Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell may have crushed Democratic challenger John DeStefano on Tuesday, but the Democrats gained enough seats to hold a two-thirds veto majority in the General Assembly. Senate President Donald Williams said the veto majority gives the Democrats the ability to push issues such as access to health care and state contracting reform.
DeStefano and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, his Democratic primary opponent, both estimated universal health care will cost the state about $350 million. Williams said Wednesday that “we don’t have a price tag, but we will come the beginning of the session.” He said a comprehensive bill that improves both access to, and the quality of health care is in the works. Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said ultimately there needs to national plan to deal with the issue, but like so many issues the states have become laboratories for democracy. Click here to see their press release on the issue. The second issue the Democrats will push when the session starts in January is a fourth version of their state contracting reform bill. Rell vetoed three versions last year. “Clearly there is a need for contract reform,” Looney said, citing the I-84 debacle as an example of why it’s so sorely needed. And despite Rell’s disapproval of the bill’s accountability for private contractors, “the experts have maintained the privatization piece is an essential component of that bill,” Looney said.Williams said his caucus would look to work with Rell on this and other issues. “We’ll be reaching out to the governor and seeing where we can find some common ground,” he said.“We don’t have a fourth draft of the contracting bill,” he added.