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Legislatively Speaking
The Grange's legislative year in review
 

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  NOVEMBER 5, 2012 --

The Legislative Committee has been active this year in many aspects.  Right after last session, the committee met to review the resolutions that were acted on during the state session and updated the State Grange Legislative Handbook.  Copies of this handbook were distributed to members of the General Assembly as well to all of the Granges. 

Last spring we held three resolution writing workshops across the state.  The first was held at Litchfield Grange and had a good attendance.  The next two were at Echo Grange and Harmony Grange with less attendance but all who came appreciated the assistance.  We placed a copy of the resolution writing template on our web site or you can obtain one from any Legislative Committee member.

I attended the annual meeting of the Working Land Alliance, which we are in partnership with and Gordon Gibson is a member of their board.  The State Grange received an invitation to attend a press conference at the Capitol in Harford which Gordon and Charles attended.  A group of legislators announced the creation of a new Select Committee on Agriculture.  In March we assisted the Agricultural Committee with their booth for Agricultural Day at the State Capitol.   We sent a letter of support for funding the Promote Risk Management Assessment program run by the University of Connecticut’s Co-Op extension services.

In January I attended the North East Regional Grange Leaders Conference that was held in Connecticut.  The Agricultural and Legislative committees met together during the conference to discuss issues affecting their states.  We decided to set up a North East Regional Facebook page for the Legislative and Agricultural Committees.  With assistance of our Publicity Committee, we set up a page and invited all of the directors to join.

In May four of us traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the National Grange Legislative Fly-In.  National Grange had set up a series of speakers on different bills that National Grange was monitoring.  We were treated to a tour of the Capitol Building then spent time on Capitol Hill meeting with our local Senators and Congressmen on these issues.  We were pleased that we met personally with Representative Joe Courtney of the 2nd district.  The biggest National issue that we have been monitoring is the 2012 Farm Bill.  The previous Farm Bill has now expired with the 2012 bill still stalled in the House.

Gordon Gibson again was our presence at the Capitol in Hartford during the Legislative session.  The Grange testified on two bills.  One was RB84 –An Act Concerning Wood Burning Furnaces which would limit their use.   The other one was HB5410 – An Act Transferring the Conservation Functions of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to the Department of Agriculture.  This was also proposed last year and died in committee.  Both bills did not pass from the committees.

We also followed a few other bills which we felt were of interest to Grange members.  One recommended the labeling of genetically engineered foods.  We also watched a bill which would require criminal history checks for youth camp employees and volunteers.  It also would have required them to be mandated reporters for reporting suspected child abuse.  This would affect Camp Berger.  We already check histories of our camp employees but were not sure about the impact of the mandated reporter section for all volunteers.  This bill was watered down to only mandate the checking and reporting for only Camp Directors.

I would like to thank my committee for their support and commitment to legislative issues affecting rural Connecticut.

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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