THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 10: 30 o'clock a. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The House will please come to order. Will the members, staff and guests please rise and direct your attention to the dais, where Father Jacobs will lead us in prayer.

DEPUTY CHAPLAIN FATHER CHARLES E. JACOBS:

Acknowledging the presence of God, let us pray. And so we pray for the appointees as they take their new posts, and we pray to our God for our Governor and legislators as they enter this challenging budget season. May they have the space to deliberate and make thoughtful decisions on behalf of the people of the State of Connecticut. Amen. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, Father. I see Representative Conley of the 40th district is already here. She's going to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. The first item is list of bills, No. 22, dated February 8, 2017.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The distinguished Majority Leader, Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

So ordered.

CLERK:

Mr. Speaker, the final item on the order of business is the daily Calendar.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk. Will the Clerk please call up Calendar No. 27?

CLERK:

House Calendar No. 27. House Joint Resolution No. 60. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF AMINA S. LAMPKIN OF WEST HARFORD TO BE APPOINTED A NONVOTING STUDENT MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas, you have the floor, sir.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise for Ms. Lampkin, who is from West Hartford, currently a senior at William H. Hall High School in West Hartford; currently an opinion writer for the Hall Highlights school newspaper; currently a member of Voices for Other after school club, ensuring and under the misrepresented are able to increase community awareness and reduce ignorance. Formerly, she's a Student Council president, during her 11th grade; formerly attended the United States Senate Page School while she was in grade 11, and was awarded the Citizenship Award. She was also formerly a summer program intern and dance apprentice at the Artists Collective Incorporated, and formerly a student of Voices -- a Voices representative during grades 9 and 10. I urge a favorable vote.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Wood of the 141st. I think I see you through --

REP. WOOD (141ST):

No. Yeah. There's something shining. It's like, The Shining. Okay. I don't know. I don't know what the shining is. All I know is it's shining. (Laughs) All right. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also stand in support of Anna Simone Lampkin for the State Board of Education; a very, very impressive young woman. She's articulate, intelligent, passionate and very well spoken; very passionate about education. In addition to all the resume items that Representative Vargas mentioned, she is someone we are -- our state will be in very good hands with Anna Lampkin. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Representative Fleischmann of the 18th district, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18th):

Thank you, Mr. Fleischmann - Mr. Speaker (laughs). It's been a long morning already. I stand in support of this student joining our State Board of Education. You know, it was a West Hartford student, who, about a decade ago, said there should be a student voice on the State Board. And this young woman, who is extremely intelligent, articulate and ready to go, fulfills the notion that was set forward all those years ago. So, I appreciate my colleagues considering joining me in support. 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, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signifying by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 29?

CLERK:

Calendar No. 29. House Joint Resolution No. 62. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ALLAN B. TAYLOR, ESQUIRE, OF HARTFORD, TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas, you have the floor, sir.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Will you remark further? You have the floor, Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

First of all, I'd like to say that Mr. Allan Taylor holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, a master of public police from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an AB from Harvard College. His professional experience includes being a former legal and legislative advisor to the Hartford City Council, former law clerk to the Honorable J. Skelly Wright of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, formerly a law clerk to the Honorable Thurgood Marshall, United States Supreme Court, and formerly a partner at Day Pitney LLP.

Other information includes he is currently a Chair of the State Board of Education, where he's been a member since 1994 and the Chair Person since 2005; formerly President of the National Association of State Boards of Education, and honored with the Distinguished Service Award; currently a board member of the Hartford Stage Company. Heavily involved in the community and has previously served, and is currently serving, on a multitude of boards and commission. On a personal note, I've known Mr. Taylor for many, many years. One of the few people that made the move from City Council to Board of Education. If you know anything about Hartford, nobody does that. Everybody wants to go from the Board to the City Council. But he knew that we needed leadership on the Board of Ed, and made that transition from being a City Council post to Board of Ed member. In a previous life, when I had the honor of representing Hartford teachers, we honored him with an award on behalf of our organization. I urge a favorable report.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I also stand in very strong support of Allan Taylor for the State Board of Education. Tremendous intelligence, integrity, desire to do the job. We're lucky to have him, sir. Thank you very much.

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 those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 28?

CLERK:

Calendar No. 28. House Joint Resolution No. 61. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF CORAL ORTIZ OF NEW HAVEN TO BE APPOINTED A NONVOTING STUDENT MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas, you have the floor.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Yes. Coral Ortiz has quite an extensive background, like our previous student representative. A senior at James Hillhouse High School in New Haven, founder of the Peer Tutoring club of English language learners; currently a New Haven Board of Ed student rep; a math tutor in her high school, a peer advocate in her high school; currently captain of the Yale New Haven Urban Debate League; has been a volunteer in many, many organizations; has earned many, many awards in many subject matters, and has been recognized by the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society; has participated in New Haven Aspirations summer program at the Yale Campus. I urge a favorable vote. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I too stand in very strong support of Coral Ortiz for the State Board of Education, to be a nonvoting member. Both Coral and Amina are students, seniors in high school. They are articulate. They blew us all away and we're very enthused to support both of them. Well, in this case, Coral, for the State Board of Education. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Paolillo of the 97th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also would like to rise in support of Coral Ortiz. She has been a student representative on the Board of Education in New Haven for the last 2 years. She has served with distinction and has certainly made our city proud. I would urge your support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will you remark further? Representative DiMassa of the 116th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of Coral Ortiz, along with my colleagues, representing a piece of New Haven myself. She is an exemplary student and she is gonna make a great asset to the State Board of Education. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us?

