House Passes Bill to Examine Habeas Corpus Filings, Heads to Senate

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Apr 262018

State Reps. Themis Klarides and Nicole Klarides-Ditria testify with Marianne Heffernan, the sister of Joyce Stochmal, in support of House Bill 5465 on March 28th in the Judiciary Committee.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides and State Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria applauded the bipartisan passage of House Bill 5407, An Act Establishing a Task Force to Promote Efficiencies in the Filing of Habeas Corpus Matters, on Tuesday.

The Klarides sisters introduced H.B. 5407, after seeing the problem first hand. The family of Joyce Stochmal, a young woman from Seymour who was murdered in 1984, did not receive notice from the Department of Criminal Justice that the defendant in their case had a viable habeas claim until very late in the process. In fact, the defendant in the case was released from prison last March through a sentence modification.

“It’s time for a major overhaul of the habeas corpus application system in Connecticut,” said Rep. Klarides. “Inmates are filing seemingly endless habeas corpus applications at the cost of taxpayers and victims. The Stochmal family and other families are not being well served by Connecticut’s criminal justice system. We need to improve the habeas corpus system and passing this bill will be the first step in that direction.”

Rep. Klarides-Ditria added, “I want to thank the Stochmal family for continuing to advocate for victims and their families. Victims’ families should come first and not notifying them of habeas corpus claims is unacceptable. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation.”

H.B. 5407 now awaits a vote by the Senate. The legislative session ends at midnight on Wednesday, May 9th.

Lawmakers Stand With Veterans In Support Of Restoring Funding

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Apr 252018

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides and State Reps. Charles Ferraro and Pam Staneski joined veterans from across the state on Tuesday at the Capitol to express the need to restore funding to the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs.

Last week, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle presented budget proposals that restored $2 million in funding to the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs. The Republican budget plan does so without increased spending or raising taxes.

Rep. Ferraro, the Ranking Member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said, “I am glad to see Republican and Democrats committed to restoring this critical funding to the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs. We need to make sure that our Veterans are receiving top-notch services and care and restoring this funding will help make sure this happens.”

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said, “I look forward to having bipartisan budget talks and will be fighting to get this funding restored. Our veterans and individuals who need it the most will always be our top priority during budget negotiations.”

 Rep. Pam Staneski, who is supporting a budget proposal this session that restores these proposed cuts to the Department of Veterans Affairs said, “These brave heroes put their lives on the line for us, and it is our duty to provide them with the vital services and treatment they need and require.”

More information about the Republican budget proposal can be found by visiting cthousegop.com/budgetfy19.

Klarides Says Esty Should Resign

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Apr 032018

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today, released this statement on Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.

“There are many unconscionable aspects to this episode that Congresswoman Esty says she regrets, now, two years after the fact. No one, man or woman, should be subjected to the verbal and physical abuse and emotional trauma that this staffer suffered in her workplace. The response from the person in charge cannot ever be three more months more work at taxpayers’ expense, a $5,000 payout and a glowing recommendation for the next job.

“I don’t think we need an ethics investigation to confirm what we already know. Congresswoman Esty should do right by the people she represents and resign.’’

NOTE: Since this statement was released, Esty announced that she will not run for re-election, yet, it seems she has no intention to resign.

House Republican Leader Klarides Votes No On Justice McDonald

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Mar 222018

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today voted against elevating Justice Andrew McDonald to the position of Chief Justice on the State Supreme Court following a lengthy debate in the House.

Klarides said she opposed McDonald based on his testimony before the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 26 and his position on when and when not to recuse himself from deciding cases because of conflicts of interest.

“After much thought and deliberation, I felt I could not in good conscience vote to confirm Justice McDonald as Chief Justice. His record of when he has had to recuse himself from cases and others when he has not, is troubling,’’ Klarides said.

The House voted 75-74 to approve the nomination. The vote was not along party lines.

McDonald is Gov. Malloy’s choice to succeed Chase Rogers on the high court. The nomination now goes to the Senate.

Klarides Testifies In Favor of 3D Image Screening For Women

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Mar 082018

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides on Thursday testified before members of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee about clarifying insurance codes to make certain that Tomosynthesis, a three-dimensional image screening process, is considered a mammography. Klarides was joined by Dr. Thomas Farquhar, chief of radiology at Hartford Hospital.

In 2016, Klarides got legislation passed that requires insurances companies to cover Tomosynthesis if a patient’s physician deems it necessary. But since then, Klarides has learned that some insurance companies weren’t covering Tomosynthesis because they didn’t consider it a mammography.

The committee’s leadership thanked Klarides for not only pursuing the legislation last year but for coming back this year to make sure it’s done right. Farquhar said the process is more likely to identify breast cancer, and that the test saves lives.

Klarides Responds to Gov. Malloy’s Budget Adjustments

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Feb 062018

This is House Republican Leader Themis Klarides’s statement regarding Gov. Malloy’s budget adjustments:

Gov. Malloy deserves credit for coming out with budget adjustments in advance of the session. This will help the legislature formulate a response and incorporate some of his ideas and policies in what promises to be another challenging year. In particular, mitigating the loss of property tax deductions for some due to federal tax changes by allowing towns to set up charitable foundations appears to be an innovative approach,’’ Klarides said.

However, returning to some of the options to balance the budget that Republicans have rejected in the past – elimination of the property tax exemption altogether, taxing non-prescription drugs, cutting all municipal aid to selected towns – is troublesome. Klarides recently criticized the Governor’s proposed toll program, as well as the tire tax and gas tax hikes, all of which were noted in the budget adjustments released today.   

“We have to deal with the current deficit and address another multi-billion hole in the next two-year budget cycle. We will put forth our ideas and see where there is common ground. We have a lot of work to do,’’ Klarides said.

