris, who is co-chairman of the Human Services Committee, for pushing through committee the idea of instituting an earned income tax credit for the working poor in Connecticut.

Minutes of a recent committee session show that Harris told colleagues that the idea “makes sense.  It seems like a small amount of money, but it actually could make a big difference in the life of a family that is living penny to penny, minute to minute. It means a lot in a human scale.”

For someone making $20,000 a year, the minutes say, the maximum credit of $800 “is 5 percent of their income – a significant bump-up. Without creating another program, we are providing a way to put some money in someone’s pocket, to help the individual thrive,” Harris said.

Harris pegged the cost as between $50 and $55 million.

“This is an idea that has been proven to work on the federal level and the state level. It is a bipartisan idea, and I think we should move this to the Floor,” Harris said.

It passed the committee by a 13-6 vote. The minutes fail to reflect which lawmakers voted against the measure.

But Harris is right on the money that supplementing the income of the working poor is the best way to keep them working and giving them a chance to live the American Dream. We have way too many people struggling with crummy jobs, often part-time, that leave them with little money, little time and little hope.

Harris’ proposal, which few of them will ever know he pushed, is one way to make life better for people who deserve a break.

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Filed under Connecticut General Assembly, Jonathan Harris, News, Politics, Taxes, West Hartford economy