Drug Overdose, The Other Health Emergency
Last Monday at the State Capitol, I joined state officials and advocates to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day. Unfortunately, COVID is not the only health crisis we are dealing with right now. The damage done by the opioid crisis continues to take to many lives and damage families across Connecticut and our nation
Because of the social and emotional toll on state residents due to the pandemic and the job losses, there has been a 22% increase in opioid overdose deaths in 2020. Sadly, even before the pandemic the number of overdoses were increasing after seeing some improvement in 2018. At the 2020 rate, Connecticut will surpass last year’s record of 1,200 overdose deaths.
Many families have been impacted by this deadly disease, to many young lives cut short.
Almost everyone, myself included, has family member or knows of someone effected by this terrible crisis. We need to help as many people as we can, raise awareness to this massive problem that effects our families, neighbors and friends.
On Monday, we listened to stories from families effected by addiction. Both inspirational and alarming sad when they speak of lost love ones, most at such a young age, with what should have been there whole life ahead of them.
We have tried to help over the years, I am proud of some of the legislation I have worked on a bi-partisan bases to solve this health emergency. I commend my fellow legislators and those on the front lines combating the addiction and overdose crisis.
Some of the laws we have past recent years are:
So on Monday we remembered those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose, we came together to spread the message that overdose deaths are preventable, there is help for those who need it.
For more state and local resources please contact: The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has the Prescription Drugs and Heroin Prevention and Treatment program:
More regionally we have: The Hub, the Regional Behavioral Health Action Organization for SW CT www.thehubct.org/covid The Hub CT and Melissa McGarry. Melissa is the project director for TPAUD, Trumbull’s Prevention Partnership www.tpaud.org.
State Representative, Trumbull
HARTFORD- Today at the State Capitol, State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) joined state officials and advocates for a press conference in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day.
Rep. Rutigliano stood with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Governor Ned Lamont, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Commissioner of the State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph. D., representatives of the Center for Addiction Recovery and the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition along with several family members affected by addiction.
Rep. Rutigliano has spent many years in the General Assembly working to pass legislation to combat opioid abuse and addiction. Some of the laws Rep. Rutigliano has championed in recent years are:
"So many families have been impacted by this deadly disease, to many young lives cut short. almost everyone, myself included, has family or knows of someone effected by this crisis. We need to help as many people as we can, raise awareness to this massive problem that effects our family, neighbors and friends. We must give resources for recovery, and continued access to the life-saving NARCAN drug". Rep Rutigliano said
"Today, as we remember those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose, we come together to spread the message that overdose deaths are preventable, there is help for those who need it. There is still so much to do, " said Rep. Rutigliano. "We are truly fortunate to have many passionate people on board the fight against substance abuse. "
HARTFORD- With the governor calling on all state residents to wear face masks in all public places to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) is calling for a repeal of the state sales tax on face masks and other personal protection products, like face shields and latex/rubber gloves.
"It's just wrong that state government is collecting tax revenue from residents on what has become personal protection products that we all need," said Rep. Rutigliano. "State government should NOT be boosting tax collections due to a pandemic and citizens doing their best to maintain public health protocols."
In 2019, Rep. Rutigliano voted against a final state budget document proposed by legislative Democrats and Governor Lamont, which included several new tax increases ($1.75 Billion in total over the two-year budget) including the repeal of the tax-exemption of safety apparel that subjected many pieces of safety gear to state sales tax.
This means that mandated face masks, which clearly fall under the definition of 'safety apparel', are now subject to state sales tax. Here is the list of “safety apparel” – which includes face masks, face shields and gloves.
Rep. Rutigliano said, "To further add insult to the issue facemasks and other person protection products remained taxable even during this year's statewide 'Tax Free Week’.”
TRUMBULL- Last week, State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) took a stand against a faulty police accountability measure that he believed was rushed through and did not have a full public vetting and could potentially do more harm than good for communities, like Trumbull, while also opposing federal legislation to eliminate School Resource Officers (SRO) in schools.
Rep. Rutigliano said, "Yes, I support greater transparency and more accountability for our Connecticut law enforcement officers but unfortunately this bill brands all police officers as the problem, when we know vast majority of law enforcement officers are good, well-intentioned, professional officers."
Rutigliano was disappointed he could not support the bill because it contain some good reforms, like; 1) greater transparency when it comes to collective bargaining and public records disclosure; 3) looking to keep better data on minority recruitment of police officers ; 4) studying the feasibility of having licensed social workers assist on certain calls where appropriate ; 5) periodic mental health and drug screenings to make sure we are putting the best officers in the field.
According to Rutigliano, a result of rushing the bill through to process has exposed some major flaws that could potentially make our streets less safe and make it more expensive to live here in Connecticut. Two of the most disturbing sections of bill were the rewriting of laws on qualified immunity for police officers, which would increase expenses on already overburdened municipalities, some use of force standards that may place our officers in immediate danger, and the elimination of some proactive policing measures.
