COVID Update 7.14

July 14, 2020

As the legislative special session draws closer, I have been doing my own “hearings”, reaching out to have conversations with those who are dealing with these issues on the ground. 

One of the major disadvantages to a “special” session is that we do not have the usual compliment of committee meetings and public hearings that are part of the process of creating legislation.  That process is slow, and often messy, but does provide the opportunity to listen to many different perspectives on an issue, while taking care not to allow a vocal (or well-resourced) minority drown out the voices of the general public.
One of the issues under consideration for special session is absentee ballots.  On Wednesday, July 15 at 6:00 pm, I’m hosting a FB Live conversation with local Town Clerks and a Registrar of Voters to talk about how this works on the ground.  More details are below, but I hope you can join me for that.
The other main issue is police accountability.  Bipartisan leadership of the Judiciary Committee released a draft bill at the end of last week (summarized in a section below), “An Act Concerting Police Accountability” (AACPA) that will now be the subject of much public conversation and a hearing before our special session.  Last week I hosted a FB Live conversation with some of the students who have organized Black Lives Matter events in our district: they are passionate and informed young people who want to see positive change in their communities now.  I’ve also had a number of meetings and conversations with police officers, both in leadership and in patrol cars.  I have a background in law enforcement which makes it particularly important to me to get this right: to help build (or re-build) public confidence in our police departments.  Language matters.  A colleague in the legislature who is a police officer has pressed the point that nothing in the proposed bill would affect an officer who is doing his job well, as the vast majority are.  Another officer described the negative reaction to the Governor’s recent executive order banning a number of holds that CT already bans and trains recruits not to use: banning them again felt gratuitous and demoralizing to him.  These are challenging issues that require a lot of active balancing, between different perspectives, and between the urgency to make progress while we have the momentum, and the need to be thorough and deliberate. 
Some of the shifts we most want to see are cultural.  I thought this article made a good point:
Want to Abolish the Police? Consider Becoming an Officer Instead.

Also, don’t forget: the tax filing deadline was extended to July 15th. Be sure to get your tax documents in the mail by this Wednesday.

Here’s a list of today’s topics:
  • Updated data on the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • Executive Order No. 7GGG (including rental & mortgage relief, and continuing education for plumbers and electricians)
  • "An Act Concerning Police Accountability"(AACPA) bill summary 
  • CT Green Bank ‘s Green Liberty Bonds
  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors film presented at Sharon Playhouse
  • UConn performed 150 tests on student athletes and all results came back negative
    • Facebook Live Town Hall on voting by absentee: July 15 at 6:00 pm
    • Conversation with DECD Commissioner David Lehman: July 15, 8:00 am-9:00 am
    • Fair food drive-thru event on Saturday, August 1 and Sunday August 2
For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit, and click the link that is labeled, “COVID-19 Data Tracker.”
Updated data on the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes and assisted living facilities
The following documents contain updated data regarding each of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Connecticut that are reporting positive cases of COVID-19 among their residents. The data is presented as it was reported to the state by each of the facilities. If a facility is not listed, that means it is reporting that it does not have any residents who have tested positive. These data reports are updated weekly.
**DownloadData on nursing homes in Connecticut as of July 7, 2020
**DownloadData on assisted living facilities in Connecticut as of July 7, 2020


Governor Lamont Executive Order No. 7GGG enacting the following provisions:
·       Authorization for temporary rental housing program: Authorizes the creation of a rental housing assistance program Governor Lamont announced late last month.
·       Temporary mortgage relief program: Authorizes the creation of a mortgage assistance program Governor Lamont announced late last month.
·       Online continuing education for plumbers and electricians: Extends until December 31, 2020 the deadline for electricians and plumbers to complete continuing education requirements and permits electricians and plumbers to renew their licenses within existing deadlines notwithstanding their failure to complete continuing education requirements prior to December 31, 2020.

