Eight Vetoes, No Overrides [CT News Junkie]

June 19, 2014

by Christine Stuart and Hugh McQuaid | CT News Junkie
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed eight bills this year — including two that lawmakers approved unanimously. But Democratic legislative leaders said they don’t have any plans to attempt to override any of the governor’s vetoes.

Asked if the General Assembly would attempt to override the veto of a bill that would have required health insurance companies and managed-care organizations to report information on substance abuse treatment to the state Insurance Department, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said flatly “no.”

Any other bills? “No,” Sharkey said Tuesday.

The same holds true for leaders in the upper chamber.

“We do not intend to override the governor on any of his vetoes this year,” Adam Joseph, a spokesman for Senate President Donald Williams, said Wednesday.

A bill regarding fair hearings for those who receive benefits from the Department of Social Services also passed unanimously before it was vetoed, similar to the bill requiring the reporting of substance abuse treatment.

Sen. Joe Markley, a Southington Republican who has called for an override of the veto on the reporting of substance abuse treatment, said Wednesday he was disappointed by legislative leaders.

“Supposedly we have three equal branches of government. When you have a bill that passes unanimously, the idea that one man in Connecticut doesn’t understand it . . . and the bill dies . . . it’s a dereliction of duty for the legislature to play dead like this,” he said.

Markley pointed out that the legislature is constitutionally required to hold a veto session, and said it would do no harm to at least discuss overriding Malloy’s veto, especially since the bill is aimed at assisting people struggling with addiction.

Malloy said he supported the bill’s goal of providing policy makers and residents more information on the availability of substance abuse treatment. But he said he was worried that the reporting aspect would lead to inaccuracies in the reported data.

“There are a significant number of people who seek substance abuse treatment but are reported to carriers as being treated for other issues such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues,” Malloy said. “Inaccuracies in reporting could lead to policy decisions or consumer decisions that will not help achieve the ultimate goal of reducing the number of people who fall victim to substance abuse.”

The concept of reporting this type of information was supported Tuesday by a behavioral health task force.