THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel) Will the House please come to order. Will the members, staff, and guests please rise and direct your attention to the Dais where we have a special guest Pastor Dan Darling who will lead us in prayer. He is from the great city of North Haven.

PASTOR DAN DARLING:

Thank you, it is a great honor to be here this morning. Let's pray. God of Heaven, we thank You for this beautiful day and opportunity to stand Lord in this hallowed hall. We are thankful this morning Lord for each person that is here. We are thankful dear Father that they serve so wonderfully and with an open heart and an open mind and I pray Lord that You might bless them. I pray Lord that You might give them wisdom and understanding and guidance. I am overwhelmed Lord this morning how much they care for your people, how much they care for this great state and our nation, what I pray that You might uphold them and we will uphold their arms and we will encourage them and strengthen them that they might be great witnesses for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country and in this great state. So that I pray that You might uphold them and we will uphold their arms and we will encourage them and strengthen them that they might be great witnesses for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country and in this great state. So that I pray that You might bless it, bless today, bless them in what they are doing that it might bring honor and glory to our God on high and we will thank you in Jesus' name. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, very much sir. Would Representative Dunsby of the 135th District please come to the Dais and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

(All)I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, invisible, with liberty and justice for all. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Is there any business on Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. The only business on the Clerk's desk is the Daily Calendar.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much Sir. Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Joe Polletta the 68th. You have the floor, Sir.

JOSEPH POLLETTA (68TH):

Good Morning, Mr. Speaker. How are you?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Excellent, how are you, Sir?

JOSEPH POLETTA (68TH):

Great. I rise for a purpose of introduction.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

JOSEPH POLETTA (68TH):

Let me, joining with me here is former State Rep and Senator Eric Berthel welcoming our wonderful Mrs. Rachael Ryan who is a teacher at Taft School in Watertown. (Applause and cheers) This is one of our top college preparatory schools in the country and we are very gracious to have Taft School in the wonderful 68th District and the 32nd Senate District. So if the Chamber would be extend a warm welcome to Mrs. Rachael Ryan and in our gallery some political science and AP-American Government students that have come to see how we do business in the House of Representatives. Thank you. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Polletta, I can't see the gallery from here but when you introduced the teacher I heard this cheering crowd go up behind me, so she must be very good at what she does. She has her fans with her today, so thank you for coming up to the Capitol.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Are there any other announcements or introductions? -- Any other announcements or introductions? Seeing none, will the Clerk please call House Calendar 501.

CLERK:

On page 1, House Calendar 501, House Resolution No. 015 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ELIN KATZ, ESQUIRE, OF WEST HARTFORD, TO BE REAPPOINTED CONSUMER COUNSEL, Favorable Report of the House Committee on Executive and Legislative nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative D'Agostino of the 91st, you have the floor, sir.

REP D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Good Morning. I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the Resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. This is for the reappointment of our Consumer Counsel, Elin Katz. She has been in that position since 2011 and the Committee felt that she deserved reappointment. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Perillo of 113th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RERILLO (113TH):

Good Morning Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good Morning, Sir.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

I would concur with the Gentleman, Ms. Katz has done a wonderful job, is eminently qualified to continue her work and I would urge adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Pavalock-D'Amato of the 77th, you have the floor ma'am. You do not, okay. -- Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor please signify by saying Aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed Nay. The Ayes have it. The Resolution is adopted. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 502.

CLERK:

On page 2, House Calendar 502, House Resolution No. 016, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF JORDAN A. SCHEFF OF VERNON TO BE A COMMISSIONER OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES, Favorable Report of the House Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative D'Agostino of the 91st, you have the floor, Sir.

REP D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move for acceptance of the Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution. Will you remark further?

REP D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Scheff is currently the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services and the Committee felt like he would make an excellent Commissioner of DDS. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you again Mr. Speaker. I would concur. The individual is eminently qualified and would encourage it.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Ackert of the 8th District, there you are, sir.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker and good morning.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

I also rise in support of this nomination. Mr. Scheff not only is doing a great job here but prior to that he served at March Inc. which served these individuals also and as an advocate for youth sports and very involved in his community I rise in support of this nomination. Thank you sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much Representative. Any remark further? Any remark further, if not let me try your minds. All those in favor please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed Nay. The Ayes have it. The Resolution is adopted. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 505. I'm sorry, 503.

CLERK:

On page 2, House Calendar 503 House Joint Resolution No. 112, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THE HONORABLE ELIZABETH A. BOZZUTO OF WATERTOWN TO BE A MEMBER OF THE JUDICIAL REVIEW COUNCIL AS A SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE. Favorable Report of Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. PETIT (22ND): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to recuse myself for potential conflict. Thank you

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much sir. The Chamber will stand at ease.

The Chamber will come back to order. Representative Vargas of the 6th District, you have the floor sir.

REP VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on Acceptance of Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Adoption of the Resolution. Representative Vargas please proceed.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Yes. Elizabeth A. Bozutto is, I move her appointment to be a member of the Judicial Review Counsel. She holds a Doctorate Degree in Law from the Western New England University School of Law. Currently she is Chief Administrative Judge at the Family Division of State of Connecticut and a former partner in Secor, Cassidy and McPartland. She is currently a member of the Executive Committee of Superior Court Judges and currently affiliated with the Connecticut Judge's Association and many other organizations, has served on many commissions including the Commission on Child Support Guidelines, Task Force on Civil Restraining Orders, Task force to study state wide response to minors exposed to domestic violence. I urge a favorable vote.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Perillo of the 113th. You have the floor sir.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would concur with the gentleman. Judge Bozutto is very highly regarded here in the state and within the judicial community and I would urge adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much sir. Will you remark? Will you remark further? I see Representative Polletta's button is pushed. Is he prepared to speak? Please proceed sir.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Judge Bozzuto who was just confirmed for another term on the Superior Court is a lifelong resident of Watertown. She is a wise, hardworking, dedicated judge in addition to being a dutiful mother and daughter. I am proud to support her and I hope all my colleagues will join me this morning. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor please signify by say Aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed, Nay. The Ayes have it. The Resolution is adopted. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 505.

