Currey-ently: Education Bill and Weekly Updates

February 3, 2023

Staying Current with Currey
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Friends and Neighbors, 

As I write and edit this edition of “Currey-ently…,” it is almost 5PM and we are halfway through the joint public hearing for one of House leadership’s priority bills, HB5003. This proposed bill that directly impacts and benefits our schools and our communities as well as an overwhelming majority of districts across the state. It comes with bipartisan support and will require an investment in our students, educators, and all those working towards a brighter future for our state. I’ve included some highlights below, but want to stress how important it is that we are all taking the opportunity to educate ourselves on what it means to take action, and possibly even more important, what it means if we don’t. The time is now.
Aside from the Education Committee, the capitol campus is buzzing again with a number of meetings and public hearings taking place on a myriad of issues ranging from kangaroos to condos and everything in between. To help you navigate the next four months, there are a number of ways to stay in the know: 

  • Read the Bulletin to find out when committees are meeting, how to provide public hearing testimony, and what bills they are focusing on.
  • Register for the CGA's Bill Tracking system to follow any bill as it moves through the legislative process. You will receive notifications when the bill's status changes.
  • For information on how to testify on a bill that is up for a public hearing, click here.
  • Access the CGA's Citizen's Guide for more on how you can become part of the process
  • Are you curious about how your tax dollars are spent? The State Comptroller's OpenConnecticut web portal allows residents to track state government spending in real time.

Stay warm this weekend and be sure to check in on your loved ones and neighbors. And if you come across someone who doesn’t have the means to warm their bones, familiarize yourself with where your local warming centers are located.


Jeff Currey
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, 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.

We continue to ask that our friends, family, and neighbors consider using all the tools within their reach to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 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 1,057,946 +2,432
All PCR/NAAT Tests 16,206,508 +27,361
Test Positivity (pos/all PCR/NAAT) -- 8.89%
Patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 414 -97
COVID-19-Associated Deaths 11,971 +30
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 Percent Positivity
Past 7 Days (NAAT) 
East Hartford 15,755 211 243,036 20%
Manchester  14,291 202 238,573 6%
Children ages 5 through 11 can now receive the updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the new boosters for this age group and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention approved the authorization last week. The updated boosters will be available from pediatricians, hospitals/health networks, DPH mobile clinics, and pharmacies. Residents can visit to locate a provider near them. 

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.

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.

I was proud to join my colleagues, advocates, and community leaders to call for support of HB 5003 ahead of its public hearing. This bill underscores House Democrat’s Leaders and the Education Committee's mission to ensure each child is represented fairly and has equal access to high-quality education regardless of their zip code.
Our students, their caregivers, educators, and support staff have faced huge challenges in recent times and are desperately aware of our public education system's need for funding and resources. I know this bill will provide much needed support to underfunded and under resourced districts so that students have access to the facilities they need, and educators have the provisions they require to provide the best learning environment for our students.
I had the opportunity to participate in the CONECT Summit on Sunday. CONECT, or "Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut" is a collective of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and civic organizations from New Haven and Fairfield Counties working together to take action on social and economic justice issues.
During Sunday's summit, I had the opportunity to speak with the collective about the Education Committee's plan for equitable education funding. Learn more about CONECT here. This is one of many coalitions and individuals who are actively working towards a Student Centered funding model.

Extreme cold weather is expected in the coming days across the state. It is important to be mindful that with it brings increased risks to ourselves and our communities. 

Temperature related health problems, such as frostbite and hypothermia, can take effect quickly and it is important to understand the symptoms. Keeping warm indoors is critical; if you are struggling with heating costs, or need advice on energy assistance programs, a number of resources are available here.

The Department of Public Heath's cold weather safety guide, and other information relating to winter safety and dealing with cold temperatures can be found here.

In response to the freezing temperatures, the Governor has activated Connecticut's Severe Cold Weather protocol. The protocol goes into effect at 12:00 PM on Thursday, February 2 and stays in effect until 12:00 PM on Sunday, February 5. The cold weather protocol aims to ensure that people who may be exposed to the cold weather have access to shelter for this time. Warming centers and shelters will be open across our state. If you or someone you know needs shelter, please call 2-1-1 to be directed to a nearby location and transportation if necessary. Click here for more information.

Other Useful Links:
CT Prepares: News and updates.
Eversource Storm Safety: Helpful safety tips
2-1-1 connects people to essential health and human services 24 hours a day, seven days a week online and over the phone.
CDC Natural Disasters and Severe Weather: Important information about preparing for and managing extreme weather. 
Winter has been mild so far, but as the season continues, it's essential to be prepared and know how to stay safe during extreme weather events. Stay warm and stay safe.

As always, please reach out to my office if you have questions or need assistance.

