State Capitol Update for the week of April 25th

April 25, 2022

Dear Friend,

This is my State Capitol update for the week of April 25th.

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


Including today, there are five session days left.  The last two nights the House was in session well past midnight, as we sprint to get our business done this year.  Each morning, about an hour before session begins, we get what is dubbed the "hot list," which provides us a rough idea of the day's agenda.  As soon as we get it, and we all try, individually and collectively, to translate it into estimates of how long we will be here, based on what we know about opposition or enthusiasm for each bill, both of which can increase the time it takes to debate it.   As we get closer to the final day, we are hearing more Senate bills, and (hopefully) the Senate is taking up more of ours as we try to speed bills on their way to the Governor's desk.  We will see what today brings, but I'm hoping to make it home to the Northwest Corner tonight.
Many of the bills the House has passed this week are bills that I have co-sponsored, championed, or helped negotiate.  One of the bills the House debated and passed yesterday was HB 5417, which focuses on juvenile justice and services, firearm background checks, and car theft.  Those topics have been front and center over the last several months, as we experienced an uptick in certain kinds of crimes, including auto theft and associated violent crime, some of which involved juveniles.  These are topics which touch many nerves, from concerns about public safety and the need to protect our residents from crime to the need to provide better pathways and resources to juveniles left adrift during the pandemic.  These issues are also easily turned into political soundbites, particularly in an election year, so I was particularly proud that we had finally been able to reach bipartisan agreement on the final bill, and I was looking forward to settling into the debate. 
Just as that debate was beginning, however, the leadership of the Environment Committee drafted me to join a meeting with the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) on SB 117, which is the bill addressing hazard tree removal policy in the wake of the disastrous tree removal at Housatonic Meadows State Park.  While that bill has passed in the Senate, DEEP was digging in its heels in opposition to the bill as passed, so we needed to sit down in a room and work through specific language if we were going to have any chance of passing a bill and getting it signed by the Governor.  That took priority, so I ended up missing most of the debate on the floor for HB 5417, though I did make it back to chamber for the bipartisan vote and to see it pass 129-17.  (For more information on this bill, see the section below.)
The other main backdrop is the budget.  As this is the second year of our biennium budget cycle, the budget this year is really adjustments made to the main budget we passed last year.  As with the main budget, the adjustments have two parts: the dollars and cents of the line items of both spending and revenue that need to meet the various budgetary constraints we must live within, and then the policies that back up those numbers, otherwise known as the implementor. 
Earlier this week we reached an agreement with the Governor on the overall budget, including $600 million in tax relief.  Now the implementer is being crafted, which takes a few days.  Currently we expect to vote on the budget at the beginning of next week, and I'll be providing more details when they are available.
Finally, to the many of you asking: the remote meetings bill was signed by the Governor yesterday, so towns will be able to continue to hold meetings remotely.  (See the section below for more detail.)
Here’s a list of today’s topics:
  • COVID-19 Weekly Update. Click Here
  • Vaccination clinic at Housatonic Valley Regional High School Click Here
  • List of bills passed that I co-sponsored. Click Here
  • Bill allowing continuation of remote meetings bill (HB 5269) signed by Governor. Click Here
  • Agreement reached on budget proposal. Click Here
  • SB 6 passes the House: protecting your online privacy. Click Here
  • Bipartisan bill on juvenile justice and car theft passes in the House. Click Here
  • Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce seeking nominations for business leader awards. Click Here
  • Access Health CT announces new special enrollment period for CT residents with lower income. 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.”

Vaccination clinic at Housatonic Valley Regional High School

There will be a 12+ COVID Vaccination Clinic at Housatonic Valley Regional High School on Friday, April 29, 2022, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.

All three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, will be available.  All boosters will also be available for eligible populations.  Further information on primary shots and boosters can be found here:

List of bills passed that I co-sponsored

No family should be left in the dark following the death of a loved one – but for two families in Bridgeport, that was their tragic reality. HB 5349 will require police to notify a deceased person's family within 24 hours after identifying the victim so that their families may be met with true compassion and decency during a traumatic event.

                                                   Senate Bill 176

The House is continuing to prioritize a clean energy focused future by passing SB 176 to continue building out local deployment of solar power and creating several clean energy jobs.

