Weekly Update - December 16

December 16, 2022


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Dear Neighbor, 

As you may be aware, Access Health CT's (AHCT) enrollment period is underway and open until January 15! This is the time to renew coverage and explore policy options that work best for you.


Open Enrollment is the time you can enroll in or renew a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) or Stand-Alone Dental Plan (SADP). You can now enroll in health and dental insurance at the same time through Access Health CT. We encourage all customers to shop and compare plans this year – make sure you have the right plan for you for 2023 and get all the financial help you can.

The Open Enrollment Period for 2023 coverage is open now through January 15, 2023.

The date you enroll determines when your health and/or dental coverage will start:

  1. For coverage starting January 1, 2023, you must complete your application and enroll by December 15, 2022.
  2. For coverage starting February 1, 2023, you must complete your application and enroll between December 16, 2022 and January 15, 2023.
  3. Connecticut residents that are eligible for the new Covered Connecticut Program can enroll at any time. Your coverage will start on the first of the month after you complete your application and enroll in the Program.

You can enroll in coverage any time of year if you:

  1. Are an American Indian or Alaska Native;
  2. Qualify for HUSKY Health (Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)); 
  3. Have a life changing event – like losing health coverage through your job, getting married, having a baby, or moving to Connecticut – that qualifies you for a regular Special Enrollment Period; or
  4. Become eligible for the Covered Connecticut Program or the Special Enrollment Period for Residents with Lower Income

Visit Access Health CT for more information. 

In this email you'll find updates on district resources and news. Please click the links below to read the section that corresponds with the highlighted headline.

A NOTE: If you're having trouble clicking through the following links, open this email in a browser, use a computer or scroll through this email to the relevant section. 

The topics covered are as follows:

On Legislative Business

On Community Resources 

New Laws Taking Effect in the New Year

As we prepare to ring in the new year and welcome the start of 2023, several laws passed will take effect when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st! Here are a few of the laws taking effect January 1st:


Cannabis Possession Charges Cleared:
  • Specified Connecticut residents convicted of cannabis possession will have their records automatically cleared and other specified charges can be petitioned for erasure at the start of the new year
    • Click here and scroll to the bottom of page 29 for a breakdown table on qualifying erasures
    • Announced Delay: The Governor's Office recently announced that some erasures would be delayed until, "…the second half of 2023." Click here to learn more
  • Numerous state agencies must also provide recommendations by January 1st on how to prevent cannabis use by individuals under 21and address the impacts of cannabis legalization on youth
  • These provisions were included in PA 21-1Passed in 2021 – that legalized the recreational adult-use of cannabis

Clean Slate Law:
  • Nearly 280,000 more people will be eligible to have their criminal records erased on January 1st, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles must provide written documentation if they deny an application for a person's qualified pardon
    • Announced Delay: As shared above, the Governor's announced delay will also affect this law's provisions
  • These provisions were included in PA 21-32Passed in 2021 – known as the Clean Slate Law

The Bottle Bill:
  • Will expand the types of bottles and cans accepted in the 5-cent return program to now include:
    • Teas
    • Hard Seltzers
    • Ciders
    • Energy Drinks
    • Coffee
  • This provision was included in PA 21-58Passed in 2021 – which makes tiered adjustments to the state's bottle redemption program through January 2024

Lead Poisoning Safety:
  • Will take a tiered approach strengthening Connecticut's lead poisoning testing standards to align with federal standards and will lower the threshold for youth testing levels that trigger parental notification or home inspection
    • The Governor's Office reported that in 2020, over 1,000 Connecticut Children tested at high enough lead levels to trigger the federal standard for a home inspection
  • These provisions were included in PA 22-49Passed in 2022 – and will incrementally lower the qualifying testing levels through January 2025

Breast & Ovarian Cancer Screening Coverage:
  • Certain commercial health insurance policies will be required to cover:
    • Mammograms
    • Ultrasounds
    • MRIs for breast screenings
    • Breast biopsies
    • Certain prophylactic mastectomies
    • Breast reconstruction surgery
    • BRCA 1 and 2 testing
    • Routine ovarian cancer screenings 
  • These provisions were included in PA 22-90 – Passed in 2022 – which expanded required insurance coverage from previous legislative efforts

These are just a few of the laws and provisions going into effect when we celebrate the new year. The full list of laws taking effect on January 1st can be accessed by clicking the button below:
Laws Taking Effect January 1

I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?

