State Capitol Update for the Week of March 27th

March 27, 2023


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Dear Friend,

This is my State Capitol update for the week of March 27th.

If you prefer to watch rather than read, click on the video below to hear about the issues contained in this newsletter.

This final week of the month is showcasing several kinds of March Madness.  The weather this weekend came in like a lion and went out like a lamb, with snow, sleet, hail, and rain on Saturday, followed by abundant sunshine on Sunday.  And there was plenty of basketball, with the UConn women sadly falling to Ohio State, while the men made it to the Final Four with a win over Gonzaga. (Several people have asked, given my Ohio upbringing, whether I was cheering for UConn or Ohio State.  For the record, the answer is definitely UConn.)

In Region 20 (the school formed through the merger of Litchfield and Region 6), we have “Mascot Madness” as they are choosing a new mascot by hosting a tournament style competition.  This weekend the “Elite 8” were competing to see which mascots would make it into the Final Four. I got the chance to discuss the competition with the Wamogo FFA students who came to the Capitol this week. All the remaining competitors are wild animals (no mythical creatures), most of which you can find in the woods of the Northwest Corner.  As I write this, the vote is taking place, but by the time you receive it, the results may be in, so check
here to see how it went.


The Wamogo FFA came to Capitol last week for Ag Day, a much beloved tradition returning after a pandemic hiatus.  All things grown and harvested in CT were on display, including a strong Northwest Corner presence.  I got to visit with both the Wamogo and Housatonic Valley Regional High School FFA students, which is always a pleasure.  They were all on their game, using the opportunity to advocate for agricultural education, Sharon Hospital, and bear management.  They were tremendous ambassadors for their program, their schools, and our community.

In the agricultural theme, I also attended the Canaan Valley Agricultural Coop meeting at Freund’s Farm this week, to hear about the current challenges facing agriculture in the region.  Thanks, as usual, to Theresa Freund for the fabulous food.

In addition to committee work, the week included a roundtable with early childhood educators, and an opportunity to congratulate the winners of the regional CT History Day competition at Torrington High School.  The enthusiasm and support the students shared with each other was truly amazing.

And we had our final Environment Committee meeting of the 2023 session.  Final meetings are often long and contentious, as they usually include the most difficult issues on the agenda, many of which are still works in progress at the time the vote takes place.  Nearly all of the bills had been heavily negotiated after their public hearing, with significant compromises made along the way.  One of those was HB 6664, the Governor’s proposal on waste management, which we passed with significant changes. 


We also voted on two bills of particular importance to the Northwest Corner.  The first,
SB 1148, concerned bear management.  Among other provisions, the bill bans intentional feeding, and creates an improved DEEP permit pathway for farmers to kill a bear (or other nuisance wildlife) that is devastating crops or livestock.  The bill originally contained a provision for a limited hunt, but that part was removed from the bill before the vote, so that was not part of the bill we passed (despite the fact that the title still includes a reference to “hunting”).  I voted for the bill, which passed, and am glad we have taken a significant step forward in reducing hostile interactions between bears and people. 


The other bill,
SB 1149 and last on our agenda, would have allowed hunting (not of bears) on Sundays.  That bill also underwent significant changes during the committee process, and the bill we voted on was limited to private property.  I heard from many of you, pro and con (but not particularly partisan), about this bill, and ultimately was persuaded that limiting it to private property made it something I could support.  I voted for the bill, but it did not garner enough votes to pass. 


I’m looking ahead to more work on budgetary issues, and to April, which brings with it a lot of town clean up events.  There’s one in this newsletter, and I’ll include the others as I get final information.

Here’s a list of today’s topics:

  • COVID-19 weekly update. Click here
  • Public Hearing Schedule for this week. Click here
  • Tick Bite Prevention week. Click here
  • 2023 Arts Workforce Initiative – apply for an internship. Click here
  • National Competitive EV Charging Discretionary Grant Program Now Open. Click here
  • Initiative to strengthen teacher recruitment and retention efforts. Click here
  • Update from CT Grown. Click here
  •  Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens Madness @the Park. Click here
  • Kent Town Clean up April 8-22 Click here
  • Get a breakfast sandwich from the Scouts on April 15. Click here

COVID-19 update

For graphs and tables containing data on COVID-19, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit and click the link that is labeled, “Data Tracker.”

Note that the federal government is making at home test kits available free of charge.  For more information,

Public Hearing schedule for March 27 – 31

Please remember that you only need to register if you wish to provide testimony. If you want to observe the hearings, you can tune in to watch the proceedings live on the committee’s YouTube channel.

You can register to testify and find more detail on this week’s public hearings, including the bills that will be heard, in this week’s CGA Bulletin. Access the Bulletin here:

Tick Bite Prevention week

Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months (April-September). Be proactive - practice effective tick bite prevention habits to prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Make these habits a part of your daily routine.

2023 Arts Workforce Initiative – apply for an internship

The Arts Workforce Initiative is currently accepting submissions from individuals who are interested in a summer apprenticeship with a non-profit arts organization. The apprenticeship period is June - August 2023. Apprentices work 25 hours a week for 10 weeks and are paid $15 an hour.

 The application deadline is March 30 at 12 PM EST.

 Since the inception of the Arts Workforce Initiative in 2017, the program has placed more than 100 Connecticut individuals interested in exploring a career in the arts, including college students, emerging creatives, formerly incarcerated individuals and military veterans in apprenticeships at non-profit arts organizations (host organizations).

 Host organizations provide apprentices with hands-on and engaging learning experiences in arts administration, visual arts, arts presenting/curating, media arts, performing arts, visual arts, arts education and literary arts.

