THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

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

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The House will come to order. [Gavel] Will the House please come to order. Will members, staff, and guests, please rise and direct your attention to the Dias, where Imam Refai Arefin will lead us in prayer.

IMAM REFAI AREFIN:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let us pray. We give you thanks, oh God, for giving us this day and for granting us the strength and fortitude to do the difficult work we were chosen for. The issues of these days are complicated as we go our various ways, guide us to the straight path of those whom you have favored and illuminate the path to your way. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you. Would Representative Ferguson of the 138th District, please come to the Dias to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

REP. FERGUSON (138TH):

(All) 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. Communication from the Governor, Executive and Legislative Nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Refer to Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations.

CLERK:

Communications from the Governor, Judicial Nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Refer to the Committee on Judiciary.

CLERK:

The only other business, Mr. Speaker, is the daily Calendar.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Are there any announcements or introductions? Mr. Majority Leader, Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

I am looking for and did he leave? Did Representative Rovero leave? He was just here. If I could have the Chamber's attention, please. About two weeks ago, a very significant thing happened for our good friend, Representative Danny Rovero, he looks startled, I know. He was nominated and chosen to be part of the Putnam Hall of Fame's first ever class of only five people in the history of that town. So, I thought what a great way to start our day here by giving him a round of applause for that tremendous honor. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative, while I always affectionately refer to you as Uncle Danny, I don't know if that's appropriate here in the Chamber, even though I just did it. Congratulations to you sir, it couldn't have happened to a better person.

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Lesser of the 100th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Yes, thank you, good morning, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of introduction.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today is the Ministry of Health Fellowship African-American Faith Leader's Advocacy Day at the Capitol, and we're joined by a constituent of mine, the Reverend Moses Harvill of Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown as well as by Alphonse Wright, who is the Vice Chair of the Commission on Equity and Opportunity. I think we're honored to have them here in the House today. And I would ask that we extend these gentlemen our usual warm welcome. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Gentlemen, I really appreciate you being here. A few extra prayers for this body and this state won't hurt. So, any extra prayers you have, we appreciate it. Thank you.

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Representative Candelora, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning. Mr. Speaker, unfortunately last week I missed the Intern Recognition Ceremony. So, I wanted to just introduce to the Chamber my intern, and I blamed you for missing it. But anyway, I just want to introduce Josh Tobin. He is a Trinity student and he has done a great job for me all session long, and I just wanted to introduce him to the Chamber and thank him for all of his hard work. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I will fully accept the blame for you not making it. But the question is, I see he is wearing a purple tie, which is North Branford's color; is that required of your intern, Representative? [Laughter] Thank you very much for your work over session.

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Any other announcements or introductions? Seeing no one lit up on the board, nobody is rising, we are going to move on with business.

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 271.

CLERK:

State of Connecticut House of Representatives Calendar, Tuesday, May 2, 2017. On page 23, House Calendar 271, Substitute House Bill No. 7230, AN ACT CONCERNING THE SECRETARY OF THE STATE'S ELECTRONIC BUSINESS PORTAL. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Commerce.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Please proceed.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill requires the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Secretary of State's Office to collaborate on marketing and improving the state's online business formation portal. And the purpose of this bill is to make this start-up tool more accessible to startup businesses and to encourage entrepreneurship by making it easier and quicker to start a business in our state.

We want to do everything we can to support business growth and job creation in Connecticut. And we believe this bill will further that effort. I urge my colleagues to support this.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Simmons. Further on the bill? Further on the Bill? Representative Yaccarino of the 87th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

A quick question to the proponent of this bill, please, through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

When the Secretary of State testified in front of our Committee, she had stated that we need this obviously for business growth and to access different business or online experiences to understand how you would apply for a business. But is there a fiscal note to this?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you for that question, Representative. There is no fiscal note. It will be completed within available appropriations.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that answer. It's an innocuous bill. I think it's important we do this as far as moving forward. Every little tool we could use to help our business owners or people that want to open a business I think is a positive. So, I urge support and thank the good Chairwoman. Thank you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Yaccarino. Further on the bill? Representative Ziobron, from Belltown, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon. It's nice to see you up there, sir. So, I certainly am supportive of this premise of this bill. I think it's a good idea. But I have to note that there seems like there is no instructions on how this is going to be promoted, how are businesses going to find out about this portal because as you know, to my good friend across the aisle, it's only as good as the tools that you give somebody to use. So, how are we going to promote this and how are businesses going to be able to avail themselves to this investment and this technology?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, that's an excellent question, Representative. And it's one of the things we discussed during the public hearing testimony and debate on the bill, the importance of promoting this new online start-up tool. And one of the main reasons we're doing this bill is to encourage DECD and the Secretary of State's office to work together on promoting this bill. Given our fiscal climate, I know it's difficult to add additional appropriations for that but we're hoping that through this bill that we will better work together and as DECD's promoting business development and recruiting businesses to our state, they'll better market this bill within their existing appropriations. And I think it's incumbent on all of us as well to get the word out to business owners and startups in our district that this new online tool is available. Because up until two years ago, when it was created, businesses had to file forms by mail or fax and it could take up to months to startup. Whereas, the online tool now makes it much quicker and easier. But again, it's an excellent question. It's something we need to continue to work on promoting this.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the good lady's response. I think that she mentioned something that I find to be so true, which is our legislators and my fellow colleagues are some of the best opportunities to market these things. So, my simple request, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good proponent is, once you're available to have that whatever PR or anything that comes from this, I hope you will share that with your colleagues, so that we can all make sure that this is a successful venture. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Ziobron. Further on the bill? Representative Davis of the 57th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good morning.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, a question to the proponent of the bill, if I may?

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND): f

Please proceed, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, the bill just simply, from my reading of it, simply requires that the DECD Commissioner promote this website that already exists, already paid for, already completed by the Secretary of State's office; through you, Mr. Speaker, I don't understand why we would need legislation to do this? Shouldn't the DECD Commissioner be actively promoting business portal opportunities like this through the state?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that question, Representative. And certainly, we would hope that our agencies are cooperating. I think the purpose of this bill is to further encourage that cooperation and the bill does also, in addition to requiring DECD to market this, it also requires them to collaborate on improving and streamlining the online startup process, so that we can continue to make it faster and quicker to start up a business.

For example, in Utah there is a business that allows businesses to startup in just 10 minutes, completely online. So, I think we can continue to try to do everything we can to work together, across our agencies to make that startup process quicker and more efficient.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you. If, for instance, the DECD Commissioner were to fail at their opportunity to properly promote this bill, is there anything that would hold them accountable to make sure that we actually do improve access to this business portal?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that question, Representative, and I think certainly through audits and oversight of the Commerce Committee, we can certainly push to try to hold DECD accountable.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And where does the role of the Secretary of State lie in this bill? Obviously, they're the ones that created this business portal, it's one of their main functions as an office of Secretary of State to do the business registry and then make it easier to be a business here in the State of Connecticut. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what role does the Secretary of State's office play if, in fact, we're kind of asking DECD to play a much greater role?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The Secretary of State's office role is essentially to provide essential database and they are responsible for maintaining data on all business registrations in our state. And so, through this bill, it would be required that the Secretary of State's office collaborate with DECD, whose main function is to be out there encouraging economic development and recruiting businesses to our state. So, their role would be collaboration and working together in order to continue to streamline the process.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, if the Department of Economic and Community Development's job and its major function is to promote economic development in the State of Connecticut, would it not be better for us to be legislating that the Secretary of State's office do a better job at promoting this business portal rather than the agency that actually oversees the promotion of economic development in the State?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, thank you. And that's a good question, Representative. And I think it's incumbent on both agencies to be working together to collaborate and promote business development and to make this startup tool known and available to new businesses.

For example, I was at a small business symposium two days ago and none of the businesses there new about this new online resource. So, I think it's important for all agencies that are involved in business formation and encouraging economic development to be aware of this helpful resource.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the kind gentlelady for her answers. I certainly agree with her that more needs to be done to promote small businesses, especially here in the State of Connecticut, and if this bill certainly can help that and encourage that small business growth here in the state and entrepreneurship, I will be supporting it here today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Davis. Further on the bill? Further on the bill? If not, staff and guests, please retire to the well of the House. Members take their 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check the board and make sure vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked. Will the Clerk please take a tally? Would the Clerk please announce the tally?

CLERK:

House Bill No. 7230.

Total Number of Voting 143

Necessary for Passage 72

Those Voting Yea 143

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 8

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Representative Ritter, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Two quick announcements and I think the Minority Leader will have one as well. I would like to, first of all, acknowledge the House Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who today is celebrating a birthday, Representative William Tong. [Applause] We promise to get him out by 2 a. m. at the minimum. [Laughter]

Second, and again the Minority Leader will introduce a new member of the Republican Caucus, but we had some special elections last week and it is a tremendous honor for me as a member of the Hartford Caucus, in particular, to introduce and welcome the newest State Representative from the 7th District in Hartford, and a very good friend from a very wonderful family, new State Representative Josh Hall. If we could please welcome him. [Applause]

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Majority Leader Ritter. Representative Ferraro of the 117th.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

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

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

I have with me in the Chamber today, three young ladies from the Common Ground Charter School, located on the New Haven/Hamden town line. I have Vanessa Lahroue of Orange, Connecticut, Marga Rivera from New Haven, Connecticut, and Yamalet Zamora from New Haven, Connecticut. And these young ladies are getting an early start in advocacy. They are up here to advocate for their charter school, which specializes in farming and agriculture. Vanessa tells me that this, because of her parents' occupation, she needs to move around Connecticut quite a bit. And this school has provided a home for her so that instead of going from school to school, she can just study at one school. She's met a great family of students there. She's very happy and she's moving towards graduation. And I'd like the Chamber to give these young ladies a warm welcome for their advocacy and their attendance. [Applause]

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Ferraro. Representative Klarides, for what purpose do you rise, Madam?

REP. KLARIDES-DITRIA (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as the Majority Leader previously stated, we do have two new additions to the House Chamber today, and I would like to introduce our addition, Representative Joe Polleta from the 68th, please give him a big round of applause and welcome. [Applause]

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much. And let me add my congratulations to both of you as well and welcome to the Chamber and welcome to the House of Representatives.

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

REP. BARAM (15TH):

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

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, today is Israel's 69th birthday, it's Independence Day, known as Yom Hatzmaut. Since Israel's inception in 1948, the United States and Israel have shared a special relationship as allies and as democracies.

Connecticut also maintains close ties with Israel. We have historic trade and educational relationships that not only include the defense industries, but medical, biotech, manufacturing and in the arts and sciences.

In recognition of Israel's Independence Day today, the Israeli flag is flying over our State Capitol, and I would certainly invite my colleagues to observe. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Baram. Will the Clerk please call Calendar 388.

CLERK:

On page 39, House Calendar 388, Substitute House Bill No. 6695, AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF YOUTH FROM CONVERSION THERAPY. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Public Health.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's report and passage of the bill. Would you remark further? Representative Currey, would you remark further?

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is the acceptance and passage. Will you remark? Will you remark? Representative Currey, further remarks?

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Homo, fag, sissy; imagine being tormented by your classmates on a daily basis, led to believe that something is wrong with the way that you are; many times, a way, you yourself have not yet embraced or fully understand. And then imagine going home each night to parents who are supposed to be your first friends, your first teacher, the ones you trust more than life itself, only to have them affirm those adolescent attitudes and attempt to convince you that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

Well, let me make it very clear to all of you here today. As a gay youth and now a gay adult, never was I broken nor in need of being fixed. Being gay is not a disease and, therefore, does not require a cure. Unfortunately, though, this is what many of our LGBTQ youths are being told; most often by parents who aren't equipped with a level of understanding of what it means to be gay and how to best support and protect their LGBTQ children.

This lack of acceptance may lead to a number of reactions, including the cruel and destructive practice of conversion therapy. For those unfamiliar with the discredited practice of conversion therapy, this bill defines that for you. As a practice or treatment administered to a person under 18 years of age that seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity; including, but not limited to any effort to change gender expression or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attraction or feelings towards persons of the same gender.

This practice or treatment is not science, it's science fiction. And over 40 of our nations and Connecticut's leading medical mental health and human service professionals organizations agree and do not recognize conversion therapy as a legitimate therapy and have condemned this practice. This includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and even the United Nation's Committee Against Torture because that's exactly what conversion therapy is to these children, it's torture.

Methods as barbaric as electric shock or the inducing of nausea, vomiting, or paralysis or even hypnosis is used to redirect what is deemed as shameful desires. Shameful? Really? I'm not okay with labeling the youth of our state, our children, our future as shameful and neither should you.

Our LGBTQ children are some of our state's most at-risk residents facing challenges that go beyond the daily ridicule of just trying to live their authentic lives, which is why there is a particular need to protect them from this practice. Research has demonstrated that lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who have reported higher levels of family rejection, including admission to this practice of conversion therapy, are six times more likely to have attempted suicide. Almost three times more likely to use illegal drugs and also practice unprotected sex, when compared to their non-gay peers, who have reported no or low-levels of family rejection.

