Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 2013

Friday, May 31

The Danbury News-Times reports State Attorney General George Jepsen says the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation acted reasonably in its decision to distribute $7.7 million to the families most affected by the school shooting. 

But Jepsen stressed he neither endorsed nor rejected the foundation's decisions on how to distribute the funds.

Family members had raised concerns about the decision to distribute just 70 percent of the total of $11.4 million received. 

The Foundation stressed the need to reserve the remainder for community needs in the future.
Others have suggested, donors intended the money to go directly to the families.

The attorney general said that a press release days after the tragedy had stated the fund was to be used to provide support to both "the families and the community affected by this tragedy," 

After a more than two-hour debate, the Connecticut House tabled a bill Thursday that would have reduced drug-free school zones from 1,500 feet to 300 feet. The bill’s proponents said that there are few places in cities that aren’t 1,500 feet from a school, daycare or public housing complex, while in suburban and rural towns few locations fall into these restricted zones. 

The current mandatory sentence for possessing drugs within 1,500 feet of a school or daycare is two years and selling drugs inside the zone is three years. Those penalties are in addition to the penalty for the underlying crime.

Peter Wagner, founder of the Prison Policy Initiative said, "These laws create a two-tiered system of justice: a harsher one for dense urban areas with numerous schools and overlapping zones and a milder one for rural and suburban areas, where schools are relatively few and far between.” 
The result is that minorities are disproportionately affected since those who live in the cities are largely black and Hispanic. 
Scrambling to find more revenue to balance the next state budget, Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration and Democratic legislative leaders are considering legalizing Keno, This could require consent by the state's two tribal casinos. 

Budget negotiations centered on a plan to raise about $30 to $40 million in new revenue. The tribes have exclusive rights to casino games under a compact signed 20 years ago. The Connecticut Lottery has taken the position that Keno is a form of a lottery, not a casino game. The tribes' position is that Keno is covered by the compact. 

But Charles Bunnell, the chief of staff for the Mohegans, said the tribe would not object to the legislature including a Keno plan in the budget -- so long as the state is aware it would have to quickly negotiate a revenue-sharing agreement with the tribes. 
Day care centers on Long Island had the most health and safety violations in the state outside of New York City, A state report examined violations issued by the state Office of Children and Family Services. 
Three Long Island day care centers located in Syosset, Melville, and East Moriches had more than 50 violations each, putting them third, fourth and fifth on the list of violators statewide.
Infractions ranged from failing to do staff background checks and directly supervise children to partially blocked exits and unlabeled drugs.
But managers of the facilities said violations were minor and said they had been corrected.

Newsday reports: At least four east end farms, flooded in superstorm Sandy when salt water broke through or washed over their protective berms, will collectively get more than $2 million in state and federal funding to help repair the damage. 

Sandy damaged 4.5 miles of earthen dikes, flooding 800 acres of the farms in Cutchogue and Orient. 

Salt water damages crops and soil. With the dikes in disrepair, high tides and storms kept re-flooding the farms.

Funds will come from an emergency watershed protection program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture covering 75 per cent of total costs 
The state will cover the remaining 25 percent.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's  forecast for the six-month hurricane season, which starts June 1, calls for a 70 percent likelihood of from 7 to 11 hurricanes. NOAA forecasts 3 to 6 of those will be "major" storms.

Thursday, May 30

A unique art exhibit is on view at The Grove in New Haven.  WPKN’s Melinda Tuhus explains:  

listen here  
The state House of Representatives sent a measure boosting Connecticut’s minimum wage by 45 cents to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk Wednesday evening.

The Democrat-controlled House passed the bill 89-53 in a vote largely along party lines. The Senate, where Democrats also hold a majority, adopted the bill last week.

The measure, which raises the minimum wage from $8.25 to $8.70 per hour on Jan. 1, 2014, and to $9 in 2015, had been negotiated with Malloy’s office, and the Democratic governor is expected to sign it.  
A sharply divided Senate voted early Thursday to give final passage to a bill making Connecticut one of a handful of states allowing illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

The bill passed on a 19-16 vote, after an 18-month campaign by Latino and religious groups, particularly Catholic clergy. The House passed it last week, 74 to 55.

"The Albany Times-Union reports: The Civil Service Employees Association has launched an ad campaign questioning Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new proposal for tax free zones rooted at state universities and other educational institutions.

The proposal, the wording of which has not been released, would eliminate property, corporate, sales and employee state income tax for new companies or out-of-state companies that locate up to a mile away from the campuses.
In a new radio ad, CSEA described the program as “another special giveaway to business” that the governor is “really spinning.”

However, a NEWSDAY editorial supports the move:
"The plan can't hurt. …It could create jobs. …… Tight controls should ensure that the jobs created are truly new, or at least new to New York. Otherwise, all we'll see is less tax revenue, not real growth.
A CSEA spokesman Stephen Madarasz said the latest proposal was akin to other “corporate welfare” programs, and was particularly galling because it would create “special employees” who would not be taxed.

Madarasz says “How do we have confidence in our tax system if not everybody is paying into it?”

Cuomo has said the proposal will be beneficial because new employees will pay sales taxes, buy homes, boosting property taxes and the real estate market, and circulate their wages in the local economy. 
A tornado packing 125 mph winds cut a 17-mile stretch through Montgomery and Schenectady counties in upstate New York on Wednesday.

The twister tore trees from the ground and ripped roofs off buildings. No deaths were reported. 
The New York State Legislature has voted to honor Levon Helm with a road in Woodstock named in his honor. The late Helm was a founding member of The Band and he resided in the Woodstock area until his death from cancer last year.
Wednesday, May 29

The proposed, two-year- 44 billion dollar Connecticut budget is getting closer to passing, but Republicans in the legislature are not happy with it.

The tentative deal made last week would largely keep aid to state municipalities and meet the increased demand for social service programs.

However, this budget extends some controversial taxes that were due to expire next year on power plants and businesses. It would add over 3 cents a gallon to the cost of gas starting July 1 and increase tax on other fuels.

The proposed budget would remove $1 billion from under the constitutional spending cap that is part of a new interpretation of Medicaid budgeting.  

Senate Minority Leader, Republican John McKinney of Fairfield, is among those opposed to the new interpretation.  McKinney says this was done through political necessity since there aren’t enough Democratic votes to pass it.

The state requires a three-fifths vote in both the House and the Senate to approve extending taxes and the Medicaid interpretation. 

Democrats hold 98 of the 151 House seats and need only 91 votes. In the Senate, they are struggling to get 22 of the 36 votes required, although they have 22 Senate seats.

Connecticut’s shoreline continues to struggle after Superstorm Sandy pummeled it seven months ago, but tens of millions of dollars in federal assistance the state is eligible for has not reached those who need it. 

There is a June 11 deadline to submit a detailed spending plan to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But the state has not yet decided how it will spend  the money it was awarded from the Sandy relief bill passed in January.

So far, HUD has set aside $72 million for Connecticut, but in shoreline towns such as Fairfield and Milford, over half the applicants for relief funds from FEMA are still waiting for financial aid.

The bulk of the funds will go to owners of single- and multi-family homes to repair storm damage and raise their properties out of the floodplain. Funds will also  aid small businesses and help repair public facilities.
Evonne Klein, Connecticut’s Department of Housing commissioner, says she expects homeowners to be able to apply starting this summer.

Newsday reports: Bernard Cooks, one of the men released from prison last year as part of the Suffolk district attorney's investigation of the Southampton Town Police Department has filed suit against the town, Suffolk County and their police departments.

Cooks claims he was "falsely accused" of criminal possession of a controlled substance and imprisoned "without probable or reasonable cause."  

Cooks also claims his arrest and prosecution were condoned by "ignoring a pattern of law enforcement improprieties and misconduct in order to secure a conviction."

Sue Menu, Cooks’ attorney, said she requested, but was never shown, a copy of the search warrant that resulted in the arrest.

Seven convictions resulting from Street Crime Unit arrests have been vacated in the past year after the revelation that Street Crime Unit officer Eric Sickles had been addicted to prescription drugs at the time of the arrests. Sickles was treated and recently returned to the force.


The Suffolk Times reports: Three locations in Greenport, described as marshland were to be treated for mosquito larvae today, according to the Suffolk County Department of Public Works.
Kerwin Boulevard, Pipes Neck Creek and Pipes Cove in Greenport were scheduled to be sprayed with Vectobac 12 AS pesticide by helicopter from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.,

Vectobac 12 AS is a biological larviside and according to its manufacturer, Valent Bio Sciences Corp., is harmful to humans and domestic animals if absorbed through the skin. It causes moderate eye irritation.  
According to a County press release, residents are unlikely to be exposed to the pesticides and “the products involved have no significant human toxicity,”

The pesticide is registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and are applied in accordance with the required state and federal permits, according to the county.
Tuesday, May 28

Gov. Dannel Malloy is expected to sign a bill eliminating what victim advocates and prosecutors say is a loophole that makes it nearly impossible to prosecute certain sexual assault cases. The bill expands the legal definition of “physically helpless" in the context of sexual assault. 

