Explicit Consent for Pelvic and Prostate Exams: A Case for CT House Bill 5067

Fifteen states (including New York, Virginia, and California) have laws requiring explicit consent for intimate medical exams, and seven states including Connecticut and Massachusetts are proposing such laws this year. Connecticut’s bill has been proposed for the last three years but has never made it out of the Public Health Committee despite many calls for a public hearing. On March 30 at 7 pm, CT Rep. Josh Elliott will host a public conversation for both legislators and members of the public to shine a light on this important topic. Medical distrust is hard to heal. It may linger for generations,

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Instead of Undermining Responsible Town Government, Hartford Democrats Should Cede Authority to Towns

Give it to Connecticut Democrats They never give up. They are determined to diminish local government to a status of virtual triviality in the name of progressivism and in their unquenchable thirst for ever more state tax revenue. This legislative session, the Democrats want to impose progressive statewide zoning provisions that would virtually eliminate local authority over residential housing. In a second blow to housing and another blow to municipalities, the Democrats, led by Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, want to levy a statewide property tax. The very proposal demonstrates why local control should be defended at all costs.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BOARD OF REGENTS

We, undersigned CSU Professors from Central, Eastern, Southern, and Western Connecticut State University, believe that it is our responsibility and moral obligation to speak up on behalf and in support of our faculty colleagues and our students, and to express our deepest concerns about the harmful consequences that the contract proposals by the BOR currently under negotiation will have on our students, our four institutions, and the future workforce of our state. We would like to emphasize three areas that we deem as the most adversely affected by the proposal: (1) academic freedom and its relationship to teaching quality, (2)

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Kudos to Guilford Schools for Curriculum Change to Address Issues of Racism

Kudos to the Guilford Public Schools for addressing issues around racism as we navigate changing times. This is important work. Growing up in Guilford during the Civil rights era, I learned in school about consequential legislation like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, but we never fully addressed racial equity. The horrors of Jim Crow made it “easy” to be for Civil Rights for Blacks, because we treated it as a Southern problem. In those days, we overlooked our own complicity in perpetuating racism. Today’s Guilford Public Schools (GPS) curriculum is finally facing the necessary but uncomfortable

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Our Children Have the Right to Attend School Without Fear

In my twenty-five year role as the Executive Director of a vaccine advocacy organization, I have met untold numbers of heartbroken families who have lost their babies and children to diseases that could have been prevented through vaccinations.  Thankfully, the legislators of Connecticut clearly recognize that vaccine preventable diseases can have a devastating impact on families, as well as the overall health of our communities, which is why they have raised legislation to keep our children safe in schools.  S.B. 568 & H.B. 6423 were the topic of a recent Public Health Committee’s hearing, where testimony was offered during a

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Support Existing Restaurants, Not a Huge Monster Venue

I have lived on the shoreline since 1997. I have seen many restaurants come and go  I am a frequent patron of owner operated restaurants and support small mom and pop stores and businesses. I am disgusted that all these big box stores and internet. Walmart Cosco Amazon are laughing while they gobble up the 70% of small business that help our economy churn. Especially those that have started businesses long before these large box stores to save a couple dimes. The shoreline does not need a 300 capacity venue with tents and portable toilets. And so close to our

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The Purpose of Government is Not to Find Ever More Sources of Revenue

State Senate Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, recently proposed a new tax on Connecticut homeowners, at least those who live in houses with a marketable value above $430,000. It is being called a “mansion tax,” which belies the fact that the median home in Connecticut is (or was in 2019) valued at $359,000. Since there are 1,500,000 housing units in the state, that means a lot of people are going to see their property taxes go up, and Connecticut is already ranked third highest in the country in that regard. The State is already stressed: high taxes, high

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Replacing Open Space with Another Gas Station is No Improvement

