Legislation Passed in the House, Coyote Warning for Westport, and More!

May 3, 2024

View this email in your browser

Dear Neighbor,

As a result of the structural damage to I-95 caused by the motor vehicle accident, Governor Lamont has declared a state of emergency. The accident caused significant structural damage to I-95 near Exit 15 in Norwalk, particularly to an overpass that expands the width of the highway.  I-95 will remain closed while the overpass is rebuilt. The state Department of Transportation expects the work to last about 4 days, and hopes to reopen 1-95 by Monday. 

During construction, local roads will continue to be severely affected with increased vehicular traffic. Norwalk Police are encouraging anyone traveling to and from Westport to use Metro North train service or alternate routes.

Thank you to the Norwalk Fire Department, our Emergency Management Team, and all of our first responders who work tirelessly to keep us safe, especially when unprecedented emergencies like this occur. I will share any relevant information as it comes in from our state agencies.

 We are entering the home stretch of session - my colleagues and I have been working well into the evening to debate and pass legislation. Please read below about the four bills I co-sponsored that the House passed this week, including priority bills HB 5001 and HB 5004. I was a proud member of both teams working on these two caucus bills and am very happy our hard work is paying off for our state and the families of Norwalk and Westport. Please see below to read more!  
Helping Support Our Disabled Veterans
Veterans put their lives on the line for our country and, as a small way to say “thank you for your service,” the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would support Veterans who have been disabled during service.

HB 5491 establishes a property tax exemption for Veterans who have a service-connected permanent and total disability rating as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The exemption will be used for a home that is a primary residence, but if a qualified Veteran does not own a home, the exemption will apply to a single motor vehicle that they own.

In CT, we have 1,209 Veterans who are totally and permanently disabled as a result of their service. These brave men and women have spent their lives fighting to protect our freedoms. It is our turn to support them when they come home with disabilities to ensure they live with dignity and without fear of losing their home.

The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. This year’s session ends on May 8.

Supporting Seniors 

As the elderly population steadily grows, there is an urgency to provide resources and assistance to this community.  During Monday's session, we took a significant step to achieving that goal by passing HB 5001, a top priority for House Democrats this session. 

HB 5001, which passed with bipartisan support, protects and prioritizes elderly residents in our state. This bill: 

  • Makes it easier for seniors to age in place
  • Creates a nursing home database, providing consumers with an easy and reliable way to compare locations around the state
  • Establishes incentives to encourage nursing homes to improve care

I am a proud member of the team who worked on HB 5001. The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

House Passes Comprehensive Climate Bill
Connecticut is committed to mitigating the climate crisis. The first step is acknowledging there is a crisis.

This week, I joined my Democratic colleagues and voted to pass one of our top legislative priorities this session, HB 5004, also referred to as the 2024 Connecticut Climate Protection Act. Protecting the environment and working to combat the effects of climate change should be a shared priority because the act of doing nothing is far-reaching and touches every aspect of life on Earth.

This bill:

  • Updates the state's Global Warming Solutions Act to make our greenhouse gas emissions targets more in line with other states in the region;
  • Creates incentives for businesses and municipalities that engage in clean economy sectors or engage in environmentally sustainable projects;
  • Plans for transition to clean economy, workforce training and long-term policy implementation; and
  • Supports and expands nature-based solutions, such as preserving marshlands and forests

We can make a difference in the quality of life for future generations of Connecticut residents. The time to start making necessary changes is now. 

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

Child & Family Nutrition Bill Clears House Unanimously
I'm committed to the health and well-being of our community’s families and children by joining my colleagues in the House of Representatives to unanimously pass HB 5003. This comprehensive legislation ensures mothers and children who are eligible for federal benefits, such as WIC, are enrolled in these programs with ease and confidence. This bill aims to reduce barriers to participation in WIC.

WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children) enrollment in Connecticut is among the lowest enrollment rates in the country at 46%. Not maximizing participation in this program is resulting in worse outcomes for the health and nutrition of young children. 

