July 9, 2021
In This Issue:
From Paddi's Desk
CT Agency Corner
Municipal Roundup
From Inside The Golden Dome
This Day in CT History
Another Task Force...

This week Paddi will be taking a break from her weekly newsletter, as she celebrates her sister's wedding! But, "Paddi's Desk" this week features an article from our VP of Government Affairs, Mike Johnson:

A state representative that served the towns of Tolland and Willington from 2013 - 2019 had a quirky interest on a topic in Hartford that began after his first year in office.

Former State Representative Sam Belsito (R-Willington) noticed in his first year a lot of legislation mandating the creation of task forces, work groups and studies on topics that, by design, sets a conversation on a topic up for the next legislative session. Soon enough, Sam would find himself on the floor of the House and would speak on every single task force legislation introduced.

He would lament about the abundance of task forces with many "not again" sentiments cited by the Hartford Courant who even wrote an article about his obsession with not passing task forces. Every time a bill creating a task force was introduced, Rep. Belsito wouldn't disappoint the public and always offer some comments like, "Once again, we have another study. Number 14,536." There was even one year where past Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey introduced an amendment as a joke to create a task force to study task forces which would be co-chaired by Rep. Sam Belsito!

This story isn't intended to talk about Rep. Belsito's witty and charming tactics to illustrate a point (although some would argue he did so pretty stealthily) but rather to highlight the fast-approaching task force season that we believe are full of pretty meaty topics and not necessarily "paper tigers".

You'll begin to receive updates from S&L during the fall on task forces that we monitor and engage in for clients but remember that these task forces do almost always have a charge to issue recommendations for the next legislative session. 

Governor Lamont will conclude the bill signature process next week and at that time we'll share a list of every task force, study and work group created and passed from the 2021 session. Take some time to review this list when we send it and if there's a task force you'd like S&L to cover, raise it to your point person from our office to ensure we're getting you all the information you need.
Former State Rep. Chris Soto Appointed as Senior Advisor to Federal Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona 

Chris Soto, the former state representative in New London, director of legislative affairs for Gov. Ned Lamont, and director of innovation and partnerships with the state Department of Education, is now moving to Washington, D.C., to work for the U.S. Department of Education.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, who left his position as Connecticut's secretary of education after he was appointed by President Joe Biden, is bringing Soto into the fold as member of his senior leadership team. The two worked closely on Connecticut's schools reopening plan.

Soto is the founder and former executive director of Higher Edge, a New London-based nonprofit that guides low-income and first-generation students into and through college. He was elected to two terms as a state representative for the 39th district before moving on to work in Lamont's office and later the state Department of Education. As a state representative, Soto served as the House vice-chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He has a bachelor's degree in operations research from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a master's degree in Public Affairs from Brown University.

Those in our office who have worked with Chris can speak to his intellect, drive and approachable demeanor and are confident that D.C.'s gain is CT's loss!
Earlier this week there were a group of Mayors and legislators from both parties that met to discuss the recent increase in auto thefts across the state, especially that among young offenders. House Speaker Matt Ritter said that conversations will be ongoing to find ways to address these concerns and to determine if legislation may be needed in a future special session. There was some consensus after the meeting that judges should have more access to information relating to juvenile arrest records, but there was much disagreement about how to address the issue. New Britain Chief of police Christopher Chute offered up an idea to hold juveniles longer than the mandated maximum of six hours, stating that “most of us in law enforcement refer to the system as the arrest, release, repeat.”
In municipal election news this week, there will be two Republican’s going head to head in Southbury’s First Selectman race. Current Republican First Selectman Jeff Manville announced earlier this year that he would seek re-election and then this week Selectman Emily Harrison announced that she would challenge him, as a Republican. This is the second time that Manville has faced an opponent from his own party. Manville and Harrison are currently in a potential legal battle over accusations from Harrison that Manville has been falsely spreading misinformation about her. It certainly seems that this will be an interesting race to watch unfold over the next several weeks. The caucus for the endorsed candidate in Southbury is July 20th, which will set the course for a potential primary.
Farewell, Alex!

The usual author of this section, Alex Pilon, is unfortunately departing Sullivan & LeShane. She will be joining her sister in an exciting new chapter of her life, building a baking company startup from the ground-level! The entire team wishes Alex good luck in her new endeavor. She will surely be missed.

But the show must go on! My name is Joe Canino, Legislative Associate here at Sullivan & LeShane, and I will be taking over the "Under the Golden Dome" section of our newsletter. A little bit about me, I graduated from George Washington University in 2019 with a BA in Political Science. I began here as an intern, and eventually rose to my current position where I assist the team with client coordination and bill tracking. I am an avid chess player, and I like to play golf, practice the ukulele, and read non-fiction books in my spare time! Going forward, I am excited to share some inside information about the "goings-on" of the capitol!
July 9th 1816, A Hard Overnight Freeze in "The Year Without a Summer"

The winters of the early 19th century — the last decades of the “Little Ice Age” that chilled North America and Europe for over five centuries (1300-1850) — were among the coldest in Connecticut’s recorded history. Salt-water harbors froze over months at a time, and blizzards regularly dumped several feet of snow on the state. It was the bitterly cold summertime weather of 1816, however, that made national headlines.

A report from the Bridgeport Republican Farmer details the unusual weather during the summer of 1816.
Alternating periods of overnight frosts and extended droughts lasting from May through October caused residents all across New England to refer to 1816 as “the year without a summer” or, more ominously, “the poverty year,” as the wildly oscillating temperatures caused widespread crop failure.

On July 9th, overnight temperatures in Connecticut plummeted well below freezing (into the 20s, by some accounts!), generating a heavy frost that killed the few summer crops that had managed to survive the preceding frosts of May and June. As a result, prices for flour, wheat, and other food staples rose dramatically the rest of the year. Families struggled to acquire sufficient provender, not just for themselves but for their livestock, too. Ultimately, the agricultural hardships of 1816 accelerated the already fast-paced outmigration of thousands of New Englanders to western states and territories such as Ohio and the soon-to-be states of Illinois and Indiana.

Today, scientists pin most of the blame for 1816’s freakish summer weather on volcanic ash originating from the eruption of Mount Tambora in modern-day Indonesia — the largest and most explosive volcanic eruption ever recorded. Mount Tambora had erupted in April 1815, but it took a year for the massive amounts of volcanic ash to travel 10,000 miles in the Earth’s atmosphere and begin affecting the weather of the northeastern United States. Combined with the already chilling effects of the Little Ice Age, it created a year of wild weather that Connecticans would never forget.

The full article, provided by CT Humanities, is available here.
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