Weekly Newsletter 5/27/21

May 28, 2021

I hope you and your family have had a happy and healthy week. I have been very busy fighting for the people of Newington at the capitol throughout the final weeks of the legislative session.  Already, the House has passed legislation to help people recover from the pandemic and to invest in growing a more robust economy. Please see a comprehensive list of legislation from this week in the newsletter below. Stay tuned on Facebook to receive the most current updates on the legislation passed each day that will help you and your family.

Below you will find information on the following:

  • George Floyd Tribute
  • State Budget Negotiations  
  • Small Business Assistance 
  • Legislation Passed This Week
  • Absentee Ballot Legislation
  • COVID-19 Update
  • Newington Community Champion Award 
  • Live from the Legislature
  • Veterans Advisory Committee 
One year ago we witnessed the horrific murder of George Floyd. His death sparked a movement here in Connecticut and across the nation to say in unity that Black Lives Matter and we must do better as a society to prevent similar deaths from happening again. Together, we created systemic changes to systematically improve policing and ensure proper accountability and transparency. Today we remember George Floyd and the thousands like him that died unnecessarily and remember that we still have much more work to do.
Symbolic funeral for George Floyd held at the capitol on June 3rd, 2020.
The American Rescue Plan extended a number of critical tax benefits for small businesses. Join the U.S. Small Business Administration Tuesday, June 1st at 1pm to get the facts on these benefits.
Small Business Assistance
The American Rescue Plan extends the availability of the Small Business Assistance through December 2021 and allows businesses to offset their current payroll tax liabilities by up to $7,000 per employee per quarter. This credit of up to $28,000 per employee for 2021 is available to small businesses who have seen their revenues decline, or even been temporarily shuttered, due to COVID.
Paid Leave
The American Rescue Plan extends through September 2021 the availability of Paid Leave Credits for small and midsize businesses that offer paid leave to employees who may take leave due to illness, quarantine, or caregiving. Businesses can take dollar-for-dollar tax credits equal to wages of up to $5,000 if they offer paid leave to employees who are sick or quarantining. You could see these credits in your bottom line as soon as your next quarterly filing.
Register for the event HERE

Final negotiations of the budget are taking place as we have less than three weeks of the legislative session. Here are aspects of the budget I am fighting for, to help Newington and its residents: 

  • An increase in state funding to Newington to help keep property taxes down and support our schools
  • A tax cut to almost all families in Newington, which will put hundreds of extra dollars into their pockets 
  • Continuing the phase-in of exempting income taxes on social security and pensions for seniors which results in additional tax cuts
  • $20 million of funding to Newington for the renovation of Anna Reynolds Elementary School
  • Funding to support non-profits and frontline workers, repealing of the poverty tax, expanding access to affordable health care, fully-funding debt-free communities, expanding manufacturing workforce training, and assisting small businesses 
  • Fully maintaining the rainy day fund (state's saving account); which pays off large amounts of state debt and is below the constitutional spending cap

Together, we can build an economy that works better for all of our residents.  

The House was in session this Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to pass several pieces of important legislation. Below I have provided highlights on several bills that passed.
HB 6374: The House passed HB 6374, An Act Concerning Sexual Misconduct on College Campuses, in unanimous bipartisan support to pass this legislation. Through this bill students attending higher education institution in Connecticut can anonymously report incidents of sexual misconduct without fear of repercussion for drug or alcohol use. This is imperative to creating a culture in which students feel comfortable reporting assault and seeking support.

While in college, one in five women are sexually assaulted and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted. Ninety percent of these sexual assaults are never reported. HB 6374 allows survivors and witnesses of sexual assault to safely come forward.

