Former Yale Student Accused of Rape Can Sue His Accuser for Defamation, Court Rules

A former Yale student who was acquitted of rape in 2018, and later kicked out of the college, can sue his accuser for defamation over statements the accuser made during a school hearing, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in June, according to the New York Post.

Saifullah Khan sued Yale in 2019 for $110 million, and has been attempting to bring his accuser into the lawsuit, according to the Post. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled ruled that he can sue the accuser, and that she shouldn’t received “qualified immunity,” which prevents people from being sued over statements in judicial cases, from her testimony that Khan raped her in 2015.

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Connecticut’s Indexed Minimum Wage to Rise in 2024

Wages will rise for hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers in Connecticut next year under a 2019 law that pegs the state’s minimum wage to the federal employment index. 

Beginning Jan. 1, Connecticut’s wage floor will rise from $15.00 per hour to $15.69 per hour as a result of the state’s first-ever economic indicator adjustment. 

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Connecticut Health Exchange Plans to Rise by 9.4 Percent

The cost of health insurance plans offered through Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act Exchange will increase next year by nearly double digits, state insurance regulators said.  

The Connecticut Insurance Department has approved a 9.4% proposed rate increase for health insurers for plans available on and off Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange.

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Group Drops Anti-Affirmative Action Lawsuit Against Yale After Compromise

The group responsible for the nationwide overturning of affirmative action has dropped its lawsuit challenging the race-based admissions policies of Yale University.

According to Politico, Students for Fair Admissions (SFA) came to an agreement with the Ivy League school in which they would voluntarily drop their lawsuit, in exchange for Yale making several changes to its admissions policies prior to the Fall 2023 undergraduate application season.

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Connecticut Picks Up Health Care Costs for Paraeducators

Connecticut taxpayers will be covering some health care costs for thousands of paraeducators as the state seeks to fill workforce shortages in public schools.

A new program rolled out Wednesday by state Comptroller Sean Scanlon includes a one-time $5 million subsidy that will help pay paraeducators’ health insurance bills not covered by local school districts. 

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Ramaswamy Blasts DeSantis ‘Monster PAC’ Following Report of Fake News Dirty Politics

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is blasting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and “Monster PAC” following a report exposing the political action committee\’s campaign in “spreading dirt” and “misstatements” about the poll-rising Ramaswamy.

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Yale University Seeks African American Studies Professor Versed in ‘Feminist and Queer Studies’

Yale University is seeking a “Global Black and African Diaspora Studies“ tenured associate professor well-versed in topics such as ”African/diasporic queer and feminist activism” and “transnational feminist and queer studies” to begin July 1, 2024.

“The Program seeks candidates whose research and teaching focus on the formations and lived experiences of Blackness, with emphasis on global, comparative, indigenous, or transnational perspectives drawn from African, Indigenous, Asian, Middle Eastern, European, or Latin American and Caribbean contexts,” the job posting by the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Department states.

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Connecticut Attorney General’s Office Receives Criticism for Poor Fiscal Management

Connecticut’s top law enforcement office is being faulted for poor accounting practices that have cost the state millions of dollars in unretrievable debt and allowing unauthorized overtime that tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report by the state Auditors of Public Accounts, released Wednesday, found that an estimated $10 million owed to the AG’s office and other state agencies from court settlements and other receivables is “unrecoverable” and cited decades of lax accounting practices for the loss of revenue to state coffers.

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Connecticut Police Union Votes ‘No Confidence’ in Leadership

The union representing Connecticut state troopers has taken a vote of “no confidence” in the police agency’s leadership, citing their response to the controversy over a phony ticket scandal.

The union spells out its grievances in a scathing letter to State Police Commissioner James Rovella and Deputy Commissioner Colonel Stavros Mellekas, accusing them of fostering “an environment of mistrust” in the agency and that has “failed to protect their Troopers” and of making decisions “based on self-preservation.”

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Connecticut Bans Harvest of Horseshoe Crabs

Connecticut has banned the harvesting of horseshoe crabs along its coastline amid concerns about the ecological health of the species, which is prized for its life-saving blue blood.

The ban, approved by the state Legislature, outlaws horseshoe crab hand harvesting beginning on October 1. Anyone caught violating the law faces a $25 fine for each crab harvested. There are exemptions for scientific and medical purposes if it is determined that doing so will not harm the overall horseshoe crab population.

