Legislative & Local Updates - September 15

September 15, 2023


This week, we marked the 22nd anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Some days, it feels like it was just yesterday, and then it takes your breath away to realize that it has been over two decades. One of the worst days in America's history saw some of the bravest acts in America's history. We forever honor the heroes and lives lost on 9/11. 161 of the lives lost had ties to Connecticut. May their memories be a blessing.



School has started around the 57th District and we've all settled into our new routines. In the Foster household, we have one infant and one kindergartener, so that keeps us on our toes. 

Below you'll find a plethora of information, including news from the USDA that the governor's request for the second federal disaster declaration - this time for the July flooding of state farmland - has been granted. On September 9, Ellington officials, residents, and friends honored the late Dr. Lenzy Wallace, Jr. by inducing him to the Ellington Wall of Honor. The Department of Labor is warning about a phishing scam and East Windsor Parks and Recreation is offering a safety course for youngsters when they are home alone. Vernon Public Schools is holding a job fair on September 21, if you or someone you know is looking for a new job. I know the weather has been a little unpredictable lately (didn't we just have a heat wave?) but many people are already thinking ahead to winter and the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program is taking applications. If you're a blood donor or have ever considered donating blood, there is a national blood shortage and now would be a good time to roll up your sleeves and give a pint. Each pint of blood donated can help up to three people.

I hope you have a great weekend!



Waiting for the parade to start at the Firemen's Carnival in Ellington last weekend. Unfortunately, the rain put a big damper on the weekend's festivities. 
Shana Tova to all who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah this weekend!



If you haven't already, check out this month's article in North Central News. Being a mom to two young children, I thought it was a good time to share the victories we had this past session when it came to maternal health. You can click on the graphic below to read the full article or click HERE


Several of my fellow legislators and I - some past and present members of the Energy and Technology Committee - submitted an op-ed to the Hartford Courant on electricity accountability to the residents of the state. For decades, utility companies have benefited from opacity caused by the complexity of ratemaking. Across the country, many legislatures are looking to implement performance-based ratemaking to deliver the kind of accountability possible through Connecticut’s PURA because of competent personnel who are willing to scrutinize it. 

Click the graphic below to read the full op-ed or click HERE





Governor Lamont was notified by the USDA that his request for a second agriculture disaster declaration, this one due to the July flooding of state farmlands, has been GRANTED.

This declaration means that farmers in all eight of Connecticut’s counties can apply for federal disaster assistance from the Farm Service Agency, such as emergency loans, to cover production losses they experienced as a result of the severe weather event, provided that certain eligibility requirements are met.

Farmers will have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loans. The Farm Service Agency considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator. Farmers interested in applying for assistance must contact their local Farm Service Agency office. You can find that information HERE

Farmers who have experienced losses may be eligible for additional USDA programs, with increased flexibilities, to help offset the losses. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture also offers farmers the opportunity for one-on-one consultative services to help them find the right program for their farm. Interested farmers should contact the Connecticut Department of Agriculture at 860-713-2500 or agr.disaster@ct.gov.

Additional resources are available online at portal.ct.gov/disaster



Attention nonprofits! You have until October 18th to apply for the nonprofit grant program.

You can find more information HERE.

If you have any questions, please contact: OPM.NPGrantProgramApplications@ct.gov




In 2022, we passed legislation establishing a new grant program to encourage public school districts to install, replace, or upgrade, their heating, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC) systems. It was just announced that the application period for the second round of grant funding is now open! More details below:

  • Eligible applicants include local boards of education, regional boards of education, and regional education service centers.
  • The application deadline is December 31, at 5 p.m.

You can learn more at portal.ct.gov/hvacgrants/?language=en_US




Connecticut is about to take a transformative step toward making prescription drugs more affordable for all.

On October 2, all Connecticut residents will be eligible to sign up for ArrayRx, a prescription drug discount card program that provides up to 80% off certain prescriptions at nearly all pharmacies in the state.

Valid physical Connecticut addresses and email addresses are required to enroll, and a digital card will be provided after registering.

The program is part of Public Act 23-171, An Act Protecting Patients and Prohibiting Unnecessary Health Care Costs, which I proudly supported.

I highly encourage you to not miss out on this great opportunity. Residents should never have to worry about accessing the lifesaving care they need, and this free program is a massive leap forward. I'm thrilled ArrayRx is coming to Connecticut, and I will continue the fight to lower healthcare costs for all.

For more information on ArrayRx, including a drug price lookup tool, visit arrayrxcard.com.




Paraeducators provide critical and direct support to teachers and students, which makes them an integral part of the school ecosystem. That is why I am happy to share that the Paraeducator Healthcare Subsidy Program will provide $5 million in financial assistance and increase access to quality health care.

This program was created during the 2023 Legislative Session and signed into law as part of the bipartisan biennium budget. It will help paraeducators enrolled in high-deductible health plans with a health savings account and employed by a local or regional school district with a one-time stipend to reduce out-of-pocket costs. Payments are expected to go out this month to more than 4,000 paraeducators.

Legislative leadership made appropriating these funds a priority in budget negotiations to help bridge the painful gap between high-deductible health plans and low wages for paraeducators, who are critical to our classrooms. We must continue efforts that ensure that paraeducators receive proper compensation and benefits.



Important information to share with you regarding a phishing scam. Criminals are posing as the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL). If you receive an email like the one pictured in the graphic, do not respond and report the email as a phishing scam.



On a personal note, I want to thank one of my fellow legislators, Fairfield and Trumbull State Representative Sarah Keitt, for this beautiful Connecticut blanket. Our little guy loves it! 





