State Capitol Update for the Week of May 15

May 19, 2023

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Dear Friend,

This is my State Capitol update for the week of May 15.

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

Last week I used my vegetable garden as a metaphor for the budget process. Although I haven’t had a chance to inspect yet (I’ve been in Hartford all week) my husband tells me that the frost Wednesday night this week was not kind to my seedlings.  I guess that’s a reminder about resilience: sometimes the best laid plans get whacked, and you have to dig back in with new ideas or better arguments for the old ones.  Happily, the budget negotiations have not hit a hard frost (yet – fingers crossed) and I remain hopeful that we’ll have a set of numbers we all agree on soon. 

Ever hopeful, farmer’s markets around the region are re-opening this week, and Sunday kicks off EMS week, which is a great opportunity to express support for the volunteer ambulance squads throughout the 64th District, who care for their neighbors when we need them most.  Thank you to everyone in the district who serves and supports our EMS crews!

Amidst the many days we are now in session, I had the opportunity to attend an event honoring my predecessor, Roberta Willis, who was honored by the New England Board of Higher Education for her many impactful years of service to students throughout Connecticut when she was in the legislature and chaired the Higher Education Committee.

Yesterday I had the great privilege of introducing two Kent School students from Ukraine to my colleagues on the House floor.  Lisa Popova and Diana Mirenkova came to the Capitol, accompanied by their teachers Mike Benjamin, Olivia Gogola, and Tim Booth, and had the opportunity to share both their deep knowledge of Ukrainian history and their personal experiences of living through the trauma of war on a community they love.  My colleagues were so grateful for the chance to hear from them.
Table of contents:
  • COVID-19 weekly update. Click here
  • Recent bills passed. Click here
  • Eversource, UI File Reduced Rates for Electricity with PURA. Click here
  • Connecticut receives credit rating upgrade from Kroll. Click here
  • $9 million in state grants for recreational trails. Click here
  • Passport to Wine Country 2023 program begins. Click here
  • CT Open House Day on June 10. Click here
  • Plant Sale at Judy Black Memorial Park & Gardens on May 20. Click here
  • Trade Secrets, benefiting Project Sage on May 20 and 21. Click here
  • Narcan Training on June 1 Click here
  • Planting in Housatonic Meadows State Park on June 2: Volunteers needed! Click here.
  • Kent Singers conclude 50th Anniversary Season on June 11. 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,
Recent bills passed
The House is in full swing, with two session days last week and three this week.  Here’s a sample of some of the bills that we passed:

HB 6642: Schools need help keeping kids safe and navigating federal Title IX

HB6638: Modernizes and improves consistency in CT's discrimination statutes.

HB 6877: Strengthens the process and execution of risk protection orders (RPOs) to keep weapons out of the hands of those at imminent risk of injuring themselves or someone else.

HB 6614: Gas stations that offer cash discounts should offer the same discount if you pay with a debit card.     

HB 6699: Unregulated high-THC products have been legally sold in CT outside of our strict cannabis marketplace. This practice will end under new legislation approved by the House.

HB 6918: Chambers of Commerce and business leaders cheered when we passed groundbreaking clean slate legislation. We passed mainly technical issues to get this policy moving forward.

HB 6872: Ensures election officials and presidential electors do their duty as prescribed by law.

HB 6775: Expands protections for seniors by increasing the number of mandated reporters for suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or when a senior needs protective services.

  HB 6892: Putting teeth in municipal blight laws to increase the tools towns have to deal with abandoned, blighted and unsafe properties.

HB 6077: establishes a process to add additional statues outside the Capitol that reflect the diversity, character, and accomplishments of the state.

HB 6561: Protecting our children is the most important part of youth athletic competition. HB 6561 creates a task force that will study safety measures for all sports.

H.B. 5902: Establishes standards that restaurants must follow to ensure customers alert staff about their allergies. The bill will also require informational posters to be displayed in restaurants to ensure increased safety and awareness.

HB 6746: sadly, wrong-way crashes and deaths have been on the rise in our state. Today, we took action to help reduce incidents and minimize fatalities.

HB 5314: Businesses will no longer be able to charge your credit card, debit card, or third-party payment account without your consent for automatic renewal or continuous services.

H.B. 6820: Protects Connecticut providers performing safe and legal reproductive health care services to those who need it.

