WNPR

Connecticut legislature

Chion Wolf

At the end of a slightly confusing night, the state legislature gave Gov. Dannel P. Malloy some of the added emergency budget-cutting authority he wanted but made him unhappy by spurning his request to cut aid to cities and towns. 

Chion Wolf

OK, I know this might not be as easy and fun as yesterday's show on comic books, but if the current state budget were a comic book, it would be about a dystopian future. (And present for that matter ...)

The state constitution requires that the budget be balanced by Friday. It isn't. The plan for doing that included significant givebacks by the state employees. They wouldn't do it.

Chion Wolf

Hartford is at a time of transition. Recovering from corruption, transforming its education planning for the future.

Today, Where We Live teams up with The Hartford Public Library for “The Year Ahead: A Conversation with Hartford’s State Legislators.” 

We'll be talking with members of the state congressional delegation from the city. They'll share their thoughts about the state of Hartford, and what lawmakers are doing to solve some of the city’s problems - from violence, to education scores, to literacy rates.

woodleywonderworks, Flickr Creative Commons

Though education advocates are expressing frustration at an overall lack of progress during this legislative session, there’s one area where people are feeling cautiously optimistic. A bill focusing on early childhood education could help tackle the state’s stubborn achievement gap, and may better position Connecticut for future federal funding.

House And Senate Approve Huge Energy Bill

Jun 8, 2011
Flickr Creative Commons, piitaya

The House and Senate have passed a large energy bill designed to create a new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the Governor is expected to sign it.

Malloy Is Hurtling Through Time and Space

May 31, 2011
Chion Wolf

The question asked by an exasperated state legislator at an informational hearing last week was the one posed frequently, if not publicly, at the state Capitol about Connecticut's always-in-a-hurry governor: "Why can't this wait?" The query, by Rep. Roberta Willis, D-Salisbury, concerned Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's fast-track plan to remake the UConn Health Center, but it could have applied to any major initiative, beginning with the budget.

The state House of Representatives has approved a bill that would allow some prisoners to get out of jail early. The Senate passed a version of the bill last week. 

Paid Sick Days Make Their Way Toward Law

May 26, 2011
Thomathon photo via Flickr Creative Commons

With strong support from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the Senate voted 18 to 17 Wednesday to pass the nation's first state mandate on private employers to offer paid sick days. It now goes to the House, where passage is expected. The bill, which passed with only one Republican vote, has a limited reach, applying to dozens of specific types of service workers at companies with more than 50 employees. Sponsors say it will affect 300,000 workers.

New Bill Would Create Model For Evaluating Teachers

May 17, 2011
Flickr user woodleywonderworks

Connecticut lawmakers heard from education advocates Thursday afternoon about a new bill that would create a model for evaluating teachers. But the state's teachers' unions don't agree on it, and others say it doesn't go far enough.

Hundreds of teachers face lay-offs in the state due to budget constraints. But using seniority as the only means to decide who stays and who goes is unprofessional, says Alex Johnston. Johnston is the CEO of ConnCann, an education advocacy group.

Democrat Governor Brings Bills Closer to Passing

May 17, 2011
CT House Democrats

After years of failed lobbying, some legislation in the state may be creeping closer to the governor's desk now because a Democrat sits there. Bills on the death penalty and paid sick leave all have a better chance of passing this year.

Bruce Morris, D-Norwalk, is a state representative and also a reverend. And he admits he doesn't always see eye to eye with his fellow faith leaders on theological issues.

Lawmakers Fight To Keep Death Penalty

May 17, 2011
CT House Democrats

As a potential repeal of the death penalty looms in Connecticut, opposing lawmakers are drafting legislation that would change the appeals process.

Representative Steve Mikutel is a Democrat from Griswold who supports the death penalty. He says voters shouldn't worry about executing innocent people in Connecticut.

A bill that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates has passed in the state House and now moves to the Senate.  

The legislation would allow students who have graduated from a Connecticut high school after attending for at least four years to be eligible for the state tuition rate at a public college or university.

A similar bill was vetoed by former Governor Jodi Rell in 2007. But this year, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy says he'll sign the bill into law.

Malloy's support is embraced by undocumented students like Carolina Bortolleto.

A bill that would raise the starting age for kindergarten has passed out of the Appropriations Committee.  Critics are concerned that it does not provide an alternative for kids whose families cant afford an extra year of preschool.

The idea is to require children entering kindergarten to be five years old by October 1st. This new law would take effect in 2015, and supporters say it would improve teaching and learning because right now, the age range in kindergarten is too wide. 

A controversial bill that would have relaxed restrictions for online ticket brokers will not go forward in this legislative session.  Lawmakers say they need more time to determine what’s best for Connecticut consumers.

Ticket scalping was legalized in Connecticut in 2007.  Now there’s a flourishing online ticket resale market.  Resale brokers supported a bill that would have required entertainment and sports venues to only sell tickets that could be resold.

Ticket Resale Debate

Apr 16, 2011
Andycox93, Flickr Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would ease restrictions on companies that resell concert, theater and sports tickets online.  But opponents say that would hurt consumers.

Connecticut’s general prohibition on ticket scalping was repealed in 2007.  And in the past few years, a lucrative online secondary ticket-sellers market has flourished.  

Yesterday, the general Assembly's Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on a host of bills aimed at better protecting victims of domestic violence. Joining us by phone is State Representative Mae Flexer - she is a member of the legislature's Judiciary committee and chairwoman of the Speaker’s Task Force on Domestic Violence.

The equinist, creative commons

Yesterday at the State Capitol, the General Assembly's Judiciary heard testimony on a number of marijuana related bills being considered by the state legislature this year, including the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of Marijuana, and the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Joining us to talk about this is Stamford state representative Gerald Fox, the house chair of the Judiciary committee.

Bonnie Brown, Creative Commons

Today is Connecticut Association of Boards of Education day at the state Capitol.  Some 200 school board members, students, and teachers will spend the day talking with state lawmakers about their concerns and their legislative agenda.  Joining us is Patrice McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel of The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. 

When Cash Register Receipts Cost Too Much

Mar 4, 2011
Chion Wolf

The Environment Committee is considering legislation that would ban the use of cash register receipts that contain the chemical, BPA. The bill would also require a research institute at UConn to develop a list of toxic chemicals. 

Chion Wolf, WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy unveiled his new two year budget yesterday.  The $19.7 budget for 2012 seeks to close a $3.2 billion deficit through tax hikes, spending cuts, and 2 billion dollars in union concessions.  

Chion Wolf/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy presented his plan to close the state’s $3.2 billion budget gap to a joint session of the state legislature today. 

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