5/21/21 Newsletter: Insulin Discount, Legislation Passed This Week & CDC Update

May 20, 2021
Many thanks to all our Newington residents who joined me this Monday at Mill Pond Park. I hope to see many more join our next Newington Town Hall!
Below you will find information on the following:
  • Mental Health Awareness Month
  • Back to Work CT Program
  • Insulin Discount 
  • Legislation Passed This Week
  • CDC Update 
  • COVID-19 Update
  • Newington Community Champion Award 
  • Live from the Legislature
  • Veterans Advisory Committee 
Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month?  The pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health. We’ve dealt with unimaginable loss, isolation and anxiety on a massive scale. This Mental Health Awareness Month, it is crucial that we end the stigma around mental illness and spread the word that those dealing with these struggles are not alone. 
Below I have shared a few facts and resources to help end the stigma.

We cannot address the mental health crisis in this country without acknowledging how it disproportionately affects Black Americans. Black people are over-represented in our jails and prisons and disparities in access to care and treatment for Black Americans have persisted over time. Even more, less than 2% of American Psychological Association members are Black. This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s spread awareness about these inequalities and share resources for the Black community in Connecticut and the United States.

Mental Health Resources For Black And African American Communities:https://bit.ly/3hAczBr

For many LGBTQ+ people, socioeconomic and cultural conditions negatively impact mental health conditions. Many in the LGBTQ+ community face discrimination, prejudice, denial of civil and human rights, harassment and family rejection, which can lead to new or worsened symptoms, particularly for those with intersecting racial or socioeconomic identities.

To learn more about risk factors and resources for the LGBTQ+ community visit: https://bit.ly/3wgWPYk

Did you know that 1 in 4 active duty service members showed signs of a mental health condition according to a 2014 study? Of these conditions, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) were the three most commonly seen in current and former military service members. We must take care of our veterans when they return home and give them the support and resources they need.
For Connecticut VA Mental Health Services Visit: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/
If you are a family member or caregiver of a veteran with mental health, you can learn more about veteran mental health and how to best support them by visiting: https://www.nami.org/support-education/mental-health-education/NAMI-Homefront
If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance or support, please call the Military Crisis Line. It is a free, 24/7 support service staffed by caring, qualified responders from VA, many whom are veterans themselves. You can reach them at 800-273-8255 (or access the online chat by texting 838255). 
The State has put together a list of mental resources specifically related to pandemic. You can view the full list of resources here:  https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Pages/Public-Health-Resources/Mental-Health-Resources
For CT State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services resources visit: https://portal.ct.gov/dmhas
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Governor Ned Lamont announced that as Connecticut continues to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is creating the Back to Work CT  program, which will provide a one-time $1,000 bonus payment to 10,000 long-term unemployed people who live in Connecticut and obtain new jobs. The program is designed to encouraged long-term unemployed individuals to find work.
The Lamont administration has made it possible for jobseekers to access vaccines, affordable childcare, workforce development opportunities, and a fair minimum wage. This new program will complement those efforts by encouraging those who’ve been out of work the longest to find employment and helping them cover the costs of searching for and starting a new job.

To be eligible, workers must:

  1. Have filed an unemployment claim with the State of Connecticut for the week immediately prior to May 30, 2021;
  2. Obtain and maintain a full-time job for a period of eight consecutive weeks prior to December 31, 2021; and
  3. Not receive unemployment compensation during the required eight-week period of employment.

The program is being administered by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. In the coming days, the department will create a form on its website for individuals to apply. The first applications will be accepted eight weeks from the start date of the program. Workers will be eligible to receive only one incentive payment.

Anyone living in Connecticut can now save on the cost of insulin by accessing an ID card through the State of Connecticut Drug Discount Program, regardless of insurance status or health care provider.
Create a Personalized Discount Card Here
Connecticut residents can create a personalized discount card online through the program to obtain certain forms of Novo Nordisk insulin at 50 % less than the retail cost.

To receive the discounted prices, residents must simply present their card when purchasing their insulin medication. Discounted medications available through the program include:

  • Novolin R 10ml vial ($25)
  • Novolin N 10ml vial ($25)
  • Novolin 70/30 10ml vial ($25)
  • NovoLog® 10ml vial ($120)
  • NovoLog® PenFill Cartridge - 5x3ml ($180)

The discount cards will be accepted at all participating Connecticut network pharmacies. 

