Posted on May 15, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Bill Simanski voted in favor of a compromise state budget agreement on the last day of the legislative session, Wednesday, May 9th.
Without adding new taxes, the agreement restores education cost sharing and town aid. It prohibits hold backs to municipal funding by the Governor, restores the Medicare Savings Program and provides additional funding into Retired Teachers’ Healthcare. The budget also respects the revenue volatility cap instituted in 2017 and will deposit the influx of unexpected one-time revenue collected this year into the rainy day fund.
“I am glad that we were able to reach a compromise before the end of session,” said Rep. Simanski. “This budget agreement for 2019 keeps our commitment not to add new taxes. I was also proud to support efforts to restore $2 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs to maintain critical care services in Rocky Hill and to restore funds for veteran’s burial honor guards. ”
The agreement also begins the implementation of some of the recommendations from the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. As recommended by the commission, it requires a study of pro-growth tax rebalancing to produce a report for the legislature by December 2019. The deal also requires the hiring of outside financial consultants to identify $500 million in savings from general fund expenditures to be acted on by January 2019. Also, it requires a study of reforms to the Teacher Retirement System to pay down unfunded liability.
Posted on May 10, 2018 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) voted in favor of SB 284 ‘An Act Concerning Benefits for Certain Veterans Who Have Been Diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury or Who May Have Had an Experience of Military Sexual Trauma’. The legislation would extend existing veterans benefits offered by the state to veterans who have been diagnosed with those conditions and received an ‘other than honorable [OTH]’ discharge. Many of these veterans served multiple tours of duty and experienced harrowing combat circumstances that can lead to exactly the sort of minor misconduct that results in an OTH discharge.
In recent years, there have been growing instances of suicide and substance abuse amongst veterans, including those with other than honorable discharges. According to public testimony from veterans groups, many other than honorable discharges are the results of the symptoms of conditions like PTSD and TBI.
“I was proud to join my fellow American Legion members and other veteran’s advocates in supporting this legislation,” said Rep. Simanski. “Veterans with other than honorable discharges have had to face the challenges caused by service related trauma alone. This bill will assist them in getting the help that they need.”
The proposal was supported by numerous veterans groups from across the state. Rep. Simanski has also co-sponsored the legislation. The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously. To track this and other legislation visit www.cga.ct.gov.
Posted on May 7, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – With the summer season and patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July on the horizon, it is the perfect time to properly retire your worn, faded and tattered American flags as you prepare to put on fresh new displays of the Stars and Stripes.
State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) is providing two locations that residents can drop off their worn American flags for proper ceremonial disposal according to the U.S. Flag Code. Drop-off locations will receive flags from Friday, May 18th until Wednesday, June 13th.
The drop-off locations are:
For additional information please call Representative Simanski at (860) 240-8700 or email Bill.Simanski@housegop.ct.gov.
Posted on April 26, 2018 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62), a member of American Legion Post182, joined veterans groups from across the state to support SB 289 ‘An Act Concerning Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ which would reverse a planned funding cut by appropriating $2 million toward the department. The funding would allow for continuing operation of the Levitow Healthcare Center in Rocky Hill and prevent the loss of federal reimbursements. In addition to SB 289, funding for the department was included in the proposed Republican budget announced on Friday, April 20th. Veterans’ Organizations at the Capitol included Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Connecticut Military and Veterans Coalition, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Marine Corps League, Jewish War Veterans and Franco American War Veterans.
Posted on April 26, 2018 by admin
As part of the 2018 Connecticut Trails Weekend, State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) urges residents to join him, the Friends of American Legion and Peoples State Forests and the Barkhamsted Historical Society for an educational walk. The hike will take place on Saturday, June 2nd from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The meeting place will be the Nature Museum off Greenwood Road in Peoples State Forest, about 1 mile north of Pleasant Valley on East River Road.
The event is free and open to the public.
For more information about the hike, please contact Ralph Scarpino at 860-921-1756 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the case of inclement weather, the hike will be canceled.
Posted on April 20, 2018 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) voted in favor of HB 5386 ‘An Act Concerning Various Pay Equity and Fairness Matters’ on Thursday, April 19th. The legislation was a bi-partisan effort introduced in the Labor Committee to address factors that lead to the income gap between men and women.
A leading factor in the pay gap is caused by inquiring about salary history during the hiring process. Women have historically been hired at a lower wage and thus asking about their current salary just perpetuates their lower salary ranges. The legislation will prevent employers from asking a prospective employee about their wage history.
“I was happy to join this bi-partisan effort for pay-equity,” said Rep. Simanski. “The consideration of wage history when determining pay for new employees has contributed to the income disparity between men and women. Removing this factor will put all new employees on a more equal footing when applying for jobs. Salary should be based on the position and a person’s qualifications, not what a person is currently earning.”
The legislation passed the Labor Committee 13-0 and was amended on the House Floor to address concerns from the business community; it passed the House 142-4. Rep. Simanski also co-sponsored the measure which will now head to the Senate for a vote. To track this bill or other legislation visit www.cga.ct.gov.
Posted on April 10, 2018 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) voted in favor of legislation that would create a working group to study housing for people reentering the community after incarceration. The bill ‘HB 5375’ would convene a group appointed by the Commissioner of Housing, the Commissioner of Corrections and the Commission on Equity and Opportunity to produce a report for the legislature by January 1st 2019.
“As a longtime volunteer for Kairos Prison Ministries, I have spent time in prisons and interacted with those serving time. One of the biggest concerns they have is after they have completed their sentence and paid their debt to society, where will they go,” said Rep. Simanski. “I stand in strong support of this bill and look forward to the working group’s recommendation.”
The bill passed the House by a vote of 131 to 11 and will head to the Senate for further action. To learn more about this legislation and other bills visit www.cga.ct.gov.
Posted on April 5, 2018 by admin
Read the Report HERE
Posted on April 2, 2018 by admin
We want to thank everyone who took the time join us in Granby and New Hartford for our Legislative Updates. As your legislators in Hartford it is important for us to hear your concerns about legislation and for us to share the most recent news from the Capitol.
In the last year and a half the legislature has taken up a number of big issues regarding our state budget and finances. After long negotiations a compromise budget was passed that included important long term changes, a constitutional spending cap, a cap on bonding, a revenue volatility cap, and a new education cost sharing formula. Some of these changes have helped reduce our deficit in the near term and other changes will have an impact in the years to come. There is certainly more work to do to get our state’s finances in order.
The budget agreement also established a commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, this group comprised of CEOs, financial professionals and community advocates published its report on March 1st. Right now, the legislature is reviewing the report and its recommendations.
Other topics being debated during this year’s legislative session include casino expansion, efforts to legalize recreational marijuana, and proposed tolls and transportation tax hikes.
State Senator 8th District
State Representative 62nd District
Posted on March 28, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) celebrated ‘Friends of Connecticut State Parks Day’ at the Capitol on Tuesday, March 27th. Parks Day is an annual tradition celebrating the efforts of volunteer ‘Friends’ groups around the state that maintain, protect and promote parks and forests across Connecticut. Rep. Simanski spoke with Ralph Scarpino and Jim Lussier representing American Legion and People’s State Forests in Barkhamsted and is a sponsor of both parks.
Posted on March 23, 2018 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) met members of the Granby Agriculture Commission, John D. O’Brien owner of Nurserymen LLC. and Kate Burrell Bogli owner of Maple View Farm at the Capitol for Agriculture Day. ‘Ag Day’ put on by the Department of Agriculture is an annual tradition at the State Capitol that brings together farmers, Vo-Ag students, interest groups and legislators to celebrate Connecticut Agriculture. Rep. Simanski shared, “I was very pleased to have participants from Granby showcasing their products and happy to see interest in their offerings from visitors throughout the day.”
Posted on March 20, 2018 by admin
Granby – State Representative Bill Simanski and State Senator Kevin Witkos hosted a Town Hall Meeting in Granby on Monday, March 19th. The meeting was an opportunity for members of the public to meet with their state lawmakers to discuss top issues being debated at the State Capitol.
The legislative update began with a brief overview of the lawmakers’ roles at the Capitol and the committees that they serve on. The two also discussed the state budget and other topics being debated in Hartford including tolls, potential legalization of recreational cannabis, possible gambling expansion and the status of education funding for Granby. The latter half of the meeting was an open question and answer forum about a wide range of pressing state issues.
Rep. Simanski commented, “I want to thank the over two dozen constituents who missed the UCONN Women’s game to ask questions and share their thoughts on the issues. We made a lot of progress last session enacting spending caps and other reforms, but there is still much more we have to do to get Connecticut back on track.”
Posted on March 15, 2018 by admin
Hartford – Between meetings and public hearing, State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) guided three Granby High School students, Madeline Attianese, Sarah Cussano, Lindsay Gilton and Superintendent Alan Addley on a tour of the Legislative Office Building and the State Capitol. The Students and their Superintendent were at the Capitol for CABE (Connecticut Association of Boards of Education) ‘A Day on the Hill’ to advocate for Connecticut public schools. Rep. Simanski also took the students behind the public spaces to show the students where the legislators work and explained how a bill proposal moves through the process to become a law.
Posted on March 9, 2018 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski volunteered as guest faculty for a UCONN Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) training program held at the Capitol on Friday, March 9th. The training was part of the Connecticut Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CT LEND) graduate program at UCONN. The program is aimed at improving health outcome for people of all ages with or at risk of developing neurodevelopmental disabilities. The Friday session focused on advocacy and effective communication with policy makers. As a volunteer faculty member, Rep. Simanski helped the students work on presentation and communication skills. The students presented potential disability issues, possible policy solutions and workshopped ways to better relay the information with policy makers.
“The legislature takes up a wide variety topics every year, it is important that advocates are able to communicate why their particular issue is important and how their proposal will help,” said Rep. Simanski. “These students are doing important work as advocates and caregivers for our disabled friends and neighbors. It was my honor to hear their presentations and offer suggestions on how they could be more effective advocates.”
The UCONN Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) began in 1985 and is located in Farmington at the UCONN Health Campus. For more information visit www.uconnucedd.org.
Posted on March 1, 2018 by admin
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This March, I will be hosting two legislative updates with Senator Witkos. In Granby on Monday, March 19th 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, 15 North Granby Road and New Hartford on Tuesday, March 27th 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Licia & Mason Beekley Community Library, 10 Central Avenue. Please join us as we discuss the 2018 legislative session, the state budget and other legislative issues or questions you may have related to state government.
You can also submit questions ahead of time at www.RepSimanski.com/RSVP.
Make sure to follow me on social media for the latest news and updates: facebook.com/BillSimanski62nd.
Posted on February 20, 2018 by admin
Riverton – State Representatives Bill Simanski (R-62) and Tami Zawistowski (R-61) toured Hitchcock Chair Company with owner Rick Swenson. Hitchcock Chair Company was first started in 1818 by Lambert Hitchcock and will be celebrating its 200th anniversary. The company was an early example of Connecticut innovation, introducing mass production for chairs originally shipping legs, seats and backs as kits. Hitchcock chairs became known nationwide for their durability and design. Rick Swenson and his business partners bought the brand name in 2010 and restarted production after a brief hiatus using original templates, plans and stencils. Rick Swenson shared his concerns about the difficulties of operating a small business in Connecticut especially the tax and regulatory environment. Additionally he pointed the out migration of middle class households from Connecticut, who make up a significant part of their customer base, has hurt his overall business. The company has no plans to leave Connecticut and is hoping to expand their production facilities.
Rep. Simanski reported, “It’s incredible that Hitchcock will be celebrating their 200th anniversary this year. Our community has some tremendous assets that can attract people from all over to visit, shop or start a home. My goal this session is to help small businesses, like Hitchcock , with legislation to remove the obstacles and promote growth.”
Rep. Zawistowski shared, “It’s wonderful that Rick stepped up to continue the Hitchcock tradition of fine craftsmanship. Hitchcock is an iconic brand and part of Connecticut’s history of small business innovation and industry.”
Both Representatives are committed to making Connecticut a place where businesses of all sizes can grow and thrive. For more information about Hitchcock visit their website www.hitchcockchair.com.
Posted on February 14, 2018 by admin
Hartland – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) participated in the 27th Annual Read Aloud Day sponsored by the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation and the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. This annual event helps teachers promote childhood literacy and a lifelong love of reading by having volunteers from the community join classes in the morning to read a book for the class. Rep. Simanski read ‘The Giant Jumperee’ by Julia Donaldson to Miss Beblowski’s Kindergarten class the Hartland School. He reported, “I believe reading is a critical foundation to learning, Miss Beblowski’s students were engaging and raised their hands at every question, I hope events like this will help stimulate the love of reading for these children.”
Posted on January 23, 2018 by admin
New Hartford – On Friday January 19th Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) toured the newly opened Brewery Legitimus with owner Chris Sayer. Craft beer, micro-breweries and farm breweries have become a growing industry in recent years. Currently the brewery employs eight people and has plans to expand in the near future. Chris Sayer explained that the business has benefitted from the attractions in town such as ski slopes, fishing and tubing on the Farmington River. Legislation has only recently begun to catch up to the growth in micro-breweries. This past session the legislature passed a bill establishing farm brewery licenses. There are still regulatory issues that have not been addressed yet, such as the sales limits. Rep. Simanski reported, “With exciting new businesses like Brewery Legitiums, New Hartford really is a town for all seasons. I am committed to improving Connecticut’s regulatory environment for businesses large and small across all industries and will work with my colleagues to enact legislation in order to promote business growth.”
Posted on January 12, 2018 by admin
On even number years (2018) the legislature should only take up bills that relate to fiscal matters. However the chairpersons from each committee can raise committee bills on other matters. For this reason, before the legislative session begins, the non-partisan Office of Legislative Research (OLR) publishes a report on the major issues that could be taken up by the legislature. OLR provides brief descriptions on a number of topics, including but not limited to: the state budget, opioid drug addiction, education funding, transportation issues and Connecticut’s business climate.
You can view or download the 2018 Major Issues Report HERE
Posted on January 9, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD—State Rep. Simanski (R-62) on Monday voted for a bipartisan plan that would provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) through the end of the fiscal year.
MSP is a Medicaid program that helps seniors and the disabled pay for Medicare co-insurance, deductibles and premiums. Connecticut was one of five states whose income eligibly limits exceeded the federal minimum level. Legislators in adopting the budget in October reduced the eligibility to the federal minimum, consequently reducing or eliminating coverage for many of the program’s thousands of participants. The state’s Department of Social Services in December announced it would delay implementation of the eligibility reduction by two months, giving concerned program participants a reprieve from an unexpected jump in their healthcare costs as lawmakers worked to find $53 million to fund the program through June.
“The eligibility reductions to MSP were initially part of the Governor’s proposed budget and were retained through the compromise budget adopted months later. There was not enough focus on the potential impact on the elderly and disabled populations that rely on the program,” Rep. Simanski said. “I was proud to vote to restore the program and bring the income eligibility threshold back to prior levels.”
The MSP plan was approved in the House through a 130 to 3 vote. Among the methods used to restore program funding is a requirement that Gov. Malloy reduce the number of managers and consultants—a provision included in the adopted budget ignored by the governor. Other components include moving human resources-related functions of some state agencies into the state’s Department of Administrative Services, and requiring the governor to find- savings in Executive Branch functions while limiting his ability to cut more than 10 percent from any one program.
State senators approved the plan 32-1 in a vote later in the day.
The 2018 legislative session—a so-called short session—starts Feb. 7 and will see lawmakers focus primarily on issues tied to the state budget.
Posted on December 29, 2017 by admin
Please note that this is provided as information, and inclusion in this message does not indicate my support or opposition to an individual measure.
As 2017 comes to an end, we prepare for a number of new laws to take effect starting January 1, 2018. These new laws may have an impact on you, your business, or our community. I therefore encourage you to take a look at the full list of laws that can be found by clicking here. I have listed some of the more noteworthy legislation below. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or clarifications regarding the implementation of these laws.