Without having qualified immunity, police officers and towns, like Trumbull that employ them have serious concerns that the additional liability will make officer recruitment and retention more difficult and could potentially be very costly to insure Trumbull's police force. To be clear, even now, willful misconduct by a police officer is not protected by qualified immunity.
According to police, by taking away this indispensable policing tool, we hinder their ability to keep drugs and guns off Trumbull streets.
On subject of School Resource Officers, Rep Rutigliano had this to say:
"Trumbull worked in a bipartisan manner with educational officials, law enforcement and parents to implement a school resource officer program in our local schools and I have heard nothing but good things about the program and how the SROs have provided a positive impact on the overall school environment with a greater sense of security and also permits for a constructive relationship between students and police," said Rep Rutigliano. "I don't support any attempt to eliminate these school resource officers. Furthermore, Trumbull should be able to make their own local decisions on SROs and not have the heavy-hand of the federal government interfere."
Trumbull, CT - State Representative David Rutigliano was unanimously endorsed to represent the 123rd district of Trumbull in Connecticut’s House of Representatives.
“These are very challenging times,” said Rep. Rutigliano. “We have adapted with a compassionate and understanding of the complexities brought by the coronavirus, as we have witnessed its widespread negative impact. Through this I have witnessed positives -- our community genuinely working together to ensure we all get through this pandemic. Collaboratively, we seek common sense solutions that allow us to return to a more normalized life for our families.
“The stakes for Connecticut have never been higher. We must have health outcomes on the forefront as we look to restore our economic confidence. Even before our current crises, Connecticut's economy had not fully recovered from the great recession due to multiple years of questionable economic policies. We need someone in the room that will look out for working families, students, small businesses and job creators while plans are considered to rebuild our economy."
Rep. Rutigliano, CT Legislators Give Bipartisan Support To Bill To Protect Older Job Applicants From Age Discrimination
HARTFORD – State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-Trumbull) along with State Senator Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) and a bipartisan group of legislators and advocates today announced their support for a bill that prohibits employers from asking the age, date of birth, or graduation dates of job applicants, unless a particular age is a bona fide occupational qualification.
“We cannot tolerate any kind of discrimination on any level, of any sort. Someone’s age on a job application should not be a determining factor on whether they receive an opportunity for employment,” said Rep. Dave Rutigliano. “Many seniors who live on fixed incomes look for part-time jobs or additional income due to the ever- rising costs and taxes in Connecticut. They should not be turned away based on their date of birth.”
With 436,000 workers in their mid-50’s, Connecticut has the 6th-oldest workforce in the nation, with a median age of 41 (as of 2017.) Just 20% of Connecticut employees were over the age 54 in 2008; today that figure is 26.5%, with the health care, manufacturing, educational services and retail trade industries employing the most workers over age 54.
A 2018 AARP survey found about 60% of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and 76% of them see age discrimination as a hurdle to finding a new job. Meanwhile, nearly a third of U.S. households headed by someone age 55 or older have no retirement savings or pension, meaning they’ll have to continue working or rely on Social Security in order to survive financially.
“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, older workers will make up the fastest-growing segment of the workforce from 2014 to 2024,” said Nora L. Duncan, State Director for the AARP of Connecticut. “While age discrimination is illegal, we live in a society where age seems to be the last acceptable bias. Whether it’s intentional or not, knowing someone’s age can create bias that keeps a qualified job applicant from getting a fair chance at being considered for a position. This legislation reduces that risk and levels the playing field.”
“Mature workers are the backbone of the modern-day workforce, providing skills, leadership and deep professional networks,” said Tom Long, Senior Vice President of Communications and Development for The WorkPlace in Bridgeport, which seeks to develop a well-educated, well-trained, and self-sufficient workforce to compete in today’s global marketplace. “Age does not define ability, and it is essential for employers to provide an opportunity for job candidates to demonstrate that their experience is an asset.”
“While no legislation can by itself change the way people think, laws can influence what they do. Enacting this bill will remove an obstacle from an early stage of the hiring process,” said Bernie Weiss, vice president of the Seniors Job Bank, a non-profit community organization serving the Greater Hartford region, which has for 40 years connected men and women over 50 seeking work to businesses and households with work to be done.
The bill, which will be formally introduced once session begins in February, will closely the follow the language of a similar bill introduced last year, House Bill 6113 that includes the language, “except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need,” employers are not allowed to “request or require a prospective employee’s age, date of birth or date of graduation from an educational institution on an initial employment application.”
TRUMBULL – The ‘Stuff a Humvee’ event co-hosted by State Representative David Rutigliano (R-123) in conjunction with Trumbull Stop & Shop and Homes For The Brave to collect items to benefit local veterans in need was overwhelmingly successful in November of 2019.
“I am grateful to everyone who donated at our ‘Stuff a Humvee’ collection. Trumbull residents are very generous and caring community, and I believe that together we can ensure that no veteran goes to bed hungry,” said Rep. Rutigliano.
During the three hour drive, Rutigliano collected not just one but two Humvees full of non-perishable food items and toiletries that will be donated to local veterans in need.
