Memorial Day

Posted on May 25, 2018 by admin


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As we head into Memorial Day weekend, let us remember that this is a time to reflect on the service of those who answered our nation’s call in times of armed conflict, making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure future generations of Americans would remain free.

We consecrate their memories in church services and in visits to their graves. We also enjoy parades, barbecues, picnics and ball games with friends and family. Let us dedicate these celebratory events to those who preserved our freedom and their families, who also sacrificed so much for us.

Following the Civil War, Memorial Day was established to honor those who died during the conflict. Major General John Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, originally proclaimed May 30, 1868 as “Decoration Day.” It was not set aside in anniversary of any particular battle, but rather as a day to decorate the graves of those who died in defense of the nation.

By 1882, this day became more commonly known as “Memorial Day,” and in 1967 it became a federal holiday. The following year, Congress moved the date to the last Monday of May.

Below is a list of some important events happening in and around the region this weekend to commemorate this patriotic holiday and the heroic actions of those who fought in the name of our freedom.

Thank you, God bless you, and have a great Memorial Day. It is truly an honor to be your voice at the State Capitol.

Ledyard
Memorial Day Parade
Sunday, May 27th at 1:00 p.m.
The parade will travel along Colonel Ledyard Highway from Ledyard Center School to the high school.

Bozrah
Memorial Day Ceremony
Monday, May 28th at 11:00 a.m.
Veterans Memorial Park

Memorial Day Parade
Monday, May 28th at 1:00 p.m.
Begins at Schwartz Road and ends at the Moose Lodge on Fitchville Road.

New London
Memorial Day Candlelight Vigil
Sunday, May 27th at 7:30 p.m.
The city’s 11th annual memorial vigil will be held at the Parade Plaza on Water Street.

Mystic
Memorial Day Parade
Monday, May 28th at 2:00 p.m.
The parade will travel down Water, Pear and Gravel Streets, followed by a memorial ceremony at the VFW home post at 60 Stonington Road.

Tomorrow: Exit 82A on I-95 North Closed

Posted on May 21, 2018 by admin


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As a result of the recent storms that hit our area, two large trees that have lost limbs and show signs of decline, as well as damage from multiple vehicle strikes, need to be removed from the 82A exit ramp on I-95 northbound in Waterford. The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) will be closing the exit ramp tomorrow, Tuesday, May 22nd, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to work on the tree removal.

Please prepare for this to impact your daily travels if you commute through this vicinity.

Thank you.

State Reps. Mike France and Tom O’Dea Discuss Significance of Conor’s Law

Posted on May 17, 2018 by admin


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The loss of Conor Irwin was a tragedy for the Irwin Family and our community. In my best effort to respond to my constituents’ concerns and honor Conor’s life, I asked Deputy Republican Leader at Large State Rep. Tom O’Dea, member of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, to join me in discussing the significance of Conor’s Law. House Bill 5314 is now on its way to the governor’s desk, where it will await his signature to become law. Thank you.

Shoreline Job Fair Tomorrow

Posted on May 16, 2018 by admin


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A wonderful opportunity for local job seekers is taking place tomorrow in Southeastern Connecticut: The Day’s free Shoreline Job Fair at the Gladeview at 60 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook!

Pre-registration for this event is preferred, but not required. Click here to register.

Job Fair Employers Include:

  • A.R. Mazzotta Employment Specialists
  • Aaron Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
  • Albertus Magnus College
  • Arthur Murray Dance Center
  • Branford Hills Health Care Center
  • Americana Furniture Barn
  • Companions & Home Helpers Companions & Homemakers
  • (ECDC) Eastern Community Development Corporation
  • Foxwoods Resort Casino
  • Gladeview Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
  • Goodwill of Southern New England
  • Groton Public Schools
  • Guilford Savings Bank
  • Health at Home
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • M&J Bus Inc.
  • Mosaic Mystic Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center & Lighthouse Home Care
  • Oceanside Auto LLC
  • PCC Structurals, Inc.
  • Project Genesis
  • Specialty Transportation, Inc.
  • Stop & Shop – Old Saybrook
  • Temporaries of New England Inc
  • The Hearth At Tuxis Pond
  • US Army
  • US Postal Service
  • Veterans Assembled Electronics
  • Vista Life Innovations
  • Walmart Old Saybrook

Spread the word, these companies are hiring!

Rep. France Collecting American Flags in Need of Retirement

Posted on May 9, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42), a U.S. Navy Veteran, is holding a flag drive from May 18th to June 13th, during which constituents can drop off worn and damaged American Flags to be properly and honorably disposed of.

WHEN: May 18 – June 13, 2018

DROP-OFF BOXES WILL BE LOCATED AT:

Ledyard Town Hall
741 Colonel Ledyard Highway

Preston Town Hall
389 Route 2

According to the U.S. Flag Code, when the American flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by a controlled burning ceremony.

This event is free and open to the public. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Rep. France at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423.

Local Lawmakers Invite Constituents to Meet with Them in June

Posted on May 9, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) invites his constituents to join him for a town-hall style meeting at the Ledyard Town Hall Annex on June 7th for a Legislative Update. On June 9th, he will be holding a second Legislative Update with Senator Heather Somers at the Preston Public Library. The legislators will be discussing the major issues, particularly the state budget, that came out of the 2018 Legislative Session that ended at midnight on May 9th.

LEDYARD

WHO: Rep. Mike France
WHEN: Thursday, June 7th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Ledyard Town Hall Annex, 741 Colonel Ledyard Highway

PRESTON

WHO: Rep. Mike France & Sen. Heather Somers
WHEN: Saturday, June 9th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Preston Public Library, 389 Route 2

These events are free and open to the public. If you are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. France, please do not hesitate to contact him at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423. If either meeting needs to be cancelled or postponed, a notice will be posted on Rep. France’s website at www.RepFrance.com and his Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/RepFrance.

Rep. France Endorses Effort to Better Meet the Needs of Connecticut’s I/DD Community

Posted on May 9, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) co-sponsored a bill to improve access to vital services for individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) that passed unanimously in the House on Saturday, in concurrence with the Senate.  Senate Bill 463 establishes a task force to develop a facility and resource plan to meet the needs of persons with intellectual disability.

According to The Arc Connecticut, this bill will finally give people with I/DD and families on wait lists to finally receive the support they need, before they are in crisis. It will also create a task force to study the long-term needs of people with I/DD. Finally, under this bill community providers will be able create pilot programs that will offer more choices and a broader array of supported living options to people with I/DD. Financial savings generated from these pilot programs will be used to serve people on the waiting list or to further improve residential supports.

“This is a great bill that helps us to better serve the most vulnerable residents in our communities,” said Rep. France. “So many families caring for a loved one with I/DD find themselves stuck, waiting for funding, housing or services. I want them to know that we sympathize with what they’re going through and are dedicated to supporting them so that they never have to worry about their loved one getting the care they need.”

The 2018 Legislative Session will end tomorrow, Wednesday, May 9th at midnight. Rep. France encourages his constituents to contact him with questions or concerns regarding any piece of legislation at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or 1-800-842-1423. Constituents can also follow him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RepFrance.

Southeastern Connecticut Legislators Ask Colleagues to Support Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes

Posted on May 5, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representatives Mike France (R-42), Kathleen McCarty (R-38) and Holly Cheeseman (R-20), along with several other Southeastern Connecticut legislators from both the House and Senate, sent a letter to their colleagues this week urging for their collaboration in supporting the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation by voting against House Bill 5305, An Act Concerning a Request for Proposals to Qualify an Entity to Develop a Casino Gaming Facility in the State. However, the bill passed through the House last night 77-73.

This bill requires the Commissioners of Consumer Protection and Economic and Community Development to develop and issue a request for proposal (RFP) to qualify a person, business organization or an Indian tribe to develop, manage and operate a casino gaming facility in the state.

The lawmakers shared that the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation oppose this bill for three principle reasons:

  1. It puts thousands of jobs at risk at our current casinos.
  2. It jeopardizes over $270 million a year in state revenue, approximately $60 million of which that is shared with Connecticut municipalities through the Pequot Fund.
  3. It risks the financing necessary to complete construction of the East Windsor project.

“This proposal is meant to derail the East Windsor project by risking financing and leading to the loss of thousands of jobs across the state,” the Legislators wrote in the letter. “The Connecticut General Assembly created the process whereby the East Windsor location was selected.  Steps to reverse its approval, either directly or indirectly, will have a negative effect on the project and two of our largest employers in the state. We urge you to support the longstanding partnership that has resulted in over $7.5 billion being paid to the state from both the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and vote ‘No’ on the MGM RFP bill.”

“As I said earlier this session during an Informational Forum held by the Government Administration and Elections Committee, the Tribal Compacts between the State of Connecticut and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Mohegan Tribe are built on mutual respect for sovereignty and jurisdiction,” said Rep. France. “The provision in this bill that would jeopardize construction funding violates the legislative contract that we entered into with MMCT Venture less than a year ago. I strongly oppose it and hope my colleagues will do the same.”

“MMCT is one of the top employers in our Southeastern Connecticut region,” said Rep. McCarty. “The Mashantucket and Mohegan Tribes have been such excellent local community partners for many decades. They provide thousands of jobs to our community. In addition, every town in the state benefits from the Mohegan -Pequot Fund. The 25 year compact must be safeguarded for the benefit of the state of Connecticut.”

“It’s important that we stick to the facts,” said Rep. Cheeseman. “The tribes pay $270 million to the State of Connecticut and its municipalities every year; they have paid $7.5 billion to Connecticut over the life of the compact; and if this RFP would be approved for an entity other than MMCT, who currently supplies gaming in the state, we would lose millions and billions of dollars during the three, four, maybe five years during which a new casino would be built. The tribes are incredibly important to the entire state because of the revenue they generate, their philanthropic ventures and the jobs they create. I do not think that our valued compact with the tribes is something we should risk violating.”

Free Dental Care for Veterans

Posted on May 1, 2018 by admin


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Approximately 191,607 veterans live in Connecticut and most of them don’t receive dental benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Only veterans who are 100 percent disabled, have a service-related injury to their mouths, or were a prisoner of war receive dental coverage. This is not acceptable to dentists from Aspen Dental practices. As part of their “Healthy Mouth Movement,” they are offering FREE dental care to veterans on Aspen Dental’s National Day of Service, Saturday, June 9th.

Interested veterans should call 1-844-AspenHMM (1-844-277-3646) to make an appointment in advance – space is limited and appointments are filling up fast!

The closest Aspen Dental practice that will be participating in the National Day of Service is located in the Waterford Commons at 909 Hartford Turnpike in Waterford, CT – between Coldstone and Yankee Candle.

Please share this information with others who may benefit!

Rep. France Votes to Allow Pregnant Women Access to Living Wills

Posted on April 25, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — During yesterday’s House Session, the Legislature voted unanimously to pass a bill (H.B. 5148) that allows pregnant women, age 18 and older, to exercise living wills. As a co-sponsor of the bill, State Representative Mike France (R-42) is today urging the Senate to also approve of the bill and send it to the governor, who could then sign it into law.

Current laws states that pregnant patients are not allowed to exercise a living will, which generally outlines their wishes for health care instructions, such as being removed from life support, and other advance directives. They only have the right to appoint a health care representative in the case that one becomes necessary.

Under this new legislation, a pregnant woman would be granted all of these rights. She would be allowed to indicate whether she intends to accept life support if her doctor believes that doing so would allow the fetus to reach a live birth, and even whether or not she would allow her living will to be executed with or without modifications to its original instructions.

“Living wills are medical directives that every adult deserves access to, regardless of gender or condition,” said Rep. France. “Removing the statutory exclusion for pregnant patients to enact such directives enables an expectant mother to establish her desires for the appropriate level of health care at every stage of life.”

As the Session progresses, Rep. France will provide further updates on important bills as they make their way through the Legislature. In the meantime, please feel free contact him if you have any questions relating to state government at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or 1-800-842-1423.

Rep. France Shows Support for Connecticut Autism Advocacy Coalition

Posted on April 23, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – The Connecticut Autism Advocacy Coalition (CAAC) headed to Hartford last week to host their 2018 Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day at the State Capitol, during which they were able to meet with Legislators and spread cognizance of the importance of their mission. State Rep. Mike France (R-42) was in attendance to offer his encouragement.

The CAAC strives for acceptance, support and empowerment for those diagnosed with Autism. Their priority this year is to improve access to employment and other services regarding employment for I/DD individuals. For more information about the coalition, please find them on Facebook or email them directly with questions at ctautismactioncoalition@gmail.com.

Roadwork on I-395

Posted on April 20, 2018 by admin


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The Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced that they are beginning a surveying project on a six mile segment of I-395 Northbound and Southbound in Montville and Norwich that will last through next Friday, April 27, 2018.

The work schedule for this project is from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday). Please expect delays as left lane closures will occur during these times on I-395 Northbound and Southbound in the vicinity of Route 2A in Montville to Exit 14 in Norwich. Crash attenuator vehicles and signing patterns will be utilized to guide motorists through the work zone.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Please maintain a safe speed when driving through this area!

Thank you.

Rep. France Speaks to Insurance Agents at the Capitol

Posted on April 17, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – State Farm agents from across Connecticut gathered in Hartford today for their 2018 Connecticut Legislative Day. State Representative Mike France (R-42) caught up with them at the Capitol to share the progress during the current legislative session and to discuss the importance of keeping in touch with their legislators regarding how the industry is doing and how state government can help. Questions centered on the status of budget discussions and the likelihood that tools will be enacted this legislative session. The agents also shared their legislative priority issues, including opposition to crumbling foundations legislation (S.B. 377 and S.B. 518) and support for allowing insurers to deliver proof of insurance by mobile devices (H.B. 5203). Another priority issue involved requiring retail, business or commercial premises to record digital, video or electronic surveillance after receiving notice of an injury-producing event on the premises (H.B. 5467).

State Farm employs more than 400 people across the state and insures nearly 300,000 Connecticut residents. They also contribute significantly to Connecticut’s economy by investing charitable donations, municipal bonds and tax payments into our communities.

Rep. France Discusses State Budget and Other Important Issues with Constituents

Posted on April 13, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) met with constituents in Ledyard and Preston last week in two mid-Session town hall-style meetings to discuss important issues that are currently shaping the 2018 Legislative Session. Rep. France was joined by Senator Heather Somers for the Preston meeting.

In Preston, the discussion touched upon topics such as the legalization of marijuana, education costs, dwindling school populations, municipal grants, tolls and Supreme Court nominations.  In Ledyard, Rep. France and attendees also discussed tolls and education funding, in addition to the state budget, municipal aid, the Special Transportation Fund, a transportation lockbox and constitutional amendments.

Preston Public Library

“I want to thank all of my constituents who took the time out of their busy schedules to come out last week to the Town Hall meetings,” said Rep. France. “I always enjoy our conversations and the opportunity to answer questions about the issues that matter most to those I represent. I can’t do my job without your input, so your opinions are extremely important to me.”

Ledyard Town Hall

Rep. France hosts Town Hall meetings in Ledyard and Preston on a quarterly basis. The next series of meetings will be held shortly after the 2018 Session has concluded on May 9th. If you were unable to attend either of these meetings, or simply want to discuss a particular issue in more detail, he encourages constituents to contact him at 800-842-1423 or Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov. To be notified of future meeting dates, please sign up for Rep. France’s e-newsletter at www.RepFrance.com or follow him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RepFrance.

Scholarship Opportunity for High School Seniors

Posted on April 10, 2018 by admin


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The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut is now accepting applications for a $1,250 scholarship for local high school seniors.

Eligibility:

  • Applicant must be a graduating high school senior planning to further his or her educational or career goals by attending a two- or four-year college or technical, vocational, or apprenticeship program.
  • Applicant must demonstrate academic persistence and dedicated service to his or her local community.
  • Applicant must reside or attend high school within the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut service area.
  • No officer, director, manager or trustee of the Foundation or Chamber, nor any substantial contributor, along with each of their family members are eligible for the scholarship grants.

Applicants will be required to provide a copy of their transcript, a 2016 1040 tax return, a resume of community service activities and answer the following essay prompt: Please describe your career interests and your aspirations for pursuing your career in Eastern Connecticut.

The deadline to apply is April 30, 2018.

Click Here to Begin your Application

 
The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation Board of Directors will select four scholarship recipients based on a variety of criteria, including academic persistence, community involvement and service, career interest, and financial need.

All applicants will be notified in writing of the final decision and the scholarship checks will be sent directly to the recipient’s college or vocational program. The recipients will be responsible for providing the relevant contact information for their school.

If you have any questions regarding this scholarship or application process, please call the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT at (860) 701-9113.

