Monday, December 13, 2010

No Surprise ObamaCare is Ruled Unconstitutional

On January 7, 2010 I wrote a letter to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal asking him to join his colleagues across the country reviewing the constitutionality of ObamaCare. No response.

On March 22, 2010 I authored a
second letter to Blumenthal signed by all Republican State Senators stating, "The illegal mandates passed by Congress in the form of the so-called Health Care Reform law must be challenged." Our letter was clearly asking the Attorney General to protect Connecticut's Tenth Amendment rights. Months later a reply came defending ObamaCare.

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson ruled that Obamacare’s individual mandate — requiring Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty — is unconstitutional. The Obama Justice Department has indicated they will fight the decision in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Final arguments are scheduled for Thursday in a separate challenge to ObamaCare in a federal district court in Florida.

My message ignored by Attorney General Blumenthal last March seemed to ring true in federal court today:

"Under our Constitution, those rights not explicitly provided to the federal government are reserved to the states. The Constitution does not empower the federal government to usurp the issue of making health care decisions for either the state or its citizens. The selection of healthcare providers and medical treatments, as well as the decision NOT to have certain treatments or coverage is the decision of the individual, protected by the Due Process rights of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. It is not now, nor has it ever been, in the purview of Congress to supersede those individual rights."

Connecticut has a United States Senator-elect who needs a course in the United States Constitution. Perhaps this should be a requisite before the start of every new Congress. On the same note, Connecticut legislators should have a course on the Connecticut Constitution before every new General Assembly convenes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Honor Our Veterans this Pearl Harbor Day

Pearl Harbor Day will live in infamy if we teach our children and grandchildren the importance of this day in history. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument includes the USS Arizona Memorial.

We can never do enough to honor the service men and women who have given up so much defending our freedoms. As a tribute to these heroes who have served our country in the past and to those that serve today, Connecticut is building its first statewide veterans memorial. This memorial will be a symbol of our appreciation and respect for generations to come.

In our state’s history nearly 1.3 million Connecticut citizens have fought to protect our freedoms, and today there are more than 277,000 veterans living in Connecticut. This memorial will not only provide a place to pay tribute to those men and women who have served and are serving in the Armed Forces, but it will also memorialize the selfless contributions made by the veterans of our state and establish a site for the State of Connecticut to conduct official ceremonies and observances to honor veterans.

The Connecticut State Veterans Memorial will be located in Rocky Hill on 2.8 acres of grassy land adjacent to the Colonel Raymond Gates Memorial Cemetery and across the street from the Connecticut Veterans Home.

The design of the memorial was selected through a competition aimed at utilizing the talents and creativity of Connecticut’s many artisans, historians, scholars and designers. Once constructed, the State Veterans Memorial will feature a tree-lined walkway depicting a timeline of battles fought – the Revolutionary War through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Along the walkway will also be a wall with statements honoring those who have served and a special honor for those who lost their lives in combat. The walkway will lead to a wall with added words honoring past, present and future veterans as well as logos for each of the major Armed Forces. The memorial will also house an amphitheater for events that celebrate our service men and women.

The construction and installation of the memorial is slated to cost nearly $1.5 million. To cover these costs and to give citizens the opportunity to be a part of honoring friends, family and all veterans, individuals are asked to contribute. Information about how you can donate and make this project a reality can be found by visiting

It is the brave men and women who join our Armed Forces that protect the rights and the liberties we cherish. Commemorating and recognizing their actions by erecting this memorial is wonderful testament to all these veterans do and have done to make our country what it is. I welcome this opportunity for our state to honor all of our courageous veterans.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day 2010 Address

The following is the text of my address during the Veterans' Day ceremony at the Danbury War Memorial:

"Good morning veterans, good morning Danbury. Thank you for joining us to honor Veterans Day.

I was here last week studying the names on the plaques before us – the inscription on one reads “In Honor of the Men and Women of Danbury who served in THE World War 1917-1919. In Memory of these men who made the supreme sacrifice for liberty.”

