JOURNAL OF THE SENATE

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Senate was called to order at 11: 38 a. m. , the President in the Chair.

The prayer was offered by the Senate Chaplain, Reverend James J. Nock of East Hartford, Connecticut.

The following is the prayer:

Almighty Father,

We ask your blessing on our circle this morning, as we prepare to hear the Governor's budget address.

And as we prepare this budget together, let us remember this guide by the statesman Edmund Burke, that “the government is the people.

We ask this of you, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

PLEDGE

Senator Witkos of the 8th led the Senate in the Pledge of Allegiance.

COMMUNICATIONS FROM HIS EXCELLENCY

THE GOVERNOR

The following communications were received from His Excellency, the Governor, read by the Clerk and referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary:

To the Honorable General Assembly:

Pursuant to Article Twenty-Fifth of the Amendments to the Constitution of the State and Sections 51-44a(h) and 51-165 of the Connecticut General Statutes, I have the honor to nominate for reappointment by you the Honorable Emmet L. Cosgrove of New London to be a Senior Judge of the Superior Court, to serve for a term of eight years from April 11, 2017.

Dannel P. Malloy

Governor

February 8, 2017

To the Honorable General Assembly:

Pursuant to Article Twenty-Fifth of the Amendments to the Constitution of the State and Sections 51-44a(h) and 51-165 of the Connecticut General Statutes, I have the honor to nominate for reappointment by you the Honorable Brian T. Fischer of Madison to be a Judge of the Superior Court, to serve for a term of eight years from April 11, 2017.

Dannel P. Malloy

Governor

February 8, 2017

To the Honorable General Assembly:

Pursuant to Article Twenty-Fifth of the Amendments to the Constitution of the State and Sections 51-44a(h) and 51-165 of the Connecticut General Statutes, I have the honor to nominate for reappointment by you the Honorable James P. Ginocchio of Goshen to be a Judge of the Superior Court, to serve for a term of eight years from April 11, 2017.

Dannel P. Malloy

Governor

February 8, 2017

To the Honorable General Assembly:

Pursuant to Article Twenty-Fifth of the Amendments to the Constitution of the State and Sections 51-44a(h) and 51-165 of the Connecticut General Statutes, I have the honor to nominate for reappointment by you the Honorable Richard N. Palmer of West Hartford to be a Justice of the Supreme Court and a Judge of the Superior Court, to serve for a term of eight years from March 17, 2017.

Dannel P. Malloy

Governor

February 8, 2017

To the Honorable General Assembly:

Pursuant to Article Twenty-Fifth of the Amendments to the Constitution of the State and Section 52-434(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes, I have the honor to nominate for reappointment by you the Honorable Richard E. Burke of Madison to be a State Referee, to serve for a term of eight years from April 11, 2017.

Dannel P. Malloy

Governor

REPORT

The following report was received, read by the Clerk and referred to the Committee indicated:

Report – Department of Motor Vehicles – Connecticut Emissions Program Statistics for January 1 through January 31, 2017. (Pursuant to Executive Directive #3 and Section 14-164h of the Connecticut General Statutes) Date received: February 7, 2017

Referred to Committee on Transportation

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

SENATE AND HOUSE BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

On motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the first reading of the following bills and resolutions was waived, the list of bills and resolutions as prepared by the Clerks was accepted, and the bills and resolutions referred to the Committees as indicated thereon in concurrence:

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

S. B. No. 27 (COMM) LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. 'AN ACT INCLUDING CERTAIN MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL IMPAIRMENTS WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF "PERSONAL INJURY" UNDER THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION STATUTES', to expand workers' compensation coverage in certain situations that result in mental or emotional impairment.

COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN

S. B. No. 783 (RAISED) COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN. 'AN ACT CONCERNING CHILDREN'S DEVELOPMENT', to study the development of children in the state.

S. B. No. 784 (RAISED) COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN. 'AN ACT CONCERNING CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS', to study the efficacy of programs affecting children in the state.

H. B. No. 5472 (COMM) COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN PANHANDLING', to permit municipalities to prohibit the use of minors for the purpose of soliciting any alms, collection or contribution.

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

H. B. No. 5549 (COMM) LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. 'AN ACT CLARIFYING CERTAIN UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION PROVISIONS AS APPLICABLE TO INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS', to clarify unemployment tax law so that certain independent contractors are not improperly treated as employees.

COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN

H. B. No. 6741 (COMM) COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THE RIGHT OF COUNSEL TO ACCESS RECORDS IN CERTAIN ABUSE AND NEGLECT PROCEEDINGS', to provide assigned or appointed counsel in abuse and neglect proceedings, where a child's parent or guardian is accused of such abuse and neglect, immediate access to the child and the child's records.

AGING

H. B. No. 7020 (RAISED) AGING. 'AN ACT REQUIRING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE PROGRAM REVIEW AND INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE CONCERNING LONG-TERM CARE', to produce budget savings by implementing the recommendations of the Program Review and Investigations Committee's December 2016 Report on Long-Term Care.

H. B. No. 7021 (RAISED) AGING. 'AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY BEST PRACTICES TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION FOR VETERANS, SENIOR CITIZENS AND DISABLED PERSONS', to create a task force to study transportation issues facing veterans, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN

H. B. No. 7022 (RAISED) COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THE CHILDREN'S REPORT CARD', to eliminate the requirement that the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children electronically transmit the Children's Report Card to certain entities, and to specify the membership of the leadership committee with which said committee shall consult.

INSURANCE AND REAL ESTATE

H. B. No. 7023 (RAISED) INSURANCE AND REAL ESTATE. 'AN ACT AUTHORIZING SHORT-TERM CARE GROUP INSURANCE POLICIES, PERMITTING HEALTH CARE CENTERS TO CHARGE COINSURANCE, AMENDING THE INSURERS REHABILITATION AND LIQUIDATION ACT AND REQUIRING THAT INSURERS ISSUE NOTICES TO INSUREDS REGARDING PERSONAL AND COMMERCIAL RISK POLICIES', to authorize short-term care group insurance policies, permit health care centers to charge coinsurance, amend the Insurers Rehabilitation and Liquidation Act and require that insurers issue notices to insureds regarding personal and commercial risk policies.

H. B. No. 7024 (RAISED) INSURANCE AND REAL ESTATE. 'AN ACT REGULATING THE OFFER AND DISSEMINATION OF TRAVEL INSURANCE', to implement the recommendations of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators for the regulation of the offer and dissemination of travel insurance.

H. B. No. 7025 (RAISED) INSURANCE AND REAL ESTATE. 'AN ACT AUTHORIZING DOMESTIC INSURERS TO DIVIDE', to authorize domestic insurers to divide into one or more resulting insurers.

BUSINESS ON THE CALENDAR

FAVORABLE REPORTS OF THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE

EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS

PLACED ON THE CONSENT CALENDAR

The following favorable reports were taken from the table, read the third time, the reports of the Committees accepted and the resolutions placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. S. J. No. 33 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ROBERT J. AARONSON OF GREENWICH TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CONNECTICUT AIRPORT AUTHORITY.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

Remarking was Senator Frantz of the 36th.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. S. J. No. 34 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ELLIOTT LANDON OF WESTPORT TO BE APPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE EDUCATION ARBITRATION BOARD.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. S. J. No. 35 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF GAIL MCKINLEY-ANDERSON OF LONGMEADOW, MASSACHUSETTS TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE EDUCATION ARBITRATION BOARD.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 31 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF KATHERINE SCHARF DYKES OF WEST HARTFORD TO BE A UTILITY COMMISSIONER OF THE PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 32 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF PETER W. LISI OF WEST HARTFORD AS CHAIRPERSON OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES AUTHORITY. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 42 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF BRETT C. BROWCHUK OF AVON TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CONNECTICUT AIRPORT AUTHORITY. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 43 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THEODORE M. DOOLITTLE OF WEST HARTFORD TO BE HEALTHCARE ADVOCATE. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 44 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF MARY ELLEN S. JONES OF GLASTONBURY TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CONNECTICUT AIRPORT AUTHORITY. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

SENATE AGENDA NO. 2

BUSINESS FROM THE HOUSE

FAVORABLE REPORTS OF THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE

EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS

PLACED ON THE CONSENT CALENDAR

The following favorable reports were taken from the table, read the third time, the reports of the Committees accepted and the resolutions placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 56 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF AVIVA D. BUDD OF STAMFORD TO BE APPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 57 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF MICHAEL R. RICCI OF GUILFORD TO BE APPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE EDUCATION ARBITRATION BOARD. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 59 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF DONALD HARRIS JR. OF BLOOMFIELD TO BE APPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 60 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF AMINA S. LAMPKIN OF WEST HARTFORD TO BE APPOINTED A NONVOTING STUDENT MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 61 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF CORAL ORTIZ OF NEW HAVEN TO BE APPOINTED A NONVOTING STUDENT MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 62 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ALLAN B. TAYLOR, ESQUIRE OF HARTFORD TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. In concurrence with the House.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the resolution was placed on the Consent Calendar.

