Two Ranking Education Members Blast ECSU Professor’s Rant Vs. GOP

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Brent Terry, Toni Boucher Date:

The two ranking members of the legislature’s higher education committee are blasting the state-paid Eastern Connecticut State University professor for his recent comments that sharply criticized Republicans.

State Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton and Rep. Tim LeGeyt of Canton sent the letter to Professor Brent Terry, whose remarks prompted a firestorm of protest from Republicans. In recorded remarks, Terry said that “colleges will start closing up” if Republicans gain control of the U.S. Senate in the fall elections.

Terry is an adjunct professor in the English department, and the remarks were made during a creative writing class.

Copies of the letter were sent to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and others, including the two top Democratic leaders in the legislature – House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey and Senate President Pro Tem Donald Willliams.

Their letter is as follows:

“Dear Professor Terry,

“We often receive complaints by students and faculty who tell us they are fearful of expressing a conservative point of view or party affiliation, because of pressure and outright ridicule by peers and superiors at their schools. Your derogatory political statements against Republicans in front of your class are a stark example of an oppressive intellectual climate that many of these complainants feel they endure. This negative climate was further encouraged by an Eastern Connecticut State University spokesman who said, “Our faculty has academic freedom to conduct their classes in whatever way they choose, this is not a university matter.” We would maintain that it is a university matter and goes beyond the disappointment and concern expressed by Eastern Connecticut State University President Nunez.

“We have listened to a recording of your unfortunate remarks before a creative writing class at Eastern Connecticut State University. In this recording you unleash the following rant, that Republicans are “…racist, misogynist [woman-hating], money-grubbing people [who] have so much power over the rest of us.” You further comment that, “there are a lot of people out there that do not want black people to vote, do not want Latinos to vote. Do not want old people to vote, or young people to vote.”

“In case your students remained unsure of whom these racist misogynists are, you conclude your remarks by predicting, “It’s absolutely possible that the Republicans will take over the Senate as well as the House. And we will live in a very, very, very different kind of country if that happens. I mean, colleges will start closing up if they, if these people have their way.”

The letter continued, “This rant is offensive and an embarrassment in every respect. We are affronted by its prejudicial tone, and its one-sided and slanderous appraisal of Republicans as intolerant, anti-education bogeymen.” Continue reading

UConn Responds To Video Of Professor, Creationists

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Another state professor. Another rant, this time from UConn’s James Boster, Professor of Anthropology.

By Wednesday afternoon, the university put out a statement.

“Everyone has the right to exercise free speech on our campuses. At the same time, we expect our faculty to act in a way that promotes civil discourse and to express themselves respectfully. The use of abusive language and a confrontational posture are inconsistent with UConn’s values.”

Boster started at UConn in 1997. He makes $119,486 a year.


State GOP Hopes To Cash In On Professor’s Rant

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

State Republicans are hoping to cash in on the video of an Eastern Connecticut State University professor’s rant against the GOP. Elissa Voccola, the party’s executive director, sent an email the potential donors with a link to the video.

The email tells recipients that “while teaching a creative writing class, a professor at Eastern Connecticut State University said that Republicans are “racist, misogynist, money-grubbing people.”

It continues, with links to a website where donations can be made:

As a Republican, as a woman, and as a former student of a Connecticut State University, I was deeply offended by his comments. Like you, I want our state universities to be places that foster and encourage open discussion. But this professor’s comments cross the line and fall far short of the standard to which we should hold our public employees.

This is exactly the type of thing we need to fight back against. Please help our fight by sending a secure online contribution of $10, $20 or $40 today.

The reality is, this is what we’re up against. With recent college graduates in Connecticut unable to find jobs and facing mountains of debt, Democrats are resorting to offensive lies and desperate scare tactics to try to hold on to the youth vote.

But we will make sure that voters know the truth. And you can help by making a contribution to support our cause today.


Elissa Voccola
Executive Director, CT GOP

P.S. The best way to fight back is by electing Republican leaders in November. By donating today, you can help us elect Republicans up and down the ticket.

Brown Rudnick Annual Red Wine Night Thursday In A Capitol Tradition

by Categorized: Brown Rudnick Date:

In one of the longest-running Capitol traditions, the well-known lobbying and law firm of Brown Rudnick will be holding its annual “Red Wine Night” on Thursday in Hartford.

The night began with humble roots in the House Democratic caucus room on the second floor when Hartford’s Thomas D. Ritter was serving as House Speaker in the early 1990s.

