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    No injuries were reported when fire broke out at a Hartland home Wednesday morning.

    Litchfield County Dispatch confirmed that several departments, including two from Massachusetts, were called to the home at 146 Hogback Road around 2 a.m. Wednesday. It took firefighters about 45 minutes to get the blaze under control.

    No injuries were reported.

    No other details were immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBC10

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    Three celestial events will decorate the sky Friday night, as a full ‘snow’ moon, a lunar eclipse and a comet all appear in one night, according to NASA.

    The bad news is that the NBC Connecticut meteorologists are forecasting a cloudy Friday night, so we may not see any of it in Connecticut.

    A February full moon, traditionally called a snow moon for a month known as a time for snow and cold air, will brighten up the sky.

    A penumbral lunar eclipse will occur Friday as the moon passes through the earth’s shadow. It won’t pass the darkest part of the shadow called the umbra, but it will cross through the fainter outer portion of the shadow, the penumbra. The maximum eclipse will come shortly before 7:45 p.m. Friday night.

    Note that penumbral eclipses are not as dramatic as total eclipses and are generally only spotted by an expert eye.

    If we’re lucky we may get a peek through the clouds at Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova as it makes its closest approach to earth this cycle. The comet has been visible from earth by telescope already this cycle, but it will come closest early Saturday morning, 7.4 million miles from earth. If the clouds are kind you may be able to see the comet with just binoculars, blazing with a blue-green head and a thin fan-shaped tail.

    The will remain visible for a few more nights before continuing on its cycle. Comet 45P returns to our solar system every five or so years, according to NASA. 



    Photo Credit: NASA
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova returns to the inner solar system every half decade or so, NASA said.Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova returns to the inner solar system every half decade or so, NASA said.

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    Police are investigating after students found a loaded .9 mm handgun outside a Bristol school.

    Students from South Side School alerted school staff at 8:50 a.m. that they saw a handgun in a grassy area just off the bus path that leads to the front entrance of the school, according to police.

    After students alerted them, school staff responded to the area and stood by the handgun until police officers arrived.

    No one was injured, police said, and officers are investigating.

    Anyone with information should to call the Bristol Police Department at 860-584-3000.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Bristol police are investigating after a gun was found outside South Side School on Wednesday.Bristol police are investigating after a gun was found outside South Side School on Wednesday.

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    The words used to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a Senate debate Tuesday evening have become a rallying cry on social media for her supporters.

    #ShePersists, #LetLizSpeak and Silencing Elizabeth Warren were trending on Twitter Wednesday with tens of thousands of tweets in the wake of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling Warren she couldn't quote a letter penned by a civil rights leader to criticize attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, citing an arcane rule that senators cannot indict or shame another sitting senator.

    “Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech,” McConnell said in a statement. “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

    Twitter users responded fiercely, using the end of McConnell's statement to point out women who have defiantly refused to be silent, including Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.

    Senate Republicans shut down Warren's testimony during her dissent of Sen. Jeff Sessions' confirmation. Warren read a 1986 letter written by Coretta Scott King that criticized Session’s position on civil right while he was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. 

    It says Sessions exercised his power to “chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district.” Sessions' nomination to lead the Justice Department has been met with outcry from many Senate Democrats over his record on civil rights.

    McConnell objected to her speech as a violation Senate Rule 19, which says that "no senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator." The senate voted along party lines, 49-43, to admonish the rest of Warren’s testimony.

    After Republicans stopped Warren from reading the letter, she recorded a Facebook live video of herself reading the letter in its entirety.

    And other Democratic senators were subsequently able to read King's letter in full without being censured. It was not immediately clear why they weren't rubuked along the same lines. 



    Photo Credit: AP
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellSenator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

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    The Department of Motor Vehicles has canceled road tests for Thursday anticipation of storm conditions, the agency announced Wednesday.

    The NBC Connecticut meteorologists have issued a First Alert for Thursday with between 6 to 12 inches of snow expected to fall across the state.

    The DMV is reaching out to anyone with a scheduled test. To reschedule, customers can contact the DMV at 860-263-5700 for the Hartford area and 800-842-8222 for the rest of the state.

    DMV officials also reminded drivers to keep vehicles clear of snow or face fines. Snow or ice can fly off vehicles and cause property damage and accidents.


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    This is Gov. Dannel Malloy’s full budget address, as prepared.

    Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, distinguished members of the General Assembly, thank you for inviting me once again into the people’s house to address you. 

    I want to recognize and thank my trusted friend and advisor, the best Lt. Governor in the United States, Nancy Wyman. 

    I'd like to thank my wife Cathy and my son Dannel for being here today, and for their love and support. 

    And as always, let us thank and honor the brave men and women of Connecticut serving in our Armed Forces around the globe. 

