End Could Come for Dumb Old Laws

State law, albeit really old state law, dictated the type of ink used on public records and gave UConn trustees the job of looking after demonstration flocks of sheep (whatever those are).

Monday could be the beginning of the end for laws, including one that prevented a state-funded hospital from denying care to someone with VD.

The 111 laws, or parts of laws, Gov. M. Jodi Rell deemed obsolete are the focus of a public hearing by the Government Administration and Elections Committee.

In her budget address in February, Rell called for a leaner and less intrusive government.

“In general, it’s always healthy to look at laws and see if they have applicability,” state Librarian Kendall Wiggin told the New Haven Register.

However, he is not sure how getting rid of some laws on the books would save the state money. (Perhaps it has something to do with the law about the type of ink you have to use for public record.)

A bill to repeal obsolete laws comes up almost every year, he told the newspaper.

So, why is Rell doing this?

“I think it fits with her effort to speak to cleaning house,” state Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, co-chairwoman of the government administration panel, told the New Haven Register. “But I think ultimately ... to really make a difference, we’d need a Dumpster.”

Other than slimming down statute books, she does not see how it would save the state money.

 “I think it’s always good to clean house, but in these circumstances we really need to clean house and reorganize in ways that will save money,” she told the New Haven Register. “We have to ask, does it work? What value does it provide for the people of our state?”

Adam Liegeot, spokesman for Rell,  told the New Haven Register that purging duplicative and outdated state laws would create less confusion, less clutter and less government.

“While all of these obsolete laws may not necessarily cost the state’s taxpayers money, we can certainly make do with less of them,” he said.

Here's just a sample of the rather lengthy list of laws Rell wants to do away with:

Standard ink for public records
Apparently, letting the wrong ink touch a record or registry is a big problem, since it made the law books. Want to know more? The
law is posted here.
The Obsolete Law Abolishers
The governor wants to get rid of the Law Revision Commission, which was supposed to do what she is trying to do now - review Connecticut law and recommend appropriate revisions to antiquated, unconstitutional and inequitable laws.
She also wants to get rid of members of the Law Revision Commission, duties of the Law Revision Commission and public and private assistance for the commission.
Innovation and productivity
Commission on innovation and productivity  - apparently, they were not being productive. Read more here
Facebook - 1980 Style
Secretary of State should transmit “Pocket Manual” and list of members-elect to members-elect – we’re guessing that’s the Legislature’s Facebook – maybe they should just post their info on the actual Facebook - with or without the status updates.
Special Treatment for Female Prisoners
Law required police matrons in certain cities – who knew? The police matron was supposed to be at least 18 and take charge of all women arrested and held by the police of her city or town. There is also a law for separate station for female prisoners.
One Lake, Two Lakes
The Commissioner of Transportation and the Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall list the names of the bodies of water in the state  
Contractors - Subcontractors 
Disqualification of potential contractors and subcontractors, which participate in Department of Administrative Services requests for proposals process – if you are part of the process, you cannot get a contract.
Hiring of state employees by contractors and subcontractors  - if you work for the state, no one can hire you to do work for the state
Grand Juror
Rell wants to abolish the office of grand juror abolished law. Does that reinstate the grand juror?
Transportation for Crippled Children
Another law on the chopping block is transportation of crippled children and children with defective eyesight (from their houses to places where medical, surgical or other treatment is to be given them)
Mailman Taxi
DOT may authorize mail carriers to carry passengers – if there are no buses in your area, the mailman – or woman - could act as your taxi.  Read more here.
Can You Hear The Train Now?
Railroad engineers to have copies of law concerning audible signals. If a train operator did not have a printed copy of the signals, he or she could not drive train.
If It Happened On Sunday, It Didn't
"No person receiving consideration for a contract made on a Sunday may defend action upon the contract on the ground that it was made on a Sunday - No person who has received a valuable consideration for a contract, express or implied, made on a Sunday prior to June 9, 1976, may defend any action upon the contract on the ground that it was made on a Sunday, until he has restored the consideration"
Encouragement of Sheep Industry
Did you know that state law gave special powers to the keepers of the sheep?
Trustees are tasked with "supervising and establish(ing) distribution of demonstration flocks of sheep throughout the state."
It doesn’t end there. These folks were to "conduct experiments and investigations as seem to them most conducive to the encouragement of the sheep industry throughout the state."
Guarding Cattle
Each railroad company shall construct suitable cattle guards and fences at all railroad crossings of passways or highways to prevent cattle from passing upon its railroad, except when the Commissioner of Transportation deems it unnecessary. Read more here.
Hospitals Treating VD
If a hospital that gets cash from the General Assembly has facilities reasonably suitable for the treatment of venereal diseases, it cannot refuse to admit for treatment any patient suffering from any such disease.
Awards to Breeders of Winning Race Horses
Isn't winning enough? Does the state need to provide awards too? 
Things That Make You Say Yuck
The fish scrap and fertilizer law protects New London Harbor from things that stink.
"No fertilizer, fish scrap or similar offensive substance shall be loaded upon or unloaded from any vessel in New London Harbor between June first and October first or at any other time without a written permit obtained from the director of health of the city of New London." Read more here.
Folks in the Stonington area apparently made a stink about noxious matters dealing with fish.
Here’s what the "Manufacture and treatment of oil and garbage; processing of fish for animal consumption" says:
"No person or corporation shall, within the town of Waterford, East Lyme, Old Lyme or Stonington, or in any waters adjacent thereto, engage in the business of manufacturing from fish or garbage any oil, guano, fertilizer or phosphate, or in the business of rendering or treating garbage or other filthy or noxious matter, or in the town of Stonington, engage in the business of processing of fish for animal consumption."
Businesses in operation before May 1, 1909 are exempt. Read more here.
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