CLERK:

On page 2, House Calendar 505, House Joint Resolution No. 114, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF MICHELE C. MOUNT, ESQUIRE OF MONROE TO BE A HUMAN RIGHTS REFEREE. Favorable Report of Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas of the 6th District, you have the floor sir.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much sir. The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution. Representative Vargas you have the floor.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. The Resolution is to reappoint Michele C. Mount to be a Human Right's Referee. She has a Juris Doctor from Quinnipiac University School of Law where she received the cum laude, with honors and has held extensive positions as an attorney including a position as adjunct law professor at Quinnipiac and formerly as Superior Court law clerk at the Connecticut State Superior Court. She is currently as Chief Human Rights Referee on the Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities and has extensive background as a producer and director and I urge a favorable vote Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much sir. When this vote is taken, it will be taken by role. When this vote is taken, it will be taken by role. Representative Perillo of the 113th you have the floor, sir.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I believe the gentleman did a good job of introducing and sharing the candidate's experience and we will let the Chamber decide.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark? Will you remark? If not, members, staff and guests please take your seats. The machine will be open.

CLERK:

The House of Representatives is voting by role, members to the Chamber. The House of Representatives is voting by role, members to the Chamber.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the Members voted? If all the members have voted please check the board to insure that your vote has been properly cast. If all the members have voted the machine will locked and the Clerk can take a tally. The Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Joint Resolution 114:

Total Number of Voting 142

Necessary for Adoption 72

Those Voting Yea 72

Those Voting Nay 70

Absent and Not Voting 9

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Resolution is adopted. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 506.

CLERK:

On page 2, House Calendar 506, HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 115 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ERICK A. RUSSELL OF NEW HAVEN TO BE A MEMBER OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMISSION Favorable Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Vargas of the 6th District, you have the floor sir.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution. Representative Vargas you have the floor.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Russell holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He also holds a Bachelor's Degree which he earned Magna Cum Laude in Criminal Justice and Investigative Services from the University of New Haven. Currently he is an Associate Attorney at Pullman and Comley, LLC and among his other, his extensive background, he is currently affiliated with the National Association of Bond Lawyers, the Connecticut Bar Association and many other organizations. He co-chairs the New Haven Democratic Town Committee and is currently a Board of Directors member of Discovering Amistad and a co-chair of Lambda Legal. I urge a favorable vote Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much sir. Will you remark further. Representative Perillo of the 113th, you have the floor sir.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. As the Representative said Attorney Russell is eminently qualified for this position and I urge the Chamber to adopt the Resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not let me try you minds. All those in favor please signify by saying Aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Those opposed Nay. The Ayes have it. The Resolution is adopted. (Gavel)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Would the Clerk please call House Resolution 507.

CLERK:

On page 3 House Calendar 507 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 116 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF NICHOLAS KAPOOR OF MONROE TO BE A NUMBER OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES Favorable Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Question before the Chamber is the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution. Will you comment further?

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Kapoor is from the town of Monroe. He holds a Master's from Sacred Heart University and a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and Government and Politics from Sacred Heart University. Currently he is a financial analyst at One Engineering, Inc. , and adjunct professor at the Department of Mathematics and Government Politics and Global Studies at Sacred Heart University and currently a Monroe Town Councilman, youngest ever elected member of the town council. Other information includes he is currently a member of the Democratic Town Committee in Monroe, a Justice of the Peace and has served on the Monroe Board of Ethics. Mr. Speaker I urge a favorable vote. He is a delightful young man I might add.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Any comment further? Any comment further? Representative Perillo 75th.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker, it's the 113th.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Excuse me, it's the 113th.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

As the gentleman said, Mr. Kapoor is indeed filling a vacancy on the Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities. He has experience in a number of different areas. He has been very active on the Democratic Town Committee in Monroe. Thank you sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Will comment further on the Resolution before us? Any comments further? Representative Sredzinski of the 112th.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I rise today to urge support of my constituent Nicholas Kapoor. He lives in the town of Monroe. I have served with him on the Town Council. He is a diligent young man who works very hard for his community and while in we may disagree on items of concern in our town he is a hard worker and he definitely has the best interests of the town and the state and I urge my colleagues to support him. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Any comment further on the Resolution before us? Any comment further on the Resolution before us? Seeing none, let me try your minds. All those in favor of the Resolution signify by saying Aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Opposed? The Ayes have it. Resolution passes. (Gavel) Would the Clerk please call House Resolution 504.

CLERK:

On Page 2, House Calendar 504 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION No. 113 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ERIC J. GEORGE OF GLASTONBURY TO BE A MEMBER OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMISSION. Favorable Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Mr. Clerk. The Chamber should note that when this vote is taken, this vote will be taken by roll call. The Chamber recognizes Chairman Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution. Will you comment further Representative?

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. George is from the Town of Glastonbury. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law, a Bachelor's Degree which he earned Cum Laude from the University of Connecticut. His professional experience includes currently being the President of the Insurance Association of Connecticut, and he is formerly was a principal at Eric George Group LLC, formerly a chief healthcare lobbyist and in-house counsel at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, CBIA, and formerly an attorney at Pullman and Comley. Currently he is a member of the Connecticut Bar, currently serves on the Board of Education in the Town of Glastonbury and is a former Chairman of the Connecticut Judicial Selection Committee. Mr. Speaker I urge a favorable vote from all our colleagues. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Will you comment further on the Resolution before us? Representative Perillo of the 113th, sir.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Many of us in this Chamber know Eric George. We know him to be a man of honesty and integrity. He passed unanimously out of Exec Noms and I would urge adoption of the Resolution.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Will you comment further on the Resolution? Dr. Srinivasan, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good morning Mr. Speaker. How are you?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good morning sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you Mr. Speaker, I too rise in strong support of the nomination of Eric George. I have had the good fortune of working with this fine gentleman for many years in the Town of Glastonbury and as we heard he serves on the Board of Ed, a gentleman who's dedicated and does and takes his responsibilities very seriously. I urge that my colleagues, both sides of the aisle, support this nomination. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you sir. Representative Tweedie of the 13th, sir.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. And I also rise in support of the nomination of Eric George to be a member of the Criminal Justice Commission as everything stated by my fellow representative from Glastonbury has stated. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Will you comment further on the resolution? Will you comment further on the Resolution? If not, will staff and guests please come to the well of the House, will members please take their seats? The board will be opened.