Homes for the Brave has provided housing, vocational training, and life skills coaching to help individuals out of homelessness since 2002. To date, they have worked with nearly 1,200 men and women, most of whom are veterans.
In 2011, Homes for the Brave opened Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes, Connecticut’s first and only community-based transitional home exclusively for homeless female Veterans and their young children.
HARTFORD – State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) along with Trumbull Board of Ed Member Kathleen Fearon, and Board of finance member Marty Issac today sat on the bi-partisan Healthy School Start Times Forum held at the State Capitol to examine to health benefits of starting school later particularly for adolescents.
Rep. Rutigliano said, “No child should have to wait outside in the pitch black of the early morning for the school bus. The science is clear and it has wide bipartisan support: early start times for students can potentially harm our children and make them dangerously sleep deficient. I am hopeful the legislature can come together this year and provide a road map and or incentives for local boards of education. Our Trumbull Board of Education is engaged in the issue, we want to help.”
Research has shown that high school aged students simply are biologically in need of more sleep. During adolescence, young peoples’ sleep patterns change, as does there need for sleep and daylight. When school start times are moved later, not only do rates of tardiness, truancy, absenteeism, and dropping-out decline, but improvements in academic achievement are nearly twice as high in students from economically disadvantaged homes.
The Healthy School Start Times Forum heard from experts in the field including Sarah Raskin, Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Craig Canepari, sleep scientist at Yale, Maria LaRusso, developmental psychologist at UConn, and Michelle Ku, a school board member in Newtown which recently made the switch to later school start times.
The science that lawmakers have cited most often is a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which calls adolescents’ lack of sleep “an important public health issue that significantly affects” academic success.
Rutigliano plans to continue to meet with fellow legislators leading up to next session on the start time issue.
TRUMBULL- State Representatives David Rutigliano (R-123) recently held a successful business advisory forum for local business leaders, employees and the public in the Council Chambers of the Trumbull Town Hall.
The hour long discussion began with a general overview of the main topics and quickly became an informative back and forth between the legislator and the forum attendees.
Rutigliano talked about several important pieces of legislation presented, debated or passed by the General Assembly this year, including the state’s new paid family medical leave program, an increase to the minimum wage and changes to the pass-through entity tax. He also touched on the issue of the new payroll tax and business filing fee increase.
Each of these issues directly impacts Connecticut businesses, and will affect residents across the state.
Rep. Rutigliano said, “The governor and the majority in the General Assembly spent 2019 waging war on state businesses. We wanted to alert local business owners that the cost to do business is going up this year.”
Businesses aside, among the tax increases that went into effect October 1st are:
Digital Goods – The current tax on digital goods of 1% will increase to 6.35%. This increase applies to a wide range of online services, including, but not limited to, TV streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Hulu), online music (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music), eBooks, and in-app purchases made on smartphones.
Restaurants & Prepared Foods – Consumers will see a 7.35% levy on certain prepared foods and an additional 1% at restaurants. The only way to protect consumers from being impacted by this regressive tax is to call a special session and remove the part of the law that taxes groceries. Republicans have petitioned and are awaiting a response from the Speaker of the House.
Motor Vehicle Trade-In Fee – The current motor vehicle trade-in fee of $35 will increase to $100. Instead of being rewarded for trading in their older vehicles for new, more efficient ones, car buyers will now be double-dipped by a sales tax at purchase and a trade-in tax at sale or trade.
HARTFORD – State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) along with Senate and House Republican colleagues announced newly released details on a grocery store tax included in the Democrat state budget set to go into effect October 1, 2019 which could potentially encompass all cooked food.
The Democrat-approved 7.35% tax will be applied to a long list of food items that have never been taxed when sold in grocery stores before, according to the state Department of Revenue Services policy statement issued this week.
The tax will apply to not only prepared meals such as sandwiches, deli salads, pizza and hot buffet items, but also small packages of snacks, loose baked goods, wrapped salads, small servings of ice cream, and meal replacement bars. It also applies to fountain drinks including coffee and any beverage sold with a taxable “meal.”
In February, Gov. Lamont assured Connecticut residents that grocery tax proposal was dead. In fact, Gov. Lamont says it was ‘never alive.’
Earlier this year, Democrat lawmakers labeled the new tax as only a 1% tax increase on items already taxed at 6.35%, but the DRS statement clarifies that the new 7.35% tax will also apply to many food items that have never been taxed at all before when sold in grocery stores.
Rep. Rutigliano said, “I voted no on these tax hikes in June, because I did not believe Trumbull families should be forced to pay more for their groceries, this budget also leaves businesses wondering how to manage the confusing mess of newly taxed items. As predicted these new taxes are significantly more than was first told to Connecticut residents. Gov. Lamont and the Democrats continually pick our pick our pockets believing they know better on how to spend our hard earned money.”
The DRS document explains that items sold at restaurants and eateries currently taxed at 6.35% will see a 1% tax increase. It also clarifies that the total 7.35% tax rate will also be effective in grocery stores, “which previously taxed meals in a different manner than other eating establishments.”