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."
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.
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:
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.
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.
Connecticut has signed on with 21 other states in supporting Montana's campaign finance laws. That state is being accused of circumventing the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.
The Citizens United decision removed the federal ban on corporate campaign spending. Montana law requires a corporation to register a political action committee and make independent expenditures from a voluntary, segregated fund. In the case ATM v. Bullock, advocates of Citizens United say this is a clear violation of the Supreme Court ruling.
The legislative session just past made some major changes in the state of Connecticut. It abolished the death penalty, established Sunday alcohol sales, legalized medical marijuana and began a process of reform of the education system. But what was in it for the business community? WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
The dust is beginning to settle on the short session that finished last week, and reflection is beginning.
“From the small business perspective I think honestly there’s not much that was achieved.”
Connecticut’s House of Representatives has unanimously passed a wide-ranging education reform bill. Legislators describe the bill as an important step toward improving the state’s public schools and closing Connecticut’s achievement gap.
The chamber erupted in cheers after the 149 to zero vote, giving final legislative approval to a compromise education reform measure.
Before Alie Garry could enroll at Tunxis Community College, in Farmington, Conn., the 18-year old Simsbury resident had to take a required standardized test called, ominously, the “Accuplacer.” It told her what she might not have wanted to hear - that she needed remedial classes in math and English. But now, three years later, she is grateful for the Accuplacer.
With everything else going on at the Capitol, it’s good someone is paying attention to the budget.
That someone is The Connecticut Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf. Our budgetary Obi Wan Kenobi stops by to give us an update on the fiscal health of the state - along with news on the “hot button” issues like minimum wage and Sunday liquor sales.
Unless Congress acts, interest rates on certain college loans are set to double this summer. WNPR looks at what that would mean for Connecticut students.
More than 84 thousand college and university students in Connecticut had subsidized Stafford student loans last year. Their interest rate was 3.4% thanks to the College Cost Reduction and Access Act which locked in a low rate for four years.
Lawmakers continue to work on a compromise education reform bill that they hope Governor Malloy and the legislature can agree on. One key lawmaker believes the two sides are not that far apart.
Administration officials have been meeting behind closed doors with top leaders to craft the next version of Governor Malloy’s education reform package. In March, lawmakers made significant changes to the original proposal, including a delay in overhauling teacher evaluation and tenure.
Joe Lieberman has joined a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators with a plan to revamp the United States Postal Service.
The independent senator from Connecticut says contrary to what some of his colleagues may believe, the U.S. Postal service still provides a vital service, and is worth saving. "563 million pieces of mail are delivered everyday by the postal service," said Lieberman. "A lot of packages including vitally important packages containing for instance, prescription drugs are delivered by the postal service so we've got to keep it alive."
Another committee of the Connecticut legislature has approved plans to raise the state’s minimum wage. The appropriations committee passed the bill 29 to 20 on Friday afternoon. As the bill now makes its way to the full house, advocates are highlighting small businesses that support the measure. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
Last year the state legislature and Governor Dannel Malloy approved a controversial land swap deal in Haddam. Now, the developer who initiated the swap has now withdrawn from the deal.
Riverhouse Properties offered 87 acres of forest land in the Higganum section of Haddam in exchange for 17 acres of state owned open space along the Connecticut River. After years of resistance from environmentalists and town officials, the state okayed the land swap deal during the 2011 legislative session.
Governor Malloy signed a bill today that caps the gross receipts tax on the wholesale price of gasoline. The law will give drivers a small break at the pump.
The legislation was unanimously approved last week by the General Assembly. The governor waited until today to sign the bill to give Connecticut businesses affected by the law time to adjust their computer systems.
The law caps the gross receipts tax at $3 per gallon wholesale. Currently the wholesale price is about $3.20 per gallon, which means a savings at the pump of a little over a penny.
As the price of gas climbs past $4 a gallon, there’s another phenomenon you may well have noticed at the pump – the re-emergence of cash and credit pricing. It comes as some retailers renew the push for legislation to curb credit card swipe fees. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
It’s a busy lunchtime at J & A Gas and Go, a filling station on the main drag into Manchester. And while most customers simply swipe their cards at the pump, some come inside before filling up.
A bill aimed a reducing the numbers of Connecticut students arrested at school passed a legislative committee this week. Supporters of the measure say too many kids are being arrested for low-level, non-violent offenses.
Connecticut Judicial Branch data show that nearly 20% of the cases that ended up in juvenile court during the first six months of the current academic year began when kids were arrested at school.
"41% of those were for breach of peace or disorderly conduct."
That’s Hannah Benton, staff attorney with the Center for Children’s Advocacy.
The legislature’s Education Committee has passed a revised version of Governor Malloy’s proposed school reform bill.
Speaking before last night’s vote, co-chair Andrew Fleischmann said members of the education committee respect the Governor’s broad vision on school reform and sought to fine tune and improve the measure.