May 19, 2019

News Associations Concerned Over Digital Political Ad Reporting Requirements

Sen. Matt Lesser and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. Photo by Christine Stuart/CT NewsJunkie file photo

The Connecticut Broadcasters Association and the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association are lobbying against legislation that seeks to target “online platforms” with reporting requirements for political advertising.

In an open letter to the General Administration and Elections Committee, which forwarded HB 7329 to the House on April 1 by a 12-3 vote, the news associations said the requirements in the bill would “create costly administrative burdens” and would act like a “hidden tax” on news organizations.

At the minimum, the bill would require …

Follow this link to read the full article by Christine Stuart and published today on CTNewsJunkie.com

 

Share

Legislators, Superintendents, Residents Express Universal Opposition to Forced School Regionalization

Special to LymeLine.com

Sitting in the front row of the audience at Monday night’s forum on school regionalization were local school superintendents (from right to left) Ian Neviaser (Lyme-Old Lyme), Pat Ciccone (Westbrook) and Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook.)

Over 100 people turned out for an Education and Regionalization Forum at Old Saybrook Middle School on Thursday, April 11. The event was hosted by Rep. Devin Carney, (R-23rd), with Senators Paul Formica, (R-20th), and Norm Needleman, (D-33rd).

While the two parties differ on Connecticut road tolls, all three local officials said they are against forced regionalization of school district bills proposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, Senators Bob Duff and Cathy Osten, Deputy President Pro Tempore, and by Governor Ned Lamont.

Rep. Carney said there was an enormous public outcry by small towns and school districts, thousands of pieces of testimony received and hundreds of people, including students from Region 18 schools, who testified in March hearings.  While this probably means that the idea of aligning school districts with recently consolidated probate districts is not advancing, the matter of reducing and reallocating education costs is very much still alive, and pieces of proposed legislation could still become law.

“Nothing is truly ever dead until we gavel out at midnight on June 5,” Rep. Carney said, explaining the state legislative process and timelines of the ongoing session in Hartford. 

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) addresses the audience Monday night while (left) State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) awaits his turn to speak. Almost hidden from view, State Sen. Norm Needleman (D-33rd) stands to Rep. Carney’s right.

Of the six bills introduced that address regionalization of schools or services, three have been passed by the Education Committee and further action could be taken on them:

  • Governors Bill 874 establishes an appointed Commission on Shared School Services that is charged with developing shared school services recommendations, requires boards of education (BOEs) to report on currently shared school services and requires regional BOEs to post online monthly current and projected expenditures and to submit information to their town’s legislative body. The commission would issue a report in December 2020, recommendations could be binding on towns and districts. Because of costs of setting up a commission, the bill has been referred to Appropriations Committee;
  • HB 7350 requires regional education service centers (RESCs) to distribute an inventory of goods and services to member BOEs, and the Department of Education (DOE) shall develop a report of best practices by RESCs for regional cooperation. (LEARN, at 44 Hatchetts Hill Road in Old Lyme, is a RESC);
  • SB 1069, proposed by Sen. Needleman, which allows the DOE to study the effects of towns working together as Local Education Agencies, is intended to encourage voluntary regional cooperation and maximize efficiencies and cost savings without being mandated to become regional school districts.

Superintendents Ian Neviaser (Lyme-Old Lyme), Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook), and Pat Ciccone (Westbrook) addressed how their districts have been sharing services and resources to reduce costs while maintaining the quality of curriculum along with educational, extracurricular and sports activities and programs.  Standard practices include health and dental insurance, energy, financial software, food service and supplies, plus student transportation for specialized programs.

Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Region 4 (Chester, Deep River and Essex plus the three elementary schools for each of those towns, which are not part of Region 4) school districts already share staff, Perruccio said, in an arrangement that has the flexibility to change yearly based on each districts’ demographic needs.

Perruccio said she was alarmed that the forced regionalization bills showed a lack of regard and understanding of how school districts are already sharing resources with a focus on quality of education.

