Rep. O’Neill sent the following letter to the editor of the Waterbury Republican-American for publication on July 12.
“Democrats Forced Governor to Veto Condo Legislation”
By Rep. Arthur J. O’Neill, Southbury
I want to thank Republican-American staff writer Paul Hughes for his July 4 article regarding Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s veto of legislation I sponsored during the 2012 session to reform how condominiums vote on budgets.
I would like to explain the history of the legislation. I originally proposed Bill 5511, with Sen. Rob Kane, R-32nd District, to reform the current unfair voting system to more fairly provide for a majority of condominium owners voting to reject a budget. The original proposal to the Judiciary Committee applied to all condominiums throughout Connecticut, thus extending this protection to all unit owners. The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over condominium laws.
Provisions making it easier for condominiums to borrow money for capital projects were added at the urging of Judiciary Committee Democrats. Agreeing to include the Democrats’ proposal enabled our original proposal to be approved by the committee, reported to the House, and placed on the calendar. However, while the bill was awaiting a vote, the House Democratic leadership demanded the budget rejection provisions be limited to Heritage Village. It was made clear that unless the bill was amended to comply with this demand, the bill would not be called to a vote. Consequently, upon agreement, the amended bill unanimously passed the House and Senate and went to the governor.
Gov. Malloy’s veto message suggested the budget rejection provision limited to Heritage Village — the provision upon which the Democratic leadership insisted — was too limiting. He further indicated his objection to the provisions making it easier for condominiums to borrow money for capital projects. The parts of the bill the Democratic governor disliked were the parts of the bill upon which the Democrats in the House and Judiciary Committee insisted, and which were not part of the language I originally created.
In his veto message, Gov. Malloy wrote: “Raised Bill 5511 contained language that would have allowed a majority of unit owners voting to reject such a (budget) proposal … the raised bill contained needed protections for unit owners. …” I agree. My original language contained in raised Bill 5511, before amendment, was the appropriate language containing appropriate protections for all unit owners throughout Connecticut.
It is deeply ironic that the very amendments to the bill to address concerns of Democratic legislators were what caused the Democratic governor’s veto. I only wish the governor’s office had contacted me to let me know about his concerns while the bill was being written. I certainly hope they will work with me next year to enact reforms we agree are fair.
The writer represents Bridgewater, Roxbury, Washington and part of Southbury in the House.