September Monthly News & Updates

September 9, 2021
With Labor Day Weekend now behind us, the end of summer is near. Over the last three months, I have continued to advocate for your needs and requests both in our communities and across the state and will begin sending regular e-blasts this Fall. Please find some highlighted resources and upcoming events you can participate in below.

Remember to also check my Facebook page regularly for similar updates and you may reach me by email at Stephanie.Thomas@cga.ct.gov with any specific questions or issues.

 
2020 Census & Redistricting

The 2020 census worked towards counting every person residing in the United States.  Data from the Census is vital to decisions made by businesses, government, non profits, health care institutions and many others, and determines how hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funds are distributed. It also is critical to the functioning of our democracy, providing the data needed to comply with the fundamental principal of one person one vote and how districts are formed.

Redistricting data from the census was released on August 12 with some delays due to the pandemic. The redistricting process is now underway across the country. Districts must be redrawn and adjusted to reflect changes in our population over the past decade. 

Connecticut has a bipartisan redistricting process, unlike many other states, with a deadline of September 15.
 
Due to the delay in the release of the data, the September 15 deadline will not be met, but the
Reapportionment Committee has announced that it will be holding public hearings to solicit input from you on how lines should be drawn to best serve our communities. People do not have to testify at a hearing to give the Committee and Commission their recommendations for redistricting – you can also email the members and your comments will become part of the public record.
 
After the September 15 deadline passes, the bipartisan Reapportionment Commission will be formed. It has until November 30 to approve redistricting plans for Congress, the State Senate and the State House. If the Commission is unable to agree on a plan or plans, it is up to the CT Supreme Court to decide how the lines should be drawn, with a final deadline of February 15, 2022. The new districts will then be used in the 2022 election and for the coming ten years.
 

Public hearings
  • September 8 in Hartford at 7 pm (Legislative Office Building)
  • September 9 in Norwich at 1 pm (Norwich Town Hall)
  • September 13 in Shelton at 1 pm (Shelton City Hall)
  • September 14 on Zoom at 7 pm
You can access all of the upcoming public hearings on CT-N.
 
 
Session Snippets

Welcome to Session Snippets! A one-minute recap each week of bills passed this year that never made the headlines. This week, I discuss HB 6121. To see future session snippets, please follow my legislative Facebook Page.

For questions/comments/more info, click here.

 
Did That Bill Ever Pass?

At both the start and end of each legislative session, the Office of Legislative Research (OLR) releases a Major Issues Report (start of session) and a Major Acts Report (end of session). Both reports offer helpful summaries to the major pieces of legislation we focused on this year - to help the public understand what each bill and eventual law will entail.

The OLR also offers a Bill Tracking Report, which

identifies bills considered during the last session whose content or concepts were incorporated into other legislation, under different bill numbers, that the legislature passed. During this session, the content or concepts originating in 168 bills were incorporated into other legislation that was enacted in 58 public acts.

If you did not see a bill you were following pass, click the button below to see if it was included in a separate public act.

2021 Bill Tracking Report
 
Reproductive Rights in CT

Following two recent conflicting rulings regarding women's reproductive rights in Texas and Mexico, many of you have contacted me with numerous questions regarding Connecticut's law as it pertains to abortion and a woman's right to choose.

Connecticut Law States:

"...the decision to terminate a pregnancy prior to the viability of the fetus shall be solely that of the pregnant woman in consultation with her physician..."

While our state law continues to protect a woman's right to choose, we are sadly seeing growing interest from states around the country to mitigate the reproductive rights of women despite the legal precedents of Roe v. Wade. For educational purposes, I encourage you to click the buttons below to read about the two most recent rulings in Texas and Mexico, as well as click the quote above to read our state's law in full.

Texas' New Abortion Law
Mexico's Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion
 
In the Community

Before the warm weather fades, I am hosting three in-person Office Hour sessions in Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton. I hope you will join me to discuss any sort of local or statewide concerns you may have, so I can continue to serve you and your needs. If you are unable to join me in person for any reason, be it scheduling or safety concerns, I will also host virtual Office Hours within the next month.

Upcoming Events

We are planning a series of events this Fall. Please follow my Facebook Page for updated event information.

  • In-Person Office Hours
    • Norwalk: Thursday, Sept 23rd from 8:00am to 9:30am - Freese Park, the benches on Main Street, closest to East Avenue [in case of rain, look for me in Cafe Aroma]
    • Wilton: Thursday, Sept 30th from 7:30am to 9:00am - Wilton Gazebo [in case of rain, look for me at Tusk & Cup]
    • Westport: Thursday, Oct 7th from 8:00am to 9:30am - Picnic benches on Parker Harding Plaza near the footbridge/star sculpture [in case of rain, look for me at GG & Joe]
  • Virtual Office Hours TBD

In The News

Recent Features

Last month, I was featured in a newsletter from the Kiwanis Club of Wilton. Looking back, I was able to thank the Kiwanis Club for awarding me a scholarship that allowed me to go to college.

"The $1,500 Kiwanis scholarship I received in my senior year of high school enabled me to attend New York University in the Fall as planned. When you live in poverty, there is no money for the many "extras" that go along with the college experience. I could not afford to live on campus, so I commuted from my home in New Jersey. 

The funding from Kiwanis stretched a long way in the form of carfare, meals, books, supplies, and clothing. Kindness, compassion and generosity make lasting changes each day, even when we cannot see the results. I thank those long-ago donors for their role in helping me to live my best life. Thank you Kiwanis for your work in communities nationwide."