government

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State lawmakers will consider rolling back some tax increases they approved earlier this month as they return to the Capitol for a special session.

The session is scheduled for Monday.

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If the State of Connecticut was a college student, it would be the one who crams for every exam and writes every final paper the night before. We say this, because the fiscal year starts on July 1, and a special session to finish the details of the state budget is reportedly scheduled for the last two days of June.

In secret chemical weapons experiments conducted during World War II, the U.S. military exposed thousands of American troops to mustard gas.

When those experiments were formally declassified in the 1990s, the Department of Veterans Affairs made two promises: to locate about 4,000 men who were used in the most extreme tests, and to compensate those who had permanent injuries.

But the VA didn't uphold those promises, an NPR investigation has found.

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Last week, non-profit Hartford Healthcare said they would cut the jobs of over 400 people if the state increased taxes on hospitals to what they say are unsustainable rates.

As a young U.S. Army soldier during World War II, Rollins Edwards knew better than to refuse an assignment.

When officers led him and a dozen others into a wooden gas chamber and locked the door, he didn't complain. None of them did. Then, a mixture of mustard gas and a similar agent called lewisite was piped inside.

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A bill that would clarify the nature of mental health services covered by insurance policies is awaiting Governor Dannel Malloy’s review.  

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The chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party says the state GOP plans to raise and spend $500,000 to try and win control of the General Assembly.

Connecticut Senate Backs Cutting Penalties for Drugs

Jun 3, 2015
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The state Senate has approved legislation that would make drug possession a misdemeanor for the first two offenses and establishes other changes in criminal justice policy.

The legislation approved on a 22 to 14 vote early Wednesday requires third and subsequent convictions to be punishable as felonies.

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Connecticut's House of Representatives passed a $40 billion state budget after Democratic leaders worked through the night to secure enough votes.

The bill, which needed 72 votes, was approved Wednesday morning 73 to 70. It now heads to the Senate, which by law must act on the package by midnight when the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn for the summer.

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The clock is ticking down on the end of the regular legislative session. It’s that time of the year when reporters and capitol observers try to make sense of what’s happening: what legislation gets passed, what gets killed, and what gets moved to the "budget implementer."

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Democratic legislators appear to be rethinking their final budget plans, after General Electric and Aetna both said they would consider leaving Connecticut if new taxes are instituted. Insurer Travelers also blasted the plans.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Legislators are weighing in on a proposal by Governor Dannel Malloy to cut funding from the Community Investment Act -- a program established years ago to fund open space and land preservation in the state.

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With a week left in the legislative session environmental watchdogs are keeping close tabs on budget dealings at the state capitol and say, for now at least, things aren't looking as bad as they did a few months ago.

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Even in a non-election year, there are a lot of political questions: Who gave you that money? Where are you spending that money? Who is representing Connecticut's 18th senate district? May we speak with the state treasurer? Finally, where is Charter Communications actually located?

This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will ask these questions and attempt to get some answers.

Connecticut State Capitol / Wikimedia Commons

A bill allowing electric car-maker Tesla Motors to sell directly to Connecticut consumers has cleared the state House of Representatives.

Despite some concerns about the effect it will have on local auto dealerships, the bill passed 116 to 32 Thursday. It now awaits action in the Senate.

Understanding Hierarchies in Nature and Society

May 20, 2015
Creative Commons

Social structures, in almost all cases, are defined by some form of hierarchy. Whether in academics, sports, religion, business, or politics, there's usually someone at the top and others whose goal it is to get there. But while it's easy to think that we've designed our world to be this way, the truth may be that we had no choice.

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The effort to reduce the amount of money municipalities spend on public notices printed in newspapers is back at the state legislature.

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For over a decade now, when we've heard about military drones, we've likely been hearing about the Predator-- that peculiar, pilotless aircraft, patrolling the deserts and preying on its targets below. Indeed the iconic image of this modern day killer and tales of its near-autonomous deeds have been featured in the news, magazines and even Hollywood movies.

The Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mitchell Chester, is in Holyoke today.  It is his first visit since a state education board voted earlier this week to put the city’s public schools under state control.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut is receiving the federal disaster declaration needed to receive federal aid to help cover costs incurred from the January blizzard.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said Wednesday that financial assistance will be provided to state agencies and municipalities in New London, Windham and Tolland counties. Also, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes will be eligible for funding to help cover costs incurred from the storm. The reimbursement rate is 75 percent.

Some typical crowdfunding proposals posted online may look like this: Help my band record our next album or please contribute to my child's medical expenses.

But here's one thing the average investor can't do through crowdfunding: buy stake in a private company. That policy, however, is under closer scrutiny. With more competition for venture capital funding, equity crowdfunding is getting more attention.

Governor Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy has selected Katherine Wade to be Connecticut's next insurance commissioner. Wade has over 20 years experience in the insurance industry, most recently as Cigna's Vice President of Public Policy, Government Affairs and U.S. Compliance. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Hamden mayor who led Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is leaving public office to take a job in the governor's administration. 

Updated at 6:52 p.m.

Exit polls released after the close of voting in Israel's national election show that the race is too close to call.

Israel's Channel 1 and Channel 10 both said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union secured 27 seats each in the 120-seat Knesset. Channel 2, meanwhile, have Likud 28 seats and the Zionist Union 27. The numbers were published by Haaretz.

As Republican leaders in the House and Senate unveil their proposed budgets this week, here is the most important thing to remember about the federal budget: It isn't really a budget.

Almost a third of Americans have taken steps to hide or shield their information online since Edward Snowden publicized National Security Agency surveillance practices.

But as a country, we're deeply divided — nearly 50-50 — over whether to be concerned about massive government surveillance. And while there are signs that privacy is a partisan issue, it's not partisan in the way you might think.

All that is according to the latest privacy study by the Pew Research Center.

More than 4,000 people availed of the government's employment-verification system using Social Security numbers belonging to people over the age of 112. Trouble is fewer than 40 people are known to have reached that age. That's one of the revelations from a review by the watchdog for the Social Security Administration.

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From the Bridgeport ballot shortage of 2010 to fiasco in Hartford this past November, Connecticut’s had its fair share of Election Day mishaps. Now, Secretary of State Denise Merrill is saying enough is enough. She’s introduced a controversial proposal to change the way the state runs its elections. 

This hour, the Secretary of State joins us along with some local and national experts to review that proposal. And later, WNPR’s Jeff Cohen gives us the latest on the Hartford City Council’s efforts to remove its registrars of voters.

Following issues at polling places in Hartford this past Election Day, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is proposing to scrap Connecticut’s partisan registrar system. But, the ideas are being met with opposition.

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Arthur Chu argues that Andrew Jackson is the worst president we've ever had, and his face should be removed from the $20 bill. For starters, Andrew Jackson removed about 46,000 Native Americans from their established homelands to make way for White settlement leaving a "Trail of Tears" of starvation, disease, and death.

That's just the beginning of a long line of horrors: he annexed Florida, executed militia members after the War of 1812, and dismantled the central bank to push wildcat banks. Maybe America has never been a paragon of the ideals we hold dear, and maybe America would rather forget our past than deal with it. 

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