HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Thursday vetoed two bills — one designed to address classroom safety and another that gives a town clerk final say on Election Day registration locations.
On the school safety bill, it would requires local and regional boards of education, as well as the State Department of Education (SDE), to address daily classroom safety in a manner similar to how they must address bullying and teen dating violence under current law.
Under the bill, “daily classroom safety” means a classroom environment in which students and school employees are not physically injured by other students, school employees, or parents; or exposed to physical injury.
Malloy said: “As written, this bill creates too great a risk that students of color and those with disabilities will be disproportionately affected by its new removal powers.”
“In fact, it runs counter to the ongoing efforts of Connecticut’s dedicated educators and my administration to reduce exclusion from the classroom and to cut off the school-to-prison pipeline,” Malloy said in this veto message. “It also creates significant risks of litigation and federal penalties that could result in disastrous financial sanctions,” he added.
Malloy said even though Connecticut has made progress in reducing racial disparities in suspensions, expulsions and other forms of exclusions, “with a disproportionate rate of both students of color and disabled students being involved in incidents that could fall under the broad definitions of this bill, there is too much risk that this legislation moves us backward.”
The Black and Puerto Rican Caucus had urged Malloy to veto the bill.
“Black and Hispanic students in Connecticut are suspended at more than double the rate of their white peers,” Rep. Christopher Rosario, D-Bridgeport and Rep. Brandon McGee, D-Hartford, co-chairs of the caucus said in a joint statement.
“There is substantial research demonstrating that disproportionate discipline for children of color is related to implicit racial basis, not innate discrepancies in students’ behavior,” the statement added.
On Election Day registration, current law requires registrars of voters to designate a location within each municipality for completing and processing Election Day registration (EDR) applications.
The bill passed by the Senate and House requires town clerks to designate a location if the registrars of voters fail to agree on one at least 31 days before the election.
Malloy said: “While I understand the reasons behind this proposal and the logistical hurdles that municipalities face, I cannot support it.”
“The bedrock of our electoral system is the election of two registrars of voters, one from each major party, to oversee each other,” Malloy said.
The governor added: “Allowing a third municipal official, who is also a partisan elected official in the overwhelming number of instances in our state, tilts the scales in favor of that official’s political party and potentially leads to the destruction of public faith in our electoral system.”
These two vetoes make it four bills that Malloy has not signed.
The other two are one that would extend the manufacturing apprentice tax credit to small businesses and another that would limit the executive branch’s authority to cut education funding.
Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said he wants to override both those two vetoes by Malloy.