Reinstate Day-Of Registration for Public Hearings

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To the Editor:

I’ve never believed in the practice of registering in advance to speak at a Public hearing. So, I’ve always refused. It’s no one’s business but my own if I decide to exercise my right to speak. The last thing I want is my opponents knowing I’m coming.  Basic liberty.

After a criminal court appearance in New London this morning, on charges related to a semi-civil disobedience charge,  I made the hour drive to Hartford for an Appropriations Committee Public Hearing.  I wanted to testify on HB 5047.  I was told with curt, scoffing, arrogance by the clerk that in-person day-of registration for public hearings was not allowed.  I told her I disagreed.  Then sat and waited two and a half hours for my turn.  The hearing closed. I was not allowed to speak.

A Southern CT University professor speaking on another bill (3:26:35) had quoted the CT Constitution: “perpetuate the liberties, rights, and privileges, which they have derived from their ancestors.”

Well, what when those liberties and rights are taken away?

Push back on a bossy clerk and an unfair rule.  

State Sen. Cathy Osten, co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, told me in-person registration was suspended during COVID. I say it is time to re-instate the practice. The public is the legislators’ eyes, ears, and conscience.  Given the meager turn out and seeming uncertainty of what to do with the beleaguered Port Authority one would think the legislature would be soliciting public input any way possible, even if they’re not interested in honoring our state constitution.

Kevin Blacker
Noank, CT