Image

Rep. Cheeseman and Sen. Formica to Host Office Hours

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

HARTFORDState Representative Holly Cheeseman (R-38) and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20) invite their constituents to meet with them at the Salem Town Hall on January 25th and at the East Lyme Town Hall on January 29th to discuss the status of the state budget and important legislation for the 2018 Regular Session. The legislators are also happy to answer any questions or concerns constituents may have related to state government.

When: Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Where: Salem Town Hall, Conference Room 1, 270 Hartford Road, Salem

 

When: Monday, January 29, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where: East Lyme Town Hall, Upper Meeting Room, 108 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic

These events are free and open to the public. If constituents are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. Cheeseman, please do not hesitate to contact her at Holly.Cheeseman@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423. In the event that the meeting must be postponed, a notice will be posted on Rep. Cheeseman’s website at www.repcheeseman.com and on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/repcheeseman. Constituents can also sign up for e-mail notifications on her website.

Rep. Cheeseman represents the 37h district of East Lyme and Salem.
Sen. Formica represents the 20th district of Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford.

Local Representatives Vote to Reverse Cuts to Medicare Program

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

HARTFORDState Representatives Holly Cheeseman (R-37), Mike France (R-42) and Kathleen McCarty (R-38) on Monday voted for a bipartisan plan that would provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) through the end of the fiscal year.

MSP is a Medicaid program that helps seniors and the disabled pay for Medicare co-insurance, deductibles and premiums. Connecticut was one of five states whose income eligibility limits exceeded the federal minimum level. Legislators in adopting the budget in October reduced the eligibility to the federal minimum, consequently reducing or eliminating coverage for many of the program’s thousands of participants. The state’s Department of Social Services in December announced it would delay implementation of the eligibility reduction by two months, giving concerned program participants a reprieve from an unexpected jump in their healthcare costs as lawmakers worked to find $53 million to fund the program through June.

“We owe it to our seniors to not just abandon them in limbo,” said Rep. Cheeseman. “The most important thing about resolving this issue was to address it immediately so that we could eliminate the uncertainty Medicare patients were facing. I am pleased that we have done that today, but know we must continue looking for a long-term solution.”

“Connecticut’s perpetual fiscal crisis has made every aspect of running this state increasingly difficult,” Rep. France said. “Fortunately, we reached a bipartisan solution today to restore the funding but we must realize that important programs that serve our seniors and disabled residents, such as the Medicare Savings Program, are not immune from the pressures caused by ongoing massive budget deficits and an economy that still has not recovered from the recession.”

“After listening to the seniors in my district, I knew it was crucial that the Legislature come into a Special Session yesterday to restore the Medicare Savings Program,” said Rep. McCarty. “Had we not fully reestablished the program to continue its current funding, nearly 1,000 senior citizens and individuals with disabilities would have been very seriously and significantly impacted. This is not a surplus benefit for these individuals, it is a basic essential. Without it, many would have been forced to make harsh budget decisions between affording healthcare or other necessities like groceries and medications. I am relieved that we were able to prevent such devastation at this time. This fix has allowed seniors and disabled individuals time to plan for the proper coverage they need, and will help them avoid having to rely on expensive emergency rooms for care.”

The MSP plan was approved in the House by a vote of 130 to 3. Among the methods used to restore program funding is a requirement that Gov. Malloy reduce the number of managers and consultants—a provision included in the adopted budget ignored by the governor. Other components include moving human resources-related functions of some state agencies into the state’s Department of Administrative Services, and requiring the governor to find savings in Executive Branch functions while limiting his ability to cut more than 10 percent from any one program.

The Senate approved the plan 32 to 1 in a vote later in the day.

The 2018 legislative session—a so-called short session—starts Feb. 7 and will see lawmakers focus primarily on issues tied to budgetary issues.

New Laws Effective January 1st

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

New legislation typically goes into effect on January 1st, July 1st, or October 1st in a calendar year. Thus, with the start of 2018 comes a number of new laws that will take effect tomorrow, January 1st. These new laws may have an impact on you, your business, or our community. The full list of laws can be found by clicking here, though I have listed some noteworthy pieces of legislation below. Please note that providing this information does not indicate my support or opposition to any individual law.

 

Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse

Public Act 17-131

Requires prescriptions be transcribed electronically to safeguard against over prescribing, reduce the maximum number of days for a prescription from seven days to five days for minors, and allow patients to request drugs other than opioids be prescribed.

