THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 10: 46 o'clock a. m. , Representative Sharkey of the 88th District in the Chair. )

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Will the House come to order. Will House Chaplin Rabbi Allen Lefkowitz please lead us in prayer.

CHAPLIN RABBI ALLEN LEFKOWITZ:

Thank you. Please rise. As we pray for our journey, praised are You oh Lord our God, the One who created us all, who guides us each on our life's journey, as we are grateful to our Creator for our God for the guidance on our life's path, where God accompanies us on our journey, even when we aren't aware. We also acknowledge those who protect and accompany us on our path. We honor those who have come before us, those who have left us, and those who continue to walk with us now. We honor those who have contributed to us, having made a difference in our lives, having made us better human beings. Let us remember that each of us is on our journey. We don't know where this journey is taking us, yet we trust in God's process as we all journey together, all for that which is for the highest good.

On a personal note, I'm honored to be a chaplain, serving as a representative of the Highest Power and bringing each of us closer to the One who created us all, and is a special blessing. We bless you now Lord our God, Living Spirit of the world who gave us life, sustains our being, and enabled us to reach this moment, this time and season, as we thank you for your love and your blessings, and we all say amen.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Will Representative Wilms of the 142nd please come to the dias and lead us in the pledge.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

(All)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):

Is there any business on the clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Favorable reports House Joint Resolutions.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

The esteemed majority leader, Representative Ritter. You have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Good morning, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

I move that we waive the reading of the list of resolutions and the resolutions be tabled for the calendar.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

So ordered.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

List of bills, number 19, dated February 1, 2017.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Again, Mr. Majority Leader.

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.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

So ordered.

CLERK:

Mr. Speaker, the only other business is the daily calendar.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Clerk. Will the Clerk please call calendar No. 16.

CLERK:

House of Representatives, regular session, February 1, 2017. House Calendar No. 16. House Resolution No. 11. RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF MARK L. BOXER OF GLASTONBURY TO BE A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR THEIR UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT. Favorable report of the House Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk. Representative DiMassa of the 116th, you have the floor sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I am going to ask for roll call vote, and I move acceptance of the House of Representatives favorable report in adoption of the resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Committee's favorable report and adoption of resolution. Representative DiMassa, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We have Mark L. Boxer, which is being nominated from Glastonbury, be a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Connecticut, and I would ask again for a roll call vote and move adoption, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you very much, sir, and if you didn't hear when he first brought out the resolution, he also asked for a roll call vote, so the question before the Chamber is on a roll call vote. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye. The question before the Chamber is on a roll call vote. Those in favor of roll call vote, please signify by saying aye.

ALL:

Aye.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

In the opinion of the Chair, 20 percent has been met. When the vote is taken, it will be taken by roll. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Members take their seat. The machine will be open. The House of Representatives is voting by roll. Members to the Chamber. The House of Representatives is voting by roll. Members to the Chamber.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88T:

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will the members please check the board to ensure that their vote has been properly cast. If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked, and the Clerk will take a tally. The Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

House resolution No. 11:

Total Number Voting 143

Necessary For Adoption 72

Those Voting Yay 143

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 7

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

The resolution is adopted. [Gavel] Ladies and Gentlemen, in a few moments we will begin the memorial for one of our colleagues. I would ask members please take your seats, staff move to the back of the Chamber. Would we please turn our attention to the monitors.

REP. BOUKUS (22ND):

I am State Representative Betty Boukus, and I live in the town of Plainville, and I represent Plainville and New Britain, but in this situation we represent all of the people of the State of Connecticut.

The beauty of the whole thing is, we as Legislatures, Senators, and State Representatives, we represent the people, and the people are children that are born to children that are 100 and whatever age, so when young people come to us, we can say look what you did, look what you did in mass to get a statue in the capital. It gives opportunity for them to see that they can make a difference.

I'm in bonding, and I'm also sitting next to the lady that does conveyance, and I'm working very hard -- don't tell anybody -- very hard to move Jackson Labs into Plainville, so the Conveyance Bill, if you see a little something in there, that may be what's happening. We're working very, very hard.

I have absolutely loved working with you. I love visiting our state. I love our state. I love going from place to place and see what they got, and make them think a little out of the box because they're not going to get what they're asking for, but maybe we can work it out somehow. [Applause]

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker I would ask for the suspension of our rules for the immediate consideration of House Joint No. 58.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Question before the Chamber is suspension of rules for immediate consideration of House Joint Resolution No. 58. Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, the rules are suspended for that purpose. Would the Clerk please call and read House Joint Resolution No. 58.

CLERK:

House Joint Resolution No. 58. RESOLUTION EXPRESSING SYMPATHY ON THE DEATH OF REPRESENTATIVE BETTY BOUKUS LCO No. 3486 introduced by Representative Aresimowicz, Representative Ritter, Representative Klarides, Senator Looney, Senator Duff, Senator Fasano, Senator Witkos.

Resolved by this assembly:

WHEREAS, on Friday, December 2, 2016, the State of Connecticut lost an admired and dedicated State Representative with the passing of Representative Elizabeth A. "Betty" (Castiola) Boukus, at the age of seventy-three; and

WHEREAS, she represented the 22nd House district with distinction for nearly twenty-two years until the date of her passing; and

WHEREAS, she was born on April 16, 1943, in New Britain, Connecticut, daughter of the late Salvatore and Helen (McCooey) Castiola; and

WHEREAS, she attended Plainville High School, Mount St. Mary College, Central Connecticut State University and the University of Hartford; and

WHEREAS, she was a teacher at the Wheeler and Toffolon elementary schools, until she left teaching to raise her children; and

WHEREAS, she also had a career in real estate and insurance; and

WHEREAS, she was a member of the Plainville Town Council from 1989 to 1994 and was chairperson of the council from 1993 to 1994; and

WHEREAS, she was first elected to serve in the 1995 to 1996 term, representing the city of Bristol and the town of Plainville where she lived, and later representing the city of New Britain and the town of Plainville; and

WHEREAS, she served for eleven terms as a State Representative, and served as co-chairperson of the Bonding Subcommittee, member and vice-chairperson of the Select Committee on Aging and the Public Safety and Security Committee, member of the Appropriations, Banks, Commerce, Executive and Legislative Nominations, Finance, Revenue and Bonding, General Law, Judiciary, Transportation and Internship Committees and member of the Select Committees on Children, Veterans' Affairs and Workforce Development; and

WHEREAS, she also served as Assistant Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Whip and Deputy Majority Caucus Chair in the Connecticut House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, she served as chairperson of the Prudence Crandall Statue Committee and worked to commission a statue in the State Capitol to honor Prudence Crandall, the state heroine, at the request of students from the fourth grade class of 2000 at Ellen P. Hubbard School in Bristol; and

WHEREAS, she attended and spoke at meetings of the State Bond Commission as an invited co-chairperson of the Bonding Subcommittee; and

WHEREAS, she worked tirelessly every December as an organizer of a Secret Santa program that collected gifts and supplies for residents of the Veterans' Home and Hospital in Rocky Hill; and

WHEREAS, she is survived by her beloved husband of fifty years, Gary Boukus, Sr. , and her son, Gary Boukus, Jr. , her daughter, Helen Santini and husband Jason, her four grandchildren, Zachary and Alexander Santini and Logan and Maddison Boukus, her brother, Steven Castiola, and her sister, Teresa Czak.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Connecticut General Assembly expresses its sincere sympathy and heartfelt condolences on the passing of one of its honorable members, Betty Boukus, whose death is a profound loss to the House of Representatives, her family and friends, the residents of New Britain and Plainville and the entire State of Connecticut; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the clerks of the House of Representatives and the Senate cause a copy of this resolution to be sent to the family of Betty Boukus, as an expression of the high esteem and affection in which she is held.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Majority Leader Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I move adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption. Will you remark? Will you remark? Representative Orange of the 48th. You have the floor, madam.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor our dear Betty Boukus, and wasn't it so nice to hear her voice ringing through our Chamber. She had such a special way about her. When I came in as a freshman in 1997, Betty was my assigned mentor. I don't know if we still do that, Mr. Speaker. We do? Okay. I haven't been anyone's mentor. I wonder why. [Laughing] Probably because Betty was my mentor, and Betty taught me many different things in many different ways, and the one thing that she taught me was to do the right thing at all times.

Be able to represent your district, do what's best for your district, what's best for the State of Connecticut. Do it with honor. Do it with dedication, and give it your all. Betty did that, and I've tried to do that, and many people in this Chamber are here to do this job and to do that in doing our job.

Betty was special. She would do anything for anyone at any given time. All you had to do is ask, and sometimes because she had this intuitive type personality, she knew when she was needed by someone in the Chamber, whether it was just to give them a hug, say hi how are you; any of that kind of thing. She was just a very, very special person.

Gary and Gary and Helen and the family, I am so sorry that you lost Betty, but I'm so happy that you allowed Betty to share time with us in the Chamber. She was a remarkable woman, as you already know, and this was also her family, and I, for one, will truly miss Betty. I think of her very often.

At one point we traveled to Taiwan together with Dr. Henry Li, and we had a great time, but when you travel to Dr. Li he doesn't sleep, so you don't sleep, and of course we flipped our hours, and Betty used to like to nap, so we were in our rooms one night when we moved down to the Governor's palace, and all of a sudden Betty was screaming my name at the top of her lungs. I went into her room, and there she was standing on the toilet screaming about the lizard that was in her tub. So, I said Betty I don't know what you want me to do about it, because I'm not touching it either, so there are just so many fond memories of Betty that I have, both professionally and personally, and I'm truly going to miss her.

Once again, thank you Gary and family for letting Betty share her life with us too here. She was a true inspiration to many, and she will be deeply missed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you very much, Representative Orange. Representative Fleischmann of the 18th. You have the floor, sir.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege of saying Betty Boukus was my dear friend. She and I came in together in the mid-90s. In fact, I think in this Chamber, Buddy Altobello, Betty and I were the only remaining members of our class up until a few months ago. No offense to Buddy, but Betty was the funniest member of our class. Always the funniest. From the first day to the last that she was with us -- I won't say she was the class clown, because she took her work seriously, but she always had that twinkle in her eye. She was always ready to do something to crack the rest of us up.

She seemed like she had been here before even though she was arriving at the same time as us, because she had such a great sense of who she was, and all of you who worked with her, you know this. Betty knew exactly who she was, so it gave her tremendous self-confidence along with that sense of humor. She was a wonderful colleague to work with.

Because she was Chair of Bonding, many of you recall situations where you had to approach her and let her know you had a challenge in your District, and she would always listen patiently and then figure out how to help you. We had an interesting relationship because I had those approaches I would make to her, and then she had some that she would make to me when certain things happened to schools in Plainville.

I'll never forget one time she came to me, and she said, Andy, I need your help, and this is a really strange one. I was like, well, Betty, we have lots of strange situations, you know, whatever. Tell me what it is. She goes, well, we've got a school, and we need to fix it, but we also need to tear half of it down. I was like, could you diagram that for me, so she takes out a piece of paper, and she takes a pen, and she shows how half the school had been so ill kept up that it had to be torn down, but the other half was really good, and she wanted to renovate it. She said, what do you think? I said, well, I've never seen this before in my entire career, but let's see if we can figure out how to get it done.

Candidly as I stand here now, I'm not exactly sure how we did it. I think some of it might have been general obligation bonds, and some of it might have been school construction, but she was my friend, I was her -- we figured out how to make it happen.

Like many of you, I take friendships really seriously, and so, you know, there's that value take if you're so brave as to step up to the alter at some point in your life, and you talk about standing by each other in sickness and health, and that's true in friendship too, and when I went through some tough health experiences, Betty was incredibly supportive and kind to me. Then, when the tables were turned -- Betty was old school, so she didn't want to talk about the fact that she was going through hard times. Because I was a cancer survivor, she told me some things that she didn't tell other people for months, and sometimes she told me things that she didn't tell other people at all, but she told them very quietly, because she didn't want to be seen to be complaining, because that was not part of Betty's code at all.

We had some of our deepest conversations in the last couple of years, at times where I was bringing up topics that she was too tough to bring up herself, and side effects of chemo -- not fun, not fun. Lasting effects of chemo, not fun, and I could see when she was dealing with some of them, and I would just bring it up, because that's one of the sort of privileges you get when you've gone through the experience together, and we would talk about it, and she would say the neuropathy today is really bad. My feet are killing me. I said, my feet are hurting too, probably not as bad as yours, but, you know, you can get through it Betty, and she would laugh and sometimes there would be a tear or two because it was so difficult, but she always ended those conversations too with a smile and a laugh and that twinkle in her eye. She was just indomitable.

As if that were not enough, to be the kind of person who can have that attitude through so much, she was also just, in my view, the model of what a representative of the people should be.

Here at the Capital nobody brought through more groups than Betty. There were kids, there were college kids, there were Veterans, there were visitors from foreign lands, and Betty was leading them around, and then if she saw you in her path she would grab you, and all of a sudden you were a very important person. You were the chair of this, you were the deputy that. She was introducing you as a very important personage, whether it was the group from Taiwan or the group from little league. She was all about Plainville, as I really don't need to say this to her family or most people in the chamber, but some may not understand that Betty was Ms. Plainville, U. S. A. She was all about doing what she could for her community at all times, and I was so moved when I went to her wake and there was a member of the police force and a member of the fire department standing guard by her side throughout the wake.

There were rees [phonetic} from the fire department, police department, boy scouts, little league, Veterans, girl scouts -- I mean every single community group was there as so many of you know.

Betty was our and Betty was Plainville's all-American girl. She had the greatest smile, the greatest laugh, the greatest sense of humor, and greatest sense of perspective that a person could ask for, so it was a privilege for me to have so many years getting to work with her, serve with her, be her friend, and like Linda, I think of her all the time. I know that's true for all of us here. Thank you.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Representative Petit of the 22nd. You have the floor sir.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Boukus, Gary, Helen, the remainder of the family, thank you for being here. I rise to talk for a few minutes about -- well, I always called her Mrs. Boukus. She is -- We've known her for over 40 years, my parents and my family. We live about three tenths of a mile from each other on the Plainville Bristol line. As you all know, she served here for 22 years and served the local council as well and had many interactions with my dad and uncles and brothers and sisters, but I think -- I hadn't seen the video before, and my thoughts are to dovetail with things just saw on the video and things that Representative Fleischmann just mentioned. I think more than all those titles; there are a lot of titles in the resolution, was really how she cared for the children of the district.

My nephew, Andrew Chapman, is 21 years old and at Central Connecticut State University, and he reminisced with me on numerous occasions how Mrs. Boukus would bring him to the Capitol and tour him around and show him the statues and show him the paintings and explain the history of this state and plan the things going on, and he would look at me, and Andrew doesn't use a lot of words. He said,
"Well she didn't have to do that
. " She would take her grandchildren, and she would bring me and ask me to come, and she didn't have to do that, and as Representative Fleischmann said, we'd meet people in the hallway and walking around, and she would introduce to people and make the kids feel important, because they were meeting famous representatives and chairman and people, and he would always say, she didn't have to do that.

I think that mentorship I think really has helped my nephew. He's voted in all the elections since he's been able to now. He's got a significant interest in government public policy and the like and is actually an alternate on planning a zoning in town, I think much of because of Mrs. Boukus' influence in terms of public service. I think you heard the same thing in some of the announcements from Majority Leader Ritter who talked about Mrs. Boukus being a mentor to many; mentor to people up here, but also a mentor to kids and the community.

With this recent election, my first foray into politics, Mrs. Boukus and I both decided, and talked early on that the election would be about issues and not the person, and I think we both stuck to that and talked to the folks in the 22nd District about issues and ideas, and I think that was never more true, and I think you all saw it when there was a defamatory ad that was post against me and 13 other candidates, and we called a conference that day, and Mrs. Boukus took the time to come from her house right around the corner and stand up and listen to the conference and call out the ad and said, and I quote from her, "We do not function like this in the town of Plainville. I've known the Petit Family forever. It's a clean race. I run for the position. I do not run against anyone. I run on the issues and ideas. "

On election night she came to the headquarters and sat next to me, congratulated me, wished me good luck and told me that I was now her representative, which really meant alot. I must mention that within about a month of her passing we were at a local Italian restaurant, Pagliacci's in Plainville, and ran into Mr. Boukus and Gary, stopped and chatted with him for a few minutes, and he told me how a map of Plainville that Mr. Bohanko the previous town manager, a couple removed, had given to Betty, that Betty had had in her office, they were now going to give to me so that I could have it in my office, and when I leave the House I'll pass it on to whoever's the representative at that time, which was really nice.

What also struck me was that they were both still in mourning. It was really within a month, and Mr. Boukus shakes my hand and looks me in the eye and says you're my representative now, you represent us in Plainville. You need to do a good job and do the good things that Betty has done for the town, and I really appreciated that comment from him, especially in a time of grief.

You saw some pictures in the video; Mrs. Boukus really loved the seniors in town. I guess it said she was 73, but like most people she probably felt that she could visit there, but she actually was not a senior, as my grandmother thought the same thing at 95. She said there's only old people there, but they are an award-winning senior center, and they love her here, and she talked about trips and you heard about some trips, and one of the great things I read was how Mrs. Boukus and Representative Floren went around the state, and I believe Representative Floren likened the two of them to Thelma and Louise [laughter]. As far as I can tell no police reports have surfaced yet on your hijinks around the state.