Prosecutors and advocates for victims and people with disabilities say the existing definition is too restrictive. Currently, state law defines “physically helpless” as being unconscious or physically unable to communicate unwillingness. The bill would expand the definition to cover a person who is “physically unable to resist an act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact.” The measure passed the House and Senate unanimously, and Malloy's spokesman said the governor will sign it. 


The first lawsuit stemming from the May 17 derailment of an eastbound Metro-North train around Fairfield and subsequent collision with a westbound train was filed last Friday by one of the passengers. 

The suit accuses the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of negligence by not replacing a damaged joint bar. 

Initially, the MTA said it would not comment, but late in the day, a company spokesman said the damaged joint bar had been replaced. A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman confirmed this.

The NTSB has not concluded yet that the joint bar contributed to the accident. A full report by the agency on the cause of the crash may not be available for months. 

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by a New Haven law firm, Stratton Faxon.  In a statement, lawyers said their client suffered severe fractures to her legs, arm and pelvis, and has undergone multiple surgeries. Dozens of people were injured in the crash.

Proponents of a bill to require labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms were elated when it passed the state Senate almost unanimously last week. 

It called for the law to take effect in 2015 if three neighboring states passed their own GMO notification laws, and in 2016 even if no other states did. 

But then the bill went to the House, where it was changed to say the law would only go into effect in Connecticut if five other states, meeting certain population totals, passed similar legislation. 
Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and Gov. Dannel Malloy say the House version will protect Connecticut agriculture from being put at a competitive disadvantage if it's the only state with such a labeling law. Proponents of the Senate version, led by GMO Free CT, are calling on voters to contact Malloy and Sharkey to demand what they say is a bill that will allow consumers to know what is in their food.
Newsday reports: Five Catholic grammar schools put on a "watch list" when the Diocese of Rockville Centre closed six schools last year appear to be out of danger for now. 

The diocese said it expects no closings this fall but spokesman Sean Dolan said: 

"At the end of the day it does come down to enrollment. No Catholic grammar school on Long Island survives on tuition alone, and all get parish subsidies"

The diocese ordered the five watch-listed schools to collaborate with one another to become more efficient, strengthen their programs and find ways to combine resources.

The schools include 3 in the eastern Long Island towns of Riverhead, Cutchogue, and Center Moriches.

As another hurricane season starts, New Yorkers look back at Hurricane Sandy and forward to what can be done to prepare for the next big storm. 

A new program approved by New York State could help coastal fishing businesses hit hard by Hurricane Sandy back on their feet with grants of up to $50,000 to cover losses.

The new Coastal Fishing Industry Grant Program could help businesses recover from any losses that occurred as a result of the October superstorm, whether they were fishing for fluke or digging for clams.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is “directing new federal funds to support this critical industry on Long Island and Staten Island.”

Businesses also impacted during earlier storms, such as Tropical Storm Irene or Tropical Storm Lee are also eligible to apply for relief from the state.

Businesses that are interested in applying can do so by filling out an application on the New York State website. 

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, is calling for the creation of a centralized source for weather emergency updates in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's assault on New York City and Long Island.

The senator said a central online clearinghouse and corresponding mobile application would be useful for providing information during extreme weather conditions.

His request follows a post-Sandy assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that recognized numerous problems in reporting information on the storm to the public as it was developing.

Monday, May 27 

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Governor Dannel Malloy and members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation at a town hall-style forum at a Hartford school on Friday. They discussed what Duncan described as the difficult task between balancing school safety and creating an atmosphere of fear. 

To help improve school safety, Malloy announced that $5 million is being made immediately available to Connecticut municipalities through the Competitive Grant Program established as a part of the gun legislation signed into law in April. 

Schools can apply for grant money in order to be reimbursed for safety expenses such as installing ballistic glass or surveillance cameras. Malloy said another $10 million, funded by government bonds, will be made available over the next year. He added that he planned to leave decision-making about armed guards to local schools.


Democratic leadership in the General Assembly and Governor Malloy on Friday reached a compromise “in principle” on a new, two-year state budget, according to sources. They say it will rely on an alternative accounting method for federally reimbursed Medicaid dollars. 
The two-year budget Malloy proposed is about $1 billion over the spending cap under current budgeting rules. Malloy was unable to garner the three-fifths majority in the Senate he would have needed to make the changes he proposed in February when he released his budget. 
The negotiated budget also continues the tax on electric generators, but to a lesser degree. That tax was first implemented in 2011 with the promise that it would sunset July 1, 2013. Malloy’s original budget proposal continued the tax and estimated it would bring in about $76 million a year. Much of the tax has been passed on to ratepayers, something that has been strongly opposed by consumer groups like Fight the Hike. 

The negotiated budget also restores the $25 exemption for sales tax on clothing and shoes by mid-2015. 

The Brookhaven town board last week narrowly passed a code amendment that makes room for more multifamily housing to be built in the town.
The 4-3 vote followed a public hearing in which civic leaders said more input should have been solicited from the community.

The code amendment clarifies the definition of affordable housing and requires developers to “redeem building density credits for increased density projects.” 

The code change designates major roadways, connections to mass transit lines, and proximity to existing downtown areas and commercial centers as appropriate locations for multifamily housing units.

Jim Gleason, director of the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization criticized the ammendment saying it should be done with the right consultation and the right data.

Democrat Councilwoman Connie Kepert, of Middle Island, said "You need some multifamily housing and that is a choice that some people [make]. Not everybody wants to live in a single family home." 
Sheila Croke of the Catholic peace group Pax Christi - Long Island reports that the organization’s ninth annual memorial vigil for the soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq was held at Jones Beach Saturday morning.

Despite cold, drenching rain and whipping winds, a small but hardy band held a brief memorial service that included the reading of the names of the war dead. 

Also, a prayer composed by Father Bill Brisotti  took 

note not only of all those killed by war,but also of "the survivors, all forever changed, some bearing cruel reminders of war's human costs in broken bodies and shattered psyches." 


Friday, May 24

The Senate voted Thursday to approve a proposal to raise the state minimum wage by 75 cents to $9 per hour over the next two years. 

Lawmakers passed the bill in a 21-15 vote after around two and a half hours of debate, sending it to the House. 

Both House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and Governor Dannel Malloy have indicated they support the proposal.

Senator Cathy Osten, co-chairwoman of the legislature’s Labor Committee, said that inflation and the cost of living in Connecticut have grown faster than the state’s mandated minimum wage, which has been at $8.25 per hour since it was last raised in 2010. 

Connecticut has 106,000 residents, 10 percent of the state’s workforce, who are paid the minimum wage. 

Opponents of a minimum wage hike maintain that economic conditions have not improved enough over the past year to warrant raising it.

The bill passed in a largely party-line vote with only Senator. Joan Hartley breaking ranks with her fellow Democrats to oppose the bill. 

A man who supporters say is the symbol of what's wrong with the American immigration system got a last-minute -- and perhaps temporary-- reprieve from deportation on Thursday, and his supporters rallied Friday morning outside the federal building in New Haven. WPKN's Mellinda Tuhus has more:

Long-time New Haven resident Jose Maria Islas was awaiting deportation in a Massachusetts jail when a federal judge issued the stay. 

Supporters say he has no criminal record, has worked the past 8 years to support his family, and should be considered a low priority for deportation. But immigration officials say he crossed the border illegally four times in 2005 and is therefore a high priority. Judge Philip Verillo issued the emergency ruling in order to consider a motion by Mr. Islas's lawyer to reopen and terminate the removal proceedings against him. 

Ana Maria Rivera, with Junta for Progressive Action in New Haven, said hearing about the stay of deportation for Islas was the best news she could have gotten while she was at the Capitol fighting for legislation to protect immigrants from experiencing the same pain that Islas's family has endured.

Rivera: "I think it's important to know that the Trust Act -- which is a bill that would, in essence, prevent law enforcement from handing over people  to ICE, needlessly detaining families, subjecting them to suffering -- was passed unanimously, and that is so important."

The bill --  AN ACT CONCERNING CIVIL IMMIGRATION DETAINERS -- is nicknamed the Trust Act because its goal is to rebuild trust between immigrants and law enforcement. It would apply only when certain conditions are met. After passing the House on Wednesday it is now on the Senate calendar.

Speakers, like labor activist Fatima Rojas said the only reason Islas hasn't already been deported is that the community has organized on his behalf.

Melinda Tuhus, WPKN News.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would make a decision on whether to allow hydrofracking in New York before the 2014 election. 

In an interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard on Wednesday, Cuomo, said he's waiting for the results of a review by his state health commissioner, Dr. Nivah Shah. 

Cuomo said those results should be ready within several weeks. 
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has signed on to a petition with Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, urging the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to take a closer look at the way nuclear waste is stored at places like the Indian Point plant on the Hudson River. 

The Attorneys General want to be able to address site-specific concerns. 

Schneiderman said “NRC staff is continuing to ignore serious public health, safety and environmental risks related to long-term, on-site storage. The communities that serve as de facto long-term radioactive waste repositories deserve a full and detailed accounting of the risks.” 

