Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 386

Public Act No. 16-5

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. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2017, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, on the establishment of a per-person admission fee at all state parks by July 1, 2017. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, a recommendation for the dollar amount of such per-person admission fee that will result in: (1) The amount of such per-person admission fee, when both coupled with and established in lieu of any applicable parking fee at each state park, being comparable to the applicable per-person admission fees and parking fees of state parks located in the states of New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and (2) increased revenue from state park admission and parking fees. In developing such recommendation, the commissioner shall account for the continued availability of parking and parking and admission to state parks without fee for disabled veterans and persons sixty-five years of age or older.

Sec. 2. Section 23-15d of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Not later than August 15, 2015, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall develop a request for information concerning the operation of concessions, provision of services and offering of recreational amenities at state parks. Such concessions shall include, but not be limited to, year-round concessions and concessions that engage the use of revenue share formulas between the vendor and the department. Such services shall include, but not be limited to, parking options for park patrons, including, but not limited to, advanced reservation parking and convenience or curbside parking. The purpose of such request for information shall be to seek informational documentation for the operation of such concessions, provision of such services and offering of recreational amenities. Not later than September 15, 2015, such request for information shall be forwarded by the commissioner to the Department of Administrative Services for posting on the State Contracting Portal. Concomitantly, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall direct a copy of such request for information to any private vendor known by the commissioner to provide such operation, provision or offering. Not later than December 1, 2015, the commissioner shall forward, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment, a copy of any informational documentation received by the commissioner in response to such request for information and a written assessment and evaluation of such informational documentation, including, but not limited to, any recommendation for the offering at state parks of concessions, services and recreational amenities that are not offered at such state parks as of June 22, 2015.

(b) Not later than September 1, 2016, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall direct a copy of the request for information developed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section to state-wide business associations, chambers of commerce and trade associations that represent or include members who may have the capacity to operate or offer one or more concessions, services or recreational amenities at state parks. The commissioner shall accept any response to such request for information that is received by the department pursuant to this subsection. Not later than January 1, 2017, the commissioner shall forward, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment, a copy of any response and informational documentation received by the commissioner in response to such request for information pursuant to this subsection.

Approved May 5, 2016