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will members please check the board to see if your vote has been properly cast. For all members who voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally. Clerk please announce tally.

CLERK:

House Joint Resolution 113:

Total Number of Voting 141

Necessary for Adoption 71

Those Voting Yea 141

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 10

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Resolution passes. (Gavel)

Chamber recognizes Representative Ferraro for the purpose to which to Stand in the Chamber.

REP. FERRARO: (117TH):

I'm not sure Mr. Speaker, what did I vote? I was kind of caught up in something.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber will stand at ease. Representative you voted in the affirmative.

REP. FERRARO: (117TH):

Great, thank you Mr. Speaker. My vote stands.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. The Chamber recognizes Majority Leader Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Two quick announcements on our side of the aisle. One is we are going to be having an immediate Democratic Caucus after the announcements are done here. And number two we have a birthday, he is mad at me because I am going to do it, but one of the newest State Reps in our Chamber from the 7th District in Hartford, Representative Josh Hall. Happy Birthday. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Congratulations and many more sir. Chamber recognizes the Minority Leader Klarides for the purpose of an introduction.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker in honor of National Police Week we have invited law enforcement up to the Capitol today to thank them for their duty and service in keeping all of us safe. To show our solidarity with law enforcement we have all worn blue to tell them we, except Representative Floren apparently, to show them we stand with them in the difficult job they have to do each day. We have many of them down in the well today from our state colleges and universities, local police, DEP and law enforcement and of course as always, our great Capitol Police. If they can please stand and we can please give them a round of applause and thanks. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Madam Minority Leader and thank you for your service not only to your communities but to the State of Connecticut as a whole. Thank you for your service. The Chamber recognizes Representative Skuleczyck of the 45th sir, for the purposes of an announcement or introduction.

REP. SKULECZYCK (45TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Just a followup for our leadership here, it's Skuleczyck but it is a confusing name, I understand Mr. Speaker. Thank you. I just want to also recognize the folks that came up from the Department of Motor Vehicle, Norwich Police Department, DEP and also the Campus Police with the Capital Police. I am privileged to have been a part of organizing this today and working with our leadership and in this week of National Recognition for Police Officers throughout our country, I just think we all keep it in mind that it is a tough job, they serve and we appreciate what they do. I know the folks in this House, we debate a lot of issues but we all can agree we respect and appreciate everything the men and women do in blue across this country. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative Skuleczyck. (Applause). Representative Klarides of the 114th, ma'am.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would just like to announce that upon recess the House Republicans will be caucusing in Room 110.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you madam. The Chamber will stand at ease. The Chamber will recess subject to the Call of Chair. Representative Abercrombie.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker we would like to recess subject to the Call of the Chair. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber will recess subject to the Call of the Chair. Thank you.

(On motion of Representative Abercrombie of the 83rd District, the House recessed at 11: 22 o'clock a. m. to reconvene at the Call of the Chair. )

(The House reconvened at 1: 51 o'clock p. m. Deputy Speaker Berger (73RD) in the Chair. )

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

(Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Any announcements or introductions? Seeing none, we will return to the Call of the Calendar. Would the Clerk please call House Calendar 320.

CLERK:

On page 24, House Calendar 320 SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL NO. 7212 AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROMOTION OF LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAMS Favorable Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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 BERGER (73RD):

Question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill. Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker thank you. Today we are considering a good piece of legislation that comes out of the Higher Education Committee concerning the promotion of loan forgiveness programs. Mr. Speaker there are two important federal student loan forgiveness programs that many residents in the State of Connecticut are eligible for but do not participate in and we would like to make sure that our residents benefit from the value of these federal loan forgiveness programs. And so this legislation addresses that issue by requiring public service employers to first get the information which is a responsibility of the State to provide them with the information and then provide their employees with the information necessary for them to first understand and then enroll in the loan forgiveness programs. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has in his possession LCO 7029, if he could call that Amendment that would be good.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Could the Clerk please call LCO No. 7029 which will be designated as

House Amendment Schedule "A".

CLERK:

House Amendments Schedule "A" LCO No. 7029 offered by Representative Haddad, Representative Staneski and Representative Ziogas.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Mr. Clerk. The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the Amendment. Is there objection to summarization? Is there objection to summarization? Seeing and hearing none, Representative Haddad you can proceed with your summarization.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker this outlines just a couple of small changes from the underlying file copy. First it clarifies that the state agency responsible for providing the information about federal student, federal loan forgiveness programs to public service employers shall be the Office of Higher Education rather than the State Loan Ombudsman. We felt like that was a better choice given the current circumstances in state government. Secondarily listening very closely to the concerns that were raised during the public debate at the Higher Education Committee this Amendment also exempts public service employers who employ fewer than 10 fulltime employees from some of the requirements of the legislation and we think that that is a reasonable accommodation for small nonprofits who will be provided the information but will not have to be mandated to provide that to their employees. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. The question before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule "A". We remark on the amendment. Representative Staneski of the 119th, sir.

REP. STANEKSI (119TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker, good afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon ma'am.

