Category Archives: Random CT Laws

Statutes that I find amusing.

Connecticut’s Odd Snow Removal Law

Nemo!

Digging out from Storm Nemo? Is your road plowed?

One of the things you may consider doing is writing a letter to your selectman.  Connecticut is the land of arcane laws. Perhaps none as arcane as Conn. Gen. Stat. § 13a-107 which reads as follows:

Whenever any highway becomes blocked with snow to an extent that renders the same impassable for public travel, the selectmen of the town in which such highway is located shall cause such highway to be opened for public travel at the expense of such town within a reasonable time thereafter, if they find the same to be required for public convenience and necessity. Any selectman who fails to open any highway so blocked, when requested in writing so to do by six taxpayers residing on or near such highway, shall be fined ten dollarsConn. Gen. Stat. § 13a-107.

The law was enacted in June of 1963 and the penalty of a $10 fine remains in place. As does the requirement that six or more taxpayers request in writing that snow be removed from their road. Which is strange. The law was enacted before email. If a road is impassable, how is a person to write to his selectman?

If your road is impassable consider finding six of your neighbors to write to your selectman asking him to clear the road. I’m sure he’ll be motivated to avoid a whopping $10 fine.

Connecticut Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day For The First Time

For the past few years, I’ve dreamed small. My small dream was  to convince the Connecticut General Assembly to amend a statute honoring a man who dreamed big.

Last year, Connecticut General Statute Chapter 2 Section 1-4  read “the first Monday occurring on or after January 15th as ‘Martin Luther King Day.’”

The Federal Holiday is the “Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.” U.S. Code Section 6103(a).

For three years, I argued on this blog that the legislature should amend Connecticut General Statute 1-4 to read “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day”.  I went as far as submitting testimony to the General Assembly.

On June 12, 2012, in special session the General Assembly made exactly that change when it enacted Sp.Sess., P.A. 12-2, § 30.

Today for the first time that Connecticut is celebrating “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day”.

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Connecticut Does Not Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

mlk jr

In 2012, the Legislature will confront all sorts of big problems facing the State. This is Connecticut’s smallest “problem”. The good news is that fixing it is easy.

I write this post almost every year. In 2011, at least two bills were introduced in the General Assembly to change “Martin Luther King Day” to “Martin Luther King Jr. Day”. You can read more on this by clicking here.

I am probably one of the only people in the State to submit testimony on a technical revision bill in the General Assembly. When the gavel closed on the 2011 Legislative Session neither bill passed the General Assembly.

Connecticut General Statute Section 1-4 designates the first Monday occurring on or after January 15th as “Martin Luther King Day.”

The legislature intended to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and not his father Martin Luther King, Sr.

The Federal Holiday is the “Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.” U.S. Code Section 6103(a).

In 2012, the Connecticut General Assembly should honor Martin Luther King Jr. by amending Conn. Gen. Sec. 1-4 to read “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.”

CT Mountain Lion Law

Last week’s news of a mountain lion being struck by a car in Milford got me thinking about Connecticut mountain lion law.  This subject touches a little close to home. Several years ago, a neighbor told me he saw a mountain lion about two miles from my home in East Granby.

Another friend has reported seeing one in Suffield.

lion

purrrr....

Connecticut regulations contain 3 references to mountain lions. All of the regulations are designed to protect them. Here they are in no particular order:

Continue reading

Breastfeeding In A Lactation Room At Fenway Park

Here’s a story from the intersection of law and life.

Go Sox!

Connecticut law protects a woman’s right to breastfeed, making it an act of discrimination for:

a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement to restrict or limit the right of a mother to breast-feed her child;  Link.

Massachusetts law affords mothers similar protections:

allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any public place or establishment or place which is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public and where the mother and her child may otherwise lawfully be present.

Recently, I contacted Fenway Park to inquire about their lactation policy. After checking their website for my wife, I came up with nothing. Here was their response: Continue reading

Does An Infant Count as A Passenger In CT’s HOV / Diamond Lane?

Last night I was driving my daughter home from daycare. We were heading north on 91. It was rush hour and traffic was backed up.

I saw the sign for the HOV land and it read for “2 or more persons” and I wondered if my infant daughter “counted” as a person for purposes of the HOV lane.  Then I thought, a blog post is born!

I hopped in the HOV lane and headed north with my daughter in the backseat. We passed a lot of traffic. I was not pulled over.