CONSENT CALENDAR ADOPTED

The chair ordered the vote on business placed on the Consent Calendar be taken by roll call.

The following is the result of the vote at 11: 57 a. m. :

Total Number Voting 32

Necessary for Adoption 17

Those voting Yea 32

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 2

On the roll call vote, the Consent Calendar was adopted.

The following is the roll call vote:

 

Y

 

1

JOHN W. FONFARA

 

Y

 

19

CATHERINE A. OSTEN

       

VACANT

 

Y

 

20

PAUL M. FORMICA

 

Y

 

3

TIM LARSON

A

   

21

KEVIN KELLY

 

Y

 

4

STEVE CASSANO

 

Y

 

22

MARILYN MOORE

A

   

5

BETH BYE

 

Y

 

23

EDWIN A. GOMES

 

Y

 

6

TERRY B. GERRATANA

 

Y

 

24

MICHAEL A. MCLACHLAN

 

Y

 

7

JOHN A. KISSEL

 

Y

 

25

BOB DUFF

 

Y

 

8

KEVIN D. WITKOS

 

Y

 

26

TONI BOUCHER

 

Y

 

9

PAUL DOYLE

 

Y

 

27

CARLO LEONE

 

Y

 

10

GARY WINFIELD

 

Y

 

28

TONY HWANG

 

Y

 

11

MARTIN M. LOONEY

 

Y

 

29

MAE M. FLEXER

 

Y

 

12

TED KENNEDY

 

Y

 

30

CRAIG MINER

 

Y

 

13

LEN SUZIO

 

Y

 

31

HENRI MARTIN

 

Y

 

14

GAYLE SLOSSBERG

       

VACANT

 

Y

 

15

JOAN V. HARTLEY

 

Y

 

33

ART LINARES

 

Y

 

16

JOE MARKLEY

 

Y

 

34

LEONARD FASANO

 

Y

 

17

GEORGE LOGAN

 

Y

 

35

ANTHONY GUGLIELMO

 

Y

 

18

HEATHER SOMERS

 

Y

 

36

L. SCOTT FRANTZ

IMMEDIATE TRANSMITTAL TO THE HOUSE

Senator Duff of the 25th moved immediate transmittal to the House of all resolutions needing further action by the House.

SENATE AGENDA NO. 1

SENATE RESOLUTION ADOPTED

The following favorable report was taken from the table, the report of the Committee accepted and the resolution was adopted.

S. R. No. 12 RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO INFORM THE HOUSE THAT THE SENATE IS READY TO MEET IN JOINT CONVENTION.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On a voice vote, Senate Resolution No. 12 was adopted.

The following is the Resolution:

Resolved by the Senate:

That a committee of three Senators be appointed to wait upon the House of Representatives and inform that body that the Senate is ready to meet with the House in joint convention.

The President appointed Senators Gomes of the 23rd, Cassano of the 4th, Somers of the 18th and Logan of the 17th.

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE

The committee appointed by the President to inform the House that the Senate was ready to meet in Joint Convention for the purpose of final adjournment reported that they had discharged the duties assigned to them and that the Senate would meet the House in Joint Convention forthwith.

The report was accepted and the committee discharged.

ADJOURNMENT

On the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the Senate at 11: 59 a. m. adjourned subject to the call of the chair.

JOINT CONVENTION

The Honorable Senate, preceded by the Honorable Lieutenant Governor and the Clerks of the Senate, entered the Hall of the House and met the House in Joint Convention.

The Lieutenant Governor called the Joint Convention to order at 12: 05 p. m.

The prayer was offered by Senate Chaplain, James Nock of East Hartford, Connecticut.

The following is the prayer:

Almighty Father,

We ask your blessing on this Joint Convention, as we come together this afternoon to hear the Governor's budget address.

Besides seeking your guidance, let us remember these words of an old Hartford resident named Mark Twain, who said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. And it demands constant vigilance and constant reevaluation.

And we ask this of you who live and reign, forever and ever. Amen.

PLEDGE

The Speaker of the House led the Joint Convention in the Pledge of Allegiance.

INTRODUCTION OF

JOINT CONVENTION RESOLUTION

RESOLUTION ADOPTED

The following Joint Resolution was introduced, read and adopted.

J. C. No. 36 RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO INFORM THE GOVERNOR THAT THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE MET IN JOINT CONVENTION TO RECEIVE HIS BUDGET MESSAGE.

