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Connecticut legislature

solitary confinement cell replica
Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

A replica of a solitary confinement cell was displayed in the lobby of the Connecticut state Capitol Tuesday as part of an effort to reform the state’s prison system.

Legislators and visitors are encouraged to go inside the 10-by-12-foot cell, which aims to give people an idea of what solitary confinement might be like. It’s the second time in two years the cell has been at the Capitol as part of a campaign to change the practice. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

It was just a year ago that Eli Terris of Hamden was diagnosed at 30 years old with Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong chronic disease that requires a medication called insulin.

And the hardest part for him? Having to navigate health insurance and the costs for his disease treatment. 

Connecticut is the only state in New England that doesn't permit felons on parole to vote. New legislation would change that.

As Lamont Touts Clean Slate Proposal, Advocates Push Broader Reforms

Feb 20, 2020
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

In a speech Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont expressed support for a proposed bill to expunge certain criminal records – a backing that advocates applauded, even as they said the proposal should be even broader.

“You served your time – you deserve that second chance. Whatever happened some years ago is not a lifetime sentence,” Lamont said at the Voices of Justice symposium in Hartford. “We need you. We need each and every one of those folks who are formerly incarcerated back in the game, able to work with respect and dignity.”

Lamont Says Truck Tolls Off The Table, Senate Dems Hedge

Feb 19, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday he'd "take a pause" on pushing for tolls in the 2020 legislative session, blaming other Democratic lawmakers in Connecticut for failing to come to an agreement on a trucks-only toll vote.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont effectively gave up Wednesday on Senate Democrats ever calling a promised vote on truck tolls, scolding fellow Democrats and telling reporters his administration was ready to explore alternative funding sources for transportation. But Senate Democratic leaders protested they would have been ready to vote next week, a claim Lamont did not find credible.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Hundreds of people packed into the Legislative Office Building in Hartford Wednesday ahead of a public hearing on a bill that would change the state’s childhood vaccinations laws.

Connecticut children can attend public school by either complying with required vaccinations or by obtaining an exemption from vaccination based on religious or medical reasons. A proposed bill would eliminate the religious exemption. 

The Tolls Saga Continues As Democrats Postpone Vote

Feb 18, 2020
Cars pass under toll sensor gantries hanging over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton, Mass.
Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Faced with the threat of a 30-hour debate by the Republican minority and a less-than-certain game plan by the Democratic majority, lawmakers have put off tentative plans for a Thursday vote on tolls legislation until at least next week, the top Senate leader said Tuesday night.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Samantha Merwin hoped to put money away in a college fund for her 13-year-old son, Logan.

But instead, any savings have gone into a health account that’s intended for Logan to use in his young adult years as he manages Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong chronic disease. 

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

The Connecticut General Assembly will consider a proposal this legislative session that would impose an excise tax on ammunition. Revenue from the tax would support gun violence prevention efforts in affected communities.

Connecticut house chamber
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

Labor advocates want to make sure hourly service workers in Connecticut have hours and wages they can depend on.

Governor Ned Lamont at the 2020 State of the State address
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont delivered his second State of the State address to the General Assembly on Wednesday, the opening day of this year’s short legislative session.

The reintroduction of the governor’s signature tolling initiative -- now entering its second year at the top of the administration’s wish list -- got only a passing mention in the speech, with Lamont urging legislators to a quick decision on his new transportation funding bill.

Democrats Promise Passage Of Truck Tolls In Two Weeks

Feb 2, 2020
Elizabeth Hamilton / CT Mirror

Senate and House Democratic leaders said Friday afternoon the General Assembly will vote on a tractor-trailer  tolls bill the week of Feb. 10, though they have not resolved a small detail that loomed large Thursday night when they cancelled a special session slated for next week: Which chamber will vote first?

“That remains to be determined,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney of New Haven.

Sweeping Gambling Bill Is Meant To Push Lamont

Jan 30, 2020
Courtesy: Mohegan Sun

Top leaders of the Senate Democratic majority pressured Gov. Ned Lamont on gambling expansion Wednesday by endorsing legislation that would give the state’s two federally recognized tribes exclusive rights to take bets on sports, open a casino in Bridgeport and offer a broad array of virtual casino games on smart phones and computers.

An Effort In Connecticut To End The Economic Border Wars

Jan 29, 2020
Courtesy: Cigna

Can the states agree to mutually disarm when it comes to the billions of dollars in economic incentives that are spent annually coaxing companies to move, expand or sometimes merely stay put?

State lawmakers said Tuesday it is worth trying to find out. They are filing legislation directing Connecticut to join a nascent effort to develop an interstate compact banning company-specific incentives that are essential to corporate border wars.

Cars pass under toll sensor gantries hanging over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton, Mass.
Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Gov. Ned Lamont and the General Assembly took two significant steps late Monday toward ordering electronic tolls on large trucks that travel Connecticut’s highways.

