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Showing posts with label LEGISLATIVE ALERT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LEGISLATIVE ALERT. Show all posts

Sunday, March 5, 2017

CT FATHER'S POWER ADVOCATES SKETCH OUT A LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE TO CRUSH MOTHERS IN CT FAMILY COURT!

The Commander, "The Handmaiden's Tale"
The way Fathers in CT want things to be!
In Margaret Atwood's dystopic novel "The Handmaiden's Tale", a series which airs soon on Hulu, women have been reduced to baby making machines in a society where men have seized full political control  of the entire United States.  Impossible?  Unlikely?  Don't be so sure.

"Handmaidens" whose sole purpose is to give birth
in Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaiden's Tale"
Recently, I was at the Legislative Office Building with some friends when a person showed me current 2017 legislative proposals, which, appallingly enough, sketch out a strategic plan that will essentially crush mothers in Family Court and lead to a situation where men seize control of family court processes and essentially remove mothers from the lives of their children in droves. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

THE CONNECTICUT JUNKIE REPORTS ON STUDY REGARDING FAMILY VIOLENCE IN CT!

Elizabeth Regan of The CT Junkie reports as follows:
"The authors of a study told lawmakers Monday that family violence is “no different than other contagious diseases.” 
The 165-page report by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, titled “Addressing Family Violence in Connecticut: Strategies, Tactics and Policies,” was commissioned by the legislature’s Public Health Committee in 2014. It was released in June with numerous recommendations based on findings that most efforts to reduce family violence haven’t produced measurable benefits. 
“Family violence tends to be passed on as a negative contagion within the family from one generation to the next and it is pervasive,” the study said. “The side effects include numerous behavioral health problems including drug use, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and illegal behavior, among others...”
READ MORE:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

OLR ANALYSIS OF BILL HB 6849: AN ACT STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING!