The folks in the 22nd District, which as you heard used to include Bristol and is now Plainville and New Britain, mourn her passing and, again, really are thankful to Representative Elizabeth "Betty" Boukus and her family for all she did for our District. She was a true public servant and will be missed. Again, like others have said, I really thank Gary, Gary, Helen, the entire family for allowing her to be up here. I've been here for at least three weeks now and see what a huge time commitment it is, and she did that for 22 years, which is amazing. Thank you. Thank you very much to the Boukus Family. Our deepest condolences, and thank you Mr. Speaker for this opportunity.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

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

REP. VAHEY (133RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker I rise today to celebrate the life of Betty Boukus. I wish that I could stand here and do a stand-up routine and make everyone laugh, because that's what she would do if she were here. I don't have that gift. Unlike Representative Fleischmann, I served one term with Representative Boukus, who was my seatmate here, and she would tell me not to cry right now, actually. She'd say oh, no, no now. We're all going to smile. Betty was an incredible model for me about success, and not just success as a legislature, and she taught me a lot about that, how to be successful here, what to do, but success as a human being, and the thing that she modeled so tremendously was that everyone of us here we're first humans, and she helped all of us to connect to one another as people first, and that's clearly what she did in her District, with her family, with her friends, and with the people of Connecticut.

I think every one of us here has benefitted from the life and work of Betty Boukus, and what was amazing to me was that throughout her illness I had no idea how sick she was. Betty sat here next to me, and she would listen to me as I would sometimes complain about small things in my life, and she never complained. She would sit here with us long into the night and be present and faithful to her duties and not complain and always have a positive outlook on life.

I will be forever grateful to Betty for what she has taught me and the mark she has left on my heart and on this state, and I also thank all of you, her family, for sharing her with us and her gifts with us. Thank you.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Ziobron of the 34th. You have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon. I rise to share some of my thoughts about our dear friend, Representative Boukus. When I came in as a freshman, I actually was sitting where Representative Zupkus is now sitting, and I had kind of a bird's eye view of what was happening. Our former leader Representative Larry Cafero, of course, was sitting two rows down, and that was enough amusement for me for most days, and you get a sense when you're sitting on this side when you're watching your colleagues across the aisle, you kind of start watching and paying attention.

I couldn't take my eyes off of Representative Boukus and Representative Fritz, and their friendship and what was h appening with those two strong, powerful women, and I spent a lot of time watching them and observing and finally got enough courage to go and introduce myself as a freshman here. Betty's strength was so amazing, because we were having some long, long battles in this Chamber over a variety of issues and sometimes because we had lesser numbers back then than we do now, we would talk at length as many of our colleagues know about a variety of things, and one night we were here debating a bill, and it was probably about 1: 30 maybe 2 o'clock in the morning, and Betty was wrapped in her blanket over there with Representative Fritz, and she starts walking over to speak to Representative Cafero, and she was a little cross with Larry because we were having a pretty rambunctious conversation on this side of the Chamber, and what I watched in front of me was the epitome of the respect that our leader had for a Democrat colleague and as a freshman you kind of start paying attention to those things, and Betty walked over, wrapped over in a blanket and looked at Larry and said, "Really, really, do you really -- really, is this really necessary. " He looked at her with big, adoring, loving eyes and immediately turned around to all of us and did this, meaning, stop talking.

It was so powerful of a moment for me to watch a woman like her come over and have that mutual affection and respect from a Republican leader, that all she had to do was say enough, and he immediately stopped and gathered everybody on this side and said [noise], stop talking. That is a level of respect that we can all try and aspire to, but it's one that is earned through actions and deeds, and she displayed all of them, and I'll never forget that moment for as long as I serve. Thank you.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Representative Tercyak of the 26th. You have the floor, sir.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise to just say a couple of words about my dear friend, Betty Boukus, who was a good friend of my father who was a State Rep before me. After my father passed, Betty and I would share this story. My father would call me every time Betty had her name or her picture in the paper, so that meant two or three times a week, year after year [laughter]. Here's the line, "Peter, good picture of Betty. Says Representative Boukus spotted in big Y. Says, my, isn't the produce fresh. " [Laughter] People loved Betty. People noticed when she was around. People knew that she loved them.

Betty's picture was in the paper because she went around and touched people where they were and touched them in their hearts. It was news whether it was Plainville, whether it was Bristol, and most especially when it was New Britain. She never let anybody forget that she was an important part of the New Britain team, that she would always, always, always be there for New Britain if for no other reason than because of her husband, Gary's history in New Britain, and how much he loved the school kids in New Britain. Don't ever doubt, Betty was there. Betty was there for the kids and for the people of New Britain.

Betty and I first became close in 1998. I was working on a statewide campaign and went to speak to the Democratic town committee in Plainville. They were deep in an exercise of fratricide, working on whether one half should throw out the other, or that other half should throw out the first, and they might still be arguing except they noticed me and decided that they could get together and turn on me, and so they did. My, did they come together, but before I could be too bloodied and battered, Betty stood up and said, "Why, Peter thank you very much for coming. We appreciate what you've had to say. " I don't know if I said more than hello before the attack started. "Peter, give me those t-shirts. I'll sell them to people here. We're good Democrats. We're all on the same side. I'm sure you have someplace else to go", and I ran and ran and ran.

I've always appreciated her for that, always given her credit for saving my life. I had the good fortune this year with a change of assignments to get a new office. I got Betty's old office. It's a surprisingly modest office for somebody who had such recognized power and influence. Also, it was just drawers full of files. Every issue. Every project any of us ever wanted or cared about. Betty kept track of it. Betty was an expert on everything she touched. You look at her drawers there and say, my God, whoever works this hard, and the answer is Betty did. She did it because she cared about the people she represented, and as she rose in influence, she recognized more and more that was everybody in the state, and because she cared very much for coming through for every single one of us in this Chamber, who she loved as another family, and Betty enjoyed being here and let people know it.

We thank her family for sharing her with us. We're all going to miss her for a very, very long time. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you representative. Representative Betts of the 78th. You have the floor, sir.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As you know, she represented the City of Bristol for many, many years, and as I've heard everybody talking today, and of course Betty has passed, but I attended a Bond Commission meeting today, and I felt this spirit, this smile over the Bond Commission, and the next thing I knew is there was a school in Bristol that Betty was very engaged in that had young kids, and low and behold we're getting 1. 4 million, and I'm sitting here saying, is Betty in the room? I don't know how in the world that happened, but the people who were there were eternally grateful because, as usual and as was her style, they pretty much had given up hope on being able to get that money without her leadership, so I feel like she has been so revered and so respected, that we all want to remember what was important to her, and kids clearly were her number one love.

She did much to transform the quality of life in Bristol. She was miracle worker in helping raise money for a transformational building just help kids not only for the last five years, but for many years to come for the Boys and Girls Club. She helped transform a beautiful historic building into a building that really helps people with handicap, and she had done so many things because she was genuine. She was a great role model.

I think Representative Orange said it before. She did it because it was right, and no matter how big the challenge, she was going to make it happen. I can't tell you how much Bristol appreciates everything she did, and I hope people will remember her as one of the better public servants that's ever served in this state, because that's really what she was.

To you and your family, I can only tell you that you should be enormously proud. We are truly grateful for all her tremendous works and I hope we all follow her example, because it's one that's really made this state better. I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, representative. Representative Berger of the 73rd. You have the floor, sir.

REP. BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again the Chamber brings our highest condolences to the family that's sitting here in the well of the House. Again, as others stated, thank you for allowing us to have Betty all these years in this Chamber to guide us and to lead us.

To say a few words as the last House Finance Chair to serve with Betty on the committee. Betty and I were on Finance, Revenue, and Bonding for 16 years together. Her last few years serving as the House Chair of the Bonding Committee, which was a tremendous, tremendous responsibility, and she took that responsibility very, very seriously. Everyone in this Chamber that's here now, that's not here now owes a debt of gratitude to Betty Boukus for her work along with Representative Floren on bringing back much needed money to everyone's District be it Republican or Democrat, working with Livvy was always a pleasure for Representative Boukus. She took that very, very seriously, as Representative Floren continues to do, and others will continue to do and follow in her footsteps. The work that she did on that committee was tremendous to projects that she visited to make decisions that affected everyone's life. Made a difference to her, and it makes a difference to us because we were able to better serve our constituency by the work and the commitment that she exhibited.

When I first came here in 2000, Betty again was my mentor. However, I came after Representative Orange, so she had plenty of experience in dealing with issues with people, but she had the crazy guy from Waterbury this time, and we sat right here next to me, and of course I came up with 20,000 different things I was going to change the world about, and I thing I got negative one out of those 20, but she was always there to give guidance, always there to be very respectful as she was in Finance, Revenue, and Bonding. She took her job very, very seriously, and she had the ability in a very nice way as we've seen here today to say no in a nice way. Well, we can't help you with that project this year or this half year, but you're going to get your turn. It's going to happen for you. You just have to wait your turn, and those are very, very, very important words for legislatures, not to be strung out, not to think you're going to get it next time, to know that maybe you weren't going to get it this time, next time, or the time after you would, and those are important for all of us to know.

The process of procedure that she established is one that I hoped that we continue in Finance Revenue and Bonding. To be able to create a template for you to make your project and sell your project to the committee and show jobs created, monies that are going to also be enhanced by the project, how it's going to help the tax rules, and you had to put that all on a piece of paper; hopefully, it was typed, and you had to present it to the Chair and had to sell your project, and that's also very, very important that she established organization, she established a template, she established a process and procedure that we can all look to as being very dynamic and being looking ahead, and that's what she did.

She looked ahead to the future of a better Connecticut for all of us, for all of our families, a better quality of life for all of us, for all of our families. She lived those values. Those values will never leave anyone in this Chamber, and those values are the values that we now share with her family. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you representative. Representative Butler of the 72nd. You have the floor.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just have a few words, and I too would like to share my condolences with the family. Thank you, once again, for sharing Betty with us. She was a joy.

I have to tell you there's a lot that I remember about Betty, but there are three areas of attributes that really stand out that come to mind when I think about her, and the first is about how pleasant she always was and jovial in her laugh and her laughter. It just made her a joy to be around all the time. It's one of those people that, no matter where you were, what was going on, she just made you comfortable and made it more fun, so that really comes to mind.

The second area is the term we have in front of all our names that we're referenced with, the Honorable Betty Boukus, and we all try to live up to that reference, and I could say that in thinking about the good work that Betty did, she has far exceeded that reference, but as we all endeavored to live up to that reference, please keep in mind that Betty did it well.

Finally, it was eluded to by a couple of my colleagues about how Betty was going through her health issues, and she was still here, and you would never know how sick she was, because she still had that smile. She was still so pleasant. She just came and served until the wee hours. She was still here doing her job, representing her District, and that last word is a big word, and hopefully something that I hope to have and continue throughout my tenure here and even in life, and that word is courage. Betty Boukus had courage, and I admired that so much, and that's what I'll remember as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you representative. Representative Klarides of the 114th. You have the floor.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know when we were watching the video, I immediately took out my tissue because I knew that I would start, and I assumed you would start, and I saw you dabbing your eyes. As sad as this day is for all of us, I think it's a day that we can all say to ourselves, that's what's great about being in this Chamber, knowing somebody like Betty who had courage, who believed in this job, who believed in serving this wonderful institution that sometimes we lose track of when we get involved in our arguments and our passionate feelings one way or the other, who believed in friendship above all else, who believed in being human before being political, and who believed in doing what's best for her District and for the state.

That is what is the best of what we do. So although this is a sad day, I think we need to celebrate that we were able to know one of those that was the best.

One time, as we often do in this building, we fight over who gets office space. You wouldn't even believe the amount of emotional and mental stress that goes over office space fights, and you're laughing. You shouldn't be laughing [laughing]. At one point, there was a fight over a certain space in this building, and all four leaders have to agree to it, and I was the only one that wouldn't for my own reasons, and my reasons were very clear, so about six months into this, Livvy Floren turns around, who I have the utmost respect for, and says Themis, listen, Betty said that you're the only one that won't sign off on the office space because they want to give it to her, because when she's not feeling well she can lay down, and as often happens, Livvy saw the steam come out of my ears. I called to my Chief of Staff, because I knew that that wasn't actually why I wasn't agreeing to it. I said have Betty come over here, so Betty came over and I explained to Betty what really was going on, and that any time she was tired or not feeling well, she had the run of my office and my couch to lay down on without even asking me.

One day, the end of last session, we were in very serious budget negotiations in my office, and she came in, and she said -- just with my people -- and she came in, and I said go ahead. She goes, I hear nothing, don't worry about it [laughing], and that will tell you how much I trusted Betty because in the middle of our top secret squirrel budget negotiations with our side of the isle, I had somebody from the other side laying five feet away with a blanket, because I know she was listening to nothing, because if she gave you your word, she gave you your word, and we could have a lot more of that, not just in this building, but in life, so to the Garys, your family, grandchildren, siblings, thank you so much for allowing us to have a little piece of her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, Madam Minority Leader. Representative Ritter. You have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and to Betty's family; this is real. This is genuine. This is not something you can get people to say nice words because you hear. It's because they truly genuinely feel a love for your sister, for your mother, for your grandmother, for your wife, and for your friend on both sides of the isle, and it doesn't happen all the time quite frankly.

Betty was the plain spoken woman from Plainville. She got done with fewer words than anyone I know, and that was her mentoring style. I mean Representative Petit mentioned it. I don't know that in my first couple of years I'd go to her for bond projects. She didn't need a lot of words with me. She'd say too high, bad project, try again, and we'd get it right, but she'd sit in her seat, and you'd go to her, and I'd run over with my paper. It was a bond project for Elizabeth Park in the West end of Hartford. Beautiful park. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you go see it, and Betty will always have an imprint on that park, because she was the one that helped me shepherd that through in my first term, but she would say to me, "You know your requests are a little too high. Things are a little tight. I need you to come down. " She would just give you the lay of the land, and you'd go back, and you'd come back, but that genuine, that honesty, her personality, and you appreciate that up here, particularly when you're trying to figure out your way.

As Representative Berger alluded to, we're going to miss someone like that, and I know she has big shoes to fill, and they will be filled, but it was unique.

To her family, I would say, when you talk about a legacy up here, and sometimes it's hard to quantify what a legacy is; is it the nice words we say? Is it that you can go back and look at all the bills that were introduced, the children you touched? Drive around the state and pick a town, flip a coin, and see where it lands on the map, and it could be in the rural areas of Brooklyn, Connecticut and eastern Connecticut, it could be in the City of Hartford, which I have the proud honor to represent, it could be in Southington, could be in Stanford; Betty Boukus' fingerprints are in that town. How unique is that? How cool is that? That's a legacy that doesn't go away. It could be a school. It could be a park. It could be a playground, and she did it.

Representative Betts mentioned the State Bond Commission. Have you ever been to a State Bond Commission meeting? They're normally pretty boring. They're 20 minutes. Poor Secretary Barnes has to read every resolution, and they go any nays. Often, if there's a nay, it's a front page story for goodness sakes right. They're pretty docile affairs. Not with Betty. Standing ovation. She brought people, and she lightened it up in her own way.

The plain spoken woman from Plainville who did as much in this Chamber in her two plus decades as anyone I know. We will miss her. We love her. We care deeply about her and her legacy, and we're glad you could join us today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you, Mr. Majority Leader. Representative Floren of the 149th. You have the floor.

REP. FLOREN (149TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. As everyone has heard, Betty Boukus was a force of nature, collegial, inclusive, and effective. She had an abiding code of fair play. Betty knew the process, she knew the people, and she knew how to get things done. She also knew how to light up a room with that radiant smile and that wicked sense of humor.

Notwithstanding that Plainville was the center of the universe, Betty always did extensive research and evaluation on each and every bonding request that came before our committee. Our onsite visits were legendary, covering many miles and many memories. We were indeed Thelma and Louise, and it was such a joy to ride around the state in that smoking hot red convertible, with Alex at the wheel [laughter]. That was even better.

Now, Reba McIntyre who's my favorite country singer, she says that to succeed in life you need three things; you need a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone. Betty had all three. Her wishes were always to help, to help others. Pennies for Prudence to fund that beautiful statue in honor of our state heroine. The soda can pop tops that we collected for years to help her beloved grandchildren's schools. I mean even those of us who never ever drink soda were swigging like crazy just because you had to meet Betty's quota and turn in your metal tops. Then there were Secret Santa collections for the Veterans at Rocky Hill each and every year. Betty never let a good need go unmet. Her gentle, friendly nature belied her backbone, but colleagues would rue the day that the rules were not followed. Her moral compass pointed true north, and her requirements for bond requests were as strict as they were bipartisan. If your paperwork was not completed to perfection, it was returned with the reminding nudge. When Betty nudged, you knew it.

During our journey together in the Legislature, we shared laughter and tears through all of life's many twists and turns; however, Betty's funny bone was always firmly in place to carry the day and lighten the load. This gift was most evident during our monthly Bond Commission meetings, because the governor actually seemed to enjoy being interrupted more than once.

