THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the House please come to order? (Gavel) Will members, staff, and guests please rise and direct your attention to the dais, where Imam Refai Arefin will lead us in prayer.

DEPUTY CHAPLAIN IMAM REFAI AREFIN:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let us pray first for the victims and families affected by the senseless horror in Manchester, UK. May peace and love always prevail over all evil. As we approach Memorial Day, we offer our gratitude to all the men and women who have served this country in defense of freedom. We are in awe of their sacrifice of time, talent and life - fully committed to that which they believe to be just and good, and true.

Allow us to honor their sacrifice by being peacemakers, who bring justice in the face of injustice; plenty in the face of need; harmony in the place of discord. Enable us to follow their lead and do all that we can to further the cause of peace in the world. To this end, we seek your blessing. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you. Would Representative Siegrist of the 36th District please come to the dais to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance?

REP. SIEGRIST (36TH):

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:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Clerk. Are there any announcements or introductions? Any announcements or introductions? Representative Albis of the 99th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this morning we are joined by the U. S. Government classes from the East Haven High school, my alma mater. They're up in the gallery, so I just ask that the Chamber give them a nice warm welcome as we do for all students who come to observe the legislative process. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Welcome to our Chamber. Any other announcements or introductions? Representative Tweedie of the 13th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise for a moment of silence for respect for the friends and family of the three young people who lost their life in a tragic car accident on Sunday morning in Manchester. If we could please have a moment of silence for all the friends and family of those three victims, and the two victims who are in the hospital recovering. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Representative seeks a moment of silence. (Gavel) Thank you very much, sir.

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Cheeseman of the 37th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise for the purpose of an introduction. I'm thrilled today to have a group here from my Town of East Lyme. We have the Youth Services and Parks and Rec director, Dave Putnam, events coordinator, Mike McDowell, and the wonderful student advisory board from East Lyme High school. So I would invite the Chamber to give them their usual warm welcome. They're an outstanding group of young people and I can safely say Dave and Mike are the best Parks and Rec people in the state. So please welcome the group from my town here today. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Seeing none. Would the Clerk please call House Calendar 471?

CLERK:

State of Connecticut House of Representatives Calendar, Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017. On page 33, House Calendar 471, Senate Bill No. 804 - AN ACT CONCERNING A SOCIAL WORK IN-HOME SUPPORT PROGRAM. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Human Services.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Adams of the 146th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ADAMS (146TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move -- thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill in concurrent with the Senate.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage in concurrence with the Senate. Please proceed, Representative Adams.

REP. ADAMS (146TH):

This is just a technical change; a change in renaming the Community-Based Service Program to the Social Work In-Home Support Program. This clarification will eliminate confusion in similar Medicaid home and community-based service program. I move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much. The question is on adoption. Will you remark? Representative Case of the 63rd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. A few questions, through you, to the proponent of the bill.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Adams, please prepare yourself. Representative Case, please proceed.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And to the good Co-Chair of Human Services, with the rewrite of this definition, or of the title, does this eliminate or change any of the people that are receiving services as of this point in the State of Connecticut?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Adams.

REP. ADAMS (146TH):

No. It should increase.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I didn't hear you. So there's an increase in services?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Adams.

REP. ADAMS (146TH):

Yes. What it does is separate the program so more people can be served.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So in essence, this is a good move. In 804, it allows for more people to be eligible for services. And one more question, for clarification, through you, Mr. Speaker?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. CASE (63RD):

In lines 29, it's no longer published in the Connecticut Law Journal. Is there a savings to the State of Connecticut by not publishing this in the Connecticut State Law Journal?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Adams.

REP. ADAMS (146TH):

No. Through you, Mr. Speaker, no.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'll just ask one more question. And I'm sure it was probably minimal if there was a cost for us to do it. I agree with the legislation and hopefully we can service more people by changing the name of this and getting it out there to the public. So I appreciate the good Co-Chair of Human Services for bringing this out and I look for my colleagues to adopt. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much for your comments, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the bill before us? If not, staff and guests please come to the Well of the House and members 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 GENTILE (104TH):

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

Senate Bill No. 804 in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 144

Necessary for Passage 73

Those voting Yea 144

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 7

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 516?

CLERK:

On page 38, Calendar 516, Senate Bill No. 41 - AN ACT CONCERNING A PHLEBOTOMIST. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The question is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Steinberg, you may proceed.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This bill has to do with phlebotomists, those wonderful people who draw your blood. They are not certified by the State of Connecticut's Department of Public Health, but this bill would allow them to be certified by certain national organizations. The Clerk is in the possession of an amendment, LCO 6395. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and I be granted leave to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 6395, which had been previously designated Senate Amendment "A"?

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 6395, offered by Senator Gerratana, Senator Somers, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

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

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This amendment simply adds two additional national certifying organizations to the list of the three that are in the underlying bill. Namely added are the National Health Care Association and American Medical Technologist, 2) the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, National Center of Competency Testing and the National Phlebotomy Association. I move passage of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

I believe you move adoption, Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Adoption would do it just as well. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH): All those opposed nay. The ayes have it and the amendment is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel)

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Srinivasan. Good afternoon, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good afternoon, madam. Good to see you there. Through you, madam. Just a few questions to the proponent of the bill as amended.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Could the good Chairman tell us as to how does one become a phlebotomist?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Often phlebotomists have other training and they choose to get this additional training in phlebotomy practice, best practices and the like. I'm not an expert on the specifics, but I do understand it's additional training that's usually pursued after they have some other underlying certification or qualification.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I'm a little confused. So if -- what is the basic requirement for a person to become a phlebotomist so at the end of that one can say that this person, he or she, has gone through a training program, and from the training program receives a certificate for completing such a program?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. To answer the good Representative's question, there is a training regimen which would then be certified as being sufficient by one of the organizations -- certifying organizations stipulated in this particular bill.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. Would that stipulation happen only if we pass this bill or it already exists? That a person goes through a training program and at the completion of the training program, through one of these organizations, gets the necessary certification?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. My understanding is that phlebotomists typically seek certification from these organizations. This would merely formalize that relationship as DPH has suggested is good practice for the State of Connecticut, in that we do not certify them separately.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. As we speak right now in 2017, the phlebotomists that are out there, you know, doing what they do day in and day out, of which they're drawing blood in different situations, acute, not so acute, are these phlebotomists certified?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I can't say for absolute certainty, but my understanding is virtually all of them are certified, because they would not be hired by supervising practitioners unless they had that certification. But once again, we're seeking to formalize that to make sure there would be no such outliers.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. What we're trying to do here is, there already is the best practice, that before a phlebotomist is hired, he or she goes through the training program, a formal training program, gets the certification, and the employer, whether it be a hospital, a private practice, or it be, you know, one of the laboratories. An employer, before they employ the phlebotomist, confirm that he or she has got the necessary certification.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. The best practices already exist, that no phlebotomist will be hired by any of these organizations, as I said, hospital, private practice, laboratory or anybody else, unless he or she has gone through the certification process and produces a certificate to the employer. Through you, Madam Speaker. Then what does this bill try to do over and above that?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The objective of the bill is to codify, to direct prospective phlebotomists to seek certification from certain national organizations explicitly because the state does not certify them separately. As you may be aware, the state certifies any number of different practitioners, but not phlebotomists. This is to make sure that they have that credential. So they're encouraged in statute to pursue it.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. What we're trying to do this afternoon is to make sure that best practices in as much as any and every phlebotomist is certified.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you. That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Would this certification have to come from all of these three organizations that are listed or any one of those is good enough?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Any of the, I believe five with the amendment, organizations that are listed would be considered to be appropriate certifying agencies.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Are there other agencies or organizations that certify as well, but do not have -- happen to make this list that we have made today?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I don't know.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. If there are such organizations and we have not listed them -- I want to make sure that we are not picking winners and losers here. And one can get the necessary certification through any of these organizations, even if not listed in the bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm not sure there was a question there. But I think that a list of five organizations provides the prospective phlebotomist with ample choices, and this may actually be an exhaustive list.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. If I'm reading line 4, I just want to make sure, a phlebotomist in the state may obtain. Is it a "may" or is a "shall"?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

I am not looking at that specific line. I believe it's "may" but as we discussed previously, it's unlikely that they would be hired by anybody unless they had pursued that certification.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. The intent may be there, but I just want to make sure that we focus here on the language. Because ultimately, what we pass here is what matters. Not what one thinks about or believes in. So is it, Madam Speaker, a "may" or is it a "shall"?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I believe it's a "may".

