State news

Standard & Poor's raising Connecticut's general obligation bond outlook

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s is raising Connecticut’s general obligation bond outlook from stable to positive.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Jeffrey Beckham says meetings with S&P following the enactment of the fiscal year 2023 budget revision, the message from their team was clear – Connecticut is on the right path with both a sizable rainy day fund and making additional payments on unfunded liabilities. Investors want Connecticut to continue to take both of these issues seriously, and if that happens borrowing costs will be lowered.

In its notice to investors, S&P said the agency believes Connecticut has recently demonstrated a commitment to restoring budget reserves during periods of economic and revenue growth that could insulate its finances from recessionary headwinds.

State officials estimate that Connecticut will yield general fund surpluses at the end of fiscal years 2022 and 2023 and grow the projected biennium-end Budget Reserve Fund balance to $3.31 billion, or a strong 15% of fiscal 2023 general fund appropriations, including mid-biennium budget adjustments, for the third consecutive fiscal year. Deposits of surplus revenues had met or exceeded the 15% statutory reserve cap in the Rainy Day Fund at the end of fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

S&P says Connecticut has also recently sustained strong cash balances.

In 2021, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, and Kroll upgraded Connecticut’s general obligation bond ratings.


Connecticut to step up investigation of hate crime probes

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut officials are hoping that timely, stepped-up reporting of hate crime investigations by local police to a new State Police investigative unit will help lead to the prevention and detection of such crimes before something violent happens. A new law requires all local and tribal police departments, resident state troopers, and constables with law enforcement duties to notify the new Hate Crimes Investigative Unit of a broader list of crimes involving bigotry and bias within 14 days, beginning Jan. 1. They must continue to share information about the local investigations with the State Police unit. A ceremonial bill signing was held Tuesday.
 


Nearly 6 years later, man indicted in mother's death at sea

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Nearly six years after Nathan Carman told authorities his mother drowned at sea off the coast of New England, he has been indicted in her killing. Why did it take so long when investigators had gathered a pile of circumstantial evidence against him years earlier? Investigators who worked on the case say a combination of factors may have spurred federal prosecutors in Vermont to present the case to a grand jury, including evidence discovered during a lawsuit filed in Rhode Island over Carman's attempt to collect $85,000 in insurance money for the sinking of his boat. Carman insists he is innocent.


Conn. Gov. orders flag to half-staff

In accordance with a proclamation from President Biden, Governor Lamont is directing flags to be lowered as a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas.  Flags must be flown at half-staff until sunset on Saturday, May 28th.

Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time.

Governor Lamont says one life taken by gun violence is too many, but 15 innocent lives, including 14 children, is an utter tragedy. Nearly ten years after Sandy Hook, Connecticut knows this feeling all too well. Lamont says the collective hearts of Connecticut and prayers go out to the families in Texas trying to process the unimaginable.

Lamont called on the country to test its capacity as a nation in this moment to strengthen public safety and health, calling gun violence a public health crisis. 


GOP governor candidate Stefanowski tests positive for COVID

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Bob Stefanowski, the Republican Party's endorsed candidate for governor, says he has tested positive for COVID-19. The 60-year-old issued a statement Monday saying he tested positive in the morning after learning he had been exposed to someone who was COVID-positive. Stefanowski says he's "vaccinated, boosted, and feeling fine so far." He says he will follow all Centers for Disease Control protocols. The CDC recommends that people who test positive stay home and isolate for from others for at least 5 days. Stefanowski is facing a rematch against Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont.
 


New Haven mayor nominates city police official for chief

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker has nominated a high-ranking city police official for chief following a nationwide search. The mayor announced Monday that Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson was his pick to lead the department. The nomination will now go before the city's Board of Alders. Jacobson came to the New Haven Police Department 15 years ago after a nine-year career with police in East Providence, Rhode Island. He would succeed Otoniel Reyes, who retired as chief last year. Elicker's first pick for chief, Renee Dominguez, was rejected by the Board of Alders. She would have been the first woman to permanently lead the department.


Maine university president withdraws after hiring complaints

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The incoming president of a public university in Maine has voluntarily withdrawn from his position amid complaints from faculty members about his hiring. Michael Laliberte was set to start as president of University of Maine at Augusta on Aug. 1. The Bangor Daily News reported after he was hired that he was the subject of no confidence votes during his time as president of State University of New York at Delhi. Faculty at three UMaine System schools, including Augusta, have since cast their own votes of no confidence in the leadership of system chancellor Dannel Malloy.


TEACH Connecticut: 'The Future Depends on Teachers'

A statewide support initiative as part of a national campaign called “The Future Depends on Teachers” is continuing.  The state has partnered with TEACH Connecticut.  It focuses on the nation’s recovery while aiming to inspire talented, diverse candidates to become educators. 

TEACH Connecticut has made tools and resources available for people who are considering becoming a teacher.  Advocates say a diverse teacher workforce results in better outcomes for students of all races/ethnicities, such as reduced dropout rates, improved college admissions, and achievement gains. 

Connecticut is facing an historic shortage of teachers, which has been compounded by the pandemic and accompanying fiscal crisis. Connecticut has persistent shortage in areas such as math, science, bilingual and special education.

TEACHConnecticut.org includes links to sign up for 1:1 coaching from experienced teachers, certification guides, ways to compare preparation programs, and other resources.  The online portal also includes financial aid opportunities.  TEACH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, launched by Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Education and is supported by the nation’s top teacher associations.   


