ABOUT TOWN: Hot stuff

Are you cooled off yet? What an announcement we have had of the arrival of summer!

You have to hand it to the majority in the Connecticut Legislature. They certainly know how to use the levers of power. They rammed through their agenda. And that agenda definitely does not favor “home rule.”

Related to that, I have a concern. How will Weston fare in the future as more exercises of raw power further enlarge the role of state government? And more specifically, will redrawing of planning regions put Southwestern Connecticut together with Greater Bridgeport?

From a purely demographic standpoint, it would seem logical to do so. The U.S. Census Bureau considers us to be in the same statistical metropolitan area, and has done so for more than one decennial count.

When it comes to this question, we are now largely at the mercy of the Office of Policy and Management, thanks to the recent special session that was called to implement the state budget.


One of the things I learned as a result of that recent one-day session in Hartford is that if you are in the minority, it doesn’t seem to matter what you think. Which doesn’t surprise me, as I have had occasion to see first hand what goes on in Hartford, having, on previous occasions, testified on bills of interest.

What amuses me is seeing how some traditional understandings of how the legislature works can go out the window, if it is convenient for those in power.

What do I mean by “convenient”? Perhaps “opportunistic” would be a better word. The approach seemed to be to take the opportunity in the special session on the budget to get your favorite bill that did not pass in the regular session through — under the cover of an omnibus budget bill containing 294 sections.

But I am thankful for the legislature’s online service that played the entire double special sessions event live. And, it put online the text of the implementer bill H.B. 6001 that contained those 294 separate sections.

Regional consolidation got slipped into this implementer via creation of a matching grant provision to incentivise regions totaling 14 or more towns to merge. This was in sections 189 to 191.

My problem was this had not previously passed both houses of the legislature on its own. How is this proper?

And then there is Sec. 264. If you are in a state park or forest lands after July 1, watch out for horses!

Starting on that date, equine use will be permitted on “multi-use trails” in state parks and forests. The only exceptions will be if the D.E.E.P. commissioner issues a specific prohibition, or temporarily closes a trail for safety reasons or to protect natural resources.

And in the case of trails that have historically been utilized by equestrians, the commissioner can only prohibit such use following consultation with the “Equine Advisory Council.”

Are some animals more equal than others, as Orwell said in Animal Farm?

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