State news

State funding announced to connect those experiencing homelessness with support services

Governor Ned Lamont's administration is releasing nearly $8.5 million in additional aid to connect those experiencing homelessness with support services – including housing, food, and mental health services – ahead of the upcoming winter season. The goal of the funding is to ensure that pathways to the homeless service system and human points of contact remain available for those seeking assistance.

$5 million from the Connecticut Department of Housing will support seasonal shelters and services throughout the homeless service system during the winter.  $2.5 million will develop new hubs within each of the state’s seven regional Coordinated Access Networks that supports the hiring of more staff, ensuring flexible financial assistance is available, and technological upgrades can be supported and $500,000 will go to the United Way of Connecticut to increase staffing at 2-1-1.


$475,000 from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will be used by the United Way of Connecticut to support costs related to the complex needs of unsheltered individuals and families during periods of extreme cold weather.
The Department of Housing is working with the seven regional Coordinated Access Networks on the development of these hubs, which will be able to accept walk-in appointments and receive direct referrals from 2-1-1 staff for those who indicate they are experiencing homelessness. The hubs will serve to provide support for repeat callers of 2-1-1, while helping to reduce overall call volume at the service.

Payment plans, assistance programs available to help Conn. residents with heating costs

With winter approaching and heating systems being turned on, Eversource is reminding customers about available resources. In recognition of Heating Assistance Awareness Month in Connecticut, the utility is raising awareness about payment plans and assistance programs, many of which have state income requirements.

Customers who've never needed assistance previously may not realize they qualify for protection from service disconnection and may also be eligible for other programs to reduce past due balances.  The Winter Protection Plan protects income eligible customers from disconnection from November 1 through May 1.

Connecticut’s Energy Assistance Program provides assistance for winter heating costs for thousands of homeowners and renters who meet state income guidelines. Customers can learn more and apply online at


Operation Fuel provides year-round emergency energy and utility assistance for customers facing a financial crisis.

The Matching Payment Program can lower a past due balance with monthly payments for electric or gas heating customers receiving public assistance benefits.  The New Start Program subtracts from overdue balances for electric customers as on-time monthly payments are made. Flexible Payment Plans are available to all customers, regardless of income, to pay their past-due balance over a period of time. Residential customers with active service may be eligible for payment plans up to 18 months.

Ex-Yale coach gets 5 months in admissions bribery scandal

BOSTON (AP) — The former Yale University women’s soccer coach whose cooperation with authorities helped blow the lid off the nationwide college admissions bribery scandal by leading the FBI to the scheme’s mastermind was sentenced Wednesday to five months in prison.

Rudy Meredith, head coach at Yale from 1995 until 2018, pleaded guilty in March 2019 to wire fraud for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to help students get into the elite Ivy League university as soccer recruits. In one case, the recruit did not play competitive soccer, prosecutors have said.

Federal prosecutors and Meredith’s defense lawyers had recommended no additional prison time beyond the one day he had already spent in custody. But U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf said Wednesday that Meredith’s greed and his victims warranted a stiffer sentence.

Wolf described the victims as the members of the Yale team who were “betrayed” by being cheated out of having better teammates, as well as unknown victims — young women who might have gotten into Yale had Meredith not decided to essentially sell slots on the team. Those unknown victims may have included women from disadvantaged backgrounds, the judge said.

Fresh off victory, Lamont considering gas tax cut extension

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, hours after winning a second term, said Wednesday he is considering additional steps to help make life more affordable for residents, including extending the state’s gas tax holiday beyond its looming Dec. 1 expiration date.

The Democrat said he has asked his budget director to review state gas tax revenues and budget reserves to see what can be done before the General Assembly convenes in January.

“I’ve got to see what we can afford and we’re going to model this out,” he said, noting he wants to make sure there’s still enough revenue to fix roads and bridges. “Right now, I think we’re in decent shape, but I’d like to sit down and talk with the legislature about how we can continue a gas tax cut beyond December 1st.”

Inflation and affordability were key issues in the race for governor. Lamont often pointed to the wide-ranging Democratic tax-reduction package he signed into law earlier this year that included about $600 million in cuts, including continuation of a 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax cut until Dec. 1. His Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski argued that more needed to be done, proposing a $2 billion tax relief package.

During a morning radio show on Wednesday, shortly after conceding the race to Lamont, Stefanowski said he urged the governor during a phone call to “take care of both sides of the aisle” and try to help everyone who is struggling with high inflation.