I got home and put my daughter to bed. Then I hopped on my computer and started looking for a statute. I couldn’t find one.

Then I checked out the US DOT’s page and found my answer:  “all states with HOV facilities count children and infants as passengers”.

It’s Illegal To Keep A Bear As A Pet…

…including but not limited to the black bear, grizzly bear, or brown bear. Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 26-40a.

I think the penalty for keeping a bear as a pet should be having one’s head examined but the legislature opted for a fine of not more than a thousand dollars per day and all costs associated with taking the bear from the bear’s keeper.

So if you’ve wished for a bear for Christmas you’re out of luck. Unless of course, it’s of the stuffed variety.

Judging by yesterday’s results, Bears are no match for Tom Brady.

For Annie Hornish: CT Rabbit Law

by Ryan McKeen

Today I’m putting a new twist on an old post. I originally wrote this post in March of 2008 and it’s worth revisiting.

For starters, I’m tired and my heart just isn’t into generating new content.

Last week,  I got involved in a back and forth with one of my favorite Courant columnists, Rick Green.

Anyhow, Rick posted a youtube video about my state representative, Annie Hornish. I saw the video and felt compelled to respond.

Rick read my comment and changed his mind on Annie. Good for him and good for Annie.

Here at A Connecticut Law Blog, we ( by “we” I mean Brady and I) are big fans of CT animal statutes and cases.

Yes, Annie has introduced a number of bills dealing with animal rights during her term.  In doing so, Annie is continuing the work of legislators who have sought to make the world more humane for our furry friends.

Anyhow, here’s a law that predates Annie:

In Connnecticut, it is illegal for a person to sell or give away a live rabbit that has been dyed, colored or otherwise treated so as to import to them an artificial color.  Any person who violates the law faces a fine not to exceed $150. Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 53-249a.

My legal advice to you (yes, I’m violating my own policy of not giving legal advice in this blog) is to only dye Easter eggs and leave the bunny alone.

What’s The Penalty For Driving In The CT HOV Lane With Only One Passenger?

by Ryan McKeen

I’ve had this post on my mind for years.

I regularly commute into work on 91 south. A few times every month traffic is backed up because the State Police are pulling over cheaters. People who are traveling in the diamond lane solo.

As I sit backed up in traffic because of rubbernecking, I often wonder what the penalty is for committing a sin against the commute.

Here’s what I think it is though I’m not 100% sure. I think it’s a violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-236 “Failure To Drive in Proper Lane, Multiple Lane Highway“. I’ve never gotten such a ticket and nor have I ever represented a person charged with such an offense.

I think such a violation results in a $177 fine.

If anybody has been charged with such an offense please let me know what you were charged with.

Why Connecticut’s Attorney General Must Have 10 Years Litigation Experience

by Ryan McKeen

For this post, I’m going to assume that the statute specifying the qualifications for Attorney General is constitutional. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.  That question will have to be decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Here’s the relevant text of the statute:

The Attorney General shall be an elector of this state and an attorney at law of at least ten years’ active practice at the bar of this state.  Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 3-124

Much of the debate in recent months has focused on the words “active practice,” but that may miss the point or at least part of the point.

Perhaps the more critical words are “at the bar of this state.”

General principles of statutory interpretation require every word in a statute be given meaning where possible.  “At the bar” could be referring to someone licensed to practice law or it could be referring to the physical bar in the courtroom.

The statute uses the phrase “attorney at law.” To be an attorney at law in Connecticut, one must be licensed to practice law.

Bysiewicz is making the argument that “active practice” simply means licensed to practice law.

If all the legislature wanted was for the Attorney General to maintain a law license for 10 years, there would have been no need for them to add the phrase “at the bar.” Those words mean the legislature wanted something more. The most logical reading is that the legislature wanted someone who appears in court — which makes sense. The Attorney General is a litigator. I’ve been in court and seen Attorney General Blumenthal argue a case.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of Bysiewicz v. DiNardo. Lots of things can happen, but it wouldn’t surprise this blogger if the outcome of the case hinges on the interpretation of the words “at the bar” and not the phrase “active practice.”

It is illogical to read three different clauses in the statute to all mean “licensed to practice”.

If the court reads the statute the same way that I do (which isn’t a given), then Ms. Bysiewicz’s fate hinges on whether or not the statute is unconstitutional.