Rep. France Shows Support for Epilepsy Foundation

Posted on April 9, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – The Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut held their annual Epilepsy Awareness Day last week at the Capitol. State Representative Mike France (R-42) spoke at the event about the importance of advocating for the best services to help those suffering with Epilepsy to overcome the challenges of daily life, to accelerate therapies that will stop seizures, find cures and save lives.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives – this is approximately 60,000 people in the State of Connecticut. This disease can shorten a person’s life and severely reduce overall well-being and full participation in daily activities. Because of this, unfortunately the suicide rate in people with epilepsy is 22% higher than in the general population.

The foundation is currently working to ensure patients have timely access to Epilepsy medications and specialists, and to end all forms of discrimination against Epilepsy patients (i.e. restraint, seclusion and equal employment opportunity). They are also urging legislators from all over the state to support Senate Bill 398, which would ensure that insurers comply with legal provisions governing the use of Step Therapy for prescription drugs.

Step Therapy, also known as the “Fail First” method, is a process used by insurance companies to require individuals who have been prescribed certain medications by their physician to try and fail one or more medications preferred by the insurer before receiving the medication prescribed by the individual’s physician.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut opposes the Step Therapy policy as it is intended to restrict access to physician-directed care that unnecessarily prolongs ineffective treatment and prevents individuals from immediately starting the treatment their practitioners think is best. They support this bill, therefore, because it imposes penalties and holds insurers accountable when they fail to comply with Step Therapy policies.

Rep. France Works to Spread Awareness of Safe Haven Law

Posted on April 4, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — In honor of the third annual Safe Haven Awareness Day on April 4, State Representative Mike France (R-42) is urging public education on the importance of this lifesaving bill.

Since its passage in 2000, Connecticut’s Safe Haven law has saved 33 infants from abandonment and near certain death. The parents of these infants, too, have been saved from possible incarceration and a life overshadowed by the crime of neonaticide, committed in a moment of panic.

“We must continue to work with school districts, coaches, and everyone in a position to help distressed parents know about this law, which can prevent dire consequences, including arrest for infant abandonment,” said Rep. France. “In this way, Safe Havens really saves two lives, especially as it preserves the anonymity of all parties concerned.”

The Safe Havens law helps prevent the crime of neonaticide by allowing anyone to drop off a newborn baby (within the first 30 days of life) at any hospital emergency room in Connecticut. The person dropping off the baby — whether it’s the infant’s mother, father, grandparents or a family friend — will be given a bracelet matching one put on the infant by hospital staff. The police will not be called and no one will be arrested, assuming the infant has not been abused. If the parents of the child change their minds within 30 days, they may petition to get the baby back.

“I am proud to share that Backus and Lawrence & Memorial Hospitals support all efforts to spread the word about this life-saving law,” said Rep. France. “Neonaticide knows no economic, ethnic or racial bounds, and every woman about to give birth should know that this program is available to her should she need it. Fathers of newborns should also be aware of this option so that they can help ensure both their child and their mothers are safe. Emergency room staff are all aware of the law, and stand at the ready to offer help to a distressed family.”

For more information about the Safe Haven Law, please watch the video below:

Roadwork in Ledyard

Posted on April 3, 2018 by admin


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Please be aware that next week the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) will be starting a construction project in Ledyard that could cause traffic delays.

The purpose of this project is to repair a twin pipe culvert under Route 214 just east of Spicer Hill Road. Work is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 9th (with a Rain Date of Tuesday, April 10th) at 8:00 a.m.

On Monday, drivers will be detoured from Route 117, Route 2A, Route 2 and return to Route 214 between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will also be available from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and again from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. or as required.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, construction is expected to take place between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. with traffic control personnel and signing patterns available between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Please maintain a safe speed and use caution when driving through this area. Thank you.

Rep. France Participates in Annual “Civics in Action” Round Table at Ledyard High School

Posted on March 29, 2018 by admin


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LEDYARD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) participated in Ledyard High School Sophomore Class “Civics in Action” Round Table discussion on Tuesday. During the event, students met in small groups with town, state, education and public safety officials, with each class rotating through three 20-minute panels. The students presented their civics project, which are generally designed to enact change at the local, state or federal level. Each student in the panel asked questions about their specific project to learn how best to advocate for their issue. Rep. France shared with each group of students how to access information on state policy through the Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis, and specific committees that would have responsibility for taking action on their particular project.

“I always appreciate the invitation from Mr. Gallante to participate in the Civics in Action Round Table,” said Rep. France. “It is a great opportunity for young people to learn their role in advocating for change, both through enactment of new laws as well as grassroots advocacy using tools such as social media. Each year, I am excited to participate and have the opportunity to check in with our students to learn what they are concerned about. The issues raised by the students are largely based on issues of the day, such as school safety this year, but each year some bring significant issues having a personal connection with the potential for broad, positive impact in our world. These students have so much to contribute to our community, and their opinions matter. I was happy to offer suggestions for strengthening the argument being made for change and helping the students understand the next steps to take in the process.”

Issues brought to light by the students during the Round Table discussions ranged from school safety and gun control to legalization of marijuana to international human rights. Other major policy issues raised included using animals for medical research, cyberbullying and improving health education curriculum.

Rep. France encourages students to reach out to him at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or 1-800-842-1423 with any further questions regarding their projects, or other issues that interest them.

Rep. France Shows Support for Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes at the Captiol

Posted on March 24, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — The Government Administration and Elections Committee held an Informational Forum on Tribal Compacts yesterday in Hartford to provide information about the history and significance of such compacts entered into under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in the State of Connecticut. State Representative Mike France (R-42), who represents both towns that are home to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, spoke in strong support of the tribes and their business ventures during the forum, and asked questions that clarified important information for the committee and the general public in regards to moving forward with the East Windsor casino.

Attorney Robert Gips, Counsel to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation stated in written testimony provided to the committee that “The compacts and Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between the Pequot and Mohegan Tribes (dating back to 1994) and the State of Connecticut have proven over the decades to be a set of inter-governmental agreements and inter-governmental relationships that respect mutual sovereignty and jurisdiction and have led to the creation of robustly regulated enterprises that have been an unprecedented economic success for the Tribes, the State, and of course the local and regional economies in southeastern Connecticut. The mutually beneficial relationship between the Tribes and the State is now exemplified by the MMCT casino to be developed in East Windsor.”

Attorney Gips further stated that “Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun [will never] be for sale to an out-of-state corporation that wants to acquire these gaming resorts. They are locally owned and controlled and always will be. Tribal revenues and profits recirculate within Connecticut and will always be key components of the economic health of the southeastern Connecticut and the State as a whole. The Tribes are among the most significant employers in the State, employing well over 10,000 people with good wages and excellent health care, and creating innumerable … employment in small and large businesses within Connecticut.”

According to the report titled, Mohegan Sun Casino & Foxwoods Resort Casino: Potential Impact of Gaming Expansion in Massachusetts & New York written by Pyramid Associates, LLC in March 2016, the negative impact of the opening of the MGM Springfield casino to Connecticut’s two casinos would be the loss of an estimated 5,812 employees and an additional 3,488 indirect jobs. Other reports have indicated that the number of indirect jobs lost could be as high as 12,000. Further, the estimated loss in state revenue due under the Tribal Compact has been estimated to be approximately $100 million.

“I believe that this framework of mutual respect for State and Tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction represented by the Tribal Compacts between the State of Connecticut and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations will continue to benefit both the State and the Tribes with the opening of the MMCT casino in East Windsor,” said Rep. France. “If nothing changed and East Windsor never opened, the State of Connecticut would lose significant revenue and jobs, with the associated additional loss of income and sales tax revenue. These types of secondary and tertiary effects would have a significant impact on the state as a whole. I thank Chairman Butler and Chairman Brown, and Attorney Gips and Attorney Skibine for meeting with our committee and answering our questions.”

“Heroes for Hire” Veterans Career Fair

Posted on March 22, 2018 by admin


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The Connecticut Department of Labor is hosting their 14th Annual Heroes For Hire Veterans Career Fair on April 4th at Rentschler Field.

When: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where: Renstchler Field, 615 Silver Lane, East Hartford, CT

 
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with prospective employers, such as Pratt & Whitney, ESPN, Eversource, FedEx, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, General Dynamics-Electric Boat, Liberty Bank, Prudential, Travelers and more. Please click here for a full list of participating companies. The following free services will also be available:

  • Résumé critiquing by nationally certified writers
  • Help accessing CTJobs.com, Connecticut’s electronic job matching system that is part of the nation’s largest internet employment service
  • Assistance and guidance from Veterans’ Services Representatives
  • Information on educational and job training programs, as well as employment and unemployment services

Employers interested in participating can also register for a booth here.

If you are a veteran, currently serving in our armed forces, or know someone who is, please consider attending this career fair and passing this information along!

Rep. France to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Ledyard

Posted on March 21, 2018 by admin


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LEDYARD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) invites constituents to meet with him at Ledyard Town Hall on April 7th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to discuss the status of the state budget and important legislation being debated during the 2018 Session. Rep. France is also happy to answer any questions or concerns constituents may have related to state government.

WHEN: Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Ledyard Town Hall Annex, 741 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard

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

Rep. France & Sen. Somers to Meet with Constituents in Preston

Posted on March 21, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) invites constituents to meet with him and State Senator Heather Somers at the Preston Public Library April 5th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to discuss the status of the state budget and important legislation being discusses during the 2018 Regular Session. Rep. France is also happy to answer any questions or concerns constituents may have related to state government.

WHEN: Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Preston Public Library, 389 Route 2, Preston

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

Rep. France Disappointed with Education Committee’s Failure to Raise Bill Supporting Teacher Certification

Posted on March 14, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — During this year’s “short” legislative session – which will come to an end in about two months– legislators largely focus on budget issues. However, they may propose bill concepts to legislative committees. The committees can then choose to draft language and hold a public hearing ahead of voting the bill out of committee for consideration by the House and Senate. State Representative Mike France (R-42) proposed a bill this year to the Education Committee that would have allowed teachers who maintain current Connecticut teachers’ certifications to teach in grade levels they are certified for without additional formal education requirements. Unfortunately, the proposal was not taken up by the Education Committee.

“I am disappointed that the Education Committee did not see the importance of this proposal and at least hold a public hearing on the subject matter,” said Rep. France. “This bill would have allowed a teacher who has maintained their certification and continuing education to teach in any grade to which they are certified.”

“Currently, the Connecticut State Department of Education requires that educators who wish to extend their certification endorsements to teach a new subject must complete courses in the new subject area, which is appropriate,” said Rep. France. “However, they also required that the certified teacher complete approximately nine credit hours of college coursework on grade level education methods and instruction. I find this entirely unnecessary and duplicative if a teacher has maintained their Connecticut teacher endorsements and professional development requirements. These required courses are not even offered in Connecticut nor are they offered at many of the online colleges and universities that the State Department of Education provides as resources to obtain this formal instruction.”

“To put this into perspective: it is understandable that a certified, experienced English middle school teacher looking to instruct their students in Social Studies should first take courses in Social Studies, but why should they have to take courses on teaching middle school level students? If they have already been doing so, and have maintained their certification requirements along the way, it is clear that they are already qualified to teach middle school level students, regardless of the subject. This bill would have exempted teachers in this situation from having to take unnecessary, and often costly, courses to extend a current certification,” said Rep. France.

Anyone wishing to submit a comment on this issue can email the Education Committee at EDtestimony@cga.ct.gov. Questions about the proposal can be submitted directly to Rep. France at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov.

Local Lawmakers Commemorate Demolition of East Windsor Showcase Cinemas

Posted on March 12, 2018 by admin


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Site of Potential Third Casino in State of Connecticut

 
EAST WINDSOR — State Representatives Mike France (R-42) and Carol Hall (R-59) showed their support last week as demolition of the old Showcase Cinemas in East Windsor began. This demolition ceremony was the first step to allow for a third casino to be developed in our state by MMCT Venture LLC, the joint company of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes.

“What an exciting day for East Windsor,” said Rep. France. “My district in Southeastern Connecticut is privileged to host both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun’s gaming facilities. The partnership that our towns of Ledyard and Montville have with the two tribes is strong and I know that the Town of East Windsor will find the same strength and partnership should a third casino be built in this very spot. When the House of Representatives passed the original bill to allow for this in 2015, I said on the House Floor that this venture is all about jobs and maintaining revenue within the state – therefore not allowing it to migrate across the border to Massachusetts. I am reaffirming this notion today: The number of jobs that will be created here will be a significant economic driver that will have long-lasting benefits for this town and for our state.”

“I was excited to attend the demolition; it is great to see progress being made. It is important to remember that this project comes with significant funding for the host town of East Windsor and I think just as important I actively crafted the part of the passing legislation for the abutting towns. The surrounding towns that directly border East Windsor will receive $750,000 a year annually once the casino is up and running and has paid their obligation to the state. This is a way to mitigate quality of life issues that may impact surrounding towns.” said Rep. Hall. “Once completed this facility will generate much needed jobs for the region and property tax dollars for East Windsor.”

Demolition is expected to continue for the next six weeks before breaking ground for the start of new construction. The $300 million casino is anticipated to open within two years. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler and Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin Brown said that the casino would offer nearly 4,500 jobs to Connecticut residents while nearly 2,500 Connecticut Building Trades workers would participate in the construction.

(L to R) Sen. Formica, Reps. Davis, Hall, Vail and France.

TOMORROW: Tell Majority Leaders to Oppose Governor Malloy’s Taxes!

Posted on March 1, 2018 by admin


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I am sure that you are not surprised, but rather frustrated, to learn that Governor Malloy’s solution for fixing Connecticut’s staggering budget deficit this year is to propose more tax hikes. After the two record-setting, job-killing tax hikes that he has already approved as governor, he is again proposing several more tax hikes.

In Senate Bill Number 10 (S.B. 10), Governor Malloy proposes new or increased taxes and fees on the following:

  • Nonprescription drugs and medicines
  • Gas ($0.07 increase over four years)
  • Hotels
  • Real Estate Conveyances
  • Tires ($3 per tire)
  • $0.25 deposit fee on wine and liquor bottles; adding tea and fruit, sports, and energy drinks to the current $0.05 deposit fee
  • College Graduates by eliminating the $500 income tax credit for science, technology, engineering and math degrees
  • Businesses by extending the “temporary” corporate surcharge tax that was due to expire June 30
  • Low-income working families and the elderly by eliminating the $200 property tax credit

Higher taxes and new fees have failed before and are not the answer to our fiscal problems. Tell the majority party leaders and Governor Malloy what you think tomorrow, March 2, at 12:00 p.m. in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building. The Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee will be holding a public hearing to discuss S.B. 10.

Here’s how you can make sure that your opinion on this tax bill counts, even if you can’t make it to the hearing:

You can submit written testimony to FINtestimony@cga.ct.gov (please be sure to copy me, Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov). Your testimony can be as brief or lengthy as you would like, but please just make sure that you include your name and town, and refer to “S.B. 10” in the subject line and body of your email/testimony.

If you are able to make it tomorrow’s hearing to testify in person, please find this Guide to Testifying on the Connecticut General Assembly’s website.

I encourage you to share this information with friends, family, neighbors, and other fed-up taxpayers and let them know that they can do the same.

Public Hearing on DOT Fare Increases

Posted on February 23, 2018 by admin


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The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced that they will be holding a public hearing in New London regarding proposed bus and rail fare increases and service reductions. At these hearings, DOT representatives will provide information and accept public comments about the fare and service proposals.

 

When: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: New London City Hall Council Chambers

181 State Street, New London
Snow date: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

Rail Services: A rail fare increase would take effect in three phases – 10 percent on July 1, 2018, 5 percent on July 1, 2020, and 5 percent on July 1, 2021, for a cumulative total of 21.28 percent. Rail service reductions on Shore Line East would also take effect on or about July 1, 2018.

 

Bus Services: A 14.3 percent, or 25-cent, bus fare increase would take effect on July 1, 2018. 

 

Ferry Services: A $1 increase in the car fare for the Chester-Hadlyme ferry.

 

The DOT feels that these actions are necessary due to an estimated $60 million budget shortfall for transit and rail accounts.

 

If these changes would affect you, I encourage you to attend the public hearing and provide verbal comment at this hearing. If you are unable to attend, you can provide written comment via mail or e-mail.

 

You may submit written comments by March 9, 2018 to:

 

Connecticut Department of Transportation

P.O. Box 317546

Newington, CT 06131-7546

or

dot.farecomments@ct.gov

 

The DOT will review and consider all comments received during the public comment period before approving the final service and fare proposal. The implementation of any service and fare changes is contingent on action by the General Assembly.