OLR Bill Analysis
HB 6849 (as amended by House "A")* 
AN ACT STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING. 
SUMMARY:
This bill makes numerous changes to the statutes related to human trafficking. It:
1. expands the crime of human trafficking by broadening the conditions under which the crime is committed when the victim is a minor (under age 18);
2. requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to provide victims of human trafficking the same services it must provide certain sexual assault victims under existing law;
3. allows the Office of Victims Services (OVS), under certain circumstances, to waive the time limitation on crime victim compensation applications for minors who are victims of human trafficking;
4. expands the conditions under which a court may erase a juvenile's record;
5. expands the list of crimes, including human trafficking, for which wiretapping is authorized; and
6. increases, from 21 to 23, the membership of the Trafficking in Persons Council (see BACKGROUND).
The bill also makes technical and conforming changes.
*House Amendment “A” specifies that human trafficking of a minor involves sexual contact that constitutes prostitution or other criminal offenses for which the third party could be charged. 
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015
HUMAN TRAFFICKING
§ 4 — Elements of the Crime of Human Trafficking
The bill expands the crime of human trafficking by broadening the conditions under which the crime is committed when the victim is a minor. 
Under current law, a person commits human trafficking when he or she: 
1. compels or induces a person, regardless of age, to (a) engage in conduct involving more than one occurrence of sexual contact with one or more third persons or (b) provide labor or services that he or she has a legal right to refrain from providing and
2. does so through coercion, fraud, or use or threatened use of force against the person or a third person.
Under the bill, the crime of human trafficking is committed against a minor when the offender compels or induces a minor to engage in conduct involving more than one occurrence of sexual contact with one or more third persons that constitutes (1) prostitution or (2) sexual contact for which the third person may be charged with a criminal offense. By law, “sexual contact” is any contact with another person's intimate parts.
By law, human trafficking is a class B felony, punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years with a one year minimum, fines up to $15,000, or both. Human trafficking of a minor is also a class B felony under the bill.
§ 1 — DPH Services to Trafficking Victims
The bill requires DPH to provide victims of human trafficking the same services it must provide under existing law to certain sexual assault victims and victims of injury, risk of injury, or impairing morals of children. The services DPH must provide to such victims are:
1. counseling regarding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome, 
2. HIV-related testing, and 
3. referral service for appropriate health care and support services. 
The law requires DPH to provide such services (1) whether or not anyone is convicted or adjudicated delinquent for the violation and (2) through counseling and testing sites the department funds.
§ 6 — Crime Victim Compensation
By law, crime victims (including those who suffer pecuniary loss as a result of the victim's injury) may generally be considered for crime victim compensation if they apply within two years after the date of personal injury or death from a qualifying incident or crime and report the crime to the police either within five days after it occurs or within five days after a report reasonably could have been made. The maximum awards are $15,000 for personal injuries and $25,000 for death.
The bill allows OVS to waive the time limitation on crime victim compensation applications for a minor who is a victim of human trafficking, if OVS finds that the minor is not at fault for not applying on time.
§ 3 — Erasure of Police and Court Records
The bill expands the conditions under which a court may erase a juvenile's record. 
By law, a child or his or her parent may petition the Superior Court to have the child's record erased for (1) a delinquency conviction, (2) an adjudication as a member of a family with service needs (FWSN) (see BACKGROUND), or (3) admitting to committing a delinquent act. Under current law, for the court to erase a juvenile's record, the following conditions must exist:
1. at least two years (four years for a serious juvenile offense) must have elapsed since the child was discharged from the supervision of the Superior Court or from the custody of the Department of Children and Families or any other agency or institution,
2. no subsequent juvenile proceeding or adult criminal proceeding is pending against the child,
3. the child has not been convicted of a delinquent act that would constitute a felony or misdemeanor if committed by an adult during the two- or four-year period,
4. the child has not been convicted as an adult of a felony or misdemeanor during this period, and
5. the child has reached adulthood. 
Under the bill, the court may also erase the record if it finds that the child has a criminal record as a result of being a victim of human trafficking.
§ 5 — Wiretapping
The bill adds aggravated sexual assault of a minor, enticing a minor, human trafficking, and obscenity concerning minors to the list of crimes for which wiretapping is authorized. 
Under current law, wiretaps are authorized for the crimes of gambling, bribery, racketeering, manufacturing and selling narcotics or hallucinogens, felonies involving violence, unlawful or threatened use of physical force, or violence committed with intent to intimidate or coerce the civilian population or a government unit.
§ 2 — Trafficking in Persons Council
The bill increases, from 21 to 23, the membership of the Trafficking in Persons Council by increasing, from one to three, the public members appointed by the Governor (see BACKGROUND). Under current law, he appoints a representative from Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. The bill requires the governor to appoint two additional public members, one each representing (1) victims of commercial exploitation of children and (2) child sex trafficking victims.
BACKGROUND
Family with Service Needs (FWSN)
A family with service needs is a family that includes a child who is at least age seven and under age 18 and who (1) has, without just cause, run away from home; (2) is beyond the control of his or her parent or other guardian; (3) has engaged in indecent or immoral conduct; (4) is truant or habitually truant or who, while in school, continuously and overtly defies school rules and regulations; or (5) is age 13 or older and is sexually active with someone who is at least age 13 but under age 16.
Trafficking in Person Council 
By law, the council must (1) identify criteria for providing services to trafficking victims and (2) consult with governmental and nongovernmental organizations to develop recommendations to strengthen state and local efforts to prevent trafficking, protect and assist victims of trafficking, and prosecute traffickers. The council must meet three times per year (CGS § 46b-146).
COMMITTEE ACTION
Judiciary Committee
Joint Favorable



43
Yea
Nay
0
(04/06/2015)

CT-N POSTS VIDEO OF GOVERNOR MALLOY BILL SIGNING CEREMONY FOR LEGISLATION TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC SEX TRAFFICKING!

Monday, April 13, 2015

CTNOW REPORTS H.B. 5505 AND 44 OTHER BILLS ARE IN LIMBO AS REP. GONZALEZ EMAIL ALLEGED TO BE SOURCE OF FILIBUSTER!

Christopher Keating of CTNOW reports as follows:



