Posted on May 23, 2018 by admin
State Representatives Tom O’Dea and Fred Wilms, and State Senators Toni Boucher and Scott Frantz will be hosting a New Canaan Post-Session Legislative Update on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.
New Canaan Town Hall – Legislative Chambers
77 Main Street, New Canaan CT, 06840
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The legislators will be covering subjects including the budget, transportation and local issues affecting the community. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions for the representatives.
This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
If you are unable to attend, but still have questions or concerns relating to state government, Rep. O’Dea can be reached at Tom.O’Dea@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423.
Posted on May 14, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton), Deputy House Republican Leader-at-Large, voted in favor of a compromise budget adjustment plan during the final hours of the 2018 Session, May 9th, 2018.
“The budget adjustment we passed last week had just enough positives in it to win my support, but I will admit that the Republican amendment we proposed was much better,” Rep. O’Dea said. “The adjustment restores funding for the Medicare Savings Program, which assists over 100,000 seniors in the state, and provides municipal aid and education funding to our towns all without increasing taxes. We also fully fund scheduled transportation projects without resorting to tolls.”
Republican lawmakers offered a budget adjustment proposal that offered necessary fiscal reforms to a state government that has lived above its means for decades. House Republicans called their budget adjustment as an amendment during debate on the compromise plan, but the amendment was rejected on near party line votes. Although the alternative compromised bipartisan budget did not contain all of the GOP initiatives, it laid the framework for a spending and revenue plan that will provide stability and sustainability for the future that were part of the original Republican proposal.
The compromise budget fully funds transportation projects, realizes $7 million in savings by adopting a hard hiring freeze, fully restores the MSP to 211 percent, provides $2 million to Department of Veterans’ Affairs, $5 million for emergency placement for Department of Developmental Services patients, and brings the state’s portion of funding for the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare fund to 33 percent. The plan also includes some recommendations from the Fiscal Stability Commission. These recommendations include studies on tax and spending reform measures that will accelerate business growth, as well as a thorough review of the Teachers’ Retirement System.
“I think we can do much better in future budget sessions, specifically in regards to union labor contracts, our unfunded liabilities, and tax reform, but I believe we made progress this session and I am proud of that,” Rep. O’Dea concluded.
S.B.543, An Act Concerning Revisions to the State Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 and Deficiency Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018, passed the House 142-8 and the Senate unanimously. It now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature.
Check out Rep. O’Dea’s interview with David Smith on “Meet the Leaders” from May 7, 2018.
Posted on May 8, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton), Deputy House Republican Leader-at-Large, voted in favor of S.B. 452, An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Holocaust and Genocide Education and Awareness in the Social Studies Curriculum.
“The Jewish population has still not recovered since 1939,” Rep. O’Dea said. “In fact, there were more Jewish people in the world in 1939 than there are today. That is disturbing. Genocide is not something unique to World War II. It is still persistent today, and we cannot ignore it. The events of the Holocaust are a lesson in the dark side of humanity, and it is something that we must teach our children before they enter the real world so they understand. We must teach our youth about the mistakes of the past because if we do not, they are doomed to repeat them. As long as I am alive, I will continue to fight against these atrocities.”
This bill would take effect for the upcoming school year beginning in the fall of 2018. Boards of Education are encouraged to utilize both existing material, public and private, as well as outside gifts, grants, donations and in-kind donations. In a recent study, twenty-two percent of millennials and over ten percent of adults said they had not heard of the Holocaust. Rep. O’Dea and his colleagues in the legislature introduced and passed this legislation because they believe educating the public about these events is the most effective way to combat them in the future.
S.B. 452 passed the House unanimously and is now in concurrence with the Senate. The bill now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature.
Posted on May 5, 2018 by admin
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are in the final stretch of the 2018 Session, and I am happy to report that House Republicans made progress this week in the struggle to provide stability and predictability to the State of Connecticut.
Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal
On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers released our second balanced budget proposal for FY 2019. Our plan does the following:
Governor’s Judicial Nominations
My Republican colleagues and I voted against Gov. Malloy’s 31 judicial nominations to the Superior Court. Despite their outstanding qualifications and experience, the state simply cannot afford these appointments right now.
Between salaries, benefits and pension costs, these positions would add millions to our state expenses, and we have yet to see a spending plan from majority Democrats.
Voting against these nominations was the responsible thing to do for our residents.
Toll Bill Blocked for this Session
Finally, I am happy to report that our effort to block a vote on the toll bill was successful as the speaker has determined that he does not have the support to bring it to the floor.
Tolls are just another tax on Connecticut residents, and I do not support their installation while state government continues to spend recklessly.
With that said, I have no doubt that the majority party will attempt to revive the toll debate in the future, but rest assured, we will be prepared to fight it again.
I will keep you updated on any new developments during these final days of session. Until then, please contact me at (800) 842-1423 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns regarding state government.
State Representative – 125th District
Posted on April 25, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton) joined his colleagues at the Capitol on April 24th, 2018 to express the need to restore $2 million in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Republican budget proposal, released last week, emphasizes stability and predictability during a climate of declining revenue and excess spending. Regardless of the fiscal state of affairs in Connecticut, Rep. O’Dea and fellow Republicans have vowed to include funding for crucial veteran services in the final budget document.
“It takes a special type of person to enlist in the armed forces and serve our nation in some of the most remote and hostile places on the planet,” Rep. O’Dea said. “Our veterans have earned our respect, gratitude, and admiration for their selfless devotion to this county. As we proceed with the budget negotiations, our veterans will remain a top priority. We must ensure these heroes receive the best care and services available, and I pledge my support to them during these discussions.”
Posted on April 20, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton), Deputy House Republican Leader-at-Large, joined fellow House and Senate Republicans in releasing their 2019 budget proposal during a press conference at the Capitol on April 20th, 2018. The plan emphasizes stability and predictability following years of perpetual deficits.
The Republican proposal fully balances the fiscal year 2019 budget and erases the projected $321.5 million deficit. The plan would direct any revenue that exceeds the defined volatility cap toward the following three areas in equal thirds: (1) the state employee retirement fund, (2) the teacher’s retirement fund (with $8 million of that earmarked for the retired teachers health fund), and finally, (3) the rainy day fund. The proposal fully funds the Special Transportation Fund, restores funding for the Medicare Savings Program, and avoids the governor’s proposed cuts to education funding and municipal aid.
“Our unfunded pension liabilities have a rippling effect on the state’s economy, but this budget proposal gives us an opportunity to address that problem,” Rep. O’Dea said. “Rather than increasing state spending, our plan would put any surplus revenue towards those liabilities and the rainy day fund. Additionally, it secures municipal and educational aid for towns like Wilton and New Canaan, and balances the state budget in a way that is practical, sustainable, and predictable. Connecticut has a long road to recovery, and this budget reflects that reality, but it also gives us the structure we need to achieve that goal.”
The Appropriations Committee will hold a vote on the Republican budget proposal tonight. If it clears the committee, it would be sent to the chambers for a vote. The 2018 Session ends on May 9th, 2018 at midnight.
Posted on April 11, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton), Deputy House Republican Leader-at-Large, voted in favor of H.B. 5592, An Act Waiving Penalties Imposed on a Board of Education for Making Reductions to its Budgeted Appropriation for Education as a Result of Cuts to its Education Cost-Sharing Grant for Fiscal Year 2018 during a session of the House of Representatives on April 11th, 2018.
This bill waives the penalty imposed on towns for making reductions to their education budgets compared to the previous year due to a reduction in state educational aid (ECS) awarded to the town. Under current law, municipalities are being forced to make up the difference between the previous year’s state education aid and the following year’s allocation, assuming the town’s grant is reduced. This is known as the minimum budget requirement (MBR). For example, if a town receives $1 million in the previous year, but only $500,000 in the following year, the town would be obligated to raise the $500,000 to fill the gap. H.B. 5592 would eliminate this requirement.
“The budget crisis has left towns like New Canaan and Wilton in a perpetual state of uncertainty as municipal aid is cut and local governments are left scrambling to balance their budgets in the wake of this mess,” Rep. O’Dea said. “This bill gives cities and towns a little more flexibility by waiving a fee that would otherwise punish them for opting not to raise taxes on their residents to cover up Hartford’s fiscal mismanagement. I was proud to vote for this bill and look forward to seeing it become law.”
H.B. 5592 passed the House (141-2-7) and Senate (34-1-1) on April 11th, 2018 and now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature.
Posted on March 27, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton), Deputy Republican Leader-at-Large and member of the General Assembly’s joint Transportation Committee, voted against four bills that would set Connecticut on a path toward electronic tolls – something that would have an immediate and direct impact on residents in Fairfield County. The votes took place during a Transportation Committee meeting on March 22nd, 2018.
“Between the proposals for increases to the gas tax, bus and rail fares, and now the possibility of tolls throughout the state, Connecticut residents are facing the prospect of a major spike in their commuting costs,” Rep. O’Dea said. “The argument that we need to increase funding to the Special Transportation Fund (STF), while true, is due to the mismanagement of said fund. Without a reliable lockbox assuring all current funds directed into the STF will continue to be so directed and all STF funds, once there, will be used for transportation purposes, I am afraid toll revenue will simply allow politicians to redirect monies currently put into the STF fund.”
The four bills were SB 389, An Act Establishing the Connecticut Transportation Authority, HB 5393, An Act Establishing the Connecticut Transportation Finance Authority to Maintain Major State Highways, HB 5046 (governor’s bill), An Act Concerning the Sustainability of Transportation Projects, and HB 5391, An Act Concerning Transportation Infrastructure. These bills would be the first step towards the installation of tolls on Connecticut highways, though the proposals offered limited detail on construction costs and expected revenue.
“My concern with these bills is that we have a spending problem in the State of Connecticut,” Rep. O’Dea added. “I don’t want us using toll revenue as an excuse to increase the budget. If the legislature came to an agreement to bring the gas tax down significantly and the toll revenue would not lead to an increase in our overall budget, an argument could be made for tolls, but until then, I cannot support these proposals. Additionally, I am uncomfortable with the lack of detail in the tolling proposals and the fact that the current bill language does not give the legislature the ability to vote on them again. Are the toll gantries only on bridges and tunnels so as to limit congestion on local roadways? If not, how do we limit traffic exiting and entering roadways to avoid the tolls? Hartford needs to prove that it can responsibly manage current revenue before asking taxpayers for a penny more.”
S.B. 389, H.B. 5046, H.B. 5391, and H.B. 5393 each received a joint favorable report from the committee and will make their way to the floor. The bills were passed on party-line votes with all Republicans in opposition.
State Representative Tom O’Dea represents the 125th Connecticut House district, which includes parts of New Canaan and Wilton. He is the Deputy Republican Leader-at-Large, and serves on the Judiciary, Legislative Management, and Transportation Committees.
Please click on the video above to watch Rep. O’Dea’s remarks on the tolls bills.
Posted on March 1, 2018 by admin
Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton) read to students at South School in New Canaan for Read Across America. The annual event is held to promote literacy among young students across the country. Rep. O’Dea is committed to securing the funding schools in New Canaan and Wilton need in order to provide a well-rounded education to each student.
Posted on September 18, 2017 by Michael Downes
Republican budget finally called in House – Passes with bipartisan vote
State Representatives Tom O’Dea (R-125) and Fred Wilms (R-142) were in Hartford Friday for a second day in a row to vote on a biennial budget for the State of Connecticut after the House failed to go in to take up a Democratic budget that had been negotiated with Governor Malloy. Earlier that day, the State Senate passed the House and Senate Republican budget with a surprise bipartisan vote including three Democrats.
The Republican budget moved to the State House of Representatives where five Democrats joined all 72 Republicans to pass the GOP No-Tax-Increase budget 77-73.
“Tonight we took the first step to turning this state around and reversing our economic decline that has been driven by constant tax hikes,” said Rep. O’Dea. “By passing this no-tax-increase budget tonight, we have begun the journey back. We made the tough choices we know are needed to get this state moving in the right direction. I thank the Democrats in the Senate and the House who had the courage to join with us to make this budget a bipartisan reality.” (more…)
Posted on July 26, 2017 by Michael Downes
New Canaan’s GOP delegation of State Representatives Tom O’Dea (R-125) and Fred Wilms (R-142) voiced their dismay at Monday’s House approval of the state employees’ union concession package due to its insufficient savings and structural changes and its extension of the current union contract until 2027.
The concession package, negotiated by Governor Malloy and union leaders, was ratified by state employees earlier this month and now is tentatively scheduled to go before the Senate on July 31. Analysts have predicted the plan could save approximately $1.5 billion over the next two years by increasing pension contributions, creating a hybrid/defined contribution plan for future state employees, increasing healthcare co-payments, and realizing other labor savings. The deal also restricts the state’s ability to lay off workers until 2021.
House Republicans, including O’Dea and Wilms, highlighted some of the structural change in the concession package as “steps in the right direction” that they supported, but denied the notion that the deal solved Connecticut’s fiscal crisis and indicated it could lead to funding cuts and tax increases in the future.
“This agreement was rushed on us by the majority before a sufficient level of independent analysis of the cost to taxpayers was done, all the while we remain without a budget for the state of Connecticut,” said Rep. O’Dea. “Mostly, this agreement gives more than it takes, guaranteeing against layoffs, and preserving benefits that remain among the most opulent in the country – far out of line with what is typical of the private sector. It fails to go far enough to solve our state budget deficit, and I suspect we will be right where we were again in very short order.” (more…)
Posted on June 23, 2017 by Michael Downes
Posted on June 6, 2017 by Michael Downes
With the hours ticking away to an adjournment of the 2017 legislative session, State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) introduced an amendment to strengthen a “lockbox” resolution before the House which would amend the state constitution purporting to reserve funds deposited in the state’s Special Transportation Fund to that fund, preventing sweeps of transportation dollars for other state budget expenses.
Citing flaws in the underlying legislation, O’Dea proposed the amendment to assure that the funds intended for the state’s roads and bridges could not be swept by future legislatures. (more…)
Posted on May 11, 2017 by Michael Downes
During an afternoon session of the House of Representatives, State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) voted in favor of a bill that places certain requirements on transportation network companies, commonly called TNCs, such as Uber and Lyft. Such companies are currently unregulated by the State of Connecticut.
“There is no question that the advent of transportation network companies has completely re-imagined the taxi and livery services,” said Rep. O’Dea. “While this bill may not be a perfect answer to the unique new world that businesses like Uber and Lyft have created, it is an important start in the process of ensuring that some important minimum requirements are met for these businesses to operate within the borders of our state.”
Transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, connect paying passengers with drivers that use their own non-commercial vehicles to provide transportation services. These services connect providers and patrons via websites and mobile apps. (more…)
Posted on April 27, 2017 by Michael Downes
Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) joined his Republican colleagues in the Senate and House today to share a state budget proposal that closes the current projected state deficit over the next two years without new taxes and without pushing state expenses onto towns, cities or hospitals. The “Confident Connecticut” budget includes increased education funding with a new funding formula, restores money for core social services, and provides for significant structural changes to state government that roll out into the future.
Posted on April 11, 2017 by Michael Downes
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) took a tour of Southford Falls State Park over the weekend to see the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Conservation (EnCon) Police in action for Opening Day of Trout Season across Connecticut. O’Dea toured the grounds at the park with Officer Christian Hage.
“Our state has many excellent state parks and outdoor recreation resources for residents to enjoy,” said Rep. O’Dea. “Our conservation officers, like Chris Hage, do great work to ensure these resources, and our fish and wildlife populations, are regulated to ensure their endurance for future generations. This springtime I urge all residents to get their families together and take advantage of the great outdoors we have right here in Connecticut.” (more…)
Posted on April 10, 2017 by Michael Downes
WILTON – On Monday night, train commuters had a chance to air their frustrations with the Danbury Branch Line, often cited for infrequent and unreliable service, and offer suggestions for sensible upgrades at a forum with the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and local state representatives. The forum was organized by a bipartisan group of legislators from the Route 7 corridor who co-introduced House Bill 6553, which would require the reallocation of previously authorized bonds to make incremental service improvements on the Danbury Line.
“The status of the service commuters get on the Danbury Branch Line is of tremendous concern to residents, and this forum was a great way for them to come out and have their voices heard directly by the commissioner,” said Rep. O’Dea. “I appreciate the Commissioner dedicating so much time with us for the evening and being willing to hear all comers. We are all looking to work together to ensure that the necessary and essential improvements to the Danbury Line are made, and that the DOT has the resources they need to make that happen.”
Posted on April 7, 2017 by Michael Downes
State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) recently toured the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford which covers all of lower Fairfield County, and received some basic crisis training.
In operation since 1979, the Center served over 17,000 people last year, and provides free 24-hour confidential help to men, women and children who have experienced sexual assault.
For more information about the Center you can visit their web site here.
Posted on March 3, 2017 by Michael Downes
Posted on January 23, 2017 by Michael Downes
State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) and State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) attended a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters in New Canaan this morning, January 23rd, held at the Waveny House at Waveny Park.
The two legislators discussed numerous issues with the group of approximately thirty attendees including the state’s continued budget issues and projected $1.5 billion deficit, the status of Education Cost Share funds coming to New Canaan, the state’s unfunded pension liabilities and transportation infrastructure issues.
Posted on January 5, 2017 by Michael Downes
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) has been named Deputy Republican Leader at Large by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114), and received his committee appointments for the 2017-19 Legislative term.
O’Dea, who represents New Canaan and Wilton in the House, said the coming session will be filled with numerous serious challenges that the legislature needs to rise to.
“Our state is facing fiscal challenges that have not been seen for decades and we have yet to recover from “the Great Recession,” said O’Dea. “The key to recovery is job growth and in order to achieve that we need to improve the economic environment for businesses, large and small. I am hopeful that this session, with most legislators understanding the link between taxes and job growth, we’ll be able to put our fiscal house in order.”
