THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2011

The Senate was called to order at 1: 46 p. m. , Senator Duff, of the 25th, in the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will come to order.

Please rise, while we stand in prayer.

Lord, thank You for this day today, and for being in the State Senate, where we're to debate laws and bills proposed, and please help us make the right decisions for our constituents across the state. Amen.

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau, would you please lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance?

SENATOR LeBEAU:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Mr. President, the Clerk is in possession of Senate Agenda Number 1, dated Friday, June 3, 2011. Copies have been distributed.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Good afternoon, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, Senator.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Mr. President, I move all items on Senate Agenda Number 1, dated Friday, June 3, 2011, to be acted upon as indicated, and that the Agenda be incorporated by reference into the Senate Journal and the Senate Transcript.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Mr. President, would proceed to marking a number of Calendar items at this time.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I will be marking items as -- as go or -- or passed temporarily. Other items will not -- will not be marked.

Mr. President, first, Calendar page 2, Calendar 129, Senate Bill 988, marked go. Calendar page 3, Calendar 145, Senate Bill 984, marked go. Calendar page 4, Calendar 222, Senate Bill 973, marked go.

Moving to Calendar page 7, Calendar 386, Senate Bill 1001 will be marked go and Order of the Day.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Mr. President, continuing, Calendar page -- excuse me -- Calendar page 13, Calendar 490, Senate Bill 929, marked go.

Moving to Calendar page 36, Mr. President, Calendar Number 157, Senate Bill Number 11 should be marked passed temporarily. Also Calendar page 36,

Calendar 186, Senate Bill 963, passed temporarily. Calendar page 37 -- excuse me, no -- Calendar page -- Calendar page 39, Calendar 258, Senate Bill Number 1, passed temporarily. Calendar page 39, Calendar 272, Senate Bill 1112 is marked go.

Calendar page 40, Calendar 284, Senate Bill 499, marked go. Calendar page 41, Calendar 322, Senate Bill 970, marked go. Calendar page 43, Calendar 374, Senate Bill 1108, marked go. Calendar page 44, Calendar 376, Senate Bill 1148, marked go. Calendar page 44, Calendar 388, Senate Bill 954, marked go.

Those are the items ready to mark at this time, Mr. President.

And, again, if the Clerk would call, as the Order of the Day, the item on page 7, Calendar 386, Senate Bill 1001.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Looney.

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calling from Senate Calendar for Friday,

June 3, 2011, Favorable Reports, Calendar page 7, matter marked "Order of the Day," Calendar Number 386, File 631, substitute for Senate Bill 1001, AN ACT CREATING THE FIRST FIVE PROGRAM; Favorable Report of the Committees on Commerce and Exports, and Finance, Revenue and Bonding.

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Thank you, Mr. President, and good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Yes, I will. Thank you, Mr. President.

First, I'd like to make a few remarks about the general -- generally what this bill does. As -- as I think everybody in the -- in the Circle knows, this is one of the Governor's major initiatives for this session, one of the two that we'll be talking about in the next few days, and it's -- it's called the First Five, and five because it authorizes substantial, economic development assistance under existing programs for projects meeting certain job criteria and investment goals. Those job criteria and investment goals are 200 jobs within 24 months of a commissioner's approval or $ 25 million of investment and 200 jobs within five years of the commissioner's approval.

Other projects can qualify for the First Five program if they -- if they can create 200 jobs in less than 24 months or invest 25 million sooner than five years. It also makes -- the bill also makes other programmatic changes. And one of the things that I think that we're concerned with in the Circle is it exempts projects from certain statutory funding limits under the Manufacturing Assistance Act.

And essentially what this bill does is it provides a lot of flexibility to the commissioner to really go out and make some -- make some bill moves for the state and bring in some substantial companies, in most cases that are already in existence, or to help certain companies that are here really grow in a significant way.

If this bill is passed and we're looking at the First Five -- we're looking at over the first two years -- we're looking at 2000 jobs created in the state; 2000 jobs, folks. And everybody here, I'm sure is aware of the latest job numbers that came out this morning from the federal government, very disappointed across the country, and certainly Connecticut is part of that.

And we have -- we have not been doing the kinds of job creation that we would -- we would like. This will provide -- and I'm a little shy to use the word "stimulus" -- but this will provide some stimulus for certain companies that will be chosen by the commissioner and her staff to -- to do -- to really give this -- this impetus to really drive the economic wheel in Connecticut.

Two other things that the bill does, which are also very important, it increases the total amount of Job Creation Tax Credits from 11 million to 20 million, and Urban, Industrial Sites Tax Credits from 500 million to 750 million. And -- and those are necessary; and I'll -- if we had any questions on this, I'd be glad to go into more detail. Those are necessary because we're -- we're, in a sense, running out of room on -- on those programs to -- to -- to keep them alive. And they're -- they've been pretty successful, especially the Urban, Industrial Tax Credits.

Mr. President, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO Number 7604. May he call it and may I be allowed to summarize?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 7604, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A," as offered by Senator LeBeau, of the 3rd District.

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Thank you, Mr. President.

This -- this amendment is essentially technical in nature, provides a little bit more flexibility, and it -- I'd recommend that we -- I'd like to move the amendment and recommend its passage.

THE CHAIR:

On adoption?

SENATOR LeBEAU:

On adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark? Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of the amendment, please significant by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Those opposed, nay? The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted.

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

I'm certainly willing to take questions, Mr. President. I think this is an excellent -- an excellent bill, a timely bill, something that -- that we need to do in the state to help generate jobs.

I know there's be a lot of discussion about what we do in the -- in this Chamber, about whether we're creating jobs or not creating jobs, but this is one bill we can -- we can, I think -- and I think hopefully we can all get behind as a bill that, without any question, will help create jobs in the State of Connecticut.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you mark further on the bill as amended? Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Good morning to you. Good afternoon to you --

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon.

SENATOR FRANTZ:

-- I guess. I stand in favor of the bill, and I want to take a minute to thank the Governor for his input here but also to thank Senator LeBeau and his counterpart in the House for providing some very good leadership on this particular effort.

While this is a very expensive way to create jobs -- and my argument, universally, and throughout this session and the previous two years', previous session -- is that Connecticut should, in fact, be making much greater strides towards making our state much more competitive on the tax front. And -- and not just -- not just corporate tax; I'm talking about income tax and all of the other taxes that we face, having to do income, estate, corporate income, and as well as consumption taxes, because that's the very best thing that we could be doing to attract businesses to our state.

Since we have had a tough time doing that, despite some magnanimous efforts to do so, we are facing numbers that we thought we would not facing here, at the national level, and that translates down into numbers that could be construed as even a little bit worse here in Connecticut. We know that there's at least an 18-month-to-24-month lag in job recovery, economic recovery in the State of Connecticut after the national economy has recovered. And that's -- that's a big thing to remember because the national economy has, in fact, not -- not recovered yet. We may be getting into a little bit of another sideways drift here.

But having said all that, this is a good initiative, and, again, the Governor is right on the money here, as is leadership of the Commerce Committee. And I think it will create a buzz. I think it does fit with the whole idea of Connecticut being open for business, and I am hopeful that it will create some critical mass as well.

Once we get a good flagship company in, such as we did recently here with Starwood, I think that you can -- you can bring some other companies in just by virtue of the fact that you've got perhaps an industry similarity with other companies that might consider coming here to the state.

Just a couple of quick questions of the proponent of the bill, Senator LeBeau.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ:

Thank you.

Through you, Mr. President.

Senator LeBeau, thank you, again, for your efforts on this bill and your overall efforts on economic development.

Could you tell the group if there is any sort of criteria that's alluded to in the bill's language having to do with what sort of company, what type of company, what type of employment, what type of product we're looking for, or is it just a general approach to bringing in companies with 200 employees or more?

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

As I understand the bill, Senator -- first of all, let me -- let me thank you, again, for your support and your help with everything we've done in the Commerce Committee; and Representative Fred Camillo, from the House. We've -- and -- and Jeff, Jeff Berger, from the House, also, our -- our -- our House Chair, and the Governor; we're working with the Governor's Office on this. Joe Oros -- oh, I see Joe over in the corner -- so that there are some people to thank. But since you started doing it, I thought I'd follow up on that.

I -- my understanding of the bill is pretty wide open in terms of the kinds of -- the kinds of businesses that might come in. But I -- I -- I also know that there are -- there are certain kinds of businesses that create more jobs than others and that have more multiplier effects. And I also know of, actually, some negotiations that are going with the kinds of companies that you and I would like to see in the company, high-tech -- in the -- in the state. High-tech companies, companies that would make components of -- of high-tech energy producers, to say that in a broad way without divulging and breaking any confidences.

So -- so where -- where I -- I think it's a pretty broad, broad bill and will give the commissioner a lot of latitude, that's -- that's really the intent of it is to give her the latitude, give her the flexibility and to utilize the existing tools that we have to -- to create and recruit and expand business in the state, and I -- and to do her due diligence.

I mean, this is not -- this is not saying, hey, you know, just -- just come on in. I mean, there's still a due-diligence process. She's still dealing with state money, taxpayer dollars, in many cases, to help bring in those -- those companies. And I have a lot of confidence in our Commissioner of Economic Development to -- to do her due diligence, and -- and the people in the DECD, CDA, and CI, who are also charged in this bill to help her in that process.

SENATOR FRANTZ:

Thank you.

And through you, Mr. President.

I appreciate --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ:

-- that answer.

And the pitch I would make to the Executive -- Executive Branch and also the Commissioner of DECD, Commissioner Smith, is that we look for sustainable jobs, the kind of jobs we were just talking about, higher-salary ranges in industries that don't -- don't pollute, don't detract from the overall appearance or the economy in any sense, if they were to come here, locate themselves here. Financial services is obviously a great one. Nanotechnology is another one. Film studio businesses is another one, so I'd put a pitch in for that. And I know the Senator would -- would probably put in the same type of -- of plea. And hopefully we will be at least consulted on how that program is going, as it gets underway.

And one last question, through you, Mr. President, for Senator LeBeau.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR FRANTZ:

Thank you.

Senator LeBeau, the urban redevelopment tax credits' portion goes from 500 million to 750 million. In your experience, do these -- do these benefits or tax credits, are they taken advantage of frequently and do you see within the next 24 months of when this is enacted, the $ 250 million in incremental tax credits, do you see that being used significantly?

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Through you, Mr. President.

Yes, I do. Appreciate the question.

And through previous -- previous authorization -- it's interesting that this urban industrial tax credits in the past, it's an old program and for a long time those tax credits sat around and were not used. We had some changes, a couple of years ago, and that -- as a matter of fact, last year as a part of the job's bill -- we also made some -- some additional changes. And we are really beginning to use those.

About 70 percent, a little over 70 percent of the existing tax credit authorization of $ 500 million has been used up; $ 356,900,000. And that has been happening in it recently.

And, as you know, Senator Frantz, one of the beauties of the -- the tax credit is that we get the company to come in based upon the contract to give their urban industrial sites tax credit. And then the payoffs, I believe, are in the first three years, zero, zero, zero; then 10, 10; then 20, 20, 30, I believe, if that adds up to a hundred percent. I hope it does. But it's -- but it -- but it doesn't get paid off until -- until -- I might have missed a 10 there -- but it doesn't get paid off until a full ten years goes by. Meanwhile, we've had those jobs in the state operating, people paying taxes, people paying local property taxes in communities, people having jobs, all the good that comes with -- with a job that you're fully aware of. So, yes, number one, it is -- the program is being used. That's why we're -- we want to expand it by $ 200 million.

And, number two -- at $ 250 dollars -- and -- and yes, it's a -- it's a great program that is really working right now.

SENATOR FRANTZ:

Terrific. Thank you for that answer.

And through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I -- I am done with my questioning. I'd just like to say if you're watching this or in the Chamber at this point, you'll notice that you have a Chairman here who has unusual passion and a devotion to the whole process of economic development, and it's a pleasure to work with him. And for that reason, but more importantly the reason that this bill does have some merit, it will kick-start economic development and job growth in Connecticut, regardless of what's happening with the macroeconomy, because of its benefits.

And I stand in -- in favor of it and -- and urge my colleagues to vote for it as well.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Listen, just a quick note on the bill. It's no secret that I've been quite a critic of this Legislature and the Administration when it comes to business and it comes to taxation and regulation, but this is one of those bills where it really did a very good job, so kudos to Senator LeBeau and Senator Frantz of the Commerce Committee and the Administration for putting this forward. This is what we need. We need to spur the economy. We need to spur job growth. We need to create incentives for businesses to come into Connecticut, expand their businesses and create jobs. So I tip my hat to those who put this bill together.

This is the kind of thing, as a business person, I'm looking for, and the people that I deal with on a daily basis in our local Chambers of Commerce and beyond are looking for, is to grab employers and to grab companies to come into the state and provide the kind of jobs that we need necessary. So I will be in support of the bill.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you, Mr. President.

First, I do want to congratulate Senator LeBeau and -- and the members of the Commerce Committee for bringing forward the -- the Governor's proposal. We certainly do need some kind of stimulus to get Connecticut going again, creating jobs and -- and getting our economy back on track.

If I may, through you, Mr. President, to Senator LeBeau?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO:

First, again, thank you, Senator LeBeau for your leadership.

What is the maximum number of companies that can benefit from the Governor's program as proposed? Through you, Mr. President?

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Through you --

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

-- Mr. President. Through you, Mr. President.

The maximum number of companies, as the bill is currently written, is ten companies. It's called First Five, and it's the first five in the first year, starting July 1st, and then it's another five in the second year, second fiscal year. So there's a possibility of ten, and I would love to see the -- I think you would love to see the ten -- I'd love to see the ten. And I'd -- I wouldn't mind. And -- and, actually, the part of your leadership came to me and said I'd like to see a lot more than that; maybe we can expand this bill if we need to. And I -- I would love to see that happen, too.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you.

And through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Maybe we should have a program, the 300 or something like that, because we sure could use a -- a few hundred companies starting up jobs.

Through you, again, Mr. President.

Could you, Senator LeBeau, give us a little more-detailed explanation of the, quote, substantial financial assistance that might be given under this program to the companies that do qualify? I understand it, and not only as financial assistance in the form of loans, but, again, tax credits, and so through the President, if I may ask you to give a little more detail -- detailed explanation of that.

THE CHAIR:

Senator --

SENATOR LeBEAU:

And through you Mr. --

THE CHAIR:

-- LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Through you, Mr. President.

The -- I think we're looking at millions of dollars here. I mean, we're not talking about -- I mean, if we look at around the country, we see in terms of bringing corporations in and corporations that have substantial employment; 200 jobs is certainly substantial. You're looking at 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars, somewhere in that range, on a -- on a per-company basis, possibly a -- possibly less, 2, 2 or 3 million dollars, but you're looking at millions of dollars worth of aids. And the aid could come in a, as you said, in a variety of ways. It could come in loans at a reduced rate through CDA or DECD. They could come in helping with education and helping to pay for those costs, if certain skills are needed and employees need to be upgraded in terms of their skills. It could come in terms of technical assistance through CI or -- or perhaps some of the -- some of the programs that they have, as particularly if we're in -- in the area of new products and new product development. That -- that would be appropriate through Connecticut Innovations. So those are the kinds of and variety of different things.

And -- and Senator Frantz mentioned the kind of jobs that we're looking for. I mean, certainly we know, we're -- we're not looking -- this is not, we're not -- I mean I -- I mean my advice to the Administration would be, no, we're not looking retail here, we're looking for good, permanent jobs. We're looking for jobs in the kinds of industries, the nonpolluting financial industry, high-technology industries, energy producing, and I would even say as he -- as he did, the firm industry that -- that really can help to give a boost to the -- to the Connecticut economy in a -- in a substantial and long-term way.

That it's -- this is not coming in and leaving; this is coming in and staying and really building our economy, giving our young people opportunities.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Great; and thank --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you.

Through you, Mr. President.

I notice that the OFA analysis has an estimated financial impact of a half-a-million dollars in 2012, and 1. 8 million in Fiscal Year '13, yet the -- the tax credits which companies would be eligible for wouldn't start for at least three more years. So could you give a little more explanation of -- it's not clear to me reading the OFA analysis -- how they came up with that number or what it's attributable to?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Through you, Mr. President.

Most of that $ 500,000 is attributed to the -- the Job Creation Tax Credit, which is -- and it's interesting that you're talking right now to Senator Slossberg, because this was Senator Slossberg's idea, which she brought out about five or six years -- six or seven? Senator Slossberg, six, seven years ago? Six years ago.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG:

Seven.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Seven years ago; okay, you're counting your thump too.

Seven years ago we started working on this and tried to implement this. We had a couple of whiffs at the ball and then we -- we -- we got it. And then we've been improving it and we've been expanding it. It's very -- and -- and that essentially is you bring in a job. Today, you bring in a job and as a company; Suzio Financial comes --

SENATOR SUZIO:

Oh, I like that one.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Comes, comes to Connecticut and creates five jobs. And you can get a portion of the income tax paid by those employees refunded back to your company to help. And so it's a net win for the state. We still continue to get -- maintain the job, number one. Number two, some of the tax money, but we're -- but it's an -- it's an incentive to help grow jobs along those lines. And it's -- so that is the, as I'm reading the fiscal note, that is the short -- why the -- the short-term cost in not very high.

Over the long term on some of the other programs, at the out-years, it -- it could grow out, clearly because some of those tax credits will come due that we have -- we'd have to give back to the companies who do create those jobs.

And, by the way, one other thing to mention, that the claw-back provisions are still applicable here. If -- if -- were you going to ask me about that?

SENATOR SUZIO:

You've -- you --

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Okay.

SENATOR SUZIO:

-- anticipated. You --

SENATOR LeBEAU:

The (inaudible) --

SENATOR SUZIO:

Great minds think alike.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

The -- the claw-back provisions are still applicable. If -- if people do not come through, if companies do not come through with -- with their promises, the contract they sign with the state, then we can literally go in and claw back a percentage of what they -- what they did not do. And that has kept -- that has kept companies in the state. Unfortunately, we've lost a couple of companies that we helped -- helped aid. But they all waited until the claw-back provisions were -- ran out.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Well, I want to --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you.

Thank you, very much; I have no further questions for the Senator.

I do want to make a few comments and then propose what I think might be an amendment and an improvement. You know, I like the idea. Anything to stimulate job creation and business growth, revitalization of our economy, I think is -- is something we ought to be supporting. My reservations just about this program would be just that, number one, it's -- it's going to benefit only ten companies, as it's currently structured, and Connecticut has over 92,000 companies that are registered to do business in the State of

Connecticut.

And, furthermore, it primarily will benefit large companies because the requirement is to add at least 200 jobs. So while I applaud it, we know we're in a

-- we're in a -- in an economic quagmire right now and in a period of job stagnation that I think would be better if we had a broader program that could potentially reach not just 10 companies but maybe 10,000 companies.

And with that in mind I would like to propose an amendment. Mr. -- Mr. President, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO Number 8116. Will the Clerk please call the amendment?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 8116, which shall be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "B. " It's offered by Senator Suzio, of the 13th District.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Mr. President, I move adoption of the amendment by roll call and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

On adoption, will you remark?

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you, Mr. President.

The amendment that I'm proposing would be added to -- it won't detract anything from what the Governor's proposal is, but it would be added to it -- and what it would do is it would instruct the State

Treasurer to take upwards of up to a-billion-and-a half dollars of State Pension Fund money and authorize the State Treasurer to use that money to purchase the SBA-guaranteed portion of loans made to small businesses, pursuant to the Small Business Administration program. Those would be full-faith and credit obligations of the U. S. Government, so that they would be absolutely and perfectly the safest investment that the pension money can be put into. Typically those obligations, there's a secondary market for those obligations, and they do carry a very high return on investment, particularly in light of the low risk associated with them.

This would enable the state to -- there's currently, as I said, 92,000 businesses registered to do business in the State of Connecticut. Of those

92,000 businesses, 89,500, roughly, employ fewer than 250 people. And so it would broaden the potential pool of businesses that could benefit from the program. It would make it a much broader pool, from ten to thousands of companies. It would be aimed at the small business community, which is the largest generator of job growth in the State of Connecticut. Moreover, most of the those businesses are family owned, and they're owned by families that live in the communities where their businesses are located, so they're pillars of the community and they're people who -- whose -- that growth of their business not only benefits the community in terms of employment but they tend to put their money back into the community in various ways.

So I believe that this will not detract from the Governor's proposal but actually expand it terrifically and, again, be reachable to thousands of businesses all over the state.

You know, we -- we have to be worried about when we go and we extend those programs to large companies, one of the problems is that large companies become a source of vulnerability to the community. When a company like Pfizer picks up and moves and takes a thousand jobs with it, that can be very devastated to a community. On the other hand, when we have a company that's employing 50, 60 or 70 people, God forbid, and they do fail, but when they do, it's not devastating to the community, itself. So I -- I think it's more prudent policy as well.

And we want to -- we not only want to create jobs, ladies and gentlemen, we want to preserve jobs. Because it's not enough to just create 2000 more jobs under the Governor's program, while 10,000 jobs, more jobs leave the state because businesses close down.

This program would be aimed at giving financial support to the community that's already loyal to the State of Connecticut, has been here. It's the most loyal part of the business community to the state; it's its family owned businesses who not only make their living here, they live here in the communities. So it's -- it's a program that I think is going to benefit people who are certainly most worthy of it and deserving of it. And I -- I think preserving the jobs that they've already created, to me, is a very important consideration, because we don't want to be on a treadmill, creating new jobs but losing some jobs at the same pace. So I want to reiterate that.

The -- the other benefit is the State Pension Fund money, itself, would be greatly benefited because it's a high rate of return and a low risk, because it's a full-faith and credit obligation of the United States Government. Why not take State Pension Fund money and put it back in the State of Connecticut where it can benefit not only the owners of businesses but people who work in those businesses as well?

So I hope that my colleagues around the Circle here will see the wisdom of expanding this and making it attractive and complementing the Governor's program. And I welcome and encourage your support.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark?

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Senator Suzio, I -- I don't want to play a game with you, in terms of asking you for the fiscal note on this, because I have the fiscal note. So I'm just going to mention what's in the fiscal note is that the -- the amendment has no fiscal impact because the Office of the State Treasurer already has the ability to make this type of investment. So if --since you're authorizing them to do it, it's redundant to what currently exists in the law, so I would reluctantly oppose -- oppose the amendment.