A clash over a legislator's email caused the failure of 45 bills Monday at the judiciary committee as Republicans and Democrats squared off as the committee faced an important deadline at 5 p.m.
The clash led to the failure of all bills on the agenda as Republicans staged a filibuster that lasted until the deadline.
The two sides disagreed on some substantive issues, but the dispute was a spillover from Friday between state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, a Hartford Democrat, and Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, a Naugatuck Republican who serves as the ranking House member, officials said. Gonzalez and Rebimbas clashed publicly during a long hearing Friday regarding the confirmation of Connecticut State Supreme Court Chief Justice Chase Rogers.
But both Republicans and Democrats said the dispute continued following an email that Gonzalez sent Saturday that was copied to numerous legislators, including Rebimbas herself. At least 25 people - both Republicans and Democrats - had seen the email by Monday, based on the email trail.
The original email was written to a non-legislator who has concerns about the longrunning controversy over guardians ad litem, which are mentioned by Gonzalez as GAL. The guardians are often appointed in contentious divorce cases involving the care and custody of minor children.
The email by Gonzalez, obtained by Capitol Watch, is as follows:
"Do not waist your valuable time with people like Rep Ribimbas.She is an atty and also a GAL,she is fighting for her pocket not for the people like you and others the are suffering .She is cold with no heart.All she did on Friday was kissing the judges back and attacking another Rep and calling you a liar.not professional .people that were watching knows what a brown nose she is.she didn't look good but she think  she was awesome,Dianne always remember that every pig has 
his Saturday .ps Ribimbas I hope y enjoy 
VIDEO TESTIMONY ABOUT  5505 king another Rep and insulting you. She think that she did good

Sent from my iPhone Minnie González''
The mention of 5505 by Gonzalez refers to House Bill 5505, which advocates are pushing in an attempt to make changes to the family court system on issues such as supervised visitation in contentious child custody cases.
House Republican leader Themis Klarides, who was clearly frustrated by the developments, declined to comment on the email.
"I don't want to talk about it,'' Klarides told Capitol Watch outside the meeting room.
Gonzalez sent a second email on Monday that said, "Dear Representative Rebimbas,
"On Saturday, my emotions got the better of me on an issue that I, and my constituents, care deeply about. It was inappropriate for me to include other people in an email that should have remained between us, and for that I apologize.''
But Sen. John Kissel, the longtime ranking senator on the committee, said the second email "really wasn't an apology.''
Kissel said that Republicans had sought "a simple apology'' that never materialized over the course of the day and led to the filibuster. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

RESPONSE TO SENATOR KISSEL'S FALSE ALLEGATION THAT COALITION MEMBERS POSTED PERSONAL AND PRIVATE INFORMATION REGARDING JUDGES AND THEIR FAMILIES ON FACEBOOK AND SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES!

During the session on February 26, 2014, which I posted recently on this blog, Senator Kissel made an allegation which he attributed to Judge Patrick Carroll that Coalition members posted personal and private information regarding Judges and their families on facebook and other social media websites. 
 
As a member of the Coalition, I am offended that this false allegation made its way into the public discussion regarding the reappointment of Judge Olear, skewing the outcome of the Senate vote.  This is exactly the kind of situation victims of family court have reported on frequently, i.e. situations where one or the other party makes false allegations which the court takes as the truth without verifying the facts properly.  The end result is considerable harm and damage to the injured party. 
 
In a public debate in the Senate, no Senator should make public statements about a group of people which is untrue.
 
When I reported on this situation to other activists, I received the following response from one contributor.  While I do not endorse all of this person's sentiments, I do consider the anger and indignation that underlies them quite justifiable. 
 
See below:

"all is fair game.....if the judges are going to be self appointed rulers and act on their own beliefs, prejudices etc, not on the rule of law then it is open season on anything in the life of the judge.  if you read the writings of Justice Anthony Scalia of Scotus, he tells you to find out everything there is to know about a judge.....everything....might as well follow his advice......his address is known, his kids are known, he knows this....it is part of being a judge....of course he is a pretty amazing judge....the trash we have in connecticut needs to be taken to the dump.....might as well make a webpage on every family court judge, describe everything about them, their childhoods, their own divorces, their own personal misconducts, their failures to uphold law.....everything.....this is what makes a society civilized........only way to clean up the failed judiciary is to expose the judges for the crooks, fools, and clowns that they really are......no one forced them to sit on the bench and destroy people's lives, destroy children, steal money and ignore the constitution."

As a person who writes a blog on the CT Family Court system, I receive emails every day about the tragic injustices that occur in family court where lives are destroyed daily by evil, corrupt judges who appoint GALs who exploit and take advantage of family court victims both financially and emotionally and drive them to despair. 

Does this contributor's remarks appear shocking to you? 

They are no more shocking that the cruel and harsh reality of the injustice and wrongdoing which is the standard in Family Courtrooms throughout Connecticut.

We need reform today.  We cannot wait.

CT STATE SENATE, FEBRUARY 26, 2014 SESSION, WRITTEN SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS!

