Demanding Action on Gun Violence

May 27, 2022


Staying Current with Currey
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Friends and Neighbors,

Another week, another mass shooting.

To type that, without even a second thought that it’s out of our country’s current character, is simply horrific. And sad. And frustrating. And every other emotion that we’ve felt these last three days after the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas where 19 elementary schoolers and 2 teachers were killed. Where parents and loved ones waited long into the night for the results of a DNA test to find out if their child was among the victims. Where a 78-minute breakdown in the system failed our most innocent beings. 

As elected leaders, we aren’t always sure if our words are seen as reassuring or reaffirming positions we’ve typically made clear, and I often worry that elected leaders’ comments are seen as simply “checking off a box” or viewed as political folly when those words, thoughts, and prayers aren’t going to bring back the 2 murdered teachers and 19 children. These father's tears say more than I or any other politician ever could. You quickly hear things like “we stand with California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana or another state." We're barely 6 months into 2022 and more than 200 mass shootings have occurred in the United States.

In the case of Texas, I don’t, I can’t, and I won’t futilely stand with a state where elected officials refuse to take up even the most basic of protections. To do so would be inauthentic. Rather, I stand with the families and friends and those directly impacted by this senseless and unthinkable loss of life that we're disgustingly becoming desensitized to on a national scale. I stand with the educators, the students, the doctors, the medical examiners, and so many others who will be forever changed by what they witnessed. 

It is unfathomable to know that we live in a time where parents and guardians have to wonder if their child will return from a building meant for nurturing and educating the next generation of leaders. We are living in an America where our federal gun laws largely remain the same nearly a decade after the devastating Sandy Hook murders. Leaders vowed it would never happen again, but 10 years later, those elected officials have broken that promise, often for monetary or political gain. Their empty words and platitudes have yet to solve the problem. But how can they when they can't even admit one exists. Their thoughts and prayers will not move the needle in ensuring our children and educators will return home from school. 

While each mass shooting may be different, there is one thread that binds all of them together - the ease with which individuals can purchase and obtain weapons and ammunition solely meant for war as early as 18 years of age, without so much as a background check. When I made the decision to obtain a pistol permit, I was required to complete a handgun safety course, prove my proficiency with a firearm, and then wait months for my paperwork to be processed, my fingerprints to be taken, and for my background and criminal history checks to be completed. I also had to be at least 21.

Are our laws here in Connecticut perfect? Do they guarantee that something like this will never happen here again? No. To say otherwise would be a lie. Are there areas where we may strengthen existing laws in an effort to decrease the chances this happens? Yes. And we have a track record for doing so. If only our federal government had the same.

Following the bipartisan vote in reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, we implemented more gun safety reforms to reduce mass shootings (in addition to accidents and suicides in which guns are involved). These measures work, but we must demand our federal lawmakers to act. Reacting just doesn’t cut it anymore. We need the collective will to implement national policies – like red flag laws and expanding background checks - to protect lives with the goal of ensuring these tragedies never happen again. The U.S. Senate's consistent choice not to act makes us all less safe.

Please join me by calling upon our lawmakers in Washington to demand bolder gun laws NOW - which the vast majority of Americans support. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Unaffiliated, Young, Elder. The list goes on and on for those who support these changes, but we must commit to working together to make these solutions a reality.

Also, please remember that we are all processing these events in different ways. We're heartbroken, we're angry, we're grieving. But how we, as adults, react and act in response, will impact our young people. There is no single solution, and we must work collectively to make our schools and communities safe for our children. 

How can we be socially responsive? What actions can we take to address the risks, disparities, and injustices that impact children's access to a secure future? For helpful resources, visit the UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health website, here.

As the country continues to mourn and we head into a holiday weekend where we remember those lost in the service of our country, I know this was a heavy Friday message. Thank you for your willingness to read and hopefully be part of the change our country is asking for.

Sincerely,
 

To stay up-to-date with everything happening in Hartford, 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,
www.housedems.ct.gov/currey. 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.

 

COVID-19 UPDATE
With the recent uptick in positive tests, not including those testing at home, but more importantly the rise in hospitalizations, we once again are asking that our friends, family, and neighbors consider using all the tools at their reach in combatting this wave. Information for testing, vaccine clinics, and those who are homebound and need assistance are noted below. We must be in this together.

