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Dear Neighbor,
 
The 2019 Legislative Session wrapped up Wednesday, June 5, but I’ve still been hard at work. July was a particularly productive month- I joined staff from U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney’s office for Office Hours to meet with constituents, like you, to talk about the most pressing state and federal issues. I also met with the President of Taiwan to further the sister state relationship our state currently has with the country. I also hosted the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Brian Foley on my radio show to talk about the State Attorney Office’s investigation into a police shooting. 

JULY 4TH BOOM BOX PARADE


To start the month off, I walked down Main Street in Willimantic to the beat of WILI-AM radio blasted from boom boxes and radios during the 34th WILI Willimantic Boom Box parade, the largest of its kind! 
The first Boom Box Parade was in 1986 when a marching band was unable to be found for the Windham Memorial Day Parade. Over the next few weeks, resident Kathy Clark thought about what the town could do and hatched the idea to play music from boom boxes and radios for the duration of the parade. She presented this idea to the radio station, and we’ve kept this tradition going ever since!

I would like to thank Governor Ned Lamont, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney, State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, Attorney General Tong, State Senator Mae Flexer, and State Senator Cathy Osten for attending! 

WORKER’S COMPENSATION BILL SIGNING


Earlier this month, Governor Lamont signed the Workers’ Compensation Claims Bill into law. I’ve been working on for several years to make sure workers injured on the job receive their medical benefits without undue delay so they can return to work healthy. The bill establishes a taskforce to evaluate unreasonable contested or delayed workers’ compensation claims and find ways to prevent bad faith handling. 
 
I am grateful for the Governor’s support on this bill and I am honored the Speaker of the House appointed me as Chair of this taskforce. No worker who is injured on the job should have to wait for their medical benefits to kick in, or be denied care. This taskforce will help find solutions to improve the current system, protect workers’ rights to healthcare and ensure their timely return to work.

CT-TAIWAN SISTER STATE RELATIONSHIP


On July 12, I met with President Tsai of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Connecticut-Taiwan sister-state relationship.
 
This resolution celebrates the long history of friendship and trade between our state and Taiwan. In 2017, Connecticut exported $181 million in products to Taiwan, helping to strengthen this already robust trade relationship and fostering collaboration between industries. 

OFFICE HOURS WITH JOE COURTNEY


I joined U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney’s staff Tuesday, July 23 to meet constituents like you to hear their thoughts about state and federal issues important to them. It was an eye opening experience and will help us develop policy to address these concerns. 
 
I encourage you to get involved in your community and participate in local government in whichever form you can.  Individuals who are engaged and informed can influence change in their community.

Interview with Brian Foley


I recently hosted the executive assistant to Public Safety Commissioner James Rovella, Brian Foley, on my radio show, “Let’s Talk About It.” We discussed the role the State’s Attorney Office has when it comes to investigating matters concerning the State Police and other state enforcement agencies. 
 
I will have U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney on my show tonight, August 2. Don’t forget to tune in at 5 pm!

KIDS COUNT PRESS CONFERENCE


I was pleased to join the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, the Connecticut Association for Human Services, State Representatives Robin Comey, Cathy Abercrombie, Michelle Cook, and State Senator Douglas McCrory for the 30th anniversary of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s release of the Kids Count Data Book. 
 
This data provides critical insights into the quality of life for Connecticut’s families and children. While our state continues to be a great place to live and work overall, disaggregated data in this report shows that families of color have seen little economic growth, and their quality of life continues to be strained.
 
We have to use this data to reverse policies enacted by federal and state administrations that have continued to relegate families of color into a subservient class system. Federal policies passed in the 1980’s shrank our manufacturing base, destabilizing our workforce, and increasing the need for social assistance. Tax breaks for the wealthiest residents also shifted the tax burden onto middle class and working families. In the 1990’s the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program was cut from 5 years to 21 months, so financially vulnerable families had a tougher time getting the assistance they needed to move out of poverty.
 
We have to reverse these harmful policies that are continuing to widen our state’s wealth gap. With the passage of the minimum wage increase and paid family and medical leave program, we are working to level the playing field; however, there is more work to be done. 
 
The data provided by this resource, as well as many others, hold key insights into what we can do to ensure the success of everyone in our state.  We need to invest in future generations so our state is a more equitable place for everyone to live and work.
 
I would like to thank CAHS and the Annie E. Casey Foundation for making this information available to us and for their continued efforts to improve the lives of children and families in Connecticut and our country.

Plastic Bag Fee


As of yesterday, August 1, customers will incur a 10 cent fee for every single-use plastic bag they receive from retail and grocery stores. This is part of a larger effort to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic bags, and hopefully help people change their habits before single-use plastic bags are phased out completely in summer 2021.
 
Many towns across the state have already passed their own ordinances regarding plastic bag bans.  Those ordinances will remain in effect.
 
The state Department of Revenue Services compiled this helpful Q&A to answer questions you may have about this initiative.
 
We hope this policy will help people become more conscious about their consumption of single-use plastics so we may contribute to a healthier planet and minimize waste.

As always, please feel free to contact me at the Capitol at 860-240-8585 or email me at Susan.Johnson@cga.ct.gov.  Don't forget to like my Official Facebook Page for news and legislative updates!

Sincerely,



Susan Johnson

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