Legislative & Local Updates for the 149th District for the Week Ending May 19, 2023

May 22, 2023

The CT House passed more great bills this week. Here are some that I am particularly excited about.
Expanding Protections for Seniors. HB 6775 increases the number of mandated reporters for suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or when a senior needs protective services.

Protecting health care providers. HB 6820 protects Connecticut providers performing safe and legal reproductive healthcare services to those who need it because healthcare providers shouldn’t face out-of-state repercussions for doing what’s legal in Connecticut.
Preventing Wrong-Way Driving. Wrong-way driving crashes in Connecticut tripled in 2022, and studies have shown that wrong-way driving crashes are 100 times more likely to be fatal than other types of crashes. We passed HB 6746, which requires the CT DOT to expand efforts to implement wrong-way driving countermeasures and to include instruction on reducing wrong-way driving in drivers’ education programs.
Addressing life-threatening food allergiesHB 5902 establishes standards for restaurants to ensure that staff are aware of customer allergies. The bill also requires informational posters to be displayed in restaurants to improve safety and awareness of allergies.

Lilia Vine, Maia Coplit, and Lisa Coplit all provided testimony for HB 5902, "An Act Requiring Food Allergy Awareness in Restaurants." Lilia and Maia are students at Greenwich High School.  
Video Update: Voting Rights & More
Honoring Our Vietnam and Vietnam-Era Veterans
On Monday, I had the privilege of marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war by attending a ceremony celebrating Vietnam veterans. Many veterans live with the wounds they suffered while serving our nation in a time of conflict. And many families live with the loss of their loved ones who never returned from the war. It was an honor to recognize and honor their sacrifice and service to our country.
Right to Read Screening
On Monday, I also attended a special presentation of the documentary, "The Right to Read about the crisis of illiteracy in our country. According to the National Literacy Institute, 21% of adults in the US cannot read, and 54% of adults have a literacy below 6th-grade level. This is something we need to address to ensure that children have the tools they need to succeed.
Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Day
It was a pleasure to attend the Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Day at the Capitol on Wednesday. My father suffered from Alzheimer's. I know firsthand how hard it is to watch the deterioration of a loved one, and the toll it takes on family caregivers. There are 80,000 people in Connecticut who suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia and we need to ensure that caregivers have the training to care for people with the disease and that family caregivers have the resources and support they need.
Eversource, UI File Reduced Electricity Rates with PURA
Eversource and United Illuminating (UI), Connecticut's two main electric distribution companies (EDCs), have filed new and lower standard service rates for residential customers from July 1 through December 31 with the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), and the average bills are expected to decrease significantly from current levels.

Eversource and UI file to change rates twice annually, with the rates going into effect on January 1 and July 1 of each year. The cost of natural gas, which provides the fuel for most of the heat and electricity across Connecticut and New England, is subject to continued market volatility and international factors like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pushed present bills as much as $80 higher on average since the beginning of 2023 and running through June 30.

While dropping electricity rates is positive news, PURA also recently took a significant step toward additional accountability for Eversource and UI by implementing performance-based regulation (PBR) starting in 2024. Connecticut is one of the first states in the country to establish such a system, which was part of the “Take Back Our Grid Act” we passed in October 2020.

PBR has the potential to align regulatory tools since there are certain goals Eversource and UI will be expected to achieve, including fulfillment of public policies, empowering customers, and providing reasonable, equitable and affordable rates as opposed to roller coaster increases and decreases.

Connecticut’s implementation of PBR signals a commitment to dually improving utility performance and customer outcomes. It is not an attempt to hurt the utilities. PBR will show residents, however, that the utilities will keep their best interests in mind within a specific operating framework.

Upcoming Events 
You can click the graphic below to register for this event. 
Application Period Open for Stamford CERT

The City of Stamford is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and training will begin in June.

CERT team members are dedicated volunteers who undergo a training program that provides basic response skills needed for fire safety, light search and rescue, community disaster support, disaster medical operations, and traffic control.

CERT members will participate in community preparedness and support first responders during disaster response activities, including:

  • Traffic and crowd control at planned and unplanned events
  • Emergency food and supply distribution during power outages and water main breaks
  • Missing person searches
  • Staffing assistance centers and interpreting for residents affected by emergencies
  • Helping your neighbors in times of disaster
  • Supporting the Emergency Operations Center
  • Educating yourself, your family, and others about preparing for emergencies
  • Strengthening your relationship with your community

Participants will attend a multi-week, hands-on, behind-the-scenes program that includes training by Stamford’s Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services departments.

Membership on the CERT team is open to anyone 18 years or older who lives or works in the City of Stamford. The volunteer commitment is for at least one year of service following graduation.

Training will begin June 14 and will be held once a week (with four Wednesday evening classes) with three additional Saturday morning classes. A maximum of 30 participants will be accepted to the class after they pass an Emergency Management background check.

Applications and more information can be found on the City of Stamford’s website.

Be Summer-Ready
Tod's Point Opens Memorial Day Weekend

Opening Day is in less than a month! Tod's Point Sailing School opens Saturday, May 27 for rentals. Sailing classes begin June 3 (adult) and June 12 (juniors). If you need assistance with registration or need information regarding courses attended in 2022, please email info@todspointsailing.org or call 203-637-2022.