<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut Political News, NY and CT Politics, and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sun, 29 Mar 2015 19:53:30 -0400 Sun, 29 Mar 2015 19:53:30 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[State Officials Consider “Yes Means Yes” Bill]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:35:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/College-student-generic-bac.jpg

The Connecticut state legislature is considering the so-called “Yes Means Yes” bill to set a standard on college campuses on what it means to consent to sex.

The purpose of the bill is to help curb sexual assault and intimate partner violence at schools and universities.

The bill defines affirmative consent and makes it each student’s responsibility to ensure that the other consented to sexual activity.

Lawmakers have also defined affirmative consent as “active, informed, unambiguous and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person that is sustained throughout the sexual activity and may be revoked at any time by any person.”

It takes into effect whether the students are intoxicated, unconscious, asleep, unable to communicate, incapacitated and more.

Senator Mae Flexer, a Democrat from Killingly, and State Rep. Gregory Haddad, a Democrat from Mansfield, held a news conference on Friday about the bill, Senate Bill 636, which passed the Higher Education Committee on Wednesday with a vote of 14-to-3 vote and now heads to the state Senate.

The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women said they love the bill, but raised objections to committee discussion on parts of the bill, specifically the notion that women frequently lie about being victims of unwanted sexual activity, they said.

They also objected to any implication that “mild” forms of unwanted sexual activity might be permissible and that prior consent could be a greenlight for future sexual advances, even if unwanted.

“While not wishing to cast any doubt on the sincerity of our elected officials in crafting public policy for the good of all, the PCSW believes that the tone of this publically broadcast committee meeting indicates we need a better framework for discussing sexual violence against women, an issue which has direct, severe, and long-term implications for our educational, social and public safety climates,” the commission said in a news release.
 

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<![CDATA[Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz Speaks in NH]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:22:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cruz-AP938170470053.jpg

Just days after making his presidential candidacy official, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is in New Hampshire for a two-day swing.

Cruz was the first major candidate to announce a run for president. He made the announcement on Monday at Liberty University in Virginia.

On Friday, he attended a rally in Merrimack, New Hampshire, at 3 p.m.

He's also scheduled to speak later in the day at the "New England Freedom Conference" in Nashua, being held by the Young Americas Foundation. On Saturday, he is scheduled to speak at a brunch being hosted by the Rockingham County Republican Committee and the Seacoast Republican Women.

Cruz has made four previous visits to the Granite State with more than a dozen individual stops dating back to 2014. See those visits and more in NECN's New Hampshire Candidate Tracker. 



Photo Credit: FILE - AP Photo/Andrew Harnik]]>
<![CDATA[Major Property Tax Bill Faces Opposition]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:20:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/car+generic+1.jpg

A proposal from the top member of the Connecticut Senate faces some renewed opposition just a day before it could be sent to the state's powerful Finance Committee.

State Sen. Martin Looney's Senate Bill 1 would create a statewide property tax that the state would collect on cars. It would also include other taxes managed by a Regional Council of Governments that would, in effect, act as a county tax collection system for multiple towns.

"This is the kind of thing Connecticut has been missing that's been holding our state back," said Looney, a Democrat from New Haven, during an interview Thursday.

Looney said the lack of a regional government has led to lawsuits between towns and cities that have curbed development.

"This is a progressive measure," Looney said.

Opponents to the idea have started to line up against both the car tax element and the regional council proposal.

"We got rid of them in 1960 for a reason," State Rep. Gail Lavielle, a Republican from Wilton, said of the counties. "I think it will take the local control away from them and how their property taxes are spent."

On the car tax issue, towns and cities depend on more than $700 million from the tax each year, according to the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, which represents more than 150 towns and cities in the state.

The mill rate in each town varies and that has led to wide ranges of car taxes in Connecticut.

"This is absolutely a fairness argument," Looney said of his proposal. "A car is a car is car. It has the same value no matter what part of the state it’s in. And yet we have to factor it differently."

The funds would be collected by the state – a new development – then sent back to towns and cities at the rates at which they collect property taxes currently.

Ron White handles policy and advocacy for CCM and says any change to the car tax, and even having the state collect it, could be very harmful to town budgets.

"The state is saying, 'Send revenue to the state and then we promise we’ll send it back to towns,' and there’s been a history of the state not really being able to fulfill that promise," White said. "You know, they take out a little bit at a time and before you know it they’re taking out quite a bit for administrative and other costs."

The bill is expected to be voted on tomorrow in the Planning Committee.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Deficit Looms as Top Officials Bicker Over Budget]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:12:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+capitol+building.jpg

At $190 million, the most recent deficit projection from the state Office of Fiscal Analysis puts the state on a crash course for a deficit mitigation plan.

But the governor's Office of Policy and Management doesn't agree with that figure. Just last week, the OPM estimated the state's budget shortfall to be $133 million.

Now Democratic Comptroller Kevin Lembo says the state has to get ready for a difficult time ahead.

"I think generally it is as bad as everyone is saying. It’s just a question of how bad is it really?" Lembo said Thursday.

Given the timing of the estimates and the high deficit projections, Lembo says the situation is getting serious. He will release his latest projection on April 1, and the projection from his office carries the most weight.

"The trigger is $175.9 million, so we are pretty close. It’s the comptroller’s number under current law that would trigger the 1 percent rule that would compel the governor to communicate with the legislature to put together a mitigation plan in this fiscal year," Lembo cautioned.

The discrepancies between OPM and OFA fueled bickering between the state's top Republican leaders and an official in Gov. Dannel Malloy's administration Thursday.

State Sen. Len Fasano, a Republican who represents North Haven, referred to the governor's handling of the budget as "childish" during a press conference.

State Rep. Themis Klarides, a Republican from Derby, added to the criticism.

"Listen, we hope every day that all of these numbers increase, of course we do. But hoping and dealing with reality are two different things," she said, of the governor's budget strategy.

