House Republican Leader Themis Klarides Slams Democrats for Fake Support for fire Schools

Posted on November 3, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today mocked Democrats voicing last-minute support for a Naugatuck Valley fire school that they never advocated for in the past, calling the staged press event at the Derby train station a desperate ploy to sway voters four days before the election.

The Democrats, Klarides said, had eight years to convince Gov. Malloy to fund the project but it was never a priority. “All we heard today from the Democrats was empty rhetoric.’’

She added, “This effort by Democrats running for office four days before the election is a pathetic attempt to blur the reality that this Democratic administration never supported the Naugatuck Valley fire school.’’ Klarides noted that Democrat Lieutenant Governor candidate Susan Bysiewicz was among the Democrats who claim to support the project.

“If I were Susan Bysiewicz I would want to talk about anything other than the racially tinged incident involving her state police driver and one of our Republican candidates who is African American,’’ Klarides said, referring to the trooper Bysiewicz fired the day before after the incident involving Republican Ernestine Holloway became public. Holloway said the trooper told her she needed a local permit to canvass homes in her district.

Klarides has been at the forefront of the effort to get the fire school to be built in Beacon Falls completed. The Malloy administration last month said the project had been mothballed despite wide support among emergency services personnel who say the school is critical to enhancing public safety. The land in Beacon Falls has been purchased by the state and proposals solicited.

Malloy administration officials told Klarides and others that they have no plans to go ahead with the construction.

Klarides said, “We will continue to work hard to get this project completed. The Democrats were in position to deliver for the thousands of people in the 22 towns that would directly benefit from this fire school and they did not come through.’’

Klarides added, “It’s unfortunate that Governor Malloy failed to move this important public safety project forward. But, no matter who the governor is next year House Republicans will make sure the next governor realizes that this project must move forward.”

Radiology Society Recognizes Rep. Klarides for Support of Breast Cancer legislation

Posted on October 11, 2018 by admin


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The Radiological Society of Connecticut has recognized State Rep. Themis Klarides for her advocacy of patients and legislation that will encourage women to have life-saving breast cancer screenings.

The award is timely as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The radiologists gave Klarides their “Patient Hero” award at their semi-annual meeting in New Haven on September 13.

Klarides was the lead sponsor of House Bill 5208 this past session that will enable women to have their annual breast exam using the latest technology without having to pay a deductible or co-pay.

“A 3-D mammogram is vital to detecting breast cancer early,” said State Rep. Themis Klarides. “No women should be denied a 3-D mammogram because they can’t afford to pay a deductible or co-pay. I am proud my colleagues in the legislature recognize the importance of a 3-D mammogram and supported this legislation that will help save hundreds of lives.”

The technology, called Breast Tomosynthesis, is a three-dimensional mammogram which enables the radiologist to better determine if small cancers are present in the breast. The test has reduced by 40 percent patient callbacks for an additional test due to the uncertainty of images.

“This legislation is critical for our ability to make sure that patients continue to have access to these needed mammography tests. We thank Representative Klarides for her leadership on the issue,” said Alan Kaye, MD, president of the RSC.

House Bill 5208 includes Breast Tomosynthesis in the definition of a mammogram so that a patient no longer will be charged a deductible or co-pay for the annual screening.

The RSC thanked Klarides for sponsoring the bill and for showing a “significant knowledge” of healthcare policy using that knowledge to benefit patients.

Klarides serves as the leader of the 71-member House Republican Caucus.

The legislation passed both the House and Senate this year and was signed into law by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as Public Act 18-159. It is effective January 1, 2019.

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Malloy, Democrats Blasted for Blocking Valley Regional Fire School

Posted on October 1, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today blasted Gov. Malloy and Democrats for spending up to $75 million on various local bonding projects last week, but refusing to make good on the planned Valley Regional Fire School in Beacon Falls, a critically needed public safety project that has languished for years.

“Gov. Malloy and the Democrats on the state Bond Commission put millions more on the state’s credit card but when it comes to public safety for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents there is no money,’’ Klarides said. “We have already committed more than $1.4 million to the fire school but the Democrats in charge have stopped the project and have said it will not go forward.’’

Klarides and other lawmakers representing some of the 22 towns within the Valley Region met with Department of Administrative Services officials recently to update the status of the school. They were shocked to learn from DAS that the governor’s budget office will not provide funding to construct the $14 million facility. More than 650,000 people reside in the 22 Valley Region towns.

Chuck Stankye, past president of the Connecticut State Firefighter Association (CSFA) said it is vitally important that the Valley Fire School be built. “Firefighters need this facility to help them protect the public. When that bell goes off, we are there to save lives and property,’’ he said. Stankye was dismayed following the meeting with DAS but vowed to push the issue.

The fire schools are critical for firefighters to train and maintain certification. The Valley firefighters have to travel around the state for training where operating hours are limited at various firehouses.
“It is outrageous that this school has been mothballed. Instead, the state Bond Commission last week spent millions on non-essential projects,’’ Klarides said. She also noted that last summer Gov. Malloy rammed through the Bond Commission another $10 million for a needless study on tolls after three have already been completed.

