Rep. Kupchick Newsletter: Support Cancer Research at This Year’s Relay for Life

Posted on June 6, 2018 by rjoslyn


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This Saturday, the American Cancer Society is holding a Relay for Life event.

Relay for Life is an event that celebrates survivors, honors those in our community who lost the battle and supports those currently fighting.

Fairfield Relay for Life will be held this Saturday, June 9, at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.  The opening ceremony will begin at 5pm.

 

 

Relay for Life is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track.  Each event is 6-24 hours in length and teams are asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.

Each team sets up a themed campsite at the event and continues their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games, and activities. This money will count towards their overall team fundraising goal.

For more information about Fairfield Relay for Life, including links to donate to the American Cancer Society, join a team, or light a luminary in honor of someone you care for click here.  Together, we can make a difference.

I hope you will consider supporting our Relay for Life.

Rep. Kupchick Update: Fairfield Diaper Drive Starts this Weekend

Posted on May 18, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Beginning this weekend, Rep. Laura Devlin and I are partnering with Operation Hope to host a Diaper Drive at a series of locations across town in order to help meet our community’s demand.

Please see the information below for information about collection sites:

Diapers are incredibly costly and are not covered by SNAP benefits.  Operation Hope does not have enough to meet our community’s demand, so we are reaching out for help.  If you are interested in donating (opened packs, ok!), please bring them to one of our five Fairfield drop-off locations:

A Child’s Garden

100 Mona Terrace

St. Paul’s Nursery School

661 Old Post Rd.

Fairfield Public Library Main Branch

1080 Old Post Rd.

Fairfield Woods Branch Library

1147 Fairfield Woods Rd.

Pequot Library

720 Pequot Ave.

 

Please join us at Saugatuck Sweets at 28 Reef Rd. on June 23 from 1-3pm to conclude the drive – bring a donation if you can!

If you have any questions, please call 800-842-1423, or call Carla at Operation Hope: 203-254-2935. Check for updates at www.RepKupchick.com.

Rep. Kupchick Newsletter: Conclusion of Session 2018

Posted on May 15, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Dear Friends,

2018 was a busy session for me and the legislature. Here’s a quick recap of what I was up to during the legislative session that ended last week.

 

State Budget

The most consequential piece of legislation this year was the adoption of an adjustment plan for the state budget.  After negotiations, legislative leaders announced a compromise budget plan that was based largely off of a proposal that Republicans unveiled the week before.

The compromise budget passed on a bipartisan vote in the House and Senate shortly before midnight on Wednesday.  While I believed the Republican budget plan, which included more long-term structural changes and paid down more of our unfunded liabilities, was the better option for our state, the compromise budget ultimately preserves funding for Fairfield without raising taxes.

The budget also fulfills several of my priorities for this session, including the protection of Fairfield’s ECS funding, fully funding the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) for seniors, adds money for the teachers’ healthcare accounts, and increases funding into the Special Transportation Fund without rail/bus fare hikes.

My caucus was able to negotiate several provisions from our original budget proposal into the final legislation, including a hard hiring freeze on new state employees that saved $7 million dollars.

We also secured language in the legislation that would inhibit Gov. Malloy’s ability to cut funding for towns and cities as he did under his authority following the passage of the bipartisan budget last October.

 

Expanding Benefits for Veterans with PTSD

Advocates say the passage of SB 284 makes Connecticut the first state in the nation to ensure equal benefits for veterans with “bad paper” discharges resulting from the effects of trauma.

 

Environmental Conservation

The passage of SJ 35 means a constitutional amendment to protect state land from being sold or given away without public input will be on the 2018 ballot for voters to decide.

To get on the ballot the resolution needed to be approved by a three-quarters vote of both chambers. It passed the Senate 35-0 and the House 118-32, just four votes more than the three-quarters needed to get it on the ballot.

 

Banning Bump Stocks

Connecticut will be join other states that have already taken action to ban bump stocks, which are devices that increase the rate of fire for semi-automatics.

Lawmakers were prompted to pass HB 5542 following the October 2017 shooting at a Las Vegas concert that left 58 people dead and hundreds of others injured.

The Senate sent the bill to Malloy’s desk on a 26-10 vote after the House had approved it 114-35.

 

Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence

The passage of SB 466 means that Connecticut police will have the authority to determine the “primary aggressor” in domestic violence situations, rather than arresting the victim along with the abuser.

 

Groundbreaking Prescription Drug Reform

A bill imposing stricter reporting requirements on pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers easily passed the House and Senate.

