During this time of extreme and, at times, violent political activism some lawmakers in Connecticut are trying to silence public debate by exposing private citizens’ information.
House Bill 5589 requires the state government to publish an online database identifying people, the cause(s) they support, and where they live.
That’s a bad idea.
Supporters of Sandy Hook Promise or Connecticut Citizens Defense League should be able to support their cause without political activists and wild conspiracy theorists knowing their address — just as donors to Planned Parenthood or Family Institute of Connecticut shouldn’t have to list their names on a public database just because they wish to support those groups.
This bill threatens the First Amendment rights of Connecticut’s citizens by intimidating them into silence with the legitimate fear that they will face reprisals.
We’ve all seen it happen in the past — infamous stories of private citizens harassed and threatened because they made a private political donation which then became public.
And that could very well happen here in Connecticut if this legislation passes.
So I encourage you to email your lawmaker now about House Bill 5589 and this important First Amendment issue.
Our lawmakers need to be reminded: Transparency is for government. Privacy is for the people.
Carol Platt Liebau is president of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy.