Obamacare deadline, and CT’s political season starts in earnest

Week of March 23 - March 29

The CT Mirror

Week of March 23 - March 29

As Connecticut’s Obamacare deadline looms, 3,000 to 4,000 people have rushed daily this week to sign up for insurance through Connecticut’s health exchange, health writer Arielle Levin Becker reported. Monday at midnight is the last chance residents have to enroll in a private insurance plan for 2014 (those who qualify for Medicaid may sign up at any time).

One quasi-frenzy ends, and the political uber-frenzy begins. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman made it official Friday that they will ask voters for another four years to run the state.

Not that anyone, especially of the Republican ilk, has been sitting idle. Behind-the-scenes positioning has been going on, in some cases, for years, with six Republicans, at this point, jockeying to oppose Malloy in the fall.

We ran a fascinating story Friday morning about one — Tom Foley, the Greenwich millionaire who lost by a few thousand votes to Malloy in 2010.  Capitol Bureau Chief Mark Pazniokas wrote of the “tangle of shared donors, consultants and a prominent Washington, D.C., law firm” connecting Foley to two independent expenditure groups, or PACs. This could present problems with campaign finance laws, an official with the watchdog Common Cause said, if these groups were to coordinate activity with the Foley campaign.

Meanwhile, the governor’s bill-signing of a measure raising the minimum wage was timed for the evening TV news. Ted Kennedy Jr., a Branford resident, is considering a run for a state Senate seat. And the state Democratic Party raised more than $130,000 just last month.

Yes, the season is here.

With five weeks left in the 2014 legislative session, committees are working overtime to craft a budget. This process has been complicated a bit, reporter Keith Phaneuf reported, because the budget the governor proposed in February was never balanced.

(By the way, for a quick way to see the latest on what measures the Appropriations Committee has proposed– check our handy Budget Cheat Sheet here.)

Education writer Jacqueline Rabe Thomas wrote several stories this week about UConn raising tuition next year, and about who’s getting financial aid at the state’s flagship university.

And Washington reporter Ana Radelat learned Friday that the effort to make Coltsville in Hartford a national park is moving ahead. Also see her compelling story about the challenges Latinos in Connecticut – and nationally — are facing enrolling in Obamacare.

Enjoy your weekend, and see you next week…

Jenifer Frank

Mirror Editor

 

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