Family rejection. Can you imagine being five, ten, even fifteen years old and being rejected by your family because of who you are? Something you have absolutely no control over. What we do have control over though as adults is how we react. If parents feel the need to reach out to a healthcare professional to assist in working through these new family dynamics, nothing in this bill would prevent them from doing so. This bill was carefully crafted to ensure that it prohibits conversion therapy without interfering with any legitimate therapy or mental health services.

Coming out as a youth can be quite scary and nerve-racking; so, it's important that this bill maintains these kinds of services because proper mental healthcare can empower youth and their families. Parents who want to turn to mental healthcare professionals to help their children should feel confident in the information they're receiving and the treatment that they're getting so that they know it's valid and not fraudulent.

So, again, this bill would make three important changes to Connecticut's law.

One, it would clearly make it impermissible for licensed healthcare professionals to engage in conversion therapy, and any licensed healthcare professional who did, would be subject to discipline by the Department of Public Health. This bill would also permit someone who's subjected to this mistreatment to bring a consumer fraud claim. And finally, this bill would prohibit any state funds from being used towards the harmful practice of conversion therapy.

Mr. Speaker, the Clerk does have an amendment, and I would ask that they call LCO 6504, and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6504, House Amendment A.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 6504, offered by Representative Currey, Senator Bye, Representative Aresimowicz, Representative Ritter, Representative Klarides.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey has asked leave of the Chamber to summarize. Is there objection to summarization? Seeing none, please proceed, Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Section 3, the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Provision, after minor tweaks, to mirror the definition that we have in Section 1 and existing language in statutes, the state said, “It shall be unlawful for any person who practices or administers conversion therapy to practice or administer such therapy while in the conduct of trade or commerce. A violation of this provision constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act; otherwise, known as CUTPA.

And while we don't define trade or commerce in this bill, we do make a statutory reference to the CUTPA where it does, in fact, define trade and commerce; and I move adoption.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House A. Further on House A? Representative Candelora of the 86th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, I just had a couple of questions to the proponent of the amendment.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Under the definition of conversion therapy, there is sort of broad language that we invoke. And there was some concern and discussion in Section 3, which sets up, I guess, the penalty piece for individuals who are not -- I guess, individuals who are licensed healthcare providers or who aren't necessarily licensed healthcare providers, but may be a layperson who is engaging in this activity; am I correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, you are correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, Section 3, which we're amending is sort of the catch-all part of the bill, which provides the penalty. And I guess the -- one concern was sort of the indirect or the unintended consequences. If there is somebody who is engaged in the trade or commerce of owning a book store and selling books. And in that book store there may be a book that involves conversion therapy and that individual who owns that store would sell that book.

Under this provision, or Section 3, would it be a violation to sell books that are on conversion therapy?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wouldn't recommend it and no, it does not. Thank you.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And in addition to this, what this language is attempting to capture, as I understand it, is an individual who is engaged in conversion therapy where they're collecting money in order to perform that particular type of therapy? Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, if I'm a business owner and I say I have, you know, I'm in the manufacturing industry and I have 50 employees that are underneath me. One of those employees on the weekends happens to be engaged in conversion therapy and is collecting money for that purpose. Under this definition in Section 3, as that person's employer, would liability extend to me because I'm engaged in the trade or business of manufacturing as opposed to conversion therapy? Would liability extend to me?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The business owner would not be liable, but the employee who would be doing this on the side, so long as they received any sort of compensation for this would be liable.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And then there was some concern in discussion, I think in certain -- you know, certain areas of life; in particular, in religion and our churches there could be, you know, sensitive conversations that occur. I know, you know, just in my church alone the priest has a close relationship with a lot of individuals in the parish and you certainly go to that individual for guidance.

To the extent, I guess, to what extent would this amendment cover religious circumstances?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

The religious piece of this is not included in this particular bill, so they would be able to practice what they would decide to practice within their own congregations.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And just one final question. I guess, you know, this bill -- this section of the bill, this amendment invokes our CUTPA claim, under Connecticut General Statutes, which has the connotation as, you know, being in the line of work, being in the trades. And so, as this language as drafted, the intent of this amendment is to cover individuals who are in actually that trade or business, sort of in the course of making money as opposed to incidental conversations that may occur or other type of life situations where there is no exchange of money?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

That is correct. This section only would apply should there be that exchange of money or trade. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate those answers. I think it's helpful in moving forward with this bill as to making sure that this amendment does go forward and capture the underlying intent. Thank you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, sir. Representative Srinivasan of the 31st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good afternoon, Doctor.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, just a few questions to the proponent of the amendment.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in the conversation we've just had, to make it clear that it is only when conversion therapy is administered or done in these various shocking ways that you just elaborated, then and then only will what we are talking with this amendment apply?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

It would be any conversion therapy, any practicing or administering of conversion therapy as defined in the bill itself would be a violation so long as money exchanged hands, as applied in this particular section.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I know the amendment does capture part of the underlying bill, and I'm sure we'll talk about that as we talk about the bill in itself. But just to be clear on the amendment, which is where we are at this stage. So, if as Representative Candelora talked about that if anything is available not, you know, inasmuch as I just want to make sure I get my hands around this practice part where there are books available or there are other videos, that, this, and the other that are available on the subject matter, not that it is being practiced, but they are just available. And I did hear you say so, so hopefully they are not available. But in the event, because we have to look at it in trade and commerce. So, if those books, videos, any of those were available, and obviously, there is an exchange, there is money exchanging hands at that point, would that be included in this amendment as we speak?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No, you are still free to purpose a book or a video, should you like.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. In the process of buying a book or a video, as I'm sure you can imagine, a lot of times conversation happens between the owner of the store and the person who is buying the book or the video. And if a conversation were to happen on the subject matter and the person, the book owner or the store owner or the person who is employed in the store, not necessarily the owner, expresses his or her views on conversion therapy, and seems to think that conversion therapy is okay, is acceptable, so on and so forth, prior to the sale of the book. Not that he or she is trying to sell the book, but just being asked a question on the subject matter, would the, A, the person who talks about the subject and B, the owner, if that is not the same person, would they be liable through this amendment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

No, so long as no money is exchanging hands so that that person behind the counter is having a conversation to allow for a directive that the person purchasing it is going to be requiring that conversion therapy.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. There is a conversation between the person who comes into the store and purchases the book. But prior to the purchase of the book, obviously, there is an exchange of money at that point in time. There is a lengthy discussion between the store owner or the employee, the risks, the benefits, so on and so forth on this subject matter; and at the end of that discussion sometimes it would be minutes, sometimes it could be longer given the fact on the significance of the subject, which as you very articulately said, you know, is a very, very deep subject matter. So, at the end of that half an hour, forty-five-minute discussion, if the store owner seems to direct that person towards the purpose of the book, that's the end result. The end result is the purchase of a book or a video. But there was, I wouldn't say a direct, but an indirect kind of a suggestion. Would any of those people, the book owner or the employer, would they be held liable because there is an exchange in terms of money?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Those are the questions on the amendment and I want to thank the good proponent of the amendment for those answers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Srinivasan. Representative Dubitsky of the 47th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, a couple of quick questions for the proponent, if I may?

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you. I see that in the original bill there was reference to the Unfair Trade Practices Act by statute number, and I see that in this amendment that's been removed. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, under this amendment, is it true that conducting conversion therapy, even if you're doing it as a trade or business is not an unfair trade practice under the Unfair Trade Practices Act?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Would you ask the speaker to restate his question, please?

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

I will. Representative Dubitsky, would you care to restate your question?

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Sure. It appears in the amendment reference to the Unfair Trade Practices Act has been removed. So, my question is, under this amendment, is it not a -- is it no longer a unfair trade practice to conduct conversion therapy as a trade or business?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

If you can give me one moment, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Take your time.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

And through you. The change is just a change in lines 51 and 52 of the bill itself. The remaining Section B remains for the CUTPA violation and the statutory reference.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Okay. Just 51 through and 52. Okay. So, if it is an unfair trade practice, I would ask -- the Unfair Trade Practices Act talks about being unfair and deceptive. So, I would ask, if it is under this bill, the underlying bill if it has not been removed from the amendment, I would ask what is the deception in conversion therapy?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The deception is that this is science fiction and this is not a true therapy and has been discredited by every health organization. I have a list of over 40 of them around the country and around the world who have discredited this practice. So, it is truly deceptive to practice conversion therapy.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Okay. If it is still an unfair trade practice under the bill, then I would ask what does the amendment do?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey, would you explain House A again, please.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes. So, in Section 3a, the biggest change in this is that if you read the original language we use the word “provide conversion therapy,” and so we wanted to be sure to make it clear that we matched the definition earlier in the bill itself that talks about practicing or administering. So, that is the substantive change of that bill as well as mirroring language in the CUTPA section of our statutes, including while in the conduct of trade or commerce. So, it's mainly housekeeping to clean up the language.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Okay. Through you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the proponent for that and I will continue to listen to the dialogue.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Sampson of the 80th and Wolcott, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Just a single question to the proponent of the amendment, if I could.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, by all means.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

This is my first time actually looking at the underlying bill in any detail and I just became aware of the fact that we were doing it this morning. So, I'm trying to catch up very quickly. And from what I could tell, the amendment is designed to narrow down the bill, essentially for some of us it might make what we consider to be a bad bill better by making it only apply in very, very certain and explicit circumstances.

But I guess my question is, it seems to me that the bill with the amendment says that now this conversion therapy would only be offensive and the bill would only apply in cases where there is compensation being offered to the person providing it. And I just want to make sure that that is the intent of the amendment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yeah, any sort of trade or commerce.

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the proponent of the amendment for that answer. Based on that, I'm not going to support the amendment. I just have a concern where we pass laws that say that certain behavior should or should not be acceptable in our society. My personal feeling about this is that we're going too far in determining what people's rights are, but if you are going to make a determination like that, you should really consider whether or not it makes any difference whether or not someone is being compensated or not for doing the therapy, before you decide whether it should be banned or not. It seems to me that if it's so bad that it needs to be banned in cases where money is exchanged, it ought to be banned in other cases as well.

I can't support the amendment before us, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Sampson. Further on House A? Representative Siegrist, did you have a comment on House A?

REP. SIEGRIST (36TH):

No.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

No. Representative Fishbein of the 90th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, it's nice to see you up there.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

If I may, I have some questions for the proponent of this bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, sir. Just following along with what Representative Sampson had to say. You know, I agree with the underlying, but the need for the amendment or that language at all, since the bill already says that it's “though shall not practice conversion therapy. ” One would believe that if one does that they are in violation of the law and therefore it is unlawful.

So, of what use or what change does this language do for us?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, this piece of the legislation is the catch-all. So, if you refer to the earlier Section 2 of the bill, we talk about healthcare providers administering or practicing this therapy and, so, this would be that catch-all for those that don't fall under that particular category so that anybody engaged, practicing or administering conversion therapy for trade or commerce would then wind up being liable under this particular section.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, Section A catches the healthcare provider and it's the intent of this Section 3(a) to catch everyone else?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you. Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

And am I to understand that one could be charged with a crime for doing this?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

And what part of the penal code would be affected by being charged with a crime for engaging in conversion therapy?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't have that information for you right now, but I'd be more than happy to follow back up with you.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And not knowing the section of the penal code, do we know what perhaps the penalty for violating this crime would be?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's a civil penalty, not actually a crime, just for clarification.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

So, am I to understand that -- thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, am I to understand that one cannot be charged with a crime for engaging in conversion therapy?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

I apologize, Mr. Speaker. Would the Representative please restate the question?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, earlier I asked the good proponent whether or not one could be charged with a crime for engaging in conversion therapy; the answer was in the affirmative. And I asked about the section of the penal code and there wasn't an answer. And I give good credence to the proponent. But it appears that now there is a change in that opinion?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For clarification, it's a civil penalty, not a crime.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Okay. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And it being a civil situation, what would be the standard of review? What would one have to prove? Like in fraud, it is clear and convincing evidence. Is one to prove that one engaged in conversion therapy through clear and convincing evidence?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I do not believe so.

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, then what would be the standard?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

If you give me one moment, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. There would be no difference with regards to this bill as any other violation under the CUTPA Act. Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, when one looks at an unfair or deceptive trade practice, in my mind at least, I make that akin to fraud. We fraudulently do something in commerce. The standard for fraud being clear and convincing evidence, why would that not be the standard?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Through you. Because it's not.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Do we know what the standard is to prove a case under CUTPA, which I've done plenty of times?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

One moment, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, would the Representative repeat his question, please?

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein, would you care to repeat your query?

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, the good proponent stated earlier that it would be the same standard as one would employ or need to prove in a CUTPA violation and I'm trying to ascertain what that understanding is to the proponent. If we've already discounted clear and convincing evidence, what would be the standard? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The Department of Consumer Protection would have to prove basically that the person took compensation while trying to administer or practice conversion therapy.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, the Department of Consumer Protection doesn't have the ability, to my knowledge, on its own to bring a CUTPA violation. Am I to understand that that is who is going to be prosecuting these claims, should they occur? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. They do have the right; an individual has the right. A number of entities have a right to bring a CUTPA violation forward.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, then I once again ask about the standard. In the cases that I've done, CUTPA, the court has held me to clear and convincing evidence. So, why is this not clear and convincing evidence? And I just don't think if we can't say what the standard is, and we discount clear and convincing just because, I don't think that that's appropriate, with all due respect. So, I reiterate my question as to what is the standard?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Personally, I'm not a lawyer, Representative. And there is no distinctual difference between this or any other potential CUTPA violation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, is it certainly possibly that the standard is clear and convincing evidence?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Anything is possible.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, just by way of comment, I just -- I can't support something as gray, ambiguous, and -- thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Fishbein. Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

I'd like a roll call vote on this amendment, please.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The proponent of the amendment has requested a roll call. All of those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

(All)Aye.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Requisite percentage have been met when the vote is taken, it shall be taken by roll. Further on House A? Further on House A? If not, staff and guests, please retire 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check the board and make sure your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked. Will the Clerk please take a tally? And would the Clerk please announce the tally?

