They’ll Be Our Properties Now

Markeshia Ricks PhotoHartford—As the clock struck midnight, much of New Haven’s wish list was left behind, with a big exception: It now appears the city will get its hands on 15 pieces of long-neglected state-owned properties.

A “conveyance” bill to make that happen passed both the state House and Representatives and Senate as the legislature raced Wednesday night toward the midnight end of its regular annual session. Now the bill just needs the signature of the governor to become law.

Bills that legislators and advocates have worked on for months live or die amid of a flurry of votes in those last hours of the session. The biggest issue in Hartford — passage of a new two-year budget — remains on the table, to be dealt with in a special session. That’s not looking pretty.

The conveyance bill would transfer 15 parcels of state-owned property to city control: one parcel at 25 Kendall St. for fair market value and the rest for “cost equal to the administrative costs.”

In addition to the parcel on Kendall Street, the rest of the parcels include .45 acre at 41 Dwight St.; .088 acre at 999 Ella T Grasso Boulevard; .45 acre and is identified as 283 Legion Ave.; .13 acre at 786 Legion Ave.; 4.36 acres at 38 Miller St.; .025 acre at 45 Miller St.; .65 acre at 203 Orchard St.; .34 acre at 41 Sherman Ave.; .15 acre at 7 Waverly St.; .29 acre on Fayette St.; 1 acre on Orchard Street; .05 at 16 Rosette St.; .07 acre at 18 Rosette St.  and .195 acre at 195 Derby Ave.

With the exception of the Kendall Street property, the parcels are to be used for open space.

The city and state had been at odds over the matter, the city claiming that the state’s neglect was blighting neighborhoods.  (Click here for a background story on the controversy.) The two sides reached agreement on the matter as part of a broader deal announced Wednesday about the future of Union Station. (Click here to read about that.)

That was probably the highlight Wednesday night for bills backed by New Haven lawmakers, several of which died when the clock struck midnight and the 2017 regular legislative session adjourned, including a bill that would have started the process of the legislature moving forward on early voting and a bill that would have provided stronger penalties for police officers found to have used excessive force.

Senate Pro Tem Marty Looney of New Haven counted consumer protections on pharmacy sales and insurance practices and a bill that reforms the pretrial bail system as among the big bipartisan wins for the session, along with the Union Station deal the city was able to work out with Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes.

Looney said he would have liked to have seen his colleagues move forward with bills to legalize marijuana and require employers to provide paid family and medical leave.

“That is still an issue for the budget,” Looney said of the marijuana legalization bills. He said the budget special session will take place before the current fiscal year ends June 30. “I’ve been around long enough to know that what you don’t do in one session comes back in another.”

Police Opposition Kills Misconduct Bill

Another bill important to New Haven legislators — to create stiffer penalties for officers who use excessive force — failed to make it past the finish line this year.

Backer State Rep. Robyn Porter of New Haven said she worked with opponents of the bill, but knew it was dead earlier this week after it was debated Monday night and then tabled.

She said opponents—led by the police and police chief’s associations in the state, and individual police unions from suburban departments—objected to nearly every part of her bill, from the title on down to who would be appointed to a study group to develop model practices. The opponents claimed the bill punished accused cops by placing them on unpaid leave and requiring too quick a turnaround on independent outside investigations of misconduct.

Supporters of the bill disagreed but agreed to compromises that still failed to win the day, given the Democrats’ slim 79-72 House majority. House Republicans were uniformly opposed the to bill, Democrat Porter said.

Vulnerable Democrats like State Rep. Liz Linehan, who represents Cheshire, Southington and Wallingford, credited Porter with getting the bill to address the concerns that police from her community raised. She said she was prepared to vote and support the final version of that bill despite a great deal of pressure not to do so.

“It was very difficult getting all the moving players together, and she did it so wonderfully and she came out with a piece of legislation that was able to address the concerns of so many different parties which is incredibly difficult to do up here,” Linehan said. “She did it wonderfully and I’m proud to have worked with her on that.”

