March 20, 2019

Senator Haskell Votes for Voting Rights, Gun Violence Prevention, Immigration Rights

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) voted for the progression of important legislation through several committees, moving it forward to the House and Senate floors. The pieces of legislation, several of which were introduced by Sen. Haskell, would allow for increased access to voting across Connecticut, put protections in place to prevent gun violence and establish a right to legal representation for immigrants undergoing federal removal proceedings.

The Government Administration & Elections Committee on Wednesday voted to advance several bills that would expand voting rights across Connecticut, including early voting, no-excuse absentee ballots and modernizing our election procedures. Senate Bill No. ___, introduced by Sen. Haskell, would allow voters to request an absentee ballot through a secure portal on the Secretary of State’s website. A second bill would give voters greater opportunity to make their voices heard by bringing early voting to Connecticut.

“As vice-chair of the Government Administration & Elections Committee, I am excited to have the opportunity to vote to advance these bills, which would make democracy more accessible,” said Sen. Haskell. “Given the serious issues we’re tackling in Connecticut, we need more voices engaged and involved in the discussion of public policy. Only 11 states don’t permit early voting, including Connecticut. We also require residents to jump through hoops to vote absentee. In my view, the solution is simple. If people can register to vote online, they should be able to request an absentee ballot online.”

Additionally on Wednesday, Sen. Haskell voted in the Judiciary Committee for several bills designed to reduce and prevent gun violence in Connecticut, moving them closer toward becoming law. Among the legislation approved were bills that would require firearms to be stored in locked safes while kept in homes with children and motor vehicles, require those openly carrying firearms to show permits to police if requested, and ban “ghost guns,” which do not have serial numbers and require homemade assembly.

“This legislation is built to reduce the number of lives tragically lost to gun violence every year across our state,” said Sen. Haskell. “According to Connecticut Against Gun Violence, keeping a gun locked lowers the risk of injury or death of children and teenagers by 73 percent. I applaud the Judiciary Committee for taking these issues seriously and working to keep our state safe. These bills are common sense. They keep firearms in secure locations, ensure gun owners remain responsible and help us fight back against new threats that pose a public safety risk. I’ve heard from families who have lost loved ones due to gun violence who support them. I’ve heard from police chiefs who support them. We must do what we can to save every life we can.”

The Judiciary Committee additionally moved forward legislation that supports the rights of immigrants by giving them access to legal counsel in federal removal proceedings and strengthening standing legislation to protect against overreach by enforcement officers.

“Connecticut’s state motto translates to ‘that which transplants sustains.’ It’s time we live up to that mission statement that recognizes the crucial role that immigrants of all ages play in the social and economic vibrancy of Connecticut,” said Sen. Haskell. “This bill puts protections in place so that immigrants will receive representation when they may be unable to represent themselves, and it closes loopholes in our current laws that can unfairly put these individuals at risk of deportation. I’m proud to live in a compassionate community and am honored today, as I am every day, to bring those values to Hartford.”