Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 1061

January Session, 2015

 

LCO No. 4663

 

*04663_______ENV*

Referred to Committee on ENVIRONMENT

 

Introduced by:

 

(ENV)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING THE FISCAL SUSTAINABILITY OF STATE PARKS.

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

Section 1. Subsections (a) and (b) of section 14-49 of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2015):

(a) For the registration of each passenger motor vehicle, other than an electric motor vehicle, the fee shall be [eighty] eighty-five dollars every two years, provided: (1) Any individual may, as prescribed by section 14-12, as amended by this act, or 14-22, as amended by this act, as applicable, affirmatively elect to not pay the five-dollar portion of such fee that constitutes a charitable donation to the State Parks Sustainability account established pursuant to section 5 of this act, and (2) any individual who is sixty-five years of age or older on or after January 1, 1981, may, at his discretion, renew the registration of such passenger motor vehicle owned by him for either a one-year or two-year period. The fee for one year shall be [forty] forty-five dollars, and the fee for two years shall be [eighty] eighty-five dollars, provided: (A) Any individual may, as prescribed by section 14-12, as amended by this act, or 14-22, as amended by this act, as applicable, affirmatively elect to not pay the five-dollar portion of any such one-year or two-year fee that constitutes a charitable donation to the State Parks Sustainability account established pursuant to section 5 of this act, and (B) the biennial fee for any motor vehicle for which special license plates have been issued under the provisions of section 14-20 shall be eighty dollars. The provisions of this subsection relative to the biennial fee charged for the registration of each antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle for which special license plates have been issued under section 14-20 shall not apply to an antique fire apparatus or transit bus owned by a nonprofit organization and maintained primarily for use in parades, exhibitions or other public events but not for purposes of general transportation.

(b) (1) For the registration of each motorcycle, the biennial fee shall be [forty-two] forty-seven dollars, subject to the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection and provided any individual may, as prescribed by section 14-12, as amended by this act, or 14-22, as amended by this act, as applicable, affirmatively elect to not pay the five-dollar portion of such fee that constitutes a charitable donation to the State Parks Sustainability account established pursuant to section 5 of this act. For the registration of each motorcycle with side car or box attached used for commercial purposes, the biennial fee shall be [sixty] sixty-five dollars provided any individual may, as prescribed by section 14-12, as amended by this act, or 14-22, as amended by this act, as applicable, affirmatively elect to not pay the five-dollar portion of such fee that constitutes a charitable donation to the State Parks Sustainability account established pursuant to section 5 of this act. The commissioner may register a motorcycle with a side car under one registration which shall cover the use of such motorcycle with or without such side car. (2) Four dollars of the total fee with respect to the registration of each motorcycle shall, when entered upon the records of the Special Transportation Fund, be deemed to be appropriated to the Department of Transportation for purposes of continuing the program of motorcycle rider education formerly funded under the federal Highway Safety Act of 1978, 23 USC 402.

Sec. 2. Section 14-49 of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (bb) as follows (Effective July 1, 2015):

(NEW) (bb) Five dollars of any registration fee collected by the commissioner pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this section, as amended by this act, shall constitute a charitable donation to the State Parks Sustainability account, as established in section 5 of this act and shall be deposited by the commissioner in such account unless such registrant affirmatively elected to not pay such five-dollar charitable donation, in accordance with section 14-12, as amended by this act, or 14-22, as amended by this act, in which case five dollars of such registration fee shall not be deposited in such account.

Sec. 3. Subsection (b) of section 14-12 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2015):

(b) To obtain a motor vehicle registration, except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the owner shall file in the office of the commissioner an application signed by him and containing such information and proof of ownership as the commissioner may require. The application shall be made on blanks furnished by the commissioner. The blanks shall be in such form and contain such provisions and information as the commissioner may determine, provided any such blank used to register a passenger motor vehicle or a motorcycle shall contain information informing the owner that five dollars of the applicable registration fee for such passenger motor vehicle or motorcycle constitutes a charitable donation to the State Parks Sustainability account and such blank contains a check box that allows such owner to affirmatively elect to not pay such five-dollar charitable donation.