I am writing to oppose the proposed Big Y Express gas station and convenience store complex on Halls Road in Old Lyme.  Old Lyme has a year-round population of approximately 8000 residents (per oldlyme-ct.gov), which has recently increased as populations have transitioned from dense urban areas to the suburbs.  Old Lyme is a desirable destination thanks to the great school system, picturesque natural environment, and high standard of living.  Nobody is moving here for our gas stations or convenient marts, and the damage to the rural character at a key entrance to town should not be ignored.   According to fueleconomy.gov, the number

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Half-Earth Gives the “tree of life” at Least a Fighting Chance

Saved on my old Dell, CD-RWs and, more recently, a flash drive as failsafe is a 660-page tome I’ve been writing for years. Referenced to the point of overkill, it’s a heavily-cited compilation of environmental ethics and moral philosophy, delving into humanity’s destructive bent. I began writing it the first day I retired, over a decade ago. Although back-burnered in recent years, I could easily add another six or seven hundred pages. Surely, as Texas and Mississippi lift mask mandates, I’d be remiss not to include a chapter on stupidity prolonging the pandemic. But, for any realistic chance at publication,

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DeLauro, Chief of Staff Show What ‘Public Service’ Means

Congratulations to one of Connecticut’s forever members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of New Haven, for teaching the country a wonderful political science lesson. Having ascended to the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee, DeLauro has just revived the infamous practice of putting “earmarks” in the federal budget — requirements that funds that ordinarily would be appropriated for general purposes be reserved for patronage projects desired by congressmen. Now DeLauro is forwarding her chief of staff, Leticia Mederos, to a national law and government relations firm, Clark Hill, whose office on Pennsylvania Avenue is within walking distance of

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Urge Legislators to Support Aid for the Terminally Ill

The Connecticut legislature will soon be voting on a humane and badly needed bill that offers an option for patients diagnosed as terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less. A patient may ask his or her doctor to prescribe life-ending medication that may be ingested to end suffering, if and when the patient chooses. Modeled on legislation that has been effective in Oregon for 23 years, the bill provides protection for patients and doctors who decide to participate. Nine states and Washington DC have similar legislation. There has been no evidence of violations, abuse or undesirable expansion and no adverse

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Why not Support Educational Models that Clearly Work?

My family and I have been residents of Bridgeport for approximately two decades now. I am a parent to three children who attended traditional, magnet, and public charter schools in my city and have been advocating vigorously for educational equity in our state for the past 12 years. February 10th was a moment of great joy when I heard the Governor announce his budget proposal to increase our charters’ per pupil funding. It took me back to the many moments we have come before our state elected officials to appeal for equity in funding for our children in public charter

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Connecticut’s 6,780 Forgotten Children

In October 2018, the State Board of Education approved two new charter schools, including the Danbury Prospect School, which would educate up to 780 Middle and High School Students. The Prospect Schools have been successfully educating students in Brooklyn, New York since 2009. They currently operate five schools with over 1,600 students, 42% of whom are socio-economically disadvantaged and 16% special needs. 100% of the students that attend Prospect Schools from sixth through twelfth grade go on to four-year colleges. A donor has agreed to provide $25 million to fund Danbury Prospect’s facility. So where do the children of Danbury,

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Connecticut Revenues Depend on Hartford’s Ability to Adjust

COVID-19 and anthropogenic climate change are creating new social environments to which economies must adapt. Connecticut’s revenue stream will depend on Hartford’s ability to adjust, especially through green energy job creation. That was particularly difficult during the Trump administration because the former president relentlessly dismantled institutions, flouted rules and degraded the electoral process. Because capitalism, with all its faults, still depends on honoring contracts, America’s oligarchs weren’t about to let that happen. Knowing stability, not strife, predictably boosts profits, blue-chip companies are halting campaign donations to members of Congress who challenged 2020’s election. Corporations, however, will gladly cut workforces to

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Lamont’s Budget Doesn’t Add Up

The Governor’s proposed biennial budget for transportation just doesn’t add up. Thanks to reduced rail ridership he’s projecting cost savings in the CDOT budget of $82 million over the next two years but promises no further cuts in service beyond those already taken during the pandemic.  But how does that jibe with Metro-North parent MTA’s projected $8 billion operating deficit through 2024? Even pre-pandemic when ridership was at record highs, Metro-North still lost money.  And taxpayers made up the difference.  Grumbling commuters packed in SRO rush-hour trains paying the highest commuter rail fares in the US still couldn’t cover operating