Betty's shooting from the quip brought some liveliness to those financial proceedings, and I want to tell you, that's no small feat. Working with Betty was a joy. She was a valued colleague, an honest broker, and my very, very dear friend. It is said that a person has never really passed as long as they are remembered and remarked upon fondly. Well, trust me, in the General Assembly with her family and her friends, Betty Boukus shall have eternal life. Thank you.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you representative. To the Boukus Family, thank you so much for coming up today. More importantly as you've heard many times. Thank you for sharing Betty with us. I see down next to you you have Secretary of State, Denise Merrill, who also served in this Chamber with her, and was a very good friend. I did cry when I saw the video, and I cried a couple more times when people spoke of Betty, but I'm going to do as the Minority Leader suggested and think of today as a celebration of Betty's life. Her imprint will be felt around this state.

I had the pleasure of driving through Plainville with her, and as we drove it was like a display. We did that project over there. We did that project over there. Each and every road we took, we took a turn, and she would explain the project. The people of Southington, I mean Plainville -- people of Southington too, appreciated Betty. She helped us. She went to the Y, she went to Camp Sloper. Some point in time I asked her if she wanted a piece of Southington in re-districting, it would benefit the town, and Betty just smiled and said, no, you do a good enough job [laughter].

Plainville was her home. She loved the town, and she loved her family, and it was really evident. As we move forward, know that Betty will be remembered here in this building, and as the good Majority Leader said, throughout the state her imprint will be felt.

She simply was the best, the best representative I've ever experienced up here. The best person. The best mentor. She was simply the best. Again, thank you.

What I would ask is that we take action on this with a moment of silence, so I'd ask everybody to please rise and observe a moment of silence for one of the best legislatures ever in the history of State of Connecticut, our dear friend, Betty Boukus. [gavel] Thank you. Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would ask for the suspension of our rules for the immediate transmittal of House Joint Resolution No. 58 to the Senate.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Thank you very much sir. The question before the Chamber is on suspension of our rules and immediate transmittal of House Joint Resolution No. 58 to the Senate. Is there objection? Hearing none, the rules are suspended for that purpose. The House will stand at ease. The House will come back to order. Representative Albis of 99th. You have the floor, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker I move that we recess subject to the call of the Chair.

SPEAKER SHARKEY (88TH):

Question before the Chamber is recess, subject to the call of the Chair. Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, we recess subject to the call of Chair.

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the House recessed at 12: 41 o'clock p. m. , to reconvene at the Call of the Chair. )

(The House of Representatives reconvened at 1: 33 o'clock p. m. , Representative Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the House come to order. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar No. 23.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 23, House Resolution No. 8,

RESOLUTION PROPOSING APPROVAL OF AN AGREEMENT

BETWEEN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT AND THE STATE

EMPLOYEES BARGAINING AGENT COALITION. Favorable report of the House Favorable Committee on

Appropriations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The esteemed Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Representative Walker, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move acceptance of the House Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Committee's favorable report and the adoption of the resolution.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us addresses the current pension payment plan. It does not address the benefit plan design. Those are the conversations we will have in the future, but do not pertain to the resolution in front of us today.

What this does do is, this is an agreement which replaces the sharp and volatile balloon payments with flat, stable, and predictable annual contributions. It does this by lengthening the payment plan for a portion of the unfunded liabilities from 15 years to 30 years, allowing us to pay more in the beginning, but maintaining a manageable over the years -- manageable amount over the years, rather than face consistently rising payments.

It recommended that the Retirement Commission adopt a more conservative realistic growth rate about how much the pension fund investments will perform in a financial market each year. The former rate was 8 percent, and the Retirement Commission adopted a 6. 9 percent growth rate on December 12, 2016.

And you ask, how did we get to this point today? In 1992, the state created a plan to pay its unfunded pension obligations by 2032. The payment plan was flat and predictable, like a fixed rate mortgage. In the mid 1990's, when the state had consistent surpluses, government decision makers negotiated an agreement to lower the pension fund contributions. This meant that the payments would sharply increase in the distant future like a balloon mortgage that some of us all know too well.

The balloon payments have arrived and are scheduled to get bigger each year. The cost from paying for benefits this year is under $ 300 million dollars. When combined with the cost of those decades of deferred payments and other shortfalls that we have experienced, the cost for us in 2016 was more than $ 1. 5 billion dollars. That annual payment could grow from $ 1. 5 to nearly $ 6 billion in a single year by 2032.

Under the current plan, that would mean that by 2032, our pension contributions would be approximately 20 percent of our total general fund spent. Credit agencies and businesses have responded to this proposed resolution. Moody's has called it a credit positive. Standard & Poor's rates the deal mildly positive credit impact for the state. CBIA has testified in support of it saying, “We concede without this agreement, which is essentially a refinancing of the state's obligation. The state would be forced to make significant cuts to services or yet again, potentially raise taxes to an unparalleled level. ” Webster Bank Chairman and CEO, Jim Smith, said that this agreement helps us move the state to the right direction. It is a bullet dodged. It is an indication of just how deep the hole is. We all want to dig out together in this plan.

Mr. Speaker, I move for acceptance of the House favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Hello. [Laughter]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Madam.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Representative Ziobron of the 34th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon. I rise today in strong opposition to this agreement for a number of reasons.

First, I want to thank my good friend and Chair of the Appropriations Committee for talking about it in a very small way as far as what this agreement is, because the bigger issue that I have is what this agreement is not.

In the Appropriations Committee, Mr. Speaker, I started my comments with a quote from Martin Luther King, and I'm going to say that again here for my colleagues in the Chamber. And that quote is, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase. ” Faith means trust, that's what that means to me. And as many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle know, they know I have a little easel here that my daughter made me, and I've had it for quite some time and it says, “Trust but verify.

The problem I have with the executive administration's proposal is that they expect me to trust that their negotiations are in good faith. Well, I trust that they are in good faith, I don't necessarily trust the outcome. And we don't have to look further than the first tax increase in the State of Connecticut, which lead to the second highest tax increase in the State of Connecticut, which lead to an election promise, our budget is balanced, which lead to two weeks later, after the election, no, no, no, our budget isn't balanced. We put forward a package last year of a lot of different ideas to trim the budget and to adjust some of these agreements. And even when I look at the Governor's own press release on this issue dated December 9th, and the very first paragraph it says, “Today SEBAC and the Governor's office announce that after months,” months, “of productive negotiations between the administration and SEBAC, they have produced this groundbreaking agreement,” which by the way you can find on 30 sentences on one sheet of paper. Months it took them to come to this agreement.

This agreement did not change the discount rate, that is not true. If it was true, I would actually consider supporting this, but that didn't happen because of this agreement. It happened because it was voted on by the Retirement Commission Securities Council on the 15th of December. So, it went from 8 percent to 6. 9 percent a month ago.

This agreement does nothing to address that, it's already happened. And for people to say that this agreement lowers the discount rate, it's not true, it's a lie. Because this agreement didn't do that, the vote a month ago did that. This has -- the vote we're taking on today has nothing to do with lowering the discount rate. But let's talk about that discount rate. Because there is a lot of actuaries who are saying today that that 6. 9 is still too high. It's a step in the right direction to be sure. But when you look at the average gains that has happened in the state, it's not even close to 6. 9.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, to my good friend in the Appropriations Committee, could she please explain to me what the average return has been on this pension agreement over the last couple of years, through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the answer is 5. 5 percent.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me pose my question a different way because that is not the answer I was looking for.

The answer that I was looking for is much lower than that. What has been the average return on the pension plan in the State of Connecticut, through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker. The House will stand at ease. The House will come back to order. Representative Walker, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't misquoting, but from the Center for Retirement Research of Boston College, the study points out that since 2000 the average rates have been 5. 6, if that is what the good gentlelady from East Haddam who was requesting; if not, maybe she can give me the source that she has, so I'd know that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam Chair. Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and now I'm going to ask for a quick recess so I can give her that information. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Absolutely, the House will stand at ease. Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I'm going to get the factual backup that we have that shows the bad data is actually much lower than that. It was actually just recently referenced in an article, but we are looking at much less than that, less than three percent over the life; in fact, since 2001 the plan investment has actually seen significant volatility, much to do because of the eight percent. So, 6. 9 percent is a step in the right direction, but it's still concerning to a number of investors I speak to because they're afraid that over the life of this new agreement, that we're bound to see at least two, maybe even three more recessions. And that's a concern, but we'll put that aside for now.

The biggest issue that again I go back to is the fact of what this agreement isn't. When this agreement says that after months and months of negotiations we end up with one page, it makes me again lose faith. I don't have faith in the stairwell. I don't have faith in what's happening behind closed doors.

We need an agreement that's all encompassing. Our agreement, our budget last year proposed a number of things that would have saved almost $ 200 million dollars. For instance, an increase in office visit copays of just five dollars would produce a savings of $ 5. 4 million dollars. An increase in prescription drug copays would produce a savings of $ 15. 6 million dollars. And when I speak to the state employees in my district, they are willing to look at those things. They want to look at those things. When we stand in line at Nathan Hale Pharmacy and I'm filling my prescription, and behind me are elderly folks who are literally -- can't afford a cough medicine, tissues, and their prescription, we have to start saying something is wrong. This was an opportunity by the administration to do much more than kick the can down the road. $ 11 billion dollars has been added on to the backs of my children and grandchildren, when we have other alternatives.

If you just take that $ 200 million dollars of savings and reinvest that into this plan, it would cut that long-term liability by $ 8 billion dollars and provide the even level payment schedule that we all would like to be able to support, but it doesn't do that.

I was trying to explain to one of my colleagues what this really does, and I think we've all been there, I know I have when I was building my home and I had two young children and I was trying to finish projects and my credit card was getting kind of maxed out and then, all of a sudden, your interest rates start growing. I'll never forget the day I realized that we were done with our construction loan and I was sitting at the table in tears thinking about how I was going to afford daycare for my child, preschool, and still pay my bills. So, I went ahead and took out that application we all get, you know, its 0 percent credit card, transfer balance, the whole nine yards, and I did that. I transferred that balance, I cut my interest rate. But here's what I did that the state is not doing, I cut up that credit card. I put it through the shredder. This agreement doesn't do that. What this agreement says is we want to extend our payments, we're going to add $ 11 billion dollars onto our unfunded liability, but we're going to still keep doing the same things we always have, which is not bring reasonable, reasonable reform to the table. This is reform I hear from state employees that they want. Why is their leadership not coming to the table to have these conversations? Just simple things, modifications. In our budget package, we put it in last year. I think we had three pages of very small modifications to simple union contract negotiations. It would have provided, according to OFA, $ 20 million dollars of savings. Employee contributions to their pension plan.

As many of us know, there is a three-tiered system. It shocks my constituents when I tell them that there are some tiers that pay zero, zero. Four percent is not too much to ask, it's reasonable, it recognizes the value of our state employees and it would provide a $ 75 million-dollar savings to the taxpayer.

So, the idea that this proposal that we're about to vote on today, somehow sets the stage for pension reform, is not true. It doesn't change the discount rate. It does not. And it kicks the can down the road in a significant way on the backs of our children and our grandchildren. There was no reason to do this now, except for one, and that's because building the '18, '19 budget is going to be extremely difficult.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, to my good friend, could she please tell me what the payment schedule change is in this agreement, through you?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker, the change for FY18, it was scheduled to be $ 1. 87 billion, and it is now under this agreement $ 1. 65 billion, a difference of . 22; and FY19, $ 1. 94 billion, and the agreement -- under this agreement it would go to $ 1. 82 billion and a difference of 12 percent. And then it goes from there down.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And why, if this is -- we know on both sides aisle that our pension crisis is a crisis and we need to solve it. So, why would this agreement not make the same payment that we've always had?

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, could you ask the gentlelady to please repeat that question?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron, could you please repeat the question, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Of course, thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, she just explained, the representative just explained the differences in payments, and it's significantly less as this agreement has laid out, less in the millions of dollars than what we're currently paying. And my question is, if this pension situation in the State of Connecticut is a crisis, why aren't we maintaining the same payments that we had before into the future in this two-year payment schedule?

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, it was because of the balloon payment that was required at the middle in 2022.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, it's my understanding that the balloon payment is 2032, is that accurate?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is correct.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if we are to compare the old plan and the new plan, would you characterize the payment schedule as less in the beginning and increasing at the end of the term?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is correct and towards the end.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, that's really my point here, again. We're not really grabbing, grabbing this by the horns and dealing with our issues right away. We're creating an idea that we're comfortable in '18 and '19 with this payment plan, when the opposite is true. Our payments are leveled out, what this agreement has done is it has given room, it's given room to not handle and deal with the fiscal crisis that is facing our state. And by not dealing with pension reform, to the Governor's point, months, months of negotiation, it just blows my mind and those of my constituents when I have to explain to them that we have yet to tackle this issue in a meaningful way, in a meaningful way, Mr. Speaker.

There was no reason why the legislature and the leaders of our four caucuses couldn't be involved in this conversation and truly do this in a collaborative way. There was nothing stopping the administration from having those conversations, even if we weren't going to sit at the table with SEBAC, but that didn't happen.

This agreement is disappointing, it doesn't solve our problems, and for that reason, I'll be voting no. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker through you I would like to just ask the gentlelady from East Haddam exactly if we did not do this plan, what was the proposal that she was projecting? I did not understand that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, our alternative idea, one that we would have been happy to sit down with you and other leaders of this building, would have been to look at taking some of those significant potential pension reform issues, taking that money and immediately investing it into the pension payment plan for the same term that's here. And if we had done that, instead of $ 11 billion dollars at the back end of this deal, it would have been $ 3 billion, and we would have paid it off earlier. But because we can't seem to work together in a collaborative way with the executive branch, this collaboration never had a chance.

The timing of this deal is concerning to me and that's what I talked about in the Appropriations process, what's the rush? I go back to that. Certainly, we maintain to have those ideas and I'm happy to share them with my colleagues. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, a few questions to the proponent of this bill.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker, please prepare yourself.

Representative Srinivasan, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, we are standing, sitting here this afternoon, on an agreement between the State of Connecticut and the SEBAC. When in the past, through you, Mr. Speaker, have you had this opportunity that you are aware of that we did this similar thing?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, currently as it stands now, all contracts SEBAC agreements that are done are negotiated with the members of the SEBAC union and the Governor's office, and that is established by statute.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if I'm hearing that right, is this the very first time that we as a House have had the opportunity recently, or when was the last time?

That was my question through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm trying to remember the last ones we did. I believe it was two years ago we had one with the -- we had one with the Teachers Union from UConn, and then the one before that I believe was the State Police Union.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, as I understand this, the contributions in '18 and '19, as we look at that, the total amount that's going to be reduced that we have to contribute will be to the extent of $ 340 million dollars, $ 340 million dollars, to $ 220 million in the first year in '18 and $ 120 in '19, so that gives you the $ 340 million dollars; is that what we are voting on today?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker, he is correct.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, by reducing the amount that we are going to be contributing in FY18 and '19, I get that. I get the short-term date, there is no question about that. You are reducing, as I said by $ 340 million dollars, but what happens through you, Mr. Speaker, to the total amount, not just this amount, but what happens to our unfunded liabilities over the entire length? How much is that increased by because of the fact we are reducing it by this amount today?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker, approximately $ 11 billion dollars.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is that an increase of $ 11 billion dollars, I just want to make sure I heard that right?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that's correct.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, by reducing the contributions now, on a short-term basis because obviously, we know where we are, unfortunately, with the deficit that we are facing. Through you, Mr. Speaker, we are as my good ranking member just said a few minutes ago, we are kicking the can down the road and we are increasing, through you, Mr. Speaker, a total amount of excess of $ 11 billion dollars. Through you, Mr. Speaker, how do we expect to make those payments moving forward, when we are not able to make the payments now that we are reducing our contributions?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, what we are doing is the same as what many other people have done when they've gotten a balloon mortgage and they knew that there was going to be a spike in it. What we've done is extended the payments out so that we would be able to meet those payments in a palatable way and also to be able to make sure that this did not squeeze out any more dollars in our ability to appropriate for other agencies in the state.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I definitely get that if we do not do anything now, you know, the threat that we have, the concern that we have is what impact will it have on other agencies, essential services, you know people that depend on us, depend on the state to take care of them, I get that. But having said that, is this the way, through you, Mr. Speaker, by extending this unfunded liability, by kicking the can down, is that the way we take care of our people; is that the way through you, Mr. Speaker, we render care to those who depend on us right now? Is there no other way that we could continue to make the payments that we do need to make, but at the same time, I understand the balloon payment, I understand the concept of the balloon payment in 2032, but to me that unfunded amount that we have kicking down -- kicking the can down the lane is what concerns me the most about this amendment.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. We heard that the discount rate in this agreement, that we vote on today, is going to go from 8 to 6. 9 percent; through you, Mr. Speaker, is that happening today or has it already happened?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if we stayed on the pace that we were on because people had not covered the expense that was necessary to cover the cost for the pensions for the retirees that we are addressing here today, it would have caused a major balloon payment in the year 2033, that would have been out of touch, and we would have ended up closing down many departments in the state that would inhibit our ability to serve the people of Connecticut.