    INTRODUCTION 

    One of the basic principles of our country is that if you’re willing to work hard, you should have the opportunity to succeed. You should be able to buy a house, afford health care, or send your children to college. 

    It’s a fundamental promise that has come to be known as the American Dream. It’s why people from around the world – the huddled masses yearning to breathe free – brave the journey in the hope of a better life here in America. 

    At all levels of government, so much of what we do is really about delivering on that fundamental promise. While we can disagree strongly on policy or politics, we collectively judge ourselves by how many of our constituents have the opportunity for success. 

    That concept – the opportunity for success – is what I want to talk to you about today. But not just the opportunity for individual state residents. Rather, I want to speak about the opportunity that we provide to our towns and cities as well, so that they also can succeed. 

    The truth is that, for too long, we’ve allowed certain communities to be disproportionately impacted by the state’s fiscal challenges. While we’ve made advancements in recent years to address this inequity, I don’t believe that we’ve gone far enough. 

    Disparities have persisted and grown over the years, creating large pockets of concentrated poverty where communities sometimes sacrifice education for services – or services for education – or both. 

    It’s a vicious cycle that began decades ago, one that hinders poorer, urban communities, leaving them with the highest tax burdens, troubled educational systems, and substantially fewer city services… causing them to be even poorer still. In turn, suburban towns feel as though they’re shouldering too much of the burden of neighboring cities. And all the while, rural communities feel forgotten altogether. 

    The result is a broken, disparate system where towns are pitted against one another, constantly fighting for limited state dollars. 

    As towns have been forced into this race to the bottom, their state government has yet to build the kind of world-class education system necessary for growing a new generation of workers. We’ve yet to build a modern transportation system that efficiently moves people or products from place to place. And we’ve yet to build enough thriving, vibrant city centers – with lower tax rates – where industry and businesses want to grow. 

    The truth is, other states have had the foresight to make necessary investments in these areas, and as a result they’ve gained a competitive advantage on us. 

    But it’s not too late. 

    The opportunity is before us to turn the tide this year so that we can compete nationally and internationally in our own right.

    To do it, we’ll need to continue building a better, fairer system for supporting town services and local schools. We’ll need to continue investing in a modern transportation infrastructure that meets the needs of both our residents and our businesses. And we’ll need to continue growing vibrant city centers – communities that are more than just great places to work, but also great places to live and raise a family.

    This biennium budget lays the foundation for that kind of progress. Progress that doesn’t just help our big cities, but that bolsters all of Connecticut.

    We are a small state, and our towns are interconnected.

    Growth in Hartford means growth in Bloomfield and Windsor.

    More jobs in Waterbury means more jobs in Cheshire and Beacon Falls.

    A more vibrant New London means a more vibrant Ledyard and Montville.

    We can rise together; or we can fall together. We can lift one another up; or we can drag one another down. Our future depends on the decisions we make today.

    This session.

    This year.

    CONTINUED SAVINGS IN STATE GOVERNMENT

    The budget I present to you contains a total of $18 billion in General Fund spending.

    This keeps us within the spending cap and growing at a pace well below inflation. More importantly, it does it while making required increased contributions to our pension systems of more than $357 million in the first year.

    If we enact a budget that spends only the amount I’ve proposed, the result would be an eight-year period where Connecticut’s general fund budget grew an average of only two percent. That is substantially less than the rate of growth in the prior eight years. And unlike those prior eight years, we’re keeping spending in check while also fully-funding our pensions.

    This year, we can build on our record of fiscal responsibility. To do it, my plan contains $1.36 billion in new spending reductions. These cuts are not made lightly, and I know they will include things that people in this chamber strongly support. Let me assure you, they include things that I myself strongly support.

    But our economic reality demands that we re-envision state government. Together, we need to provide essential, core services and we need to find ways to do it at less cost to taxpayers.

    The truth is, we’re getting pretty good at doing exactly that. Last year, we cut $850 million in spending from the adopted budget. Those reductions were not easy. They are a credit to all of you who took a hard vote in support of our state’s fiscal health, and I thank you for that.

    This year, while you review my budget, it’s natural to focus on what we’re cutting back. But I encourage you to also recognize the many, many important things we preserve.

    For example, even as we cut spending, we are still putting millions of dollars toward helping Connecticut’s chronically unemployed get back to work and back on their feet.

    We’re still providing the necessary investment to match every single chronically homeless person to permanent housing—making Connecticut the first state in the nation to do it.

    We’re still funding new technology for law enforcement that will help keep crime at historic lows.

    We’re still fully funding our critical arts and tourism awards.

    We’re still redeveloping brownfields in every corner of this state, turning blighted properties into economic opportunities.

