HARTFORD, CT — The General Assembly overrode none of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s seven vetoes Monday.
The House did vote 103-33 to override one of the bills, but the Senate failed to find the two-thirds it needed to override that same bill. The Senate voted 19-10, but 24 votes were necessary for an override.
“I think the Senate Democrats are lockstep with the most unpopular governor in the country,” Senate Republican President Len Fasano said Monday referring to Malloy.
Fasano said HB 5171, which was overridden in the House, unanimously passed the Senate the first time around so Democrats in the Senate are simply following their leader, “who I believe has lead Connecticut in the wrong direction.”
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said he thinks the governor had a “compelling” veto message and in some instances expressed a desire to keep negotiating legislation for “what we expect will be a special session.”
The bill the House wanted to override would have prohibited the governor from cutting education cost sharing (ECS) aid grants to towns with his rescission authority or through a reduction of any budgeted agency.
Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, co-chairman of the legislature’s Education Committee, said “prior to 2016, never had there been a recession or hold back” of education funds to towns. “Our schools organizations work hard to serve our children. Holding back dollars puts our school districts in a terrible position.”
But Democrats from urban areas protested since the governor’s decision to distribute the money favored cities over wealthier communities with lower mill rates.
Rep. Robyn Porter,” D-New Haven, said overriding the veto “will do damage to my district. We have areas of of this state that need more resources,” Porter added that not allowing money to be moved to those districts would be harmful.
Malloy said he vetoed it because 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.”
But the rescission bill was far from the most controversial one that Malloy vetoed.
The Senate debated a bill that would have given a tax break to small manufacturers, another that would have changed how teachers handle threats in the classroom, and another that would have clarified the so-called Hartford bailout.
“We will sustain a veto when the legislature feels that we have a statement to make as well,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said.
The General Assembly has overridden Malloy five times during his eight years in office.
One of the most heavily lobbied issues was a bill, SB 453, that required boards of education, as well as the State Department of Education, to address daily classroom safety as an additional part of the law requiring them to address bullying and teen dating violence.
Essentially it would allows teachers to refer their students out of the classroom if they physically threaten the teacher or another student on a daily basis.
Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, who was helping to negotiate that bill, said the concerns that have been raised by parents of children with disabilities and students of color are valid.
She said the bill needed more work.
At the same time it’s not something that can wait until next year.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said he’s already invited the parties to get together and start meeting. He said it might require a more formal process like a “blue ribbon commission or a task force.”
He said he thinks it’s an issue they need to act upon sooner rather than later.
Lawmakers in the Senate seemed to believe they could get the interested parties to the table to reach an agreement over the summer.
There seemed to be some consensus that they would be able to reconvene this summer to address it and other legislation related to the Supreme Court’s sports betting decision.
As far as the manufacturing tax credits are concerned, Looney said the governor has said he thinks they can remedy the bill by deciding on a cap for how much of a credit can be taken.
The bill would have resulted in a $650,000 revenue loss to the state that was not accounted for in the state budget.
Aresimowicz said he was upset that the Senate didn’t send the apprenticeship tax credit bill down to the House.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said she’s disappointed in her colleagues in the Senate for not passing anything.
Only two of the seven vetoes were House bills. The Senate moved to reconsider four of the five that were Senate bills. None of them received enough support to make it to the House.
“The outcome of today’s session is positive for the state, and we commend the legislators who took a thoughtful approach to the questions before them,” Leigh Appleby, a spokesman for Malloy, said. “While we may have disagreed on various aspects of specific policies, the reality is that the Governor signed 207 bills into law this session and vetoed only 7. We’re glad these vetoes were upheld, and we remain committed to trying to seek compromise and working through our differences on these important topics.”
Malloy is currently in Ireland on a family vacation.