FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

HUSKY EXTENDED

Connecticut’s Department of Social Services says it is extending a popular health insurance program for children for another month.  The agency announced Friday it was able to continue the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as HUSKY B in Connecticut, through February 28 because Congress last week passed a continuing budget resolution. Notices will be sent next week.  Families were previously notified that HUSKY B would not cover their children’s medical services after January 31 because Congress had not yet authorized the funding.  It’s unclear when or if Congress will ultimately reauthorize the program.

MEDICARE ASSISTANCE

Connecticut lawmakers are planning to return to Hartford next week to restore funding to a program that helps tens of thousands of senior citizens cover Medicare-related expenses.  Members of the House of Representatives and Senate met today for brief, technical legislative sessions. The House is now scheduled to return Monday at 10 a.m. while the Senate expects to return sometime next week.  Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says the $54 million cut, included in the new bipartisan state budget, will be replenished by reductions to other parts of the budget. He says the plan hasn’t yet been finalized.

TRIBAL LAWSUIT

A judge has rejected a Native American tribe’s claim that Connecticut owes it more than $600 million for land the tribe says the state seized a century or more ago.  The judge in an 11-page decision released this week dismissed the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation’s claim that it owned the land.  The Superior Court judge’s ruling said: “To sue the state for taking your property, first you have to have some property.”  The judge allowed other claims in the lawsuit, including the tribe’s alleged ownership of certain mortgages, to continue.  The nation said in its lawsuit that the state seized 2,000 acres from a 2,400-acre reservation in western Connecticut between 1801 and 1918 without compensation.

DOG OWNER ARRESTED

Police say a Rhode Island man who kept 24 dogs outside in freezing temperatures has been arrested.  Authorities say 59-year-old Carlos Alves of Exeter is charged with mistreatment of animals and unnecessary cruelty to animals.  The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized 14 beagles, six Brittany spaniels and four Chihuahuas from Alves’ home on Dec. 22.  The group says it was called to the Exeter home after a contractor noticed the animals living in deplorable conditions. The group says the animals lacked adequate shelter in 28-degree temperatures, and the dogs had empty or frozen water bowls.