The Wheelhouse

Paul Morigi / Brookings Institute

In a special edition of our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we are joined by reporters from Vermont Public Radio to discuss their new radio documentary Becoming Bernie, which will air on WNPR. We discuss the rise of Bernie Sanders and how the Democratic party is responding to his popularity in the 2016 race for president.

David / Creative Commons

This week, legislative leaders met with Governor Dannel Malloy to talk about the state's budget deficit. This hour, we review those talks with a panel of Capitol reporters.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

The 2016 presidential cycle has been mostly dominated by a crowded Republican field but now it's the Democrats' turn as the candidates square off in their first debate. Also this week, former President Bill Clinton is in Connecticut to accept an award at UConn. But a trip to the Nutmeg State isn’t complete without a fundraiser, so he’s swinging by Attorney General George Jepsen’s house to fundraise for his wife’s presidential campaign as well. But out of all these events, only the debate will be broadcast in virtual reality.

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Connecticut is "The Land of Steady Habits," which is why our state budget remains in a state of permanent crisis. Recently, Governor Dan Malloy made emergency cuts to the budget and targeted hospital funding and social services. He was on Where We Live this week and defended his actions and drew more criticism from the hospital community.

Uma Ramiah / WNPR

It turns out that state budget chief Ben Barnes was being dead serious when he said Connecticut was in "permanent fiscal crisis." Recent budget cuts have caused an uproar among hospitals, which get hit hard.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

At some point during this 2015 municipal election cycle, an argument could be made that Hartford rivaled Bridgeport for having the most bizarre mayoral race in Connecticut. Not anymore. Within the last seven days, incumbent Mayor Bill Finch not only lost his party's nomination to a former mayor who served seven years for corruption, but he also lost a spot on the November ballot.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut is waking up on Thursday learning who the nominees are for important mayors’ jobs around the state. And it's a little bit of a surprise. All three Democratic incumbents in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New London lost their respective races.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

In many of Connecticut's strongly Democratic cities, the local primary IS the election. This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse brings you election coverage from across the state, including the close races for mayor in Hartford and Bridgeport.

Are you voting in this primary?

Paul Morigi / Brookings Institute

The Iowa caucus is nearly five months away and candidates continue to jockey for the limelight. Many supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are talking about their candidate like he's Rodney Dangerfield: he gets no respect. Sanders' social media-savvy supporters have not shied away from criticizing media outlets (including this one) for its coverage.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The 2016 presidential race is well underway, but the race for a Connecticut Senate seat is still in its infancy. A new challenger announced his potential bid against incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal who had "no comment" about Larry Kudlow's political ambitions.

Chuck Miller / Creative Commons

Is General Electric really looking to leave the state? What’s Connecticut doing to try to keep them? That’s one of the stories we’re talking about on The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. Also, there's another round of musical chairs in state government and Governor Dan Malloy brings his support of Hillary Clinton to the Granite State.

John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the state Supreme Court issued its ruling on capital punishment and completely repealed it - including for those already on death row. This hour on our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse we talk about the decision and answer your questions about how the state’s judicial system works with guests who will hopefully have answers.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s a big year for local politics in Connecticut -- and not just Hartford and Bridgeport.

This hour, we check in on the race for mayor in New London.

As we do on most weeks, we catch you up on other stories from across the state, including how to fund the $100 billion transportation overhaul, MGM's desire to get in on the Connecticut casino expansion battle, and the future of juvenile detention facilities.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Pushing the line of ethics is nothing new in politics. That is part of the reason voters are frustrated when it continues to happen. Former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is hoping to return to his former office after a stint in prison on corruption charges. The former house Republicans chief of staff faces up to 15 months in prison for collecting kickbacks. And the Connecticut Democratic Party is trying to avoid complying with a subpoena issued by state election officials.

Donkey Hotey/Creative Commons

When Donald Trump talked about Mexicans as “rapists,” one might have thought, “that’s the craziest statement I’ve heard from a political candidate in a long time.” Which he then followed up by questioning John McCain’s war hero status. The outcome? Trump’s only risen in the polls.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Local races across the state have caught our eye: from the crowded field running for mayor in Hartford, to the Bridgeport race pitting the incumbent versus a former mayor who went to jail for corruption when in office. This hour on our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse,  we check-in on those races and more news from across the state.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It has been a full three weeks since The Wheelhouse was last on the air due to vacations and unexpected absences. That means we have no shortage of news to talk about. This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will recap the last three (!?) weeks in news with intrepid reporters who stuck around to cover the special session and all the fallout from the budget implementer. We discuss that at-length on this week's edition of The Wheelhouse.

