So, You Think There Ought To Be A Law . . .

December 3, 2002

This is the time of year when people ask me not just about my plans for the holidays, but also about my plans for the upcoming legislative session. which begins January 8, 2003.

I always answer that, to a greater extent than they might imagine, my plans for the legislative session depends on them. Some of the best ideas for new laws originate not with legislators, but with ordinary citizens who offer thoughtful ideas for constructive changes to our statutes. So, not surprisingly, some of the bills I plan to introduce when the General Assembly convenes next month are the result of ideas offered by my constituents.

For example, I plan next month to introduce a bill to assist members of our armed forces who come home on leave to Connecticut. This summer, one of my constituents, a fellow Goshen resident, approached me at the post office and told me that he was delighted to have been able to spend time fishing with his two children when they were home on leave – but that he, and they, were unpleasantly surprised at having to pay the full cost for two state fishing licenses they would be able to use for only a few days of the season. I sympathized with him – especially when I found out that at least 14 other states waive fishing license fees for those who serve our country. I therefore will offer legislation to provide free fishing licenses for state residents who are home on military leave from their stations outside of Connecticut.

Another measure I plan to introduce was brought to my attention by a friend who has worked at one of my favorite lunch spots in Torrington. He has recently been honorably discharged from the Marines, where he participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, and is now pursuing his education at Central Connecticut State University.

Current state law waives tuition to state schools for certain wartime military veterans. But the military tuition waiver does not apply to those who have been fighting the war on terrorism through Operation Enduring Freedom. That is why I hope the legislature will update the state law to include tuition waivers for state residents whose military service includes protecting our country during these troubling times.

I always enjoy the opportunity to discuss state issues with my constituents, whether by e-mail, on the phone, or through chance meetings with the people who live and work in the communities of the 30th Senatorial District. During my years as a legislator, first as a state representative and now as a state senator, I have come to rely on the advice of the people who elected me to work for them in Hartford. In fact, some of the best ideas for new laws have come to me directly from individuals in my district.

So, please, keep sending me e-mails, calling my office, and writing me letters expressing your ideas, asking questions and, yes, suggesting legislation. Always, I welcome your input. I can be reached toll-free at my office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421, or by e-mail at [email protected].