Weekly News April 16 - 22

April 21, 2017

It's been another busy week in Hartford and I have a lot of news to share!

The legislature was in session on Wednesday, and among the legislation we passed was a bill I introduced to strengthen CT's Safe Havens Program. The Safe Havens Law allows anyone to leave a newborn baby (30 days old or younger) at a CT hospital with no questions asked.

Due to the bipartisan support we received, the bill was unanimously voted out of the House and will be taken up in the Senate in the coming weeks. Thank you to Commissioner Katz and her team at DCF, as well as the Connecticut Hospital Association and the many advocates who assisted in the bill’s success.

House Bill 7121 strengthens protections for the individuals caring for Safe Havens babies. It's in the best interest of the child for an adoption process to proceed quickly, and this bill helps facilitate the process of foster parents adopting the child. CT’s Safe Havens Law has saved 27 infants from abandonment and near certain death, and this bill will help ensure its continued success.

We also passed House Bill 7254, which will require special education teachers to complete a program of study on working with students with dyslexia. It's important for our educators to be able to recognize students who may be struggling with dyslexia and provide them the help they need to thrive.

A very special thanks to the Education Committee leadership team and the dyslexia advocates, particularly Allison Quirion, for their time and efforts in moving this legislation forward.

On Monday evening I attended the "Connecticut Communities Impacted by Opioid Crisis Community Forum" at Manchester Community College, along with Sen. Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

The event featured the FBI's documentary film, Chasing the Dragon, followed by an expert panel discussion with local and national experts.

Every community in Connecticut has been impacted by the opioid crisis,and this was an important opportunity to learn more about how we can prevent opioid abuse.The film, Chasing the Dragon, is available to view online here.

Left to right: With Brian Flaherty, CBIA; Walter Beach, VP, Peening Technologies; Tom Beach, President, Peening Technologies; and Steve Merrick, International Association of Machinists

On Tuesday I visited Peening Technologies in East Hartford to take a tour of their facilities and discuss proposals to support small businesses and the growth of manufacturing in Connecticut.

I'm participating in the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s (CBIA) Adopt a Legislator Program, and I've been “adopted” by Peening Technologies. The goal of the program is for paired businesses and legislators to remain in contact with each other throughout the legislative session.

Peening Technologies has been a presence in East Hartford for more than 50 years, and I’m grateful that they have ‘adopted’ me. The best way for legislators to learn what small businesses need to thrive is by talking to the businesses in our district. I look forward to continuing our conversations on how to expand Connecticut’s manufacturing industry.

Wednesday was also "Husky Day" at the Capitol, where we honor the student athletes of UConn's sports teams. It was great to hear from Men's Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie and Women's Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma, who gave inspiring speeches to the House chamber.

Kevin Ollie addresses the House Chamber

Members of the Basketball and Football teams

Today East Hartford students came to Hartford for Art at the Capitol sponsored by Sen. Tim Larson. Students presented their unique artworks to an audience in the Senate Chamber. Congratulations to all the students on this well-deserved recognition!

Sen. Larson listens to a student presenting his work

Students line the Senate Chamber with their artwork

I'm excited to be a member of the Host Committee for the Women's Business Development Council's (WBDC) Women Owned Business Day! The event is on May 3 at the State Capitol, and will feature speeches from legislators and successful women business owners, followed by business workshops. In Connecticut, there are 107,000 women entrepreneurs employing more than 90,000 people and generating receipts of $3.2 billion. To learn more and register for the event, click here.

Foodshare's Annual Walk Against Hunger will be held on May 7 at Liam E. McGee Memorial Park in Hartford. There will be food trucks, face painting, photo booths, music, and giveaways. Foodshare is a nonprofit organization working to end hunger in our communities. Register here!


The East Hartford Department of Youth Services and the East Hartford Local Prevention Council will hold the annual “East Hartford Prevention Idol” on Saturday, April 22 at 5 PM at the East Hartford Community Cultural Center (50 Chapman Place).

East Hartford students in grades 7-12 have been invited to showcase their talents by presenting original songs, dance, poetry or dramatic readings that illustrate how substance use negatively impacts lives. The public is invited to watch the performances and share light refreshments. Admission is free. Learn more here.

Click here for the town meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.



The South Windsor Town Council will be holding a public hearing on the Board of Education budget on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 PM. The hearing will be at the Timothy Edwards Middle School. The Board of Education proposed budget is available here.

Click here for the public meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.


The Connecticut Better Business Bureau is presenting "Avoiding Identity Theft and Other Scams" on Tuesday, April 25 at 2:00 pm. Senior citizens should be especially aware of fraud schemes targeting their savings.The program will take place in the Whiton Branch Library Auditorium, 100 North Main Street. For more information please call Reference and Adult Services at 860-645-0821 or click here.

Click here for the full town calendar.


InterCommunity, Inc. of East Hartford has been recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participatory relationships. Congratulations to InterCommunity on this impressive accomplishment! Read more here.

Through the Transfer Tickets program, students who earn an associate degree at one of the state’s 12 community colleges would be able to seamlessly transfer to Central, Eastern, Southern, or Western Connecticut State Universities to complete a bachelor’s in their major without any loss of credit. This smart program will provide a more affordable pathway to a bachelor’s degree. Learn more here.

Great news! A new report from the Connecticut Economic Resource Center found that Connecticut ranks #3 in the percentage of employees with advanced degrees as well as in national economic output per job. We also rank #5 in quality of life in the U.S! You can see the complete state rankings here.

The unemployment rate in Connecticut is down almost a full percentage point from last year! Connecticut's unemployment rate dropped six-tenths of a percentage point, to 5.1 percent at the end of 2016 according to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. I will continue to support legislation that puts our economy on the right track. Read more here.

Startup companies that are part of the University of Connecticut’s Technology Incubation program had a record-setting 2016, raising $39.9 million in investments. These startups are creating cutting edge jobs in research and development that will be fueling our economy into the future. Learn more here.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

A full calendar of all events happening at the Capitol next week, including public hearings, is available on the General Assembly website.

You can find the agenda for public hearings on the calendar by clicking on the calendar item and following the link to the committee page. For instructions on how to testify at a public hearing, please click here.