ATV veto also takes down moving company competition bill

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's concern with a bill that would expand the use of all-terrain vehicles in state parks led to a veto Tuesday that also doomed a measure that would have opened up competition between in-state and out-of-state moving companies.

The bill, An Act Concerning All-Terrain Vehicles and the Certification of Household Goods Carriers, was only the fifth vetoed so far this year by Malloy.

The measure related to moving companies had become a cause celebre among Republican members of the General Assembly after The Day reported last year that a Rhode Island firm, Coutu Bros. Movers, had been denied the right to do business in Connecticut based partially on the effect of competition on established movers in the state. Coutu Movers had planned to establish an office in North Stonington.

Atherton & Sons Moving & Storage in Pawcatuck and Barnes Moving & Storage in Mystic had objected to competing with Coutu Movers because of a dramatic decline in their businesses since the real estate market went into decline in 2007.

Coutu Movers eventually decided to expand into Massachusetts instead of pursuing business here.

Malloy, in his veto statement, said he agreed with a provision in the bill prohibiting the state Department of Transportation from considering the objections of competitors when deciding whether moving companies may do business in state, saying the change removed "unnecessary barriers to investment."

But his concern over the expansion of ATV use on public lands outweighed his support for the changes in moving company rules, he said.

"We must carefully balance our desire to encourage outdoor recreation with our fundamental mission of protecting our nature resources for future generations," Malloy said. "The speed, noise and power of ... ATVs bring greater potential for degradation or destruction of our unique and delicate natural resources."

Malloy encouraged the reintroduction of the household goods provision in the next legislative session. He also said he looked forward to a more thoughtful legislative proposal on ATV usage that would include the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and other stakeholders and might lead to the creation of "sustainable ATV trails."


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