Rep. Pat Widlitz listens as Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr. addresses a press conference Tuesday on the creation of a task force on the Newtown tragedy. (contributed photo)
State Representative Patricia Widlitz (D-Guilford, Branford) has been appointed by legislative leaders to serve on a special bipartisan task force on gun violence prevention and school security.
"We will work with the governor's task force, which is communicating with President Obama's task force, and we will do our best to ensure the safety of our children," Widlitz said.
"Our children should not have to go to school in fear, and parents should not have to worry that their children won't return home," she said. "It's unacceptable in this country that we would have the kind of situation that occurred in Newtown."
The task force, announced Tuesday as a result of the Newtown school tragedy, will conduct a review of current law and make recommendations on a range of potential legislation to prevent gun violence, enhance school security and ensure the availability of mental health services in Connecticut.
"People have serious concerns about the violence in our society that seems to be influencing the behavior of our young people. We need to explore what we can do in our communities to stem these violent acts against humanity," Rep. Widlitz said.
The task force, which includes Democratic committee chairs and Republican ranking members, will provide recommendations to Senate and House leadership with the goal of producing a bipartisan emergency certified bill in late February.
The task force has designated three working groups, which will focus on the three core issues of gun violence prevention, school security and mental health. Each caucus will appoint as many as four members to each group. Rep. Widlitz will serve on the subcommittee that will make recommendations regarding school security issues.
"Connecticut has suffered a horrific tragedy and we need to respond with compassion, sensitivity and strong action to keep our children safe," Widlitz said.
Rep. Widlitz is the House chairman of the legislature's Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and also a voting member of the State Bond Commission. In addition, she is a member of the Banks and Public Health committees. Widlitz has served the 98th Assembly District, which consists of portions of Branford and Guilford, since 1995.