HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed bill that would have limited his executive authority and allowed one to become law without his signature Friday.
Before 5 p.m. Friday, Malloy’s office released the veto message.
The bill would have prohibited the governor from cutting education cost sharing grants to towns by using his rescission authority or his ability to reduce funding to an agency.
The bill, “An Act Prohibiting the Executive Branch from Making Rescissions or Other Reductions to the Education Cost Sharing Grant During the Fiscal Year,” passed the House 117 to 32 and the Senate approved it 36 to 0.
It was not immediately clear if lawmakers will return to Hartford to override his veto.
However, Republican lawmakers criticized the decision.
“By not signing this bill Gov. Malloy proves he is nothing more than a partisan political behemoth,” Republican Senate President Len Fasano, said. “Governor Malloy would rather deny pregnant women and their unborn children the right to basic human decency and access to needed healthcare than sign a bill that Republicans championed with bipartisan support.”
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, called the move “punitive and spiteful.”
In his veto message, Malloy said it would “prevent any future governor from making rescissions to certain municipal grants without regard to communities’ relative need or ability to fund their own spending decisions, and without regard to the seriousness of a financial emergency in the state.”
He also said the legislation favored wealthier towns at the expense of the poorest. Throughout his tenure Malloy has sought to give the neediest cities and towns with underperforming schools the most resources.
Malloy said the bill was “designed to ensure that gains made by our richest towns are secured forever, at the expense of our neediest communities and their residents. This is not only inequitable and wrong, it is also shortsighted, as it nurtures the vicious cycle of urban fiscal distress that threatens our urban centers with insolvency and leaves them little ability to grow our economy.”
The legislation was passed by the legislature last month in response to the governor’s decision in November to withhold education funds from towns.
Pregnancy As A Qualifying Event
Without his signature, the governor also allowed a bill to become law that would make pregnancy a qualifying life event to allow women to purchase health insurance.
“As Governor, I have never before allowed a bill to become law without my signature,” Malloy said in a letter.
He said the bill is “undoubtedly admirable in its public policy goal,” but he’s concerned about creating another mandate that will cause insurance premiums to rise.
“This legislation weakens one of the fundamental tenets of our health insurance system, which is the principle of spreading and pooling risk,” Malloy wrote. “Permitting the diagnosis of a health condition to be a triggering event for a special enrollment period has a disproportionate effect on the insurance risk pool, increasing the costs for every single person seeking to purchase insurance in the individual market.”
Malloy said the legislation will increase annual costs an estimated $70 per year, per person, “at a time when too many of our residents still struggle to afford insurance.”
The bill is expected to increase premiums $7 million for individuals who purchase their insurance through Access Health CT, according to Malloy.
He suggested it might have been better to expand the state’s Husky health insurance plan, which already covers women who get pregnant up to 263 percent of the federal poverty level.
The bill received bipartisan support and saw Republican lawmakers team up with groups like Planned Parenthood.