THIS JUST IN FROM A CONTRIBUTOR:

SENATE DEBATE

2:07:29:  Court Clerk calls the O'Lear renomination matter
 
2:07:43:  Sen. Coleman recuses himself per Senate Rule 15
 
2:07:55:  Sen. Doyle:  voting yes; but noting concerns about large GAL fees and the family law system; stating such concerns need to be addressed by the legislature; stating that Judge O'Lear got "excellent" ratings in evals by Judicial Branch.
 
2:13:30:  Sen. Kissel:  voting yes; citing advice of Atty Frank Santi; noting high cost of divorce litigation; citing his role in creation of GAL program; stating it worked for 20 yrs, but now "a handful of GALs have used this as a cottage industry,"; he views bad GALs as a minority not a systemic problem; noting litigants were threatened with jail for refusing or being unable to pay GAL bills;
 
2:18:05:  Sen. Kissel (continuing) cited Chief Admin. Judge Carroll for the position that citizens have been putting judges personal info on FaceBook and/or the internet; distinguishing b/w proper and improper protests.  Stating it takes a lot for him to oppose a judge, saying he cannot remember the last time he voted against a judge. [Ed.:  I am not aware of any such activities.]
 
2:21:50:  Sen Kissel (continuing):  stating that while he supports the judge, he understands the need to reform family court and committing to address it this session.
 
2:22:30:  Sen. Fasano:  explaining he had a friend & constituent who spent "well over $300k" just on GAL & AMC fees, saying "that's crazy, that's ludicrous, that's insane".  He notes the criticism of the judges, but he says it's the fault of the legislature and the Bar Assoc.  Says the "system is out of control."  He notes how "everybody knows each other and everybody's friendly with each other."  He says the issue has boiled over over the last 2 years.  Says the judge is just following the law.  [Ed.: Sen. Fasano seems unaware that most operative "law" in this area consists of judge-created rules and immunities for divorce industry operatives from other laws.]  Criticizes the failure of the Bar Assoc to address this.  Reform "is going to be in our front door this session."  "If people won't regulate their own system, then we will."
 
2:27:10:  Sen. Fasano (continuing):  Says citizens should not be putting judges pictures & salary and family info & derogatory comments about judges on FaceBook.  [Ed.:  I am not aware of ANY such situations.]  Criticizes protestors for failing to control how they express their concerns.  "If they are listening to this, tone it down because we get the message."
 
2:28:44:  Sen. Witkos:  Notes that only recently has legislature started to address concerns about family court issues, including GAL fees and being denied access to their kids.  Cites mental health issues among constituents, including one whose ex was bipolar.  His GAL bills are "almost $100k."  But he lost his house in part b/c of GAL fees.  Says "GALs don't even know who they are representing."  Notes judges have power to remove bad GALs, but they refuse to do that.  Notes how divorce industry operatives know each other.  But states they have to deal with the judges. Notes parents "are going back to court every single day, and their bills are getting larger and larger and larger. And there is one person in that courtroom who can stop that from happening.  And that's the judge.  And in my opinion they are allowing it to continue."
 
2:32:10:  Sen. Welch (voting no):  Fears the discussion has become about GAL issues rather than the judge.  Notes that "too often judicial nominees get rubber-stamped by the legislative bodies" and deserve better performance reviews.  He expresses concerns about a couple incidences in which Judge O'Lear's decisions, which he found surprising, were reversed. 
 
2:34:05:  Clerk calls Roll Call and opens voting.
 
2:37:13:  Voting closed.  Resolution passes 28 yea, 4 nay; 3 absent & not voting).

CT STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEBRUARY 26, 2014 SESSION!

THIS JUST IN FROM A DIC CONTRIBUTOR:
 
On February 26, 2014, the CT House & Senate voted on the reappointment of several judges, including Judge Leslie O'Lear, whose reappointment was opposed by many parents who had appeared before her.  While Judge O'Lear's reappointment was eventually approved, the legislators engaged in serious discussion about the abuses in and need for reform of CT's family law system.

To aid those who wish to view the discussions, I've compiled the start and end times below.   I also saw live, and hope to index at some point, some of the Senate debate.

HOUSE DEBATE

Here's the link to the CT-N video of yesterday's House Session:

 http://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=9979.

The discussion of O'Lear's appointment starts at about 1:10.

Minnie Gonzalez's speech starts at 1:17 (voting no; very impassioned).

Rep. Carter speaks at 1:24 (voting no).

Rep. Candelaria at 1:26 (voting no).

Rep. O'Dea at 1:27 (voting yes, but says O'Lear "needs help with her demeanor"; understands GAL process needs to be improved).

