THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 12: 00 o'clock p. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The House will please come to order. (Gavel) Will the members, staff, and guests please rise and direct your attention to the dais, where Chaplain Rabbi Alan Lefkowitz will lead us in prayer.

CHAPLAIN RABBI ALAN LEFKOWITZ:

Thank you, good morning, or good afternoon. How often in life do we wonder if what we do makes a difference? Here is a story. Once, a man was walking along the beach. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance, he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached, he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as a result of natural action of the tide. The man was struck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. He approached the person, who continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf. As he came up to the person, he said, "You must be crazy! There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference. " The person looked at the man. He then stooped down to pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, "It sure made a difference to that one. "

Oh God, Creator of us all, please be mindful that all we do makes a difference, as we remember that each step we take, every word we utter, and every action that we take is conceived in holiness. We pray that you, oh God, be with us as we serve you, as we make a difference to others. We say, amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Very well said, Rabbi, thank you. If we could now have our newest State Representative, or one of the newest State Representatives, come up, Representative Hall of the 7th District, and lead us in prayer -- I mean the Pledge. We just did the prayer. We could use some extra prayers though. (Laughter)

REP. HALL (7TH):

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. Good morning.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning, sir.

CLERK:

Communication from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Executive and Legislative Nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please refer to the Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations.

CLERK:

Corrected communication from the Governor, Judicial Nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Refer to the Committee on Judiciary.

CLERK:

The last piece of business is the Daily Calendar.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Wilson of the 66th, you have the floor.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I arise for the purpose of an introduction. I'm happy today to introduce you all to Mr. Rob Lombard, owner of Lombard Ford in Winsted, Connecticut. He's the president of the corporation, and he happens to be a constituent in my community of Litchfield, so please give him a warm welcome. Thank you. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you for coming up today, sir. Representative Buckbee of the 67th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

Thank you and good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

I rise for the purpose of introduction.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I see you have a group in front of you, so please proceed, sir.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

I sure do. If you guys want to stand up for a second so everybody can see you. You guys too. I welcome here today the New Milford Youth Agency. These kids do a ton of stuff in the town. They're not only out playing baseball, basketball, wiffle ball and drawing and painting and all the fun stuff that kids do, but they contribute quite a bit to the community in helping out with a number of different functions and learning what it is to be civically minded. So, they're here today. I would ask the House that we might show them our welcome as we usually do. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. And because they spend so much time in dedicated to others, I'd actually like them to come up on the dais. I see they have some folks with them with cameras. Why don't they come up and get a picture taken up on the dais. (Pause) All right. Any other announcements or introductions? I see a large group in the back of the Chamber, and I see that Representative Soto has hit his button to speak. Representative, you have the floor.

REP. SOTO (39TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SOTO (39TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's an honor this after -- this morning, excuse me, to welcome with my colleague also, Representative Joe de la Cruz from the great city, the coastguard city, the whaling city of New London, to introduce a talented group of young ladies, ambassadors for the city, here at the Capitol this morning and into the Chamber. The New London High School girls basketball team, also known as the Lady Whalers, took our city and our region through a tremendous journey. They finished their season with a 26-2 record. They won the ECC Tournament and were ranked #1 in the state by the New Haven Register and the Hartford Courant. (Applause) But in the end, in the end, they played under the big lights at Mohegan Sun, where they won the Class LL State Championship Basketball title. (Applause) But, I think what's also important is that they don't just dominate on the court; they also dominate in the classroom. Their first semester cumulative GPA was a 3. 52, further demonstrating true scholar athletes. Today they are joined by their coaches. They're also joined by their Athletic Director, Chris Vamvakides, Principal Tommy Thompson, and our Superintendent of Schools, Manny Rivera. I humbly ask our colleagues to give a warm welcome to the Lady Whalers here in the Chamber. (Applause) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We'll be downstairs taking selfies and eating lunch if you're interested in joining. (Laughter)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. And again, congratulations ladies. I actually watched your game on CPTV. Not only were you talented on the court, but I'm very happy to hear you're very talented off the court and in the classroom. You should ask Representative Soto. He actually won a basketball title himself, part of the House Dems team that won the John Blair Tournament. So he's quite the basketball player too. But congratulations on your achievements and thanks for coming up today. (Applause) Representative Wilson of the 66th, you're back! (Laughter)

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. It's a great pleasure that I have today to introduce you all to Mr. Leo Paul, Jr. , serving his 14th year as first selectman in the Town of Litchfield. I've served with him as his treasurer for all of those years. So, please extend a warm welcome to Leo Paul. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Welcome to the Chamber and thank you for your service. Representative de la Cruz. You're wanting to get in on this championship cause.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

I do want to get in it, you know.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Yeah. Please proceed, sir.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Everybody wants to be on a winning team. I'm personally -- I'm an alumni. I'm a Whaler. I bleed green and gold. I couldn't find my green and gold suit. I was gonna wear it today. But what you young ladies did made our town so proud and what I want you to know is, at a young age, you don't realize it, but 20 years from now, they'll be talking about "that" team. And all you guys are part of that. And I think that's something special. It's something you'll be able to carry your whole life. And I want you to know that when I was in school, girl's sports, in New London particularly, wasn't at this high of a level. And what your coaches have done, what the faculty has done, is amazing. So thank your parents when you go home because you went to a lot of AAU games, I'm guessing, to get to where you were, and your faculty. So thank you very much. Go Whalers! (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Kokoruda.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Representative Soto, I would like to congratulate you and your team on a state championship. And I'd like to congratulate you from the Class L State Championship, Daniel Hand Girls Tigers. Congratulations to New London. Congratulations to Madison. Great job ladies! (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Any other announcements or introductions? Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 277?

CLERK:

State of Connecticut House of Representatives, Calendar Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017. On page 23, House Calendar 277, substitute House Bill No. 5584 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE CREATION OF A SMALL BUSINESS HOTLINE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Simmons, you have the floor, madam.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Clerk has an amendment, LCO No. 6525. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and then I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 6525, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule "A"?

CLERK:

House Amendment "A", LCO No. 6525, offered by Representative Simmons and Representative Yaccarino.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize their amendment. Is there objection of summarization? Is there objection of summarization? Seeing none. Please proceed, madam.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This amendment is a friendly amendment and it simply clarifies that the hotline should be established within available appropriations. And I move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Would you remark on the amendment before us? Representative Yaccarino of the 87th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon. It's great to start on time every day, so. It's a friendly amendment, like our good Chair said, and I just urge support. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Belsito, did you want to speak to this? You have the floor, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a few questions for the proponent, if I may?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

On the amendment, sir?

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

No, I'm sorry. It's on the bill. I'm sorry.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

That's okay, sir. Just --

REP. BELSITO (53RD): I'll be back.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Yes you will. (Laughter) Will you remark further on the amendment before us? Will you remark further on the amendment before us? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. (Gavel) Representative Belsito, we welcome you back.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Once again I have a few questions for the proponent.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Simmons, please prepare yourself. Representative Belsito, please proceed, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent. What are we doing now that is instigating a certain phone line, creation of a small business phone line? Why is this needed? Don't they have phones at the present time?

Through you, Mr. Speak -- Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

A quick change here. Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker. Thank you for the question, Representative, and we believe this bill is extremely helpful because we often hear from small businesses that they don't often know where to go to get answers to questions they have or to get information about state programs available to them. And so currently, the line is not live staffed and so we're requiring DECD to partner with CERC to live staff this line so that it can be a helpful resource for small businesses looking to get answers to questions they have.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And through you, Madam Speaker, another question for the proponent. Exactly, the position that's there now, and we're gonna create a small business hotline. Please answer, what exactly is there at the present time? Is it a group of people who work there part-time? Is it people who just answer questions that have been relayed to them through the phone or is there an actual setup of small business individuals who give advice that we need a hotline?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker. Currently, there is not a live staffed hotline. It's an automated line that directs the individual to different websites, and so we feel that this is gonna be an extremely helpful resource to have it live staffed to provide answers to questions business owners might have, whether they're looking to start a business, grow their business, get access to tax incentives or various other state programs.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, Madam Speaker. So does that mean that, at the present time, that we do not have a small business office that's located someplace that has individuals there? That's what it sounds like to me. The only questions we answer are those that are filtered through an automatic phone line.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent. So does that mean we are going to hire extra people for this position and will this be financed by the state?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Thank you for the question, Representative. And we've confirmed with DECD and CERC that they will be able to staff this within available appropriations. So no additional staff will be necessary.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, Madam Speaker. If they are already agreeing to this with a staff and the structure that's set up, why do we need a state law to tell them what to do? They are giving business advice to the community. Why can't they make their own decisions on this? This does not warrant that it even come to the House, never mind we pass a bill on it that says you can now have a separate phone line to answer questions.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Thank you for the questions, Representative. And we believe that this law is necessary because the line currently isn't being live staffed. And we also are requiring in this bill that DECD and CERC produce a report to the Legislature on the effectiveness of this line, including detailed plans as to how they've marketed it, what types of questions they're receiving through the line and what types of businesses are calling. And we believe that data will be helpful so that the state can better serve businesses and help support job growth in our state.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent. This sort of sounds like a study. It's not something that they've determined that we would have to -- that we would need. It's just something that they think they might need and they have to do a bill for this. This does not at all sound like it's something that's needed. It's just something that they think they might need.

Through you, Madam Speaker. Is this true?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. And thank you for the question, Representative. And we actually believe strongly that this is a critical resource. Thirteen other states have this resource in place. We heard seven pieces of positive testimony in favor of this hotline, including testimony from the National Federal of Independent Businesses, as well as the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, which represents over 10,000 businesses and is constantly in touch with those businesses, hearing their feedback about how sometimes it can be difficult to access information at the state level. And, so I can assure you this one is not a study, and I believe it will very much help small businesses get answers to questions and resources they need to be successful.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and another question to the proponent. You stated that there's already an answering machine there of some sort that takes all of the questions. I guess we're going to assume that that answering machine takes the questions, but the answers are not given. Because there isn't that much difference between a hotline and an answering machine that should be answered within a matter of ten or fifteen minutes at any organization.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, currently there is a line, but it is not an established hotline that is live staffed with trained professionals answering questions about business questions or access to resources, and so we believe this is necessary in order to make the line more helpful to businesses. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent. So does that mean that the answering machine, the individuals who call for answers and questions, do not get a response from the Commission or the company that's there now?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Good to see you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. At times, the agency has live staffed this line, but currently it is just an automated line that directs the individual to different websites. And while some individuals might find that helpful, a number of individuals that we've talked to, want to be able to talk to a live person. So, we believe that this legislation is necessary to help achieve that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And through you, Mr. Speaker, another question for the proponent, and that is how many individuals now work at this state function or whatever it is, that they can't answer questions by looking at it on the -- or listening to it on the recorder, and then getting back to the individuals, that they have to have a designated person on a hotline?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for that question, Representative. And we -- actually, the answer to your question is yes, they do have enough staff to be able to live staff this line without additional resources or funding. But we're requiring through this legislation that the line is live staffed because we've heard from business owners and we've heard testimony from CBIA that that will be helpful to assist business owners with questions they have.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Just one more time, Mr. Speaker. I'm gonna ask the same question. Why does this require a state law in taking up the time of the Legislature? This seems to be pretty inefficient.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Well, I believe it's critical that as Co-Chair of the Commerce Committee and working with my Ranking Member and other committee members that we look seriously about how we can improve commerce in our state and support business growth, in particular small businesses, that create two-thirds of all new jobs in our community. And as we continue to recover from the recession, we've only regained 80 percent of the jobs lost. It's critical that we do everything we can to help support small business growth and job creation. So, we believe this legislation is necessary to further that effort.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I really don't have any other questions, except to say I will be voting against this bill. It seems to be a waste of time. It's just wasted our time with questions here for approximately 14 or 15 minutes, on a bill that doesn't make sense, and they're already there and all they have to do is pick up the phone and answer the phone. That we have to write a bill about it, it seems ridiculous. It's more than ridiculous. It's wasteful. It's not efficient. And we are the head of the state, we are the leaders here, and we're acting so inefficient by producing this bill that it's not funny. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you. Representative Perillo of the 113th.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. If I may, sir, through you, a few questions to the proponent of the bill?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And again, through you. Was there any estimation as to how many calls would come in through this line?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH): Through the Speaker?

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Yes, through the Speaker, as I mentioned previously.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, that's an excellent question, Representative, and that's actually something we're gonna be looking at closely. Part of the bill requires that DECD submit a report to the Legislature by 2019, exactly documenting how many calls they receive, what types of questions that they're receiving from businesses. So we will be taking a close look at that. We don't have a current estimate exactly right now, but we will be taking a close look at that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again, through you. If DECD doesn't right now have any estimates to say how many calls they're going to receive, how can DECD say that they can do this without any additional appropriations?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. We've had a number of discussions with DECD and they have said that they would be able to partner with CERC - the Connecticut Economic Resource Center - to be able to live staff this hotline and they've assured us that they think that they will be able to live staff it during normal hours. If something changes, we can make adjustments as necessary. But as of now, they believe they will be able to live staff it.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again, through you, sir. As I read the bill, and just to clarify, it does state that this will be done through the Department of Economic and Community Development. Is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. The answer is yes. But the bill does allow for DECD to partner with a nonprofit corporation such as CERC.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, I am assuming that that would resolve DECD's original opposition to this bill, whereas they felt that this could undermine and interfere with the line that CERC already did have in place? I noticed that in the JF report. Is that correct?