“I think he’s a good guy. He’s probably going to try to do the right thing. But, you know, we’re headed into a 40% increase in utility costs and rolling blackouts. I just hope he puts the people first. I’m sure he’ll try his best.” Stefanowski said.

Lamont, who appeared with fellow Democrats outside the state Capitol for a victory news conference, insisted he understands that residents are facing financial pressures. Besides pledging to enact some kind of immediate relief before the regular legislative session — something Democratic legislative leaders have also discussed — Lamont said he plans to work with lawmakers after January to find other ways to make the state more affordable.

“I’m going to make sure that I do everything that I can to make sure to help the middle class during this incredibly tough time,” he said.

Lamont also stressed Wednesday that he plans to submit legislation to extend spending limitations included in a bipartisan state budget deal reached five years ago and are scheduled to expire in 2025. There have been some suggestions by some lawmakers to scale it back and divert money to other initiatives.

“I think it served us very well, and I am going to be asking the legislature to continue that going forward,” Lamont said. “It gives us a clear sense of direction and how we’re getting our fiscal house in order.”

Conn. high school football teams partner with National Guard

Several high school football teams in Connecticut are partnering with the National Guard during the month of November to hold Military Appreciation Games in honor of currently serving members of the military and veterans. During the games, players will wear specially designed Connecticut National Guard jerseys that feature a camouflage pattern.
The partnership is being created as part of the Connecticut National Guard’s Hometown Football Uniform program, which aligns currently serving Guardsmen with schools so they can discuss with students the importance and overlap of the Army Values with the values necessary for success in team sports.
Major General Francis Evon, adjutant general of the Connecticut National Guard, says they appreciate the support from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. He says most young people are not aware of the benefits and opportunities the Guard can provide them as they live here/serve here, and this is a step in bridging that knowledge gap.
Connecticut residents that are members of the Connecticut Army and Air National Guard, currently serving members of the other branches of the U.S. military, and qualifying veterans receive 100% free tuition to in-state colleges and universities.

Blumenthal wins 3rd Senate term, fends off Trump-backed Levy

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday won a third term in office, fending off a challenge from first-time candidate Leora Levy, a Republican who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Blumenthal, the state’s former attorney general, focused much of his campaign on being a backstop for abortion rights in Connecticut and Democratic policies in Washington. Blumenthal vowed to fight any effort in Congress to impose a national abortion ban that would override Connecticut’s current law. Abortion is legal in Connecticut with restrictions.

In a victory speech in Hartford, Blumenthal promised to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans on issues such as fighting inflation, cutting taxes and protecting Social Security and Medicare.

He said the nation needs to find its way back to “the common ground that brings us together,” but said it is also facing a dangerous time because of divisions and threats of violent extremism. He alluded to political clashes ahead.

“When the fight comes, I will be there for you. And the fight will be coming. It will be more difficult now than before. But we need to stand together. And I will stand with you to fight for the people of Connecticut,” Blumenthal said.

In the Republican primary, Levy defeated the party’s endorsed candidate, former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, a social moderate. Levy received a late endorsement in that race from former President Donald Trump, who also held a fundraiser for Levy at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

Levy had hoped to become the first Republican U.S. senator from Connecticut since Lowell P. Weicker Jr., who served from 1971 to 1989.

Appearing with her family on Tuesday night, Levy told her supporters that even though she lost the race, she will not stop fighting for them.

“I will not stop fighting for our state, for our freedom, and for our great country. I feel the weight and the responsibility of the hopes and dreams of so many here in Connecticut who yearn for change,” she said.

Levy tried to make the race more about President Joe Biden than Trump, working to capitalize on voters’ concerns about inflation and financial struggles.

She also took a socially conservative tack that hadn’t been seen much in Connecticut statewide elections, opposing abortion rights except in certain situations and taking a stand against various gun control measures. Levy has also made parents’ rights a major campaign issue, calling for the end of “indoctrination and discrimination” in Connecticut schools after a Greenwich assistant principal was apparently secretly recorded saying he’d prefer not to hire politically conservative staff, including Roman Catholics.

Some moderate Republicans predicted that Blumenthal, 76, would sail to victory after Levy won her party’s primary in August. Party leaders had originally hoped Klarides, who supports abortion rights, would be a strong contender, especially after Blumenthal registered his lowest job approval rating since taking office in 2011 in a Quinnipiac poll conducted in May.

Democrat Ned Lamont wins 2nd term as Connecticut governor

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Democrat Ned Lamont has won reelection as Connecticut governor, defeating Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski for the second time in four years following a campaign battle that focused on abortion access, crime and the cost of living.

