Bristol Lawmakers Prepare for 2019 Legislative Session, Announce Committee Assignments

Posted on January 8, 2019 by jpheasant


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HARTFORD – State Representatives Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) and Whit Betts (R-78) are joining their fellow colleagues in the Connecticut General Assembly in preparing for the start of the 2019 Legislative Session which convenes Wednesday, January 9th.

For the upcoming two year term, the Bristol lawmakers were given their appointments and committee assignments by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides. Rep. Betts will continue to serve as House Republican Whip. He will also serve on the Appropriations, Public Health, and Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committees.

“I’m honored to have been selected by Leader Klarides to continue serving the House Republican Caucus in my leadership capacity as House Republican Whip for the upcoming term,” Rep. Betts said. “In the upcoming session, there will be a wide range of important topics coming before the legislature for discussion and debate. I look forward to hearing from my constituents about their thoughts so that I can best represent and reflect their views in my committee work and the votes I will take on the House floor later this spring. My monthly coffee hour events that I co-host with Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato and Sen. Martin in district are a great way for constituents to meet with me in person and have these discussions.”

Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato will serve as Ranking Member of the legislature’s Insurance Committee. She will also serve on the Appropriations and Education Committees as well as Screening.

“I’m thankful to Leader Klarides for recognizing my unwavering commitment to serve with my appointment as Ranking Member of the Insurance Committee. I’m also looking forward to crafting a state budget as a member of the Appropriations Committee that will best serve state taxpayers by funding critical programs while maintaining fiscal responsibility. This session promises to bring both challenges and opportunities, and I’m excited to get to work on behalf of my constituents and the residents of Connecticut,” said Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato.

Betts and Pavalock-D’Amato expressed their continued support for common sense fiscal policies that will eliminate wasteful government spending and balance the state’s checkbook while maintaining and attracting new business. The lawmakers also reaffirmed their commitment to supporting and expanding manufacturing opportunities within the state, including increased education and apprenticeship programs to attract and retain a highly skilled and competitive workforce.

The 2019 Legislative Session will run from January 9 to June 5.

Reps. Betts and Pavalock-D’Amato can be reached at 800-842-1423 or via email at whit.betts@housegop.ct.gov and cara@housegop.ct.gov. Constituents can follow their legislative activity throughout the session by logging on to www.RepBetts.com or www.RepPavalock.com. Follow the lawmakers on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/RepBetts and www.Facebook.com/RepCara.

Betts represents Bristol, Plymouth, & Terryville, and Pavalock-D’Amato represents Bristol in the Connecticut General Assembly.

Bristol Legislators to Host First Coffee Hour of the New Year

Posted on December 28, 2018 by admin


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BristolState Reps. Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock D’Amato (R-77), and State Sen. Henri Martin (R-31) invite Bristol residents to join them for their monthly Coffee Hour event on Friday, January 4 at Rodd’s Restaurant (854 Farmington Ave., Bristol).

The public is invited for coffee and conversation from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to meet with their legislators in a relaxed setting and discuss the issues that will shape the upcoming 2019 Legislative Session, which convenes on January 9. Residents may discuss any state or legislative issues, including bill proposals or concepts, or local concerns.

All residents are encouraged to attend. Coffee will be provided.

Those unable to attend the event but would like to discuss any concerns may contact Betts and Pavalock-D’Amato at 800-842-1423 and Martin at 860-240-0022.

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Bristol Legislators Ring Salvation Army Bells to Help Neighbors in Need

Posted on December 28, 2018 by admin


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Bristol State Representatives Whit Betts (R-Bristol, at right) and Cara Pavalock D’Amato (R-Bristol, center) again participated in The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign by ringing bells at the Bristol Walmart on Wednesday December 19 alongside Lt. Emmanuel Echavarria (at left) of The Salvation Army.  The state lawmakers thanked the shoppers from the greater Bristol community for their generosity in helping their fellow neighbors in need this holiday season.