Note the words “THE World War.” Americans and the creators of this plaque never envisioned a second world war when they wrote these words. World War One was normally referred to simply as “The Great War.”

This plaque honors thirty five who were killed in action or died while fighting “The Great War.” Many names are familiar to us old-time Danburians but one jumped out at me last week – Raymond A. Walling.

Raymond A. Walling is immediately recognized by many of us standing here this morning but do we know who he was? The plaque reads Battery F. 56th Artillery Killed In Action August 31, 1918. We know him as the Raymond A. Walling Post 149 Veterans of Foreign Wars on Byron Street in Danbury. The next time I visit the VFW I’ll be looking for a biography on Raymond A. Walling.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1919 the infamous Treaty of Versailles was signed between the Allies and Germany.

The first Armistice Day was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson on November 11th, 1919 with the following words, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 and today we honor all veterans – those here with us today and those lost in battle.

There are two patron saints of the military – Saint Christopher and Saint Michael the Archangel. I’d like to share my patron saint’s prayer with you:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, thrust into hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Today I thank our veterans for their service to our country. All of us thank our veterans – I think we just don’t thank them enough.

May God Bless our veterans and may God Bless America.

Thank you."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ground Zero for Election Irregularities?

What happens when the fairness of an election is questioned? Connecticut is ground zero for that question in 2010.

Bridgeport is Connecticut’s largest city and no doubt has far different challenges than smaller cities and towns but the Park City’s poor performance in elections is unacceptable. Unfortunately, the question of fairness of elections in Connecticut is burdened by Bridgeport’s history of poor performance.

Election Day 2010 is not the first time Bridgeport ran out of ballots. The 2007 municipal primary included charges of voting irregularities by a Democratic candidate for mayor when a polling place opened an hour late, poll workers were not trained in the operation of new ballot scanners and they ran out of paper ballots.

A close Democratic primary election in 2007 that came down to a couple hundred votes forced the loser to file legal action requesting the court to throw out the results. The state court refused to invalidate the results.

In the presidential election of 2008 Bridgeport was the center of attention in voter irregularities once again. This time ACORN, an organization in the middle of voter fraud across the country, submitted 8,000 voter registration cards in Bridgeport - many for persons who were incarcerated or underage. One voter registration card matched a 7-year old girl living in Bridgeport.

University of Connecticut students discovered 8,500 dead people on the voter rolls statewide in 2008. The Secretary of State quickly scrambled to assist local registrars in removing the deceased voters.

The Bridgeport election disaster continued this year when 250 absentee ballot applications were illegally obtained from local officials. Apparently two individuals listed their address as a vacant lot in Bridgeport.

On Election Day 2010 in Bridgeport the polls ran out of paper ballots AGAIN! The city has nearly 68,000 registered voters but only ordered 21,000 ballots. Several reports indicate most of the polling locations had long lines waiting for ballots to vote. Voters waited 90 minutes and more to vote. Many angry voters left the polling places without voting.

The Connecticut Democratic Party sued to hold the vote open past the 8:00 PM poll closing time. A state judge granted their request and ordered the polls remain open another two hours.

You can’t make up these stories but the nightmare continues.

Bridgeport election officials photocopied official ballots to cover the shortfall in official ballots. The photocopied ballots could not be read by the ballot scanners and were placed in separate locations. We soon discovered these ballots were never counted on Election night and were discovered two days later.

Democratic Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz has proven her ineffectiveness and incompetence as the state’s chief election official this year (thankfully her last year).

The day after the polls closed and Bridgeport had still not reported results Bysiewicz declared Democrat Dan Malloy the winner of the governor’s race. A short time later she sent an email message to registrars across the state saying final numbers were still a work in progress! Soon the Secretary of State’s office went into bunker mode. Republican Tom Foley was unable to get straight answers regarding Bysiewicz’s declaration.

The Bridgeport election officials finally got around to counting ballots on Thursday – over 36 hours after the polls closed in Connecticut. In a bizarre early morning press conference Mayor Bill Finch declared Dan Malloy the next governor of Connecticut.

