Office Hour this Thursday at 6 p.m. – New Canaan Library

Posted on January 15, 2019 by admin


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Dear friends,

The 2019 Session convened on January 9 and will adjourn on June 5. During this time, the General Assembly will consider several important bills, including the biennial state budget.

Your feedback is very important to my efforts in Hartford, which is why I have scheduled an office hour for this Thursday, January 17 at 6 p.m. at New Canaan Library.

Office Hour – New Canaan Library

151 Main Street, New Canaan

Thursday, January 17, from 6-7 p.m.

If you are able to attend, please come prepared with questions, comments or ideas relating to state government.

If you cannot attend, I am always available to speak with you by phone, communicate via email or to meet in person at a time that is convenient for you.

Please contact my office to arrange a time at (800) 842-1423 or at Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov.

I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,

Tom O’Dea

State Representative – 125th District

Proudly representing New Canaan & Wilton

“Tax-Free Week” 2018 – August 19 – 25

Posted on August 13, 2018 by admin


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“Tax-Free Week” is right around the corner! Each year Connecticut residents receive a much-needed break from the hefty sales tax we pay for consumer goods.

From Sunday, August 19, through Saturday, August 25, shoppers will have the opportunity to purchase select items under $100, TAX-FREE. With the start of school just around the corner, this is a great opportunity for some back-to-school shopping for the kids while saving money for families.

Tax-Free Week was first enacted in 2000, and applies to most clothing and footwear purchases intended for everyday use, including items put on layaway.

Goods not covered under the program include, but are not limited to:

  • Clothing or footwear specifically designed for athletic activities – football cleats, specialty boots for fishing, hiking, skiing and other activities, as well as wet suits, helmets and headbands, etc.
  • Accessories – jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets and watches, etc.

The Connecticut sales tax rate is currently 6.35%, which can add up quickly when buying multiple items.

Please consult with your local retailer, or contact the Department of Revenue Services for a list of qualifying and non-qualifying items.

As always, Rep. O’Dea is available at (800) 842-1423 or tom.odea@housegop.ct.gov if you have any questions or concerns relating to state government.

Major Public Acts – 2018 Legislative Session

Posted on June 28, 2018 by admin


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Here you can find the 2018 Major Public Acts report from the Office of Legislative Research. This document contains legislative highlights from 15 categories:

  • Banking
  • Bonding
  • Budget Revisions
  • Criminal Justice and Public Safety
  • Education
  • Energy and Environment
  • Government Administration and Elections
  • Insurance and Real Estate
  • Labor and Economic Development
  • Municipalities
  • Public Health
  • Social Services
  • Taxes
  • Transportation
  • Veterans

The public and special acts listed in the document are the most significant, far-reaching, and publicly debated acts adopted by the General Assembly during the 2018 session.

Seven bills were vetoed by the governor this year. Despite an attempt by legislative Republicans to override these vetoes, all were sustained due to a lack of support for majority legislators. Here you can find a list of bills vetoed following the 2018 Session.

As always, Rep. O’Dea may be contacted at any time to discuss legislation or any other state issue at tom.odea@housegop.ct.gov or toll free at (800) 842-1423.

Rep. O’Dea Criticizes Senate Democrats for Upholding Malloy Vetoes

Posted on June 26, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton), Deputy House Republican Leader-at-Large, voted with a majority of his colleagues in the House to override Public Act (P.A.) 18-35An Act Prohibiting the Executive Branch from Making Rescissions or Other Reductions to the Education Cost Sharing Grant During the Fiscal Year. The bill was taken up in the Senate, but did not secure the necessary votes to override the veto.

“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who voted in favor of the override, but I am greatly disappointed with the Senate Democrats who reversed their position and sided with the governor,” Rep. O’Dea said. “Many towns across Connecticut were blindsided by the governor’s rescissions on education funding, which is why the legislature came together to pass this bill in the first place. We will work even harder to pass a similar bill in the future, but it is unfortunate that this happened. Many Democratic Senators proved they are uninterested in changing Connecticut’s present course.”

Following the passage of the compromise budget in October, Governor Malloy used an executive order to cut funding mid-year to several towns across the state, including New Canaan and Wilton. P.A. 18-35, had the veto been overridden, would have prohibited future governors from making rescissions to a school board’s education cost sharing grant during the fiscal year. Towns have asked for more predictability and sustainability from the legislature, which resulted in this bill.

Despite the bill’s unanimous passage in the Senate on May 9th and overwhelming support in the House, 117-32, the governor vetoed P.A. 18-35 earlier this month. While every Republican in the House and Senate voted in favor of the override, ten Senate Democrats changed their position during the veto session, effectively killing the bill.

“There were six other bills the Governor vetoed that we wanted to take up; however, the majority party in the Senate prevented them from being called,” Rep. O’Dea added. “The most important of those bills was S.B. 528, which corrected the improper financial bailout of Hartford against the wishes of the vast majority of legislators from both parties.”

