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Politics

The Bernie Sanders who's running for president in 2020 is not the same Bernie Sanders who ran in 2016.

Yes, he has many of the same policy positions, and many of his 2016 supporters are enthusiastically backing him again. But the Vermont independent senator is no longer the insurgent taking on a political Goliath with huge name recognition. Now, he is the candidate with high name recognition, taking on candidates who are introducing themselves to the American people again.

Rep. Ezequiel Santiago Of Bridgeport Dies Of Heart Attack

Mar 15, 2019
Rep. Ezequiel Santiago
Connecticut House Democrats / Facebook

Rep. Ezequiel Santiago, D-Bridgeport, who began the 2019 session as the new co-chair of the Banks Committee after a decade in the General Assembly, died Friday morning after being stricken by an apparent heart attack, legislators said.

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris says she was bent toward a career fighting for civil rights almost since birth.

The Democrat is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who met at the University of California, Berkeley, and were active in the movement during the 1960s.

"I was born realizing the flaws in the criminal justice system," she told NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez leaving Hartford Superior Court on November 14, 2018, following arguments over his pension.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A state judge has revoked the public pension of former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, a year and a half after Perez pleaded guilty to two corruption-related offenses stemming from his time in office.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's unemployment rate is at a 17-year low. The state has stockpiled $1.2 billion in its budget reserve fund. But it's still not in a position to go on anything resembling a spending spree.

Not with state Comptroller Kevin Lembo warning lawmakers against counting on a repeat of last year's spike in tax collections. Job gains in 2018 also were not nearly as robust as initially reported. And no one can rule out the possibility of an economic downturn lurking around the corner.

Sunday morning news shows were abuzz about the Democratic National Committee's decision to deselect Fox News as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates. 

But you may have missed it if you didn't reset your clocks to Daylight Saving Time, or like a lot of us, spent your weekend fixated on that hour of lost sleep.

On this week's Scramble, we take on the weary rants over both topics.

WBZ-TV

Hundreds are expected to turn out to the state Capitol Wednesday for a public hearing on Gov. Ned Lamont's bill to install electronic tolls on Connecticut highways.

But even those who favor tolls may not support another bill to create a transportation authority. Some think it would make state legislators less accountable when it comes to setting toll rates and deciding where toll gantries will be located.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

It's been nearly two months since Ned Lamont was sworn in as Connecticut's 89th governor. 

Elements of his budget proposal, released last month, are being opposed by many segments of the state's population.

Here's something Democrats thought they knew during the last presidential campaign: Wisconsin was safe. It was a lock for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But when the votes were counted, it was a stunning upset for Republican Donald Trump.

In 2020, Democrats apparently aren't taking the state for granted.

Even though the first nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire are some 11 months away, and with Wisconsin's primary not until April 7 of next year, the campaign stops have already begun.

The House of Representatives side of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The House voted on major gun legislation for the first time in decades.
Lisa Dunn / Guns & America

Almost 25 years to the day after the Brady Bill first mandated background checks for some gun sales, House Democrats and a handful of Republicans just voted to require background checks on all gun sales.

The Democratic-led House Thursday approved another piece of legislation to broaden federal gun-control legislation. The bill gives the FBI more time to do background checks on gun purchasers. It comes a day after the chamber passed a bill extending the checks to private firearms sales.

Both measures face long odds at becoming law.

The latest bill would extend the time sellers have to wait before completing a gun sale. Like Wednesday's measure, it passed largely along party lines — 228 to 198.

The testimony on Wednesday from Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer who is headed to federal prison in early May, was a potentially seminal moment in the myriad investigations into the Trump administration House Democrats are expected to launch now that they control the chamber.

Updated at 2:52 p.m. ET

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left their summit meeting on Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam, without agreeing on a denuclearization deal. A planned signing ceremony was canceled.

The biggest sticking point was sanctions against North Korea, Trump said at a news conference Thursday afternoon local time. Kim is "totally" willing to dismantle nuclear weapons in key areas, such as the Yongbyon nuclear facility, but the North Korean leader wants all sanctions removed first, Trump said. "We couldn't do that."

NPR screenshot

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, is testifying on Capitol Hill. Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison, to begin in May. He pleaded guilty last year to charges of campaign finance violations and other charges related to his work for Trump.

Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Governor Ned Lamont has said he is open to negotiating almost everything in his budget proposal. Well, it seems like lots of people are going to take him up on his offer.

State legislators on opposite sides of the political spectrum are panning Lamont's plan to raise roughly $500 million a year by expanding the goods and services subject to the state's sales tax.

Updated at 11:49 p.m. ET

Donald Trump apparently blessed the meeting his son held with a Russian delegation to get dirt on opponents in 2016 and welcomed advance word of efforts by WikiLeaks to disrupt the election, his former lawyer told Congress.

GOP Flips Two Legislative Seats In Five Special Elections

Feb 26, 2019
Members of Connecticut's House of Representatives were sworn in on January 9, 2019. Two new members will be sworn in after winning special elections on Tuesday.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Republicans won two of the five state legislative seats at stake in special elections Tuesday, flipping House and Senate districts by carrying blue-collar communities that have grown difficult for Democrats. All five vacancies were the result of Gov. Ned Lamont hiring Democratic legislators in January.

The day in 2012 that a gunman killed 27 people and then himself in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, he didn’t just use a semi-automatic rifle. The shooter had an array of handguns, shotguns and rifles, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting shocked the nation, spurring new conversations about banning so-called assault weapons and magazines that could hold dozens of rounds.

alexandersr / Pixabay

This hour: the crisis in Venezuela. We take an in-depth look at the realities on the ground in the country and consider the future that lies ahead for its people.

Plus: We learn how a New London, Connecticut-based nonprofit is opening residents’ eyes to the diverse cultures of Latin America. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

It was 1983. Toll booths in Connecticut had already experienced decades of problems like accidents and traffic jams.

And then, a truck slammed into a car waiting at the Stratford toll plaza on Interstate 95.

Dissecting Governor Lamont’s Budget Proposal

Feb 21, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Governor Ned Lamont did a lot of asking Wednesday, as he promised he would.

A general plea for everyone to step up toward a budget solution is one thing. Specific requests, like the ones he made in his state budget address to lawmakers, will prove much more difficult to attain.

Lamont’s Health Budget vs Connecticut Hospitals

Feb 20, 2019
Gov. Ned Lamont addresses the legislature on Feburary 20, 2019.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

After watching his predecessor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, spar with Connecticut’s hospitals for much of the past eight years, Gov. Ned Lamont got off to a rough start with the industry himself on Wednesday.

Lamont’s new budget canceled a previously approved tax cut for hospitals, replacing it with an effective tax hike of about $43 million per year.

The governor set aggressive goals to cut state health care costs, flat-funded social services and nursing homes, and created a new asset test for a health care assistance program for seniors.

It May Be Bumpy, But Lamont Sees 'A Path Forward'

Feb 20, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont cast his first budget proposal Wednesday as “a path forward,” a map for a wealthy state struggling to wriggle free of a crushing pension debt amassed over decades, end crippling cycles of deficits and spark economic growth.

Lamont Budget Takes The First Step Toward Tolls

Feb 20, 2019

Gov. Ned Lamont used his first budget Wednesday to lay the groundwork for the restoration of tolls to Connecticut highways.

Lamont Presents $43 Billion, Two-Year Plan To Legislators

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

Gov. Ned Lamont proposed a $43 billion, two-year state budget Wednesday that establishes tolls, shifts more pension debt onto future taxpayers, deals another blow to hospitals, but also closes a multi-billion dollar shortfall without raising the income tax.

Gov. Ned Lamont gives his first State of the State address.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The honeymoon period is over for Gov. Ned Lamont. When he delivers his state budget address to lawmakers later on Wednesday, there will already be plenty of animosity among those watching.

Lamont Seeks Giveback From Future State Retirees

Feb 19, 2019
Gov. Ned Lamont gives his first State of the State address.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont will seek concessions that could reduce pension benefits to future retired state employees by more than $130 million per year — a move that was immediately met with resistance Tuesday from union officials.

Connecticut legislators are getting ready for state budget talks, and one proposed tax cut is getting support from surprising sources. Some Democrats in the General Assembly support repealing the estate tax.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has confirmed to VPR that he is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

16 States Sue Over Trump's National Emergency Declaration

Feb 19, 2019

A group of 16 states has filed a lawsuit in a Northern California federal court against President Trump's declaration of a national emergency, calling the president's decision to use executive power to fund a border wall unconstitutional.

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