State Capitol Update for the Week of May 8th

May 8, 2023


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Dear Friend,

This is my State Capitol update for the week of May 8.

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

I spent most of the day on Sunday getting my vegetable garden up and running. I went to a couple of local garden centers and bought some new seeds, seedlings, compost, and tomato cages. As I started work in the garden itself, it struck me that it was a little like the budget and legislative process (bear with me – I dream about budget spreadsheets these days). The process is most satisfying when you start with a plan for the garden, plant seeds, feed and water them, thin out the seedlings, give them a structure to grow on, control the inputs you can (food and water), and keep an eye on the ones you can't (the weather). Sometimes you cut short the process and buy a fully grown plant rather than a seed, and you have to adjust your plan, but it can be costly.  And hopefully, you eventually reap various harvests.

It's just like the process of crafting a budget. Most pieces begin as barebones ideas that have public hearings, with lots of input from stakeholders. Only a subset make it through the committee process. Many are renegotiated along with changes in economic weather and political priorities. They have to fit within the structure of our state's fiscal constraints. And someone is always trying to drop a few big ideas at the end of the process, which weren't part of your plan: sometimes they are worth including anyway, regardless of their heritage, and sometimes they aren’t a good fit.  Many ideas get composted for reconsideration next year.   

Our fiscal weather has been good this year, but we want to make sure we're planning for the future and not depleting next year's soil, so we have to think of both the two-year budget cycle and the next ten years after that.  I'm optimistic that we'll have a good harvest this session, which will include significant tax cuts for CT residents if we continue to manage the process carefully. 


We're now having multiple session days in the week, so the newsletter includes summaries of various pieces of legislation passed in the House.  Eventually, we'll start seeing some legislation that has already been through the Senate, which will then be sent to the Governor for his signature. 

Here’s a list of today’s topics:

  • COVID-19 weekly update. Click here
  • The House of Representatives has passed early voting. Click here
  • Other bills passed in the House last week. Click here
  • May is Mental Health Awareness Month: "31 Days of Wellness Calendar". Click here
  • Events at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT. Click here

COVID-19 update

For graphs and tables containing data on COVID-19, including a list of cases in every municipality click the button below.

Connecticut COVID-19 Update

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

The House of Representatives has passed early voting

Connecticut voters asked the legislature for more voting options through a constitutional amendment on early voting that they overwhelmingly approved, and we are answering the call. 

Last week, the House of Representatives approved 
H.B. 5004, a measure that will allow early voting in our state beginning in 2024.

This legislation modernizes the state's elections and allows for more convenience and fairness in the process, reflecting the realities of hectic modern-day life.

Eligible voters will be able to cast their ballots in person ahead of Election Day for both regular and special elections, as well as primaries. 

One of only four states not allowing early in-person voting, Connecticut can make the change only since November’s passage of a constitutional amendment that struck a prohibition against expanding the days of voting. 


The legislation will take effect in 2024, allowing for four days of early voting in the Presidential Primary, and eventually 14 days of early voting in the general election in November 2024.

Other bills passed in the House last week

Last week the House was in session on May 3 and May 4 and passed a number of pieces of legislation that will now move onto the Senate.  They include:

 HB6689: Makes a career in health care a realistic option for more CT students. The Nursing and Mental Health Care Professionals Loan Subsidy Program will mean lower interest rates for students looking to go into health and mental health care.

 HB6819: Requires the DPH to provide a full list of international board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) in the state on their website and will establish a taskforce to study licensure.

 HB6587: This bill creates a task force to develop a plan that utilizes Medicaid funding to support health-related social needs like diaper insecurity, food insecurity, and housing instability. The task force will also seek federal approval for services, and report how the proposed coverage will impact current recommendations.

 HB6479: Contains a key provision to maximize federal funds designated for state and municipal climate change resiliency projects, including coastal resiliency projects.