A federal circuit court last year ordered the NRC to complete a full review of the public health, safety and environmental hazards before allowing the long-term storage of radioactive waste at the nation’s nuclear power plants.

This landmark decision means that the Commission cannot license or re-license any nuclear power plant, including the Indian Point facilities, until it fully examines the dangers and consequences of long-term, on-site storage of nuclear waste. 


Thursday, May 23

Two gun rights organizations, six individuals, and two gun stores, have asked a federal court to strike down Connecticut’s new firearms law.

The lawsuit challenges a number of the provisions of the law including the  assault weapons ban and the new restrictions placed on high-capacity magazines. It contends that portions of the law are too vague for residents to apply.

Robert Crook, executive director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, called the law unconstitutional.

The lawsuit argues that the new law won’t do anything to reduce crime and could have the opposite effect of making residents less safe.

In April, a lawyer for a disabled New London man filed a separate legal challenge in state court. In an April interview, George Mocsary, a visiting law professor at the University of Connecticut said he believed some aspects of the law to be unconstitutional. Moscary said the assault weapons ban in particular did not pass constitutional muster.  


The Connecticut House voted 74-55 after sunrise today for a bill allowing people in the country illegally to obtain a Connecticut driver’s license, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

The lead sponsor of the legislation, Juan Candelaria, a New Haven Democrat, said the bill would improve public safety by allowing illegal immigrants to drive legally and with insurance.

Applicants would have to prove identity with a passport, consular identification or other document, and show that they had been living in Connecticut for at least 90 days.  

The legislators also made a 132-0 vote for a bill that limits the circumstances under which state and local law enforcement officers can detain illegal immigrants for deportation.

Both bills now go to the Senate. If passed, Connecticut would join a handful of states to provide driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Colorado passed a similar bill two weeks ago.

Inmates serving long prison sentences for crimes committed as children may end up being released much sooner than they expected.

The Connecticut House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would make dozens of prisoners eligible for parole as soon as this fall. 

If the bill becomes law, 170 inmates would be eligible for parole after serving 60 percent of their time. 

Three recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court restrict state lawmakers from requiring mandatory life sentences without the chance of parole for juveniles. 
The bill would not require an automatic release but it allows for a review of sentences.

At last night's meeting, the Riverhead Town Board heard opposition from the farm community to proposed  stricter regulations on excavating land for agriculture.

According to the Riverhead News-Review, farmers argued that under state law, agricultural uses are exempt from requiring permits for excavating.

But Supervisor Sean Walter contends that under current rules, developers can just say they’re farming and operate sand mines instead.
Newsday reports that North Fork residents and officials are again protesting  helicopters flying over their town en route to the Hamptons.

They say the noise from crossings to and from East Hampton Airport is incessant.

The Southold Town Board this week called for curfews at East Hampton Airport on evenings and weekends. Town Supervisor Scott Russell said helicopters should fly around the North Fork's tip or take the southern route over the Atlantic Ocean.

East Hampton Airport officials and a helicopter trade group claim those requests are unreasonable or illegal under airport rules. 

About two-thirds of helicopter traffic uses Long Island Sound, an FAA-mandated route pushed through at the urging of Senator Charles Schumer last year. Schumer said he is working on mandating that helicopters traveling the North Shore go around Orient Point. 

In a related story, the Riverhead Town Board will hire a consultant on air traffic control issues. Richard Marakovitz is being hired to help the town try to lure the Federal Aviation Agency to Calverton. 


Wednesday, May 22  

On Tuesday.the state Senate passed a bill requiring labeling of genetically modified foods by July 1, 2016.

It includes labeling of food grown from seeds that are produced — in whole or in part — with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The legislation would not apply to foods, served at a restaurant or food stand. 

Although the Food and Drug Administration ruled in 1992 that GMOs are quote “not inherently dangerous”, concerns have grown over potential health side effects. Currently, more than 60 countries mandate labels for GMO foods.

At a rally in support of the bill,Tara Cook-Littman, founder of GMO Free CT, said they aren’t seeking a ban on GMO products, but that labeling is about giving the public the “right to make their own decision.”

The bill has substantial support in the House as well, but Speaker Brendan Sharkey and Governor Dannel Malloy have both expressed concern that if Connecticut is the only state to pass such a law, that would put the state’s farmers at a competitive disadvantage.


A federal jury in New Haven took less than three hours Tuesday to convict Robert Braddock Jr., a top campaign aide to former House Speaker Chris Donovan, of conspiring to help bribe Donovan with illegal campaign contributions. 

The owners of roll-your-own cigarette stores attempted to keep their business exempt from the state's steep tax on manufactured cigarettes by offering $30,000 towards his campaign.

Braddock was the finance director of Donovan's 2012 congressional campaign until his arrest a year ago, when Donovan fired him and his campaign manager, Joshua Nassi. Nassi would later plead guilty to conspiracy charges.  

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton scheduled Braddock's sentencing for Aug. 13. He faces a statutory maximum of 12 years, though he is unlikely to get the maximum as a former Marine with no criminal record. Donovan has not been charged and maintains his innocence.


After 20 years running City Hall, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano plans to become a banker. He announced on Tuesday that he'll become executive vice-president of START Community Bank on Jan. 1, when his term ends. 

DeStefano will shift from overseeing a workforce of around 5,000 people and combined budgets of over $700 million to helping to manage a bank with 22 employees and $44 million in assets.

DeStefano will be charged with growing the bank and making it profitable. He said he couldn't imagine taking a job outside New Haven. He declined to reveal what his salary will be.


Newsday reports the East Hampton Town Board voted 5-0 Thursday to increase landing fees at the town’s airport.  
Increases include hiking the fee for light single-engine prop planes from $7 to $10.  and for large helicopters from $350 to $500. 
No residents opposed raising landing fees. But many insisted the town come up with a new financial plan so the airport does not have to take funds from the Federal Aviation Administration.
They said taking the funds allows the FAA to set rules about airport use, including hours of operation and flight paths. Local control would allow the Town to mitigate noise over populated areas – a concern of many on the east end. 
Some residents expressed concern that the Town Board was spending too much time on airport issues, which mostly affect the very rich, than on local issues in middle-class areas.  Their concerns include noise, overcrowded housing, absentee landlords and high taxes. 
It looks like New York State’s property tax cap is having an impact on school budget votes.

Statewide over two thirds of tax cap overrides failed in yesterday’s school budget voting according to the Albany Times-Union. 

On eastern Long Island the only budget proposal to fail was East Quogue’s  

Voters failed to pull together the supermajority needed to approve a cap-busting $23 million budget that includes a 4.6 percent tax levy.

The budget failed with 494 voters in favor and 340 against, a 59 percent margin. The district needed 60 percent of voters to support the budget — it was  7 votes shy of that goal. 


Tuesday, May 21

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority inspected 

the tracks involved in Friday’s derailment two days 
before the collision that left dozens injured, the 
Federal Railroad Administration said Monday. But a 
more rigorous federal inspection of the track had 
not been conducted in more than a year and a half. 

The official cause of the crash is unknown and 

likely to remain so for months while federal 
investigators complete their work. But a National 
Transportation Safety Board investigator said that 
a broken rail is of substantial interest to 
investigators and that a portion of the track has 
been sent to a laboratory for analysis.

The Metro-North track in Connecticut was rated 

Class 4,  On such a track, trains are permitted to 
travel at a maximum speed of 80 mph. The trains 
were traveling about 70 mph when the collision 

Class 4 tracks are required, by federal law, to be 

inspected at least twice weekly. 


Newtown mothers joined lawmakers and advocates 
Monday to support legislation that would streamline 
mental health services for children. 

They rallied behind a bill, introduced by Senator Dante Bartolomeo, that would require existing state departments to coordinate mental health services for children, increase training for mental health treatment, and create a task force to research the causes of mental health disorders.

The bill would require the state Department of 

Children and Families to implement a new system for 
providing mental health services to children that 
focuses on early identification and in-home 

The legislation is intended to augment sweeping 

legislation signed last month that requires mental 
health services to be deemed “urgent care” by 
insurance companies and seeks to increase 
transparency by requiring insurance providers to 
specify reasons when care is denied.

Bartolomeo’s bill would also seek to reimburse 

families or schools that employ mental health 

Bartolomeo said Senate and House leadership are 

“firmly behind” the bill and expect it to pass 
before the June 5th deadline. 
Hurricane Sandy debris from Fire Island is being 
transported to the Sandspit Marina in Patchogue. 
The marina is a staging area, where the debris is 
being sorted and delivered to the appropriate 
agency for recycling.

The operation is a fine-tuned, multi-agency effort. 

Sorted debris is not permitted to leave the staging 
area unless it passes inspection. It is believed 
that FEMA and the EPA will be at the Sandspit to 
ensure that each Dumpster contains only the 
prescribed debris. Special care is being taken to 
be sure that “wood debris” does not contain any 
plastic materials. Plastic when burned is toxic. If 
an inspector does not approve that a Dumpster is 
free of any foreign matter, the contents are 
unloaded and resorted.