CLERK:

House A, LCO No. 6504.

Total Number of Voting 147

Necessary for Adoption 74

Those Voting Yea 142

Those Voting Nay 5

Absent and Not Voting 4

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you Mr. Clerk. House A is adopted. [Gavel] Further on the bill as amended? Further on the bill as amended? Representative Sampson of the 80th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This place surprises me more and more every time I walk in here sometimes because the amendment that we just passed on this bill, which would essentially create a ban on conversion therapy almost nullified the effect of the bill by saying that it's only banned in the effect when there is money changing hands. And I just don't understand how people could support a notion where something should be banned in one case but not another just because there is money changing hands. Now, I know this is a sensitive subject and I certainly appreciate the very impassioned and thoughtful speech for the proponent. But I think that there are places where we belong as a state government and places where we do not belong as a state government.

As I said earlier, the first time I had a real chance to look at this bill was just this morning. It's not a long bill, but you want to make sure that each word makes some sort of sense when you're reading through something. And I just found the language to be extraordinarily broad. In line six through eight it says that “any effort to change gender expression or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attraction. To me that's a very, very broad definition. I mean, “any effort,” to me that might include somebody just asking a question. “Are you sure?” To me, that's a pretty low bar to have to meet before someone is in violation of the ban on conversion therapy. Asking someone if they are sure about the choices that they are making.

The other thing is that this language does not give room for any other reason for this to happen. Suppose a parent engages a professional to talk to their child to convince them not to be involved in a relationship with a same sex partner, but it's for a totally different reason. Maybe they don't want that person to date that person because they're addicted to drugs or they have a history of crime. That would still fall under this bill because it says, “any effort to reduce attraction. ” It doesn't even explicitly say that that has to be the reason why.

Even a parent trying to convince their child to not engage in sexual activity with a same sex partner for the mere desire that they shouldn't be having sex as a young person could be construed as violating the language in the bill.

I know there was some commentary about electronic shock therapy and things like that. Those are obviously barbaric things that I don't know have anything to do with the language that's in the bill because as I said, the bill says, “any effort,” which I think we could all agree that no one should be subjected to any forced coercion or electronic shock or anything like that. We don't live in the middle ages and I would certainly say that those things are clearly negative under any circumstances regardless of how laudable it is. But the notion that “any effort,” is the bar, just strikes me as far too low.

I'm a Republican. And the reason why I'm a Republican is because I believe in certain key principles. And one of those key principles is the idea that the founders of this great country had, which is the idea of limited constitutional government. The idea that we are free people and that free people can make their own decisions about things in life.

When this body gets together and decides for our constituents who are free people, what they are able or not able to do, I'm always weary of making determinations like that. Now, of course, there are behaviors that are unacceptable in society, and we do have to set certain limits. But I don't know that this is a case where that should occur because I think a lot of this has to do with opinions and political correctness. Now, I'm not going to mention my personal feelings on this subject, and that's for the expressed purpose that it doesn't matter and no one should even know. I'm here as a lawmaker, as a legislator, trying to make a determination of whether it is right for the state to pass a law to ban a certain behavior for its free citizens.

I just don't think we should be making laws like this, especially when we are interfering with the rights of parents to make determinations for their children. And that's a question I ask myself every time I come in here and every bill that's before me. Does it violate anyone's rights? In this particular case, I believe it does. I believe parents have rights to make decisions that should supersede the state's rights, to tell them what is acceptable behavior and what is not in a free society.

We need to be careful, people. We need to be careful because we are losing our freedoms day-by-day to political correctness and it's going to keep continuing until someone says, “No. ” The state should not be telling free people how to live their lives. Even if you agree that conversion therapy is a horrible practice, you should be very weary of the idea of the state being able to pass a law to ban someone asking a child if they are sure about the decisions they are making.

Some people don't like people who smoke. Some people don't like people who drink. Some people don't like tattoos. Some people don't like red cars, they don't like convertibles, they don't like motorcycles, they don't like a lot of things. But does that make it right because a majority of people says, “Yeah, motorcycles are bad, let's just ban them.

Our constitution is based on something far greater than that and that is the rights of the individual to make their own determinations. That's why we don't have mob rule. That's why we don't often get together and just decide for everyone what's best for them. We say, does this interfere with the rights of a single person to make their own mind and if so, it's a bad idea. This is a bad idea, Mr. Speaker. I'll be voting no. Thank you

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Sampson. Representative Srinivasan, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker a few questions to the bill as amended.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of clarification. Line three talks about any practice or treatment. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, what is this practice and what is this treatment that is being referred to in line three?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That practice or treatment would be somebody engaged looking to seek to change the person's sexual identity or gender identity.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Treatment again, see, we talked about shock therapy. We talked about all of those different kinds of barbaric things that, you know, the good representative had discussed in his opening remarks. I get that. But what is the difference between practice and treatment because that's what we are voting on today? And for legislative intent, we need to be clear on the difference between practice and treatment.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Practice or treatment also, as I mentioned earlier when we were talking about the amendment, also -- well, I take that back, Mr. Speaker. Practice or treatment would be anybody who is attempting to sit down and engage someone to change their sexual identity or their gender identity. Practice could be once. Treatment, many would assume, is multiple sessions. So, it's just basically the catch-all to get anybody who is going to do this once or going to do it a number of times.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. In terms of the practice because that's the part that I'm most concerned about. Treatment is very clear and obvious. Through you, Mr. Speaker. If somebody in the healthcare field talks about this treatment, talks about what this treatment is and what a treatment does, like we do day in and day out. Through you, Mr. Speaker. A conversation on the treatment and the treatment options; obviously, the end of the day there is an exchange of money because it is an office visit, where there is a copay or -- in a regular conversation, if this were to come up, which it will and which does, through you, Mr. Speaker, is that considered practice?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, if a conversation on this subject matter were to occur and an extensive lengthy one because that is the subject matter that they are coming here to talk about. The parents are concerned, the child is concerned, under 18, and in this conversation, you know, the healthcare provider and I see later in the bill we have a long list of people who would qualify as healthcare providers and appropriately so. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, any of these healthcare providers discussing, we are just talking about discussing the subject matter and giving their thoughts of what it is going back in history to what happened to where we are right now, would that be considered a practice of conversion therapy?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A conversation is not practice. You are permitted to have a conversation. So long as there is no directive that at the end of that conversation the intent is that I'm going to change your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That was very clear, and I'm glad you said that in so many words. Through you, Mr. Speaker, because a conversation, which is, you know, in a loose sense of word is practice as well, but here we're making it very clear that as long as a conversation whether it's brief, long, whatever, that conversation does not directly say, right now this is what I'm talking to you about and I'm going to be doing this conversion therapy on you. So, the conversation, as long as it not tied to treatment, that healthcare provider will not be held liable?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is correct.

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Lines eight and nine, going down the bill, talks about various exclusions. And they're essentially in the same field as the practice that we talked about in terms of counseling. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, if the good representative could tell us what can be done in the process of a conversation in terms of counseling, which would not be considered that you are breaking the law or you're doing something inappropriate?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate that question, Representative. So, if you look further in lines nine, ten, and eleven, we do have the counseling that would not be included under this definition. Simply put, we do not want to prevent families from seeking out medical or healthcare or mental assistance to sit down and discuss this new family dynamic oftentimes and allow them to explore that and how to best kind of work through that and come to some sort of resolution; so long as the end directive is that we're not going to change your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That's the part that I'm having a little difficulty with. Through you, Mr. Speaker. When you begin a conversation, I mean a conversation could take you like including this conversation today, could take us in any and multiple directions. So, what I'm not clear about is, A, you're allowed to have a conversation; B, you're allowed to have counseling as long as it does not lead to the treatment. That's the part that how could a conversation, how could counseling be directly tied with treatment? And I'm looking at it from the person who's providing the service, in fairness to him or her, providing this counseling service, providing this conversation. And what if, what if at the end of the day that person does seek conversion therapy. Maybe not in our state, I'll come to that a little later. Maybe it's available somewhere else. And so, the person does seek conversion therapy at the end of the conversation; would that medical provider be held liable?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And as long as your conversation is neutral and the intent is not that healthcare practitioner is going to be a part of that conversion therapy, they can have that conversation for as long as they would like. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The person who is having the conversation it could be a primary care provider, it could be a pediatrician because we are talking about below the age of 18 here. A family practitioner. That person is not providing the treatment. The treatment is provided by somebody else. But the conversation, the directive is provided by the healthcare provider. So, that's where I'm a little bit confused about the intent here because it is not the treatment we're talking about, it is, A, the conversation and, of course, the counseling that goes along with that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Mr. Speaker, if you'd ask the Representative to restate a question, I believe there was one in there.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan, would you care to restate a question?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

No problem at all, definitely, with pleasure, Mr. Speaker. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. The person having the conversation, the person doing the counseling is or could be the primary care provider as it could be by and large, it could be a family practitioner, pediatrician, you know, since it is below the age of 18. So, the person providing the conversation on the subject matter, A, and then leaving it to the family, leaving it to the individual to decide what they're going to do with their conversation and with that counseling. And let's say they take the path of going for conversion therapy wherever it is available, if not available in Connecticut, available somewhere else. In that case, since the primary care had the conversation, the healthcare provider, does not have to be an M. D. , you know, we have a long list of healthcare providers; any of them providing that, their conversation on the subject matter, but did not result in not having conversion therapy, that's my concern that this person had a conversation, went through counseling, but at the end of it all decides to go with conversion therapy anyway at the end of the conversation or counseling. Would that healthcare provider be in any way liable?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

No. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Going to line 39, it talks about no healthcare provider shall engage in conversion therapy. Through you, Mr. Speaker, if the good Representative could just give us what does this engagement include?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That would also be, you could exchange the word exchange for practice or administer. So, in referring back to the amendment we spoke about earlier, the language we did clean up there in that amendment to mirror that. So, the intent behind the word “engage” would also be to practice or administer.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, could the good Representative tell us, as we speak right now, in how many states conversion therapy is still being practiced in our country?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes, it's currently -- well, I can tell you, I can flip it on you. I can say that it's currently banned in five states and the District of Columbia. We do know that it is being practiced in a number of other states at the very moment.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. If disciplinary action has to be taken against somebody who continues to provide the conversion therapy, even after it is banned, will that be under the umbrella of DPH? Will they be the ones that will be doing the disciplinary action or will it be Department of Consumer Protection or both?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It would be the Department of Public Health and you can reference Section 2(b), for clarification on that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And my final question to the good proponent of the bill as amended. These services in terms of being provided to families, to individuals that are looking for a conversation, through you, Mr. Speaker, are any of these services that are permissible would be as I understand that as long as it is conversation, it is permissible to have the conversation, to have the consultation, but the actual rendering of the services that is what we are banning?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you. That is correct. We are not going to violate any 1st Amendments and allow you to have an open conversation with whomever you chose to have that conversation with, again so long as the directive at the end of that is not to go forward and change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

And Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. In continuing this about services that can be provided, I know Representative Sampson brought out the important point that bothers me as well and that concerns me about the bill is that it is a good bill, it's definitely a bill in the right direction. Obviously, I'm going to be supporting the bill because I think that's the direction we need to go. But to me, the bill did not go far enough. And I understand, he will always be beginning small steps and take it forward because here it is all about the trade. It's all about the exchange of money for services that are rendered. So, the same services, if somebody is unfortunate enough that these services are kind of forced upon that individual, and money is not exchanged and the services are just provided, as I understand this bill, that would not be banned because there has not been an exchange as far as trade and money is concerned. And that is probably where going forward that there would be in the next session or the sessions to come, where we would look it in strengthening this bill, which is a good first step, but strengthening it further and regardless of whether, you know, there is an exchange of money or not.

Obviously, I'm well aware that there could be implications of all of that, but as a healthcare provider as somebody who feels that these people need to be protected, need to be adequately protected, that none of this conversion therapy could ever happen regardless of whether there is an exchange of money or not. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Srinivasan. Representative Staneski of the 119th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good afternoon, Madam.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

If I could, one question to the proponent of this bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

One or more, Madam, please proceed.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. It was stated earlier that this bill, usurps parents' rights to be parents. And there was a question that was or a comment that was made regarding a parents conversation around healthy relationships; not necessarily that your partner would be gay, but just if your partner is gay and a drug dealer, and a parent wanted to have the conversation about making healthy choices because this person is a drug dealer or a drug user or doing other things that parents don't want their children to be engaged in. Does this bill prohibit a parent from being a parent, is my question to you?

