Current CMRA Legislative Efforts

06/07/19: The CT General Assembly officially adjourned the 2019 regular legislative session on Wednesday, June 5th. House Bill 6161, an act proposing mandatory motorcycle helmet use by those riders under 21 failed to be voted on by the Senate. House Bill 7140 which originally contained a universal helmet law requirement never left the Transportation Committee.

A special session of the legislature will be announced soon to deal with the issues of tolls and other possible matters like a casino in Bridgeport. It is extremely unlikely the issue of mandating helmet use by adults will be included.

The helmet issue unfortunately will be back whether it's next year or in 2021. Our opponents have built a small coalition of medical personnel, police officers and a motorcycle instructor who seem hell-bent on this issue. Rep. Gilchrest is their ally in the House and publicly voiced her opinion on the House floor in the debate that this "is only the beginning". Jim Duffy and I have already begun discussions as to what is the best strategy to deal with the 2020 legislative session.

Many thanks to all who supported us by attending the monthly meetings, spending a day at the Capitol back in February when the public hearing was held, contacting their legislators and contributing to the cause. Our victory is testament to the integrity and strength the CMRA has earned over the past 40 years thanks to our members, our leaders and of course, Jim Duffy, our lobbyist since the 1980's.

 

05/14/19: HB-6161 (without further amendments) was voted on and passed by the House with a substantial majority. It will now move to the Senate where it may or may not be scheduled for a vote. If no vote by session end date, it dies on the calendar. If scheduled for a vote it remains subject to proposed Senate amendments. If an amendment is approved on a separate vote, the amended language is incorporated into the bill and voted on by the Senate. If HB 6161, as amended, is passed by Senate, it will be sent back to the House for another vote. We will be keeping a close watch on this.

 

04/27/19: Here's a video of the April 25 Distracted Driving Forum, hosted by State Senator Tony Hwang. This will probably only be availabe for a week or so. CMRA comments start at minute 56 and run approximately 5 minutes till hour 1, minute 1.

 

04/21/19: Check out this largely-pro-helmet-law article that appeared in Newsday, and possibly other places. As Rich Paukner commented "It aint over till it's over.". We still urge you to contact your legislators (find them here) to express your opposition to any further attempts to mandate helmet use by adults.

State Senator Tony Hwang is hosting a couple of Distracted Driving Forums on April 25 and 30. See our Upcoming Events page for more details.

Please join me and others at the April 25 forum in Newtown. This is a great opportunity to move our relationship with Senator Hwang forward. Note: pre-registration is required for this free event, which can be done here. Use "Register" button to the right of the page. Please don't just show up without pre-registering - you may not get in!

Rich Paukner - CMRA Legislative Spokesperson

 

GREAT NEWS!

What's Next?

03/22/19: I am happy to report that we have confirmed with the House Chairman of the Transportation Committee that the universal helmet requirement originally contained in HB 7140 was indeed removed from the substitute version that was voted and passed by the Committee on Wednesday March 21st. IT IS NO LONGER NECESSARY TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS ON THE THREAT OF A UNIVERSAL HELMET LAW REQUIREMENT IN CT. However, we still urge you to contact your legislators (find them here) in support of HB 6161 which would mandate the use of helmets by those riders and passengers under the age of 21 and express your opposition to any further attempts to mandate helmet use by adults.

I also had a nice chat with House Chairman Lemar offering our support and assistance in working with him to continue to improve motorcycling safety in CT which he welcomed and appreciated.

You may also want to visit Bud Wilkinson's latest commentary on the CMRA and the 2019 helmet law fight at RIDE-CT to see the opposition's fervor and resolve to defeat us and trash our reputation.

Rich Paukner - CMRA Legislative Spokesperson

Here is a current list of all State Senators and Representatives, along with their districts and links to their websites where contact info can be found.

Our Legislative Dinner was a success - thanks to all who attended, and to the people who made donations.

Some of our CMRA representatives at the Transportation Committee hearing on February 25, 2019.

Photo by: Geoff Viscount © 2019.

Thanks!