Senator Duff of the 25th moved adoption of the resolution.

On a voice vote, Joint Convention Resolution No. 36 was adopted.

The following is the Resolution:

Resolved by this Assembly:

That a committee of two Senators and two Representatives be appointed to inform His Excellency, the Governor, that the Senate and the House of Representatives are met in Joint Convention for the purpose of receiving his message concerning the budget.

The President appointed Senators Duff of the 24th and Fasano of the 34th and Representatives Ritter of the 1st and Klarides of the 114th were appointed as such Committee.

The Committee soon reported that they had performed the duties assigned to them and had been informed that the Governor would soon come into the Convention.

The Governor thereupon appeared in the Hall of the House and delivered his message.

His Excellency delivered his state of the state message to the convention, a copy of which he left in my hands for the use of the General Assembly.

INTRODUCTION OF

JOINT CONVENTION RESOLUTION

RESOLUTION ADOPTED

Senator Duff of the 25th offered a resolution concerning the printing of the Governor's Message.

The following joint resolution was introduced, read and adopted.

J. C. No. 37 RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PRINTING OF THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET MESSAGE.

Senator Duff of the 25th explained the resolution and moved adoption.

On a voice vote, Joint Convention Resolution No. 37 was adopted.

The following is the Resolution:

Resolved by this Assembly:

That the message of the Governor be printed in the journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives and that a sufficient number of copies be printed for general distribution.

BENEDICTION

The Benediction prayer was offered by the Deputy House Chaplain, Reverend Charles E. Jacobs of Hartford, Connecticut.

The following is the prayer:

Let us pray.   Lord, the anxiously awaited State budget has been unveiled by our Governor.   We now ask, as the fiscal year progresses, for the cooperation of those who work together on behalf of this State.   Grant them your wisdom and never allow us to overlook the needs of Your most vulnerable people.   Amen.

Upon the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, it was voted that the Joint Convention be dissolved.

The Speaker thereupon dissolved the Joint Convention at 12: 43 p. m. and the Senate withdrew.

REPORT OF THE JOINT CONVENTION

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate:

It is my duty to report to you the proceeding of the Joint Convention.

Upon the invitation of the House, the Senate met the House in Joint Convention for the purpose of receiving any communications that the Governor might choose to make. Her honor, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, presided over the Joint Convention.

Prayer was offered by the Senate Chaplain, James Nock of East Hartford, Connecticut. The Speaker of the House led the Joint Convention in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Senator Duff of the 25th offered a resolution raising a committee of two Senators and two Representatives to inform the Governor that the Senate and House of Representatives were in Joint Convention for the purpose of receiving his message concerning the state of the state.

The Resolution was adopted and The President appointed Senator Duff of the 25th, Senator Fasano of the 34th, Representative Ritter of the 1st, and Representative Klarides of the 114th were appointed as such Committee.

The Committee soon reported that they had performed the duties assigned to them and had been informed that the Governor would soon come into the Convention.

The Governor thereupon appeared in the Hall of the House.

His Excellency delivered his state of the state message to the convention, a copy of which he left in my hands for the use of the General Assembly.

Senator Duff of the 25th offered a resolution concerning the printing of the Governor's Message.

The resolution was adopted.

A closing prayer was offered by the Deputy House Chaplain, Reverend Charles E. Jacobs of Hartford, Connecticut.

Upon the motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, it was voted that the Joint Convention be dissolved.

The President thereupon dissolved the Convention and the Senate withdrew.

Respectfully submitted,

Martin Looney

President Pro Tempore

CHANGES OF REFERENCE

SENATE BILLS

The following reports on Senate Bills recommending a change of reference were received from the Committees indicated, the reports of the Committees accepted, and the bills referred as recommended.

ENVIRONMENT. Proposed S. B. No. 289 AN ACT CONCERNING CRITERIA FOR CERTAIN WASTEWATER FACILITY OPERATOR LICENSES.

Referred to Committee on Labor and Public Employees

ENVIRONMENT. Proposed S. B. No. 511 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR FREE ADMISSION TO STATE PARKS FOR DISABLED VETERANS.

Referred to Committee on Veterans' Affairs

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT. Proposed S. B. No. 647 AN ACT EXEMPTING A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION IN DANBURY FROM THE ASSESSMENT OF PROPERTY TAXES.

Referred to Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT. Proposed S. B. No. 652 AN ACT CONCERNING CONCUSSION-RELATED TRAINING FOR YOUTH ATHLETIC COACHES.