University of Maine trustees consider Malloy's fate

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The fate of University of Maine Chancellor Dannel Malloy is on the agenda as trustees meet over the next two days in Portland. Malloy was hired in Maine in 2019 after serving as governor of Connecticut. His contract expires June 30, and trustees will be hearing from an outside firm that conducted a multi-year review of his tenure. In recent weeks, the faculty senates of three campuses have each issued no-confidence votes in Malloy. The chancellor has said he takes the resolutions seriously and that the pace of change throughout the system is causing anxiety. The meeting takes place Sunday and Monday at the University of Southern Maine.


Energy secretary: We must find a solution for nuclear waste

WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) - The U.S. energy secretary says it is critical to find a solution for storing the nation's spent nuclear fuel. Secretary Jennifer Granholm made the comment during a visit Friday to a nuclear power plant in Connecticut. Granholm and Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney toured the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford. They are working to change how spent nuclear fuel is stored to solve a decadeslong stalemate. Spent fuel that was meant to be stored temporarily at nuclear plants is piling up. There is renewed momentum to figure out a storage site or sites to free up the land where the waste is currently being stored.
 


Families can begin applying on June 1 for new child rebate

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Eligible families can begin applying next month for Connecticut's new one-year child tax rebate program that's included in the newly revised state budget. Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday that rebates of up to $250 per child are expected to be issued in late August. The rebates will be provided for up to three children per family. While any Connecticut resident who claimed at least one dependent child under the age of 18 on their 2021 federal income tax return may be eligible for the rebate, the amounts are dictated by income. The Department of Revenue Services will accept applications online from June 1 through July 31.


3rd faculty senate rebukes UMS Chancellor Malloy

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) - Faculty on a third University of Maine System campus have given a vote of no confidence to Chancellor Dannel Malloy. The faculty senate at the University of Maine at Farmington delivered the rebuke Wednesday after the elimination of nine positions. Malloy said in a statement that hard decisions had to be made amid declining enrollment. Faculty senates at the University of Southern Maine and University of Maine at Augusta previously gave no confidence votes over the handling of the search for a leader for the Augusta campus.


Suspension of Bridgeport cop in woman's death case reversed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - An independent arbitrator has determined the city of Bridgeport should remove a police officer from administrative leave. It comes months after Mayor Joe Ganim ordered two detectives to be suspended amid allegations of insensitivity in their handling of separate cases in which Black women were found dead in their apartments. In each of the two cases, the families said police did not notify them of the women's deaths in a timely manner. The arbitrator said he was "not convinced" the police department could justify placing Detective Angel Llanos on leave. The officers' union has also filed a grievance concerning Detective Kevin Cronin being placed on leave.


16-year-old arrested in fatal stabbing of Connecticut teen

SHELTON, Conn. (AP) - Police say a 16-year-old has been arrested on charges of stabbing another teenager to death and wounding three others in Connecticut over the weekend. The 16-year-old is charged with murder for the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old James McGrath during a fight in Shelton late Saturday night. Shelton police say the teen is also charged with three counts of assault for injuries to three other youths. The 16-year-old was ordered held on $2 million bond and was expected to appear in court later Wednesday. The No information on an attorney for the teen was available. The teen's name was not released.


Feds: National Guard members on state duty can join unions

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Department of Justice has given the green light to National Guard members on active state duty across the country to join labor unions. The agreement comes despite a 1978 U.S. law that makes it a felony for military personnel on active federal duty to unionize. The Justice Department approval came in a lawsuit settlement finalized Tuesday in federal court in Connecticut. Labor unions sued the department and Attorney General Merrick Garland seeking collective bargaining rights for Connecticut National Guard members. The Justice Department says the federal ban doesn't apply to Guard members on state duty.


Harris tells Coast Guard grads rule of law is under attack

WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Kamala Harris told the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's graduating cadets that they are starting their service at a crucial moment for the world. In remarks at Wednesday's ceremony in Connecticut, Harris reflected on a moment in history in which long-standing rules and norms are more frequently coming under attack and "fundamental principles are under threat." She noted the Russian invasion of Ukraine and told the graduates that upholding the international rules-based order is one of the nation's "defining missions." She added: "Frankly, sometimes we forget how rare it is in human history to have a period of relative peace and stability among nations."


Lamont OKs greater state oversight of West Haven finances

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Ned Lamont has given the go-ahead to increase state oversight of West Haven's finances. He said Tuesday there has been an "obvious lack of fiscal controls" in the city, which has been under the microscope after a former state representative and others were accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of the community's COVID-19 relief funds. The Democrat approved recommendations recently made by the state's Municipality Accountability Review Board of MARB to upgrade the city from a Tier III to a Tier IV municipality. MARB will now have the power to approve budgets, contracts, labor agreements and other matters.


Firefighters demoted for drug use after death investigation

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) - An investigation into the January death of a Connecticut firefighter has led to the discovery of drug use among others, including supervisors in his department. Mayor Erin Stewart says one New Britain fire official has been fired and seven others, including four with the rank of lieutenant or above, have been demoted as a result of the investigation into the apparent drug-related death of a 36-year-old off-duty firefighter in his home on Jan. 26. Six other firefighters have resigned since that death. A criminal investigation is ongoing, but no charges have been filed.
 


Harris to tell Coast Guard grads rule of law is under attack

WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Kamala Harris will tell the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's graduating cadets that they are starting their service at a crucial moment for the world. In prepared remarks for Wednesday's ceremony, Harris calls it a period in history when the "rule of law is strained" and "fundamental principles are under threat." Harris also reflects on the state of a world in which long-standing rules and norms are more frequently coming under attack, noting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Associated Press obtained excerpts of the speech set for the academy commencement in New London, Connecticut.
 


NanoViricides: Fiscal Q3 Earnings Snapshot

SHELTON, Conn. (AP) _ NanoViricides Inc. (NNVC) on Tuesday reported a loss of $1.8 million in its fiscal third quarter.

The Shelton, Connecticut-based company said it had a loss of 16 cents per share.


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