OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5533

AN ACT CONCERNING VACANCIES IN CERTAIN TOWN OFFICES AND MINORITY REPRESENTATION.

SUMMARY:

With two exceptions, this bill requires towns holding November municipal elections in odd-numbered years to include on the ballot elective positions for municipal boards and commissions that are vacant on the September 1st before the election. It exempts legislative bodies and regional and local boards of education from this requirement.

The bill's provisions appear to supersede various statutes that prescribe the method for filling different municipal board and commission vacancies (e. g. , appointment or special election). In the case of a special election, the law establishes a calendar that allows for party endorsements and a primary (often beginning several months before the election). It is unclear whether the bill would provide adequate time for endorsements and a primary or when they would have to occur. It is also unclear whether a vacancy would be included on a November ballot even if special election procedures had been initiated earlier.

The bill also makes a technical change for minority representation purposes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

BACKGROUND

Minority Representation

The minority representation law restricts the maximum number of members of one political party who can serve on certain state and municipal boards and commissions. Once candidates from the same political party fill the maximum allowable slots, the highest vote getters from any other party or parties, or unaffiliated candidates, fill the remaining positions. The table below provides the minority representation requirement.

Total Membership

Maximum from One Party

3

2

4

3

5

4

6

4

7

5

8

5

9

6

More than 9

Two-thirds of total membership

COMMITTEE ACTION

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

15

Nay

0

(03/29/2012)