If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye. Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

Representative Albis of the 99th, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the suspension of our rules for the immediate transmittal of Calendar Nos. 27, 28 and 29 to the Senate.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The question before the Chamber is suspension on our rules for immediate transmittal to the Senate. Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, so ordered.

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 24?

CLERK:

Calendar No. 24. House Joint Resolution No. 56. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF AVIVA D BUDD OF STAMFORD TO BE APPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

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 before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Yes. Aviva D. Budd holds a JD from the Harvard Law School; has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Connecticut, is heavily involved in real estate, where she's a principal investment officer of the combined retirement and trust funds, and a former real estate partner at the law firm of Squadron, Ellenoff, Plesent & Sheinfeld. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the SEED Foundation and a former member of the Board of Trustees of NYU's Polytechnic University. I urge a favorable vote.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also, with my colleagues, stand in very strong support of Aviva Budd for the Board of Higher Education. And she brings tremendous intelligence and can-do, and a lot of diverse experience to benefit our state. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us?

If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 25?

CLERK:

Calendar No. 25. House Joint Resolution No. 57. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF MICHAEL R. RICCI OF GUILFORD TO BE APPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE EDUCATION ARBITRATION BOARD. Report of the Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Yes. Mr. Michael R. Ricci holds a masters degree in English and writing for Middlebury College, Breadloaf School of English, a bachelors degree in theology and ethics from Georgetown University, and is a labor arbitration development -- holds a labor arbitration development certificate from Cornell University.

He's currently a private practice arbitrator-mediator for Labor and Employment, an adjunct professor of economics in the Economics Department at the University of New Haven, and formerly a mediator for the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, formerly an assistant agent at the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations. He holds many certificates, a broad experience, and I believe that he'll be a fine addition to the Education Arbitration Board. I urge a favorable vote.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much. Representative Wood.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I also stand in strong support of the nomination of Michael Ricci of Gilford to be appointed to the State Arbitration Board. He brings the requisite experience, the knowledge of the field, and I urge the Chamber to support him. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us?

If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 25? I'm sorry, Mr. Clerk, 26.

CLERK:

Calendar No. 26. House Joint Resolution No. 59. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF DONALD HARRIS JR. OF BLOOMFIELD TO BE APPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Yes. Mr. Donald Harris holds a sixth-year degree in education administration from the University of Hartford, a masters in education administration from the University of Hartford, and a bachelors in physical education from Springfield College. He's currently a real estate sales agent, but is a former principal at Bloomfield High School, former vice principal at Carmen Arace Intermediate School, and he's held many teaching positions. Currently, he's the Chair of the Bloomfield Board of Education and he's currently the Chair of the CREC Board of Directors - that's the Capital Regional Education Council - and he's also Chair of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Federal Relations and vice-president of CABE Government Relations. He is currently serving on the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board. I've received many, many accommodations from his peers in Bloomfield, who contacted me, urging his appointment to the State Board of Education. And I urge a favorable vote. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much. Representative Wood.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too stand in support in Donald Harris for the State Board of Education. Of note, in addition to all of his wonderful items on his resume, he also has family that are deeply invested in education. His mother, three sisters, his wife; they're all educators. They believe in public school. They believe in education and I think that's an added plus. So thank you very much and I urge everyone to support him. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Baram of the 15th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also rise in support of Don Harris from Bloomfield. Don has been in education for over 30 years. He served as an officer on CABE and CREC, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Education for Bloomfield, and he's really turned around our system. And I would urge my colleagues to support him. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. My very good friend, and the Deputy Speaker, Representative McCrory of the 7th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. MCCRORY (7TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues to all to support Mr. Donald Harris for this position. I've known Mr. Harris since I was a teenager; first as opposing basketball coach at Bloomfield High school. Not only was he a basketball coach, he also was a great educator, an athletic director, a principal, and he comes from a stock of people in the field of education. His uncle was an educator, one of the first African American administrators in the City of Hartford. His dad was an educator. And I encourage all my colleagues to support this nomination. He's a great man, but more importantly, he's a great friend, and he happens to be a member of a great fraternity also. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the resolution before us?

If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

Are there any announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Before announcements or introductions, let's go to Representative Albis of the 99th.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning. Mr. Speaker, I do ask for the suspension of our rules for the immediate transmittal of Calendar Nos. 24, 25 and 26 to the Senate.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The question before the Chamber is on suspension of our rules for immediate transmittal to the Senate. Is there objection? Is there objection? Seeing none, so ordered.

Now we'll move to announcements or introductions. Representative Case of the 63rd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For an introduction, please?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Mr. Speaker, here with me today, I have a very special guest, Larry Cassella, from LARC Connecticut - Litchfield County Association of Retarded Citizens. He came in today to see what's going on and to hear the budget. But also, I would like to announce, sadly, after 36 years and only the second executive director of this organization, Larry has decided to step down and resign and move on to bigger and better things in his life. And I just wanted the Chamber to give him a big round of applause for 36 years of service to our special needs students. I know there's a few other legislators that would like to speak also. So thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much for your service, sir. Representative Dubitsky of the 47th.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For an introduction?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to introduce Jacqueline Owens. It's my great honor to introduce her. For three decades, she was president of the Norwich, Connecticut chapter of the NAACP. She's had multiple awards while she was the president of the NAACP in Norwich. Their chapter was presented with the Thalheimer Award, which is a top award given to NAACP branches for exceptional achievement.