The first-term governor weathered Stefanowski’s accusations that he’s oblivious to the financial toll that inflation and taxes have taken on everyday residents. Lamont instead painted for voters a rosy picture of a state that has successfully emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced taxes, paid down pension debt and now has a robust savings account.

“Connecticut gets it right. We had a good election, a fair election. Now we all come together, we work together as one. Because that’s what Connecticut always does,” Lamont told supporters in a victory speech in Hartford.

Stefanowski told supporters earlier in the night that he was not ready to concede. A spokesperson said the campaign would not have further comment until Wednesday morning.

The two rivals presented starkly different views of public safety in Connecticut. Stefanowski called crime in Connecticut “out of control,” echoing a message from Republicans across the country, and proposed overhauling parts of the 2020 police accountability law which he said is to blame for challenges recruiting more police officers. Lamont has countered with statistics that show a 3% reduction in overall crime between 2020 and 2021, saying it’s a positive trend despite political “fearmongering.”

Voters have been deluged with TV ads paid for by various political action committees as well as the candidates themselves, who’ve each invested millions of dollars of their own money in the race.

The last Republican governor in Connecticut was M. Jodi Rell, a moderate who served until January 2011.

Democrats focused heavily on the abortion issue, in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. They hoped to drive abortion-rights supporters to the polls in a state where abortion is legal with restrictions. Stefanowski calls himself “pro-choice,” but Democrats argued he can’t be trusted to protect Connecticut’s laws.

Former President Donald Trump backed Stefanowski in his 2018 run, but he did not weigh in on this year’s race. Also, Stefanowski didn’t seek a rating from the National Rifle Association. In 2018, he received an A rating. Lamont has received an F for 2022.

Lamont, a former cable TV entrepreneur, spent more than $20 million of his own money, exceeding the $15 million he spent in 2018. The national parties and various political action committees also dumped large sums into negative ads.

A mergers and acquisitions expert, Stefanowski loaned his campaign $12 million, more than triple his investment in the 2018 race.

Lamont was running for reelection with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, while Stefanowski tapped state Rep. Laura Devlin as a running mate.

Cheshire banker Rob Hotaling and Stewart “Chip” Beckett were running on the Independent Party line.

States reach two settlements with Experian over data breaches in 2012, 2015

Connecticut and other states have obtained two multistate settlements with Experian concerning data breaches it experienced in 2012 and 2015 that compromised the personal information of millions of consumers nationwide. The coalition also obtained a separate settlement with T-Mobile in connection with the 2015 Experian breach, which impacted more than 15 million individuals who submitted credit applications with T-Mobile. Under the settlements, the companies have agreed to improve their data security practices and to pay the states a combined amount of more than $16 million. Connecticut will receive a total of $886,175 from the settlements.

In September 2015, Experian, one of the big-three credit reporting bureaus, reported it had experienced a data breach in which an unauthorized actor gained access to part of Experian’s network storing personal information on behalf of its client, T-Mobile.


The breach involved information associated with consumers who had applied for T-Mobile postpaid services and device financing between September 2013 and September 2015, including names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, identification numbers (such as driver’s license and passport numbers), and related information used in T-Mobile’s own credit assessments.


142,789 Connecticut residents were impacted by the 2015 breach. Neither Experian’s consumer credit database, nor T-Mobile’s own systems, were compromised in the breach.

Connecticut co-led a 40-state multistate group which has obtained separate settlements from Experian and T-Mobile in connection with the 2015 data breach. Under a $12.67 million settlement, Experian has agreed to strengthen its due diligence and data security practices going forward.


Anyone who was part of the 2019 class action settlement is eligible to enroll in extended credit monitoring services. Affected consumers can enroll in the 5-year extended credit monitoring services. The enrollment window will remain open for 6 months.

Drought Stage Level in Conn. lowered

Recent rainfall has brought some relief when it comes to drought conditions in Connecticut.  The Interagency Drought Working Group says there's been relief from lower than normal conditions in the state are recommend reducing the drought advisory declared in October.  State officials have agreed and the entire state has moved from a Stage 2 drought level to Stage 1.

Working Group chair Martin Heft says water levels around the state are returning to normal conditions, but some reservoirs and ground water levels remain below normal.  He added that upcoming storms should hopefully return water levels to normal and allow the state to formally announce an end to the drought. The Working Group will continue to closely monitor various drought triggers and will make further recommendations as conditions warrant.

The entity consists of several state agency representatives that meets as necessary to assess drought conditions and make recommendations to the governor on the state’s response.