This payment is extended, yes, it is extended a bit but, you know, if we look at the way it has not been funded over these years, that responsibility should have been addressed quite some time ago. We are doing that now with this proposal that you have before you. Is it a perfect one? No, but we were not given a perfect scenario that we had to address. We are addressing the scenario by making sure that we still live up to our obligations to other entities in the State of Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in this plan that is ahead of us, in front of us this afternoon, through you, Mr. Speaker, when would the out years be completed? Is that, through you, Mr. Speaker, 2047?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is correct. The payments will be paid off in 2047 at that time.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker, when we pay out in 2047, the amount, the total amount, we would have paid in excess because of our unfunded liability would be to the tune of about $ 11 billion dollars. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I just want to verify that number.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is correct.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in June 2014, our funded ratio was about 40 percent, 41. 50 to be exact. In June 2016, our funded ratio, unfortunately, is down to 35. 50. So, if this agreement were to move forward, through you, Mr. Speaker, what would be our funded ratio?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

I'd like to stand at ease for a minute, while I get that answer.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Absolutely. The House will stand at ease. Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I do not have that, that breakdown at this time. If I do get it before the debate is over, I'll be glad to give it to my good friend. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Chairwoman for the answer, and I'm hoping that before this debate is over today, or as soon as we can, because that would be an important number to have. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I just want to -- I do not remember getting an answer, through you, Mr. Speaker, from the good Chairwoman, if the rate of 8 percent down to 6. 9, is that what we are voting on today?

Through you, Mr. Speaker, or is it something that has already been done, through you, Mr. Speaker, as mentioned by my good ranking member?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is correct, 6. 9. Thank you.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I understand the 6. 9, but is the 6. 9 we are talking, voting on it today or has it already been done?

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to be clear on my question.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes. I would like to be clear on my answer. Yes, it was voted on by the Retirement Commission back on December 12, 2016.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, did anyone have a significant voice in coming up with that number of 6. 9? Through you, Mr. Speaker, who was there at the table when the 6. 9 was agreed upon or negotiated?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, it would be the SEBAC administration and the Retirement Commission.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, in that conversation was the Governor's office involved as well?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes, that is correct. It was the Governor's office, the SEBAC, and the Retirement Commission at the table.

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Chairwoman, for that answer. Were any of us, other than those three that we just mentioned, the majority party whether it be the House or the Senate, the minority party, were any of them involved at the table when this big decision was made, when we are changing from 8 to 6. 9?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the Governor represented the Senate and the House in that negotiation. There were also actuarials there at the table when this was discussed also.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, was there any discussion at all that the good madam Chair is aware of, where the rate was reduced significantly to 6 -- from 6. 9 for a further reduction?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, could the good gentleman please repeat that question, because I'm not exactly sure, the question.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will members carry their conversations out to the hall. I know Representative Srinivasan is asking some pretty technical questions of Representative Walker, and she is finding it difficult to hear.

Representative Srinivasan, will you please repeat the question, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Absolutely, definitely, sir. Through you, Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the discount rates. The discount rates from 8 percent, which we are very thankful, have now been reduced, the discount rate from 8 percent to 6. 9.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is the good Chairwoman aware of any conversation, any discussions where it was agreed upon there was 6. 9 as opposed to trying to reduce it even further? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no that was -- after looking at the rate of return that we had and looking at the market, it was suggested that 6. 9 was the base that they wanted to land in.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in this bill that is before us this afternoon, what structural changes have been made moving forward?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the structural change is the refinancing that we are doing -- that we have before us today, addressing the balloon payment and stretching it out so that it is much more obtainable.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so, the only structural change is a refinancing? Through you, Mr. Speaker, are there any changes as regards to the calculations of overtime and other components that go into calculating a person's pension?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is not what is before us today in this -- in this resolution. The resolution is just how the State of Connecticut is addressing their costs.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if the SEBAC agreement is a contract until 2022, how would the good gentleman propose to make the changes in the current -- to the current agreement?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, we are negotiating. We are in conversation. We are able to change from 8 percent to 6. 9 percent. We are able to make those changes so it is logical for us to, when we sit at the table, if given an opportunity, given a real opportunity to have a conversation, not continue this constant consistent Band-Aid approach that we have. Reduce less now, take care of the short-term problems, and then pay for it in the long run as we have heard the increase in payments in the outlying years. So, all of that should have been, in my opinion, a conversation. This cannot be done, that cannot be done, but we are doing something. None of this needs to be done either, so that is a point of view, that if we are going to have a conversation and make changes, which are appropriate, which are needed, we get that. But those changes need to include a lot of other components in the conversation also. And looking at what goes into the pension calculations, where is overtime, how much overtime would be involved to me, through you, Mr. Speaker, would be fair discussions to be had even at this point of this agreement that we are having.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, was such a discussion ever had?

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I think the good gentleman has to understand that this is an agreement that has already been made, that has an ending of 2022. The gentlemen that came to the table to do the negotiations were willing to allow us to extend it. That was where we were able to open up the contract and have the changes for the timeframe, but beyond that, we were already obligated at 2022 to make the payments. So, if this doesn't go through, we will have the major impacts of higher payments because we've already established an agreement currently with the SEBAC management and with the Retirement Commission.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if this agreement does not move forward, how would we be making, as the good Chairwoman said, increased payments? I do not get that. How do increased payments come just because we did not move forward with today's agreement?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe back when this was negotiated with then Governor Rowland, this plan was established and etched out and the way we have this balloon payment was established through his negotiation with SEBAC and the Retirement Commission and unfortunately, we are the recipients of this because of the fact that it has been pushed down or kicked down the road or however you want to approach it.

What we have before us is a support or help through SEBAC to try and change that agreement so that we can live within the payment requirements to address the debt that we have already.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Mr. Speaker, I've very concerned this afternoon. What I see before us, the document that we are all going to be voting on concerns me, once again, for what has been a pattern here over the years that I've had the opportunity to be serving as a State Legislator from Glastonbury. We look what needs to be done today, what needs to be done tomorrow. Yes, if something has to be done, I get that. But in trying to do this shotgun fix and trying to take care of it in a Band-Aid approach and saying, we will now give less for '18 and fiscal '19, so that our essential services are not hurting, I get that. But this is not the way to go about because all that we are doing is stretching out the payments as much as we heard $ 11 billion dollars and kicking the can down the road. That is not the direction for Connecticut. That is not the direction we should be going. And I would urge members here in the House, not to be supporting this moving forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Albis of the 99th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon, Representative.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Mr. Speaker, I rise for the purpose of a few questions for the proponent.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker, please prepare yourself.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Mr. Speaker, I think we're all here because we recognize the importance of dealing with our long-term obligations. I was just hoping that the good Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee might be able to give us some context for the benefit of the Chamber, for the benefit of those watching at home, as to why we are in this situation that we are currently in today.

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the gentleman from East Haven. Yes, in 1992, the state created a plan to pay for its unfunded pension obligations by 2032. The payment plan that was flat and predictable like a fixed rate mortgage. In the middle of the 1990s when the state had consistent surpluses, the government's decision makers negotiated an agreement to lower the pension payment fund. This meant that payments would sharply increase in the future, just like a balloon mortgage.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, what would be the impact to our state budget in the upcoming fiscal year and in the near future, if we did not approve this resolution?

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes, I thank the good gentleman for that question. Through you, Mr. Speaker, this would require that we would have to find an additional $ 500 million dollars in our budget in cuts, and I do ask if we did -- if that's the case, I would like to know where people would like to find that $ 500 million dollars on top of the budget concerns that we have now of over a billion-three, or four, whoever is counting?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and one last question through you. It's my understanding that Governor Weicker, when he was in office, made a deal to pay back out pension payments. So, I'm wondering, what happened to that deal? Is that still what we're working from or have circumstances just changed?

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I don't know. [Laughter] Through you, Mr. Speaker, I don't know.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee for those answers. You know, I'm standing here listening to the debate and I tend to think that hearing what folks have had to say, we all want to do the right thing for the future of our state. We all want to make sure that we're keeping our promises to employees of the past and making our state a better place for the future. I think this deal accomplishes both.

I think we are entering into a responsible way to pay down our obligations, that we are legally obliged to pay for the coming years, while not jeopardizing future legislatures and future budgets with these massive balloon payments that we've been hearing so much about. So, this gives us some stability, some predictability. I know the business community appreciates that in this deal.

So, Mr. Speaker, I plan to approve this resolution and I appreciate your time. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Representative Case of the 63rd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A few questions to the good Chairwoman of the Appropriations --

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Although I believe she has stayed prepared, Representative Walker, please prepare yourself for questions. Representative Case, please proceed.

REP. CASE (63RD):

A few questions. During our Appropriations meeting, we spoke on $ 571 million dollars of savings right off the bat; is that correct? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker, I have in front of me $ 220 million. I'd like the good gentleman to talk to, identify the $ 570 million that he is speaking about.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in testimony that was given, which I don't have in front of me, when Secretary Ziobron was speaking on it, it was a $ 571 million-dollar savings going forward with this agreement. My question is, where are these savings and what do we plan to do with these dollars?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if the good gentleman is mentioning -- is talking about the 22 percent we save in FY18 and the 12 percent that we save in FY19, I understand that. And through you, Mr. Speaker, as that gentleman knows, he is part of the wonderful Appropriations Committee and I'm sure in our deliberations, as we talk about maybe Department of Developmental Services or maybe some of the others, I'm sure those agencies would probably enjoy less of a reduction in their budget.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, are you stating that this $ 571 or so million dollars could be earmarked for other departments or is this money being spoken of in the budget that we will be hearing next week?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm just -- I'm not sure right now and if he does, I'd love to have a conversation. I'm not sure what the Governor's budget, that we'll be hearing next week, has. But I'm sure again as I have been with the good gentleman several times across the table, we will have a long conversation about how we balance the budget and making sure there is equitability in all of the dollars that we share with all of the other agencies.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good Chairwoman of Appropriations, and just a few comments. We had a good discussion here back and forth with the representative, the good representative, the Chairwoman, and the ranking member. My concern, if we have an extra -- if we're saving, $ 571 million dollars is the number that I've heard, why aren't we putting that $ 571 million dollars towards this pension payment? If there is a dollar number out there that we're going to be putting towards different agencies, let us know what the savings is going towards, instead of just whatever everybody is saying, kicking the can down the road. And as the good ranking member, Ziobron, she brought out, we are just financing our future, for our future kids, our grandkids. The savings I think is a myth. The savings is not there. If it is there, please, explain it to us. Explain it to the Chamber and as of now, with the lack of information, I will not be supporting this today. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Betts of the 78th. You have the floor, sir.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm not going to ask the good lady from Appropriations to answer any questions, but I would like to make a comment, being recently a new grandfather. It's obvious that what we're doing here is going to fall upon the paychecks received by my grandchildren and others here. And one way I look at this is, we are lowering the payments and we're going to have $ 11 billion additional amount of money going into the pension. And I try to figure out what $ 11 billion dollars really means or how large an increase this is. And if you think about today's budget, which is approximately $ 20 billion dollars, you're looking at over, just over 50 percent of today's budget is going to be the price taxpayers have to pay for this agreement, over 50 percent.

How does one go back to your taxpayer and say, “We have just added $ 11 billion dollars in additional responsibilities and, oh, by the way,” you ask the taxpayer and the taxpayer says, “What did we get in return for that 50+ percent increase to the annual fund?” The answer is zero. How did they personally benefit from this? And it seems to me in the time that I've been here, you have a good deal for the state employees, you have a good deal for the state government, but once again, I don't hear anything being said about the taxpayer who produces the income that the government spends. I don't hear them being considered in this equation or in this agreement. I was also disappointed to know that we never had the opportunity to share some thoughts we had to decrease it from $ 11 billion to make it more palatable. To try and reach a -- you know, a better agreement, because I do not agree with the statement that was made earlier on that this is the best agreement we could reach. We've already heard that there could have been a better one, at least on a financial basis, than what's being discussed here right now. But the simple fact is, my thoughts to the taxpayers, they are overtaxed, it's not their fault that we're in the position we're in right now. And to go back and tell them that we are going to add over 50 percent of this year's budget to the State Pension Plan and oh, by the way, we all know the prospect of having to come back and refinance this is pretty high, considering the investment rate is now 6. 9 that we plugged in.

What happens when we don't meet that? Well, then that means we have an additional liability to what's already built in. So, if people here can persuade me that taxpayers are going to benefit or show me how they are going to benefit by adding an additional $ 11 billion dollars in future liabilities to them, I'm all ears. But if that does not occur, I absolutely cannot vote for this for that reason.

Somebody has to start standing up for the taxpayer. This is where we're getting the money from. I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Betts. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Representative Soto of the 39th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SOTO (39TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, we've heard a lot of talk about standing up for the taxpayer, so I want to just respond first to that. If we think about, again this, this payment as a mortgage, right, one that we had an adjustable rate mortgage, one that's going to increase I think, you know, as someone who has a family is going to say, “Well, if I have an adjustable rate mortgage, I'm going to do the best thing for my family and refinance that so that way we're not paying exorbitant amount. ” And it's the same thing that we're doing for the taxpayer, to ensure that we have consistent rates that we can pay that are manageable. And again, we hear about what are we going to do; but my question back is, if we don't do this, if we don't vote on this resolution right now, what is the answer to what we do in 2032, when that payment goes from $ 1. 5 billion to $ 3 billion dollars? And so, my question back to my colleague is, what is our response when we have to go back to the taxpayers under the current plan that we have right now, and ask taxpayers to pay an additional $ 1. 5 billion when that payment goes up to $ 3 billion. Mr. Speaker, thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Was that a question directed to Representative Walker?

REP. SOTO (39TH):

No, Mr. Speaker. It's a question back to my colleague on the other side.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Betts, would you care to respond?

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that question, because that is the question. But first let me address this issue about the refinancing. At least when I'm refinancing my mortgage, I own something, I own my house. We're refinancing this, we don't own state employees. Okay. And one of the things that's very important to realize is the problems that have been caused by us are being paid by other people who expect and should hold us accountable.

In terms of what we should be doing, I think we should be doing what we have been advocating for the last three or four years. Use common sense, be prudent, and start getting some realistic concessions that will help ease the financial burden that we are in right now. I cannot personally force that on people, but I can tell you I won't look at my neighbors and my friends and say, I'm not going to do anything to try and help you, because I know like you know that they are suffering. The don't have anything like what we have, and everybody here has had every single day of the week. So, it sounds good to do the refinancing, but that's only a very, very miniscule part that does not address the structural problem. And we all know that we're going to be back here dealing with the refinancing just based on historical records and the fact that we have a 6. 9 percent return. We know that.

So, it's a great question. I think that's up to the Governor to try and persuade the unions to do it. They are the primary beneficiaries, but believe me, if you can persuade the taxpayer that adding $ 11 billion dollars, adding $ 11 billion dollars in return for this agreement, be my guest. I thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Betts. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Representative Devlin of the 134th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do not have questions, but I would like to make a few comments regarding this agreement. We've heard a lot this morning and today about doing the right thing. And this is not delivering on that responsibility that we hold. You know, when GE made their decision to leave the town that I represent, Fairfield, in our great State of Connecticut, the primary reason had to do with a lack of focus on the long-term liabilities of our state.

So, while I applaud efforts to address this short-term issue, this compounds the long-term problem that we are facing, and puts this out on our children, on our grandchildren, on the young professionals that we hope will come here, stay here, have good paying jobs. It affects our job creators as well. If we step back and just think it was a few short years ago, that the Governor brought us the largest tax increase in our state's history, that was retroactive by seven months and was going to take care of all of our problems, by committing to that tax increase, we were not going to have any further problems. But that was rapidly followed by the second largest tax increase in our state's history. I think the one after that was called the Budget to Celebrate, because it didn't actually increase taxes here, but it did cut municipal aid and municipal support.

We recently had Sikorsky threatening to leave our state, so we had to scramble and do a special deal for Sikorsky. Now, we're hearing rumors of AETNA, so we're going to do a special deal for the insurance company. We're going to give a tax break on insurance companies.

This Band-Aid approach has to stop. We've got to take a serious holistic look at the real long-term challenges facing our state and take a different approach.

So, for these reasons I will not be supporting this resolution today, and I would encourage my colleagues as well to just consider truly our goal and our responsibility to the state of doing the right thing. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Devlin. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Representative Rovero from the 51st District.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I must say that I don't like this agreement, but I'm going to vote for it, and I want to tell you why.

As you know, I don't like to spend a nickel more than I have to, and I realize by doing what we're doing, it's going to cost us more money in the future. But I equate this to the fact that when my wife and I went to purchase our home, the loan officer showed me a 15-year mortgage, and he showed me a 30-year mortgage. He also explained to me how much I would save if I purchased a 15-year mortgage. I thought about it long and hard because I don't like spending a nickel I don't have to, like I said, but I could not afford that 15-year mortgage, so I took the 30-year mortgage, knowing I was going to spend more in the long run, but it was something I could afford.

I take this proposition as the same idea. Yes, it's going to cost us more money. Yes, maybe we shouldn't do it in the long run, but we cannot afford to do it at this time. So, I will be voting for this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Rovero. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Representative Skulczyck of the 45th District, you have the floor.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you. I am honored here as I first rise in the House, and I say this is very humbling to be in this room. I kind of feel like the kid, Speaker, I kind of feel like the kid being talked about and I'll tell you why. I'm a retired state employee of 21 years working for the Department of Corrections. I'm probably an anomaly on this side of the aisle. I know you can laugh. [Laughter] But the reality is this, you're talking about me. Because back in 2012, back in 2012 these decisions were being made then. And the same Governor, negotiated deals then to open up SEBAC and have these negotiations extended out to 2022. What I'm hearing from the madam presenting, is that this is not a part of that negotiation today, it is exclusively SEBAC only, not contractual. And I have an issue with that, because the promises back in 2012 were going to correct the path of the future for the unions and for the state and put this burden to bed once and for all.

