Educators Bill, Memorial Day, and more

May 26, 2023

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Dear Neighbor,

Happy Friday! It's hard to believe that it is already Memorial Day weekend and summer is just around the corner. What this also means is that there is only a week and a half remaining in this legislative session. We got a lot of important work done this week and there is still a lot remaining (along with many very late nights). Things are moving very quickly now so please don't hesitate to reach out about any policies you've been tracking.

Memorial Day Events
Monday is Memorial Day. In memory of many, and in honor of all, thank you. Your bravery and service will never be forgotten. I always appreciate this weekend and the festivities that go along with it, as an opportunity to pause and reflect on those who sacrificed their lives in order to protect and preserve our nation and our democracy. Every year, I treat this day as an opportunity to recenter my focus toward living an intentional life both as an individual and as a public servant to be worthy of those sacrifices so many have made. I hope you all have a safe and meaningful Memorial Day.

There are a lot of exciting events in Fairfield this weekend to celebrate Memorial Day, including a sea service memorial, a pancake breakfast, and of course, the (best in the state) Memorial Day parade.
For a full list of events, click here.
Gun Violence Bill
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed HB 6667, the most comprehensive update to Connecticut's gun violence statutes since the historic reforms we passed after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
While Connecticut remains one of the safest states in the nation because of our previous legislative action, it does not make us immune to the continuing epidemic of gun violence. HB 6667 is step toward making Connecticut even safer.
We have seen states around the nation recklessly retreat from sensible gun regulations, but Connecticut continues to lead and stand strong in the push to make our communities safer. I want to thank Gov. Ned Lamont for his leadership on this bill in addition to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Judiciary Committee for their work on it.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

Educators and Para-Educators Bill
This week the House passed HB 6880: An Act Concerning Teachers and Paraeducators. This bill makes vital revisions to our education laws that support parents, teachers, families and most importantly, our students.
Among other things, this bill:
  • Requires play-based learning in pre-K and kindergarten and allows it in grades 1 through 5.
  • Expands the Teacher Advisory Council to give teachers more representation.
  • Creates more professional development opportunities for paraeducators, gives paraeducators a say in what opportunities are offered, and allows paraeducators greater involvement in the PPT process.
  • Addresses certain teacher shortage areas by extending the special education endorsement for grades 1-12 to pre-K and kindergarten and allowing superintendents to permit a teacher certified for grades 1-6 to teach an additional year of kindergarten.
  • Overhauls our teacher evaluation process to address the whole teacher and whole student, no longer reducing teachers to a summative rating system.
As Vice Chair of the Education Committee, this bill's passage was a top priority for me this session. I want to thank House Chair Jeff Currey for his passion and collaboration on this bill, and I look forward to seeing it become law.
Vision Zero Council Bill
HB 5917: An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Vision Zero Council has passed through the House of Representatives. This bill includes several measures aimed at enhancing traffic safety and lowering the number of deadly accidents.

Automated traffic enforcement is a vital component of the bill, and has proven to be an effective way to reduce fatal traffic accidents. Under this bill, municipalities may install speed cameras and red-light cameras in school zones, pedestrian safety zones, and other state-approved locations with a history of crashes.

Fines for violations captured by these cameras have a maximum of $50 for the first violation and $75 for the second, with a $15 processing fee. It's important to note that revenue from these fines must be used to improve traffic safety. Additionally, speed cameras cannot ticket drivers unless they were driving at least 10 mph over the speed limit.

To ensure accuracy, camera images must be reviewed by a municipal employee or police officer and approved before tickets can be issued. Furthermore, this bill allows prosecutors to require individuals who contest traffic violations to attend driving safety courses as a condition for resolving the contested ticket.
Finally, this bill requires drivers to watch a video on current traffic laws and safe driving practices when transferring a license from another area before every license renewal.

Other Bills That Passed
We passed some important legislation this week. Here's a quick recap:

HB 6755: Advanced manufacturing is our future – H.B. 6755 establishes a working group to develop a plan for an advanced manufacturing technology center in the state, and to maximize the economic, educational and workforce benefits provided to the state.

HB 5441: HB 5441 is a bipartisan effort that improves the state’s workforce pipeline, including the extension of the existing teacher loan subsidy program for teachers in Alliance Districts, to paraeducators and school counselors.

HB 6486: The House took another step towards sustainability with the passage of H.B. 6486. This bill establishes a state-wide stewardship program for discarded tires and ensures access to tire collection while promoting recycling efforts and holding producers accountable.

HB 5628: Hydropower is a clean and renewable energy alternative that our state could potentially utilize. That’s why we passed HB 5628.

HB 6768: We’re taking another step to protect reproductive rights in our state by ensuring access to emergency contraceptives at pharmacies. HB 6768 will give pharmacists the ability to prescribe medications and medical devices to patients. It also protects pharmacies from prosecution from states whose laws do not allow such activity.

New DSS Landing Page
The Department of Social Services is excited to announce its new one-stop-shop landing webpage, which streamlines your access to critical resources and care!
If you click here after 3:30 pm on Friday, May 26, you can explore the new – easy to navigate – portal, which can redirect you to a corresponding care page, provide self-service access to required forms, and answer your outstanding questions in our updated FAQs section.

DSS remains committed to increasing accessibility to resources and is excited to offer this new user-friendly portal as the first step to making many more necessary updates to their website.

Green Tip of the Week
The Fairfield Public School Green Team's Tip of the Week is to not idle in your car. Idling is when engines are left on while the vehicle is parked. While it may seem harmless, this practice is more dangerous than you might think; a single minute of idling produces more carbon monoxide than three packs of cigarettes.
It's small practices like these that end up making a big difference in our community. So if you can, please turn off your engine!
Visits at the Capitol
It was great seeing students from Fairfield Ludlowe HS at the Capitol fighting for the causes they believe in!
I'm committed to ensuring your voice is heard. Please don't hesitate to call my office at (860) 240-8585 or email me if there's anything I can do for you. Be sure to follow @LeeperForFairfield on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on everything I'm doing at the Capitol.


Jennifer Leeper
State Representative


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