Getting to Work During Session

February 3, 2023


I hope this message finds you and yours well as we mark nearly one month into the new year. Session is underway, and I'm working hard to advance policies that support the people of our community.

If you have a question about where a bill is in the legislative process, please don't hesitate to reply to this email or reach out to me at

I am thrilled to share that The Derby Historical Society and the Valley Arts Council are receiving CT Humanities grant funding from the state. A warm congratulations and thank you to these historical and cultural organizations that help to enrich our community.

We paid tribute to the life of Rep. Quentin "Q" Williams as we returned to the chamber for the first time since his tragic loss.
My colleagues and I were in session for a variety of items, and took a moment to remember the life of Rep. Quentin Williams.

While in session, we voted to confirm a variety of Judicial and Executive Branch positions.

In addition, I proudly voted to support a new four-year contract for the Connecticut State Police, which offers improved wages, benefits, and working conditions. The contract will also help with trooper recruitment and retention, and amongst other provisions, boost the base pay for existing law enforcement professionals who are hired by State Police and attended the Connecticut Police Academy.


Each year, at around this time, I want to remind everyone that it is still early in the legislative process. You may be hearing about various bills and proposals in the press or by word of mouth. There are 151 State Representatives and 36 Senators in the CT Legislature, and each year thousands of bill concepts are introduced. However, only a few hundred ultimately pass. And in between is the legislative process where ideas are examined, committees host public hearings, and much discussion occurs as we consider the concepts sent to our respective committees.

There are multiple screenings, various votes, and a lot of hurdles to clear before a bill could possibly make it to a vote by the full House. While there are many ideas for bills, and there will be various ideas for the state budget, we intentionally take procedural steps to examine, hone, analyze, and debate these policies before crafting a final budget or voting on a final bill. This is all to say, just because a bill is proposed it does not mean it will pass. A lot of consensus building and advocacy must be done in between.

So if you hear of a bill, and it seems like it will be unpopular, it probably will be. If a concept concerns you but you don’t know much about the details, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m happy to send along the current working text. No bill is final until it is sent to the floor for a vote, and there is a healthy legislative process to filter and refine bills along the way.

Throughout this process, I will be scrutinizing proposals, listening to constituents, stakeholders, and subject matter experts, analyzing fiscal data, and advocating for common sense policies that support the people of our community.

Demolition on SHW Casting complex has begun.
We are all excited to see the long-awaited demolition start on the SHW site. This is state dollars at work and will make a huge difference for the economic redevelopment of Ansonia. Earlier this month, DEEP received a report of an oil sheen on the Naugatuck River. They responded to the scene and also noticed asbestos on the train tracks near the SHW demolition site. This became a dual event, and cleanup was done regarding both issues. I am thankful for the efficiency, professionalism, and efforts of the DEEP staff to protect our water and air.

For those on Facebook, you know I posted a detailed step-by-step outline of what occurred, the steps taken to rectify the situation, and protective measures put in place. You can read the full description by clicking the link below.

Another issue regarding this site, which residents raised concerns about, is air quality concerns related to the demolition. Please know that there is real time air monitoring happening on site, as well as daily peripheral monitoring at four locations around the site. DEEP has ordered the city of Ansonia to post these results, along with safety standards and plain-text explanations, for residents on their website.

For now, please know I am in touch with both DEEP and the Department of Public Health, who are both monitoring air quality test results. To date, all is within safe range—which is great—and there are professionals monitoring test results regularly to ensure that response is quick should something change.

My biggest concern is your health and safety, especially since the north end’s residents have some of the highest asthma rates in the state. The officials from DEEP asked me to stress that residents should not venture onto any part of the Ansonia Brass/Farrell/SHW site. While the building being demolished had asbestos removed, all of the other buildings across the Ansonia Brass/SHW complex have asbestos and PCB’s, which are dangerous to humans. For your health and safety, please stay off the site. Click here for more information.

Officials determined that a water pipe broke inside the building, which drove oil from the basement into the river.
Rent assistance is available for qualifying applicants. Call the UniteCT Call Center at 1-844-864-8328 to find out if you are eligible. If you are eligible, you can get help from a local UniteCT Resource Center where they will complete your application.
More Information
It's officially the start of tax season, and free tax filing services are available for anyone who makes less than $60,000.
Seniors across many parts of the U.S. are on the receiving end of a big savings on health care. Those enrolled in Medicare Part D, on the federal plan, will now be paying no more than $35 dollars per month on insulin. The savings went into effect on January first. The plan covers:
  • injectable insulin
  • inhaled insulin
  • disposable patch pumps
In our state, there has been a cap of $25 per month on insulin for those with state-regulated health insurance since January 1, 2022 -- a bill I proudly voted for to save diabetic residents money, regardless of age. We are proud of the work we did on the state level, and grateful for the effort on the national level to follow suit, regulating Medicare Part D and saving more of our residents' money on life-saving medication.
To diversify the insurance broker community in our state, Access Health CT has established the Broker Academy Program to create a pathway for newly licensed insurance brokers by recruiting from and building the skillset of those who live and work in underserved communities throughout Connecticut. 
The Broker Academy provides free training for selected students to become licensed brokers and covers the cost of their licensing exam. You can learn more by visiting the Broker Academy's website or by attending an upcoming virtual informational session. The next session is on Tuesday, February 7 from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM. Registration is required.
Click Here to Register
Applications for the program will open on Monday, February 27, 2023. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 31, 2023. Should you have questions or require additional information, email
Grant applications are now open for Women's Business Development Council's grant program. Click here to learn more and apply for this transformative Equity Match Grant program! The application deadline is February 28th.
Heating costs are extra tough this year, and navigating the options to bring your bill down can be confusing. There is a helpful information session being offered in Seymour to assist ratepayers in finding affordable options.
Register Here
In addition, the state is offering an extra $430 for those in need of winter energy assistance. This boosts the maximum potential aid any household could receive through the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) from $1,890 to $2,320. The extra funds will go to households that heat with deliverable fuels like home heating oil.

If you are interested in applying to get help through the winter, click here.

Additionally, you can also contact your community action agency for assistance:

30 Elizabeth Street, Derby, CT 06418
Phone: (203) 736-5420
You can also get more help by calling 2-1-1.


Thank you to everyone who came out for my monthly community conversations! Events were held at Copper City Bar & Grill in Ansonia as well as Valley Diner in Derby. I appreciate your thoughtful questions and feedback -- this is democracy in action, and I thank you for being directly involved.
I also have been hard at work with committee meetings, public hearings, stakeholder and subject matter expert meetings, research, coordination and discussion with colleagues, testimony, caucus meetings, and a large array of other legislative tasks to advance policy that works for you.  More updates, photos, and information about the legislative process will be coming weekly.  You can also watch us live on CT-N on your television or online.
A big shout out goes to the volunteers at the Walnut Hill Community Church in Derby. This dedicated bunch helped provide groceries to over a hundred families in the pouring rain!
There will be a free community meal presented by Master's Table Community Meals. You do not need a reservation to attend. Donations are accepted.
  • Park your car, stop inside to pickup your meal, and browse the giveaway table
  • Masks required
  • If you're unable to come inside, volunteer will get your meal
  • One meal per person

Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts and concerns you may have on or 1-800-842-8267. Follow my Facebook page for regular legislative updates.

All my Best,

Kara Rochelle
State Representative


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