State Capitol Update for the week of April 18th

April 18, 2022

This is my State Capitol update for the week of April 18th.

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

The intensive phase of session has begun, with big agendas in each of our three session days this week.  My seat in chamber is across the aisle from the Majority Leader and the Chair of the House Screening Committee (who control the flow of bills we hear on the House floor), so when there’s a pause in the action for whatever reason, and we need to change plans, I am well-positioned for the “Hey, Horn – got a bill we can run?”  It pays to be organized, with bill summaries, reference numbers, and scripts for the formalized language on the floor on my desk and ready to go.  Of course, you also need to be physically in chamber, which, when I’m not negotiating language on amendments, or talking to colleagues and advocates about bills coming up, I am. 
Sometimes debate on bills is routine, with colleagues reprising exchanges that have become a ritual over the years, and sometimes they are fresh, sharp and persuasive.  When a colleague shares a personal experience with an issue, it can become emotional and powerful, and can change votes.  Sometimes it gets testy, as tempers flare with the end of session around the corner.  And delay is a weapon: we do not shut down debate in Connecticut, which means that, at this time of year especially, long debates and procedural arguments kill bills. 
There are generally two kinds of amendments that you will see being raised.  There are the ones getting negotiated in the hallways and offices of the Capitol – between and among colleagues from both sides of the aisle, as well as advocates and lobbyists.  Sometimes those change up to minutes before passage, and they usually represent much compromise and hard work to get agreement between enough groups to get the votes to pass.  These are usually “friendly” amendments, advocated for by the committee Chair.
And sometimes amendments are not negotiated at all, or even discussed before being raised, and are largely performative: made to make a point, force a difficult vote often on a separate issue, or threaten to kill a bill that is otherwise widely popular.  We had one of these amendments proposed during the debate on a Public Safety bill that is among the most important we have this year (HB 5420, on mental health in law enforcement – see the section below for a fuller description). 
Neither I nor the ranking member (the senior House Republican on the committee) were asked to support or even informed about, the amendment before it was raised so there was no serious effort to gain support, but because it concerned a challenging issue on which the House is narrowly divided, we had to scramble to make sure that everyone knew, even if they supported the substance of the amendment, that its passage would kill the underlying bill.  It made for an interesting few minutes on the floor, but after the amendment failed, the underlying bill passed unanimously.
Happy Earth Day!  There are loads of events in and around the Northwest Corner cleaning up roadways and parks and generally heralding the arrival of spring.  I’ll hope to see you at one of them this weekend. 
Here’s a list of today’s topics:
  • COVID-19 Weekly Update. Click Here
  • House passes HB 5414 protecting access to reproductive healthcare in CT. Click Here
  • HB 5420: Addressing mental health and law enforcement Click Here
  • HB 5301: Addressing student food insecurity Click Here
  • Summary of bills passed this week. Click Here
  • Happy Earth Day! Click Here
  • Regional Earth Day events. Click Here
  • Report on Environmental Quality in Connecticut released. Click Here
  • GreenerGov CT Progress Report release.d Click Here
  • Connecticut to receive federal funding to treat substance use disorders. Click Here
  • State Department of Education rolls our first phase of new model curricula. Click Here
  • State Department of Education provides $8 million to continue summer enrichment program. Click Here
  • Healthcare in Cornwall Click Here
  • Kent Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) tickets on sale 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.”

House passes HB 5414 protecting access to reproductive healthcare in CT

As we witness anti-abortion laws being enacted across the country and anticipate the overturn of Roe v. Wade, expanding access and protecting reproductive rights in Connecticut has never been more important.
The landmark decision of Roe v. Wade, which upholds a women’s right to choose, is codified into our state law. Abortion-related care will remain legal here, but that is unfortunately not the case for many states across the country, some of which are passing laws that threaten to punish CT residents for actions that are legal and protected in our state.

On Tuesday, the House voted to expand the eligibility for certain advanced healthcare practitioners to provide legal protections for those seeking or providing abortion-related care in Connecticut. The bill also protects individuals in CT who are accused of seeking or providing reproductive healthcare in Connecticut that may be criminal in other states from both extradition and financial penalties imposed by other states.

