After a clash on the merits, the legislature\’s budget-writing committee Monday approved hiking the state\’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017.
The vote was 24 to 17 along party lines with state Sen. Joan Hartley abstaining. Hartley, a conservative Democrat from Waterbury, has broken with her party and voted with the Republicans in recent years on controversial issues. Last year, Hartley voted against hiking the wage to the current level of $8.70 per hour.
Barring any last-minute snags, both the state Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to vote on the minimum wage hike Wednesday.
In a strong defense of the increase, Rep. Toni Walker, the committee’s co-chairwoman, said those currently earning $8.70 per hour and working 40 hours per week collect less than $350 weekly. The federal poverty level, she noted, for a single mother with two children is $18,096 per year. She said that lawmakers have an obligation of helping workers and “making sure they earn a fair share for what they do’’ in their jobs.
“Who do we represent?’’ Walker asked her fellow committee members. “Who are we here to fight for? We are here for all people of Connecticut, not just a select few.’’
But Republicans rejected the hike as bad for small businesses and bad for job growth.
Sen. Rob Kane, the ranking Senate Republican on the committee, said that hiking the wage would boomerrang and hurt small businesses like the retail store that he owns that sells cellular phones in Waterbury.
“The policy we are setting here today … is more and more government intervention in the lives of people we represent,’’ Kane said. “I’m a small business owner, and next month, God willing, I will be in business 20 years.’’ Continue reading →
A think tank founded by Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley offered multiple solutions Friday in a detailed report that tacked the urban problems of jobs, crime, housing, and public education.
The Connecticut Policy Institute issued the report that called for expanding the use of urban enterprise zones to attract businesses, upgrading either Sikorsky or Tweed New Haven airports to create jobs in the cities, and requiring a reading exam before third-graders can be promoted to the fourth grade.
Foley attended the nearly one-hour presentation at the state Capitol complex, but the institute\’s executive director, Yale Law School graduate Ben Zimmer, said that Foley had nothing to do with the writing of the 100-page report.
James Hallinan, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party, declined to comment on any of the solutions mentioned in the report, saying that he had not had time to read it.
\”This is purely political, and I think he made that clear,\’\’ said Hallinan, who attended the press conference.
Foley\’s spokesman, Christopher Cooper, responded, \”I don\’t think James Hallinan knows a policy from a petunia, but he does know propaganda, and you all heard that today.\’\’ Continue reading →
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro will hold a \”TeleTownHall\’\’ tonight at 7:15 to hear from constituents about President Obama\’s request to authorize a military strike against Syria. Congress is expected to take up the Obama proposal after the president speaks to the nation Tuesday night.
Among the seven members of the delegation, only U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy has on record opposing the Obama plan.
Over the weekend, a forum organized by Rep. Himes in Darien drew more than 400 constituents, according to the Darien News. Sen. Richard Blumenthal also attended. A spokesman said Monday that about 30 people spoke with Rep. Esty at a more informal session in Cornwall.
Himes tweeted the picture below from Darien:
Here is the video from rebels in the Syrian village of Kafranbel that has been sent to members of Congress in recent days, as reported in today\’s New York Times. The Times is also counting the votes, for and opposed to a Syria strike.
The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence states on its website:
Each of these 13 videos explicitly claim to show victims of a chemical or poison gas attack. At the request of Chairman Feinstein, these videos were selected by the Open Source Center to depict a representative range of YouTube content posted regarding the reported 21 August chemical weapons (CW) attacks in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria.
Every year in the historic Hall of the House, longtime state Rep. Mary Fritz steps up to the microphone and lauds the University of Connecticut\’s women\’s basketball team on the annual Husky Day.
Now, Fritz will be headed to the White House on Wednesday with the team for a special reception with President Barack Obama.
A veteran lawmaker and assistant deputy Speaker, Fritz was asked by House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey to attend the 2 p.m. ceremony on his behalf.
\”I am really pleased to be accompanying the UConn women’s team to the White House and thank Speaker Sharkey for this honor,” Fritz said in a statement. “In addition to being great players and national champions for the eighth time, these women student athletes and their coaches are outstanding representatives of our state. They deserve this honor.” Continue reading →
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued a statement Wednesday afternoon praising the president\’s economic speech.
“Today, the President renewed his call to Congress to set aside rigid partisanship and ideology and act in the best interest of the American economy and the American people. Even amidst a national recovery that has created millions of new jobs, there is much more work to be done to rebuild a strong economic foundation that supports a growing middle class and rewards hard work.
“I applaud the President’s enduring commitment to an economic strategy that creates jobs that pay a living wage, an education policy that equips our citizens for those jobs, and policies that strengthen homeownership and help Americans enjoy health and retirement security.
“There is much Congress can do right now to accelerate economic growth. What Congress must not do is reprise the reckless behavior of the House Majority in 2011 when they brought the U.S. government to the brink of shutdown and default. Such political brinksmanship damaged our economy then and will do so again if partisanship wins out over patriotism. It is my sincere hope that Congress will heed the President’s call and act in the best interest of our citizens.”
Gina McCarthy already had a rare distinction as one of the few people ever to work for both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
But McCarthy stepped up higher on the national stage this week when she was approved by the U.S. Senate to become the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – the top environmental job in the nation. She met with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office.
She has been working for Obama at the EPA since being approved on a voice vote by the U.S. Senate in June 2009 to head the EPA\’s Office of Air and Radiation. This time, her nomination was held up before an overall compromise broke the logjam and allowed the 59 to 40 vote.
McCarthy has been on a steady rise that led her to the national stage. She was hired in Connecticut back in November 2004 by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell after a national search. Holding high-powered positions in the Massachusetts state government for the previous 15 years, McCarthy had been serving in 2004 as a deputy secretary for operations in then-Governor Romney\’s office, helping to oversee policy on the environment, transportation, energy and housing. Continue reading →