Committee on Children
Thursday, February 4, 2016
10:00 AM in Room 2B of the LOB
The meeting was called to order at 10:08 AM by Chairman, Rep. Urban D. 043.
The following committee members were present:
I. REMARKS BY THE CHAIRS
Chairman, Rep. Urban provided a summary of the committee's 'Questions for the Record' to the public during public hearings and when guests are invited to present before the committee. Sen. Bartolomeo provided additional comments regarding the purpose of today's meeting and the nature of the short session. Rep. Urban indicated that Rep. Edwin Vargas would be absent at today's meeting due to a family emergency. Ranking Member Rep. Noreen Kokoruda provided opening remarks, stating that she is looking forward to working with the committee. Ranking Member Sen. Henri Martin concurred with Rep. Kokoruda. Vice Chair Sen. Beth Bye provided opening remarks and thanked Commissioner Joette Katz (Department of Children and Families) for her availability to present before the committee.
II. CONCEPTS TO BE RAISED
Rep. Urban called for a motion to raise the following concepts:
1. An Act Concerning The Health of Children
i. Rep. Staneski asked if there are defined priorities or details regarding this concept, as well as concepts two through four. Rep. Urban responded that these are very broad concepts and have them in place so if we go forward and things come up suddenly that need to be addressed that the language has a place to be developed.
2. An Act Concerning The Well-Being of Children
3. An Act Concerning Children's Safety
4. An Act Concerning The Dept. of Children and Families
5. An Act Concerning Concussions and Youth Athletic Activities Conducted on Public Athletic Fields
6. An Act Concerning The Use of Therapy Animals to Comfort Children Testifying in Certain Criminal Prosecutions
7. An Act Concerning Technical and Minor Revisions to the DCF Statutes
8. An Act Concerning a Notification of Support for Foster Parents and Relative Caregivers
9. An Act Concerning Childhood Obesity
i. Rep. Ziobron inquired as to whether this bill will be covering similar language as last year regarding the taxation of sugary drinks. Rep. Urban indicated that it will not and this will be primarily looking at nutritional issues in childcare centers and some aspects of physical education. The language is not defined fully at this time. Rep. Ziobron reiterated that the intent is not to apply a sugar tax. Rep. Urban concurred.
10. An Act Exempting Baby Diapers From the Sales Tax
i. Rep. Ziobron inquired as to whether this bill will be covering similar language as last year. Rep. Urban confirmed. Rep. Ziobron expressed concern that it will have a fiscal note and proceeded to ask why the bill was raised in this committee again when it failed the first time. Rep. Urban responded by saying that they felt it was still appropriate for this committee. Rep. Kokoruda added that she pushed for this legislation to be added to the list of concepts.
11. An Act Concerning Artificial Turf Infill
i. Sen. Martin asked for clarification on the use of the term 'Artificial Turf Infill' instead of the use of the term 'Crumb Rubber Playscapes'. Rep. Urban referred to the LCO to provide context behind the language use. He indicated that in their research, 'Crumb Rubber' was seen as an overly broad term, and therefore not appropriate and colloquial. 'Artificial Turf Infill' was found to be frequently used in other jurisdictions. However, the title can be changed in the process to reflect the focus on playscapes. Rep. Urban thanked the legislative commissioner for his response and Sen. Martin for his question.
A motion was made by Rep. Kokoruda and seconded by Rep. Juan Candelaria. The motion was approved by a voice vote.
III. PRESENTATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
DCF Commissioner Joette Katz and her staff presented on the various functions of DCF and recent changes made to their policies, programs, and practices. Documents are available online through the Committee on Children page of the Connecticut General Assembly website.
IV. ANNOUNCEMENT OF TIME AND DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Rep. Urban announced that the next committee meeting would be held on Tuesday, February 9th at 10:30AM in Room 2 A of the Legislative Office Building. She indicated that Dr. Anthony Alessi will be in attendance at this meeting to provide a presentation on concussions.
A motion was duly made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 12:09 PM