HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's budget problems have worsened once again.
New state revenue estimates, revealed Friday evening by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget director, show the current fiscal year is projected to end June 30 about $256 million in deficit. That's up from a $141.4 million estimate released just last week.
Meanwhile, the projected budget deficit for next fiscal year, which legislators and Malloy are struggling to fix before Wednesday's legislative adjournment deadline, has grown to $960 million, up from $922 million. In January, the deficit for 2016-17 was projected to be $570 million, but income tax and other revenue collections have steadily worsened.
Ben Barnes, Malloy's budget director, said the new figures mean the fixing the deficit "got a little harder."
The new revenue projections were agreed upon by the governor's and legislature's budget offices.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Those who attach weapons to drones in Connecticut could soon face a serious criminal penalty.
A wide-ranging bill that cleared the House of Representatives on a 131-14 vote Friday creates a new class C felony for using weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
A similar proposal died last year due to inaction. The debate was reignited this year after a college student in Clinton posted videos online of a drone-mounted handgun firing rounds into the woods and a flying flamethrower lighting up a spit-roasting Thanksgiving turkey.
The bill, which now awaits Senate action, also creates a new crime for launching or landing a drone near a correctional facility. The bill also allows law enforcement to use drones in certain circumstances.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Malloy administration says changes in Connecticut's drug laws have cut in half the number of people in jail awaiting trial for simple drug possession.
The state Office of Policy and Management says there were 83 people in pre-trial detention Wednesday on drug possession charges in Connecticut, down from 166 in October.
Mike Lawlor, the state's undersecretary for criminal justice policy, says that's because bails have been much lower since the crime was reclassified on Oct. 1 from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Lawlor says the idea is that people arrested for possession need treatment, not prison.
Those still in prison after being sentenced for possession also is down, from 341 in October to 277. Lawlor says most of those were sentenced for crimes committed before the law changed.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut is moving closer toward requiring public and private colleges and universities in the state to adopt clear policies regarding student consent to sexual activity.
The House of Representatives on Thursday voted 138-7 in favor of legislation requiring affirmed consent to be the standard in determining whether someone has agreed to sexual activity. Affirmed consent is described as an "active, clear and voluntary agreement by a person," or "yes, means yes," according to the bill's proponents.
Under the bill, this affirmative consent can be revoked at any time during the sexual activity.
Rep. Gregg Haddad, a Democrat from Mansfield, says most colleges and universities in the state already have similar policies, but he says it's important that all schools adopt the same standard.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A 64-year-old Bridgeport man is facing a sentence of more than 50 years in prison after being convicted of repeated sexual assaults on his young granddaughter.
The Connecticut Post reports a six-member jury found Joseph Burroughs guilty of first-degree sexual assault, third-degree sexual assault and four counts of risk of injury to a minor on Thursday.
The victim, now 9 years old, testified during the three-day trial that Burroughs sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions beginning when she was 5 years old.
Senior Assistant State's Attorney Ann Lawlor praised the jury for their hard work to "reach the appropriate verdict."
Burroughs spent five years in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter with a firearm in 1989.
MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) - A jury has cleared six Connecticut police officers of allegations that they conducted an illegal body cavity search on a man in 2011.
The federal civil rights suit was decided Thursday.
The suit filed in 2013 by Derrick Bryant, who had been held on drug charges. He alleged Meriden police performed a cavity search in a station holding cell without a warrant. Under state law, a warrant is required for police to search body cavities other than the mouth.
The officers maintained they never did a cavity search and simply removed drugs they found in Bryant's buttocks.
The officers' lawyer tells The Record Journal "fine officers who were publicly defamed have been vindicated."
Bryant's attorney says she's "dismayed" by the verdict but has not yet decided whether to appeal.
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) Police say four teachers at a Connecticut elementary school were hurt trying to control a rampaging 10-year-old student throwing tables and chairs inside a classroom.
Administrators at the Timothy Dwight School called police at about 1 p.m. Wednesday asking for assistance with a student who was having behavioral issues.
Police say one teacher had a bruised leg and was taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport. A second teacher was taken to a doctor by a friend before officers arrived on the scene.
Two teachers declined medical attention.
No students were hurt. The 10-year-old boy was released to his parents' custody.
School administrators did not comment.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut high school history teacher chosen as the National Teacher of the Year says she was surrounded by poverty, drugs and violence as a child but imagined other possibilities for her life with help from educators.
Jahana Hayes teaches at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury.
The honor by the Council of Chief State School Officers was announced Thursday. Hayes will be recognized by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on Tuesday.
The 44-year-old Hayes grew up in a Waterbury housing project and became a teenage mother while still in high school. She says the influence of her own teachers taught her that a school's job sometimes overlaps with the job of parents, and she wants her students to know there are no dead ends.