The Stage 1 drought level is a preparedness stage that serves to alert the parties who should be prepared to respond to potentially worsening drought conditions. Typically, this stage is activated in response to early signals of abnormally dry conditions and serves as “heads up” for the possibility of a developing drought. In this case, as the state emerges from the drought, this stage is serving as a reminder for residents and public water suppliers to continually monitor conditions and water usage. There is no expectation for a broad public notice of a Stage 1 declaration.

The Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup will continue to monitor conditions and plans to meet again in December.

Conn. residents to decide on whether to allow early voting

Just four states — Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi and New Hampshire — lack an in-person early voting option for all voters. Connecticut’s November ballot will feature a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing the Democratic-led General Assembly to create an early voting law. A similar ballot proposal failed in 2014.

The proposed change would simply remove an outdated provision in the state constitution that the results be delivered “under seal.”

Local officials in the late 1700s and early 1800s delivered election results — not ballots — to state officials in a package sealed by hot wax. The practice has long been discontinued, but the constitutional requirement can only be removed with an amendment approved by voters.

If the measure is approved, voters will still return their ballots sealed in two envelopes. Local officials will also still be required to deliver election results to the secretary of state’s office, both electronically and by mail in a sealed envelope.

The referendum, as it appears on the ballot, reads: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?”

Connecticut warns of foraging bears amid acorn crop failure

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Wildlife officials in Connecticut are warning residents to be especially vigilant about feeding bears, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says a widespread acorn crop failure has reduced the amount of a food bears normally depend on as they try to put on as much weight to prepare for winter hibernation. They say the lack of acorns could cause bears to forage through trash and seek out human-associated food. Officials say they've already recorded a record number of bears breaking into homes this year in Connecticut. The state's black bear population is estimated to be over 1,000.

Man surrenders to Connecticut police after 3-day standoff

MILFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man believed to be armed has surrendered to police after a three-day standoff in his apartment. Police in Milford say they took the man into custody Friday afternoon. The unidentified man had claimed his landlord locked him into his apartment overnight Tuesday and that he had tried to shoot the lock off. Police responded to the scene and even cut off gas and electricity to the apartment to try and get him to come out. Hearst Connecticut reports officers believed they saw the man with a shotgun or other long gun but haven't been able to confirm whether a shot was fired in the apartment.

Liquor Control Authorities issue Daylight Saving Warning

The Department of Consumer Protection Division of Liquor Control has a reminder for the public that when the clocks are turned back from 2 am to 1am on Sunday morning.  Bars and restaurants may not remain open an “extra hour.” At that time, no more sales, consumption, or presence of alcoholic beverages is allowed in bars or restaurants according to state liquor regulations.  Commissioner Michelle Seagull says people should head home courtesy of public transportation, a taxi or rideshare service, or a designated driver, and enjoy that extra hour of sleep.

Enforcement actions filed against 2 alleged illegal robocallers

The national Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force is asking a court to require two voice service providers to cooperate in multistate investigations over alleged involvement in illegal robocalls.

The Connecticut Attorney General's Office is a lead on the Task Force and has developed evidence that both Avid Telecom and One Eye LLC accepted and routed fraudulent robocalls, including government imposter scams, fake legal threats, and phony offers purporting to be from businesses like Amazon and Apple.


The task force is seeking a court order to enforce compliance as they have stopped responding to the task force in the investigation and to hold them accountable.

The Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force on August 2nd issued 20 civil investigative demands seeking answers from 20 gateway providers and other entities allegedly responsible for a majority of foreign robocall traffic. Gateway providers that bring foreign traffic into the U-S telephone network have a responsibility to ensure the traffic is legal, but these providers are not taking sufficient action to stop robocall traffic.

51 attorneys general participate in the national task force. Connecticut is among 16 states on the Executive Committee leading this task force. They say robocalls responsible for $29.8 billion in fraud last year alone. The task force is focused on shutting down the gateways that profit off this illegal scam traffic.

According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, more than 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day.

Connecticut Senate candidate uses Trump's backing sparingly

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — She’s the only statewide candidate running in Connecticut this year to be endorsed by former President Donald Trump, but Republican Leora Levy has been cautious in mentioning his political support during her race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Levy, a first-time candidate and Republican National Committee member, thanked Trump for “having my back” after winning the August primary in an upset, promising “I will not let you down.” But she has often deflected questions about the controversial former president in the months that have followed.

