Hartford, Conn. (March 23, 2016) – Today, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin testified before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Judiciary regarding a bill that’s been coined as Second Chance Society 2.0 (SB 18).
Here’s the full-text of his comments in support of the bill:
Chairman Coleman, Chairman Tong, Ranking Members Kissel and Rebimbas, and members of the Judiciary Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to testify here before you today. I want to express my strong support for Senate Bill 18 – An Act Concerning a Second Chance Society.
Last year, the Second Chance Society initiative – supported by this committee, both chambers of the General Assembly, and signed into law by Governor Malloy – established Connecticut as a national leader in common sense criminal justice reform, reducing the penalties for mere drug possession and expediting the parole and pardon process for low-risk offenders.
The bill being considered today – coined Second Chance Society 2.0 – builds on last year’s historic reforms, and continues the important effort to ensure that past mistakes, particularly those made in youth, do not represent a permanent and insurmountable barrier to employment and opportunity.
For too long, our state – like many others – has incarcerated too many individuals. The cost of over-incarcerating non-violent offenders is high, not only for the State, which spends $43,000 annually for incarcerating individuals, but for the families and the communities most directly affected, too. Nearly two-thirds of those incarcerated remain unemployed after being released, and those who find employment receive 40 percent less than those without a criminal record.
If enacted, SB 18 would decrease the number of low-risk, non-violent individuals held in pre-trial detention. Research shows that individuals who are held in jail for 8 to 14 days are over fifty percent more likely to recidivate. This is often because such individuals are likely to lose their job or housing while in jail, unable to make bail. Jail time should be a function of the severity of the crime and the risk the individual poses to society, not a function of an individual’s financial capacity to post bail.
Additionally, this bill would allow offenders under the age of 20 to be tried in the juvenile justice system rather than adult court and permanently seal their records until after sentence completion. This measure would complement other reforms proposed this legislative session like HB 5237 and SB 430 that recognize past mistakes should not be a permanent barrier to opportunity.
While we’ve made significant progress towards ending the cycle of permanent punishment in Connecticut, we can do better. This bill builds on that progress and moves Connecticut one step closer to being a true second chance society.
I encourage all of you to join me in supporting this legislation.
Mayor of Hartford
Hartford, Conn. (March 21, 2016) – Mayor Luke Bronin today announced that Brett Broesder has been named Director of Communications and New Media for the City of Hartford, Conn. In this role, Broesder will serve as the primary media contact and spokesperson for the capital city. He is replacing Samaia Hernandez, who is pursuing new opportunities.
“I’m thrilled to have Brett on our team,” said Mayor Bronin. “With his wide-ranging experience in communications and policy, he is sure to be an asset to Hartford as we right our fiscal ship and move the city toward a more prosperous future.”
Broesder joins the City of Hartford with more than a decade of communications experience. Most recently, he served as the communications director for the City of Bridgeport, Conn.
Previously, Broesder served in a vast array of senior level communications roles, including: direct mail consultant for The Baughman Company; Communications Director for the Montana Democratic Party; media relations specialist for global communications firm Hill & Knowlton, as well as Ketchum; Policy and Legislative Director for Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin; and Campaign Manager for Peter Kilmartin’s successful Rhode Island Attorney General Campaign in 2010. Broesder holds a B.A. in political science from Rhode Island College.
“I’m honored to join Mayor Bronin and his team,” said Broesder. “It’s an exciting time in the state’s capital city. I look forward to working with folks across the city to share Hartford’s story.”
(March 15, 2016) Today, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin urged city residents to take advantage of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides free tax preparation services to individuals and families earning up to $54,000 per year. There are 10 VITA sites in Hartford where 300 IRS-certified volunteers help eligible clients prepare and electronically file state and federal income tax forms.
“Millions in refunds are left unclaimed each year,” Mayor Bronin said. “With April deadlines around the corner, now is the time for citizens and families to take advantage of this valuable resource. I urge eligible residents to call 2-1-1 and set up an appointment with a certified VITA volunteer before April 15th.”
Approximately 58,000 taxpayers have filed returns at Hartford VITA sites since 2005. Last year, nearly 8,000 taxpayers were assisted in Hartford, resulting in $18.6 million in state and federal refunds for local individuals and families. Overall, tax filings have increased by more than 600 percent at Hartford sites since 2005.
Residents are encouraged to call 2-1-1 and press “3” to make an appointment at one of the tax centers. Filers with incomes up to $62,000 may prepare and file their own taxes for free online at: www.myfreetaxes.com. Online assistance is available.
The VITA centers are made possible through a partnership between The Village for Families & Children and the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and are supported by the City of Hartford.
Centers are open through April 18.