AN ACT PREVENTING PRESCRIPTION OPIOID DIVERSION AND ABUSE – Public Act No. 17-131 – requires prescriptions be transcribed electronically to safeguard against over prescribing, reduce the maximum number of days for a prescription from seven to five for minors and allow patients to request drugs other than opioids be prescribed.
AN ACT CONCERNING WITHHOLDING WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INCOME FOR CHILD SUPPORT – Public Act No. 17-27 – requires an employer promptly notify the dependent (i.e., spouse, former spouse, or child owed the support) or judicial branch’s Support Enforcement Services, as directed if an employee whose income is withheld to enforce a child support order makes a workers’ compensation claim.
AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEFINITION OF A VETERAN FOR A CERTAIN HONOR AND CERTAIN BENEFIT – Public Act No. 17-83 – broadens the eligibility criteria for certain veterans’ benefits, allows additional people to receive a service ribbon and medal, be buried in a Connecticut veterans’ cemetery, or have veteran status indicated on their driver’s license or identity card.
Please pass this information along to those who may benefit from knowing what to expect in the new year in the State of Connecticut.
New legislation typically goes into effect on January 1st, July 1st, or October 1st in a calendar year, although a few laws go into effect immediately upon passage.
Posted on November 27, 2017 by admin
Hartford – Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) earned a 100 percent voting record for the 2017 legislative session according to recently release data from the House Clerk’s office. There were 417 votes cast during the 2017 regular session and special session.
“Many important issues came before the legislature this year, including a long special session to address the budget. It was my priority to be present for every bill being discussed,” said Representative Simanski. “It is a privilege to serve the 62nd District and I look forward to representing their voices again in the 2018 session.”
Representative Simanski currently serves as the top ranking House Republican on the Banking Committee and is also a member of the Education Committee and the Planning & Development Committee.
The Next regular legislative session will convene in February 2018. For an overview of important legislation addressed in the 2017 legislative session visit the Office of Legislative Research website: www.cga.ct.gov/olr/Documents/year/MA/2017MA-20170620_Major Acts for 2017.pdf
Anyone with questions, ideas or concerns about state-related issues can contact Representative Simanski’s office at email@example.com or 860-240-8700.
Posted on October 27, 2017 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) supported the passage of a compromise budget plan. The budget, negotiated on a bipartisan basis between the legislative leaders, restores crucial municipal funding and enacts many long term structural changes that will help assure Connecticut’s financial viability.
The plan passed the Senate 33-3 Wednesday evening and the House 126–23 the following day. While the budget awaits action from the governor, the votes in the Senate and House assure a veto override.
“This was a truly historic vote. I am proud of all the work put in by the legislative leaders to arrive at this compromise proposal. This budget avoids the cuts in Governor Malloy’s executive orders which would have cut millions in municipal funding and be devastating to our district,” said Representative Simanski. “This budget sets priorities and restrains future growth in state spending by finally enacting the Constitutional spending cap that was first approved by voters in 1992. It also further controls spending with a bonding cap, as well as revenue and volatility caps to prevent the legislature from spending 100% of the anticipated revenues.”
Highlights of the budget include:
-Enacting the Constitutional spending cap that was first approved by voters in 1992
-Enacting a $1.9 Billion cap on bonding, $500 million less than what was bonded last year
-Implementing a state employee hiring freeze
-Requiring mandatory votes on union contracts
-Providing municipal mandate relief and prevailing wage reform, raising the threshold from $400,000 to $1 million
-Phasing in tax reductions on pensions and social security
Proposals that were avoided in this budget:
-Shifting teachers pensions on to municipalities
-No tax on cell phones
-No restaurant tax
-No sales tax increase
-No income tax increase
Representative Simanski concluded, “There has been a long fight to achieve structural changes including a spending cap, bonding cap and mandatory voting on union contracts. This budget is the first step in restoring fiscal stability.”
Posted on September 29, 2017 by admin
Hartford – Before an afternoon meeting with legislative leaders Thursday September 28, Governor Malloy vetoed the bi-partisan budget prolonging the state’s budget crisis. The budget was passed by 21-15 in the Senate after three Democrat senators joined their Republican colleagues and passed the house 77-73-1 with five Democrats joining the other side of the aisle.
Representative Simanski reacted, “I am disappointed that the Governor vetoed the bi-partisan budget. Connecticut needs to change the way it does business. This budget took important steps toward bringing fiscal balance and setting us on the right path. The alternative proposals repeated the worst mistakes of the past including over $1.5 billion dollars in tax increases. Now that the governor has rejected our balanced and responsible approach we are faced with his October 1st executive order implementing drastic cuts to school and municipal funding. I urge my colleagues to join me in calling for the House and Senate to override this veto.”
Posted on September 18, 2017 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) applauded passage of a bi-partisan budget that avoids tax increases, preserves core social services, keeps commitments to education, provides stability for municipalities and rejects Governor Malloy’s proposed shifting of teacher pension costs onto towns and cities.
The budget was made possible by a remarkable display of bipartisanship from Democrat Senators Hartley, Doyle and Slossberg who joined their Republican colleagues to pass the budget out of the Senate on a vote of 21-15. Later in the evening the document was taken up by the House, and after lengthy debate, was passed by a margin of 77 – 73, early Saturday morning.
“The bi-partisan budget passed today avoids draconian cuts to municipal aid, reductions to school funding and rejects shifting the costs of the teacher’s retirement system on to towns. Additionally we propose important structural changes to how the state operates and spends money,” said Rep. Simanski. “Our goal is to enact a balanced budget that avoids the yearly deficits that have hurt Connecticut. This responsible approach is the first step to getting our state on the right path. ”
Highlights of the bi-partisan budget:
“There are many hard choices in this budget, however I am confident that it places us on a stronger financial footing and I urge the governor to sign it,” Rep. Simanski said.
In order for the budget to go into effect it must either be signed by the governor or sit for 30 days. Alternatively, the governor can veto the budget returning the bill to the legislature to begin the process again or override the veto with a two thirds vote of each chamber.
Rep. Simanski Concluded, “This budget was endorsed by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, Council of Small Towns and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. They recognize this budget will be good for the state and help move us toward prosperity. I urge everyone to contact Governor Malloy and ask him to sign this bipartisan budget.”
For more detailed information on the budget proposal, please visit; www.cthousegop.com/budget.
Posted on August 17, 2017 by admin
Operation Fuel, a statewide network of fuel banks, is currently taking energy assistance applications from households that are in danger of having their utility services terminated due to financial difficulty.
Those in need of energy assistance should call 211 as soon as possible. There is an annual winter moratorium which prohibits utilities from shutting off electricity and gas, but that ended on May 1st and will not resume until November 1st.
Losing power in the summer heat can be just as dangerous as the winter cold, creating potential health hazards – especially for the elderly and young children.
Energy affordability is a challenge for more than 322,000 households in this state, and Operation Fuel is the state’s only nonprofit statewide energy assistance program. During the previous fiscal year, Operation Fuel provided more than $3.3 million in energy assistance to more than 7,830 households.
This nonprofit program provides energy assistance all year to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis.
To get more information on Operation Fuel, or to donate to the program, go to operationfuel.org. Donations can also be mailed to Operation Fuel, 75 Charter Oak Ave., Suite 2-240, Hartford, CT 06106.
Posted on July 19, 2017 by mrenfrew
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope that your summer is off to a great start! As you may be aware, the state is facing great uncertainty concerning the budget. I want to take an opportunity to share with you the latest from the Capitol.
We are nearly three weeks into the fiscal year, but without a state budget. The Democrats, who still have the majority by a slim margin in the House, set the agenda and determine when we will be called into special session in order to vote on a budget. As a result of the inaction prior to the start of the fiscal year, the power has been transferred to the governor – who is ruling through executive orders on a month-by-month basis until a negotiated budget can be passed by the legislature and signed into law. Already, critical programs are being cut and suspended – all due to the legislature’s inaction.
Let me be clear on one thing – I, along with my House Republican colleagues, have not sat idly by while the House Democrats’ inactivity and lack of leadership has placed the state in a terrible fiscal situation. We have recently released our FOURTH budget proposal and have renewed our call to action as we want our ideas brought before the legislature. Our no-tax-increase budget proposal has been fully vetted by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis – proving that it makes the structural changes needed in order to eliminate the current $5.1 billion deficit, while doing so without putting the weight and pressure on the backs of you, the taxpayer.
Last week, the House Republican Caucus hosted an open budget presentation for all lawmakers and the public to participate in a comprehensive overview of our no-tax-increase budget proposal. I encourage you to view the entire presentation by clicking here.
We also held a press conference after the presentation and I encourage you to view that here.
Highlights from our budget proposal include:
The budget balances without tax hikes through $2 billion in state employee union concessions over two years, a reduced state workforce through attrition and privatization, and numerous other savings throughout state government.
Posted on April 6, 2017 by mrenfrew
HARTFORD – State Representatives Bill Simanski (R-62), Jay Case (R-63) and David Wilson (R-66) recently met with board members and officials from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital at the Capitol in Hartford. Due to the Governor’s budget proposals, regarding hospital funding, allowing for municipalities to tax hospitals, and a reduction in grants, hospital officials expressed concern regarding the fiscal impact such policies would have on their ability to deliver services. Each representative reiterated their support for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, as it plays such a major role in their communities, both economically and in supporting community health.
Posted on January 5, 2017 by mrenfrew
HARTFORD – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) took the oath of office beginning a fourth term as State Representative serving the 62nd assembly district, representing the towns of Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland and New Hartford.
“I am humbled that our community has continued to support me as I represent the 62nd district in the Capitol” said Simanski. “With a $1.5 billion deficit, taxpayer flight and a poor economic outlook, Connecticut faces major obstacles this legislative session. I am eager to tackle these challenges as the 62nd District’s voice in the legislature.” Representative Simanski noted that the Connecticut Republicans are in newly charted waters as they have the most representation in the legislature than they have had in a few decades. This balance will encourage legislators to work across party lines to solve problems and collaboratively come up with solutions.
Rep. Simanski was named Assistant Republican Leader by House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and will continue as the Republican Caucus’ Ranking Member of the Banking Committee. He will also serve on the Planning & Development and Screening Committees.
“I am honored to have been appointed House Republican Assistant Leader and Ranking Member of the Banking Committee” Simanski noted. “I will do my best to help lead our caucus as we work with our partners across the aisle to make Connecticut better.”
The 2017 regular legislative session is scheduled to run from January 4th to June 7th.
If you have any questions regarding state government, Representative Simanski can be reached at (800) 842-1423 or Bill.Simanski@housegop.ct.gov.
Posted on November 1, 2016 by admin
The Arc Connecticut, with support from the CT Council on Developmental Disabilities, is teaming up with The Family Empowerment Task Force to give families information about alternative sources of funding and resources that are available to people with I/DD.
United States Housing Alternatives Conference for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD), Parents, Family Members and Advocates
Saturday, November 19, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Neat Market Place, 120 Holcomb Street, Hartford, CT, 06112
The day will include:
This conference is free of charge but seating is first come, first served. Lunch will be provided.
The deadline to RSVP is Wednesday, November 16, 2016.
Posted on October 31, 2016 by admin
Winsted – State Reps. Bill Simanski (R-62), Tim LeGeyt (R-17) and Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) recently joined state and local officials at the groundbreaking for the new Joyner Health Science Center at Northwestern Connecticut Community College. The new 24,400 square foot state-of-the-art facility will contain the Veterinary Technology and Allied Health Programs, including a surgical suite, an X-Ray area, an animal dental area, a mock reception area, general classrooms, a hematology laboratory and a computer lab.
Posted on September 15, 2016 by admin
In an effort to keep you informed, I wanted to share with you, the below press release issued by the CT Department of Transportation regarding planned upgrades to the intersection Route 10/202 at East St. and Notch Rd in Granby.
As always, please contact me at (800) 842-1423 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Roundabout on Route 10/202 at East Street and Notch Road, Granby
The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s (Department) Office of Engineering is currently developing plans under the subject project to upgrade the intersection of Route 10/202 at East Street and Notch Road into a modern roundabout in Granby.
The purpose of this project is to improve traffic operations and safety at the intersection.
The present schedule indicates that the design will be completed in October 2019, with construction anticipated to start in spring 2020. This project will be undertaken with eighty percent (80%) federal funds and twenty percent (20%) state funds.
It is the Department’s policy to keep the public informed and involved when such projects are undertaken. It is important that the community share its concerns with us to assist in the project’s development. A public information meeting will be conducted upon the completion of the preliminary design. At this time, it is not anticipated that a formal public hearing will be necessary.
Anyone interested in receiving information on this project may do so by contacting Mr. William W. Britnell, Principal Engineer of Highway Design, at (860) 594-3274, or by e-mail at William.Britnell@ct.gov. Please make reference to State Project Number 0055-0141.
Posted on August 12, 2016 by admin
Chip Sealing Project along Route 20 (Riverton Road) and State Road 488 (Mill Street) in Hartland
The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing that a chip sealing project will be performed on Route 20 (Riverton Road) and State Road 488 (Mill Street) in Hartland, beginning Tuesday, August 16, 2016.
The project consists of chip sealing a 4.68 mile segment of Route 20 (Riverton Road), from West Street to Hogback Road, and SR 488 (Mill Street) from Route 20 (Riverton Road) to a 0.1 mile segment north of Hogback Road, in Hartland.
This project is scheduled to occur Tuesday, August 16, 2016 through Thursday, August 18, 2016.
LANE CLOSURE INFO
Motorists can expect lane closures on Route 20 (Riverton Road) from West Street to Hogback Road and SR 488 (Mill Street) from Route 20 from a 0.1 mile segment north of Hogback Road. Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be utilized to guide motorists through the work zone. The regular work schedule for this project is 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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 August 9, 2016 by admin
With the start of another school year just around the corner, I wanted to remind you to take advantage of the upcoming “Tax Free Week” which runs from Sunday, August 21st through Saturday, August 27th.
This one-week event eliminates Connecticut’s 6.35% sales tax on clothing and footwear costing less than $100 per item.
Additionally, new and used college textbooks are exempt from the state 6.35% sales tax for students who present a valid college ID at the time of purchase.
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.
Please note: The threshold for this benefit has been substantially reduced from $300 in previous years, and will only apply to clothing and footwear that costs less than $100.
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 visit the Department of Revenue Services website for a full list of qualifying and non-qualifying items.
Posted on August 1, 2016 by admin
BARKHAMSTED – State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) and State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8) last week visited local historic sites in Barkhamsted. The legislators toured the First Congregational Church of Barkhamsted, and The Hitchcock Chair Company, and met with key personnel in order to listen to their concerns. Barkhamsted First Selectman, Don Stein, facilitated the tour and meetings.
Rep. Simanski said, “Helping constituents in their interactions with the state is a rewarding part of my job as State Representative. The First Congregational Church and Hitchcock Chair Company have both been long-standing parts of Barkhamsted’s rich history. I will do all I can to help these two worthwhile projects and assist the Town of Barkhamsted in the process.”
“It’s important to understand the challenges faced by our local organizations and businesses. It’s also great to spend time at our nearby historic treasures learning about our community’s unique past so that we can do our best to preserve their futures and grow business,” said Sen. Witkos.
The First Congregational Church of Barkhamsted was incorporated in 1779 and is listed in both the State Register of Historic Places, as well as the National Register of Historic Places. The church is currently in need of roof replacement and structural repairs to trusses, rafters and other beams that threaten the integrity and ability of the roof to bear weight, such as significant snowfall. The church has been in contact with the State Historic Preservation Office and is seeking support from their legislators for their state grant request to address the structural roof repairs.
The Riverton section of Barkhamsted, formerly known as Hitchcocksville, has been home to the Hitchcock Chair Company since 1808. The company is known for producing quality hand-crafted, and hand-stenciled wooden chairs and furniture. The legislators toured the showroom and manufacturing facility, and spoke with managing partner, Richard Swenson about his business concerns.
Swenson stated that while people know about Hitchcock furniture quality and uniqueness, their business growth has been restricted. Swenson is seeking support from Rep. Simanski and Sen. Witkos to facilitate discussions with the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to identify ways to better support business growth including production, distribution and workforce.