Rep. Vargas at 1:30:49 (voting no; very impassioned; WOW).

Rep. Kokorudo 1:40:50 (voting no).

Rep. Gonzalez: 1:42:15 (second time speaking; very, very impassioned; WOW).

Rep. Fox 1:47:15 (voting yes).

Rep. Vargas 1:50:24 (second time speaking, rebutting Rep. Fox).

Picture of parents protesting O'Lear (during Rep. Vargas's second turn speaking): 1:53:30.

Debate ends; voting opens:  1:55.

Voting ends:  1:59:45

Tally announced:  2:00:00  (the House approves Judge O'Lear's renomination 78-67, with 5 absent & not voting).

 

CT STATE SENATE, FEBRUARY 26, 2014 SESSION

LIST OF CT STATE REPRESENTATIVES WHO DECIDED TO VOTE FOR A CORRUPT, ABUSIVE JUDGE--JUDGE OLEAR!

ABERCROMBIE
ALBIS
ALTOBELLO
ARCONTI
ARESIMOWICZ
BARAM
BECKER, B.
DARGAN
DAVIS
DEMICCO
ESPOSITO
FLEXER
FOX, D.
FOX, G
GENGA
GENTILE
GROGINS
HADDAD
HENNESSY
JANOWSKI
JOHNSON
JUTILA
KINER
LUXENBERG
MARONEY
MEGNA
MORIN
MOUKAWSHER
MUSHINSKY
NAFIS
RILEY
RITTER, M.
ROSE
SEAR
SERRA
TONG
VERRENGIA
VICINO
WIDLITZ
WRIGHT, C.
WRIGHT, E.
LABRIOLA
LAVIELLE
MINER
ODEA
O'NEILL
PERILLO
REBIMBAS
SAWYER
SCRIBNER
SHABAN
SMITH
WALKO
WILLIAMS
WOOD
ZUPKUS
ADINOLFI
ACKERT
BELSITO
BUCK-TAYLOR
CAFERO
CANDELORA, V.
CAMILLO
CARPINO
CASE
FLOREN
D'AMELIO
FREY
KLARIDES
SHARKEY (SPKR)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

MORE FOOT DRAGGING! POSITIONS ON CHILD CUSTODY TASK FORCE STILL UNFILLED!

TASK FORCE TO STUDY CHILD CUSTODY LEGAL DISPUTES MIRED IN DELAY! 
(Substitute House Bill No. 6685)
 
For details of the bill see the following link:

As of the August 27, 2013, membership on the task force on child custody remains incomplete (see below) and no one has done a thing to get it moving forward. 

I can only say this reflects a total disregard for the many suffering and struggling Connecticut Families who are dealing with ongoing custody issues in the corrupt and mismanaged Connecticut family court system. 

Is this more business as usual, emptying litigants pockets to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars and doing nothing in return!  Remember, the task force is supposed to report back on February 1, 2014. 

The Committee is supposed to consist of ten members.  If you look at the list of member positions below, you will see that positions 1, 3, 7, 8, and 9 remain unfilled.  What is the hold up? 
 
Position 1a practicing attorney with significant experience in the handling of child custody matters in state courts
Status:  Unfilled
 
Position 2a practicing attorney with not less than ten years' experience serving as a guardian ad litem or an attorney for the minor child in child custody matters in state courts
Appointed:  Sue Cousineau, Middletown

Position 3a licensed mental health professional with expertise in child custody forensic evaluations
Status:  Unfilled

Position 4an employee of the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department
Appointed:  Joseph DiTunno

Position 5a mental health professional with expertise in working with family systems 
Appointed:  Debralee Hovey, Monroe

Position 6a person with personal or professional experience in matters involving allegations of one parent engaging in a persistent pattern of denigrating the other parent in the presence of a minor child in order to negatively influence the child's perception of the parent and alienate the child's affections for the parent, made in the context of a proceeding involving the custody, care and upbringing of a minor child
Appointed:  Jennifer Verraneault, East Haven

Position 7a member of the Judiciary Committee, appointed by the co-chairs
Status:  Unfilled

Position 8a practicing attorney with significant experience in the ethical obligations involving child custody cases, appointed by the Judiciary co-chairs      
Status:  Unfilled

Position 9a member of the Children's Committee, appointed by co-chairs
Status:  Unfilled

Position 10a person appointed by co-chairs, Children's Committee
Status:  Thomas Weissmuller, Pawcatuck

Friday, June 28, 2013

THE ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY CUSTODY ISSUES IN THE CONNECTICUT COURTS WAS SENT TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SIGNATURE YESTERDAY!