    We’re still committed to supporting people with intellectual disabilities – we do it with millions of dollars in new funding in my proposed budget.

    And finally, even as we cut back, we’re still going to keep Connecticut’s beautiful state parks open and available to all our constituents.

    We’re doing all these things, and so much more in this budget.

    Of course in order to preserve these core functions, we need to guarantee that spending remains in check.

    To that end, I am once again proposing a strong constitutional spending cap, and I hope you'll join me in making it a reality this year.

    PARTNERING WITH STATE EMPLOYEES

    Of course, as we continue to make reductions to state agencies, we also need to redefine the relationship between state government and state employees.

    As I said last month, my administration is engaged in productive conversations with state employee representatives. Those discussions can and will continue to play out in good faith, and I’m hopeful that we will reach a positive conclusion in the weeks ahead.

    At the same time, I have an obligation to submit a balanced budget to this General Assembly. It’s only appropriate that I reflect my goals for labor savings. To that end, to help close the $1.7 billion hole we face, the budget before you assumes approximately $700 million in state employee labor savings.

    The budget also details how these savings could be achieved should we fail to reach an agreement with our employees, because presenting a budget without planning for this contingency would be irresponsible.

    Now, while I will not betray the confidence of my administration’s conversations with labor thus far, I do want to say a few things about the potential for a new labor agreement.

    First, I want to once again acknowledge and commend our state employees for what they’ve already sacrificed to help balance our budget. And more importantly, I’d like to thank them for the hard work they put in each and every day serving the people of Connecticut.

    Public service is a calling, and an honorable one at that. I’m proud to be a staunch, lifelong advocate for the right to organize and the right to collectively bargain. I respect public employees, and it is my sincerest hope that asking for their partnership this year should not diminish the good work and real savings we’ve already achieved together.

    Here’s something else I want to recognize, and it’s something I would like everyone in this chamber to keep in mind in the coming weeks. State employees have an existing contract, one that was originally negotiated 20 years ago by a former governor – John Rowland.

    In other words, we are not starting from scratch when we revisit the SEBAC contract. While it is fair for us to ask for savings, it’s equally fair for our employees to also ask for changes as long as the end result is a more affordable and more sustainable labor agreement.

    Finally on this topic, let me say that I am very hopeful we can achieve a positive conclusion and meet the labor savings target laid out in my budget. It won’t be easy, and that’s fine. I think we’re up to the challenge.

    If we stay at the table, if we treat one another with respect, and if we recognize that we all want what’s best for our state, then we can – and will – get this done.

    A FAIRER SYSTEM FOR TOWN AID

    Here’s the final topic I want to discuss with you today.

    As I said to you from this podium last month, we cannot talk about more cuts in services, and we cannot talk about labor savings, without discussing town aid.

    At more than $5 billion, municipal aid accounts for our single largest state expenditure. And addressing town aid also means that we are addressing educational aid, which amounts to $4.1 billion – or 81 percent – of all municipal funding from the state.

    Here’s a simple truth I know you all agree with: education is economic development.

    A pipeline of skilled and prepared workers is essential for thriving industries and growing businesses.

    It’s why we value our state’s public education system. It’s why we’ve put so much effort into improving how our children are educated. And it’s why we’ve raised the bar for our students in recent years.

    And to be sure, they are rising to that challenge. Test scores are up, and graduation rates are at an all-time high.

    But the system for how state aid is delivered to their schools is still not where it needs to be. A recent court decision deemed our school funding formula to be irrational and unfair. I agree that we are not meeting our constitutional requirement of a fair and equitable public education system – one that guarantees every student the opportunity for success.

    Real reform must begin with our educational cost sharing formula, or ECS. I believe the updated ECS formula in my budget is more equitable, more transparent, and more fair.

    For the first time in more than a decade, the formula counts current enrollment. We will stop reimbursing communities for students that they no longer have. By recognizing shifting demographics in small towns and growing cities, state funding can change with time to reflect changing communities.

    The new formula also uses a more accurate measure of wealth by using the equalized net grand list as well as a better measure of student poverty, allowing the state to direct support to communities with higher concentrations of poverty.

    By considering a given communities’ ability to pay, we can adjust to what taxpayers can actually afford. Because let’s be honest – if a city has a mil rate over 40, not only is that city failing its residents, but Connecticut is failing that city.

    This proposed formula is fair and it is honest. It is predictable and it is sustainable. Let’s make it a reality together.

    Of course, you can’t talk about education funding without talking about Special Education.

    For the last quarter century, Connecticut has combined Special Education dollars into ECS. The result is that we’ve unfairly obscured the real cost of Special Education in our communities.

    It isn’t fair to local leaders trying to balance their budget, and it certainly isn’t fair to students with disabilities and their families.

