Weekly News Feb 12 - 18

February 17, 2017

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

This week and next is what I like to refer to as “Appropriations Boot Camp” where those of us on the Appropriations (aka budget writing) Committee have the opportunity to sit and speak with members of our non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis and Commissioners of all state agencies, and hear from residents at public hearings each evening on how the governor’s proposed budget would impact them.

This term, I have been assigned to the following Appropriations subcommittees: Human Services, Higher Education, and Government A. Please don't hesitate to contact me with your budget questions and concerns as we move through this process. This week was another step in our lengthy budget process that will continue until we vote on a final budget in late May or June. Please see the list of events at the end of this email for the upcoming Appropriations meetings and public hearings.

Tuesday I joined the The Governor's Prevention Partnership, Governor Malloy, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and local legislators at The Village for Families and Children in Hartford to celebrate $2.4 million in grants they have been awarded from the United Health Foundation to prevent drug use in teens and provide integrated behavioral and primary care to families.

The Village was awarded $1.5 million over three years to partner with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to develop an innovative, integrated pediatric health care practice in two clinics in East Hartford and West Hartford.

Working together, the teams of primary care doctors, nurses, psychologists and care coordinators will address the range of physical and social aspects of each family's health and well-being. This program is directly in line with the state’s 2-Generational initiative that Senator Moore (D-Bridgeport) and I co-chair, also with a location in East Hartford. Click here to learn more.

Tuesday wasn't just Valentines Day, it was also Have a Harc Day at the Capitol! HARC is a non-profit that provides services to people with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Greater Hartford area. I attended their round table discussion on what legislators can do to help individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families this session. Thank you to all of the advocates and families who attended and spoke with us!

Listening to the HARC roundtable and meeting with a client from HARC

I also attended First Choice Health Center's “Red Sock Day” on Tuesday. Staff from the centers and legislators wore red socks to raise awareness of heart disease. You can find information from First Choice Health Centers on how to lower your risk of heart disease here.

With First Choice staff and advocates at their health center

Red socks for legislators!

A red sock collage - I'm on the bottom right!

On Thursday I testified in front of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee in support of two pieces of legislation I've introduced this session:

H.B 6429, An Act Concerning Contractual Limitation Periods for Suits Concerning Denial of Property and Casualty Insurance Claims
I have introduced this legislation with Rep. Kurt Vail (R-Somers/Stafford) to assist homeowners with crumbling foundations who are going through the insurance claim process. The bill would require insurance carriers to stop the clock on the statute of limitations for homeowners while a claim is being processed and to clearly indicate the deadline to file suit against their insurance carrier, in the case of a denial. You can read my testimony here.

H.B. 6619 An Act Concerning Health Insurance Coverage For Used Wheelchairs
I testified in support of this legislation with my constituent Lydia Mele. This bill would require health insurers to notify an enrollee if they are receiving a used wheelchair, permit the individual to return the used wheelchair within seven days after the their receipt of such notice, and process any request for repair or replacement of a defective wheelchair.

Lydia and I testifying in the Insurance Committee

Individuals who use a wheelchair often need the chair to meet particular specifications in order to accommodate their medical issues. A used wheelchair may not be able to meet these criteria. Individuals deserve to know if they are receiving a used product and be able to return it if needed. I'd like to thank Lydia for bringing this issue to my attention and being such an incredible advocate!

On Friday I attended a Panel Discussion on Crumbling Concrete Foundations in the Planning and Development Committee. We heard from Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and representatives from the Insurance Association, Banking Association, the Housing Department, and the Capitol Region Council of Governments to learn more about potential policy solutions.

Also on Friday, the Governor submitted a legislative proposal to the General Assembly to create a state loan program to provide support to homeowners with crumbling foundations. The proposal would create a Collapsing Foundation Interest Rate Reduction Program meant to assist with some of the costs of fixing foundations. It would also waive fees associated with permit applications. My colleagues and I will be looking closely at this proposal to see if it offers useful relief for homeowners with crumbling foundations. Click here to learn more about the proposal.

On Tuesday, February 28 at 10am in LOB Room 2C there will be a joint public hearing with the Planning and Development Committee, Insurance Committee, the Banks Committee and the Public Safety Committee. All four committees will hear bills regarding crumbling foundations in order to make it easier for people to testify. Written testimony can be submitted by emailing pdtestimony@cga.ct.gov and putting the bill number on which you'd like to comment in the subject line. I will send out specific bill information in a follow-up email next week.

Congressman John Larson is holding a public forum on the future of the Affordable Care Act on Saturday, Feb. 18. Larson's forum will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Berlin Senior Center on Colonial Drive. Click here for more information.

East Hartford Adult Education has released their first newsletter of the year. Click here to view the newsletter.

