Biography

State Representative Bruce Morris serves as Deputy House Speaker and is in his sixth term in the Connecticut General Assembly. He is a member of the legislature's Education, Judiciary, Finance, Human Services and Legislative Management Committees.

After serving in the following leadership positions during the previous four terms: Deputy Majority Whip At Large; Deputy Majority Whip; Assistant Majority Whip and Assistant Majority Leader, he was promoted to Deputy House Speaker by former Speaker Brendan Sharkey in 2015, reappointed by current Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, and continues in this leadership position.

He also previously served as the chairman of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, whose mission is to, among other things, advance measures that improve the living, housing, working, health, educational and economic conditions of African and Latino Americans.

Legislation

Rep. Morris’ dedication to helping others is exemplified in legislation he championed over the years that:

  • Provides additional funding for multi-family housing, foreclosure-prevention programs and the Norwalk school system
  • Effects changes to help ensure the respectful treatment of defendants and their attorneys who appear in the Norwalk courthouse
  • Mandates body cameras for law enforcement officers throughout Connecticut, increased police training and the appointment of special prosecutors in cases where there is a death that involves an officer and the use of physical force. Rep. Morris said the legislation is a first but important step in an attempt to prevent police brutality
  • Requires criminal courts to consider evidence showing the difference between juvenile and adult brain development when sentencing for certain felonies committed prior to reaching 18 years of age. Parole hearings will now also be offered to those serving sentences of over 10 years after they have served a portion of their sentence. At the hearing, the parole board will consider whether the offender demonstrates the necessary maturity and rehabilitation to qualify for parole release
  • Protects residents from electricity providers who offer a low introductory rate that increases rapidly afterwards. The protections enacted require variable rate suppliers to give their customers a 60-day notice before the end of their contracts. Suppliers cannot charge these customers a termination or early cancellation fee and must allow customers who want to switch to standard service the ability to do so within 72 hours
  • Brings more fairness to the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula. Recently a court decision was made that requires the state to make changes to what was called a flawed system. Ensuring every student has access to equal educational opportunities is an ongoing responsibility for all of us. In response, I co-introduced House Bill 6793, which was mirrored by Senate Bill 2 which will take into consideration socioeconomic status of towns when distributing funds in a more equitable manner. The bill has already passed the Education Committee and I will be continuing the fight to protect school funding for Norwalk.
  • Increases the minimum wage to $10.10 and working to do better
  • Provides funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit - as a result, 1,623 people in his district receive the credit from Connecticut
  • Facilitates veteran employment with a resource network for specialized skills in the Department of Labor and preferences in state contract bidding for veteran-owned small businesses. Also broadened the scope of the law that bars discriminatory practices in our state’s armed forces, and approved a resolution to our nation’s leaders to recognize Blue Water Navy Veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange.
  • Bans The Box - Fair Chance Employment legislation created to prevent employers from requiring people to disclose a criminal record when first applying for a job. On job applications, people are frequently asked to “check the box” for any arrests or convictions. Under this legislation, the box would be banned and employers would be prohibited from inquiring about a criminal record during the initial application process – but would still have the ability to inquire about criminal history during the interview process.
  • Domestic Violence for Women in abusive relationships to protect women and children from domestic violence by requiring a person to surrender their firearms after being served with a temporary restraining order. Another law was created to help prevent sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

 

Click HERE for more legislation Rep. Morris has championed and supported.

 

Accomplishments
 

Morris has received numerous awards and acknowledgements of public service over many years from numerous groups, including:

 

  • Named Children’s Champion in 2015 by CT Early Childhood Alliance for his leadership in shaping new legislation that promotes the well-being of Connecticut's young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition and safety
  • Community  Service Award    (SAVE)
  • Connecticut League of Conservation Voters award for perfect support of environmental
    initiatives in 2011
  • Dental Hygienists – 2011, 2010 Legislative Awards
  • Omega Psi Phi - 2008 Citizen of the Year
  • Parent Leadership Training Institute - 2008 Leadership Service Award
  • United Way
  • Connecticut Public Housing Network
  • NAACP - 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut

 

Background

Rep. Morris has devoted his life to the service of others, a value he learned from his mother and father, who was a state representative and state senator before becoming the State Commissioner of Public Works under Governor Weicker. As a minister, Rep. Morris views his public role as a state representative as a practical extension of his ministry.

In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Morris serves as an Associate Pastor at Macedonia Church in Norwalk and former Human Relations Officer for the Norwalk School System. He is also a former elected executive board member of the National Caucus of Black State Legislators.

Morris is a member of Norwalk NAACP, Macedonia AIDS Ministry and Cornerstone Community Development Corporation. He is former chairperson of the board of directors for Norwalk Community Health Center, former chair of Public Services Division of United Way of Norwalk and Wilton, former president of the Norwalk Clergy Association and board member of George Washington Carver Center.

Morris formerly served as vice president of the Connecticut Chapter of National Association of Minority Contractors. This involvement came about because he was the founder and owner of the largest black-owned electrical company in the state.

Rep. Morris has also been affiliated with: Community Prevention Task Force; Mid Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition; Norwalk Weed and Seed Steering Committee; Norwalk Housing Authority Work Study Academy; Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship, Norwalk Clergy Association and Norwalk Urban Youth Coalition.

Recognizing the critical importance of having fathers involved in their children’s lives, Rep. Morris was chairman of the Task Force on Fatherlessness, which studied the issue and promoted new policies for promoting fatherhood.

Rep. Morris resides in Norwalk with his wife Gail and children.