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Connecticut Taps Federal Pandemic Funds for Free School Meals

Connecticut is tapping into federal funding to provide hundreds of thousands of public school students with free breakfast and lunch.

The state Department of Education announced that $16 million of funding the state received from the American Rescue Plan Act will be diverted to Connecticut’s free school meals program for the 2023-2024 school year, allowing students to get free meals regardless of their family’s income.

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Appeals Court Upholds Connecticut Ban on Religious Exemptions

A federal appeals court has upheld a 2021 Connecticut law banning religious exemptions for immunization requirements for schools, colleges and early education, but critics of the restrictions are vowing to take their case to the Supreme Court.

In the 2-1 ruling issued on Friday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling that rejected a lawsuit challenging the repeal of the state’s long-held religious exemptions to childhood vaccines. 

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Connecticut AG and 13 Other AGs Want Action on ‘Plastic Pollution Crisis’

Fourteen state attorneys general asked the Biden Administration to do more to “combat the plastic pollution crisis.”

An Aug. 3 media release, the group stated, “Plastic does not fully degrade, instead breaking down into smaller pieces called microplastics, which have been found in drinking water, food, air, and even human blood and living lung tissue.”

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Connecticut and Other States Weigh In Against Idaho’s Abortion ‘Travel Ban’

Washington state’s attorney general is among 20 attorneys general to have filed legal arguments in a federal lawsuit challenging Idaho’s law that makes it illegal to either obtain abortion pills for a minor or to help them leave the state for an abortion without their parents’ knowledge and consent. 

In a Tuesday news release, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the collective states’ amicus brief is in support of a lawsuit filed last month in U.S. District Court against Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador. The plaintiffs allege that Labrador’s interpretation of the law threatens to punish medical providers and residents outside Idaho’s borders for giving information and assistance to minors about legal abortion access in their states.

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Connecticut to Phase Out Fossil-Fuel Vehicles by 2035

Connecticut will join a handful of states in banning the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2035, but critics say the dramatic shift to electric vehicles will be costly for consumers and could impact energy supplies.

On Wednesday, second-term Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont rolled out new regulations that will require car manufacturers to ramp up sales of electric vehicles in Connecticut leading to a ban on the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2035.

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Connecticut Gov. Lamont Hires Former U.S. Attorney to Probe Police Ticket Scandal

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has tapped a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation of allegations that state police may have issued hundreds of “fake” tickets.

Lamont said he has hired former U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly to investigate allegations outlined in a recent audit by a taxpayer-funded group that reviews police records to look for racial bias in law enforcement activities. Lamont said the inquiry seeks to determine “how and why the misconduct occurred” and why it went undetected for years.

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Connecticut Utility Regulators Reject Proposed Rate Increase

Connecticut utility regulators have rejected a proposed rate increase by one of the state’s largest utilities, which was seeking another $130 million from energy consumers. 

The state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority turned down a request from United Illuminating to increase electric rates by nearly $131 million over the next three years. Instead, the agency approved a rate increase of just over $2 million for next year, which is still subject to final approval by the PURA board.

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Connecticut Governor Signs into Law Four Bills Protecting Access to Abortion, Contraception, and Transgender Medical Treatments

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D) signed into law a series of bills Wednesday that seeks to protect abortion rights and access to both contraception and college students’ transgender drugs and surgeries.

In an official statement, Lamont also noted the new Connecticut laws counter those in Republican-led states that have sought to protect unborn life from abortion, and teens from life-altering transgender drugs and surgeries.

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Federal Judge Rejects Challenge to Connecticut’s Ban on Firearms in Parks

A federal judge has tossed a challenge to a Connecticut law banning firearms in state parks, saying the lawsuit lacks standing because the regulation isn’t enforced.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Janet Bond Arterton, issued on Wednesday, upholds a more than a century-old Connecticut law prohibiting lawfully licensed firearm owners from packing in state parks and wildlife preserves. 

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Acquitted Yale Student Can Sue Rape Accuser for Defamation: Court

A former Yale University student who beat back rape accusations can sue his accuser for defamation, the State of Connecticut Supreme Court ruled recently.

Saifullah Khan’s lawsuit can proceed after the court ruled on June 27 that the former Yalie, who was expelled, can sue his accuser because the university’s sexual assault proceedings did not resemble actual judicial procedures.

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Tax Cut on Beer to Support Connecticut Craft Brewers

Connecticut’s craft beer makers are getting a break on their excise tax bill as part of a broader measure aimed at fostering the brewing industry.

