Author Archives: Jenny Wilson

Larson, House Dems To Introduce Constitutional Amendment

by Categorized: Washington Date:

U.S. Rep. John Larson, CT-1, will join minority leader Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats Tuesday to introduce a constitutional amendment that would reverse recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings removing limits on outside spending in campaigns.

The proposal would allow states and Congress to regulate election spending and impose restrictions on how much outside groups can spend on behalf of or against a candidate. In two campaign finance cases – Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC - the high court rolled back restrictions on campaign spending, both by individuals and outside groups.

The proposed amendment has cleared committee in the Senate, but has little chance of passage in the House.

Esty, House Dems Introduce Legislation In Response to Hobby Lobby

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty Date:

Democrats in Congress announced Wednesday they are filing legislation in an attempt to undo the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that certain companies can deny workers’ contraception coverage on religious grounds.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the court ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law passed by Congress in 1993. Esty, who criticized the Hobby Lobby decision, said Wednesday that she co-authored the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014.

The bill prohibits for-profit employers from denying federally mandated health services by exempting such services from the RFRA. Houses of worship and religious non-profits who do not wish to provide contraceptives would still be exempt from the mandate.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing and advocating for legislation that will reverse the Supreme Court’s misguided ruling and ensure basic protections for women’s health,” Esty said.

Identical legislation is being introduced in the Senate.

Blumenthal, Murphy Vote To Block Hunting, Fishing Bill

by Categorized: Gun control Date:

In a statement to protest the chamber’s failure to pass gun control legislation, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy on Monday voted against moving a hunting and fishing bill forward in the U.S. Senate.

Politico reported: “Shortly before the procedural vote Monday, two Democratic senators stood up to announce that they could not vote to advance the legislation in light of congressional inaction on gun control.”

Murphy said a statement on gun control was “long overdue.”

Last week, Blumenthal told Capitol Watch that gun control advocates in Congress were going to be “pursuing a new initiative centered on domestic violence.” Current law prevents people with permanent restraining orders from purchasing or possessing firearms, but does not extend to people under temporary restraining orders. Blumenthal said he wants to expand the ban to individuals under temporary restraining orders, and described the proposal as “a mental health initiative where…there’s a real opportunity for common ground.”

Q-Poll: 9 in 10 Americans Still Support Universal Background Checks

by Categorized: Gun control Date:

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found that 9 in 10 Americans support a background check requirement on all gun sales.

The Q-poll, released Thursday morning, showed 92 percent support for universal background checks, with 7 percent opposed. Among gun owners, the support was 92 – 6 percent. The number has hovered around 90 percent since February 2013, two months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Democrats who responded to Newtown with a push for stricter gun restrictions initially pointed to universal background checks as a compromise – a proposal that could pass a divided Congress if they were unable to draw enough support for more controversial policies, like an assault weapons ban or a limit on ammunition magazine size.

But a measure to expand the federal background check requirement failed to clear the U.S. Senate last year. Democrats who advocated for gun control could not win enough support, and the legislation fell six votes short of the 60-vote supermajority required to override a filibuster. Democrats, including the president, frequently cite previous Q-polls showing 90 percent support – “How often do 90 percent of Americans support anything?” President Obama asked last year.

The Q-poll released Thursday found that even Republican voters support background checks, 86 – 11 percent. Democrats – under the lead of President Obama, who made gun control a top priority at the beginning of his second term – showed overwhelming support of 98 – 2 percent. Continue reading

SEIU Endorses Malloy

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

The state’s largest union announced Wednesday they are endorsing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in November’s election.

Workers from all six local affiliates of the 1199 SEIU in Connecticut held a noon press conference to announce their support for Malloy and Lieutenant Gov. Nancy Wyman. The organization has more than 65,000 workers in Connecticut, and promised a massive get-out-the-vote drive on Malloy’s behalf. They praised him for his work on education, paid sick leave, and worker training programs.

Describing him as the “only candidate for Connecticut,” members of the union said they would “work diligently to get him elected.”

