Weekly News May 14 - 20May 19, 2017
It's been another busy week in Hartford and I have a lot of news to share!
This week the House and Senate Democrats released our proposal for a balanced budget. Resolving an estimated $2.3 billion budget deficit over the next two years will require many tough choices. Our proposal presents a fiscally responsible blue print for moving Connecticut forward.
Our proposal does not increase the state sales tax, personal income tax or corporation taxes.
Here are some highlights of our proposal:
- Cuts our non-fixed budget costs by 7.1% from FY17 to FY18
- Consolidates state departments and services
- Saves $1.5 billion through union and nonunion state employee givebacks
- Rejects the Governor's proposal to shift teachers' pension funding to towns
- Rolls back the Governor's proposed Medicaid funding cuts to hospitals
This is a responsible starting point as we enter budget negotiations with Senate Democrats, House and Senate Republicans, and the Governor. Doing what's best for the future of our state and its residents should be the foundation of all our decisions as we move forward.
This week in the House we debated HB 5434, which would give all of CT's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. After close to 2 hours of debate, a leadership decision was made to table the legislation, allowing for it to be called again later in the session.
Map of electoral college votes by state
The bill would enter Connecticut into the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. States that join this compact agree to commit all of their Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate that wins the popular vote nationally, regardless of which presidential candidate wins the popular vote within the state.
The compact only takes effect when enough states have joined to reach a majority of Electoral College votes (270). Currently, 11 states with a total of 165 electoral votes make up the compact.
What do you think about this issue? Click here to take a yes/no poll.
We unanimously passed a bill in the House to ensure that economic development programs are being reviewed so that state funds go to the most effective programs. House Bill 7316 requires the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to include information about the programs in their annual report. The report will then be the basis of review by the Auditors of Public Accounts and the legislature’s review committees - Appropriations, Commerce, and Finance.
This increased accountability will allow us to ensure every dollar is spent responsibly. Learn more here.
You can view a list of all the bills passed by the House so far this session here.
Last Thursday, Senator Larson (D-East Hartford) hosted the Art at the Capitol Reception honoring students from the 3rd Senate District, including those from South Windsor and East Hartford, for their artwork. There was a performance by the Opus 4 String Quartet followed by the recognition awards ceremony. It was great to recognize the students' many creative projects!
Sen. Tim Larson, Rep. Tom Delnicki, and I with a South Windsor student
Sen. Tim Larson and I with an East Hartford student
On Monday I attended the 2017 Cox Communications Scholarship Reception at the Capitol and joined Rep. Tom Delnicki in presenting citations to two awardees from South Windsor.
Enuma Mokel Enuma, a senior at South Windsor High School, plans to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology to purse a degree in Computer Science.
Peter Talbot, Government Affairs Manager at Cox Communications, Enuma Mokel, Rep. Tom Delnicki, and I
Joseph Howell, also a senior at South Windsor High School, plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute to purse a degree in Architectural Engineering.
Peter Talbot, Government Affairs Manager at Cox Communications, Joseph Howell, Rep. Tom Delnicki, and I
Congratulations to both students on this honor!
While the House was in session on Wednesday, it was great to get a visit from East Hartford's Town Clerk, Robert Pasek. He was here along with other town clerks to advocate for a resolution that would propose an amendment to the state constitution allowing early voting. Learn more here.
EH Town Clerk Robert Pasek and I outside of the House chamber
On Wednesday the CT Business & Industry Association (CBIA) held its annual Manufacturing Innovation Day at the Capitol, highlighting local manufacturers and manufacturing programs. Goodwin College attended with its mobile manufacturing van.
Manufacturing is a growing industry in CT, making it important that we are preparing our workforce to keep up with growing demand. Learn more here.
With Cliff Thermer, Department Chair of Business, Management and Advanced Manufacturing at Goodwin inside the manufacturing van
Goodwin College's mobile manufacturing van parked outside the Capitol
Wednesday evening was East Hartford's Top Twenty Dinner to honor the East Hartford High School seniors in the top 20 of their class. Click here to see a list of all 20 students, their accomplishments, and their plans for college. Congratulations to all of the students, and best of luck as they start this next chapter of their lives!
Last Saturday more than twenty artists convened to participate in the annual Spring Art Fest sponsored by the East Hartford Fine Arts Commission and the East Hartford Art League.
The East Hartford Art League, established in 1958, is one of the oldest art leagues in America. Thanks to the Art League, 58 original artworks hang on the Raymond Library walls, all of them “Purchase Award” winners from the annual Spring Art Fest shows.
Congratulations to all of the artists and winners! Learn more about the Art League here.
East Hartford artist and Board of Education member Marilyn Pet received First Prize in Composition for her work “The Concert”;
The East Hartford Town Clerk’s Office will sponsor a low cost or no cost Rabies Clinic on Saturday, May 20 from 12 - 2PM at the rear of Firehouse No. 1 at 726 Main St. This clinic is presented in partnership with Dr. Wilfredo Barrios of East Hartford Animal Clinic in cooperation with the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association.
The clinic is open to both dogs and cats, who must be appropriately leashed or crated. The clinic is open to all. The fee is $20 cash. One pet may be vaccinated at no charge for owners who show their State Public Assistance Identification Card. Learn more here.
Click here for the town meetings calendar.
Click here for the community events calendar.
Tomorrow, Saturday May 20th is the Armed Forces Day Celebration, sponsored by SW's Patriotic Commission, from 5-8 PM at Nevers Road Park. The event will include food, vendors, music, and a fireworks display at dusk.
Click here for the public meetings calendar.
Click here for the community events calendar.
The Manchester Youth Service Bureau and Manchester Police Department will be hosting a community event, 'Dangers of Distracted Driving,' on Wednesday, May 24 from 4:30-7:30 pm in Center Memorial Park (Linden Street side).
This event is free, open to the public and suggested for youth drivers and their parents or guardians. The event will include live demonstrations and interactive experiences, such as: roll-over simulator, seat belt convincer, and impairment goggles. Representatives from MADD, Emergency Services, and local driving schools will also be present.
Pre-registration is not required. Please contact Kellie Sheridan (860) 647-5262 with any questions. Learn more here.
Click here for the full town calendar.
IN THE NEWS
The Town of East Hartford is advising property owners and motorists that the 2017 Road Improvement Project associated with the Town’s Road Improvement Program has been awarded to Tilcon Connecticut, Inc. of New Britain.
Construction activities are scheduled to start this month and continue through November, 2017. Click here for a list of construction activities and impacted roads.
The House passed a bill this week to regulate ride-hailing companies.This is common-sense legislation that protects both passengers and drivers. It passed with a strong bipartisan vote of 103-39. Companies such as Uber and Lyft would have to provide a million-dollar insurance coverage and conduct criminal background checks on drivers under the legislation. Learn more here.
Women-owned businesses are growing at a rate five times faster than male-owned businesses. It is important that we support these amazing entrepreneurs and give them the tools they need to thrive. Women-Owned Business Day was held at the Capitol earlier this month. Learn more here.
Making college more affordable is one of my priorities. This bill will help by requiring Boards of Education and non-profits to advertise to their employees federal student loan forgiveness programs that they may be eligible for. These programs are often under promoted and underutilized. Learn about the bill 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.