Rep. Kupchick Newsletter: Assessing the Governor’s $10 Million Toll Study

Posted on July 23, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, Governor Malloy last week announced he is requesting $10 million in borrowed money to pay for a study on the impact of electronic tolling in Connecticut.

Toll legislation has been considered by the General Assembly each of the past five years, but it has never received enough votes to pass either chamber because of significant public opposition to putting another financial burden on cash-strapped Connecticut residents.

In the face of that opposition, the governor issued an Executive Order requiring the DOT to prepare a toll proposal and study how much it would cost commuters.  However, I don’t think we need a study to show the implications of tolls because they are obvious – it will make living in Connecticut even more unaffordable than it already is.

While I believe our infrastructure needs to be improved and modernized, I cannot support an additional scheme to collect even more money from Connecticut residents until the state conducts a serious re-evaluation of how it prioritizes the transportation funding we already collect, how the state can more accurately calculate the costs of transportation projects, and a real transportation funding “lockbox” is instituted.

The state already allocates funding for transportation from two gas taxes, the tax on out-of- state trucks, one half point of the CT sales tax, the sales tax on new cars, all sorts of fees, and borrowed money.  We should be reducing the tax burden on families and businesses, not increasing it.

My caucus has sent a proposal to Governor Malloy to address our transportation needs without imposing tolls – proposals that have been ignored.

To that point, I would like to share with you a letter my colleagues – House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and Finance Committee Ranking Member Chris Davis – wrote to the governor asking him to remove the request from the Bonding Commission’s agenda.

I stand with my colleagues in urging the Bond Commission to refuse the governor’s $10 million request as well.

The Commission is scheduled to meet on July 25.

Click on the image below to read the full letter:

 

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions about items on the State Bond Commission agenda or any other state issue.

Rep. Kupchick Calls on Governor to Remove $10 Million Toll Study from Bond Commission Agenda

Posted on July 23, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative Brenda Kupchick (R-132) today urged the State Bond Commission to reject an item bonding $10 million for a study on the impact of a plan to implement electronic tolling on Connecticut highways.  The agenda item would borrow money to pay for the study, as required by an Executive Order from Governor Dan Malloy who chairs the Bond Commission and decides which items are on the agenda.

The study would explore tolls on all major Connecticut highways, including Interstates 95, 91, and 84, along with the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.  This past spring, the legislature refused to consider a similar study costing only $5 million.

“It is completely inappropriate for the governor to attempt to circumvent the legislature like this,” said Rep. Kupchick.  “The governor is requesting to borrow $10 million in taxpayer money – which, unbelievably, is twice the amount we had seen proposed in the legislature for a similar idea – to study the impact tolls would have on Connecticut residents.  However, if you drive on I-95 or the Merritt Parkway every day you do not need a study to know that tolls would make life in Connecticut even more unaffordable than it is now.  That is why I am joining my colleagues in urging the State Bond Commission to refuse the governor’s request and remove this item from the agenda.

“I kept an open mind on tolls when the issue first came before the legislature, but as more details of the proposals were presented it has become obvious this would simply be just another tax.”

Rep. Kupchick referred to data offered by the CT Department of Transportation that estimated approximately 70% of toll revenue would come from Connecticut residents.  She also pointed to previous DOT tolling proposals that had called for up to 80 tolling gantries across the state, far exceeding the 14 toll locations in Connecticut before they were decommissioned in the 1980s.  These proposals are expected to cost commuters between $3,000 and $6,000 per year with additional costs for businesses.

“While I believe our infrastructure needs to be improved and modernized, and that charging motorists for using our highways makes some degree of sense, I cannot support an additional scheme to collect even more money from Connecticut residents until the state conducts a serious re-evaluation of how it prioritizes the transportation funding we already collect and how to more accurately calculate the costs of transportation projects,” added Rep. Kupchick.  “Further, a governor with less than 5 months left in office should not be permitted to make a $10 million appropriation that the legislature has already rejected.”

The State Bond Commission is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, July 25.

Rep. Kupchick Newsletter: Support Operation Hope’s Annual Community Tag Sale

Posted on July 13, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Dear Friends,

It is time again for the annual Community Tag Sale hosted by the volunteers at Operation Hope.  This year’s tag sale is at the First Congregational Church of Fairfield at 148 Beach Rd.  It will be held on August 18 from 9am until 4pm and on August 19 from 12pm until 4pm.  All proceeds will benefit Operation Hope.