    In my proposed budget, Special Education is now a separate formula grant from ECS, and Special Education funding is increased by $10 million.

    School systems will also be required to seek Medicaid reimbursement where available, ensuring that no community leaves federal dollars on the table.

    Of course, as we work to make ECS and Special Education funding more fair and more equitable, we also have to grapple with how we fund this new system.

    As I’ve already said today, part of the way we do it is by continuing to reduce spending in our state agencies and by working to find savings with state employees. Making those changes helps free up more dollars for town aid, but we need to do even more.

    There’s a very large portion of education aid that’s almost always left out of the conversation. I’m talking about how we pay for teacher pensions.

    This year, state government is set to pay $1.2 billion for a system that supports 86,000 active and retired teachers and administrators. So you see, when we talk about funding for education, we have to include the state contribution to teachers’ pensions as part of that conversation.

    Now I want to be very clear – the teachers’ retirement program is a sustainable, well-organized system, and hardworking teachers make a six percent contribution to it. I am not proposing that teachers’ benefits be limited or cut back.

    Teachers retirement pension system has always been funded without any contribution from towns or cities. My budget does not propose that we demolish that system or shift the entire costs to towns.

    But this year, as we continue making cuts to state services, and as we ask state employees to find saving, we need towns to begin sharing the cost of their employees’ pensions. After all, teachers are municipal employees. The state doesn’t pay the pensions of policemen, or firemen, or anyone else.

    As such, my budget asks our towns and cities – all of them – to contribute one-third of the cost toward their teacher pensions.

    It isn’t just about saving the state money, I believe this is sensible policy. After all, this funding is not distributed based on student need or relative town wealth. Rather, it’s based entirely on local decisions about how much towns decide to pay their local educators, and how many teachers and administrators they employ.

    Under my proposal, towns maintain that control but they do it with some skin in the game.

    Let me illustrate for you the disparity that this current system has created in communities across the state.

    In the current fiscal year, the state is spending $24 million to cover the pension costs of teachers and administrators in our most affluent municipality, Greenwich – a school district that enrolls 8,800 students.

    Compare that to the City of New Britain – a city with a higher concentration of poverty – which enrolls 10,000 students, where the state will provide only $18 million to cover pension costs for teachers.

    That’s 25 percent less funding for a system with 14 percent more students.

    I’m not blaming our wealthy towns for this inequity. It’s not their fault. We need to do a better job. We need to make the system more reasonable.

    And to do that, we need towns to partner with their state in fully-funding teachers’ and school administrators’ retirement benefits—not all of the cost, but part of it.

    My budget reflects this partnership – a re-envisioning of education funding to meet 21st century challenges.

    Now, I know that state assistance is not always about dollars and cents. Sometimes, we help the most when the state gets out of the way.

    For our towns to thrive, we must remove bureaucratic red tape that is not producing a discernable benefit for taxpayers.

    Last week, I proposed changes to do precisely that. My budget will give municipalities greater flexibility and additional tools for making local government leaner and more cost efficient.

    My proposals are designed to increase local control over budgets and contracts, keep down project costs, modernize out-of-date requirements, and remove unnecessary red tape.

    This session, if we are going to ask more from our towns, it’s only right that we also free them from unnecessary burdens.

    Of course, at the same time we are providing mandate relief, we can also increase transparency for how town aid is utilized.

    For communities that would receive additional state dollars in this budget, that support can only come with greater accountability for how taxpayer dollars are being spent – whether that be on education, city services or paying off long term debt.

    Directing state aid and oversight to those who need it the most ensures that the collective strength of a region – or a state, for that matter – is that much stronger. It is in our collective best interest that no town is brought to the brink of bankruptcy.

    Over the years, our state has had various iterations of state boards to oversee towns experiencing financial distress. My proposal this year builds upon lessons learned from these past experiences. It will create a Municipal Accountability Review Board, chaired by the State Treasurer and the Secretary of OPM.

    Ultimately, this board – empowered to review municipal finances – will oversee efforts to restore fiscal stability where warranted.

    Through this tiered accountability framework, we can intervene early to help struggling municipalities. And we can position the state to take action well before a city or town needs a bailout.

    Surely, our towns and cities will sometimes struggle. It is our responsibility to put these municipalities back on the path to fiscal health.

    We can take action to avoid fiscal crises and then remove these communities from enhanced state oversight when appropriate, and when they’re ready.

    Those are my ideas for changing town aid and for putting Connecticut on a path to addressing pockets of concentrated poverty in towns and cities across our state.

    The details of how we get there are in the budget that is now before you.

    As a former mayor, I know the view from town hall. There will be voices in some communities who want to know why their town should receive less funding, while others receive more. I know those voices will be well represented by each of you in this chamber.

