Merrill: The privacy of Connecticut’s voters must be protected

It should come as no surprise that my office is frequently asked to protect voters’ personal information. Voters are aghast when they learn that Connecticut’s voter file contains full address and full dates of birth. They are uniformly against my office sharing this much personal information, but, unlike the DMV, we are required to do so by law. There are plenty of causes for concern: Russian hackers, the growing influence of Big Data, concerns about identity theft, the end of dangerous and abusive relationships, and more…. This is why I am proposing An Act Protecting The Privacy Of Connecticut Voters, which will protect the personal information of Connecticut voters.

Pregnancy resource centers should stop lying to women!

You have a quarter mile left to go and just two minutes until your appointment. You’re in a rush because you had to leave work early and you’re a little nervous. Unsure of where the office is located you’re relieved to see the number so you pull in, park, and start walking quickly toward the medical building. That’s when you notice them, a group of people holding signs seemingly standing in the way of the entrance.

The extraordinary life of Les Payne

It would be difficult to conjure a more arresting rebuke to the current rash of racists and white nationalists —and their enablers in high places— than to remember the life of Les Payne, 76, who died on March 19. Payne, who attended Hartford High School and the University of Connecticut and served his country in Vietnam, rose from challenging circumstances to become a journalist of the highest rank: an investigative reporter, editor and columnist who won one Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for another.

Helping people with disabilities live independently saves state dollars

Eugene is 64 years old with a long history of coronary heart disease. He has a tracheotomy to help breathe and spent more than a dozen years in nursing facilities. But after two failed attempts to move out of the facility and into the community, he finally has an apartment of his own and he’s going back to school. His story is marked by both tragedy and successes. But Eugene’s story is also proof that where there is a will to persevere and support to help make it happen, people with disabilities and complex needs can thrive in the community, improve their quality of life and save the state millions in far more expensive care.

Pregnant women deserve accurate information, trustworthy medical care

In recent years, the anti-abortion movement has passed more than 400 state laws that shame, pressure, and punish women who have decided to have an abortion – despite the fact that three-quarters of voters support access to abortion. But the anti-abortion movement has also pursued a lower-profile, more insidious strategy of setting up shop in our neighborhoods, opening nearly 2,500 “fake clinics” that pose as women’s medical facilities, but instead of providing legitimate medical services, use lies, pressure, and deceit to prevent women from getting an abortion.

HB 5416: Protecting pregnant women or infringing on free speech?

Connecticut House Bill No. 5416 proposes to prohibit deceptive advertising practices of “limited services pregnancy centers” which it defines as pregnancy services centers that “do not provide referrals to clients for abortions or emergency contraception.” The bill has generated both strong support and opposition from the medical and religious communities. Below are excerpts from a sampling of public testimony from people and organizations that oppose or support the legislation.

Education justice is in the hands of the General Assembly

Connecticut’s shame is to continue to tolerate some of the most economically and racially segregated school districts in the nation.

Connecticut’s shame is to continue to tolerate one of the largest student  achievement gaps in the nation.

An Education Adequacy Cost Study would ensure that the resource needs of all school districts – successful, struggling, and those in between – as well as the resources needed by regular and at-risk students are identified and quantified. It would then be up to policymakers and stakeholders to put these resource needs in fiscal context, determine a state and local share, and rationally develop an education funding formula and system that is based on actual student needs.

Dems voted against McDonald, too, but it’s crickets from Senator Duff

Earlier this month, State Sen. Bob Duff of Norwalk made statements that offended me and many other Connecticut residents who are fed up with divisive Washington-style electioneering that’s ripping apart this country. Duff, Democrat majority leader at the statehouse, said Republicans are “anti-gay” if they aren’t supporting Gov. Dannel Malloy’s nominee for Chief Justice of the state’s Supreme Court.

Harnessing the power of Connecticut’s conscious capitalism

Water utilities were created to maintain a vital, life-sustaining resource. Achieving this ideal has become increasingly difficult as the industry struggles to grow despite mounting challenges to sustainability, including droughts, climate change, aging infrastructure and the forthcoming retirement of baby boomers. At the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA), we accept what we can’t control and are committed to focusing on what we can influence by looking inward and elevating our internal cultural values. Our nonprofit corporation has adopted the philosophies of Conscious Capitalism, which have allowed us to grow and become stronger. This philosophy recognizes the potential of a business to make a positive impact on the world.

No inclination to stop spending

There is spending….and there is saving. No where do I see an inclination to stop spending. The state needs to roll-back (God forbid) what we pay for things. And…just so everybody sees it…that doesn’t mean “business as usual ” for the union paid folks….and the purposeful cutting of everything else (no pain for the unions) so we all foot the cuts. It means everything/everybody suffers.