Category Archives: Connecticut

Two Connecticut Immigrants Agree To Drop Civil Rights Lawsuit

by Categorized: Civil Rights, Connecticut, Criminal Justice, Immigration, Yale University Date:

Two undocumented immigrants from Connecticut Wednesday dropped their civil rights lawsuit against federal officials in return for being allowed to stay in the U.S.

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The negotiated settlement was reached between U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Gabriel Villanueva-Ojanama of Hartford and Sebastian Manuel Castro Largo of Meriden.

As a result of the federal decision to drop deportation proceedings, the two men will be able to stay with their families in Connecticut, according to students from the Worker & Immigration Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School. Law students from the clinic represented the men in their federal lawsuit.

Both men were arrested by Connecticut police in separate incidents in 2011 and convicted of motor vehicle offenses in state courts. They were turned over to ICE agents as a result of federal “detainers” under a controversial program called Secure Communities.

Critics of the program charge that tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants have been unfairly deported despite never having committed any serious crimes. The Obama Administration has claimed the Secure Communities deportations were intended to target only felony criminals such as drug dealers and rapists.

The 2013 lawsuit filed by the two Connecticut men charged those federal detainers were administrative notices that failed to meet legal requirements for a warrant, and violated the civil rights of Villanueva-Ojanama, 37, and Castrol Largo, 34.

“I’m grateful that ICE agreed to terminate my case and recognized how serious and difficult my experience was,” Villanueva-Ojanama said in a prepared statement. “I’m glad I can now put this behind me an continue to live here and support my family.”

Report Gives Connecticut Top Marks For Budgeting Process

by Categorized: Connecticut, Democrats Date:

Connecticut ranks first among the states for its use of fiscal planning tools, according to a recently-released report from a D.C. think tank.

\"capitolUnder the state budgeting process, lawmakers set multi-year projections, ask a non-partisan agency to analyze the fiscal impact of legislation and put money into a \”rainy day fund\” that can be tapped in budget emergencies – all effective tools in long-term budget planning, according to the report from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Connecticut also received praise for providing estimates of how much it would cost to continue delivering services at the current level, a projection that helps show when a governor\’s proposed budget includes significant cuts to a state agency. The report cited Gov. Malloy\’s 2011 budget as an example, and said that the baseline estimate allowed lawmakers to see that a $5 million cut to a department\’s budget was, in fact, a more significant cut of $10 million when compared to the actual cost of continuing current services. The legislature reversed some of the cuts in the final budget it adopted, the report said, after \”digging deeper\” and learning about some of the programs Malloy wanted to cut.

Connecticut received low marks from the CBPP in just two of 10 categories: pension oversight and oversight of tax expenditures. The state needs regular reviews of future pension costs from an outside agency, and needs to better scrutinize the future costs of tax breaks, the report said.

Malloy\’s budget director, Ben Barnes, said Connecticut had a \”transparent and accurate system of fiscal reporting.\”

Right-To-Die Activists Call On Legislature To Revisit Issue

by Categorized: Connecticut Date:

After right-to-die legislation was defeated in the General Assembly last year, advocates, hoping they will have another shot at the issue in the upcoming session, held a press conference Wednesday to call for new laws that would allow terminally ill patients to choose physician-assisted death.

\”Looking at the trajectory of this disease can sometimes fill me with sadness and fear,\” said Sara Meyers, a Connecticut resident who was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig\’s disease.

\”I wish that I had the choice to have help, when enough is enough, to end my suffering,\” said Meyers, who said she considered moving to states where aid-in-dying was legal. \”Whether I ever use the option, knowing it was there would allow me to live my day without so much fear,\” she said. Continue reading

Rapoport To Lead Common Cause

by Categorized: Connecticut, Democrats Date:

\"milesMiles Rapoport, a stalwart liberal Connecticut Democrat who once seemed ticketed for Congress, will take over as the new head of Common Cause.

