Graduates Required to Pass ‘Anti-Black Racism’ Course at University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut (UConn) will officially make its “Anti-Black Racism” (ABR) course mandatory for all undergraduate students as part of the core curriculum’s new social justice requirement.

Provost Anne D’Alleva announced on May 17 that the requirement will go into effect during the 2024-2025 academic year with a course that will be similar to the one-credit ABR elective that has been offered since 2021.

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Connecticut Republicans Seek Public Input on Bail Reform

Connecticut House Republicans are calling for a public hearing on a proposal by the state’s court system that would reduce bail for some criminal defendants, a move they argue could jeopardize public safety.

The judicial branch’s Rules Committee voted earlier this month to approve a plan to lower the percentage of bail a person must post to be released after they are arrested from 10% to 7% and increase the cap on bonds that can be posted through the court clerk’s office to $50,000 from $20,000, among other changes.

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Connecticut Supreme Court Pick Withdraws Nomination

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s pick to fill a vacancy on the state’s highest court has withdrawn her nomination amid questions about her support for women’s reproductive rights.

On Friday, Attorney Sandra Slack Glover withdrew as Lamont’s nominee for the state Supreme Court several days after the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee declined to vote on her nomination.

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Connecticut to Spend $381 Million on ‘Baby Bonds’ Program

Connecticut leaders are moving ahead with plans to establish a “baby bond” program to provide every child born into poverty in the state with a $3,200 savings account to help close a racial wealth gap.

A tentative agreement reached this week between Gov. Ned Lamont, Treasurer Erick Russell and legislative leaders calls for spending $381 million to create the “first in the nation” Baby Bonds Trust, which would provide eligible newborns with a bond that would grow in value to upwards of $24,000 over time.

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Veteran Connecticut Journalist Questions Whether Abortion Has Become ‘Connecticut’s Highest Social Good’

In the wake of news last week that Connecticut’s Wesleyan University has agreed to pay for all student abortions and emergency contraception, veteran journalist Chris Powell considers that the move by this “citadel of leftist groupthink” signals that the state may have spiraled downward to a point at which abortion has now become Connecticut’s “highest social good.”

As CT Mirror reported last week, the Wesleyan Democratic Socialists’ demands for abortion and contraception services following the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade was met with approval by the school.  

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Connecticut Lawmakers Seek to Expand Public Fraud Protections

Connecticut lawmakers are moving to expand the authority of the Attorney General’s office to fight fraud and abuse in state government.

The proposal, which passed the state Assembly on a 138-7 vote, would expand the scope of the state’s False Claims Act to allow the AG’s office to investigate fraud and other government spending abuses beyond state-administered health or human services programs.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Seek Mail Balloting Referendum

Connecticut voters may get a chance to decide whether to adopt “no excuse” mail voting with a referendum inching towards the 2024 ballot.

A proposal approved by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday seeks to ease restrictions on the use of “no-excuse” absentee ballots, a move that would allow Connecticut residents to vote by mail in federal, state and local elections.

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Connecticut Highway Tree Bill Comes with Hefty Price Tag

A Connecticut proposal to replace “hazardous” trees along the state’s highways could be axed by lawmakers over the plan’s hefty price tag.

The legislation would require the state Department of Transportation to hire private arborists to replant new trees along the Interstate 95 corridor that the agency removes as part of a public safety program to prevent collisions with motorists. 

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Maine Elementary School Skips Math, Literacy Classes to Organize Children in Black Lives Matter March

Videos and other documents obtained by Parents Defending Education (PDE) have revealed an elementary school in Portland, Maine, canceled its math and literacy classes to enable teachers to organize students in a social justice march that included children chanting “Black Lives Matter (BLM)” and waving signs.

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Connecticut Democrat Lawmaker Confirmed to Have Been Drunk When Killed by Wrong-Way Driver

Connecticut State Rep. Quentin Williams (D-Middletown), 39, was legally intoxicated when he was killed by a wrong-way driver in January, according to Connecticut House Speaker Matt Ritter (D-Hartford).

An accident investigation report yet to be released also showed that Kimede Mustafaj, 27, who had been identified as the woman who was the wrong-way driver in the crash, also died with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit and had Delta-9 THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in her system when the crash occurred, according to Hearst Connecticut Media Tuesday.

