Monday, April 23, 2007

Nice to be home...

I'm feeling a bit out of the loop after a week-long break and a trip to Washington, DC for a visit to American University. Needless to say, the news in the Capitol all week was dominated by the shooting at Virigina Tech. It was hard to escape, and strange at the same time since my visit there was the last of the college visits with my daughter who will be heading off to college in the Fall. Security was a key issue raised during the visit by myself and other parents.

So, what's been happening here locally?


Blogger MVD said...

Welcome back. At the JJB Dinner Friday night, Lamont got a huge standing ovation--nice!

6:04 PM  
Blogger Ray Hackett said...

I see where Ned did indeed get a warm welcome at the JJB - and rightly deserved. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for what he was able to accomplish last year. He took the most controversial issue facing this nation and forced it to be publicly debated - and not just here in Connecticut. His victory in the Democratic primary was a national event - and forced the entire country to deal with something that most would have preferred to ignore.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Bill Jenkins said...

All kinds of interesting bills are making their way through the Legislative Committees that include such items as:

1. Giving the "top line" on the ballot to the party with the most registered voters in the state instead of the winner of the most recent Governor's race. Gee, since there are 175,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans why just write the law to say "Democrats will have the top line in Connecticut for the rest of eternity" at least that would be more honest.

2. Require a special election in the case of a vacancy in a US Senate seat instead of a Governor's appointment which is the way we've always done it here in CT.

3. Require all towns to use the new Optical Scan voting machines for this year's municipal elections. We know it will be required in 2008 BUT many towns had not planned on using them this year since the SOTS's office hasn't even delivered the equipment to most 2nd CD towns at this point let alone provide the necessary training.

4. The Judiciary Committee has the Planning & Development Committee's Eminent Domain bill on their agenda for Friday, April 27th at 2:00 PM

5. The Planning & Development will be taking up the GAE Committee's "Municipal Lobbying" bill on May 1st along with GAE's 276 page omnibus bill that includes such things as the State Polka.

6. The Planning & Development Committee will also be considering HB 6927 which would allow paid firefighters and paid emergency personnel to serve as active members of a volunteer fire department during their personal time. This is a very controversial issue.

7. The House Republicans released a "no tax increase" as an alternative to the Governor's and the Democrats budgets which increase taxes and blow the Constitutional spending cap.

8. The Senate passed "Plan B" which requires hospitals to dispenses emergency contraception for rape victims upon their request.

9. Legislation that gives people an option to appeal decisions of local tree wardens to the town's Zoning Board Of Appeals is still alive (SB 703).

There are a whole lot more interesting things going on at the state level which I personally find much more interesting than who's going to get beat by Joe Courtney in 2008.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Bill Jenkins said...

The Planning & Development Committee passed the Municipal Firefighter's Bill (HB 6927) and the Municipal Lobbying (HB 7000) bill (with an amendment that would prohibit an incumbent from using public funds to mail or print flyers within TWELVE months preceding the election). The Planning & Development Committee killed the large GAE bill (HB 7306) that included the State Polka, changing the State Flag, creating a State Contracting Standards Board, require campaign treasurers to file their reports electronically, requiring a study to consider a full time legislature and many other items.

The Finance Committee killed HB 5413 and the Planning & Development Committee killed SB 1267. Both of these bills would have put a time limit on towns for collecting back taxes on motor vehicles. Under current law, the interest on back motor vehicle taxes can accumulate without the person being aware until one day, the town finds you and hands you a bill with MANY years of interest on the back taxes due.

Finance also killed a bill (HB 5713) which would prohibit towns from placing zoning restrictions on farm stands.

The Finance Committee also killed a bill (HB 6271) which would have allowed towns to provide credits for senior citizens who volunteered their services to their community. Their "payment" would be a credit against their property tax bill. The bill would have also made it easier for senior citizens and disabled people to borrow money against their property if there is a local tax lien against the property.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Ray Hackett said...

Nice round up bill....I also understand the Judiciary Committee killed the bill that would have imposed a "code of conduct" on candidates requiring them to be more truthful about claims in advertising - and would have restricted the so-called Robo calls.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Bill Jenkins said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Bill Jenkins said...

Yes, Judiciary killed the Accountability in Campaign Advertising (SB 547) but they did pass the bill banning "Robo" calls (ADAD which means "automatic dialing-announcing device") under certain conditions(SB 157) including adding cell phones to the do not call list and prohibiting calls ANY robo calls on weekends.

2:58 PM  
Blogger mccommas said...

Ray Hackett said: "I also understand the Judiciary Committee killed the bill that would have imposed a "code of conduct" on candidates requiring them to be more truthful about claims in advertising".

"Heady Times For Imperial Legislature"

"This is a dangerous time . . .

The adoption of a taxpayer-financed scheme for funding campaigns in 2005 means that legislators and other candidates no longer need to build a network of constituents and other supporters to contribute to their campaigns. You'll be doing that now, whether you like it or not. The bill also impinged on the free-speech rights of lobbyists and their family members by preventing them from making campaign contributions.

This year began with a proposal to monitor, censor and punish the campaign conduct of candidates who use the taxpayer-financed system. State Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams seemed enamored with the idea that a panel of thought police would usurp a task that has traditionally been left to the voters under our Constitution. A bill regulating the content of campaign advertising is, incredibly, making its way through the legislature, all but requiring footnotes for every claim a candidate makes.

All this meddling is aimed at removing legislators from the hurly-burly of rollicking democracy that erupts now and then (though not often enough) in districts around the state. In the name of civility, incumbents will enforce a code of muted speech.

Once they're elected, many legislators plant themselves in office. There's been much carping that such a responsible job ought to be full-time and pay a lot more. . .

A full-time legislature and taxpayer-financed campaigns, combined with the decline of the two-party system in the state, would hasten the transition from democracy to oligarchy."

-- Kevin Rennie 4-15-07 Hartford Courant

Oh and heres another quote which SHOULD be more familiar but clearly isn't:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

-- United States Constitution. First Amendment

7:06 AM  

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