- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Lawmakers allowed Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s nine vetoes to stand on Monday despite efforts by the General Assembly’s minority Republicans to override at least the one that would have imposed new hiring standards for the next state education commissioner.

Democratic leaders, who control the Connecticut legislature, said it made more sense to revisit the legislation when the next regular session opens in February.

“Whenever you override any governor, regardless of party and who’s behind it, it’s always a very strong statement that’s being made to the executive branch and in the past we’ve used that power very judiciously,” said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden. “And so, I think in this case, there weren’t enough members on either side of the aisle to bring us to the point where we felt we had enough numbers to actually do an override.”

But a group of House Democrats did vote with their GOP counterparts on Monday in favor of overturning one of Malloy’s vetoes. The final tally was 62-21, with 68 members absent. However, 101 votes were needed to repass the bill, which required the next commissioner to have teaching experience. The state’s largest teachers union, the Connecticut Education Association, had pushed heavily for the legislation.

Malloy argued the bill infringed on his executive branch authority to choose a commissioner.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, noted that lawmakers overwhelmingly supported the bill during the regular session, while Malloy’s office didn’t testify against it. But now, she said, Malloy doesn’t want the legislature to override his veto and the Democratic leaders agreed.

“Here we are, trying to have a conversation about whether any bills should be made overridden, and it’s made unilaterally. That’s not what the people of this state want,” she said.

Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, originally supported the bill. But after meeting with Malloy’s staff, he understood the administration believed the language was too narrow and would have prevented even the dean of Harvard University’s school of education from being chosen. He said Malloy is open to coming up with a new bill.

In the Senate, Democrats adjourned the veto session before a debate could be held on any vetoed bills. That prompted Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano to complain about the process, saying he was “very disappointed” in how it was carried out.

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