Speaking On the House Floor, Funding for Groton Schools, and Need for Water Quality Monitors

June 2, 2023


The House of Representatives is in session today and will be back on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week. We are racing against the clock to pass important laws that will make Connecticut a better place to live.

Please read below to see what bills have advanced out of the House, what I've been up to, how Groton Public Schools plan to use new funding, watch live chicks in a classroom, community events, and so much more!

We have less than a week to vote on and pass legislation as well as a state budget. Here is a look at the highlights this week from the House of Representatives.

We are delivering on key legislative priorities by addressing specific concerns affecting our Intellectually, Developmentally Disabled (IDD) population, which has been lacking adequate funding and services for far too long. 

HB 5001 is a comprehensive multi-year measure that expands vital services to these vulnerable individuals, so that their most basic needs are properly met. This new bill complements the children's mental health legislation that became law last year.

Key provisions in this wide-ranging bill, which reflect strong bipartisan efforts, include the reduction of waitlists and updating a decades-old approach to serving this community.

This bill establishes a solid framework to address:

  • Housing Needs
  • Educational and Transitional Services
  • Transportation
  • Day Programming
  • Career and Job Coaching
  • Life Skills Training
  • Behavioral Service

I spoke in the House Chamber in full support of SB 959, which establishes new standards that will be developed to identify and remediate mold in residential housing. The bill also creates guidelines for limiting exposure to mold. By establishing these standards, we can ensure that mold-related issues are consistently and effectively addressed across the state.

Congressman Joe Courtney, along with Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have also emphasized the urgent need for comprehensive reform at the federal level. Senator Blumenthal has joined me for many visits to the 442 unit neighborhood to meet with the Tenants Union. I’ve also worked closely with Congressman Courtney’s office who has been hard at work drafting a federal mold legislation.

Leaders from Ledge Light Health District, the town manager, city and town mayors, and our local legislative bodies, including Town Councilor Portia Bordelon, have called for action to empower tenants to report violations and receive assistance. They have also highlighted the importance of inspections, distributing educational materials, and providing guidance to families.

The dire situation at Branford Manor in Groton serves as a glaring example of the failures in executive oversight and regulatory enforcement when it pertains to affordable housing in Connecticut. Despite the substantial funds allocated for renovations and repairs, there has been a lack of accountability that should exist for the very purpose of protecting families. No family should ever be forced to live in deplorable living conditions.

No one should have to live in housing infested with mold.
Connecticut is the fifth-highest student debt holder in the nation. HB 6901 establishes a program to reimburse some student loan payments for certain Connecticut residents and incentivizes them to stay in our state.
Intimate partner violence is a leading contributor to death during pregnancy. HB 6599 requires birthing hospitals and healthcare providers to hand out educational materials to pregnant and postpartum patients on intimate partner violence.
HB 6762 includes provisions for early childhood education, special education, audits of state and local testing requirements, a Multilingual Learners Bill of Rights, and the establishment of task force to study and develop strategies to improve and promote civic engagement and instruction on media literacy.
Students should not have to choose between their education and their reproductive health. That’s why SB 1108 requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the UConn Board of Trustees to establish a plan for providing reproductive health care services to students living on residential campuses.
A beautiful day for the Noank Memorial Day Parade! Thank you to our community leaders and organizers for making this wonderful parade happen each year.
Next up: the Mystic Memorial Day Parade! Thank you to Mystic VFW and all organizations that came together to ultimately make the parade possible!
Ended the day at the Mystic VFW for an incredible memorial dedicated to our men and women and their families, who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
Stonington and Groton public officials
We celebrated Fire Service Day at the Capitol and welcomed two local heroes and friends: retired Mystic Fire Chief Fritz Hilbert as well as City of Groton Fire Capt. & President of City of Groton Firefighters Union Local 1964 Dan Tompkins! I also caught up my friend & Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut President Pete Brown!
Some of our heroes attended a Veterans and Military Resource Fair at the Capitol this week. Personnel from the Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum as well as divers from Naval Submarine Base New London stopped by.
Please join me for coffee to get all the highlights from this year's legislative session. I will be meeting residents on Saturday, June 10 from 11 am - 1 pm at The Ditty Bag in Mystic. Please come, share your priorities, ask questions, and provide feedback. I always look forward to speaking with you and having a conversation on how to address the needs of our district.
Are you interested in becoming a water quality monitor? Clean Up Sound & Harbors (CUSH) is looking for two to five older teens or adults to volunteer every other week from now through October at Palmer Cove to advance area water quality improvements.
Here’s what you need to know:
  • Sampling happens within 90 minutes of sunrise
  • Testing is from shore
  • Full process takes about two hours

Tasks include:

  • Pick-up supplies
  • Record weather conditions
  • Prep containers
  • Use weighted line to determine water depth
  • Collect samples and record data
If you’re interested or have questions, email CUSH Board member Fran Pijar by clicking here or call (860) 912-8714. You can also send Jack Leary an email here or call (860) 319-7568.
The S.T.E.P.S. program in Groton is unveiling its summer program a week after learning it will receive $50,000 in state funds this year to provide learning opportunities for teenage girls. S.T.E.P.S. will receive another $50,00 for the summer of 2024. Those who sign up for the program will go on college tours, get leadership training, work on projects with Pfizer scientists, try a ropes course, and so much more.
S.T.E.P.S. stands for Striving Toward Empowered Personal Success. It’s a non-profit designed to empower middle and high school girls in Groton succeed through training, intervention, and mentoring.
Groton Public Schools received $86,360 in a grant to expand the district’s media production capabilities. The money comes from the Public, Educational and Governmental Programming and Education Technology Investment Account grant provided by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.
Groton Public Schools will buy portable webcam kits for each school and train teachers and staff on how to use the equipment, edit content, and curate the collection to share on each school’s website.

The district also plans to buy and install fixed camera systems at the middle and high schools as well as the Administrative Building and train staff. Officials will also upgrade the equipment at the district’s video production studio and redesign the district’s website to include live streaming and video-on-demand.


Corey Mott’s classes at Thames River Magnet School is learning all about chickens. There are more than 100 eggs, and they have started to hatch! Click on the icon below to watch a live feed of the chicks!
Live look at chicks in the classroom!
Join me in taking the pledge to leave a trail better than you found it! Commit to taking a trash bag with you whenever you hike or go for a walk. Collect trash on a local trail, along your neighborhood sidewalk, or in a natural space near you.
Connecticut’s minimum wage hit $15 per hour on Thursday, June 1. Connecticut House Democrats made it a priority to pass legislation that focused on assisting working families by increasing the minimum wage over several years until it reached $15 this week.
The Connecticut Department of Labor and Connecticut Voices for Children estimate those increases will raise wages for more than half a million people in the state by 2024. This increase can spur local economies by putting more money in people's pockets, which drives up spending power and makes it easier to pay household bills.
Groton Utilities is accepting applications for the 2023 Community Service Award. It was created to honor a member of our community who has contributed his or her time, energy, and resources to make the community a better place to live and work. Groton Utilities will donate $1,000 to the winner’s Charity of choice and present the winner with a plaque at an awards ceremony at City Day on August 4. You can make your nomination through July 3.
Groton Utilities and Aquarion Water are conducting their water main flushing and testing programs. All Groton Utilities customers should expect intermittent intervals of water discoloration during the water main flushing process. House of flushing are from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday. That work is expected to completed by June 16 (weather permitting).
Do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts or concerns you may have at Aundre.Bumgardner@cga.ct.gov or 1-800-842-8267.

Aundré Bumgardner

State Representative

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