Speak up for Public Lands: Hearing on Constitutional Amendment (3/19)

Land Conservation Advocates
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Public Hearing Monday (3/19) to Protect Public Lands

On Monday, March 19, the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee is holding a public hearing on Senate Joint Resolution 35: “Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the State Constitution to Protect Real Property Held or Controlled by the State.” (SJ 35)

What: SJ 35 would require that before the General Assembly could sell, trade, or give away public lands, they must first:

  • Hold a public hearing in the General Assembly; and
  • Achieve a 2/3rds vote for any public lands held by the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (State Parks, Forests, etc.) or the Department of Agriculture (state-owned agricultural lands or easements).

Why: The State holds over 250,000 acres of State Parks, Forests, Wildlife Management Areas, and other open spaces valuable for conservation, recreation and agricultural purposes. These lands were acquired with an expectation that they would be preserved in trust for the benefit of Connecticut’s citizens. Yet our public lands are largely unprotected; and year after year we find ourselves in a position of having to defend them.  

Action:  Submit testimony in SUPPORT of SJ 35: "Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the State Constitution to Protect Real Property Held or Controlled by the State.” (Public Hearing 3/19)

How To Submit Testimony

  • Please email your testimony to GAEtestimony@cga.ct.gov (attached as a PDF preferred), before 8:00 a.m. on Monday March 19th.
  • Include "GAE Committee Testimony", “SJ 35”, and "3/19" in subject line. 
  • Please attach your testimony (which should include your name, town and, if applicable, your organization), to your email in either Word or PDF format. 
  • Please also cc your State Legislators and please bcc me at abpaterson@ctconservation.org.

Talking Points in Support of SJ 35

  • Passage of SJ 35 would provide the public with the opportunity to vote at the ballot box on whether to amend the state constitution to better protect public lands.
  • State Parks and other public lands are important to our quality of life and strong economy. They protect our air and water, provide important wildlife habitat, and offer us affordable places to visit and recreate.
  • Add your own personal message about why a certain State Park/Forest/Wildlife Management Area is special to you and your community.
  • State Parks and other public lands are investments worth protecting, attracting 8-9 million visitors/year, generating over $1 billion in revenues and supporting over 9,000 private sector jobs per year.
  • Other states, including Maine, Massachusetts and New York have constitutional protections for their public lands. Please allow us to vote on whether to do the same in Connecticut.

Additional information and talking points may be found in a Fact Sheet and Handout prepared by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association.

Thank you, as always, for taking action!

Sincerely,

Amy

Amy Blaymore Paterson, Esq., Executive Director
abpaterson@ctconservation.org