Ciccone cited how the districts are coordinating to provide professional development for their teachers, and how Westbrook’s school facilities, sports programs and fields are utilized by the Town Parks and Recreation Department and local YMCA. The schools and town share legal and financial services support, as well. 

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser stands at the podium during Monday evening’s forum.

“There is a money issue here, we need to be frank about it,” said Neviaser, pointing out that significant redistribution of wealth from school districts with higher property values and tax base already occurs. 

Fifty-one percent of New London’s school budget is paid by the state, he said., as is over 60 percent of Norwich’s, 33 percent of Montville’s and 14 percent of East Lyme’s school budgets. Meanwhile, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools receive less than one percent of operating expenses from the state.

“There was no mention of improving educational outcomes in these regionalization proposals,” commented Tina Gilbert of Lyme. “It is because of our school district’s focus on that, we are in the top four in the country in education.  There is no discussion of parent involvement in schools; we are not wealthy or privileged people, we chose to live in this school district for our children.  What it takes to build [highly performing schools] is parent involvement, working with parents.”

When asked if they moved to their town because of the quality of the schools, a high number of people in the audience raised their hands.

While the majority of questions and comments addressed specifics of proposed legislation, the overarching issue of state fiscal problems and how to address government spending arose. Lyme and Old Lyme residents were some of the most vocal about the impact of proposed legislation on property values, taxes and the quality of local school districts.

“The majority of the state doesn’t have a problem, town government works in Connecticut, but Hartford is not responsible,” said Curt Deane of Lyme, pointing out a seven-page summary of education service-sharing produced by LEARN in February.  “The initial [regionalization] proposals would have raised my property taxes by 50 percent overnight. Taxes go up, property values go down. People have to understand, this is going to hit our property taxes and hit hard. This isn’t going to go away.” 

“We can’t be a state with only great little towns and not great cities,” Sen. Needleman said, citing imbalances of health care outcomes and school performance between wealthier communities and the state’s large cities. He continued, “While we don’t want to mess up what we have, we can’t turn our backs on the disparities.”

The legislators encouraged voters to speak up, write letters, follow grassroots organizations such as Hands Off Our Schools or form their own group to express concerns to elected officials.

Share

Rep. Carney, Local School Superintendents Host Forum Tonight on School Regionalization, Education

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) in conjunction with the School Superintendents from Lyme-Old Lyme (Ian Neviaser), Old Saybrook (Jan Perruccio) and Westbrook (Pat Ciccone) invite the public to attend an informational forum regarding education and school regionalization Thursday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. at Old Saybrook Middle School Auditorium, 60 Sheffield St., Old Saybrook.

This event, which is free and open to the public, will provide an update on the status of state legislation affecting local public education, including forced regionalization. School regionalization has been a major topic of discussion during the 2019 legislative session, and this event will allow area residents to share their concerns, get their questions answered, and discuss potential alternatives.

For further information and any other concerns regarding state government, email State Rep. Carney at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov or call 800-842-1423.

For further information on Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, contact Superintendent Ian Neviaser at neviaseri@region18.org or 860-434-7238.

Share

Sen. Needleman, Rep. Carney and Mclachlan Host Community Conversation in Westbrook

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) and State Representatives Devin Carney (R-23rd) and Jesse MacLachlan (R-) will hold a Community Conversation event with the public this evening,  Wednesday, April 3. The event is scheduled to be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Westbrook Town Hall’s Multimedia Room, located at 866 Boston Post Rd. in Westbrook.

Sen. Needleman’s 33rd District includes Lyme, and State Rep. Carney’s 23rd District includes Lyme and Old Lyme.

Sen. Needleman and Reps. MacLachlan and Carney will discuss the state budget with members of the public, among a number of other important legislative issues.

“Getting out into the community is so important, as I can hear from the public first-hand about what issues impact them the most,” said Sen. Needleman. “There are a number of significant topics this legislative session, including bills dealing with school regionalization, which deserve our attention. I’m looking forward to sitting with Representatives MacLachlan and Carney to hear directly from Westbrook.”