O’Dea will continue serving on the Transportation Committee, which handles all matters relating to the Department of Transportation, including highways and bridges, navigation, aeronautics, mass transit and railroads; and to the State Traffic Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
He will also serve on the Judiciary Committee which oversees matters relating to courts, judicial procedures, and criminal law, as well as all reviews all judicial nominees, and the Legislative Management Committee which oversees the business affairs of the Connecticut General Assembly.
Following the results of the November elections, and with one Democrat resignation this week, Democrats now hold a razor-thin majority over Republicans in the House, 78-72.
This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns midnight, Wednesday, June 7th, 2017.
Posted on October 14, 2016 by admin
State Representative Tom O’Dea and State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), ranking members on the legislature’s Transportation Committee are announcing that AAA Northeast has agreed to continue its contract with the State of Connecticut through the end of the year to provide driver’s licensing services to non-members at their offices throughout the state.
The decision follows a meeting held Oct. 11 in the Legislative Office Building between the chairs and ranking members of the Transportation Committee, officials from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and representatives from the Governor’s Office.
“It is understandable that AAA are seeking relief in the interest of properly serving their membership, and we are looking to achieve a resolution that works for everyone,” said Rep. O’Dea. “I am pleased that all parties were able to sit down to discuss the situation. I am very appreciative of the AAA Northeast willingness to continue serving non-members for the remainder of the year.”
Sen. Boucher said, “Communication is key. Predictability is key. Connecticut motorists have endured a lot of frustration and DMV-related headaches over the past few years. Rep. O’Dea and I will continue to press for frequent and open lines of communication between all parties. The public – all Connecticut taxpayers – should expect top-notch service, and that should be everyone’s goal.”
While there is no present resolution to the question of AAA Northeast renewing a contract with the state when the current one expires at the end of the year, discussions are ongoing.
AAA Northeast announced last week that they would no longer serve non-members in their offices due to a tremendous increase in the volume of service for those individuals, compromising their ability to properly serve their paying members. AAA Northeast is one of two AAA organizations operating in the state, and their impacted offices are in Branford, Danbury, Fairfield, Hamden, Milford, Norwalk, Stamford and Waterbury.
AAA Allied, with offices in Avon, Cromwell, Enfield, Manchester, Old Saybrook, Plainville, Waterford and West Hartford is not impacted, and continues to serve non-members at their offices.
Posted on August 16, 2016 by admin
State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) has been appointed to serve on a working group that will focus on transportation network companies (TNC’s) and their future in the State of Connecticut. The working group is being established by the State Department of Transportation and the Office of Policy and Management (OPM).
O’Dea, who serves as the Ranking Member of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, was appointed by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) to represent the Republican caucus on the panel at the invitation of OPM.
“There is no question that the advent of transportation network companies has been a game changer for taxi and livery services,” said Rep. O’Dea. “A number of bills concerning the regulation and management of these TNCs surfaced during the past legislative session, and it is my hope that this working group can explore many of the surrounding issues so we can arrive at some informed and sensible policy decisions concerning them.”
The working group is aimed at assembling industry stakeholders and policy-makers to explore issues surrounding TNC companies and taxi-related issues.
Transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, connect paying passengers with drivers that use their own non-commercial vehicles to provide transportation services. These services connect providers and patrons via websites and mobile apps.
O’Dea supported legislation during the 2016 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly that required proper insurance and vehicle inspections as part of the operation of TNCs in the state.
“It is important that these companies operating with this 21st century business model are still accountable when it comes to ensuring public safety,” said O’Dea. “But this is a business that we want to encourage. Uber employs roughly 6,000 people in the state of Connecticut who make money and pay taxes. We need to make sure we develop smart policies that don’t impede this job growth.”
Posted on August 15, 2016 by admin
The State Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) has launched a new mobile app this week that will allow Connecticut residents to access emergency information and alerts on the go in the event of an emergency. Connecticut residents would be able to create interactive emergency kits, customize family communication plans, and view preparation guides on what to do in an emergency all from their mobile device.
The Emergency Preparedness Mobile Application will integrate with a phone’s text messaging, email, and social networking, allowing residents to inform family members when they are safe. Real-time notifications can be sent directly to the device providing up-to-the-minute information for residents. Links to Emergency needs such as shelters, food, and assistance will be at hand.
The application will allow users to:
You can download the appropriate version of the app for Apple devices or Android devices from the following links:
Click here for an OVERVIEW OF THE APP which was developed by DESPP and Connecticut Interactive.
Posted on June 3, 2016 by admin
State Representatives Tom O’Dea (R-142) and Gail Lavielle (R-143) will be hosting an in-depth budget analysis with the Connecticut Mirror’s expert budget report Keith Phaneuf. The budget was the most discussed topic this session, with each legislative caucus releasing multiple budget proposals, in addition to the three different proposals Governor Malloy released.
Wednesday, June 15th
Wilton Library – Brubeck Room
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
In addition to being CT’s top budget reporter, Keith, along with Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, won first prize in investigative reporting from the Education Writers Association in 2012 for a series of stories on the Board of Regents for Higher Education. The former State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, Keith has spent most of 24 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. A former contributing writer to The New York Times, Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.
For questions or for more information, please contact Mitch Renfrew at 1-800-842-1423.
Posted on June 3, 2016 by admin
Posted on May 2, 2016 by admin
During a Friday session of the Connecticut General Assembly, State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) voted in favor of legislation he cosponsored that broadens the circumstances which the the Department of Social Services (DSS) must disclose results from investigations into elderly abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. The bill also requires the DSS Commissioner to develop a plan to incorporate the federal Administration for Community Living’s Voluntary Consensus Guidelines for State Adult Protective Services into the state’s elderly protective services program, align state and federal data, and provide training that will be made available on their website for mandated reporters.
“Elderly citizens are especially susceptible to the predatory behavior of scam artists, unethical businesses, and sometimes, tragically, those who have been charged with their care or administering their affairs,” said Rep. O’Dea. “The provisions of this bill will help us provide greater protection and security for our aging population, who deserve to live out their golden years in peace and dignity.”
Also, financial agents, which are not mandated reporters, are required to have training on elder financial abuse through a portal developed on the Legislative Commission on Aging’s website. This plan must be delivered to the legislature’s Aging and Human Services committees by July 1, 2017.
Unlike most states, Connecticut’s Protective Services for the Elderly Program focuses only on seniors aged 60 and over. The bill requires the Department of Social Services to evaluate expanding the investigation of cases of abuse of adults who are over the age of 18, as is the case in most other states.
According to data from the Legislative Commission on Aging, Connecticut is the 7th oldest state in the nation with the 3rd longest-lived population. Between 2010 and 2040 it is estimated that the state’s population of residents aged 65 and older will grow by 57%.
The National Center on Elder Abuse, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, reports that elders who experience abuse have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who were not victimized. In one U.S. study, caregiver abuse and neglect of people with dementia was detected in 47.3% of surveyed caregivers.
The bill, HB 5289, An Act Concerning Protective Services for Vulnerable Persons, now heads to the State Senate for action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns at midnight, Wednesday, May 4th.
Posted on April 29, 2016 by admin
In a late night session of the State House of Representatives, State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) voted in support of legislation which aims at protecting victims of domestic violence who file for a temporary restraining order against an accused abuser. This bill requires those who are subject to a temporary restraining order to surrender their firearms to local or state law enforcement, or a registered firearms dealer upon being served.
“To me, those critical hours and days between a victim of domestic violence taking the brave stance to file for a temporary restraining order, and when the court date arrives, present the highest level of risk to the safety of that victim,” said Rep. O’Dea. “It is that time period where this legislation makes a difference that can save lives.”
O’Dea noted that the original legislation provided for no mechanism or time certain for the return of any firearms surrendered under these conditions if the temporary restraining order failed to mature into a full restraining order. He and other Republicans worked to improve this bill to provide a definitive five-day maximum before the firearms are returned upon request should a court rule that a restraining order should not be put in place against the accused.
“I am very sensitive to the Second Amendment rights of legal gun owners, which is why it was essential to me that this bill provide an expedited mechanism for the return of firearms once a court has ruled favorably for them,” added Rep. O’Dea. “Because of this, it strikes an appropriate balance between the rights of lawful gun owners, and the preeminent interest of safety for victims of domestic violence.”
It has been demonstrated that the days between the service of a restraining order leading up to a court appearance are statistically the most dangerous for victims of domestic violence, and that women are five more time likely to be killed by their abuser if they have access to firearms.
Connecticut has had an average of 14 intimate partner homicides annually from 2000-2012. Firearms were used in 39% of those 188 homicides, demonstrating firearms as the most commonly used weapon to commit these homicides.
The bill, HB 5054, An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence was passed by the House with a vote of 104-42. It now heads to the State Senate for action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns midnight, Wednesday, May 4th, 2016.
Posted on April 8, 2016 by admin
…and it’s Getting Worse.
According to the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax research group, Connecticut continues to have the latest “Tax Freedom Day” of any state in the nation. Tax Freedom Day is the day each year when the average citizen has made enough money to pay their combined local, state and federal tax bills.
To put it into perspective, each of us will spend more on taxes in 2016 than we will on food, clothing and housing combined.
According to the governor’s own budget director, Connecticut is in a “perpetual budget crisis,” with a deficit for the next fiscal year estimated at $930 million by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Until state leaders curb spending, create a stable tax and regulatory landscape and stop passing legislation that fuels Connecticut’s anti-business climate, we will continue to suffer from a lagging economy and shrinking workforce.
Please reach out to the governor’s office and the Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House to let them know your thoughts on our budget.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns on any topic, including our budget.
Posted on April 1, 2016 by admin
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the National Safety Council is sponsoring a “Take Back Your Drive Pledge.”
You can expect that police departments in our area will be cracking down on drivers endangering public safety.
Motorists can expect extra patrols, spotters and stationary police vehicles prominently placed around the town. You can also expect police elsewhere to crack down on distracted driving this month.
Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for first offense, $300 for second offense, and $500 for each subsequent violation. Connecticut created a first-in-the-nation system that allows offenses to affect the violator’s car insurance premium.
An estimated 1 in 4 car crashes involve cell phones, according to the National Safety Council, and 34 percent of teen drivers have admitted to texting while driving; 52 percent have said they have talked on the phone. 10 percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
Please do not drive distracted – not this month, not ever. It is unsafe and endangers both fellow motorists and pedestrians.
Please consider taking the National Safety Council’s pledge to be an attentive driver by clicking below.
Posted on March 22, 2016 by admin
The State Department of Aging is planning a series of free presentations throughout the state for individuals who are new to Medicare and want to better understand their benefits and options.
Upcoming sessions are being held:
April 6, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
ABCD Community Ctr., 52 George Pipkin Way, Bridgeport
April 12, 2016, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Stratford Library, 2203 Main St., Stratford
April 13, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Agency on Aging of South Central CT, 1 Long Wharf Dr.,
Suite 1L, New Haven
April 16, 2016, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Burroughs Center, 2470 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport
April 21, 2016, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Waveny Center, 3 Farm Road, New Canaan
April 23, 2016, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Norwalk Community Health Center, 120 CT Ave., Norwalk
April 26, 2016, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Weston Senior Center, 9 School Rd., Weston
May 5, 2016, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave., Westport
Information will be provided by certified choices counselors. For more information you can call 1-800-994-9422, or check out the Department of Aging’s website by clicking here.
Posted on March 17, 2016 by admin
Posted on March 14, 2016 by admin
Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125), Ranking Member of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, sat down in the studio with Cablevision’s David Smith for a segment of ‘Meet the Leaders.’
The two discussed the status of the state budget, the current budget deficit and Connecticut’s lagging economic recovery. They also talked about the proposed legalization of recreational marijuana, Tesla Motors’ attempts to get into the state, and other issues.
Click below to watch the full segment.
Posted on March 13, 2016 by admin
This Wednesday, March 16, a public hearing will be held on a proposal which would help DMV run more efficiently by allowing the state to expand the types of services that can be perfomed by private contractors — such as AAA. Currently, residents can obtain limited license services at AAA but there are many other services such as CDL licensing or title transactions that could be done. States across the nation provide efficient services and we should do the same.
This is an opportunity to reduce frustration at DMV branches, allow people to get things done more quickly and relieve stress levels for DMV employees and customers.
Here’s how you can help:
Click here to submit your testimony on why you support this bill to privatize DMV services and please be sure to copy me at Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov. Your testimony can be as brief as you like. Just include your name and town. Refer to the bill as House Bill 5041. Spread the word to others about this opportunity to make government more efficient!
The hearing will be held Wednesday at 10:30 A.M. in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building.
You can find a copy of the bill here.
I’m here to help with any questions so please contact my office at (800) 842-1423 or Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov.
Let your voice be heard!
Posted on March 8, 2016 by admin
A proposal being advanced by Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill that will significantly expand the role of the State’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in processing voter registration forms will be adding too great a burden on a state agency already straining to provide the basic services it was created to deliver according to State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125).
The bill, HB 5514, An Act Concerning the Department of Motor Vehicles and Automatic Voter Registration, would require the DMV to automatically register to vote anyone doing business with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“The Department of Motor Vehicles was not created to process voter registrations,” said Rep. O’Dea, who serves as Ranking Member on the legislature’s Transportation Committee. “As we are well aware, the DMV has had numerous problems since last summer managing customer service issues resulting in enormous lines for registrations and license renewals. These difficulties have been augmented by the deployment of new defective software that resulted in motorists having their registrations suspended for failure to carry insurance when they in fact had proper coverage. The problems facing this agency are significant and numerous, resulting in the resignation of a commissioner. As they struggle to regain their footing, this isn’t the time to saddle them with new duties, especially ones that are completely unrelated to the regulation of motor vehicles in the state.”
O’Dea noted that the DMV already mails a voter registration card with each license or identity card renewal notice, and provides voter registration information at each branch office, as well as AAA offices.
Apart from the inappropriate burden the bill would place on the DMV, O’Dea observed that the bill potentially opens up the possibility for the illegal registration of individuals who are ineligible to vote.
“I support the goal of making voter registration accessible, and opening up our democratic process to all those who are entitled to, and want to participate,” said O’Dea. “But we have a responsibility to be certain our election process is fair and untainted. Not everyone who has business with the DMV is eligible to vote. This bill contains language that states that if anyone is admitted as an elector through the program and isn’t legally qualified to vote but votes, their vote essentially remains legal. That’s an affront to our democracy, cheapens our electoral integrity, and is unacceptable to me.”
O’Dea also pointed out that that the acting Commissioner of the DMV, Dennis Murphy, opposes the legislation because of the burden it will place on their IT systems, process and employees. In addition, the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut (ROVAC) has also registered their opposition to the bill, expressing similar concerns over the possibility of admitting unqualified electors to vote.
The bill currently remains before the Government Administration and Elections Committee, and awaits action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns at midnight, Wednesday, May 4th, 2016.
Posted on January 29, 2016 by admin
State Representatives Tom O’Dea (R-125), Gail Lavielle (R-143) and State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) came together to host a successful “Coffee with Your Legislators” event in Wilton at Orem’s Diner on Tuesday, January 26.
The legislators provided about 40 residents an overview of the upcoming session, answered their questions about economic issues and the state’s fiscal condition, and listened to their concerns about the community.
“From the recent announcement that GE is leaving for Boston, to the troubles that have plagued our DMV for the past year, there are a number of real and serious concerns as we head into the 2016 regular session of the legislature,” said Rep. O’Dea. “It was a pleasure to get to talk to residents about some of the important issues that face us, as we get ready to start the work that begins early next month.”
The 2016 legislative session will convene on Wednesday, February 3.
Posted on January 8, 2016 by admin
You may have heard or read about a problem at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which saw its commissioner promise recently to make changes after drivers had their registrations erroneously revoked for not having insurance. The DMV has issued instructions for anyone affected by this problem:
Any customer who had continuous insurance coverage on their vehicle and incurred incorrect fines or fees may be entitled to a refund if you experienced both of these situations:
The fees and fines eligible for refund are:
How to apply for a refund:
1) Complete the DMV fee refund form. Download the form here.
2) Provide documentation that you had continuous coverage on your vehicle.
3) If you received an infraction ticket and/or towing-related fees, please provide copies of all receipts for towing or tickets fees paid.
4) Send completed refund form and all other related paperwork to e-mail or regular mail address below:
Department of Motor Vehicles
60 State Street
Wethersfield, CT 06161
Attn: Insurance refund
How to check the status your Insurance Compliance case:
For more information related to this specific refund, please e-mail DMV at email@example.com
Posted on December 9, 2015 by admin
During a special session of the Connecticut General Assembly called to address Connecticut’s widening budget deficit, State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) voted in favor of a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution for the creation of a “Lock Box” for the state’s Special Transportation Fund. The measure, HJ 304, would help assure that funds dedicated for use in maintaining, repairing and renovating Connecticut’s major transportation conduits will not be swept from the fund for use on other budget priorities.
“We need to ensure that funds we dedicate to the upkeep, repair and maintenance of our roads and bridges stay dedicated to that purpose, and not swept from the Special Transportation Fund,” said Rep. O’Dea, who serves as Ranking Member on the legislature’s Transportation Committee. “For too many years we have failed to properly make the necessary investments in our transportation infrastructure by diverting funds to other budget priorities.”
The vote on the constitutional amendment passed in the state senate unanimously, 35-0, but passed in the House only by a simple majority, 100-40, failing to get the necessary three-fourths majority to put the measure on the ballot for Connecticut voters. This means the amendment will need to be taken up again in the 2017 session of the legislature, meaning it will not get before voters until at least 2018.
O’Dea then voted against a proposed deficit mitigation bill that was advanced by legislative Democrats. The bill aimed to close a $350 million shortfall in the 2016 budget which was approved without a single Republican vote back in June.
“I regret we were unable to get a bipartisan agreement on a deficit mitigation package,” said Rep. O’Dea. “There were many things in the package such as rolling back the punishing unitary tax on businesses that I agreed with. But ultimately, the long-term structural changes needed to keep us from continually falling into future deficit weren’t made. This package is simply a Band-Aid.”
