House Votes to Expand Access to Absentee Ballots

March 18, 2022

Staying Current with Currey
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Friends and Neighbors,

While there is an increase of activity here under the gold dome in Hartford, with legislative proposals being discussed, debated, and deliberated over, we cannot and should not ignore what is occurring halfway around our world while we simply go about our daily business. Some may claim they’re “feeling it at the pump” while others hear it in the voices of loved ones they have limited communications with. Either way, the unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine is happening and we must decide for ourselves, in the interest of our fellow humans across the globe, how we react and hopefully help.

There are those in our own community, like Jamie McDonald, and beyond who are answering the calls for help from those fleeing the violence. 
Humanitarian aid has poured into the region from near and far corners of the world. Jamie McDonald, a Connecticut resident and the owner of Bear's Smokehouse BBQ, which has a location on Ellington Road in South Windsor, has been volunteering in Poland cooking and serving meals with World Central Kitchen. So far, World Central Kitchen has provided about 1 million meals across 5 countries.

You can help fuel the relief efforts in Ukraine right from Connecticut. When you purchase any of Bear's sauces or rubs, 25 percent of proceeds will be donated to World Central Kitchen. If you want to support this work from the protected comfort of your couch, you can donate directly to Jamie's fundraiser.

Other organizations and initiatives providing support to Ukraine include:

For tips to ensure your donations are going to legitimate efforts to assist Ukraine, please click here

And while this conflict unfolds, our day-to-day routines may largely stay the same. At the Capitol, legislators, our teams, advocates, and residents will continue the work to move our state forward. To stay up-to-date, click the "At the Capitol, In District, & Beyond" link below, but also please check out the other subject links in this intro to go right to the topic in the body of this email.

You can find additional resources and information on my web site, If there's something you need help with that isn't included in this email, please check my website. If you can't find what you're looking for there, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.



Overall Summary


Change Since Yesterday

COVID-19 Cases (confirmed and probable)



COVID-19 Tests Reported (molecular and antigen)



Daily Test Positivity



Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19



Overall Summary


Change Since Last Thursday

COVID-19 Associated Deaths*



*Data on COVID-19 deaths is updated once per week every Thursday.

Of the 92 patients currently hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, 37 (40.2%) are not fully vaccinated.

Compared to being vaccinated, being unvaccinated currently has the following relative risk:

  • 3 times higher risk of being infected with COVID-19
  • 16 times higher risk of dying from COVID-19
  • 8 times higher risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19
Click Here for COVID-19 Data Updates
Click Here for Governor Lamont's Updates
Click Here for Information on Getting Vaccinated

Specific Updates for Our Community

Town Total Cases Total Deaths Number of Tests Number of Positive Tests
East Hartford 12,467 194 212,570 15,672
Manchester 10,236 187 205,797 12,509
South Windsor 3,720 65 73,998 4,349

Weekly Update of the Department of Public Health's COVID-19 Alert Map

Vaccination against COVID-19 continues to be an important tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 and can help protect against a severe case as well as hospitalization. I just got my 4th shot last Friday because I know that even if I get COVID-19, I'll be protected. 

Below are several vaccine clinics happening in our community:

  • Tuesday, March 22
    • Manchester Connecticare Center, 1487 Pleasant Valley Rd, Manchester, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., for ages 5+
      • Does not include 4th booster shot
  • Wednesday, March 23
    • Stone Academy, 745 Burnside Ave, East Hartford, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., for ages 5+

Information about getting vaccinated, including how to make an appointment and a list of clinics, is available on Connecticut's Vaccine Portal, here.

If you need assistance finding transportation to and from a vaccine appointment, you can find transportation resources here.

If you're a homebound resident, you can receive your COVID-19 shot at home. Complete the state Department of Public Health's Homebound Intake Form to get the appointment process started.

Testing remains a vital strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has had a confirmed case of COVID-19 should get tested. There are several drive-up and walk-up test sites in our area for residents who need a COVID-19 test now. Click the links below to find sites near you.

