OFA Bill Analysis

sHB 5016

AN ACT CONCERNING GENERAL GOVERNMENT.

SUMMARY:

The bill includes provisions to implement sHB 5014, the revised FY 13 budget bill, as favorably reported by the Appropriations Committee and other changes, presented section-by-section:

Section 1 transfers responsibility for collection and billing for services rendered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) from DVA to the Department of Administrative Services.

Section 2 requires that any testing costs incurred at a resources recovery facility (RRF), or any other activity eligible for payment, would be paid by the owner of the facility instead of by the state. Under the bill, activities that would be ineligible for reimbursement by the state include: (1) meteorological and emissions monitoring testing of the RRF's as determined by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), (2) stack testing of dioxin and furan emissions, and residue testing but not including ambient air and ambient environmental monitoring for dioxin, (3) performance testing for any facility modifications that requires DEEP approval of a new or amended construction or operating permits, and (4) other special testing as necessary to demonstrate DEEP permit compliance.

Section 3 allows the Commissioner of Correction the discretion to release inmates that (1) require end of life care and (2) do not present a danger to society to the care of a licensed, community based nursing home. The Department of Social Services and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services are responsible for executing contracts with nursing homes to accept difficult to place patients from several settings, including correctional facilities.

Section 4 transfers responsibility for conducting a disparity study to the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) from the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), but requires CASE to consult with CHRO, in addition to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). It requires CASE to generate statistical data concerning the state's current set-aside program to determine whether its current form achieves the goal of facilitating the participation in state contracts of small contractors and minority business enterprises. The bill specifies that the study include examining: (1) whether, based on available data and analysis, there is significant statistical evidence of past or continuing discrimination in the awarding of state contracts; (2) the number of small contractors or minority business enterprises, based on available data and analysis, that are qualified for eligibility for state contracts under the set-aside program established; and (3) the state's contracting processes to determine if there are any contracting practices or unintentional but existing barriers in the process that prevent small contractors and minority business enterprises from fully participating in the state's contracting process. The bill changes the date by which the executive director of CHRO must report on the study's findings to the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee from January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013.

Section 5 University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) employees, including those at John Dempsey Hospital, are state employees and are entitled to the state fringe benefit package. The costs of fringe benefits for certain UCHC employees are paid out the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC), while other UCHC employees' fringes are covered by the hospital's revenues. Section 42 of PA 11-6 (the budget bill) requires the OSC to fund up to $ 13. 5 million of fringe costs for certain UCHC employees, which otherwise would have been covered by hospital revenue, out of the resources of the OSC. The funding is intended to offset the differential between the state fringe benefit rate and the average rate for private Connecticut hospitals.

Sections 6 and 7 delay the date of reporting on the college transition pilot program, from October 1, 2012 to October 1, 2013.

Section 8 eliminates the requirement of the Connecticut Humanities Council to operate in conjunction with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for purposes of joint strategic planning, annual reporting on appropriations and fiscal reporting.

Sections 9-18 and 20: The Workers' Compensation Commission (WCC) and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) are currently independent agencies within the Executive Branch. The bill transfers the WCC and CHRO out of the Executive Branch and into the Judicial Branch. The agencies remain autonomous within the Judicial Branch.

Section 19 corrects last year's modification in order to maintain current practice and the collection of recoveries (as General Fund revenue) from legally liable parents who come into inheritances and other windfalls pursuant to 17b-93. The state's debt collection statutes were modified last year to make the language gender neutral. There were two places where the word “his” was incorrectly changed to “the beneficiary's.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012, except for Sections 4, 6-8 and 19, which are effective upon passage.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

36

Nay

19

(04/03/2012)