November 19, 2017

Lyme First Selectman Candidates Respond to Our Questions

To assist our Lyme readers in making their choices regarding for whom they should vote tomorrow, we posed three questions in writing to the candidates for Lyme First Selectman as follows:

  1. Why are you running?
  2. What are the three most significant issues that Lyme is currently facing?
  3. With reference to your Question 2 response, which issue of the three is the greatest and how do you envisage dealing with it?

We gave a 250-word limit for the response to each question to which each candidate adhered strictly: we are most appreciative of that.

We thank both candidates sincerely for responding in a timely manner and are pleased to publish their responses today accompanied by their respective biographies and photos.

Click on the links below to read each candidate’s responses:

Steven Mattson (D): Candidate (Incumbent) for Lyme First Selectman

Mark Wayland (R): Candidate for Lyme First Selectman

 

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Old Lyme Board of Selectmen Candidates Respond to our Questions

To assist our Old Lyme readers in making their choices regarding for whom they should vote on Tuesday, we posed three questions in writing to the candidates for the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen as follows:

  1. Why are you running?
  2. What are the three most significant issues that Old Lyme is currently facing?
  3. With reference to your Question 2 response, which issue of the three is the greatest and how do you envisage dealing with it?

We gave a 250-word limit for the response to each question to which each candidate adhered strictly: we are most appreciative of that.

We thank all the candidates for responding in a timely manner and are pleased to publish their responses today accompanied by their respective biographies and photos.

Click on the links below to read each candidate’s responses:

Bonnie Reemsnyder (D): Candidate (Incumbent) for Old Lyme First Selectwoman

Judith “Jude” Read (R): Candidate for Old Lyme First Selectwoman

Mary Jo Nosal (D): Candidate (Incumbent) for Old Lyme Selectwoman

Chris Kerr (R): Candidate for Old Lyme Selectman

 

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Letter to the Editor: (Still Unfinished) Boathouse Project Cost to Town Now $550K Over STEAP Grant/Donations; Elect Read to Regain Fiscal Responsibility

To the Editor:

Old Lyme Town Ordinance 20-8 states: “The responsibility for the management, control and development of the Town’s recreational facilities and expenditures made in connection therewith is vested in a Parks and Recreation Commission” (PRC). Thus, PRC requested that it review and approve plans proposed by the ad hoc Boathouse/Hains Park Improvement Committee (BHPIC), as it did for the original Boathouse in 1987 and all three phases of Town Woods Park.

While PRC supported the plan to upgrade the existing Boathouse submitted with the $478,000 STEAP grant, PRC raised serious objections to subsequent BHPIC plans involving $405,000 in Town funds.  So, First Selectwoman Reemsnyder decided to overrule Ordinance 20-8, and requested the previous Town Attorney justify her decision. That factually inaccurate “justification” was unambiguously refuted by a highly respected local attorney on legal grounds.  However, Ms. Reemsnyder continued to ignore PRC concerns about BHPIC-proposed Boathouse plans and likely cost overruns.

The result:  the Boathouse phase of the project exceeded the budget presented to the community in Jan 2016 by over $175,000 – primarily due to structural and code issues and related design errors and omissions; and the project is still not complete, due to on-going drainage issues.

Because the Boathouse cost overrun consumed funds earmarked for the project’s second phase:  upgrading the park’s ADA accessibility and restrooms for use by both rowers and the public, Ms. Reemsnyder requested an additional $150,000 be incorporated into Old Lyme’s 2017-18 Annual Budget to complete the project.  This brings total Town costs to $555,000, in addition to the STEAP Grant funds and donations.

We need experienced community leadership that respects important checks and balances, and will restore governmental and fiscal responsibility to Old Lyme.

Please elect Jude Read First Selectwoman!

Sincerely,

Bob Dunn,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note i): The author is the Old Lyme Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman, former chairman of the Town Woods Park Building Committee.

Editor’s Note ii): The author is also a member of the Boathouse/Hains Park Improvement Committee. We apologize that this detail was omitted from the original posting of the letter.