The governor's budget chief, Benjamin Barnes, defended his office's estimates, saying that April tax receipts will provide a more accurate picture of the state's deficit.

Malloy's Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian didn't hold back criticizing Republicans with a scathing statement.

"The only thing that’s childish is the comedy show of the GOP," he wrote. "Apparently press releases are the only thing they’re able to put down on paper, so until they publicly release a real, detailed budget of their own, they can’t be taken seriously."

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<![CDATA[CA Attorney General Moves to End Anti-Gay Initiative]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:44:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/file-kamala-harris-ca-ag.jpg

California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked a state court on Wednesday for permission to reject a proposed ballot initiative stipulating that anyone who engages in gay sex be killed.

Harris issued a statement saying she was making the unusual request to stop the measure filed by a Southern California lawyer late last month. The initiative seeks to amend the California penal code to make sex with a person of the same gender an offense punishable by "bullets to the head or by any other convenient method." The distribution of gay "propaganda" would be punishable by a $1 million fine or banishment from the state.

"This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society," Harris said.

Matthew McLaughlin, the Orange County lawyer who paid $200 to submit the initiative, did not respond to a telephone call seeking comment. A Democratic state senator, Ricardo Lara, has asked the California bar to investigate whether McLaughlin's actions make him unfit to practice law.

The measure puts Harris in a difficult position. Although the bill has no discernible momentum or likely chance of success, she said unless a judge rules otherwise, she will have no choice but to give McLaughlin the go-ahead to seek the nearly 366,000 votes needed to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot.

California is one of 21 states where citizens can petition to have laws put on the ballot through the gathering of voter signatures. Under California's initiative process, state officials do not have authority to refuse to administer initiatives they find objectionable, the California Supreme Court has ruled. Although few of the dozens submitted to the attorney general each year make it on the ballot, the ease with which a resident with a pet peeve can gain clearance to circulate their proposals while seeking signatures has prompted calls for reform.

University of California, Davis law professor Floyd Feeney, an expert on California's initiative process, said Harris alone cannot impede the proposed law. And despite the numerous legal problems with McLaughlin's proposal, Feeney said he was not convinced a court would agree to halt it at this stage.

"The courts, rightly or wrongly, treat the initiative as sort of the citizen right and they are reluctant to get involved in trying to get rid of it, at least in advance, by using the law to keep something from being presented to the electorate," he said.

On Wednesday, a Southern California real estate agent, Charlotte Laws, countered the so-called "Sodomite Suppression Act" with an initiative of her own. Titled the Intolerant Jackass Act, it would require anyone who proposes an initiative calling for the killing of gays and lesbians to attend sensitivity training and make a $5,000 donation to a pro-LGBT group.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Variety]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Mayor Toni Harp to Seek Re-Election]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:05:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+mayor+toni+harp+1.jpg

New Haven Toni Harp has launched a campaign website and filed the necessary paperwork to run for re-election later this year.

The mayor, who was in Washington on Monday, hasn't formally announced her run, but supporters said she filed with the clerk's office in order to begin the fundraising process and work toward building campaign staff.

The filing comes less than two years after Harp first won the seat. Her opponent in the 2013 race, Justin Elicker, said that while there are some things he may have done differently, he thinks she’s doing a good job in office. Elicker will not be running in the 2015 race.

"She's really put her all into things. She's visible around the city. I see her at many meetings and many events around the city, so she clearly really cares about the job and wants to do her best to improve the city," said Elicker.

That's the sentiment felt by many New Haven residents.

"She is a very good person. She's been doing a lot for the community," said Jhamal Gallimore.

Downtown businesses have been happy with the way snow removal was handled this winter. And it's not lost on residents that overall violent crime, and specifically shootings, has gone down since Harp has been in office.

"It's calmed down a lot, so I think she's doing a very good job," said Angie Suggs.

Some say, however, it's still too soon to judge how Harp has left her mark on the Elm City.

"I think it takes time for their actions to actually have an effect on the community they're serving," said David Cooke.

Harp is expected to make a formal announcement about her re-election campaign soon.

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<![CDATA[Tax Hikes on Table to Balance State Budget]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 20:25:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+capitol+building.jpg

The chairman of the General Assembly's Finance Committee says "everything is on the table" in order to balance the state's budget, and that could include higher taxes for the wealthy.

When asked directly about a possible tax on those who earn more than $1 million per year, State Rep. Jeff Berger, of Waterbury, said it's a possibility.

"I’m not going to say that’s going to happen. There’s no guarantee that that will happen, but the discussion is that everything is on the table and that we’ll review it and see what becomes feasible," he explained.

Sources said the notion of a tax on millionaires has been floated privately by Democrats and some Republicans in the Legislative Office Building.

State Sen. Rob Kane, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said tax hikes at the current time are not the answer.

"I certainly think this administration and this Democrat-led majority has not met a tax it didn’t like," said Kane, who represents Watertown.

Kane said the governor's proposed cuts to social services will eventually be restored, but said that doesn't mean Democrats have a long-term solution to bolstering programs like Medicaid.

"We on our side of the aisle want to provide that safety net but do it in a better fashion, and the way to do that is by giving it to more private providers, community action agencies, faith-based organizations," said Kane. "That’s how you save money and still get better results and outcomes from the people you serve."

Berger said the budget, as it always does, will look very different in June than the one that Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed in February. He stopped short of criticizing it and saying it would be scrapped, but did say changes are coming.

"I think he presented a document and his constitutional charge has been achieved. It’s up to the legislature now to review that document and come up with an alternative," said Berger. "I will say that it is my strong belief that the document will have a different look on it once we’ve completed this process."

Berger said he's had conversations specifically about allowing Keno in Connecticut and that lawmakers are considering the possibility of expanding gambling in the state.

