House Passes Democratic Priority Bills & I-95 Shut down

May 4, 2024
Time is running out as my colleagues and I try to pass as many good bills as possible before the end of the legislative session next week. The House of Representatives has spent the entire week in session, and we will do so next week before our midnight deadline on Wednesday, May 8.

The House has successfully passed several priority bills this week, and now the Senate must act on them in the coming days. We gave the green light to a measure that protects our environment. Please read below to find out how the bill encourages businesses to go green as our state works on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We also approved a proposal that would keep families healthy while supporting local farmers. Keep scrolling to learn how the bill improves nutrition for women and children.

And, we passed a bill supporting our veterans who put their lives on the line for our freedom. I'll break down how new legislation would bring aid to our disabled veterans.

Here are the sections in today's email:

  • House Passes Comprehensive Climate Bill
  • Support for Our Seniors
  • Supporting Childcare Affordability and Early Education Access
  • Child & Family Nutrition Bill Clears House
  • Helping Our Disabled Veterans
  • Avoid I-95 in Norwalk After Fiery Crash
  • Session Update in New Canaan
House Passes Comprehensive Climate Bill

Connecticut is committed to mitigating the climate crisis. The first step is acknowledging there is a crisis.

This week, I joined my Democratic colleagues and voted to pass one of our top legislative priorities this session, House Bill 5004, which I co-sponsored. Protecting the environment and working to combat the effects of climate change should be a shared priority because the act of doing nothing is far-reaching and touches every aspect of life on Earth.

This bill:

  • Updates the state's Global Warming Solutions Act to make our greenhouse gas emissions targets more in line with other states in the region
  • Creates incentives for businesses and municipalities that engage in clean economy sectors or engage in environmentally sustainable projects
  • Plans for transition to clean economy, workforce training and long-term policy implementation
  • Supports and expands nature-based solutions, such as preserving marshlands and forests

We can make a difference in the quality of life for future generations of Connecticut residents. The time to start making necessary changes is now.

The bill now moves to the Senate, which must act before the end of the legislative session.

Support for Our Seniors
As the elderly population steadily grows, there is urgency to provide resources and assistance to this community. During Monday's legislative session, we took a significant step to achieving that goal by passing House Bill 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

The measure now moves to the Senate, which must act before the end of the legislative session.

Supporting Childcare Affordability 
and Early Education Access
The House approved a bill that will make childcare and early childhood education more affordable and accessible. The need for this legislation is great because Connecticut has one of the highest costs of childcare in the country.

House Bill 5002 supports working parents by:

  • creating the “Early Childhood Care and Education Fund,” that may only be utilized for childcare and early childhood education programs
  • establishing the Early Childhood Care and Education Fund Advisory Commission that will report on the health of the Fund and annually update recommendations on how to best expend the resources of the Fund to the General Assembly
  • investing in teachers and assistant teachers in state-funded school readiness programs and state-funded childcare programs
  • requiring a study on the availability of space in state-owned properties that may be used for early childhood care and education programs

These are sound investments in our state’s future and will go a long way toward helping parents earn a living and provide for their children’s education.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration. 

Child & Family Nutrition Bill Clears House

The House demonstrated its commitment to the health and well-being of our families and children by unanimously passing House Bill 5003. This comprehensive legislation ensures mothers and children, who are eligible for federal benefits, are enrolled in nutrition programs with ease and confidence.

This bill aims to reduce barriers to participation in WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children). WIC enrollment in Connecticut is among the lowest in the country at only 46%. We need to maximize participation in this program to improve the health and nutrition of young children. 

This bill has several goals including:
  • keeping local families healthy by making it easier for Connecticut agencies to enroll children and parents who qualify into federal nutrition assistance programs;
  • promoting outreach and information to access these federal programs that Connecticut underutilizes; and
  • supporting local farmers by encouraging their participation in these programs at farmers’ markets
Healthy children are less likely to develop nutrition-related chronic diseases, at a lower risk of cavities/tooth decay, have improved mental health, and improved participation in other social service programs.
The Senate will take up the bill next.
Helping Our Disabled Veterans

The House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill supporting veterans who have been disabled during service. This is a small way to say, “thank you" to our heroes and is long overdue.

House Bill 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. The exemption will be used for a home that is a primary residence, but if a qualified veteran does not own a home, the exemption will apply to a single motor vehicle they own.

The Senate must now act on the bill before midnight on May 8.

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.

More than 1,200 veterans in Connecticut are totally and permanently disabled as a result of their service.

Avoid I-95 in Norwalk After Fiery Crash
I-95 in Norwalk remains closed in both directions through the weekend as crews demolish the Fairfield Avenue Bridge over the highway. As you can see above, a fuel tanker, tractor-trailer, and car crashed under the overpass on Thursday morning. Due to the damage, crews must remove the bridge and then mill and pave I-95. They will be working around the clock to get this work done as quickly as possible.

The northbound lanes of the highway are closed at exit 14 and the southbound lanes are shut down at exit 15. I urge you to avoid this area and use public transportation until further notice.

Metro-North Railroad will provide additional weekend service and increased capacity on trains along the New Haven Line. The Connecticut Department of Transportation hopes to reopen I-95 by the morning rush hour commute on Monday, May 6. 

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Session Update in New Canaan
In case you missed it, my colleague Rep. Lucy Dathan and I hosted a mid-session update in New Canaan. We talked about our priority bills, heard your feedback, and answered your questions. It is always a pleasure to connect directly with constituents. Your comments allow me to better serve you when I am at the Capitol. Thank you to everyone who attended!