Looney, Sharkey hedge on overriding Malloy veto

The Connecticut General Assembly expects to convene Monday for a one-day veto session, but legislative leaders expressed uncertainty Wednesday about whether lawmakers would attempt their first override of a veto by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The state’s largest teachers’ union, the Connecticut Education Association, is lobbying lawmakers to override Malloy’s veto of a bill that would require education commissioners to have significant experience as a teacher and school administrator.

The legislation, sought by labor unions, was a reaction to teachers’ displeasure with Malloy’s first commissioner, Stefan Pryor, whose primary education credential was as a co-founder of a charter school.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, and House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, who will make the call about asking their members to deliver what would be seen as a rebuke to Malloy, gave no public encouragement to the CEA on Wednesday.

Both indicated they expected to consult with their rank and file by telephone. If they were leaning toward an override, it would be more likely for them to call legislators to Hartford for a caucus before the veto session.

“We’re still discussing it with our individual caucus members,” Sharkey said.

Looney declined to say if he is personally inclined to seek an override, but his assessment of the vetoed bill was lukewarm, at best: He noted that legislators already have the ability to review every commissioner’s qualifications during the confirmation process.

A final decision probably would be made Thursday or Friday.

The bill is one of nine Malloy vetoed.

Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the CEA, said the union was seeking an override because the governor has not expressed a willingness to consider a revised bill next year.

“His position is no qualifications are necessary,” Waxenberg said.

Malloy, a Democrat who took office in January 2011, is a rarity in recent Connecticut political history: His party has controlled both chambers of the General Assembly in every annual legislative session of his tenure.

He is the first governor in more than 30 years to deal only with legislative leaders of his own party. The last one was Ella T. Grasso, a Democrat who was elected in 1974 and served six years before cancer forced her resignation.

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