Legislative & Local Updates - February 13th

February 13, 2024

Last Wednesday, the legislature convened for the 2024 session. My legislative colleagues and I have a lot to do in a short period. Many of our committee deadlines are in mid-to-late March, and that includes any public hearings, committee meetings, etc. I will continue to work on getting the solar bill across the finish line. And if you need assistance - be it an issue with an agency, pitching legislation, etc., please reach out to my office.  

I have a lot to share with you in this update, including:

  • Highlights from Opening Day
  • Resources for the 2024 Session
  • Legislative Process 101
  • Celebrating Black History Month
  • Connecticut Grown for Connecticut Kids Grant Coming to Vernon
  • Virtual Public Hearing on Cellco/Verizon Wireless Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need
  • Walking the Red Carpet for Checkmate!
  • Battle of Iwo Jima Presentation
  • Leap Year Time Capsule
  • Mamma Mia at Rockville High School
  • EWPD Citizens Academy 2024
  • Period Products Needed at Crystal Lake Food Pantry
  • CT Farmland Trust's "Planning for the Future of Your Farm" Informational Session

I hope you have a great week! 


This month's article in North Central News - looking back and looking forward. To read the full column, click HERE or click the graphic above. 
Highlights from last Wednesday's opening day festivities. This is my fourth legislative session and there's such an energy around the Capitol and LOB as we start our work. I'm so honored to serve the 57th District and will continue to advocate for my constituents of Ellington, East Windsor, and Vernon. 
Taking a "Point of Personal Privilege" in the House Chamber on Wednesday to thank our "village." My husband Aaron and I can work because of the care provided to our children in our absence. Thank you!

With the legislative session now underway, I am committed to keeping you informed and engaged in the democratic process. 

The resources below will help you stay updated on crucial developments, events, proposed policies, and key discussions as they happen in Hartford. I urge you to please follow along and get involved.

Here's how you can stay connected and actively participate:  
  • The non-partisan Office of Legislative Research (OLR) recently released the 2024 Major Issues Report. This comprehensive document highlights and summarizes key issues the legislature could take up during the upcoming session. 
  • You can view the Connecticut General Assembly's upcoming events by checking out its schedule on the CGA official website
  • Follow CT-N for live coverage of committee meetings, as well as House and Senate floor debates. 
  • You can register to monitor any bill's journey as it goes through the legislative process. By signing up, you can enter the bill number and receive real-time updates. Stay informed with email notifications whenever there's a change in the bill's progress. 
  • Visit this website for information on how to testify on a bill at a public hearing.

Together, we can make a positive impact and ensure that our community's needs are represented. 

Not familiar with Connecticut's legislative process? Don’t be intimidated - let’s break down the process in just 6 steps.
February is Black History Month. It is a time when we celebrate the many achievements and contributions of individuals from the Black diaspora, as well as reckon with the systemic racism from our past that is still prevalent today. The theme for this year's month-long celebration is “African Americans and the Arts,” which spotlights Black Americans who excelled in various fields of creative expression, and the influence they have on our country's culture.

Connecticut was home to several notable moments in Black history. The Canterbury Female Boarding School, the first boarding school for young Black girls in the country, was in Canterbury. Abolitionist John Brown was born in Torrington. The 29th Colored Regiment, an all-Black regiment based out of Fair Haven during the Civil War, was one of the first units to enter Richmond, Virginia after it was abandoned by the Confederate Army. Click here to read more about Black history in our state.

Thanks to the tireless work of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and other colleagues in the General Assembly in 2019, Connecticut became the first state to require public schools to include Black and Latino history in their curriculums. Black history is American history, and this law ensures that the stories and triumphs of Black Americans will be taught throughout the school year. 

I encourage you to take some time to celebrate and learn more about Black history, locally and throughout America. Connecticut is home to several organizations that honor and celebrate the Black experience, such as the Amistad Center for Art & Culture in Hartford, and the Ruby and Calvin Fletcher African American Museum in Stratford.
Click here to find more places that honor and support Black history and culture in our state.

The CT Department of Agriculture has announced a new grant around food systems. Eligible applicants include local food policy councils and/or food working groups, agricultural producers, food pantries, and farmers’ markets.

Applications are due by March 6.

