The veto session
When the governor does not agree with laws the General Assembly passes he vetoes them, essentially striking them down. Can he be overturned? The simple answer is yes. But getting a two-thirds majority of lawmakers from the House and Senate to vote on overturning a veto is not simple.
In fact, it starts by getting the majority party to bring up the bill for debate. This is a move the Democrats in Hartford are not willing to make this year. The governor vetoed eight public acts:
An Act Concerning Safety and Certification Standards for the Spray Foam Insulation Industry — The measure passed the Senate and House unanimously and would have required safety regulations and certification standards for the spray foam industry.
Part of the governor’s veto message: insufficient guidance as to the scope or objectives of the required regulations.
An Act Concerning Bail Bonds — The measure passed the Senate and House unanimously and changes a number of things relating to bail bonds including: automatically terminating a bond and releasing a surety when an accused voluntarily returns between five business days and six months after a bond forfeiture order.
Part of the governor’s veto message: This would undermine the efficient functioning of Connecticut’s bail bond system and compromise the state’s ability to assure that those facing criminal charges appear in court.
An Act Concerning the Recommendations of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission Regarding the Membership of the Commission — This bill expands the membership of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission by adding four members (who can be legislators).
Why did the governor veto the bill? The commission is defined in statute as a criminal justice agency and is distinct from commissions and task forces that are largely advisory in nature. As such, he believes it would be inappropriate for legislators to sit on the commission.
An Act Concerning Reemployment and the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System — By law, an employee collecting retirement benefits from the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (MERS) must stop collecting benefits if he or she returns to work for their former municipal employer. This act allows such an employee to continue to collect MERS benefits as long as he or she does not participate in MERS during the reemployment.
The governor said, “I believe this bill is inconsistent with the purpose of the municipal retirement system, which is intended to provide assistance to our retirees and not current employees.”
An Act Concerning All-Terrain Vehicles and the Certification of Household Goods Carriers — This bill passed the General Assembly unanimously. The act allows the use of ATVs on state land.
The governor’s veto message suggests the speed, noise, and power of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) bring greater potential for the destruction of our unique and delicate natural resources.
An Act Concerning Members of a Medical Foundation — The act would have allowed private hospitals to act the same way a nonprofit hospital does, essentially expanding the list of entities that may be members of a medical foundation on or before Aug. 1, 2013.
Gov. Malloy vetoed the measure citing the bill carves out an exception to existing law for the benefit of specific for-profit entities. There is still a controversy brewing about this veto. Hospitals are looking for ways to survive after their taxes were increased and state money was cut two years in a row. There was said to be agreement on the bill from all sides until the governor’s veto.
An Act Concerning Medical Spa Facilities — The act sets various requirements for medical spa facilities where cosmetic medical procedures are performed. Among other things, the act requires these facilities to employ or contract with a physician meeting certain criteria as the establishment’s medical director.
The governor vetoed the measure in part because requirements as demanding as those included in this bill should derive from a determination by the Department of Public Health following a scope of practice review.
An Act Concerning Employer Use of Non-compete Agreements — The act voids non-compete agreements imposed on an employee as a condition of his or her continued employment with an employer who was acquired by, or merged with, another employer, unless before entering into the agreement, the employer provides the employee with a written copy of the agreement and at least seven calendar days to consider the agreement’s merits. The act applies to non-compete agreements made, renewed, or extended on or after Oct. 1, 2013.
The veto message from the governor: Notwithstanding the robust common law in Connecticut regarding appropriate use and scope of non-compete agreements, additional protections for employees may be needed.
Many of these issues will likely be revisited next legislative session.
Ms. Boucher represents the 26th district towns of Wilton, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Bethel. She is the ranking senate member of the Transportation, Education, Higher Education Committees of the Connecticut General Assembly.