Politics

Political news from WNPR

There may not be any officially declared candidates for president yet, but prominent Republicans from Jeb Bush to Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are making big speeches and jostling for consultants and donors. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton may not formally announce whether she is running for months. But any number of polls would indicate, without even declaring, she has a lock on the Democratic nomination.

Which got me thinking — who are the other potential Democratic candidates?

Heather Brandon / WNPR

The city of Hartford has executed agreements with the developer of a baseball stadium and the owner of the minor league New Britain Rock Cats, according to bond documents provided to investors.

But you can’t see them -- not yet, anyway.

Last week, we asked the city to see any executed agreements between it and either the developer, DoNo Hartford LLC, or the team owner, Connecticut Double Play LLC.  The city denied that request, saying it was holding the documents "in escrow until all negotiations are resolved."  Typically, executed contract documents are not exempt from disclosure.  (A clarification: We formally asked to inspect the documents with the developer; we only inquired as to the status of the agreements with the team's owners.  We got no response on the latter.)

A major battle is coming to a head over the fate of a century-old Boston Public School building that most recently housed the Dearborn Middle School in Roxbury.

The building is scheduled for demolition to make way for the first new school to be built in the city in more than a decade.

Some key Connecticut lawmakers say they are willing to pursue a compromise that would allow Tesla Motors sell its electric cars directly to consumers, but with some provisions that address the concerns of the state's independent franchise dealerships.

U.S. Senator Describes Train Wreckage

Feb 7, 2015

Two U.S. Senators and two congressional representatives Friday saw the wreckage and toured the crash site of Tuesday’s fiery Metro-North crash in Westchester County that left six people dead. 

The officials, including U.S. Senator from Connecticut Richard Blumenthal, spoke after viewing the charred train in a warehouse and then touring the crash site in Valhalla.

“Look inside the car and you can see those third rails like daggers going into the heart of that chamber.”

Ryan King / WNPR

When it comes to road design, more productive cities prioritize people over cars, according to Charles Marohn of the Minneapolis non-profit Strong Towns. 

Here in the United States, Marohn said, our roadways put cars before people. 

The same is true for Connecticut.

mrceder / Creative Commons

Just days after it was established and as a blizzard targeted the state, the Hartford Stadium Authority met, chose its officers, and approved tens of millions in borrowing that will allow the city to build a minor league baseball stadium for the New Britain Rock Cats.

The meeting was held last week. The sale of the bonds is apparently next week, and all eyes will be on what investors will charge the authority for its money.

Meanwhile, the city says negotiations are ongoing between it and the developer DoNo Hartford LLC.  A document provided to the stadium authority suggests that an agreement between the city and the baseball team has already been signed.

Ben Sheldon / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed major improvements to Connecticut's transportation infrastructure.

In the past, Malloy argued that the state gas tax could cover such costs, but the rise in fuel-efficient cars has meant a decline in revenue. How to fund transportation projects remains a question.

Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey said the gas tax is unfair to Connecticut residents.

City of Hartford

A vocal opponent of Hartford's baseball stadium effort is taking issue with last week's city council meeting -- the one that was held as a blizzard approached.

City hall was closed, there was a parking ban, the governor had declared a state of emergency, and police wanted folks off the roads. But the city council nevertheless went ahead and held its meeting to approve the Hartford Stadium Authority.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new legislative session means new dynamics at the state capital, especially with so many new leaders. Can parties from both sides of the aisle sit down together to hash out our budget problems?

Governor Dannel Malloy has shared some of his priorities, including a big push on the transportation front.

This hour, we sit down with Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and new minority leader Themis Klarides to hear their priorities for the upcoming session and about how the legislature will handle the budget deficit.

janp013/iStock / Thinkstock

Non-violent drug offenders in Connecticut soon may get a second chance.

Governor Dannel Malloy announced a series of legislative proposals aimed at drug law reform on Tuesday, which he deemed the "Second Chance Society" initiative, which he said would further reduce crime and reintegrate non-violent offenders into society. The proposals directly contrast zero-tolerance policy stemming from President Ronald Reagan's 1982 launch of the “War on Drugs."

Malloy’s reforms include reclassifying drug possession as a misdemeanor (unless there is intent to sell), eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, revamping the parole and pardons systems to help ex-offenders get jobs, and investing in housing for ex-offenders as they re-enter society. Malloy announced Wednesday he also wants to expand education and employment opportunities for ex-convicts. 

Diego Cambiaso / Creative Commons

Roughly 534 Republicans are running for president in 2016, but is anyone other than Hillary Clinton running for the Democrats? Do some Democrats actually want another choice? Our political analyst and Salon columnist Bill Curry joins us in The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. We’ll also consider Governor Malloy’s new "second chance society" and a Quinnipiac panel on race and justice in America.