But I would -- I do want to say I think it's a -- a good amendment in a -- in a sense of putting us in the right direction. I -- and I -- and but to go further, which I think is really the intent to, in a sense, mandate that the Treasurer make these kinds of investments is -- is a little different amendment. And that would make it much more difficult.

And not having the Treasurer's people brought into this, and to have them discuss it, and also the

-- the -- the State Retirement Board. They would of

-- want of, I'm sure, have some input on this, as would the -- the state employees and -- and their representatives. So I would reluctantly oppose -- oppose the amendment.

And I think you asked for a roll call, so I won't have to do that.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark?

Senator McLachlan, remark further on the amendment?

A roll call vote has been ordered.

Mr. Clerk, please announce the pendency of a roll call vote.

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. An immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? The machine will be locked.

The Clerk will announce the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on adoption of Senate Amendment Schedule "B. "

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 13

Those voting Nay 23

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The amendment fails.

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Colleagues, this bill is already having a good effect. I want to share with you that I -- I used to be a -- a lawyer, and I -- I got a call last fall from a client about locating a major European manufacturer in the United States. They wanted to have an American headquarters, and they were looking at three states, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Connecticut. And as -- and this would be a company that would qualify for the First Five program. We're looking at several hundred employees in a major manufacturing operation.

And I introduced them to DECD and the commissioner at that time and -- and then to the new commissioner and -- and the -- and the staff of DECD. They're looking primarily, as I've told the Senate President, at -- at his -- his city, the City of Norwalk. And -- and one of the enticements to this company was our explanation to them of the First Five program and what that would do in the way of credits for them. So as we compete with North Carolina and Minnesota, this bill, even in bill form, is actually having a good -- a good effect. I -- I think it would be unfair to reveal the name of the company because it's still in negotiation, but it's in very active negotiation.

I just got off the phone this afternoon with Deputy Commissioner Ron Angelo, and he told me that the negotiations are going well and hot and heavy. So we're very much in the ball game, and we're in the ball game, in part, because of this bill.

And, Senator LeBeau, I want the thank you for introducing it and articulating it so well.

Thanks, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise to speak in behalf of the bill, and just a couple of brief comments. I mentioned, I think last week, a little about statistics. Well, one of those that I like is that in quality of life issues, Connecticut is always in the top three to top five, and there's a lot to be proud of, living in the State of Connecticut. And it's also attractive to those who live elsewhere. And you can't help but repeating that when you look at quality of life, location is such a big factor, and that makes a difference to businesses coming.

The reality is it costs money to open a business. I think with the bill passed last week, the UConn initiative, the potential of somebody coming in under this program near UConn, knowing it's coming, is a real possibility. All of us who sit around the table or the large majority of us has some city in our town along a river that has a brown field's issue. And think about brown fields' credits combined with this opportunity, there's really a chance for us to -- to bring in new industry and new jobs and a new quality of -- of life or in addition to our quality of life, as we know it.

The Governor, in his program, said that Connecticut is open for business. I think that we've got to emphasize that point. We still have some things that we have to do in the business world. There's no question that there's -- we'd -- have to be some changes, but this a tremendous start. And I personally hope the Governor gets stuck at the position where he has to come back to us and say it's got to be the first ten this year and the first ten next year, as opposed to ten in two years.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, speaking in support of the bill as amended, I again wanted to commend Senator LeBeau for his work on this issue in the -- in the Commerce Committee and the Governor for introducing this -- this concept.

And I think the important thing or the -- one of the important things is that it is the first five, meaning that there is a time-is-of-the-essence quality to this, which is important in terms of trying to find businesses that are willing to make a commitment to Connecticut, sooner rather than later.

We are now, of course, facing difficult times, as we have been for years, and it is important that while we pursue long-term economic development, it's also important that we spur developments that can occur quickly, to start to show results quickly, to help get us underway with the kind of -- of recovery and stimulation that is -- that is critical. So the opportunities for this will, in fact, I believe, get the attention of people who were contemplating action but wondering what might be the right time to move and whether Connecticut might, in fact, be the right place.

This will, in fact, help to tilt things in our direction, because it does reflect the -- the substantial, practical commitment that the Governor has been talking about in terms of the state being open for business and finding opportunities to welcome and incentivize. So I think this is a -- a beginning of the process to, in effect, get us on the right track in a timely way with the sense of urgency that we all share, that we've all spoken about, and that we all feel. And this is a practical way to begin to deal with that issue.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further?

Senator McKinney.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

And I do rise in support of the bill before us, but if I could, through you, ask Senator LeBeau some very quick questions?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank you.

Senator, again, I -- look, I think we all hope that the First Five turns to the first 50 and the first hundred, and as I mentioned to Senator Leone, the focus needs to be on job creation. Hopefully, we won't forget about the companies in-state already. We want them to expand here rather than elsewhere, not just about attracting people to move in the state. But I do notice that the bill before us exempts these projects from the legislative approval process that currently exists with respect to financial assistance. And through you, Mr. President, what would be the rationale for exempting these projects from the legislative approval process?

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Thank you. Thank you, Mr. -- Mr. President.

I would think, very simply, that it'd give the commissioner flexibility; number one. And number two, so the commissioner can -- can do a handshake and can say yes, we can do this; and there's no question that it will happen for this limited number of projects.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank --

THE CHAIR:

Senator McKinney.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank you.

The -- the second change is that we currently have a cap on total financial assistance that a project may receive, which is 50 percent of the total project costs or 90 percent if the project is in a targeted investment community, towns with enterprise zones, as you obviously well know. We exempt these five from that cap as well.

Through you, Mr. President.

Could you please explain why we would do that?

THE CHAIR:

Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Through you, Mr. President.

Again, to have -- to give the commissioner -- through you, Mr. President, the -- to give the commissioner flexibility, and there may be certain industries that may be the kind, exactly the kind of industries we want to get, and we might want to go above that 50 percent.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank you, Senator.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McKinney.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

I appreciate it, again, Mr. President.

And that's all my questions. Thank you, Senator. Again, Mr. President, I do stand in support of this but I do think it's a mistake to exempt from legislative approval. I, without knowing the answer, and I appreciate the answer, the only good answer that

I could think of was to give the commissioner some flexibility.

But I just want to remind the Chamber, it wasn't that long ago when, Mr. President, you obviously were on one side, others were on another side, where a -- a previous Commissioner of Economic and Community Development decided to give the Diageo Company a significant amount of financial assistance to move from Stamford, Connecticut to Norwalk. But the reality was it was to keep them here in Connecticut. Any time we engage in these kind of investments, we don't know with certainty whether we're going to be right. We can't tell with certainty whether a company who is in Connecticut says, Hey, we're thinking about leaving; give us some money to stay, if they're really serious about leaving. We have to trust the economic development professionals we have to know what's happening in that industry, with that company, with the place they might go, what the reality is -- of the move is, and base it on their base -- best judgment. But I do think -- I do think the legislative oversight process is important. And I -- and I apologize, but I just can't let this go. It -- it was the Mayor of Stamford, himself, Dan Malloy, who said we need oversight. We need openness. We need honesty. It was Dan Malloy, at the time when Diageo was thinking about leaving Stamford, Connecticut and got money from the State of Connecticut, who decried the lack of legislative oversight and the lack of openness and the lack of sunshine. So here we have his first major economic development initiative, and he takes away all that legislative oversight. It's ironic. It's perhaps hypocritical.

Again, I'll stand in support of this, but -- but I remember a time, with a Republican Governor, where this Legislature in the majority wanted that legislative oversight, and now we're giving it up. I hope when there's a new Governor -- and sometime there will be, whether it's 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 years from now, there will be. Whether that Republican be -- whether that Governor be Republican, Democrat or third-party, that we want to have the same rules for all, because this is -- this is pretty interesting. And, again, just because it's fun, there definitely needs to be oversight, honesty, and openness, quote, unquote, from the former-Mayor of Stamford, Dan Malloy.

In closing, I -- I also need to reflect a little bit on Senator Meyer's comments; he's exactly right. Things that we do here -- things that we do here impact business. And this is an initiative that's gotten very good public relations and our DECD and Catherine Smith, who I think will do an excellent job, are very vocal about; and that's good. We're marketing the state.

But Senator, it works both ways. Things that we do here can help for good and things that we can do here for hurt. And, in fact, we just learned the other day that a company in Branford, Connecticut is leaving for Providence, East Providence, Rhode Island, because of mandated paid sick leave and a lack of response from our DECD. They filed an application with our DECD in January, under the current Administration, and they haven't heard back. They filed in Rhode Island and they heard back and got prequalified for grants within less than 30 days.

So while this is a positive step, many of the old problems in DECD have not be fixed, and -- and -- and that process was and continues to be an impediment to business growth in the State of Connecticut.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended?

If not, Senator LeBeau.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

If there's no objection, I'd move this to the Consent Calendar. We have an objection on it.

THE CHAIR:

There's objection.

SENATOR LeBEAU:

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, please announce the pendency of a roll call vote.

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. An immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? If all members voted, please check the board and make sure your vote is accurately recorded. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked.

And the Clerk will take the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on passage of Senate Bill 1001, as amended by Senate Amendment Schedule "A. "

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 32

Those voting Nay 4

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes.

Are there any announcements or points of personal privilege? Any announcements or points of personal privilege?

If not, Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, if the Clerk might call next the item on Calendar page 13, Calendar 490, Senate Bill 929.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page 13, Calendar Number 490, File Number 796, substitute for Senate Bill 929, AN ACT CONCERNING CLOSING THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT GAP; Favorable Report of the Committee on Education, and Appropriations.

The Clerk is in possession of an amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, Senator Stillman.

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Mr. President, good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, madam.

SENATOR STILLMAN:

I -- I move the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.

We have a great opportunity in front of us this afternoon to help to close the achievement gap through this bill. We talk about it frequently here in the Legislature because we know that this achievement gap, that we have in Connecticut, that we are working so hard to close is -- is an impediment to improving our children's education and helping them -- helping them create a better future for themselves.

This issue of the achievement gap and sort of the -- the issues that revolve around it has -- has been brought to our attention by many people. But certainly Senator Harp has played a very critical role in bringing this to our attention in the work that she did last year with a task force. And this bill is an off-shoot of the work of -- of her committee.

The -- the bill continues to establish a task force and an interagency council, and it also provides opportunity for more education through early literacy programs in certain districts of the state, especially those that are low-achieving school districts. Those are just a -- a couple of -- of -- of items in this bill, and I'm sure we will discuss it over the next few minutes.

But with that, Mr. President, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 7652. If he would kindly call it and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 7652, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A" is offered by Senator Stillman, of the 20th District, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Stillman.

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I move adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

On adoption, will you remark?

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Yes. Thank you.

The amendment that is in front of us is one that was -- that is the work of a variety of Legislators who are so passionate about this issue because of its importance to the future of our children. I would like to thank Representative McCrory, Representative Miller, Representative Rojas, and Representative Holder-Winfield for their work in putting this amendment together, as well as my Co-Chair, Representative Fleischmann and Senator Harp's continuing interest and hard work on this issue.

The amendment, itself, makes some, what I think are necessary changes to the bill. It -- it strikes

-- some of it is technical, but also it provides that not later than July 1st of 2012, the Department of Education shall approve and make available a model curricula, in reading and mathematics, for grades

pre-kindergarten to grade 4, for use by local and regional boards of education for school districts identified by the department as having academic achievement gaps.

The amendment also goes on to talk about the State Education Resource Center and its ability to work to help promote educational equity and to work for the Connecticut School Reform Resource Center, which is within the State Education Resource Center, to operate year round and focus on servicing the needs of all our public schools and especially the teachers to educate students in areas that include research-based child development and reading instruction tools.

And I move adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

Senator McKinney.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, through you, a question to the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank you.

Senator Stillman, not long ago we passed a bill

-- I think it was called An Act Concerning a School Entrance Age -- where we talked about backing out from age 7 to age 6. At the time we had the discussion about the kindergarten start -- age start. I had some amendments filed to that bill, and you had made reference to the fact that the kindergarten starting age was in another bill, which is the bill now before us.

Does this amendment strip that language?

Through you, Mr. President?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Stillman.

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Yes. Thank you.

Through you, Mr. President.

It does strip the language, but what it does is include a clarification that -- because it strikes Section 4, which is where that language was -- but it includes a clarification that one of the charges of the task force is to make recommendation as to how to -- and proposal as to address that issue of changing the entry date from January 1st to October 1st, but not by -- not until 2015. So we're charging them to come up with a plan to develop that process, so that we can make sure we have enough early childhood education slots for children who need them, because the worst thing we can do is not provide that possibly one extra year that children may need for early childhood education without -- we have to have the resources to do it. So it's important that we continue the education so they have the necessary pre-K education, so they don't enter school behind.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McKinney.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

And thank you for that.

But wouldn't -- if we were going to change the date so far down to road, in 2015 -- and -- and I had -- think I joked with you that a couple years ago I put in a bill that said if effective five years from now so that there wouldn't be a child born who, you know, who would be affected -- talk about parental planning -- that would have allowed for it. But if we're going to have a date out as far as 2015, wouldn't it make more sense to -- to pass that change, have the task force implement recommendations in how we accomplish the change by 2015, knowing that if the task force can't accomplish it or if the task force makes recommendations regarding preschool education that we as a state can't meet because of -- of lack of votes or finances or resources, that we can in the

2012 and 2014 and two-thousand-even-15, well, 2012, '13, and '14 Legislative Sessions then undo the date? Because my fear here is that we've now -- we've now put off this issue for several years and that whenever the task force comes back, 2015 is going to be too close from that date.

I just think it -- I would just like your comments on why we couldn't have that date in place, require the task force to do all of what it's supposed to do, knowing that if it can't be accomplished, we can still pull back from that date.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Stillman.

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President. Through you.

Senator McKinney, I wish we could do it tomorrow, quite frankly, because I'm -- I'm troubled by it, by 2015. But the reality is we don't have the resources right now. It's my hope that if we are successful through the bill that we adopted yesterday, Senate Bill 1103, which will help us qualify for what I hope will be considerable federal money through the new Race to the Top dollars that are being made available from Washington, that by addressing, saying that we want to create more childhood education slots, that this could be also be considered part of that application that we're going to make to the -- this Administration is going to make to Washington.

We don't have the dollars now. We don't -- we're not even sure exactly how many children this could affect. And so -- but just because we set a date of 2015, if -- if the work of the task force proves that we can do it soon sooner, than I would certainly hope they would come back to the Education Committee, because they're going to have to make a report, and make that recommendation that we think we can do it sooner and this is how we could do it.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank you, Senator.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McKinney.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Mr. President, I'm -- I'm going to reluctantly rise in opposition to the amendment. And obviously I'll save Senator Stillman the time, ask for a roll call vote when the vote be taken.

You know, I -- I think even Governor Malloy, himself, said and -- and as mayor instituted universal pre-K. So I think on this issue, he certainly speaks from a position that is -- is difficult to criticize. As one who instituted university preschool within his city, has said that the issue between universal preschool and preschool access and kindergarten start-date are not necessarily linked. And I agree with him.

This is not about denying access; it's about establishing a cut-off date by which our kids start kindergarten. We are one of two or three states that allows a child to -- the parents to decide as late as January 1st that their child starts kindergarten. So what happens is if your child is like my middle child, is born in late October, you make a difficult decision as a parent. And then you can have kids with such disparate ages in the same kindergarten class.

So, you know, I know, I understand that, you know, on the own hand the argument is, well, we don't -- we don't want children to go to kindergarten without, you know, adequate resources; I agree with that. Or, you know, if we change the date, some kids won't be able to go to kindergarten, and what are they going to do for a year? I understand that.

But you're also putting kids into kindergarten who are so young that it -- that it changes the entire classroom or it can change the entire classroom. And what is the impact on having kids go to kindergarten when they're too young and not ready, on them and their long-term development? And so I -- I get it.

I know that there are parents who can't afford or for whom preschool is not a viable option, and they get their son or daughter into kindergarten as early as they can. But that may not be the best long-term solution for that child. And we have such a wide range of ages within kindergarten, that I don't think that's the best learning environment for all of the kids and the most helpful environment for the teachers.

So it -- it just -- it doesn't make sense to me why we don't have a cut-off date that's September 1st or October 1st, why we can't say we're going to have that cut-off date three or four years down the road. And we have plenty of time to make sure whatever resources we believe are needed, three or four years gives our school districts plenty of time to plan in terms of whether there's going to be overcrowding or undercrowding.

And I just -- we -- we continue to back-off making steps towards reform. And I know this is a politically volatile, emotional issue. The -- there were years, I don't even think, where the Education Committee even raised this bill for a public hearing when it came out. And so the -- my good friend, Senator Stillman has done much more and had much more debate on this, than in prior years. And that's, you know, that's some positive movement; and I do appreciate that.

But I just think I -- I -- I don't think that there's any down side to saying we're going to make this change by 2015, we're going to have the task force go forward. We're going to be moving full steam ahead with the very full knowledge that in the 2012 or '13 or '14 Legislative Session, the General Assembly can say we just can't get there, we need another year or we need another two years. And absent that language in this bill, I think we're going to see 2015 come and go without changes in our kindergarten start date. And that's why, reluctantly, I'm going to vote against this amendment.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Did you ask for a roll call vote, Senator? A roll call vote will be ordered.

Senator Stillman.

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Yes. Thank you.

I would like to respond to Senator McKinney's concerns. First of all, one of the things he just stated was that he would like to see the October 1st date become a reality within three or four years.

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Circle, that's 2015, which is what's in the bill. It's hard for me to stand here and think 2015 is only three or four years from now, but it is. So I think we've sort of met his benchmark that he -- he just mentioned.

The reality is that there are children whose parent's can't afford preschool and they may need that extra year of -- of preschool, and the state's going to have to help provide it. We already have Head Start in the state and those programs, we hope, will continue to expand. And we have a variety of other, smaller programs, as well.

You know, earlier, as was mentioned in the session, we passed a bill to bring the -- the age down from 7 to 6. Well, that helps to close that age disparity in -- in little children because of the -- the -- and that we want to close. And so I think if we can now close it even more, eventually, and have the children who are in kindergarten within -- in a few years, there -- most of them being five and no more than six, unless of course there's a -- a reason for a child to be held back because of -- of -- of concerns by their physician, then I think that we are -- are -- are going a long way towards providing a -- a better educational opportunity for our children, because there won't be that great disparity that we have a concern about.

So I hope that Senator McKinney will listen to the discussion, and I know he keeps an open mind. We've had many discussions, and I thank for him that. And I thank him for his interest and passion on this subject.

You know, many of -- we're parents and we understand the difficulties of growing up because we've seen it in our children. And we know that it's important that we can provide the best educational atmosphere for our children as well. So I urge members of the Circle to support this amendment. I think it improves the underlying bill and will move the state forward in -- in developing a better plan as to how to provide, eventually, that universal pre-K for our children, as well as other aspects within this bill.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Senator Harp.

SENATOR HARP:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise to support this amendment and to thank Senator Stillman for working so hard on this issue.

You know, we live in a world that is very different than the world that I grew up in. When I grew up, people were still using finger power to power their typewriters. By the time I went to college, they had electronic typewriters, and there was actually a way to correct things. By the time I went to graduate school, there were computers that were available for a few people, and now our whole lives can be carried around in the palm of our hand. And so what that tells us is that we are in a very different society then many of our generation even could conceive of, all those many years ago that we were in elementary school.

And what we know about the society that we live in now, what we know about that economy is that it is a knowledge-based economy, and that if you don't have knowledge, if you can't read, write, if you don't understand basic science, then you are basically committed to a life of really nonparticipation, to a life basically of poverty.

You can't even get into the Armed Forces anymore without passing basic tests, and for many of our generation, the way that you moved up, you achieved upward mobility was through the military. That is cut off if you are not educated.

And so what is happening in Connecticut, one of the premiere education states? We have an educational mandate in our constitution, and yet in Connecticut we have the largest achievement gap in the United States of America. It is shameful.

Let me give you an example of a school that will soon be reformulated in New Haven, in my district. For math, 25 percent were at goal of above -- 25 percent. That means, of course, that 75 percent were not. For reading, 18 percent were at goal or above. For writing, 16 percent were at goal or above. And for science, 8 percent were at goal or above. It is shameful. We must do something about it.

Now, what this amendment does -- and I think it's very important because I was shocked to find out that we don't have model curriculum. Now, I made a decision a long time ago, based upon my observation as a young parent, particularly from my neighborhood school at the time, that I would send my kids to a private school simply because I could not afford for them not to be educated or to be miseducated. I said -- it was -- it was a Catholic school, and one of the things that I learned that they did, because I sat on that Board of Education, was they got curriculum from the archdiocese. This was over 30 years ago that curriculum was tested to determine its effectiveness. So I just assumed that the State Board of Education had some way of determining the effectiveness of the curriculums that we have around the state and that they did that, that that would be something that would be their role. Well, in fact, they don't.

There are no real requirements that they test these curriculums to assure that they can teach certain populations. The archdiocese curriculum was based upon helping emerging populations fit into their communities. We don't do that. This amendment requires that the State Board of Education develop a model curricula for underperforming schools and school districts, from pre-kindergarten to four. It's about time that that gets done.

You know, I know you've all seen the commercials about a mind is a terrible thing to waste, well, it's even worse if you don't develop a mind in a knowledge-based economy. And so I think it's absolutely essential that we do something about this achievement gap. I think that we should be embarrassed that we haven't done more than we've done so far. And I'm happy. I know a lot of -- a lot of people don't support No Child Left Behind, but at least it made us realize how far behind we are and how much work we have to do.

And I don't want the children of my district basically to have no future, because we inadequately prepared them for the economy, for the lives which they need today. So I urge your support of this amendment.

And while I think that the age of kindergarten is something that we really need to think about, and I think that it's important that we have as a goal to have universal preschool, well let's at least educate the kids that we have. This amendment suggests important ways that we can do that, and I ask for your support of the amendment and the underlying bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER:

Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, I couldn't agree more with the passionate statements of the two previous speakers, particularly State Senator Toni Harp, and also my Minority Leader who expressed a frustration on many levels. Certainly his frustration at the age to start school is shared by many, and, in fact, we should be in compliance with the rest of the country in our mobile society so that everyone is on the same footing.

