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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Flexer Supports Voting Rights Reforms

HARTFORD, CT—Today, Senator Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) joined Senate Democrats in announcing “A Just Connecticut,” the first of four legislative agendas for the 2019 legislative session. The series of bills outline the policy proposals from Senate Democrats to reform the state’s criminal justice system, strengthen gun safety protections, and expand voting rights.

Sen. Flexer serves as Senate Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee which has oversight of all matters relations to elections, election laws, and constitutional amendments.

“Too many residents of our state still cannot exercise their right to vote,” said Sen. Flexer. “With limited voting hours and absentee voting only available to a select group of residents we need to reform our voting laws to make it easier to vote. Dozens of other states already have expansive early voting and it is long past time Connecticut does the same.”

The legislative proposals in the “A Just Connecticut” agenda include:

VOTING RIGHTS

Senate Joint Resolution 14: A Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the State Constitution to Allow for Early Voting
To amend the Constitution of the State of Connecticut to allow for in person voting for a period prior to election day.

Senate Bill 266: An Act Concerning Ballot Access for Students on College and University Campuses
To provide polling locations on college and university campuses for students to make it easier for students to vote.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Senate Bill 654: An Act Concerning A Right to Counsel for Immigrant Children
To ensure children of immigrants are represented in issues regarding their well-being.

  • In FY 2018, there were 971 filings initiated in Connecticut for juvenile deportation proceedings. Largest represented countries of origin were Guatemala (309), Honduras (152), and Brazil (152). 716 of those individuals, or 78%, were not represented by counsel.
  • California; Washington; and Denver, Colorado have allocated funding for legal representation of immigrants.
  • New Jersey recently allocated $2.1 million for legal representation of immigrants.
  • The bill would establish a new program to provide legal counsel to undocumented minors. Roughly $800,000 a year would be needed.

Senate Bill 689: An Act Concerning Tolling Temporary Restraining Orders (SB 689)
To continue a temporary restraining order after the person alleged to be a threat is released from jail or custody.

  • It is possible that a restraining order is issued when the alleged abuser is in jail, or that the alleged abuser is arrested and in jail during the days prior to the hearing. If there is no hearing, which can be complicated by the alleged abuser’s arrest, then the restraining order can expire.
  • The bill would toll (delay) the time between issuing the restraining order and the hearing by one day for each day that the alleged abuser is in custody of law enforcement.

Senate Bill 653: An Act Concerning Open File Disclosure in Criminal Cases
To require prosecuting officials to automatically disclose certain pieces of evidence in criminal cases.

  • Adoption of automatic discovery, so that overworked defense attorneys do not need to make requests for the most common document requests. State Attorneys will be required to disclose certain materials.
  • Ensuring all materials in the state’s possession, not just the prosecutor’s, is shared with the defendant.
  • Requiring all materials with the ability to prove innocence or lessen the penalty of a crime be shared with the defendant before being asked to enter into a plea bargain.
  • Discovery standards that are uniform across the state, and do not vary by judicial district.

GUN SAFETY

Senate Bill 655: An Act Concerning Ghost Guns
To ensure the sale of firearms adhere to serial number requirements and to close loopholes contributing to the illegal possession of firearms.

  • Without a serial number, law enforcement cannot run a search on a gun, making it impossible to determine chain of custody.
  • Bill would close loopholes by banning guns that do not have serial numbers and prohibit the sale of any materials or services that permit the construction of guns outside the regulated marketplace.

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