To read Morning Consult's full report of its findings, click here.

In an attempt to help towns, the state legislature voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to waive any penalties for municipalities that reduce their education budget after suffering major cuts in state aid.

The measure passed by 141-2 in the House of Representatives and 34-1 in the Senate on an “emergency certification’’ basis – meaning there was no public hearing and the top leaders believed the issue was important enough to grant emergency status.

​The current state law says that towns, under the state’s so-called “minimum budget requirement,’’ cannot spend less money on public education than was spent during the previous year – unless special circumstances such as a sudden drop in enrollment or other problems.

​​The funding issue arose during a volatile budget year when cities and towns were threatened with cuts in a see-saw battle as lawmakers struggled to pass a budget that was finally signed into law on Halloween. The battle included numerous proposals, twists, and turns that prompted anxiety for mayors and first selectmen who were trying to balance their budgets.

​State officials say that the two towns that will be most affected are Montville and Canterbury.

But legislators said that other towns that could be impacted are Southington, Killingly, Groton, and Watertown. None of the 30 alliance districts, including Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, and Bridgeport, would be affected.

The narrowly drawn legislation says that penalties would be waived for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The state education department notified six towns that they were in danger of violating state law by missing the minimum spending requirement. Four of those towns eventually became compliant, and Southington involved the largest amount of money with $3.3 million that had been held back by the state.

Sen. Cathy Osten, a Sprague Democrat who co-chairs the budget-writing appropriations committee, said, “This gives the commissioner the ability to waive the fines.’’

Sen. Eric Berthel, a Watertown Republican, said the towns “would need a crystal ball or a time machine to prepare’’ for cuts and holdbacks that they did not know were coming.

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Lawmakers Vote to Protect Towns on Education Funding

By Christopher Keating, ​The Hartford Courant, April 11, 2018

Governor Dannel Malloy

HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is now the most unpopular governor in the country, according to the latest Morning Consult poll.

Malloy replaces former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the nation’s most unpopular governor with a 21 percent approval rating. An estimated 72 percent disapprove of the job he’s doing.

A two-term governor, Malloy is not running for re-election this year to a third term.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rainer, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and Maine Gov. Paul Lepage round out the top five least popular governors.

The most popular governor, according to the poll, continues to be Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, followed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.

The poll used online surveys conducted with almost 275,000 registered voters from Jan. 1 through March 31.

​Poll: Malloy Least Popular Governor in the Nation

By Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie,​ April 12, 2018