"We’re looking at Keno. If we’re going to allow gaming to move beyond reservations, then we cannot disregard our Connecticut Lottery, which is a thriving business," he said.

On supporting social services, Berger said his committee will look to keep them whole.

"I think the budget that has been presented to us has some flaws and certainly on a delivery of service to those people that need it the most," he said.

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<![CDATA[Bill Would Create Political "Do-Not-Call" List]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 19:41:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Connecticut+State+Capitol+edited.jpg

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have on thing in common when it comes to receiving automated phone messages.

"They're annoying," said State Rep. Themis Klarides, the top Republican in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

State Rep. William Tong, a Democrat from Stamford who chairs the Judiciary Committee, agrees.

"They annoy me and I think we have to do something about it," said Tong.

With support from both Democrats and Republicans, the Judiciary Committee is backing a bill that would create a statewide "do-not-call" list for political robocalls.

Tong said his proposal has been brought in the past and hopes his comprehensive idea gains traction this year.

"We’ve got a requirement that before you start a robocall you’ve got to identify who you are and what the purpose of the call is and say that it’s a political robocall in support of a particular candidate or a particular action or advocacy issue" in addition to the do-not-call list, Tong said.

Klarides, who represents Derby, agrees with the proposal and said there need to be rules in place for the calls that seem to be never-ending during campaign season.

"You know, robocalls are just soliciting for another reason. They’re not trying to sell you something. They’re trying to sell you someone. I think it’s a reasonable extension," she said.

Tong conceded that the General Assembly can't outlaw all robocalls because they would likely be violating the First Amendment, but he did say there are ways lawmakers can act to try to limit them. He said candidates and advocacy groups do have the right to use phone calls to get their messages out.

"We want to make sure that people get the opportunity to make their case and to make political speech but you know but there’s line at which there’s privacy issues and it burdens people in their homes," Tong said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Gov.: Cruz Unfit for WH]]> Sun, 22 Mar 2015 15:02:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/brown-cruz.jpg

Calfiornia Gov. Jerry Brown tore into climate change skeptics on Sunday, saying one major presidential hopeful's position on climate change should disqualify him from the highest office in the nation.

Brown warned that climate change would be a major issue for America's next president in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," days after announcing a roughly $1 billion plan to combat California's drought.

"That man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office," Brown said, when asked about Texas Senator Ted Cruz's claim that there isn't a scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity.

Cruz made his remarks on "Late Night With Seth Meyers" this week, saying that "climate alarmists" have a problem because scientific data doesn't back up their claims.

"My view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science and should follow data," Cruz said.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that Cruz was preparing to formally announce on Monday that he will run for president in 2016.

Brown, who has sought the White House three times, said more than 90 percent of climate scientists "are absolutely convinced" that human and industrial activity are leading to heat-trapping greenhouse gasses that caused both California's drought and severe cold and storms on the Eastern seaboard.

According to NASA, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that warming trends in the last 100 years are "very likely due to human activities."

When pressed by NBC's Chuck Todd, Brown didn't directly link his state's drought crisis to climate change, but said more droughts are inevitable in the coming decades. Two-thirds of California are in an extreme drought after more than three years of low water levels, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Brown also called the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) letter to convince states to block or ignore the EPA's proposed carbon pollution regulations "a disgrace."

"Here's the point, that the buildup of carbon coming from coal and petroleum and other sources, that this is going to create these droughts and much, much worse. And that's why to have the leader of the Senate, Mr. McConnell representing his coal constituents, are putting it at risk, the health and well being of America, is a disgrace," Brown said.

Calling the drought California's new normal, Brown wants a presidential campaign "almost at the level of a crusade" to make the public aware that man-made carbon dioxide emissions can have an affect on the climate. He implied that politicians who dismiss the scientific consensus on climate change are doing the bidding of profit-hungry constituents and corporate donors.

"The coal companies are not as important as the people of America and the people of the world," Brown said.

Climate change, balancing the country's budget and investing in science and technology are the three issues presidential candidates should be talking about, Brown said.

Asked if he would consider running if he was 10 years younger, the 76-year-old Brown said, "Yes, I would."

"If I could go back in a time machine and be 66, I might jump in. But that's a counterfactual, so you don't need to speculate on that," he added.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Mayor Stumbles as New Candidate Enters Race]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 21:17:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MayorsRacePic00000000.jpg

As a new challenger enters the race for Hartford mayor, incumbent Pedro Segarra has fired his second campaign manager in just over a week.

The Hartford mayor sacked J.R. Romano last week after mistakes stemming from incorrect fundraising emails about his opponent, Luke Bronin.

The latest manager saw his exit after tweets from six years ago surfaced, where Michael Beckendorf allegedly posted about getting drunk and using mushrooms and Oxycotin.

"We are putting together a campaign team that can adequately convey the accomplishments we've made since I've been mayor," Segarra said in a statement.

The latest issue for Segarra comes as a new adversary announces his candidacy. Attorney John Gale grew up in the North End of Hartford and described the time under Segarra as being one "marred by mismanagement."

Gale joins Democrat Luke Bronin and unaffiliated Joel Cruz in their bids for mayor. Bronin is the former legal adviser to Gov. Dannel Malloy, and Cruz is a current member of the Hartford City Council.

Gale says one of his top priorities is to "bring back the city's neighborhoods" by working to identify and improve or raze some buildings.

“We started a couple of years ago with an anti-blight program that came out with great fanfare. This is necessary," said Gale. "Our neighborhoods need this attention, and yet that program has kind of fizzled and died. I believe when I last heard they started with four or five employees focused on it. They’re down to one.”

Gale added that schools will need more attention over the next several years.

The Democrat says the time has come for fresh leadership and that he can bring it, as Segarra shows vulnerabilities in the early stages of the campaign.

“Hartford needs somebody to lead, to inspire and to innovate" Galse said.

