Board and Commission Transparency

Connecticut is full of boards and commissions, elected and appointed, at the state and municipal levels, which few people know exist, even fewer people understand, and about which there is little timely information online, including descriptions and mission statements, descriptions of board members (and who nominated and approved them), minutes, and agendas of upcoming meetings.

For example, CT New Junkie reports today that the Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board is meeting today at 3:00 pm, and that the meeting is being broadcast on CT-N. The Board’s website has more historical information than those of most boards and commissions, including the language by which it was created, minutes and agendas, and testimony and reports. What it lacks is information about its members (who they are and how they came to be appointed to the Board) and information that would be necessary for any citizen to participate in (or even decide whether to watch) today’s meeting, that is, an agenda for today’s meeting, and the agenda and minutes of the Board’s most recent meeting, in June.

This is an exceptionally important policy area right now. After focusing on the state minimum wage in 2016, the Board is supposed to be considering other ways of helping the unemployed and the underemployed, including job training and workforce development, occupational licensing, reentry workforce programs, barriers to work, benefit cliffs, wage disparities, and State costs to support low-wage earners.

This board, like so many other boards and commissions, should be working hard to ensure full transparency so that citizens can provide their viewpoints and expertise. Those who are affected by this lack of transparency should contact board and commission chairs and administrators, demanding more and more timely transparency.

Join CT League of Women Voters’ Advocacy

The CT League of Women Voters speaks out on issues relating to government, natural resources, and social policy. You (whatever your gender) can get involved in the process and support the League by becoming a 10-Minute Activist. This allows you to assist the League’s Public Issues Team on any of the following issues:

Air Quality
Campaign Finance Reform
Election Laws/Open Government/Ethics
Gun Laws
Health Care
Land Use
Mental Health Care
Reproductive Choice
School Funding
Waste Water

One of the most important issues for the League is the Citizens’ Election Program (CEP). The League has made a three-year commitment to raise awareness of this, Connecticut’s model program for publicly-financed state political campaigns. But the CEP is in trouble.

The Republicans propose killing the Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) altogether, while the Democrats propose keeping CEP but make crippling reductions in CEP funding for the next two years. The fate of CEP will be decided at the Special Session.

100% of current statewide officers and 89% of the Connecticut House and Senate used CEP funding to run their election campaigns. The Citizens’ Election Program comprises .0001% of the state budget and comes from the sale of abandoned property in the state, not from tax dollars.

The League is asking people to contact their state Senator and Representative so that they will speak up for keeping CEP alive and able (financially) to do its job of providing us with transparent state elections and with state legislators and officers free of indebtedness to special interests.

Presentation on the CT League of Women Voters CE Proud Program This Evening in North Haven

The Action Together CT New Haven Women’s Advocacy Group and the North Haven-Wallingford and Spring Glen Progressive Action Networks are co-sponsoring a presentation by Elona Vaisnys about the League of Women Voters’ (LWV) CE Proud program, which seeks to raise awareness of the state’s Citizens’ Election public campaign financing program. Elona is the Chair for the CE Proud program, former co-president and current member and moderator for the local Hamden/North Haven LWV chapter, and an LWV national coach since 2011. This is a great opportunity to learn about the important work of the League of Women Voters and how we (men as well as women) can get involved.

The event will begin at 7:30 pm at the North Haven Recreation Center at 7 Linsley Street. It will be preceded by a business meeting of the Action Together CT New Haven Women’s Advocacy Group at 7 pm.

Board of Alders to Hear Public Testimony on the Police Civilian Review Board This Wednesday Evening

This Wednesday at 6:00 pm, the New Haven Board of Alders will hold a public hearing on an ordinance to revive the police Civilian Review Board, which would review civilian complaints submitted to the police department’s Internal Affairs Division (IA), obtain written IA reports before they go to the police chief for approval, and hear appeals from civilian complainants. Members of the public may testify, so come with any questions you have or stories you have to tell.

For more information about this ordinance, see the recent New Haven Independent article.