State Capitol Update Week of June 15June 18, 2020
here are many occasions this weekend to celebrate and honor people and issues of importance to us.
The first happens today, which is Juneteenth, sometimes known as Emancipation Day, which marks the end of slavery in the United States. This year is the 155th anniversary of the day in 1865 when General Gordon Granger led Union troops to Galvieston, Texas to make the announcement that the Civil War was over and enslaved people were free, two and a half years after the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. There are events throughout CT celebrating Juneteenth, some of which you can find here: (Note that the legislature is honoring this day by giving our staff a well-deserved holiday, so this newsletter is going out earlier than usual today.)
Growing up in rural Ohio, Juneteenth was not a holiday that I had any awareness of, which is notable to me because the end of slavery was certainly a momentous, hopeful, historic and positive step for our country. But those who write history choose to emphasize certain things over others, and many stories get written out. With work we can change that, broadening and enriching our perspective. It is certainly clear today in this moment of social upheaval catalyzed by the killing of George Floyd that there is work to do, and that the work begins by choosing to listen and learn from those who have different perspectives from our own.
One occasion to do that would be to attend the Black Lives Matter rally in North Canaan on Saturday, June 20 at 11 on Lawrence Field. There have been a number of these events in the 64th District, all well-attended and constructive. Many of these local events have been organized by young people, and this one is being put together by Housatonic Valley Regional High School graduating seniors Brianna Webb and Xavier Johnson. I have tried to attend as many of these in our region as I can for one reason: to listen to perspectives different from my own, and to hear about how constituents feel about issues of police accountability and systemic racism. Young people have been a driving force in this movement: asking uncomfortable questions and pushing for action, not just words. As I will be asked to vote on these issues in our upcoming special session, I want the opportunity to hear from as many people as I can.
On Sunday, Brianna and Xavier and the rest of the Class of 2020 from Housatonic Valley Regional High School will celebrate their graduation at Lime Rock Park! This class has certainly earned a celebration, and I’m looking forward to honoring that occasion with them.
What a great Father’s Day gift it would be to celebrate your child’s graduation! If you don’t happen to be graduating from anything this weekend, there are lots of simpler ways to thank the fathers and father-figures in our lives who have stood by us in all kinds of weather. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there, and to anyone who has been a mentor or supporter of someone in need.
Other Recent Events
As I’ve mentioned, with a special session on the horizon, we are now having some committee meetings. The Appropriations Committee heard from the Department of Economic and Community Development on Monday, giving us the opportunity to drill down on their many initiatives to help local businesses both survive the short term closure brought on by the pandemic, and to help them start up again. We want to be sure these resources were distributed fairly, and to learn which have been the most effective, which will guide our future decisions. Later today the Appropriations Committee will hear from the State Department of Education. Ensuring that our children are accessing a quality education, while keeping both students and teachers safe, is critical both to their future welfare, and to the economy today as parents need to know the education system is supporting their families.
Here’s a list of today’s topic:
- Employees of five state agencies to begin receiving mandatory COVID-19 testing
For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit ct.gov/coronavirus and click the link that is labeled, “COVID-19 Data Tracker.”
Employees of five state agencies to begin receiving mandatory COVID-19 testing
Employees of five Connecticut state agencies who have frequent contact with constituents in congregate settings, hospitals, and nursing homes have been identified by the agencies and the Office of Labor Relations, under the guidance of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, as meeting the requirements to receive mandatory COVID-19 testing. The testing is being required to ensure the safety of state employees who work in these settings, as well as the constituents who receive the services.
The identified agencies include the Department of Correction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Developmental Services. Decisions on which employees in these agencies will receive mandatory testing will be based on the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Staff who have been identified for mandatory testing are in the process of being notified.
Governor Lamont encourages residents to sign up for the state’s CTAlert notification system
Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to 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.
Providing information to Connecticut residents
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance. Relay services can be accessed by calling 7-1-1. Anyone who is out-of-state or using Relay can connect to Connecticut 2-1-1 toll free by dialing 1-800-203-1234. The hotline is intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.