Overall Summary

Cumulative
(except for hospital census)

Past 7 days

Positive PCR/NAAT Tests

874,636

+7,104

All PCR/NAAT Tests

14,520,092

+60,031

Test Positivity (pos/all PCR/NAAT)

--

11.83%

Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19

363

+9

Data on COVID-19 associated deaths is updated once per week every Thursday. The most recently reported total number of deaths is 10,941.

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 13,534 198 224,578 17,073
Manchester 11,548 191 219,140 14,152
South Windsor 4,480 66 79,527 5,251

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

 
Vaccines continue to be effective tools in protecting residents from severe COVID-19 infections. To get vaccinated or your booster, please click here to locate vaccination sites in our community.

Below are several vaccine clinics happening in our community:

  • Tuesday, May 31
    • Stone Academy, 745 Burnside Ave, East Hartford, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., for ages 5+
  • Wednesday, June 8
    • Raymond Library, 840 Main St, East Hartford, 4 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.

 
To help slow the spread of COVID-19 during the most recent surge in new cases, U.S. households can order another round of FREE at-home COVID-19 test kits on USPS.com. Each order includes 8 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. The order will arrive in 2 separate packages containing 4 tests in each pack. Orders will ship for free. To request your at-home tests, please click here.

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
Manchester
South Windsor


MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
The East Hartford Memorial Day Parade is happening on Monday, May 30. The Parade will start at 10 a.m., proceeding from 9 Riverside Drive to the Fallen Star Memorial at Goodwin University. It will conclude with a C-130 flyover. The program will feature remarks from Mayor Mike Walsh, Goodwin University President Mark Scheinberg, Congressman John Larson, and Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, among others. Following the program, there will be a celebration perfect for the whole family. It will include food trucks, a travelling WWII museum, Pratt & Whitney Engine display, Historical Society WWII artifact display, face painting, K-9 demonstrations and more. 

Please not that from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., the exit 5 on- and off-ramps on Route 2 will be closed. Public parking will be available on Willow Street, Main Street, Willowbrook Road, riverside Drive, and Pent Road. For more information about parking and road closures, please click here.

You can learn more about this event here.

 
After a 2-year hiatus, the Manchester Memorial Day Parade is coming back on Monday, May 30 at 9:30 a.m. The parade will step off in front of the Army & Navy Club, 1090 Main St. It will turn east onto East Center Street, west at Agostenelli Memorial Park, and end at the Center Memorial Park for a Memorial Day Program. If the parade is cancelled due to inclement weather, the Center Memorial Park Program will be held indoors at the Salvation Army, 661 Main St., at 11 a.m. You can read more here.
 
The South Windsor Memorial Day Parade will step off at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30. The parade will go south on Nutmeg Road, East on Pleasant Valley Road, and will end at Veterans Memorial Park for the town's Memorial Day Ceremony. The ceremony will start at 11 a.m. and will feature guest speakers, music, and a wreath laying. 

AT THE CAPITOL, IN DISTRICT, & BEYOND...
On Thursday, the Connecticut State Bond Commission voted to release significant funding for East Hartford. The funding includes $10 million for the redevelopment of the Silver Lane corridor and $1 million for improvements to East Hartford's parks, community pools, recreational facilities, and open spaces. This funding is welcome news for our community. Having grown up off Silver Lane and now living beside one of the town’s largest parks, my colleagues in the East Hartford delegation and I know what this investment means to our residents, no matter their age. I am grateful that the Bond Commission and Governor Lamont are supportive of these initiatives and chose to invest in East Hartford and the region. You can find the full bond agenda here.
 
On Tuesday, the governor signed legislation we passed to help our State Police prevent and detect hate crimes. The law codifies the State Police's Hate Crime Investigations Units, making a centralized system for investigations of hate crimes. The Hate Crime Investigative Unit will be responsible for working to prevent and detect certain crimes that are based on bigotry and bias against a race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Hate has no home in Connecticut. Additionally, the unit will compile, monitor, analyze, and share data about such crimes. This law will also broaden the reporting of bigotry or bias-motivated crimes by local law enforcement. You can read more about this law here.

To report a hate crime, please call your local police or 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit an anonymous tip here. For additional information about hate crimes, please visit the Connecticut Hate Crimes Advisory Council website here, or GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Violence & Hate Crimes web page, here.