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Letter to the Editor: Wayland, Lord Are Both From Lyme, For Lyme, Understand Lyme

To the Editor:

I am pleased to have served the Town of Lyme for many years as a selectman, school board member and for 30 years as state representative in Hartford. During that period, I worked with some great selectmen in Lyme who knew the importance of maintaining our essential services with one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.

I am now confident that, when elected, Mark Wayland will continue with our tradition of having exceptional people serve our town as its chief executive officer. He grew up in Lyme and knows firsthand what our residents appreciate and in fact why many have moved here from other towns in the state.

I hope you will vote for Mark and his running mate, long time Board of Selectmen member, Parker Lord, on Nov. 7. They are both from Lyme and deserve to be elected.

Sincerely,

John J. Tiffany II,
Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Wayland Has All The Required Qualities To Excel As Lyme First Selectman

To the Editor:

Being the first selectman in a small town comes with unique challenges. The first selectman is expected to cheerfully solve issues ranging from taxes and zoning, to neighborhood disputes and unsightly guardrails.

In order to be a successful first selectman of a small town, one must not only be a problem solver, but he or she must also be kind, patient, and understanding. This is why I know that Mark Wayland will excel when it comes to the job. His endless knowledge on the Town of Lyme, his compassionate, caring nature, and his no-nonsense intelligence will help him solve any problem that comes his way, big or small.

William T. Koch Jr.,
Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is a former first selectman of Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Former Republican First Selectman Eno Endorses Democrat Mattson for Lyme First Selectman

To the Editor:

This November, Lyme will experience its first contested election for the Board of Selectmen in more than a decade.  If Lyme is to maintain its longstanding tradition of fiscal responsibility and attendant low mil rates, it is imperative that the next First Selectman be thoroughly conversant with the budget development process, as well as its implementation and management.  A positive relationship history working with Lyme’s Board of Finance will be key as well.

Over the years, Lyme has had a history of electing candidates with the skills and experience necessary to provide the best possible outcomes for the town, regardless of his or her political pedigree.  History bears out the fact that this time-tested practice has served Lyme extremely well – keeping counterproductive, divisive politics out of the management of local government on both a day-to-day and long-term basis.

Steve Mattson is the First Selectman candidate most qualified to lead Lyme for the next two years.  He has a comprehensive grasp on all facets of the budget process and has developed critical thinking and administrative skills over his years of service on multiple town boards and commissions to both lead Lyme and protect its interests from the misguided interference of a foundering state government, which puts all Connecticut’s small towns at risk.  This experience will be key to preserving Lyme’s cherished rural character and quality of life at this critical juncture in the state’s history.

I urge voters to set aside partisan considerations and hold true to the proven practice of doing what is best for Lyme. That means voting for Steve Mattson for First Selectman this November.

Sincerely,

Ralph Eno,
Readfield, Maine.

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Lyme DTC Launches New Website

As part of its ongoing efforts to encourage local residents to learn more about – and get more involved in – town government, the Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) has announced the launch of a new website at www.LymeDTC.org.

With just a few clicks, visitors to the new website can:

From left to right, candidates for, respectively, Lyme Selectman and First Selectman, John Kiker and Steve Mattson stand together.

Contact their local, state and federal legislators.

Find out how to register to vote or obtain an absentee ballot.

Learn more about the Democratic candidates running for office in November.

Find out when the next meetings of many town boards, committees and commissions are going to be held.

Keep tabs on local news, issues and information.

Discover how Lyme’s Town Meeting form of government works.

The Lyme DTC’s mission is to support and strengthen the Democratic Party in the Town of Lyme and the State of Connecticut.  The committee meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme Town Hall. These meetings are open to the public and all registered Democrats are encouraged to attend.

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State Orders Recount in Republican Primary for 33rd District Probate Judge; Delia Wins by Nine Votes in First Count

Tuesday’s unofficial winner, Anselmo Delia.

The Connecticut Secretary of State has informed all the towns that comprise the 33rd District Probate Court that they need to conduct a recount of Tuesday’s Republican Primary.

Tuesdya’s race between the party-endorsed candidate Attorney Anselmo Delia of Clinton and challenger Attorney Kevin Hecht of Old Saybrook ended with a 859-850 win for Delia after all the unofficial results had been declared in the nine towns.

