LEGISLATIVE BUDGET PLANS
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Republican House leaders are proposing a revised budget they say ensures every Connecticut community will receive an increase in local school funding. They contend their proposal doesn’t raise taxes and mitigates municipal aid losses by reallocating funds. It comes a day after Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released an updated budget that changed how education funding is distributed and reduced overall aid to cities and towns by $362 million more than his original budget from February. The Republican plan does not legalize the sale of marijuana or authorize at least one new casino or institute tolls, as proposed Tuesday by legislative Democrats as ways to balance the state’s deficit-plagued budget for the next two fiscal year. The various plans will be the basis for bipartisan budget talks that will begin Wednesday.
NORWICH PLANNING OFFICIALS HEAR ABOUT STATE HOSP. SITE DEVELOPMENT
The predicted positive economic impact to the region from the development of the former state hospital grounds in Preston is emphasized Tuesday night to Norwich’s Commission on the City Plan. Preston and Mohegan tribal officials describe the proposed 200 to 600-million dollar project on the 388-acre site. Preston Redevelopment Agency chairman Sean Nugent says the development could help bring about a revitalization of the entire Thames River Valley region, including the Norwich riverfront. The proposed development would include a sports complex, indoor skiing, a marina, retail stores, and hotels. Any construction is still more than a year off, as site remediation has to be wrapped-up. Mohegan Tribal Project Manager Curtis Strom says, though, discussions with potential developers have been on-going. The Mohegan Tribe officially takes ownership of the site once all clean-up work is done.
A local lawmaker is proposing convicted sex offenders in Connecticut be chemically castrated. Griswold state representative Kevin Skulczyck says that’s one of his top 5 legislative priorities for the next year. Skulczyk is basing his idea on a proposal from an Alabama state representative who has proposed surgical castration. Skulczyck’s plan would have convicted offenders take drugs that reduce a person’s sex drive. The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the practice, claiming it’s cruel and unusual punishment. Eight states allow chemical or surgical castration of convicted sex offenders.
FIRE MAY HAVE BEEN SUICIDE ATTEMPT
Court documents say Daniel Elliot-Villareal is accused of setting fire to his Norwich residence last month in order to kill himself. The 28-year old pleaded not guilty Monday to arson and criminal mischief charges in connection with the April 20th blaze at his apartment at 27 McKinley Avenue. Five people, including Elliot-Villareal, were injured, three pets were killed, and some 50-thousand dollars in damage occurred. Elliot-Villareal is being held on a 200-thousand dollar bond, and is due back in court June 27th.
HERNANDEZ FIANCEE CONTINUES TO SPEAK
BOSTON (AP) – The fiancee of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez says he told her rumors that he was gay or bisexual were not true. The second part of a two-part interview with Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez aired Tuesday on the “Dr. Phil” show. Jenkins-Hernandez told host Dr. Phillip McGraw that Hernandez was “very much a man” to her and called the rumors “embarrassing” and “hurtful.” She says she doesn’t believe Hernandez and fellow prisoner Kyle Kennedy were lovers or even close friends. She says Hernandez didn’t talk about him. Jenkins-Hernandez said Monday she doesn’t think the former New England Patriots tight end killed himself last month, as authorities have said.
She says there was a suicide note for her and one for their daughter but there was no note addressed to Kennedy.
NO LEFT LANE LALLYGAGGING IN RI
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban highway drivers from lingering in the leftmost lane unless they’re passing another vehicle.
The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to move the bill forward to the full House of Representatives. It would affect driving on Interstate 95 and other multilane highways. The bill’s sponsor, Portsmouth Democratic Rep. Dennis Canario, has said it would stop slower drivers from “lallygagging in the high-speed lane.” The retired police officer says it can be dangerous when people don’t give way to passing vehicles because it causes others to drive aggressively. Canario says that “if you’re not passing anybody, there’s no reason to be in that left-hand lane.” Other I-95 corridor states that already have similar “keep right” laws are Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey.