The National Popular Vote is not a ‘workaround’

In your May 5 article Connecticut commits to national popular vote for president, you write that the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact “essentially is a constitutional workaround, a way to undo a 200-year-old element of the Constitution without amending it.” It’s disappointing to see the CT Mirror repeat this canard that was used by state legislators opposed to electing the president the way they are elected: where every vote cast matters and the candidate who receives the most votes wins. The NPV Compact is not a “workaround” that undoes the Electoral College.

Huge rate increases on the horizon for new pipelines we do not need

An unpleasant surprise for Connecticut ratepayers that could cost billions of dollars is just around the corner, but the good news is that we still have a chance to stop it. What’s the surprise? Another round of huge rate increases is on the horizon from Eversource to build a new $6.6 billion fracked gas pipeline that our state doesn’t need. We have a chance to stop these rate hikes by supporting House Amendment #4118.

Disenfranchising felons from the vote isn’t just wrong; it’s dumb

House Bill 5418, An Act Restoring Electoral Privileges to Felony Convicts Who Are on Parole, already has 31 Democratic co-sponsors but no public Republican support. As the bill nears a vote in the final days of the 2018 General Assembly, this is a mistake for Connecticut’s GOP. Connecticut Republicans need to support HB 5418 because they stand to gain as much as the Democrats do by refranchising parolees in Connecticut.

CT’s working families will have to keep waiting for a fair workweek

On Tuesday night —ironically on May Day— Democratic Senators Joan Hartley and Gayle Slossberg voted with Senate Republicans to kill the Fair Workweek bill: SB 318 “A Bill to Stabilize Working Families by Limiting On-Call Shift Scheduling.” Coming a mere week before Connecticut’s legislature adjourns on May 9, this vote all but guarantees that families experiencing the instability that comes with “just-in-time” work scheduling practices will not see any relief.

Time to fix Connecticut’s law to exonerate the innocent

People often ask me why I am not angry about spending 17 years in prison for a crime I did not commit. I actually consider myself lucky in a way, because DNA eventually proved my innocence. However, DNA is unavailable in 90 percent of cases, and here in Connecticut it is almost impossible to overturn a wrongful conviction without it. In our state, while new DNA evidence can be presented at any time, new non-DNA evidence must be introduced within three years of a conviction.

CSCU needs new management and leadership

As the legislative session draws to a close, the budget debate continues but in a much different environment than last year. Hopeful predictions for the future are changing the discussion from “slash and burn” to restoration and rebuilding. As you search for common ground in a budget that will demonstrate government’s responsibility to ensure the quality and availability of public services, we urge you to invest in public higher education by preventing the threatened closure of community colleges.

The General Assembly can — and should — contain the cost of prescription drugs

As a physician, far too often, I see the consequences of unfair prescription drug pricing on patients in our community. One of the first patients I ever cared for at the primary care center where I currently practice was a middle-aged man with poorly controlled diabetes. His diabetes is in part uncontrolled because he cannot afford to pay for the medications and supplies needed to manage his condition. The Connecticut General Assembly has the power to contain the cost of prescription drugs and it’s time for them to act.

Tracking non-fatal opioid overdose — time to get ahead of the curve

Every non-fatal opioid overdose represents an opportunity to help curb Connecticut’s opioid crisis, but we know little about the number and location of such poisonings. By mandating confidential data collection for suspected prehospital opioid overdose, Senate Bill 511, An Act Concerning Opioids, aims to address this issue. Since 2012, Connecticut has witnessed a 400 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths, and the number of non-fatal overdoses is certainly greatly increased too. Targeting opioid interventions to groups and communities experiencing high rates of non-fatal overdose may prevent future deaths.

Let’s hold health insurers accountable for the contracts they sign

All business should have to honor their contracts. So why do we let health insurance companies off the hook? If you sign a one-year lease, your landlord can’t raise the rent six months in. This makes sense. Yet, we allow health insurance companies to change their prescription drug coverage midyear, when consumers are already locked into their plans. Commercial health insurers in Connecticut are free to make coverage changes in the middle of the year that reduce or eliminate prescription drug benefits, forcing people onto less expensive – and often less effective – medications.

HB 5473 — Bad policy and in conflict with federal labor law

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.

Without privacy protections, you’ll be giving more than money to CT tolls

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.