A bill that protected tenants living in properties under foreclosure expired on New Years Eve, leaving tenants across the United States wondering when and if they would arrive home to find their belongings curbside. Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal last week introduced a bill intended to extend the benefits afforded by the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act.

It’s not the first time an attempt has been made to extend the bill. The PTFA took effect in May, 2009 and was scheduled to expire just three years later, but the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act included a provision to extend the deadline through December 31, 2014.

Now Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., have introduced S.730, called the Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2015.

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“Families who pay their rent and play by the rules should not be evicted simply because their landlord fails to pay his mortgage,” Blumenthal said in a release. “This measure is necessary to protect tenants from eviction when their landlord defaults. The act that protected them previously expired in 2014, so tenants may now be evicted, inexplicably and inexcusably when the building owner faces foreclosure. As a matter of common sense and basic fairness, families should be spared life on the street when landlords shirk their obligations.”

The PTFA gave tenants living in housing on which banks had foreclosed 90 days to find alternate housing, and without the act, renters might have little to no warning, according to National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty Executive Director Maria Foscarinis.

“In nearly half the states, these renters can be evicted with five days’ notice or less, through no fault of their own,” she said.

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Esty Wants to Prevent Nicotine Poisoning

A bill to be introduced by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, is intended to prevent accidental poisoning from liquid nicotine, used to refill e-cigarettes. In 2014, local poison control centers across the United States fielded more than 4,000 calls related to liquid nicotine exposure, according to statistics from the American Association of Poison Control Centers cited in an Esty release this week.

“Flavors like tropical fruit and bubblegum tempt children to taste it, which, as we have seen, can be fatal,” Esty said, referring to the 2014 death of a child from Fort Plain, New York. “While we require child-safety caps for medicine and household cleaners, the federal government has failed to respond to the dangers of liquid nicotine poisoning.”

The bill has been co-sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, among others.

“If a child comes in contact with liquid nicotine, whether it be through ingestion or mere skin contact, the health consequences can be severe and even lethal,” American Academy of Pediatrics President Sandra G. Hassink said in a release issued by Esty. “We cannot afford to wait any longer to protect children from potentially deadly nicotine ingestions.

Himes Gets Funding for Fairfield Flood Study

U.S. Rep. James Himes, D-4th District, announced last week the allocation of $300,000 for a three-year study of coastal flooding in Fairfield County, to be carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Himes said in a release that the study will examine both areas impacted by Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, and locations known to be flood-prone.

“Storms are taking an increasingly heavy toll in our region. A comprehensive flood study will lay the groundwork for much-needed mitigation projects and a more resilient future in southwestern Connecticut,” Western Connecticut Council of Governments Executive Director Francis Pickering said in a release.

Last week, Himes hosted a roundtable discussion with elected officials and local residents to discuss the study, at which he announced the federal funding.

“This Army Corps of Engineers study is a critical first step toward a long-term action plan to address the dangerous and costly flooding that has plagued Fairfield County for generations,” Himes said. “I fought hard for this funding because we must take concrete steps to protect families, homes and businesses from the next Sandy or Irene, as well as the persistent flooding that affects our communities.”

Jordan Fenster is an award-winning freelance journalist. He lives with his family in Fairfield County. He can be reached by or @JordanFenster on Twitter.

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