But even more so, my frustration at not having the age of five as the mandatory age to start school rather than six, but it is a part of the way there. Again, this seems to be very incremental for a problem that has been so passionately been explained, that we are at a crisis stage with our educational system, particularly in our major cities. And this bill does try to move us slightly forward.

And in the area of the curriculum, in particular, I'm so pleased that we have in here at least something, something that talks about math and reading, which is so critical. But although it requires that the State Department of Education make available this curriculum, it doesn't mandate that it should be used. And, quite frankly, I'd like to see that -- in fact, a lot of this legislation -- be made stronger by saying not only are we going to provide you with this great learning tool, but you're going to use it because you have failed so much in that area.

I would like to see us say that you must start school when you're five unless there's a disability and you get a waiver for a year, rather than making it the age of six. So there's a lot of areas for improvement, particularly in the reading area, because when we talk about curriculum, that is the area that I see the greatest discrepancy. Between towns just as close as a town like Norwalk and Wilton, there could be between one-or-two-full-years gap in their curriculum, in their learning curve. And the children have as much, the same potential for learning as the children in each of those tone towns.

So I'm -- I'm very concerned about the fact that we are not requiring a change of curriculum, although we're going to be providing some excellent materials. There is no question that by the age of three, if you have not learned to read, the prospects for your future are very, very dim. And so many students are doomed to failure in school, which then translates into failure in the workplace. And -- and that's something we really need to address strongly.

So I will be supporting this amendment today because it just makes a step in the right direction. But I would like to see it be stronger.

And, thankfully, I also was provided a good explanation from one area where in the bill -- in the amendment it made reference to having culturally relevant teaching methods for some of these particular school systems that we're discussing. And at first I was a bit concerned with that language, hoping it didn't water down the rigor that we wanted to try to infuse in this legislation to really improve prospects for kids. But I was provided with materials that said that culturally responsible teaching includes positive perspectives on parents and families, communication of high expectation, which I think is probably the number one, single most important thing we can do is to make sure that we tell all kids that they have the potential to learn at the highest level. It includes a student-centered instruction, which we would want for all children; culturally mediated instruction; reshaping the curriculum; and, teacher as a facilitator. So given that explanation, I became much more comfortable with that language that was in this particular bill and why I'm supporting it today.

It -- it doesn't go far enough for many of us, and certainly not for our Minority Leader, but at least it's a movement in the right direction. And I hope that future legislation actually puts some teeth into this and requires really strong, topnotch curriculum to be taught in the classroom.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I want to commend the Chair of our Education Committee for her work on this bill. It -- this one has been her tireless bill, making sure that folks were onboard and that it really addressed what is, I think, the most critical educational issue facing our state, as Senator Harp and Senator Boucher and McKinney were all eloquent about that problem.

I stand in gratitude to actually delaying the change in kindergarten age. I think, as Senator Stillman said, we need to make sure children have pre-kindergarten experiences before we deny them access to the school door, because what happens is when children have a whole extra year of unstructured time without the kind of stimulation that preschool provides or even that kindergarten provides, as -- if they are the youngest in the class is highly problematic, because each year of missing a high-quality educational experience, the brain becomes less and less plastic. The brain research is what drove us to do school readiness legislation in '97, and it's just getting stronger every day that children need a warm, responsive environment. They need worry -- warm responsive care. And there are families in this state who cannot afford preschool, and if they don't have preschool, they're showing up at kindergarten unprepared. And that has an impact on their future prospects as well as on everyone else in the classroom.

I think the legislation we passed about preschool yesterday was very important, and I can really see this bill and that bill working together, because I can't imagine there are two planning projects and two studies that wouldn't say yes we can delay kindergarten age but only when everyone has access to preschool. Because we wouldn't want to leave 25 percent of our kids, who can't afford preschool, who are our most vulnerable students, out of school a whole other year with the brain becoming less and less plastic over that time and less and less responsive. So I really want to commend Senator Stillman for her work on this and appreciate the hours you've spent in negotiations, and to all who've been advocates. I know there are a whole lot of advocates. We talk a lot about the achievement gap. I think this bill is going to get at critical, critical aspects of it around curriculum and around looking at the age gap.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

If not, Mr. Clerk, please announce the pendency of a roll call vote.

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. An immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? If all members voted, please check the board to make sure your vote is accurately recorded.

If all members voted, the machine will be locked. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on adoption of Senate Amendment Schedule "A," LCO 7652.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 30

Those voting Nay 6

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The amendment is adopted.

Will you remark further on the bill as amended?

Senator Stillman.

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

There are other aspects to this bill that I think are so very important, as we discuss closing this most important academic achievement gap. There's also language in here which provides that our teachers that are in our classrooms, that when they are -- receive their certification in their endorsement area of -- of elementary education, that they achieve a satisfactory evaluation on the appropriate State Board of Education approved mathematics assessment so that they can be -- that -- so that assessment in order to be eligible for early -- for elementary education endorsement. So, again, it's putting that emphasis on mathematics. This -- this bill goes a -- will go a long way, I believe, towards setting the stage of closing the achievement gap. I appreciate all the remarks that have been made this afternoon. I appreciate the fact that there's -- all members of the Circle care about this issue, no matter how they vote.

We all know that we care about the future of our children and that we are, as has been stated, and should be, embarrassed about the fact that our educational system here in Connecticut has slipped so much and so many children have not been able to be afforded the same education that other children in the state can receive. So I urge support of this bill and -- and as an opportunity to continue to improve our educational system here.

I want to thank Senator Boucher for her kind remarks and her interest in this bill and her understanding of -- of the fact that it's not the perfect bill -- I don't know any bill that is -- but I appreciate her -- her work in interest in this area as in -- in so many other areas in the Education Committee.

So, with that, I urge passage of the bill.

Thank you, sir.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Stillman.

SENATOR STILLMAN:

Well, I know that the amendment was somewhat controversial, but we are talking about the bill. And if there isn't an objection, I would like to put it on Consent.

THE CHAIR:

Is there objection to placing this item on the Consent Calendar? So ordered.

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Yes, Mr. President, the next item I would like the Clerk to call is Calendar page 41, Calendar 322, Senate Bill 970.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page 41, Calendar Number 322, File Number 533, substitute for Senate Bill 790 [sic], AN ACT CONCERNING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND RESPONSE IN HEALTH CARE SETTINGS; Favorable Report of the Committee on Public Health, and Judiciary.

The Clerk is in possession of amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Yes, Mr. President. Thank you, so much.

This bill requires health care employees to develop and implement a plan concerning workplace violence prevention and a response. It requires health care employers to report incidents of workplace violence to local law enforcement and establishes criminal penalties for assault of a health care employee.

Before I go farther in explaining the bill, Mr. President, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 8099. Will he please call and I be allowed to summarize?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 8099, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A. " It is offered by Senator Gerratana, of the 6th District.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Thank you, Mr. President.

This amendment --

THE CHAIR:

Please move adoption.

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Oh. I'm sorry, Mr. President.

I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

On adoption, will you remark?

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Thank you.

Mr. President, this bill clarifies what a health care employee is, a definition of a health care employee, and also limits the definition of people who we are regarding in the underlying bill, people with disability.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

SENATOR GERRATANA:

I moved adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Those opposed, nay? The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted.

Remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended?

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Yes, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Thank you.

The bill came before the Public Health Committee, and it was raised in response to an incident that happened at one of our hospitals in the state where a patient -- actually I, as I understand it because I read the article in the newspaper -- assaulted one of the health care employees there with a gun. And at that time after the incident happened, there are many people in the community and then in the state who talked about this incident and said we should have protocol set in place that will at least address, if this happens again, the necessity and the discussion that ensued that actually said, yes, we need a law to address workplace violence.

Our health care employees are a group of individuals -- I know I worked in a hospital, for ten years -- who daily come into contact with all kinds of people, including patients that they treat. And this underlying bill, of course, would address the incidents that had happened during that time and protect our health care employees in the state.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise in support of this bill. Unfortunately, in my community at Danbury Hospital, we had an unfortunate incident where it was a patient who shot a -- a registered nurse and although the hospital had a -- a good program of security in the building, I think that it raised the bar of where they needed to go. I think that this bill is constructive, is a good idea, and I thank the leadership of the committee for working on this and stand to support it. I hope this Senate will unanimously approve it.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I, too, rise in support of this bill. It is a more-than-reasoned solution to a very tragic situation. The support for this bill was a broad-based support in all aspects of the community and the industries that it impacts got behind it.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Senator Looney, did you want to speak?

SENATOR LOONEY:

No.

THE CHAIR:

And would you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further?

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Thank you, Mr. President.

If there is no objection, I ask that this item be placed on Consent.

THE CHAIR:

Without objection, so ordered.

SENATOR GERRATANA:

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

If the Clerk would call as the next three items, in order, the ones that we had marked initially at the beginning, beginning Calendar page 2, Calendar 129, Senate Bill 988; and then Calendar page 3, Calendar 145, Senate Bill 984. And then Calendar page 4, Calendar 222, Senate Bill 972.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Looney.

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page 2, Calendar Number 129, File Number 132, substitute for Senate Bill 988, AN ACT CONCERNING THE SOLVENCY OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION TRUST FUND; Favorable Report of the Committee on Labor and Public Employees.

The Clerk is in possession of an amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Hello, Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Hello, Mr. President. It's always nice to see you.

THE CHAIR:

You, as well.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

Mr. President, the bill before us --

THE CHAIR:

Would you move the bill, please?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

I move the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

Mr. President, the bill before us deals with exactly what the title says, the solvency of the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.

The Clerk has an amendment, Amendment LCO 6983. Would he be -- would he please call and I be allowed to summarize?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 6983, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A. " It is offered by Senator Prague, of the 19th District.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, this amendment is a compromise between -- I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

The amendment is a compromise, arrived at between CBIA and the Department of Labor. It has to do with a very important issue in our Unemployment Solvency Fund. The purpose of the bill is to increase the maximum amount of money that can be retained in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account. Currently, Connecticut law only allows the maximum amount of money to be retained in this fund at approximately 625 million, while the average amount paid out in Unemployment Insurance benefits during recessions is over a billion per year. So, consequently, we have had to borrow money from the federal government to pay our Unemployment Compensation benefits, simply because we did not have enough money in our Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account to pay for those benefits.

The amendment will implement a new target amount, called the "average high-cost multiple" that Connecticut would be allowed to retain in its Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account. Senators will ask is there a cost to Connecticut employers? There is no cost, at least through 2018, based on economic projections. The underlying -- the amended bill represents a compromise that phases in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account solvency goal from an average high-cost multiple of point -- 0. 5, beginning January 1, 2012, to an average high-cost multiple of 1. 0, over a period of six years, rather than increasing it to an average high-cost multiple of 1. 0, effective January 1, 2012.

This is an important compromise and it has no impact on the Trust Fund or employers under the existing Unemployment Tax structure through at least 2018, based on the economic projections.

Based on the Department of Labor's current projections, we will not bill the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account reserve to an average high-cost multiple of 1. 0 until after 2018, without a change in how Connecticut calculates its Unemployment Compensation taxes on employers.

I really think that's worth repeating. Based on the Department of Labor's current projections, we will not bill the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account reserve to the average high-cost multiple of 1. 0 until after 2018, without a change on how Connecticut calculates its Unemployment Compensation Tax on employers.

Changing the average high-cost multiple goal, in and of itself, will not generate any additional tax revenues until at least 2018, which means that the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account will not become solvent until at least 2018, which is DOL's furthest projection date.

Mr. President?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

I move adoption of this amendment.

This is critically important for our business community. I'm hoping that the Senators sitting around the Circle will realize the amount of work that went into this compromise. And I'm very pleased that they arrived at this conclusion.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise for a few questions to the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Senator Prague, in reading the notes that I have regarding the underlying bill, it states that the underlying bill would increase the amount that may be retained in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund from 0. 8 of total wages to a -- to a higher multiple. Does the amendment that you're offering here change that?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Yes. The amendment changes it so that the amount of money -- through you, Mr. President, Senator Kissel, would you make reference to the lines you're talking about in the underlying bill, please? Would you give me the numbers of those lines again?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much, Mr. President.

I'm reading from notes that our staff compiled, so I don't have line references in my notes; I'm sorry. I'm happy to stand at ease until you find those -- those references.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Mr. President.

Senator Kissel, would you repeat those numbers again that were in the original Department of Labor's proposal, which we are not using?

SENATOR KISSEL:

Through you, Mr. President.

My notes on the underlying bill says that it increases the amount that may be retained in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund from 0. 08 percent of total wages to an average high-cost multiple of 1. And then it sets out the formula used to determine the average high-count level. So --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Yes.

SENATOR KISSEL:

-- my understanding was, is that the underlying bill would have allowed a higher assessment on different employers. Thank you.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR KISSEL:

And I'm just wondering if the amendment changes that.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Yes, Senator Kissel, you're exactly right. It would have imposed a higher tax on the businesses. The compromise that was reached with CBIA and the

Department of Labor decreases that and extends the time.

And I would be happy to repeat those numbers that are in the Department of Labor's analysis of what they did. It extends the time -- this -- let's see. Let me read this directly. The amended -- the amendment represents a compromise with CBIA that phases in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account solvency goal from the average high-cost multiple of 0. 5, beginning in January of next year, to the average high-cost multiple of 1. 0, over a period of six years, rather than increasing it to the average high-cost multiple of 1. 0, effective January 1, 2012.

So the amendment does -- addresses, through you, Mr. President, your concern, Senator Kissel, on the original numbers.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And I -- and I appreciate that this is the product of a negotiation between the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and -- and folks from the Department of Labor and other interested parties. I appreciate all that. But I do have a concern that for the businesses back in my district that are really feeling the pinch in these economic times, that as of January 1, 2012, they're not going to get a bill higher than what they thought.

And in reading the language, it's my understanding that right now, here in June of 2011, the assessment is 0. 08. And in your amendment, at lines 39 to 42, it states that it will go up and may/shall not go up higher than one-and-four-tenths percent, which is fully six-tenths of a percent above and beyond where it is now or roughly an 80 percent increase.

So I know that we're really big in the hole when it comes to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. You and I have chatted about this at the informational hearing and earlier in the session. And the assessment to bring us to a level where that Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund is solvent is enormous, because if we're at 625 million right now and we need to get to a billion, surely if we were going to do that in one year, that kind of jolt of 375 million would be enormous to the business community.

But as I read your amendment, if it can go up

80 percent, but not to exceed 80 percent from where it is right now, my employers could still be facing an enormous hit in the next coming year, because the language that you used, as I heard it, was a phase-in but not an immediate hit. And my guess is, is that they sat down and they calculated where they needed to go just to keep the balance where it's at, and they needed to have flex to go up to 1. 4 as opposed to 0. 08.

And I'm just wondering if -- if you could explain that.

Through you, Mr. President -- Madam President.

(President in the Chair. )

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Great to see you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good -- good afternoon, sir.

Good afternoon, Senator --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam --

THE CHAIR:

-- Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, through you to Senator Kissel, Senator Kissel, what was going to happen has been changed, so that beginning January 1, 2012, the -- the -- let me read the whole thing, because this is complicated enough so that you must know all the details. The amendment represents the compromise, with CBIA, that phases if the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund Solvency Account from a average high-cost multiple of point -- of 0. 5, beginning January 1, 2012, to the average high-cost multiple of 1. 0, over a period of six years, rather than increasing the average high-cost multiple of 1. 0, effective January 1. So rather than increasing it 1. 0, beginning January 1, they're phasing it in over six years to 1. 0.

You should be very happy with this amendment, Senator Kissel, because it reduces the burden on businesses.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

I appreciate Senator Prague's belief that I should be happy, but if my employer's call me up in next calendar year and all of sudden their Unemployment Compensation costs have gone up, they're not going to be happy and they're going to express that unhappiness to me.

And so while the impact may be reduced -- is what I'm hearing -- I haven't heard that there won't be an impact. There might be a huge impact if we stayed with our current formula, but representatives of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association may have done the best they could by spreading that impact over six years.

But, again, I would reference the lines in the amendment, 39 to 42, because my question is fairly straightforward. It states, During a Calendar year commencing on or after January 1, 2012 -- which is just six, seven months around the corner -- shall not exceed one-and-four-tenths percent and shall not be calculated to result in a fund balance in excess of the amount prescribed in the subdivision.

And my understanding of the current state of the law is that the assessment shall not exceed 0. 08. So if the high-water mark for businesses right now is 0. 08, and under this phase-in, the high water mark is 1. 4, then my -- or 0. 14, then that suggests to me that for employers, that their high-water assessment, the high level of assessment that could be visited upon them is roughly 80 percent more than it is today. And I can understand that because you might have to do that kind of increase over the next six years to dig ourselves or -- or -- or just to maintain where we are now, because if we're constantly drawing out of this account more than we put in, it'll go down. And my guess is, is this is the best they could come up with, just to keep it from getting worse.

But I need to leave here this afternoon knowing what to tell my businesses; you're going to either get whacked or not whacked, and they need to know now to plan accordingly. And that's -- I need to find out that answer.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, through you to Senator Kissel, Senator Kissel, at least through 2018, there is no penalty on businesses; this has no impact on the trust fund or employers under the existing unemployment track -- tax structure, at least through 2018, based on the economic projections. That comes from the Department of Labor.

Through you, Madam President, Senator Kissel, if we don't put enough money into the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, we will be in trouble and have to borrow again. And borrowing is something that costs money. We are -- we need to have our Solvency Fund at the appropriate level agreed to by CBIA and the Department of Labor.

THE CHAIR:

Senator --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

If we don't --

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

-- do that --

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

-- Senator Kissel, we won't get interest-free money.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank -- thank you, very much, Madam President. I'm hearing two things. First of all, let's set the CBIA aside, because depending on the bill and the issue and the moment, they're either great or they're not great or they're something in between. They may be in this building helping to work on bills, but they may not necessarily reflect the businesses in my district. So let's just leave them out.

I'm hearing in that explanation that if we don't do this --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Um-hum.

SENATOR KISSEL:

-- we will be in danger of having to borrow additional funds from the federal government or somewhere at a high-interest rate. And yet at the same time I'm told that employers will not have to pay an additional amount above and beyond where -- what they're paying now.

And above and beyond that, it's my understanding that the Department of Labor, come August, will be making an assessment against businesses of $ 40 for every employee, just to cover the interest that is running on the federal loans from January 1, of this year, until August, of this year. So that tells me that the interest is running on the money the federal government gave us.

Let me put this in perspective. The federal government lent us hundreds of millions of dollars, and in the heart of the deepest part of the recession said we're going to waive interest. So we borrowed all that money for our Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, and we were sort of okay until January 1 of this year.

Two things now are occurring: One, we have to pay interest on that money, and that's calculated at $ 40 per employee, from January 1 to August. My guess is that there has to be an additional assessment at that rate just to cover the interest to get us to the end of this calendar year.

The other issue is what do you do about the principal that you owe? Because unless you dig yourself out of that principal hole, you're going to continue to pay that interest rate; okay, I understand that.

So what I'm sort of seeing here is that there's a new assessment that's going to be visited upon employers, and it's because the choice has been made, for policy reasons, that we don't want to borrow more money from the federal government and perhaps we don't want to just tread water for a long time just paying the interest.

But what the plain language of the amendment tells me is that the employers are assessed at something right now and that that, the high amount that they can be assessment may be higher down the road. And I just need my employers to be able to plan, above and beyond the $ 40 that's coming due in

August for each individual that they employ, above and beyond what they might be assessed, just to pay for the interest for that time period between August and the end of the candle -- calendar year, if come January 1st of 2012, they'll have an additional assessment under this negotiated agreement.

And the last point I want to make is this: I did not hear when this amendment was being offered that this was being put off six years; I heard that it was being phased-in over six years. And a phase-in to me tells me rather than doing this huge assessment all at once, we'll spread it out over six years. But if it's spread out, that means in year one there will be some additional funds required. And then in year two they'll be in another additional amount; and in year three, another additional amount, until over six years this fund gets to where these people negotiated to.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, through you, I -- to Senator Kissel -- I realize, Senator Kissel, this is a very complicated issue. The $ 40 that you refer to has nothing to do with this bill, and I'll tell you why. According to the Labor Department Connecticut needs to pass this legislation, in order to make sure that during the next recession Connecticut has a larger reserve in our Unemployment Compensation Fund account to pay benefits, thereby minimizing the need to borrow money from the federal government again.

And the U. S. Department of Labor has passed a rule indicating that all states must have adopted that average high-cost multiple for their Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund accounts in order to qualify for short-term, interest-free borrowing in the future. It is, Senator Kissel, something that we are doing to protect businesses -- to protect businesses.

It is really not an issue to be argued on the basis of we should do it or shouldn't. This is something we have to do, and how we do it is what makes a difference. And the original bill was what the Labor Department had suggested, but the amendment that we are working on, and hopefully will pass, is in agreement by the business community and the Labor Department. This is the better way to do it for the State of Connecticut and the business community.

I hope, Senator Kissel that answers your concerns. I understand your concern and appreciate your concern for the businesses in your district. But this bill is not to punish businesses. This is something we must do, mandated by the federal government. And how we do it is what the amendment addresses.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, Madam President.

I appreciate the responses from Senator Prague.

Let me conclude my remarks on the amendment this way: I think to call -- to say that this amendment does no harm to businesses is a -- is -- is a mischaracterization, albeit well intentioned. My concerns are not that this isn't perhaps the best deal that could be worked out between the Connecticut Business and Industry -- Industry Association and the Labor Department. We had the public hearing, early on in the session, where it was abundantly clear that our Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund was woefully in the red; that we have more drawing out of it than we can put into it; that the federal government had given us free money that lasted a number of years, and now the free money costs interest.

And, yes, this is all related, because it's going to cost at least $ 40 per employee a year, just to pay for that interest. So this is a plan that modifies the underlying bill, that ameliorates some of the dramatic impact that employer's would have to face. I understand that.

But when I hear terms like "phase-in," when I hear terms like we have to expand the pool, and when I hear terms that we have the federal government saying that we are compelled, as a state, to expand the pool so that we can better weather the storm the next time there's a recession -- and there's plenty of talk that we're facing, perhaps, a double-dip recession.

