Since March 9th, when the Governor declared a state of Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergencies due to the arrival of COVID-19 to CT, our lives have been radically changed.
While my commitment to you and your family has not wavered, the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism have transformed the work of responding to you now- from helping with unemployment claims, getting PPE, finding childcare, to helping students with special needs access education, finding affordable healthcare, and advocating for justice-centered accountability throughout all our policy systems. We will get through this, and I am determined to work even harder, so our community will be stronger as we emerge from these crises, together.
This newsletter is a way to provide you with helpful information and resources, as well as an overview of some of the work we are doing during this time.
If you have any questions or if I can be helpful to you in working with any state agency or understanding how any of our state laws or policies can affect your work, schools, or your opportunities to live, breathe, and age well in our community, please call or email me anytime.
For the most up to date information please visit portal.ct.gov/coronavirus
The CDC and Governor Lamont are continuing to require individuals wear masks in public when they are unable to “social distance” more than 6 feet away from others as well as wash their hands frequently.
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 and farmers, to helping our schools deal with unexpected expenditures. For more on these, please visit my website: www.housedems.ct.gov/Hughes.
I know that navigating state agencies and our partners during this time can be very frustrating. Phone lines are crowded and applications may be confusing. My office is here to help. Call or email me anytime, and I promise I will get you help.
Sign up for CTAlert, the state’s emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users.
To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.
Advocating For You During this Time
These are unprecedented times. We are addressing a global pandemic, protests are rolling from cities to rural towns, we face economic upheaval, essential workers are being exposed without proper protections, and families are suddenly losing loved ones. My office has worked with hundreds of you to fix issues with your unemployment applications, help your business apply for financial aid, get PPE equipment, and find ways to express deep gratitude for frontline workers.
That’s why I have worked with my colleagues to advocate for expanded tele-medicine and delayed due dates for state income taxes and municipal property taxes. We are determined to enter a special session of the legislature to address safe voting by absentee ballot, police accountability, health disparities, and care for those most impacted.
The Legislative Session That Quarantined
When we began this year’s legislative session on February 5th, I eagerly resumed working on many of the issues that you all have prioritized: reducing the cost of health insurance, making it easier to exercise your right to vote, debt-free college, and addressing urgent climate change. As a member of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee, I was deeply involved in passing out of Committee a cap on insulin costs and an affordable health care insurance option for small business owners and self-employed workers, before the Capitol shut down March 11. This work continues now, and will be central to the emergency special session and future sessions.
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 towns:
|Town Budget Summary||Easton||Weston||Redding|
|Town Aid Road||$227,831||$251,619||$269,353|
|Grants For Municipal
|Education Cost Sharing||$173,187||$263,889||$179,134|
|Total State Funds To Town||$520,417||$652,120||$652,052|
Also, the bill contained funds for workforce development, launching the Paid Family Medical Leave insurance program, and funding deferred transportation improvements. It is now up to Governor Lamont and the Bond Commission to release these funds, and I will hold them accountable.
Where Do We Go From Here?
While we continue to be guided by public health experts on the steps we need to take to safely “reopen”, we also have an opportunity to build an equitable, stronger state with transformative investment into our care infrastructure and ethical economic recovery.
We are working to ensure hospitals, health care providers and nursing homes have adequate stock of personal protective equipment and improved infection control oversight. We are working with farmers to protect our food supply chain and we are standing with frontline workers who are demanding economic justice.
Your stories and experiences are important to helping us create policy changes that can weather multiple storms. What do you imagine for a healthy, thriving future for you and your family? I want to hear from you! Now more than ever, I am honored and privileged to represent all of you!