Politics

Political news from WNPR

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.

There was no good news for the state from its latest revenue numbers. The Malloy administration’s previous estimates for tax receipts proved optimistic, and an April reality check saw the budget office now projecting a deficit of almost $162 million.

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Each year, for-profit corporations spend billions of dollars on reported lobbying expenditures. It’s a significant investment that’s placed American businesses among the most powerful forces in Washington, and in state houses like the one in Hartford.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he was racially profiled by police "countless times" as a youth and young man in Rhode Island's capital city.

"It's just part of growing up in the city -- which is very unfortunate and sad," Elorza, a son of Guatemalan immigrants, said Thursday during a taping of Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable. "I've been pulled over a number of times, so I'm sensitive to that."

Sen. Bernie Sanders made it official Thursday. He will seek the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Sanders made his announcement with an early morning email and then spoke to reporters just outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. He plans a formal campaign kickoff in Vermont at the end of the month.

It's really hard to catch up with Nick Mosby.

The young Baltimore Democrat walks fast, which I discovered when I finally managed to catch up with him. It was early Wednesday afternoon, and Mosby was in the lunchroom of Carver Vocational-Technical High School in West Baltimore, fresh from a TV hit on CNN.

The unrest in Baltimore and other cities regarding alleged police misconduct has prompted new calls for law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. Such recordings could provide accountability and transparency in potentially controversial circumstances.

At least, that's the idea.

Former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts Attorney General that accused him of spending taxpayer money for personal travel and purchases.

      Dobelle has agreed to pay the state $185,000.  He would also withdraw a lawsuit he filed against the university claiming breach of contract and demanding payment of his legal bills. 

        In the settlement, which is still subject to approval by a state judge, Dobelle would admit no wrongdoing.  

DoNo Hartford LLC

There's a new legislative proposal to get state money to the city of Hartford for its baseball stadium development project.

The Baltimore Police Department says the van transporting Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who suffered a serious spine injury while in police custody and later died, made one more stop than previously thought.

Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the stop was made at the corner of Fremont Avenue and Mosher Street. A private camera helped make the discovery, he said.

The stop was one of four made by the van that was transporting Gray who suffered a spine injury at some point after his April 12 arrest on a weapons charge.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is running for president, he said Wednesday night. He will be challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and the self-described "Democratic Socialist" will keep the pressure on Clinton to move to the left.

Sanders has lamented for a long time what he thinks has been woefully missing from the national conversation.

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Quinnipiac University's president has apologized for jokingly telling students at a party he would buy nearby residential houses, inflaming already sore town-gown relations. 

VPR News has learned from several sources that Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday.

Sanders will release a short statement on that day and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks.

Veggies / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy issued his first veto of the session. The definition of a "spending cap" remains murky. And the former chief-of-staff to a former legislative leader pleads guilty to mail fraud. This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, a look at the week's news from across the state, including the lack of a police response report from the Newtown tragedy. Also, a recent audit of the Hartford Police Department shows major problems with the ammunition supply and many questions remain.

We also take a look at the state of campaign finance. It has reached the point where even President Barack Obama is making jokes about it.

Office of Dannel Malloy

A non-partisan working group to help find funding options for Connecticut's transportation infrastructure overhaul met for the first time on Tuesday.

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Democratic leaders of the state legislature's Appropriations Committee unveiled their two-year budget Monday.

State of Connecticut

Governor Dannel Malloy has vetoed a bill that would have blocked the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education from closing any campus or manufacturing programs without legislative approval. 

Connecticut’s fiscal crisis is making strange bedfellows. Two groups usually at opposite ends of the political spectrum came together recently, to ask legislators to think differently about saving for a rainy day. 

Updated at 11:41 a.m. ET

Loretta Lynch is the new U.S. attorney general.

Lynch was sworn in today by Vice President Joe Biden, who said the daughter of a Baptist minister who preached during the sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., will now be "leading the march to a more perfect union."

Lynch, 55, is the nation's 83rd attorney general and the first black woman to hold the position. She said during a ceremony at the Justice Department that she would work to "imbue our criminal justice system with both strength and fairness" to protect the rights of all.

Official U.S. Navy Page / Creative Commons

Military recruitment has long been a controversial issue in America's high schools and colleges. Dating all the way back to the days of the draft, there's been a tension between the nation's need to keep a military, and the desire - and fitness - of young people to serve.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Republican lawmakers have unveiled an alternate two-year budget that eliminates some of Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed tax hikes, while restoring or scaling back many of the social service and Medicaid cuts proposed in the governor's budget. 

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Several governors from New England visited Connecticut on Thursday to talk about regional energy infrastructure challenges. 

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

European leaders attended a ceremony marking the centenary of the massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I, as German lawmakers risked triggering a diplomatic row with Turkey by voting to acknowledge the historical event as "genocide" –- a charge Ankara has strongly denied.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

President Obama offered his "grief and condolences" to the families of the American and Italian aid workers killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in January. Both men were held hostage by al-Qaida.

"I take full responsibility for a U.S. government counterterrorism operation that killed two innocent hostages held by al-Qaida," Obama said.

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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Five out of six New England governors will meet in Hartford on Thursday for a closed-door energy roundtable. Together, they’ll work on developing a cooperative strategy to address some of the region’s biggest energy challenges. 

State of Connecticut

State lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted to reconfirm Chase Rogers as chief justice of the Connecticut State Supreme Court. 

A full-fledged Democratic trade war has broken out.

"I love Elizabeth. We're allies on a whole host of issues, but she's wrong on this," President Obama said Tuesday night in an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, referring to liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Courtesy CT-N

State Treasurer Denise Nappier wants to shake-up the way Connecticut pays off its debt.
 Her proposal follows a sharp disagreement with Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget chief over the amount that should be set aside to service state debt in the upcoming two-year budget.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Wednesday the creation of a state council to set goals related to Connecticut's efforts to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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