HARTFORD, CT — The House Democratic caucus has decided it will vote on the $1.57 billion labor savings package Monday.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, initially said he intended to vote on the labor savings on the same day as a two-year budget proposal, but that has since changed.
As of Friday afternoon, Aresimowicz plans to call a vote on the labor package and essentially put to rest $1.57 billion in savings as they continue to work toward a two-year budget.
“We will finalize decisions on any potential veto override votes at our caucus meeting Monday, as well as discuss the labor concession agreement which we expect to vote on later that day,” Aresimowicz said.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said it’s backwards to vote on the labor deal before a state budget.
“It screams desperation,” Klarides said. “They’re afraid it won’t pass if they wait too long because it’s a bad deal for the state of Connecticut.”
The Senate, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, plans to give its members more time to go over the labor agreement.
And at least three Democrats in the Senate, Sens. Gayle Slossberg, Joan Hartley, and Paul Doyle, have asked for more time to examine the deal.
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said Friday that he met with three members of his caucus to discuss the agreement and “they requested and I agreed to provide some additional time for them to analyze the agreement’s long-term impact.”
He said his intention is to hold a vote on Monday July 31.
It’s looking increasingly as if all 18 Democrats would have to vote in favor of the deal and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman would have to break the tie in order to get it approved.
Malloy said he would like to see the General Assembly take up the agreement “sooner rather than later” because certain savings will dissipate if it’s not rapidly approved.
Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said the wage contracts are not ready to be voted on yet because there is no fiscal analysis.
The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis has yet to provide lawmakers with its own assessment of the deal. OFA said it would provide an assessment once the resolution is officially filed with the clerk.
“It is beyond radically irresponsible to try to call all wage contracts for a vote without having any financial analysis of what the contracts will actually cost,” Fasano said. “The fact that the speaker is pushing for a vote on over 30 contracts without an analysis from the governor’s budget office or from nonpartisan staff speaks to someone who is treading the edge of a conflict.”
Fasano said the deal “will not only tie the hands of future lawmakers,” but it “will increase costs and unfunded liabilities in many respects.”
He said he’s concerned with several provisions of the deal including the extension of the health and pension benefits until 2027, the four years of job protection, and language preventing the privatization of state services.
“I have more concerns that the governor’s negotiated labor deal cannot create the sustainable system we all seek,” Fasano said Friday.
At a press conference Friday, Malloy said Fasano is “trying to find things he can beat his chest about not supporting something he never, ever had any intention to support.”
Meanwhile, the House and the Senate will also convene Monday to consider the governor’s four vetoes.
At least two of the four bills have been discussed by lawmakers, who voted by almost enough of a margin the first time to override the vetoes. The House needs to pass a bill with 101 votes and the Senate with 24 votes in order to override a veto.
On Friday, Malloy defended his decision to veto a bill that would have given one contractor the exclusive rights to build a thermal loop in downtown Bridgeport.
“I believe you could analyze this to ultimately be a gift to the developer,” Malloy said.
He said he believes if it was overridden it would be tied up in litigation for years and would prevent Bridgeport from moving forward with the project.
““The district heating loop has both proper oversight and protections for Connecticut ratepayers,” Av Harris, legislative liaison for the City of Bridgeport, has said. “This was meant to be a pilot project that if successful in Bridgeport could be repeated in all Connecticut cities to the great benefit of all ratepayers.”
The bill passed the House 100 to 51 and the Senate 36 to 0.
Another bill, which has received some pushback from lawmakers, would change regulations for affordable housing.
“Everybody who works in a community, some portion of them should be able to live in that community,” Malloy said. “These laws have been on the books for decades.”
Slossberg, who was a proponent of the legislation, has said Malloy’s veto “shows a real lack of understanding of the specific workings of this statute and of the need for reform.”
She said “Connecticut is the only state that allows private developers to site their developments wherever they choose. States that do not give this disproportionate power to housing developers have been much more successful than Connecticut in developing affordable housing.”
The bill passed the House 116 to 33 and the Senate 30 to 6.
Since three of the four bills Malloy vetoed are House bills they would need to be taken up first by the House before moving to the Senate.
So far, Malloy has been overridden three times in his seven years in office.
The House will also approve the changes to the memorandums of understanding with Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes Monday too.
Malloy and the tribes signed off on changes to the agreement Thursday. The General Assembly has to approve the changes before they’re sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The approval is needed to add a commercial casino in East Windsor to the previous agreements the tribes had for the Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun Casinos.