oec: OEC Legislative Update – January 11, 2017

OEC Legislative Update – January 11, 2017


The 2017 Legislative Session

The 2017 legislative session opened on Wednesday, January 4, and ends on Wednesday, June 7 at midnightOn opening day, Governor Dannel Malloy gave the State of the State Address. He focused on three areas: achieving cost savings and efficiencies, seeking state employee concessions, and creating a more equitable system for town aid to fund education.


This session is a “long” session which occurs in the first year of the biennium in odd-numbered years.  The budget that ultimately passes will be for two years, FY18 and FY19.


Besides passing a FY18-19 budget, bills are also are “raised” by legislative committees based on input from constituencies and executive branch agencies.


All bills must have a public hearing before the “committee of cognizance”. That means that each committee has cognizance regarding specific issue areas and raises a bills for a vote. The committee then votes yes or no on the bill. If the majority of the committee votes in favor of the bill, it may need to be referred to other committees for a vote or it may go directly to the House or Senate floor for a full vote.


Legislative Leadership

Legislative Leadership looks different than in the past. Because the Senate is tied 17-17, the Senate Leadership is now shared between Senator Martin Looney and Senator Len Fasano. The legislative leadership is as follows:


Senator Martin Looney (D) – Senate President Pro Tempore

Senator Len Fasano (R) – Senate Republican Leader

Senator Bob Duff (D) – Senate Democratic Leader

Joe Aresimowicz (D) – Speaker of the House

Themis Klarides (R) – House Republican Leader


Due to the 17-17 tie in the Senate, each legislative committee will have two Senate Chairs with one House Chair.  There will also be Democratic Vice Chairs and a Republican Vice Chair. The three-chair arrangement might lead to more consensus as both parties now have strong influence in what moves forward, or more gridlock if they cannot reach agreement.


With a 17-17 tie in the Senate and a thin 78-72 Democratic advantage in the House, the Democrats and Republicans will have a more equal role in bill and budget deliberations.


The Governor’s Budget and Appropriations Committee Hearings

The Governor’s proposed FY18-19 budget is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, February 8.  The Appropriations Committee schedules public hearings on the Governor’s proposed budget a week or two after the budget has been released.  The OEC Acting Commissioner will testify on the OEC proposed budget before the Appropriations Committee.   The public can testify on the proposed OEC budget the evening of that same day, which is usually held in Room 2C.  This is a key opportunity for members of the public to testify on the state budget.


The Appropriations Committee reviews the Governor’s proposed budget and then releases its own proposed version of the budget later in the legislative session in April. Budget negotiations between Legislative Leadership and the Governor’s Office, with the Office of Policy and Management, then take place with the goal to reach agreement on a final budget. Once an agreement has been made, the House and Senate must vote on the budget and the Governor must sign it for it to become law.


Legislative Committees

The Education Committee is the “committee of cognizance” of the OEC.  That means that legislation proposed by the OEC, and agreed upon by the Education Committee, will be introduced in the Education Committee, followed by a public hearing and a committee vote.  Some legislation may need to go before other committees for a vote before going to the House or Senate floor for a vote.  Below are leadership assignments for three key committees:


Education Committee

Senator Gayle Slossberg (D) – Co-Chair

Representative Andrew Fleischmann (D) – Co-Chair

Senator Gary Winfield (D) – Vice Chair

Representative Bobby Sanchez – Vice Chair

Senator Toni Boucher (R) – Vice Chair

Representative Gail Lavielle (R) – Ranking Member


Appropriations Committee

Senator Cathy Osten (D) – Co-Chair

Senator Paul Formica (R) – Co-Chair

Representative Toni Walker (D) – Co-Chair

Senator Joan Hartley (D) – Vice Chair

Senator Craig Miner (R) – Vice Chair

Representative Henry Genga (D) – Vice Chair

Representative Ezequiel Santiago (D) – Vice Chair

Representative Chris Soto (D) – Vice Chair

Representative Melissa Ziobron (R) – Vice Chair


Children’s Committee

Senator Marilyn Moore (D) – Co-Chair

Senator Len Suzio (R) – Co-Chair

Representative Diana Urban (D) – Co-Chair

Representative Patrick Boyd (D) – Vice Chair

Senator Terry Gerratana (D) – Vice Chair

Senator John Kissel (R) – Vice Chair
Representative Lezlye Zupkus (R) – Ranking Member


On a daily basis, the Director of Government and Community Relations track bills that are of interest to the OEC. These bills are posted daily on the Connecticut General Assembly website.


Committee Meetings Underway

Legislative Committee meetings are starting to meet this week. The Director of Government and Community Relations attends meetings of the Education, Children’s, Human Services, Public Health and Appropriations Committees, when relevant.  In addition, the Acting Commissioner and the Director of Government and Community Relations are seeking meetings with co-chairs of these committees to touch base and inform them about the work underway at the OEC. They are also meeting or having discussions with other committee members.


If you have questions about the legislative process, proposed legislation, etc., please feel free to call or email Maggie Adair, Director of Government and Community Relations:  860-713-6413 (w), 860-878-8936 (c), or maggie.adair@ct.gov



Content Last Modified on 1/13/2017 12:00:01 PM