REP. STANEKSI (119TH):

I rise in support of this amended legislation and the good Chairman of Higher Education explained some of the changes and why they were necessary to the passage of this bill. I do believe that this is a good bill. We had one of our teachers from the technical high school down in the district that I serve come and testify that she had been teaching many years at our technical high school and did not realize that she was eligible for this program so, it's a touch. It doesn't end, solve all the issues but it is another touch to let those people who are in public service organizations such as teaching, know that these opportunities are out there and with the loan debt the way that it is, I think that when you are going into teaching or working for public service organization, if there is any program out there that you can qualify for we certainly would like to be cognizant of that when we are passing that information on. And I had an earlier conversation with the Chair of Higher Ed about this notification and that while this program, this loan forgiveness program was passed in 2011 I think is the date, it did not go into effect until the 17th, 2017 and there is 400,000 people eligible for this of which only 150,000 have actually checked off the box that they are interested. So I do think this piece of legislation is good regarding education and I would urge my colleagues to support it. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Further on the Amendment. Further on the Amendment? Representative Ackert of the 8th.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker, good to see you there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Sir, thank you.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Through you, a couple of questions on the Amendment which will become to the Bill to you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Representative Haddad, prepare yourself. Representative Ackert. Please proceed.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. And through you to the good Gentleman, public service employer, just a quick rundown, I know he mentioned boards of education, but would that also include the my local police department? Would it also include the public works department, the town administration building also as a couple of suggestions through you Mr. Speaker? Would that be included under public service employer?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker and I think that is a very good question. Through you in response, there are two programs that this bill seeks to promote, one is the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program that provides a forgiveness of up to $ 17,500 for federal student loans for individuals who teach fulltime for five consecutive academic years. Additionally the other program is one for public, employees of public service organizations. That program waves outstanding balances of student loans after ten years of working for a federal, state, local agency including the ones that you mentioned Representative Ackert as well as a public nonprofit or certain other nonprofits that meet certain occupational goals. And so in the example that you cite, those employees would be eligible for one of the two programs annunciated in the Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you to the good Gentleman for the answer and I thought that if would have been but I wanted to be clear on that. And also through you, at this time, today, is there anything inhibiting these organizations from doing this now?

Through you Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, nothing but ignorance, I think. I think that most of our employers both in nonprofits and in government, I think would see some real value in providing this information to their employees. What this bill does is make that really easy. It assigns to the Office of Higher Education the responsibility of developing exactly the kind of information that should be delivered to employees. We deliver that information through e-mail so that we can avoid any fiscal impact on the Office of Higher Education and we require employers, public service organizations to provide that information to new employees with their new employee packet and maybe tack it above the copier or some other conspicuous place of employment. And in doing so I think for very, very low cost, we make sure that our residents are eligible for very substantial benefits potentially, if they have federal student loans to take advantage of those benefits.

Through your Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker and I do appreciate the answers. I do appreciate that we have these programs. My daughter was fortunate enough to be aware of this loan forgiveness and took advantage of it and it helped obviously with her student loans. Through you though I see there is times, dates that the employer must do certain things, make sure that they are aware of these within two weeks of their start date in some manner. Would, I didn't notice that could posting it on an employee work board fit the criteria for these notifications?

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, I think that the bill contemplates that we would share this information with employees in two different ways. One is to new employees upon arrival or upon hire, their first day when employers typically provide a lot of information as part of a new employee orientation that they would provide the information to new employees and that they would also take advantage of posting a notice or a flyer somewhere else conspicuous in the place of employment.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate that. Most of that language is consistent with what we had but I didn't know if it changed in the Amendment which will become the Legislation. And through you Mr. Speaker, I see that there on Lines 59-67 talks about, I want to call I guess it would be violations. Is there, besides being under a violation, is there any penalty that can be imposed on these organizations?

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, the Bill requires that there would be a corrective action ordered. I think that what we would see in affect is that the Office of Higher Education would resend the information that should be provided to employees if they received a complaint and learned of an employer that was not. The Bill does not have any financial or fiscal penalties in it for employers who don't comply. But again I think that most of our employers would be happy with a benefit that would be quite substantial to employees if they were deemed to be eligible. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. And again thanks to the good gentleman and through you Mr. Speaker besides this legislation the actions that we are going to ask our public service employers to do, are we aware of any actions that have not worked, that could have been dong say from, the union or from the employer that hasn't worked, or is it just the first step in notification?

Through you Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker I know that a lot of the ideas around this came actually we had some public testimony from folks who were involved in labor unions and I know that they have been working to promote these programs as well. I would say this, just to correct very small, minor corrections to something that Representative Staneski said earlier, the public service, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program that was passed in 2007 the GAO estimates as many as four million people are eligible for that nationwide but at last estimate fewer than 150,000 had signed up and so I think there is a long way to go to make sure that people understand that this is eligible. The first time that enrollees are eligible for the loan forgiveness will be in October of 2017, October of this year. So I think this is a new opportunity and it is a good reason to believe that maybe employers and other folks aren't doing as great a job at making sure that this program is available to folks and we have a great opportunity to do this now, to get the information out to folks and make sure that they save substantially on their outstanding student debt.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker and I can't thank the good gentleman enough for his responses. I think part of my concern, I don't want to call it a concern, that there has been opportunities I think that have been missed by the employers maybe, by the representation of these employees that they did not take advantage of and the this was dumped on here but I think, I'll listen if there is any other dialogue on it, but I hope that we could help these individuals learn of this plan whether it is through this action or others that we continue to let people know about the opportunities out there for them to save money on their student loans, so I thank you Mr. Speaker and I thank the good gentleman for his efforts.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative Ackert. Further on the Amendment? Further on the Amendment? Further on the Amendment before the Chamber? Representative Cheeseman of the 37th.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. And I would like to thank the Chair of the Committee and the ranking member for the work they have done to improve this bill, this Amendment. I especially appreciate the move to make it subject for companies who employ more than ten fulltime employees. I still have concerns as someone who runs a not-for- profit and Mr. Speaker if I could get a bit more attention that would be great.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Yes, thank you ma'am. (Gavel)

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. As I say,

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Hold one second, ma'am. Could the Chamber please take conversations outside the Chamber, the Representative is making comments and preparing for questions concerning the Amendment before us. Thank you. Please proceed Representative.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. As someone who runs a small not-for-profit, I know that it will be easy to get the details from the Office of Higher Ed to supply the postings but I still have real philosophical issues with putting another mandate on our employers, whether thank you're Boards of Ed, whether they are town organizations like the police department, the fire department and particularly our small not for profits. I had extensive conversations with my employees at my small not-for- profit two of whom are subject to his loan forgiveness and they basically said to me, why is it your job to tell us that we are eligible for this? I think we have to look very carefully as worthy as this goals is, at what we do to add to the burden of business, whether they be for profit, or not-for-profit. So again I applaud the goal of this, I thank the Chair and the ranking member for improving this Amendment, but I still feel it is another burden on organizations in our state and I will not be supporting the Amendment. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Further on the Amendment before the Chamber? Representative Srinivasan, you have the floor sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Through you just a few questions to the proponent of the Bill as amended.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad prepare yourself. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you Mr. Speaker in listening to this conversation, as we speak right now, I did hear the conversation between representative Ackert and the good Chairman, but I just want to be clear, as we speak now, how is this information available for people to get their loans forgiven.