The law would require drug companies to justify any prescription drug price increase exceeding 20 percent in any year. Additionally, drug companies will have to justify any price increase of more than 50 percent over a three-year period.

Compassionate Treatment for Rape Victims

The legislature unanimously passed “An Act Concerning Procedures Related to Collecting and Processing Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits” to improve the processing of sexual assault evidence kits .The bill, SB 17, improves upon a 2015 bill that started to address a large backlog of nearly 900 untested rape kits in Connecticut.

 

Expanding the Good Samaritan Law to Protect Animals

The Good Samaritan protections for people entering cars to save animals in imminent danger passed.  HB 5312, Section 22 adds “animals” to the same protections in existing law for people rescuing children.

 

Improving Protections for Students with Life-Threatening Food Allergies

The governor is expected to sign a bill I advocated for to make schools safer for students with potentially life-threatening allergies.

I started work on this process years ago when two Fairfield moms reached out to me for advice on changing the Life Threatening Food Allergy policy in Fairfield.  I believe every child has a right to equal access regardless of disability or medical condition.  I am encouraged because this is a bill that protects the civil rights of children with life threatening food allergies.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

I was proud to vote to make Connecticut the fifth state in the nation to pass pay equity legislation. The bill, HB 5386, prohibits employers from asking job candidates about their salary history, a major driver of the existing pay gap between men and women. Having passed both chambers, it awaits the governor’s signature.

 

I hope you find this update helpful and please feel free to email me at Brenda.Kupchick@cga.ct.gov if you have any questions on any other legislation from this past session or to share your thoughts.   For information on other bills that passed or were discussed this year, you can visit cga.ct.gov.

Rep. Kupchick & Fairfield Legislators Hail Compromise State Budget Agreement

Posted on May 14, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Protects Fairfield State Aid and Education

HARTFORD – State Representatives Brenda Kupchick (R-132), Laura Devlin (R-134) along with Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28) joined their fellow House and Senate Republican and Democrat colleagues in supporting the compromised budget SB-543, brought forth Wednesday night.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle voted overwhelmingly 142-8 in favor of the compromise, which does not include tax increases, no tolls, or many of the other items proposed during the shortened session.

This budget proposal provides $16 million in additional funding for the Retired Teachers’ Health Care Fund, fully restores funding for the Medicare Savings Program to 211%, restores funding for programs that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and provides $2 million to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. All municipal aid and ECS funding also remain whole in 2019.

Rep. Kupchick said, “I’m encouraged after a difficult legislative session both sides of the aisle could come together and craft a bipartisan agreement that funds Connecticut’s transportation fund without the burden of tolls, funds education, restores the vital Medicare savings plan while stopping fare hikes on rail commuters while funding our fire training schools and protecting Connecticut’s most vulnerable citizens”.

“This is about creating much-needed stability and predictability – for taxpayers, for businesses, for towns, for seniors, for schools, and for our most vulnerable residents,” Sen. Hwang said. “This budget adjustment protects funding for our community while not raising taxes.  This budget is a thoughtful bipartisan product, but we must still work to address long-term structural budgetary issues such as pension, debt service and runaway benefit costs.  Challenging and difficult decisions are ahead and we must show courage, leadership and a commitment to common sense values.”

“This budget agreement was a win for Fairfield taxpayers. I am proud that we were able to work together in assuring this budget protected our state education aid and did not bring to massive burden of tolls back to our state highways,” Rep. Devlin said. “It is nice to see Republicans and Democrats working alongside one another to move Connecticut forward in a positive way.”

In addition, Republicans were able to negotiate a hiring freeze on new state employees saving the state $7 million. Vo-Ag Students will receive an additional $12.5 million in support, set aside $5 million for emergency placement for Department of Developmental Services, and provides almost $30 million more to the Special Transportation Fund. It also prevents Governor Malloy’s increases to bus and train fairs that were expected to take place on July 1st and also includes language that would prevent his ability to cut funding for towns and cities as he did after last year’s bipartisan agreement.

This compromise prevents the governor from running the state via executive order and subjecting municipalities to severe cuts that would have come as a result.

Once adopted, the budget would take effect on July 1. This bill now heads off to the governor’s desk for his signature.

 

Rep. Kupchick Newsletter: Less Than Three Days Left in Session

Posted on May 7, 2018 by rjoslyn


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The 2018 legislative session comes to a close at midnight on Wednesday.  Today, I want to provide you with an update on what is happening at the State Capitol, particularly with the state budget.

While there have been some significant developments on major issues in the past week, the state budget, unfortunately, remains an ongoing problem and there does not seem to be a conclusion in sight.

