THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 10: 13 o'clock a. m. , Representative Sharkey of the 88th District in the Chair. )

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Will the House please come to order? Will the House please come to order? Wow, you really did come to order, good job. Pursuant to Article 3 of the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, the 2017/2018 term of this House of Representatives is convened. I ask the members elect, staff, families and guests to rise and direct your attention to the dais as Chaplin Imam Refai Arefin will lead us in prayer.

CHAPLAIN IMAM REFAI AREFIN:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let us pray: Eternal God, we give You thanks for giving us a new year to tackle the difficult issues facing our communities. We thank You for the contributions of the outgoing members who debated vigorously and worked tirelessly. We stand on the shoulders of them as we welcome new faces to these chambers.

May all their efforts issue forth to the benefit of our state and its people, both now and long into the future. Inspire them and bless them with compromise in the moments of acrimony and may all that is done be for Your greater honor and glory. Amen.

VOICES:

Amen.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, Imam. And will Representatives and Majority Leader Matt Ritter and Minority Leader Themis Klarides please join us on the dais to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

(APPLAUSE)

VOICES:

I pledge the 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.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Congratulations to our new Majority and Minority Leaders. We can give another round of applause.

(APPLAUSE)

Before we go any further, I just want to welcome all of you today. This is truly an exciting day for all of us. For those of you for whom this is your first opening day, this is a truly special day and to your families and friends who are here, this is a day that your loved one will never forget. I know I didn't forget -- I haven't forgotten mine from 16 years ago and you never do.

So welcome, we're glad that you're part of our family, we appreciate all the sacrifice that you've experienced over the course of this last year in campaigns and all the sacrifice that you will endure over the course of these next two years.

So enjoy the festivities. Enjoy this beautiful building today and be part of this whole event. This is truly an exciting day for everyone.

And with that, would you remain standing while I invite Anna Woodin, Jessica Jha, Mark Bosse, Dawson Trotman -- all of the Berlin High School Chorus who will join us to sing the National Anthem.

(SINGING)

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you so much, they were terrific, weren't they? That's a great way to open our session. Thank you again for being here today.

(APPLAUSE)

And at this point, it's my honor to appoint none other than our esteemed Ann Clark as our Temporary Clerk until we have the election of the House Clerk, which will take place later in the proceedings.

At this time, I will ask the members that when your name is called, we could also have a seat, please. This is now the fun part of the -- one of the most fun parts of the day. The Temporary Clerk will be asking each of the newly elected members to stand and be recognized. And when I, when your name is called by Temporary Clerk, please rise, stand in place until all the members are called upon; there's 180 -- 51 of you all. And I would ask that the guests and family members please refrain from applauding when individuals' names are called until the entire roll is called by the Temporary Clerk.

At this time, Ms. Clark, as our Temporary Clerk, will you please call the roll of the members elect?

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning to each and every one of you and to our new members, congratulations.

The roll of the House of Representatives for the January session 2017. Assembly District 1, that would be Assembly District 1, Matthew Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 2, William Duff.

REP. DUFF (2ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 3, Minnie Gonzalez.

Assembly District 4, Angel Arce.

Assembly District 5, Brandon McGee.

Assembly District 6, Edwin Vargas.

Assembly District 7, Douglas McCrory.

Assembly District 7, Tim Ackert. I'm sorry, Assembly District 8, Tim Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 9, Jason Rojas.

Assembly District 10, Henry Genga.

UNKNOWN SPEAKER:

He's here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 11, Jeff Currey.

UNKNOWN SPEAKER:

He's here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 12, Kelly J. S. Luxenberg.

Assembly District 13, Mark Tweedie.

Assembly District 14, Tom Delnicki.

If members would just say, “Here” when they -- when they stand, thank you.

Assembly District 14, that will be Tom Delnicki.

Assembly District 15, David Baram.

Assembly District 16, John K. Hampton.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 17, Timothy B. LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

I'm here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 18, Andrew M. Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 19, Derek Slap.

REP. SLAP (19TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 20, Joe Verrengia.

REP. VERRENGIA (20TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 21, Mike Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

I'm here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 22, William A. Petit, Jr.

REP. PETIT, JR. (22ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 23, Devin R. Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 24, Rick Lopes.

REP. LOPES (24TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 25, Robert Bobby Sanchez.

REP. SANCHEZ (25TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 26, Peter A. Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 27, Gary Byron.

REP. BYRON (27TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 28, Russell A. Morin.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 29, Antonio Tony Guerrera.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Here (inaudible, cheering, Laughing).

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 31, Prasad Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 32, Christie M. Carpino.

REP. CARPINO (32ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 33, Joseph C. Serra.

REP. SERRA (33RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 34, Melissa Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 35, Jesse MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 36, Robert W. Siegrist, III.

REP. SIEGRIST, III (36TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 37, Holly H. Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 38, Kathleen M. McCarty.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 39, Chris Soto.

REP. SOTO (39TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 40, Christine Conley.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 41, Joe de la Cruz.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Present.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 42, Mike France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 43, Diana S. Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 44, Anne Dubay Dauphinais.

REP. DUBAY DAUPHINAIS (44TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 45, Kevin Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Thank you, Representative Klarides.

Assembly District 46, Emmett D. Riley.

REP. RILEY (46TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 47, Doug Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Here.

Assembly District 48, Linda A. Orange.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Here (inaudible).

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Thank you, Representative Orange.

Assembly District 49, Susan Johnson.

REP. JOHNSON (49TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 50, Pat Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 51, Daniel Rovero.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

Here. (LAUGHTER).

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 52, Kurt Vail.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 53, Sam Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 54, Greg Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 55, Robin Green.

REP. GREEN (55TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 56, Michael Winkler.

REP. WINKLER (56TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 57, Christopher Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 58, Greg Stokes.

UNKNOWN:

Woo Woo.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

That's a woo woo.

Assembly District 59, Carol Hall.

UNKNOWN:

Love you mom. (LAUGHTER).

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 60, Scott A. Storms.

REP. STORMS (60TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 61, Tami Zawistowski.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 62, Bill Simanski.

REP SIMANSKI (62ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 63, Jay M. Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 64, Brian M. Ohler.

REP. OHLER (64TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 65, Michelle L. Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 66, David T. Wilson.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Right here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 67, William Buckbee.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 68, Eric C. Berthel.

REP. BERTHEL (68TH):

Correct.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 69, Arthur O'Neill.

Assembly District 70, Rosa C. Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 71, Anthony J. D'Amelio.

REP. D'AMELIO (71ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 72, Larry B. Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Glad to be here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 73, Jeffrey J. Berger.

Assembly District 73, Jeffrey J. Berger?

UNKNOWN:

He's here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 74, Stephanie E. Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 75, Geraldo Reyes, Jr.

REP. REYES, JR. (75TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 76, John Piscopo.

REP. PISCOPO (76TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 77, Cara Christine Pavalock.

Assembly District 78, Whit Betts.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 79, Christopher Ziogas.

REP. ZIOGAS (79TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 80, Rob Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 81, John Fusco.

UNKNOWN:

Woo.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 82, Emil Buddy Altobello.

REP. ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 83, Catherine Abercrombie.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 84, Hilda E. Santiago.

REP. SANTIAGO (84TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 85, Mary M. Mushinsky.

REP. MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 86, Vincent J. Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 87, David Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 88, Joshua Elliott.

REP. ELLIOTT (88TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 89, Lezlye Zupkus.

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 90, Craig Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 91, Michael D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

(Indiscernible) (LAUGHTER).

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 92, Patricia Dillon.

UNKNOWN:

She's here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 93, Toni E. Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Here. (CHEERING).

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 94, Robyn A. Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Here. (CHEERING).

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 95, Juan Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 96, Roland J. Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 97, Alphonse Paolillo, Jr.

REP. PAOLILLO, JR. (97TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Thank you, Maureen.

Assembly District 98, Sean Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 99, James M. Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 100, Matt Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 101, Noreen S. Kokoruda.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 102, Lonnie Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 103, Liz Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Present.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 104, Linda M. Gentile.

REP. GENTILE (104TH):

I'm here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 105, Nicole Klarides-Ditria.

UNKOWN:

Yay. (LAUGHTER)

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 106, Mitch Bolinsky.

REP. BOLINSKY (106TH):

In the house.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 107, Stephen G. Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Present.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 108, Richard A. Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 109, David Arconti, Jr.

REP. ARCONTI, JR. (109TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 110, Robert D. Godfrey.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 111, John H. Frey.

REP. FREY (111TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 112, J. P. Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 113, Jason Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 114, Themis Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 116, Michael A. DiMassa.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 117, Charles Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 118, Kim Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 119, Pam Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 120, Laura R. Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 121, Joseph P. Gresko.

REP. GRESKO (121ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 122, Ben McGorty.

REP. MCGORTY (122ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 123, David Rutigliano.

REP. RUTIGLIANO (123RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 124, Andre F. Baker, Jr.

REP. BAKER, JR. (124TH).

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 125, Thomas O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

(Indiscernible)Thomas here. (LAUGHTER).

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Equal time.

Assembly District 126, Charlie Stallworth.

REP. STALLWORTH (126TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 127, John F. Hennessy.

Assembly District 128, Christopher Rosario.

REP. ROSARIO (128TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 129, Steven Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 130, Ezequiel Santiago.

REP. SANTIAGO (130TH)

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 131, David K. Labriola.

REP. LABRIOLA (131ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 132, Brenda Kupchick.

REP. KUPCHICK (132ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 133, Cristin McCarthy Vahey.

REP. VAHEY (133RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 134, Laura M. Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 135, Adam Dunsby.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 136, Jonathan Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 137, Chris Perone.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 138, Michael S. Ferguson.

REP. FERGUSON (138TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 139, Kevin Ryan.

REP. RYAN (139TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 140, Bruce V. Morris.

REP. MORRIS (140TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 141, Terrie E. Wood.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Present.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 142, Fred Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 143, Gail Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 144, Caroline Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 145, Patricia Billie Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Yeah.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 146, Terry B. Adams.

REP. ADAMS (146TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 147, William Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 148, Daniel J. Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 149, Livvy Floren.

REP. FLOREN (139TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 150, Mike Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 151, Fred Camillo.

REP. CAMILLO (151ST):

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

I will now return to the names that might not have answered for the first time, beginning with Assembly District 3, Minnie Gonzalez.

Assembly District 7, Douglas McCrory.

REP. MCCRORY (7TH)

Here.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Assembly District 69, Arthur O'Neill.

Assembly District 127, John F. Hennessy.

Mr. Speaker, that completes the roll.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, Madam Clerk. Ladies and gentlemen, again, congratulations. It is also my honor and distinct privilege to introduce one of our own, former House member, former Majority Leader here in the House and now our Secretary of the State to swear us all in. This is -- please -- please welcome Secretary of State Denise Merrill.