House Bill 5414:
  • Expands eligibility to perform abortion care to include advanced nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants to perform first-trimester aspiration and medication abortions.
  • Protects individuals from extradition who are accused of seeking or providing reproductive healthcare in Connecticut that may be criminal in other states.
  • Prohibits state agencies and health care providers from assisting in out-of-state investigations or prosecutions of reproductive healthcare that is legal in Connecticut.
  • Anyone being sued in another state for allegedly providing, or receiving support for, reproductive health services that are legal in Connecticut can recover certain costs they incurred defending themselves.

Connecticut has been a leader in protecting the right to access full reproductive healthcare, but it has been 32 years since the legislature examined abortion laws in our state. As we watch other states not only infringe upon an individual’s right to choose, but reach beyond their borders to threaten to penalize individuals in CT for actions legal in our state, I’m proud that CT has again taken up the mantle of leadership to protect these rights.…

HB 5420: Addressing mental health and law enforcement

Throughout this year’s legislative session, the Public Safety Committee has been focused on mental health needs in law enforcement.  Our men and women in uniform face increased stress, PTSD, depression and higher rates of suicide, due both to the kind of traumatic events that make headlines, and to the day-to-day strain of the job.  They are also tasked increasingly with addressing mental health needs in our communities.  They need support, resources, and tools to address their own needs and those of the communities they serve. 

I’m so proud that this week the House passed HB 5420, which

is focused on these issues . Among other things, it protects officers from penalties for seeking mental health services, it directs the creation of a training curriculum for police interactions with those with mental or physical disabilities, and those who are deaf, and creates a task force of officers and mental health professionals to study the needs, programs, and barriers to access to mental health services and training for law enforcement professionals.  There’s much work to do, and this is a great step forward to protect our communities and officers. The bill passed unanimously.
HB 5301: Addressing student food insecurity
We often don't think about food insecurity impacting our college students, but the truth is that many students face challenges in providing nutritional, affordable meals for themselves. Remote learning during the pandemic presented additional challenges.
The added stress of food insecurity can significantly impact a student's success in pursuing higher education, which can lead to lower academic performance, depression, poor physical health, and low retention.
This week the House passed HB 5301 which works to identify the nutritional needs of students and establish strategies to combat food insecurity at our colleges and universities.


Under this bill, public colleges and universities in Connecticut will conduct a survey and collect data to evaluate programs and services that address the needs of food insecure students. The bill also identifies programs offered by colleges that meet federal criteria to expand access to the food-assistance SNAP program to full-time students.

Programs and services that can help:

  • Lower cost food or meals plans
  • Provide additional swipes on meal plan
  • Provide financial assistance
  • With access to campus food pantries
  • Help with access to fruit and vegetable incentive program
Summary of other bills passed by the House this week


No family should have to face the difficult decision between affording bills or paying for the out-of-pocket charges on critically needed medication. Through passage of HB 5386, the House just moved to cap out-of-pocket costs for EpiPens so that families aren't financially strained in accessing these life-saving devices. 

It's imperative that we ensure our children are not only having fun but staying safe when participating in youth sports leagues. HB  will establish a task force to study safety protocols and make any recommendations to keep our children safe.

HB  to make it easier for supermarkets to provide surplus food to those in need – so that we may not only have plans in place that reduce food waste, but we find solutions that support the members of our communities.

Our state is home to several arts and culture institutions which help to enrich the lives of residents, create jobs in their communities, and help to boost tourism in our state. HB 5267 will  ensure that CT's arts and culture sector is included in state-wide marketing plans so that we may further promote the great parts of our state. 

Patients who will be under deep sedation, anesthesia or may fall unconscious should be sure that they can trust in their medical professionals to keep them safe and remain transparent about the procedures they may face. HB 5278 will require physicians to receive explicit consent before a pelvic exam can be performed, in addition to ensuring providers are properly educated on conditions such as endometriosis to increase patients' dignity and bodily autonomy.