The state’s excise tax on beer dropped by 16.7% beginning on July 1, which lowered the tax on a 31-gallon barrel of beer to $6, from $7.20 previously, and the excise tax on wine from $0.24 to $0.20 per gallon.

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Connecticut Truckers Tax Revenue Below Expectations

Connecticut is coming up short on revenue from a controversial highway tax on truckers, with the state bringing in less money than expected during the first few months of the new levy.

Figures from the state Department of Revenue Services show the Highway Use Tax generated only $18.6 million from January through April, roughly half of what state budget writers had anticipated. 

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Connecticut Bans Utilities from Charging for Lobbying Costs

Connecticut has joined a handful of states banning utilities from passing on the costs of lobbying the state government to energy consumers.

A new law, tucked into a package of bills signed by Gov. Ned Lamont last week, will prevent large investor-owned utilities from recovering the costs associated with lobbying, as well as legal fees, memberships, dues or contributions to a business or industry trade associations or groups, among other changes. 

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Connecticut Baby Born at 22 Weeks Is ‘Story of Hope’ as She Survives Odds and Is Discharged Home

The smallest baby ever born at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, was celebrated by staff across the hospital as she was discharged last week following four months in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“Born at just 22 weeks, Baby Zahraliz Francis Angueira, the smallest baby ever born at Saint Francis Hospital, graduated from our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after four months and headed home today!” the hospital posted to Instagram. “Our colleagues from across the hospital gathered to provide well wishes to the family and celebrate their story of hope.”

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Report: New England’s Embrace of Electric Vehicles, Infrastructure

by Brent Addleman   Five of six New England states have earned praise through a new report examining electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Massachusetts led the way in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s report “2023 State Transportation Electrification Scorecard,” just edging out Vermont in the newest rankings. “We…

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Connecticut Lawmakers Push for Military Funding

Members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation are touting hundreds of millions of dollars for the state in a new military spending bill.

The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations last week, includes more than $331 billion for Connecticut submarine building facilities and veterans’ services, according to lawmakers who pushed for the funding.

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Connecticut Gov. Lamont Signs Healthcare Costs Containment Bill

Gov. Ned Lamont has signed a bill to reel in Connecticut’s rising healthcare costs through stronger regulation of hospitals and drug prices.

The legislation, signed on Tuesday, calls for banning the use of anti-competitive healthcare contracting practices, improving transparency in pricing for medical treatments, limits on hospital “facility fees” and multi-state bulk purchasing program to lower prescription drug costs, among other changes.

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Connecticut U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro Draws Fire for Claiming Church Teachings Allow Catholics to Embrace Abortion

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) has fueled the ire of many Catholics for asserting the teachings of the Catholic faith justify her claim that Catholics may support and promote ending the lives of unborn babies.

“I am a Catholic—baptized, raised, and confirmed,” DeLauro tweeted. “The fundamental tenets of my faith compel me to defend a women’s right to access abortion. I am proudly part of the faithful large majority of US Catholics who support legal protections for abortion access.”

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New England Nets $1 Billion in Federal Broadband Funding

New England communities unserved and underserved in high-speed internet are sharing more than $1.097 billion in federal funding.

From $42.45 billion of high-speed internet grants in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, Maine will receive $271 million, Vermont $228 million, New Hampshire $196 million, Massachusetts $147 million, Connecticut $144 million and Rhode Island $108 million.

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Connecticut Attorney General Probes Theft-Prone Vehicles

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has launched a consumer protection investigation into automakers Hyundai and Kia after hundreds of the vehicles have been stolen across the country.

As part of the investigation, announced on Wednesday, Tong seeks records and information on certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles sold in Connecticut, including complaints, internal reports on the company’s decision-making, and anti-theft software and internal communications.

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Psychiatrist Who Called Trump Supporters Mentally Ill Loses in Court Against Yale

Former Yale University volunteer and researcher Bandy Lee has lost yet another lawsuit against the school in relation to the non-renewal of her agreement with her.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a prior ruling that found Yale acted lawfully when it decided not to renew an agreement with Lee, who had an unpaid role at the Ivy League university.

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University of Connecticut Hosts Second Annual ‘Queer Science Conference’ for High Schoolers to ‘Celebrate Science – and Themselves’

The University of Connecticut (UConn) celebrated Pride Month by hosting its second annual “Queer Science Conference” June 4th, which is offered “to give queer and trans youth role models in various STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] fields.”