Ms. Owens' commitment to her community is represented by the awards that she's won and the people who she's touched. Among her awards were she was the first recipient of the Annual City of Norwich Humanitarian Award. She was honored with the 2015 100 Women of Color Award. The Kelly Middle School in Norwich; their auditorium is now named in her honor.

In addition to being the president for 30 years of the Norwich Chapter of the NAACP, she was also assistant treasurer of the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP. She was the -- she got the UCFS Palmer Davies Leadership Award, Liberty Bank Willard M. McRae Community Diversity Award, the Prince Hall Mason's Silver Eagle Award, and she has touched the lives of innumerable people in Norwich and throughout Connecticut. I ask my colleagues to give a good round of applause for my friend and constituent, Jacqueline Owens. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Ryan of the 139th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the purpose of announcement?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. RYAN (139TH):

I just want to add my accolades to Representative Dubitsky's, to his new friend and constituent, Jackie Owens, who I have known for a number of years. She has been a great -- had a great commitment to the community around knowledge, including Lebanon. She's always been an incredible woman, a very bright, insightful and a great leader for the NAACP for all those number of years. So, I think we're gonna miss her, though I'm sure we're gonna see her around a great deal. Thank you, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. And I think that Representative Riley would like to add to that also, of the 46th. You have the floor, sir.

REP. RILEY (46TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I as well would like to stand and say thank you to Mrs. Owens for all that she's done for the individuals and children in our town. We were lucky enough to have the new Kelly School Auditorium named for Mrs. Owens some years back. And I'd just like to say thank you for all that you've done and congratulations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Camillo of the 151st, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CAMILLO (151ST):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. I rise for purposes of an introduction.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. CAMILLO (151ST): Mr. Speaker, it's my honor today to introduce the Reverend Carol Bloom of the Diamond Hill Methodist Church in Cos Cob, Connecticut. She came all the way up here to visit us today. We've had her in Greenwich now for about three years and we're very proud of her. She's become sort of like a rock star in our town. If you're ever in Cos Cob and you want to attend a really nice church, I highly recommend Diamond Hill Church on the post road in Cos Cob. And if you're around in October, each year they have an annual famous Cos Cob chili cook-off. And if you ever go there, you won't forget it. Just ask Representative Bocchino. (Laughs) But I just want to welcome her here today and let's give her a nice round of applause. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam, for making the journey up to Hartford. I know from my travel experiences, getting from Cos Cob to Hartford could be an ordeal. So, thank you very much for coming up today. Any other announcements or introductions? Representative Belsito of the 53rd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. All I can say is, Oh my God, I commend you for starting on time each and every day. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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. Mr. Speaker, I move for a suspension of our rules for the immediate consideration of House Resolution 14.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on suspension of all rules for immediate consideration of House Resolution 14. Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, the rules are suspended for that purpose.

Will the Clerk please call and read House Resolution 14?

CLERK:

House Resolution No. 14. A RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO INFORM THE SENATE THAT THE HOUSE IS READY TO MEET IN JOINT CONVENTION, LCO No. 3627, introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Albis, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move for adoption of the resolution and it is self-explanatory.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, sir. The question is on adoption. Will you remark? Will you remark?

If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it.

At this time, the Chair will appoint a committee to inform the Senate. The Chair will appoint Representative Paolillo, Representative Conley and Representative Candelora.

Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Albis of the 99th.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, at this time there is no immediate business on our desks. And prior to recessing for the purpose of having the Governor come in for a Joint Convention, I'd just like to note that the House Democrats will be caucusing in room 207-A, while we await the Senate. And now I move that we recess subject to the Call of the Chair.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The motion is to recess subject to the Call of the Chair. Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, the House will stand in recess subject to the Call of the Chair. (Gavel)

(On motion of Representative Aresimowicz of the 30th District, the House recessed at 11: 00 o'clock a. m. , to meet again at the Call of the Chair. )

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 11: 46 o'clock a. m. , Speaker Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Members to the Chamber. The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately. Members to the Chamber. The House will come back to order. (Gavel) Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. We have communications from His Excellency, the Governor, to be referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

So ordered.

Ladies and gentlemen, before we start our Joint Convention, I would like to just take a moment to recognize one of our former colleagues and one of my predecessors from the 30th District. Ann Dandrow was a member of this body, and was one Representative before me at this seat. I worked with her for quite a long time when I was on the town council. During her time at the legislature, Ann fought tirelessly for issues of her constituents. She was a great voice for the people of Berlin and Southington. She will be missed.

Some of you in the newspapers reported the Safe Haven Bill. That was the bill that Ann Dandrow led through this Chamber. So, if we can, can we have everybody please rise? We will do a day where we have Ann's family up and we all will be able to speak about Ann and her contributions to this Chamber. But just for now, can we please give a moment of silence for our former colleague, Ann Dandrow?

(Gavel)

Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, we're waiting for a couple items from the Senate. So we'll stand at ease til those items arrive.

Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Rose of the 118th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the purposes of an announcement -- I'm sorry, an introduction?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to take this moment. It's my complete honor and pleasure to introduce you all today to a very special man, Mr. Michael Beattie. He is a 67-year-old Navy veteran who took it upon himself to bicycle across the United States. He traveled 12,124 miles. It took him five months and he carried with him 75 pounds on his bicycle. His mission was to bring awareness to homeless and hungry veterans. And he has so far been able to raise $ 37,000 dollars to the Feed our Vets Program. And I would just like you to give him a warm welcome, if you would. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Hampton of the 16th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning, sir.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

I am thrilled to have in the Chamber with me today one of Simsbury's best and brightest, Emily Sullivan, a senior at Simsbury High School. She has a passion for public service. She's on the Simsbury Board of Education, student representative. She volunteers for her church for issues related to intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is one of 104 students selected for the United States Senate Youth Program, happening in March. And I wanted to applaud her community service and show her what state government's all about. And it would be great if my friends and colleagues could give her a warm House of Representatives welcome. Thank you. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Hennessy of the 127th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the purposes of an introduction?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, behind me is interim Superintendant of Schools for the City of Bridgeport, Aresta Johnson, and we also have Sauda Baraka, who is a member of the Board of Education. I would like -- I would ask that our colleagues would all rise and give them our customary welcome. (Applause) Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Walker. I think that's you back there through this plate of glass I have here. Of the 93rd, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good after -- good morning, sir, good morning. I like the screens, though. Those are very nice. We should try using those in the future. Mr. Speaker, for a point of announcement?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, madam.

Rep. WALKER (93RD):

Mr. Speaker, because of the weather expectations for tomorrow, we will be cancelling our Appropriations Committee tomorrow, and we're moving it to Friday at 11: 00 o'clock. Secretary Barnes will have the time -- he'll have an extra day just to prepare for our Appropriations Hearing. So, I just wanted to make sure that all my members knew that and we're looking out for them because of the weather. So, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. And all the members in the Chamber should check the calendar. The majority of the bad weather is expected early in the morning at travel time and I'm sure more committees will be cancelling. So please keep your eye on the schedule. Are there any other announcements or introductions? We're still waiting on the Senate, so the Chamber will stand at ease. Oh. That was until Representative Stafstrom pushed his button. Representative Stafstrom of the 129th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as we wait. I think we all wait anxiously for the address we're about to receive regarding something involving money of some variety. I would just like to introduce two guests we have here with us, also from the City of Bridgeport today. We have the Chair of our Bridgeport Board of Education, Joe Larcheveque, and the Chair of our City Council's Budget and Appropriations Committee, Scott Burns, who are also with us today.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. If we can give them a warm welcome, please? (Applause)

Representative Porter of the 94th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have asked for the purpose of an announcement?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

I'd just like to announce that due to inclement weather that's being predicted for tomorrow, the Labor Committee will be cancelling their public hearing. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Orange of the 48th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning to you, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning, madam.

REP. ORANGE (48TH): For a purpose of an announcement?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

I would just like to make the Chamber aware of the fact that tomorrow is Joe Verrengia's birthday and I believe he will be 40 years old tomorrow. So if we could all give Joe Verrengia a round of applause. (Applause) Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Happy birthday, Representative. Representative McGee of the 5th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. MCGEE (5TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. I rise for the purpose of an announcement?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. MCGEE (5TH):

The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee will meet next Tuesday at room 2-E. Please stay tuned or -- for -- look out for an email with a specific time. Again, that's Finance, Revenue and Bonding next Tuesday in room 2-E.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Hennessy of the 127th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the purpose of announcement?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Due to the foreseen inclement weather, the Veterans Committee meeting is cancelled. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Verrengia of the 20th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. VERRENGIA (20TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. I rise to inform you that tomorrow's Public Safety and Security meeting is going to be cancelled and it will be rescheduled at a further date. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Verrengia, are you sure it's because of the weather and not because it's your birthday, sir? (Laughter)

REP. VERRENGIA (20TH): (Laughs) It has actually worked out pretty well for me. Thanks. (Laughter)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Well, enjoy your birthday, Representative.

Will the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution 33?

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution No. 33. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ROBERT J. AARONSON OF GREENWICH TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CONNECTICUT AIRPORT AUTHORITY. A favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Mr. Clerk, before we start with that, the Chair recognizes Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that we suspend our rules for immediate consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 33, 34 and 35.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The question before the Chamber is suspension of the rules for immediate consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 33. Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, so ordered.

Now that the rules have been suspended, the Chair recognizes Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is in consideration of the resolution before us. Will you remark? Representative Vargas, you have the floor.

Rep. VARGAS (6TH):

Mr. Robert J. Aaronson holds a masters degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania, a bachelors degrees from Brown University, and a certificate in urban transportation from Carnegie Mellon University. He's a former director general at Airports Council International Headquarters located in Geneva, Switzerland, and has held positions of importance in many airports throughout the world, including JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Dulles, and many others. In interest of time, I'll say that he's very qualified, has an extensive background in many, many areas, and I urge a favorable vote.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Will you remark.

If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH): Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution 32? Senate Joint Resolution 34?

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 34. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ELLIOTT LANDON OF WESTPORT TO BE APPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE EDUCATION ARBITRATION BOARD. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Ms. McKinley-Anderson holds a 6th-year degree in education and administration from the University of Connecticut, an MED in education from Westfield State University, and a bachelors in education from Westfield State University. She's currently a labor consultant and has extensive experience in arbitration, and it's my honor to be able to recommend a favorable vote.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Will you remark?

If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

(Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution 35?

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 35. A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF GAIL MCKINLEY-ANDERSON OF LONGMEADOW, MASSACHUSETTS TO BE REAPPOINTED A MEMBER OF THE EDUCATION ARBITRATION BOARD. A favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on executive and legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Elliott Landon holds an EDD in educational administration from Columbia University, a masters in education administration from Columbia University, and a bachelors in chemistry from Brooklyn College, a certificate in mediation from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He has an extensive background and resume. I'll just mention that he was formerly a superintendant of Westport Public Schools and Long Beach Public Schools and Garden City Public Schools, and Richfield Public Schools. So the gentleman is amply qualified and I urge a favorable report -- a favorable vote on his behalf. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Wood of the 141st, we missed you!

