Paid Family Medical Leave Clears Senate Despite Veto Threat

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont says he'll veto a proposal creating a paid family medical leave program, saying the current version of the bill is too "top heavy" with bureaucracy and requires further negotiations.

The Democrat said Wednesday he was surprised to hear the Democratic-controlled Senate was considering voting on the bill in its current form. 

"What I learned about this bill gives me real pause. To me we are starting up a $400 million company, a big, new insurance program and the idea that it’s going to be led by this top heavy, bureaucracy," Lamont said.

The Democratic-controlled Connecticut Senate has advanced legislation creating a paid family medical leave insurance program, despite the veto threat.

The bill passed 21-15 Wednesday and now awaits action in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Lamont is not ruling out a vote on a revised bill in a special session. He has already called for a special session vote on electronic highway tolls.

"We talked about it yesterday with the leadership on both sides of the aisle and I was a little surprised they are running with the bill this quickly. I think we needed another round of negotiations to make sure it’s done in a way that works and right now I don’t think it’s going to work," Lamont said.

Under the bill, FML benefits would be funded through a 0.5 percent payroll tax on every Connecticut employee. Individuals could use the money to take up to 12 weeks off from work to care for a loved one or newborn.

“This is critically important for families in Connecticut many of whom are very much living without a net,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney. “Being out of work for a week or two can be catastrophic for many families.”

Democratic lawmakers say they're hopeful Lamont will ultimately sign the bill. Republicans vow to prevent an override of Lamont's veto.

"I applaud governor for standing up and saying if you're going to do a bill you've got to do it right and this is not the right bill," Republican leader Sen. Len Fasano said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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