April 29, 2022
There is plenty to share this week, including a look inside at once of the single-most important pieces of legislation we'll pass this session, HB 5001, An Act Concerning Children's Mental Health, of which I was a lead sponsor. There were others, too - and we'll cover those as well.
HB 5001: An Act Concerning Children's Mental Health Passes in House

I couldn't be more proud of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their overwhelming support of HB 5001, An Act Concerning Children's Mental Health. By the very title of the bill it's hard to argue the importance of it passing during the 2022 legislative session. I was a lead sponsor of the bill along with State Reps Liz Linehan and Jonathan Steinberg.

HB 5001 was personal for me and on Wednesday, and I knew it was going to be a big day, an important day, which began with a pre-session press conference to discuss it in Speaker Matt Ritter's office. It was only the second time I had been a part of one of those.

That's usually a sign of something big.

The word "historic" has been associated with this piece of legislation quite a bit this week. I agree. What has been needed for our children for so long, legislation aimed at addressing the children's mental health and behavioral system in Connecticut, was finally about to be debated - for potential passage in the House this year.

Here, I introduce HB 5001 on the floor of the Connecticut House of Representatives.

In the video below, I share my story and why HB 5001 is, was, so important to me. It was certainly an emotional moment and it was quite touching to see so many of my colleagues supporting me. I hadn't prepared anything. I spoke from my heart.
The final vote was inspiring. I expect HB 5001 to pass in the senate and later, the governor, to sign. Now is the time.
I'd like to thank my colleagues and so many others for their support. Wednesday was a quite a day and I wanted to share it with you.  
Notable Bills That Also Passed This Week
After months of negotiation and hearing input from residents across our state, I am happy to pass along great news. I am poised to vote early next week on a state budget which provides historic tax relief for parents, retirees, workers, and property owners.

The budget proposal we unveiled today offers Connecticut tax payers like you and our neighbors $600 million in tax cuts. $600 MILLION!

As we approach a vote on this historic tax relief package, I will update you in the coming days on the spending side of the budget where we make groundbreaking investments in children’s mental health, increase funding in juvenile justice and anti-crime programs, leverage new federal funding for important programs, and invest in childcare, education, and our workforce.
The House of Representatives passed House Bill 5417 on Thursday.

This bill, specifically:

  • Works with the Judicial Branch to speed up juvenile arraignments.
  • Permits GPS monitoring for repeat juvenile offenders.
  • Provides 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.
  • Treats car theft uniformly, punishing it by the number of offenses instead of the value of the car stolen.
  • Requires local police to be notified when applicants for gun permits do not pass background checks.
The child care industry was hit hard by the pandemic and as we look to rebuild, we know this is an area where we must focus our attention.

With the passage of SB 408, the House acted to develop and implement a small business child care incentive program to promote the expansion of existing child care centers and the development of new child care centers in the state. Click on the image for more details.

Family Child Care Providers served a critical role over the last couple years, offering caregivers a safe, small group setting with flexible hours to ensure their child's needs are met while managing the constant changes of the pandemic.

Among other technical changes, the House passed HB 5279 to prioritize these providers like other care settings, helping parents and caregivers, and supporting the industry while it battles shortages. 

Though lead poisoning is often viewed as a thing of the past, a recent report by CT's Department of Public Health found that more than 1000 CT children under the age of 6 were poisoned by lead in 2020.

The state has continued to work on several initiatives to combat this still very real issue, including legislation just passed to reduce the thresholds of blood lead levels in individuals to require for quicker response and information sharing to effectively combat the problem.

Our children's lives have become increasingly virtual and with that, they face increasing risk of encountering potentially harmful and inappropriate communication. HB 5468 creates a new law prohibiting this dangerous communication and setting additional penalties to keep our kids safe online.
We took big steps to protect your personal information. SB 6 essentially lays out a consumer "bill of rights" by providing individuals the right to see which companies are collecting their personal data and opt out of sales or sharing of their information – giving consumers, not corporations the control.
Reminder: National Take Back Day/Wellness Resource Fair in West Hartford Saturday