Section 305 of HB 7424 (CLICK TO READ THE BILL) (

HARTFORD, CT — Buried deep in the state budget there’s a provision that would make it illegal for homecare agencies in Connecticut to use non-solicitation clauses when they hire employees.

The provision in section 305 will destabilize the homecare industry, says Joe Markley, communications liaison for Companions & Homemakers.

“Every homecare agency has a non-solicitation clause,” Markley said.

He said the six-month, non-solicitation clause prevents employees from working for a client on their own after they have been matched with that client by the agency. It also prevents them from moving a client to another homecare agency.

He said agencies already permit their caregivers to work for other companies simultaneously, and to have clients of their own. He said the non-solicitation clause is only for the clients the agency refers.

Markley said Companions & Homemakers makes the match, withholds taxes, and pays workers’ compensation benefits. He said he knows there are some who believe homecare agencies are unnecessary middleman, but the agency is actually a “good thing” and protects not only the client, but the workers.

He said around 696 homecare agencies in Connecticut employ about 35,000 caregivers and making sure those caregivers can do their jobs and keep elderly clients in their homes ultimately saves the state money.

“No state has ever done this before,” Markley said. “It’s a big step that’s been made with little reflection.”

Markley said they’re asking Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration to veto just that section of the bill.

But that’s easier said than done.

Lamont’s legal staff says the governor has the power to disapprove of any item or items in the budget, but only if it’s an appropriation.

“A piece of general legislation that makes policy, even if in a budget bill, is not subject to a line-item veto because it does not make a distinct appropriation of money,” Deputy General Counsel Doug Dalena wrote in an email.

Markley said they believe they can make a legal case in favor of the line-item veto.

“Any item or items of any bill making appropriations of money” explicitly includes non-monetary sections of bill making appropriations, Markley said.

The constitution says, “The governor shall have the power to disapprove of any item or items of any bill making appropriations of money embracing distinct items while at the same time approving the remainder of the bill.”

The budget hasn’t reached Lamont’s desk yet, but he’s expected to sign it. It’s unclear if he would choose to veto any appropriations.

Dating back to 1934, the line-item veto has been used sparingly — just 15 times. Most recently former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy line-item vetoed hospital spending in 2017.

Before that, former Gov. M. Jodi Rell tried to line-item veto items in the budget in 2009, but she was unable because that was the year she allowed the budget to become law without her signature.

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