The Connecticut Humane Society visited the Capitol yesterday.
Puppy Day is the best!
The House was in session this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to pass several pieces of important legislation. Below I have provided highlights on several bills that passed.

HB 5011: Access to records created by public agencies allows for real transparency and accountability. HB 5011 eliminates barriers to accessing this information by reducing or completely removing the cost of fees associated with accessing these public records. 
HB 6417: HB 6417 requires that every prospective camp employee, 18 and older, complete a comprehensive background check before obtaining employment in roles that provide care or involve access to any child at the camp. Requiring background checks is a simple and effective way to keep our children safe. 
HB 6606: Historic mixed-use building across Connecticut hold huge potential and with some renovation could offer a significant impact for their communities – however, investing in a mixed-use building can be complex and expensive. HB 6606 would initiate a task force featuring stakeholders from a variety of professions to examine these potential barriers and how to combat them. 
HB 6580: Teaching our K-12 students to lead a healthy and sustainable lifestyle requires a comprehensive education covering the importance of locally grown and produced food and a better understanding of the agricultural industry. HB 6580 expands our student's opportunities to learn more about food and agriculture through education programs. 
HB 5307: HB 5307 expands and clarifies existing statutes to protect the Connecticut consumer against the predatory practice of price gauging. During the COVID-19 pandemic, prices for personal protective equipment and other critically needed medical goods and services soared, ultimately threatening the health and safety of providers and patient. Connecticut consumers deserve adequate protection during a public health emergency. 
HB 6038: Being a lottery winner and claiming your prize shouldn't come with a risk to your anonymity. The House passed HB 6038 to protect player safety and privacy by requiring the lottery to obtain written consent to publish winner's photos and upon request, remove a winner's name from the published list. 
HB 6112: For LGBTQ+ court-involved youths, Connecticut's criminal legal system can cause harm, resulting in a need for additional or enhanced services. HB 6112 will help to better understand the potential harm of Connecticut's criminal legal system on our LGBTQ+ youth and what services will be needed to mitigate this harm.  
HB 6495: We all deserve fair and equitable access to financial products and services, however persistent discrimination in banking and home lending has had a detrimental effect on communities of color. HB 6495 prohibits certain discriminatory conduct, requires the implementation of fair lending examination procedures, and requires certain banks to take step to ensure residential loan products are available in traditionally underserved communities.  
HB 6485: Hydrogen and electric cars are the way of the future but work still needs to be done to understand how to best ensure equitable distribution of grants for residents hoping to purchase these vehicles. To achieve that goal, the House passed HB 6485 which will require the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate Program (CHEAPR) Board to conduct that study.  
HB 5420: Unfortunately, Connecticut can be home to severe weather which has been known to cause inoperative traffic signals and bring intersections to a halt as drivers try to figure out how to safely pass through or avoid other reckless drivers. HB 5420 helps to clarify this confusion and ensure safe intersections by requiring drivers to treat an intersection with an inoperative traffic control signal as though it is controlled by a stop sign.  
HB 5610: With increasing costs of higher education, HB 5610 aims to increase student's access to financial aid options to further their education. 
HB 6548: A truly fair trial cannot happen without a jury that accurately represents the diversity of a community. HB 6548 makes data-driven changes to Connecticut's jury selection methods to ensure each defendant can access their right to a fair trial by their peers. 
HB 6113: Understanding the signs of abuse is a critical component to keeping our kids safe. HB 6113 will raise awareness and educate parents, guardian, coaches, and youth sports volunteers to effectively combat child sexual abuse.  
HB 6466: Through no fault of their own, especially over this past year, individuals can fall on hard times and face a growing list of debt obligations. While current law makes some protections for an individual's home and cars if bankruptcy becomes their only option, HB 6466 makes a fair increase to the homestead and motor vehicle exemption that more equitably matches the property values of our region. 
SB 1003: Patient copay assistance plans are designed to help access critically need prescription medication at an affordable cost, but too often pharmacy benefits managers and health insurance companies have prevented patients from taking advantage of these coupons. This makes necessary and potentially life-saving medications unaffordable. SB 1003 takes steps to protect customers at the point of sale and helps manage out-of-pocket costs.  
HB 6483: Armed service member's children can face many challenges as they relocate schools due to a change in a parent's duty station. With the passage of HB 6483, CT removes a hurdle by allowing military orders to be accepted as proof of residency for public school enrollment, and adopts "the Purple Star School Program," to ensure military-friendly schools. With this legislation, Connecticut is taking necessary steps to better support military families as they transition to our state. 
HB 5737: From museums to memorials to historic sites, Connecticut is home to many landmarks that honor the contributions of our military and veterans. HB 5737 creates a state-wide military and veteran trail to help easily navigate and recognize each landmark and the story it tells about the history and pivotal role the military and veterans have played in our state. 
HB 5429: Reckless and distracted driving, even in work zones and school zones, are unfortunately still a problem across our roads and highways. HB 5429 is a commonsense approach that will enhance motor vehicle safety, keeping all those on the road safer.  
SB 835: Patients trying to access their right to reproductive health services should not have to navigate deceptive advertising campaigns by limited service pregnancy centers. With the House passage of SB 835, patients seeking care can rest assured that they are receiving accurate information. 
HB 6634: During the public health emergency, nursing home residents saw increased isolation as facilities worked to safely respond to the crisis – this can’t happen again. HB 6634 works to prioritize a resident's physical, emotional, and social needs while a long-term care facility is responding a public health emergency. 

