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Connecticut legislature

Tim Rasmussen / Connecticut Public

Twice this week, unionized workers have shut down streets around the capitol in protest of Gov. Ned Lamont’s state budget plans.

Most recently, long-term care workers and members of New England Health Care Employees Union District 1199, SEIU staged a picket Thursday afternoon outside the state Office of Policy and Management in Hartford. 

Courtesy: House Dems

Connecticut lawmakers are considering two cannabis legalization bills. Gov. Ned Lamont is backing a Senate bill, which was voted out of the Judiciary Committee this week. The other is a House bill. Rep. Robyn Porter has championed that measure, which was voted through to the House for debate in late March.

A gated mansion in Westport, where 3.4% of housing is considered affordable.
Monica Jorge / CT Mirror

The last day of March was a big day in the legislature for the future of affordable housing and desegregated neighborhoods in Connecticut. The General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee moved forward to the House and Senate a few measures aimed at achieving more equitable housing access statewide. An organization that championed some of the measures is Desegregate CT.

Kelan Lyons / CT Mirror

The state Department of Correction has decreased the prison population by about 3,500 during the pandemic, making it the lowest it’s been in over 30 years. But criminal justice advocates are calling for better care for those still behind bars -- specifically a reform to solitary confinement, or what the system calls “administrative segregation.”

Slots at Mohegan Sun, where every other machine is closed to promote social distancing during the pandemic.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Connecticut inched closer to legalizing sports betting and online gambling Wednesday with votes by a legislative committee to send gaming-expansion bills to the floors of the Senate and House of Representatives.

If the ‘Clean Slate’ bill is passed, Carrie Perez’s drug use records will be automatically expunged. “Freedom,” she said. “I’m free from addiction right now… I don’t wake up in the morning and think about drugs today."
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

Carrie Perez didn’t realize she was homeless until someone asked her where she got her mail sent.

She’d run away from her Bridgeport home when she was a teenager. By the time she was 23, she was living on the streets, struggling with heroin use and in and out of jail for drug-related crimes. She said she has racked up 33 criminal convictions, all of which were related to her drug use.

Quinn Dombrowski / Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers will consider a bill that would extend parental status to nonbiological, unmarried and same sex couples for the children under their care.

Proponents told the state judiciary committee that the Connecticut Parentage Act would fill the gaps in the existing state law and ensure equal protection for these nontraditional parents to have custody, parenting time and legal and medical decision making. It also ensures that children are connected to their parents' health care.

Advocates argue that the current law is outdated and unconstitutional.

Cloe Poisson / CT Mirror

After years of private negotiations with the two tribal nations who operate casinos in Connecticut, the state has reached an agreement with at least one of them on legalized sports betting.

Sen. Marilyn Moore.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

With a unanimous vote Monday by the state Senate, Connecticut became the latest state to adopt legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of hairstyles historically associated with race.

Joseph Lemieux, CT Senate Republicans Office

It was a long night for members of the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee, who conducted a public hearing on vaccine bills that was scheduled to go as long as 24-hours. Republican State Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly joins us to talk about the proposals, which would prevent residents from claiming religious objections to school vaccine requirements.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

An overwhelming number of people signed up to testify Tuesday during what was expected to be a contentious public hearing on school vaccination requirements -- so many that lawmakers, by a majority vote, decided to cap the duration of the virtual hearing at 24 hours.

The limit was criticized by several Republican members of the state Public Health Committee, as well as those who testified throughout the day. 

Connecticut Budget Debate Heats Up Quickly Over Equity

Feb 14, 2021
Yehyun Kim / CT Mirror

Urban Democratic lawmakers attacked Gov. Ned Lamont’s new budget proposal Thursday, charging the two-year package does little to nothing to reverse long-standing gaps in education, health care and economic opportunity.

Lamont Leans Heavily On Federal Aid To Keep Taxes Flat In Connecticut

Feb 10, 2021
File photo of Gov. Ned Lamont and his budget adviser, Melissa McCaw. Both met with the Senate Republicans.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Gov. Ned Lamont proposed a two-year, $46 billion budget Wednesday that relies on federal funding and state reserves to close a major deficit without significant tax hikes while bolstering aid for municipalities and school districts.

But the package also leaves Connecticut with several budget challenges to be resolved in the not-so-distant future.

Gov. Ned Lamont
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont will propose a lean, $46 billion, two-year budget Wednesday that relies heavily on federal aid and state reserves to close a major deficit without tax hikes and bolsters funds for cities and towns.

Official Ballot Boxes outside West Hartford Town Hall.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

More than a third of Connecticut votes cast in the November 2020 election were by absentee ballot.  Will ballot drop boxes and mail-in options become permanent? Today, we talk with Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill about the future of voting in Connecticut.

And later: President Biden has been in office for less than a month. But he’s already setting records with his use of executive orders. We hear from a law professor about what this use of executive power means for the country.

