Joan V. Hartley is an American politician. Hartley, a Democrat, has been a state senator from Connecticut since 2001.
Hartley, a resident of Waterbury, represents the western half of the city as well as its southern suburbs of Naugatuck and Prospect in the Connecticut Senate.
Hartley was born in Waterbury and graduated from Elms College and received a M.A. from Trinity College. Prior to being elected to the Connecticut Senate, Hartley served as a Connecticut state representative representing the 73rd District from 1984 to 2000.
Hartley's predecessor as a state representative was future Governor John G. Rowland. Perhaps as a result, Hartley is generally considered among the more conservative and bipartisan members of the Democratic caucus. In 2007 she was believed to be the sole holdout from the strategy of Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. to override Governor M. Jodi Rell's veto of a Democratic state bonding package. Rell had vetoed the package claiming it put the state too far into debt. Hartley opposed a billion dollar commitment to the Connecticut State University system and has been threatened with retribution from Democratic party leadership. On October 30 an agreement was reached between the Rell Administration, legislative Democratic leaders and Senator Hartley to resolve the bonding stalemate. The final bonding package was reduced by $400 million from the level vetoed by Rell and increased oversight was placed on funds for the Connecticut State University system. The Courant later reported that pressure was placed on fellow senators against Hartley by Senator Thomas Gaffey, who had an undisclosed intimate relationship with the lobbyist for the university system. In December 2008, Hartley was removed as the Chairman of the Higher Education Committee because of her independence and willingness to stand up to the Democratic leadership who was shielding Gaffey.
In 2008, Hartley was one of three Democrats who supported Governor M. Jodi Rell's proposal for a Three Strikes Law against career violent criminals.
In 2009, Hartley was the only Democrat in the State Senate that did not vote to override Governor M. Jodi Rell's veto of the Healthcare Partnership bill, thereby preventing the bill from becoming law.
In 2011, Hartley and Paul Doyle were the only two Democrats to vote against transgender rights legislation.