Is Gov’s Executive Order legal?

Governor Malloy talks about the state budget. (WTNH/ Kevin Pflaumer)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Day 96 with no state budget and there are now questions about the Governor’s legal authority to run the state by Executive Order. News 8 previously reported that the state’s largest teachers union was going to court to stop the Governor, and now, the state Attorney General says the Governor’s authority is legally vague.

Does Governor Malloy have the legal authority to be dispersing state education funding to cities like Hartford and New Haven while withholding funding from dozens of other cities and towns under his Executive Order? Attorney General George Jepsen concludes that this is legally somewhat cloudy because the only court decision in such a matter is 125-years-old and that a court decision, “cannot be predicted with certainty.”

A court decision could come as the state’s largest teacher union is going to court seeking an injunction to stop Gov. Malloy’s Executive Order, saying it will cause massive disruptions for teachers, students and public school systems. Several towns have agreed to join the case.

Related Content: Connecticut Education Association suing Governor Malloy

Senate Republican leader Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) asked the Attorney General for the opinion on the Executive Order and stated, “I think the Governor’s orders are in very serious legal trouble.
I think the teachers association see it as being in legal trouble so they’re going to commence an action.”

The Governor acknowledges he’s in what he called a “grey” legal area because there’s very little legal precedent to go on, but added,  “What else am I going to do? I could not spend any money but I think that would be far more damaging to the state.”

He also said the teachers union is well within their rights to go to court, but he predicted any judge will also have hard time grappling with this, saying, “It will be very difficult for a court to enjoin my decisions because there is no formula for the distribution of those dollars.”

Related Content: Will bipartisan honeymoon hold up bipartisan state budget?

The Governor also said Wednesday that the state budget stalemate is now impacting the state’s ability to attract businesses and jobs and even hinted it could impact the decision by Amazon to locate its second headquarters.

Sen. Fasano stated,  “I think starting Nov. 1 it becomes a very precarious financial position for many towns in the state of Connecticut.”

Legislative leaders are meeting with the Governor again Thursday morning, but prospects for a budget deal before Friday the 13th look dim.

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