Legislative & Local Updates - August 28

August 29, 2023


School starts this week all around the 57th District. East Windsor started today, and Ellington and Vernon start Thursday. Best wishes to all the students and staff as they start the 2023-2024 school year!

Below, you'll find some important information if you run a business and do not currently offer a retirement plan to your employees. 

You'll also find extended deadlines for farmland restoration flood response grants, and the comment period has been extended for the DEEP Sustainable, Transparent, and Efficient Practices for Solar Siting (STEPS) Initiative and the Shared Clean Energy Facility (SCEF) Program. 

The CT Department of Transportation is asking you to squash the spotted lanternfly if you see it, to reduce the spread into the state. The invasive pest is known to "hitch-hike" on vehicles entering the state. The pest threatens our state's trees and crops. 

Don't forget - the CT Summer at the Museum program ends on Labor Day. If you have children under the age of 18, I hope you've been able to utilize this popular program this summer. 

I hope you have a great week and a great Labor Day Weekend!



As children head back to school, here are some safety tips for motorists, courtesy of the CT Department of Motor Vehicles:

  • Slow down. Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones.
  • Be alert for kiddos walking or biking to and from school.
  • Give yourself a little extra time when heading out for your morning or afternoon commute.

Below is more important information from the National Safety Council:





Have you been meaning to take advantage of the free admission to many of Connecticut's museums this summer? Now through Monday, September 4 is your last chance! 

We included funding for this program in the recent budget and the program has been very popular with Connecticut families. 

Children ages 18 and under - plus one accompanying adult - can receive free admission to any of the participating museums. Learn more HERE




The deadline of August 31 is quickly approaching for Connecticut employers to register or opt out of the state-run MyCTSavings retirement plan for their employees. 

If an employer has five or more employees, it's required that they join the plan if:

  • It employed five or more employees in Connecticut on October 1 of the previous calendar year, and;
  • It paid at least five employees $5,000 or more in taxable wages in the previous calendar year, and;
  • It does not currently provide a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement savings plan

Employers who are exempt from MyCTSavings include:

  • Those who currently provide a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement savings plan
  • Those who were not in existence at all times during the current and preceding calendar years
  • Those employing only individuals whose services are excluded under the unemployment compensation law

For more information, visit myctsavings.com 




We worked hard to pass a budget that focuses on affordable education. This legislative session, under Public Act 23-204, we expanded the debt-free community college program to incorporate subsidies for returning students. Additionally, under Public Act 23-204, we established a student loan forgiveness program that offers up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness for individuals who meet certain criteria and volunteer at a local non-profit. 



August 26 was Women's Equality Day, a special occasion to commemorate the certification of the 19th Amendment, which famously gave women the right to vote. However, it must be acknowledged that the women's suffrage movement failed women of color. It took many more years before minority women could vote. 

While have made significant progress over the years, there is still work to be done. Women continue to face various challenges, such as pay disparities and underrepresentation in leadership positions. It is our responsibility as a society to address these issues and create an environment where every woman can thrive and reach her full potential.

Let's remember that achieving gender equality benefits not only women but society as a whole. When women have equal opportunities, our communities thrive, and progress knows no bounds. 




Next Monday marks the Labor Day holiday, also known as the "unofficial end of summer." For many, it's a day off from work, going to a picnic or barbeque, or spending the day at one of the fairs happening around the state. As a note, town offices throughout the 57th District will be closed to mark the holiday, as well as public schools.

Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. 

Before it became a federal holiday, Labor Day was recognized by labor activists and individual states. After municipal ordinances were passed in 1885 and 1886, a movement developed to secure state legislation. New York was the first state to introduce a bill, but Oregon was the first to pass a law recognizing Labor Day, on February 21, 1887. In 1887, four more states – Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – passed laws creating a Labor Day holiday. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.

This is a time to honor and appreciate the contributions of workers across our great nation. It is a day to recognize the hard work, dedication, and resilience of individuals who have played a vital role in building our communities and driving our economy forward. 



Join the Ellington Volunteer Fire Department for its annual fundraiser carnival, complete with rides, games, and food for all to enjoy!

The carnival opens at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 7, and Friday, September 8. On Saturday, September 9, the fire truck parade steps off at 5:15 p.m. from Berr Ave to the park. The carnival starts immediately after the parade.

There is no admission fee and parking is free! Pay for your rides/games and food. Cash only, please.



Fall 2023 registration is open now for the Health Kids Running Series in East Windsor!
Race Dates: September 10, September 17, September 24, October 1, and October 15
Race Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: East Windsor Park
Parent Race Guide will be emailed out closer to event day!

Click the link to join the fun! https://runsignup.com/hkrseastwindsorct



Save the date! The Ellington Human Services Department will be hosting the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit at Robert Tedford Memorial Park (Brookside Park). This event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit will be in Ellington on Monday, September 25, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.



The Vernon Historical Society will hold its annual Holiday Craft Fair & Sale on Saturday, November 25 and Sunday, November 26. In addition to the work of local crafters, the Craft Fair offers the popular “Nearly New” tables covered with treasures and holiday items at reasonable prices.

Any donations are appreciated and the proceeds from the sale of the “Nearly New” items go to support the work of the Vernon Historical Society. Information on dropping off donated items can be found below. 





    The comment period has been extended on the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) Sustainable, Transparent, and Efficient Practices for Solar Siting (STEPS) initiative and the Shared Clean Energy Facility (SCEF) Program

    DEEP is accepting written comments on the STEPS Draft Guidance and the SCEF bid preference until September 5, 2023, 8 a.m. EST. Please email comments to DEEP.EnergyBureau@ct.gov with the subject line “Agrivoltaics Comments.”