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Maine Governor’s Expert Witness for Bill to Legalize Abortion Until Birth Authorized Abortion on New Mexico Woman Who Died from Complications of Procedure

The OB/GYN tapped by Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) to champion her bill that would allow abortions up until birth has been found to have authorized the 24-week abortion of a woman who later died in Albuquerque from complications due to the procedure.

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Report: Connecticut Losing Money on Film Tax Credits

Connecticut’s film tax credit, which has doled out more than $1.5 billion to Hollywood movie studios since 2007, lost millions last year, according to a new report.

The report by the state Department of Economic and Community Development shows that Connecticut’s Film and Digital Media Production Tax Credit broke even last year, while the fiscal impact of the tax breaks amounted to a net loss of $11.5 million. 

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Connecticut Leaders Push Pension Reform Plan

Connecticut cities and towns could save tens of millions of dollars a year in pension costs under a new proposal unveiled this week by state leaders.

The plan, rolled out Wednesday, emerged from a deal between Gov. Ned Lamont and State Comptroller Sean Scanlon to overhaul the Connecticut Municipal Employees Retirement System, a state-run pension system for municipal employees, including police officers, firefighters, and public works employees.

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Massachusetts Middle School Doubles Down on Censoring 12-Year-Old’s ‘Two Genders’ Shirt

Massachusetts middle school student Liam Morrison was reportedly told again to remove his shirt Friday, one that said, “There Are Censored Genders,” which he wore to protest his school’s alleged decision to censor his right to free speech.

Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) said it is now preparing to take legal action on behalf of Liam and his parents “to vindicate Liam’s right to speak truth in a culture inundated by lies.”

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Connecticut House Republicans Unveil Alternative Budget, Tax Relief Plan

Connecticut House Republicans have unveiled a two-year, $50.7 billion budget proposal that includes more than $1.1 billion in tax relief and repeal of a new highway tax on commercial truckers. 

The plan, rolled out by the Assembly’s GOP minority caucus on Tuesday, includes a buffet of income tax cuts, tax relief of businesses and expanded tax exemptions for pension and annuity earnings, and restoration of a sales tax exemption on children’s clothing costing less than $100, among other changes.

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Connecticut State Trooper Wins $260,500 Settlement in Lawsuit Against Police Union and Department Officials

A Connecticut State Trooper won a settlement in his federal civil rights lawsuit against officials of the Connecticut State Police Union (CSPU) and Department of Emergency Services (DESPP), in which he charged them with illegally demoting him for his refusal to become a union member and to pay union dues to support CSPU’s political positions.

The trooper, Joseph Mercer, who was represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, settled the lawsuit for $260,500.

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Villanova Students Required to Read Graphic Trans Sex Scene Between Minors, Student Says

An English seminar class at Villanova University reportedly required students to read a play depicting a graphic sex scene between minors, one of whom identifies as transgender.

Jennifer Joyce teaches the Core Literature and Writing Seminar Class at Villanova, ENG 1975-020, titled Narratives of Belonging in Contemporary Irish Literature. The specific class is one of several options for students who are required to take the core seminar, though students may be forced to take the class if the other class options have been filled.

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Connecticut Gets $125 Million from Tobacco Settlement

Connecticut is receiving nearly $125 million this year as part of a nationwide tobacco settlement, according to Attorney General William Tong, who calls for increased spending on preventing youth smoking and vaping.

The money comes from a landmark 1998 settlement with tobacco companies, which calls for more than $246 billion to be funneled into states based on an annually adjusted rate per number of cigarettes sold each year. A portion of the funds are supposed to be put aside for smoking prevention and cessation programs.

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Gas Customers ‘Overcharged’ by $8 Million, Connecticut AG Says

Connecticut’s natural gas customers have been “overcharged” more than $8 million, according to Attorney General William Tong, who calls on utility regulators to order consumer rebates.

Tong said a review of the most recent earnings report by Connecticut Natural Gas, which serves about 184,000 customers, shows the company has been earning 177 basis points above its authorized return on equity of 9.3%. He said that based on the report, the company’s rates “appear well beyond what is necessary to cover their expenses.”

