January 26, 2007
DUAL JOB BAN
By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney
You asked for the history of the dual job ban. Specifically, you wanted to know when the law was enacted and a summary of any amendments to it.
Connecticut has both a constitutional and statutory ban against legislators accepting or holding positions or offices in the executive or judicial branch, in Congress, or with the federal government. The difference between the two so-called “dual job bans” is that the constitutional ban also covers positions in county government. The statutory ban was amended to delete references to the now non-existent county government. Another difference is that the statutory ban, with one exception, also prohibits legislators from accepting any other position or office in the legislative branch.
Both bans apply to legislators during the term for which they were elected. This means that a legislator cannot take one of the prohibited jobs before his term expires even if he resigns his legislative office.
The statutory dual job ban was enacted in 1951, but was not effective until the January, 1953 legislative session. Five years later, in 1958, the ban was added to the constitution and later adopted as part of the 1965 constitution.
The statutory ban has been amended four times. Most of the amendments limited its application.
DUAL JOB BAN
Article III, Section 11 of the Connecticut Constitution reads as follows:
No member of the General Assembly shall, during the term for which he is elected, hold or accept any appointive position or office in the judicial or executive department of the state government, or in the courts of the political subdivisions of the state, or in the government of any county. No member of congress, no person holding any office under the authority of the United States and no person holding any office in the judicial or executive department of the state government or in the government of any county shall be a member of the General Assembly during his continuance in such office.
Section 2-5 of the Connecticut General Statutes similarly imposes the dual job ban and provides:
No member of the General Assembly shall, during the term for which he is elected, be nominated or appointed by the Governor, the General Assembly or any other appointing authority of this state or serve or be elected to any position in the Judicial, Legislative or Executive Department of the state government including any commission established by any special or public act of the General Assembly, except that the provisions of this section shall not apply where it is expressly provided by law that a member of the General Assembly as such shall be nominated or appointed to any board, commission, council or other agency in the legislative department, and except that the provisions of this section shall not apply to a member-elect.
In 1951, the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on four bills proposing restrictions on other public positions members of the General Assembly could hold. Hearing testimony reveals that there were some differences of opinion as to whether the restrictions should extend to judges of probate, justices of the peace, justices of local courts, or town offices. But, applicability to other positions was not raised as an issue. Representative Louis Shapiro, a sponsor of one of the bills, said:
I think the feeling has become predominant that those who serve in the General Assembly should not use their position in the General Assembly to secure appointments in the state government. Judiciary Committee Proc., 1951, Sess. March 13, 1951, p. 2.
In response to a question about the intended application of the ban, Representative Shapiro stated:
Any appointment in so far as the General Assembly is concerned whereby compensation is involved, where an appointment is made and may involve many positions of influence, I think the intent is that it ought to be included. Judiciary Committee Proc., 1951 Sess. March 13, 1951, p. 3.
When explaining the bill in the Senate, Senator Benjamin M. Leipner, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, remarked that it covers appointment “to any position in the judicial, legislative or executive departments of the state government...” Senate Proc. 1951 Sess., p. 247.
In the House, Representative Shapiro stated that the “full intent and the full purport of the dual job ban … was so final that no member of the assembly could obtain an appointment over which the assembly or the governor had the power of appointment” H.R. Proc., 1951 Sess., p. 587.
STATE SUPREME COURT ON THE DUAL JOB BAN
The state Supreme Court considered the meaning of the term “position” as that term is used in the dual job ban (Stolberg v. Caldwell, 175 Conn. 586 (1978)). Its opinion turned on the question of whether employment in another government branch was included in the meaning of the term.
The plaintiff in the case filed a mandamus action seeking to compel the state comptroller to pay him back salary earned as a geography professor at Southern Connecticut University. The comptroller had withheld payment on the advice of the state attorney general that Stolberg's dual function violated the constitutional dual job ban.
In reaching its conclusion that the constitutional dual job ban prohibited the plaintiff's simultaneous employment as a legislator and professor, the Court addressed the issue of the scope of the prohibition in Article III, Section 11. Finding no definition of the term “appointive position” in the constitution or statutes, the Court looked to the dictionary and concluded that the term was clearly intended to encompass state employment generally (175 Conn. at 594).
AMENDMENTS TO THE STATUTORY BAN
The statutory ban has been amended four times, beginning in 1959. We summarize each amendment separately below.
This act eliminated a prohibition against a selectman appointing a member of the general assembly as a trial justice or prosecuting grand juror during his term of legislative office.
This act removed a prohibition against members of the General Assembly running as a candidate for (or serving as) probate court judge during his legislative term of office.
This act specified that the ban covered appointments and nominations to commissions established by special or public act. It also made technical changes.
This act exempted members-elect to the General Assembly from the ban.