 HB5575: A necessary measure to ensure the humane treatment of animals in municipal animal shelters. We set municipal regulations establishing guidelines that maintain the health and safety of both the animals and the individuals working in the facilities.

 HB6481: Prohibits the release of helium and lighter-than-air balloons, which are a hazard to wildlife and add to plastic pollution.

 HB6615: Repeals the statutes authorizing dog racing and dog tracks. This will make it illegal to race greyhounds in Connecticut.

 HB6569: Bans marriage under the age of 18.  

 HB6688: Improves protections for CT residents going through eviction, expands green subsidies to heat pumps and geothermal heating, improves CHFA subsidies for home ownership and affordable housing opportunities, and establishes a working group to find ways to increase financing opportunities for mobile manufactured homes.

 HB6752: Allows the CT Department of Banking to issue regulations regarding cryptocurrencies and protects CT residents from scams related to cryptocurrency kiosks.

 HB6831: Allows for 24-hour response for prescription drugs for certain mental health conditions.


May is Mental Health Awareness Month: "31 Days of Wellness Calendar"

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It has never been more important to recognize that mental health is an essential component to one’s overall health and wellbeing. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, please see the NW Caring Coalition's Connecting to Care, “31 Days of Wellness Calendar”. The wellness calendar reminds us to take a moment each day for our own health and wellness and to inspire others to do the same.


This calendar was developed by the Connecting to Care CT initiative with support from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant funding.

Events at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT

 Mothers’ Day Necklace Workshop

Saturday, May 13, 1:00pm 

In-Person Event


Many Native American societies are matrilineal, meaning that they trace their family lines through the mother. This is one of the many ways that Native American cultures showed respect for women. IAIS Educator Irene Norman (Mohawk descent) will help you create a handmade beaded necklace during this workshop to show your mother how much you appreciate her. You’ll have access to our vast supply of glass beads and pendants so that you can create something truly unique!


Please Note: This workshop is suited for participants ages 8 and up. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. 


Space is limited; Pre-Registration requested. 


Questions? Please call (860) 868-0518 or 


Register Here

Atlatl Workshop with Susan Scherf

In person event

Sunday, May 21




Did you know that before the bow and arrow many cultures throughout the world, including Native Americans, used atlatls to hunt? Such dart throwers enable hunters to throw the dart faster and farther than by hand alone. Under the guidance of IAIS Educator Susan Scherf, you will learn about the history of this technology, as well as the different designs of this ancient tool before making your own atlatl and dart. Following, you are invited to practice throwing with your atlatl in a just-for-fun competition. 


Please Note: This workshop is suited for participants ages 8 and up. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. All participants, or their parent/guardian, will be required to agree to a waiver prior to participation. 



Space is limited and pre-registration is required. 


Questions? Please call (860) 868-0518 or 


Register Here

May Virtual Book Club – Oracles: A Novel by Melissa Tantaquidgeon

Wednesday, May 31, 7:00pm

 Virtual Event 


Looking to expand your reading list and discuss a variety of issues and topics important to Native people? If so, please join our virtual book club, As They Speak: Native Voices in Today’s Literature. Based on a variety of topics and featuring a range of genres, all of the books we will be reading have been written by contemporary Native authors. 


This month, we will be reading and discussing Oracles: A Novel by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (Mohegan). In this futuristic novel from a local Indigenous author, the wilderness is disappearing due to human incursion and urbanization. The Yantuck Indians must find a way to preserve the environment that survives on their eastern United States reservation and yet participate in a global economy. Amid this uncertainty, protagonist Ashneon Quay struggles to find a balance between the traditional and the new and to identify a path that is right for her. Join the virtual conversation hosted by IAIS Staff on Zoom.  


In order to have a more intimate conversation, space is limited. This is a FREE event, but donations are appreciated. In order to create a welcoming environment for all participants, this event will NOT be recorded. 


Questions? Please call (860) 868-0518 or 


Register Here

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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