The 2018 legislative session is in full swing, and our work starts in the legislative committees. This year I will continue to serve on the Education, Judiciary, and Appropriations Committees.
In even-numbered years, legislators may only personally introduce legislation that is financial in nature, with all other requests being raised as what’s referred to as a “committee bill.” So, if you’re looking on my webpage for bills I’ve introduced this session, the list is longer than the two (financial) bills that will appear there. Here are the proposals I have submitted to committees:
Eliminate, prospectively, any mileage or other reimbursements from the calculation of legislators’ pensions.
Continue to build upon the country’s first legislatively-created Two-Generational Initiative, for which I co-chair the Two-Generational Advisory Council. This bill would increase data sharing between state agencies, ensuring social services are delivered in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.
Require that high school health classes include information on the state's Safe Haven Law. This law prevents infant abandonment by allowing anyone to leave a newborn at a hospital emergency room.
Legalize, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana.
Ensure that all students have access to a comprehensive school counseling program.
Permit distilleries to sell their products on site in the same way vineyards and breweries are currently able to operate.
Adjust the current laws to provide improved oversight of home inspectors.
Require municipalities to post the contract for their top managing official, in the same way each town’s school superintendent contract must be posted as required by legislation passed in 2017.
Require Lyme Disease testing as a preventative measure in certain instances.
Provide flexibility to the courts when determining evaluations for parties that have been determined to be incompetent .
I will update you on the status of these proposals as session moves forward.
The crumbling concrete foundations proposals we passed last year are gradually coming to fruition. Over the last few weeks, the Incorporators of the soon-to-be-licensed captive insurance company which will distribute remediation funds met to discuss next steps and create a framework for the months ahead. You can see all of the steps they've taken so far in this recent update I sent to fellow legislators and interested stakeholders.
Additionally, at the recent Bond Commission meeting, the Commission approved a first installment of $350,000 for the newly created captive insurance company, Connecticut Foundations Solutions Indemnity Company, LLC. The insurance company will distribute remediation funds to contractors approved to repair/replace crumbling concrete foundations.
The Bond Commission also approved a change expanding access to financial assistance for foundations testing. $5 million was previously allocated to help homeowners afford testing, but limited to homes within 20 miles of the J.J. Mottes Concrete Company in Stafford Springs. The change allows the Department of Housing Commissioner to approve reimbursements for households outside of the originally approved radius. Learn more about the program here.
Recently I sat down with NBC's Len Besthoff to discuss the impact of crumbling concrete foundations on town grand lists. You can watch it here
We're currently in the middle of Appropriations Committee public hearings, and many individuals and advocates from East Hartford, Manchester, and South Windsor have come to testify on which programs we should prioritize in the state budget:
Advocates from InterCommunity, a health organization providing primary care, mental health care, and addiction services, testified in support of funding programs within the Department of Developmental Services budget
With Sen. Steve Cassano, Kevin Zingler, Executive Director, and advocate Michael Robinson from MARC, Inc. MARC of Manchester advocated for funding to support people with disabilities and ensure that all people are able to lead full and productive lives.
Katrina LaChance, a dean’s list student from Goodwin College, testified on the importance of funding higher education.
Recently, South Windsor officially unveiled the new “Edward F. Havens, Sr South Windsor Annex” on Sullivan Avenue. I'm glad that South Windsor Mayor Saud Anwar and the Town Council recognized the lifetime of love and dedication that Eddie Havens has given to his community. Congrats again, Ed!
At the unveiling ceremony with Ed Havens
At the CT Made press conference with Adam von Gootkin, owner of Onyx Moonshine in East Hartford
Connecticut is home to a wide variety of products we can all be proud of – and that’s why we passed a bill last year to create the “Connecticut Made” logo as an attractive marketing tool. This week we held a press conference to announce that the logo is now available online at www.ct.gov/ctmade as a resource to help drive consumers to local businesses and raise awareness of local products.
I was joined at the press conference by Adam von Gootkin, owner of the successful East Hartford business Onyx Moonshine. Adam's company is just one example of a Connecticut business that can utilize this logo to promote their locally made products. Read more about the new logo here.
In recognition of Heart Month, I hosted East Hartford business Code One Training Solutions at the Capitol to provide free CPR training demonstrations. Throughout the day, legislators, staff, and visitors dropped by for 20-minute CPR demonstrations and heart health information.
I’m so glad Code One came to the Capitol to offer this public service during Heart Month. It was a great way to highlight a local business, one that started out of a dorm room at UCONN, and encourage people to learn about risks for heart disease and preventive steps they can take.
Code One is an American Heart Association Training Center, and their training programs include CPR and First Aid, EMT initial and EMS continuing education classes.
With Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and Kori Burz, Assistant Training Director for Code One Solutions
Today I attended a Security Roundtable at Silver Lane Elementary School in East Hartford held by Governor Malloy. The speakers discussed the important steps Connecticut has taken to reduce gun violence and improve safety at schools over the past five years. Click here to learn more.
Recently the governor announced a new round of grants that will be used to enhance security infrastructure at 182 public and private schools across the state. East Hartford was awarded $32,729 for improvements at two schools and Manchester was awarded $166,550 for a project at one school. The funds were approved under the School Security Grant Program that was created in 2013 as part of a broad legislative package signed into law by the Governor focusing on gun violence prevention, mental health, and school security issues.
The 2018 - 2019 Town Budget Workshop Meeting will be held Monday, March 5 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Town Hall. For more information click here.
There will be a presentation on the Bridge Bundle Project on Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30 pm in the Town Council Chambers. During the presentation, a project overview, construction staging, and traffic management plans will be presented. Following the presentation, project staff will answer and questions. For more information, contact Gregory Kozma at Gregory.firstname.lastname@example.org or860-258-4615.
The January/February East Hartford Adult Education newsletter is available here.
The Town Council will hold its regular meeting on Monday, March 5 at 7:00pm at Town Hall. For more information, click here.
The Mary Cheney Library will hold a Dr. Seuss Magic Show on Saturday, March 3 at 10:30AM. The show will be about the wonderful world of reading, highlighting the life and works of Dr. Seuss. For more information, call 860-645-0577 or click here.
Manchester’s Early Childhood Fair will provide information on programs, services, recreation and resources on Saturday, March 10 from 9:00AM-12:00PM at the Nathan Hale Building (160 Spruce St.). For more information, clickhere.
IN THE NEWS
The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing the start of rehabilitation activities of Bridge 02369 in East Hartford. Construction activities are slated to begin on or around the week of March 5, 2018, weather dependent. Typical daytime and nighttime lane closures will be necessary to facilitate the work. Click here for lane closure information.
East Hartford is one of five municipalities to win the Working Cities Challenge, a competition for Connecticut communities to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income residents. The program officially launched in Connecticut in 2016 with state, private sector, and not-for-profit support. EH will receive $450,000 to improve the quality of life in the Silver Lane neighborhood by improving access to workforce development and educational resources. Read more here.
South Windsor's town council unanimously approved an ordinance that bans “fracking” waste from being brought to or used in South Windsor. That makes South Windsor the 34th municipality in the state to ban the storage or use of waste that results from hydraulic fracturing, a process that is used to extract oil and natural gas from underground. Learn more here.
Manchester has been awarded $4,300 through the CT Department of Agriculture's Farm Viability Grant program. The grant was made possible through the Community Investment Act, which is intended to help nonprofits and municipalities implement local land use or agricultural regulations, farmland protection strategies, provide educational workshops for farmers, fund advertising for local or regional agriculture, and establish and market local farmers' markets.