(APPLAUSE)

SECRETARY OF STATE MERRILL:

Thank you. It is great to be back in the House, the people's House, we like to think, and I'm glad to see it's still so rowdy. That's good.

(APPLAUSE)

Without further ado, if you will please stay on your feet and raise your right hands to take the oath of office.

You do solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut so long as you continue a citizen thereof and that you will faithfully discharge, according to law, the duties of the office of State Representative to the best of your abilities, so help you God.

VOICES:

We do.

SECRETARY Of STATE MERRILL:

Congratulations. Congratulations.

(APPLAUSE)

So can I take this moment to congratulate you all and especially to the new members of the Chamber. You are about to embark on the experience of your lifetime. I enjoyed every moment in the Chamber and the people I met and worked with and still continue to work with are still my closest friends.

You have an awesome job ahead of you and fare you well. So thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, Secretary Merrill. You can all have a seat now. There are a couple of introductions that we like to do on opening day. For those of you who are here for the first time, it is a tradition on opening day to invite all of our former Speakers of which I will soon be one.

We're blessed to have our former leaders come back on opening day to share this great day with us all and I'd like to introduce them all to the Chamber and to the friends and family who are here today.

First, all the way at the end, our -- our Republican former Speaker, Fran Nelson.

(APPLAUSE)

And we tend to come up the line in terms of longevity, so Ernie Abate is our -- here with us.

(APPLAUSE)

And then our good friend Richard Balducci.

(APPLAUSE)

And some guy that many of us have not served with here in the Chamber but you'll -- there's somebody else, I think, waiting in the wings, perhaps, who's -- who's somewhere on the floor today, I don't know who it is but Representative Former Speaker, Tom Ritter.

(APPLAUSE)

And I always embarrass her when I say this but she was -- you never forget your first Speaker, Moira Lyons.

(APPLAUSE)

Because Moira -- Moira was my first Speaker. And then, of course, Jim Amann.

(APPLAUSE)

And my most recent former Speaker, Speaker Chris Donovan.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you all for being here. It's only that I'm looking forward to joining your ranks in about 15 minutes. The next -- and to that end, the next order of business is the election of the new Speaker of the House. And at this time, are there any nominations? I'll recognize the Distinguished Majority Leader, Representative Matt Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'll try to be somewhat brief so I can get you to your new chair, okay? But with all due respect, it is a great pleasure and honor to nominate Joe Aresimowicz to be our next Speaker of the House.

(APPLAUSE)

And I will say this, that Joe is not the Speaker of the House for the Democratic Party and he's not the Speaker of the House of the Republican Party. To everyone in this Chamber who just got sworn in, he is our Speaker of the House.

(APPLAUSE)

Joe is a good friend and in my tenure, I think I've said it to anyone who's ever asked me, he's mentored me, he's advised me and he's been a friend. And the best thing about Joe is we often don't talk about politics and that might be a very healthy thing to any good relationship.

And Joe, at his core, is a leader. Pure and simple. He's a coach and that's what he does day in and day out. And the same way he instructs his players on a field to perform better to enhance their skills, that's what he does for us here. He spends an inordinate amount of time as a leader, worried about our day-to-day activities to make sure we're better legislators, to make sure the process is working the way it should and it'll be a natural move for him from this seat to up there where Speaker Sharkey is now.

But it's gonna be complex. Joe is gonna preside over a Chamber with a very different makeup than it's been in the past. A very different committee structure than we've seen maybe ever in this -- in this General Assembly. And there's no one better equipped in the membership in this room to handle those challenges than Joe.

And we often see the best of people; we see their true colors when they have to deal with adversity. Because when things are going well, it's easy to smile. When things aren't going so well, it can be a little harder. And Joe became a new coach this summer and assumed new leadership roles for this Chamber and within about two months of each other, he lost four people. He lost two players and he lost two of our colleagues.

Joe lost two players from Berlin High within a few months of taking over that program and he had 50-plus teenagers looking at him for guidance and advice. It's hard enough when adults lose people, how about 50 teenagers? And Joe led them to the state playoffs and to a great season and they honored one of the players who passed away before their state playoff game by stopping at the cemetery on the way there.

And then also in our Chamber, since we adjourned in May, we've lost Representative Fritz and Representative Boukos, two legendary members of this Chamber that all sides would acknowledge. In his due responsibility in these dark moments, he pulled his team through up here just like he pulled his team through in Berlin. And he does it with a steady hand and a calm demeanor.

And I know our next Speaker is watching in the back, he's in seclusion and we'll go get him in a second. But the mantle of leadership can weigh heavy and there can be a loneliness to always being the final arbiter of difficult issues and that is the role of the speaker.

At times his shoulders will be burdened with the responsibilities that come with this chamber from all of us -- the highs, the lows. And in that chair, you don't get a playoff and you don't get a day off. And Joe Aresimowicz will master that. He will gravitate towards that. He is sincere in his feelings about everyone in this room. His ability to relate to people is authentic; it's not a staged performance. He is calm when things are stormy and he has a value system and a belief set that allows him to work with other people no matter what their differences may be.

And this value set lets Joe see politics for what it should be. It's not a partisan game, it's not a war of words but rather it's a genuine chance to help other people and that's why we're all here.

Joe, I will support you in my new role as Majority Leader any way that I can and I'm proud to call you a friend and a colleague. And you are ready to be the next Speaker of the House because the only way you get there -- and then ultimately to chairs and dad, they're pushing you out, I can see that.

The only way to get up there is if you have a body of work that demonstrates your ability to work with people from different backgrounds. The only way you get there is to reach across the aisle. To work within your caucus, people from different towns, different realities, different value sets. You get to know them. And that's why he's gonna be in that chair in a few minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly offer the name of Joe Aresimowicz to be our next Speaker of the House. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, sir. The name of Joe Aresimowicz has been placed in nomination. Is there a second? Recognize Representative Pat Billie Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and good morning to all of my colleagues, all the former Speakers and our visitors in the Chamber and in the gallery.

Today I have the distinct honor and pleasure to second the nomination of Joe Aresimowicz as Speaker of the House.

As a freshman in 2009, Joe was one of the first people to extend his hand to me. To this day, he greets me with his infectious smile and a, “How you doing, PB?”

As a Representative, Joe was here doing the business that his constituents had sent him to do. As Majority Leader, Joe did the business that his colleagues elected him to do.

One of Joe's biggest strengths is his ability to bring people together. He doesn't just listen but he notices. He notices problems and he brings people together to solve them. This is one of the many qualities that distinguishes Joe Aresimowicz as the best person to hold the position of Speaker of the House.

It is for this reason I second the nomination of Joe Aresimowicz for Speaker of the House. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, Representative. We have the name of Joe Aresimowicz placed in nomination and properly seconded. We remark further. The distinguished Minority Leader, Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker, it's a little sad to be looking up at you for the last time but I'm sure you're very happy about the decisions you've made.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Could not be happier, Madam.

(LAUGHTER)

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

No doubt in my mind. Mr. Speaker, we stand here today amongst our family and our friends and the State of Connecticut watching and we are facing a much different House of Representatives and Senate than we've seen in my career and I think most of our careers.

As Representative Ritter mentioned, this is a different place. In fact, I think this may be the time when we have the smallest difference between the majority and the minority -- ever.

And there's a reason for that. The reason is the people of the State of Connecticut have spoken. When we vote and you look at those boards on either side, those votes may oftentimes appear to be 78 to 72, a margin we haven't seen.

But what the State of Connecticut expects us to do above all else is work together. Work together for the best of the state. No matter what our personal feelings are, no matter what our employment is -- and we live in this place called a citizen's legislature which means most of us have other jobs because we have to support ourselves and our families.

And because of that, we have other interests and other concerns and other things that drive us. And we have ability to ask and make sure and make certain that those other experiences and other jobs do not interfere with this job.

But unfortunately, we live in a world where it's not always about what's right and wrong, it's about what the perception is. We hear this phrase oftentimes, “Perception becomes reality. ” And in the circumstances where at we face right now, we have a gentleman who I have been honored to serve with for many years who is poised to be the next Speaker of the House.

That gentleman followed the rules. Got opinions, did what we all are asked to do. And because of that, there is no apparent conflict in the job he is doing and being Speaker of the House. That is correct.

But we must all be very careful with our perception becoming reality and that is why I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to express that feeling on behalf of this side of the aisle and the State of Connecticut.

Because today we do stand together. We stand together to do what's best for the State of Connecticut, to make Connecticut a better place. And I ask each and every one of you and the future Speaker, now more than ever, to leave it all at the door and when we walk in here, we are all legislators and that is what we are. We were given the trust by our constituents to do what's best for the state, regardless of how we are affected in any other parts of our life.

I have always worked very well with the good Representative. He has been an honest broker and that's all you can ask of somebody who is on the opposite side. I have no reason to believe that that will change. But we live in a world of reality and perception and the perception is that it may be a concern. I ask him to think very long and hard over all the decisions he makes and do what he has always done for the state of Connecticut and do what's best for the state of Connecticut and the state of Connecticut only.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, madam. Are there any other nominations? Are there any other nominations? Are there any other nominations?

Hearing none, I declare that nominations are closed and there being only one nominee, I direct that the Temporary Clerk please cast one ballot for Representative Joe Aresimowicz as the Speaker of this House.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Mr. Speaker, it is my honor, the ballot has been cast.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Representative Aresimowicz has been elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. Congratulations to him and God speed.

At this time, the Chair will appoint four members to wait upon the Speaker-elect and escort him to the dais to be sworn in. And for that purpose I would appoint Representative Ritter, Representative Klarides, Representative Mushinsky and Representative O'Neill.

And while -- and while they go about doing their business, the Chamber will stand at ease for just a moment.

Will the House please come to order? Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to introduce Marion Sgroi-Varano to administer the Oath of Office to the Speaker-elect.

MARION SGROI-VARANO:

Representative Aresimowicz, please raise your right hand. You do solemnly swear and affirm that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut for as long as you continue to be a citizen thereof. And --

(LAUGHTER)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I've got to memorize this.

MARION SGROI-VARANO:

And that you will faithfully discharge the duties of the House of Representatives and the duties of the high office of Speaker of the House to the best of your abilities, so help you God.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Now?

MARION SGROI-VARANO:

Yeah, now.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Okay, I do.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you. Thank you very much. I think we have a lot of work to do so I'll try to be brief. Thank you so very, very much. This is an incredible honor. I'm humbled that you trusted me to serve as your Speaker on this, the opening day of the 2017 session.

Thank you so very much and welcome to each and every one of you and all the families here in the Chamber.

