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State Rep. Pam Staneski Named CT Coalition of Shellfishers Legislator of the Year

Posted on August 10, 2018 by jdooley


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MILFORD- The Coalition of Connecticut Shellfishers today (Wednesday, August 8) announced that State Rep. Pam Staneski of Milford has been named the 2018 State Legislator of the Year by CCS.

State Rep. Staneski was presented with the award at a reception at Briarpatch Shellfish dock on Edgewater Place in Milford.

Among the top issues legislators grappled with were continuing the conversation with legislators on an alternative shellfish testing facility at UCONN’s Avery Point in Groton, the implementation of GPS tracking devices on shellfish boats and their related costs, and continuing the dialogue with state Department of Agriculture officials on making the leasing process of shellfish beds more open and inclusive.

The Coalition named Representative Pam Staneski (R- 119th district) Legislator of the Year for her commitment to Connecticut’s shellfishing industry and the work she performed in helping protect Connecticut’s fragile coastal shellfish beds and spawning grounds which date back to colonial times and are among the nation’s oldest.

“It is a privilege to be recognized by the Coalition of Connecticut Shellfishers as their 2018 Legislator of the Year. Connecticut, and in particular Milford’s shellfishing industry is vital to our shoreline businesses and the region,” said Rep. Staneski (Milford and Orange). “I have sat down and listened to these outstanding members of the business community who want to be partners in planning, growing, and yes, regulating this essential Connecticut industry. All they want from the state are common sense laws that protect their right to earn a living. I am honored to work alongside of them in these efforts. ”

Host Joseph Gilbert, of Briarpatch Enterprises and Empire Fisheries in Milford, said, “Today’s recipients – one Democrat and one Republican – demonstrate that the importance to Connecticut of its historic shellfishing industry crosses party lines when comes to protecting jobs, a way of life and preserving a significant contributor to our state’s economy. We are grateful for their steadfast, common sense support and involvement.”

This year, Rep. Staneski  introduced a bill this session which passed the General Assembly that will allow for additional state certified testing to handle the growing industry and ensure that samples from shellfish beds along the state coast are properly screened before sale.

Rep. Staneski has met with numerous shellfish company owners including Briarpatch Enterprises to determine how to cut the various costs in time and accessibility of tissue and water sampling.

James Amann, principal of International Government Strategies, and Speaker Emeritus of the Connecticut General Assembly, whose lobbying firm represents Connecticut’s shellfishing industry, moderated the evening’s event and joined Gilbert in presenting the awards.

Amann said, “As a son of coastal Connecticut who calls Milford home, I understand the importance of our shellfishing industry to Connecticut’s economy. It is an honor for me, particularly as a former legislator, to recognize these two state representatives, who work hard year in and year out to preserve our historic industry, protect jobs and keep our shellfish industry profitable – not to mention, producing the finest shellfish offerings available anywhere.”

Over the years, the state has invested $5.3 million in bonding for shellfish seeding which has grown to 7,000 acres of shellfish farms along coastal waters. Private companies have also invested heavily in bedding and preservation of these environmentally sensitive areas.

Staneski & Ferraro Ask Bond Commission to Oppose Funds for Toll Study

Posted on July 19, 2018 by jdooley


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HARTFORD- Dismayed by Governor Malloy’s plan to use his executive authority to request a $10 million dollar feasibility toll study by the Department of Transportation conduct, State Reps. Pam Staneski (R-119) and Charles Ferraro (R-117) today delivered a letter to the Governor and all other members of the State Bond Commission asking that the commission oppose the $10 million request at their July 25th special meeting.

In the letter both Reps. Staneski and Ferraro said they felt strongly that such use of taxpayer’s money is irresponsible on many levels, not the least of which is the fragile fiscal condition of our state.

Reps. Staneski and Ferraro letter to the State Bond Commission.

In the 2018 General Assembly Session it was the will of leadership in the House of Representatives to not debate tolls legislation.

“The concept of tolls was summarily dismissed as pressure mounted from the citizens of the State of Connecticut who did not want tolls and freely expressed that sentiment. The General Assembly as a body decided we would not expend money for a study of tolls,” said Rep. Staneski. “I received 100s of letters, calls and emails this past session almost all opposed to any sort of toll plan.”

Both Staneski and Ferraro believe that the fact that this item has now been fast-tracked for the July 25th Bond Commission special meeting not only disregards what the legislature explicitly and expressively decided but is a massive misuse of taxpayer’s dollars at a time when, on a bi-partisan vote, the legislature has made a commitment to get our fiscal situation under control through the Biennium Budget.

Rep. Ferraro said, “The tolls study is a frivolous spending plan that completely ignores the Legislative Branch at a time when the people of Connecticut have reached out to us as their elected officials and made it quite clear they do not want tolls.”

According to the Governor’s executive order, DOT would use the $10 million to conduct the following:

  • Prepare a comprehensive assessment for possible electronic tolling on I-95, I-91, I-84, the Wilbur Cross Parkway, the Merritt Parkway, and any other limited access highways as determined by the DOT Commissioner, which includes potential toll monitoring and specifies proposed toll charges;
  • Explore potential ways to provide discounts, tax credits, or other value-pricing options to Connecticut residents while ensuring out-of-state drivers contribute their fair share;
  • Explore plans that could reduce motor vehicle fuel taxes; and
  • Study the environmental impacts of electronic tolling systems.

The Special State Bonding Commission is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. next Wednesday, July 25th to approve funding requests submitted by Governor Malloy. As chairman of the commission, Gov. Malloy has the discretion to determine which items that are included in the bonding meeting.

The State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who is a member of the State Bond Commission, has already expressed his intent to vote against the $10 million for a toll study.