Through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through, Mr. Speaker. Yes. I think that's party correct. They wanted to have flexibility to be able to work with other partners that are involved in reaching out to the business community. So, yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again, through you. So there is existing, right now, a line in place through CERC that is dedicated to answering questions of small businesses. How will this line, sir, through you, be different?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. There is currently a line, but it is only an automated line. I actually tried it again this morning and it directs you to different websites through prompts, so it's solely an automated line right now. What this legislation would do is require it to be live staffed and to require DECD to provide a review and assessment of the effectiveness of the line to the Legislature.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate that answer. And that's my final question. But I just think it's very interesting and concerning that we are stating that we are transitioning from a line that is simply -- it's automated and directs individuals to certain websites. Yet now we're going to have a line that is fully staffed. Yet, that's not gonna cost us any money. I'm eager to see the report that will come out in 2019 that will give us some information, that'll tell us indeed how many people will be calling this line, even though we don't know how many people now, yet we're able to say it won't cost us any money. So maybe in 2019, we'll have a little more information on this. I appreciate the intent of the legislation. Hopefully it will be helpful to small businesses. Thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Fishbein of the 90th District.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning. I too have some questions for the proponent through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, sir. So how is one to find out about this hotline?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for the question, Representative. And the bill requires DECD to include in their report ways that they're marketing this hotline. So presumably they will be putting it on their website, including it in their existing and ongoing marketing efforts. And then I also think it's important that all of us make sure the businesses in our districts are aware of this hotline. So, certainly we can include it in our email blast and social media, and try to get the word out to businesses about this helpful resource, if they have questions.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Then we're to expect DECD to advertise the existence of this line?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Within available appropriations, yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And what appropriations have been set aside to be available for the advertising of this hotline?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. So currently, there's no fiscal note on the bill, so there's no additional appropriations being set aside for this. But DECD and CERC have assured us that within their existing budgets, they will be able to promote this through their ongoing marketing efforts.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't know if the good proponent of the bill is aware that the Unemployment Department is getting rid of their naturalized person on their call-in service. And is it -- with that understanding, it is the good proponent of the bill's determination that it's more appropriate to have someone actually man this line, as opposed to helping those individuals that are applying for unemployment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. That's an interesting question. I can't speak exactly to why they're getting rid of that line. But I can speak to the feedback we've heard from businesses about how helpful a live staffed line would be to them. We heard from CBIA in favor of this bill, the National Federation of Independent Businesses. We heard from entrepreneurs and business owners directly. So there might be a different need within some members of the business community for the live staffed line in this case.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The good proponent of the bill mentioned that 13 other states employ a service like this, and if I could know of those states?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Sure. Just to give you a couple of examples - Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Maine. Those are some of the other states.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And has the good proponent of the bill acquired any information from those states? I would expect that they too have studies. Any studies as to the benefits in those states?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, actually another state I didn't mention was Texas, and is spoke to the individual in charge of their economic development efforts. And if you go to their website, the hotline is there right away. They make it very easy to call and get information, whether a business is looking for a site selection or tax incentives. And they have found it to be very effective and recommended that we implement it as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We'll get back to Texas in a moment. Can I ask the good proponent of the bill, in section one, it requires that small business owners are provided with individualized information. What is that -- what is the meaning of individualized information as opposed to generalized information?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that question. And the meaning of individualized information means that it would apply directly to the business owner that is calling. So for example, if you're looking to start up a restaurant and you call this hotline with a question about the process for that, the individual on the other line would provide individualized information related to that specific business. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So just by way of hypothetical, I am a manufacturer of widgets and I would call up this hotline, and this hotline would ask me certain questions and then give me direction on whether or not I should be an S corp. , or an LLC, or a stock corporation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. Depending on the questions of that manufacturer, they might be able to provide high-level guidance in response to that question.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So is that not a service that is rendered by our legal community presently in the state?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for that question, Representative. And the intent of this line is not to provide in-depth legal consulting services to the individual calling, but rather to provide high-level information and an overview of state -- general state programs available to the business owner calling.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would perhaps be in agreement with the good proponent of the bill if the word "generalized" was there instead of "individualized. " And it's very problematic to me in that I'm a small business person. My father renders advice to individuals about business formation on a daily basis. And we say that this is a pro-business bill, but it actually -- it supplants services in our legal community. But moving on to that, the Texas situation, which I have a lot of knowledge about Texas. I have lots of family in Texas. Is it the good proponent of the bill's position that the hotline itself is helpful in Texas to commercial growth as opposed to lower taxes and more development that's allowable in Texas? I'm just trying to get the distinction here.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for that question, Representative. I certainly don't think the hotline is one solution to business challenges that states face. And, so I guess the answer to the question would be no, but I think it is one additional helpful resource that they offer.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.
REP
. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just, by way of comment, I too sit on the Commerce Committee, and I expressed my objections to the Legislature taking over aspects of the business community, and I did vote against this bill in Committee, and I intend to do in this Chamber as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Linehan of the 103rd.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of this bill and I'm in support, which is very interesting. On Women-Owned Business Day, I'm supporting this bill as a former business owner. And, I have to say that this is something that we've been looking for for a very long time. I'm also a member of the Commerce Committee and I supported it then, and in Committee, and then again right now. I'll tell you a little story. I went to a bunch of businesses in my district and I visited with Dana Bartone & Company, in Cheshire, who is a woman-owned business. And she utilized a lot of programs throughout the state. And I asked her candidly, I said, was there any issue that you had, was there anything that we could have done better to serve you as a small business? And her answer to me was, "I wish there was a way that I could've just called and gotten my questions answered and was helped to navigate everything that I need to do in order to get my business set up. " And so to me, this bill is a direct answer to a problem that my constituent, a business in my district, had. And also, like I said before, as a business owner, I could've used that as well, all the regulations and all of the issues with getting funding. This is a great one-stop shop and I support this wholeheartedly and I thank the proponent for this bill, and I was happy to rise in support. So thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Cheeseman of the 37th District.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. I see in the amendment there is a line that indicates the commissioner may partner with a nonprofit organization to carry out the provisions of this section. Could the good proponent give me some examples of the kind of not-for-profits that might possibly partner? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you. Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Sure. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that question, Representative. And one example would be partnering with CERC - the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Would an example of CERC be an organization like SECTOR in my part of the state - the Southeastern Connecticut Technology and Economic Resource Group? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. CERC, I believe, is based in the Hartford area, but I do think that that organization would qualify as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Do you see a place for organizations like SCORE and the local chambers of commerce participating in this activity?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for that question. That's an excellent suggestion and certainly if they met the definition of nonprofit corporation, they could presumably be cooperative in this legislation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I know the Secretary of State's Office also offers information and ways for people starting a business to get that necessary information. How would this hotline coordinate with the Secretary of State's Office?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that question, Representative. And we would hope that the persons or people staffing this hotline would be equipped with all of that information about all of the business programs available across our state agencies, including what the Secretary of State's Office is working on.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the proponent of the bill for her information. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Yaccarino of the 87th District.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Chair -- Mr. Speaker. Excuse me. And I want to thank the good Chairwoman of this Committee. This bill does seem simple and innocuous, but it's really not if you listen to the CBIA and FIB, the builders of Connecticut, the home builders. Many times, people fall through the cracks. So this line, I think, is very beneficial and it's very minimal cost. And I think Representative Cheeseman had a great suggestion, and I'm sure we'll look at this. So, I do urge support of this. It's a pro-business bill and I just want to say thank you for answering those questions. You did a wonderful job, and it's something we need to really look at as our state -- many states -- you forgot to mention Ohio. Ohio, they utilize this tool. So thank you and I urge support. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Dubitsky of the 47th District.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, many, many businesses have left my district and have left this state. Thousands and thousands of people are leaving this state every year. Now I've spoken to quite a few people who have packed up and left, and businesses. Not a single one of them have told me that they're leaving this state because of a lack of a hotline, where they can call to get information. What they've been telling me is they're leaving because our taxes are too high! Our regulations are too onerous. This legislation -- this Legislature doesn't have its act together with regard to the budget! That they don't know what kind of money the towns are gonna get in any given year. They don't know what our regulations are gonna be. They don't know what are our minimum wage is gonna be. They don't know what it takes to hire an employee in this state. That's why they're leaving! They're leaving because we are up here debating bills that have nothing to do with them maintaining their businesses.

I talked to business owners recently that say, "How come you guys aren't up there debating the budget? What's going on with the budget?" And I have to explain to them why we're up here debating bills like this! And they tell me that this is not gonna help their business. Now I don't think this is necessarily a bad concept to have one place where any business can call up and find out exactly what they need to do with regard to their business. But how is that gonna happen with no money? How is that gonna be done with available appropriations?

It would make a lot more sense to compel every agency and every department in this state that has -- that administers regulations to put money into a hotline, take money from them and fund this hotline. Therefore, it actually has some teeth to it. So when a business calls, the person on the other end of the line actually knows what they're talking about. I just don't see that happening with available appropriations. That was my only comment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rovero of the 51st District.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My red button works very well. (Laughter)

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Sir, it looks like we may have a difficulty.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

It's on now.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You're on now? Okay.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

Can you hear me now? Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know what, I got the wrong speaker. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. (Laughter) I listen to so many negative comments that should've been positive, that I got a little mixed up here.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir.

REP. ROVERO (51ST): I just have a comment for Representative Simmons. As a very positive, small business owner, I can't thank you enough for bringing up this bill. Any help you can give a small business owner to thrive and create much needed jobs in Connecticut, I want to say thank you very much and let's get on with business and vote this in the positive. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you very much for your positive comments, sir. Representative Hoydick of the 120th District.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you. Good afternoon, madam.

REP HOYDICK (120TH):

Good afternoon, sir. A few questions to the lovely Representative from Stamford.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I understand the intent of the bill and as Chamber of Commerce director, I do support it as the support was issued between CBIA and FIB. However, I would like to ask the proponent if there was any local sourcing done to possibly serve the role of answering questions first rather than going directly through DECD.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for that excellent question, Representative. And yes, we actually did hear from business owners that they find it helpful that they're able to call their local chamber of commerce or call their local business organization. But, we also heard from them that when they want access to new state programs, for example, bills that we've recently passed or regulations or programs that might affect them, they would find it helpful to have that central state phone number, but certainly they did mention that local business organizations answering their questions was helpful as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

And I thank the lovely lady for that answer. I wonder if through the process of establishing this, through available appropriations, which is of a concern to all of us, because obviously our budget situation is perilous. If we would be able to work through local chambers, SCORE, as Representative Cheeseman said, Woman's Development Council, and other organizations such as that, small business organizations, if we could really just direct the hotline to -- regionally to those -- to the regionals response of those businesses? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And again, I think that's an excellent suggestion and something that the individuals live staffing this line should be made aware of. They should have contact information for all of those local resources as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Chairwoman of Commerce. I will tell you, just as a chamber executive and a State Representative, what the normal calls are. So, someone will call and they'll ask questions, and because I have the resource, I can go through DECD directly through a liaison, or I can direct them to SCORE, especially determining the services that they need. I'll also tell you, as a chamber director, membership -- as a membership organization, membership is important to me. So if someone calls me who is not a member, it also gives me an opportunity to talk them into the benefits of being a chamber member. So I think if we work collaboratively with Metro Alliance and our chambers and SCORE, and Business Development Councils, I think we might be able to benefit each other, have very little, preferably no impact on the budget, and we'd achieve our goals. So I thank the gentle woman for her answers and I think you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Fishbein of the 90th.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for another bite of the apple. I just had another couple questions for the proponent. Just focusing -- through you, Mr. Speaker, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, sir. Just focusing on the business formation portion, understanding that that's pretty constant, why not just come up with a series of flowcharts and just post them on DECD's website instead of having to employ someone to man a telephone line?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Representative for that question. And actually, through the new Secretary of State's online startup portal, they do have a similar type of flowchart that you're referencing. And so certainly the individuals staffing this line could direct the person to that startup information. But the individual would also have information on a wide range of state programs, for example, bills we've recently passed, like the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program or the Entrepreneurial Learner's Program. So the individual would have knowledge of a wider range of programs.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I guess all of those things could be set up through a flowchart also, which we are familiar dealing with in our daily lives. You know, are you an LLC? How many employees do you have? You know, click yes, click no, and you end up with all these programs. I don't understand why we're not doing something like that, instead of employing another person, advertising this thing. I just don't think it's the right way. So, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Reyes of the 75th District, Waterbury.

REP. REYES (75TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of this bill. I also served with the good Chairwoman Caroline, on this bill and we had heavy, heavy conversations about this. And in my estimation, the idea here is to make Connecticut business friendly and to be easier to do business with. And to try to get people on the phone or even if it's an in-person visit, to get a one-stop shopping where we can get a lot of these frustrated folks that will usually walk away confused or not have the answers they need. I'd rather have people go to an expert or an expert panel and have the process explained. And having served in a municipality, where I dealt with these questions on a weekly basis, I can assure that there are plenty of folks that could use this service. Thank you, Mr. Chair. And it's a great bill. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Belsito of the 53rd District.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the second time. I have a question for the proponent again.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. How in the world does the Department of Economic and Community Development in our state not answer their phone and send every phone message to a messaging machine?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that question, Representative. And that is what we're trying to get at in this bill, is to establish this small business hotline so that it will be live staffed so that business owners can get answers to questions they have.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, Mr. Speaker. I am a small business owner. We answer every single phone call that we can. We don't hang up on people. We don't put them on an answering machine. This is the Department of Economic and Community Development, and these people don't answer phones? Then what good are they? And why would we have to write a law to tell them - you have to answer your phone. We are the people of Connecticut! They're calling this department that we're paying. And I can imagine how much these people in that department are making. They're probably making $ 150,000 to $ 180,000 dollars a year. They cannot even pick up the phone. And we are gonna write a law for this? This is beyond belief.

And just as Representative Dubitsky said, we should be talking about the budget. Now they're gonna -- if they aren't answering the phone now, in this department, when are they gonna learn to answer the phone? We have got the wrong people working there. How can they possibly help people who are asking questions by not answering the phone? And if they haven't answered it up to this time, when are they gonna get educated? Are they going back to UConn next year to get educated or in a couple of months? This is beyond belief. This bill should be voted down 100 percent. There is not one good thing about it, except maybe we get rid of all the people working in this department and hire people who are really interested in helping the people of the citizens of Connecticut. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Yaccarino for the second time, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you for your indulgence, Mr. Speaker. I'd just like to ask the good Chairwoman of Commerce to clarify to this Chamber what this simple bill does in simplicity and how we're going to approach the business community that we, as legislators, say we listen but do we really listen? So they came to us and they came to our good Chair, and this is some of their suggestions. So through you, Mr. Speaker. Could you clarify some this legislation -- simple legislation and proactive business legislation? Mr. Chair.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Representative for that question. So the simple purpose of this bill is to establish a live staffed hotline so that business owners that have questions or need answers, are looking for state incentives or resources or site selections for their businesses can have one central number to call. And again, to your point, and I want to thank the Ranking Member for this support for this bill as well. We heard from business owners about the need for this. We heard testimony from CBIA, which represents over 10,000 businesses, about why this would be helpful. It's not gonna solve all of our problems, but I think it's one helpful resource to support business owners in our state.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Chair. And thank you for those answers. And as a public -- when we heard public testimony, so many business owners, they're not sure. I know when I opened my business 26 years ago, I was fortunate that I understood how to approach opening a business. But a lot of people don't understand and a lot of people have a budget -- or many people have a budget specifically on opening up -- with their property, their product. But the legalities, or the aesthetics of it, they need help. And it's something small, but something small sometimes can be very large also. And you don't want to let perfect be the enemy of good and I think it's a decent start and it puts the pressure on DECD. They have to come to the table more. With the portal from the Secretary of State's Office, the communication and telecommunication, we could coordinate all this together. But the fact is, we listened to folks; that's our job, and we're being proactive. Thank you. I urge support again. Thanks to the good Chair, and thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Mr. Speaker, I've been listening to this debate, which is going on for almost about 40 minutes, give or take. And I'm listening to several people saying, what is the need for us to pass a bill when people are supposed to do what they're hired to do to begin with? So I'm a little bit perplexed as to what is it that we are trying to accomplish here, in spite of the fact that we have talked on this bill for a good half and hour plus. So through you Mr. Speaker, just a few questions to the proponent of the bill as amended.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. So we have a system now and you feel the system that we have A) is inadequate, does not work at all, and that is why the need to create such a business hotline.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for the question, Representative. And I would say that there's always room for improvement and that we often hear from business owners that they want the state to be more customer-service friendly and to provide more information and access to state resources. For example, I was at a small business forum two days ago and a number of business owners in the room were asking where they could go to get information about the Small Business Express Program, the Angel Investor Program. And instead of sending them to ten different websites, if we had this central line, it would be helpful for them to get their questions answered in an efficient way so that they could focus on growing their business and creating jobs.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So this hotline that we're creating, which is the fulcrum, the center, where businesses, small and large, could direct their questions, (A, and get an answer, (B. So would these people that are going to be on the hotline, qualified enough, knowledgeable enough, that they can answer all this wide range of questions a business may have? Or would they just be triaging them and sending them to different places to answer the questions?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for that question, Representative. Yes, in our discussions with DECD and CERC, they've confirmed that the individuals that would be staffing this line would have a broad range of knowledge of state programs available to businesses, whether they're looking for technical or financial assistance, workforce talent, or networking assistance in our state.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker. As I see this, I see a hotline of people who are knowledgeable on the subject matter. I mean, nobody can know everything. I get that. I get that. Obviously, we don't expect that, but most of the questions, the routine questions, would be something that can be answered by somebody live and obviously, if they cannot be, they would be directed or probably the answer will be given to them in a day or two after due research.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to focus on line nine of the amendment, which talks about this hotline being within available appropriations. Is that correct, Mr. Speaker, that this hotline will function within the available appropriations of the Department?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. DECD and CERC have confirmed they will be able to staff this within available appropriations, given our fiscal climate.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So that to me --