Unofficial results given on the Connecticut Secretary of State’s webpage for Lyme show Hecht winning by a more than 2 to 1 margin.  The final count was 44 votes for Hecht and 20 for Delia.

Results from the remaining eight towns in the district were as follows:

Chester: Hecht 23 – Delia 12
Clinton: Delia 444 – Hecht 228
Deep River: Delia 24 – Hecht 14
Essex: Delia 79 – Hecht 59
Haddam: Delia 140 – Hecht 37
Killingworth: Hecht 78 – Delia 53
Old Saybrook: Hecht 277 – Delia 46
Westbrook: Hecht 90 – Delia 41.

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Rep. Carney Applauds the Passage of a New Opioid Bill Signed on ‘International Overdose Awareness Day’

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) stands at left as Governor Malloy signs the new opioid bill.

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23) attended a bill signing of Public Act 17-131, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse at the Hartford Public Library on Thursday, Aug. 31. Joining him were many legislative colleagues, local officials and advocates, who all stood in support of the legislation that seeks to curb the growing opioid crisis in Connecticut.

This ceremonial bill signing took place as the state took part in “International Overdose Awareness Day.”

From Jan. 1, 2015 through Aug. 2, 2016, Connecticut recorded 800 deaths due to overdose. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives unanimously expands upon legislation passed in 2016 and 2015, and includes some of the following aspects:

  • Instructs the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council to convene a working group to study substance abuse treatment referral programs that have been established by municipal police departments to refer persons with an opioid use disorder or who are seeking recovery from drug addiction to substance abuse treatment facilities;
  • Reduces the maximum opioid drug prescription for minors from 7 days to 5 days and maintains current law that allows a prescribing practitioner to exceed the limit for chronic pain, palliative care or acute pain if necessary as long as it is documented in the medical record
  • Requires individual and group health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment, as defined by American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) so that those looking for help cannot be turned away due to insurance issues;
  • Increases data sharing between state agencies regarding opioid abuse or opioid overdose deaths;
  • Increases security of controlled substances prescriptions by requiring scheduled drugs be electronically prescribed;
  • Allows patients to file a voluntary non-opioid form in their medical records indicating that they do not want to be prescribed or administered opioid drugs.

“Today, I was proud to stand with both Republicans and Democrats alongside Governor Malloy to enact bipartisan legislation that will help in the fight against opioid addiction. Opioid addiction is something that affects every community in our state, including every town within the 23rd District,” said State Rep. Devin Carney, continuing, “While drug addiction is not new, the addition of fentanyl into the equation is causing people from across the state to lose their lives at an alarming rate.”

Carney added, “Everyone, including me, knows someone who has been affected by drug addiction, whether it’s a parent, child, grandchild, or friend and I believe our society must continue working to battle this or we will continue to see lives taken far too soon.”

He noted, “I applaud the State of Connecticut for being a leader in this area and legislators from across the political spectrum for joining together to work towards solutions in an attempt to combat this growing epidemic. I also want to thank those within my community who have worked so hard to educate, communicate, and share their stories about drug addiction.”

Connecticut is expected to see more than 1,000 accidental drug-related deaths in 2017.

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Elected Officials, Candidates, Potential Candidates Turn Out for Annual Lyme DTC Picnic

Congressman Joe Courtney and Lyme Selectman Candidate John Kiker at the LDTC picnic. Photo by Shauna MacDonald.

Congressman Joe Courtney, Secretary of State Denise Merrill, State Representative Matthew Lesser,  two potential 2018 gubernatorial candidates – Jonathan Harris and Chris Mattei – along with District 33 probate judge candidate Jeannine Lewis and Lyme First Selectman Steve Mattson were among the speakers at the Annual Lyme Democratic Committee (DTC) Picnic held this past Saturday, Aug. 19.  The event was emceed by John Kiker, the Democratic candidate for Lyme selectman, at the Sunset Hill Vineyard.

The speakers addressed the need to turn out Democrats for the upcoming municipal elections on Nov. 7 and to more actively engage local Democrats year round in their state and local governments.  Lewis, Mattson and Kiker are all up for election in November in Lyme as, respectively, District 33 probate judge, first selectman and selectman.