State Auditor Rob Kane Found Dead At Home

Feb 6, 2021
CTMirror.org

Rob Kane, the Republican auditor of public accounts, was found dead Friday at his home in Watertown after police made a wellness check at the request of his family.

Friends and relatives grew concerned after Kane, a divorced father of two, uncharacteristically failed to respond to texts or calls. Family members met police at his home, and the police entered and found his body.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Several public health proposals are making a comeback to the legislative arena this year, including a couple that have sparked significant controversy in past sessions.

The COVID-19 pandemic cut short the 2020 legislative session. Lawmakers managed only a few weeks of committee meetings and a handful of public hearings before the Capitol was shut down in late March.

More than half of all people in Connecticut who died from COVID-19 in the first wave of the disease lived in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Advocates for the elderly want to know whether someone should be held accountable for those deaths -- so they’re asking Gov. Ned Lamont to stop shielding the homes from legal action.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The General Assembly session is getting interesting, as lawmakers trot out their proposals. But this year does not resemble a normal session.  COVID-19 rules keep lawmakers at arms length from each other, and from lobbyists and the public. 

Today we talk to House Speaker Matt Ritter about how much lawmakers will be able to get done.  Are they doing the right thing by extending the governor’s emergency powers?  And is now the time to start phasing out a religious exemption to school vaccination requirements?

Sodanie Chea / Creative Commons

State lawmakers want to ban all flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products for good this legislative session to cut off their popularity with kids and teens.

Anti-smoking and public health advocates hope the bill will ultimately reduce vaping and tobacco addiction among youth, as well as address some racial health disparities. 

Police Prepare For Possibility Of Protests At State Capitol This Weekend

Jan 12, 2021
Courtesy: Brian Foley

With news that supporters of President Donald Trump are planning armed marches in state capitals across the country this weekend, Connecticut leaders are preparing for potential unrest here, wary of the riot in Washington, D.C., last week.

JOE RAEDLE / Getty Images

The pandemic-induced recession has left Connecticut legislators with one of their tightest credit card limits in recent history — less than one-seventh their 2020 level.

But it remains to be seen whether they’ll accept that or challenge both Gov. Ned Lamont and Wall Street to borrow more to assist colleges, businesses, municipalities and social services.

A Chatty State-Of-The-State, Prerecorded In A Pandemic

Jan 6, 2021
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Gov. Ned Lamont opened his third year in office Wednesday with a recorded State of the State Address broadcast to a largely empty state Capitol and a state still partly closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

CT Legislature Opens With Less Pomp, More Circumstance

Jan 6, 2021
Matt Ritter being sworn in as a House Speaker outside the State Capitol.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

The Connecticut General Assembly opened its 2021 session in extraordinary fashion Wednesday, taking the oath of office in two socially distanced ceremonies on the grounds of the state Capitol, applauded by friends and heckled by protesters.

Last year, protestors at the State Capitol chanted “Open now!” They plan to be back on Wednesday for the opening of the new session.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

The Connecticut General Assembly will begin its 2021 session Wednesday outside a state Capitol still closed to the public due to COVID-19. The forecast calls for a high of 40 degrees, winds of up to 15 miles per hour and perhaps 2,000 protesters.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A statewide coalition of lawmakers, activists and health experts Thursday announced that health care reform will be a top priority heading into the next legislative session.

Coalition leaders at a news conference at the Capitol building said the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent election have become driving factors in reintroducing a plan for a public option health insurance program for Connecticut residents, small businesses and nonprofits. 

Democrats Pick Ritter As Speaker, Gear For COVID Session

Nov 5, 2020
Mark Pazniokas / CT Mirror

The 16 Democrats who won their first terms as state representatives two days ago joined 82 incumbents in their first official post-election act Thursday: Endorsing Matt Ritter of Hartford as the next House speaker and Jason Rojas of East Hartford as their majority leader.

Helped By Trump, Democrats Gain In CT General Assembly

Nov 4, 2020
Tim Rasmussen / Connecticut Public

The unpopularity of President Donald J. Trump in Connecticut helped Democrats increase their sizable majorities in the General Assembly on Tuesday as close to 80% of the state’s 2.3 million voters cast ballots at the polls or by absentee.

Themis Klarides Forms New Republican PAC Geared To Party Building

Oct 18, 2020
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CT Mirror

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, has underscored her intention to remain politically active after leaving the General Assembly in January by forming a political action committee she says will fight one-party rule by Democrats in Connecticut.

New York Public Library

Do you know how to make an Election Cake? What about the history of the Connecticut Witch Hunters

This hour, state historian Walt Woodward joins us to talk about his new book Creating Connecticut: Critical Moments That Shaped a Great State and answer all your questions about the Nutmeg state, starting with why do we call Connecticut the Nutmeg State? 

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