Through you, Mr. Speaker

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you very much for that question, Representative. No, it does not. What we're looking to do through this piece of legislation is allowing for those parents who aren't really sure how to handle their child coming to them and letting them know that they are, in fact, gay or they're having some sort of gender identity matters that they're working through. It does not prohibit them from reaching out to those mental healthcare professionals to sit down and explore all of those new family dynamics to see how to best move forward. So, no, it does not take away any sort of parents' rights. We are just protecting our LGBTQ children here in the State of Connecticut through this legislation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I lied, I do have a couple of more questions now. Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, then if a -- and it is difficult. I mean, I am the mother of four children, four very different children. Each came with their own challenges in growing up and their own issues and concerns. So, my question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is then my understanding is if there is a child who thinks they are transgender or still trying to figure this out, this does not prohibit them from having conversations with a licensed mental health professional, somebody of faith, or somebody that they may trust?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is absolutely correct.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

And thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am a cosponsor of this bill. You know, I am also one who believes that as a parent I have certain rights that I don't want the government to step on. But one of those -- when we talk about rights of parents, we do not think that child abuse is acceptable as a social norm; so, we have laws around that. The evidence, the research, and the personal stories that I have heard from parents and their children, whose children, there are children who have struggled with their identity, lead me to believe that this is the right direction for Connecticut.

I like that we're going to be one of five or six. I'm hoping that we're one of 50, plus the providences because, when we talk about our kids, keeping them safe, letting them transverse through their transition from young adults into adulthood, we need to know that there are supports there that are valid.

We certainly have laws around quackery with doctors and I do not think that the amendment lessens this bill. I think it actually strengthens it because it does say, “If you are going to practice as a mental health provider and accept a fee, then there has to be a standard around that.

So, I urge my colleagues to support this. It's the right thing to do and I appreciate the proponent bringing this bill out. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Staneski. Representative Petit of the 22nd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to comment on this to remind all of us or to tell people that as a practicing endocrinologist for 30 years and as the Consulting Endocrinologist for the Gender Identity Clinic of New England for over a decade, that sexuality and gender identity are genetically determined and perhaps modulated by hormones. But it's a genetic predisposition and something that obviously can't be converted, per se. So, I'm in support of the concepts espoused in this bill, can't comment on the narrow legal issues, but clearly sexuality and gender identity are genetically determined. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Dr. Petit. Representative Dubitsky of the 47th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A couple of questions for the proponent, if I may?

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you. Am I correct that under this bill a person -- this bans only the practice of conversion therapy to prevent somebody who is leaning towards same sex relationships, preventing what we're banning is trying to get them to stop doing that? Is that correct?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

The intent is to ban anyone from attempting to change something that as we just heard is predisposed to make you something that you're not. Simply put, no one is kicking the gay out of me.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. [Laughter]

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Okay. So, if a person is, if a person under 18 years old is curious about both ways and is ambiguous as to which way they're going, this bill would prevent anybody from trying to prevent them from being in a same sex relationship?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

If the speaker would please ask the good Representative to restate his question, that would be appreciated.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky, would you care to restate your question or re-ask it again?

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Sure. I know people in this situation where they're not sure which way they're going. They're curious as to both directions or many directions. And I'm trying to figure out the scope of this bill and what it's truly trying to ban. So, in the instance where a person under 18 years old is thinking about being gay, thinking about being straight, not sure which way they're going. I know, I personally know people in that situation.

So, I'm trying to figure out what this bill does for such a person and what this bill would prevent other people from trying to do with this person. So, my question is, a person like that who is not sure which way they're going; does this bill prevent somebody involved in a trade or business from encouraging this person to be straight?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And just a point of clarification. No one thinks about being gay, you just are. And so, again, just for clarification. This bill would -- you are not permitted to be practicing or administering conversion therapy intended to change someone's sexual orientation or identity. Nothing is prohibiting these people from sitting down and having a conversation to explore all of this, so long as the directive is not, we are going to make you this or this at the end of this conversation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. However, I'm not sure that exactly captures what's in the bill because the bill only prohibits somebody from trying to prevent somebody from being in a same sex relationship. It does not prevent people from encouraging people to be involved in a same sex relationship, it only goes one way, not both ways; am I correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That would not be conversion therapy.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, that's exactly my point. My point is that conversion therapy has been defined to only prevent somebody from trying to get somebody to change from a same sex relationship to a non-same sex relationship, it doesn't prevent somebody from going the other direction. So, I understand that the way this is drafted it does not prevent somebody from trying to get someone to change their sexual orientation. It only prevents somebody from trying to get someone to change their sexual orientation in one direction. I know it's a bit confusing, I apologize, but if the proponent of this bill could comment on that, I would appreciate it.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and if the good Representative would like to propose an amendment to strengthen this, well, I would be more than happy to have that conversation.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Now, with regard to unfair trade practices. I'd like to explore a little about what it means to be in trade or business. Typically, unfair trade practices are levied against people who are doing something for money. However, there are a lot of instances where somebody could be considered being in a trade or business, even if they're not taking money. So, I'd like to explore that a little with the proponent.

If a non-profit organization decided that they wanted to engage in conversion therapy and they weren't going to charge anybody for it, but they were going to do exactly what is in this bill as being essentially prohibited. Would that subject this non-profit to a claim of unfair trade practices?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

So, if an organization decided that they were going to make it their mission to spread conversion therapy across Connecticut, that would be perfectly okay under this bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

So long as there was no exchange, there was no compensation for the practice, people would be free to do as they please.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Okay. Now, with regard to compensation, if this non-profit decided that it was going to fund raise and it went to other organizations and individuals and said, “We need to raise money to spread conversion therapy across Connecticut. ” Would that be considered compensation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. They could spread that as broadly as they would like, so long as they are not actually providing or administering the conversion therapy for any sort of compensation.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Okay. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, with regard to limiting it to trade or business, we're talking about actually receiving compensation for the service, compensation from the individual or the parent of the individual for the service of providing conversion therapy?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, you know, just be clear. So, that also incorporates, includes when I was talking about non-profits, that would also include churches. So, if a church, if a pastor wanted to have a discussion with his parishioner about explaining to the parishioner that a given practice may be against their religion, and the parishioner was not giving the priest money for that discussion but perhaps put money in the collection plate or some other way to donate to the church, that's still not conversion therapy and still not banned under this bill; am I correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

It only prohibits a licensed healthcare professionals and people who have paid for such therapy from practicing conversion therapy.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that. But I frankly would like a little bit more definitive answer. This does not cover clergy, this does not cover religious institutions; is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Currey.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate it and I will continue listening to the debate.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, sir. Representative Dauphinais, you have the floor.

REP. DAUPHINAIS (44TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am a parent of four children and I'm very concerned about this bill and the fact that we would take the rights of a parent to get any kind of therapy for their children. So, the example that I thought of was my 14-year-old son that was pursuing a relationship with a 30-year-old man. And I had concerns about the relationship and wanted to bring him to therapy. This bill says, “including but not limited to any effort,” “any effort to change gender expression or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings towards persons of the same gender. ” I believe this is a violation of the rights of parents to make the choices that they see that are in the best interests of their children.

We are certainly going down a slippery slope. I see years in the future where at birth children are going to get a state's to do list and a can't do list. What you can and can't do because of the rules that the state has defined that's good or bad for your children.

And I might add that electroshock therapy is illegal; we've determined that. Whether the person providing that therapy is getting paid or not paid, it's illegal. So, I also would argue that we need to determine, you know, if we're determining whether this is bad or good, there is a conflict here. We're saying that it's okay if you're not paid. But if you're paid for the service, it's wrong.

And I believe that this bill is a violation of my rights as a parent to determine what's in the best interest of my child. Thank you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much, Representative. Representative Klarides of the 114th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. KLARIDES-DITRIA (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today we've seen and heard a lot of conversation on this subject that I think a lot of us weren't very familiar with when it first came up at the beginning of session. I think it was an education for a lot of people. I certainly learned a lot about it as it proceeded through the process.

When we saw the amendment, which addressed the CUTPA issue, which is certainly a very technical issue for most people who aren't familiar with it and I was very happy to see members from both sides of the aisle work on that to make sure that the bill, as most bills we put forth, are written in the proper way and don't have unintended consequences.

We also learned that the medical world does not believe that this practice works, which to me was probably the most interesting part because a lot of times we come up with issues that we work on in these two chambers in this building. We have our initial reaction to it, which is usually emotional and based on the limited information we have because there are a lot of subjects that come up and there are a lot of things we talk about and we all have a field of expertise so to speak, but we don't know everything about everything. And so, we have our first reaction is, “Well, I don't think that's a good thing,” or “I think it's a good thing. ” And then we sit through our many, many hours of public hearings. We do research. We have our offices do research and we learn. And we learn if our emotional feeling about it is in line with the actual feeling about it. Whether it be the legal field, the medical community, et cetera. In this situation, we heard from the medical community saying this is something that they do not agree with and it does not work.

But I guess where I fall in regard to this is that we're dealing with kids. Now, every one of us was a kid at one point, believe it or not, and every one of us has gone through a lot of stuff. A lot of good stuff and a lot of bad stuff. Now, when some of us were younger, it wasn't necessarily called bullying, but you know it didn't make you feel good. That's what you know, you know how it made you feel right here. Whether it was you were too fat or you were too skinny, you were too tall, you were too short, you weren't popular, you were the wrong color skin, you went to the wrong church, your family didn't live in the right neighborhood, fill in the blank. I think we can all add something to that list. And that's bad enough, that's bad enough. I came home crying many a day for many a reason. Believe it or not, I was very shy growing up. It's a true statement, for a while. I mean, you can ask her sitting back there, she'll tell you. Her, she has to run another term to actually get the name heard in public.

But in all seriousness, those are things, whether we wear the wrong clothes or we have the wrong car or we live in the wrong neighborhood or we're a little heavier or a little skinnier, that's bad enough because we can change those things if we choose. We can change those things if we choose. But what we're talking about today can't be changed.

I know that there is a differing of opinion on that. I believe very strongly that we are born the way we are born with the feelings we have. And the fact that there are people that try to change those feelings that people have makes me sad. It makes me very sad. Now, some of our colleagues today talked about how parents should have the right to do what they choose to do with their children, and I agree with that for the most part. And that's why the CUTPA part was put in here and that's why we talked about being paid for this kind of treatment because it allows a parent to take their children, for example, to their place of worship and speak with their priest or their rabbi, et cetera, if they choose. It allows those conversations to be had as long as one is not being paid for it.

I've heard words today such as “barbaric, politically correct,” and listen, we live in this world that becomes more politically correct every day. We live in this world that is difficult day in and day out. But when we start comparing human lives, children's lives to the color of cars, to motorcycles; and I understand the argument, I understand the thought process, but come on guys, it's hard enough growing up. It's hard enough growing up.

I don't care what religion you were born with, what color skin you were born with, how you feel about members of the same sex or the opposite sex. There are things we cannot change about ourselves to conform to what society believes is, and I will say this with quotes, “normal. ” It is not our decision. It is not our choice how people feel about themselves and others in regard to their sexuality. And as many difficult decisions as we have been making and will be making in this building this year, this is one that will allow me to go to sleep tonight, put my head on that pillow and say, You know what, maybe it's worth this craziness that we call the General Assembly and running for office. Because we are showing that we respect people's feelings and when we start to try and change that in this way, that will affect them the rest of their lives. That will affect how they treat others. That will affect how they raise their family. That will affect everything about them. We all talk about loving everybody; I don't love everybody. In fact, I dislike a lot of people, to be honest. [Laughter] I do. I do, I mean we do, it's okay, I'm being honest, right? But I respect who they are inside and I respect their passion for the way they live their lives, that's the difference. That's the difference.

And if we are not going to treat children in that way as public policy makers, then why are we here? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Madam. Representative Currey of the 11th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CURREY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I know I'm kind of breaking a bit of protocol when our leaders get up and speak, but I think I'd be remiss if I didn't thank the speaker and the over 100 cosponsors that we have on this piece of legislation, 84 alone in this Chamber as of this morning, including our esteemed Minority Leader, Majority Leader and Speaker of the House.

I also want to take a moment just to thank the advocates who have worked tirelessly over the last couple of months on this. And lastly, a very special thanks goes out to my co-introducer, Senator Bye, who has been one of our state's leading advocates in the areas of LGBT issues.

It's been a tremendous experience to work alongside her, as this is very personal for the two of us. I was very fortunate when I came out. I'll never forget, I was in a car with my mother, many of whom you know. We were on 84, in East Hartford, Showcase Cinemas was to my left. I turned and said, “Hey, mom, I'm gay. ” And she said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yes. ” She said, “Great. ” And that was that. But unfortunately, that's not always the case for so many of our LGBT youths here in Connecticut. And I think taking this step today is something that's going to show them that you have their back.