O’Dea also noted that the Democrats’ deficit mitigation package swept $35.2 million away from the Special Transportation right after passing the lock box amendment intended to prevent the practice. “I could not support a measure intended to preserve the integrity of the fund, and in the next breath vote to erode it,” he added.
Posted on November 9, 2015 by admin
Rep. Tom O’Dea visited a local car dealership in New Canaan last week.
Karl Chevrolet has been in business since the 1920s. During the visit, Rep. O’Dea took a few minutes to talk to the employees and answer their questions.
“There was a lot of concern about the economy expressed to me. I agree with the sentiment that Connecticut needs to enact business-friendly policies that create jobs,” O’Dea said.
“I want to thank Karl Chevrolet for being such a great part of the New Canaan economy and for their longstanding support of many community causes,” O’Dea said.
Pictured here is Rep. O’Dea, Sen. Scott Frantz and employees of Karl Chevrolet.
Posted on October 2, 2015 by admin
State Representatives Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Tom O’Dea (R-125) will host a legislative update for Wilton residents interested in finding out about new laws affecting seniors that were passed during the previous legislative session. The presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A. All interested Wilton residents are encouraged to attend.
WHEN: Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Wilton Senior Center, 180 School Road in Wilton
Posted on September 23, 2015 by admin
State Representatives Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Tom O’Dea (R-125) are inviting all members of the community to attend a ceremony dedicating the stretch of Route 106 that lies in Wilton as the newly named “Air Force First Lieutenant Charles M. Baffo Memorial Highway”.
A Wilton resident for more than 40 years, Charles M. Baffo was a First Lieutenant of the U.S. Army Air Forces who fought in the Allied invasion of Normandy. He received multiple American military decorations during World War II, and last year, in a testament to the exceptional character of his service, the French government awarded him the Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
The ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 1, at 11:00 am, at Old Town Hall, 68 Ridgefield Road, in Wilton. It will be followed by a reception with light refreshments.
Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea are inviting all members of the public to join veterans, elected officials, and Honorary French Consul Isabelle Evelein in attending the ceremony.
“Charles Baffo exemplified the virtues of the members of the Greatest Generation, who gave so much of themselves to our country and our allies, all with extraordinary modesty, loyalty, and dedication,” said Rep. Lavielle. “That his service during World War II has been recognized not only at home but also abroad testifies to its exceptional merit and distinction. This small gesture of gratitude will help preserve the memory of his exemplary service for generations to come. And I hope that it will also help us remember the contributions and sacrifices of all our veterans, including those who not only defended our country, but literally saved the world during World War II.”
“The patriotism and heroism that Charles Baffo offered in service to this nation during World War II is rare, and cannot be overstated,” said Rep. O’Dea. “His story and legacy deserve to be preserved and honored well into the future. Naming this section of Route 106 for him is a very small but important gesture. It will show the high esteem that this community and this state holds for his selfless service, going above and beyond the call of duty in our nation’s hour of need.”
Baffo enlisted when he was 19 years old. In 1944 he was assigned to the 490th Bombardment Group, and with the 8th Air Force flew both the B-24 and the B-17 Flying Fortress. As a bomber pilot he participated in the Allied invasion of Normandy and flew 35 missions over Germany, earning the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the European African-Middle Eastern Service Medal for heroism and his achievements. Born in New York, Baffo moved to New Haven following the war to attend Yale University, where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Architecture. He then settled in Wilton with his wife Joanne, and remained there for over 40 years, raising their four daughters. He passed away on October 17, 2014.
To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion last year, the French government announced that it would accept applications for the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor, from Americans who had participated in the Allied invasion that led to the ultimate liberation of France. Only those veterans still living could be awarded the distinction.
Although Mr. Baffo unfortunately passed away within weeks of a decision being rendered on his application, the French government, in a very rare move, awarded him the decoration posthumously because of his extraordinary actions. The ceremony will recall the story of his wartime service.
The October 1 ceremony follows the passage of legislation introduced by Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea during the 2015 legislative session. Commemorative signage will be installed on Route 106 in Wilton during the coming weeks.
Posted on August 7, 2015 by admin
With the start of school just around the corner, I wanted to remind you to take advantage of the upcoming “Tax Free Week” which runs from Sunday, August 16th through Saturday, August 22nd.
This one-week event eliminates Connecticut’s 6.35 percent sales tax on all clothing and footwear costing less than $100 per item.
Please note: Unlike previous years, this year the exemption has been substantially reduced and will only apply to clothing and footwear that costs less than $100.
Since sales tax is calculated after the use of any coupons or discounts, if the final price is less than $100, the sale is exempt from taxes. Clothing or footwear under $100 put on layaway is also tax-free.
Tax Free Week was first enacted in 2000, and applies to most clothing and footwear purchases intended for everyday use.
Goods not covered under the program include, but are not limited to:
Please consult with your local retailer, or contact the Department of Revenue Services for a full list of qualifying and non-qualifying items.
Posted on June 29, 2015 by admin
Are you a veteran or a current member of the Armed Forces, or do you know someone who is? Here’s a report prepared by the state’s Office of Legislative research that highlights proposals passed during the 2015 legislative session that impact veterans and the military. If you have questions about these topics, feel free to contact Rep. Tom O’Dea’s office at 800-842-1423 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on June 19, 2015 by admin
In order to keep constituents up-to-date on the latest at the State Capitol, State Reps. Gail Lavielle (R-143), Tom O’Dea (R-125), along with State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), hosted a town hall style meeting recently at the Cannon Grange Hall on June 18 to a crowd of around 35 people.
The Wilton lawmakers discussed the current state budget crisis; the major acts passed in the 2015 session and answered questions from attendees about issues concerning the community and state.
Among the topics discussed Connecticut’s continued increase in state borrowing and spending even while the state is in deficit, the nearly $2 billion dollar tax increase and transportation issues.
“The stakes for the families in our communities and our state couldn’t be higher,” said Rep. Tom O’Dea. “The tax hikes that are included in the recently-passed budget will have an impact on everyone, and this forum gave us an opportunity to share that information with residents, as well as other critical details about the prior legislative session.”
“People are very concerned about how the budget we passed will affect the future of our state, and rightfully so. This budget has a negative effect on every citizen in our state. Our end of session wrap ups demonstrate not only how informed our constituents are, but also their anxiety about what the future holds for Connecticut,” said Rep. Lavielle.
Senator Toni Boucher said, “The budget that narrowly passed by the General Assembly is not a tax break for the middle class. Rather it is a damaging tax hike, that’s the plain truth. A few lawmakers have celebrated this budget saying it is the best budget they have seen. They claim it protects the middle class, provides property tax relief, and will significantly improve transportation. But this is NOT true.
“In fact we are learning $250 million in tax cuts promised during the last year will be taken away in this budget. And money that is supposed to go into transportation and money that is supposed to be returned to municipalities through this budget – may not actually get to their intended places for years!
“There is still time to change course. That is why town halls like the one held in Wilton this week are critical. People need to understand how they can stop this bad budget from becoming reality.”
Constituents were pleased to have the opportunity to speak frankly with their legislators, who in turn were very appreciative of the feedback and thanked the group for sharing their thoughts.
Reps. O’Dea, Lavielle and Sen. Boucher suggest people call Governor Malloy’s Office at (800) 406-1527 and tell him to “VETO THIS BUDGET”.
Anyone who was unable to attend the event but would like to speak with Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea and Sen. Boucher can reach them any time by contacting 800-842-1423. Sen. Boucher can be reached by contacting 800-842-1421.
Posted on June 12, 2015 by admin
State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) sat down with the folks at Cablevision’s “Meet the Leaders” program in the waning hours of the 2015 session the first week in June. He discussed the state budget, transportation issues, and other matters that the legislature addressed this year. To see the segment, click below.
Posted on June 10, 2015 by admin
I will be joining Representative Gail Lavielle and Senator Toni Boucher for a Legislative Recap on Thursday, June 18, at 6:30 pm. The event is sponsored by the Cannon Grange No. 152, and is open to the public. I hope you can join us for a discussion of the major issues and legislation of 2015. Details are below, click for a larger version.
Posted on June 4, 2015 by admin
State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) cast his vote this morning against a state budget that increases state spending, unfairly and unnecessarily raises taxes on the middle class and hampers businesses across Connecticut. Debate on the budget, which was the result of negotiations between Governor Dannel P. Malloy and majority Democrats, began around 5:30 a.m.
The spending and tax package, which passed narrowly by a vote of 73-70 in the House without a single Republican vote, raises taxes on hard-working Connecticut families and businesses by more than $1.5 billion.
“The current tax and spend policies of the majority have failed to grow our economy or bring back jobs,” said Rep. O’Dea. “Members of the majority party have said over and over again that they want to help the middle class and improve our economy, yet this budget agreement causes immediate harm to both. Despite the promise that there would be no tax increase, we are being asked to foot a tax increase just as massive and sweeping as the one he called for four years ago as ‘shared sacrifice.’ However, once again, it is government that is sharing, and hard-working families that are sacrificing. ”
The budget also includes total income tax increases of $442.2 million over two years by increasing the tax rate on personal income, reducing the property tax credit from $300 to $200 in the budget’s second year, which impacts every homeowner in the state and comes on the heels of a previous reduction from $500 to $300 in 2011.
Additionally, the budget also repeals the clothing and footwear exemption which disproportionately affects the low and middle class, and maintains the state’s 6.35% sales tax despite earlier reports that rate would be reduced as an offset to the loss of the clothing exemption.
Of the $1.5 billion in new taxes, $475 million come from wiping out previously scheduled tax cuts for shoppers, businesses, insurance companies and the working poor before they even had a chance to take effect.
Other important parts of the budget include:
The budget now heads to the State Senate for action there. The session adjourns at midnight, tonight.
Posted on May 22, 2015 by admin
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall affecting nearly 34 million vehicles built by at least 11 companies due to airbags made by Takata.
The NHTSA is currently in the process of compiling all affected vehicles into a database. While this is being done, the NHTSA, as well as the State’s DMV and Department of Consumer Protection are urging you to check if your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is on the recall list.
For developing information on the recall, and to find out if your car is on the list of recalled vehicles by a VIN number search, click below.
The NHTSA recommends that you continue to drive your car, and that you should not disconnect your airbag – it is illegal to disconnect an airbag even if it is under recall.
Posted on May 22, 2015 by admin
State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) praised the passage of legislation he co-sponsored which will require all health care institutions caring for newborn infants to test those who fail a newborn hearing screening for cytomegalovirus (CMV) starting January 1, 2016. It requires the testing be done as soon as is medically possible unless the parents object on religious grounds.
“The health implications to a newborn with CMV that goes undetected can be devastating,” said Rep. O’Dea. “Hearing loss, vision loss, poor brain growth, seizures and even death can result for a baby born to a mother who contracts the virus while she is pregnant. This disease is the leading infectious cause of developmental disabilities and hearing loss in children, and early detection is essential. That won’t happen without screening, which is why we have moved to require this.”
Current law similarly requires health care institutions to test newborn infants for cystic fibrosis, severe combined immunodeficiency disease, and critical congenital heart disease. The test for cytomegalovirus is not part of the state’s current newborn screening program for genetic and metabolic disorders. That program, in addition to screening, directs parents of identified infants to counseling and treatment.
CMV is a type of herpesvirus, with clinical similarities to chickenpox, shingles, and mononucleosis. Although usually harmless in healthy adults and children, CMV in newborns can lead to hearing loss or developmental disabilities. Transmission from mother to newborn occurs during pregnancy. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 150 babies are born with CMV every year in the United States. Studies suggest that fewer than 20% of women know about CMV or how to prevent its contraction during pregnancy.
The bill, HB 5525, An Act Concerning Cytomegalovirus, passed both the House and Senate with unanimous votes, and heads to the desk of Governor Dannel P. Malloy for his signature.
Posted on May 22, 2015 by admin
State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in unanimously passing a bill aimed at assisting Connecticut’s women veterans.
The bill, SB 904, An Act Establishing the Connecticut Women Veterans Program, requires the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs to establish a program that will reach out to women veterans in an effort to improve their awareness of federal and state veterans’ benefits and services eligibility. It also calls for an assessment of women veterans’ needs for benefits and services and a review of programs, research projects and other initiatives designed to address or meet Connecticut women veterans’ needs.
“Women have assumed a significant role in our armed forces and we have now seen significant numbers of female veterans returning from combat theaters over the past fourteen years,” said Rep. O’Dea.
“It makes perfect sense that the services we offer our veterans continue to develop to reflect that changing reality, and provide services uniquely suited to our women veterans.”
During the public hearing on the bill, Gregory Smith, the State Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) testified that passage of this bill is a critical step that Connecticut can take in providing needed outreach to women veterans.
O’Dea noted the timeliness of the passage of the bill with the approach of the Memorial Day holiday, recognizing the service of those in the armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation. The bill passed unanimously out of the state Senate as well, and awaits signature by the Governor.
Posted on May 20, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD –State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) put his support behind a measure before the House today that creates tax-free savings accounts for state residents who live with disabilities. The bill, HB 6738, establishes a state program mirroring the federal ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act.
“This is an important measure which will provide meaningful assistance to state residents who contend with disabilities, and the families who support them,” said Rep. O’Dea. “It will allow them to save money for important services tax-free.”
This bill requires the state treasurer to establish a qualified ABLE program, as permitted by federal law, and administer individual accounts to empower eligible individuals and families to save private funds to pay for qualifying expenses related to disability or blindness.
It creates the Connecticut ABLE Trust, administered by the state treasurer, to receive and hold funds intended for ABLE accounts. It exempts money in the trust and interest earnings on it from state and local taxation while in the trust and requires the treasurer to ensure that funds are kept exempt from federal taxation pursuant to federal law.
Under the bill, funds invested in, contributed to, or distributed from an ABLE account must be disregarded when determining an individual’s eligibility for assistance under federally funded assistance or benefit programs.
The bill also prohibits the state’s public colleges and universities from considering funds invested in ABLE accounts when determining eligibility for need-based institutional aid. In general, institutional financial aid consists of aid originating from the institution and excludes federal or state financial aid awarded to students.
“This will provide an important new option for the state’s disabled population to pay for services without jeopardizing the current set of services they qualify for,” said Rep. O’Dea.
The bill passed the House unanimously and now heads to the State Senate for action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly concludes at midnight, June 3rd.
Posted on May 19, 2015 by admin
This afternoon Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) attended a reception at the State Capitol sponsored by the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut. O’Dea met with numerous registrars from across the state including New Canaan’s own Registrar George Cody, who brought a large collection of historical political buttons and posters he has collected throughout the years.
Posted on May 18, 2015 by admin
On Saturday morning, May 16th, Rep Tom O’Dea (R-125) participated in a New Canaan Town Hall Forum along with Rep. Fred Wilms (R-142) and Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) at the Lapham Community Center at Waveny Park in New Canaan. The event was cosponsored by the New Canaan League of Women Voters.
Numerous residents turned out to talk about various issues of local and statewide concern as the legislative session enters its final weeks including the state budget, transportation, the economy, jobs and education.
More forums will be scheduled in the future following the conclusion of the 2015 regular session.
Posted on May 14, 2015 by admin
Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) says he hopes legislation passed Wednesday by the State House of Representatives will help improve state law enforcement’s response to sexual assault.
The bill, H.B. 6498, An Act Concerning the Timely Transfer and Processing of Sexual Assault Evidence, enacts a speedier time frame for the transfer of sexual assault evidence collection kits by establishing a mandated timeline for health care facilities, police departments and state agencies involved in sexual assault investigations. Under the legislation, police departments will have 10 days to gather the kit evidence from a health care facility and transfer it to the Division of Scientific Services or the FBI laboratory, which oversees sexual assault evidence collection kits. The Division is required to analyze the kit within 60 days of receipt.
O’Dea, a cosponsor of the proposal, said the House’s unanimous approval of the bill was a small victory for victims of sexual assault and those seeking justice.
“The crime of sexual assault is among the worst of all predatory and heinous crimes,” said Rep. O’Dea. “In these cases, it is essential that evidence is collected, preserved, and processed as quickly as possible to ensure the highest quality of value as evidence in a potential trial, and to increase the likelihood of accurate findings and a conviction.”
The kits will still be permitted as evidence in court, even if the authorities fail to meet the time requirements.
After gaining support from Connecticut’s Office of the Victim’s Advocate, Division of Criminal Justice, the Police Chiefs Association and the Permanent Commission of the Status of Women (PCSW), the measure, which also improves court proceedings, was approved unanimously.
The bill now heads to the State Senate for action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly will adjourn at midnight, Wednesday, June 3rd.
Posted on May 4, 2015 by admin
As part of “Read Across America Day State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) visited South School in New Canaan to read stories with students and impress upon them the importance of reading. He read to Mrs. Laura Barbosa’s first grade class, and Ms. Cori Horelik’s third grade class.
“The faculty, teachers and students here were wonderful hosts, and I very much enjoyed visiting both classes and sharing a story with both of them,” said O’Dea. “It is great to have a day set aside to focus on the importance of reading.”
Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Due to schedule of the legislature, Rep. O’Dea’s participation was slated for today.
In Ms. Horelik’s class, in the spirit of Democracy, the children voted on which book would be read from three choices. They selected “Those Rebels, John & Tom,” a story by Barbara Kerley about the differences between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and how they ultimately benefitted the Revolution and founding of the United States.
O’Dea noted that he received numerous important suggestions for legislation from the students, including measures that would provide more chocolate and less homework.
Posted on April 24, 2015 by admin
State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) joined House and Senate Republicans today as they offered their plan, a Blueprint for Prosperity, which accomplishes what the governor could not: it is balanced, under the spending cap, restores vital social service programs for the neediest and reforms taxes, while instituting government reforms to save hundreds of millions in the coming two years.
