The General Assembly Wraps Up The 2010 Legislative Session

June 18, 2010

I recently experienced one of the proudest moments of my legislative career when Governor M. Jodi Rell signed into law an initiative I championed to protect sexually exploited young teens and children from the possibility of being prosecuted for prostitution. I truly believe that this new law, which will take effect in October, has the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of children who have been sexually victimized by adults.

The signing ceremony held in Governor Rell’s office for the Safe Harbor for Exploited Children legislation was exciting for me, and for the advocates who championed this important initiative. As I watched her sign the bill, I could not help but think about the many other ceremonies that are held in the Governor’s office each year to celebrate the passage of laws that supporters believe will in some way improve the quality of life in our state.

This year, the General Assembly passed 200 bills, including public acts and special acts. Of those, Governor Rell signed 187 into state law. Every single one of them came about because individual legislators, often with the support of their constituents or advocates for various causes, worked hard to convince the General Assembly that passing it will provide a benefit of some kind to our state. Ultimately, every law passed by the General Assembly has an impact on someone; whether that impact is good or bad depends on one’s perspective.

As always, the laws we passed this year cover a wide range of issues, including state spending and taxes, education, public safety, environment, transportation, business and jobs, banking, insurance, public health, municipalities, seniors and children. Like every other legislator, I voted for some of these new laws and against others, depending on what I believe is in the best interest of my constituents and our state as a whole.

Clearly, I believe that passing the Safe Harbor for Exploited Children law will serve our state well. It makes prostitution a crime only for people age 16 and older. Furthermore, it calls for creating a presumption, one that must be rebutted by the prosecution, that 16- and 17-year olds alleged to have engaged in prostitution were coerced or enticed. Also, the new Safe Harbor law increases the penalty for promoting prostitution of persons younger than 18. Finally, it specifies that, in any prosecution for patronizing a prostitute or promoting or permitting prostitution, a defendant cannot assert that the person engaging or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee cannot be prosecuted because of his or her age.

Other new laws I supported this year will:

* Make is feasible for companies like Crystal Rock Water Company in Watertown to continue their generosity to so many good causes in Connecticut by no longer requiring them to pay the bottle redemption fee on donated goods.

* Require the state Department of Environmental Protection to credit sportsmen who purchased more expensive hunting and fishing licenses for this year before the legislature lowered the costs. The credit will be applied when they buy their licenses for next year.

* Help revitalize our economy by carrying out the provisions of a comprehensive new pro-jobs initiative.

By the time you read this, the General Assembly will have met to respond to Governor Rell’s veto of 13 bills. I voted in favor of some of those bills, and against others. Overriding any of Governor Rell’s vetoes requires a two-thirds vote of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. I will let you know what happens.

Meanwhile, I urge those interested in learning more about the legislation considered and adopted this year to visit the General Assembly’s website at Or, better yet, please contact me if you would like to discuss our new laws, or any of the important issues facing ourstate. I can be reached at my legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421 or via e-mail to [email protected].