Connecticut labor officials say the weak economy is making it harder to force companies to pay unpaid wages.

The Department of Labor says it recovered more than $5.5 million in unpaid wages for workers in Connecticut in the year that ended June 30. Officials responded to 3,800 complaints about unpaid wages.

That's down from $6.1 million recovered last year in response to 3,682 claims.

Gary Pechie, director of the wage and workplace standards division, said Friday that businesses are fighting state officials and refusing to pay. Other companies are out of business.

Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan is withdrawing as a third party candidate for the state’s 5th Congressional District.

After losing the Democratic primary on Aug. 14 to former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Donovan could have remained in the race because he was cross-endorsed by the Connecticut Working Families Party.

A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows Republican Linda McMahon has a slight lead over Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy in Connecticut's U.S. Senate race. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

The survey, released Tuesday, shows 49 percent of likely voters back the former wrestling executive, while 46 percent support Murphy.

Chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party Jerry Labriola says he's making the argument to national Republican officials that Connecticut can be a possible win for presidential candidate Mitt Romney. WAMC’s Lucas Willard has more…

Labriola told The Associated Press Monday that he's pointing out how President Barack Obama's popularity in the Democratic-leaning state has waned and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon is running a strong campaign.

He said "Connecticut is more and more becoming in play" and national Republicans are listening to him.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says Connecticut is better prepared for a natural disaster than it was a year ago when the remnants of Hurricane Irene struck the state, but some issues remain.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Malloy said the state still has "a long ways to go" when it comes to reducing the number of trees that can knock down power lines and block roads. While the state and electric utilities have ramped up tree-cutting efforts, Malloy predicted it will take years to get to where the state needs to be.

It's back to school, and Connecticut is kicking off its annual sales tax holiday. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

Beginning Sunday and ending Aug. 25, items of clothing and footwear costing less than $300 are exempt from the 6.35 percent state sales tax.

Sports equipment, specialty clothing, jewelry and accessories are not included.

The tax-free holiday covers items valued at more than $300 and discounted with sales, coupons and other promotions.

Connecticut officials are planning an emergency preparedness drill to try to improve communication between utility companies and state and local governments.

The four-day, statewide exercise begins Saturday and is designed to simulate an emergency resulting from a Category 3 hurricane.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said Tuesday that the goal is to spare residents the frustration they endured during the prolonged power outages following a snow storm last October.

CT Officials to Discuss Mosquito Management

Jun 28, 2012

The state of Connecticut's mosquito management team is unveiling plans for combating the pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

Representatives from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are scheduled to discuss mosquito management strategies for the summer season during a news conference, planned for Thursday morning at Bushnell Park in Hartford, across from DEEP's headquarters. The latest techniques, strategies and equipment being used to control mosquitoes will be displayed.

CT State Police Leaders Face No Confidence Vote

Jun 26, 2012

The results of a no confidence vote against Connecticut state police leaders by state troopers are set to be announced.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

Officials with the National Troopers Coalition are scheduled to count the ballots Tuesday morning and announce the results around mid-day. Ballots were mailed to more than 1,000 state police union members earlier this month and were due back Monday afternoon.

We speak with Amy Wynn, Executive Director of the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, about their 3rd Annual Open Your Eyes Art Studio Tour.

Darlene Susco /

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra plans to meet with the city's acting police chief to discuss a weekend of violence in which 10 people were shot and two of them killed.

Police say a 16-year-old from Windsor and a 24-year-old Hartford man were found shot to death Saturday in separate incidents.

The Hartford Courant reports the teenager was found unresponsive in the driveway of a multifamily home on Thomaston Street at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

(US Government photo)

Protests are planned in Connecticut and around the country over the Obama administration mandate that employers provide workers birth control coverage.

The mandate requires employers to provide health insurance that includes birth control for workers. The plan sparked protests from faith leaders because it included most religious nonprofits such as hospitals and colleges.

Religious and civil rights organizations are holding protests today in New Haven and other cities called "stand up for religious freedom."

Wikimedia Commons

Defiant and emotional, Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan denies that he did anything wrong as federal investigators look into his congressional campaign's finances.

Donovan held a sidewalk news conference Sunday evening outside his campaign office in Meriden.

Federal prosecutors had announced Thursday that Donovan's campaign finance manager had been arrested for allegedly conspiring with others to hide the source of $20,000 in campaign contributions.

Connecticut public defenders hope to use the trial of a Bridgeport man as the venue to challenge the constitutionality of a new law that outlaws capital punishment in the state, but only for future crimes.