And during the informational hearing -- and I commend Senator Prague for working on that informational hearing -- I understand that the Unemployment Compensation system just doesn't do

one-year hits but they figure out the formula based on a rolling two or three years; I can't recall exactly which. We're -- we're trying to increase the pool so that we can do that rollout, going forward, and it's less of a dramatic impact on employers. In other words, if you have a huge pool, you can reduce the impact year to year.

But I believe it is a fair statement that as good as this amendment is, based upon the underlying bill, that at the end of the day when we're done with this legislation, businesses in the State of Connecticut are going to get higher Unemployment Compensation bills for their employees than they're getting right now. They may be less than what the bill, the original bill was looking for; it may be spread out over six years, but let's make no mistake about it, above and beyond our huge state deficit to try to maintain current services, we have this huge deficit in our Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.

And I hope that we continue to revisit this, and we continue to look at benefits, and we continue to try to put people back to work in our state to get them off Unemployment Compensation, and that we let businesses know, fair and square, right now in June, prepare for January 1 of 2012. Because the way I read this -- and I haven't heard one answer that says it's anything less than that -- that there may be an assessment higher than what they're paying right now. We may have to do it, and this may be the very best way to do it, but I don't see a phase-in as being a put-off. I don't see a huger pool being possibly a reality, unless there's more money going into that pool; it just don't make financial sense.

So I'll sit back and listen to see if there's further debate on the amendment, but I -- I think we have huge problems with this trust fund, and I think that we haven't come to -- to a conclusion as to what we're going to do about this. And the only way that we can fix this is put more people to work in the State of Connecticut; it's the only way. They got to get off Unemployment Compensation and be gainfully employed and pay taxes.

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Will you --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, I must remark about the issue that Senator Kissel just brought up. Who in this Chamber doesn't want people to go back to work? And they would be paying their Unemployment Taxes out of their salaries. We have to face the reality; we have 9. 1 percent unemployment. That's not something we wished on the people of the state. That's the reality.

And we have to deal with the fact that we have an Unemployment Compensation Fund that is in trouble because we had to borrow 800-and -- let me tell you how much we had to borrow. It's 800-and-some-odd million dollars from the federal government in order to keep that fund solvent.

This is not a Democrat issue. This is not a Republican issue. This is an issue of the recession that the state is facing, and we should be trying to

-- to, you know, figure out ways to deal with this issue constructively.

I think the Labor Department and CBI, frankly, have come to a very good agreement on the best way to do this. Would it be nice if everybody went back to work? It would be wonderful. But at this point, that's not happening, and the federal government has said that we must do this or in the future we'll never be able to get any interest-free, short-term loans.

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark?

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you, Madam President, and it's good to see you again.

THE CHAIR:

Same here, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Through you to the good Senator Prague, if I may?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you.

Well, through you, first of all, my sympathies, Senator Prague, for having the difficulty of explaining what is a very complicated issue. So I just wanted to ask you a few questions.

From my reading of the bill -- look it, we have an Unemployment Compensation Fund that is in the negative. It's $ 800 million in deficit; we've borrowed to cover it, and we need to replenish it to satisfy the federal regulations. And it seems to me the -- the objective of the -- the bill and the amendment are to get us in compliance with the federal requirements and to eventually rebuild the fund. And according to the federal regulations, we have to get the fund up to an average high-cost multiple, equivalent to 1. 0 on the formula, using the previous five years.

Can -- can the good Senator tell me what the calculation is, what the fund balance would have to be after six years to get us to the 1. 0 requirement that's mandated by the federal regulation?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator -- Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

I believe it's a billion dollars.

Madam President, would the Chamber stand at ease for a moment until I get the exact -- oh, here it is. Yeah, you don't have to stand at ease.

THE CHAIR:

Okay.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

I'll read you what the Labor Department says.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

And I have to read this because it's so technical and it has to do with numbers from the Labor Department. I want to make absolutely sure that you get the correct numbers. It says, Currently Connecticut law only allows the maximum amount of money to be retained in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account to be approximately $ 625 million, while the average amount paid out in Unemployment Insurance benefits during recessions is over a billion dollars per year.

You know, if we don't do this, we're going to be in trouble. Nobody likes to have to spend money, but if you have to spend money to protect yourself, to protect your business, to protect your employees, to protect the state, then we have to do it. The federal government has said -- let me read you the ruling.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Thank you.

And through you, Madam President, so -- so basically we're currently at a negative, a deficiency in the fund of $ 800 million, and after six years, we have to get it to an average high-cost multiple, equivalent to 1. 0, which, according to Senator Prague, should be in the ballpark of a billion dollars --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Right.

SENATOR SUZIO:

-- I believe. So we will have to go from a negative depth of -- balance of 800 million to a positive balance of one billion. So we're going to have to basically accumulate almost $ 2 billion to get us to goal, at the same time we're going to be paying out Unemployment benefits at -- at a very high rate as well. Now -- and that --

A VOICE:

That's not --

SENATOR SUZIO:

-- to me is very formidable, and particularly if we're going to be paying out a billion dollars a year in Unemployment benefits.

Now, the language of the -- as I understand -- in the bill and the amendment would allow the assessment levied on employers to go from -- which is what I think Senator Kissel was getting at -- from 0. 8 percent to as high as 1. 4 percent. But it doesn't specifically say what exactly it will be; it just gives the latitude to do that.

So my question to the good Senator would be: Can you tell me what the assessment levy will increase to, beginning next year?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Madam President.

Yes, I could tell you that. The Department of

Labor has been very careful to give us the data that we need in order for us to feel that we're doing the right thing for our business community. It says the amendment represents a compromise with CBIA that phases in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund account's solvency goal from the average high-cost multiple of 0. 5 -- not 0. 8, as Senator Kissel referenced -- 0. 5, beginning January 1, 2012, to the average high-cost multiple of 1. 0, over a period of six years. Does that answer your question?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague and Senator Suzio --

SENATOR SUZIO:

Yeah.

THE CHAIR:

-- if I could ask you to wait one second. Senator Looney.

SENATOR SUZIO:

Sure.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Madam President, and my apologies to Senator Suzio and to Senator Prague.

I understand from the Clerk that there is some glitch in our computer system that requires the -- the board to be cleared. He thinks it will take about five minutes to fix, so if we might just stand at ease until that is corrected.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

(Chamber at ease. )

THE CLERK:

The Senate will reconvene immediately. The Senate will reconvene immediately.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will come back to order now.

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Madam President.

Madam President, because this is such an important issue to the state --

THE CHAIR:

Excuse me, Senator.

Can we have our voices lowered in the Senate, please? It's very hard to hear the Senator speaking.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Because this is such an important issue to the state, Senator Guglielmo, and Senator Fasano, and I had a conversation with Carl Guzzardi, who is our Unemployment Compensation expert at the Department of Labor. And on that basis, I would like to yield to Senator Fasano and have him explain what we're all about here at that time moment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Senator Fasano, will you accept to yield, sir?

SENATOR FASANO:

Yes, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FASANO:

Thank you, Madam President.

Madam President, there's been a lot of confusion on this bill, and we did have that conversation; and I thank Senator Prague for initiating that conversation. For the Unemployment Fund, there are two aspects; there's the experience rating and then there's the trust fund. The experience rating changes from business to business, employer to employer, based upon the number of employees that come and go. Then there's the trust fund. And under our statute, we are required to have a certain amount of money in our trust fund. And within that we have a limitation of how much we can have for Unemployment, which is 1. 4 percent, is what our threshold amount is.

If under the federal government they said unless you agree to have more money in your trust fund as a reserve, and unless you implement a law to do so, you will never be able to borrow money from the federal government again -- which we have done and which we potentially could do, depending upon the depth of this recession -- so what this says is the amount will never go beyond 1. 4.

Now, according to the state, if it stays at 1. 4, by 2014, we may be able to reach our level in our state law and conceivably after two -- 2014, the Unemployment Fund level at 1. 4 could go down. And (inaudible) --

A VOICE:

(Inaudible. )

SENATOR FASANO:

-- 2018 -- sorry -- 2018 that level could go down. If the federal mandate stays in place, we probably would not be able to drop that level, if that mandate stays in place. That being said, that's not until 2018, nothing we have to lose sleep over today. But that gives us the ability to always draw from the federal government.

So, effectively, nothing would be adverse to businesses until after 2018, if at all. This would give us the ability to borrow in the case of emergency, which we've done. And therefore I understand the bill a little bit better than I did before, and I think that that conversation went a long way.

And I thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Fasano.

Will you remark further? Will you remark further?

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Madam President.

I just want to thank the members of this Chamber for their cooperation. And, you know, when you work together on a difficult issue, you could begin to understand better of what we have to do.

I certainly can understand Senator Kissel's concern and Senator Suzio's concern, and I'm -- I'm delighted that we got the explanation that we needed. And if there's no further discussion or no objection

-- well, I guess we better have a roll call on this.

A VOICE:

(Inaudible. )

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Oh, it's on the amendment.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further?

If not, the machines will be open. We'll be voting on Senate "A. "

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? The machine will be locked.

Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on adoption of Senate Amendment Schedule "A," LCO 6983.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The amendment has been adopted.

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, thank you.

If there's no objection, I would like to place this on Consent, but I see Senator --

THE CHAIR:

Senator --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Senator --

THE CHAIR:

Senator McKinney.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

-- McKinney.

SENATOR McKINNEY:

Thank you, Madam President.

I just wanted to speak briefly on the matter before us, and obviously the amendment and the work that went into the amendment is much better than the underlying bill.

You know, I don't think we can stand here, though, as a State Senate and a Legislature in a state, without acknowledging, at least on my part and a lot of frustration today, frustration with our federal government. And -- and maybe we should urge our elected representatives who serve us in Washington to fight for us and the fact that we are broke in our Unemployment Compensation Fund, the fact that we've borrowed almost a billion dollars from the federal government, and the fact that maybe one of the best things that they can do -- and, yes, we appreciate the money we got in stimulus funds to extend Unemployment Compensation benefits; that is helpful to people who have been on Unemployment, long-term. But they could also help the states out, too, because we are hurting, and we are struggling. And I'm not just not sure -- I've heard enough, quite frankly, or any conversation about their willingness to help us. So maybe the message should be that we understand we have to do what we have to do, but the -- the fact is that the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund gets replenished and the federal government gets repaid on the backs of businesses across this state.

And when unemployment is at 9. 1 percent, when jobs are leaving, when we're trying to grow jobs and get unemployment down, putting a tax increase or an Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund increase, whatever you want, it's an additional financial burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. That's what's so frustrating.

We want businesses to grow jobs and hire more people not lay them off. They're laying them off which gets unemployment too high, which drains the Compensation Fund, and we say to that business, yes, we want you to hire more people, but, by the way, we're going to charge you more for the Unemployment Fund. It doesn't work. It doesn't work, that's why we're almost a billion dollars in -- in debt to the federal government.

And they're all good people. I'm lucky to know them all, but they need to hear our message, that we need help on this issue.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator McKinney.

Will you remark further, Senator Prague?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, now that the amendment has become the bill, if there is no further discussion, I suggest we put this on Consent.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Are there any objections?

There is an objection, so at the time, Mr. Clerk, will you please call for a roll call vote, and the machines will be open.

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. An immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CLERK:

The Senate is voting by roll call. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. The Senate is voting by roll call. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? All members have voted? The machine will be closed.

And, Mr. Clerk, will you call the tally, please.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on passage of Senate Bill 988.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 27

Those voting Nay 9

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill has passed.

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page 3, Calendar Number 145, File Number 165, substitute for Senate Bill 984, AN ACT CONCERNING THE ENHANCEMENT OF SERVICES AT THE LABOR DEPARTMENT AND THE USE OF CRIMINAL RECORDS FOR TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES OFFERED PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT BY AN EMPLOYER; Favorable Report of the Committee on Labor and Public Employees.

The Clerk is in possession of amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

(Inaudible. )

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, I move the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Acting on approval of the bill, will you remark, ma'am?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Madam President.

The -- what the underlying bill does is to -- well, actually, it's a Labor Department bill, at least the first section of it is. They are going to look at how to enhance their services. They are going to create efficiencies. There is a new administration over there, and they are going to work in the area of jobs and workforce development and report back to the Labor Committee by the first of February, when we come back into session.

The second part of the bill deals with an employment issue. If somebody has gone through the Board of Parole and their record is erased, they apply for a job, they don't have to put down any kind of previous criminal charge or conviction; they're record is clean. They've gone through the parole board, so they are not required to put down their criminal charge.

The second part of that section says if an employee has been working for a year for an employer and a promotion comes along and he's offered that promotion because he's done such a good job, that, again, he doesn't have to disclose the existence of any arrest or criminal charge or conviction in the -- on the application.

The Clerk also has an amendment, Madam President. And the amendment is 6647; would he called the amendment and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you call 6647, please?

THE CLERK:

Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of LCO Number 6647, which shall be designated Schedule "A", introduced by Senator Prague, of the 19th District.

Copies have been distributed.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague, questions?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

On adoption, and I move adoption.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

(Inaudible. )

THE CHAIR:

-- adoption. Will you remark, please?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, back in 1993, there was a reform of the Workers' Compensation benefits. In that reform there were several things that were very cruel to injured workers, and over the years we have corrected many of those cruel, reform measures. One of those measures was involved with Social Security that people get when they're 65.

In -- in 2006, we passed legislation that said no longer will Social Security benefits be deducted from Workers' Comp benefits. The Legislature acknowledged that they were two, separate systems, that people pay into Social Security all their life and when they get to be 65, they can collect Social Security.

When you are injured on the job, your employer has paid for insurance to cover his injured employees. To deduct Social Security payments from Workers' Compensation payments was something this Legislature thought needed to be corrected. And in 2006, we did correct that.

There are still people between the years of 1993 and 2006 that are having their Social Security deducted off of their Workers' Compensation benefits because we did not make the legislation retroactive. We never do that.

So these folks, this elderly lady in a wheelchair came to the hearing before the Labor Committee. We had a bill that said if there are people who do no longer pay the social -- do no longer have their Social Security benefits deducted off of their Workers' Comp, could we help those folks who are on Workers' Compensation, must be a -- from 1993 to 2006, on a permanent injury. If they're still getting payments -- it's on a permanent injury -- could we help them have their Social Security benefits and their Workers' Comp benefits? And that's what this amendment does, Madam President.

And I'm hoping that we will adopt this amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further?

Senator Guglielmo.

SENATOR GUGLIELMO:

Thank you, Madam President.

On the last bill, Senator Prague and I agreed; on this amendment, we don't.

I -- I'm sympathetic to the problem of those folks that are hit with this offset, but the problem is that those were the regulations and the rules at the time; whether they were right or wrong, those were the Workers' Comp laws at the time that those folks were injured. Between 1993 and 2006, the offset applied. Therefore, the insurance companies developed their rates based on that maximum exposure that they thought they had. They -- they do it on what they call "ultimate expected losses. " So their ultimate expected losses on these long-term, disabled people was the fact that the Social Security was integrated with the Workers' Comp benefits -- was anticipated and their rates anticipated that.

So now if we go ahead and extend this benefit, which I -- I can understand, you know, why you'd want to do it; there are people who during that period of time are getting less money than others who were injured after that time. But actuarially, the insurance companies can't recoup this. They cannot now build in their future rates any -- the law doesn't allow them to do that. They can't build into future rates any -- any rate increase to take care of this shortfall that they're -- they're going to have. I mean, this is going to affect them negatively.

So I -- it's kind of like, you know, you have -- you're playing a baseball game and you're in the 8th inning, and you're down ten to nothing. And you had a real bad third inning and you say, well, I'd like to throw the third inning out and we'll change all the rules. Well, you know, you can do that, but that -- that destroys the integrity of the -- of the game and of the system, and that's what happens here.

It's basically unfair to the insurance companies. And I don't know -- I know they don't engender a lot of sympathy up here, but I -- I think as a matter of fairness and equity, you can't ask them to pay for losses for people who didn't have those benefits factored in at the time they were injured. It's unfortunate but that was the fault of the Legislature or the -- if you want to call it that. But, I mean, we set the rules in 1993 and we changed them in -- in

2006. During that period of time, the rules were in effect, and there's no way for the insurance companies to recoup. It's basically a new benefit that we're adding on after the fact -- fact, retroactively and not allowing the insurance companies any way to recoup the loss.

And, you know, I don't think, you know, we're not like some states where we -- we really bend over backwards, maybe unfairly, for the hometown industry. I mean, I -- I know in North Carolina they do a pretty good job for the tobacco industry, and we don't do those kind of things here. But at least -- at the very least, we shouldn't be unfair to them.

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Will you remark further?

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Madam President.

Senator Guglielmo and I frequently think alike, and there are sometimes when we don't. My husband used to say if two people always think alike, one isn't needed. So in this respect, I think the unfairness is to these folks. Most of them are elderly, because this law passed and this was a reform in 1993; and we changed it in 2006, and here it is 2011. But it's unfair that they get a Social Security that they paid for all of their lives, which is a completely separate system deducted from a Workers' Comp benefit that their employer paid for, having paid the insurance company for this policy to cover their workers. So I think the unfairness is for these folks who are getting that Social Security deducted off of their Unemployment -- off of their Workers' Comp.

So I am hoping that we will adopt this amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO:

Madam President, for a point of order.

Madam President, I don't believe that the amendment to the underlying bill is germane to the issue at hand. The amendment is a Workers' Compensation amendment, while the bill deals with the Department of Labor. And therefore, based upon prior rulings where a bill that consisted of -- of employment opportunities and someone attempted to stick in a purchase of medical equipment, it was ruled that it was not germane.

In the same vein, if I may, Madam President, something dealing with the Department of Labor is different than Workers' Comp, and perhaps a bill dealing with Workers' Comp at some point in time may be germane. But to the underlying bill, I believe that the matter is not germane to the -- to the bill. And I would raise it as a point of order.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, may I just make a statement before we stand at ease, related to that issue?

THE CHAIR:

Please. Please --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

We --

THE CHAIR:

-- proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

We checked that out with this amendment, and the Department of Labor is very much involved with the Workers' Comp system. So there is a connection; it isn't like they operate separately.

THE CHAIR:

Okay.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

And now the Senate will stand at ease.

(Chamber at ease. )

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will come back to order.

Senator Prague, are you standing for a reason, ma'am?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Yes, Madam President, I'm standing for a reason.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

I will withdraw the amendment, reluctantly, but I will withdraw the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, very much, Senator.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

So having withdrawn the amendment, now we can vote on the underlying bill, and I'm hoping that the underlying bill will pass.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark?

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much, Madam President.

Just through you, some questions to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KISSEL:

I'm just concerned regarding a person's criminal background information. And if -- if Senator Prague could just explain it again, if someone has served their sentence and they're on parole or they have a sentence that they've served out their sentence, does the underlying bill say that a perspective employer can't ask for that information?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Madam President, Senator Kissel, I said that in -- if you're reading the underlying bill, on lines 18 to 21, if their record has been erased, I mean they've gone through the parole board and their record is clean, on line 21, it says, the records of which have been erased. And when -- once your record is erased, for the rest of your life, as long as you behave yourself, you've got a clean record.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And would this mean that the -- the proscribed activity is even asking for those records? In other words, what -- what -- what act would the employer or perspective employer have to do to violate this bill? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

The employer may require an employee or perspective employee to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction. But if you don't have a previous record, if it's been erased, if you've gone through the parole board, you don't have that record. So if they ask you for your record, you don't have one. It's gone.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

Through you, let's say I'm a home care agency and I really want to make sure that I get the most law-abiding people to go serve the frail elderly in their homes. Would this law mean that it's against the law for me to ask if a perspective employee has ever been arrested for assaulting a senior citizen?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, through you, to Senator Kissel.

No, this has nothing -- this doesn't relate to that. If you assaulted -- well, let me rephrase that. If you assaulted a senior citizen ten years ago and you served time or paid or a fine or did whatever the penalty is and then you went to the parole board -- because that's a penalty that would stay on your record -- but you have been okay since then; whatever possessed you to have done such a terrible thing is, you know, I can't explain that. But if you go to the parole board and you ask to have your record expunged, they go through all kinds of investigations and collect all kinds of information on you, and if you are deemed to be a candidate for parole and you're granted parole, you no longer have a record. You no longer have a record; that's my understanding of parole.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you.

That is not my understanding of parole. We have a Board of Pardons and Paroles. If you apply for a pardon, there's two kinds of pardons; now with the other bill that we debated the other day, there's -- there's three kinds of pardons. And I can understand that if are granted a full pardon, then that has the effect of perhaps erasing your record ab initio.

If you go and you've served -- let's say a violence offense -- 85 percent of your sentence and you go for a parole board, my understanding is all that parole board is going to do is review how you performed doing your 85 percent of your sentence. The underlying charges, the facts that make up the underlying charges, and they will make a determination as to whether you have to finish out the other 15 percent of your term or whether, under a variety of circumstances, you can be released out into the public under parole.

And you will be assigned a parole officer and that parole officer might say call me every week, tell me if you're looking for a job. I want to make sure that you're out there in the community and you have a place to stay. I need you to do a urine test every month, and I need you to make sure that you're going to drug counseling. Do those things, I'll keep track, and as long as you're not violating the terms of your parole, you will continue on parole until you finish up a period of time. Probably that period of time that you would have had to serve in prison, you get to serve out of prison.

But the purpose of parole is to get you out of the Department of Corrections and back into the community earlier than you might otherwise. For a nonviolent offender, under our current construct, because Governor Malloy has not signed this good-time stuff yet, for a nonviolent offender, you -- you would serve up to 50 percent of your time. Then you make application to the Board of Parole. And they will review your records and everything else, and they would have the ability to release you back into the community. And you would serve out that period of parole. But when you're done with serving your parole, it doesn't act as voiding your criminal record ab initio. You still committed the crime; you've done the time, and now you're trying to turn your life around and be a law-abiding citizen.

But there's so many institutions where certain individuals pose a greater threat to the job that they're supposed to perform, that I'm concerned about employers asking about individuals that have committed these crimes. For example, if you've committed a fraud, probably not the best person to get a job in charge of funds from a bank or a financial institution. If you're a violent individual, you shouldn't be put in a place where there's vulnerable individuals, and things like that.

So I'm trying to figure out here what we're talking about, because I -- I do not believe that being granted parole expunges your record of your criminal history.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam President, as I look closely at the bill -- to Senator Kissel -- the language that I read to you happens to be old language. If your record is erased, you don't have to reveal that you have any kind of criminal background. That's already in statute.