“Trump is not on the ballot,” she recently told a reporter. “And if there’s any president’s name on the ballot, it’s Joe Biden, because of his failed policies.”

Like many GOP candidates this year, Levy has instead focused her campaign heavily on affordability, crime and parents’ rights issues. And she contends her message resonates with voters in this politically blue state, despite conventional wisdom that Trump’s endorsement, coupled with her opposition to abortion rights and other conservative stances, will hurt her in the general election.

“The failed economic policies of the Biden administration, rubber stamped by Dick Blumenthal, have made life unaffordable for everybody,” she said in a recent interview with The Associated Press, when asked why she thinks she can win this year.

National Republican optimism has grown in recent weeks that anti-Democratic political headwinds will help underdog candidates initially considered a risky choice for the GOP. However, it’s questionable whether those winds will be strong enough to help Levy defeat Blumenthal, a well-known two-term U.S. senator, former state attorney general and U.S. attorney. A recent Quinnipiac Poll showed likely voters preferred Blumenthal over Levy by a 15 point margin.

Levy believes the race is much closer.

“Democrats will come up to me they’ll whisper, ‘Don’t tell anybody, but I’m voting for you,’” Levy said. Her campaign was buoyed by news that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was spending money for the first time on TV ads in the race, though the amount was small: $100,000.

Blumenthal has maintained a huge lead when it comes to campaign funds. As of Oct. 19, he still had more than $3 million in cash on hand while Levy, who loaned her campaign $1.7 million, had $432,156 left to spend.

The two-term Democratic senator’s campaign has focused much of its spending on TV ads, often reminding voters that Levy is Trump’s favored candidate. Blumenthal is hoping the message will resonate in a state where the same Quinnipiac Poll showed 62% of likely voters have an unfavorable opinion of the former president.

On Wednesday night, during the only debate in the race, Blumenthal doubled-down on Levy’s ties to Trump. He said that his opponent told the former president that “I will always have your back” means she’s out of sync with Connecticut voters.

“If you always have President Trump’s back, you can’t have Connecticut’s back,” he said. “If you’re 100% Trump, that’s 100% wrong for Connecticut.”

Levy portrayed Trump’s endorsement like any other she has received.

“I’m a uniter,” she said. “I’ve been endorsed by a lot of people in our party.”

Blumenthal has used Trump’s endorsement of Levy as a fundraising tool, often referring to her as his “Trump-backed opponent” in messages to donors. His campaign recently sent out an email with a photo of Levy appearing last month with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida for a Levy campaign fundraiser. Trump has not visited Connecticut to campaign for her.

“When speaking to the voters of our state, my GOP opponent has been trying to pretend she’s not a puppet of Donald Trump — but her extremist record and recent pilgrimage to genuflect before him tell a very different story,” Blumenthal says in the fundraising email to supporters.

A former commodities trader who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba as a young girl, Levy was Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Chile but was never confirmed. She’s known in national Republican circles for her fundraising abilities.

Levy wasn’t the first choice for state Republican leaders to run for the U.S. Senate. At the party’s convention this spring, delegates endorsed former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, a socially moderate Republican who supports abortion rights and some gun control measures.

But Levy, who supported former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 presidential election and wrote at the time in an op-ed that Trump was “vulgar, ill-mannered and disparages those whom he cannot intimidate,” surprised many by winning the primary. It came days after receiving Trump’s endorsement, which was announced over speaker phone at a GOP picnic. Moderate Republicans quickly took to social media, predicting they had lost their chance to finally defeat Blumenthal.

Levy declined to discuss what she acknowledged was a “contentious primary,” maintaining the state’s Republican Party is now united behind her candidacy.

“I’m looking forward. Let’s talk about the future and why I’m going to win this election,” she said. “I’m going to win this election because Connecticut voters don’t want to live like this anymore.”

Avangrid fined $4.48 million for not informing customers about payment plans

The Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel reports that the parent company of United Illuminating, Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas will pay $4.48 million for not informing customers about payment plans during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Consumer Counsel Claire Coleman says UI should have been seeking to assist low-income customers during the unprecedented financial challenges that Covid-19 inflicted upon them, not placing greater pressure on those already overburdened customers and their families.  Coleman says Avangrid was fined for the harmful pursuit of wage garnishments and failure to inform some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable customers about the payment plan specifically designed to assist struggling customers during the pandemic.

An investigation also found that Avangrid referred inactive accounts to collection agencies without giving customers adequate notice that their information would be shared.
The majority of the fine will go to Operation Fuel, a nonprofit that helps those struggling with energy bills.  Avangrid has until the 19th to request a hearing before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, and until the 14th to file written exceptions to the Proposed Final Decision.  

