Author Archives: Rose Lichtenfels

New Open Data Portal Launches

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

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On Monday, the Malloy administration launched the new Connecticut Open Data Portal, a free, public database that that will publish large amounts of data collected across all government agencies on the internet.

The new data portal, which falls under the watch of the Office of Policy and Management, is part of an effort by the Malloy administration and Comptroller Kevin Lembo to increase information about the state government.

Currently, Connecticut residents can find \”Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics of 2012,\” \”Earned Income Tax Credit Statistics\” by town and \”CAPT Performance\” statistics broken down by district among the different data sets available online.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a state open data portal via executive order in January of 2013. Hawaii, Delaware and Minnesota also maintain open data websites for state residents.

On the issue of transparency, some Senate Republicans were raising an eyebrow back in February when the governor signed his executive order, calling the new project simply another \”partisan arm\” the administration could extend.

Maryland to Vote for Connecticut Style Health Exchange Today

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The board of the Maryland health care exchange is scheduled to vote at 5 p.m. Tuesday to replace the state\’s online health-insurance marketplace with new technology modeled after Connecticut\’s public health exchange system, Access Health CT.

The vote comes after Maryland already spent an estimated $125.5 million on a system that resulted in one of the lowest enrollment rates in the country.

Maryland, like Connecticut, was initially one of the first states to embrace the opportunity of building custom enrollment technology instead of using the federal website to implement the new policy. In February, after a disastrous launch, Maryland fired the contractor it had previously hired — for $65.4 million — to build the health care exchange.

The Courant reported Monday that Connecticut nearly doubled its predicted forecast for enrollment, with 191,961 people signing up as of Sunday.

The Schedule: Malloy on Move Tuesday

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

 

\"sos\"On the eve of the state House and Senate\’s vote on the minimum wage and just days before open enrollment for Obamacare closes, Gov. Malloy was on the move Tuesday in a final push to promote two major items on his agenda.

\"accesshealth\"This morning, the governor traveled to the First Choice Health Care Center in East Hartford to tout enrollment in the state\’s health care exchange. Malloy joined Access Health CT chief executive officer Kevin Counihan in the final sprint to encourage residents to apply for health care coverage before the Affordable Care Act\’s March 31st sign-up deadline.

Later today, Malloy is scheduled to join an advocacy group called the Americans United for Change that will be stopping on its bus tour outside of Star Hardware and Plumbing Supply on Main Street in the north end of Hartford to call on Republicans in Congress to raise the wage to $10.10 per hour. Continue reading

Judiciary Committee Considers Bill to Protect Victims from Peeping Toms

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A bill pending in the legislature would extend new protections to victims of voyeurism.

Under House Bill 5485, the identity and personal information of victims of voyeurism would be protected in the same manner as victims of sexual assault currently are.

During a hearing Monday before the legislature\’s judiciary committee, Victims rights advocates expressed support for the measure.

\”The crime of voyeurism represents an invasion of privacy that occurs under circumstances where the victims have expectations of privacy,\” officials from the state Department of Criminal Justice said in written testimony. \”There is no valid public purpose to be achieved by publicly identifying the innocent victim of such a violation of privacy.\”

State Victim Advocate Garvin Ambrose also testified in support of the legislation.

\”While sexual assault is distinguished because it involves physical contact, both sexual assault and voyeurism arise from similar beliefs regarding consent and the objectification of others; both crimes have a detrimental impact upon victims,\” Ambrose said in written testimony.

With the advent of new technology such as smartphones and tablets, Peeping Toms are snapping photos of unsuspecting victims in public places.

In the past three years, Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority has also reviewed 13 cases of intimate or sexual spying, specifically involving individuals who secretly take cell phone pictures looking up the skirts worn by women riding public transportation in Boston.

Last week, Massachusetts lawmakers approved \”Peeping Tom Laws,\” as state legislators are referring to them, to crack down on those taking photos of sexual and intimate parts of unknowing women and children in public. Unlike Connecticut, however, this legislation seems to be focused on further criminalizing the act and less so on victim privacy.

Yikes: Bridgeport Ranked 5th in America\’s Top 10 Worst Traffic Cities, Study Finds

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: , Date:

Drivers are idle more than 40 hours a year in America\’s top 10 worst traffic cities – Bridgeport, Connecticut being one of them – a new study conducted by international big data, traffic research group INRIX finds.

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That\’s just shy of 2 days out of the year Bridgeport residents are sitting in cars, stuck in some of the nation\’s worst traffic.

Despite some bad news for Bridgeport, INRIX traffic report card found that since last year, 70 of the country\’s top 100 most populated cities actually showed decreases in traffic congestion.

However, the group attributed less traffic in dense urban spaces to stalled economies world wide; cities that were outpacing national employment growth (1.2%), like Tampa (3.0%), Houston (3.2%) and Austin (2.1%), showed some of the biggest increases in traffic congestion.

Take a look at the INRIX\’s stats for the top 10 worst places in America to be stuck in traffic here:

1. Honolulu: Drivers waste 58 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Tuesday from 5:15 – 5:30pm

2. Los Angeles: Drivers waste 56 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Thursday from 5:45 – 6:00pm

3. San Francisco: Drivers waste 48 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Thursday from 5:45 – 6:00pm

4. New York: Drivers waste 57 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Friday from 5:30 – 5:45pm

5. Bridgeport, CT: Drivers waste 42 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Friday from 5:30 – 5:45pm

6. Washington, D.C.: Drivers waste 45 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Thursday from 5:45 – 6:00pm

7. Seattle: Drivers waste 33 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Thursday from 5:30 – 5:45pm

8. Austin: Drivers waste 30 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Thursday from 5:30 – 5:45pm

9. Boston: Drivers waste 35 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Thursday from 5:30 – 5:45pm

10. Chicago: Drivers waste 36 hours in traffic2; Worst Hour = Thursday from 5:30 – 5:45pm

 

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart on POTUS, Politics, and the Haters

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When Connecticut got wind the President of the United States would be making a stop in hard hittin\’ New Britain to tout his push to #RaiseThe(Minimum)Wage, many flung hate mail via Twitter and other social media at Erin Stewart, warning the city\’s Republican mayor to snub the highest Democrat in the land\’s visit.

