Conn. governor's Newtown panel meets for 1st time

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Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:15 am

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's panel charged with reviewing state laws and policies after the deadly Newtown school shooting was set to hear from experts who sat on similar commissions following mass shootings in Colorado and Virginia.

Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, scheduled to hold its first meeting on Thursday, also was expected to be briefed by Danbury State's Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III on the status of the investigation into the Dec. 14 shooting which left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

The 16-member panel of experts, headed by Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, faces a March 15 deadline to provide Malloy with a preliminary list of recommendations pertaining to school safety, mental health and gun violence prevention.

In addition to Malloy's group, the General Assembly has formed a bipartisan task force that is examining the same issues. A subcommittee on school safety is holding a public hearing on Friday at the Legislative Office Building. A hearing on gun safety is planned for Jan. 28 and another hearing on mental health issues is scheduled for Jan. 29.

Members of Malloy's task force will hear Thursday from two former members of similar commissions created by governors following mass shootings.

Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Denver's district attorney at the time of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, will make a presentation. He was a member of the Columbine Review Commission, which conducted a review for then-Gov. Bill Owens.

Ritter was elected governor of Colorado in 2007 and he served until 2011.

Also, Virginia Law Professor Richard Bonnie will discuss how his state reacted to the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. He was a consultant to then-Virginia Gov. Tim Kane's Virginia Tech Review Panel. Bonnie is director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia and is chairman of the Virginia Commission on Mental Health Law Reform.

Thursday's meeting, scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., was to be aired live by the Connecticut Network or CT-N.

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