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Rep. Ziobron Votes No on All Judicial Appointments

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Hartford – State Representative Melissa Ziobron (R-34) continued to vote ‘No’ on all judicial nominations regardless of their qualifications, due to severe underfunding and staffing problems in the Judiciary branch.

In February Chief Court Administrator Judge Patrick Carrol shared concerns that the state’s judiciary would not be able to adequately function. In his testimony to the Appropriations Committee, Judge Carrol stated “The cumulative consequences of the budget cuts and staff losses are such that I am no longer confident in our ability to adequately staff 44 courthouses throughout the state and satisfactorily perform all of the statutory tasks we have been given. While current staff vacancies challenge our ability to provide meaningful access to justice, further reductions to the Branch’s budget, as well as failure to fully fund SEBAC contractual obligations, will require us to rethink how and where we conduct court business in Connecticut.”

“Without a budgetary plan in place, it seems completely inappropriate to keep filling judicial appointments when we don’t have the support staff so desperately needed to run our courts effectively,” said Rep. Ziobron. “I am very concerned about safety at our courthouses and have heard numerous stories of court proceedings being delayed or postponed due to the lack of support staff. In addition, every new judge we appoint adds to our unfunded pension system, especially if they already have state service that counts toward their generous pension calculations. The average pension for a judge, after ten and half years of service in Connecticut is $113,000.”

In even numbered years the legislature convenes in a ‘short’ session form February to May to make adjustments to the biennial budget. Bi-partisan negotiations for are ongoing; however the Republican caucus continues to develop alternatives for both the 2019 budget adjustment and a plan to deal with the current 2018 deficit. A commitment to vote on a budget in the Appropriations Committee was made by both Democrat and Republican leaders in the House and Senate, by April 20th.

Judge Carrol’s testimony can be accessed on the Appropriations Committee page HERE.

Rep. Ziobron Supports Open Space Amendment and Passport to Parks

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(L to R) Sen. Osten, Rep. Ziobron and Eric Hammerling

HARTFORD – State Representative Melissa Ziobron joined Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association Eric Hammerling to announce support for the newly launched passport to parks program and a constitutional amendment to protect state lands.

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Rep. Ziobron Celebrates ‘Friends of Connecticut State Parks Day’ at the Capitol

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Caption (L to R) Wendy Vincent, Rep. Ziobron and Marguerite Hayber

HARTFORD – State Representative Melissa Ziobron (R-34) celebrated ‘Friends of Connecticut State Parks Day’ at the Capitol speaking with all the member groups in attendance. She was thrilled to welcome two in district organizations; Friends of Gillette Castle and Friends of Machimoodus & Sunrise State Parks. All across the state, ‘Friends’ groups volunteer to protect, support and maintain various state parks and step in where state assistance runs short. Rep. Ziobron has been a strong advocate for the state park and forest system and previously served as President of Friends of Gillette Castle State Park and she spearheaded the formation of the Machimoodus group. As a member of the Environment and Appropriations Committees Rep. Ziobron helped to create the new Passport to Parks program which eliminated all parking fees for Connecticut residents visiting statewide parks and provides a sustainable funding stream through additional vehicle registration fees. This has already led to parks being reopened for camping at Devil’s Hopyard State Park, added seasonal staff for trail maintenance and much desired fall camping opportunities at both of Connecticut’s premier beaches.