I have heard it commented several times here, kicking the can. This is kicking the keg. This isn't a can any longer, this is a keg. And what I worry about is in 2047, when I'm with my walker going out to my mailbox in Boca Raton, Florida, to get my check, no longer coming from the State of Connecticut that I earned; I earned from being assaulted, being on HIV medicine twice for blood exposures, I've been bit, spit on, tased urine and feces, like many professionals have. I've earned every dime of what I have. And I don't think there is anyone in this Caucus that has argued one time that we don't support taking care of the unions.

But the problem is that this governor is putting this deal out that's taken months. As my colleague quoted, “months of negotiation. ” This deal looks like it took a coffee. This deal doesn't have anything of long sustainable change. It's $ 11 billion dollars at the end. My children will guarantee move out of this state. Our grandchildren won't be able to afford to live here. We have 28,059 Tier I employees retired, 28,000. I want to know the percentage that live outside of the state. But that is a chunk. And I commend the governor in 2015, when he tried to renegotiate these deals and segregate the Tier I. You all remember he did that. In fact, he had support from our caucus as well as the other side. Kevin Lembo had some concerns with it, but at the time it didn't go forward.

In concept, this is the right thing to do. My colleague, Rovero, you don't have a nickel, you got to refinance, we get it. But you're doing it at a time -- it feels like we're rushing at the 11th hour to make a decision and I don't understand exactly why leadership has not been involved from both sides of the aisle, because I think we have solutions here.

I'd like to ask the good lady, is there a conversation about if this does not pass? If exploring the contract and not just SEBAC, through the Chair, sorry, I'm new, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you Representative. Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good gentleman for his question. Then if we don't do this, then the contract stays the same the way it is now currently to 2022. And I do want to point out to the good gentleman, you said that when we did the negotiations in 2012, this contract was done in 1992; so, therefore, this would not -- that would not have been the discussion at that time.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Walker. Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Yes, through you, was that not 2017 extended to '22, if I recall? Am I wrong?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm trying to understand what is, what is being negotiated from the 2000's, I don't understand. The contract that we are trying to do the revision to the resolution before us is affecting a contract that goes until 2022. And we are taking this time that the discussion between the governor and SEBAC and the Retirement Commission happened to try and change the date and the time that this is going to come due.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, could he explain what the 2017 is?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Skulczyck, will you care to rephrase?

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, and I will rephrase, and I understand 2022. In 2012, if I may through you, Speaker, was there any part of 2012 opening of SEBAC that extended any period of this negotiation -- or any part of the negotiation going forward?

Through you, Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Excuse me, I'm going to stand at ease.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease. The Chamber will come back to order. Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I beg to the good gentleman's indulgence. I was wrong. In 2012 we did have -- it was due to come due in 2017, and we moved it out to 2022, I did not know that, and I apologize for not having that information. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Walker. Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

No apology necessary. I paid attention because I was getting ready to retire in 2012, so I really wanted to know what was going on. [Laughter]

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Stay in Connecticut.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, I'm still here, and I'm fighting to still be here. And Speaker, I'll have a few closing sort of comments, wrapping this up. I'm strongly in opposition of this today, based on these reasons; this is not a real solution. Without other mechanisms put into this -- without other pieces as put forth by our ranking members here, renegotiating contract, considering a hybrid 401(k) system for new hires, we have seen it done throughout our country, it has worked effectively, we can do this in Connecticut and get us back on track. I am seriously afraid not in 2047, next year, the $ 500,000 that becomes available this year, as my colleague quoted, “Where's it going to be spent?” Next year are we going to find another $ 500,000 through some other renegotiation? Because next year I will guarantee you we will have another need to find more money to solve more of these problems ever growing.

I'm greatly concerned. I recommend we send this back with a no with conditions. Governor, call our leadership to the table, negotiate with our leadership in the room with solutions for long-term solutions for Connecticut. I ask the Governor to do that. I think our leadership on both sides of the aisle will be more than amenable and in the Senate as well. Let them in the room.

Thank you, Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. And it sounds as if you have been here for many years. Representative Candelora, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too rise with concerns and rise in opposition to this agreement. And I understand the notion here that we're in a situation where we need to sort of refinance the home. You know, 10 years ago, when I started getting involved in the budget process and we had much greater budget deficits, we did some short-term borrowing, and I think the vote was actually on party lines and republicans opposed it, but we did you know some refinancing bonds to get us through the emergency. And I think that budget hit us like a cold bucket of water. But as time has gone on, we've continued to see the erosion and we continue to be in the same deficit cycle that we've been in. And yet again, I'm here being faced with a short-term solution to a long-term problem. And if this was 10 years ago, when we were first facing the situation, I guess I could understand a yes vote because we need to get through and sort of right the ship in the future, but this has been 10 years of short-term solutions and to long-term problems.

And so, I just have a very difficult time casting this vote because I see this agreement as an opportunity. It's an opportunity for us to have a more in-depth dialogue with the unions to try to come to the table and fix our budget crisis. And we're giving everybody with this vote a pass, except for the taxpayers. Because what's happening is in order to take this vote, the SEBAC agreement had to be opened and the parties had to come to the table.

And frankly, I don't believe that this administration negotiated this agreement with our taxpayers and children in mind. They negotiated it for the short-term solution of providing a balanced budget in the next two years, because that's really all this refinancing does. And I think this morning the Governor said it. If we reject this contract, we have $ 500 more million dollars to come up with next year. So, we approve the contract and the budget address next week is going to show a balanced budget based on these numbers. But the problem is, our children are going to be paying for that. And we've missed an opportunity to actually sit down and have discussions with the unions, real dialogue to fix this problem in the long term. And I've said this before with various proposals that people on this side of the aisle have put forth on pension reform, and I never understood why the unions want to play this game of chicken because in the end they lose too if this doesn't work. And I look at the way this is projected out and I just don't see how we finance all of this and make it work in the future.

So, usually when you sit down at the table and you're looking to refinance your home, the one thing you look at is, is there a way out? Does this solution provide me a way? And I don't think this does.

I had a friend of mine, years ago, when the recession was hitting, contemplating whether or not he should sell his business. And I sat down with him and we looked at his expenses, we looked at his income, he had some opportunities and I told him, “Sell it now and get out and go work in the private sector somewhere else. ” He came back to me a few years ago, and he said, “You know, I should have listened to you. ” Because he went the route of getting an SBA loan and trying to bill out of his debt and ultimately, he ended up losing the business in its entirety. He now continues to have to work well into his retirement years and he still doesn't have his mortgage paid off on his house. And I think of that person today, as I'm sitting here casting that vote, because I don't want to leave Connecticut with a huge deficit to pay off in the future and leaving very little hope for our businesses and children. And sadly, I think that's what this agreement is doing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? From the 10th District, Representative Genga, you have the floor, sir.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand in strong support of this plan and resolution. This plan has been reviewed by several organizations in the credit rating business and found to be a positive step forward. That's what the Charitable Trust Pew said about this. The President and CEO of Webster Bank also said this is a positive step forward. Standard and Poor's and Moody's have rated this a positive for our credit rating. This payment plan, and that's what it is, a payment plan, creates a responsible and predictable payment plan making it more manageable over the years than our current plan.

Our current plan would require us to put in $ 1. 5 million last year and a balloon payment coming up in 2032 of $ 6 billion dollars, that would be devastating to our budget process. What this plan does is provide a flat, stable, and predictable contribution.

In addition, this payment plan will allow us to address budget priorities over the years because of the predictable flat payment. That would be devastating if we couldn't do that. $ 6 billion dollars today is like almost 30 percent of our current budget. This plan will allow us to do something that is affordable and to continue to manage our budget in a much more efficient way. It does not address the designed benefits. Those don't change, and they won't change, because there is an obligation. The actuarial determined employer contribution is what changes. The actuarial liability does not change. And I point that out, and for those reasons I stand in support of this and urge adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you for your remarks. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? From the 53rd District, Representative Belsito, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. How much more can the people of this state take? An extra $ 11 billion dollars. It's not 11 cents, it's not $ 11,000, it's not $ 11 million, $ 11 billion dollars to pay for something that we should have paid for long ago.

I have eight grandchildren. They will be over 40 years old before we pay for this, 40 years old. I won't be here. So, what am I doing? I am setting the stage for more people to leave. I'm setting the stage for my grandchildren to be in debt up to their ears by $ 11 billion plus.

Now, I don't know what's so great about this that you're all saying it's great, it's great. It's time for us to restructure our budget and put the emphasis on what we owe. It's time for us to pay it off. We're not going to push it down 30 years more. Let me remind you again, my grandchildren will be over 40, over 40 and owe $ 11 billion dollars extra. There are over 30,000 people a year leaving this state, 30,000. Why? Oh, the weather is too cold? There are too many people? It's not a nice state? They're leaving because we are overtaxed. And this legislature for 43 years, except for a couple of years, has been controlled by the democrats. And you have put us in this hole. It's time to change. It's time to use some common sense.

This should be voted down. We restructure the budget, we make the payment plan that is doable for the next years. I want to thank you very much for this opportunity.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Representative de la Cruz, of the 41st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm actually surprised at all of the negativity on that side of the aisle because with our new administration and Trump being up there, we're going to be winning, and winning, and winning. And the 6. 9 percent is probably a way, way low number. It should be more like 15 percent, I guess. Again, I did just get here, and I am walking into a mountain of debt, and we realized that when I ran. The answer is not going to be us fixing this in five minutes because it is impossible, I agree.

The debt that we're facing has been caused over the last 30 or 40 years through a lot of -- some bad agreements, but we're taking an opportunity now to fix that and it is going to take a long time. My grandkids will be old, that's what's going to happen. This is a big debt and it's not something we're going to change tomorrow. It reminds me of my small government experience, I was in the town of Groton in our little corner of the state, those pensions are fully funded for the municipal and the education side and we have a balanced budget, and yeah, we are in tough times a lot of the times because of what Hartford does to us; but we are balanced. And that's something that -- because we made the decision years and years ago, to continue to contribute to those funds, we are in better shape.

As for the comment on the Sikorsky and GE leaving, I agree. Our tax structure is very high here. That's why my plan would be to find our competitors, you know, I'm a sheet metal worker right up here in Connecticut, but if you do the same job down in Houston or in Florida, we make $ 35 dollars an hour here, well, down there they make $ 12. What my proposal would be to do is let's let them -- we'll stop paying Federal income tax at $ 12 and then we'll pay the rest to the state from the $ 13 to $ 35, same with our minimum wage. You are right, we are taxed very, very high, but a lot of it is because we are supporting the southern states. And I don't think we're going to be able to fix our budget like we want to unless we start addressing those issues.

We heard a great story by Representative Skulczyck; again, I see where he's coming from. He looks at his pension as the golden nugget or he thinks that it was far too much or certainly far too much for people that are coming up behind him. It sounds to me like it's a story of someone who climbed out of a hole and pulled the rope up behind him.

When we talk about kicking the can, if we're going to eliminate all good jobs, and again, I think the state is a beacon for jobs. If we follow -- if we follow the path of what the private enterprise has done, we won't have -- nobody will have insurance. I have been on that side of it. In 1998 they were getting rid of people at the 28-hour rule. I had family and cousins who were working at a big employer that were telling people, “You're not full-time anymore, you're 27 hours a week. ” And they lost their insurance. That happened in 1998. This has been going this road for a long, long time. And to put it all on the shoulders of state employees, I agree, being someone that is an outside union, my benefits probably aren't as good as theirs, but it looks like we're trying to drag them down to have nothing to make ourselves feel better in a way. I'm not sure how that's going to work. We have a non-pension crisis in Connecticut that nobody talks about.

We look at just the state employees who have benefits. How many people in Connecticut right now have any retirement at all, that are 20 to 30 years old. It doesn't seem like we address that one little bit and I think we need to start talking about that. We have, you know, those are some things that we are going to deal with, that's kicking the can. People that are retired -- and we should send a letter to Florida because obviously, we don't make retirees up here in the north anymore, so they should know their number one resource, what drives Florida, retired northern people, is drying up. We should at least give them the heads up and the courtesy to let them know that it's not going to work that way anymore.

So, I am in support of this. I think it's the fiscally responsible thing to do. We are paying -- I am in support of this. It's something that we can do to fix our problems further down the road and agree, 40 years sounds like a heck of a long time, but this is a heck of a big mortgage that we're getting stuck with. We are that generation. I am that kid that when I was young they were making bad decisions up here. But now it's time to pay and we do own this, it's ours. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Would you care to remark further? Would you care to remark further on the resolution before us? Representative Wilms, of the 142nd District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise with some very strong concerns about this, about this proposal. When I first became aware of it a few weeks ago, I did, being on Appropriations, resolve to look at this with an open mind. At first, I noticed that we were obviously lowering the discount rate from 8 percent to 6. 9 percent and that that's a good thing. The 8 percent was way too high, it was unrealistic. Actually it's -- it was actually a budget gimmick, it was at such a high level that it made our budget appear balanced when it actually wasn't. So, lowering it from 8 to 6. 9 is a big step forward. I think Pew mentioned in the Appropriations meeting that at 8 percent, Connecticut was at the back of the pack compared to the other states, but now at 6. 9, we're more at the front part of the pack, which is good.

But as my colleagues have pointed out, this proposal doesn't lower the discount rate, that was already decided by the State Retirement Commission back in December, so that's -- however we vote today, that's separate and done and it has no affect based on what we do here. I do share some concerns that at 6. 9 percent, we're not earning that rate, certainly the last several years, it sounds like for the last 10 years, in which case every year we don't earn 6. 9, we're just going to get further and further into the hole and we're doing to have to come back again to deal with that. I did also, obviously notice this agreement tends to reduce the spike in the previous amortization schedule. And I do agree with my good colleague, who spoke earlier, where he talked about a 15-year mortgage and a 30-year mortgage, and I do agree with that analogy. I do see this as a couple that has a 15-year home mortgage and monthly payments are too much, so what they do is they refinance it out into a new 30-year mortgage and then lower their monthly payments. So, the monthly payments go down, but on the other hand, the liability is kicked down the road and it really doesn't solve the long-term problem in terms of the mortgage relative to their house, and that's what we're doing here. So, I have real concerns about that.

I think also, the biggest concern that I have is that this agreement is so limited. You know, some of my colleagues over there mentioned that Moody's and Standard and Poor's have made favorable ratings and there have been some other favorable comments from the business community, but I have to say those comments and certainly the ones into the Appropriations Committee hearing are very, very limited.

For example, Moody's and Standard and Poor's didn't upgrade the ratings on our bonds, that would have been a real major step forward. What they did was they gave a positive trend or a positive comment, but that's probably the lowest grade kind of reaction that they could employ. So, we need to keep that in perspective and also the comments from the business community were nothing along the lines of, “Oh, wow, this solves our problem,” or “Wow, we're really making some real structural change here. ” This is basically dodging the bullet for today so we can, you know, continue doing what we're doing tomorrow. And I guess the analogy I go back to with the 15 and the 30-year home owners, is the family that's going from the 15 to the 30 year, maybe it's because they're spending too much money and they're not readjusting their budget to take into account where they're at and that's what we're doing here. We're not changing anything structurally or fundamentally about the pension plans about whether we're on 401(k)s, whether you know, people need to kick more into their pension plans. We're not dealing with those underlying factors. We're simply changing the actuarial schedule, a refinancing if you will.

And so, what I see here is an opportunity missed, a big opportunity missed because clearly, we were sitting down with SEBAC and there was an opportunity to bring in other subjects, other points and so, you know, where this -- where I'm at is, these two steps, the discount rate and the amortization are good. But they are limited, they are very tiny. And we're missing an opportunity to have done more.

Candidly, I was interested to hear that I guess in the next two budget years, if this is approved, we're going to save about, I think it was about $ 250 or $ 300 million dollars. Apparently, that's all going to go to the budget deficit and I think it's curious that were the timing of we're doing this now and the budget comes out next week. So, I think it's curious that these two are kind of sequenced that way. But I would have preferred that $ 250 or $ 300 million in savings was directed to the pensions and so it's like, look, we're going to refinance this, we're going to lower the rate, but these savings in the next two years, we're going to put an end to the pension fund and over the next 30 years it would accrue and it would reduce the liability on the back end. We'd be kicking the can less down the road. So, in that sense, we're actually -- we would have done more on behalf of our retirees and their pensions.

So, based on all of that, I am going to -- I acknowledge that there are some positives here, but I see this as a huge opportunity missed that don't address the fundamental issues that we're facing and as a result of that, my no vote is going to reflect that. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Would you care to remark further? Representative Paolillo, from the 97th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the opportunity today to stand in support of this plan and resolution that's in front of us. Through you, Mr. Speaker, if I can to the proponent, the good Chair of the Appropriations Committee, through you if I can ask the good Chair if she can answer what the normal cost of payroll for providing benefits to employees of the State Employee Pension Plan and not including the unfunded liability from prior years?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe it's 9. 8 percent.

