Updates from State Rep. Chris Poulos - May 3, 2024

May 3, 2024

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Dear Neighbor, 

Last year, constituent Peter Dziedzic contacted me and shared his advocacy for legislation that would offer a property tax exemption for 100% disabled Veterans. I pursued his proposal with my colleagues on the Veterans' and Military Affairs Committee. We worked hard; time ran out though and we were unable to get the bill across the finish line.

This year, after significant constituent input, I worked hard to collaborate with the House Chairs of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding and Veterans' and Military Affairs Committees - State Representative Maria Horn and State Representative Anthony Nolan - and Veterans Committee ranking member State Representative Kurt Vail to revive Mr. Dziedzic’s proposal and bring his bill across the finish line in the House. This week the bill passes unanimously and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

Veterans put their lives on the line for our country. This is a small way to say, “thank you for your service.” HB 5491 establishes a property tax exemption for veterans who have a service-connected permanent and total disability rating as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

In Connecticut, we have 1,209 Veterans who are totally and permanently disabled as a result of their service. These brave men and women have spent their lives fighting to protect our freedoms. It is our turn to support them when they come home with disabilities to ensure they live with dignity and without fear of losing their home.

Please continue reading below for other noteworthy items, and thanks as always for taking the time to read them!

Supporting Local Restaurants 

It was a delight to attend CT Restaurant Association’s annual event in the Capitol lobby this week, at which restaurants from across the state provided incredible food and non-alcoholic drinks to legislators and guests. I was especially grateful for the opportunity to connect and chat with the folks from Southington’s Close Harbour Seafood and 110 Grill who were both in attendance. During my tenure as Southington’s State Representative, I have made supporting our local restaurants a priority. When our restaurants do well, downtown areas become vibrant and other businesses benefit, all of which contributes to the overall economic health of our town.

Helping Our Seniors

As the elderly population steadily grows, there is an urgency to provide resources and assistance to this community.  During Monday's session, we took a significant step toward achieving that goal by passing HB 5001, a top priority for House Democrats this session. 
HB 5001, which passed with bipartisan support, protects and prioritizes elderly residents in our state. This bill: 

  • Makes it easier for seniors to age in place
  • Creates a nursing home database, providing consumers with an easy and reliable way to compare locations around the state
  • Establishes incentives to encourage nursing homes to improve care

I am glad to support a bill that gives seniors the attention and resources that they deserve. The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

Advocates at the Capitol

This week, I joined Joanne Kelleher, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington, along with residents and Early Childhood (EC) advocates Adrienne Ricciardi, Muriel Moore, Krista Pisano, and Janet Alfano at a press conference at the Capitol. We talked about the merits of the currently proposed EC legislation and how the different bills would impact their organizations and Southington families and children. I was proud to stand with these advocates and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle at the event.

Southington resident, Alexandra Gizhitsa-Anderson, and her team of advocates from the Jewish Federation Association of CT also visited the Capitol to share the organziation's legislative priorities. We talked outside the chamber, and I was also able to welcome Alexandra and her son, Elazar - one of Southington’s youngest residents - to the floor of the House.

Wrong-Way Detection Installation

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is announcing a wrong-way detection installation in Southington on I-84 East at Exits 28 and 32 and I-84 West at Exit 29. The project is scheduled to begin on May 8. Motorists can expect exit ramp closures. Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will guide motorists around the work zone. The regular work schedule for this project is 7 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.

Full-Circle Moment

In high school, I worked at McDonald’s on Queen Street and this week, I was greeted with enthusiasm by the McDonald’s team at the CT Retail Network gathering in the lobby of the Capitol. I enjoyed reminiscing about my experience from years ago and learned how the relationship between restaurant owners and their workers has evolved over the years, for the better. It was a great conversation.

Bright Financial Forecast

Connecticut’s fiscal forecast is brighter than ever!️


Read the full April 2024 consensus revenue forecast at portal.ct.gov/-/media/opm/budget/consensusrevenue/fy-2024/final_consensus_apr30_2024.pdf

Let's All Go to the Drive-In

The Southington Drive-In has released its 2024 Summer Season schedule! This is the 15th year for it as a community-owned and volunteer-operated venue. All proceeds are distributed to host nonprofit and civic organizations at the end of the season. To date, it has distributed approximately $350,000 to host groups.