Lyme First Selectman Steve Mattson (2nd from left) and District 33 Probate Judge Candidate Jeannine Lewis (speaking) at the LDTC picnic. Photo by Shauna MacDonald.

Mattson said, “As we move toward this November’s election, I believe this is the message you will hear. Get involved in your town.  Love your town.  That is the reason I agreed to run for first selectman and I know John shares the same objective as he runs for selectman.”

Kiker said he hoped to encourage more residents to actively participate in discussions and decisions that could potentially affect the town – by serving on and attending the meetings of our boards, commissions and committees – so Lyme remains the beautiful, historic community it is.

The Lyme DTC’s mission is to support and strengthen the Democratic Party in the Town of Lyme and the State of Connecticut.  The committee meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme Town Hall. The meetings are open to the public and all registered Democrats are encouraged to attend.

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Essex Attorney Selected as Official Democratic Candidate for District 33 Probate Court Judge

Attorney Jeannine Lewis

On Thursday, July 20, delegates representing nine towns within the 33rd State Senate District, which includes the Town of Lyme, selected Jeannine Lewis, an attorney at Hudson and Kilby, as the Democratic candidate for the upcoming vacancy of District 33 probate court judge.  As well as Lyme, Connecticut’s 33rd Probate Court District includes Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  The probate court for District 33 is located in Old Saybrook.

In announcing her selection, the District 33 Democratic Town Committee delegates commended Lewis for her extensive experience and expertise in Connecticut probate law; her deep understanding of the issues and responsibilities involved; and her personal and professional commitment to protecting the rights of – and serving the needs of – area residents who require the assistance of the probate court.  The delegates also thanked the other three individuals who had been vying for this nomination – attorneys James Carey, Sean Donlan and Stephen Sheehan. 

Probate judges typically handle estates, trusts, adoptions, name changes, and the termination of parental rights and conservatorships, among other important matters. All candidates for the position must be members of the Connecticut bar. 

Upon receiving the nomination, Lewis said, “Since I first applied to law school, it has been a dream of mine to serve my community as judge of probate.  If elected to this position in November, I plan to dedicate my time outside of the  court’s daily duties to mentoring new attorneys, and to providing assurances that our elderly and disabled community members are properly cared for and protected.”

Lewis, in addition to her law practice – which is focused on probate matters, estate planning and elder law – is the Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association’s (CBA’s) Elder Law Section, and serves on the Integrity of the Practice/Pro Bono Committee of the CBA’s Estates and Probate Section.  She is a board member of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries, and provides pro bono legal counsel to Sister Cities Essex Haiti, a local charity that helps residents of the town of Deschapelles, Haiti.

Lewis will face Republican and other challengers in the Tuesday, Nov. 7, special election later this year.

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Eno Retires, Mattson Sworn in as First Selectman of Lyme

At yesterday’s Lyme Board of Selectmen meeting, Steve Mattson raises his hand while taking the oath of office as First Selectman of Lyme. Photo by M. Mattson.

At yesterday’s Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Democrat Steve Mattson was sworn in as first selectman of Lyme after the current first selectman Ralph Eno, a Republican, had read his resignation letter. Mattson will serve the remainder of Eno’s term through November of this year.

Eno is retiring after serving a total of more than 20 years as first selectman.

Selectman Parker Lord will also continue to serve on the board.

Mark Wayland, another Republican, was appointed by Mattson and Lord to serve in the now vacant selectman’s position.

 

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Lyme DTC Recommends Jeannine Lewis as 33rd District Candidate for Probate Judge

Attorney Jeannine Lewis

The Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) has announced that it would be recommending Jeannine Lewis – an attorney at Hudson and Kilby – as the preferred Democratic candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant position of District 33 probate court judge.  (The official Democratic candidate will be determined later this summer at a nomination convention attended by representatives from all the DTCs in District 33.)