The American Rescue Plan Task Force in Ellington has decided to continue soliciting new ARPA project submissions.

The new deadline to submit ideas for the use of these funds is Monday, November 27. There is an online form option as well as a downloadable PDF available on the town's website.



On September 9, the Town of Ellington honored the late Dr. Lenzy Wallace, Jr. by inducting him to the Ellington Wall of Honor at Arbor Park. 

Dr. Wallace came to Ellington High School in 1969. Prior to serving as the music director from 1969-1974, he received his Masters in Music Education from The Hartt School, where he was later named Alumnus of the Year. Dr. Wallace also taught K-12 music education in Vernon and at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs/Mansfield.

A gifted musician and decorated World War II Navy veteran, Lenzy was passionate about his life's mission: to serve, inspire, and help others be successful. His vision, hard work, and commitment contributed to a long-lasting legacy that lives on to this day.

Dr. Wallace died at the age of 94 in November 2021 in Cornelius, North Carolina.



Rockville High School's Class of 2024 will be holding a "shake the can" fundraiser at both Vernon/Rockville Stop and Shop locations and at Bogner's this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Help the graduating Rams! 



    Fall story hours at Hall Memorial Library start on September 19 and there are still spaces available! To register, click HERE



    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.




    A message from Rockville Public Library - Did you know it's Library Card Sign-Up Month? If you need a card, head to your local library to get a card. In Vernon, you could win a Barnes and Noble gift card! 


      A new school year and a new opportunity for the East Windsor Parks and Recreation Department's Home Alone Safety Course!

      Register now at www.EastWindsorRec.com and make sure your littles are prepared for those moments when they are home alone.



        From the East Windsor Parks and Recreation Department: This year's scarecrow contest is just around the corner! Start brainstorming and submit your idea to Parks and Recreation. This year's theme is East Windsor Strong...build a scarecrow that depicts what East Windsor means to you!



          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 Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) is preparing for its annual STAND DOWN event which will be held at five regional locations on Friday, September 22, from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.


            • Bridgeport - University of Bridgeport, Wheeler Recreational Center, 400 University Avenue
            • Bristol - St. Gregory CCD Center, 1043 Stafford Avenue
            • Danbury - Danbury War Memorial 1 Memorial Drive
            • Norwich - Easter Seals Veterans Rally Point, 24 Stott Avenue
            • Rocky Hill - CTDVA main campus 287 West Street

            The DVA continues its commitment to serving Connecticut’s veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserve military personnel, and their immediate families by providing this “one-stop” access to a range of programs and services offered by state and federal agencies, veterans organizations, and community-based non-profits at these regional sites across Connecticut.

            To see the list of confirmed providers by location, volunteer, view the transportation schedule, or have questions, click HERE




            The application period for the 2023-2024 winter season of the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is open. CEAP provides vulnerable state homeowners and renters with crucial support for the associated costs of heating their homes

            If you are interested, there are several ways to apply:

            Additional information on the application process can be obtained by visiting ct.gov/heatinghelp or calling 2-1-1.

            Applications for the 2023-2024 winter season must be received by May 31, 2024.


            It's Fair Season! Are you planning on going to one this month? There are over 30 fairs and festivals happening this month in Connecticut. Take a look at the list below, courtesy of Kidtivity.com!


            Speaking of fairs...here's a message from the Connecticut State Police. This is good advice. And if you take the photo right before you enter the fairgrounds or before you leave your home, you have the added bonus of having documentation of what your child was wearing that day. We have the Four Town Fair this weekend (56 Egypt Road in Somers), running through September 17 and the Big E runs from September 15 to October 1.




            Hey 57th District! Blood donations are down nationwide, and the need is outpacing what’s available. If you’re a donor, now would be a good time to make an appointment. If you’re new to blood donation, now would be a good time to make your first donation.

            Each pint donated can help up to three people. To find a blood drive with the American Red Cross, click HERE or visit the American Red Cross app. 




            The Women's Business Development Council (WBDC) is offering a grant program for grants up to $10,000 to qualified women-owned small businesses. 

            The Equity Match Grant Program is designed to help women-owned businesses grow. Grants between $2,500 and $10,000 will be awarded for clearly defined projects that will have a measurable impact on the business, its growth, and profitability.

            The grant funds cannot be used towards operating expenses (e.g. inventory, ongoing marketing expenses, salaries), real estate improvements (e.g., construction costs), reimbursement for past purchases, or debt repayment.

            Applicants are required to provide a minimum 25% match. The deadline to apply is September 27 at 11:59 p.m. 

            This grant is a competitive process and WBDC may not be able to fund all applicants.


            Apply Here




            The Vernon Public Schools will host a job fair on Thursday, September 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the library/media center at Rockville High School, 70 Loveland Hill Road, Vernon.

            There are a variety of open positions, including biology teachers, secretaries, paraeducators, HVAC technicians, school climate specialists, school bus drivers, substitute teachers, and cafeteria workers. The Vernon Public Schools offer competitive pay and benefits and a collaborative work environment.

            School staff will attend to conduct immediate interviews, answer questions, and discuss careers in education.

            For more information about the Vernon Public Schools, visit www.vernonpublicschools.org.




            Vernon Adult Continuing Education registration is still ongoing, and many classes start next week. To see the full list of offerings, click HERE




            From the CT Department of Public Health: September’s back-to-school brings a spike in the number of children’s asthma attacks. Increased exposure to viruses, ragweed pollen, dust, mold, and/or changes in weather, causes airway inflammation and asthma attacks. Be proactive and review how to avoid the peak! Click HERE for more information.