(Gavel)

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

If the House can tone down so the speakers can hear one another, or if you can take your conversation outside the gallery, we would appreciate it. Thank you. You can proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. So through you, Mr. Speaker. Since it is within available appropriations, what happens then, as we all know, we're well aware of where we are in the budget, or maybe we don't know where we are in the budget, and what's gonna happen to us as we move along. Through you, Mr. Speaker, if we create this hotline and we don't have funding?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that question, Representative. And certainly, if the fiscal situation would change, we could reassess the effectiveness of this hotline and DECD is required to produce a report to the Legislature by 2019 on the effectiveness of this hotline. And so we could certainly reassess the importance of it at that time.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Maybe I'm not understanding the answer clearly. My question is not on 2019, where we are expecting a report, and then we will decide, moving forward, are we gonna be continuing funding this hotline. I get that. But my concern is between now, where we are in 2017 and 2019, if suddenly we find we are in such a huge hole that we cannot fund this hotline, what will then happen to the hotline?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for clarifying that, Representative. My understanding, based on our discussions, is that between now and 2019; they will be able to staff this hotline within available appropriations.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That's where I have this confusion where -- are we saying that between now and 2019, until we get the report; we will have a hotline if this goes through and gets signed into law? Obviously, all of those assumptions being made, or even that will depend whether the Department has funding for this particular component which is the hotline?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly programs always depend on the amount of funding, but given we have added in the legislation that DECD is able to partner with a nonprofit corporation like CERC, they've confirmed with us that they do believe they will be able to staff this. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker, one final question on the subject. If, moving forward, unfortunately those funds are – withdrawn or not there, would we then have any system at all of support to our small businesses? Will we have the fallback of what we already have? Or we would be left in a vacuum?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That would be up to the discretion of the commissioner, given the budget scenario and given the wide range of programs they provide. But we anticipate that they will still be able to staff this.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I want to thank the good Representative for her answers. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, dear sir. Representative Perone of the 137th District, a great city.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. You're looking very good up there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Mr. Speaker, through you, I have a question to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Thank you. So with this -- could you just take me through what would happen when somebody calls into the system?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thanks to the good Representative for the question. So the individual would call the hotline and let's say the business owner is looking for information about how to start up their business or they're looking for tax incentives or financial assistance from the state. They would be able to ask that question and the trained individual on the other line would be able to provide that information.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perone.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that. So, are the calls then coded and categorized by specific types? Say, somebody wants to know more about Angel Investor tax credits, somebody wants to know about how to start a small business through Small Business Express and that kind of thing. Is that information then collated? Thank you.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. Actually DECD is required to produce a report to the Legislature of how many calls they're receiving and divided by category, what types of questions they're getting. So presumably, yes, they would be categorizing this for the purposes of that report.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perone.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Thank you for that. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Then, so to be -- then the DECD would then be able to take that information moving forward and then analyze and get a better understanding of where the interest and really the need is based on those calls and where they may be able to make improvements or fund more, increase funding, or change attributes of different programs based on the number and call volume? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, that's exactly right, Representative. And this data will also be helpful for us as legislators to review and get a better understanding of what concerns and questions are out there and how we can better serve business growth in our state.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perone.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. So through you, currently, is any of what I've just asked possible now through the current sort of passive system that we have?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Currently, there is not a live staffed line; however, individuals can still get information by going to our state agency websites or through the automated line. But we feel that this live staffed line is necessary in order to help business owners get that information in a more quick and efficient way.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Perone.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I agree 100 percent. The good bill ought to pass. Thank you very much for all your hard work.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Vail of the 52nd District. Good afternoon, sir.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. It's good to see you up there. If I may, a few questions for the proponent of the bill?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

So the goal of the bill is to establish a hotline for small businesses. How will we advertise that? How are they gonna know that this exists? Because I think the goal is that they call the hotline to find out about all the different programs, but how are they gonna be made aware that this hotline exists?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for that question, Representative. So DECD and CERC, in partnership, would presumably be advertising this hotline via their websites and via their current marketing efforts. And I think it's important that all of us get the word out to our districts about this hotline, and if you're at forums or chambers of commerce events with business owners and they have questions, you can direct them to this line as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Vail.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

So the advertising that -- through you, Mr. Speaker. The advertising that's gonna be done is gonna be done within their current budgets? Or is there gonna be an increase to their budgets through more advertising?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, it will be done through their current budget within available appropriations.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Vail.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you. 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 take -- please come to the well of the House. Will the members please take your seats? The machine will be opened. (Bell)

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 MORRIS (140TH):

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 the 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 5584, as amended by House “A”,

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 141

Those voting Nay 8

Those absent and not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The bill as amended is passed. (Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Terrie Wood of the 141st. For what purpose do you rise, madam?

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in a point of introduction.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you. Today, as many of you know, was celebrating Women's Business Development Council and Women's Business Day in the Capitol, and I have three volunteers with WBDC, and I'd like to introduce them. First is Robyn Davis, who is a legal consultant with WBDC, and then Anne De Francisco, who is a business analyst law. Did I get that right? And then Carol Cheswick, who also is a business consultant and a longtime friend and constituent. So I wish the Chamber would give them a warm welcome. Thank you. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam, and welcome to the Chamber. Representative Frey of the 111th, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. FREY (111TH): For an introduction, please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. FREY (111TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So Mr. Speaker, May 3rd might just as be well known as Bennett Day at the Capitol. Bennett's been coming -- this is the eleventh birthday. He's been coming every year since his first; my nephew, Bennett, from Newtown, and his sisters, Bennett -- Bennet's sisters, Joanie and Bridgett, and their folks, my sister Tricia, and husband, Steve. So if the Chamber would give a warm welcome and a Happy Birthday to Bennett. Stand up. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. And welcome. Representative France of the 42nd, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

For an introduction, sir -- Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With me today is my daughter, Marguerite, who is visiting from North Carolina, and with her is her fiancÚ, Hunter, and the news is on April 6th, Hunter asked Marguerite to marry her -- marry him, and they are being married on August 12th. So we'd appreciate if the Chamber could warmly welcome and welcome them to -- wish them well in their marriage. Thank you. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. And a hearty welcome. Representative McCarty, for what purpose do you rise, madam?

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate it. I have wanted a purpose of introduction, but my guests are on their way up. So if I may delay, I would appreciate it, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Are they on their way, madam?

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

They're on their way up from downstairs, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease briefly.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

To the good lady of the 38th, we can come back to that introduction. Thank you. We'll return to the Call of the Calendar. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 345?

CLERK:

On page 32, Calendar 345, substitute House Bill No. 7063 - AN ACT CONCERNING INFORMATION INCLUDED IN THE NOTICE OF INTENDED ACTION FOR PROPOSED REGULATIONS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Government Administration and Elections.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The bill we have before us today is a pro-business bill aiming to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses in our state by making it easier to navigate and understand regulations and how to comply with them. It passed unanimously out of the Commerce Committee, and I want to thank my Ranking Member, as well as my Vice Chair and Commerce leadership for their support for this bill. I know there's gonna be a friendly amendment that my Ranking Member will call and I urge my colleagues to support this.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Yaccarino of the 87th.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think I -- if it's not too early for a scotch after the last debate, I think I could use one, (laughter) but without that, I'm gonna call -- Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment. It is LCO 6646. Would the Clerk please ask to call it and I be allowed to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6646, which will be designated House amendment schedule "A"?

CLERK:

House amendment schedule "A", LCO No. 6646, offered by Representative Klarides, Representative Candelora, Representative Ziobron, and Representative O'Dea.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's AN ACT CONCERNING INFORMATION INCLUDED IN THE NOTICE OF INTENDED ACTION FOR PROPOSED REGULATIONS. What the intent is, a state agency may suspend civil penalty from minor -- for a violation. That's the intent of the bill, unless there's willful negligence or bodily injury. It's a very pro-business bill. It clarifies regulations and I urge support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Do you move adoption, sir?

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House amendment schedule "A". Will you remark on the amendment? Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the amendment before us? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

All those oppose, nay. The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Yaccarino? 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. (Bell)

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 MORRIS (140TH):

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 7063, as amended by House “A”,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 138

Those voting Nay 10

Those absent and not Voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The bill as amended is passed. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 82?

CLERK: On page 50, Calendar No. 82, substitute House Bill No. 6741 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE RIGHT OF COUNSEL TO ACCESS RECORDS IN CERTAIN ABUSE AND NEGLECT PROCEEDINGS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this bill involves access to records for a child who has been a victim of maltreatment or abuse, and access to those child's medical, educational, law enforcement and other records that might not already be at DCF or in the court file. That would be without parental consent when the child's parent is the accused. We have found examples of where access to those records has been delayed and that is a negative impact on outcomes for the child. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has in their possession an amendment, LCO 6561. I ask that he call it and I be allowed to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6561, which will be designated House amendment schedule "A"?

CLERK:

House amendment schedule "A", LCO No. 6561, offered by Representative Urban, Representative Luxenberg, and Representative Zupkus.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in looking at the bill, it became very clear that we needed to narrow who those records could be released to. So this amendment narrows release of the records to the child's counsel, as opposed to anyone who had petitions. It also makes the release automatic. I urge adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House amendment schedule "A". Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Zupkus of the 89th.

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just rise to encourage my colleagues to support this. This is a really good amendment. Our kids are our most prized possession and we want to make sure that they stay healthy, and I encourage everyone to support it. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Dubitsky of the 47th.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise only because I was not able to fully hear the Representative who is the proponent of this bill. I was not able to hear the summary of this amendment. So if I may just ask, through you, Mr. Speaker, for a little explanation as to what this amendment does, I would appreciate it. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Certainly, Mr. Speaker, and I'm sorry that he couldn't hear me. (Gavel) This amendment narrows the release of the records. Initially, the records could be released to anyone who petitioned, but it now narrows the release to only the counsel for the child.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that explanation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the amendment before us? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

All those oppose, nay. The ayes have it and the amendment is adopted. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? If not, will guests -- 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. (Bell)

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 MORRIS (140TH):

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 the 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 6741, as amended by House “A”,

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 143

Those voting Nay 6

Those absent and not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The bill as amended is passed. (Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative McCarty of the 38th, for what purpose do you rise, madam?

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For a point of introduction, please?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my great delight today to introduce first and second graders from the Quaker Hills School in Waterford, Connecticut. These children entered a Connecticut Tech Expo contest and were chosen here today and have shown us how they work within their classroom with coding and robotics. And I can tell you, they can certainly teach us a lot. These children are amazing. I've seen then at our board of education meeting and they actually -- you want to hold up your robots -- that they've programmed and actually move around in the classroom. And they're accompanied here. I'll read you the student's names - Jordan Emerich, Casey Jademic, Jeffrey Doyle, and Matt Vincent, and they're accompanied by their wonderful teachers - Whitney Wadeckiy and Robyn McKenney. Unfortunately, our Superintendent of Schools, Tom Giard, and the Principal, Chris Discordia, had to leave. But I'm delighted to have these students here and their teachers, and I'm so proud of the school district in Quaker Hill. And I thank their parents also for coming up today, and especially to you, Mr. Speaker, for this extra privilege. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam. Welcome to our Chamber. If we can give these children a great State of Connecticut House of Representatives welcome. (Applause) Thank you. And returning to the Call of the Calendar. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 411?

CLERK:

On page 40, Calendar 411, House Bill No. 7262 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CONNECTICUT SENTENCING COMMISSION WITH RESPECT OT VICTIM NOTIFICATION. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon, Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was in your hometown last night for my birthday dinner.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You must have had a great time!

REP. TONG (147TH):

We did. Mr. Speaker, this bill comes before us again. It was passed unanimously out of this House last year and contains the recommendations of the Sentencing Commission with respect to victim notification. What it provides, essentially, is that on a sentence of more than two years that the victim shall be notified by the State's Attorney of key details about the sentence that is part of a plea deal. The details that have to be provided are the maximum period of imprisonment that may apply to the defendant, whether the defendant may be eligible to have their sentence reduced, and whether the defendant may be eligible to apply for release on parole. This reflects an agreement between all of the stakeholders in the criminal justice system. It passed out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously again this year, and it has broad support, not just in the Committee, but in the criminal justice community, and I urge support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will you remark further on this bill? The distinguished Ranking Member of the Judiciary, Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon, madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the legislation that's before us and I certainly want to thank all of the stakeholders for coming together and acknowledging that victims should be notified appropriately of the information regarding the perpetrator's sentencing. And just for clarification purposes, through you, Mr. Speaker, a few questions.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Just to clarify, there is no fiscal impact as a result of this legislation. Is that correct?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And through you, just for legislative intent, certainly the information regarding any type of plea agreement, it indicates that it does have to be in writing and requested by the victim. I just want to make clear that many times victims are participants in what's taking place. But they may not know to specifically ask - I want to be provided with the information regarding the plea agreement. So again, just for legislative intent, if you have a victim who makes a general statement that they want to be fully informed of everything that's taking place in the case and that they have provided their information, contact information, to receive information regarding a case, that that in fact would be sufficient for a request for information regarding any plea agreement?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you. That is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And for all of the -- those reasons specifically, and again highlighting and providing additional information to victims, I do rise in support and ask that my colleagues do the same.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam. 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. (Bell)

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 MORRIS (140TH):

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 7262,

Total number Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 74

Those voting Yea 147

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 4

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 244?

CLERK:

On page 20, Calendar 244, substitute House Bill No. 7128 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE LEGISLATIVE COMMISSIONER'S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TECHNICAL REVISIONS TO THE HIGHER EDUCATION STATUTES. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Haddad.

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 MORRIS (140TH):

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, sir.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a technical revision bill. It replaces the obsolete references to the president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education and replaces it with this correct title and also makes various technical and grammatical changes. I urge adoption. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will you remark further on this bill? Representative Staneski of the 119th.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. How are you?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon, madam. So good to see you.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

So good to see you, sir. I urge my colleagues to pass this quickly because it truly is just a period adjustment, as the good Representative said. So, thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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. (Bell)

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 MORRIS (140TH):

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 7128,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 148

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Linehan, for what purpose do you rise, madam?

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Hello, Mr. Speaker. I rise for the purpose of an introduction. Thank you very much. I'd like to say hello --

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, madam.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you. I'd like to say hello to our fine folks from the Independent Day School of Wallingford. We have a group of third graders here. Can you guys give a wave? Hi! We're so happy to have you here. We're thrilled to see third graders here with the -- in the Capitol, watching the legislative process in action, and we thank you very much for coming, and I'm joined here with Representative Mushinsky and Representative Fishbein as well, to say thank you very much. If we can give them a nice round of applause, that would be wonderful. (Applause) Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you. Return to the Call of the Calendar. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 101?

CLERK:

On page 6, Calendar 101, House Bill No. 7176 - AN ACT CREATING A MILITARY RECRUITMENT RIBBON. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Hennessy.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is a National Guard Association bill. What it does is creates an incentive to get National Guard personnel to help with recruitment. After three good leads, they receive a ribbon, and subsequent leads, they can receive oak clusters on it. It's a good bill that ought to pass. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will you remark further on this bill? Representative Ferraro of the 117th. Good afternoon, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

I also rise in support of this bill. It just makes good sense to incentivize our National Guard to help entice others to join in the service of our country and I think recognizing them for their ability to assist in the recruitment is just good policy. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Ohler of the 64th.

