Rep. Lavielle Signs Petition to Call a Special Session and Stop Governor’s $10 Million Toll Study

Posted on July 25, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) signed a legislators’ petition this week to request a special session for the purpose of prohibiting the expenditure of taxpayer funds to study and evaluate the establishment of tolls in Connecticut.

Last week, Governor Dan Malloy issued an Executive Order directing the state Department of Transportation to prepare a plan implementing tolls and study its impacts. On Wednesday, the Bond Commission, which he chairs, approved his request to borrow $10 million for the study.

The study would explore tolls on all major Connecticut highways, including Interstates 95, 91, and 84, along with the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.

“The governor’s demand for $10 million in bonding to study tolls this summer was surprising, particularly because the legislature just recently twice considered and failed to pass bills that included toll studies: HB 5391 in 2018, and an amendment to HB 6058 in 2017. The Executive Order therefore directly circumvents the clearly expressed will of the legislature,” said Rep. Lavielle. “For that reason, I am joining the members of my caucus in submitting a petition to convene a special session so that the legislature can exercise its authority to direct how taxpayer money is spent and stop a project that we, as well as many of our constituents, feel to be inappropriate.”

Rep. Lavielle expressed her agreement with State Comptroller Kevin Lembo (D-CT), who sits on the Bond Commission and voted to oppose bonding $10 million for a toll study, saying “The Bond Commission should not act as a replacement for legislative action.”

“I hope my colleagues from both parties will recognize their responsibility to defend taxpayers from this attempt to collect more revenue from them and to make them fund yet more borrowing, and sign the petition for a special session,” added Rep. Lavielle.

Legislators have until Thursday, July 27 at noon to submit enough signatures to convene a special session of the General Assembly.

Rep. Lavielle Update: Circumventing the Legislative Process – The Governor’s $10 Million Toll Study

Posted on July 19, 2018 by rjoslyn


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As you may have heard, Governor Malloy this week announced that he is requesting from the state Bond Commission $10 million in borrowed money to pay for a study on the implementation of electronic tolling in Connecticut.

Toll legislation has been considered by the General Assembly in each of the past five years, and it has never passed.  Thus far, significant public opposition has prevented its passage in the legislature.

In the face of that opposition and despite several studies already completed, the governor nonetheless issued an Executive Order for the DOT to proceed with a study that he says will demonstrate what a toll plan would look like and how much it would cost commuters.

The move is surprising, particularly because the legislature just recently twice considered and failed to pass bills that included toll studies: HB 5391 in 2018, and an amendment to HB 6058 in 2017. The Executive Order therefore directly circumvents the clearly expressed will of the legislature.

I agree with state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who said, in explaining his plan to vote no on the request in the Bond Commission, “The Bond Commission should not act as a replacement for legislative action.”

It is also noteworthy that in the case of each of these two bills, the studies were projected to cost $5 million. The governor is now asking for twice as much to accomplish the same thing.

I feel that the request is inappropriate, particularly given the state’s precarious financial circumstances. I would like to share with you here a letter that my colleagues – House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and Finance Committee Ranking Member Chris Davis – have sent to the governor asking him to remove the request from the Bond Commission’s agenda.

I stand with my colleagues in urging the Bond Commission to refuse the governor’s $10 million request, and will join them in petitioning for a special session in the event that the Bond Commission approves the request.

The Bond Commission is scheduled to meet on July 25.

Click on the image below to read the full letter:

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions about items on the state Bond Commission agenda or any other state issue.

Rep. Lavielle: 2018 End of Session Legislative Review

Posted on July 9, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Below is a link to the 2018 Legislative Review that my office has recently sent to residents of the 143rd district. The report summarizes major developments during this year’s legislative session, including a recap of the state budget process. For any of you who may have moved within the district or have just recently arrived, I wanted to share it with you electronically as well.

To see my Legislative Review in an easy-to-read format, just click on the images below.

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Please don’t hesitate to call or email me if you’d like to discuss the issues outlined in this End of Session Review, or any other questions or concerns you may have.

 

CT Early Childhood Alliance Names Rep. Lavielle a 2018 Children’s Champion

Posted on June 29, 2018 by admin


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The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is recognizing Rep. Gail Lavielle as one of twelve 2018 “Children’s Champions.” The Alliance recognizes legislators for their leadership on issues that impact the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of health development, early care and education, nutrition, and safety.

