Policy Watch: Capitol Update/GOP Congressional Budget Mirrors Malloy Plan

This column appears in the April 2 – 9 edition of the Hartford News…

Racial Profiling

HB 5437, Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, has passed a Judiciary Committee vote, 21-20. See how legislators voted here. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/TS/H/2015HB-05437-R00JUD-CV49-TS.htm We have not received confirmation yet but the ‬ bill may be going to the House of Representatives first, then to the Appropriations Committee, because it has a fiscal note. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=5437 The March 27 Judiciary Committee meeting included debate on bills aimed at addressing police violence. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/JUDdata/ca/2015ca-00327-R001200JUD-ca.htm Republicans Sen. John Kissel and Rep. Richard A. Smith voted against H.B. 5437, because of the provision which allows people to file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities instead of the police. Of course Kissel, Smith and the cops know that people of color will be much less likely to file a complaint if they have to go to a police station. Also, police want to keep the complaint process internal, so they can control it. Teens Luis Anglero, Jr. in Hartford and Teandrea Cornelius in New Haven were both assaulted by police officers on video. Hartford Police Det. Shawn Ware and New Haven Police officer Joshua Smereczynsky were cleared by internal ‘investigations’.

The current grand jury process is rigged in favor of the police: NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was cleared despite being caught on video using an illegal chokehold to lynch Eric Garner. Jurors in the grand jury case involving Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed Black teen Michael Brown, were given a definition of justifiable use of force that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court 30 years ago. The Obama Justice Department has not prosecuted any cops for the extrajudicial killings of Blacks or Latinos. However DOJ investigations in East Haven and Ferguson have produced the results that police departments fear. Smith and fellow GOP Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor said they will oppose the bill if cities and towns aren’t reimbursed by the state for the cost of electronic data recording equipment. If Gov. Dannel Malloy can launch a 30-year, $100 billion transportation project without identifying any funding sources, the Connecticut General Assembly can find enough change in the sofa cushions to fund Rep. Ritter’s bill. The debate on HB 5437 begins at about the 2 hour, 15 minute mark of this video. http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=11359

A couple of years ago, Black legislator Rep. Ernest Hewett made an inappropriate comment to a teenage girl at a public hearing and it was all over the news. This year, Black legislator Rep. Bruce Morris talked at the March 20 Judiciary Committee public hearing about being racially profiled by the police, and only the Connecticut Post has covered the story. Morris’ account of being racially profiled recently was hard to listen to. Morris said that he was scared and thought about Eric Garner. The cop who stopped him was totally hostile, until he ran Morris’ plate and saw that he was a legislator. Morris became emotional as he called for the passage of H.B. 5437, which includes the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment. This provision requires that patrol officers give motorists a copy of the traffic stop report they must fill out. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/

Rep. Ritter has introduced another bill in response to an incident where former Major League Baseball player and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville was racially profiled in his own driveway. Last year Glanville, who resides in the West End of Hartford, was shoveling snow when he was approached by a West Hartford police officer. The officer had received a report of a Black man going door to door offering to clean snow, which is banned by a town ordinance. This cop had the audacity to drive into Hartford and target Glanville, the first Black man he saw with a shovel. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/04/i-was-racially-profiled-in-my-own-driveway/360615/

H.B. 6863 An Act Concerning The Enforcement Of Ordinances Related To Public Health And Welfare would ban a patrol officer from traveling outside of his jurisdiction to enforce town ordinances, such as the one this West Hartford cop used to harass Glanville. Rep. Ritter provided the following statement on H.B. 6863. “This legislation clarifies existing law and the aim is to prevent interactions like the one that occurred with my neighbor. Everyone agrees that community policing and knowing your local officer is critical to fostering good relationships between law enforcement and citizens. Therefore, we do not want officers from other towns coming into Hartford to enforce an ordinance which has no legal authority in Hartford and which no Hartford citizen is likely to know exists. This is common sense legislation and I look forward to moving it forward in the coming weeks.” Call and email your legislators and urge them to support Rep. Ritter’s bills and the other aforementioned anti-police brutality bills. You can find your State Representative/Senator and their contact info on the CGA website. http://www.cga.ct.gov/default.asp

Safe Work Environment Act

S.B. 1035 An Act Concerning Bullying in the Workplace passed the Labor and Public Employees Committee vote unanimously. However the bill only contains CP’s Safe Work Environment Act advisory board amendment, while our enforcement language has been excluded. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=1035 We will keep you updated on our effort to strengthen the bill.

