FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – To better ensure protection of Connecticut-owned forests, parks, farmland and other conservation lands, state Rep. Laura Devlin (R-Fairfield and Trumbull) has supported legislation to constitutionally protect open space.
The legislation would require:
- A two-thirds vote by each chamber in favor of selling any space.
- A public hearing in the town or towns where the lands are located.
- Any legislation allowing for the sale of an open space property must be a standalone bill. This will prevent sales from being incorporated into much larger conveyance or implementer bills, which are often rushed through the legislature.
- All money received for any transfer, sale or conversion of land must be used solely to replace it with similar land to be used for open space, parks, forests or farms. This will preserve the amount of open space currently owned by the state.
“As lawmakers, we are entrusted with protecting Connecticut’s state-owned open space and a constitutional amendment would ensure that these environmental treasures will forever be preserved,” Devlin said.
According to environmental advocates, Connecticut, in recent years, has seen instances of protected land being sold by the state without proper public discussion and assessment of such sales and this legislation and proposed constitutional amendment would stop that practice. The bill received unanimous support in the Government Administration and Elections committee and now goes to the State Senate and House of Representatives for a full floor debate and vote.