Uphold the governor’s veto of Public Act 18-89

Monday Connecticut’s legislature appears on the verge of enacting a profoundly anti-disability rights, anti-civil rights legislation over Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto. The bill is Public Act 18-89. It permits any teacher to throw a child out of the classroom at any time that the teacher thinks the kid may be dangerous. Any review of the teacher’s unilateral decision will occur after the child is excluded. And, the bill makes the child’s re-entry into the classroom a major challenge.

The classroom safety bill discriminates against the disabled

The Connecticut Association for Public School Superintendents has serious concern over the passage of Public Act 18-89: An Act Concerning Classroom Safety and Disruptive Behavior .  The Act would be an alarming revision to Connecticut’s education laws that would (1) discriminate against and violate the rights of students with disabilities under the IDEA, and (2) expose confidential student information to third parties in violation of federal law. 

Disenfranchising felons from the vote isn’t just wrong; it’s dumb

House Bill 5418, An Act Restoring Electoral Privileges to Felony Convicts Who Are on Parole, already has 31 Democratic co-sponsors but no public Republican support. As the bill nears a vote in the final days of the 2018 General Assembly, this is a mistake for Connecticut’s GOP. Connecticut Republicans need to support HB 5418 because they stand to gain as much as the Democrats do by refranchising parolees in Connecticut.

Unions provide best solution to ending sexual harassment

Unions are one of the best ways for working women and men to end sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. That is because when working people come together in union, they negotiate a contract with just cause language, and a grievance and arbitration process for dealing with conflict with the employer. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, it has become painfully clear that management and people in positions of power have long been able to sexually harass and abuse women with little to no chance of facing any consequences. That’s why I was stunned to see a recent op-ed [Employers are the key to developing workplace harassment solutions] that suggested employers and management were key to solving the problem of sexual harassment.

Without privacy protections, you’ll be giving more than money to CT tolls

Picture your daily commute. Now imagine making that drive with Connecticut’s government tracking where and how fast you are going every time you drive through a toll. In this world, the federal government also sees that information and can use it to pinpoint your location and travel habits. Thousands of detailed scans about your travel habits are kept in a state database, without rules for how the government secures or shares them. If Connecticut lawmakers don’t act soon, this could be reality in our state.

A voting system in which the majority rules

In 48 states, the winner of the state’s popular vote is awarded all of its electoral votes. This is called winner-take-all. According to four lawsuits in four states (two red, two blue), winner-take-all is unconstitutional. It violates the doctrine of one person, one vote, the suits allege. It also disenfranchises everyone who voted for a losing presidential candidate. Plaintiffs want states to adapt what’s called proportional voting. That’s when a state’s electoral votes are awarded according to a candidate’s percentage of its popular vote. But if the plaintiffs prevail, they may not achieve what they say they will.

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.