The Connecticut General Assembly
OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH
December 20, 1994 94-R-1123
FROM: Daniel J. Duffy, Principal Analyst
RE: Committee Procedures for Executive Nominations
You asked for a summary of the statutes and rules governing legislative confirmation of nominees for department heads and for a description of the Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations procedures to hear and confirm nominees.
March 1 is the legal deadline for the governor to appoint all department heads with the advice and consent of either house of the General Assembly (CGS § 4-2). If an appointment is not made by the deadline, the incumbent may serve until March 10.
A "department head" is: the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management; the commissioners of Administrative Services, Revenue Services, Banking, Children and Families, Consumer Protection, Correction, Economic Development, State Board of Education, Environmental Protection, Agriculture, Public Health and Addiction Services, Housing, Insurance, Labor, Liquor Control, Mental Health, Public Safety, Social Services, Mental Retardation, Motor Vehicles, Transportation, Public Works, Veterans' Affairs; and the Chairperson of the Public Utilities Control Authority (CGS § 4-5, as amended by PA 93-91, PA 93-262, and PA 93-381).
February 1 is the statutory deadline for the governor to submit his nominations for department heads to either house. The house must "immediately refer the nominations to its committee on executive nominations." The committee must report by resolution within 15 calendar days of the referral.
The house that received the nomination must confirm or reject the committee's report within 10 calendar days of receiving the committee's report. If confirmed, the nominee takes office on March 1 (CGS § 4-7(a)).
If the house rejects the nomination before March 1, the governor must follow the procedure for nominating department heads for vacancies occurring while the legislature is in session. This procedure has different deadlines. The governor must submit his nomination to either house within 30 days of the vacancy occurring. The house must immediately refer the nomination to its committee on executive nominations, which must report within 10 legislative days. The house then has 30 calendar days to act on the committee's report.
If a vacancy occurs before March 1 during the first session following the election of a new governor, the nominee may exercise the powers and duties of his office as a designate until the nomination is confirmed or rejected (CGS § 4-7(b)).
If a vacancy occurs when the legislature is not in session, or if there are fewer than 30 calendar days left before the session's constitutional adjournment date, the governor fills the vacancy until the sixth Wednesday of the next session. At the start of that session he must submit the name to either house. That house must follow the procedure for filling vacancies occurring while it is in session (CGS § 4-7(c)).
A nominee who has been rejected by either house may not serve in the office during the term of the house which rejected him (CGS § 4-7(d)).
Committee Membership and Jurisdiction
The rules establish the Joint Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations. It is not one of the standing committees divided into Group A or Group B. The committee consists of six Senators and 17 Representatives: the Senate majority and minority leaders or their designees, three Senators appointed by the President Pro Tempore, one Senator appointed by the Senate minority leader, the House majority and minority leaders or their designees, nine representatives appointed by the Speaker, and six representatives appointed by the House minority leader.
All nominations requiring action of either or both houses, except judicial and workers' compensation commissioner nominations, are referred to the committee (JR 3).
The committee's favorable reports must be tabled for the calendar and printed by number and title only. The report may be accepted and the resolution adopted after it has appeared on the calendar for two days (JR 17).
All unfavorably reported nomination resolutions must be printed by the Legislative Commissioners without correction or approval. They must be placed on the calendar under the heading "Unfavorable Reports." If the unfavorable report is rejected, the resolution may be acted on immediately (JR 20).
Nominations for department head are made by letter sent by the governor to either chamber. The Senate clerk receives it and sends it to the committee on the same day. The committee also receives from the governor's office: the nominee's resume, responses to a questionnaire completed by the nominee, and a letter stating that the State Police conducted a background check and found no information indicating that the nominee is unsuitable.
The packet of information relating to Susan Addiss's nomination is enclosed. Commissioner Addiss had been the Commissioner of Health Services. She was being nominated for the new position of Commissioner of Public Health and Addiction Services, created when certain health agencies were combined. As the governor was filling a vacancy and the committee had to report within 10 legislative days. It held a public hearing on February 22 and voted on the nomination on March 1. Because the governor sent the nomination to the Senate, only the Senators voted on the report.