REP. WOOD (141ST):

What can I say? (Laughs) Thank you, Mr. Speaker and thank you to my good colleague across the aisle. I stand in strong support of Gail McKinley-Anderson to be on the Arbitration Board. Brings experience -- no, sorry. Confusing things here. Member of the Board of Education. She brings a lot of experience and I stand in support. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. The question before the Chamber. Will you remark? Will you remark?

If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

(Gavel)

Ladies and gentlemen, we're about to enter into Joint Convention. Can I have the members take their seat? And the Chair recognizes Representative Paolillo.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir.

Again, if members could take their seat. I know our Lieutenant Governor, Nancy Wyman, is on her way down.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to welcome our Lieutenant Governor, Nancy Wyman, to the dais. (Applause)

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down. Thank you very, very much. Joe, thank you for welcoming me to the Senate -- to the House. It's really great to be back here again. So, now we are in Joint Session. I believe that the committees have fulfilled their obligations. The Senate has been joined. And so, I would ask the Joint Convention to please come to order. Please, members and guests please rise and direct your attention to Senate Chaplain, Father Nock, who will lead us in prayer.

SENATE CHAPLAIN FATHER NOCK:

Let us pray. Almighty Father, we ask Your blessing on this Joint Convention, as we come together this afternoon to hear the Governor's budget address. Not only do we ask for Your guidance, we try to remember these words of an old Hartford resident, Mark Twain, who said, "Success is a journey, not a destination. It demands much vigilance and reevaluation. " And we ask this as You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Thank you, Father. Mr. Speaker, will you lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance, please?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Sure.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Thank you, sir. Please be seated everyone. Mr. Clerk, is there any business on your desk?

CLERK:

We have Joint Convention Resolution No. 36 and 37.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Thank you, sir. Senate Majority Leader, Senator Bob Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And Madam President, would the Clerk please call Joint Convention Resolution No. 36.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Joint Convention Resolution No. 36. A RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO INFORM THE GOVERNOR THAT THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE MET IN JOINT CONVENTION TO RECEIVE HIS BUDGET MESSAGE. LCO No. 3621 and produced by Senators Duff and Fasano and Representative Ritter.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

I will try your minds. All those in favor please signifying by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Opposed? The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. At this point, I will appoint the Majority Leaders and Minority Leaders, Senator Bob Duff, Senator Kevin Witkos, Representative Matt Ritter, and Representative Themis Klarides, to invite the Governor to attend the Joint Session. Please go -- yes -- right -- okay, you go. (Laughter) At this time, I do want to just point out that in the Chamber today we do have -- I see our Attorney General here. George Jepsen has joined us, a former member. (Applause) I also see our -- I saw our Treasurer, Denise Nappier, here today. (Applause) There we go. There we go. Thank you very much. You know what, I want to ask -- take a moment and ask those local elected officials that are here today to please stand or wave so we can welcome you into the Chamber. Thank you for coming back. (Applause) And at this time, I'm going to ask the Joint Session to stand at ease. I know that the Governor is on his way, I hope.

The Joint Session will come back to order. The Committee to invite the Governor to attend the Joint Session, having fulfilled its duties, is hereby discharged.

This is a moment for me and I'd like to take the moment to say that the budget that Governor Malloy will unveil today was crafted with tremendous effort. It was designed carefully to promote equity of opportunity and transparency. It shows that our Governor is willing to work hard and make hard decisions. Please, let's all welcome him to this Chamber, Governor Dannel P. Malloy. (Applause)

GOVERNOR DANNEL MALLOY:

All right, we got work to do. That's what they're paying us for.

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

I want to recognize and thank my trusted friend and advisor, the best Lieutenant Governor in the United States, Nancy Wyman. (Applause) I'd also like to thank my wife, Cathy, and my oldest son, Dannel, for being here today and for their love and support throughout and that -- thank you. (Applause) And as always, I'd like to thank and honor the brave men and women of Connecticut serving in the Armed Forces around the globe. (Applause)

One of the basic principles of our country is that if you are willing to work hard, you should have the opportunity to succeed. You should be able to buy a house, afford health care, and send your children to college. It's a fundamental promise that has come to be known as the American Dream. It's why people from around the world, those huddled masses yearning to breathe free, brave the journey in the hope of a better life here in America.

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

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

The truth is that, for too long, we've allowed certain communities to be disproportionately impacted by the state's fiscal challenges. While we've made advancements in recent years to address this inequity, I don't believe that we've gone far enough. Disparities have persisted and grown over the years, creating large pockets of concentrated poverty where communities sometimes sacrifice education for services or services for education, or sacrifice all. It's a vicious cycle that began decades ago. One that hinders poorer urban communities, leaving them with the highest tax burdens, troubled educational systems, and fewer city services, causing them to be even poorer still. In turn, suburban towns feel as though they're shouldering too much of the burden of neighboring cities. And all the while, rural communities feel forgotten altogether. The result is a broken, disparate system where towns are pitted one against the other, constantly fighting for limited state dollars.