 

The hearing facility is fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Free Language assistance may be requested by contacting the DOT at (203) 497-3374 at least 5 business days prior to the hearing. Persons having a hearing and/or speech disability may dial 711 for Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS).

Eversource Aerial Inspections

Posted on February 22, 2018 by admin


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Please be aware that Eversource will be conducting statewide infrared inspections of their high-voltage electrical equipment this week. The inspections involve the use of a helicopter equipped with heat-sensing, infrared scanning technology to detect any potential equipment issues before they occur.

As you may have already noticed, the aerial inspections began this week and, weather permitting, will continue through Wednesday, February 28th. Flights will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. covering several towns, including Ledyard, Montville and our neighboring communities.

DESCRIPTION OF AIRCRAFT: Blue & Gray Helicopter, Tail #N1431W.

If you have any questions or concerns about these inspections, please contact Frank Poirot at Eversource at (860) 665-3409 or frank.poirot@eversource.com.

Free Parking at Connecticut State Parks

Posted on February 20, 2018 by admin


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Spring will be here before we know it and I’m sure we are all looking forward to enjoying the warm weather at our local state park, Stoddard Hill. I would like to let you know that if you also plan to visit our beautiful state parks this season, the Passport to Parks Program has recently launched to make parking much more affordable. It was approved in the bipartisan budget passed this past October.

The program allows Connecticut residents with valid state license plates to park for free at state parks when you pay a $10 fee to get a new registration, renewal or plate transfer through the DMV.

Out-of-state vehicles will still be charged parking fees, ranging from $7 to $22, depending on the park and time of day. Fees to reserve overnight campground sites for both in-state and out-of-state visitors will still apply.

Funds generated by the program will go toward the Connecticut State Park system in an effort to restore several services at the parks that had been previously reduced, such as reopening several closed campgrounds, increasing staffing of state beaches during the summer and restoration of regular hours of operation at certain nature centers and museums.

Click here for FAQs on the Passport to Parks Program.  For additional information or to ask questions, please contact the Connecticut State Parks Department at 860-424-3200 or deep.stateparks@ct.gov.

Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus Strongly Opposes Tolls

Posted on February 2, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — Today the Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus expressed its opposition to plans proposed by Governor Malloy, as well as other lawmakers, for the installation of electronic tolls on Connecticut highways. On Wednesday, Governor Malloy held a press conference discussing the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and detailing his support for electronic tolls, a seven cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, a new three dollar fee on tire purchases and accelerating the transfer of new car sales tax revenue to the STF by two years.

As recently as last week, lawmakers in Hartford discussed plans to install “congestion pricing tolls” on all major highways, including I‑95, I-91, I-84, I-395, I-691, as well as Route 2, Route 6, Route 7, Route 8 and Route 15. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-30) recently “promised” a vote on tolls during the upcoming session opening on Wednesday, February 7th. Once in place, the door would be opened for potential tolls on every major bridge and highway across the state.

Congestion pricing tolls are those in which the surcharge is not constant, but instead rises and falls based upon the amount of traffic at the time. Some states have seen congestion toll pricing as high as $50.00 per toll. Here in Connecticut, lawmakers have been discussing having as many as 32 tolls just on the span of I-95 alone, not to mention those planned for Connecticut’s other highways.

The Conservative Caucus opposes the imposition of tolls on the Connecticut taxpayer as a new revenue source for the following reasons:

  • Connecticut has one of the highest gasoline tax rates in the country and receives hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly aid from the federal government that would be forfeited with the imposition of general highway tolls.
  • Toll infrastructure would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to install, along with the cost of establishing an additional state bureaucracy and expanding the state employee workforce.
  • The toll infrastructure would take approximately two to three years to install so there is no immediate influx of revenue to offset expenditures.
  • Approximately 70% of all toll revenues would be paid by Connecticut residents and much of the revenue gain would be spent in collection and enforcement efforts netting little “real” revenue to the STF.
  • The imposition of electronic tolls, including congestion pricing, offers little direct benefit to Connecticut residents and will only further damage our fragile economy.
  • Serious privacy concerns arise when dealing with the electronic monitoring of travel.

Rep. Doug Dubitsky, caucus member said, “This is just another way for the state to suck more and more money out of your wallet. Gas tax money is supposed to pay for our transportation infrastructure needs, but the governor and the Democrats keep diverting that money to fund their irresponsible spending addiction. No matter how much new money they take from the people of this state, it will never be enough if they won’t put transportation money toward transportation.”

Rep. Anne Dauphinais, caucus Vice-Chair, said, “The projected payback is so far down the road, I don’t know why we are even discussing this. I am not comfortable at all with expanding government in exchange for the hope that more than a decade from now we might see a return.”

The Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus is a group of Connecticut legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. Its members foster open debate about the role of government in society, adherence to the Constitution, and the rule of law. They propose and advocate for legislation that promotes the freedoms, individual rights, and prosperity of all Americans.

The members of the Conservative caucus are: Rep. Rob Sampson, Chair (R-80); Rep. Anne Dauphinais Vice-Chair (R-44); Rep. Mike France, Secretary (R-42); Rep. Doug Dubitsky, Treasurer (R-47); Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-86); Senator Joe Markley (R-16), and Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8), Rep. Craig Fishbein (R-90), Rep. John Fusco (R-81), and Rep. John Piscopo (R-76).

Rep. Mike France to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Ledyard

Posted on January 18, 2018 by admin


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LEDYARD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) invites constituents to meet with him at the Ledyard Town Hall Annex on January 29th to discuss the status of the state budget and legislative priorities for the 2018 Regular Session that begins on February 7th. Rep. France is also happy to answer any questions or concerns constituents may have related to state government.

WHEN: Friday, January 29, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Ledyard Town Hall Annex, 741 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard

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

Local Lawmakers to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Montville

Posted on January 11, 2018 by admin


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MONTVILLE — State Representatives Kathleen McCarty (R-38), Mike France (R-42) and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20) invite constituents to meet with them on January 31st at the Montville Town Hall to discuss the status of the state budget and important legislation for the 2018 Regular Session.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Montville Town Hall, 310 Norwich-New London Turnpike, Uncasville

This event is free and open to the public. If constituents are unable to attend but would still like to connect with their legislator, please do not hesitate to contact them at (800) 842-1423 (House) or (800) 842-1421 (Senate). In the event that the meeting must be postponed, a notice will be posted on their websites at www.repfrance.com, www.repmccarty.com and www.senatorformica.com.

Rep. Mike France to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Preston

Posted on January 11, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) invites constituents to meet with him and State Senator Heather Homers at the Preston Public Library January 30th to discuss the status of the state budget and important legislation for the 2018 Regular Session. Rep. France is also happy to answer any questions or concerns constituents may have related to state government.

WHEN: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Preston Public Library, 389 Route 2, Preston

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

 

Local Representatives Vote to Reverse Cuts to Medicare Program

Posted on January 9, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORDState Representatives Mike France (R-42), Kathleen McCarty (R-38) and Holly Cheeseman (R-37) 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.

“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.”

“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.”

“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.

Unified Pedestrian & Bicycle Improvement Plan for Southeastern Connecticut

Posted on January 8, 2018 by admin


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Governor Malloy has announced that the Connecticut Responsible Growth and Transit-Oriented Development Grant Program, which is administered by the Office of Policy and Management, is awarding 11 grants that will support transit-oriented development and boost economic activity state wide.

The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SECCOG) – which serves Ledyard, Preston and Montville – will receive one of these grants for nearly $240,000 to develop a unified pedestrian and bicycle improvement plan for the region that identifies and incorporates local planning needs, as well as each municipality’s contribution to the broader network. In addition to bicycle and pedestrian planning, this project will include a focus on integrating these modes with the local transit network. Activities shall include but are not limited to, existing conditions analysis and data collection, public outreach, and the development and publishing of a final report.

It is important to promote safe transportation options for those who either choose to walk or bike, or who do not have other means available to make their daily commutes. I hope that the development of this plan will provide insight into realistic options for safe and efficient bike and walking paths for transportation, and will offer new opportunities for tourists visiting our area. This could greatly boost our local and state economies.

Kate Rattan, Senior Transportation Planner for SECCOG, says that this plan will be “holistic” in its approach and even boost public health. It will also support Southeastern Connecticut’s economic viability and various employment sectors.

“We need to do a better job of providing these amenities so we can create and maintain jobs in our area, as well as provide equality in transportation for those with disabilities or less access to motorized transportation,” said Ms. Rattan. “We will look at this plan from a regional perspective for all different types of infrastructure, but in particular for an on-road bike network – this is our best option considering cost, permitting and the challenge of maintaining right-of-ways.”

Any questions or concerns regarding this project can be directed to Ms. Rattan at krattan@seccog.org. SECCOG will be launching a website with information about the plan soon. Though no public hearings are planned regarding the project yet, you can find their 2018 meeting agenda on their website. When a hearing is planned, SECCOG encourages residents to come forward and explain their views on this plan, as well as what other projects are important to them.

SECCOG continues to work on providing pedestrian amenities in Montville – particularly along the Route 32 corridor – and the Tri-Town Trail Project in Preston and Ledyard.

New Laws Effective January 1st

Posted on December 31, 2017 by admin


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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

Posted on December 29, 2017 by admin


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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!

Pre-Paying Your Property Taxes

Posted on December 29, 2017 by admin


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With the passage of the federal tax plan, many constituents are asking about pre-paying their property taxes this year to take advantage of the current State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction. 

Here’s what you need to know: You may pre-pay in December the property taxes that are due January 1, 2018. However, the tax bill due July 1, 2018 cannot be pre-paid as those taxes have not been levied.

Please be advised, any and all individuals wishing to pre-pay their property taxes should consult their accountant or tax professional first as the new rules may affect each household differently.

Today is the final day to pay your taxes in person, but you may be able to take credit for payment if your payment is postmarked today. Please contact your local tax collector to verify. The Towns of Ledyard, Preston and Montville and are now accepting property tax pre-payments for the January 1st, 2018 installment. For more information, please visit the Town of Ledyard Tax Collector, Town of Preston Tax Collector, or Town of Montville Tax Collection Office websites.

New Veterans Identification Card

Posted on December 18, 2017 by admin


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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.

 

Long Island Sound Blue Plan Outreach Meetings

Posted on December 6, 2017 by admin


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Representatives of the Long Island Sound (LIS) Blue Plan are holding two meetings this month that will allow the public an opportunity to learn about the LIS Blue Plan process in detail and share their input.

When: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Greenwich Town Hall Cone Room

101 Field Point Road

Greenwich, CT

When: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Avery Point Campus Academic Building Auditorium

1080 Shennecossett Road

Groton, CT

The purpose of the LIS Blue Plan is to protect existing human uses and important natural habitats. I therefore encourage you to attend, if interested, as your participation is necessary for the plan to best represent your needs! You will need to RSVP if you plan to attend to Christian Fox, LIS Blue Plan Outreach Coordinator, at christian.fox@tnc.org.

The “Blue Plan” legislation (Public Act 15-66) established a process by which the State of Connecticut will develop an official plan to guide future management of the Sound. This effort is conducted in cooperation with New York State so the outcome can benefit all of the Sound to the maximum extent possible. More information is available on the project’s web site: www.ct.gov/deep/lisblueplan. The Plan will not create new regulations or restrict existing access to our shared marine resources. Quite the opposite: when complete, the LIS Blue Plan should provide protection of the Sound’s traditional human uses and marine ecology from future conflicting or incompatible activities.

Care 4 Kids Enrollment is Open!

Posted on November 24, 2017 by admin


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Following passage of the state budget, the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) announced that effective November 8, 2017, Care 4 Kids, the state’s primary child-care support program, has been reopened and will begin accepting eligible families on the wait list.


There are 5,769 low-income families across the state on the wait list, and this is a great opportunity for them to obtain affordable, quality child care so they can continue to work and at the same time foster the healthy development of their children.

Families who registered on the wait list are receiving requests to apply in phases. Consistent with state rules, enrollment begins with the highest-need families defined by priority groups and those families who have been on the wait list longest.

Additional information on the Care 4 Kids program can be found by visiting www.ctcare4kids.com or calling 1-888-214-KIDS (5437). To contact the Office of Early Childhood, visit www.ct.gov/oec or call (860) 500-4412.

Reps. France and Dubitsky on the Budget Changes

Posted on November 20, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – Local lawmakers State Representatives Mike France (R-42) and Doug Dubitsky (R-47) followed their votes opposing the compromise budget at the end of October with another “no” vote last week against technical changes to the current approved plan. The representatives felt that the negotiated settlements, which ultimately passed in the House by a vote of 123-12, did not make the budget more fiscally responsible in the ways they had hoped for.

“There were some things I generally liked in this bill, including a partial fix of the renters rebate program,” Dubitsky said. “However, even that “fix” was only a half-measure which still imposed yet another unfunded burden on our beleaguered towns.  Since we were not able to vote separately on the good and bad parts of this bill, and had to vote on all parts as one, I had to vote against it.”

“There are changes to the budget contained in the bill that we did not appropriate for, which made it impossible to support,” said Rep. France. “I did support restoring the renter rebate program; however, the new proposal only served to shift the part of the cost for this state program to towns and cities, resulting in an additional $8.5 million reduction in municipal aid to create the revenue needed for the renter rebate program. Though this is better than the original proposal of putting the entire financial burden on towns, I can’t see how municipalities are going to make up for the 50% share of the cost, capped at $250,000 per town. I do not agree that towns should be responsible for paying for this state-created program, which effectively becomes another unfunded mandate.

“In addition, we amended a portion of the budget regarding insurance policies under the premise that the changes will be in compliance with the federal government, and that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will reimburse us accordingly,” said Rep. France. “However, if the federal government does not find Connecticut to be in compliance, the current budget language could potentially cost Connecticut taxpayers over $1 billion in payments to hospitals over the biennium without the expected federal reimbursement. Fixing the legislative language removes the uncertainty for Connecticut taxpayers concerning the agreement between the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) and the state of Connecticut.”

For more information, please visit www.cthousegop.com/budget.

Observing Veterans Day

Posted on November 10, 2017 by admin


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Tomorrow we will observe Veterans Day and pay tribute to the unbroken line of brave citizen soldiers going back to the Revolutionary War who stepped forward and served our great nation in times of armed conflict, preserving our freedom for each successive generation.

 

The Mashantucket-Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods will honor veterans today with a Veterans Day Parade (starting at the Grand Pequot Gaming Floor) and a Veterans Powwow tomorrow, Saturday, November 11th. Admission and select food items are free to all veterans and active-duty military with a valid ID, plus one guest. Foxwoods is also offering all active and retired military exclusive discounts throughout the property today.

 

Tomorrow’s powwow will feature a flag song and raising ceremony, traditional grand entry and a day of high-energy competition. There will also be a special Iñupiat dance presentation by Alaskan Native youth.

 

If you are a veteran, or know someone who is, click here for information about what the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offers.

 

I would also like to let you know that the State of Connecticut has debuted two new digital initiatives to assist the more than 200,000 veterans who live in the state in an effort to better connect veterans with the information on benefits and services that are available – a redesigned website for the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), and a newly launched smartphone app. 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.

 

I want to extend my thanks to those of you who have served our country, and wish you and your family the best for Veterans Day.

Legislature Finally Approves Budget, France Reaffirms Support for Previous Bipartisan Agreement

Posted on October 27, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – The Connecticut General Assembly yesterday passed a compromise bipartisan budget that averts Governor Malloy’s devastating education cuts to cities and towns and initiates structural changes to state budgeting, as well as municipal mandate reform that provides relief sought by local leaders and taxpayers. Though State Representative Mike France (R-42) appreciates the significant effort of leaders from both sides of the aisle in negotiating this compromise budget, he was unable to support the final product.

“I sincerely appreciate the hard work and dedication of legislative leaders in both the House and Senate and the positive negotiations that took place,” said Rep. France. “The budget that passed today makes structural changes that serve as a step in the right direction, including spending and bonding caps that will become Constitutional amendments due to the three-fifths majority approval. However, I am concerned that future legislatures will find ways to circumvent these important structural changes just like they have done in the past. In addition, this budget proposal increases overall state spending that had to be offset by taxes and the taking of revenue that was designated for other purposes. For these reasons, I did not vote in favor of the budget put before us. The bipartisan budget passed last month, which I did support, did not do any of these things.”

Passage of this budget effectively means the end of Governor Malloy’s executive order, halting the draconian cuts he implemented when regular session ended with an absent budget. It will now be transmitted to the governor for his action. Though the governor can still veto the budget proposal, it passed both chambers by wide margins – 126-23 in the House and 33-3 in the Senate – usually termed “veto proof” because they far surpass the two-thirds of the legislature needed to override a veto.

