Politics

Political news from WNPR

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A painting featuring prominent female activists has been removed from the Trumbull Public Library by the town’s First Selectman Tim Herbst after a local pastor raised a concern about using Mother Teresa’s image in a painting alongside Margaret Sanger, which some see as controversial. 

Responding to concerns over her use of a personal email account to conduct official business while in office, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she wants the public to have access to her emails. The State Department says it will review messages for possible release.

The issue rose to importance earlier this week, after it was revealed that during her entire tenure at the State Department, Clinton used a personal email account — a move that had kept the emails out of the government's control and circumvented archival practices.

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A group representing automotive dealers in Connecticut said it will continue to oppose Tesla selling its cars directly to customers, but if the legislature does decide to move forward with a bill allowing direct sales, car dealers are calling for a two year moratorium on it.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Already facing shortfalls in the budget he presented last month, Governor Dannel Malloy said Wednesday that it’s now in the hands of state lawmakers.

“The law is very clear, the budget I have to present is balanced, and it is balanced. We’ve met our legal requirement,” Malloy said, speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live.

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy is planning to widen highways in Connecticut as part of his 30-year transportation proposal.

While he called rail “extremely important” to his plan, Malloy said on WNPR’s Where We Live that rail solutions won’t solve the state’s highway troubles. He said he thinks those troubles are slowing down the state economy as well as highway traffic.

Around 4 million unauthorized immigrants are stuck in legal limbo more than two weeks after a federal judge in Texas suspended President Obama's move to temporarily protect them from deportation.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For the second time in a week, a challenger to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is saying information in the mayor's fundraising emails isn't true. 

This time, it's about the challenger's own voting record.

Mark Fischer (Flickr Creative Commons)

The nation's highest court again has the future of the president's signature health care law in its hands. 

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday from opponents who say it's being wrongly implemented. The case is called King v. Burwell, and the plaintiffs say the federal government is breaking the law when it pays subsidies to people buying health insurance through the three-dozen states in the federal exchange.

A federal civil rights investigation of the Ferguson, Mo., police force has concluded that the department violated the Constitution with discriminatory policing practices against African Americans, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the report.

The investigation, the source says, concluded that blacks were disproportionately targeted by the police and the justice system, which has led to a lack of trust in police and courts and to few partnerships for public safety.

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."

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the United States and President Barack Obama for aiding Israel during a speech to Congress on Tuesday. He also warned of the threat that Iran poses to Israel’s survival.

The world must unite in order to “stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation, and terror,” Netanyahu said.

Updated at 2:09 p.m. ET

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a deal the U.S. and its allies are pursuing with Iran over its nuclear program is "very bad" because, according to him, it doesn't take away the Islamic republic's ability to ultimately obtain nuclear weapons.

"This is a bad deal — a very bad deal," Netanyahu told a joint meeting of Congress today. "We're better off without it."

Following issues at polling places in Hartford this past Election Day, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is proposing to scrap Connecticut’s partisan registrar system. But, the ideas are being met with opposition.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who has served in the Senate and in Congress longer than any other woman, says she will not seek a sixth term in 2016.

Mikulski, 78, announced her decision Monday in Baltimore.

" 'Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?' " she said she asked herself, according to The Associated Press.

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Last week’s Congressional wrangling over Homeland Security funding temporarily ended House debates in Washington on the GOP’s version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind.  

Republicans would take away much of the federal government’s authority over how states and local school districts spend federal education dollars. Some conservative critics say the bill doesn't go far enough in scaling back the federal role in education.

Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro spoke out last week against the GOP version of the bill.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that while the U.S. and Israel agree that Iran should not get nuclear weapons, they disagree about how to stop the Islamic republic. But, he tells the 2015 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, reports of a decline in U.S.-Israeli relations are "not only premature, they're just wrong."

Netanyahu says his planned speech to Congress on Tuesday is not intended to be a slight to President Obama. "I have great respect for both" Obama and the office that he holds," he says.

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Quinnipiac University faces a $150-a-day fine, with the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission accusing it of violating a 2006 housing agreement that led to construction of the York Hill campus. 

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is expected to give final approval Monday to an ordinance restricting public officials from obtaining casino jobs.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is boasting about his record in fundraising emails to potential donors, saying the city's "graduation rates have more than doubled since I took office."

It sounds good. But it's not true. 

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy is naming a U.S. Army reservist and ethics officer for Pratt and Whitney to oversee Connecticut's Department of Veterans Affairs. Malloy announced the appointment of Lt. Colonel Sean Connolly on Thursday afternoon.

The Federal Communications Commission approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote at its Thursday meeting, with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying the policy will ensure "that no one — whether government or corporate — should control free open access to the Internet."

The Open Internet Order helps to decide an essential question about how the Internet works, requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways — and at different costs.

"Today is a red-letter day," Wheeler said Thursday.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill wants to change the way Connecticut runs its elections, having one professional registrar oversee elections in each city and town. 

Current state law provides for two registrars in every town: one Republican, one Democrat. But Hartford's failure last year to get all of the polls open in time for voting enraged officials across the state. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A miscalculation announced by state budget chief Ben Barnes this week has pushed over the state's spending cap by $54.5 million, putting the proposed budget in the red only a few days after it was announced by Governor Dannel Malloy.

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

Secretary of State John Kerry sharply criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "judgment" on talks with Iran on its nuclear program — the latest Obama administration official wading into the controversy stirred by the Israeli leader's planned talk to Congress on March 3 on the dangers posed by the Islamic republic.

James McCauley / Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a newspaper column about the Brian Williams debacle, except it really wasn't about that. It's about the way a relatively small story about a lie told by a news anchor seems to be the only national conversation we can have about our role in Iraq.

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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.  

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is poised to approve a casino ethics ordinance, but the city’s mayor has been silent so far on the issue.

The Springfield City Council is expected to give final approval at its next regular meeting to an ordinance that would put restrictions on public officials obtaining jobs at the new MGM casino being built in the city.  Supporters say it is intended to foster public trust in the municipal decision making surrounding the casino project.

Updated at 4:04 p.m. ET

The White House has notified the Senate that President Obama has, as promised, vetoed congressional legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.

"Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest," Obama said in the notification to the Senate.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET.

The head of Veterans Affairs has apologized for misrepresenting his military record, after telling a man that he had served in the U.S. Special Forces. Secretary Robert McDonald says he made a mistake.

The story drew attention late Monday, weeks after McDonald, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, made the claim during a conversation with a homeless man he met during a community outreach effort.

NPR's Quil Lawrence reports:

In a claim that's meeting with skepticism in Kiev, Russian-backed separatists say they've started to withdraw heavy weapons in eastern Ukraine, as required by a recent cease-fire. Ukraine's military says separatist attacks are ongoing.

The development comes after Russia's President Vladimir Putin said he thinks a war with Ukraine would be "apocalyptic" — but that the area is now on a path to stability, after the recent Minsk agreement.

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