Substitute House Bill No. 6685
Special Act No. 13-24
AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY LEGAL DISPUTES INVOLVING THE CARE AND CUSTODY OF MINOR CHILDREN.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a task force to study (1) the role of a guardian ad litem and the attorney for a minor child in any action involving parenting responsibilities and the custody and care of a child, (2) the extent of noncompliance with the provisions of subdivision (6) of subsection (c) of section 46b-56 of the general statutes and the role of the court in enforcing compliance with said subdivision, and (3) whether the state should adopt a presumption that shared custody is in the best interest of a minor child in any action involving the custody, care and upbringing of a child. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of state statutes applicable to an action involving the custody, care and upbringing of a child, and the costs associated with contested divorce actions, including, but not limited to, expert witness fees and attorneys' fees including the fees of guardians ad litem and attorneys for the minor children. Such study may include recommendations for legislation on matters studied by the task force.
(b) The task force shall consist of the following members:
(1) One appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be a practicing attorney with significant experience in the handling of child custody matters in state courts;
(2) One appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, who shall be a practicing attorney with not less than ten years' experience serving as a guardian ad litem or an attorney for the minor child in child custody matters in state courts;
(3) One appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall be a licensed mental health professional with expertise in child custody forensic evaluations;
(4) One appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, who shall be an employee of the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department;
(5) One appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall be a mental health professional with expertise in working with family systems;
(6) One appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, who shall have personal or professional experience in matters involving allegations of one parent engaging in a persistent pattern of denigrating the other parent in the presence of a minor child in order to negatively influence the child's perception of the parent and alienate the child's affections for the parent, made in the context of a proceeding involving the custody, care and upbringing of a minor child;
(7) Two jointly appointed by the chairpersons of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary, one of whom shall be a member of said joint standing committee, and one of whom shall be a practicing attorney with significant experience in the ethical obligations involving child custody cases; and
(8) Two jointly appointed by the chairpersons of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children, one of whom shall be a member of said joint standing committee.
(c) Any member of the task force appointed under subdivisions (1) to (8), inclusive, of subsection (b) of this section may be a member of the General Assembly.
(d) All appointments to the task force shall be made not later than thirty days after the effective date of this section. Any vacancy shall be filled by the appointing authority.
(e) The speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate shall select the chairpersons of the task force from among the members of the task force. Such chairpersons shall schedule the first meeting of the task force, which shall be held not later than forty-five days after the effective date of this section.
(f) The administrative staff of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary shall serve as administrative staff of the task force.
(g) Not later than February 1, 2014, the task force shall submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. The task force shall terminate on the date that it submits such report or February 1, 2014, whichever is later.

For more information, see the link below:

http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=6685&which_year=2013&SUBMIT1.x=-643&SUBMIT1.y=0&SUBMIT1=Normal

Special thanks to Cheryl Martone for providing this information!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A GUIDE TO YOUR LEGISLATIVE TESTIMONY! COURTESY OF ADVOCACY UNLIMITED!

For guidelines on how to prepare your legislative testimony as well as a few examples, please go to the following link:

http://www.mindlink.org/online_courses/legis_testimony_1.html

My thanks go to Advocacy Unlimited for making this information available.

One point I think it is important to note is that your testimony should only be around 3 to 5 minutes long.

Also, you need to provide an official copy of your testimony to the clerk for the official record of the hearing plus around 50 or 60 copies.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

H.B. 5509 RE CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY IS UNPOPULAR ALL AROUND!

Recently, I posted a blog opposing H.B. 5509, "An Act Concerning the Payment of Alimony and Child Support."  At the time, I found some readers opposing my viewpoint.  However, I now feel justified that I took my particular stand since even woman hating judge of the year, Judge Lynda B. Munro, agrees with me. 

In her testimony opposing the bill which she read before members of the Judiciary Committee on March 19, 2012 she stated, "It would substitute arbitrary guidelines for judges' discretion to fashion alimony orders tailored to the individual cases before them." 

That's just what I said! 

In regard to time limits for alimony Judge Munro states, "The concept that alimony cannot be awarded for more than half the length of the marriage is [arbitrary].  There is no rational connection between the need for alimony and this formula."  It would also, from her analysis, favor those with "capital assets" which I assume means rich people. 