S.B. 528 passed the House 105-45 and Senate 28-6, enough votes to easily override any veto if legislators voted the same during the veto session. Unfortunately, the Senate Democrats never called the bill despite every Republican’s desire to do so. In this past fiscal year, Hartford was given $420,446,241 in taxpayer money, not even including the monies given to non-profits in Hartford. New Haven was given $327,251,588. On top of the foregoing, the Mayor of New Haven is filling a $14,000,000 deficit this year with monies that were supposed to go to pensions, has increased taxes by 11% and has given out 11% raises to administrators and other “confidential” employees.

Reps. O’Dea, Wilms Tour Silver Hill Hospital

Posted on May 31, 2018 by admin


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NEW CANAAN – State Representatives Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton) and Fred Wilms (R-Norwalk, New Canaan) toured the Silver Hill Hospital for Mental Health and Addiction in New Canaan on May 29th, 2018.

“The opioid crisis in Connecticut has reached a critical level,” Rep. Wilms said. “Hospitals like Silver Hill will help us combat addiction and reduce the number of fatalities in our state. I would like to thank the hospital for allowing us to visit, and for their dedication to saving and changing lives. To assist in their efforts, I cosponsored a bill expanding telehealth services to treat addiction, which has passed the legislature this year. We will continue to do our part in Hartford to help reduce the number of drugs on our streets and to provide assistance to those battling addiction.”

“Mental health and drug addiction are complex problems that require the unique care that Silver Hill offers,” Rep. O’Dea said. “They provide a tremendous service to the community, especially during a time when the number of opioid deaths has reached unprecedented levels. Combating drug addiction in our state is a group effort. We must continue to educate the public on this crisis, pass legislation to help reduce the number of drugs on our streets, ensure that hospitals like Silver Hill have the resources they need to treat patients, and continue to support our first responders in any way possible. In addition, Silver Hill’s new President and Medical Director, John Santopietro, MD, DFAPA, has experience developing and growing large scale telehealth programs, which, I believe, are key to making affordable healthcare available to all.”

Silver Hill Hospital has been operational since 1931 when it was founded by Dr. John Millet and Nurse Elvira Parsons with the first patient being admitted that December. The non-profit hospital began treating addiction in 1971 where the conducted original research into the biological and psychological contributors to addiction. Today, the hospital treats over 3,500 patients annually. Their goal is to treat the addiction, or other conditions, and eventually transition patients into productive lives. Silver Hill is a nationally recognized psychiatric hospital that continually receives accolades for their success with patients.

Reps. O’Dea and Wilms supported P.A. 18-148, An Act Concerning Telehealth Services, which passed both chambers of the General Assembly with strong bipartisan support. This bill allows telehealth providers to prescribe non-opioid Schedule II or III controlled substances in the treatment of a psychiatric disability or substance abuse disorder. The bill also adds registered nurses and pharmacists to the list of health care providers who may provide telehealth services. The bill now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature.

State Rep. Tom O’Dea represents the 125th General Assembly district which includes New Canaan and Wilton.  He is Deputy Republican Leader At-Large and serves on the legislature’s Transportation Committee as well as the Judiciary, Legislative Management and Regulation Review Committees.

State Representative Fred Wilms represents the 142nd General Assembly district communities of Norwalk and New Canaan. He is a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Planning and Development Committee, and the Transportation Committee.

Rep. O’Dea to Host New Canaan Post-Session Legislative Update

Posted on May 23, 2018 by admin


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State Representatives Tom O’Dea and  Fred Wilms, and State Senators Toni Boucher and Scott Frantz will be hosting a New Canaan Post-Session Legislative Update on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

New Canaan Town Hall – Legislative Chambers

77 Main Street, New Canaan CT, 06840

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The legislators will be covering subjects including the budget, transportation and local issues affecting the community. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions for the representatives.

This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

If you are unable to attend, but still have questions or concerns relating to state government, Rep. O’Dea can be reached at Tom.O’Dea@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423.

 

Rep. O’Dea, General Assembly Passes Compromise Budget Adjustment

Posted on May 14, 2018 by admin


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Tax Increases and Tolls were Rejected, Core Services Restored

HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton), Deputy House Republican Leader-at-Large, voted in favor of a compromise budget adjustment plan during the final hours of the 2018 Session, May 9th, 2018.

“The budget adjustment we passed last week had just enough positives in it to win my support, but I will admit that the Republican amendment we proposed was much better,” Rep. O’Dea said. “The adjustment restores funding for the Medicare Savings Program, which assists over 100,000 seniors in the state, and provides municipal aid and education funding to our towns all without increasing taxes. We also fully fund scheduled transportation projects without resorting to tolls.”

Republican lawmakers offered a budget adjustment proposal that offered necessary fiscal reforms to a state government that has lived above its means for decades. House Republicans called their budget adjustment as an amendment during debate on the compromise plan, but the amendment was rejected on near party line votes. Although the alternative compromised bipartisan budget did not contain all of the GOP initiatives, it laid the framework for a spending and revenue plan that will provide stability and sustainability for the future that were part of the original Republican proposal.