New York City, Long Island, and Westchester will 

receive $22 million more in federal funding this 
year from the Department of Homeland Security for 
counterterrorism and disaster preparedness programs 
according to Newsday.

Nationwide, $174 million – a 15 percent increase 

from last year – will be spent on equipment and 
training as part of the federal Urban Areas 

Security Initiatives grants. These are given to 31 

"high-threat, high-density" metropolitan areas each 

New York State will receive almost $67 million 

under the State Homeland Security Grant Program - 
an $11 million increase from last year.

Republican Representative Peter King of Seaford, 

the Homeland Security Chairman, said that although 
other states and cities have dealt with 40 percent 
cuts in grant funding, “it's a recognition that New 
York City and Long Island are the number one 
terrorist target in the country, and we need this 
money to keep coming in." 
Monday, May 20

Senator. Richard Blumenthal says he is pushing to 

reform the military judicial process and provide 
more support for sex crime victims.  This comes 
after two high-profile military leaders in charge of preventing sex crimes were themselves accused of 
sexual assault.

A Pentagon report estimates there were 26,000 sex 
crimes in the military last fiscal year.The report says that only 3,000 were actually reported and only 238 successfully prosecuted.

Blumenthal and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are 
pushing legislation that would take the decision of 
whether to prosecute a case out of the chain of 
command.  The decision would be left up to trained and experienced military prosecutors.

The group also advocates several new policies that 

Establish a victim’s compensation system,
Create a crime victims’ rights ombudsman, and
Require those convicted of sexual assault to be thrown out of the military with a punitive discharge.

About 1,400 cyclists participated in last Friday's 
National Bike to Work Day, according to BikeWalkCT, 
a statewide advocacy organization.

Celebrations were held at 25 locations across the 

state. Private sector and state government workers 

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, thanked Elm City 

Cycling, the local advocacy organization, for 
improving the quality of life in town. 

Elm City Cycling used the occasion to release its 

2013 Bike and Pedestrian Plan, which calls for five 
specific actions to make biking and walking safe 
and enjoyable 

The event in Bridgeport also drew a crowd, and 
cycling is likely to increase there when the city 
rolls out its bike share program.


Following the Metro North train crash Friday night 
in Fairfield, the Monday morning rush hour was slow 
on area roads. Metro-North buses carried passengers 
around the train derailment site from Bridgeport to 

At the crash site, crews will spend days rebuilding 
2,000 feet of track, overhead wires and signals. 
In New Haven roads were expected to be even busier 
– Today was graduation at Yale. The city’s Chief 
Administrative Officer Rob Smuts advised those who 
could to bike to work. 

Regular train service is operating on the New 

Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury Branches.
Long islanders will go to the polls Tuesday to vote 
for school board members and approve or reject 
school budgets. 

New York State law calls for a 2 percent cap on 
school budget increases.  But, there are exceptions 
for growth and uncontrollable costs that permit  
higher increases.

As long as districts adhere to the cap, budgets may 
be passed by a simple majority but they must get 60 
percent of voters to approve going above the cap.
Here are some examples: 

Southampton School District voters will decide on a 
2.6 percent tax levy increase for 2013-14, well 
below the 4.1 percent the school district was allowed by the law. 

Miller Place voters will be asked to approve a 4.5% average tax increase. 

On Friday evening, more than 40 members of the 
Shinnecock Nation staged a vigil in support of the 
Mohawk people who live on Cornwall Island in the 
St. Lawrence River. The Mohawks consider their island is ‘under’ the US - Canada border. 

On Friday, they marched across the bridges 
connecting Cornwall Island with Ontario, Canada to 
the north and New York state to the south.
The Mohawks protested the situation they say makes 
them subject to police identification and reporting 

when they travel to the United States or Canada.
They carried the flag of the Iroquois Confederacy 
picturing a wampum belt – a representation of a 
peace treaty among the native nations of the Confederacy.  

The clam shells that made up that wampum belt came 
from native people on Long Island.

After the Mohawks protested a plan to arm Canadian 
custom agents on Cornwall Island in 2009, Canada 
removed their agents to the Canadian mainland. 

Consequently, travel to and from the island in 
either direction requires passage through Canadian 
customs and frequent delays at the bridge connecting the US and Canada. 

Native Americans from the US traveling to Cornwall 

Island have been subject to harassment by Canadian the border 


Friday, May 17

The state Senate pared down a request Wednesday to increase the funds state officials would be able to dole out to Connecticut businesses without legislative approval. 

Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community development, allocates large sums of money to help businesses move into the state or expand. The agency is given carte blanche to dole out millions of dollars without legislative oversight. The money can be given as loans or tax credits.
The Department has entered into some controversial arrangements with private business. In one case, $100 million dollars was given to a Westport hedge fund to move its headquarters 12 miles to Stamford 
The bill currently being debated would reduce the amounts the agency could disburse on its own.
But, left unchanged is the “First 15” program which allows unlimited amounts to companies that will hire 200 workers in a specified time.
Some are calling it “corporate welfare”:but it passed through the Senate, 24-12, with two Republicans joining the Democratic majority. 


Connecticut lawmakers introduced bills in Congress Thursday that would secure federal funds to build a new Sandy Hook Elementary School
Last week, town leaders in Newtown voted to tear down the existing facility and build a new one in its place. The cost could reach $60 million.
Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, introduced the Sandy Hook school legislation in the Senate. Representative Elizabeth Esty, who represents Newtown, introduced the bill in the House.
They said their congressional colleagues owed the people of Newtown some help.
Funds would come from the Department of Education’s “SERV” program that gives federal assistance to communities after traumatic violent events, such as mental health counseling.  
The bills would eliminate restrictions on using funds for building construction.
In addition, funding for the SERV program would have to increase dramatically. In his latest budget request, President Obama has asked for only $5 million for the program.

Indian Country Today reports: 

The Oneida Indian Nation and the State of New York have made an agreement  that resolves all disputes over land rights, tax issues, gaming exclusivity and profits between the two sovereigns.

At a press conference Thursday in Albany, Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the agreement.
The Nation will get exclusive gaming rights in central New York including Oneida, Onandaga, Cayuga and Madison Counties.
Oneida in turn will share 25 percent of its net slot revenues with the state. The State, in turn will share the revenues with the counties.
Initial estimates put the amount of revenue at approximately $50 million a year, 
The Nation agreed to charge a sales tax comparable to that charged by surrounding towns on cigarettes and other goods sold to non-Indians.
The deal will require approval of the U,S. Interior Department, county and state legislatures, and the New York Attorney General.
The exclusivity agreement means that central New York will not be eligible for commercial gaming if commercial gaming is approved by voters at a referendum and subsequently by the legislature.
The organization “Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth” or LIGALY, will open a community center in Sag Harbor in July. 
The organization runs two community centers on Long Island. The closest to Sag Harbor is 60 miles away in Bay Shore.
The center will offer programs to east end youth out of a temporary space at the Old Whalers Church in Sag Harbor. 
LIGALY signed a two-year lease with the church.  

David Kilmnick, its CEO, says they are raising money to build or open a permanent space. 

Also they are seeking funding help from the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton and Suffolk County, to pay for one full-time and one part-time position at the Sag Harbor location at a cost of about $100,000 annually.

Plans for the center were made last fall, following the suicide death of a gay East Hampton high school student. 
LIGALY hosted a forum at the high school in October, at which Kilmnick announced plans for a community center. 

Thursday, May 16

State senators on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to increase budget oversight of the state's public colleges and universities. It will require college officials to come before legislators to talk about their budgets sometime before Valentines Day next year, but not 

necessarily before their budget is adopted. 

The proposal is, in part, a result of legislative concerns that tuition continues to rise each year above the rate of inflation at the University of Connecticut, the community colleges and the four Connecticut State Universities. 

Some legislators have also expressed concern about  administrative spending by the institutions.  State legislators have played little to no role in determining what the tuition will be at the state's public colleges, as the higher education systems' line-item spending and revenue decisions are made autonomously, without legislative oversight. 

Last fiscal year, the state spent just under a billion dollars on UConn and the Regents' system, which was 5 percent of total state spending. The bill now goes to the House.


Connecticut officials trying to close a last-minute hole in the next budget got some good news Wednesday in the form of major savings in health care costs for retired state employees. 

The Legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis says it has reduced its projected cost of providing health care to retired state workers in the fiscal year that begins July 1 by $141 million, and by $167 million in the following year.  

Although the cost of health care for current employees is going up, the overall savings still amounts to $224 million over the next two years.  

Part of the savings is due to better pharmacy pricing to be negotiated by the state. Taking these savings into account, House minority leader, Republican Larry Cafero, called on the Malloy administration to cancel its proposed gas tax increase this summer, which was 

estimated to add $60 million to the general fund.


The Times-Union reports the New York State Sheriff’s Association, has filed a “friend of the court" brief in support of a federal suit brought by state firearms advocacy groups. The suit challenges the new gun control law that went into effect this month. 

The brief states that the SAFE act,which includes regulations affecting the sale, ownership, storage, and use of firearms in the state, appears willfully blind to legitimate safety interests, and is tailored to negatively impact law-abiding firearm owners. 