    In answer, my budget leaves $75 million in year one and $85 million the following year in local aid unallocated.

    This is my way of saying to you – the legislature – that I am ready to negotiate. I am ready to hear your ideas on where that unallocated money is needed most.

    When we come together and constructively debate our different ideas, the end result is that much stronger.

    CONCLUSION

    You see, the fact is the wellbeing and quality of life of all our constituents is interconnected, regardless of party, region, or zip code.

    From the farmer to the factory worker… the nurse to the mechanic… the teacher to the actuary… all are impacted by the successes and failures of Connecticut as a whole.

    Unfortunately, far too many people feel as though the system is rigged against them and their communities. A history of shortsighted state government and a record of half-step policy fixes have left people believing that in order for one person or one community to gain, someone else has to lose.

    I reject that notion.

    Dignity, opportunity, prosperity – none of these are a zero sum game.

    We are all guaranteed access to these fundamental rights.

    This session, this year, we must reset the system for ensuring equal opportunity for success.

    We must guarantee that no community or family shoulders more burden than they can bear.

    We must keep our promise to our students and teachers.

    Together let’s ensure that all Connecticut communities see their fair share of success.

    Let’s give taxpayers, communities, and businesses more predictability and more sustainability.

    Let’s have the courage to collectively tackle the challenge of inequity in town aid.

    Let’s do it so that ten years from now, no Connecticut city or town needs to levy a mil rate of 35 or more.

    As we negotiate this budget, we should remember that we are in this together.

    It’s about more than just how my town or my community or my family did.

    It’s also about neighboring towns, neighboring communities, and neighboring families, as well.

    We will rise or fall together, as one Connecticut.

    And working together, I know we will prevail.

    Thank you. May God bless you, and may God bless the great State of Connecticut.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    File photoFile photo

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    Hartford police have arrested a man after they say he followed a couple that did not know him through the city to the police department and pulled a box cutter on officers when they tried to speak with him.

    Police said the incident started with a 911 call. The caller told police that a stranger in a red car was following her and her husband as they drove through the city and that they were scared for their safety.

    “He’s hitting the car and we have no idea who this guy is,” the caller can be heard saying in the 911 call.

    The dispatcher told the caller to drive to the Hartford Police Department to get to safety. The suspect vehicle followed the callers even when they pulled in to the police station parking lot, police said.

    When the suspicious vehicle arrived officers tried to speak to the driver, but he appeared to be under the influence of some kind of drug and refused to respond to them.

    According to police, when officers tried to get him out of the car he fought back and flashed a box cutter. Officers took the suspect into custody after a struggle. Three officers received minor injuries during the incident, police said.

    Police later determined that the car the suspect was driving was recently reported stolen.

    The suspect, identified as 42-year-old Troy Parkman of Hartford, was charged with carrying a dangerous weapon, third-degree larceny, tampering with a motor vehicle, breach of peace and assault on a police officer. He was held on a $125 bond.

    Hartford police said Parkman has 25 previous arrests and is a convicted felon with a history of PCP/hallucinogen charges. 



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

    Troy ParkmanTroy Parkman

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    Vice President Mike Pence once had his own quarrel with the court weighing the legality of President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order.

    The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing the Justice Department's move to reinstate Trump’s immigration order, which bars travelers and refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations. The order was blocked by a lower court last week.

    Trump has repeatedly criticized the entire federal court system after his order was blocked, saying Wednesday morning that “we are at risk” because of court’s action.

    But more than a decade ago, criticism of the courts — specifically the 9th Circuit — came from the deeply religious future vice president.

    Pence, then a Republican congressman from Indiana, made his Christian faith a central aspect of his political identity. America and religion are closely intertwined, he explained. And, in his view, federal courts like the 9th Circuit threatened to disrupt this tradition.

    He spoke about this on an Indiana radio show hosted by two self-described “evangelical Bible-thumpers” Chris Dickson and Ron Chappell, in 2003. 

    The topic: an attempt to remove Christmas as a federal holiday filed by a “secular” lawyer. 

    When asked about this by Chappell, Pence springboarded into criticism of the 9th Circuit.

    “People recognize how radically secular the 9th Circuit has become,” he said. “It was that court that recently ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance needed to be amended to remove the phrase ‘under God,’ I think we can expect more of these kind of strange cases.”

    The Pledge case was a popular issue for the religious right. In a 2004 Gallup poll, 91 percent of those surveyed responded that they wanted the words "in God" to remain in the Pledge. 

    Pence moved on to speak more broadly about the role of religion in government.

    “These are all designed to achieve the goal of eradicating any vestige of religion from our national life,” he said. “People have come to believe that the freedom of religion enshrined in the First Amendment is the freedom from religion. It is most certainly not that.”

