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Listen live on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 9:00 am.

Connecticut is "The Land of Steady Habits," which is why our state budget remains in a state of permanent crisis. Recently, Governor Dan Malloy made emergency cuts to the budget and targeted hospital funding and social services. He was on Where We Live this week and defended his actions and drew more criticism from the hospital community.

The cost of getting into some national parks increases on Thursday.

The rates will go up despite the fact that visitation at parks is up, which means bigger crowds, congested traffic and busier visitor centers. But more people aren't translating into a big boost for park budgets. For example, visitation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is up 20 percent so far this year and Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion are also seeing double-digit increases. The parks are also seeing the strain. About 100 parks are planning an entrance fee hike.

For as long as New Hampshire has hosted the nation’s first presidential primary contest, it seems outsiders have been trying to dilute the state’s influence. The latest such attempt comes from the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus.

In an interview with the National Journal, Priebus says he’s been supportive of early nominating states like New Hampshire and Iowa in the past, but “I don’t think anyone should get too comfortable.”

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

The bill to fund the government through Dec. 11 has been signed into law by President Obama. That beats the midnight deadline for keeping government agencies operating.

Earlier in the day, the Senate and the House passed the bill, which does not strip funding from Planned Parenthood.

Remember, some House Republicans had insisted on no payments to Planned Parenthood before they would vote to extend funding for the whole government.

NPR's Ailsa Chang reported on the bill's progress for our Newscast unit:

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said he's fine with giving a committee more time to come up with ways to finance his proposed 30-year, $100 billion transportation overhaul.

Uma Ramiah / WNPR

It turns out that state budget chief Ben Barnes was being dead serious when he said Connecticut was in "permanent fiscal crisis." Recent budget cuts have caused an uproar among hospitals, which get hit hard.

U.S. Intelligence Dabbles in Forecasting the Future

Sep 29, 2015
CALI / Flickr

The participants are average citizens: school teachers, waiters, pharmacists, perhaps even your neighbor. By day they work and pay their bills, but when they return home, things change. These elite individuals go to work forecasting the outcomes of global events (sometimes years into the future), all at the direction of a little-known government intelligence agency called IARPA.

While this all sounds ripped from the latest Hollywood thriller, the truth is that this is happening right now in America. The "superforecasters," as they are known, are all volunteers. They are Americans like you and me who signed up to take part in a long-running experiment put together by U.S. intelligence officials and several university professors.

Regional Reaction To Boehner's Resignation

Sep 28, 2015

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York

“Speaker John Boehner is a decent, principled conservative man who tried to do the right thing under almost impossible circumstances. He will be missed by Republicans and Democrats alike. Let us hope the Republican majority, which Speaker Boehner played a large role in creating, learns the right lesson from his resignation: to work with Democrats in a constructive way, rather than let a handful of extreme right-wingers dictate his party’s policy.”

(This post was last updated at 1:31 p.m. ET.)

House Speaker John Boehner will give up his seat in Congress at the end of October.

Boehner became the 53rd speaker of the House in 2011. The Ohio Republican's tenure has been marked by fierce confrontations with Democrats and sometimes with his own party. One of those fights led to a 16-day partial government shutdown in 2013.

Amid renewed conflict with more conservative members of his party, Boehner is once again facing the prospect of a government shutdown.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

At some point during this 2015 municipal election cycle, an argument could be made that Hartford rivaled Bridgeport for having the most bizarre mayoral race in Connecticut. Not anymore. Within the last seven days, incumbent Mayor Bill Finch not only lost his party's nomination to a former mayor who served seven years for corruption, but he also lost a spot on the November ballot.

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There was a time when hard work brought most Americans a decent wage, a secure life, and opportunities to aim for a better life. George Packer says that's no longer the case for too many Americans.

Institutions that once anchored middle-class Americans are either collapsing or morphing into faceless institutions that benefit the wealthy, Packer says. Health and educational outcomes are significantly lower for the poor, who are also incarcerated at higher rates. 

Massachusetts later this month will join with a majority of the other states and ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.  New statewide regulations will fill a void that led to a patchwork of local rules about the product that is growing in popularity while the health risks are unknown.

A new study shows people exited New York in droves in 2013, and while there is disagreement as to why they left,  another report suggests taxes could be playing a significant role.

Voting machines around the United States are coming to the end of their useful lives. Breakdowns are increasingly common. Spare parts are difficult, if not impossible, to find. That could be a serious problem for next year's presidential elections.

Allen County, Ohio, election director Ken Terry knows how bad things can get. In the last presidential election, he had to replace the Zip disks — a 1990s technology — in the main machine his county uses to count votes. The disks are no longer made. And when he finally got some from the voting machine manufacturer:

Connecticut is launching a required registrar certification system Monday following missteps at polling places last Election Day.

More than 150 years after the end of the Civil War, secession was on the minds of protesters in New York this weekend. Hundreds turned out for a rally in Bainbridge in Chenango County. Many live within miles of the Pennsylvania border and believe secession could have a large economic impact on their communities.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on the federal government to improve security on trains following an attack on a Paris-bound train last week.

Chuck Miller / Creative Commons

Is General Electric really looking to leave the state? What’s Connecticut doing to try to keep them? That’s one of the stories we’re talking about on The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. Also, there's another round of musical chairs in state government and Governor Dan Malloy brings his support of Hillary Clinton to the Granite State.

State of Connecticut

Long lines at the state Department of Motor Vehicles persist, a week after offices reopened following a major computer systems upgrade. And Governor Dannel Malloy is asking for patience. 

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy is promoting his deputy chief of staff to his administration's top job. The change is official on Monday, September 28.

Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy

The outgoing chief of staff for Governor Dannel Malloy will soon lead the state's Board of Regents for Higher Education. Mark Ojakian will officially start as interim president on September 28, taking over for Gregory Gray, who announced his resignation earlier this month.

Connecticut DMV Upgrades Computer, Offices Reopen Tuesday

Aug 17, 2015
Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Department of Motor Vehicles has completed a major computer upgrade a few days early and says online services are available again.

Branch offices have been closed for a week for the upgrade, and Commissioner Andres Ayala Jr. warns there will be long lines on Tuesday when offices reopen for registration-related services.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Ninety-five people will lose their jobs at the state Department of Labor as Connecticut officials attempt to save $16 million a year in costs.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Pushing the line of ethics is nothing new in politics. That is part of the reason voters are frustrated when it continues to happen. Former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is hoping to return to his former office after a stint in prison on corruption charges. The former house Republicans chief of staff faces up to 15 months in prison for collecting kickbacks. And the Connecticut Democratic Party is trying to avoid complying with a subpoena issued by state election officials.

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The commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said he's confident the state can comply with President Barack Obama's plan to impose stricter carbon dioxide limits on states.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford's Democrats are gearing up for a primary fight in September. Two days after walking out of a nominating convention, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced a slate of candidates for city council that he hopes will force a primary against the Democratic party's endorsed candidates.

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The Connecticut state Department of Labor is expecting to issue layoff notices to dozens of its employees as the result of cuts in federal funding.

Ethan M. Long / Creative Commons

State sales tax will be added to the parking fees at three shoreline parks this weekend at Sherwood Island State Park, Hammonasset Beach State Park, and Rocky Neck State Park. That's thanks to a legislative change in the state budget which went into effect July 1st.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Democratic leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly say they've decided not to try and override any of Democratic Governor Dannel  Malloy's nine vetoes.

Katie McAuliffe

Eighty-six years to the day after ground was broken for Pratt and Whitney's East Hartford campus, company executives and workers and state and local officials gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new 425,000-square-foot global headquarters and engineering facility.