Thursday, June 09, 2011

Citizen Activism in Connecticut That Does Not Involve Yachting

Toby Moffett. Nobody's Business: The Political Insider's Guide to State Legislature. Riverside, Ct.: The Chatham Press, Inc., 1973.

The author notes that, circa 1972, there was little citizen activism on state legislative issues. The largest force tat changed state legislatures were court decisions on legislative redistricting.

The author worked for the Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG) that advocates for stronger environmental and consumer protections. They fought increasing phone rates before the Public Utilities Commission. Phone rates were consistnely increased annually.

Moffett notes legislators often rely on informaiton on legislation from industry and lobbyist documents and statements.

A problem with citizen movements, Moffett observed, is they are loosely organized, unlike professional lobbyists, and they tend to be slowed down by "petty infighting".

CCAG complied information on all Connecticut state legislators. They discovered many public records actually were inaccesible or no longer existed. They checked transcripts and travel vouchers to determine which hearings and meetings legislators aattended. They noted the statements on issues the legislators made, They interivewed legislators, They noted the reasons given by those legislators who refused to give interviews as to why they refused to be interviewed.

18 legislators refused to participate in CCAG interviews, Their analysis found those who resisted interviews were also those who were representing special interests more than their constituents.

CCAG discovered most Connecticut legislators did not hold office hours for constituents to meet with them. ///those that held office hours found few people visted during those office hours.

a 1300 page profile of Connecticut legislators was produced. Individual legislator profiles were sold for $1. The complete report was sold for $25 for the public and libraries, $50 for state agencies and unions, and $100 for lobbyists and corporations.


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