Haskell Joins Senate Democrats To Announce “A Just Connecticut” Agenda

Bill proposals aim to reform our criminal justice system, protect consumers, and expand voting rights

Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) joined Senate Democrat leaders including Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven), Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), and other members of the Senate Democratic caucus as they announced “A Just Connecticut,” the second of four legislative agendas for the 2020 legislative session from Senate Democrats. The series of bills outlined the policy proposals from Senate Democrats aim to reform our criminal justice system, protect consumers, and expand voting rights.

Among the several criminal justice and consumer protection reforms announced by the caucus, Sen. Haskell discussed a proposal that would increase public access to absentee ballots by making an online application portal, increasing the accessibility and ease of the voting process. Connecticut currently is only one of 11 states not permitting early voting, and there are strict restrictions on access to absentee ballots. Thousands of people who meet the legal threshold to receive absentee ballots still may not be able to access one due to antiquated processes; this legislation would create a centralized application on state websites.

"When a friend of mine in Virginia applied for an absentee ballot, she simply went online. When I did it here in Connecticut, I had to print a form and mail it to my local Town Hall. The current system for absentee ballot applications in our state is outdated and inconvenient," Sen. Haskell said. "This proposal for an online application platform will go a long way in making sure those who need to vote by absentee ballot can still make their voices heard. It's a small but important step to improve ballot access."

The additional legislative proposals in the “A Just Connecticut” agenda discussed today included:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

More Protections in Family Court
To expand the Civil Gideon pilot program, create a Benchbook for judges, and require proper training based on the Benchbook.

Protecting Victims and Changing Statute of Limitations
To provide an opportunity for victims to pursue justice in civil court for sexual assault through a change in the state’s statute of limitations.

Combating Hate Crimes & Violent Right-Wing Extremism
To finance and create a new department at the Connecticut State Police which will specialize in investigating far right extremist groups and individuals.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Protecting Net Neutrality
To provide state level protections for a free and open internet.

Stopping Deceptive Collections Practices
To expand the prohibitions on deceptive practices to include any unreasonable burden or requirement the creditor would place on the debtor in making payments.

Consumer Privacy Act
To allow for consumers to know what personal data and information is collected by companies and the ability to opt-out of the sale of personal information or to delete their information from the business.

Curbing Scam & Spam Robo Phone Calls
To cut spam and scam robo phone calls, emails and text messages and eliminate the ability for scammers to profit off of consumers.

VOTING RIGHTS

Increasing Access to Absentee Ballots
To streamline voting by allowing online applications for absentee ballots.

Read background information on the proposed legislation here.

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