That gives you a feeling for the kind of people who proposed this legislation in the first place! 

In regard to the provision in the bill that allows people to return to trial court for a modification of alimony were the bill passed, even if there is no substantial change in circumstances Judge Munro states, "This will result in a workload increase that cannot be handled under existing resources.  It will create a huge burden on the family court system, including the judges, staff and family services personnel." 

Well, duh! 

As a point in favor of H.B. 5509, I was told how great it is that the State of Massachusetts has passed the equivalent of H.B. 5509.  In response, Judge Munro states, "It appears that this bill is modeled on a law that recently passed in Massachusetts. I would respectfully note that the situation that prompted the legislative change in Massachusetts was very different than what exists in Connecticut.  The Connecticut statute, with its detailed factors to guide judges' discretion, was adopted in 1973 and has worked well.  There simply is no need for such a radical change."

Thank you, Judge Munro. 

Next the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) weighs in with their opinion which is, "Raised Bill 5509 is fraught with hazards for family law in Connecticut too innumerable to exhaustively set forth herein.  Its passage would severely undermine existing laws and decrease the quality of justice that parties could expect in our family courts." 

In regard to changes in the cohabitation statute, the Academy acknowledges what I already stated, which is H.B. 5509 is an unwanted intrusion into the private lives of the recipients of alimony, stating, "The proposed statute would turn cohabitation into an overreaching exploration into the personal lives and new romantic relationships of an alimony recipient (which divorced spouses already need all too little encouragement to do) while the true consideration is a financial one.  That is the focus under the existing statute and it should remain so." 

This is just as I said! 

Another aspect of H.B. 5509, the creation of trust accounts for children is just another grab at control, as the AAML acknowledges, "To require the recipient of child support to essentially have to ask for permission for use of these funds from the payor would undermine the purpose of child support itself." 

So.  Who is left supporting this bill or what idiot would do so?  Our friend, Attorney Mengele Louis Kiefer, that's who!  Why are we not surprised by that? 

What does he say?  He says,  "One of the problems I see repeatedly is alimony payers left with less money, less disposable income, than alimony recipients." 

Really?  That wouldn't be because the alimony payer is only supporting himself while the alimony recipient is paying not only for herself, but also for the five children so that means it costs more to maintain all of them! 

Ok. Duh, again. 

All I can say is, I rest my case.  H.B. 5509 was bad legislation, period.  It didn't pass this year and it never will as long as common sense prevails. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

H.B. 5535 BILL PROVIDES HEALTH INSURANCE FOR WOMEN AFTER DIVORCE! IT'S TIME TO PASS THIS BILL, FOLKS!

I am particularly lucky that my ex-husband lives in a state that has passed legislation requiring that the earning spouse who has health insurance continue to provide that health insurance to the other spouse after divorce at no cost or minimal cost.  Were it not for this legislation, my health insurance payments would be crushing and I simply could not afford health insurance.  This could affect my ability to parent, since if I were in ill health I couldn't function fully in my role as a mother.  Also, it could affect my life span as well as the quality of life that I have remaining. 

We in the State of Connecticut have yet to put this kind of common sense legislation in place even though it has been proposed frequently in the past decade, more recently in H.B. 5535 in March 2012 by Representative Geoff Luxenberg of the 12th district, God bless him!  It is legislation whose time has come.  

The fact that it so essential to the wellbeing of women and children is so self-evident, that I have to call into question the intelligence and integrity of those who oppose it. 

There is a good description of H.B. 5535 on the website of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) here in Connecticut which fully supports such legislation.  It goes as follows: 

"H.B. 5535 would allow the Court to order a party who is insured under a group health insurance policy or plan in the state to maintain health benefits for the benefit of the other party.  This bill is significant for women because they are likely to be covered under their husband's health insurance policy." 

The discussion continues on to explain why such health insurance coverage is important,

"According to a study by the University of Michigan, this is due in part to women's higher likelihood relative to men to work part-time, or in low-wage occupations, non-union settings, or smaller companies.  The study also found that if health insurance coverage is terminated post-divorce it has a long-term impact on a woman's economic and physical health.  Rates of insurance remain depressed for divorced women for two years after their divorce has been finalized.  This means that many women likely delay getting the health care they need due to costs or face significant challenges in paying their medical bills (potentially leading to an increase in medical debt).  PCSW supports efforts to ensure that all women have access to comprehensive health insurance coverage." 

