The old saying that “one should never see how laws and sausages are made” is perhaps nowhere more true these days than in Connecticut. We had scandals and embarrassments galore this last session. There was the early one involving heavy-breathing telephone calls from a high-placed member of DEEP. Then the secret negotiations with teachers’ unions, and finally, in special session, attempts to pass “zombie bills” without public hearing or without ever seeing the light of day.
As I see it, a philosophy of the legislature is that what works in the Hartford region should work for everyone. Specifically, every planning region should be like Hartford’s: 28 towns, a regional water and sewer district, and one central city.
At this moment, the stars are aligned for the Democrats. A Democrat holds the governorship, and has tremendous majorities in both houses. What the governor wants, the governor gets, unless he dares to waver from the script established by his party’s most loyal foot soldiers, the leadership of various unions around the state.
One bill that went into effect Oct. 1 is “An Act Concerning Domestic Violence.” It may be included in what is discussed at a presentation Friday morning in town hall at 9 a.m., sponsored by the Weston Domestic Violence Task Force.
This is just one of 99 bills that became law on Oct. 1.
Got your questions ready for the legislative candidates who will debate on Saturday, Oct. 13, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the Weston Public Library?
Candidates for office want your vote. You are unlikely to find any of them refusing to kiss babies or shake hands. But it is rare that you can get a straight answer to a question about issues while going one-on-one with a politician.
Many years ago, I shook then Gov. Nelson Rockefeller’s hand, after the GOP convention in San Francisco. He was at a public event, shaking hands routinely. I piped up, “Thank you for speaking up at the convention.” He paused, his eyes focusing on me suddenly, and he replied, “Sometimes you have to speak up.”
But it can be scary to debate in public, even with, or perhaps because of, strict rules and a moderator who will control the proceedings. At the Oct. 13 debate, questions will come from the audience. They will be collected by league members from both parties, and screened for appropriateness.
I know I have definite views about how the legislature works. I can’t wait to make up some pithy remarks on the subject of how a bill becomes law, and then ask how they think the process might be improved.
Anyone who has been alive in Connecticut during the last two years has been aware of the seriousness of our financial predicament. What can we do to rescue our state from economic ruin?
Thanks to the League of Women Voters of Weston, everyone in Weston has a chance to present their questions, on Oct. 13.
NOTE: “About Town” is also a television program. It appears on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access). Or see it at aboutweston.com. This week’s guests are Dan Morley and Dimple Desai of the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management.