Through your Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, I know that the federal government passed this legislation in 2007, it become effective in October of 2017. I really can't speak to how widely known it is amongst the folks in the general population who serve for public service organizations. We heard some public testimony from folks who actually, I think, learned through their labor union that they might be eligible but otherwise would not have. I don't know that is adequate in and of itself and so we were asked to consider making sure that this information is more widely available through employers. The program itself is employer dependent. It is not the kind of work that you do for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, it is dependent on the kind of employer you work for and so it makes sense to us that we should ask those employers to share the information with their employees who will be eligible beginning this fall. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you Mr. Speaker as I understand this, this information will be shared by the employers. It will be required, I'm sorry, not shared, required by the employers to share it with their employees and as far as the availability of these loans and these loans are all only federal loans through you Mr. Speaker. Loans are only federal.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, yes this is a federal student loan forgiveness program that we are working to promote. It is only federal student loans. If you hold them and you have served nonprofit organization or a government organization for ten years, and made your payments, you have the loan in good standing, then you are eligible after the ten year period to have the remainder of your debt eliminated.

Through your Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you Mr. Speaker the responsibility of the employer, that is what I am most concerned with in the piece of legislation. So the responsibility of the employer is to just provide the information whether it be putting it up on the bulletin board or by an e-mail to the employers and other than that, the employer does not have any other responsibility in going through the application, whether the person is eligible, non-eligible, all of those criteria is not in the purview of the employer.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker I think that is correct. Yea. We require employers, in public service organizations, to provide a fact sheet, some frequently asked questions aobut the programs and to have applications available upon request by an employee but they are not required to help an employee determine whether or not they are available. They are often times no privy to the kinds of student loans that their employees might have so that will still be a responsibility of the employee not the employer but the employee will be advantaged by having the information in their hands.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you Mr. Speaker if the employer fails to provide this information to the employee and will there be any repercussions on the employer.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker the bill does not provide for any repercussions other than a letter from the Office of Higher Education asking them to comply in the future which I would deem to be a corrective action.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

RES. SRINIVASAN:

So through you Mr. Speaker, so that letter that will come from the Office of Higher Education, how would that letter be generated, through you Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, I would imagine that upon a complaint that an employer is not meeting the notice requirements that are outlined in the Bill, The Office of Higher Education would seek to determine whether or not the employer has complied. If they determine they have not complied, then they would, I think, probably resend all of the information that they are required to give to their employees and notify them of their requirements under the bill.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you Mr. Speaker, so when a complaint is made by an employee, because the employer failed to give the necessary information either by a sign on the bulletin board or an e-mail when the employee files a complaint with the Office of Higher Ed. The Office of Higher Ed then sends a letter to the employer telling them that this was one of the things that was supposed to do but they did not do, but in that scenario, which is where I am concerned about in this bill, will the employer be held liable in any form?

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, No.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you Mr. Speaker now wearing the employee's hat, who was not informed by the employer and filed a complaint. What happens to that employee at the end because if there is no fine to the employer, what is the gain as far as the employee is concerned, through you Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker I am not sure I understand the question if he could repeat it?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Representative Srinivasan could you restate or reassess you question to the representative?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

I definitely well. Thank you Mr. Speaker I will. So when the employee has not been informed of such a loan forgiveness program, finds about it through a friend in a casual setting, files the complaint to the Office of Higher Education. The Office of Higher Education obviously sends a letter to the employer saying they did not comply, they should have done this, this, that or the other. I get that part, you made that very clear and I want to thank you for that, that there is no repercussions as far as the employer is concerned. But since the employee was not made aware of such a program perhaps lost the opportunity of getting that loan forgiveness, because it was not brought to their attention by the employer. Would that employee then be in a situation that could file some complaint or a law suit or take it to some higher level against the employer?

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that the bill addresses that, addresses that concern directly. I think that what this bill does, it attempts to share information about a publically adopted loan forgiveness program run by the federal government that it itself is trying to promote. I think that we are trying to promote it as well through the efforts of this Legislation. I am not an attorney. I don't know if frankly, if failure, of an employee to become aware of a program would be grounds for a lawsuit. I suspect not, but I think that what we are trying to do is just prevent that circumstance so that the employee can take advantage of the Loan Forgiveness Program as soon as they are eligible.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you Mr. Speaker and that is where I find that this bill is deficient in. It is a great concept, no question about that at all that people should be aware of the availability of such loan forgiveness programs, but I think to require the employer to be responsible to give that information to the employee is a, and not knowing if that information is not given to the employee what impact it could have on the employer is the part of the bill since it doesn't address that, I find that it is lacking in. I do agree, it is a good first step but I am very concerned Mr. Speaker that since it does not address the fact, if an employer, is either not aware of it or chooses not to comply, the repercussions on the employer is my big concern with this piece of legislation. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you representative. On the Amendment before the Chamber, on the Amendment, Representative Staneski of the 119th sir, ma'am.

REP. STANEKSI (119TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker for the second time. I just want to thank the good Chair of Higher Ed for correcting my misinformation that I gave out earlier and actually the numbers that he gave even show that this Legislation should be supported more than the numbers that I gave, the need for it. I am not sure if my colleagues in this Chamber are aware that those who worked for us and with us in this Chamber are also eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. In fact I was chatting with one of our staff members who said that he has taken it upon himself to let every new employee who comes to work for our side of the aisle know about this program and that you have to fill out an application every year to have his job certified, the employment certified as one that is accepted by the program and by filling it out every year he keeps his payment the same, so I understand the concerns about this being a mandate, but being in the education field for a few years, when you go and you sit down with your Human Services Director, and they give you the packet of information of everything that you need, we're not asking for them to give a whole lot more. Two pieces of paper at most, a link to a website and certainly I think that in good faith we look at those nonprofits that have very small numbers in their employment and I would just urge my colleagues again to treat this as another piece of information that can help our consumers with their loan debt. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Will you remark further, remark further on the Amendment before us. If not, I will try you minds. All those in favor of the Amendment signify by saying Aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Those opposed Nay.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Nay.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Aye's have it, the Amendment passes. (Gavel)

Will you remark further on the Bill as amended?