    He talked about religious paintings that hang in the U.S. Capitol before circling back to the courts.

    “We’re headed into, I think, a continuing battle over the meaning of the First Amendment, freedom of religion,” he said. “It’s a battle that begins with who’s in the White House to appoint federal jurists because increasingly the courts have decided to preempt this area with their own judgment.”

    He concludes toward the end of the show: “We are a deeply religious people, whose public institutions presuppose a supreme being. That’s who we are as Americans.”

    NBC has reached out to the White House seeking comment.  



    Photo Credit: AP
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    File Photo—Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Congress Hall in Philadelphia on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, on the Constitution, role of the judiciary and the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch.File Photo—Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Congress Hall in Philadelphia on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, on the Constitution, role of the judiciary and the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

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    The mother of a young backpacker killed in an Australian hostel spoke out against President Donald Trump’s claim that her daughter was killed in a terror attack that was ignored by the media, NBC News reported.

    Rosie Ayliffe said terrorism was quickly ruled out in the the fatal stabbings of Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 20, and Tom Jackson, 30. However, it was included on a list of 78 attacks that the White House says were “executed or inspired by” Islamic fundamentalists. The list was released to defend Trump’s claim that the media “doesn’t want to report” such attacks.

    Ayliffe called the connection between her daughter’s death and Islamic fundamentalism a “myth.”

    In an open letter to Trump on Facebook, she wrote that the vilification of an entire religion is “a terrifying reminder of the horror that can ensue when we allow ourselves to be led by ignorant people into darkness and hatred.”



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this Jan. 26, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at the House and Senate GOP lawmakers at the annual policy retreat in Philadelphia. Trump has defended his recent travel ban by releasing a list of attacks that he claims were In this Jan. 26, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at the House and Senate GOP lawmakers at the annual policy retreat in Philadelphia. Trump has defended his recent travel ban by releasing a list of attacks that he claims were "executed or inspired by" Islamic fundamentalism.

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    The majority of Europeans would support a Trump-like travel ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries, according to a poll, NBC reported.

    About 55 percent of the 10,000 surveyed across 10 countries agree that immigration from predominantly Muslim countries should be halted. Chatham House, the London-based think tank that conducted the poll, called the findings “striking and sobering.”

    The poll comes after a string of terrorist attacks over the last 18 months that have caused tensions across Europe as countries decide how to manage their borders.

    Majorities in eight of the 10 countries supported a Trump-like ban, including Poland at 71 percent, Germany at 53 percent, United Kingdom at 47 percent and Spain at 41 percent.



    Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

    In this file photo, President Donald Trump listens as he is introduced during the National Prayer Breakfast, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in Washington.In this file photo, President Donald Trump listens as he is introduced during the National Prayer Breakfast, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in Washington.

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    The driver of a stolen vehicle being pursued by police caused a rollover accident in West Hartford Wednesday, according to West Hartford police.

    West Hartford police said around noon they were informed by Hartford police of a stolen vehicle that was fleeing officers in Hartford. The suspect had struck Hartford police cruisers and police were actively pursuing.

    According to police, while fleeing the suspect went though parts of West Hartford and caused a rollover accident at Fern Street and North Main Street. The driver of the victim vehicle was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said.

    The pursuit ended in Simsbury and at least one person is in custody, police said. No other information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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    Authorities were pursuing the driver of a white van, who stopped several times both on the freeway and on surface streets during the chase Wednesday morning, police said.

    The Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Division was pursuing the driver of the car, with a warrant for a man with a gun, said Officer Mike Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department.

    The pursuit started just after 10 a.m. at the intersection of Tujunga Avenue and Chandler Boulevard in North Hollywood, Lopez said. The man told police officers he had a gun before he got into the van. 

    Around 10:20 a.m., the driver stopped briefly on the 101 Freeway near Woodland Hills before driving away from officers once again.

    The pursuit continued on surface streets for a few minutes after the driver exited the freeway, but the driver got back on to the 101 Freeway shortly after.

    At one point, while the driver was stopped, he leaned out of the car door and made a lewd gesture toward authorities.

    As the chase moved into the Sherman Oaks area, the California Highway Patrol prepared to take over the pursuit from the Los Angeles Police Department around 10:40 a.m.

    Later, the driver of the van exited the freeway once again and the pursuit continued through the Van Nuys area at slower speeds.

    This is a developing story, please refresh for updates.



    Photo Credit: NewsChopper4
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    The driver of a white van led authorities on a pursuit into the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.The driver of a white van led authorities on a pursuit into the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.

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    New Milford police are searching for a man accused of sending a threatening letter against random citizens of the area, police said.

