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Connecticut legislature

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Democratic lawmakers are pushing a new public option health care proposal, angering Republican colleagues so close to the end of the legislative session.

Supporters are calling the new plan Connecticut Option — it’ll be a program overseen by the state and offered through insurance companies or a network created by the state.

Ignoring Clash With Lamont, Senate Passes Family Leave

May 22, 2019
Amar Batra / Connecticut Public Radio

Setting aside the 11th-hour threat of a gubernatorial veto, the state Senate voted 21-15 Wednesday night to pass a Democratic bill that would create a paid family and medical leave insurance policy, a step toward a long-sought goal of labor progressives.

Gov. Ned Lamont delivered his first budget address to the legislature on February 20, 2019.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Governor Ned Lamont on Tuesday grudgingly accepted the increasingly irrefutable reality that highway toll legislation won't pass before the regular session wraps up on June 5.

Instead, he said he's devoting his next two weeks to what may be an even bigger challenge: working out a compromise with progressive Democrats over the state budget.

Lamont Leaves Tolls For Special Session

May 21, 2019
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont conceded Tuesday that the 2019 session of the General Assembly will end June 5 without a vote on highway tolls, recasting his focus for the final weeks to delivering a budget that will provide a reliable fiscal blueprint for Connecticut for the next two years.

Connecticut Senate Sends $15 Minimum Wage Bill To Lamont

May 17, 2019
Keith Phaneuf / CTMirror

Connecticut’s minimum-wage workers will see their hourly wages rise from $10.10 to $15 over the next four-and-a-half years under legislation passed early Friday by the Senate and sent to Gov. Ned Lamont for his promised signature. 

Conn. House Passes Bill To Ban Sale Of E-cigarettes To Youth Under 21

May 16, 2019
scyther5/iStock / Thinkstock

After more than three hours of debate, the House approved a bill Thursday that would raise the age from 18 to 21 for anyone purchasing cigarettes, tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Legislators said Thursday that they are holding off on changes to the state’s childhood vaccination laws, including the religious exemption.

Conn. Senate Passes Bill Restricting Cooperation With ICE

May 15, 2019
Sen. Gary Winfield, left, defends the immigration bill. At right is an opponent, Sen. John Kissel.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Connecticut jumped back into the contentious national debate over immigration enforcement as Senate Democrats voted early Wednesday to pass a bill that would further restrict how police and court personnel can work with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

State Attorney General William Tong says his office has diagnosed an aggressive cancer eating away at America's healthcare system.

According to Tong, it's triggered by scheming executives at many of the largest pharmaceutical companies illegally working together to artificially inflate the cost of generic drugs. Forty-three other states are joining the effort spearheaded by Connecticut's AG to litigate drugmakers into a court-ordered treatment plan.

Lamont Willing To Compromise On Transportation — If Tolls Are Involved

May 12, 2019
Amar Batra / Connecticut Public Radio

With less than four weeks left in the legislative session, Gov. Ned Lamont made a bipartisan appeal for compromise on tolls. The Democratic governor pledged to dedicate more resources to transportation construction between now and 2024 — the first year toll receipts might be available. 

Marathon Debate, Then House Vote For $15 Minimum Wage

May 9, 2019
Mark Pazniokas / CT Mirror

Democrats and Republicans sharply split in an overnight debate over whether raising Connecticut’s $10.10 minimum wage to $15 over four-and-a-half years would be an overdue lift to low-wage workers or an ill-considered blow to small businesses in a state that has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession of 2008. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Unionized nursing home workers have reissued a notice of their intention to strike for an increase in wages, giving legislators a new deadline Thursday.

Members of the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU, voted to go on strike June 3 if they don’t see more funding in the next state budget go toward wage increases for industry employees.

House Gives Final Approval To Pilot Hemp Program

May 9, 2019
Hemp growing in a UConn greenhouse.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The House of Representatives gave unanimous approval late Wednesday to a bill authorizing a pilot program for the production and sale of hemp.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Sports betting and other gaming-related bills are not likely to come out of this legislative session, according to Governor Ned Lamont.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns at the stroke of midnight four weeks from tonight.