So, regardless of how you thought you were going to vote today when you walked into this building, I ask you to look up at those boards. Because as of right now, you have a clean slate on this issue and this is your chance, your opportunity, your duty to show some of the most vulnerable children in our state that you have their backs. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further on the bill as amended before us? Will you remark further on the bill as amended before us? 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 your 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 Bill No. 6695, as Amended by House A.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 141

Those Voting Nay 8

Absent and Not Voting 2

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The bill passes as amended. [Gavel] [Applause]

Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Albis of the 99th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

I rise for the purposes of an announcement.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Mr. Speaker, we have just been joined by my colleague from the East Haven Delegation, Representative Lemar, who just this weekend, Sunday morning, he and his wife gave birth to their daughter, Anisha Singh Lemar. So, I just wanted the entire Chamber to give Roland and Anika Lemar a warm congratulations. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Congratulations, Representative. Representative Kokorudo of the 101st, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon, ma'am.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

I rise for an introduction, please.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Thank you. While I'm very happy to extend happy birthday wishes to Representative Tong, I'd like to say we also have another birthday boy in our Chamber today, and I'd like you all to join me wishing happy birthday to Representative Ben McGorty. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Happy birthday, Representative. It must be very nice to celebrate your birthday with 150 very close family members.

Any other announcements or introductions? Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 217.

CLERK:

On page 18, House Calendar 217, Substitute House Bill No. 7082, AN ACT CONCERNING PROBATE COURT OPERATIONS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Judiciary.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The birthday boy, Representative Tong, you have the floor, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

I move acceptance to the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Will you remark, sir?

REP. TONG (147TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. This is the bill we've all been waiting for, the Probate Court Operations Bill. [Laughter]

This has a number of provisions by way of highlight; Section 1 provides for the inclusion of the Probate Court's in our State Agency and State Government Whistleblower Statute. It also provides in Sections 18 through 20, that a guardian of an adult with an intellectual disability should be able to handle the finances for that intellectually disabled adult if the amount of their finances is $ 10,000 or less. It also provides some more explicit and helpful guidelines around the list of auditors who are provided by the probate court to investigate and maintain accounts for people who have conservatorships or guardianships and requires that those people be either certified public accountants or public accountants, but otherwise qualified to perform that work. There are a variety of other conforming changes, some technical language changes.

This bill came out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously and I urge support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? The esteemed Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Rebimbas, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon to you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon, ma'am.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Mr. Speaker, if I could take this opportunity also to wish a good happy birthday to the young man across the aisle. I think that's Representative William Tong.

Mr. Speaker, I do rise in support of the legislation that's before us. I also want to take an opportunity to congratulate the Probate Court Administration for the hard work that they do on a regular basis in reviewing all of their statutes and really trying to propose responsible legislation, specifically the piece before us I think makes a lot of very good appropriate changes to notification requirements in very sensitive situations. I'm also very supportive of the fact that the Regional Children's Probate Court was such a success that we are expanding it into the Fairfield County area.

So, this is a proposal that I do strongly support and ask my colleagues to do the same.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the Bill before us? 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check the board to make sure your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked. Will the Clerk please take a tally? And would the Clerk please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 7082.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 149

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 2

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Happy birthday, William. Would the Clerk please call Calendar 403, 403.

CLERK:

On page 41, House Calendar 403, House Bill No. 6002, AN ACT CONCERNING SEXTING BY A CHILD. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Judiciary.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

From Park City, Representative Stafstrom of the 129th, you have the floor.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good afternoon.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Mr. Speaker, I urge acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Please proceed, sir.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH)

Mr. Speaker, this bill clears up an unfortunate loophole in our statute, which is that back in 2010, this General Assembly lead by the now Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, passed the good policy initiative to make sure that a minor who is sending sexually explicit pictures be it sexting is not charged with a felony offense of child pornography, but is instead charged with a lesser offense of a First Degree Misdemeanor and is eligible for treatment in juvenile intervention that they need to learn from their mistakes and not to be affected by the felony charge moving forward.

Unfortunately, when the bill was passed back in 2010, it set a floor on the minimum age by which a child charged with sexting would be eligible for this reduced offense of 13 and did not account for the fact that children under the age of 13 might have cell phones and might similarly be engaged in this type of conduct.

So, unfortunately as our statute stands now, someone between the age of 13 and 17, sending sexually explicit photos would be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, while someone below the age of 13 could be subject to a higher child pornography felony offense. Through this bill what we hope to do is to eliminate that floor and to provide uniformity and ensure that all children under the age of 18 are not subject to child pornography offenses for sending sexually explicit photos. I urge my colleague's support and I would say this bill passed the Judiciary Committee unanimously.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Stafstrom. Representative Rebimbas, from the home of the greyhounds, 70th District, you have the floor.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon to you as well.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good afternoon.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH): Mr. Speaker, I do rise in support of the legislation before us and I want to thank the good representative vice chairman for certainly bringing this out and as previously mentioned, it passed out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously and there was no testimony in opposition.

I'd also like to thank the prosecutors who have brought to our attention because this unfortunately was a loophole in the drafting, but the true intent is any child under the age of 13, who unfortunately may have taken part in these types of activities, we did want them to be facing a felony either, just like their older counterparts.

So, again, we just want to make sure that the punishment truly fits the age of the crime and the type of crime and I think that this would be consistent in making sure that again that loophole is addressed.

So, I do rise in support of the legislation before us.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Rebimbas. Further on this bill? Further on this bill? If not, staff and guests, please retire 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check the board and make sure your vote is properly registered. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked. Would the Clerk please take a tally; and would the Clerk please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 6002.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 149

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 2

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Would the Clerk please call Calendar 404.

CLERK:

On page 41, Calendar 404, House Bill No. 7081, AN ACT CONCERNING THE CLAIM AGAINST THE STATE OF MILLICENT CORBETT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Judiciary.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Back, back, back, to the back row, Representative Conley of the 40th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

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

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Please proceed, Madam.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Thank you. This is a claim of Miss Millicent Corbett, she had some damage to personal property as a result of children that were in her care due to her job providing services for DDS. She had moved through the steps to be reimbursed through DDS, as she had done several times prior when these same sorts of things happened in her home. While going through the steps, she missed the statute of limitations. The Claims Commission in 2012 did give her permission to sue to get the damage to her property replaced; however, due to some technicalities that failed, so we are asking this time to give permission to sue so that we encourage people to go through the steps through the administrative side and not go straight to claims.

The state was well aware of this claim and the problem and we'd like to be able to let Miss Millicent make her claim to make herself whole.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative. Further on this? Representative Storms of the 60th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. STORMS (60TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to support this bill. I believe that the facts of the case justify giving permission to sue. There is a public purpose in allowing the adjudication of this case for purposes of government accountability and I would ask my colleagues to support this bill at this time.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I also rise in support of this bill. Millicent is a constituent in the 116th. She's been fighting for a long time to be compensated on this issue. She is an outstanding servant in the community and I hope my colleagues will join me in voting favorably for this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative DiMassa. Further on this bill? Further on this bill? If not, staff and guests, please retire 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check the board to make sure your vote is properly cast. And if all members have voted, the machine will be locked. Will the Clerk please take a tally; and would the Clerk please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 7081.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 147

Those Voting Nay 2

Absent and Not Voting 2

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Would the Clerk please call Calendar 131.

CLERK:

On page 8, Calendar 131, Substitute House Bill No. 7161, AN ACT REQUIRING SERVICE PROVIDERS UNDER CERTAIN RETIREMENT PLANS TO DISCLOSE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Banking.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

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

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Please proceed, sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, before I summarize, Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an Amendment LCO 6509, I would ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize, sir.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Would the Clerk please call LCO 6509, House Amendment Schedule A.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 6509, offered by Representative Lesser, Representative Simanski, Senator Martin, Senator Winfield.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative DiMassa on House A, please proceed.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is a strike-all amendment and this was a collaboration, a bipartisan collaboration, Mr. Speaker, that took into account all the stakeholders whether it be the teachers, the educators in all fashions, the unions, the superintendents, the AFSCME, the AFL-CIO and the plan providers to look at 403(b) plans in regards to transparency and accountability and what this bill does, Mr. Speaker, what this amendment does, is it just clarifies that when someone choses to participate in one of these plans, that's not covered under ERISA because it's from a municipality that they get the fee ratio, the return net of fees for any investments offered by the plan and that they can clearly see if any individual being paid by this organization has a conflict of interest with any of the investments they're providing, Mr. Speaker.

It's a great bill. It provides transparency, accountability, and let's face it, Mr. Speaker, you know, like a good diamond, you know, it is transparent in clarity, is important. Our teachers are gems, they are diamonds, Mr. Speaker, and we need to make sure we protect them and we ensure that if they chose to invest in a 403(b) and they put their money out there that it's in good hands and they know what they're getting into and what the fees are, Mr. Speaker, and I move adoption. Thank you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative DiMassa. Further on House A? Further on House A? Representative Simanski of the 62nd District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SIMANSKI (62ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The representative did a good job at bringing out the bill and talking about the intent of the bill, the evolution of the bill as far as it was changed by the amendment, and it's a bipartisan amendment. He also talked about the fact that we wanted to make sure it wasn't a municipal mandate because the school systems were concerned about that. It only applied to planned providers. The one thing I did want to comment in addition to what the good representative said was that the intent of this bill is not going to affect 99 percent of the service providers who put out these plans, but it's addressed that that was one or two bad apples in the basket that we've seen and we've heard testimony about. So, I agree, this is a good bill, its transparency is not going to affect any of the service providers mostly. And those few bad apples that it would affect, well, they deserve to have the full effect of transparency and this bill come upon them.

So, I would urge everyone to vote for it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much, Representative Simanski. Further on House A? Further on House A? If not, I'll try your minds. All of those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

(All) Aye.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Opposed? [Gavel] The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Further on the bill as amended? Representative DiMassa, did you move adoption of the bill as amended?

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

I move adoption, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Further on the bill as amended? If not, staff and guests, please retire 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check the board to make sure your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked. Will the Clerk please take a tally; and would the Clerk please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 7161, as Amended by House A.

Total Number of Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 148

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 3

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Representative Baker, for what reason do you rise?

REP. BAKER (124TH):

Can you hear me? I apologize. I would like to revote in the affirmative.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

So noted. Thank you. Would the Clerk please call, would the Clerk please call Calendar 149.

CLERK:

On page 53, Calendar 149, House Bill No. 6881, AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROVISION OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES BY LANDLORDS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Judiciary.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

From the beautiful Brass City, Representative Butler of the 72nd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Please proceed.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, what we have here is a bill that is going to make the essential services that are presented by landlords to tenants better by actually making sure that the window of repairs is actually more timely. Currently, the window to do the repairs is two business days, but we realize that there may be a Friday that these services, such as heat, hot water, running water, or electricity may be disrupted on say a Friday afternoon and if there is a holiday on a Monday, the person could almost go four days without these services.

So, we decided to actually put a provision in to make that window change to 48 hours. We're hoping that would allow these services to be restored a lot sooner. I move adoption.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is adoption. Further on the bill? Further on the bill? Representative Kupchick, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. KUPCHICK (132ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in favor of this legislation. Actually, I own, co-own a small heating and air conditioning company in the town of Fairfield, and we're a reputable, credible company. And our customers, if their furnace breaks down on a Friday night, their furnace will be repaired on Saturday morning or Sunday because that's what reputable companies do.

And we did get some feedback from some landlords saying that, you know, they can't find a plumber or a heating person to come out on the weekend and frankly, if they're not signed up with a credible company, they probably won't find somebody to come out and fix their equipment.

So, you know, I think you have a certain level of responsibility when you are a landlord and if it's the dead of winter and someone is without heat, you have a responsibility to have the equipment fixed or at least align yourself with a good company that will come out and do the repairs over the weekend.

So, I stand in strong support of this legislation and I hope my colleagues will support it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Kupchick. Further on this bill? Further on this bill? If not, staff and guests, please retire 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check the board to make sure your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked. Would the Clerk please take a tally; and would the Clerk please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 6881.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 112

Those Voting Nay 37

Absent and Not Voting 2

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Would the Clerk please call Calendar 261.

