WILTON, Conn. – State Rep. Gail Lavielle wants lawmakers in Hartford to work together to find solutions to the state's problems and not just pass laws for the sake of passing them.
Lavielle, a Republican whose district includes parts of Wilton, Norwalk and Westport, began her second term Wednesday as the General Assembly started new session. She was named a ranking member of the Assembly’s Commerce Committee and appointed to the Appropriations and Education committees.
Lavielle said she hoped Democrats and her fellow Republicans would work together on issues, as they did in December to pass a bill to make up the state’s budget shortfall. She’d like to see that same spirit at work when legislators begin crafting the state’s next spending plan.
“They [Democrats] let us in the room, [and] we came up with a good bipartisan bill,” she said. “I hope it will work like that this time. It would be the right thing for the state of Connecticut if we did.”
Lavielle also wants the Assembly to look at what can be done to make schools safer. She is not in favor of the proposal from the National Rifle Association to have an armed guard at every school in the country.
“Connecticut has an assault weapons ban, but clearly there are some holes in it,” she said. “I am eager to see the proposals” as they are put forward. Lavielle said she does not want to “pass laws that don’t solve things. I want to solve things.”
Lavielle has a few ideas for bills she will push in the coming session. Among them is a measure to exempt high-performing school districts like Wilton and Westport from some state mandates.
Lavielle says she’s opposed to a “one size fits all” approach when some requirements are not necessary for all schools.
The GOP lawmaker also wants assurances that gas taxes and fares collected by the state Department of Transportation stay in the transportation budget and not be shifted to cover costs elsewhere.
“I am encouraged by the collaborative process we took part in in December. Because of that, I feel more hopeful than I did before December. If we can continue to collaborate in the same way, which is the right thing to do, we can really achieve something and turn this state around.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.