Weekly News Jan 29 - Feb 4

February 3, 2017

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

Before we get to the week’s events though, I thought it important to highlight for you that on Wednesday, February 8, the Governor will give his annual Budget Address in front of the House of Representatives. He will outline his budget proposal and highlight its priorities. You can watch his address on CT-N, Connecticut's live streaming service for events and meetings at the Capitol.

In lighter news, yesterday was Groundhog Day and Manchester's own Chuckles the groundhog predicted an early spring! She gave her prediction Thursday morning at the Lutz Children's Museum. You can watch coverage of Chuckles' prediction here.

On Saturday I attended Congressman John Larson’s information session regarding his proposed I-84/I-91 tunnel. The event was held at the newly-renovated Raymond Library in East Hartford. You can read about his "100 Year Vision" here.

On Tuesday I attended the CRCOG (Capital Region Council of Governments) legislative discussion in the Old Judiciary Room at the State Capitol to hear from municipal leaders, including Mayor Leclerc of East Hartford, Scott Shanley of Manchester and Matt Galligan of South Windsor, on ways in which we may provide relief, stability, and predictability for the upcoming budget session.

I also attended a press conference Tuesday in support of legislation to address crumbling foundations. I’d like to thank Rep. Kelly Luxenberg (D-Manchester) and Rep. Christopher Davis (R-East Windsor/Ellington) for their leadership on this bi-partisan issue.This legislation, HB 6478, would provide relief for those currently struggling with this issue while also putting measures in place to prevent it in the future. This is one of many proposed bills that the legislature will debate over the coming weeks. Be sure to track legislation so that you’re kept aware as bills move through the process. You can sign up for bill tracking thought the CGA website.

In addition to supporting this legislation, I have introduced a bill with Rep. Kurt Vail (R-Somers/Stafford) that 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.

With fellow legislators at the crumbling foundations press conference

On Thursday the conversation around crumbling foundations continued at an Informational Panel Discussion on Crumbling Concrete. We heard from representatives from the CT Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Inc., the co-chairs of CRCOG’s ad-hoc working committee on crumbling foundations, as well as residents impacted by this devastating epidemic directly impacting the northeastern section of our state. You can learn more about what we discussed at the meeting here.

It was great to join staff and advocates from the North Central Regional Mental Health Board on Tuesday to celebrate their open house at their new location, 151 New Park Avenue in Hartford.

Me and Marcia DuFore, Executive Director of the North Central Regional Mental Health Board

Me and Carol, a mental health board advocate and East Hartford resident

We appreciate the work the Board is doing on behalf of the residents and families, ensuring that they’re actively involved in determining and monitoring the mental health services provided by the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. For more information, please visit http://www.cthealthycommunities.org/

On Wednesday the General Assembly voted to approve a new pension funding agreement with SEBAC. I supported this pension funding agreement because it increases the stability of the long-term obligations of the state, and is essential to Connecticut's future economic health.

This agreement has the endorsement of the major bond rating agencies and our business community, and will benefit Connecticut taxpayers for years to come by providing greater predictability in our budgeting process. This is only one step, though, in the direction that we need to go as a state and I encourage negotiators on all sides to consider additional steps in the coming weeks.

Also on Wednesday, the State Bond Commission approved a $500,000 loan for the expansion of Cyient, Inc. in East Hartford, which will create 85 new full-time jobs over the next three years. Cyient is a worldwide aerospace engineering design and manufacturing company, currently employing 456 full time workers in Connecticut.

Cyient will use the funds to purchase machinery and equipment for the expansion. Cyient recently relocated its U.S. headquarters to 99 East River Drive in East Hartford.

For more on this, read the governor’s press release.

On Thursday I attended the Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors’ “Birth to Grade 3 Leaders Forum on Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)”. ESSA is a federal law that was signed by President Obama in 2015 to replace the previous version knows as the No Child Left Behind Act. ESSA will provide our state and districts with local control in a variety of areas including professional development, family engagement, and better coordination between early childhood education and the traditional K-12 model. You can learn more about ESSA here.

