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Sound Bites: Connecticut considers a Green Amendment

A comprehensive study of air pollution in the U.S. finds it still kills thousands a year, and disproportionately affects poor people and minorities.
Robert Nickelsberg
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Connecticut legislators introduced a Green Amendment to change the state Constitution.

Good morning! Access to clean air, healthy environments and stable ecosystems: Connecticut legislators introduced a Green Amendment to change the state Constitution.

This amendment would give residents the right to sue the government for poor environmental conditions — and not for what other people do on their personal property. New York’s Green Amendment went into effect in January 2022. Voters in Connecticut could see a question on the ballot in November 2024, at the earliest. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing: 

A rally in Oyster Bay opposed New York’s plan to institute a MTA Mobility Payroll Tax Hike. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is hoping to raise $800 million with the tax. The plan would also cut some eastbound rail services from Oyster Bay. On Monday, Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino called for the state to restore Long Island Rail Road service to help commuters already struggling with train schedule changes to Grand Central Madison.

Greenwich will begin oiling Canadian goose eggs in order to control their increasing population. The town conservation department coats eggs in corn oil to prevent them from hatching. Ponds and rivers near Greenwich saw an increase in disease and a decrease in water quality because of the geese.

Human remains were found in Smith Point County Park in Shirley, Long Island on Monday. The remains were discovered by a woman walking on the beach, when she notified authorities of what appeared to be a human bone. Suffolk County Police recovered the remains and are investigating.

Connecticut's Housing Committee shelved a proposal that would limit how much landlords can increase their rent each year. The committee will instead study the impact of the proposed 4% cap to rent increases before reintroducing the measure next year. Rent costs have increased steadily since the COVID-19 pandemic, causing homelessness in the state to increase by 13% in 2022.

Angela Pollina testified at a Suffolk County court on Tuesday in the murder trial of her fiancé's eight-year-old son, Thomas Valva. Pollina was charged with second-degree murder for forcing Valva to sleep in an unheated garage. Valva died of hypothermia in January 2020. Pollina’s fiancé, ex-NYPD officer Michael Valva, was already convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Shelton residents want the city to deny the proposal to construct a 40-unit rental apartment complex near a landfill on Mohawk Drive. Close to 600 residents signed a petition requesting the apartment project to be canceled. They are concerned of the environmental and health impacts of methane gas coming from the landfill.

New York Republicans have endorsed Segal M. Blakeman, the wife of Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, to become a Family Court judge. She practices law with Stone Studin Young & Nigro Law Group in Woodbury, but also served as principal law clerk for three years at the Matrimonial Center. New York Democrats nominated Eric Milgrim as their choice for Family Court judge.

A former University of Connecticut professor has won a $1.4 million lawsuit against the school for wrongful termination in 2019. UConn had falsely accused liver disease researcher Li Wang of not disclosing financial connections with Wenzhou Medical University and National Natural Science Foundation of China. In 2021, the American Arbitration Association recommended UConn to reinstate her job.

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta was removed from his position on the Public Safety Committee. County Legislative Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey said he made the decision after calls for Trotta to resign from the committee after disputing with the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association over political campaign donations and secretly recording a meeting with Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.

UConn’s women basketball team won the Big East Tournament championship against Villanova, 67- 56. Aaliyah Edwards led UConn with 19 points scored and 15 rebounds during Monday night’s game. This match marks the 21st Big East Tournament championship win for UConn’s women’s basketball.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.