Is anyone concerned about claims by state employee unions taking credit for Malloy’s victory. Does this mean we had a close election with a plurality of 5,000 votes out of over one million votes cast and the unions are doing a victory lap?

How did we get here? How did the mayor of Connecticut’s largest city become the Secretary of State? How did our largest city repeat glaring mistakes in elections? Why isn’t Connecticut concerned about voting irregularities?

I AM CONCERNED and as the Ranking Member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee I will submit legislation to address some of these election nightmares.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Constitution Day - 223 Year Later

Today we celebrate Constitution Day in the United States of America. On September 17, 1787 our Founding Fathers declared “We the People” and signed the document establishing the freedoms we enjoy. On this 223rd anniversary some Americans feel the Constitution is ignored by many elected officials, judges and educators.

Federal law states, “Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.” {36 U.S.C. § 106}

I assume this is happening in Connecticut but is that really enough? Why isn’t the Constitution a core curriculum every year for students?

I remember a lesson in Danbury schools talking about Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. We were taught Jefferson was the “father” of separation of church and state. In fact, the history is far more complicated and even includes a misguided decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1947.

One of the best articles I’ve read on this topic is from David Barton:

The Separation of Church and State

In Barton’s closing comment he states, “In summary, the ‘separation’ phrase so frequently invoked today was rarely mentioned by any of the Founders; and even Jefferson's explanation of his phrase is diametrically opposed to the manner in which courts apply it today. 'Separation of church and state' currently means almost exactly the opposite of what it originally meant."

When I read the Constitution of the United States today I see many areas our government appears to conflict with the Founding Fathers. This is a fascinating topic for me so I will keep studying.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Young Life Cut Short on September 11, 2001

I had the pleasure to participate in a September 11th Remembrance Ceremony this morning at the site of Danbury's September 11th Memorial in Elmwood Park. The following is the text of my remarks:

"Thank you for joining us this morning to remember September 11, 2001.

On the first anniversary of September 11th, I was working on plans for a community celebration on behalf of the Mayor. We settled on a march down Main Street from the War Memorial to the CityCenter Green followed by a remembrance ceremony. A tropical storm blew through Danbury a few hours before the ceremony that afternoon and dropped trees and power lines across Main Street. An army of CL&P crews and city Forestry Department crews cleared the path for the celebration just in time for the start at 6:00 PM. The CityCenter Green was a sea of people.

The glass sculpture before us is the work of renowned artist Henry Richardson. The sculpture is a tower within a tower signifying the Twin Towers. The interior empty space is the same proportional dimensions as the physical presence of both towers. The inner tower here has the names of all Connecticut residents lost in the Twin Towers and highlighted in larger letters at eye-level are our Danbury-area residents. This twelve foot tower of glass is mounted on a pentagon of Connecticut granite.

The Danbury September 11th Memorial project was completed in less than a year and we hosted a spectacular dedication ceremony on September 11, 2004.

This is a special place in Danbury thanks to a group of people lead by Father Albert Audette who worked hard to make this memorial a reality. Vycki Higley Pratt, Kristy Gray, Firefighter Thomas Corbett, Sgt. John Krupinsky, Joel Levitt, Jan Nastasia, Jessica Soriano and I worked well together during the planning. This past year we lost another dedicated member of the committee – Sherry Williams – who passed on to join her daughter Candace Lee Williams – a passenger on Flight 11.

Candace Lee Williams was a student. A graduate of Immaculate High School’s Class of 1999, she was attending Northeastern University in Boston. She made the Dean’s List and was a member of the National Honor’s Society.

Candace was a Daughter, Sister, Granddaughter and Niece.

Candace was active. In high school she was a cheerleader, served on the student council, volunteered for the Special Olympics, played basketball and ran cross country.

Candace worked in the World Trade Center though she was on Flight 11 when she died. The plane she was in crashed into the building where she worked as an intern. She impressed her co-workers at Merrill Lynch so much that on her last day they sent her away in a limousine. The next semester Merrill Lynch asked Northeastern University for “five more Candaces.”