All town offices in East Hartford and state offices will be closed on Monday, February 13 in observance of Abraham Lincoln's Birthday, and reopen for regularly scheduled hours of operation on Tuesday, February 14. Curbside waste pickup schedule will remain unchanged. Weekly trash and recycling collection will occur based on your regular schedule.
All town offices in East Hartford and Manchester, and state offices, will be closed on Monday, February 20 in observance of George Washington's Birthday/ President's Day, and reopen for regularly scheduled hours of operation on Tuesday, February 21. Curbside waste pickup schedule will remain unchanged. Weekly trash and recycling collection will occur based on your regular schedule.
For more information, East Hartford residents can click here, and Manchester residents can click here.
The Town of East Hartford has been allocated funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). This program is intended to supplement and expand the ongoing work of the East Hartford Department of Health and Social Services to provide shelter, food, and supportive services to individuals and families who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, homelessness and/or hunger.
No individual, family or household may be charged a fee for service with relation to assistance received under EFSP. Examples of eligible services and expenditures may include:
  • Food purchases
  • Hotel/Motel (up to 90 days per phase)
  • Rent/Mortgage (up to 3 months or 90 days per phase)
  • Small equipment purchases up to $300 per item (e.g., microwave)
  • Utility Services (gas, electric, water) up to 3 months or 90 days per phase

Potential applicants may seek information about the program by contacting the East Hartford Department of Health and Social Services at (860) 291-7248.

This week, the Connecticut Department of Housing launched a new fund to assist renters who are on the verge of being evicted from their homes due to owing past due rent. Known as the "Eviction Prevention Fund," it will utilize funds from UniteCT and the Rent Bank to provide households up to $5,000 to pay off past due rent with current landlords.
To apply, tenants must call the UniteCT Call Center at +1 (844) 864-8328 and be screened for eligibility. Eligible applicants will receive direct assistance from a local UniteCT Resource Center, where they will complete the application. If a tenant requires but does not have legal representation, access to mediators at Quinnipiac University’s Center on Dispute Resolution will be provided.
More information can be found here.
A draft of Manchester Next, the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), will soon be available and the public is invited to an upcoming open house and presentation to learn all about it! During a community open house and presentation, members of the public can get familiar with the draft POCD and provide questions and feedback on the following dates:
  • Wednesday, February 15: Drop-in Hours from 12PM-7PM at WORK_SPACE (901 Main Street), presentation will begin at 7PM.
  • Thursday, February 16: Drop-in Hours from 8AM-4PM at Eastside Neighborhood Resource Center (153 Spruce Street).

The public draft will also be available for online viewing on February 15, and the Town will continue to accept comments on the draft plan through March 15. If you have questions or require additional information, click here, or reach out by email to or call (860) 647-3044. Please RSVP for the presentation using the email or phone number above.

Flu season is upon us and a yearly flu vaccine can help protect against serious illness. After getting the vaccine, it will take about two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies that can protect you from the flu. To get a flu shot, check with your healthcare provider or call your local health department. You can also visit to find a location near you that is administering flu shots. For more information, please click here.

Looking for help this tax season? The AARP Tax Aide Program will be available to residents beginning on Tuesday, February 7 and running through Friday, April 15 at the East Hartford Senior Center. Appointments can be made during Senior Center hours of operation, 8:30AM-4:30PM Monday through Friday. Call (860) 291-7460 to set up an appointment.
More information can be found here.
Assistance will also be available for elderly, persons with disabilities, and veterans needing guidance on available exemption programs. Representatives from the East Hartford Assessor's Office will be at the East Hartford Senior Center every Wednesday, 9AM-3:30PM to accommodate walk-ins and appointments for the senior, totally disabled and veteran program exemptions.
Please bring proof of income to include a filed 2022 tax return, if required to file, and the 1099 form from Social Security. For details regarding eligibility and documentation requirements, please visit the Assessor Exemption Programs webpage. And for more information on the available assistance program, click here.
Medicare open enrollment began on Saturday, October 15. This is an opportunity to review your coverage and find out if you could save money on insurance. 

Residents who are 65 years and older have until December 7, 2022 to review coverage, compare plans, enroll in a new plan, and potentially save money. Coverage will begin in 2023. Click the button below to learn more about the Open Enrollment process and get started.

Learn More Here
If you need assistance choosing a plan during open enrollment, please call 1-800-MEDICARE. You can also call Connecticut's Program for Health Insurance Assistance, Outreach, Information and Referral, Counseling, Eligibility Screening (CHOICES) at 1-800-994-9422.

If you are not eligible for Medicare but need insurance coverage, the Access Health CT (AHCT) Open Enrollment period will begin on November 1. If you have experienced a qualifying life event where you lost your health insurance coverage, you can start the enrollment process prior to November 1. Learn more about AHCT Open Enrollment and Special Enrollment periods here.

For additional state and local resources, click the links below:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced policy changes that will permit certain survivors of LGBTQ+ Veterans who were previously ineligible to receive survivors benefits. The decision will impact survivors who could not marry until the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015 and were therefore not married to their now-deceased Veterans spouses long enough to qualify for survivor benefits. Survivors can apply now to receive these benefits, which will be backdated to October 14, 2022. This is great news for survivors of Veterans across our state and country and will close a gap in survivor benefits. Additionally, in September 2021, the VA began providing benefits to veterans with OTH discharges due to their sexual orientation. 

