Governor Malloy Signs Budget; Senator Murphy Announces Federal Gas Tax Hike Proposal
Governor Dannel Malloy signed the $18.9 billion state budget plan today, which was approved by lawmakers earlier this month. Malloy also vetoed two bills. The Democratic-controlled legislature approved the bill on the final night of the legislative session in an agreement with Republicans to assure passage of another environmental bill.
Senator Announces Proposed Federal Gas Tax Increase
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy announced his proposal to increase the federal gas tax. The hike would boost the funds available to repair and replace critical infrastructure around the country. The I-91 bridge over the Quinnipiac is scheduled to be replaced in 2017 using $13 million in federal funds.
Arrests Made in Illegal Collection of State Unemployment Benefits
More than 50 people in Connecticut have been arrested and charged with illegally collecting over $2 million in unemployment insurance benefits since the state established a new investigative unit to look into fraud. The initiative involves the state’s Criminal Justice Division and the Labor Dept. which has already recouped $415,000 that has been returned to the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund.
State Police Commander Set to Retire
The commander of the Connecticut State Police has announced he is stepping down. Col. Daniel Stebbins led the investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012. He says he plans to retire at the end of June. Stebbins, 62, is a 30 year department veteran with state police. Stebbins drew some criticism from Governor Malloy last year after revealing details about Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza’s obsession with mass murders to other police chiefs during a seminar in Louisiana.
State Department of Veterans' Affairs Cancels Smoking Ban
Thee Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs has announced a campus-wide, tobacco-free policy set to begin on June 1 will no longer take effect. DVA officials again declared veteran’s health a top priority, but says due to opposition, the policy will not change. The DVA will continue to comply with state law that prohibits smoking within state buildings.