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, who represents Berlin and Southington, had similar praise for Porter’s work to get a compromise bill that more people could support. But at the end of the day, the votes were not there.

“It’s a tough issue,” he said. “It’s one of those things where everyone understood the problem, but as with everything else, finding a solution that works for everybody is hard. I wanted to bring it to the floor for a debate. I was proud of my entire caucus that spoke on it and I’ve committed to the officers and to [the caucus] that we’re going to work on it in the off-season.”

Porter said she believes that her colleagues were intimidated by police representatives who she said would tell her to her face that they could support the bill if she made certain changes while simultaneously spreading misinformation about what the bill did. (Attempts to reach the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association and a lobbyist for the Police Officers Association of Connecticut for comment were unsuccessful.)

“The thing that upsets me is that I’ve had people say that they have an issue with the title of the bill which is an act concerning police misconduct but that was the impetus for the bill,” she said. “This bill was born out of incidents that happened in Waterbury with the 18-year-old kid who got shot and, thank God, didn’t die, the 15-year-old Jayson Negron who got shot and killed in Bridgeport and laid out in the street for almost seven hours.

“It’s always been, ‘This isn’t happening in Connecticut. This is not Ferguson, this is not New York,’” she added. “But now it’s happening in Connecticut. This has been an effort on my part to get in front of a Ferguson. To stop something like this from happening because people on the street they’re upset.”

She said she was frustrated and disappointed by the behavior of police representatives from communities that don’t have the same trust problems that police in urban center’s like New Haven have to deal with daily. But she said she doesn’t plan to give up.

“This bill was about police accountability and police transparency, and giving administrators the power and the information they need to either discipline or terminate officers to correct the bad actions,” she said. The reporting piece [alone] is important. Shouldn’t we know when officers are using excessive force in this state? Shouldn’t we know when people die in the custody of cops?”


Following is a status report on bills of particular interest to New Haven before the state legislature this session:

The 2017 Agenda

Bill #StatusSummarySponsors
SB11/ HB5539Committee DeniedWould legalize, tax recreational use of marijuana.Candelaria
Dillon
Lemar
Walker
Porter
et al
SB 17Committee ApprovedWould make certain undocumented immigrant students (DREAMers) eligible for state college financial aid.Looney
HB 5434Committee ApprovedWould have CT join with other states to elect the President based on popular, rather than Electoral College, vote.Winfield,
Porter
Albis
Elliott
D'Agostino
et al.
HB 5458, HB 6058Committee ApprovedWould establish electronic tolls on state highways.Genga
HB 5575/HB 7126Passed SenateWould regulate companies such as Uber and Lyft.Scanlon
HB 5589Passed HouseWould expand disclosure requirements for contributions to campaign funds.Dillon
Lemar
D'Agostino
Elliott
et al.
HB 5591Passed HouseWould require equal pay for employees doing comparable work.Dillon
Walker
Lemar
Albis
D'Agostino
Elliott
et al.
HB 5703Committee DeniedWould have CT enter into an agreement with other states to limit "poaching" of each other's businesses.Lemar
HJ 13/HJr 95Passed HouseWould amend the state constitution to permit early voting.Lemar
HJ 16In CommiteeWould amend the state constitution to permit absentee voting for all voters.Lemar
SB 1/HB 6212Committee ApprovedWould require employers to provide paid family and medical leave for their employees.Looney
SB 2Committee ApprovedWould make the education funding formula more equitable.Duff
SB 8Committee DeniedWould allow municipalities to adopt a 0.5% sales tax.Looney
SB 10/HB 5743Passed SenateWould strengthen hate crime laws.Winfield
SB 13/HB 6208/HB 6456Committee ApprovedWould increase the minimum wage.Looney
Winfield
et al.
Albis
Candelaria
D'Agostino
Elliott
Lemar
Paolillo
Porter
Walker
SB 137Committee DeniedWould expand birth-to-three and provide universal pre-school, among other things.Gerratana
SJ 5/HJ 1Passed HouseWould amend the state constitution to create a "lock-box" for transportation funding.Duff
HB 5588Committee DeniedWould limit certain bond allocations.Dillon
Lemar
Albis
Walker
Elliott
et al.
HB 5912HB 6127Committee DeniedWould establish a 1-cent/ounce tax on sugared beverages.Lemar
Elliott
et al.
HB 6554Committee DeniedWould tax carried interest as ordinary income.Porter
Albis
Lemar
Elliott
Winfield
Candelaria
Dillon
D'Agostino
et al.
HB 5831Committee DeniedWould provide bonding for transitional housing for NH female ex- offenders.Porter
Candelaria
Lemar
Winfield
Looney
Paolillo
SB 631Committee DeniedWould provide bonding to make structural improvements to the Shubert Theatre.Winfield
Looney
Walker
Porter
Lemar
Candelaria
Paolillo
HB 6863Committee DeniedWould authorize bonds for renovating the Barbell Club as a youth/ community center.Canelaria
Porter
Paolillo
Lemar
Winfield
SB 649Committee ApprovedWould allow local building officials to impose fines for building w/o a permit.Looney
Winfield
Walker
Candelaria
Lemar
Porter
Paolillo
Et al.
SB 590/591Committee DeniedWould limit police ccoperation w/Immigration and Customs Enforcement (590); establish an immigrant's bill of rightsWinfield
SB 20Committee DeniedWould require affordability to be considered in reviewing proposed health insurance rate hikes.Looney
HB 6352Committee ApprovedWould establish a deposit system for car tires.Ritter
Gresko
McCrory
HB 6901Committee DeniedWould impose a surtax on large employers that pay an average wage less than $15/hour.Elliott
HB 7278Passed SenateWould convey various parcels to New Haven, among other things.Gov't Administration and Elections