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. If I understand a "may" correctly, it then means to me that the phlebotomist has the option - "may", not "shall". May have the option of obtaining this certification. Through you, Madam Speaker. Am I reading that correctly, that we are not mandating that the phlebotomist obtain the certification, it is a "may"?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Since it is a "may" and not a "shall," and the phlebotomist does not get that necessary certification, I'm not sure how much it costs to get the certification. They have had the training, but for whatever be the reason, and I think financial is probably the most important one that comes to mind, does not get the certification, can the employer then say, "I cannot employ you because you did not get your certification"?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you. I can't comment on hiring practices or practitioners. That would certainly be at their discretion and I would imagine, based upon experience, they would prefer phlebotomists who had the certification.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I want to thank the good Representative for the answer, because that's how I read it as well. That it is up to the employer to decide whether the employer demands on getting a certification or does not need one. But through you, Madam Speaker. In -- you know, as we all know, when anything is passed here, you always have the unintended consequences as well. Through you, Madam Speaker. If an employer does not demand or does not require a certification, the phlebotomist does not get one, because nothing in this language says you have to, it's a may, through you, Madam Speaker, if there is an untoward effect; if there is a mishap that happens with the phlebotomist under the employer, would this legislation hold the employer or the employee liable?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm not an expert on the legal implications, but my understanding is that the hiring practitioner or employer in general would bear responsibility for liability for that individual under their employment.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I definitely get that. The employer will definitely be responsible for whatever happens under his or her roof. But through you, Madam Speaker. In the passage of this legislation, are we opening up the possibility that an employer could be held liable or could be sued because he or she did not choose to get a certified phlebotomist?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I would argue that the employer is already liable for the actions of that person. I couldn't answer whether or not this changes their liability.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Will this certification process have an oversight by DPH?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yes, DPH continues to play a role of oversight. But as I stated previously, this is not an area where they certify; all the more reason for us to encourage prospective phlebotomists to have the national certification.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. As I have read the bill and read -- and was at the testimony by DPH, DPH will not be licensing. DPH will not be issuing the certificates. So in what form, through you, Madam Speaker, does DPH then have the oversight?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. DPH's role would depend upon the nature of the employer, whether it be a practice or perhaps a hospital, and those employers would be subject to the same kind of Public Health oversight. So therefore all the employees under those organizations would also be under that oversight. So the traditional oversight provided by DPH for health care practitioners.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Madam Speaker -- Through you, Madam Speaker. I'm not able to hear the answer. I would appreciate a little bit more quiet in the Chambers. (Gavel)

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Will members and guests please take their conversations outside of the Chamber? The Representatives are having difficulty hearing. Representative Srinivasan, would you like to repeat?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Yes. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Maybe the good Chair can clarify the role of DPH in the certification or in the licensure, or in the oversight. What role will DPH be playing, if any at all?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair. DPH, also through its regulatory arms, has oversight over hospitals and practices, which would be the typical employers of phlebotomists, and therefore would have the oversight over good practice and untoward outcomes that are common for oversight of all health care practitioners. Phlebotomists would simply be part of that oversight process.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. If I heard the good Representative well, it will be a general oversight, nothing to do specifically whether they were certified or noncertified?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Concerns were raised by blood camps, the American Red Cross in specific, that this bill, if it were to move forward, may hamper some of their, you know, what they do as far as the blood draws are concerned. Through you, Madam Speaker. Could the good Chair tell us how it would impact any of these blood drives that we have?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I'm not an expert on all the blood drives that the Red Cross sponsors. Certainly, the attempt will be to have sufficient blood drawers with the appropriate certification, and most importantly, we're most concerned with the safety of those who would have their blood drawn, which is why we've created the phlebotomist's training and certification. I couldn't comment further whether it would have any negative impact on the Red Cross.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. Would this bill pose another mandate to our businesses large and small, in our state?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam President. In that if effectively simply codifies that which is common and best practiced, I would not interpret it as such.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I want to thank the good Chair for his answers in this discussion on this bill. As I see this, Madam Speaker, it is the responsibility of the employer. When he or she employees anyone, to do due diligence and make sure that certificate is met, licensing is met as needed. So when an employer is already doing that before he or she employees such individuals, and we are not requiring, we are not mandating that the certification be available by any of the phlebotomists, I'm still at a loss. Through you, Madam Speaker. Just a comment on my aside.

I'm still at a loss as to what this bill actually does. Because it does not say you have to get it. It is a may. Employers are already doing it and that is a best practice. So what is it that we're trying to codify here when there is a "may" instead of a "shall", and there's no licensure involved, and DPH is just gonna give an overview rather than take any specific action against any phlebotomist. Through you, Madam Speaker. In -- if -- we have had this discussion, not only today but in the past as well, and I'm still very confused as to what purpose this particular bill accomplishes or achieves, what we are not already doing. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Good morning, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Good afternoon. I too have some questions for the proponent of the bill, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

In reading when this bill first came to Committee, it was stated that this was to establish minimum standards for this occupation. And my question is, by making it permissive by having the "may" language, how does the good Representative believe that this sets up or mandates minimum standards?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thank the Representative for the question. The objective is to encourage phlebotomists to seek certification, which would provide the assurance of their appropriate training and qualification, and that no one would slip between the cracks because they would be so encouraged.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And that encouragement is what?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. By putting into statute the opportunity for them to seek certification from specific organizations that would provide the assurance of the appropriate training and background.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Am I to understand that opportunity presently exists? So this is akin to an advertisement to phlebotomists - you can get this certification should you thereby choose.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm not sure that was a question, but I would not use the term "advertisement". When we put something in statute, it does carry the weight of the law, even in the use of the word "may," and I think does certainly offer inducement for phlebotomists to seek certification.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH): Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, perhaps I'm at an advantage here in that my wife was a phlebotomist for 15 years and I have acute knowledge as to the training that she got, certification, and all of those things. And her path to that employment in this state was getting a certificate from Stone Academy in Hamden and going to an employer and being employed. And she was so employed for a long time and has since worked through the ranks and now she's in management in that company. So she's been very successful, starting with a phlebotomist. How does this help that situation?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I think the good Representative mentioned his wife started off simply taking the training. And that may be as far as some people go. Not everybody chooses to advance in the ranks or necessarily make the commitment, perhaps, your wife did. This is to encourage every phlebotomist to seek national certification, particularly since the Department of Public Health does not offer it within the State of Connecticut.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So we were doing some research here as to these different groups, and is the good Representative knowledgeable about the qualifications of these various groups to get this certificate or authorization from them?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I guess we would have to define the use of the term, "knowledgeable". I'm aware of them as they had been recommended to the Committee as being the appropriate accrediting organizations. That may be the extent of my knowledge.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So if I was to inform the good Representative that these selected groups all have different standards, is that of help to the good Representative on this matter or of hindrance?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I always appreciate clarification. Thank you. I thank the good Representative. My understanding is even though the standards may differ somewhat, the underlying requirements are substantially the same.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'll represent to the good Representative that one of these groups requires 1,040 hours of actual work experience. Another one of these groups, only 200 hours. So I don't see those to be similar. But just moving forward, what about fees? Is the good Representative knowledgeable as to the fees this various groups hire these people -- require in order for these people to engage in this business?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is my understanding that certifying -- accrediting organizations regularly require fees for their certification process, obviously to cover the cost of administration and testing.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So is the good Representative knowledgeable as to differences in fees amongst these groups?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is often the case that different accrediting organizations do have different fee structures. I am not expert on the specific fees for the five organizations indicated.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I must ask; the American Phlebotomy Association is an accrediting group certification, why are they not included in this list of groups to be attributed with this power in the State of Connecticut?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. These were the organizations that were recommended to us. I do not have an answer as to why another organization was not included.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I just think this is a bad bill. I don't know why we're doing this and I think it's full of holes. So, thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, staff and guests please come to the Well of the House and 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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 41, as amended by Senate “A” in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 108

Those voting Nay 40

Those absent and not Voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The bill as amended is passed in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 158?

CLERK:

On page 47, House Calendar 158, substitute House Bill No. 7118 - AN ACT CONCERNING BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Just as a reminder to members, this bill was previously PT'd, and at that time, we were on House "A". With that, I recognize Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Good morning, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The question is on adoption of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Will you remark? Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. As you just indicated, at the time this was on the Calendar last week, I had introduced an amendment. It was a strike-all amendment, House "A". At this time, I would like to withdraw that amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The Representative seeks to withdraw House "A". Is there objection? Is there objection? Seeing none. House "A" is withdrawn. Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 7565. I ask the Clerk to call the amendment and that I be granted leave to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease for a moment, please, until I get the right amendment. Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 7565? This is designated at House "B".

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "B", LCO No. 7565, offered by Representative Baram.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

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

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the last time I brought this bill out, I had explained in detail that this bill seeks to regulate what we call "biological interchangeable product. " And this is similar to a generic except that these drugs are usually made out of living cell and organisms, so that they are very potent and they have to be approved by the FDA and be in an exact replicate of the drug that they're being substituted for. Thus we have a number of protections for consumers and notice requirements.

I won't go through the entire bill as I did last week, but I will advise my colleagues of the changes that were made. And these changes were requested by the insurers who had some concerns with regard to the mail order provisions of this bill.

So the first change was that was made is in section d1, line 71, where it requires the pharmacist to notify the patient or their representative when the interchangeable product will be delivered. Again, these interchangeables are usually packed in ice and it's extremely important that they be delivered on time and that somebody be knowledgeable of when it will be arriving. We changed the word to notify from contact just to indicate that in the pharmacy, a duly authorized agent or through some other means, a telephone call could be made. It would not take the time of the pharmacist, him or herself, to make the call directly.

And in line 76, we eliminated a sentence which referred to another section, n, which gave the patient or consumer the right to acknowledge receipt upon delivery of the product and sign a receipt for that delivery. The reason why we eliminated that sentence is that provision is already included in section n, which is found on line 189 of the bill. So it was just a duplication of a provision that already existed, and so to avoid any confusion and for legislative clarity, we eliminated that section.

Madam Speaker, I would move adoption of the amendment and passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The question before the Chamber is the adoption of House Amendment Schedule "B". Will you remark further on the amendment? Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

My colleague and I had a number of questions back and forth the other day about this particular bill. I think we flushed out all the notification issues and all the underlying details of the bill. So I don't think it's necessary to go through that again for the Chamber and -- but I will just clarify this amendment and just ask a few questions, if I may, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you. So we just want to make sure with this amendment and this with this bill that the consumer is ultimately protected. So our ultimate goal here is to make sure that the consumer or the patient is aware that there is a delivery being made of this particular product and also aware of the fact that they can request more information about it. And I'm assuming based on the discourse that's been had so far by my Chairman, that's what this amendment does. I just want to verify that.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That is correct. I would remind my colleague that initially the doctor meets with the patient and has to have a consultation about the importance of biologics and the alternative treatments, and then there is a call to the patient to let them know that an interchangeable has been substituted for the brand name if that in fact takes place. And in addition to that, there was a notice that is placed in the package which sets forth all the information about the product, who to call, the pharmacy making the delivery, and notice of their rights to be present when the delivery is made.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

I thank my colleague for clarifying that. So I think the key here is (coughs) -- excuse me, Madam Speaker, is that the patient is aware (coughs) -- thank you, Madam Speaker. Just, you know the allergies this time of year. (Coughs)

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

I sympathize with you, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Yes. And actually it's probably a good thing because the less I talk; I know the Chamber is happier when that happens. So I'm happy to indulge the Chamber. It got a couple of claps so far. But I think, for my colleagues' perspective, I think we should know that the patient here is protected. There is notifications within the packet that they receive, informing them of their rights and informing them of the notifications that they may make to their doctors or their pharmacists when they get these. So I urge my colleagues to support the amendment. This bill came out of Committee well supported, if not unanimous, and I think it's a good bill that will help our patients and consumers. So thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. 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.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Opposed, nay. The ayes have it. (Gavel) The amendment is adopted.

Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Just to say, this is an important bill because it helps regulate and provide protections for our consumers for drugs that are very potent, but drugs that will be the wonder drugs of the future, which will allow us to tackle some of the diseases and illnesses that frequent us today. And again, I would urge the Chamber to support this bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, will members please come to the Well of the House, 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 GENTILE (104TH):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Will members please check the board to make sure 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 7118, as amended by House “B”,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 143

Those voting Nay 5

Those absent and not Voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The bill as amended is passed. (Gavel)

Are there any announcements or introductions? Any announcements or introductions? Representative -- oh, Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair. I rise for the purpose of an announcement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair. On behalf of Senators Mae Flexer and Henri Martin and Chairman Hennessy and myself, I'd like to announce that on May 31st, we have the Help the Hero Day which will be taking place out here in the Capitol parking lot and we ask that people visit and try to bring with them some items of personal hygiene and clothing, gift cards or whatever they deem appropriate. The Humvee will be out in the parking lot between 8: 30 o'clock a. m. and 4 o'clock p. m. This is a great program. It's been done a number of years now and it's been well received, and I hope everybody has a chance to visit and help out the homeless vets by giving generously whatever they can. Thank you very much, Madam Chair -- Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir, for making that announcement. Our distinguished Majority Leader, Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. For the House Democrats, we're gonna have an immediate Caucus in room 207A. So please make your way over there and we'll be back soon. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The House Republicans will be Caucusing in room 110 immediately after recess.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. The Chamber will stand in recess. (Gavel)

(On motion of Representative Gentile of the 104th District, the House recessed at 1: 01 o'clock p. m. , to meet again at the Call of the Chair)

(The House reconvened at 3: 02 o'clock p. m. , Deputy Speaker Gentile in the Chair. )

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

[Gavel] Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Madam Speaker, Communications from the Governor, Judicial Nominations.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Refer to the Committee on Judiciary. Will the Clerk please call Calendar 186?

CLERK:

On page 10, Calendar 186, Substitute House Bill No. 6668, AN ACT CONCERNING PREGNANT WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Public Employees.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan, you have the floor.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Good morning, Madam Speaker, oh, I'm sorry, good afternoon, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Linehan, you may proceed.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This bill expands the appointment protections provided to pregnant women under the state's antidiscrimination law. It requires employers to provide a reasonable workplace accommodation for a pregnant employee or applicant, unless the employer demonstrates that the accommodation would be an undue hardship.

This bill also prohibits employers from limiting, segregating, or classifying an employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy and it also eliminates certain employment protection provisions related to a transfer as to temporary positions for pregnant workers and there is no fiscal note.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, Madam. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair. Just a couple of questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

For legislative intent, Madam, I'd like to know to the proponent, catch my breath from running up. [Laughter] This bill expands employment protections provided to pregnant women; is that the intent?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Yes, it is.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

And through you, Madam Chair, is the good Chair, or excuse me, is the good Representative familiar with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, I am.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Then can the good Chair, not the Chair, but can the good Representative, proponent of the bill, explain to me then exactly how this bill differs from the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker, to the good Representative. First, thank you very much for the promotion that you've been giving me, I appreciate that. But this legislative intent states specifically how women should be accommodated when they are pregnant. And there are studies set forth in Court cases called the Reasonable Person Standard. And what this does will codify some of the practices that are currently in practice.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And traditionally, I talk to the Chair of Labor, so bless you, I apologize for that. But through you, Madam Chair, the good Representative didn't answer the question. The question is, can you explain to me exactly how this differs from the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, this bill actually puts legislative intent and lists some of the items that we would think would be accommodations and it also, it will set a standard. I believe that's the answer to your question.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair. Can the good Representative give me an example of such accommodations?

Through you, Madam Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker, to the good Representative. There can be a wide variety of possible accommodations that would range from being allowed to sit while working, simply providing a stool. There could be longer or more frequent breaks, light-duty work, assistance with manual labor, more frequent bathroom breaks, it's not an inclusive list.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. The bottom line, what we're trying to get to without going through the weeds of this is, the majority of this bill that we're already discussing is already covered under federal statute, under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. Can the good Representative explain to me what it is exactly that this bill is doing that differs from what the Pregnancy Discrimination Act already does for the State of Connecticut?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. What this bill does, so there are some crossovers between the two. However, there has been some issues within Connecticut. CHRO has had 70 plus complaints for pregnancy discrimination just last year that were not covered under that. And between 2011 and 2015, EEOC has had over 31,000 complaints for pregnancy discrimination.

So, this bill requires employers to provide employees with written notice of their right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions, including the right to reasonable accommodation. Notice must be given to new employees when they start work, existing employees within 120 days of the bills effective date, an employee who notifies her employer of her pregnancy within 10 days of notification. It also has a public education component to it, where CHRO will educate businesses and employees to their rights. And through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and can the good Representative give me some, a little bit more clarity as to what those, those infringements were, what those acts of discrimination were that differ from what the Pregnancy Discrimination Act already covers? Thank you.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

It codifies what is currently in practice.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker. The question referred to the 30,000, so-on complaints that CHRO had received. My question is, can you give specifics as to those complaints and how they differ from the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; why weren't they covered?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I do not have that information, Ma'am.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. So, then is it fair to say that we're going off of a listing of items that may or may not have been in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that were being interpreted in a different manner?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I would guess that to be a fair assertion.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. So, we really can't talk about reasonable acts because we're not able to define such. We can't define the difference between what already exists in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and what we are looking for here today through this piece of legislation. So, I find it a little disturbing that we already have federal statute and we're trying to put another bill in place of that statute without understanding exactly what it is that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act covers.

A couple of parts of the pregnancy discrimination that is covered, deals with past pregnancies, it deals with giving accommodations for pregnant women, it deals with the discrimination of pregnant females in the workplace. And it seems to me that all of these items are covered and we're just being repetitive through this piece of legislation.

I'm still looking for, through the good Speaker here, to the good Representative, what it is that this piece of legislation is going to do that differentiates itself from the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. It is my understanding that hiring discrimination is different to needing accommodations and that the prior act that you referred to is more about hiring discriminations than it is to providing accommodations.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Well, actually, through you, Madam Speaker, that's not the case. We have listed here benefits of employment. We have worker's caregiver responsibility, providing workplace for lactation, and a plethora of other items here that are covered through this along with what's covered originally through the Americans with Disabilities Act.

So, with that, I'm curious as to if the good Representative knows of the specific difference of this particular bill?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I do not have that information handy, but I'd be happy to get that information at some time.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

So, then I ask, through you, Madam Speaker, if the good Chairwoman of the Labor Committee could possibly answer those questions for me?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative, are you asking for a yield?

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

I'm asking for a yield so the good Chairwoman of the Labor Committee could answer the questions.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan, would you like to yield to the good Chair of Labor?

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Absolutely, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Porter, do you accept the yield?

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I was actually in conversation down on the floor. So, I'm not sure where we are in this conversation. So, if I could be allowed time to catch up, I would have no problem taking the yield. Thank you, Madam Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino, could you please repeat your question?

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Sure, let me repeat it in a different light for the good Chairwoman of the Labor Committee.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Could you please explain to me how this bill, for legislative intent, differs from the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and through you, I'm not sure what the specifics are in the 1978 bill that you're referring to. But what I can tell you is that this, the legislative intent in this bill is to actually codify the practice of what is covered under that bill and to expand on those, what's in that bill. And the reasonable accommodations are the specific piece of this bill where we're given examples of what women should be, how they should be accommodated when and if they are pregnant and if they are perspective employees when being hired.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to the good Chair for clearing that up. It is my understanding, as Ranking Member of the Committee, that the two main items that were listed on this bill that differed from the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; one, was that CHRO would be putting up instructions and giving lessons upon how not to discriminate as one has in a workplace for giving the Heimlich maneuver. The other is that the employee reduction would go from 15 employees down to 3. I think that might be what the good Chair of the Labor Committee was looking for. So, I thank you for that. And I have no further questions at this time.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I rise as someone who's actually, my wife, when she first applied for employment to a hospital down in Fairfield County, had interviewed. She's a psychiatric social worker. And the doctor interviewing her actually asked her what her marital status was. And she said, “Well, I'm getting married in a few months. ” And he said, “Well, you're not going to get pregnant, are you? Because, you know, we don't want you coming to work here and then going out on maternity leave.

And so, I rise with an understanding as to how women are unfairly treated, personally, and support the intent of this bill. But I have to rise in opposition because I believe the Pregnancy Discrimination Act covers essentially everything we're doing here, except now we're not only limiting it or applying it to employees of three, which dramatically I don't necessarily oppose in and of itself; however, when you look at what this bill does, it creates litigation that is going to impact our small employers quite dramatically.

