Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed two bills Wednesday, including one which would have asked four lawmakers to serve on the state’s Sentencing Commission.
The bill would have added the co-chairs and ranking members of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee to the Sentencing Commission, a 23-member group that evaluates the state’s criminal sentencing laws and makes recommendations to the governor and the legislature.
During the group’s most recent meeting retired Supreme Court Justice David Borden called the legislation “one of the most important bills that [the commission] got through.” He said he expected the participation of the Judiciary Committee’s leaders beginning next year to make a big difference for the success of the commission’s recommendations in the future.
“That will give us a kind of door into the legislature with people who will have an investment in the recommendations of the commission, which has always been a real good factor in getting legislation passed,” he said.
In the recently-concluded legislative session, a bill the commission recommended involving the sentencing of juvenile offenders failed to pass through the Senate when one of the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republicans, Sen. John Kissel, signaled he had concerns about the legislation.
In his veto message on the expanded commission, Malloy said that adding lawmakers to the group would be inappropriate. He said that statute defines the commission as a criminal justice agency, which is different than most commissions and task forces.
“As such it would be inappropriate for legislators to sit on the commission as full voting members. While I applaud the proponents’ intention to familiarize the chairpersons and ranking members with the work of the commission, this objective can be accomplished through regular meetings,” he said.
The governor vetoed another bill Wednesday, which would have changed how bail bonds are administered and how the state regulates bail bond agents. Malloy objected to a provision which would have negated the bail consequences of skipping a court appearance, so long as the accused appeared in court within six months.
Malloy, a former prosecutor, said the legislation would render required court dates in bail bonds “effectively meaningless.”
“This would undermine the efficient functioning of Connecticut’s bail bond system and compromise the state’s ability to assure that those facing criminal charges appear in court,” he said.
So far, Malloy has signed 251 bills passed during this year’s legislative session. He has now vetoed a total of four bills. The first bill he rejected would have required the state to create standards and regulations for foam insulation installers. Another bill he vetoed would have allowed some municipal retirees to continue collecting pension benefits if they returned to work for a municipality.