May 10th Update

May 10, 2024

The 2024 legislative session is officially over. The final week can be very stressful, and a lot happens in a very short period of time, but it's a privilege to be included in an amazing process. As a deputy speaker (pro tempore), I took to the House dais several times over the last week, presiding over bill passage and debate.  

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

This newsletter includes:

  • Legislative Updates: What Passed This Session
  • CAEF Grants for Torrington Arts Organizations 
  • Happy Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Happy (Child Care) Provider Appreciation Day
  • Shout Out to Billy Cook
  • Mother's Day is Sunday
  • Besse Pool Passes on Sale Now
  • It's Hurricane Preparedness Week: Get Ready for Hurricane Season
  • USPS Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive May 11
  • STIP Meeting on May 15
  • NWCT Chamber of Commerce "Help Save a Life" Trainings
  • Torrington Parks & Rec Music Bingo
  • And more
Around the Capitol & LOB
With the session officially over, it's time to take a look at a few of the bills that passed this year. 

Among the bills that passed:

SB 1 - This was a priority bill in the Senate. It's an omnibus public health bill that passed with bipartisan support in both chambers. The bill's goal is to improve the health and safety of Connecticut residents.

HB 5001 - A priority bill in the House, this legislation supports Connecticut seniors and improves nursing home and home-based care. 

HB 5002 - A House priority bill focused on early childhood care and education, this bill seeks to establish (1) the Early Childhood Care and Education Fund and advisory commission and specify funding for said fund, (2) a Tri-Share Child Care Matching Program in New London County, and (3) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2025, a wage supplement and childcare program enhancement grant program.

HB 5003 - A House priority bill, HB 5003 seeks to ensure that children and families have increased access to all available nutrition programs in the state. This bill aims to reduce barriers to participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children (WIC). 

HB 5046 - The House and Senate both passed this bill which will make nursing home living more humane and comfortable for its residents. 

To read more about bills that passed and died this year, you can read this comprehensive article in CT NewsJunkie or this article in CT Insider. You can also look for the fate of a bill HERE

Governor Lamont today announced that he has signed legislation that repeals state laws and regulations that made it legal for dog racetracks to operate in Connecticut and enacts a new law prohibiting this cruel sport in the state.
There are no currently active dog racetracks in Connecticut, however, this had been occurring in the state for about 30 years. This includes at Plainfield Greyhound Park, which opened in 1976, and Shoreline Star Greyhound Park in Bridgeport, which opened in 1996. Both of these facilities closed in 2005.
Animal protection advocates urged the General Assembly and the governor to enact a law that will prevent these racetracks from ever opening again in the future. With the governor’s signature, Connecticut becomes one of the last states in the country to ban dog racing.
CAEF Funding for Torrington
I'm proud to share that four Torrington organizations will be recieving Connecticut Arts Endowment Fund (CAEF) grants. The grants provide operating support that arts organizations use for programming, administrative or operational costs, capital projects, equipment, or to build their own endowment. 

The four arts organizations receiving funds include:

  • Five Points Center for the Visual Arts - $2,979
  • Joyful Noise, Inc. (Chorus Angelicus) - $751
  • Northwest Connecticut Arts Council - $1,350
  • Northwest Connecticut Association for the Arts (Warner Theatre) - $4,331

Every dollar counts, and I'm happy that Torrington arts organizations are receiving a portion of this grant funding. The arts help strengthen our economy, they help drive tourism, they help improve academic performance for students, and help promote better mental health practices by reducing stress and anxiety.
Grants were released to 188 arts organizations throughout the state. The Connecticut General Assembly established the CAEF to:

  • Stimulate the development of private-sector funding
  • Ensure the long-term stability of Connecticut’s arts industry by providing funding to organizations

The CAEF is managed by the Office of the State Treasurer and the program is administered by the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Shout Out to Billy Cook
As sports seasons wrap up for collegiate athletes, a shout out to my son Billy, who medaled in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MACC) track championships last weekend. This was his last official collegiate meet. Billy's preparing to graduate with his MBA from Mount St. Mary's in Maryland. I'm one proud Mama!
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
The first full week of May is designated National Teacher Appreciation Week (this year, May 6-10). The theme this year, deemed by the National National Parent Teacher Association is "Teachers are Shining Stars." The idea for a week to honor teachers began more than 70 years ago with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. 

Thank you, teachers. Your work doesn't go unnoticed. 

Happy Provider Appreciation Day!
Today, the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) celebrates Provider Appreciation Day – an annual celebration that recognizes the work of childcare educators, teachers and caregivers of young children who work tirelessly to create safe, nurturing, and stimulating environments where children can learn and grow.

I want to acknowledge all child care providers - home-based, center-based, etc. - for the incredible work they do in educating and keeping children safe while parents work. 

Celebrating Mother's Day
Sunday is Mother's Day, and I wish all the moms out there a peaceful and refreshing day. I hope you have a chance to relax and enjoy a day with family or a day of pampering.

I also recognize that not all mothers have reason to celebrate. Some have lost children or their mothers, some have strained relationships with their mothers or children, and some are reminded that they were unable to have children. For anyone feeling conflicted on Sunday, please know I'm thinking of you and sending you peace. 

Pool Passes for Besse Pool on Sale Now
Pool passes for Besse Municipal Pool are on sale NOW! The pool is opening for the season on June 22!

Passes MUST be picked up and paid for IN PERSON at the Recreation Office. You can fill out a pre-registration form online to save time before coming in to pay.

Please note: Concessions and day passes sold at the pool are CASH ONLY this year.

Please see the flyer for more information. Pricing can be found by scanning the QR code or clicking HERE.

It's Hurricane Preparedness Week
It only takes one storm! Help spread the word about these crucial tips before the start of hurricane season.
Stamp Out Hunger USPS Food Drive
Don't forget that Saturday is the USPS "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive. Place a bag of non-perishable food items in a bag next to your mailbox and your mailman will take it from there. 
Statewide Transportation Investment Program Meeting on May 15
Two hybrid public meetings will be held on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) on May 15, in person at the CTDOT in Newington or by Zoom. Registration is required. Visit for more information or to register to attend the meeting via Zoom. 
NWCT Chamber of Commerce Presents
Life-Saving Trainings
Two trainings are available - attend one or both on May 17. For more information, scan the QR code or email the address provided. 
Warner Theatre Moonlight Flight 2024 Gala
The Warner Theatre's 2024 Gala, "Moonlight Flight," will take place May 18, 5 p.m., at the Carole and Ray Neag Performing Arts Center. The event will include a cocktail and hors d'oeuvre reception, an open bar and dinner, and auctions and entertainment. 

For tickets or sponsorship information, contact Kayle Crowley at

Sponsorship for Friendly Hands Food Bank Golf Tournament Available
Free Haircuts Through Friendly Hands Food Bank
Torrington Parks & Rec Music Bingo
Don't miss this BRAND NEW event on June 7 at 6:30 p.m. Held at Coe Park Civic Center, it includes music, prizes, friends, and fun! It is played similar to normal bingo, but with songs played instead of numbers called. Come show off your music knowledge at this fun event!

This is a free event, but please register online at so Parks & Rec knows to expect you.

Alzheimer's Walk in Torrington
Street Fair Celebrating Erik Estrada & the "Divine Renovation" Premiere