REP. OHLER (64th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you, I rise with a few questions to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. OHLER (64th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, sir. So this recruitment ribbon, I know as a former member of the Connecticut Army National Guard, a proud member, after serving 12 years, there has been some highs and some lows as far as recruitment overall. There have been a number of incentives. But I would -- just if the proponent of bill, through you, Mr. Speaker, could explain what the ribbon would entail? How do you achieve getting that ribbon?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Hennessy.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this ribbon creates an incentive for National Guard members to find friends and family that might be interested in joining the National Guard, and if there are three good candidates in which they complete their basic training and advanced training, they'll receive recognition for it, which would mean a lot to a recruit. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Ohler.

REP. OHLER (64th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and if I could just comment. Certainly, through my time in the National Guard, I was fortunate enough to recruit a number of my friends and family. And the National Guard is an amazing option for people who want to serve but still remain home in their -- remain here in their state to serve in other capacities. It was a great fit. So I think any chance that we can have to incentivize recruitment overall. If it rewards our preexisting service members, I certainly will also support that and I urge my colleagues to support this as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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. (Bell)

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 MORRIS (140TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will the members please check the board to determine whether 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 7176,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 148

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Will the Clerk -- Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Linehan, for what purpose do you rise, madam?

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. I rise for yet another introduction. It's a real bang up day here at the Capitol for members of the 103rd District. I'd like to introduce Victoria and Lucas that go to Highland School in Cheshire. They are part of the Smart Start STEM Program in partnership with Cheshire Public Schools. And my daughter, Zoey, actually partakes with them. She was in the robotics program. She'll be doing that again next year. Cheshire Public Schools is committed to STEM education and I back them 100 percent, and I'm so proud to have them here today. And we saw some wonderful piece of robotics that they put together, one of which bit my hand. Didn't it, Victoria? It did. But -- and I'm joined by Representative Fishbein and I know Representative Zupkus would like to be here if possible. But we just wanted to say welcome to the Capitol. Keep up the great work and we're thrilled to have them enjoying their STEM education. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam. And welcome to the Chamber. We'll return to the Call of the Calendar. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 408?

CLERK:

On page 40, Calendar 408, House Bill No. 7250 - AN ACT CONCERNING DESECRATION OF AN ABANDONED CEMETERY. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the bill before us is actually a fairly simple one which extends our current statute involving the crime of desecrating a cemetery to include abandoned cemeteries, which have a separate definition under our statutes. If this bill were to become law, what it would basically do is treat someone -- treat the crime of desecrating an abandoned cemetery in the same manner as the crime of desecrating a currently used cemetery. It comes to us from the good Representative from Greenwich, and I urge support for the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will you remark further on this bill? Representative Rebimbas of the 70th.

REP REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the legislation before us. I think that this was certainly an oversight, because it was a separate statute, because clearly the intent, when we were talking about cemeteries, would be all types of cemeteries, including the abandoned ones. But I am happy that the good Chairman gave the Vice Chairman a very lively bill to address here in the House Chamber. So I do rise in support of the legislation that's before us.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Bocchino of the 150th District.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much for bringing this bill to the Chair. We've actually had some issues with abandoned cemeteries, where we've had developers encroach upon those cemeteries, one of which was a cemetery of some of the settlers -- first settlers of the Town of Greenwich that was designated towards the front, but there was an abandoned area in the back that they encroached -- was encroached upon, and it was actually a cemetery of the slave individuals of the Town of Greenwich, in that area, and it was later on designated. So this is something that we're hopeful it will help the rest of the State of Connecticut. I urge adoption and I urge my colleagues to vote for it. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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? The machine will be opened. (Bell)

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 MORRIS (140TH):

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 7250,

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 149

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The bill is passed. (Gavel) The House will stand at ease.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

We'll return to the Call of the Calendar. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 210?

CLERK:

On page 17, Calendar No. 210, favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health. Substitute House Bill No. 5764 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE LICENSING OF BARBERS AND HAIRDRESSERS.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This bill came about because we started hearing from people that there was yet another impediment to getting a license as a barber. It turns out also for a hairdresser. To be licensed as a barber or a hairdresser, you have to have a clean police record in this state and every state. I don't see any connection between the profession and the record. Neither do many other folks, including the attorneys who point out that they don't have that restriction on their license. I'm not sure that it's on mine. But the bill is very simple. It's to remove the restriction that requires the person to say I have a felony conviction and then allows the board to say either no or to say okay, you'll have a provisional license, not a real one. I think it's an important bill that's important for these times and for allowing people to be able to find employment when it's tough. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That's it.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on this bill? Representative Srinivasan of the 31st District.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REO, SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. The purpose of this bill or the intent is that if a person has served their time and then is going out into the workforce and in the process, obviously, of filling up an application for a hairdresser, their criminal record, they do not need to check a box saying that they do or did not have a criminal record.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. That's close, but not exactly the case. We've already taken care of the box. This is about the Department of Public Health's ability to say, based on the fact that you have a conviction and absolutely nothing else, we are going to refuse you a license to practice or we're only going to give you a provisional license to practice. Last year, I believe, we were good enough to remove the -- to ban the box on job applications asking about arrest records. This is another step in the direction we started marching then. It's a good one and I hope people will vote for it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. When a person's applying for their license through the Department, the Department will not ask, if this bill were to move forward, as to whether that person has or has not had a criminal record?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

This will make sure that they aren't denied a license as a barber, hairdresser or cosmetician even if the Department is aware of a criminal record. Thank you.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I did not get the answer. If the good gentleman could repeat it one more time?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

If we could lower our voices in the Chamber so that the two gentlemen can hear one another, it would be appreciated. Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll try to be clearer. I believe the answer is yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

If the ladies and gentlemen could be a little quieter on the side so they can hear each other, it would be appreciated, again. Thank you. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So the Department, in issuing the license cannot ask or cannot require that they be informed that this person, he or she, has a criminal record?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. We presently, by law, require the Department of Public Health to consider whether or not somebody has a felony record when they're granting certain licenses, including barber, hairdresser and cosmetology. This will remove the language that directs the Department of Public Health to look into that and to make a decision, and to be entitled to deny people a license or to give only a provisional license because of their record. We presently direct them to do it. Now we will no longer be directing them to do it. It will remove that as a requirement, it is true. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Now, DPH - the Department of Public Health, can look at an application, look at -- as we speak, as we speak right now, can look at an application, look whether the person has a record or does not have a record and then decide to grant him or her the licensure. That's what I understand. But if this bill were to move forward, the Department will not even be aware because they will not know as to whether this person has such as record before issuing their -- the license?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Yes, barbers, cosmeticians and hairdressers will be treated like professional -- like professions that are already recognized and do not require a life -- do not require that kind of background check. In recent news, one might be aware, it's come out that in spite of one's record, you can maintain or become an attorney in the State of Connecticut. There are many things that many people are able to do. This is a restriction that makes no sense to those of us who are trying to get it repealed. Thank you very much.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Does it make a difference whether the time served was a felony, the type of felony, or was it a misdemeanor? Does the category of the crime, the severity of the crime, have any role at all? Or it does not matter, as long as the time has been served?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The law as it stands now requires the offense to be a felony in the State of Connecticut or an offense in another state that would be a felony in the State of Connecticut had it been a conviction here.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. If other professions -- does the good Representative know of any other profession in front of DPH where they have this exemption where it is not required to let DPH know of the felony charge?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am unaware of all the professions that DPH is tasked to regulate. I am unaware of which ones might be -- might not be bound by this rule that we are trying to do undo for barbers and hairdressers. Should I find some in the future where it makes no sense, it'll be time to come back and talk about making that right too.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. The good Chairman, or the good Representative, is not aware of any other licensure, as we speak, that will require other than the hairdresser at this point and time to inform DPH as to whether they did or did not have a felony charge?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thought the first time I was being asked was whether anybody -- I was aware if anybody had an exemption from this rule that we're trying to exempt barbers and all from today. Now I believe I'm being -- if it's correct, I believe I'm being asked if I'm aware of any other professions that are required to do the reporting of felony convictions. Am I correct in that understanding, Mr. Speaker, through you?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. My question was, so that I'm also clear that we are all on the same page, is the good Representative aware of any other profession, who is applying for licensure through DPH, that do not have to inform -- it is not required of DPH to ask if they did or did not have a felony charge?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The answer is no, I'm not aware.

Through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. The no meaning that no such profession exists, or is that the good Representative is not aware if there is any such profession that DPH licenses that will need them to inform of a criminal record? So what is this no about?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That's why I was so lengthy in my previous answer, understanding that simply a no would be confusing. The list of professions that are regulated and licensed by the Department of Public Health is long and varied. And I wouldn't bet that I could name all the professions. I certainly cannot name if there are others that are exempted by this bill. We aren't trying to change it for anybody else. We are talking about barbers and hairdressers and cosmetologists. That's it. Everybody else that the Department of Public Health licenses is not being considered under this bill. So I'm sorry if my answers about things that are not under this bill are not perfectly clear. But this bill, to clear up any confusion, is only for barbers, hairdressers, cosmetologists or is cosmeticians. I'll find out for the next time. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the good Representative for the answer. I do understand very clearly the bill in front of us is addressing the licensure and the felony -- if there's a history of a felony for the hairdresser and the cosmetologist. I get that. We are not discussing the licensure of everybody whom -- who is -- you know, DPH has a responsibility to issue licenses. I get that. No question about that at all. We are talking about hairdressers. We are talking about cosmetologists in this bill. But my question is, the reason for inquiring about the others, is not because of the fact that they are in this bill. They're definitely not in this bill. We all get that.

But the question is, are we creating carve outs, where some professions DPH can issue a license, not having to look at the criminal record and are the other professions that DPH to issue their licensure, to issue their license, we will say you need to declare or inform us of your criminal record. So the carve outs is what I'm looking at, knowing very well that in this bill we're addressing only hairdressers and cosmetologists. So through you, Mr. Speaker, is there a carve out only for them, though there are others that may have to declare what the criminal record has been.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. On checking the previous legislation, we haven't had a carve out like this in the past. A couple of groups have had the entire oversight of the Department of Public Health taken away. If you look through the list of what they do, you'll see a couple of spots where number 7 and 11, those groups were repealed by different public acts. So, no. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. My final question is that is the good Representative aware whether other states have for their licensure needs, do not have to bring out the information prior to getting their license to their Department of Public Health, whether they did or did not have a criminal record?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am unaware of this -- I have no reason to believe this is a unanimous requirement in every state, based on the testimony that we heard during the public hearings in the Public Health Committee. People were very clear also that this is something that is being looked at in other jurisdictions, as we look at how did we end up being a society with so many folks in prisons and what the consequences will be. We've come to this point with these folks now. In Connecticut, we're saying it's time to no longer do this. Whether we're the only state or the last state, we're saying it's time to not make this a hurdle for people to get their license to be a barber, a cosmetician, or a hairdresser.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

You know, we are well aware that it is important that when we look at anybody who's incarcerated and then make the necessary changes in their lives so that when they do come out, they are gainfully employed, though where -- we know the importance of that. And I think it has been shown statistically over and over again that when somebody is gainfully employed, that the person -- the chances of them going back to where they came from are significantly reduced, which is obviously the goal and the intent of all of us here in the Chamber.

And for us to be able to grant them to get back to work or giving them opportunity to get to work if such a work exists, which I'm told there is a significant need for this form of work and this is what they're trained for when they're incarcerated. So we have a job. An opportunity is there for them when they come out, which is actually a good thing, a wonderful thing. No question about that at all. And obviously all of us will be in strong support of trying to get these people incarcerated, when they come out, to get into mainstream as soon as possible and for as long as possible so that they don't return back where they originally came from.

But my only concern about this is that in not -- the licensure is what we're looking at. And in giving a license to a person, what I would've felt would have been a better way is to direct DPH and say that if the person has served their sentence and you're aware of the fact that the person has served that sentence, there's nothing to prevent them from getting the licensure. They're two different things in my opinion. DPH should not be saying -- the Department should not be saying that just because you have a felony charge, you have one or maybe even more than one, that will not allow you to get a license from us.

That is what I think should have been the right way for us to go, where the Department is aware that such a thing is there in the past. Their track record is there, like it is. You know, we all know professionals slip. Professionals get into unfortunate kind of habits for which they need to be monitored. They need to be monitored more closely. It does not necessarily mean that their licensure is gonna be revoked.

But when we are dealing with the public, when we are dealing with these people going out and delivering a service, all that this board is required, which I feel would have been a better way than moving in this direction, is for DPH to say, yes, I am aware of this. I still will grant you your licensure, like in the other professions, but you are going to be under our radar. We're gonna be monitoring you a little more closely because, obviously, you have a record and you are out there in the public and you're delivering some kind of a service, whatever that service is.

So that's where the discussion is. The discussion is not whether they should be allowed to get back to the workforce, whether they should be given their opportunity, whether they should be given a second chance. That's not what the discussion is about. The discussion is, in the process of getting a licensure, just like they go through a whole track record of where have you been; what have you not done; is there a gap in the licensure. And that happens to all professions, including my own in the medical profession. When we apply for a licensure and there's a gap in your services, they have every right to ask us what happened to you between your fellowship and your applying for licensure here? There's a three-year gap here. There's a two-year gap here. So you just want to monitor and make sure nothing happened in those years.

So my concern about this bill is not about employment. My concern is not about getting them their licensure. I think they should. I think they should. We should make every effort as a society to make these people who have made a mistake and not have to pay for their mistake for the rest of their lives. No. They've served their time. They've come out of what they've served. That's what the process is all about. But at the same token, having served the time, for the Department to be aware that this is the history; this is what the pattern of this person. Should we be monitoring that person a little more closely and give them the license?

I'm not at all saying, by any stretch of the imagination, not to give them the license. They should. They should be given a chance. They should be given that second chance. I'm all for that. But at the same token, I feel that they should be supervised, "monitored" a little bit more, given the fact they've had this track record. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Skulczyck of the 45th.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Speaker. And I rise for some questions.

Through you, Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the proponent of the bill, I ask a couple of questions. First, I'd like to say is, as my colleague has asked several times, clearly someone exiting out of prison today could apply for the license, presently on the application, check off that box - felony record, but certainly, at the end of the day, that person could be approved or not approved through the present process.

Through you, Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Through the present process, they could be given a conditional license with restrictions or requirements, decided on and imposed by the Department of Public Health. The Department is not required to give them a provisional license -- a conditional license. Nobody has the right to it. You can get -- you can have the -- however you may get it, there has been no history of trouble with people who have felony histories and having conditional licenses. There weren't people coming in and saying the professional organizations and the Department did not object to this.

The trouble is that people know it's one of those jobs you can't do if you have a record. For many people, that stops them from doing it. For some people, it means that they set up a shop anyhow and they hope that the Department of Public Health never comes in to see if they have a license on their wall. It would be nice if we took away the requirements or the banning about felonies, then people would be able to get that certificate by passing everything else that's required - the thousand hours of training and practice, the $ 1800 dollar course for it, and things like that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Speaker. And through you, Speaker, I ask, did the proponent say that presently there is no one he knows of that has been issued a license through the current process that has been reoffended through recidivism or rearrested? Is that what the proponent said through you, Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

No. Through you, Mr. Speaker, no. I was talking about problems with the profession and the person having a license. I was not saying that nobody has ever reoffended. It would be a wonderful program if nobody ever reoffended. We'd be hiring barber trainers all the time. It would be our answer. But no, not this, and not anything guarantees that people don't reoffend. We're doing our best so that people can have jobs and have alternatives to being desperate and making bad decisions.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Speaker. And through you, Speaker. I then say that obviously -- I got to the barber quite often, obviously, with my hairdo. So I'm very passionate about this one conversation. But let me add, through you, Speaker, to the proponent. I do have a constituent in my town who basically went through the second opportunity program, served time in prison, applied for his application through DPH, and got his license and has been very successful. And I spoke to him about this topic, and he would very much like this to see this continue to be the same process. He felt his need to pay back society was important. So I'm here to say that I certainly have that one story, Speaker, through you, to the proponent. But I have another question.