Before we go on, I wanted to take a moment to remember a very dear friend of mine and many of us in this Chamber. Representative Betty Boukos was a great friend, an incredible person and a dedicated legislator. Anyone that had the pleasure of knowing Betty knew that her personality could fill an entire room. She brought an unrivaled level of passion to the issues.

I'm looking at Representative Floren over there who worked so closely with Betty and she's smiling because she knows exactly what I'm talking about. They spent a lot of time together and they had a great relationship.

She cared about her constituents in Plainville, she cared about each and every one of you in the Chamber and every trip she took, she found somebody else to care about.

The veterans home, she started the Secret Santa to ensure our veterans had gifts for the holidays.

Betty Boukos will surely be missed. This General Assembly will miss her but I'm sure her spirit is here with us today.

At this time, I would ask you all to rise and let's observe a moment of silence for our dear friend, Betty Boukos. Thank you.

Welcome again to opening day. I'd like to give a big thank you to the Berlin High School chorus that came and gave us our national anthem today. I know they went back to school, I think they had tests but again, can we give them a round of applause? Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

And like many of you, this job is very difficult. For you freshmen, you'll realize how difficult it is and how many hours that you spend away from your family. So none of us would be here without the support of our family and I'd like to give a special thanks to some of the family that's here with me today.

So down in the front I have my oldest son, Michael and his girlfriend Carrie. And off to my right, I have my daughter Katie. And Katie, I could really us a hug right now if you wanna come up and give me a quick hug.

(APPLAUSE)

This morning we were getting ready and she was sitting on my bed, getting her clothes ready, asking me what to wear. I'm running around getting dressed and at that very moment it hit me, yet again, why we all do what we do. The idea is to leave this state a better place than we found it and to work collaboratively to ensure that that happens.

So Katie, thank you again for reminding me and I will always be thinking of you when I'm doing my job each and every day. My son Ryan, to that point, is in school today. He had a couple of other tests that we thought were really more important than being here on opening day so Ryan, we miss you but I am thinking about you.

Marion Sgori just gave me my oath and she's here with her husband Donald. Many of you know I was a self-professed mama's boy.

(APPLAUSE)

And I lost my mama a few years back. She really was my life compass. Anytime I had a problem, anytime I had an issue, she was quickly there for me to stand on my -- by my side -- to offer advice, the occasional loan like many of you parents do now. But she was there for me in many ways. When I lost my mom, it was a big hole in my life but Marion stepped up and she's been referred to me as -- I refer to her as my backup mom. She was my mother's best friend, her longtime business partner. Marion, I cannot thank you enough and tell you what it meant to have you swear me in today. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Sitting down in front I have my father, Jim Aresimowicz here, my brother Jim, my sisters Sherry and Shelly, their family, Adam, Eli, Jamie and Sam. Thank you so much for all the support that you've offered me over the years and all of you live in the district so thank you for your votes, too.

(LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE)

Also, down in the wild, many of you recognize Attorney Christie Scott; she's now the Claim Commissioner. She worked for me for the first three years of my office as the Majority Leader and I always called myself the reluctant Majority Leader but when I took the position without her advice, without her steady hand, without her expertise as an attorney, it wouldn't have been possible. I probably would have messed it up and not be up here today, so thank you very much, Christie Scott.

(APPLAUSE)

Former Speakers Chris Donovan, Jim Amann, Moira Lyons, Tom Ritter, Richard Balducci, Speaker Abate -- thank you so much for coming today. I will be calling on you for advice. I heard in the Minority Leader's comments that this is the closest it's ever been so your advice is gonna be more crucial than ever. And I think some of you are probably sitting over there saying you're glad it's me and not you guys, right?

UNKNOWN:

We all are.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

You all are. And to my immediate predecessor, Representative Sharkey, who I consider both a mentor and a friend, your leadership from this dais over the past four years taught me a great deal. I look forward to the ongoing conversations, I look forward to having you around to advise me and again, I wanna thank you for your years of service during the many difficult years. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Our new Majority Leader, Representative Matt Ritter. Thank you very much for your kind words on the nomination. But more importantly, and you did refer to it, thank you very much for your friendship. The moment you walked in the door to this General Assembly, you and I hit it off immediately. We talked a lot about what this Chamber meant from my perspective, what this Chamber meant to you from you and your family's perspective, the many hurdles we had.

And then I saw firsthand when you were made a Chair of a committee -- the dedication to the issue, the overwhelming work ethic and the ability to bring people to the table to solve a crisis.

It was one of the last days of the session where we received this pretty thick public health bill that took hospitals to a different level, that changed the way we do things in the state of Connecticut.

I called Matt into my office first thing in the morning, I'm like, “This bill will not run. It's not ready. I don't see a way for it to be ready. ” He said, “Give me ten hours, I'll have a bill on the floor that'll have if not unanimous, bipartisan support. ” And he did exactly that. So Matt, thank you so much for your friendship, thank you for your leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

Representative Pat Billie Miller, or as I say, “Hey, PB,” thank you so much for your kind words. Again, a true friend and I might add in, a spiritual compass. When there's been difficult days up in the Chamber, you all may see that I'm just smiling and I look calm as can be but that's usually after a few minutes with Pat over in the caucus room with just talking things through and ensuring my head is right when I take the floor. Pat, I can't thank you enough.

(APPLAUSE)

Minority Leader Themis Klarides. Again, we've worked very well over the past few years. I look forward to another two years of working with you in your caucus. As I traveled the state this year, although it was an election year, we're supposed to be extremely partisan whether it was at a town hall, a public library, a small business, a community college or a technical school, I said the only way we're gonna solve the problems of this state this coming legislative session is to put our political parties aside and do what's best for the state of Connecticut.

Minority Leader, I make that pledge to you, I will do that. I know you've made that pledge in return. I think we will have a great team with Majority Leader Ritter, Minority Leader Klarides and myself on the dais. We will do what's best for the state of Connecticut.

(APPLAUSE)

All the veterans of the Chamber, I only can say you know what's in store for you. We -- we have a lot of work.

To the new faces, when we recruited you from either side of the aisle to run, we told you about this part-time job where you get to look out for your constituents -- that was all a lie.

(LAUGHTER)

It's not part-time at all. You will need every ounce of dedication you have to serve your communities up here on a day-in and day-out basis. This day is incredible. Look around, take in this Chamber. I still try to arrive early and sit here in the Chamber and take it all in.

Someday something you may say on the floor of this House may be remembered in history. The court across the street may refer to your documents or your statements as it decides a case. Don't take that for granted, it's a huge responsibility that I'm sure each and every one of you will handle with grace and dignity and I look forward to working with each and every one of you.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thirty brand new faces in this Chamber. That's almost 20 percent of the body. I think it will be a great time for infusion of good, new ideas. I know many years up here we say freshmen are to be seen and not heard so the first thing I want to say from this dais is that rule is gone. We need each and every one of you to participate in the recovery of Connecticut.

(APPLAUSE)

So as we embark on this session, I want us to bear some things in mind. When I'm up here and when I'm deliberating, I think about the kindergarten student that has reading difficulties and is struggling to keep up; and the high school student that is trying to figure out how they can afford to go to college. The business owner that is struggling to find trained workers. The new parents that are balancing paying child care and saving for retirement. And the senior citizens who want to stay in their homes.

This session will be focused on improving our job market, supporting working families and improving educational outcomes. That is the marker by which every proposed idea from bills being filed today and the budget we'll adopt later in the session will be judged by.

I want our students, whether they're learning a trade or attending college, to know that their job prospects are bright here in the state of Connecticut. I want our business owners that are looking to start a business here in Connecticut to know the state of Connecticut is here to support them and help them grow.

I want our hard-working citizens with full-time jobs not to live in poverty. And I want our major corporations to know that being in Connecticut means predictability, stability and sound budgeting.

(APPLAUSE)

There are no Democratic solutions, Republican solutions here. An overwhelming amount of the work we already do is on a bipartisan basis. As your Speaker, as I did as Majority Leader, I pledge to all of you today that I will continue to work in a bipartisan way for this House and it will be the practice, not the exception.

(APPLAUSE)

So we have a lot of work to do but it really is my honor to serve you. Each and every member in this Chamber will have the ability to talk ideas and issues with me. Opening day is a time for us to get acquainted, meet your families, say thank you to our volunteers. So we will do that but I cannot thank you enough for giving me this honor and I will serve this Speaker of the House with dignity and respect for all of you.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

All right, now I think we have some work to do. It's really nice to look over here and do this. The Chair recognizes the Majority Leader, Representative Matt Ritter.

(APPLAUSE)

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Congratulations to you and to your family. And like Joe, I just want to take a few moments to welcome everybody here, particularly the new candidates who ran because at some point you woke up and you filed your paperwork and you said, “I'm gonna spend my summer and my fall making phone calls. I'm gonna knock on doors, I'm gonna have some interesting conversations with people on those doors,” and then ultimately you won. And you are one of 151 people who have earned the right to sit in this Chamber. And please never forget how memorable that is.

And I know that you have your family behind you who supported you. It may be a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend -- and I know you'll take a moment today to thank them for what they did for you because we all took a long -- a lot of days and a lot of nights away from them to be here today.

And before I welcome my own family who have been waiting very patiently, particularly for a three-year-old and an 18-month-old, there's a few people I did wanna particularly thank and recognize.

Speaker Sharkey, it is very odd to not see you up there sir, and I just want to thank you again for your service to the state of Connecticut and to this Chamber one last time. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

And I, I assume he's watching but he's not here today because he decided after 26 long years that he had had enough of this place but all of our favorite legislators, I think, in this Chamber, Representative Steve Dargan from West Haven who I hope is watching. I'd love to give him a round of applause if we could so he hears us.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, Steve may not speak in a way that you can understand him but never underestimate him. He was a chair of the same committee through five different speakers and he is gonna be sorely missed and I will miss him dearly.

To the Senate leadership, hopefully they're doing their business upstairs. To Senator Looney, our wishes on the speediest of recoveries. What an amazing man to be here today, so we're all thinking of you and your family.

To Senator Duff, to Senator Fasano and Witkos, to the new folks, you know, as a joke in the Chamber I probably shouldn't repeat on the microphone but I will, that the House Republicans are the opponent but the Senate is really the enemy.

(APPLAUSE)

And it always gets a lot of applause and a lot of laughs but let me be very clear, we work a lot better when we work with them and it's never been more true than it is today and I hope we take that very seriously.

And to Governor Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Wyman who are not here yet, we'll see them later today, I want to thank them for their encouragement, their support and their friendship over the years and I look forward to working with them and I know the Speaker and the Minority Leader do as well.

To my family, finally, I can't forget that, it's in bold text, “Don't forget your family.