By: Geoff Viscount

Again, as he has in the past, Richard Paukner has shown his impeccable skills as a true diplomat and consistent leader of the CMRA. On Monday, February 25, 2019, at a recent public hearing in the Transportation Committee for HB 7140, he performed with an incredible degree of excellence to rebuke a proposed piece of legislation that would require motorcycle operators of all ages to wear helmets at all times in order to operate their motorcycles. Rich, as I have previously stated publicly, enough cannot be said for your consistent and valued contribution to our organization. I truly feel that without your expertise and grasp of not only a fantastic degree of public speaking, but also the diplomacy it takes to win over the elected leaders with facts and figures, rather than appeal to them through emotion and misleading statements, this organization would have an unbelievably more difficult mountain to climb in our efforts to keep "freedom of choice" as the rule in Connecticut. My gratitude will always be forthcoming to you for your efforts that have always gone above and beyond the call.

 

Thanks to everyone who attended, submitted testimony, or contacted Legislators to let tham know how we feel!

Our new Governor, Ned Lamont, has publicly stated he would like to see Connecticut enact a universal helmet law for all motorcycle riders, regardless of age, not just those under eighteen. There has been a large turnover in the Connecticut State Legislature, and we have lost several long-time friends. We believe the risk of passage of such a proposed bill is very high.

The CMRA is presently watching the following bills:

HB07140: AN ACT CONCERNING RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REGARDING SEAT BELTS, MOTORCYCLE HELMETS, THE OPERATION LIFESAVER PROGRAM, MAINTENANCE VEHICLES AND TRANSPORTATION STATUTES.

This bill includes language that requires ALL motorcyclists to wear helmets. The CMRA has always opposed such bills.

HB06161: AN ACT REQUIRING THE USE OF HELMETS BY MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS AND PASSENGERS UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE.

The CMRA believes it may be in our best interests to back this proposal, BUT, with a "line drawn in the sand" - meaning this is not a compromise that is subject to future revision. The new Governor has made it clear that he would support and sign a universal helmet law; we look at this as a compromise that may be acceptable. It would give the Governor and supportive Legislators a sense of accomplishment, while leaving those of us 21 and older with the freedom to still choose.

A Public Hearing was held for both of the above bills on Monday, 02/25/19 at the Legislative Office Building located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford (See directions near the bottom of this page). Many of our members were present and gave testimony.

 

Let your Legislators know how you feel. If you don't know who your Legislators are, use this link to find out.

Here is a current list of Transportation Committee members, along with their districts and links to their websites where contact info can be found. If any of these are YOUR representatives, it is especially important to let them know how you feel about this and any other motorcycle-related bills, as all such bills usually go first to the Transportation Committee. Similar info for all other State Senators and Representatives is also on this list.

 


Previous CMRA Legislative Efforts

The CMRA Legislative Committee appeared in Hartford in opposition to the following proposed bill:

HB 6048: AN ACT REQUIRING THE USE OF HELMETS BY MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS AND PASSENGERS.

Heard on February 15th, 2017 (Transportation Committee) - Opposing testimony was given by CMRA members Rich Paukner, and Mike Joyce. They were supported by a number of other CMRA members. Thanks!

 


Other Resources:


Here is where to find your State Representative and State Senator.


Most Public Hearings are held at the Legislative Office Building located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford.

Traveling on I-84 East

  • Take Exit 48, Capitol Avenue, get into the right lane of the exit ramp.
  • At the end of the exit ramp turn right onto Capitol Avenue.
  • Take the first right past the Legislative Office Building, proceed to the back of the garage and take a right to enter the garage using the left hand lane (employees) or the right hand lane (visitors).

Traveling on I-84 West

  • Take Exit 48, Asylum Street, at the end of the exit ramp turn right at the light onto Asylum Street.
  • At the YWCA turn left onto Broad Street, proceed through two stop lights, immediately after the Armory building take the first left and then another left at the end of the short access road.
  • Follow this road around the garage to the back and take a right to enter the garage using the left hand lane (employees) or the right hand lane (visitors).

Traveling on I-91 North or South

  • Take Exit 29A, Capitol Avenue, proceed through the Pulaski Circle at the end of the long exit road. Take a right on Elm Street and turn left at Trinity Street.
  • Go past the Capitol building and the I-84 entrance ramp, all on your right.
  • Take the first right past the Legislative Office Building, proceed to the back of the garage and take a right to enter the garage using the left hand lane (employees) or the right hand lane (visitors).

Parking

  • Limited public parking is available on the first floor of the parking garage. Exit the first floor of the parking garage and proceed to the west entrance (facing Broad Street) to the Legislative Office Building.
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