\"visconti\"From the get go, Stewart expressed little interest in playing into the partisan politics. The 26 year old Mayor made no apologies, welcoming the President of the United States to New Britain.

\"stewart\"Despite grievances from fellow Republicans, the New Britain Mayor continued to document her enthusiasm for Obama\’s visit over Twitter.

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\"stewart3\"And Stewart was especially pumped when the President gave her a shout out at the beginning of his speech.

\"stewart4\"Politics and feel good Presidential rallies aside, there may be a serious bipartisan lesson to be learned here. On Twitter, some applauded and thanked the mayor for the way Stewart welcomed the President in light of social media back lash and discouragement from those in her own party.

\"respect\"Even in the age of divided Congress, it appears that the American people still appreciate seeing those they elect to public office treat colleagues across the aisle, including the President, with respect and a good attitude.

And Erin Stewart has a final message.

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Murphy and Blumenthal Applaud Stricter Gun Control on Facebook

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Uncategorized Date:

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Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal are applauding the largest social network, not the federal government, for taking action on gun control.

The Connecticut Senators praised Facebook, which also owns photo sharing platform Instagram, this week after the social network announced it would be blocking minors from seeing postings of gun sales and will take down sales that don\’t require a background checks.

\”We’re glad that Facebook and Instagram have taken a stand against gun violence. Their commitment to delete posts that offer gun sales without a background check and prevent underage users from accessing private gun sales demonstrates a strong sense of responsibility and other companies should follow suit,\” the Senators said in a statement.

\”The fight against gun violence isn’t something any one person or organization can take on alone. We’re going to get much better results if public and private organizations work together to curb our nation’s gun violence epidemic.\”

Prior to their new policy, Facebook permitted users to buy and sell guns and weapons through the online marketplace. Many criticized the ads that appeared on the social network as being intentionally marketed to minors. Continue reading

Malloy\’s Open Data Portal Launches

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On Monday, the Malloy administration launched the new Connecticut Open Data Portal, a free, public database that that will publish large amounts of data collected across all government agencies on the internet.

The new data portal, which will fall under the watch of the Office of Policy and Management, is the face of a major effort by the Malloy administration to increase transparency and openness between the people of Connecticut and their government.

The information will appear on the database in what the administration is calling the \”rawest form;\” before the data has been made to look pretty (aggregated and analyzed) by government bureaucrats and officials.

“Sharing data collected by state government will help to break down silos within government, make data more easily available for analysis by researchers and entrepreneurs, and in turn help spur economic growth and creative new policy,” said Governor Malloy in a statement after signing the executive order in February.  “This data belongs to the people of Connecticut, and this initiative will help make that data more easily and conveniently accessible to them.”

The hope is that anyone from university professors to budding entrepreneurs can use the publicly available government data to enhance a business venture, academic study, and everything in between. The online portal will also give residents the chance to visualize data through graphs and charts, which one can create on the website.

On the issue of transparency, some Senate Republicans were raising an eyebrow back in February when the gov. signed his executive order.

\”First of all, the OPM is not non-partisan, it\’s a partisan staff – another arm of the Governor. You\’ve gotta have some concern about this data and how it\’s being presented,\” said Republican Senator Leonard Fasano, North Haven, speaking on behalf of the Senate Minority.

\”If we\’re gonna talk about transparency, let\’s start with the budget. The Governor should be transparent about the fact that he\’s spending more than 2.8 billion in state expenditures instead of fooling people with some transparent data gimmick,\” Fasano added.

\”If we\’re gonna have transparency we need to have it at all levels – let\’s first talk about the budget.\”

The state contracted Socrata, Inc, a Seattle based data company that uses cloud and other technology to build public data bases, to create the Connecticut Open Data Portal. The portal will be managed and administered by Tyler Kleykamp of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), who will serve as the portal’s Chief Data Officer (CDO).

Legislators Have Back and Forth on National Popular Vote

by Categorized: 2014 Election, 2016 Presidential election, Uncategorized Date:

The Government Administration and Elections Committee met Monday to hear arguments from elected officials and electoral law advocates on a bill that would elect the President of the United States by national popular vote.

\"voteThe national popular vote law has already been enacted by 10 other jurisdictions, including neighboring states Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Democratic Representative James Albis opened testimony to address the controversial bill\’s bottom line. \”Presidential candidates do not face a national electorate, instead a handful of voters in just eight states,\” Albis said of the current electoral college system.

\”Fundamentally this bill is about equality,\” he said. Continue reading

Norwalk Fisherwoman On Cover Of 2014 Conneticut Angler\’s Guide

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Last week Andrea Repko of Norwalk was just another Connecticut resident who loved to fish. Today, thanks to a photo contest held by the state\’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Repko\’s picture is on the cover of the 2014 Connecticut Angler\’s Guide.

DEEP organized the very first Angler\’s Guide Cover Photo Contest to give Connecticut anglers a chance to show off their work and allow the state agency to highlight the diversity of lesser-known, high quality fishing spots around the state.

The winning photo features Repko standing in the Housatonic River holding a Northern Pike, which she caught and released on September 22, 2013 in Kent, CT. The fish weighed 16 pounds and was nearly 40 inches long. Continue reading