Weekly News Jan. 22-28January 27, 2017
It's been another busy week in Hartford and I have a lot of news to share with you!
The legislative session is in full swing, as committee meetings and public hearings have begun. I'm proud to co-sponsor legislation that will make Connecticut a better place to live for all of us. I encourage you to take a look at the full list of bills I've co-sponsored on the General Assembly website. To view this list, click here.
These bills represent some of my priorities this session: protecting our youth, ensuring we are being fiscally responsible in our state spending, providing the best education possible for Connecticut students, and helping people access the healthcare they need. If you’d like to track the progress of these bills, sign up for bill tracking here.
On Monday Governor Malloy announced that the state will provide $5 million in funding to offset testing costs for homeowners with crumbling foundations in Northeastern Connecticut.The funding will be used to provide testing and visual inspections of foundations in order to better understand the extent of the problem while also assisting property owners with the costs related to testing. Click here to learn more.
The Connecticut Department of Housing is also planning to allocate an additional $1 million in federal block grant funding to further assist low and moderate-income homeowners and help offset these testing costs.
The CT Coalition Against Crumbling Basements is hosting a meeting tomorrow, Saturday January 28, 2017 at 10 AM at Vernon Center Middle School (777 Hartford Tpke, Vernon) to discuss a number of issues, including impacts to municipalities, health impacts, as well as proposed legislation. Congressman Joe Courtney and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman will be in attendance along with some local state senators and representatives.
On Tuesday, the Appropriation Committee held a public hearing, followed by a committee meeting, to discuss and vote on the SEBAC (State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition) pension agreement. I voted in favor of the agreement as this will provide a level of predictability for our long term pension obligations and allow for responsible, manageable budgeting as we move through this budget session and the many more to come. This agreement is a clear statement that we are committed to getting Connecticut's pension system back on track.
It’s encouraging to see that all parties involved are committed to finding a solution that avoids future fiscal crises. As contract negotiations continue, I hope both union leaders and state labor negotiators are guided by that same focus on doing what is best for the people of Connecticut.
You can learn more about this issue here.
Tuesday night, Support South Windsor Schools held a meeting to discuss the current and future school construction projects. They will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, February 7, at 7 PM, at St. Peter's Church, 99 Sand Hill Road. Support South Windsor Schools is a community-based volunteer group focused on supporting Phase II of the South Windsor Board of Education's 10 Year Elementary Schools Plan.
The Phase II plans call for a new build to replace both Eli Terry and Philip R. Smith Elementary schools. Anyone interested in assisting in support of the anticipated March 21 referendum is ask to attend the upcoming meeting. For further information contact Daria Plummer at: email@example.com.
I spent Wednesday morning with members from SEUI 1199 who serve intellectually and developmentally disabled clients, along with the families of those who are being served, to discuss the upcoming budget session. We specifically discussed how cuts may impact clients and their family members, and how to maintain jobs and services in the most cost-effective manner. If you, or someone you know, would like to continue this discussion, please do not hesitate to contact me. It’s important that we hear your voice!
In the afternoon I met with fellow members of the East Hartford Adult Education Advisory Committee. This committee keeps various stakeholders up to date on all Adult Education developments, seeks input on how to improve the program, and works in partnership with members of the community. Click here to watch Superintendent Nathan Quesnel interview Adult Education Director Tony Mangiafico on his monthly From the Classroom show. For information on how to enroll in adult and continuing education programs, click here.
Thursday morning I attended the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) and Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Legislative Breakfast. We were able to speak with area Superintendents and Board of Education members on issues of importance to their districts, including funding, mandates, and possibilities for regional and collaborative efforts. We look forward to continuing those conversations and I appreciate our leaders from East Hartford, Manchester and South Windsor for attending.
Matt Geary, Manchester Superintendent of Schools; Chris Pattacini, Chairman of Manchester Board of Education; me
Me; David Joy, Chairman, South Windsor Board of Education; Dr. Kate Carter, Superintendent, South Windsor Public Schools; Nate Quesnel, Superintendent, East Hartford Public Schools; Bryan Hall, Chairman, East Hartford Board of Education; Sen. Tim Larson
Congressman John Larson is holding a public forum Saturday, January 28th at 10 am on his I-84/I-91 tunnel proposal. The forum will be held at the Raymond Meeting Room in the East Hartford Public Library at 740 Main Street.
East Hartford Youth Services is accepting nominations for the 32nd Annual Service to Youth Award. The winning individual will be acknowledged for their outstanding service to the youth of East Hartford. The deadline for submitting a nomination is March 1, 2017.
Free tax preparation assistance will be available at the South End Senior Center between 9:00 am to 12:00 pm beginning in February 2017 by appointment only. Please call 860-569-5697 on Mondays or Wednesdays between 9:30 am to 12:00 pm to schedule your appointment. Please see details here.
Click here for the town meetings calendar.
Click here for the community events calendar.
Do you know someone who has improved the quality of life in South Windsor through their voluntary service? The South Windsor Board of Education is accepting nominations for the Eugene Policelli Service Awards. Nominations are due by March 3, 2017. You can find the nomination form here.
Click here for the public meetings calendar.
Click here for the community events calendar.
The Lutz Children’s Museum will open to the public at 6:00 AM on Groundhog Day (Thursday, February 2) to hear the prediction of the official Connecticut state groundhog. Coffee and breakfast foods will be served while awaiting Chuckles the groundhog's prediction at about 6:45 AM. This event is free and open to the public.
The Foodshare mobile truck will be at the New River Community Church, 314 Woodbridge Street, Manchester on Wednesday from 1:00-1:30 p.m. This program is held every other Wednesday at the same time, and provides fresh fruits and vegetables to individuals and families in need.
View the full town calendar here.
IN THE NEWS
It's predicted that Connecticut will have a $23.3 million budget surplus for the fiscal year that ends on June 30. This is positive news that will allow us to focus on the upcoming 2018-2019 budget years. As we continue to monitor revenues and expenditures over the coming months, we must remained focused on ensuring the budget reflects the priorities of the people of Connecticut.
I support the proposal to exempt social security benefits from the income tax. This will make staying in Connecticut more affordable for our seniors.
Connecticut is gaining national recognition for our efforts to end homelessness. In January, Governor Malloy announced that the state has reached the point where every “chronically homeless” person identified by the state has access to permanent housing, or will within 90 days. With continued commitment, homelessness can be beaten.
Upcoming Meetings and Events
The House of Representatives will convene on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 11 AM
Public Health Committee Meeting, 10:30 AM, LOB Room 1D
Office of Policy & Management: Special Meeting of the State Bond Commission
10 AM, LOB Room 1E
Education Committee Meeting, 10:30 AM, LOB Room 2E
View the full CT General Assembly calendar here.
Labor and Public Employees Committee Public Hearing, 11:00 AM, LOB Room 2E
View the hearing agenda here.
General Law Committee Public Hearing, 2:30 PM, LOB Room 2D
View the hearing agenda here.
Click here for guidelines on giving testimony at a public hearing.