HARTFORD, CT — He had said that he didn’t anticipate using his veto authority on any legislation this year, but Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday opted to vetoed three bills.
The three vetoes came in the last batch of bills to reach Lamont’s desk. He signed 223 this session.
The first bill Lamont vetoed was titled “An Act Requiring a Study of Workforce Training Needs in the State” and it passed in the last few hours of the session without debate.
The first part of the bill amending the existing workforce training authority wasn’t problematic, but language that would have taken away the property rights of workers was a little more troublesome.
The bill sought to help restaurant owners who pay their servers and bartenders one wage for waiting on customers and another when they are doing other chores. The bill would have impacted class action lawsuits against restaurants that failed to keep track of their employees’ time properly.
State law requires restaurant owners to pay the higher wage or the minimum wage if they fail to keep track of the time, but federal law says to pay the lower wage.
“These sections of the bill make significant policy changes to a complex area of the law governing the rights of workers to a fair wage,” Lamont wrote in his veto message. “While it may be reasonable to conclude that state and federal laws should be consistent in this area, that conclusion ought to be made only after sufficient study, debate, and input from affected stakeholders. That did not happen here.”
Lamont added that the retroactive provision in the bill was more problematic.
“This retroactive attempt to extinguish a worker’s right to recover wages in an amount lawfully required and earned is patently unfair to the affected workers,” Lamont wrote in his veto message. “It also raises serious due process and other constitutional concerns.”
The second bill that Lamont vetoed impacts the residential real estate market.
The bill would have removed existing consumer protections that require seller agents to disclose who they represent before negotiations begin.
“The proposed weakening of this common-sense consumer protection could create confusion and uncertainty for consumers in the residential real estate market, especially those who believe, incorrectly, that a seller’s agent is acting solely as the buyer’s representative or as a neutral broker, with no commission at stake for completing the sale,” Lamont wrote in his veto message.
The Connecticut Association of Realtors supported the legislation. The same group launched and funded a political action committee that backed Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski.
The third bill that Lamont vetoed would have increased the penalty for the theft of cooking oil.
The legislation would have made theft of waste cooking oil a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year of prison.
“A person who steals $35 worth of waste vegetable oil should not face the prospect of a prison sentence four times greater than that faced by a person who steals $35 worth of gasoline,” Lamont wrote in his veto message.
The General Assembly will hold a veto session on Monday, July 22, to decide whether they want to override any of Lamont’s vetoes.