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The Chris Powell Column

No heroes for state’s right to know

At its annual meeting the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information usually presents an award to a public official who has performed outstanding service to the right to know in the past year. But no such award was presented at the annual meeting a few weeks ago, for the council could not find such a hero.

Large gift to public education should be public information

During his campaign last year, Governor Lamont declared, “Change starts now.” But his administration is turning out to be just as hostile to open government as that of his predecessor, Dannel P. Malloy.

The Lamont administration has approved a contract with the State Police union that blocks public access to the personnel files of state troopers so the public can’t learn about complaints of misconduct on the job.

Connecticut has plenty of abortion fanatics too

Raising taxes and the minimum wage, imposing highway tolls and increasing business regulation are not the only weird elements of Governor Lamont’s economic development strategy. This week the governor wrote an open letter to women business owners in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri, arguing that the recent efforts of those states to outlaw abortion should prompt those businesses to relocate to Connecticut, which “supports the rights of women.”

Is contempt of journalists really a new phenomenon?

Do journalists need protection from President Trump and his supporters? Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal professes to think so.

Trump’s border wall, Tong’s demagogic posturing

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has joined a lawsuit with 15 other states against President Trump’s declaration of a federal emergency, which the president plans to use to justify spending otherwise-appropriated money to complete a wall across the Mexican border. Tong says he aims to protect the Constitution and the state, but, accusing the president of “racism and hate,” he is engaging mainly in the demagogic posturing that characterized his recent campaign.

Municipal legal ads help ensure against corruption

Connecticut’s law requiring municipal governments to place legal notices in newspaper ads presumes that democracy needs people to know what their government is doing.

But six bills have been introduced in the General Assembly to allow municipalities to satisfy the notice requirement just by posting legal notices on their internet sites. This would save money for municipalities but would provide little actual notice, since people seldom visit town internet sites except for an address or telephone number.

Can church, CCSU prevent more corruption by power?

At the admirable direction of Archbishop Leonard Blair, the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford last week more or less came clean about the sexual abuse perpetrated by its priests during the last six decades.

Larson wouldn’t just save, but improve Social Security

Maybe nothing will come of it until the insanity in Washington dissipates, but Connecticut U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District, is now in a position to do something important for the country and not just the military contractors back home.

Forget school aid formula; and impeach for shutdown

High on the agenda for the new session of the General Assembly is rewriting the formula for state financial aid to municipal school systems. It will be a big waste of time.

Connecticut has been rewriting its school aid formula almost every year since the state Supreme Court’s decision in the school financing case of Horton v. Meskill in 1977, with little result except greater expense. State payments to school systems with poor populations and weak property-tax bases have been greatly increased but student performance has not improved.

Legalizing and taxing weed?

Should Connecticut legalize marijuana for ordinary recreational use, as neighboring Massachusetts has just done?

To a great extent Connecticut already has legalized the intoxicating weed, since the state has authorized medical prescriptions for it and licensed a few medical dispensaries, and criminal penalties for simple possession have been reduced to irrelevance. As a practical matter for years marijuana use has been so widespread in the state that police and courts didn’t bother much with enforcement.