Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed a bill Monday that would require any police department that hires an officer from another police department to reimburse the first department for the cost of training.
“I am sympathetic to towns’ legitimate interest in protecting their investment after paying for the cost of police officer training,” Malloy said in his veto message . “On the other hand, I am concerned that imposing a two-year limitation, as required by this bill, may unduly constrain police officers’ professional mobility. Further consideration is warranted to determine the appropriate balance between these competing interests.”
It was his eighth and final veto of the 2014 legislative session. To date, Malloy has signed 250 bills.
In the final round Monday, Malloy signed a bill that mandates Hepatitis C testing for Baby Boomers born between 1945 and 1965. The Centers for Disease Control determined that as many as 120,000 deaths could be prevented through screening of this population.
Dr. Joseph Lim, director of the Yale Viral Hepatitis Program, has said there’s a misconception that it’s only illicit drug users who contract the disease. Intravenous drug use is one way to get the virus, but some patients got it from transfusions before 1992, when blood wasn’t screened for the virus. Others got it from tattoos, and a majority of patients don’t know where they got it.
Dr. Robert Nardino, an internist with Northeast Medical Group in New Haven, doesn’t dispute the benefit of screening for Hepatitis C, but he objects to the creation of a mandate.
“Physicians object to the need to pass laws as a way to entice physicians to do certain procedures or tests,” Nardino said. “Is this the way that we’re going to approach health care now? By legislating it?”
Physician groups felt the bill was unnecessary and codifies a medical protocol and interferes with the physician-patient relationship.
Another bill Malloy signed Monday changes the State Education Resource Center (SERC) into a quasi-public agency. The structure of the organization came into question two years ago when state contractors were hired through the little known organization housed at Rensselaer in Hartford.
The bill maintains the overall goal of the organization, which is to help the state Education Department provide programs and activities that promote educational equity and excellence. Proponents of the bill say the new structure will allow for more fiscal transparency, but critics still have their doubts.
“Connecticut’s history of corrupt behavior at quasi-public entities, combined with the State Department of Education’s track record of abuse of SERC, is a disaster waiting to happen,” Tom Swan, executive director of Connecticut Citizens Action Group, testified in March.
Teacher unions also testified against the bill and called for assurances that contracts would be bid since 90 percent of SERC’s money comes from the state.
“Quasi-governmental agencies operate an arm’s length away from state government oversight and public transparency,” Ray Rossomando, research and policy analyst for the Connecticut Education Association, said in written testimony. “Consequently their operations have a spotted history in Connecticut.”
The new law seeks to end the practice of no-bid contracts with state money by creating a quasi-public agency. Earlier this month the state agreed to pay an education consultant $100,000 to settle a claim that it failed to pay it for services it provided through a contract with SERC.
Another bill Malloy signed Monday would require the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to notify a municipal chief executive officer when someone required to register as a sex offender is released into the community. He also signed a bill that was intended to curb something called the “knockout game,” or the practice of sucker-punching a stranger for entertainment.
The amended bill specifies that knocking someone unconscious in an unprovoked attack is considered a second-degree assault under Connecticut statute. In a strike-all amendment on the Senate floor, lawmakers removed controversial provisions from the bill that would have made those attacks carry a mandatory two-year sentence and required juvenile courts to transfer 16- and 17-year-olds accused of the crime to the adult criminal justice system.
In addition, Malloy signed the 319-page budget bill, which details how the money approved in the fiscal year 2015 budget is expected to be spent. The bill was passed in the last few minutes of the legislative session on May 7.