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November 21, 2019

Politics

Two were hospitalized with breathing problems after vaping, state health officials said.
Attorney General William Tong
Chris Setaro, Democratic candidate for Danbury mayor
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy

Around The Towns: Green Cards, Vaping Hazards, Rising Taxes, Gun Safety, Barred From The USSR

Connecticut officials estimate that as many as 200,000 residents, including tens of thousands of children on a public health care program, could be impacted by sweeping Trump Administration changes that would deny green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps and other public assistance.

“We’re talking about the core of Connecticut’s economy and the core working people of this state that power this economy here in Connecticut,” Attorney General William Tong said during a news conference. “And this is an attack on all of them and their ability to make it work for themselves and their families and their communities.”

Set to take effect in October, the rule change announced by President Donald Trump’s administration is billed as a way to keep only self-sufficient immigrants in the country.

Tong, other state officials and advocates predict the planned changes will lead to more expensive emergency room visits, increased demand at food pantries and a decline in children enrolled in Connecticut’s HUSKY health insurance program, ultimately having “profound implications for the state."

Health Consequences of Vaping

State health officials say two Connecticut residents were hospitalized with severe respiratory symptoms linked to vaping and e-cigarette use.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health said both patients admitted to vaping and using e-cigarettes with marijuana and nicotine. Their symptoms included shortness of breath, fever, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea.

Health officials said the symptoms are similar to a common infection, but can lead to severe complications requiring extended hospital stays.

Property Taxes Continue Rising

Not surprising. 

A new analysis by the the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities shows nearly 60 percent of the state's villages and towns increased property tax rates for the new fiscal year.

The report released on Aug. 26 found that local taxes on real property, such as homes and vehicles, now total more than $11 billion. That’s an increase of at least $500 million since 2017.

That figure exceeds the state’s largest revenue source, the personal income tax, which collected nearly $10.8 billion in 2018, according to the association's report.

The per capital property tax burden in Connecticut is now $2,847 -- the third highest in the United States.

Danbury Challenger Demands Gun Safety Action

Chris Setaro, Democratic candidate for mayor of Danbury, stated his strong support for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ demand for action on national gun safety legislation and the implementation of universal background checks.  

 Setaro called on Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, to sign this letter sent by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, of which he is a member, calling on Congress to act immediately on gun safety legislation.

Setaro said, "Connecticut is a leader on gun safety legislation, and our laws are models for the nation that Congress should adopt. It hasn't. With the United States plagued by mass shootings, more and more of which are based on extreme hate, this is no time for leaders to be silent.

"We have more guns than people, and we far outpace the world in gun violence. Gun laws work, because states like Connecticut with the strongest gun laws have fewer acts of gun violence," Setaro said. "Every mayor should sign this letter and send a strong signal that we need federal action now."

U.S. Senator Denied Russian Visa

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said this week that the Russian government denied him a visa to enter its country.

The Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he had hoped to be part of an upcoming bipartisan congressional delegation visit.

The senator from Connecticut has described himself as a tough critic of Russia.