Debate on a bill that would prohibit the disclosure of state and municipal employees’ home addresses as part of their personnel files was halted Friday night after two hours of debate.
The bill, which passed the Senate 21-13, was essentially defeated in the House as the countdown to the end of the legislative session began.
Rep. Craig Fishbein, R-Wallingford, warned against extending this protection to all state and municipal employees whose job description doesn’t include a residency requirement.
Fishbein asked if the bill meant cities and towns would have to pour over their land records to eliminate the addresses of these employees, but was told by the bill’s proponent Rep. Matt Blumenthal, D-Stamford, that it only applied to home addresses which are part of a personnel record.
“You can walk into any town hall and get that information,” Fishbein said. “If we’re really trying to protect these people, then protect these people, but this doesn’t do it.”
Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain, said as a former state employee he can’t support the bill.
He said this is a decades-old issue and if a threat is made against an employee it should be handled appropriately by authorities.
“Knowing where people live is not something exclusive to state employees and having consequences for that isn’t exclusive to state employees,” Tercyak said.
The bill was originally intended to shield assistant attorneys general but was expanded to all state and municipal employees after the committee process was complete.
Blumenthal was asked by several lawmakers about why this proposal was in front of them. He said it was about threats, but was unable to provide a specific example.
“I think additionally it’s about them feeling safe,” Blumenthal added. “We are limited so much these days in our privacy.”
Rep. Christine Carpino, R-Cromwell, asked what cities and towns asked the committee to hide the addresses of all of their employees.
“I don’t believe any municipalities testified on this bill,” Blumenthal said.
“I have no tolerance for threats, but as my colleagues have said we’re public servants,” Carpino said. “State employees are one in the same with the people they live with. I can’t really get over the fact that we’re doing this.”
Following that comment, House Majority Leader Jason Rojas stood up and temporarily passed the bill.