SENATOR KISSEL:

That's right.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

The new part of our bill is if you have been working for an employer. If you've been working for an employer, and then the employer -- and you've been there for a whole year, you've done a good job. You did such a good job that the employer is going to -- is offering you a permanent position. You do not have to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction unless it is required by law; such as if this were a financial institution or such.

SENATOR KISSEL:

I understand. Thank -- I appreciate --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

I appreciate Senator Prague's explanation. I understand the explanation.

I disagree with the underlying purpose of the bill. I can understand that in some circumstances if you're a temporary employee and you've done a fabulous job, we really hope that employer will offer you permanent, gainful employment to stay on. And my guess is, is that an employer, if they had someone working for them that did a great job for a year probably would bend over backwards to keep that employee.

But if for whatever reason -- and it would not -- these are all outside the parameters of required by law. But if, for whatever reason, that private employer said, okay, we're now going to have to do a more in-depth criminal background check, I can almost understand trying to exclude arrest, because you're still innocent unless proven guilty. But this law appears to go as far as convictions. And if I haven't gone through the expense and the effort to get a full criminal background check and now I'm following up with an employee that seems to me to be a good employer -- I mean a good employee, and I find out that they have a long conviction record for crimes that really go against what I am looking for as far as trust and accountability, then I don't think that we should tie employers' hands like that.

And for my example, I'm a home care agency, I -- I bring these people in, see how they work with folks. They're doing a great job, and after a certain period of time I say, all right, let's fill out this long form; I need to know if you have any convictions. And this individual has lots of convictions for violent crimes. You may be great right now and you may have turned your life around, but I -- I can't hire you. And this says I can't even make those inquiries. I actually would go so far as to say that -- and it -- and it may seem Draconian, but even inquirings of arrests. And I know people have a problem because the arrest doesn't mean you were guilty of the underlying charge. But if someone has a pattern of arrests for certain activities, I think that the employer should be able to learn about that. My guess is, is that what happened with certain areas more so than others. If you're driving a Brink's or, you know, an armored car and you've had a long series of arrests for armed robbery, but never were convicted, I don't know, I might still want to know that.

If you have a series of arrests for things that cause me to believe that you're an untrustworthy individual, should you be placed in an area where it's a high security area? I think that the perspective employer should have access to that.

So based upon my understanding of the bill, I understand its good intentions. I -- I think, though, that we should, if we're going to be open for business here in the State of Connecticut, we should allow employers access to information that heretofore they have had access to, so that they can make sure that as they provide services, sometimes to -- to people that are frail, elderly or -- or defenseless or have certain trusts that they are empowering the employer to take care of, whether financial or some other way, we need to empower the employer to make the best informed decision.

And the last point I'll make is this: With 9. 1 in unemployment, there's going to be probably 50 applicants for every job out there, and we owe it to ourselves and these employers to be able to get the best applicants that are out there and not allow applicants to hide behind laws like this to just sort of like tread water for a year until they make it past the finish mark. So for that reason, Madam President, I'll be voting no.

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further?

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Madam President.

I rise for the purpose of a couple of questions to the proponent of the bill, please.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

Senator Prague, prepare yourself.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Madam President.

Senator Prague, I -- I wonder if you could clarify a couple of things. The -- the bill before us, as I understand, in line 22 says -- beginning on line 22 talks about the changes that you are proposing, and it talks about temporary employee.

And so if you called clarify for me, if an employer hires a temporary agency to provide an employee, and that temporary employee resides at the business for a year, is that individual covered under this bill or is it only an employee of -- directly of the company?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Madam President, to Senator McLachlan.

If that same temporary employee has come to this place of business and been an employee for a year, it would be either a regular employee that the employer hired or this employee that the employer -- this employee that came from a temporary agency that the employer liked so much that he kept on for a whole year; either/or, as long as the employee is somebody that the employer has kept on because he's done such a good job.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Madam President.

And thank you, Senator Prague.

So I think that, as it's written, it's a little vague, because I understand your answer but I believe the -- the language of this bill is perhaps vague in that it's not the business's employee until the business hires the employee. And I believe the clock of one year should begin ticking at that point, not at the point that the employee worked for another company, a temporary agency and resided at the business. That's my point.

In this market, it's not unusual to have a temporary agency fulfill short-term staffing requirements, and oftentimes the long-term decisions for permanent hiring in this recession have been postponed until some period of time goes by.

So that's -- my point is a temporary agency providing the employee. But you're saying that the clock begins on the day he steps foot in the door, even though the individual doesn't work for the end company.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Madam President.

My interpretation is a temporary employee, if the temp agency sends an employee to a business and that business finds that temp worker so good that they keep that temp worker on for at least a year or the employer hires somebody and says this is a temporary job, let's see how well you do, and keeps that person on for a year, I don't see much difference, to tell you the truth. But either way, if somebody has worked for an employer for a year, you know, without any promise of a future contract and they're just there to prove themselves.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Madam President.

Thank you, Senator Prague.

I understand what you're trying to accomplish, and I -- I respectfully disagree with the concept because I -- I share the concerns of Senator Kissel. Having come from the financial services industry, frankly, we could not ever, ever hire someone without knowing what their criminal background is and, frankly, would not even entertain a temporary employee without the ability to ask -- questioned, that is being excluded as a result of this bill.

I think, basically, what this means -- and I'm -- I'm still a little unsure -- the one-year mark, what that translates into. It seems to me that the application process for many businesses is that the form says, Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime? And two very important questions, and if you answer yes to either one, you're given space to explain. And oftentimes someone can explain whatever occurred.

However, without the ability of having that information, frankly, it -- it's not -- it's not fair for an employer to make an educated decision whether or not the potential employee is a good fit.

As Senator Kissel so eloquently stated, based upon the particular industry, there may not be a good fit for someone who has a criminal background. And regardless of the fact of -- of whether or not they have successfully been granted a pardon, it has still been a question. And, frankly, sometimes even those who have been granted a pardon will occasionally answer truthfully. And that question, in the explanation, is satisfactory.

But I think that that decision should be of a business owner or manager to make, not of state government. I think that the business should be able to see the whole picture. And my concern is that although someone has perhaps paid their debt to society and -- and has been granted a pardon, and should not have to answer that question accordingly, I think that it's important that -- that they be able to see the whole picture. And I think that this is excluding that opportunity. And I fear that that's not a good idea, so I'm -- I can't support it.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Will you remark further?

Good afternoon, Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Good afternoon, Madam President.

Through you, a couple of questions to the proponent of the bill?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KANE:

Thank you, Madam President.

And -- and my questions kind of go along the lines with Senator McLachlan was asking, in relation to Section 2, about the employment of an individual for a year period.

And, first, if I may, through you, Madam President, to Senator Prague, in the language it says that unless such criminal background check is required by law for the position being offered. Do we -- can you explain some of those type of positions that require the criminal background check?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

I can't think when my glasses are on.

THE CHAIR:

Okay; I understand that.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Madam President, to Senator Kane. There are some jobs, like if you were going to work for a bank or some financial institutions, that require a criminal background check.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Thank you, Madam President.

So I can understand that if a person is working at a financial institution or bank, where their people are around money, it makes sense. But what about, you know, an individual business, you know, such as mine or others where people will still be handling money? There is, I guess by -- by your answer, there is no requirement that a criminal background check take place.

Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Madam President.

Senator Kane, as a businessman, if you've had an employee who has done well enough for a whole year so that you would like him to stay -- or her -- to stay on as a permanent employee because they've done so well, if we pass this bill, that employee would not have to disclose a criminal activity in his past. It might be something that happened maybe ten years ago. So that this person has done a good job for you and you're willing to give him a permanent job.

We have a lot of people out there who need a chance to prove themselves, regardless of what happened to them in the past. Maybe as a kid he did some shoplifting or something and now that he's grown or she's grown, they know that those things are not the right thing to do, and they've changed their way of life, but they can never get on their feet. They can never get a job, if we don't, you know, give them a chance to prove themselves.

If this person has worked for a whole year and has done such a good job that you'd like to keep them on, I think this kind of legislation gives somebody like that the opportunity to make a life, have a job, be a productive member of society.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Thank you, Madam President.

Senator Prague, I don't disagree with you. I -- I do believe in second chances, and I do believe that people do make mistakes and they should have the opportunity to better themselves and better their lives. And I'm probably not a good example, because my business is so small. I will have developed a personal relationship with that individual over a period of time, and you get to know them and you can tell.

But larger companies, let's say, who -- my point and where I'm going with this is if there's someone -- let's say it's a large retail store and they come in and they're working in the shipping department, and they're shipping things and receiving, that kind of thing, but, you know, they -- you -- you see that they're -- they're working hard, and -- and possibly they want to give them a boost, so you bump them up to sales or someone who is handling money in the back office, what have you. That's the point I'm trying to make is if this individual is -- changes job classification in that same company. Then, and I guess for legislative intent, are -- for -- are they still not subject to this? Do they -- don't have to provide a -- a criminal background check, even though their job classification may have changed?

Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Madam President, to Senator Kane. As I read this legislation, it says this person, you know, as a temporary worker in this job, whether he came from a temp agency or whether you hired them as a temporary worker.

I'm assuming that if you're offering this person who has done such a good job doing this particular kind of work, that you would offer them a permanent position in doing that kind of work. Because if they go from shipping over to being a salesclerk, I mean, I don't think that actually flows, if somebody is doing well in shipping, then you would offer them a job as a retail salesclerk. I suppose that could happen, if you had an opening, but it seems like if you're offering a permanent position, it would be based on the quality of what they had done for the previous year.

If you are putting somebody in a position where they were going to be responsible in the back room for money issues, under those circumstances, then you could ask for a criminal background check because the law provides, you know, if there's money involved in financial institutions or banking or anything, you could ask for a criminal background check.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Thank you, Madam President.

No, well, I -- it does happen. Certainly we want to give people the opportunity to move up the ladder, if you will, and -- and rise to different positions so that, I guess -- and -- and it's not important, really, what the position is, but my question, again, is for the changing job classification, I think, is what I'm really getting at.

You know, I'll give you another example. Like a day care center where you have a person working in the office and then all of a sudden they're going to be working with kids. You would think that we'd want to have a criminal background check to make sure they have -- they're not a pedophile or -- or worse. So they're changing job classification; I guess that's where I'm going with this is -- is the job classification change. Where does that lie within this -- within this legislation?

Through you, Mr. President.

(Senator Duff, of the 25th, in the Chair. )

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Through you, Mr. President.

A job like that as a -- a day care worker in a day care center for kids requires a criminal background check. That's required; it's already in statute.

A VOICE:

That's good.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Okay. Thank you.

And I -- I thank Senator Prague for her answers. And, again, I don't disagree with giving people second chances. At the same time, as an employer, I still believe that as -- as Senator McLachlan mentioned, that the employer should have the opportunity to do a background check on these individuals. And, more importantly, something may have changed within that year period of time, as well. And especially if they're changing job classification, I'd like to know, so not being allowed that opportunity would be very difficult for the employer; and if -- if everything is fine, then there's no worry. I mean, if there's no, you know, nothing that's taken place, then -- then it shouldn't be an issue.

So I would -- I could appreciate Senator Prague and her answers, but I would still -- will be in opposition to the bill.

Thank you, Madam -- Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Madam -- Mr. President?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

I'd like to request a roll call.

THE CHAIR:

Yes. If there are no further comments, Mr. -- Mr. Clerk, please announce the pendency of a roll call vote.

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Senator Hartley?

If all members voted, the machine will be locked. The Clerk will take the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on the passage of Senate Bill 984. Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 23

Those voting Nay 13

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes.

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page 4, Calendar Number 222, File Number 331, substitute for Senate Bill 973, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DETERMINATION OF UNDUE HARDSHIP FOR PURPOSES OF

MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY, as amended by Senate Amendment Schedule "A," LCO 8088; Favorable Report of the Committee on Aging, and Human Services.

The Clerk is in possession of additional amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Mr. President, I move the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Mr. President, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 8237. Would he please call and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 8237, which is designated Senate Amendment Schedule "B. " It's offered by Senator Prague, of the 19th District.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Mr. President, what this -- I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

What this amendment does is allow the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services to grant Medicaid to some folks who are in a penalty period but who are desperately in need of care. The penalty period would prevent them from getting Medicaid, and the penalty period is incurred when there has been a transfer of assets. But under this, under special circumstances where somebody is desperately ill, in need of care and has to stay in the nursing home where they're getting the care that keeps them alive, the commissioner of the department can grant an exception because of undue hardship and allow Medicaid coverage.

Mr. President, Senator McKinney had and has in part of this amendment -- and I'm going to yield to him to have him describe -- the disabled trust that can be set up if somebody is disabled and not eligible for Social Security Disability.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McKinney, on the amendment, do you accept the yield?

SENATOR McKINNEY:

I do accept the yield. Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Senator Prague.

We -- we had this issue before us, and in my excitement of passing a good amendment, we did so before Senator Prague was able to amend the underlying bill. So I thank her for her continuing to work on this effort.

Just to remind colleagues in the Circle, there have been situations where special needs trusts have been established. The beneficiaries of those trusts have to be disabled, as an exemption from our Medicaid eligibility.

And a constituent of mine who came down with multiple sclerosis was someone who had worked but took time off to raise a family, then was -- came down with MS, was unable to back -- go back into the workforce. As such, she didn't have credits for Social Security Disability, but she met the test of disability. And this simply clarifies those situations where our department will not have to look at whether someone has filed for and received Social Security Disability but whether or not they are, in fact, disabled, as defined under law.

Thank you, Senator Prague, and I appreciate your help in -- in the good work that we're doing here today.

And -- and also, may I say, Mr. President, because I won't take the microphone again on this issue, the -- the remainder of this underlying bill is also very important and good. For too long, our nursing homes have been left in this position where they've been carrying the costs. And on good days, nursing homes struggle to make ends meet, and so this is very important to say to them that you're caring for our elderly, you shouldn't be carrying the costs that others should be paying for. And for that, I'm in complete support of the bill as well.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Mr. -- Mr. President, first of all, thank you to Senator McKinney.

I would now like to yield to Senator Kelly.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly, do you accept the yield?

SENATOR KELLY:

Yes, Mr. President.

I, too, rise in support of this amendment. It's the culmination of a lot of hard work on behalf of a lot of individuals. I'd like to thank Senator McKinney for his work on the definition of "disability," and I'd also like to thank the leadership and persistence of Senator Prague with regards to undue hardship.

We've brought together a number of parties in pursuit of this. We've brought together the Department of Social Services, legal aid, the nursing home industry, individuals affected by this, and it's really through your leadership and the hard work of the Aging Committee to get this bill to where it is today. So thank you, very much, Senator Prague.

Thank you very much, Senator McKinney.

And I would urge support of the legislation.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Senator Prague, you still have the floor.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, this is a strike-all amendment. Upon adoption, it becomes the bill. So if -- I'm looking around. There aren't too many people in

here --

THE CHAIR:

Let us adopt the amendment.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

-- but we could be -- go for a voice vote. A roll call -- voice vote? Let's have a voice vote.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

All those in favor after the amendment, please signify by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed, nay?

The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, if there is no other comment or opposition, I'd like to put this on Consent.

THE CHAIR:

Without objection, so ordered.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

(Chamber at ease. )

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page Number 39, Calendar Number 272, File Number 454, substitute for Senate Bill 1112, AN ACT CONCERNING BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE; Favorable Report of the Committee on Environment, and Judiciary. The Clerk is in possession of amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

Excuse me. Nice to see you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir.

SENATOR MEYER:

I move acceptance of the Committee's Joint and Favorable Report and move passage of this bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR MEYER:

Mr. -- Mr. President, there's a strike-all amendment, which is LCO 8273, and I'd ask that it be called, please.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 8273, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A. " It is offered by Senator Meyer, of the 12th District, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

I move it, Mr. President, and ask permission to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

On adoption, will you remark?

SENATOR MEYER:

Colleagues, this -- this bill deals with drunken boat driving, and it arises out of a horrible accident, of sorts, in my district, in the Town of Guilford, when on Labor Day evening, 2009, a man was driving a boat in Guilford with four people in the boat. And it turns out, as the evidence later showed, that he had an alcohol level of four times the legal level, and at a high rate of speed, he drove the boat directly into a sea wall. And one of his friends and passengers on the boat, a resident of the Town of Guilford, was thrown out of the boat, head first into the stone wall, and was killed immediately.

And -- and consequently, the General Assembly started focusing more -- much more seriously on drunk driving and boating, as we have on drunken driving of motor cars.

What this bill does is something that we should have done a long time ago. While we have penalties now for drunken driving of boats, believe it or not, we never took away the boat license, the boat registration.

I don't know about you all, but about two years ago, my wife and I went down and we took a -- an

all-day course and we got a -- a registration to be able to drive a boat or sail a boat. We have never -- if you're drunk and driving on a boat, you're going to get penalized, but there's nothing in our current law that would take away your registration. This bill, the first thing this bill does is take -- is take away your registration.

The second thing this bill does is -- is deal with the issue of the blood and urine samples, the testing to find out if the driver was, indeed, exceeding the legal alcohol limit. And -- and this -- this bill expands the times in which you can take the tests; and two tests are required.

Right now, until we amend this law, you could only take the blood or urine sample at a hospital. And the authorities came back to us and said, no, we need to be able to take it early. We need to be able to take it at the scene of the accident, if necessary, or at least in the car or ambulance on the way to the hospital. So -- so this bill amends and gives us the right to take the blood or urine sample at an earlier time.

The bill also deals with the fact that there can be two, there have to be two tests of -- of alcohol and -- and this bill makes the two tests consistent with the motor vehicle law. And -- and the tests can be taken within ten minutes of each other. That's the change that was made in the motor vehicle law, and we're now doing that in this law. So that is the -- the strike-all amendment.

I have two other, small amendments to offer, afterwards. And, Mr. President, I ask that we -- we go, we move this particular strike-all amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Through you, just a couple, quick questions to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR KANE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Through you to Senator Meyer.

Can you just describe to me what reckless operation of a -- a vessel in the first degree is, and then, if you may, reckless operation of a vessel in the second degree?

Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

I -- through -- through you, Mr. President.

I have to confess I don't -- I'm not a criminal

-- Connecticut criminal defense lawyer. I do not know the difference between first and second degree, but I do know what -- what reckless means. And reckless means operating either a car or a boat in a way that endangers property or a person of somebody else.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Well, let me ask you, I guess, a -- a different question. These penalties that are listed here, are they the same, tougher, less than what we have on the books for operating a motor vehicle in that same manner?

Through you.

SENATOR MEYER:

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

What we've endeavored to do in this strike-all amendment is make them consistent between driving a motor car and driving a boat.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Through you, Mr. President.

I think that was my question. Are they consistent with what's in motor vehicle or is this stronger?

Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

The DEP -- it's a DEP bill, and they've represented to me that -- that they're consistent, that they're the same.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kane.

SENATOR KANE:

Okay. Thank you, Mr. President.

I thank Senator Meyer for his answers.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

All those opposed, nay.

The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted.

SENATOR MEYER:

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the bill as amended?

SENATOR MEYER:

Yes, Mr. President.

The Clerk has in his possession another amendment, LCO 7352, and I ask that it be called and I be given permission to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 75 -- seventy --

SENATOR MEYER:

Seventy -- 7352; 7-3-5-2.

THE CHAIR:

7-3-5-2, Mr. --

THE CLERK:

LCO --

THE CHAIR:

-- Clerk.

THE CLERK:

-- 7352, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "B. " It is offered by Senator Meyer, of the 12th district.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

I move it and ask permission to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark?

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

Colleagues, and Mr. President, DEP -- this is A DEP bill, and they just -- they've reported to the Environment Committee that currently environment law -- law officials, law enforcement -- I'm sorry -- environment law enforcement officers have no power to administer an oath. And we have existing law in Connecticut that gives many officers a power to administer an oath, an oath, for example, in a -- in a legal proceedings, an oath in an affidavit, something like that. All this amendment does is add to those people who are authorized to administer oaths; it adds Law Enforcement Officers of the Department of Environment Protection. That's the sum, substance of this amendment.

And, again, I ask your support.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark on the amendment? Will you remark on the amendment?

If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed, nay?

The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Remark further on the bill as amended?

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

Thank you, Mr. President.

And, finally, I'd ask the Clerk kindly to call LCO 8037.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 8037, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "C. " It is offered by Senator Meyer, of the 12th District, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

Thank you.

I move -- I move this amendment and ask permission to -- to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

On adoption, who will remark?

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

I would.

This amendment, like other portions of this bill, by the way, has been actively supported by my colleague, Senator Roraback, as well as several members of the -- of the House of Representatives, including Representative Roy, Representative Chapin, and Representative Miner.

This particular amendment, Mr. President, has two parts to it. The first part says that if you're arrested for -- for fishing without a license, without the required license in Connecticut, if you get the license, that fishing license before you're fined for failure to have a license, you won't be fined. So it -- it gives -- it gives -- it gives fishermen a second chance, that if -- if you're -- if it happens, if you're -- if you're arrested without a license and you get your license quickly, before the fine is imposed, you won't have a fine. That's the first part, and it has a -- a great deal of support, as you could imagine, from the sportsmen's coalition and others.

The second part is -- is really good news. It -- it gives the Department of Environmental Protection the power to designate one day in every calendar year when no fishing license will be required; one day.

And there's no fiscal note, by the way, on either of these things. They -- the OFA has said that these are fiscally neutral. So that's the second amendment and, again, I urge its support.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Senator Roraback.

SENATOR RORABACK:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise in strong support of the amendment and to express my gratitude to Senator Meyer for all of his hard work, not just on this particular amendment but on this whole, underlying bill.

It is more and more important that we insist that there be conformity between drunken driving laws and drunken boating laws, and never should one think that it's safer or more appropriate to be behind the wheel at sea in an inebriated state than it is to be behind the wheel on land in an inebriated state. And this bill will ensure that the sanctions are the same.

On the amendment, Mr. President, I think all of us can appreciate why it is we want to ensure compliance with our fishing license laws but also how it could come to pass that someone would inadvertently -- no, not inadvertently, but be out with a friend at somebody's house with a fishing pole in their hand and they are brought to the attention of law enforcement. I think it's a much better cure to ask that person to spend their money on procuring a fishing license and continuing to enjoy the sport rather than to spend their money underwriting the criminal justice system in the form of a fine to the Court.