East Hartford

South Windsor

Don't miss any of next week's public hearings! Visit the CGA website, here, to download the public hearing agendas to learn what bills you can testify on. To learn more about how to sign up to testify before a legislative committee during public hearing, click here. You can stream public hearings and committee meetings on
CT-N and the committee's YouTube channel. 
Here's some sweet news - it's Maple Weekend, which highlights Connecticut's maple sugarhouses! This weekend will be filled with family-friendly events at 19 participating sugarhouses. You'll be able to meet some of our state's maple syrup producers, take tours, see how syrup is made, and try some samples. The 2-day Hebron Maple Festival at the Hebron Library parking lot and town green coincides with Maple Weekend. this free outdoor event will feature maple-flavored treats, arts and crafts, games, and the fan-favorite tractor parade. 

Learn more about Maple Weekend and participating syrup producers here.

Starting today, Connecticut veterans who served during times of war and in conflict zones will be able apply for a license plate that highlights the specific wartime period they served.

The new plates will be available to veterans whose discharge papers identify specific periods of conflict, including the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Operation Will, the Persian Gulf War, the Vietnam war, the Korean War, and World War II. The license plates will be offered in addition to the state's current veterans license plate.
The license plates are available for passenger, commercial, combination, camper, and camp trailer vehicles. They will cost $27.50. Veterans can request one of the plates by filling out the state's Special Plate Application Form on the state DMV website, here. Applications will be accepted by mail only.

If you're like my mother, you'll be happy to hear our state capitol served as the set of a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie! While we may not think of Connecticut as the first choice location for filming, film companies choose our state in part because of the tax incentives we provide. The historic and modern settings, coast to country, and small towns and urban centers don't hurt either. The potential tax credit ranges from 10% to 30% and depends on production expenses or costs. You can learn more about our state's digital media and motion picture tax credit here.
The House was in session on Wednesday. In addition to some nominations to state boards, commissions, and agencies, we voted to pass two pieces of legislation to expand access to absentee ballots and extend outdoor dining for restaurants.

Voting is a fundamental right that ought to be fair and accessible, but Connecticut's voting laws are needlessly restrictive when it comes to voting by absentee ballot.

HB 5262 would make it easier for voters to vote absentee if they're feeling unwell, worried about their health, or out of town on Election Day.  

To be eligible to cast an absentee ballot, current law requires voters to have a physical disability or illness that prevents them from voting in person or be out of town for at least 14 hours on Election Day.

No voter should ever have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote. This proposal eases some of the eligibility restrictions for absentee ballots so that more residents can choose this method to cast their ballot.

The House also voted to pass HB 5271 to extend outdoor dining provisions by an additional 13 months. When this provision was first implemented in 2020, it allowed restaurants to safely stay in business when the number of people allowed inside buildings was restricted, keeping restaurant workers employed and customers safe.

Despite resounding support from the Connecticut Restaurant Association, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, and members of the public who have enjoyed having the option to dine out safely while supporting their favorite local restaurants, Republicans in the State Senate blocked the bill, delaying the final approval.

Failing to approve this bill will only create more uncertainty for restaurants still trying to recoup their losses from the pandemic. Connecticut restaurants supported healthcare workers and first responders by staying open at the height of the pandemic. Now they deserve our support.

Connecticut high schoolers submitted proposals on how to spend a total of $1.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief through the state's Voice4Change initiative. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative that works to engage high school students in critical thinking to solve real-world challenges. Students in participating high schools submitted proposals outlining how they would spend $20,000 in their schools. Of the 201 submissions, 150 proposal from 54 high schools are eligible for funding consideration. The proposals aligned with the following state-level priorities:
  • Addressing social, emotional, and mental health (71% of proposals)
  • Addressing learning acceleration, academic renewal, and student enrichment (52% of proposals)
  • Addressing building safe and healthy schools (38% of proposals)
  • Addressing family and community connections (35% of proposals)
  • Addressing the strategic use of technology, staff development, and the digital divide (17% of proposals)

You can learn more about this here.

The East Hartford High School girls basketball team will face off against Wilton High School this Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena at 6:15 p.m. for the CIAC's Class LL Championship! Congratulations to the Hornets for making it to the state tournament finals. This is the first championship game in the program's history. If you want to see the game in person, you can get tickets here.
Congratulations to the East Hartford police officers who were promoted last Thursday! Promoted members include:
  • Assistant Chief Mack Hawkins
  • Deputy Chief Joshua Litwin
  • Deputy Chief Donald Olson
  • LT Steven Camp
  • SGT Adam Aborn
  • SGT Richard Hill
  • SGT Tara Hewins
  • SGT Michael Romano
  • DET Christopher Coe

Thank you for continuing to serve and protect our community.


