Newsletter 6/11/21

June 11, 2021

I hope you and your family are having a great week as school is out and summer has begun!

Wednesday was the final day of the legislative session. Please see below for more information regarding a legislative recap and legislation passed this week. 

Below you will find information on the following:

  • Legislative Recap Community Conversation 
  • Anna Reynolds Renovation Funds
  • State Budget Overview for Newington
  • Legislation Passed This Week
  • Small Business Assistance Program 
  • Newington Graduation
  • Newington Community Champion Award 
  • Live from the Legislature
  • Veterans Advisory Committee 

The legislative session officially ended on June 9th! I will hold an in-person recap for our Newington community where I will provide information on many bills passed by the House over the past six months.

Please join me Wednesday, June 16th from 6:30-8:00pm at the Gabezo at Mill Pond Park. 

Bring a few questions and a lawn chair. I look forward to seeing you in-person!

The Anna Reynolds Elementary School renovation project has received $20 million through the state budget. 

After hearing from hundreds of students, parents, teachers, and community leaders, I am very excited that Anna Reynolds is receiving the funding it deserves. Renovation of Anna Reynolds is long overdue and crucial to the academic success of our students. This re-construction will provide a productive learning environment for generations to come. Furthermore, this renovation will benefit the neighborhood and entire town of Newington as a recreational resource. By investing our school system, we are investing in the future of our community. Many thanks to the countless advocates who took the time to meet with me and town leaders to ensure Anna Reynolds gets the funding it needs.

This session, we passed a budget that significantly increases state funding to Newington. Our community will receive over $18 million dollars each year to assist with school funding, town services, and lower property taxes. This is a 13% increase for FY 22 and a 15% increase for FY 23 from FY 21; for a total increase of $4.6 million over the next two years. 

Our 2022-2023 Biennium budget:

  • Rejects tax hikes on gasoline, insurance policies and large Connecticut home properties
  • Includes tax relief for restaurants and allows certain businesses to keep 13.6% of the 7.35% sales tax they collect on sales of meals and beverages for FY 22
  • Expands state income tax exemptions for seniors on social security and pensions
  • Increases the state's earned income tax credit to 30.5% of the federal credit
  • Eliminates the admissions tax as of July 1, 2021
  • Maintains our historic balance in the state's $3.5 billion Rainy-Day Fund
  • Increases town aid and fairly funds Education Cost Sharing (ECS) 
  • Expands healthcare for 40,000 residents and families
  • Supports small businesses and minority-owned businesses
  • Expands workforce training so that we can get people back to work
  • Fully funds debt-free community college
  • Includes relief for arts, culture and tourism

In addition, we listened to many of you and provided increased funding for hospitals and local health departments in response to COVID-19. We included additional resources to those on the frontlines of the pandemic including nursing homes, prisons, schools and nonprofit providers. We are also delivering the necessary tools for state agencies to safely reopen and serve our residents.

As we recover emotionally and financially from the pandemic, adopt a balanced state budget, and move forward with a wide variety of accomplishments this session, I am optimistic that Connecticut is coming back stronger than ever before.