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<![CDATA[Proposal Would Widen Scope of DNA Sampling]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:26:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DNAtestingPic00000000.jpg

Four people have been exonerated by DNA evidence in Connecticut since the technology became reliable for investigations.

One of those people is James Tillman who was wrongly accused, charged and convicted of a rape and kidnapping in 1988.

“It came back that I wasn’t the person. Without that, I wouldn’t be here talking to you guys right now", Tillman said during a press conference pushing legislation that would expand when DNA could be collected during criminal investigations.

Current law allows the DNA to be taken following some violent crimes like rapes and homicides as long as the person has been convicted of a prior crime but State Rep. Ernest Hewett wants to expand that to include burglary and aggravated assault.

“This one is just first arrests for violent crimes not just any arrest" said Hewett, a Democrat representing New London.

Civil rights groups are wary of any expansion of when investigators could take DNA from suspects. Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union say the current law provides enough leeway for law enforcement.

David McGuire with the ACLU says taking anything more than a fingerprint is far too intrusive for someone with a clean criminal record even in cases of violent crime.

"A fingerprint is two dimensional. It’s not a medical procedure, whereas DNA is the very fabric of who someone is. It’s very sensitive information. It’s medical history. It goes well beyond a fingerprint and you should be found guilty before that’s taken," McGuire said.

He added that it's common sense for the law to provide restraint when taking DNA samples.

"We’re all about vindicating and making the criminal justice system work but reality is, the cornerstone of our justice system is innocent until proven guilty," McGuire said.

Tillman, who was released from a state prison in 2006, says he wouldn't have the common comforts of life without DNA testing.

"I mean without that I wouldn’t have my wife. I wouldn’t have my grandkids. I think, through DNA, it really saved my life," he said.

Editor's note: This article was edited to correct an error in identifying the source of a quotation. We regret the error.

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<![CDATA[Connecticut Budget Hole Grows Deeper]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:41:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+capitol+building.jpg

Connecticut faces a significantly larger operating deficit than last month.

According to Benjamin Barnes, the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, current projections show the state in a $132.8 million hole at this point in the fiscal year, an increase of $71 million over the previous estimate.

Barnes handles budget matters for Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration. In a letter to Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Barnes said the change comes in light of a $63 million revenue revision and $8.6 million in updated deficits from state agencies.

He said fund transfers included in the governor's budget plan would reduce the shortfall by $37.3 million.

"We continue to work to address the remaining deficit through administrative actions, including heightened scrutiny of position refills and contract requests in order to ensure that year-end espenditures are limited to those that are critical for state operations," Barnes wrote.

State Senate minority leader Len Fasano called the increase "staggering and unacceptable."

"Connecticut certainly isn't springing forward when it comes to our state's finances. We're falling backward," he said in a statement Friday evening. "Bottom line, the governor is not paying attention and he is refusing to work on the problems Connecticut is facing. This leaves us with very few options, none of which are in the best interest of the state."

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<![CDATA[Lewinsky Talks Cyberbullying, Affair on TED Stage]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:39:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TED2015_031915_2DD7163.jpg

Monica Lewinsky spoke bluntly about cyberbullying and her own experience in the public spotlight Thursday, as the she took the stage for one of her most prominent appearances since her affair with President Bill Clinton as a White House intern.

Lewinsky, now 41, said during a TED talk that her own scandal was “brought to you by the digital revolution," according to TED.com. When the news of the tryst broke online, she told the audience that she transformed from being a “completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide.”

“At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss,” the website cited her saying. “At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences."

The Internet, she said, had created a culture where people enjoy viewing others' downfall online, a dynamic that made her situation worse at the time it was made public in the 1990s.

“It was one of the first time that the traditional news was usurped by the Internet, a click that reverberated around the whole world,” she added. “When this happened to me, 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyberbullying.”

She later referenced cyberbullying cases in recent years that have made national headlines, including that of an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University in New Jersey who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly watched him having a sexual encounter with a man using a webcam and posted about it online. 

In her 18-minute talk, Lewinsky urged people to be more compassionate and mindful when communicating online.

"Showing empathy to others benefits us. Imagine walking a mile in someone else's headline," she said. 



Photo Credit: James Duncan Davidson/TED]]>
<![CDATA[Feds Probe Ex-Rep. Schock: AP]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:13:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP326057663792_RepSchock.jpg

Friday was the day things went from bad to worse for Congressman Aaron Schock.

The Congressman, already under fire for globe-trotting vacations, documented on Instagram and often billed at taxpayer or campaign expense, abruptly resigned on Tuesday. And on Friday, federal subpoenas began going out, in what would appear to be a wide-ranging investigation of the Peoria Republican’s finances.

NBC 5 Investigates has learned that even former Schock staffers began receiving subpoenas to appear before a Federal Grand Jury in Springfield in April. And separately, the Federal Election Commission confirms it has received a complaint, asking for an investigation of the congressman’s campaign accounts.

Schock’s resignation blunted a pending inquiry by the House Ethics Committee, but his upcoming departure does not quell a potential criminal investigation. And a spokesman for the F.E.C. confirmed that enforcement matters there can continue even if a candidate or officeholder is no longer active, since political committees often continue in existence long after an official has left office.

Neither the congressman’s spokesman or his attorneys returned calls seeking comment.

Investigators are reportedly focusing on Schock’s House office expenditures and expenses, his campaign, and personal investments. The FBI would not formally comment on the investsigation. But the agency’s Springfield chief made clear that a probe is underway.

“Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top criminal priorities,” said Special Agent in Charge Sean Cox. “When there are allegations of public corruption, it is our responsibility to look into those allegations.”

In resigning Tuesday, Schock cited a “heavy heart”, but that the constant questions about his spending and business dealings had become too much of a distraction. His departure was so sudden, the congressman did not even give the customary (and expected) notice to House leadership. Speaker John Boehner made no effort to rise to his defense.

