Where do our rights to free speech start and end? Specifically, where does free speech at work start and end? If one particular bill was to become law in Connecticut, the answer to that question would become much more difficult. There is a bill before the General Assembly that would restrict employers’ speech rights. It also runs afoul of federal labor law.
Picture your daily commute. Now imagine making that drive with Connecticut’s government tracking where and how fast you are going every time you drive through a toll. In this world, the federal government also sees that information and can use it to pinpoint your location and travel habits. Thousands of detailed scans about your travel habits are kept in a state database, without rules for how the government secures or shares them. If Connecticut lawmakers don’t act soon, this could be reality in our state.
We got rid of debtors’ prisons centuries ago, yet why do we allow the state to imprison our fellow citizens for working? As you know, we have licensing laws for many professions and for many of those professions that is a good thing. It is the extent to which we have licensing that sometimes raises an issue as special interests such as the profession itself or the trade schools get more restrictive rules imposed by the legislature to limit competition or enrich themselves at the expense of the citizen who only wants to work.
Wasting time and money, Mark Ojakian has churned the higher education community up-side down with his so-called “Students First” plan that the accrediting agency described in the press as “too half-baked to approve.” What a disgrace for Connecticut. Ojakian responded with a threat to close community colleges.
I use Facebook to stay in touch with my long-distance friends. Recently, I have learned to get their e-mail addresses instead. It’s too time-consuming to sift through the excessive stories in my “newsfeed.” Too often, this news is from people I don’t know well who describe their innermost secrets publicly on Facebook’s platform. Often what passes for news is nauseating at best.
The workplace is shifting, and it’s clear that what has been tolerated in the past will no longer be acceptable. That’s a good thing. Everyone deserves to work in an environment where they feel safe, and employers must be part of the solution. As it stands now, Connecticut is a leader in creating safe workplaces. Our sexual harassment prevention training laws are some of the most stringent in the nation, and we should all be proud of that.
Ever since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed its net neutrality rules last year, there has been massive public outcry. Net neutrality is the principle of open access to the internet. It enables users to access the services they want without interference from their internet service provider. Without the FCC’s net neutrality rules, internet service providers are free to block websites, deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites, or charge customers special fees for improved access.
I am writing to counter recent arguments that Connecticut’s economic woes mean that we can’t afford to pass ‘compassionate’ bills like House Bill 5387, AN ACT CONCERNING PAID FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE, despite strong bipartisan support inside the legislature and outside in the real world. Frankly, I am surprised by the lack of vision shown by opponents of the bill. How can we move forward and build our economy without creative solutions? The House passed HB 5386 last week by a vote of 142-4 and I would urge the Senate to move quickly to send it to the governor’s desk.
Kudos to Neil Gorsuch! Much has been written by the left and the right about Neil Gorsuch — from his nomination for an opening on the Supreme Court to his voting on cases brought to the highest court in the land. So far, he has been conducting himself like all justices should: keeping personal opinions to himself, and speaking for our founders with a literal interpretation of the Constitution by using the definitions of words as they were used at the time of our founding.
Here we go again. Less than a year after a record 123 days without a budget, the legislature careens towards yet another budget crisis with 11th-hour negotiations and no clear path forward for addressing Connecticut’s looming financial crisis. Regardless of this year’s “fix,” the next governor and legislature will face a gaping $5 billion hole for the next two years that threatens our families, our jobs, and our employers. Last year’s crisis gave us a preview of what is in store if we stay on the current path: cuts to towns for police; cuts to education for our children; and cuts to programs that support the most vulnerable in our state.
In 48 states, the winner of the state’s popular vote is awarded all of its electoral votes. This is called winner-take-all. According to four lawsuits in four states (two red, two blue), winner-take-all is unconstitutional. It violates the doctrine of one person, one vote, the suits allege. It also disenfranchises everyone who voted for a losing presidential candidate. Plaintiffs want states to adapt what’s called proportional voting. That’s when a state’s electoral votes are awarded according to a candidate’s percentage of its popular vote. But if the plaintiffs prevail, they may not achieve what they say they will.
We already knew that Donald Trump is morally and ethically unfit. Many voters ignored his history as a shyster in business. The role as president has amplified his mindless self-serving self-interest for personal gain. Mafia criminality is an apt description. All the ongoing exploitation and corruption will be exposed completely. Hillary Clinton’s would have been subtle, but there. Trump’s is blatant so that we can’t miss it. We now have to take accountability for what is coming next. Our choice. Our legacy.