This week the House was in session Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to pass several pieces of important legislation. Below I have provided highlights on several bills that passed.
SB 1004: This bill provides young residents with affordable dental and vision care. Offering dental and vision insurance to our young residents is crucial to the health and well-being of our young people. Please listen to my testimony below to learn more.
SB 1004
SB 1046: This bill reforms long-term care insurance. It is essential that we lower premiums for our seniors who have been paying into these programs for years. Please listen to my testimony below to learn more.
SB 1046
SB 894:Connecticut's craft beer industry continues to boom, and it may receive a boost. SB 894 would permit the sale of alcohol-infused treats, like chocolate at package stores, and the use of a self-pour automated machine to serve beer, certain ciders, and wine. This is an innovative way to keep our craft beer industry on an upward track. 
SB 972: Connecticut has the nation's highest cost for phone calls made to and from the state's prisons. Families spend a combined $12 million just to stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones. SB 972 corrects this dubious policy. By enabling incarcerated individuals to stay connected to their families, we can help halt the revolving door of recidivism. 
SB 914:In 2019, Connecticut became the first state to provide burial rights for Hmong Laotian Special Guerilla Unit Veterans at the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown. To further recognize the contributions and sacrifices these soldiers made serving alongside U.S. service members during the Vietnam War in the U.S. secret war in the Kingdom of Laos, the House passed SB 914, which expands their access to certain veterans' benefits. We hope this measure will honor their service, which helped bring many U.S. service members home. 
SB 700:For municipalities purchasing open space, undisclosed dams can be costly to remove. Additionally, dams can endanger the surrounding environment should they fail. With the passage of SB 700, residents selling their property would be required to disclose any dams that are or have been registered with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. This bill will help promote safety and transparency in real estate transactions.
HB 6517:Over 2,000 Connecticut students were diagnosed with dyslexia during the 2018-19 school year, and 80% of students with learning disabilities have dyslexia. To improve instruction and better support students with dyslexia, the House passed HB 6517. This bill establishes an Office of Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities that will help teachers identify students who may have dyslexia and become more effective at instructing them to achieve greater success. The first step in helping students overcome challenges in the classroom is identifying why they're struggling. This bill provides the tools to help students succeed. 
HB 5597:The opioid epidemic has devastated our state. HB 5597 would help combat this epidemic by creating a task force to study the response protocols used by emergency responders and medical personnel following an opioid overdose death. It also requires the state Department of Public Health Commissioner to develop guidelines for the use of non-pharmaceutical methods of treating chronic pain and conduct community outreach to raise awareness. This bill could save lives and address the stigma of opioid use disorder. 
HB 6442: From schools to jobs to meetings, most of our lives moved online over the last year – exposing the extreme inequities in broadband access and the need to bridge the digital divide. HB 6442 will work to address these inequities and provide reliable broadband access across our state.  
SB 989:One in four Americans have experienced online hate and harassment, but Connecticut’s statutes regarding stalking and harassment have not kept pace with technology. SB 989 will update Connecticut's laws to combat online harassment and protect those subject to it. 
SB 1008:Pulse oximeters are valuable tools that can help diagnose conditions like asthma, lung cancer, and others. However, they are 3 times more likely produce inaccurate readings when used on individuals with darker skin. SB 1008 would inform health care providers, pharmacies, insurers, and others that these devices can be inaccurate when used on people of color. It also prohibits insurers from denying benefits coverage based on blood oxygen levels measured by a pulse oximeter. By bringing attention to this weakness, we can help improve health outcomes and care.
SB 1037:With recent and proposed changes to the state's waste management, Connecticut's recycling program is ready for reform. Commonly known as the "bottle bill," SB 1037 will make changes to increase the redemption and recycling rates for bottles and cans to save our communities money and protect our environment. It will also invest in redemption centers to make recycling more convenient and viable.
SB 927:Sewage spills can harm our waterways and contaminate public drinking water or swimming areas. SB 927 would establish a system enabling Connecticut residents to be notified of sewage spills. Residents should have the right to know when there's a public health risk.
SB 975: Many of the privileges we enjoy at home are denied to Connecticut's long-term care facility residents. SB 975 strengthens the nursing home patients' bill of rights so residents may treat their living space as their home, protecting their rights to privacy, health, and safety. Every resident deserves the safety and security of a home-like environment.
HB 6587: Epinephrine cartridge injectors, such as EpiPens, are lifesaving tools for individuals with life-threatening allergies, however high prices keep these devices out of reach. EpiPens can cost up to $700, leading consumers to hang on to long-expired epinephrine injectors or forego them altogether. HB 6587 would cap the cost at $25 and require health carriers to include at least one covered epinephrine injector on its lowest cost-sharing tier for certain insurance plans. 
SB 56:No one should be denied employment because of their age, yet studies have found that 60 percent of workers over 45 have experienced or seen age discrimination. SB 56 would strengthen protections against age discrimination by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants their age, date of birth, and graduation date.
SB 660: Over this past year, our health care providers served on the frontlines working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of our communities – often facing the darkest moments of the pandemic and witnessing untold traumas. Many of our first responders are now suffering from anxiety, PTSD, and other lasting mental health and emotional impairments. SB 660 will expand Workers' Compensation to better support first responder's mental and emotional health in the aftermath of the pandemic. 
SB 1011: Opioid antagonists, like Naloxone or Narcan, and EpiPens save countless lives, rescuing individuals from an accidental overdose or a severe allergic reaction respectively. SB 1011 will require police officers, who are often the first responders to a scene, to carry and effectively administer these life-saving medications. 
SB 1059: Solitary confinement causes irreparable harm, leaving individuals to suffer from damaging and often life-long psychological effects. While only a step towards reform to our system, SB 1059 limits the practice of solitary confinement at Connecticut's correctional facilities, in addition to increasing transparency and accountability within the correctional system. 
SB 363:This bill will expand the Attorney General's authority to protect the civil rights of Connecticut residents by allowing an investigation into allegations that civil rights are being violated and initiate legal proceedings in response. 
HB 6467:Through a partnership between the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), financial institutions, and Community Economic Financial Institutions, HB 6467 aims to achieve inclusive economic growth by promoting additional financing options for businesses across the state, specifically for those which are small and minority-owned.
SB 763:Mandatory reporters play a critical role in spotting the signs of elder abuse and ensuring that our older community members are safe. With an increasing number of older adults relying on paratransit services to get around, SB 763 adds paratransit drivers to Connecticut's list of those mandated to report suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment – offering a comprehensive solution to keeping our older adults safe. 
SB 837:The continued use of forever chemicals like PFAS, which is often found in firefighting foam, pose a significant environmental hazard. Most recently, in June 2019, the state saw a spill of PFAS containing foam threatening the aquatic habitats in the Farmington River. To better support and protect our environment, SB 837 will begin take critical steps to reduce our use of PFAS.
HB 6448:COVID-19 offered an opportunity for municipalities to review existing policies and procedures to find new ways to serve their communities. HB 6448 will make permanent some changes made during the pandemic to improve processes, expand public participation, and streamline opportunities for our local restaurants. 
SB 759: Connecticut is home to a diverse group of individuals – but with the use of only "he/him/his," our constitution does not represent this diversity. To better reflect everyone, across all genders, SB 759 will create a task force to examine the Constitution of Connecticut to preserve its meaning while replacing gendered language to affirm that our state is home to all. 
Local businesses are at the heart of every community in Connecticut, but sadly over the past year, they have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. While a number of great loan and grant programs have been established and implemented to provide aid, many small businesses missed out due to the sheer demand for assistance. In an effort to not only aid small businesses, but also bolster our local economies, my colleagues and I made it a priority to expand and incentivize the state's Small Business Express (SBE) Program by passing HB 6467.