CT Insider: Here are the new CT laws going into effect Jan. 1: From cannabis to salary increases
The Register Citizen: Abortion safe harbor, Juneteenth and other CT laws that went into effect in 2022

House Leadership Announces Committee Chair Assignments

Ahead of the 2023 legislative session, Speaker of the House Matt Ritter and I have continued announcing committee chair assignments. This week, we announced:

  • Aging Committee: Rep. Jane Garibay
  • Government Administration and Elections Committee: Rep. Matt Blumenthal
  • Labor and Public Employees Committee: Rep. Q Williams
  • Housing Committee: Geoff Luxenberg
  • Bipartisan Commission on Renewable Energy: Rep. Robyn Porter

Additionally, I announced my team of Deputy Majority Leaders:

  • Rep. Christine Conley
  • Rep. Pat Dillon
  • Rep. Mike Demicco
  • Rep. Tammy Exum
  • Rep. Kate Farrar
  • Rep. Susan Johnson
  • Rep. Antonio Felipe
  • Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan
  • Rep. Gary Turco

Deputy Majority Leaders will work with me to review legislation that has been voted favorably out of Committee or the Senate and prepare the bills for action on the House Floor. I'm incredibly excited to work alongside this group of Deputy Majority Leaders. Each member brings their own unique perspective to the role, which will be a significant asset as we review the legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

CT News Junkie: Legislative Committee Leadership Locked Down For 2023 Session

Today in CT History: Sick of War, New Englanders Meet to Think the Unthinkable.

Today in 1814, delegates from every New England state but Maine (which was still part of Massachusetts) met at the Old State House in Hartford to act against what they saw as the federal government’s misguided and inept handling of the War of 1812.


While the War of 1812 was officially a war against Great Britain, the young United States was fighting on three fronts: to the north against British-held Canada, to the east against Britain and its mighty navy, and to the west against British-allied Native Americans along the American frontier. The New England states were thus threatened by British invasion attempts and coastal harassment on two fronts, in addition to a crippling regional economic downturn caused by embargoes and sanctions enacted under the Democratic-Republican presidential administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Unsurprisingly, the opposition Federalist party felt that, by 1814, it was time for the New England states to gather and discuss their collective grievances against the Madison administration’s handling of the war. So, on December 15, 1814, 26 delegates from across New England met in Hartford to do just that.

As soon as the Hartford Convention was announced, rumors began swirling about the nefarious and possibly secessionist aims of the Federalist delegates, who did themselves no favors by maintaining strict secrecy regarding their closed-door discussions during the three-week event. While pro-Federalist papers like the Connecticut Courant were declaring, “Our [New England] sovereignty is invaded. Our rights are trampled underfoot,” other newspapers outside the Northeast accused the delegates of planning a traitorous coup against the Madison administration or drafting a plan of secession from the Union. Despite delegates’ vocal denials of such radical plots, the accusations of treasonous behavior stuck. Widely circulated political cartoons mocked the delegates as self-interested cowards who were willing to leap back into the arms of King George III.

In early January, the Federalist delegates released an official “Report and Resolutions of the Hartford Convention.” The report contained four resolutions condemning the Madison administration’s handling of the war and advanced a handful of proposed Constitutional amendments favoring the interests of the New England states — amendments like the repeal of the infamous 3/5 clause that inflated the congressional representation of the slaveholding Southern states. Nowhere in the report was there any mention of secession. While the idea was likely broached at the Convention in some capacity (making it the first-time secession from the Union was seriously considered in American history), the delegates never officially endorsed it. A clause at the end of the report, however, hinting that another convention might have to be called if New England’s regional concerns were not addressed, left the door to future consideration of secession wide open.


The intrigue and drama generated by the Hartford Convention, however, was short-lived, News about the war-ending Treaty of Ghent and General Andrew Jackson’s rout of British troops at New Orleans spread across the United States in mid-January — at almost the exact time the convention’s report was released. America had suddenly won the War of 1812, it seemed, and the grumbling Federalists looked like fools who had decisively chosen the “wrong” side. Their enemies branded them as traitors and the opprobrium stuck. The Federalist Party never recovered from the blow its reputation suffered after the Hartford Convention, which led to an era of political dominance by the Democratic-Republican party for most of the early 19th century. A major political gamble at the Old State House resulted in a seismic political power shift that reverberated through the country — today in Connecticut history.


If you'd like to learn more about the Hartford Convention and other interesting CT historical figures, click here.

