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Our History

History of the Connecticut General Assembly's Legislative Commissioners' Office

The establishment of the Legislative Commissioners' Office as a statutory office that drafts bills and resolutions for the members and committees of the General Assembly can be traced back to the late nineteenth century.

Clerk of Bills (1882-1929)

In 1882, the General Assembly enacted House Bill No. 364, Chapter 137 of the Public Acts of 1882, that provided:

"On or before the third day of every stated session of the general assembly, there shall be appointed by the secretary, the president of the senate and the speaker of the house   of representatives, a clerk of bills, whose duty shall be prescribed and defined by a joint rule of the general assembly, and whose salary shall be five hundred dollars per annum."

At the next legislative session in 1883, the General Assembly included in Joint Rule X a provision that:

"It shall be the duty of the clerk of bills to examine all bills for public acts, and resolutions in respect to their form, before the same are reported favorably by the committee to whom they have been referred, and under direction of such committee to prepare such amendments or substitute bills or resolutions as may be deemed necessary or advisable."

Chapter 137 of the 1882 public acts was codified as section 401 of the general statutes of Connecticut, revision of 1888.

In 1895, the General Assembly enacted Substitute House Bill No. 279, Chapter 297 of the Public Acts of 1895, that substantially revised section 401 of the general statutes.

The 1895 act changed the appointment process for the clerk of bills by providing for the election of the clerk of bills by the committees on the judiciary and on engrossed bills meeting jointly in the judiciary committee room at the Capitol within one week after the appointment of the legislative committees. The act authorized any two members of those committees to "require the presence of any or all of the candidates, and such candidates may be examined as to their qualifications in such manner as the joint committees so meeting may elect."

This act statutorily specified the duties of the clerk of bills for the first time.

Section 2 of Chapter 297 provided that:

"It shall be the duty of the clerk of bills to prepare amendments to or substitutes for bills or resolutions at the request of committees, and to supervise the printing of bills and resolutions reported favorably. He shall return to the committee reporting it any bill or resolution favorably reported that in his opinion is not in correct form, with such corrections as he may propose in the form of a substitute or as amendments. He shall, under the direction of the committee on engrossed bills, supervise the engrossing of passed bills and resolutions, and advise said committee of needed corrections."

In addition, the act increased the salary of the clerk of bills from $500 to $2500.

In 1901, the General Assembly enacted Senate Bill No. 2, Chapter 1 of the Public Acts of 1901, which revised the duties of the clerk of bills and provided for the separate appointment of an engrossing clerk who would perform the duties of supervising the printing of bills and resolutions reported favorably and the engrossing of enacted bills and resolutions.

Chapter 1 of the Public Acts of 1901 provided that the clerk of bills, in addition to his existing duty to prepare amendments to or substitutes for bills at the request of committees, shall have the duty "to assist members of the general assembly in drafting bills for public acts and resolutions of a public nature."

The act also required that before any bill or resolution favorably acted upon by a committee is reported to either the House or the Senate it first be submitted to the clerk of bills "who shall examine such bill or resolution in respect to its form for the purpose of avoiding repetitions and unconstitutional provisions and insuring accuracy in the text and references, clearness and conciseness in the phraseology, and the consistency of statutes…" The act continued the requirement that the clerk of bills return to the committee any bill or resolution that is not in correct form, with such corrections as he may propose in the form of a substitute or as amendments.

Perhaps there was a problem at the turn of the twentieth century with disappearing bills because the act also required the clerk of bills to keep a record of each petition, bill and resolution introduced and that the record be kept in such detail "that it will disclose where said petition, bill or resolution may be found". The record was at all times to be open to the inspection of members of the General Assembly and all executive state officials.

The appointment process and duties of the clerk of bills remained unchanged from 1901 to 1929.

Statute Revision Commissioner (1929-1947)

In 1929, the General Assembly enacted Substitute House Bill No. 824, Chapter 219 of the Public Acts of 1929, entitled "An Act Providing for the Appointment of a Statute Revision Commissioner and Prescribing His Duties."

The act replaced the clerk of bills with a statute revision commissioner and revised the procedure for his appointment. Rather than being selected by the leaders of the General Assembly or by legislative committees, the act required the Governor "on or before the first day of May, 1929, and quadrennially thereafter," to nominate and, with the advice and consent of the senate, appoint a statute revision commissioner for a term of four years beginning July first in the year of his appointment. The commissioner was required to be an attorney and be experienced in legislative procedure.

