government

Legislation
1:52 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

How ALEC Serves As A 'Dating Service' For Politicians And Corporations

President Bush speaks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Philadelphia, on July 26, 2007.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:07 pm

A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.

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Live Blog
8:56 am
Tue December 10, 2013

James Redeker Live on Where We Live

James Redeker, CT DOT Commissioner.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

James Redeker, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, joins us to talk about the latest in infrastructure. What with Metro-North woes, CTfastrak progress, talk of changes to the I-84 viaduct in Hartford, and more emphasis on transit-oriented development, is the state doing everything it can to improve the quality of our trains, buses, bridges, and roads? Check in below to see what Redeker has to say.

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Environment
9:42 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Council on Environmental Quality Gets An Earful About Bamboo

Credit CT-N

The Council on Environmental Quality met Thursday to hear public opinion on how the state's environmental laws might be improved. 

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Lost Revenue
8:38 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Don't Register Your Business With The State? It Might Get Dissolved.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on WNPR's "Where We Live" earlier this year.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, said she may seek the authority to dissolve companies that don't comply with state registration requirements.

All businesses forming in the state must register with the office each year. 

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Open Government
11:56 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Malloy Touts Economic Track Record, Launches New Transparency Initiative

Governor Dannel Malloy signed a new executive order to increase transparency in state investments to promote economic development.
Sujata Srinivasan

The public will soon have access to a one-stop web portal for information on tax credits and direct financial assistance the state is offering to help businesses grow and expand in Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy at a press conference in Bloomfield said taxpayers have the right to know what their state government is doing to promote economic development and job creation. 

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Rhode Island
1:08 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

In About-Face, R.I. Governor Describes Spruce As A Christmas Tree

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee speaks with reporters in November of 2012, during the lighting the Statehouse Christmas tree. Chafee announced the ceremony 30 minutes ahead of time to avoid what he called the "chaos" of 2011's lighting, which was protested by people angered by Chafee's decision to call the Statehouse tree a "holiday" tree.
David Klepper AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:20 pm

It seems Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has given up on trying to make a point about the separation of church and state during the holiday season.

In a short statement issued on Monday, Chafee said the 18-foot blue spruce that will be raised inside the State House on Thursday will be called a "Christmas tree."

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First Five
3:20 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Pitney Bowes to Remain in Stamford, Get State Loan

Pitney Bowes' Stamford headquarters

Technology giant Pitney Bowes has announced it will remain in Stamford, ending a months-long search for a new location. The company will also add 200 new jobs in Connecticut, after striking a deal with the state for a low-cost loan.

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Where We Live
3:25 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Political Scandals, MA Foxwoods Vote, and Obamacare Delay

The Wheelhouse will have you looking at state politics from a different angle.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Another chapter in the political scandal that derailed former House Speaker Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign has come to a close as one of the key figures in the case was sentenced earlier this week. Our weekly political news roundtable The Wheelhouse will discuss this and what the Obamacare delay means for Connecticut. And will Foxwoods get a casino in Massachusetts?

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Political Corruption
11:40 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Soucy Sentenced to Halfway House

Harry Raymond Soucy, left, with his lawyer, Steven Rasile, outside federal court.
Credit Mark Pazniokas / The Connecticut Mirror

A former labor union official will spend six months in a halfway house for his role in a conspiracy to funnel illegal campaign contributions to former Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan. 

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Food Assistance
11:29 am
Sun November 17, 2013

See How Food Stamp Cuts Are Hitting Across The U.S.

Screen grab of a map that shows hard numbers about who's getting hit by food stamp cuts.
Stateline

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:20 pm

When you think of Oregon and food, you probably think organic chicken, kale chips and other signs of a strong local food movement. What probably doesn't come to mind? Food stamps.

And yet, 21 percent of Oregon's population – that's one out of every five residents – relies on food stamps to get by. And like many people across the country, these Oregon families who have come to rely on federal food assistance program for meals are learning to make do with less as of this month.

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Where We Live
2:44 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

The Wheelhouse Gears Up for 2014

Screenshot from Tom Foley's ad in New York City.

Now that the 2013 general election is behind us, all eyes are on the 2014 races. Connecticut is gearing up for a heated race in the Republican primary and general election. Governor Dannel Malloy has not yet formally announced his candidacy for re-election but that hasn't stopped his Republican opponents from attacking his record.

On The Wheelhouse, we talk about the 2014 race both here in Connecticut and in Illinois, where Bridgeport, Connecticut Superintendent Paul Vallas is Governor Pat Quinn's running mate. We also check-in with Connecticut's Filipino community. Their home country was utterly devastated by last week's typhoon.