“If somebody’s going to violate the rules, they’re going to violate the rules,” Boehner said. “And in almost every case, sooner or later, it catches up with you.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pilot Program for Police Body Cameras Clears Committee]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 20:28:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police+body+camera+generic.jpg

State legislators have approved a proposal that would give state money to three Connecticut municipalities to purchase body cameras for their police departments.

If the measure becomes law, three communities – one large, one mid-sized, and one small – would be selected to participate in a pilot program that would provide data to the state.

There wasn’t much opposition to the program itself when the General Assembly's Public Safety Committee met Thursday. The main concerns had to do with what gets done with the data and video from cameras.

"I guess my thought is providing some sort of an exemption for images that might constitute an invasion of personal privacy," said State Sen. Eric Coleman, a Democrat representing Bloomfield.

Republicans agreed. State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus represents Prospect, one of eight communities in Connecticut that already utilizes body cameras. Officers can turn them off under certain circumstances.

"I actually had one of my friends have a baby in the driveway and I know if that was me I would want the camera off," said Zupkus. "So I think we need to talk about when the camera is on and off."

It's not yet clear what taxpayers may pay for the program. A spokesman for State Sen. Martin Looney, the bill's sponsor and top member of the Connecticut Senate, said the cost of the cameras could depend on which towns or cities are selected.

One member of the committee said he thinks that after the pilot program is in place and data on best practices makes its way to lawmakers, the day won’t be far off when all police departments will have to follow suit.

"I would think the next step would be to require all departments to wear body cameras," said Rep. Charles Ferraro, a Republican Orange. "Isn’t that probably a natural progression of this?"



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Considers Assisted Suicide Bill]]> Wed, 18 Mar 2015 19:36:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MyLife00000001.jpg

State legislators heard deeply divided testimony Wednesday on a proposal that would allow for doctors to work with patients and prescribe drugs that would lead to their deaths.

The measure is known as "aid-in-dying" or "physician-assisted suicide." The practice is legal in just four states: Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.

Supporters of the proposal said they have a right to end their lives the way they want to.

Connecticut resident Charles Silbert received his prostate cancer diagnosis a year ago.

"I’ve never been afraid to die, but I am afraid of how I may die. I’ve seen my mother die a bad death and I’ve seen other people die a bad death," he said.

Silbert described his possible end as "gruesome" and "unpleasant." He said he has a right to make that death a little easier.

“I want the choice and that does not mean that I do not want palliative care for as long as it works. The question is how long will it work? How well will it work?" Silbert said.

Not all patients feel the same way. During the hearing, lawmakers heard from a number of others who described physician-assisted suicide as a quick way out.

“Let’s put our great Connecticut minds toward great pain management techniques, early and easily accessible palliative and hospice care," said Maggie Karner, who suffers from terminal brain cancer.

She said the focus should turn toward extending life rather than ending it.

Karner is involved with an experimental program at Yale University, which she said could lead to a cure down the road.

"I want to fight this disease for myself and possibly for others," Karner said.

Silbert said laws have been geared toward specific cases in the past and wants lawmakers to act now on what he refers to as a civil rights issue.

"I feel the way the law is now, it truly is unfeeling, inhumane, and you know, I’ve got to do something," he said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Budget Cuts Could Drive the Elderly Into Nursing Homes]]> Wed, 18 Mar 2015 19:37:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Health00000000.jpg

Buried in hundreds of millions in cuts in the governor's budget is about $3 million in reductions for the state's Home Care Program for Elders, which allows seniors who meet certain financial eligibility requirements to live at home and receive care from the state.

Evelyn Babella has utilized the program for 10 years and currently pays $30 per month to participate. She shudders at what the alternative may look like.

"It means everything," Babella said in her Manchester home. "I don’t want to live in a nursing home! My God! For heaven’s sake!”

Babella said the program allows her to live in her own home with her 18-year-old dachshund, Henrietta. She doubts Henrietta could go with her to a nursing home.

"I couldn’t have her in a nursing home. And she’s my baby. She’s my little one," Babella said.

State Sen. Beth Bye, a Democrat from West Hartford who chairs the legislature's Appropriations Committee, said she's "very concerned" about the future of the program.

"I think it’s a program that’s keeping seniors in their community and reducing reliance on nursing homes," Bye said.

Even though she wants to protect the program, Bye conceded that this year's budget presents struggles across all agencies and programs.

"The cuts are very alarming and there aren’t a lot of options, so we’re looking at cuts," she explained. "We have to take them all seriously and do our best to take care of ones like this that really save money but there are no silver bullets. This is a very difficult budgets."

Babella said she wants to stay in her home as long as possible with Henrietta and can't afford to pay more for the home health program, which is what the governor wants to do.

"It means my independence to live here and I don’t understand. If you’re going to cut anything, don’t cut for people that have worked all their life and now are seniors. It’s just not right," she said.

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<![CDATA[Trump Launches 2016 Exploratory Committee Ahead of NH Visit]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:29:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP333051909036.jpg

Business mogul Donald Trump is considering throwing his hat in the 2016 ring, announcing the formation of a presidential exploratory committee.

"We have lost the respect of the entire world," Trump said in a message from the committee. "Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians, who are all talk and no action!"

Trump went on to tout his success as a businessman and added he will push to control the nation's borders, education system and military.

Trump will also head to New Hampshire Thursday night, bringing his total number of trips to the home of the nation's first primary to at least five since early 2014, according to NECN's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker.

He is expected to address the media following a reception at the home of State Rep. Steve Stepanek. Trump was invited back in January when Stepanek was at the Iowa Freedom Summit.

"It sounds like he's serious," Stepanek said of Trump. "He's gonna get a taste for what it's like to campaign in New Hampshire. We're going to have him wade into the crowd, doing what you have to do to be a candidate in New Hampshire."

