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AG Tells GOP Senate Leader Fasano: Can’t Predict How Malloy Orders Would Stand in Court

October 4, 2017 By Staff
AG Tells GOP Senate Leader Fasano: Can’t Predict How Malloy Orders Would Stand in Court

After Senate GOP leader Len Fasano asked the attorney general for an opinion on Malloy's executive orders, the attorney general wrote an opinion full of caution.

On Monday, Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven), asking Attorney General George Jepsen (D-Conn.) for his legal opinion on the executive orders of Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.).

With the governor vetoing the state budget passed by the legislature with bipartisan support, his executive order continues to operate and will lead to severe reductions in school funding to many towns and cities this month. Therefore, it is pressing that your office provides an opinion on this order as requested over a month ago.

Since the governor has now vetoed the legislature’s budget, it is imperative that lawmakers know whether or not his executive order is in fact legal, or if these changes violate statutory mandates which would require legislative approval.

Fasano asked, in particular, if Malloy can “[u]nilaterally” reduce special education grants, withhold funding from the Municipal Revenue Sharing Program (MRSP) the state runs with towns, and “adjust the motor vehicle mill rate tax cap.”

Jepsen’s response, which came on Tuesday? Malloy is “making reasonable and prudent choices,” but the attorney general’s office does not know how they would hold up in court.

In conclusion, we must reiterate the cautionary observations we offered at the outset. The Governor is confronted with making very difficult decisions in the face of the legislature’s continued inability to enact a budget, and it is apparent that he has attempted to meet that challenge by making reasonable and prudent choices.

Of course, Malloy would be able to stop making these choices if he signed the GOP-led budget that passed both chambers with bipartisan support last month. He vetoed that budget last week.

Jepsen went on:

We cannot predict with any reasonable certainty how a court, applying the imprecise guidance of a case from the late nineteenth century, would ultimately resolve these difficult questions, and the Governor’s actions may be defensible in a court challenge.

There is a budget, already passed by members of both parties in both chambers, ready to go. Will Malloy and Democratic leaders in the legislature act on it?