Manchester Public Comment Period: Hop River Trail Extension to Cheney Rail Trail

The Town of Manchester is proposing to submit a grant application through the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Recreational Trails Grant Program for the construction of a trail along the abandoned railroad corridor between Main Street and Colonial Road.

The 1.05-mile trail would connect the existing Cheney Rail Trail with the Hop River State Park Trail and provide pedestrians and bicyclists a safe, off-road, route for recreation and transportation. The estimated cost of the project is $400,000, which would be 80 percent funded by the state. If selected, construction would be scheduled for 2024.


Residents of Manchester wishing to provide public comment or ask questions about this proposal may do so by contacting the Town’s Engineering Division by email at pwinfo@manchesterct.gov or by phone at (860) 647-3158.

Don't Miss Out – Manufacturing Career Awareness Info Session End Dec. 22

Looking to work in an environment that can enhance your career? Find out if manufacturing is the spark you need by joining the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Workforce Innovation Team for a 30-minute orientation to learn more about the high-tech manufacturing industry here in Connecticut.


Don't wait – info sessions run through Thursday, December 22 (every Monday from 10AM-10:30AM and every Thursday 4:30PM-5PM). Register to attend an info session here.


For more information, please contact Charles Ojide at cojide@ccat.us or Cameron Diaz at cdiaz@ccat.us.

East Harford Announces New Parking Ban Alert System

Last week, the Town of East Hartford announced the establishment of a new parking ban alert system to enhance the level of communication during snowstorms. The new parking ban alert system will provide residents with a visual alert informing them when an on-street parking ban is in effect.


When over four inches of snow is predicted the Department of Public Works, in coordination with the Police Department, will be responsible for the activation of 15 blue lights, installed on street light poles at key road intersections throughout the Town. When the blue light is on, it indicates a parking ban is in effect to allow Public Works crews to remove snow more efficiently and safety.

Residents who have limited off-street or backyard parking may park in one of the following neighborhood recreational park locations when parking bans are in effect:

  • Alumni Park
  • McAuliffe Park
  • Martin Park
  • Woodland Park
  • Labor Field Park
  • Shea Park
  • Former McCartin School Parking Lot
  • Hockanum Park

Once a snowstorm is over, residents will be required to remove their vehicles from the parks. 


The blue notification lights are an additional resource to notify motorists of a parking ban in town. The town will continue to communicate these alerts through the town website at www.easthartfordct.gov, the town’s official Facebook page, as well as through the digital board at Alumni Park and EH Alert system.

Register Now for East Hartford Adult Education's Spring Semester

Registration is now open for East Hartford Adult and Continuing Education's (EHACE) spring semester! The following courses will be available for the Spring Semester:

  • General Education Development (GED)
    • Raymond Library: Mondays-Fridays, 9AM-11AM; Mondays-Thursdays, 12PM-2PM
    • East Hartford High School: Mondays-Thursdays, 12PM-2PM
  • GED (Spanish)
    • East Hartford High School & Virtual: Mondays & Tuesdays, 6PM-8PM
  • Credit Diploma Program (CDP)
    • Virtual Classes: flexible dates and times
  • National External Diploma Program (NEDP)
    • Virtual & In-Person Classes: flexible dates and times
  • Second Change Adult Basic Education (Justice Involved)
    • Virtual Classes: Mondays & Tuesdays, 6PM-8PM
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
    • Raymond Library: Mondays-Fridays, 9AM-11AM; Mondays-Thursdays, 12PM-2PM
    • East Hartford High School: Tuesdays- Thursdays, 6PM-8PM
  • United States Citizenship
    • East Hartford High School: Tuesdays, 6PM-8PM
  • Family Literacy
    • Raymond Library: Wednesdays, 3PM-5:30PM

Classes are free for East Hartford residents, $50 ($25 per half credit CDP course) for non-residents (Family Literacy, Second Chances and NEDP are free for everyone, regardless of residency). Payment is due at your registration appointment, cash only.


Reserve an appointment for registration now by clicking here – the Spring Semester begins January 17. For questions, please email ehadulted@easthartford.org or call (860) 622-5355.

CareerConneCT Expands Intake Portal

Great news! CareerConneCT is expanding its intake portal. The goal of CareerConneCT is to provide underemployed and unemployed Connecticut residents with resources and training necessary for the pursuit of a well-paying, high-quality career path. The program provides free job training, case management, supportive services, and employment assistance.