“We need to promote the growth of small business, which is our most vital economic driver, by reducing regulation and costly mandates,” Rep. France said. “There is not enough in this budget proposal that creates an environment for economic growth. Instead, this budget continues to increase state revenue through taxation (i.e. on property and cigarettes) that disproportionately affects the income of those least able to afford it. In addition, the budget takes money designated for other purposes – like energy efficiency – and diverts it into the General Fund just to balance our books. These actions do nothing to structurally change the economic environment of our state and ultimately simply serve to continue the unsustainable growth in the cost of state government.”

The budget passed today, however, does feature several significant fiscal restraints, such as:

  • A spending cap of 95% of the consensus revenue estimate, preventing the use of all the projected revenue for the biennial budget, effectively limiting the impact of revenue projections that fall short;
  • Creates a Budget Reserve Fund for the remaining 5% of the consensus revenue estimate to provide a buffer to offset financial challenges during budget execution throughout the fiscal year;
  • A volatility cap that will limit the use of those revenue sources that change significantly each fiscal year, automatically send any anticipated revenue over the volatility cap to the Budget Reserve Fund;
  • An annual General Obligation bonding cap of $1.9 billion, a half billion less than what Connecticut borrowed last year and closer to the historical average of previous administrations;
  • Protects social services like Care4Kids and homecare for the elderly, and provides sufficient funding for regional firefighter training schools.

To learn more, please visit www.cthousegop.com/budget.

Free Suits for Veterans at Mohegan Sun: November 3rd

Posted on October 24, 2017 by admin


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Our veterans have dedicated their lives to protecting our country and have willingly put themselves at risk of making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom. Unfortunately, when they return home and are no longer serving on active duty, many struggle to find a new job to support themselves and their families.

I encourage my constituents to do what they can to help. On Friday, November 3rd from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., there will be an informational job fair for veterans, called “Vets Rock” at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville. Veterans in attendance will be eligible to receive a free business suit.

Those interested in donating to this cause can do so on the Save-a-Suit website. If you have any extra new or gently used (dry cleaned) suits, blazers, dress shirts, dress pants, tops, shoes or other business attire that you would like to donate, please check out the drop-off locations here.

Interested veterans – male or female – may register for a suit at www.saveasuit.org. A valid military ID or DD-214 must be presented at the event for entry.

Thank you for your continued support of those that daily stand watch to ensure our country remains secure and our freedoms remain intact.

Rep. France Meets with Constituents in Preston and Ledyard

Posted on October 18, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORDState Representative Mike France (R-42) hosted two town hall-style meetings in his district this week to discuss the state budget and important new laws that came out of the 2017 Regular Legislative Session. The meetings were held on Saturday, October 14th at the Preston Public Library and Tuesday, October 17th at the Ledyard Town Hall Annex. To receive notifications about Rep. France’s next quarterly meeting, please sign up for his e-newsletter here or follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/repfrance.

Energy Assistance Applications Now Open

Posted on October 13, 2017 by admin


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Now that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) plan has been approved, the Thames Valley Council for Community Action (TVCCA) is accepting applications for energy assistance.

LIHEAP helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist them with energy costs. The program provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs. It has been in place for more than three decades, but President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget zeroed out its funding. That changed last week when the president struck a deal with Democrats on a short-term agreement that would continue to fund the government, avoiding a shutdown. Their website offers a fact sheet and FAQs for more information.

TVCCA is a private, non-profit community action agency that has been working with over 71 fuel vendors throughout our service area for more than 50 years to meet the needs of  economically and otherwise disadvantaged citizens. Their Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps low and middle income families and individuals pay their home heating bills. Priority is given to “vulnerable households” with young children, elderly or disabled individuals.

The income guidelines for this year are:

  • Family of 1: from $18,090 to $34,366
  • Family of 2: from $24,360 to $44,941
  • Family of 3: from $30,630 to $55,515
  • Family of 4: from $36,900 to $66,089

Click here for the eligibility checklist.

Know that irrespective of income guidelines, if you are in need of energy assistance the TVCCA also accepts Operation Fuel applications to help you pay your bills. Operation Fuel requires that all clients apply for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) prior to applying for an Operation Fuel grant for primary heat sources. You may be eligible for Operation Fuel if you are denied a grant from CEAP or have exhausted your CEAP benefit.

Applications for the TVCCA Energy Assistance Program will be taken at the following locations:

Preston Town Hall
389 Route 2
Preston, CT
Elderly Only, Tuesday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Montville Town Hall
310 Norwich-New London Tpke
Uncasville, CT
Tuesday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Montville Senior Center
12 Maple Ave
Uncasville, CT
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Please note that TVCCA staff will schedule appointments to visit the Ledyard Senior Center and/or Social Services building to work with applicants (860-425-6503). Click here for more locations and times.

You can also contact Ledyard Social Services at 860-464-3254 for information about applying to the Ledyard Interchurch Emergency Assistance Fund (LICEAF). This is an income-based program available for emergency energy assistance only. Eligibility depends on eviction, foreclosure or electric shut-off.

Local Representatives Keep Bipartisan Budget Alive Despite Majority Party Efforts to Kill the Bill

Posted on October 5, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORDState Representatives Mike France (R-42), Kathleen McCarty (R-38) and Holly Cheeseman (R-37) on Tuesday afternoon helped beat back a partisan scheme by House Democrat leadership to kill the bipartisan budget that would maintain the state funding that our cities, towns, and local school districts need to keep normal operations up and running.

All three legislators, along with other House and Senate Republicans, have been working behind-the-scenes to persuade additional Democrats to join together in overriding Gov. Malloy’s recent veto of the bipartisan budget. The goal is to have sufficient support to override during an upcoming veto session. House Democrat leadership, however, called an impromptu session Tuesday when it became apparent that some legislators—including key Democrat votes that supported the bipartisan budget—would be unavailable. The representatives said Connecticut can’t afford that kind of gamesmanship.

“The Speaker of the House provided little notice of the session and the day’s agenda, prematurely calling us to the Capitol without even knowing whether the motion to override would be called,” said Rep. France. “It’s simple: they wanted to kill the bipartisan budget because they knew momentum was building among not only legislators, but also local leaders. We did what was best for the state of Connecticut by not allowing their partisan games to erase the hard work that has been done to achieve a true bipartisan budget. Not just a budget that has ideas from both sides of the aisle, but one that actually earned votes of support from both Republicans and Democrats. The result of the events on Tuesday is that the bipartisan budget is still alive, providing hope to Connecticut residents that we can, in fact, enact a budget that doesn’t shift the burden of irresponsible and unaffordable spending by the state of Connecticut onto our local cities and towns.”

“We need to do this right, and that means not resorting to acts of ‘political power’ that places a ‘now or never’ ultimatum on the House of Representatives,” said Rep. McCarty. “Fruitful negotiations by leadership in the four caucuses need to continue over the next week so that there is hope of arriving at a negotiated bipartisan budget using the current bipartisan budget as its foundation. The bipartisan budget that passed both chambers last month is gaining momentum. Such a budget has the potential of overriding the Governor’s veto.”

“There is one budget that has been passed by the legislature on a bipartisan basis,” said Rep. Cheeseman. “That is the one budget that maintains funding for the schools in East Lyme and Salem, keeps municipal funding level this year, and protects the most vulnerable in our society.  By his actions today, the speaker made it clear that he is determined to kill that budget for good. Fortunately, we still have the opportunity to override the governor’s veto and I urge my colleagues to end the governor’s rule by executive order by voting to do so and ending this ordeal.”

At present, the state is operating under Governor Malloy’s Executive Order. That means local funding, in particular education funding, will be slashed throughout the state. With that in mind, the legislators said it was an irresponsible act for House Democrat leadership to try and kill the only viable budget—the only plan that had enough support to make it through both chambers and to the governor’s desk.

Visit www.cthousegop.com/budget to learn more.

Local Representatives Celebrate “Blue Ribbon” Schools

Posted on October 3, 2017 by admin


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East Lyme High School and Oakdale School Among Only Four Schools in Connecticut Honored with National Award

 
HARTFORDState Representatives Mike France (R-42), Holly Cheeseman (R-37) and Kathleen McCarty (R-38) are expressing pride in two local schools that were recently awarded the prestigious National Blue Ribbon distinction.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded only four schools in Connecticut with the 2017 National Blue Ribbon: East Lyme High School, Oakdale Pre K – 5 School in Montville, Thomas W. Mahan School in Norwich and Morris Street School in Danbury. These schools were selected for their outstanding overall achievements recognized by Connecticut’s Next Generation Accountability System. The National Blue Ribbon Program distinguishes schools in two categories — Exemplary High Performing and Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing. East Lyme High School and Oakdale School were both identified as High Performing.

“Oakdale School recognizes that the need for a quality education starts young,” said Rep. France. “They are providing a fantastic foundation on which our students can build the rest of their academic and professional lives. Congratulations to Oakdale School; thank you for going above and beyond to inspire your students.”

“Three of Connecticut’s four 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools are located in New London County,” said Rep. Cheeseman, member of the Legislative Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee. “I am so proud to live, work and serve Southeastern Connecticut. Our esteemed school systems truly deserve this recognition for all the hard work they dedicate to our youth. I congratulate East Lyme High School and know that the parents of my district must feel very confident that their children are being prepared to continue their schooling and/or begin their careers with the best possible education. More than 85 percent of East Lyme High School students participate in school-sponsored activities, teams, and clubs designed to foster important school community connections and academically reports show a four-year graduation rate of 98 percent.”

“Montville is delighted to have such an extraordinary elementary school, especially with their strong language arts and mathematics programs,” said Rep. McCarty, member of the Legislative Education Committee. “Both the teachers and administrative staff at Oakdale School are making an incredible difference in helping our children to succeed in all aspects of academics and activities, as well as deepen an interest in learning.”

The legislators stressed the need to continue funding these schools so that they can remain successful well into the future – something that they said is now at risk thanks to the governor’s veto of the bipartisan budget. They are now calling for a legislative override of the veto.

“Last week I stood outside Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Groton with my fellow legislators and local officials and asked the Legislature to override the governor’s budget veto,” said Rep. France. “Pleasant Valley Elementary School is now closed; there are no students or teachers in their classrooms. The Groton Board of Education closed the school because they were financially no longer able to run their programs or support their students and staff. We cannot let this happen to more of our well-loved and high-performing schools like Oakdale. I will continue to keep my constituents updated on any new developments in Hartford.”

“These achievements prove that we must protect education funding in our state,” said Rep. Cheeseman. “Unfortunately Governor Malloy vetoed the bipartisan budget last week, pushing the Legislature back to square one on solving the budget crisis. There is a chance, however, that the Legislature can vote to overrule his veto and enact the budget. I hope our majority leaders will see how necessary our budget, which preserves education funding, is to Connecticut and call the Legislature back to take this vote.”

“It is a shame that on the first year Montville receives this national distinction, the state is also in a horrible budget crisis that aims direct hits at our schools,” said Rep. McCarty. “I will continue advocating for education funding to ensure that our children can continue participating in quality programs. I would absolutely hate to see our students suffer because a lack of resources degraded the instruction they have thrived with.”

Rep. Mike France to Hold Two Town Hall Meetings

Posted on September 27, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) invites constituents to meet with him on October  14th at the Preston Public Library, and October 17th at the Ledyard Town Hall Annex to discuss new laws passed this year, as well as the state budget. Rep. France is also happy to answer any questions or concerns constituents may have related to state government.

PRESTON

WHEN: Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Preston Public Library, 389 Route 2, Preston

LEDYARD

WHEN: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Ledyard Town Hall Annex, 741 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard

These events are free and open to the public. If constituents are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. France, please do not hesitate to contact him at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423. In the unlikely event that a meeting must be postponed, a notice will be posted on Rep. France’s website at www.repfrance.com and on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/repfrance.

Tell Governor Malloy Not to Veto This Budget

Posted on September 18, 2017 by admin


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In the very early hours of Saturday morning, several fiscally-responsible Democrats in the House of Representatives supported the Republican-proposed budget, after their Senate colleagues did the same on Friday afternoon, allowing the legislature to pass an historic biennium budget that serves the residents of Connecticut.

When the governor released his budget seven months ago, the overwhelming response I received from constituents was to fight against his funding cuts and protect the municipal aid for Ledyard, Preston and Montville. This is exactly what I have done, and the results have been delivered: millions of dollars restored in education and municipal aid for our three towns and across the state.

The Republican budget is a bipartisan, balanced, honest document that reflects the goals and policies that the House and Senate embrace. We know how to get our state out of its current fiscal crisis and back to fiscal sanity.

Apart from imposing NO NEW TAXES on state residents, the approved budget eliminates Connecticut’s $3.5 billion deficit by:

  • Consolidating government departments and agencies
  • Limiting overtime for state employees
  • Restricting state borrowing
  • Implementing the constitutionally-mandated spending cap
  • NOT transferring the cost of teachers’ pensions onto the towns

Most importantly, it makes structural changes to the way we budget, putting our state on a more stable economic path, something essential to retaining businesses and promoting economic expansion. In more detail, it:

  • Does not include tolls
  • Does not increase the pistol permit fee
  • Restores funding for veterans’ headstones and burial expenses, including honor guards
  • Restores funding for the state’s property tax credit in its entirety to all families and individuals
  • Increases funding to the regional fire training schools
  • Funds core services like Care4Kids, day services for IDD individuals, Meals on Wheels, ADA dial-a-ride, and CT Home Care Program
  • Reduces state government by 10% in many agencies and establishes a hiring freeze
  • Funds state parks, tourism accounts, and the Community Investment Act

Unfortunately, our success as a legislature is threatened by Governor Malloy, who has stated his intention to veto this bipartisan budget.

The governor has stated on multiple occasions that his role is to work with the legislature to approve a balanced budget; that you don’t hire a governor to make all the decisions. Yet that’s exactly what Governor Malloy will be doing if he follows through on his veto threats and instead executes a disastrous executive order that takes effect October 1st.

Governor Malloy said he wanted a budget that is not revenue driven, and that’s exactly what this budget is. However, instead of embracing bipartisanship, the governor decided he alone knows what is best for Connecticut. Unless the budget presented does exactly what he wants, he will make the veto official despite the fact that last weekend’s vote proves Connecticut residents are sick and tired of being taxed and are looking for change.This signals his unwillingness to actually allow the legislature to do their job.

You can help prevent this!

Many of my constituents have asked me, “How can I help?” Here is your opportunity: I urge you to contact Governor Malloy at 800-406-1527, or via email, to let him know that you don’t want him to veto this bipartisan budget.

The Connecticut budget crisis has gone on for too long. If we are to live within our means, we have to start now. Connecticut is at a crossroads and this is our best, and perhaps last chance to make significant and critical choices.

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions or comments about the budget the legislature just approved and how it could affect our community. Learn more at www.cthousegop.com/budget.

Legislative Internship Program for Undergraduates

Posted on September 7, 2017 by admin


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I would like to let the students in my district know that the Connecticut General Assembly is now accepting applications for the 2018 Legislative Internship Program! Starting in the Spring, interns at the Capitol will see how state government works first-hand, work one-on-one with a state legislator and legislative staff member, and earn school credit while gaining job experience in public service and/or law.

To apply, you must comply with the following qualifications:

  • Be an undergraduate student attending a two or four-year institution of higher education in Connecticut, and/or state resident attending out-of-state colleges. (CT residents attending out of state colleges should contact the program director prior to applying)
  • Be 18 years of age or older by program start
  • Have competed 20 credits by program start (January)
  • Have a minimum 2.7 cumulative grade point average (GPA)
  • Be prepared to register for a course (varies by institution) in order to receive credit for the internship during the participating semester

If you have any questions about the program, Program Director Lisa Roy encourages you to call her at 860-240-0520 or email cgaintern@cga.ct.gov. You can also visit the program’s website or Facebook and LinkedIn pages for more information, including instructions on how to apply.

Click Here to Submit An Application

 
Please pass this information along to students who may be interested and eligible.

I have personally seen the positive impact that the invaluable work of a legislative intern can have on our caucus. Many interns, in fact, later become staff members or legislators. This is a wonderful opportunity – I hope to see you at the Capitol in 2018!

How to Help in the Aftermath of Harvey

Posted on September 5, 2017 by admin


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The images of distress and suffering from the aftermath of the flooding in Texas and Louisiana from Hurricane Harvey are gripping. As residents begin to rebuild their homes, businesses and lives, many people across the country have and will continue to donate items, money and time to help in the recovery.

