Over the past few weeks, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed 124 bills and vetoed six. He also used his constitutional authority Thursday to veto $22.5 million from the $19.76 billion state budget.
On Tuesday, he vetoed a bill that would have expanded the analysis state agencies would have to prepare before adopting regulations that affect small businesses. The bill had passed both the House and the Senate unanimously.
On Thursday, the first of two vetoes was a bill that would have expanded the power the Auditors of Public Accounts had over executive branch agencies and would have required agencies and quasi-public agencies to tell a legislative committee why they failed to notify the auditors of any lost funds or resources in a timely manner. Another portion of the bill would have limited the circumstances under which Malloy’s budget office would be able to waive the competitive bidding requirements for “personal service agreements.” The bill was passed unanimously by the House and the Senate.
The second bill Malloy vetoed Thursday would have reclassified as independent contractors all coaches and referees working with an organized athletic organization. That would means none would be eligible for unemployment compensation, nor would they be protected by employee wage and hour laws.
The Department of Labor, according to Malloy’s veto message, conducted 95 audits of athletic organizations over the last three years and found 54 percent of coaches and referees were properly classified as independent contractors and 46 percent were misclassified.
Malloy suggested these organizations use the Labor Department to help classify employees and avoid “overly broad exemptions.”
The bill had unanimously passed the Senate and passed the House on a 138-7 vote.
One of the three bills Malloy vetoed Friday would have allowed State Treasurer Denise Nappier to determine the salary range for a principal investment officer.
“This is not the time to allow the potential for the establishment of an increased salary range without further oversight,” Malloy said in his veto message.
The bill passed 144-1 in the House and unanimously in the Senate.
Another would have allowed local nonprofit banks to acquire and sell brownfields. Malloy applauded the concept, but said it would cost the state millions of dollars in revenue because it would allow the bank to exempt the notes from state taxation.
Malloy’s six veto of the 2016 session would have required the Department of Social Services Commissioner to issue a request for proposal for transportation services for nonemergency medical transportation. There have been complaints about LogistiCare the state’s current provider of the service.
Malloy said the bill “is a clear legislative intrusion into the function of the executive branch.”
Sheldon Toubman, a lawyer at the New Haven Legal Association, said that “human suffering” has resulted from the “abysmal level of service” and the state’s failure to enforce the contract.
The governor said the department is already reviewing the manner in which the state contracts for these services under a request for information that was issued in March.
“While we are disappointed by the veto, we very much appreciate that, per his veto message, the governor has ordered the agency to expeditiously proceed with procurement of a new contract through competitive bidding,” Toubman said.
Meanwhile, the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut and the Council of Small Towns expressed concern about the items Malloy vetoed Thursday when he signed the budget.
Malloy vetoed $775,000 in supplemental funds to the Federally Qualified Health Centers.
“The elimination of this funding will directly impact the most vulnerable people in our state, by reducing the ability of health centers to provide timely access to health care,” Deb Polun, a spokeswoman for the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, said. “It also sends federal money that would have benefitted Connecticut residents to other states. This is a disappointing action for the 350,000 CT residents who receive care from — and the thousands employed by — health centers across the state.”
Betsy Gara, executive director of COST, said Malloy’s decision to veto $20 million in funding for cities and towns will only “drive property taxes up.”
She said the decision to cut the funding amounts to “a sharp poke in the eye for municipalities that have already struggled to adjust budgets and mill rates to reflect last-minute cuts in municipal aid.”
Already, the budget reduces the money municipalities were promised by at least $100 million.
“The governor’s line-item veto paves the way for an additional $20 million in cuts to municipal aid — cuts that will come after towns have adopted their budgets and set their mill rates,” Gara said. “For many towns, these cuts will be on top of already deep reductions in education, student transportation, and PILOT funding.”