Attorney General Tong Applauds Final Passage of Bill to Strengthen Civil Rights Enforcement in Connecticut(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong applauded a bipartisan 96-51 vote in the state House of Representatives to pass legislation strengthening civil rights enforcement in Connecticut. The Senate voted 26-9 to pass the bill on Friday evening. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
S.B. 363, An Act Concerning the Duties of the Office of the Attorney General, formally recognizes the Attorney General's role in combating hate and defending civil rights. It brings Connecticut into line with our sister states by formalizing the ability of the Attorney General to investigate and – where the evidence warrants – bring civil rights lawsuits to stop large-scale, systematic violations of existing constitutional and statutory rights. The legislation allows the Office of the Attorney General to pursue civil enforcement of our state’s hate crimes laws.
“Passage of S.B. 363 is a landmark moment for civil rights enforcement in Connecticut. Strong bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate have now voted to formalize the role of the Office of the Attorney General in combating hate and defending civil rights. We are ready to take on this work, and prepared to establish a Civil Rights unit within our office immediately to proactively seek justice for those whose rights and liberties are under attack,” said Attorney General Tong.
Attorney General Tong also issued the below statement on Friday evening following passage in the Senate.
“Today’s bipartisan vote is an historic step forward for civil rights enforcement in our state. Just days after the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, as we combat a torrent of anti-Asian violence and bigotry, as authorities investigate heinous nooses hanging from a construction site in our own state, as we confront acts of anti-Semitism in our communities, we are reminded that we can never take our civil rights and liberties for granted. We are in the midst of a national reckoning on hate, race and justice, and Connecticut is not apart or immune. Over the past several years, this office has fought to protect the rights of Connecticut residents to vote safely, to access safe housing and affordable healthcare free from discrimination, and to protect due process rights of our immigrant families. And there is so much more work to be done. This bill strengthens the ability of the Office of the Attorney General to proactively seek justice for those whose rights and liberties have come under attack. The Office of the Attorney General has the capacity, expertise and desire to take on this important work. I thank the Senate for the powerful bipartisan message they sent today, and look forward to working toward passage in the House in the near future," Attorney General William Tong said Friday.