Press Release: CFE Condemns Penalty Waiver Bill Passed By House

CFE CONDEMNS PENALTY WAIVER BILL PASSED BY HOUSE
Asks state Senate to vote against H.B. 5431 to protect health, safety, environment in Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2014

Contact:
Laura McMillan: 203-787-0646 x137
Sarah Ganong: 203-787-0646 x128

Hartford, Ct.—Connecticut Fund for the Environment condemns House Bill 5431, which allows administrative agencies in the state to waive fines for first-time violators of state regulations. Businesses that do not receive an exemption can appeal to the courts an agency’s decision not to waive the fine. CFE is urging the Senate to defeat the bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives last Thursday.

“This bill is a get-out-of-jail-free card to those who would violate Connecticut’s health, safety and environmental standards,” says Roger Reynolds, legal director for CFE. “It encourages violators to demand that penalties be waived, gives them 30 days to take corrective action, and allows them to challenge any first time penalty that is not waived. Thirty days is a remarkably long time for critical health, safety, and environmental issues to go unaddressed. Our cash-strapped, understaffed state agencies are already struggling to meet enforcement standards. This sets them back even further by tipping the scales in favor of proven violators. This has been referred to by some as the ‘first felony free’ bill and that seems an apt description.”

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