HB 6898: Requires the Attorney General’s Office to submit a report on the settlement agreement with Juul Labs. In April, Juul Labs agreed to a $462 million settlement between six states, including Connecticut, for their role in marketing addictive nicotine products to teens.     

HB 6677: Families who are tasked with taking care of loved ones need a lifeline. HB 6677 will require the Department of Social Services to develop a plan that will increase the number of residents eligible to receive adult day services.

HB6823: Putting elections in the hands of the Constitutional office that manages elections makes sense. This bill designates the Secretary of the State as the state official responsible for certifying presidential electors.

HB6891: A small but mighty change for taxpayers to allow charge card, debit card or electronic payment of municipal taxes or penalties.

HJ No. 34: From 1647 to 1697, several individuals in Connecticut, primarily women, were hanged for suspicions of witchcraft. Similar to the Salem trials, the accusations against the victims were often unfounded and based in misogyny.   With House Joint Resolution 34, we recognize the trauma caused by the witchcraft trials in the CT colonial courts and absolve those accused and convicted of "witchcraft" and "familiarities with the devil."

HJ No. 1: CT's restrictive voting system is codified in the state constitution. Today's vote is to get a resolution to amend the constitution to allow no-excuse absentee ballots on the ballot in 2024.

HB6672: Endometriosis is an under-studied disease impacting 1-in-10 women in CT.  The House passed HB6672 to create the Endometriosis Data and Biorepository Program and associated endometriosis research lab.

HB6590: This bill makes it easier for families to get access to the childcare they need.

Eversource, UI File Reduced Rates for Electricity with PURA
Eversource and United Illuminating (UI), Connecticut's two electric distribution companies (EDCs), have filed new and lower standard service rates for residential customers from July 1 through December 31 with the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), and the average bills are expected to decrease significantly from current levels.
Eversource and UI file to change rates twice annually, with the rates going into effect on January 1 and July 1 of each year. The cost of natural gas, which provides the fuel for most of the heat and electricity across Connecticut and New England, is subject to continued market volatility and international factors like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a result, present bills were pushed as much as $80 higher on average since the beginning of 2023 and running through June 30.
While dropping electricity rates is positive news, PURA also recently took a significant step toward additional accountability for Eversource and UI by implementing performance-based regulation (PBR) starting in 2024. Connecticut is one of the first states in the country to establish such a system, which was part of the “Take Back Our Grid Act” we passed in October 2020.
PBR has the potential to align regulatory tools since there are certain goals Eversource and UI will be expected to achieve, including fulfillment of public policies, empowering customers, and providing reasonable, equitable and affordable rates as opposed to roller coaster increases and decreases.
Connecticut’s implementation of PBR signals a commitment to dually improving utility performance and customer outcomes. It is not an attempt to hurt the utilities. PBR will show residents, however, that the utilities will keep their best interests in mind within a specific operating framework.
Connecticut receives credit rating upgrade from Kroll
Connecticut has received notification from Kroll Bond Rating Agency that the credit rating agency is upgrading the State of Connecticut’s General Obligation bond credit rating from AA (stable) to AA+ (stable), one step below the highest credit rating possible.
This credit rating upgrade follows 
an upgrade by S&P in 2022 and four additional upgrades in 2021 by all four of the major credit rating agencies, including Moody’sS&PFitch, and Kroll. Prior to Governor Lamont taking office, Connecticut had not experienced an upgrade in its credit rating since February 2001.
During the week of May 29, 2023, the Office of the Treasurer plans to offer $700 million of General Obligation Bonds in three series: $100 million 2023 Series A tax-exempt bonds and $350 million 2023 Series A taxable bonds to fund new projects (grants to municipalities and nonprofits, housing projects, economic development, Small Business Boost Fund, school security, brownfields, Town Aid Road, state parks), plus approximately $250 million of 2023 Series B refunding bonds to refinance previously issued bonds to lower interest rates and capture debt service savings. For more information on the State of Connecticut’s bonding programs, visit
$9 million in state grants for recreational trails
Approximately $9 million in state grants are being released through the Connecticut Recreational Trails Program to plan, build, expand, and improve a total of 50 multi-use trails across Connecticut.
The program is administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Funding for this grant round was allocated by the State Bond Commission in July 2022. Governor Lamont serves as chairman of the commission.
DEEP has seen demand for outdoor recreation increase dramatically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Annual visits to locations in the
Connecticut State Parks and Forests system reached an estimated 17 million in 2022 – a 75% increase from pre-pandemic visitation levels of between 9 and 10 million in 2019. Additionally, the economic value of hiking, climbing, and tent camping increased by 50% from 2019 to 2021. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the value of outdoor recreation in 2021 contributed nearly $4 billion to the state and supported more than 40,000 jobs.
The grant money can be allocated for a wide variety of purposes, including planning, design, land acquisition, construction, construction administration, and publications for bikeways, walkways, and greenways, as well as for equipment and trail amenities, such as parking lots, toilet buildings, signs, and benches.
Connecticut Greenways Council assisted DEEP with the competitive grant selection process. Funding for program administration of 5%, pursuant to state statutes, is also included in the grants. DEEP anticipates most of the awarded projects being completed by 2026.
Included among the projects funded are:
  • $399,725 to the Town of Norfolk for planning and construction of a new section of the North Brook Trail; and
  • $396,100 to the City of Torrington for planning and construction the Red Mountain Trail.
Passport to Wine Country 2023 program begins
CT Farm Wine Development Council announced the start of the 2023 Wineries passport program on Friday, May 12.  The program runs through December 31, 2023. 45 wineries participate in this program, including three in the Northwest Corner:
CT Open House Day on June 10
Connecticut Open House Day, now in its 19th year, is an annual event held on the second Saturday of June. The purpose of the event is to inspire Connecticut residents to learn about all the experiences in their own backyard, anticipating that this will convert them into ambassadors who will recommend these experiences to other visitors.
Register your farm, business, or cultural institution for CT Open House Day by May 27th – it helps promote tourism in the state. Venues will be organized by county.
  1. Link for registration
  2. Eligibility requirements
Plant Sale at Judy Black Memorial Park & Gardens on May 20