DoNo Hartford LLC

With the first pitch for the New Britain Rock Cats just 14 months away, Hartford's plan to turn an empty lot into a minor league baseball stadium is moving forward. 

Contract documents between the developer DoNo Hartford LLC and the city could be signed as early as Wednesday.

"There is a pretty fair chance that we'll be signing documents tomorrow, but certainly by the end of this week they will be executed," said Bob Landino, a principal with DoNo. He added that a groundbreaking will likely happen by February 11 or sooner. "We're pretty much on schedule." 

CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission met on Friday. The panel is getting closer to finishing a final report, but more details remain.

Much of the meeting turned into a debate on whether the report should be dedicated solely to the 26 victims at Sandy Hook elementary, or whether it should also include shooter Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy.

Panel member Dr. Harold Schwartz suggested adding Nancy Lanza as an asterisk to the 26. "Why would we not consider Nancy Lanza to have been a victim?" he asked.

Updated at 12:03 p.m. ET

President Obama says he wants to work with Congress to "replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America," in remarks that came hours after the release of his $3.99 trillion budget proposal, which is already drawing criticism from Republicans.

The Connecticut Mirror

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is running for his second full term this year, and a lot of people are looking to unseat him. One is Luke Bronin, the governor's former legal counsel; another is attorney John Gale; and a third is city Councilman Joel Cruz.

Updated at 11:58 a.m.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney isn't running for president in 2016, he told supporters in a statement.

"After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I've decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee," he said in the statement and in a conference call with supporters.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Republican legislative leaders held a press conference Thursday to call for changes in the state’s campaign finance laws, though leading Democrats said talking to them first might have been a better strategy. 

Joined by rank and file legislators, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said state Democrats have consistently worked to undermine and erode the clean elections laws they worked to pass in 2005 after the conviction of former Governor John Rowland.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., lashed out at anti-war demonstrators protesting the presence of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at a Senate hearing, calling them "low-life scum."

Kissinger, 91, and other former secretaries of state in both Republican and Democratic administrations, were at the Senate Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs, for a hearing on global security challenges.

When President Obama meets with House Democrats tonight during their retreat in Philadelphia, officials say he'll lay out the details of his budget proposal, which will include reversal of large cuts to federal spending instituted in 2013.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced cuts to social services and health care in his second round of emergency rescissions to cut down the state budget deficit.

Malloy’s office projected a $121 million deficit last week. On Monday, the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated the deficit is closer to $202 million.

Mexico's attorney general made it official last night: The 43 college students who went missing last fall are dead.

That's the conclusion they've reached based on confessions of the alleged perpetrators and forensic evidence.

The Wheelhouse Digs Out

Jan 28, 2015
Gov. Dannel Malloy Office / Twitter

The blizzard has moved on from Connecticut and we're moving on with our regularly scheduled programming. Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will recap the week's news, from Governor Malloy's response to the storm, to last week's bizarre capitol cafeteria summit regarding the state budget. Also, one Hartford-based company that benefited from a state economic development deal is in trouble.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

***Due to the snow storm, this show with Governor Malloy will be re-scheduled.***

For the first time since his re-election, Governor Dannel Malloy returns to WNPR’s studios to discuss his plans for this legislative session. Near the top of his priority list is the state budget, which faces a nearly $121 million deficit. Malloy has also proposed some plans to improve transportation in the state, including the widening of two major highways.

You can join the conversation and ask questions of Governor Malloy. Call us live between 9:00 to 10:00 am on Tuesday, January 27 at (860) 275-7266. You can also leave questions in the comments section on this page, or on Twitter and Facebook.

The speaker of the New York state Assembly plans to temporarily cede power to a small group of top lawmakers as he fights federal corruption charges.

Updated at 8:25 a.m. ET

President Obama announced Sunday that the U.S. and India have made progress on civilian nuclear trade. In a joint news conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Obama said the countries had agreed to more cooperation in other areas as well, including defense and climate change.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Oz Griebel runs the MetroHartford Alliance and ran for governor in 2010. Now, he's considering a run for Hartford's city council. 

"I am considering a run, but considering is the operative word," Griebel said.

Sophia Paris / United Nations

As U.S. and Cuba officials wrap up their first high-level talks in decades, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is leading a call for an end to the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.

Breathtakingly broad as its jurisdiction may be, the U.S. Senate does not usually vote on the validity of scientific theories.

This week, it did. And science won. The Senate voted that climate change is real, and not a hoax. The vote was 98-1.

The vote was about an amendment to the bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline. The near-unanimity of the climate change judgment was notable, because so many senators have cast doubt on ideas of "global warming."

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