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Connecticut Colleges Could Face Layoffs, Cuts Under Lamont’s Budget

Connecticut’s public university system is facing the prospect of layoffs and deep cuts under the state budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which could also prompt tuition and fee hikes for students.

According to Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Terrence Cheng, who announced on Monday the public college system would be forced to eliminate more than 3,600 full and part-time jobs — including 654 layoffs — under the two-year, $51 billion spending plan being considered by state lawmakers. 

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Assisted Suicide Defeated Again in Connecticut

A Connecticut bill that would have permitted physicians to assist patients to commit suicide and, its critics say, eliminated penalties for any person who may have pressured another individual to commit suicide using the legislation’s provisions, has died in committee.

The highly controversial legislation failed to pass the Judiciary Committee Wednesday, ending hopes for a floor vote, reported the Hartford Courant.

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Hillsdale College Professor: Man’s Divine Nature Not Just a Christian Principle, But a ‘Rational’ One as Well

Hillsdale College’s associate dean for its graduate school of government in Washington, DC, told attendees at an event Friday evening in Connecticut that while the enemies of religious liberty reject that which is divine in man, that concept is not “a Christian principle, per se,” but, in fact, “a rational principle.”

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Connecticut Lawmakers Hike Spending over Gov. Lamont’s Budget Plan

Connecticut Democrats are moving ahead with a $51 billion two-year budget that includes more money for education, health care, and other priorities.

The spending plan, approved Wednesday by the Legislature’s Democratic-led Appropriations Committee, calls for boosting spending in the next fiscal year by an estimated $400 million over Gov. Ned Lamont’s preliminary budget, filed in February.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Weigh Tax Relief for Middle Income Earners

Connecticut lawmakers are looking to provide more relief for middle-income pensioners as part of a broader tax package working its way through the legislative process. 

The proposal, which is being considered by the Legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee this week, would exempt more middle-income retirees in Connecticut from paying state taxes on earnings from pensions and annuities. 

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Manhattan DA Bragg Scorched by Victims of Violent Crime During House Field Hearing in New York City

Victims of violent crime in Manhattan on Monday cast much of the blame on District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his policies, during a GOP-led House hearing in New York City on the matter.

“Repeat offenders are plaguing New York City,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan. “Our plan this Congress, has been to include field hearings in some of our greatest cities to analyze and highlight how soft on crime policies hurt families, hurt communities, hurt small business owners. … What better place to start than New York City where videos of violent, senseless attacks appear almost daily.”

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Connecticut Seeks to Replace ‘Unstable’ Voting Machines

Connecticut Secretary of State Stephanie Thomas wants to borrow $25 million to update the state’s “unreliable” voting machines ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

In recent testimony before the Legislature’s Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding, Thomas said her office is seeking authorization to purchase new ballot tabulators for cities and towns across the state. She said the machines have become “unreliable and unserviceable” with the company that produced them no longer in business. 

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Connecticut’s Early Voting Costs Could Top $9 Million

Connecticut’s embrace of early voting will make it more convenient for millions to cast a ballot, but comes with a hefty price tag for the state and local governments.

That’s according to a new report by the state’s Office of Fiscal Analysis, which determined the move could cost from $6.9 million to $9.2 million over the next several years, depending on how many days of early voting are offered. 

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Connecticut Firm Loses Appeal over Denial of Army Contract

A federal watchdog agency has denied Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft’s appeal of the U.S. Army’s rejection of the company’s bid to build the next generation of long-range assault helicopters. 

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, had filed a formal protest asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the Army’s decision to reject their bid to produce its Defiant-X helicopter under a military contract. 

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Black Market Cigarette Shipments Seized in Connecticut

Connecticut and other states have seized shipments of illegal cigarettes from China and other countries under a settlement with the U.S. Postal Service to resolve claims it wasn’t doing enough to crack down on tobacco smuggling. 

A new report by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said between January and March the Postal Service seized 3,000 packages containing a total of 10,000 cartons of cigarettes shipped from overseas in violation of federal laws. Most of the illegal shipments were mailed from China, Israel and Russia, the AG’s office said. 

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Lt. Governor: RuPaul’s Connecticut Drag Queens Make Her ‘Proud to Be From Connecticut’

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D) said she was “proud to be from Connecticut” as she appeared with four Democrat state lawmakers on Friday night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race where four drag queens with ties to the Constitution State were present.

