The Wheelhouse

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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 That game was legalized by the legislature, then repealed the following year after public outrage.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.

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.

David Zeuthen / Creative Commons

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse is back and there’s a lot of ground to cover. Lawmakers are hedging their bets and hoping to bring more casinos to an increasingly saturated gambling market. This time, current tribal casino leaders are ready to team up for one facility to compete with a future Springfield casino.

Also, why does Connecticut keep electing politicians who voters don't really love? New polling numbers from Quinnipiac University shows declining support for the recently re-elected Gov. Dannel Malloy. But you know a governor who was really popular? John Rowland! He now faces sentencing in federal court for his illegal activity in a 2012 congressional race.

Chion Wolf

The first few months of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term as governor have been very, very busy. He’s rolled out major initiatives to take on our transportation problems, and to create a "second chance society" to change our system of incarceration, punishment, and re-entry after prison.

Malloy has also had to deliver a budget to lawmakers that includes deep cuts prompted by a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. This plan has gotten criticism from social service providers on the left for cutting too much into vital plans, and from Republicans on the right for not cutting government deeply enough. There's even dispute about whether the budget is balanced or comes under the so-called "spending cap."

creative commons

Governor Dannel Malloy announced his two-year budget plan last week, and everything has been a mess ever since. The proposed budget would hurt social services and cause potential layoffs at UCONN, a situation that drew star basketball players to testify at the Capitol.  

On Tuesday, we learned that a SNAFU with accounting sets Malloy's proposed budget more than $50 million over the state's spending cap for the next fiscal year. That might be more cuts. OPM Secretary Ben Barnes issued a formal (somewhat confusing) apology.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy delivers his budget speech on Wednesday, an event we've anticipated for weeks.

The address is expected to include details about Malloy's big transportation plans for the state, and how he plans to balance the budget while changing the sales tax system.

In our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we preview his speech while looking at the big picture: What do budget addresses mean, and what are the messages they send?

Today's edition of The Wheelhouse is in two parts. Part one is a preview of the budget speech. Part two is a broadcast of the budget address in its entirety and a wrap-up with WNPR reporters.

Logan Ingalls, Creative Commons

We take a break from the usual news and politics to talk about something that newsmakers and politicians just don't seem to talk about very much: arts and culture, history and humanities, our museums and gathering places. 

We hear that all of these things are important to "revitalize" cities and to "spur economic growth." If that's true, why isn't there more investment, more coordination, more big thinking about the arts? 

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.

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.

Mr. Nygren / Creative Commons

There is a simple formula for restoring respect for democracy and other American institutions: just study everything that happens in Bridgeport and do the opposite.

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, Colin McEnroe guest-hosts with check-ins on Bridgeport, New London County, and Hartford. 

The capital city is part of a different formula: study how Hartford runs elections and do the opposite. Also, don't park in a handicap spot, especially if you're a lawmaker using your official state plates.

Weston Observatory

Connecticut is experiencing several different kinds of earthquakes recently. Eastern Connecticut is starting to feel more like California (only a lot colder) with nine reported tremors in the last week.

Meanwhile, some state commissioners feel like they're on shaky ground after Governor Dannel Malloy said if they don't like things he's doing, they can leave. On our weekly news roundtable, we discuss all the week's news, including the sentencing of those involved in the latest John Rowland conspiracy.

Chion Wolf

It’s inauguration day in Connecticut! And it’s also Wednesday...and that means The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. How convenient is that?

Fireworks by Grucci

The Wheelhouse is back with a special New Year’s Eve edition of our weekly news roundtable. We’ll look back at the year from the rough and tumble race for governor, to the conviction of a former governor. What do you think was the biggest story of 2014?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses the new look of the Malloy administration as the governor heads into his second term. Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Chris Donovan finds a new line of work with a state teachers' union. We also check in on the Elm City, where New Haven's police chief is making headlines for a confrontation at the Yale Bowl.

West Midlands Police Department / Creative Commons

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses several national stories with implications here in Connecticut.