While this catastrophe has brought out the best in most people who have risen to the challenge to show their charity and humanity, please keep in mind that there are those who seek to profit from this natural disaster by creating malicious websites disguised as donation pages. If and when you choose to donate, please donate only to trusted and reputable charity organizations so that all of your donation directly reaches flooding victims who have already lost so much. Do not donate over the phone to solicitors who have called you. For charitable organizations that you may not be familiar with or to verify how your donations will be used to support your cause, please consider using charity watchdog services, such as Charity Navigator and Charity Watch, before making any contribution.

Three great organizations that you can consider donating to are Americares, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Links are found below:

Lastly, if you would like to volunteer to help down in Texas, do not self-deploy. You can contact your town’s emergency services director to coordinate a plan of action with them.

If you are a doctor or a nurse, please coordinate with the State Department of Public Health concerning dispatching emergency medical services to the area.

Thank you.

Have You Tested Your Well Lately?

Posted on August 29, 2017 by admin


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Twenty-three percent of Connecticut residents and businesses use private well water, but many do not know when to test their well, what to test for, or how testing is conducted. The Department of Public Health’s Private Well Program continues to raise awareness on the importance of maintaining safe, adequate drinking water supply in private wells, and I stand by their efforts.

I would like to let you know that there are many online tools to help guide you in maintaining your private well. Visit TestYourWell.ct.gov to test your knowledge on wells and learn more about keeping your water safe for yourself and your family. You will find information on what to test for, how to conduct a test (and how often), what to do if you have a problem, and how to protect your well from future problems.

As you may already know, Connecticut’s first State Water Plan was released in Draft form this past June (an executive summary of the plan can be found by clicking here) for a 120-day public review and comment period. Between now and November 20, 2017, interested parties will have an opportunity to review the draft plan and provide the group with their comments. I encourage you to look it over as it explains its purpose, the process used to create it, and goals and recommendations to achieve and ensure the protection and preservation of Connecticut’s drinking water supply. Please help contribute to keeping Connecticut’s vital clean water resources sustainable into our future.

Help Support “Clear the Shelters”!

Posted on August 16, 2017 by admin


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Each year countless animals across the country are rescued in a “Clear the Shelters” event that helps local animal shelters find forever homes for homeless pets. This event helps shelters free up limited space for other animals who are abandoned, neglected, struggling, lost or injured, and in need of rescuing.

This year, the event will take place on Saturday, August 19th – this coming weekend! – and I am proud to share that the Connecticut Humane Society, among other local shelters and organizations, will be participating. Attendees will have the opportunity to adopt a new companion with potentially reduced fees, for this event only.

I proudly stand by the mission of this event. Shelter organizations work tirelessly to place abandoned and mistreated animals into loving homes and, this year, you could make a real difference and save a life.

Local locations and times include:

Ledyard Animal Control
J. Alfred Clark Lane
Ledyard, CT
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Connecticut Humane Society Waterford
169 Old Colchester Road
Quaker Hill, CT
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Fridays Rescue Foundation
270 Rogers Road
Groton, CT
9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Groton Animal Control
68 Groton Long Point Road
Groton, CT
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

If you are able, and have considered adding a new pet to your family, please consider adoption. There are countless animals who need good homes and caring friends to look after them.

Thank you.

Text Eversource to Report Outages

Posted on August 9, 2017 by admin


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If you are one of Connecticut’s 1.4 million Eversource customers, I would like to let you know that you can now report a power outage, and get updates in regard to when you can expect your service to return, through text messages!

Those who want to take advantage of this convenient two-way texting option must first register their mobile device online at Eversource.com, or directly from their mobile phone by texting “REG” to 23129. Once registered, Eversource recommends customers add the outage text number to their contacts for quick access. Then, it’s easy – text “OUT” to that number when the power goes out and “STAT” to that number for updates.


Customers who already receive outage alerts from Eversource via text will automatically be enrolled in the new two-way texting feature. As always, customers can also report outages online or by calling 1-800-286-2000.

To learn more about outage alerts and text reporting, please visit Eversource’s website.

Flanders Road Construction

Posted on August 3, 2017 by admin


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The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) will be milling and resurfacing a nearly five-mile stretch of Route 161 (Flanders Road) in East Lyme and Montville starting Monday, August 7th. Work is expected to be completed by Thursday, August 24th.

 

For planning purposes, milling of the road surface is scheduled for Monday, August 7th, and the resurfacing is scheduled for Monday, August 14th, through Thursday, August 24th.  Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Please maintain a safe speed when driving in the vicinity of road construction work.

 

Drivers can expect lane closures on Flanders Road between Route 1 in East Lyme and Route 85 (Hartford-New London Turnpike) in Montville from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Rep. France Honors Ledyard Scholars

Posted on June 26, 2017 by admin


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LEDYARD – On Friday night Ledyard High School‘s Class of 2017 officially received their diplomas and set off on new adventures. State Representative Mike France (R-42), whose children were also LHS graduates, was proud to honor the class’s top ten scholars on this memorable occasion with Connecticut General Assembly citations. The citations were written in recognition of having earned the distinction of being selected as a Ledyard Scholar for the Class of 2017, based on their hard work, dedication and academic excellence.

Rep. France joined the recipients’ families and friends in wishing the students continued success in all of their future endeavors.

Lawmakers Join Together to Honor Connecticut’s Veterans

Posted on June 21, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – State Representatives Mike France (R-42), Robin Green (R-55), Doug Dubitsky (R-47), and Holly Cheeseman (R-37) joined State Senators Heather Somers (R-18) and Cathy Osten (D-19) at the Submarine Force Museum for a ceremony to honor our state’s veterans.

The historical ship Nautilus (SSN 571), the first and now-retired nuclear powered submarine served as the backdrop to the 8th annual “To Honor and Remember” event. The ceremony pays tribute to soldiers from all branches of the military for their dedication and service, along with a special Veterans Remembrance Event for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Despite the pouring rain, heavy at times, that welcomed us to the Submarine Force Museum on Friday, the turn-out of veterans, active duty service members, families, and other officials just goes to show how much appreciation there is in our state for those who serve our country each and every day,” said Rep. France, a U.S. Navy Veteran. “I was honored to have the opportunity to attend the recognition ceremony for my fellow veterans, but more especially to recognize those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

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Rep. France Meets with Constituents to Discuss the 2017 Session

Posted on June 20, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD State Representative Mike France (R-42) hosted a Town Hall Meeting with Sen. Somers this past Thursday in Preston, and another on Saturday in Ledyard. Topics of discussion ranged from the budget to tolls and the “lock box,” to Millstone. Rep. France explained what constituents can expect from an impending Special Session, especially if a budget is not passed before the end of the current fiscal year.

Rep. France Shows Tribal Support In Face of New Casino Proposal

Posted on June 15, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD — With the signature of Governor Malloy, Public Act 17-89 became effective under Connecticut state law yesterday, June 14, 2017. This legislation will regulate the operation of a satellite casino gaming facility in Connecticut, and authorize MMCT Venture, LLC (the joint company of the Mohegan and Mashantucket-Pequot tribes), to operate a casino gaming facility in East Windsor, Connecticut, subject to certain conditions. State Representative Mike France (R-42), whose district encompasses both the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal lands, spoke in strong support of the two tribes when the bill was debated on the House Floor last Tuesday.

“Two years ago, Special Act 15-7 was passed to allow the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe to join together,” said Rep. France, who is currently serving in his second term as the State Representative for Ledyard, Preston and Montville. “The Legislature discussed the details of the partnership and what requirements the tribes would need to fulfill in order to determine a potential future casino location. We told them to make a plan, seek out a town willing to work with them, and issue a request for proposal (RFP) to the Department of Consumer Protection – which was then to be posted on the internet for everyone to see. East Windsor closed the deal on this competitive business negotiation process.”

The agreement between MMCT Venture, LLC and the State of Connecticut includes annual payments of 25% of gross gaming revenue, as defined in Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) § 12-557b as modified by Public Act 17-89. In addition, MMCT Venture, LLC will pay $1 million for the initial costs to regulate the casino gaming facility and $300,000 to the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. Similar to the host and impacted towns surrounding the existing casinos, the impacted municipalities of Ellington, Enfield, South Windsor and Windsor Locks and the distressed municipalities of East Hartford and Hartford will each receive an annual grant of $750,000. The host municipality of East Windsor will receive property tax based on the assessed value of the real property, including improvements.

“Before entering negotiations, we must all understand what the “Do Nothing” proposition is: if we take no action, what are the consequences?” asked Rep. France. “There are some who believe that only the two tribes will benefit from this business venture. For the State of Connecticut, if no action was taken, an estimated 9,300 jobs and $70-$100 million in gaming revenue would be lost to the state to MGM’s new casino in Springfield and the tribes were not allowed to build a third satellite casino. There are some who believe that only the two tribes will benefit from this business venture. Most of our residents are involved in one way or another in supporting Connecticut’s gaming industry, and I believe all those that take part would join me in supporting the opportunity for these two tribes to help maintain revenue from gaming, which has provided over $7 billion to our state over the past 25 years since the original two casinos opened.”

 

Rep. France, Republican Lawmakers: “Transportation Lock Box Fails to Secure Road Funds”

Posted on June 8, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) joined fellow caucus members in voting against a Democrat-proposed resolution for a constitutional amendment to create a transportation “lock box” on a near party-line vote. He stated that it will not secure future road and bridge construction funds, and that the majority party is not truly serious about dedicating Connecticut’s already limited resources to maintenance and improvement of the state’s infrastructure.

This was the second time that the resolution for a constitutional amendment had been considered, having first been proposed during the December 2015 Special Session. See an Op-Ed published in The Day on December 10, 2015 documenting Rep. France and fellow Southeastern Connecticut lawmakers’ opposition.

Since the resolution did not receive the required 75% approval in both the House and Senate at that time, in accordance with the Connecticut Constitution, the resolution must be reconsidered in the regular session following the next general election before it may be placed on the ballot for consideration during the next general election.

“I strongly supported the Republican-proposed amendment to this resolution that would have made this a true lock box,” said Rep. France, who introduced the amendment in the House Chamber. “By defining the specific sources of revenue and allowed expenses while not allowing changes by statute, the lock box resolution, as proposed, would ensure all Special Transportation Fund revenue will be used appropriately and not swept to the General Fund as has been past practice.”

Republicans offered their own tightly constructed lock box proposal that would guarantee the money is used only for transportation projects, but it was rejected after Democrats resorted to parliamentary maneuvers to rule it out of order. Thus, the majority party avoided a vote on a true lock box by coming up with a technicality to prevent the GOP proposal from being brought to a vote on the floor.

“I believe that the resolution brought before us yesterday was the first move towards enacting electronic toll legislation, which is another issue that needs addressing,” said Rep. France, “Many of those across the state who support tolls are not aware that they could be installed all throughout the state; not just along our borders. Nobody wants the increased costs for their daily commutes to go straight into an unsecure lock box.”

Proposing the lock box amendment was a step taken by the majority party to get the matter before voters in 2018. The 2017 Regular Legislative Session adjourned at midnight on Wednesday, June 7th.

Southeastern CT Legislators Dismayed at Inaction on Millstone Bill

Posted on June 8, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – House leadership announced yesterday that legislation seeking to change the rules for procuring electricity will not be brought before the House Chamber. The proposal would have tasked the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to conduct a study of the effects of altering the current energy selling process to create a more competitive process by effectively eliminating the middle man between the consumer and Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford. State Representatives Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford), Holly Cheeseman (R-East Lyme) and Mike France (R-Ledyard) are very disappointed with the majority party’s lack of action on this legislation.

Millstone currently produces about 40% of the state’s energy portfolio.  Replacing nuclear generation with natural gas generation would push the regions dependence on natural gas generation to close to 80%, up from the current 40%.  The lack of fuel diversity may have impact on reliability and price stability in the region. While the price of natural gas greatly fluctuates dependent on the market, nuclear energy rates remain relatively constant. Currently, the station has two of its three reactors in commission.  Closing a second reactor, or the plant as a whole, could result in the loss of hundreds of high-paying jobs in the southeast region of the state.

“It is very unfortunate that we were not able to vote on this bill,” said Rep. France. “We owe it to all of our businesses and employers to hear and deliberate on their requests for our assistance. I want my constituents to be able to shop around for competitive energy prices. I know how expensive it is to live in this state, and I believe this bill would have provided some relief on that financial burden.”

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Southeastern CT Legislators Advocate for Grandparent Rights

Posted on June 7, 2017 by admin


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France, McCarty and Cheeseman Vote for Bill to Secure Visitations with Grandchildren

 
HARTFORDState Representatives Mike France (R-Ledyard), Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) and Holly Cheeseman (R-East Lyme) all co-sponsored a bill that passed through the House yesterday to allow grandparents more rights when denied visitation with their young grandchildren.

H.B. 7244 creates a narrow standard for grandparents to petition the court for visitation with minor grandchildren when they are unreasonably deprived of access to their grandchildren. It only applies in situations where either or both parents are deceased, the parents are divorced or the parents do not live together.

The legislators consider this a great step in the right direction of sustaining family relationships across generations. Current law requires that a parent-like relationship exists between the grandparent and the minor child, which is a very high standard due to the fact that they may have been isolated from that child.

“This is a reasonable adjustment to the standard required for grandparents to petition for visitation with their grandchildren, which will strengthen family units across Connecticut,” said Rep. France. “I benefited significantly from the relationship I had with my grandparents, living with them during my years in high school, and can’t imagine where I would be today if that had not been the case. My life story is an example where this legislation is not only positive for grandparents, but for children as well.”

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End of Session Wrap-Ups with Rep. Mike France

Posted on June 6, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) invites his constituents to meet with him (and Sen. Heather Somers) on June 15th at the Preston Public Library, and on June 17th at the Ledyard Town Hall Annex to discuss the 2017 Legislative Session, which concludes Wednesday, June 7th. Rep. France encourages constituents to bring questions or concerns related to state government, which he would be happy to answer.

PRESTON

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting with Rep. France and Sen. Somers

WHEN: Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Preston Public Library, 389 Route 2, Preston

LEDYARD

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting with Rep. France

WHEN: Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Ledyard Town Hall Annex, 741 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard

These events are free and open to the public. If you are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. France, please do not hesitate to contact him at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423. In the unlikely event that the meeting must be postponed, a notice will be posted on Rep. France’s website at www.repfrance.com and on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/repfrance.

Rep. France Welcomes Local Reverend to House Chamber

Posted on June 6, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORDState Representative Mike France (R-42), member of the Bishop Seabury Anglican Church in Gales Ferry, welcomed his rector The Reverend Jerome R. Cayangyang to the House Chamber. Rev’d Cayangyang gave the morning prayer that opened today’s House Session.

Father Jay was installed as the Rector (Senior Pastor) of Bishop Seabury Anglican Church on July 17, 2015. Previously, he served as Canon to the Ordinary for the Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy of the Anglican Church in North America.

Rep. France Concerned About Educational Transportation Cost Responsibilities in Light of Statute Changes

Posted on June 5, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – During Friday’s Session State Representative Mike France (R-42) stood in the House Chamber to express concerns about the provisions of a bill, S.B. 1014, which makes changes to the Connecticut Education statutes. He asked, in particular, about the Transportation Pilot Program that requires private school transportation in school districts within 12 miles of five specified towns, and how local Boards of Education would be reimbursed for the expense by either the private school or the students’ parents. The bill was passed unanimously, and is now in concurrence with the Senate. It is awaiting transfer to the governor for final approval.

Rep. France Backs Opioid Addiction Prevention Efforts

Posted on June 5, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD —State Representative Mike France (R-13) applauded Thursday’s passage of House Bill 7052, which will continue the state’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic sweeping our communities.

Research has shown that a child under the age of 17-18 years old who is prescribed an opioid drug, even if they portray no risk factors for substance abuse (i.e. were never involved with marijuana or alcohol) have a three-fold increase in the risk of post-high-school opioid misuse.

This bill contains various provisions to limit and monitor the use of controlled substances, and particularly aims to prevent the abuse of opioid drugs. It:

  1. Requires prescriptions for controlled substances be transmitted electronically to a pharmacy.
  2. Requires initial prescriptions of opioid drugs for minors be limited to no more than a 5-day supply.
  3. Allows registered nurses of Home Health Care Agencies to oversee the destruction or disposal of their patient’s controlled substances.
  4. Creates a process by which patients may request to not be prescribed an opioid drug.
  5. Requires practitioners, when prescribing opioids, to discuss with all patients, rather than only minors, the risks associated with opioid drug use.