AmyLynn Thompson, House Republican Office, 860.240. 8706
Nicole Rall, Senate Republican Office, 860.240.0092
Posted on June 30, 2016 by admin
Many important and consequential pieces of legislation were debated and passed by the General Assembly throughout the 2016 Legislative Session.
To help understanding this legislation, the non-partisan Office of Legislative Research has released summaries of new laws affecting different issue areas.
Each summary indicates the public act (PA) number and effective date. To read a summary of the 2016 Major Public Acts please click here.
Some of the issue areas include:
Acts Affecting Seniors
Acts Affecting People with Disabilities
Acts Affecting Children
Acts Affecting Acts Affecting Firefighters and Fire Marshals
Acts Affecting Veterans and the Military
Acts Affecting Energy & Utilities
I hope this information is helpful.
Posted on June 29, 2016 by admin
New Hartford – Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) and Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) hear from local residents at a Town Hall Meeting in New Hartford earlier this month. The meeting, hosted by the lawmakers, included a legislative update and an open discussion with attendees about the state budget and the 2016 legislative session which ended on May 4.
For more information, including the latest updates from the State Capitol, visit www.SenatorWitkos.com or www.RepSimanski.com.
Those who were unable to attend but would like to speak with their legislator may contact Sen. Witkos at 860-240-8800 or email@example.com and Rep. Simanski at 860-240-8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole Rall, Senate Republicans, 860-240-0092
AmyLynn Thompson, House Republicans, 860-240-8706
Posted on June 3, 2016 by admin
New Hartford – Representative Bill Simanski and Senator Kevin Witkos will be hosting a legislative update in New Hartford on Thursday, June 9 from 6:30p.m.-7:30p.m.
The event will be held in the New Hartford Town Hall, Senior Center Meeting Room, 530 Main Street, New Hartford.
The event is free and open to the public.
The lawmakers will be available to answer questions and provide an update on legislative issues and the state budget.
WHO: Senator Kevin Witkos and Representative Bill Simanski
WHAT: Post Session Legislative Report
WHERE: New Hartford Town Hall, Senior Center Meeting Room, 530 Main Street, New Hartford
WHEN: Thursday, June 9th, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
WHY: Please join us as we discuss the 2016 Legislative Session
Posted on June 2, 2016 by admin
Please join me, along with the Friends of American Legion and Peoples State Forests to mark Connecticut Trails Day this Saturday, June 4 from 9:00am-12:00pm as we walk the Henry Buck Trail in American Legion State Forest.
Our meeting point will be at the north end of Legion Rd. in American Legion State Forest (2.5 miles from Pleasant Valley center off West River Rd., 1/2 mile past campground).
For more information about the hike, please contact Ralph Scarpino at 860-921-1756 or email email@example.com. In case of inclement weather, the hike will be canceled.
If you are unable to attend this great outdoors event but would like to speak with me about any legislative or local issue, please contact my office at 800-842-1423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!
Posted on May 20, 2016 by admin
Suffield – On Tuesday, State Representative Bill Simanski (R-Granby), State Representative Tami Zawistowski (R-East Granby), and State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) toured Hilltop Farm in Suffield. They were given a tour of the farm’s grounds and facility.
PHOTO: Howie Orr (far left) and Tom Wardell (far right) show Senator Kissel (center left), Representative Zawistowski (center) and Representative Simanski (center right) around the interior of the Hilltop Farmstead. George M. Hendee of Indian Motorcycle fame founded Hilltop Farm in Suffield, Connecticut, in 1913. Friends of the Farm at Hilltop owns the 7.9 acre farmstead and holds a long-term lease to manage the adjacent town-owned open space. The farmstead and the open space are part of the Hilltop Farm Historic District which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
PHOTO: From left to right Senator Kissel, Representative Zawistowski, and Representative Simanski in front of the barn at Hilltop Farm in Suffield.
PHOTO: Howie Orr (far right) and Tom Wardell (far left) show Senator Kissel (center right), Representative Zawistowski (center) and Representative Simanski (center left) inside the barn at the Hilltop Farmstead.
Posted on May 13, 2016 by admin
The House of Representatives convened today for a special session to vote on the state budget bill for FY17 (95 pages), as well as the bill that implements the budget (291 pages “Implementer”). Both of these documents were drafted and negotiated behind closed doors, solely by leaders of the majority party and the governor, resulting in a very partisan budget with several “pork projects” for favored democrats, while reducing aid to select municipalities.
I will be opposing these budget bills since they do not stop the ongoing fiscal crisis that Connecticut faces. These bills are merely a Band-Aid and temporary fix meant to get past the November elections; defer budget problems for the next legislature. While the democrats claim the budget implementer makes structural changes, it does absolutely nothing to alter what has disturbingly become the ‘new normal’ of implementing quarterly deficit fixes due to the failed fiscal policies that cause the state budget to continually fall out of balance.
Most towns have already passed their local budgets and were forced to make assumptions about state aid. The state budget includes cuts which will force our towns to now reduce education and town services or raise local property taxes.
I urge you read more about this partisan budget, along with the cuts that will be applied to municipalities, education, and hospitals:
Posted on May 2, 2016 by admin
HARTFORD- State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) joined his colleagues in the House to pass legislation that requires cities and towns to make sure they have at least one first responder equipped and trained to administer the reversal drug naloxone (narcan) and to limit the amount of opioid medication that can be prescribed to a patient.
“The opioid epidemic continues to affect urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout the state,” said Rep. Simanski, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “This is a very important piece of legislation because it addresses first responders having lifesaving narcan available to save persons who have overdosed. More importantly, it directly addresses the opioid over-prescribing epidemic by limiting the prescription supply to 7 days. I proudly co-sponsored this legislation which takes important steps to combat this widespread and growing epidemic.”
House Bill 5053, An Act Increasing Access to Overdose Reversal Drugs, passed out of the House of Representatives on Monday with unanimous, bipartisan support, and incorporates a number of measures including:
*Requiring municipalities to equip and train their first responders to administer naloxone, an overdose reversing drug
*For adults, limiting the number of pills in an opioid prescription to a seven-day supply
*For minors, limiting the opioid prescription to a seven-day supply and requiring the prescriber to discuss the potential danger of the drug with the patient and
*Prohibiting commercial health carriers from requiring prior authorization for coverage of naloxone
*Making several changes to the state’s electronic prescription monitoring program to help facilitate prescriber and pharmacist compliance
For persons suffering from chronic pain there are exceptions:
*The practitioner may prescribe more than a seven-day supply of an opioid drug if, in his or her professional judgment, the drug is required to treat the person’s
acute medical condition, chronic pain, cancer-associated pain, or for palliative care.
*The practitioner must document the patient’s condition in his or her medical record and indicate that an alternative to the opioid drug was not appropriate to
treat the patient’s condition.
House Bill 5053 now heads to the Senate for its approval before going to the governor’s desk for his signature. The legislative session adjourns at midnight on May 4th. ###
Posted on April 26, 2016 by admin
Restores Funding for Social Services, Education & Hospitals; Provides Municipal Mandate Relief
Hartford – Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) and Representative Bill Simanski (R-Granby) joined Republican lawmakers in the Connecticut General Assembly to propose a budget that closes the state’s projected $935.7 million deficit. The Republican budget proposal restores funding to core social services, protects local town education funding, and implements long-term structural changes to the state budget. The “Pathway to Sustainability” proposal includes savings that roll out over the next five years, mitigating future projected budget shortfalls.
“Connecticut is an incredible state. But sadly, we are stuck in a cycle of massive tax increases followed by enormous budget deficits. Clearly, the state’s tax and spend policies have inhibited growth and prosperity in our state. This budget proposal aims to change direction, and put our state on a trajectory towards sustainability and predictability. This budget requires the state to live within its means and use taxpayer dollars more wisely. It also includes significant, long-term changes to the way we budget including reducing debt, reducing burdens on municipalities and taxpayers, and identifying efficiencies in government. We also have an obligation to support programs that help those most in need live as full a life as possible. That’s why this budget also restores funding for core social services, education and mental health care, to ensure the most vulnerable are protected. Finally, this budget rolls out significant changes to balance our budget over the next five years. This is a long-term approach to budgeting that will help us build a brighter future for our state,” said Sen. Witkos.
“With the Pathway to Sustainability, we have taken a leadership role to show Connecticut there is an alternative. It not only solves the current budget deficit but also sets up our state for success in the future,” said Rep. Simanski.
The Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates that if the current budget practices continue, the state will rack up huge deficits over the next 5 years ranging from nearly $1 billion to over $3 billion annually.
This plan includes a line by line budget to mitigate the fiscal year 2017 deficit, as well as long term structural changes. Together, these policy changes roll out into future years to mitigate ballooning deficits on the horizon. Following 2017, this budget proposal is projected to produce annual surpluses, with a cumulative total of over $1 billion.
The proposed Republican budget would restore funding to core social services Democrats have proposed cutting this year, while also making needed cuts and implementing new policies that generate long-term savings. This includes the following:
More budget details available online: http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/2016/04/pathway-sustainability/
Posted on April 25, 2016 by admin
HARTFORD –State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) voted in support of and co-sponsored a bill that will expand aid for firefighters who suffer from cancer caused directly by their job.
Under the legislation, HB 5262, a new “Firefighters Cancer Relief Account” will be created and run by the Connecticut State Firefighters Association which will be used to provide wage replacement benefits for eligible firefighter cancer victims and to pay associated administrative costs.
“I proudly co-sponsored this bill, in support of the brave men and women who selflessly serve our communities. Our firefighters run into danger and risk their lives to save others. Their service in the line of duty often can result in their developing illnesses later in life, requiring extensive medical treatment and care. We owe them our gratitude and I can’t think of a better way to support our firefighters than to provide assistance when they may need it most,” said Rep. Simanski.
In previous years, similar proposals failed to pass through the General Assembly because of municipalities’ experience with the detrimental effects of the police “Heart and Hypertension (H&H)” statute. Unlike H&H, this bill does not involve the Workers’ Compensation system but rather is administered by the firefighters themselves under the CT State Firefighters Association. This plan will not be another municipal mandate!
The account will be funded by diverting $.01 from the current e911 fee on phone bills into the “Firefighters Cancer Relief Account”. Beginning July 1, 2019, firefighters who have been working for at least five years, are interior certified and can show, with medical proof, that they have contracted cancer through their exposure to a toxic environment, in the line of duty, will be eligible for up to two years of wage replacement benefits.
The measure was passed out of the House of Representatives after years of collaborative work on the concept by firefighters, legislators and municipalities.
The bill is now being sent to the Senate, where it will await further action. The 2016 legislative session adjourns at midnight on May 4th.
Posted on April 20, 2016 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) announced that two bills which serve to provide consumer protections have passed a key legislative hurdle and have been voted unanimously out of the House of Representatives.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved H.B. 5295, An Act Concerning Debit Card Fraud and Penalties for Collection of Rental Payments on Foreclosed Properties. “This measure addresses what is lacking in our current statutes and enables prosecutors to now charge a person for the crime of larceny for certain fraudulent uses of debit cards,” said Simanski, ranking member of the legislature’s Banking committee and co-sponsor of the bill. The measure protects consumers by expanding laws covering certain credit card crimes to also cover the same conduct involving debit cards, including fraudulent use of lost or stolen debit cards.
The bill also makes it a form of larceny for a person who formerly held a mortgage on property which has been foreclosed on to continue to collect rent after the final judgment. The penalty for larceny varies based on the amount of property taken, from a class C misdemeanor (punishable by up to three months in prison, a fine of up to $500, or both) to a class B felony (punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, or both).
Last week, the state House of Representatives approved H.B. 5296, An Act Concerning Credit and Debit Holds. The bill prohibits gas stations and convenience stores that accept credit or debit card payments for the retail sale of gasoline from placing, or allowing a third party to place a hold on any such card for an amount larger than the actual gasoline purchase without providing notice to the customer. The notice must be (1) in conspicuous type and close to the point of payment and (2) given before the customer’s purchase.
“This bill responds to a consumer need that has been brought to the attention of the legislature,” said Simanski, co-sponsored of the legislation. “With the vast majority of people reliant on debit and credit cards for daily purchases, it is important that we address these types of consumer issues and put protections in place to ensure that when someone wants to access their money, that they can do so without issue. I am thrilled that both of these bills have received the support of my colleagues in the House, and will continue through the legislative process.”
The bills await further debate and passage by the Senate. The 2016 legislative session will adjourn on May 4.
VIDEO: Watch State Rep. Bill Simanski discuss HB 5296, An Act Concerning and Debit Holds on the floor of the House of Representatives:
Posted on April 7, 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. 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. 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 April 7, 2016 by admin
HARTFORD – State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) today joined fellow legislators of the General Assembly in celebrating Autism Awareness Day at the State Capitol.
Legislators, parents and individuals affected by autism all took part in the celebration to raise awareness, provide support and promote acceptance.
“I’ve met with parents of children with autism and the recurring theme in those discussions is that they are trying desperately to seek the best and most effective services for their children,” said Rep. Simanski, a member of the legislature’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Caucus. “Advocacy events such as these are so important not only for raising awareness, but also for helping parents, caregivers, professionals, and the greater community to support each other and connect to resources.”
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that affects the individual’s ability to communicate and relate to others. The symptoms an individual may exhibit may range from mild to severe. This range is referred to as the autism spectrum. Individuals exhibiting symptoms are diagnosed as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder, which covers not only autism, but Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released staggering estimates that 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) in the United States has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012 of 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000 8-year olds).
This alarming rise in statistics is higher than children affected by pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.
Posted on March 24, 2016 by admin
POSTPONED: Witkos, Simanski New Hartford Town Hall Meeting
Tues. March 29
New Hartford – Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) and Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) have announced that due to the state legislature being called in to session, the New Hartford Town Hall Meeting that had been scheduled for Tuesday, March 29, 2016 from 6:30pm-8:00pm at the Senior Center Meeting Room has been postponed. The lawmakers have stated that they plan to reschedule the meeting at a future date following the final adjournment of the 2016 legislative session. Anyone wishing to express concerns or thoughts on any state or local issues may contact their legislators at (860) 240-8800 for Senator Witkos or (860) 240-8700 for Representative Simanski.
Posted on March 16, 2016 by admin
Hartford – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) attended the American Legion, Department of Connecticut High School Oratorical Contest held earlier this month at Goodwin College. Simanski, who is also a member of the American Legion Post 182 in Granby, served as one of six panel judges for the contest. The contest featured six finalists from across the state. Each student prepared an 8 – 10 minute oration on any aspect of the US Constitution, with emphasis on the attendant duties and obligations of a citizen regarding their topic. Each student then had to give a 3 – 5 minute speech on a topic chosen that morning from a list of 4 possible themes. This year’s chosen topic was the 26th Amendment, which gave 18 year-olds the right to vote.
“I was astounded by the depth of knowledge and scholarship involved in the speeches given by the contestants, as well as their oratorical skills,” said Rep. Simanski. “I also appreciated how informative the presentations were; I learned a lot about the history of voting rights. It was a humbling experience to see such poised teenagers and it gave me hope for the future of this country to see our youth speaking about the US Constitution and citizenship.”
The 2016 winner of the Department High School Oratorical Contest was Jennifer Magnoli, a student at Mercy High School in Middletown, CT. Ms. Magnoli, who represented the 1st District and American Legion Post 72 Southington, will go on to represent Connecticut at the 2016 National Finals on Sunday, April 17 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the first, second, and third place scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States. For more information, please visit: www.legion.org/oratorical .
Posted on March 14, 2016 by admin
Earlier this week, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services launched a new toll-free number – 1-800-563-4086 – to help connect residents seeking treatment services for an opioid addiction to local walk-in assessment centers.
Walk-in centers across the state are always available to provide an evaluation or referral, and encourage those in need of treatment to reach out when they feel ready to do so. Individual courses of treatment and services will be planned according to specific needs and eligibilities. Centers work directly with patients and insurance companies to determine what works best for them, and resolve any challenges that may stand in the way of them and their path to treatment.
