Supporting Our Veterans, Seniors, and more

May 1, 2024

View this email in your browser
Dear Neighbor,

Happy Wednesday! We've had a productive first few days of the week, and I look forward to updating you on everything we've accomplished.

In this week's eblast, you can read about the legislation helping our seniors, our disabled veterans, and more. You can click on the links below to navigate between sections.
        Helping Our Disabled Veterans
        For the past two legislative sessions, I've been working on legislation establishing a property tax exemption for Veterans with a service-connected permanent and total disability rating as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The exemption will be used for a home that is a primary residence, but if a qualified Veteran does not own a home, the exemption will apply to a single motor vehicle that they own. 
        Veterans put their lives on the line for our country and, as a small way to recognize and thank our veterans for their service, the House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 5491. 
        I was proud to stand on the House floor and talk about my family's history in the military. My grandfather served in WWII in the 82nd Airborne and spent the next 20 years serving our country in the Army, and my brother has been bravely serving in the Air Force for the past 23 years. Fortunately, both have maintained their health fully.

        Thinking about either my grandfather or brother becoming 100% disabled due to their service and not being able to access these benefits made me support this bill even more. You can watch my testimony on the bill here.

        I want also to recognize the veterans who advocated for this bill, often those who will not benefit from this policy but stood up for their fellow veterans who are 100 percent disabled and often not able to advocate for themselves. In particular, here in Fairfield, Retired Col. Heidi Cornell was a passionate, data-driven, and effective advocate. I couldn't be happier that we as a House chamber passed this unanimously. 

        In CT, we have 1,209 Veterans who are totally and permanently disabled as a result of their service. These brave men and women have spent their lives fighting to protect our freedoms. It is our turn to support them when they come home with disabilities to ensure they live with dignity and without fear of losing their home and access to their communities.

        The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. This year’s session ends on May 8.

        Supporting Our Seniors
        As the elderly population steadily grows, there is an urgency to provide resources and assistance to this community.  During Monday's session, we took a significant step to achieving that goal by passing HB 5001, a top priority for House Democrats this session. 
        HB 5001, which passed with bipartisan support,  protects and prioritizes elderly residents in our state. This bill:
        • Makes it easier for seniors to age in place by providing enhanced oversight of home care workers and expediting the process for accessing to Medicaid
        • Creates a nursing home database, providing consumers with an easy and reliable way to compare locations around the state
        • Establishes incentives to encourage nursing homes to improve care

        I am glad to support a bill that gives seniors the attention and resources that they deserve. The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

        Child and Family Nutrition Bill Clears House Unanimously
        I'm committed to the health and well-being of our community’s families and children by joining my colleagues in the House of Representatives to unanimously pass HB 5003. This comprehensive legislation ensures mothers and children who are eligible for federal benefits, such as WIC, are enrolled in these programs with ease and confidence. This bill aims to reduce barriers to participation in WIC.

        WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children) enrollment in Connecticut is among the lowest enrollment rates in the country at 46%. Not maximizing participation in this program is resulting in worse outcomes for the health and nutrition of young children.

        This bill:
        • Keeps Connecticut families healthy: It allows Connecticut agencies to more easily enroll children and parents who qualify into federal nutrition assistance programs to keep our families healthy.
        • Promotes outreach and information to access these federal programs that Connecticut underutilizes.
        • Promotes Connecticut farmers by supporting them to participate in these programs at farmers markets.

        When we grow healthy children, they are less likely to develop nutrition-related chronic diseases, they are at a lower risk of cavities/tooth decay, they have improved mental health, and they have improved participation in other social service programs. In general, children are better off when their families participate in WIC.

        The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. The 2024 legislative session ends on May 8.

        Legislative Updates

        After some long nights at the Capitol, we passed a lot of bills on the House floor this week, here are some highlights:

        • HB 5408 – Supports CT businesses by requiring executive branch state agencies to purchase a certain percentage of procured print or digital advertising from in-state commercial or nonprofit news publishers
        • HB 5458 - Maximizes efforts to aid housing insecure and homeless persons
        • HB 5198 – Protects healthcare patients and providers by expanding telehealth provisions adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic until June 30, 2027
        • HB 5320 - Improves hospital financial policies
        • HB 5365 - Enhances the Human Services Career Pipeline program
        • HB 5455 – Improves the efficiency of the Department of Social Services in making eligibility determinations for medical assistance and responding to requests for information or assistance
        • SB 132 - Prohibits the issuance of new licenses for dog racing by the Department of Consumer Protection
        • HB 5500 - Revises juror compensation, ignition interlock devices, the Department of Correction, judicial retirement salaries, and criminal law and procedure
        • HB 5279 - Expands eligibility for families of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty to receive benefits.
        • HB 5399 - Protects victims of sexual assault by improving the training and responsibilities of first responders and the Office of Victim Services.
        • SB 396 - Implements task force recommendations for the elderly nutrition program.
        • HB 5422 - Strengthens the response to hate and bias crimes.

          You can find the full list at

        Shop and Stroll Into Spring
        A reminder that one of my favorite local events is coming up that highlights our city's beautiful downtown. Tomorrow, May 2 from 6-9pm, join Shop Fairfield and the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce for the Annual Shop and Stroll into Spring!

        Over 20 merchants from the Brick Walk Promenade to Heritage Square will be participating.

        There will also be a pre-event happy hour at Tablao Wine Bar & Restaurant from 5-6pm.

        Fairfield has many amazing businesses, and these events are great reminders of what our town has to offer!

        Mattress Recycling Event
        There will be a town-wide collection and recycling of mattresses on Saturday, May 4 from 8:30am-12:30pm at Veterans Park (909 Reef Road)!

        More than 50,000 mattresses are discarded in the U.S. every day - consigning to the nation's waste stream an item that actually can be recycled into many new, useful products.

        If you have an old mattress or box spring that you'd like to discard in a better, more environmentally friendly way, plan on bringing it to this free event.

        Any mattress, no matter when it was purchased, can be brought to the event for no-cost recycling, if it is not damaged, heavily soiled, or posing other health or safety risks.

        I'm committed to ensuring your voice is heard. Please don't hesitate to call my office at (860) 240-8585 or email me if there's anything I can do for you. Be sure to follow @LeeperForFairfield on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on everything I'm doing at the Capitol.


        Jennifer Leeper
        State Representative


        Forward to a friend | Unsubscribe from this list | Update subscription preferences