Candace was a dreamer. On 9/11 she was on the way to California, to meet her roommate for a short vacation. On that trip she wanted, more than anything else, to have her picture taken with the Hollywood sign

Maybe more than anything Candace was a helper. As a child she helped out at her grandparent’s construction company and not just in the office. She ran the machines, she poured concrete and she even put in septic systems.

At Northeastern University she developed a reputation as someone who would help others. Classmates appeared on her doorstep before exams, knowing she’d help - she even helped convince one friend not to drop out of school.

Airline records say that on Flight 11, Candace was seated next to Mildred Naiman, an 80-year-old grandmother. Candace’s mother said she’s sure her daughter died holding Mildred’s hand, comforting her.

You are looking at one of the most spectacular September 11th Memorials in the country. Candace Lee Williams and all the victims of September 11, 2001 deserve spectacular."

Visit Danbury's September 11th Memorial in Elmwood Park on Main Street.

Candace Lee William’s story is from “Project 2,996” 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Democrats Continue Their Bad Habits of Increased Spending

Connecticut has a public-financed, taxpayer-funded campaign finance system. What does that mean? Political campaigns for the state legislature and the Governor raise a portion of their campaign budget from individual contributors and get the rest of their funding from the “Citizen’s Election Program.”

The current program was ruled unconstitutional by two federal judges over the past year. The Connecticut General Assembly is in special session today to “fix” the program so that it complies with the court order and preserves the program.

Somehow the Democrats in Hartford think we should increase spending by awarding more “grants” to candidates for governor. This means Connecticut state government spends (paid for by taxpayers) another $6 million for political television advertising, bumper stickers and junk mail at a time when the food pantry cupboards are running bare.

When the federal courts ruled the Connecticut public-financed, taxpayer-funded campaign finance system unconstitutional they did not say we had to spend more money. No, that decision was made by the Democrats in Hartford.

It is no secret I am not a fan of public-financed, taxpayer-funded campaigns. I have voted on several occasions to remove funding for the program. I reluctantly participated in the voluntary program as the rules prove onerous for a traditional campaign funded by private contributors.

During my first campaign for the state senate in 2008 I was the first candidate to qualify for the Citizen Election Program (CEP). This required me to recruit over 300 contributors from within my district with a minimum $5 donation and raise at least $15,000. CEP then provided $85,000 to my campaign if I agreed to a spending limit of $100,000.

Candidates for governor may qualify for a grant of $3 million if they achieve similar success on a statewide basis. Today the Democrats in Hartford argued $3 million from the public-financed, taxpayer-funded campaign fund was insufficient and we should DOUBLE the spending to $6 million per candidate!

Connecticut residents are frustrated with state government’s disconnect from the realities of a recession. Somehow the Hartford Democrats keep spending more money and suggest this is necessary for one reason or another. Connecticut residents have a clear message for the State Capitol – CUT SPENDING!

There is no reason to increase spending for political campaigns. If there is $6 million “sitting there” then we should begin paying off the $2 billion we borrowed to pay regular expenses in the last year because the Hartford Democrats would not CUT SPENDING!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Declaration of Independence


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Learn more about the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Energy Bill Deserved Governor's Veto

Senate Bill 493 offers some good ideas for promoting renewable energy in Connecticut. Unfortunately, this bill was passed without a public hearing, was written by a small number of Democratic legislators in the closing HOURS of the legislative session, was released to legislators for review only a few hours before a vote and was introduced to the Senate by the Energy & Technology Committee co-chair with an 8-minute presentation.

Although they were not allowed to take part in development of the bill, the state Department of Public Utility & Control and the Office of Policy & Management both reviewed a draft of the proposal only hours before debate and concluded that it would be very costly to electricity customers. They stated, “our overall concern is that most of the provisions of this bill will result in significant increases in ratepayers’ costs and will have a considerable state budgetary impact that are not accounted for in the adopted budget or any proposal under consideration.”