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Gambling Expansion Plan Could Be Worse, Or Better

Gambling and intoxicating drugs mainly transfer wealth from the many to the few and the poor to the rich, so it is sad that state government is striving to get into the business of sports betting, internet gambling, and marijuana dealing. That’s how hungry state government always is for more money. Even so, Governor Lamont may deserve some credit for the deal he seems about to achieve with Connecticut’s two casino Indian tribes. The tribes long have claimed that the casino gambling duopoly state government conferred on them in the 1990s also gives them exclusivity on sports betting and internet

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Connecticut’s Revenues — Anything But Simple

Last week, Governor Lamont invoked the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) to explain his reordering of the sequence of eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations.  He should not stop there. The entirety of state government could use a rigorous application of the principle.  Last year, Yankee Institute released a study of state revenue sources. The study was simple. What it found was not. The study was just a one-page list of all the state’s revenue sources – all 344 of them. The page was oversized, measuring 17 by 22 inches, with the list printed in a font as small as the

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‘Reverence for All Life, Can Take us Out of Echo Chambers’

When species diversify by exploring new ecological niches, passing along novel behaviors, acquired knowledge and distinctive anatomical traits, we biologists call that adaptive radiation. Culture is the passing from generation to generation of learned and shared behaviors. Units for carrying such ideas, symbols or practices from mind to mind via speech, writing, rituals or other imitable ways are memes. Like genes in biological evolution, they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures. With so much rapidly transmissible misinformation, distortion of fact and conspiracy mongering, it’s time we Americans stepped up to the plate, pined less for the old, dysfunctional “normal”

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Lamont Has Earned a Break

Everyone is entitled to be sick and tired of the virus epidemic, and no one is more entitled than Governor Lamont, whose administration has been consumed by it. Most people were happy with the administration’s handling of the epidemic until this week, when the governor changed policy on prioritizing the long-awaited vaccinations. Instead of giving priority to the elderly, classes of employees deemed essential, and people with some particular medical vulnerability, the governor decided that it would be better to vaccinate people simply by age, from oldest to youngest. This angered people who were getting near the front of the

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A Consul General’s ‘Pop-Up Diplomacy’ with Connecticut

“Pop-up diplomacy” is what Peter Abbott calls it. A whirlwind week-long series of virtual meetings with Connecticut – the Department of Corrections, the Nature Conservancy, the insurance industry, UConn President Thomas Katsouleas, Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates, and Attorney General William Tong. Since Abbott arrived in Boston last September, travel and opportunities to engage in the kind of everyday diplomacy that’s part of his job as British Consul General to New England, have been few and far between. And in a 45-minute call with Geoff Pigman and Gregory Stroud for CT Examiner on Thursday morning, Abbott appeared especially

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Part III: Jahncke’s Rebuttal

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of three editorials, by Red Jahncke and UWA Region 9 President Michael Holmes, debating the state budget and the issue of state employee compensation. The series follows the classic format of point, counterpoint and brief rebuttal. Jahncke provides initial remarks. Holmes is given 3 days to respond. Jahncke is then was given 1 day for a brief rebuttal. Unfortunately, Mr. Holmes has ignored the concerns expressed in my column.  Instead of addressing the fact that state employees earn 40 percent more than Connecticut’s private sector workers, as documented both by internal

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Maybrook Madness

Anyone who follows this column knows I’m a “train guy”.  I’ve always been a supporter of mass transit and continue to be.  But sometimes I wonder just where the state’s priorities are when they chose to waste a million dollars on yet another crazy study. This time it’s a study of the Maybrook line, a 14-mile, single-track of rusting rail running west from Danbury to Brewster NY and beyond. Metro-North used to run their equipment (not passenger trains) over to their Croton shops via the line, but little else.  Now there’s going to be a study (yes, for one million