“I co-sponsored and voted in favor of this bill to ensure that we are deploying the proper levels of control when prescribing opioid-based medication,” said Rep. France. “However, allowing Home Health Care Agency registered nurses to take custody of a controlled substance without two-person control, as is required for a long-term care facility and outpatient surgical facility, is concerning; especially since there is rarely any immediate need to do so in that setting. For consistency, I encourage the General Law and Public Health committees to enact two-person control in all cases for disposal of controlled substances. Finally, limiting the initial duration for prescriptions to minors of powerful and potentially addictive opioid-based medications is a great and important step towards reducing the likelihood of opioid overdose amongst our youth.”

 

H.B. 7052 passed through the House unanimously and has now been filed with the Senate for consideration before it can become law.

To follow more bills that Rep. France has co-sponsored, please click on the “Legislation” tab on his website at www.RepFrance.com.

Rep. France Rallies Support for Republican Amendment to Campaign Finance Bill

Posted on June 2, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – The House of Representatives approved H.B. 5589 this week, a bill that would reform Connecticut’s campaign finance system, on a party-line vote of 79-70. State Representative Mike France (R-42) stood during the debate and called for greater transparency in Connecticut’s campaign spending. He also summarized a Republican-introduced amendment to the bill, following four previous ones, and preceding two more, that the Democrats’ rejected. This amendment in particular would have restored limits on campaign expenditures and maintain Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments in the Citizens’ Election Program. Unfortunately, this amendment – along with all of the Republican-proposed amendments – failed. The bill was, however, amended by a Democrat-proposed amendment without a single Republican vote.

 
The bill:

  1. Codifies “independent expenditure political committees” (known as IE-only PACs) and requires their registration with the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC);
  2. Prohibits IE-only PACs from accepting covered transfers of more than $70,000, in the aggregate, from any one person during a calendar year;
  3. Expands covered transfer disclosure requirements;
  4. Requires the governing boards of certain Connecticut entities to vote to pre-authorize campaign-related disbursements of more than $10,000;
  5. Prohibits foreign-influenced entities from making independent expenditures (IEs) or contributions to IE-only PACs;
  6. Expands political advertising disclaimer requirements for entities, generally, to include messaging from the chief executive officer or equivalent;
  7. Establishes a uniform deadline for certifying minor party nominations, submitting nominating petitions, and filing affidavits of intent under the CEP for candidates not in a primary;
  8. Establishes a four-step grant reduction schedule under which candidate committees that submit applications closer to the election receive a reduced CEP grant; and
  9. Requires that the chairperson of each political committee be an individual with chief or primary direct, extensive, and substantive decision-making authority over the committee’s fundraising and spending activities.

Rep. France Questions Bill on Regional Water Authorities

Posted on June 2, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – During a day of session held on Wednesday, May 31st, the House of Representatives passed a bill, S.B. 945, with a vote of 123-22 to authorize the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority to invest in certain noncore businesses, including energy projects. State Representative Mike France (R-42), who ultimately voted for the legislation, raised some concerns by questioning why the benefits of the legislation are narrowed in on one regional water authority, and do not apply to other authorities across the state.

??Memorial Day Weekend??

Posted on May 26, 2017 by admin


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Memorial Day arrives this weekend as a time to reflect on the service of those who answered our nation’s call in times of armed conflict, and made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure future generations of Americans would remain free. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was officially proclaimed by General John Logan on May 30, 1868, for the purpose of “strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades” that had died during the Civil War. With the passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 by Congress, Memorial Day was observed on the last Monday in May. On this day of remembrance, please thank a veteran or active-duty service member; honor the families and friends who have lost a loved one in service to their country; and celebrate the hard-earned freedom, liberty and justice that we all enjoy as citizens of the United States of America.

OBSERVANCES IN SOUTHEASTERN CONNECTICUT

LEDYARD: Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center Native New Year Clambake, May 27th at 11:00 a.m.

The Ledyard Memorial Day Parade will take place on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 1pm. It will start at the Ledyard Center School/Fair Grounds and will turn left onto Route 117, where it will proceed past the Reviewing Stand and the Memorial Gardens. It will then turn left onto Colonel Ledyard Highway and left onto Gallup Hill Road, ending at the high school. It will take place rain or shine.

MONTVILLE: Military Appreciation Weekend at The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village. May 27th-29th, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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Rep. France: Protecting Private Property Rights and Supporting Veterans

Posted on May 25, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD — Last week two bills passed through the Connecticut House of Representatives that are co-sponsored by our local State Representative Mike France (R-42) and protect our rights and services.

H.B. 7146 sets a higher threshold before the government can take private property that is seized as part of an arrest. Under current law, private property may be confiscated upon arrest and taken even when the accused has not been convicted. This is a violation of due process under both the U.S. and State constitutions. The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article First, Section 8 of the Connecticut State Constitution both state that “no person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Under this bill, the individual must be convicted before any of their property can be taken from them, restoring a fundamental right.

“Upon arrest, assets like cash or personal belongings may be permanently confiscated from individuals whether they are convicted of a felony or not,” said Rep. France, member of the Legislative Committee that oversees Government Administration and Elections. “Those who are not convicted following arrest, generally re-enter the community empty handed. There is no reason that they should face the potential of great loss of personal belongings or resources. I am happy to see this bill pass and restore this right for citizens that intersect with our law enforcement system.”

H.B. 7100 has two major purposes. First, it requires greater transparency in regards to American Legion spending under the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund. Second, it increases income limits for veterans to qualify for a property tax exemption.

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Rep. France Welcomes Ledyard International Students to the Captiol

Posted on May 19, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – During their tour of the Capitol yesterday, Ledyard High School‘s international students were able to watch some of the debate going on in the House Chamber from the gallery, and, meet with their school’s State Representative Mike France (R-42). Rep. France explained a bit about what he does up in Hartford as a legislator, and answered the student’s questions about state government.

Reps. France and McCarty Vote to Strengthen Laws on Domestic Violence

Posted on May 16, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – Local lawmakers State Representatives Mike France (R-42) and Kathleen McCarty (R-38) co-sponsored a bill concerning domestic violence that was voted on last week by the General Assembly’s House of Representatives. The bill, H.B. 7299, expands the definition of threatening conduct that can cause victims emotional distress. After passing the House unanimously, it is now filed for a vote in the Senate.

This legislation makes the following necessary changes to increase public safety:

  1. Expands the conduct that constitutes stalking to include conduct that causes a person to suffer “emotional distress;”
  2. Specifies that electronic or social media are among the methods, devices, or means by which conduct that constitutes 1st or 2nd degree stalking may occur;
  3. Broadens the strangulation statutes to include suffocation when a person obstructs another’s nose or mouth;
  4. Increases the penalty for violations of release conditions when the violation involves certain conduct; and
  5. Requires a presentence investigation for anyone convicted of a family violence felony for which a prison sentence may be imposed and prohibits such a defendant from waiving the investigation.

Rep. France, who toured Safe Future’s New London home for domestic violence victims late last year, said, “Any additional protection we can provide our citizens in the form of increased penalties for improper personal behavior, which will hopefully also act as a deterrent, is an important measure I am proud to support. I hope that this legislation gives Connecticut residents greater peace of mind and increases the level of security in their lives.”

“As a member of the Womens’ Caucus, a caucus that is raising awareness and funds this session for women who are victims of domestic violence,” said Rep. McCarty, also a member of the legislative Public Health Committee, “I am particularly pleased that this bill passed unanimously in the House. No one should be exposed in any fashion to domestic violence. This bill strengthens domestic violence laws by increasing penalties and broadening definitions of violent acts that cause physical, emotional and mental harm. It further protects privacy and safety in a manner that will save many lives.”

For more information, please visit the Connecticut General Assembly’s website.

Rep. France Meets with Constituents

Posted on May 15, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – This weekend State Representative Mike France (R-42) met with his constituents in two town hall-style meetings in Ledyard and Preston. Rep. France updated attendees on the status of legislation being deliberated this session, as well as the budget-planning process. He also answered questions and concerns brought up by constituents.

To receive notifications regarding future town hall meeting dates, please sign up for Rep. France’s e-newsletter on his website, or follow him on Facebook. Those who were unable to attend, but would still like to connect with Rep. France, may contact him any time at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or 1-800-842-1423.

Sign Up for Legislative Updates

Posted on May 15, 2017 by admin


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Please enter your email address here if you would like to receive important updates from State Representative Mike France. Some examples of the e-newsletters you will receive include:

  • Legislative Event Invitations
  • Roadwork and Traffic Delay Notifications
  • Updates on What’s Happening at the Capitol (Budget, New Legislation, etc.)
  • Public Hearing Information

You may unsubscribe at any time via a link that is present at the end of every e-newsletter. Email correspondence to Rep. France should be sent directly to his General Assembly email at: Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov.

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Southeastern CT Legislators Protect Veterans’ Privacy

Posted on May 11, 2017 by admin


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France, McCarty and Cheeseman Vote for Bill to Safeguard Personal Information

 
HARTFORDState Representatives Mike France (R-Ledyard), Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) and Holly Cheeseman (R-East Lyme) are all co-sponsors on a bill to keep businesses from gaining access to veterans’ and members of the armed forces’ personal information. Yesterday that bill passed through the House unanimously and is now headed to the Senate for consideration.

House Bill 7102 requires any person in possession of military identification information – which identifies a person as a veteran or armed forces member, including a selective service number, military identification number, discharge document, military identification card, or military retiree identification card – to safeguard it from misuse by third parties and destroy, erase, or make unreadable such data, computer files, and documents before disposing of them. It also requires any person who collects military identification information in the course of business to create a policy to protect the confidentiality of the information (i.e., prohibiting its disclosure and limiting its access), and publish or publicly display the policy.

“The status of a veteran or member of the armed forces is information that they should be able to decide to share, or keep to themselves,” said Rep. France, a U.S. Navy Veteran. “There is no need to publicly share it without their consent, or require them to provide it involuntarily. We need to help veterans reenter the working community, and show our respect for those who currently serve. It would be a shame for our veterans to be victims of identity theft due to their identification information being corrupted or misused after the sacrifice they have made to ensure our freedom and safety.”

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Rep. France Expresses Hope for New Sustainable, Innovative Ways to Use Waste

Posted on May 10, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – During yesterday’s House Session, State Representative Mike France (R-42) co-introduced an amendment on House Bill 6329, An Act Concerning Hydraulic Fracturing Waste in Connecticut. Rep. France introduced the amendment to make clarifying changes to the language of the bill and support research surrounding sustainable uses for the waste.

The bill passed through the House 141-6 and will now await consideration in the Senate.

Rep. France Shows Support for Connecticut’s Real Estate Industry

Posted on May 10, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – Bushnell Park was visited by countless real estate agents yesterday at the Connecticut Realtors Rally. State Representative Mike France (R-42) attended the rally to speak with Southeastern Connecticut agents and hear their concerns about preserving a Connecticut they can be proud to show potential homeowners as a place to live and work.

Organized in 1920, the Connecticut Association of Realtors (CT REALTORS®) was formed to protect the right of property ownership, to elevate the standards of real estate practice and to disseminate real estate information.

Yesterday’s keynote speaker was University of Connecticut’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma.

May Town Hall Meetings

Posted on May 10, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORDState Representative Mike France (R-42) is hosting two consecutive town hall meetings this week – one in Ledyard on May 12th, and on in Preston on May 13th with State Senator Heather Somers. The lawmakers will be updating constituents on the latest happenings in Hartford, and answer any questions or concerns constituents may have. These events are free and open to the public.

Rep. France Helps to Break Ground at Ledyard Schools

Posted on May 3, 2017 by admin


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LEDYARD — Though site work had already begun on renovation projects at Gallup Hill School and Ledyard Middle School last week, the official ground-breaking ceremonies had students, teachers, and officials alike buzzing. State Representative Mike France (R-42) stood in front of the students at both schools and congratulated all those involved for their hard work in getting to this point, before grabbing a shovel and participating in this exciting and historic new beginning for Ledyard Public Schools.

“This is a very exciting time for the Town of Ledyard,” said Rep. France, member of the Legislative Planning & Development Committee. “As the former Liaison to the Permanent Municipal Building Committee while serving on the Ledyard Town Council, I have had the pleasure to watch this project come to life through the outstanding efforts of volunteers that serve on the PMBC.

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Family First: Rep. France Introduces Daughter on House Floor

Posted on May 3, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – During today’s session State Representative Mike France (R-42) introduced his daughter, Marguerite, and her fiance, Hunter, to the House Chamber. Marguerite and Hunter live in North Carolina, and were in Connecticut to visit family and celebrate their engagement.

Republicans Budget Proposal Doesn’t Include Raising Taxes

Posted on April 28, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORDState Representatives Mike France (R-42), Kevin Skulczyck (R-45), Anne Dauphinais (R-44), Doug Dubitsky (R-46), and State Senator Heather Somers (R-18), along with their fellow House and Senate Republicansm held a joint press conference yesterday to present a balanced budget proposal for the 2018 Fiscal Year, that unlike their Democratic counterparts does not involve raising taxes.

Currently Connecticut is facing a $3 billion dollar budget deficit and residents have seen two of the highest tax increases in state history over the past six years. In addition, the Republican proposal spends $313 million less than what the governor’s budget had proposed approximately $700 million less spending than the Democrats.

“The governor wants to cut municipal aid to the Town of Ledyard by approximately $3 million next year” said Rep. France. “That is unfathomable. I am proud to support ‘Confident Connecticut’ as an alternative because it not only reinstates that funding to save our local schools, businesses and families, but it also increases the amount of funding the Towns of Preston and Montville currently receive by $1 million in the next biennium. The Republican budget plan saves Connecticut by reducing spending and supporting our towns without raising taxes. Connecticut’s current fiscal deficit is in an unbelievably dire state and we need these long-term structural changes that Republican leaders proposed today. I stand by it whole-heartedly.”

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Automated Alcoholic Beverage Machines

Posted on April 17, 2017 by admin


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During Session this week, I asked questions concerning House Bill 5730, as amended by LCO 6166.

On principle, I don’t disagree with allowing vending machine sales of alcohol with appropriate controls, such as the 32 oz limit on beer and 10 oz limit on wine per payment card activation period. During the public hearing, testimony was given that 43 other states currently allow “Self-Pouring Alcohol Technology”.  However, as amended, the proposed bill is unenforceable due to the lack of definition of “one drink” and the requirement for the first drink to be “substantially disposed of or consumed” before allowing “second and subsequent servings.”

The amendment had not been well thought-out, which was made more clear when the bill proponent could not clearly answer simple questions on the substance of the amendment.  This is another example of making changes to proposed bills after the public hearing process is complete, but not in response to any specific issue or concern expressed by either the public or the administration.

Rep. France Speaks on CTCA’s Spring Conference Panel

Posted on April 13, 2017 by admin


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MYSTICState Representative Mike France (R-42) served as a panel member at the Connecticut Town Clerk’s Association’s (CTCA) spring conference held last week at the Mystic Marriott. The conference focused on creating change in government – including technology, services, structural changes, regionalism, etc. Rep. France spoke on potential changes he sees happening in Connecticut’s state policy over the next several years.

“The governor’s proposal seeks to shift state responsibilities to towns,” said Rep. France. “The state is looking at towns as free service providers, making the budget our biggest issue today. We are in an ever-worsening situation and property taxes are rising. I encourage town clerks to identify overhead and fixed costs and see where you can cut back. Determine what practices can save your municipality money, or lead to a more efficient delivery of services for your residents. ”

Other panelists included Kendal Wiggin of the Connecticut State Library, First Selectman of Durham Laura Francis, Mark Ladd of Property Records Industry Association (PRIA), Chief Information Officer of the CT Bureau of Enterprise Systems Technology Mark Raymond, Pauline Yoder of the Captiol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) and Deputy Secretary of State Scott Bates.

CCTA worked in cooperation with Central Connecticut State University‘s (CCSU) Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR) to provide this career training/development event to an audience comprised of Town Clerks, Deputy Town Clerks and staff from around the state.

Reps. France and McCarty Announce Support for Regional Mental Health Services

Posted on April 7, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORDState Reps. Mike France (R-42) and Kathleen McCarty (R-38) stood at the podium yesterday at the Capitol during a legislative breakfast hosted by the Eastern Regional Mental Health Board (ERMHB) to express their support for Connecticut’s mental health services.

