State Capitol Update for the week of May 2nd

May 2, 2022

Dear Friend,

This is my State Capitol update for the week of May 2nd.

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


The 2022 Legislative session gaveled out at midnight on Wednesday, May 4, and we are all glad to be back home, and able to get some sleep again.  (I was very tired when I did that video, and sincerely hope I was able to string sentences together.)
The pace picked up on last few session days, and the days were long.  The final day of session in both the House and Senate included tributes to departing legislators, some of whom are leaving after long careers, some because they are running for another elected office, and others because they cannot afford to continue doing this “part-time” job which makes other employment and family responsibilities very challenging, even for those who don’t have a lengthy commute to Hartford.  It is hard to say goodbye to colleagues whose expertise you have relied on, with whom you have spent long hours working out details of legislation and shared personal stories and challenges.  Those of us fortunate enough to return after the upcoming elections in November will join a brand-new body with many new faces and new priorities.  That will be exciting, but this moment is bittersweet. 
After the gavel fell on Wednesday, there were traditional “receptions” (parties) in all of the caucus rooms, the offices of the Governor and his staff, and many other rooms throughout the Capitol complex, as we marked the end of another session. I made the rounds to say goodbye to departing friends, thank others for their advice, support, and legislative maneuvering, and generally honor the many relationships built over the course of the year. I ended up back in my office, intending to pick up a few things and quickly exit the grounds to get some sleep, but I ended up putting some music on as I went through all the notes, lists, reports, post-its and other papers that had piled up on my desk, reflecting on what we got done this year. 
All but one of the Public Safety & Security Committee’s bills that made it to the final stage got passed in both chambers this year.  That was a big deal, and they included important legislation helping police departments with the accreditation process, shutting down the sale of stolen catalytic converters, improving fire safety, and providing resources to address mental health of our law enforcement officers.  We passed important environmental bills addressing climate change and toxic chemicals, and one requiring DEEP to craft a careful policy on removing hazard trees.  We took aim at the mental health crisis, providing significant resources for young people in particular.  And we passed a budget that funded a lot of important needs, including helping the nonprofits who work with some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, that also included $600 million in tax cuts. (Some, but not all, of these bills are highlighted in more detail below.) I’m proud of that work, and feel very fortunate to have the privilege of doing it on behalf of the citizens of CT’s 64th District. 
In the days ahead, I’ll dive back into the details of what got passed in which bill, and whether and when they become law.  

And I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the 64th District, including mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers, as well as anyone who has lent emotional support and advice in a moment of need.  I’ve had a lot of those “mothers” in my life, and will be thinking of all of them this weekend.  

Here’s a list of today’s topics:
  • COVID-19 Weekly Update. Click Here
  • Vaccine Clinic at Town Grove Senior Center in Lakeville on May 9. Click Here
  • The impending demise of Roe v. Wade. Click Here
  • Budget Highlights Click Here
  • Bills Passed in the House Session This Week. Click Here
  • Sharon Hospital Community Roundtable Discussion, May 12 in Falls Village. Click Here
  • Housatonic Valley FFA Open House May 18. 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.”

Vaccine Clinic at Town Grove Senior Center in Lakeville on May 9

The Town of Salisbury is hosting a vaccine clinic at the Town Grove Senior Center in Lakeville on Monday, May 9, from 1:00pm-5:00pm.


Please contact Lisa McAuliffe, Town of Salisbury Director of Recreation and Senior Services, at 860-435-5186 with any questions.

The impending demise of Roe v. Wade
draft opinion leaked earlier this week suggests that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the half-century-old judgment that protects the right to an abortion.  The opinion, while not final, uses a maximalist approach which not only overrules Roe and the decisions that have relied upon and expressly upheld it for decades, but threatens many other constitutional rights we have come to rely on.  The central thrust of the opinion is that if it is not expressly mentioned in the constitution or widely held to be a right available n the 18th century (when white, propertied, men held all levers of political and economic authority), it does not pass the text. There are many other constitutional rights at risk under that reasoning, including same sex marriage, other LGBTQ rights, and contraception.
If Roe is struck down, nearly half of the states are positioned to ban or restrict access to abortion, with some states enacting laws to ban or burden such care outside of their borders.