State Rep. Pam Staneski Op-ed: Stopping the Governor’s Cuts to Education

Posted on July 2, 2018 by jdooley


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On June 25th, the General Assembly was summoned into session to vote on overriding seven bills that the Governor had vetoed. These bills passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support, so one would think that this would be a quick up and back day ending with the General Assembly voting to override all of the bills—or at least one, right?  Wrong! Not one vetoed bill was overturned.

I was hopeful that at least one of the bills would get the votes necessary in both chambers to overturn the veto. That bill was HB-5171—An Act Prohibiting the Executive Branch from Making Recessions or Other Reductions to the Education Cost Sharing Grant During the Fiscal Year.

Municipal leaders have practically begged for the general assembly to provide stability in the budget process. HB5171 did just that and it originally passed the House 117-32, and the Senate 36-0.  We, the House, voted to reconsider the bill and, in fact, it received the required two-thirds vote to move it to the Senate.  Unfortunately, it did not receive two-thirds of the necessary votes in the Senate to uphold the override, so the Governor can continue to cut education grants to towns midstream by using his rescission authority, an act this governor (and the only governor) exercised with Orange and Milford.  I am disappointed that many Senators reversed their original votes and blocked the override standing with the governor.

Contrary to the governor’s veto message, this bill was not about how education funding is distributed through the state; it was about timing and ensuring predictability. School districts, students, and taxpayers will continue to be exposed to uncertainty. Upholding this veto was a knock on every school board and town that works to manage their finances.

All of the Governor’s vetoes were upheld in this special veto session. For more information on these bills go to: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2018/rpt/pdf/2018-R-0156.pdf

As always, please reach out to me with any questions on the issue of tolls or other matters of concern to you my office number is 1.800.842.1423 or email me at Pam.Staneski@housegop.ct.gov.

Reps. Staneski & Ferraro Vote to Protect Education Funding

Posted on June 27, 2018 by jdooley


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HARTFORD – State Rep. Pam Staneski (R-119) and Charles Ferraro (R-117) expressed extreme disappointment after attempts to override Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s veto of a bi-partisan proposal on local education funding was thwarted by Democrat lawmakers’ who refused to stand up to Governor Malloy and override his veto. 

The House was able to override the governor’s veto on HB 5171 – An Act Prohibiting the Executive Branch from Making Rescissions or Other Reductions to the Education Cost Sharing Grant During the Fiscal Year, but the State Senate effort to override was defeated by 5 votes even though that same bill passed 36-0 in the spring. 

“Stopping the governor’s mid-year cuts to our state education grant was a widely popular proposal in the General Assembly and amongst residents. The purpose of the bill was to create local budget stability and predictability for our towns and local schools and stop the rug from being pulled out from under them,” Rep. Staneski said. “Today’s vote was a vote to protect our Milford and Orange taxpayers from a vindictive governor who seems to pick on municipalities who have well-run communities.”

“Governor Dan Malloy or any governor shouldn’t have the ability to make devastating cuts to local school districts that have already budgeted for their school year,” said Rep. Ferraro. “The governor should always be working with the legislature on the budget. We need to provide our school districts, teachers, parents, and students with a predictable and sustainable funding stream for education.”

In November of 2017, Governor Malloy proposed using his executive authority to make additional, unanticipated, and devastating ECS cuts to our towns that would have had negative consequences on student learning due to staff layoffs, increases in class size, and cuts to programs.

 

 

Rep. Staneski Op-Ed: Carefully watching your money

Posted on June 21, 2018 by jdooley


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Many people are not aware that Connecticut has an independent state office that is tasked with going through every state department and agency making sure there is no undo government waste, abuse of state spending, or unfair working and hiring practices.

The office of the Auditors of Public Accounts primary mission is to conduct audits of all state agencies. However, there has never been any formal follow through on these audit reports from the General Assembly. Last year, Republicans pushed through a provision, which permits for the oversight committees of cognizance to conduct a review of the auditors’ reports within 180 days after they have been submitted.

I supported this provision as members of the General Assembly would continually receive auditors’ reports, some with major violations and waste of state resources, and the leadership of the legislature would just turn a blind eye to the auditors’ findings and recommendations—many that have been repeated by various agencies multiple times and never properly addressed.

As the Ranking Republican on Higher Education, late last week, I sent a joint letter, along with my Republican colleague, Senator Art Linares, to our counterparts of the Higher Education committee asking for our committee to conduct legislative hearings in order to resolve the ongoing findings and possible state waste issues cited by the state auditors regarding the Connecticut State University – Systems Office, the Community Colleges, the Charter Oak Foundation, and the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC).

For instance, UConn Health Center gave raises to employees who approved a contract for a the interim head of the center, rehired retirees who worked longer than they should have according to executive fiats, and paid some employees more than they should have, according to their contracts.

We should not have important findings by the Auditors of Public Accounts collect dust on a shelf somewhere. That practice does nothing but allow further fiscal malfeasance to continue unabated to the detriment of the taxpayers of Connecticut.

As always please feel free to contact me on this or any matter that is of importance to you.

State Rep. Pam Staneski, Orange Lawmakers Talk Legislative Session over Coffee

Posted on June 9, 2018 by jdooley


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ORANGE – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) and State Reps. Charles Ferraro (R-117) and Pam Staneski (R-119) hosted a coffee hour on Friday, June 2nd at Chip’s Family Restaurant to have a casual conversation about the 2018 legislative session. The lawmakers discussed the bipartisan budget, reform for more efficient special needs treatment and addressed senior issues with representatives of AARP.  

The lawmakers encourage those who were unable to make it to visit cthousegop.com to find a copy of the 2018 Major Public Acts Report, which provides detailed analysis of bills passed during the session. 

 

 

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