The brief also states that law enforcement’s work is made more difficult attempting to enforce unclear laws that harm, rather than promote, public safety.

The law suit, filed in federal court in Buffalo,in March, names Governor Cuomo, State Attorney General Schneiderman, and three other officials as defendants. 

Cuomo has said he believes the new law will save lives, and Schneiderman has said he is confident it will withstand legal challenges.

The Albany Times-Union reports:

State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk announced she’ll introduce a bill that would ban the ongoing “treatment, discharge, disposal, transportation, or storage of high-volume hydo-fracking waste products in New York State.” 

The freshman Democrat said, “It simply makes no sense that we would accept hazardous wastes from other states while we are working to determine the environmental impact fracking would have on New York.”

Opponents of fracking joined her in support of the new legislation, which is meant to block the steady stream of waste coming over the Pennsylvania border into New York State.

Roger Downs of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter said, “New York should not be Pennsylvania’s dumping ground.”  

But James Smith of the Independent Oil & Gas Association, said  “the assumption that the lawful 

transportation and disposal of waste water is somehow a secret or an unregulated activity is 
absurd. Presenting this as some sort of crisis is irresponsible.” 

A moratorium against fracking in the state was passed in the Assembly.  It remains blocked in the Senate where most Republicans support fracking or are willing to let Governor Cuomo make the decision.  The Governor is waiting for evaluations from the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health before making a decision. 

Wednesday, May 15

A federal judge issued a permanent injunction against the Connecticut Department of Social Services this week ordering it to comply with federal guidelines for processing food stamp applications. 

U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Bryant told the department to “process applications for, and 

provide, food stamps in a timely manner, as required by the Food Stamp Act.”

She said the state admitted to routine loss of applications, loss of verification documentation, and the failure to timely schedule interviews.”

Under the Food Stamp Act the state is required to process applications within 30 days, but in many cases has exceeded that time period. 

David Dearborn, a spokesman for the department, said it has hired more than 200 new staff members to implement improvements that will allow for faster processing of applications for both food stamps and Medicaid benefits.

There are nearly 400,000 Connecticut residents in over 214,000 households receiving food stamps, according to the Department of Social Services.  


A coalition of health and anti smoking advocates called on the legislature Wednesday to increase state taxes on cigarettes by 95 cents a pack, citing a new poll that found broad support for the proposal among Connecticut voters. 

The poll, commissioned by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, found that 70 percent of the 500 voters sampled between May 7 and May 9 supported raising the tax. They say raising the cigarette tax would generate over $50 million more in annual revenue.

Representative Matt Lesser, a Middletown Democrat, said he supported using taxation as a way to 

encourage people to quit smoking. Lesser said the thing that’s breaking the bank in the state is the soaring cost of health care. To a huge extent, the costs are coming from smoking-related diseases. 

But Governor Malloy and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey oppose any new taxes. Senate President Donald Williams said Democrats in the Senate have not yet talked about the proposal. He said “We’re trying to smoke out our other members on this,” 

As reported in the Lower Hudson Journal News:

One of Indian Point’s two nuclear reactors soon will become the first in the country to operate with an expired license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

The plant is on the Hudson River in Buchanan, near Peekskill, New York.

Both Indian Point 2 and 3 received a green rating for 2012, which means the inspection findings were considered of “very low safety significance.” 

The ratings are based on 11,400 hours of inspections. Arthur Burritt, the NRC branch chief responsible for inspections said “Our inspectors look at everything. So if there are issues, we’re going to identify them in the first 40 years or afterwards,”

But because Entergy Nuclear, its owner, filed for renewal more than five years before the expiration date, the reactor can keep operating until a decision comes.

But the plant has long been a target of criticism from environmental groups and others because of its location in a densely populated area. Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for Indian Point’s closure.


The Riverhead News Review reports: 

The family of a former Riverhead Middle School student is alleging district officials illegally searched their son in 2007, and is seeking $2 million in damages in a civil rights lawsuit set to go to jury trial in federal court this week.

In February 2007, the boy was pulled out of his eighth grade class by a district security guard, it is alleged. He was brought to the principal’s office, where he was accused of selling drugs in school because he was seen giving money to two students.

The suit claims the district didn’t have “reasonable grounds” to search him, and did not search another student who is white.

The student “suffered emotional harm, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, damage to his 

good name and reputation and loss of enjoyment of life,” according to court documents.

School District officials could not be reached for comment.

The case has taken so long to get to trial because of various motions made by the district’s lawyers to have the case dismissed.

Tuesday, May 14

A bill that would prohibit, under some circumstances, any law enforcement officer in the state from telling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that they detained an undocumented immigrant passed the Public Safety Committee 13 to 7 today.

Ana Maria Rivera, a legal and policy analyst with Junta for Progressive Action, said it’s nicknamed the “Trust Act” because it will restore the trust between law enforcement and the immigrant community.

Rivera said “Seventy percent of those deported in 

Connecticut have committed non-violent offenses”. 
She said it’s great that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 
administration told the Department of Correction 
and state police not to honor the Immigrations and 
Customs Enforcement agency’s Secure Communities 
“detainer” requests, but it doesn’t currently apply 
to municipal police or judicial marshals.

It was judicial marshals who turned over Mexican 

immigrant Josemaria Islas to federal immigration 

Islas, 35, who has been in the US since 2005, was 

arrested for an alleged robbery in Hamden last 
July. His case was dismissed in November.

Just as he was to be released, judicial marshals handed Islas over to ICE, which had issued a 

request to detain him. ICE alleges that Islas is a 
serial violator of immigration laws who has 
repeatedly entered the country illegally.

The state paid $1,193.07 for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy 

to make a last-minute, overnight trip to New 
Orleans last month to see the University of 
Connecticut women’s basketball team win its eighth 
national championship.

Andrew Doba, the governor’s communications 

director, said Malloy was acting in his official 
capacity as governor when he watched the state’s 
flagship public university’s basketball team play 
in the NCAA final.

Doba said Malloy met with alumni, donors and NCAA 

officials while in New Orleans at events organized 
by the university.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo presented a detailed plan for a re-organized Long Island Power Authority on Monday.  

Cuomo says his plan will correct the deficiencies 

found by the Moreland Commission appointed to 
evaluate the utility’s performance during Hurricane 

The commission, found that the organization’s 

structural dysfunction was responsible for poor 
customer service, high rates for customers, a large 
debt load, and an insufficient and antiquated 

Under the governor’s plan, management would be 

transferred to the privately owned utility, PSEG of 
New Jersey.

PSEG would have full authority to manage daily 

operations; budgeting, operation and maintenance of the utility system, Also: storm preparedness and 
response; infrastructure improvements; and energy 
efficiency and renewable activities. 

Compensation to PSEG would be based in part on 

demonstrating improved performance and customer 

LIPA will be reduced to a holding company with a 

small 5 member board, and a staff of about 20. It 
would remain government owned and eligible for FEMA and tax benefits.

The governor’s plan would amend State law to reduce the cost of LIPA’s debt through refinancing at a lower interest rate. A customer rate freeze would 

be sought.

The Albany Times Union reports  there's hope New 
York  state’s municipal budget planners can cut 
employee pension costs.

For years, a spike in required pension contributions for public employees has stressed cities and towns to their fiscal limit. But, according to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, for the first time in recent years, the state's pension fund exceeded its target rate of return and posted a gain of over 10 per cent as of March 31.

The amount that cities, towns and villages contribute toward their employees' pensions is inversely related to the fund's investment returns. 

This means municipalities paid very little in 2001 

and 2002 as the stock market boomed, but have been socked with huge increases since the 2008 collapse.

Comptroller DiNapoli says municipal contributions 

are calculated using a five-year average of the 
pension fund's returns, so increases related to the 
last collapse will be reflected through the 2014-15 
fiscal year.
Monday, May 13

The U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force held a hearing in Hartford Friday where members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation said they’re still hopeful Congress will tighten the nation’s gun purchasing laws.
The task force was established soon after the December 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. Mike Thompson, a combat veteran and a moderate Democrat from California who chairs the task force, said he expects that expanded background check requirements for purchasing guns will soon be the “law of the land.”
Despite the defeat of an amendment in the Senate last month which would have required background checks for more firearms purchases, Thompson said he has co-authored a similar piece of legislation that has been amassing signatures of support in the Republican-controlled House. He said, “They will vote for it, but they just don’t want to be out in front."
Thompson said field hearings like the one in Hartford, which was sponsored by Congressmember John Larson, help to keep a dialogue about expanding firearm background checks going.
Thirty-six people, including three sitting lawmakers, could be called as potential witnesses next week in the trial of former House Speaker Chris Donovan’s campaign finance director, Robert Braddock Jr.

Braddock pleaded not guilty last summer to corruption charges. He was charged with three counts of conspiring to hide the source of $27,500 in campaign donations to Donovan on behalf of a group of smoke shop owners looking to defeat legislation they considered harmful to their bottom line
His trial will start Monday at 9 a.m. in U.S. District Court in New Haven.
House Majority Leader Joseph Aresimowicz, House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr., and Representative. Patricia Widlitz, co-chair of the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee, all received notice three weeks ago that they may be called to testify. In addition to the sitting lawmakers several former Donovan staffers, who are currently working at the state Capitol are also on the list. Donovan has never been charged. His name is also on the list as a potential witness.