HEALTH RESOURCES

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which works to end the stigma surrounding mental health conditions by raising awareness and sharing resources. Although the month is coming to an end, the awareness of and response to mental health needs will not come to an end. 

This session we focused on responding to the ongoing youth mental health crisis, which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. We passed historic legislation including HB 5001SB 1, and SB 2 to address the immediate and long-term mental health needs of our children. In addition, we approved a state budget adjustment bill that makes historic investments in kids' mental health. The budget will:

  • Assist local schools in expanded mental health staff and access to care
  • Provide mental health training to parents, students, and pediatricians
  • Help school-based health centers develop new mental health programming
  • Create new walk-ins for mental health emergencies
  • Establish a new position at the Healthcare Advocate to help families navigate care for children and adolescents
  • Expand 24/7 emergency mental health response
  • Establish state oversight and coordination of state response to kids' mental health needs
  • Expand mentorship opportunities

As we work towards a healthier Connecticut for all, it is vital that we fill the gaps in our children's mental and behavioral health system. If you or someone you know has not been feeling like themselves recently, you can find some helpful resources below:

  • WrapCT is part of the Connecting to Care network and emphasizes a holistic approach to addressing mental and behavioral health changes for children and family. It puts children and family at the center of care and surrounds them with a support network of providers, community members, and more to support them and help them achieve their goals. Click here to learn more.
  • 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 
  • Resources for students, caregivers, providers, and school staff can be found at www.preventsuicidect.org
  • 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 http://www.crisistextline.org/ 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.
  • 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.

RESOURCES FOR SENIORS
Did you know that AmeriCorps offers an opportunity for individuals 55 and older to volunteer in their community? AmeriCorps Seniors has options for older adults to choose how they want to give back. Help a child learn to read, deliver groceries to a neighbor, support a family impacted by a natural disaster - these are just a few service opportunities available. More information about this program is available here.
 
For additional state and local resources, click the links below:

COMMUNITY RESOURCES & EVENTS
Pride Month is just around the corner, kicking off on June 1, 2022. Below is a snapshot of Pride celebrations happening in our region and around the state this summer: 

Is your organization holding a Pride event? Send me an email at Jeff.Currey@cga.ct.gov with the details and I'll include it in this newsletter!

 
Applications for the Child Tax Payments that was included in our 2022 state budget will open June 1, 2022.
 
Any Connecticut resident who claimed at least one dependent child under the age of 18 on their 2021 federal income tax return may be eligible to receive a maximum payment of $250 per child (for up to three children) with the following income guidelines (higher incomes may be eligible for a reduced rebate):
Anyone who is interested in seeking a payment must apply to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services with applications closing on July 31, 2022 - recipients will receive funds beginning in late August.
Information on the 2022 CT Child Tax Payments
The Department of Revenue Services is in the process of reaching out to eligible households and I encourage you to share this information with any parents that may qualify.
 
Farmers Markets in Manchester and South Windsor will kick off next week! Farmers Markets are a great way to support local farmers and businesses, access fresh produce, and support more sustainable food systems. 

The Spruce Street Farmers Market will be on Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. starting June 1 through August 31. The market will be held rain or shine at 153 and 163 Spruce Street in Manchester. To learn more, please email sprucestmarket@manchesterct.gov or call 860-647-3089. 

The South Windsor Parks and Recreation Farmers Market will be back for the 2022 season on June 4. The market will be held every Saturday through October 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 220 Nevers Rd in South Windsor. For more information, please click here.


YOUTH ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES
If you're a parent, caretaker, or guardian whose child may be having a difficult time processing the recent murders in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, there are resources and supports available to help children feel safe. Children will react to these tragedies in a manner consistent with their chronological, developmental, and emotional age. Some children may experience changes in mood, schedule, appetite, social interactions, or ability to concentrate. Supports are available across our state and community. To find assistance, dial 2-1-1 or visit www.211ct.org.

Additional resources include:

 
CT Humanities sponsored this summer's Lutz Children's Museum Community Read program that will be held at the Buckland Hills Barnes & Noble June through August. Authors will be on site to read their books and the first 25 participants will receive a copy of the book!