To my best friend and my lovely wife Marilyn who's sitting down there with my son Jack and our daughter Emma is floating between grandparents. You know, Marilyn, what can I say, you know, you are my best friend, and I told my mother once, I made a comment, I'm gonna stop, I'll catch my composure here.

But I told my mother when I was nine years old, I was playing little league for the Aetna baseball team and I told my mom after the game, I looked at her and I said, “Mom, this was the happiest day of my life. ” At Elizabeth Park right there on the west end of Hartford.

And some 20 years later, maybe no more than 100 yards from where I said that, I met Marilyn in a driveway on Whitney Street. So ma, that was the happiest day of my life. And everything gets flowed from that.

To my parents, Tom and Christine and my sister Jessica and her husband Joe. My sister and I are very blessed to have the parents that we have. You know, Mom, you are wonder woman. You, as we all know, worked very hard to get where you are today. My mother scooped ice cream like so many people to put herself through college. She worked at every clam shack in the state of Connecticut to put herself through law school and to this day, if we ever need anything -- her kids, her grandkids, her grand dog Dublin -- my mom is the first one to drop everything to be there with them.

My sister Jessica, who is a successful attorney here in Hartford. Jessica is my big sister and she is older than me, I will say that and I really mean that she's my big sister and if you double-cross me, you better triple-cross her. Jessica, you are succeeding in every way in your professional life, you have two wonderful kids who are my niece and my nephew, you married a Yankee fan so you're two out of three in my book.

(APPLAUSE)

And wrapping up here, but dad up there, I've learned a lot from you. I was fortunate as a child in this building to catch more than a fleeting glimpse of your political style. But I've learned more from you about being a good father and a person than about being a good politician. You do things that are unceremoniously for people every day, whether it's a note, whether it's an action and they'll see me in my travels and they'll stop me and say the things you did for them 30 years ago or 30 days ago and I'm proud every time.

And so there -- 18 years later, to many people you are still Mr. Speaker and to many people I am still only your son and I'm very proud of that. Thank you, yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

And to my mother-in-law, Emmy, and my father-in-law, Bruce, and my brother-in-law, Ethan, all the way here from Colebrook, New Hampshire, where Representative Vail and I had the great chance to associate ourselves, thank you for coming a long distance and thank you for your daughter.

My uncle John and my uncle Penn are also here and I wanted to recognize them here today.

I also want to thank the Democratic Caucus for this tremendous honor. I will be here for you 24/7, I will be punctual -- maybe not today -- but generally speaking, I'll be punctual and I will be prepared.

We are the legislative branch of government that never sleeps. We don't really do consent calendars till the end, we work every day and we have to be prepared. And my door will be open to you and to everybody across the aisle should you ever have any questions or if I can be of assistance.

And in closing, to my friend, the Minority Leader Representative Klarides. I'm looking forward to working with you in my new role and I know that it's often the right thing to say on opening day that I look forward to it, working across the aisle. But I hope my words are meaningful because of the past actions that I performed in this Chamber. And I greatly look forward to working with you and your caucus and your new role and congratulations to your sister, Nicole. I think you're the first sibling pair in a very long time, so congratulations to you, too.

(APPLAUSE)

So thank you to my caucus for this great honor and I look forward to work with everyone today. We have work to do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Majority Leader and now to our Minority Leader, Representative Themis Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you for the first time, Mr. Speaker and Mr. Majority Leader, I would like to congratulate the two of you. As I mentioned earlier, I have not only had the privilege of working with you in the past but the new Majority Leader and I can say this with complete honesty, you have both been honest brokers, you have both been working from your heart and even if we don't agree, at the end of the day, I always know where I stand and I always know where you both stand which is all I can ask for in the opposition party. So thank you both for that.

I want to congratulate everyone else here today. Of course, all the veterans that came back and all the freshmen. I'm particularly proud of the large freshman class we have on this side of the aisle and how we have mi -- continued our migration.

(APPLAUSE)

We have continued our migration over in that direction -- continued it over again. And that is a very large sense of pride for me for all of you that got elected but I am just as proud to every person in this chamber who has gotten elected because as the Majority Leader mentioned and as we cannot seem to stop saying every two years, we in the House of Representatives are a family. We are forced to work with another Chamber in this building that shall be nameless much to our detriment at times but we continue to carry on because we are the people's Chamber. We do the people's work, we do it with vigorous debate and passion and honor. And I look forward to continuing that.

Please, each and every one of you, enjoy today, we're gonna have a lot of work and it's going to be a hard work and it's going to be difficult -- difficult decisions. But let me say this, we are all, Republican or Democrat, House or Senate, in a privileged group of people in the history of the state of Connecticut.

We have an opportunity and a privilege that most people will never have and we will always share that for as long as we are here and when we leave after.

You can see the former Speakers sitting up there, you -- you can see the pride on their faces, you can see the relief that they're not here now. Don't blame you. But you can see the pride on their faces every two years when we're up here because they know what this is about. They have had that privilege and they know what an honor it is.

In addition to thanking everyone and congratulating everyone and all your family and friends who have joined you on this special day, I also have the honor of having my family and friends -- I'm gonna get choked up -- join me today.

Down in the front I have -- I'm gonna start on one side -- a very good friend of mine and my sister's in the town of Seymour, the First Selectman, Kurt Miller.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm not gonna go in order of their seatings, I'm gonna save the best for last. My cousin Karin Klarides Marinaro who is like a sister to us.

(APPLAUSE)

Another very close family friend and like a sister, Rosa Connors.

(APPLAUSE)

And the last two people who have been with me on many of these days, particularly two years ago when I was very, very honored to be elected the first woman leader of the House Republican Caucus, my mom and my dad, Theodora Klarides, who is -- who taught my sister and I what strong women should be. Thank you, Mom.

(APPLAUSE)

And my dad, who grew up with two brothers but then had two daughters and has lived in a family of women his whole life, more importantly taught us as women that we don't take anything from anybody. We are independent, we make our own decisions and we are family and we are honest and we treat people the way we want to be treated.

So Dad and Mom, thank you so much for being here. I can't tell you how important it is to me and we are proud to have you as our parents.

(APPLAUSE)

And on one last note, there is somebody that's conspicuously missing from that group that was here two years ago and the reason she is missing along with my nephew Cade and my brother-in-law Stephen is because she has her own seat now in the Chamber. My sister, Nicole Klarides-Ditria.

(APPLAUSE)

Apparently, we're very close, as anybody who knows us can attest and apparently she -- she thought this was such a great gig that she wanted to do it, too. I thought I was being honest with her all along the way but apparently I wasn't.

And let me give you all a piece of advice. If anybody ever has the thought that she will do whatever I do because I'm her sister, remember this. The easiest way to get Nicole Klarides-Ditria to do anything is for me to tell her to do it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. So we have a couple more business items to do. First and foremost, I also want to thank Speaker Collins for being here today. I'm sorry I missed you before, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

And then I would like Representative -- Representative -- Former Speaker Sharkey to come on up, please.

(APPLAUSE)

Speaker Sharkey, as a token of our appreciation for your many years of services, not only to your district, this Chamber, being a Speaker is a very special thing, you wielded this gavel with power for four years so now you can take it home and try it at home, see how that works out for you.

(LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE)

Okay, now we're gonna move on to the business. The next order of business is the election of the House Clerk.

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I would like to place the name of Frederick Jortner a nomination to serve as the House Clerk. Fred was previously our Sergeant-At-Arms and has been involved in civic life in Berlin, Connecticut for many years. It is my pleasure to stand up here today.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I also rise to second the nomination of Mr. Jortner, he certainly has had experience civically and in this building and he will be a welcome addition to the Chamber.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Are there any further nominations? Are there any further nominations? Hearing none, I declare nominations are closed. There being only one nominee, I direct that the Temporary Clerk please cast the ballot for Frederick Jortner as the Clerk of the House.

TEMPORARY CLERK:

Mr. Speaker, the ballot has been cast.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Frederick Jortner, please step forward.

(APPLAUSE)

Will you please raise your right hand? You do solemnly swear or affirm that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut so long as you continue a citizen thereof and that you will faithfully discharge according to law, the duties of the office of the Clerk to the best of your abilities so help you God?

CLERK:

I do.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Congratulations, sir. Are you ready down there, Mr. Clerk? All right. Will the Clerk please call and read House Resolution No. 1?

CLERK:

House Resolution No. 1 -- resolution appointing Charles Augur of Middlefield as Assistant Clerk of the House of Representatives, LCO number 808 introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I move the adoption of House Resolution 1.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question before the Chamber is adoption of House Resolution 1. Will you remark, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Attorney Charles Augur is the former First Selectman of Middlefield and he's served as Assistant House Clerk for the past four years and I know he will continue to serve with distinction and I urge my colleagues to adopt this resolution. Thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Attorney Augur certainly has service distinction and has a wonderful resume to prepare him, although I don't know what would actually prepare him for this job but I -- I second his nomination.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Neither do I, madam. Thank you very much, madam, will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed nay. The ayes have it. Congratulations sir, will you please come forward.

(APPLAUSE)

Please raise your right hand, sir. You do solemnly swear or affirm that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut so long as you continue a citizen thereof and that you will faithfully discharge according to law the duties of the office of the Assistant Clerk to the best of your ability so help you God?

ASSISTANT CLERK:

I do.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Congratulations, sir.

ASSISTANT CLERK:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

No problem. Will the Clerk please call and read House Resolution 3?

CLERK:

House Resolution 3, RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO CANVASS THE VOTES FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVES introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, the Resolution is self-explanatory and I move adoption.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question is on adoption, will you remark? Will you remark? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed nay. The ayes have it and the Resolution is adopted. (GAVEL) I will appoint the committee to canvass as Representative Morris, Representative Gentile and Representative Candelora. Will the Clerk please call and read House Resolution 4?

CLERK:

House Resolution 4, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PRINTING OF THE JOURNAL. LCO number 815 introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I believe this resolution is also self-explanatory and I urge adoption, move it to adoption. Thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Majority Leader. The question is on adoption, will you remark? Will you remark? If not, those in favor please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it, the resolution is adopted. (GAVEL) Will the Clerk please call and read House Resolution 5?

CLERK:

House Resolution 5, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF RABBI ALAN LEFKOWITZ OF WINDSOR AS CHAPLAIN OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, LCO number 811 introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, yet again you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I move adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question is on the adoption of the resolution. Would you remark, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Yes, thank you. Rabbi Lefkowitz currently serves as Rabbi at Congregation Beth Ahm in Windsor and Chaplain at the Hospital of Special Care in New Britain. He is qualified to be our House Chaplain and I urge my colleagues to adopt this resolution.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir, for your remarks. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

You're already ignoring me, Mr. Speaker. See how this is gonna go. Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the nomination of Rabbi Lefkowitz. Majority Leader already said all the wonderful things about him and I concur with those and second his nomination.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? If not, all those in favor of the resolution please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed nay. The ayes have it and the resolution's adopted. (GAVEL)

(APPLAUSE)

Would the Clerk please call and read House Resolution 6?