I am proud to say that during the 2022 Legislative Session, the Connecticut General Assembly passed the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act, which legally protects medical providers and patients traveling to Connecticut seeking abortion care. This legislation also allows for advanced practitioners for whom abortion care is part of their scope of practice to perform abortions.
Roe V. Wade was codified into the Connecticut Constitution in 1990, but now with its impending demise looming, the legislature has provided a safeguard protecting that right to an abortion and protecting a person's right to choose. Governor Lamont has signed this legislation into law, putting Connecticut at the forefront of protecting reproductive rights.
Governor Lamont has also joined a coalition of 17 governors in calling for the U.S. Congress to take immediate action to protect reproductive rights and access to abortion. In a letter to Congressional leaders, the governors called for Congress to work quickly to pass legislation to codify the rights and protections prescribed in Roe v. Wade.
Specifically, the 17 governors called upon the Senate to pass S.1975, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal and co-sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy. Last year, the House passed its version of the bill (H.R. 3755) with the support of Connecticut’s entire House delegation.
I will continue to fight for the right to choose, protect practitioners and keep Connecticut a safe place for all.


Budget Highlights
Budgets are long, complicated documents, even in a year when we are essentially just making adjustments to the biennium budget passed last year.  I wanted to highlight a few aspects of the budget this week, and I’ll provide more next week.
Additional budget investments for a cleaner environment include:
  • New incentives for consumer and commercial electric vehicles
  • Establishing the Office of Aquatic Invasive Species
  • More sophisticated testing of shellfish
  • Repopulating native salmon and eel populations 
  • New waste management programming
  • Increasing access to rebates and vouchers to buy electric vehicles through programs like CHEAPR
  • Equalizing the registration fee for electric vehicles with all other motor vehicles and establishing a voucher program for the purchase of electric bicycles
Protecting our environment and addressing climate change are challenges that affect all of us. 
Our state budget delivers on policies that, without a doubt, are steps forward to achieving our environmental goals, including better health outcomes for all residents.

Transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to worsening air quality leading to higher rates of illnesses like asthma. Investing in our transportation sector and encouraging wide-scale electric vehicle distribution will greatly contribute to reducing these emissions and ultimately, improving air quality - SB 4  invests in transitioning to electric and zero-emission state vehicles, school busses, transit buses, and much more.
Reducing toxic air pollutants and setting emissions control measures will help us and future generations breathe easier by bringing Connecticut to the level of other states that have strong clean air policies in place.

Connecticut has made strides rebounding from the economic fallout of COVID-19, but recent the surge in the cost of living driven by inflation and gas prices has stalled the recovery for some. Our state's small businesses, arts and culture organizations, and nonprofits are owned by our neighbors and make up the backbone of our local and state economies.

This session, we've presented a state budget proposal that not only includes $600 million in tax cuts, but it invests in our economic recovery. With our Rainy Day fund at a historic high and a projected budget surplus, Connecticut is in an opportune position to make groundbreaking investments in the following areas:

  • Arts and Culture
    • The pandemic had devasting impacts on Connecticut's arts sector. We're supporting the creative economy by investing in our museums, theatres, and other venues throughout the state. 
  • Social Services
    • Since the start of the pandemic, demand for nonprofit services has risen dramatically, and the high rates of inflation has impacted their operations. We're making direct investments in nonprofit agencies to help them keep up with inflation and continue serving our must vulnerable communities.
  • Minority-Owned Businesses
    • We're providing increased business development funding for minority-owned businesses to drive economic prosperity in our communities and make Connecticut more equitable.

We're also working to make Connecticut more affordable for families by making large cash investments in affordable housing.

The past two years have been difficult, as we've faced economic challenges through an ongoing pandemic and now record high rates of inflation. The budget plan we've put forth works to maintain our economic recovery and improve the quality of life for all residents.  

Every student in our state should have access to an education filled with opportunity that sets them up for success. The best investment we can make in our future is giving our schools the tools and resources they need today to help our students succeed tomorrow – and our state budget doubles down on the investment.

