The General Assembly has overridden seven of Gov. Rell’s vetoes, the most any legislature has overturned since the 1970s.
There were two really meaningful bills passed over the governor’s objections: the SustiNet board of directors bill and a bill that would require deficit disputes like the one between the governor’s office and the legislature this year to be settled by the comptroller.
On the one hand, the Democrats looked a lot more active than they have in a long while. It’s kind of a low bar, though.
But on the other hand, they could have done more. The second health care bill was defeated because Sen. Joan Hartley decided to kill the bill not by voting against it, but by leaving the building. Originally, 13 bills were possible overrides today.
Rell vetoed 20 bills this year.
So were there any winners today? Well, the Democratic leadership showed that it can hold the caucus together and accomplish something. However, the loss of the partnership bill is a blow, and the Democrats did not get as much done as was initially hoped.
The Republicans did not use parliamentary procedures to slow things down. But they didn’t accomplish anything at all, except that they stood and talked, and occupied a small number of chairs.
The majority of Gov. Rell’s vetoes survived the day, but she has had more vetoes overturned in a single session than any governor since the woeful Thomas Meskill. Plus, the one bill that really does take power from the executive branch, the bill that requires the comptroller to decide budget deficit disputes between the governor and legislature, passed.
Health care advocates did not really win, either. Sure, SustiNet passed. But the SustiNet bill is, to be frank, disappointing. It establishes a board of directors that will make recommendations to the legislature by the beginning of 2011. That’s it. It isn’t historic. It doesn’t actually establish anything useful. It can and probably will be ignored by the legislature in 2011–and that’s what bothers me.
Yes, it provides a framework. It’s a step. But it’s a very, very small step.
The pooling bill, which actually would have expanded coverage now, failed because Joan Hartley went home.
However, there were winners here today–600 janitors and their families will be allowed to keep their health care coverage.