Serving the 85th Assembly District
Legislative Office Building, Room 4038
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
ACCESS TO SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT
Substance abuse is a growing problem in our state and town. In order to begin addressing some of the problems, we are requiring the Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Public Health, and Children and Families to develop a proposal to establish a behavioral health urgent care center. This will provide 24/7 access to behavioral healthcare services to increase quick access to care. This was a recommendation of the Program Review and Investigations Committee, which I co-chair.
EMERGENCY ROOM MANAGEMENT
Our Program Review and Investigations Committee studied how to reduce overuse of hospital emergency rooms by Medicaid patients and determined that one hospital, Middlesex, achieved the best success rate by using intensive case management. The legislature approved our plan to introduce this technique more widely and thereby reduce costs to the taxpayer.
Our committee recommended and UConn agreed to more transparency regarding fees and more accountability to allow greater use of transfer credits to reduce the cost of higher education.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
It is important for our children’s development to form an early foundation for educational growth. This bill formally establishes the Office of Early Childhood as a cabinet level agency. This agency will administer programs and funding that affect our children from birth until elementary school.
GO BACK TO GO AHEAD
This initiative will encourage Connecticut residents who have some college credits, but have not attained either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, to return to the state’s universities, community technical colleges or Charter Oak State College to complete their degrees. Students who are eligible for the program will be able to receive up to 3 free college courses.
The Water Planning Council (WPC) will prepare a state water plan and submit it to the legislature by January 2018. The WPC must seek public input, consider the various planning activities already underway, promote the adoption of the state’s model water use restriction ordinance, recommend utilization of the state’s water resources in a manner that balances public water supply, economic, recreation, and ecological needs, and identify changes to laws and regulations necessary to implement the state water plan. I worked with five legislative colleagues to write the law.
Spurred by a Program Review and Investigations report on the deterioration of state parks, the legislature approved allowing the 100-year old park system to raise some of their own funds through cabin rentals, which has proven successful in other states.
Unsolicited, pre-recorded telephone calls, referred to as robocalls, are intru-sive and annoying. I co-sponsored a bill which increases the fine to $1,000,
from $500, when a company’s robocall fails to disconnect when you hang up. Complaints can be submitted to the Public Utilities Regulation Authority though their website: www.ct.gov/pura
UNSOLICITED TEXT MESSAGES
Although we created a “Do Not Call” list to address unwanted sales pitches, some companies continue to make unwanted calls. We increased the penalty for violating the do not call list to $20,000 from $11,000. In addition, we added text messages to the Do Not Call List. This law will become effective on October 1, 2014.
Do Not Call Registry: 1-888-382-1222
Every institution of higher education in the state is responsible for the welfare of its campus community. A new law now requires the reporting of every incidence of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, or stalking in a Campus Crime Report. In addition, the measure fosters prevention and awareness of sexual assault, by establishing campus resource teams which will respond to incidents and review procedures of higher education institutions. Further, the institutions of higher education will be required to provide victims of sexual assault with written information that concisely informs them of their rights.
It’s now a crime to lie about receiving a military medal or other Congressional decoration with the intent to fraudulently obtain money, property or other tangible benefits. It is also a crime to wear a military uniform with the intent to commit fraud. Violators can receive a fine between $500 and $1,000, up to six months imprisonment, or both.
THE VETERAN’S OPPORTUNITY FUND
The Veteran's Opportunity Fund is a pilot program that will allow our veterans to re-enter the workforce. The long-term unemployed will receive assistance in the form of job programs, financial coaching, and an eight-week subsidized work experience.
JOBS AND COMMERCE
My committee, Program Review and Investigations, studied the problems of older workers (50+) and the long-term unemployed to find jobs and recommended several bills which became law. To make it easier for older workers and the long-term unemployed to re-enter the workforce, we increased funding for the retraining programs with the highest success rate, including Platform to Employment. The Department of Labor and the Superintendent of the Connecticut Technical High School System will report information regarding traditional and adult students’ job readiness to the legislature.
Several hard-fought laws and budget items will benefit the town and taxpayers:
- Wallingford has its own Enterprise Zone to recruit new businesses as the US Postal Service phases out their facility
- The New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Line is on schedule for 2016 service
- The state will assist more towns with the cost of phosphorous
- PEGPETIA grants for public access television and schools were
- We increased Town Aid over last year’s amount
- Every town will have a drop box for unwanted prescription drugs; grants are available.
This session we took several steps to help our seniors and we:
- Expanded the Small Nursing Home Pilot Program allowing more seniors to move away from traditional institutional nursing homes into smaller, more personal and welcoming facilities and included Masonicare in Wallingford
- Authorized a study of private funding sources for home and community based care for the elderly and those afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- Lifted the suspension and re-opened the Renters’ Rebate Program providing partial rental payment and utility rebates to the elderly and disabled.