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Connecticut legislature

Chion Wolf

A few weeks ago, we talked about first responders to the tragedy in Newtown. Now the state’s stepping in to help. 

Yesterday, the state legislature voted unanimously to establish the Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Fund. This privately funded program will provide financial help to the roughly 150-200 teachers, first responders and others who are suffering from mental health problems as a result of the tragedy in Newtown. Today we find out more about this program. 

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s tourism districts are preparing to make their pitch to the legislature about why they should survive in these straitened economic times. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

woodleywonderworks (Flickr Creative Commons)

The state legislature is mulling over a host of bills in response to the Newtown tragedy. Most concern gun policy, or mental health care but yesterday, the Children's Committee heard public testimony on three bills addressing violent video games.

Diane Orson

Nearly two thousand people waited in snow and frigid temperatures Monday in order to attend a hearing of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety in Hartford. 

Gun control advocates and opponents talked with each other as they waited to pass through metal detectors at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

"If it was up to me I would mandate that every teacher have a carry permit."

Scott Hoffman is an avid deer and bird hunter from Suffield.

Courtesy of Flickr CC by Null Value

More than a dozen police officers in Newtown haven't returned to work since the day they responded to a mass shooting inside an elementary school. Twenty children and six adults were killed.

Chion Wolf

A new legislative session begins in Hartford today - and lawmakers will have a lot on their plates as usual.

But the standard-issue partisan fights over spending, revenues may well be eased - at least early in the session - by the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings.

Governor Dannel Malloy’s State of the State address, the traditional kickoff of the session, will likely focus on the state’s attempt to come back emotionally from the tragedy.

But, it means we’ll also hear a lot about gun control and school safety over the next few months.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

On this first day of the Connecticut's legislative session, at least one lawmaker wants to make sure that the general assembly can do their work safely. New London State Representative Ernest Hewett has proposed installing metal detectors at the entrance of the state Capitol and the Legislative Office Building.

"It's like going on a plane," said Hewett. "If you get on that airplane and everybody has to go through the same security you went through, you feel a little comfortable on that plane."

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After a bill to require labeling for genetically modified foods failed to make it out of the Connecticut legislature’s Environment Committee this past February, a bi-partisan legislative task force met last month to consider their next move.

ProgressOhio

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Earlier this week Connecticut became one of six states to get the go ahead from the federal government to set up a health exchange, an online store for buying health insurance.

All 50 states must offer a health exchange by October as part of Obamacare.

Joining us by phone is Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange.

Chion Wolf

Tuesday was Women's Policy Day at the State Capitol. 

The event, hosted by the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and five women's advocacy groups, highlighted public policy issues facing women this upcoming legislative session, and also served as a crash course on how to become an effective advocate for women's issues. Anna Doroghazi is public policy director for the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, one of the sponsors of the event:

Art Linares, Jr

Connecticut Republicans succeeded in sending a political newcomer to the General Assembly to take over a Senate seat long held by Democrats. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports Art Linares also will be one of the state's youngest Senators.

An advocacy organization that represents towns and cities across the state is calling on the state to give more money to municipalities.   The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities issued a campaign bulletin intended for candidates this fall.  It makes one clear, if not new, point: Connecticut relies too heavily on the property tax. Jim Finley is CCM's executive director. "It's the most regressive tax in our state/local tax system.  It's income blind.  It doesn't matter whether you have a job or not, your property tax is due.

Chion Wolf

In Connecticut, we’re only one month out from an important primary in two key races.

The Senate Race has lost a bit of its drama with front-runners Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon pulling out to big leads.

A host of new laws took effect in Connecticut on July 1st - among them, An Act Concerning Sexual Violence on College Campuses.

The law makes clear to all Connecticut’s colleges and universities – public and private –  what's expected in terms of sexual assault reporting procedures, disciplinary hearings, and prevention training for students and faculty.   

Anna Doroghazi of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services says many colleges are already in compliance.  

Chion Wolf

There was lots of excitement around this special session, with the FBI investigation of Chris Donovan’s campaign staff - leading him to recuse himself as speaker.

Then there was the “mixed bag” of non-budget related “concepts” added to the bills - many without any sort of public hearing.  Republicans cried “foul” Democrats said “Hey, at least we’re getting something done.”  

Today we found out what did get done with Ken Dixon of The Connecticut Post, Senate Democrat Don Williams, and Republican Representative Vin Candelora.

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