My most important question, Mr. Speaker, through you, is there gonna be an ability for a sex offender to not be required to identify that on this application?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. People are still -- the Department of Public Health still has the ability to ask questions and look into past behavior regardless of whether it resulted in a conviction or not. And this will not prevent them from being able to do that. And by the -- but, if the question is if somebody's felony is having a sex conviction, will this keep -- will this mean that they won't be asked about that felony or it won't be an automatic ban? No, this will not stop that. Yes, like with many other professions, like with everything else that requires a -- where a conviction is for a felony, people who are convicted of those horrible crimes too, will be covered by this proposal. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And again, through you, Madam Speaker, just to confirm. So we will not have any way under this proposal to require a sex offender to identify that on your proposed legislation and the application with DPH. They will be able to slip through the cracks and possibly cause more harm to a Connecticut resident.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. No, they will not be allowed to slip through the cracks. There are no cracks. When people are sentenced by a judge, if the judge thinks that they need further supervision beyond serving their sentence, the judge orders further supervision. If the judge says do not participate in this profession; then the person is banned from participating in that profession. They do it all the time with childcare workers, with people who work in behavioral health or with people with developmental disabilities. That is where we decide how we're going to punish people. The judge makes that sentence, both in prison and beyond.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And so if this was to go through, the application process would be, and as I believe what the proponent said through you, Madam Speaker, earlier, was that this would be one of the only professions he knows that would have this open opportunity for felons to not have to identify themselves. Can I anticipate or can this Legislature and Connecticut's residents anticipate, through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent, that there'll be a request for another profession? Maybe a doctor or some other that might up down the road.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and I'm sorry for the confusion. I was very clear that there's at least one other profession in my remarks that does not have this restriction for their licensing, but they're not licensed by the Department of Public Health. There are many professions that have licenses, but do not get them through the Department of Public Health. This is something that we are addressing here, for this, in the Department of Public Health.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And so, I appreciate the explanation. It was hard hearing earlier with some of the noise. So thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent. I'll just kind of wrap this up here so we can move on. I strongly oppose this. And having worked in corrections for 21 years, I believe in second opportunities. But we all need to acknowledge the realities of the world. And I think there's many people that feel like this is just kind of waiving that responsibility of that offender through the process. And I guess maybe my concern is that maybe something could slide through the cracks. I think your intention is well, but I'm worried and I fear for the possible crimes that might be committed or -- certainly with the sex offender piece, there's no guarantee. So that is certainly my concern.

Through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

I did not hear a question, Madam Speaker.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH): There wasn't. It was a closing. Thank you.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

I'd be happy to reply if there is a question.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you. I was just wrapping up some final comments. Thank you, Madam Speaker. And thank you to the proponent.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Rutigliano.

REP. RUTIGLIANO (123RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I just wanted to make a few remarks on this legislation. I wanted to thank the good Representative for bringing it forward. I rise in strong support of this proposal. I look at this as an unnatural barrier to employment. I understand that we have to inject some common sense into our licensing processes. If somebody's gonna dispense drugs, work at a bank, we might want to know if they were a drug dealer or possibly convicted of check fraud. But if somebody's simply gonna be a hairdresser or a bartender, I don't why we're putting a false impediment in front of them to get a job, to have a career and have employment. So with that, I would encourage all my colleagues to vote for this and to vote to allow people to get a job and advance themselves more freely. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will you remark further? Representative Cheeseman of the 37th.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I rise in support of this bill. I had the privilege of touring the York Women's Prison in my district and was struck by the dedication of not only the staff, but the women undertaking further education in the hope of once they are back in society having a productive career and being able to support themselves and their families. A number of them were enrolled in a cosmetological course. It seems nonsensical that we as a state would spend money to educate them, to give them the chance at a better life, and then through licensing requirements, deny them that opportunity. And in reviewing the public hearing testimony, I was struck that both the Yankee Institute and the ACLU were in favor of this bill. So I urge my colleagues to support it, to give those people who have paid their penalty and are looking for a way to support themselves and their families a chance to do just that. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Vail of the 52nd.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And if I may, just a few questions for the proponent?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Prepare yourself Representative Tercyak.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

Thank you. Just to follow up on my colleague's questions a little bit earlier. I too am a former prison guard and I do think that this is a good bill to give people an opportunity to come out, enter into the workforce, get out there. I just have a few concerns about someone. I think -- just to reiterate your remarks earlier. If someone were incarcerated for child molestation, would those same restrictions -- would this supersede any restrictions that they have on them? This bill wouldn't supersede anything else that we have in law would it?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

People will be restricted based on what the judge sentences them to. If the judge says you are restricted from these kinds of professions, then you will be restricted. This will not be a laundry list of these felonies are okay and these felonies are not okay. And then maybe we'll come back next year and address again which felonies are and are not okay. We have judges decide on punishment unless it's mandatory minimum time. That's their job.

This is a case where we have been artificially extending that punishment with a regulation that is only based on having a felony conviction. No, this will apply to everybody who has a felony conviction no matter how horrible it is. This will not be the way that they will be denied entrance or continuation in the profession. There are other ways that the Department is able to. They are not worried about having a shortage of ways to be able to supervise.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Vail.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

Thank you. So a judge has to make a ruling on the person's sentence? Is there any law in place that restricts them specifically?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Judges are the ones who do sentencing. There is no law that tells a judge that they cannot ban somebody from a profession should they feel that is appropriate. I am aware of that happening frequently. I'm aware of it happening -- of DPH doing it with people who have no conviction at all. Their behavior could've earned them a conviction. They know about the behavior. That's enough. This happen -- I'm a nurse, so I've seen it happen with people losing their licenses when they're in trouble at work for the horrible thing of taking somebody else's meds. Horrible. The Department doesn't care whether you get convicted or not. Your license is gone.

We are not going to be hobbling the Department with this. We are going to be giving people an opportunity that should not be denied. We are going to not even give them the opportunity. We are going to stop denying the opportunity. We are going to make it easier for the Department so that when the Department of Corrections completes somebody's -- completes an inmate's training in barbering or cosmetology or hairdressing, those people will not then hope that the Department of Public Work -- the Department of Public Health is in the mood to grant the license or a provisional license. If you've completed the training and all the other requirements, then you'll be able to get the license. There will be no restrictions. There are no restrictions now. It's all felonies now. That's what we're removing off the felonies part.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Vail.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

So let me try asking this with a scenario. So someone goes to jail for child molestation. They get out. The judge had made no specific ruling during the sentencing, and they go -- maybe they were a barber in prison. Now they get out, they get their hours, they want to get licensed and they want to open up their own children's barber shop. Is there a scenario where it would be possible that they would be able to do that? Yes or no?

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I see nothing in removing the words felonies from disqualifications that would therefore make people having been convicted of a certain kind of felony, even if it's a horrible felony of sexual abuse of children, from obtaining this professional license. We had no testimony, none, that there was a problem with felons who had been denied this license when they applied for a provisional one. We might think it happened more often if we had, but we haven't. This is straight up what it says.

I am certain that if given enough time, each of us could sit here and think of something that makes us a little bit queasy that people get convicted of for a felony. The punishment is what the punishment is. It's no longer going to be, if we pass this good bill, that you're ineligible to be a barber or a cosmetologian or a hairdresser.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Vail.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

You know when I stood up to start asking questions, I was definitely leaning towards voting yes for this, because I do think people deserve a second chance. They've done their sentence and they paid their due to society and we certainly want to give them an opportunity to succeed when they get out. But if there's even a one-percent chance that someone that abuses young children is gonna be in a barber shop, cutting my children's hair, I can't support that. So if you can't tell me with 100-percent certainty that that can't happen, then I certainly can't support this bill, and I strongly encourage my colleagues to question their votes as well. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will you remark further? Representative LeGeyt of the 17th.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Good afternoon. I have a couple of questions regarding this bill to ask to the proponent, if I may?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Sure. Representative Tercyak, be prepared.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm ready.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you. It appears to me that we are trying to figure out where barbers, cosmeticians and hairdressers fit in some scheme, some continuum of professions that have some interaction with people's persons or their body. And that's why this bill is coming out of DPH. And so everyone would agree that someone who's going to be an MD, licensed practical nurse, to have that kind of effect or ability to interact with someone's person, should have this particular restriction that they have to go through a background check, a felony background check, to get their license. I'd just like to confirm that that's true if I could.

Madam Speaker, through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. There are many things regulated by the Department of Public Health besides things where somebody comes in contact with another person. And I'll even say -- and I'll even count the veterinarians, who are regulated in with they come in contact with other people, because our pets are important. However, no, there is -- there are professions, not all of which deal with a member of the public. An [inaudible - 03: 15: 45] installer, for example, and we are not at this time removing those restrictions on them. We have heard no complaints from them. Maybe someday we will and we will give a look at it. But this is something that we've been hearing about for years, and now it's made its way through the Committees and onto the floor. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And in that light, if there is a continuum of professions that involve interaction with someone's person or their body, I'd just like to find out if the good Representative has a sense of where hairdressers, cosmeticians and barbers, thank you, fit in that continuum? Because at some point, we don't require someone of one of those professions to be -- go through this critique to get their license. For instance, someone who sells clothes or shoes has an interaction that's somewhat the same. Does a clothier or a shoe salesman need to have this added layer of critique for them to get their license?

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. This nurse would have no way of knowing because neither of those professions are regulated by the Department of Public Health. If you want me to guess, I'll bet you they don't. As a matter of fact, I don't think anybody gives a license to shoe salesman to be able to fit people for shoes. Sometimes I wish somebody would.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. How about someone who performs pedicures or manicures? Would they be licensed by the Department of Public Health and would they have to have this kind of critique to get their license?

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I did not know this. Manicurists and pedicurists listed as professions that are under the Department of Public Health. My understanding is that the Department of Public Health licenses the entire shop. And should one person be found in violation, then the entire shop is in trouble, not just the one person. But no, we do not have a requirement for people who are manicurists, who put up with being asked about their criminal record by the -- by license divisions of the Department of Public Health.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. How about someone who prepares and sells eyeglasses and the accoutrements that go with those? Would they be required to get a license through the Department of Public Health and be subjected to that scrutiny to do so regarding possible felony convictions?

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much. Opticians are on the list. The Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Opticians is able -- they are bound by the requirement to be asking those questions.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you. And just one other profession. How about a tattoo artist? Are they subject to the Department of Public Health and therefore the scrutiny to get their license that would require a background check for felonies?

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. The answer is yes. In the statutes, they are referred to as tattoo technicians and they are licensed by the Department of Public Health and therefore are subject to the restrictions that we are -- and others that we are trying to remove from barbers, cosmeticians, and hairdressers.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative LeGeyt.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I appreciate all those answers. It helps me frame my understanding of where this bill picks up and leaves off. Because I do think there's a continuum here of professions that have increasing involvement with someone's person or their body, depending on what the profession provides. And at some point along that continuum, we require a license. And at some point along that continuum, we require a background check for felony convictions. So the determination about this particular bill with regard to barbers, cosmetologists and hairdressers has to do with where we each think that profession falls on this continuum of increasing scrutiny, depending on the involvement they have with someone's person or body. So it's a judgment call. And for me, I think that they -- someone who's a barber, a cosmetologist, or a hairdresser deserves to have the scrutiny of being determined to -- whether they have a felony conviction record or not. And so I'm -- I am not in favor of this proposal. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on this bill? Representative Wilms of the 142nd.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have a question for the proponent of the bill.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Ready, Madam Speaker. Thank you.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you. As I was thinking about this bill, and I've been going back and forth, candidly. But I couldn't help but think about my own personal experience when I go to a barber, and my barber uses a straight razor. And my question for the proponent is that if someone has a felony for let's say murder. Is the proponent comfortable with having convicted murderers using straight razors without anyone's prior knowledge or approval?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. The answer is yes. I am not worried about somebody who has finished serving their time and people have decided, when done right, we don't just send people who we believe -- who have finished every moment of their in jail out into the community with no followup. We do, in fact, pay attention. Yes, I am comfortable with for any felony anybody can think of, allowing that person to have a straight razor to cut my hair or to have a straight razor to cut hair. I am certain that we can think of heinous crimes that one might want that person to be punished forever. However, we're sticking to what this does and if our only evidence of that behavior and worry that it will happen in the future is have you been convicted of -- as a felony, then that will -- then this will remove that. Yes. But for the question, am I comfortable? Yes, I am.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Yes, Madam Speaker. I appreciate the proponent's direct answer. I'm gonna differ with the proponent. I personally would not feel comfortable with my neck, let's say literally, in that kind of situation. I understand that others may have different views, but I cannot support this bill. I believe that it's too overreaching and too broad-based and I think it's capturing specific scenarios that I think most people would have a hard time understanding. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

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.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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 the 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 5764,

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 127

Those voting Nay 22

Those absent and not Voting 2

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Clerk, please call Calendar 193.

CLERK:

On page 15, Calendar 193, House Bill No. 5943 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE UTILIZATION OF BUILDINGS OCCUPIED BY EXECUTIVE BRANCH AGENCIES. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Government Administration and Elections.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Distinguished Chair, Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the bill tasked to OPN with determining the efficiency of Executive Branch Agencies' use of state property and to include in the inventory of state real property, number of state employees, per square foot in buildings occupied by the state agencies. The bill came out of Committee with unanimous support. It was introduced by our colleague, Representative France. There is no fiscal impact and I urge my colleagues to support the bill. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on this bill? Representative Devlin of the 134th.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise in support of this bill. This is really a common sense measure, particularly in the financial crunch that our state is facing. It adds a simple but important piece of information to what OPN already collects in terms of information on inventories of buildings and that is to include the number of state employees first by square foot. It did receive unanimous support in Committee and I encourage all of my colleagues to support the bill. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative France of the 42nd.

REP. FRANCE (42ND)

Thank you, Madam Chair. And I just rise -- I'm sorry, the proponent of this bill, and tell the story of its origin. It was actually a constituent who had an experience in coming to Hartford for business and walked into one of our state buildings and found a largely empty large space with just a handful of employees there, and was intrigued by this and wanted to have a better understanding of the better utilization of space. And so this is really a proposal to gather the data to allow us, as a Legislature, to -- and the Executive Branch, to understand how best to use space. So I appreciate the Committee bringing it forward and Representative Fox being a proponent of it, and urge support.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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? The members please take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Bell)

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.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Members, please check the board to determine if your vote is properly cast. If all the 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 5943,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 148

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 3

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Clerk, please call Calendar 358.

CLERK:

On page 53, Calendar 358, House Bill No. 5377 - AN ACT CONCERNING NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION ZONES. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Stafstrom of the 129th.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you. Good afternoon, sir.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this bill cleans up and provides additional protections to individuals who serve on Neighborhood Revitalization Zone boards. For those in the Chamber who may not be familiar, as many towns do not have Neighborhood Revitalization Zones, but certain communities do, especially some of our larger cities. The Neighborhood Revitalization Zone statutes were put in the books back in the mid '90s to help communities where there is a significant amount of blighted property or underdeveloped land, to get neighborhood residents involved and engaged in cleaning up those neighborhoods and encouraging development in those neighborhoods. Madam Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment. It's LCO 6538. I ask the amendment be called and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6538, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule "A".