Referred to Committee on Public Health

BUSINESS FROM THE HOUSE

CHANGE OF REFERENCE

HOUSE BILLS

The following reports on House Bills recommending a change of reference were received from the Committees indicated, the reports of the Committees were accepted, and the bills referred as recommended:

ENVIRONMENT. Proposed H. B. No. 5863 AN ACT REQUIRING STATE PROCUREMENT OF LAND TO FOLLOW CERTAIN STATUTORY PROCEDURES.

Referred to Committee on Public Safety and Security

ENVIRONMENT. Proposed H. B. No. 5878 AN ACT CONCERNING FINES ASSOCIATED WITH VIOLATION OF THE STATE'S RUNNING BAMBOO LAW.

Referred to Committee on Judiciary

ENVIRONMENT. Proposed H. B. No. 6315 AN ACT REQUIRING CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS FOR OPERATORS AT WASTEWATER POLLUTION ABATEMENT FACILITIES.

Referred to Committee on General Law

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. Proposed H. B. No. 6460 AN ACT CONCERNING THE CALCULATION OF RETIREMENT INCOME FOR STATE EMPLOYEES AND ELECTED OFFICIALS.

Referred to Committee on Appropriations

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. Proposed H. B. No. 6664 AN ACT CONCERNING SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL VIOLATION INFORMATION.

Referred to Committee on Government Administration and Elections

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. Proposed H. B. No. 6910 AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE FUNDING OF UNFUNDED ACCRUED MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM LIABILITIES BY MUNICIPALITIES.

Referred to Committee on Planning and Development

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. Proposed H. B. No. 6917 AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPALITIES.

Referred to Committee on Planning and Development

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. Proposed H. B. No. 6918 AN ACT CONCERNING LIENS FOR UNPAID EMPLOYEE WAGES.

Referred to Committee on Judiciary

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT. Proposed H. B. No. 6922 AN ACT REPEALING THE MINIMUM BUDGET REQUIREMENT.

Referred to Committee on Education

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT. Proposed H. B. No. 6943 AN ACT CONCERNING CERTAIN PARCELS IN THE TOWN OF EAST HARTFORD.

Referred to Committee on Government Administration and Elections

BUDGET ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY

GOVERNOR DANNEL P. MALLOY

JOINT SESSION OF THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

HALL OF THE HOUSE, STATE CAPITOL

FEBRUARY 8, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, distinguished members of the General Assembly, thank you for inviting me once again into the people's house to address you.

I want to recognize and thank my trusted friend and advisor, the best Lt. Governor in the United States, Nancy Wyman.

I'd like to thank my wife Cathy and my son Dannel for being here today, and for their love and support.

And as always let us thank and honor the brave men and women of Connecticut serving in our Armed Forces around the globe.

INTRODUCTION

One of the basic principles of our country is that if you're willing to work hard, you should have the opportunity to succeed. You should be able to buy a house, afford health care, or send your children to college.

It's a fundamental promise that has come to be known as the American Dream. It's why people from around the world – the huddled masses yearning to breathe free – brave the journey in the hope of a better life here in America.

At all levels of government, so much of what we do is really about delivering on that fundamental promise. While we can disagree strongly on policy or politics, we collectively judge ourselves by how many of our constituents have the opportunity for success.

That concept – the opportunity for success – is what I want to talk to you about today. But not just the opportunity for individual state residents. Rather, I want to speak about the opportunity that we provide to our towns and cities as well, so that they also can succeed.

The truth is that, for too long, we've allowed certain communities to be disproportionately impacted by the state's fiscal challenges. While we've made advancements in recent years to address this inequity, I don't believe that we've gone far enough.

Disparities have persisted and grown over the years, creating large pockets of concentrated poverty where communities sometimes sacrifice education for services – or services for education – or both.

It's a vicious cycle that began decades ago, one that hinders poorer, urban communities, leaving them with the highest tax burdens, troubled educational systems, and substantially fewer city services… causing them to be even poorer still. In turn, suburban towns feel as though they're shouldering too much of the burden of neighboring cities. And all the while, rural communities feel forgotten altogether.

The result is a broken, disparate system where towns are pitted against one another, constantly fighting for limited state dollars.

As towns have been forced into this race to the bottom, their state government has yet to build the kind of world-class education system necessary for growing a new generation of workers. We've yet to build a modern transportation system that efficiently moves people or products from place to place. And we've yet to build enough thriving, vibrant city centers – with lower tax rates – where industry and businesses want to grow.