“The 2019 legislative session is well underway and many people have been asking about topics ranging from the budget, taxes, tolls and school regionalization,” said Rep. Carney. “I am grateful that residents continue to take advantage of these types of events, am looking forward to discussing these and many other issues with folks in Westbrook on April 3 alongside Senator Needleman and Representative MacLachlan. I encourage all residents to attend this event or to reach out to my office with any legislative concerns.”

“I look forward to hearing from residents about some of the hot button issues including tolls, the forced regionalization of schools and the several tax increase proposals,” said Rep. MacLachlan. “It’s important for residents to have the opportunity to share their thoughts about legislation that will have a significant impact on their daily lives.”

Share

Needleman Proposes New School Regionalization Plan, Public Hearing Today on Another Proposal on Same Subject

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

Yesterday State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) proposed a new plan for school regionalization. His proposal would create legislation tailored to help school districts and municipalities cooperate to share services and resources on their own terms, in contrast to recent legislation that would mandate school changes.

Needleman appeared with East Haddam Selectman Robert Smith, Chester First Selectman Laurent Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Essex Board of Education member Lon Seidman, Portland First Selectman Susan Bransfield and CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice McCarthy.

Watch this news clip from NBC to see a summary of what Needleman proposed.

The 33rd Senatorial District includes the Town of Lyme.

Today a public hearing will be held at 11 a.m. in Hartford on HB 7192, AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AND EFFICIENCIES, a Governor’s Bill dealing generally with regionalization and shared services for local governments

Sections 7-10 of the bill are the same as Sections 1-4 of SB 874, the Governor’s Bill on school regionalization and shared services. If you have already submitted testimony to the Education Committee on school regionalization bills, this is an opportunity to comment before a different committee specifically on SB 874.

– Make sure to read the four sections of HB 7192 (again) and comment on them specifically (of course, you may also comment on any other sections you choose).

– Include only HB 7192 (same as first sections of SB 874) in your testimony, as this is the only language from the three school regionalization bills that is before Planning & Development.

Written testimony should be submitted by 9 a.m. to PDtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Sign-up to speak between 9 and 10 a.m. (lottery) in Room 1D.

Share

Needleman to Join with District, School Leaders Today in Hartford to Show Support for Shared Services, Resources by School Districts, Municipalities

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

Today at 10 a.m. State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) will join with district leaders and school officials in the Legislative Office Building Room 1A, in Hartford to voice their support for legislation tailored to help school districts and municipalities cooperate to share services and resources on their own terms, in contrast to recent legislation that would mandate school changes.

Needleman will appear with East Haddam Selectman Robert Smith, Chester First Selectman Laurent Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Essex Board of Education member Lon Seidman, Portland First Selectman Susan Bransfield and CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice McCarthy.

The 33rd State Senatorial District includes Lyme.

Share

Op-Ed: Avoiding the Tragedy of Brexit

Photo by A Perry on Unsplash.

This op-ed by Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was first published Feb. 25, by TheHill.com.

In view of the MV2 (Meaningful Vote 2) regarding Brexit, which is being held today in the British Houses of Parliament, we felt its re-publication was highly relevant.

US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

British Brexiteers and their U.S. cheerleaders promised a return to Britain’s glory days once they shed the bureaucratic constraints of the European Union. Steve Bannon celebrated Brexit as a victory for far-right nationalism and called for other countries to follow. The reality of Brexit, of course, is turning out to be entirely different. The economy will shrink by 7-10 percent, consumer prices will increase, unemployment will rise, and Britain will likely have to pay the EU to leave – not the other way around. Brexit will weaken Britain, the EU, and the entire Western alliance.

The question now is whether we will throw our lot in with those who want to break up hard-won international alliances, or take a stand in favor of a closer partnership between America and Europe. It would be a disaster if the United States reacted to Brexit in a way that encouraged more countries to leave the EU or other international organizations. We should not take seven decades of European peace for granted. After centuries of never-ending warfare and two world wars, stability in Europe is a core interest of the United States. We should also not take for granted how the allure of future EU membership has kept countries on its periphery promoting positive economic and democratic reform.  And Russia hawks in Washington should remember that one main goal of the Kremlin is to weaken the EU, the primary check on Putin’s hopes to restore the Soviet empire.

