Mamata.mulay / Wikimedia Commons

The legislature's transportation committee heard testimony Wednesday on two issues: highway tolls, and ways to ensure that all money deposited in the special transportation fund will go specifically for transportation improvement projects -- the so-called lockbox.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill wants to change the way Connecticut runs its elections, having one professional registrar oversee elections in each city and town. 

Current state law provides for two registrars in every town: one Republican, one Democrat. But Hartford's failure last year to get all of the polls open in time for voting enraged officials across the state. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A miscalculation announced by state budget chief Ben Barnes this week has pushed over the state's spending cap by $54.5 million, putting the proposed budget in the red only a few days after it was announced by Governor Dannel Malloy.

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

Secretary of State John Kerry sharply criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "judgment" on talks with Iran on its nuclear program — the latest Obama administration official wading into the controversy stirred by the Israeli leader's planned talk to Congress on March 3 on the dangers posed by the Islamic republic.

Brendan Dolan-Gavitt / Creative Commons

Four Wesleyan University students have been arrested on drug charges in connection with about a dozen hospitalizations among people who took the party drug MDMA, also known as Molly.

The students have been suspended from the university. Charges include possession of a controlled substance, illegal obtaining and supplying of drugs, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

az / Creative Commons

Yale University has announced this year's Windham-Campbell Literature Prize winners.

The literary award recognizes nine English language writers in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, and drama. Each recipient receives a $150,000 grant, making it one of the most lucrative literary awards in the world.

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is poised to approve a casino ethics ordinance, but the city’s mayor has been silent so far on the issue.

The Springfield City Council is expected to give final approval at its next regular meeting to an ordinance that would put restrictions on public officials obtaining jobs at the new MGM casino being built in the city.  Supporters say it is intended to foster public trust in the municipal decision making surrounding the casino project.

Tim Samoff / Creative Commons

For the third year in a row, a proposal to allow the terminally ill to receive medication to end their lives will be before Connecticut legislators.

One of the main opponents has already launched a campaign against the bill. 

Updated at 4:04 p.m. ET

The White House has notified the Senate that President Obama has, as promised, vetoed congressional legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.

"Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest," Obama said in the notification to the Senate.

When people without health insurance get around to filing their taxes this year, they may find that they have to pay a penalty. State officials are working on a fix. 

The Affordable Care Act mandates that everyone have insurance or face a fine. Last year was the first year the penalty applied, but some people may not know they owe it until they prepare their 2014 taxes -- and it's already too late to sign up for health insurance for 2015.

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Should sex education be limited to health class?

East Hartford health teacher Sue Patria suggested on WNPR's Where We Live that the best sex education programs are ones where all teachers incorporate sex and gender topics into their teaching. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Forty-eight school districts across Connecticut got a total of $428,000 to help them reduce the number of tests taken by students.

Districts are expected to use the money to analyze their current tests to ensure that they align to new state standards, provide value, and are not redundant with other tests.

Back9Network

The Back9Network, a cable and Internet-based network devoted to golfing that opened in Hartford with state assistance nearly two years ago, has suspended operations. Without elaborating Monday, Back9 cited a "temporary shortfall in capital."

The network said it is planning the next steps and will continue to seek long-term operating capital. 

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET.

The head of Veterans Affairs has apologized for misrepresenting his military record, after telling a man that he had served in the U.S. Special Forces. Secretary Robert McDonald says he made a mistake.

The story drew attention late Monday, weeks after McDonald, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, made the claim during a conversation with a homeless man he met during a community outreach effort.

NPR's Quil Lawrence reports:

DMahendra / Creative Commons

The head of a state-funded watchdog agency is wondering what proposed budget cuts could mean for the future of environmental oversight in Connecticut. In question is the future of the Council on Environmental Quality, which for more than 40 years, has monitored everything from air to wildlife conditions in the state.

It's a relatively small line item in the budget: about $180,000. That money funds two full-time paid positions at the CEQ. There's also a nine-member board that collects no salary.

In a claim that's meeting with skepticism in Kiev, Russian-backed separatists say they've started to withdraw heavy weapons in eastern Ukraine, as required by a recent cease-fire. Ukraine's military says separatist attacks are ongoing.

The development comes after Russia's President Vladimir Putin said he thinks a war with Ukraine would be "apocalyptic" — but that the area is now on a path to stability, after the recent Minsk agreement.

