law

The Safety of Rail Travel Across the Northeast

May 18, 2015
Mark Llanuza / f

Train ridership is higher in the northeast than anywhere else in the U.S. Last year on Amtrak alone, nearly 12 million people rode the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C.

Despite so much riding on the reliability of trains, government and industries responsible for maintaining the rail system have been slow to make crucial safety improvements.

A Glimpse Into The Dark Side of Technology

May 14, 2015
Charis Tsevis/flickr creative commons

We all depend on technology and its vast, positive potential on everything from poverty to medicine, but there’s a flip side. As we gear up for the Internet of Things, with greater connections come greater risks. 

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Hartford is one of the poorest cities in America. While there is lots to love about this city, like the fact that poor minorities are not subject to the police brutality seen in Baltimore and Ferguson, people of color who live in Hartford and who also happen to be poor share the same high levels of unemployment and urban decay as those cities. 

Chris Yarzab / Creative Commons

Is it time to rethink how we train our police? This hour, we take a closer look at police training guidelines both in Connecticut and across the nation. 

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The legislature is considering a bill that would regulate how homeowners display their house numbers.

Photo Phiend / Creative Commons

The state legislature has approved a bill aiming to protect the online privacy of employees and job applicants, but state analysts expect the law to impact fewer than ten people per year.

Michelle Malven/iStock / Thinkstock

A bill that would prevent local police officers from crossing into another Connecticut community to enforce their town's ordinances has cleared the House of Representatives. 

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A compromise has been worked out between the state's automotive dealers and electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla. That's according to the co-chair of the state's transportation committee. 

The Senate voted Thursday, 56-43, to approve the nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve as U.S. attorney general, ending a more than five month-long political impasse that had stalled her bid to become the first black woman to lead the Justice Department.

Lynch, 55, grew up in the shadow of the civil rights movement in North Carolina, where her family had preached for generations. Most recently, she prosecuted terrorists, mobsters and white collar criminals as the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, a district that covers 8 million people.

Saying that Google has abused its dominant position in the search market "by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping product," the European Commission has sent a list of antitrust charges to the search giant. The European Union has also opened a new inquiry into the Android mobile system.

"I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service" and broken European law, says the EU commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager.

Updated at 6:21 p.m. ET

Lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas have approved changes to their respective "religious freedom" measures designed to answer critics who charged the laws were meant to discriminate against gays and lesbians by allowing businesses to refuse them service.

The amendments were passed by Legislatures in Indianapolis and Little Rock after a day of wrestling over the details of amendments to the measures.

Starwood

Connecticut’s Starwood Hotels and Resorts is one of the companies condemning efforts by state legislatures to pass discriminatory legislation. 

Ryan King / WNPR

After years of debate, controversy, and construction, commuters can finally take CTfastrak (aka, the busway). It's less than a week old, but how's it going so far? This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses the long road to opening day for this bus rapid transit system.

Also, Governor Dannel Malloy is making the rounds on national television shows after he signed the first executive order banning state-funded travel to Indiana after recently passed "religious freedom" legislation. The self-described "porcupine" governor is showing his quills to the country.

Despite criticism and protests, Arkansas legislators passed a religious freedom bill on Tuesday that is similar to the one passed by Indiana.

NBC News reports:

"Protesters gathered outside the governor's mansion in Little Rock on Tuesday morning. A final vote in the state House could come later in the day.

Gov. Malloy Office / Twitter

Governor Dannel Malloy signed an executive order Monday, banning all state sponsored travel to Indiana.

The Scramble Goes Clear

Mar 30, 2015
Aaron Stroot / Creative Commons

This weekend, HBO premiered a documentary about the Church of Scientology that has been generating headlines and controversy for months. What new information was learned from the film? This hour, we talk with someone who has written extensively about the church.

Also, a "religious freedoms" bill was signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Some businesses in the state are already receiving backlash from customers who won't do business in the state because of the law. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is expected to announce an executive order that will ban state-funded travel to Indiana. However, Connecticut is one of 19 other states with similar religious freedom laws on the books.

Update, 11:17 p.m. ET

The Indianapolis Star's editorial board is weighing in on the matter, rather loudly, in tomorrow's edition.

Update, 8:55 p.m. ET:

Two Democrat-dominated state governments, Connecticut and Washington state, joined the boycott against Indiana on Monday.

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A high school science club wants Connecticut lawmakers to name titanium as the state’s official element.

Sage Ross

    

Over 100 people testified before the legislature's Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

They spoke for and against a controversial bill to allow Connecticut doctors to prescribe medication to help terminally ill patients to end their lives.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A public hearing on Monday heard residents' input on a proposed bill that would clarify state laws on police officers' authority to make arrests outside of their jurisdiction. 

Speaking on WNPR's Where We Livepanelists broke down the origins of the bill and the issues surrounding it. 

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Ask an environmental regulator what they do -- and they're likely to say this: making sure people don't break the law and don't pollute. But as a WNPR investigation found out, getting people to obey environmental rules can be tricky.

U.S. Congress

Former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords visited Connecticut to push for new gun control legislation designed to help domestic violence victims. 

The divide between Republicans and Democrats on pot politics is narrowing, President Barack Obama said in an interview Monday.

Julia Pistell / WNPR

A public hearing on Monday at Hartford Public High School heard residents' input on a bill that would clarify state laws on police officers' authority to make arrests outside of their own towns.

Two days after a federal regulator approved powdered alcohol, there's already an attempt to ban it.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said today he is introducing legislation in the Senate to make the production, sale and possession of Palcohol illegal.

hjl / Creative Commons

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.

City of Middletown / Middletowneyenews.blogspot.com

Zoning may not be the sexiest topic when it comes to headlines, but it sure has been in the news a lot lately, and it tells us a lot about what matters in our cities and towns.

This hour, we hear about some recent zoning stories making waves in different parts of the state, and we hear from you -- what has zoning law done for you lately?

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A group representing automotive dealers in Connecticut said it will continue to oppose Tesla selling its cars directly to customers, but if the legislature does decide to move forward with a bill allowing direct sales, car dealers are calling for a two year moratorium on it.

Around 4 million unauthorized immigrants are stuck in legal limbo more than two weeks after a federal judge in Texas suspended President Obama's move to temporarily protect them from deportation.

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

Last week’s Congressional wrangling over Homeland Security funding temporarily ended House debates in Washington on the GOP’s version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind.  

Republicans would take away much of the federal government’s authority over how states and local school districts spend federal education dollars. Some conservative critics say the bill doesn't go far enough in scaling back the federal role in education.

Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro spoke out last week against the GOP version of the bill.

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