The duties of the Statute Revision Commissioner as set forth in the act remained essentially the same as those of his predecessor, the Clerk of Bills. In addition, the act required the commissioner to consolidate and codify all the statutes and public acts of the state beginning with the public acts of 1931 and to arrange and codify them under chapters and sections with headnotes and annotations and references to original text and, so far as practicable, to any decisions of the Supreme Court interpreting the same. The act also required the commissioner during the interims between sessions to prepare drafts of legislation requested by any department of the state and to assist any member-elect of the General Assembly in drafting bills and resolutions.

On May 1, 1929, Governor John H. Trumbull nominated, and the Senate approved and confirmed, Frederick A. Scott of Plymouth, then serving as Clerk of Bills, as the first Statute Revision Commissioner to serve for a term of four years from July 1, 1929.

Legislative Commissioner (1947-1959)

In 1947, the General Assembly enacted Public Act numbers 2 and 5, effective January 15, 1947, that together repealed all provisions concerning the Statute Revision Commissioner, abolished the office of the Statute Revision Commissioner and replaced the office with a Legislative Research Department under the general direction of a Legislative Commissioner.

Public Act No. 5 provided for the appointment of the Legislative Commissioner by the General Assembly to serve in the first instance from the date of his appointment until July 1, 1947 and for four years thereafter. Thereafter, the General Assembly would appoint the Legislative Commissioner to hold office for four years from the first day in July in the year of his appointment and until his successor has been appointed and has qualified. The act required the commissioner to be an attorney admitted to practice in Connecticut for ten years prior to his appointment, but did not continue the requirement that he be "experienced in legislative procedure".

The act set forth in detail the various duties of the Legislative Commissioner including to: (1) Collect and compare the laws of this and other states upon request of the Governor or any committee or member of the General Assembly, (2) collect information relating to any matter which is the subject of proposed legislation, (3) prepare or advise in the preparation of any bill or resolution upon request of the Governor or any member of the General Assembly, (4) advise the Governor concerning any bill passed by the General Assembly, (5) approve or disapprove the form of any bill, (6) render research and advisory services, and (7) consolidate and codify the statutes and public acts. These duties have remained virtually unchanged since their enactment in 1947 and are presently found in section 2-56 of the general statutes.

On January 16, 1947, the day after the effective date of the two public acts, the Senate and House adopted a resolution appointing Elmer W. Ryan of New Haven as the first Legislative Commissioner to serve until July 1, 1947 and for four years thereafter.

In 1957, the General Assembly enacted Public Act No. 1, entitled "An Act Concerning Legislative Procedure". Among other changes, this act eliminated the joint standing committee on engrossed bills and the position of engrossing clerk which had been split off from the clerk of bills in 1901. The duties of the engrossing clerk to supervise the printing of favorably reported bills and the engrossing of passed bills were returned to the Legislative Commissioner as the lineal descendant of the clerk of bills.

In addition, the act revised language concerning the staffing of the office. Since 1913, the clerk of bills and his successors, the Statute Revision Commissioner and the Legislative Commissioner, had had the authority to "employ such stenographers as may be necessary to transact the business of [his office]." In 1917, authority to employ "clerical assistance" was added. The 1957 act replaced this authority to employ "stenographers and clerical assistance" with the authority to "employ and fix the compensation of such assistants as are required to carry out the duties of his office." This revision perhaps signals the original statutory authorization to hire staff attorneys, as opposed to only stenographers and clerical assistants, to assist the commissioner.

Legislative Commissioners and Legislative Research Department (1959-1965)

In 1959, the General Assembly enacted Public Act No. 478, entitled "An Act Concerning the Legislative Research Department". This act replaced the single Legislative Commissioner with two Legislative Commissioners who "shall not be of the same political party".

The act provided that the term of the Legislative Commissioner in office on the effective date of the act, i.e. May 22, 1959, shall terminate on that date and "[A]s soon as possible following the passage of this act, the general assembly shall appoint said commissioners, one to hold office from the date of his appointment until July 1, 1961, and one to hold office from the date of his appointment until July 1, 1963, and in each case until his successor has been appointed and has qualified." Biennially thereafter one commissioner shall be appointed by the General Assembly for a four-year term from July first in the year of his appointment.