The truth is, other states have had the foresight to make necessary investments in these areas, and as a result they've gained a competitive advantage on us.

But it's not too late.

The opportunity is before us to turn the tide this year so that we can compete nationally and internationally in our own right.

To do it, we'll need to continue building a better, fairer system for supporting town services and local schools. We'll need to continue investing in a modern transportation infrastructure that meets the needs of both our residents and our businesses. And we'll need to continue growing vibrant city centers – communities that are more than just great places to work, but also great places to live and raise a family.

This biennium budget lays the foundation for that kind of progress. Progress that doesn't just help our big cities, but that bolsters all of Connecticut.

We are a small state, and our towns are interconnected.

Growth in Hartford means growth in Bloomfield and Windsor.

More jobs in Waterbury means more jobs in Cheshire and Beacon Falls.

A more vibrant New London means a more vibrant Ledyard and Montville.

We can rise together; or we can fall together. We can lift one another up; or we can drag one another down. Our future depends on the decisions we make today.

This session.

This year.

CONTINUED SAVINGS IN STATE GOVERNMENT

The budget I present to you contains a total of $18 billion in General Fund spending.

This keeps us within the spending cap and growing at a pace well below inflation. More importantly, it does it while making required increased contributions to our pension systems of more than $357 million in the first year.

If we enact a budget that spends only the amount I've proposed, the result would be an eight-year period where Connecticut's general fund budget grew an average of only two percent. That is substantially less than the rate of growth in the prior eight years. And unlike those prior eight years, we're keeping spending in check while also fully-funding our pensions.

This year, we can build on our record of fiscal responsibility. To do it, my plan contains $1. 36 billion in new spending reductions. These cuts are not made lightly, and I know they will include things that people in this chamber strongly support. Let me assure you, they include things that I myself strongly support.

But our economic reality demands that we re-envision state government. Together, we need to provide essential, core services and we need to find ways to do it at less cost to taxpayers.

The truth is, we're getting pretty good at doing exactly that. Last year, we cut $850 million in spending from the adopted budget. Those reductions were not easy. They are a credit to all of you who took a hard vote in support of our state's fiscal health, and I thank you for that.

This year, while you review my budget, it's natural to focus on what we're cutting back. But I encourage you to also recognize the many, many important things we preserve.

For example, even as we cut spending, we are still putting millions of dollars toward helping Connecticut's chronically unemployed get back to work and back on their feet.

We're still providing the necessary investment to match every single chronically homeless person to permanent housing—making Connecticut the first state in the nation to do it.

We're still funding new technology for law enforcement that will help keep crime at historic lows.

We're still fully funding our critical arts and tourism awards.

We're still redeveloping brownfields in every corner of this state, turning blighted properties into economic opportunities.

We're still committed to supporting people with intellectual disabilities – we do it with millions of dollars in new funding in my proposed budget.

And finally, even as we cut back, we're still going to keep Connecticut's beautiful state parks open and available to all our constituents.

We're doing all these things, and so much more in this budget.

Of course in order to preserve these core functions, we need to guarantee that spending remains in check.

To that end, I am once again proposing a strong constitutional spending cap, and I hope you'll join me in making it a reality this year.

PARTNERING WITH STATE EMPLOYEES

Of course, as we continue to make reductions to state agencies, we also need to redefine the relationship between state government and state employees.

As I said last month, my administration is engaged in productive conversations with state employee representatives. Those discussions can and will continue to play out in good faith, and I'm hopeful that we will reach a positive conclusion in the weeks ahead.

At the same time, I have an obligation to submit a balanced budget to this General Assembly. It's only appropriate that I reflect my goals for labor savings. To that end, to help close the $1. 7 billion hole we face, the budget before you assumes approximately $700 million in state employee labor savings.

The budget also details how these savings could be achieved should we fail to reach an agreement with our employees, because presenting a budget without planning for this contingency would be irresponsible.

Now, while I will not betray the confidence of my administration's conversations with labor thus far, I do want to say a few things about the potential for a new labor agreement.

First, I want to once again acknowledge and commend our state employees for what they've already sacrificed to help balance our budget. And more importantly, I'd like to thank them for the hard work they put in each and every day serving the people of Connecticut.

Public service is a calling, and an honorable one at that. I'm proud to be a staunch, lifelong advocate for the right to organize and the right to collectively bargain. I respect public employees, and it is my sincerest hope that asking for their partnership this year should not diminish the good work and real savings we've already achieved together.

