Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Needleman: COVID-19 Update and Connecticut Sales Tax Free Week

By Norm Needleman, State Senator.

As you may have heard, Connecticut’s Sales Tax-Free Week is running until Saturday, August 21. This week, residents have a chance to save money on important shopping. Individual items of clothing and footwear valued at less than $100 will be exempt from sales tax, which means valuable savings for back-to-school, back-to-office or general clothes shopping needs.

Everything from shirts and sneakers to athletic outfits, diapers, work uniforms, socks and hats are eligible for the sales tax exemption; only items such as specialized boots and shoes for specific hobbies such as fishing, mountain climbing, bowling or most sports, specialty work gloves, ice skates, sports uniforms and helmets and party costumes will remain taxable this week. For a full list of items that are and are not eligible for the sales tax exemption, please visit this link.

I hope your family is able to take advantage of these savings. Now, please take a couple extra minutes to read about a few other developments and resources including third COVID-19 vaccine doses for Connecticut residents who are immunocompromised, assistance paying for broadband internet service, and that I’m holding office hours in Clinton on Thursday.

Join us for Office Hours This Week in Clinton

On Thursday, August 19, 2021 from 5:00-6:00 p.m., state Representative Christine Goupil and I will be holding office hours at the Lions Club Pavilion at the Clinton Town Beach (Waterside Lane in Clinton). The pavilion is past the two beach parking lots. We hope you will take a few minutes to stop by to share your questions or thoughts on state and local issues of concern to you.

If you are planning to join us for the office hours event and want to give us a heads up, you can fill out the optional RSVP form to let us know when you think you will stop by and what topic you are looking to speak to Rep. Goupil and I on.

If you have questions regarding the office hours event email: Norm.Needleman@cga.ct.gov with the subject line “Clinton Office Hours.”

Talking with the Old Saybrook Rotary Club

Rotary clubs make countless contributions to the communities they serve, in addition to providing a social space for residents to come together. Last week, I joined the members of the Old Saybrook Rotary Club to talk about my work in the Senate advocating for our towns. It was a great time talking with them about the need to improve our state’s infrastructure and moving Connecticut to a more renewable future through energy sources like offshore wind.

Connecticut Implementing CDC Recommendations on Third COVID-19 Vaccine Dose for Immunocompromised

Over the weekend, the state implemented recommendations released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding administration of third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. The emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines allow for individuals including recipients of organ transplants and others with conditions leaving them potentially susceptible to the virus, specifically the more virulent Delta variant, who have received two vaccine doses to receive a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. This guidance does not apply to the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, though it is expected more information will be made available.

Individuals meeting criteria for an additional dose can make appointments or attend walk-in clinics at any provider location including pharmacies, federally qualified health centers or doctors’ offices. Individuals unsure of whether they meet the criteria should consult with their health care provider.

Click here to learn more about the implementation of these CDC recommendations.

CDC Recommends Pregnant Women Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Amid Increased Infections, No Evidence Vaccines Impact Fertility

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week recommended pregnant women and women planning to get pregnant should receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines amid increasing numbers of infections nationwide, with expectant women running higher risks of severe illnesses and pregnant complications if they are infected. The CDC added that 2,500 women who received the vaccine in a study showed no increased risks of miscarriage when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, with analysis showing the women’s outcomes were the same as women who did not receive the vaccine. Previously, the CDC encouraged pregnant women consider the vaccine; now, it fully advises them to take it on the strength of the new study.

Emergency Broadband Benefit

If your family, or a family you know, may require support in paying for broadband internet service – which remains an important tool during the pandemic for employment, education and entertainment – the Emergency Broadband Benefit may be able to help. This Federal Communications Commission program provides federal assistance to households struggling to afford internet service or electronic devices. It provides up to $50/month discounts for broadband services, up to $75/month discounts for households on qualifying Tribal lands and potential one-time discounts of up to $100 for laptops, tablets or desktop computers purchased through participating providers.

Eligible households include those with incomes at/below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; receiving benefits under free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast programs; receiving Federal Pell Grants; experiencing substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020; or meeting eligibility criteria for providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 programs. In order to apply, families can call 833-511-0311 or visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org.


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