In the wake of the grand jury decisions in Staten Island and Ferguson, body cameras for police officers have been floated as one possible fix. It could hold officers more accountable for their actions, but it could also lead to unintended consequences.

Also, how does the Rolling Stone story on sexual assault on college campuses impact schools in Connecticut?

Ben Pollard / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Supreme Court will take up an issue that’s pitting privacy advocates against First Amendment proponents. Simsbury’s first selectman resigns after taking a big pay cut she says is illegal. Meanwhile, the City of Hartford has a race for mayor that's about to start.

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses these stories, plus the cuts in state spending were not enough to eliminate a budget deficit.

Jamelle Bouie / Creative Commons

As the nation tries to better understand the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will discuss what comes next. With widespread calls for change in the judicial system, how does that happen?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse brings together some of the best and brightest reporters to break down the week's news. As expected, the state budget faces a serious deficit and the Connecticut Mirror's Keith Phaneuf will explain what that means for taxpayers. Also, the Democrats will retain control of the legislature, but there are some intriguing young Republicans to watch - including a 20-year-old legislator! We will also remember Connecticut Judge John T. Downey, who died this week after an extraordinary life.

Chion Wolf/Mara Lavitt / WNPR

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse has finally had a chance to breath after last week’s election that leaves the next four years looking a lot like the last four years in Connecticut. Our panel of reporters and analysts will close the books on the 2014 election and preview what’s to come in Governor Malloy's second term in office.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy claimed victory in the race for governor early Wednesday morning, but only by a razor-thin margin. Without final results, the best call he could make was, "We're going to win this thing."

Republican challenger Tom Foley, reluctant to concede, gave a speech announcing that yeah, he probably lost. Also still unclear: results of the races for secretary of the state, comptroller, and treasurer. 

Columbia City Blog (Flickr Creative Commons)

We're almost there. Today, it’s the final edition of our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse before next Tuesday’s election. We’ll check-in on the final dash to the finish line, from big-name campaign visitors (two Obamas and a Christie), to a state-wide bus tour for Tom Foley. Our panel of reporters and observers will fill you in on what you need to know in the last six days of the campaign. If you love political commercials, then you have six more days to soak them all in.

Tim Cook / The Day

Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley may not be trying to make people like them, but they're trying to make the other guy look worse. Now, that Connecticut has the "least positive" race in the nation and the candidates remain in a dead heat in the polls. Malloy told WNPR earlier in the week that he isn't the most lovable guy. Meanwhile, reporters keep asking for Foley's state tax returns and he keeps refusing to hand them over.

John Dankosky / WNPR

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows the race for governor is neck and neck and now some political heavy hitters are coming to Connecticut to turn the tide. This hour, it’s our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse. We’ll also discuss a big weeks of debates from the fifth congressional district, to our gubernatorial debate in New London on Thursday.

Peter Morenus / UConn Photo

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, our panel will discuss the rapid-fire of polls coming our way. One of them actually contained good news for Gov. Dannel Malloy. It also included information on Connecticut's underticket races, which are rarely polled for. Plus, we'll recap last week's debate where the gloves came off, and both President Obama and Chris Christie visited the state this week (but not together).

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When host John Dankosky last sat behind the microphone for our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we lived in different times. John Rowland was only convicted once. The 2014 race for governor was still three months away. Derek Jeter was a professional baseball player. And Yuengling was not for sale in Connecticut.

Oh, how times have changed.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The trial of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland starts to wind down. The race for governor is ramping up and the underticket races continue to slip under the radar. The Wheelhouse continues to roll even without our host John Dankosky this week.

Screenshot from "Frankenstein"

While the rest of the Northeast was having a September primary day that pointed to voter dissatisfaction with some incumbent Democrats, Connecticut was waiting for a little bit of news about its biggest political race to drop this morning. The new Quinnipiac poll on the Governor’s race is finally out today...and look, it shows voter dissatisfaction with an incumbent Democrat.

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