    Police said they have an arrest warrant for Sixto Guerra, 26, also known as Eliel Lemus, on charges of falsely reporting an incident and interfering with the duties of a police officer.

    According to police, Guerra mailed a letter threatening several targets in the area. Authorities took the threat seriously and reacted accordingly. Police allege that Guerra’s actions, though he did not go through whatever it claimed in the letter, cost businesses and taxpayers thousands of dollars.

    Guerra is known to frequent the Danbury and New York area and was last known to drive a tan 2003 Dodge Neon with New York plate GZM2451.

    The New Milford Police Department Anonymous TIPS line at 860-355-2000, or email/text to TIPS@newmilfordpolice.org.



    Photo Credit: New Milford Police Department

    Sixto Guerra AKA Eliel LemusSixto Guerra AKA Eliel Lemus

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    Classes at all UConn campuses have been canceled for Thursday because of the forecast for the storm tomorrow, which could bring up to a foot of snow to parts of the state. 

    Classes are canceled at Avery Point, Greater Hartford, School Of Law, Stamford, Storrs and Waterbury campuses. Non-essential employees should not report, but all other employees report as scheduled.

    For any activities or events scheduled for Thursday, apart from classes, contact the organizers.

    Several other closings are coming in to the system. See the full list. 

    If you have not signed up for school closing alerts, sign up for them here. 



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    File photoFile photo

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    An ATM skimming device was found at an ATM at a bank in Manchester, police said. 

    Manchester Police said they are investigating the device located at the United Bank on 341 Broad Street on Sunday. 

    The device was described as a green rubberized attachment that was installed over the regular card slot on the ATM machine, according to police. 

    Anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area of the United Bank’s ATM are asked to call police at (860) 645-5510.

    Police said several other banks in the state have experienced similiar situations and provided some safety tips for residents: 

     

    • Jiggle the Card Reader: If the card reader moves around when you try to jiggle it with your hand, something probably isn’t right. A real card reader should be attached to the ATM so well that it won’t move around — a skimmer overlaid over the card reader may move around.
    • Look at the ATM Machine: Take a quick look at the ATM machine. Does anything look a bit out-of-place? Perhaps the bottom panel is a different color from the rest of the machine because it’s a fake piece of plastic placed over the real bottom panel and the keypad. Perhaps there’s an odd-looking object that contains a camera.
    • Examine the Keypad: Does the keypad look a bit too thick, or different from how it usually looks if you’ve used the machine before? It may be an overlay over the real keypad.
    • Check for Cameras: Consider where an attacker might hide a camera — somewhere above the screen or keypad, or even in the brochure holder on the machine.


    Photo Credit: Manchester Police

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    Lay-Z-Boy is recalling about 2,500 lift chair power supplies due to a shock hazard.

    The Monrow, Michigan-based company says the chair’s power supply unit can crack and break, causing the cover to detach and exposing the power supply’s electrical components. When that happens, it poses a shock hazard to users. La-Z-Boy says it has not received any reports of injuries.

    The power supply enables the chair’s seat to lift a consumer from a seated into a standing position.

    The recall involves the power supplies sold with Gold Series electric Lift Chairs, the Clayton Luxury-Lift Model 1HL562 and Power Lift Model 1ML562, and Luxury-Lift Models 1LF505 and 1LF819. They were also part of conversion kits for older lift chairs with Models 1LL320, 1LL508, 1LL515, 1LM320, 1LM508 and 1LM515.

    The power supply casing is a black, plastic rectangular box measuring approximately 6 inches by 3 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. Only power supplies with LOT #150113 are included in this recall. The model name, model number and lot number are printed on the back of the power supply.

    The chairs were sold at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries and third party furniture stores nationwide, and online at la-z-boy.com from September 2015 through November 2016 for between $1,900 and $2,800. The power supplies were also sold separately for about $170 and provided free under warranty as replacements for use with previously-purchased chairs.

    The furniture company said consumers should immediately stop using the power supplies to power the lift chairs and contact La-Z-Boy for a free replacement power supply. Customers can call La-Z-Boy toll-free at 855-592-9087 from 9 a.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.


    (Clockwise from Left to Right) Model 1HL562 and Model 1ML562, Gold Series Lift Chair, Power supply with cover attached, Power supply connected to lift chair, Power supply showing affected lot number 150113, Example of broken screw receptacles from power supply cover.(Clockwise from Left to Right) Model 1HL562 and Model 1ML562, Gold Series Lift Chair, Power supply with cover attached, Power supply connected to lift chair, Power supply showing affected lot number 150113, Example of broken screw receptacles from power supply cover.

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    A man with children in his car led police on a pursuit on I-91 from Hartford to Windsor. 

    Police tried initiate a motor vehicle stop on Jennings Road in Hartford when the driver, Ordell Dontae Williams, began evading officers on Tuesday, Connecticut State Police (CSP) said. 