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

The truth is, other states have had the foresight to make necessary investments in all of these areas. And as a result, they've gained a competitive advantage against us. But it's not too late. The opportunity is before us to turn the tide this year so that we can compete nationally and internationally in our own right. To do it, we'll need to continue building a better, fairer system of supporting our town services and supporting our local schools. We'll need to continue investing in a modern transportation infrastructure that meets the needs of both our residents and our businesses. And we will need to continue growing vibrant city centers; communities that are more than just great places to work, but also great places to live and raise a family.

This biennium budget lays the foundation for that kind of progress; progress that doesn't just help our big cities, but one that bolsters all of Connecticut. You see, we are a small state, and our towns are interconnected. Growth in Hartford means growth in Bloomfield and Windsor. More jobs in Waterbury means more jobs in Cheshire and Beacon Falls. A more vibrant New London means a more vibrant Ledyard and Montville.

We can rise together, or we can fall together. We can lift one another up, or we can drag one another down. Our future depends on the decisions we make today. This session. This year. (Applause)

The budget I present to you today contains a total of $ 18 billion dollars in general fund spending. This keeps us within the spending cap and growing at a pace well below inflation. More importantly, it does it while making required increased contributions to our pension system of more than $ 357 million dollars in year one. If we enact a budget that spends only the amount that I've proposed, the result would be an eight-year period where Connecticut's general fund budget grew at an average of only two percent. That is substantially less than the rate of the growth -- rate of growth in the prior eight years. And unlike those prior eight years, we are keeping spending in check while also fully funding our pensions. (Applause)

This year, we can build on our record of fiscal responsibility. To do it, my plan contains $ 1. 36 billion dollars in new spending reductions. These cuts are not made lightly, and I know they will include things that people in this very Chamber strongly support. So let me assure you, they include things that I myself strongly support. But our economic reality demands that we re-envision state government. Together, we need to provide essential core services and we need to find ways to do it at less cost to taxpayers.

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

This year, while you review my budget, it's natural to focus on what we're cutting back. But I encourage you to also recognize the many, many important things we preserve. For example, even as we cut spending, we are still putting millions of dollars towards helping Connecticut's chronically unemployed get back to work and back on their feet. We're still providing the necessary investment to match every single chronically-homeless person to permanent housing; the first state in the nation to do that. (Applause)

We're still funding new technology for law enforcement that will help keep crime at historic lows. We're still fully funding our critical arts and tourism awards. We're still redeveloping brownfields in every corner of this state; turning blighted properties into economic opportunities. We're still committed to supporting persons with intellectual disabilities. We do it with millions of dollars in new funding in the budget that I am proposing.

And finally, even as we cut back, we're still going to keep Connecticut's beautiful state parks open and available to our constituents. It's in the budget. We're doing all of these things and so much more in the budget. Of course in order to preserve these core functions, we need to guarantee that spending remains in check. To that end, I am once again proposing a strong constitutional spending cap, and I hope that you will join me in making it a reality this year. (Applause)

Now, of course, as we continue to make reductions to state agencies, we also need to redefine the relationship between state government and state employees. As I said last month, my administration is engaged in productive conversations with state employee representatives. Those discussions can and will continue to play out in good faith. And I am hopeful that we will reach a positive conclusion in the weeks ahead. At the same time, I have an obligation to submit a balanced budget to the General Assembly. It's only appropriate that I reflect my goals for labor savings. And so to that end, to help close the $ 1. 7 billion dollar hole we face, the budget before you assumes approximately $ 700 million dollars in state employee labor savings. The budget also details how these savings could be achieved should we fail to reach an agreement with our employees. Because presenting a budget without planning for this contingency, would be irresponsible.

Now, while I will not betray the confidence of my administration's conversations with Labor thus far, I do want to say a few things about the potential for a new labor agreement. First, I want to once again acknowledge and commend our state employees for what they've already sacrificed to help balance our budget. And more importantly, I'd like you to join me in thanking them for the hard work they put in each and every day serving the people of Connecticut. (Applause)

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

Here's something else I want to recognize, and it's something I would like everyone in this Chamber to keep in mind in the coming weeks. State employees have an existing contract, one that was originally negotiated 20 years ago by a former governor - John Rowland. In other words, we are not starting from scratch when we revisit the SEBAC contract. While it is fair for us to ask for savings, it is equally fair for our employees to also ask for changes as well, as long as the end result is a more-affordable and more-sustainable labor agreement. And finally, on this topic, let me say that I am very hopeful that we can achieve a positive conclusion and meet the labor savings target laid out in my budget. It won't be easy, and that's fine. I think we're up to the challenge. If we stay at the table, if we treat one another with respect, and if we recognize that we all want what's best for our state, then we can, and will, get this done.

Here's the final topic I want to discuss with you today. As I said to you from this podium last month, we cannot talk about more cuts in services. We cannot talk about labor savings, without discussing town aid. At more than $ 5 billion dollars, municipal aid accounts for our single largest state expenditure. And addressing town aid also means that we are addressing educational aid, which amounts to $ 4. 1 billion dollars, or 81 percent of all municipal funding from the state. Here's a simple truth I know you all agree with;  education is economic development. A pipeline of skilled and prepared workers is essential for our thriving industries and growing businesses. It's why we value our state's public education system. It's why we've put so much effort into improving how our children are educated. And it's why we've raised the bar for our students in recent years. And to be sure, they are rising to the challenge. Test scores are up and graduation rates are now at an all-time high. (Applause)