Will you remark further on the Bill as amended? Representative Haddad. You're good? Okay. Representative Belsito on the Bill as Amended sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

On the Bill as Amended, through you Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad please prepare yourself. Will Representative Belsito please proceed, you have the floor sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Through you, do you know exactly why this only relates to public figures, public working area and not the rest of the state?

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, when the federal government set up the program, they set out the parameters of the program, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. It applies to employees who work for all federal, state, local activities, and for to nonprofits and certain other kind of nonprofit organizations though it does not include religious organizations or labor organizations, there are other kinds of non-for-profit organizations. The GAO estimates that as many as 25 percent of our workforce works at one of these kinds of organizations. I imagine that when the Bill was adopted we were trying to encourage folks to take and to work in these kinds of organizations and that is why they adopted the program.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you Mr. Speaker and through you Mr. Speaker, is there a possibility that this is going to cost the taxpayers of the State of Connecticut any funds? I know the fiscal report says nothing, but somebody has to pay for this.

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, it forgives federal loans, the federal government picks up the cost of reimbursing of, forgiving the federal loans that are outstanding. There is no fiscal impact.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Through you, thank you Mr. Speaker. And through you Mr. Speaker, to the proponent, why is it only federal jobs and state jobs that are being selected for this recovery for the loan where they don't have to pay it?

Through you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you Mr. Speaker, when congress passed the bill, that's the way they set up the parameters of the program.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. It seems to me that this is a very biased bill because there are a lot of other people who are working in the State of Connecticut and across the country. If it is 25 percent who are working for state agencies and federal agencies that leaves 75 percent of the people are not getting this benefit. And if they are not getting the benefit and the federal government is forgiving loans that means the federal government has already paid for the education of these individuals. But the rest of us have to pay for it. You know there is an old axiom that comes out of economics and it says zero for zero which means nothing for nothing. So that means if that if you are going to take a state or federal job, you can get your loan forgiven and that is not fair to the rest of the taxpayers, especially in this day and age. So I would be voting against this because this is not fair for everybody. This bill should have never passed Congress, never mind passing the State of Connecticut. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Will you comment further on the Bill as Amended? Will you comment further on this Bill as Amended? If not will staff and guests please come to the level of the House. Will members please take your seats. The board will be opened. (Bells)

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.

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, please check the board to see if your vote has properly been cast. If all the members have voted, the board will be locked and the clerk with take the tally.

Will the Clerk please announce the tally?

CLERK:

House Bill 7212 As Amended by House "A":

Total Number of Voting 144

Necessary for Passage 73

Those Voting Yea 95

Those Voting Nay 49

Absent and Not Voting 7

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Bill as Amended passes. (Gavel)

Chamber recognizes Representative Lemar. For purpose you arise sir?

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I apologize for missing the vote. I wish the record reflect that I voted in the affirmative. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Clerk recognizes Mr. Lemar in the affirmative.

Any announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Esteemed Minority Leader, Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. In continuing the day and honoring National Law Enforcement Week, we have in the well of the House several Hartford Police that have come to visit us today and one Connecticut State Police Trooper coming to that I have a special affinity for because she is a female policeman and we know how I feel about female leaders. I think they do the job better, what do you think, Mr. Speaker? (Laughter) Yea.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Without question.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Okay. Well, please stand up our law enforcement who protect us and serve us every day. Thank you for your service and please give them a great welcome (Applause).

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you for your service to your municipalities, your towns and the State of Connecticut. Thank you for your service and your commitment. The Chamber recognizes Majority Leader Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would also be remiss if I didn't echo the comments of the Minority Leader and we certainly appreciate it, on behalf of the City of Hartford and the Hartford Delegation, we want to also thank our men and the woman in blue for the great work they do for our city. Thank you very much guys, we appreciate it. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Majority Leader. Any announcements or introductions? Representative Godfrey. I believe we have three representatives that will be introducing, Danbury Day today Representative Godfrey please proceed.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

That is correct Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much. It is Danbury Day. If you haven't gotten a chance to go up to Judiciary, there is still some food left I understand and a number of community organizations from Western Connecticut State University and the local school system from the downtown district and many other very fine Danburians and groups, so I hope you get a chance to go up and see them. Danbury Day has been around for a while and we have had the opportunity to recognize this year four specific Danburians whose lifetime activities and service to the community are exemplary. Three of them are still here, Glenda Armstrong regrettably had to leave. Glenda has been active in Danbury, she worked until her retirement for the Alternative School, Alternative High School in Danbury. She was also a member of the State Board of Education under Ella Grasso and has been very active in the NAACP and the Community Action Organization in Danbury.

Still with us and I will ask each of them to standup as I mention their name, first one is Mary Consoli. Mary is a registered nurse and being the son of a registered nurse, I worship the ground that they walk on. There is no question in my mind. May has been very active in the community working for Danbury Hospital heading up the AFT Union of Nurses and Danbury Hospital and recently retired and we thank you very much for your service Mary.

Also Tony Rizzo. Tony Rizzo has, is in construction as they say and has just done a tremendous number of building another success in the City of Danbury for almost his entire life. We recognize you and thank you for your service.

And last but not least, Frank Cappiello. Frank ran a jewelry store in Danbury for many, many years. He helped found the Danbury Parking Authority way back when and yes, you may know him as the father of our former friend and member, colleague, Dave Cappiello. We thank Frank for his service too.