Nursing homes have faced critical shortages in the last few years and as they work to replace staff, they have faced challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified individuals – including increasingly relying on nursing pool agencies which often cause the cost of labor to skyrocket. HB 5313 establishes maximum rates nursing pool agencies may charge a facility.

To ensure that the state is prepared for the energy option of the future, the House acted on HB 5200 to study the feasibility, workforce development opportunities, and cost-effectiveness of hydrogen power.

Happy Earth Day!
"Invest In Our Planet" is the theme of Earth Day 2022. Climate change is not only an environmental issue but an increasingly economic one as well.

A green future is a prosperous one. EARTHDAY.ORG offers 52 ways to invest in the planet.

There are also a number of climate-focused bills before the General Assembly this session that would invest in Connecticut's environment and economy. 

HB 5327, An Act Concerning Energy Storage Systems And Electric Distribution System Reliability: 
HB 5327 passed 141-0 in the House last week, and it helps build out the in-state energy storage industry and encourage future investments, greatly benefitting Connecticut ratepayers. Eversource and United Illuminating will maximize the value of any completed energy storage system through its participation in wholesale electricity and capacity markets. Any net revenues from such participation will be credited to ratepayers to offset the cost of the completed system.

SB 4, An Act Concerning The Connecticut Clean Air Act:
 SB 4 would expand the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) and make electric bikes eligible for CHEAPR rebates. It would also require state and regional organizations to mitigate the carbon emissions impact of new projects with carbon-reducing projects, including installing electric vehicle charging stations, bikeways and multi-use paths and improving public transit. 

SB 10, An Act Concerning Climate Change Mitigation: 
SB 10cements a commitment for Connecticut to transition to a zero-carbon electricity supply by 2040. Clean, zero-carbon electricity is the future of the economy. SB10 offers planning, policies and funding foundations to achieve this goal. Additionally, it would provide businesses with needed certainty for long-term planning and help bring good-paying clean energy jobs to Connecticut.

SB 214, An Act Concerning The Sale Of Electric Vehicles In The State: 
38% of Connecticut's greenhouse gas emissions emanate from the transportation sector. More electric vehicles on the roads will decrease emissions and make for cleaner air. SB 214 would allow electric vehicle manufacturers like Telsa to conduct direct-to-consumer sales and bypass the antiquated requirement that auto manufacturers sell their vehicles through the franchise dealership model.

Bold, decisive action is needed — and not just on Earth Day — but every day.
Regional Earth Day events
The Northwest Corner has been out this week celebrating Earth Week, and there are several events continuing through the weekend.  If you can’t make it to one near you, you can always grab a pair of gloves and a garbage bag and head out on your own street to clean up the roadside!

Washington will hold an Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 23rd, refreshments, cupcakes, music, Shepaug senior projects, the annual roadside cleanup, and community fun! 

Visit the website of the Washington Environmental Council to sign up for a road and see where your friends will be. There will be a dumpster at the town hall all week to drop off trash!

Sharon will hold its annual Sharon Spring Cleaning, a program of the Sharon Energy and Environment Commission (SEEC), on Saturday, April 23rd at 10 a.m. Meet on the Green in front of Town Hall.  (Rain Date is Saturday, April 30th at 10 a.m.). Check the SEEC page on the Sharon Town Website for updates on a weather-related change of date. 
SEEC provides safety vests, garbage bags, and plastic gloves (although
volunteers may also bring their own) to engage in roadside cleanup. Bring a friend -- better yet, bring two! Or just come alone and meet your wonderful neighbors.There is parking available around the Green and behind Town Hall.
This year they are looking for two kinds of volunteers:

Baggers: You can select one of our pre-determined routes, then head there with a friend
or partner to pick up the trash on that route. SEEC volunteers will let you know where to leave your full bags near the end of the route so that they may be collected and taken to the Transfer

Collectors with pick-up trucks: A few volunteers with pick-up trucks are needed to
visit the various collection points, collect the bags, and take them to the Transfer Station on
Saturday afternoon.
If you would like more information, or if you would like to bring a team of
volunteers, please contact SEEC here.

