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by Judge Robert Satter

ePub Under the Gold Dome: An Insider's Look at the Connecticut Legislature download
Judge Robert Satter
Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (May 2004)
Politics & Government
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Under the Gold Dome book.

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Under the Gold Dome is an insider's window into the legislative process in the State of Connecticut

Under the Gold Dome is an insider's window into the legislative process in the State of Connecticut. Satter gives readers an understanding of a system in which he has become exceptionally familiar with through his years of service as a legislative staff member, a state representative, and as a judge. Under the Gold Dome traces the history of the legislative system in Under the Gold Dome is an insider's window into the legislative process in the State of Connecticut. Satter gives readers an understanding of a system in which he has become exceptionally familiar with through his years.

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Under the Gold Dome: An Insider's Look at the Connecticut Legislature, by Judge Robert Satter. New Haven: Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, 2004, pp. 16-27. Connecticut General Assembly. CGA Legislative Member Database, 1776-Present. 16–27. Democrats Tim Larson (District 3), Beth Bye (District 5) and Terry Gerratana (District 6) resigned to join Governor Lamont's administration.

Personal Name: Satter, Robert. On this site it is impossible to download the book, read the book online or get the contents of a book. The administration of the site is not responsible for the content of the site. The data of catalog based on open source database. All rights are reserved by their owners. Download book Under the gold dome : an insider's look at the Connecticut Legislature, Robert Satter. Democrats Chris Soto (District 39) and James Albis (District 99) resigned to join Governor Lamont's administration.

Under the Gold Dome : An Insider's Look at the Connecticut Legislature. DeSoto Fire Dome Eight Preliminary Shop Manual Model S-17.

Historical records matching Robert Satter. His book on that topic, "Under the Gold Dome," is given to all of Connecticut's freshman legislators. Social Security Death Index (SSDI). Connecticut Superior Court Judge Robert Satter of Avon died on January 16, 2012, at the age of 92. He was a highly respected jurist, former Connecticut legislator, community activist, author, proud liberal, lifelong Red Sox fan, great celebrator of Thanksgiving and loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. In 1975, Bob was appointed as a state judge.

An insider's perspective to how the legislative process really works in Connecticut, Judge Robert Satter has had a range of first-hand experience with the Connecticut General Assembly, as a state representative, lobbyist, and general counsel, and later as a state court judge and teacher. The second edition is perfectly accessible for beginner, and for those already familiar with the legislative process, the accounts of Judge Satter's personal experiences and anecdotal details make it a fascinating read.
  • When most people I know look at the Connecticut State government, they see it as little more than a monolithic, faceless institution that exists for people to complain about taxes. Recent scandals, most notably the corruption investigation and resignation of Governor John Rowland in 2004 only serve to worsen the relationship between the public and their government. However, the reality of the situation is very different than what an increasingly cynical public perceives.

    Robert Satter himself is a former legislator who served as a Democrat in the House of Representatives and later worked as a lobbyist and counsel until his appointment to a judgeship in 1975. Throughout the book, he includes various bits of his own first-hand experience with the legislature. Even after 1975, he stayed well informed about Connecticut politics up to the present day.

    The book as a whole is a look at the legislative branch of Connecticut's government. It explains in (mostly) plain English how the legislature works. It breaks down like this:

    Chapter 1 provides a brief overview of the major institutions of the legislative branch.

    Chapter 2 looks at the history of the legislature from the Fundamental Orders in 1639 until the present day.

    Chapter 3 looks at the rise of the political parties in Connecticut, including the old political bosses J. Henry Roraback and John M. Bailey, and their eventual wane.

    Chapter 4 looks at the legislators themselves as people working in an incredibly important position.

    Chapters 5 and 6 explain the legislative process from the first idea, to committee, the drafting by the Legislative Commissioner's Office, enactment by the General Assembly, and the actions of the governor.

    Chapter 7 looks at the leadership of the houses, namely the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and party caucuses.

    Chapter 8 explains the so-called "legislative art" and how not only do legislators have to write laws to enact what they want, but also how they have to compromise in order to have the law passed at all.