CLERK:

On page 22, Calendar 261, Substitute House Bill No. 6749, AN ACT CONCERNING A WORKING GROUP ON A PUBLIC-PRIVATE MARKETING PARTNERSHIP TO RECRUIT BUSINESSES TO CONNECTICUT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Commerce.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

From the Lock City, Representative Simmons of the 144th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage. Please continue, Madam.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Clerk has an amendment, LCO No. 6558. I would as the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Would the Clerk please call LCO 6558, House Amendment Schedule A.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 6558, offered by Representative Simmons, Representative Yaccarino.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons, you have the floor.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a friendly amendment that makes minor technical changes to the Chairpersons appointments of the group as well as removes DECD from membership in the group, and I move adoption.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House A. Will you remark further? Representative Yaccarino of the 87th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You're pitching a double-header today, you're doing a great job with that.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

On the amendment, just a couple of changes to clarification. So, we're removing DECD and adding the Ranking Member?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Yes, that's correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

I view it as a friendly amendment and thank you both. Thank you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Your name is on it, sir, it's got to be good. [Laughter] Further on House A? Further on House A? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

(All) Aye.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Opposed? The ayes have it. [Gavel] House A is adopted. Further on the bill as amended? Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The bill we have before us creates a public-private marketing working group, partnership; and the purpose of this bill is to better leverage private sector expertise to better market our state and in order to recruit and retain businesses in the State of Connecticut. And we believe this bill is very important because we have so many positive assets here in our state. We rank third in quality of life, third in productivity, eight in RND, ninth in innovation, and in addition to these great assets, we also have a number of recent pro-business initiatives that we have launched in Connecticut, ranging from the Angel Investor Tax Credit Extension, to the Entrepreneur Learners Permit Program, to Workforce Development Programs. And often times we hear from business owners that they don't always know about these initiatives. And so we believe we need to be doing a much better job of proactively marketing these initiatives both internationally and to other states in order to better recruit businesses to our state. And I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Simmons. Further on the bill as amended? Representative Yaccarino of the 87th, you have the floor.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The good Chair of Commerce really described the bill thoroughly. But I do have a question as far as you already explained the intent, but is there a mandate? Is it a mandate on private businesses to work with the government? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. There is no mandate. We're simply creating a working group made up of certain members from the private sector and the working group will meet quarterly and be required to submit a report to the legislature on how we can better market the state in a more unified, cohesive, and proactive way.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that answer. We're in a state where we need to do everything we possibly can to bring businesses and job growth and growth to the state. It's good and bad that we're coming to this point. The bad thing is that we're at this point we have to do this. But the good thing is that we recognize that we have to work with our private companies that provide so much income tax, so many high-paying good jobs, and to learn from them. But we also have to listen to them. So, I do support this. It's a very minimal fiscal note, I think it's a thousand dollars for gas, which hopefully we won't even use that, but it's a conversation and I think the business community, if you listen to testimony CBIA and most of the business community likes this because they want us to listen to them. So, I urge support and thank the good Chair. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Yaccarino. Representative Lavielle of the 143rd, bonjour Madam.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Bonjour, Monsieur Le President. Good to see you up there. I'm over here now. I'd like to ask a couple of questions of the good representative from Stamford.

REP. ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, Madam.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you very much. What is the actual intent of calling this a public-private partnership? How are we defining that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that question, Representative. And the purpose in calling it a public-private partnership is because we are going to be selecting members of the private sector to be a part of this working group and hopefully leveraging their expertise and ultimately forming a partnership in order to better market the State of Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you. So, in my experience when, in the business world anyway, when we discuss public-private partnership, the private end of that partnership, as well as the public end actually, had something of a financial interest in the undertaking. And there was usually something of interest to be gained by the participants, it's obvious here on the public side, but there was always something to be gained by the private parties in return for their investment.

So, is there any financial interest of theirs that we're expecting to be engaged through this? And really again, I'm asking because of the use of the term “public-private partnership?” Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. At this time, there isn't any financial incentive to be gained since it's still in the working group phase. Certainly, those discussions will take place throughout the meetings and once the recommendations are made in the report next year, we'll see what those recommendations are. But at this point, no.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And again, it's a little, the terminology is a little confusing for me because, not the principle of the thing, but the terminology because when -- in the past I had some experience representing the Region of Flanders in Belgium, which was seeking investment, which was seeking new companies to come in. So, they hired a firm. The government of the Philippines hired a firm to promote tourism. The government of France, the Ministry of Foreign Trade hired our firm at one point to promote French technology and investing in technology abroad.

In this case, I assume there is some attempt to try to save money, but I guess where I'm a little stuck is what is the interest of private partners to actually spend the time and the resources to contribute to this effort?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, through you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that question, Representative. And I think the purpose here is to really leverage private sector expertise in a wide-range of sectors, including the high growth sectors as to how we can better recruit more businesses in those sectors to our state as well as leverage marketing expertise from the private sector both from traditional and new media marketing firms because I think sometimes government doesn't always have the answers as to how to best market our state and attract businesses to our state. And often times it's important that we collaborate with businesses in that process because they know what other businesses are looking for and often are the ones in those discussions.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, and I thank the Representative for the answer. It leads me to another question, which is this: We have a Department of Economic and Community Development, which I have been told time and again has as its mission really to listen to all parties in the State of Connecticut, businesses, non-profits, members of the private sector who are not currently in Connecticut, to find out why they might possibly be interested in Connecticut. And so, I -- the question that is really at the bottom of all of this for me is, why in God's name do we have to do this if we have DECD are they not doing their job and are we maybe funding them too much to do something they're not doing?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, through you, Mr. Speaker. And we will certainly be working with DECD throughout this process and they are certainly doing their job. However, with limited government expertise and resources in this fiscal environment, I think it's always helpful to seek out private sector expertise and partnerships as to how we could better market our state. Eleven other states have partnerships like this where they have private sector expertise and I think it's a good model that we should try here in Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again I thank the Representative for her answers. And I certainly support the good intentions of the bill and the thought behind the bill and so on. But I am really distressed that in all this time, as we're seeing our revenues plunging and we're seeing quite a number of businesses leaving and we're not seeing perhaps this high degree of interest in coming to Connecticut for all the reasons that we know by a number of businesses.

I am really distressed that our state government doesn't have a formal economic development policy that is designed to make our state and our economy so interesting and so attractive to businesses that are not currently here that they would come. But we're not seeing that inflow. We're really seeing outflow. And I actually think the good Representative is being very generous in wanting to pick up some of this slack that we're not seeing being handled by DECD and some of the efforts that really, we should have been putting into proactive economic development policy all along. We saw that with deals that we've had to make recently like with Sikorsky, like with UTC, that were again efforts -- I know sometimes you have to make a deal to get a business to stay but that shouldn't be the cornerstone of our economic development policy.

And so, I am not, I am not opposing the bill, but I think it's terribly troubling that we should have to have such a thing. This should already be part of the mandate of the DECD, and if it isn't, then we're giving them way too much money. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Lavielle. For the first time today, Representative Belsito of the 53rd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Here we go again. We just got it called a different name, but it's another study. Come on, give me a break, this is 12,439. We don't need another study on how to get businesses here. I'm going to tell you the secret. If you told me you were going to take a shot at reducing our taxes, yes that might bring some more businesses here.

We have a number of things we can do to make our state attractive. We have a beautiful state here. And I'm going to tell you, when I first came to this state in 1966, we were the ball bearing capital of the world. We were the brass capital of the world. We were the jet engine manufacturing of the world. We were the gun manufacturing capital of the world. We were the insurance capital of the world. 1966 to now, we did not have an income tax then. We've already had two major income tax increases. That is the reason why businesses are not coming here. Not because they don't like the state, is that we're the taxing the h-e-l-l out of them. That's an easy word to spell, that's why I spelled it.

But anyway, this is a form of another study. It should be turned down. I don't care if it costs less than a thousand dollars. I've given you the answer to this study. We have to reduce taxes. We have to make our state viable. We have to make it attractive to everybody who wants to come here. And doing another study, no matter what you call it, a public work group between the public and private is not going to work. We are wasting our time. Another bill that we're wasting our time in.

Come on people, it's time to get smart. Let's stop putting these bills down one after another because they're not worthwhile. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Belsito. Further on the bill as amended? Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Sure, through you, Mr. Speaker, thank you, Representative Belsito for your remarks. I did anticipate your remarks and I thought about it. And I think sometimes you do make a good point. But I do think sometimes it is important before just putting forward legislation to take some time to conduct analysis and work with experts in this area to really think through what makes sense to put in a bill before putting it forward.

And I think again we have so many strong assets in our state and we have so many pro-business incentives that we have launched recently that a lot of businesses out there don't know about. I was at a forum two days ago and a number of folks in the room didn't know about Small Business Express or the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program. And so, I think that's critically important to better market what new programs we have launched that might not have been in place, five, ten years ago.

And then secondly, if you look at what other states are doing. For example, Texas is proactively marketing across other states, internationally. We could be doing a lot more of that in leveraging private expertise to do that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much, Representative Simmons. Representative Buckbee of the 67th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To speak on this just briefly, if I may. Great comments have been brought up across the board and I agree that there are issues we're going to need to do in driving, bringing business back to the state. I sit on Commerce as well and I support this bill completely. It's not just one answer. There's multiple answers we're going to have to do. As we get into the dreaded budget talks coming up in the next couple of weeks, a lot of these things will be addressed and I think there is a lot of great points there. But I think in the same respect, the bill being brought forward will offer us some idea on how to do something that we don't do well. Government doesn't always do marketing well, doesn't know how to drive business well. Bring in the private sector. Let's work on this together and let's get more business back into this state. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Buckbee. Further on the bill as amended? Further on the bill as amended? If not, staff and guests please retire 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check the board and make sure your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked. Would the Clerk please take a tally; and would the Clerk please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 6749, as Amended by House A.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 116

Those Voting Nay 33

Absent and Not Voting 2

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The bill as amended is passed. [Gavel] Would the Clerk please call Calendar 85, that would be 85.

CLERK:

On page 52, House Calendar 85, Substitute House Bill No. 7037, AN ACT CONCERNING WITHHOLDING WORKERS' COMPENSATION INCOME FOR CHILD SUPPORT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Judiciary.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you. From the west side of the Silver City, recently we moved there too, Representative Abercrombie of the 83rd, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good afternoon.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Mr. Speaker, I move for the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is acceptance and passage. Will you remark, Madam?

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is just a simple fix to include a copy of the income withholding order for child support when someone receives workers' compensation. I move adoption.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is adoption. Will you remark further on the Bill? Representative Case of the 63rd, would you care to comment?

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question to the proponent of the bill, please.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Just for clarification, in the original OFA analysis, the bill did say that it was just for private employers and municipals and state it did not apply, but we since have had that fixed. Have you seen the addendum to that, Madam?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Abercrombie.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, when OFA did their analysis, there was an error in it. And if you look on the system, the fix is there. State employees are included in this proposal.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No more questions, just a comment. All this does is really, it allows for those who are owed child support and they go on workman's comp for their employers to report out that they are on workmen's comp and that can be tapped for their child support payments. I urge my colleagues to approve and thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Case. Further on the bill? Further on the bill? If not, staff and guests retire 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 ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? If not, slide into that vote. Please check the board and make sure your vote is properly cast. The machine will be locked. Would the Clerk please take and announce the tally?

CLERK:

House Bill 7037.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 149

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 2

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Mr. Clerk, the bill passes. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call Calendar 240.

CLERK:

On page 20, Calendar 240, Substitute House Bill No. 7119, AN ACT CONCERNING THE AUTHORITY OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF HIGHER EDUCATION RELATING TO TEACH-OUT PLANS AND ON-SITE REVIEW OF ACADEMIC PROGRAMS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad of the 54th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Please proceed, sir.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is a bill that deals essentially with student protections for students who are enrolled in certain kinds of institutions of higher education. Specifically, what the bill does is it allows the Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education if they determine that an institution of higher education that is not regionally accredited is exhibiting financial and administrative indicators that the institution is in danger of closing, he can order the institution to develop a teach-out plan.

A teach-out plan is a plan that the institution would use to ensure that the students currently enrolled by the institution can complete their program of study. And it is an important consideration when the school is about to close either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the bill also requires that institutions of higher education that offer a field of study that in a field that would require in preparation for an occupation that requires a license, that they be able to demonstrate that their program meets, would help the student meet the licensure requirements of that occupation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

You're welcome, sir. Further on the bill? Further on the bill? Representative Staneski of the 119th, you're standing and looking great today. You have the floor.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker, and you're looking pretty dapper yourself this afternoon.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

I rise supporting this bill, but I do have a few questions for the proponent, please.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

So, Mr. Speaker, this bill is a -- the intent of this bill is to protect students when an agency closes unexpectedly. Could the good proponent of the bill explain whether or not this is a last resort when the institution is failing and students are at risk?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I think, you know, generally speaking it's always a last resort. We don't want to see our institutions fail. But even more important is that we don't -- that we provide adequate protection for students who are enrolled in those institutions so that if we see an institution about to fail, that we can require them to at least develop a plan that can be implemented if the institution in fact does go bankrupt or close.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, so am I to understand the Office of Higher Ed will be in regular contact with these institutions so that as the bill states this is a last resort and possibly remediation or changes can be made prior to a possible teach-out and closing?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker. I think that that's really up to the college. I mean, again, we're talking primarily in this instance about private institutions that are experiencing financial distress for any a number of reasons. We require, when institutions open programs of study that they provide the Office of Higher Education with information about their financial stability. We require that they provide additional information about their financial stability on an annual basis.

That is the information that would be looked at by the Office of Higher Education in determining whether or not they felt that the institution was experiencing financial distress that might negatively impact students' completion. And then if they do conclude that they are financially distressed, they can enter into -- but I think it's going to be primarily a collaborative agreement with the institution to come up with a plan for how to best protect the students that are currently enrolled to make sure that they can -- the institution either has a plan to ensure that the students can complete at that institution. Or if they decide that they are even more at risk of closing entirely that they can provide an alternative course of study at a neighboring institution that meets the needs of the students.