Here’s Matt Anderson, a contracted security guard, on why he supports Malloy:

In endorsing Malloy, the union brushed off requests from third-party challenger Jonathan Pelto, who had asked them to consider him for an endorsement. Pelto, a former Democratic state legislator, is collecting signatures to petition onto the ballot as a candidate for the Education and Democracy party. The union said that by the time Pelto was a declared candidate, they were too far along in the endorsement process. Pelto declared his candidacy on June 12, and Paul Filson, Director SEIU CT State Council, said the executive board voted June 20 to endorse Malloy.

 

CT Delegation Asks Retailers To Adjust Gun Policies

by Categorized: Gun control Date:

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty joined with gun control advocates – including the sister of a Newtown victim – on Friday to call on the National Retail Federation to consider voluntary measures retailers can take in order to reduce gun violence.

The lawmakers last year pushed for changes to federal gun laws in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which met defeat in Congress. They have said publicly they are committed to keeping attention to the issue and eventually passing legislation to increase firearms restrictions. But with federal legislation unlikely anytime soon, advocates have focused their attention on finding other avenues to pursue their cause, launching campaigns asking Starbucks, Chipotle, and Facebook to change gun policies.

The lawmakers penned a letter Friday to the National Retail Federation and the country’s ten largest retailers – Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, Costco, The Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS Caremark, Lowes, Safeway, and McDonald’s -asking them to support gun control.

We need the voices of everyone that would be helped, including our nation’s retailers, to join us in this effort. Starbucks and Chipotle adopted customer-friendly policies that deter individuals from carrying firearms into their stores and we recently wrote to urge Target to follow their example,” the lawmakers wrote.

Obama Says Failure To Pass Gun Control “Biggest Frustration” Of Presidency

by Categorized: Barack Obama Date:

President Obama on Tuesday responded to a question about gun violence Tuesday during a forum about student loan reform control and described lawmakers’ failure to pass gun control legislation as the “biggest frustration” of his presidency.

Following a number of recent shootings, including one Tuesday at an Oregon High School, Obama expressed dismay at the state of gun control legislation in Congress – which seemed likely to pass following Newtown, but met defeat in the U.S. Senate a few months later. The question was posed by a student at UC Santa Barbara, after a mass shooting at the university last month.

“I have to say that people often ask me how’s it been being president what are my proudest of and what are my biggest disappointments and I’ve got 2.5 years left. My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do damage,” he said. “We’re the only developed country where this happens. And it happens weekly.”

Referencing Newtown, he said the fact that “20 six-year-olds were gunned down” and Congress did not act was “stunning.”

It’s not even possible to get mildest restrictions through Congress and we should be ashamed of that,” Obama said. His remarks follow calls from several Democrat senators this week to revisit gun control in response to the recent shootings.

 

 

White House: Over 40,000 Conn. Borrowers Would Benefit From Obama Student Loan Proposal

by Categorized: higher education, Washington Date:

More than 41,000 students in Connecticut would benefit from President Obama’s recent expansion to a federal student loan program.

The Pay as You Earn program caps monthly loan payments for certain student debtors at 10 percent of their income, and the president signed an executive order Monday that extends eligibility to an additional five million students nationwide. White House data released Tuesday shows that 41,833 federal student loan borrowers in Connecticut would benefit.

An estimated 508,000 borrowers in Connecticut owe $11,724,735 in federal student loan debt, according to the White House.

Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, introduced a measure last month to allow borrowers with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at lower interest rate. U.S. Dept. of Education data shows that bill would benefit an estimated 309,000 Connecticut debtors.

Malloy Announces DESPP Funding To Upgrade Public Safety Radio System

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

Gov. Malloy on Tuesday announced that the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will receive nearly $7.2 million to upgrade public safety radio systems used by state police and other agencies.

“Funding these improvements to DESPP’s public radio system will provide greater resiliency to our overall emergency communications network and more dependable communications for our first responder community,” Malloy said in the statement.

The money, according to the release, will fund replacement of troop and headquarters dispatch equipment, 212 mobile radios, 40 control station desktop radios and a “dynamic system resilience back up master site.”

The State Bond Commission approved the funds last month.