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 6538, offered by Representative Lemar, Senator Cassano and Representative Stafstrom.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this is a strike-all amendment which would become the bill if adopted. It removes two of the original four sort of key provisions of this bill. The two provisions that raised some concerns, to my knowledge in the Committees of cognizance which just went through, namely the Planning and Development Committee and the Judiciary Committee. The amendment removes the requirement that NRZ committees and NRZ planning committees include members of the Legislature or other elected officials residing in the NRZ boundaries as members. And also it eliminates the requirement that a municipality with a NRZ establish a process to request that a state or local official waives certain environmental health or safety code regulations.

As I mentioned, those seemed to raise some concern in Committee, so those will be stricken from the bill with this amendment adopted. The remaining provisions remain. Those two remaining provisions provide indemnification and defense to NRZ members, which I can further explain once the amendment is adopted. And it also retains language that removes the requirement that NRZ bylaws by published in a newspaper. I urge adoption of the amendment.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule "A". Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Zawistowski of the 61st.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. As mentioned by the good Representative, this amendment takes care of some of the concerns that were raised in the Planning and Development Committee and I urge its passage. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH): All those opposed, nay. The ayes have it and the amendment is adopted. (Gavel) Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, as amended, as I briefly mentioned, this bill now does two things. The first thing it does is removes the requirement that when a local NRZ board wants to change its bylaws that those bylaws be published in a newspaper. Instead, that local NRZ can publish the bylaw changes to the public via its website or other electronic means.

The second thing the bill would do is it provides -- it requires that a host municipality of an NRZ provide indemnification and defense to members of the NRZ board who serve on that board. As I mentioned, NRZs are quasi public boards. They must submit their strategic plan and be approved and authorized by a host municipality's legislative body. And where that host municipality has authorized an NRZ to exist, its members would be entitled to indemnification and defense when acting in their official capacity and pursuant to that strategic plan in carrying out their duties. There has been some confusion, as our current statute is silent, and this would clear up that confusion. I will note that the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has waited on this bill and believes this is a good change to clear up the statute and encourage greater participation by community members on local NRZs.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Zawistowski of the 61st.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This bill does expand opportunities for neighborhood organizations to take responsibility for improving their own areas and it does encourage additional citizen participation when you have some indemnification from the towns. I think this is a good bill. I think it will help these organizations do a lot for themselves. And I do urge my colleagues to support it. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Members, please take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Bell)

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.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 5377, as amended by House “A”,

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 147

Those voting Nay 2

Those absent and not Voting 2

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The bill is amended as passed. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call Calendar 397?

CLERK:

On page 38, Calendar 397, House Bill No. 7243 - AN ACT CONCERNING SPECIAL MOBILE EQUIPMENT LIENS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this bill comes to us from our state's construction industry. They've asked us to pass this statute in order to provide procedures under which a bailee, someone who is receiving or in possession of special mobile equipment, meaning heavy construction equipment, generally speaking, can auction or otherwise dispose of that property when it is left and unclaimed by the person who has left it there. By this statute, we are extending the procedures that are currently on our books for automobiles, to include special mobile equipment or construction liens. As I said, this bill comes to us from the construction industry. They view this as pro-growth and pro-jobs for their industry and would help streamline things for their industry. I ask that my colleagues support it.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on this bill? Representative Rebimbas of the 70th District.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good afternoon to you. Madam Speaker, just some clarification questions. I rise in support of the legislation before us and I do believe that it is a good business bill and I thank the construction advocates for coming to us with this, because it's long overdue.

So through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Stafstrom, prepare yourself.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you, just for clarification purposes, the procedures that they would have to follow are clearly stated in the legislation. And for example, if there was to be any type of auction for a properly placed lien, that auction could not take place before three months. Is that correct? Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That is correct and I would also add to the good Ranking Member's question that in fact this is a procedure that is already currently on our books and being used in the automobile auction category, so it is a process that is familiar to folks in the industry and our state.

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I want to thank the Vice Chair for that clarification, that in fact it is something that's currently in place, just unfortunately, the special equipment, mobile equipment, was left outside of, and also that means that they would also have to advertise this in a newspaper. So it clearly has a lot of notification, making sure that individuals have proper notice and time to recoup the equipment if they so sought to do so. But it allows the construction company also to properly and responsibly be able to dispose of the equipment if necessary. So I do rise in support of the legislation before us.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Members please take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Bell)

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.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members -- Will the members please check the board to determine if your vote is properly cast? If all the 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 7243,

Total number Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 74

Those voting Yea 147

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 4

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call Calendar 147? Representative De La Cruz, for what purpose do you rise?

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'd like to be recorded in the affirmative for the last vote. I got caught in the hallway.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you. It will be recorded in the Journal. Will the Clerk please call Calendar 147?

CLERK:

On page 10, Calendar 147, House Bill No. 6864 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE TIMING OF DISCLOSURE OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AND FAIR HOUSING LAWS TO PROSPECTIVE PURCHASERS OF CERTAIN RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Housing.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler, Chairman of Housing.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Hello, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Hellooo, Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

It's good to see you up there. I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this bill is actually before us today to serve two purposes. The first purpose is to make potential property owners of two or more units aware of the Connecticut Fair Housing laws and the second purpose is to make sure that once they know about it, that they will avoid becoming a victim of violating the law. The last couple of years, we've seen a lot of violations that have cost property owners tens of thousands of dollars and we feel that by educating them, that they will avoid violating the Connecticut Fair Housing laws. Madam Speaker, the Clerk has in their possession LCO No. 6675. I would ask that they call the amendment and I'd be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6675, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule "A"?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 6675, offered by Representative Butler.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the amendment actually seeks to clarify and straighten out some language that was inaccurately drafted in the bill, and where there was reference to both having a transaction at the point of contract and the point of closing. This amendment actually makes clearer that the closing aspect of this has been taken out of the bill. So there's only at one point during this process that this form will be handed out, and that's at the point of contract. I move adoption.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule "A". Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Kupchick of the 132nd.

REP. KUPCHICK (132ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise in support of the amendment -- the amended version of the bill. I know some people think that this is an impediment to private citizens to be able -- to have to supply information to someone who is purchasing a multifamily home. Typically this is realtors who will be disclosing this; similar to when they disclose radon information or lead information, that is typically needed. The issue here is that when someone buys a multifamily home, they have to comply with a whole host of laws that they may not be aware of. And the consequence for not understanding what these laws are, under the Fair Housing laws, can result in fines up to $ 40,000 dollars.

So it is really a protection. So many bills that come out of the Housing Committee are protect -- are in protection of tenants, where as this one really is to protect the landowner who's purchasing a multifamily home, so that they are at least aware of what these complicated laws are that they are obliged to be knowledgeable about. So I do rise in support and I would just also mention that the section of the bill that was included also was something that the Connecticut Realtors Association had asked for, that this would not -- if the disclosure wasn't made at the time of contract, that it would not jeopardize the closing of the sale of the property. And so I support this, Madam Speaker. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Sampson of the 80th.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Just a question to the proponent of the amendment if I could?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler, are you prepared? Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I just wanted to maybe get some clarification about what the amendment actually hopes to accomplish. I'm pretty familiar with the bill before us, but the amendment has got a bunch of very minor word changes and so forth that just, at first glance, it doesn't really tell you what change is actually happening to the underlying bill. And I would just ask that the proponent summarize what the amendment changes. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I can appreciate the fine gentleman's question because I've seen a couple of amendments lately that just on the face of [passion inaudible - 04: 19: 31] when you read just the amendment by itself it kind of hard to discern what it is actually speaking to. But I can assure the gentleman what the amendment actually speaks to is removing reference to the point of closing so that we actually take that out of the equation, because some people were interpreting that bill as there was two points where there must be action taken, the contract point and the closing. And we're -- the amendment simply is going to remove the closing aspect of this.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you. Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I thank the good Chairman for sharing that information. That is very, very helpful. I think the underlying bill pretty much did the same thing. So I see this more as a clarifying amendment. I understand that the term, at the time of closing, was included in the bill, but I think it was relatively clear that the requirement that the person selling the property needed to provide the document and require a signature from the purchaser at the time of the contract, and I don't think that that changes. So my feelings on the amendment are that it doesn't really do a whole lot, although it may seem to clarify the language. And I guess I will not make a commitment one way or the other right now. But thank you, and thanks to the Chairman for that clarification.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH): All those opposed, nay. The ayes have it and the amendment is adopted. (Gavel) Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Davis of the 57th.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you, a question to the proponent of the bill if I may?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler, are you prepared? Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you. From my reading of the amended bill, there is nothing that if, for instance, a home seller were to not provide this form. There appears to be no repercussions included in this bill. Is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That's correct.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And from his interpretation of the bill, there is nothing prohibiting the agent, the realtor and/or the attorney for a home seller to provide this form rather than the home seller themselves. Is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Your -- the last part of that question, I wasn't able to hear, but I'll attempt to -- the first part, I saw where you were going, so I'll just give you an answer relative -- well, maybe you should repeat the question.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Davis, please repeat the question. And the conversations, could you please take them outside the Chamber? Thank you.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. There is nothing -- through you, to the kind of the proponent of the bill. Is there anything in the bill that would prohibit a realtor or a lawyer or some other agent for the home seller from providing this disclosure to a prospective buyer to sign?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. There is actually nothing to penalize anyone at that point. As a matter of fact, subsection c of this says if this doesn't take place that the contract itself will not be rendered invalid. That it will actually go forward without any repercussions.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And having those answers, I feel comfortable voting in favor of the bill. Certainly, we want to make sure that everybody understands Fair Housing laws. I know there's some concerns about whether or not the seller should be the one playing the role in providing that information to a prospective buyer, but certainly if the documents are made available and it doesn't penalize them and it doesn't impact their ability to close if in fact they do fail to provide that disclosure, I feel much more comfortable with supporting the bill. So thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Sampson of the 80th.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I just want to maybe touch on something that just was said in the last conversation, and that is that the language in the bill is pretty clear that it is indeed the seller that is required to provide the document to the prospective purchaser and not the realtor or attorney. And I understand that the bill does not contain any sort of penalty if this does not happen. But we are still here, faced with the choice to make a law that would require the seller of a privately-owned property, when engaging in a private contract of sale with another private citizen, to require that the seller provide a document that lists fair housing and discrimination laws in our state to the prospective purchaser and also require that they sign it.

Now I don't know of any other case in our system of laws in this state where we require a private citizen to tell other private citizens what the law is, and I think it's a terrible precedent. So when this bill had -- the law actually went into effect, I think it was a couple of years ago, I opposed it at the time. And I understand that the bill before us is a modification to require the signature and not just the handing of the form. So I can see that this is progressing to be even more onerous on the private citizens who are trying to conduct business in our state and I am very much opposed to that process. Based on that, Madam Speaker, I have an amendment. It is LCO 66 -- no, I'm sorry, that is not the amendment. (Laughter) It is LCO 6658. I ask that the Clerk call the amendment and I be allowed to summarize.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6658, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule "B"?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "B", LCO No. 6658, offered by Representative Sampson.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. The amendment that is before you, and I see the Clerk's handing it out to the members of Chamber. I apologize in the way that it is drafted, because it is 19 or so separate, small changes that I think would be very difficult for someone to be able to make heads or tails out of it just by looking at that. But I will tell you what the amendment does. And that is it essentially limits this bill and the future law to only require that the CHRO develops this disclosure form and posts it online. It would eliminate any requirement for private citizens, sellers of real estate, to provide and require a signature from a prospective purchaser.

I think that that's the natural order of things. I think sometimes we get ahead of ourselves in this Chamber, when we start expecting private citizens to do the job of informing other citizens of what the law is. I don't see that that's their job and they should not be responsible to do so. So I move adoption of the amendment, Madam Speaker, and I'd like when the vote is taken that it taken by a roll.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The Representative has moved adoption and requested that the vote be taken by roll. Will you remark further on the amendment? Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Yes. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I just had one quick question to the proponent of the amendment.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Sampson, prepare yourself. Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I just -- and I'm glad that you gave the disclaimer about your amendment. Because if you thought my amendment was kind of cryptic, this amendment was cryptic plus ten. So I would just ask a simple question. In conversations with you, it was apparent that the result of your amendment would remove all of section a, which has to do with disclosure of the Fair Housing information.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thanks to the Chairman for the question. It's actually the opposite. The amendment is designed to only retain what is identified as section 1, section a in the underlying bill, file #178. So it would remove all of the other requirements and only retain that requirement that CHRO develop the document and the disclosure and post it online on their website. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Okay, yes. As a result of this amendment, I would just say that it's not good enough just to have information that resides out in a website somewhere people don't know about it. Part of the process and the whole purpose of the bill itself is to actually make potential homeowners that are buying multiple dwellings aware of the Connecticut Fair Housing laws. If they don't know about them, it's kind of hard to believe that everyone will comply with them or may not follow them. And the penalties that we've seen have been really harsh to potential property owners. And, you know, the whole intent of the bill is to have potential homeowners avoid those penalties. So as a result of that, I would consider this amendment unfriendly and ask that my colleagues not support it.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. The Representative has asked for a roll call vote. All in favor of a roll call vote please indicate by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The requisite 20 percent has been met. The roll call will be taken. Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further? If not, I will -- okay, roll call. Staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Will the members please take your seats? The machine will be opened. (Bell)

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.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

CLERK:

House Amendment "B",

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 69

Those voting Nay 80

Those absent and not Voting 2

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The amendment fails. (Gavel) Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So I'm disappointed that the amendment that I just offered failed. That was an attempt to, I think, eliminate what I think is a bad law that currently exists. And now that the amendment has failed, we are faced with a choice of passing a bill that would make a current law even worse. The current law requires that the seller, a private citizen, somebody's grandmother, it could be anybody, would have to, when selling their property, provide a document created by the CHRO to the prospective buyer.

This bill would further require them to not only provide that document so that one citizen has to instruct another citizen about what the law is, it would also require that that seller get a signature from the buyer, the prospective buyer, and this is at the time of contract. Before there's ever a closing taking place, just when someone makes an offer on a property, the seller has to make the buyer sign a document saying that they received this. I just think it's onerous to take and require a private citizen to do the work of the State of Connecticut. Again, I don't know of another case where private citizens are required by law to instruct other citizens of what the law is.

And on top of that, we have a bill before us that would say not only do you have to tell them, but you need to get a signature from them to say that you did give them the document. I know that there were some comments about how an attorney can provide this service and a realtor could do it, but that is not what the bill says. It says each seller. So if there's more than one seller, I'm pretty certain that means that each of those parties would have to go through the process of getting signatures from the prospective buyers.