This is why the promise of a U.S.-Britain trade agreement, as a reward for Brexit, is such a bad idea. We have no better friend or ally on the planet than Britain. But this special relationship does not require us to jump off the same building they are. Those arguing for Britain’s hard exit from Europe claim that the United States will ride to the rescue and deliver a trade agreement that will repair the economic damage done by Brexit.  Russia cheers on this talk, because they know a U.S.-Britain deal might encourage other countries to leave the EU and expect a bilateral agreement with the United States as well.

At the very least, U.S. supporters of a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain should make clear the negotiated Brexit arrangement must protect the Northern Ireland peace process. A key pillar of the Good Friday Agreement was eliminating physical barriers and security checkpoints between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Pulling the legs out from this agreement by reestablishing a hard border risks upending the delicate balance of compromises that has maintained peace for the last twenty years. Even new technological infrastructure to monitor movement could be inflammatory. Recent surveys have found extreme antipathy in Northern Ireland for any type of north-south border checks. With our large Irish-American population and uniquely close relationship with the UK, the United States played an important role shepherding the peace process and must continue to safeguard the Good Friday agreement. We should be firmly against any Brexit agreement that doesn’t include the Irish backstop or other arrangement to protect the peace process.

When the UK government held the initial Brexit referendum, Brexit promoters implied that Britain could have its cake and eat it too. They claimed that Britain would make money by no longer having to contribute to the EU; that Britain would still be able to trade on favorable terms with the rest of Europe while being free from EU regulations; and that investment would continue to flow to Britain once it scrapped EU rules that were supposedly stifling their economy. It’s now clear that none of those things are true, and that very tough choices are now required. With this picture now clear, it would be wise to allow for a new referendum.

In the United States, instead of cheering on Brexit and promising individual agreements that weaken the EU, we should be doing the opposite – binding ourselves closer to the EU and negotiating a trade agreement that establishes the U.S.-EU bloc as a dominant force. In the coming decades, the size of China’s economy and military will continue to grow. The only way to prevent China from dictating terms in a world where they have significantly more influence is to join forces with Europe to agree on global standards going forward. While the special relationship will endure, Britain’s position will be stronger from within the EU rather than outside it.

The Irish poet Oscar Wilde once said there are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. Nigel Farage, Steve Bannon, and their allies in the White House are close to getting what they want in Brexit, but the tragedy may yet be avoided.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Share

Sen. Needleman Meets With Lyme Selectmen, Issues Statement on School Regionalization

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

State Senator Norman Needleman (D-33rd), whose district includes Lyme, issued the following statement Monday on school regionalization proposals.

“On Monday afternoon, Sen. Needleman met with the Lyme Board of Selectmen and had an extended conversation with them about his work so far in the legislature, the policies he will and won’t support this legislative session, and how he can best work with the town.

The discussion featured school regionalization as a lead topic. Sen. Needleman has proposed Senate Bill No. 572, “An Act Encouraging Regional Cooperation Between School Districts,” which would allow multiple boards of education acting in concert to define their own school districts and have that collaboration recognized by the state as a Local Education Agency, or LEA. 

“Collaboration on school services can provide schools with increased efficiency and save both the schools and taxpayers money,” said Sen. Needleman, “Unfortunately, current law makes such collaborations complicated and discourages districts from actually engaging with one another.”

Needleman points to his hometown of Essex and its collaboration with Chester and Deep River for grades K-12. The towns are required to operate five boards of education with thirty-three board members in order to share costs and comply with current state statutes.

“There is a good argument to be made that one of the reasons why school districts aren’t doing more together is because of this level of complexity,” Needleman said. “We should be encouraging creative solutions that let our educators to do what they do best. No two school districts are the same; we should allow them to innovate and determine what works best for students.”

