The Curious Logic of State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky

by Categorized: Legal Affairs, Media, Politics, Transparency/FOI Date:

Imagine there were a bill under consideration in the legislature that, if approved, would legalize marijuana use in Connecticut.  Would the existence of that debate mean we’re all free to spend the next few days firing up joints, without waiting to see if the bill actually becomes law?

Or let’s say lawmakers were thinking of raising the speed limit to 65 mph on the entire length of I-84. Would the introduction of such a bill be legal justification to immediately start blowing through Hartford at that top speed?

These would not qualify as difficult civics questions, and yet, under the curious logic of state Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, the answer to both questions would seem to be “yes.”

Bolinsky, a Newtown Republican, has introduced legislation that in most cases would set a six-month waiting period before a town clerk could release the death certificate of a child under 18. The bill was drafted after news reporters requested copies of death certificates for those killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School – and after Newtown Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia, in a bow to the sensitivity of the tragedy, refused to release them.

Bolinsky famously called reporters seeking the records “jackals.” But perhaps more intriguing is the logical path he is following in defending Aurelia. Bolinsky told the Danbury News-Times‘ Dirk Perrefort that he does not believe Aurelia’s actions violate state law because there is pending legislation that would change the rules, and she hasn’t yet broken that potential, future law.

“She is still within that six-month window that is being proposed,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “I would argue that she is well within her rights and I support what she’s doing.”

There is no serious dispute that death certificates in Connecticut are public records and town clerks are bound by their oaths of office to release them. So this is more the municipal equivalent of civil disobedience, where a town official has concluded that the interests served by disobeying the law are greater than the interest served by adhering to the statute.

Those are individual decisions, and it will be up to the Freedom of Information Commission to decide what consequences, if any, there will be for a town clerk who makes a principled decision to break the law.

But a legislator who endorses the practice on the chance that the action will stop being illegal some time down the road may not like what he finds following that concept to its logical conclusion.

In January, Bolinsky introduced another bill that, if approved, would repeal the state’s $250 business entity tax. Would Rep. Bolinsky be sympathetic to a company that stops paying the tax immediately, under the argument that, hey, there’s pending legislation?

I’ve left a telephone message for Bolinsky. When I hear back, I’ll ask him.

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10 thoughts on “The Curious Logic of State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky

  1. swansong

    Well done. Nice to see there are still journalists out there that realize what the “public” in public documents means.

    Mr. Bolinksky (and Ms. Aurelia) should also be called to account for why a mere 6 requests for Sandy Hook death certificates is justification for the reaction that has followed.

  2. bill

    Rep Bolinsky is correct; the media and most journalists are jackals. The motive is to produce news and feed it into the system for profit. If it means interviewing children as CNN did on the day of that mega tragedy or demanding through freedom if information or by the fact that this death certificate is indeed public information, it only shows that those who act in this manner has no conscience.

    I don’t want to or need to read a 6 year old’s death certificate explaining how his head was blown off. And I don’t need to watch a child being exploited and interviewed even if the parents gave permission.
    sorry, many reporters are jackals.

    i never speak to the media unless I can gain something from it. Boy I’m glad I never went into journalism. Almost did.

    1. swansong

      The death certificate doesn’t describe how a child had their head blown off, for goodness sake. It simply mentions the cause of death as “gunshot”.

      And as far as the exploitation of children the day of…perhaps you should speak to those children’s parents…many of whom hung around the site most of the day allowing their children to be interviewed.

      Btw…if you would be so kind…perhaps you could try and find me an interview with a shaken, disturbed, frightened or crying child survivor.I have watched many hours of video and have yet to find even one.

      I find that odd. How about you?

    2. saskwatch

      ”Boy I’m glad I never went into journalism. Almost did.” — And we are all glad that you didn’t go into journalism.

  3. dc

    Yeah, they dont want them released in full because they dont want it discovered that the AR-15 was a COMPLETE FABRICATION! Lt Vance was pretty plain when he said the kid was found with two handguns and an unspecified long gun in the trunk of the car (shotgun) but when he wouldnt say what type of “long gun” it was, there went all of the media asking “was it an assault rifle” (and we’ll leave aside the dubious assertion that a semi auto is an assault rifle) – WITHIN TWO DAYS, it was all over the place that the kid shot the entire school up with an AR-15.

    The authorities LIED to us, all because some people want a reinstatement of an assault weapons ban that is proven by data not to have prevented any crime with said weapons.

  4. Steve

    A politician calling a reporter a jackal is the ultimate in hypocrisy.Malloy tried to use those childrens bodies to buy himself a position in Washington.He is also very cocerened that fats don’t get in the way of his agenda.

  5. kevin

    How come this was never down for the poor inner city kids who got shot. guess being white with money has its “advantages” in life especially buying off politicians?


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