End Of Session Review (Video), HB491 Will Help Veterans, Fallen Officer Fund

May 17, 2024

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Dear Neighbor,

The 2024 legislative session has ended but we will continue to provide news and updates as it relates to the 41st district. This week's newsletter has both as well as a couple of important reminders from Eversource and the Department of Transportation. This week's newsletter topics include:

  • What's Our Rep Been Up To?
  • Video: 2024 End of Session Review
  • HB5491 Will Help Veterans
  • Another Look: Bills Passed During The 2024 Session
  • Fallen Officer Fund
  • Eversource Rate Increase This Summer
  • DOT Reminder
  • Today is Endangered Species Day
  • Saturday is Armed Forces Day
  • AANHPI Heritage Month Highlight
  • Community Events And Notices


Really epic day at a Mystic Aquarium seal release! It starts with Gnocchi and Ditalini, two brave harp seals rescued earlier this year.

Gnocchi was found on Martha's Vineyard in February, dehydrated and with an injured eye that needed to be removed. Ditalini was rescued in Pawcatuck, Connecticut, in March with pneumonia and skin wounds.

After lots of care and love from aquarium’s animal rescue and rehabilitating team, they were released back into the ocean at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown. I had the privilege of helping usher Ditalini out to the Atlantic Ocean!

Satellite tags were applied to the seals to track their movements post-release. This tag will stay on until they undergo their annual molt, helping researchers track their success and contribute to crucial a healthy seal population along our shores.

Welcome home

Please click on the video below for a look at the 2024 session in review.

Connecticut residents already pay some of the highest electric rates in the country, and now Eversource and its CEO Joe Nolan will be rewarded with a handsome rate adjustment. Eversource will raise its tariffs by 19%, following Nolan’s recent statements that the investor-owned utility intends to withdraw $500 million in planned grid upgrades unless he gets his way with regulators.

Despite an executive compensation package of 18 million (representing an increase from the $13 million he was paid just the year earlier), Nolan has repeatedly complained about the changing regulatory environment in which Connecticut and its Public Utility Regulatory Authority seeks to make rate increases based on utility performance rather than just a straight mathematic return on investment. Instead of caving to these bullying tactics, Governor Ned Lamont, as well as many of my colleagues and I, intend to fight back.

Nolan's attempts to bully the state have backfired spectacularly since the rate increase. Lamont swiftly reappointed Marissa Gillett, chair of PURA (and sole no vote in Eversource’s rate adjustment case), to a four-year term. 

In another surprising move, Eversource announced it will end its rebate program for electric vehicle chargers, just a day after PURA granted its rate adjustment request. Starting May 23, 2024, ratepayers seeking rebates for purchasing or installing EV chargers will be placed on a waitlist instead.

They also threatened investments of over $50 million to expand access to electric vehicle charging programs– including $1,000 rebates for residential customers, up to $40,000 for level 2 chargers and up to $250,000 for DC fast chargers. These actions will slow the adoption of electric vehicles in the region, undermining efforts to decarbonize our transportation sector.

Now let’s get back to the rate increase. How did we get here?
The upcoming price hike is a confluence of two forces: a scheduled mid-year rate adjustment to so-called “
supply rates” (the cost of electricity used) and a separate set of bill charges, which Connecticut regulators recently approved to go up for 10 months starting July 1. The company listed a litany of factors for the rate increases, including a substantial $634 million request for reimbursement associated with preparing for and repairing damage from 32 storms over the four-year span from 2018 to 2021.
According to Eversource, a significant portion of the damage expenses—more than half—was incurred during two particularly devastating hurricanes: Isaias and Ida. These two events alone highlight the extreme and unpredictable nature of storm-related damage that utilities must contend with climate change.
Nolan's tenure is marked by significant mishaps, including an over $1 billion write-off on abandoned offshore wind investments. Eversource recently announced the potential sale of Aquarion, the seventh-largest water company in the country. This move aims to address Eversource's need for $1.3 billion in equity. 
Aquarion, headquartered in Bridgeport, services approximately 241,000 customers across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, with 92% of its customer base in Connecticut alone, including parts of Mystic and Stonington. Acquired by Eversource for $1.7 billion in 2017, this strategic divestiture is intended to bolster Eversource's financial position amid ongoing challenges.
For many years, I have argued for the ability for ratepayers to take back ownership of the grid from investor-owned utilities. For example, Groton Utilities, our municipal electric utility serving the eastern half of Groton, recently announced a rate DECREASE of 9.5%.
What is Groton Utilities doing differently than Eversource? Why can’t ratepayers living in the eastern half of Groton enjoy those same services?
My colleagues like Energy & Technology Committee chair State Senator Norm Needleman even suggested reviewing Eversource's monopoly status. This is a serious challenge to Eversource's dominance and a clear message to the board: pay attention to your CEO's missteps.
As your state representative, I will always fight in the interests of ratepayers and will put forth legislation to explore breaking up the Eversource monopoly, as I did last session. I fully support the actions of PURA chair Marissa Gillett to hold utilities accountable as well as the efforts Office of Consumer Counsel to protect Connecticut residents from unfair rate hikes.

Veterans put their lives on the line for our country and, as a small way to say “thank you for your service,” the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would support Veterans who have been disabled during service.

HB 5491 establishes a property tax exemption for Veterans who have a service-connected permanent and total disability rating as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The exemption will be used for a home that is a primary residence, but if a qualified Veteran does not own a home, the exemption will apply to a single motor vehicle that they own.

In CT, we have 1,029 Veterans who are totally and permanently disabled as a result of their service. These brave men and women have spent their lives fighting to protect our freedoms. It is our turn to support them when they come home with disabilities to ensure they live with dignity and without fear of losing their home. This piece of legislation has passed in the Senate as well and awaits the Governor's signature.
Please click on the image below for a complete list of bills passed during the 2024 session.
Connecticut law enforcement officers have our backs every day. We owe it to them to support their families and stand by them. From now on, if a police officer or trooper is killed in the line of duty in our state, this fund will offer immediate support to their family.

The Fallen Officer Fund will:

  • Provide $100,000 to the surviving family members or beneficiaries of any Connecticut local or state police officer killed in the line of duty or who sustained injuries that were the direct and proximate cause of the officer's death.
  • Allow the surviving family members of police officers killed in the line of duty who were covered by that officer’s health insurance at the time of their death to remain on that coverage for up to five years.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation announced a milling a resurfacing project will be performed on Service Route 649 (Rainville Hill Road/Poquonnock Road/High Rock Road/Tower Avenue) in Groton starting next Thursday, May 23.

The milling segment will take place on Thursday, May 23 through Tuesday, May 28 and the resurfacing segment is anticipated to take place Monday, June 17 through Tuesday, June 25.

Motorists can expect lane closures to occur on Service Route 649 from Route 349 (Clarence B. Sharp Highway) to 0.13 mi. south of the Groton/New London Airport drive in Groton. Groton Town Police and City Police, traffic control personnel, crash attenuator vehicles and signing patterns will guide motorists through the work zone.

Guiderail Installation on I-95 North and Southbound in Groton and East Lyme
CTDOT is announcing that a guide rail installation will be performed on I-95 north and southbound in Groton and East Lyme starting May 6, 2024.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is announcing that a guide rail installation will be performed on I-95 north and southbound in Groton and East Lyme. This project is scheduled to begin on Monday evening, May 6, through Friday morning, August 30, 2024. Work will end at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, May 24 until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, due to the Memorial Day holiday and from 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3 until 8:00 p.m. on Monday, July 8, 2024, due to the Independence Day holiday.
I-95 Northbound Lane Shifts Between Exits 91 and 93 in Stonington

CTDOT is announcing that lane shifts along I-95 northbound between Exits 91 and 93 in Stonington will be in effect starting the week of May 6, 2024.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is announcing that lane shifts along I-95 northbound between Exits 91 and 93 in Stonington will be in effect starting the week of May 6, 2024.

CTDOT Project No. 0058-0340 was awarded to American Industries for $38,250,000.00 on January 21, 2023, and is scheduled to be completed in May of 2026. This project is administered by the Bureau of Engineering and Construction, Office of Construction, District 2 in Norwich.

The I-95 northbound lane shift beginning before Exit 91 and extending for approximately 2,200 feet will guide traffic to the left side while construction work is being performed along the right side of the Bridge over Taugwonk Road.
I-95 northbound lane shift beginning before Exit 93 and extending for approximately 1,600 feet will guide traffic to the left side while construction work is being performed along the right side of the Bridge over Route 216.

On this Endangered Species Day, please join me in raising awareness of the diverse species that call our state home. Together, we can make a difference for generations to come.
We honor the members of our armed forces on this special day. Thank you for your courage, sacrifice, and dedication to defending our nation's freedom!
Tips from the Mental Health Foundation for when you are feeling stressed:
Realize when it is causing you a problem. You need to make the connection between feeling tired or ill, with the pressures you are faced with. Don’t ignore physical warnings such as tense muscles, over-tiredness, headaches or migraines.
Identify the causes. Try to identify the underlying causes. Group the possible reasons for your stress into those with a practical solution, those that will get better anyway given time, and those you can’t do anything about. Try to let go of those in the second and third groups – there’s no point in worrying about things you can’t change or things that will sort themselves out.
Review your lifestyle. Are you taking on too much? Are there things you are doing that could be handed over to someone else? Can you do things in a more leisurely way? You may need to prioritize things you are trying to achieve and reorganize your life so that you are not trying to do everything at once.
To read more on how to manage and reduce stress, please click here.
Asian American and Pacific Islander history is American history. Passed in May of 2022, this law requires that a K-8 AAPI curriculum be taught in public schools by the 2025-26 school year. 
Community Events And Notices
Do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts or concerns you may have at Aundre.Bumgardner@cga.ct.gov or 1-800-842-8267.


Aundré Bumgardner
State Representative


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