Share

Rep. Carney, Sen. Formica Host Office Hours This Evening in Old Lyme

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

State Rep. Carney (R-23rd) and State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) will offer residents of Lyme and Old Lyme an opportunity to meet with them on Monday, Feb. 11, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Community Room  in a relaxed setting and discuss any legislative or local issues, including the 2019 legislative session.

All residents are encouraged to attend.

Those who are unable to attend but would like to contact Rep. Carney may do so at (800) 842-1423 or by email at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Share

Needleman Announces Bill To Hold Utilities Accountable

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE – Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), whose 33rd Senate District includes Lyme, announced that he has submitted a bill that would hold utility companies accountable to better serve their customers, requiring them to improve their response times after power outages and increase vital staffing.

“An Act Concerning Utility Response Times For Restoration of Electric Service and Utility Minimum Staffing Levels,” Senate Bill No. 469, would require companies to restore electric service on an improved schedule after power outages, also requiring them to establish minimum staffing levels for line crews.

“In the last several years, response times to perform repair work after storms and outages by utility companies like Eversource have grown precipitously, causing significant delays in restoring power to Connecticut residents and businesses relying on it,” Sen. Needleman said. “It’s no coincidence, I believe, this comes as Eversource continues to reduce its repair staff and equipment, instead increasingly relying on private contractors from outside of their system. Without adequate staff, in the event of severe weather, Eversource will waste time and inconvenience customers.”

The bill’s announcement comes as Eversource is requesting a rate increase from the Public Utilities Regulation Authority, according to the Hartford Courant, citing the increased costs of repairing systems after severe storms. If that rate increase passes, the average customer could see their bill jump $1.85 per month or more than $20 annually as soon as this year.

“Why should Eversource receive a rate increase for this work when it drags its heels doing it in the first place? Connecticut taxpayers and businesses were already inconvenienced when their power remained off for days during these storms, and they shouldn’t be punished twice,” Sen. Needleman said. “If Eversource had invested in effective weather responses in the past, instead of reducing staff and equipment to save money, they wouldn’t need to ask for $150 million in repairs.”

“Businesses lose money every second their power remains out,” Sen. Needleman said. “As a business owner myself, I know these problems first-hand. My manufacturing plant in Michigan has lost power one time in 14 years, while my manufacturing plant in Centerbrook sometimes loses power for no reason at all. Connecticut needs to attract businesses, and unstable electrical systems will only drive them away.”

According to the Energy Information Agency, Connecticut residents are already charged the third-highest rates for electricity in the country in both price and expenditure.

“Eversource should provide the services it already pledges to its customers, not be rewarded for failing to implement adequate weather-related response and repair strategies,” Sen. Needleman said. “When Connecticut taxpayers are already charged one of the highest prices in the country for electricity, they should feel confident their service will remain stable, not prepare for days of outages whenever severe storms rear their head. S.B. 469 will hold Eversource and other utility providers accountable for the services their customers deserve.”

Editor’s Note: State Senator Norm Needleman was first elected in 2018 to represent the 33rd Senate District which consists of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and part of Old Saybrook. Needleman is also the first selectman of Essex, a role he has held for four terms, and the founder of Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company that employs over 250 people.

Share

Old Lyme DTC Issues Statement on Federal Shut-Down, Starts Donation Drive for Impacted Residents

Jane Cable, Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) Chairman, has issued the following statement on behalf of the Old Lyme DTC regarding the US Federal Government partial shut-down and how the committee is responding to it locally.

‘The U.S. government has been partially shut down since Dec. 22, over President Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion for a U.S.- Mexico border wall. The Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee believes this action is intolerable for the country, and heartless toward the affected federal workers.

The Old Lyme DTC membership is donating cash and food cards to the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) to assist residents affected by the shutdown. To date, we have collected over $800 dollars in donations for the LYSB. Our commitment to provide assistance will continue until the conclusion of the shutdown.

If you would like to join us build a bridge of support, donations can be sent to the LYSB at 59 Lyme Street, P.O. Box 589, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or to
The Town of Old Lyme, Social Services at 52 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT 06371.