Mitigating the effects of climate change is an urgent matter and hitting our target of zero greenhouse gas emissions in the electric sector is one of the more meaningful steps in addressing this problem. SB 10 reaffirms our commitment to slowing the acceleration of the climate crisis by codifying a set target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

                                                  Senate Bill 217

Hate crimes have become a systemic issue and with incidences on the rise, Connecticut needs a clear set of resources and best practices to report and investigate hate crimes and criminal acts committed by extremist groups. Today I had the privilege of bringing out SB 217 onto the House floor for a vote, a bill that establishes the Hate Crimes Investigative Unit within the State Police to combat the problem, assisting local law enforcement with gathering data, investigating and preventing these heinous crimes.

HB5001, An Act Concerning Children's Mental Health, is a transformative piece of legislation that responds directly to the youth mental health crisis, which has been exacerbated by the impacts of the pandemic, presenting itself in the form of increased rates of depression, suicide and self-harm among adolescents.
Bill allowing continuation of remote meetings bill (HB 5269) signed by Governor
I have heard from many of you that the option of holding and attending meetings remotely has significantly improved your ability to participate in local government. The ability to conduct remote meetings was set to expire on April 30, and HB 5269 removed that deadline, allowing this practice to continue indefinitely. 
I thank the House Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, Representative Cristin McCarthy-Vahey for championing this bill, and patiently responding each time I texted her, or turned around in my chair in our chamber (she sits right behind me) asking about the status of this bill.
Agreement reached on budget proposal
After months of negotiation and hearing input from residents across our state, I am happy to say that we are 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 this week offers Connecticut tax-payers $600 million in tax cuts.  That is a big deal.

Our budget plan CUTS YOUR TAXES by:
•    Cutting state income taxes for retirees
•    Lowering property taxes on homes and cars
•    Extending tax cuts for workers in low-paying jobs (EITC)
•    Creating a state tax credit for childcare
•    Extending the 25-cent gas tax cut until December
•    Establishes state child tax credit worth $250 per child

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.

SB 6 passes the House: protecting your online privacy
SB 6 takes many steps to ensure that you have the power to decide what happens to your online data. This bill limits the collection of user data by digital companies and establishes a consumer's right to view, delete and opt out of the collection of their personal information by online businesses.

Bipartisan bill on juvenile justice and car theft passes in the House

Driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation saw an uptick in crime. House Democrats have been spearheading bipartisan discussions to make reasonable changes to our state's existing criminal justice statutes to address some of the challenges law enforcement officers often face when investigating a crime and improves outcomes for those who find themselves in trouble.
Let's break down HB5417. This bill focuses on:
➡️ Working with the Judicial Branch to speed up juvenile arraignments.
➡️ Permitting GPS monitoring for repeat juvenile offenders.
➡️ Providing 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.
➡️ Treating car theft uniformly, punishing it by the number of offenses instead of the value of the car stolen.
➡️ Requiring 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 just 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.

Today CT passed SB 93, expanding financing for zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and resiliency measures – helping the state to build out the infrastructure needed to support the increasing demand and putting Connecticut on the road towards a greener future.


Connecticut has worked to honor the sacrifice of our veterans. With the passage of HB 5367, the House continues this work by updating state statutes to, among other technical changes, provide expanded tax relief for veterans and update the veterans license plates to include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As we work to better Connecticut's environmental outcomes in the future – equity is critical component of that conversation. HB 5297 ensures that all communities have equitable access to a safe and healthy environment.


The most effective way to combat domestic violence is to continue speaking about it – erasing the stigma and shame often felt by survivors. By passing HB 5355, the House is shining a light on the issue by providing information and training to help protect survivors and potential victims both in and out of workplaces.
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.

The state's settlement with Purdue Pharma for their role in creating the opioid epidemic requires both Purdue and the Sackler family to provide significant funding to the state to support services for victims and survivors of the epidemic. HB 5044 establishes an Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee which will administer the money received by the state to support Connecticut's continuing efforts to reduce substance use disorders.


Building officials play a critical and essential role in ensuring public safety, but with significant retirements in the field, qualified individuals are becoming harder to find. The House just acted to address this shortage by passing HB 5428 to allow for a shared service to utilize existing talent and support internship and apprenticeship programs to allow for growth in the field.


Connecticut is home to beautiful shorelines with a Horseshoe Crab population that plays an integral role in the survival of several shore species. But harvesting of Horseshoe Crabs, however minimal, has caused the population to dwindle leading to functional extinction. Through HB 5140, harvesting would be prohibited to help protect the remaining population.

