On March 8th, Connecticut had its first confirmed case of coronavirus. On March 9th, the Governor declared a state of Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergencies. On May 25th, we all witnessed the tragic murder of George Floyd. And our lives have been radically changed ever since.
Despite the difficult challenges ahead, I hope our state and our country will be stronger on the other side.
This newsletter is intended to provide you with helpful information and resources, as well as an overview of some of the work my office has been doing during this time.
If you have any questions, concerns, or if I can be helpful to you in working with any state agency or understanding how any of our state laws or regulations can affect your work, opportunities, our schools, or your health, please call me at 860-240-8500 or email me at Tammy.Exum@cga.ct.gov anytime.
For the most up to date information please visit portal.ct.gov/coronavirus
The CDC, and Governor Lamont, are continuing to require individuals to wear masks in public when you are unable to “social distance” more than 6 feet away from others.
If you are out of work, you 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.
If you are a business owner, the Department of Economic and Community Development is developing and updating guidelines on safe ways to operate your business: business.ct.gov/Recovery. They have also opened a small business hotline: 860-500-2333.
If you notice a business not operating in a safe manner, call 2-1-1.
If you are having trouble paying your residential mortgage or rent, we have worked with banks and landlords to provide you additional time to put together payments. For more information on these programs, visit portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/information-for/homeowners-and-renters.
In addition, we have worked with the federal delegation and the Governor’s office to develop and fund a number of smaller assistance programs ranging from funding for artists to farmers, to helping our schools deal with unexpected expenditures. For more on these, please visit my website: www.housedems.ct.gov/Exum.
I know that working with state agencies and our partners during this time can be complicated. Phone lines are crowded, applications may be confusing. My office is here to help. Call or email me anytime, and I promise I will get you help.
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Advocating For You During this Time
This has been a remarkably challenging time for all of us. My office has worked with many of you to fix issues with your unemployment applications, help your businesses apply for financial aid, and work with the DMV to get your cars registered. I know during these challenging times that we need government help and services the most.
That’s why I have worked with my colleagues to advocate for all of you with the Governor and his administration. I am proud to say that because of our advocacy, we have expanded tele-medicine, brought additional COVID-19 testing sites to our community, expanded affordable childcare options for front-line workers, and delayed due dates for state income taxes and municipal property taxes. If there are more ways that we can make state government work better for you, please let me know.
The Legislative Session That Wasn’t
When we began this year’s legislative session on February 5th, as a member of the Environment, Banking, and Government Administration and Elections committees, I expected to be working on many of the issues that you have prioritized for me, including reducing the cost of health insurance, making it easier to exercise your right to vote, and bringing back more support for our schools. I remain deeply involved in making it easier for Connecticut residents to vote. This work continues now, and will continue through any special session of the legislature this summer or fall, and into next year.
One of the few votes we took this year in the House of Representatives was for the bond act. I am proud to say that this legislation contained authorizations for state
aid for our community:
|Town (FY20 & 21 total)||Locip||Town aid road||Grants for municipal projects|
In addition, the bill contained funds for workforce development, launched the Paid Family Medical Leave insurance program, and funds transportation improvements. It is up to Governor Lamont and the Bond Commission to release these funds, and I will hold them to that.
2020 Special Session
While COVID-19 suspended the 2020 legislative session, there are still important issues on which to work. In the coming weeks, we will be convening in a special session to focus on the critical issues facing our state.
In light of the tragic death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police officers, the state of Connecticut should address police accountability and transparency. When comprehensive legislation comes before me on the House floor, I have every intention of supporting it.
We must meet the challenge and opportunity of this moment to tackle the systemic racism in our institutions.
In addition, we have an important election coming before us in the midst of a pandemic. During this unprecedented time, Connecticut voters should not be forced to risk their health to cast a ballot. It’s essential that we pass legislation that allows no-excuse absentee ballots for the upcoming general and future elections. I look forward to this proposal passing with bipartisan support.