Connecticut's Child Advocate Sarah Eagan said the 2014 legislative session was beneficial for the children of Connecticut.
Overall, Eagan said she's happy with what was accomplished in this short legislative session, including finding room in the budget to pay for 1,020 new preschool spots statewide.
"I know the governor and the legislature continue to make this a priority," Eagan said. "I think in the midst of this very challenging fiscal climate, to be able to have fidelity to that goal is extremely encouraging."
The new pre-K spots, plus the creation of Connecticut Smart Start -- a grant program that will allow school districts to expand the number of pre-K classrooms -- is a big step toward the goal of universal pre-K for Connecticut, Eagan said.
Eagan also commended lawmakers for formally opening the Office of Early Childhood, and establishing a new board to monitor the state's juvenile justice system. "The Juvenile Justice Board will take a closer look at how we are meeting the needs of children and youth in the juvenile justice system," she said, "what our goals are for success, and increased transparency and accountability in that system."
Eagan was disappointed that for the second year in a row, legislation failed to come up for a vote that would have given inmates with long sentences for crimes they committed as a teenager the chance to make their case for a shorter sentence to a parole board. The bill would have squared Connecticut law with two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.