House Bill 5141

Marine forage fish play a critical role in the ecosystem of Connecticut's shoreline, but the lack of a limit on catching these species has caused a depletion of the species threatening the health of our coast. The House passed HB 5141 to protect and limit the number of certain forage fish species and prevent large scale commercial fisheries.
House Bill 5315

A strong relationship with finances is critical to success and being properly prepared for the future. HB 5315 would allow the Treasurer to create a Center for Financial Wellness and establish a Financial Wellness Trust Fund so that communities would have access to programs and resources necessary to increasing financial literacy.

Banks are currently able to close accounts with notice – leaving customers confused and in the dark about their own finances. To increase transparency in banking, HB 5124 requires banks to provide customers with notice and a reason for the closure of an account.


Deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing individuals often rely on interpreters to better navigate through the world – especially in critical settings like schools, hospitals, or courts. The House passed HB 5230 to increase and strengthen standards for these interpreters so deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing individuals are confident in the services they are receiving.


Connecticut is an aerospace manufacturing hub, and the House's passage of HB 5505 will continue that commitment to new helicopter production staying in the state and enable Sikorsky to build out thousands of jobs for our residents.

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.

Connecticut Innovations provides the capital necessary to invest in the state's innovation ecosystem and ultimately, help to create and retain high paying jobs. HB 5264 streamlines Connecticut Innovations to help support companies growing right here in CT.

The House acted towards improving equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare by strengthening transparency and monitoring cost growth.

Municipal financial oversight is a critical component in ensuring that finances allocated by the state are being spent in the manner they were intended and maintaining the fiscal health of our communities. HB 5427 will make the necessary updates to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the state's system for municipal financial oversight.

Senate Bill 20

Student athletes should have the opportunity to build their brand – and last year, the General Assembly worked to allow athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness. SB 20 builds on this initiative by laying out the steps to include their team's logo in those endorsement deals.

Senate Bill 408

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.

Senate Bill 418

The state's prevailing wage laws exist to ensure compensation transparency and fairness for workers. SB 418 will implement reasonable measures to hold accountable contractors who have repeatedly violated these laws.


SB 93 expands financing for zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and resiliency measures – helping the state to build out the infrastructure needed to support the increasing demand and putting Connecticut on the road towards a greener future.

Senate Bill 18

The Board of Regents and Board of Trustees play a critical role in overseeing our state universities and community colleges. SB 18 requires proper training of new board members to the Board of Regents and Board of Trustees so that they are adequately prepared to carry out their responsibilities.
Senate Bill 334

We're facing a critical truck driver shortage – and many good paying roles are currently unfilled. SB 334 will open opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals, allowing them to gain a career in a currently in-demand industry.

House Bill 5468

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.
The House passed HB 5172 to allow retired municipal police and fire department employees to continue serving their communities as school security officers without risk of losing their retirement benefits. Through this initiative municipalities can access a qualified talent pool to address current staffing shortages.
House Bill 5498

How sweet! The House passed HB 5498 to designate a Connecticut invention, the lollipop, as the official state candy.
Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce seeking nominations for business leader awards
This year’s Celebration of Success Awards is Thursday, June 23rd from 5-8 at Five Points Arts Center, 855 University Drive, Torrington.  The Northwest CT Chamber of Commerce is  looking for nominations for this year’s honorees for Business Leader, Community Leader and Quality of Life Awards. 
Nominations are open to the entire community, using the form below, and should be emailed to to  You will need to act fast, however, as nominations are due today, Friday, April 29th!
Access Health CT announces new special enrollment period for CT residents with lower income
Access Health CT (AHCT) announced a new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Connecticut residents with lower income beginning April 25. This new SEP will provide access to no- or very low-cost health insurance plans made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
To be eligible for this SEP, Connecticut residents must:
  • Be new or returning customers who are not currently enrolled in a health insurance plan through Access Health CT.
  • Have a household income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Financial help toward the cost of monthly payments, known as premiums, is only available through AHCT. This SEP is open through calendar year 2022, unless the enhanced subsidies are extended beyond 2022 through federal legislation. Coverage begins on the first of the month following enrollment.
Connecticut residents can find out if they are eligible and enroll by calling Access Health CT at 1-855-805-4325, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Those who are deaf or hearing impaired may use the TTY at 1-855-789-2428 or contact AHCT with a relay operator.

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.