But the system on how state aid is delivered to their schools is still not where it needs to be, and I will remind you that a recent court decision deemed our school funding formula to be irrational and unfair. I agree that we are not meeting our constitutional requirement of a fair and equitable public education system, one that guarantees every student the opportunity for success. Real reform must begin with our educational cost sharing formula, or ECS. I believe that the updated ECS formula in my budget is more equitable, more transparent, and more fair. For the first time in more than a decade, the formula counts current enrollment. We will stop reimbursing communities for students that they no longer have in the classroom. By recognizing shifting demographics in small towns and growing cities, state funding can change with time to reflect changing communities. The new formula also uses a more accurate measure of wealth by using the equalized net grand list and a better measure of student poverty, allowing the state to direct support to communities with higher concentrations of poverty. By considering a given communities' ability to pay, we can adjust to what taxpayers can actually afford. Because let's be honest, if a city has a mil rate over 40, not only is that city failing its residents, but Connecticut is failing that city. The proposed formula is fair and it is honest. It is predictable and it is sustainable. Let's make it a reality together.

Of course, you can't talk about educational funding without talking about Special Education. For the last quarter century, Connecticut has combined Special Education dollars into ECS. The result is that we've unfairly obscured the real cost of Special Education in our communities. It isn't fair to local leaders trying to balance their budgets and it certainly isn't fair to students with disabilities and their families. In my proposed budget, Special Education is now a separate formula grant from ECS, and Special Education funding will be increased by $ 10 million dollars in that budget as well. (Applause) I should add that we will also require school systems to seek Medicaid reimbursement where it is available, ensuring that no community leaves federal dollars on the table. Of course, as we work to make the ECS and Special Education funding more fair and more equitable, we also have to grapple with how we fund this new system. As I've already said today, part of the way we will do it is by continuing to reduce spending in our state agencies and by working to find savings with state employees. Making those changes helps free up more dollars for town aid. But we need to do even more. There's a very large portion of education aid that almost always is left out of any conversation. I'm talking about how we pay for teacher pensions.

This year, state government is set to pay $ 1. 2 billion dollars for a system that supports 86,000 active and retired teachers and administrators. So you see, when we talk about funding for education, we have to include the state contribution to teacher pensions as part of that conversation. Now I want to be very clear, the teachers' retirement program is a sustainable, well-organized system, and hardworking teachers make a six-percent contribution to that program. I am not proposing that teachers' benefits be limited or cut back. We should note that the teacher's retirement pension system has always been funded without any contribution from towns and cities, however. My budget does not propose that we demolish that system or shift the entire costs to towns. But this year, as we continue making cuts to state services and as we ask state employees to find more savings, we need towns to begin sharing the cost of their employees' pensions. After all, teachers are municipal employees. The state doesn't pay the pensions of policemen, or firemen, or any other group. As such, my budget asks towns and cities - all of them - to contribute one-third of the cost towards their teacher pensions. It isn't just about saving the state money. I believe this is sensible policy for other reasons as well. After all, this funding is not distributed based on student need or relative town wealth. Rather, it is based entirely on local decisions about how much towns decide to pay their local educators and how many teachers and administrators they employ.

Under my proposal, towns maintain that control, but they do it with some skin in the game. Let me illustrate for you the disparity that the current system has created in communities across the state. In the current fiscal year, the state is spending $ 24 million dollars to cover the pension costs of teachers and administrators in our most affluent municipality, Greenwich; a school district that enrolls 8,800 students, compared to the City of New Britain, a city with a much higher concentration of poverty, which enrolls 10,000 students, where the state will only provide $ 18 million dollars to cover pension costs for teachers. That's 25 percent less funding to a poor system with 14 percent more students. I'm not blaming wealthy towns for this inequity. It's not their fault. But we need to do a better job. We need to make the system more reasonable. And we need to do that with our partners -- with the cities fully funding teachers' and school administrator retirement benefits together. Again, not all of the cost, but simply a contribution towards that cost. My budget reflects that partnership; a re-envisioning of Connecticut's funding to meet 21st century challenges in education.

Now, I know that state assistance is not always about simply dollars and cents. Sometimes, we help the most when the state gets out of the way. For our towns to thrive, we must remove bureaucratic red tape that is not producing discernable benefits for taxpayers.

Last week, I proposed changes to do precisely that. My budget will give municipalities greater flexibility and additional tools for making local government leaner and more cost effective. My proposals are designed to increase local control over budgets and contracts, keep down project costs, modernize out-of-date requirements, and remove unnecessary red tape. This session, I should say, that if we are going to ask more from our towns, it's also only right that we also free them from unnecessary burdens, and let's do that together. Let's do that in this session. Of course, at the same time that we are providing mandate relief, we can also increase transparency on how town aid is utilized.

For communities that would receive additional state dollars in this budget, that support can only come with greater accountability for how taxpayer dollars are being spent - whether that be on education, city services or paying off long-term debt. Directing state aid and oversight to those who need it the most ensures that the collective strength of a region, or of a small state like ours, for that matter, is that much stronger. It is in our collective best interest that no town be brought to the brink of bankruptcy. Over the years, our state has had various iterations of state boards to oversee towns experiencing financial distress. My proposal this year builds upon lessons learned from these past experiences. It will create a Municipal Accountability Review Board, chaired by the State Treasurer and the Secretary of OPM.

Ultimately, this board, empowered to review municipal finances, will oversee efforts to restore fiscal stability where warranted. Through this tiered accountability framework, we can intervene early to help struggling municipalities. And we can position the state to take action well before a city or town needs a bailout or bankruptcy. Surely, our towns and cities will sometimes struggle. We know that. But it is our responsibility to put these municipalities back on the path to fiscal health. We can take action to avoid fiscal crises and then remove these communities from enhanced state oversight when it is appropriate, and when they are ready.

