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Did Early Childhood Bill Fall Victim To Sunday Bow Hunting?

by | Jun 7, 2013 1:32pm
() Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education, Environment, State Budget

Courtesy of CT Voices for Children

In the last-minute crush of legislative business Wednesday, a bill that created the Office of Early Childhood died on the House calendar because, according to Democrats, the Senate refused to pass a bill that would allow Sunday bow hunting. Republicans countered that it was a ridiculous accusation.

According to Democratic lawmakers, House Republicans led by House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero promised to filibuster the bill creating the Office of Early Childhood if the Senate Democrats led by Sen. President Donald Williams didn’t pass the bow hunting bill.

“Republicans killed the early childhood initiative because they linked it to a completely unrelated and obscure issue — Sunday hunting,” Williams said Friday.

Cafero said that’s not entirely accurate. He said you can’t boil the issue down to one bill or another. He said the Democrats wasted time on the last day by trying to sneak language into a bill that moved up the date of when undocumented immigrants could apply for their driver’s licenses. That language was eventually removed, but in the meantime Republicans slowed down debate on the floor killing precious minutes in the final few hours of the session — the only power they have as a minority.

“They can call a bill anytime they want,” Cafero said Friday. “They don’t have to wait until the last day.”

He said he promised to limit debate on the budget implementer to an hour and a half before his legal staff discovered the language regarding the undocumented immigrants. To blame it on Sunday hunting, a bill the Republicans did want, is ridiculous since they’re the majority and control the agenda the entire session, Cafero said.

Holding one bill hostage for another is the sort of thing that happens all the time in the final hours of the legislative session, but this one is unique. The two-year state budget that passed Monday included $127 million in the first year and $232 million in the second year for an office, which technically doesn’t exist.

There’s been discussion about how to proceed to make sure the money and the programs it funds don’t remain in limbo. Williams said they’re looking at accomplishing what needs to be done in immediate future and if it can be done by executive order.

The new office combined all the early childhood programs currently spread throughout four state agencies. It was an initiative proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as part of his budget and it was a measure that had bipartisan support.

“Improving early childhood education has been a priority of the governor’s for some time. We are exploring our options,” Andrew Doba, Malloy’s spokesman, said Friday.

Early childhood advocates were disappointed and concerned about the fate of the new office.

“We’re concerned about the uncertainty the failure to enact this bill creates,” Maggie Adair, executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, said. “We remain committed to the establishment of a comprehensive, coordinated early childhood system that works for children and families.”

The issue needs to be fixed so that services are not disrupted, Adair said.

Williams said they are currently exploring their options and determining whether they can use an executive order and appropriate the funds through one of the existing state agencies. There’s also the option of returning for a special session, or if Malloy vetoes any legislation, a veto session. But Williams said that would be a last resort.

The question Adair has is whether funds can be released and distributed on July 1, 2013, from an Office of Early Childhood that does not legally exist.

An Attorney General’s opinion from 2005  would seem to suggest that appropriating the funds is a legislative function, not an executive function, and could not be done without the approval of the legislature or the Finance Advisory Committee.

“The Governor cannot, on her own, establish new staff positions requiring new taxpayer funds,” then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wrote in his opinion to Williams on an issue involving the establishment of the State Contracting Standards Board by executive order.

In that same opinion Blumenthal wrote that “Legislative action is also necessary to make the Board and other reforms truly effective. As an interim step, reforms by executive order must necessarily be limited in effect.”

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(12) Archived Comments

posted by: Noteworthy | June 7, 2013  2:35pm

Why let a little thing like lack of a law stop Malloy from establishing the early childhood office? He and his Demo buds didn’t think twice about the spending cap and I’m pretty sure that was a law.

posted by: Santa | June 7, 2013  6:39pm

What would be wrong with Sunday hunting?  Especially, bow hunting?  It is time to thin the population of wild animals.  There are too many of them and they are and will continue to cause death of humans and continue to spread disease without thinning out!!!!

posted by: Commuter | June 7, 2013  10:43pm

Really, Noteworthy, enough with the cheap shots.

