Update - March 22

March 22, 2024

Committee work is coming to an end soon, as we have passed bills out of committee in Education, Human Services, and Public Health (committees I'm a member of) for House and Senate consideration. On Monday, the legislature will be in session, and we'll see more session days as we hit April and early May. There are still a few public hearings on the schedule for next week, which you can find below.

This newsletter includes:

  • Public Hearings for the Week of March 25
  • Around the LOB
  • Governor Announces Funding to Expand Broadband Infrastructure & Improve Connectivity
  • Route 8 South at Exit 45 Now Has New Wrong Way Driving Countermeasures in Place
  • Around the District
  • LOCATION CHANGE for Friendly Hands Food Bank Easter Event on March 23
  • Palm Sunday Pancake Breakfast
  • Torrington Library Hosts Upcoming Blood Drive
  • Sensory Night at the Hartford Wolfpack
  • Torringford Volunteer Fire Department is Recruiting & Training New Members
Public Hearings the Week of March 25
Here's the schedule of public hearings being held the week of March 25. Please remember that you only need to register if you wish to provide testimony. If you want to observe the hearings, you can tune in to watch the proceedings live on the committee’s YouTube channel.

You can register to testify and find more details on public hearings, including the bills that will be heard, in the CGA Bulletin. Access the Bulletin HERE

Around the LOB
Wednesday was Ag Day up at the Capitol and it's a favorite day of mine and many of my colleagues. The day coincided with National Ag Week, which celebrates and acknowledges the agricultural industry and the role it plays in stabilizing the economy. We welcome students in Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs across the state, the Department of Agriculture, local farms, etc., to celebrate Connecticut's agricultural past and present. I was happy to welcome the FFA program from WAMOGO High School.
This hardy group (below) lasted to the very end of an 11.5 hour public hearing in the Public Health Committee on Monday. 
Location Change for FHFB Easter Festivities
Due to the weather forecast for Saturday, the Friendly Hands Food Bank Easter event has been moved indoors to St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Charles Street.
Palm Sunday Pancake Breakfast 
Governor Announces Availability of $41 Million for Expansion of Broadband
Governor Ned Lamont recently announced that the State of Connecticut is making nearly $41 million available to fund projects that expand broadband infrastructure and improve internet connectivity.
The funding comes from the state’s portion of American Rescue Plan Act Capital Project Fund dollars and is being administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) through its ConneCTed Communities Grant Program. The purpose of this competitive grant program is to improve access to high-speed internet in the state by funding the construction and deployment of broadband infrastructure designed to support the goal of universal access to affordable, resilient, and reliable broadband.
To maximize its impact, the program will prioritize underserved areas, focusing on those who have historically faced barriers to digital access. Projects must be designed to connect residents and businesses to internet access with speeds of at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 100Mbps for uploads. Applicants must be eligible to receive capital project funds, including local governments, private entities, and nonprofit organizations. Partnerships between public and private entities are encouraged.
The ConneCTed Communities Grant Program represents a significant stride toward achieving Governor Lamont’s goal of universal access to high-speed internet with 1 gigabit per second download speeds and 100Mbps upload speeds.
Applications are now being accepted and must be submitted to DEEP by April 30, 2024, at 4:30 p.m. 
For information on the application process and the webinar, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Energy/Broadband-Deployment/ConneCTed-Communities-Grant-Program.
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program Challenge Process
Additionally, Governor Lamont announced that the BEAD Program Challenge Process will begin accepting challenges on April 1, 2024.
In addition to the nearly $41 million in ARPA funding through the ConneCTed Communities Grant Program, Connecticut was allocated $144 million through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to expand high-speed internet access across the state.
The Challenge Process gives stakeholders in Connecticut the opportunity to identify and correct inaccuracies on the broadband map. The updated map will determine which locations are eligible for funding through the BEAD program. Eligible challengers include local governments, tribal governments, nonprofits, and broadband service providers. While National Telecommunications and Information Administration program requirements do not allow individuals to submit challenges directly, residents of Connecticut are encouraged to work with eligible challengers to identify inaccuracies.
For more information on the BEAD Program Challenge Process, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Energy/Broadband-Deployment/BEAD-Program.
Route 8 South Has New Wrong Way Driving Countermeasures
You may have seen the new wrong way driving countermeasures that the Department of Transportation installed on Route 8 South, Exit 45. These countermeasures are going up across the state, with the goal of deterring drivers from going the wrong way. 

When wrong way crashes happen, they are often fatal. In 2022, there were 13 wrong way crashes that resulted in 23 fatalities. In 2023, preliminary data shows there were five wrong way crashes that resulted in seven fatalities. And in almost every wrong way crash, the driver was found to be impaired by alcohol.

To try to stop these crashes from happening, CTDOT has been installing wrong way driving countermeasures over the past two years. In 2023, Governor Lamont renewed his commitment by signing a Wrong Way Driving Detection and Prevention Law that instructs CTDOT to continue these mitigation efforts. 

These systems detect if a driver is entering a highway ramp in the wrong direction. If they are traveling the wrong way bright red flashing lights are activated. In some locations, the technology will also notify the Connecticut State Police and the CTDOT Highway Operations Center. 

CTDOT has identified more than 200 off-ramps as high risk and will continue to install this technology in the years ahead. Approximately 100 locations are planned to be installed by the end of 2024.

Around the District
I'm happy to be supporting events throughout the 65th District, including:

First photo: Empty Bowls event was well-attended! It was part of a nationwide event to raise awareness of hunger in our communities. 100% of the proceeds from the event will benefit The Community Kitchen of Torrington.

Second row of photos: So happy for Nas as he was honored at the YMCA Annual Dinner for his work with the Ninja program. 

Third photo: Meeting with members of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), along with Rep. Jay Case and Rep. Karen Reddington-Hughes.

Fourth photo: I stopped by FHFB for some business, and was surprised when they presented me with an International Women’s Month Award! Pictured with Danny Hartnett, the FHFB Board President

Torrington Library Hosts Blood Drive
The Red Cross will be at Torrington Library for a blood drive on Tuesday, April 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Book your appointment using the Blood Donor app or click HERE
Sensory Night at the Hartford Wolfpack
The Torrington Area Families for Autism presents: Sensory Night at the Hartford Wolfpack! The game is Sunday, April 14, but you need to order your tickets by April 5.
Join Torringford Volunteer FD
Firefighter Clara Elliott has spent the last few weekends at Litchfield County Regional Fire School learning how to drive Fire Aparatus in preparation of the Q Endorsement Assessment.

Torringford Volunteer Fire Department would like to congratulate Clara for passing the state assessment this past weekend.

Want to do what Clara's doing? Torringford Volunteer Fire Department is continuously recruiting and training, so if you are curious about volunteering, or would like more information about the Cadet Program, come down to the station at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesdays, or visit www.torringfordfd.org/apply-now