Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A List of Gov. Rell's Vetoes, So Far

The governor has been busy vetoing bills since May. So far, I have counted nine bills vetoed by the governor, none of which have been overturned despite the large Democratic majority in both the House and Senate (the Senate actually has a supermajority of Democrats). Gov. Rell has used her veto power more frequently than her two immediate predecessors, John Rowland and Lowell Weicker, both of whom were loathe to veto anything if they could help it.

Here's a list of the vetoes so far, with results, sources (no links, sorry--a lot of the stories have been pulled from the free web) and my opinion of each.

1. May 19, 2005

What: A bill that would “prohibit Connecticut's social services commissioner from agreeing to a federal reimbursement rate less than the standard 50 percent” Essentially, it would reduce the administration’s ability to negotiate with the federal government on Medicaid reimbursement.

Why: Rell will not cede power to the legislature.

Result: Not overridden.

Opinion: This is a separation of powers issue. Rell acted correctly in the executive branch’s defense.

Source: Haigh, Susan. “Rell issues first gubernatorial veto”. The Associated Press State & Local Wire 19 May, 2005.

2. June 2, 2005

What: A bill equating the sentences for crack with those for cocaine. This bill is part of an effort to address the racial disparity in Connecticut prisons.

Why: “Rell, a Republican, said the bill ‘sends an inappropriate message that the enforcement of our drug laws, especially with respect to crack cocaine, is being eased.’”

Result: No override, although a new bill may be in the works at some future point.

Opinion: The bill was a good first step, and drug dealers don’t care about the messages state government sends. Rell is just trying to appear tough on crime.

Source: Haigh, Susan. “Rell vetoes bill that would have equated crack and powder cocaine.” The Associated Press State & Local Wire 2 June, 2005.

3. June 15, 2005

What: A bill to remove junk food from vending machines in schools.

Why: The governor thinks it’s a local control issue.

Result: Lots of griping and swearing, no override.

Opinion: The local control argument is a little shaky, since the state regulates and oversees so many other facets of education. However, I frankly don’t believe the government should be involved in this at all. I’ve never been a fan of the so-called Nanny State, which wants to protect you (and your children) from your own stupidity. If you want your children to be healthier, teach them about nutrition, tell them to go outside and play, or pack them a healthy lunch without giving them money for the vending machine. Sheesh.

Source: Pazniokas, Mark. “Rell Vetoes Junk Food Bill.” Hartford Courant 15 June, 2005.

4. June 27, 2005

What: A bill that would have required the administration to provide a written statement to the legislature when laying off more than five percent of a state agency’s workers.

Why: Rell felt the legislature was infringing on the executive’s powers.

Result: No override.

Opinion: The legislature apparently had no influence over the decisions anyway: why did they need a written statement? Just to have something to criticize?

Source: Keating, Christopher. “Rell Rejects Limits on Executive Powers.” Hartford Courant 28 June, 2005.

5. June 27, 2005

What: A bill that would have required legislative approval of any application for waivers from the federal Department of Social Services.

Why: Separation of powers, again, and Rell felt it was unnecessary and cumbersome.

Result: No override.

Opinion: Again, it’s unclear why the legislature needed to approve the applications. This could be very irksome when the legislature is not in session.

Source: Keating, Christopher. “Rell Rejects Limits on Executive Powers.” Hartford Courant 28 June, 2005.

6. July 1, 2005

What: A bill considered to be the centerpiece of ethics reform that would have placed limits on the relationship between government and contractors, among other things.

Why: The governor and legislative Republicans thought that the bill’s restrictions on privatization of state services were far too harsh. In a strange turn of events, the governor vetoed this bill, then signed a budget bill—the anti-privatization language of which was nullified by the veto—she had initially opposed, and then implemented some of the reforms of the ethics bill through executive order.

Result: Democrats were left flabbergasted. No override so far, but the bill will come back, perhaps next year.