Stepanek, who said he's hosted similar events for Rudy Giuliani and others in the past, is expecting about 200 people on Thursday. It's the first in a series of house parties featuring GOP presidential candidates being hosted by the House Republican Caucus. Ted Cruz is expected to speak in April, and Ben Carson in May.

Trump recently wrapped up hosting the seventh season of reality show "Celebrity Apprentice," in which television personality Leeza Gibbons won $250,000 for a charity of her choice.

Trump, whose presidential aspirations have generated buzz for years, recently said he would not renew his contract for the show, according to the Associated Press, a sign that he could be more serious this time around. The show airs on NBC, which is owned by the same parent company as this site.



Photo Credit: File - AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ill. Rep. Aaron Schock Resigns]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 20:18:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Aaron-Schock-blurb1.jpg

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock announced his resignation from Congress Tuesday following questions surrounding misuse of funds in his campaign and congressional spending accounts, including reports that he redecorated his office with lavish decor inspired by "Downton Abbey."

"Today, I am announcing my resignation as a Member of the United States House of Representatives effective March 31st," Schock said in a statement. "I do this with a heavy heart. Serving the people of the 18th District is the highest and greatest honor I have had in my life. I thank them for their faith in electing me and letting me represent their interests in Washington.

The Republican congressman said he has given the people of his Peoria-area district his all since his election in 2008, "but the constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself."

The move, first reported by Politico, comes after numerous reports alleging questionable expenses by the congressman. Sen. Dick Durbin said the resignation "came as a surprise."

"With this decision, Rep. Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first," U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. "I appreciate Aaron's years of service, and I wish him well in the future." 

Last week, NBC5 Investigates reported that Schock had billed his office account and leadership PAC for over $16,000 in mileage for his personal car, last year alone. On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that Schock had billed various entities for over 170,000 miles over for years, for a personal car he sold with only about 80,000 miles on the odometer.

“It’s a sad day for the people of the 18th District,” said Kankakee Congressman Adam Kinzinger. “He was a friend of mine, and I just wish him luck in the future.”

In Chicago, the chief of the Illinois Republican Party seemed to put some distance between the party and a congressman.

“Honesty and integrity are of utmost importance when serving the public,” said Chairman Tim Schneider. “Today is an unfortunate day for the people of the 18th Congressional District, the State of Illinois, and the Illinois Republican Party.

A special election will be held to replace Schock, a four-term congressman who was the Congress’ youngest member when he was elected at age 27. The election must be held within 120 days of the seat becoming vacant.

Among those considered contenders for the job, State Senator Darin LaHood, whose father Ray LaHood preceded Schock, before leaving Congress to become Secretary of Transportation.

“It is clear to me Congressman Schock believes he is doing what is best for the people of the 18th District at this time,” LaHood said Tuesday. “I will be evaluating the full impact of this decision in the next few days.”

In a separate report Monday, the website Buzzfeed reported that Schock spent more than $5,000 from his House account for a portable podium that looks a lot like a presidential podium used by President Barack Obama. A public watchdog group has filed a federal ethics complaint against the lawmaker for using congressional money to redesign his office in the style of the TV show "Downton Abbey" and for billing taxpayers or his campaigns tens of thousands of dollars in private air travel on donor-owned planes.

“This is a sad day for the people of Illinois and the 18th District," Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a statement.

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<![CDATA[Photos of Rep. Aaron Schock's "Downton Abbey" Office]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 14:38:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/schock-th-462707536.jpg Photos of Rep. Aaron Schock's (R-IL) new office in the Rayburn Office Building, which was designed to resemble the dining room of the PBS show 'Downton Abbey,' on January 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. The interior decorator owns a company called Euro Trash LLC.

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Governor Chooses Hamden Mayor for State Position]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 18:38:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Scott+Jackson.JPG

Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson has been chosen for a position in state government and will resign from his post as mayor April 16.

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday that he has chosen Jackson to serve as undersecretary for intergovernmental policy.

Jackson, who has been chair of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, has served as Hamden’s mayor for three terms.

“Although serving as Mayor of my hometown has been enormously gratifying, the opportunity to join a statewide team like the one assembled at OPM is a truly exceptional opportunity,” Jackson said in a statement. “The challenges we face as a state are serious, but not insurmountable. I look forward to helping advance a solution-oriented agenda that makes Connecticut a better place to live not only for my mother’s generation, but also the generation of my two young sons.”

In his new role, Jackson's will be responsible for ensuring that investments in urban communities are delivered, completed and extended to nearby areas.

“The health and vibrancy of our urban centers are critical to the overall well-being of our state and the regions that surround them. Whether we’re talking about housing needs, economic development strategies, education concerns, transit oriented development investments, or criminal justice issues, these issue areas are frequently interconnected and need to be cohesively strategized for maximum effectiveness,” Malloy said in a statement. 

Jackson will resign as mayor, effective April 16, and begin his new position with the state on April 17.

In 2005, he was appointed chief administrative officer for the town of Hamden, then went on to become mayor in 2009.

The Hamden native worked in former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s Hartford office, then went on to manage the Hamden’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Development, which is responsible for overseeing the Community Development Block Grant.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Mayor Gets New Campaign Manager]]> Sat, 14 Mar 2015 17:21:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Segarra_Calls_Voting_Problems_Inexcusable_1200x675_352556611578.jpg

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced Saturday that he has a new campaign manager for his mayoral run to reclaim his post.

He is replacing his previous campaign manager Patrick Romano with Michael Beckendorf.

"I want to let you know that as of today, we are parting ways with DNA Campaigns and Mr. Patrick Romano," Segarra said in an email. "The opening weeks of the campaign did not reflect the city's accomplishments, momentum and progress. For numerous reasons, I believe it is best to move in a different direction."

