State Capitol Update for the week of April 4th

April 8, 2022

Dear Friend,

This is my State Capitol update for the week of April 4th.

If you prefer to watch rather than read, click here.

As I got in my car yesterday afternoon, just before doing my weekly video, my car radio came on at the very moment the final vote was being cast to confirm, by a vote of 53-47, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as an Associate Justice of the United Supreme States Court.  A supremely qualified and respected judge, she is the 116th person named to the high court, the fifth woman, and the first black woman.  It’s an historic moment, captured for me in a photo that showed her daughter gazing at her with love and pride during the confirmation hearing.  Congratulations to soon-to-be Justice Jackson and her family, and to the U.S. Senate for confirming her.



As we continue to work on several bills of particular importance to the Northwest Corner, I’m getting a lot of questions about procedure, so I thought I’d give a refresher on how the process of moving bills through the General Assembly works, and what is happening right now.  Fair warning: this is going to be a little nerdy.
Every bill begins by being proposed (or “introduced”) by either an individual legislator or a committee.  Some begin the process as the slimmest of ideas (or “concepts”), some arrive fully drafted, most are somewhere in between.  Each committee has a particular “cognizance”, meaning it has authority over particular subjects, and gets to decide which bills move forward or not.  In “short session” (this year), when the legislature sits for only three months, individual legislators are significantly constrained in what we are permitted to introduce ourselves, so nearly all business in a short session is proposed by committees.
Each committee decides which bills to consider, by voting to give them a public hearing.  After a public hearing, the committee may then vote the bill out of committee, by giving it a “Joint Favorable” report (“joint” because all committees include both the House and the Senate, and “favorable” meaning it passed – bills that are voted down get an “unfavorable.”) Each committee has a deadline (the “JF Deadline”) by which it must complete this work.  As of the end of today (Friday, April 8), all JF deadlines have passed.
Along the way, bills get drafted, and redrafted, and redrafted again.  A bill that does not change between its public hearing and its passage out of committee gets a “JF.”  A bill that is edited after the testimony in a public hearing but before passing out of committee gets a “JFS” (“S” standing for substitute, or new, language).  Once bills pass out of committee, the only way changes can be made is by an amendment proposed on the floor of either chamber. 
Bills designated as House bills (“HB”) go to the House first, and Senate bills (“SB”) to the Senate first.  Each is analyzed by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis to predict what it might cost. Each is reviewed by a screening committee from that chamber, which again prioritizes and winnows down the list.  Competition is fierce: a bill that has bipartisan support, addresses an important issue, and is not costly will have the easiest path.
If you’ve ever watched a committee meeting when we are voting on bills, you will hear that many bills are still a “work in progress” when they pass out of committee.  Those are the bills on which amendments are currently being negotiated, led by the co-chairs of the relevant committees.  If an amendment gets enough support, the Committee Chair (who is responsible for introducing their bills on the floor of the House or Senate) will also introduce the amendment.  The amendment must be voted on, and then the underlying (amended) bill must be voted on.  The process then repeats itself in the other chamber.  That process closes on May 4, when the regular legislative session ends.
And then, of course, the Governor must sign a bill before it becomes law.  Whew.
REMINDER:  I am hosting an event on the Future of Farming on Monday, April 11, at 6 pm.  It’s a great panel and an important issue, so I hope you can join us. 
If the timing isn’t convenient for you, we will make the recording available.

Here’s a list of today’s topics:

  • COVID-19 Weekly Update. Click Here
  • Regional COVID news and resources Click Here
  • Juvenile Justice bill passed by Judiciary Committee. Click Here
  • Sales Tax Free Week April 10 through 16. Click Here
  • Connecticut’s Renters’ Rebate Program now open.Click Here
  • Office of Early Childhood establishes Parent Cabinet. Click Here
  • Northwest Corner Prevention Network seeks student representative. Click Here
  • National Doctors’ Day. Click Here
  • Want to make your yard a haven for birds? . Click Here
  •  Shepaug Agriscience Spring Bulb Plant Sale Today! Click Here  
  • Providing information to Connecticut residents. Click Here
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, “Data Tracker.”

Regional COVID news and resources



We are experiencing an uptick in levels of infection from the latest Omicron variant both here and throughout the state.  One day this week Region 1 schools reported that 13 individuals had tested positive, the highest number of cases that they had experienced in a single day in quite awhile.  Although cases have not emerged in every Region 1 school, local public health officials have strongly recommended that all students and staff in all Region 1 schools wear masks while in school, until they are sure that the cases have been contained.  The importance of keeping your children at home when they are not feeling well was also stressed.  All schools have an abundant supply of test kits, so please contact the school nurse if you need a home test kit.

Interested in getting another booster shot?
Certain individuals are eligible for an additional COVID-19 vaccine booster. Learn more straight from the CDC here: 


 To find a location near you:
To learn more about why a second booster may help you:
For more information on side effects, and who should not get vaccinated:
Regional vaccination clinics



Juvenile Justice bill passed by Judiciary Committee
Over the last 15 years, every juvenile justice bill has gone to the Governor’s desk with strong support from members on both sides of the aisle. As we work to respond to the pandemic-driven uptick in car thefts and other criminal activity that all states have experienced, we have led bipartisan discussions since last summer to develop juvenile justice reforms without undoing our recent progress.

A product of these discussion is House Bill 5417, which the Connecticut General Assembly's Judiciary Committee voted overwhelmingly to approve. The proposal would make reasonable adjustments to Connecticut's existing juvenile justice laws without reverting to the failed tough on crime strategies enacted decades ago. This bill would: 
  • Increase funding to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) to expand Regional Police Task Forces devoted to motor vehicle crimes. (Appropriates money for regional crime reduction strategies.)
  • Work with the Judicial Branch to speed up juvenile arraignments.
  • Provide additional funding to the Judicial Branch for juvenile probation flex funding accounts to get youth on probation into afterschool, sports, or job training programs. 
  • Require GPS monitoring for repeat juvenile offenders. 
  • Grow Connecticut's REGIONS Programs by allocating funding to Juvenile Justice Outreach Services.
  • Provide flexibility with the 6-hour hold at a community correctional center or lock-up if an arresting officer is in the process of seeking a detention order. 

H.B. 5417 is smart on crime, includes provisions to address some of the challenges law enforcement face when attempting to solve a crime, and invests in community-based programs to reduce recidivism. We negotiated with our Republican partners to establish a training program for police officers on when to apply for and issue a detention order, to require judges who decline a detention order to articulate in writing why the order was declined, and redefine car theft in Connecticut.
The House and Senate must vote on the proposal before it goes to the governor's desk for consideration.