Republican lawmakers were upset Wednesday by the Judiciary Committee Co-Chairmen’s change of heart regarding another public debate on the controversial three-strikes-and-you’re-out law.
Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, the ranking Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, said people still feel strongly about this issue, some even campaigned on it. He said the committee, which has voted down the proposal in the past, should get the chance to debate it again.
Several versions of a three strikes law were raised by the legislature following the 2007 deadly home invasion in Cheshire.
Instead of holding a public hearing again on the issue, Judiciary Committee Co-Chairman Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said Wednesday that the proposal was forwarded to the Appropriations Committee. “I can’t imagine we could shed any light on this,” he said.
Lawlor said that with the unprecedented budget “meltdown” this type of public policy change would “wreak havoc on the day-to-day operation of the courts.” He said the Appropriations Committee has not had a chance to understand the impact of this proposal on the court system.
“Let the Appropriations Committee have a crack at it,” Lawlor said.
As recently as last Friday, Kissel said the Judiciary Committee was scheduled to raise the three-strikes concept for a public hearing. He said he had even worked to refine the language in the bill in order to help keep it alive and had thought the two Judiciary Committee chairmen were on board.
Wednesday was the deadline for the Judiciary Committee to raise legislation for public hearings.
By forwarding it to the overwhelmed Appropriations Committee, the Judiciary Committee chairmen made “sure it wouldn’t have a chance,” Kissel said. He said it was a calculated move.
Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, said by giving it to the Appropriations Committee the Judiciary Committee was passing the “buck” both literally and figuratively.
The Judiciary Committee voted 18 to 8 to pass on a three-strikes public hearing.
Click the link below for a look at how candidates who supported the three-strikes proposal fared in November’s election.