The Republican proposal will benefit multiple socioeconomic interests: taxpayers, consumers, the developmentally disabled, businesses, non-profits, municipalities and hospitals.
“This budget represents a significant change of the direction our state has been heading in,” said Rep. O’Dea. “By restoring critical social services for those most in need while taking the initial steps to begin reducing taxes, we are resetting the state’s priorities while remaining under the spending cap, and presenting a budget that is actually balanced.”
O’Dea said Republican leaders agree with Democrat leaders that the governor’s budget proposal is a non-starter. The Blueprint for Prosperity provides a biennial budget plan for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 and outlines a series of long-term initiatives to set Connecticut on a better path for smarter spending today and in the future. Republicans outlined major points in their proposal at a press conference today at the Legislative Office Building.
The balanced $39.49 billion biennial budget alternative calls for $630 million in wage freezes and other concessions from state employees including restrictions on overtime costs. It also caps borrowing.
“We are hoping this budget alternative will provide the framework for an improved discussion about budget options as we head toward the final month of this legislative session,” said Rep. O’Dea. “I hope we can work cooperatively with the governor and Democrats to arrive at meaningful budget solutions that do not involve increased taxes, but rather focus on reducing state spending.”
The GOP budget proposal also:
For more details on the Blueprint for Prosperity visit: cthousegop.com/blueprint
Posted on April 2, 2015 by admin
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and you can expect police departments in our area will be cracking down on drivers endangering public safety.
This month police will be taking part in a statewide campaign called “U Drive. U Text. U Pay,” sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, targeting anyone choosing to text, talk or distract themselves with a cell phone.
Motorists can expect extra patrols, spotters and stationary police vehicles prominently placed around the town. You can also expect police elsewhere to crack down on distracted driving this month.
Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for first offense, $300 for second offense, and $500 for each subsequent violation. We also created a first-in-the-nation system that allows offenses to affect the violator’s car insurance premium.
An estimated 1 in 4 car crashes involve cell phones, according to the National Safety Council, and 34 percent of teen drivers have admitted to texting while driving; 52 percent have said they have talked on the phone. Ten percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
Although the most recent numbers show distracted driving-related deaths have decreased nationwide, the number of deaths – 3,328 in 2012 – is still too high.
Please do not drive distracted – not this month, not ever. It is unsafe and endangers both fellow motorists and pedestrians. Feel free to forward this reminder along to friends, family and neighbors.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns about state government.
Posted on March 25, 2015 by admin
I’m pleased to inform you that the “Heroes 4 Hire, 11th Annual Veterans Career Fair” is being held on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 in the Rentschler Field Ball Room, East Hartford, CT
If you are a veteran or currently serving in our armed forces, or know someone who is, please consider attending this career fair.
The fair will run from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and allow attendees to meet with prospective employers.
Attendees may also take advantage of the following free services:
Rentschler Field is located at 615 Silver Lane, East Hartford, CT 06118.
For more information please visit: http://ctjobfairs.com/
Posted on March 10, 2015 by admin
A proposal introduced by State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) to exempt Social Security from the state income tax has been incorporated into a bill that has been approved by the legislature’s Committee on Aging.
“This state’s tax policies are making retirees flee the state,” said Rep. O’Dea. “The personal income tax Connecticut places on Social Security is one significant reason why. There are 26 states that don’t tax Social Security, and our retirees are heading to them so they can have retirement where they can make ends meet. We need to stop penalizing the people who have made our state what it is.”
This bill will begin the process of reversing policies that have sent many seniors packing once they enter their retirement years. I am very pleased that the Aging Committee has lent its bipartisan support to this legislation.”
Under Connecticut’s current tax laws state residents that earn Social Security benefits and make over $50,000 per year if single, and $60,000 if married, are currently taxed for 25% of their total receipts.
O’Dea cited a Gallup Poll from last spring which concluded that 49% of state residents want to leave the state giving Connecticut’s high taxes as the primary reason. He said it is no coincidence that U. S. Census estimates show Connecticut ranking as one of only six states that has lost population over the past two fiscal years.
It is estimated that the state takes in roughly $21 million per year from taxing Social Security benefits, and O’Dea said the revenue could easily be made up though the elimination of redundant and inefficient government services, and a reduction in middle management.
The bill, HB 5236, An Act Exempting Social Security Benefits from State Income Tax was approved unanimously by a vote of the Aging Committee on March 5th and will head to the House of Representatives for action there.
This session of the Connecticut General Assembly convened on January 7th, and will conclude at midnight, Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015.
Posted on February 26, 2015 by admin
Posted on February 20, 2015 by admin
The issue of returning tolls to Connecticut’s highways has been widely discussed and debated this year.
As Ranking Member on the legislature’s Transportation Committee, I want you to know that this committee will hold a public hearing on a bill to bring tolls back to Connecticut.
The public hearing will be held on Wednesday, February 25th, at 10:30 AM in Room 1 E of the Legislative Office Building.
If you would like to testify in person to have your voice heard, you can get directions to the Legislative Office Building by clicking HERE.
If you are unable to attend in person but would like to submit testimony in writing, you can do so my submitting it via email to: email@example.com.
Please feel free to send me a copy of your testimony at Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov.
Posted on February 18, 2015 by admin
The two-year budget unveiled by Governor Dannel Malloy before a joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly strikes hardest at those he claims to be helping, State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) said, noting that the governor is violating his repeatedly avowed pledge to not increase taxes, and is continuing Connecticut down a path of policies that have produced anemic economic growth.
“What we are seeing is the governor double-down on the same kinds of policies that have failed to grow our economy or bring back jobs,” said O’Dea. “The governor said over and over again today that he wants to help the middle class and improve our economy, yet this budget does neither.”
O’Dea noted that in his last budget the governor offered about $550 million in tax breaks which were conveniently set to take effect after the 2014 election. Now, this new budget rolls back all but $62 million of those scheduled cuts while raising $425 million in new revenue.
“I am pleased to see there is an attempt here to make a meaningful investment in our transportation infrastructure which is sorely overdue,” said O’Dea, who serves as Ranking Member of the legislature’s Transportation Committee. “However, the governor provides no details as to how he will pay for this significant upgrade, and that is a concern.”
In addition, O’Dea says the governor’s plan increases taxes a total of $847 million over two years, and also borrows hundreds of millions more for other projects pushing increased debt down the road for future generations.
Other elements of the governor’s proposed budget:
“We have only just begun the budget process, and there will be an opportunity to debate all of these issues, and I look forward to using this process to try to help craft a better budget that makes fiscal sense,” said O’Dea.
Posted on February 4, 2015 by admin
Leaders of Connecticut’s Transportation Committee: Representative Tony Guerrera, Co-Chair, Senator Toni Boucher, Ranking Member and Representative Tom O’Dea, Ranking Member released the following statement today re: Tuesday evening’s deadly Metro-North incident involving a 5:45 pm commuter train that struck an SUV in a crossing in Valhalla, N.Y. Six people including the driver of the car were killed.
State Representative Tony Guerrera remarked, “as chair of the Transportation Committee I will continue to monitor the ongoing investigation into the cause of this terrible accident. My heart goes out to the families of those who have lost loved ones, and to everyone else impacted by this tragedy.”
State Senator Toni Boucher, a ranking member on the committee offered her support to those affected by the crash. “We were all deeply saddened to learn of this latest tragedy on Metro-North. My sincere condolences to out to the victims, their families, and to those traumatized commuters who had to experience the worst accident in Metro North’s history.
“The Transportation Committee will be receiving updates on the investigation into this tragedy, which underscores the importance of crisis management, safety and evacuation procedures in responding to unexpected crises.
“It is imperative that all agencies and government leaders work together to make sure the people who count on this rail line are safe.”
Representative Tom O’Dea, ranking member on the committee commented, “Last night’s accident on the Metro-North line is a terrible tragedy. Our prayers and condolences go out to all of the victims and their families. There is much we do not know about the cause at this point, and it is important to allow the National Transportation Safety Board and other authorities to properly conduct their investigation before rendering any judgment. We are hopeful that the results of the investigation will give us greater detail that can help us prevent such a terrible tragedy from occurring again. Safety on our public railways is our paramount concern.”
Posted on February 2, 2015 by admin
State Representatives Gail Lavielle (R-143) & Tom O’Dea (R-125) have introduced legislation this session that would name the stretch of Route 106 in Wilton for veteran Charles M. Baffo, a Wilton resident and First Lieutenant of the Army Air Force who fought in the Allied invasion of Normandy.
Baffo enlisted when he was 19 years old. In 1944 he was assigned to the 490th Bombardment Group, and with the 8th Air Force flew both the B-24 and the B-17 Flying Fortress. As a bomber pilot he participated in the Allied invasion of Normandy and flew 35 missions over Germany, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and his achievements. Born in New York, Baffo moved to New Haven following the war to attend Yale University where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Architecture. He then settled in Wilton with his wife Joanne, and remained there for over 40 years, raising their four daughters. He passed away on October 17, 2014.
To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion last year, the French government announced that it would accept applications for the Légion d’Honneur from Americans who had participated in combat at Normandy which led to the ultimate liberation of France. It is a high distinction usually reserved for French nationals who are still living.
Mr. Baffo’s exceptional acts of valor distinguished his application in a process for awarding the decoration that has been very selective. Although he unfortunately passed away within weeks of a decision being rendered on his application, the French government, in a very rare move, approved the award posthumously because of his extraordinary service.
“Charles Baffo exemplified the virtues of the members of the Greatest Generation, who gave so much of themselves to our country and to the world,” said Rep. Lavielle. “That his service during World War II has been recognized not only at home but also abroad testifies to its exceptional merit and distinction. While anything we might offer could not provide sufficient thanks to Mr. Baffo for his service, his valor, and his selfless devotion to defending our nation in World War II and liberating France, this small gesture of gratitude will help preserve the memory of his name and his extraordinary actions for generations to come.”
“The patriotism and heroism that Charles Baffo offered in service to this nation during World War II is rare, and cannot be understated,” said Rep. O’Dea. “His is a story and a legacy that deserves to be preserved and honored for well into the future. Naming this section of Route 106 for him is a very small but important gesture. It will show the high esteem that this community and this state holds for his selfless service, going above and beyond the call of duty in our nation’s hour of need.”
Baffo participated in the CCSU Veterans History Project in 2013, and a video interview with him about his life and service can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_coOWjLWIcs
The bill proposed by Lavielle and O’Dea, HB 5638, An Act Naming Route 106 in Wilton After Charles M. Baffo, is currently before the legislature’s Transportation Committee. There will be a public hearing on the bill on Friday, February 6th. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns at midnight, Wednesday, June 3rd.
Posted on January 13, 2015 by admin
Southwestern Connecticut legislators are happy to announce the New M-8 Rail Cars purchased by the state Department of Transportation are now finally rolling on the Metro-North New Canaan Branch. State Representative Tom O’Dea (New Canaan) and New Canaan First Selectman Robert Mallozzi along with Senators Scott Frantz (Greenwich) and Toni Boucher (Wilton) have been pushing to bring the region’s transportation network into the 21st Century.
“This area of the Metro- North line has been under a lot of pressure because of the sheer amount of people who commute into New York City. I am very pleased to see the commitment from the CTDOT to place the new cars on the New Canaan branch. These are taxpayer dollars at work,” said Sen. Boucher.
“This is the start of a long-term commitment that will preserve New Canaan’s ability to attract the kind of residents that add value to our community and support the entire state with the taxes they contribute,” remarked Robert E. Mallozzi, First Selectman of New Canaan. “It is gratifying to see the commitment to our rail system finally be put in place. I applaud the Governor’s recognition of the importance to Fairfield County of this vital asset and also applaud my fellow First Selectmen, Mayors and local legislators for keeping this vital issue at the forefront of our annual priority discussions with the State.
On Tuesday Representative O’Dea joined the governor’s office and other dignitaries at the Springdale Station in Stamford to see the M-8 cars in action.
Rep. O’Dea said, “I am ecstatic about the announcement and calling for upgrades to the New Canaan line. Many of our residents rely on the train to get to their job and making it safe and reliable while improving speed and comfort is a priority for all of us.”
“I appreciated the opportunity to speak at length with the Governor about lowering the gas tax by 25 cents to make Connecticut the cheapest gas in New England. Such a move, I believe, will actually result in an increase in revenue because we’ll have out of state residents buying their gas here as opposed to simply driving through.”
“This progress will go a long way as leaders in Hartford continue to talk about transformation of our state’s transportation infrastructure. The needs are great and seeing movement on the Metro-North line shows there is an acknowledgement by the administration that the time has come to be serious about the reliability of the line and the safety of the commuting public,” added Sen. Frantz.
The new cars will be used on the 7:32 a.m. and the 7:58 a.m. departures from New Canaan and the 5:13 p.m. and 5:29 p.m. departure from Grand Central.
According to a study by (CTDOT) they project a 44 percent increase in ridership at the New Canaan Branch over the next 15 years. Leaders have asked that upgrades like a ticket kiosk and canopy at the Talmadge Hill rail platform be included in any future transportation discussions.
Currently nearly all New Haven Line trains are operating with the M-8s which were purchased by the state back in 2009.
Posted on January 13, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD –State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) has introduced legislation this session that would exempt Social Security and pension benefits from the state income tax. Those state residents that earn Social Security benefits and make over $50,000 per year if single, and $60,000 if married, are currently taxed for 25% of their total receipts.
“You can point to a number of policies that have resulted in Connecticut routinely ranking among the states least desirable to retire in,” said Rep. O’Dea. “Our taxation of pensions and Social Security benefits certainly contributes materially to making retirement in Connecticut difficult. We should be making it easier for those who have worked here their whole lives and raised their families here to be able to retire here in comfort. Right now, we are penalizing people for trying to remain in Connecticut when they retire, and that needs to change.”
O’Dea noted that a Gallup Poll from last spring concluded that 49% of state residents want to leave the state and that Connecticut’s high taxes were cited as the primary reason. He said U. S. Census estimates show people are voting with their feet, with Connecticut ranking as one of only six states that has lost population over the past two fiscal years.
It is estimated that the state takes in roughly $21 million per year from taxing Social Security benefits, and O’Dea said the revenue could easily be made up though the elimination of redundant and inefficient government services, and a reduction in middle management.
O’Dea’s proposed bill, HB 5156, An Act Phasing Out the Personal Income Tax on Pensions and Social Security Income, has been referred to the Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding and they await action there.
This session of the Connecticut General Assembly convened on January 7th, and will conclude at midnight, Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015.
Posted on January 8, 2015 by admin
With the start of the 2015-17 legislative term today, State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) has been named Ranking Member of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.
The appointment was made by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides this afternoon following the announcement that long-time State Representative David Scribner of Brookfield would not be taking the oath of office in order to accept an appointment with the Department of Consumer Protection. Scribner had held the post of Ranking Member on the Committee for many years.
“I deeply appreciate the House Republican Leader’s faith in my ability to serve as Ranking Member on the Transportation Committee,” said Rep. O’Dea. “Transportation issues, including infrastructure and congestion problems, are a tremendous concern to the residents of our region of Connecticut. For many years the legislature has moved vital funds from critical projects to fund pet projects while our roads and bridges deteriorated. I want to stop that dangerous trend, and redouble our commitment to solving these problems which are some of the most significant we will examine during this session.”
“Representative O’Dea has proven himself as a capable, thorough and conscientious legislator during his comparatively short time in the House,” said House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114). “I know that his constituents and our caucus can count on his steady leadership on the Transportation Committee, and I look forward to working with him in this new capacity.”
Representative O’Dea, an attorney in practice with the firm of Diserio, Martin, O’Connor & Castiglioni, LLP, was sworn into his second term this afternoon representing 125th District including the towns of New Canaan and Wilton.
Posted on December 17, 2014 by admin
State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) is proud to announce his General Assembly committee assignments for the 2015 Legislative Session beginning Jan. 7.
Rep. O’Dea will serve as the ranking member on the Regulations Review Committee. He will also sit on the Judiciary and Transportation Committees.
The Legislative Regulation Review Committee is responsible for reviewing and approving regulations proposed by state agencies.
“In a few short weeks I will be starting my second term as State Representative, and I intend to continue working to make Connecticut a better place to live and work,” said O’Dea.
“We have a lot of work to do. The most pressing issue of the session will be balancing the budget deficit. We will also continue ensuring that Connecticut’s court system is the model system in the nation, and we will renew focus on ensuring the efficiency of Metro-North,” he said.
“Please feel free contact me at any time with questions and concerns,” he said.
The 2015 Legislative Session, convening Jan. 7 will end June 3.
Posted on September 10, 2014 by admin
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is planning to open a new Photo License Center in Stamford, mid to late fall, to better meet the needs of Fairfield County’s growing population.
The center will be located at 137 Henry St., in the Lathon Wider Center and will offer a variety of services:
Driver’s License (non-commercial)- renewals, duplicates, and name changes; Learner’s Permit – duplicates and name changes; Non-Driver ID Card – renewals, duplicates and name changes; Registrations – renewals, duplicates and name changes; Plate Returns and cancellations; Disabled Parking Permits; New renewals and replacements; Driver Histories.
The center will also offer service by appointment.
It is expected to be open Tuesday through Friday, with extended hours on Thursday.
The project is currently moving through the city-approval process and will also need various state approvals. DMV will hire three employees to staff the office. The DMV Photo License Center was approved this year by the state legislature.
Please pass this information on.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me regarding any legislative issue you may have at 800-842-1423 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay connected, stay informed: www.repodea.com
Posted on May 6, 2014 by admin
HARTFORD—State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton) voted against the Democratic budget in Saturday’s House session, citing the budget’s questionable revenue estimates and budget techniques. The House voted on the measure shortly after 10 p.m., and the budget passed without a single Republican vote.
The $19 billion budget introduced by the legislature’s majority Democrats has been roundly criticized for employing a number of gimmicks and suspicious budgetary maneuvers. The already shaky accounting in the budget was exacerbated earlier in the week when consensus revenue estimates showed that the expected $500 million surplus had dwindled to just over $40 million, after tax receipts came in far lower than had been projected earlier in the year.