Interested jobseekers should enroll through an online intake portal. Once enrolled, participants will be connected to reskilling, upskilling, or next-skilling opportunities in various in demand fields, such as manufacturing, information technology, health care, infrastructure and clean energy.


Once registered in the portal, participants will complete a brief skills inventory and then receive a Career Coach who will help them access training that meets their skills and interests. Participants also can explore career paths, learning opportunities and available jobs.

Click here to visit the portal.

Manchester Public Schools Launches Bus Tracking & Parent Communication App

This week, Manchester Public Schools (MPS) announced its partnership with transportation provider First Student. Through this partnership, MPS is launching FirstView, a bus tracking and parent communications app for your smartphone or desktop.


FirstView will allow parents and guardians to track where your child’s bus is in real-time. You can also create a ‘geo-fence’ so you will get an alert when the bus is within a certain distance of your child’s stop, and there’s a multi-stop view if you have multiple students on different buses. You can download the app by clicking here.

COVID-19 Updates & Upcoming Vaccine Clinics

The Town of East Hartford, with Griffin Hospital, will host pop-up a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic on Tuesday, December 20, 3PM-6PM at Raymond Library. Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J will be available for eligible residents 6 months +. No appointment, ID, or insurance required. There is no cost to getting the COVID-19 vaccination. The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.


For questions regarding pediatric COVID-19 vaccines, booster dose eligibility, or to schedule an appointment at an upcoming clinic, contact the East Hartford Health Department at (860) 291-7324. If transportation is needed to get to and from a clinic site, please contact the Health Department for assistance. 

For more information on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or to locate an appointment near you, click here or locate a DPH Mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic by clicking here. Those without access to the internet can call the Connecticut’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line, available seven days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM, at (877) 918-2224.


For East Hartford-based COVID-19 updates and resources, click here. And, for Manchester-based COVID-19 updates and resources, click here.

Join the Manchester Department of Leisure, Family, and Recreation on Saturday, December 17 from 9AM-11AM at Northwest Park for "Holiday in the Park" – an exciting drive through event! Bring your cameras, holiday spirit and singing voices! For more information, call (860) 647-3164.

Celebrate the beginning of winter by making fake snow at Manchester Public Library on Monday, December 19 from 10:30AM-11:15AM! They will have all the ingredients for children to make and play with fake snow. Registration is required and space is limited – call (860) 643-6892 to sign up. Best suited for children ages 2-5.

If you're looking for activities for your children during winter break – Little Bird Clay Co. will be offering an "Art Week" full of pottery and crafts Monday, December 26 through Friday, December 30 from 9AM-11AM. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday will be dedicated to pottery, while Wednesday and Thursday will be all about paint, paper craft, and collage!  


Best suited for kids and teens ages 10-17; pottery days only is $120, paper craft days only is $70 and the whole week is $160. Register by clicking here.

East Hartford Parks and Recreation is happy to announce the return of two former programs: Adult Open Basketball and Free Play Basketball! Adult Open Basketball is available to everyone 18+ on Mondays and Thursdays from 6:30PM-9:30PM at the Goodwin School Gymnasium. Drop-in rates are available for $2 for residents and $4 for non-residents, and season passes are available to residents for $20 and $40 for non-residents.


Free Play Basketball is available to middle and high school students in grades 7-12 on Mondays and Fridays from 6:30PM-8:45PM at the East Hartford Middle School Gymnasium. The program is free, but you must per-register here to participate.


Both programs are available now through March 9. For more information, call the Parks and Recreation office at (860) 291-7160.

Get ready to ring the new year at East Hartford Public Library with family friendly activities on Friday, December 30 at 11AM! Make hats, noise makers, and more -- and then count down to 2023 at noon. Best suited for families with children ages 3 – 12. Registration required; sign-up be clicking here.

The Town of East Hartford has announced the 30th running of the Annual Officer Brian A. Aselton Memorial Snow Dash 5K Road Race, sponsored by the East Hartford Parks and Recreation Department and the East Hartford Police Department will be held on Sunday, January 8 at 1:30PM. Proceeds benefit the East Hartford Police Department Child Safety and Crime Prevention Programs and the Officer Brian Aselton Scholarship Fund. 

Registration is open now - click here to sign up. Day of registration must be completed using the online RunSignUp, no paper registration forms. For more information, please contact Recreation Supervisor, Jonathan Cooper at (860) 291-7164.

My office is always open if you or your family are in need of assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact me by email at Jason.Rojas@cga.ct.gov or by phone at 860-240-8541.


Jason Rojas


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