Weekly News April 2 - 8April 7, 2017
It's been another busy week in Hartford and I have a lot of news to share!
The House was in Session on Wednesday, as we begin to vote on legislation passed out of committee. I’ll be sure to highlight a few bills each week, but you may view a list of the bills passed by the House here. This list will be continually updated as we move through session.
At work in the House chamber with my colleagues
On Wednesday we unanimously passed a bill that supports the growth of small businesses in Connecticut. House Bill 5583, which expands access to the angel investor tax credit program to businesses in any industry, will help more small businesses gain access to the capital they need to grow and create jobs.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the expansion of this program means that more start-ups and entrepreneurs, in any industry, can benefit from angel investors.
Since Connecticut’s angel investor tax credit program began in 2010, 103 companies have benefited from investments by 392 angels. Learn more about the program here.
We also passed HB 5928 to create a manufacturer permit for farm breweries. Craft beer and breweries are a growing industry in Connecticut, and this bill will allow farms to make beer and sell it on the premises. It also creates the distinction of a "Connecticut Craft Beer" for beers made from ingredients grown on Connecticut farms. This bill helps small businesses and clears the way for Connecticut to reap the economic benefits of the brewery boom.
Listening to former State Rep. Diane Sawyer, a Safe Havens advocate
Tuesday was Safe Havens Day. I participated in a press conference at St. Francis Hospital to raise awareness of this important law. Since its passage in 2000, CT’s Safe Havens Law has saved 27 infants from abandonment and near certain death. The parents, too, of these infants have been saved from possible incarceration and a life overshadowed by the crime of neonaticide, most often committed in a moment of sheer panic.
The law allows anyone to drop off a newborn baby (30 days old or younger) at any hospital emergency room in Connecticut. The person dropping off the baby will remain anonymous, and the police will not be called.
It’s important to note that neonaticide knows no economic, ethnic or racial bounds, and every woman about to give birth to an unwanted infant should know that this safe, humane option exists for her. Fathers of newborns should also be aware of this option so that they may help ensure both the child and mother are safe.
With advocates and hospital staff, including Reps. Mike Demicco and Robin Green (3rd and 4th from left)
There is still time to apply for heating assistance under the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program for the 2016/17 winter. While the deadline is May 1, 2017, eligible households that are subject to a shut-off notice by a utility for heating bills have an extended deadline of May 15.
Home heating benefits are available for households with incomes up to $33,881 for a single person and $65,155 for a household of four. Funding is also available to repair or replace unsafe or inoperable heating systems for single-family, owner-occupied homes if a heating system is deemed unsafe or inoperable by a licensed heating vendor.
Please call 2-1-1 or visit www.ct.gov/staywarm for guidance about the program and application sites.
Taxes are due soon, and there are a number of services available to assist in filling out tax forms for the IRS and State of Connecticut.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.
In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in issues unique to seniors. To obtain more information and find a tax assistance program near you, go to this website or this website.
Free assistance in completing Connecticut tax returns is available from the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services by calling 860-297-5962 or in person at any of the regional walk-in centers in Bridgeport, Hartford, Norwich and Waterbury.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation is asking a series of questions to those who have shown interest in the I-84 Hartford Project. The purpose of the short questionnaire is to learn what tools work best to communicate with the public and then improve the I-84 Hartford Project outreach process.
This is an opportunity to make your voice heard in this important project. Take the questionnaire here!
On Monday, April 17, 2017, at 6 pm Manchester Community College will host the Connecticut Communities Impacted by Opioid Crisis Community Forum.
The event will feature the FBI's documentary film, Chasing the Dragon, followed by an expert panel discussion with local criminal justice and health care experts.
Arrow Pharmacy Pharmacists will be onsite to prescribe and dispense Narcan, please bring your insurance card. Treatment resources will also be onsite to connect people more swiftly to supports and providers. Click here to RSVP and see the list of speakers. For questions, contact Sarah Howroyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Marcia Leclerc will be joined by town residents, organ recipients, and activists to kick off National Donate Life Month with a flag raising ceremony on Wednesday, April 12 at 10 AM at Town Hall. April is National Donate Life Month, raising awareness about the lifesaving impact of organ donation. Town residents Jane Andrews and Art Parker will share personal accounts of how organ donation saved their lives. The flag will fly at Town Hall through April in order to raise awareness for the critical need for organ donors. Learn more here.
Click here for the town meetings calendar.
Click here for the community events calendar.
The Wood Memorial Library will host a talk on Tobacco’s Role in Local History on Thursday, April 13 at 7 PM. Brianna Dunlap, former director of the Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum, will be the guest speaker. Her recent book on the history of Connecticut River Valley tobacco will be the focus of her talk. Refreshments will be served. Learn more here.
Click here for the public meetings calendar.
Click here for the community events calendar.
The Manchester Budget Adoption meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 11 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the Lincoln Center Hearing Room at Town Hall, 494 Main Street. Budget information is available here.
Click here for the full town calendar.
IN THE NEWS
Electric Boat is ramping up production on submarines, and that means a boom for the 450 Connecticut-based businesses that manufacture and supply the parts required to build them. Read more here.
According to the most recent rankings by U.S. News and World Report, Connecticut is home to some of the top colleges and universities in the country. We need to do more to help ensure that students who gain their world-class education in our state go on to join Connecticut’s workforce. That’s why I am backing legislation to give tax incentives to new graduates who stay and work in CT. Read more here.
Colt is purchasing its West Hartford headquarters and manufacturing facility and making new investments to expand operations and add 100 jobs in Connecticut. The acquisition of this property is a key part of the company’s growth strategy and is part of a $23 million project by Colt. Read more here.
I’m glad to see that our bill that stiffens the penalties for hate crimes is moving ahead. Hate crimes and bigotry have no place in our society, and this legislation will make Connecticut a national leader and can serve as a model for other states. Read more here.
Connecticut is a top-ten state in key measures of innovation. Just a few reasons why Connecticut is one of the best states in the country to live, work and raise a family! 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.