Weekly News April 25-April 29

April 29, 2016


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

First off, I am pleased to announce that we have narrowed the achievement gap!! Under the CK3LI (CT Kindergarten through 3 Learning Initiative) reading program, the Norris and Langford Elementary Schools have more than doubled the number of students meeting grade literacy level goals.

The CT K-3 Reading Model includes a school wide reading improvement plan, a comprehensive literacy assessment system, and high-quality reading instruction. Since using the program, both Norris and Langford Schools have more than halved the number of students at significant risk for reading failure. To view more data for these two schools under this reading program, click here.

On Tuesday, April 25, animals from the Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport visited the Capitol to showcase the zoo's education and conservation work. The Beardsley Zoo is just one of many places in Connecticut to visit. In fact, the state launched it's newest tourism website this week and it has information on more than 4,000 places to visit, stay and eat in Connecticut as well as hundreds of travel stories, vacation deals and event listings. Be sure to check it out here!

On Wednesday, April 26, junior students Erika and Sheeva from South Windsor High School, and their teachers Mr. Bojarski and Mr. Epler, showcased their technology projects during the Connecticut Educators Computers Association (CECA) Technology Exposition. These students' presentations show how technology assists students in developing their creative and intellectual potential.

On Friday, April 29th, I participated in an Arbor Day celebration at Anna E. Norris Elementary School in East Hartford. For the 20th consecutive year, East Hartford was designated a “Tree City USA,” a designation which proves the town's commitment to our many species of trees that dot the landscape of this town. Here I stand with students from Norris School, Mayor Marcia Leclerc, Chair of Beautification Commission Pat Sirois, Principal of Norris Dr. Ed Orzulak, and Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Cynthia Ritchie.

Also on Friday, members of the general assembly dressed down to raise money for the CT National Guard's Operation E.L.F. (Embracing Lonely Families). When our service men and women are serving our country, their families are at home waiting for their return. During that time, they miss their children's birthday and holidays and this wonderful organization raises money to have a holiday party for all the service men's children and brighten their holiday.


I am also pleased to announce that several bills were passed in the House this week:

HB 5069, An Act Concerning A Two-Generation Initiative For Families. As co-chair for the Two-Generational Interagency Workgroup, I wanted to introduce an amendment that would provide technical changes, clarifications and modifications to the 2 Generational Workforce and School Readiness legislation that was passed during our last session. he amendment seeks to clarify the term "households" to include mothers, fathers, noncustodial parents and other primary caregivers, defines "Greater Hartford" as Hartford, East Hartford, and West Hartford, adds health and mental health services to the requirement of the developed plans, and requires that all work must be parent driven and informed by members of low-income households within the pilot sites.

HB 5400 - This bill that I co-sponsored adds new requirements to the hiring process of applicants who would be in direct contact with students. The bill ensures that that local boards of education have information concerning whether an applicant has been found to have committed abuse or sexual misconduct and that these boards of education share such findings with other boards of education who may employ that applicant.

HB 5180 - This bill concerning crumbling concrete would require documentation of the name of the individual that poured a concrete foundation at a new residential or commercial building and the date upon which the foundation was poured. Often time homeowners are unaware of who built their original residence and the concept contained in this bill will help provide this information to future homeowner residents if they are effected by a crumbling foundations issue in the future.

HB 5053 - On Monday, April 25, we passed groundbreaking legislation to combat the state’s opioid crisis. The bill would cap first time painkiller prescriptions to a seven day supply and make Narcan more accessible. I’m hopeful that Connecticut will soon have one of the most comprehensive laws in the nation to prevent and treat opioid abuse. This quite literally is a lifesaving bill.

SB 231 - On Tuesday, April 26, the House passed this piece of legislation which will encourage the development of bee habitats while limiting the use of certain pesticides. Honey bees are responsible for about 80% of pollination worldwide and statistics show that their pollination is necessary for the production of two thirds of the top human food crops, which supply about 90% of the world’s nutrition.This particular bill comes at a critical time when Connecticut’s pollinator habitats are in decline.

HB 5405 - The House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 27, passed a bill that may sever the often deadly link between domestic violence and firearms. The law would require, upon the request of the applicant, those subject to a temporary restraining order to give up their guns until a hearing to be held within 7 days. I’m proud to have supported this important, common sense legislation that may afford victims of domestic violence additional protection against their abusers.


CT Deaf Grassroots Movement Rally, Capitol Garden, 9 a.m.
African American Affairs Commission, Monthly Commission Meeting, LOB 1B, 6 p.m.

The Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) cordially invites residents to attend the 38th annual State Holocaust Commemoration at 11:30 A.M. in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol. For further information, please contact Kathy Fishman at (860) 727-5771 or jfact@mcmgmt.com.

For any questions or concerns you may have, please contact me via email or request a meeting to discuss any thoughts or concerns you may have.