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Sec. 31-276. Workers' Compensation Commission. Compensation commissioners. Nomination by Governor. Appointment by General Assembly. Terms of office. Removal. Selection of chairman. (a) There shall be a Workers' Compensation Commission to administer the workers' compensation system. There shall be sixteen workers' compensation commissioners. On or before the date of the expiration of the term of each commissioner or upon the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of any commissioner for any reason, the Governor shall nominate a competent person to fill that office. Subsequent to July 1, 1993, each person nominated by the Governor to serve as a commissioner shall have been a member in good standing of the Connecticut bar for at least five years preceding the nomination, provided the Governor shall not be precluded from renominating an individual who has previously served as a commissioner. The commissioners shall, upon nomination by the Governor, be appointed by the General Assembly as prescribed by law. They shall serve for a term of five years, but may be removed by impeachment. The Governor shall from time to time select one of the sixteen commissioners to serve as chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission at the pleasure of the Governor. The commissioner selected by the Governor to be chairman shall have previously served as a compensation commissioner in this state for at least one year.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), on and after October 1, 1988, any commissioner whose term expires on December thirty-first shall continue to serve until the next succeeding March thirty-first.
(c) Each nomination made by the Governor to the General Assembly for a compensation commissioner shall be referred, without debate, to the committee on the judiciary, which shall report thereon within thirty legislative days from the time of reference, but no later than seven legislative days before the adjourning of the General Assembly. Each appointment by the General Assembly of a compensation commissioner shall be by concurrent resolution. The action on the passage of each such resolution in the House and in the Senate shall be by vote taken on the electrical roll-call device. No resolution shall contain the name of more than one nominee. The Governor shall, within five days after he has notice that any nomination for a compensation commissioner made by him has failed to be approved by the affirmative concurrent action of both houses of the General Assembly, make another nomination to such office.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 4-19, no vacancy in the position of a compensation commissioner shall be filled by the Governor when the General Assembly is not in session unless, prior to such filling, the Governor submits the name of the proposed vacancy appointee to the committee on the judiciary. Within ten days, the committee on the judiciary may, upon the call of either chairman, hold a special meeting for the purpose of approving or disapproving such proposed vacancy appointee by majority vote. Failure of the committee to act on such proposed vacancy appointee within such ten-day period shall be deemed to be an approval.
(e) Each commissioner shall be sworn to a faithful performance of his duties. After notice and public hearing the Governor may remove any commissioner for cause and the good of the public service. Each compensation commissioner shall devote his full time to the duties of his office and shall not be otherwise gainfully employed.
(1949 Rev., S. 7435; 1958 Rev., S. 31-140; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 2; April, 1964, P.A. 3, S. 1; February, 1965, P.A. 577, S. 1; 1969, P.A. 662, S. 3; 1971, P.A. 639, S. 2; P.A. 80-414, S. 2; P.A. 83-353, S. 2; P.A. 84-320, S. 2, 6; 84-546, S. 154, 173; P.A. 85-420, S. 2, 4; P.A. 87-301; P.A. 88-125; 88-184, S. 2, 3; P.A. 91-339, S. 2, 55; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-12, S. 50, 55; P.A. 92-176, S. 1, 2; P.A. 93-228, S. 2, 35; P.A. 94-193, S. 2; May 25 Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-1, S. 29, 130; P.A. 96-72, S. 1, 2.)
History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1964 act revised districts along other than congressional district lines; 1965 act raised number of commissioners from five to seven, consisting of one for each of the six congressional districts and one at-large commissioner; 1969 act raised number of commissioners to eight and revised districts to be those created under Sec. 31-275b rather than congressional districts; 1971 act required commissioners to devote full time to duties of office; P.A. 80-414 increased number of commissioners to nine, created position of chairman of the board and specified his qualifications and appointment procedure; P.A. 83-353 amended Subsec. (a) to provide that the governor shall "nominate" rather than "appoint" the commissioners, added Subsec. (b) re the procedure for appointment by the general assembly and added Subsec. (c) re the procedure for the nomination and appointment of commissioners to fill vacancies while the general assembly is not in session, deleting prior provision whereby governor was solely responsible for filling vacancies; P.A. 84-320 amended Subsec. (a) to provide for ten commissioners, and to provide that the commissioner from the new eighth district shall be nominated by the governor on or before January 1, 1985; P.A. 84-546 made technical change, referring to "houses" rather than "branches" of the general assembly; P.A. 85-420 amended Subsec. (a) to increase the number of at-large commissioners from one to two; P.A. 87-301 revised Subsec. (a) by eliminating references to specific appointments of commissioners commencing January first and July first and rewording appointment provisions, adding provision re appointment by general assembly as prescribed by law and removal by impeachment; P.A. 88-125 inserted new Subsec. (b) to specify that term of any commissioner on and after October 1, 1988, whose term expires on December thirty-first shall continue to serve until next succeeding March thirty-first; and relettered remaining Subsecs.; P.A. 88-184 amended Subsec. (a) to provide for thirteen commissioners, including four commissioners at large, and to provide that the two commissioners at large shall be nominated by the governor on or before October 1, 1988; P.A. 91-339 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provisions re workers' compensation commission, changing number of commissioners from thirteen to fourteen, deleting provisions re district and at large commissioners and the chairman of the board of compensation commissioners, adding requirement that not less than two commissioners reside in each U.S. congressional district and adding provisions re selection of the chairman of the workers' compensation commission; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-12 amended Subsec. (a) by changing the required period that the chairman must serve as a compensation commissioner prior to selection by the governor from three years to two years; P.A. 92-176 amended Subsec. (a) to provide that the commissioner selected to be chairman shall have served as a compensation commissioner for at least one year, rather than two years; P.A. 93-228 amended Subsec. (a) to increase the number of workers' compensation commissioners from fourteen to sixteen and to provide that persons nominated as commissioners shall have been members of the Connecticut bar for at least five years, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 94-193, effective October 1, 1994, and May 25 Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-1, effective July 1, 1994, both made a technical correction in Subsec. (a) by amending a provision changing the number of workers' compensation commissioners from "fourteen" to "sixteen" which was omitted from P.A. 93-228; P.A. 96-72 amended Subsec. (a) to eliminate the requirement that not less than two commissioners reside in each United States congressional district, effective May 8, 1996.
See Sec. 31-275a for definition of "district" and re continuation of terms of office for persons serving as commissioners on October 1, 1969. See Sec. 31-278 re powers and duties of commissioners. See Sec. 31-281 re designation of commissioner to act in district not his own.
The commissioner is not a court; some of his acts are quasi-judicial and some wholly administrative. 89 C. 148. Appointment of commissioner unaffected by subsequent resignation of governor. 133 C. 687. Cited. 14 CS 421.
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State of Connecticut
Workers' Compensation Commission
Page last revised: May 20, 1997
Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/law/wc-act/1997/31-276.htm