Opinion: It’s hard to know what to think about this strange veto. On the one hand, it makes Rell look soft on ethics, supposedly her strong suit. It’s also, as Rep. Caruso said, dangerously close to a line-item veto. On the other, she implemented some of the measures anyway and approved the budget, and the political dance she pulled off, despite what you may think of the end result, is an impressive manipulation of the system. Still, this was a mistake on Rell’s part. Her priorities should have been to get the ethics reform package done first, and then deal with the consequences. Democrats will make much hay of this next year

Keating, Christopher and Colin Poitras. “Rell Vetoes Ethics Bill.” Hartford Courant 2 July, 2005.

7. July 11, 2005

What: A measure to free SBC from regulations its newer competitors aren’t bound by.

Why: Unresolved questions about the bill were not addressed in time.

Result: Rell says she will sign the bill next year if it is passed and the questions are resolved.

Opinion: In the meantime, SBC will still have one hand tied behind its back. They’ll lose customers, maybe lay off some workers. Oops. Maybe it would be better to pass the bill and clear up the messes later.

Source: Singer, Stephen. “Rell vetoes bills on telecommunications, e-mail, juvenile center.” The Associated Press State & Local Wire 11 July, 2005.

8. July 11, 2005

What: A bill that would exempt legislators’ emails from Freedom of Information Act inquiries.

Why: The governor believes that legislators should not have special protections from FOIA.

Result: The email server at the Capitol will suddenly have a lot more free space.

Opinion: This was a bill passed in the middle of the night, right before the end of the session. Suspicious… she’s right to veto it.

Source: Singer, Stephen. “Rell vetoes bills on telecommunications, e-mail, juvenile center.” The Associated Press State & Local Wire 11 July, 2005.

9. July 11, 2005

What: A bill calling for the review of the troubled Connecticut Juvenile Training School.

Why: A similar study is already in the works, apparently. She also felt that a provision calling for the school to never be used as an adult prison was unnecessary, and promised never to use the facility as an adult prison while governor.

Result: Nothing yet.

Opinion: Huh? I applaud the governor’s attempts to streamline state government, but this seems like another odd use of the veto.

Source: Singer, Stephen. "Rell vetoes bills on telecommunications, e-mail, juvenile center." The Associated Press State & Local Wire 11 July, 2005.

2 comments:

Conn-Tiki said...

Re: school nutrition
However, I frankly don’t believe the government should be involved in this at all

Too late. The moment the opened the first cafeteria, they became a culpable party in the nutrition of the children, along with their parents and themselves.

I’ve never been a fan of the so-called Nanny State, which wants to protect you (and your children) from your own stupidity. If you want your children to be healthier, teach them about nutrition, tell them to go outside and play, or pack them a healthy lunch without giving them money for the vending machine. Sheesh.

There's a difference between a lasseiz-faire attitude towards the students' nutrition, such as you evince above, and the benign neglect exhibited by schools who abnegate their assumed responsibility for student health - brought upon themsleves the moment they decided to offer students food in school - in favor of the quick and easy buck brought on by vending machines in the school. I agree with you that students and their parents are the ones ultimately responsible for their own nutrition - but the school has a role to play, as a pretty big participant in the whole dance. To pretend otherwise allows them to get off the hook and promotes these unholy alliances which, while benefitting soft-drink companies and keeping tax rolls lower, create an environment for kids where eating unhealthy food is much easier. The schools don't need to nanny the kids to death, just not make it that much harder (or less convenient) for them to eat healthily.

Tony said...

Nous rencontrons souvent dans le domaine de la sant� La production de NONIsant� exempte de pesticides � lieu dans une partie privil�gi�e de l'�le de Tahiti, sur les hauteurs o� le Noni sant�se cultive en abondance et donne toute sa force et toute la vigueur d'un fruit sauvage. Le jus, ensuite d�shydrat� et lyophilis� pour une consommation plus facile et tout aussi saine, est effectu� par pression � froid.