Task Force Created to Review Laws

January 24, 2013

Just over one month ago, we confronted the unthinkable tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. At the time, I wrote about how we could give back to families who were affected and help the community move toward recovery. In recent weeks, my office has been getting flooded with emails regarding legislative proposals that will be discussed and voted on during the current session, and I would like to share some information about how best to share your input.

The governor and the legislature have both joined in these efforts by creating groups that will review our current laws and recommend changes that can be made to prevent future tragedy. As legislators, we have a responsibility to ensure that our schools are secure and our children are safe, and I am proud to be a part of a bipartisan task force that will be looking at what we can do from a legislative standpoint.

Shortly after the New Year, the governor formed the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, a 16-member expert panel, which will review our state’s policies and make specific recommendations in the area of public safety. The panel includes elected officials, teachers, professors, psychiatrists, police and fire chiefs and several others. Its first report will be due to the governor’s office by March 15th.

Last week, the General Assembly has also assembled a bipartisan group of legislators that will similarly review current law and make recommendations on a range of potential legislation that will be considered during the 2013 session. The Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety will include both Republican and Democratic legislators who will serve on three working groups focused on the core issues of gun violence prevention, school security and mental health. Its first full meeting was held at the Legislative Office Building on Friday, January 18th.

As a member of the Public Safety and Security Committee, I have been appointed to serve on two of the task force’s working groups. One will focus on how we can prevent gun violence and the other on how to improve school security. Building on my 28 year career in law enforcement, I plan on bringing this unique perspective as a police officer and much of what I have learned to my role on the task force.

In the coming weeks, both of these groups will hold events aimed at gathering information and seeking expert advice and public input about how we can resolve these complex issues. Ultimately, the task force will share recommendations with Senate and House leadership with the goal of producing a bipartisan bill in late February. It is my hope that the end result will be responsible legislation that goes to the root cause of these challenges.