We recognized all four of these, the entire Danbury Delegation which included not only me and Dave Arconti and Michael Ferguson who live in Danbury but also Representative Harding, Representative Smith and Representative Duff all have little pieces and we are just very, very proud to have been able to put this together along with our State Senator Mike McLachlan who has also joined us down here and at this point Mr. Speaker I would hope that you would call on Representative Ferguson next. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative Godfrey. Representative Ferguson of the 138th, sir.

REP. FERGUSON (138TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. With me today, actually in the well of the House, I would like to recognize her, sitting I believe near Senator McLachlan who is visiting with the Chamber here this afternoon is the Mayor of the Great City of Danbury Mark Boughton, so if we could all welcome him to the Chamber. (Applause) And behind me are members of the Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative which is Danbury's school based mentoring program which I am also happy to be a proud member of. We are joined with the new Director of the Program, Ellen Meyst, Board Members Bob Port, Carl Zinm, Farley Santos, and I believe that's it. And I just want to welcome them to the Chamber and I hope all of you will give them a warm welcome as well, so thank you very much Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Representative Arconti.

REP. ARCONTI (109TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. We have, I have one more introduction. In the spirit of Danbury Day, we have one of our former colleagues with us, she did not want to come down to the well of the House but she is up in the balcony. Lynn Taborsak former State Representative. She served from 1984 to 1992 and her son Joe Taborsak also served the 109th District from 2007 to 2012. Lynn is still very active in local Danbury politics and activism, and she is not shy about letting me know when she feels I have cast a bad vote. If the Chamber could join me in welcoming her back, I'd appreciate it. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber welcomes again former colleagues to the Chamber and representatives from Danbury, have a wonderful day and thank you for sharing Danbury history and tradition with us here in the Chamber today. Thank you.

The Chamber will return to the Call of the Calendar. Will the House Clerk please call Calendar No. 156.

CLERK:

On page 49, Calendar 156 FAVORABLE REPORT OF JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY. Substitute House Bill No. 7060. AN ACT PROHIBITING THE DISCLOSURE OF IDENTIFYING INFORMATION OF PARTICIPANTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING PROGRAM. DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

(GAVEL) Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Mr. Speaker I move for the Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Question before the Chamber is the Acceptance of the Joint committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill. Representative Rose you have the floor madam.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker after the creation of the Department of Housing's numerous housing programs were transferred to the Department of Housing to the Department of Social Services, however, some statutory provisions were not included in the transfer to the Department. This bill seeks to establish the same protections of personal information that the Department of Housing maintains similar to protections within DSS. I move for adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Motion on the floor is Adoption of the Bill. Motion is for Adoption of the Bill. Will you comment on the Bill before us, so would you comment on the bill before us? Representative Kupchick of the 132nd.

REP. KUPCHICK (132ND):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Through you Mr. Speaker a question for the proponent of the Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Rose please prepare yourself. Please proceed Representative.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Through you, to the proponent of the Bill, in the original Bill there was a section that required the law enforcement to have to go through the courts to be able to obtain information from the Department of Housing. Through you Mr. Speaker is that section still included in the Bill?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. speaker through you, to the Representative that clause has been removed on advice of local law enforcement that testified during public hearings, so the Judiciary Committee did remove that Section of the Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Kupchick.

REP. KUPCHICK (132ND):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate the clarification. That was definitely an issue with law enforcement and being able to access information to be able to keep the community inside public housing safe. I think that is an important piece that was removed and because of it being removed, I am in full support of the Bill. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Would you comment further on the Bill before us? Will you comment on further or remark further on the Bill before us? If not we will staff and guests come to the well of the House. Will members please take your seats. The board will be opened. (Bell)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Will the members please check the board to see if your vote has been properly cast. When all members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk with take the tally. Will the Clerk please announce the tally?

CLERK:

House Bill No. 7060:

Total Number of Voting 146

Necessary for Passage 74

Those Voting Yea 146

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 5

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The bill passes. (Gavel)

The Clerk please call House Calendar No. 154.

CLERK:

On page 10, House Calendar 154, Report Of The Joint Standing Committee On Banking. Substitute House Bill No. 7032 AN ACT REGARDING THE OFFICE OF THE STATE TREASURER'S RECOMMENDED REVISIONS TO THE ACHIEVING A BETTER LIFE EXPERIENCE PROGRAM.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Esteemed Chairman of the Banking Committee, Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Question before the Chamber is the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill. Please proceed Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Yes, Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker the Able Account Program is a program that established in Connecticut pursuant to federal law that has attracted broad bipartisan support. It helps families save for costs associated with disabled family members. Mr. Speaker this Bill simply makes two small changes to the program, one in response to federal law and two some clarifying changes to give the treasurer more flexibility to contract with other states. These were recommendations from the treasurer's office. Mr. Speaker the Clerk is in possession of an amendment LCO 6511. I ask that the Clerk please call the amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6511.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6511 designated House Amendment Schedule "A" and offered by Representatives Lesser and Simanski and Senators Martin and Winfield.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment. Is there objection to summarization? Is there objection? Hearing none, Representative Lesser please proceed with your summarization.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker this Amendment makes a number of minor and technical and conforming changes in response to request from the Legislative Commissioner's Office. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will you remark on the amendment before us? Will you remark on the amendment before us? Representative Simanski of the 62nd.

REP. SIMANSKI (62ND):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I agree this is a friendly amendment. It does everything the good Chairman said it would be and I would recommend we certainly approve it. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the Amendment "A" before us? If not, I will try you minds. All those in favor of the Amendment signify by saying Aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Opposed? The Ayes have it. The Amendment is adopted. (Gavel)

Remark further on the Bill as amended. Will you remark further on the Bill as amended? Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Good bill ought to pass.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. Will staff and guest please come to the well of the House, will members. I'm sorry Representative Simanski. I'm getting ahead of my 'skis' here. Representative Simanski.