So it's a good amendment, and I thank Senator Meyer for all of his work in bringing it before us.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Oh, Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

Mr. President, I -- I appreciate that, and -- and I think Senator Roraback stated the purpose of this extremely well.

I move it.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed, nay?

The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted.

Who will remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill --

SENATOR MEYER:

Mr. --

THE CHAIR:

-- as amended?

SENATOR MEYER:

Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

That -- that is the bill, the strike-all amendment plus the two other amendments. And if there are no other questions, I'd ask that it go on the

Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Without objection, so ordered.

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page 44, File Number 380 -- correction

-- it's 376. Calendar page 44, Calendar Number 376, File Number 607, Senate Bill 1148, AN ACT ESTABLISHING A CIVIL ACTION WITH RESPECT TO CRIMINAL RECORDS USED IN EMPLOYMENT RECORDS; Favorable Report of the Committee on Judiciary, and Appropriations.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Mr. President, the bill before us provides that no employer or employer's agent or employer's designee can compel an employee or prospective employee to disclose the existence of an arrest, a criminal charge or a conviction which has been erased, pursuant to our criminal statutes, erasure statutes or an erase pursuant to the statutes regarding the erasure of provisional pardons.

A couple of years ago, we passed legislation that prohibited employer's requiring the disclosure of such information from employees or employers. And, unfortunately, the practice still exists, and there is no enforcement mechanism in order to address this particular practice. So what the bill before us does is to give to employees and then prospective employees, who are the victims of this kind of discrimination, a cause of action against any employer or employer's agent or designee who knowingly compels the disclosure of erased criminal charges, arrests or convictions.

I'll urge passage of the bill, Mr. President. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much, Mr. President. Great to see you.

THE CHAIR:

You, as well; thank you.

SENATOR KISSEL:

This seems like a -- a little different than the Labor bill that we just debated, although it did have a significant number of no votes in the Judiciary Committee as well as the Appropriations Committee.

Through you, Mr. President.

My first question is: Senator Coleman had indicated that there's a pattern of behavior or -- or certain employers are asking for certain information that we heretofore have indicated should not be asked for. And I'm just wondering if there's any further information regarding this practice that can be expanded upon. How are individuals being discriminated against, at this time?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

The discrimination that I refer to -- the discrimination that I refer to in connection with this bill has to do with requiring the disclosure of information that is supposed to be erased by operation of law. And the effect of that disclosure usually results in either failure to hire, denying an employment opportunity or a failure to promote or discharge of an employee on the basis merely of the information that's been disclosed.

Through you, Mr. President, to Senator Kissel.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And through you.

Just so I understand how the -- the system operates right now, how would an individual's conviction or record be erased? My -- and -- and let me throw out -- my guess is full pardon would act as an erasure, but would certain crimes be erased just because of the passage of time? For example, if someone gets arrested and convicted of driving under the influence, are those records erased after ten years or something like that? I'm just wondering what is the universe of erasure look like here in the State of Connecticut right now.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

The most typical situation, and the one that I'm most familiar with, is a person may be arrested and the prosecution may initiate, but at some point the charge is nolled. Those charges should be automatically erased by operation of law, after the expiration of 13 months. And oftentimes that is not the case.

And, unfortunately, despite the best efforts of this Legislature, oftentimes employers act upon that information, even though it should have been erased by an operation of law.

Through you, Mr. President to Senator Kissel.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And through you, Mr. President.

When you say "nolled," is that the shortened, Latin version of nolle prosequi, which is merely the

State's Attorney indicating that they don't want to prosecute an individual for the charges which they are facing?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

That is correct. I believe that is the Latin interpretation or the Latin representation of the shortened version of the word "nolle. "

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And through you, Mr. President.

How would an employer gain access to this information after 13 months if as a matter of law this information is supposed to be expunged from court records?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President, to Senator Kissel. It's my understanding that many employers in the process of conducting background checks purchase such reports from companies that are in the business of providing such information. And oftentimes those companies negligently fail to update those records, and consequently that information may come into the hands of an employer who, through lack of due diligence or for some other reason, just don't abide by the information in the record.

Through you, Mr. President, to Senator Kissel.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And through this proposed legislation, would an employer or would the company that gathers up this information expose themselves to litigation and liability?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President to Senator Kissel.

The language of the bill speaks to an employer, employer's representative or an employer's designee. So my conclusion would be that such a company would be exposed to such liability.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And so for these companies that gather up this information, what can they possibly do if they're seeking this information from the Judicial Branch and the Judicial Branch has not seen fit to expunge this information within the statutory time frame? How would -- how would the gathering agency that then turns around and provides this to the employer safeguard the voracity of the information which it gets from the State of Connecticut, itself?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

Such company could probably remind the employers that there is a -- a set of laws in the State of Connecticut that require the erasure of charges that have been nolled after the expiration of 13 months, also that the granting of provisional pardons should be erased from a person's record and I guess include with their report an advisory that the employer should not rely upon or make any decision based upon charges or arrests that appear in the report that have occurred more than 13 months prior.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And through you, Mr. President.

The burden of proof or the -- or the level of culpability seems to hinge on the word "knowingly," and I'm just wondering could a simple, negligent act by either the information-gathering agency or the employer be grounds to expose either one to litigation?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

That would be difficult to respond to; it would depend on what the circumstances were in the situation.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

So there could be circumstances that would support a case based upon negligence, if this proposed legislation were to pass?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

Not based upon negligence. I think the -- the plain language of the bill requires that the employer know that the employer is relying upon information that should have been erased or a pardon that should have been erased.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

Through you, Mr. President.

I -- I -- that's where I get a little confused here with this proposal, because if the, let's say the threshold for expungement is 13 months and the gathering agency gets this information, we've heard that the State of Connecticut isn't always dutiful in -- in fulfilling these erasure obligations within the 13-month time frame. And I really can't see that the gathering agency or the employer could do anything to affect that, and even if they know the policy of a state, what more they could do to try to make sure they don't gather up this information.

Because how could they act knowingly if the State of Connecticut still has it in its data information files?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

First of all, I'm not certain that the information that the companies obtain would be coming directly from the State of Connecticut.

But, secondly, I think an awareness and knowledge of the law would be imputed to the employer or the employer's representative or designee. And failure to take into account that law, I don't think could serve as an excuse which would result in the action of the employee being -- determined to being negligent rather than intentional and knowing.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And my last question is: What is the level of risk that the agencies that are gathering the information or the employer would risk? What is the level of damages that one could obtain if one made a case; and let's just say they were seeking a hundred-thousand-dollar -- well, let's reduce it -- let's say they were seeking a $ 50,000-a-year job and the potential employer used this information. The knowingly threshold was met. The employee, potential employee never was hired, and we're one year down the road. What is the potential damages that that employer could have assessed against it?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I would submit, through you, Mr. President to Senator Kissel, that the measure of damages would be the measure of damages typically used in employment discrimination cases. And that would have to do with determination of what the value of loss would be; what the potential earnings of the individual would be, had the discrimination not occurred in the first place. And in such actions, reinstatement to a position or the award of a promotion that was denied on the basis of a discriminatory act might be other possibilities. Through you, Mr. President.

SENATOR KISSEL:

And -- and --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much, Mr. President.

And that springs to mind a -- a follow-up question. Would attorneys' fees be -- be a potential remedy and could a class action be pursued?

Through you, Mr. President.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

I don't see --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

-- through you, Mr. President, that the bill specifically provides for attorneys' fees, so I suppose that attorneys' fees would be at the discretion of the Court.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Through you, Mr. President, thank you.

In discrimination cases, is the proponent aware of the awarding of any attorneys' fees in successful litigation?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

I'm correcting my last statement. Look at the very last line of the bill, actually second-to-last and last line, the lines 113 and 114. And there is a provision for a reasonable attorneys' fee in the bill. Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

And I -- and, again, the last corollary of my question is: Would it be possible for attorneys to file a class action if they felt that a class of potential employees were, quote, unquote, discriminated against because a particular fact-gathering agency had a pattern of behavior to include this information as opposed to exclude it?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Mr. President, depending on how widespread and pervasive the action of a particular employer would be, I believe a -- a class action would be possible, as would be the case in any other kind of discrimination action.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

That concludes my questions for Senator Coleman.

Is Connecticut open for business? I don't think this helps. I understand the proponents' strong feelings regarding this, and if we have a public policy that says criminal records should be expunged after a certain period of time, there should be some remedy fashioned for individuals that feel that they've been aggrieved by a potential employer's utilization of that information.

But through the colloquy I've had with the proponent, a couple of things seem clear to me. It seems clear that we are not clear as to how regularly the State of Connecticut actually expunges its records and if they follow a pattern, strictly following the 13-month rule to make sure that whatever information is in our data banks is appropriate for revelation to the public.

It's unclear as to what a third party could do if they were seeking this information from the State of Connecticut, at the outset, and then how would they go about weeding out information with the passage of time. It doesn't strike me as necessarily easy. I'd like to believe that when you get this information from the state it says date of nolle, a certain date-certain, and then you could, like, add up 13 months from that date and say, okay, it's supposed to be expunged 13 months from that period. And if I was the fact-gathering agency, I got it six months ago, and I could do the mathematics, and I'll create a certain software database and all of that. There's no -- no -- no -- I'm not sure that that necessarily would be clear.

As far as the employer making an employment decision, I actually would feel a lot more comfortable with some kind of wanton-and-willful standard as opposed to knowingly, although they might be similar. And we might want to contemplate that the burden of proof should be placed at the -- at the feet of the employee or potential employee rather than the employer.

And, also, it's problematic when we build in attorneys' fees into these matters, because quite often, even if it's a very gray area as far as whether they'll be exposure or not. If an attorney feels that they can get attorneys' fees under the statute, they'll take cases that may have the most tenuous grounds, although I am fully aware that attorneys have an ethical obligation to make a good-faith effort to -- when they file the -- the litigation.

And, indeed, this could expose parties who perhaps may not be malicious to a substantial class action if they had done this, quote, unquote, knowingly for a period of time, because a variety of individuals could be affected.

I don't countenance or condone utilizing information and making employment decisions that an individual, a corporation, a company, a partnership shouldn't utilize. Nonetheless, I'm concerned about creating a whole new area of litigation in a gray area and using terms such as "discrimination" and expanding those terms in a way that may have a deleterious on employers and a detrimental effect on other areas of the population.

And would a company's counsel then say, Don't use any of these companies, and you're better off not making inquiry into any of these areas? And then does that, in turn, hamstring the potential employer because they will then be taking defensive actions for fear of opening themselves up to any kind of colorable claim. And I think those are legitimate concerns.

I understand if there's individuals out there who believe that because of a pattern of behavior or a single instance, that they've been harmed. My recollection from the public hearing on this bill was that there was not a room filled of people saying that they were harmed. And I'm concerned about creating an area, a new area of litigation and then people will come to fill that. I'd feel much more compelled to support this litigation if there were 10 or 20 individuals said, I know for a fact that I didn't get a job because X, Y, and Z happened.

My guess is, is if you could make out a case, there might be other avenues that you could pursue to try to bring that employer to justice. Back when I was in private practice, if I had a case like this, I would actually strongly consider bringing an unfair -- unfair trade practice action or some other grounds to hold that potential employer accountable, if I felt that it made a decision based on information our law said it couldn't.

But here we're creating a whole new cause of action, with potential tremendous exposure and liability, and it just gets added on, and on, and on, and on, and on to the Human Services Departments, to be so careful if they're here in Connecticut and they want to hire someone.

And when you look at the totality of the environment that we're creating, when there's 9. 1 percent unemployment in Connecticut, and the markets are falling and businesses are announcing they're leaving, and we're putting in jeopardy Internet service providers to Connecticut because of potential taxation, and we're being strongly competed with, no longer by North Carolina and South Carolina and faraway states. But our sister states in New England are saying, we're going to eat your lunch, Connecticut, and we're way ahead of you. When you create that perfect storm, that's a real problem.

So I'm not necessarily against the goals of this legislation, I just think it's overly broad. I think it should be narrowly tailored so that we do provide remedies for the worst of the worst offenders. But to create something that at this time I think could be open-ended and have a chilling effect on employers here in Connecticut, I think is unwise policy. And for many of the same reasons that I was concerned about the bill that Senate Prague brought out, regarding inquiries, regarding arrests and convictions, I have similar concerns regarding inquiries regarding arrests and convictions and records that statutorily should be expunged but we're not quite sure that they have been expunged, but somewhere, they're in the pipeline.

So with all due respect to my friend and colleague, Senator Coleman, those will be some of the reasons why I will be voting in opposition to this bill.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the bill?

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I just briefly comment that reviewing an individual's criminal history background is not rocket science. Anyone who views it can see that a charge is clearly nolled, and if that nolle dates back 13 months, you know or you ought to know that you should not base any decision in terms of an employment opportunity on that particular provision of an individual's employment history.

We can overcomplicate the analysis of a provision like this. What is clear is that we have a statute in the State of Connecticut -- we have a couple statutes in the State of Connecticut, one of which says that employers cannot base an employment decision solely on the fact of an arrest or a charge that has been nolled and erased. We have additional statutes that address the effect of a provisional pardon. And those statutes are clear. They say that if a provisional pardon has been granted on a particular charge or charges that appear on a criminal history of an individual, the statute provides that the employer cannot make a decision denying an employment opportunity, solely based upon the fact of that -- that record and the charge that has been pardoned.

So we -- we really don't need to overcomplicate this. The whole purpose of the bill is to provide a fair opportunity for individuals who have rehabilitated themselves and who are making concerted effort to be constructive and productive and contribute to their communities, as well as to support themselves and their families. And it's just not a difficult matter in order to interpret the information that appears on a criminal history record of an individual.

So, again, Mr. President, I urge support and passage for this bill.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill?

If not, Mr. Clerk, please announce pendency for a roll call vote.

THE CLERK:

An immediate roll call vote has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. An immediate roll call vote has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted?

If all members voted, the machine will be locked.

And the Clerk will announce the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on passage of Senate Bill 1148.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 22

Those voting Nay 14

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes.

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar Number 388, File Number 630, Senate Bill 954, AN ACT CONCERNING THE ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF CUSTODIAL INTERROGATIONS; Favorable Report of the Committee on Judiciary, and Appropriations.

The Clerk is in possession of amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Mr. President, this bill provides a presumption that a statement that is taken from an individual who is involved in a custodial interrogation at a place of detention is presumed to be inadmissible in a court proceeding unless the statement is electronically recorded.

The purpose of the bill is to improve our criminal justice system, and part of the shortcoming of our criminal justice system may have to do with such things as an overreliance on informants' testimony.

THE CHAIR:

Excuse me, Senator Coleman.

Please take your conversations outside the Chamber.

Thank you.

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I was saying that some of the flaws and shortcomings in our criminal justice system have to do with, perhaps, an overreliance on the testimony of informants, eyewitness identification procedures, and, in fact, the voluntariness and the validity of statements and confessions of accused oftentimes is suspect and has come into question.

I believe that the bill before us would be a significant step in direction of -- of contributing to a greater reliance upon the confessions of individuals who are involved in custodial interrogation. In -- in doing so would be a significant step in the direction of legitimacy of the criminal convictions that oftentimes result in our criminal justice system.

In recent years, we have made or we've discovered that we've made some significant errors in terms of meting out lengthy sentences and terms of incarceration for individuals who were later exonerated. We discovered that too often we wrongly convict individuals, and individuals' lives are devastated and the consequences become too severe.

I believe that the recording of custodial interrogations will not only help the accused but, in fact, where those confessions and those statements are valid, the recording of them will serve as significant evidence of that fact.

For these reasons, Mr. President, I would urge the Senate to support the passage of this bill.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further?

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

I may, at the end of the day, still be opposing this bill. I have significant problems with the bill. There was ample testimony over the -- and this is an issue that's been debated in the Judiciary Committee, probably for the last ten years, if not longer. Certainly in -- in some instances having a recording of a statement by an individual can -- can be helpful, and there is ample belief that more than helpful, it's necessary.

The underlying bill states that this information, this testimony would be inadmissible if it wasn't recorded. And, to me, that's too Draconian. And when I reached out to proponents of the measure and I said that I felt that not allowing information back into the -- before the -- the judge or the jury was too Draconian. And they said, Well, we feel so strongly about this public policy that there needs to be something akin to a big stick to make people comply, to make law enforcement comply.

And there is a methodology that would allow this information to come into a trial, although it would be presumed that the statement is inadmissible but that information could be rebutted by a preponderance in -- of an evidence showing the statements were voluntarily given and are reliable.

One of the biggest roadblocks to this policy is that we have a variety of police departments and the state police, and they all have access to different technology. And this proposal is not based upon the size or the financial capabilities of a municipality, but it applies to statements made by individuals that are charged with capital felony or a Class A or B felony.

So the ambit of individuals is broad and predicated on their charged behavior. And that charged behavior could take place in some place as large as the City of Bridgeport or as small as the Town of Union, and all the different communities we have in between. And they all have different equipment right now. They all have differing degrees of how their officers have been trained to utilize that equipment. They all have various degrees of areas where equipment can be stored or equipment can be repaired or used.

We also heard during the public hearing that while this is used to some extent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that it's not as simple as just recording the interrogation, because these recordings have got to be made available for further court proceedings. So it means that you need to have

the equipment and the personnel, depending on when cases get ready for trial, that can provide adequate copies and copies of the appropriate portions that are being used in the trial for the State's Attorney, for the judge, for the defense counsel; at least three copies, and I think there might be another, fourth copy, that has to be made available for the court reporter. And so it's not as simple as just getting a video camera and recording an interrogation; it's detailing what's there, storing it, making sure it's in a database, it's accessible, and that with appropriate notice it can be used for a hearing. And let's say there's -- there's a motion to disqualify some of the testimony; it has to be ready and to go at that point in time.

Probably in a perfect world, every interrogation situation would have the same style room, the same equipment, the same standard of training for the officers, and the same ability to get that equipment before the appropriate tribunal. But we don't live in that world. So as this moves forward, I hope it has, number one, an appropriate time where it could be put into service.

Two, because this is, in effect, a mandate on our municipalities and our peace officers, police departments, we need to make sure that they have appropriate funding to move this policy forward.

And if I've heard one thing from my first selectmen and mayors and town managers, it's do no harm. Please don't give us additional burdens without some level of compensation so that we're not looking, scrambling for more funds.

I have heard -- and I'll explore this more fully if the amendment is proffered -- that there is some pool of funds from confiscated materials that could

be used to pay for this, but there's a real question mark as to (a) what those funds would otherwise be used for, if it wasn't for this, and (b) do we have an idea of where those funds are right now; are they available?

So I'm concerned because we're pushing through a policy where various communities are on different areas, moving in that direction. I'm concerned because we don't have a standardized police officer standard for training and doing this kind of recorded interrogation. I'm concerned because we have this very heavy stick hanging over the head of the prosecutors and -- and the ultimate attainment of justice, because if for whatever reason this is not followed, there's a better chance than not that this - this important, sometimes critical, information will be inadmissible.

And while I understand the goals of the proponents, what do we tell the victims or the victims' families of a crime where but for the lack of this technology or the appropriate utilization of the technology, some villain will be set free. Maybe that's where we are, very similar to those concepts of the fruit of the poisonous tree.

I remember back in law school, the old case about the Christian burial. And a police officer, I think it was a state trooper out in the Midwest, had an individual in the backseat of his car -- I think there was a missing girl -- and driving, driving, you know those long, barren flatlands. He just kept saying, you know, just too bad. Just too bad that that little girl couldn't get a good, Christian burial, and her parents are so sad.

And eventually, my understanding, my recollection from years and years ago was that -- and I believe it was a United States Supreme Court decision -- that you couldn't do that to somebody. You couldn't keep them in a confined space, backseat of the car, long period of time, long drive, and using this sort of guilt technique on that individual.

And out of cases like that, pretty neat, interesting cases came the concept of Miranda warnings. Anything you say can and will be held and used against you in a court of law. And that's all appropriate. But I don't see that kind of Miranda- warning-kind-of-situation resolving this issue, and it just strikes me that having this information inadmissible and presumed to be inadmissible, unless the State's Attorneys are able to lay a whole nother groundwork for it, that's -- that's a lot.

There's a lot on the table with this policy. If it doesn't work out, bad people will not be found guilty, because critical information may not be there.

The other part of the public hearing that was pretty clear was that odds are, as we push forward with this laudable goal, small towns, probably not affected. Why? Mercifully, not a lot of capital felonies and A and B felonies.

And for some really small towns, resident state troopers take them back to the barracks; they have different facilities. Big cities, big city police departments, much more use to A and B felonies, capital felonies, unfortunately -- very much unfortunately -- but probably has a lot of this technology up and running already. Problematic is all the municipalities in between. Where will this be done? Where will the technology be stored? Who will be trained? Maybe they're proceeding along this path and then bam, bam, bam, they're hit with one, two, three of these kinds of crimes.

So I think what I've gleaned over the last several years regarding this is I understand where proponents are going. I think it's laudable, but I think the nuts and bolts of this policy need to be ironed out. I'm hoping that by the time we get done with this debate, amendments will be offered and accepted that will push out the date that this can be effective to give our police departments time to plan and prepare, and that there will be a tangible and realistic funding source for this to move forward.

And I'm not even quite sure that we're there yet. Folks that I've heard from in the State of Connecticut, law enforcement, while some seem to be onboard, some seem to be very concerned about the pool of funds.

And so at this point in time for the purposes of an amendment, I'd like to yield to my friend and colleague Senator Witkos, if he would accept the yield.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos, do you accept the yield?

SENATOR KISSEL:

And --

THE CHAIR:

Apparently not.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Apparently not. Apparently --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

-- Senator Witkos would like me to yield to my friend and colleague, Senator Prague.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague, do you accept the yield?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Yes, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Got a winner.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

I do accept the yield.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, madam.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

And through you, thank you to Senator Kissel. Mr. President, I have before me an amendment, LCO 7631. Would the Clerk please call and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 7361, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A," is offered by Senator Prague, of the 19th District.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

On adoption, will you remark?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Mr. President, at this point in time I would like to yield to Senator Witkos.

Senator Witkos, pay attention.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos, do you accept the yield from --

SENATOR WITKOS:

Yes, I do.

