The Legislative Process in Connecticut
Your Voice in CT Government
Connecticut Homeschool Network believes that an integral part of homeschooling is to know and understand your legal rights. Connecticut homeschoolers are fortunate to live in a homeschool friendly state that supports the rights of parents to educate their children. It is imperative that each and every one of us understands the legislative process and the statutes that affect our lives.
State government in Connecticut has three branches: executive, legislative and judicial.
Voters elect six state officers: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Comptroller and Attorney General. All have four year terms. Connecticut voters also elect two U.S. Senators and five U.S. Representatives.
The General Assembly or legislature has a Senate and a House of Representatives. Members of both houses represent districts based strictly on population. Currently, there are 36 state senators and 151 state representatives.
The Judicial Department is composed of the Superior, Appellate and Supreme courts. Except for probate judges, who are elected by the voters of the town or district they serve, all judges are nominated by the governor and appointed by the General Assembly.
Connecticut has no county government. Below the state level, governing units are either cities or towns. Your local school superintendents fall within this category.
The Connecticut General Assembly web site contains a step-by-step description of How a Bill Becomes a Law in Connecticut.
The Enactment of Bills can be found on the web site for the Office of the Clerk of the House.
Communicating With Your Elected Officials; Federal, State and Local
Plenty of Connecticut homeschoolers have found that their Connecticut Legislators are quite approachable people and have an open ear on homeschool issues. Not all of them, but plenty of them. Furthermore, many of them have offered their own helpful suggestions and advice about ensuring ways to keep our homeschool freedoms intact. At several Legislative Breakfasts hosted by CHN, homeschoolers received a positive response, and had productive, cordial and informative conversations with the legislators. They were very happy to see us, hear our voices, and asked that we return again.
Your opinion is important to elected officials and can influence their votes. You can communicate with them by letter, e-mail, telephone, FAX, or a personal visit.
Be brief and to the point; discuss only one or two issues.
Write to each legislator individually and use your own words.
Identify legislation by number or title, if possible. If you know the number, author or subject of a bill, a phone call to Hartford, (860) 240-0555, will get you information on bill status in minutes or visit the CT General Assembly website.
Influence legislative committees by testifying at their public hearings on proposed bills.
Write notes of appreciation to your legislators when appropriate. Elected representatives typically hear from people who are against something; this gives them a one-sided picture.
Send a copy of your letter to your local newspaper to build local support for an issue.
More information can be found at League of Women Voters of Connecticut.
Who Your Elected Officials Are
Connecticut Education Committee
United States House of Representatives
United States Senators
Visiting the State Capitol
Directions to the CT State Capitol
A Guide to Testifying at Hearings
Joining the Debate: A Guide to Testifying at Hearings (a 13 minute video)