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TexasTowelie

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,961

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Lamont Administration, Unions Reach Deal To Extend Pension Payments to 2047

HARTFORD, CT— Gov. Ned Lamont and the coalition representing state labor unions agreed to reamortize pension debt to find about $130.7 and $140.7 million per year in budget savings.

Under the agreement, the state will also transition to a “level dollar” payment method and spread the payments over a longer period of time. There will be no change to pension benefits for state employees.

The only change is that the pension liability attributable to those pensions earned as of 1984 will be fully funded by 2047 instead of by 2032 under the current plan.

The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition issued a statement to their members explaining that the deal “keeps the parties’ commitment to make no change in pension benefits.”

Read more: https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/story/20190718_lamont_administration_unions_reach_deal_to_extend_pension_payments/

Magazine Says Lamont Is 'Surviving'

Gov. Ned Lamont has only been at his job for six months, but he’s the third least popular governor in the country and according to a recent Governing Magazine piece he’s just “surviving” his first term.

Lamont, who is at the National Governors Association summer meeting in Utah today, said Tuesday that he doesn’t agree with the characterization by Governing Magazine that he’s just “surviving” his first term.

“I’m feeling pretty good about the first six months,” Lamont said.

He cited an “on time” budget, Paid Family and Medical Leave, and an increase in the minimum wage as highlights of his legislative accomplishments.

“We did it all without raising tax rates while confronted with an almost $4 billion deficit,” Lamont said.

Read more: https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20190724_magazine_says_lamont_is_surviving/

Energy Fund Raids Have Stopped, But Industry Says The Damage Has Been Done

HARTFORD, CT — The General Assembly adjourned this year without restoring $67.5 million to clean energy funds that had been swept as part of the budget in 2017.

The $67.5 million was part of a larger $145 million in energy fund sweeps the General Assembly approved under former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to close a budget deficit.

Environmentalists and energy-efficiency businesses pointed out that the legislature and Gov. Ned Lamont could have used the budget surplus to restore some of the funds, but they decided against it and failed to restore them before the session adjourned on June 5.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Monday that he doesn’t know how to measure how much more progress his city could have made in improving its rankings on a clean energy scorecard if those funds had been available. Hartford was recently ranked one of three “Cities to Watch” in the 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard because it eliminated all minimum parking requirements in its zoning regulations and mandated electric vehicle charging stations on everything except one, two, and three unit residential housing.

Read more: https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20190730_energy_fund_raids_stopped_but_industry_says_the_damage_has_been/

Connecticut shoppers say they're ready for phase-out of plastic shopping bags

Connecticut shoppers will experience a retail paradigm shift Thursday as the first phase of the state’s single-use plastic bag ban goes into effect.

Depending upon where you shop, you will either pay a 10-cent fee for using plastic bags or they will no longer be available. A full statewide ban will go into place on July 1, 2021.

The ban does not include plastic bags provided for meat, seafood, loose produce or other unwrapped food items. Bags that newspapers are delivered in and those used at laundries or dry cleaners are also exempt.

Consumers have a couple of choices when it comes time to bag their purchases. They can use purchase reusable bags made of canvas or cloth or they can use paper bags.

Read more: https://www.nhregister.com/news/nhregister/article/Stop-Shop-to-cease-offering-plastic-bags-August-14192732.php
(New Haven Register)

MAPOC member at center of state lawsuit says she won't resign

The woman at the center of Attorney General William Tong’s lawsuit accusing a Watertown therapy company of Medicaid overbilling said Monday she has no plans to resign from the state’s Medicaid oversight committee.

Catherine Risigo Wickline is the target of a complaint alleging she and her company, Therapy Unlimited LLC, engaged in “pervasive and illegal schemes” to inflate claims and overbill Connecticut’s Medicaid program and the state employee health plan by millions of dollars for children’s occupational and physical therapy services. Tong’s office also accused Wickline of using unlicensed staff, including a fitness trainer and a former intern.

Wickline said Monday that despite the lawsuit, which was filed about two weeks ago at Superior Court in Hartford, she plans to keep her seat on the state’s Medical Assistance Program Oversight Council. The panel monitors Connecticut’s Medicaid and HUSKY programs and advises the Department of Social Services on eligibility standards, quality measures and health care access, among other issues.

“I’m planning on staying. I did nothing wrong,” Wickline said. “I represent independent groups on that committee and I think it’s really important to continue to represent them.”