Through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Paolillo.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if I can just clarify if that's the cost of providing benefits to current state employees?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is correct.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

So, if I can you, through you, Mr. Speaker, then kind of dial down and ask what the cost of Tier I employees under that scenario is?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

I'm sorry, could he repeat that question? I just didn't hear that one, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Paolillo, would you care to --

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good Chair, if she knows what the normal cost for Tier I employees would be for pensions?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker, 8. 42 percent.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Paolillo.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you, the same question, but now looking at for employees, state employees, hired since 2011, Tier III, what is the cost for those same benefits?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is 6. 4 percent, which reflects a lesser benefit.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Paolillo.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, it would then be my assumption that the cost for providing those benefits for those Tier III employees are less than the Tier I?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Paolillo.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. So, we've talked about national averages and also some of the studies that have been done. Through you, if the good Chair can answer if we are below or above the national average for those benefits?

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, according to the retirement research at Boston College, we are below the average.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Paolillo.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Will you care to remark further? Representative Davis, you have the floor sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon. You know, when this plan first got proposed, I think most of us on both sides of the aisle, especially on this one side, well let's do a wait and see approach. Let's see how the numbers work out, let's see what the actual actuaries say about this program that was put forth by the Governor. And I know I certainly took that approach and certainly looked at it with open eyes. And going forward, when they had the public hearing on it in Appropriations and ultimately the vote in Appropriations, there was some votes for it, some votes against it by republicans and the rationale was still going back and forth. I kept an open mind and I still didn't make a decision on how I was going to vote. And so, over the last few days, after that public hearing and more information was made available to us, I had the opportunity to study the plans under the old plan and what we would look like on the new plan, and I certainly see the benefits to this plan. Don't get me wrong, there are certain benefits to the State of Connecticut. Obviously, there is a reduction in our payments in the first couple of years, it spreads it out, it gives it a little bit more stability.

I understand those arguments, but what deeply concerned me about agreeing or voting for a plan such as this, is that when going across the tables that were provided to us is that the state's contribution went up significantly, our unfunded liabilities went up significantly, but the employee contribution stayed the same. There was no give at all by those who will benefit from this program, and the only people that are actually paying more out of this program, the ones that are taking on the burden of cost is the taxpayer. The taxpayer of the State of Connecticut is going to be paying $ 11 billion dollars more over 15 more additional years of advance payments to pay down this new unfunded liability, while the employer, or the employee, sorry, is making no additional payments. And when I recognize the fact that there is an opportunity for us to be still negotiating with the employee unions moving forward, we are being told that the Governor's office has tried multiple times and they are being denied; they are being told, no. But then when we're listening to debate here tonight, I hear that we in fact don't even have to be opening up this agreement right now, that the current system brings us to 2022. And that's the agreement that's in place right now.

So, there is actually no need for us to be voting on this piece of legislation, this agreement, this resolution, separately from actually doing it with a total package with the employees, if we were to renegotiate over the next five years to bring down those costs.

And I've heard a number of times mentioned here today that Moody's or Standard and Poor's and other people have given us a credit positive rating. And we have to be very careful as Representative Wilms had mentioned earlier, but that doesn't necessarily reflect on a better bond rating for the State of Connecticut or actual credit rating; it had no impact on it right now. It just simply said that they're heading in the right direction or at least they're not doing more damage, I think is essentially what they're saying by this. And perhaps we're not doing as much damage as they could be doing or worse damage than we anticipated that they would be doing by not being able to fund this program going forward.

So, it's important for us to recognize that the essence of positive, credit positive output by Moody's and Standard & Poor's, but is not necessarily a situation where it's directly positively impacting our bond rating moving forward.

So, ultimately my decision here today is based on similar ones made by the other representatives that spoke. Who will be paying for this decision that we're making tonight in 2017? Is it going to be us people who may or may not live here in the future, I don't know a number of people are planning on retiring. Maybe they're moving out of state. But when I look at it I say to myself, my daughter turns 2 years old next month. She's going to be paying for this into her 30s through taxpayer funds. And the opportunity for this kind of payment to be paid down in a more responsible way so that maybe it's paid down by the time that she's done through high school, maybe if we followed the alternative plan and some of the suggestions that were made by this side of the aisle, it will be paid off by the time she's done with college.

But now under the plan that we have right now, it's not going to be paid off until she is in her mid-30s at best. And to me, that's unacceptable. Because there is a better way. There are other ways, and there are ways that we could be negotiating right now to have higher employee contributions into the system, to bring down the overall unfunded liabilities so that we're not paying and extra $ 11 billion dollars in the future, but in fact paying even less than that, and that would be the right direction for the State of Connecticut.

So, although I understand those who support this deal and want to support it here today, I think there is a better way. I know there's a better way and quite frankly, there should be a better way. So, I will be opposing this here this evening. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Would you care to remark further? Representative Ziobron, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, for the second time, thank you very much. Earlier there was some back and forth with myself and the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee regarding the average return. And I was able to dig through the two-pounds of paperwork that we've had over this issue, and I would just bring your attention to the actuarial report, page number three, this is pretty important information and shows you how shockingly low our return on investment has been in the State of Connecticut. And the ancillary conversations I have with folks who are in the bond market is that Connecticut is not looked favorably upon and that's unfortunate and something we want to change.

On page three of the actuarial report it states this, by the way in case people want to trust or verify me, which I certainly encourage you to do, this is put out by Cavanaugh Mac Donald, it's the Connecticut State Employee's Retirement System, June 30th, evaluation. It says, “Market value investments returns of 2. 76 percent for 2015,” and get this, “0. 17 percent in 2016,” not even a half of a percent, not even a percent, 0. 17 percent for 2016 for an average of 1. 47 percent. So, I think it needs to be corrected on the record, it is not even close to 2, 3, very far away from 5. 5, as my good friend responded, and that's part of the issue that so many have. And again, I just know that this actuarial discount rate was voted on separately outside this agreement; so, let's not be confused by that.

Secondly, I want to note that there is many of my members, Mr. Speaker, who may be changing their vote from the Appropriations Committee to today. And the main reason for that, Mr. Speaker, is shockingly is during the testimony from the Office of Policy Management, we were never given materials until we requested it officially during the meeting and were finally sent at 1: 00 p. m. , these tables of actuarily fund analysis balances, which actually then showed that it was the $ 11 billion dollars and not a much less number. And many of my colleagues, frankly on both sides of the aisle, Mr. Speaker, did not have this information when we could have asked questions of the budget director. And I think that's important to note because regardless of what you believe, I believe we all deserve to have that information, whether you're a democrat or a republican, and that did not happen on the day that this was being discussed in testimony before the Appropriations Committee.

And then finally I must, through you, Mr. Speaker, talk about my good friend, Representative Skulczyck, who pointed out his long service to our state, and as somebody who has taken the time to visit 10 different correctional facilities, and I've stated this on the record many times, our correctional officers are put in harm's way every day. We have no idea the kinds of abuses they go through and the kinds of issues that they're facing.

So, the comment that he was in a well and climbing up on a rope and pulling up the rope after himself, I find to be frankly the opposite of what our state employees do. Not only did he complete his service, but he is here in the General Assembly trying to make a difference, and I thank him for his efforts and his service to the state. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, representative. Would you care to remark further?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Would you care to remark further? Would you care to remark further? Representative Klarides, the Minority Leader of the 114th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we've heard a lot today and we quite frankly hear a lot every day, for many years now, about our dire fiscal situation. And I think we all realize, no matter where we're from, no matter what party we are, that this is not hype, this is the real deal. We also talk a lot about how we got here. I think we also agree that there were bad decisions made all around, not just in the last six years, but before that. There is a lot of blame to go around, and I don't think anybody thinks that there's a monopoly to one person or one party.

We hear these terms “kicking the can down the road. ” Our ranking member on Appropriations, personal favorite, “sticking gum in a hole. ” We have a lot of phrases we use, but we all mean the same thing. We mean, we are not actually solving a problem. We are pushing a problem forward.

Now, in the past six years we certainly haven't made the problem any better. In fact, we would argue it's been made worse, but once again, enough blame to go around.

I had the opportunity last week to do a television show with a colleague on the other side of the aisle, and he talked a lot about these words, “predictability,” which I find very interesting. It's a little odd and it's a little hypocritical at the same time because as you all know, and you're probably sick of hearing it, we've been saying those words day in and day out, “predictability, sustainability, trust. ” But what I find difficult to understand is I hear my colleague talk about and there has been other people saying it too, we cut $ 900 million dollars from the budget last year, look at us, look what we did.

Well, I would argue that number, but either way, you cannot speak of that type of thing in a vacuum. And what I mean by that is this, you cannot say you cut $ 900 million dollars from the budget, unless you necessarily talk about the rest of it, unless you necessarily talk about the two highest tax increases in state's history, unless you necessarily talk about the highest borrowing in state's history, unless you necessarily talk about every anti-business bill that we have passed in this state. And the reason why you can't speak of them individually or in a vacuum is because they all make up the whole of what the State of Connecticut is. And they all make up the problem that we are now in, so you cannot fix the problem without addressing all the parts. And I wonder what's changed now that I hear my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and, quite frankly, the man in the corner office talk about predictability so much. I'm thrilled to hear it, don't get me wrong, but I wonder why I hear it now so often. In fact, why I hear it at all. Did somebody see the light or have a revelation? Maybe because we have had a couple of elections where the results have been different than they have been in the past? Or maybe it's a simpler answer. Maybe we just ran out of money and there is no more money to spend.

On December 9th, we heard about an announcement which, from at least my perspective, gave me a lot of hope. Gave me a lot of hope because I heard the Governor announcing that he, in conjunction with the state employee unions, had gotten together, opened up the contract and made a deal, which I was very excited to hear about. And I remember saying at the time, I think that there is promise to this deal, but unfortunately in a vacuum it will not change anything that we have done in the State of Connecticut and more importantly it will not fix anything that we have done in Connecticut. And as many of my colleagues have talked about today, to refinance, that's what this is, and when you do a refinance in your home because you may be having some financial problems, you don't just do the refinance but keep the two Maserati's and the five vacations, right?

Okay, we may have gotten rid of the Maserati's, we may have moved down to the Mercedes, but we're still not driving a Prius, guys. Okay? You cannot just do the refinance without making other fiscal changes to your life.

I heard a quote when this was done, Governor said, “Incumbent upon us to reform this system,” I couldn't agree with him more. But the word “reform” is very important in that sentence. Reform means change. Reform means change for the positive. We are not reforming. We are kicking the can down the road. We are not having savings. We are paying less than we otherwise would in the short term to only pay more, not only in the long term, but in the mid-term. I heard another quote from the Comptroller, “Glad to see that we've reached an agreement after looking at all of the proposals. ” I don't know what other proposals there were? I mean, I think you can only have other proposals if there are other people involved in the conversation.

I do understand that a conversation, negotiation between a governor and the union must stay between them, I understand that, I know that's how it works, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't have had parallel conversations with every leader in this building to say, “Hey, what ideas do you have? What proposals do you have?” As far as I know, those conversations were not had. They weren't had with me. Ben, were they had with you? Majority leader, did you have them? You may have, I don't know.

My point is, how do we know what the best solution is, unless we know what the other solutions might have been? We talked about that this is extending our debt, it's $ 11 billion dollars more and I also don't understand since this contract was opened up, why didn't we take the opportunity to make other changes? Why didn't we take that opportunity?

I had the wonderful opportunity last week to speak to a group of state employees and they were from different jobs, different departments and it was very eye opening for me I'd have to say, and I'm going to tell you why. They were very clear that they didn't want to go back to the table and give any concessions, but the reason why they didn't was what was enlightening to me. “Why should we,” they said, “come back, give concessions, when you are just going to spend our money on something? You spend too much. ” This is what they said to me. “You spend too much. We don't trust you.

I think it is our obligation to take them at their word. They don't trust us and they shouldn't trust us. Funny, we stood here a year ago, I talked about how business didn't trust us. Business doesn't trust us. Unions don't trust us. Who else doesn't trust us? Hospitals don't trust us because we told them we'd give them the money and we never did. Transportation money never goes back to transportation, that's why we had a problem with a lock box; and then there's the spending cap.

It is our obligation in this Chamber and this building to protect people's retirement security as we promise them. That is what I take very seriously. 50 percent of the state budget belongs to union costs. Therefore, investing in unions, retirement and the word we gave them, is investing in the State of Connecticut. I don't know how we invest unless we make these kinds of changes. I don't blame them for not wanting to come to the table because this deal is not giving them anything. It is giving this building something, but it's not giving them anything.

I have heard from businesses throughout the state, and I know that they've made public statements, about this deal being a good deal. I also don't blame them for saying that and you know why? Business has been beaten up, run over, and abused in this state for too many years. When they see a few crumbs, they're going to take it. I don't blame them for taking it, I don't. But we are not elected to look for crumbs. We are elected to take action.

All of those proposals should have been on the table. This may be the best deal in the whole wide world, but we don't know it, because we didn't have any other options. And we lost the opportunity to make those structural changes. We suggested, as my colleagues have mentioned, when we talk about those concessions, let's take that money and invest it in their future and help fund that pension going forward.

That is a way to start bringing trust back to our hardworking state employees, because guys we haven't done it so far, I'll tell you that. And I had a rude awakening when they talked to me about it. If we are in this together, then we should be in this together. We should take this opportunity, go back to the table and make the changes that move the state forward. I'm not saying this deal is the wrong deal, I'm saying it is not the right deal on its own, it's not the right deal in a vacuum. Unless we start to find a solution that will change something, instead of pushing that debt out to our kids and our grandkids, nothing is ever going to change in this state and those hardworking state employees are not going to get what they deserve. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. The distinguished Majority Leader, Representative Ritter, of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, kicking the can down the road, and we all use that expression. We have not kicked the can down the road. The cans got kicked on us. That's the reality. For the last seven years, last six years, we have paid every actuarially valued dollar and pension obligation costs, every dollar, the last six years. That was a change that was made, began in 2011. The problem is not what we've done the last six years, it wasn't kicking, is what fell upon us from the previous generations, which everyone acknowledges. And you know when it started, this really struck me is when it started, 1939, 78 years of liabilities, of evading responsibility fall on us lucky 150 legislators, we'll be back to 151 soon, in this Chamber. Lucky us.

So, what do you do? Here's an idea that we could do. We could balance our budget tomorrow, done. We'd be home by mid-May. And we'll what they did in 1939, 1949, 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009, we won't pay the pension, just won't pay it. No taxes, no cuts. We just don't pay it and say, you know, someone else will figure it out. That is kicking the can down the road, and it's happened. It's a game both sides have played beautifully, a wink and a nod, a handshake, the deal is done. The budget is finalized. No one is hurt in the short-term, it's a long-term obligation, they'll figure it out 25 years down the road. We're the ones who have inherited it. Now, if I was watching at home, I'd be curious because you do hear positive remarks from all sides, right?

I would say to step back from the noise of this Chamber and the back and forth that happens, which is natural in politics; who thinks it's a good deal? Do the democrats think it's a good deal only? Is it a partisan issue? Who has objectively studied it to determine whether it's a good deal for the State of Connecticut? One example was Moody's, now I don't worship Moody's, right, they're not the greatest thing that ever happened to the State of Connecticut; and, as a matter of fact, they've dinged us a few times. The last couple of years they've downgraded our bond rating. Pointing a finger, wagging a finger at us, shame on you. We're going to downgrade you for the decisions you've made. Yet, the same reputable company on Wall Street, with some pretty smart folks working there like we have smart folks in this room, came out and said, “You know, at the end of the day, Connecticut, it's a pretty good deal for you. You ought to do it, and it's credit positive for you. So, the next time you get rated for your bond issues, we're going to consider it. ” Sometimes they are with us, sometimes they are against us, that's pretty neutral, though. And they say take the deal. Your sacrifice -- you are -- you are giving up the date -- the end date by which you said you'd pay, but you've offset that; you are making sure you can make the payment. Because in 2032, there is no way we could pay it, zero way, there is no way. Take all the sales tax revenue we generate today, take all of it, scoop it up and just put it to the pension fund and pay for nothing else, you're over a billion-and-a-half short still.

So, what would happen is this, if we don't vote on this today and we don't act on it, here's what's going to happen, two years down the road, four years down the road, someone is going to come with a piece of paper and say to the legislature again, you guys have to do something about this. You can't have a 2032 payment of $ 6 billion dollars, and we'll eventually vote for it.

So, the question is, would we vote to change the amortization schedule? Unequivocally, yes. The question is timing. But we will do it, make no mistake about it because you can't afford the payment. And again, no one is kicking the can down the road. Every budget for six years we've paid every single cent. And boy is it tempting to not make a dollar payment and balance the budget tomorrow, it's temping because everyone else did it.

We're not doing it. We are thinking differently. No can is being kicked, but cans and kegs lying on our back, which is making it difficult to balance our budget; that's all this is. The business community has said vote for it. Yeah, maybe there's a better deal, but they said the job creators, the same job creators who want predictability and sustainability said vote for it. They said that, not me. Moody's said vote for it.

So, I get it, there's going to be times we do things that we're going to get dinged, and that negative credit rating talked about some of those things, and it happens to municipalities as well. But they've come out and said vote for it, support it, give that predictability, because if you don't come 2032, you'll be unable to pay your bills. And then what happens? How do you pay $ 6 billion dollars? You don't.