Klarides’ Statement On The Just Released Revenue Figures

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Jan 162018

Today, House Republican Leader Themis Klarides commented on the most recent revenue figures.

“This latest data confirms what we suspected. Our deficit has continued to grow and absent fundamental changes in the way we run the government, Connecticut will face that prospect. Huge tax hikes without significant reductions in spending are not the answer,’’ Klarides said.

Revenues are off in a number of sectors including real estate and sales tax projections are underperforming, she noted.

Klarides added that Republicans remain willing to make the tough choices and do right by the taxpayers of Connecticut.

“Republicans are continuing to work on a Deficit Reduction Plan that they are prepared to offer to deal with the current red ink,” she said.

Pix And Video From The Orange Inauguration

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Nov 182017

On Friday, Nov. 17, the town of Orange hosted its Inauguration Ceremony for all newly elected officials.

Although some of them could not attend, a majority of these fine folks were in attendance to be sworn-in. State Rep. Themis Klarides administered the oath of office.

Now going into his seventh term as First Selectman, James Zeoli gave a nice speech, praising his fellow public servants and giving a nod to his former challenger Margaret Novicki for her hard work during the campaign.

Here is a VIDEO of that speech – For some reason, the 18-minute video cut off after 5 minutes… I will work on fixing that.



Connecticut Finally Has A Budget

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Nov 012017

On Tuesday Gov. Dannel Malloy Tuesday finally signed into the law the bipartisan budget agreement members of the General Assembly reached, but he vetoed appropriations in support of a new hospital tax proposal and said the budget is “by no means a perfect document.”

In a statement, Malloy said, “After 123 days without a budget, it is time to sign this bipartisan bill into law and continue the steady and significant progress our state has made over the past several years. Connecticut’s families and businesses deserve to have a budget in place, one that provides a stable environment to live and work.”

He added, “While there are certainly many provisions of this budget I find problematic, there’s also a clear recognition of many of the fiscal priorities and concerns I’ve consistently articulated since January. I appreciate the work of the General Assembly in passing a budget to my desk that I can sign.”

Malloy’s office said there are provisions of this budget that the administration finds problematic, but, taken as a whole, the budget incorporates many of Malloy’s policy priorities, including creating a municipal accountability review board aimed at playing “a significant role in bringing the City of Hartford back from the brink of bankruptcy and providing the state the necessary tools to intervene early to restore fiscal stability to struggling towns and cities.”

CLICK on the Arrows in the lower corner to see the document.

The budget adopts changes to the Estate Tax and Insurance Premium Tax and supports an initiative to assist residents with crumbling foundations.

“While this may be a step in the right direction, make no mistake about it – this is by no means a perfect document and it is not one I would have negotiated,” Malloy said. “There are real legal and structural issues with the budget presented to me, and I have concerns about the state’s ability to keep it in balance over the biennium and beyond. That’s why, along with my signature, I am also line-item vetoing a component of the budget relating to the supplemental payments to hospitals that would leave Connecticut taxpayers exposed to legal challenges and a potential $1 billion budget shortfall per year. I strongly urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to convene as soon as possible to pass a legal alternative to the illegal hospital tax and troublesome supplemental payment and rate language presented in the bill.”

Klarides Responds

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said towns and cities will get relief from having a budget in place after Gov. Malloy signed it today, but his line-item rejection of the state hospital reimbursement deal could lead to future deficits and will require further legislative action.

“The good news is that our towns and cities will finally have relief in the way of state aid and our much needed social services programs will continue,’’ Klarides said. “The bad news is the issues regarding our hospitals remain unresolved because of the Governor’s line-item veto, and the House and Senate will have to address that.’’

Klarides said the initial Republican budget passed in mid-September with Democrat votes and vetoed by Gov. Malloy was a better plan for Connecticut because it did not raise any taxes and provided much-needed relief to municipalities. The compromise budget reached with Democrats last week is preferable to the highly destructive executive orders that the Governor issued that would have eliminated aid to many towns and cities and gutted the social services networks.

“The ongoing dispute between the Governor, the hospitals and the legislature on the language required to access the pool of federal money the hospitals are seeking we believed was settled in the compromise budget,’’ she said. “Now we need to deal with his line-item veto.’’ 

Lawmakers have consulted with the Connecticut Hospital Association on how best to devise a plan that will succeed in obtaining federal reimbursement for the taxes hospitals will pay.

State Budget Passes House With Veto Proof Margin

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Oct 262017

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said the passage of the compromise state budget after nearly four months of the fiscal year closes the $3.5 billion deficit without raising income taxes and includes historic spending constraints.

”The budget we have put in place includes historic spending constraints that will hedge against future deficits. While this budget is not perfect, it reflects the core Republican components of spending restraints, less borrowing so that we can finally start living within our means,’’ Klarides said.

She added, “This is a day of hope for the people of Connecticut.’’

The budget passed 126-23 at 12:40 p.m. after several hours of debate, a margin that overturns a
veto by the governor.

Klarides said the state will be able to close the massive deficit with less than a 1 percent increase in taxes and fees. The bulk of the tax hikes are on cigarette sales and the hospital taxes that will be refunded by the federal government once the state completes its application to the federal agency that administers Medicaid and Medicare.

The budget features a variety of spending constraints:

 An annual bonding cap of $1.9 billion in borrowing, a half billion less than what Connecticut put on its credit card last year;

 A revenue cap that prevents the state from spending all the money it expects to take in annually. Somehow we always seem to fall short of revenue projections;

 A volatility cap that will automatically send any excess revenue to the Budget Reserve Fund.

Current law allows state employee union contracts to go into effect without a vote by the legislature. In a huge concession reached during negotiations with Democratic leaders, votes by the House and Senate will be required before a contract can become law.