A Filipino-American in Connecticut

Friday was April 13, 2018 — an ordinary day, but my work schedule allowed me to take the commuter train to New York City to pick up my newly issued Filipino passport. Here in Connecticut, as a veteran and now dual citizen, there is one more fight to ensure that the Connecticut Veterans Memorial in Hartford finally recognizes and chisels in the “Philippine-American War” in honor and memory of those who sacrificed their lives in that forgotten, conflict-soaked war long ago at the dawn of the American Century.

Promoting the health of incarcerated women and their children

Imagine giving birth. Lower back searing with pain; muscles internally twisting and seizing with each contraction; hips feel like they’re being slowly dislocated; body rocking to distract from the pain.

Now imagine all of this but in a prison cell, with metal shackles cutting into your body and questionable medical care that may heighten, rather than calm, your anxiety. For many, the word “torture” comes to mind and, for many, it would be unthinkable that this type of treatment is occurring in Connecticut — but it is.

Merrill: The privacy of Connecticut’s voters must be protected

It should come as no surprise that my office is frequently asked to protect voters’ personal information. Voters are aghast when they learn that Connecticut’s voter file contains full address and full dates of birth. They are uniformly against my office sharing this much personal information, but, unlike the DMV, we are required to do so by law. There are plenty of causes for concern: Russian hackers, the growing influence of Big Data, concerns about identity theft, the end of dangerous and abusive relationships, and more…. This is why I am proposing An Act Protecting The Privacy Of Connecticut Voters, which will protect the personal information of Connecticut voters.

Pregnancy resource centers should stop lying to women!

You have a quarter mile left to go and just two minutes until your appointment. You’re in a rush because you had to leave work early and you’re a little nervous. Unsure of where the office is located you’re relieved to see the number so you pull in, park, and start walking quickly toward the medical building. That’s when you notice them, a group of people holding signs seemingly standing in the way of the entrance.

My birth certificate is ‘fake news’

 Like any other adult person in Connecticut who was born in Hartford, I can go to Room 103 at City Hall, pay a fee, and get a certified copy of my birth certificate. I’ve done that.  I have it. There’s only one problem with that government-issued document – it’s not true. One could even go so far as to call it “fake news.”  I was, indeed born, at the date, time, and location listed on my birth certificate.  However, my mom didn’t give birth to me; I wasn’t conceived when my dad’s sperm met my mom’s egg.

On guns and gun violence: ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’

Occasional mass shootings inevitably spark debate to do “something” about gun violence. But we haven’t as a nation done well with curtailing illegal drugs, Opiods, auto deaths, gun suicides and inner city gun deaths – 6,000 plus annually. Second, even if the NRA, gun manufacturers, dealers and importers all vanish tomorrow we’d still have over 300 million guns in circulation. And even if we passed a batch of new laws we’d still have 300 million. That’s more than the entire western world combined. So the sheer numbers of guns are one part of the problem.

Senator, compromise will produce a ‘beautiful’ gun bill

Imagine that.  President Trump has asked Sen. Chris Murphy to work with three reasonable legislators in crafting a “comprehensive” gun bill that is to be “very powerful.” Just a few suggestions to the Connecticut senator as he is one of the most far-left members of Congress. The most important thing is this. You will have to give into negotiations with the other senators. But in doing so you may, just may, give the American people a “beautiful” effective bill that the President will sign into law to keep our schools safe.

Connecticut’s own ‘Second Amendment’

When people debate the legality of gun control legislation, the focus is usually on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.  What many people may not realize, however, is that state constitutions often contain a similar (but not identical) provision.  Thus, article first, § 15 of the Connecticut Constitution provides: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”

Nuzzling muzzles and a dubious entitlement to bear arms

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed (1791, Second Amendment).

I’m no Constitutional scholar nor historian, but I wonder if the wording of the Second Amendment could use a closer look for true intent and historical context. On reading it you will find combined references to citizens’ right to keep and bear arms and a “necessary” militia to protect the “free State.”

The ‘Year of the Woman’ in Connecticut begins now

Across the nation, 2018 is labeled the “Year of the Woman,” given the high volume of women running for elected office. But here in Connecticut, we can’t wait until November to put “the Year of the Woman” to action. Right now is our time to speak out and be heard. Let’s look at the facts: women in Connecticut currently earn 79 cents to every dollar paid to men, slightly below the national average. The wage gap is greater for women of color: black women earn 58 cents and Latina women earn 47 cents to every dollar paid to white men.

We must do more to protect people with IDD from sexual predators

Sexual assault has dominated the news cycle. It is clear that this issue can no longer be ignored. Easy to miss was a recent story about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), who are sexually assaulted at a rate seven times higher than those without disabilities. That’s right – seven times. Truly an epidemic. This is horrifying. Sadly, it does not surprise me.