Politics

Political news from WNPR

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A bill that creates a multi-step process for possibly opening a new tribal casino in Connecticut is heading to the governor, among other bills awaiting action at the Capitol.

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Chicago. The Illinois Republican, 73, is charged with trying to evade cash withdrawal requirements, and with lying to the FBI about it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is on board with the latest trend among prominent politicians, and not just because he's running for president. Sanders is one of a few presidential hopefuls having fun with their 404 page. That’s the page on a website that comes up when a user enters an address for a page that doesn’t exist.

Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is adding his name to the list of Republicans running for their party's 2016 presidential nomination.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

Republican Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, announced Wednesday that he is running for president.

"Working families don't need another president tied to big government or big money," he said in Cabot, Pa.. "And today is the day we're going to begin to fight back."

With Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains behind him, Sen. Bernie Sanders officially kicked off his presidential campaign Tuesday afternoon at Waterfront Park in Burlington.

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FBI Director James Comey recently made his second visit to the New Haven field office since becoming director nearly two year ago. He said he spoke with local police chiefs about how law enforcement can better participate in the conversation about race and profiling.

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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.

Updated to reflect that Santorum is now officially in the race.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is praying for political lightning to strike twice.

Even after pulling an upset win in the Iowa caucuses four years ago and going on to survive the longest against eventual nominee Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential hopeful is again the underdog in a much more crowded 2016 field.

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Since the ISIS takeover of Palmyra in Syria, hundreds are feared killed by the so-called Islamic State. Amateur videos posted online yesterday also appear to show buildings of the ancient city damaged in the fighting.  Palmyra is considered to be one of the most important cultural centers in the world.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Ireland has become the first-ever country to approve same-sex marriage by referendum, voting overwhelmingly to approve it despite opposition from clergy in the heavily Catholic nation, according to official results announced today.

Reuters says in Friday's vote "more than 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot, the highest turnout at a referendum there in over two decades."

Earlier, both sides in the debate acknowledged that the "yes" vote had succeeded.

The Senate voted 62-37 late Friday to grant President Obama additional trade powers, which the president plans to use in pushing through an extensive new agreement with a group of Asian countries.

The administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership has been opposed by labor groups and some Senate Democrats because of concerns that the deal could cost some U.S. workers their jobs.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Emails released Friday by the State Department appear to confirm Hillary Clinton's assertion that she received no classified information on her personal email account while she served as secretary of state. Still, some of the emails were classified at the FBI's request after the fact — something the White House says is not uncommon.

Connecticut State Capitol / Wikimedia Commons

A bill allowing electric car-maker Tesla Motors to sell directly to Connecticut consumers has cleared the state House of Representatives.

Despite some concerns about the effect it will have on local auto dealerships, the bill passed 116 to 32 Thursday. It now awaits action in the Senate.

Fighters with the self-declared Islamic State have seized the last border crossing in Syria, where they control half of the country, according to a British-based monitoring group.

Syrian government forces withdrew from al-Tanf, known as al-Waleed in Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The border crossing lies at the extreme northwest of Iraq's border with Syria.

Voters in Ireland are deciding whether the country will amend its constitution to make same-sex marriage legal.

The vote on Friday follows months of debate in the heavily Catholic country. Opinion polls suggest the referendum will pass and Ireland will become the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in a national vote.

But, as NPR's Ari Shapiro points out, "Polls in this part of the world have been totally wrong in the past.

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A bill that requires all Connecticut colleges to establish "affirmed consent" as the threshold for determining whether sexual activity is consensual is moving through the General Assembly.

Following the self-declared Islamic State's capture of Palmyra, concern today is turning to the security of the ancient Syrian city's archaeological sites and fears that the Islamist extremists might try to destroy them, as they have done elsewhere.

White House

President Barack Obama visited New London on Wednesday to give the keynote address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 134th commencement. He told the new ensigns the Coast Guard is on the front line to help combat and adapt to climate change.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

Intelligence officials on Wednesday released a trove of newly declassified documents, books and magazines found during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. They're calling it "Bin Laden's Bookshelf."

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?

During a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy today, President Obama will cast climate change as posing an "immediate risk to our national security."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports Obama is expected to tell graduates that the Coast Guard itself will have to adjust to the effects of rising sea levels. Scott filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Barack Obama will be in New London Wednesday to give the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It’s the second time he's been the keynote speaker for graduation at the Academy. He was last here in 2011. 

City of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno kicked off his re-election campaign for another term Monday, saying he has even greater passion and energy for the job than when he first ran eight years ago.

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State lawmakers have crafted a new bill that creates a two-step process for a new tribal casino in Connecticut. 

Republican Chris Christie says the U.S. needs to boost military spending and not back off on intelligence and surveillance programs. 

Speaking in Portsmouth’s Prescott Park, Chris Christie said the army needs more soldiers, the navy more ships, the air force more planes --and the government more intelligence.

Christie called for an extension to the Patriot act, and said concerns over data collection and privacy are overblown.

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Commencements were held at colleges and universities across the state this weekend. 

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Installers of rooftop solar panels are learning that Connecticut's embrace of solar energy has its limits. Businesses seeking state legislation to streamline local permitting of rooftop solar panels have run into opposition from municipal officials who say proposed rules are a costly mandate. 

The spectacle of thousands of desperate Rohingya Muslim "boat people" being denied landfall in Southeast Asia has laid bare the region's religious and ethnic prejudices as well as its fears of being swamped by an influx of migrants.

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Advocates in Connecticut are rallying against the planned deportation of a U.S. Army veteran who came to the United States from Peru as a teenager. 

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