OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5126 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A CHEMICAL INNOVATIONS INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT.

SUMMARY:

The bill creates a Chemical Innovations Institute within the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) and specifies the composition of its board of directors. The institute must (1) foster green job growth and safer workplaces through clean technology and green chemistry and (2) assist businesses, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations seeking to use alternatives to harmful chemicals.

The institute and UCHC must also seek administrative funding from federal entities. Both may seek funding from nongovernmental foundations, including health access foundations, private citizens, corporations, and governmental entities.

The bill does not require UCHC to develop, implement, and promote the institute if there is, in aggregate, insufficient federal, state, and private funding to pay for the initial and continuing expenses of the institute.

*House Amendment “A” eliminates the provision prohibiting the institute from lobbying.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

INSTITUTE'S DUTIES

The institute's duties include:

1. working with businesses, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, workers, and community groups as a resource for information about chemicals of concern to public health and the environment, safe alternatives, and emerging state and federal regulations;

2. providing research and technical assistance about chemicals of environmental and public health concern and alternatives;

3. coordinating and sharing information with other states' institutes and an interstate chemicals clearinghouse concerning alternative chemicals and their impact on public health and the environment;

4. researching and identifying chemicals important to the state economy;

5. offering businesses training on chemical regulations and alternative chemicals; and

6. assisting businesses in identifying funding to implement sustainable chemical processes.

If the board of directors determines that adequate funding exists, the institute may establish technical assistance grants to businesses and nonprofit organizations to assist them in switching to the use of safer chemical alternatives.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEMBERSHIP

The institute is overseen by an eight-member board of directors. Its executive director, appointed by the UCHC, is an ex-officio board member. The remaining seven members are:

1. one representative of a large Connecticut manufacturer that participates in the international marketplace and has implemented, or is implementing, green chemistry in its manufacturing, appointed by the governor;

2. one representative of a small Connecticut manufacturer, appointed by the Senate president pro tempore;

3. one representative of a statewide occupational health and safety organization or union health and safety committee, appointed by the House speaker;

4. one individual with expertise in implementing sustainable business practices, appointed by the Senate majority leader;

5. one representative of a statewide nonprofit environmental health organization, appointed by the House majority leader;

6. one health professional or scientist with expertise in the effects of prenatal exposure to chemicals or occupational environmental health, appointed by the Senate minority leader; and

7. one individual with green chemistry training and expertise, appointed by the House minority leader.

Members must be appointed by August 15, 2010. If an appointing authority fails to appoint an initial board member by August 31, 2010, the bill requires the Senate president pro tempore and House speaker to jointly appoint a qualified board member to serve the full term.

The board must appoint two of its members to serve as co-chairpersons.

MEETING REQUIREMENTS

The board meets at the discretion of the chairpersons, but at least once per year. A quorum of four members is required to conduct business.

MEMBERSHIP TERM

Initial appointees serve staggered terms: (1) the governor's appointee has a two-year term, (2) the appointees of the Senate president pro tempore and House speaker serve three-year terms, and (3) the appointees of the Senate and House majority and minority leaders serve four-year terms. After the initial appointments, all members serve four years.

REPORTING

The board must review the institute's progress in meeting its stated duties and work to identify potential funding sources. By January 15 annually, it must submit a report to the Environment Committee on the activities of the previous year, including funding option recommendations.

BACKGROUND

Legislative History

On April 5, the House referred the bill (File 213) to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, which favorably reported a substitute which exempted the UCHC from developing, implementing, and promoting the institute if funding is insufficient.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

26

Nay

2

(03/15/2010)

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

12

Nay

0

(04/08/2010)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

42

Nay

5

(04/23/2010)