Lamont announced a compromise deal on a new state bond package — a prerequisite for any tolls vote — that curtails borrowing for non-transportation projects, but not as sharply as the governor envisioned in the “debt diet” he unveiled last February.

Gillian Flaccus / AP

At 6:30 a.m. in January on a residential street in West Hartford, it was 18 degrees outside and quiet. Most houses disappeared into the pitch-black darkness, making the lights coming from inside Anna Shusterman’s home especially bright.

“Hey, Max!” Shusterman yelled up the stairs from the kitchen.

No Hearing On Truck Tolls Or CT2030 Before Next Week

Jan 21, 2020
Chion Wolf / WNPR

House and Senate Democratic leaders said they hope to finalize a tractor trailer tolls bill at a meeting Tuesday afternoon with the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont, then schedule a public hearing for next week on Lamont’s 10-year, $19 billion infrastructure plan.

The leaders originally said they planned to make the legislation public Tuesday, but they expect some revisions after the meeting, meaning the bill’s public release is unlikely before Wednesday.

CT's Unpaid Legislator Wants To Champion Push For Lawmaker Pay Reform

Jan 17, 2020
CT Mirror

He doesn’t need the money, and the issue can be toxic. But a Democratic freshman senator from Essex plans to work this election year on building support for the first state legislative pay raise in 20 years.

And it’s a raise he wouldn’t benefit from personally because he doesn’t accept a salary from the state.

As The Workforce Ages, Lawmakers Revisit Age Discrimination

Jan 16, 2020
Mark Pazniokas / CT Mirror

With one in four workers now aged 55 and older, Connecticut lawmakers of both parties are rallying around a relatively modest bill aimed at age-discrimination: a prohibition on employers requiring prospective employees to list their age, birth date, or graduation year on an application.

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are seen at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., Wednesday, March 27, 2019.
Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Lawmakers are wasting no time seeking public input on a proposal to erase Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory vaccinations.

They have scheduled a public hearing on the plan for Feb. 19 – just two weeks into the legislative session. A draft of the bill is expected to be released next week.

Does The Governor Have The Votes To Pass Tolls? To Be Determined...

Jan 13, 2020
Cars pass under toll sensor gantries hanging over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton, Mass.
Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R- North Haven, called an impromptu press conference Monday to demand Democratic leaders in the Senate and the governor’s office show their hand about whether they have the votes to pass a transportation bill that includes tolls on trucks.

“They need to stop pretending they can pull a deal off because they can’t,” Fasano said. “It’s been talked about forever and we are no step closer to resolving this issue to the detriment of businesses and the state of Connecticut. … They had their shot. They tried the best they could. They can’t get there.”

Russ / Creative Commons

Mental health professionals on college campuses say more students year over year are seeking services for new and ongoing mental health and substance use issues. They say it’s not a bad thing that students are being proactive about their mental health -- but resources are strained. 

Senate Democrats Near 'Contingent Consensus' On Truck Tolls

Jan 7, 2020
Washington State Dept. of Transportation/flickr creative commons

The Democratic majorities of the state House and Senate cautiously edged toward consensus Tuesday on a 10-year, $19 billion transportation infrastructure plan that would charge tolls for tractor trailers on a dozen Connecticut highway bridges.

via WikiMedia Commons

More than two dozen new state laws go into effect on Jan. 1, ranging from expanded health insurance coverage and paid leave to changes in court, property and DMV rules.

Access Health CT

Judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this week found that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate -- the requirement that residents buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is unconstitutional.

But they held off from saying that the entire law is invalid, sending the case back to a lower court in Texas for more analysis into which parts of the federal law can continue without the individual mandate. 

Connecticut Legislature Approves Hospital Settlement And Restaurant Law

Dec 18, 2019
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The General Assembly unanimously voted in special session Wednesday to accept the settlement of a high-stakes lawsuit in which the hospital industry claimed billions in damages from a complex taxing scheme that increased federal Medicaid reimbursements for the state without producing new revenue for the hospitals.

Conn. General Assembly Special Session On Hospital Settlement Is Dec. 18

Dec 11, 2019
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The General Assembly is convening a one-day special session next week to vote on the acceptance of a $1.8 billion settlement of a tax fight with the hospital industry and a revised version of a restaurant tip-credit bill vetoed in July, legislative leaders said Tuesday.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said in separate interviews that the House and Senate are ready to take up those two non-partisan issues on Dec. 18.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A lawsuit over trucks-only tolls in Rhode Island will continue after a federal court reversed a lower court decision to dismiss the case.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The trucking industry is pushing back against a Democratic proposal to toll only trucks in Connecticut. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Democratic State Representative Linda Orange died of cancer Wednesday. She was 69.