The empty second floor of the state Capitol where lobbyists and the public would have been during a normal session. Credit: Christine Stuart file photo
Susan Bigelow
SUSAN BIGELOW

It’s the start of the new legislative session, which brings with it a marvelous, gut-stretching feast of bills raised by members. It’s that rare time when we get to see what the priorities, passions, and pet projects of individual legislators are, and even though 99% of these bills won’t ever see the light of day again, they’re still a fascinating peek into the inner workings of our democracy.

With that in mind, here’s a roundup of new bills and resolutions raised during the first week of the session. Dive in with me, won’t you?

H.B. 5013: An Act Requiring Legislative Approval For Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Rate Increases Of Electricity And Natural Gas

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There’s a lot of frustration and anger about rate hikes, and this is one of a number of proposals aimed at somehow getting this situation under control. Bringing the legislature into the picture does essentially admit that PURA is not doing its job, though. Maybe give that agency some teeth instead.

H.B. 5113: An Act Prohibiting The Sale, Barter Or Offering For Sale Or Barter Of Dead Kangaroos And Any Product Made From Dead Kangaroos

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What the heck?? Apparently, this is a real thing. Did you know that Nike uses leather from kangaroos for cleats? I did not know this. I have no idea what to think about it.

H.B. 5026: An Act Requiring Institutions Of Higher Education To Establish A Policy Regarding Free Speech On Campus

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Otherwise known as the Affirmative Action for Conservative Trolls Act. Most of the people who care about this issue are nowhere near a college campus.

H.B. 5025: An Act Concerning Minors And Social Media Accounts

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This bill would require social media companies to get parental permission before allowing kids under sixteen to open accounts. The intention here is good, but it would be absolutely impossible to enforce, and I guarantee you TikTok does not care one bit what a small American state wants it to do.

H.B. 5012: An Act Authorizing The Carrying Of Pistols And Revolvers In State Parks

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There’s no way this could go wrong! The aim might be for hikers to, say, protect themselves from bears, but I guarantee you that it’ll be human beings who end up getting shot. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection suggests bear spray, instead.

H.B. 5218: An Act Authorizing Hunters To Utilize Firearms Fitted With Sound Suppressors

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Why…? No, really. Why would you need to do this? When you need to assassinate a deer in a rival gang but don’t want the deer cops to know about it? If you want to shoot at something and not make a sound, get a bow and arrow.

H.B. 5209: An Act Concerning State Funding To Provide Free Breakfast And Lunch For All Students From Kindergarten To Grade Twelve

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I know, I know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But the more I think about it, the crueler that awful saying becomes. The fact that kids are going hungry because they can’t afford to buy lunch at school is an abomination. Fix this now.

H.B. 5124: An Act Establishing A Department Of Energy And Transferring Energy Functions From The Department Of Energy And Environmental Protection To The New Department

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This would basically be undoing the 2011 act creating DEEP that combined the Department of Environmental Protection with energy regulation and oversight from other agencies. I’m actually happy with DEEP as it is: energy and environmental protection are inextricably linked.

S.B. 33: An Act Requiring Digital Devices Sold In The State To Be Equipped With A USB Type-C Port

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Yes! I don’t want to have to buy any more freaking charging cords. Finally, the government is taking on the issues local dorks with too many devices like me care about.

H.B. 5243: An Act Concerning The Disclosure Of Salary Ranges In Job Postings

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Employers hate this idea. Workers, on the other hand, love it. That’s why it’s worth doing. Let’s normalize talking about salaries!

H.B. 5133: An Act Concerning Ranked-Choice Voting For Municipal Offices

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There’s growing interest in ranked-choice voting in the United States following high-profile races in Maine and Alaska using the system. I personally love the idea, and it would be fascinating to try it out on the municipal level.

S.J. 5: Resolution Exonerating The Women And Men Convicted For Witchcraft In Colonial Connecticut

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Did you know the first person executed in what is now the United States was right here in Hartford? Alse Young of Windsor was “arraigned and executed at Hartford for a witch” in 1647, a full half century before Salem. We know little else about her charge or trial beyond this. There were others: many others, as the Connecticut Witchcraft Exoneration Project will tell you. Our Puritan forebears did a lot of rotten stuff, and it’s on us to try and fix it where we can. Which brings us to…

H.R. 8: Resolution Recognizing That All Land In Connecticut Was Once Native American Territory

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This seems obvious, but it’s still very much worth doing. It’s a way for us to face our history and attempt to deal with it, and it would be a nice compliment to the Native American studies curriculum that Connecticut schools will soon be teaching. The only thing I would add to this would be to tack on at the end the phrase, “And some of it still is.”

And lastly…

H.B. 5204: An Act Concerning The Installation Of Flashing Wrong Way Signs Throughout The State

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Click above to vote and comment on HB 5204

The tragic, shocking death of Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams of Middletown in an accident caused by a wrong-way driver makes this bill especially poignant. But this has been a problem statewide, and anything we can do to keep people from mistakenly entering highway off-ramps would be worth doing.

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Susan Bigelow

Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com or any of the author's other employers.