Lewis, along with three other Democratic candidates, recently addressed the June meeting of the Lyme DTC, where each presented their qualifications for the position and responded to questions from the committee.  Lyme DTC Chairman John Kiker said, “In our opinion, Lewis demonstrated she had extensive experience in probate law, a thorough understanding of the issues and responsibilities, and a personal commitment to helping protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

In addition to running a law practice focused on probate matters, estate planning and elder law, Lewis serves on the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association’s (CBA’s) Elder Law Section, and on the Integrity of the Practice/Pro Bono Committee of the CBA’s Estates and Probate Section.  She is a board member of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries and provides pro bono legal counsel to Sister Cities Essex Haiti, a local charity that helps residents of the town of Deschapelles, Haiti.

Probate judges typically handle estates, trusts, adoptions, name changes, and the termination of parental rights and conservatorships, among other important matters. All candidates for the position must be members of the Connecticut bar. The probate court for our District is located in Old Saybrook and serves the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  Terrance Lomme, the current probate judge for our District, is retiring on July 18, 2017. 

The candidate selected at the nominating convention later this summer will go on to face Republican and other challengers in the Tuesday, Nov. 7, special election. Whoever wins the election will serve the remainder of Judge Lomme’s term, which ends Jan. 9, 2019.

The Lyme DTC’s mission is to support and strengthen the Democratic Party in the Town of Lyme and the State of Connecticut.  The committee meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme Town Hall. These meetings are open to the public and all registered Democrats are encouraged to attend.

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Lyme DTC to Interview Candidates for Probate Court Judge Tonight

Lyme Town Hall

In preparation for a special election to be held this November, the Lyme Democratic Town Committee has announced it will be interviewing four Democratic candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant position of probate court judge on Thursday, June 22, at 8 p.m. in the Lyme Town Hall, during the committee’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

The public is invited to attend the meeting and listen to the candidates’ presentations and responses. The four probate judge candidates, who will speak at the meeting are James Carey, Sean Donlan, Jeannine Lewis and Steven Sheehan. Each will deliver a five-minute presentation on their qualifications, then respond to questions from members of the Town Committee during a brief Q & A period.

Probate judges handle such important matters as estates, trusts, adoptions, name changes, and the termination of parental rights and conservatorships, among others.  All candidates for the position must be members of the Connecticut bar. The probate court for the district in which Lyme falls is located in Old Saybrook and, in addition to Lyme, serves the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Terrance Lomme, the current probate judge for the district, is retiring on July 18, 2017.

The four candidates have made – or will be making – similar appearances before other Democratic Town Committees in the district.  Each committee will send delegates to a nominating convention to vote for the candidate of their committee’s choice.  At this convention, the official candidate of the Democratic party will be selected and announced.  The candidate from the nominating convention will go on to compete in a primary on September 12 – if there are other Democratic contenders for the position (who may enter the election by collecting signatures in a petition drive).  The winner of the Democratic primary will then go on to face Republican and other challengers in the special election.

The special election for the probate judge seat will be held Tuesday, November 7.  Whoever wins the election will serve the remainder of Judge Lomme’s term, which ends Jan. 9, 2019.

The Lyme Democratic Committee’s mission is to support and strengthen the Democratic Party in the Town of Lyme and the State of Connecticut.  The committee meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme Town Hall. These meetings are open to the public and all registered Democrats are encouraged to attend.

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Reemsnyder, Nosal Seeking Re-election to Old Lyme’s Board of Selectmen in November

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, a Democrat, plans to run again in November for the position she has held for the past five and a half years.

In an exclusive interview with LymeLine.com, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (D) has announced her intention to run for a fourth term in November of this year along with fellow incumbent Democratic Selectwoman MaryJo Nosal, with whom she has campaigned successfully for the past three elections.

Reemsnyder told LymeLine.com that she felt she and Nosal together had accomplished a great deal during their tenure by focusing on four broad areas of action.  These were, firstly, projects, which she described as, “Getting things done;” secondly, setting up systems “that will continue on after our tenure,”in a wide variety of areas; thirdly, “support initiatives that add to the quality of life for everyone in Old Lyme;” and finally, “improving customer advocacy and support.”

Democrat MaryJo Nosal will run again in November for the position of Old Lyme Selectwoman.