THE CHAIR:

-- Senator Prague, rather than Senator Kissel?

SENATOR WITKOS:

Yes, I do.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Very good. And Senator just -- Senator, please proceed.

SENATOR WITKOS:

And I want say thank you, Senator Prague for, for the yield.

The underlying bill talks about the confessions that are done through interrogative process. And can you imagine the police officer, the most heinous of crimes that he's being detailed and is recording? And if he -- if you mess it up or he didn't record it, and the law says you have to record it, called into a chief's office and said, What are you doing? You know it's a law that you have to record these crimes. We don't want the inadmissibility of a -- of a beautiful confession because you mess it up.

And the chief could say to the officer, you know, you know what? You're -- you're out of here; you're fired. And there is recourse for that officer.

And then the officer says, well, I was following the direction of the sergeant that's on duty. And the chief calls the sergeant and says, you're out of here, you're fired. And then he calls in the deputy chief. He says, ah, you know, we don't like how you're managing things. It's just not working out; you're out of here. And the deputy chief has no recourse.

So this amendment here before us provides a similar protection to that of the chief of police. Right now, the chief of police can only be terminated for just cause. All union members in a police department can be terminated for just cause. But the deputy chief of police can be terminated on a whim.

We had a similar situation in a town just south of here, not too long ago -- I think it was last year -- where there was a change in the town government leadership. And the mayor came in and said that --

THE CHAIR:

Excuse me, Senator Witkos.

Senator Looney, for what purpose do you rise?

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President, with -- and with apologizes to Senator Witkos.

Would ask that this bill be passed temporarily.

THE CHAIR:

The bill will be PT'd.

Thank you.

Mr. Clerk.

SENATOR LOONEY:

If we might stand at ease for a moment,

Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

(Chamber at ease. )

SENATOR LOONEY:

Mr. President?

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will come back to order.

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.

If we might call the First Consent Calendar, at this time.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, please call the First Consent Calendar.

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call -- immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on the Consent Calendar. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. An immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on the Consent Calendar. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

Mr. President, the items that were placed on the First Consent Calendar begin on Calendar page 4, Calendar Number 222, substitute for Senate Bill 973;

Calendar page 13, Calendar Number 490, substitute for Senate Bill 929; and, Calendar page 39, Calendar Number 272, substitute for Senate Bill 1112. In

Calendar page 41, Calendar Number 322, substitute for the Senate Bill 970.

Mr. President, that completes the items placed on the First Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

The machine will be open.

THE CLERK:

The Senate is voting by roll call on the Consent Calendar. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. The Senate is voting by roll on the Consent Calendar. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all Senator voted? Have all Senators voted? Please check the board to make sure your vote is accurately recorded. If all Senators voted, the machine will be closed.

And the Clerk will take the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on adoption of Consent Calendar Number One.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Consent Calendar passes.

The Senate will stand at ease.

(Chamber at ease. )

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, if we might call as the next item, Calendar page 43, Calendar 374, Senate Bill 1108.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page 43, Calendar Number 374, File Number 606, substitute for Senate Bill 1108, AN ACT CONCERNING SENIOR SAFETY ZONES; Favorable Report of the Committee on Aging, Judiciary, and Housing. The Senate designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A," which was LCO 6462, when the bill was passed, retaining its place on the Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Mr. President, I move the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Mr. President, last evening we did this bill -- no, we did LCO 6462. Mr. Clerk, is that correct?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague, it was called but it was -- and designated but never adopted.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Okay.

THE CHAIR:

So we have to adopt the amendment.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Well, Mr. President, hang on just a -- may we stand at ease for just a moment?

THE CHAIR:

All right. The Senate will stand at ease, Senator Prague or you could withdraw the amendment if you --

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Okay.

THE CHAIR:

That's your pleasure.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Mr. President, we're going to withdraw this amendment, 6462.

THE CHAIR:

Without objection, so ordered.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

Now would the Clerk please call LCO 8268 and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 8268, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "B. " It is offered by Senator Prague, of the 19th District.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you, Mr. President.

What this bill deals with -- I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Senate, on adoption, will you remark?

SENATOR PRAGUE:

Thank you.

What this bill deals with is sex offenders not being allowed to go into senior centers or senior housing to visit or to do any kind of work, such as if they're doing electrical work or plumbing or delivering a package, unless they have permission from the probation or parole officer or the chief of police of the municipality or the resident state trooper.

And it was discussed in this Chamber and a very important issue was raised about what if there is voting at the senior center; would somebody who is a sex offender, who is on the Sex Offender Registry be allowed to go in and vote? And because an issue like that is so critically important to our basic constitutional rights, we PT'd the bill, and now we have in this amendment new language that says that the sex offenders cannot go into senior centers, but they may go in for purposes of participating in an activity not sponsored or organized by the senior center, including but not limited to voting in a municipal, state or federal election.

So if there is something at the senior center that is not sponsored by the seniors, such as voting or maybe a town meeting, somebody who is on the Sex

Offender Registry list can go under those circumstances. But they cannot go into a senior center if there is activity there that's sponsored by the seniors, and this bill makes that very clear.

So with the -- I'd like to move adoption of this. This clears up a very important issue that was raised on this bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

If not, Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise also in support of this amendment. As we discussed yesterday, the safety of seniors is critically important but also is the right to exercise one's vote. And oftentimes senior centers are the place of voting, and the amendment here address that issue, removes any impediment to voting while at the same time protecting our seniors from these offenders.

So I think we've got a good piece of legislation and, once again, thank Senator Prague for her leadership on this issue.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed, nay.

The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Prague.

SENATOR PRAGUE:

With the amendment adopted, if there's no objection, I'd like to put this on Consent.

THE CHAIR:

Hearing and seeing no objection, so ordered -- oh, hold on. There's an objection.

A VOICE:

Good, that's fine.

THE CHAIR:

Any further remarks on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended?

If not, Mr. Clerk, please announce a pendency of a roll call vote.

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber. An immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all Senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? If all members voted, the machine will be locked. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on passage of Senate Bill 1108, as amended by Senate Amendment Schedule "B. "

Total number voting 35

Those voting Yea 33

Those voting Nay 2

Those absent and not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes as amended.

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Yes, thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, if we might return to the item just passed temporarily, a moment ago, Calendar page 44, Calendar 388, and Senate Bill 954.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Calendar page 44, Calendar Number 388, File Number 630, Senate Bill 954, AN ACT CONCERNING THE ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF CUSTODIAL INTERROGATIONS; Favorable Report of the Committee on Judiciary, and Appropriations. When the bill was last before us, Senate Amendment Schedule "A," LCO 7361 was called and designated as Senate Amendment Schedule "A. "

THE CHAIR:

There's an amendment before us (inaudible) --

SENATOR COLEMAN:

I'll move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

And --

THE CHAIR:

On acceptance and passage, will you remark?

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you.

And if I may yield to Senator Witkos, at this time.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos, do you accept the yield?

SENATOR WITKOS:

Yeah, thank you, Mr. President, I do.

The scenario that I was relaying was that the town just south of here had a new town manager come in and he had said to the police chief, I want you to get rid of your deputy because I have somebody else that I would like to serve in that capacity. And the chief

-- chief of police said I -- I'm not willing to do that and he's -- hasn't done anything wrong. And the town manager said to him, Well, then you're on suspension for failure to obey a direct order.

And, unfortunately, in -- in police departments, the chief of police has a protection and everybody under the chief of police, except for the deputy chief has their protections. And this bill affords the deputy chief the same protection as the chief of police. They -- they can be fired for just cause but not on a whim.

So, with that, Mr. President, I'd urge the Chamber's adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

SENATOR WITKOS:

And I'm (inaudible) --

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark? Will you remark further on the amendment?

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Mr. President, I rise to support Senate "B. " I accept it as a friendly amendment and would urge the Senate to support it.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed, nay.

The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Yes, Mr. President.

The Clerk has an amendment, LCO 7458. I'd ask that the Clerk please call that amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO 7458, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "B. " It is offered by Senator Coleman, of the 2nd District, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

I'll move the adoption of the amendment, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

On adoption, will you remark?

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Senator President -- Mr. President, during Senator Kissel's remarks, he had indicated a couple of concerns. One was the appropriateness of an immediate implementation of a practice moving toward the recording of custodial interrogations. And, second, he was concerned about the standards for the equipment and the cost of the equipment. The purpose of this amendment is to address both of those concerns. The first change would be to change the effective date of the implementation of the requirement to record custodial interrogations to January 1, 2014. And the second part of the amendment involves the development of standards for the equipment.

As Senator Kissel may have indicated in his remarks, during the course of negotiating and discussing this bill, one of the things that came to light significantly was that there may be some incompatibility between the equipment of the State's Attorney's Office and the equipment of many local police departments. And so it was thought to be advisable that the Chief State's Attorney, in conjunction with the Police Officers Standards and

Training Council as well as the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association collaborate to come up with and establish standards for the equipment to be used in the electronic recording of custodial interrogations. And that is the purpose of the amendment before us.

I would urge the adoption of the amendment. Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Roraback.

Senator Looney -- I'm sorry -- did you rise?

SENATOR LOONEY:

Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, speaking in support of the -- of the amendment, the -- the amendment reflects a number of discussions that we had with Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane on this issue in terms of the -- the logistics of making sure that -- that when equipment is -- is purchased for purposes of the underlying bill, for the electronic recording of custodial interrogations, that the equipment tends to -- to interface well with the equipment that is also held in the State's Attorney's Offices as well as in police departments.

And the -- the key was that Mr. Kane said that it would be helpful if some period of time would be allowed for, a period of six months or so, as provided in the amendment, and January 1, 2012, to establish standards for the equipment to be used in the electronic recording of custodial interrogations, and -- and then to allow another two years beyond that for the -- for the police departments to comply, to make sure that they had, in fact, purchased the right equipment.

So it seemed to be a -- a reasonable way to -- to phase in the -- the requirements of this transition without being too burdensome to people who were opting -- operating in good faith to comply.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further?

Senator Roraback.

SENATOR RORABACK:

Thank you, Mr. President.

And through you, to Senator Coleman.

I was going to ask on the underlying bill the purpose of lines 59 and 60, which speak to statements made at a time when the -- when the interrogators are unaware that a death has, in fact, occurred. This amendment deletes that language.

And through you, Mr. President to Senator Coleman, I don't know if he has an explanation of what the language was supposed to do and why it's being deleted.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

I apologize, Mr. President.

Was the question do I have an explanation concerning why lines 59 and 60 were deleted?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Roraback.

SENATOR RORABACK:

Through you, Mr. President.

Yes, that is the question, that I believe this amendment deletes those lines.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

I -- I'm not recalling the explanation for that, but I will find out and get that response to Senator Roraback.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Roraback.

SENATOR RORABACK:

Thank you, Mr. President.

And I have every confidence. It's not something that is getting -- is causing me to stop in my tracks, it's just something that has me scratching my head, and I'll follow up with Senator Coleman at a later date.

I support the amendment, Mr. President. This is something that many other states have undertaken, and in many states there has initially been resistance. But after the program is implemented, law enforcement officers say, this is not something that's going to used against me; at long last I have something which defends the proprietary of the work that I've done.

And I ask defense attorneys how often do you contest the voluntariness of statements, and they say, well, it's malpractice not to contest them. So because these statements are contested in virtually every case, the best defense that law enforcement can have is an actual recording of what transpired. And so I support the amendment and I support the underlying bill.

And thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Remark further on the amendment?

If not, I will try your minds.

All those -- oh, Senator Kissel. I'm sorry.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank -- thank you very much, Mr. President. Just a question -- a couple of questions through to the proponent.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KISSEL:

I -- I'm very thankful that Senator Coleman has brought out this amendment, and I appreciate the remarks by Senator Looney and Senator Roraback.

There was this overriding concern regarding the funding mechanism, though, and I'm just wondering what funding mechanism is anticipated by the amendment.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

There has been some discussion about a funding mechanism, and I think the one that was designated may already be allocated to some other purpose. So within the time that's required for implementation, that is Jan. 1, 2014, there will have to be -- if the equipment is going to be funded by the state for the state police barracks and for the local law enforcement agencies, we will have to identify a source of funding prior to January 1, 2014.

But some of the tasks that the State's Attorney, in collaboration with the post and the police chiefs, will be involved in is trying to establish an appropriate cost for that equipment. There is an OFA estimate concerning that cost, which may or may not be on point. But in addition to establishing standards for the type of equipment to be utilized, the Chief's State's Attorney and those that he's collaborating with will also determine an appropriate amount of cost for that equipment.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

So is it my understanding -- because I know at the public hearing there was some reservations expressed by the Police Chiefs Association, and just within the last week or so, I've gotten some e-mails from some of my first select-people in smaller communities, and I'm just wondering whether the underlying bill, if -- should this amendment go forward -- if Senator Coleman is aware if there's any other or if there's any opposition even with the bill as amended, if he's aware of any -- Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, Council of Small Towns, any -- anybody out there or does this pretty much address the concerns raised by everybody who was in opposition?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

In response to Senator Kissel's question, through you, Mr. President, I wouldn't say that CCM is happy. They regard the bill as an unfunded mandate. There is being represented an agreement between the State's Attorney's Office and the police chiefs, through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you, very much.

Well, I always think it's better when we all work together in harmony and when people sit down and try to iron things out. And given the long time frame and the laudable goals of what we're dealing with here, I'm more than happy to support the amendment. And I'm happy to, again, listen to the rest of the debate on the underlying bill. And, with that, I'm happy to support the amendment.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment?

If not, I'll try your minds. All those, if in favor, please signify by saying, aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed, nay.

The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Will you remark further on the bill?

Senator Meyer.

SENATOR MEYER:

Thanks, Mr. President.

Colleagues, I've had some concerns with this bill, and now let me outline those to you and tell you how I've come out on them. I've had a primary concern that admissions could be made by defendants in criminal cases, which because of the place or time that they were made or the spontaneity of the making of the admission, there would not be any recording made, and therefore the admission, which could be very central to the prosecution of the case, the admission would be lost, found inadmissible and -- and not be able to be used.

Let me give you a prime example of that. When Steven Hayes was arrested in the Cheshire murders, he is reported to have been asked, right after arrest -- he's been asked -- reported -- it was reported that he was asked this question by the police officer: Is there anybody else in that house? And Steven Hayes responded -- I'm quoting, I think verbatim -- It all got out of control.

Now, the statement by Hayes that it all got out of control is clearly an admission, not recorded. And, therefore, on the face of this bill, it would not be admissible. But a careful reading of this bill shows it would be admissible because the bill says that it's addressed to statements made by defendants which are made in the -- in the place of -- in a place of detention.

And a place of detention is specifically defined as a police station, the courthouse, a correctional facility -- which means a jail -- or a detention facility, which also means a jail. So a statement made by Steven Hayes of that kind at the scene of the crime, spontaneous, right after arrest, would still be admissible.

I also was concerned about the number, in my experience, of admissions that have been made in the cars of law enforcement officers after arrest, on the way to -- to the police station or to another law enforcement location. And, again, this bill doesn't apply to police cars. It applies to places of detention, and detention is very specifically defined to mean a police station, courthouse, jail, that sort of thing -- doesn't say police car.

So I am satisfied that those kind of admissions and right at the scene of the crime after -- after an arrest or in a police car are -- are still -- are still admissible.

I'm also taking it -- taking into account the very significant language in this bill, of lines 68 to 71, which -- which says, in essence, that the presumption of inadmissibility of a statement made at a place of detention may be overcome by a preponderance of the evidence that the statement was voluntarily given and is reliable, based on the totality of the circumstances. So there's very much of a balance here, as we seek to get the truth of what a defendant's -- defendant stated.

I'm also fortified here that this bill does not apply to all crimes; this bill applies to the most serious. It applies only to capital felonies and A and B -- and A and B felonies. And -- and there's -- there's a very strong justification that in those very serious crimes, recordings would be -- would be appropriate.

So this bill is -- is more limited, on careful examination, than I thought. Indeed, I had a chance to talk to Senator Coleman, at length, as we went through this bill in a very serious way. He was helpful. My own Police Chief in Guilford, Tom Terrible, called me today and said that this bill is fine, as far as he's concerned, that -- that his town, my town has got the equipment to do the recording and routinely uses that equipment.

So because of the balance in this bill, because of the carefully looking at it, because of the statements made by Senator Coleman and my own police chief, I believe this bill has got -- is reasonable and balanced and I will support it.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise for the purpose of question to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you, Senator Coleman for your work on this. I was very interested in the testimony in our public hearing on this bill, and I recall some extensive concern on the part of our Chief State's Attorney, Kevin Kane about the timing may be premature. His thought, as I recall, was that there's a pilot program out there and that perhaps a little bit more time needed to be -- to study the -- the pilot program and how to properly implement this idea. I don't -- I didn't get the impression he opposed the idea in general; in fact, I thought he said that it's a -- will ultimately be a successful program. But he was concerned about training.

And through you, Mr. President.

Could you address the concerns of police chiefs and the Chief State's Attorney about training police officers in time for implementation?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.

And through you.

I believe training of police officers is always a concern, and a legitimate one at that. And part of the reason for the delay in implementation was certainly to allow the Chief State's Attorney, in collaborations with others, to develop standards for the equipment involved. But also inasmuch as the Police Officers Standards and Training Council are involved to make certain that not only is the -- the equipment compatible, department to department, and state to local law enforcement agency but also that those officers who will be involved in interrogations are appropriately prepared to perform that function in conjunction with the equipment that they will be utilizing.

Through you, Mr. President, to Senator McLachlan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

And through you, Mr. President.

Senator Coleman, for clarification, what is the deadline for implementation of this new procedure?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you.

The -- well there are a couple of deadlines. The deadlines for the establishment of standards for the equipment and the training in conjunction with the equipment would be January 1, 2012. The effective date of the bill would be January 1, 2014.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

And through you, Mr. President.

Those departments that have already acquired equipment for this purpose, as I understand the City of Danbury Police Department has contracted for new equipment, just this week, in preparation and anticipation of this legislation, is there -- will that equipment be grandfathered in? Do -- are they going to have to buy new equipment once the new rules are -- are in place?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

I don't know that there will be a requirement that Danbury or other departments that already have equipment in place will be required to replace that equipment, but I think all of the departments probably have some interest in making certain that their equipment is compatible with that of other law enforcement agencies, especially a state-to-local-department, inasmuch as for -- certainly for capital felonies but also possibly for A and B felonies, which the bill applies to.

Where the assistance of the state police may be required, it would be advisable that the computers that the state police have will be able to accommodate any disk that might be shared with the state police by a local enforcement, local law enforcement agency. Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you, Senator Coleman.

The last question pertaining to cost and back to training, has there been -- I didn't see in the fiscal note any reference to the cost of training officers for the purpose of this video process. Has that been looked at?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I'm -- I'm glad you asked that question because it allows me to respond to the question that was earlier asked by Senator Roraback. And that is, is there a source of funding that may be available to finance this entire operation. And I believe that training would be considered part of the entire operation, along with the acquisition of the equipment.

And I'm informed that those who are involved are looking into asset forfeiture of funds that -- that result from asset forfeiture in in rem proceedings, in order to finance the purchase of equipment as well as to finance the provision of training for those officers that would be involved in custodial interrogations.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR McLACHLAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

And thank you, Senator Coleman for your answers and your work on this bill.

I'll continue to listen to the discussion here. I -- I did vote no on this in the Judiciary Committee for all the reasons that Senator Meyer had concerns and certainly for the financial reasons that were anticipated by municipalities. It sounds like you've fine-tuned it a bit, and so I'll wait to hear more about it before making a final decision.

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator.

Will you remark further?

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise in -- in opposition to this bill for a number of reasons, some of which have already been mentioned. I appreciate Senator Kissel raising the issue that the consequences of this bill, Mr. President, are -- are pretty dire. In essence, we are taking Miranda and we're adding to it another element. You have the right to remain silent; everything can be used against you, as long as we record it. And I think that goes a little bit too far.

As long as we record it -- that is in a detention center -- which I think brings me to my first question.

Through you, Mr. President, if I may, to Senator

Coleman?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR WITKOS:

And -- and the question is this, Senator Coleman: Why -- why is the emphasis here on detention centers? When -- when I think about the concerns that would be or could arise with the -- with respect to interrogations, I think of detention centers as probably the safest place for an interrogation.

You have multiple people, multiple peace or police officers in the facility. Usually you have more than one involved in the questioning. So of all the places, I think there would be a concern for maybe improperly obtained admission, I would think that that would probably be the least of the ones to be concerned about, rather than in the field or somewhere else.

So through you, Mr. President.

The question is: Why detention centers; were thoughts given to other situations outside of detention centers?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Mr. President, I'm not sure that I understand the question.

Is the question why -- why aren't statements made at detention centers inadmissible or would be deemed to be inadmissible or presumed to be inadmissible if not recorded?

Through you, Mr. President, to Senator Welch.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

In essence that is -- that is the question. Why -- why are we -- why if -- if the concern of this body is nonrecorded admissions and the integrity of those admissions, why -- why is it -- why are we just limiting it to detention centers here as opposed to all admissions?

Through you, Mr. President.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Yes. Through you, Mr. President.

I think I understand the question. And I would say that somebody during the course of the debate had referenced perhaps the history of -- maybe it was Senator Roraback, in conversation with the criminal defense attorneys, asking whether they routinely attack purported confessions. And I think the response was probably based on a lot of criminal law history and -- and case law in the State of Connecticut.

The issue is whether or not the admission or confession was voluntarily obtained. And -- and I think a lot of case law and a lot of criminal law history would probably bare out that many of the challenges to the voluntariness of confessions have been on the basis those confessions not being voluntarily because they were coerced in some manner, physical coercion included, because at a place of detention the suspect was deprived of sleep and was subjected to a continuous questioning, perhaps without the assistance or availability of an attorney in the suspect's behalf and primarily because a place of detention, as defined in the bill, would mean that access to the suspect is limited and completely under the control of the authorities that are conducting the custodial interrogation.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you.

And -- and I guess that leads me to two of my other concerns, which -- which I don't think I've heard expressed so far. And that is, one, the -- the chilling effect that this is going to have on the interrogation process -- or the interviewing process is probably a better word to use -- not just with the questioning and not with the -- the police officers but -- but also with the responses that might be received, assuming that the suspect at the time knows that he or she is -- is being recorded.

