State Capitol Update from Rep. Fortier

April 6, 2023

View this email in your browser
Dear Neighbor,

I hope you and your family are well. Below are items I want to share that I believe are helpful.

It is my honor to represent our district. I am excited to hear from you about the issues raised in this newsletter or any other topics you think I should know about.

Wishing people of faith and their families peaceful celebrations and spiritual reflection as our communities observe religious traditions.

Funding for Bristol
Congratulations to Bristol Beeg LLC for being one of the grant recipients receiving $240,000 in funding through the Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry Grant program for implementing climate-smart practices.
Read More Here
BristolWORKS Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
It was great to be at the BristolWORKS ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this week.

BristolWORKS is the former location of the Bristol CT Democratic Town Committee’s headquarters and has been  converted to a workforce development facility for our community.

Here I am picutured with

Andrew Rasmussen-Tuller an Economic and Community Development Commissioner, Congressman John Larson and  Scott Rosado who owns a homecare agency.
Visit the BristolWORKS!
Bipartisan Women’s Caucus

Before Wednesday's session, the Bipartisan Women's Caucus held a press conference announcing the caucus's 2023 legislative priorities. The caucus's legislative priorities are representative of the issues that impact women in Connecticut the most.

The list of bills includes:

  • HB 6273: Aims to decrease the gender wage gap by requiring employers to disclose salary ranges on public and internal job postings
  • HB 6569: Requires that a person be not less than eighteen years of age to be eligible to marry
  • SB 986: Expands maternal healthcare access and affordability in response to pending requests from several hospitals to close labor and delivery facilities
  • SB 5: Provides greater protections for and enhanced responses to individuals involved in domestic and intimate partner violence
  • HB 5194: Asks the Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity to conduct a study of community-based bereavement and grief counseling organizations and services for children and families and make recommendations for the implementation of a statewide program to deliver such services
  • HB 5003: Fully funds the Education Cost Sharing program by 2025 while also covering additional costs for high-need students at magnet and charter schools and within the Open Choice initiative
  • HB 5197: Offers access to emergency contraception from a vending machine
  • SB 1075: Provides dignity to hospice care patients by allowing them to pass away comfortably in their home
  • HB 6759: Among other provisions, requires licensed child care centers, School Readiness providers or any child care services provider that accepts state funds for infant toddler, or preschool programs to pay their employees on the OEC Compensation scale
  • HB 5001: Encourages state agencies to use their funding to reduce waiting lists, establishes an adequate workforce to serve the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) population and asks state agencies to recommend new service eligibility criteria that does not hinge on the results of an IQ test

You can watch the full press conference by clicking the video below.

Women's Bipartisan Caucus 2023 Legislative Priorities
Additional Resources for Expiring Services
On April 1, a number of resources that offered vital assistance to our most vulnerable community members came to an end or ended expanded eligibility.
  • Free Bus Services in Connecticut
    • Bus fares for all buses and ADA paratransit in Connecticut have returned
    • Federal restrictions prevent the state from extending this benefit for more than a year
  • SNAP Bump Payments and Automatic Determination
    • Families will no longer receive the additional pandemic-related payment in the middle of the month
    • Redeterminations restarted and will occur every 6 months
    • DSS does not have any control over when these benefits end because funding was provided under federal legislation
  • HUSKY Continuous Coverage
    • Medicaid enrollees will again have to provide proof of eligibility annually
If you, or a loved one were utilizing any of these resources and are now experiencing a disruption in vital care, please contact me by clicking the button below. My office and I will work to provide additional resources that may be able to offer you necessary assistance.

Email Me
DEEP Reminds Residents to be Bear Aware

Early spring is the time of year in which black bear activity increases, following the winter denning season. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reminds residents to do their part to not teach bears bad behaviors, by taking simple steps that will reduce the likelihood of encounters and potential conflicts with bears. 

No matter where you live in Connecticut, you could encounter a bear, as sightings have been recorded in every town. Bears are also reproducing across the state, continuing a long-term trend of expansion into more cities and towns. Just seven years ago, bears with cubs were reported in fewer than 50 towns, while over the last two years, bears with cubs have been reported in more than 90 different towns. Listed are some practices to follow:

  1. NEVER feed bears. 
  2. Take down, clean, and put away bird feeders by late March, or even earlier during mild weather. Store the feeders until late fall and clean up spilled seed from the ground. Store any unused bird seed and suet in a location not accessible to bears, such as a closed garage. Do not store bird seed in screened porches or sheds where bears will be able to rip screens or break through windows to access the seed. 
  3. Store garbage in secure, airtight containers inside a garage or other enclosed storage area. Adding ammonia to trash cans and bags will reduce odors that attract bears. Periodically clean garbage cans with ammonia to reduce residual odor. Put garbage for pickup outside the morning of collection and not the night before. 
  4. Do not store recyclables in a porch or screened sunroom as bears can smell these items and will rip screens to get at them. 
  5. Keep barbecue grills clean. Store grills inside a garage or shed. 
  6. Supervise dogs at all times when outside. Keep dogs on a short leash when walking and hiking. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs. (Dogs are required to be on a leash when visiting State Parks, State Forests, and Wildlife Management Areas. Check dog and leash regulations for town properties, land trusts, and other public properties before heading to those areas.) 
  7. Do not leave pet food outdoors or feed pets outside. 
  8. Use electric fencing to protect chickens, other livestock, beehives, agricultural crops, and berry bushes. 
  9. Avoid placing meat scraps or sweet foods, such as fruit and fruit peels, in compost piles.

What to do if you encounter a bear  

If you encounter a bear while in your yard or hiking, make your presence known by yelling or making other loud noises. Use a bear whistle to let bears know you are nearby. Never attempt to get closer to a bear. If a bear does not retreat, slowly leave the area. If in your yard, go into your house, garage, or other structure. If the bear persistently approaches, go on the offensive—shout, wave your arms, and throw sticks or rocks. If your dog is hiking with you, it is imperative that you keep the dog on a SHORT leash and DO NOT let it roam free – this is for the safety of your dog, yourself, and the bear. If you are in close proximity to a bear, DO NOT try to first get a photo or video. Your first priority should be getting a safe distance between yourself and the bear. 

In the rare instance when a bear appears to be aggressive toward people, residents should immediately contact DEEP’s 24-hour dispatch line at 860-424-3333. 

Reporting a bear sighting 

Bear sightings reported by the public provide valuable information to assist DEEP in monitoring changes in the black bear population. Anyone who observes a black bear in Connecticut is encouraged to report the sighting on DEEP’s website at or send an email to Information on the presence or absence of ear tags, including tag color and numbers, is particularly valuable.  

A common misconception is that a tagged bear is a problem bear, and that a bear with two ear tags was caught on two different occasions because it was causing problems. Actually, every bear receives two ear tags (one in each ear) the first time it is handled by DEEP biologists. Most tagged bears have not been caught as problem bears, but rather as part of a project researching the state’s population.

Please feel free to contact me at the Capitol at 1-800-842-8267 or by email at if you have any questions or concerns.


Mary Fortier


Forward to a friend | Unsubscribe from this list | Update subscription preferences