 AWI participants have explored various job opportunities in the arts, developed new passions, enhanced their skill set, received professional development support and, for some, long-term employment.

Apply Here

Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge 2023

Ready for an outdoor adventure exploring #Connecticut State Parks & Forests?

Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) announces 2023 Sky's the Limit Hiking Challenge, inviting the public to go “In, Under, Over, & Through” our Connecticut State Parks & Forests.

National Competitive EV Charging Discretionary Grant Program Now Open

The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation has released the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program for FY 2022-2023.  

The CFI Grant Program was created from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), allocating $7.5 billion to support EV charging infrastructure in the United States. The national competitive grant program aims to deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging and alternative fueling infrastructure. A priority of the CFI Program is to bring EV charging to urban and rural communities, downtown areas, and local neighborhoods, particularly in communities that are historically underserved and disadvantaged, and to designated alternative fuel corridors. 

The CFI Program has two distinct funding categories:

·         The Community Program provides $1.25 billion to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure and hydrogen, propane, or natural gas fueling infrastructure. Infrastructure may be located on any public road or in other publicly accessible locations, such as parking facilities at public buildings, public schools, and public parks, or in publicly accessible parking facilities owned or managed by a private entity. 

·         The Corridor Program provides $1.25 billion to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors (AFCs). 

More information on the CFI Program can be found on 
CTDOT’s NEVI webpage.  

Applications are due through by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.  

To support the CFI Discretionary Grant Program, the Joint Office has published some new resources on Learn about key considerations from past DOE-funded projects on curbside EV charging, EV car share, EV charging for multifamily housing, and EV mobility hubs. 

Initiative to strengthen teacher recruitment and retention efforts

A new state initiative that aims to strengthen Connecticut’s efforts to recruit and retain a strong and diverse educator workforce through the reimagining of teacher evaluations and the modernizing of teacher certifications was announced last week. The initiative focuses on ensuring that teachers are evaluated on a fair and consistent basis, and that they receive the support they need to improve their skills and knowledge.


The Connecticut State Department of Education’s Educator Evaluation and Support (EES) Council, codified in 
Conn. Gen. Stat. 10-151b as the Performance Evaluation and Advisory Council, has worked collaboratively over the past 20 months to develop an educator evaluation system based on research, best practices, continuous improvement, and focused on educator practice and student growth.


Under this initiative, the EES Council will be proposing to the Connecticut State Board of Education a new educator evaluation and support system based on state or national performance standards, aligned with the goals of districts, and include feedback and support for educators informed by multiple measures of student learning, growth, and achievement. Districts will have the 2023-2024 school year to plan for implementation of the new Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation beginning in the 2024-2025 school year.


Currently, training is being developed for educators (teachers and administrators) who will be evaluated under the new guidelines, as well as for school and district leaders who will be evaluating teachers and administrators. Guidance is also being developed for district Professional Development and Evaluation Committees to ensure successful implementation of the new guidelines.


The Connecticut State Department of Education has also prioritized modernizing teacher certification to make it easier to become an educator while maintaining a high-quality educator workforce. The department, along with input from stakeholders, has identified short-term regulatory proposals to improve certification while Connecticut moves toward long-term solutions.


The Connecticut State Department of Education will convene a group of stakeholders to review and identify a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of the certification regulations. Like the EES Council, this group will be pivotal to the modernization of certification regulations.

Update from CT Grown

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, nearly $5 million in funds has been distributed in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to support emergency feeding programs, address food insecurity through the procurement of Connecticut Grown foods, and support programming that enables residents of all ages to have equitable access to locally grown foods. They were joined by partner members, Connecticut farmers, and state legislators.


More than $2.2 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act has been distributed to organizations committed to helping Connecticut families obtain access to Connecticut Grown food through established programs such as the Farmers Market Nutrition Program for WIC and senior participants, SNAP, and Full Shelves from EndHungerCT!. Funds were also used to launch the Connecticut Grown 4 Connecticut Kids Grant program, increasing the availability of local foods in child nutrition programs, implement hands-on techniques for nutrition and farm-to-school connections, sustain relationships with local farmers, and improve the health of children in the state.


An additional $2.7 million in funds through the USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) was disbursed to eight entities. Among these is Connecticut Foodshare for the purchase of Connecticut Grown food directly from Connecticut farmers, including small and socially underserved producers, to promote fresh, local farm product distribution. Jason Jakubowski, president and CEO of Connecticut Foodshare, used the funding to purchase Connecticut Grown food products directly from more than 70 Connecticut farmers, including 140,000 pounds of produce from Fair Weather Growers in Rocky Hill, since the start of the program in early 2022.


Efforts to continue supporting equitable access to locally grown foods continue to be bolstered through an additional $3.5 million in funding through LFPA and a more user-friendly Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program scheduled to roll out in July 2023 just in time for the summer farmers’ market season.


For more information on Connecticut Grown products, visit

 Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens Madness @the Park

Join the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens for Madness @the Park, a FREE family-friendly event celebrating college basketball's most exciting time of the year on Saturday, April 1.

In addition to viewing the final four teams in the double-header semi-finals starting at 5:30 pm that evening, there will be afternoon basketball contests for all ages and the park’s second annual chili cook-off.

Kent Town Clean up April 8-22

And get a breakfast sandwich from the Scouts on April 15

It is my honor to represent our district. I look forward to hearing from you about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any other topics you think I should know about. You can email me at or call me at (860)-240-8585. Thanks for reading, and I wish you a safe weekend.

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Maria Horn

State Representative


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