Former Speaker of the House of Representatives James A. Amann was first elected to the Connecticut Legislature in 1990, and was elected Speaker on January 5, 2005. Born in Bridgeport, Speaker Amann grew up in Milford where he attended local public schools, graduating from Jonathan Law High School. He attended the University of New Haven studying criminal justice and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Bridgeport (2005) and the University of New Haven (2007). Prior to his election to the State House of Representatives, he served as a member of the Milford Board of Aldermen from 1983 to 1990 and was a member of the local chapter of Young Democrats.
As a state legislator Amann chaired the House Freshman Caucus from 1991 to 1993. He has served as House Chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee (1993 -1998), where he sponsored landmark healthcare legislation. He has also held seats on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee (1994-1999) and the Judiciary Committee (1991-2002). His leadership posts include Deputy House Majority Whip (2001-2003) and House Majority Leader (2003-2005). Speaker Amann authored Connecticut's ˜Megan's Law", first passed in 1995, which has become a national law enforcement and public awareness model. The legislation - which informs parents and children about convicted sex offenders living in their neighborhoods - has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
During his tenure as a state lawmaker, Amann has spearheaded legislation improving breast cancer and prostate cancer coverage, eliminating drive through mastectomies, reforming managed care, creating strict child car safety seat requirements, improving kidney screening and tightening anti-stalking laws. He has been a leader in the state's effort to provide Connecticut's needy elderly and children with drug prescription coverage under the ConnPACE and HUSKY programs In 1997, Amann led the fight in Connecticut to pass legislation that protected a mother's right to breast feed her child in public. In 2005, his first year leading the House of Representatives as Speaker, Amann was instrumental in the passage of landmark transportation, campaign finance reform, organ donor, medical malpractice reform and stem cell research legislation. Speaker Amann also is responsible for creating the Legislature's Select Committee on Veteran's Affairs. Healthy Kids Connecticut is a public/private initiative Speaker Amann created in 2005 with a mission of providing healthcare access for all of Connecticut's youth. The initiative resulted in Health First/Healthy Kids legislation passed in 2007, which will invest $300 million to improve care in the state's HUSKY Plan for low-income children and raise reimbursements paid to hospitals and Medicaid providers.
Speaker Amann took on polluters by passing 2006 legislation mandating that the Department of Environmental Protection make full disclosure to all appropriate public officials when they discover contamination at sites that could endanger the health and welfare of residents and workers in any community. Also during the 2006 session, Amann crafted new legislation creating film and media tax incentives to bring production work from these industries to Connecticut, and led passage of a new autism pilot program and a historic 10-year, $2.3 billion transportation investment initiative.
Speaker Amann's 2020 Vision Plan for Connecticut, passed in 2006, will require 10% of state dollars spent on children to be directed towards prevention by the year 2020. In the 2007 session, Speaker Amann led passage of landmark reforms on energy conservation and eminent domain restraints, and historic new funding initiatives that will bolster transportation and bridge safety, education and school construction, clean water projects and the state's public housing stock. Also, new legislation fashioned by Speaker Amann to refinance debt in the Teacher's Retirement Fund will save taxpayers $2.8 billion over 25 years. Speaker Amann maintains a strong community involvement in Milford leading the Village of Devon's revitalization, as well as the development of Silver Sands State Park, Walnut Beach, the arts community and assistance for various not-for-profit programs. In 2007, Speaker Amann was given various special recognition honors, including awards from the Connecticut Housing Coalition, the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, the Connecticut Autism Spectrum Resource Center and the National Children's Alliance for advocacy of child abuse prevention. Professionally, Amann oversees chapter development and community awareness for the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Speaker Amann and his wife Terri reside in Milford.