GOVERNOR RELEASES PROPOSED BUDGET CHANGES
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s final budget proposal includes a range of tax changes, including a higher levy on cigarettes, a 25-cent-per-bottle deposit on wine and liquor and elimination of the $200 property tax credit against the income tax. Those propositions are in addition to the gradual 7-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase and statewide tolling Malloy proposed last week. Malloy’s budget does not increase the state’s income or sales tax. However, it repeals the sales tax exemption for nonprescription drugs. Malloy unveiled details of his budget on Monday, two days before the legislative session begins. The governor’s plan includes proposals to help cushion the impact of the federal tax bill’s elimination of state and local tax deductions. There are also spending cuts, including elimination of some grants to wealthy communities.
GUILTY PLEA FROM HEROIN TRAFFICKER
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The U.S. attorney in Connecticut says a man has pleaded guilty to facilitating heroin trafficking and illegally entering the United States. The office said Monday 44-year-old Onel Arana-Gervacio, a Mexican citizen, pleaded guilty in Hartford to conspiracy to distribute heroin and illegal reentry. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says he’s one of five people charged with participating in a trafficking ring in Alabama, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Prosecutors say Alabama police stopped a car hauler carrying a vehicle registered to Arana-Gervacio in 2016 and found a hidden compartment commonly used for contraband. The car was tracked to Connecticut and Rhode Island. Authorities say in January 2017, they seized $260,000 from the car and heroin, cocaine and drug distribution materials from the Hartford residence where it was parked. Arana-Gervacio was removed from the U.S. in 2013.
LAUNDROMAT FIRES UNDER INVESTIGATION
Groton’s fire marshal is investigating why there have been so many fires at a local laundromat. Fire crews were at the Super Saver Laundromat in the Groton Shopping Center on Long Hill Road Sunday at around 8 AM to find one of the dryers on fire. No injuries reported, and the fire was quickly put out, but the building had to be ventilated. Fire officials says there have been several fires there since last March.
PUTNAM FIRE CHIEF SEEKING POLITICAL OFFICE
Soon-to-be-retired Putnam Police Chief Rick Hayes has a plan for his law enforcement after life. The 59-year-old Hayes plans to run for state representative. He’s seeking the House seat encompassing Putnam, Killingly and Thompson. Hayes is a Republican who has been Putnam Police Chief since 2006. He’s also on the town’s board of selectmen. Hayes is retiring from the police force in August.
OUT-GOING STATE SUPREME COURT CHIEF HAS NEW JOB
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Retiring Connecticut Chief Justice Chase Rogers has been hired by a large East Coast law firm. Day Pitney announced Monday that Rogers will join the firm’s Hartford office as a litigation partner and appellate practice group member on March 19. Monday also was the day Rogers’ retirement as chief justice took effect. Rogers served as chief justice for nearly 11 years, after serving as a judge on the Superior Court and Appellate Court. She previously worked as a lawyer in commercial and employment litigation. She said in a statement that she admires Day Pitney and the complexity of the matters it handles. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated Justice Andrew McDonald to succeed Rogers. McDonald would be the first openly gay leader of a state Supreme Court in the country.