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Bridgeport Superintendent
12:51 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Paul Vallas Tapped By Illinois Governor As Running Mate

Paul Vallas is currently the Superintendent of Bridgeport Schools.
Credit The Connecticut Mirror

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has selected former Chicago schools CEO and 2002 gubernatorial candidate Paul Vallas as his running mate in 2014.

The Chicago Democrat announced Vallas as his pick in an email Friday.

Quinn says he's known Vallas for 30 years and "he's never been shy about fighting for education, reform and opportunities for working people."

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Where We Live
10:37 am
Wed November 6, 2013

The Wheelhouse Analyzes the Election Results

The few. The proud. The voters.
Vox Efx Creative Commons

It’s a municipal election year, and voters throughout the state hit the polls to vote for their town officials and usually they hit those polls in pretty small numbers. Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses the results from around the state plus a casino referendum in Massachusetts. How'd you vote? And how busy were the polls?

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Middletown's Realistic Balance Party
10:34 pm
Sat October 26, 2013

Back on the Ballot... Just in Time

Stephen Devoto, Realistic Balance Party candidate for Planning and Zoning
Chion Wolf

Superior Court Judge Julia Auriemma ruled to reinstate Middletown Realistic Balance Party candidates Stephen Devoto and Steven Smith to the ballot on Monday, October 21, two weeks before Election Day. Devoto and Smith, candidates for Middletown's Planning and Zoning Commission, had been removed from the ballot by Middletown Town Clerk Linda Bettencourt in September for failing to comply with an election law unfamiliar to several municipalities around Connecticut.

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Sailing Away
4:45 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Ex-Navy Carrier USS Forrestal Sold For 1 Cent

The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Forrestal departs Newport, R.I., for a three-day cruise to Philadelphia in 2010.
MCCS Melissa F. Weatherspoon U.S. Navy

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 6:45 pm

The U.S. Navy's first "supercarrier" is being sold for just 1 cent to a ship breaker.

The USS Forrestal, launched in 1954 and decommissioned in 1993, is the first of three conventional (non-nuclear) carriers due to be scrapped in the coming years. The Forrestal is best known for a devastating fire in 1967 that engulfed the ship's flight deck, killing 134 sailors and wounding 161 others.

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Economy
2:35 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

State Regulation Under Review

Governor Dannel Malloy during a visit to WNPR.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut is preparing to undertake a searching review of state regulations. Governor Dannel Malloy sees it as a way to kickstart economic growth.

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White House
5:50 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Obama Nominates Janet Yellen To Head Federal Reserve

President Obama claps during a press conference to nominate Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve in the State Dining Room at the White House on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 4:49 pm

Saying "American workers and families will have a champion in Janet Yellen," President Obama officially nominated her to chair the Federal Reserve, once Ben Bernanke completes his term in January.

Yellen "is the kind of person who makes everybody around her better," Obama said, adding that Yellen is "extremely well qualified" and "renowned for her good judgement."

Obama made the announcement at the White House on Wednesday, flanked by Yellen and outgoing Fed chief Ben Bernanke. If confirmed, Yellen will be the first woman to head the American central bank.

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Where We Live
11:10 am
Tue October 8, 2013

How Much Longer Will the Shutdown Last?

Will the shutdown continue by the next Wheelhouse?
Dave Worley Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesdays are usually reserved for our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse. Just like last week, the big story is the federal government shutdown. From outside Washington, it doesn't look like Congress and President Obama is any closer to reaching a deal. We talk with political observers about the shutdown and what needs to be done (or will be done) to resolve this.

Who do you think needs to budge to reach a deal? House Republicans? Or President Obama and Senate Democrats?

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Government Shutdown
8:37 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Shutdown Could Deplete Funding for Connecticut's Federal Public Defender

Credit Ammodramus / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut’s federal public defender, Terence Ward, said money to fund his office may run out early next week if the government shutdown continues. "The shutdown, it’s a nightmare," he said. During the first ten business days of the shutdown, his office of 17 employees is operating on funds money from court fees.

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Do You Owe?
12:50 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Connecticut Offers Tax Amnesty

If you owes back state taxes, Connecticut is offering an incentive to get you caught up.
Credit DonkeyHotey / Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut's Department of Revenue Services is offering a amnesty program for individuals and businesses that owe back taxes. Those who take advantage of the program will get a 75 percent reduction in accrued interest, and all other penalties waived. But there are a few catches.