“This budget continues us on a path of spending beyond our means,” Rep. O’Dea said. “We have fewer jobs in Connecticut than we had in 1990, and in 2012 we were the only State with negative growth. We have the highest per capita debt in the country, the second worst pension balance, and we were recently rated the worst place to retire in the entire country. Not only were the aforementioned problems ignored in the current budget, they were exacerbated.”
Although the budget is being presented as balanced, O’Dea noted that it relies on a number of improper assumptions, including:
“We cannot spend ourselves out of the current fiscal disaster,” O’Dea added. “I proposed a 10% across the board spending cut 2 years ago. This budget actually increases spending by 2.5%. In addition to decreasing spending, we need to at least agree to a hiring freeze so that normal attrition rates will decrease the number of state employees.”
O’Dea and his fellow Republicans presented an alternative budget proposal earlier this month, and updated it on Thursday to reflect the drop in projected revenues.
The foremost goal of the Republicans’ plan was to undo the gimmicks and budgeting “techniques” that are present in the Democratic proposal. The Republican proposal included a number of spending cuts, along with a hard hiring freeze and travel ban for state workers. The plan also restored the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account and returned $18 million to the Special Transportation Fund.
The alternative budget proposal was offered as an amendment to the budget during the debate Saturday night, but was defeated along a party line vote.
Posted on May 6, 2014 by admin
HARTFORD — With cell phone use becoming ubiquitous, marketers are turning increasingly to advertising on phones and other mobile devices to drive sales. In response to this growing trend, State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) voted Friday to ban marketers from sending unsolicited commercial text messages to consumers.
SB-209, An Act Prohibiting Unsolicited Commercial Text Messages and Increasing Penalties for Violations of the ‘Do Not Call’ Registry, explicitly prohibits telephone solicitors from sending unsolicited text messages at any time of day, except under specific circumstances or with prior written consent from the recipient.
Rep. O’Dea, who sits on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee where the bill originated, was pleased to see the bill pass.
“The fact that this bill passed unanimously in committee, in the Senate, and now in the House, speaks to our universal understanding of this bill’s benefits,” O’Dea said. “Not everyone has a texting plan, and charges can be steep. Preventing people from being hit with charges from unsolicited advertising messages was a no-brainer.”
Under the bill, a text message is defined as a written message sent electronically to a mobile telephone or mobile electronic device’s telephone number. It does not include electronic mail sent to an electronic mail address. Although the bill forces text-message marketers to abide by the Do Not Call registry requirements, it does allow solicitors to send marketing text messages as long as the customer’s prior written consent is received.
The bill increases the maximum fine for each registry violation from $11,000 to $20,000. Additionally, it requires all companies that issue account statements for cellular phones, telephones and mobile devices to print a conspicuous notice twice each year which informs consumers of prohibited actions by solicitors, how to place their numbers on the “Do Not Call’ registry, and how to file complaints with the Department of Consumer Protection for any violations.
The bill, which has passed in both the House and the Senate, now heads to Governor Malloy for his signature.
Posted on April 28, 2014 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) lauded the unanimous passage of House Bill 5487 by the state’s House of Representatives this Thursday. The bill, introduced through the Judiciary Committee by Rep. O’Dea this January, would extend immunity from criminal prosecution to anyone administering the anti-overdose drug naloxone, or other similar drug intended to counter the effects of an overdose on opioids.
In 2012, the House passed a law allowing friends and family to obtain a prescription for naloxone if they suspect opioid abuse by a loved one. However, under that statute, only licensed medical practitioners were immune from prosecution if they administer the drug to someone experiencing an overdose.
The bill that passed unanimously through the House on Thursday, H.B. 5487, would extend immunity from criminal or civil prosecution to anyone administering the anti-overdose drug who is deemed to be acting in “good faith” and reasonable care.
“Throughout the nation, and Connecticut in particular, the rise in deaths from heroin overdoses has been shocking,” O’Dea said. “Many of these heroin users start down this deadly path by abusing prescription medications, which can be just as dangerous when abused. This is a common sense bill that will save lives and give some relief to those who have a loved one suffering from drug addiction.”
The bill, which is currently awaiting a vote in the state Senate, extends its protections to those administering an “opioid antagonist,” which for the purposes of the bill refers to “naloxone hydrochloride or any other similarly acting and equally safe drug approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of drug overdose.”
Naloxone is often referred to as Narcan, which is a brand name version of the drug.
“This medication can be extremely effective in reversing a life-threatening overdose when administered in time. This legislation sends a message to anyone that is at the scene of an overdose that they can administer naloxone in an effort to save that person’s life without hesitation over liability concerns,” O’Dea added. “This issue was originally brought to my attention by my constituent Jeff Holland and Ingrid Gillespie of the Connecticut Prevention Network, and I thank them for their support.”
Holland and Gillespie previously worked together as members of a team that included the Department of Consumer Protection and local Police Departments to prevent prescription drug misuse by establishing a statewide medication drop box program.
According to Gillespie, The Connecticut Prevention Network supports this life saving intervention, known as a “harm reduction strategy” as part of a more comprehensive effort that includes strategies to address the demand and supply of prescription and illicit opiates.
“We so appreciate Representative O’Dea’s quick action in helping to bring this important bill to the floor,” said Holland. “Because of his efforts and those of many others, lives will be saved.”
Posted on April 17, 2014 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton) joined his fellow Legislative Republicans today in announcing his support for a Republican alternative budget which would stay comfortably under the constitutional spending cap, while eliminating what have been called “gimmicks” and dishonest budgeting practices in Democratic budget proposals.
“It is our job to present the public with a viable alternative that shows how Connecticut can return to principles of honest budgeting, and I believe this Republican budget does just that,” Rep. O’Dea said. “Our plan reduces spending, eliminates gimmicks, and spends money in a responsible way that addresses some of the state’s most pressing issues that have been ignored in the past.”
The alternative plan would eliminate the $55 tax rebate proposed by Governor Malloy, which has been questioned as an election-year ploy, and would also cancel the contentious planned rollout of the lottery game Keno in some of Connecticut’s restaurants and bars.
To make the plan work, the Republicans relied on specific and directed cuts to state spending and judicious use of the excess revenue brought in this year due to a number of unreliable, one-time revenues and the extensive use of borrowing.
While cutting spending overall, the alternative budget plan offers increases in critical program funding, such as:
“The current path we are on is unsustainable in the long run, and will only lead to higher taxes and further weakening of the state’s fiscal situation.” O’Dea added. “We already know big deficits are expected in the next few years – our budget lessens these deficits, and helps get the state back on the right track.”
Posted on February 27, 2014 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) was among the signatories of petitions filed Wednesday by House Republicans that forced the Chairs of the General Assembly’s Education Committee to hold formal public hearings on two bills related to the controversial Common Core curriculum and the new public school teacher evaluation process. Despite substantial public outcry, the majority party had refused to raise the bills in the Education Committee.
The petitioning process, which is seldom used, allows legislators to overrule decisions by legislative committees on holding public hearings for bills. House Republicans gathered the required 51 signatures from their caucus members under Joint Rule 11 in order to file the petitions that triggered the requirement for the two bills to be raised with a public hearing to follow.
“Stakeholders have a right to be heard and this should have happened long ago. Those affected will have valuable input and I look forward to hearing from interested parties,” said Rep. O’Dea.
One of the Republican bills to be raised codifies the proposals brought forth by the committee created to establish teacher evaluation standards known as the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council.
The second bill, authored by state Rep. Marilyn Giuliano (R-23), would freeze the implementation of the Common Core Standards until all stakeholders have time to examine its potential effects and consider possible changes.
The Education Committee’s Democratic Chairs had agreed only to hold an “informational hearing” where the speakers would be selected ahead of time by the Chairs and the discussion controlled by time constraints, with no members of the public participating. That hearing is to be held on Friday, February 28. The date for the public hearing triggered by the House Republicans’ petitions has not yet been set.
Posted on February 10, 2014 by admin
Rep. O’Dea Welcomes 2014 Legislative Session
HARTFORD – This past Thursday, State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-125) joined his fellow State legislators in ushering in the start of the 2014 Legislative Session. O’Dea, who will be starting the second year of his first term as State Representative, represents the 125th House District, which encompasses most of New Canaan and a portion of Wilton.
This year, the Connecticut General Assembly will hold a “short session,” which began a day late due to Wednesday’s snow storm.
Short sessions, when adjustments to the previous year’s passed budget are made, run during even-numbered years, and are two months shorter than the budget writing sessions held during odd-numbered years. Since short sessions have limited time for consideration of legislation, individual legislators may only propose bills that would make adjustments to the budget – all other legislation must be brought up through committees.
While the most pressing issue of the session will be making adjustments to the biennial budget, many more issues are on the table, such as a continued focus on mental health and school safety, the implementation the Common Core Standards in Connecticut’s public schools, the State’s massive long-term obligations and dismal fiscal outlook, and the effects on the State of the Affordable Care Act.
“I am looking forward to the upcoming session – we certainly have a lot of work to do,” commented Rep. O’Dea. “My focus for this session will be the same as the last one – increasing jobs and decreasing taxes. We need to work toward a business climate that promotes expansion and growth for all businesses. I applaud the Governor’s proposals to provide Connecticut residents with some tax relief and to put money into the rainy day fund, but I think we need to aggressively look for ways to cut spending and decrease the size of state government.”
Rep. O’Dea introduced a measure that would temporarily cut Connecticut’s gas tax, currently the nation’s third highest at just under $.50/gal, to a level below that of neighboring states. He believes this will encourage residents near the border and motorists going through Connecticut to fuel up and spend money here as opposed to simply passing through or going into New York, Massachusetts or Rhode Island for gas.
“While reducing the tax rate may result in a loss of revenue initially, if enough people who would otherwise fill up out of state fill up their tanks in Connecticut and buy other merchandise here, the added volume will make up the difference,” Rep. O’Dea said. “This legislation would reduce the gas tax by 26 cents a gallon, saving the average two-car family approximately $40 in a single month. If this tax cut ends up increasing revenues as a result of the increased volume of gasoline and associated goods sold, as I expect that it will, hopefully we can make the tax cut permanent. I ask that anyone who backs this proposal help spread the word and contact other legislators and the Governor’s office to express your support.”
Rep. O’Dea currently serves on the legislature’s Judiciary, Environment, and Transportation Committees, and can be reached at (800)842-1423 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Constituents are also encouraged to visit his website, www.repodea.com, to see updates on his legislative activity.
Posted on September 26, 2013 by admin
Because of the loss of a Con Edison feeder that supplies electricity to the overhead wires that power the New Haven Line, MTA Metro-North Railroad will provide limited bus/train service for the New Haven Line beginning with morning rush hour service on Thursday, September 26, and until further notice.
Metro-North is working with Con Edison to try to establish alternative power sources to serve the New Haven Line. Con Ed crews are working around the clock to make repairs to a feeder cable that failed earlier today. Another feeder normally providing service to the New Haven Line was out on scheduled repairs to accommodate upgrades required by Metro-North.
The service plan can accommodate approximately 33% of the regular ridership on the New Haven Line.
As a result:
· Customers are strongly encouraged to stay home or should seek alternate service
· New Haven Line tickets will continue to be cross-honored on the Harlem Line
· Customers should expect crowded conditions and should listen for announcements at their station
Bus service will be provided on the Waterbury Branch and limited shuttle train service will operate on the Danbury and New Canaan Branches.
AM Peak Service To Grand Central
From New Haven to Stamford train service will be provided every 20-30 minutes and will connect with:
· Limited diesel train service from Stamford operating directly to Harlem-125th Street and Grand Central Terminal
· Limited local train service every 20-30 minutes from Stamford through Rye Stations; connecting with express bus service to White Plains Station for Harlem Line train service to Grand Central
From Harrison to Grand Central Terminal service will be provided as follows:
· Limited local train service every 20-30 minutes from Harrison through New Rochelle Stations and operating directly to Fordham, Harlem-125th Street and Grand Central Terminal
· Bus Service from Pelham and Mount Vernon East to Mount Vernon West for Harlem Line train service
From Grand Central
Limited diesel train service will be provided every 30-40 minutes from GCT and making all local stops to Stamford; with hourly connections at Stamford for train service to New Haven.
Off-Peak Service To Grand Central
Hourly shuttle service between New Haven (departing every 45 minutes after the hour) and Stamford with local train service operating every half hour between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal.
From Grand Central
Train service operating every half hour (:04 and :34 after the hour) out of Grand Central making all local stops to Stamford with hourly connections at
Stamford for train service to New Haven.
PM Peak Service
From Grand Central to Stamford/New Haven
· Limited service from Grand Central direct to Stamford with connections to New Haven provided every 20-30 minutes.
· Harlem Line Service to White Plains Station with express bus service to Rye Station for local train service between Rye and Stamford operating every 20-30 minutes
From Grand Central to Harrison
· Limited train service from Grand Central to New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Harrison Stations
· Harlem Line train service to Mount Vernon West for Bus Service to Pelham and Mount Vernon East Stations
Please visit our schedules pages later this evening for complete schedule information (
Posted on August 27, 2013 by admin
NEW CANAAN- With school beginning next week, State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) wanted to remind drivers to be extra cautious on our public roadways.
More than 4,100 New Canaan children are transported to and from school either by school bus or a parent every day. When school is in session, drivers should be sure to drive with EXTRA caution. The following are safety tips for motorists, parents, and children:
Here are some tips for motorists:
Please slow down. Be alert for youngsters walking to and from school as you back out of your driveway or leave your parking garage.
“Remember, in some towns, including New Canaan, a motor vehicle violation may be photographed by a camera mounted on a school bus. Stop your car when you see lights flashing on a school bus. Red flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off. Don’t start driving until the red lights stop flashing. Be aware that a child may cross the street,” said Rep. O’Dea.
There are also some safety tips for parents and children.
1) Stay away from danger zones around the bus. The blind spots where drivers cannot see. Always be sure you can see the driver, that means the driver can see you.
2) When getting on or off the bus be very careful. Watch out for cars. Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus. Drivers in a hurry sometimes try to sneak by buses on the right.
3) Warn children that if they drop something near the bus they should never ever pick it up. Instead, they should tell the bus driver and follow the driver’s directions. If they bend over to pick up a dropped object, they might not be seen by the driver and could be hurt if the bus pulls away from the stop.
“Let’s protect our most precious commodity, our children. If each one of us follows these simple tips we can prevent any tragic accidents,” said Rep. O’Dea.
Posted on August 23, 2013 by admin
Summer Utility Assistance
Operation Fuel is accepting applications for the Summer Season Utility Assistance Program.
The program provides a cash grant of up to $500 (paid directly to the utility) to help income eligible households that are in an emergency situation.
Assistance is for gas or electric utilities only and specific eligibility criteria applies. For more information, visit www.operationfuel.org.
Winter Utility Assistance
The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) has started early intake for winter heating assistance, with applications available through Community Action Agencies.
Assistance covers oil, gas, electric, propane, wood, coal and kerosene heat.
Dial 2-1-1 for more information on both programs.
Posted on August 19, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Tom O’Dea (New Canaan & Wilton) hailed a new law making electronic books – read on devices such as iPads, Kindles and Nooks – more accessible to state residents by making them more affordable for public libraries.
The House Bill 5614: An Act Concerning a Study Regarding the Availability of Electronic Books to Users of Public Libraries has been signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy.
The new law will require the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to conduct a study to survey “whether and how book publishers and third-party electronic book distributors sell, license or otherwise make electronic books available to users of public libraries in this state.” The participants in the study are also charged with making “recommendations to increase the availability of electronic books to users of public libraries in this state.”
The study is to be completed, and a report made by the State Commissioner of Consumer Protection, no later than Feb. 1, 2014.
“Libraries provide services to the entire population of our towns and cities. At present there is no clear access for libraries to provide this medium at a fair cost and/or licensing agreement. Anything that reduces the “budgetary pressures” on small towns and as such is in favor of reducing costs to libraries in purchasing e-books,” said Rep. O’Dea.
During the public hearing phase of the process, the Connecticut Library Association testified that public libraries want fair access to publishers’ e-books at a reasonable price and with reasonable restrictions on lending policies.
Posted on August 5, 2013 by admin
NEW CANAAN- State Rep. Thomas O’Dea Jr. (R-125) is reminding New Canaan and Wilton shoppers about the upcoming tax-free week the third week of August.
“With the summer winding down, many of you are likely getting your families ready to go back to school. And during these tough economic times, the back-to-school bill can be especially overwhelming,” said Rep. O’Dea.
Connecticut shoppers will have a full week to take advantage of tax breaks on clothing and footwear costing less than $300. This year’s tax-free week runs from Sunday, Aug. 18 through Saturday, Aug. 24.
During the Sales Tax Holiday Week, most individual items of clothing and footwear priced under $300 are exempt from Connecticut’s sales and use tax. During that week, the increased exemption replaces the standard exemption for clothing under $50. For purchases costing $300 or more, sales tax is calculated on the full cost of the item.
“Every year, shoppers look forward to the third week in August as a way to save some money for back to school items and other needs,” said Rep. O’Dea. “Consumers can get the most for their money without a sales tax on items under $300 and merchants see an increase in sales.”
“Even though the state’s non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis has projected that the state will forgo about $3.5 million during the 2013 holiday, I believe the benefits of this program for state consumers and businesses far outweigh this temporary revenue loss. If anything we should use this as an example institute more tax free holidays,” said Rep. O’Dea.
Check the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) Web site at ct.gov/drs for information about the Connecticut Sales Tax Holiday Week.
Posted on July 24, 2013 by admin
There will be Department of Transportation tree trimming on Merritt Parkway in Stamford, New Canaan and Norwalk this weekend.
The tree trimming operation will be performed on the Merritt Parkway (Route 15) northbound and southbound in Stamford, New Canaan and Norwalk on the morning of Saturday, July 27, 2013.
