CT GA Needs to Get Priorities Straight: Less ‘Idol’ Worship, More Important Bills

“The Hanging Shad” name came about in part because when I was working in the state legislature in 2003, we took valuable time to debate and vote to name the shad the state fish. I thought it was fairly silly (but realizing its significance to state history). The problem is the legislature has a habit of scrambling in the final days of the session to get things done yet has no problem wasting valuable time as they did Thursday with American Idol winner Nick Fradiani.

AI winner Nick Fradiani with Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (and photo bomber)
AI winner Nick Fradiani with Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (and photo bomber)

Legislators’ “Idol” worship went on while important matters such as the “affirmative consent” bill for college campuses remains on the calendar in the House.

I’m the last one to be Buzz Killington. I enjoyed a break in the action when I worked sessions. However, they need to get these frivolous things out of the way as early in the session a possible—while legislative committees are doing their thing and not with adjournment sine die (“without delay”) staring them in the face this coming Wednesday at midnight,

I actually had to shut down my frequent Facebook visits Thursday and Friday because I was begging no mas to my friends and others in the legislature who simply swamped me with Fradiani selfies.

Fradiani senate chair
AI winner Nick Fradiani sits in Senate chair Thursday

The “affirmative consent” or “yes means yes” is a vitally important bill. Maybe I am putting some extra significance on it because I have both a niece and nephew entering college this fall—not in Connecticut but the principle in the same.

The legislation would require all Connecticut colleges and universities to adhere to uniform standards to combat campus sexual assault. It builds on and sharpens legislation passed last year in the wake of cases that appeared to approach epidemic levels. UConn and Yale were both involved in trying to resolve scandals.

State Sen. Mae Flexer gets it right when she told The Shad as the bill passed her chamber May 19th, “There were good conversations outside the formal debate [in the Senate] so hopefully the House debate but be informative but no attempt to kill the bill. It has broad, bipartisan support so it shouldn’t get caught up in partisan bickering,” she said. Partisan bickering might not kill the bill but lack of action could.

This is not to say the legislature isn’t working on and passing important bills—they are. But if time runs out and affirmative consent doesn’t get taken up, we can all look back and know there was plenty of time for pictures with a reality TV star but not for college students’ safety.

Let’s get our priorities straight.