Richard Roszkowski is awaiting the penalty phase of his capital trial for the 2006 murders of his former girlfriend, her 9-year-old daughter and his former roommate.

Michael Courtney, head of the state Public Defender's Office capital defense unit, said Wednesday he plans to file a brief by August 7 in the case, challenging the state's right to seek the death penalty.

First Lady Sponsoring Future Navy Submarine

May 29, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama is sponsoring a future Navy submarine named after her home state.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

The White House said Tuesday that the first lady has accepted an invitation to be the sponsor of the future USS Ilinois, a Virginia-class submarine being built in Groton, Conn., and Newport News, Va. The new attack submarine is expected to join the fleet in late 2015.

As sponsor, Mrs. Obama will be involved in the life of the submarine and establish a special link to the ship's sailors and their families.

Connecticut transportation officials have scheduled three public hearings on the plan to build a high-speed rail line linking New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, Mass.

The New Haven Register reports the June hearings in Enfield, New Britain and North Haven are part of the environmental assessment of the proposed 62-mile rail line.

The state Department of Transportation has prepared a report outlining the potential impact of the project on noise levels, air quality, water quality and cultural and recreational resources along the corridor.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration has revealed an outreach effort to help more than 12,000 long-term jobless workers receive social services and job training after losing extended unemployment insurance benefits. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

Less than an hour before the initiative was announced Thursday, the state Labor Department said the unemployment rate in April remained stuck at 7.7 percent.

A key Connecticut lawmaker says efforts to enact state legislation requiring labeling of genetically modified food died in the face of threatened lawsuits by food producers. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

Representative Richard Roy, the House chairman of the Environment Committee, said Thursday that he unsuccessfully lobbied House Speaker Christopher Donovan and Governor Dannel P. Malloy. The legislation got no further than his committee.

Connecticut has taken the first step requiring corporations and other groups that independently spend money or run ads for political candidates to identify top donors. WAMC’s Lucas Willard has more…

The House of Representatives approved legislation 94-to-54 on Tuesday intended to bring more transparency to political financing.

CT Lawmakers Face Final Days of Session

May 7, 2012

State lawmakers in Connecticut are entering the final days of the legislative session and still need to finish work on some key bills.

The General Assembly has yet to vote on a revised budget for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, or reach a final agreement with Governor Dannel P. Malloy on a plan to overhaul the state's public education system.

The regular legislative session ends on Wednesday at midnight.

CT State Police Begin ‘Ticket Blitz'

Apr 30, 2012

The state police union says management is carrying out another "ticket blitz," this time in the Waterbury and Danbury areas.

The union says the enforcement effort aimed at speeding and other violations with run through 11:59 today on Interstate 84 from the New York line to exit 28 and along Route 8 from exits 29 to 36. Extra troopers will also be patrolling other roads in western Connecticut.

The last "ticket blitz" was held in northeastern Connecticut on April 5.

The Connecticut House of Representatives voted to increase the state’s minimum wage. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

The House lowered the original proposed hike to a 50-cent increase and removed a provision to eventually tie the wage to inflation.

State representatives passed the measure 88-to-62 on Thursday.

Connecticut's governor has signed a new law that abolishes the state's death penalty for future crimes. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

A spokeswoman says Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed the bill Wednesday afternoon at a private ceremony with lawmakers, clergy and family members of victims.

Malloy issued a statement calling it "an historic moment" as Connecticut joins 16 other states that have abolished capital punishment. He said it was a moment "for sober reflection, not celebration."

The chief executive of Foxwoods Resort Casino says rising competition is forcing the Indian-run casino in eastern Connecticut to consider online gambling and other changes. WAMC’s Lucas Willard has more…

Scott Butera, CEO of Foxwoods, in a web-based discussion Thursday with The Day of New London, said supply in the casino business is clearly outpacing demand. Gambling has been legalized in Massachusetts and casinos in New York are taking a greater share of the market.

He said he expects additional venues and online gambling to be a part of Foxwoods' future.

CT On Track to be 17th State Sans Death Penalty

Apr 6, 2012

Connecticut is on track to become the fifth state in five years to abolish the death penalty amid what supporters say is a growing national sentiment against executing prisoners.  WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...

The state Senate approved a repeal bill 20-16 early Thursday. It now goes to the House of Representatives, where lawmakers say the legislation has strong support.
Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy has said he will sign it into law.