Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This legislative session was mixed.
We made progress on policy, but the budget dominated. In one small agency alone – the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner – the spike in opioid overdoses caused a deficit well over $1 million.
Many of you came to testify against cuts to vital programs, and we heard you. After much negotiation, aid to New Haven’s budget was largely protected; line items for arts programs and Westville Village were restored, youth programs survived, and large cuts proposed to health were partly restored. The Governor, however, retains the authority to make further cuts at his discretion.
New Haven was welcoming to placing people in the community when state hospitals were closed; cutting supports upends decades of progressive policy.
Listening to your concerns, I am focusing on food security, jobs, and aiding local efforts. If you have other concerns, please let me know.
If we work together and find common ground, our community has the talent and drive to meet challenges.
Thank you for your support and confidence.
Rep Dillon - In the News
- Spoke at a press conference with New Haven leaders supporting youth mentoring.
- Toured Jewish Family Services’ food pantry.
- Met with the Farm Bureau on energy costs to local growers.
- Participated in a roundtable at Clifford Beers on cooperation with New Haven schools to aid students facing suspension.
- Kicked off volunteer efforts to improve habitat at the site of the former dam, and celebrated that the West River is running free.
- Hosted a hearing with Westville Village Renaissance on the proposed design for traffic calming in Westville Village.
- Spoke at the signing of a treaty for New Haven’s designation as a refuge for migratory birds.
Hive collapse and the decline of honeybees threaten our food supply. That’s why we passed legislation to address the risk to agriculture from collapse of bee colonies. The bill relies on restricting the use of certain pesticides, and building habitat by encouraging the planting of pollinator friendly vegetation. In addition, we learned that budget cuts might remove current staff, so I fought to make sure that the Agricultural Experiment Station can protect our hives and access to fresh food.
More Minority Teachers
Increasing minority teachers in the classroom is more complex than simple outreach; it requires collecting data and identifying potential barriers to teaching. This year we placed new requirements on the State Board of Education, and altered the way the Praxis is used for the training of teachers.
When the economy is under pressure, youth programs suffer, just when they are most needed. Some provide mentoring, arts, and environmental programs.
This year, a proposed amendment would have eliminated funds for Solar Youth, Police Athletic League New Haven, New Haven Symphony Free Family Concerts, Arte, Mi Casa, Boys and Girls Club, and some in other cities. The amendment failed, but the bill itself passed by only one vote.
The climate at the Capitol is challenging. Those of us in New Haven need to work together, and support those working with our young people.
This year, we enacted Desmond’s Law, prompted by the case of an adopted boxer mix who was abused and died as a result of injuries. Many demonstrated at New Haven’s Superior Court, claiming the verdict, given the nature of the injuries, was too lenient. In the future, malicious, intentional animal cruelty is a class C felony, with possible jail time or a fine of up to $10,000. Judges will be permitted to appoint volunteer legal advocates to assist prosecutors in animal cruelty cases.
Connecticut was a pioneer in aid to domestic violence victims, but possession and use of guns has proliferated. Also, we learned that in some areas of New Haven, restraining orders are less likely to be served.
Access To Legal Services
Reliable access to legal services should not depend on wealth. That’s why the legislature ensured funding for legal services for the poor. Although counsel for criminal defendants has not been a problem, access to civil court is a problem. A task force will report on this issue later this year.