Traditionally, each legislative caucus and the governor craft a budget plan for the year and then propose a complete version of it.  Each side uses their budget document as a basis for negotiations going forward, realizing that nobody ever gets 100% of what they want.

This year, only the Republican caucus presented a detailed budget proposal for the session in addition to the governor’s (the governor’s plan was a non-starter for us, since it relied on new revenue from tolls and slashed social services considerably). The majority party has not yet presented a complete budget proposal.

I joined my fellow House and Senate Republicans in unveiling our latest budget proposal.  This budget would stabilize the state budget in fiscal year 2019 and beyond.

Right now, our state needs stability and predictability. Instead of using an expected revenue surplus to create more unaffordable programs and issue more empty promises, this budget proposal shows fiscal restraint by using that money to pay down our unfunded liabilities, fund teachers’ pensions, and add to the rainy day fund. Then, we prioritize funding for core social services including the Medicare Savings Program for seniors.  This can be done without introducing new taxes.

The plan also fully funds the Special Transportation Fund and increases funding for Fairfield in comparison with the governor’s 2019 proposal. Overall, the Republican plan implements policies to achieve long-term savings and will help restore confidence in our state.

You can read more about our budget proposal, complete with documentation and OFA analysis, at this link.

Budget proposals are an important window into what each caucus values and how they intend to plan for the future, so putting forward a budget is a key responsibility for both parties.

Finally, three bills of significance passed the House this session and currently await action in the Senate.  These are: an act banning bump stocks, an act eliminating accelerated rehabilitation (AR) for felony animal abusers, and a bill I have long pushed for that improves protections for children with food allergies.

You can also follow the work of the legislature as the deadline approaches by tuning in to CTN online here: http://ct-n.com/ and track the status of legislation here: http://cga.ct.gov

I hope you find this information helpful and please feel free to email me at brenda.kupchick@cga.ct.gov if you have any questions or to share your thoughts.

Rep. Kupchick: House Approves Bill to Improve Food Allergy Protections

Posted on May 5, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield) joined her fellow Fairfield House delegation members in announcing House passage of legislation to make schools safer for students with potentially life-threatening allergies.

“I started work on this process years ago when two Fairfield moms reached out to me for advice on changing the Life Threatening Food Allergy policy in Fairfield,” said Rep. Kupchick.  “I learned that every school district in the state has a different policy and very few if any follow guidelines by the Center of Disease Control (CDC).”

The legislation is the product of recommendations of the Task Force to Study Life-Threatening Food Allergies in Schools, and the work of advocates from around the state, including Fairfield parents Tricia Donovan and Jessica Curran.

“As it stands now, we are basically allowing lay people on local school boards to create policy regarding a medical issue,” said Rep. Kupchick.  “Jessica and Tricia also pointed out to me that children with life threatening food allergies are not protected on their school bus to and from school.   I believe every child has a right to equal access regardless of disability or medical condition.  I am encouraged because, today, the House passed a bill that protects the civil rights of children with life threatening food allergies.”

“The members of the task force took their work seriously and made significant and possible life-saving recommendations for schools, students and their parents. I was happy to support this legislation today, it is a welcome step forward to help protect Connecticut children,” said Rep. Devlin. “There is nothing more important than our children’s safety. And for affected parents and their children with life-threatening food allergies, this proposal fills a critical gap.”

The bill requires the state Department of Education (SDE) to revise guidelines for the management of students with life-threatening food allergies and glycogen storage disease and make these guidelines available to each local and regional board of education.

 

Rep. Fleischmann, Rep. Kupchick, Rep. McCarthy Vahey, Rep. Devlin, and Rep. Lavielle (Ranking Member, Education Committee) on House floor following vote.

“This legislation will protect children in mortal danger. Extreme food allergies are a growing threat, affecting millions of children and adults nationwide. Ensuring all children with life-threatening allergies can carry EpiPens – and that these can be used on school buses – will save lives,” Rep. Andy Fleischmann (D-West Hartford), House chair of the Education Committee, said.

The legislation allows students to self-carry their EpiPens with permission of a parents and doctor.

According to the Task Force to Study Life-Threatening Food Allergies in Schools, an estimated eight percent of school children have food allergies, which equates to as many as two kids in every classroom in the state.

The bill requires school transportation providers to train school bus drivers on life threatening food allergies – training can be provided online – and provides Good Samaritan protections to bus drivers who provide an emergency EpiPen injection.

More than a decade ago, Connecticut passed a law requiring school districts to have certain rules about foods that are served, sanitation and rules about administering medication, especially for EpiPens, that are required to be in all schools.

The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.