Connecticut legislature

Chris Reed/iStock / Thinkstock

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.

Gloda/iStock / Thinkstock

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.

Sean Marshall / Creative Commons

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.

Creative Commons

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.

David Davies / Creative Commons

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. 

Larochefoucauld / Creative Commons

The Board of Regents for Higher Education has been mired in problems ever since it was set up four years ago to oversee many of the state's colleges. There have been secret raises, resignations with huge severance packages, and even a promotion given to an employee while he was in jail.

State Representative Gail Lavielle, a Republican representing Norwalk, Wilton, and Westport, is co-sponsoring a bill that seeks to dissolve the board completely.

It's a bold statement that she hopes will draw attention to the need for better oversight, even if it doesn't go anywhere. 

Ben Sheldon / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed major improvements to Connecticut's transportation infrastructure.

In the past, Malloy argued that the state gas tax could cover such costs, but the rise in fuel-efficient cars has meant a decline in revenue. How to fund transportation projects remains a question.

Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey said the gas tax is unfair to Connecticut residents.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new legislative session means new dynamics at the state capital, especially with so many new leaders. Can parties from both sides of the aisle sit down together to hash out our budget problems?

Governor Dannel Malloy has shared some of his priorities, including a big push on the transportation front.

This hour, we sit down with Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and new minority leader Themis Klarides to hear their priorities for the upcoming session and about how the legislature will handle the budget deficit.

CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission met on Friday. The panel is getting closer to finishing a final report, but more details remain.

Much of the meeting turned into a debate on whether the report should be dedicated solely to the 26 victims at Sandy Hook elementary, or whether it should also include shooter Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy.

Panel member Dr. Harold Schwartz suggested adding Nancy Lanza as an asterisk to the 26. "Why would we not consider Nancy Lanza to have been a victim?" he asked.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Republican legislative leaders held a press conference Thursday to call for changes in the state’s campaign finance laws, though leading Democrats said talking to them first might have been a better strategy. 

Joined by rank and file legislators, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said state Democrats have consistently worked to undermine and erode the clean elections laws they worked to pass in 2005 after the conviction of former Governor John Rowland.

The Wheelhouse Digs Out

Jan 28, 2015
Gov. Dannel Malloy Office / Twitter

The blizzard has moved on from Connecticut and we're moving on with our regularly scheduled programming. Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will recap the week's news, from Governor Malloy's response to the storm, to last week's bizarre capitol cafeteria summit regarding the state budget. Also, one Hartford-based company that benefited from a state economic development deal is in trouble.

Wikimedia Commons

When Art Linares wanted to buy a Tesla, it wasn't as easy as walking into a store and taking a test drive. Instead, he had to go to New York -- because in Connecticut, it's illegal for a car manufacturer to sell directly to a customer.

"It prevents companies like Mercedes and BMW from creating their own stores, so they have to go through a dealership," said Linares, who's no ordinary customer -- he's a state senator for the 33rd District.

Linares wants to change those dealership laws for at least for one company, Tesla, which has a world-wide policy of selling directly to customers. "What we're trying to do here in Connecticut is make an exemption for Tesla to be able to open up their own stores and sell their cars," he said.

Kevin Brookman / wethepeoplehartford.blogspot.com

An anonymous camera phone-wielding watchdog set off a Facebook firestorm against State Rep. Brandon McGee after a photo of his car parked illegally in a handicap spot circulated online. 

Mr. Nygren / Creative Commons

There is a simple formula for restoring respect for democracy and other American institutions: just study everything that happens in Bridgeport and do the opposite.

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, Colin McEnroe guest-hosts with check-ins on Bridgeport, New London County, and Hartford. 

The capital city is part of a different formula: study how Hartford runs elections and do the opposite. Also, don't park in a handicap spot, especially if you're a lawmaker using your official state plates.

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

A member of the Kennedy family will now be heading up the state's environment committee. In the upcoming legislative session, Ted Kennedy, Jr., a newly-elected Senator from Branford, said he'll be tackling everything from pesticide use to pollution in Long Island Sound.

Connecticut House Democrats

Norwalk State Rep. Bruce Morris will be leading the General Assembly's Black and Latino Caucus in the new session. 

Mamata.mulay / Creative Commons

Leaders in the state senate say there may be hope of reviving the Tenet Healthcare deal to buy five Connecticut hospitals.

The Texas-based hospital company pulled out of the partnerships after the state’s Office of Healthcare Access specified unacceptable conditions for a deal involving Waterbury Hospital. 

Jessica Hill / The Associated Press

Governor Dannel Malloy has confirmed that investment in transportation infrastructure will be the signature issue of his second term. 

Jessica Hill / The Associated Press

Democrat Governor Dannel Malloy took the oath of office for a second term on Wednesday, which also marked the opening day of this year's General Assembly session. 

David Wilson / Creative Commons

Wednesday marked the opening day of the 2015 General Assembly session. The State Senate began its legislative session with State Sen. Andrew Maynard in attendance. 

Chion Wolf

It’s inauguration day in Connecticut! And it’s also Wednesday...and that means The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. How convenient is that?

Fireworks by Grucci

The Wheelhouse is back with a special New Year’s Eve edition of our weekly news roundtable. We’ll look back at the year from the rough and tumble race for governor, to the conviction of a former governor. What do you think was the biggest story of 2014?

State of Connecticut

The Connecticut Veterans' Home in Rocky Hill includes a nursing home and a domiciliary that gives shelter and food to many veterans who were formerly homeless. A recent study of the facility points to a need for dramatic improvements. 

Official photos

Next month, the state legislature will convene with a lot of familiar names in new top jobs. We sit down with the two new Senate leaders, President Martin Looney and Minority Leader Len Fasano. What are their priorities for the next session? You can join the conversation with your questions and suggestions for the new Senate leadership.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses the new look of the Malloy administration as the governor heads into his second term. Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Chris Donovan finds a new line of work with a state teachers' union. We also check in on the Elm City, where New Haven's police chief is making headlines for a confrontation at the Yale Bowl.

Pages