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Malloy Applauded For Progressive Session at D.C. Talk

by Hugh McQuaid | Oct 21, 2011 2:01pm
(8) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Business, Health Care, Labor

Screen grab of live stream

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s approval rating may be low here in Connecticut but he was popular at a Washington D.C. conference Friday where he got a round of applause after listing the progressive laws he signed this year.

The discussion, streamed live on the Internet, was hosted by the Center for American Progress and centered around the passage of paid sick day law. This year Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass a law mandating some employers provide paid time off for workers when they are ill.

But Malloy was asked by the forum’s moderator, Center for American Progress president and CEO John Podesta, to talk about the other progressive legislation Connecticut adopted during his first year in office.

“Being the first Democrat elected as governor in the state of Connecticut in 20 years, I felt an obligation to fulfill as many of the promises that I had made as quickly as possible and ultimately not to use the excuse of the largest per capita deficit in the nation as a reason not to do those things,” he said.

He was ready to rattle off a list of his progressive accomplishments which included, the state’s new earned income tax credit program, which is the third most robust of its kind in the country.

The state also decriminalized small amounts of marijuana this year, as well as passing a law which provides in-state public college tuition rates to undocumented Connecticut students, Malloy said.

Another new law outlawed discrimination against transgendered individuals, he said. The state also began implementing the earned risk reduction credit program in the Department of Correction, designed to reduce prisoner recidivism, he said.

He concluded his list by pointing to his executive order that provides a path for state child care workers and personal care attendants to unionize.

“So it was, I think, a pretty progressive agenda,” he said.

He and the other panelists, including Seattle City Council Member Nick Licata and restaurant owner Andy Shallal, suggested that the national economic downturn made enacting progressive laws more important than ever.

Malloy said getting many of the bills passed was not an easy process. That applied especially to the paid sick days bill which was bitterly contested by conservatives and business associations, who viewed the bill as a symbol of state’s unfriendliness to businesses.

The governor said he had to put some political capital behind the bill, which passed narrowly in both legislative chambers.

“I had to walk on to the floor, not during a session, but I had to walk on to the floor of the statehouse to remind some people of commitments they had made previously before the vote was taken,” he said.

Licata, who helped get a paid sick days ordinance passed in Seattle, said it was accomplished there by negotiating with the business community. He said initially businesses were against the notion but after negotiations about a dozen small restaurants agreed to support the ordinance. The city council eventually passed it eight to one, he said.

By contrast, Malloy admitted Connecticut restaurant owners wanted nothing to do with the paid sick days bill.

“I made repeated attempts to involve the restaurant industry in discussions and they just didn’t want to come to the table. I shouldn’t say everyone didn’t want to come to the table but the association didn’t. And so we passed it without any meaningful discussions with that community,” he said.

Nicole Griffin, who represents the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said that wasn’t the case.

“I would argue that the administration and legislators who supported the bill from the get-go did not want to hear what makes this bill so difficult for restaurant employers,” she said.

Restaurant owners do not want their employees coming to work sick and that generally doesn’t happen, she said. The industry already has a working system where sick staff members switch shifts with other employees, making the law unnecessary, she said.

“We never saw hundreds of restaurant employees coming to the Capitol and begging for this bill,” she said.

Kia Murrell,  assistant counsel for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said since the passage of the bill, CBIA has been holding forums across the state to help businesses make sure they are in compliance when the law takes effect in January. Many are still unhappy about the the new mandate, she said.

“Many employers are still recovering and having paid sick days on the books is one more disincentive to expanding their businesses,” she said.

Murrell said the forums are important because the law was poorly drafted and contains a number of gray areas that require clarifications. No businesses should penalized for inadvertently not complying with the mandate, she said. Because Connecticut is the only state to have a paid sick days requirement there are no preexisting guidelines or protocols to guide businesses, she said. Public officials should work together with businesses to craft solutions that prevent employers from becoming test cases in enforcing the law, she said.

“Don’t assume employers are going to do the wrong thing. Assume employers want to do the right thing,” she said.

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(8) Comments

posted by: Careful | October 21, 2011  3:44pm

Although the people, and the unions elected Gov. Malloy—he does not reflect the views and sentiment of state residents and business.  Malloy is in a “power-cloud of his own!.”

posted by: Disgruntled | October 21, 2011  3:51pm

I want my state officials in their offices M-F,not running around looking for face time and tooting their own horn.
As for John Podesta,he is a slimy lobbiest for WalMart,BP,Lockheed, and the like…so much for his concept of “progress”.  If he JUST concentrated on his passion of exposing the truth about UFO’s I guess I would not consider him to be such a fraud!
Dan. There is plenty of work to do in Hartford. Your track record speaks for itself. Quit doing the Chris Shays thing and do what you are paid to do—IN HARTFORD!

posted by: eastrivertype | October 21, 2011  4:57pm

Now there is a list of accomplishments that should really turn around job creation in CT.  Employers should be flocking to CT with those as the Governor’s priorities.  Can you say last in job creation for the next 20 years?

posted by: ... | October 22, 2011  6:08pm

...

Well of course restaurant employees are not going to put their face to it. They’re are plenty of restaurant employees who are busy worrying about making ends meet (and affording healthcare). They’re not gonna add on their stress/worries wondering whether or not if they expressed a favorable opinion on paid sick days, would their bosses fire them.

Plenty of other workers (not just restaurants) are affected and did testify as citizens during these public hearings.

posted by: Gardenella | October 23, 2011  9:30pm

Now, he’s got to continue moving forward safe affordable health care for all residents of CT.Then he’ll get support,big time!

posted by: Careful | October 24, 2011  11:22am

Gardenella:  Isn’t Gov. Malloy moving forward with a safe affordable healthcare - the same hoax given us by Pres. Obama—with ObamaCare?

And, Malloy is a touted Obama supporter—to boot.

posted by: counting it up | October 24, 2011  8:59pm

After attending a small business forum in Hartford a couple of weeks ago, I went away so depressed.  Small business is being choked out by this guys policies.  It is so sad and our state is in so much trouble.  After he hit us with his “retro” tax increase, then the paid sick day thing, and now increased unemployment insurance, even if no one was ever laid off in a company…it is tragic and he is driving businesses away.  By doing that, he is making jobs even harder to find.  He is really a disaster.  No wonder the drones in DC liked what he had to say.  Many of them are all about the “redistribution of wealth” and could not care less what happens to popele as long as they keep getting elected.

posted by: Careful | October 25, 2011  11:17am

counting it up: I’m glad to read the thoughts of a person with common sense, like you.  Our Connecticut voters, unfortunately did not exhibit any common sense—on the past Election Day—when they placed a career-politician in the Governor’s chair—and disgarded the businessman we needed to turn the state around.  All of Governor Malloy’s moves to date have been disastrous for the future of the State of Connecticut.  We voted in a free-spending political hack into office—and we will be paying for the poor voting judgement, big time, and passing along the mistake to our grand-children to try rectify.

And we get no salvation from our clueless Democratic General Assembly—who are “rubber-stamps for big-time-deficit-spending.”

“We are sinking in quick-sand, with our lack of state leadership!”