This bill implements extensions to SBE to support small businesses and opportunity zones in Connecticut. Funding from this program will help small businesses in our district to create additional jobs, acquire assets, and expand business operations.
There is still a long road ahead as both our community and state continue to work towards better days. This bill, along with many others voted on this session will help make the challenges we face ahead a little easier.

A huge congratulations to the class of 2021 for your incredible accomplishments over the past four years! I wish you the best in all the adventures coming your way.
The Newington Children's Theatre Company is teaming up with SeaTea Comedy Theater to present "Whose Laugh Is It Anyway?," a family-friendly improv show at Bushnell Park in Hartford, Saturday, June 12, at 4 pm (rain date Sunday, June 13, at 4 pm).

The event will take place on the pavilion side near the Capitol Building (free parking along the park perimeter). Bring your blanket or chair and get ready to laugh! Group tickets (up to five) are $35 ($10 each additional ticket). Limited front row VIP group tickets are $50. Tickets available through Venmo (NC-TC) or by check (NCTC, 136 Day Street, Newington, CT 06111) Email for more info.

Throughout the last few weeks of session, I replaced Facebook Friday Updates with Live From The Legislature Updates. 

Please see my Live video from this Wednesday linked below. 

As well as my Live video from Tuesday 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 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

Click Here to Sign up