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Court Rejects Suit Over Connecticut Care Workers

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Governor Dannel Malloy (Courtesy CT-N)

Governor Dannel Malloy (Courtesy CT-N)

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By DAVE COLLINS,  Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The Connecticut Appellate Court on Monday dismissed a lawsuit that accused Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of exceeding his authority and violating the state constitution when he allowed low-paid day care and home health care workers to join labor unions in 2011.

A three-judge panel of the state’s second-highest court ruled the lawsuit by several care providers and the nonpartisan constitutional rights group We the People of Connecticut Inc. was moot, because the legislature approved a law in 2012 giving the workers the right to join a union. The judges upheld a decision by Hartford Superior Court Judge James Graham dismissing the lawsuit in October 2012.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer vowed Monday to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

“We’re seeking to make our government officials abide by the … the constitution and not overstep their bounds,” said Deborah Stevenson, a Southbury attorney representing the care providers and We the People of Connecticut. “Does the constitution mean anything or not? Does the separation of powers mean anything or not?”

At issue were executive orders Malloy issued in September 2011 that authorized a process by which day care and home health care workers could decide whether to join a union. After the orders– but before the legislature approved the 2012 law– day care and home health care workers voted to join unions.

Republican lawmakers, including Southington Sen. Joseph Markley and Wolcott Rep. Rob Sampson, also sued the Democratic governor, saying his orders violated the constitution and labor law. Graham dismissed their lawsuit too.

Stevenson said the lawsuit by the care providers and We the People of Connecticut isn’t moot, because the union votes that came under Malloy’s orders still stand. She also said the legislature violated its own rules on amendments when it approved the 2012 law.

State Attorney General George Jepsen called the lawsuit “baseless.”

“The governor’s executive orders were entirely appropriate and lawful,” Jepsen said in a statement Monday.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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