The Constitution and General Laws of the State of Connecticut
(Proposed Revision © 2006-2016 John C. Rankin)
We the people of Connecticut, in order to establish a just, peaceful and prosperous state, establish this Constitution and General Laws.
We make six assumptions that serve the consent of the governed, and thus an honest political state.
First, the unalienable rights of life, liberty and property, given by the Creator, belong to all people equally, and leaders in state government honor such rights.
Second, leaders in state government are to be fully transparent in all manners related to the public trust.
Third, an honest definition of terms is necessary in state government, providing a level playing field for all ideas to be heard equally, apart from which political freedom is not possible.
Fourth, leaders in state government are to honor and answer those who pose them the toughest questions.
Fifth, leaders in state government are to respect the common humanity of even the harshest of political opponents.
Sixth, in the face of our individual and societal transgressions against each other, leaders in state government are to work toward justice and reconciliation.
We embrace the most localized and limited government possible, with built in checks and balances, and where simplicity and truth are seen as partners. Accordingly, the maximum discretion of private citizens to organize their social space benefits society the best.
Declaration of Rights
Section 1:1: When people form a social covenant, all are equal in rights, and none are entitled to special or hereditary privileges from the community. All people are made in God’s image, and are to be protected by due process of law for the entire natural duration of their lives.
Section 1:2: The social covenant is dependent on the prior integrity of man and woman in marriage insofar as attainable, and on the fullest presence possible of both father and mother in the raising of children.
Section 1:3: All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit. The people have at all times an undeniable right to alter their form of government as they see fit.
Section 1:4: Religious liberty is the first freedom, where the state cannot define religion, nor can any religious group define the state. Then there follows the freedoms of speech, the press, peaceable assembly, and the power of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Section 1:5: Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself, his family, his community and the state. The people are secure in their persons, houses, papers, communications and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures, by any means. No warrant to search any person, place or thing, or to seize any property, is issued apart from a reasonably specific description, or without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.
Section 1:6: No one may be deprived of life, liberty or property apart from due process of law. Innocence is presumed until guilt is proven. If property is deemed necessary for the public trust, a just and fair market compensation, including relocation costs, must be provided first.
Section 1:7: All citizens, visitors and other persons living in Connecticut must affirm the following: “I affirm the full religious, political and economic liberty for all my fellow citizens, and that all are free to change their religious, political and/or economic affiliations as they see fit, free from any forms of coercion.”
Section 1:8: All courts are open to every person for speedy redress of any injury done him in his person, property or reputation, rooted in a justice not for sale.
Section 1:9: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused has the right 1) to be heard by himself and counsel, 2) to be informed of the nature and probable cause of the accusation, 3) to be confronted by the witnesses against him, 4) to have the power to subpoena witnesses on his behalf, 5) to be released on bail upon sufficient security, except in capital offenses where the proof is evident or the presumption great, 6) to a speedy and public trial by jury, 7) not to be forced to give evidence against himself, 8) not to be subject to excessive bail or fines, and 9) no civilian criminal prosecutions will be levied against soldiers in the army or militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger.
Section 1:10: In all criminal prosecutions, a victim has the right 1) to be treated with fairness and respect, 2) to timely disposition of the case, 3) to be reasonably protected from the accused, 4) to notification of court proceedings, 5) to attend all court proceedings where the accused is expected to attend, apart from when the victim’s testimony will be materially affected by other testimony, 6) to communicate with the prosecution, 7) to make a statement in court in objection to or support of any plea agreement reached by the accused and prosecution, 8) to make a statement in court at sentencing, 9) to a minimum of full restitution of loss caused by the accused, and 10) to information about the arrest, conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the accused.
Section 1:11: The privileges of the writ of habeas corpus are not suspended, unless, when in the case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it, and then, only by a vote of two-thirds of the Legislature. The Legislature has no power to impose a bill of attainder for treason or felony. The military is in all cases and at all times subject to the civil power. No soldier, in time of peace, is to be quartered in any house or dwelling without the consent of the owner or legal resident, nor quartered in time of war apart from a manner prescribed by law.