For a list of walk-in assessment centers and their hours, please visit the DMHAS website at www.ct.gov/dmhas/walkins.
Posted on March 4, 2016 by admin
New Hartford – Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) and Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) are hosting a Town Hall Meeting in New Hartford on March 29, 2016 from 6:30pm-8:00pm at the Senior Center Meeting Room, located at 530 Main Street, New Hartford. The lawmakers will discuss the 2016 legislative session and open up the conversation to hear directly from constituents. The event is open to the public.
WHO: Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) and Representative Bill Simanski (R-62)
WHAT: Town Hall Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday March 29, 2016 from 6:30pm-8:00pm
WHERE: New Hartford Town Hall, Senior Center Meeting Room, 530 Main Street
WHY: The lawmakers will discuss the 2016 legislative session and open up the conversation to hear directly from constituents.
For more information about the Meeting contact Chris Diorio at 860.240.8801 or email@example.com.
Nicole Rall, Senate Republicans, 860-240-0092
AmyLynn Thompson, House Republicans, 860-240-8706
Posted on February 25, 2016 by admin
As a member of the legislature’s Transportation committee, I’ve heard testimony from truckers and municipal officials about how Connecticut’s winter deicing procedures have caused a dramatic increase in corrosion to their trucks, fire apparatus, bridges and roads. In counterpoint, the Department of Transportation (DOT) talked about the need to balance safety against perceived corrosiveness. To assure the legislature took appropriate action, a study was commissioned to review the corrosive effects of chemical road treatments. The study was completed and the results verify the allegations regarding corrosion.
In the winter of 2006/2007 CT – DOT switched from a sand/salt mix to a chloride for snow and ice control. They also began pre-wetting rock salt with calcium chloride as a roadway pre-treatment option. Since this option caused clogging in dispensing nozzles the state switched to a magnesium chloride mixture in the winters of 2010/2011 and 2012/2013. Apparently that is when the highly corrosive effects of the roadway treatments became very apparent. The scientific study did confirm, “Magnesium chloride [was] more destructive…than calcium chloride or sodium chloride”. Commensurate with the new anti-icing procedures there was a significant reduction in accidents.
The study then analyzed all the findings to recommend “best practices” for the CT – DOT. Some of their conclusions were that:
In the final analysis, CT-DOT’s switch to chloride treatment in lieu of the prior salt/sand mixture did, in fact, cause greater corrosion to vehicles, bridges and roadways. One major finding was in regards to magnesium chloride’s corrosiveness and thus it is no longer used. The current recommendations for vehicle owners and municipalities are to wash their vehicles, bridges and equipment so as to remove accumulated chlorides (salts). Looking ahead, CT-DOT will be working on procedures to better seal bridges and roadways from corrosive chlorides. They will also limit the use of chlorides and stick with sodium chloride (commonly known as salt) in lieu of calcium or magnesium chloride. CT-DOT and the legislature are also working with manufacturers to develop enhanced undercoating and alternative metals to better protect vehicles. We are also working with the car wash association to alert them about the study so they can better respond to rinsing salt deposits from vehicles. Currently, the recycled water they use does not remove chlorides from the water. Recycling only removes sediments.
The bottom line is that factually, CT-DOT’s anti-icing and road treatments have caused an increased amount of corrosion. CT-DOT, however, has learned to use more effective distribution procedures and less corrosive chlorides, resulting in less corrosive effects, while still maintaining safe roadways.
The study also disclosed that CT-DOT only maintains approximately 25% of the roadways in CT. We have begun disseminating the results of this study to our towns and cities so that they, in turn, can review their deicing procedures and chloride use.
Another revelation in the study was that commercial use of chlorides for shopping centers, malls, etc. accounts for about 50% of all the chlorides used in CT. In response, CT-DOT is reviewing other states’ procedures for educating/licensing commercial snow removers and their deicing procedures.
The legislature heard your complaints, dug down to identify the cause, learned how to correct the situation and has addressed the balance between safety and corrosiveness.
Bill Simanski State Representative, 62nd District
Posted on February 23, 2016 by admin
State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62, at left) and State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8, at right), attended a Legislative Update at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) this morning.
Hosted by the hospital’s Administration and Board of Governors, the legislators, along with local first selectmen, met with CHH administrators, physicians, and board members to discuss the current legislative session, including fiscal impacts of the state budget.
Other lawmakers in attendance included Senator Clark Chapin, Representative Jay Case, Representative Craig Miner, and Representative John Piscopo.
Posted on February 16, 2016 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) attended the Connecticut Humane Society annual legislative advocacy day at the State Capitol on February 10th.
The Humane Society focused on legislation to strengthen current animal cruelty laws.
Rep. Simanski, who is a long-time owner of rescue dogs said, “Family pets bring joy into our lives and brighten our homes. It is important that we continue to focus on protecting our beloved pets from animal cruelty.”
The Connecticut Humane Society is the leading resource in the state for companion animal welfare, enriching the lives of families and communities through adoption services, medical care, education, and prevention of cruelty.
The Connecticut Humane Society mission is to find each companion animal a permanent, compassionate home, where cruelty does not exist.
Photo: State Rep. Bill Simanski with Blossom, a rescue dog who was a participant in this year’s Humane Society ‘Puppy Bowl’ on Super Bowl Sunday. The televised event seeks to raise awareness and find forever homes for dogs. Blossom was adopted soon after her appearance in the Puppy Bowl and will be heading to her forever home.
Posted on February 11, 2016 by admin
Barkhamsted – It was announced today that a $500,000 grant allocation has been awarded to the Town of Barkhamsted for the reconstruction of Park Road. This project will allow Barkhamsted to repair a total of 2.6 miles of Park Road including the vital rural connection between Route 181 and Route 20 in West Hartland. The work will leverage a prior Department of Transportation investment to repair compounded storm damage, uneven surfaces and potholes.
“This is an important project to create a safe road and improve transportation access for our local community,” said Senator Kevin Witkos. “I applaud the state for prioritizing this investment to improve local transportation. Making our roads and transportation infrastructure safe is something all lawmakers agree must remain a high priority in our state as one of the core functions of government. This is great news for Barkhamsted and everyone who travels through our community.”
“These funds will allow Barkhamsted to do much needed work and reconstruction on Park Road, which serves as a main thoroughfare for residents and visitors traveling through town,” said Representative Bill Simanski. “I’d like to credit the leaders and officials of Barkhamsted, who continue to focus on improvement of our town’s infrastructure and the safety of our residents.”
Witkos and Simanski authored a letter of support for the town’s assistance request. The grant is awarded through the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP).
Posted on February 4, 2016 by admin
With tax season upon us once again I wanted to take a minute to let you know about a change in the CT State tax code which may benefit retired Connecticut military personnel.
According to the non-partisan Office of Legislative Research: Public Act (PA) 15-244 fully exempts federally taxable military retirement pay from the state income tax. Prior law exempted 50% of this retirement pay. This exemption applies to Federal retirement pay for retired members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Army and Air National Guard and is applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2015.
If you have questions about this exemption please consult a tax professional.
Please click for more information on this and other “Major Acts.”
Disclaimer – This document is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be considered tax planning advice. As such, it is not intended to substitute for proper tax, accounting or financial advice from professional financial or tax planners.
Posted on December 9, 2015 by admin
Why I voted against the Constitutional Lock Box
by State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62)
To put it succinctly, I quote a democrat, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Bob Godfrey, “It doesn’t create a lock box …it’s a set up….” The proposed Constitutional amendment has the same exact wording of the statutory lock box the legislature passed during the last session. It is ineffective, has no way of being enforced and is constantly raided to help balance our budget. Furthermore, despite the lock box we now have, the legislature, only mere hours later in the same special session, hypocritically voted to raid the Special Transportation Fund (STF) that they just voted to protect, in the amount of $35 million to help reduce our current budget deficit! If that isn’t the height of hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.
It is evident that the lock box is just a political gimmick and effectively nothing more than a sieve. The lock box creates an illusion that the gas tax, petroleum gross receipts tax and other transportation revenues will only be used for transportation infrastructure repairs and improvements. The reality is that any monies passing through the STF are easily utilized for general fund expenses, not transportation.
The true intent of pushing for a Constitutional Lock Box became evident when an amendment that would have empowered the Connecticut Supreme Court to have oversight of the lock box spending, was defeated along party lines. The amendment, “…meant to keep us [legislature] honest and prevent us from diverting funds from the STF [Rep. Arthur O’Neil]…” would assure we lived up to our promises that transportation funds would be used for transportation purposes. Giving the Supreme Court jurisdiction is necessary because this court recently decreed that the Constitutional Spending Cap, enacted in 1991 as a promise to entice the voters to approve the income tax, in fact cannot be enforced. We do not learn by our mistakes: the Constitutional Spending Cap is unenforceable. Now, we want to enact an equally unenforceable Constitutional lock box, i.e. “…a deceitful…political gimmick…”!
Although the resolution creating a Constitutional Lock Box passed the House with 100 yes votes, 40 no votes and 11 members absent, it failed to secure the necessary votes for this resolution to be a ballot initiative during the next election (¾ of the members). As such, this matter will be taken up by the next legislature (2017) and hopefully, at that time, we can enact a truly effective and enforceable Constitutional Lock Box that assures Connecticut residents that transportation related revenues will, in fact, be used solely for transportation infrastructure and repairs.
I will continue to be your voice for fiscal common sense in Hartford. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding the special session or any state or local concerns at 800-842-1423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Posted on December 3, 2015 by admin
BARKHAMSTED – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) and State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) recently hosted a fraud prevention forum to help seniors learn how to avoid being victims of fraud and scams. Sponsored by AARP, guest speakers presented The Con-Artist’s Playbook, a Deep Look into the Mind of Scam Artists.
“With the holiday shopping season upon us, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to have this very important discussion,” said Rep. Simanski. “As people are making more purchases, using their debit and credit cards more frequently, and being solicited for various charitable giving opportunities, it is imperative that seniors and all residents remain vigilant. Scammers are constantly looking for their next fraud victim, not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year.”
Many seniors offered their own anecdotes about how they or people they know have been victims of fraud. They also discussed the implementation of the new credit cards with chips as a means of fraud protection.
“We always hear about scams this time of year, and sometimes it can be hard to identify what a legitimate threat really looks like,” said Sen. Witkos. “The information shared at this event was filled with good tips to help people differentiate between what’s harmless, and what could potentially be a scam. Opening up the conversation and listening to others share their stories was very helpful. I urge anyone who has concerns about a potential scam to share your concerns with the CT Department of Consumer Protection and take a look at the resources available at www.ct.gov/dcp.”
The Con-Artist’s Playbook presents an inside look at how scammers think and can help enable persons to protect themselves and their families against identity theft and fraud. The program was developed based on hundreds of undercover fraud tapes and hours of interviews with victims and con artists. It demonstrates common strategies scammers use and provides tools for use in defense of common con-artist tricks. Guests attending the event received a free copy.
For more information visit: www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork
Posted on November 24, 2015 by admin
State Representative Bill Simanski (R-Granby) visited a Mobile Foodshare site in Granby where he helped to distribute fresh food to those in need.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful program which helps our neighbors in need,” said Simanski. “At a time when families are struggling, programs like Mobile Foodshare provide access to nutritional produce and food items right here in our community. I commend the Foodshare organization for their tireless and dedicated efforts in combating hunger in our communities.”
The Mobile Foodshare truck brings free produce to those in need at South Congregational Church on Salmon Brooke Street every other Tuesday from noon to 12:30 pm. Granby is also served by the Farmington Valley Hunger Action Team, a group meeting to solve hunger locally in the Farmington Valley.
Photo: (R-L) Rep. Simanski with Diana Goode, President of Gifts of Love pantry and Sarah Santora, Foodshare Community Involvement Manager.
Posted on November 17, 2015 by admin
State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) was on hand to celebrate the grand re-opening of Ovation Guitars. Rep. Simanski, an avid guitar player, enjoyed an interactive tour of the facility with Ovation’s operations manager Darren Wallace prior to the grand re-opening ceremonies. Wallace, an employee for over 23 years, explained that Ovation plans to introduce new models in addition to the production of old favorites.
During the festivities, Rep. Simanski presented Bill Xavier and Ovation Guitars with a citation on behalf of the Connecticut General Assembly for their service to the community and to consumers around the globe.
“Ovation is a prominent name in the guitar industry, and it is an honor to have them re-open their doors where it all started,” said Rep. Simanski. “I’m proud to say that New Hartford has a footprint in music history and I am especially glad that music enthusiasts of all skill levels will be able to enjoy playing Ovation guitars for many more years to come.”
Located in New Hartford, Ovation Guitar has been a town icon for nearly 50 years and a favorite of many rock and roll legends including Kevin Cronin, lead singer and longtime band member of REO Speedwagon, who has played Ovation guitars since the early 1980s. Cronin and REO Speedwagon took part in the celebration and played a short set for audience members.
After decades of making the popular guitars, Ovation had closed its factory doors in 2014. Earlier this year, Drum Workshop Inc. purchased the brand and ramped up production with workers who were rehired after the company’s re-opening.
Rep Simanski (R-New Hartford), along with Rep Gary Byron (R-Newington) toured the Ovation Guitars facility with manager Darren Wallace at the grand re-opening celebration.
Posted on October 23, 2015 by admin
BARKHAMSTED – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) and State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) will be hosting a fraud prevention forum to help seniors learn how to avoid being victims of fraud and scams. Guest speakers from AARP will present The Con-Artist’s Playbook, a Deep Look into the Mind of Scam Artists.
The event will be held on Friday, November 6, from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.., at the Barkhamsted Community Room, 33 New Hartford Road, Barkhamsted.
The Con-Artist’s Playbook presents an inside look at how scammers think and can help enable persons to protect themselves and their families against identity theft and fraud. This program was developed based on hundreds of undercover fraud tapes and hours of interviews with victims and con artists. It demonstrates common strategies scammers use and provides tools for use in defense of common con-artist tricks. Guests attending the event will receive a free copy.
This event is open to the public and free of charge.
For more information regarding the event, please contact Mitch Renfrew at 860-240-8724 or email Mitchell.Renfrew@cga.ct.gov.
Posted on October 14, 2015 by admin
Local Republicans join fellow lawmakers in submitting petitions calling for action
Hartford – Following calls by hospitals, advocates for the disabled, and many others for legislative action to address Governor Malloy’s recent devastating budget cuts, Senate and House Republican legislators have all signed a petition seeking a special session of the General Assembly to rebuild the state budget and formally requested Democrat legislators do the same.
Today the lawmakers submitted all 79 petitions to the Office of the Secretary of the State signed by each and every Republican state lawmaker. If a majority of state lawmakers in each chamber sign this petition, it will trigger a special session. To gain a majority, at least 4 Democrats in the Senate and 12 Democrats in the House will need to join Republicans in signing the petition. Thus far, the governor and Democrat leaders have denied Republicans’ requests to hold a special session.
“This is about people, not politics,” said Sen. Witkos, Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore. “Thousands of people will be hurt by the governor’s budget cuts to the poor, to the elderly, to the disabled, and to the mentally ill. There’s no one-time fix to the significant problems within the Democrats’ budget. It is an unstable budget that will continue to fail our state and result in even more future cuts unless we do something significant to change it. I urge Democrats to stand with Republicans and sign this petition so that we can go into special session and work collaboratively to fix this mess and do what’s right.”
“The governor has unconscionably chosen to balance this budget on the health and well-being of those who need our help the most; the elderly, the disabled, and the very sick. It is time for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle join us in calling for a special session to immediately address this budget calamity in a bi-partisan manner. This is not a Democrat or a Republican issue, this is about humanity, and I urge those in the majority party to stand up for our residents,” said Rep. Simanski.
