The 2015 session of the General Assembly begins on Wednesday, January 7, with the New Year bringing many changes in the legislature and governor’s administration--and familiar challenges in a state budget deficit and the need to rev up Connecticut’s economy.
Governor Malloy will open the legislative session with the traditional “state of the state” address outlining his goals for Connecticut and setting up themes for his budget proposal expected in early February.
During the session which will run from January to midnight on Wednesday, June 3, lawmakers will adopt a new, two-year state budget--a daunting task given recent projections of a budget gap that could be more than $1 billion in each of the next two fiscal years.
Changes in Gov. Malloy’s Administration
Most of the governor’s administration is staying on in their leadership roles but several changes have taken place so far.
Leaving the governor’s administration before his second term begins are communications director Andrew Doba, general counsel Luke Bronin, Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein, Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi, and Administrative Services Commissioner Donald DeFronzo.
Thus far, it is known that Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Melody Currey will succeed DeFronzo at DAS, leaving the motor vehicles post open, and Mark Bergman has become the governor’s new communications director.
The other positions have not as yet been filled, and more personnel changes are possible in the administration.
Changes in Legislature
In the legislature, there will be many new faces in the Senate and House, with changes, too, in caucus and committee leadership posts.
The State Senate will have 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans; and in the House, 87 Democrats and 64 Republicans. Republicans gained one Senate seat and 10 House seats in the November elections.
The election results bring 33 new lawmakers to the legislature because of incumbents deciding not to run again, choosing to run for other office, or being defeated.
What’s more, there are significant changes in legislative leadership, including several new committee chairs.
In the Senate, former majority leader Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) will be the new president pro tem, and Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) the new majority leader. Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) will be the new minority leader.
The House leadership again includes Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden), and House Majority Leader Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin). But Rep. Themis Klarides (R- Derby) will be the first woman GOP minority leader.
Most of the key work in the first months of the legislature takes place in committees, with many under new leaders, including the Aging, Commerce, Education, Environment, Energy and Technology, Executive Nominations, General Law, Government Administration and Elections, Higher Education, Housing, Human Services, Public Safety, and Veterans committees.
Here are the new committee leadership assignments:
Now that the legislative session is beginning, it’s very important for citizens to stay engaged in the issues driving Connecticut’s economic recovery and competitiveness.
CBIA will release its 2015 legislative agenda at the Capitol in early January, identifying the top issues impacting Connecticut’s economy and competitiveness and opportunities for improving both.