 

 

 

Operation Hope has been helping Fairfield County residents through affordable housing, a food pantry, and other services for over 25 years. While our economy continues to struggle, more and more people need a helping hand.

The Tag Sale is only successful because of the efforts of volunteers. Proceeds of the sale go toward helping those in need.

 

Here are some ways you can help out:

First: Take a look through your home or garage for items to donate to the tag sale.

  • Furniture, Household Goods, Jewelry, Linens, Pictures/Paintings, Toys, Gaming Systems, Outdoor & Sporting Goods and more! Items
  • NOT accepted for donation: Bedding, clothing, televisions, computers, monitors, shoes, and books

Items for donation can be brought to the First Congregational Church in Fairfield between August 13 and August 16.

Operation Hope also needs donations of water for the volunteers and baked goods for the bake sale.

To sign up to volunteer at the tag sale, click on this link.

The Community Tag Sale is a great way to support and participate in a Fairfield tradition of helping our neighbors!

You can visit www.operationhopect.org for more information.

I hope to see you at the sale!

Rep. Kupchick Reminds Community of Life-Saving “Heat Kills” Initiative as Summer Begins

Posted on June 28, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative Brenda Kupchick (R-132) united with Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon to remind residents about Fairfield’s ongoing “Heat Kills: If you Love ‘em Don’t Leave ‘em” initiative.  First started in 2015, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving children & pets in hot cars.

Following a news conference held at the Fairfield Police Station, Rep. Kupchick, Chief MacNamara, Police Captain Don Smith, and Animal Control Officers Paul Miller and Joseph Felner went on their annual canvassing tour of the town to encourage more local businesses to install signs in their parking lots and stickers on their windows to remind parents and pet owners.

“This effort started due to frequent calls I received from constituents telling me about seeing dogs in parked cars with the windows up and their owner nowhere in sight.  After a child died in Ridgefield because they were left in a hot car, I decided something had to be done,” said Rep. Kupchick.  “Chief McNamara, Officer Miller, and I met and discussed starting an initiative that would help remind residents of the danger of leaving children and pets in cars and inform bystanders of what to do by listing the number to call police.  Reports say many people who leave a child in a car forget their child is in the car or, when running errands, think it is okay to leave a pet in the car while they shop.  The “Heat Kills” signs serve two purposes: as a reminder to parents entering the stores to remember their children and for people who find animals locked in hot cars to call the police.  I thank the FPD for joining me today to reinforce the goals of the program.”

The FPD noted the success of the program since its inception, citing sharp decreases in the number of 9-1-1 calls they have received regarding pets being left in cars.  They wanted to reinforce its goals as the days continue to get hotter this summer.

Rep. Kupchick also shared the legislature’s passage of a transportation bill that extends “Good Samaritan” law protections to people who break into hot cars to save animals.  Originally, this legal protection only existed in the case of entering a car to save a child.  Now, bystanders should feel empowered to act as necessary in the case of animals, as well, if the animal appears to be in urgent distress.

“The first step should always be to call 9-1-1 and report the situation, but, now, in emergency situations, a bystander is not liable for damages to a vehicle if they break into it in order to save a child or an animal inside,” said Rep. Kupchick.  “This is vitally important to saving lives because it empowers concerned bystanders to act.”

Local participating businesses in the “Heat Kills” campaign to date include all municipal parking lots, The Pantry, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, T.J. Maxx, Dunkin Donuts, Marshalls and several other small business.  Additionally, signs are posted at train station parking lots.

According to experts, children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 73 degrees.  Basically, the car becomes a greenhouse.  At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after 30 minutes, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees.  After 60 minutes, it can reach 113 degrees.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data findings showed, “when temperatures outside range from 80-100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130-172 degrees.”  In terms of heat rising over time, the American Academy of Pediatrics study concluded the difference in interior temperature between a car with the windors fully closed and a car with the windows cracked down a few inches is negligible.  “In both cases, a car’s interior temperature can rise approximately 40 degrees within one hour, even if the exterior temperature is only 72 degrees,” the report said.