Sec. 4. Subsection (a) of section 14-22 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2015):

(a) A motor vehicle registration issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire in accordance with schedules established by the commissioner. If the expiration date of the registration of the motor vehicle, except the registration of a motor vehicle used to transport passengers for hire, falls on any day when offices of the commissioner are closed for business, the registration shall be deemed valid for the operation of the motor vehicle until midnight of the next day on which offices of the commissioner are open for business. The commissioner shall prescribe the date and manner of renewing registrations. Not less than forty-five days prior to the expiration of any valid registration, the department shall send or transmit, in such manner as the commissioner determines, an application for renewal to the registrant. In the case of a motor vehicle registered to a leasing company licensed pursuant to section 14-15, the department may send or transmit, in such manner as the commissioner determines, an application for renewal of a leased vehicle to the lessee of such vehicle. Any such application used to register a passenger motor vehicle or a motorcycle shall contain: (1) Information informing the owner that five dollars of the applicable registration fee for such passenger motor vehicle or motorcycle constitutes a charitable donation to the State Parks Sustainability account, and (2) a check box that allows such owner to affirmatively elect to not pay such five-dollar charitable donation. The commissioner shall not be required to send or transmit a registrant's or lessee's application by mail if the United States Postal Service has determined that mail is undeliverable to such person at the address for such person that is in the records of the department. Except for the processing of such application at an official emissions inspection station as provided in subsection (b) of this section or by telephone as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the commissioner may require that the application be returned electronically or by mail in order to be processed and approved, with only such exceptions, on a hardship basis, as shall be established by the commissioner in regulations adopted pursuant to chapter 54.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2015) There is established a State Parks Sustainability account which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund. Any moneys collected for donations to the State Parks Sustainability account pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of section 14-49 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, subsection (b) of section 14-12 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and section 9 of this act, shall be deposited by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles into such account. The account may also include moneys received from public and private sources, including the federal government. All moneys deposited in the account shall be used by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection or persons acting under a contract with such department, as follows: (1) To reimburse the Department of Motor Vehicles for incurred costs to include notice on applications for motor vehicle registrations and renewal motor vehicle registrations of the option to not pay the five-dollar charitable donation to such account and to collect such donations from applicants, provided the amount shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars for each fiscal year and such reimbursement shall occur not later than July first of each year; and (2) to provide for the maintenance, operation and improvement of state parks that are under the custody, care or control of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Sec. 6. Section 10-303 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2015):

(a) [The] Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, the authority in charge of any building or property owned, operated or leased by the state or any municipality therein shall grant to the Department of Rehabilitation Services a permit to operate in such building or on such property a food service facility, a vending machine or a stand for the vending of newspapers, periodicals, confections, tobacco products, food and such other articles as such authority approves when, in the opinion of such authority, such facility, machine or stand is desirable in such location. Any person operating such a stand in any such location on October 1, 1945, shall be permitted to continue such operation, but upon such person's ceasing such operation such authority shall grant a permit for continued operation to the Department of Rehabilitation Services. The department may establish a training facility at any such location.

(b) Pursuant to the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act, 49 Stat. 1559 (1936), 20 USC 107, as amended from time to time, the Department of Rehabilitation Services is authorized to maintain a nonlapsing account and to accrue interest thereon for federal vending machine income which, in accordance with federal regulations, shall be used for the payment of fringe benefits to the vending facility operators by the Department of Rehabilitation Services.

(c) The Department of Rehabilitation Services may maintain a nonlapsing account and accrue interest thereon for state and local vending machine income which shall be used for the payment of fringe benefits, training and support to vending facilities operators, to provide entrepreneurial and independent-living training and equipment to children who are blind or visually impaired and adults who are blind and for other vocational rehabilitation programs and services for adults who are blind.

