New Session Begins This Week

January 9, 2013

Along with the arrival of the New Year, January brings the arrival of the new legislative session. Every two years, after the November election, a new group of legislators return to the State Capitol to draft, discuss and ultimately vote on both major and minor pieces of legislation. This week, I would like to share some information about the four committees that I will be serving on during the 2013 legislative session as well as how you can share information with me about potential pieces of legislation for consideration during the session.

First, I will be returning to serve as ranking senator of the General Law Committee, which writes legislation about matters relating to the state Department of Consumer Protection, fair trade and sales practices, occupational licensing and alcoholic beverages. Last year, you might remember the important role this committee played in passing bipartisan legislation reforming the Sunday Sales laws.

Second, I will continue to serve as a member of the Public Safety and Security Committee. This committee drafts legislation for matters relating to the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, including the state police, state organized task force on crime, municipal police training, fire marshals, the fire safety code and the state building code, as well as homeland security, civil preparedness, legalized gambling and military and veterans’ affairs among other issues. Many gun control bills will be heard in this committee.

Third, I will be a new member of the legislature’s tax-writing committee, called the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. This powerful committee oversees matters relating to finance, revenue, capital bonding, fees and taxation, as well as the state Department of Revenue services.

Although this year’s budget deficit was largely resolved, next year’s deficit is already projected to hit $1 billion, and I look forward to playing a positive role on this committee as the legislature develops the next two-year budget. I will specifically focus on improving our state’s tax policy which plays an important role in the economic recovery and job creation.

Fourth, I will be continuing my role as ranking senator of the Internship Committee that oversees the Legislative Internship Program. Applications are due in the fall for internships during the legislative session. Approximately 70 students were interviewed and will be meeting their legislators to begin work this week. To learn more about the internship program, please visit the website at

With the start of the session, legislators will be drafting and submitting numerous pieces of legislation that will be considered by the General Assembly over the next several months. Some of the best ideas that become legislation have come directly from constituents, and I would like to invite you to share your ideas with me. If you believe there is an issue that can be resolved or improved by passing legislation, I encourage you to contact me by email at [email protected] or by phone at 1-800-842-1421.