At a time when Connecticut state government is unable to sustain current levels of spending and is researching opportunities for government reorganization, efficiency and down-sizing (I serve on the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes studying these matters) we can't seriously entertain EXPANDING the size of state government as is proposed in SB493. In Governor Rell’s veto message she states, “the cost to ratepayers over the life of this new solar program is nearly $1.4 billion. So, while this is a laudable goal, it is not the time to make this type of investment.”

I supported a Republican amendment to the bill that retains some of the renewable energy proposals in SB493 without expanding state government and dramatically increasing state spending. The proposal, which failed along party lines, included many of the same provisions in the Democrat plan but removed many of the more costly items. This amendment also eliminated proposals that did not have a public hearing.

I am anxious to support responsible legislation that addresses high electricity costs in Connecticut and encourages renewable energy initiatives. Senate Bill 493 is clearly an irresponsible, unaffordable proposal at a time when Connecticut's state government is facing the biggest budget crisis in our history. This is the reason I opposed the bill and why I will vote to sustain the Governor's veto.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Kick the Can" Olympics at CT Capitol

If your income goes down will you cut spending in your household budget? Will you find more ways to stretch your dollars? Of course you will!

State government works differently than you do. Revenue to state government (taxes collected) has crashed during this recession. The answer from majority Democratic leaders at the State Capitol – borrow billions of dollars and keep spending!

Last September the Democrats borrowed $950 million for operating costs without substantive spending cuts. Budget experts and economists warned us the recession would impact the state budget far longer than the private sectors of our economy. That warning should have motivated the Democratic leadership to entertain serious government reform to cut spending in future budget years. Unfortunately, we’re likely to see a proposal to borrow another billion dollars to pay for current year expenses!

Surely businesses and families have responded to the recession in their budgets but state government keeps driving full speed ahead to the budget cliff in 2012.

Our state budget for 2012-2013 is projected to have a $4 billion deficit. If we know the amount of future deficits why not fix the deficit problem? “Kick the Can” Olympics is the reason. The majority Democratic leadership is kicking the can down the road for a future governor and legislature to address the long-term budget crisis in Connecticut.

“Kick the Can” Olympics – a political game that lets the majority Democratic leadership claim they’ve “balanced the budget” in time for their re-election campaigns. Everyone who watches government operations in Connecticut knows 2012 is a nightmare for the next governor and legislature.

What a shame we can’t convince the majority Democratic leadership to make the tough decisions today that will lessen the budget catastrophe coming in 2012.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Connecticut Should Reject ObamaCare

An Open Letter to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

Signed by all Republican State Senators

Dear Attorney General Blumenthal:

As the elected official charged with representing the interest of the people of Connecticut, it is now time for you to take action to preserve the Constitution and protect our state’s citizens and businesses. The illegal mandates passed by Congress in the form of the so-called Health Care Reform law must be challenged.

Under our Constitution, those rights not explicitly provided to the federal government are reserved to the states. The Constitution does not empower the federal government to usurp the issue of making health care decisions for either the state or its citizens. The selection of healthcare providers and medical treatments, as well as the decision NOT to have certain treatments or coverage is the decision of the individual, protected by the Due Process rights of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. It is not now, nor has it ever been, in the purview of Congress to supersede those individual rights.

In addition, it has long been settled that the federal government has ceded to the states the responsibility of setting local healthcare standards of care, as well as regulatory authority over the medical and insurance industries. This inherent recognition of states' rights as pertaining to health care should remain, absent some Constitutional amendment granting oversight to Congress.

Finally, the attempted use of the Commerce Clause to justify this latest power grab by the federal government is unwarranted and improper. If the Commerce Clause, which springs from the authority to oversee economic activity between the states, was truly a proper source for an entire radical redesign of the health insurance industry, then it would not have been illegal to sell health insurance policies across state lines. In a free society, it has never been the duty of Congress to force the people of the United States to purchase a certain commercial product simply as a consequence of being alive. It is inherently illegal to mandate that free citizens must buy health care coverage or face sanctions.

