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Worst bills that you may not know about.

Here a 3 of the worst bills passed in Connecticut during my first term in the State Legislature that people do not seem to know about.

I was asked a great question today. “What were the worst bills passed that people don’t really know about.” That is actually a difficult question, considering there was some really horrible legislation passed over the last two years and I can't tell what people have actually heard.

I do get a sense that some issues are under reported by the look of surprise on a constituent's face when we speak. Here are just a few I think have big consequences.

  1. Early Release Program. The budget is actually implemented through many bills, but it is presented in its entirety. The Governor’s budget increased spending a time when we couldn’t afford it. As a result, we were retroactively taxed and taxed on many goods and services. But more importantly, there were bad policies outlined in the budget to save money. Most notably is the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program to let prisoners out of prison early with good behavior. Only under Republican pressure did the Democrats amended the bill to disallow participation for individuals convicted of murder, aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, and home invasion. Unfortunately, many other violent criminals and sex offenders qualify for early release, despite Republican attempts to keep them behind bars. This bill was particularly troubling to me because it was stuck in the budget with no opportunity for victims to testify at a public hearing. Now we have already begun to hear stories of re-offenders creating more victims of violent crime in Connecticut. A bipartisan approach would probably have resulted in a law that allowed nonviolent offenders an opportunity for early release.
  2. Election Day Registration. In 2014, Connecticut citizens will be able to register to vote on the same day of the election. Unfortunately, many safeguards to eliminate voter fraud have been eliminated. In addition, the Democrats would not allow an ID be required to register to vote, even if an ID were provided free of charge to those who are not eligible for a driver’s license. In addition, any vote that is found to be fraudulent after the election is still counted! This bill is touted as part of the continuous efforts to increase voter turnout, like the effort to remove absentee voting requirements from the State Constitution, and let the Secretary of State and the Legislature decide these rules. My belief is the voting issues were included in the state constitution to safeguard voting rights. My advice to residents of Connecticut – Voter fraud will be rampant in 2014 so, be ready.
  3. All Payer Claims Database. It doesn’t sound interesting, but I think this one will haunt us. The bill requires insurance claim information be collected into a state database.  The up side is we will have a health database we can use to asses public health across the state. The bad news is that there are those in the state who will use the information to influence your care, like pressuring your doctor to practice medicine in a certain manner or pressuring you to lose weight or stop smoking. I don’t think the state should be that involved in your health-care. The other issue is now all of our personal health information will be one central database just ready to be hacked. I tried to separate identity information from the data and add means for citizens to opt-out of the program, but my efforts were defeated on a mostly a party-line vote.

When I have my next opportunity to write, I will cover the best bills that I believe  people don't know about!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dan Carter October 30, 2012 at 05:50 AM
The one that the legislature gave you or my personal bill I pay. Although I do not mind paying my fair share, they both are high.
Dan Carter October 30, 2012 at 06:25 AM
I agree, since “in person voter fraud” is when someone impersonates someone else and votes in their name. However, there are plenty of documented cases of multiple registrations coming back to a single address where no one lives. Requiring an ID for people to register is a common sense idea to many people. They tell me all the time that you need an ID to buy cigarettes, so why not require an ID to vote, especially if we can give IDs out for free? It may even be beneficial in the administration of state programs for those in need. Here is a good article. This was one investigation of voter fraud. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/29543514.html As for your assertion that I am part of the "GOP windmill" and not independent: Think what you want of me Mr Cranky, but I am not a bad person. I want everyone every citizen to vote. It is both a privilege and a responsibility that I care about deeply.
Dan Carter October 30, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Bill, We wondered the same thing. I am told there is a loophole, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is a lawsuit someday.
Dan Carter October 30, 2012 at 07:03 AM
Jimmy, I am not sure if I am supposed to post links in a blog. (Still new at this) There was man arrested in August for murder. There was another arrested for shooting someone at the beginning of October. The Malloy administration claims that neither crime had anything to do with the early release program. The state Victim Advocate, Michelle Cruz, has been calling for an end to the program. You should be able to find the articles about her cases. I was also told the man arrested in Meriden for touching himself in front of a 14 year old girl on a bus may have been a recipient of early release credits, but I could not confirm that. I was the first to speak out on the program during the session last year when I wanted to exempt sex offenders from the program. It has become a big deal for a few in the GOP who have gained some notoriety with the issue. I think everyone should know about the issue, but I have avoided politicizing it too much. I would really hope we can get the law fixed to let only non-violent offenders have early release.
Dan Carter October 30, 2012 at 07:05 AM
Here are some links - If they are approved to post! http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/crime/shooting-suspect-got-early-prison-release-credits ttp://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Advocate-Halt-Early-Release-Program-167788505.html http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Middletown-Man-Masturbated-on-Bus-in-Front-of-Teen-Cops-170363686.html

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