Local Updates and Weekly Happenings

June 2, 2023

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Hey Neighbors,

We are in the final 3 days in the legislative session and will be debating the budget today. Today until Wednesday, we are in session every day (usually late into the night). You can watch us live on CT-N here. 

This session has been jam-packed with many great discussions and important work. I’ve received many emails and surveys back from the community that have helped guide the work we do here every day. Thank you for staying engaged in the process and please continue to reach out if you’d like to share comments or concerns as we countdown toward the final day (Sine Die!) 

Below is an update on Bills we passed last week at the Capitol, information on important issues, and spotlights on events in the district. Below are some helpful links to click on to jump between sections.

The Bill Bulletin
Incentivizing Grocery Stores in Food Deserts
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed HB 6854: An Act Establishing the Office of the Food Access Advocate and Tax Incentives for Grocery Stores in Food Deserts on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 136-14. This bill creates the Office of the Food Access Advocate to provide for a centralized resource to address food insecurity in the state, and provides tax incentives for the location of grocery stores in food deserts.
You can click the video below to see me speak about the bill on the floor of the House.
State Representative Maryam Khan on HB 6854
Food insecurity has always been an issue in Connecticut, and the pandemic exacerbated the issue to a critical level. Our urban and rural communities - specifically those living in high poverty and with no access to transportation - have been impacted the most, leading to rising rates of health conditions.

A key aspect of this bill is providing tax incentives for opening grocery stores in food deserts. These incentives will revitalize communities in several ways:

  • Providing access to healthy foods
  • Creating new jobs
  • Stimulating economic growth in underserved communities
  • Quality of life improvement
  • Enhanced sense of community

I was thrilled to see this bill pass, and look forward to it becoming law.

Senior Center Funding
Big news! Connecticut has been awarded $10 million in state funding from the American Rescue Plan to upgrade and enhance our senior centers. Nine million dollars of this funding will be distributed to municipalities, which can use the funding to support upgrades at their local senior centers through:
  • Facility improvements, which can cover a variety of capital improvements, including air and HVAC systems, lighting, accessibility features, vehicle acquisition, maintenance, and repurposing.
  • Programming, which can include the acquisition of program registration software, web design renovation capability, extended senior center hours, special or focused entertainment or programming, while also encompassing expanded staff hours to support those programs, when applicable.

The remaining funds will be used by the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services to support its statewide senior center activities. Learn more about this exciting announcement here: tinyurl.com/56z2ym95

The remaining funds will be used by the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services to support its statewide senior center activities. Learn more about this exciting announcement here: tinyurl.com/56z2ym95
Funding for Our Intellectually, Developmentally Disabled Population
 We are delivering on key legislative priorities this session by addressing specific concerns affecting our Intellectually, Developmentally Disabled population, which has been lacking adequate funding and services for far too long.

HB 5001 is a comprehensive multi-year measure that expands vital services to these vulnerable individuals, so that their most basic needs are properly met. This new bill complements the children's mental health legislation that became law last year.
Key provisions in this wide-ranging bill, which reflect strong bipartisan efforts, include the reduction of waitlists and updating a decades old approach in serving this community.

In addition, this bill establishes a solid framework to address:
  • Housing Needs
  • Educational and Transitional Services
  • Transportation
  • Day Programming
  • Career and Job Coaching
  • Life Skills Training
  • Behavioral Services
  • Assistive Technology

It is my goal to continue working on finding solutions that not only bring a level of relief and peace of mind to guardians and family caregivers, but to the individuals who are developmentally challenged to help them reach their best potential.

