government

Marc Moss / Creative Commons

Keno in Connecticut may be over before it begins.

Less than a year after a Keno bill passed the legislature in the eleventh hour, and was signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy, legislative leaders are making a push for its repeal, citing an improving economy.

Democratic Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey announced his support for a repeal during remarks to the Connecticut Council of Small Towns.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Once again, Connecticut’s felonious former governor is making headlines. This time, John Rowland is hiring a criminal defense attorney as officials investigate his role in the 2012 congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley.

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses this and all the week’s news from our downtown Hartford location.

This post was updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

The U.S. and the European Union are closely watching Ukraine amid news that the government was starting negotiations with opposition leaders to end the violence, which has left more than two dozen people dead since Tuesday.

A statement on the Ukrainian presidential website said:

This post was updated at 8:52 p.m. ET

Riot police stormed the main anti-government camp in central Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on Tuesday. They fought with demonstrators armed with clubs and wearing helmets fought back. More than a dozen people were killed, including five policemen, according to AP and the BBC.

Opposition leaders met late in the day with President Viktor Yanukovych, but left without an agreement.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we recap Governor Dannel Malloy’s State of the State address and the proposals he laid out surrounding the state budget, education and the minimum wage. We’re joined by a panel of reporters who have spent the last week digesting the governor’s agenda.

Also, a discussion about the Olympics with a Connecticut-native who won a gold medal in women's ice hockey during the 1998 Olympics. The rivalry between the U.S. and Canada is as intense as ever and we talk about it with this Olympian.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, Governor Dannel Malloy delivered his fourth State of the State address. There are numerous Republican candidates for governor who hope it's his last. The address itself outlined Malloy's wide-ranging proposals for the budget, education, and assistance for veterans.

Pretty soon, going to community college in Tennessee may become absolutely free. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled the proposal in his annual State of the State address this week.

Haslam is trying to lift Tennessee's ranking as one of the least-educated states. Less than a third of residents have even a two-year degree. But a community college free-for-all has been tried elsewhere, though not sustained, and there's always a nagging question.

"So I know you're wondering," Haslam said. "How do we pay for this?"

As the U.S. Postal Service continues to lose money each year, a new report suggests a way to add to its bottom line: offer banklike services, such as a check cashing card that would allow holders to make purchases and pay bills online or even take out small loans. The idea is to provide services that are now unavailable in many communities.

News broke this morning that President Obama will announce during his State of the Union address tonight that he's going to sign an executive order raising the minimum wage in new federal contracts.

And as stories about that were popping up on news sites, one of the president's top advisers was on Morning Edition saying that Obama has "warmed up to" the idea of using such executive orders to advance his agenda.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

If this snowstorm means a snow day, catch up on all the week's political news you may have missed. WNPR's weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will talk about the smoke-filled rooms of one political party and the mud slinging of another. Also, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it won't hear the appeal involving former governor and current radio talk show host John Rowland. It was a decision that didn't even surprise Rowland.

What stories are you catching up on during this snowstorm?

A bipartisan group of lawmakers took the first step Thursday to patch a gaping hole in the 1965 Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court eviscerated a key part of the law that allowed for federal oversight of states with a history of ballot box discrimination.

CT-N

The Commission on Connecticut's Future met on Thursday morning to revisit economic development topics in the state. At its last meeting, economist Patrick Flaherty presented jobs data and workforce trends. Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, presented a slideshow called "Focus on Economic Growth."

Minutes of the December meeting are available here.

The biggest problem the United States faces is not unemployment or the economy — it's the country's government, according to a plurality of Americans cited in a recent Gallup poll. Among Republicans, Democrats and independents, dissatisfaction with the U.S.'s political leadership topped all other issues.

The open-ended question they answered in the monthly poll of American attitudes was, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?"

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The race for governor has been underway for months now. But the race for lieutenant governor is just heating up. Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker announced he was throwing his hat in the ring for the number two job. But why?

Also, Connecticut's former Secretary of the State Miles Rapoport was just named the new president and CEO of Common Cause. He'll join us to talk about the work that lies ahead for him.

Chion Wolf

When I first started writing about politics in Connecticut, I can honestly say that there were many more Republicans who excited my admiration than there were Democrats. It was 1979, the wave of interesting new progressive Democrats was coming, including that Bill Curry guy you hear so much about, but the entrenched Democratic leadership was anything but progressive. It was calcified, blinkered, and in too many cases, dirty. They'd had too much power for too long. 

The news from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' interviews with NPR and other news outlets — notably, how he uses a new book to criticize many in the White House — has now been widely reported.

But we also want to point to two passages in his conversation with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that particularly struck us.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says his criticism of President Obama is more nuanced than media reports about his new book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, would have you believe.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been one month since State Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced the expansion of Open Connecticut -- an online source for state finances -- to include financial information for Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies and federal programs.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Established in 1965, the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority has earned its title as the oldest quasi-public agency in our state. Now, it’s one of eleven quasi-public entities in Connecticut, agencies like Connecticut Innovations, Inc.; the Connecticut Development Authority; the Connecticut Lottery Corporation; and the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority -- to name a few. 

Former state Republican chairman Tom D'Amore died this week. A close friend of former Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker, he was the campaign manager for most of Weicker 's campaigns.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With two major holidays falling on Wednesdays, it seems like forever since our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse has gotten together. Well, we’re back with a New Year’s edition - where we start looking ahead to the 2014 campaigns.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut's new Bioscience Innovation Fund is looking for ideas to expand and improve the state's bioscience industry.

If anything defined 2013, it was the political misstep. There were so many gaffes, flaps, scandals and ill-advised moves that voters were often left scratching their heads at the political class's uncanny knack for diminishing its profession.

Here are eight of the more memorable screw-ups:

Chion Wolf

The Nose panelists explore the hidden mysteries of the Coen Brothers' new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, based  on the early folk movement of 1960's Greenwich Village and one of its early pioneers, Dave Van Ronk. 

CT Law Enforcement Memorial

Reuben Bradford sent a letter to Governor Malloy earlier this week announcing his retirement on February 1. Bradford was hired three years ago to head up the state department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, after serving as head of security for the National Football League, and before that in various posts for the Connecticut state police.

Elizabeth Lytle is an administrative program assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago — "a glorified name for a secretary," she says.

If Lytle isn't thrilled with her title, she's even less enamored of her job.

"The morale is just unbelievably low because we're never recognized," Lytle says. "Management doesn't seem to go to bat for us."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy stops by our studios for an end-of-the-year check-in. We talk about this year’s legislation, and what did and didn't get done in 2013. We'll also look ahead to what will certainly be a busy 2014 as Republican challengers already step forward.

President Obama, in his final news conference of the year, sought to put the best face on a difficult first year of his second term.

Speaking a few hours before he heads to Hawaii for a two-week vacation, Obama is meeting with reporters at the White House.

He touted the improving economy, saying 2 million jobs had been added in 2013, with the unemployment rate now at its lowest level in five years.

"2014 can be a breakthrough year," he said.

CT-N

The Connecticut legislature's Transportation Committee held a public hearing on Wednesday to learn more about the recent problems with Metro-North. The Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker addressed the Transportation Committee. 

Transportation Committee member Jonathan Steinberg, a State Representative from Westport, told Redeker, "Thank you, Commissioner, for submitting to our version of shoot-the-messenger." 

WNPR

What is your top story from 2013? We wrapped up the year on WNPR's news roundtable The Wheelhouse by asking this question. The following are some of your picks for story of the year as well as some other notable events up to this point.

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