Through the good Speaker, bless you, through the good Speaker, I got some questions to the proponent, if I may, regarding lines 6 through 11 and what is reasonable accommodation. So, first, I'd like to know, when we say, “Reasonable accommodation means, but shall not be limited to being permitted to sit while working.

If I may, through you, Madam Speaker, would that include being able to sit throughout the entire day?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. If that is deemed reasonable by the employer and the employee, then yes.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

And so, understood, and that makes sense in and of itself, and I would agree with that; however, what if the employer say is an employer of two people and the other person, and their job is to work at Baskin Robbins selling ice cream. And so, under the Undue Hardship Component, which is lines 12 through 19, if the one employee would be required to sit under this rule or this act, lines 6 through 11 at the cash register the whole time and the other person runs around just dolling out the ice cream, would that situation be an undue hardship on that two-person employer?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. There is a two-part answer to your question. First, that wouldn't apply to that employer because there are only two employees. Secondly, if it would be an undue hardship to the employer if they have indeed more than two employees and this rule did apply to them, that could be an undue hardship and could be deemed an unreasonable accommodation for the purpose of the business.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the proponent for correcting me. Yes, suppose you were the owner and employee, and then you hired two other people, so then you had three. So, do I understand the proponent of the bill that as a three-person company that this act applies to me, correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. It does apply to you. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

So, as if I understand the proponent's response to my earlier question, if I am a company of three, say in a Baskin Robbins franchise, I understand the proponent's response that a reasonable accommodation of having one of the two working people, in my three-person business sit at their register, while the other runs around is an undue hardship; and so, that would not be reasonable accommodation to allow that pregnant woman to sit while the other person operates or serves the function of scooping the ice cream, as it were?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. That is correct, that is the balance of the bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Looking further at the undue hardship component because obviously, we can't go through all the examples for a three-person business and how they would be impacted by this bill, but when we say the “overall financial resources of the employer,” obviously, that's a fact-sensitive inquiry. But as we measure what taxes we pay in this building, based on financial resources, when we look at the “overall financial resources of the employer,” on lines 14 and 15, what exactly are we looking at there? Is it basically a fact-sensitive inquiry that if we could hire a part-time employee, then it's not undue; but if it would be a hardship to hire a part-time employee, it would be an undue hardship? Exactly what is the overall financial resource to the employer, what does that really mean or what's the legislative intent of those two lines?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That cannot be determined in this instance. That would go through the employer, the employee, and CHRO.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And it was not a clear question, I apologize. I'm more looking at the overall financial resources of the employer. So, in other words, if the employer wants to prove that their financial resources or the amount of money they have to spend to accommodate the “reasonable accommodation,” line 6; if they have to prove it would be an undue hardship, what exactly do they have to prove from a financial standpoint about their resources? In other words, do they have to prove that this accommodation would cost them more money than they would make in a certain day? Would they have to show a loss? What is the financial hardship they have to show in order to prove, under this line and this section of the statute, that the financial resources or the financial impact of this accommodation be such that it would create undue hardship?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. The employer would determine that. If the employer believes that it is a financial hardship, they would set the parameters on what they believe would be a financial hardship and then make the case to CHRO.

Through you, Madam.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I understand through the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and through the McDonald-Douglas Burden of Proof Shifting in a lot of discrimination cases, the burden shifts to the employer and it appears as though in this matter, once a pregnant woman claims a reasonable accommodation, is it my understanding, is my understanding correct that the burden then shifts to the employer to prove an undue burden through the overall financial resource of the employer?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

In lines 15 through 16, I guess 15 through 17, we go through the overall size of the business as a possible undue hardship. So, through my example of a three-person ice cream shop, so to speak, obviously that size is the smallest you can even be covered by this bill. And so that would be, I guess, it would be easier for a three-person employer to prove undue hardship than a larger company and that's commonsense, I imagine? Through you, Madam Speaker, is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That's speculation and not something I can answer as every employer and every pregnant woman and every pregnancy is different.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the proponent for the response. Although, it's obvious that every pregnancy is different and every employer is different. I guess my comment is simply, for legislative intent, the smaller the business the easier it is for the employer to prove undue hardship as a matter of I would say legislative intent and commonsense; would that be correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I think that would be fair. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. With regard to lines 17 through 19, what exactly are we trying to say by statute where it says, “The effect on expenses and resources or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the employer?”

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. I think that that refers to would it effect their bottom line; would it be too expensive that it wouldn't be worse what they're putting in such as -- let me give you for example. Let's say that it's a small employer and it would require a pregnant woman to -- I'll use your Baskin Robbins as an example. You know, if it would require her to only do a couple of hours' worth of work and have to leave in the midst of a shift and then hiring a new person in order to finish that shift was too expensive, that could be an undue hardship that would go through CHRO.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And that makes sense and I appreciate the proponent's response. And here we added in line 4, actually line 5, “including but limited to lactation. ” So, I would imagine in that our example that we kind of created here on the floor where a three-person ice cream store, you put two people on at a time. One of the employees becomes pregnant, has the child and is lactating, offering that person an accommodation of 15 minutes every 3 hours to lactate, would probably not be reasonable under the circumstances of our scenario or of our Baskin Robbins example; would that be fair to say?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I cannot say whether that would be an undue hardship for the employer to allow an employee to take a 15-minute break to pump somewhere clean. So, I don't think that I am in the position, nor is anyone here, to state whether or not that would be an undue hardship. That is, only for the employer to determine and CHRO.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to the proponent. So, as long as, so you say it would be for the employer to decide. What generally happens in these situations, as I understand it, let me back up. If a woman, say in our example, is lactating, asks for an accommodation of a break every two hours to lactate in a breakroom and the facility, the Baskin Robbins has an area in the back where she can do that; but generally the store only hires on shift, two people at a time, what seems to me looking at it, as an employer, it would be an undue hardship to require that woman who is lactating a break every couple of hours for 15 minutes to a half an hour to lactate, when she's one of only two people on the shift.

And so, looking at these undue hardship elements, lines 12 through 19 in our example, I believe based on the small size of the business, based on the cost it would be to hire someone to come in and take over for that part-time while that person is utilizing the break time that they need, that that would create undue hardship for this small business, in my opinion, based on the limited facts we have. And I guess, through you, Madam Speaker, I would ask the proponent of the bill would she agree that if you've got a three-person business and you have two people on at a time and you're not making a lot of money selling ice cream, and I would like to mention the fact that rent in New Canaan, Connecticut is very expensive; so, hiring another person to come on, while this person is taking, is utilizing this legislation, I think it would pretty easy to prove a financial hardship. And if the business is able to prove that that would be a financial hardship or I guess in lines 14 through 16, 14 through 15 that the overall financial resource of the employer would be stretched to the point where they wouldn't be making any money, if they were not making money because they had to hire an additional person to cover that time, would the proponent agree that that's an undue hardship under this legislation?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, in that instance I do agree and that is why the employers are afforded such protection in this bill to claim an undue hardship, so that they wouldn't have to provide that.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. And I don't mean to harp on this point, but this is exactly what our small businesses are going to have to do when they examine with a three-person shop, how to handle this legislation. So, we all agree that if they can't make money that's an undue burden under this legislation. So, how much money do they have to make, to be able to make, in order for it not to be undue? And by that I mean, so if they make a thousand dollars a day, as opposed to making say twelve hundred a day in that business, does that make it to the point where it's no longer an undue financial burden? So, I guess my question to the proponent is, how much money do they need to make when it becomes no longer a financial burden? If the proponent understands my question? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, Madam Speaker. That would be up to CHRO.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

And as many of our laws are, they are fact-sensitive inquiry. And the proponent, I believe is actually right that what's going to have to happen is the CHRO is going to have to decide, this state agency can decide, well how much money can you make before it becomes unreasonable? And to the good proponent of this bill, believe me, I have experienced firsthand, through my wife, when women are discriminated against because they are pregnant. But we already have bills to cover that. We already have a bill to cover that. What we are doing here is we are chasing out small businesses. We are putting them through the CHRO process, our small businesses of trying to defend themselves when we're trying to address a problem with bad actors. And I certainly agree that we've all experienced probably in one way or the other bad actors, at one time or another in our life.

But what we're doing here is legislating against all of our businesses and we are, this is a full employment act for lawyers. I'm telling you right now, as a lawyer, what we're doing here is creating more litigation for our businesses to defend themselves in front of CHRO. And so, while I appreciate the good proponent's responses and I do believe this is a piece of legislation that is meant to do good, and it may do some good, I'm not arguing that point. What I am telling you, in no uncertain terms, this will drive small businesses under. This legislation will make it harder for small businesses to make money and survive. I don't know the latest statistics, I don't have them at my fingertips, but I guarantee you, the failure rate of small businesses of Connecticut is higher than virtually anywhere else in the country. And one of the reasons is because of good intent legislation is making if more different for businesses to survive in our state. And I appreciate the good proponent's responses, I know they come from a good spot, but I would urge my colleagues to reject this legislation and I'm looking forward to hearing the responses as we continue here today. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further? Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good afternoon to you, sir.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

A couple of questions to the proponent of the legislation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I've heard some dialogue already and I just want to kind of get down. I'm looking at the notes regarding the PDA legislation, the federal PDA legislation, and I'm looking at ours. And I did hear some comments, how does it differ and the comments were, they codify them. And I guess, to me, I'm looking at why if it's not, through you, first of all, Madam Speaker, is the federal law 15 employees, minimum, for the federal legislation?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, it is.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

And is it correct, thank you, Madam Speaker, thank you to the good lady. And is it three in our legislation, is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, it is because federally they recognize companies as such, having 15 employees or more. But in the state, we recognize companies having three employees or more.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thanks to the good lady for the answer. So, now the violations that CHRO had worked on, 71, I believe she had mentioned. Of those violations, what size companies violated the laws that were on the books?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I don't have that information.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

So, okay. That's unfortunate. Secondly, what reasoning did the Committee come up with to lower it to three employees, if we don't have that information?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. The Committee did not make that decision, that is how it is defined by the state.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker and thank the good lady for her answer. So, then what basis were we coming up and who came up with the number of three employees in a business?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. If I understand the question correctly, it's because that is what the state uses to determine the definition of a business.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. So, the basis is that it's actually a, that's the size of a business in the State of Connecticut and that's the number we're using and that would make sense in that case. Do we understand why the federal government used 15 and maybe that's probably not a fair answer, but I believe one of the reasons why they use the number 15 is because we won't have to put in some of the language in here that would talk about, you know, reasons why the business would not have to follow that. And I think that's one of the reasons why the federal government maybe used the number 15 and I'm not sure. But, through you, Madam Speaker, one of the concerns that I have is, I'm in a bit of a different business than people that work in an office and I work in a construction business. And a lot of that, making reasonable accommodations would be essentially very struggling in some cases here.