If you need a donation picked up, please email us to arrange this.”

Share

SE CT Legislators Including Sen. Formica & Sen.-Elect Needleman, Submit Bill To Allow Online, In-Person Betting at CT Casinos

(Press Release) State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) and members of the Southeastern Connecticut legislative delegation have submitted a bipartisan bill for the 2019 legislative session that would amend Connecticut’s existing state laws to allow for online and in-person sports betting at Connecticut casinos.

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman
State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

The proposed law would include age and location verification requirements designed to block online access to persons under the age of 21 from betting on sports.

Since last May, when the United States Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law banning sports wagering, eight states now offer legalized sports betting, including nearby Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. New York has passed enabling legislation but has not yet instituted sports betting, and several other U.S. states – including Connecticut – are now considering it.

Rhode Island – which just launched sports betting in November – estimates it will collect $11.5 million in new state revenue in its first seven months of operation.

“Connecticut needs to play catch-up with surrounding states if we’re serious about modernizing our existing gaming industry. Fortunately, we can do that with a relatively simple regulatory fix,” said Sen. Osten, who represents Ledyard and a portion of Montville, home to Connecticut’s two Native American tribes that already operate gaming casinos.

She continued, “The U.S. Supreme Court decision last year paved the way for the expansion of private-sector sports betting, and I think Connecticut is in a good position to take advantage of that. We have the infrastructure with the tribal casinos, we can use the new revenue, and we’ve got bipartisan support. This should be an early session success story.”

“Neighboring states are already ahead of Connecticut on sports betting, but I think it’s an issue we can quickly catch up on that will have positive employment, economic and revenue impacts on Connecticut, “ said Sen.-elect Norm Needleman (D-Essex). 

He noted, “Two of Connecticut’s top-10 largest employers will benefit from this bill. The U.S. Supreme Court has already cleared the way legally, so I believe it’s incumbent on us as state policymakers to do what’s necessary to remain relevant and profitable in a rapidly expanding new national industry.”

The bill, with the current working number of LCO 578, is co-sponsored by Sens. Osten, Steve Cassano, Paul Formica, Heather Somers, and Sen.-elect Needleman, and by state Reps. Ryan, Christine Conley, Emmett Riley, Joe de la Cruz, Susan Johnson, Doug Dubitsky, Mike France and Holly Cheeseman.

Share

Murphy, Wyden Reintroduce Bill Requiring President Trump to Publicly Release his Tax Returns

Measure supports House efforts to use congressional authority to obtain tax returns in closed session

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D- Ore.) on Friday in reintroducing the Presidential Tax Transparency Act to require sitting presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns to the public. Murphy and Wyden first introduced this legislation in May 2016 after then-presidential candidate Trump broke his promise to release his tax returns.

“Presidents have a lot of power—they can unilaterally change federal contracts, influence foreign governments, and impose sanctions. Americans deserve to know if the foreign policy decisions presidents make are based on the best interests of the country or made to benefit the president’s pocketbook. President Trump’s bizarre history of nonsensical foreign policy decisions could easily be explained by his or the Trump Organization’s financial ties to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia. This legislation would ensure Americans know the truth about President Trump and every other presidential candidate, and will prevent the Trump administration from stonewalling congressional oversight efforts,” said Murphy.

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act requires sitting presidents to release their most recent 3 years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE).  It also requires that, within 15 days of becoming the nominee at the party convention, presidential nominees must release their most recent 3 years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Should the sitting president or future candidates refuse to comply, the Treasury Secretary will be required to provide the tax returns directly to the OGE or FEC respectively for public release.

Section 6103 of the U.S. tax code grants the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee authority to obtain the president’s tax returns from the Treasury Department. According to reports, House Democrats plan to use this authority to demand Trump’s tax returns, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has not said whether he would comply.

Joining Murphy and Wyden in introducing the Presidential Tax Transparency Act are U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin, (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

A one-page summary of the legislative proposal can be found here. The bill text can be found here.

