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Connecticut, Fresh Off Paid Sick Days, Set to Decriminalize Marijuana


 The Connecticut state legislature just passed paid sick days. They've passed a tax increase and protections for transgender people. Is Connecticut the lone bright spot in a year dominated by aggressive conservative politics--and what can we learn from Connecticut's progressives?

In the latest step by the Democratic-controlled legislature, a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana has passed and is heading to Governor Dannel Malloy to sign. A statement from Malloy told read, in part: 

"Final approval of this legislation accepts the reality that the current law does more harm than good - both in the impact it has on people's lives and the burden it places on police, prosecutors and probation officers of the criminal justice system.''

Even the New York Times took note today of Connecticut's recent record: 

 As legislators wrap up the first session in 20 years with a Democratic governor, who is working with two chambers in the Legislature under Democratic control, it is clear that either they did not receive or they decided to tear up the antitax, budget-slashing, confront-the-unions script that has characterized state legislative sessions elsewhere.         

So how did Connecticut avoid the conservative wave that has so dominated state politics this year? Back in April, after a rally in support of public workers, Yale graduate student and organizer Stephanie Greenlea told AlterNet that progressives in Connecticut are organized and working in solidarity across a broad range of issues. Connecticut went Democratic as New Jersey went Republican and New York saw a Democratic governor sweeping in many of the same austerity policies as the Republicans. 

As conservative governors and state legislatures face pushback from their constituents over austerity measures, it's worth a look at what's going right in Connecticut to see if there are strategies there that can be replicated elsewhere. 

AlterNet / By Sarah Jaffe

Posted at June 8, 2011, 6:48am