Sen. Kelly Responds to Legislative Democrats Closing State Capitol to Public Hearings, Meetings

January 28, 2022

HARTFORD – Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) released the following statement in response to Democratic Legislative leaders announcing their policy to keep the Capitol complex closed to legislative public hearings and committee meetings this legislative session, with all meetings taking place remotely:

“This is not ‘increasing access.’ This is more governing in the dark. Connecticut residents have all done what it takes to make our schools safe, to reopen businesses, to safely attend concerts and recreation events. So why is the Capitol building – the people’s building – any different? Virtual hearings may be convenient for some, but they limit access for others.

“There are many voices being left behind: those who do not have access to technology, those who do not have the capacity or skills to use the technology, and those who Democrats have intentionally shut out of the process. It’s been estimated that nearly a quarter of Connecticut residents don’t have internet access. Last year, we saw Connecticut Democrats use virtual technology to limit conversation and suppress people’s voices. From public health to planning and development, we saw public hearings on some of the most controversial pieces of legislation shut down early, members of the public turned away from testifying virtually, and legislators’ questions limited. For example, nearly 2,000 people signed up to testify at one Public Health Committee hearing and over 80 percent of those individuals were turned away and never got an opportunity to voice their opinion.

“The behavior of the majority party last year in using a closed-door legislative session to advance controversial bills and partisan agendas must be remembered as we look ahead to a new session. The people’s voices must be heard.”