HB 6374
HB 6622: During a plan year, health care insurers are free to add or remove drugs from their formularies or shift individual drugs between tiers leading to potential higher costs or complete loss of coverage for consumers. HB 6622 would offer piece of mind to consumers by modifying the carrier's ability to impose these potentially confusing changes. 
HB 5677: Treating the root causes of violence is one of the most important pieces to making our communities safer. HB 5677 supports new models for community safety by investing in violence prevention services which focus on intervention and aftercare to reduce violence and save lives. 
HB 6597: This bill provides funding to support the resources and tools to support accountability measures, in addition to clarifying job protections for law enforcement officers undergoing the mental health exam required under the Police Accountability Act.  
SB 908: Unions have the right to organize. SB 908 will help public-sector unions grow and maintain their membership by baring public employers from deterring new or existing employees from joining a union and allowing efforts to ease access to unions for new employees. 
HB 6436: For children in communities with concentrated poverty and under-resourced schools, opportunities can be significantly limited. Open choice programs allow children to attend higher resource schools – but one step further, just passed by the House, HB 6436 will assist families with moving to that higher opportunity community where their child already attends school to allow the entire family to become a true part of the community. 
HB 6441: Combatting and adapting to climate change must be a priority in the coming years – HB 6441 implements a plan from the Governor's Council on Climate Change to provide Connecticut's towns and cities with the resources needed to effectively fight climate change.  
SB 840: Connecticut's shellfish industry was hit hard by the pandemic with many operations left stunted. With summer in our sights, SB 840 will expand the Shellfish Restoration Program to aid Connecticut's shellfish industry in recovery and expand their work to grow jobs in the state.
HB 6344: Unemployment services became a vital necessity during the pandemic as an unprecedented number of workers turned to the CT Department of Labor for support and guidance. This increased need also exposed areas for improvement. HB 6344 creates the Office of Unemployed Workers' Advocate to better assist unemployed individuals with processing claims and understanding available programs and benefits.
HB 6476: Social and economic disparities have existed in our policies and budgets for years but have been recently highlighted by the ongoing pandemic. HB 6476 creates a study to better understand the difficulties these disparities have created, and the opportunities for change to create more equity moving forward. 
HB 6524: Fuel cells can offer a cleaner, more efficient, and affordable option to supplying and storing energy. HB 6524 will require electric companies to solicit proposals for new fuel cell electricity generation projects. Further expanding the benefits of fuel cell technology is an essential investment in our state's environment and future. 
HB 5312: We are rapidly transitioning to a digital world, but not only does this transition raise privacy concerns, it also can leave many behind. A cashless society disproportionately hurts low-income communities where individuals lack the funds and resources to obtain bank accounts or credits cards. HB 5312 would prohibit cashless transactions for in-person retail transactions to reduce harm to underbanked communities. 

HB 6509: This past year has only further emphasized the need to better support the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of our students. HB 6509 expands student's access to these critically needed services through school-based mental health clinics. 
HB 5412: State Representative Linda Orange was a talented legislator and a good friend to many on both sides of the aisle, and her loss is still felt today. As a longtime member of the Public Safety committee, Representative Orange worked tirelessly to ensure our State Police, and specifically Troop K, had the funding needed to keep the doors open and the dispatch center adequately staffed. Today, we honor her legacy by moving to name the Troop K State Police Barracks in her memory. 
HB 6034: Project Longevity offers communities with comprehensive, evidence-based resources to work together with state and local partners to reduce chronic violence. A number of Connecticut's cities and towns have seen success in this program, but HB 6034 would work to begin steps towards expanding the community-based solution to statewide priority.

SB 1019: Even after someone has repaid their debt to society, they are left with a criminal record that carries a lasting impact making it harder to find a job, secure housing, go to school, or even obtain a license. To give people the clean slate needed to move on with their lives and get back to work, the House passed SB 1019 to allow for automatic erasure and anti-discrimination for certain low-level crimes.

The House of Representatives passed legislation this week to make voting more accessible and convenient for Connecticut residents. HB 6205 expands eligibility for absentee voting in a common-sense way.
Under current law, caregivers and family members of those with a disability or illness are not eligible to vote by absentee, forcing them to choose between their right to vote and caring for a loved one. HB 6205 adopts a more general standard of sickness and disability, thereby allowing caregivers and family members the opportunity to vote by absentee.
Connecticut continues to work on voter protections to make voting as easy, safe, and accessible as possible. The House also passed two resolutions focused on voting rights earlier this month: HJ 58 which calls for no-excuse absentee voting, and HJ 59 which allows for early voting.
All three of these voting reforms are awaiting further action in the Senate.
While other states are passing legislation to disenfranchise voters, Connecticut is acting to support participation in the democratic process.
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
2,711 2,552 159 19,328 100
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 Thursday 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

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

Click Here to Sign up