LANE CLOSURE INFO
Motorists can expect lane closures on Route 15 Northbound and Southbound between Exit 33 (Den Road #2) and Exit 38 (Route 123) in Stamford, New Canaan and Norwalk. Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be utilized to guide motorists through the work zone. The regular work schedule for this project is from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Saturday).
Motorists should be aware that modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving in this vicinity.
Posted on July 16, 2013 by admin
Connecticut’s new paint recycling program has begun, the new law mandates paint manufacturers create and fund a program to manage unused or leftover post-consumer paint.
This recycling program allows consumers to dispose of unused or leftover paint in a responsible and environmentally-friendly manner.
PaintCare, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit set up by the American Coatings Association, manages the program in Connecticut and has established paint drop-off sites across the state. PaintCare drop-off sites are permanent and open year-round making it much more convenient for people to recycle their paint – including oil-based, water-based, and latex paint and deck stains.
Most drop-off sites are paint retail stores and hardware stores. Others sites include town transfer stations, recycling centers, and government-sponsored household hazardous waste programs.
In addition, PaintCare is sponsoring statewide drop-off events. For our area, a paint drop-off event will be held on July 20th at Fairfield Ward High School, 755 Melville Avenue, Fairfield, CT 06825 from 9am – 1pm. This includes an opportunity to recycle both latex and oil-based paint.
Click here for more details on PaintCare, and the new paint recycling program including:
* Participating private paint and hardware stores
* Acceptable and unacceptable products at paint care drop-off sites
* Statewide Drop-Off Events, including participating towns and dates
The paint recycle program is funded by a ‘recovery fee’ added to the purchase price of paint at retailers throughout participating states. Consumers in CT will now pay an extra fee when they buy paint. The fees will run from $0.35 cents for a pint to $0.75 cents for a gallon of paint.
Connecticut is the third state in the U.S. to have such a program, after Oregon and California. Rhode Island’s paint recycling program will begin in 2014.
Posted on July 1, 2013 by admin
To keep you informed about new legislation affecting our state, I would like to bring your attention to the list of soon-to-be state laws and regulations taking effect this Monday, July 1, 2013.
Some of the measures include the new state budget, an increase to the minimum wage, mental health reforms and education mandate relief.
Below is a link to the Public Acts with the sections that will take effect, along with links to summaries for each act: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/Content/AEArchives/ActsEffective0713.asp
If you would like to discuss these or any other topics that came before the legislature this session, please contact me by calling 800-842-1423 or emailing Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov
Posted on June 18, 2013 by admin
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) now offers estimated wait times online.
Using a computer, smart phone or tablet, you can find wait times before heading to any of its major service offices around the state.
According to the DMV, the online times are within 10 minutes of real time.
The new wait-time link on the DMV Web site shows times for various services each office offers, such as registering a vehicle, obtaining a license or ID card, requesting a duplicate title and making registration and license name changes.
You can check out the new service here.
Posted on June 18, 2013 by admin
I thought I would give you the good, the bad and the ugly of the just concluded the 2013 legislative session.
In response to the Newtown school shooting, we established a school safety infrastructure council which will determine statewide safety standards and administer a $15 million grant program to help districts conduct security assessments and implement capital improvements.
We also focused our effort on establishing a comprehensive mental, emotional and behavioral health plan for children that also ensures families access to that care. This bill appropriately speaks to the concerns brought to our attention by Newtown and does a lot towards beginning to address our concerns for the safety of our children.
We were able to pass a bill strengthening penalties against driving while distracted. The new law increases fines for distracted driving and creates a point system for offenses that has the potential to affect the violator’s car insurance premium.
In an attempt to expand the highly successful Small Business Express program that was instituted in 2011, we passed additional pro-jobs legislation which increases the existing program to include companies with up to 100 employees, and provides additional funding to meet the demand from small businesses. Another measure passed this session phases in a requirement to offer property tax exemptions for businesses that use renewable energy sources to provide power for their business which will keep the cost of doing business in Connecticut a little lower for some companies.
A major energy reform package passed that will help the state continue to meet its world-leading renewable energy goals while also taking innovative steps to reduce the cost of electricity across the board for resident electric ratepayers, especially those on fixed incomes. A companion energy bill that was passed will help jumpstart our renewable energy programs in Connecticut and provide cleaner, cheaper energy
Furthermore, we passed some very supportive and substantial laws for veterans this session.
One bill allows a local or regional board of education to award a diploma to a Vietnam era veteran who left high school early to serve in the Vietnam War. Another proposal guarantees that all 169 town halls in Connecticut designate at least one employee to serve as a contact person for veterans and to answer their questions regarding veterans’ benefits and programs. And a third bill, helps veterans transition into the workforce and educational institutions by establishing a task force to study the use of military occupational specialty training experience to satisfy training requirements for state licensing purposes and to examine military occupational specialty training and determine if any such training is equivalent to that required for state licensing purposes.
A bill to create a task force and bring people in different areas of expertise together to address issues and concerns of people with Alzheimer’s disease was passed this session. The task force would assist developing a comprehensive and strategic plan to address the Alzheimer’s epidemic.
I also helped block a very bad piece of legislation that would have decreased the drug-free zones around schools and daycare centers from 1,500 feet to 300 feet, which would have allowed drug dealers to sell drugs much closer to children without having the enhanced drug free zone penalty applied.
Some of the bad pieces of legislation that passed were:
1. A state budget passed by the General Assembly that continues Connecticut down a very dangerous fiscal path, which includes requiring the state to borrow $750 million in order to pay day-to-day expenses. Over 15 years, this will cost taxpayers $186 million in interest charges alone.
2. A new law which I found offensive to all law-abiding citizens in New Canaan and Wilton, requires the State Department of Motor Vehicles to issue valid Connecticut driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants who reside in the state for only 90 days or more even if they are convicted felons outside of Connecticut.
3. Another proposal which I opposed that will become law increases the opportunity for negative campaigning in Connecticut while also permitting more special interest money into state elections. This proposal is going in the wrong direction as I had sought to have the public funding of campaigns eliminated saving the state over 40 million dollars but now your hard earned tax dollars may be used to fund negative ads.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you have about state government, including visiting the state capitol, or to request an official citation to commemorate a significant achievement or life event. As always, you can reach me at 1-800-842-1423 or by e-mail at Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov.
Posted on June 5, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Thomas O’Dea (New Canaan and Wilton) supported a proposal in the House of Representatives to make it a criminal offense to recruit a minor to participate in a “criminal gang.”
“I supported this proposal with the expectation Connecticut will reduce youth violence and gang activity by educating at risk youth about the consequences of these criminal activities, and by taking preemptive steps to curtail any potential violence,” said Rep. O’Dea, a member of the Judiciary committee.
HB-6703, An Act Concerning Youth Violence and Gang Activity, classifies this new criminal gang recruitment as a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year imprisonment, up to a $ 2,000 fine, or both.
Under the bill, a “criminal gang” is defined as a formal or informal organization, association, or group of three or more people that has: as one of its primary activities, committing one or more criminal acts; members who individually or collectively engage or have engaged in one or more criminal acts; and an identifying name, sign, or symbol, or an identifiable leadership or hierarchy.
The bill also requires the establishment of three city pilot programs with the goal of reducing the number of children and youths that come into contact with the juvenile justice system and to reduce recidivism among delinquent children and youths.
Posted on June 4, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD – State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) voiced opposition with a two-year Democrat budget debated and passed at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning June 2nd. The budget relies on circumventing the state Constitution, one-shot revenue sweeps and hundreds of millions in new debt to accommodate a nearly 10% spending increase, while imposing a 16% gas tax hike and devastating hospital cuts.
In order to skirt the Constitutional Spending Cap – which was designed as a tool to slow future spending and assuage public anger over the enactment of the state income tax in 1991 – the Democrats created an astonishing $6.3 billion exemption for federal Medicaid funding.
Rep. O’Dea said, “We need to live within the limits of this Constitutional cap, as approved by more than that 80 percent of voters at the polls, back in 1991! This budget renders the cap meaningless and re-defines the will of the people.”
The budget also relies heavily on desperate revenue grabs, including $750 million in borrowing for cash flow to keep the lights on in state buildings and the delay of nearly $400 million of scheduled debt payments that will cost tens of millions in interest.
Desperate for the numbers to add up, Democrats swept the following specialized funds:
“The worst part about raiding the Transportation Fund is that money comes from the taxes you pay on gasoline. Consequently, this budget also will allow a 16% increase in the gross receipts tax on petroleum taking effect on July 1st, and now it won’t even be used for road or rail repair,” said Rep. O’Dea, who as a member of the Transportation committee supported legislation to put dedicated transportation funds in a lockbox.
The budget also extends a 20% corporate surcharge tax that businesses were told would expire, a move, which O’Dea says, perpetuates our unstable business climate, prevents job creators from hiring and discourages businesses from coming to Connecticut.
Unfortunately, due to a long-standing family obligation, State Rep. Tom O’Dea was unable to be at the State Capitol in Hartford for the initial state budget vote which took place at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday morning. The bill passed on a party line vote of 95-48. Prior to leaving the Capitol and after meeting with legislative leaders, it was determined the budget would clearly pass along party lines.
“I worked extensively in a bipartisan manner and negotiated with legislative leaders on budget implementation language which are the bills used to spell out the details and implementation process for the two-year state budget. Although some of the implementation language was improved, I felt compelled to vote against any increase to the State’s budget,” said Rep. O’Dea.
O’Dea plans a business tour this summer in the district to hear concerns from small business owners about how Connecticut can foster a better relationship with the business community.
Posted on June 3, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- In effort to accelerate the return of many of our state’s skilled veterans to the workforce, State Rep. Thomas O’Dea Jr. (New Canaan and Wilton) supported veterans’ legislation which helps facilitate that transition.
HB-5387, An Act Establishing A Task Force To Study The Use Of Military Occupational Specialty Training As A Substitute For State Licensing Requirements, helps veterans transition into the workforce and educational institutions by establishing a task force to study the use of military occupational specialty training experience to satisfy training requirements for state licensing purposes and to examine military occupational specialty training and determine if any such training is equivalent to that required for state licensing purposes.
“While serving our country here and abroad, servicemen and women receive countless hours of training,” Rep. O’Dea said. “The bill aids veterans in matching their skill set with professional licensing requirements and matching their military education with civilian school credits to optimize their employability. We owe it to our veterans to do everything possible to facilitate their integration into the civilian workforce,” said Rep. O’Dea.
Posted on May 30, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD – State Rep. Thomas O’Dea (R-125) voted for a major reform package that will help the state continue to meet its world-leading renewable energy goals while also taking innovative steps to reduce the cost of electricity across the board.
The bill, 1138 takes several steps to protect ratepayers while still keeping our state’s commitment to heavily investing in renewable energy. The bill passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support in an effort to jumpstart our renewable energy programs in Connecticut.
“Right now, Connecticut has some of the highest electricity costs in the country. We need to diversify our state portfolio to bring those costs down for our state economy, our households and businesses. At the same time, we must make real sustainable growth on renewable energy. I believe this bill strikes the appropriate balance to achieve both,” said O’Dea, a member of the legislature’s Environment committee.
The bill authorizes additional clean energy sources to be included in the Class I renewable category such as electricity derived from geothermal, landfill methane gas or anaerobic digestion and by tightening the standards for biomass plants. The current definition already includes solar, wind, fuel cell, ocean & wave power and local hydropower within the state provided they meet strict environmental standards.
O’Dea said, “By permitting our state to invest in different clean renewables, Connecticut keeps its commitment to renewable energy and helps lead to more affordable energy as well. This bill provides for cleaner, cheaper energy, which is a win, win for the ratepayers and residents of Connecticut.”
Effective immediately, the bill permits the Commissioner of the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) to initiate a competitive bidding process for the construction of new “Class I” (ex: solar, wind) renewable energy generation facilities. Long-term power purchase contracts of up to 20 years would be signed with winning bidders to provide a stable source of revenue for their projects.
Existing state law calls for 20 percent of all the state’s electricity to come from Class I renewable sources by 2020.
Without displacing any of Connecticut’s existing renewable energy commitments, the legislation would also permit the DEEP to enter into 15-year power purchase agreements for either Class I renewable energy or large-scale hydroelectric energy from New England or the Northeastern provinces of Canada, totaling up to 5 percent of Connecticut’s total electric load.
This provision would reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions while also helping to displace the need to operate older, dirty fossil fuel generators at times of peak electric demand. These “peaking” generators dramatically increase overall electric rates on any day they operate.
Further provisions of the bill would:
Posted on May 30, 2013 by admin
Nearly every town and every trail in Connecticut is ready for you this weekend, which is Connecticut Trails Day Weekend.
There are more than 500 miles of trails in Connecticut, and this weekend, 259 of the state’s trails in 152 towns will be hosting outdoor activities for everyone.
From hiking to biking; running to horseback riding; maintenance to educational walks; and bird watching to kayaking or canoeing, our state trails have it all. These events are guided by knowledgeable volunteers from local hiking clubs, parks and recreation departments, state agencies, conservation organizations, historic groups, education programs, and land trusts.
In New Canaan, there will be:
In Wilton, you can find the following:
For a listing of other towns and their activities, click here.
The Connecticut Forest and Park Association has plenty of additional tools and information at their website, which can be visited by clicking here.
The American Hiking Society, which founded National Trails Day, is marking the country’s largest celebration of trails during the 100th anniversary of Connecticut’s state parks and forests system.
Enjoy the trails and enjoy your weekend.
Posted on May 20, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Tom O’Dea (New Canaan and Wilton) supported a bill today to allow a local or regional board of education to award a diploma to a veteran who left high school early to serve in the Vietnam War.
This bill allows local and regional school boards to award high school diplomas to Vietnam era veterans who left high school before graduating for military service. The law already allows boards to do this for World War II and Korean War veterans. The bill covers honorably or generally discharged veterans who served actively from February 28, 1961 to July 1, 1975 in the U. S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Air Force or any of their reserve components, including the Connecticut National Guard.
“It is my hope this bill permits a new generation of veterans who bravely served in defense of our freedom will able to finally obtain the diploma they deserve,” said Rep. O’Dea.
The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.
Posted on May 16, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD – When the nation’s patriots rallied around the war effort in 1941, some left high school to join the military and supporting industries – including women in factories. Some of those women never had the opportunity return to high school and receive their diplomas.
On Thursday, State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi sought to change that.
Rep. Bacchiochi, R-Somers, was joined by other legislators in offering an amendment to House Bill 6624 that addressed a previous oversight prohibiting these women workers from receiving their high school diplomas.
“Over 3 million women worked in war plants and factories during World War II, and many left high school to serve in this capacity,” said Rep. Bacchiochi, a member of the legislature’s Veterans Committee. “The passage of this amendment will allow individuals who fall into this category to request a diploma, just as veterans are currently allowed to do. I see this as the ‘Rosie the Riveter’ effort, and I was happy to be a part of helping the women who did so much for this country.”
The amendment, a bipartisan effort made up of 30 legislators, allows boards of education to award diplomas to anyone who withdrew from high school prior to graduation to “work in a job that assisted the war effort during World War II, December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946,” and has been a resident of the state for at least 50 years. The minor revision to the education statutes has no added cost to taxpayers.
H.B. 6624, which the amendment was attached to, made minor, technical changes to the state statutes. It passed unanimously.
Posted on May 15, 2013 by admin
Posted on May 8, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Thomas O’Dea (New Canaan and Wilton) supported legislation addressing an inadequacy in current law on sexual assault which would hold offenders accountable when they sexually assault individuals with intellectual disabilities.
This legislation addresses the State v. Fourtin, 2009 Connecticut Appellate Court case which was affirmed by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2012. The bill now moves to the State Senate for final approval.
O’Dea said, “The Fourtin decision exposed a complete insufficiency in the law, the legislature needed to address immediately. We should not be re-victimizing the victims by making it more difficult to prosecute the offenders who have sexually assaulted them.”
The Appellate Court ruled that although the victim had significant disabilities…including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and hydrocephalus, they were not persuaded that the complainant was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent. Specifically, the Court found that because the victim “could communicate using various nonverbal methods”…“no reasonable jury could have concluded that the victim was physically helpless.”
The current law only defines “physically helpless” as “unable to consent to sexual contact, or that a person must be unconscious or in a state akin to unconsciousness.
HB-6641, An Act Concerning the Sexual Assault of Persons Whose Ability to Communicate Lack of Consent is Substantially Impaired, provides that sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a person, whose ability to resist or communicate consent is substantially impaired because of such person’s mental or physical condition, constitutes the offense of sexual assault.
People with disabilities face the highest rates of sexual victimization of any population in our country. According to the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, up to 83% of women and 32% of men with developmental disabilities will experience some kind of sexual abuse during their lifetime.
Posted on May 7, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Tom O’Dea (New Canaan & Wilton) voted in the Judiciary Committee to protect consumers from price gouging during severe weather events by strengthening current gouging laws.
The bill, SB 320, An Act Prohibiting Price Gouging During Severe Weather Events extends the bar on excessive price increases to goods and services sold during any severe weather event emergency that the governor proclaims a weather emergency.
“This legislation attempts to protect consumers from deceitful businesses who try to charge excessive prices for goods and services during these severe events,” said Rep. O’Dea.
“New Canaan and Wilton residents were gouged significantly by some dishonest businesses during the past few major storms. Some companies quoted residents extremely high prices for tree removal or roof snow removal following a storm, taking advantage of their situation. This bill protects homeowners from this type of price-gouging and is a consumer-friendly bill with broad, bipartisan support,” said O’Dea.
“This bill gives the state an important tool to deter unscrupulous businesses from charging unconscionably high prices during such times,” said Rep. O’Dea.
Under the bill, no seller can sell or offer to sell any goods or services for an “unconscionably excessive price” during a weather emergency. The bill prohibits price gouging equally for consumer goods and services that are essential for the safety and welfare of consumers.
