Ban on Flavored Vaping Products
The Public Health Committee is considering banning smokeless “vaping” products. Those opposed to the ban say it will deprive them of a less harmful alternative to smoking; those in favor believe it will help prevent children from taking up the habit. I am still learning about this issue and listening to the debates.
HB 6488 - AN ACT CONCERNING CIGARETTES, TOBACCO PRODUCTS, ELECTRONIC NICOTINE DELIVERY SYSTEMS AND VAPOR PRODUCTS.
Covid Vaccination Restrictions*
More than a dozen bills have been introduced to curtail Covid-19 vaccination protocols by reinstating so-called “religious” or “moral” exemption. As I have stated from the beginning of the pandemic, vaccines protect all of us and no one has the right to put other people in peril because of their own beliefs, however “well researched” they believe them to be.
SB 166 - AN ACT REINSTATING THE RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION FROM SCHOOL VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS.
Aid-in-Dying (also known as “Compassionate Care”) *
This bill would allow terminally ill people to decide to end their life, within six months of their predicted death, with the help of a physician. Those opposed worry about coercion, while those in favor believe there are adequate legal safeguards in place and that human suffering should be alleviated whenever possible. I am strongly in favor of this bill’s concept and intent, but am still considering details of the bill language.
HB 5487 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE SELF-ADMINISTRATION OF LETHAL MEDICATIONS BY TERMINALLY ILL ADULTS.
Wine Sales in Grocery Stores
Connecticut currently forbids the sale of wine in grocery stores. The grocery store lobby is pushing to lift this prohibition, saying it will add to consumer convenience. Independent liquor stores oppose this bill, saying it will hurt their business. After speaking to several local, family-owned businesses, I am opposed to this bill. While consumer convenience is nice, shuttered buildings are not. And I believe the consumers will find their choices at a grocery store will be limited and dominated by large wholesalers. Local stores, in contrast, make an effort to offer a wide variety, including Connecticut-made varieties, and we should support them.
HB 5918 - AN ACT AUTHORIZING GROCERY STORES TO SELL CIDER AND SMALL WINERY WINES.
Human Composting (officially known as Natural Organic Reduction)
Six states allow the process of the natural reduction of a human corpse through an above-ground, sealed vessel. The byproduct is soil. Those who oppose believe it is sacrilegious; those in favor believe it is a way of honoring the environment. At the request of a constituent, I introduced a bill to make Connecticut the seventh state to allow human composting, so I am very much in favor of it. It is a sensible, humane alternative to cremation, which spews on average, close to 600 lbs of carbon into the atmosphere with each body; and it frees up open land for preservation and recreation. (Even current “green burial” processes take up open land.)
HB 6485 - AN ACT CONCERNING NATURAL ORGANIC REDUCTION AND GREEN BURIALS.
Use of Exotic Animals in Traveling Circuses*
Connecticut has one remaining business which uses elephants in a traveling show. A bill to ban this practice is favored by animal rights activists wishing to prevent mistreatment of elephants and is opposed by those who see it as curtailing a family business’ operations. I am in favor of the ban; virtually every circus act nationally has transitioned away from the capture and forced performance of wild animals and I believe this hold-out should similarly change its business model.
HB 5123 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF CERTAIN ANIMALS IN TRAVELING ANIMAL ACTS.
Preventing the Use of the Term “Physician”
This bill would prevent chiropractors, naturopathic and allopathic practitioners from using the term “physician” in front of their specialty. The debate concerns the definition of the term “physician” and who has the right to use it. At this point, I am in favor of allowing its use by alternative healers, who do not pretend to be M.D.s, but who are in fact, physicians in the literal sense of the word, i.e., “a person qualified to practice medicine.”
SB 899 - AN ACT CONCERNING TITLE PROTECTION FOR PHYSICIANS.
Hunting of Black Bears
Currently there are dozens of proposals before the Environment Committee on how to reduce the interactions between black bears and humans. These proposals range from an open hunt on bears throughout the state, to prohibiting backyard bird feeders, which are known to attract bears. The committee is currently considering dozens of proposals and working on which legislative package to put forth. While there are too many bills to list here, when the committee decides which direction it is going in, I will alert you.
As with the black bear bills, legislation to allow hunting on Sunday has attracted lots of proposals. Should it be in State parks? On private land? Using a silencer? And on and on. There is nothing definite decided on yet; when the bill is finalized, I will alert you. I will say at this point I am generally opposed to Sunday hunting, using the same argument hunters use: it’s one of two weekend days available to me! I’d say it’s also one of two weekend days available to non-hunters who want to stroll with their families in the woods without hearing gunshots.
Happy Valentine’s Day, folks!