Fixing the Glitches In New Anti-Racial Profiling System

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Figuring out how to get rid of glitches in Connecticut’s new system for monitoring possible racial profiling by police is no easy task, and making sense out of the flood of raw data being sent in may be just as tough.

Some of the problems a group of experts were puzzling over Thursday included how to pin down exactly where police traffic stops are occurring, fixing a computer program quirks that can force officers to enter the wrong data, and comparing day versus nighttime stops.

East Haven cops


The latest statewide data on Connecticut police traffic stops was released a month ago and indicated minorities are being stopped at higher rates than population statistics would suggest is normal. State officials are now trying to crunch those numbers to determine exactly where and why that’s happening.

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Sen. McKinney Releases Two-Year Tax Plan

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney released a two year-plan to cut spending for a year and then give middle income residents a tax break.

McKinney’s proposal would repeal the income tax for anyone making less than $75,000 a year, starting in fiscal year 2017.

In the first year, he would cut spending by eliminating the earned income tax credit that gives relief to low earners, reduce non-union state management practices, and restructure state employees’ health benefits and pension costs.

He also has promised some tax relief in the first year; saying he would guarantee the clothing and footwear sales tax exemption scheduled to expire next year and that he would phase out the 10 percent corporate surcharge tax.

McKinney attacked Gov. Malloy for raising spending, increasing borrowing, and raising taxes. He said his Republican opponent Tom Foley has not offered a detailed plan.

Foley has promised to cut the sales tax by half a percent, and said he would keep discretionary spending flat for two years.

Want To Vote Aug. 12? Make Sure You Are Registered

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Uncategorized Date:
Republican primary voting at various polling places.

Connecticut residents have one more week to register if they want to vote in the Aug. 12, 2014 primary.

Connecticut residents who want to cast a ballot during primary elections Aug. 12 have just one more week to register. Republicans and Democrats must be registered to vote in the primary. To find out who is running, visit The Hartford Courant Election Center.

According to the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office, voting age citizens and 17–year-olds who will turn 18 by the general election on November 4, 2014

  • can register online or by mail until August 7th
  • can register in person in town offices until Monday, August 11th at noon.

Connecticut residents can visit  to obtain the following information:

  • Whether they are already registered to vote
  • Where the polling place is located
  • Where to register to vote
  • Download an application for an absentee ballot
  • View the list of candidates.

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Campus Sex Assault Reform Legislation Offered in Congress

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:


A bipartisan group of eight senators introduced legislation today that U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, one of the bill’s Democratic proponents, likened to a bill of rights for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses.

“The broad principles of this bill are incontrovertible,” Blumenthal told Capitol Watch. “The days of blaming the survivor are done. Schools can no longer demean or dismiss this problem. A survivor can no longer be blamed for what she wore or where she went or what she drank.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

The bill seeks to add structure to the way colleges and universitties and law enforcement deal with campus sexual assault cases. Critics have charged that such cases are now often mishandled in awkward and at times ineffective combinations of school disciplinary bodies and the traditional criminal justice system. If passed by Congress, the law would require schools to clearly and publicly settle their relationship with local law enforcement in dealing with reports of assault.

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Regan Vogel, center, got her head stuck in railings at the state Capitol Wednesday. She was eventually freed. (CHRIS KEATING)

Child Eventually Freed After Head Stuck In Railings At State Capitol Complex

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

It was a beautiful summer day for the Vogel family at the state Capitol complex in Hartford as they headed toward their goal of traveling around the country and eventually reaching all 50 state Capitol buildings.

Courtney Vogel, a mother of three, was enjoying the sights in the building before heading off to the bathroom, and putting her husband, Jeff, in charge. Then disaster struck.

Their 2 ½-year-old daughter, Regan, wanted a better view of the sights down below from the third floor at the Legislative Office Building and pushed her head in between the small railings.

But she got stuck.

Despite having Vaseline put around her head, Regan could not get out for at least 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the estimates by the panicked parents.

“It felt like a day,’’ said Courtney Vogel, who was now relieved after the unexpected ordeal.

When asked what she was trying to see, the 2 ½-year old said, “People.’’

The family stopped briefly in Hartford as part of a long haul from Quebec down to Delaware. They had visited the state Capitol in Montpelier, Vermont earlier this week on the day before they arrived in Hartford. When they are not on summer vacation, they live in the small town of Farmville, Virginia, which has a population of about 8,000.

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Large Numbers of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders Never Get Served

by Categorized: General Assembly, Uncategorized Tagged: , Date:

An estimated 40 percent of the restraining orders issued by New Haven judges in domestic violence cases between 2010 and 2011 never got served, according to testimony provided to a state task force Wednesday.