The -- the second point is, in my mind, this is just another thing we're kind of having to require our public safety officers to have in the back of their mind, that they're complying with these video recording rules on top of all the other things that we're adding, rather than focusing on -- on the task at hand.

So those primarily are my concerns. I do have just two more questions for the proponent, and I think these are more for getting the legislative intent of some of the language here. And if I may propose those, through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR WELCH:

And the first has to do with recording itself, found on lines 51 through 56 of the bill. Is it intended here, through you, Mr. president, that the suspect know that he or she is being recorded?

Maybe if I could put it another way: Are we requiring the police to inform the suspect that he or she is being recorded?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Mr. President, I don't think that the bill specifically addresses a requirement that the suspect be informed that he is being recorded, but I certainly think that that was the intent of the bill. There's no specific provision in the bill that addresses that or makes that requirement. But it would be my considered opinion that the suspect be made aware that his statement or confession is being recorded.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you.

And then, if I may, Mr. President, direct the proponents' attention to line 43, where we have the exception regarding feasibility.

If -- if I may through you, Mr. President, what -- what exactly are we contemplating by the term "not feasible"?

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Was your reference to lines 33?

Through you, Mr. President?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Maybe I misspoke. 43.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

43.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Yeah, thank you. I see it.

Not feasible could encompass many situations. Maybe it's a busy day at a particular police department, and there are four or five people being interrogated, and maybe there's some urgency to the fifth person being interrogated but there's no equipment available in order to perform and record that interrogation.

Maybe it's the case that it's a small -- small-town police department and they have one set of equipment and that equipment malfunctions, which makes it not feasible to record the statement or confession of a particular suspect.

Those are two examples that come to mind. I'm sure there may be others.

Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you. And I thank the senator for his responses. That's all I have.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Looney?

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Speaking in support of the bill as -- as amended, I wanted to thank Senator Coleman, Representative Fox, for their hard work on this, as well as other members of the Judiciary Committee.

I think that Senator Kissel and Senator Meyer had a significant amount of input into the discussions of this bill that improved it greatly by talking about a number of -- of hypotheticals, both during Judiciary Committee public hearings, and thereafter, in -- in discussion, I think, to enhance this bill, and to help us to move into the -- into the mainstream of a large number of states that are moving toward this provision for electronic recording of -- of confessions, is something that improves their transparency and accountability in police procedures, and also is, of course, to the -- the benefit of the police when the quality of their -- their police work and the circumstances under which they conduct interrogations are above reproach.

The camera and the recording will document good and sound technique, as well as flawed technique. And I think that that is significant in this bill. And again, with the assistance of Chief State's Attorney Kane, who has -- has been an advocate for finding a way to -- to move gradually toward this, his input into this has been significant as well, as it has been for the last couple of years with the -- the pilot program that he initially helped establish and worked with those who had voluntarily participated in that.

So, again, I think this -- this moves us into what is now a rapidly, expanding mainstream in terms of best practices.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Just some closing comments. As Senator Kissel alluded to, and I may have mentioned in my remarks, this bill only applies to interrogations that are conducted in connection with capital felonies, or Class A and B felonies. All other offenses, or classes of offenses would not be subject to the requirement of electronic recording.

And it's also important to understand that the bill creates a presumption that custodial interrogations at a place of detention that are not recorded are inadmissible. Presumably, there is an opportunity to rebut such a presumption. And the bill, in other places, certainly makes provision for the use of statements by a suspect for impeachment purposes. And it also lays out certain exceptions so that statements may be used, whether recorded or not.

If made in open court, a statement made during custodial interrogation that was not recorded because of electronic cording was not feasible, as Senator Welch inquired into, other exceptions include a voluntary statement that has bearing on the credibility of the -- of the person or witness could be used irrespective of whether it was recorded.

Spontaneous statements not made in response to a question do not have to be recorded and can be used in court.

A statement made after questioning that is routinely asked during the process of the arrest of a person can be used even though not recorded. And a statement made during custodial interrogation by a person who requests, prior to making the statement, to respond to the interrogator's questions only if an electronic recording is not made, that statement could be used in a proceeding, as well as a statement made during custodial interrogation that is conducted out of state. And there is a catchall provision. Any other statement that may be admissible under law may be used even though not recorded.

Finally, Mr. President, I believe that most of our police officers do fine work, and we certainly owe them all a debt of gratitude. But because of the authority that they wield, I don't believe that their -- their work should be unfettered or not subject to some control.

As I indicated in opening remarks, the recording of confessions will contribute to the perception that the statement that a suspect makes, or the confession that a suspect makes is a reliable statement. And I think that will be of great benefit, even though there is some trepidation expressed on the part of law enforcement officers regarding this requirement. I think eventually it will work to the benefit of law enforcement departments and law enforcement officers, as I think it was Senator Roraback who noted. I agree with that assessment and, consequently, I urge passage of the bill as amended.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended?

If not, Mr. Clerk, please announce the pendency roll call vote.

THE CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all senators please return to the Chamber. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Will all senators please return to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Maynard? Senator Maynard? Senator Maynard? Senator Doyle?

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? The machine will be locked, and the clerk will announce the tally.

THE CLERK:

Motion is on passage of Senate Bill 954 as amended by Senate Amendments Schedules "A" and "B". Total number voting 33

Those voting Yea 24

Those voting Nay 9

Those absent and voting 3

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes.

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

If we mind standing at ease for just a moment. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

On motion of Senator Looney of the 11th, the Senate at 7: 25 p. m. , recessed.

THE CLERK:

The Senate will reconvene immediately. The Senate will reconvene immediately.

(The Senate reconvened at 9: 49 p. m. , Senator Williams of the 29th in the Chair. )

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you. Good evening, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Mr. President, I believe the Clerk is in possession of Senate Agendas 2 and 3 for today's session.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Looney.

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Mr. President, the Clerk is in possession of Senate Agenda Number 2 and Senate Agenda Number 3, for Friday, June 3rd, 2011, copies of which have been distributed.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Mr. Clerk.

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, I move all items on Senate Agendas Numbers 2 and 3, dated Friday, June 3rd, 2011, to be acted upon as indicated, and that the agendas be incorporated by reference into the Senate journal and the Senate transcript.

THE CHAIR:

Without objection, so ordered.

SENATOR LOONEY:

Yes, thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, we have two items to mark as go this evening.

The first of which is on Calendar page 20, Calendar 545, House Bill Number 6599. That will be our first order of the -- of the evening.

Second item, Mr. President, will be the Emergency Certified Senate Bill 1242, which is found on Senate Agenda Number 3.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Looney.

Mr. Clerk, will you please call the first order of business for this evening.

THE CLERK:

Mr. President, call from page 20, Calendar Number 545, House Bill Number 6599, AN ACT CONCERNING DISCRIMINATION, as amendment -- as amended by House Amendment Schedule "A" (LCO 6685), favorable report of the Judiciary Committee. And the Clerk is in possession of several amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Mr. Clerk.

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

You may proceed.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Mr. President, the bill before us prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.

In many areas of life here in the state of Connecticut, it provides to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to -- the jurisdiction to receive and prosecute discrimination complaints, and it authorizes people who are transgendered individuals to file discrimination complaints with CHRO. And CHRO, again, has jurisdiction to enforce antidiscrimination laws in specified areas.

The principal part of the bill is the definition of -- of gender identity for expression. And that definition is incorporated -- incorporated in the first section of the bill, and defines gender identity or expression as a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth.

The definition specifies that gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence in various ways that include medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of such an identity, or any other evidence that the identity is sincerely held, part of a person's core identity, or that the person is not asserting such an identity for an improper purpose.

We, in the state of Connecticut, I do believe, ought to be enthusiastic and zealous about not denying opportunity to any group of people. And, in fact, ought to, and I think do endeavor, to make certain that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are available to everyone.

The bill before us advances and furthers that objective for a group of people who, principally, in areas like employment, housing and public accommodations may have received discriminatory treatment. I would urge passage of the bill, Mr. President -- Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further?

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL:

Thank you very much, Madam President.

I know that there will be some amendments forthcoming, but I wanted to comment briefly on the proposal as it stands.

I have grappled with this issue over the last several years. And I have to say, at the outset, for those individuals that have come to the judiciary public hearings seeking transgender rights, I have the utmost respect for and admiration.

On any bill proposal, it is not easy to come before a public hearing. But for this particular issue, it must have been particularly uncomfortable, because, like many matters, as each year progresses, we learn more and more of their cause, of their desires, some of the strengths of their arguments, and some of their weaknesses of their arguments.

I believe individuals that fall into this category have been perceived to have what's called gender dysphoria. Whether their gender identity rises to the level of a medical term, I don't have the medical background to make that determination. I will say this, that over the years, I have voted in favor of this bill, or a bill substantially similar, and opposed.

I really go back and forth on this issue. But over the last, probably, two or three years in particular, I have heard more and more from my constituents, and their questions have led me to ask further questions, and have brought me to the position where I am today. And it is not one borne in any way by malice towards individuals that have come to testify before us, and it's not borne out by the fact that I don't believe that they believe sincerely in the cause for which they are espousing.

In my heart of hearts, I'm a live-and-let-live individual, and I wouldn't want to see anybody not given rights that truly deserve rights. But when it comes to something fundamentally subjective in many, many ways, I have a concern as to the appropriate way to put that into statute.

There were individuals at the public hearing this year that if they did not testify that they were a different gender at one point in their life, I would have a very difficult time believing it. There were some women that stated that they were born men, and there was nothing in their appearance, demeanor, vocalization to cause me to believe that they were anything but women from the very point of birth to their adulthood. And the exact converse was true as well; there were individuals that appeared as men that I would have thought were born male and had been that way their whole lives.

From my perspective, that's probably the easiest case. And what I had originally thought years ago was all this discussion was about, that these were transgender individuals, and that they were seeking rights that others had. And for whatever reason, folks in our society were discriminating against them. But as the years progressed, I've come to the conclusion that that is -- those individuals represent the easy case regarding this debate.

There were other individuals over the years, and while some years you see folks you haven't seen before, there are dozens of individuals that over the last six or seven years in the Judiciary Committee have been dogged enough in their pursuit of this to continue to come before us so you would recognize them and come to friendly terms with all of them.

But there was another group of individuals that were expressing a gender but not to the extent that they were assuming that gender. These were individuals that were expressing themselves in such a way that they felt comfortable with the gender they were expressing, but there was no element of hiding what gender they were born with. So they were, to all appearances, from my observations, folks that were born as women that were taking on traits of a man and wanted to be perceived as a man; and there were folks that were born as a man that were taking on traits of a woman and wanted to be perceived as a woman.

And the dilemma regarding the proposal is that regarding many of these individuals, there's a long continuum, and that individuals' gender expression can take on any spot in this entire continuum. And over the years, I've asked more and more questions, and I've gotten to a point now where I perceive that in this discussion, there's almost a socioeconomic element. Because when some of my colleagues asked some of these individuals regarding medical treatment and gender change, some of these individuals stated that either, a, they had no desire to go through a medical process where their gender would actually change from male to female or female to male, based on physiological characteristics or, b, for financial reasons, they did not have the wherewithal to go through any kind of medical transformation. And they were expressing an affront, stating that because they wanted to express themselves in a certain way, that folks in society had no right to expect that this was a process along a path from point a to point b.

This has changed my perception of the subject. When I first began going to the public hearings that we've had on the Judiciary Committee regarding this years ago, it was during a period of our -- of the last 10 to 15 years, where we were going through hearings and the primary focus regarding interpersonal rights and things such as this was the march regarding -- that culminated in same-sex marriage, and that's -- that tended to be where the focus of attention was. And the elements of these public hearings seemed to be somewhat secondary. And that's not a -- a valuation, it's just that it seemed like most of the oxygen in the room was taken up by this, this other debate, this very rigorous debate regarding a societal change, regarding how -- how we as a state would look at marriage. And that was a long -- and many, many numbers of years of permutations and debates in this Chamber, as well as the House, and here we are in 2011.

And much of those other issues now are off the stage, allowing me to really drill down deep regarding this issue. And as we've drilled down deep and studied the issue, and this will probably come up down the road in the form of a proposed amendment, it's that we do have, for lack of a better term, certain carve-outs regarding certain rights here in the state of Connecticut. And one might scratch one's head and say, well, how could that be; don't, don't we look at this exactly the same for race and ethnicity and religion and creed? And regarding all of those characterizations, we do. We do.

We don't have separate but equal in our state, except for one area. And that area is regarding sex. And it's not sex as far as relationships such as same sex or that kind of sex, but how we treat certain areas regarding sex in terms of equal to gender; sex meaning a person's sex, male or female.

And we have, for over a decade, created a construct where certain areas have certain delineations so that everything isn't free and easy, because that's what we, as a society, we, as a state, have determined to be appropriate, not only for ourselves, but for the public as a whole, and with an eye toward appropriate for our children. And those areas are bathrooms and locker rooms and certain housing facilities that are denominated for either men or women. And it's commonplace.

I guess, if certain private individuals wanted to do something other than that, they could. But in terms of the laws of the state of Connecticut, we have men's rooms and women's rooms. And if you go to a high school, there is the girls' locker room and the boys' locker room. And that is the reasonable expectation of society in 2011. And when I go out and I talk to all of my constituents, the vast majority do not have a problem with that, fully expect that. And in the vast majority of cases, if they're moms and dads, they would be concerned if it was anything other than that. And the only time people even contemplate a variation thereon, is if their child is about to go to some college, and perhaps there's some kind of sharing of bathroom facilities at some college, and well, we'll look into that when that day comes.

But if it's a grammar school or a middle school or a high school, or if it's a public swimming pool where there's changing rooms, the expectation in the seven towns that I represent in North Central Connecticut is that, yeah, there should be men's facilities and women's facilities. There should be girls' facilities and boys' facilities, and nary the 'twain shall meet, and no one really worries too much about it. And there really is no one out there pushing to change that.

But what we find ourself with today is a proposal by dozens of individuals, I wouldn't even say hundreds of individuals, dozens of individuals in the state of Connecticut, that, for lack of a better term, use an umbrella terminology of transgender. And they're not lesbian. They're not gay. They're not bisexual. They're transgender. The entire discussion has nothing to do with their interrelationship with other individuals either through marriage or any other kind of romantic or unromantic. It has to do with themselves and their interrelationship with society.

And by seeking equal rights with other individuals, because of the nature of the right they are seeking, and I had indicated that it's under the umbrella of transgender, but it may be gender identity or even more subjective terminology, gender expression, which, because we're using two terms, it strikes me that there must be some distinction. And so one may not even necessarily identify with a gender. One may assert a gender expression. It's because we're dealing with that -- that that now is running up and bumping up against the construct that we have set in -- set in place here, in the state of Connecticut, to accommodate individuals as we have done for hundreds of years.

Nobody wants to either discourage or disallow individuals from exercising as many rights as possible, as fully a set of rights as each and every one of us have right now. But I would ask that, at this point in time, whether any one of us has an unfettered right to go, if we're male, to a female bathroom, or if we're female, to a male bathroom, or a locker room, or a similar kind of facility. And in our statutes, we have, if not prohibitions against that, we do not have protections to allow that.

The individuals in my constituency, and I have now over the years heard many and many and many, have come up to me and said please put forward certain proposals to allow for the distinctions that have held thus far regarding certain facilities, because this will affect our rights and our children's rights.

And many of us have worked on such amendments. I have other amendments that I'm looking forward to putting before us. And it's a healthy debate. And it's a debate without ranker. It's a debate without dismissing one side or another. But I think it's important. Because unlike other areas where it seemed like these debates were merely a question as to whether individuals would assume certain rights that others have, but not necessarily displaced them, I think that when we come to issues regarding gender expression and identity under the rubric of transgender -- and we're dealing with something that medical science has until very recently called gender dysphoria -- that we're in a different world now, where it is not quite objective, and there are certain huge elements of subjectivity.

That's how I would sort of put this issue before us, and I'm hoping at this time to be able to yield to my friend and colleague, Senator Welch, for the purposes of perhaps bringing out an amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch, will you accept the yield, sir?

A VOICE:

Oh, I'm sorry (inaudible).

SENATOR WELCH:

I do, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir. Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you, Madam President.

As I begin to look at the issues presented to us, I start in a place where I think we all start, and I think where most in society start, and that is this, discrimination is wrong. Discrimination is wrong.

With that said, and Senator Kissel has alluded to this, there are certain exceptions, certain reasoned exceptions we've taken as a society where we do allow, to use the legal term, discrimination. And so when I consider how to solve the issues presented before us, and what -- what the problems are before us with the solution that we have, I wonder if it's necessary to take the steps we have in creating a protected class. And I would argue at this point that -- that it is not necessary because the current state of the law provides many, if not all, or most of the protections we're seeking to provide by this statute.

And that starts with a -- with a Supreme Court case in 1989, the Supreme Court decided, Price View -- Pricewaterhouse v. Hopkins, which was a situation where a senior partner in that -- in Pricewaterhouse went up for a partnership around 1982. And she was not offered partnership at that time, and was told to come back in a year, and -- and then she could be put up. A year went by and -- and she was not put up for partnership, and ultimately sued for sex discrimination -- sex discrimination.

And when you looked at her evaluations, they were phenomenal, outstanding, strong character, extremely complimentary, intelligent. But then there were also some characterizations in there such as macho or overcompensating for being a woman. And it was based on -- on those characterizations, the Supreme Court essentially said, that's sex discrimination.

So we have a situation where sex discrimination now includes gender discrimination. Or to put it another way, sex discrimination, or sex stereotyping based on a person's gender, or nonconforming behavior, as it were, is impermissible discrimination in the United States right now. And -- and when you put a label on it, such as transgender, that -- that doesn't -- that doesn't change that.

Then we have here in Connecticut two more cases, two more matters before the CHRO, Dwyer v. Yale University, and a declaratory ruling on behalf of John/Jane Doe, which essentially take that Supreme Court precedent and apply Connecticut law to say, yes, gender discrimination is sex discrimination. So discrimination of a -- a transgendered person in the State of Connecticut is already prohibited. So I think at this point some would say, well, then all we're trying to do with the bill before us is to codify existing law.

But I would say that that -- that isn't the case, for exactly some of the reasons that Senator Kissel alluded to, in that we have an exception with respect to sex discrimination that involves bathrooms, it involves locker rooms, and certain sleeping accommodations.

So we, as a society, have already said that this will be acceptable within this -- within this case. And -- and if I may, before I offer this amendment, if I may ask the proponent of the bill one -- one question.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

Senator Coleman, would you prepare yourself please.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you, Madam President.

I'm -- I'm not sure, Senator Coleman, if you got all of the -- the lead in to that, but I was referencing the exception we have in the statutes for sex discrimination which, in particular, is 46A-64, where we carve out of sex discrimination the rental of sleeping accommodations, bathrooms, and locker rooms.

And if I may, through you, Madam President, do you know the rationale behind that carve out?

Through you, Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN:

Through you, Madam President, unfortunately I do not know the rationale.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you, Madam President.

I would argue that the -- the rationale, although I was not here when the statute was enacted, is because we're walking into a situation where we have a competing right, and that, in essence, is a fundamental Constitutional right, a right to privacy. So we, as a legislature, decided how -- how are we going to balance these competing rights?

And the language in Section 46A-64 balances that right. So I think if we are to say we're going to codify the law as it is today, and if we are to say that we don't want to give those that are transgendered more rights than those that aren't transgendered, then it would be appropriate to amend our statutes to allow a similar exception -- to allow a similar exception with respect to transgendered.

So with -- with that, Madam President, I believe the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 6902, I would ask that the Clerk call that amendment, and I would seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, please call 6902. Thank you.

THE CLERK:

Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of LCO Number 6902, which shall be designated as Schedule Amendment "A," introduced by Senator McKinney, Fasano, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you. And I -- and I -- I move adoption and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

The questions is on adoption. Will you remark further, sir?

SENATOR WELCH:

Thank you, Madam President. Essentially, what this amendment does is it adds to this exemption for discrimination with respect to sex. Those -- those -- excuse me -- also on the basis of gender identity or expression as well.

So what I would say is that this is a step in codifying where we are today. It balances the right of privacy of -- of -- of others, and I would -- and it makes sure that we're not giving additional rights or more rights to a class than those of the rest of the population. And with that, I would ask my colleagues to support this amendment. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further?

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE:

Thank you, Madam President.

Through you, some questions to the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR BYE:

To my colleague, Senator Welch, where in our statutes, currently, does it refer to what gender can go into which bathrooms?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

I don't know that it does anywhere, but what I would say is that what this statute does is it allows those that have control, or are proprietors over these particular places to have the right to say to one whether or not they could use it.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE:

Madam President, through you, just to clarify a little bit. So is it your understanding that there's nothing in the statutes, currently, that relates to gender and bathrooms?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Not that I'm aware of.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE:

Through you, Madam President.

Is there anything in the statutes now that refers to gender and sleeping accommodations?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Other than -- other than 46A-64, which references sex which, as I said earlier on, the Supreme Court mentions that -- treats gender and sex the same for the purposes of discrimination laws. That's it. Through you, Madam President. That I'm aware of.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE:

So, I'm sorry, because of that answer I just want to be clear. So you're saying there is something now in the statutes that says what gender -- that sleeping accommodations can be assigned by gender?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

Madam President, through you, Section 46A-64 of the General Statutes references, specifically, sex in reference to discrimination with bathrooms, sleeping arrangements and locker rooms. And what I'm saying is that, as I understand, the Supreme Court's decision in Pricewaterhouse essentially says that gender discrimination is part and parcel of sex discrimination.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE:

Okay. Through you, I -- I just want to break it down a little -- a little more to everyday life. Currently, Senator Welch, if you walked into a women's bathroom, would that be illegal?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

I'm not sure. I'm not 100 percent certain as to the answer to that question.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE:

So Senator, through you, Madam President, Senator Welch, have you ever had occasion to have to go into a women's bathroom?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Welch.

SENATOR WELCH:

I have not.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE:

Through you, Madam President. Senator Welch's gender may be part of the reason why he hasn't experienced what I've experienced, which is that often the women's rooms are backed way up. And probably there's not a woman sitting around the circle today who has not walked into a men's room and gone to the bathroom at a time when a men's room was empty and a -- a men's room was not full and a women's room was.

So I hear some gentlemen in the distance saying that they, too, have entered into women's rooms. And -- and it's my understanding that there'