Those are my ideas for changing town aid and putting Connecticut on a path to addressing pockets of concentrated poverty in our towns and cities across the state. The details of how we get there are in the budget that is now before you.

As a former mayor, I know the view from town hall. There will be voices in some communities who want to know why their town should receive less funding, while others receive more. I know those voices will be well represented by just about everybody in this Chamber. In answer, my budget leaves $ 75 million dollars in year one and $ 84 million dollars the following year in local aid which is unallocated in the budget. This is my way of saying to you -- members of the Legislature -- that I am ready to negotiate. I am ready to hear your ideas on where that unallocated money is needed most.

When we come together and constructively debate our different ideas, the end result is that much stronger. You see, the fact is, the wellbeing and quality of life of our constituents is interconnected. Regardless of party, or region, or zip code, from the farmer to the factory worker, from the nurse to the mechanic, from the teacher to the actuary, all are impacted by the success and failures of Connecticut as a whole. Unfortunately, far too many people feel as though the system is rigged against them and their communities. A history of shortsighted state government and a record of half-step policy fixes have left people believing that in order for one person or one community to gain, someone else has to lose. I reject that notion. Dignity, opportunity, prosperity, none of these are a zero-sum game. We are all guaranteed access to these fundamental rights.

This year, this session, we must reset the system for ensuring equal opportunity for success. We must guarantee that no community or family shoulders more burden than they can bear. We must keep our promise to our students and teachers. Together, let's ensure that all Connecticut communities see their fair share of success. Let's give taxpayers, communities, and businesses more predictability and more stability. Let's have the courage to collectively tackle the challenge of inequity in town aid. Let's do that so that ten years from now, no Connecticut city or town needs to levy a mil rate of 35 mils or more.

As we negotiate this budget, we should remember that we are in this together. It's about more than just how "my town" or "my community" or "my family" did. It's also about neighboring towns and neighboring communities, and neighboring families as well. We will rise or fall together as one Connecticut. And working together, I know we will prevail.

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

(Applause)

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Thank you all. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I believe the Clerk is in possession of Joint Convention Resolution No. 37?

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Joint Convention Resolution No. 37. A RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PRINTING OF THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET MESSAGE. LCO No. 3623, introduced by Senators Duff, Fasano and Representative Ritter.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

The motion is on adoption of the resolution. All in favor please say aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Opposed? The resolution is adopted.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I think it's time for the benediction, Madam President.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

Oops, sorry. Okay. Really. (Laughter) Father Nock, do you want to -- we're gonna ask you again because Father Jacob isn't here if you would give -- oops, I'm sorry. Oops, I apologize. At this time, members and guests please rise and direct your attention to the House Chaplain, Father Jacobs, who will give us the benediction.

DEPUTY CHAPLAIN FATHER CHARLES E. JACOBS:

Is Father Nock trying to take over my job?

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

I know. I was giving it away. So, so sorry. (Laughter) Just remember me in your prayers. Go ahead. (Laughter)

DEPUTY CHAPLAIN FATHER CHARLES E. JACOBS:

Of course I'll remember you in my prayers. I remember everybody. I hope you all remember us, too.

And so let us continue to pray. I'd ask you at the end of the prayer to -- so that the prayer becomes ours and not mine, that you respond amen at the end of our prayer, acknowledging that the prayer has been heard by God and that the prayer will be answered by Our God.

And so Lord, the anxiously-awaited state budget has been unveiled by our Governor. We now ask that as the fiscal year progresses, the cooperation of those who work together on behalf of this state, grant them Your wisdom and never allow us to overlook the needs of Your most vulnerable people.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Amen.

DEPUTY CHAPLAIN FATHER CHARLES E. JACOBS:

Thank you. Thank you.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN: Thank you, Father Jacobs. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

I'll try your minds. All those in favor please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WYMAN:

The Joint Convention is dissolved.

(Gavel)

(The House of Representatives was called to order, Deputy Speaker Godfrey of the 110th District in the Chair. )

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

(Gavel) The House will come back to order. Representative Haddad, I understand you have an announcement?

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, two announcements actually.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

The first would be our meeting of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, which was previously scheduled for Thursday at 10: 00 o'clock, will be delayed due to weather until 3: 00 o'clock p. m. on Friday in room 1-C. Additionally, the public hearing scheduled tomorrow for the Children's Committee will not be held. It's been cancelled. Those items previously scheduled for public hearing will be redistributed to the rest of the Children's Committee's public hearing schedule. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. I hope everybody keeps a weather eye, literally, on what's gonna be happening tomorrow. Whether we're finally gonna get winter or not. (Laughter) And meanwhile, the Distinguished Deputy Majority Leader, Representative Albis. Okay, Representative Haddad, back to you.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker. I think I said 3: 00 o'clock. I meant to say 3: 30 o'clock for the Higher Education Committee on Friday.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

On Friday? Very good, sir. Now, Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With there being no further business on the Clerk's desk, I move that we adjourn subject to the Call of the Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Without objection, the House stands adjourned subject to the Call of the Chair.

(Gavel)

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the House adjourned at 1: 14 o'clock p. m. , to meet again at the Call of the Chair. )

CERTIFICATE

I hereby certify that the foregoing 82 pages is a complete and accurate transcription of a digital sound recording of the House Proceedings on February 8. 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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