2011 Initiatives

January 7, 2011

The 2011 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly is a long session, running from January 5th through June 8th (short legislative sessions run February through May). This gives legislators the ability to introduce bills on any subject. After researching and speaking with numerous constituents, I have compiled a list of legislation I am in the process of submitting, covering a wide range of issues.

Among my top priories as a state senator are public safety initiatives. Based on a number of events involving the sexual assault of children and young adults, I have written proposals to help prevent these crimes from taking place in the future. As a means to deter child predators and protect our children, I have worked with Dr. William Petit, the survivor of the 2007 Cheshire home invasions and murders, to write a bill increasing the penalties concerning sexual assault. The proposal would institute a one strike law establishing mandatory life imprisonment for the sexual assault of a minor. I have also written legislation aimed at protecting school children. This legislation would allow expulsion of a student charged with the sexual assault of another student at the same school.

Other laws I would like to see enforced or strengthened concern drivers. I have drafted two proposals to help promote the safety of drivers, pedestrians and children. The first will ensure that drivers adhere to traffic laws by stopping at stop signs posted on commercial properties, like malls or business parks. The second will double the fines for motorists using a cell phone or mobile device while driving through a school zone.

I have also drafted proposals which would support and protect a host of other individuals and businesses. As our state’s senior citizens age and often relinquish their driving responsibilities, they no longer have a need for a driver’s license. My proposal will grant seniors a free identification card if they voluntarily surrender their driver’s license.

In an effort to make serving as a juror more convenient, I have proposed a law making certain that constituents will only serve at the court location closest to their residence. Another idea I would like to implement deals with “spoofing.” Telemarketers would no longer be able to solicit individuals and businesses using illegitimate or fake company names.

I have drafted legislation that seeks to increase government accountability. This legislation would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the Senate and House chambers when implementing state mandates on municipalities. Requiring a supermajority in order to pass a mandate will help to keep the growth of our local budgets and property taxes in check.

Lastly, and most importantly, I am drafting several pieces of legislation that would reduce costs to taxpayers. One bill would create an exception for municipal capital projects. These projects will be exempt from the prevailing wage, saving taxpayers money. The second bill would abolish the minimum budget requirement for education. Towns are best served by their local and regional boards, not by one size fits all state mandates.

There are many other cost-saving initiatives that I have not personally introduced this session but will support. Commonsense policies that eliminate waste by consolidating state agencies, engage private companies that can perform public duties at a lower cost, or polices that place moratoriums on the creation of new government programs are all proposals that will benefit our state long-term. State government has simply grown beyond taxpayers’ ability to pay for it, and we need to reverse this trend.

As I work to improve our district and state, I do so with Connecticut’s weakened economy in mind. I am committed to passing legislation that aides our families and businesses while reducing state government and spending. If you would like information about a bill or tracking a bill, I encourage you to visit the Connecticut General Assembly’s website at www.cga.ct.gov, or contact my office at 800.842.1421 or [email protected].