Bills Passed Tuesday, May 30
  • SB 922: Under this bill,Connecticut higher education institutions can no longer withhold transcripts as a means to collect debt.
  • SB 1117: Expands protections for victims of human trafficking by prohibiting hotels, motels, and similar operators from offering discounts on many hourly rates.
  • SB 1018: Expands your ability to collect the small remaining cash balance of a gift card and it eliminates the requirement to provide the proof of purchase or a gift receipt.
  • SB 1017: The task force goal of SB 1017 is to ensure that our local emergency services and firefighter departments have enough personnel to keep our communities safe and protected.
  • SB 1102: Exciting news for healthcare! S.B. 1102 expands pharmacists’ roles to include ordering and administering COVID-19, HIV, and influenza tests, prescribing HIV-related prophylaxis, and administering epinephrine cartridges. Plus, mobile pharmacies are now allowed with DCP’s approval.
  • SB 1165: High schoolers should be financially literate. Educating students about managing money and debt can help them with a much brighter financial future.
  • SB 953: Modernizes Connecticut's racial profiling law to reflect the reality that often race is not the only motivation for detention, but a major contributing factor.
  • SB 1103: Data privacy is a high priority - SB 1103, establishes regulations and procedures for how state departments will regulate and use artificial intelligence and creates a working group to look at certain issues concerning AI.
Bills Passed Thursday, June 1
  • HB 6901: Connecticut is the fifth-highest student debt holder in the nation. HB 6901 establishes a program to reimburse some student loan payments for certain Connecticut residents and incentivizes them to stay in our state.
  • HB 6599: Intimate partner violence is a leading contributor to death during pregnancy. To help identify and circumvent tragedies, HB 6599 requires the distribution of educational materials to pregnant and postpartum patients on intimate partner violence in birthing hospitals and healthcare providers.
  • HB 6762: This bill includes provisions for early childhood education, special education, audits of state and local testing requirements, a Multilingual Learners Bill of Rights, and the establishment of task force to study and develop strategies to improve and promote civic engagement and instruction on civics, citizenship, media literacy and American government.
  • SB 913: The reality is some people witness traumatic incidents on the job. SB 913 expands coverage to make all employees eligible for workers' compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress injuries.
  • SB 1108: Students should not have to choose between their education and their reproductive health. That’s why S.B. 1108 requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the UConn Board of Trustees to establish a plan for providing reproductive health care services to students living on residential campuses.
  • SB 956: SB 956 Requires written hospital and nursing home discharge plans for patients, to include the date and location of each follow up medical appointment and a list of medications the patient is taking.
  • HB 6796: Expands on legislation we passed last year to prevent the theft of catalytic converters by allowing the sharing of information among law enforcement units in other states, creating a uniform approach to the sales and penalty for the theft of a catalytic converter and establishing a task force to further study how to deter these thefts
Bills Passed Friday, June 2
  • SB 869: Expanding career options for workforce advancement is one of our top priorities. SB 869 will direct the Office of Workforce Strategy to help identify additional career training opportunities and training providers through the Connecticut Career Accelerator Program.
  • SB 9: This is a multipronged healthcare bill. This measure addresses our state's response to the fentanyl and opioid abuse crisis, ensures access to reproductive healthcare, improves the overall health of Connecticut residents, grows and protects our health care workforce.
  • HB 1148: Human and bear interactions are growing more commonplace. HB 1148 ensures that you have the right to defend yourself and others from a bear. This law also prohibits the feeding of bears to reduce the number of bears approaching people.
  • HB 6397: This requires Connecticut state agencies to create a roadmap to decarbonize Connecticut’s economy and secure federal funding for this decarbonization effort.
  • SB 100:This bill provides funding for cities and towns to test for and remediate drinking water contaminated with PFAS. This will help the communities throughout Connecticut struggling to address well water with elevated levels of PFAS.
The Community Calendar
Monday, June 5, 5 - 7 pm - Caribbean American Heritage Celebration
Monday, June 5, 6:30 pm - Live Jazz at Parkville Market
Friday, June 9 at noon, Saturday, June 10 at 9 pm - Hartford Taste at Constitution Plaza
Wednesday, June 7, 10 am - 1 pm - CT DPH COVID-19 Mobile Vaccine Clinic
Thursday, June 8, 6 pm - Walking Tour of Future Community Park with Riverfront Recapture
Sunday, June 11, 1 pm - Friends of Northwest Park Annual Meeting
South Windsor
Saturday, June 10, 9 am - noon - Farmers Market
The District Diary
Community Health Fair
On Saturday, I attended the Community Health Fair at the New Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Hartford. I had some great conversations with my constituents on the importance of physical and mental health and wellbeing, and I loved seeing everyone turn out for this wonderful event!
Bonus Bytes
Community Investment Fund Webinar

This past week, I hosted a webinar with CIF Staff for info on the Community Investment Fund about grant information and how to qualify. If you missed the webinar, you can view a different informational session here. The next round of CIF application is due June 30 - if you have any questions or would like to schedule a 1:1 meeting with CIF staff, you can request to do so  here.

Help for Husky Health Customers
Access Health CT is working with HUSKY Health customers to ensure they avoid any coverage gaps after the passing of recent Medicaid Unwinding legislation. It is a term the federal government uses to describe the process of resuming the regular annual review of households for Medicaid eligibility after a three-year hiatus during COVID. The eligibility redetermination process resumed on April 1. The Medicaid Unwinding process will be taking place over a 12-month period.
If you remain eligible for HUSKY Health, you will likely be automatically reenrolled. Those who need to act will receive mail with instructions about the next steps. Connecticut residents who are no longer eligible for HUSKY Health may become eligible for other no-or low-cost health coverage available through AHCT. Other options include the Covered Connecticut Program, which provides no-cost coverage for eligible residents or a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) through AHCT, which is often available at a lower cost to residents if they qualify for subsidies. Those that need to choose a new health coverage option may enroll before the end of their Medicaid coverage to avoid a gap in coverage. Those folks will have 120 days to enroll after the loss of Medicaid coverage.

Click on the button above to get free online help. An Access Health customer service representative will answer your questions in real-time if you click on the “Live Chat” icon on the right side of the page. That service is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Residents may contact the call center at 1-855-805-4325, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Help is available in over 100 languages.

HUSKY Health customers are also invited to attend any of the following enrollment fairs in June.

  • Waterbury: Wednesday, June 14 at New Opportunities, Inc., located at 232 N. Elm Street, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Register here
  • Norwich: Thursday, June 15 at Otis Library, located at 261 Main Street, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Register here
  • Meriden: Saturday, June 24 at Augusta Curtis Cultural Center, located at 175 E. Main Street, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Register here 

Please utilize our state resources to ensure that you continue to get the health coverage you and your family deserve.

New Amtrak Trains from Connecticut to Penn Station
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and Amtrak are pleased to announce the addition of two Amtrak Northeast Regional trains originating on the Hartford Line beginning June 5, 2023. Amtrak Northeast Regional trains offer customers single-seat rides from Connecticut to New York City. With stops in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Stamford, these new Northeast Regional trains provide riders direct access to New York Penn Station. Riders can go from Hartford to Penn Station in less than three hours.
Amtrak Northeast Regional trains offer single-seat ride options from Hartford to New York Penn Station with intermediary stops in New Haven, Bridgeport, and Stamford. Customers can leave Hartford Union Station at 5:26 AM and arrive at New York Penn Station at 8:10 AM or leave Hartford at 8:35 AM and arrive in New York at 11:21 AM. Riders heading north can depart from New York at 6:59 PM and get into Hartford at 9:51 PM or leave New York by 8:50 PM and get into Hartford at 11:41 PM.

You can read more about the train service here.

If you have any issues, concerns, or feedback, I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact me at 860-240-8585 if you ever need anything or by email at maryam.khan@cga.ct.gov.


Maryam Khan


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