Politics

Political news from WNPR

Even before he became president, Barack Obama was imagining the possibilities of a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran. His willingness to reverse decades of official U.S. hostility was one of the things that set Obama apart on the campaign trail.

"We have to have a clear break with the Bush-Cheney style of diplomacy that has caused so many problems," Obama told NBC's Meet the Press in November 2007.

Gov. Malloy Office / Twitter

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

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Governor Dannel Malloy’s transportation plans have been in the news a lot since the start of the new year. He’s set a bunch of goals -- some of them far off in the future -- but hasn’t yet figured out a way to pay for them.

We’re starting to see signs of Malloy’s efforts to figure it out in the form of proposed bills at the state legislature. 

Four troopers who opted out of the Connecticut State Police Union have filed a lawsuit claiming they're being forced to continue paying full union dues in violation of their constitutional rights. 

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As Hartford's city council seeks to remove them, all three registrars of voters have filed suit in state court asking a judge to stand in the council's way. And on Wednesday, at least one of them will be before a state court judge asking him for emergency scheduling measures.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

After a rough start to his reelection campaign, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is again staffing up his effort with new people.  One comes from within his administration, the other is a former television reporter.

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.

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

The data breach that affected Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in February affected more than a million and a half current and past Connecticut members. Most recently, Anthem announced they’ll be sending letters to those whose data was possibly leaked, offering them two years of free credit monitoring. We'll get an update. 

With Tuesday's deadline for an international deal on Iran's nuclear program approaching, foreign ministers from Iran and six world powers are trying to hash out an agreement. The debate currently centers on where Iran's nuclear fuel should be stored, and how — and when — economic sanctions should be lifted.

Other details, such as rules controlling enrichment, the length of the deal and how it would be enforced, also remain unsettled.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As Hartford's city council gets ready for proceedings to remove its three elected registrars of voters, one of those registrars has filed suit in state court and asked a judge to stop the process.

Harry Reid, the wily Democratic Senate leader, was likely — once again — to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for re-election in 2016.

Few, though, would have bet the house against Reid — a sharp-elbowed campaigner — especially in a presidential year when demography will favor Democrats in a state where almost 3 in 10 people are Hispanic.

"Do you really want to go up against Harry Reid?" said one national GOP operative, pointing out Reid's bare-knuckles style of campaigning.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

It's been a rough few weeks for both the administration and reelection campaign of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. But his supporters say there's a lot of time left before any votes are counted. 

Connecticut House Democrats

Former Bridgeport state Rep. Christina Ayala has turned down a plea deal with prosecutors and will go to trial on election fraud charges.

The Connecticut Post reports Ayala and her lawyer appeared Wednesday before Superior Court Judge Earl Richards and confirmed her decision.

City of Hartford

The former top lawyer of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is asking the city’s ethics commission to weigh in on whether it was wrong for her relatives to have worked at city hall while she had a high-ranking position. 

A nearly $300 million project widening Interstate 84 in Waterbury is about to begin.

The Republican-American reports that rebuilding the 2.7-mile stretch of highway that Governor Dannel Malloy has called one of the most infamous bottlenecks in Connecticut will begin Monday.

The state Department of Transportation's contact requires the project to be complete by June 25, 2020.

Thomas Hopkins / Creative Commons

A bill that would cap charges for electric services paid by residential customers is moving through the Connecticut General Assembly.

The legislature's Energy and Technology Committee on Tuesday approved a bill capping the monthly, fixed charge at $10. The bill now awaits further action in the Senate.

Politicians and consumer groups voiced concerns about a recent state decision to increase the fix charges imposed by Eversource Energy from $16 to $19.50. Eversource originally requested a $25.50 charge, saying the revenue is needed to cover the utility's expenses.

Connecticut Senate Republicans / Creative Commons

Connecticut's fiscal future seems to be upon us and it's bleak. Last year, budget chief Ben Barnes said, "We have entered into a period of permanent fiscal crisis in state and local government." As lawmakers debate and discuss the state budget, they're learning that Barnes' quote was not hyperbolic.

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, our panel discusses the on-going budget negotiations and what's on the cutting block. Also, another chapter in the John Rowland/Lisa Wilson-Foley scandal comes to a close as both were sentenced to prison time.

City of Hartford

Internal auditors at the city of Hartford have looked into controversial hirings at the city’s Department of Public Works, following a citizen complaint alleging that relatives of the mayor’s former top lawyer had gotten jobs with the city. 

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Former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley will serve five months in prison for her role in a campaign consulting scandal involving former Governor John Rowland.

According to reports from inside the federal courtroom in New Haven, Judge Janet Bond Arterton disputed Wilson-Foley's claim that she was a "minor player" in the crime.

There will be a question from some about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's eligibility to run for president.

That's because even though Cruz grew up in Texas, he was born in Canada. (He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2013.)

Democrats are sure to remind voters of Cruz's Canadian birth since some on the right have questioned where President Obama was born. The president is a native of Hawaii.

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Lawmakers are planning changes to a controversial proposal from Governor Dannel Malloy that would enable the state to take land near transit stations.

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Former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley faces sentencing this week in a scheme to hide a role that former Governor John Rowland played in her campaign. 

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In her latest book, Burning Down the House, journalist and author Nell Bernstein explores the dark side of America’s juvenile justice system. Through the eye-opening stories of incarcerated youths, she argues that it’s time to shut down the nation’s juvenile prisons once and for all.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tells NPR that most people in his country want a continued U.S. troop presence and that his government is determined to make sure that the self-declared Islamic State does not gain a foothold.

Ghani, on an official visit to the United States, spoke in a wide-ranging interview with Morning Edition host Renee Montagne to be broadcast on Monday.

He says the perception that Afghans are eager for U.S. troops to leave the country is simply untrue. "They see the United States as critical to their future," he says.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has apparently had enough of the fig leaf most presidential candidates wear as their unofficial spring costume the year before the election actually happens.

That is a bold stroke, but entirely in keeping with the go-for-broke style the junior senator from Texas has exhibited since first challenging the Republican establishment's candidate for the Senate in 2012.

At the end of the grueling 2008 primary fight, Hillary Clinton gathered supporters in Washington, D.C., and delivered perhaps the most memorable line of her whole campaign.

"Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it," Clinton said to roaring applause.

It's a line, one could say, that began paving the way for her seemingly inevitable 2016 campaign.

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. 

House Speaker John Boehner plans to travel to Israel at the end of the month, close on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election and the Israeli leader's controversial address to Congress.

Although there are no details on who he might meet in Israel, Boehner "looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel," his spokesman, Kevin Smith, said in a statement.

The White House

Sunshine Week is supposed to be dedicated to transparency and openness in government, but President Barack Obama's administration seems to have thumbed its nose at the idea by announcing that the executive office would not comply with Freedom of Information Act requests.  

Brad Bedard / Creative Commons

Connecticut is one step closer to adding more casinos. The legislature's public safety and security committee voted this week 15-to-eight in favor of the legislation

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