“Each of the legislators we’re recognizing this year stood up for children to protect funding for child care or to push policy change that supports families with children,” said Merrill Fay, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Legislation passed this year includes: A bill that will make it easier for homeless families to obtain child care, thus helping parents work and change their situations. Another bill that passed will allow the CT Office of Early Childhood to prioritize infants and toddlers if there is a Care4Kids wait list. It will also make it easier for the OEC to adjust provider rates for School Readiness and state-funded centers. An Act mandating insurance coverage of essential health benefits including pregnancy and immunizations also passed this year.

“The earliest years are the best time in a child’s life to build a strong foundation for physical and mental health and lifelong learning abilities,” said Rep. Lavielle, who is Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee. “That’s why education and services for young children are such an integral part of my work in the legislature. Children who are well prepared both intellectually and emotionally to enter school progress the fastest, and are best equipped to learn new material, make friends, and take advantage of educational and professional opportunities as they grow older. I thank the CT Early Childhood Alliance for its recognition, and I am honored to be named a Children’s Champion. I am grateful to this distinguished and caring group of professionals for their hard work and dedication to improving the lives of the children of our state.”

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security, for children ages birth to eight. The Alliance’s goal is for all children in Connecticut to enter kindergarten healthy, eager to learn, and ready for school success.

Rep. Lavielle Votes to Override Governor’s Veto of Bill Preventing Mid-Year Cuts

Posted on June 27, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) voted on Monday to override Governor Dannel Malloy’s veto of Public Act 18-35, which would have prevented future governors from making cuts in the middle of a school year to Education Cost Sharing funds allocated by the state budget to individual municipalities.

Although the House voted 103-33 to override the governor’s veto, the effort failed to achieve 2/3 support in the Senate, which allowed the veto to stand.  The legislature also failed to override vetoes on several other pieces of legislation that passed in both chambers earlier this year, as Senate Democrats sided with Governor Malloy.

“Before the governor’s recent decisions to withdraw education funding for districts in the middle of the school year, we had never seen this happen, and the impact was severe for many districts,” said Rep. Lavielle, who is Ranking Member of the Education Committee. “It was clear to many of us that the legislature must not allow this to happen again. Contrary to what the governor said in his veto message, this bill was not about how funding is distributed among towns. It was about timing and ensuring predictability and stability for school districts, towns, and local taxpayers. While I was pleased that we were able to override the veto in the House, it was very disappointing to see many Democrats in the Senate, where the bill had originally passed unanimously, reverse their prior votes to sustain the governor’s veto. Killing this bill showed tremendous disregard for the importance of education, and it was a slap in the face to everyone in local government trying to manage town and school finances effectively. The issue is not going away, and I am determined not to let it rest.”

All seven of the governor’s vetoes were sustained in the General Assembly’s special session on Monday. “These bills were designed to help taxpayers, school districts, and towns, and I will continue advocating for them,” said Rep. Lavielle.

Rep Lavielle Update: Public Information Meetings on Two Norwalk Bridge Construction Projects

Posted on June 22, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Public Information Meetings on Two Norwalk Bridge Construction Projects

The CT Department of Transportation has released dates for two upcoming public information meetings scheduled for next week that will serve to inform local residents about planned construction projects to repair the I-95 bridge over Strawberry Hill Ave. and the Stroffolino Bridge over the Norwalk River.

In the spring of 2019, work is anticipated to begin to repair elements of the Stroffolino Bridge, which takes traffic on Rt. 136 over the Norwalk River from East Norwalk into South Norwalk.  The DOT has scheduled the public information meeting regarding this project for June 25, 2018, at 7pm, at Norwalk City Hall.  Follow this link to the DOT’s website for further details about the project and the meeting.

As has been reported, the bridge carrying traffic over I-95 on Strawberry Hill Ave. is also scheduled for rehabilitation, beginning Spring of 2019. The DOT scheduled the public information meeting regarding this project for June 28, 2018, with discussion beginning at 6:30pm, at Norwalk City Hall.  Follow this link to the DOT’s website for further details about the project and the meeting.

You may consider attending these public information meetings if the construction projects could affect your commute or your neighborhood or if you would like to learn more about plans for the repairs.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you would like to speak with me regarding a DOT project or any other state issue.