Politics

Political news from WNPR

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Turns out saving at the pump isn’t great for everyone.

Governor Dannel Malloy will have to order a second round of budget cuts for fiscal year 2015 after the falling price of petroleum has contributed to a $120.9 million deficit, an $89.3 million increase from last month.

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.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Following a disastrous Election Day 2014 in which voters at various city polling places were denied the right to vote, the city council is beginning the process of removing all three registrars of voters.

Delivering his sixth State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama faced a Congress that's now controlled by his Republican opponents. His speech included possible areas of cooperation — and a threat to use his veto power.

Tax proposals that would boost middle-class families were in the president's speech; so were calls for a new approach to immigration and a push for free education at community colleges.

Obama also called on Congress to pass a resolution to authorize using military force against the extremist group ISIS.

As President Obama prepares for the State of the Union address tonight, some Democratic members of Congress are opposing one of the White House’s proposals.

President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.

Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address tonight and is expected to focus on the state of the economy and its impact on the middle class.

The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday began accepting tax returns electronically, and paper returns will begin to be processed at the same time. In a statement, the IRS reminded taxpayers that filing electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return and the fastest way to get a refund.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a case testing whether states, in the name of preserving judicial impartiality, may bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions.

There was a time when judicial elections were a pretty tame affair, with relatively little money spent, and candidates in most states limited in how they could campaign. Not anymore.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The panel created by Governor Dannel Malloy in the wake of the Newtown school shooting is continuing to work on its final recommendations. 

Do We Approve of Torture? Depends on How You Ask

Jan 16, 2015
Val Kerry / Creative Commons

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report released last December revealed that the CIA lied about the effectiveness of torture in gaining important information from terrorism suspects. But that didn't change America's opinion of using such tactics. 

During a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama warned Congress that if it passed further sanctions against Iran, he would veto them.

The two leaders, speaking to the press after a series of bilateral meetings, stood shoulder to shoulder on all the issues that came before them. Cameron said that on Iran, he had been calling U.S. senators to tell them he didn't think new sanctions would work against Iran.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

An investigation into election day failures in Hartford shows that the city turned people way from the polls, lost track of 70 absentee ballots, and failed to agree on an accurate vote tally.  Now that the problem has been identified, leaders on the city council say they're working on a fix.  

Election day last November began badly in Hartford. Some residents couldn't cast their ballots because the polls weren't open, and the polls weren't open because the voter lists weren't in place. 

A report drafted by lawyers working for the city council say a bunch of factors caused the mess: the city's registrars failed to give the state important voter lists in time, failed to open polling places in time, and failed to resolve discrepancies in vote tallies after the fact.

More than eight months after Oklahoma officials struggled to perform the execution of a condemned man who eventually died of a heart attack, the state executed another prisoner, Charles Frederick Warner, Thursday night. The Associated Press reports that Warner was declared dead at 7:28 p.m. CST. Warner was convicted in the 1997 rape and beating death of an 11-month-old girl.

Val Kerry / Creative Commons

Last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee Report released their report examining the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation after 9/11.

They found that the CIA was using harsher forms of torture that yielded less useful information than we were led to believe.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said, "Detainees were subjected to the most aggressive techniques immediately. They were stripped naked, diapered, physically struck, and put in various painful stress positions for long periods of time."  

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy took his transportation road show to New London, talking about the need to strengthen the Gold Star Bridge and widen I-95. 

The New York Police Department is known for pioneering the use of computer statistics to identify crime trends, but it can't seem to identify its own officers causing problems on its streets.

Darvell Elliott was arrested in August 2010 because he matched the description of a robbery suspect. He says he was already in handcuffs when the world went black.

When he came to, he was "in a hospital, Brookdale Hospital, face stuck to the sheet like Velcro," Elliott says.

Sometime in March, Barack Obama is expected to announce his choice of the institution that will hold his presidential archive. Vying for the honor (and the money that comes with it) are the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Hawaiʻi (the Hawaiian language spelling of the state's name).

The mayor of Springfield is calling on the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to end a practice by the past administration of placing homeless families in congregate housing.

An angry Mayor Domenic Sarno said de-facto group homes for homeless families have been created in apartment buildings concentrated in a handful of city neighborhoods since last fall with city inspectors finding in some cases 3-4 families living in a single apartment.

" This is absolute BS," said Sarno at a city hall news conference.

Office of Gov. Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Wednesday that he intends to nominate Waterford State Representative Betsy Ritter to be the state's next commissioner of the State Department on Aging.

Luke Bronin

Luke Bronin, former legal counsel to Governor Dannel Malloy, is officially entering the race for mayor of the city of Hartford

Bronin said he's planning to file his paperwork with the city on Wednesday.

In a letter to residents posted on his website, Bronin said the city has its strengths: cultural diversity and creativity, the support of the governor, and new state-supported development projects. 

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.

This week, in the lead up to his State of the Union address, President Obama is talking about cybersecurity — how to ensure our safety in the digital world.

The Springfield, Massachusetts city council is considering an ordinance that would put restrictions on public officials obtaining jobs at the new MGM casino being built in the city.

Under a proposed municipal ethics ordinance, the city’s elected officials—the mayor and 11 city councilors – would be barred for at least five years from obtaining a job at the MGM casino after leaving the city’s employment.  Non-elected officials who are considered “major policymakers” would face a two-year ban.

The staff of Charlie Hebdo said the past few days have been hard, but they are "happy" to have put out a magazine under the most intense of situations.

After the shooting, Renald Luzier, the cartoonist known as Luz, said they knew they had to start working.

"We didn't know how we were going to start," he said. "I didn't know if it was going to be possible for me to draw, quite honestly."

Marquette University Law School

Yale Law School professor Tracey Meares is a member of President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which meets for the first time publicly on Tuesday.

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

A member of the Kennedy family will now be heading up the state's environment committee. In the upcoming legislative session, Ted Kennedy, Jr., a newly-elected Senator from Branford, said he'll be tackling everything from pesticide use to pollution in Long Island Sound.

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET. White House Backs Down:

"We should have sent someone with a higher profile," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a briefing Monday.

The admission came a day after criticism surfaced over the fact that the United States was not represented by a high-ranking official at a unity rally in Paris. The British, German, Israeli and Palestinian leaders all had been present.

Earnest said, however, that President Obama would have liked to have been present, but the security situation would have been impossible.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy got a hint of the tough questions he may face over paying for his transportation priorities at Monday’s bond commission meeting. But the governor said he’s not yet ready to set limits on borrowing for this year.

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The Springfield, Massachusetts city council will discuss a proposal on Monday night that would restrict the city’s mayor or councilors from working for MGM for at least five years after leaving city employment. Non-elected officials considered “major policymakers” would face a two-year ban.

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