Here's a look at the schedule:

  • June 12 at 2:00 p.m. | Beauty in the Broken Shell & Journey of the Wee Shell by Robyn E McCullough
  • July 17 at 2:00 p.m. | Best Bed for Me by Gaia Cornwall
  • August 21 at 2:00 p.m. | A Planet Like Ours by Frank Murphy & Charnaie Gordon

WORKFORCE & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
In an effort to promote Connecticut's summer tourism season, Governor Lamont has launched the "Find Your Vibe" campaign. The Connecticut Office of Tourism has also made the first major update to its official tourism website, www.CTVisit.com to coincide with the campaign. Our state has so much to offer residents and visitors and the "Find Your Vibe" campaign seeks to reflect a more updated and holistic view of our state's vibrancy. The campaign will run from May through Labor Day and will feature an integrated mix of media, including some high-profile activations:
  • Inflight video on JetBlue for the entire summer on targeted flights, including all those into New York City, Boston, Connecticut, and in/out of Florida, as well as all domestic flights (50 states, Caribbean, and Canada) on American Airlines in August.
  • Takeover of the large digital billboards in the new Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station in New York City.
  • High-impact transportation placements targeting the Hamptons, NYC Pride, and The Governors Ball.

You can participate in the campaign by using #CTvibe on social media. To learn more, click here.

 
Connecticut's successful ParkConnCT program, which offers fare-free transportation and increased bus services to state parks and beaches, will resume on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28. It will last through Labor Day, September 5, 2022. ParkConneCT aims to connect people to Connecticut state parks and beaches during the summer to support seasonal employment and promote recreational activity. It is a collaboration of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Department of Transportation. 

All buses associated with ParkConneCT will run fare-free from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day (May 28, 2022 to September 5, 2022). Additionally, as part of the fiscal year 2023 budget, all buses statewide will operate without collecting fares until December 1, 2022, with the exception of premium on-demand ridesharing programs. Wheels 2U and Valley Transit District’s on-demand ridesharing services will only be free on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays observed on May 28, July 4, and September 5, when using the service to or from parks in the ParkConneCT program.

To learn more about this great program, participating locations, and service schedule, please click here.

Don't forget, your Passport to the Parks motor vehicle registration fee grants you access to our parks and forests without paying any parking fee. You can find a directory of every state park in Connecticut here.

 
Earlier this week, the Governor signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin - the parent company of Sikorsky - that will help strengthen Sikorsky's presence in Connecticut through at least 2042 and support about 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in our state. Our state will provide Sikorsky up to $75 million in performance-based sales-and-use and other tax credits if it secures a pair of contracts it's bidding on to build helicopters for the U.S. Army. This would help maintain nearly 8,000 jobs in Connecticut, keep our state as Sikorsky's headquarters, and support jobs at the over 200 Connecticut suppliers. The Connecticut General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to pass the agreement, which will bring high-tech, good-paying jobs to Connecticut and maintain our state's reputation as a leader in aerospace innovation. You can learn more about this here.
 
The credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) is raising Connecticut's general obligation bond outlook from stable to positive. Last year, S&P, along with Moody's Fitch, and Kroll, upgraded our state's general obligation bond ratings. This upgrade is a result of responsible fiscal policy that has helped our state grow its budget reserves, pay down unfunded liabilities, and make smart investments in Connecticut's future. This could help lower borrowing costs and attract businesses to our state. You can read more about this here.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES & RESOURCES
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.
 
Today, state leaders and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are kicking off the beginning of the state parks summer season ahead of Memorial Day weekend! There are great seasonal job opportunities to support the Connecticut State Park system's busy summer season. Positions includes maintenance, lifeguards, seasonal park rangers, interpretive guides, first aid attendants, resource assistants, seasonal Special Conservation Officers and more. For further information and to apply, click here.

TRAIL CLOSURE ALERT
The state Department of Transportation has announced that there will be a temporary closure of the East Coast Greenway Multi-Use Trail at Willow Street starting May 31, 2022. This is necessary to complete safety and operational improvements on Route 2 in East Hartford, Hartford, and Glastonbury, including the reconstruction of the Willow Street bridge. The trail will be detoured onto Riverside Drive, then Ensign Street, and finally onto Main Street. You can find a map of the detour and more information here.

SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULE
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
 
EAST HARTFORD:

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. 

Facebook
Website

SOUTH WINDSOR:

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! 

Twitter
Website

MANCHESTER:

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. 

Facebook
Twitter
Email
Website
 
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 this session here.

 
 
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