This week has been been a busy one in the Connecticut General Assembly!
From from discussions and public hearings in the Appropriations and Judiciary committees, to debates on the floor of the House of Representatives, to celebrating the collaborative work of impactful legislation that will have a serious effect on peoples lives : My fellow legislators and I have been hard at work!
The term I believe best describes my feelings from this week is Teamwork, and I have included a quote that I believe best describes my feeling from this week:
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”- Helen Keller.
As a Soldier, life long Connecticut resident, and legislator I have learned that the best way to work toward effective change is to work collaboratively with each other.
And since I have had the honor of being your State Representative is has been such a warming and encouraging experience to see the different ways that our community works together to participate in our government.
Instead of tearing things down, I have seen us build each other up. Instead of criticizing our differences ,I have seen us celebrate what makes us special. And instead of ignorance and fear, I have seen residents who are thoughtful, hardworking, and engaged toward a brighter future.
As always, I write this message with our community foremost in my mind, and further in this newsletter I have included information on my military service, local events I have attended, policies I am supporting, and legislation I have helped pass through the House of Representatives.
I have been called to service with the U.S. Army to serve on a mission in Eastern Europe, and unfortunately I will be away from my office for the next few weeks.
However, my office and I are still committed to doing the peoples business.
While I am away on mission, should you need assistance or information, please contact the Constituent Engagement Coordinator with my team - Dawn Marzik - at 860-240-8584 or firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to assist you until I return.
“CONNECT & CUT” WITH SECRETARY OF THE STATE THOMAS
This week, I had the pleasure of attending the Secretary of the State’s “ConneCT & Cut” event at Vanity Studios in Stamford! Secretary of the State Thomas, Mayor Simmons, Sen. Miller, and Sen. Fazio were all in attendance.
Co-Owners of Vanity Studios Shaqueen Valentine and Danelle Aune were honored for being local business owners who are actively involved in the community. I also had the pleasure of meeting many other Stamford community activists as well.
I applaud our hard-working activists for promoting civic engagement and appreciate everything they do for our city. I hope to meet these local heroes again in the future!
BABY BONDS PROGRAM FUNDED
I applaud the commitment and creativity the governor’s office is making to fund the Baby Bonds Program. This first-of-its-kind statewide policy is designed to invest directly in Connecticut children born into poverty while simultaneously narrowing the generational and racial wealth gaps in our state.
Under the current law, $3,200 would be placed in a trust on behalf of each baby born into HUSKY, the state’s Medicaid program, starting July 1. Those investments would grow over time and recipients could access that money between the ages of 18-30.
The proposal also:
Reduces the overall cost of the program by over $200 million
Does not require borrowing
Does not affect the state budget
Repurposes unneeded reserves and replaces them with a relatively inexpensive insurance policy.
State Treasurer Erick Russell’s top priority since taking office has been finding a solution to fund the program. I thank him, former Treasurer Sean Wooden, and everyone in between for their tremendous teamwork to find a path to making the Baby Bonds Program a reality. This law will change the lives of countless families, especially in communities of color like Waterbury.
This legislation will bring us one step closer toward financial equality and facilitate the pursuit of the American dream for those who thought it was unattainable.
HOUSE PASSES IMPORTANT CLEAN SLATE UPDATES
The House of Representatives passed HB 6918 on Tuesday that makes important clarifying and technical changes to the groundbreaking Clean Slate legislation signed into law in 2021, which can now be fully implemented and deliver on the promise of a fresh start for hundreds of thousands of people in education, employment and housing without the burden of a long-past criminal conviction.
Business organizations and chambers of commerce have lined up behind Clean Slate legislation in Connecticut and throughout the country, recognizing it as an economic driver by enhancing someone's ability to be gainfully employed, start a business and secure housing.
Voting is a fundamental American right. Eligible voters in Connecticut should have the freedom to choose how they vote whether it’s in-person on Election Day, in-person for two weeks prior to Election Day, which just passed the House last week, or by absentee ballot without needing to provide an excuse.
Outdated technology and outstanding legal and policy questions required updating in order to automatically erase criminal records of people seven years after the date of their conviction for a misdemeanor or 10 years after the date of their conviction for certain felonies if they have not been convicted of other crimes.
No one's future should be limited because of mistakes made years or even decades ago.
HOUSE PASSES IMPORTANT CLEAN SLATE UPDATES
Sadly, wrong-way crashes and deaths have been on the rise in Connecticut. Studies have shown that wrong-way driving crashes are 100 times more likely to be fatal than other types of crashes.
The House of Representatives took action on Wednesday with the passage of HB 6746, which seeks to reduce incidents and minimize fatalities from wrong-way drivers.
HB 6746 requires the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) to expand its efforts to implement wrong-way driver countermeasures, including:
Wrong-way driving detection and notification systems on at least 120 high-risk highway exit ramps
Rumble strips on exit ramps that cause tactile vibration and audible rumbling when a driver goes the wrong way on these ramps
A public awareness campaign to educate the public on ways to reduce wrong-way driving incidents and the actions drivers should take when they encounter a wrong-way driver
The bill also requires that driver education programs give instruction on ways to reduce wrong-way driving incidents and the actions drivers should take when they encounter a wrong-way driver.
The number of people killed or injured on state roads is startling, especially because many of them were the result of preventable crashes. I am glad we passed this important legislation to help make our roads safer.
BILLS WE PASSED
Tuesday , May 16
Chambers of Commerce and business leaders cheered when we passed groundbreaking clean slate legislation…today we passed mainly technical issues to get this policy moving forward.
Attention consumers! Under 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.
The House just approved HB 6898, which 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.
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.