The act also reduced from ten years to six years the period that a person had to have been admitted to practice before the courts of Connecticut prior to his appointment as Legislative Commissioner.

On the same day that the Governor signed the act, the General Assembly adopted resolutions appointing as Legislative Commissioners Harry H. Lugg of Vernon, then serving as the single Legislative Commissioner, to hold office from May 22, 1959 until July 1, 1961, and Arthur M. Lewis of West Hartford to hold office from May 22, 1959 until July 1, 1963.

Legislative Commissioners' Office (1965-Present)

In 1965, the General Assembly enacted Public Act No. 331, a comprehensive bill concerning the reorganization of the judicial department and the salaries and allowances of certain state officials. Included in the act were revisions that renamed the Legislative Research Department as the Legislative Commissioners' Office and increased the salaries of the each commissioner from $7500 to $10,000, effective July 1, 1965.

In 1976, the General Assembly enacted public act 76-302 that prohibited a legislative commissioner engaging in certain activities that would conflict with his official duties and authorized the legislative management committee to fill any vacancy in the position of legislative commissioner that arises in the interim between legislative sessions until the next session of the general assembly.

In 1978, in order to allow individual legislators to have their own offices, or at least cubicles, in the Capitol, the Legislative Commissioners' Office which had been physically located on the first floor of the Capitol, moved across the street to the second floor of a state building at 18-20 Trinity Street.

In 1988, with the opening of the newly constructed Legislative Office Building, the Legislative Commissioners' Office moved back across the street and into space on the fifth floor of what would become popularly known as the LOB.

Clerk of Bills (1883-1929)

Hobart L. Hotchkiss (New Haven) - 1883; 1884
Amos A. Browning (Norwich) - 1885; 1886
William S. Case (Granby) - 1887; 1889
William S. Downs (Derby) - 1891
James J. Buchanan (New Haven) - 1893
Samuel A. Eddy (North Canaan) - 1895
John F. Carpenter (Putnam) - 1897
Samuel A. Eddy (Canaan) - 1899
Frederick A. Scott (Plymouth) - 1901
Frank E. Healy (Windsor Locks) - 1903
George E. Hinman (Windham) - 1905; 1907
Alfred C. Baldwin (Derby) - 1909
George E. Hinman (Windham) - 1911
William H. Blodgett (Winchester) - 1913; 1915
Sabin S. Russell (Killingly) - 1917
William H. Blodgett (Winchester) - 1919
Alfred C. Baldwin (Derby) - 1923; 1925
Frederick A. Scott (Plymouth) - 1927; 1929

Statute Revision Commissioner (1929 - 1947)

Frederick A. Scott (Plymouth) July 1929 - July 1937
John D. Thoms (Waterbury) July 1937 - May 1938
Frederick A. Scott (Plymouth) May 1938 - July 1941
John M. Bailey (Hartford) July 1941 - December 1946*
*Elmer W. Ryan (New Haven) also acted as Statute Revision Commissioner from July 1945 - June 1946
Cornelius Driscoll - December 1946 - January 1947

Legislative Commissioner (1947 -1959)

Elmer W. Ryan (New Haven) January 1947 - August 1953
Robert A. Wall (Torrington) August 1953 - May 1958
Harry H. Lugg (Vernon) May 1958 - May 1959

Legislative Commissioners (1959 - Present)
Republican
Democrat
Harry H. Lugg (Vernon)
May 1959 - May 1961
Arthur M. Lewis (West Hartford)
May 1959 - April 1976
Howard E. Hausman (New Britain)
May 1961 - July 1967
Eugene D. Micci (Derby)
October 1976 - March 1988
Joseph H. Goldberg (Norwich)
July 1967 - October 1973
Karen M. Flanagan (East Hartford)
March 1988 - January 1995
Harry N. Mazadoorian (New Britain)
October 1973 - January 1975
Robert G. Gilligan (Wethersfield)
February 1995 - April 2006
Samuel S. Freedman (Westport)
January 1975 - July 1978
Edwin J. Maley (Cromwell)
January 2007 - present
George C. Guidera (Weston)
January 1979 - January 1991
 
Robert G. Jaekle (Stratford)
January 1991 - January 1993
 
Max S. Case (Milford)
March 1993 - February 2011
 
William Hamzy (Bristol)
February 2011 - present
 

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