Hollis Rep: Constituents, testimony determined vote on SB 66

To the Editor:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to a letter to the editor. I am a Hollis representative who when elected represents all people of Hollis. Regarding my vote on the fetal homicide bill, all of the constituents I heard from except one asked me to vote against this bill, which I did.

I serve on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee which held public hearings on SB 66, the fetal homicide bill. I listened to the testimony of families who had lost a baby because of an act of violence. The testimony I heard was about losses due to car accidents. They were heartbreaking stories. There was also testimony against the bill, mainly regarding unintended consequences. I learned that there is currently a law that provides enhanced penalty for loss of a fetus due to a violent act. This can include a jail sentence of 15 years. Considering constituent input and provisions already in law, I chose to oppose this bill.

Regarding my attendance at House sessions, in the last term, on the advice of my doctor I took a few weeks leave of absence to recover from my knee surgery. I had permission from the speaker for that leave. It is important to be at House sessions to represent Hollis. It is as important, if not more so, to be at committee meetings because that’s where the work is done. Committees hold public hearings and do further homework in order to make an informed decision on whether or not to pass a bill. That recommendation goes to the full House for a vote.

It is an honor, privilege and responsibility to represent the people of Hollis.

– Representative Carolyn Gargasz,

Hillsborough District 27