We have now agreed with the Governor to take up four bills during a special session next week: increasing police accountability, making sure we have a safe and secure election in November, capping the cost of insulin, and increasing access to telehealth services.
Each of these bills will have a hearing in the relevant committee later this week and/or the beginning of next week. I sit on the Judiciary Committee, and we will hold a “listening session” on “An Act Concerning Police Accountability” (or AACPA) starting at 10 am on Friday, July 17. (See more information about that in the section below, but you can watch that hearing by clicking here.)
The proposed bill on absentee ballots will be out next week, and we expect it to include provisions that:
- Enable all Connecticut voters to vote by absentee ballot in the general election on November 3, in the absence of an effective and available vaccine for COVID-19;
- Ensure the security of the drop boxes being installed in each town for voters to deposit their absentee ballots, should they wish to;
- Ensure that everyone who is in line to vote, or register to vote, in a timely way on election day will get to do so, regardless of the length of the line at the polling place.
And I am very pleased that we were able to get the Governor’s agreement to include the two healthcare bills, both of which I believe to have bipartisan support. The proposed bill on tele-health would:
- Expand the types of healthcare providers who can make use of tele-health, including behavioral health providers and counselors, dentists, and veterinarians; and
- Allow providers to choose their own platform, including audio-only, which is critical to those who do not have access to the internet.
The proposed bill capping insulin costs would:
- Cap monthly costs at: $25 for insulin; $25 for non-insulin drugs; and $100 for insulin supplies. With monthly insulin costs now averaging about $5,700 per month, this is a significant step for those who need insulin, and we would be the first state in the country to enact all three of these caps;
- Enable pharmacists to make insulin available without a prescription in emergency situations;
- Expand access to an ongoing program to provide insulin to those who cannot afford it, even with the caps above.
Here’s a list of today’s topics:
- Temporary Housing Assistance Programs
- Regional Travel Advisory Updated
- Police Accountability Proposal Up for Listening Session
- DEEP to re-examine state’s use of landfill
- Connecticut Department of Transportation to Survey Commuters about Commuting Habit Changes Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
CT's Temporary Housing Assistance Initiatives Began Wednesday
|As of July 15, Connecticut's Temporary Rental Housing Assistance (TRHAP) and Temporary-Mortgage Assistance (T-MAP) Programs are now available.
Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program:
- Initial priority for TRHAP assistance will be targeted at individuals and families who have been denied unemployment assistance from the Department of Labor. Potential applicants will be directed to a Centralized Call Center for Threshold eligibility, after which a detailed application must be completed.
- Individuals who are unemployed or under-employed and who have not yet filed for unemployment assistance should file as soon as possible.
- Individuals who would like to speak to a Call Center Representative to determine their eligibility for TRHAP assistance can call 1-860-785-3111.
Temporary-Mortgage Assistance Program:
- The program will provide up to $10,000 in emergency loan funds for low and moderate income homeowners to pay their housing costs.
- Eligible households with incomes at or below 120 percent of the area median income will be eligible to apply for up to $25,000 in the form of a second mortgage loan.
- Individuals who would like to speak with a Call Center Representative to determine their eligibility and apply should call 1-860-785-3111.
Further information about either program is available on the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority website, here.
Regional Travel Advisory Updated
|The regional travel advisory between Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York that went into effect in June now includes 22 states. Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Wisconsin were added recently, and Delaware has been removed.
The advisory directs incoming travelers from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for a 14-day period.
As of Tuesday the advisory includes the following 22 states:
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
The travel advisory is updated regularly. Updates and additional information are available here.
Police Accountability Proposal Up for Listening Session
|DEEP to re-examine state’s use of landfills
Today, much of the waste in our region is processed by Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, or “MIRA”. That facility is now antiquated, and is expected to continue to function only for two to three years. In light of that, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has announced a plan to re-examine the state’s use of landfills. The plan includes scaling and accelerating the use of composting and recycling, as well as reducing consumption. Rethinking our waste management practices is key to unlocking a stable, sustainable future for every citizen.
|Connecticut Department of Transportation to Survey Commuters about Commuting Habit Changes Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Public Transportation (CTDOT) is conducting a survey of Connecticut commuters about changes to their commutes, as well as their thoughts on commuting when returning to work in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The brief online survey will allow CTDOT to collect basic data about current and projected commuting habits, and how commuters foresee their commutes when returning to work. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and will also ask how workers commuted before the pandemic. Information from the survey will be shared with state and local transit operators and will directly assist in tailoring and modifying services to best meet the needs of Connecticut commuters.
CTDOT will also be reaching out directly to employers that partner with CTrides to request employee participation in the survey. CTrides and local transit systems will also promote the survey through social media and emails.
The survey can be accessed through Monday, July 27, 2020, here, or by visiting www.ctrides.com/survey. For further information, call (860) 594-3062 or visit www.ct.gov/dot
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.