Posted on January 9, 2019 by admin
HARTFORD — State Representative Richard A. Smith (R-108) joined legislative colleagues today, on Opening Day of the 2019 Legislative Session, and was sworn in to his fifth term at the State Capitol. He will serve for two more years not only as the House Representative for the 108th General Assembly District of New Fairfield, Sherman, New
Milford and Danbury, but as the House Republican Policy Chairman as well.
“I am honored to be back in Hartford, starting my ninth Legislative Session,” said Rep. Smith. “I am particularly privileged to have been named a House Republican Policy Chairman alongside my colleague, Rep. Terrie Wood. I am eager to get to work in this position developing forward-looking and common sense policy solutions that encourage economic growth and a balanced budget in the State of Connecticut.”
To follow Rep. Smith’s proposed and supported legislation, visit his website (www.reprichardsmith.com) and click on the “Legislation” tab, or sign up for her email updates. To follow committee meetings and House debates as they unfold live on Connecticut’s public affairs television network, CT-N, tune your TV to channel 193 in New Fairfield, Sherman and New Milford, and 20 in Danbury; or stream the proceedings online at www.ctn.state.ct.us.
This “long” session allows for bills on a variety of issues to be introduced, debated and voted on in committees and legislative chambers. Most importantly, the General Assembly will be facing significant budget challenges during the 2019 Legislative Session. House and Senate Republican budget priorities for the 2019 session continue to include implementing long-term structural changes to restore sustainability and predictability to the budget, and the “Prioritize Progress” transportation plan to fund and protect transportation dollars without tolls or tax increases.
Rep. Smith has also received his legislative committee assignments for this term. He will serve as a member of the Judiciary, Housing and Labor & Public Employees Committees.
The Judiciary Committee holds jurisdiction over all matters relating to courts, judicial procedures, criminal law, probate courts, probation, parole, wills, estates, adoption, divorce, bankruptcy, escheat, deeds, mortgages, conveyancing, preservation of land records and other public documents, the law of business organizations, authorizations to sue and to appeal, claims against the state, and all judicial nominations, among others.
The Housing Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to housing and housing programs, and the Labor & Public Employees Committee oversees all matters relating to conditions of employment of state and municipal employees. This includes workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, conditions of employment, hours of labor, minimum wages, industrial safety, occupational health and safety, labor unions and labor disputes, and the substantive law of state and municipal employees’ collective bargaining.
The 2019 Regular Legislative Session will adjourn at midnight on June 5th.
Posted on December 19, 2018 by admin
HARTFORD – On Tuesday, December 18th State Representative Richard Smith (R-108) was promoted by Minority Leader Themis Klarides as Co-Chairman of the House Republican Policy initiative, Rep. Smith was elevated from his current role as an Assistant House Republican Leader. In addition, Rep. Smith was appointed to serve on the legislature’s Labor Committee, Housing Committee and Judiciary Committee.
The new assignments will take effect on January 9th at the start of the next legislative term.
“I’m looking forward to the start of the next legislative session,” said Rep. Smith. “I’m excited to begin a new assignment to help create and implement policies that will benefit the residents of Connecticut for the short and long term. I also look forward to my new assignment on the Housing Committee. There will be many issues up for debate in the 2019 legislative session in addition to setting a new biennial budget, these committee and leadership assignments put in me a strong position to advocate for our communities. ”
Rep. Smith will also continue to serve on the legislature’s powerful Judiciary Committee, which has authority over all matters relating to courts, judicial procedures, criminal law, probate courts, civil law, all nominations of members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles and all matters relating to the Judicial Department.
Additionally, Rep. Smith will serve on the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, which has cognizance of all matters relating to labor laws, occupational health and safety, labor unions and labor disputes; all matters relating to the Department of Labor; and all matters relating to conditions of employment of state and municipal employees.
Posted on October 18, 2018 by rjoslyn
October 18, 2018
Voters Should Reject “Lockbox Ruse”
Every state relies on its transportation network to drive economic development and maximize quality of life. For this reason, insufficient transportation funding and mismanagement of spending on projects presents a major roadblock to Connecticut’s economic recovery.
The unacceptable state of our infrastructure has a direct impact on all residents, making commuting a nightmare while constraining existing businesses and dooming many newer ones. A study by US News & World Report named Connecticut’s transportation system the third worst in the nation overall, with the very worst road quality out of all 50 states. Meanwhile, rail and bus services are threatened with cuts on an almost annual basis.
A major cause of our transportation woes is a state legislature that has made a habit out of raiding money earmarked for transportation from the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and sweeping it into the abyss of the General Fund, where they can use it to fund “pet projects”, to maintain entitlement programs and to plug holes in the billion dollar budget deficits that have presented themselves annually for the past decade.
To address this misuse of your tax dollars, I, along with my Republican colleagues, have proposed that the State Constitution be amended to prevent the legislature from using STF dollars for any purpose other than transportation, with clear definitions of what constitutes “transportation purposes.” Further, we proposed that the Connecticut Supreme Court be given jurisdiction in the event the legislature violates the constitutional lockbox. That way, current and future revenue streams intended to support the STF and improve our infrastructure could not be diverted for other purposes, transportation spending could be prioritized, and we could eventually shift towards finding ways to reduce the tax burden on Connecticut residents.
Following our lead, the majority party proposed and passed a Resolution that will appear on the ballot this November, which, at first glance, appears to create the constitutional “lockbox” we have been advocating for. However, upon closer look, there is no definition of what constitutes transportation funding, nor any provisions for recourse if funds are diverted out of the STF for other purposes. Worse, during public debate over the Resolution, the Democrats acknowledged that the “lockbox” could be raided, if needed, for other purposes.
Therein lies the ruse being perpetrated on the public. The ruse to create a lockbox, knowing they have the key to unlock it for more spending.
Democrats seem intent not on dedicating transportation revenue for transportation projects that will allow us to eventually improve our infrastructure and decrease taxes and fees, but, instead, to gradually garner popular support for tolls, which will generate an additional revenue stream. Connecticut drivers forced to pay the tolls will be under the illusion that the additional money they will send to Hartford will be used to improve transportation. In reality, though, this lockbox is leaky enough that tolls would merely be another cash cow for the state to feed its reckless spending habits at the taxpayers’ expense.
Accordingly, I urge Connecticut voters to reject their “Lockbox Ruse” and require the legislature to create a real lockbox that takes any vagueness out of what exactly the money is for and empowers our courts to enforce it.
The goal for the legislature cannot be to make new taxes, fees, and tolls more palatable, but, instead, to help ease the tax burden on our residents. The “lockbox” on the ballot will not help accomplish this goal.