State Budget Deficit Grows, Malloy Threatens More Cuts

Malloy, who has already proposed $25 million in human services cuts as part of his draconian budget proposal, sharpened his cleaver once again as the deficit continues to grow. Keith Phaneuf of the Connecticut Mirror reported on the bleak economic news. “Nonpartisan fiscal analysts again asserted Wednesday that the current state budget deficit is worse than Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has reported – and that’s despite a recent administration estimate that more than doubled the shortfall. And while the Office of Fiscal Analysis was issuing its $191 million deficit forecast, Malloy’s budget chief directed all agencies Wednesday to brace for a third round of emergency cuts and to ensure spending is ‘significantly curtailed’ between now and the fiscal year’s close on June 30. The administration acknowledged last week that the deficit had worsened largely because of two trends: Medicaid payments from Washington and hospital tax receipts that both are less than anticipated. Legislative analysts also have been more pessimistic than the administration about potential cost-overruns involving Medicaid and magnet schools. And they say a potential surplus in the debt service account is not as large as Malloy’s staff projects.”

The corporatist economic policies of the Malloy administration have this state sinking in fiscal quicksand. Malloy and his budget chief Benjamin Barnes continue to protect the wealthy and big businesses as they stubbornly steer the Titanic toward the iceberg, instead of acknowledging the failure of their policies and going in a new direction which will benefit the working class and the poor. Connecticut Voices for Children has proposed new policies which would generate revenue for the state, including taxing the rich and closing corporate tax loopholes. ” Adjust top marginal rates on the state’s highest incomes. Connecticut’s top ‘marginal rate’ of 6.7% is substantially lower than those in other states like New York (8.82%) and New Jersey (8.97%). Increasing progressivity by adjusting top rates would offset $300 million in cuts to children and families while leveraging significant ($114 million) federal funding. Enact combined reporting. Connecticut is the only state in the Northeast that does not require combined reporting – a fix of an existing tax loophole that allows corporations that conduct business in multiple states to use accounting gimmicks to avoid paying state taxes. Enacting combined reporting legislation could produce an estimated $129.8 to $149.5 million in tax revenue.”

Rep. Susan Johnson’s public bank study bill died quietly, despite the fact that the Bank of North Dakota, the country’s only publicly owned bank, has generated $300 million in revenue for the state’s General Fund in the last 10 years, at NO COST to taxpayers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX8pcADnsEs That money is used to fund social services and infrastructure projects. Twelve social services agencies, including the Spanish Speaking Center of New Britain, CT (executive director Mary Sanders, a CP member), face closure due to Malloy’s proposed cuts. As I mentioned earlier, Malloy has not come up with a plan to fund his transportation project. BND facilitates principled lending for small businesses, homeowners and students. http://banknd.nd.gov/lending_services/index.html Still, a bill to study the feasibility of a public bank went nowhere. The legislature snuffed out CP’s public infrastructure bank bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Ritter, in 2013. Corporatism is obviously the obstacle to bringing a public bank to Connecticut.

Republican U.S. House/Senate Budget Mirrors Malloy Proposal

The striking similarities between the Malloy budget proposal and the budget plans by the GOP U.S. House and Senate lawmakers underscores the fact that the Democrats and Republicans are a duopoly. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provided details.

“More than two-thirds of cuts in the budget plans that the House and Senate will vote on this week come from low- and moderate-income programs, even though they represent less than one-quarter of federal program costs. Now, let’s examine how deep those cuts would be.
In dollar terms, the plans before the House and Senate would cut low- and moderate-income programs by $3.7 trillion and $3.2 trillion, respectively, over the next decade. The cuts would be large throughout this period but would grow over time. In 2025, in fact, the House and Senate plans would shrink low- and moderate-income programs by 43 percent and 37 percent, respectively. Such deep cuts would produce a dramatically weaker safety net, driving millions of people into poverty and denying or weakening health coverage for tens of millions more. In vivid contrast, the plans wouldn’t raise any additional revenues, such as by limiting tax expenditures (deductions, exclusions, credits, and other preferences), which primarily benefit high-income households and which cost the nation more than $1 trillion a year.”

The corporate controlled Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same party. Activists in Connecticut must follow the lead of protestors in Ferguson and Wisconsin, who have made the connection between corporatism and the police state.


Community Party Urban Policy Plan:


A Public Bank for Connecticut:


Connecticut Voices for Children:


Columns and podcasts by Connecticut Mirror Budget Reporter Keith Phaneuf:


Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Off the Charts blog:


Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

David Samuels
Community Party


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