Tags: , , , ,

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry

Comments

posted by: Inside 165 on June 8, 2017  4:31pm

Robin Porter tries to imply that suburban police only were against it. Well Robin the cops from New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport too were against your anti police racist bill.  Cops aren’t dumb and you can’t hide your true intentions. 

BTW do yourself a favor and stop using Ferguson as some metric. Michael Brown robbed and assaulted a shop owner and assaulted and tried to take the gun from a police officer. His hands weren’t up and he was justifiably shot by the police.  Read the Eric Holder justice department report and watch the videos of browns conduct. There have been folks, black and white, that I feel didn’t warrant the cops using deadly force against but a societal menace like Brown wasn’t one of them. It’s sad the black community lacks real leadership and has performers like Porter who would rather crush them under the weight of victimhood and excuses instead of lifting them up with accountability that would lead to opportunity.  Guess what the bill won’t make it next year either.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on June 8, 2017  4:43pm

So they’re all going to be open spaces? Like community gardens or… ?

posted by: robn on June 8, 2017  7:46pm

NHV Legislators, “we’d like tens of millions of dollars of extra state aid please.”

Legislature, “Ok, but how about if we give you 15 worthless properties (for a modest fee) and then talk about that other stuff later?”

NHV Legislators, “yaaaaaay! Look at meeeee!”

posted by: Massimo on June 9, 2017  7:17am

The police are caught between Scylla and Charybdis:  when they respond with force, they are accused of brutality aimed at minorities.  If they ease up their force, they are accused of not caring about the minority communities.  Same thing happens in urban public schools.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 9, 2017  8:46am

I will say it again.The donkey and the elephant symbols of the two dominant political parties are tied at the hip.They are the problem.People wake up.We must put the donkey and the elephant on a raft and push them out to sea.This is the only way we the people will win.

posted by: RobotShlomo on June 9, 2017  12:03pm

@THREEFIFTHS

I’d love see a movement like the Labour Party in the U.S. Issue a manifesto that says “this is what we’re about, this is who we represent, and this is our platform”. But we all know that word “socialism” freaks people out.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 9, 2017  2:20pm

posted by: RobotShlomo on June 9, 2017 1:03pm

@THREEFIFTHS

I’d love see a movement like the Labour Party in the U.S. Issue a manifesto that says “this is what we’re about, this is who we represent, and this is our platform”. But we all know that word “socialism” freaks people out

How true.