“It is concerning that this administration has chosen to order emergency spending cuts at the expense of the most vulnerable residents of Connecticut. It is unjustifiable to say to those who are disabled or to those who have mental illness or who need medical treatment that their services are being cut because the governor chose to balance his budget with the funding for their necessary or life-saving programs. For the literal good of the residents of this state, we need to come together as a legislative body and discuss alternative solutions to the governor’s short-sighted budgeting actions,” said Rep. LeGeyt.
The petition calls for a session, “To make adjustments to the state budget for the biennium beginning July 1, 2015, including adjustments to restore Medicaid funding and other state support for hospitals, health care and other services.”
The General Assembly can be called in to a special session by the governor or by majority party legislative leaders. However, if rank and file legislators demonstrate that a majority in both chambers deem it necessary to meet in special session, they can initiate a session themselves.
The governor’s $103 million in cuts include millions in cuts to mental health and substance abuse services and programs that help those with disabilities – all areas that were already slashed in the Democrats’ budget. It also includes $64 million in Medicaid cuts that directly affect hospitals and translate to a loss of $128 million in federal dollars, for a total loss of $192 million in funding for Connecticut’s hospitals. The result is hospitals become net taxpayers to the state of approximately a half a billion dollars.
Posted on September 8, 2015 by admin
Do you have concerns about our state tax policy? Would you like to comment on them?
A State Tax Panel will hold a public hearing this month that will provide you with an opportunity to contribute to a much-needed discussion on this topic. Among the subjects that may be addressed at the hearing are: Sales and Use Tax, Estate and Gift Taxation, Personal Income Tax, Property Tax, Tax Exempt Properties, PILOT, Business Personal Property Taxation, Personal Tangible Property, Real Estate Conveyance and Controlling Interest Transfers and Local Option Taxes.
Panel staff has requested “recommendations and solutions not just commentary on the tax system.”
Sept. 16, 2015
Legislative Office Building, Room 2E
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Speakers will be limited to 3 minutes of testimony followed by questions from the panel. All speakers must be signed up on the speakers list. Please provide 40 copies of your testimony at the time of sign-up. Anyone who cannot attend may submit testimony electronically (in PDF format) to email@example.com. Electronic only testimony will not be copied for distribution. All testimony submitted will be scanned and published on the tax panel website which can be found by going to www.cga.ct.gov, then click on committees, then click on Finance Revenue and Bonding and scroll to the bottom for the Tax Panel Website.
Posted on September 2, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD – For the fourth consecutive year, State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62nd) has achieved a one-hundred-percent voting record during the regular 2015 Legislative Session according to the House Clerk’s Office, who released the data on members’ votes this week.
Rep. Simanski cast his vote on 379 separate pieces of legislation that made it to the floor of the House of Representatives. Perfect attendance is very difficult to achieve, with less than 20% of legislators able to do so this year. A perfect voting record, particularly throughout multiple years, is indicative of deliberate dedication and commitment.
“As a legislator it is my priority to be present for every issue being debated in order to represent my constituents to the best of my ability, and my voting record reflects that commitment,” said Rep. Simanski. “Many important issues came before the legislature this session, including the state budget. The people of the 62nd district have put their trust in me to be their strong voice in Hartford. I’m honored and privileged to serve and I want the people in our community to know that their collective voice was heard on every issue that was debated by the legislature during the last session.”
Rep. Simanski, Assistant Republican Leader in the House Republican Caucus, serves as Ranking Member of the Banks Committee and also serves on the Planning and Development, and Transportation Committees of the Connecticut General Assembly.
The next regular session of the legislature will convene in February 2016.
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Posted on August 7, 2015 by admin
Many of you have read recent news reports about Department of Motor Vehicles delays and problems with scheduling appointments for learner’s permits and other important motor vehicle business.
The Department of Motor Vehicles is “Gearing Up” for a technology upgrade. THE DMV WILL BE SHUT DOWN Tuesday, August 11 – Saturday, August 15.
The agency’s shutdown will allow for the computer upgrades and testing of the new system.
All DMV offices are closed except for licensing. AAA offices will be open during the DMV shutdown period for license and ID card renewals; click here for locations. Appointments for license knowledge and road tests will go on as scheduled. It’s important to note:
Once the upgrade is finished, DMV will have a new online menu for consumers.
On August 17 the New DMV website (ct.gov/dmv) will offer the following:
For more information about the DMV modernization project, please click here.
Posted on July 15, 2015 by admin
The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing that a milling and resurfacing project will be performed on Route 181 Hartland.
The project consists of milling and resurfacing a 1.93 mile segment of Route 181 in Hartland.
This project is scheduled to occur Monday, July 20, 2015 to Wednesday, August 5, 2015.
LANE CLOSURE INFO
Motorists can expect lane closures on Rt. 181 between Rt. 20 and the Hartland town line. Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be utilized to guide motorists through the work zone.
The regular work schedule for this project is 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Monday-Friday).
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 1, 2015 by admin
Are you a veteran or a current member of the Armed Forces, or do you know someone who is?
Below is 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. Bill Simanski’s office at 800-842-1423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on June 19, 2015 by admin
New Hartford – Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) and Representative Bill Simanski (R-) recognized a group of young writers for their exceptional submissions in a school essay contest sponsored by Northwest Community Bank. The winning students, sixth graders from the Ann Antolini School, were recognized by Senator Witkos, Representative Simanski and Carole Monroe, Branch Manager and Assistant VP of Northwest Community Bank, at a ceremony at the school on Monday, June 15.
The winning students wrote essays in response to the question: “Describe the American Melting Pot as it relates to immigration.” Responses discussed many topics including changes in how immigrants enter the United States today as compared to a century ago.
“Congratulations to all the participants and the impressive winners who wrote so eloquently on this important topic,” said Sen. Witkos. “Our nation is unique in that we were founded, created and developed by people who traveled here from many different countries. The immigrant experience throughout history shaped our country into the amazing nation and melting pot it is today. Thank you to all the students who shared their own thoughts and feelings about our nation’s history and our journey forward. ”
“We’ve held this contest annually for several years now, and each year I continue to be impressed with the insight and ability of our students to present their thoughtful, well-crafted essays,” said Rep. Simanski. “This year’s topic required both historical research and critical thinking on an important topic that remains at the forefront of debate for our state and our nation. These students did a wonderful job sharing their own views and findings. I’d like to congratulate all of our winners on their accomplishments. I’d also like to acknowledge and thank Northwest Community Bank, for their continued partnership in making this such a successful event.”
The winning students recognized at the event include:
Runners up include:
“Northwest Community Bank is so pleased to support the Essay Contest again this year,” said Gayle E. Moraski, Northwest Community Bank Vice President. “This year’s topic was especially good. I am always amazed that each student’s essay is different from each other. And the level of confidence that the students have reading the essays in front of family and other students is incredible. Thank you for allowing us to be part of this program and we look forward to next year!”
Posted on June 12, 2015 by admin
11th Annual Connecticut Open House Day
Saturday June 13th
Open House Day provides the residents of Connecticut and visitors with the opportunity to experience the rich history and culture in and around our great state. Each year, properties participate in the annual celebration and offer a variety of special incentives, including reduced or free admission in addition to special activities and hours. Event specials and hours of operation vary by location.
Click here for a full list of participating locations listed in alphabetical order by town. Listed below are the participating vendors from our district:
Barkhamsted Historical Society
100 East River Rd. Barkhamsted, CT
Free admission from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., offering refreshments and special history program.
Susan Rood Studio
Leadmine Brook Farm
345 Ramstein Rd.
New Hartford, CT
Open artist studio from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. with printmaking demonstrations and art exhibit.
Part of Norfolk Artists and Friends Open Studio Tour.
This annual event is coordinated by the Connecticut Office of Tourism, a division of the Department of Economic & Community Development.
Posted on June 3, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) joined his colleagues in the state House of Representatives on Monday and overwhelmingly approved a bill aimed at bringing a comprehensive financial literacy curriculum to Connecticut schools.
Rep. Simanski, the bill’s co-sponsor and Ranking Member of the legislature’s Banking committee, praised passage of Senate Bill 319, An Act Concerning Financial Literacy Education, which allows educators around the state to access a financial literacy curriculum designed by the State Board of Education. This curriculum covers banking, investing, savings, handling of personal finance matters, and the impact of using credit and debit cards.
The legislation seeks to ensure that all students who graduate from Connecticut schools know how to manage a household budget, save and invest their income, and avoid the pitfalls of credit card debt.
“I couldn’t think of a more important curriculum item than financial literacy. It helps prepare our students to be successful in managing their finances as they transition to college and become young adults. I wish they had this curriculum for my children when they went through high school and college,” said Rep. Simanski.
The Center for Financial Literacy gave Connecticut an “F” in their “2013 National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools.” Also a Council for Economic Education survey of the states placed Connecticut near the bottom among just five states with no solid requirements for financial literacy. Rep. Simanski added, “Studies show that young adults who receive financial literacy training have higher credit scores, and lower debt. I believe that financial literacy is vital to the future success of students by providing them with information to make good decisions that will ensure their financial freedom, and the goal of this legislation is to do just that.”
Studies from the Federal Reserve Bank have confirmed that young adults who receive financial literacy training have increased credit scores and lower debt. These students are more aware of their own credit history and scores, and are less likely to engage in risky spending and borrowing practices.
The measure passed the House on a vote of 144 to 2. It now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration. ###
Posted on June 1, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD —State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) and fellow Republican lawmakers made good on a promise from earlier this year when they pushed through a proposal last Thursday that closes loopholes in campaign finance laws and cleans up the way money is spent during the election cycle. The proposal passed 134-12, with a rare collation of both parties supporting it.
“The residents of Connecticut deserve an honest, transparent election process. The proposal will save our taxpayers money, restore voters’ trust in the publicly-funded election system, curb special interests and bring integrity back to Connecticut’s elections by strengthening campaign laws,” said Rep. Simanski.
Among other things, the Republican proposal caps organizational expenditures by state political parties, reduces individual donor limits to state political parties from $10,000 to $5,000, eliminates grants to unopposed candidates, bars state contractors from donating to a federal account to fund a state race and reduces all publicly-funded Citizens Election Program (CEP) grants by 25 percent. This legislation also expands the prohibition preventing family members of candidates, participating in CEP, from being paid more than $1,000.
The CEP cost Connecticut taxpayers $33.4 million for publicly-funded campaigns in 2014. The bill that passed will save taxpayers $7 million in a gubernatorial election year and $2.4 million in presidential cycles. It now awaits action in the Senate.
The CEP, which funds gubernatorial and state Senate and House races, is a public finance program that awards candidates with campaign funding after hitting a specific private contribution threshold. Since 2008, taxpayer-funded CEP campaigns have cost taxpayers $80.7 million, according to the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Posted on May 18, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in unanimously passing bills aimed at improving the lives of veterans in Connecticut as they transition from service into civilian life.
Rep. Simanski voted in favor of legislation establishing a Connecticut Women Veterans’ Program. The bill, S.B. 904, 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.
“We are providing our women military veterans with a helping hand. By supporting programs such as this, women soldiers returning home from active duty will have the opportunity to access much needed resources to make their reintegration into civilian life successful. Many of them are returning home to their young children from active combat, which are very different roles for these soldiers. This bill will promote outreach efforts to improve the awareness of women veterans regarding available programs and benefits,” said Rep. Simanski.
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.
In an effort to improve Connecticut veterans’ college education experience, Simanski also joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing a bill aimed at streamlining the Operation Academic Support for Incoming Service Members (OASIS) and veteran-students’ transition into civilian life.
Rep. Simanski praised passage of S.B. 694, which would create a statewide study to evaluate and assess OASIS programming. The study would identify successful programs and units of expertise, and apply them throughout Connecticut’s public colleges.
“It is important that we as a legislative body continue to do all we can to provide support to our service men and women returning home from active duty. The OASIS program supports veterans as they pursue a new career in higher education and gain new skills to provide for themselves and their families,” said Rep. Simanski.
The bills have both passed unanimously out of the state Senate. S.B. 904 awaits signature by the Governor while S.B. 694 supporting OASIS programming was signing into law today.
Posted on May 14, 2015 by admin
A credit freeze can be a very effective tool against identity theft – a crime which can cost you your hard-earned money and your good credit rating.
It seems there are weekly news items about data breaches where vital consumer data held by private companies or government agencies is lost or stolen. When a company experiences a data breach it is common for it to offer customers free credit monitoring. This will tell you when a potential problem surfaces, but a credit freeze can prevent your vital data from being useful to a thief, and can limit the damage such a breach can do to your credit. In the State of Connecticut, any consumer can request a credit freeze.
WHAT IS A CREDIT FREEZE?
A credit freeze allows you to seal your credit reports, only to be accessed with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that is known only to you. A criminal trying to open a new line of credit posing as you would be unable to do so without this PIN, even if they are able to obtain your ID.
Implementing a credit freeze does not impact your current lines of credit, and you can continue to use your credit lines as you usually would.
SHOULD I GET ONE?
If your credit report is accessed frequently due to work, or you open new lines of credit with financial institutions on a regular basis, a credit freeze may not be for you. The cost and inconvenience of “thawing” will accumulate.
HOW DO I GET A CREDIT FREEZE?
You must apply for a credit freeze individually with all three credit bureaus. There is a cost associated with getting a credit freeze, usually $3-$10 per person.
Below are links to each of the major credit bureaus to help get you started.
Posted on May 7, 2015 by admin
State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) speaks to Janine Sullivan-Wiley, Executive Director of Northwest Regional Mental Health Board, Inc. regarding her concerns about the Governor’s budget reductions to mental health services and the Regional Boards.
The Regional Mental Health Boards hosted a “Take Five on the Fifth” Legislative Breakfast event at the State Capitol earlier this week.
Posted on May 7, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) announced that two bills, which serve to provide identity and credit protections for both children and adults, have passed a key legislative hurdle and have been voted unanimously out of the House of Representatives.
Today, the House of Representatives approved H.B. 6403, An Act Concerning Security Freezes on Children’s Credit Reports. “Children have become a prime target for identity thieves because the stolen identity can be used for many years before discovery. Usually it’s not until the child applies for a college loan that the ID theft is discovered,” said Simanski, ranking member of the legislature’s Banking committee. The bill protects children from identity theft by allowing their parent or legal guardian to place a security freeze on the child’s credit report.
To do so, the parent or guardian must provide the credit rating agency with a written request and proper identification and sufficient proof of authority to act for the minor. A freeze prohibits the agency from releasing information in the credit report without the parent’s express authorization.
Shortly thereafter, the House passed H.B. 6800, An Act Mortgage Correspondent Lenders, the Small Loan Act, Virtual Currencies and Security Freezes on Consumer Credit Reports. Among many consumer protections, this bill prevents credit reporting agencies from charging certain protected persons fees related to security freezes, including victims of identity theft and their spouses.
Other provisions of the bill streamline current mortgage statutes, prohibit predatory loan practices known as ”Pay Day Loans” and ensure current banking statues are in line with evolving technology, including virtual currency.
“I am thrilled that both of these bills have received the support of my colleagues in the House, and will continue through the legislative process,” said Simanski. “These pieces of legislation will go a long way in providing identity theft protection for people regardless of age. Identity theft is a growing problem in our society as we become more reliant on technology and more of our personal information is available online. It is my hope that the protections afforded by these bills will provide an added layer of security for residents of Connecticut to keep their personal information safe.”
The bills await further debate and passage by the Senate. The 2015 legislative session will adjourn on June 3rd.
Click below to watch Rep. Simanski speak in favor of the bills on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Posted on May 4, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD – State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) and State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) met with local CONNECTICUT REALTORS® during their annual Realtor Day at the State Capitol. On Realtor Day, realtors from all over the state come together to meet with legislators to share their views and opinions on the issues that affect their business.
Members of CT Realtors® who spoke with Simanski and Witkos expressed deep concern that the current economic climate in Connecticut, and in particular, high taxes, is forcing people to sell their homes and leave this state, taking with them, their tax dollars and discretionary income which contributes to and invests in our state’s economy. “I appreciate the concerns which were shared by the group today and I echo those concerns about the direction our state is headed in,” said Rep. Simanski. “I encourage this group and all members of CT REALTORS® to reach out to their lawmakers on any proposed bills that they feel are helpful or harmful to their industry at any time, not just on advocacy days at the State Capitol.”
