Connecticut State Senate
|Connecticut State Senate|
|2015 session start:||January 7, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Nancy Wyman|
|Majority Leader:||Bob Duff (D)|
|Minority leader:||Leonard Fasano (R)|
Democratic Party (20)
Republican Party (15)Vacant (1)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art III, Section 1, Connecticut Constitution|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (36 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (36 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Legislature controls with optional Commission appointed by Legislature|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Senate Committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
As of January 2015, Connecticut is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.
Article III of the Connecticut Constitution establishes when the Connecticut State Legislature, which the Senate is a part of, is to be in session. Section 2 of Article III states that, in odd-numbered years, the Legislature shall convene its regular session on the Wednesday after the first Monday in January. Section 2 requires regular sessions in odd-numbered years to adjourn by the Wednesday after the first Monday in June.
The Constitution does not establish when the Legislature is supposed to meet in even-numbered years, so these dates are established by law. In even-numbered years, the Legislature convenes on the Wednesday following the first Monday in February, pending the decision of the Legislature, and it must adjourn by the Wednesday after the first Monday in May.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature is in session from January 7 through June 3.
Major issues during the 2015 legislative session include a projected state budget deficit, transportation infrastructure, job expansion, lowering electricity costs for consumers and domestic violence restraining orders.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from February 5 to May 7.
Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included the biennial state budget, gun control, mental health, police training and creating the Office of Early Childhood.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through June 5.
Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included restrictions on gun ownership, an increase to the minimum wage, labels on genetically modified foods, and the ability for illegal immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session from February 8 to May 9.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the Senate was in session from February 3rd to May 5th.
Role in state budget
- See also: Connecticut state budget
- Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in July.
- State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in September.
- Agency hearings are held in January.
- Public hearings are held from February through June.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in February.
- The legislature adopts a budget in May or June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget. Likewise, the legislature must adopt a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Connecticut was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: Following the Money 2014 Report
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Connecticut received a grade of B and a numerical score of 83, indicating that Connecticut was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Connecticut was given a grade of A in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- See also: Connecticut State Senate elections, 2014
Elections for the office of Connecticut State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 12, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was June 10, 2014.
- See also: Connecticut State Senate elections, 2012
Elections for the office of Connecticut State Senate were held in Connecticut on November 6, 2012. A total of 36 seats were up for election. The signature filing deadline was February 6, 2012 at 12 p.m. and the primary date was February 7, 2012.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Connecticut State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 13||Dante Bartolomeo||0.7%||39,589||Len Suzio|
|District 7||John A. Kissel||1.2%||43,856||Karen Jamoc|
|District 31||Jason Welch||2.2%||40,139||Dave Roche|
|District 19||Catherine A. Osten||3.1%||38,561||Christopher Coutu|
|District 24||Michael McLachlan||3.4%||35,842||Jason W. Bartlett|
|District 16||Joe Markley||4.4%||43,016||Corky Mazurek|
|District 33||Art Linares||5.4%||49,483||James Crawford|
|District 12||Edward Meyer||6.5%||48,624||Cindy Cartier|
|District 30||Clark J. Chapin||9.8%||43,186||William O. Riiska|
|District 4||Steve Cassano||13%||44,114||Cheri Ann Pelletier|
|District 34||Len Fasano||16.1%||41,960||Steve Fontana|
- See also: Connecticut State Senate elections, 2010
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was June 8 for candidates of either the Republican or Democratic parties and August 4 for independents. The primary Election Day was August 10, 2010.
In 2010, the total campaign contributions raised in senate elections was $5,157,062. The top 10 overall contributors were:
|2010 Donors, Connecticut State Senate|
|Senate Democrats Victory PAC||$42,651|
|Democrats for New Leadership||$38,520|
|Working Families Party||$14,853|
|Democratic Senate Majority PAC of Connecticut||$14,150|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of Connecticut||$11,412|
|Frantz, L Scott||$6,500|
|Senate Republican Majority Cmte of Connecticut||$5,195|
- See also: Connecticut State Senate elections, 2008
Elections for the office of Connecticut State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 12, 2008 and a general election on November 4, 2008.
During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $5,410,734. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Connecticut State Senate|
|Senate Democrats Victory PAC||$21,279|
|Democrats for New Leadership||$18,647|
|House Exploratory Cmte||$6,985|
|Democratic Senate Majority||$6,937|
|Bridgeport Democratic Town Cmte||$4,580|
|Simsbury Democratic Town Cmte||$4,393|
|Connecticut Education Association||$3,000|
|Afscme Council 4||$3,000|
|Michael Renzullo Senate Campaign||$2,543|
- See also: Connecticut State Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the office of Connecticut State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 8, 2006 and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $4,431,204. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Connecticut State Senate|
|Senate Republican Vision 21||$145,229|
|Lisman, Barbara L||$75,020|
|Connecticut Lawyers for Excellence in Government||$74,500|
|Cmte for a Democratic Senate Majority||$66,250|
|Senate Republican Golf Tournament Fund||$56,500|
|Connecticut Republican Party||$46,700|
|32 GOP PAC||$42,000|
- See also: Connecticut State Senate elections, 2004
Elections for the office of Connecticut State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 10, 2004 and a general election on November 2, 2004.