So, whether we vote for it today or next year or 2021, this schedule that currently exists will be altered, it will be changed. It will be changed so that we can afford our payments into the future. We are making those investments and the down payments now to reduce the liability on future generations. But the bill came do. The mess was created and we got to clean it up. It stinks. It's not fun. I wish things were better. But we're not going to leave a spill, lie on the floor of the House of Representatives for the next generation to come anymore. Today is a down payment for Connecticut's future. Today is an action of responsibility. Maybe it's not every ounce and every cent that people wanted, but I stand with the business community and I say it's a good deal for the State of Connecticut. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, sir. I will order a Roll Call vote on this. Will staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Members take your seats. The machine will be open.

CLERK:

The House of Representatives is voting by Roll. Members to the Chamber. The House of Representatives is voting by Roll. Members to the Chamber.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will the members please check the board to make sure their vote has 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:

House Resolution No. 8.

Total Number of Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 76

Those Voting Nay 72

Absent and Not Voting 2

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The resolution is adopted. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 14.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 14, House Joint Resolution No. 31, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF KATHERINE SCHARF DYKES OF WEST HARTFORD TO BE A UTILITY COMMISSIONER OF THE PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY.

Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative DiMassa of the 116th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move in acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and the adoption of the resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel)Can we have members bring their conversations out in the hall. The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Rep DiMassa, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Ms. Dykes is from West Hartford. She has a JD from the Yale Law School. She served as the Deputy Commission of Energy for the Connecticut Department of Energy. She currently is on the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, and I would move all my colleagues to vote favorably on this resolution, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Wood of the 141st, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and to follow up with my colleague across the aisle, Katherine Dykes is a wonderful candidate for this appointment and she brings intelligence, energy, tremendous experience, and I'm very, very happy to support this nomination and hope the Chamber will, too. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Representative Ackert of the 8th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good to see you. I just wanted to chime in my support for our new regulator in Katie Dykes. I got an opportunity to work with her while on the Energy and Technology Committee. She brings a wealth of knowledge, and I heard the word “energy” and that's true. And we look forward to replacing some big shoes in our House with this young lady, and I look forward to working with her and what she can do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Hoydick of the 120th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is also my pleasure to echo the commendations that everyone has made about Katie Dykes. Not only has she helped us through the deep process when we combined environment with energy and into the department, she has been a grace under fire, she is smart, she is accomplished, and she is a really great person that is going to help move Connecticut forward. So, I echo those compliments that everyone has shared and I look forward to working with her in the future. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, let me try your minds, all of those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 15.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 15, the House Joint Resolution No. 32, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF PETER W. LISI OF WEST HARTFORD AS CHAIRPERSON OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES AUTHORITY. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative DiMassa, we're keeping you busy today. You have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

You certainly are, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. I move the acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Representative DiMassa, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Lisi is from West Hartford. He has a Doctorate in Education issued from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Master's in Education from the State University of New York. Currently Director of the Office of Sponsor Programs at the University of Hartford, and I would move my colleagues to adopt this resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Wood of the 141st, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Echoing Representative DiMassa, Peter Lisi is very well qualified for this job, and I hope you all will support his nomination. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, let me try your minds, all of those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 17.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 17, House Joint Resolution No. 42, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF BRETT C. BROWCHUK OF AVON TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CONNECTICUT AIRPORT AUTHORITY.

Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations. SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative DiMassa, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Representative DiMassa, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Browchuk is from Avon. He has a Bachelor's in Economics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Currently Senior Vice President at CIGNA, and I would urge my colleagues to vote for this resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Wood of the 141st, you have the floor.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

I feel like simultaneous jumping jacks here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And concurring with my colleague across the aisle, I stand in support of Brett Browchuk for the Connecticut Airport Authority. And I think what stood out during the public hearing on this and interviewing him, was how well qualified they are for this, all of the candidates for the Connecticut Airport Authority, and the enthusiasm they are bringing forward, and we're very lucky to have such capable candidates step forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, let me try your minds, all of those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 18.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 18, House Joint Resolution No. 43, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THEODORE M. DOOLITTLE OF WEST HARTFORD TO BE HEALTHCARE ADVOCATE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Just to change the pace a little bit, we now have Representative Fleischmann of the 18th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The question on the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Representative Fleischmann, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Before us is the nomination of Theodore M. Doolittle, known as Ted to those that know him well. Ted holds both a JD from UCONN, a BA from Harvard University, among other jobs, he's currently a Division Director at the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. He formerly worked as a Program Director at CGI Federal. He also formerly was a Deputy Director for Policy and Enforcement at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Center for Program Integrity in Washington, D. C. He's an author, including haven written a chapter in O'Connor's Federal Rules and Civil Trials, and he is formerly a Commission and Chair of the West Hartford Town Planning and Zoning Commission.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to all of those impressive credentials, Ted Doolittle is an impressive individual, who I am proud to bring out on the floor. He is an expert on Medicare, Medicaid, and preventing waste, fraud, and abuse, and standing up for consumers and taxpayers. He is a man of tremendous intelligence, integrity, and diligence. He is a national leader in the field, who has come back to Connecticut to help us in this area. We are fortunate to have him back in Connecticut, prepared to lead in this area.

I hope the entire Chamber will join me in giving him a favorable vote.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Wood, the constant one in this equation. [Laughter] You have the floor, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to Representative Fleischmann for bringing out the name of Ted Doolittle for this job of Healthcare Advocate, another very impressive man, and he is experienced with Medicare, Medicaid, and we need that kind of experience right now.

I stand in very strong support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, let me try your minds, all of those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 19.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 19, House Joint Resolution No. 44, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF MARY ELLEN S. JONES OF GLASTONBURY TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CONNECTICUT AIRPORT AUTHORITY. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative DiMassa.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Representative DiMassa, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Ms. Jones is from Glastonbury. She has a Master's of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University and a B. S. from Michigan State University, currently Vice President of Commercial Engine Sales, Asia Pacific, and China, at Pratt and Whitney, and I would urge my colleagues to support this resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Wood, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and thank you to Representative DiMassa. Yes, Mary Ellen Jones is very qualified. Again, the Connecticut Airport Authority, I think it was a very good day in executive nominations that day because they all bring such great experience, enthusiasm.

I stand in strong support. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Srinivasan, would you like to add something to this conversation? You have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do want to join my colleagues and support the renomination of Mary Ellen Jones. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, I will try your minds, all of those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Good afternoon, Representative Ritter, for what do you rise?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the suspension of our rules for the immediate transmittal of all business that needs further action on the Senate.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is suspension of our rules for immediate transmittal to the Senate; is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, so ordered. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 20.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 20, House Resolution No. 12, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF SYLVIA CANCELA OF COLLINSVILLE TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE PSYCHIATRIC SECURITY REVIEW BOARD. Favorable report of the House Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative DiMassa.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the House of Representatives favorable report and adoption of the resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the House Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Representative DiMassa, you have the floor.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Ms. Cancela is from Collinsville. She has an M. B. in Marketing and Polytechnic Institute, a Bachelor's in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Miami, currently develops and manages public relations for Berkshire International Film Festival, and I would move my colleagues to vote favorably on this resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. I think that's the last one for today, and thank you for all of your work.

Representative Wood, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you very much, and to follow up with my colleague across the aisle, Sylvia Cancela is an excellent choice for this board and stand in strong support and your true support. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Will you remark on the resolution before us? If not, let me try your minds, those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 22.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 22, House Resolution No. 13, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF LENNY T. WINKLER OF GROTON TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION. Favorable report of the House Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Sorry about that, Representative DiMassa, I thought you were done.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Not quite, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much, I move acceptance of the House of Representatives favorable report and adoption of the resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the House Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Representative DiMassa, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Ms. Winkler is from Groton, Practical Nursing Degree from Norwich Regional Practical Nursing Program, formerly an emergency room nurse at the Pequot health center for over 30 years. And I would move my colleagues to vote favorably on this resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much --

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

One more thing, Mr. Speaker, if I may, I apologize. The Clerk has an Amendment (LCO 3394) and I would ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment and I would be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Very nice job. Mr. Clerk, please call LCO No. 3394.

CLERK:

House “A” (LCO No. 3394), RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF LENNY T. WINKLER OF GROTON TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION. Offered by Representative Vargas.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Representative seeks to leave the Chamber to summarize the Amendment. Is there objection to summarization? Is there objection to summarization? Hearing none, you may proceed with summarization, Representative.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, we have just a technical change that corrects an error in the end date of the appointment, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Wood, and Representative Conley are on, but is that for the bill, not for the amendment. So, the question before the Chamber is on the amendment. Will you remark further on the amendment before us? If not, let me try your minds, all of those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. [Gavel]

Will you remark further on the bill, on the resolution as amended? Representative Conley of the 40th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Lenny Winkler, a well-respected member of Groton, also former member of this Chamber, has served well on the Freedom of Information Commission, a very bright woman who knows the details of this law very well and very detailed. I strongly recommend her reappointment to this position.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Wood, you have the floor again.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, Mr. Speaker, whatever. [Laughter] Maybe we could change a few rules, right?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Let's go for it. [Laughter]

REP. WOOD (141ST):

All right. Lenny T. Winkler, I stand in strong of her reappointment to the FOI Commission. She did serve 18 years in this Chamber, did a magnificent job and well, well suited to this position. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further on the resolution that is amended before us? Would you remark further? If not, let me try your minds, all of those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The resolution is adopted as amended. [Gavel]

Representative Ritter, I haven't heard from you in a few. You have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the suspension of our rules for the immediate consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 32.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The question before the Chamber is suspension of our rules for immediate consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 32. Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, so ordered.

Will the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution 32.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 32, RESOLUTION APPOINTING ROBERT J. KANE OF WATERTOWN AN AUDITOR OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative DiMassa.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution in concurrence with the Senate, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report in concurrence with the Senate. Representative DiMassa, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Kane is from Watertown. I'm very pleased to say he has a Master's in Business Administration from the University of New Haven, and currently the President and Founder of Cartel Cellular Phones, and it was an honor to hear his confirmation proceedings in the Committee and I look forward to my colleagues voting favorably on his nomination. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Wood, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will be honest, I struggled with this for a couple of reasons. One, it is a political appointment, it's a job that pays quite well. It is a political appointment on both sides of the aisle. I think we do need to revisit this. I do think Senator Kane is capable of the job, but I think the job should be defined. But we're not voting on that today. But I think it made many of us aware that it is something we should revisit, particularly in these economic times and the optics that we need to be very careful how -- what we do and how we're perceived, and political appointments, I think, need to go by the wayside. So, that's my personal opinion. I do stand in support of Senator Kane for this. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. I appreciate your comments. Will you remark further? Representative Berthel of the 68th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BERTHEL (68TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would rise in support of the nomination of Senator Kane. Senator Kane is a Watertown native. He has been my Senator for the prior 10 years or so in the 32nd Senate District. I believe that his work on the Appropriations Committee really positions him well to be a good watchdog in the potential new role as an auditor in the Auditor's Department.

So, I would also encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the nomination of Senator Kane today. Thank you, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, let me try your minds, those in favor, please signify by saying “aye. ” Those opposed “nay. ” The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

The Chamber will stand at ease.

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 21.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 21, House Resolution 9, RESOLUTION APPROVING THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IN JUAN F. , ET AL. V. DANNEL MALLOY, ET AL. Unfavorable report of the House Standing Committee on Appropriations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker, you have the floor.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon. Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, I move acceptance of the Committee's unfavorable report and rejection of the resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Committee's unfavorable report and rejection of the resolution. For information purposes, ladies and gentlemen, a three/fifths majority of those present and voting will be required to reject this settlement agreement. I will order a Roll Call vote on this resolution. Do you care to remark further? Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad you first clarified that so the people understand that a green light would be in support of what came out of the Appropriations Committee and a red light would be against it, so I just want to make sure that all of my -- and I'll probably say it one more time, so that we all hear that.

Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us is a proposal from the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families and the Court Monitor to address the Juan F. consent decree. In 1991, the State of Connecticut's Department of Children and Families entered into a consent decree that covers all children that are in the care, custody, supervision of DCF due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. As well as children, the agency knows, are at risk of maltreatment. The consent decree was the result of the Juan F. case in 1989 suit that challenged how Connecticut children's children in the state are cared for. The consent decree established a series of benchmarks for DCF trying to ensure that the need for our children and families, under their supervision, was being met. The agency has been operating under this court oversight since 1989.

In 2004, under the guidance of the Federal Court Monitor, the parties drafted an Exit Federal Oversight Plan. The Exit Plan requires DCF to meet 22 measurable goals pertaining to the wellbeing of children in their care. And what does that mean when we ask, when we state that? It means that DCF's general fund budget may not fall below $ 801. 2 million dollars every fiscal year until the completion or enactment of the new plan. The floor is established by using the 2017 Appropriations and decreasing it by 6. 4 in specific accounts. According to OFA, additional funding requirements will result in the agency's deficiency of about $ 2 million dollars because this will go into effect if adopted in February.

A benchmark is pre-certified, once DCF has been in compliance for at least six months, provided the monitor does not identify further issues. Once all 10 have been met, the state may file a motion to exit the consent decree. Prior to the court adjudicating the motion, the monitor must determine that pre-certified benchmarks do not have any material issues, which require remediation and there are no pending claims of noncompliance. If the monitor discovers any material issues, he will conduct a final review of a given measure, which includes an audit of sample cases and report his findings within 90 days.

If the court grants the motion, the plan must remain in place for an additional 12 months, during which time DCF must continue to report on their performances once every six months.

Mr. Speaker, I move acceptance of the House unfavorable report and adoption of the unfavorable resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. And again, I'm going to clarify to everybody in the Chamber. When the machine is open, if you vote green, you are voting in support of the unfavorable report that came out of Appropriations. If you vote red, you are voting essentially for a favorable report and the deal.

Just to clarify, and I'll say it a few more times before we vote. Will you remark further? Representative Ziobron of the 34th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

I rise also to support the unfavorable report from the Appropriations Committee. This conversation was something that did not -- was not taken lightly by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. We all have heard heartbreaking stories of children in the DCF community and I'm going to pause because I just remembered my good colleague on the other side of the aisle, who said I have tendency to talk loud, Mr. Speaker, and so I'm going to talk quietly. I'm going to use my inside voice. [Laughter] I appreciate my democrat friends for sharing that. All you had to do was say something, folks, and I listen most of the time.

So, this was a conversation that, you know, we had in the Appropriations Committee that was very emotional for a lot of us because we want what's best for kids, all kids, but especially the kids who have nobody battling for them that are under the care of DCF. But this agreement leaves a lot to be desired for a number of reasons.

Number one, the idea that this negotiation would essentially lockbox over $ 800 million dollars of one agency, while we have other agencies that serve just as important, citizens in our state, who can't speak for themselves, is concerning. What is going to stop somebody who is on the wait list for ABI? Or someone who needs opiate addiction treatment in DMHAS? Or anybody else from trying to say, listen, my funds need to be lock-boxed and protected, too. That's the whole purview of the Appropriations Committee and it's the purview of the legislature. Every dollar that we appropriate should have a purpose, but that's this body's decision. It's not the decision of others.

A question I asked, Mr. Speaker, several times was, you know, why, why did a private attorney negotiate this deal and not the Attorney General? That's another serious issue that I have. Listen, I don't always agree with the Attorney General, but that's who our constitutional officer is, that's who is supposed to be protecting the best interest of the state. Why was it that he was not involved in this process, and it lead me to many questions.

Mr. Speaker, during that process we had a meeting in the Attorney General's office with all of these stakeholders, including the Commissioner, and the questions were, you know, why now? Why is it imperative now for this to be happening? And the answer that we got at that time really had me left shaking my head because literally the Commissioner stated in that meeting that we simply were doing it now because the judge who has the matter before him wanted to get it off his docket. That is not a reason for us to pull back from oversight and care of our children, not even close.

Also, the other issue, Mr. Speaker, is that this revised Exit Plan or some may talk about it as an REP, this REP sets no dates certain, either. So, if we are really looking at finally dealing with our federal oversight issues, why don't we have a date certain?

The argument that if we don't do this now, the plaintiffs will go back to court and the court order will be far stronger, broader, and more expensive, raises serious red flags for me and a number of my colleagues.

The Commissioner of DCF can't have it both ways. We can't state that we're making these tremendous strides on one hand and on the other hand say that we're going to have more stringent responsibilities put on us through a court system and it could cost us hundreds of millions of dollars.

These are serious issues. We need to be able to look at this in a robust way, but it shouldn't be rushed, and it should not be at the expense of every other agency that our taxpayers work so hard to support.

I heard Representative Walker talk about the $ 800 million lockbox essentially for this agency, but I think it should be noted that this agreement doesn't set that as the cap, either. There is nothing in this agreement that would stop the agency from requesting more money than that. And if we are Block Grant funding this kind of appropriation, how do we have assurances that these tax dollars are being stewarded and providing the best return on investment, the best outcome for kids. And I think that's something we all could agree on today in this room.

But through you, Mr. Speaker, I do have just a couple of questions regarding the additional program cost in this agreement. It was something that came up in the Appropriations Committee; briefly, Representative Walker mentioned that it was going to cost the taxpayers of this state an additional $ 2 million dollars in 2017's budget, for those of you who are interested, that's the budget we're in right now that ends June 30, 2017. But there is also an annual funding and specific third-party providers that are outlined in this settlement that I've never seen before, and I was wondering if the good Chairwoman could explain this part of the settlement.