The compromise budget fully funds transportation projects, realizes $7 million in savings by adopting a hard hiring freeze, fully restores the MSP to 211 percent, provides $2 million to Department of Veterans’ Affairs, $5 million for emergency placement for Department of Developmental Services patients, and brings the state’s portion of funding for the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare fund to 33 percent. The plan also includes some recommendations from the Fiscal Stability Commission. These recommendations include studies on tax and spending reform measures that will accelerate business growth, as well as a thorough review of the Teachers’ Retirement System.

“I think we can do much better in future budget sessions, specifically in regards to union labor contracts, our unfunded liabilities, and tax reform, but I believe we made progress this session and I am proud of that,” Rep. O’Dea concluded.

S.B.543, An Act Concerning Revisions to the State Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 and Deficiency Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018, passed the House 142-8 and the Senate unanimously. It now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature.

 

Check out Rep. O’Dea’s interview with David Smith on “Meet the Leaders” from May 7, 2018.

 

Rep. O’Dea Supports Bill Requiring Holocaust Education in Social Studies Curriculum

Posted on May 8, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton), Deputy House Republican Leader-at-Large, voted in favor of S.B. 452, An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Holocaust and Genocide Education and Awareness in the Social Studies Curriculum.

“The Jewish population has still not recovered since 1939,” Rep. O’Dea said. “In fact, there were more Jewish people in the world in 1939 than there are today. That is disturbing. Genocide is not something unique to World War II. It is still persistent today, and we cannot ignore it. The events of the Holocaust are a lesson in the dark side of humanity, and it is something that we must teach our children before they enter the real world so they understand. We must teach our youth about the mistakes of the past because if we do not, they are doomed to repeat them. As long as I am alive, I will continue to fight against these atrocities.”

This bill would take effect for the upcoming school year beginning in the fall of 2018. Boards of Education are encouraged to utilize both existing material, public and private, as well as outside gifts, grants, donations and in-kind donations. In a recent study, twenty-two percent of millennials and over ten percent of adults said they had not heard of the Holocaust. Rep. O’Dea and his colleagues in the legislature introduced and passed this legislation because they believe educating the public about these events is the most effective way to combat them in the future.

S.B. 452 passed the House unanimously and is now in concurrence with the Senate. The bill now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature.

 

Update from Hartford

Posted on May 5, 2018 by admin


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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are in the final stretch of the 2018 Session, and I am happy to report that House Republicans made progress this week in the struggle to provide stability and predictability to the State of Connecticut.

Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers released our second balanced budget proposal for FY 2019. Our plan does the following:

  • Pays down unfunded liabilities
  • Fully funds teachers’ pension plan and retired teachers’ healthcare fund – something promised to our educators, but not delivered until now
  • Nearly doubles municipal funding to New Canaan and Wilton compared to Governor Malloy’s 2019 proposal
  • Fully restores the Medicare Savings Program
  • Provides assistance to the most vulnerable, including those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Accomplishes the above without introducing new tax increases

 

Republican Revised FY 2019 State Budget Proposal

 

Governor’s Judicial Nominations

My Republican colleagues and I voted against Gov. Malloy’s 31 judicial nominations to the Superior Court. Despite their outstanding qualifications and experience, the state simply cannot afford these appointments right now.

Between salaries, benefits and pension costs, these positions would add millions to our state expenses, and we have yet to see a spending plan from majority Democrats.

Voting against these nominations was the responsible thing to do for our residents.

Toll Bill Blocked for this Session

Finally, I am happy to report that our effort to block a vote on the toll bill was successful as the speaker has determined that he does not have the support to bring it to the floor.

Tolls are just another tax on Connecticut residents, and I do not support their installation while state government continues to spend recklessly.

With that said, I have no doubt that the majority party will attempt to revive the toll debate in the future, but rest assured, we will be prepared to fight it again.

I will keep you updated on any new developments during these final days of session. Until then, please contact me at (800) 842-1423 or tom.odea@housegop.ct.gov if you have any questions or concerns regarding state government.

 

Regards,

Tom

Tom O’Dea

State Representative – 125th District

Rep. O’Dea Vows to Advocate for Veterans During

Posted on April 25, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan, Wilton) joined his colleagues at the Capitol on April 24th, 2018 to express the need to restore $2 million in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Republican budget proposal, released last week, emphasizes stability and predictability during a climate of declining revenue and excess spending. Regardless of the fiscal state of affairs in Connecticut, Rep. O’Dea and fellow Republicans have vowed to include funding for crucial veteran services in the final budget document.

“It takes a special type of person to enlist in the armed forces and serve our nation in some of the most remote and hostile places on the planet,” Rep. O’Dea said. “Our veterans have earned our respect, gratitude, and admiration for their selfless devotion to this county. As we proceed with the budget negotiations, our veterans will remain a top priority. We must ensure these heroes receive the best care and services available, and I pledge my support to them during these discussions.”