This bill:

  • Keeps Connecticut families healthy: It allows Connecticut agencies to more easily enroll children and parents who qualify into federal nutrition assistance programs to keep our families healthy.
  • Promotes outreach and information to access these federal programs that Connecticut underutilizes.
  • Promotes Connecticut farmers by supporting them to participate in these programs at farmers markets. 

When we grow healthy children, they are less likely to develop nutrition-related chronic diseases, they are at a lower risk of cavities/tooth decay, they have improved mental health, and they have improved participation in other social service programs. In general, children are better off when their families participate in WIC.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Coyote Advisory from the Westport Police Department 

There have been several coyote attacks on dogs in Westport recently.  Fortunately, none of the attacks were fatal.

The Westport Police Department has shared a few tips to help protect your family pets, take the following measures:

  • Supervise your pets while they are out in the yard! Coyotes avoid conflict with humans, so your presence should prevent any problems.
  • While out at night with your pets, carry a powerful flashlight and keep tabs on your surroundings.
  • Coyotes can be successfully hazed or driven away using noise (high-decibel whistle or air-horn) or thrown objects (balls, sticks, rocks).
  • If you are walking a small pet and see a coyote, pick the pet up. Any time you are with your pet and see a coyote, give them a wide berth. You should gradually retreat but maintain situational awareness (keep eyes on) and be assertive and noisy (yelling or using whistle).
  • While at home, a fenced enclosure is the best way to prevent unexpected wildlife encounters. Deer fences are designed to keep out deer, but they do a poor job of excluding smaller species (like coyotes). Coyotes and other animals can often slip under deer fences.
  • Motion-sensitive lights can help alert homeowners to wild intruders at night and can help deter coyotes.
  • Pets smaller than 30 pounds are at serious risk from coyotes, but coyotes will tussle with larger pets on occasion. Even larger pets will benefit from supervision.
  • It is important to remember that coyotes can be active day or night.

Coyotes are now found throughout North America. They are an adaptable and opportunistic canid. Statistically, they pose very little risk to humans. There have been only two recorded fatal attacks by coyotes on humans in the last 100 years in North America. But as we know, they do pose a risk to our pets. 

For Further Information feel free to contact Westport Animal Control (203)341-6011.

NorWALK for Mental Health: Walk + Wellness Fair
The 3rd annual NorWALK for Mental Health: Walk + Wellness Fair will be held next Saturday, May 11 on the Norwalk Green. Nearly 50 agencies will offer fun activities for all ages, as well as helpful resources. Click here or see the flyer below for more information. 
DOT Update for Westport and Norwalk
Daytime Closure of I-95 Southbound Off and On-Ramps at Exit 17 in Westport

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) announced the scheduled periodic closures and proposed detours of I-95 southbound off and on-ramps at Exit 17 in Westport through Friday, May 10. These closures are necessary for the removal of rocks between the two ramps to improve safety and prevent falling rocks.

I-95 Southbound Off-Ramp at Exit 17

Traffic will be detoured to Exit 18 off-ramp to Sherwood Island Connector from I-95 southbound and then to Route 1 and Riverside Avenue (SR 33).
I-95 Southbound On-Ramp at Exit 17 Detour
Traffic will be detoured via I-95 northbound on-ramp to Exit 18 off-ramp and then on to I-95 southbound on-ramp.

East Avenue Closed under the Metro-North Railroad Bridge in Norwalk for Roadway Improvements

East Avenue will be closed between Fort Point Street and Winfield Street for roadway improvements under the railroad bridge in Norwalk starting Friday, May 3 through Monday, May 6. commencing at 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. 



East Avenue will be closed between Winfield Street and Fort Point Street from May 3 to May 6, 2024. Motorists will be detoured to Van Zant Street and Fort Point Street

Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions and concerns you may have - I can be reached at Dominique.Johnson@cga.ct.gov, or through my office phone - 860-240-8585.

Have a great weekend! 


Dominique Johnson
State Representative


Forward to a friend | Unsubscribe from this list | Update subscription preferences