On March 8th, Connecticut had its first confirmed case of coronavirus. On March 9th, the Governor declared a state of Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergencies. And our lives have been radically changed ever since.
My commitment to you and your family has not changed. We will get through this period, and I know our communities and our state will be stronger on the other side.
This newsletter is intended to provide you with helpful information and resources, as well as an overview of some of the work my office has been doing during this time.
If you have any questions, concerns, or if I can be helpful to you in working with any state agency or understanding how any of our state laws or regulations can affect your work, our schools, or your opportunities, please call or email me anytime.
For the most up to date information please visit: portal.ct.gov/coronavirus
The CDC and Governor Lamont are continuing to require individuals to wear masks in public when unable to remain a “socially distant” six feet away from others.
If you are out of work, you have the right to file for unemployment insurance. Visit: www.FileCTUI.com to file your claim or call: 860-263-6975, 203-455-2653, 860-263-6974 or 203-455-2650. If you have trouble getting through on those numbers, please call my office at 860-240-8528.
If you are a business owner, the Department of Economic and Community Development is developing and updating guidelines on safe ways to operate your business: business.ct.gov/Recovery. They have also opened a small business hotline: 860-500-2333.
If you notice a business not operating in a safe manner, call 2-1-1.
If you are having trouble paying your residential mortgage or rent, we have worked with banks and landlords to provide you additional time to put together payments. For more information on these programs, visit: portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/information-for/homeowners-and-renters.
In addition, we have worked with the federal delegation and the Governor’s office to develop and fund a number of smaller assistance programs ranging from funding for artists to farmers, to helping our schools deal with unexpected expenditures, and helping towns get reimbursed for pandemic-related expenses. For more on these, please visit my website: www.housedems.ct.gov/Horn.
I know that working with state agencies and our partners during this time can be complicated. Phone lines are crowded, applications may be confusing. My office is here to help.
Sign up for CTAlert, the state’s emergency alert system,
which provides text message notifications to users.
To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.
Advocating For You During this Time
This has been a remarkably challenging time for all of us. My office has worked with many of you to fix issues with your unemployment applications, get access to health insurance, help your business apply for financial aid, work with the DMV to get your car registered, get access to ppe and provide clarity on how to reopen your business safely. In order to provide you with access to the accurate, timely and helpful information you need to plan for the future, I have been emailing my “weekly” newsletters three times a week. (To sign up, please visit my state website.)
I know that it is during these challenging times when we need government help and services the most.
That’s why I have worked with my colleagues to advocate for all of you with the Governor and his administration. I am proud to say that because of our advocacy, we have expanded tele-medicine, expanded affordable childcare options for front-line workers, brought attention to local public health concerns and delayed due dates for state income taxes and municipal property taxes. If there are more ways that we can make state government work better for you, please let me know.
The Legislative Session That Wasn’t
When we began this year’s legislative session on February 5th, I expected to be working on many of the issues that you all have prioritized with me, including reducing the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, making it easier to exercise your right to vote, protecting the environment, and enabling improvements to internet connectivity. As vice-chair of the Appropriations Committee, and a member of the Judiciary and Environment Committees, I was deeply involved in fiscal issues, especially preserving our Rainy Day Fund; environmental issues such as modernizing the “Bottle Bill” to increase recycling and reduce costs for municipalities, and preserving farmland and open space; criminal justice reform and gun safety legislation to keep firearms out of the hands of those subject to risk protection warrants. This work continues now, and will continue through any special session of the legislature this summer or fall, and into next year.
One of the few votes we took this year in the House of Representatives was for the bond act. I am proud to say that this legislation contained authorizations for state aid for our towns:
|FY 20||FY 21|
(Local Capital Improvement Projects)
|Town Aid Road||$553,048||$553,048|
|Grants for Municipal Projects||$995,714||$995,714|
In addition, the bill contained funds for workforce development, launching the Paid Family medical leave insurance program and funding transportation improvements. It is now up to Governor Lamont and the Bond Commission to release these funds, and I will hold them to that.
Where Do We Go From Here?
While we continue to be guided by public health experts on the steps we need to take to safely “reopen”, we also have an opportunity to build a stronger and more robust state.
Already we are working to ensure hospitals and health care providers have adequate stock of personal protective equipment, and to ensure that better infection controls are in place in our nursing homes going forward. We are also working with farmers and food banks to protect and localize our food supply chain.
Your stories and experiences are important to helping us improve your quality of life. How well did the safety net work for you and your family? How can we do better? What services were not available that you really needed? I want to hear from you! More than ever, it continues to be an honor and privilege to represent you.