    Chapters 9 and 10 explain the budget process starting with how the governor and other parts of the executive branch formulate the budget (interestingly, in Connecticut new budgets are actually modifications of the last fiscal year's) and then how it is submitted to the legislative branch for modification and enactment.

    Chapter 11 looks at the relationship between the governor and legislature. It can be smooth or rocky and can depend on the personalities of the governor and General Assembly leadership. The chapter mostly focuses on more recent governors starting with Abraham Ribicoff (1955-1961) through M. Jodi Rell (in office when the book was published in 2009).

    Chapter 12 looks at recent cases of corruption in Connecticut's government mostly focusing on the investigation of Governor Rowland but also includes the few cases of misconduct by members of the legislative and judicial branches.

    Chapter 13 explains lobbying and how lobbyists and the organizations they represent work to have favorable bills passed or unfavorable ones defeated.

    Chapter 14 looks at the relationship between the legislative and judicial branches and how the legislature has enacted more statutory law instead of letting the judiciary rely on common law.

    Chapter 15 concludes the bulk of the book. Satter takes a look at the legislature for assessment. At the end of the day, he feels that there is room for improvement in areas such as public campaign financing and redistricting, but at the same time offers praise for the legislature for generally being well intentioned and following the public will despite the occasional scandal.

    Throughout the pages are also the stories of the legislature's most important moments in its history. Two stand out. The first was the 1965 reapportionment. For decades the legislature failed to properly reapportion itself leaving sparsely populated towns grossly over-represented and major cities under-represented. In response, a federal court canceled the 1964 elections and forced Connecticut to adopt a new constitution in accordance with the federal government's one man-one vote principle. The end result was a General Assembly better apportioned and representative of the people. The other landmark came in 1991 when the state was facing a budget crisis. Governor Lowell Weicker vetoed three budgets until the General Assembly passed one that included the establishment of the personal income tax. A budget that was passed during special session during a hot summer.

    Today Connecticut has again found itself in another budget crisis. Our current Governor Dannel Malloy has called it "an enormous budget crisis of historic proportions." And yet, I doubt that a lot of people in this state have a basic understanding of how Connecticut's government operates. Sure, politics may not be everyone's cup of tea, but a basic understanding should be essential.

    My complaints about the book are minor at best. There are a few typos. Only a couple bits of outdated information (ostensibly caused by the update from first to second edition). Satter, probably from being both a lawyer and judge, occasionally uses not-so plain English in his explanations. However these occurrences really are rare.

    In conclusion, I found this book very informative and enjoyable to read. Although I doubt many people outside of Connecticut will be interested in this book, those interested in political systems might find an interest in this. Those living in Connecticut who want a better understanding of its government and want a better grasp of its news and politics should buy this book. Unless you have a good grasp of law and want to read through general statutes, this book does a great job of summarizing what citizens should know about their government and what they can do to have a greater impact on the legislation it passes.

  • Former Connecticut State Rep. Robert Satter has written a book about the Connecticut state legislature. Robert Satter served in the legislature during a time when the Hartford Times proclaimed "nothing can be praised about the conduct of the General Assembly in the last session except for the fact that the individual members have left town." This is an interesting book in that is serves as both a guide to explaining to the public how the legislature operates intermixed with research and personal observations. It is unusual to find a descriptive book about the legislative institution from a former participant in the legislative process. This is a detailed and well written book that, for us, allows us to compare and contrast our legislatures.

    The Connecticut legislature is part time and legislators are paid $28,000 plus expenses. This part-time nature guides many of the differences found between the Connecticut and Pennsylvania legislatures. Connecticut legislators meet for five months in odd numbered years. Special sessions can extend beyond that period, yet they are rare. A notable special session was held in 1991 that led to the creation of Connecticut 's state personal income tax.

    In Connecticut , legislative committees are composed jointly of Senate and House members. This allows members from both chambers to hear the same hearing testimonies. Although a bill still has to pass both chambers before coming a law, having members from both chambers deliberating legislation together tends to reduce differences between the chambers.

    Connecticut permits legislators to file legislation on line. 58% of bills introduced in 2001 were filed online.