The legislature has actually authorized $26 million for fire schools and Klarides and other lawmakers called for the Bond Commission to allocate the needed $14 million from that pool of money. Because the project has languished, the approved 2016 bid for has since expired and it will have to be re-bid. Construction was supposed to be completed by January of 2018 but has never begun.

The fire school plans date to 2002 when the CSFA and the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control created a priority list for construction of new schools. The Valley Fire School was scheduled to be the first one on the list to be built. The Beacon Falls site is shovel ready, Klarides pointed out.

The CSFA and the CFPC on Sept. 14 passed a resolution reaffirming its duties to administer the fire schools and to adhere to the construction schedule. The Valley Fire School is still slated to receive the next round.

“Clearly, the priorities of this administration and the Democrats in the legislature are wrong when it comes to investing in public safety versus spending money on items that some lawmakers would like to have,’’ Klarides said.

AT&T AWARDS $10,000 GRANT TO MARRAKECH, INC.

Posted on September 6, 2018 by admin


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NEW HAVEN, CT – Marrakech, Inc. has been awarded a $10,000 contribution from AT&T to support its New Haven Work to Learn program, a youth educational/vocational program providing supportive services to assist youth as they transition into adulthood.

Through Marrakech Youth Coaches, the program provides training and services in the following areas: education, vocational employment, financial literacy, life skills, personal and community connections, physical and mental health, and housing. The program helps struggling young adults develop the life and work skills necessary to find employment and pursue educational goals that will lead to self-sufficiency. All areas of skill building are conducted on site at the program located in New Haven.

The AT&T contribution will support several stipends for students who are participating in educational, employment, financial literacy and life skills groups, as well as on-site youth businesses and community internships.

“The youth we support come to us facing a multitude of barriers and unfortunately this type of programming has been cut time and time again. These services significantly increase self-sufficiency and quality of life, create positive community participation and develop natural supports within our neighborhood. It is only out of the foresight and generosity of our community partners to invest in these outcomes for people. We thank AT&T for many years of insight and support” said Heather Latorra, Marrakech Inc. CEO.

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House Republican Leader Themis Klarides: Audit Raises Questions over Corrections Union Stewards’ Duties, Overtime, Comp Time

Posted on September 4, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today pointed to an auditors’ report that highlights failures to account for the time some Corrections Department union stewards spent attending to union business and undocumented overtime and compensation time within the system.

The report raises questions over the magnitude of the unaccounted for time because the auditors typically sample only small portions of payroll data within any state agency, Klarides said.

“This audit puts a spotlight on policies that permit the union stewards to conduct union activities such as grievance hearings on the taxpayers’ dime. The state employees are entitled to union representation to deal with workplace issues but the stewards should be paid by the unions for that work,’’ Klarides said.

The lack of documentation , “increases the risk of unauthorized union leave,’’ the auditors wrote.

Republicans have put forth budget proposals in the past to require that the stewards be paid by union dues for the activities outside of the workplace.

The auditors sampled 40 instances of Union Release Time/Union Business Leave forms and all 40 were not filled out correctly or did not provide enough detail to determine what activities had taken place. The auditors also noted that overall 201 union stewards within corrections amassed 28,449 hours representing fellow workers at a cost of $894,000 to taxpayers.

When it comes to overtime and compensation time, the auditors also noted overtime was not properly documented in some instances. In three out of 10 instances the auditors said, “Compensatory time was not earned and approved in accordance with established policies.’’

Corrections overtime costs increased in one year from $62 million to $72 million, according to the office of fiscal analysis.

Klarides Comments on Mass Overdoses in Downtown New Haven

Posted on August 16, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – Citing the mass overdoses in downtown New Haven by scores of people who used synthetic marijuana likely laced with an opioid, House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today said the legislature should have strengthened penalties for those who sell opioids such as fentanyl when it had the chance.

House Republicans have repeatedly submitted legislation from the caucus that would have done so, but each time it has failed to gain final approval after support in committee.

“What has happened in New Haven this week should be a lesson for us all. These mass overdoses tell us that the sale and use of opioids and dangerous substances such as fentanyl is out of control. We need tougher penalties on the sale and manufacture of these substances if we are going to get a handle on this epidemic,’’ Klarides said. “It is not the only answer but it needs to be part of the solution.’’

A Yale New Haven Hospital physician told media outlets that the Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed that the drugs contained synthetic marijuana mixed with fentanyl, synthetic opioid about 50 times stronger than heroin. More than 70 people overdosed on the synthetic marijuana known as K2 on Wednesday. Additional overdoses have continued. The incidents have kept law enforcement and emergency responders busy in downtown  New Haven.

“Tougher laws on the sale of fentanyl in particular will enhance the public’s awareness on just how dangerous and prevalent this substance is,’’ Klarides said.     

The most recent legislation introduced, HB 5551 AAC Increasing Penalties for Dealing Synthetic Drugs, hiked penalties for dealing and manufacturing fentanyl substances. In 2016 a similar bill passed unanimously in the Judiciary Committee and cleared the House only to die in the Senate. Last year the bill passed Judiciary but was never called in the House.

The legislation would have reclassified fentanyl as a narcotic from its current status as a controlled substance. The change in classification would double the penalties to up to 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Klarides called the legislation a straightforward approach to a problem that should  enjoy broad support.

  

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