Reemsnyder went on to give detailed examples of activities she and Nosal had successfully completed under each heading.  In the ‘Projects’ category, she mentioned the Rogers Lake Dam and associated fish ladder, closure of the Town’s landfill, improvements at Sound View including new sidewalks, ADA crosswalks, paving, and parking payment kiosks, and the rebuilding of the Fred Emerson Boathouse at Hains Park.  She noted that the Sound View Improvements Project was 80 percent funded by a federal grant and the boathouse project 50 percent funded by a STEAP grant.

Under the systems heading, Reemsnyder highlighted how the introduction of centralized purchasing in town hall and enhanced cleaning schedule of town buildings had improved service without raising costs.  She also noted that maintenance improvements have resulting in the hiring of a Facilities Manager, who oversees a regular maintenance schedule on all town buildings and improvements in the grounds around town hall. The introduction of new technology under Reemsnyder’s watch has allowed online permit processing for land use permits, including building, zoning, fire marshal and possibly, in the future, health.

In terms of quality of life projects, Reemsnyder cited Lymes’ Senior Center improvements that have resulted in the hiring of a full time Senior Center Director and increased usage of the facility each year by seniors in Lyme and Old Lyme.  She also mentioned the installation of art displays in town hall, the introduction of a ‘No Smoking’ policy in town buildings and beaches, the increased use of town hall space for community meetings, and the establishment of the Rogers Lake Weeds Committee.

Finally, in the improving customer advocacy and support category, Reemsnyder listed some of her and Nosal’s achievements as the increase in the Town’s surplus from 16 to 23 percent, an improvement in work relations with both the Town of Lyme and Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, the establishment of two special funds — one for road improvements and the second for town buildings — to plan for the future maintenance and unexpected costs, and finally the vigorous opposition to the proposed high-speed rail bypass through Old Lyme.

Asked why she was running again, Reemsnyder said there are still a number of projects in the works that she and Nosal, “want to see through.” She said these include the Academy Lane Fire Dock, Sound View improvements, wastewater management in Sound View, the Mile Creek bridge and the LED street-lighting project.

Reemsnyder continued, “I think I have been very pro-active for people,” commenting, “I have been very communicative,” before adding, “When people call, I try to respond as soon as possible.”

And then she concluded cheerfully, “And most important, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve really enjoyed serving the people of Old Lyme.”

Editor’s Note: It should be noted that Reemsnyder supplied us with a lengthy list of her administration’s achievements, but we were only able to include a selection of them in this article.

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Sen. Formica Applauds Senate’s Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Close 2017 State Budget Shortfall

Keeps approximately $30 million in the state’s rainy day fund,
Restores millions of dollars to municipalities, state parks and programs for those with intellectual disabilities 

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

Yesterday Senate Republicans and Democrats passed a bipartisan deficit mitigation plan to address the $317 million shortfall in the state budget for the current year which ends on June 30, 2017.

“I thank my Senate colleagues for coming together to pass these two important measures with bipartisan support,” said State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th, whose District also includes Old Lyme), Co-Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “This is an important first step in getting the state’s finances in order so we can tackle the significant budgetary problems on the horizon.” 

The plan passed by the Senate protects the $19.4 million June Pequot Payment, $1 million in privately raised monies for state parks and $1 million in funding for employment opportunities and day services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hospitals will also be held harmless to cuts.

The state’s budget reserve fund maintains a balance of approximately $30 million under the Senate’s plan. 

The bipartisan deficit mitigation bill transfers funds from other accounts to restore the funds identified.

Following the passage of the deficit mitigation plan, the Senate also passed a deficiency bill passed in the House of Representatives last week to allow the state to continue paying for core services in the final weeks of the fiscal year. This includes funding for the Birth-to-Three program, Department of Developmental Services, Office of the Public Defender Services Commission, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Services, and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

“It’s important that we came to a bipartisan consensus this evening to address the fiscal condition we have encountered so late in the year,” said Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague), who is Co-Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “Tonight’s action sets us on a stronger fiscal footing to close out the year and allows us to focus on the much larger challenge ahead of crafting a biennial state budget.” 

“Any cuts so late in the fiscal year are difficult to absorb. But together, lawmakers were able to revise the governor’s proposed budget changes to protect towns and cities, privately raised funds contributed to state parks, and programs for individuals with disabilities,” said Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “To cut this funding so late in the fiscal year would have led to significant shortfalls in funding for core services. I hope that this bipartisan effort to make difficult decisions together will propel lawmakers forward as we take on the much more challenging task of finalizing a state budget for the next two fiscal years.”