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Hillsdale College’s Blake Center to Expand Events After Local Zoning Board Clearance

Hillsdale College’s Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers, Connecticut, received clearance from the town’s zoning commission to expand its offering of events and increase the number of people who attend them. The executive director of the Blake Center, which is a replica of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, spoke with The Star News Network about the zoning commission’s unanimous approval of a modified special-use permit that will allow Hillsdale to increase the number of allowed guests at the center’s seminars and other events to 75.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Resurrect Transportation Climate Plan

Connecticut lawmakers are advancing a climate change bill that critics say would give the state broad authority to raise gasoline taxes and take other aggressive steps to reduce tailpipe emissions. 

The proposal, which was recently approved by the Legislature’s Environmental Committee, would empower the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to implement climate change policies aimed at helping Connecticut reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gases to 80% of 2001 levels by 2050.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Advancing Lamont’s Gun Control Bills

Connecticut lawmakers are advancing Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposal to close “loopholes” in the state’s gun control laws in response to a spate of mass shootings nationwide.

The legislation, which is teed up for a vote in the state Legislature, would tighten the state’s ban on “ghost” guns, increase the minimum age to buy a firearm to 21, prohibit open carry in public, ban the bulk purchase of handguns and expand the state’s restriction on large-capacity firearm magazines, among other changes.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Weigh Plans to Expand Affordable Housing

Connecticut lawmakers are taking aim at restrictive local zoning laws as part of a broader effort to address the state’s affordable housing crunch, but the move faces pushback from critics who say it would usurp local authority. 

A proposal that’s being considered by the state Assembly would require cities and towns to conduct assessments on the need for affordable housing in their communities and come up with plans and zoning for a set number of units of affordable housing, based on the needs of the region. 

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Connecticut’s Health Care Costs Jumped Past Benchmarks

Connecticut’s health care expenses increased by 6% to $34 billion in 2021, according to a new report, exceeding a goal set by Gov. Ned Lamont to limit the state’s cost growth.

The first annual Connecticut Healthcare Cost Growth Benchmark report said the state spent $34 billion on health care and insurance costs in 2021, up from $31.9 billion in 2019 and $30.9 billion in 2020. That’s higher than the 3.4% growth benchmark set by the Lamont administration three years ago.

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Connecticut Seeks to Reduce Solid Waste Costs

Connecticut trucks hundreds of thousands of tons of solid waste to landfills in other states, which costs the state and taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

Gov. Ned Lamont has pitched a plan to reduce the amount of waste going to other states by increasing recycling and requiring manufacturers to reduce packaging materials, but the effort has faced pushback from the solid waste industry and some lawmakers. 

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Connecticut State Workers Set to Receive $45 Million in Pandemic Bonuses

Tens of thousands of Connecticut state workers will be getting bonuses after a labor arbiter awarded them more than $45 million in pandemic-related back pay.

The ruling by Arbitrator Susan Meredith, which must be approved by the Connecticut General Assembly, would provide bonuses from $250 to $2,834 for employees in high-risk jobs, which include police, firefighters and state-run nursing homes. Workers in lower-risk jobs would receive bonuses ranging from $125 to $1,417, under the ruling.

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Connecticut Weighs Bipartisan Plan to Move Presidential Primary

A proposal to move Connecticut’s presidential primary date is being pushed by an unlikely alliance between leaders of the state’s two largest political parties.

The legislation, if approved, would change the state’s presidential primary date to the first Tuesday in April, which in the next nominating cycle would be April 2, 2024. Under the current law, the primary is held on the last Tuesday, which would be April 30, 2024 in the next cycle.

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Thousands of Pro-Life Activists Reject More Abortions in Connecticut

Pro-life Connecticut activists gathered Wednesday in Hartford at the Capitol building for the second annual March for Life to celebrate life from conception to natural death and to demonstrate against more abortions that could come if two proposals are approved.

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Connecticut Black Democrat Keynotes March for Life, Celebrates ‘Many Black Pro-Life Women Across the World’

Thousands of Connecticut residents attended the second annual March for Life Wednesday where they heard state Rep. Treneé McGee (D-West Haven) assert she is not an “anomaly,” since “one in three Democrats are pro-life and there are many black pro-life women across the world.”

