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Month: May 2023

JP Appointments Bill in Jeopardy

Vote YES on SB1140 Inclusive of Section 3 Working Group

Please take a few minutes to email your Senator and Representative and ask them to vote YES on SB1140 inclusive of Section 3, creating a JP Working Group

  1. Look up your State Representative and Senator
  2. Call or send your State Representative and Senator an email asking them to support SB1140 – Inclusive of Section 3.
See talking points and sample e-mail language below. The details are important.

Current Situation

On May 16, 2023,  a new amendment was submitted in the Senate that guts the part of the bill establishing a working group (Section 3) evaluating the JP appointment process and training qualifications. This is driven by some in the Senate who don’t want any changes to the ways JPs are appointed. They like the power and leverage available to DTC and RTC Chairs. Even though it is an unfair system.
All of our hard work during the past year is on the line. We need every JP and Town Clerk (and their friends and family) who care about this to contact their State Senator and Representative and ask them to reject this amendment and instead vote for Substitute Senate Bill 1140 inclusive of Section 3

Talking Points and Background on SB1140,
An Act Concerning the Appointment of Justices of the Peace

Section 3 is reflected in Substitute Senate Bill 1140, starting on line 98:

  • (a) There is established a working group to examine and make recommendations on (a) the methods of determining how many justices of the peace positions there are in each town and statewide; (b) the portability of justice of the peace appointments across town lines; (c) the process by which justices of the peace are selected; (d) potential training, minimum qualifications, application process, and background check requirements; (e) oversight; (f) legal ramifications of misrepresenting status as a justice of the peace; (g) issues related to reporting trafficking, forced marriage, and marriage fraud; and (h) any other relevant issues.
  • Membership of the working group is bipartisan, and inclusive of JPs, Town Clerks, DTC and RTC chairs, minor political parties, the SOTS/designee and JPus/designee.
The Planning and Development Committee voted unanimously to support SB1140, inclusive of Section 3. Here is the Joint Favorable report.

Key findings of JPus’ research

  • Systemic unfairness in appointment process: Favoritism, inequality between political parties, lack of portability between towns.
  • Disparity between municipalities: Three different rules are used to determine how many JP slot are available in each city or town.
  • No training requirement: This creates opportunity for nonfeasance, jeopardizing the legality of marriages and quality of services to the public. Trained JPs are partners to recognize forced marriage and human trafficking and marriage fraud. Thus, they are another team member to protect our most vulnerable.

Related Links

Remember – as marriage officiants and town clerks, your voice and perspective matters.

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