- Associated Press - Monday, June 25, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut lawmakers fell short Monday of overriding any Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s seven vetoes, sparking criticism from a top Republican who claimed Democratic senators are in “lock-step” with the unpopular governor who has become a key focus in this year’s election season.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano said he found it “pretty outstanding” there were not enough Democratic votes in the Senate to override vetoes of bills that had passed overwhelmingly in the chamber, just two months ago. For example, there wasn’t enough support in the Senate to override vetoes of proposals to place new limits on a plan to pay off $550 million of Hartford’s debt or prevent the governor from making mid-year cuts to local education aid. There was enough support in the House of Representatives to overturn Malloy’s veto of the education funding legislation, the only vetoed bill that had originated in the House.

“I think the Senate Democrats are in lock-step with the most unpopular governor in the country,” Fasano said.

Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney disagreed, saying Malloy provided a “compelling message” for why he vetoed certain bills. In other cases, he said Malloy was willing to negotiate an alternative bill that could be taken up in a special session, such as a bill that would have expanded a tax credit program to small businesses that hire manufacturing apprentices. Lawmakers may take up legislation concerning legalized sports betting and collecting sales tax on online purchases during that yet-to-be-finalized special session.

Leigh Appleby, Malloy’s spokesman, said the decision not to override any of the vetoes is “positive for the state” and the administration commends the legislators “who took a thoughtful approach to the questions before them.” He noted how Malloy vetoed relatively few bills, considering he signed 207 into law this year.

“We’re glad these vetoes were upheld, and we remain committed to trying to seek compromise and working through our differences on these important issues,” Appleby said.

Malloy, who is not seeking a third term, has become a major focus in this year’s election. Republican candidates for governor and other offices have accused their Democratic opponents of being supportive of Malloy and his policies, including two unpopular tax increases during his tenure.

Some people are happy that lawmakers on Monday didn’t override at least one of Malloy’s vetoes. Parents of students with disabilities and minority children had urged the General Assembly against overturning Malloy’s veto of a bill that would have created a new process for removing problematic students from classrooms.

Democratic Sen. Beth Bye, a co-chairman of the legislature’s higher education committee, said it was hard for her to vote against overriding the veto, saying the legislation is important to “give teachers peace of mind.” But she said “huge concerns” have been raised in recent weeks from parents who are concerned their children might be unfairly targeted by the legislation.

The Senate also failed to override a bill that expanded the oversight of a panel that monitors the Department of Children and Families. Lawmakers did not attempt to override bills that created a registry of offenders who abuse animals and allow town clerks to choose an Election Day registration location when there’s a disagreement between partisan registrars.

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