CLERK:

House Resolution 6, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATIONS OF REVEREND CHARLES E. JACOBS OF HARTFORD AS THE DEPUTY CHAPLAIN OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND IMAM REFAI AREFIN OF BERLIN AS DEPUTY CHAPLAIN OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. LCO number 813 introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I move adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Yes, Imam Refai Arefin serves as the Imam of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford and is also a practicing attorney in Berlin.

Father Jacobs has been the pastor of the Holy Trinity Church in Hartford since 2001. Welcome from Hartford. And Chaplain of the Connecticut Children's Medical Center since 1996.

Both served as Deputy Chaplains during the last term and I urge my colleagues to support their reappointment here today. Thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have practiced this name all morning because I am, as we all know, sensitive about the pronunciation of my name so I'm gonna give it a shot.

Imam Refai Arefin, I think I got it right, yes? Excellent, thank you. Well sir, with you and Father Jacobs, I think we have a nice cross-section of representation of our Chamber and the state of Connecticut and it will be an honor to have you serve in this position. Thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, all those in favor of the resolution please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed nay. The ayes have it, the resolution's adopted. (GAVEL)

(APPLAUSE)

The Chamber will stand at ease.

Will the House come back to order. (GAVEL) Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a little bit more business to do before we go into Joint Session. If I could just have your attention for a few more minutes, then we'll break for Joint Session. Thank you.

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, and before we get -- before I urge adoption or move House Resolution 7, (GAVEL) an announcement to everyone in the Chamber. We are going to call ourselves into Joint Session, we will have an address from the Governor. We will then have to come back in, our business is not finished. So please, you cannot go to lunch, unfortunately, or anything like that, we need everybody back in this Chamber at 12 o'clock sharp, I apologize for that.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the Clerk please call and read House Resolution No. 7?

CLERK:

Hold on.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

One, my apologies.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 1. RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE JOINT RULES OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, LCO number 887, introduced by Senator Looney, Senator Fasano, Senator Duff, Senator Witkos, Representative Aresimowicz, Representative Ritter and Representative Klarides.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I move adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Representative Ritter, you have the floor sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Most of the Joint Rules are technical and conforming changes. There are some changes to the Committee's structure per the agreement up in the State Senate and how they'll conduct themselves as Committee chairs. Thank you. I move adoption.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The question before the Chamber is on the adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Will you remark? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor of the resolution, please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The resolution's adopted. (GAVEL)

Will the Clerk please call House Resolution 7?

CLERK:

House Resolution No. 7, RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO INFORM THE SENATE THAT THE HOUSE IS ORGANIZED AND READY TO MEET IN JOINT CONVENTION, introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I move adoption of this resolution.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question before the Chamber is on adoption of Resolution No. 7, is there objection? Is there objection? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The resolution's adopted. (GAVEL) The Chair will now appoint a committee to inform the Senate. The Chair will appoint Representative Rovero, Representative Orange, Representative Piscopo.

Representative Ritter, you have the floor.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In a moment, I'm gonna be moving to recess the House subject to the Call of the Chair. Just a reminder, we expect everyone back in the Chamber at 12 o'clock and then after the address from the Governor, we are gonna call ourselves back into House session to do further business.

So please stay close and be here, we need you for more than just now. You can't go home. Thank you very much. With that, Mr. Speaker, I move we recess subject to the Call of the Chair.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, the House will stand in recess subject to the Call of the Chair. (GAVEL)

(On motion of Representative Ritter of the 1st District, the House recessed at 11: 50 o'clock a. m. , to reconvene at the Call of the Chair. )

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately. Members to the Chamber, please, the House of Representatives will reconvene immediately.

The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately. Members to the Chamber, please. The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately.

(GAVEL)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the House please come to order. House please come to order, members take your seats. The Chair recognizes Representative Rovero.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you that you did not warn me that my first assignment would be as difficult as it was, going up to the next floor and try to keep Senators from talking. (LAUGHTER)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative, wrangling Senators, it's a tough job.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that the Committee to Inform the Senate that the House is organized has met and called upon Lieutenant Governor and told the Senate that we are ready to meet in Joint Convention.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. I would like to welcome everybody to the Senate Joint Session. And I'd also like to welcome our colleagues from the Senate as well as Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court. Also, Commissioners, public officials and other guests.

It is now time to introduce my very special friend, our great Governor of the State of Connecticut, Lieutenant Governor, Nancy Wyman.

(APPLAUSE)

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Okay, thank you. I'm on. Thank you very, very much. Thank you all so much, please be seated.

At this time I really wanna thank the, our brand new Speaker, Joe Aresimowicz and thank you so much for having us here today in your -- in your House. It is really great to be with you and congratulations to all on your new posts, those that have been elected; our new Majority Leader, Matt Ritter and of course Representative Themis Klarides who is now serving a second term as Minority Leader. Congratulations to all of you.

Of course, let me introduce to the House the Senators that were elected upstairs in Leadership. Senator Looney, Senator Fasano, Senator Duff and Senator Witkos. Thank you all for joining us today, it's great to have such good leadership that I know will work together.

I realized today that it's 30 years ago today that I came into this Chamber for the first time to take my oath of office.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. The gentleman I sat next to was a young man named Martin Looney. He's still, in fact, Representative Slap, you're sitting in my seat.

You know, Democrat or Republican, the people I serve with became like family to me and they still are. To our newest Representatives, I want to congratulate you and welcome you to the family. I hope everyone understands that you do become a family and that it is so important that we all work together. The friendships that you build on will stay a lifetime. The laws that you make will have consequences for everybody. The future of our state, our country, is kind of in your hands. No pressure, but you can do it.

As Democrats and Republicans, we must work together. We must make sure that we all -- all our voices are heard, we learn to compromise. People out in the public don't understand that we do work together. We do care, all care about the constituents in the state.

So I wanna thank you for all the services and welcome those new -- you new people and of course those who have been reelected here again.

So congratulations to all of you. Give yourselves a round of applause, you all deserve it.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you for all your service and to your families, thank you, because without you we could not do this at all.

So this is -- right now I'm going to ask, is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of Joint Convention Resolutions number 3 and 4.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and good afternoon and I certainly want to congratulate our new Speaker of the House, our new House Majority Leader and our House Minority Leader as well. I'd like to ask that we pass the Resolutions; I believe those are Resolutions saying that we are ready to meet the Governor in convention.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Thank you, the quest -- the questions on adoption, I will try your minds. All those in favor please say aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Opposed, any opposed? Seeing none, the ayes have it, the Resolution is adopted by voice vote. At this time, I would appoint Senator Bob Duff, Senator Len Fasano, Representative Matt Ritter, Representative Themis Klarides to invite the Governor to attend this Joint Session.

While we are waiting for them to bring the Governor in, I'd like to take a moment and introduce some of the other people that are on the dais with me today. Secretary of State and former House member, Denise Merrill.

(APPLAUSE)

State Treasurer, Denise Nappier.

(APPLAUSE)

Our State Comptroller, Kevin Lembo.

(APPLAUSE)

And our Attorney General, George Jepsen.

(APPLAUSE)

Behind me is also House Chaplain Imam Refai Arefin. I apologize, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

The Senate Chaplain is Reverend James Nock.

(APPLAUSE)

And to my left, that's really hard sometimes, but to my left, my far left is former Speaker Ernest Abate.

(APPLAUSE)

Thomas Ritter. Nora Lyons, Chris Donovan and Brendan Sharkey.

(APPLAUSE)

At this point, I also want to remind myself that I'm supposed to be doing the prayer. So I'm at this time going to ask if -- if Reverend Nock to come up and lead us in prayer. Father Nock, sorry. Everybody rise for Father Nock.

REVEREND NOCK:

Let us pray. Almighty Father, we ask Your blessing on this Joint Convention as we come together this afternoon to begin our new legislative session for 2017. This is gonna be a difficult session again, demanding creativity and innovation. But we've been here before and we can do it again. This is the land of the Charter Oak and with Your wisdom, with the creativity, experience in this room, there's no limit as to what we can accomplish, just as long as we accomplish it together. And we ask this of You, live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

VOICES:

Amen.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Thank you, Father. At this time I'll ask our new Speaker of the House to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

VOICES:

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.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Thank you very much. I guess, I think that at this time, I'd like -- I have the great -- please be seated. It is a great pleasure for me right now to introduce the man who is truly devoted to Connecticut and its citizens. He's one of the hardest-working people I know. He's never shied away from a difficult decision and he's always trying to do his best for all of us.

As a result of Connecticut's economy is getting stronger. Our cities and towns are safer and our quality of life is among the best in the Nation.

I'm proud to call my friend, please welcome our Governor, Governor Dannel P. Malloy.

(APPLAUSE)

GOVERNOR MALLOY:

There we go, thank you. All right, let's -- let's get to work. We've got a lot to do. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant Governor Wyman and my fellow State officials. Ladies and gentlemen of the General Assembly and honored members of the Judiciary.

Members of the Clergy and all the citizens of our great state, thank you. Thank you for the privilege of inviting me into the people's House.

Let me offer my sincere congratulations to those of you taking on new and important leadership roles as well as those who have been reelected into leadership positions.

I also want to congratulate the new members sworn in earlier today. I look forward to working with all of you.

Let me note that since we were last here together, we have lost some dear friends including Mary Fritz and Betty Boukos, both of whom served in this House. Our hearts are heavy as we continue to mourn their passing.

As always, let us thank Connecticut's brave men and women serving our nation around the globe and pray for their safe return.

Thank you as well to my dear friend and the best Lieutenant Governor in the country, Nancy Wyman.

(APPLAUSE)

And finally -- I had to find her -- thanks to my wife, Cathy, and my son, Dannel, and my two other sons for their love and support. Great to have Cathy and Dan here. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

The Connecticut General Assembly met in special session. You met to take historic action in support of our state's economy and our incredible work force. A legislation you voted to support and that I signed into law protected 8,000 jobs at Sikorsky Aircraft.

(APPLAUSE)

Equally important, it shored up thousands of more jobs up and down Sikorsky's supply chain and across every corner of our great state. It nearly doubled their spending with local suppliers to almost $ 700 million dollars per year over the next decade and beyond.

I wanna thank all of you for that, all of you who participated in that special session. But I also want to remind you that in recent years, we've secured similar investments from United Technologies and Electric Boat. Taken together, these agreements cement our leadership in advanced manufacturing around the globe.