During the 2021 legislative session, I proudly championed a law that expands the definition of veteran to include those separated from military service with an "other than honorable" discharge under the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. This law ensures more veterans can obtain the benefits they've earned serving our country.

Nearly two months after being signed into law, the federal Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act has profoundly impacted veterans' access to health care and benefits. Since the PACT Act was signed in August, veterans have filed more than 200,000 total claims. The law represents the most significant health care and benefits expansion for veterans exposed to toxins in more than 30 years.

The law extends eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras. It adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures, and requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a toxic exposure assessment to every veteran enrolled in VA health care. 

If you're a veteran or survivor, you can file claims now to apply for benefits under the PACT Act. You can learn more here.


The East Hartford Public Library has collaborated with United Way to offer free tax preparation services for families with a household income of up to $55,000. Beginning Sunday, February 5, IRS-certified VITA volunteers will be at Raymond Library on Sundays from 1PM-4:30AM through April 2. Registration is required, dial 2-1-1 to set up an appointment.

Join the East Hartford Police Department for a cup of coffee and conversation on Tuesday, February 14 from 8AM-9AM at Dunkin' on Main Street. This is a great opportunity to get to know our local officers, ask questions, and share concerns. Get more information by clicking here.

Create a one-of-a-kind friendship zine to mail to a gal pal in celebration of Galentine’s Day with the East Hartford Public Library on Wednesday, February 15 at 6:30PM. This program is for teens and adults – learn more and register by clicking here.

Mayor Mike invites you to attend the second annual Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, February 16 at 6:30PM in the Auditorium of the Community Cultural Center (50 Chapman Place). Remote access to the meeting will be available here. More info can be found here.

The Manchester Recreation Division will hold a CPR & AED training on Tuesday, February 7 at 6PM-8PM at the Community Y Recreation Center (78 North Main Street). Please note that this is a non-certification class, and it will not meet typical job requirements. Register online by clicking here.

Celebrate WORK_SPACE's with music, refreshments, and a gallery opening of "Blank Canvas: Sunrise Sunset" on Friday, February 10 at 5:30PM. Manchester art teachers have integrated the Blank Canvas challenge into their curriculums, and they anticipate having more than 100 community members participate!

After another successful summer season, the Spruce Street Farmers Market will be headed indoors! Join the market at its Love Your Local Market on Saturday, February 11, 9AM-1PM held indoors at the Nathan Hale Activity Center at 160 Spruce Street.

Join the group Blooming into Greatness at Manchester Public Library on Saturday, February 18 at 10:30AM for an awesome dance performance, followed by an interactive portion. Recommended for ages 6+. For more info click here.

Celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day in East Hartford at Raymond Library tomorrow, February 4 with one of these special programs:
  • Read to the Dogs: from 11AM-12PM, the Bright and Beautiful therapy dogs will be in the children's program room for their monthly program. Registration is required for a 15-minute time slot – best suited for kids ages 5+ who can read independently.
  • Puppetry for All: from 11AM-1PM, puppeteer and librarian Rolande Duprey will be in the Makerspace on the second floor for an opportunity to play with a variety of puppets. Suitable for all ages – register for a reminder here.
Celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day in Manchester at Cheney Library tomorrow, February 4 and enjoy special programming at 10:30AM. Enjoy an exciting, family-oriented program of African drumming and dancing by Jocelyn Pleasant & the Lost Tribe. This interactive, multimedia performance takes the audience on a journey to West Africa and the African Diaspora through music, song, and dance.

This week, Governor Ned Lamont announced the launch of CONNEX™ Connecticut, a free online platform that provides one-stop access for manufacturers in the state to connect with each other, find local suppliers, discover new business opportunities, and manage their supply chains.
To access the portal, visit Manufacturers that create an account prior to March 31, 2023, should use the promo code CTFF while registering to receive free, permanent national network access. For Connecticut's manufacturers – this is your way to find, be found, connect and contract directly with each other!
The East Hartford Parks and Recreation Department is now accepting applications for Summer 2023 employment opportunities. Available positions include seasonal lifeguards, camp counselors and park rangers. The Parks and Recreation Department estimates a need to hire 30-40 new employees this year to work at various camp sites, pools, parks, and facilities throughout town. 
Those interested in applying for seasonal positions are encouraged to do so as early as possible – apply now by clicking here. For more information on our employment opportunities, please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (860) 291-7160. 
The CT Office of the Arts (COA) will host a virtual information session on Tuesday, February 7 at 6:30PM. Emerging creatives, college students, formerly incarcerated individuals and/or military veterans who are interested in exploring a career in the arts are encouraged to apply for a summer apprenticeship. And non-profit arts organizations are encouraged to apply to host a summer apprentice.
Sign-up here to receive information and the Zoom registration link for the Arts Workforce Initiative 2023 Info Session, which will take place on February 7th. If you're unable to attend live, you will receive the Zoom recording.
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.

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 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 this session here.

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