“Connecticut needs to start making serious changes in the way we approach the state budget and taxes. I completely understand the concerns shared by realtors and I hope that the majority party will join Republicans in our efforts to reduce burdens on families, individuals and employers. I always welcome feedback from constituents including the realtor community and their visit to the Capitol was another great opportunity to further the dialogue about strengthening our state,” said Sen. Witkos.
Referencing the Republican alternative budget plan, the Blueprint for Prosperity, Rep. Simanski said, “My Republican colleagues and I have proposed a budget that does not increase taxes and provides the immediate tax relief that people and businesses alike are desperately calling for. I am hopeful that these proposals are given consideration by the majority party so that we can begin to turn Connecticut around and give residents hope for the future and a reason to stay.”
CT REALTORS® was organized in 1920 to protect the rights of property ownership and elevate the standards of real estate practice. Their public advocacy includes working with state and federal lawmakers to protect the rights of real estate owners, and improving the business climate for their more than 15,600 members statewide.
Posted on April 27, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD – State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) joined fellow Republican lawmakers in holding a press conference on Apr. 24 at the State Capitol to announce an alternative to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s state budget proposal.
Simanski said their plan, a Blueprint for Prosperity, 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. This budget has been fully vetted by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, who has verified all savings and budgeted amounts as accurate.
The proposal restores funding to the CT veterans’ honor guard, who provide graveside solutes and final military honors at the funerals of military veterans. It also restores current funding for resident state troopers as well as funding fire training schools. Simanski also stated their proposal will benefit taxpayers, consumers, the developmentally disabled, businesses, non-profits, municipalities and hospitals.
“This plan is a responsible step in the right direction toward getting our fiscal house in order,” said Rep. Simanski. “It is a balanced approach that provides immediate tax relief to residents and small businesses while providing much needed reforms in the way that our government functions and uses taxpayer dollars.”
The goal of the Blueprint for Prosperity is to begin to reform state government to set Connecticut on a better path for smarter spending today and in the future.
In addition to restoration of Governor Malloy’s draconian budget cuts, Republican lawmakers provide some much needed tax relief. The budget plan calls for restoring the exemption on clothing and shoes under $50 starting June 1, 2016 and restoring full tax freedom week. Additional the plan phases out the income tax on pension income under $100,000 and eliminates governor’s proposed income tax hike on single filers beginning in income year 2017.
The budget savings from the Blueprint for Prosperity is achieved by requiring Governor Malloy to fulfill his 2011 ‘shared sacrifice’ promise and find a way to reach $253 million in unmet savings. Republicans recommend Governor Malloy institute an additional wage freeze in the first year of the biennium, increase contributions to pension system for current state employees; increase copays for healthcare, including prescription drugs, and eliminates existence of longevity payments. It also identifies future labor savings by getting excessive overtime costs under control and creating a new Office of Overtime Accountability.
The ideas will be debated in the weeks leading up to the end of the 2015 legislative session on June 3.
Posted on April 21, 2015 by admin
Tomorrow, April 22 is Earth Day! It’s the perfect time to check out the great work being done by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people to the land in order to protect forests, parks, walking trails, and open space throughout Connecticut for future generations.
Their experienced conservationists offer programs on the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails, environmental education, land conservation, and public policy. Click below for more information, or to learn how you can help them in their effort to conserve Connecticut’s great natural resources.
Also in honor of Earth Day, we have a celebration happening right here in our own back yard. Bring your family and friends to enjoy an afternoon of fun with activities for everyone to enjoy!
What: Barkhamsted Earth Day Nature Festival
When: Sunday, April 26th from 12:30p to 5:30p
Where: Matthies Grove Pavilion, Peoples State Forest
(Live Birds of Prey Show from 2:30pm-3:30pm)
This event is free and open to the public.
For information on the Nature Festival, call Barkhamsted First Selectman Don Stein at 860-379-8285 or Ginny Apple at 860-655-0007.
Posted on April 15, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) announced that a plan he co-sponsored to create a Student Loan Bill of Rights passed a key legislative hurdle and has been voted unanimously out of the House of Representatives.
Today, the House of Representatives approved H.B.- 6915, An Act Concerning a Student Bill of Rights. The legislation is aimed at regulating student loan servicers and establishing a student loan ombudsman to assist student borrowers and parents. The bill also requires the ombudsman to establish a student loan borrower education course to teach and inform borrowers about student education loans including key loan terms, payment obligations and loan forgiveness.
“I am thrilled that this bill has received the support of my colleagues and will continue through the legislative process. This legislation will go a long way in providing college students and their parents the resources and information they need to make sound decisions regarding their student loan debt and their financial future,” said Simanski, co-sponsor of the bill and Ranking Member of the legislature’s Banking committee. “As a parent who has navigated the student loan process with my own sons as they were preparing for college, I understand the stress that students and families face when applying for student loans. I only wish a program like this was available when my family was going through the process. It’s my hope that the student loan ombudsman will provide much needed guidance and assistance to families.”
The bill moves to the Senate for further debate. If passed, Connecticut would be the first state in the country to adopt such a measure.
Presently, student loan debt is the fastest rising source of debt second to household debt nationwide. 64% of students who graduate college do so with student loan debt; the median debt is $30,191. 25% of student loan borrowers are in deferment, forbearance, or default status.
The 2015 legislative session will adjourn on June 3rd.
Watch Rep. Simanski speak in favor of the legislation on the floor of the House of Representatives:
Posted on April 6, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD — During the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s (CBIA) annual Business Day at the State Capitol, State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) told north-central Connecticut’s business leaders that he will continue fighting for small businesses and workers who drive the local economy.
Simanski emphasized the need for smarter fiscal management in state government and more business-friendly policies. A strong proponent and supporter of smaller Connecticut businesses and their owners, Simanski encouraged those present to contact their legislators and let their voice be heard.
Posted on March 24, 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 20, 2015 by admin
Granby – (Attached photo) State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) addressed guests during the Granby Chamber of Commerce 2015 Annual Meeting. Simanski, the event keynote speaker, described the financial condition of Connecticut as dire and that the legislature has a massive undertaking in passing a budget during the 2015 legislative session. He discussed the budget making process, along with the various gimmicks used by the majority party meant to obfuscate the true facts.
Simanski said, “I don’t want to give you heartburn after that meal we just ate but you are adults and deserve to know the truth.”
He ended by imploring each chamber member to become part of a grassroots effort to share the information with others so that all Connecticut residents remain accurately informed of what’s occurring at the State Capitol.
Posted on March 19, 2015 by admin
Old New-Gate Prison to get new foundation; may re-open this year
As featured in the Hartford Courant online, Windsor Locks Edition: 3/3/14
When Old New-Gate Prison – a state-funded historical site – closed along with other state parks in 2009 due to a lack of state funds, the closing was just supposed to be temporary. When state funding was restored two years later, however, the site remained closed.
“We went in and the lights didn’t work,” said Karin Peterson, a longtime Old New-Gate Prison employee.
Lights shorting out had been a common problem in the prison’s damp underground cells. But that was only part of the problem. It turns out that the guardhouse was in danger of collapsing. Built long ago on mining waste left over from the site’s early use as a copper mine, the guardhouse’s foundation had been shifting and was also in danger of sliding down a hill.
However, state funding has been procured and plans have been drawn up for a serious stabilization effort at the guardhouse, the only original structure still intact from the prison days.
State Rep. Tami Zawistowski (R-61), along with state Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) and state Sen. John Kissel (R-7), spoke at a meeting on Feb. 17 to update the public on the project. Daniel Forrest, a state historic preservation officer, gave the presentation at the East Granby Senior Center.
“I think the residents need to know what’s going on,” said Zawistowski. “The support of the community as a whole is important.”
Kissel said that, even though it is still winter, work is being done. The former prison may open, at least on a limited basis, later this year. “They are laying the groundwork for the coming months,” he said.
Forrest explained why the guardhouse is so unstable.
“It was originally built over the mine entrance to secure prisoners,” he said. “But the tailings were the foundation. They have shifted. The void between some of the stones is large enough to stick an arm or leg through.”
Previous work done in 1976 and 2000 failed to produce any long-term results. Forrest said this project will be more extensive, with a whole new foundation being dug. Small pilings will be added for further stabilization. The building will have to be suspended by a crane for a time as the work is done. The lights will also be replaced. The project is expected to take about 180 days, but Forrest could not say when it will be completed.
The cost is $1.4 million, which Forrest said the state is covering with funds from real estate transaction fees. Once the prison site is open to the public again, Viet’s Tavern might also reopen if a buyer is found.
The project has been planned so it will not disturb the area where items from the prison have been found. Forrest said objects, such as homemade dice and a makeshift fork, have been found at the site, and archeologists want to explore some more.
“This is like King Tut’s Tomb,” said Peterson, who is very pleased with the planned restoration. “It tells us a lot about the men who were there. The fork is just a scrap of a nail that a prisoner bent into a fork so he could eat like a civilized human being.”
Simanski said that when he and his family moved to the state in 1987, Old New-Gate Prison was one of the first attractions they visited. “I’m excited to continue being involved in it,” he said. “Things are happening.”
Posted on March 13, 2015 by admin
Granby, CT – January 31, 2015 – MeadowBrook of Granby hosted a special luncheon for some of their residents which included two guest speakers, State Representatives Bill Simanski and Tami Zawistowski. The State Representatives answered pointed and insightful questions from residents concerning health care costs and other issues important to the aging community.
MeadowBrook of Granby is a Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Our team of dedicated and caring professionals will customize a rehabilitation plan to meet your individual needs and preferences. For more information please contact Admissions at 860.653.9888 or visit our website athenanh.com/meadowbrook.
MeadowBrook of Granby is managed by Athena Health Care Systems.
Release Courtesy of Debra Mullins, Meadowbrook
Posted on March 13, 2015 by admin
Legislator’s votes are often swayed by public opinion. Now is the opportunity to have your voice heard on the casino issue.
On Tuesday, March 17, a public hearing will be held on Senate Bill 1090. If passed, this law could result in the creation of new casinos along I-91, I-95 and I-84.
If you have thoughts to share about this bill, you can attend the hearing or submit written testimony.
To Attend the Public Hearing:
DATE: Tuesday, March 17th
TIME: 12:00 P.M.
WHERE: Room 2B of the Legislative Office Building (LOB).
HOW: Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 8:30 A.M. and will conclude at 10:00 A.M. in Room 3650 of the LOB. Please submit 35 copies of written testimony to Committee staff from 8:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. in Room 3650 of the LOB.
If you do not have prior experience testifying at a legislative public hearing, you can find helpful information explaining the process here.
To Submit Written Testimony:
For those of you who cannot attend the March 17th public hearing you can submit written testimony in Word or PDF format by email to PStestimony@cga.ct.gov.
Posted on March 12, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) announced he has adoptedEnders State Forest in West Granby & American Legion State Forest in Barkhamsted, joining a coalition of state park and greenway advocates within the Connecticut General Assembly.
Simanski made the announcement on the same day the Friends of Connecticut State Parks and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association assembled in Hartford for their Advocacy Day at the State Capitol. Simanski proclaimed his support for the forests, parks and greenways by adopting the local landscapes in honor of the 102 year anniversary of the State Park system.
“As an avid outdoorsman, I’m proud to again participate in this great event and support our state parks,” said Simanski. “Especially after this long and snowy winter, I encourage residents to get outside and enjoy all that our beautiful parks have to offer. From fishing and water sports, to hiking, biking, and picnicking, there is something for people of all ages and interests to enjoy.”
By adopting a state park, Rep. Simanski will work with existing “Friends” of the park and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, use his position as a legislator to advocate for the needs for the park and work with the park to continually understand its assets and needs.
The Friends of Connecticut State parks added Simanski to their distinguished Honor Roll list of legislators. Over a dozen legislators signed the pledge this week to adopt a state park in their respective districts. There are 107 state parks in Connecticut, and according to a UConn Economic Study, the state parks employ 9,000 people each year and bring $1 billion to the state’s economy.
Posted on March 12, 2015 by admin
Last year, I had the privilege of touring the CT Mission Of Mercy in Hartford and witness the quality dental care provided to persons who did not have access to dental care.
I’m pleased to share that the program will again be made available to CT residents. A free, two-day dental clinic for underserved and uninsured residents is coming to Danbury on Friday, March 20th and Saturday, March 21st, beginning at 6 a.m.
The Connecticut Mission of Mercy (CTMOM), organized and sponsored by the Connecticut State Dental Association and the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach, will come to the O’Neill Center at Western Connecticut State University, 43 Lake Ave. Ext., in Danbury.
Oral health is “inseparable from general health” and can affect a person’s self-esteem, compromise their ability to work, attend school and lead a normal life.
If you or someone you know is interested in this event, please click here for more information.
Since 2008, CTMOM has served thousands of underserved and uninsured Connecticut families. Last year in Hartford, the dental clinic served 2,295 people – a $1.58 million value of donated care.
Posted on March 11, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD- State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) announced that a plan he co-sponsored to create a Student Bill of Rights passed a key legislative hurdle and has been approved by the Banking committee.
Today, the Banking committee unanimously approved H.B.- 6915, An Act Concerning a Student Bill of Rights. The legislation is aimed atregulating student loan servicers and establishing a student loan ombudsman to assist student borrowers and parents. If passed, Connecticut would be the first state in the country to adopt such a measure.
Presently, student loan debt is the fastest rising source of debt second to household debt nationwide. 64% of students who graduate college do so with student loan debt; the median debt is $30,191. 25% of student loan borrowers are in deferment, forbearance, or default status.
“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill as it will go a long way in providing college students the resources and information they need to make sound decisions regarding their student loan debt and their financial future,” said Simanski, Ranking Member of the legislature’s Banking committee. “As a parent who has navigated the student loan process with my own sons as they were preparing for college, I understand the stress that students and families face throughout the process. It’s my hope that the student loan ombudsman will be helpful in this process.”
The 2015 legislative session will adjourn on June 3rd.
Posted on February 23, 2015 by admin
As you know the issue of returning tolls to Connecticut’s highways has been discussed in the legislature this session.
I serve as a member of the Transportation Committee and I wanted to inform you that the committee will hold a public hearing on a bill to return tolls to Connecticut and a bill protecting the dedicated Special Transportation Fund from being raided for non-transportation purposes.
You can read the language of the toll bill here:
HB 6818, An Act Concerning the Establishment of Electronic Tolls at the State’s Borders
and the transportation fund bill here:
HB-5927, An Act Prohibiting Transfers From the Special Transportation Fund.
The public hearing will be held on Wednesday, February 25th, at 10:30 AM in Room 1 E of the Legislative Office Building.
I encourage you to check http://www.cga.ct.gov/ and click on the “Bulletin” to track what items you might be interested in. If you do decide to write a letter in support of or opposition to a proposed bill, please copy me so I can be aware of your opinions.
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.
The full public hearing agendas are hyperlinked to each bill proposal. For the rules in submitting written testimony please click this link. Please be aware that each committee has different rules and deadlines.
If you are unable to attend in person but would like to submit testimony in writing, you may submit it via email to the Transportation Committee here: email@example.com.
Posted on February 17, 2015 by admin
Please review this important consumer update impacting Anthem insurance customers and protect yourself from scam Anthem email campaigns.
As most of you are likely aware, 80 million people throughout the United States – 1.2 million of whom reside in Connecticut – are currently facing the threat of identity theft after a major security breach at Anthem health insurance.
Information stolen from current and former customers includes names, dates of birth, medical IDs, Social Security numbers, street addresses, e-mail addresses, employment information and some income data. It does not seem that any medical records or credit card numbers have been exposed, but I urge you to be aware of activity regarding such information.
Anthem will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber-attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring.
Affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services. According to Anthem, consumers may sign up for identity theft repair and credit monitoring services — offered free of charge for two years. Information on how to enroll is now posted at www.anthemfacts.com.