One way to test your mettle in winter is to take one of those quick penguin plunges in icy water. But some stoic swimmers actually carve pools out of frozen lakes and race each other.

The sport of winter swimming is popular abroad, especially in Russia, Scandinavia and China. But last weekend, a newly formed organization to promote winter swimming in the United States held its first national competition on the Vermont-Quebec border.

Extremist fighters from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, have kidnapped "at least" 90 Assyrian Christians in northeastern Syria, according to a monitoring group. The claim emerges from an area recently targeted by coalition attacks.

Alaska's voter initiative making marijuana legal takes effect Tuesday, placing Alaska alongside Colorado and Washington as the three U.S. states where recreational marijuana is legal. The new law means people over age 21 can consume small amounts of pot — if they can find it. It's still illegal to sell marijuana.

"You can still give people marijuana, but you can't buy it — or even barter for it," Alaska Public Media's Alexandra Gutierrez reports. "So, it's a pretty legally awkward spot. That probably won't stop people from acquiring it, though."

The love between two ferns knows few bounds, it appears. A DNA analysis of a hybrid fern shows that its parents are two different species separated by nearly 60 million years of evolution.

"A 60 million year divergence is approximately equivalent to a human mating with a lemur," says Carl Rothfels, a fern researcher at the University of British Columbia, who headed the study. The hybrid is a record, he says.

Nicole Cho / Creative Commons

Police are trying to trace the source of a possibly bad batch of MDMA – a drug also known as Molly – after ten students and two visitors overdosed at Wesleyan University. As of Monday afternoon, eight people remained hospitalized.

Coventry Regional Farmers' Market / Facebook

The well-known Coventry Regional Farmers' Market is heading into its final summer season, beginning on May 31 and running every Sunday until October. While local businesses and vendors are sad to see the market go, they are grateful for the executive board’s dedication and ambition over the past 12 years.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's often said that the way Connecticut pays for public schools is one of the strangest and most complicated in the country. There have been lawsuits, task forces, and now, once again, the governor has said that he wants to give school districts the same slice of the pie they got this year. 

Joe Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said that he's happy the governor doesn't want to cut spending, but that education simply needs more.

Sage Ross / Wikimedia Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed legislation requiring officials at nonprofit hospitals to disclose financial benefits they would gain if the hospital is bought by a for-profit entity.

The Journal Inquirer reports that Malloy's bill would require the disclosure as part of the approval process.

BostonCatholic / Creative Commons

Connecticut ranks near the bottom of the list when it comes to weekly church attendance, according to a new Gallup poll on religion in the United States.

Gallup's annual poll of church, synagogue and mosque attendance ranked Utah, with its high concentration of Mormons, at the top of the list.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The General Assembly's budget-writing committee is beginning its work on a response to the two-year, nearly $40 billion tax-and-spending proposal offered by Governor Dannel Malloy.

The Appropriations Committee was scheduled to hold its first public hearing about the Democratic governor's plan on Tuesday evening. Additional public hearings and budget presentations from state agencies were planned throughout the week. 

The rain that fell on Hollywood as the hours of red-carpet coverage wore on may have provided one of the evening's best visuals: actual people running around wearing plastic bags as they guided famous people out of limos, under umbrellas and to the waiting microphones of interviewers who wanted to know who made the dress, the shoes, the jewelry. It was literally the packing up and encasing of humanity to keep reality out: What could be more Oscars than that?

Fasten your seat belts, true believers. If you haven't flipped through a comic book in a while, you might be in for quite a surprise come May. The entire Marvel multiverse is collapsing.

Forget about seeing the Wolverine we knew any time soon. And the current Ghost Rider? Before long, his current story line will be gone like, well, a ghost. In the new Marvel universe, coming in May, characters and continuities will be reimagined.

After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Kathy Hanlon's life crumbled. Her Long Beach, N.Y., home had no electricity, her family was traumatized and one of her sons was getting sick. On top of that, there was the bureaucratic maze of flood insurance.

"I cried many times because I was so angry when I got off the phone with the insurance company," Hanlon says. "It was demeaning. We had to send them things repeatedly. We had to wait for phone calls. We had to wait for people to come visit the house."

Creative Commons

Alzheimer's Disease affects millions of Americans, but right now, there isn't a known cure. Researchers in Connecticut, however, suggest that the solution might lie in understanding the gooey protein that builds up in brains of Alzheimer’s patients. 

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