    Williams drove less than a mile onto I-91 southbound when police ended the pursuit briefly because of excessive speeds, according to CSP. 

    The 19-year-old driver then got onto I-91 northbound and drove off exit 35 in Windsor before cashing into a illumination pole, CSP said. 

    Police saw the crash happen and said there was a woman and two children in the car. 

    Williams is charged with two counts of risk of injury to a child, reckless endangerment, failure to drive in the proper lane, engaging police in pursuit and other related traffic charges. 

    His bond was set at $25,000. 



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

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    President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court has called the president's recent criticism of the judiciary "disheartening" and "demoralizing," a spokesman for the nomination confirmation team told NBC News on Wednesday.

    On Twitter and in a speech Wednesday, Trump criticized judges involved in a legal fight over his immigration travel executive order, which suspended entry to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim nations and temporarily halted the entry by refugees.

    Trump called the federal judge in Seattle who blocked the order last week a "so-called judge."

    The president in an earlier tweet Wednesday had already blamed "politics" in the event the judges don't rule in his favor.



    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

    President Donald Trump shakes hands with Judge Neil Gorsuch in East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, as he announces Grouch as his nominee for the Supreme Court.President Donald Trump shakes hands with Judge Neil Gorsuch in East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, as he announces Grouch as his nominee for the Supreme Court.

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    Jeff Bauman was waiting for Erin Hurley at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013 when the explosion went off. Bauman lost both of his legs in the bombing, but he managed to help the authorities identify the suspect responsible.

    Bauman and Hurley were engaged almost one year after the incident and his inspiring story became the center of an upcoming Jake Gyllenhaal film called "Stronger."

    But the filmmakers didn't foresee what would be a bitter end to Bauman and Hurley's journey together. 

    A Bauman family spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter "Jeff and Erin have decided that it is best to move forward as friends," announcing the couple's divorce.

    "Though their relationship has changed, their admiration, love and mutual respect for each other will never waver. They are dedicated to loving and parenting their daughter, Nora, and ask for privacy."

    "Stronger" stars Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman and Tatiana Maslany as Erin Hurley. It is expected to be released later this year.



    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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    Jeff Bauman poses with Erin Hurley inside their home in Carlisle, Mass., March 14, 2014.Jeff Bauman poses with Erin Hurley inside their home in Carlisle, Mass., March 14, 2014.

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    Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget vision for the next two years is aimed at severely cutting back on overall spending, while transforming existing union deals, and the way the state funds city and town schools.

    "My budget reflects this partnership - a reenvisioning of education to meet 21st century challenges," Malloy said during a joint session of the Connecticut House and Senate.

    He proposed transferring $407 million of teacher pension obligations from the state to cities and towns. He says it's past due that cities and towns take on the responsibility for teacher pensions, since municipalities negotiate the benefits, while the state covers the entire tab.

    “After all, teachers are municipal employees," Gov. Malloy said. "The state doesn’t pay the pensions of policemen, or firemen, or anyone else."

    Republicans met that proposal with quick criticism, and said if cities and towns choose to raise taxes to cover such a bill, the political fallout would land in the governor's lap.

    “The governor has guaranteed that property taxes will go up," said Rep. Themis Klarides, the Republican Leader in the Connecticut House.

    In addition, the governor wants to allocate less education funds to wealthier towns, and send that cash to poorer cities and towns, saying such a plan would meet a constitutional and equitable standard.

    "From where I sit, I agree with that," said Sen. Martin Looney, the top member of the Connecticut Senate.

    The budget proposal, designed for the next two fiscal years, allots for more than $18 billion in overall spending each year, but it also depends on steep concessions from labor unions.

    The governor banks on more than $700 million in annual concessions from the state's bargaining coalition of organized labor. If not, the governor said the state would have to layoff 4,200 workers over the next two years. Such layoffs would equal about ten percent of the entire state employee workforce.

    Rep. Joe Aresimowicz in hist first term as Speaker of the House, said such layoffs would be unacceptable in any other setting.

    "If they were a private company and were saying, ‘hey, we’re going to lay off 4,200 workers,’ we’d all be bending over backwards to come up with something for those workers.”

    On the proposed concessions, Lori Pelletier with the AFL-CIO, said the state has to look in new directions for revenue. "They need to look at wealthier individuals and corporations, and all tax expenditures."

    The budget proposal from Malloy, is just that, a proposal. Aresimowicz said taxpayers need to remember the budget always looks different months after the governor provides the first draft.

    Aresimowicz said, “I’m a football coach. It’s the first quarter. We’ve all agreed what the game looks like and over the next few weeks we’ll start negotiating it out and see what we can come up with.”



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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