“Miles brings us an incredible combination of intellect, energy and experience,” said Robert Reich, chair of Common Cause’s National Governing Board. “His commitment to our mission of holding power accountable, and his understanding of the challenges we face in executing it, is unparalleled.”

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Rapoport, a former state legislator and Secretary of the State, has lead the public policy research group Demos since 2001.

Founded in 1970, Common Cause is a non-partisan advocacy group with more than 400,000 members. It bills itself as \”the nation\’s original \’citizens lobby\’\” and \”an advocate for increased citizen engagement in politics and government and effective controls on the political power of major institutions and the wealthy.\”

Founded in 1970, Common Cause is the nation’s original “citizens lobby,” a non-partisan, non-profit organization with more than 400,000 members and supporters and offices in 35 states. Throughout its history, Common Cause has been an advocate for increased citizen engagement in politics and government and effective controls on the political power of major institutions and the wealthy. – See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4773613&ct=13596075#sthash.PClbDJU8.dpuf
“Miles brings us an incredible combination of intellect, energy and experience,” said Robert Reich, chair of Common Cause’s National Governing Board. “His commitment to our mission of holding power accountable, and his understanding of the challenges we face in executing it, is unparalleled.” – See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4773613&ct=13596075#sthash.PClbDJU8.dpuf
“Miles brings us an incredible combination of intellect, energy and experience,” said Robert Reich, chair of Common Cause’s National Governing Board. “His commitment to our mission of holding power accountable, and his understanding of the challenges we face in executing it, is unparalleled.” – See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4773613&ct=13596075#sthash.PClbDJU8.dpuf
“Miles brings us an incredible combination of intellect, energy and experience,” said Robert Reich, chair of Common Cause’s National Governing Board. “His commitment to our mission of holding power accountable, and his understanding of the challenges we face in executing it, is unparalleled.” – See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4773613&ct=13596075#sthash.PClbDJU8.dpuf

Preschool Funding Surge Leaves CT Behind

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Connecticut, General Assembly Date:

States are jumping on board the rush for more government subsidized preschool — even though data suggests the benefits aren\’t clear. According to a new analysis by the Education Commission of the States, Fund grew nationally by nearly 7 percent in fiscal year 2013-14 over the previous year. In Connecticut, support has remained relatively flat while neighboring Massachusetts nearly doubled its investment in early learning. This is going to be a big issue in the legislature this year.

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Click For Cool Facts About Your Town

by Categorized: Connecticut, Economy, Education, State of Connecticut Date:

Courant intern Rose Lichtenfels reports:

Forget the ‘Top 10 Best’ lists telling you where you ought to live, work and raise your family in Connecticut. The Connecticut Economic Resource Center’s new interactive map provides free, public access to the latest metric and demographic profiles on all 169 towns. The Connecticut Economic Resource Center’s town profiles are prepared annually by the nonprofit economic research group. The profiles are compact, two page summaries of the latest demographic data about every municipality in the state.

\"cercKristi Sullivan, spokesperson for CERC, said year after year, the town maps are resource center’s most visited product on their website.

“We get a lot of traffic on the town profile maps, not just from businesses looking at economic data but also from residents who want to compare one town to another if they are thinking of moving. If people want to live along the shore, they might compare things like statistics on taxes or schools between different shore towns,” Sullivan said. Continue reading

Nice Work If You Can Get It

by Categorized: Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

State auditors, in a new report slamming the Department of Public Health, paint a depressing picture of state employment:

\”… Travel may not be fully justified, employees may be reimbursed for charges that they did not actually incur or that were unallowable.\”

\”The department does not utilize its formal clearance procedures for employees separating from state service.\”

\”35 percent of employees sampled had not been preapproved for compensatory time earned. … The department is not in compliance with its own guidelines…\”

The audit found that the department lacked a \”complaint management system,\” and a formal ethics policies to resolve employee conflicts of interest. In one case, the department paid for the maternity leave of a non-state worker — a contractor\’s employee.