Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is an honor to serve you in the legislature. Because of the pandemic, we were unable to finish the 2020 legislative session. Never-the-less, my commitment to you and your family has not changed.
I hope that you find this newsletter helpful. The enclosed information is intended to provide you with resources as well as an overview of some of the work my office has been doing during these difficult times.
Please reach out to my office if I can be of service to you or your family. I can be reached at Susan.Johnson@cga.ct.gov or by phone at 860-240-0160. If you have not already done so, please sign up for my email blasts to receive information on a regular basis regarding my bills and issues that face our town and our state. I will continue to fight for the best interests of Windham and the state of Connecticut.
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 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 make your payments. For more information on these programs, visit portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/information-for/homeowners-and-renters.
In addition, we have worked with our 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 funding issues, please visit my website: www.housedems.ct.gov/Johnson.
CT Green Bank Update
The nation’s first green bank is located here in CT, “The Connecticut Green Bank.” The Green Bank makes clean energy accessible and affordable for all CT families, businesses, and non-profits. The Connecticut Green Bank was established in July of 2011. Because the Greenbank leverages public-private finances they are able to use limited public dollars and attract private capital investments. For every $1 of public funds invested, an additional $6 in private investment is made in the economy.
Advocating For You During this Time
This has been a challenging time for all of us. My office has worked with many of you to fix issues with your unemployment applications, help your business apply for financial aid and to assist with the DMV to get your car registered and more.
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, I expected to be working on many of the issues that you all have prioritized for me including reducing the cost of health insurance, making it easier to exercise your right to vote, and bringing back home more financial support for our schools. I am a member of the Appropriations Committee, Education Committee, and Co-chair of the Regulations Review Committee.
I was deeply involved in introducing and supporting legislation that helps to bring Early College Opportunities to Alliance Districts like ours, pass legislation that would provide municipalities like Windham with payment in lieu of taxes for state housing authority properties, and establishing an infrastructure bank in the State of Connecticut. I hope to continue this fight through any special session of the legislature this summer or fall, and into next year.
One of the few votes we were able to take 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 town.
|Town Budget Summary||FY 20||FY 21|
(Local Capital Improvement Project)
|Town Aid Road||$365,144||$365,144|
|Grants For Municipal Projects||$454,575||$454,575|
|Education Cost Sharing||$27,999,008||$29,008,213|
In addition, the bill contained funds for workforce development, launching the Paid Family Medical Leave insurance program and funding transportation improvements. It is now up to Governor Lamont and the Bond Commission to release these funds, and I will hold them to that.
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 a stronger and more robust state.
Right now, we are working to ensure hospitals and health care providers such as nursing homes have an adequate stock of personal protective equipment. And we are working with farmers and food banks to protect and localize our food supply chain.
The information you provide about your experiences are important to helping us work to improve the quality of life for you. How well did the safety net work for you and your family? How can we do better? What services were not available that you really needed? I want to hear from you!
Workers’ Compensation Task Force
Last session, the Legislature passed a bill that I have been working on for several years to establish a taskforce to evaluate unreasonably contested or delayed workers’ compensation claims and find ways to prevent bad faith handling of these cases.
I have had the honor and privilege to serve as chair of the task force. We began meeting immediately after making appointments to the task force, which consists of members from the insurance industry, respondents’ and claimants’ lawyers, workers compensation doctors as well as several injured workers.
Throughout the process we studied how our state handles workers’ compensation claims and resolutions that do not involve legislative action. I am grateful and hopeful that this task force will bring positive change and move us in the right direction to ensure injured workers can access healthcare benefits they deserve without unnecessary delay.
Office of the Healthcare Advocate
The office of the Healthcare Advocate is a state agency that helps to protect the health insurance interest of consumers in CT. Within the Office of the Healthcare Advocate’s website there is a resource for those who have lost their health care coverage. If you are in need of coverage please visit portal.ct.gov/OHA/Loss-of-Coverage-Options/Loss-of-Coverage. This site offers free expert advice when you are considering your options in CT.
You can also visit healthscorect.com. This website is a resource for you to compare hospitals, healthcare facilities and other healthcare providers in CT.