LEBANON, Conn. (AP) A fire at a Connecticut egg farm that killed an estimated 80,000 chickens was likely caused by an overheated electric motor.
Fire Marshal Scott Schuett said the official cause of the fire Tuesday at Kofkoff Egg Farms in Lebanon will likely remain undetermined, but it appears to have started in a motor that powers conveyor belts that move chicken waste, food, water and eggs in and out of the coops.
No people were reported injured in the blaze, which drew about 125 firefighters from 25 departments across the region.
Schuett says the blaze was limited to one of the farm's 13 roughly 32,000-square foot coops.
A blaze at the same farm 27 years ago to the day killed 216,000 chickens. That was also ruled an accident.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A 19-year-old man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the 2013 death of a 72-year-old man known as the ``Grandpa of Capitol Avenue'' in Bridgeport.
The Connecticut Post reports Qaavon Foster pleaded guilty Tuesday under the Alford Doctrine to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree robbery in the death of David Roman.
The Alford plea means that Foster doesn't agree with the state's evidence but he acknowledges there's enough to warrant a conviction.
Prosecutors say Foster, then 17, and another teen shoved Roman off his bicycle on Madison Avenue on Sept. 13, 2013. Roman struck his head on the pavement and was on life support for months before dying in August 2014.
Judge Robert Devlin said he would sentence Foster to serve 12 years in prison on June 17.
SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (AP) Connecticut State Police say a black bear was killed after it was struck along Interstate 84 in Southington.
The Record-Journal reports the bear was hit in the eastbound lanes of the roadway between Exit 32 and 33 on Tuesday, but no vehicle was found at the scene.
Troopers moved the bear to the shoulder so it wouldn't block traffic. Representatives from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were called in to remove it.
DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain says the male bear was estimated to be around 2 years old and weighed approximately 170 pounds. It wasn't tagged.
The bear's corpse was taken to a DEEP biologist for study.
A state Department of Transportation official said this type of accident is uncommon for the area.
LEBANON, Conn. (AP) - Thousands of chickens have died in a fire at a coop in Connecticut that belongs to a major egg producer.
The Hartford Courant reports at least 80,000 chickens were killed in the blaze Tuesday at Kofkoff Egg Farms in Lebanon.
No farm workers or firefighters were hurt.
The company has operations in Bozrah, Colchester, Franklin and Lebanon, and is the largest egg producer in New England.
More than 100 firefighters from towns in the eastern part of the state responded. Water tank crews shuttled water to help put out the flames.
The Courant reports the farm has millions of birds producing eggs, and a fire there in 1989 killed 216,000 chickens.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's highest court has ruled that lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers aren't prohibited by an exemption in liability law, bolstering the case of a smoker who got cancer and won a $28 million judgment against a tobacco company.
The decision was released Monday. The Connecticut Supreme Court was asked to decide the issue by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, which is considering R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s appeal of the award.
Norwich, Connecticut, resident Barbara Izzarelli sued the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based company in 1999 after surviving laryngeal cancer. She smoked the company's Salem Kings cigarettes for 25 years.
The lawsuit alleged R.J. Reynolds manipulated nicotine in cigarettes to get nonsmokers addicted and smokers to smoke more.
R.J. Reynolds argues such lawsuits are barred by state liability law.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Hartford's minor league baseball team is still dealing with problems at its new home.
Almost a month into the season, Eastern League President Joe McEacharn says he won't set an opening day until he knows the team's delayed and over-budget $65 million stadium is ready for play.
Recently, the league determined that the 317-foot distance from home plate to the right-field fence is too short.
Officials decided to solve that problem by putting a net above the fence, increasing the height needed to hit a home run from 12 feet to 25 feet.
Adding to the indignity, police are investigating an incident in which someone jumped from a car to push over a man dressed as Chompers, a Yard Goats mascot.
The team is an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
STORRS, Conn. (AP) The former pharmacy supervisor of the University of Connecticut's Student Health Services faces 173 charges for allegedly forging prescriptions and ordering items through the pharmacy for his personal use.
Michael Olzinski was charged last week and is free on $30,000 bond pending a May 2 court appearance. No defense lawyer was listed in online state records.
Police started investigating after an April 2015 internal audit found that many items ordered by the 46-year-old Olzinski were missing from inventory, including prescription drugs.
Police say the investigation revealed that Olzinski forged order logs and fraudulently filled prescriptions for his own use.
The audit and investigation found that Olzinski billed insurance companies for approximately $34,000 in phony prescriptions and cost UConn about $40,000 in missing items.
Olzinski retired in 2015.
TRUMBULL, Conn. (AP) - Fire officials say a structure housing a church and preschool in Trumbull appears to be a "significant loss" after it was severely damaged by a weekend blaze.
