Weekly News April 9 - 15

April 13, 2017

It's been another busy week in Hartford and I'm pleased to say that I have good news to share!

The House was in Session on Wednesday, and we passed passed a number of bills addressing a variety of issues throughout Connecticut.

One bill we passed, HB 6260, will establish a state-wide police training program on best practices for locating and communicating with children with autism who wander from home or adult supervision. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Liz Linehan (D-Cheshire/Southington/Wallingford), a first-term legislator I have the honor and privilege of mentoring.

Nearly half of children with autism spectrum disorder will attempt to wander from a safe, supervised space. When children with autism go missing, typical police methods of locating a child – such as the use of lights and loud sounds – may not be effective.

The legislation will establish a training program that police officers can complete for credit toward their continuing education requirements.

You can view a list of all the bills passed by the House here (see the “House Passed” column and links for bill information). This list will be continually updated as we move through session.

On Saturday I attended a reception celebrating two South Windsor residents who have just become American citizens. Congratulations to both of them on this amazing accomplishment!

With Shawn Jacabaccio and Dr. Caroline Rochon of South Windsor

Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey and I say hi to some furry friends

During a busy session day, Wednesday was also Animal Therapy Day at the Capitol. 15 animal therapy dogs and their handlers came to allow visitors to meet the dogs and learn about the important role therapy animals play during times of trauma and crisis.


Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey and I with Kid Governor Jessica Brocksom

Connecticut's Kid Governor Jessica Brocksom of Milford, who was elected on a platform of helping animals, also came to Animal Therapy Day. The Kid Governor Program is an award winning program to get kids interested in politics and civic engagement. Kid-Governor Brocksom fills the seat of the former, and first, Kid-Governor Elena Tipton of East Hartford. Learn more about the program here.

With Rep. Gary Byron (R-Newington), Chris McCluskey, V.P., Housing & Community Services at CRT, and Lisa Tepper Bates, Executive Director of CCEH

On Wednesday I also met with advocates from the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) who were at the Capitol for a Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Day.

Representing more than 75 members – emergency shelter providers, transitional housing providers, community and business leaders, and strategic partners - CCEH is a tremendously successful advocate for ending homelessness in Connecticut as well as a model for coordinated advocacy efforts around a common goal. CCEH advances their goal of ending homelessness through community organizing, advocacy, research, and education. Learn more about them here.

It was great to see Sue Larsen of the South Windsor Registrar of Voters, who was at the Capitol for a Registrars of Voters Association of CT (ROVAC) event. ROVAC provides training for our registrars and promotes free and impartial elections.

South Windsor Registrar of Voters Sue Larsen and I

Mark Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, taking questions during the town hall meeting at Manchester Community College

Thursday morning I attended a town hall meeting at Manchester Community College. Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian and the Board of Regents have approved two strategies to maintain a strong community college system in the face of expected budget cuts.

The town hall was held to gather the public's feedback on implementing these plans, and Ojakian will then be reaching out to community members at every level to join the conversation as they put together implementation teams.

The first proposal is an administrative consolidation across all institutions and system offices of administrative personnel. The expected savings of this strategy is approximately $13 million.

The second proposal is an operational consolidation of our 12 community colleges into one centrally managed community college with multiple campuses. This is expected to save approximately $28 million.

You can view the full plan here.

Mark your calendars: The I-84 Hartford Project is holding two "Open Planning Studios" this month. These events will be held in Hartford and East Hartford on:

  • Thursday, April 20th
    4 to 8 pm, Hartford Public Library, Downtown
    Branch, 500 Main Street, Hartford
  • Tuesday, April 25th
    4 to 8 pm, Raymond Library, 840 Main Street
    East Hartford

The Open Planning Studios will include an open house, public presentations, and workshops where the public can learn about and provide feedback on the latest happenings of the I-84 Hartford Project. Learn more about the I-84 project 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 howroyds@manchesterct.gov.


O’Brien Elementary STEM Academy is hosting its 3rd Annual Commit to Stay Fit Children and Families initiative on April 26th,May 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th from 5:00PM -7:00PM for students and families. Attendees will receive free information and exercise sessions along with giveaways, raffles, and dinner at each event.

The East Hartford Fine Arts Commission finishes their Saturday Night Cinema series on Saturday, April 15 in the auditorium of the East Hartford Community Cultural Center, 50 Chapman Place, at 7:00 pm. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) from New Zealand will be the April film. All screenings are free. Learn more here.

Click here for the town meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.


There will be a Town Council Meeting on Monday, April 17 at 7 PM at Town Hall. The meeting agenda will be posted here.

Click here for the public meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.


The Manchester Historical Society invites children and adults to come try out period toys and gadgets, play games, and learn about Easter in Early America at the Cheney Homestead (106 Hartford Rd) on Saturday, April 15 from 12 - 4 PM. Visitors can also help to make and prepare American Indian and colonial garden tools for spring planting. Learn more here.

Click here for the full town calendar.


The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is asking for story submissions about how the arts have had an impact on your community or in your personal or professional life. They are particularly interested in stories about how a publicly funded grant from the CT Office of the Arts or from the National Endowment for the Arts has made a difference in your life or your community.

Share your story by Tuesday, May 16 by sending an email with your story to Adriane Jefferson using the subject: My CT Arts Story. If you have an image, please attach the image to your email. If you would like to share a video, please provide a link to an online video. Your story may be used - with attribution - on their website or Facebook page.

Saturday marked opening day for Trout Fishing in Connecticut. You can find information on Fisheries and Wildlife from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Facebook page. Read more about opening day here.

Craft brewing is a growing industry in Connecticut. A bill passed by the House last week will help entrepreneurs and will also create jobs in our state by creating a farm brewery permit. Learn more here.

CT Innovation Night is coming to Storrs. This event creates a real connection between UConn students and Connecticut’s most innovative companies, and helps encourage our students to live and work in the state. Learn more here.

If you're worried about lead in your home, state funding is available to help. The Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes program — funded by the State Department of Housing and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and operated by the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center — targets low-income households who may have lead contamination in their homes. Learn more here.

Connecticut Export week is only two weeks away! There will be several free seminars and webinars held throughout the state that will encourage more businesses to take the first steps towards ‘going global’. Attendees will have access to the experts in building a global marketplace. Learn more on the event website.

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.