“If” the Connecticut press corps exercises its First Amendment responsibilities, then an independent ticket can win Connecticut’s gubernatorial election. If an independent candidate were to win a statewide election it could be a bellwether for our nation and mark the moment in time when the dominant two-party system in America began crashing down. Will the people – tear down this wall?
What should be done about the increased intolerance of differing points of view at residential and community colleges within the Connecticut State university system? There should be the free exchange of ideas at a public university. If private universities wish to depart from free intellectual inquiry and recede into enforced intellectual conformity, that may be their right, so long as civil rights such as due process are respected and no Connecticut state dollars are involved.
Connecticut has many assets that can help us grow our economy, create jobs, and address our serious fiscal challenges. But one significant competitive hurdle that must be overcome is our distinction as the most costly energy state in the country. New England has long been at an economic disadvantage for energy costs, largely due to the distance from where traditional energy fuels were harvested and processed. This meant we paid the costs associated with constructing and maintaining several thousands of miles of pipeline infrastructure and other costs associated with transporting fuels to our region.
With the political conventions to select gubernatorial candidates for the November elections coming up in the next few weeks, I would like to offer some observations. Regardless of party, these apply to all candidates. First, we as the general public know the lobbyists and legislators under the gold dome are more interested in their personal benefit and aggrandizement than in improving the lives of 3.5 million Connecticut residents. If they were interested in us, they would have a 401(k) pension instead of the current defined benefit pension, with mileage and years of service included. Most of the news is inside baseball antics that do not change the price of rice (taxes or services either).
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.
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.
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.
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.
On Monday, April 30, the Central Connecticut State University Senate voted by an overwhelming majority (38-1) through a secret ballot to call for President Mark Ojakian’s resignation, a halt to implementation of all parts of the “Students First” consolidation plan not already rejected by NEASC (the regional accrediting agency), the abolition of the current Board of Regents and its replacement by a body or bodies which will help rather than hinder the colleges and universities, and full funding for pubic higher education in our state.
A elephant never forgets — or forgives. That comes in handy when settling old scores. I remember some time ago a Republican was supposed to head the State Elections Enforcement Commission but the Democrats and press threw a hissy fit. They wanted one of their own in that position.
Supporters of access to health care at Planned Parenthood were thrilled to see the House pass HB 5210 with huge bipartisan support 114-32 on April 26. Thanks go to Rep. Sean Scanlon, House chair of the Insurance Committee, who led this bill to victory in the House. In partnership with many women legislative allies of both parties, we are now one step closer to ensuring the 10 essential benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and women’s preventive health, are protected in state law regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C.
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.