But what's first and foremost, I think, is that we're trying to protect students who are enrolled in these institutions that are exhibiting some financial distress. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

And thank you. I thank the good gentleman for his answer. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Would these teach-out plans be done as say an agency or an institution comes to the Office of Higher Ed and they're wanting to put a new program in; would this be part of their application for that so that they put this teach-out program in and we have this ability to not do this at the back end if they're in a quick way that it's actually preparing for the possibility, not saying we want them to fail, but the possibility if they are that we're prepared to come in and take over?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

I had a little bit of difficulty hearing the entirety of your question, but if I understand it correctly, I think that, and we certainly want to ensure that our institutions don't fail. That is first and foremost. I expect that the collaboration between the Office of Higher Education and the institution will be first and foremost to try to protect the institution itself in terms of making sure that they can provide the education that they've been offering to their students and so that there is as little disruption as possible to the student body.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good gentleman for that answer, and I concur with him, this is about that. Section 2 of the bill, which expands the Office of Higher Education's authority for additional oversight of new programs that lead to licensure; I know that there were some concerns around that because we already have some national accrediting agencies that specialize in the profession they oversee. And I was wondering if the good gentleman of the proponent of the bill could answer why we need this with respect to the Office of Higher Ed?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, I think that's a very good question, through you, Mr. Speaker. I hope to provide an answer. Accreditation generally is for an institution not for a specific program. And so, when an accreditation body looks at an institution, they're looking at the entirety of the educational offerings of the institution and looking to ensure that it meets whatever standards are offered by the accreditation body. That does not guarantee that an individual program of study, for example, to become -- a program of study that aims to help somebody enter a particular field or occupation that requires licensure. Mere accreditation does not ensure that the program of study will prepare the student to meet the licensure requirements. And so, I think in this case, this is very commonsense provision that says that all institutions in the state that are offering a program of study to prepare someone for an occupation that requires licensure that that program of study actually prepares them to meet the standards of the licensure. And it ensures that we don't have students who graduate, who are consuming their PELL eligibility and consuming their financial aid resources, they are consuming their own personal resources to get an education and then at the conclusion of receiving the degree and completing a program they find that they are still short of the requirements that would be required to actually be licensed in the field that they had intended to join.

I think that that's something, it seems to me a commonsense protection for students that we can offer that kind of assurance.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And that's exactly the answer that I was looking for. Mr. Speaker, this is a good bill. It's a good bill because as the good Chair of Higher Ed says, it protects our students. We have had some recent cases where young people and older adults have entered into an agreement, signed a contract and paid their tuition to an institution with the hopes that they would have a job afterwards, they would have a license for a particular industry, only to come to a door of the institution to have closed today. And so, this actually would stop that. It provides protections for our students, for those who are receiving grants and also for the businesses that will be hiring people with those licenses that they would receive from that institution. I urge my colleagues to support this. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Staneski. Representative Ackert of the 8th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, a couple of questions to the proponent of the bill.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Absolutely. Please proceed.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, and I did support this in Higher Ed. It was a good consumer measure. But I did have some questions after I read through it just a little more intently. On line 15 of the bill there is a term used “regionally accredited. ” So, when I think of accreditation programs and most of our, obviously, our programs that are accredited, this says is not regionally accredited. What would be a school that is not regionally accredited? Because when I think of all of the post-secondary schools that we have out there that I would think in some manner that they would locally be accredited is, I guess that's not the case in -- could you help me with that language?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I can. I'll just give you two examples in the State of Connecticut. There is Paier College of Art and the Graduate Institute are both institutions that exist in the State of Connecticut that are nationally accredited, but are not regionally accredited. And we often times find that regional accreditation is much more stringent and robust than national accreditation. And so, what we have is a situation where, and I think that we're particularly trying to protect these students because when you lack regional accreditation, it is far less certain that the credits that you've earned at the institution will easily transfer to another regionally accredited institution. And so, students might find themselves attending an institution that is about to close. They may decide to avail themselves of the teach-out plan, but may decide also to go to another institution and we want to be certain that we give those students as best chance as possible having those credits transfer into a different college.

And so, there are very few institutions in Connecticut that are not regionally accredited. But when they are, I think we deserve to give our students a little bit of added assurance. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank the good gentleman for his answers. And also a follow up, and I'm just making sure that in a manner, are most programs that we have or all programs that we have that are post-secondary, do they have to be registered with the Office of Higher Education and I'm just thinking about in terms of, you know, potentially trade. So, given that somebody might start at Tim's Welding School, and I'm going to offer, you know, a welding course. And I did pick up and I do, in Section 2, I'm appreciative of the Committee for doing that Section regarding the licensure because that's important in terms of trades people. They go and take a class or some other, you know, in the medical area where they take a class and it doesn't get them to the level they need to, they'd be able to get the license or test at least for it. So, I appreciate that section. What I'm thinking is everything, if I open up Tim's Welding School, do I have to register with the Office of Higher Education to have that type of school? Does this not cover that kind of school?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Let me just say that if Representative Ackert wanted to open a welding school, I'm sure it would be a fine school. But, yes, I think it does have to be registered with the Office of Higher Education. I think they're called post-secondary occupational schools. And so, some schools are called institutions of higher education, but there is another category of post-secondary educational schools that have to be scrutinized at some level by the Office of Higher Education.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, and the good Chair gives me a lot more credit. I can't weld a thing. So, I would not open up like a welding school. I don't think anybody should come to Tim's Welding School at all. But I thank the good Chairman for his answers and I am supportive of this legislation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Ackert. Representative LeGeyt of the 17th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, it's nice to see you up there, sir.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

It's always a pleasure to see you, sir.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Just a couple of questions to the proponent of the bill, if I may?

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please proceed.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you. To Representative Haddad, through you. I'm looking at this bill and I'm thinking about discussions we've had in the Higher Education Committee regarding program approval. And that phrase is in this bill, but it appears to be somewhat more narrow than the wide scope of program approval that we've talked about in Higher Ed. Could you firm up the range or program approval that's specific to this bill, please?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, it is significantly narrower than all programs. This is limited just to programs that prepares students for occupations that require a license. And let me just say before Representative Ackert leaves the room, that while I'm sure his welding school would be adequately prepared, we trust him, but we will verify that as well, which is the purpose of this legislation is to make sure that we trust, but verify. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you for that answer. I wonder if that program approval is being talked about for programs that require licensure would be across the spectrum of public and private colleges, proprietary schools, for-profit schools, or is there some more narrow framework of focus that would be applicable here?

Through you.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the section applies only to institutions of higher education and not to private occupational schools.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had a momentary lapse here with my computer, so I wasn't paying careful attention to that answer. If the good Representative would repeat it, I'd appreciate it.

SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, through you. The provision that we're talking about in Section 2 of the legislation applies to institutions of higher education and so licensure would be for things like for social work or for engineering, but it does not extend to private occupational schools for things like welding and electrical work. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Notwithstanding Representative Ackert's Welding School.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Tim's Welding closed shop already. Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps Representative Ackert's school would benefit from a friendly amendment that would exempt him from any on-site review or licensing requirement. Maybe it he'd like to propose that, I'd be glad to second it. I have another question, though. That licensure process would extend to other things that are not healthcare related, even though the -- and that's the purpose of the change in line 28, where healthcare related field has been removed in favor of line 29, any field requiring a license; is that the intention of that change there?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, Representative. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to Representative LeGeyt, yes, this is just an expansion from previous language that allowed for this similar kind of scrutiny to be applied towards health-related fields that require licensure. And so, it would also include, a couple of examples would be social work and engineering work, other kinds of professions that would require some degree of licensure after graduation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What about architecture?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. If it requires a license, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you. The requirement for an on-site review, I'm sure means that rather than just take something on the papers, there would actually be a visit to the school. What would the good representative expect would be the purpose and benefit to be received from an on-site review versus a review on the papers?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I think that it permits the Office of Higher Education to conduct an on-site review, it doesn't require it. But I think that that would just be in those instances to make sure that the information that's been filed with the Office of Higher Education about the provisions of the program are actually being realized on the ground at the university or institution.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you. When the bill talks about state or federal licensing, I assume that the review team would have some way of determining what the federal licensure requirements are and some connection to the appropriate federal authority that would approve those, that licensure relative to their regulations. How does the good representative expect that that would be conducted so that down the road we don't find that something is amiss?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The Office of Higher Education employs a number of different employees who are, I think it's been proven in the past to be extremely capable of understanding what federal regulations require concerning licensure. It would fall to them if they were going to enact the provisions of this statute to ensure that they understood what those regulations required in terms of licensure before they could begin to enforce whether or not the program actually meets those requirements.

And so, my expectation is that that would be a responsibility that would fall to the good staff of the Office of Higher Education. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and just one last question. Would it ever be expected that as part of the on-site review team to confirm that state and federal licensure requirements are being complied with that some representative from the federal government might be involved in the on-site review team?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I know that the Office of Higher Education is very resourceful and if they felt like that would help them enforce the provisions of the statute, I think that they would probably make those arrangements.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the answers from the good representative. I having been on the Higher Ed Committee now for four terms, I am always cautious about authorizing the Office of Higher Education or State Department of Education, as the case may be, to have the authority to conduct program approval and mandate different aspects of a program that a higher education institution wants to promote.

But I think this bill is narrowly defined and I'm supportive of it and I thank the House for its time. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

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

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A few questions to the proponent of the bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Please proceed.

REP. CASE (63RD):

In reading this bill and listening to a few of the questions, you mention that it does not include private occupational schools.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, if we have, let's say a beauty academy where people do have, paid financial aid or get financial aid to go to such an academy and it is a licensed program, they end up closing and there are people that still need to get their license, but they aren't refunded that. Does Higher Ed oversee that or is that overseen by another division? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker. There is a different set of statutes that cover private occupational schools, but similar protections are in place for students of private occupational schools and similar reimbursement as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I didn't quite hear that. So, if I can just repeat what I think I heard. So, there are things in place to protect those from the private occupational schools; is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just having one of those private occupational schools close in my district and the people being stuck with having paid the tuition and get the financial aid, but not getting their license. I think that's what we're trying to do here with the institutions that we have within our control of higher ed. I just wanted to make sure that those were some of the same provisions that we do with the private school academies. But thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

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

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. A couple of questions to the proponent.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you. I wonder if the good gentleman could explain the difference between federal and national accreditation and who has the ultimate authority to determine which one people need to follow; is it the federal or the state that determines what the course should be for being accredited?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Are you referring to accreditation or licensure?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Betts.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

In reality, I'm referring to both. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In Section 1 of the bill, when we talk about the differences between national accreditation and regional accreditation, we require in Section 1 of the bill that if an institution is showing signs of financial collapse, and they lack regional accreditation, that that school, that the Office of Higher Education would have the ability to enter into a process where we could require a teach-out program for the students who go through that school.

The schools themselves decide, I think, whether or not they seek national or regional accreditation. Most schools in Connecticut have opted to get regional accreditation, which I think should please us because regional accreditation is generally more stringent and robust than national accreditation. In Section 2 of the bill, which deals with licensure, it says that if you're an institution of higher education and you're offering a program of study to enable someone to take an occupation that requires, I think it says state or federal licensure, then the Office of Higher Education will take action to ensure that the program of study helps to ensure that the program actually prepares the students for state or federal licensure requirements. There are different agencies that have jurisdiction over different occupations. Some occupations, as I would imagine, I don't have an extensive list in front of me, are federally licensed. Other occupations are state licensed. And I think that the Office of Higher Education would take action as needed, dependent on what the, you know, which licensure requirements are specifically required for the occupation that the school is preparing the student to take.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Betts.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you very much for that answer. Was this modeled or does this proposal mirror anything else that's done by any other states? Do any other states have this system that we're talking about now?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I don't have an extensive list of whether this is the regulatory environment in other states. I'm confident that it is something that we should do here in Connecticut. I would point out though that recently there have been some interstate compacts around online university offerings, distance learning. We, in terms of Connecticut, currently joined, it's called SARA, and SARA, in fact, does require that the programs of study, in order to be a SARA program, programs of study have to prepare students for either state or federal licensure requirements. And so, it is consistent with I think an interstate agreement that has -- I would imagine that other states also have similar provisions in their state statutes. An important part of SARA is that each individual state enforces the standards that are applicable to their own state and we should have assurances that that is happening in other states. So, I think that this is consistent with what happens in other states, although I don't have a state-by-state rundown.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Betts.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you very much. And I concur and certainly the arrangement with SARA certainly ensures that. I too, like my colleagues, support this bill. I think it's a very good consumer bill and I thank the Chairman of the Committee for the explanations and bringing this forth and I'd urge everybody to support it. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further? Representative Srinivasan of the 31st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good to see you there. DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Likewise, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, just a quick question to the proponent of the bill. I see in line 17, may require, and we of course in the Chamber know that a huge difference between may and shall. And so, my question through you, Mr. Speaker, is, if is it a may that Executive Director may require and what happens if that were not to happen?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I think what we're trying to do is to provide the Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education with broad, with some discretion, so that when he sees an institution exhibiting signs of financial distress, that he or she as the case may be in the future, can take action that would be most appropriate to protect the students. And so, it's listed as a may, so that he would not be required to, at the first sign of trouble, to take the step of requiring a teach-out plan; although the Executive Director may employ a number of other sort of strategies to more closely monitor the institution or to make sure that the students are well protected. But this would enable him additionally to other powers that he or she may already hold to require teach-out plans, require a teach-out plan. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. If I understand it clearly, the Executive Director, he or she, at the early signs, could chose to take the necessary steps in, as you said? He or she has that capacity to do that if this were to move forward. But in the event, that he or she does not recognize that and does not take up action and there is nothing here that we are saying that we are holding him or her responsible for inaction?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Even the Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education has a boss. And I think that either this legislature through the influence that we hold, through the appropriations process or the Governor of the State of Connecticut, through his authority to appoint the Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education, provide the accountability measures to ensure that the Executive Director is taking his or her job seriously.