Over the past two years, we have seen the impact of isolation on mental health. Below are several resources if you or someone you know is in need of support: 

  • Mobile Crisis Service 2-1-1: If your child is actively harming themselves, having suicidal thoughts, or planning to hurt others, call 911, or 2-1-1 and press option 1 for the Mobile Crisis Service. This is a 24 hour, 7 day a week free service to have your child immediately evaluated by a mental health professional. NOTE: If calling by cell phone, 2-1-1 can also be reached toll-free at: 800-203-1234 
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628- 9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
  • Crisis Text Line - Text “HOME” to 741-741, or visit for more info.
  • NAMI Education Courses: The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers online education programs for parents and caregivers to learn more about supporting youth who are experiencing mental health symptoms. The NAMI Basics OnDemand is a free, six-session that can be completed on-demand, at your pace.
  • The State of Connecticut has several mental health resource. Find the list here
  • The Connecticut Children's Behavioral Health Toolkit also has helpful resources for children experiencing a mental health crisis. 
  • State Rep. Liz Linehan's website also has helpful mental health resources for children.
  • WrapCT is part of the Connecting to Care network. WrapCT emphasizes is a holistic approach to addressing mental and behavioral health changes for children and family. Click here to learn more.
  • CHR Health can help young adults and teens who may be struggling with substance use disorder through a comprehensive network of support. For more information about CHR's Substance Screening and Treatment Recovery services, click here.
Although the rate of suicide in young people is lower than the rate of suicide in adults, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death among U.S. adolescents. Studies analyzing suicide risk have found that overall, more sexual minority and gender minority adolescents will attempt suicide compared to their heterosexual and cis-gender peers. There are resources for LGBTQ adolescents who may need support.
A lot happens in a child's first three years of life. If you have questions or concerns about your child's development, the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood's Birth to Three program may have some answers. To learn more about this program or to schedule a no-cost evaluation, click here or call 1-800-505-7000.

The U.S. Social Security Administration announced it will begin offering more in-person services at local offices in April. Currently, in-person services are offered by appointment only. As the administration expands its in-person service, customers are reminded that they can access support online, by phone, or make an office appointment in advance. To learn more about how to get help from Social Security, including online and the best times to call, and what you should know before visiting a Social Security office, please click here.
For additional state and local resources, click the links below:

NBC Universal has launched its annual "Project Innovation" competitive grant challenge. Local nonprofits can apply for up to $315,000 in funding. The deadline to apply is March 25, 2022. Eligible local nonprofts with program that help resolve everyday community issues are encouraged to submit an application. This year's categories include:
  • Community Engagement – Programs that enable individuals to engage and volunteer in their communities
  • Culture of Inclusion – Programs to encourage equitable access, opportunities, and resources for traditionally underrepresented communities
  • Next Generation Storytellers – Programs that promote access and develop pathways for emerging talent, diverse voices, and underrepresented youth to explore careers in news, entertainment, sports, and the arts
  • Youth Education and Empowerment – In-school and out-of-school programs that equip youth with the tools they need to succeed, including STEM/STEAM education and youth entrepreneurship

Visit to learn more about this grant opportunity, program rules, and eligibility.

Connecticut and the nation have seen gas prices increase at an alarming rate during this time of global unrest and the effect of market volatility on commodity prices.

While price fluctuations are expected, there are some unscrupulous businesses that exploit these conditions to gouge consumers at the pump.

The practice of charging unconscionably high prices immediately before market disruptions that cannot be attributed to additional costs is illegal in our state.  

If you believe a business is engaging in price gouging, you may file a report with the Office of the Attorney General online at or call 860-808-5318.

For a guide on how gas prices are determined and how the conflict in Ukraine is impacting what you pay at the pump, please click the buttons below.

How the War in Ukraine May Impact US Gas Prices
How Gas Prices are Determined

After a 2-year hiatus, East Hartford Youth Services and the East Hartford Local Prevention Council are bringing back the Prevention Idol Youth Talent Show & Contest! All East Hartford youth and families are encouraged to demonstrate their talents, whether it's singing, dancing, a dramatic monologue, magic tricks, or something else. Registration to participate is open until April 1. To participate, residents should submit a video of their performance. Videos should be in MP4 format and should not be longer than 5 minutes.

