Legislative Update: November 4, 2016
Friday, November 4, 2016
Posted by: Connecticut Bar Association
Pre-Election and the Attorney Effect
November 9, 2016 creates a world of change at the Connecticut State Capitol.
Very shortly after the election, the General Assembly caucuses will meet to choose their leaders. By the beginning of December, the names of committee chairs, vice chairs, and ranking members will leak out. Budget will be the main concern of this session.
With one resignation at the end of the session, Senate Republicans need six additional seats to gain the Senate. They could gain up to five by beating incumbents and taking a vacant seat last held by a Democrat, but then they may also lose an incumbent Republican. In a tie, the Lieutenant. Governor breaks any logjam.
For the 36-member Senate, there are nine attorneys running, with likely eight being elected. There were eight attorneys in the Senate last session. If the Democrats maintain control, Sen. Martin Looney (an attorney from New Haven) would remain President Pro Tempore with Sen. Bob Duff (real estate agent from Norwalk) as Majority Leader.
The Speaker of the House is elected by the 151-member House of Representatives. Presently, there are 86 Democrats and 64 Republicans, with one vacancy through the death of Mary Fritz of Wallingford. It takes 76 members of one party to create the majority party. The majority party identifies a significant amount of members as deputies, assistant House leaders, and committee leadership, which all come with more money, and obviously more political clout. Each committee would create four Democratic leadership positions (two House and two Senate) and two Republican leadership positions (one from each chamber), if the Democrats maintain their leadership.
Since Brendan Sharkey, the Speaker of the House, is retiring, the proposed Speaker is Joe Aresimowicz from Berlin, and Matt Ritter of Hartford would be the Majority Leader. All committee leadership seats are open, though some less than others. Those who have helped the caucus elect members get favored appointed legislative roles. In this election, 31 of those running in the House are attorneys. There were 24 elected attorneys in last session's House; five of them are not running this time. There could be up to 25 attorneys elected this session.