Despite pressure from one of the teacher unions, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey announced Friday that there wasn’t enough support to override any of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s nine vetoes.
“The general consensus among our members, and in light of some of the governor’s concerns, is that these issues would be best re-looked at during the next regular session, therefore we will not be scheduling any override votes,” Sharkey said in a statement.
A spokesman for the Senate Democratic caucus said based on feedback from their members they also agreed not to attempt to override any of the governor’s vetoes.
The Connecticut Education Association had encouraged lawmakers to override the veto of a bill that outlined qualifications for Education Commissioner.
The bill, which specified that education commissioners must have at least five years’ experience as a teacher and three years as an administrator, passed the House 138-5 and got unanimous support in the Senate before being squelched by Gov. Malloy.
Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association, said Friday that “Educators across the state are shaking their heads in disbelief today wondering why legislators who overwhelmingly passed HB 6977, An Act Establishing Qualifications for the Commissioner of Education, have today decided against an override of the governor’s veto.”
He said state law requires high standards of other commissioners, including the Correction Commissioner. He said the Correction Commissioner who oversees prisoners is required to have specific industry experience, “while the state’s education chief, who safeguards our most precious resource, our children, is not required to have education experience.”
Waxenberg said it’s an issue they will revisit during the next legislative session.
It would be rare for Democratic lawmakers to override a Democratic governor. Lawmakers have declined to override any of Malloy’s vetoes since he took office in 2011.
The General Assembly has overridden previous governors. It overrode 15 bills during former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s tenure and 17 bills during former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker’s tenure, according to historical records.
“We look forward to working with the legislature to move Connecticut into the future and make even more progress for residents during the next one,” Devon Puglia, Malloy’s spokesman, said Friday.
But House and Senate Republicans said it shouldn’t only be up to the majority party to make the decision about legislation that received near unanimous support.
“Failing to challenge the governor on his vetoes is putting politics before policy,” Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, said in a statement.
“Simply accepting the governor’s vetoes is failing to represent and protect our constituents. We have a constitutional duty to the public to reassess these bills,” the two added.
They said all the House and Senate Republicans would be in attendance for Monday’s constitutionally mandated session.
“To gavel in and out without any reconsideration and without hearing input from all lawmakers violates our constitutional duty and therefore our obligations as elected representatives,” Fasano and Klarides said.