Legislative & Local Updates for the 149th District for the Week Ending May 12, 2023

May 16, 2023

The House is in full swing! This week, we voted on more important bills. Here are a few I’d like to highlight:
Strengthening Red Flag LawsHB 6877 strengthens the process of keeping weapons out of the hands of those at imminent risk of injuring themselves or someone else. The bill adds safeguards to the existing red flag law so that people who may be at risk to themselves or others are given a second look when they apply for a firearm permit. 
Allowing No-Excuse Absentee VotingHJ 1 is a Constitutional Amendment that would allow no-excuse absentee voting. This means that in the next general election in November 2024, there will be a referendum on the ballot asking Connecticut voters if they are in favor of allowing the option the vote by absentee ballot without needing a qualifying reason. 
Creating the Endometriosis Data & Biorepository Program. Endometriosis is a disease that affects 1 in 10 women. It causes severe pain and can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant. HB 6672 is a bill that will require UConn Health Center to develop an endometriosis data and biorepository program to enable and promote research on early detection of endometriosis in adolescents and adults and the development of therapeutic strategies to improve clinical management of the condition. 
Strengthening Cannabis Regulations. The evolving cannabis market requires evolving regulations. We passed HB 6699, which would regulate high-THC products that have been legally sold in CT but currently fall outside of the state’s strictly regulated cannabis marketplace. 
Wishing all the moms and mother figures out there a very happy Mother's Day!

Video Update: Early Voting Passes in the House
Greenwich Sentinel Op-Ed
I submitted an op-ed to run in the Greenwich Sentinel, giving a legislative recap of some of the work my colleagues and I have been doing up in Hartford. This includes recruiting and retaining teachers and healthcare professionals, protecting those who protect us, such as professional firefighters; and improving quality of life. 
Celebrating Our Teachers
This week was Teacher Appreciation Week, so I wanted to extend a great big thank you to all the professional educators who play such an important role in our children’s lives. In Connecticut, we’ve been looking into ways to retain and hire more teachers, as well as reduce class sizes, increase resources, and address children’s mental health and behavioral problems so that teachers can focus on the important work they do.
Congratulations to Greenwich's Presidential Scholar
Congratulations to Greenwich High School senior Ambika Grover, one of two Connecticut students recognized as 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars. Recipients are recognized for accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields. The recognition is one of the nation’s highest honors for graduating high school seniors.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education invites states to nominate students for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The Connecticut State Department of Education invites school districts to recommend students for the program.
The White House Commission of Presidential Scholars selects scholars based on academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations, and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.
The Presidential Scholars Class of 2023 will be recognized this summer with an online recognition program. A complete list of 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at www.ed.gov/psp.

Photo courtesy: Greenwich Public Schools 

USPS "Stamp Out Hunger" Drive on May 13

On Saturday, Greenwich’s mail carriers from the USPS will be helping Neighbor to Neighbor collect food to help Greenwich residents who are in need.

The National Stamp Out Hunger program is an annual event across the country. This year's event is on May 13 and in Greenwich, people can help by leaving a bag of non-perishable foods by their mailbox before their carrier comes.

If you are unsure what to give, items like cereal, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly, and pasta sauce are always needed.

The carrier will collect the items and then bring them to Neighbor to Neighbor but this is not the only way to help. People can be part of the virtual drive by donating directly to Neighbor to Neighbor online.

The virtual drive will continue past Saturday so residents have time left to give. 

The Public is Invited to Stamford Transportation Center Master Plan Open House

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) will hold an open house for the Stamford Transportation Center (STC) Master Plan (State Project No. 301-0512) to provide the community an opportunity to learn about the proposed plan and obtain input from the public that will help shape the plan. Visual concepts for Station Place, ticketing areas, and the bus and shuttle level have been released and are now available on the plan’s website. Representatives from CTDOT and the planning team will be available to answer questions and listen to feedback on the proposed concepts. 

The purpose of the master plan is to develop recommendations and conceptual improvements for the state-owned Stamford Transportation Center complex, leading to enhanced access and increased public transit use, transforming the STC into a best-in-class facility.

The open house is Wednesday, May 24, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Stamford Transportation Center at 30 Station Place in Stamford. The meeting will be open to the public for comments and questions and will occur in the CTDOT conference room on the station’s lower level. The meeting location is accessible to persons with disabilities. Parking can be found in the parking garage at 43 Station Place in Stamford.

The public comment period is open beginning on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, and closes on June 8, 2023. Throughout the 30-day comment period, the public can provide comments using any of the following methods: 

  • Email STCMasterPlan@ct.gov
  • Participate in an online user survey at www.STCMasterPlan.com
  • Leave a voice message on the CTDOT’s comment line at (860) 594-2020. Please reference Stamford Transportation Master Plan in your voicemail.
  • Mail comments to STC Master Plan Comments, Attn: Office of Rail, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, PO Box 317546, Newington, CT 06131-7546
Aquarion Water Main Work Begins Monday

Aquarion Water Company will begin a water main cleaning project on the Greenwich system, and there may be some temporary low pressure or discoloration in customers’ water while they are working on the system.

This work will begin on May 15 and go through Aug. 4. Aquarion says discoloration is because of the temporary disturbance of the water flow, which is necessary for the work, stirring up naturally occurring minerals that settle in water mains.

Aquarion recommends storing water in the refrigerator for cooking or for drinking. And if a customer notices this temporary discoloration, they are advised to avoid doing laundry until it clears up. This discoloration is only going to be temporary and Aquarion said people can check to see if it has cleared up by running their cold-water faucets to see if the water is clear.

Customers can get automated alerts and information about this project, including where the mains are being cleaned, at www.aquarionwater.com/alerts.

Greenwich Police Department's Police Day is
May 13
Bridge Maintenance I-95 Stamford

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced a bridge maintenance project will be performed on I-95 Southbound in Stamford.

The project consists of asphalt joint installation and is scheduled to occur to the morning of Thursday, August 31, 2023.
No work will be performed from 6 a.m. Friday May 26, 2023, until 8 p.m. Tuesday May 30, 2023, due to the Memorial Day Holiday.
No work will be performed from 6 a.m. Friday, June 30, 2023, until 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, 2023, due to the Independence Day Holiday.

The work is included in the Department of Transportation’s 2023 bridge maintenance program to support state forces with bridge repairs and is being performed by Dynamic Surface Applications.
Motorists can expect lane closures on I-95 Southbound in Stamford between Exit 9 (US-1 East Main Street) and Exit 6 (Grenhart Road) in Stamford.  Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be utilized to guide motorists through the work zone. The regular work schedule for this project is from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.  (Sunday evenings through Thursday mornings).
Motorists should be aware that modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving in this vicinity.