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Legislatively Speaking
A sounding board for local issues

By Alma Graham, Legislative Director

  DECEMBER 3, 2011 --

We had 51 resolutions submitted by the Granges or committees at this last State Grange session.   This is more that we have seen in quite some time.  These resolutions covered many topics from Grange related to community and state related issues.  

This last year the state budget was a hot topic and this was reflected in the resolutions.  The delegates voted to support saving the two historic ferries that cross the Connecticut River in Rocky Hill and Glastonbury.  They also voted to support continuation of the Connecticut Technical Schools and to continue to support the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station that was threatened in the last budget.  The delegates discussed the sales of invasive species of plants in the state and some safety issues such as the blocking of handicapped entrances and walk times in crosswalks.

In response to tropical storm Irene, the delegates voted to encourage the state to work with utility companies to better prepare for future emergencies.  It was noted that some towns were without emergency 911 services during the power outages of Irene.  This was also apparent with the outages that happened after the October snowstorm.

The delegates voted to allow North Central Pomona to merge with East Central Pomona.  The delegates also approved a state dues increase.  There were many resolutions on Grange processes so the delegates decided to look into revising State Grange by-laws.  There was a resolution to allow Granges to select alternative delegates to State Grange and another to allow use of the Obligation Ceremony.  Both of these resolutions were adopted.

Grangers should also be aware of local issues in their communities.  Many towns just held local elections.  The news reported that turnouts were very poor.  There were many towns that could not get enough people interested in local positions so that many candidates had no competition.  In one town there were two budget related questions on the ballot.  Both of the questions passed, but due to the low voter turnout, both items failed because of the percentage of town voters were not high enough to be a legal vote.  Local elections are just as important as state and national elections.  Local officials are the ones that directly affect your pocketbook.  They set tax rates and determine budgets.  They decide if schools can have a new roof or fire departments can get some new equipment.  Your local boards have a say in the development in your towns through your zoning which could assist with tax revenue.  

Your Grange can become a sounding board for local issues.  Talk about what is happening in your towns at your meetings.  Invite town officials to speak on local projects and invite the public in to meet with the local officials and hear about the projects.  Encourage all to vote.  Not just for the “big ones”, but also for your local elections and budget votes.  The Grange roots have always been deeply involved in political issues.


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