REP. SIMANSKI (62ND):

Thank you Mr. Chair - Mr. Speaker. Just for the edification of this Chamber, this is a Bill, a concept that came to us last session by the good Representative Cromwell and if you think about it, if a person who has been saving for their child's education in a 529 Account, suddenly their child becomes disabled and all that money, you want to switch it over into now a special needs account that was the reason that we had the matter brought before us, we found out there are two different IRS statutes applying and we couldn't be done so we in fact empowered the treasurer to go out and study how to affect a 529 Account being switched to 529-A Account. So for the benefit of Representative Belsito, I just want to say this is a study that beared much fruit and then found out what we have to do to turn a 529 into 529-A so for the benefit of Representative Belsito, sometimes sir, the studies are really worthwhile and I would urge all members to vote for this Bill. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. There is certainly always a silver lining in what we do here Representative. Remark further on the bill? Remark further on the Bill? Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. This is one of the few times that a Bill was passed that was a study where they actually worked on it and the results have been dramatic. So this is going to help out quite a bit and this was a very good Bill and this is a very good Bill. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative Belsito. Can you review the count of the number of studies now when we can take this off the list, Representative Belisto?

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

So this was, it was 14,539 now there is 14,538. But I notice there are four or five more studies in the goal list but we are not getting to them today. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you for that Representative and thank you for that update. Will you comment further on the Bill as amended? Representative Cheeseman of the 37th.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. And I would not serving on Banking, I don't claim to have the knowledge that the people on the Banking Commission do, but I do think this is a wonderful bill and a great example of what this legislature can accomplish when it sets its mind to doing something wonderful. I can think of few things more distressing as a parent than to raise a child to see that child through an accident, an illness, an injury become incapable of fulfilling ones dreams and having an avenue, to put that money that one has saved for a college education, to go to ensuring that that child, after ones death, after ones disability, can really have a quality life. I think this is admirable, I want to thank my colleagues on the Banking Committee for bringing this forward and I will be proud to support this Bill. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you madam. Will you comment further on the Bill before us? Will you comment further on the amended Bill before us, if not will staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Will members please take your seats? The board will be open. (Bell).

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members voted, please check the board to see if your vote has been properly cast. If all the members voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take the tally.

Clerk, please announce the tally.

CLERK:

HOUSE BILL No. 7032 AS AMENDED BY HOUSE "A"

Total Number of Voting 146

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 146

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 5

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Bill as amended passes (Gavel). Will the Clerk please call Calendar 413.

CLERK:

On page 31, House Calendar 413, Substitute for House Bill 7034 AN ACT CONCERNING COMPUTER EXTORTION BY USE OF RANSOMWARE. FAVORABLE REPORT OF THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker I move for acceptance of Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill. Representative Stafstrom, please proceed you have the floor.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker the Bill before us is a very timely one given the attack this weekend of the Want-To-Cry ransomware virus that hit around the country affecting computers in 140 countries and over 200,000 computers including some of the world's largest businesses like FedEx, Nissan and the United Kingdom's National Health Service. Ransomware is a computer virus or types of computer virus which infect people's computers and they can only recover the information on their computer after paying a ransom to the person who put the virus on there. The Bill before us would create, in our State Statutes a specific Class E offense for computer extortion involving ransomware. The Class E felony is punishable by up to three years in prison and up to a $ 350,00 dollar fine or both. Ransomware is specifically defined in the Bill. This Bill came out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously. The felony offense would be chargeable in addition to other statutes currently on our books including overall extortion penalties but this certainly is a good added benefit to our penal code and I would ask the Chamber to support it.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker, good afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon, ma'am.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Mr. Speaker I rise in support of the legislation before us. The good Vice-Chairman did a wonderful job eloquently detailing the proposal that is before us and I can tell you Mr. Speaker I rise in support of it because this is one business, computer extortion, we do not want in the State of Connecticut so I ask my colleagues to support this Legislation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Nor would you want it on your computer Representative. Representative Hampton. Remarks further on the Bill before us? Remarks further on the Bill before us? If not, will staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Will members please take their seats, the board will be opened. (Bell)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

If the all the members voted, if all the members voted, please check the board and see if your vote has been properly cast. If all the members voted the machine will be locked for tally count. The Clerk please announce the tally.

CLERK:

HOUSE BILL No. 7304:

Total Number of Voting 146

Necessary for Passage 74

Those Voting Yea 146

Those Voting Nay 0

Absent and Not Voting 5

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The bill passes (Gavel).

Any announcements or introductions. Any announcements or introductions. Representative Luxenberg.

REPRESENTATIVE LUXENBERG (12TH):

For purposes of a Journal Notation, sir?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed Representative.

REPRESENTATIVE LUXENBERG:

The following members missed votes today, Representative Butler, Representative Mushinsky, Representative Sanchez and that was for business outside of the Chamber; Representative Santiago for illness; Representative Tong for family issues and Representative Urban. Thank you sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. Representative Piscopo of the 76th, sir.

REP. PISCOPO (76th):

Thank you Mr. Speaker for a Journal Notation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Would the Journal please note that Representatives Labriola and Rembibas missed votes due to business in the district. Representative Wood missed votes. She was out-of-state attending her son's graduation and Representative Betts missed votes, family emergency. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you Representative. Representative Rojas, the esteemed Chair of Finance Committee.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker, for an announcement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed Representative.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

I just wanted to briefly announce that like all the committees that operate here in the legislature, we can't do it without out our staff, and I know that Tom Spinello is watching right now and I just wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday. Thank you Mr. Speaker. (Yelling and applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

We wish him a Happy Birthday. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Happy Birthday Tom. Representative Ritter or Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Just a reminder to everybody in the Chamber, we will be starting here again tomorrow at 10: 30 on the dot. As you know we have been starting right on time so I hope everybody is able to be here right at 10: 30 tomorrow and there being no further business on the Clerk's desk Mr. Speaker I move that we adjourn subject to the Call of the Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Motion to Adjourn Subject to the Call of the Chair? If there are objections? Hearing none, the House is Adjourned subject to the Call of the Chair. (Gavel)

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the House adjourned at 3: 14 o'clock p. m. , to meet again at the Call of the Chair. )

CERTIFICATE

I hereby certify that the foregoing 92 pages is a complete and accurate transcription of a digital sound recording of the House Proceedings on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

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

_____________________________________

Thomas Bailey

President

Alpha Transcription

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