Cats aren’t the only things with nine lives.
Last session the General Assembly killed two bills, which would have allowed child- and personal-care workers to organize. Recently, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy resurrected them as Executive Orders 9 and 10 -- a move that some area lawmakers argue usurped legislative power.
Under Executive Order No. 9, certain family child care providers who receive subsidies through the state-run Care 4 Kids program may elect a "majority representative" to hold nonbinding discussions with the Department of Social Services regarding quality of care, pay and benefits.
Executive Order No. 10 created a seven-member Personal Care Attendant Quality Home Care Workforce Council, comprised of the three state officials and four governor appointees, to study training, retention and compensation for personal care attendants.
State Sen. Joe Markley, a Republican representing several towns in the 16th Senate District which includes Cheshire and Southington, slammed the move.
“I am outraged by the governor’s high-handed action. The legislature heard extensive testimony on this proposal, with strong opposition from both clients and caregivers,” Markley, a ranking member of the Human Services Committee, said in a written statement. “The heartfelt objections were enough to kill the bill, despite a Democratic majority generally sympathetic to the unions. Now–in an effort to placate the unions–Governor Malloy has taken it on himself to implement a policy the legislature wouldn’t pass. This is not government by the people through their elected representatives, but by one man who does not recognize the proper limits of executive power.”
However, the orders only codify the principle that workers have the right to organize, Malloy said in a statement released with both Executive Orders.
"I have said repeatedly that I believe in the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain, and personal care attendants and family child care providers are often-times the hardest-working, and lowest-paid workers in our job force," Malloy said.
That may be true, but it pushes the envelope, said state Rep. Kim Fawcett, a Democrat representing Fairfield and Westport in the 133rd House District.
“It’s a sort of balancing act,” Fawcett said. “We need to have a strong executive leader who is willing to take a position but at the same time if something was already controversial it was controversial for a reason. He needs to stop and look at it and be more thoughtful and respect the deliberate process of the legislature.”
Andrew McDonald, General Counsel to Malloy, said it’s incorrect to say the governor is overstepping.
“The EOs [Executive Orders] only address those aspects of the legislation, which pertain to executive branch functions. Those parts which would require legislative action were left out because the legislature did not adopt them,” McDonald said.
That position didn’t stop the Hartford-based grass-roots organization We the People of Connecticut from petitioning the General Assembly on Oct. 17 to hold an “official bipartisan inquiry into the unconstitutionality of Executive Orders #9 and #10, and to take whatever action is necessary to have the Orders amended to conform with the rule of law, or, to be rescinded, effective immediately.”
2 + 2 =? EDUCATION COST SHARING
The application for Race to the Top is signed, sealed and on its way. Now legislators are again turning their attention to other education issues facing the Nutmeg State, including Education Cost Sharing, or ECS.
In short, ECS is a formula that determines how money is divided by school district. It is supposed to provide equal educational opportunity by considering differences in student need and towns' ability to pay. According to Connecticut Voices for Children, “The ECS funding formula uses a measure of wealth that is distorted by outdated and misleading sources of data. It is partially based on a measure of town wealth that uses income data from Census 2000 (1999 income).”
PILOT PROGRAM FOR VETERANS
Two lawmakers want to launch a pilot program in Connecticut to hire veterans to perform residential energy efficiency work as part of airport noise mitigation efforts.
There’s a 11.5 percent unemployment rate among veterans nationwide, according to Democrats state Rep. Timothy Larson, who represents East Hartford and South Windsor in the 11th House District and state Sen. Carlo Leone, who represents Darien and Stamford in the 27th Senate District
That’s more than two percent higher than the national unemployment rate. Of those, 20 percent of young veterans under age 25 are unemployed. The proposed Leone-Larson program hopes to find jobs for military veterans by adding energy efficiency work to sound abatement projects in neighborhoods near airports.
“The FAA has funding available for residential noise mitigation and there are a lot of similarities with energy efficiency work such as insulation and sealing air leaks that make it a natural fit,” said Larson, who is also executive director of New Haven’s Tweed Airport. “So, we’re saying why don’t we also add funding from existing energy efficiency programs and leverage the opportunity to create jobs for our deserving veterans?”