Today, Ritter is a partner at Brown Rudnick, and the wine night has exploded in popularity and has become a tradition on the Capitol calendar.

The official legislative bulletin provides the details on the evening.

In very precise legal language that cites the Connecticut General Statutes, the announcement of the event states, “Red Wine Night is permissible under Connecticut ethics laws as a ‘legislative reception’ pursuant to C.G.S. Section 1-91 subsection (g) (10), and pursuant to C.G.S. Section 1-96d, the sponsors do not reasonably expect this event to be reportable pursuant to subsection (e) of section 1-96.” Continue reading

Senate Approves Bill to Add Text Messages to Do Not Call Registry

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

The state Senate gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a bill that adds unsolicited commercial text messages to the state’s “Do Not Call” registry.

Sen. Paul Doyle said the bill is an attempt to modernize the registry as communication moves from phone calls to texts.

“Over the last five or 10 years, text messages have become much more popular,” the Democrat from Wethersfield said.

Under some data plans, consumers are assessed a charge for every text message they receive. “It can cost you money in addition to being an annoyance,” Doyle said. “This bill updates our ‘Do Not Call’ registry by incorporating in text messages as a prohibited activity if the consumer opts [in.]“

Senate Bill 209 also sharply increases the fines for those who contact people on the “Do Not Call” list, from $11,000 per violation to $20,000 per violation.

It also requires telecommunications providers to give notice to consumers twice a year about how to sign up for the “Do Not Call” list
as well as how to can file a complaint with state regulators.

Bill Protecting the Health Information of Pharmacy Rewards Customers Clears State Senate

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:
Pharmacies offer a slew of perks to customers who enroll in prescription-drug rewards programs.
But in exchange for all those discounts and goodies, consumers are sometimes required to sign away their right to medical privacy guaranteed under federal law.
State lawmakers want to ensure that participants in such programs know that. “Some of our constituents may be unaware that they’re waiving their HIPAA rights,” Sen. Paul Doyle, D-Wethersfield.
On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that requires pharmacies to notify consumers, in plain language, about their medical privacy if they waive their rights under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The measure also mandates that pharmacies disclosure which third-parties will have access to the consumers’ medical information.
Doyle called the bill fair and said it is “a good piece of legislation that will provide information and knowledge to the consumer.”
The HIPAA law, passed by Congress in 1996, gives consumers the right to keep their medical information private and sets rules on who can receive such information. Medical providers who violate the law face steep fines and the possibility of prison terms.
Both CVS and Target Pharmacy require participants in their rewards programs to sign HIPAA authorization forms, although neither company defines what “HIPAA authorization” is on their websites.
Senate Bill 208 does not prohibit these types of rewards programs, Doyle said. “But it’s making the consumer aware [that] if they opt in and become a participant, what they can be giving up,” he said. In some cases, pharmacies can provide medical records third parties, who would use them for marketing, he added.
Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, urged consumers to contact their pharmacies to exactly how their reward programs work.
“I couldn’t imagine…that when you signed up for a rewards program at your pharmacy that you actually somewhere in the small print, you said, ‘Go ahead you can market the medications that I’m getting from you’ to people who may want to…sell me more things or for advertisements et cetera,” Witkos said. “This bill goes the distance to advocate for more disclosure for consumers.”


Senate Passes Compromise on Metropolitan District Fee Controversy

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: Date:

A controversy involving four towns that use some water from the Metropolitan District Commission but have no say over MDC fees and charges resulted in a Senate compromise Tuesday.

The bill approved on a 31-3 Senate vote would allow those four Greater Hartford communities to participate in commission meetings but not have any votes on MDC actions. The legislation now heads to the House for action.

The MDC provides some water to residents in portions of East Granby, Farmington, Glastonbury and South Windsor – towns that are not technically part of the Metropolitan District. The MDC recently decided to increase charges for customers in those non-member communities to help the commission pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-pollution sewer improvements.

Sen. Terry Gerratana, whose district includes portions of Farmington, said some of her constituents complained their MDC bills went from “tens of dollars into the hundreds of dollars.” Local Farmington officials were also upset that they had no input at all in the MDC decision, according to Gerratana, a Democrat from New Britain.

MCD customers in non-member towns “are willing to pay their fair share,” said Sen. Steve Cassano, a Manchester Democrat who also represents a portion of Glastonbury. He said the legislation would at least give those non-member communities some presence at commission meetings where fee decisions are made.

Cassano said the bill would mean residents in non-MDC towns would be charged the same rates and fees as people in regular MDC member towns.

The three no votes on the bill came from lawmakers representing some of the eight MDC member communities (Hartford, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Newington, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor).

Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford, said he fears that giving non-member towns even a non-voting presence at MDC deliberations could “have the unintended effect” of interfering with the commission’s ability to recover sewage improvement costs from ratepayers.




ECSU Prof Issues Apology for Anti-Republican Remarks

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Brent Terry, an adjunct professor at Eastern Connecticut State University who was caught on tape Monday making some disparaging comments about Republicans to his creative writing class, has issued an apology.

During my creative writing class yesterday, I allowed my own political opinions to color the discussion,” Terry, an adjunct professor in the English department, said in a statement distributed by the university.

“I regret the language I used and I apologize to any students in the room who were offended.  As a liberal arts university, Eastern is known for encouraging debate and discussion about a host of social and political issues. My role in my own classroom is to keep the debate lively yet respectful.  I did not meet that standard yesterday, and for that I am truly sorry,” Terry said.

GOP Responds to ECSU Prof’s Comments

by Categorized: Jerry Labriola, Larry Cafero, Republicans Date:

Anti-Republican remarks by Eastern Connecticut State University adjunct Professor Brent Terry have drawn a strong response from state Republicans.

On the floor of the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon, Minority Leader Larry Cafero called Terry’s comments offensive and urged him to apologize. He cited a rule that allows members of the chamber to make a point of personal privilege if they have been personally attacked.

“I am a firm believer in academic freedom, and I’m a firm believer that professors should have that freedom to express their views to their students,” Cafero said.

But, Cafero continued, “in many cases, certainly at a public university, students in a classroom are a captive audience. In this particular case maybe they just wanted to take a creative writing class. I find it offensive as a Republican, as a parent and frankly as a citizen of the state of Connecticut that we would have in our public universities a professor who would make such a comment.

“Because today it was about Republicans, tomorrow it could be about Democrats. Maybe the next day it could be about African Americans, Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, the list goes on and on,” said Cafero, R-Norwalk. He spoke for about three and a half minutes and his comments drew a hearty applause.

Cafero called upon the Terry to apologize to the students–and to the citizens of Connecticut. “I would hope upon reflection that Professor Terry would have the decency to apologize to his class and apologize to the state university that employs him and frankly, apologize to all citizens of the state of Connecticut for his inappropriate comment.”

Cafero added: “I would also call upon the administration of Eastern Connecticut State University to demand that apology from its adjunct professor.”

A spokesman for the university did not return an email seeking comment.

In a video obtained by Campus Reform, a website for young conservatives dedicated to exposing “bias and abuse” on college campuses, Terry is shown calling Republicans racists and misogynists.

“To refer to Republicans as ‘racist, misogynist, money-grubbing people’ is outrageous and offensive. And to make such a statement as a public employee teaching a class on creative writing at a public university is wildly inappropriate,” said Connecticut Republican party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. “Professor Terry’s attempt to indoctrinate his students constitutes a clear abuse of his position as a professor at a public university.”

Labriola called on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to look into what Labriola called a “clear abuse of a taxpayer-funded position.”


The Small Ball Session Rolls On

by Categorized: General Assembly Date:

Back in February, legislative leaders indicated the 2014 session would be dominated more by quality of life issues and less by sweeping ideological policies.

And so far, that’s exactly the way the session has played out. Unlike the frenzied 2013 session, when lawmakers approved a sweeping package of new gun control laws, this year has been markedly quiet.

With one of the most controversial bills — a proposal to give terminally ill patients the right to seek a physician’s help to end their lives — off the table, there have been no lengthy debates stretching until dawn (as happened last year, when the House talked about a bill permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses until sunrise.)

Even some potentially lengthy “talkers,” such as the bill increasing the minimum wage, were dispatched fairly briskly.

The longest debate this year may have been the April 9 Senate debate on a bill that would let nurse practitioners work independently without collaborating with doctors. The vote came at 11:10 p.m., fairly early by legislative standards.

Of course, with two weeks and a day left in the session, there’s still the potential for lengthy, late-night debates. Lawmakers still have to approve a budget, which could include a spirited debate on the future of keno and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s $55 tax rebate plan.

But lawmakers will also likely spend much of the time remaining discussing bills that would regulate telemarketers and put in place new privacy protections.