But I believe the State of Connecticut businesses are already compassionate. I'm sorry to hear about these 70 violations. But through you, Madam Speaker. If a company is deemed having the ability to afford making accommodations, having the ability to provide breaks and they don't, what is the fine or possible damages through the company if they do not follow this rule?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and I thank the good gentleman for that question. Through you, Madam Speaker. That is up to CHRO to decide, as well.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And does the good lady have any parameters that CHRO has because if they've had violations, they must have had some background and they must have provided fines or other penalties to the company?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. We do not have that information at this time, but we would be happy to get that for you.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the good lady for following up on that, that would be wonderful, thank you to her.

One of the concerns that I have, being in the business that I am, and I can reiterate what Representative O'Dea said and it was unfortunate what took place with him and his wife. I'm concerned that we impose additional mandates on businesses and businesses like mine that we work in construction, if anybody has been to a construction site, we don't have a lot of accommodations, I can tell you that. There is usually a very green standing building outside that we use for breaks. There is not, and I'm not sure what kind of accommodations that we would provide. And I do have some reservations that companies would, during the interview process, ask some more questions that were asked of Representative O'Dea's wife, you know, are you getting married? Do you intend to raise a family? Because I was given a list of things I have to go through and read to you and instruct you that in case you do get pregnant or if you're thinking about it that these would have to do, and I've got to find provisions for you in the construction work site.

So, I do have some concerns on the legislation. I think we're trying to mandate compassion. I'm sorry to see that a legislation like this would be forced because I believe that the companies in Connecticut are compassionate. And we don't need to have a mandate on them. I think that any time a woman walks into a room that is childbearing, I don't think there is a person, man or female, that don't ask, “How are you feeling? Can I get you anything? What can I do to help?” And we do that continually over and over. And I think that if somebody was in a business and do, I believe treat them the same.

And I do have one more question, if I can find my place in here. The training that's specified by CHRO to be provided, can you explain the training, if you could? Through you, Madam Speaker. Because the good lady explained the training that has to be, that CHRO will have to provide?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Lines 225 to 229 to help the good lady.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And through you, Madam Speaker. The education component is essentially letting the businesses and the employees know of their rights. And that will consist of a poster in both English and Spanish and also as CHRO visits businesses and employees, they will include that in education pieces that they already provide for.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker and thanks to the good lady. So, my understanding from your answer was that CHRO will locate through DRS, through the state agencies, a list of businesses and send us training information on this? That's what I got from the answer. CHRO will get the list of businesses that are three and more and send us, and send them a training packet?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

I'm sorry. Through you, Madam Speaker. Can you repeat that question?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

[Gavel] Will staff and guests please take their conversations out in the hallway? The representatives are having difficulty hearing. Representative Ackert, if you would be so kind as to repeat your question.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Absolutely, Madam Speaker, I sure will. So, on lines 225 to 229, there is a training that CHRO is responsible to provide to businesses. So, my understanding from the answer was that CHRO will get the list of businesses in the State of Connecticut and sent them training information and a board will send them, the business doesn't have to go get it, the CHRO will send them a packet, a training packet with a board that they will post on their employee board; through you, Madam Speaker, is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. If the good gentleman would look at line 226, it says that they will conduct the ongoing public education efforts as necessary. So, the onus does not fall upon the employer to do the education. The CHRO will be providing the education component and visiting businesses to do that.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Now, I've got maybe a follow up question. I'm an employer. When this is enacted now, this legislation is enacted, how do I get the training information to train myself as a business owner and so, how do they get the information, just for clarity? And I'm not trying to -- because I want to follow the rules. If the rules go into place, I'm going to follow them. So, how do I get the training information that I need, once this legislation is enacted?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you. You can always contact CHRO. And I'm sure that there will be information available to you to do that. CHRO also conducts educational pieces for other forms of harassment and discrimination. So, it will be in the same vein that you would receive those.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, typically, labor boards are updated yearly. So, would it be the understanding that the business has, when they go to pick up their new information, typically in January, that that's when they would have to have this information posted or is it upon passage of legislation?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. This will take effect on October 1, 2017, if it passes. And new employees will be alerted when they start work. Existing employees will be notified within 120 days of the bill's effect date. And any employee who notifies her employer of a pregnancy within 10 days of such notification.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

And thank you, Madam Speaker. And just for clarification, all this takes place by the employer who does this notification; is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

I'm just trying to get through the hurdle of how a business owner is going to be notified that this legislation has been imposed on October 1st, first and foremost. And then how they can comply with the legislation in a timely manner. And I think that's something that needs to be worked out. How is a business going to be notified because the state does not notify businesses of any updating legislation, I can tell you that, unless it's a fine, then they'll go, “When did that bill go into effect?”

So, my concern is that businesses have to be notified and there is a ton of them that are three persons and more LLCs out there that probably haven't done a lot with labor laws to begin with and that they now need to be notified of this information and then they need to provide training for their employees and notification for their employees. And I just want to make sure that when we're imposing legislation that we have the ability to afford the businesses of this new legislation so that they can follow the intent of the legislation.

And so, I think I struggle with that. I do believe that businesses in Connecticut are compassionate and want to do everything they can for their employees, especially those that are childbearing. So, through you, I will listen to the dialogue as we move forward. I do believe we have some hurdles to get over, if this legislation is passed. So, thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to the good lady for her answers.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Kokoruda. Representative Smith. Representative Smith, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

It seems I'm having trouble today, Madam Speaker, it's good to be live. Just a few questions, I guess. Based on some of the questions that have been previously asked, through you to the proponent of the bill, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you. And I thought I heard the proponent of the bill indicate that the three-person minimum is based on the requirement that the State of Connecticut recognizes a business as a business, once they have three employees. I don't believe that's the case and maybe I misheard the answer, but I just want to clarify that for the record.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker, to the good Representative. That was the information given to us through CHRO.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

So, if I'm a single member employee or business, I guess I would not then have to file taxes for the state or register with the state because the answer makes no sense. I'm not blaming it on the proponent, obviously, she received that information from somewhere else. But, a business can be a business whether it's one person, two people, 300, 6,000, 400,000, it doesn't matter. A business is a business when they file with the state either as an LLC, as a sole proprietor, as a corporation, whatever it may be. So, I'm not sure how we got to the number 3, based on erroneous information.

Now, perhaps through some of the questions that I'll have going forward, maybe that can be clarified, but certainly that's not the case here in the State of Connecticut that business is a business, no matter how many people we have.

And I guess I'll as the proponent of the bill, would she concur with that?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Can you please repeat what you would like me to concur with?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith, can you reframe your question, please.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

I would ask the proponent to concur that a business is a business, whether it has one employee or 300 employees?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, I would.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

And I thank the proponent for the clarification of that. So, I don't think the number 3 really comes from anything based on whether it's a business or not, it's an arbitrary number that somehow, we have here today that employers with 3 employees will now be subject to this rule, which could be a significant impact for the small businesses here in Connecticut, which as we all know, make up the majority, more than the majority of businesses here in the State of Connecticut.

I was looking through the bill and I heard the question asked, and I think I heard it answered that there are no penalties for failure to comply with this piece of legislation if it becomes a law here in the state; is that true?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. This legislature does not put forth what the fines would be for not complying.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you. So, I guess I did hear correctly. And I'm just wondering. So, if it makes it to CHRO and maybe the proponent knows and maybe she does not, are there certain parameters that CHRO would look to in terms of trying to decide whether a county is warranted; if so, what it would be? I guess I'll stop there. What are the parameters that CHRO would use then to determine if a penalty is warranted or what it would be?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I'd like to clarify actually that while the legislation does not say exactly what the penalties would be, that actually the penalty is decided by CHRO; if that helps the good Representative.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

It always concerns me when CHRO are defining the penalties, Madam Speaker. And that's what I guess I'm trying to dig down on. Are there certain guidelines, are there certain parameters that employers would know if they end up in from of CHRO as to what they're facing? Is it a fine? Is it a revocation of a license? What might it be that we're looking at, if the proponent knows and maybe she does not?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I thank the good Representative for that question. I do not have an answer for that at this time.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

And I thank you for the honesty, through you, Madam Speaker, for the answer. And I think it's important to know that we as a Chamber have some indication and more importantly for the businesses out there to have some type of indication what they're looking at. And more importantly for me, I would think that we would have some type of a training for our employers out there if this bill does become law. Because there are some general terms in here that they now have to become accustomed to, reasonable accommodation, although it's defined here in statute what that means, undue hardship; those definitions are filled with terms that need definition clarification further. So, when it gets to CHRO, I'm wondering, and I'm wondering if our businesses will know what they're actually required to do.