According to an online recap, the one-day event “connected high school students with LGBTQIA+ faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students at UConn who work in STEM disciplines, offering community and mentorship as well as state-of-the-art laboratory experiences and opportunities for hands-on science demonstrations.”

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Connecticut Makes Cocktails To-Go Policy Permanent

Connecticut diners will be able to get drinks to go permanently, with the state becoming the latest to make the COVID-19 pandemic-related policy law.

A measure signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday codifies emergency regulations several years ago during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing restaurants to sell beer, wine and cocktails with takeout and delivery orders.

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Connecticut Seeks to Tighten Robocall Rules for Telemarketers

Connecticut is taking aim at telemarketers accused of bombarding the state’s consumers with hundreds of millions of ‘robocalls’ every year.

The state’s General Assembly approved a proposal last week that would expand the state’s anti-robocall statutes to cover text messages, ban “gateway” voice over internet protocol providers from facilitating overseas scammers’ access to the U.S. telecom networks and allow for enforcement action against calls received by Connecticut area codes, regardless of where they originate. 

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Connecticut Gov. Lamont Signs Budget with Historic Income Tax Cut

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is touting a $51 billion, two-year state budget that includes the “largest” income tax cut in state history.

The spending plan, which he signed on Monday after winning approval from the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, increases state spending by about 7.5% over the next two fiscal years but keeps the expenditures under the state’s cap on spending. 

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Regulators Vow to Scrutinize Connecticut’s Health Exchange Rate Hikes

The cost of health insurance plans offered through Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act Exchange could increase next year with private insurers seeking double digit rate increases.

The Connecticut Insurance Department said it has received 10 proposed rate increase filings from health insurers for plans that will be available on and off Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange.

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Connecticut Gov. Lamont Signs Bill Authorizing Early Voting

Connecticut has become the latest state to authorize early voting in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic under a bill signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday. 

The measure, which cleared the state Legislature last week, authorizes a 14-day early voting period for general elections, a seven-day period for primaries, and a four-day early voting period for special elections and presidential primaries. 

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Connecticut Lawmakers Approve $7.5 Billion Borrowing Plan

Connecticut’s General Assembly passed a $7.5 billion two-year bond package on Wednesday, sending the package to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk on the final day of the legislative session. 

The plan, approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature on a bipartisan vote, includes borrowing authorization for up to $5 billion for transportation, housing, capital projects and public schools over the next two fiscal years. 

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Connecticut Gov. Lamont Signs Gun Control Legislation

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has signed a sweeping gun control law that bans open carry of firearms and further tightens the state’s existing restrictions on military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The Democratic-led measure, signed by Lamont on Tuesday, limits handgun purchases to three per month, raises the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 and regulates the sale of body armor to civilians, among other provisions.

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Connecticut LGBTQ Activists Lure Children and Teens with ‘Pride’ Month Events

The LGBTQ activist group known as Stamford Pride is offering events over the next several weeks to further draw children, teens, and their families into acceptance of gender ideology.

In partnership with professional association for design AIGA, Stamford Pride will host events such as the “Rainbow Rave” on Friday night, a “Drag Brunch” on June 17, and “Gayme Night” on June 27.

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Connecticut Moves to Ban Child Marriages

Connecticut could become the latest state to outlaw child marriage, a practice that child welfare advocates say usually involves coercing vulnerable youths into unwanted unions.

A proposal unanimously approved by the state Senate on Friday would set a minimum age for marriage at 18, with no exceptions, and require clerks or magistrates to get proof of age from people seeking marriage licenses. The bill was approved on a 98-45 bipartisan vote last month in the House of Representatives. Gov. Ned Lamont is expected to sign it. 

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Connecticut Lawmakers Approve Early Voting

Connecticut voters would get up to two weeks early voting ahead of federal and state elections under a proposal headed for Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk for consideration.

The legislation, which passed the Democratic-controlled state Senate Tuesday on a 27-7 vote, authorizes a 14-day early voting period for general elections, a seven-day period for primaries, and a four-day early voting period for special elections and presidential primaries. Lamont has pledged to sign the bill, which the House previously approved.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Advance Gun Control Measure

Connecticut lawmakers are advancing a wide-ranging package of gun control measures billed as the most significant changes since the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre.

The Democratic-led proposal, approved by the state House of Representatives Thursday on a largely party-line vote of 96-51, calls for prohibiting the open carry of firearms and further tightening the state’s existing restrictions on military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. 

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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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