If the outside temperature is 70 degrees, in 10 minutes the temperature inside a car will be 89 degrees, within 30 minutes, it will be 104 degrees.  With temperatures in the mid-80’s, within 10 minutes the temp inside a car will be 104 degrees, and in 30 minutes – 119 degrees. Heatstroke can lead to permanent health impairment for both children and pets.

Leaving a child in a hot car can lead to a Risk of Injury charge (anyone under 12 years of age cannot lawfully be left unattended in a public place), leaving a dog in a hot car can lead to a Cruelty to Animals charge.

Residents are asked to call Fairfield Police at 203.254.4800 to report a child or pet left in a vehicle.  Individuals and businesses who want to obtain signage can call Fairfield Animal Control at 211 Richard White Way at 203.254.4857.  The cost of the signs has been covered by donations which support the program and the town will assist, if requested, in mounting and setting the sign at private businesses free of charge.

 

 

Fairfield Legislators Vote to Override Governor’s Veto of Bill Preventing Mid-Year Cuts

Posted on June 26, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representatives Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134) voted on Monday to override Governor Dan Malloy’s veto of a bill prohibiting future governors from making cuts to education aid in the middle of a fiscal year.  State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) also voted to override the veto in the Senate.

Although there was enough support in the House on a 103-33 vote margin to override the governor’s veto, the override effort failed to achieve 2/3rd support in the Senate and was ultimately unsuccessful, meaning Governor Malloy’s veto will stand.  The legislature also failed to override vetoes on several other pieces of legislation that passed this year when Senate Democrats sided with Governor Malloy.

Public Act 18-35 was legislation intended to impede a Connecticut governor from withdrawing Education Cost Sharing funds already promised to a municipality for the school year, and was a key priority for the legislators.

“Fairfield schools and social service programs have been routinely targeted for the governor’s mid-year education holdbacks that cause uncertainty for town officials and local school boards.  I was proud to stand with my colleagues in the House for taking a positive step towards predictability and stability,” said Rep. Kupchick.  “Unfortunately, Governor Malloy and his allies in the legislature are still major roadblocks to progress in our state.  I’m very disappointed the majority in the Senate decided to not stand up against the governor’s vetoes.  In addition to stopping education cuts in the middle of the school year, these were bills that would have reduced the taxpayer bailout of Hartford, offered incentives for manufacturing companies and created an animal abuser registry.”

“Governors – Malloy and future ones – need to be put on notice that making unilateral mid-year cuts to education funding can devastate our communities. Reductions during the fiscal year are particularly difficult and leave few options for administrators and teachers,” said Rep. Devlin. “I was proud to cast a vote to override the governor’s veto. Unfortunately, the Senate Democrats refused to join us today in protecting our children’s educational priorities.”

“I voted to override Governor Malloy, and I did so on behalf of Fairfield educators, children and families,” Sen. Hwang said.  “I was proud to stand in opposition to the governor on this crucial school funding issue. This bill would have created stability and predictability for Fairfield beyond the current budget.  I was pleased to see the governor’s ill-advised veto get overridden in the House.  Shortly after the House’s override, I was bitterly disappointed to see many Senate Democrats reverse their prior votes.  There were not enough votes for the bill to get to the finish line in the State Senate.  That’s truly a shame, but I can promise Fairfield’s taxpayers this:  I am not deterred, and I will continue to stand with in support of common sense policies like this one.”

All seven of the governor’s vetoes were sustained in a special session of the General Assembly on Monday.

Rep. Kupchick Newsletter: Support Cancer Research at This Year’s Relay for Life

Posted on June 6, 2018 by rjoslyn


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This Saturday, the American Cancer Society is holding a Relay for Life event.

Relay for Life is an event that celebrates survivors, honors those in our community who lost the battle and supports those currently fighting.

Fairfield Relay for Life will be held this Saturday, June 9, at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.  The opening ceremony will begin at 5pm.

 

 

Relay for Life is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track.  Each event is 6-24 hours in length and teams are asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.

Each team sets up a themed campsite at the event and continues their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games, and activities. This money will count towards their overall team fundraising goal.

For more information about Fairfield Relay for Life, including links to donate to the American Cancer Society, join a team, or light a luminary in honor of someone you care for click here.  Together, we can make a difference.

I hope you will consider supporting our Relay for Life.