We urge you to join the growing number of attorney generals who have already begun legal proceedings to stop this illegal action by Congress. Regardless of your personal beliefs or philosophies, you are bound by duty to protect and defend the people of this state, the small employers who will be penalized or put out of business by the mandates, the large insurance companies that call our state home and employ tens of thousands of our residents in an industry that will eventually be eliminated by government intrusion into our free markets, and the private citizens who will ultimately have to pay the $ 1.3 trillion price tag.

We would be happy to discuss this issue with you further at your convenience and we will assist your office in any way possible.


Senator John McKinney, Senate Minority Leader

Senator Len Fasano, Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore
Senator Andrew Roraback
Senator Tony Guglielmo
Senator John Kissel
Senator Sam Caligiuri
Senator Dan Debicella
Senator Rob Kane
Senator Toni Boucher
Senator Kevin Witkos
Senator Scott Frantz
Senator Michael McLachlan

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Spending Cap in Connecticut?

On November 3rd, 1992 Connecticut voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution creating a constitutional spending cap. However, the amendment requires the legislature to define three key terms: increase in personal income tax, increase in inflation, and general budget expenditure. Without defining these terms, the Constitutional spending cap is ineffective and the legislature is only bound to a statutory spending cap that can be and has been ignored. A statutory spending cap does not have the binding power or effectiveness of a fully implemented constitutional amendment. Statutory language can be changed by a simple majority vote of the General Assembly, and often is.

I testified before the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee in support of SB-3, An Act Redefining Terms Concerning the Spending Cap. If passed into law, the bill will define terms necessary to implement Connecticut’s Constitutional spending cap.

For eighteen years, the legislature has been idle on this issue as they continued to spend without any accountability. The irresponsible government spending this cap was designed to prevent has spiraled out of control and played a major role in putting us where we are today. Year after year we propose language that will implement the cap and year after year the majority party refuses to take action. It is long past time for the legislature to finally take action and listen to the voice of the people.

The people of Connecticut have spoken. They made it clear eighteen years ago they wanted the legislature bound by a constitutional spending cap, but their vote has been ignored. I am unfortunately not very optimistic that the majority will take action on SB-3 and fully implement Connecticut’s constitutional spending cap, but I will continue to fight toward that end. The voters exercised their vote on this matter in 1992 and they should not be ignored any longer.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Connecticut State Sovereignty?

Tenth Amendment Legislation Moves Forward

Grassroots activists from around Connecticut gathered at the capitol complex Wednesday, February 17th, to join me and a coalition of legislative leaders in announcing that the Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE) will raise legislation reasserting Connecticut’s Tenth Amendment rights under the Constitution.

Just hours before the press conference scheduled to call on Democrat leadership to raise the legislation, we heard from Sen. Gayle Slossberg, co-chair of GAE, that our proposed resolution would be raised for a public hearing. I have no doubt that the leadership and dedication of the many activists who showed their support last Wednesday played an important role in moving this legislation forward. It was a powerful display of democracy in action. But activists can’t stop here. When the public hearing is scheduled in the coming weeks, it will be an even greater opportunity for citizens to exhort legislators from both sides of the aisle to stand up for the Constitution.

The Tenth Amendment Resolution calls on Congress to create only statutes that fall within their constitutional authority. The Constitution has only given Congress the authority to make laws that pertain to certain issues such as taxation, international commerce, currency regulation, the federal Judiciary, and the armed forces to name a few. The Constitution also grants Congress the authority to make laws necessary and proper for the carrying out of their enumerated powers which is a clause that has been manipulated to grant the federal government authority far beyond what our founding fathers intended. The Tenth Amendment reasserts that Congress may only make laws that fall within their Constitutional authority.

The federal government has been steadily expanding their authority in areas the Constitution has not authorized. Even ‘conservative’ federal administrations have ignored the Constitution and imposed both health and educational mandates on states. The most recent federal health care proposal, if passed, will be by far the most serious overreach of Congressional power and it is time for states to begin speaking up. Washington DC has a terrible habit of passing unfunded mandates down to states and the Connecticut General Assembly has done the same thing to our towns and cities. This top down approach on both the state and federal level is unsustainable, unconstitutional, and must stop.