Our schools educate students of all backgrounds with different needs. We are fortunate to have incredibly talented educators in our state that have gone the extra mile, especially during the pandemic as they adapted to a rapidly changing educational landscape.

The budget will:

  • Increase local funding for special education
  • Expand minority teacher scholarships
  • Expand school choice opportunities
  • Stabilize funding for CT colleges and Universities
  • Expand successful LEAP attendance program
  • Double funding for bilingual education

Our schools are still rebounding from the pandemic, and this budget will ensure our students and educators have the supports they need to succeed.

List of bills passed in session this week.

Based on the recommendations of the Police Accountability Task Force, HB 5372, among some other updates to state statutes, will support the deployment of social workers to assist in responses to police calls involving mental health, substance abuse, or other social service needs.

Selecting an energy efficient place to live can be a huge factor for renters trying to assess housing affordability. Just passed by the House, HB 5041 helps to provide transparency of potential energy costs before a customer commits to a new place to live.

The pandemic led to 1.1 million women leaving the workforce nationally – accounting for approximately 63% of lost jobs according to the National Women's Law Center. The House just passed SB 407 to address this severe deficit and fill currently open positions.

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. In recognizing the significance of the day, the House just passed SB 350 to distinguish it as a legal holiday.
The General Assembly has continued to support our children's well being – just passed through the House, SB 2 addresses the pandemic impact on childhood depression, anxiety, and developmental delays by making necessary investments in comprehensive support services.

Our children have faced increased stress and anxiety as we worked to combat the pandemic and attending school can serve as a refuge to many students. SB 1 establishes several initiatives to better address student's mental and physical health including supporting and expanding school-based health centers, assisting efforts to hire additional social workers, equipping schools with Narcan, supporting minority teacher recruitment, and building out mental health plans for student athletes.
As we prepare for a flow of federal funding for updating and repairing the state's infrastructure, the House is taking action to ensure the Department of Transportation is fully staffed. SB 215 supports the state's efforts to recruit and retain qualified individuals for careers in transportation engineering.
The cost of attending a postsecondary education program extends well beyond the cost of attending a class. While accruing debt for attending school, students are worried about the cost of affording laptops, broadband, transportation, and several other related costs. The House just passed SB 103 to enable CHESLA to increase access to postsecondary education opportunities.
Health care workers are currently one of the most in-demand careers – and as we optimistically move toward a post pandemic world, we know that they will remain integral to the state's continued success in combatting the pandemic and any future public health emergencies. SB 251 will address the current critical shortage by requiring the Office of Workforce strategy to assess the shortage and make recommendations to grow existing workforce development and job training programs.
Like other states across the country, CT has seen an increase in the theft of catalytic converters. With the passage of SB 256, we are working to interrupt the process of profiting off stolen catalytic converters by aiding law enforcement in the tracking and identification of potential criminal activity.

Early detection of breast cancer is necessary to early diagnosis and the probability of receiving life-saving treatment – however, out-of-pocket costs of some screening procedures and tests have served as a deterrent. SB 358 will help patients take control of their health and expand access to preventative services by covering up-to-date diagnostic and treatment services.

Connecticut residents deserve clean air, but transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to worsening air quality leading to higher rates of illnesses like asthma. Investing and encouraging wide-scale electric vehicle distribution is necessary to reducing these emissions and ultimately, improving air quality. The House just passed the Connecticut Clean Air Act to help the state breathe a little easier.


CT took an important step forward to protect employee rights with the passage of SB 163. "Captive audience" meetings are when employers force employees to listen to religious or political speech. That's not fair or right – and in CT, are no longer allowed.

Sharon Hospital Community Roundtable Discussion, May 12 in Falls Village

Sharon Hospital will host an in-person community roundtable discussion from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at the Falls Village Fire Department, 188 US-7S, Falls Village, Conn. Community members are encouraged to join the open forum to ask questions and provide feedback on the facility’s transformative plans, announced in September 2021.

Housatonic Valley FFA Open House May 18
It’s that time of year again!  The 2022 FFA Open House will be held on May 18th from 7pm – 9pm, including many student exhibitions, barn animals, hay rides, and some guest appearances from other large animals!

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.