Share

Rep. Carney Receives Committee Appointments

State Representative Devin Carney, pictured above in a file photo, whose district includes both Lyme and Old Lyme, has received his appointments regarding the committees on which he will serve on during his third two-year term.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides named Carney to her 2019-2021 leadership team as Assistant House Republican Leader, which provides for a stronger voice at the legislative bargaining table and gives him leadership responsibilities on the House Floor during floor debate.

Rep. Carney will return to the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee where he will serve as the Ranking Member of the Transportation Bonding Subcommittee, which oversees state bonding for transportation projects.

Rep. Carney will also return as a member on the Transportation Committee, where he previously served as Ranking Member. 

New this term, Rep. Carney will be a member of the Planning and Development Committee which oversees matters relating to local governments, housing, regional planning, conservation, and economic development. 

He was also named to the House Republican Screening Committee, a select committee that reviews all legislation.

“During his time here in the legislature Representative Carney has proven himself to be a trusted leader and legislator,” said Rep. Klarides on her appointment of Carney. “These committee assignments and his position as Assistant House Republican Leader prove that he is someone I have come to depend on.”

“I am honored to be appointed to these committees for the 2019-2021 legislative term,” said Carney. “There are many important issues that will arise within each of these committees. I look forward to dedicating myself to the work ahead and advocating for the people of the 23rd District.”

Rep. Carney represents the 23rd District, which, apart from Lyme and Old Lyme, also includes Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Needleman’s New Year’s Resolution is to be 33rd District’s ‘Common Sense Advocate’

To the Editor:

The holiday season is a time when we enjoy good cheer and look forward to the promise of a bright new year. It is a time when we resolve to do the things that didn’t get done in the old year, and fix the things that need fixing.  

For me, the coming year will be both demanding and promising. On January 9, I will be sworn in to represent the 33rd district in the State Senate, a responsibility that brings with it significant challenges and exciting new opportunities. That’s why my only resolution this year is to be the common sense advocate the towns in our district need and deserve. As your voice in the state senate, I will keep you posted on progress in addressing the issues that concern all of us.

Meanwhile, I hope we can all enjoy the festive spirit and good will that make the holiday season so enjoyable. I wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year. 

Sincerely,

Norm Needleman,
Essex

Editor’s Note: The author is the State Senator Elect for the 33rd District, which includes Lyme.

Share

State Senator-Elect Needleman Hosts First Office Hours

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman

State Senator-elect Norm Needleman (D-Essex) is inviting the public to ask questions, share their concerns and meet their new state senator during his  first public office hours to be held Thursday, Dec. 6, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the McDonald’s restaurant at 375 South Main Street in Colchester.

For the past 30 years, Sen.-elect Needleman has been the owner and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a pharmaceutical business which employs more than 150 Connecticut residents.  Sen.-elect Needleman serves as a board member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and he is also currently serving his fourth term as the first selectman of Essex

Beginning Jan. 9, 2019, Sen.-elect Needleman will represent more than 100,000 Connecticut residents in the 33rd State Senate District, which includes the Town of Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Deep River, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Share

Needleman Wins 33rd Senate District After Recount, This Time by 83 Votes

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman

UPDATED 11/20, 8:50AM — Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman has been declared the winner of the 33rd State Senate District by 83 votes after a nail-biting recount involving all the towns in the district, which include Lyme.

He was originally announced as the victor by 303 votes but a subsequent correction in Essex’s vote count reduced the margin of victory to a number that requires a recount by Connecticut law.

Asked his reaction to the recount result, Needleman responded, “I welcomed the recount, because it assured everyone that every vote cast was counted. I am grateful to the election workers throughout the district who worked so hard to make the recount fair and accurate. We can now move on to the task of being the credible advocate the towns in our district badly need in Hartford.”

Share

Letter to the Editor: Needleman Says, “The Election Is Over … Let’s Get To Work”

To the Editor:

The voters of the 33rd District have chosen me to be their advocate in the State Senate for the next two years. The depth of my gratitude to the voters and to the hundreds of volunteers who helped throughout the campaign is beyond my ability to express.