Is there any type of training? Will there be any type of training for these businesses out there to help them comply with this legislation, if it becomes law?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, there is training that will be, it has to be put together first. So, that will be conducted by CHRO. The State of Connecticut requires businesses with more than three employers, employees rather, to conduct sexual harassment prevention training and mom and pop shops are exempt. So, this would fall under that existing and make sure that it would probably coincide with that training.

I'm sure CHRO could look into doing those two things together. If that answers the good Representative's question?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

It does answer some of it, Madam Speaker. I guess I just need further clarification. So, the mom and pop shops that are exempt, would they be exempt under this legislation as well or just generally speaking for current legislation?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. It is my understanding that this is just adding on to current law and so, I unfortunately cannot say definitively, but it is my belief that that is the case. We can get that answer for you.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

And again, I thank the proponent for the honesty in her answers. I think what we've heard here today is a lot of unanswered questions, unfortunately, just because I guess it hasn't really been fitted out thoroughly. We did have this in the Labor Committee, which I'm a member of, so, some of those questions were asked at that time and apparently still not resolved here today.

So, the problem though, Madam Speaker, is we're being asked to vote on this today. So, getting the answer tomorrow or next week or sometime during the summer is great, but it's not really helpful today when we have to press this button.

I concur with many of the speakers that have spoken before me that discrimination of any sort against any person is wrong. I'm sure we all are opposed to it. I understand the good intent behind this legislation. I did vote for it coming out of the Labor Committee. I am concerned about the ramifications on the small employers. I was hoping to see this bill get cleaned up a little bit by the time it got to the floor of this House, so we'd have further clarifications.

I don't think it's reached that level. A good Representative from New Canaan indicated what he feels the results of this bill would be, would be further litigation. I think that's true. You look at some of the terms. Undue hardship has to have a significant difficulty or expense to the employer. Well, what does that mean? If you make, as the good Representative indicated, $ 1,200 normally a day and now you're making $ 1,000 a day, is that significant? Is $ 1,100 significant? So, I don't know, and I'm not going to ask the proponent because I don't think she would have the answer, either. And I think the response was, well, CHRO is going to have to answer those questions.

The problem for us to get there is that the employer then has to make those decisions before it gets to CHRO, and we have not given our employees any type of indication of what we're really looking for here, other than do not discriminate, which I agree with.

But for the employer to show undue hardship, I don't know how they do that without ending up before some agency, having to hire a lawyer. It's good for the lawyers in the room, it's good for the lawyers out in the State of Connecticut, it's not good for small businesses.

So, I kind of have mixed feelings about this bill, Madam Speaker. I would love to see discrimination anywhere totally eradicated. I hate to see us punishing our businesses for no good reason.

So, I thank the proponent for her answers. She's done a great job trying to do the best she could under the circumstances. I think the legislation, as drafted, is lacking and; therefore, some of the answers are lacking as well. Thank you for the opportunity.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, if I may, a couple of questions to the proponent?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. My questions revolve around the reasonable accommodation. Under the bill, as I understand this, so that if an employee is pregnant and goes to the employer and needs some sort of accommodation due to the pregnancy and the employer needs to meet that accommodation; under this bill is there a requirement that there be some sort of a doctor's note or could this just be a verbal request?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. This legislation does not require a doctor's note.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And then in lines 101 through 102, we have language here that also makes it a discriminator practice to force an employee to be accommodated, if that accommodation is not necessary. So, I'm wondering, I guess, as I read this, one of my concerns is that if a person is pregnant and does not need an accommodation; you know, if an employer provides that accommodation, we're put into this situation of how do we know whether there could be a claim that the employee is being forced into an accommodation versus the employee truly needs one? If the Representative kind of understands my issue here and if there is a way that concern could be alleviated?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. To decide whether or not a pregnant woman would need an accommodation is something that should be determined by the woman and her doctor.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I guess that's, my next point is, how that information then is conveyed to the employer? Because in this bill, it does say, you know, “It's a discriminatory practice to force an employee or a person seeking employment to accept a reasonable accommodation. If such employee or person seeking employment does not have a known limitation related to her pregnancy.

And so, I guess that would be my concern is, how does the employer come to know of the limitation? Are we putting the employers in a situation of just receiving verbal information? And I'll give a hypothetical. You know, if there are 10 people in an office building and a pregnant woman, a pregnant employee goes in and says to her co-employee, you know, “I'm experiencing high blood pressure. My doctor wants me off my feet. ” And her job requires her to be on her feet for eight hours, she doesn't express that to the employer, but now her co-worker goes to her, you know, Human Resources Department and says, “You know, Sally said she needs to be off her feet. ” Is an employer now required to make that reasonable accommodation? Is that enough information for the employer to say there is a known limitation and; therefore, I could require this employee to not be on their feet?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That would really be up to the employee, if her co-worker had said that she has high blood pressure and she was concerned about this woman being on her feet so much, I am confident that the employer can ask then if she would like an accommodation; however, if the employee still does not wish to have an accommodation, she does not have to have that.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I guess I appreciate that answer and just that one of my concerns, and I think on other bills that we've seen here, especially involving CHRO, I'm always hesitant the way we write these bills because we seem to put so much on to the employer as to the employee. And I see situations where because we don't have any written documentation required here, the employer is put into a situation that he said, she said. I guess my next question would be, would it be I guess acceptable under law for an employer to set out guidelines in their hiring practices to require written notification of an employee and their pregnancy conditions in order to determine whether or not they should be accommodated?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

I'm sorry. Through you, Madam Speaker. I didn't quite understand the question. If he could rephrase that, I would appreciate it.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Candelora, can you please rephrase your question?

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. My question is, could an employer create a policy that any employee who is pregnant, in order to receive an accommodation or be denied an accommodation that those requests would have to be in writing to the employer?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. I see nothing in this legislation that would prohibit an employer from doing just that.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. So, if an employer has a claim brought against them and they have such policy and the accuser would say that they were not accommodated, when they should have been, could the employer then say, “Well, I had a written,” you know, “a written policy that I needed to be notified in writing of the need to be accommodated; and I did not receive that information. And therefore, that is my defense. I did not discriminate. ” Would an employer be able to assert that defense in a CHRO claim?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. While I cannot comment as to what the outcome of CHRO is, absolutely that would be something that an employer could use as potential proof that they were indeed in compliance.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and that's helpful. And my final question is, do these provisions apply to the State of Connecticut?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and through you, yes, they do.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and that's a helpful answer. I am conflicted on this bill because I am concerned about the he said, she said arguments that we get into in the underlying bill because on the one hand this is protecting against discrimination for not accommodating somebody who is pregnant, but it also has these provisions that would protect against discrimination if you are accommodating, if that person says, you know, “I don't want be forced into being accommodated.

And I would just want to make sure that language would be more clear. I'm also thankful that the State of Connecticut is included in this. You know, so often we hear about the employers who might be bad actors. But I tend to think in the State of Connecticut most employers treat their employees well. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, we were put under the situation where she was selected for jury duty. And despite the fact that she had a high-risk pregnancy that landed our child in intensive care, he almost didn't make it, the judge actually did not release her from jury duty and she was selected to sit on a trial for two weeks, while she was going back and forth to the doctors.

And so, I'm happy to hear that the State of Connecticut is included. I frankly think that the state should be the one setting the standards. And maybe, you know, we would just be better off for that. But I am concerned again with the underlying bill. Some of the ambiguities. I don't want to catch the good employees that are out there in this legislation. And I think we all know in this building there are a lot of abuses in the CHRO process. We talk about bringing efficiencies to government and that is one area that we shy away from going after. But there is claim after claim after claim after claim that's filed by employees and I think more often than not, they end up being the bad actors. And so, I just hope that this doesn't create a situation where it's going to be another pig pile for employers in the state. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. And I have a couple of questions for the proponent of the bill, through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, Madam.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

One of my concerns and I speak as a small employer, I have 15 employees at the Children's Museum I run, all of whom are women. Most of whom are part-time. I'm worried about the expertise of CHRO to determine what, in fact, is a reasonable accommodation. There must be several hundred different kinds of businesses in the State of Connecticut. What particular skills are they bringing to this that will enable them to look at my business as a Children's Museum and Representative Ackert's business in construction and someone else's business at owning a Baskin Robbins franchise that would enable them to make a sound and fair determination that it is a reasonable accommodation?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker, to the good Representative, that's a great question. And I would say that it really wouldn't apply unless there is an actual concern where and a complaint. So, if the employer deems it to be an undue hardship, I believe they will be able to make that case. So, whether or not CHRO, and I'm sure that there is some sort of way that they train their employees to recognize these things, whether it be, although we're not putting it in statute, whether it be they look at the fiscal impact to a company or the impact to the employee, this is ultimately something that would come from the employer to prove. And I think that any reasonable person would be able to see the balance.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you. This of course would put the burden on the employer to put in the time, possibly consult legal counsel to make the argument, and I do have a concern about that. Were the employer to be found guilty of a violation, is there an appeals process set up so the employer could say, “I disagree with your ruling, CHRO. I'm coming back. I want another option for adjudicating this decision.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. We are looking into that right now, Madam Speaker, if you would give us some time to find that out for you.