Connecticut residents who may have been impacted by the cyber-attack against Anthem should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Anthem members.
These are not legitimate offerings and are either a scam or solicitation for services not approved by Anthem.
These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem and the emails include a “click here” link for credit monitoring.
These emails are NOT from Anthem.
DO NOT click on any links in email. DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way. DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you have clicked on a link in email. DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with email.
Anthem is not calling Connecticut members regarding the cyber-attack and is not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.
This outreach is from scam artists who are trying to trick consumers into sharing personal data. There is no indication that the scam email campaigns are being conducted by those that committed the cyber-attack, or that the information accessed in the attack is being used by the scammers.
Anthem customers are advised to:
Change their online passwords and to check their credit reports for suspicious activity. Report any suspicious activity on their credit report or other financial accounts to law enforcement authorities immediately.
For more guidance on recognizing scam email, please visit the FTC Website: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing.
For more information about the data breach visit http://www.anthemfacts.com/ or contact Anthem at: 1-877-263-7995.
For information about obtaining credit reports and other advice for consumers visit www.ct.gov/anthemadvice.
Suspicious activity can also be reported to the Office of the Attorney General’s Privacy Task Force by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 860-808-5318.
Posted on February 13, 2015 by admin
Granby – State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) and State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) attended the Granby Poll Worker Appreciation Tea on Wednesday, February 4. The event, organized by the Granby Registrars of Voters, was an opportunity to thank poll workers for their hard work and show appreciation for the important role they have in the community. Special event guests included Granby legislators and officials as well as Secretary of State Denise Merrill.
Pictured in the photo from left to right: State Senator Kevin Witkos, Granby Registrar Laura Wolfe, State Representative Bill Simanski, Granby First Selectman Scott Kuhnly, Granby Town Manager William Smith, Granby Registrar Sarah Thrall, Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Director of Elections Peggy Reeves.
Posted on February 10, 2015 by admin
I would like to inform you that I, along with State Sen. John Kissel, and State Rep. Tami Zawistowski, will be hosting an informational meeting where Daniel Forrest, Director of Arts & Histroric Preservation for the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, will provide an update about the rehabilitation of Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine.
I have been following this project closely. This is an important opportunity for you to hear about what’s been happening with this local tourist site.
February 17th at 7pm
East Granby Senior Center
20 Center Street * East Granby
I encourage anyone who may be interested to attend.
Posted on February 5, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD –The State of Connecticut can improve its so-called “Clean Elections” laws, according to Granby area state legislators Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) and Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) This past week Republicans called for a series of reforms to restore transparency and level the playing field for those seeking state elected office. Since the original clean elections law was enacted in 2005, the program has suffered from numerous erosions. Republican legislators hope to restore the program, close loopholes and seek new reforms to make the program more effective.
“When the state’s groundbreaking public campaign finance laws were first passed into law, citizens were promised that in exchange for public funds going to campaigns, we could count on a clean election system. That promise has fizzled and over the years as the majority party has chipped away at the laws, allowing more money into campaigns and more room for abuse of the system. It’s time to put our foot down and work together to clean up the system, restore accountability and promote transparency,” said Sen. Witkos, Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore.
“It is so unfortunate that the very laws that were enacted to create a more transparent and honest public campaign finance system has allowed for the dishonest acts of sidestepping and use of loopholes by the majority party as we saw in this last election cycle,” said Rep. Simanski, Assistant House Republican Leader. “I support reforms to these laws that will ensure the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars and safeguard the spirit and integrity of clean elections.”
The campaign finance system relies on the use of public funds distributed to candidates after they meet certain fundraising criteria and thresholds. The legislators pointed to several legislative rollbacks of the law which created the current crisis, including the increase of allowed donations to state political parties coupled with the unlimited expansion of how much those parties could spend on publicly-financed candidates. They also noted the 2010 special session of the legislature to increase the state grant funds for then-gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy to assure he would have enough money to compete with a self-funding opponent.
In the 2014 elections the State of Connecticut spent $33 million- an amount the legislators say is too much.
In response, Witkos and Simanski along with other Republican legislators are proposing a package of legislative reforms to election laws including the following changes.
1) Cap organizational expenditures by state parties
Currently, political parties can make unlimited organizational expenditures on behalf of participating candidates. Republicans are proposing the following limits:
· Candidate for Governor – $250,000
· Candidate for Constitutional Officer – $75,000
· Candidate for State Senate – $10,000
· Candidate for House of Representatives – $3,500
2) Reduce individual donor limits to state parties from $10,000 to $5,000
In 2013, individual donor limits to state parties was increased along with the amount state parties could make in organizational expenditures to a campaign. Republicans are proposing to roll back donation limits to previous levels.
3) Eliminate grants to unopposed candidates
Currently, candidates for state office (constitutional officers, senators, and representatives) are eligible for Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) grants even if they are unopposed. The amount of their grant equals 30% of a full-grant. Republicans are proposing to eliminate these grants.
4) Stop state contractors from donating to a federal account to fund a state race
The State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) needs to be able to enforce Connecticut’s current laws that prevent contractors from donating to state races. Republicans are proposing legislation to help SEEC enforce this law.
5) Reduce all Citizens’ Election Program grants by 25%
By reducing CEP funds across the board, the state can save taxpayers approximately $7 million in gubernatorial election years and $2.4 million in Presidential years.
|Current Grant Amounts||Proposed Grant Amounts
(25 % reduction)
This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns at midnight, Wednesday, June 3rd.
Posted on February 5, 2015 by admin
I would like to alert you to an upcoming “Hiring Our Heroes” job fair being held on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at Hartford’s Lyceum.
The job fair is for veteran job seekers, active duty military members, guard and reserve members, and military spouses.
It will run from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Lyceum is located at 227 Lawrence St. in Hartford.
For more information on registering as a job seeker or employer please click here.
Job seekers can upload a résumé before the event for pre-screening by hiring managers and employers.
The official event information is below:
Hiring Our Heroes
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 – 10:00am to 1:00pm
The Lyceum, 227 Lawrence Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Job Seekers, Employers, and Service Organizations: Click here to register.
Why register? Job seekers can upload their résumés to be viewed by employers ahead of the event.
If you have any other questions, please visit the FAQ page or email: email@example.com.
Best Practices in Veteran Recruitment Lunch & Learn
Employers are invited to attend a “Best Practices in Veteran Recruitment Lunch & Learn” sponsored by USAA from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. prior to the hiring fair. Trainers will provide insight on how to brand your company as military friendly, how to find the right veteran talent, and how to keep them engaged in your workforce. Brunch will be served and it’s free for employers, recruiters and HR professionals.
Must register as an employer above.
This hiring event is being conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce, the Connecticut National Guard, the Connecticut Department of Labor, the Connecticut Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR), the U. S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS), U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Goodwill Industries International, The American Legion, and other local partners.
Please share this information with anyone who may be interested. I hope this has been helpful.
Posted on January 28, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD – State and local officials met at the State Capitol on Jan. 22 at the Capitol Region Education Council’s (CREC) legislative breakfast to discuss education needs in Granby and throughout the region. From left to right: Granby Board of Education member Mark Fiorentino, Rep. Bill Simanski, Granby Board of Education and CREC Council Member Melissa Migliaccio, Sen. John A. Kissel, and Granby Superintendent of Schools Alan Addley.
Posted on January 16, 2015 by admin
HARTFORD— State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) took the oath of office and was sworn in by Secretary of State Denise Merrill today in the State House Chamber. He then participated in a Joint Convention of both the House of Representatives and Senate as Gov. Dannel Malloy addressed lawmakers about the 2015 Session.
This year, Rep. Simanski was named Assistant Republican Leader by House Minority Leader Themis Klarides. He was also assigned to serve as Ranking Member of the Banks Committee and as a member of the Transportation and Planning and Development Committees.
The Banks Committee deals with issues regarding banks, savings banks, bank and trust companies, savings and loan associations, credit unions, the supervision of the sale of securities, fraternal benefit societies and all legislation dealing with secured and unsecured lending. As Ranking Member, Simanski will have the opportunity to discuss bills with the Majority leadership and influence when bills will be spoken upon.
“I am very pleased with the new leadership role that I have been appointed to,” Simanski said. “I will do my best to lead our caucus as we try to get our goals accomplished.”
Posted on December 17, 2014 by admin
HARTFORD—Connecticut House Republicans on Monday assigned Granby resident Bill Simanksi to four legislative committees. He was also named Assistant Republican Leader by House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, an honored leadership position in the caucus.
On Jan. 7, Simanski will begin his third two-year term representing the 62nd General Assembly District which includes Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland and New Hartford.
When the next legislative session begins, Simanski will serve as the Ranking Member of the legislature’s Banks Committee. This committee deals with issues regarding banks, savings banks, bank and trust companies, savings and loan associations, credit unions, the supervision of the sale of securities, fraternal benefit societies and all legislation dealing with secured and unsecured lending. As Ranking Member, Simanski will have the opportunity to discuss bills with the Majority leadership and influence when bills will be spoken upon.
Simanski will also return to the legislature’s committees on Transportation and Planning and Development, and join the Screening Committee. The Transportation Committee handles all bills regarding road maintenance and Department of Transportation projects including mass transit, railroads and bridges, rules and regulations of the Department of Motor vehicles, and the State Traffic Commission. The Planning and Development Committee focuses on building regulations including planning and zoning, economic development zones, urban renewal, housing and fire, sewer and metropolitan districts. The Screening Committee meets privately to screen bills and decide how they will move through the committee process.
“I am very pleased with the committees I have been appointed to serve on,” Simanski said. “I look forward to taking on the challenge of the Banks Committee and serving the caucus as an Assistant Republican Leader.”
Posted on September 15, 2014 by admin
We are making an effort to share www.TurningPointCT.org, the new web resource for teens and young adults in Connecticut, designed to guide them in the search for mental wellness.
As you probably know, teens and young adults are a high risk population, with suicide the 2nd leading cause of death in the 15-24 age group; addiction beginning before age 19; and up to one quarter of high school students and almost half of college students reporting symptoms of depression.
Funded by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in recovery to provide advice, information, and support to empower their peers in their search for mental wellness. The website features:
• a Q&A guide
• an online discussion forum
• personal stories
• a service locator map.
Posted on August 21, 2014 by admin
Rep. Bill Simanski (R-Granby), along with Rep. Christopher Davis and Rep. Tami Zawistowski toured the Manufacturing Technology Center of Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield on Monday, August 11 as part of a business tour.
Rep. Simanski was pleased to hear that the Technology Center is planning to expand their workshop space by more than double what it is now. After sitting down with Robert Bressani, the head of Asnuntuck’s Business and Industry program, and Frank Gulluni, the Center’s Director, Rep. Simanski was eager to discuss the areas in which the program is improving manufacturing jobs in Connecticut.
“It is incredibly important that we do what we can to assist our community colleges, especially regarding training for manufacturing technology,” Simanski said. “The Manufacturing Technology Center is essential to help create manufacturing jobs and a skilled workforce to attract more employers to our area for the future.”
“I’ve heard from several manufacturers that they have high paying jobs available but can’t find skilled applicants to fill these positions. Asnuntuck’s Manufacturing Technology Center provides a solution to the lack of a skilled workforce while simultaneously opening up opportunities for high paying manufacturing jobs” Simanski said.
Pictured below are Robert Bressani, Rep. Bill Simanski, Rep. Christopher Davis, and Rep. Tami Zawistowski.
Posted on August 8, 2014 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 17 through Saturday, August 23.
The annual one-week event eliminates Connecticut’s 6.35 percent sales tax on most clothing and footwear costing less than $300 per item and runs from the third Sunday in August through the following Saturday.
Since sales tax is calculated after the use of any coupons or discounts, if the final price of an item after all discounts is less than $300, it is exempt from taxes. Clothing or footwear under $300 that is either rented or put on layaway is also tax-free. Items with a final cost of more than $300 will have sales tax calculated on the full cost.
Tax Free Week was first enacted in 2000, and applies to most clothing and footwear purchases that are intended for everyday use. Goods not covered under the program include items that are solely intended for use in sporting activities, as well as specialty boots for fishing, hiking, skiing and other activities. Also subject to normal taxes are accessories such as jewelry, watches, handbags, headbands, and wallets.
A full list of qualifying and non-qualifying items can be found at the DRS website.
I hope this information is helpful.
Posted on July 25, 2014 by admin
BARKHAMSTED – State Sen Kevin Witkos (R-8) and State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) took aim at the state’s poor economic climate and out-of-control spending Tuesday during a town hall-style meeting in Barkhamsted.
With a packed room listening, Witkos and Simanski painted a picture of the spending spree occurring in Hartford and outlined the looming $1.4 billion deficit facing the next governor and 2015 legislature. The legislative update, however, wasn’t all bad news: the Barkhamsted delegation touted legislative accomplishments from the past lawmaking session.
“We faced an uphill battle during budget-fix negotiations,” Simanski said. “If our state keeps spending the way we have been, our outstanding debt will continue to rise and our economic problems will get much worse.”
“That said, it isn’t all doomsday news. We were able to crack down on sexual assaults on campuses and make it more difficult for retiring judges to get lucrative, politically-appointed pensions,” Simanski added. “These were necessary changes to the state laws that we were able to accomplish through bipartisan cooperation.”
Sen. Witkos agreed with Simanski.
“Clearly Connecticut has a long way to go to improve our economy and grow jobs,” said Witkos. “But this legislative session did have its highlights. I was proud to support multiple pieces of legislation that will help improve public safety, protect the environment and make Connecticut a better place to live and raise a family. New laws passed this session aim to increase recycling, decrease drunk driving, and make school athletics safer for all children – to name just a few successful initiatives.”
The legislators also celebrated a town accomplishment made during the session. The town’s lease for the Barkhamsted Senior Center was up this year. In helping the town negotiate a contract moving forward, the delegation was able to get the center conveyed to the town, eliminating the need for future leases. Through Special Act No. 14-23, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection will convey to the town of Barkhamsted the land on which the senior center sits.
The following question-and-answer segment gave Barkhamsted residents an opportunity to inquire on other pressing issues facing the state, from crumbling bridges and disintegrating roadways to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and rising energy costs.
Posted on July 23, 2014 by admin
HARTFORD – State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) didn’t miss a single vote during the 2014 legislative session, attaining a 100 percent voting record during his second term in office.
The House Clerk’s Office announced the data this week, with Simanski joining only a third of lawmakers in achieving a perfect voting record. The 2014 legislative session, which began in February and culminated in May, included 309 votes in the House chamber.
“The people of Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland and New Hartford chose me for this job and for that, I’m honored and grateful,” Simanski said. “They are the reason I take this job so seriously. It’s imperative that my constituents have their voice heard in Hartford, consistently and decisively, especially when we were facing tough issues during the 2014 session.”
The 2015 legislative session is set to begin in January.
Posted on July 2, 2014 by admin
Tuesday marked the first day of the fiscal year, and with it, additional laws that will directly affect you, your business or your community.
An entire list of laws effective July 1 can be found by clicking here.
Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions regarding these new laws, or anything else.
Posted on May 27, 2014 by admin
Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) and Representative Bill Simanski (R-62) honored eight New Hartford students for winning their school essay contest sponsored by Northwest Community Bank. The winning students, 6th graders from Ann Antolini School, were presented with citations and a special prize from Northwest Community Bank during an award ceremony at Ann Antolini School on Tuesday evening.
Winning students include Zachary Barrett, Amanda Spielman, Katerina Watkins and Kelly Stotler. Runners-up include Isabella Jacobs, Caroline Marek, Victoria Duffy and Madison Harwood.
“My intent in holding this contest was to raise awareness of the role of lawmakers in creating public policies and how those policies affect our everyday lives,” said Sen. Witkos. “I also wanted to give these young writers the opportunity to think about what they would do with the responsibility of holding elective office and being faced with such decisions. I was very impressed by the level of detail and reflection included in each essay, and the solutions each student presented to address some of the issues.”