The Salvation Army provides food, clothing, comfort and care to local residents as well as people in need across the United States. For more information on the program, including donating year round, visit: www.salvationarmyusa.org..

Bristol Legislators to Ring Salvation Army Bells

Posted on December 18, 2018 by admin


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PlainvilleState Representatives Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock D’Amato (R-77) and State Senator Henri Martin (R-31) will again participate in The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign by ringing bells at Walmart on Wednesday, December 19 from 6:30pm – 7:30pm. Community members are invited to support the cause and donate whatever they can.

Walmart is located at 1400 Farmington Ave. in Bristol.

WHO: Reps. Whit Betts and Cara Pavalock D’Amato and Sen. Henri Martin
WHAT: Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign bell ringing
WHEN: Wednesday, December 19 from 6:30 – 7:30pm
WHERE: Walmart – 1400 Farmington Ave., Bristol
WHY: State Legislators will join fellow volunteers ringing bells to raise money for the Salvation Army this holiday season.

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Home Heating Assistance Applications Now Being Accepted

Posted on December 14, 2018 by admin


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Connecticut currently ranks in the top five highest energy costs in the nation. With the cold weather upon us, many residents may struggle to pay their heating bills. However, fuel assistance is available to those in need.

Operation Fuel is now accepting applications for one-time grants of up to $500 per household for deliverable fuel, gas and electric utilities. Qualified individuals are those who have received a shut-off notice, have no utility service, or need assistance to maintain payment arrangements or have a past due balance of 30 days or more.

In order to apply for an Operation Fuel utility or deliverable fuel grant, you must submit an application through a fuel bank. To find the fuel bank that serves your town, please either use the Fuel Bank Finder or call 2-1-1.

You will need to provide proof of the last 4 weeks of income for all household members, the name of your fuel vendor (for deliverable fuel customers only), or your utility bill and payment history (for electric and gas utility customers only).

Operation Fuel is a non-profit organization that partners with local government and community-based organizations at more than 100 sites throughout Connecticut to ensure that families in need have access to year-round energy assistance. Their partner agencies may also be able to connect residents with programs that provide assistance for food, clothing, health services, childcare, and more.

Bristol Legislators to Host December Coffee Hour

Posted on November 27, 2018 by admin


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BristolState Reps. Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock D’Amato (R-77), and State Sen. Henri Martin (R-31) invite Bristol residents to join them for their monthly Coffee Hour event on Friday, December 7 at Rodd’s Restaurant (854 Farmington Ave., Bristol).

The public is invited for coffee and conversation from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to meet with their legislators in a relaxed setting and discuss the issues that will shape the upcoming 2019 Legislative Session. Residents may discuss any state or legislative issues or local concerns as well.

All residents are encouraged to attend and discuss any legislative or local concerns. Coffee will be provided.

Those unable to attend the event but would like to discuss any concerns may contact Betts and Pavalock-D’Amato at 800-842-1423 and Martin at 860-240-0022.

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Bristol Legislators to Host November Coffee Hour

Posted on October 30, 2018 by admin


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BristolState Reps. Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock D’Amato (R-77), and State Sen. Henri Martin (R-31) invite Bristol residents to join them for their monthly Coffee Hour event on Friday, November 2 at Rodd’s Restaurant (854 Farmington Ave., Bristol).

The public is invited for coffee and conversation from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to meet with their legislators in a relaxed setting and hear the latest updates from the State Capitol.

All residents are encouraged to attend and discuss any legislative or local concerns. Coffee will be provided.

Those unable to attend the event but would like to discuss any concerns may contact Betts and Pavalock-D’Amato at 800-842-1423 and Martin at 860-240-0022.

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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: Saturday, 10/27

Posted on October 24, 2018 by admin


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On Saturday, October 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will provide the public its 16th opportunity in eight years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Held on the last Saturday of April and October of every year, this national event addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue.

The DEA is again calling on Americans to empty their medicine cabinets of unwanted, unused, or expired prescription medication and bring them to collection sites for proper disposal. This includes pet medication as well.