The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it will keep 149 air towers in smaller airports open – at least through the summer. That means six airports in Connecticut, including Hartford-Brainard Airport and Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport, will continue to be staffed with air traffic controllers until Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year. Whether the controllers continue on the job will be determined when Congress approves a budget for 2014. 


Union employees of Southwest Airlines held a small protest at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip on Thursday to call attention to stalled negotiations between the union and Southwest.

Michael Martinez, a union representative claims that the airline, the largest commercial carrier at MacArthur, is looking to outsource jobs and make more of its current employees part-timers.

Union officials also said Southwest wants to reduce the amount of sick time employees can accumulate, from 2,400 hours to 80 hours. Martinez said this is an issue for ground workers given the physical nature of the job, which includes lifting luggage and cargo.

A Southwest spokesperson declined to comment citing ongoing negotiations. 

As reported by the Buffalo News: For more than 40 years, many not-for-profit charities in New York State have been required to get a financial audit every year – but they didn’t have to pay attention to it.

They also didn’t have to worry about doing business with one of their directors, even if the terms were unfair to the charity.

After years of scams, fraud, oversight failures and even corruption in the charity arena, the Cuomo administration and some legislative leaders are proposing sweeping changes to New York’s not-for-profit laws.

Today, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will unveil his second attempt to overhaul the governance of charities and other organizations, with a bill to address financial abuses and poor management practices while making it easier for nonprofits to operate properly in the state.


Friday, May 10

The Connecticut House of Representatives voted 129 to 2 to give final passage Thursday to legislation requiring state officials to consider the necessity of mitigating sea-level rise when approving funding for sewage treatment plants. 

It passed unanimously in the Senate. The bill grew out of a study initiated by Rep. James Albis, a Democrat of coastal East Haven, after seeing a map showing much of his community underwater during a Category 2 hurricane. 

Albis skirted the issue of climate change, focusing almost entirely on what is happening to sealevels in Long Island Sound – not why.

John Piscopo of Thomaston, one of the two Republicans who voted no, said, “If there is a sea level rise, it’s minimal. If you’re going to build a new treatment plant, you don’t put it on the flood plain. You don’t need laws to tell us that.”

Piscopo is the national chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that has been trying to persuade states to withdraw from efforts to control greenhouse gases.


A group of Republicans on Thursday boycotted  a U S Senate Environment and Public Works Committee vote on the nomination of  Gina McCarthy, President Obama's choice  to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

That prevented a vote on the nomination in the panel and sets up a bitter floor fight over the nomination of McCarthy, who was Connecticut’s environmental chief during the administration of Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and also once worked for Mitt Romney. 

The nomination is expected to eventually clear the Environment and Public Works Committee. But it is now certain to face a filibuster on the Senate floor forcing her supporters to find 60 votes to end it.


Riverhead is short of funds to pay for $20 million in mandated upgrades to its sewer treatment plant, which are on deadline to be completed 8 months from now. 

As reported today in The Riverhead News Review, the town is hoping to get enough money from Suffolk County to complete the project. But if county money doesn’t come through, the Riverhead Sewer District’s assessed rate for properties will have to jump more than 522% to make up the shortfall. That will mean homeowners’ sewer bills will rise from about 35 dollars a year to about 214.

The treatment plant was originally built in 1937 and has been upgraded twice. The current upgrade would install more effective filters, put in more powerful UV lights to kill pathogens, and save well water by irrigating the Indian Island Golf Course with treated water, instead of well water.

Last month, the county announced a competitive grant for municipalities to pay for sewer district upgrades. The upgrades would improve environmental quality, as well as enable the town’s sewer facility to handle more development.


The Albany Times-Union reports Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is talking with the Oneida, Mohawk and Seneca nations on solidifying exclusivity deals for casino regions,

Cuomo said the Oneida are interested in acquiring exclusivity rights for the central New York region and that disputes over existing deals with the Seneca and Mohawk tribes are unresolved after lengthy negotiations. 

Cuomo says he needs to close down those talks before the end of this session.  If deals are not in place soon with all three tribal governments, he said, the regions where the tribes operate casinos will be put in play for non-tribal commercial casino development. 

Also three other upstate regions that are without tribal casinos, will be opened up for commercial casinos.

Cuomo said he has made casino expansion a high priority because upstate’s economy is on a steady slide.

Last June the New York Times reported that gaming industry trade groups donated $2.4 million in 2011 to the Committee to Save New York, a group that promotes the governor’s policies with campaign-style political ads.


Thursday, May 9  

Newtown Patch reports that two public hearings scheduled this week were cancelled by the 

Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation
The foundation was established to handle the more than $11 
million in donations to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund in the aftermath of the December 14 shootings.

The hearings were designed to allow public input on the fund's distribution process

According to foundation officials, the board made the decision to allow for "a meeting between Board members and representatives of the Connecticut Attorney General’s office" to review the process that was used to determine the amount of their most recent announced distribution.

In April, they announced they would give $7.7 million to 40 families most affected by the shooting -- those of the 26 victims and 12 families of survivors.

The foundation did not announce a rescheduled date.


The owner of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station has requested license changes to avoid a repeat of the climate-related shutdown that occurred last summer.

Millstone's owner, Dominion, asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission permission to increase the allowable seawater temperature used to cool its two remaining operating units to 80 degrees.

The current license allows it to reach 75 degrees averaged over a 24-hour period or 77 degrees at any time.

Last summer, Millstone Unit 2 shutdown because the intake water was too warm.  A hot summer after a warm winter caused the  water to reach 75-degrees on August 12 and the plant shut down until August 24. 

Unit 3 never had to shut down, but its cooler intake water temperature, was creeping up.

The two Millstone units typically supply about half of Connecticut’s power.  The loss of one unit forced the independent electric grid operator to rely on a dirtier coal-fired unit In Bridgeport to pick up the slack.

Questions remaining are:  is the higher intake temperature safe and will the Sound water rise above 80 degrees. 

Dominion says their engineers analyzed what temperature the plant could handle.

The NRC says they will look at the impact of the water temperature on the equipment, not an overall climate assessment.

But NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane last year asked NRC staff to evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on the nation’s nuclear power plants, though no time frame was set. 

As more lawmakers' names surfaced in a federal corruption probe, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he might launch an ethics probe by a “Moreland Commission” if legislators don't enact tougher anti-corruption measures before they adjourn June 20.
On Monday, federal prosecutors charged Senator John Sampson, a Brooklyn Democrat, of embezzling $440,000 to finance a run for Brooklyn district attorney and recruiting a mole in the U.S. attorney's office to try to thwart a federal probe.
Governor Cuomo wants to empower district attorneys to fight public corruption, increase penalties for public officials convicted of public corruption charges, and reduce the influence of money in politics.
But some lawmakers say Cuomo's anti-corruption package doesn't directly address many of the bribery and embezzlement cases revealed recently.
Now Governor Cuomo is hitting the airwaves urging New Yorkers to tell their state representatives to support his "Clean up Albany" efforts.
Interestingly, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called off Wednesday’s Assembly session because regularly scheduled ethics and sexual harassment training sessions are occupying the members.  

The Riverhead News-Review reports that the last remaining laboratory of famed inventor Nikola Tesla has been saved. 

A nonprofit group raised $1.4 million to build a museum and science center at the  Wardenclyffe property, off Route 25A in Shoreham.

Mr. Tesla, a rival of Thomas Edison and a pioneer in the use of alternating current, conducted experiments at the laboratory, in hopes of providing free, wireless electricity to the world.

A reimbursement grant from New York State will cover the full cost of the purchase. The remaining funds will go toward clearing the property and construction of the science center and museum.

Wednesday, May 8

Six of seven New Haven mayoral candidates addressed issues of social justice Tuesday night at Gateway Community College. State Senator Toni Harp, the only female candidate, said legislative business in 

Hartford kept her from attending.

WPKN's Melinda Tuhus reports.

Representatives of four human service agencies 
asked the questions. One asked how the candidates, 
if elected, would make city government cleaner and 
more transparent. Alderman Justin Elicker 

"The one thing I will do is make city government not responsive to big money and special interests by participating in New Haven's Democracy Fund."

New Haven is the only city in the state to have 

public financing for the mayor's race. But only 
four of the seven declared candidates are 
participating in it. To do so they must raise many 
small donations and forego big checks from
supporters, and in exchange they get thousands of 
dollars in public funding.

The other candidates are Hillhouse High School 

principal Kermit Carolina, consultant and former 
city administrator Henry Fernandez, State Rep. Gary 
Holder-Winfield, plumbing business owner Sundiata 
Keitazulu, and business leader Matthew Nemerson.

Asked to name one social justice accomplishment 

they're proud of, Gary Holder-Winfield said it was
hard to choose.