The electioneering is finished, and now we will confront the hard work: get the state back on track, and secure a fair share of support for the towns in our district.  My opponent and I differed in our approach to addressing those issues, but we agreed that the core challenge is restoring the state’s financial health and economic vitality. There is no quick fix, but in my view the path we must travel is clear.

First, we have to bridge the partisan divide that stands in the way of good ideas and sensible solutions. Partisan politics have crippled our state, and it should be obvious by now that retreating to an ideological corner is lethal to the kind of cooperation we badly need. As I said throughout the campaign, I will work with anyone who is committed to finding real solutions, regardless of political affiliation.

Second, renovating our approach to developing revenue projections and budgets is vitally important, but is not the only component of the path to recovery. As importantly, the state needs a comprehensive economic development plan that clearly defines strategies and tactics for creating jobs. We need a plan that builds a compelling and durable appeal to businesses of all sizes…a plan that creates a marketing and communications framework for coalescing the state’s many attributes and advantages into a compelling message. Without a comprehensive plan, the road to economic vitality will be random and reactive, instead of well directed and focused.

Third, I will tirelessly advocate to make certain that every town in our district receives its fair share of support from Hartford. The perspective I have gained from real world experience in budgeting and managing town and business operations will add both credibility and impact to the voice our towns have in the State Senate.

But we also need to address issues that go beyond the state’s finances. We can never stop advocating for measures that address the quality of life in our towns: women’s issues; primary, secondary, and higher education; benefits to our seniors; support for small businesses; and job training for the thousands of unfilled, high paying technical and manufacturing jobs.

I make the same pledge to those who voted for me and to those who didn’t: I will listen to your concerns, I will give you straight answers, and I will never stop working for you. The challenges and the issues that concern you will always be my focus.

It is time to bridge the partisan gap and start on the road to finding solutions. I’m optimistic, because I believe all of us recognize that we have to set aside our differences and truly work together.  That’s the approach and the attitude I will bring to Hartford as your state senator.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and support.

Sincerely,

Norm Needleman,
Essex.

Editor’s Note: The author is the first selectman of Essex and state senator-elect for the 33rd Senate District.

Share

Needleman Wins 33rd State Senate District by 303 Votes

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman

State Representative (R-34th) Melissa Ziobron.

Melissa Ziobron, Republican Candidate for the 33rd State Senate District [which includes Lyme] and outgoing House Representative for the 34th District, called her opponent to concede the race just after noon today.

According to the Connecticut Secretary of State, Mr. Needleman leads by 303 votes, or 0.58 percent, which is just 0.08 percent over the 0.5 percent threshold that would trigger an automatic recount.
Rep. Ziobron stated “I am very proud of the race that I ran and grateful for the tremendous effort from my campaign staff and volunteers. We worked hard, earned every vote and did not give an inch of ground.”
Rep. Ziobron concluded: “I want to thank everyone who has supported me, both in this race and elsewhere, most especially my family.”
Share

Results In Old Lyme Give Wins to Republicans Stefanowski, Formica and Carney

Note these are unofficial results.  We do not have numbers for Questions 1 and 2 on the ballot, but have heard Question 2 has passed statewide.

GOVERNOR

Lamont/ Bysiewicz: 1,961

Stefanowski/ Markley: 2,054

Griebel/Frank: 56


US SENATE

Murphy: 2,435

Corey: 1,732

Lion: 9

Russell: 7


US HOUSE:

Courtney: 2,671

Postemski: 1,449

Reale: 24

Bicking: 37

STATE SENATE:

Formica: 2,326

Marx: 1,863

STATE HOUSE:

Carney: 2,294

Pugliese: 1,890

SECRETARY OF STATE:

Merrill: 2,232

Chapman: 1,859

Gwynn: 29

DeRosa: 31

TREASURER

Wo0den: 2,175

Gray: 1,891

Brohinsky: 33

CONTROLLER

Lembo: 2,144

Miller: 1,800

Passarelli: 25

Heflin: 37

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Tong: 2,052

Hatfield: 2,057

Goselin: 46

Share