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The Thighmaster, the Chop-O-Matic, the George Foreman Grill and the Clapper: Products which are all part of American consumer culture and which were all introduced through infomercials. But as online shopping increases and traditional television watching decreases, are we beginning to see the end of these high-energy, late-night shows?

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They've gone years without a raise. Now, members of Connecticut's private group home workforce are calling for a boost in support from the state.

With a possible strike looming this April, we speak to Josh Kovner from the Hartford Courant for an update. 

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Teachers from across Connecticut convened at the state Capitol on Friday, asking lawmakers to not increase their pension obligations. Teachers call it the "teacher tax,” and they said it’s asking them to fix a system broken by years of under-funding by the state.

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Connecticut has spent over $50 million helping schools beef up security since 2013. Some of that money -- $3.2 million -- has gone to private schools, which are reimbursed at a higher rate than many public schools.

Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker
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Two months after the state Department of Transportation halted more than 400 road projects in Connecticut because of budget issues, there’s still no resolution in sight.

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Tuesday marked the 20th anniversary of the shooting rampage at the state lottery headquarters in Newington. The horrific event prompted the passage of the state’s so-called “risk warrant” law allowing police to temporarily seize weapons from those deemed a threat to themselves or others.

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In the past decade, the amount of money that students owe for education has more than doubled to almost $1.4 trillion, and tuition for college has increased nearly 400 percent in the last 30 years. 

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Much of state lawmakers’ budget-crafting in recent years has focused on cutting spending. Any proposals to raise revenue through new or expanded taxes are almost instantly decried as anti-business in a state increasingly hurting for business. 

Connecticut State Capitol
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Legislators convened in Hartford Tuesday to decry a budget sweep, which took tens of millions of dollars out of energy efficiency programs and swept it into the state's general fund.

Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET

President Trump signed a bipartisan budget agreement Friday morning, following approval of the bill in Congress shortly before sunrise.

The two-year spending pact will let lawmakers spend $300 billion more than current law allows.

The deal suspends a 2011 budget law championed by conservatives that set hard caps on discretionary spending and included an automatic trigger known as "sequester" cuts if Congress attempted to bust those spending caps.

Office of Governor Dan Malloy / Flickr

Governor Dannel Malloy set the tone of his final State of the State address Wednesday when he said early in his speech that rather than talk about the budget, he would discuss “something that is a simple concept, but also a bold aspiration.”

Andy Fleischmann - State Representative for West Hartford and Co-Chair of the CT General Assembly Education Committee.
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state Supreme Court ruled last month that the way Connecticut funds public schools doesn’t violate the state’s constitution.

Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET

Senate leaders reached a bipartisan budget agreement to increase military and domestic spending levels for two years, paving the way for the first long-term spending pact since President Trump took office.

The White House and House Speaker Paul Ryan quickly declared support for the pact, helping pave the way for its passage by the end of the week, despite opposition from fiscal hawks and liberal Democrats.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy avoided the state’s fiscal problems and instead focused on big policy goals as he gave his last State of the State address at the start of the General Assembly’s legislative session. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

At noon on Wednesday, Governor Dannel Malloy is delivering his final budget address to the Connecticut General Assembly. He’s already leaked a large part of what he would like to do: cut state aid to certain rich towns, lend a hand to Connecticut taxpayers hurt by the federal tax changes, and make it more expensive to drive on state highways, so we can afford to fix them. 

Updated at 6:57 p.m. ET

The House passed a bill Tuesday evening to avert a government shutdown on Thursday, as Senate leaders still hope to clear the way for years of budget harmony this week with a long-term spending agreement.

But as Congress worked on keeping things running, President Trump made a fresh call to shut down the government over immigration.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has unveiled his proposals to close Connecticut’s latest budget gap, and improve the state’s fiscal outlook in coming years. But it appears his ideas may face opposition in the legislature as the new session gets underway.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

The federal government is back open for business on Tuesday, but the immigration fight that brought it to a three-day shutdown is far from over.

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Supporters of a landmark court case on educational equality in Connecticut say they’ll now take their fight to the legislature, after a Supreme Court ruling went against them. 

Updated at 11:16 p.m. ET

A partial government shutdown now looks inevitable after the Senate lacks the votes on a stopgap spending bill late Friday night.

The vote was 50-48 in favor of the measure with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., yet to vote.

Updated at 8:46 p.m. ET

The House passed a stopgap funding bill Thursday evening, though the measure now faces uncertainty in the Senate as Republican congressional leaders work to avert a government shutdown by late Friday night.

Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to proceed on the four-week continuing resolution, which would extend funding only until Feb. 16. That is looking more and more difficult after most Democrats and at least three Republican senators have said they won't vote for the bill.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is prepared to vote against a short-term funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown at the end of the week.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The Malloy administration is halting work on hundreds of transportation infrastructure projects, because the state’s Special Transportation Fund has run out of money. 

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Connecticut’s tax revenues got a significant bump in the last month, with an additional $900 million in receipts beyond what was forecast. But Governor Dannel Malloy is cautioning that lawmakers should not believe the state’s deficit issues are over. 

Connecticut lawmakers have rescheduled Friday’s special session for Monday because of the snow. The lawmakers want to use the session to restore funding to a program that helps elderly and disabled state residents cover Medicare expenses. 

The week after Christmas is usually a short and slow one for town officials in New Paltz, N.Y. — but not this time.

"When we opened town hall Wednesday we had almost 100 voicemails from people inquiring about how they could prepay their taxes," says Daniel Torres, the town's deputy supervisor.

And the phones kept ringing. People started lining up. Torres says the clerk's office has a only few people working in it.

"The clerk's office was so overrun. After a certain while we couldn't even pick up the phones anymore," he says.

A glitch in the Republican tax overhaul has created an uncertain future for Newman’s Own Foundation and the food company it operates.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When it comes to negotiating a way to fix the projected state budget deficit of $208 million, Governor Dannel Malloy had to go first. That statutory obligation was activated because the shortfall reached more than one percent of the general fund.

Updated at 7:14 p.m. ET

After a monumental legislative victory on taxes this week, Republicans in Congress have been scrambling to avoid a chaotic government shutdown that could overshadow their signature tax bill before it even gets signed into law.

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