Through you.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, thank the proponent of the bill. I will be supporting this bill. But I do have some real concerns about how in fact it is going to be carried out. I do think that we put a lot of burdens on our employers. We want to encourage them to hire everyone and not feel at the very initial stage that there may be an issue. So, I would love to see this fleshed out more with equal protection for the employers and the employees. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, Madam. Representative O'Dea, for the second time.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate it. I apologize for going for another time. But just briefly, on line 88, I notice that the bill states that “An employer cannot limit, segregate, or classify the employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy. ” And I do have a number of small businesses in my district that run gas stations. And I am aware that many doctors recommend that pregnant woman not be exposed to gas fumes. I assume this bill, lines 88 through 89, if an employee, say a gas station, has three or more employees, for financial reasons, can't hire two people to work at the station at one time so that the pregnant woman can stay in the gas station while another employee pumps the gas, that if we limit the pregnant woman to not being allowed to pump gas and; therefore, not being allowed to be pregnant while working at the gas station as a full-time employee, this, lines 88 to 89, do not create a per se violation to the employer if they limit pregnant women from pumping gas.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and through you. Once again, that would be a question for the employer and the employee. So, if the employee indeed pumped gas, if she felt that it would be a reasonable accommodation that she ask to be taken off the pump, then that would go to the employer. The employer has the right to agree or disagree and then if they believe that it is an undue hardship, then they can make that statement to CHRO, who will then, as we have found out, if CHRO rules that discrimination had happened, that indeed there is an appeals process that can go all the way through to Superior Court.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. And yes, I appreciate the proponent's response and I am family with the process, which is very expensive for small businesses again. But I do appreciate the proponent's efforts and responses throughout this process. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, will staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Will members please take your seats -- Representative Dauphinais, I'm sorry. Representative.

REP. DAUPHINAIS (44TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. If, through you, Madam Speaker. If an employer can't make the accommodations, do they have to make the pay for the leave of absence?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. If that is not defined in this bill, I believe that that would fall under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Dauphinais.

REP. DAUPHINAIS (44TH):

Just a couple of comments I'd like to make. You know, I am a mother of four, so I've been pregnant four times and worked through all four of those pregnancies. I also come from a family with a small business with less than 15 employees. And I see this as another mandate on the businesses in our State of Connecticut, a time which we're trying to encourage hiring, trying to encourage building more businesses in our state. And I fear that this bill might discourage employers from hiring women of child-bearing years. So, for that reason, I will not be supporting this bill. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, will staff and guests, please come to the well of the House? Members please take your seats and the machine will be open. (Ringing)

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 GENTILE (104TH):

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Will members please check the board to make sure 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 6668.

Total Number of Voting 150

Necessary for Passage 76

Those Voting Yea 120

Those Voting Nay 30

Absent and Not Voting 1

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The bill passes. [Gavel] Is there business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Madam Speaker. Favorable reports, House Joint Resolutions to be tabled for the Calendar.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I move that we waive the reading of the list of resolutions and the resolutions be tabled for the Calendar.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Is there objection? Hearing none, so ordered. Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. For the purpose of an announcement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, Madam.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'd just like to wish my Chairman and good friend, Larry Butler, a very Happy Birthday today.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, Madam. Happy Birthday, Representative Butler. [Applause]

Are there any other announcements or introductions? If not, will the Clerk please call House Calendar 325.

CLERK:

On page 52, House Calendar 325, Substitute House Joint Resolution No. 95, RESOLUTION PROPOSING A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PERMIT EARLY AND REGIONAL VOTING. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Government Administration and Elections.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FOX (148TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

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

REP. FOX (148TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO No. 7574. I ask the amendment be called and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 7574, designated as House Amendment A.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 7574, offered by Representative Fox, Senator Flexer, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment; is there objection? If not, you may proceed, sir.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the state constitution requires that voters appear on Election Day, unless they meet one of the requirements for an absentee ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment would allow for up to five days of early voting within two weeks prior to Election Day. There may be days immediately preceding election day or maybe the two weekends leading up to election day or some other configuration. House Joint 95 removes language that prevents us from having early voting in Connecticut. Specifically modifies Section 7, Article 6 of the Constitution. Provides that the qualification of who can vote before Election Day from unable to appear to do not appear. The resolution allows for at least two and no more than five days of early voting. Should the resolution pass, the legislators would make the determination of the number of days. The amendment says that the two to five days of early voting will take place within two weeks prior to election day. This allows for enabling legislation to work out when exactly these days will occur.

The resolution requires that early voting days have at least 8 hour's availability. If the resolution passes, it would also eliminate the constitution deadlines, by which election moderators must submit their election returns to the town clerks and the Secretary of State. Connecticut General Statutes set earlier deadlines by which they must submit these returns, Section 9-308 and 9-309. Lines 35 to 76 of the resolution amends Article 4, Section 4 and this is the provision in our constitution that says that the votes must be received and counted on the day of the election in the presence of the electors. And it also provides for the submittal of lists of persons voted forward to the town clerk and the Secretary of State, within the specified times. And those times would be eliminated by this resolution. This section of the resolution applies only to our state officers and constitutional officers. This language is now codified and addressed in the statute, Section 9-309. Lines 25 and 32 of the resolution does essentially the same thing as the prior section just mentioned, except that it applies to the election of members of the General Assembly. The situation now addressed in statute, Section 9-308.

Finally, House Joint Resolution, if House Joint 95 goes forth under the -- to the ballot --

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Excuse me, Representative. [Gavel] Can you please take your conversations outside? We're having trouble hearing the Representative. You may proceed, sir.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Finally, if House Joint 95 goes forward to the ballot, the question that appears on lines 84 to 87 is the question that would appear on the ballot. I would like to emphasize what this resolution does not do. It does not make any changes to our current election laws. What this does is that it essentially is, is essentially enabling legislation in that it puts the forming of our election laws in the hands of our lawmakers who are responsible for the constituents, the people in this room.

Madam Speaker, I believe that it is time that Connecticut had the opportunity to join other states that have enacted some form of early voting. I believe that in light of today's increasing engagement as well as allowing our constituents options that reflect today's busy, hectic, and sometimes unpredictable lifestyle, allowing the voters to have the opportunity to decide if they want the opportunity to vote early. Allowing the representatives to consider these options as timely and appropriate. I move adoption; request that when the vote be taken, it be taken by roll. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The question before the Chamber is on a roll call vote; is there objection? Without objection, so ordered. The Chamber will stand at ease for a moment. The Chamber will come back to order. Representative Fox, I believe you have the floor.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I urge adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Will you remark further? Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Good afternoon to you. I have a few questions, through you, for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, Madam.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you. So, to the good Representative, through you, could he please explain just why this is being proposed, the rationale? What are we trying to achieve?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the good Representative for the question. I guess what we're trying to achieve is to open up the opportunities for voting to the residents of the State of Connecticut. Benefits of early voting are that it will alleviate long lines at polling places by creating other voting opportunities. It will accommodate voters who may have to commute long distance, people to whom missing a train or business may cause them to miss the chance to vote. It accommodates elderly or sick voters who may have good days and bad days and not feel well enough to make it to the polls on the assigned day, so they can vote when they know that they feel well. The other voting process allows election administrators to ease into election day and trouble shoot problems and fix them without the constraints of a mass of a one-day event and essentially, it's opening up the doors to said engagement and creating more opportunities for people to be involved in the voting process.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, and I thank the good Representative for those answers. So, from what he just explained, through you, Madam Speaker, does this still provide for absentee ballots or would absentee ballots no longer be available in Connecticut?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the Representative for the question. This amendment does not affect absentee ballot voting at all.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, and through you --

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, and through you, Madam Speaker. Just a few questions around how exactly this would work. So, from the language, what I understand is that it's any -- the 14 days prior to the election that the municipalities may be able to choose any two to five-day window within that 14 days? And if that's the case, are those arbitrary decisions by municipalities so that perhaps in the town of Fairfield, we would vote in the final five days of that window; but perhaps in the community of Stamford, it would be the first five days.

So, would we have voting all over Connecticut in those 14 days before the official election day?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. No, we would not. The resolution, as provided would essentially enable legislation to provide the General Assembly the opportunity to dictate what those terms are of the legislation; so, they would be uniform throughout the State of Connecticut.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I appreciate that response. So, in the amendment what I understand is that the word “regional” has been struck. So, I wonder if the good Representative could explain lines 38 to 40 in the amendment?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, lines 38 to 40 addresses the rights, essentially the guidelines in statute are much stricter. So, lines 38 to 40 are currently addressed by Section 9-309, the Connecticut General Statutes. They are much more strict, regulated guidelines pertaining to the language, which is why they've been stricken.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. What strikes me through this strike-all is that the word “regional” is removed from the title, but it doesn't seem there are any other changes in the language that have been made. I'm curious also, through you, Madam Speaker, regarding the fiscal note on this bill and what the cost would be to municipalities that would potentially have to incur additional polling locations, perhaps even additional tabulators to be able to count those ballots.

So, through you, Madam Speaker, could the good Representative address the fiscal note and the costs to our local municipalities; is this a mandate?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is not a mandate. It is not mandating anything on municipalities. This is essentially enabling legislation, which should this pass this body by three-fourths majority, it would be on the ballot for next session, next ballot. If after the fact it does not pass this by three-fourths majority, it ends up on the ballot and it ultimately is passed in law; then, at that point in time, this body will be responsible for dictating what the cost potentially may be.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

So, I didn't understand, thank you, Madam Speaker. But I didn't understand the answer to what the costs would be to the local municipalities?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This resolution, if it ultimately becomes law, will not provide any costs in the municipalities. If anything, it will be a minimum cost to the State of Connecticut by approximately $ 5,000; advertise and promote the actual ballot question. So, this resolution does not incur any cost to municipalities, not incur any costs as a result of this resolution.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate that answer, although I have to say, I have a hard time believing it simply because opening polling locations, staffing polling locations, additional hours, unless the state is going to pick up those costs, I'm not sure how it would not affect the local municipalities. Through you, Madam Speaker, another question for the proponent of the bill. When I asked about the rationale, one of the answers was to increase civic engagement. And could the Representative tell me what is the national average for voter participation in the United States?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I do not have that information in front of me.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Could you reframe your question, please?

