Local legislators list priorities for upcoming session

State legislators will head back into session next week. As they prepare for the upcoming session, area lawmakers spoke to some of their goals for the upcoming session.

State Sen. Joesph Crisco (D-17)

State Sen. Joesph Crisco (D-17)

  • Encourage economic development.
  • Improve education with a focus on early childhood development. Crisco said he wanted to create more opportunities for communities to invest in education without imposing a larger financial burden. “You don’t want to mandate impositions upon local communities that they can’t afford, so you have to find some balance,” Crisco said.
  • Review child sex abuse reporting laws in light of the child molestation case at Penn State University. “I believe that’s going to be an important issue this year,” Crisco said.
  • Continue to crusade to bring insurance to the residents of Connecticut as chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee. Crisco said he hopes to continue improving the diagnoses and coverage of breast cancer and put the final pieces in place for the federally-mandated insurance exchange to go into effect in 2014.
  • Make sure there is full disclosure for remediation sites. “We want to make sure all the Is are dotted for full disclosure,” Crisco said.

State Rep. Len Greene (R-105)

State Rep. Len Greene (R-105)

  • Get the budget under control
  • Increase penalties for vandalism and theft of public memorials. Perpetrators would have to pay for the repair or replacement of the item in question. “I really think that we need to do a better job protecting those,” Greene said.
  • Improve storm preparation and response to mitigate damage and decrease impact. Greene said he would listen to testimony at public hearings before backing a specific play, but would be more inclined to support an incentives package for completing restoration on time rather than fines. “The basic premise of setting specific goals is important for the state,” Greene said. “There are a lot of different moving parts to this.”

State Rep. David Labriola (R-131)

State Rep. David Labriola (R-131)

  • Establish an enterprise zone around the Oxford airport. Businesses would get special tax breaks from the state as an incentive to move to the area around the airport. “That enterprise zone at the airport will create jobs and be a tremendous boon to our region’s economy by attracting businesses to the area around the airport,” Labriola said. “We’re hopeful that we can do it this year.”
  • Oppose Election Day voter registration. “I believe it’s a recipe for fraud and corruption,” Labriola said. If voters could register on Election Day, Labriola said nothing would prevent them from going to several towns the same day or say they’re somebody that they really aren’t. “History has shown that elections are tainted when you have these Election Day registration,” Labriola said.
  • “When it comes to the budget, I’m going to be advocating on behalf of spending cuts and fighting any tax increases,” Labriola said.
  • Oppose the movement for a national popular vote. Labriola said the movement is ill-conceived. “It would dilute the impact that a small state like Connecticut would have in the Electoral College and the presidential election system,” Labriola said.

State Rep. Vickie Nardello (D-89)

State Rep. vickie Narello (R-89)

  • Improving the utility’s storm response and implementation of benchmarks for utility performance.
  • Look at the accountability of utilities and the possibility of reimbursing individuals when there is lost revenues because of extended outages. Nardello said she is waiting for Connecticut utility’s response to preliminary suggestions by Feb. 1.  Under consideration are changes to staffing, tree trimming, accountability, and how utilities communicate with municipalities. As chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, Nardello said storm preparedness and utility issues will take up most of her time next session.

State Sen. Joan Hartley (D-15) and state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) could not be reached for comment as of press time.