Current law prohibits anyone from increasing the retail price of any goods, but not services, when the governor issues a disaster or transportation emergency declaration or the president issues any major disaster or emergency declaration.
The bill now goes to both the State Senate then the House of Representatives for a full floor debate.
Posted on May 4, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Thomas O’Dea (New Canaan & Wilton) supported a proposal to require the Department of Consumer Protection to collect prescription information to prevent improper or illegal drug use.
Under the proposal, pharmacists must electronically report certain drug information to DCP, including the dispensing date, dispenser identification and prescription number, and certain patient identification data.
Currently, the program collects information on schedules II through V controlled substances. The bill allows the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) commissioner to identify additional products to be included in the program.
“Prescription drug abuse is a problem of epidemic proportions in our country. Emergency Room visits involving misuse or abuse of prescription drugs more than doubled between 2004 and 2010, and prescription medications are now the most commonly abused drugs among 12 and 13 year olds. This bill will help reduce the availability of prescription drugs to Connecticut’s youth,” said Rep. O’Dea.
The bill now heads to the State Senate for final approval.
Posted on April 30, 2013 by admin
WILTON— In order to keep constituents up-to-date on the latest at the State Capitol, State Reps. Gail Lavielle (R-143), Tom O’Dea (R-125), along with State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), hosted a town hall style meeting recently at Trackside Teen Center in Wilton April 29th.
The Wilton lawmakers discussed the current state budget crisis giving a presentation on Governor Malloy’s proposed budget, and answered questions from attendees about issues concerning the community and state.
Among the topics discussed were the state’s growing unfunded pension liabilities, Connecticut’s continued increase in state borrowing and spending even while the state is in deficit, and the Connecticut’s poor business climate and high unemployment.
“Connecticut’s economy continues to struggle,” said Rep. Lavielle. “Hearing from constituents at local town hall meetings like this one demonstrates that our constituents are looking for real leadership that changes the current course. We must do everything we can to make the future more prosperous for the residents of Connecticut.”
“Since personal income growth, was only 2% from 2011-2012, the second slowest in the country, I believe this two year tax and spending proposal asks more from those already hit hard by the recession and by the highest retroactive tax increase in the state’s history. A budget is a statement on the direction you wish to take the state. A 9.6% spending bill in the next two years while revenues fall short of forecasts and employee concessions are only half of those predicted, does not engender confidence that we are moving the state in the right direction,” said Sen. Boucher.
Rep. O’Dea said, “Our delegation wants public input to be at the center of this debate. We will bring that feedback back to the legislature and continue to fight on Wilton’s behalf to control state spending, eliminate government waste and stop any proposed tax increase.”
Anyone who was unable to attend the event but would like to speak with Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea and Sen. Boucher can reach them any time by contacting 800-842-1423 or 800-842-1421.
Posted on April 17, 2013 by admin
It is that time of year again – find your rods, dust off your lures, and get ready for Opening Day of trout fishing season!
This is a great opportunity for many Connecticut families to get outdoors and interact with nature and wild life.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) began its annual spring trout stocking earlier this year and expects to have 376,000 fish stocked throughout the state by Opening Day this Saturday, April 20.
Over 200 truckloads of fish will be released into 101 lakes and ponds and 203 rivers and streams throughout Connecticut.
Anglers can purchase their 2013 fishing licenses directly online, or at one of the many participating town halls, tackle retailers and DEEP offices.
Posted on April 16, 2013 by admin
Proposed Bill Makes School Drug Free Zones Smaller and Only During School Hours
HARTFORD – State Representative Thomas O’Dea (New Canaan & Wilton) opposed a measure considered by the Judiciary Committee today that would shrink the perimeter drug free zones at schools and day care centers while also limiting them strictly to official hours.
School “Drug Free Zones” currently extend to 1,500 feet beyond the perimeter of the campus but the current proposal would limit the drug free area to only 200 feet and differentiates between regular school hours, after-hours school-sponsored activities, and non-school sponsored times of the day. Day care centers currently enjoy similar “Drug Free Zone” definitions of 1,500 feet and extending to all hours of the day but House Bill 6511 would similarly limit the zone to only 200 feet beyond the perimeter and only during day care center operating hours.
“I believe our Connecticut schools should be places of learning. We should hold our schools to high standards. If we suddenly apply time limits to drug free zones, are we sending a message that schools are a place for learning one moment, but after the final bell rings it becomes a new market for drug dealers?” Rep. O’Dea said. “Our schools and day cares are where we send our children to learn and grow. Parents and children alike should see them as safe havens.”
“The legislature should not distinguish between class hours, a homecoming dance, and when the first school bus drops off children before classes start and there should be no differentiation,” said O’Dea.
O’Dea said, “Selling or possessing drugs is illegal. When drugs are sold at or near public schools, we have allowed them to become dangerous environments. Tough drug free zones send a message to criminals that we are serious about our children. They are not a marketplace. School is a place for them to learn and grow.”
Posted on April 10, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Thomas O’Dea participated in the annual Connecticut Realtors’ Day meeting with dozens of realtors who traveled to the State Capitol from the communities of – New Canaan and Wilton to talk about a number of state issues that impact their industry.
Realtors from all over the state attended and participated in discussions with state legislators to let them know our views on the topics that directly impact our business.
Rep. O’Dea believes that the State’s job market and economy are directly dependent on the health of our housing market, and was eager and open to listening to their concerns.
The Connecticut Association of Realtors expressed their opposition to any increase in the real estate conveyance tax and advocating for reform of the state’s foreclosure regulations.
Posted on April 9, 2013 by admin
WILTON- Wilton State Reps. Gail Lavielle (R-143), Thomas O’Dea (R-125) and State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) invite their constituents in Wilton to attend an April 29th town hall-style meeting where they will outline issues and priorities for the 2013 legislative session.
The event will be held at the Trackside Teen Center, 15 Station Road in Wilton. The hour and a half long session begins at 7:00 p.m.
The Wilton Delegation will discuss the current state budget situation, the looming deficit, and Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposal to grab the town’s property tax revenue leaving Wilton with a four million dollar budget hole.
Anyone with questions ahead of the event can call Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea’s office at 800-842-1423 or Sen. Boucher at 800-842-1421.
Posted on April 9, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- With the April 15th income tax deadline almost here, Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) wanted to remind New Canaan and Wilton taxpayers that Connecticut’s Tax Freedom Day – the day on which the state’s citizens stop working for the government and start working for themselves – comes on May 13, 2013, the latest in the nation according to the Tax Foundation.
Tax Freedom Day is the day out of each year when Americans will finally have enough money to pay off their tax bills, but Connecticut families have the unfortunate distinction of needing a longer time to pay their taxes than families in all other states.
Rep. O’Dea said. “It takes us longer than any other state to pay our taxes. Last year, CT Tax Freedom day was May 5th; we lost 8 more days of freedom in one year. Our state needs to do better. We have a taxing and spending problem in Hartford.”
Here are some of Connecticut’s taxes at a glance as reported by the Tax Foundation:
Posted on April 4, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- In the wake of the tragic and horrific crimes by a mentally deranged shooter in Newtown, State Rep. Tom O’Dea (New Canaan and Wilton) announced his support for a bipartisan agreement reached recently by legislative leaders based on the Sandy Hook taskforce charged with crafting concrete solutions to address gun violence, school safety and mental health.
“My vote was cast at 2:30 am on Thursday morning with much deliberation and thoughtful reflection after about eight hours of intense debate. I voted for the bill because I believe it will enhance public safety. Specifically this legislation includes provisions on mental health treatment, school security and the elimination of early release credits for violent offenders. There is a lot of misinformation concerning this legislation. This bill does not confiscate any gun or magazine.” said Rep. O’Dea, a member of the Judiciary Committee.
“The public outcry following the heartbreaking Sandy Hook massacre was overwhelming. While I absolutely would have preferred more time to receive public input on the bill and obtain more information on what happened in Newtown, I believe the positives of the legislation outweigh the negatives. In an effort to improve the legislation, a number of us supported amendments but we were unsuccessful. As a member of the minority party with a 2 to 1 disadvantage in the legislature, we had two choices: sit back and allow the majority party to legislate our rights away; or, participate in the drafting process in an effort to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and enhance public safety. If you think we should have done the former, just look at the Governor’s bill to see what would have happened.”
“Let me be clear, this legislation does not criminalize any citizen who currently legally owns a semi-automatic firearm or large capacity magazine. Gun owners will be permitted to keep their firearms as long as they follow the new reporting requirements,” said Rep. O’Dea.
Some of the highlights of the new laws addressing mental health services and school security:
• Requiring DMHAS to administer a mental health training program to teach people to recognize the signs of mental illness in children and young adults.
• Allows boards of education to offer in-service mental health training.
• Creates a task force to conduct a comprehensive study of Connecticut’s mental health system with a focus on 16-25-year-olds.
• Expands DMHAS’s Assertive Community treatment (ACT) program to three additional locations to provide recovery-oriented treatment and support.
• Establishes a School Safety Infrastructure Council to develop safety standards for school building projects
• Reauthorizes the school security infrastructure competitive grant program to reimburse towns for approved school safety upgrades.
• Requires school security and safety plans be developed at each school.
• Requires school climate committees established by bullying law to investigate instances of disturbing and threatening behavior reported to it.
Some of the gun safety measures include:
• Establishes a dangerous weapon offender registry.
• Requires “universal background checks” on the sale of all firearms.
• Focuses Connecticut’s Assault Weapons Ban on the functionality and operability features of a weapon rather than the cosmetic characteristics.
• Bans the sale or purchase of large capacity magazines.
• Allows current legal owners of large capacity magazines and newly outlawed guns to keep them.
• Expands Connecticut’s safe storage law that.
• Increases penalties for firearms trafficking and illegal possession offenses.
Additionally, this bill ends the practice of giving Early Release (good time) credits to violent offenders.
“While I understand that this bill is not perfect, it is my belief that it will make our communities safer, address gun violence, mental health and school security while not overstepping individual rights. Gun owners will still be able to keep their current guns and magazines and there will be minimal impact on the types of guns and magazines future gun enthusiasts will be able to buy in Connecticut,” said Rep. O’Dea.
Posted on April 3, 2013 by admin
Q. Will I have to surrender any of my currently owned firearms, magazines, or ammunition?
A. No. The bill does not provide for the confiscation of any property lawfully owned prior to the effective date of the bill.
Q. What will I need in order to purchase a long gun?
A. After April 1, 2014, you will need a pistol permit, an eligibility certificate, or a long gun eligibility certificate to purchase a long gun in Connecticut.
The new long gun eligibility certificate is similar to the existing eligibility certificate. To apply for a long gun eligibility certificate, a person must be 18 or older, successfully complete a firearms safety course and background check, and must not have been involuntarily confined to a hospital for a psychiatric disability within the past 5 years or voluntarily confined to a hospital for a psychiatric disability within the past 6 months.
Q. What will I need to purchase ammunition?
A. After October 1, 2013, you will need a pistol permit, eligibility certificate, long gun eligibility certificate or an ammunition certificate along with a valid form of identification in order to purchase ammunition in Connecticut.
To obtain an ammunition certificate, any person 18 or older may request that the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection perform a national criminal history records check to determine if such person is eligible to possess a firearm in Connecticut. After a successful records check, the Department will issue an ammunition certificate that is good for 5 years.
Q. Will there be any limits as to the quantity of legal firearms or ammunition that I can purchase?
A. No. The bill does not limit or restrict the amount of legal firearms or ammunition that may be purchased by an eligible buyer.
Q. What are the limits on detachable magazines? How many rounds can I carry?
A. Upon passage of the bill, you will no longer be able to purchase detachable magazines that accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition in Connecticut. If prior to passage, you own detachable magazines that accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition you may keep those magazines as long as you file a declaration of possession with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. The declaration will let the Department know you lawfully possessed the large capacity magazines before the bill went into effect.
Persons who lawfully possess large capacity magazines prior to the passage of the bill can carry their magazines at home and at target ranges or shooting clubs filled to capacity. The magazines may also be used at a person’s place of business or other property owned by that person as long as the magazine does not contain more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Large capacity magazines can also be transported between these places if they contain no more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Q. Are there changes being made to the permit application process or fee structure?
A. The process for obtaining a pistol permit remains the same; however, applicants going forward will only be able to apply for a temporary permit to carry in the town where they are a bona fide resident. In the past, you could apply for a temporary permit to carry in either your town of residence or place of business. Also, you may only apply for a temporary permit to carry a pistol or revolver once every twelve months.
There are no increases in any existing fees. There are fees related to the new long gun eligibility certificate and the ammunition certificate. Both certificates will cost $35 every five years.
Q. Will there be a new firearm ammunition tax?
A. No. There are no new taxes included in the bill.
Q. Will there be a new insurance requirement for firearms owners?
A. No. There is no mention of insurance requirements for firearms owners in the bill.
Q. Are police, military and corrections officers who are exempt in their professional capacity also exempt in the private capacity?
A. Yes. The exemptions for police, military and corrections officers apply on and off duty.
Q. How does the bill change private transactions?
A. The bill will requires a background check for all firearm sales, including private transactions. Parties seeking to privately transfer a firearm will need to provide proof that they are eligible to buy or sell a firearm, and they will need to have a background check performed by either the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or a federal firearms license dealer.
Q. Will those who currently own a firearm be required to undergo retroactive “universal” background checks?
A. Only those who possessed newly designated assault weapons prior to passage of the bill will have to apply for a certificate of possession for assault weapons. The application for the certificate of possession requires a background check.
Q. How will online gun purchases be changed?
A. The laws that apply to the purchase or sale of firearms or ammunition under Connecticut law apply to online purchases. Businesses selling firearms or ammunition online to Connecticut residents will need to verify that a person is eligible to purchase a firearm or ammunition in order to sell it.
Q. How many guns are you banning?
A. The bill lists a number of specific firearms that upon passage of the bill will no longer be available for purchase in Connecticut. It will be unlawful to possess these firearms unless you owned the firearms before the effective date of the bill, and you apply for a certificate of possession to have them.
Q. What types of rifles are banned?
A. The bill adds rifles with the following features to the assault weapons ban: Any semiautomatic centerfire rifles (regardless of when they are manufactured) that accept a detachable magazine and have any one of the following: (1) folding or telescopic stock, (2) a grip that is below the action of the weapon, (3) forward grip, (4) a flash suppressor or a grenade or flare launcher. It also limits semiautomatic centerfire rifles that have a fixed magazine with the ability to accept more than ten rounds or any semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.
Q. What types of handguns are banned?
A. The bill adds handguns with the following features to the assault weapons ban: Semiautomatic pistols (regardless of when they are manufactured) with a detachable magazine and have any one of the following: (1) An ability to accept a detachable magazine that attaches at some location outside of the pistol grip, (2) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward pistol grip or silencer, (3) a shroud, or (4) a second hand grip. It also limits any semiautomatic pistol that has a fixed magazine that accepts more than ten rounds.
Q. What types of shotguns are banned?
A. The bill adds shotguns with the following features to the assault weapons ban: Semiautomatic shotguns that have BOTH a folding or telescopic stock and a grip that is below the action of the weapon. Shotguns that are capable of accepting a detachable magazine will now be banned. In addition, shotguns with a revolving cylinder will also be illegal.
Q. Are any rimfire rifles banned?
A. Rimfire rifles are not affected by the new law. There are semiautomatic pistols that fire rimfire ammunition that may fit within the definition of an assault weapon depending on the features of such pistol.
Q. What will the impact of the banned weapons be to the gun industry in Connecticut?
A. Manufacturers of assault weapons located in Connecticut will be able to continue to engage in the manufacturing of assault weapons in this state. Manufacturers may also continue to sell rimfire rifles, shotguns and rifles that meet our new definition. Section 53-202i of the Connecticut General Statutes expressly exempts the assault ban provisions from the manufacture of such weapons.
Q. Will antique weapons firearms be subject to the assault weapons ban?
A. The current definition of what constitutes an antique firearm remains unchanged under the bill.
Q. What are penalties if registration or certificates not done?
A. Persons who lawfully possess a newly designated assault weapon will have until January 1, 2014 to apply for a certificate of possession for that firearm. People in possession of newly designated assault weapons who fail to register their firearms will have committed a Class A misdemeanor for a first time violation. Subsequent violations of the law will be classified as a Class D felony.
Persons who are in lawful possession of large capacity magazines (magazines that exceed 10 rounds of bullets) that have been acquired prior to the effective date of the bill, will have until January 1, 2014 to declare each large capacity magazine. Failure to declare any large capacity firearms past that date will have committed an infraction for a first offense and a Class D felony for subsequent offenses.
Posted on March 22, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- Listening to testimony from family members of homicide victims, State Rep. Thomas O’Dea (R-125) expressed his opposition to giving early release (good time) credits for violent criminals.
Legislators in the Judiciary Committee are conducting a public hearing on proposed legislation to repeal the program allowing Connecticut inmates to earn credit toward early release for good behavior.
Rep. O’Dea, a practicing attorney in the state, “After hearing today’s public hearing testimony, it is clear to me this program is putting our public safety at risk. Our duty as legislators is to safeguard and protect the public and although having inmates serve their full sentence may not prevent them from hurting someone again, it does send the right message that Connecticut is about preventing crime.”
The program currently allows inmates to earn up to a maximum of five days a month off their sentence for complying with certain programs, and for their accompanying good behavior. The credits can be revoked.
The program permits the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections to award the credits to inmates for good behavior retroactive to April 1, 2006. The only felons ineligible for the program are those convicted of murder, first-degree sexual assault and home invasion. It allows criminals who committed crimes such as rape, arson, kidnapping or sexual molestation of a child under 13, out of jail before their sentences are completed.
In June of 2012, a 70-year-old small business owner was shot and killed at his Meriden convenience store. The man arrested for that murder earned 199 days of Risk Reduction Credits while serving time for robbery. In August of 2012, an East Hartford store clerk was also murdered. The man arrested, who was previously convicted for robbery and assault, was released early from jail this year due the Early Release Program.