Firefighters were called to Blessed Lamb Preschool and Blessed Assurance Prayer Community on White Plains Road around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. No one was in the building at the time and no injuries were reported.
Crews from Trumbull and Monroe arrived to encounter heavy flames on the roof and rear of the building. They battled the blaze for just short of two hours before it was considered under control.
Fire officials say it appears that the blaze originated on the outside rear of the structure. The Trumbull Fire Marshall's office is investigating the fire's cause.
WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A 20-year-old Connecticut man is facing charges after authorities say he tweeted out a bomb threat during a Donald Trump rally Saturday.
Connecticut State Police say the U.S. Secret Service contacted them Saturday afternoon after they say Sean Morkys posted on Twitter, "Is someone going to bomb the trump rally or am I going to have to?"
Police say that tweet was followed by another warning a friend to have his family members leave the rally so they wouldn't get hurt.
The Republican presidential hopeful appeared in Bridgeport, Connecticut, yesterday.
Authorities tracked the tweets to a Waterbury home, where they found Morkys. After determining he didn't pose an immediate threat, he was taken into custody and released on $25,000 bond.
No one answered a phone call to the Waterbury home. Morkys hasn't responded to a separate request for comment.
STORRS, Conn. (AP) - The University of Connecticut's Torrington campus is headed to the chopping block.
The university's Board of Trustees is set to vote Wednesday in favor of a recommendation to close the satellite campus.
UConn President Susan Herbst has said the move is necessary because of $31 million in proposed state budget cuts and declining enrollment in Torrington. The branch has just 88 full-time students.
But the move is opposed by municipal leaders in northwestern Connecticut, who say the school is abandoning its students in that part of the state.
UConn says it will work to place current students in Torrington at the university's main campus in Storrs, its branch campus in Waterbury or at other state schools.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The presidential candidates are stepping up visits to Connecticut before Tuesday's primary.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign announced Friday the Democratic candidate will appear on the New Haven Green for a rally on Sunday with REM frontman Michael Stipe, and at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in Hartford for a rally on Monday.
Republican Donald Trump will return to the state Saturday for two rallies. The first will be held at Crosby High School in Waterbury. The second will be held at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport.
Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign said the former Secretary of State will campaign Saturday in New Haven and hold a public event on Sunday in Bridgeport. No further details were provided
GLASTONBURY, Conn. (AP) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich told Connecticut residents on Friday he's seeing signs some Republican presidential primary voters in states that already voted may have second thoughts about supporting front-runner Donald Trump and now want him to be to the party's nominee instead.
"These polls that show turnarounds and people having buyer's remorse are very interesting," Kasich told reporters following a town hall meeting at Glastonbury High School's gymnasium that drew more than 1,000 people.
He pointed to new polling that shows more New Hampshire primary voters now support him than support Trump, who won that state back in February.
Kasich urged the crowd to help him win some of the state's 28 delegates at Tuesday's primary so he can have greater standing at the national convention in July.
"No one is going to have enough delegates, and we're all going to learn about how we pick a president, and I think it will be very interesting," Kasich told the crowd. "Make sure that you get out and vote and allow me to win delegates in the district in which you live so I can go to the convention in a strong position."
Connecticut is one of five states holding presidential primaries on Tuesday. A Quinnipiac University Poll shows Kasich trailing Trump 48 percent to 28 percent, with 19 percent supporting Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Kasich receives more support from younger voters, 18- to 44-years-old, compared with Trump and Cruz. The poll's margin of sampling error is 3.4 percentage points.
State Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, chairman of Kasich's campaign in Connecticut, predicted the state could ultimately prove very helpful to his candidate, who has the backing of many of the state's top Republicans past and present.
"Connecticut for the first time in a long time will matter in the presidential primary," Hwang said. "I think if he doesn't win, he will make a strong showing and he will finish a strong second ahead of Cruz. And the reality is it will be an opportunity to get to the convention."
Hwang said Connecticut Republicans can relate to Kasich's record as governor of Ohio. He credited Kasich with protecting the state's social safety net while addressing a massive budget deficit. Connecticut's new fiscal year is projected to be nearly $1 billion in the red.
"He took over a state and in four years turned it around, crated jobs, balanced the budget as he has done in Congress," Hwang said. "This is not just a person who talks about what he's going to do, he has done it, and he has done it in a manner that the state of Connecticut - in its current fiscal crisis - can completely relate to."
Kasich's campaign is trying to capitalize on that message, announcing Friday it will run its first television ad in Connecticut touting his record as a governor and former member of Congress.
Friday night's town hall was the second Kasich has held in Connecticut. He relayed the story of his life and spoke about the need for the country to rally together to solve its problems. He made no mention of the shootings in rural Ohio that left eight members of a family dead. He later told reporters that if he's needed he will leave the campaign trail and return home.