Also, bow hunting should be called, and passed. There’s a need to reduce the deer population in the absence of natural predators.

posted by: bob8/57 | June 8, 2013  9:26am

bob8/57

When killing things take priority over nurturing kids you know the republicans have been at it again, showing their true, obstructionist, nature.

posted by: NKJ | June 8, 2013  10:25am

Gee, I would think that “Santa” would be more knowledgeable!  What’s wrong with Sunday hunting and what diseases, exactly, do all these overpopulated wild animals spread, pray tell.
Believing that Sunday hunting would reduce the deer population is a real hoax, not only because it is disingenuous, but also fiction.
Disingenuous because deer are managed for MSY, managing only to supply a better and larger “crop” of deer for hunters.
Fiction, because hunting hasn’t, doesn’t and will not reduce deer populations except in the immediate aftermath precisely because deer are managed for MSY.
Furthermore, many hunters expressed a desire for an additional day of hunting (Sunday), because it would have been more convenient for them - it would not have been an additional day, but merely a substitute day for most.
If the DEEP truly managed deer with the intent to lower populations, they would lose revenues from hunting licenses. As it is, hunters are so lazy that they want deer served on a silver platter - hunting in backyards, not having to drive too far, mot having to wait for too long, and not dragging carcasses for distances….
If the DEEP truly wanted an extra day of hunting for those who are serious about Sunday hunting, they should implement a special Sunday license, ensuring added revenues - this would also prove how many really want an extra rather than a substitute day of hunting!

posted by: justsayin | June 8, 2013  11:39am

If this bill is so important, money in the budget and bipartisan support why is it on the floor at the 23 hour? That is the only question that needs to be answered.

posted by: Gregman | June 8, 2013  1:27pm

Commuter wrote that “there’s a need to reduce the deer population in the absence of natural predators.”
Why are there no predators?  As soon as they appear on the scene, they are trapped, hunted down, and killed.
There’d be no need to “thin” deer populations IF they weren’t managed to reproduce at a higher rate to keep hunters satisfied, and practically begging residents to complain about too many deer… perpetuating the vicious cycle.
Read NKJ’s comment about MSY.

posted by: dano860 | June 8, 2013  1:56pm

More kill results in more management. Maintaining the same number of tags while increasing the numbers of days only shifts the period that the hunter chooses to go out.
This was only for bow hunting, the numbers taken by bow are low anyway, not many are skilled enough to do it even though they do.
It may increase some sales to retailers of equipment too. Opening State land for Sunday hunting, even limited to bow, would do little for the majority of hunters today but it may foster new ones for bow hunting. We are only talking about 6 or 8 Sundays.
As far as passing the bill for the"children” the majority of the Senate and the House of Reps is Democrat, they can and do pass the things they really want. Don’t fool yourself, they were told to dog it and let it look like the republicans take the heat.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | June 8, 2013  3:41pm

Hey Folks-

We did get our State Polka though! Great job Hartford!

posted by: dano860 | June 9, 2013  10:14am

Chien, we also got a change to HB 5811. You don’t need a boating certificate to operate an electric powered vessel on an inland body of water that doesn’t allow gas powered vessels or those that have gas powered limits of 10 h.p. or less limits.
This is the type of legislation that they need to work on. It costs nothing and nobody looses.

posted by: NKJ | June 9, 2013  11:00am

In response to dano860, I would like to stress that Sunday bowhunting would have been strictly on private property!
However, once Sundays are open to hunting, and once that door has opened, there’s no guarantee that firearm hunting and state land won’t follow….

posted by: dano860 | June 10, 2013  6:24am

NKJ, correct, I forgot to add that note, thanks.
Adding extra days w/out adding extra tags is just like the booze bill they passed. All it does is stretch the same amount of sales (kills) over a longer period of time. For a majority of liquor stores opening on Sunday is a burden and added expense.
Since it would be only on private land the landowner may request that there permit holders don’t hunt on Sunday. My friends wife and her friends ride their horses through the woods trails on Sunday so he might not allow it based upon that too. He has 155 acres of which 124 are wooded or wet.
The bottom line on this bill was the dogging by the Democrats. They really didn’t care much about it or they would have dealt with it much sooner.