“Today’s bipartisan vote in the Senate will ensure that Connecticut will end the fiscal year with a balanced budget despite the challenges presented by a deficit that emerged with only two months left in the fiscal year,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “Much difficult work remains, and tough choices lie ahead as we craft a state budget for the next biennium.” 

The deficit mitigation bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

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Danenhower Read Announces Bid for Old Lyme First Selectwoman in November Election, Kerr to be Running Mate


Judith Danenhower Read

Judith Danenhower Read has announced that she is running for the position of Old Lyme First Selectwoman in the upcoming November 2017 election and Chris Kerr will be joining her in a bid for the post of Old Lyme Selectman.  The Old Lyme Republican Town Committee has not yet made any formal endorsements for the November elections, but Read notes that she and Kerr will be campaigning as Republicans.

In a brief press release, Read says, “Old Lyme needs an effective management / leadership team to run our community. We [Read and Kerr] bring 40 plus years of small business experience and a common sense approach.”

She adds, “We deliver results.  We have good relationships with many groups in our community and are looking forward to building more.”

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Carney Testifies in Support of Harsher Drug Dealer Penalties

State Rep. Devin Carney testifies during the Judiciary Committee hearing on proposals to introduce stricter penalties for drug dealers.

Proposals Seek to Increase Penalties for the Possession and Distribution of Narcotics

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) testified this week before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee in support of three proposals that would seek to create harsher penalties for possession and distribution of narcotics.

Specifically, Senate Bill 1039 An Act Concerning Criminal Liability In The Case Of Drug Overdose Deaths, Increasing The Penalty For The Possession Of A Narcotic And Criminalizing The Misbranding Of Synthetic Drugs, House Bill 7290 An Act Increasing Penalties For Dealing Synthetic Drugs and House Bill 7292 An Act Concerning The Classification Of Drugs And Creating Drug Dealer Civil Liability.

In his remarks, Representative Carney stated, “The State of Connecticut is in the midst of an epidemic caused by fentanyl and the drug dealers who knowingly sell it to our residents. Fentanyl is so powerful that only 55 pounds of it has the power to kill every resident in Connecticut – twice. This is not normal and should not be dealt with lightly or else more of our residents, including the sons and daughters of our constituents, will die.”

According to the Hartford Courant, in 2016, 479 people who died of an overdose had fentanyl in their system – six times more than those who died two years ago when 75 people who overdosed had fentanyl in their system … In 2012, there was one death from a mix of fentanyl and heroin. In 2016, there were 276. In 2012, there were two deaths from the mixture of fentanyl and cocaine. In 2016, there were 142.

Carney continued, “The time has come to make drug dealers face stricter penalties for knowingly dealing fentanyl or other narcotics laced with it. Knowingly selling fentanyl to a drug addict or someone interested in trying an illegal narcotic is reprehensible and no one should feel pity for these dealers. Justice will be served when they are behind bars and incapable of dealing death sentences to drug addicts by supplying fentanyl to our citizens.”

The bill awaits further action by the Judiciary Committee.

Carney represents the 23rd District communities of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

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Local Lawmakers Urge State to Support ‘The Kate’ with Tourism Signage on Rte. 9 and I-95

Rep. Carney (left), The Kate’s Director of Development Dana Foster (center), and Paul Formica (right) at the Jan. 29 public hearing on the proposal to install signs for The Kate on local highways.

Local lawmakers are urging the state legislature to help support the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (‘The Kate’) by passing legislation that would allow tourism signage for the center to be placed on Rte. 9 and I-95.

Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th), Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) and Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) submitted testimony in favor of House Bill 5574 and spoke before the Transportation Committee to urge fellow lawmakers to support the local theater. ‘The Kate’ is a theater in the Town of Old Saybrook that provides entertainment for the region and is named for Connecticut Hall-of-Famer, multiple Academy Award winner, and former Old Saybrook resident Katharine Hepburn.