To submit a video of your performance, please click here.

You can read the full details here.

Leap into spring with East Hartford’s Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 9 at 12 p.m.! This years egg hunt is at McAuliffe Park, 30 Remington Road. This FREE event is perfect for children ages 10 and younger and their chocolate-loving parents/guardians. Learn more here.
The 49th Annual South Windsor Parks & Recreation Egg Hunt is scheduled for Friday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the South Windsor High School stadium! There will be a sensory friendly egg hunt from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Click the image above for more information.
The Town of Manchester Department of Leisure, Family and Recreation and the Manchester Board of Education have announced summer camp opportunities for Manchester children! The town will be offering several summer camps when schools are out. You can learn more about these great opportunities here.
Capital Workforce Partners (CWP) is hosting a Lunch & Learn Series for individuals and organizations to learn more about the services CWP offers. A session is scheduled for Friday, April 8, 2022 at 12 p.m. on Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program (SYELP). During this event, participants will learn about summer youth employment opportunities, the application process, areas of focus, and more. Registration is required. 
Register Here

Game on! 

It's spring sports season at our middle and high schools! Click the links below for schedules of this week's games:

You can also find schedules and results on the CIAC website.

CIAC Website

Wednesday, March 16, was Small Business Development Center Day. Small Business Development Center Day celebrates the positive impact that the  centers have had on small and local businesses. Last year, the 28 Connecticut-based development centers helped launch 184 businesses.
Small and local businesses are the backbone of our communities. These are the places where many of us have created lifelong memories. They are owned by people we love and respect -our neighbors, friends, and family.

Over the past two years, businesses of all sizes have experienced financial losses, but smaller ones were disproportionally impacted. As we start to turn a corner and return to normal, we need to ensure that these places have the resources and support necessary to thrive. During the 2021 session, my colleagues and I worked tirelessly to craft legislation that would benefit small businesses:

  • Allowed certain businesses that serve meals, such as hotels, restaurants, and bars to keep 100% of the sales tax they collect on meal sales during a set time period (PA 21-2)
  • Updated the Small Business Express Program to allow for increased participation by private lenders (PA 21-1)
  • Created a Regional Economic Development Pilot Program through the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) that will provide matching grants to regional economic development corporations implementing economic development programs (PA 21-77)
  • Authorized up to $875 million in bonds for a five-year bonding program to fund qualifying projects and grants in eligible municipalities that are designated as public investment communities or alliance districts (PA-21-2)

 Click here to read a complete list of all of the business related bills that were passed in 2021.
We hope to build on the progress made last year and continue to push for further reform during this session.
If you are a small business owner and are looking for assistance, please check out the CT SBDC website for more information. They have a plethora of resources, including webinars, tips for expanding your customer base, and more!

Through the state's Department of Labor, the American Job Center offers resources, information, and support for individuals throughout the state searching for a job. You can receive help writing a resume and attend interview technique workshops for those currently on the job hunt. For more information, click here.
The State of Connecticut is hiring! You can find a variety of seasonal, part-time, and full-time positions. There are jobs open to members of the public as well as those already employed at a state agency or organization. You can find a full list of openings here.
Advancing CT Together (ACT) is hiring! The openings include Director of Asset Building Programs and peer support specialist. To learn more about the positions and to start the application, please click here.
The Town of East Hartford Department of Youth Services is hiring a part-time Substance Abuse Prevention Counselor to provide group, family, and community services for children and families. This is a grant-funded position with a flexible work schedule. To learn more and apply, please click here

Click here for the Town Meetings calendar.

Click here for the Community Events calendar.

Click here for information on the East Hartford Public Library. 

Click here for East Hartford Community Television. 



Click here for the Public Meetings calendar.

Click here for the Community Events calendar.

Click here for information on the South Windsor Public Library. 

Click here for South Windsor's Government Television Programming - watch LIVE town council meetings! 



Click here for the Town Meetings and Community Events Calendar.

Click here for information on the Manchester Public Library. 

Click here for Manchester Public Television. 

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.

You can view a list of all the bills passed by the House so far this session here.

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