The plant sale is happening THIS SATURDAY, and offers a variety of perennials, annuals, flowers, veggie and herb plants from Meadowbrook Gardens. Stock up on plants to start (or add to!) your own home garden.

Several community organizations, including the Washington Sustainability Committee, Washington Montessori Middle School Green Team and Steep Rock Association’s Judea Garden director, will also be on site to share about various green and philanthropic initiatives they are involved in.

Linda Morse from the Gunn Memorial Library will host a children’s activity of making seedling planter cups out of newspaper from 10 am to noon.

Trade Secrets, benefiting Project Sage on May 20and 21

Garden Tours & Community Events - Saturday, May 20th, 2023

Trade Secrets Rare Plants and Garden Antiques Sale - Sunday, May 21st, 2023

Purchase Tickets
Narcan Training on June 1
NARCAN Training is being offered free of charge in Torrington in collaboration with Greater Litchfield County Young Dems
  • Date: June 1
  • Time: 6:00pm-7:00pm
  • Address: Torrington City Hall, 140 Main St., Torrington, CT 06790
  • Registration Link
  • Contact: Abby Wood, Western CT Coalition, 203-743-7741,
Planting in Housatonic Meadows State Park on June 2: Volunteers needed!
The incredible group of volunteers that has fought for the restoration of Housatonic Meadows State Park will be planting in the park starting on June 2, and they are looking for additional volunteers. 
Friday, June 2, 9-12, 1-4.
Saturday, June 3, 9-12, 1-4.
Sunday, June 4 (raindate), 9-12, 1-4.
Please RSVP/sign-up or contact
Work entails: cutting flats into smaller plugs, and following hole diggers and dropping in plants. Volunteers need to bring gloves, trowel, hat, sunscreen; and a bucket would help.
Plantings include rain gardens with Monkey Flower, Fairy Candles, Joe Pye Weed, Native Goldenrod, New England Aster, Zizia, Golden Alexander, Strawberry, Mt. Mint, and Echinacea
Kent Singers conclude 50th Anniversary Season on June 11
The Kent Singers will conclude their 50th Anniversary Season with Schubert's little-known Mass in E Flat Major, along with Haydn's better known Te Deum, on Sunday, June 11 at 3 pm at St. John's Church in New Milford, CT. The concert will be conducted by music director James Knox Sutterfield and will feature professional soloists and orchestra. 
Concert tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, available here: 
Tickets – The Kent Singers.
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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