(d) The Department of Rehabilitation Services may disburse state and local vending machine income to student or client activity funds, as defined in section 4-52.

(e) In lieu of the requirements established in subsection (a) of this section, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall remit to the Department of Rehabilitation Services a payment that represents ten per cent of the revenue generated from any contract for the operation of food concessions at any state park.

Sec. 7. Subsection (a) of section 23-26 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2015):

(a) The commissioner may (1) provide for the collection of fees for parking, admission, boat launching and other uses of state parks, forests, boat launches and other state recreational facilities, (2) establish from time to time the daily and seasonal amount thereof, (3) enter into contractual relations with other persons for the operation of concessions, (4) establish other sources of revenue to be derived from services to the general public using such parks, forests and facilities, (5) employ such assistants as may be necessary for the collection of such revenue. The commissioner shall deposit such revenue derived therefrom with the State Treasurer in the General Fund. On and after July 1, 1992, any increase in any fee or any establishment of a new fee under this section shall be by regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. Not later than May 1, 2010, said commissioner shall establish the daily and seasonal amount of such parking, admission, boat launching and other use fees for residents of this state in amounts not greater than one hundred thirty-five per cent of the amounts charged for such fees by said commissioner as of April 1, 2009. Not later than May 1, 2010, said commissioner shall establish the daily and seasonal amount of such parking, admission, boat launching and other use fees for nonresidents of this state in amounts not greater than one hundred fifty per cent of the amounts charged for such fees by said commissioner as of April 1, 2009. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the commissioner may enter into an agreement with any municipality under which the municipality may retain fees collected by municipal officers at state boat launches when state employees are not on duty. Any contract entered into by the commissioner pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection shall provide that such person shall pay to the commissioner: (A) For the purpose of remitting payment in accordance with section 10-303, as amended by this act, a fee that represents ten per cent of the revenue generated from the operation of any such concession, and (B) a fee that represents twenty per cent of the revenue generated from the operation of any such concession.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2015) Not later than July 31, 2015, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall establish the amount of rent paid by any resident of this state for the use of state park property for any special event of limited duration, including, but not limited to, weddings and receptions, in an amount that is based on the number of persons attending such special event provided such amount is not less than one hundred thirty-five per cent of the amount charged for such rent by the commissioner as of July 1, 2015. Not later than July 31, 2015, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall establish the amount of rent paid by any nonresident of this state for the use of state park property for any special event of limited duration, including, but not limited to, weddings and receptions, in an amount that is based on the number of persons attending such special event provided such amount is not less than one hundred fifty per cent of the amount charged for such rent by the commissioner as of July 1, 2015. The amount of any rent charged pursuant to this section shall reflect a higher fee for any event that will have a greater number of people in attendance.

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2015) Not later than July 31, 2015, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall amend the Adopt A Park program to additionally provide for the recognition of participants who elect to financially sponsor such park, through contribution of a charitable donation, by erecting a placard at such park that bears the name of any such sponsoring individual, individuals, organization or corporation and the nature of such financial sponsorship. The commissioner may establish multiple tiers for such financial sponsorship provided no level of charitable donation for such financial sponsorship shall be less than two thousand five hundred dollars. Any funds collected by the commissioner pursuant to this section shall be deposited by the commissioner in the State Parks Sustainability account established pursuant to section 5 of this act.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2015

14-49(a) and (b)

Sec. 2

July 1, 2015

14-49

Sec. 3

July 1, 2015

14-12(b)

Sec. 4

July 1, 2015

14-22(a)

Sec. 5

July 1, 2015

New section

Sec. 6

July 1, 2015

10-303

Sec. 7

July 1, 2015

23-26(a)

Sec. 8

July 1, 2015

New section

Sec. 9

July 1, 2015

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To provide for the fiscal sustainability of state parks by establishing additional sources of revenue generated by state parks and additional revenues dedicated for the maintenance, operation and improvement of such state parks.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]