Bond commission, FEMA, election news picking up early

September 26, 2011

Here are our political news highlights from last week from and about Connecticut.

On Friday the State Bond Commission approved $500,000 in bods for “alterations, renovations and improvement to facilities, including new construction” at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in Griswold, The Day of New London reported. added that $20 million in grants-in-aid as part of the Small Town Economic Assistance Program, also known as STEAP, on the commission’s agenda was approved too. According to the document, which is also available on the commission’s website, STEAP “will create or retain approximately 200 construction related jobs,” while the former project “will create or retain approximately 8 construction related jobs.” As reported lat week, $57,983,822 in general obligation allocations and $851,506,350 in revenue bonds and other transactions were discussed on Friday.


Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Recovery Center in Greenwich will move to Bridgeport, while the ones in Danielson, Old Saybrook and Storrs-Mansfield will permanently close due to low volume. The new location will also transition into Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center along with the remaining such centers in the state, according to a press release, which also informs that Connecticut businesses and residents are also eligible to $136,000 in low-interest disaster loans.


Governor Malloy also signed two executive orders last week – his ninth and tenth respectively. His ninth executive order creates the office of the majority representative of family child care providers who will be elected by family child care providers who participate in Care 4 Kids which is currently run by the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). The majority representative’s responsibility will include advising the DSS on family child care coverage in Connecticut. His tenth executive order establishes a seven-member Personal Care Attendant Quality Home Care Workforce Council chaired by the DSS commissioner. The council’s responsibility will include compensation, retention and training for personal care attendants and personal care coverage in Connecticut, among other things. Opponents, such as the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think-tank, view the two executive orders as “unionization of daycare providers and home health care workers.” The Yankee Institute expressed its disapproval on its website as “forcing [unionizing under the two executive orders] daycare providers and home health care workers to pay union fur like most state employees. According to Governor Dannel Malloy, his executive orders contribute to daycare providers’ and health care workers’ ability to collectively bargain on “quality-of-life issues,” potentially establishing collective bargaining rights with the DSS and the Workforce Council. Two separate bills enacting similar new laws were proposed during the last legislative session in Hartford but none of them reached the governor’s desk


The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) announced that its Liquor Control Division conducted a compliance operation with the West Hartford Police Department of eight businesses that sell liquor in West Hartford through two undercover youths. According to a press release, three of these businesses – Fuji Restaurant at 1144 New Britain Avenue, Taquerie Tavern at 140 Park Road, and Tokyo Sushi III at 846 Farmington Avenue – were alleged to have sold alcohol to their undercover youths. According to the DCP, the three businesses could face administrative penalties.


U.S. Representative John Larson (D, CT – 1st District) introduced the American Jobs Act, President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, which, according to the White House, contains $447 billion in tax cuts and increase in government spending, payroll tax cuts to 98 percent of businesses with payroll below $5 million as well as a complete payroll tax break for “added workers or increased wages,” among other proposals. In his speech President Obama claimed that the American Jobs Act contains ideas supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and urged both parties to pass it “right away.” The bill is referred to twelve committees: Ways and Means, the Small Business Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Education and Workforce Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Financial Services Committee, the House Administration Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee, as shown on the Library of Congress website.


U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (D, CT – 2nd District) announced that FEMA granted $700,000 to the Mystic Fire Department through its Port Security Grant Program for enhancing safety in the region.


U.S. Representative Courtney also announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved disaster assistance to Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties. The federal assistance is due to their bordering with Massachusetts counties that were declared Primary Natural Disaster Areas after Tropical Storm Irene passed through New England. According to him, some small businesses in his district are “anxiously waiting for the same critical assistance.”


In electoral politics,


State Representative William Tong (D – Stamford) announced a jobs proposal underlying his support for 2012 Senate candidate from Massacusetts Alan Khazei’s national unemployment voucher program, which state Representative Tong deems an incentive to hire recent or longtime unemployed workers. Mr. Tong is currently seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I – CT). His opponents for the Democratic Party nomination are U.S. Representative Chris Murphy (D, CT – 5th District) and former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. For the Republican Party nomination there are currently three contenders as well – former WWE corporate officer Linda McMahon, former U.S. Representative Chris Shays who is already known to announce his bid in October 3, and Windsor attorney Brian Keith Hill.


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