Task Force Hearings Slated In Newtown

Senator and Minority Leader John McKinney said he and Newtown’s legislative delegation expected at least one public hearing of a special bipartisan task force charged with developing recommendations designed to reduce gun violence, enhance school safety, and increase access to mental health care to be held in Newtown.

That hearing is set for Wednesday, January 30, at 6 pm in Newtown High School.

“The Newtown delegation understood that the voices of the people of Newtown and Sandy Hook so tragically affected by this must be heard by the task force and legislature,” Sen McKinney told The Bee January 23. “The most effective way to do that was to move the legislators to Newtown instead of asking people to come up to Hartford.”

Sen McKinney said the task force idea was introduced by Democratic Senate President Don Williams, and would work in bipartisan fashion with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats serving on the panel.

The legislative delegation, Reps DebraLee Hovey (R-112), Dan Carter (R-2), and Mitch Bolinsky (R-106), are inviting any Newtown residents to also participate in a series of upcoming public hearings on issues related to the tragic Sandy Hook shootings.

Sen McKinney said he thought it was important for the initial three hearings to be held first before the full task force sits to hear input directly from those in Newtown closest to the incidents of 12/14.

During those earlier hearings, which will be conducted by members of the bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety, the public will have an opportunity to weigh in on topics relating to each of the three newly formed subcommittees on school safety, gun control, and mental health.

The School Safety Public Hearing is set for Friday, January 25, at 9:30 am. The Gun Violence Prevention Public Hearing is Monday, January 28, at 10 am, and the Mental Health Public Hearing is at 10 am Tuesday, January 29. All three will be held in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The bipartisan task force unveiled its new website earlier this week at: cga.ct.gov/asaferconnecticut.

The website includes information on the task force’s membership and four scheduled public hearings, as well as a link for submitting online testimony. Testimony can be delivered in person, or e-mailed to asaferconnecticut@cga.ct.gov.

A spokesperson for Sen McKinney said in the first day after the website launched, many individuals had already submitted testimony in writing. As testimony is received in person or by e-mail, it will also be made available for public review on the website.

The website can also be accessed through a link on the Connecticut General Assembly homepage, cga.ct.gov; look for the green ribbon logo on the top right of the page.

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