It would certainly be our expectation that they would be acting in the best interest of students. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I definitely understand that there are levels of hierarchy, levels of authority. I definitely get that and everybody -- I definitely get that too, that we all are responsible citizens. There is no question about that either. But it is just that if action is not taken, if he or she does not feel that this is what is going to happen to the institution in his or her best judgment, and that does not pan out unfortunately and goes against the students, nothing in what we are passing here today, that's what we are talking about, what is it in front of us today. Not to the different levels of authority that already exist, but what we pass today would have no impact if he or she chooses inaction.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I don't think that's the expectation or the tradition of the Office of Higher Education, which I think have been very robust protectors of students. But I suppose there are lots of reasons why the Office of Higher Education may not be able to reasonably anticipate the closing of a school, since the closing of the school might actually be a decision that's made independent of their financial ability. I mean, what happens if an institution just decides to close up shop? I'm sure that we have provisions of the statute that seek to protect against that, but I think that there are always unforeseen circumstances and my experience with the Office of Higher Education is that they've worked diligently to make sure that they're protecting students.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good Representative for his answers. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on this bill? Will you remark further on this bill? If not, will staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Will the members please take your seats, and the machine will be opened.

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.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will members please check the board to determine if your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally. The Clerk will please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 7119.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 145

Those Voting Nay 4

Absent and Not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. [Gavel] The bill passes. Are

there any announcements or introductions? Representative Godfrey, you have the floor, sir.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for the purposes of an introduction.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. We are joined, very happily today, by seven young people who are about to graduate or graduated from high school and moving on to college. And they've all, the seven young people here, standing in front of me, have all earned scholarships based on their academic achievement from the American Water Works Association, Connecticut Section. So, they are here today visiting with us, but I hope you will all join me in congratulating them on their sterling achievement and hoping that they do really, really well when they move on to college. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. [Applause]

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Godfrey. Congratulations to all of you. And you didn't include my former colleague, Mr. Russo, in that young high school graduate class, did you? Thank you, congratulations, again.

Back to business. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 241.

CLERK:

On page 20, Calendar 241, House Bill No. 7120, AN ACT CONCERNING POSTSECONDARY CAREER SCHOOLS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Haddad, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Haddad, you have the floor.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is in continuation of the previous conversation, but for postsecondary career schools, this makes a number of changes to the laws that we've enacted to protect students who attend private occupational schools.

And also, eases a little bit of the administrative burden of complying with some of the requirements that we've established. Mr. Speaker, it does four things. It changes slightly the definition of private occupational school. It extends, I'll say, actually exempts occupational schools that have fewer than ten students from some of the reporting requirements for financial reporting. It requires all private occupational schools to maintain academic transcripts for all alumni. And it establishes a deadline for students who would like to get tuition refunded after their private occupational school becomes insolvent or closes. Mr. Speaker, it's a good bill that protects students and institutions and I urge my colleagues to support it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. [Gavel] I would just ask, it's getting a bit noisy in here. So, the questioners and the proponent of the bill can hear each other, please keep your discussions to a dull roar. If you have to continue, please step outside. Thank you very much.

Will you remark further on the bill? Representative Staneski of the 119th, you have the floor.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and it's nice to see you up there this afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, it's nice to see you as well.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

I rise to support this bill. As the good Chairman said, it is the continuation of the bill that we just passed. It does address procedures for inevitable school closures. And Office of Higher Education is responsible for collecting student records and when schools close in disarray, it does leave the staff at the Office of Higher Education scrambling. So, this bill actually helps them in reconstructing and organizing the files into functional systems so that when a student comes and needs a document, maybe a transcript, they're able to get that. And it also, in helping to relieve some of the paperwork, it can save some of our smaller institutions thousands of dollars.

So, I urge my colleagues to support this. It's a good bill, and I'm glad that we have this as a complement to the last one we just passed, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on this bill? Will you remark further on this bill? If not, will staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Will the members please take your seats? The machine will be opened.

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.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will members please check the board to determine if your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked, and the Clerk will take a tally. Will the Clerk please announce the tally?

CLERK:

House Bill 7120.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 149

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 121.

CLERK:

On page 53, Calendar 121, Substitute House Bill No. 7015, AN ACT CONCERNING DEBIT CARD FRAUD AND PENALTIES FOR COLLECTION OF RENTAL PAYMENTS ON FORECLOSED PROPERTY. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Good afternoon, Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

[Gavel] Thank you very much. The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Lesser, you have the floor, sir.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this bill is substantially similar to a bill that cleared the House of Representatives last year. The bill updates various provisions related to consumer fraud, specifically in review of the state statutes, it is determined that debit card fraud was not a crime in the State of Connecticut. So, it adds debit card fraud as a crime. It also adds fraud involving a digital wallet to our list of crimes in the state.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, it prevents a collection of rental payments on property that is no longer owned by a former owner due to a foreclosure process. Mr. Speaker, I move passage.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative Lesser. Will you remark further on this bill? Representative Simanski of the 62nd, you have the floor.

REP. SIMANSKI (62ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Chairman did a good job of explaining the fact that this came out last year. Unfortunately, it got hung up between us and the Senate last year, it didn't pass. There have been some changes modified this year. Last year, as we said it's a good bill, ought to pass and the same thing applies this year.

The questions we had were, you know, why do you need a bill to have authorize a prosecution of debit card fraud; it was because it was asked by the Judicial Department. And the whole heart of this bill really can be find in line 43, where it simply says, it changes credit card to payment card and payment card means either a credit card or debit card.

So, it answers the request by the Judicial Department to have something to be able to prosecute. And the other part of the bill that talks about larceny to collect money from people who no longer own the property, the property in foreclosure. Mr. Speaker, you're very familiar with this section of the bill. And you advised us last year that this was something you needed because this was, in fact, being done by some felonious people. So, I urge all my colleagues to vote for this bill. It's a good bill. It ought to pass. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on this bill? If not, will staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Will the members please take your seats? The machine will be opened.

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.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will the members please check the board to determine if your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked, and the Clerk will take a tally. Will the Clerk please announce the tally?

CLERK:

House Bill 7015.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 149

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 161.

CLERK:

House Calendar 161, Substitute House Bill No. 7146, AN ACT REQUIRING A CRIMINAL CONVICTION FOR CERTAIN OFFENSES BEFORE ASSETS SEIZED IN A LAWFUL ARREST OF LAWFUL SEARCH MAY BE FORFEITED IN A CIVIL PROCEEDING. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Banking.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The distinguished Deputy Majority Leader, Representative Albis, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, great to see you up there. Mr. Speaker, I move that we refer this bill to the Judiciary Committee.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Without objection, so ordered. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 181.

CLERK:

On page 14, House Calendar 181, House Bill No. 7093, AN ACT CONCERNING NOTIFICATION TO THE POLICE OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING COUNCIL. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Public Safety and Security.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Verrengia, you have the floor, sir.

REP. VERRENGIA (20TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Verrengia, you have the floor, sir.

REP. VERRENGIA (20TH):

Mr. Speaker, this makes a minor, but important change to the underlining bill that would require law enforcement agencies to inform POST, Police Officer Standards and Training, which is the entity that's in charge of certifying police officers here in the State of Connecticut, about any officer who was dismissed, resigned, or retired during investigation for malfeasance or serious misconduct. The bill was passed out of Committee unanimously and I urge passage of the bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Will your remark? Representative Sredzinski, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A couple of questions to the proponent of the bill, through you, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to confirm, the only change to the statutes in this bill is the addition of the notification to post currently, correct? Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Verrengia.

REP. VERRENGIA (20TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Under the conditions I just referred to, presently a police department only has to notify the other police department, which an officer was applying for. This would just include another notification step to post.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Chairman for his answer. One other question. Does this apply to municipal police officers and state police, both, or just one of the other?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Verrengia.

REP. VERRENGIA (20TH):

This would apply to state police, local police, and tribal police.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Chairman for his answers. This did pass out of Committee unanimously, bipartisan bill. The only agency that support that submitted testimony was in support of it, and that was the Connecticut Police Chief's Association; so, I recommend my colleagues to support it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Will you remark further on this bill? If not, will staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Will the members please take your seats? And the machine will be opened.

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.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will the members please check the board to determine if your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked, and the Clerk will take a tally. Will the Clerk please announce the tally?

CLERK:

House Bill 7093.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 149

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 383.

CLERK:

On page 39, Calendar 383, House Bill No. 6482, AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONNECTICUT TRAUMA ADVISORY COMMITTEE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Borer, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The question is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Borer, you have the floor.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill establishes a Connecticut Trauma Advisory Committee as a standing Subcommittee of the State's Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board and adds one trauma advisory board member to the standing committee. This bill also requires the Department of Health Commissioner with the standing committee's advice, and EMS Advisory Board's recommendation to adopt an omission date as dictionary based on certain national standards of the National Trauma Data and based on national guidelines for Field Triage. This dictionary must be used by the State's Trauma Program. Mr. Speaker, this bill also has an amendment, No. 6233. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6233, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule A.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 6233, offered by Representative Steinberg.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

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

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This amendment only makes minor technical changes to the bill. It makes it more permissive.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the amendment? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

(All) Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The amendment passes. The House will stand at ease.

The Chamber will come back to order. Will you remark further on this bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Srinivasan of the 31st, you have the floor, sir. And I do apologize. I believe you wanted to speak on the amendment.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

No, thank you, and I accept that, that's fine. I'll talk about it as the bill as amended.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And I'll move forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good to see you there, again. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good proponent of the bill as amended. Through you, Mr. Speaker. What is the need, is what all of us have been talking about A, for the bill and the amendment, which makes it so permissive and says, it's a may, instead of shall? So, what are we trying to accomplish here?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Borer.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Trauma is a moving critical area. And having a standing committee will allow for timely and consistent and reportable action. This new Advisory Committee is recommended by both the Chair of the Connecticut EMS Advisory Board and the Chair of the Connecticut State Trauma Committee.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Madam. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. We already have an EMS Committee. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Can that not Committee that we already have take care of all of this as well? Do we need to have another Committee, another standing committee and that also we're removing the shall to a may, as the bill is amended?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Borer.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We do already have a standing committee for EMS, but this would allow a subcommittee to specifically focus on trauma.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. If we have a standing committee on trauma, and the standing committee comes up with recommendations, it is my understanding now, with the amendment, that he Commissioner does not have to go with those recommendations; obviously, he or she may or could, but does not have to because of the change in the language as amended?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. BORER (115H):

That is correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And my final question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is, in terms of opposition in the public hearing, was there any opposition that we are aware of?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Borer.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm not aware of any public opposition to this bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I mean our concern is not the concept of it. How could we argue against creating a Trauma Advisory Committee? Obviously, trauma is important, unfortunately trauma is part of life and obviously to have the right committee, we get that, we get that. But the point is, we already have emergency medical services and part of their responsibility is to look at trauma as well. Are we going to be now carving out a subcommittee for trauma, a subcommittee for some other medical condition and just keep going on and on and have A, numerous subcommittees, number one, which to me I don't think is necessary; having one umbrella of the committee is more than adequate, A. And B, it makes it even -- what is the whole point, if at the end of the day all we are going to say is the Commissioner may and is not a shall. So, that kind of to me, defeats the entire purpose.

It's a bill that says it feels good because we are creating a Trauma Committee, I get that. But at the end of the day, what is it that we've accomplished? Not a whole lot, in my opinion. And for that, Mr. Speaker, I cannot be supporting this bill today. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Ackert of the 8th District, good afternoon, sir.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, I was looking through the language of this and then I looked over the amendment and I'm just curious if the proponent of the bill now, as amended -- I see the lines were completely eliminated regarding some of the -- first we talked about the may and I get the may part, you know, the Commissioner shall to may. But then you remove on line 59, essentially a whole American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program. What was the -- was it not just needed or required, that section being removed?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Borer.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, that is my understanding.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I guess, and I don't, I'm not on the Committee and I understand that. But these 30-something members that I can imagine that are on here and are already existing on this Committee, is a person from the Connecticut Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons and it seems like it's well filled. And for the question, do we know if these positions are filled completely on the Committee with all of these members that are existing now?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Borer.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm not quite sure if the position is filled right now. But I understand the Representative's concerns about a Trauma Advisory member already being on the EMS Committee, but often a subcommittee is needed in order to specifically study on that particular critical subject.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Madam. Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

And thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good lady for her answers. I guess I'll listen if there is any additional dialogue on it, but again, I wasn't in the Committee and when we really take a bill that was truly important and we start to delete sections, I think that were put in for specific reasons, I have concerns. So, thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the good lady.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? If not, will staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Will the members, please take your seats, and the machine will be opened.

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.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will the members please check the board to determine if your vote is properly cast. If all members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally. The Clerk will please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 6482, as Amended by House A.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 85

Those Voting Nay 64

Absent and Not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The bill, as amended, passes. [Gavel] Representative Albis, you have the floor.

REP. ALBIS (99TH)