If there was ever a bill that points out just how far we are reaching into the lives of private citizens, grownups, adults, people that are entering into an important, but an adult transaction; the transfer of a piece of a real property, and in this case, a multifamily dwelling, which I'm quite certain very few novice real estate purchasers are going to get involved in. So I encourage my colleagues all across the Chamber, on both sides of the aisle, to say no. Let's leave the law, as bad as it is, in place and not support this bill, which would make it that much worse. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Fishbein of the 90th District.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. It's nice to see you up there. I too had some questions for the proponent of the bill, if I may?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Are you prepared, Representative Butler? Okay. Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So the underlying thought and belief for the need for this is to educate the buyer. Is that my understanding?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I must ask why it only applies then to residential property that has two or more units. Why would this not apply if that's the understanding, the underlying? Why wouldn't it apply to a single-family residence which could be rented out as well?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. The thought was if we're at least talking about two or more units, that we could see a potential for a rental in the process. So that's why it reads that way.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So am I to understand from the good proponent of the bill that it's his understanding that single-family residences don't get rented out and there isn't a problem with the fair housing situation that the good proponent described before?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. While that may be a possibility, it's probably the thought of that most property of that nature would be purchased for the purpose of living in. So that's why we put two or more units, because it would be, you know, more feasible that in that scenario that there would be a rental component to the transaction.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So why the non-enforcement if we're trying to change education and to make people aware of the law? Why is there absolutely no enforcement in the bill?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you, Madam Speaker. Well, there's a lot of people in the State of Connecticut who would probably take exception to the fact that we would be putting those kind of penalties in place. But the fact of the matter, what we're trying to do is just educate potential property owners and we didn't feel the need to penalize anybody as a result. We were hoping through the transactions, that for the people that we provide this to, that they would read the information, understand the Connecticut Fair Housing laws, they would follow them and they wouldn't fall victim to the large penalties for people who had been out there receiving the large penalties. And when I say large penalties, let me tell you, getting penalized $ 20,000 to $ 40,000 dollars for answering one simple question the wrong way, is a pretty hefty fine. We're trying to avoid that happening to potential homeowners.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So if I sell a residential property that falls within this very selective group and I don't give the disclosure, and then that purchaser does violate the Fair Housing law, am I liable?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. No.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And what portion of the bill alleviates some sort of liability for that occurring?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. There's nothing that speaks to it or holding the person liable for doing it as well. So if there's nothing that speaks to holding them liable in that case.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, Madam Speaker, by the way of comment, you know, our state is in a financial crisis and I understand the need for feel-good legislation, and I feel good standing here speaking with you today about this bill. That's about it, because that's all this is. So, thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Candelora of the 86th.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I guess just specifically to expand on the question. Would the failure to supply this document, such that somebody, I guess, after -- the failure to supply the document after closing, would that survive the closing such that a purchaser could bring a cause of action for the failure to supply that document?

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. If we're talking about after closure, no.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Ackert of the 8th.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. A couple of questions for clarity to the proponent of the bill. And thank you to the good Chairman for his answers to date. On line 14, just for making sure for clarity reasons, the term, "person," is not just considered an individual, correct? The term, "person," could also be a municipality that owns the property due to tax -- for tax reasons that they now own the property and it's up for auction or sale. Would a municipality also fit the term "person?"

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I would think any entity that is selling property with two or more units would have to comply.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you. And that kind of solves the next question. Which means if it's a bank-owned property, it would also fit that term, "person," then.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to the good Chairman.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Rebimbas of the 70th.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I'd like to thank the Representative for all of his good responses. I'm gonna spare the good colleague from many questions. But I do have to stand and say that I am opposed to the legislation before us. I think there's been a very good dialogue that's been going back and forth and I think the legislation that's before us is a very well-intended piece of legislation.

But, unfortunately, it's going beyond the scope of the responsibility of a seller of real property. There are so many exceptions to Fair Housing rules and regulations that there is not enough time to adequately educate someone in this regard on one sheet of paper, no matter how much CHRO may attempt to do so. And by doing so, not in the most adequate way, what we're essentially doing is putting false information out there to a potential buyer who's going to rely on that information and seek no other further education on the laws.

That is a serious risk for the very individuals that we're trying to protect with Fair Housing legislation. In fact, any buyer of any property that seeks to then turn around and rent it, and that could be for a single family, a condo, which is not covered in this legislation, should be educating themselves on current legislation, as well as any changes in future laws. You cannot rely on a simple document. And again, to do so, is false expectations. So I could not in good conscience, no matter how well intended this may be, support this piece of legislation, because as well intended, it's actually gonna have some very negative consequences. And for that reason, Madam Speaker, I will be not supporting the legislation before us. I ask others not to either, only because you must remember the duty and responsibility of anyone who's purchasing a property that then wants to turn around and become a landlord, you have that duty and responsibility to determine what those laws are. You have that duty and responsibility to keep up with the changes in legislation that are passed by this very body. You cannot rely on one single paper that in fact will not have all of the information necessary for any responsible landowner to responsibly rent a property. So I oppose the legislation before us.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Yes. Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I can appreciate some of the concerns that the good Representative actually brought up. I would -- I'd like to say that in reference to some of the items she spoke of, that the sheet that is gonna be handed out will give a few examples of what to look out for once you're a property owner. But besides that, there will be a web page, a website that people can go to to get, you know, the complete list of Fair Housing laws. So it's not a matter of putting out misinformation. It's a matter of, we'll give you a couple of examples and then we're gonna have a website that tells you all of the Fair Housing laws that you need to be aware of. And again, this is an attempt to give people information to protect themselves from large settlements in Fair Housing violations. So I would ask everyone to actually support it, to actually help people to avoid those violations and actually comply with Connecticut Fair Housing laws.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. 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? The machine will be opened. (Bell)

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.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 6874, as amended by House “A”,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 76

Those voting Nay 72

Those absent and not Voting 3

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The bill as amended is passed. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call Calendar 307?

CLERK:

Calendar 307; substitute House Bill No. 5116 - AN ACT CONCERNING A HIGHER EDUCATION DATA COLLECTION AND TRACKING SYSTEM. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Distinguished Chairman, Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good evening.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Good evening.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this is a piece of legislation that comes out of the Higher Education Committee that seeks to provide additional information to prospective students and their parents about the effectiveness of our educational offerings in the State of Connecticut. The Clerk has an amendment, LCO No. 6673. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6673, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule "A".

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 6673, offered by Representative Staneski, Representative Cheeseman, Representative Haddad, Senator Bye and Senator Linares.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this is a strike-all amendment that replaces the underlying text of the file copy. It is an amendment that comes to us after a lot of discussion and collaborative work with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and I'm grateful for that. It assigns the responsibility to the Higher Education coordinator and counsel to work with existing data networks, in particular the P20 WIN Network that has been established in the State of Connecticut, to provide information about the employment status, job retention and earnings of students before and after they enroll in our academic programs.

It will further requests -- requires them to put much of that information online in a format that will be available to folks who, as we're assessing -- as parents and students are assessing their academic choices, they can have some indication of what the effectiveness of those courses are in terms of future occupations. I think it's a good amendment and I move adoption.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule "A". Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Cheeseman of the 37th.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. And I want to thank the Leadership of the Committee for working so hard on the bill. I want to echo the comments of Representative Haddad. One of the things we're so concerned about on higher education is the ability of students and parents to make informed choices when it comes to their future careers. And I think this bill and this amendment is an admirable first step toward making that information available, so they do have a good idea of what their opportunities are, what their choices will mean to them, and ideally, giving them wonderful reasons to study in Connecticut and stay in this state. And I urge my colleagues on both side of the aisle to support the adoption of this amendment. Thank very much, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH): All those opposed, nay. The ayes have it and the amendment is adopted. (Gavel) Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Staneski of the 119th.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, nice to see you this afternoon.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you. You too.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Madam Speaker, I just wanted to rise in support of this and thank my colleague across the aisle for working so diligently and helping me through the process of helping Representative Cheeseman bring this to fruition today. It is a good bill. It actually is good for our students. It's good for our families and I look forward to the House supporting it. Thank you very much, sir -- ma'am.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Fishbein of the 90th.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I just had a few questions for the proponent, if I may?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Haddad, please prepare. Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Am I to understand that these schools don't collect this data already?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you -- Miss -- Madam Speaker. Through you, Madam Speaker. I think a lot of the information that's available is in various places in various forms. I think that what the bill seeks to do it compile that in a collaborative way and make it available in a more easily accessible form to parents and to students.

Through you, Miss -- Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

So I guess I ask the question again. Are these schools already collecting this data?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I believe some of the information is collected by institutions of higher education. Some of the information's collected through the Department of Labor and there are other agencies that also can provide an additional piece of information. Again, I think the value of this bill is it pulls it altogether into a single report that's available to students and their parents.

Through you, Mr. Speaker -- Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I just -- you know, I was recently touring schools with my niece and she was going to different schools and she was thinking about job opportunities. And she was being told, you know, this is what, you know, our degree programs; we have this many students in our classes. I mean, why are we doing this as a Legislature when it appears it's already happening out there? I just, you know, I'm feeling good again. So I know this data's out there. I just don't know why we're legislating it. So, thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

It wasn't really a question, more like a comment, and I don't' expect anything. So thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. 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? Members please take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Bell)

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.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Members please check the board to determine if your vote is properly cast? If all the 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 5116, as amended by House “A”,

Total number Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 74

Those voting Yea 145

Those voting Nay 2

Those absent and not Voting 4

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

The bill as amended is passed. (Gavel) Clerk, please call Calendar 384.

CLERK:

On page 37, House Calendar 384, House Bill No. 6487 - AN ACT CONCERNING LACTATION CONSULTANTS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan of the 103rd.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and may I say it's an absolute pleasure to see you up there.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This bill would provide a way for nursing mothers to search a database listed on the Department of Public Health website to know if they are in the care of an IBCLC - an international board certified lactation consultant. Madam Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 6608. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6608, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule "A"?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 6608, offered by Representative Steinberg.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

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

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. There is -- this amendment actually cleans up some language in the original bill which just simply states that the commissioner of Public Health shall publish on its internet website a link from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, who is the governing body of the IBCLCs. What this basically does is simply say that the Department of Public Health simply needs to put a link on their website so that nursing mothers can get to this governing body and see if their provider is an actual IBCLC. I move adoption.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Perillo of the 113th.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker, thank you very much.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

If I may, Madam, through you, a few questions to the proponent of the bill?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you. Is it uncommon -- I should rephrase. Is it common for women to leave a hospital in need of a lactation consultant after birth?

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. It is common. It's actually very common. While I don't have the statistics to say how many mothers indeed do that, this is an area of expertise that's growing in leaps and bounds. I can speak to my personal experience that I did have an infant who was in desperate need of some help for me to feed that infant. As a matter of fact, my child lost more than ten percent of his birthweight and had jaundice, and so it was necessary for me to receive direction from an international board certified lactation consultant who could help me feed my child and therefore get him -- I nursed him out of jaundice, which could cause seizures and even death. And a lot of mothers need help walking them through that. Often it's thought that because it's a natural experience that it should just be second nature, when in fact that's not always true.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So to follow-up on that, and I completely appreciate the need for a lactation consultant. I understand that. I've talked to a lot of mothers who've been in similar situations. So, when a mother and her baby are discharged from the hospital, does the hospital have available to them perhaps some references as to who the mother might seek out in terms of a lactation consultant?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. Thank you for that question. So different hospitals have lactation consultants on hand and so they will do breastfeeding classes and such. Once you leave the hospital, you do have a choice if you are to continue to see someone, but I will say that I've heard from many mothers who don't have the ability to travel to that hospital. Many times, women will choose a particular hospital because they fit within their birthing plan.

So there is one hospital, I believe, in Connecticut that is a World Health Organization designated baby-friendly hospital, and that is Middlesex Hospital. So I myself had to travel 40 minutes to Middlesex Hospital. If someone else wanted to go to this World Health Organization designated baby-friendly hospital, they might be coming from all other areas around the state. So it's not always easy for someone to still see that practitioner at the hospital -- in the hospital setting. So there are ways that they could get this information, but sometimes mothers don't recognize the need for a lactation consultant until weeks after they have left the hospital. So it's not always an easy thing to just go back and say - who do I contact. Most women find that information through Google.

So through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I should just say I'm having a hard time hearing the answers to my questions.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Will the members please take their conversations outside? The debate is difficult with all this noise. Thank you.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I again can appreciate the answers to the questions upon discharge. I would ask again, through you, Madam Speaker. After discharge and actually upon discharge, I would imagine that most moms are at least introduced to a pediatrician and perhaps there are some visits with a pediatrician prior to discharge. Is that correct?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. There is a pediatrician at the hospital. But when you are released from the hospital, you are to see your own pediatrician, usually within two days of being released. And not all pediatricians have a lactation consultant as part of their practice.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Madam Speaker, thank you. And I appreciate the answer. I would imagine, though, that pediatricians who do not have a lactation consultant in their practice might perhaps have a list of lactation consultants to whom they've referred previous patients, with whom they've worked in the past, who have a strong reputation in the community. Is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you. That is not always correct. There are some pediatricians who actually don't have a relationship with any practicing IBCLCs or any lactation consultants at all. As a matter of fact, I've known and spoken to some nursing mothers who have not actually had the support in breastfeeding through their pediatrician that they had wished that they had had. So this is something that is not always easy for someone to find. In addition, there is a great disparity in the amount of education for certain different people who are operating under the title of lactation consultant. And so just finding someone on Google, like I said before, would not actually help them to understand that they have practitioners with the most amount of education and service.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So the Representative has laid out a scenario whereby a board certified pediatrician in the State of Connecticut would not know where a mother could access a lactation consultant. Is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. You know, I would to say that every single pediatrician in the State of Connecticut is a nursing-friendly pediatrician, but that is just simply not the case. And there is no way to know if a pediatrician would have that information. This is not something that would overstep or supersede anything that would come from a pediatrician. This is simply an addition to be helpful.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I can appreciate the answer to the question. Again, through you, does the Representative know how many visits the Connecticut DPH website has in a year?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you, no I do not.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Does the Representative know if there are any mothers in search of lactation consultants who go to the DPH website looking for that information?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you and through you, Madam Speaker. Yes I do, sir.

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

I'm sorry. Then I would ask if the Representative knows how many? I think that's what I heard her say. Could the Representative clarify her answer?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan, you've been asked to clarify.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Yes, thank you. I believe I heard the question as do I know if any mothers had gone through the Department of Public Health website to try to find a practitioner, and my answer was yes.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, if the Representative could answer that question, my followup question. What did individuals find when they went to the DPH website looking for that information.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. I myself went to the Department of Public Health's website when I was in search of a practitioner and at that time it was; I have to count how old my son is, it was 2014, and I didn't find any information at all.

Thank you and through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And the Representative has referred to Google as a way to find a lactation consultant multiple times. I think that's appropriate. Does the Representative know what happens when you Google the words "lactation consultants"?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. There are multiple ways that you can Google to find a lactation representative, or lactation consultant rather. And if you just Google lactation consultant, while I haven't done so lately, my thought is that a different -- the different types of accreditation and the Wikipedia model would come up, however, if you Google lactation consultants Connecticut, you might get some private practice people and their websites or their respective web pages or Facebook accounts, etc.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And again, I appreciate the answer to the question. I actually Googled lactation consultants and a number of things come up. One of the first is the International Lactation Consultant Association that comes up. Another is St. Francis Care, which has an extensive program on lactation consultants. Another is lactationservices. com, which has a number of referrals to lactation consultants. So my question to you -- the question to the Representative, through you, Madam Speaker, is does the Representative believe there is a dearth, a shortage of access to information on the internet about lactation consultants?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you for that question. Through you, Madam Speaker. I don't believe that there is a shortage of lactation consultants. What I do believe is that there is such a huge disparity in the certifications for different types of lactation consultants. And the problem that we have is that some of these have such greater amounts of education. For instance, the IBCLC - the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant -is required to have 90 hours of classroom training specific to breastfeeding. They are required to have 300-1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.

The 300 hours is for someone who already holds an active nursing degree. The 1,000 hours is for someone who is just simply taking this program for the first time. Additionally, IBCLCs need 14 specific college courses as prerequisites in order to become an IBCLC. The issue is, is that when you just Google lactation counselor or lactation help, you will come up with all of the different certifications. And I just want to point out that someone known as a lactation counselor only receives 45 hours, as opposed to the 90 hours of classroom training. They have no required clinical experience. They have zero college course prerequisites.

And the biggest difference between the IBCLC and every other lactation consultant certification that is available is the fact that under the IBCLC's scope of practice, they are required to notify a primary care physician or a pediatrician of the feeding plan that they are giving to both the mother and the child. The reason why this is so important is because babies are in danger if they don't get enough milk.