“Every year this contest has been held, sixth grade students from Ann Antolini School demonstrate an extraordinary amount of passion and skill in their essays,” said Rep. Simanski. “This year, students had the opportunity to write about their ideas for state legislation and explain why their proposals would better our state and community. I was amazed by the level of expertise the students demonstrated with writing, researching and presenting their compositions. Based on their professionalism and skill, I am certain that each and every student has a bright future ahead of them.”
The students wrote essays in response to the question: If you were a CT lawmaker, what bill would you propose and why?
Northwest Community Bank awarded the top writers with their own bank account and initial deposits of $50 for the runners-up and $100 for the winners. The prizes were awarded by Northwest Community Bank’s Gayle Moraski, Vice President and Carol Monroe, Branch Manager and Assistant Vice President.
“I am always amazed at the confidence the students have to stand before their parents and piers when they read their thought provoking essays,” said Moraski. “I have to remind myself that these are sixth grade students, not high school students! Northwest Community is proud to continue this wonderful program.”
During the ceremony, the students read their essays, which focused on the following topics:
Zachary Barrett would propose that Connecticut follow the lead of other U.S. states and require RV operators to have CDL driver’s licenses.
Amanda Spielman would propose requiring schools to offer an alternate school lunch menu for students with food allergies.
Katerina Watkins would propose requiring products to be packaged in more environmentally friendly materials.
Kelly Stotler would propose changes to the elections laws to prevent negative messaging.
Isabella Jacobs would propose a later start time to the school day for high schools in Connecticut.
Caroline Marek would also propose delaying the school day until 9:45 am.
Victoria Duffy would propose a bill to prohibit euthanasia of animals in shelters.
Madison Harwood would propose government-funded prescription medication for anyone over the age of 60.
Posted on May 15, 2014 by admin
In order to keep you fully informed on the recent legislation passed by the General Assembly this year, the non-partisan Office of Legislative Research has released their 2014 Major Public Acts document which briefly summarizes the major legislation of the 2014 Legislative Session. I have provided a link to the document below.
If you would like to discuss any topics included in the report, or would like to bring another issue to my attention, please feel free to contact me at my office by calling 800-842-1423, or e-mail me at Bill.Simanski@cga.ct.gov.
State Representative – 62nd District
Posted on May 6, 2014 by admin
Republican lawmakers recently voted against budget modifications that included questionable accounting tactics and unverified revenue sources in order to appear balanced under Connecticut’s constitutional guidelines.
The budget vote took place on Saturday, May 3rd, during the final days of the 2014 “Short” Legislative Session, a time when lawmakers focus primarily on making adjustments to the $19 billion biennial state budget, which was passed last spring.
State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-Granby) voted against the proposed adjustments due to the insertion of questionable budget tactics, such as the sweeping of roughly $200 million of dedicated funds to the general fund. This sweep includes an additional $2.1 million from the Special Transportation Fund, money that should be used exclusively for projects such as road and bridge repair.
Rep. Simanski expressed disappointment with the plan to shift $5 million in expenditures over to bonding, because this will add to the state’s projected $3 billion deficit.
“This budget does very little to address Connecticut’s continuing afflictions,” said Rep. Simanski. “There are only two ways to address a deficit: either we reduce our spending, or we increase taxes. I believe I speak for my district, and for all hard-working families of Connecticut, when I say that neither families nor businesses can afford to give any more in taxes. We must confront our spending addiction!”
One hour before the budget vote, members of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, were presented with a revised revenue estimate including $75 million described as “miscellaneous taxes”. These “miscellaneous taxes” rely on an unlikely assumption delinquent tax dollars will suddenly be paid.
“We are attempting to balance our budget on the belief that the state will obtain millions of dollars in revenue from people who have failed to pay their taxes in the past,” said Rep. Simanski. “If we are serious about getting Connecticut’s economy working again, the legislature should not be making these unrealistic projections.” The non-partisan fiscal office could not verify the likelihood of collecting these delinquent taxes.
“We proposed an alternative budget fix that looks at Connecticut’s economic and financial health in the long-term,” said Simanski. “The budget the House adopted only puts a band aid on a much larger problem, our spending addiction.”
Simanski joined their House Republican colleagues to offer the same alternative budget proposal on the Floor of the House, but the amendment was struck down on party lines.
The budget bill (H.B. 5596) eventually passed the House by a vote of 91-55 at 10:00pm. The bill is expected to be approved by the Governor. The 2014 Legislative Session ends on Wednesday, May 7th at midnight.
Posted on May 5, 2014 by admin
On Saturday, May 3rd, State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-Granby) voted for a measure which would prohibit unsolicited commercial text messages without prior written consent from a consumer.
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 or media messages to any individuals who are registered on the state’s “Do Not Call” registry.
The legislation also institutes an increased penalty for each violation, from $11,000 to $20,000. Under the bill, “Do Not Call” violations are now also deemed an unfair and deceptive trade practice.
Rep. Simanski, who co-sponsored the bill, said the legislation takes the appropriate steps forward to help protect individuals from unwanted solicitations that can potentially cost some consumers money who have limited cellular data plans.
“There has been a recent surge in the number of unwanted text messages being sent to consumers by unknown solicitors. This bill expands current state law by drastically increasing the fines imposed on violators, so consumers can have enhanced protection against these unwanted and often costly communications.”
Additionally, it requires all companies that issue account statements for cellular phones, telephones and mobile devices to print a conspicuous notice twice per year which informs consumers of prohibited actions by solicitors, how to place your number on the “Do Not Call’ registry, and how to file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection for any violations you experience.
The bill now awaits approval by the Governor.
The 2014 Legislative Session ends on May 7th at midnight.
Posted on April 28, 2014 by admin
On Saturday, April 26th, State Representative Bill Simanski (R-62nd) took a tour of the two day free dental clinic hosted by Connecticut Mission of Mercy (CT MOM) at the XL Center in Hartford.
Rep. Simanski was accompanied throughout the clinic by Dr. Michael Ungerleider, DMD, a resident of Granby, and dentist practicing at the Granby Dental Center. Dr. Ungerleider has volunteered to perform dental work at the event for the past 5 years. Simanski was also greeted by Dr. Jonathan B. Knapp, DMD, who is a member of the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach and has helped operate the program.
“It’s overwhelming to see so many professionals volunteer their time to provide dental services to thousands of individuals, including children and seniors, who are in desperate need of dental work, but simply cannot afford it,” said Rep. Simanski. “With over two-thousand people being treated within the past two days, this clinic is truly a tremendous resource for so many people in our state. I’d like to thank Dr. Ungerleider and Dr. Knapp for taking the time to guide me throughout the facilities and for their outstanding dedication to this noble cause.”
From April 25th through April 26th, hundreds of dental and medical volunteers provided free dental care to thousands of uninsured children, adults and seniors.
“It was most impressive to see that after hours of treating patients every person, volunteer or professional, still had a big smile on their face,” said Rep. Simanski
Patients first went through medical and dental triage to assess their medical conditions and most critical dental need. Thereafter dental professionals and assistants provided state of the art, complete dental services, including cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, x-rays, extractions, root canals and even partial dentures.
The event is supported by The Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach (CDFO) in collaboration with the Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA). This is the seventh year CTMOM has held a free dental clinic in Connecticut, providing over 10,000 people with dental service since 2008. On Saturday alone, the clinic treated 1,200 people.
To learn more about the Connecticut Mission of Mercy, please visit http://cfdo.org
Posted on April 22, 2014 by admin
Last Thursday, I joined fellow House and Senate Republicans to present a budget adjustment, one that is vastly different from the ones proposed by the Governor and the Democrats.
The nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) certified in writing that our proposal is the only one that reduces the $1.1 billion projected deficits. In contrast, the Democrats budget includes $827.4 million in gimmicks that hide state spending. Without these gimmicks, their budget is $150 million over the spending cap and increases spending by $354 million.
Instead of ignoring the problems we face, we chose to set our state’s priorities straight and offer a viable, responsible alternative to the problems facing Connecticut now, and in the years ahead. Our proposal reigns-in state spending and takes the necessary steps forward to lower our deficit.
Our adjustment plan:
I am proud to say that our new plan stays below the constitutional spending cap while providing funding for the state’s critical programs, including the restoration of $9 million to the retired teacher’s health care plan, $15 million to maintain primary care provider rates, and increased funding for programs addressing mental health.
More details on the adjustment plan can be found at: http://cthousegop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Budget_Presentation_FINAL.pdf
The legislature will continue to deliberate on budget adjustments for the remainder of the 2014 Legislative Session, which ends on May 7th. As always, I will continue to advocate for initiatives aimed at fixing our fiscal calamity and producing more economic growth.
If you have any further questions regarding our budget proposal, or any questions regarding state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at my office at 800-842-1423, or e-mail me at Bill.Simanski@cga.ct.gov.
State Representative – 62nd District
Posted on April 14, 2014 by admin
On Thursday, April 10th, the House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation aiming to improve the state’s response to sexual violence at all of Connecticut’s universities.
House Bill 5029, An Act Concerning Sexual Assault, Stalking And Intimate Partner Violence On Campus, expands sexual assault policies at all college campuses in Connecticut by requiring colleges to immediately provide victims of sexual assault with supportive information regarding their rights and options, and allowing any victims of sexual assault to report the crime anonymously. The legislation would require colleges to establish sexual response teams and partner with local sexual assault service providers to enhance the level of care given to victims.
The legislation also requires colleges to annually report information on sexual assault policies and details of sexual assault cases to the state legislature for review.
The proposal, approved unanimously in the House, toughens regulations enacted in 2012 that required schools to establish policies and regulations regarding sexual assaults. The legislation voted on Thursday mandates that colleges and universities treat stalking in the same manner.
State Representative Bill Simanski co-sponsored the legislation stating the bill addresses sexual assault on college campuses on several different levels.
“We need to do everything in our power to provide a safe and trusting environment for our students at our universities,” said Rep. Simanski. “Sexual violence of any kind should have a zero-tolerance in our schools, and when a crime of this nature does occur, we need to ensure that victims have all of the support they need and deserve. I can proudly say that this legislation develops the most stringent laws in the nation in regards to protecting our students against sexual assault on college campuses.”
One in five women on college campuses suffers assaults, and just 20 percent of assaults are being reported, according to statistics cited by Higher Education committee members.
Sexual violence on campuses made headlines when University of Connecticut students this year testified before legislators stating that school officials weren’t helpful when they reported crimes.
The bill now awaits approval by the Senate.
Posted on April 11, 2014 by admin
On Wednesday, April 2nd, State Representative Bill Simanski (R-Granby) met with executives, administrators and representatives from Winsted’s Charlotte Hungerford Hospital to discuss issues facing Connecticut hospitals.
Simanski, who represents the towns of Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland and New Hartford, met with several representatives from Charlotte-Hungerford in the Legislative Office Building to listen to the concerns of the healthcare professionals, and discuss legislation being proposed this legislative session pertaining to hospitals and healthcare.
Most of the concerns voiced by hospital officials were in regards to the state’s hospital tax, and the new legislative proposal to enact a property tax on not-for-profit hospitals, which Simanski and professionals from Charlotte-Hungerford strongly oppose.
“Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is our community’s leading healthcare provider, so it’s very distressing to hear first-hand how the legislature’s taxes and mandates have made it so difficult for our community’s non-profit hospital to operate, and keep costs low for patients,” said Rep. Simanski. “Decreased state funding and higher taxes are exhausting our hospitals of their resources, making it extremely difficult for hospitals to afford new equipment and more employees. I believe one of the core responsibilities of government is to ensure a high standard of public health. With that being said, I will continue to advocate for state policies that will strengthen our healthcare facilities, rather than weaken them.”
The 2014 Legislative Session adjourns on May 7th.
For further discussion on this or any topic, Rep. Bill Simanski can be reached by email Bill.Simanski@housegop.ct.gov or by phone860-240-8700.
Posted on April 4, 2014 by admin
I would like to inform you about a new resource for Connecticut residents who are interested in obtaining or exploring facts and statistics of Connecticut and our state government.
A new website called Connecticut Open Data provides hundreds of statistics and graphs on different categories relating to our state, including information on business, education, transportation and the environment.
This website was produced as part of an on-going effort by the legislature to create more transparency between state government and Connecticut residents. This website serves as a great tool for anyone who is interested in obtaining government data or learning more about our state.
State information can be found by visiting data.ct.gov.
State Rep. Bill Simanski
Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland & New Hartford
Posted on March 20, 2014 by admin
The state Department of Labor has announced it will host its 10th annual Heroes 4 Hire career fair for military veterans. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 25th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Rentschler Field Ballroom in East Hartford.
As one of New England’s largest career fairs, the event is expected to host more than 70 employers, including DATTCO, Electric Boat, FedEx Ground, Mohegan Sun, Northeast Utilities, Subway, U.S. Foods and Yarde Metals.
There will be several state and federal agencies available to assist jobseekers at the event, including The U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Social Security Administration and the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which can assist veterans’ with assistance claims.
To stay updated on career fairs being held in Connecticut, please visit www.ctjobfairs.com.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, or any matter relating to state government. I can be reached by phone at (800) 842-1423, or by e-mail at Bill.Simanski@housegop.ct.gov.
State Representative – 62nd District
Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland and New Hartford
Posted on March 7, 2014 by admin
I’m writing to provide you an update about public hearings on legislation related to Common Core standards and teacher evaluation. The co-Chairs of the Education Committee will hold a formal public hearing on Wednesday, March 12th, in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford.
Education Committee leaders set the hearing to begin at noon despite our request to hold it at a convenient time that would ensure the greatest level of participation from teachers, administrators, parents and students.
I still encourage your participation on March 12th, either by testifying in person or in writing.
Please email a PDF copy of your written testimony to EDTestimony@cga.ct.gov by 2:00 P.M. on March 11 and include the word “Testimony” in the subject line.
Written testimony will be accepted in Room 3100 of the LOB until 9:30 A.M. on the date of the hearing. Please submit 35 copies. Written testimony submitted after 9:30 A.M. will not be distributed in hard copy form.
Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 8:30 A.M. in First Floor Atrium of the LOB, will be by Lottery, and will conclude at 9:30 A.M. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Elected Officials and Agency Heads. Once they have finished speaking, students will be given the next priority to speak. Students and Elected Officials and Agency Heads do not have to wait in line for the lottery–sign ups for these groups is by a first-come-first-served basis. They may walk up to the table, identify themselves, and they will be signed up on the proper sheet. All testimony will be available at http://cga.ct.gov/ed.
I’ve provided additonal information about the public hearing process below.
Who can testify at a public hearing?
Anyone may testify at a public hearing.
What are the rules?
The rules vary by committee. The notice of the Public Hearing in the Bulletin (cga.ct.gov) provides basic rule information.
How long should testimony be?
Testimony should be no longer than three minutes.
Who speaks first?
The first hour of a hearing is normally reserved for legislators and agency heads or invited guests. Then testimony is taken in the order people signed up.
Should I bring copies of testimony?
Written testimony is not required but is recommended. If you bring written testimony, you must bring a copy for every committee member. Your testimony can also be submitted electronically by contacting each committee in advance for the correct email address.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at my office by phone 800-842-1423, or by e-mail at Bill.Simanski@housegop.ct.gov.
State Rep. Bill Simanski
Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland & New Hartford
Posted on March 5, 2014 by admin
I wanted to alert you about fraudulent activity in our community to assure you know about it and can take protective measures.
According to the Granby Police Department, local residents have reported receiving automated phone calls saying their Simsbury Bank-issued credit or debit card has been suspended.
The message seeks numbers from credit and debit cards issued by Simsbury Bank by asking callers to enter their card numbers and expiration dates.
Simsbury Bank has posted a warning on its website advising customers that the automated message is fraudulent and to not respond to any such call.
Police are also advising residents to not supply any information and end the call immediately. If any information is entered, notify the bank immediately to prevent unauthorized use of the card.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, or any matter relating to state government. I can be reached by phone at (800) 842-1423, or by e-mail at Bill.Simanski@housegop.ct.gov.
State Representative – 62nd District
Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland and New Hartford