Congratulations to Vernon Public Schools, particularly Skinner Road School, for recently receiving a CT Department of Agriculture (DoAg) Connecticut Grown for Connecticut Kids Grant!

Now in its third year, the Connecticut Grown for Connecticut Kids Grant increases the availability of local foods in child nutrition programs, allows educators to use hands-on educational techniques to teach students about nutrition and farm-to-school connections, builds relationships with local farmers and producers, and helps children build healthy habits from a young age.

  • (Track 2: K-12 Experiential Learning Grant) Vernon Public Schools has been awarded a $4,887 micro-grant for their Gardens and Pollinators Project which provides Skinner Road School with three experimental learning opportunities that promote agriculture and food literacy to their students. The project re-establishes the school’s Garden Club and existing school greenhouse and will also create two additional gardens. They also plan to hold a school-wide salad party that celebrates the student-grown produce and teaches students how pollinators contribute to our food systems.

CT DoAg received 106 applications with 88 deemed eligible after an administrative review, totaling more than $5.3 million in requested grant funds. Selection was highly competitive, and the review was conducted by a statutorily authorized review panel and Commissioner Hurlburt. This is the third round of the program, which was funded for two years as a pilot through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and administered in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative (FTSC) and now has up to $1 million available to award annually for the next two years. Eligible entities were able to apply for up to $50,000 in funding with no match required.

I wanted to share with you that there will be a virtual public hearing on Tuesday, February 27 with the Connecticut Siting Council on Docket #519 - Cellco Partnership (d/b/a Verizon Wireless) for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for construction, maintenance, and operation of a telecommunications facility at 11 Chamberlain Road in East Windsor. 

The evidentiary session begins at 2 p.m. (public comment is not permitted during this time), and the public comment session starts at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in speaking during the public comment session is asked to register by February 26. Please email your name, email address, and mailing address to siting.council@ct.gov. Individuals are limited to three minutes to speak.

The application can be viewed HERE

The Zoom link can be found HERE. Meeting ID: 850 1175 3167 and Passcode: fJ7JJ2

The Grammy ceremony might have been a red-carpet event for some, but for Senator Anwar and me, we walked a different red carpet!

The senator and I attended the premiere of Checkmate! a film by Ellington's own Ratish Sekhar. It was so amazing to see so many familiar faces (and locations) showcasing talent that I'm thrilled to learn about. A thrilling storyline, amazing music, brilliant acting, and a great evening all and all!

The World War II Legacy Foundation will host a presentation on the 79th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima on February 24. 

Click HERE to register or call the library at 860-623-5482 for more information.

East Windsor Community Services is collecting items (notes, letters, cards, photos, newspaper clippings, etc.) for a Leap Year Time Capsule!

Items can be dropped off at:

  • The East Windsor Parks & Recreation office, 25 School Street
  •  East Windsor Senior Center, 125 Main Street

Items must be received by February 28.

More info can be found HERE.

From Rockville High School: Come see Rockville High School students perform the hit mustical "Mamma Mia."

Performances at:

  • Friday, March 1, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 2, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • March 3, 2 p.m.

Adults $15, Children 10 and younger $10

For tickets, click HERE. Tickets are also available at the door.

From Rockville Public Library: Join Kristin Anderson of UConn SNAP-ED in March to learn about nutrition facts labels, increasing fiber and decreasing sugars, heart-healthy fats, and more! Features a cooking demo at each session! Registration is required; click HERE to register. Space is limited. 
Calling all East Windsor residents! Dive into the intricacies of law enforcement at the 2024 East Windsor Police Citizens Academy! 

Mark your calendars for an engaging 8-week program, running from April 1 to May 20th, every Monday night from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at East Windsor Police Department.

Discover the world behind the badge with these program highlights:

  • Exclusive insights into policing
  • Meet your local officers
  • Crime scene investigations
  • Patrol operations
  • Emergency response & first aid
  • K-9 unit demonstration
  • Community policing
  • Graduation celebration

Special contributions from the Broad Brook and Warehouse Point Fire Departments will enhance discussions on emergency management and the formation of our town’s CERT team.

Limited spots are available. Register at https://forms.office.com/r/HEn2596hHH. Please note, a minimum background check is required, as participants will have access to sensitive police information and restricted areas of the police department.

