Sen. Joe Markley and Rep. Lezlye Zupkus listening to constituents from Prospect at a recent stop on his town hall tour round up.
Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington) recently completed a town hall tour discussing the 2013 Legislative Session with constituents. Major issues covered included the state’s continuing fiscal problems, the misuse of transportation funding, progress on education reform, and the stagnant condition of the state’s economy.
Markley also revealed some of the disturbing trends in legislative practice, including the passage of bills without public hearings or proper scrutiny. Methods used to skirt established procedure include Emergency Certification, strike-all amendments, and misuse of implementer bills.
“Last-minute additions like mandates on municipalities and raises for judges is a new way of doing business at the capitol,” remarked Sen. Markley.
Sen. Markley previously served in the Senate during the 1980’s and said that legislative leaders then made members promise that any additions to the implementer bill were purely technical in nature. Implementers are intended to make changes in statute necessary to enact the state budget.
“This implementer legislation has become like a Christmas tree: everything gets hung on it. This year, it was festooned with bills that died along the legislative path or entirely new laws made without any public input,” said Sen. Markley.
Sen. Markley said he didn’t even see a physical copy of this year’s 508 page implementer bill until after the Senate (over his objections) had voted to approve it. Lawmakers received a 25-page summary packet before the vote that reduced each complex section of the bill to a sentence or two.
“I think it’s important that we recognize that the way we’re handling that is bad public policy. Of the things I’ve seen change, the change I’ve seen in the implementer process is the single worst thing,” added Sen. Markley.
The town hall tour visited Prospect, Cheshire, Waterbury, Wolcott and Southington. Along with Senator Markley at each stop was one or more of the State Representatives from those towns as well.