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Farmington Senators to Serve on Gun Violence and School Safety Task Force

Legislative leaders appoint members of task force to address gun violence, enhance school safety, and increase mental health care.

Farmington State Sen. Beth Bye and State Sen. Terry Gerratana, both of whom represent Farmington, have been appointed to the Connecticut State Legislature's Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence and Child Safety.

According to a news release, the task force "will explore ways to make Connecticut a safer place for families and children in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown."

Sen. Gerratana, who represents a portion of Farmington as well as New Britain and Berlin is majority whip and co-chairman of the Public Health Committee. Gerratana will serve on the Mental Health Subcommittee of the bipartisan task force.

“Closing the gaps in mental health coverage is, in my opinion, one of the most important issues to tackle this legislative session,” Gerratana said in a statement. “We need to create a statewide network of pediatricians and other professionals who will be able to refer children who need help to those who can provide it. Early action on mental health issues will keep our children safe and healthy. I am honored to receive the opportunity to work on developing such an important piece of legislation.”

Sen. Bye, who is senate chairman of the Higher Education Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Education Committee, will serve on the School Security Subcommittee.

"We have to help ensure that what happened in Newtown doesn’t happen again anywhere in America. I've already put forth several legislative proposals regarding gun safety and mental health, and I look forward to using my knowledge of early education to make informed and significant proposals regarding school safety," Bye said in a prepared statement. "Part of school safety is having sufficient support for students with behavioral or mental health needs."

In a blog post on Patch last week, Bye outlined many of the her legislative priorities regarding gun safety, including restricting the "the sale and possession of any rifle, shotgun or pistol magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds; expanding the definition of an 'assault weapon' under current state law; instituting a 50-percent sales tax on the sale of ammunition and firearms magazines; and several other ammunition-related restrictions."

According to a news release, the bipartisan task force will hold a public hearing focusing on school safety on Jan. 25 at 9:30 a.m., a gun safety hearing on Jan. 28 at 10 a.m., and a hearing on mental health issues Jan. 29 at 10 a.m., all in room 2C at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. A fourth public hearing will be held by the task force at Newtown High School on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. 

Task force subcommittee members include the following: 

Gun Violence:

Sen. Martin Looney, Co-chair

Rep. Craig Miner, Co-chair

Rep. Gerald Fox III

Rep. Stephen Dargan

Rep. Bob Godfrey

Rep. Toni Walker

Rep. Rosa Rebimbas

Rep. Janice Giegler

Rep. Dan Carter

Sen. Eric Coleman

Sen. John Fonfara

Sen. Joan Hartley

Sen. John Kissel

Sen. Scott Frantz

Sen. Tony Guglielmo

Sen. Kevin Witkos

School Safety:

Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, Co-chair

Sen. Toni Boucher, Co-chair

Rep. Roberta Willis

Rep. Patricia Widlitz

Rep. Diana Urban

Rep. Tim Ackert

Rep. Tim LeGeyt

Rep. Whit Betts

Rep. Mitch Bolinsky

Sen. Dante Bartolomeo

Sen. Andrea Stillman

Sen. Beth Bye

Sen. Andrew Maynard

Sen. Art Linares

Sen. Mike McLachlan

Sen. Kevin Witkos 

Mental Health:

Sen. Toni Harp, Co-chair

Rep. Terrie Wood, Co-chair

Rep. Susan Johnson

Rep. Cathy Abercrombie

Rep. Robert Megna

Rep. Betsy Ritter 

Rep. Prasad Srinivasan

Rep. DebraLee Hovey

Sen. Terry Gerratana

Sen. Gayle Slossberg

Sen. Joe Crisco

Sen. Rob Kane

Sen. Kevin Kelly

Sen. Joe Markley

Sen. Jason Welch

LL January 24, 2013 at 01:42 PM
A 50% tax on ammunition us not only ridiculous it also punishes law abiding people who may have guns or just enjoy going to the range and renting the guns there. A 50% tax will not deter events like Sandy Brook from happening - people with death wishes don't care about the bills they leave behind. I do support the other ideas listed but a 50% tax just another way to punish people who have done nothing wrong. And with the amount of people in Farmington with gun permits, Beth should take her constituents into account.
Paul Hawkins January 24, 2013 at 02:11 PM
I'm glad to see that the Mental Illness issue has not been totally been swept under the rug by the Gun Control frenzy that is sweeping many State Houses. However, it seems that the only legislative details continue to be focused on firearms and ammunition. And why is it that every solution from the legislature contains tax increases. I understand that increased control of the citizenry requires expenditures, but where does a 50% tax come from? Pulled out of a hat most likely. How much revenue will a 50% tax generate? Most likely any revenue will go in the State General Fund as many of our other taxes do, never to be seen again, and never to actually help make anyone safer. If increased taxes really make us safer, then I also suggest a 50% tax on knives with blades longer than 4", baseball bats with lengths greater than 28", and Single and Double Bladed Axes and Hatchets. All are lethal in the hands of a mentally unstable person. I suggest our legislators work on solutions that we make a REAL difference and not just come up with whipsaw regulations that look good on the Nightly News.

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