A decade ago, if any of us had told our constituents that in 2017, not only would Electric Boat be ramping up their production rather than winding it down. Not only would Pratt & Whitney be planning to put thousands of more people to work in our state, but that Sikorsky would be committed to Connecticut for another generation to come.

Well, they wouldn't have believed us. They would've told us that we were overly optimistic at best and na´ve at worst. And yet here we are today. Working together, we have turned what many once considered an impossibility into a reality.

Together we've protected Connecticut's aerospace and defense industry for a generation and likely beyond. But more importantly, we've given these employers and the tens of thousands of employees who work for them something that is vital in today's world. We have given them predictability.

We know that predictability creates confidence and we know that confidence creates growth. When we give people reasons to believe that their job is here to stay, we're giving them the confidence to purchase a home or buy a new family car or to start a college fund. In other words, we're giving them confidence to take part in our state's economy.

And it's equally true for their employers. Predictability allows businesses to expand. To make new hires. To put down new roots right here in Connecticut. That is what companies and their workers are looking for. They deserve it and it is on us to provide it.

That's what I want to talk to you about today, about what we've done in recent years to make our budget more predictable and our economy more sustainable and about how we can continue that important work this Legislative Session.

Now, I'm going to discuss three key areas that I believe we should focus on this year. We do this in order to balance our current budget but also to continue our progress towards long-term prosperity. Now, the good news is that for each of three areas, positive change has already begun.

To start, we need to continue making state government leaner and more cost effective. A responsible way to do that is by setting priorities and allocating our resources where they are needed most because the truth is we simply can't afford to continue doing everything we've done in the past.

In recent years, commissioners and state employees have been hard at work finding creative ways to continue providing essential services while also saving money. These cuts were not painless. Important work had to be phased out so that other vital services could continue.

But the results are plain to see. Last year we cut nearly $ 850 million dollars out of the budget to bring our current fiscal year in balance. In so doing, we spent less in the general fund than we had in the previous year for the first time since 2002.

We've reduced the number of state agencies by 28 percent since 2011, shrinking from 81 agencies down to 58. During that same time period, we reduced the size of our executive branch workforce by nine-and-a-half percent. We now employ 5,000 fewer fulltime employees than we did in 2008.

And don't let anyone tell you that these reductions are only in front line employees, we've reduced the number of management positions in state government by 28 percent. While we had to go through the unfortunate but necessary process of layoffs last year, the vast majority of these reductions have come through attrition. We're also spending less on overtime.

With your strong partnership and encouragement, overtime costs dropped 14 and one-half percent, saving the state $ 37 million dollars.

(APPLAUSE)

All told, excluding higher education, the Executive Branch workforce is at the smallest it has been since Ronald Reagan was President. And now, in this biennium, we need to continue that work ensuring we reduce spending responsibly and with great care.

Commissioners will need once again to work with their staffs and with you here in the legislature, our partners, to find additional savings.

Now like families across Connecticut, just because we've responsibly managed our budget in recent years does not mean we get to take a year off. We must continue to live within our means, spending only as much revenue as we have and no more.

In September, my administration asked agencies to begin thinking about what additional cuts would mean. Having further explored these options, many of their recommendations will be included in the budget that I present to you next month. Cuts in specific areas or outright eliminations should not be taken to mean that certain work is not valued. It simply means that we can no longer afford to do it all and that our spending must be focused on the very core and essential services for our residents.

And to be clear, saving money isn't just about cutting line items or reducing headcount. Agencies will continue to modernize systems, reduce waste and increase productivity in order to cut costs as much as possible before impacting services or the valuable employees who provide them.

Together we can continue to make state government more efficient, more sustainable and more reflective of our economic reality.

The second area that I'd like to talk to you about today are the obligations we have to Connecticut state workers, educators and retirees.

Connecticut state pension systems were created 80 years ago but not a single dime was deposited into the account during the first 30 years of its existence. It was a pay-as-you-go system.

Now over many decades, legacy costs, insufficient contributions, lower than assumed returns and early retirement packages left us with a significant unfunded liability in the state's employment and teacher retirement systems. The stark reality is that after 80 years, the state has set aside only one-third of the money necessary to responsibly fund its obligation.

Let me put that in context. Of the $ 1. 65 billion dollars that we will pay next year to the state's retirement system, 78 percent of that, nearly $ 1. 3 billion dollars is what we're paying to make up for what past administrations and past legislatures failed to do.

Simply put, our generation is paying for Connecticut's past mistakes. Is that frustrating? Of course it is. Is it necessary? Absolutely. It's also the right thing to do.

Our state retirees dedicated their lives and careers to public service. We need to pay them the pensions that they were promised. Let's also acknowledge and thank today's state workers for their efforts and support of Connecticut's residents and businesses.

In 2011, we worked at the bargaining table to help put Connecticut on a more sustainable and more sustainable fiscal path. Together we changed benefits, reduced longevity payouts, restructured state pensions, raised the retirement age and required all employees to pay for a portion of their post-employment benefits for the first time.

We saved the state $ 1. 6 billion dollars on our unfunded liability in the immediate two years following that agreement. And a total of $ 21. 5 billion dollars over the following 20 years. Had we not realized that level of savings, our current $ 1. 5 billion dollar projected deficit would be much, much worse.

Since making this agreement in 2011, the state has honored its commitment to fully fund the pension obligation each and every year.

(APPLAUSE)

We are finally doing together what should have been done over the prior 80 years and I want to thank all of you for that.

Building upon these years of work, my administration recently came to a crucial agreement with our state employees and our retirement commissioners. An agreement which will make our pension payments more affordable and yes, more predictable.

Independent analysts are taking note. Moody's Investor Service, a national credit rating agency deemed this to be, and I quote, "a credit positive step for our state. " And the plan's actuaries say these changes will, and I quote again, "enhance the stability of our pension system. " I urge you to support these important reforms.

Now today, today, despite all of the hard work and real progress, it's clear we have much more work to do to make our short and long-term labor obligations more affordable. Fixed costs continue to increase every year, hampering our ability to maintain vital public services.

Pension obligations for both state employees and teachers are on track to cost the state an additional $ 360 million dollars in the next fiscal year compared to this current year. Clearly the fiscal challenges we face during the next biennium are very real.

In the weeks ahead, my administration will continue working with labor leaders to find solutions for bringing employee costs in line with our economic reality. These talks have so far been frank and direct and I'm appreciative that state workers are taking part in them. It's very hard but we must reach an agreement on how to make our pension and benefits more affordable. As we face these fiscal challenges together, we must work together. We must recognize that a responsible and balanced solution to our budget problems is one that includes state employee concessions.

Those changes can and should be reached respectfully and at the bargaining table. Our state must honor its legal obligation to our public servants and state retirees while at the same time, keeping our promise to Connecticut's taxpayers.

Here's another promise. We will not remake the poor decisions of the past. We will not saddle future generations with fiscal cliffs and unpaid fixed costs. Responsible changes must be made and they must be made this year.

As our past record demonstrates, when we come together and hold realistic expectations and seek common ground, we can deliver results and we should do so this year.

(APPLAUSE)

The third and final area that I would like to focus on with you today is how we go about distributing aid to our towns and our cities. Primarily, how we fund public education.

The state provides a total of $ 5. 1 billion dollars in municipal assistance. Municipal aid is more than one-fifth of our overall budget this year, making it the biggest single expense. Not state employee pensions, not Medicaid, not debt service, not salary and benefits of employees. Town aid accounts for the largest portion of our state budget.

So it simply would not be fair for us to talk about continued state agency reductions or talk about the need for labor concessions without talking about new ways to provide town aid.

Of the $ 5. 1 billion dollars distributed to municipalities, 81 percent of that or $ 4. 1 billion dollars is educational funding. That doesn't include school construction financing which accounts for approximately one-quarter of Connecticut's bonded debt.

Now that I've put what we spend in context, let me say this. Of course Connecticut should be spending lots of money on local education. We all believe that investments in education are a down payment for our state's future. Our budget must reflect those values.

But the question is whether in this time of scarce state resources, are we spending this money in the best way possible? Are we ensuring that all students, regardless of life's circumstances into which they are born, regardless of what town or city they live in, can receive a quality public education? I do not believe that we are meeting that standard and I will point out to you that a recent court decision says that as well.

It's why I have long advocated that we direct our support to those municipalities that are struggling the most so that we can level the playing field for our students and our taxpayers.

While we have made progress on this front in recent years, I still believe we have not gone far enough. Connecticut needs a new way to calculate educational aid. One that guarantees equal access to quality education regardless of one's zip code.

Our state constitution guarantees it and our moral compass demands it. We need a formula that appropriately measures a given community's burden. A formula that recognizes the specific challenges faced by local property taxpayers and a formula that takes into account the impact those challenges have on the education provided to our children. It's that simple.

The budget that I will present to you next month will outline a more equitable system for providing town aid. It will be based on the local property tax burden, on student need and current enrollment.

The system will be designed to be more fair, more transparent, more accountable and more adaptable, meaning that it will provide flexibility to fit the needs of given communities. Results will be a fair distribution of our state's limited funds.

And if we are successful in this effort, there will be an important ancillary benefit. We can help ensure that no Connecticut city or town will need to explore the avoidable path of bankruptcy. To be clear, that kind of help should not come without strings attached.

If a state is going to play a more active role in helping less affluent communities, in helping higher taxed communities, part of that role will be holding local political leadership and stakeholders to a substantially higher standard and greater, greater accountability.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me be very clear. To greater accountability than they have been held to in the past. We should do it so that increased aid doesn't simply mean more spending on local government.

Those are the steps that I believe we need to take on town aid funding. The budget I propose next month will lay out a detailed path to getting there.

Now based on prior experience, I can assume that the proposal I put before you will not exactly be the one I get back on my desk a few months later. I understand it. That's how it works. But I am ready to partner with you but understand this -- real change needs to be made and it needs to be made this year. Change that leads to a better, more equitable system of town aid. For the sake of our collective future, there is no reason to wait so let's get to work.

Now I began today by talking about our recent historic partnership having to do with Sikorsky. But of course it's not just about the aerospace industry. Regardless of region, employment or income, people in every industry and at every income level are counting on us to get it right.

A family in Farmington where both parents work in the insurance industry deserves the reassurance of a stable business climate, one that keeps their jobs here in Connecticut.

A math teacher in Norwalk should have the peace of mind that their pension -- that her pension -- and benefits will be intact when she retires after decades of work.

A New London high school graduate following his father's footsteps building submarines here in Connecticut is owed a stable job with livable wages, enough to buy a home and raise a family.

