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Constitutional Amendment to Protect Your Public Lands is Necessary Now

“If I knew that the land I donated to be a State Park could be so easily given away or sold for different purposes, I never would have made the gift in the first place.”  - Anonymous donor

Prospective donors of land, neighbors to public lands, users of public lands, and citizens who believe in good government all have a stake in ensuring that your public lands will not be given away, swapped, or sold without an open, public process.

The only way to ensure better protection for public lands is to amend Connecticut’s constitution. Any measure short of a constitutional amendment could be circumvented or ignored by the General Assembly … and this is currently happening every year.

What can be done?

In 2016, CFPA fought for and the General Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 36 (S.J. 36) which would ensure that your public lands could not be sold, swapped, or given away by the legislature without 1) a public hearing, and 2) a 2/3rd majority vote on a bill dedicated to the specific public land in question.

This important resolution must be passed again in the 2017-18 legislative session to appear on the statewide November, 2018 ballot, and it is critically important that the General Assembly take action to let you vote on protecting your public lands. See how your state House and Senate legislators voted on SJ 36 in 2016.

CFPA is not suggesting that public lands can never be conveyed for any reason, but we believe strongly that the General Assembly should not give away, swap, or sell public lands without an open, public process.

In 2017, this resolution was reintroduced as Senate Joint Resolution 39 (S.J. 39). We hope you will encourage your State legislators to co-sponsor and support the passage of this bill again this year.

Why is this so important?

There are at least ten reasons why your public lands should be better protected by amending the constitution.

If you think that public lands are safe and could never be given away or swapped, we encourage you to see several examples of what has been proposed in just the past few years.

How can I learn more about this?

The CT Council on Environmental Quality published a terrific report in January, 2014 that makes it clear that your public lands are not protected. We strongly support the findings and recommendations in their report including the need for a constitutional amendment to better protect public lands, Preserved But Maybe Not: the Impermanence of State Conservation Lands.

CFPA put together a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) paper on SJ 39 (originally introduced as SJ 6) that hopefully anticipates questions you may have. 

Who else supports this effort?

CFPA thanks the more than 135 organizations (in alphabetic order here) who have endorsed the need for S.J. 39.

How can you get further involved?

Your support of CFPA as a member, volunteer, or advocate (perhaps all of the above?) makes a huge difference. Thank you, and please keep it up!

If you have questions about this effort or CFPA's public policy work, you can contact CFPA's Executive Director, Eric Hammerling via ehammerling@ctwoodlands.org.