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker, thank you for listening in and for preparing yourself without prompting. Representative Walker, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you to the gentlelady from East Haddam. The amount of money is $ 6. 4 million. And it is that plus the $ 2 million would make it $ 8. 4 million, that would be a continuing amount that is put into the DCF budget, so that would be the floor for them in this budget. And yes, there were agencies that were identified in there that would be receiving this additional funding. Something that many of us on both sides question because we had never seen something like that before.

So, through you, you're right.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Rep Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you. I'm going to pause, at this time, to say hello to our new speaker at the Dias, it's so nice to see you here, Representative Candelaria. I think this might be your first time on the Dias, and if so, it's a pleasure to see you there, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you so much, ma'am.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

So, continuing this conversation, you know I was reading through some of these -- some of these agreements and contracts and what struck me, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Chairwoman of Appropriations, what struck me is when I have spent the last two months going through the agency's submissions, so that's a process where the agency submits their budget recommendations to OPM, for those who aren't aware, I know my good friend is certainly aware. They put forward their requests and they were directed to of course include some budget cuts. And what struck me, Mr. Speaker, is that the same places that these third-party provider contracts are focusing on the same services are the exact same services that the agency actually cut. And there are agency recommendations, which really struck me as unusual, unwarranted if this was the area that was so important that we should specify a third-party contract for, why at the same time are we in fact cutting that part of the budget in the agency's submission? Mr. Speaker, during that meeting in Appropriations, I had to share some very hard facts with my colleagues, and it's not something I do lightly, I do it with a very heavy heart. And I think it's important for me to share that same information here today with all the colleagues in the Chamber.

I believe that DCF still has issues they need to resolve. I believe not all is well with the agency. There are a lot of problems there, sir. And we know that when we look at some of the horrible horrific outcomes that have happened over the last few years to our children, who are most at need.

So, I'll start with we had a few records of very horrific abuse, Mr. Speaker, starting, the first one that I have that comes to my mind, happened in September of 2013, when a 20-month-old little boy died at the hands of his father. DCF was under that jurisdiction and had entered into a voluntary safety agreement to protect that child and it wasn't enough.

The Office of Child Advocate released a report, the child fatality report in 2014, which had this startling data, information, that 16 out of the 22 children who died in 2013, did so due to abuse and neglect. Again, cases within DCF. 2014, a two-year-old died of a homicide because of Suboxone poisoning. 2015, we had state auditors find that DCF was failing to conduct criminal background checks. 2015, we had reports regarding CJTS and the conditions there. And then Baby Dillon in February of 2016, when DCF approved a relative caregiver in violation of their own placement rules. Much more, Mr. Speaker, needs to be done. We as a legislature have a responsibility to make sure that those dollars are focused into the parts of the budget that will have the best outcomes. Block granting DCF, lock-boxing $ 800 million of their taxpayer funded supports without any direction of where that money should be dictated to is a concern, and that's why I'm standing in support of the unfavorable agreement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and Mr. Speaker, it is really wonderful to see you up there.

As the Chair of the Committee of Cognizance for the Department of Children and Families, I would tell you that we worked diligently all last session with the relevant parties. When the court monitor made it clear that the plaintiffs were looking to go back to court, we asked for $ 28 million dollars to keep us out of court. We managed to get $ 21 million to respond to the outcomes that were still there for Juan F. We knew that we were in a tight situation with the plaintiffs and we knew that we would be back in court this session. Except for the fact that we have been able to work out this plan.

I would say to my colleagues, we have the dubious distinction of being the longest running Federal oversight in the country at 27 years. I would also suggest to my colleagues that it is our responsibility, as elected officials of the State of Connecticut, to not, to not allow our oversight to be usurped by the federal government, which is what we have been doing for 27 years. This is a golden opportunity for us to restore control of our own state.

I would also say to you, the court monitor is costing us a million dollars a year. So, we are paying a million dollars a year for the federal government to oversee what we are doing with Children and Families. For those of you who are concerned about our ability, and I appreciate what the good Representative from across the aisle has just said, Representative Ziobron, but I would tell you that the Annie Casey Foundation does a report every year on every state in our country and ranks them on the wellbeing and health of their children. We are ranked number five in the country for how we take care of the wellbeing and health of our children, and I will tell you, I'm proud to say this, we are up from number seven, since the commissioner came in, as the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families. Just so you have a way of comparing this, New York is number 29, California is number 36, Florida is number 40. And I would say again, the State of Connecticut is number 5 in how we take care of the health and wellbeing of our children.

I would also say that we have a DCF Commissioner, and I'm not sure that all the freshmen here know this, who was a Supreme Court Justice. She was the youngest Supreme Court Justice ever appointed. She was on the Supreme Court for 18 years, and she left the Supreme Court to come in and oversee our Department of Children and Families.

I would suggest to you that it's her deep understanding of the courts and the respect that she has earned as a Supreme Court Justice as well as her knowledge of court procedure, combined with a relationship she has established that with the plaintiffs, with the courts over the last six years that made this plan possible.

I would also say to you, I know that people say, well, we'll go back to court and we'll bet a better deal. I talked with the plaintiff's lawyer this morning, and I am not a lawyer, so I'm going to tell you this: There will be an assertion of noncompliance immediately if this modification is rejected. The remedies they will seek will go beyond what is currently in the modification including, but not limited to, all the rights and remedies contained in the existent and currently operative agreement. We are talking $ 50 to $ 100 million dollars more than what we would agree to right here today.

So, if you're concerned about the opportunity costs, if you're concerned that this is going to make money not available for other agencies, I would say to you, if we go back to court, then I can assure you that there would not be money available for other agencies to the tune of $ 50 to $ 100 million dollars. I would also say if there are people here that feel that DCF needs more oversight, Department of the Committee on Children, our cognizance is the oversight of DCF. We are the only state in the country to have a children's report card, and I have been internationally speaking on our children's report card and what we do in the State of Connecticut, which again is another check on Department of Children and Families. But if you would like another check, Section 17a-4, the State Advisory Council on Children and Families is in Statute, it talks about childcare professionals, child psychiatrists, attorneys, juvenile justice people, preventional, behavioral health, parents, foster parents, all on this Advisory Council to oversee Department of Children and Families, and I would offer to you today on the floor, if you would like this to be modified, to be people added to it, the Children's Committee would be glad to run point on that.

Mr. Speaker, I strongly, strongly urge people to vote red to keep us out of court, to take back this control that has been out of our control for 27 years, to do our job as state legislators. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Abercrombie from the 83rd District.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the Chair of Children's Committee, I could not disagree more. I am asking my members to vote yes, which means we will go in line with the Human Services and Appropriations Committee to vote this down, and let me tell you why.

I don't believe that by locking their box that we are going to get out of this. In the last budget, we tried to make cuts to DCF, and I have it right in front of me, we put in $ 33 million dollars more under Juan F. Now, I believe that if they go back into court and they believe that we're as close as they're saying we are to be on from under Juan F. , they can negotiate it. But I think this is also something we have to also think about is, does this open us up as a state? Right? So, we have the chef salad on that, does that mean that they can go back into court and say that they want to lock the education budget? Right? Does that mean that other people can sue and then come back and say we need to lock their budget? Listen, as Chair of Human Services and Subcommittee Chair of Appropriations, I'm not going to stand here and lock in $ 800 million-dollar budget with no guarantee that we are going to get out from under this.

So, I urge my colleagues to vote yes, which means it's rejection of this and let them go back into court. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Wilms from the 142nd.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too, very strongly urge people to press the green button, which means you're against this agreement. This is -- this is a bad deal. I mean it's a really, really bad deal, almost to the point where I wonder who is negotiating on our behalf? Look at it this way, so we're being asked to -- the proponents are saying, well, we're going to lose -- we're going to regain our sovereignty in terms of the operations of DCF. Okay. That's, that's a good thing. But we're giving up our sovereignty, our control of the pocketbook over an $ 800 million-dollar budget for DCF. We're giving up a much greater sovereignty than what we're going to be getting.

Secondly, we're going to be giving up our sovereignty now. When is the DCF sovereignty going to get back to us? We don't know, it depends. See how the court rules, how the judge rules, maybe it's a few years down the road, maybe it's two years, maybe it's four years.

So, I look at this and I say, “My God, who is negotiating on our behalf?” We're losing a big sovereignty to gain a little sovereignty and we're giving up the bigger one now in order to get maybe a little one sometime down the road.

So, Mr. Speaker, based on that, I -- you know, I urge my colleagues to support the negative recommendation of the Appropriations Committee. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Case of the 63rd District.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, it's good to see you up there. I stand to urge people to vote in the green, so that we can vote this thing down as we did in Appropriations and Human Services. As my good ranking member of Human -- or my good Chairman of Human Services, being her ranking, this is really difficult to lockbox $ 800 million dollars to one agency. What about the rest of our state? What about the rest of our children?

You know, we've been in state oversight for 20-something odd years for a reason. As the good Representative Ziobron, from Appropriations spelled out some of the instances that have happened, through this department. You know, things just aren't going to get fixed, and there is no security that this $ 800 million dollars isn't going to increase. It's just a cap that we can't go below. So, I would urge people to please push the green button, do the right thing. Let the federal outcome fix our agency, and let's move on, or we're going to be seeing other agencies coming before us that are eventually going to be asking for a lockbox or take us back into court. So, I urge you to push the green button. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative O'Dea of the 125th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, it's nice seeing you up on the Dias. If I may ask a question to Representative Urban, if she is here. My understanding is this would be the first consent order that was negotiated with the state that didn't involve the AG's office; is that correct? Through you, Mr. Speaker. I don't see Representative Urban.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Urban is not here at this time. I'm not sure if Representative Walker will be willing to answer that question. Representative Walker, you have the floor, ma'am.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I too want to say you look real good up there. Oh, Representative Urban is here. She is right there. Thank you.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Mr. Speaker, I'll repeat the question to Representative Urban for her benefit. My understanding, as an attorney, I have been involved in some negotiations of consent decrees involving the state in my previous life in a different firm. My understanding is this -- my understanding is this is the only consent decree that I'm aware of that was negotiated involving the state that didn't involve the AG's office; is that your understanding, Representative Urban? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would agree with that, but it was not because of the Attorney General was trying to be a part of it, that was how it was arranged, and the Attorney General is in fact in support of this decree.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My understanding it was Attorney Ann Rubin from Carmody Torrance, who negotiated this? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

That would be my understanding.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

I know the firm very well. It's an excellent firm. I am apprehensive in this vote to support it. I guess voting yes is a vote to go against the settlement.

You know, Judge Underhill, who as I understand it, well, let me ask this question through you, Mr. Speaker, is it Judge Underhill that this case is before in Federal Court?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, and I would say to the good gentleman that Judge Underhill is known to be one of the most-fair judges, so that this agreement is coming out under his supervision, would say to me that it is an excellent agreement. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Actually, though, my understanding is a sitting Federal Judge, if he's presiding over the case, wouldn't be involved in the negotiations, it would be a magistrate, not actually Judge Underhill, if he's maintaining the final decision on it. Is Representative Urban aware, through you, Mr. Speaker, of who the magistrate was that negotiated the settlement?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, now I'm sorry, I'm not aware of who it is.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

To echo some of the statements of the colleagues on this side of the aisle, I'm concerned and this in no offense to Commissioner Katz, I would agree that she was an outstanding Supreme Court Justice, but there have been numerous problems during her tenure at DCF, I'm not saying they were her fault, what I am saying though is I am extremely cautious and apprehensive about limiting and frankly eliminating our oversight of DCF by way of controlling how much money is being funded or given to DCF at the expense frankly of other agencies.

And so, I would ask my colleagues to consider giving less frankly oversight of DCF at this point in time is the right thing to do. Because if we do approve this by voting no, make no mistake about it, we as a legislative body will have less control over what happens at DCF. Without placing any blame on the Commissioner, I do not think, at this point in time, giving less oversight legislative oversight is the right thing to do. So, I ask my colleagues to think long and hard about what this vote will actually do to the children in the State of Connecticut. There is no guarantee that the consent decree will be lifted any sooner. And I guarantee you, having less input on their financing will give us less input on how our children are handled over at DCF.

So, I urge my colleagues to vote yes at the time that it comes to push the button. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Lavielle of the 143rd, you have the floor, ma'am.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon, good to see you there. I agree with these comments that my colleagues have just made and I have a very short one. I just find it astounding that there would even be a proposal when an agency is clearly not performing to reduce the oversight of how that agency is spending its money and to require that agency even to respect lower standards than it has now. I cannot understand how that could possibly lead to improved or even acceptable service for the children under its care.

So, I would also urge everyone to push the green button so that this does not pass. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Ferraro of the 117th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Good afternoon, Speaker. Good to see you up there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

I rise in opposition to this bill as well. I don't see how giving DCF a lockbox of $ 801 million dollars would be of benefit to the future oversight of that committee. I don't think there would be any need for them to appear before Appropriations if they had a free $ 800 million dollars to play with. Additionally, opening up the opportunity for other agencies to sue to also get their funds locked, I think is a slippery slope that we shouldn't go down. And when I look at a vote coming out of the Appropriations Committee, of 32 rejections and 5 approvals, I think it's pretty clear where that committee comes down on this vote. And I would urge everybody to push the green button. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Representative. Will you care to remark further? Would you care to remark further? The Chamber will stand at ease.

The House will come back to order. Representative Urban, you have the floor, ma'am.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the second time. I just wanted to clarify something. If the House does vote red, then it does, the Juan F. decree does go into effect. And I would merely repeat one more time, could you please look at the Annie Casey KIDS COUNT, and see how well we are doing with our Department of Children and Families. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Representative. The Chamber will stand at ease.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will you remark further? Again, to remind the Chamber, when the machine is open, if you vote green, you are voting to support the unfavorable report and reject the deal before you. If you vote red, you are voting against the unfavorable report in acceptance of the bill. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Members, take your seats. The machine will be open.

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, please check the board to ensure that your vote has 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:

House Resolution No. 9.

Total Number of Voting 146

Necessary for Acceptance of the Unfavorable Report of the Committee in Rejection of the Resolution 88.

Those Voting Yea 110

Those Voting Nay 36

Absent and Not Voting 4

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The unfavorable report is accepted and the resolution is rejected. [Gavel]

Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Abercrombie of the 83rd, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of an announcement.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, February 6th, Human Services and Appropriations will be having Medicaid 101. I invite all members to come and join if they want to learn about Medicaid. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Luxenberg of the 12th District, you have the floor.

REP. LUXENBERG (12TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, for the purposes of a Journal notification.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, Madam.

REP. LUXENBERG (12TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Missing votes today, Luxenberg out of Chamber. Representative Vargas for illness. McGee out of the Chamber on business. Representative Abercrombie, legislative business outside the Chamber. And Representative Gentile, legislative event in district. And Representative Johnson for a legislative event. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Adams of the 146th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ADAMS (146TH):

For purpose of an announcement.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. ADAMS (146TH):

Human Services will meet tomorrow at 11: 00 a. m. , in Room 2E.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Human Services tomorrow in 2E. Thank you, sir. Representative Albis of the 99th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For purposes of an announcement.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Mr. Speaker, the House will be in session next Wednesday. We expect to be in at 11 a. m. , and I assure you the time that we announce we will be in, we will begin promptly, and the Governor will make his announcement at noon. So, make sure you are all here.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Yes, Representative. I'm hoping folks are getting the message that we will be starting promptly. Representative Lemar of the 96th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Planning and Development Committee will host an informational panel discussion on crumbling concrete foundations tomorrow in room 2C at noon.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

P&D crumbling foundations, 2E at noon. Thank you very much, sir. Representative Rosario of the 128th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ROSARIO (128TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Black and Puerto Rican Caucus is holding a public forum tomorrow from 5: 00 to 8: 00 p. m. , Legislative Office Building, Room 2D. I invite you all to participate. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

BPRC forum from 5: 00 to 8: 00. Thank you, sir. Representative Orange of the 48th, you have the floor.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for an announcement, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to bring it to everyone's attention that on Friday, February 3rd, it happens to be a very special day for a special person to me anyway. Representative Ryan was going to make this announcement, but he said he couldn't talk. I think it's an excuse, because what I have to say I don't think the person is going to actually like hearing and have it noted in our transcript, but our very good friend from Southeastern Connecticut, former State Senator Ken Przybysz, will officially be turning 70, 7-0, on Friday, February 3rd. So, I was just hoping we could wish him a happy birthday. Happy birthday, Kenny.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Happy birthday, Ken. [Applause] Representative Butler, I'm sure you have a pressing House matter for us, or Housing, as the case may be.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, yes. For the purposes of an announcement.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On Tuesday, February 7th, at 1: 00 p. m. , the Housing Committee will be holding our first public hearing in LOB room 2A.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Is there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Albis, I believe you're batting cleanup sir. Please proceed.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that we adjourn, subject to the Call of the Chair.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adjournment, subject to the Call of the Chair. Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, we are adjourned. [Gavel]

(On motion of Representative Aresimowicz of the 30th District, the House adjourned at 4: 55 o'clock p. m. , sine die. )

CERTIFICATE

I hereby certify that the foregoing 242 pages is a complete and accurate transcription of a digital sound recording of the House Proceedings on February 1, 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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