Stevie Gill / Creative Commons

If the State of Connecticut was a college student, it would be the one who crams for every exam and writes every final paper the night before. We say this, because the fiscal year starts on July 1, and a special session to finish the details of the state budget is reportedly scheduled for the last two days of June.

Chuck Miller / Creative Commons

Two big Connecticut corporations threatened to leave the state after a budget deal was reached before the end of the regular session. But were they empty threats? Governor Dannel Malloy didn't want to take any chances and announced last week a reduction in business tax hikes. This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse continues the budget drama, and other legislation that may be taken up during a special session. One of those, Malloy's "Second Chance Society" proposals were touted by the governor in Germany this week.

The Connecticut Mirror

Connecticut’s legislative session ended with a soft thud last week. There wasn’t quite the mad rush we're used to seeing as the clock ticked down. That means, lawmakers will have to return to the capitol for a special session. This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we recap the long session and talk taxes, as business groups and even other states are jumping in with comments on the state's new tax plans.

Lisa Jacobs / Creative Commons

The clock is ticking down on the end of the regular legislative session. It’s that time of the year when reporters and capitol observers try to make sense of what’s happening: what legislation gets passed, what gets killed, and what gets moved to the "budget implementer."

Photo Phiend / Creative Commons

Even in a non-election year, there are a lot of political questions: Who gave you that money? Where are you spending that money? Who is representing Connecticut's 18th senate district? May we speak with the state treasurer? Finally, where is Charter Communications actually located?

This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will ask these questions and attempt to get some answers.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama comes to New London to address graduating cadets at the Coast Guard. The big theme of his speech? Climate change. It's a little different from Vice President Joe Biden's message to Yale grads this weekend. He encouraged them to find their "sweet spot."

This hour, it’s our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse where we’ll talk about the president’s trip and about the use of the word "racist" in political speech. Governor Dannel Malloy used the word and Republicans are criticizing him for it.

Also, the a bill banning powdered alcohol is going to the governor's desk. Wait, what? Powdered alcohol?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Coming up on the next Where We Live, John Dankosky hosts our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse! Oh, wait -- Dankosky has meetings at the NPR mothership in Washington...

Coming up on the next Where We Live, Colin McEnroe guest-hosts our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse! Darn it -- Colin is sick...

Mikkel Rønne / Creative Commons

Text messages between members of Gov. Dannel Malloy's staff pulled back the curtain on the controversial firing of the longtime labor-relations chief. This comes as New Jersey's "bridgegate" scandal is back in the news, which also featured text messages and emails that were made public. Why do state officials leave paper trails at all?

This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse we discuss that story, plus a recent amendment to a bill has transparency advocates scratching their heads. Also, grants from the National Science Foundation to the University of Connecticut have been frozen after it was discovered professors used the money to purchase equipment from a company they had a stake in.

Finally, have you met August Wolf? This Stamford Republican is ready to take on Sen. Richard Blumenthal in the 2016 election.

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.

Photo Phiend / Creative Commons

Republicans at the state capitol hope to get out in front of their counterparts by releasing their own budget plan. But what influence will that have on the majority party? Will new casinos be part of the long-term plan?

At the national level, presidential candidates are balancing their budgets with trips to Connecticut's gold coast, including Sen. Marco Rubio who will headline a GOP fundraiser in Stamford on June 4. That's just a day after the legislative session wraps up, so there may be some tired lawmakers in attendance.

Schoolhouse Rocks

Many bills, including some high-profile ones face the end of their life in the 2015 legislative session. They died a slow death due to personal drama behind closed doors. That allowed an important deadline to pass before moving bills through committee.

Also, remember Keno? That game was legalized by the legislature, then repealed the following year after public outrage. But now that the state is considering more casino gambling, the state lottery is pushing for Keno again and lawmakers are listening.

While Connecticut grapples with a budget deficit, many constituencies are defending their state funding, including librarians who spoke to Gov. Malloy this week. And the Hartford registrars of voters successfully defended their jobs in court.

If this makes your head spin, at least it's baseball season and the Rock Cats get underway in their final season in New Britain. So what happens to the stadium when they move to Hartford?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, Comptroller Kevin Lembo forecasted a budget deficit of more than $170 million. Governor Dannel Malloy then issued another round of budget cuts, leaving few legislators happy. This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses Connecticut’s on-going state of "permanent fiscal crisis."

Also, we check-in on some high-profile bills going through the Judiciary Committee. And state lawmakers are considering allowing more casinos in the state, but one town is already saying they don't want one.

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.