Passage Means Police No Longer Used to Deliver Session Notices to Legislators
During a Friday afternoon session of the Connecticut House of Representatives, State Representatives Jason Perillo (R-113) & Ben McGorty (R-122) voted in support of a measure that eliminates the requirement that state troopers hand-deliver notices to members of the state legislature for special sessions that are called with less than ten days’ notice.
“These are modern times, and when the legislature is called into special session, we don’t need to waste the time of a vital first-response resource to hand-deliver us notice about an event we already know is happening,” said Rep. Perillo. “This is an outdated and ornamental requirement from a bygone time, and it can cost the state about $35,000-$40,000 by some estimates each time it happens. It’s pretty clear that as our state continues to post enormous budget deficits due to the terrible economic policies of this administration, that this is exactly the kind of unnecessary frippery we can’t afford. I am pleased we moved to eliminate it.”
“The required police delivery of these notices is a 1916 policy in a 2016 reality,” said Rep. McGorty. “This is the kind of waste in state government that understandably drives people up a wall. I have a phone, a cell phone, email, the Internet, television and text messages. There is no need for a police officer to be taken from his or her duties protecting the public just to hand-deliver to me a notice about a special session I had already likely known was taking place for days beforehand. It would never be a good expense of taxpayer dollars in modern times, and it is especially bad policy while this state is under economic duress.”
Perillo and McGorty noted that in many instances, troopers attempting do deliver these notices are not able to locate their intended legislator immediately, requiring repeated visits just to deliver the same notice. These repeated efforts prevent the troop from performing his or her regular duties for an extended time.
Under the bill, the secretary of the state is given the option of notifying General Assembly members of special sessions through email, but must do so at least 72 hours before the session convenes. The secretary of state can also send notices through first class mail if done so between 10 and 15 days prior to a special session and five days before a reconvened session. State police, constables or state marshals can still be employed at the secretary’s discretion – something the Shelton legislators say will result in their being used only in very critical instances.
The bill, HB 5242, An Act Permitting Electronic Notification of a Special Session or a Reconvened Session now heads to the State Senate for action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns midnight, Wednesday, May 4.