During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $4,416,892. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Connecticut State Senate|
|Connecticut Lawyers for Excellence in Government||$71,550|
|Meyer, Edward & Patricia R||$65,000|
|Aniskovich, William A||$50,200|
|Cmte for a Democratic Senate Majority||$45,500|
|Senate Democrats 2004||$39,200|
|32 GOP PAC||$36,600|
|Democrats for Connecticut||$36,000|
- See also: Connecticut State Senate elections, 2002
Elections for the office of Connecticut State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 10, 2002 and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $3,700,656. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Connecticut State Senate|
|Democrats in Progress||$89,528|
|Senate Democrats of Connecticut||$73,065|
|Connecticut Lawyers for Excellence in Government||$69,750|
|Senate Republican Golf Tournament Fund||$48,500|
|New Republican Majority Cmte||$45,783|
|People for Leadership||$43,508|
|Senate Republican Vision 21||$37,499|
|32 GOP PAC||$34,300|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of Connecticut||$25,578|
- See also: Connecticut State Senate elections, 2000
Elections for the office of Connecticut State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 12, 2000 and a general election on November 7, 2000.
During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $2,866,237. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Connecticut State Senate|
|Senate Democrats 2000||$74,750|
|Connecticut Lawyers for Excellence in Government||$70,250|
|New Republican Majority Cmte||$59,842|
|Senate Republican Vision 21||$49,035|
|Connecticut Republican Party||$46,527|
|People for Excellence in Government||$45,600|
|Democrats in Progress||$30,750|
|Senate Republican Golf Tournament Fund||$29,509|
|Senate Republican Leadership Cmte||$28,843|
Article III, Section 3 of the Connecticut Constitution states: The senate shall consist of not less than thirty and not more than fifty members, each of whom shall be an elector residing in the senatorial district from which he is elected. Each senatorial district shall be contiguous as to territory and shall elect no more than one senator.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the Senate, a special election must be conducted to fill the vacant seat. The Governor must call for an election no later than 10 days after the vacancy happened. All special elections must be held no later than 46 days after a Governor's declaration. If the vacancy happened with less than 125 days left before the general election, the special election must be held on the same day as the general election. No election can be called by the Governor if the vacancy happened with less than 49 days before the general election.
- See also: Redistricting in Connecticut
The General Assembly is responsible for redistricting. The legislature appoints a bipartisan committee to draw new maps, which are then presented to both chambers for a 2/3 majority vote. Should the legislature fail to meet its deadline, a nine-member commission is appointed to assume the task. Should the commission miss its own deadline, the task then falls on the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Connecticut's population grew 4.9% from 2000 to 2010. The Assembly failed to adopt a plan in time, and the commission that took over the process barely passed one in time itself, finishing a House map with two days to go, and a Senate map leaving just hours to spare.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of January 2015|
|Current Leadership, Connecticut State Senate|
|President of the Senate||Nancy Wyman|
|President Pro Tempore||Martin Looney||Democratic|
|State Senate Majority Leader||Bob Duff||Democratic|
|State Senate Minority Leader||Leonard Fasano||Republican|
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Connecticut legislature are paid $28,000 per year. They receive no per diem.
When sworn in
Connecticut legislators assume office the Wednesday following the first Monday of the January next succeeding their election.
- See also: General Assembly Committees
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Connecticut State Senate for 20 years while the Republicans were the majority for two years. The Connecticut State Senate is 1 of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the last 17 years of the study, the Connecticut senate was dominated by the Democratic party, with the final three years being Democratic trifectas.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Connecticut state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Between the years 1992 and 2005, Connecticut ranked in the top-10 in the SQLI ranking, in the top-5 for twelve of those thirteen years, and ranked 1st in 1992 and 1993. Beginning 2005, Connecticut dropped out of the top-10 and began a trend downward until hitting its lowest spot during the period of the study (33rd in 2012). Connecticut had divided government for eighteen years before having a Democratic trifecta in 2011. The state’s greatest decline in the SQLI ranking occurred between 2011 and 2012, when Connecticut dropped fourteen spots in the rankings. Connecticut has never had a Republican trifecta between 1992 and 2012.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 26.00
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 6.63
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed January 6, 2014
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- Connecticut General Assembly, "Length of terms of Connecticut State Senators," accessed December 16, 2013
- Session Scheduling Rules website and Connecticut Constitution, Article III, Section 2
- The Register Citizen, "Connecticut budget deficit, transportation among top session issues," January 4, 2015
- Washington Examiner, "Expected issues for 2014 Conn. legislative session," February 2, 2014
- ctmirror.org, "Winners and Losers from the 2013 legislative session," June 6, 2013
- StateScape, State Legislative Snapshot," accessed June30, 2011
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money: "Connecticut Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money, "Connecticut 2008 Candidates," accessed July 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Connecticut 2006 Candidates," accessed July 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Connecticut 2004 Candidates," accessed July 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Connecticut 2002 Candidates," accessed July 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Connecticut 2000 Candidates," accessed July 5, 2013
- Connecticut General Assembly, "Connecticut General Statutes," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 9-215(a), Connecticut General Statutes)
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
State of Connecticut
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