    To watch the public hearing from August 16 or to read more about the initiative and program, click HERE



    The Connecticut Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline for the Farmland Restoration Flood Response Grant until 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 31.

    The Farmland Restoration Flood Response Grant (RFRG) provides matching funds to Connecticut farmers, nonprofits, and municipalities impacted by excessive rainfall and flooding in July to restore lands into active agricultural production. RFRG focuses on restoring and improving land with prime and important farmland soils, in accordance with a Farmland Restoration Plan (FLRP Plan).

    Funding for the Farmland Restoration Flood Response is provided through the Farmland Restoration Grant, made possible by Connecticut General Statutes 22-6c. The Farmland Restoration Flood Response Grant and any awards are subject to the requirements and provisions of state funding. The total amount available for these grants is up to $300,000. For the purposes of this grant, farmland restoration is the act of bringing land into agricultural production for human food, animal feed, or livestock grazing.

    The maximum grant awarded per grantee is $20,000. Applications of any amount up to the maximum possible award will be considered for funding.

    Questions can be directed to: AGR.Disaster@ct.gov



    If you see the spotted lanternfly, the CT Department of Transportation is asking you to snap a photo, and then squash it. Here's why.

    During the months of August through November, the adults of this pest may be seen and can attach themselves or enter vehicles and trailers, “hitchhiking” their way into our state, and threatening our crops and trees. The Department of Transportation is asking travelers to check their vehicles for this pest, and if found, take a picture, destroy the insect, and report it to The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

    The spotted lanternfly Lycorma delicatula, (SLF) is not a fly but is an exotic, invasive sap-feeding planthopper that has the potential to severely impact Connecticut’s agricultural crops, particularly apples, grapes, hops, and ornamental trees. Spotted lanternfly adults feed on more than 70 species of plants. Its preferred host tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is highly invasive and is abundant along highways, in urban areas, and along the edges of agricultural and industrial areas, where the spotted lanternfly could easily become established.


    Approximately half of Connecticut's trees are threatened by a spotted lanternfly invasion according to data from Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). As spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults feed on the sap from trees and vines, the entire plant can become weakened. The excretions from these leaf-hopping insects encourage the growth of black sooty mold, thereby reducing photosynthesis. Agricultural crops will have reduced yields due to the SLF feeding on fruit and generally weakening plants, if not destroying them (DEEP, 2020).

    The public is urged to report potential sightings of this invasive pest. If you suspect you have found a SLF, snap a picture of it, destroy the insect, and fill out the reporting form by clicking this link: SLF Reporting Form. If you have other questions or comments, please email ReportSLF@ct.gov. Include in your email your contact information, any photos, and any other pertinent information. Permission by residents and businesses for state and federal plant inspectors to examine host trees on private property will be helpful in determining the extent of the infestation. All reports are confidential. 

    To learn more, click HERE




    Tied in with the spotted lanternfly - From the CT Department of Agriculture:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) awarded over $403,000 in Fiscal Year 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding to Connecticut. With this grant, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) will fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop products and create new market opportunities for the state’s specialty crop producers.

    “With this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funding, Connecticut is investing in innovative projects that will help address the needs of specialty crop producers within the region,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The funded projects will also further USDA’s efforts to ensure U.S. specialty crop products remain competitive in markets across the nation and abroad.”

    Through the SCBGP, the CT DoAg will fund five projects. Among CT DoAg’s projects, is the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s research on ways to support vineyards in their pest management strategy regarding the invasive spotted lanternfly. Additional funded projects focus on areas such as organic amendments to reduce crop drought stress, marketing the expansion of CT Grown wines into package stores and restaurants, establishing a commissary honey house and training hub, and increasing access and awareness of Connecticut Grown specialty crops to urban consumers.

    “The dedicated funding through USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant program has enabled Connecticut to support strategic investments in projects that will bolster production and marketing of the diverse array of specialty crops available in our state,” said Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “Since the inception of this program, Connecticut has been able to provide more than $6.8 million in funding to more than 65 projects benefiting a wide variety of specialty crop producers.”

    The funding to Connecticut is part of a total of $72.9 million in non-competitive FY 2023 SCBGP funding awarded to 54 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The SCBGP funding supports farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops. USDA’s support will strengthen U.S. specialty crop production and markets, ensuring an abundant, affordable supply of highly nutritious fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops, which are vital to the health and well-being of all Americans.

    The funding for the SCBGP grants is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and FY2023 funding is awarded for a three-year period beginning Sept. 30, 2023. Since 2006, USDA has invested over $1 billion through the SCBGP to fund nearly 12,000 projects that have increased the long-term successes of producers and enhanced marketing opportunities for U.S. specialty crops products.

    More information about these awards is available HERE.




    From the CT Department of Agriculture:

    Pick Your Own season is still going strong! We'd like to remind everyone of some general guidelines to keep in mind when visiting the farms of our community:

    • Please don't eat while you pick! Not only because it is an item that should be purchased, but you should wash your fruit at home before eating.
    • Pets are not allowed on most farms. It is much too hot to leave them in the car, so please leave them at home.
    • Pick only where instructed. Some sections might not be ripe yet, and picking too early can hurt the staggered harvesting!
    • You can often use your own containers but remember to have them weighed before picking.
    • You are responsible for purchasing everything you pick. If you don’t want it, please don’t pick it!
    • Due to high credit card fees, local farms love it when you pay in cash! If you're able to stop at the ATM, please do so.
    • Wearing close-toed shoes in the fields is recommended. Please remember to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water!

    Thank you for supporting your local CT Grown farm! Happy harvesting!