Enforcing Child Support Payments

Public Act 17-27

Requires an employer to promptly notify the dependent (i.e., spouse, former spouse, or child owed the support) or judicial branch’s Support Enforcement Services, as directed, if an employee whose income is withheld to enforce a child support order makes a workers’ compensation claim.

 

Ensuring Honors and Benefits for Veterans

Public Act 17-83

Broadens the eligibility criteria for certain veterans’ benefits, allows additional people to receive a service ribbon and medal, be buried in a Connecticut veterans cemetery, or have veteran status indicated on their driver’s license or identity card.

 

Allowing Health Insurance Coverage for Fertility Preservation for Insureds Diagnosed with Cancer

Public Act 17-55

Expands the range of people eligible for infertility coverage under certain individual and group health insurance policies. By law, these policies must cover the medically necessary costs of diagnosing and treating infertility. It covers, for example, (1) basic hospital expenses; (2) basic medical-surgical expenses; (3) major medical expenses; or (4) hospital or medical services, including those provided under an HMO plan.

 

Reducing Student Costs

Public Act 17-130

Allows the Office of Higher Education, University of Connecticut, the Connecticut State University System, the regional community-technical college system, and Charter Oak State College to each establish guidelines encouraging the state’s public higher education institutions to implement programs that reduce students’ textbook and educational resource costs.

 

Please pass this information along to those who may benefit from knowing what to expect in the new year in the State of Connecticut. I also encourage you to contact me with any questions or clarifications regarding the implementation of these acts.

 

Sending my warmest wishes for a happy and prosperous new year! The 2018 Legislative Session will begin on February 7, 2018.

Open Caption Movie Showings This Weekend

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

I would like to share with you some exciting information that I recently received from Daniel Pinnell, Executive Director of We the Deaf People, an independent civil-rights advocacy group.

The Connecticut Open Captions Chapter of the National Open Captions Network (NOCN) – who supports We the Deaf People of Connecticut and Deaf People United of Connecticut – is working hard to bring open captioning back to our local movie theaters in Connecticut. Their mission is to allow the Deaf and Hard of hearing to watch a movie without having to deal with closed caption decoding glasses or any other devices.

Here are their upcoming open caption viewings of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle for this weekend:

Friday, December 29th
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
6:45 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. at the Regal Stonington 10
85 Voluntown Road, Pawcatuck, CT

Saturday, December 30th
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
10:40 a.m. – 1:10 p.m. at the Bow Tie Cinemas Palace 17
330 New Park Avenue, Hartford, CT

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Cinepolis West Hartford
42 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT

Sunday, December 31st
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
10:40 a.m. – 1:10 p.m. at the Bow Tie Cinemas Palace 17
330 New Park Avenue, Hartford, CT

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
3:30 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. at the Cinepolis West Hartford
42 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT

Monday, January 1st
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
3:30 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. at the Cinepolis West Hartford
42 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT

To recommend the presentation of a movie, vote on a movie, or check the Open Captions movie schedule, please visit the Connecticut Open Captions Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/groups/connecticutoc. you may also contact the chapter at nocn@wtdp.org.

Please pass this information along to anyone who may benefit. Thank you!

New Veterans Identification Card

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently announced that they will be accepting applications for the new national Veterans Identification Card (VIC).

According to the Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015, veterans may apply for an identification card directly from the VA providing all veterans — not just retirees and VA beneficiaries — government-issued credentials verifying that they have served honorably.

This card is not intended to replace identification cards issued to VA beneficiaries or military retirees, but rather enables veterans who are otherwise not eligible for a VA identification card to obtain credentials proving their military service. Any veteran who served in the armed forces, including the reserves, with an honorable or general discharge can apply for a VIC.

According to the VA, you do not need to request this card if you have one of these:

  • Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC), or
  • Department of Defense (DoD) Identification Card (Common Access Card (CAC) or Uniformed Services ID Card, or
  • State-issued ID (Driver’s license) with a Veteran designation or a state-issued Veteran ID Card.

The VA estimates eligible recipients will receive their VIC card in the mail within approximately 3 weeks from the application submission date.

Apply for a VIC card here

I would also like to ensure that all veterans are aware that the State of Connecticut recently deployed a new smartphone app to assist the more than 200,000 veterans who live in the state to better connect with the information on benefits and services that are available. It can be downloaded free of charge from the iTunes Store and Google Play Store by searching the keyword “CTVeterans.” Directed toward veterans, those who are currently serving, their families, and supporters of veterans, the app provides a directory of services the state provides for veterans, as well as access to the Veterans Crisis hotline and information on how to support veterans in the state.