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Don’t Give in to ‘Triangulating’ China

Next February marks 50 years since President Nixon and First Lady Pat visited the People’s Republic of China and, in an effort to underpin peace and thaw Sino-American relations, met with Mao Zedong. Perhaps no diplomatic overture in history has been as transformative or bold, nor could anyone but Nixon have pulled it off. His unassailable reputation as anti-Communist hardliner made him immune to criticism from anyone espousing conservative values. Yet Nixon, born in a Yorba Linda, California farmhouse, was a self-proclaimed “moderate reformer.” He revolutionized foreign relations, curtailed the Cold War, reduced nuclear and biological weapons, set cornerstones of

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Don’t Want Another Drug Crisis

House Speaker Matthew Ritter favors the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.  He thinks the chance of this passing is 50-50.  Obviously, the pro-legislators, pro-senators, and the Governor, who would vote for this, have not done critical thinking.  One of the justifications for passing this is to tie into the legislation, expunging criminal records for people convicted of low-level drug offenses  This essentially would be rewarding criminals, who chose to break the law at the time. The elected officials, including Gov. Ned Lamont, who said at one time, this is the “right thing” for the state, have failed to consider: health risks, safety

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Powell Turns a Deaf Ear to Educators who are Overextended, Underprotected

At a time when the education community is working overtime to provide students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need, Chris Powell attacks the men and women on the frontlines of this effort: teachers. Since the pandemic hit last year, teachers have taken on an increasingly heavy burden, putting students’ needs above their own well-being and pivoting from in-person to remote or hybrid teaching and back, all while juggling the same responsibilities as other parents and caregivers. In return, they have stood with their union in asking that schools reopen safely, with the same measures and protections as

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If Hartford Isn’t Farsighted Enough for a Public Bank, I’d like to See One in New London County

In 1935, as Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield, comedian and Dickens scholar W.C. Fields underscored financial struggle: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, happiness; annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six, misery.” Were this Dickens’ London, many of us would be in debtors’ prisons run by CEOs and shareholders the political establishment allows to rig and parasitize our economy. And the fault is not in retirement pensions or luxuriant public services (unless trolley systems suddenly reappeared in Connecticut last night) it’s in hardwired, politically entrenched two-party myopia. The pandemic not only exposed inherent instability of

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Teachers of Your Memories Aren’t Necessarily Today’s

Nearly everyone will forever remember some admired or even beloved teachers whose insight, enthusiasm, and caring pointed students in the right direction. Of course there were and are some mediocre, incompetent, and even malicious teachers too, but they are easily forgotten. So even as society becomes more fractious and angry, there is still a cult of respect around the teaching profession. But that cult may not last much longer as teacher unions, most notoriously in big cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, but also in most states, including Connecticut, obstruct normal school operations amid the virus epidemic. The

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There are CO2 Releases Throughout the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

In this newspaper, I have read the claim from many that Millstone nuclear power stations a zero-carbon emitter. This is a false claim in many aspects, and I request the paper not to print such claims without a corrective comment. Radioactive carbon 14 is released up the stack; however, this is not a source of concern here. (Solely in consideration of carbon release as it is minuscule.) The planet doesn’t care where CO2 emissions originate. The warming effect is the same regardless of geographic origin. There are CO2 releases throughout the nuclear fuel cycle. Mining, milling, fuel fabrication, fuel transportation,

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Transportation Construction Costs

Why is transportation construction so expensive in our area?  What kind of honor was it when New York City recently surpassed Zurich (one of the most expensive cities in the world) as #1 on the most-expensive-place-to-do-underground-construction dishonor roll? The highly respected Regional Plan Association (RPA.org) has studied that question and offers some explanations and frightening examples.  Focusing on three recent MTA mega-projects in New York City… the Second Avenue Subway, the #7 subway extension to Manhattan’s west side and the LIRR’s East Side Access project (ESA), their findings make for depressing reading. Let’s focus on the ESA plan… an ambitious

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