To pass SB 1160, CT’s new sweeping gun control law, legislators used the Emergency Certification process, or E-Cert. A process originally put in place in 1955 and intended for emergencies. Nowadays, the law has “progressed”, and seemingly E-Cert is used as a routine legislative tool to subvert our democratic process to include proper review and elimination of public hearings to a proposed law.
Consider, our state legislators were first handed SB 1160 at 139 pages at 9:00 a.m, the first vote in the Senate occurred at 2:29 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. In just twelve hours, the bill was voted through the Senate and then the House whose final vote was at 2:26 a.m. Thursday morning. No proper review, no public hearings.
This type legislating is simply wrong at many levels, but appears routine for those in Hartford. Rule of law is so blasé, not for those who are serious about governing with a “progressive” sense of matters. For those of us in the Quiet Corner, Dannel and Don need to go in 2014.
In the attached video clip, Attorney Peter Sachs, a guest on the Dennis House Face the State show this past weekend, offers that SB 1160, CT’s gun control law signed into law by Governor Malloy on 5 April, may in fact be null and void because it was not properly passed in accordance with the state statute that governs the E-Cert process.
In essence, he offers that you cannot create one law by breaking another law, in this case Section 2-26 of CT law which governs the E-Cert process. Only in the government could an emergency certification process be defined under a statute titled Printing and Electronic Availability of Bills Prior to Passage.
E-Cert is invoked when the Senate Pro Tempore and the speaker of the House “have certified, in writing, the facts which in their opinion necessitate an immediate vote on such bill”. So today, that is state Senator Don Williams (D) District 29 and Representative Brandan Sharkey (D) District 88.
According to Mr. Sachs and his review of the E-Cert legislation, he in fact finds no “facts”, offered by Mr. Williams or Mr. Sharkey as required by state law. Since the bill passed using an improper E-Cert process (absolutely no facts), it therefore was not legally passed in accordance with Connecticut law.
In his view, the remedy would be that the bill would/should be required to in fact be passed using normal legislative process, and therefore require it to go in and out of committee and receive public hearings as a final bill.
Below is the section of CT statute governing emergency certification.
Sec. 2-26. Printing and electronic availability of bills prior to passage. At each regular or special session of the General Assembly no bill shall be passed or become a law unless it has been printed in its final form, as prescribed by section 2-24, with the exception of germane amendments, and made available in electronic version on the Internet web site of the General Assembly at least two legislative days prior to its final passage, unless the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives have certified, in writing, the facts which in their opinion necessitate an immediate vote on such bill, in which case it shall nevertheless be upon the desks of the members or available electronically to the members in final form, accompanied by the fiscal note required by section 2-24 when applicable, with the exception of germane amendments, but not necessarily printed, before its final passage.(italics mine)