Now if you don't think we can do it for these people or for that matter for all the people of our state, if you don't think we can help our constituents and make their lives and their careers more positive and more predictable, I ask that you look no further than the progress that we have made together in recent years to see exactly -- to see exactly what is possible when Connecticut works together.

Now years of good economic development are helping to grow jobs in our state. In fact, since the end of the great recession, we have recovered 85,000 jobs. Through the Small Business Express program, more than -- a program that did not exist a few years ago, we have helped more than 1,600 companies and they've retained 18,000 jobs. Good jobs. And they are now creating even more jobs.

And in the Manufacturing Assistance Act, we have already helped 150 companies since 2011. They have retained 34,500 jobs and are growing 8,500 more as we speak.

All told, unemployment is now at 4. 7 percent. That is the lowest level since 2007.

(APPLAUSE)

Low unemployment's good. Low unemployment is good. In 2012, we worked across party lines and passed comprehensive education reforms and today, thanks to great teachers and principals, our students are some of the best readers in the country.

And after years of decline, our graduation rates have risen for five years in a row.

(APPLAUSE)

Those graduation rates are now at the highest point in Connecticut's history. We've made monumental advancements for our most vulnerable children in Connecticut as well. Many people have doubted that we would finally be in a position to resolve the 25-year-old Juan F. Case which has kept DCF under Federal oversight. For too long, this has been an embarrassment to our state and an unacceptable situation for our children.

But today, as I stand before you, the end of that Federal oversight is within our reach. We are finally ready for Connecticut state government to reclaim its responsibility for Connecticut kids so please join me in support of this progress as well.

We are also improving our transportation system as we speak. Thanks to investments we've made, the on-time and the on-budget completion of the Q-Bridge project means that on a daily basis, 140,000 motorists are getting to where they need to go with greater ease.

And with Connecticut Fastrak, more people are riding Connecticut transit buses to work, exceeding all initial projections. Average ridership on Fastrak is as high as 19,000 people per week -- weekday.

(APPLAUSE)

And finally, on the criminal justice front. Connecticut is leading the nation in reforms. It is now safer than it has been in 50 years.

(APPLAUSE)

Our prison population has dropped significantly and a high -- I want to underline this -- high risk violent offenders are serving more of their sentence than they have ever served before under any other Governor. And recidivism has declined substantially as well.

(APPLAUSE)

This progress has allowed us to save the taxpayers $ 70 million dollars in the current fiscal year. All of this work. All of it is making Connecticut a better, more desirable place to work and to live.

I need to do one other thing now because I would be remiss if I don't take a moment to stress the importance of predictability and stability in the wake of November's Presidential election.

Now, I have no desire to rehash or reanalyze the results. We all get plenty of that from cable news. But I do wanna offer two brief thoughts on what we can learn from November and how it might impact the work we have to do this session.

First, it is now more clear than ever that too many Americans feel disconnected from their government. They feel the system isn't working for them. They fear that they aren't able to take part in the American dream. While we might disagree on the role of government in that effort, on whether it should be more government or less government, more active or less active, I offer -- I offer to you that a greater degree of predictability in government, in all government at all levels, will help reengage and reinvigorate our democracy.

Second, regardless of our party or who you voted for, most of us can agree that the Presidential transition has been nothing if not unpredictable. It has left some people and some communities feeling anxious and uncertain and that is true here in Connecticut.

But let me remind you, our state has a long legacy of acceptance, compassion and fairness. So regardless of whether your family settled here in Connecticut 300 years ago or just three days ago, you are welcome here.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. So let me say that as the people of Connecticut navigate a changing national landscape, we will ensure that every state resident is treated with dignity and respect and we will do this together. And that will not change. Not now and not ever.

(APPLAUSE)

This year, here in Connecticut, we must focus on these historic strengths as we also work to make our budget and our economy more vibrant. We must continue progress together. I'm asking for your partnership. I'm asking that we approach this session and this budget in a spirit of authentic bipartisan collaboration.

Next month I'm going to come back to you with more details on the topics that I have laid out today. About how government should continue to become smaller and more effective. About how we can continue working with our partners in labor to create sustainable benefit systems that we can afford not just now but in the years ahead. And about why we should find a fair way to fund public education so that we can ensure dollars are going to where they are needed most.

All of this will be geared towards building a more predictable budget and a more sustainable Connecticut economy. We are in this together and together we shall prevail.

Thank you, may God bless you, may God bless the great State of Connecticut and the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Governor, thank you so very, very much. At this time, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, madam. Thank you, Madam President. The Clerk has on his desk a resolution concerning a printing of the Governor's budget message.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Mr. Clerk.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Governor's State of the State address, not budget message. Pardon me.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

State of --

CLERK:

RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE PRINTING OF THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE, LCO number 885 introduced by Senators Duff and Fasano and Representative Ritter.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam President, I move adoption of the resolution.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

The questions on adoption, I'll try your mind. All those in favor, please say aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Opposed. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted no matter what you say.

(LAUGHTER)

At this time, members and guests, please rise, direct your attention to the House Chaplain and I apologize, Imam Refai Arefin. Please, I'm sorry.

HOUSE CHAPLAIN AREFIN:

Thank you, Lieutenant Governor. Let us go forth into the world in peace and dedicated to Your service, oh Lord. Let us hold fast to that which is good, render to no person evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the needy and the afflicted and honor all people. Let us work not for our own vainglorious ends but for a higher purpose, rejoicing in the power of mutual respect and love. May God's many blessings be upon us and remain with us always. Amen.

VOICES:

Amen.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Thank you. At this time, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President, I move adjournment of the Joint Convention.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Opposed. The ayes have it, the Joint Convention is dissolved. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CLERK:

The House will reconvene at 1: 45 for votes. The House will reconvene at 1: 45 for votes.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The House of Representatives will reconvene in five minutes. The House of Representatives will reconvene in five minutes. Members to the Chamber.

The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately. The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately. Members to the Chamber.

Will the House come to order. Will the House come to order. Will the House come to order and the members take their seats, please? (GAVEL) Will the House come to order and members please take their seats.

Will the Clerk please call and read Senate Joint Resolution Number 2?

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution Number 2, RESOLUTION CONCERNING PUBLICATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN, PRINTING OF BILLS AND EXPENSES OF THE 2017 SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, introduced by Senator Duff, Senator Fasano and Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I move adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Majority Leader. Will you remark? Will you remark further, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Yes, this resolution is very standard, we do it every -- every two years or every year for that matter. I would ask Mr. Speaker that when the vote is taken it be taken by roll call.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The question is on roll call vote, the question is on roll call vote. All those in favor of roll call vote, please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The requisite 20 percent has been met and when the vote is taken, it will be taken by roll. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, staff and guests come to the well of the House, members take your seat, the machine will be open.

(BELL RINGING)

CLERK:

The House of Representatives is voting by roll call. Members to the Chamber, please. The House of Representatives is voting by roll call. Members to the Chamber, please.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, please make sure your vote's been properly cast. If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked, the Clerk will take a tally. The Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 2.

Total number voting 148

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 148

Those voting Nay 0

Absent not voting 1

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The resolution is adopted. (GAVEL)

Will the Clerk please call Resolution Number 2 concerning the House rules.

CLERK:

House Resolution 2, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE HOUSE RULES. LCO Number 845 introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, sir, you have the floor.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I move adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Majority Leader. The question before the Chamber is on adoption of House Resolution Number 2. Will you remark further, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):
Mr
. Speaker, our rules are very similar to what they were in the last biennium. There are some technical changes and some conforming changes and again, I urge adoption. Thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you sir. Will you remark further? Representative Candelora of the 86TH, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of LCO 892. I ask that it be called and not be allowed to summarize.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 892 which are the designated House amendment Schedule “A”.

CLERK:

Resolution 892, House “A”. Offered by Representative Klarides et al.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment. Is there objection to summarization? Is there objection to summarization? There being none, Representative Candelora, you have floor, sir.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this amendment would merely require that the House Rules vote on any contracts or awards or agreements that have been negotiated and put forth between the Executive Branch and any of our state -- state unions. I would move adoption.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question before the Chamber is on adoption of House Amendment Schedule “A”. Will you remark on the amendment, sir?

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this amendment, I think, is an important one. We heard today in the Governor's speech about the 30 years of spiraling pension obligations and I remember in 2007 when I first entered this chamber and the budget was starting to fall into deficit and Connecticut was hitting troubled times, that many people in the Chamber came to the realization that our pension contracts were being underfunded. And that the Executive Branch unilaterally could make the decision to not fully fund our pensions.

And I think it took a lot of members by surprise. Being a freshman that year, I was surprised that there were a number of people in the Chamber, veterans, that had no idea really what the substance of those contracts were all about.

And when I subsequently served on the Appropriations Committee, and served and saw how the process worked with these contracts, I realized very quickly why that was that we didn't know. Because the way our rules are set up right now, the legislature doesn't get an opportunity to really scrutinize the contracts and know what's in it before we take a vote.

These expenses comprise a great majority of our overall budget and every year we are struggling to try to balance that budget. I think it's important that the Legislature have a greater say in that process and so I put forth this amendment so that we could have that opportunity and have that discussion so that it does not become merely the Executive Branch and the union sitting down at the table and coming to an agreement, that we would have an opportunity to ratify that.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I ask when the vote is taken, it be taken by roll.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question before the Chamber is a roll call vote. Those in favor of a roll call vote, please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I think the requisite 20 percent has been met. When the vote is taken, it will be taken by roll. Will you remark further on the amendment before us? Will you remark further on the amendment before us?

The good Majority Leader, Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again -- happy opening day, we're back, it's now 2: 30.

I rise in object -- and I rise opposed to the amendment. And it's really a process issue at the end of the day. We got here at 8: 30, 9: 00 o'clock. We started at 10: 00 o'clock. For many of us, we did not even see the amendment until about 30 minutes ago.

And what I do know is that our Speaker and the Minority Leader have been working for days and weeks to try to come up with a compromise on this language. There's a willingness and there's an openness. And lo and behold, just a few hours ago, in our state Senate on another floor, 17 Republican State Senators and 17 Democratic state Senators -- and that's not a mistake, those are the accurate numbers -- voted 34 nothing to come to their rules. And in those rules, they did make changes to the way they dealt with these contracts.

So I think the two concerns from our side of the aisle is; one, is the rush and the process by which we're doing it here today. Number two, we have rules that are not in conformity with the state Senate, which is an odd result. No one can think of the last time that occurred on this particular issue.

And number three, we would offer this and I spoke very carefully with my Speaker about this so I offer this not frivolously but truthfully. If we want to go take what the state Senate did as a model, go upstairs and ask those 34 state Senators why they could come to an agreement and look at mirroring something like that down here, I think you'd see a willingness and a welcoming from this side of the aisle to do so. And nothing prevents us from doing it tomorrow or the next day or the next day. Our rules can be changed.