Connecticut man convicted in sex assaults of 4 women in '80s

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut man who was linked to the sexual assaults of four women in 1984 by information on a genealogy database has been convicted of all eight kidnapping charges against him. A state jury in Hartford took less than an hour of deliberations Wednesday to unanimously convict Michael Sharpe after a five-day trial that started last week. He faces 25 to 100 years in prison when he sentenced on Jan. 9. The 71-year-old Sharpe, a former charter school group executive, had been free during the case but was detained on a new $2.5 million bond set after the verdicts.

Connecticut governor candidates clash over police deaths

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — With the deadly ambush of two Connecticut police officers still fresh in voters’ minds, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski on Tuesday blamed a police reform law signed by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont for encouraging lawlessness as the pair met in the final debate of the race.

The claim sparked a sharp rebuke from Lamont, who accused his opponent of politicizing the tragedy, calling it the “cheapest grandstanding imagined.”

Besides the economy and inflation, crime has been a key issue in the rematch race between Lamont and Stefanowski. It has become more heated since three Bristol Police officers were shot Oct. 12 in what police believe was an ambush set up by a 911 call made by the shooter. Two Bristol officers died.

Stefanowski recently began running a TV ad that features the wife of a police officer from another department who was seriously injured after being run down by repeat criminal. In the ad, the woman, whom Stefanowski pointed out in the debate audience, says she blames Lamont for the crime.

Two years ago, Lamont signed into law a wide-ranging bill, proposed in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, that made numerous changes to policing in Connecticut. It created a new inspector general to investigate police use-of-force cases, limited circumstances in which deadly force is justified, and allowed more civilian oversight of police departments.

The most contentious part of the new law, which sparked a protest at the state Capitol, allowed civil lawsuits against officers by individuals who have had their constitutional rights violated by police if those actions were deemed “malicious, wanton or willful,” among other things.

Following Tuesday’s debate, Stefanowski called it “unconscionable” for Lamont not to consider revamping the law after the two officers were killed.

“For him to not even consider, not even consider changing it, is crazy,” said Stefanowski, who said he has heard from police officers who believe the legislation helped to create a culture of “tolerance” for criminals and a lack of respect for police officers. Stefanowski, who has been endorsed by multiple police unions in the state, accused Lamont of showing a “lack of respect” for law enforcement.

Lamont said it was a “horrible accusation” for Stefanowski to say he doesn’t care about officers.

“That’s shocking. You know, I was there at Rentschler Field,” he said referring to the stadium where a massive funeral was held for Bristol officers Dustin DeMonte and Alex Hamzy. “I was there with 15,000 men and women in blue. I know exactly what that means. I just think you can’t make those accusations. It’s false and unfair and they’re wrong.”

Rob Hotaling, the governor candidate on the Connecticut Independent Party ticket and the only biracial contender in the race, said he understands the safety concerns of police officers but also the safety concerns of people like him who have been racially profiled for crimes they didn’t commit.

“When you go through that experience, you realize you take a different perspective on the police accountability bill,” said Hotaling. He said he agreed with Lamont that Stefanowski was “politicizing” the issue.

“Police officers lost their lives. We need to respect that. But then you look at, OK, how do we make sure our communities are safe? Our police are safe? We should leave the politicization out of the way,” he said. “There’s no room for that in a civil society.”

Ex-lawmaker pleads guilty in theft of $1.2M in COVID-19 aid

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A former Connecticut state representative has pleaded guilty in connection with the theft of more than $1.2 million in federal coronavirus relief funds from the city of West Haven. Michael DiMassa appeared in federal court in Hartford on Tuesday. At the time of the theft, DiMassa was both a state representative and an aide to the West Haven City Council. Prosecutors allege he used his city position to steal the COVID-19 relief funds, some of which he used for casino gambling. He resigned from both his positions after his arrest last year. Two other people his wife and a business partner also have pleaded guilty, while a fourth person awaits trial.

Conn. awarded grant from U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, a division of the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services, has been awarded a $13.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration through its Sub-minimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment project, which is designed to decrease the use of subminimum wages and increase access to competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities.  The grant, which runs through September 30, 2027, will begin with a year dedicated to careful planning by the state agency and its partners to gather important stakeholder input and build a model of supported and accessible pathways leading to sustainable competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The remaining years of the grant will involve fully implementing this model and evaluating its effectiveness. Connecticut received the maximum grant award possible.

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