In the six years since Peter Wolfgang became president of Family Institute of Connecticut Action, we have suffered only one major legislative defeat: the passage of the 2011 Bathroom Bill. 2013 marks the resumption of FIC Action’s winning streak and, indeed, of an FIC Action that is better than it has ever been. Here is our list of the good, the bad and the ugly for the 2013 session of the Connecticut General Assembly.
In all the years of FIC Action’s existence, we have never defeated a bill as decisively as HB 6645, the Assisted Suicide bill. This was, quite simply, some of the best work FIC Action has ever done. Op-eds, fact sheets, press conferences, expert testimony, social media campaigns, youtube videos, excellent coalition-building and exceptional lobbying resulted in the best public hearing FIC Action has ever been involved in…and a bill that was crushed so badly that it was not even voted out of the first of several committees needed to pass it.
Sen. Ed Meyer, the Assisted Suicide bill’s sponsor, admitted to the media that the committee didn’t have the votes to pass the bill. Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, the committee’s Senate vice chairwoman, went further, telling the media that “it wasn’t even close.” Our defeat of this bill was all the more remarkable given the revelation of what FIC Action and our allies are really up against in Connecticut: Big Suicide, funded by George Soros.
FIC Action members rose up and defeated SB 374, an outrageous attack on parental rights that would have mandated psychological Assessments of Public School and Homeschooled Children with or without their parents’ consent. Many of you contacted your legislators, submitted electronic testimony or even braved a big winter storm to testify in person at a public hearing against SB 374. Defeating this bill was one of our biggest priorities for 2013, involving op-eds, media interviews and social communications campaigns with cheeky “memes.”
FIC Action’s biggest pro-active victory in 2013 was the passage of HB 5666, which changes the definition of Human Trafficking in Connecticut, strengthening the laws against human traffickers and making prosecution of these crimes a reality in our state. Human trafficking is an anti-family scourge in Connecticut that must be stopped. FIC Action is proud to have joined with others to pass this law protecting women and children against sexual exploitation.
As expected, anti-family activist Andrew McDonald was confirmed to the Connecticut Supreme Court by the legislature. But confirmation votes like McDonald’s are usually rubber-stamp affairs and even a higher-than-normal ‘no’ vote on McDonald’s confirmation sends a message. That is what FIC Action accomplished, generating twenty ‘no’ votes in the House (our most ever on a nomination) and three in the Senate.
SB 972 passed, a bill which puts the Department of Children and Families in charge of developing an “implementation plan” for meeting the “mental, emotional and behavioral health needs of all children in the state.” This bill does not require mandatory health assessments, like the bill FIC Action defeated, but we will be monitoring its implementation to make sure parental rights are respected. (On a related note, you will also be hearing more from FIC Action in opposition to the “Common Core” curriculum.)
Regarding national issues on which FIC Action is currently active: The HHS Mandate, which will require religious organizations and believers to pay for abortion drugs in violation of their conscience, is still moving forward. And the Boy Scouts of America caved into financial pressure, allowing open homosexuals into its membership and paving the way for further promotions of “alternative lifestyles.” FIC Action will connect its Connecticut members to national pro-family responses to these and other negative developments.
There was no ugliness from state legislators, staff or opposition lobbyists at the state Capitol in 2013. That is a “first” in FIC Action’s experience. Instead, the ugliness this year came from op-ed writers.
For reminding our members that Andrew McDonald supported same-sex “marriage” and the Bathroom Bill–matters of public record–FIC Action was accused by Terry Cowgill of being “arch-conservative,” “apoplectic,” “bogus,” “paranoid” and “probably bigoted.” Cowgill, believe it or not, is considered a “conservative” writer in what passes for Connecticut opinion media. But FIC Action is not cowed by media bias.
In a bizarre op-ed published a month after assisted suicide was defeated, a UConn English professor (!) accused FIC Action of being “zealots,” feeling “godlike,” wanting to “control lives” and “gloating.” He offered non sequiturs about the death penalty, claimed falsely that the bill required two doctors to certify that a patient was terminal and competent (it only required one) and made straw-man arguments about making people suffer against their will, blurring the distinction between nature taking its course and actively killing someone. He disagreed with a doctor’s description of assisted suicide supporters as “lacking compassion” but was more than happy to caricature FIC Action’s advocacy and to downplay the role of our allies in the disability rights community.