So at the end of the day, the conversation needs to continue. Our Speaker is committed to doing that. And let's take what they did as a model and bring it down here to do it this way when people haven't seen it. We don't know it, we haven't even flustered what the possibilities could be. I think as an odd result and puts us in a conflict with our state Senate which, by the way, is tied and was voted on by all the Republican state Senators. We just want consistency and ongoing conversations and we look forward to revisiting it if those conversations continue.

I would urge my side -- this side of the aisle to reject the amendment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will staff and guests please come to the well of the House, will Members take their seats? The machine will be open.

(BELL RINGING)

CLERK:

The House of Representatives is voting by roll call. Members to the Chamber, please. The House of Representatives is voting by roll call. Members to the Chamber, please.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted. Will the members please determine if their vote has been properly cast? If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally.

Will the Clerk please announce the tally?

CLERK:

LCO 892, Amendment “A”.

Total number voting 148

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 72

Those voting Nay 76

Absent and not voting 1

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The amendment is rejected. (GAVEL) Will you remark further on House Rule -- House Resolution to the House Rules, will you remark further?

Representative Smith of the 108TH, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and good afternoon, sir. I'm glad to see you up there.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, it's good to see you out there.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

I remember the first time I came to the great Legislature, one of the first meetings I had was in the Finance Committee. I was stuck in the back row next to you and Representative Berger and I was amazed at what a good time both of you were having in the back row and laughing and chuckling while I thought we were doing serious business but I soon learned that yes, we are doing serious, serious business, but you can be having a good time as well.

So we've come a long way and congratulations to you, sir.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

I'm happy to hear that the Majority Leader said some of these rules can be changed because as I was looking over the rules, one thing that has concerned me about the rules since I've been a member here is the fact that although we work very hard, oftentimes we work way too hard and beyond the hours that I would call reasonable and safe.

I think, as a professional Legislature, doing business at 3: 00 o'clock in the morning and driving home to wherever you may go -- now some of you live close, many of us live far away from Danbury to Norwalk to Greenwich to Litchfield to New London -- you name it -- it's an hour-plus ride when we leave here from the Chamber. And I think it's dangerous, I think it's unhealthy. I don't think it's productive, I think it's unsafe. And I would encourage my colleagues to consider changing the rules to such that no bill be called after midnight, such that we all leave here safely.

So I know it's not really before the Chamber right now but since the rules can be changed, there will be further discussions, hopefully, I would ask the Chamber and the leaders to consider that as well.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Your point is well-taken, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the adoption of the resolution? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

VOICES:

Aye.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed? The ayes have it, the resolution is adopted. (GAVEL)

The Speaker would like to call upon the Committee to canvass the votes for State Representative for their report. The Chair would recognize Representative Bruce Morris.

REP. MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Committee appointed to canvass the votes is pleased to report that all the vote tallies are in order and that there are no problems.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir, I do appreciate your report and the journal will so note.

Pursuant to House Rule 32, I'll appoint a Committee on Seating. The Committee will be composed of Representative Lemar, Representative Hilda Santiago, Representative O'Dea and Representative Hoydick.

At this time, the Chair would recognize Representative Roland Lemar for the purpose of report on the Committee on Seating.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to make a report from the Committee on Seating.

Mr. Speaker, we have met and examined a seating plan as requested and we would like to report the seating plan is adequate temporary, so don't get too comfortable. And that all Representatives are now properly seated.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir, I really do appreciate your quick work. (LAUGHTER) Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker, communications from General Assembly leaders. Communications from the Senate Minority Leader, executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Refer those to executive nominations.

CLERK:

Communication from the Secretary of State. Special election vote results.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I ordered those printed in the Journal.

CLERK:

Communication from the Governor, a list of interim appointments.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I also ordered those printed in the Journal.

CLERK:

Communications from the Governor, Judicial Nominations.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I ordered those be referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

CLERK:

Communications and reports.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The fine Majority Leader, Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I move that we waive the reading of the list of reports and the reports be referred to the committees indicated. Thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

So ordered.

CLERK:

Introduction of bills, list number one dated January 4th, 2017.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Chair recognizes the Majority Leader, Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I move that we waive the reading of the list of bills and the bills be referred to the committees indicated. Thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. We are about to conclude our business. For those of you that are in the Chamber for the first time, it's typical for us to ask if you have any announcements or introductions. Are there any announcements or introductions? Oh, first time for -- oh? No.

Yes. Representative Urban of the 43rd, you have the floor, madam.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of an introduction and if I could have my kids come up here for just a second. Mr. Speaker, standing with me in two seconds will be Gavin Aruda (phonetic), he saved a small dog from a car in Walmart parking lot where the temperature was 116 degrees and he told his mom that he had seen the dog and that they needed to do something.

And by the time the police arrived, he had gotten the dog out. The dog would have been dead had he not taken the initiative to get the dog out. And this is his partner in crime here, Cam, who is here with him to support him today in front of the General Assembly.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I would say partner in saving, not necessarily crime, gentlemen, but thank you very much for your work.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Urban, you still have the floor, madam.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, standing next to me is -- is Ali Bond (phonetic) and she fell off the horse and broke her elbow in eight places. I didn't even know any doctors here, that there are eight places in your elbow to break.

But when she did that, I thought she's gonna be on the couch and feeling depressed and maybe she'd like to organize my door-to-door campaign.

Well, within a week, she was running my entire campaign and as you can see, I'm still here. So she did a great job. But I would tell you, Mr. Speaker, that Ali is on the autism spectrum. So I want you to always know -- do not judge until you have made a friend and you have talked to them. The campaign that this girl ran was unbelievable.

Anybody in this chamber that knows me knows how difficult it is to organize me. She had me organized. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative.

(APPLAUSE)

Ali, some of us in the Chamber might say you need a purple heart for the work that you did, so thank you.

Representative Mushinsky of the 85th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. MUSHINKSKY (85TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to say for the record how much we miss our late colleague from Wallingford, Representative Mary Fritz, who devoted her entire adult life to public service and especially in support of public education. And I'm sure the Chamber will recognize her when her family comes later.

And we wish to welcome her replacement, Representative Craig Fishbein who is a -- also a counselor in Wallingford and brings a broad depth of Wallingford background to the Chamber.

And Liz Linehan, who is also representing part of Wallingford. So the two of them will do a good job of -- of taking over where Representative Fritz left off.

And I also wanted to acknowledge my guest today who has gone back to school but I did want to say he was here -- Kaarish Maniar is a student from Wallingford who has been working as a volunteer and he plans to become a lawyer. He's now at George Washington University and I told him the state had too many lawyers already and he should rethink that. But he's on a path to be a lawyer and something the state does not need more of but I'm not gonna -- I'm not gonna change his mind. I'm not gonna change his mind, he's off to law school.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Orange of the 48th.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it's great to see you there as our Speaker. I congratulate you, sir, and I wish to make -- well, I can't really do an introduction because I have no one right here to introduce but I would just like to talk, sir, for a few -- for just a few moments.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

We understand that to be true. Please proceed, madam.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you. I would just like to say hello to my family who probably have turned the TV off by now or changed it to a different station. But they were not able to be here with me today due to illness and I would just like to say a special hello to them. So hi, guys, at home.

And I also would like to say something to former State Representative Stephen Dargan. And what I would like to say to you, Stevie Dargan, because you have nothing better to do than watch us on TV, is bye-bye now.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I'm not sure anybody could have said that better, Representative. Representative Kupchick of the 132nd, you have the floor, madam.

REP. KUPCHICK (132ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speago -- Mr. Speaker -- and ditto, Representative Orange.

I would like to introduce the four students behind me who assisted Representative Devlin and myself this summer.

First we have Damian Chessare from Fairfield Prep, a senior. I have Paige Anderson, who is a junior at Staples High School in Westport. Sorry, Jonathan Steinberg. I -- I snapped her up.

And Amber -- Amber, my brain just went completely -- Meyer, from Fairfield and Phillip Tomas who is a Sacred Heart student at Sacred Heart University.

Fine young people growing up in Connecticut and let's hope they stay here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. And I thank you all for getting active in your community. You should be commended for that.

Representative McCarthy Vahey of 133rd, you have the floor, madam.

REP. MCCARTHY VAHEY (133RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I rise for the purpose of an introduction.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. MCCARTHY VAHEY (133RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and as with Rep Kupchick, we have some other guests here from Fairfield today and I'm pleased to introduce them to you.

With me today, standing in the back are our Board of Education Chairman, Mr. Phil Dwyer and my daughter Emma Vahey. Mr. Dwyer was here in Hartford today before the State Board of Education working diligently to help serve our schools. And my daughter Emma is here as a visitor today so I thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Welcome to the Chamber. Thank you, Representative.

(APPLAUSE)

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Any other announcements or introductions? Hearing none, Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

I have one, Mr. Speaker, before we go home. Today is the birthday of State Representative Ed Vargas from the city of Hartford. Could we give him a round of applause?

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Klarides of the 114th.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, that's the second time today you have not paid attention to me. Duly noted.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

No, no. You went off the board, madam.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Anyway, anyway, anyway, I -- I rise on this very important day for all of us but it's an extra special day for one of our members, Representative Whit Betts who has a birthday today.

(APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Betts, we'll offer you the opportunity to rebut that.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, congratulations. I'd like to thank my leader for that recognition. I just have one birthday wish. Can we please adjourn so I can celebrate?

(LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I've always believed the trick to the wishes were not telling people what you wished for but this time it may work.

Representative Morris with the 140th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for an announcement.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. An announcement of the newly elected officers of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, that being the Chairman will be Representative Chris Rosario. The Vice-Chairman is Representative Brandon McGee. The Treasurer is Representative Andre Baker and Secretary Matt Lesser, Parliamentarian, Representative Vargas. Thank you.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Checking the board for one last time. There being no other announcements or introductions, the Chair recognizes Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I move the House stay in adjourned, subject to the Call of the Chair. Thanks.

SPEAKER-ELECT ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question on adjournment subject to the Call of the Chair, is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, we stand adjourned subject to the Call of the Chair. (GAVEL)

(On motion of Representative Ritter of the 1st District, the House adjourned at 2: 45 o'clock p. m. , sine die. )

CERTIFICATE

I hereby certify that the foregoing 151 pages is a complete and accurate transcription of a digital sound recording of the House Proceedings on Wednesday, January 4, 2017.

I further certify that the digital sound recording was transcribed by the word processing department employees of Alpha Transcription, under my direction.

________________________

Alpha Transcription

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