If passed, the Tenth Amendment Resolution will be a key step towards defining in state statute the limits of congressional power. I also proposed legislation that would have taken that next step to define statutorily Connecticut’s rights under the Tenth Amendment and create a method by which the state can review federal laws, regulations and programs for compliance with the Tenth Amendment. I am still committed to pursuing the proposed statutes and consider the headway made on the resolution an important step in the right direction.

While this legislation won’t singlehandedly stop Congress from legislating issues outside their enumerated powers, it will make a strong statement that the people of the Constitution state are no longer willing to allow the federal government free reign over their lives. The Tenth Amendment should speak for itself and I only hope that the federal government will be reminded by our efforts in Connecticut to conduct their legislation within its boundaries.

Congratulations to the Connecticut Grassroots Coalition for their hard work!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Connecticut Democrats Jammed Healthcare?

Does anyone in Connecticut who is currently upset with President Obama and Washington Democrats over their attempt to jam national healthcare down our throats realize Connecticut Democrats did the same thing last year?

SustiNet - Connecticut Democrat's version of misguided health care reform passed the legislature last year and was vetoed by the Governor. The Democrats came back in a special session to override the veto over my objections and all Republican legislators.

The Connecticut Democrats' plan will cost Connecticut taxpayers somewhere between $530 million and $1.7 billion per year beginning in 2012. Where is this money going to come from? Taxpayers. Perhaps $1,000 per year for each Connecticut family in new taxes.

Connecticut Democrats offered empty promises with this health care reform proposal and no money to pay for it. They did victory laps on passing the bill and again when they voted to override the Governor's veto.

Connecticut Democrats jammed "healthcare reform" down our throats last year - no different than the shenanigans of Washington Democrats.

Where is the taxpayer's outrage?

My objections to the Democrats' misguided reform on the floor of the Senate and my no vote means little to Connecticut Democrats. When will Connecticut's taxpayers hold the Democrats in Hartford accountable for their actions?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Path to Efficient State Government or Another Report Gathering Dust?

As a member of the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes (CEAO) I had the opportunity to participate in putting together a comprehensive report that identifies cost saving measures to be implemented either immediately, within eighteen months, or within three to five years. Pursuant to PA 09-7, the initial report must be submitted the Governor, and House and Senate Leadership by February 1, 2010. I voted in favor of the CEAO report at our meeting on Friday.

The direction our state is headed in has given me grave concerns. The actions by the majority party last year to increase taxes did not fix the deficit. We need to get serious about cutting spending and finding savings in all areas of state government. I suggested consolidation of state agencies almost a year ago and while I was hopeful things would move along more quickly; this proposal and others like it are finally getting the serious consideration they deserve.

The budget that passed last fall gave the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes the hard job of coming up with $50 million in additional savings from state agencies. It will be tough, but I think closely assessing the economic efficiency our state agencies is a good place to start.

The biggest challenge to implementing substantive changes to state government is the legislative process. The CEAO is only an advisory commission and has no power to implement change. We can only hope the legislative leadership of the Democratic majority will embrace efficiency in state government.

While the CEAO report set to be submitted on Monday is just the first draft, Commission members have identified proposals for which they will seek implementation immediately. Many of the immediate solutions are in the area of Information Technology and include plans for an on-line application system for the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation, Department of Education, and the Department of Social Services Services. The full report also recommends immediate savings by streamlining state agencies, utilizing electronic communication, changes to the contracting process, and maximization of federal funds. After revisions, the report will be available for review at:

Many of the ideas in this report only save thousands when we need millions, but the small steps do add up. In California, one of the proposals that have been mentioned here, a shift to Open Office software, has already been implemented and it’s time for Connecticut to get serious about finding creative and strategic ways to reduce our deficit. Increasing taxes slows our economy and any plan to increases revenue rather than reduce spending is a step in the wrong direction.