"I'm proud of making sure that we have rights for transgender people; I'm proud of overhauling the juvenile justice system; I'm proud of the education work I've done; and certainly I'm proud -- in a time when people told me that you could not abolish the death penalty, that I pushed forward and made sure that we abolished the death penalty." 

All the other candidates were able to mention good 

causes they have fought for, from education reform 
to civil rights to protecting the most vulnerable.

Several more debates are scheduled before the 

primary on September 10.

Melinda Tuhus , WPKN News.


A mid year hiring freeze hasn’t been enough to 

eliminate the $5.5 million deficit plaguing 
Connecticut’s largest public college system, with 3 
months remaining in the fiscal year. 
Millions of dollars have been saved since last 
winter with staffing reductions throughout the 16-
campus system achieved by not filling vacant 
positions as people retired or quit.

An additional budget remedy considered Tuesday is 

to expand the hiring freeze by hiring part-time 
teaching staff at the community colleges.

A possible solution could be using money in the 

reserve fund.  Gary Holloway, the chairman of the 
finance panel, noted that would leave the system 
with just one-year of remaining reserves, a 
dangerous level.


The ads are certainly enticing: get cash now for 
your current needs, by assigning future pension 
payments to a pension-advance firm. But stop! 
New York State’s agency which regulates banking, 
calls the pension advances, which were the subject 
of an article in The New York Times, “nothing more 
than payday loans in sheep’s clothing.”

The Department of Financial Services, sent 

subpoenas to 10 companies in the business on 
Tuesday. The pension advance firms are aggressively 
courting military veterans, teachers, firefighters, 
police officers and others with a hard-to-resist 
pitch: convert tomorrow’s pension income into hard 

The Times says the advances could come with 

effective interest rates from 27 to 106 percent. 

Governor Cuomo says that this will not be 

tolerated in New York State.
The New York Public Interest Research Group has 
documented over 100,000 violations of the state’s 
campaign finance laws that occurred over the last 
two years.

Bill Mahoney, the research group’s coordinator, 

catalogued the violations by trolling through the 
Board of Elections’ database. He found 
contributions reported in excess of legal limits, 
incomplete information and inaccurate addresses. 
Small potatoes, perhaps, but Mahoney’s point was 
clear: no one is watching. There are several 
pending proposals to increase enforcement of 
election law, but no consensus yet on what approach 
to use.  
The Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum will 
unveil  their new “living history” exhibition, a 
recreation of a late 1600s Shinnecock village, at a 
ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday at 11 am.
The new exhibition will be open to the public 
starting May 15. 

The Museum is on Montauk Highway at West Gate Road - 3 miles west of Southampton Village.

 --------------------------------------------------- Tuesday, May 7

Newtown Patch reports: The state police are grappling with a backlog of some 62,000 gun permit background checks, the result of a surge in gun sales in the wake of the Newtown shootings last December. 

Requests for background checks have grown from 1000 in December to about 62,000 now, according to the Connecticut Post.

State Police Commander Daniel Stebbins says much of the increase is a result of private gun sales. Under new state laws, private sales of guns, as well as sales through a retailer, now require background checks of the buyers.

The state’s Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates that Connecticut’s new gun laws, will cost taxpayers up to $17 million in the next three years.  This includes more than $4 million for state police to hire more workers and to process background checks and other gun-related requirements of the new law.

This summer the state probate court administrator expects to complete a database of people who have had their eligibility to own guns revoked by the courts for mental health reasons in the last 14 years.
It’s designed to aid authorities in conducting background checks on the mental health history of people seeking to buy guns. The information will be updated daily and available to applicable state and federal agencies. It is funded by a federal grant.
The project is designed to include mental health decisions from the state’s civil and criminal courts. The database will include records of people who have been committed to a mental health treatment facility or who have been found not guilty for crimes by reason of insanity or been found incompetent to stand trial.
When it’s completed, the state will be able to share records between the courts, the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of the Emergency Services Department, and the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
If the courts restore an individual’s eligibility, that person’s name will be removed from the database.
The New York Times reports the Cuomo administration has set aside nearly $140 million for an advertising campaign called “New York State Open for Business”
The money is to be drawn largely from a state authority created to lower electricity bills. $40 million will come from federal disaster aid for Sandy recovery.
Governor Cuomo’s administration, which began the campaign, says the TV ads are a valuable tool for recruiting businesses. Critics say they are a backdoor way of elevating the governor’s stature, even though they do not mention his name and he is prohibited from appearing in them.


East Hampton will lose its local family health care center when a new facility opens in Southampton near the hospital. Suffolk county plans to merge its East Hampton and Southampton family health centers into a larger unit, which will have longer hours, offer more services including dental and mental health facilities, and save over $ 600,000 per year.
It will be operated in partnership between Suffolk County, Southampton Hospital, Stony Brook University and Hudson River HealthCare, which already operates a center in Coram.    
The new facility is expected to be declared a federally qualified health center, which are Medicare “safety net” providers designed to enhance primary care in underserved communities.  

The Southampton Hospital annex will undergo a renovation to accommodate the new use and to meet federal standards. 
A public hearing on zoning for Plum Island is scheduled for 7:30 PM tonight at Southold Town Hall.
Monday, May 6

The head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said that the Hartford regional office is doing a better job than most VAs in reducing its backlog of applications for benefits. A huge backlog has meant some vets have waited years for claims to be processed.

According to an analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the average wait time for qualified veterans in Connecticut to begin collecting benefits is 215 days, or 7 months, with an even longer 320-day wait for those filing their first claim.

Veteran Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz said that the new system will allow combat veterans to get coverage for PTSD more quickly. The growing number of medical conditions affecting newer veterans has also contributed to the backlog. Veterans coming back from Vietnam typically had three to five conditions. Those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan can have as many as 50.

Schwartz says she is optimistic for the first time in a long time about making it easier and quicker for Connecticut veterans to get their disability compensation benefits.


Senate Bill 1138, passed last week, allows hydro power to constitute up to ¼ of the 20 per cent renewables mandated for Connecticut’s power supply portfolio.

Opponents of including big out-of-state hydropower have introduced an amendment to the bill.  

The amendment, sponsored by two dozen House Democrats, would strip everything from S.B. 1138, except a provision enabling long-term contracting for wind and solar power. This would help stabilize Connecticut companies producing renewable energy.

Dan Esty, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, has argued strongly in favor of the hydro component, saying environmentalists must recognize that it is an essential element in an energy mix to reduce carbon emissions.

Environmental, opponents argue that large hydro plants inundate land, displacing communities and causing plant decomposition and release of methane. This offsets reduction in carbon emissions by CO2. They say adding it to the mix works against local, sustainable renewables. The House vote is expected on Tuesday.    

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli raised concerns about the storage of spent nuclear fuel at Entergy Inc.’s annual shareholder meeting last week in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Entergy operates the Indian Point Nuclear Generating station in Buchanan New York, about 50 miles north of Manhattan.  The State holds about 49 million in Entergy stock.

DiNapoli’s shareholder proposal calls for the company to minimize the amount of nuclear waste it stores in spent fuel pools and transfer that waste into dry cask storage.

Dry-cask storage allows spent nuclear fuel that has already been cooled in a spent fuel pool for a period of time to be surrounded by inert gas in a steel container or cask.

DiNapoli said, “Accidents or sabotage of nuclear waste could have devastating effects on human health and our environment. Entergy should mitigate its risks and move toward safer storage of its spent nuclear fuel, “

Generating companies have not adequately dealt with long-term storage solutions for spent fuel, in part because of uncertainty about a national storage solution and a desire to minimize short-term costs.


Governor Cuomo announced additional reform measures to strengthen New York’s Shared Work program that will help businesses avoid layoffs during short term financial difficulties.

Rather than lay off workers to cut costs, the program enables employers to reduce a worker’s hours and enable the worker to collect partial unemployment insurance benefits to make up for the lost wages. The program allows workers to keep their health insurance, retirement, vacation pay and other fringe benefits.

Changes to the program include:
· Increasing to 26 the number of weeks an employee can receive partial unemployment benefits.
· Lowering the minimum number of employees a business must have on the payroll to qualify, from five to two
· Allowing part-time employees to be eligible for the program.

The federal government will be temporarily reimbursing the state for the benefits paid under this program. The Governor has elected to pass that savings on to the participating employers.

 FRIDAY, MAY 03, 2013

A forum took place at the Unitarian Society in Hamden Wednesday night, inspired by a book entitled "The New Jim Crow", about racism in the criminal justice system. WPKN's Melinda Tuhus was there.

One of the speakers was William Sessions, a federal judge in VT and former chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Under his leadership the commission reduced what had been a 100-fold disparity between crack and powder cocaine, leading to prison sentences for many more African Americans who tended to smoke crack. He said the change resulted in reduced sentences for 18,000 federal inmates. 
He added that while many see the criminal justice system as the problem, he disagrees. 

Sessions: "The source of all problems lays in our refusal to invest in the communities"

State Representative and New Haven mayoral candidate Gary Holder-Winfield said racism in the criminal justice system is fueled by the so-called War on Drugs. He said even though many studies have shown that equal proportions of blacks and whites use drugs, the war on drugs is not equal in terms of enforcement. 