Mayor Marcia Leclerc will be holding the monthly “Lunch with the Mayor” meeting on Thursday, February 23 between 12:00 and 1:00pm at the East Hartford Town Hall. These luncheon meetings are a great opportunity for East Hartford residents to meet with the Mayor and discuss any questions or concerns they may have through an in-person, Q&A session. Please contact Jessica in the Mayor’s Office at (860) 291-7200 with any questions. More information is available here.

Click here for the town meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.

The South Windsor Town Council will be holding their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 21 at 7:00pm at Town Hall (1540 Sullivan Ave). More information is available here.

The South Windsor Human Relations Commission will hold "Community Conversations: Civil Rights & Civility in the Post-Election Climate" on Monday, Feb. 27 from 7 to 8:30 pm at the South Windsor Town Hall. The forum features a group of panelists followed by a question and answer session. Information on the Commission is available here.

The South Windsor Teen Center will be hosting a Middle School Game Night on Friday, February 24 between 6:00pm and 9:30pm. For more information call 860 648-6360 or email liane.lussiersmith@southwindsor.org

Click here for the public meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.

The Manchester Board of Education will be meeting on Monday, February 27th at 7:00 pm at the Lincoln Center (494 Main Street). The Board of Education calendar is available here.

The American Red Cross will be hosting a Blood Drive in Manchester on Thursday, February 23rd at 1:30pm at North United Methodist Church, 300 Parker St. More information is available here.

View the full town calendar here.


For the third consecutive year, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is awarding Manchester Public Schools a one-year grant of $720,000 to foster partnerships between schools and families. In an effort to foster closer working relationships with families, Manchester’s Robertson Elementary School’s kindergarten teachers are trying a different approach. This academic year, parents and guardians of Robertson kindergartners had the option to request a home visit from their children’s’ teachers. Click here to learn more.

The South Windsor Board of Education approved its proposed 2017-18 school budget with a 1.39% increase that the Superintendent had proposed. This budget is now referred to the Town Council for their review and approval. The Superintendent’s Budget is $72,752,917, and has the the lowest percentage increase proposed in seven years. More information is available here.

Last Monday the Manchester school board voted to approve a proposed 2017-18 school budget -- which would require an increase of about $3.2 million, or 2.9 percent, over current spending and would maintain current services, with no added staffing or programs. The board of directors will eventually determine the size of the school budget.

UConn’s research and innovation pipeline is a critically important part of economic development in the state. Academic research is a powerful engine that generates innovative ideas for products and services with commercial potential. To learn more about new ventures at UConn, take a look at this interview with UConn's executive director of venture development and head of the UConn Technology Incubation Program.

The UConn women are unstoppable! With Monday night's 100th consecutive win, the Huskies haven't lost a game in more than two years. The UConn women's basketball program is unparalleled.

Governor Malloy’s budget proposal keeps a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products and baby diapers that will go into effect on July 1, 2018.There are many things that need to change in the Governor’s proposed budget, but I’m glad this tax break was preserved. Rep. Kelly Luxenberg of Manchester championed this exemption that will help women and families afford medical necessities.

Bradly Airport continues to add new airlines and is becoming a well-known travel hub for the region. The airport is a major economic driver for Connecticut, and it continues to be a player in our efforts to grow our economy, boost tourism, and improve our transportation system. Read more here.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

The Capitol is closed Monday, Feb. 20 for President's Day

Appropriations Committee Elementary & Secondary Education State Agency Budget Presentations, LOB Room 2C, 10:00 am

Appropriations Committee Public Hearing re Governor's Proposed FY 2018-2019 Budget, LOB Room 2C, 4:00 pm

Appropriations Committee Transportation Subcommittee State Agency Budget Presentations, LOB Room 2C, 10:00 am

Appropriations Committee Judicial & Corrections Subcommittee State Agency Presentations, LOB Room 2C, 1:00 pm

Appropriations Committee Public Hearing re Governor's Proposed FY 2018-2019 Budget, LOB Room 2C, 6:30 pm

Appropriations Committee Health Subcommittee State Agency Budget Presentations, LOB Room 2C, 10:00 am

Appropriations Committee Public Hearing re Governor's Proposed FY 2018-2019 Budget, LOB Room 2C, 4:30 pm

Appropriations Committee General Government A Subcommittee State Agency Budget Presentations, LOB Room 2C, 10:00 am

Appropriations Committee General Government B Subcommittee State Agency Budget Presentations, LOB Room 2C, 2:00 pm

Appropriations Committee State Agency Budget Presentations, LOB Room 2C, 6:30 pm

Appropriations Committee Public Hearing re Governor's Proposed FY 2018-2019 Budget, LOB Room 2C, 6:30 pm

View the full CT General Assembly calendar here for public hearings and other events.

Click here for guidelines on giving testimony at a public hearing.