UI Info Session, Legislative Update, and more

April 26, 2024

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Dear Neighbor,

Happy Friday! It was another busy week at the Capitol with passionate debates, bills passed, and democracy in action.

As the legislative session progresses, there is a lot I want to tell you about. So for the next couple of weeks, I'll be sending out two email updates: A midweek email and an email on Friday. Each will feature legislative updates and spotlight local events that I want to pass along. There is simply too much to put into one email, and I don't want you to miss a thing!

In this week's eblast, you can read about the legislation passed this week, an upcoming informational session on the United Illuminating project, and more. You can click on the links below to navigate between sections.

        Passage of Lactation Consultant Bill
        After two years of work, yesterday the House passed a bill that will license clinical lactation consultants.

        As anyone who has breastfed or loved someone who has knows, it often is not the simple “natural” process you may have imagined. However, breastfeeding reduces hypertension, which is the top cause of maternal mortality, and reduces the risk of Type II Diabetes, as well as breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers. It also reduces the risk of infant mortality by 21% for all babies and 31% for Black infants.
        Despite these health benefits, Black and Hispanic moms breastfeed at much lower rates, often due to less access to this critical clinical care. This bill is an essential first step in ensuring any woman who wants to breastfeed their baby can access the clinical support they need to be successful.
        I never could have achieved this without the brilliant leadership of my Working Group Co-Chair Amy D. Gagliardi or the steadfast support of the House Public Health Committee Chair, and my very good friend, Cristin McCarthy Vahey. Thank you. Women across our state will meaningfully benefit from this policy.

        Immigrant Day at the Capitol
        It was such an honor to receive the Myra M. Oliver Memorial Award from the Connecticut Immigrant & Refugee Coalition alongside State Rep. Kate Farrar at CIRC's Immigrant Day at the Capitol.

        Together, Rep. Farrar and I worked with great organizations like the CT Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI), Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), and Jewish Family Services (JFS) to secure $1 million in state-level funding to bridge the "Welcome Gap" and ensure refugees can afford to stay in Connecticut.

        Our state benefits from the presence of refugees, and as a State Representative, I am committed to making sure Connecticut is a welcoming place where refugees can feel safe, secure, and live their best lives. Thank you again to CIRC for this very kind recognition.

        You can watch the full Immigrant Day ceremony here. Remarks on my award begin around 51:45.

        Legislative Updates

        Lots of other great bills passed this week on the House floor, including a bill expanding paid sick days. The bill allows for the accrual of paid leave, up to 40 hours each year, for those working at least 120 days annually. Businesses that already offer paid time off are exempt.

        Since the pandemic hit our country, there has been a cultural shift in the workplace. Today, we no longer want our coworkers coming into the office if they are sick, and we would rather they take a day to recover and not risk exposure.

        This legislation promotes better public health outcomes, allows workers to care for themselves or a sick loved one without adding financial strain, and also takes into account the needs of businesses.

        Below is a list of even more bills we passed this week:

        • HB 5232 - Expands solar energy projects
        • HB 5153 - Increases workforce housing
        • HB 5146 – Updates financial records laws
        • HB 5149 – A pro-small business and craft-maker change to our beer and liquor sales
        • HB 5288 – Modernizes our service animal laws
        • HB 5317 -  An important study on the funding for and effectiveness of the Community Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Program
        • HB 5343 – CT will study pre-paying college tuition
        • HB 5381 – A bipartisan vote to update guidelines on police body-cams
        • HB 5466 – Revises laws on election crimes
        Upcoming Town Meeting on UI Power Lines
        Next Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30pm, there will be a town hall informational session on United Illuminating power lines at Roger Ludlow Middle School (689 Unquowa Road, Fairfield). UI's utility project will have a serious economic impact on hundreds of residents and businesses in Fairfield and Bridgeport, and our community's activism has made a profound impact on this process, making sure our voices are heard every step of the way.

        At this informational hearing, you can learn about the appeal process, proposed legislation, and what we can do together to preserve our town. I have been participating in meetings multiple times a week with the Governor's office, committee chairs, OPM, and DEEP on our legislative proposals and believe that we are making good progress in our negotiations. 

        Unfortunately, I am not likely to join you on Tuesday because we are expected to be in session with no clear end time. I look forward to an update about the session and I am always happy to answer your questions about proposed legislation.

        Earth Day Celebrations/Upcoming Southport Celebration
        Thank you Fairfield YMCA and Sustainable Fairfield Task Force for bringing the community together for National Healthy Kids Day and a celebration of Earth Day! It was great to see how many Fairfielders are passionate about the environment and working to improve the health of our planet and communities. It was also a great opportunity to share the legislative work happening to tackle climate change and protect our waterways, native species, and open spaces, among many other priorities.
        The Earth Day celebrations continue! Tomorrow at Southport Park, join your neighbors for a beautiful day of planting gardens, exploring the new, historic Pequot walking trail, and much more!
        Fairfield's Odyssey of the Mind Teams!
        I want to congratulate Fairfield’s two Odyssey of the Mind teams who have made it to the World Finals! This is a tremendous accomplishment! At the end of May, they will travel to Iowa State University to compete against the other national finalists. They are raising money for this trip and if you are interested and able to donate, you can do so here: https://app.schoolfundr.org/fund/fairfieldptac
        Shop and Stroll Into Spring
        One of my favorite local events is coming up that highlights our city's beautiful downtown. On Thursday, 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 + Green Tip of the Week
        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.

        In addition, the Fairfield Green Team's Tip of the Week is to be mindful of what you recycle! Though some items may seem like they can be recycled, they can actually damage equipment or contaminate the whole batch. These items include:
        • Styrofoam
        • Black pastics
        • Plant pots
        • Plastic toys
        • Garden hoses
        • Shredded paper

        When in doubt, you can throw it out or visit this website to confirm if your item can be recycled.

        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


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