Holder-Winfield: "We focus on black and Hispanic  communities almost exclusively when looking for this as a problem.  If you go to a white community looking for people selling drugs, guess what you find - people selling drugs."

Others said the War on Drugs is a misnomer and that it's really a war on African Americans and a way to prevent huge numbers of them from participating in civic life, because they face life-long discrimination once they have a criminal record.

Melinda Tuhus, WPKN News. 


Governor Dannel Malloy joined charter school advocates Thursday at the Capitol to rally against $47 million in cuts proposed by the Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee. 

Malloy, told a crowd of 300 that “getting education right is the civil rights issue of our time.….We cannot throw away 40 percent of our children in Hartford, in New Haven, in Bridgeport, in New Britain, in New London.”

The legislature’s Appropriations Committee budget would cut some $10 million over two years from failing schools targeted for turnaround, reducing the schools in the program from 25 to 12.

It also would cut more than $10 million that had been set aside for new state charter schools and cut $26 million over the next two years for the teacher and principal evaluation system.

The legislature’s Appropriations Committee co-chairs Representative Toni Walker and Senator Toni Harp, both of New Haven, will be in charge of negotiating the budget with the administration.

Charter school advocates are hoping some of the funding is restored during those closed-door negotiations, which have yet to begin. 


The Springs school board in East Hampton is under fire for not advising parents that there were no supervisory personnel at the school yesterday afternoon.

The Vice-principal of the Springs Elementary School left her job last week, without any announcement by the school board.

On Thursday, Eric Casale the school principal was taken by ambulance mid-day  to the Southampton Hospital emergency room.

The former Vice-Principal, Dr. Katherine Byrnes, would have taken over for the ailing Principal, but her departure was kept quiet until now. Dr. Byrnes refused comment on the reason for her departure.’

A group of Northport High School students has organized to oppose the layoff of two art teachers. 

The two are among 18 teachers throughout Northport-East Northport school district facing possible layoffs as a result of decreased student enrollment.

Nicolas Bruno, a 2011 graduate and professional photographer, organized the campaign earlier this month when he became aware that his mentor is on the chopping block.

Bruno said,"These teachers have influenced the many artists and brilliant minds that have stepped out the doors of Northport High School and they are ready to get rid of them at the drop of a hat."

The students have set up a Facebook page, written letters to the board of education and administration, and circulated a petition among parents and students. 

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Tom Caramore said declining enrollment means all classes will continue to be offered, but with fewer sections.

 The board of education will vote on the proposed layoffs at their next meeting on May 13 at 7 p.m. 


THURSDAY, MAY 02, 2013

Hundreds of workers gathered on the Green in New Haven on Wednesday -- May Day -- to call for workers' rights and immigration reform. WPKN's Melinda Tuhus has more:

The event, organized by the Connecticut AFL-CIO and pro-immigrant grassroots groups, drew members of more than a dozen unions, and their supporters. The theme was The Time is Now. 

Mark Erlich, executive secretary treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, said immigrant workers have transformed his industry, but they are exploited by employers to the detriment of all workers.

Connecticut is home to a quarter million union members, but the number has declined steadily in recent years, including an almost three percentage point drop from 2011 to 2012.

Governor Dannel Malloy kicked off the rally with praise for Connecticut's record on workers' rights and immigrant rights. He cited its first-in-the-nation paid sick leave requirement for a segment of non-unionized workers, his support for raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour from the current $8.25, which is already tied for fourth-highest in the nation, and immigrant friendly policies like the DREAM Act allowing undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition rates and the current effort to grant drivers' licenses to undocumented drivers.

Melinda Tuhus, WPKN News.

In another labor story, frustrated members of the Connecticut Laborers’ District Council stood outside the state Capitol Tuesday and Wednesday calling for “jobs not lip service.”

Charles LeConche, business manager of the Laborers’ District Council, said he’s sent the Malloy administration and Democratic lawmakers information about “out-of-state contractors” who are bringing in workers and exploiting them. 

The unemployment rate among the 5,000 members LeConche represents is about 40 percent and he says “nobody does anything”.

The Malloy administration has poured millions of dollars into large construction projects to expand businesses in the state, but LeConche said he wants to see those construction jobs go to Connecticut workers and taxpayers. 

There’s no legislation this year that would give preference to local contractors who hire Connecticut workers. There’s a fear that it would violate the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, but other states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York have figured out a way to do it.


Indian Country Today reports: 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Shinnecock reservation early Wednesday morning. 

FBI agents conducted a search of the tribal Gaming Authority’s offices and the home of a member of the Gaming Authority.

A tribal member told Indian Country Today Media Network.“There are 15-20 FBI agents here and at least six or seven state police cars as well. They are raiding the Gaming Authority trailer and the home of one of the Gaming Authority members. They are up here deep,” 

An FBI spokesman confirmed the search is in connection with an investigation. 

Two former Shinnecock Trustees filed a request in March with the National Indian Gaming Commission and other federal agencies for an investigation regarding potential violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and criminal violations of federal statutes involving a “takeover of tribal government” 

The former trustees, Gordell Wright and Lance Gumbs, who were removed from office in 2012, were defeated in the recent 2013 trustee election.


Suffolk Legislator Jay Schneiderman and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced this week an agreement that could provide from 1 to 2  million dollars in funding to expand Sunday bus service across Suffolk County.

The Sunday bus routes are needed by workers in service industries and retail and those who can't drive, such as the visually impaired. 

Recently, New York State increased its state transit operating assistance for Suffolk Transit by approximately $2 million above the level anticipated in the Suffolk County 2013 budget, giving the county the opportunity to establish Sunday bus service year-round on limited routes. Half would fund expanded bus service, the other half would go into the County’s general fund.

Sunday bus service for the East End is set to begin again on Memorial Day

Some other areas where new Sunday bus service is needed include the Route 110 corridor in Huntington, near the Walt Whitman mall. 



Revenues in Connecticut are estimated to drop $259 million in 2014 and $229 million in 2015, forcing new challenges to negotiations over the state budget.

This estimate, released Tuesday by the governor’s budget office and the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, is a significant reduction in revenue expectations, compared to January’s estimates.

In his two-year $44 billion budget proposal released in February, Governor Malloy didn’t raise any major new taxes and increased spending 9.7 percent.
Since Malloy prepared his budget, based on the January estimates, analysts have predicted personal income tax revenue will drop by over $200 million in the next two years. and sales and use tax revenue will drop about $180 million for that period. 
Factors such as the sluggish economy have hindered the closing of the of the $2.2 billion budget gap.
Malloy’s Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes says he is confident that the administration can work with the legislature to come to a responsible and balanced budget plan.


Connecticut has spent billions to open integrated schools in Hartford since the state Supreme Court ordered it to eliminate the inequities of segregation nearly 20 years ago.

Despite these efforts, the state has routinely fallen short of agreed upon benchmarks. Having run out of time to comply with a court order, the state has entered into a new agreement that will expand school choice opportunities for some 2500 more students.

The new court order requires the state to pay to open four new magnet schools, offer more Hartford students seats in vocational-technical high schools and send more children to suburban schools. The plan was agreed upon Tuesday by the Connecticut Attorney General and the plaintiffs in the state's landmark Sheff vs. O'Neill supreme court decision.

Elizabeth Horton Sheff, successfully sued the state nearly 20 years ago on behalf of her 10 year old son, now 34 years old. At the Court, Ms. Sheff said "We are making progress. We are not there," 
The plan’s cost to the state is expected to be $6 million in the next fiscal year. Funding has not yet been secured from the legislature.


The New York Times reports: Over 10 billion gallons of raw and partly treated sewage gushed into waterways and bubbled up onto streets and into homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The sewage was enough to cover Central Park in a 41-foot-high pile of sludge according to a report by Climate Central, a non-profit group.

About 94 percent of the sewage flowed into waterways in New York and New Jersey. In New York City alone, 1.6 billion gallons spilled into area waterways.
The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant on Long Island was hard hit, according to the report. As much as 2.2 billion gallons of partly treated sewage poured into the Rockaway Channel until the plant was fully brought online nearly two months after the late-October storm.

Alyson Kenward, the principal author of the report, says rising seas and strengthening storms, a result of climate change, could increase the threat of similar spills in the future. She urged an overhaul of the region’s wastewater infrastructure. 
As reported by the New York Times: Managed-care companies for the elderly in New York have come under fire for signing up vigorous older adults referred to them by social day care centers, customers whose health needs are relatively small. 

But on Tuesday, legal advocates for the disabled told the state’s Medicaid director, in a meeting closed to the press, that the most seriously impaired people were getting the opposite treatment. 

Among the examples reported were cases in which representatives of the managed-care plans deterred people from enrolling who were bedbound or affected by dementia. 

Medicaid pays the privately run managed-care plans roughly $3,800 a month for each person they enroll in New York City, regardless of how many services they need. But advocates for disabled people warned that they were seeing a systemic problem: some of the neediest people were not being allowed to enroll without a chance to appeal. 

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