These have been incredibly challenging times for our state. On March 8th, Connecticut had its first confirmed case of COVID-19. On March 9th, the Governor declared a Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergency. And our lives have been radically transformed ever since.
However, my commitment to you and your family has not changed. We will get through this together, and I am confident our state will be stronger on the other side. Information evolves by the day, so I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter and follow me online to ensure you have the most relevant details as they are released.
This newsletter is intended to provide you with helpful information and resources, as well as an overview of the work undertaken by my office during this legislative session, interrupted as it has been by the pandemic.
If you have any questions or concerns, or if I can be helpful to you in navigating state agencies and regulations, please do not hesitate to call or email me at any time. I do want to hear what is important to you. Please consider taking my survey at www.housedems.ct.gov/Dathan/survey.
More than ever, it continues to be an honor and privilege to represent you.
For the most up-to-date information, please visit: portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus.
Per CDC guidelines, Governor Lamont requires individuals to wear masks in public when unable to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from others.
Those who are out of work have the right to file for unemployment insurance. Visit www.FileCTUI.com to file your claim, or call: 860-263-6975, 203-455-2653, 860-263-6974 or 203-455-2650. Please reach out to my office at 860-240-1479 if you are having issues with a claim.
The Department of Economic and Community Development is developing and updating guidelines on safe business operations for business owners: business.ct.gov/Recovery. They have also opened a small business hotline: 860-500-2333.
If you notice a business not complying with safety standards, call 2-1-1.
Banks and landlords are providing additional time for those having trouble paying residential mortgage or rent. For more information, visit portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/information-for/homeowners-and-renters.
Our federal delegation and the Governor’s office have a number of smaller assistance programs ranging from funding for artists and farmers to helping our schools deal with unexpected expenditures. For more on these, please visit my website: www.housedems.ct.gov/Dathan.
I know that working with state agencies and our partners during this time can be complicated. My office is here to help connect you to the people who can help you.
Fiscal Stability in 2021
While we continue to be guided by public health experts as to how to safely “reopen”, we also have an opportunity to build a stronger, more economically robust state.
I am more focused than ever on our state’s fiscal health as we have a $443M deficit, directly related to COVID-19 for Fiscal Year 20 and an estimated $2.161 B for Fiscal Year 21. I am relieved the legislature preserved the state’s Rainy Day Fund of $2.8 B to allot toward our state’s recovery. Connecticut has been allocated $1.4 B of the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to cover out-of-pocket COVID-19 expenses for the state and municipalities. We are still awaiting the federal government funding to offset revenue loss related to the economic downturn, but this requires the U.S. congress to act. These additional resources will really help minimize the COVID-19 impact on our state’s budget. The information below shows where our budget stood before the pandemic. However, it will look very different as we refine assumptions and will likely require us to come into session later this year to address critical adjustments.
Special Session on Absentee Voting and Police Accountability
We intend to ensure that everyone has the right to vote by absentee ballot in the November general election. No one should have to choose between their right to vote and their safety. I will advocate to clarify the current law so that any voter can request an absentee ballot due to the pandemic.
We also plan to take immediate legislative action on police accountability and transparency in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other incidents that have gripped our nation. Police violence is unacceptable, and those responsible must be held to account. It is important we scrutinize all current policing policies, including ending police immunity for such heinous acts and requiring body cameras.
Sources of State Revenue ($22.3B)
Where your tax dollars go ($22.1B)
The Legislative Session That Wasn’t
When we began this year’s legislative session on February 5th, I expected to be tackling many of the issues that you all have prioritized for me, including reducing the cost of health care, making it easier to exercise your right to vote, and supporting our schools. As a member of the Appropriations and Human Services Committees, and the vice-chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, I was deeply involved in legislation that focuses on the growing costs of insurance and medical care, especially prescription drugs. These endeavors continue now, and will be ongoing through any special session of the legislature.
One of the few votes held this year in the House of Representatives was for the Bond Act. I am proud to say that this legislation contained authorizations for key transportation measures in our community:
- Reconfiguration of Route 7 and Route 15 interchange in Norwalk
- Improvements on the New Canaan Branch line to increase frequency and enhance service to and from the main line, including siding, platform and improvements to the Springdale Station
In addition, this bill contains funds for workforce development, launches the Paid Family Medical Leave insurance program, and funds other transportation improvements. It is now up to Governor Lamont and the Bond Commission to release these funds, and I will hold them accountable.
Advocating For You During this Time
My office has worked with many of you to fix issues with your unemployment applications, help your business apply for financial aid, work with the DMV to get your car registered, and more. It is during a crisis that we need government help and services most.
Additionally, my colleagues and I have advocated for you with the Governor. I am proud to say that because of these efforts, we have expanded tele-medicine, brought additional COVID-19 testing sites to our community, opened a COVID-19 recovery center at Silver Hill Hospital, expanded affordable childcare options for front-line workers, and delayed due dates for state income and municipal property taxes. If there are more ways that we can make state government work better for you, please let me know.