Democrats put controversial privatization rules on the governor’s plate. Will she be forced to eat them?
Legislative Democrats tacked privatization rules onto a massive budget implementer today, in effect daring the governor to veto a bill that had been laboriously negotiated.The administration had already agreed to broad privatization guidelines, Democrats claim, when both sides negotiated a clean contracting bill in the final days of session. But a drafting mistake kept the agreed-upon language out of the bill, according to state Senator Donald DeFronzo (D-New Britain). After the bill passed both chambers- and Dems noticed the omission- administration officials denied a deal had ever been in place (see We Had A Deal!, 6/24/05).Late last week, it appeared Democrats might attempt to reinsert the broad privatization language into the state’s transportation bonding package. Instead, Senate Democrats today added it to a budget implementer which had passed the state House last week. That meant the bill had to travel back downstairs to the House, forcing hours of debate as numerous House Republicans jumped up to question and criticize the legislation. The House voted 83-49 in favor of the broader rules.Governor M. Jodi Rell would now have to veto the entire implementer bill in order to kill the privatization rules. Such a move would cause massive political fallout, and would force a reopening of negotiations on the implementer which had been completed last week. The implementer contains a wide range of policy decisions, from endowment rates for the different university systems to a task force studying the effects of depleted uranium on military veterans.Asked whether he would advise the governor to kill the implementer, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Robert Genuario demurred.“That’s not a proper subject for discussion this evening,” he said. “She’ll look at the bill when it comes to her.”