Connecticut legislature

Sage Ross

    

Over 100 people testified before the legislature's Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

They spoke for and against a controversial bill to allow Connecticut doctors to prescribe medication to help terminally ill patients to end their lives.

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Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun have been dominant forces in the gambling world since entering the market in the 1990s. With that success came revenue for the state of Connecticut. But neighboring states are getting in on the game, opening their own casinos seeking many of the same patrons. 

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A public hearing on Monday heard residents' input on a proposed bill that would clarify state laws on police officers' authority to make arrests outside of their jurisdiction. 

Speaking on WNPR's Where We Livepanelists broke down the origins of the bill and the issues surrounding it. 

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Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse is back and there’s a lot of ground to cover. Lawmakers are hedging their bets and hoping to bring more casinos to an increasingly saturated gambling market. This time, current tribal casino leaders are ready to team up for one facility to compete with a future Springfield casino.

Also, why does Connecticut keep electing politicians who voters don't really love? New polling numbers from Quinnipiac University shows declining support for the recently re-elected Gov. Dannel Malloy. But you know a governor who was really popular? John Rowland! He now faces sentencing in federal court for his illegal activity in a 2012 congressional race.

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A legislative committee held a public hearing on a controversial proposal to add more casinos in the state. 

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On Wednesday, dozens are expected to testify before the Judiciary Committee on a controversial bill that would allow Connecticut doctors to prescribe a lethal medication to people with terminal illnesses. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 63 percent of residents support the idea. 

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A public hearing on Monday at Hartford Public High School heard residents' input on a bill that would clarify state laws on police officers' authority to make arrests outside of their own towns.

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Democrats and Republicans are voicing support for Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy's proposal to give nonviolent criminal offenders more opportunities to reintegrate into society.

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State Senate Democrats are hoping to place a limit on administrative costs at public colleges to help reduce the cost of tuition.

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Legislation is in the works for new, smaller gambling facilities near Connecticut's borders.

A coalition of state legislators, the state's two federally-recognized Indian tribes, and union leaders are backing a bill that would allow up to three new, smaller casinos to help combat gambling competition in neighboring states.

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Governor Dannel Malloy's latest proposal to overhaul Connecticut's liquor laws is receiving a mixed reception at state Capitol.

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Should employers be able to get access to a worker's personal email or their social media account? That's the question at the center of a legislative proposal being discussed in Hartford, which begs the bigger question: do any employers actually do this? 

The bill would make it illegal for employers to force workers or job applicants to share passwords to their personal online accounts

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A bill that would impose a tax on sugary soft drinks has passed a legislative hurdle.

The measure would assess a one-cent-per-ounce tax on carbonated soft drinks that contain a caloric sweetener. Proceeds from the tax would fund public education and outreach programs on obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

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A group representing automotive dealers in Connecticut said it will continue to oppose Tesla selling its cars directly to customers, but if the legislature does decide to move forward with a bill allowing direct sales, car dealers are calling for a two year moratorium on it.

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Already facing shortfalls in the budget he presented last month, Governor Dannel Malloy said Wednesday that it’s now in the hands of state lawmakers.

“The law is very clear, the budget I have to present is balanced, and it is balanced. We’ve met our legal requirement,” Malloy said, speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live.

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Should all Connecticut teachers get more special education training? 

The idea has been put on the table by a group of educators, lawmakers and other professionals, with a goal to help teachers identify students with disabilities earlier, so that they don't fall behind in class or develop behavior problems.

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Legislators heard hours of impassioned testimony from cab drivers and from drivers who work for ride sharing service Uber, as they wrestle with the issue of regulating new transportation offerings.

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Once again, state lawmakers are considering if police should be allowed to conduct surveillance using remote controlled aerial vehicles, commonly known as "drones."

The law would require police to register drones and create publicly-available information about their use. It would also, in some cases, call for them to get a warrant before using a drone. 

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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

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. 

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As part of his $40 billion biennial budget proposal, Governor Dannel Malloy wants to move more than 1,500 positions from the judicial branch's court support services to the Departments of Correction and Children and Families.

The proposal is part of the governor's "second chance society" initiative to change the state's drug laws so non-violent offenders have a better chance of re-integrating into society. Reforms include making certain non-violent offenses misdemeanors, and eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession.

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The state legislature's higher education committee is exploring the possibility of adopting an outcome-based funding model for Connecticut's public colleges and universities.

Thirty states currently tie funding of higher education to performance indicators: things like graduation rates, course completion, and retention of minority and low income students. The goals and amount of funding vary widely from state to state.

North Dakota, for example, ties nearly all of its base funding for higher education to number of credit-hours completed by students, while Illinois ties less than one percent of its funding on institutional outcomes.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy delivers his budget speech on Wednesday, an event we've anticipated for weeks.

The address is expected to include details about Malloy's big transportation plans for the state, and how he plans to balance the budget while changing the sales tax system.

In our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we preview his speech while looking at the big picture: What do budget addresses mean, and what are the messages they send?

Today's edition of The Wheelhouse is in two parts. Part one is a preview of the budget speech. Part two is a broadcast of the budget address in its entirety and a wrap-up with WNPR reporters.

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Connecticut's commissioner of transportation, James Redeker has cautioned legislators against attempting to replace Metro-North Railroad as the operator of the New Haven line.

Some Senate Republicans say it's time for the state to have a choice on who runs the commuter railroad.

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Owners and managers of Connecticut car dealerships are urging state lawmakers to abandon legislation that would allow an electric car maker to sell vehicles directly to consumers.

About 70 auto dealers were at the state Capitol on Wednesday meeting with legislators to protest a bill benefiting Tesla Motors. Current state law prevents car manufacturers from selling their cars to consumers.

A bill before the legislature's Transportation Committee would make an exception for Tesla. 

Connecticut Senate Republicans

Connecticut's Republican legislators proposed a 30-year, $37.4 billion plan to fund a proposed overhaul of the state's transportation system on Tuesday. They'd like to do it without resurrecting tolls.

The announcement comes a week before Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy will present his two-year budget and transportation initiative.

Both Senate and House Republicans proposed dedicating a set amount of bonds to be used solely for transportation projects, starting with $441.5 million in fiscal year 2016. That would complement the approximate $600 million in bonding already spent annually for transportation.

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State lawmakers will hear testimony on legislation aimed at speeding up the development of ultra, high-speed, broadband Internet across Connecticut.

The General Assembly's Energy and Technology Committee scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday on the bill, which is co-sponsored by Senate President Martin Looney and other Democratic senators. The legislation calls for facilitating the rapid development of gigabit Internet infrastructure in cities and towns across the state. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A state representative has asked for a study of laws and policies governing vaccine exemption to determine if waivers intended for genuine religious objections are being used by parents personally opposed to vaccinations.

The Hartford Courant reports that State Representative Matt Ritter, House chairman of the Public Health Committee, wants a study of exemption laws and policies in states with the same waivers as Connecticut.

Some key Connecticut lawmakers say they are willing to pursue a compromise that would allow Tesla Motors sell its electric cars directly to consumers, but with some provisions that address the concerns of the state's independent franchise dealerships.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Connecticut General Assembly's Children's Committee held a public hearing on Thursday to hear testimony on a dozen bills.

Almost half were proposed by Republican Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a vocal critic of the state Department of Children and Families. His bills call for several reforms of DCF. 

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