Beckendorf is based out of Washington D.C. and has previously overseen campaigns in other states, according to the mayor. He helped get U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) re-elected as coordinated campaign director for Oregon's Democratic party, Segarra said. Pete Gallego was elected to Congress in San Antonio Texas with the help of Beckendorf as his field director, according to the mayor.

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<![CDATA[Senators Push to Ban Armor-Piercing Ammunition]]> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 19:08:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/murphy+blumenthal.jpg

Days after the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives backed off a ban on ammunition that critics say could pierce the armor of police, Connecticut’s U.S. senators want residents to act.

"Americans ought to literally protest to the ATF and tell this agency that they've made a mistake by failing to stand up and be strong against this special interest industry,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who joined New Haven police and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a fellow Democrat, on Friday.

Amidst fears that 5.56mm ammunition could be used in handguns involved in crimes, the ATF sought public comment on the proposal.

The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates flooded the agency with comments, leading to this week's decision not to act on a possible ban.

Murphy said he believes the agency caved to the gun lobby.

"I really have no other way to explain ATF's behavior there other than it gave in to pressure from the NRA,” said Murphy. “They publicly said they were shutting down the comment period in part because they received so many emails and so many letters directed at them from the NRA."

The rounds could be used in the AR-15 rifle that was used in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

A spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation said a pair of national law enforcement groups – the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Sheriffs Association – have said the 5.56mm rounds don’t pose any additional risk to law enforcement.

Mike Bazinet with the NSSF said more than 200 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle opposed the ban on the ammunition.

“We would encourage the senators to work to address the true threats posed to our law-enforcement officers by criminal activity, instead of initiating news-cycle timed activities that do nothing to promote public safety” Bazinet said in a statement.

The NSSF also pledged to work with the ATF on the now-withdrawn proposal.

Murphy disagrees with that position. He and Blumenthal describe the ammunition as “cop-killers” and say Connecticut as a state has spoken on an issue it hopes will be settled at the federal level.

"Given the fact that we've banned them here in Connecticut, I haven't had one gun owner tell me that they haven't been able to hunt or shoot for sport because they don't have access to armor piercing bullets,” said Murphy.

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<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Popular as Presidential Choice in CT: Poll]]> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 14:18:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/clinton-emails-USE-THIS-ONE-465797002.jpg

Despite the hullabaloo about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton using her private email account for official business when she served as the Secretary of the States, Connecticut voters would choose her in the 2016 race for the White House, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Clinton leads among possible Democratic candidates and is more popular than any of the potential Republican choices.

The poll has Clinton with 53 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 15 percent and Vice President Joseph Biden with 8 percent, among the Democrats.

"In blue Connecticut, Hillary Clinton has big double-digit leads against top Republican contenders," Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, said in a statement. "Despite the current e-mail controversy surrounding Clinton, she is well-liked in Connecticut while the Republican contenders get either mixed evaluations or negative ones from voters."

Clinton also leads Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 52 to 34 percent, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie, 52 to 34 percent and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, 54 to 32 percent. 

She leads 56 to 31 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 53 to 34 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, 53 to 33 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and 55 to 30 percent over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.


 



Photo Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Voters Say No to Highway Tolls: Quinnipiac Poll]]> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:42:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dfw-toll-plaza-102313.jpg

A majority of Connecticut voters who took the Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday oppose having to pay toll on state highways.

There was a 61 to 36 percent opposition to adding tolls to the highways from poll participants of all ages, genders and party affiliations, according to the poll.

However, if tolls were added and the funds were spent on repairing state roads and bridges, voters overall would support it 59 to 40 percent, according to the poll results.

You can read the full poll results on Quinnipiac's website.



Photo Credit: Eric King/NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Registrars Under Fire]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 20:07:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/voting_generic_ballot.jpg

Only in Connecticut will you find a registrar of voters nominated by each political party, in every city and town. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill believes this is part of the reason there have been problems in several recent elections and the system needs to change.

On Monday, Merrill came to the state capital to ask legislators to move forward a bill calling for professionalizing all 169 registrars offices across the state.

”In the past few years election day problems court interventions long lines at the polls and numerous other breaches of the law have shocked the public, and rightly so," she said.

Right now there are essentially two registrars in each of Connecticut’s169 municipalities. One gets nominated from each party. Some people have complained that these are patronage jobs and those who get them lack qualifications. What the Secretary of the State supports is that just one person gets appointed by leaders in each municipality and that they have certain qualifications, along with training they must take.

Several dozen registrars disagree and took buses to the capital to make their case, including Republican Registrar of Voters Fred DeCaro of Greenwich.

”We have legislation that's been proposed that eliminates the balance that occurs in every town," he said. "And we think it's a real blow to the fairness of elections."

This is a bit of a risky move for the secretary of the state, according to political insiders. Many of the registrars are powerful members of her own political party who could influence her nomination if she runs for reelection.

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<![CDATA[Liquor Store Proposals Face Opposition from Store Owners]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 19:33:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/liquor_bottles_alcohol_generic.jpg

Owners of package stores from across Connecticut crammed into the lobby of the Legislative Office Building Monday as a show of defiance against the governor's proposals to make changes to their operations.

Under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's plan, liquor sales would be allowed until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sundays, according to the Mirror. Liquor stores are currently open until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

"They are not mandatory" said Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes who handles budget matters for the Malloy administration. "They are optional.”

Malloy has proposed to allow liquor stores to remain open longer during the week and on weekends, and modify minimum pricing rules, allowing for great competition among stores.

But that's not how smaller store owners view the ideas.

“It just seems anti-small business to me" said Greg Nemergut, the owner of West Side Wines and Spirits in West Hartford. "It sounds like it's meant for the big stores."

Nemergut's store primarily sells wines and doesn't make much off of liquor sales but said the proposed changes confuse him. He doesn't see the need for what Malloy and Barnes are pushing.

