HARTFORD – In emotional back-to-back debates, the Connecticut Senate and House overwhelmingly voted for one of the nation's most comprehensive gun laws Wednesday and Thursday, a long-awaited response to one of the nation's worst mass shootings, the Sandy Hook school massacre.The Democrat-dominated legislature passed the sweeping measure with significant Republican support, a rare bipartisan gesture on a political and cultural issue that has divided America, deadlocked Congress and stymied a president who promised strong action. “I want to tell you how proud I am of you and how proud I am to be a member of this General Assembly,” House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, told his colleagues.“Keeping children safe is not a partisan issue – it's not,”
In anticipation of hiring additional police officers next fiscal year, police officials are starting to plan for the police hiring process, which is a sequence of events required to bring new officers onto the police staff, Police Chief Michael Kehoe told Police Commission members this week.At an April 2 session, Chief Kehoe said that depending upon how the town’s budgeting process for the 2013-14 fiscal year transpires, the police department may hire three or four additional officers. The police department has 45 sworn members, which is its current full complement. It formerly had 47 members, but the authorized number of officers dropped to 45 by attrition during the past several years.
In a 9-3 vote April 3, the Legislative Council moved a budget request of $111,149,825 to an April 23 referendum. If approved the budget would increase spending about 4.7 percent over the current year, while generating a 5.24 percent tax increase according to Town Finance Director Robert Tait.Because of this year’s revaluation, with average property values dropping markedly, an approved budget would bump the current 24.54 mill rate to 33.77. A mill represents one dollar in taxation for every $1,000 in taxable property. The final recommendation is being sent to voters as recommended by the Board of Finance, with no adjustments at the council level. In one of the first items of business, Council Education Committee Chair Kathryn Fetchick moved a $72,095,304 school district spending request to vote. Ms Fetchick said at the committee level, the school’s proposal passed on a 4-2 vote after an amendment to reduce the district request by $350,000 failed.
The Board of Selectmen spent a few minutes April 1 reviewing where the town stands on plans for establishing permanent 12/14 memorials. First Selectman Pat Llodra reviewed several points with Selectman James Gaston; Selectman Will Rodgers was absent.During the brief discussion, Mrs Llodra said the first thing the board needs to do is settle on a charge for the planned commission that will consider many ideas presented since the tragic school shooting. She said once the commission is formed, they will be asked to consider all offers and ideas received, which have already been archived by Newtown’s Cultural Arts Commission.The commission will be expected to engage families of victims, survivors, school staff, and parents, as well as community members. That public input will be received during planned hearings by the panel. Consideration will be given to what Mrs Llodra called “living memorials,” like parks and trails, and will direct the panel to work with town land use officials to determine appropriate public locations for these projects.
A Queen Street resident is urging Police Commission members to have all five of the large speed bumps planned for Queen Street installed there to hold down motorists’ travel speeds as a pedestrian safety measure.
Late last year, the town installed three large speed bumps, known as “speed tables” on the southern section of Queen Street as a speed control measure.
Speaking Wednesday morning, April 3, Mark Barden said that considering where lawmakers stood on enacting strong gun legislation two weeks ago, when family members of victims of 12/14 first met with lawmakers at the State Capitol in Hartford, he feels that the bill on gun violence prevention and children’s safety (Senate Bill 1160) set for a vote by legislators that day, showed that legislators had “done some good work in moving the ball forward.”
Mark and Jackie Barden are the parents of 6-year-old Daniel Barden, who was one of 20 first grade students killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHS) on December 14.
Following discussion of technical issues, Borough Zoning Commission (BZC) members have approved construction projects for the St Rose of Lima Church campus on Church Hill Road.
The BZC granted applicant St Rose Church Group approvals for two projects at the property at 38, 40, 42, and 46 Church Hill Road at a March 20 session, following a public hearing.
State Police are investigating a robbery of the Naugatuck Savings Bank on Main Street South in Southbury before noon, April 3. According to witnesses, a male entered the bank and demanded money from a teller, implying that he had a weapon. The man is described as a white male, about 30 years old and six feet tall. Police are looking for a green Honda that may be associated with the robbery. Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the man. Citizens are asked to call Troop A at 203-267-2200 with information. All calls will be kept confidential.