Navigation

Connecticut

New England Leads Fight for Marriage Equality

On Monday, March 23rd, the Vermont Senate overwhelmingly passed (26 to 4) a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making the state the first in the nation to take legislative rather than judicial steps toward granting marriage rights to same-sex couples.  Although House Speaker Shap Smith was confident a majority of representatives would vote in favor of the "marriage equality" act, Governor Jim Douglas revealed in a press conference Wednesday that he would veto the bill, though he did say he would accept a legislative override.

Obama Allows California to Adopt Car Emission Standards - New Day for State Regulatory Authority

In a positive step forward for federal respect of state regulatory powers, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a previously denied waiver to allow California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law.  In a statement by the White House, President Obama said "the federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."  The directive represents not only greater respect for state authority, but also a sharp break from the climate policies of President Obama's predecessor. 

Providing Immediate Services to Families in Crisis: The New Paradigm for Status Offender Systems

The Vera Institute of Justice recently released a report, Making Court the Last Resort: A New Focus for Supporting Families in Crisis, that outlines the significant improvements some states are making in how they respond to chronically disobedient children.

Racial Impact Statements: Addressing Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice Systems

Indexing Minimum Wage to Inflation Critical for Low-Income Working Families

Washington State minimum wage workers got a raise January 1st to $8.55 per hour -- now the highest minimum wage in the country.   Like nine other states, Washington automatically increases its minimum wage each year at the rate of inflation to make sure families don't face a de facto pay cut as rising costs eat into family budgets.  Because the federal minimum wage is not indexed to inflation in this way, we have seen a decline in its value from $9.34 in inflation-adjusted dollars down to just $6.55 per hour this past year.  This trend highlights why state efforts to index the minimum wage to keep up with inflation are so critical.

Gay Marriage - In the Courts, On the Ballot

Last week, Connecticut's high court struck down the state's civil union law and ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.  Connecticut joins Massachusetts and California as the only states that recognize gay marriage.  As the New York Times reported, the Connecticut ruling is notable because it found for the first time that a state civil union law, while providing all the legal rights of marriage to gay couples but limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, violated the state's "constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law."