McGee, who also addressed the tens of thousands of pro-life activists at the national March for Life in Washington, D.C. in January, urged her fellow Connecticut residents at the state Capitol in Hartford to help “create a culture of life.”

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Lamont’s Health Care Cost-Cutting Plans Face Pushback

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan to control health care costs in the state is facing blowback over claims it would cost hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. 

Lamont’s proposal, which is being considered by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health, calls for reducing costs that often get tacked on to consumers’ medical bills, such as facility fees that charge patients for the use of medical and hospital offices during treatments, which he says would save the state’s consumers $400 million a year.

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Rachel Levine Promises Idea of Transgender Children Will Soon Be Normalized, Has ‘Highest Support’ of Biden Administration

Transgender Assistant Secretary for Health for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Rachel Levine recently praised the work of children’s hospitals, such as Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) in Hartford, for their “gender-affirming care” clinics that provide children and teens with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and transgender surgeries, such as elective double mastectomies.

Levine (born Richard Levine) told a very welcoming audience at CCMC’s Pediatric Grand Rounds in February that “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex Americans, especially our youth … need our attention because they’re being attacked and … are attempting suicide at an alarming rate.”

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Connecticut Man Arrested for Threats Against Tennessee Library That Hosted Kirk Cameron Story Hour

The Hendersonville Police Department reported Thursday that a Connecticut man had been taken into custody by the Connecticut State Police as the suspect for threats made against the Hendersonville Public Library, where its director Allan Morales was recently fired.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Weigh Tax Breaks to Expand Affordable Housing

Connecticut lawmakers are debating a plan that would offer property tax relief to senior citizens who agree to deed-restrict their homes as affordable housing.

The proposal, which cleared a key vote by the Legislature’s Housing Committee earlier this month, would allow seniors with household incomes of up to 80% of the area median income to “opt-in” to a program that deed-restricts their homes as affordable. In exchange, they wouldn’t be required to pay local property taxes. 

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Connecticut Lawmakers Push for Repeal of Trucker Tax

Connecticut lawmakers are pushing to repeal or scale back a new mileage tax on tractor trailers that went into effect earlier this year amid the threat of a legal challenge over the requirements. 

The new law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, requires commercial truckers to pay rates ranging from 2.5 cents per mile for trucks with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds to 10 cents per mile for trucks weighing 80,000 pounds. Trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds are slated to pay 17.5 cents per mile under the new regulations.

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Connecticut Parents Battle Bill to Mandate Comprehensive Sex Ed in Government Schools

Gender ideology and activities asking students about their favorite sex acts will be considered “age appropriate” in all Connecticut government schools if a bill mandating Comprehensive Sex Education is passed by the state legislature and signed into law, pro-family activists say.

Senate Bill 1 would mandate “comprehensive sex education that is age and developmentally appropriate and includes, but is not limited to, instruction about affirmative consent,” and would require the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) to recommend the curriculum for such “education.”

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Connecticut Sues Rest Stop Owner over Worker Wages

Connecticut’s top law enforcement officer is taking aim at a rest stop operator with a legal challenge alleging it cheated food service workers out of wages they were owed. 

The lawsuit, filed by Attorney General William Tong, claims plaza operator Food Project LLC owes workers at Dunkin Donuts, Subway and other rest stop businesses collectively more than $2.7 in lost wages for underpaying them under state labor laws. 

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Connecticut Sues Firearm Companies over ‘Ghost Gun’ Parts

Connecticut has filed a lawsuit against several gun manufacturers, accusing them of violating state law by selling components that are used to build untraceable ‘ghost’ guns.

The civil lawsuit, announced by Attorney General William Tong Tuesday, targets four out-of-state firearm companies accusing them of violating the state’s consumer protection laws, which carry fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

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Connecticut Weighs Plan to Tax Private College Endowments

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a proposal that would authorize local governments to tax the endowments of private universities and colleges. 

The proposal, which is pending before the Legislature’s Committee on Planning and Development, is the latest effort by Democratic lawmakers to tap into multi-billion dollar private endowments to divert more money to cities and towns that host sprawling private higher education campuses and facilities.  

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