Report on Environmental Quality in Connecticut released
Earlier this week, the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality (Council) released its assessment of the condition of the state’s environment in time for Earth Day. The report, Environmental Quality in Connecticut, was delivered to Governor Lamont, as required by law. It is an unbiased assessment of Connecticut’s natural environment, both positive and negative, during the 2021 calendar year. Since the Council’s creation in 1971, its Annual Reports have succinctly documented the state’s environmental changes and challenges.  
Generally, Connecticut’s environment is better than it was ten years ago and significantly better than when the Council released its first report, 50 years ago. There has been a dramatic improvement in the quality of the state’s air. Other dramatic trends include increasing raptor populations and public adoption of residential photovoltaic systems.
As in previous years, climate change remains a significant challenge with consequences evident in heavier precipitation, shoreline flooding, exceedances in ground level ozone pollution, hypoxia in Long Island Sound, displacement of local biota – such as piping plover, beach closings and intrusions by invasive plants and insects. The progress made by the state towards realizing its goals for open space acquisition, farmland preservation, waste diversion, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are documented in the report, which also identifies which are falling short of the pace needed to meet those goals.
The 2021 Annual Report is designed to be read online to allow use of the navigation buttons to move from section to section within it or to immediately go to specific topics in the Index. Online, the values on the charts will appear under your cursor.

GreenerGov CT Progress Report released

This week also brought the release of the 2022 GreenerGov CT Progress Report, detailing progress in making government operations more environmentally sustainable, and celebrated stand-out champions and projects at state agencies and entities at the GreenerGov Awards Ceremony.

The governor’s Executive Order No. 1, signed in 2019, called on agencies to recommit to – and expand – the state’s Lead by Example program to reduce energy use, water, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions while lowering operating costs in state government facilities and operations.

Despite the challenges of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut’s state agencies, through the GreenerGov CT initiative, have continued to make great strides that saved energy, water, and money, laying the foundation for the deployment of future sustainability-focused projects and better positioning state agencies to meet the goals outlined for them in the executive order – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% below 2001 levels; reduce waste disposal by 25% from a 2020 baseline; reduce water consumption by 10% from a 2020 baseline; and set additional sub-goals by 2030.

The report follows the release of Governor Lamont’s sweeping climate Executive Order No. 21-3 that sets eight new sub-targets for state agencies to meet regarding clean electricity procurement, organics and food waste diversion, electric vehicle deployment, and more.

Highlights of the report include:


·     Executive branch agencies are 40% of the way toward the Executive Order No. 1 greenhouse gas emission reduction goal.    Since FY19, greenhouse gas emissions from executive branch building energy use have fallen 14% since FY19.

·     Executive branch water consumption is 70% of the way toward the Executive Order No. 1 water consumption reduction goal. Since FY19, water consumption has declined 7%.

·     Utility expenditures related to executive branch operations have fallen 15% by $15,661,546 since FY19. The state centralized collection of hundreds of thousands of utility bills from across the state’s operations and facilities to share expenditures and water, energy, fuel, and emissions impacts in a public-facing Data Dashboard.

·     Contracts were secured for pilot projects at a dozen state facilities to host over 24 MW of new solar capacity, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of over 170 homes.

·     The Department of Transportation completed the installation of more than 50 new outlets and plugs available publicly for electric vehicle drivers to charge and added 26 new conservation areas in highway rights-of-way, adding to a statewide 180-acre total of pollinator-friendly corridors.

·     Gasoline use in state vehicles has dropped 18% since FY19 thanks to reduced vehicle miles travelled and new GPS telematics hardware installed on more than 90% of the state fleet to help identify operational fuel savings and candidates for vehicle transition to electric vehicles.


GreenerGov CT is composed of leadership from the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM), Department of Administrative Services (DAS), and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), with senior sustainability officers designated by each executive branch agency.