There is a young boy named Landon Johnson and he passed away at 14 days of age. And that was because he didn't -- his mother didn't have enough milk transfer. Something that could have been helped with a lactation -- an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who shared that plan with her MD. So we are talking about if babies can't get enough milk, they need to have someone who understands through these massive amounts of training that there is a feeding plan and that feeding plan needs to be shared with an MD, who is really the only person who can diagnose an emergent situation.

And that is why it's very important for mothers to know that IBCLCs are the gold standard of lactation care. As a matter of fact, they are the only lactation -- IBCLCs are the only ones who are recognized by the Surgeon General of the United States. So what we're talking about here is really about the safety of our babies.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I appreciate a very detailed explanation as to why lactation consultants are important. I don't think anybody in this chamber would dispute that, and that's not the focus of my questioning. I would simply note that in my Google search, the fifth item you come up with is actually the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners; the actual organization. So when you Google it, you get it, right away on the first page. And in that search, you have -- are granted access to the registry of all members of this organization who are indeed certified.

So, as the Representative mentioned, Google is a tool used by mothers in need of the service. I get it. That makes sense in this day and age. I would argue that the hospital is probably the first place. And I cannot imagine that any of our -- this is not the backwoods. This is the State of Connecticut. Our hospitals, upon discharge, are giving mothers the information they need. And if after the fact, there's discovered a need at the pediatrician leve, I have to imagine that most, if not all, pediatricians, whether they have a lactation consultant in their practice or not, have access to one - a good one. I have to imagine that. So at the hospital there is access. Through the pediatrician there is access. Via Google, right now, there is access.

So my question is what does this bill do to address the problem that the Representative has outlined? I understand the need for access to these qualified professionals. I get it. I get it. What I don't understand is how this bill helps us in any way, shape or form. I don't see it. I don't know what value this adds to mothers. I don't know what value this adds to babies. I just don't understand. And quite frankly, I don't understand why we need to pass a law to force the Department of Public Health to create a link on their website. This is something that could take an employee 15 seconds to do. We've probably debated this for 20 minutes. In the time we have debated this, someone could've done what this bill demands. Why are we here doing this? I don't get it.

For some reason or other, I'm gonna vote for this bill. I don't know that it does anything, but I understand the intent and I appreciate the intent. But, my question is, have we introduced a bill for the sake of introducing a bill, a bill in search of a problem?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you. You know, I would love to have an answer for you that can state what women's -- what is in women's minds. The only thing I can tell you is that the Department of Public Health lends credence to this -- to the IBCLCs that will help -- I see this as a consumer advocacy bill. And if we're really only relying on the fact that someone is going to ask someone before they go to the hospital or upon discharge of the hospital, there are many mothers who research this and have a lactation consultant even before heading into the hospital and giving birth, so some of those things that you mentioned might not be available to them previously. Thank you.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I don't want to belabor this. I know there are other folks on the board who have questions about this bill. Again, I get it. I don't think this bill does anything at all to help moms. I don't think anybody is typing in ct. gov to find out where to find a lactation consultant. They're asking at the hospital. They're asking their pediatrician. If they don't do either of those, they are going to the website, they're typing it into Google, and they're getting the actual board that has the registry on their first page. This bill is not gonna help that. Again, I appreciate the intent, but, you know, again, this is a solution in search of a problem. And again, for some reason, I'm gonna support it, but. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Ziobron of the 34th.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good afternoon.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

I rise in strong, very strong opposition to this bill. I have sat here most of the day listening to my colleagues debate bills that have some substance. Some have questioned why the need. But I have to get up at this bill. As Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, knowing my constituents are chewing their fingernails wondering what their future is in this state with our fiscal crisis. We just spent 20 minutes talking about lactation consultants. I don't understand. Does anyone understand the crisis that we have in the state? And yet this is the bill we want to debate at 5: 30 o'clock on Wednesday?

Madam Speaker, we are facing a $ 5 billion dollar budget deficit - $ 5 billion dollars! And we want to waste our time as legislators talking about a link on a website which does not require legislation to implement! A simple phone call to the commissioner of DPH could accomplish this very easily. Not only are we facing a $ 5 billion dollar deficit in '18 and '19, we are facing a real possibility, Madam Speaker, of having to borrow $ 200 million dollars or more to balance this fiscal year, ending June 30th, 2017. I have --

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Madam. Representative Ziobron, can you address the amendment, please?

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

I'm addressing the amendment and my opposition to the amendment because there's no need for this piece of legislation. In the face of facing these kinds of fiscal crises, we should be more careful about the legislation we bring forward. I'm happy to wait until the bill as amended goes forward to continue to talk about my real concerns about the -- what we're actually talking about and debating here, Madam Speaker. So I am standing in strong, strong opposition. I'll refrain my comments until after this amendment is done to get back on the underlying bill. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Rebimbas of the 70th.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I too have been listening to this debate, and there has been a lot of words thrown out there regarding what's in a woman's mind. I think I may be qualified to say what's in my mind as a woman, and I must admit, that I echo the sentiments that my last colleague had indicated. I stand and I don't support this amendment. I don't support this amendment and the underlying bill for the mere fact that this is a solution seeking a problem. As a mother and someone who did have to address this very important issue, and it is a very important issue, we have a lot of resources out there.

We have hospitals, where these children are delivered. We have other types of services and resources, where children are delivered outside of hospitals. All of which do have direct information contact that could be provided to any mother or father or any other individual interested in this topic. I do have a concern, Madam Speaker, that words are being thrown as the "gold standard". The only ones that have all of the information, all of the qualifications, rest with an organization I actually never even heard of until now -the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.

And when I went to their website, in boldface print and red prints, I read - Notice. The online credential management system is currently unavailable due to the maintenance and review. Please check back for updates. - I don't know about you, Madam Speaker, but I'm not comfortable with that wording on a website. Nor am I comfortable with the Department of Public Health being limited by this piece of legislation saying that This is the gold standard. This is the one and only resource they should be looking to as to qualified individuals to put up on a link on their website that they could easily do.

What we ask the Department of Public Health is to tell us what the residents of the State of Connecticut need, and that's their duties and responsibilities to get that information out there in a responsible way. Again, in support of this amendment or underlying bill, I would be doing a disservice to anyone that wants the best information because now the Department of Health is limited to the only information that this legislative body dictates to them - them the experts - them the people we choose to do the jobs and the duties and responsibilities, but we, sitting here are gonna tell them who are the experts that they should be referring to. I'm not gonna do that, because that's their duties and responsibilities, not ours.

I want the best interest of the State of Connecticut, the best interest of information out there, and that's what we rely on them to do. I do not support this amendment or the underlying bill.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Srinivasan of the 31st.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I too have been listening to this debate and I'm totally confused as to why we need DPH to be doing this. So if a need is there, a medical need is there, for whatever be it, do we not need DPH to direct us to a website and their websites gives us the names of the people, whatever one -- whether they belong to one organization or another? There are resources and there are resources by which we can check the credentials, the credibility of who the person is that we are gonna be seeking their help and support. Nobody here questions the need of lactation consultants. The need may be there for individuals. I get that. My daughter needed one. So I'm well aware of the need for a lactation consultant. But there was no need for DPH, whether it be in our state or in the state where my daughter lives that we need to go through a state authority to ask where do I go to find a consultant. I don't get the need for this at all. Through you, Madam Speaker, just a couple of questions to the proponent of the amendment.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan, please prepare yourself. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Let me -- this is gonna be interesting. This is gonna be interesting and all good. Through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent of the amendment. Are you aware of any other medical specialty where to get a pediatric pulmonologist, a pediatric cardiologist -- we're talking about pediatrics here so I'm gonna limit myself. How does a mother get information if she needs -- and I'm sure you're well aware that, unfortunately, mothers will need a pediatric cardiologist, pediatric surgeon, pediatric ENT. Does DPH have a website that will direct them to board certified consultants?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Well, through you, Madam Speaker. I would imagine, when we're talking about a specialty like that, they would get that from their doctors. But the thing is is that these specialists that you are referring to are MDs who have a certain amount of education. It is known that if you are a specialist and you are an MD, you have gone through certain education. That is not known because of the wide array of different types of certifications you can have as a lactation consultant.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. So if you need an MD or an APRN or any other healthcare provider to provide services, very critical services, as critical as a lactation consultant, because I know the importance of a lactation consultant, so as important as that, so for that information, we do not want DPH to direct us as to who we need to go and we leave it to the resources of the individual, the mother and the father, to find out who would be best suited for that services.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I'm sorry, can you clarify that question? I wasn't sure what he had said.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker, definitely. So when a mother needs a pediatric specialist, a subspecialist, does she go through the pediatrician or does she go through a website, a link that is provided by DPH? Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. I don't know. I haven't been in that position and I don't know the answer for every mother or parent out there.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Does D -- do we require DPH to provide us links to all the medical services that are required by the residents of our state?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. No, we do not.

Through you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. If we do not require DPH to provide that links for every service, because once DPH provides that link, we assume and we hope so that we are right in our assumption, that these providers are both certified, qualified, met certain criteria, so that's why they are on the list, so the public is safe to go to them. But for all and every medical condition, we do not require DPH to provide us that website link. Why then lactation? Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. That's because there is a standardization that MDs go through that is not the same as lactation consultants.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. If somebody -- if a lactation consultant is there on the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, we just heard the discussion on the floor of the House that that list appears on the first page as soon as you Googled them, and the name appears. So what is the difference between going on the Google search and they are approved, they are on this list, and the website link that DPH will provide us?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. If I understand the gentleman's' question correctly, it is because going through the Department of Public Health website will lend credence to those who have the highest standard of care.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I definitely don't get that. I definitely don't get that. So just going through DPH's website to the same list, to the same list of providers that you and I can get by going on Google, how does that give you extra credibility? How does that happen?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. Because once that list is populated and if you're searching for a lactation consultant by last name, you can see that they are actually internationally board certified lactation consultants.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I thought there was an International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners that you could go to directly.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linehan, you have the floor, madam.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So if I under -- through you, Mr. Speaker. If I understand the question correctly - actually, I'm gonna ask you, through you, Mr. Speaker, could you please clarify?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. If one went on the Google site and got the list, the name of somebody who's an International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiner. If you got that name by just going on the Google site, and we were told we could do that, it appears right on the first page. How is that name different than getting that same name for the same organization just because it is on the DPH website?

Through you madam -- through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe I have answered this question before, so I'm hoping that I understand what you're saying. It's because the Department of Public Health will lend credence to what the Surgeon General has categorized as the gold standard of lactation care. So if somebody has a question as to whether or not a counselor that they have found, whether it be on Google, through the hospital, or anywhere, if they have concerns as to whether or not they are an IBCLC in good standing, they will not only find their name listed there but they can also -- there's a resource on that same web page that will say if they're in good standing and if they've had any sanctions against them.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to get this clear. So we are charging DPH not just with providing a link. We are charging DPH with ensuring that the list of the people have credibility, that they are being monitored on an ongoing basis.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No sir, I'm sorry, you are not correct about that. That will always be up to the IBLCE, which is the governing body for the IBCLCs. Thank you.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Mr. Speaker, we charge DPH with a long list of things to do and every time we request them to do this or that or the other, invariably it comes down to do they have the time, do they have the resources, is it gonna be within approp -- available appropriations, that they are able to convey this task. And here we are, requesting them to do something as simple as connecting to a website which any mother and every mother can get to directly. And I don't think, as we heard very clearly from the proponent of the amendment, that DPH does any scrutiny at all. It does not look to see if this person is making the cut, makes the list, or if there's any sanctions against them. It is just rubber stamping what is already there and I really don't see a need for us to charge DPH with this responsibility. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Staneksi of the 119th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good evening.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

A few questions for the proponent of the bill?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linehan, on your feet, please prepare yourself. Representative Staneksi, please proceed, madam.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So I am on Public Health and I did vote this out with Public Health. In the interim, I had some conversations with my daughter who is in this business in another state. So I will get to that in a moment. But my first question is, I know that there are many; and I'll use the CLC or -- if that's okay. The certified lactation care, when I'm speaking about that. There are many who are not part of the IBCLC program. And so my first question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is why are we limiting this to just those lactation consultants who are part of the IBCLC program?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker. The answer to that question is simply because in the IBCLC standard of care and scope of practice, they are the only ones that are required under their certification to have an ongoing conversation with the pediatrician and/or primary care physician. Because doctors are the only ones who are really able to care in emergency situations. And so sharing that plan and the results of that plan will help alleviate more emergency situations with infants.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Staneksi.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the gentle lady for that answer. So my question would be, given that the mother of four children, breastfed all four of my children, and I know the process that I went through with respect to a lactation consultant through many years, that the process began in the hospital with my pediatrician and the care nurse there. So my question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is, am I to then assume that all hospital lactation consultants are IBCLC certified?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker. The answer that I had been given was that most are, but not all are. There are different levels. You may have a nurse on the maternity ward who is not an IBCLC, but someone who is -- for instance, St. Francis employees an IBCLC. So there are places for everyone within the system. However, it's the IBCLCs, like I said, that have that conversation with the doctors.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Staneksi.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. Again, I thank the gentle woman for that answer. And through you, Mr. Speaker. So if we are not sure that all lactation consultants in our hospitals, where children are normally born; I know there's some home births, are not part of the IBCLC program, then by putting this link on the state Department of Health website, are we not excluding some very good lactation consultants?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you. And through you, Mr. Speaker. I wouldn't say that it would be excluding anyone. We are just saying who is an IBCLC. So we're not excluding certain IBCLCs. We're just showing who the IBCLCs are.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Staneksi.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if I could, ask the gentle woman if she has personally been through the training for the program and if she could describe the difference between being IBCL certified and one of the lactation consultants who are not?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I personally have not been through the training program. But I do have -- and it was stated before. The difference is in the number of classroom hours, the number of required clinical experience hours and the college prerequisites.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank her for that question. So I passed -- I voted to pass this out of Public Health because, as Representative from the 113th said, it's a bill that how do you not vote for it? But after I voted it out, I happened to be having a conversation with my daughter who lives in another state, who actually is the program director for lactation consultants for Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. And I was reading her the bill and she had some concerns that she brought to my attention, because she said, "mom, if you remember, you gave birth to four kids and I have your granddaughter. It starts in the hospital and this really should be something that's a process between the pediatrician who is examining the child on a regular basis. " Promoting breastfeeding as a healthy, low-cost, preventative health measure is something that they do in the hospital with most births as the birth happens and the children and the parents are discharged.

So it is -- while I will be voting for this, I do think that it does not solve an issue that we have with respect to promoting breastfeeding as a way to develop healthy relationships between mothers and their infants. I know out of my four children, my youngest -- you would have thought after three older children, it would have been a whiz. But we had difficult bringing him to the breast and I did go back to the pediatrician and we worked with them and I actually was able to find a lactation consultant many years ago through the hospital where I gave birth to him. Now he's 24 and a strapping young man.

So I do respect that the intent of this bill. I will be supporting it. But I really do think that if we are going to have a goal of assisting mothers who need help in finding qualified lactation services, then we should be including all certified lactation care providers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Betts of the 78th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you and good evening, Mr. Speaker. I have no questions, but since we're on the amendment, I feel a need after listening to this debate to express the reasons why I feel so uncomfortable with voting and supporting this.

I did not think it was the role of government or the legislators to make decisions that individuals can do themselves, whether it's parents, whether it's medical professionals. I thought ours was to be able to partner and enhance systems to make it easier for people. As has already been stated, clearly this is not necessary. It's highly debatable as to whether we should be making a recommendation as to what the gold standard is. I know I certainly don't have that ability and I would not want to go on the record as saying this is the standard by which we are going.