Capitol briefs

Rebimbas objects to bill to increase campaign financing

HARTFORD — A bill proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy that would increase campaign contribution limits and the primary election grant for gubernatorial candidates drew sharp objections from state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70).

State Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70)

According to a release issued by Rebimbas’s office, House Bill 5528, “AAC Changes to the Public Financing Act and Other Election Laws,” would increase contribution limits for donations made to campaigns and candidates from a host of sources. The bill was passed through both the Appropriations and Government Administration and Elections Committees with the Democratic majority voting on party lines, and not one Republican legislator voting in favor of the bill, the release stated.

The bill increases the primary election grant for gubernatorial candidates participating in the Citizens’ Election Program from $1.25 million to $2.5 million, and increases the general election grant from $6 million to $9 million. In other words, this proposal would take more hard earned money out of the pockets of taxpayers so that election candidates can spend more money on their campaigns, the release stated.

This news comes on the heels of the latest budget deficit projection from nonpartisan fiscal analysts stating that Connecticut is over $284 million in debt.

“While the state is over a quarter billion dollars in deficit, this administration and majority party are trying to entitle themselves to even more taxpayer money for their reelection efforts. In its current form, this bill is fiscally irresponsible and a major blow to clean elections,” Rebimbas said in the release.

Rebimbas encouraged residents to call and e-mail their legislators to tell them what they think about the bill. Although there is talk that changes may be made to the bill, the release stated, the alarming proposal must not be ignored. Rebimbas believes any changes less than eliminating this bill is unacceptable.

The most recent increase to the gubernatorial general election grant was passed in 2010 when the grant doubled from $3 million to $6 million, the release stated. If the current proposal is passed, it would mark a threefold increase to the grant in two years.

The bill is expected to be debated in the House soon and its contents are subject to change, the release stated.

For more information on the bill, visit www.cga.ct.gov and enter “5528” into the “Number” search box at the top, and click “Go.”

Bill to increase penalties for desecration of memorials passes House

HARTFORD — A bill that would increase the penalties for damaging or stealing veterans’ memorials passed unanimously in the House of Representatives Thursday.

State Rep. Len Greene (R-105)

“Three different communities late last year were pillaged by people we presume were trying to steal the metal from our war memorials to sell for scrap. This irreverent behavior affects not only the veterans and their families, but the communities as a whole,” said state Rep. Len Greene Jr. (R-105) on the House Floor on Thursday according to a news release. “This bill makes the desecration of our local veterans’ memorials a much strong crime in recognition of the fact that these crimes are against the community as a whole.”

Greene co-sponsored the bill, Senate Bill 198 “An Act Concerning Desecration of War or Veterans’ Memorials,” in effort to combat the recent incidents throughout the Naugatuck Valley area where monuments have been vandalized or stolen to presumably be sold as scrap metal.

Currently, criminal penalties for vandalism or theft are tied to the monetary value of the monument. Under the legislation, a person found guilty of intentionally defacing, mutilating or destroying a memorial or monument will be faced with a class D felony and shall be subject to a $5,000 fine.

In an effort to diminish the illegal scrap metal market, the bill also declares that a person who is caught knowingly possessing, purchasing or selling a stolen war or veterans’ memorial will also be charged with the same class D felony and a $5,000 fine.

The bill has already been approved by the Senate and now awaits the Governor’s signature before becoming law.

Greene co-sponsors firefighter compensation bill

HARTFORD – State Rep. Len Greene (R-105) recently co-sponsored a bill which allows state firefighters to be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage for mental or emotional distress.

House Bill 5233, “An Act Concerning Workers’ Compensation for Firefighters,” would provide a firefighter with workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorders that resulted from witnessing the death of another firefighter in the line of duty, a release issued by Greene’s office stated. Under the bill, a diagnosis would need to be made by a licensed and certified mental health professional in order to qualify for any benefits.

Greene strongly supported the bill during the committee process and applauded its recent passage in the House on Wednesday night.

“Firefighters risk their lives to protect us each and every day and they deserve our respect and consideration,” said Greene in the release. “Any firefighter who witnesses the tragic death of a fellow colleague deserves to be provided with the support and care they need. This bill will give some of our finest citizens that support and care.”

The bill went to the Senate for approval.

Bill prohibits discrimination against unemployed

HARTFORD — The state Senate voted this week in favor of legislation to prohibit people, businesses, labor organizations and employment agencies from advertising job opportunities in a way that discriminates against job seekers simply because they are unemployed.

State Sen. Joseph Crisco, Jr. (D-17

“Many of those who are unemployed in Connecticut find themselves looking for work through no fault of their own — more likely their former employer had layoffs, shut down, or moved — so the last thing they need is insult to injury from potential employers with arbitrary discrimination against the employment status,” said state Sen. Joseph Crisco, Jr. (D-17), who voted for the bill, in a news release. “This bill would correct a most egregious affront, not just denial of a person’s right to work, but denial of a person’s right to seek work.”

Connecticut’s March unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, representing some 148,000 residents, according to the release.

Senate Bill 79 advanced to the House of Representatives for its consideration. Should the measure be signed into law it would take effect Oct. 1. Violators of the bill would be subject to a variety of corrective actions, including cease and desist orders, the payment of back wages, or the hiring or reinstatement of employees.