Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called on the General Assembly and Gov. M. Jodi Rell Monday to include trash hauling legislation in its special session.
Blumenthal said for the past seven years he’s called on legislative leaders to rid the trash hauling industry of anti-competitive practices and mob influence. He said the state’s elected leaders should capitalize on the recent 24 federal guilty pleas from those involved in the trash hauling industry to gain public support for the legislation.
Here’s his press release .
Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, sent out this statement via email at 4:50 p.m. Monday: “I have called upon the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee to commence a full investigation of the trash hauling industry in Connecticut. The call of this special session is very narrow and there is already a line out the door of people who want to add their issues. The Judiciary Committee, complete with subpoena power and expertise in law enforcement, is the best arena to conduct a thorough review including possible corruption within the industry. Recommendations by this committee should then be considered for potential legislative action.”
Rell believes she’s already addressed this issue and any further investigation would be unnecessary. In a letter to Blumenthal she said, “I understand that House Speaker James Amann has called for an investigation of the industry by the Judiciary Committee. The U.S. Department of Justice, as well as the work group I convened, have already investigated these issues. We do not need another study to know what needs to be done. The trash hauling industry clearly requires more oversight and the reforms I proposed should already be the law of Connecticut. Had greater advocacy for this bill been conducted during the regular legislative session, I am confident that it would be law today.”
Blumenthal said the industry has been steadfastly opposed to this kind of regulation because the majority of trash haulers are “generally an honest and hardworking” group of individuals. But he said “the majority of honest trash haulers should welcome safeguards that other states long ago adopted.”
He said the legislation is necessary to rid the industry of a “few bad actors.”
Blumenthal said the state should make it more difficult for the mob’s influence to infultrate the trash industry. He suggested the state license and background check trash haulers, in addition to forming a commission to regulate the industry. He said the state’s anti-trust laws are too weak and that’s why the feds often step in.
Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, was supposed to join Blumenthal at the noon press conference, but was unable to attend due to ongoing budget negotiations.
According to Blumenthal, Williams supports the legislation, but whether it could be included as part of special session remains to be seen since the call did not include the legislation.
A similar version of what Blumenthal proposed Monday died in committee this year when the Environment Committee refused to forward it to the Judiciary Committee.