With education advocates at the ESSA forum

Dr. Gena Glickman, president of MCC, MCC student representatives and me

I joined Rep. Henry Genga and Rep. Jason Rojas on Thursday at Manchester Community College’s legislative reception hosted by Dr. Gena Glickman, President of MCC. This afforded us the opportunity to hear from Dr. Glickman, a representative from the Board of Regents, faculty members, and MCC students on a variety of matters including the college’s initiatives and ways that we may better support the community college system. You can learn more about MCC on their website.

On Friday Rep. Rojas, Rep. Tweedie, Sen. Cassano and I were pleased to join business leaders from the Manchester area at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s legislative breakfast.

This lively discussion afforded us the opportunity to hear from the business community and to share our views on the 2017 legislative session, including our ideas on what could be done to bolster Connecticut’s economy. A tremendous thank you to April DiFalco, President of the Chamber, for hosting us and providing the means to make the connections that are essential in moving our state forward.

TEDxEastHartfordLibrary will take place on Wednesday, February 8 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Raymond Library (840 Main St). Attendees will watch and discuss two Ted Talks on love, relationships, and dating. More information is available here.

Greater Hartford Legal Aid will be at the Raymond Libary on Friday, February 10 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 pm. Drop in to speak to an attorney from Greater Hartford Legal Aid about your questions. This is a free service.

Click here for the town meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.

There will be a Town Council Meeting on Monday, February 6 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall (1540 Sullivan Avenue). Check the town website for the meeting agenda.

Click here for the public meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.

Imagine Main Street will kick off the 2017 season of arts and cultural activities in Downtown Manchester with an Imagine Inside Market on Saturday, February 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Manchester Community College on Main, 903 Main Street.

There will be a Board of Education meeting on Monday, February 6 at 7 p.m in the Lincoln Center Hearing Room (494 Main St). Click here for more information.

The Manchester, CT HOPE Initiative and Manchester Police Department are hosting a free Narcan training and distribution event on Thursday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m. at the Manchester Police Dept. Community Room (239 Middle Turnpike E). Learn how to respond to an overdose emergency and receive a free Narcan kit. Please RSVP by Tuesday, February 7 to Sarah Howroyd at howroyds@manchesterct.gov or on the RSVP website.

View the full town calendar here.

In The News

I'm glad to see the State Bond Commission voted to continue funding the Small Business Express Program. The program provides loans and grants to Connecticut’s small business to spur job creation and growth. So far the program has created or retained over 20,000 jobs in Connecticut.

I'm pleased the Bond Commission allocated funding this week to help home owners affected by crumbling foundations. This funding will help owners with the testing costs associated with crumbling foundations. You can learn more here.

Upcoming Meetings and Events
The House of Representatives is in session Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Human Services Committee Forum: Medicaid 101, LOB Room 2C, 10:00 AM

Rep. Case, Rep. Hampton & Sen. Kennedy: I/DD Family Day, LOB Room 2C, 10:00 AM

OPM Briefing to the Appropriations and Finance on the Governor's Proposed Budget, LOB Room 2E, 10:00 AM

CT Food Policy Council Meeting, Old Judiciary Room at the Capitol, 1:00 PM

View the full CT General Assembly calendar here.

Public Hearings

Aging Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 2E, 10:00 AM
View the agenda here.

Committee on Children Public Hearing, LOB Room 1B, 10:00 AM
Please check the CGA calendar soon for the agenda.

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 1E, 10:00 AM
View the agenda here.

Insurance and Real Estate Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 2D, 12:00 PM
View the agenda here.

Energy and Technology Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 1D, 1:00 PM
View the agenda here.

Housing Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 2A, 1:30 PM
View the agenda here.

Human Services Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 2B, 2:00 PM
Please check the CGA calendar soon for the agenda.

General Law Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 2C, 2:30 PM
View the agenda here.

Environment Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 2B, 2:00 PM
View the agenda here.

Committee on Children Public Hearing, LOB Room 2A,10:00 AM
Please check the CGA calendar soon for the agenda.

Public Safety and Security Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 1E, 11:00 AM
View the agenda here.

Labor and Public Employees Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 1C, 12:00 PM
Please check the CGA calendar soon for the agenda.

Public Health Committee Public Hearing, LOB Room 1D, 10:30 AM
View the agenda here.

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