HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to close out the legislative session for the last time in his gubernatorial career.
For the two-term Democrat, who is not seeking re-election in November, the traditional post-legislative session address to the General Assembly shortly after midnight, early Thursday, will mark a milestone in his complicated relationship with the General Assembly.
While he has been able to work with lawmakers to pass measures like the bipartisan gun control bill following the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, he also has clashed at times with lawmakers over how best to handle the state’s long-running budget problems, which are expected to continue after he leaves office in January.
“It’s very hard to change his mind when he thinks he’s right. But he does care deeply,” said Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz of Berlin, who said he thinks “it’s important that (Malloy) closes out his career, talking to us in the Legislature.”
Aresimowicz credits Malloy with making structural changes to state government, noting how none were “all that politically popular” but will put the state on better fiscal footing in the future.
“Having that job is not easy for anybody, regardless of their political party and what they tried to do,” Aresimowicz said.
Malloy’s final session-closing address comes days before Republicans and Democrats will meet over the next two weekends to endorse candidates who might replace him in January. It also comes as GOP contenders already have begun referencing Malloy in campaign advertising and speeches, capitalizing on his low public approval ratings.
Despite his lame-duck status, Malloy proposed a range of legislation this session that touches on everything from criminal justice to clean energy. The House of Representatives on Wednesday, for example, passed a bill that will refocus the use of special parole on high-risk, violent and sexual offenders instead of non-violent ones. The House also gave final legislative approval to a measure Malloy supported that implements a plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 45 percent by 2030 and require more planning for rising sea levels due to climate change.
“He’s a very hardworking man,” said House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby. “He believes passionately in the things he believes in, but unfortunately those things aren’t necessarily things we believe in and the approach of how he does it may not be the most effective. And I think that that’s probably what the biggest issue was (with the Legislature).”