HARTFORD – A bill protecting the due-process rights of undocumented immigrants in Connecticut passed narrowly in Senate 20 to 15 and in House 79 to 61 last week. State Representatives Richard A. Smith (R-108) and Stephen Harding (R-107) were amongst the 61 lawmakers that voted against this bill.
Connecticut’s Trust Act was passed in 2013 and prohibits local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration officials. It was established to create trust between local law enforcement officials and undocumented immigrants so residents of that community would be more willing to come forward, without fear of deportation, to report crimes or cooperate with police.
Senate Bill 992 revises the 2013 policy by including the following individuals under its protection:
Individuals with C and/or D felony convictions or charges
Those with pending criminal charges in the state where bond has not been posted
Persons with outstanding arrest warrants in the state
Federally identified gang members
Persons subject to a final deportation order
Someone who local police view as an unacceptable risk to public safety.
HARTFORD — House Republicans, including State Representative Richard Smith (R-108), late last night voted against a mandatory payroll tax from Democrats that installs a new government-run paid family and medical leave program. The bill (S.B. 1) passed through the House on a party line vote 79 to 69.
The concept of paid family and medical leave allows workers to take paid time off from their jobs to deal with personal issues such as a sick family member or the birth of a child – a concept that has bipartisan support. However, the bill that passed forces every private sector worker to cough up one-half of one percent of their salary from every paycheck to support the program whether they intend to use it or not, with no choice to opt out. The mandatory payroll tax is expected to raise $400 million in revenue, and carries $13 million in startup costs. It would be run by a new quasi-government agency, which would hire more unionized employees to process paperwork, spend startup money on television advertisements and mailers, and dole out generous wage replacement benefits for up to 12 weeks of leave.
“When you ask folks on the street about paid family and medical leave, they tend to respond that they are in favor of it,” said Rep. Smith, who serves on the Labor Committee. “But when I tell them about the details about the bill, like the mandatory 0.5% payroll tax on every employee across the state, or the task of temporarily replacing an employee on leave for 12 weeks – and then having to pay that temporary employee unemployment benefits when they are let go, they very quickly change their outlook and ask me, ‘Why are we doing this?’
Connecticut is the proud host of the largest National Trails Day grassroots celebration in the nation! On the first weekend in June, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) brings together about 250 volunteers to lead events like hiking, biking, paddling, letterboxing, trail work parties, equestrian rides, and trail experiences of all kinds to get Connecticut residents outside and away from household chores, television, and the internet for a day.
I encourage you and your family to get outside and celebrate Connecticut Trails Weekend with CFPA! Enjoy a sense of community, tradition and stewardship for the environment.
200+ events will be taking place in more than 100 towns in Connecticut on the first weekend of June, but here is a list of some local events to participate in:
What: Trail Maintenance Where: Tarrywile Park, 70 Southern Blvd, Danbury Date: Saturday, June 1st Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pre-Registration is recommended. Click here for more information.