A contingent of 17 individuals, including myself, the owner of the Small
Boat Shop in Norwalk, the owner of Collinsville Canoe & Kayak, the CT
River oar and paddle club, and a lobbyist from the CT Sportsmen's
association (Who was awesome), and other concerned and dedicated paddlers
attended the public hearing today. Thank you one and all!!!!!!!!!
I'll say it as politely as I can -- the bill was a total travesty. It was
introduced by Rep Peter Panaroni of Branford.
Peter.Panaroni@po.state.ct.us When the committee realized that we were
all intent on speaking, Rep Panaroni told us that it was a "Homeland
Security" issue, and was shocked that so many of us showed. He then asked
if we would leave if he dropped or modified the bill. We said "No". Sen
Ciotto (co-chair) then asked if we would appoint 3 representatives to
speak for all. We said "No", and made it clear we were not leaving until
all had spoken. One other member of the committee (I forget his name, and
if anyone knows it, please let me know, I want to thank him) came to our
defense, and said we all had the right to be heard. Sen Ciotto agreed,
Rep Panaroni explained that there were residents of the Thimble Islands
who were concerned that terrorists would land on their property in kayaks,
and blow up their multi-million dollar homes, and that forcing us all to
register our boats would somehow stop that from happening. For those of
you who live in Connecticut, the word "Greenwich" immediately came to my
mind. Dave Sinish of Collinsville canoe replied that the truck that tried
to blow up the WTC in 1993 was legally registered. So was the truck that
Timmy McVeigh used in Oklahoma City, and all 3 planes that were used on
Sept 11th were, too. So, what is the point? No answer.
I gave my speech, as did everyone else, and Jay Babina went last, and laid
it all on the table in plain english. Rep Panaroni got defensive, and then
changed his reason to "We need to be able to find out who did it, and
registration will allow that". Small solace to the families, bud, for the
deed is done at that point.
He then asked us if we would accept a watered-down version of the bill.
The unanimous answer was "No compromises". The co-chairs of the committe
asked us how we were able to get so many people on short notice, and we
said "The internet". They didn't seem surprised. The co-chairs also seemed
to agree with us after about the first hour of testimony.
Jay and Phil Babina ran into one of the Senators on the committee later,
and he told them "It's dead", and commended us on our presentation. We later learned that Rep Panaroni did indeed drop the bill.
However, I get the impression that Rep Panaroni isn't through with us yet.
We need to keep him under the microscope, and show up in numbers any time
this happens again. And I'm saddened to say I believe it will, and sooner
than we think.
Thank you all who showed, and may we be able to double that number if we
have to do this again! And we all owe Jean Trapani our deepest gratitude
for sounding the alarm, and to Dennis McNeil for doing so much legwork for