The record of serving restraining orders in abuse cases in Bridgeport doesn’t appear much better, said Aaron P. Wenzloff, a staff attorney with the New Haven Legal Assistance Association. He said statistics from that city’s courts indicate that 30 percent of the restraining orders issued between October and December of last year were never served.

At its first meeting, the legislative task force heard about a long list of problems with the current system of providing restraining orders to protect victims of domestic abuse.

Bureaucratic delays, communication problems, inadequate information and low payments to state marshals, and failures by some marshals to meet required deadlines all contributed to the many failures to serve restraining orders, various state officials said.

The panel is charged with coming up with recommendations for reforming Connecticut’s system of domestic abuse restraining orders. Activists have complained for years that gaps and delays in the system have allowed abusers to seriously injure and even kill victims who have sought protection.

State policy is to only pay a marshal for a single successful attempt to serve a restraining order on a person accused of domestic violence, said Robert B. Gyle, vice president of the association representing state marshals. A state Attorney General’s opinion limits payment to a marshal to just $30 plus travel expenses and only if the service is successful.

Members of the task force questioned whether such a limited payment system discourages marshals from making multiple efforts to find the target of a restraining order.

Wenzloff and other officials said abuse victims applying for restraining orders often run into difficulty finding a marshal to serve the court papers.

Gyle said marshals frequently don’t have much information about where the target of a restraining order is living, or where he or she works, making it difficult or impossible to serve the order. He said it’s virtually impossible to find someone when their listed address can be as vague as “the streets of Waterbury.”













Bacchiochi Amends Financial Report After Disclosure By Courant Columnist

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Penny Bacchiochi Date:

Prompted by a blog post by a Hartford Courant columnist, state Rep. Penny Bacchicochi of Stafford is amending her mandatory financial disclosure forms to report income she received from a political campaign.

Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reported that Bacchiochi had failed to report $27,000 that she received while working on the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Christopher Shays in 2012.

Bacchiciochi is currently running for lieutenant governor in the August 12 Republican primary against former mayor Heather Bond Somers of Groton and former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker of Bridgeport.

Under the law, all state legislators must report the sources of their income in an annual statement. That includes their salaries as legislators and any other outside income, including money from rent or partnership distributions.

“It’s just an oversight when you fill out the disclosures,” Bacchiochi said when contacted by Capitol Watch. “I reported the income in 2011. I received income in two different years.’’

Bacchiochi said that she worked in both the 2011 and 2012 calendar years, but did not report the income from the 2012 year.

The statement of financial interests is a 17-page application that includes a confidential addendum. Legislators who have no outside income can leave many of the questions blank. Continue reading

DeLauro Proposes National Soda Tax

by Categorized: Washington Date:

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro on Wednesday introduced legislation to impose a tax on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Under the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2014, or the SWEET Act, drinks would be taxed based on their sugar content – 1 cent for every teaspoon of sugar.

A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar – approximately double the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation, DeLauro said.

State Selling Ads On Connecticut Ferries

by Categorized: Connecticut, Transportation Tagged: , , Date:

Two historic state-owned ferries have been carrying vehicles and passengers back and forth across the Connecticut River for generations, but this year is the first time they have been emblazoned with commercial advertising.

Chester-Hadlyme ferry crossing the Connecticut River. DOT photo.

Chester-Hadlyme ferry crossing the Connecticut River. DOT photo.

State Department of Transportation officials say Carter Mario Injury Lawyers is paying the state $5,000 to put up its ads for this ferry season (April – November). That breaks down to $2,500 for the ad on the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury ferry, and the same amount for Chester-Hadlyme ferry.

DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said agency officials decided to seek advertising for the ferries to help offset the boats’ operating deficits. In 2012, the ferries were kept operating with a combined state subsidy of $651,000 dollars.

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Blumenthal Hails VA Compromise

by Categorized: Richard Blumenthal Date:


Hours before a $17 billion emergency funding deal for the Department of Veterans Affairs was announced in Washington, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal hailed the compromise during a brief event in Hartford.

Addressing reporters and some members of the public during a noontime availability in the Legislative Office Building, Blumenthal said the legislation would attempt to alleviate long wait times and questions of healthcare quality at the VA by hiring new doctors and funding private care for some veterans.

“These negotiations have produced a bipartisan agreement that is the beginning of really good news for veterans’ health care,” he said.

Referencing the price tag, he added: “This is a big bill, but it deals with a big problem.” Continue reading