HARTFORD – The Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) Conservative Caucus today blasted Democrats for voting to automatically erase hate crimes from the records of convicted felons, weakening the Judicial system and making Connecticut less safe with passage of their “Clean Slate” legislation.
“Democrats have a very one-sided, progressive agenda that runs roughshod over the regular people of our state who need and deserve balanced, reasonable legislation that they are not currently getting,” Rep. Kimberly Fiorello said. “Automatic erasure also effectively sidesteps the Board of Pardons and Paroles which has been uniquely designed to address these incredibly serious issues and determine who is appropriate to have their record cleared.”
SB 1019 – An Act Concerning the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Erasure of Criminal Records for Certain Misdemeanor and Felony Offenses, Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Erased Criminal History Record Information and Concerning the Recommendations of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission with Respect to Misdemeanor Sentences – will automatically erase the criminal record for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents despite some having committed heinous, bigoted acts of assault.
Republicans offered an amendment to specifically set aside hate crimes while leaving the rest of the underlying bill unchanged, but the Democrats voted it down. That amendment excluded felony crimes, including:
- 2nd degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias – maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person or group because of race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity and cause physical contact with the person or group, damages or destroys property of the person or group, or threatens physical contact or property destruction – a class D felony.
- 3rd degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias – same as above but without the physical contact component – a class E felony
- 2nd degree false reporting of an incident – knowingly reporting false information to law enforcement with specific intent to falsely report another person because of race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity – a class E felony.
“It is hard to understand how anyone could reject an amendment that makes sure that those convicted of hate crimes are forced to own that shame, and instead support the automatic removal of that criminal record, especially for crimes as disgusting as burning crosses, painting swastikas, or hanging nooses to intimidate others,” Rep. Craig Fishbein said. “It’s the height of hypocrisy to claim you support victims’ rights and then vote to eliminate the only system that ensures a victim’s rights are respected and considered before an inmate is released or a record is expunged.”
The CGA Conservative Caucus is a group of 17 Connecticut legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. Its members foster open debate about the role of government in society, adherence to the Constitution, and the rule of law. They propose and advocate for legislation that promotes the freedoms, individual rights, and prosperity of all Americans.
The members of the Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus are: Rep. Mike France, Chair (R 42); Rep. Craig Fishbein, Vice Chair (R-90); Rep. Anne Dauphinais, Secretary (R-44); Rep. David T. Wilson, Treasurer (R-66); Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8); Rep. Donna Veach (R-30); Rep. Brian Lanoue (R-45); Rep. Doug Dubitsky (R-47); Rep. Rick Hayes (R 51); Rep. Kurt Vail (R-52); Rep. Mark Anderson (R-62); Rep. Joe Polletta (R-68); Rep. Cindy Harrison (R-69); Rep. John Piscopo (R-76); Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-80); Rep. John Fusco (R 81); and Rep. Kimberly Fiorello (R-149).