Here's something else I want to recognize, and it's something I would like everyone in this chamber to keep in mind in the coming weeks. State employees have an existing contract, one that was originally negotiated 20 years ago by a former governor – John Rowland.

In other words, we are not starting from scratch when we revisit the SEBAC contract. While it is fair for us to ask for savings, it's equally fair for our employees to also ask for changes as long as the end result is a more affordable and more sustainable labor agreement.

Finally on this topic, let me say that I am very hopeful we can achieve a positive conclusion and meet the labor savings target laid out in my budget. It won't be easy, and that's fine. I think we're up to the challenge.

If we stay at the table, if we treat one another with respect, and if we recognize that we all want what's best for our state, then we can – and will – get this done.

A FAIRER SYSTEM FOR TOWN AID

Here's the final topic I want to discuss with you today.

As I said to you from this podium last month, we cannot talk about more cuts in services, and we cannot talk about labor savings, without discussing town aid.

At more than $5 billion, municipal aid accounts for our single largest state expenditure. And addressing town aid also means that we are addressing educational aid, which amounts to $4. 1 billion – or 81 percent – of all municipal funding from the state.

Here's a simple truth I know you all agree with: education is economic development.

A pipeline of skilled and prepared workers is essential for thriving industries and growing businesses.

It's why we value our state's public education system. It's why we've put so much effort into improving how our children are educated. And it's why we've raised the bar for our students in recent years.

And to be sure, they are rising to that challenge. Test scores are up, and graduation rates are at an all-time high.

But the system for how state aid is delivered to their schools is still not where it needs to be. A recent court decision deemed our school funding formula to be irrational and unfair. I agree that we are not meeting our constitutional requirement of a fair and equitable public education system – one that guarantees every student the opportunity for success.

Real reform must begin with our educational cost sharing formula, or ECS. I believe the updated ECS formula in my budget is more equitable, more transparent, and more fair.

For the first time in more than a decade, the formula counts current enrollment. We will stop reimbursing communities for students that they no longer have. By recognizing shifting demographics in small towns and growing cities, state funding can change with time to reflect changing communities.

The new formula also uses a more accurate measure of wealth by using the equalized net grand list as well as a better measure of student poverty, allowing the state to direct support to communities with higher concentrations of poverty.

By considering a given communities' ability to pay, we can adjust to what taxpayers can actually afford. Because let's be honest – if a city has a mil rate over 40, not only is that city failing its residents, but Connecticut is failing that city.

This proposed formula is fair and it is honest. It is predictable and it is sustainable. Let's make it a reality together.

Of course, you can't talk about education funding without talking about Special Education.

For the last quarter century, Connecticut has combined Special Education dollars into ECS. The result is that we've unfairly obscured the real cost of Special Education in our communities.

It isn't fair to local leaders trying to balance their budget, and it certainly isn't fair to students with disabilities and their families.

In my proposed budget, Special Education is now a separate formula grant from ECS, and Special Education funding is increased by $10 million.

School systems will also be required to seek Medicaid reimbursement where available, ensuring that no community leaves federal dollars on the table.

Of course, as we work to make ECS and Special Education funding more fair and more equitable, we also have to grapple with how we fund this new system.

As I've already said today, part of the way we do it is by continuing to reduce spending in our state agencies and by working to find savings with state employees. Making those changes helps free up more dollars for town aid, but we need to do even more.

There's a very large portion of education aid that's almost always left out of the conversation. I'm talking about how we pay for teacher pensions.

This year, state government is set to pay $1. 2 billion for a system that supports 86,000 active and retired teachers and administrators. So you see, when we talk about funding for education, we have to include the state contribution to teachers' pensions as part of that conversation.

Now I want to be very clear – the teachers' retirement program is a sustainable, well-organized system, and hardworking teachers make a six percent contribution to it. I am not proposing that teachers' benefits be limited or cut back.

Teachers retirement pension system has always been funded without any contribution from towns or cities. My budget does not propose that we demolish that system or shift the entire costs to towns.

But this year, as we continue making cuts to state services, and as we ask state employees to find saving, we need towns to begin sharing the cost of their employees' pensions. After all, teachers are municipal employees. The state doesn't pay the pensions of policemen, or firemen, or anyone else.

As such, my budget asks our towns and cities – all of them – to contribute one-third of the cost toward their teacher pensions.

It isn't just about saving the state money, I believe this is sensible policy. After all, this funding is not distributed based on student need or relative town wealth. Rather, it's based entirely on local decisions about how much towns decide to pay their local educators, and how many teachers and administrators they employ.

Under my proposal, towns maintain that control but they do it with some skin in the game.

