Capitol News

April 6, 2018

We continue to make our way through the 2018 legislative session! All committees have now met their “JF Deadline” (this is the date by which committees must take action on bills raised) and bills will shortly begin to be debated on the House and Senate floors. For the continuously updated list of bills that have been acted upon by the full House and/or Senate, click here.

I appreciate the many calls, emails, and impromptu conversations in grocery stores and gas stations regarding proposed legislation and welcome the continued dialogue. Please never hesitate to reach out.

Speaking at Wednesday's press conference along with many of my Democrat and Republican colleagues from the House and Senate

Wednesday I held a press conference with Rep. Andy Fleischmann, and former Rep. Pam Sawyer on the 3rd Annual Safe Havens Awareness Day.

The Safe Haven Act prevents infant abandonment and neonaticide by allowing anyone to drop off a newborn baby (within the first 30 days of life) at any hospital emergency room in Connecticut. Since its passage in 2000, the law has saved 33 infants from abandonment or death.

However, despite its success, there is also evidence that we are not doing enough to promote awareness that this life-saving option exists. There have been cases of infant abandonment and neonaticide in Connecticut in recent years, including the case of a mother disposing of her newborn in East Hartford in 2015.

A bill that passed out of the Education Committee this session, HB 5446, contains my proposal to require education about the law in public high school health curriculum. 10 Minutes in 10th Grade would help this life-saving information reach thousands of teenagers each year.

You can watch a video of my remarks here.

A bill that I co-sponsored, SB 518, to provide additional assistance to homeowners with crumbling concrete foundations was voted down this past week by the Judiciary Committee. This bill would have provided a consistent funding stream to cover remediation efforts and the insurance coverage homeowners need to protect their home -- which is typically their largest investment.

While I was disappointed that this bill did not move forward, CT is in the process of establishing the captive insurance company that will distribute funds for foundation remediation, as outlined in the budget we passed in 2017. Read more about this issue in this Journal Inquirer article.

For related Hartford Courant article, click above image.

On Thursday, members of the Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member, approved a bill requiring a number of agencies to collaborate on the development of a plan to implement legalized marijuana if Connecticut decides to take that next step. As an original co-introducer of legislation to legalize, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana, I appreciate the support given by colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward with this common sense approach.

The Judiciary Committee, of which I am a member, has passed a proposal I submitted to change how intellectually disabled people are treated in the court system. Currently, if someone is charged with a crime and ruled as incompetent to stand trial, they must return to court every six months to be evaluated until they are determined competent. This is redundant in the case of individuals with severe permanent intellectual disabilities, who will never be fit to stand trial.

While this may seem like a rare scenario, the requirement fails to account for the reality that an intellectually disabled person who unintentionally commits a violent act can be charged with a crime. The current requirement places an unfair burden on both the defendant and their caretakers and does nothing to further public safety. This bill, HB 5557, makes a minor change by providing flexibility to the courts on waiving the periodic evaluations if it is determined that a defendant will never be competent to stand trial.

Wednesday was the 50-year anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a tragic moment in our country's history. Dr. King was a powerful voice of the civil rights movement, and his legacy of resisting injustice through non-violent protest will never be forgotten. Legislators remembered Dr. King at a ceremony held at the Capitol Tuesday. Click here to read more about the ceremony.

At the Capitol with Journey Found employees Shana Foster, Program Coordinator; Mercer Mathis, Program Coordinator; Peggy Woods, Job Coach; Monica Carr, Fund Development Coordinator; Danielle Hatcher, Senior Supports; Celina Kuemper, Director of Support Services; Shirley Black, Job Coach; and Willie Williams, Program Coordinator, and Tracey Walker, Exec.Director

I recently met at the Legislative Office Building with some of the dedicated staff from Journey Found. Located in Manchester, Journey Found serves adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in northern, central and southeastern Connecticut. They were here to advocate for fairer, livable wages and to ensure the provision of quality services to persons with intellectual disabilities. Learn more about Journey Found here.

At the breakfast with NCRMHB staff and advocates

Last week I attended the North Central Regional Mental Health Board's (NCRMHB) Legislative Breakfast. Through evaluating, educating, and advocating, NCRMHB's mission is to inform and influence best practices, local and state policy, and access resources that lead to the successes of people in recovery and to the growth of healthy and inclusive communities.Thank you to Marcia DuFore, Executive Director, for her continued efforts in bringing all stakeholders to the table. Learn more about NCRMHB here.

Cliff Thermer, Dean of Advanced Manufacturing at Goodwin College testifying before Appropriations on SB 369

Recently the Appropriations Committee heard public testimony on SB 369, An Act Concerning Job Development and Training Opportunities. This bill would instruct the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, in consultation with the Labor Commissioner, to review job development and training programs in the state, and the means by which such programs are funded, to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of our programs and whether such programs are funded by the most cost-efficient, equitable and effective means.

Manufacturing is a growing industry in Connecticut. We need to invest in preparing CT workers to meet increasing demand, but we must also do so in the most cost effective, evidence-based manner we can. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I voted yesterday to pass this legislation out of committee.

MARC clients with a donated art piece

The artworks were displayed at the Legislative Office Building prior to being donated

Local artists generously donated artwork to MARC in Manchester, a nonprofit that serves people with intellectual disabilities. They asked all Manchester legislators to sign the artwork, which has a theme of unity and positivity. To learn more about MARC and ways you may be able to support their efforts, click here.

Anthony Mangiafico, Director, Marwa Akl, and East Hartford Adult and Continuing Education staff

The Connecticut Association For Adult And Continuing Education recently named Marwa Akl, of East Hartford, their “Learner Of The Year” and recipient of the Dr. Tina Jeter Memorial Scholarship. Marwa was commended for her drive to obtain an education after coming to the U.S. as a refugee. Congratulations Marwa!!

If you, or someone you know, is interested in Adult Education services, please click here.


Saturday Night Cinema will be showing MAUDIE on Saturday, April 14th, 7:00PM-9:00PM. Admission is free, and the film will be shown at the EHCCC Auditorium, 50 Chapman Place. For more information, click here.

Click here for the town meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.


For the first time Wood Memorial Library will be participating with over 100 Connecticut libraries in Passport to Connecticut Libraries event for 2018! This program highlights Connecticut libraries throughout the month of April. Each library has its own unique characteristics but all offer wonderful resources and this is an opportunity to learn about them AND possibly win a $150 VISA gift card! There is no fee for this event. To participate, pick up your passport at any participating library.

More information including a list of participating libraries available here.

Click here for the public meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.


The Hockanum River Canoe & Kayak Race is Sunday, April 15. Registration is from 9:00 to 10:30 AM, 1st Boat off at 11:00 AM. For more information, click here.

Click here for the full town calendar.


The Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) has launched its 2018 Arts Workforce Initiative (AWI) which is designed to provide internship opportunities for Connecticut college students, emerging professionals and military veterans at Connecticut not-for-profit arts and cultural organizations. 28 individuals will be placed with selected host organizations for a ten-week, paid internship starting June 4, 2018 through August 17, 2018. Applications must be received no later than midnight Sunday, April 8. Find the application here.

The latest issue of the I-84 Hartford Project is available here. This issue focuses on job opportunities in construction.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing the closure of the Route 2 eastbound ramp from the Founders Bridge to allow for the rehabilitation of Bridge 2369 in East Hartford. The ramp will be closed Friday, April 20, 201, at 10:00 AM and will remain closed until October 12, 2018. Learn more here.

Legal barriers that stymied the redevelopment of the long-vacant Broad Street parcel on the Manchester Parkade have been discarded. Read more here.