Connecticut continues to move forward in its vaccination efforts and rates of new infections have steadily decreased over the past few days.

Masks are no longer required in outdoor settings, and individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks or socially distance in indoor settings. 

Masks are still required in indoor settings for those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Additionally, masks are still required in certain settings such as healthcare facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools, and childcare. 

Private businesses, state and local government offices and other events may choose to require universal masking. Therefore, it is still important to keep a mask on hand while you’re out and about. 

Over the coming weeks, the CDC and the state Department of Public Health will issue revised recommendations for face masks in businesses, large gatherings and events, and other settings, and more details of settings where masks will continue to be required. 

As the state begins to fully reopen, it is important that we get as many people vaccinated as possible to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. If you still need to get a COVID-19 vaccine, please visit ct.gov/covidvaccine or call 877-918-2224 to learn more about our state's COVID-19 vaccination program or to schedule a vaccine appointment. A list of vaccine clinics accepting walk-up patients can be found here.

If you need any assistance or have questions, please reach out to me. 

Click Here for COVID Data Updates
Click Here for Governor Lamont's Updates
Specific Updates for Newington


Total Cases Total Confirmed Cases Probable Cases Number of Tests Total Deaths
2,706 2,547 159 19,213 100
As the legislative session days become more frequent, our schedules here at the capitol become more unpredictable. For this reason, I will be changing Facebook Fridays into Live From The Legislature. Each week, I will go live on Facebook to provide an update on the legislation we are passing. 

Please see my Live video from this Wednesday linked below. 


Every year, and particularly this year, our community witnesses countless advocates fighting for positive change. These advocates come in all shapes and sizes from leaders of non-profit organizations, to students creating initiatives within our community. I think it is important for us to take the time to thank and honor these everyday champions for all that they do. Please continue to send in your nominations for the Monthly Newington Community Champion Award.

This monthly award aims to acknowledge Newington residents who are advocating and contributing towards positive change in the community.

In order to nominate a Newington friend or neighbor, please email gary.turco@cga.ct.gov with the following information: 

-Newington Resident's Name 
-Reason for Nomination 
-Nominee Contact Information

Click Here to Sign up
If you are a Newington veteran, the family member of a Newington veteran, or anyone interested in helping veterans in Newington, and across CT, then please join the Newington Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee. This is an opportunity to ensure the voices of veterans and active service members are heard throughout the legislative process. Members of this committee will help inform decisions made at the state capitol and will also learn about the legislative process, bill tracking and more.

If you are interested in joining the committee, please sign-up through the link below, or email me at Gary.Turco@cga.ct.gov