“We believe that ‘The Kate’ deserves to have signage along both I-95 and Rte. 9 because it will attract tourists to the theater and create an interest for those passing by the signs,” the lawmakers said in their written testimony, adding, “Similar theaters have signage along various highways throughout the state due to their importance and popularity and ‘The Kate’ is no different.”

They continued, “It is a cultural hub with entertainment that draws people from across the state and the country. It is an economic engine, not only for Old Saybrook, but for the region as a whole and helps nearby businesses like the many restaurants and shops in town. Signage along the highway will only improve the number of tourists to town and we believe it is in the state’s best interest to promote this important theater with the signage suggested.”

Sen. Formica and Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations at The Kate, testify before the Transportation Committee in favor of House Bill 5574 An Act Concerning Signs Indication the Location of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

Sen. Formica testified in person with Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations, at ‘The Kate,’ on Jan. 31, before the Transportation Committee on which Rep. Carney is a ranking member.

Foster explained the importance of signage along the highways, saying, “Signage would help our growing audiences navigate the multiple exits to Old Saybrook and help to further attract additional tourists and others to our historical building, great exhibit, and incredible arts and programming.”

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State Public Hearing on Proposed Rail Route to be Held Today in Hartford; Carney Urges Residents to Testify in Person or by E-mail

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

UPDATED 12:17am: (in red italics): The legislature’s Transportation Committee is hosting a public hearing today on various transportation issues, including three bills related to the Federal Rail Authority’s (FRA) proposed bypass through southeastern Connecticut.

The first objects to the proposal to build a new high speed railroad bypass through southeastern Connecticut.  The second requires municipal approval by town referendum for such a scheme to move forward and the third prohibits the state from spending any funds on such a proposal unless it has received municipal approval.

The public hearing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building – 300 Capitol Ave, Hartford. State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) is encouraging constituents and local elected officials to voice their opinions and concerns. ”

He stresses, however, “Due to high interest from across Southeastern Connecticut (and possibly Rhode Island), I am anticipating a large turnout for the public hearing on Monday. Public hearings can last a very long time, so I want to remind folks that they can submit written testimony to TRATestimony@cga.ct.gov if they cannot attend or cannot spend, potentially, several hours waiting to testify.”

Carney represents the 23rd district, which encompasses the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and a portion of Westbrook.

The Committee will hold a public hearing on a variety of bills including three mentioned above and described in more detail below that State Rep. Carney and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th) drafted. The hearing will give individuals the opportunity to speak about a number of transportation concerns facing the state.

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

The following bill proposals were drafted by both Carney and Formica, and will be heard during the public hearing:

HJ 54 RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION’S PROPOSAL TO CONSTRUCT AN ALTERNATIVE AMTRAK ROUTE THROUGH SOUTHEAST CONNECTICUT

This bill proposal objects to the proposal by the FRA regarding construction of a bypass on the Northeast Corridor rail line between Old Saybrook, Connecticut to Kenyon, Rhode Island through the scenic and historic towns of southeast Connecticut.

SB 253 AN ACT REQUIRING MUNICIPAL APPROVAL OF CHANGES TO RAIL SERVICE

Carney, the leading Republican lawmaker on the legislature’s Transportation Committee, said: “Many of our constituents felt that their concerns were not properly considered and that the FRA was trying to ram this bypass proposal through without a proper public hearing from those most affected by it. We agree. So, we drafted this proposal which would require municipal approval, through referendum, for any changes to commuter rail service through an impacted community.”

SB 263 AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL APPROVAL OF CHANGES TO RAIL SERVICE

This bill proposal pairs with SB 253 in that it prohibits the state from expending funds on rail projects that did not receive municipal approval through a referendum.

Carney added, “I would encourage you to support these concepts and express your thoughts on how you feel the FRA process has gone thus far and any concerns you may have.”

To find a complete list of relevant bills on the agenda for Monday’s public hearing, visit: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TRAdata/pha/2017pha00206-R001230TRA-pha.htm

For information on how to testify visit: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/content/yourvoice.asp.

Email written testimony in Word or PDF format to TRAtestimony@cga.ct.gov.

Anyone with questions about bills or the public hearing process can contact Rep. Carney’s office at (800) 842-1423 or by email to Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov.

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