Summary of draft police accountability bill, An Act Concerting Police Accountability” (AACPA)
After many hours spent on Zoom negotiating details, the bipartisan leadership of the Judiciary Committee has released a draft bill, “An Act Concerting Police Accountability” (AACPA).
The bill spans over 60 pages and covers over 40 sections, all related to police accountability and transparency as we respond to this moment. It builds upon some of the work that was done in 2015, in 2017 and again last year to keep Connecticut at the forefront of reform. 
AACPA now awaits a public hearing and if passed would enact the following provisions:
  • The Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), which provides certification and trainings to officers statewide, will be reconstituted by the end of 2020, including reducing the number of gubernatorial appointments; adding six legislative appointments; requiring justice-impacted persons be members; and diversifying the size of towns represented. If a member misses 50% or more of meetings in calendar year, they lose their seat. 
  • POST will issue annual reporting on minority recruitment efforts at local police departments to the state.
  • POST certification will be required for all officers, and will include:
    • Periodic mental health screenings at a Chief’s discretion where there is a cause; a screening must be conducted no less than every 5 years and when an officer changes departments. A carve out will be made for officers who are nearing retirement.
    • Uniform officers must have name and badge number readily visible on outermost garment. This does not apply to those undercover.
  • Training requirements are updated in the following ways:
    • Individuals providing police training at Police Departments or at the academy must be certified in their field of expertise, such as implicit bias.
    • POST will develop crowd control model policy.
    • POST will require implicit bias training.
  • Disciplinary records of officers will be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests
  • Changes to municipal Police Departments include:
    • Municipalities will have the ability to appoint citizen review boards and extend subpoena power to those review boards through local legislative bodies.
    • Local Police Departments will be requested to review the need to engage more social worker-based responses, either with an officer or by themselves.
    • Body and dashboard cameras will be mandatory for officers interacting with public; this mandate will include funding for storage and allow the Office of Policy and management the ability to set conditions for grant funding .
    • Quotas for pedestrian stops are banned, with such quotas already banned on traffic stops.
  • Access to military-grade equipment local municipalities can buy through the federal 1033 program is tightened in an effort to de-militarize departments.
  • Consent searches of vehicles will be banned unless there is probable cause.
  • Use of Force standards are amended: 
    • An objectively reasonable standard will be required for an officer to use force, meaning that an officer has exhausted all reasonable alternatives, that the force creates no significant risk of injury to a third party, and that such use of force is necessary.
    • No tactic to restrain oxygen and blood flow to the head, including chokeholds and strangleholds, can be used unless it’s deemed necessary to protect oneself or save the life of someone else.
    • Officers must intervene and report excess uses of force to their local Police Departments; whistleblower protections will be provided to those who do.
  • POST will have the ability to conduct hearings and make determinations, which include the ability to suspend, censor, or decertify an officer. POST can make these determinations when an officer has engaged in conduct that undermines public confidence in law enforcement or when an officer uses excess or unjustifiable. If an officer is de-certified by POST, they cannot be employed as a security guard.
  • An Independent Office of the Inspector General (IG), housed under the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney’s Division of Criminal Justice, will be created. 
    • Use of Force investigations would be conducted by independent IG with prosecutorial authority.
    • The IG would be nominated by the Chief State’s Attorney with a public hearing required before the Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the Legislature on a 4-year term.
    • The IG can refer cases to POST for de-certification.
    • The IG’s staff would include an associate attorney, chief investigator and possible administrator who can come from the State’s attorney office.
  • Penalties for making a false police report based on race, gender, national origin or sexual identity are increased.
  • A state cause of action for civil rights violations is created.
  • The Police Transparency and Accountability Task Force’s work would continue, focused on the following areas:
    • The Task Force would look at how to increase minority recruitment. 
    • It would look to see if the state should require officers to carry professional liability insurance.
    • It would look into what it would mean to ban no knock warrants.

A draft of the bill can be accessed online by clicking here.

