Substitute House Bill No. 6610

Public Act No. 01-154

AN ACT IMPOSING A MORATORIUM CONCERNING CERTAIN STATE PROPERTY USED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES BY PERSONS WITH MENTAL RETARDATION OR PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES AND CONCERNING THE PLACEMENT OF CERTAIN CLIENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL RETARDATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes concerning the sale, lease or transfer of real property by or on behalf of the state, during the period commencing on the effective date of this act and ending on the date that is three years from the effective date of this act or on the date on which the General Assembly approves a plan that shall be developed by the Department of Mental Retardation for the elimination of all emergency and priority one waiting list categories of the department and a plan that shall be developed by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to meet the needs identified in the report of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Mental Health, whichever date is earlier, no state-owned real property that is being used or has been used within the previous ten years for residential purposes by persons with mental retardation or psychiatric disabilities may be sold, leased or transferred by or on behalf of the state, except that such property may be leased if the property continues to be used for the same purpose.

(b) Subsection (a) of this section shall only apply to any state-operated community-based residential facility, boarding house, group home or halfway house meeting the criteria set forth in subsection (a) of this section and occupied by persons with mental retardation, persons with psychiatric disabilities, alcohol-dependent persons or drug-dependent persons.

Sec. 2. (NEW) There is established a nonlapsing fund that shall contain (1) any moneys received by the state from the sale, lease or transfer of all or any part of Fairfield Hills Hospital, Norwich Hospital or any regional center that takes place after January 1, 2001, and (2) any other moneys required by law to be deposited in a separate account within the General Fund for purposes of this act. The Treasurer shall credit the fund with its investment earnings. Any balance remaining in said fund at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward in the fund for the fiscal year next succeeding. The principal and interest of the fund shall be used solely for the purpose of site acquisition, capital development and infrastructure costs necessary to provide services to persons with mental retardation or psychiatric disabilities, provided amounts in the fund may be expended only pursuant to appropriation by the General Assembly.

Sec. 3. (NEW) The Commissioner of Mental Retardation shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, to establish and implement the policy of the Department of Mental Retardation with respect to the placement and care of department clients who are evaluated by the department as posing a serious threat to others without specific measures for their supervision and security. Such regulations shall include, but not be limited to, provisions concerning the criteria or factors to be considered in: (1) Evaluating and placing such clients; (2) siting of residential facilities for such clients; (3) giving notice, if any, to the community in which such client is to be placed; (4) determining appropriate levels of security and supervision; and (5) providing appropriate programs and quality of life for such clients in the least restrictive environment. Such regulations shall not permit the siting of more than one such facility in any one municipality.

Sec. 4. The Commissioner of Mental Retardation, in consultation with the Commissioner of Public Works, shall evaluate, within available appropriations, the feasibility and appropriateness of the use of any state-owned property of at least twelve acres for a facility for the placement of not more than fifteen clients of the department who are evaluated by the Commissioner of Mental Retardation as not appropriate for community placement. Not later than February 1, 2002, the Commissioner of Mental Retardation shall submit a report containing the commissioner's findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. Such report shall include the criteria and standards used by the commissioner to evaluate such properties.

Sec. 5. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved July 6, 2001