For more information on GreenerGov CT, visit

Connecticut to receive federal funding to treat substance use disorders


This week the federal government approved Connecticut’s application for funds that will provide heightened treatment of Connecticut residents struggling with substance use disorders, including first-time federal funding of residential care services and increased provider payment rates.


The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has greenlighted Connecticut’s plan for increased services under a “Section 1115 demonstration waiver,” a key step that paves the way for matching funds in crucial areas not typically covered by Medicaid. The waiver covers all substance use disorders, including alcohol, cannabis, illicit drugs, and misuse of prescribed medications. 


In summary, this expanded coverage and reinvestment in the service system will help individuals struggling with substance use disorder by ensuring access to critical, high-quality treatment, including medications for addiction treatment; improving health outcomes for all individuals served; reducing overdose deaths; reducing preventable utilization of emergency departments; improving transitions between levels of care; and reducing readmissions to the same or higher levels of care, when preventable.


Due to longstanding federal policies, until now Connecticut was prohibited from receiving any federal matching funds for Medicaid/HUSKY Health members admitted for residential substance use treatment.

State Department of Education rolls our first phase of new model curricula
This week phase one of Connecticut’s new model curricula was released for educators statewide. The first phase includes math curriculum for grades 6 to 8, and financial literacy curriculum for grades 6 to 12. These resources will be available to all Connecticut educators at no cost through GoOpenCT, Connecticut’s digital library.
Last year, Connecticut passed Public Act 21-2, which requires the Connecticut State Department of Education to develop, for the first time, age appropriate and rigorous model curricula to supplement existing local curricula. Model curricula development is done through collaboration with the State Education Resource Center, subject matter experts, district officials, educators, and additional stakeholders. With this implementation, Connecticut becomes one of 19 “open education resource” states in the nation.


State Department of Education provides $8 million to continue summer enrichment program

The Connecticut State Department of Education is dedicating $8 million of federal American Rescue Plan funding to continue the state’s highly successful Summer Enrichment Program in 2022.

Launched last year in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the grant program was created to help connect students during the summer months to high-quality enrichment opportunities, including at summer camps, childcare centers, and other similar programs, with a priority for those in towns and communities that were most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. It is funded using a portion of the state’s share of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. 

Similar to 2021, a competitive grant application will be launched to award enrichment grants to eligible organizations to provide students and families with engaging summer enrichment and learning experiences. Applicants can apply for either one expansion grant (up to $75,000) or one innovation grant (between $75,000 and $250,000) per program site. Camps can use the funds to expand the number of students served, add additional supper services and activities, and subsidize enrollment costs by providing scholarships to families from low-income backgrounds.

Earlier this year, an independent evaluation of the 2021 program was released, which concluded that the initiative successfully connected more than 108,000 students with summertime enrichment opportunities.

Application materials and other information can be found online by visiting

A virtual information session will be held on Monday, April 25, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. for interested grant applicants. (To register, click here.) An on-demand video recording of the session will be published on the Summer Enrichment website shortly after its conclusion.

Healthcare in Cornwall
Healthcare is coming to Cornwall, starting on May 4th, every Wednesday from 9 am - noon.  Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome!
Kent Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) tickets on sale
The Kent Volunteer Firemen’s Ball will return this year!  You can buy tickets today ($40 per person) for the event on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the KVFD firehouse.  It will be a celebration of all that is Kent aka “The Countryside Way.”  Enjoy the beautiful early summer weather for an evening of dinner, fun, dancing, food and community.  Reserve a table, invite some friends or even gather a few people who are new to town.  It is BYOB and bring your own appetizers, but leave the rest to KVFD.

Providing information to Connecticut residents
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, residents are encouraged to visit Residents can also subscribe to text message alerts from the state by texting the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance. Anyone who is out-of-state or requires a toll-free number can connect to Connecticut 2-1-1 by dialing 1-800-203-1234. This is intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms are strongly urged to contact their medical provider.
It is my honor to represent our district. I look forward to hearing from you about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any other topics you think I should know about. You can email me at or call me at (860)-240-8585. Thanks for reading, and I wish you a safe weekend.