DEA Collection Site in our area:

BRISTOL SENIOR COMMUNITY CENTER (UNTIL 1PM)  
240 Stafford Ave. – Bristol, CT

The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
In April, Americans turned in 474.5 tons (over 949,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,600 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 16 previous Take-Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 9.9 million pounds — nearly 5,000 tons of pills, with Connecticut accounting for over 94,000 pounds.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 27 Take Back Initiative, visit:   www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.

DEEP and DCP Urge Tree Health Assessments

Posted on October 12, 2018 by admin


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The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Department of Consumer Protection have recently released a notice urging homeowners to ‘make an assessment of risky dead trees’ while they still have leaves.

DEEP and DCP advise homeowners to look for the following:

Signs you have a risky dead tree

Most healthy hardwood trees would have retained their leaves until the end of September, while unhealthy or dead trees would have already shed or may have never produced leaves this growing season.  The lack of greenery during the growing season is clear indication a tree is dead and should be removed if it is a threat to property.

What you should do before hiring a contractor

  • Shop around: Get multiple quotes to ensure you are hiring the best person to work on your property.
  • Verify a contractor has the proper credential: Anyone making changes to your property, including removing trees, must have a home improvement contractor registration. If someone is doing more detailed work such as correctively pruning a tree, or doing other work associated with prolonging a tree’s life, they must have an Arborist’s license from DEEP.
  • Have a contract: Home improvement contractors are required to have a written contract with you before work may begin.

** It will be helpful to know how long the work is anticipated to take, the costs, the final outcome and what responsibilities you may have in the process**

  • Ask for references: Ask your potential contractor for references from homeowners who have had that contractor do tree removal work on their property.
  • Be aware of scams: Avoid contractors who display signs of being a scammer.

**If you have a complaint regarding a home improvement contractor that you haven’t been able to resolve by contacting that individual or business, you are encouraged to file a complaint with DCP by emailing dcp.complaints@ct.gov**

According to DEEP and DCP, starting in 2015, Connecticut experienced three consecutive years of expanding Gypsy moth caterpillar defoliation caused by dry springs.  This drought inhibited a moisture dependent soil fungus that solely impacts gypsy moth caterpillar from emerging. In addition, the statewide establishment of Emerald ash borer is causing extensive ash mortality.

Connecticut has been long recognized as having the highest WUI indices in the United States. WUI otherwise known as the Wildland-Urban Interface, is a term that recognizes the proximity of peoples’ homes to forests, wetlands and grasslands. A common term used in fire prone areas of the US, many are surprised at Connecticut’s WUI ranking which is caused by a high percentage of tree canopy cover over a densely populated area. WUI helps explain why so many Connecticut residents are impacted by forest pest outbreaks and severe storms.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on October 11, 2018 by admin


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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase breast cancer awareness and education, while also promoting research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Please consider supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, whether it be through a donation, or simply by purchasing the “pink” version of your favorite everyday products.

I proudly supported legislation which was signed into law (PA 18-159) and became effective October 1, which advocates for women’s health by expanding insurance coverage for mammograms, including tomosynthesis, a three dimensional mammogram which enables the radiologist to better determine if small cancers are present in the breast tissue. The test has been shown to reduce by 40 percent, patient callbacks for an additional test due to the uncertainty of images.

I am committed to helping spread the word about the importance of this cause, which is meaningful to so many families in our community.

Please be aware of the following facts about breast cancer:

  • Breast cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in women
  • Besides being female, age is the most notable risk factor for breast cancer
  • Potentially modifiable risk factors for the disease include weight gain and obesity, use of menopausal hormone therapy, physical inactivity, having high breast tissue density and alcohol consumption
  • Mammography can often detect breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more effective and a cure is more likely
  • In 2018, it’s estimated that among U.S. women and men there will be*: 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 40,920 breast cancer deaths among women. Also, there will be 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 480 breast cancer deaths among men
For more information on breast and other types of cancers, including key facts and statistics, please visit the American Cancer Society website.