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News from State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr.

July 8, 2016

Capitol address
Legislative Office Building
Room 3200
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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Capitol: 860-240-0455
Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420
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Cutting Down on Unannounced and Aggressive Tree Trimming

treesThe Governor recently signed a bill that I championed which will ensure that Connecticut residents are not caught off-guard by surprise and excessive tree-trimming. I have heard concerns from multiple 12th District residents about excessive tree-trimming and removal being done without warning from state agencies, municipalities or utility companies. This new law, Public Act 16-86, ensures that when utility companies set out to cut down or trim trees, they must first notify municipalities of their plans. The public has a right to know when trees are about to be cut down so they have a clear opportunity to voice an objection.

Under this law, utility companies must provide annual tree management plans to the tree warden or chief elected official of the towns where work will be conducted. These plans will include the proposed roads and areas in which trees will be trimmed or removed, and an estimated schedule for the work. Towns must then make these plans available to the public within 14 days of receiving them. The law also requires that utility companies dispose of any debris from their tree trimming, rather than leaving it scattered along the side of the road.

Working with Advocates to Advance Mental Health Coverage

mental health
I was proud to receive an award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in recognition of my efforts to expand access to mental health coverage. Mental health and addiction services are still being denied at an alarming rate in Connecticut when compared with physical illness. This year I worked with advocates like NAMI to pass a law that requires the collection of data on the number of approvals and denials of requests for behavioral health services and other health care services.

I have heard from countless families across Connecticut that health plans are still refusing to pay for mental health treatments. Doctors and hospitals are frustrated and upset that they cannot get coverage for needed mental health and addiction services approved for their patients. By requiring better transparency on reimbursement data, which health plans already collect but do not always disclose, we will be able to determine if an unfair pattern of unreasonable denials actually exists across the industry. This information will enable the legislature to determine whether further action is needed to ensure that Connecticut citizens that stand to benefit from mental health coverage reforms are not shortchanged. Without good data, parity laws will be very hard to evaluate and enforce.


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My mailing address is:
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., Legislative Office Building, Room 3200, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Capitol telephone: 860-240-0455, or Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420

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