For more details, contact Deputy Chief Murphy at 860-292-8240 or email murphyb@eastwindsorpd.com.

Arts Center East in Vernon is accepting donations for its annual Art Tag Sale! If you have new or gently used art items you would like to donate, Arts Center East will take them!

Accepted donations of artwork, art supplies, cameras, camera equipment, canvases, crafting materials & tools, fabrics, frames, hanging supplies, art paper, matting materials, photo albums, yarn, etc. Bring them to the Arts Center Thursday–Saturday, 1–5 p.m., or send an email to make alternate arrangements. (Please no books, CDs, or records.)

And mark your calendar for the Art Tag Sale: April 26–28!

From Crystal Lake Food Pantry in Ellington: The pantry needs period products, especially pads and panty liners. Below are some very real facts about Period Poverty. 
CONGRATULATIONS to the students, families, and staff that helped make the Vernon Center Middle School Student Council’s recent food drive a success! Nearly 600 pounds of food was collected and donated to the Hockanum Valley Community Council to help those struggling with food insecurity. Well done! 
Connecticut has launched its new jobs portal, jobs.ct.gov, which is aimed at assisting state residents — and those seeking to move here — in the process of finding a job.

Jobs.ct.gov joins health.ct.gov and business.ct.gov as the next service category in Connecticut's ongoing journey toward an all-digital state government that streamlines and improves access to services and resources.

Some of the resources available through jobs.ct.gov include:

  • Powerful job search tools
  • Job search tips and personal help
  • Free and low-cost training, certificate, and classroom programs
  • Resources to help employers hire, train, and retain employees

All of the resources are Connecticut-specific and focus on connecting job seekers with a variety of employment and workforce development opportunities.

The strong and steady statewide economy continues to add jobs, but employers in some industries still face workforce shortages, and jobs.ct.gov will be a valuable resource to them. This portal also importantly provides employers with information to reach greater numbers of skilled jobseekers from diverse backgrounds, which is critical to a more equitable Connecticut economy.

Interested in resources for your farm? Connecticut farmers and agricultural landowners are invited to attend Connecticut Farmland Trust’s first "Planning for the Future of Your Farm" informational session on February 27 from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Ellington Town Hall Annex at 57 Main Street. Learn more about how the CFT farmland preservation process works, how to get started with farmland succession planning, and what kinds of grants and resources are available to help you and your farm grow. A Q&A session will follow, and refreshments will be provided.


  • Kathleen Doherty - CFT Senior Conservation Manager
  • Cat Wang - CFT Conservation Associate
  • Kip Kolesinskas - CFT FarmLink Associate and Consulting Conservation Scientist
  • Holly LaLime - Environmental Analyst at the CT Dept. of Agriculture

Click HERE to register.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact CFT:
Phone: 860-247-0202
E-mail: projects@ctfarmland.org

Hosted by Connecticut Farmland Trust; Connecticut FarmLink; Connecticut Department of Agriculture; Town of Ellington, with funding from American Farmland Trust.

From the CT Department of Agriculture: 

What do the following have in common?

  • Promotion of Christmas Tree Farms and Farm Wineries 
  • Research on potato viruses and greens 
  • Development of hydroponic fertilizers for urban specialty crops

They were all funded by Connecticut's Specialty Crop Block Grant program! Now seeking innovative projects to support Connecticut's specialty crops for the current program year.

Deadline: March 4, 2024. For more information, click HERE or visit ctgrown.gov 

The Tolland Agricultural Center is excited to offer two $500 scholarships to graduating high school students or current college students!

Who Can Apply: Eligible students must be a seniors in high school who have been accepted to a college, university, or technical school program, or current college students with plans of study in Agriculture, Technical Education, or Family Studies related fields. Applicants must be a 4-H member, AgEd Student, Technical Education student, or Family Studies student in Tolland County.

How to Apply: Applicants must provide a completed application, two letters of recommendation, a transcript of grades, and an essay of no more than 300 words explaining your plans to major in a field related to Agriculture, Technical Education, or Family Studies and what you plan to do with this education after graduation.

Due Date is April 1, 2024!

Check out the link for more information and the application!