So far, none of the biggest policy goals identified early on by majority Democrats have made their way to the governor's desk for his consideration.

Not electronic highway tolls. Not legalizing recreational marijuana. Not sports betting. Not paid family and medical leave.

Parents Watch Connecticut House Pass 'Ethan's Law'

May 7, 2019
Kristin Song is briefly overcome during the roll call vote. Her husband Michael looks up, saying he felt his son's presence and absence during the debate.
Mark Pazniokas / Connecticut Mirror

The Connecticut House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to approve a bipartisan gun safety bill sought by the parents of Ethan Song, a 15-year-old boy Guilford killed while handling a .357 Magnum pistol at a neighbor’s house. 

Police Shootings Echo At General Assembly

May 3, 2019
Michelle Lee / Creative Commons

Many police experts advise don’t do it. Some departments prohibit it. But twice in recent weeks, a police officer in Connecticut has fired into a motor vehicle, killing a driver in Wethersfield, wounding a passenger in New Haven — and fueling a push in Hartford for legislation addressing the use of force.

THOMAS HAWK / CREATIVE COMMONS

Connecticut legislators are hoping to pass a bill that would make phone calls from prisons in the state free. Currently the high cost of communication between prisoners and their families has negative consequences.

Democratic Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont and his fellow Democrats in the legislature appear to be headed for a showdown over taxing the rich to help solve Connecticut’s pension debt crisis.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Dr. Suzanne Lagarde and her team at Fair Haven Community Health Care in New Haven see a steady stream of patients most days. People come in for routine wellness checks, or when they’re sick or injured.

And sometimes, a primary care physician could use the help of an e-consult.

For Now, Legislators Defer To Lamont On Capital Gains

Apr 30, 2019
Chion Wolf / WNPR

On spending and taxes, Democratic legislators took their lead Tuesday from the more moderate fiscal positions of Gov. Ned Lamont, less a surrender to the governor than a postponement of a debate still to come. 

Fonfara Rebels At Lamont's 'Debt Diet'

Apr 26, 2019
Chion Wolf (File photo) / Connecticut Public Radio

An influential Democratic state senator has sharply and creatively signaled his disagreement with Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan to place Connecticut on a debt diet by authoring a bill that would wrest control of the state’s access to credit markets from the executive branch and give it to lawmakers.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

The union representing workers at 20 Connecticut nursing homes has withdrawn a strike notice, saying it’s seen meaningful commitment to find new funding for employees. 

Luke Franzen/iStock / Thinkstock

Criminal justice reform advocates are urging people who have prior convictions to lobby lawmakers over the Clean Slate bill. The measure -- currently awaiting action in the state senate -- would erase the record of people with misdemeanors after a set period of time. It would also allow a path towards expungement for certain felonies. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

The state is making contingency plans in the event that 2,500 nursing home workers in Connecticut go out on strike next month.

Careene Reid, a certified nursing assistant, speaks at a press conference April 15 at the legislative office building in Hartford about demands for increased wages and better staffing in Connecticut nursing homes.
Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Nursing home workers in Connecticut are planning to strike if they don’t see increased funding for more staff and better benefits in the next two weeks.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

More than one hundred cancer survivors, legislators and advocates met at the State Capitol building Wednesday to rally support for raising Connecticut’s tobacco purchase age.

Lamont Unveils Tolls Plan; Republicans Push Back

Apr 10, 2019
Washington State Dept. of Transportation/flickr creative commons

After months of uncertainty the debate over tolls finally has some numbers to work with. Wednesday, the Lamont administration unveiled the plan they'd put in place -- if they can get the legislature to agree.

Henry Hagnäs / Creative Commons

Criminal justice reform advocates thought the state was on a better path after former Gov. Dan Malloy signed a 2017 law that banned solitary confinement for juvenile prisoners.

But a January report by the state Office of the Child Advocate found that young inmates in adult facilities were still being put in isolation. 

Matt Benoit / iStock/Thinkstock

The state's desperation for new revenue is certainly fueling this year's push to legalize marijuana.

But for many Democrats in the legislature, a larger goal is addressing racial injustices created by a crackdown on illegal drugs that has inordinately targeted non-whites.

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