PA 13-19—sSB 619

Commerce Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE COMMISSION ON CONNECTICUT'S FUTURE

SUMMARY: This act reactivates a dormant economic development advisory commission, changes its name, expands its membership, and broadens its charge to include policies encouraging defense contractors and subcontractors to engage in environmentally sustainable and civilian product manufacturing.

It requires the reactivated commission to prepare a report addressing several issues, including some the dormant commission addressed in its 1993 five-year economic renewal plan. Under the act, the commission must address workforce development and defense diversification or conversion issues in the report, which the commission must submit to the governor and Commerce Committee by December 1, 2014.

The reactivated commission must perform the same advisory and analytical duties its predecessor had to perform under prior law, including preparing and reviewing short- and long-term defense conversion strategies. In devising these strategies, the act requires the commission to emphasize environmentally sustainable and civilian product manufacturing.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

REACTIVATED COMMISSION

The act reactivates the Connecticut Commission on Business Opportunity, Defense Diversification and Industrial Policy and renames it the Commission on Connecticut's Future. In doing so, it expands and changes its membership.

The previous commission consisted of:

1. the labor, education, higher education, and economic and community development commissioners;

2. the chairpersons and ranking members of the Commerce Committee;

3. the presidents of the AFL-CIO, Connecticut Business and Industry Association, and Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering; and

4. representatives of different business sectors appointed by legislative leaders.

The act adds two representatives of manufacturing unions, who must be recommended by the AFL-CIO president and appointed by the governor. It also changes two legislative appointments. It requires the House majority leader to appoint a representative of a peace organization instead of a representative of a large service-related industry. And it requires the Senate minority leader to appoint a representative of an environmental organization instead of a representative of a small service-related business. Table 1 shows the new commission's composition.

Table 1: Composition of Commission on Connecticut's Future

Ex Officio Members

Appointed Members by Appointing Authority

Commerce Committee chairpersons and ranking members, or their designees, and commissioners, or their designees, of:

1. Economic and Community Development

2. Education

3. Higher Education

4. Labor

Presidents, or their designees, of:

1. Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering

2. Connecticut Business and Industry Association

3. Connecticut AFL-CIO

Governor:

1. Two members representing manufacturing unions recommended by Connecticut AFL-CIO president

Senate president pro tempore:

1. Representative of large manufacturing concern

2. Representative of a financial institution

House speaker:

1. Representative of a large business heavily dependent on prime defense contracts or subcontracts

2. Representative of a small business heavily dependent on prime defense contracts or subcontracts

House majority leader:

1. Representative of a peace organization

Senate minority leader:

1. Representative of an environmental organization

House minority leader:

1. Representative of an educational institution

All of the non ex officio members serve two-year terms, starting July 1, 2013. The terms of the appointed members of the dormant commission expire June 30, 2013.

The commission's chairperson, whom the governor continues to appoint from among the commission's members, must call the commission's first meeting by October 1, 2013. Subsequent meetings are held at the chairperson's discretion.

Like its predecessor, the commission exists within the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for administrative purposes.

REPORT

The act requires the reactivated commission to prepare a report addressing most of the same issues its predecessor addressed in its 1993 plan. Like the plan, the report must lay out a strategy for restoring the manufacturing sector and stimulating its growth, with the goal of increasing the number of manufacturing jobs within five years after the commission completes the report. It must also propose strategies for retaining or expanding the state's economic base and coordinate its economic development policies with public and private sector capital investment.

The act does not require the report to address the need for regional approaches to economic development, as prior law required the plan to do. But it requires it to include strategies for:

1. aligning the state's educational institutions with the state's manufacturing base and

2. diversifying or converting defense-related industries to other nonmilitary products, emphasizing environmentally sustainable and civilian product manufacturing.

The commission must submit the report to the governor and Commerce Committee by December 1, 2014.

OTHER DUTIES

The act transfers the former commission's duties to the reactivated one, requiring it to:

1. advise the legislature and DECD about defense conversion, industrial policy, and the state's business climate;

2. evaluate legislation related to the state's economy, particularly as the legislation affects manufacturers and defense-related businesses;

3. provide a forum for business issues; and

4. stimulate and review public and private assistance to improve the state's economy.

Prior law required the commission to prepare and review strategies being implemented to help defense-dependent businesses convert from making defense to nondefense products. The act requires it to prepare and review strategies that emphasize environmentally sustainable and civilian product manufacturing. Prior law also required the commission to foster opportunities for public-private partnerships. The act requires it do so in a way that encourages the public to participate.

BACKGROUND

Commission's 1993 Report

The Commission on Business Opportunity, Defense Diversification and Industrial Policy submitted its five-year strategy to the governor and legislature in January 1993. The strategy consisted of four short-term recommendations for stemming the loss of jobs and talent and six long-term recommendations for preparing the state for future growth.

The short-term recommendations focused on promoting entrepreneurship and exporting; broadening the state's economic base, focusing particularly on ways to diversify its defense sector; and supporting job training and retraining. The long-term recommendations focused on improving the state's business climate, promoting educational innovation, supporting and encouraging research and development and technology transfer, reforming tax and regulatory policies, improving the network for delivering economic development services, and stimulating community economic development.

OLR Tracking: JR: KM: VR: RO