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Government Shutdown
8:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Morale Plummets For Federal Workers Facing Unending Furlough

John Zangas, a furloughed federal worker, protests the government shutdown outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 3:13 pm

The work that Shaun O'Connell does is required by law, yet now he's sidelined by the government shutdown.

O'Connell reviews disability claims for the Social Security Administration in New York, checking that no one's gaming the system, while ensuring people with legitimate medical problems are compensated properly.

Billions of dollars are at stake with this kind of work, yet O'Connell is considered a nonessential employee for purposes of the partial government shutdown.

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Government Shutdown
8:08 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Head Start Program in Bridgeport Forced To Close

Credit Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons

The effects of the federal shutdown have begun to ripple across Connecticut. In Bridgeport, 13 Head Start sites have been closed, leaving needy families scrambling.

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Government Shutdown
4:14 am
Thu October 3, 2013

National Parks Close As Other Public Lands Stay Open

The road to Lee's Ferry, Ariz., is blocked by barricades and national park rangers. Lee's Ferry is the launching point for river trips down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park.
Scott Lee NPR

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:53 pm

From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads.

The last remaining campers and hotel guests in the parks must leave Thursday, and park rangers will patrol to keep others out.

The national parks "belong to the American people, and the American people should have the right to come in," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "But the only way I can protect these places during this period is to shut them down."

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Where We Live
10:47 am
Wed October 2, 2013

The Wheelhouse Won't Shut Down

It was a long time in the making, but the federal government finally "shut down."
Credit Kevin Burkett / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government shutdown does not (directly) affect our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse. But it sure does give us something to talk about tomorrow. We'll be joined by Wheelhouse regulars to talk about this shutdown -- or, as Rep. David Schweikert called it on NPR's Morning Edition, a "government slowdown."

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It Could Be Worse
12:19 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

8 Great 'Shutdown Pickup Lines'

The fun has begun.
Twitter

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:32 pm

When a government shutdown loomed in 2011, the Twitterverse had some fun with #govtshutdownpickuplines.

They're back!

Here are some of the better, slightly naughty ones we're seeing (we also also checked #shutdownpicklines):

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Bridgeport
11:37 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Malloy Defends Borrowing for Bass Pro Shops

Governor Malloy on Friday after a Bond Commission meeting.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy on Friday defended state borrowing that will help finance the opening of Bass Pro Shops at Steelpointe Harbor in Bridgeport. The state will invest more than $30 million to bring the sporting goods retailer to anchor the long-delayed commercial development.

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Congress
11:42 am
Fri September 27, 2013

President To GOP: Don't 'Burn Down The House' Over Obamacare

House Republicans have insisted that a spending bill contain language defunding Obamacare.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:32 pm

Update At 3:50 p.m. EDT.

President Obama on Friday praised the Senate for passing a spending bill to keep the federal government operating and called House GOP efforts to tie approving the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act "political grandstanding."

He said that despite Republican hopes that Obamacare will be repealed, "That's not going to happen," accusing Republicans of threatening to "blow up the entire economy."

No one has the right to precipitate such a crisis, he said, "just because there are a couple of laws you don't like."

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Privacy
10:50 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Is The U.S. Collecting Cellphone Location Data?

Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, in June 2013.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 7:16 am

Is the National Security Agency collecting cellphone tracking information on millions of Americans?

After a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, we still can't be sure. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has been trying to get intelligence officials to confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of such a program.

Remember, records of where your cellphone is located give a pretty good idea of where the owners are. Wyden asked NSA Director Keith Alexander about that at Thursday's hearing, and Alexander said, no — not under "the current program."

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Obamacare Calculator
12:50 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

The Affordable Care Act: How is Your Health Care Affected?

Credit Darnyi Zsóka / Creative Commons

Connecticut is launching a new online health exchange, Access Health CT, where residents can shop for and purchase health insurance. The unemployed or uninsured may be able to receive health insurance under the new federal law. To see how it affects you, and whether you can take advantage of the health exchange, try the helpful tools below.

Congress
1:45 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Senate Takes Next Step Toward Shutdown Showdown

After a dramatic 21-plus hours in which Republican Sen. Ted Cruz stood to express his opposition to President Obama's health care programs, the Senate early Wednesday afternoon voted 100-0 to move ahead and take up legislation that would avert a government shutdown next Tuesday.

As expected, the move by the Democratic-led Senate sets up what promises to be another showdown with the Republican-controlled House.

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