“My first interaction with the ERMHB happened nine years ago when my daughter participated in an essay contest in 7th grade, earning first place for her essay on mental illness,” said Rep. France. “After my election in 2014, I met the ERMHB Director Jennifer Gross, whose husband I had served with during my last tour in the Navy. Through her leadership, I came to understand the importance of community-based advocacy organizations like these. The work they do is so valuable to our communities; they are a model for how we ought to be providing services. With a very small budget, the ERMHB leverages over a hundred extremely dedicated volunteers who have such compassion and an ability to create personal, meaningful relationships with those in need of services. We need to continue to provide this funding to better serve the residents of Connecticut.”

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Rep. France Encourages Ledyard High School Students during “Civics in Action” Panel

Posted on March 31, 2017 by admin


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LEDYARD — For the third time in the past four years, State Representative Mike France (R-42) participated this week in Ledyard High School’s “Civics in Action” Round Table discussion. Seated amongst other town, school and public safety officials, Rep. France got to speak with six separate student panels of the sophomore class and answer the students’ questions about the issues that matter to them most.

“The students consistently brought smart, well-informed questions to the table concerning local, state and federal issues they want to advocate for,” said Rep. France, who introduced ten bills this session to support our schools. “I really enjoyed hearing about their issues and providing perspective and feedback on next steps to further their advocacy. I encourage all of our youth to continue researching, observing and making inquiries. Advocacy – especially at the local level – is such a valuable tool to get your voice heard and make a difference. Students can contact me, or any of their Board of Education or town officials, anytime to discuss changes they would like to see happen in their community. I would like to thank Mr. Galante for inviting me and look forward to participating again next year.”

Issues brought to light by the students during these Round Table discussions ranged from bicycle road safety to the prevention of suicide, drug and opioid addiction, animal abuse; drinking age policies, the legalization of marijuana, driver’s education requirements, PTSD and other veterans’ issues, and adoptive children’s rights to medical and genealogy DNA testing.

At the Legislature, Rep. France promotes Ledyard High School’s educational mission to encourage students and graduates to demonstrate responsible behavior and citizenship, work effectively in independent and collaborative settings, respect human and cultural diversity and take responsibility for their own lifelong learning, personal health and well-being.

Rep. France Supports Grandparent Visitation Rights

Posted on March 24, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD — In a recent public hearing, the Judiciary Committee received testimony on a bill to grant grandparents the ability to petition the Superior Court for the right of visitation with a minor child. Visitation rights would be granted only if clear and convincing evidence is presented that such visits are in the best interest of the minor child. As a co-sponsor of the legislation, State Representative Mike France (R-42) submitted written testimony to the committee in strong support of the bill, and provided direct testimony to the committee urging its passage.

“The state of Connecticut has already determined there is a role for government in ensuring the welfare of children, executed through both Judicial Family Court and Department of Children and Families (DCF),” said Rep. France. “When making decisions related to children, there needs to be a recognition that grandparents can play a significant role in improving the quality of life of their grandchildren. I acknowledge and respect the general supremacy of parental rights in determining what is in the best interest of a minor child, but believe that there should be consideration for maintaining a relationship between the grandchild and their grandparent. The courts should be allowed to make this determination while ensuring the best interests of the children are met.”

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State Rep. Mike France Attends Three Rivers Community College’s Legislative Breakfast

Posted on March 3, 2017 by jpheasant


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Hartford – State Representative Mike France joined other fellow Southeastern Connecticut representatives to participate in an annual legislative breakfast hosted by Three Rivers Community College. The yearly event provides an opportunity for legislators to speak with school officials, get status updates on the college, learn more about their Nuclear Engineering Program, and its partnership with Waterford’s Dominion Millstone Power Station. Other attending representatives included Doug Dubitsky, Holly Cheeseman, Senator Paul Formica and Sen. Cathy Osten.

“Thank you to Three Rivers Community College President Mary Ellen Jukoski for hosting the Legislative Breakfast. It was a great opportunity to hear from CSCU President Mark Ojakian concerning the current state of our institutions of higher education, and the challenges and opportunities presented in the Governor’s budget proposal. The Q&A with staff was particularly informative of the particular concerns they had. I also appreciated the opportunity to hear from representatives of the Student Government Association.”

State Rep. France Hosts Town Hall Meeting

Posted on March 2, 2017 by jpheasant


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HARTFORD – State Representative Mike France (R-42) hosted a Town Hall meeting on February 23, 2017 at the Preston Public Library to discuss current issues facing the district during this legislative session. This was Rep. France’s second Town Hall meeting this cycle, having hosted a similar meeting on February 18, 2017 at the Ledyard Town Hall Annex.

Rep. France opened the meeting with an overview of Governor Malloy’s proposed budget and the current status of the budget process, as well as recent actions before the Appropriations Committee on the Juan F. Settlement and the SEBAC Agreement with their respective budgetary impacts.

Residents inquired about a vast array of topics, with the most common theme being the Governor’s budget proposal and how it relates to towns in the 42nd District. In addition, citizens were also concerned with how local municipalities can afford to support the funds necessary to make up for significant reductions in grant aid, the change to the Education Cost Share (ECS) formula, and how to pay for one-third of teacher pension costs.

“There are some good policy changes to the ECS formula, such as separating the Special Education funding from the base formula, but the change from Free and Reduced Lunch to Husky A insurance as a determining factor potentially has a significant impact to our region due to students who are part of families in the military or the Indian tribes,” Rep. France said. “As to the teacher pensions, towns didn’t negotiate the terms of the retirement plan and the only input our towns have is the negotiated salary. If the proposed budget is unchanged, towns will have little choice but to raise property taxes.”

Rep. France also received questions and concerns from residents regarding formula changes in Special Education funding, increasing the Resident State Trooper cost-share from 85% to 100% of cost, the pre-natal care health insurance mandate in Senate Bill 586, and fee increases to pistol permit renewals brought forth with this budget.

In response to a resident comment about the permit renewal increase being further gun control, Rep. France said “First, I do not support the over four-fold increase in the pistol permit fee to $300. Second, I know that the pistol permit increase is being characterized as further gun control, but the common factor across all the policy decisions incorporated in the Governor’s budget proposal is creating revenue to maintain spending growth without raising taxes directly.”

“My personal philosophy is that I don’t support giving the State new revenue sources,” Rep. France said. “The Legislature has consistently made commitments to the taxpayers of Connecticut concerning how new revenues will be used that future Legislatures have not maintained. The commitment is generally good for one budget cycle. With the continuing deficits caused by increased spending not supported by economic growth, the new tax or fee is increased and the revenue dedicated to the committed expenditure is reduced. The general theme of the Governor’s budget proposal is shifting the burden onto the towns and, if passed, will lead to significant property tax increases.”

The governor’s budget proposal was presented to the Legislature on February 8, 2017. The Appropriations Committee completed two weeks of agency presentations and public hearings last week. Over the next three weeks, the various subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee will meet with each Executive Branch agency to ask detailed questions to support drafting of the Legislature budget proposal.

Please visit Rep. France’s website at www.RepFrance.com and sign up to receive updates regarding future Town Hall meetings.

 

Rep. France Opposes Tax on Pistol Permit License and Fees

Posted on February 24, 2017 by jpheasant


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Rep. France (R-42) and elected officials from both sides of the aisle attended a press conference hosted by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League Inc. (CCDL), National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) to address the governor’s budget proposal that would increase the fee for first time permits from $140 to $370 with 5-year renewals increasing from $70 to $300.

State Rep. Mike France and State Sen. Heather Somers to Host Preston Town Hall

Posted on February 15, 2017 by jpheasant


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PRESTON – State Rep. Mike France (R-42) and State Sen. Heather Somers (R-18) will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting in Preston to discuss current issues, legislative initiatives you support or oppose, and any other items that are important to you.

WHEN: Thursday, February 23rd from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Preston Public Library, 389 Route 2, Preston, CT

For more information, please contact
Rep. Mike France at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or call 800-842-1423.
Rep. Heather Somers at Heather.Somers@cga.ct.gov or call 800-842-1421.

Please check RepFrance.com for any cancellations prior to the scheduled meeting date.

State Rep. Mike France to Host Town Hall Meeting in Ledyard

Posted on February 10, 2017 by jpheasant


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 LEDYARD – State Rep. Mike France (R-42) will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting in Ledyard to discuss the issues that may shape the upcoming session, legislative initiatives you support or oppose, and any other issues that are important to you.

WHEN: Saturday, February 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Ledyard Town Hall Annex, 741 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard

If you have any questions, or are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. France, please call 860-842-1423, or email Mike.France@cga.ct.gov for more information.

Please check repfrance.com for any cancellations prior to the scheduled meeting date.

France, Formica, Somers Applaud Mohegans’ Redevelopment Plans for Norwich Hospital Property

Posted on January 23, 2017 by jpheasant


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2017

PHOTO: Formica, Somers, France Applaud Mohegans’ Redevelopment Plans for Norwich Hospital Property

Preston – Senator Paul Formica (R-20), Senator Heather Somers (R-18) and Representative Mike France (R-42) (pictured in attached photo from left to right) on Tuesday attended the unveiling of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority’s plan to redevelop the former Norwich Hospital property as a tourism destination.

“Seeing this redevelopment plan come together is an incredible step forward for our region. Tourism is a key factor in expanding our economy and developing new job opportunities, especially here in eastern Connecticut. These plans show a renewed commitment to make our part of the state an even greater hub for growth,” said Sen. Formica.

“I was very honored to attend the announcement by Mohegan Sun and the Town of Preston on a major economic development plan that could lead to $200 to $800 million of private investment at the former Norwich state hospital. Credit is due to the Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin Brown, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Congressman Joe Courtney, many local legislators – Republican and Democrat – who helped keep the program moving. Special credit to Preston First Selectman Robert Congdon for not letting up and persevering. This announcement exemplifies the great work that can be done with dedication and cooperation of local and state officials with a common goal to grow our economy while also maintaining the trusted stewardship of our beautiful environment,” said Sen. Somers.

“Congratulations to the residents of Preston, who took a significant risk to acquire the former Norwich State Hospital property eight years ago,” said Rep. France. “Under the leadership of First Selectman Bob Congdon and Preston Redevelopment Agency Chair Sean Nugent and with the partnership of The Mohegan Tribe, DEEP and DECD, we can see the future of another vibrant tourist destination in Southeastern Connecticut rising up from a long-dormant piece of state property. This is a great day for Preston residents, The Mohegan Tribe, our region and the tourism industry in the state of Connecticut.”

The Mohegans’ plan involves forming partnerships to redevelop the 393-acre former state mental illness institution into a center for entertainment with opportunities for a theme park, hotels, housing, sports venues, campgrounds, and a waterfront area with a ferry connection to Mohegan Sun. Projects would begin after environmental cleanup is completed, with the Mohegan tribal planners estimating construction could begin around 2020.

Senator Formica serves as Co-Chair of Tourism Caucus. He represents the 20th Senate District including the communities of Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford.

Senator Somers represents the 18th Senate District including the towns of Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington and Voluntown.

Representative France serves the 42nd House District representing Ledyard, Montville and Preston.

 

Rep. France Takes Oath to Serve Second Term

Posted on January 10, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) joined fellow legislative lawmakers for opening day of the 2017 Legislative Session last week at the State Capitol. The Opening Ceremony and Joint Convention that heard Governor Malloy’s “State of the State Address” marked the beginning of Rep. France’s second two-year term.

“I am looking forward to serving the residents of the 42nd District for another two years,” said Rep. France. “The General Assembly has the potential to make great decisions this Session with parity in the Senate and near parity in the House. This term my goal is to bring a greater focus in the legislature to the real issues facing our small towns and those in need. Thank you to my constituents for allowing me the honor of continuing to serve, and I look forward to seeing you all again in our district soon.”

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Severe Cold Weather Alert!

Posted on December 15, 2016 by admin


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Over the next few days our area will be experiencing single-digit temperatures for the first time this winter, which has lead the Governor to activate the State of Connecticut’s severe cold weather protocol.

This means that the United Way 2-1-1 helpline is open and prepared to help anyone who needs shelter. Their 2-1-1 website also provides local, state, and federal information and resources, including a list of warming centers and homeless drop-in centers.

#Dial211

Click here for the list of warming centers open throughout the state. If there is not a warming center listed in your town/city, please note that libraries, senior centers, and other public locations are good places to keep warm or seek shelter.

Cold weather also poses risks for your pets. Please don’t leave your pets outside for an extended period of time.

For more winter safety tips – like how to heat your home, protect your car and prepare your family – please click here.

Start Your Engines, Southeastern Connecticut!

Posted on December 14, 2016 by admin


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Rep. France Attends Ribbon Cutting for New Indoor Kart Racing and Trampoline Park

MONTVILLEState Representative Mike France (R-42) was one of the first to get an exclusive look at the new Naskart Indoor Kart Racing and Trampoline Park in Montville last week at their exciting ribbon cutting event.

“The New Year’s Day opening of this venue couldn’t be coming at a better time,” said Rep. France, who presented a General Assembly citation with fellow lawmakers at the ceremony. “With winter upon us, I know that many local families will enjoy spending chilly afternoons on the indoor track and trampolines here. This is a great new source of entertainment and employment for Southeastern Connecticut; and we’re quite lucky to have it as there are no other indoor locations like it in the country. I congratulate the owners on such an accomplishment and wish them luck on their new business venture.”

Naskart, located at 1 Sachatello Industrial Drive in Oakdale, is the largest multi-level indoor track in the world and will have both an in-house café and sports bar. It’s eco-friendly karts are all-electric and create zero emissions.

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Rep. France (left) with First Selectman Dan Steward at the ribbon cutting ceremony for new Naskart Indoor Kart Racing & Trampoline Park in Montville.

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Rep. France Sees First-Hand How Safe Futures are Created in New London

Posted on December 8, 2016 by admin


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Takes ‘Power of Purple’ Tour of Safe House for Victims of Domestic Violence

NEW LONDON – In order to better understand the services available to his constituents of Southeastern Connecticut, State Representative Mike France (R-42) recently took a tour of Safe Futures’ New London facilities.

“Thank you so much to Safe Futures Director of Development and Communications Emma Palzere-Rae, Engagement Officer Pam Mandelburg, and Volunteer and Ambassador Manager Jeanie Davidson for not only sharing their very personal and moving stories, but for also showing me how their non-profit organization saves lives, restores hope and changes futures for nearly 6,000 women, children and men each year,” said Rep. France. “Their mission is positive and forward-looking; they are a beacon of hope in our region.”

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Safe Futures, which is celebrating their 40th anniversary and has been operating at over 100% capacity for more than six years, received 50% of their 2012-2013 funding from federal, state and local governments, according to their reports. The remainder of their revenue was generated through individual support, grants and United Way. These funds allow Safe Futures to provide free and confidential services for counseling and advocacy, emergency shelter, transitional and supportive housing, skill building, employment networking and prevention education to those in need.

According to Safe Futures, each day, three women in the United States die at the hand of a current or former intimate partner and 30% of homeless households in Southeastern Connecticut attribute their hardship to domestic violence. Children who witness abuse are also twice as likely to become abusers as adults. These are the facts facing Safe Future’s dedicated volunteers and advocates. Their goals to combat these statistics include opening a secure, full-time walk-in counseling center at the Norwich office (which had been closed for several years but luckily re-opened within the past five years) and acquiring more staff and educator support. Just one educator can reach an additional 1,000 school children and eventually break the cycle of violence.

For more information, please visit www.SafeFuturesCT.org. The New London Administrative office located at 16 Jay Street would also like to share their wish list for holiday donations: any diapers, pre-paid mobile phones, personal care products, clothing, pillows, linens, area rugs, gas cards, or even transportation services, would be highly appreciated.

More Power of Purple tours will be held in the New Year on January 19th from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. and February 10th from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. You can also call 860-447-0366, x220 to host your own tour. Interested volunteers and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Call Safe Future’s free, confidential hotlines anytime at 860-701-6000 or 860-701-6001.

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(L to R) Jeanie Davidson, Volunteer and Ambassador Manager, Pam Mandelburg, Engagement Officer, Emma Palzere-Rae, Director of Development and Communication, and Rep. France.

Rep. France Learns About Preventing “Another Big Tobacco”

Posted on November 4, 2016 by admin


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Attends presentation held by ‘Smart Approaches to Marijuana’

GROTON – Representatives from across Southeastern Connecticut – from Lawrence & Memorial Hospital to local Police Departments and the Ledyard Prevention Coalition – gathered yesterday morning at the Mystic Marriott to hear from Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., President and Co-Founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) regarding legal issues, research data and opportunities, and medical implications of marijuana use. State Representative Mike France (R-Ledyard, Preston & Montville) attended to learn more about these issues as well as the unintended consequences of marijuana legalization – an issue currently being decided this election cycle by five states, including Massachusetts, and likely to continue to be discussed by the Connecticut General Assembly in the next session.