Clearly, providing health insurance is a fairly inexpensive way for an earning spouse to provide thousands of dollars in benefits for a former spouse and ensure the health of that spouse for years to come, which ultimately is beneficial to the interests of the children.  This is why the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) supports this effort. 

So, why hasn't this happened yet?  Why hasn't this legislation been passed when other more enlightened states have already gotten this task done?  Do we have to continue living in the dark ages here?  What the heck is going on that this legislation wasn't passed years ago? 

For one thing, I know that the legal profession here in Connecticut has not gotten behind this bill and, in fact, has previously testified against it.  Well, that's not a surprise, is it? 

Another group that opposes the bill is The Connecticut Association of Health Plans.  Some of the concerns this group presents are understandable.  The costs for premiums could be quite difficult to pay for small employers, those who have 50 or less employees.  But I am sure that could be addressed in some manner such as providing tax breaks for small employers that participate or even excusing them from participation altogether. 

Other concerns that the Association expresses, such as the difficulties of implementing such plans, are really pure fiction.  As I have said, I have coverage from health insurance provided by my spouse and it works out just great.  The fact that the employer paying for this "has little ability to promote or encourage wellness activities" is just amusing.  I'm sure such an employer can promote and encourage wellness activities with me the same way he does with my ex, which is not at all.  But if he does want to, flyers, letters, phone calls, all of that works for me the same as it does for my ex.  I mean, seriously. 

I was shocked to find that Ms. Victoria Veltri of the State Healthcare Advocate's Office spoke against this bill.  Talk about being stabbed in the back!  Hello, Ms. Veltri you are supposed to be advocating FOR us, not AGAINST us. 

In her testimony, Ms. Veltri stated that it could be a former spouse might not wish the subscriber spouse to know where they live.  Well, that's OK.  I am sure there are many ways to deal with that other than not providing essential health care. 

Ms. Veltri also says that the Explanation of Benefits would be sent to the subscriber and not the member receiving the care.  This is simply NOT TRUE.  I receive all the Explanations of Benefits.  

Ms. Veltri also expressed concern that there isn't enough clarity regarding when such coverage would end.  However, Item #1 of the bill states that it would limit the coverage to "The period of time specified in the decree" which gives litigants the opportunity to state exactly how long they want the coverage to last.  If litigants fail to put these specifications in their agreements, I am sure they could return to Superior Court for clarification or come to an agreement outside of Court.  Ultimately, this seems to me to be a very sensible approach because it puts the power to make such a decision in the hands of the Parties themselves.  

There is also the problem of what to do when there are multiple ex spouses.  Would all of them receive coverage? From what I see in the bill, it looks as though they could be, but the Trial Court could could apportion the costs of maintaining such coverage between the parties to the decree. 

Nonetheless, these are minimal concerns and could be addressed quickly by legislators who are disposed to resolve such problems.  What bothers me is that instead of urging these legislators to correct the problems quickly and pass this legislation as soon as possible without delay because the need is so great, Ms. Vetri spoke without real conviction and with little concern for the importance of getting health insurance in place for vulnerable women right now, right away, without any further delay. 

It seems to me that there is no perfect wording to a bill and that the wording in place now pretty much addresses all possible scenarios.  At a certain point, you have to just go with what you have got and trust the common sense, and discretion of the people involved. 

The bottom line, to my way of thinking, is that legislators and state agencies who are basically against this bill because they dislike women but don't have the guts to say so are preventing the passage of this bill by fussbudgeting over nonsense and failing to clean up minor problems in this bill which could be resolve with a bit of straight talk. 

SHAME ON THEM!

Do we seriously have time to wait another year?  Haven't we waited long enough?  Take the time to review this bill at the link below and contact your State Legislator.  Tell him or her that we have waited long enough and the time to pass this bill is NOW.



Friday, May 11, 2012

H.B. 5509 DENIED, BUT THE BATTLE STILL RAGES!

Just so you know, the Judiciary Committee decided not to bring Raised Bill No. 5509 forward for a vote and so it wasn't brought to the full House Or Senate for consideration.

Still, this is no reason to be at ease.  The Connecticut Alimony Reform group and its allies that sponsored the bill won't be resting.  They are continuing to press forward in order to get this bill passed.  In their own words,

"We are hard at work developing the next stages of our strategy."

We also need to be hard at work developing the next stages of OUR strategy!