Let me illustrate for you the disparity that this current system has created in communities across the state.

In the current fiscal year, the state is spending $24 million to cover the pension costs of teachers and administrators in our most affluent municipality, Greenwich – a school district that enrolls 8,800 students.

Compare that to the City of New Britain – a city with a higher concentration of poverty – which enrolls 10,000 students, where the state will provide only $18 million to cover pension costs for teachers.

That's 25 percent less funding for a system with 14 percent more students.

I'm not blaming our wealthy towns for this inequity. It's not their fault. We need to do a better job. We need to make the system more reasonable.

And to do that, we need towns to partner with their state in fully-funding teachers' and school administrators' retirement benefits—not all of the cost, but part of it.

My budget reflects this partnership – a re-envisioning of education funding to meet 21st century challenges.

Now, I know that state assistance is not always about dollars and cents. Sometimes, we help the most when the state gets out of the way.

For our towns to thrive, we must remove bureaucratic red tape that is not producing a discernable benefit for taxpayers.

Last week, I proposed changes to do precisely that. My budget will give municipalities greater flexibility and additional tools for making local government leaner and more cost efficient.

My proposals are designed to increase local control over budgets and contracts, keep down project costs, modernize out-of-date requirements, and remove unnecessary red tape.

This session, if we are going to ask more from our towns, it's only right that we also free them from unnecessary burdens.

Of course, at the same time we are providing mandate relief, we can also increase transparency for how town aid is utilized.

For communities that would receive additional state dollars in this budget, that support can only come with greater accountability for how taxpayer dollars are being spent – whether that be on education, city services or paying off long term debt.

Directing state aid and oversight to those who need it the most ensures that the collective strength of a region – or a state, for that matter – is that much stronger. It is in our collective best interest that no town is brought to the brink of bankruptcy.

Over the years, our state has had various iterations of state boards to oversee towns experiencing financial distress. My proposal this year builds upon lessons learned from these past experiences. It will create a Municipal Accountability Review Board, chaired by the State Treasurer and the Secretary of OPM.

Ultimately, this board – empowered to review municipal finances – will oversee efforts to restore fiscal stability where warranted.

Through this tiered accountability framework, we can intervene early to help struggling municipalities. And we can position the state to take action well before a city or town needs a bailout.

Surely, our towns and cities will sometimes struggle. It is our responsibility to put these municipalities back on the path to fiscal health.

We can take action to avoid fiscal crises and then remove these communities from enhanced state oversight when appropriate, and when they're ready.

Those are my ideas for changing town aid and for putting Connecticut on a path to addressing pockets of concentrated poverty in towns and cities across our state.

The details of how we get there are in the budget that is now before you.

As a former mayor, I know the view from town hall. There will be voices in some communities who want to know why their town should receive less funding, while others receive more. I know those voices will be well represented by each of you in this chamber.

In answer, my budget leaves $75 million in year one and $85 million the following year in local aid unallocated.

This is my way of saying to you – the legislature – that I am ready to negotiate. I am ready to hear your ideas on where that unallocated money is needed most.

When we come together and constructively debate our different ideas, the end result is that much stronger.

CONCLUSION

You see, the fact is the wellbeing and quality of life of all our constituents is interconnected, regardless of party, region, or zip code.

From the farmer to the factory worker… the nurse to the mechanic… the teacher to the actuary… all are impacted by the successes and failures of Connecticut as a whole.

Unfortunately, far too many people feel as though the system is rigged against them and their communities. A history of shortsighted state government and a record of half-step policy fixes have left people believing that in order for one person or one community to gain, someone else has to lose.

I reject that notion.

Dignity, opportunity, prosperity – none of these are a zero sum game.

We are all guaranteed access to these fundamental rights.

This session, this year, we must reset the system for ensuring equal opportunity for success.

We must guarantee that no community or family shoulders more burden than they can bear.

We must keep our promise to our students and teachers.

Together let's ensure that all Connecticut communities see their fair share of success.

Let's give taxpayers, communities, and businesses more predictability and more sustainability.

Let's have the courage to collectively tackle the challenge of inequity in town aid.

Let's do it so that ten years from now, no Connecticut city or town needs to levy a mil rate of 35 or more.

As we negotiate this budget, we should remember that we are in this together.

It's about more than just how my town or my community or my family did.

It's also about neighboring towns, neighboring communities, and neighboring families, as well.

We will rise or fall together, as one Connecticut.

And working together, I know we will prevail.

Thank you. May God bless you, and may God bless the great State of Connecticut.