Sen. Hwang Touts Major Legislative Victory for Affordable Housing in CT

November 2, 2017



Connecticut legislators on July 24th successfully overrode Governor Malloy’s veto of HB 6880, an affordable housing bill that had passed with large bipartisan support, led by Housing Committee chairs Senators Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) and Representative Larry Butler (D-Waterbury).

Veto overrides are rare as two-thirds of each chamber is required to re-pass the legislation over the Governor’s veto.

Since 1971, CT Governors have vetoed 615 bills, only 55 of which have been re-passed by the legislature. Governor Malloy has vetoed over 50 bills passed by Connecticut’s General Assembly during his term in office – only 3 have been overridden.

During the Senate’s veto session, Senator Hwang gave an impassioned speech pledging a commitment to increase affordable housing throughout every community in Connecticut. He also reminded those who feared the bill would weaken the affordable housing statute (8-30g) to the point of inefficacy, that this was the beginning of a longer project to fix a decades-old process that is already ineffective–responsible for only 5,000 of the 185,000 units deemed affordable in the state of Connecticut. Senator Hwang highlighted this failure, remarking that “30 years later, we are looking at the same statute that has remained static [without fulfilling] the ultimate mission,” and that “to continue doing the same thing, to apply a statute that has not kept up with the times [is] a disservice,” to the people of Connecticut.

Affordable housing is an issue important to so many Connecticut residents who have been unable to secure affordable and appropriate housing, and for our policemen and women, teachers, firefighters and others who can’t afford to live in the same communities they serve.

Hwang remarked that “as a co-chair [of the Housing Committee], there is nothing more important than to afford every individual in this state affordable and appropriate housing,” because “it is fundamental to what we espouse to be an integral part of pursuing the American Dream.”

Hwang implored his legislative colleagues to “consider the override as a step forward in a collaborative, bipartisan effort to solve a problem [that] is long overdue.”

He went on to praise the Governor for his work in the past in “eradicating the chronic homelessness of our veterans,” but reminded his fellow Senators that these efforts were successful “because we made innovative, collaborative, multi-party changes” to legislation that was previously ineffective. This is exactly what Senator Hwang and his partners were able to do with this bill.

This override was a major win for Connecticut residents in a time where bipartisanship, pragmatism and solution-based approaches to the problems we face are few and far between. Senator Hwang and his colleagues were able to come together and reach across the aisle to put people over politics. These are the political relationships that must remain strong if the state is to recover and thrive.

Moreover, this is a demonstration that with solutions-based leadership, these kinds of incremental changes can have a positive impact on the lives of all Connecticut residents and provide a foundation for future innovation, collaboration and significant progress for our state.