ctnewsjunkie file photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy listens to a question in May (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

The House and the Senate will return Monday to the Capitol to determine whether they want to override some of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s eight vetoes from the regular session.

Malloy vetoed two Senate bills and six House bills. Most of the legislation had passed unanimously or near unanimously in both chambers. Since Malloy took office in 2011, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly has thus far declined to override any of his vetoes.

But this year is different.

Malloy has a 24 percent approval rating, according to Quinnipiac University’s polling, and Democratic lawmakers who are up for re-election are seeking to distance themselves from the unpopular governor.

“We’ve been hearing from individual House members about certain bills they are interested in having an override vote on, and will get an overall gauge on where the caucus stands on each of the vetoes Monday,” House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, said Friday. “I anticipate we will have a House vote on some of the bills before us.”

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said earlier this week there are some bills the Senate Democratic caucus would like to see overridden, but he declined to offer any specifics.

The most likely bills to be overridden include the following:

SB 302 – An Act Concerning the Impact of Proposed Regulations on Small Businesses

The bill passed the House and the Senate unanimously.

The bill would have expanded the analysis state agencies would have to prepare before adopting regulations that affect small businesses.

In his veto message, Malloy said he supports the “intent of this legislation,” but believes the language is “overly broad and will place an undue burden on our agencies.”

HB 5437 – An Act Concerning Nonemergency Medical Transportation for Medicaid Recipients

This bill would have required the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services to get information from transportation companies about non-emergency medical vehicles.

It passed the Senate and House unanimously.

Malloy called the bill “a clear legislative intrusion into the function of the executive branch,” since the Connecticut General Statutes currently govern how the state procures goods and services. Malloy also argued that the bill would establish a precedent letting the legislature make these decisions in the future.

The Department of Social Services began reviewing the way the state contracts non-emergency medical vehicles in March.

HB 5636 – An Act Concerning the Apprenticeship Tax Credit and the Tax Credit Report

This bill would have allowed owners of “pass-through entities” — such as S Corporations — to use a manufacturing apprenticeship tax credit. The owners would have been able to use a corporate tax credit on their personal income taxes. The bill also shifted a report on the tax incentives the state gives companies from the Department of Economic and Community Development to the legislature’s Program Review and Investigations Committee.

It passed the Senate and House unanimously. 

Malloy wrote in his veto statement that allowing these business owners to claim a business tax credit on their personal income taxes would open the door for similar legislation, and could result in a revenue loss for the state.

Currently, companies that can’t use manufacturing apprenticeship tax credits can sell their credits to other companies, though there are restrictions on how low a corporation’s taxes can be due to these credits. The bill would not put any limits on how much an individual’s taxes could be reduced.

As far as the shift in reporting of tax credits, Malloy said that a change to the system is “unnecessary and unwarranted.”

Malloy also vetoed the following bills:

HB 5247 – An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Auditors of Public Accounts and Repealing a Provision Concerning State Agency Reporting of Certain Contractor Information

The bill would have required the head of any agency or quasi-public agency to appear before the governor and General Assembly when the Auditors of Public Accounts allege that their agency didn’t report lost funds in a timely manner.

It passed the Senate and House unanimously.

Malloy said that the bill encroached on executive territory, and while “there is no question” that agencies should follow requirements, “their accountability is already properly placed with the executive branch.” He said that requiring a hearing would be “an unnecessary step.”

He also disapproved of how the bill would have limited the kinds of services under which the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management can waive competitive bidding requirements, such as providing care for clients with chronic conditions.

He said that being flexible about what kinds of services can be waived is “crucial” for government services, but can also be cost-effective by “avoiding the exercise of a competitive bid when the outcome may be be a practical impossibility.”

HB 5261 – An Act Concerning Operators of Athletic Activities, Coaches and Referees and the Employer-Employee Relationship

The bill would have labeled all sports coaches and referees as independent contractors, meaning they wouldn’t have been entitled to unemployment compensation or protected by state wage and hour laws.

The bill passed the House 138-7. It passed the Senate unanimously.

Malloy said in his veto message that the Department of Labor is a resource for determining whether an employee is an independent contractor or not. In the last three years, 46 percent of the 95 audits that the Department conducted on athletic organizations found workers had been misclassified.

“It is important for both employers and workers that this assessment is done properly, and by using the department as a resource, all stakeholders will benefit,” Malloy wrote in his veto message.

HB 5420 – An Act Concerning Principal Investment Officers

The bill would have let the state Treasurer decide on the salary for a Principal Investment Officer.

It passed the Senate unanimously and the House with one vote against it.

Currently, the Commissioner of Administrative Services determines the salaries of all executive branch employees. Malloy disapproved of the inconsistency the bill would have created.

He was also “surprised” that the legislature passed a bill that could allow a state employee to earn a higher salary while the state budget was laying off employees and included no pay raises anywhere.

HB 5425 – An Act Concerning the Creation of Connecticut Brownfield Land Banks, Certain Lender Responsibility for Releases at Brownfields and Revisions to Brownfield Remediation and Development Programs

Malloy supported “the intent of this bill,” which would have set up a framework for helping small municipalities establish nonprofit land banks that buy and sell brownfields. However, since the banks’ notes and obligations would have been exempt from state taxes, Malloy wrote that the bill “could result in millions of dollars of revenue loss for the state.”

Under federal law, if the state exempted the banks from taxation just because they were run by the city, then corporations could argue that they also don’t need to pay taxes since they hold federal securities.

Malloy wrote that the bill’s stakeholders have agreed to revise its language and remove the issue.

The bill passed the Senate with one vote against it and the House unanimously.

SB 397 – An Act Concerning a Municipal Option for Property Tax Abatements for Arts and Culture

The bill would have let municipalities reduce property taxes on property being used for the arts or culture, including up to 100 percent of the taxes due.

It passed the House 125-20 with 6 absent, and the Senate 35-1.

To Malloy, the problem with the bill was that it allowed for-profit enterprises like movie theaters to get tax breaks. He argued that this would lead to competition between cities and towns for the lowest possible tax rates and cause “sprawl development” instead of development in regional hubs.

The state already grants tax exemptions to nonprofit arts and culture organizations, as long as they’re used for purposes like education and charity. Malloy also pointed out that municipalities opposed the bill and that there are already programs in place to encourage business development.

Max Moran contributed to this report.