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2019/07/29/mapoc-member-at-center-of-state-lawsuit-says-she-wont-resign/

Tentative deal expected soon on restaurant wage bill

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and Gov. Ned Lamont both expressed confidence Monday they could strike a compromise deal on restaurant server wage legislation by the end of next week.

The speaker also said he wants lawmakers back at the Capitol in special session to adopt a compromise by summer’s end, even if other pending issues — a bonding package, tolls, and a legal settlement with hospitals — aren’t ready for a vote then.

“It’s our intention to get the language hammered out in the next week,” Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, told the CT Mirror.

Representatives for Lamont’s office and the majority House Democratic Caucus already have begun swapping bill language proposals, the speaker said.

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2019/07/29/tentative-deal-expected-soon-on-restaurant-wage-bill/

Providence Teachers Union on schools takeover: We're ready to work with state

PROVIDENCE — Less than a week after the State granted the Department of Education control of Providence schools, the Providence Teachers Union issued a report Monday declaring its willingness to work with the state on reform.

“While we may disagree with some aspects of what has transpired in the last two months, let’s be crystal clear,” the report states. “The PTU — after extensive review of the Johns Hopkins
Institute for Education Policy’s report on the Providence Public School District, and after participating in all the listening sessions held by Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green — is committed to partnering with the state to improve Providence Public Schools for all children.”

“The spirit and the structure of any state plan must recognize that teachers and school staff are part of the solution, not a problem to be overcome,” it reads. “While teachers and our union have much to contribute and a great eagerness to contribute it, the State of Rhode Island has the ultimate responsibility for the success of this plan.”

The Department of Education’s decision to seek control of Providence schools — a move supported by Mayor Jorge Elorza — came in the wake of a damning report that highlighted a culture of low discipline, low expectations, low communication and low learning that permeated the district.

Read more: https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190729/providence-teachers-union-on-schools-takeover-were-ready-to-work-with-state

Gov. Charlie Baker proposes tax break for companies that allow telecommuting

Gov. Charlie Baker is proposing a new tax break for companies that allow their employees to telecommute.

Baker made the proposal Thursday as part of a much larger $18 billion transportation bond bill.

The tax break would provide a $2,000 per employee tax credit to companies that let their workers work remotely. The goal would be to divert commuters off of the state’s increasingly congested roadways at rush hour.

The state would cap the total cost of the tax break at $50 million a year.

Today, Baker said Massachusetts “seems to be a laggard” in the number of people telecommuting compared to other states that are geographically and demographically similar. He said he hopes the tax credit will “get people to start playing in this space.”

Read more: https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/07/gov-charlie-baker-proposes-tax-break-for-companies-that-allow-telecommuting.html

Cash-strapped Hampshire College may develop some of its 800 acres for housing, commercial use

AMHERST — Financially strapped Hampshire College will one one day turn some of its 800-acre campus into housing or commercial space as one way of insuring its future.

“In due time and for its benefit, Hampshire will develop some of this acreage in mission-aligned ways,” college interim president Kenneth Rosenthal said Friday during a public meeting with state Higher Education Commissioner Carlos E. Santiago at Amherst Town Hall.

Rosenthal, speaking in an interview after the meeting, said Hampshire has been approached by local business people, including Hampshire alums.

“Our answer is ‘We are not ready yet’,” Rosenthal said. “Anything we are talking about is years in the future. But there is an unrealized asset there. Hampshire’s been here for almost 50 years and we want to be here for much much longer.”

Read more: https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/07/cash-strapped-hampshire-college-may-develop-some-of-its-800-acres-for-housing-commercial-use.html

Trahan, Pressley back efforts to change state NDA policy

TWO STATE LAWMAKERS waging what could be an uphill battle to expose the extent of hush agreements used by state government and put restrictions on the practice throughout Massachusetts received some support Monday from two members of the state’s congressional delegation.

Congresswomen Lori Trahan of Westford and Ayanna Pressley of Boston, both Democrats new to the US House, applauded bipartisan efforts afoot in the state Legislature and said they are working on related policies at the federal level.

In Massachusetts, Sen. Diana DiZoglio, a Methuen Democrat, who convinced the Senate to completely ban the use of non-disclosure agreements within the chamber, has joined forces with Rep. Alyson Sullivan, an Abington Republican, to scrutinize and rein in the legal instruments that have gained notoriety in recent years.

“Our government works best when what it does is transparent to those the government serves,” said Sullivan. “This is a non-partisan issue.”

Read more: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/state-government/trahan-pressley-back-efforts-to-change-state-nda-policy/
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