“I attended this conference to educate myself on making informed decisions for the State of Connecticut as a whole when it comes to the legalization of marijuana and substance abuse prevention at a time when opioids are among the leading causes of death in the United States, especially among teenagers and young adults,” said Rep. France. “There are so many long-term factors and unintended consequences that must be considered before deciding this issue. Many believe that allowing ‘pot shops’ to pop up all over Connecticut will end illegal use as well as create revenue to balance our budget. These are short-sighted ‘solutions’ that create more problems than they solve. We need to all educate ourselves on the potential harms of this significant issue.”

Even if Connecticut decides against legalization, if neighboring states like Massachusetts commercialize marijuana sales, there could be major implications in the State of Connecticut that affect our economy, as well as state and local budgets. Who’s to say that their policies won’t trickle across our borders? Will Connecticut residents travel to Massachusetts only to return still “under the influence” endangering their neighbors? Will increased police activity in bordering Connecticut towns be the result as has been seen in the states bordering Colorado?

In the case of the State of Colorado, which has legalized recreational marijuana, according to SAM regulation costs have skyrocketed (not only for increased judicial enforcement, but for pesticide and additive regulation in plant growth as well); arrests and car accidents – as well as alcohol sales – have actually increased; overall marijuana use has increased – with no end to illegal sales and use in sight; homelessness is at nearly unmanageable levels due to out-of-state users migrating to the “promised land;” student performances are declining in schools; and unemployment is rising due to increased drug test failures for employees.

“These are strong indicators that the commercialization of marijuana will not offset the social costs,” Rep. France said. “Do we want marijuana to become normalized like alcohol and tobacco? It took decades for smoking to be prohibited in restaurants – how long will it take for that to be accomplished with marijuana? With only 9% of the American population admitting to the regular use of marijuana, do we want to change our entire society for such a small demographic? Non-users tend to support legalization with the assumption that they will not be affected by the legislation. But do you really want a store that sells pot gummy bears and other-kid friendly consumables on the corner of your street, where your children might wander by? Would you be comfortable with a consistent ‘aroma’ of marijuana in public? These are the pros and cons we must honestly weigh.”

Intoxication by marijuana also presents serious mental health challenges for our society. This drug affects brain activity, which is dangerous for youth aged 25 and under as their brains have not yet fully formed. Addiction really starts and grabs hold of its victims while the brain is still developing. Individuals age 25 and older who have never used drugs are less likely to ever pick them up in future. It sets one on a potential path for abnormal mental, psychological and emotional effects. Research shows that marijuana actually acts as a trigger for many mental illnesses, and makes them worse in the long term. In particular, use has been associated with higher rates of schizophrenia. Though medical marijuana is often prescribed as a short term solution for mental illness and physical pain, it has not been proven successful for long-term chronic pain management.

“Though I support medical use of marijuana where proven successful through legitimate research, I believe that we must be cautious in how and when it is prescribed,” added Rep. France. “There are so many false dichotomies surrounding marijuana: legalization or incarceration, recreation or medication, money or social justice. It is time to end the confusion, separate the issues and ask ourselves who/what we can support: big businesses, short-term monetary gains and freedom – or rather encouragement – to experiment with drugs; or a clean, safe and healthy future for our children and reliable budget solutions for revenue.

“I agree with Dr. Sabet, who predicts that these issues will fuel a consistent debate for the next 30-40 years.”

To see the newly published report from SAM on the impacts of four years of pro-marijuana legislation in Colorado and Washington, please click here.

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Rep. France (right) with Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., President and Co-Founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).

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Rep. France (left) with John Daviau, president of Connecticut Association of Prevention Practitioners and Affiliate for SAM CT.

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Local Legislators Congratulate Montville Fire Inspector on 18+ Years of Service

Posted on November 4, 2016 by admin


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MONTVILLE State Representatives Mike France (R-42) and Kathleen McCarty (R-38), along with State Senator Paul Formica (R-20), presented Roy Edward “Ed” Shafer of the Montville Fire Marshal’s Office with a citation yesterday to mark the occasion of his retirement after over 18 years of service to the Town of Montville.

“I thank Mr. Shafer for his dedicated service to the residents of Montville, and wish him the best of luck in retirement,” said Rep. France. “This truly is a bittersweet occasion, as not only is Montville saying goodbye to a highly-regarded public servant, but Connecticut is losing another valued resident. Mr. Shafer plans to enjoy his retirement in South Carolina, where the weather is warmer and the cost of living is significantly more affordable. Mr. Shafer is just one more of the many retiring residents of Connecticut who are choosing to leave this state because of the ever increasing costs on a fixed income due to the inability of their elected leaders to balance our budget without raising taxes. His decision certainly speaks volumes – something I hope is heard loud and clear up in Hartford.”

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Light Bulb Swap THIS SATURDAY!

Posted on November 3, 2016 by admin


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This Saturday, November 5, Eversource and the Town of Ledyard, as a Clean Energy Community, are hosting a light bulb swap as part of Connecticut’s ENERGY STAR® Change the World Tour. This is a national initiative to combine energy efficiency with community service.

All residents (*must present identification) can stop by Gales Ferry Landing, located at 7 Hurlbutt Road in Gales Ferry between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday to exchange up to five incandescent light bulbs in any condition for new, energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® LED bulbs free of charge while supplies last. Additional LED bulbs and lighting products will be available for purchase at a discounted rate.

idea-1014016Energy experts from Eversource will also be on-hand to answer questions and provide information regarding how residents can save money and energy at home – especially with an in-home energy checkup, Home Energy SolutionsSM.

Please bring in your incadescent lightbulbs to Gales Ferry Landing on Saturday and help the Town of Ledyard reach its goal of reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018!

Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Connecticut Green Bank, the State and your local electric and gas utilities with funding from a charge on customer energy bills.

Housing Alternatives: A Conference for Those with I/DD

Posted on November 2, 2016 by admin


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With endless waiting lists in the hands of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and no plan in place on how to serve people, more and more families are beginning to look for alternatives to the traditional DDS service route.

In reponse, The Arc Connecticut, along with support from the CT Council on Developmental Disabilities, is teaming up with The Family Empowerment Task Force to give families information about alternative sources of funding and resources that are available to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This information will be presented in the following forum:

United States Housing Alternatives Conference for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD), Parents, Family Members and Advocates

Saturday, November 19, 2016

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Neat Market Place, 120 Holcomb Street, Hartford, CT

The day will include:

  • A brief press conference to release a groundbreaking new policy paper on the state of housing and support in Connecticut for people with I/DD
  • Information on a new online statewide roommate matching service
  • Information about a new Housing Resources Guide for People with I/DD
  • A Panel Discussion with families who have opted out of the endless wait for funding and the traditional DDS group model and are supporting their loved ones living their own lives in the community NOW.

The panel will include families who: have implemented Continuous Residential Supports (CRS), – shared living arrangements for intellectually disabled individuals who may have a coexisting psychiatric disability – private apartments or other novel arrangements; are using a mix of public funding sources including DDS Waivers, Community First Choice and others; and are using a mix a self-directed and agency staffing.

This conference is free of charge, but seating is first come first serve. Lunch will be provided. The deadline to RSVP is Wednesday, November 16, 2016.

Click here to reserve your spot today!

For more information please contact Melissa Marshall at Melissa.Marshall@snet.net.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Information Sessions

Posted on October 25, 2016 by admin


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The Connecticut Department of Transportation is hosting four public information sessions to present information and gather input on the 2017 Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and Map Update.  It has been eight years since the last update, so this is your opportunity to effect the process and the future of bicycling and walking paths across our state for the next decade or more.

At these public informational sessions, community members may obtain information and share their thoughts on what should be included in both the plan and map updates. The study team will be available to discuss actions and accomplishments since the last plan was developed in 2009, as well as how the state will move forward with a proposed bicycle network.

The informational sessions will be held on the following dates:

  • Monday, November 14th at 5:30 – 7:30 PM at Elmwood Community Center, 1106 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford
  • Tuesday, November 15th at 5:30 – 7:30 PM at New Haven Free Public Library – Ives Main Library, 133 Elm Street, New Haven
  • Tuesday, November 29th at 5:30 – 7:30 PM at the Student Center Theatre at Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic
  • Wednesday, November 30th at 5:30 – 7:30 PM at Fairfield Public Library – Main Branch, 1080 Old Post Road, Fairfield

The sessions will have the same content and format. Each will begin at 5:30 PM with an informal interactive open house session. A brief presentation will begin at 6:15 PM, followed by a discussion period. CT DOT and members of the study team, Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc. of Hartford, Connecticut, will be available at each meeting to discuss the update and answer questions.

Directions and parking information are available at http://www.ctbikepedplan.org/public_meetings.html. Additional information on the Plan and Map Update can be obtained on the project website at http://www.ctbikepedplan.org.

Please forward this to anyone you know that may be interested in providing input to the Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

Three Rivers Veteran Resource Fair

Posted on October 17, 2016 by admin


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The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Veterans Workforce and Development of Eastern Connecticut is hosting a Veterans Resource Fair at Three Rivers Community College (Room F117, next to the cafeteria) this Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There will be a wide range of services available to veterans and their family members at this event, so I encourage you to go and spread the word to others who may benefit!

It is free and open to the public. There will be countless resources for employment and volunteer opportunities, health and therapeutic services, and educational and networking information. Some of the 40 currently confirmed vendors include:


I hope this information is helpful!

Rep. France Meets with Constituents in Ledyard and Preston

Posted on October 7, 2016 by admin


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HARTFORDState Rep. Mike France (R-42) hosted a Town Hall Meeting at the Preston Public Library Tuesday evening, October 4, and another in Ledyard at the Town Hall Annex on Wednesday, October 5 with State Rep. John Scott (R-40). In both meetings, the legislators discussed the recent Special Session that took place at the Capitol, as well as noteworthy issues that are likely to take precedence in the 2017 legislative session convening in January.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to our meetings this week,” said Rep. France. “I am here to represent you in Hartford, which is why these quarterly meetings are so important; we really look forward to answering your questions and hearing your concerns and ideas for making better changes in our community.”

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“Live United” Kicks Off With a Barbeque

Posted on October 3, 2016 by admin


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Reps. France and McCarty and Sen. Formica attend United Way Campaign Launch

NORWICH – Despite the clouds and early rain, the dedicated volunteers of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut put on a bright and positive barbeque Tuesday to kick off their 2016 campaign. State Reps. Mike France (R-Ledyard) and Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) and State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20) attended to support the organization’s service to their communities in New London County.

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“United Way serves as an inspirational leader in our state for responsibly using funding – donations, in this case – to put the people first and provide the human and social services we need,” said Rep. France. “They are an outstanding example of the strength of non-profit organizations in our state, delivering much needed services to the most vulnerable in our community. I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of last week’s event and thank United Way for inviting me.”

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Rep. France with Gina Lopez, AHEC Community Health Outreach Coordinator.

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Rep. France speaks with Sarah McDermott of United Way of SECT.

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(L to R) Ledyard Mayor Michael Finkelstein, Rep. France and Sen. Formica at United Way’s kick off barbeque.

“This organization is made up of such caring individuals who possess a real vision of how to improve the quality of life in our community,” said Rep. McCarty. “You can really see how much the volunteers care about their cause – with a majority of them coming from local businesses and corporations like Electric Boat, Soft Rock WBMW, SAVA Insurance, Mohegan Sun and Charter Oak. I am very impressed with the work United Way has accomplished, and with their goals for the year to come.”

“So many volunteers in our communities work tirelessly on behalf of all the efforts which are funded by the United Way each year,” Sen. Paul Formica said. “That energy and enthusiasm is inspiring. It makes a positive impact on people’s lives and it creates a multiplier effect which can be seen in the strength of the human service initiatives throughout the region. Rep. France, Rep. McCarty and I are delighted to be a part of this unified effort.”

United Way of Southeastern Connecticut is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all, focusing on helping children to thrive, providing basic human needs, and promoting independence and community wellness. United Way re-engages people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done. Everyone is invited to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering.

Rep. France represents the 42nd district of Ledyard, Preston and Montville.
Rep. McCarty represents the 38th district of Waterford and Montville.
Sen. Formica represents the 20th district of Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook. Salem and Waterford.

Rep. France Questions the Sikorsky Aircraft Agreement During Special Session on September 28

Posted on September 30, 2016 by admin


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New Laws Taking Effect October 1

Posted on September 30, 2016 by admin


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A number of new laws passed during the 2016 Legislative Session take effect October 1, 2016. These new laws may have an impact on you, your business, or our community.

For a full list of bills taking effect on October 1, 2016, CLICK HERE.

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Among those Public Acts that will become law on that date are the following measures that I supported:

AN ACT INCREASING THE MAXIMUM PENALTY FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY
(PA 16-96) (House Bill No. 5147)
This act increases the penalty for a subsequent offense of malicious and intentional animal cruelty (i. e. , maliciously or intentionally maiming, mutilating, torturing, wounding, or killing an animal) by classifying it as a Class C felony, instead of a Class D felony. Under existing law, unchanged by the act, a first offense remains a Class D felony. By law, the first violation of certain other animal cruelty offenses, including failing to provide animals with proper care, food, and water, is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A subsequent offense is a Class D felony.

AN ACT CONCERNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR VETERANS
(PA 16-68) (House Bill No. 5416)
This act pairs veterans and members of the armed forces and National Guard who have acquired specialized skills from military training with certain professional opportunities compatible with such skills. It also improves customer service to veterans by the Office of Advocacy and Assistance of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, and strengthens the coordination between the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs and municipalities.

AN ACT CONCERNING UNDERAGE DRINKING
(PA 16-182) (House Bill No. 5629)
To permit courts to refer persons under the age of twenty-one who are charged with underage drinking or motor vehicle offenses to a program that will educate them in the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and other risky behavior.

AN ACT CONCERNING TELEPHONE AND INTERNET PRIVACY
(PA 16-148) (House Bill No. 5640)
Under current law, telecommunication carriers must disclose call-identifying information. Electronic communication or remote computing service providers must also disclose basic subscriber information to law enforcement officials based on ex parte court orders under specified conditions. The act allows law enforcement officials to also seek ex parte court orders to compel these carriers or service providers to disclose a communication’s contents or geo-location data associated with call-identifying information. It sets a higher standard for the issuance of these orders (probable cause) than the existing standard for orders to compel disclosure of call-identifying or basic subscriber information (reasonable and articulable suspicion). The act also allows a carrier or service provider, upon the request of law enforcement officials, to disclose up to 48 hours of geo-location data without a court order, if there are exigent circumstances (i. e. an emergency involving danger of serious physical injury or death to someone). The act limits any such court order from authorizing disclosure of more than 14 days’ worth of information and requires law enforcement officials to disclose the information to defense counsel. In addition, the act creates a specific crime of telephone fraud. The act classifies six degrees of this crime, generally based on the amount of money or value of the property the violator obtained illegally.

AN ACT CONCERNING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
(PA 16-71) (House Bill No. 5621)
This act makes many revisions, including – but not limited to:

  • Revises the duties and composition of the Trafficking in Persons Council.
  • Requires state’s attorneys and municipal chiefs of police to provide data and information concerning human trafficking prosecutions and investigations to the General Assembly.
  • Requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioners to develop a training program to raise awareness on incidents of human trafficking and institute reforms that are designed to prevent human trafficking at hotels, motels and similar lodgings.
  • Eliminates the requirement that a person knew the victim was under eighteen years of age or was a victim of coercion or human trafficking in order to be convicted of a class C felony.

AN ACT CONCERNING OPIOIDS AND ACCESS TO OVERDOSE REVERSAL DRUGS
(PA 16-43) (House Bill No. 5053)
This act contains various provisions on opioid abuse prevention and treatment and related issues. It:

  • Prohibits a prescribing practitioner authorized to prescribe an opioid drug from issuing a prescription for more than a seven-day supply to a minor or an adult for the first time for outpatient use.
  • Makes changes to the electronic prescription drug monitoring program, such as decreasing required prescriber reviews for prolonged treatment with Schedule V nonnarcotic drugs.
  • Allows any licensed health care professional to administer an opioid antagonist (e.g., Narcan) to treat or prevent a drug overdose without civil or criminal liability.
  • Requires municipalities to amend their local emergency medical services (EMS) plans to ensure that specified first responders are equipped with an opioid antagonist and trained in administering it.
  • Prohibits certain health insurance policies that provide prescription drug coverage for opioid antagonists from requiring prior authorization for these drugs.

I hope this information is helpful.

Reps. France and Scott Host Successful PURA Forum

Posted on September 26, 2016 by admin


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