Posted on March 20, 2013 by admin
NEW CANAAN- State Rep. Thomas O’Dea (R-125) on March 20th presented an official state citation to Elm Restaurant in New Canaan for winning Best New Restaurant from Connecticut Magazine.
Rep. Tom O’Dea presented the recognition to Brian Lewis who is the chef and owner of Elm Restaurant on their first anniversary of opening in New Canaan.
Posted on March 18, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- During a recent meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, State Rep. Thomas O’Dea Jr. (New Canaan and Wilton) voted in favor of stiffer penalties for those who are caught driving while distracted.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 people die each year and distracted driving and half a million drivers are injured in accidents involving texting or phone use.
The legislation House Bill 6033, An Act Increasing Fines for Distracted Driving takes a multi-pronged approach to combat the growing issue of distracted driving by Connecticut drivers, especially our young adults.
• Establishing a task force to prevent distracted driving and help improve enforcement of current laws given the new advancements of mobile technology.
• Increasing the fine for a first distracted driving violation from $100 to $150; a second violation from $150 to $300; and a third violation from $200 to $500.
• Creates a point system for offenses that has the potential to affect the violator’s car insurance premium.
According to AAA, nearly 35 percent of drivers admit to texting while behind the wheel or driving while distracted.
“During my run for state house last year, I stated on numerous occasions that I thought distracted driving was the single biggest danger facing motorists, cyclists and pedestrians on the roads today and this bill increases awareness and the consequences for a violation,” said Rep. O’Dea.
The bill passed unanimously out of the Transportation committee and now heads to the House of Representatives for a full floor debate.
Posted on March 18, 2013 by admin
NEW CANAAN- State Reps. Lawrence Cafero (R-142) and Thomas O’Dea (R-125) along with State Senators Scott Frantz and Toni Boucher (R-26) hosted an old-fashioned town hall meeting with over 50 New Canaan residents this week at New Canaan Library.
The lawmakers who all represent a portion of New Canaan discussed the current state budget deficit, Connecticut’s poor job creation record as well as the pending legislative proposals on gun violence, school security and mental health treatment being negotiated by legislative leaders. The officials explained the complexity of each the issues regarding the Newtown tragedy and answered questions from attendees.
Rep. Cafero said, “It is always helpful to talk directly to the people we represent and exchange ideas on how best to go about the peoples’ business. I always look forward these opportunities and want to thank all who took the time to come out.’’
“I wish to thank those who joined my colleagues and me last night for a productive discussion of state and local matters. I took to heart the comments and suggestions that folks offered, and will keep them in mind when considering the issues that affect New Canaan and surrounding communities” said Rep. O’Dea.
Posted on March 15, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- To educate himself on Connecticut’s waste and recycling efforts, New Canaan and Wilton State Rep. Thomas O’Dea, toured the All Waste, Inc. Solid Waste and Recycling which is one of the largest privately companies in Connecticut.
O’Dea toured one of the few facilities in Connecticut which offers single stream recycling to commercial customers. The advanced technology at the Hartford plant makes it convenient for customers to recycle by placing all their recyclables into one container. The Recycling Facility and Volume Reduction Facility processes thousands of tons of materials each month. Over a recent 12 month period, they recycled over 51,000 tons of material including commercial mixed paper, cardboard (OCC), phonebooks, sawdust, and even tires and metal.
“Single stream recycling is the way of the future. It makes it much easier for citizens to participate, incorporates more materials, and has proven to be a huge success in the places it has been implemented around the nation. With the advent of commercial recycling, more and more products are able to be re-purposed for another use. If protecting the environment as well as becoming more financially efficient is the goals we are striving for, this concept is a winner,” said Rep. O’Dea, a member of the legislature’s Environment Committee.
There is a proposed bill in the HB-6023, An Act Concerning the Use of Recycled Asphalt Roofing Shingles in Road Paving Materials, which would allow for the use of recycled asphalt roof shingles in road paving materials. Close to a dozen states in the country currently allow asphalt shingles to be used.
At a Transportation Committee public hearing the Department of Transportation expressed interest in the use of recycled materials in asphalt pavement.
The Murphy Road Recycling Plant in Hartford uses state-of-the-art recycling sorting machines that separate different recycling products through the use of conveyor belts, laser optics and air jets. Lasers recognize the type and color of plastic or glass, magnet rollers pick up the metal and air jets blow the paper off. The result is that loads of commercial single stream recycling go in as one mixed product, and come out separated into bales of cardboard, mid-grade papers, plastic food and household cleaner containers, metal containers and glass.
Posted on March 5, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD – With today’s public hearing on the Governor’s Car Tax proposal, State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) applauded the testimony by the Council of Small Towns which included the First Selectman of New Canaan, Robert E. Mallozzi, to the legislature’s tax-writing Finance committee opposing Governor Malloy’s plan because the towns would not be reimbursed for the lost tax revenue.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in February released his $41 billion biennium budget which included eliminating Connecticut’s property tax for cars worth less than $28,500 in addition to more spending and borrowing. Local leaders say eliminating the tax would cut at least $600 million in revenue annually and could force local leaders to raise property taxes.
According to the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, New Canaan would lose approximately $3.5 million in car tax collections while Wilton would lose around $4 million.
“Unlike Governor Malloy’s car tax proposal, former Governor Jodi Rell made the towns whole by compensating towns for any lost car tax collections by creating a new state grant. While I support all tax cuts, this new proposal leaves towns struggling to make up the missing revenue, which would mean either higher property taxes or local spending cuts,” said Rep. O’Dea, a member of the Transportation Committee.
“If there is going to be a savings for residents, which I support, the state should cut its spending rather than passing the buck to the municipalities to try and figure out.”
“The issue of unfunded state mandate relief must be addressed this legislative session. The state must keep towns whole at this very difficult economic time. If we’re going to eliminate the car tax, the state must provide municipalities with the lost revenue in the form of a grant and cut state spending elsewhere rather than increasing our debt,” said O’Dea.
Posted on March 1, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- With some state legislators eager to find additional revenue for Connecticut the issue of restoring tolls on major state highways like I-95 received a public hearing. New Canaan State Rep. Thomas O’Dea, a member of the legislature’s Transportation committee, said the state should dismiss the latest proposals to reestablish tolls on Connecticut highways.
“Bringing back tolls remains a bad idea for Connecticut,” said Rep. O’Dea. “One should not forget we eliminated tolls because of highway safety issues, including an accident that killed seven people at a Stratford toll booth. While newer technology such as EZ Pass has the potential to make tolls more convenient, one could also anticipate additional traffic congestion on local roads from people trying to avoid paying them.”
“The larger issue for us is: Why does Connecticut need the additional revenue,” said Rep. O’Dea. “Connecticut does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending addiction problem. The latest proposed state budget is a 9% increase in spending, when the state needs to rein in state government spending.”
The Special Transportation Fund (STF) is the chief funding source for virtually all transportation operating and capital expenditures in Connecticut. The fund was established in 1983, following the collapse of the Mianus River Bridge on the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95), to provide a dedicated revenue stream for transportation infrastructure projects and programs. The following year, the Transportation Infrastructure Program was established and the first Special Tax Obligation (STO) bonds were authorized. Special Tax Obligation bonds are special obligations of the State and are payable solely from the pledged revenues of the special transportation fund.
As state finances have fallen into deficit, the STF has become more and more vulnerable to raiding. Approximately $70 million was taken from special transportation fund in 2012 and put into the general fund, and now the governor has proposed to take another $75 million next fiscal year.
The Special Transportation Fund is supported by revenues from a variety of sources. These sources are considered to be “pledged revenues” under the terms of existing bond covenants. Because the revenues have been pledged to support outstanding bond issues any revenue sources which are reduced or eliminated must be replaced by other revenues.
O’Dea said, “Should the legislature reinstate tolls in Connecticut, I will seek to have said monies earmarked for STF fund and have our taxes reduced by the amount collected by the tolls.”
The Transportation committee heard testimony today that installing tolls in Connecticut could trigger the federal government to demand millions of dollars in reimbursements for federal transportation funding Connecticut was awarded when tolls were outlawed.
Posted on February 21, 2013 by admin
I came to the State Capitol on February 6th to listen to Governor Malloy’s Budget Address, which is his plan for the next two years. While I know the Governor is trying to do what he thinks is right, I believe we need to take a different approach to the fiscal cliff we are facing than what the Governor is proposing.
To begin the conversation, let me first give you the latest figures: the state is facing a $2.5 billion budget deficit over the next two years, and the Governor proposes to increase spending by 9.7% or $1.8 billion over the current budget and bonding $3.1 billion for the biennium. This does not even address the current $140 million deficit for this fiscal year which ends June 30th.
Essentially, the governor’s budget continues to spend money the state does not have while revenues decrease as taxes increase.
I respectfully disagree with the governor’s assertion that towns and cities are held harmless in his budget. Although every municipality is flat-funded by the state, one of their largest income streams, the municipal car tax, is taken away and not replaced with any funding—that’s $500 million that gets taken away. The towns I represent, New Canaan and Wilton, will lose a significant amount of funding in this situation. While I support virtually any proposal that lowers our tax burden, I believe we have to be clear about what is being done. New Canaan and Wilton, not the state, will have to cut spending for there to be no additional property tax burden on residents.
Regarding other taxes, the governor’s plan is letting a number of existing tax cuts which were sun-setting expire. As a result, that’s a new tax people were not planning on paying. For example, businesses that were counting on the promised phasing out of the $116 million corporation tax now find themselves in the position of having less money to hire people or invest in infrastructure.
Governor Malloy’s budget pays for the massive increase in spending by borrowing and bonding an additional $3.1 billion over two years. Remember, bonding the money means we borrow the money with interest.
The governor is increasing borrowing to an unprecedented level, mortgaging the future of the next generation of Connecticut residents, and jeopardizing our bond rating even further- a bond rating that has already been downgraded once within the last 18 months.
The most troubling aspect of the proposal is the massive borrowing to finance operating expenses such as employee salaries and other day-to-day costs that should be included in the general fund.
I came to Hartford last year on the platform to make Connecticut a better place to live and retire. Unfortunately, this budget does nothing to curb the roughly $49,000 per taxpayer debt which is the worst in the country. Connecticut’s current unfunded debt liability stands at $63.9 Billion, which includes the State Employee Pension unfunded at $11 Billion and the Teachers’ Pension unfunded at $11.1 Billion.
At a time when we are competing to keep and bring in retiree’s and America’s best and brightest workers and entrepreneurs, we need to reduce our debt, not increase it. As a person contemplating where to retire or work and start a family, where would you look? At a state ranked at or near the bottom in many different categories including debt and taxation? Indeed, by its operation, the “First Five Program” acknowledges that our taxes and other burdens on businesses are far too great, and thus concedes that without tax breaks, companies would not come to Connecticut. Such a program alienates businesses that have been here and played by the rules for years. We should lower taxes and regulations on all businesses and individuals, including retirees. Such a policy will bring in more revenue, not less.
Now the legislature gets our chance to have public hearings on this proposal and to craft our own budget over the next couple months. It is my hope that we will reduce spending and not only eliminate the need for further borrowing but actually start paying down the massive debt that has been created over the last budgets.
Please visit www.repodea.com for news and commentary on the latest happenings in New Canaan, Wilton and at the State Capitol. I encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter so you can get updates and alerts emailed directly to your inbox. If you have any questions, concerns or ideas please feel free to contact me by phone (860) 240-8700 or email Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov.
Posted on February 21, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD — State Reps. Lawrence Cafero and Thomas O’Dea invite their constituents in New Canaan to attend a March 12th town hall-style meeting where they’ll outline issues and priorities for the 2013 legislative session.
The event will be held at the New Canaan Library, 151 Main St in New Canaan. The hour and a half long session begins at 7:00 p.m.
Anyone with questions ahead of the event can call Reps. Cafero and O’Dea’s office at 800-842-1423.
Posted on February 15, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD- In an effort to save millions of dollars for local communities, especially New Canaan and Wilton, State Rep. Thomas O’Dea has proposed legislation to have state agencies work more efficiently with municipalities on various building projects, particularly bridge repair projects.
H.B. No. 5547, An Act Establishing a Task Force to Streamline the Process for Approving Bridge Projects would establish a task force to study and recommend strategies to streamline the process for approving bridge projects in the state. The task force would include representatives of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and shall submit proposals and recommendations to the General Assembly not later than January 1, 2014.
“The time delays alone with the different state agencies resulted in cost overruns in both New Canaan and Wilton transportation projects that have resulted in a significant hardship on taxpayers,” said Rep. O’Dea, a member of the Transportation committee.
In Wilton, the bridge over Bald Hill Road which was close to a $1 million project was forced to go through a very costly and highly inefficient bureaucratic process in order to complete the bridge. Also in New Canaan, the Lakeview Avenue Bridge Project had extensive cost overruns due in part to state requirements and inspection delays.
Rep. O’Dea said, “The Governor is addressing this issue as well and it is something that can save taxpayers millions at no cost to the state by simply working more efficiently and improving coordination with local officials. If the Governor’s program addresses all of our concerns, then the need of a task force may be eliminated but we need to hear more about the Governor’s program.”
At the public hearing, the South Western Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (SWRPA) testified that, it may take up to 5 years to obtain approval and complete construction of a project, and that some of the municipalities’ smallest bridges do not qualify for funding, costing those towns more money than large span bridges.
Posted on February 4, 2013 by admin
With the crushing weight of state mandates ravaging local budgets, State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) is asking for a more deliberate process in order for the state to realize the true impact on Connecticut towns.
The legislature’s Planning and Development Committee on February 1st heard testimony on H.B. 5528, An Act Requiring a Two-Thirds Vote to Enact Municipal Mandates. Rep. O’Dea along with New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi testified in favor of the mandate proposal.
An unfunded mandate is a law that imposes an operational requirement on a municipality but fails to provide the funding to cover the resulting costs to the local community.
“As a former Town Councilor in New Canaan, I am all too aware of the heavy hand state government uses in requiring local municipalities to implement programs without any funding. This forces towns like New Canaan and Wilton to cut services or raise property taxes to comply with state mandate,” said Rep. O’Dea.
Unfunded mandates, O’Dea said, have wreaked havoc on the budgets of cities and towns for years. The bill discussed Monday calls for a task force to identify mandates and their impact.
The proposal would require a two-thirds vote in both houses of the General Assembly for the passage of any unfunded state mandate. The adoption of this bill would encourage the General Assembly to take a harder look at the fiscal impact of state mandates on local governments. A two-thirds vote would require overwhelming support of the General Assembly and ensure that these mandates are sufficiently scrutinized and that only the most necessary state mandates are imposed on local governments.
“It is vital that during these tough economic times the legislature does everything it can to help local governments tackle their own fiscal problems. Local governments are being forced to cut services, increase revenue and find ways to make ends meet. The legislature needs to do everything in its power to help local governments continue to provide their important services to our constituents,” said Rep. Thomas O’Dea.
Posted on January 29, 2013 by admin
State Rep. Thomas O’Dea along with other Wilton legislators honored the memory of world-renowned jazz musician and Wilton resident David Brubeck, as his family looked on from the floor of the House of Representatives. Rep. O’Dea invited Brubeck’s daughter Cathy Yaghsizian, daughter-in-law Tish Brubeck, and family friend Marian Wulffleff to commemorate the life of the famed musician.
Posted on January 25, 2013 by admin
WILTON- On January 25th, Wilton State Reps. Gail Lavielle and Tom O’Dea co-hosted a “Coffee with your Legislators” event at Orem’s Diner in Wilton.
During the meet and greet with early morning diners Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea listened to Wilton residents who shared their concerns on a variety of issues. The issues discussed included the burdens Governor Malloy has put on businesses passed last few year. They also discussed ways to boost school security. People also expressed concern over the millions of dollars spent on state employee benefits, the underfunding of the teachers’ retirement fund, firearm laws and a proposal to re-institute tolls in the state.
Rep. Tom O’Dea said, “We are approaching the busiest time of the legislative session and meetings like this are important as we prepare our votes on key issues. This morning’s discussion was excellent and very informative. From gun and school safety to economic development to taxes, we covered a number of key topics and got a lot of thoughtful ideas.”
“We always appreciate when people take the time to share their thoughts and concerns with us. Folks in our district are concerned about our state’s economy and about prospects for themselves and their families in terms of jobs, education, and retirement. As the legislative session moves forward, I hope that we will be able to work together as a General Assembly to make progress in improving the state’s financial condition, which is essential for addressing their concerns,” said Rep. Gail Lavielle.
Constituents were happy and grateful that Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea were there to listen to what was on their minds and get the latest update from the Capitol.
Posted on January 14, 2013 by admin
WILTON- Wilton State Reps. Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Thomas O’Dea (R-125) want to know what local Wiltonians have on their mind this coming year as the legislative session begins.
On January 25th, Lavielle and O’Dea will be co-hosting a “Coffee with Your Legislators” event at Orem’s Diner on 167 Danbury Road in Wilton at 8:00 am.
The meet and greet with early morning diners will permit Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea to hear the concerns of Wilton residents on state issues from transportation to taxes.
Both Lavielle and O’Dea invite interested Wilton residents to attend and voice their concerns.
Posted on January 11, 2013 by admin
HARTFORD—Getting the state’s ailing budget back in the black and unemployed Connecticut residents back to work are top priorities for Thomas O’Dea, who was sworn in today as state representative for the 125th General Assembly District covering New Canaan and Wilton.
O’Dea was among 8 freshman Republican legislators who vowed to serve their districts over a two-year term.
“People in the towns I represent placed tremendous faith in me on Election Day, and it’s an honor I take seriously,” O’Dea said. “Our state faces significant challenges, but in those hurdles I see opportunity—a chance to restructure state government in a way that will create lasting financial stability.”
O’Dea was in the House chamber late Wednesday afternoon when Gov. Dan Malloy addr