Section 1:12: The right to trial by jury is inviolate, and apart from the consent of the accused, involving no less than six jurors, and in cases of capital offense, no less than twelve jurors. In all cases, the parties have the right to peremptorily challenge jurors to a number established by law or consent, and the right to question each juror individually by counsel is inviolate.
Section 1:13: Any rights not here specified, and not in conflict with those otherwise delineated at the state or federal level, are reserved to the people.
Thirty Specific Strategic Changes
In this proposed rewrite, apart from overall simplification, thirty specific strategic changes are made to the existing constitution and laws. They reflect a deep structural change in how politics is conducted, aiming for the honest, transparent, accountable and simple.
1] Preamble: It is rooted in the six pillars of honest politics and an explicit definition of localized and limited government.
2] Section 1:1: The language of the image of God and priority of protecting human life is both a statement of conviction and an invitation to debate what “entire natural duration” means.
3] Section 1:2: There is the explicit and inclusive goal of man and woman in marriage, and the presence of fathers in the lives of their children.
4] Section 1:4: Religious liberty as the first and defining freedom.
5] Section 1:6: There is the specific itemization of life, liberty and property as protected by due process of law.
6] Section 2:2: Lawmaking is via supermajority and without amendment, regulations serve and do not supersede any law, and policy directives are limited to 100 words.
7] Section 2:3: There is limited judicial purview.
8] Section 3:2: There is a definition of the purpose for taxation rooted only in productive economic activity.
9] Sections 3:5 and 3:6: There is a change in the number of senators and representatives, for the sake of symmetry and honestly defined districts.
10] Sections 3:13, 9:16 and 9:17: There is ubiquity of transparency in all elements of governance, with open meetings and media access central.
11] Section 4:2: The Governor and Lieutenant Governor are elected to office as a team, and policy directives are limited to 100 words.
12] Sections 5:4 and 5:5: The introduction of the Common Courts is for locally judged and non-felonious matters, greatly alleviating the formal court system.
13] Section 5:7: There are genuinely speedy trials.
14] Section 5:13: There is the inclusive freedom to designate the power of attorney.
15] Section 6:5: There is the right for citizens to initiate statewide ballot referenda questions.
16] Section 7:16: There is no limit on political monies w/concurrent transparency and accountability.
17] Section 9:1: There is the goal in writing law to be simultaneously minimalist and comprehensive.
18] Section 9:2: There is gender inclusivity and simplicity in the use of the male pronoun.
19] Section 9:5: There is an explicit definition of privacy rights.
20] Section 9:12: There is a simplicity in defining business law through “open contracts.”
21] Section 9:13: There is a transparency in relationship between public and private concerns for public officials.
22] Sections 9:18 and 9:19: There is an explicit limit on, and the nature of, taxes collectable by the state.
23] Section 9:22: There is a rewrite of the law regarding recognized Indian tribes, making it more equal.
24] Section 10: Some state departments are condensed.
25] Section 10:10: The drinking age and drug use are redefined, as are abortion restrictions; and all food, medicine and clothing requires truth in advertising as to natural, synthetic and/or GMO content.
26] Section 10:14: The Department of Social Services is constituted as in service to the family.
27] Section 10:18: There are strict parameters for provisional driver’s licenses, ages 17-21, and strict and immediate consequences for drunk driving; there is primacy of freedom and responsibilities for parents in the education of their children, and free public education is locally funded.
28] Section 10:19: There is the immediate segregation for those who commit or seek to commit sexual assault in prison.
29] Section 10:23: All state employees are free to be hired as employees or as sub-contractors.
30] Section 12:9: Government charity exists only at the municipal level.
The means to present such a rewrite is via a Constitutional Convention, debate and edit it accordingly, arrive at agreement, and then submit it for subsequent potential ratification by the voters. And given the dramatic need for and nature of this rewrite, the Convention needs to adopt a segue plan for all state employees whose present jobs become no longer necessary. They need to have a substantial enough period of time to segue into retirement or private employment, ensuring no undue burden on their families, and indeed, in the goal of greater prosperity for them and all law-abiding people in the State.
These same realities, as applicable, are also seen in the rewrite of the federal constitution and laws.
[The rest of this proposed revision is available in the book, The Six Pillars of Honest Politics, available at www.johnrankinbooks.com]