“I don’t think my customers are screaming at me to be open until 10 o'clock at night or until eight oclock on Sundays. I just don’t see that. I’m going to respond my clientele and that’s just a personal decision on my part.”

Barnes says the proposals are meant to improve Connecticut's competitive position in New England. He says the increased hours will lead to more customers from neighboring states purchasing alcohol in Connecticut. The projected increases in revenue are paltry in the grand scheme of the state's $18 billion budget for FY 2016. Barnes projects that the measures will raise slightly more than $3 million total.

“Our estimated revenue is based on the assumption that there will be increased sales particularly at locations near the borders during those expanded hours," Barnes told the Finance Committee.

Small business owners say they don't want to see larger retailers that can afford more operating costs get their business.

"This isn't about not wanting to do the work" Nemergut said. "I'll never turn customers away but I will make adjustments to fit my clientele."

At 11 a.m., there was a public hearing on the governor's budget in the Legislative Office Building, including the  governor's plans for establishments that sell beer, wine and spirits.

If the liquor store proposal passes, the new hours would go into effect as of Jan. 1, 2016.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Governor's Sales Tax Proposals Set for Hearing]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 09:04:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Governor+Malloy+2015+budget+proposal+1200.jpg

Connecticut lawmakers will learn how taxpayers feel about Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposed tax changes in his new budget.

The legislature's Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee will hold a hearing on Monday on Malloy's plan to lower the state's sales tax rate from 6.35 percent to 5.95 percent by April 1, 2017. Meanwhile, his plan would eliminate the $50 sales tax exemption on the first $50 of clothing.

Malloy also proposed delaying a planned increase in the personal income tax exemption for single filers and an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit program.

While he wants to eliminate the $250 biennial business entity tax, Malloy received criticism from business groups for proposing limits on the use of state tax credits by hospitals and corporations.
 

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<![CDATA[Segarra Emails Make False Claims About Opponent]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 21:34:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hartford+Mayor+Pedro+Segarra+Firefighter+news+conference+1200+cu.jpg

In his bid for reelection, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra sent out a series of fundraising emails that inflated his own record while spreading false information about one of his opponents, Luke Bronin.

"I think that there was a source that was used... for his voter records. When the campaign looked into it, it was not the best source, or a source that was not correct in terms of the information that it gave out," Segarra said during an interview Thursday.

In fundraising emails, Segarra’s campaign claimed that high school graduation rates in Hartford had "more than doubled" while he served as mayor. According to Hartford Public Schools however, from 2010 to 2013, rates increased from 57 percent to 71 percent.

Segarra amended his email, saying that his record is still a good one on education, even if the increase isn’t as high as his campaign initially said.

"Since I've been involved in city politics, most especially as mayor, there have been substantial increases in graduation rates," he said.

In other emails, Segarra accused Bronin of being absent from his polling place while Bronin was registered to vote in Hartford. According to the Connecticut Secretary of State, Bronin was a registered voter in Hartford from 2006 to 2009, and again starting in 2013.

"I was surprised that they were going negative, especially at this point in the campaign," Bronin said. "You would think that if they were going to go negative that they would at least use accurate information."

Segarra said he wants to showcase his time in Hartford, and wouldn’t comment on that particular allegation against Bronin.

"The bottom of the line is, I have been in this city for four decades so I think that wraps it up," Segarra said.

Bronin worked for the Obama administration and served in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer from 2009 to 2013. He subsequently served as Gov. Dannel Malloy's top legal adviser.

Bronin said he’s not going to speculate on the motivation behind the false attacks, but did say he thinks such emails are a reflection on what a second Segarra term may look like.

"I'll tell you what kind of a mayor I will be which is a hands on manager who takes responsibility as going to be held accountable."

Segarra said the information came from a campaign staffer who claimed to have obtained the information from the Connecticut Democratic Party.

A spokesman for the party said the information from the Secretary of the State is the accurate information.

Bronin and Segarra will square off in the Democratic primary which is in September.

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<![CDATA[Best Political Mustaches]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:46:59 -0400 since he was age 14 and a sophomore at St. Rita High School.]]> since he was age 14 and a sophomore at St. Rita High School.]]> http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/tlmd-jesus-chuy-garcia.jpg Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia isn't the only politician sporting the 'stache. ]]> <![CDATA[Comptroller Calls State Deficit a Continuing Problem]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:45:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+comptroller.jpg

Democratic Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who has the elected responsibility of making sure state money is properly allocated and spent, is urging lawmakers to take the deficit seriously.

He said that even though he and Gov. Dannel Malloy come from the same party, they’re allowed to disagree.

"Connecticut has a system set up where we do have independently elected constitutional officers and independent branches of government that all have an opportunity and an obligation to call the balls and strikes as they see them and then report to the state on where we are at any given time," Lembo said.

Lembo’s office projected the February deficit to be $89 million and then over $100 million in March.

State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a Republican who represents East Haven, has criticized the comptroller in the past.

He has alleged that Lembo “shielded” the governor to allow the Democrat to win reelection, but Fasano came out in support of Lembo's most recent budget projections.

“It’s time we all sit down,” Fasano said. “If the governor doesn’t want to do it, then we’ll work with the comptroller here in the legislature.”

Fasano added that he thinks the budget issues are entirely the governor’s fault.

"Look, this governor is checked out of this state. We have a deficit he doesn't want to face," he said. "We have a budget that's over the spending cap and by his own constitutional officer, the treasurer says, it probably doesn't even balance."

Lembo said it’s possible that the state can make up the projected shortfall with higher than expected tax collections, but warned that Connecticut would require a 20 percent increase year over year, which Lembo said hasn’t been seen in about a decade.

"I am absolutely happy to be wrong if the revenue flows in the door and we don't need to continue down this downward slide,” Lembo said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>