Legislative and Local Updates for the 149th District for the Week Ending April 7, 2023

April 10, 2023

We are two-thirds of the way through our session, and it’s been a whirlwind!
On Monday, I had the pleasure of attending Planned Parenthood’s annual luncheon. I stand in strong support of the work that Planned Parenthood of Southern New England does to provide reproductive healthcare services for all. I also attended a Proclamation marking April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Greenwich along with the Rowan Center. 
On Wednesday, I stood with the Bipartisan Women’s Caucus to announce a series of bills we will be supporting, which will go a long way in supporting women and children in the state of Connecticut.

During the House Session, we voted on numerous judicial and other appointments. The House also voted to approve an arbitration award between the State of Connecticut and the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC). This is anticipated to impact 34,514 employees including, state employees, national guard members, and employees at quasi-public agencies. 
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Spring holiday season!

Video Update: What's Happening in Hartford
Women's Bipartisan Caucus Holds Press Conference to Discuss Spring Priorities

On Wednesday, the Women's Bipartisan Caucus held a press conference to discuss our Spring priorities. We offered 10 pieces of legislation, among them:

  • 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

I'm proud to be a member of this caucus. To read more about it, the Stamford Advocate covered the press conference on Wednesday. 

HVAC Funds Coming to Stamford

I’m proud to announce that Stamford Public Schools will be receiving $2.8 million for upgrades to its air filtration system. It’s part of a larger $56 million statewide investment to improve heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for public schools.
The grants are being awarded through the HVAC Indoor Air Quality Grants Program for Public Schools, a newly established state program that is administered by the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services.

Here is a list of the schools that will be receiving state grant funding.
  • Westover Magnet Elementary School: $802,700.03
  • Stamford High School: $693,566.83
  • Rippowam Middle School: $493,271.60
  • Davenport Ridge Elementary School: $421,566.57
  • Julia Stark Elementary School: $289,142.34
  • Cloonan Middle School: $96,216.69

These funds do not cover the entire cost of the project, but the money will help make the air filtration system upgrades a reality.

Planned Parenthood Luncheon

It was a pleasure to attend the Planned Parenthood luncheon. I am proud to stand with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and the important work they do to fight for reproductive health and rights.

Proclaiming April Sexual Assault Awareness Month 

Highlighting Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a ceremony featuring proclamation readings from Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo and Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons, and comments from Rowan Center volunteers, and elected officials, including Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.

Resources for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I want you to be aware of the resources available to you and your loved ones in our community. If you need help, you can call (888) 999-5545 anytime to speak with a certified sexual assault crisis counselor in English. Dial (888) 568-8332 to speak with an expert in Spanish.
You can also contact any of the member sexual assault crisis programs in our state by clicking on THIS LINK and scrolling down to the “Need Help” section. These non-profit organizations provide free, confidential service in a safe, caring environment.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a time to focus our attention on the prevalence of sexual assault in our communities, uplift the voices of survivors, and commit ourselves to putting an end to sexual violence.

This year's theme for Sexual Assault Awareness Month is “Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity.” The campaign calls on all individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions to change ourselves and the systems surrounding us to build racial equity and respect. CLICK HERE for more information.

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 HERE. My office and I will work to provide additional resources that may be able to offer you the necessary assistance.

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you believe needs additional assistance.
Live Like Luke Clean-Up Day on April 22