CT Green Bank ‘s Green Liberty Bonds
The Connecticut Green Bank was the nation’s first green bank.  What is a green bank? It’s an entity that accelerates the deployment of clean energy using limited public dollars to attract private capital investment in clean energy projects. In doing so, it makes clean energy more affordable and accessible to consumers.
Established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011, Connecticut Green Bank supports the Governor’s and Legislature’s energy strategy to achieve cleaner, less expensive, and more reliable sources of energy while creating jobs and supporting local economic development.
As part of the continued celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Connecticut Green Bank is launching a new program to increase and accelerate the flow of capital into markets that energize the green economy and extend the reach of its benefits to all of society - the Green Liberty Bond, a retail climate bond that will allow residents to invest in the deployment of more rooftop solar power in Connecticut.  For information on these bonds, visit  You can also read more about these bonds here.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors film presented at Sharon Playhouse
Sharon Playhouse has been working tirelessly to find new and creative ways to provide community events while also protecting public health. One of their first efforts at doing a drive-in event took place this past weekend, when they showed the film Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a documentary short by award winning writer and producer Anne Makepeace, that offers a unique look into the extraordinary skills and services our local first responders provide.  The film highlights the hard work, training and dedication of these courageous local men and women.  Watch it here.
The volunteer spirit in our community was on display on screen, on stage with a Q&A with local first responders Jackie Rice from Salisbury and the Downs family from Falls Village, and through the work of work of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, which made the film possible.  You could also see that spirit in all of the volunteers who figured out the parking situation, working skillfully and cheerfully to get it done safely, including rearranging big cars and small ones so that everyone got a view of the screen.  Thanks to all involved!

UConn performed 150 tests on student athletes and all results came back negative
UConn announced that it has performed 150 COVID-19 tests on student athletes since June 19 and all of the results came back negative for the virus.
“While this is good news, it is certainly no time to relax the standards and protocols we have in place to ensure the safety of our student-athletes and staff,” David Benedict, UConn director of athletics, said. “We will remain vigilant throughout this process. I’d like to commend our public health officials and medical staff for planning and implementing these protocols while also passing along my gratitude to our student-athletes and staff for adhering to the guidelines. It is my expectation that a future positive test is inevitable but I am confident that the procedures we have in place will mitigate any community spread.”
Facebook Live Town Hall on voting by absentee: July 15 at 6:00 pm
COVID-19 has changed the way we go about our daily lives in profound ways, including how we vote.  There are only two ways to vote: in person, or by mail.  In Connecticut, as we do not have early voting, in person voting happens on on a single day, which creates significant public health risk in a time of pandemic, for both voters and poll workers. This has led to efforts to expand voters’ ability to vote by absentee ballot this year, including an executive order that paved the way for the Secretary of State to send out absentee ballot applications to every eligible voter for the upcoming primary election on August 11.  In special session next week, we expect to vote on legislation that could allow all voters to vote by absentee in the general election on November.  
That’s a lot of change, and I wanted to help shed some light on how it will work.  Join me for a conversation with Town Clerks Linda Amerighi of Sharon and Carol Anderson of Torrington, and Salisbury Registrar of Voters Karin Gerstel on Wednesday, July 15 at 6:00 pm to clarify the process and help voters ensure their absentee ballot gets counted in the upcoming elections. 

Conversation with DECD Commissioner David Lehman: July 15, 8:00 am-9:00 am
The Northwest Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Hills Council of Governments are hosting a conversation with David Lehman, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). David will be talking about what is going on in Connecticut and what is in the works for the future of our state. 
Click here to register for the event on Wednesday, July 15 at 8:00 am.  You will be sent a link to the Zoom conversation once you register.
Fair food drive-thru event on Saturday, August 1 and Sunday August 2
Brooker Memorial and St. Maron Church are organizing a Fair Food Drive Thru event on the weekend of August 1 and 2, from 12:00 – 6:00 pm each day at the Goshen Fairgrounds.  For more information, or to become a sponsor of the event, call (860) 489-1328, ext. 113. 
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

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.