    The book tells the history of the Connecticut legislature as well as describing its operations. Each town in Connecticut until 1964 used to elect two legislators, from Union population 400 to Hartford population 162,175. 96 towns, representing 12% of the state's population, elected a majority of Connecticut 's state representatives. Further, the State Senate then had not undergone redistricting since 1903 in spite of a Constitutional requirement that it redistrict every decade. 31% of the state's population elected a majority of Connecticut 's Senators. This was of benefit to Republicans who controlled the House while the Senate reflected that the population that was more Democratic.

    Connecticut slowly adopted its current legislative system. Failing to conform to a U.S. Supreme Court order that it adopt one person one vote, the Supreme Court canceled the 1964 legislative elections which forced a Constitution Convention in 1965. The Convention redistricted a new legislature and reduced its size of 294 representatives, which then made it the second largest state legislature in the nation behind New Hampshire . ( Pennsylvania now has the distinction of having the second largest number of legislators behind New Hampshire 's 400 legislators.)

    For many decades, the leading political power in the Connecticut legislature wasn't even an elected legislator. J. Henry Rorabeck , Republican Party Chair, read ever bill in the morning and would approve which bills could pass every day from 1912 through 1933 until the Democrats took control of the Senate. He would sit outside the chambers and indicate, with a thumbs up or thumbs down, how the legislators should vote. Rorabeck continued influencing the House until his suicide in 1937. Democratic Party Chair John Bailey was a major influence on legislative matters from the 1946 until 1975.

    The author notes that Bailey primarily was interested in electoral victory and did not personally benefit from legislation but was skilled in attempting to find compromises and keeping party unity. He often insisted that Senate Democrats vote as a unit once a majority was reached within the caucus. In fact, the author mentions that, because of this desire for party unity, sometimes an opponent could be appeased and receive more than someone loyal to Bailey . Yet, Bailey had a good memory and was known to extract political revenge later.

    Rorabeck and his business friends, though, personally benefited from their legislative efforts. As a shareholder and officer of Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P), he saw the legislature benefited CL&P. He also defended business interests in fighting child labor laws and women's suffrage.

    Political party chairs no longer have such influence. Indeed, when Democratic Party Char Ed Marcus, a former Senate Majority Leader, asked to meet with legislators, the authors noted that an "embarrassingly few" would even meet with him. The political party structure has severely weakened from decades ago. The author observes that political party allegiance in legislative voting is rare, except when insisted upon by legislative leaders on budget issues.

    There are numerous procedural differences between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut legislatures. Bills, except budgetary items, in Connecticut are filed with a deadline early in the process versus our open filing date system. The joint legislative committees decide which bills are then drafted into formal proposals. Thus, it is noted the professional legislative drafters can wield some influence, which is a power seen less in Pennsylvania as our bills are drafted in bill form upon introduction. Bills given unfavorable recommendations by committees can move forward to a Chamber vote. Thus, sitting on a bill in committee, as in Pennsylvania , is the normal route to kill a bill. Also, unlike Pennsylvania , a bill can be referred to multiple committees and each committee needs to issue a report on the bill before the full Chamber can vote on it. The legislative leadership has the power to issue an emergency certification to bring a bill to a vote without committee action. Leadership seldom used this in the 1990s through 2002, although it was used several times in 2003.

    Connecticut legislators, probably because they are part-time, invest less effort in their careers and thus have a higher turnover rate than in Pennsylvania . Incumbency and party endorsement still carries advantages. From 1990 to 2000, there were 101 primaries to nominate state legislators. The party endorsed candidate won 71 times and the challenger won 30 times.

    The legislative process in Connecticut had its moments. The author recalls the day one legislator stood up to oppose a bill requiring vehicles to have only rear license plates instead of plates on both sides. The legislator argued that "this bill is an open invitation for guys to cheat on their wives. All they have to do is back their cars up to the motel. We can't let them get away with it so easily." The bill passed in spite of this plea.

    In sum, serving in the Connecticut legislature can be described as it was by Rep. Dorothy Goodwin upon retiring when she stated "the legislative experience is unique. I can hardly think of an adjective that does not apply: boring, dismaying, humiliating, exciting, exhilarating, ennobling...I would not have missed it for anything."