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Perhaps the good Representative could tell me what the voter participation rate was in the 2016 Presidential Election in the State of Connecticut?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, Madam. Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Give me one moment, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease for a moment. Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I've come to believe that about 55 percent of those eligible to vote cast ballots in 2016.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And could the good Representative tell us what the impact has been on those states that have had early voting put in place, to date?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I don't have any hard numbers as to what the impact has been. But I do know of the states that provided early voting, there are approximately 34 states in the United States that have provided early voting to potential voters and adjusted to matter of efficiency, and again increasing the opportunities for many individuals involved.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Actually, a few comments that I would just make regarding this amended bill. On average, I believe, the national voter participation is somewhere in the 55 to 60 percent range. In the 2016 Presidential Election, the elections held in our State of Connecticut, the Secretary of State proudly announced an unprecedented participation level of 77 percent, higher than we have ever seen. A study that was conducted by the University of Wisconsin, it was reported in a Pew study actually, shows that voter participation actually decisions with early voting.

Election Day registration and Election Day voting does have a positive impact. But this resolution would not do anything to increase the participation and the accessibility in terms of voting in the State of Connecticut. And I will not be supporting this bill, this amended bill. And I would encourage my colleagues to do the same. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, Madam. Will you remark further? Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, Representative.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Madam Speaker, I just heard the good Representative over here talk about the cost to municipalities. Wouldn't these machines have to be in lockdown, as they are now, for a certain amount of hours before each vote?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the resolution before us is simply enabling legislation. It does not dictate the terms of the days or the hours for voting. So, that is to be determined by a future General Assembly.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I'm not sure I totally got the answer out of that. So, this amendment, this constitutional amendment doesn't follow the current voting rules that we have on lockdown of the machines prior to a voting operation opening up?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Case. Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Representative is correct. This resolution does not address, have anything to do with the guidelines as to voting day. This resolution simply is a proposed amendment to the constitution, which would provide the General Assembly the authority to go back and dictate the terms of the actual voting rules, regulation that would pertain to it.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Are those rules and regulations on lockdown of the machines, are those Connecticut rules and regulations or those federal laws?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I believe they are Connecticut. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

So, going back to the cost to municipalities, a lot of our municipalities use facilities where we have to pay custodians to open them and in lines 19 it says, number two, “A minimum of eight hours each day and not less than two days. ” Through you, Madam Speaker. So, wouldn't that be a cost to the municipalities to have to open up those facilities and pay those employees?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Potentially, through you, Madam Speaker, that the other, the issues whatever they may be and whatever they may be in the future could conceivably have fiscal impact, they may not. But those with regard to -- so, ultimately, they might conceivably have a fiscal impact. But currently this resolution before us it does not.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

REP. ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good to see you. So, I'm a little bit confused. We have absentee ballots here in the State of Connecticut. What are we trying to get at by people can get the absentee ballots; doesn't that allow them early voting?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Absentee ballots, there are limits as to who can have access to absentee ballots as this will open up the door to all individuals to have the opportunity to early vote.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, when somebody votes and as we do on a regular basis, their name is crossed off. When somebody votes in early voting, is their name crossed off so the public knows that they voted early?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. We will have the ability to know who voted and who didn't vote, so we know who to get out to vote? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, ultimately, yes. I believe that would be the case.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the good gentleman for his answers. Just a few comments. I'm not quite sure why this bill is out. I mean, I do understand to a point. But there is going to be an unfunded mandate to our municipalities. It's a great expense to a lot of our small towns to open up for polling districts.

I have a few more questions to the proponent of the bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, is this on election day, is this just for municipal national elections or is this also for budget votes and so on within a community?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Ultimately, if the resolution passes and the rules that are dictated by the General Assembly permit it, this will ultimately be geared towards the state, federal, and municipal elections.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I heard the words “ultimately,” but is it not defined in here that it's just for certain elections?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, there is some, the constitution sets the time for elections for legislative and state wide offices. It does not establish similar time requirements for municipal offices or elections. So, I suggest in the absence of these provisions, early voting could be established for municipal elections without a constitutional amendment. So, ultimately, municipalities could potentially create early voting on their own. But in all likelihood, they would require a constitutional amendment.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And once again, thank him for his good answers. And I will end it with a few comments. We are opening up a whole other ballgame here on our municipalities as far as what the good gentleman said. It can be opened up to budget votes. It can be opened up to referendums. It can be opened up to anything. And in the State of Connecticut, I'm proud to be here and I'm proud to be elected to be here. And it's those people that go out and vote on Election Day. And for those that can't be here, we have a provision called “Absentee Ballot. ” For us to put the onus on our municipalities of an unfunded mandate that would actually take place because there has to be somebody paid, these machines are very controlled through the Secretary of State. And I'm really concerned on the motive and how we go about this because we are actually going to know who voted early and who didn't.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. I will not be supporting this legislation today. I'll be willing to listen to the rest of the conversation. But it really concerns me. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Polletta of the 68th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. How are you?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

A few questions for the proponent of the bill, please.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox, please prepare yourself. Representative Polletta, please proceed.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

To the proponent here, does he know roughly what the cost is to print an absentee ballot?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Can he please rephrase -- to bring an absentee ballot -- can he please rephrase the question?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Polletta, please rephrase the question.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Would the proponent of the bill know the average cost to print an absentee ballot?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Again, to bring an absentee ballot, can the Representative please clarify what he means by to bring an absentee ballot?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Polletta.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

All right. Let me rephrase this. So, I'd like to make a statement that the average cost for an absentee ballot is 75 cents. In the town of Watertown, we incurred a roughly $ 500 expense for the Presidential Election. I'd like to just piggyback off of what Representative Case said just a few moments ago, that this is an enormous unfunded mandate for our towns across the State of Connecticut.

I'm also concerned a bit about the usage of this. I didn't quite get an exact answer last time, so, I'm going to ask again to the proponent of the bill. Will this be used for budget referendums?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox, do you care to respond?

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Ultimately, the, I believe that that will be determined by the General Assembly. And the specifics of what's going to happen will ultimately be determined by this body. If the resolution should pass and be voted and approved by the public, then the specifics as to the date and times, the timeframe in which elections will occur, any affiliated costs that may be incurred as a result of those and any elections that are voted on will be determined by the General Assembly. So, right now it's different to say because the answer is somewhat unknown.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Polletta.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. So, the answer is, no, this will not be used as of right now in its way for a budget referendum?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

That's correct, yes, sir.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Polletta.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Thank you to the proponent for your answers. So, I stand in opposition to this bill for a couple of reasons. One of which is because my town is facing their second go-around on a budget referendum. We've incurred many expenses over the last fiscal year and I just think it's unfair to place this unfunded mandate on a town that I represent and I hope my colleagues will join me.

Also, making the point about when this can be implemented. I feel that there is going to be voter confusion. If a town votes on a budget referendum, but they can't vote early on that, but yet they can go in November in the municipal of the Presidential Election and vote early, I think there is going to be mass confusion. I think the Registrar of Voters in the State of Connecticut are going to have their hands full with this one, and I stand opposed to this. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Skulczyck of the 45th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. I rise here with a couple of questions to the proponent.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

It looks as though Representative Fox is prepared. Representative Skulczyck, please proceed.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, I have some municipal leader experience and I certainly have a great concern with this proposal based on just simply the mathematics of it all. The simple fact, there is about 169 towns, I think we all know that, in Connecticut. And if we just said, hey, let's call one of these, the referendum process could cost us about $ 5,000 each, it's about $ 849,000. And then we're adding more cost to the municipalities. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Is there any, are we going to go into the state budget and not make this an unfunded mandate? Are we looking to fund this to the municipalities?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The resolution has no fiscal impact whatsoever. Down the road, ultimately, if this body determines that the law says they pertain to the regulation that pertain to this underlying resolution, then a fiscal note may be attached. But as of right now, there is no fiscal note attached.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

I can appreciate the response from the proponent. And, Mr. Speaker, again, through you. There really is a fiscal impact. And the fiscal impact is what we have heard several times through many of my colleagues. It's the unfunded mandate fiscal impact. And I can tell you as a municipal leader, this is exactly what the clerks throughout the region in Southeastern Connecticut that I have talked to, the Registrars of Voters, the municipal leadership at the Council of Government, SCCOG. We don't want to see this happen. It's another example of unfunded mandates.

And through you, Mr. Speaker, I would ask, does the proponent know really why are we doing something that is already done? We have absentee ballot. Why is this necessary?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the current absentee ballot laws were restricted as to who can obtain an absentee ballot. This resolution would open up the door to voting to more of the population.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And so, could you explain who it's going to open up to?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For instance, in my neck of the woods, under Stamford, Connecticut, a number of individuals commute in and out of New York City. This will provide them the opportunity, if they are unable to be back in town in time, prior to 8 o'clock on Election Day, they can potentially vote earlier. It could open up the door to individuals who are sick, who are elderly, and may feel better to vote on a different day. It could open up the door to busy schedules for moms and dads to try to be around, may not have the opportunity to get to the voting location on Election Day. I think it will open up the opportunity for many different people to vote.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you from the proponent for his response again. And not to kind of go over this. I just want to, you know, summarize and say, this is just another unfunded mandate. We don't need it now and I totally respect the proponent and his proposal here. But this is another example of us telling municipalities we are not listening to you and we're just going to change laws here that are going to affect you adversely. I say we all, I urge my colleagues to vote this down. And thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Ziobron of the 34th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, I rise with a few questions regarding this amendment, please, through you, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, Madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. So, I'm trying to understand the differences in this proposed legislation, the amendment, and the underlying bill. If the good Representative could explain in high level, you know, don't necessarily get into the weeds, but maybe some high-level difference between the underlying bill and this amendment, please?

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the bill that came out of Committee had a reference of regional voting, which is struck in this amendment. There was some language also in the bill that came out of Committee that potentially could have inferred to allow for a greater expanse about absentee ballot voting, which this amendment does not include. This amendment just strictly pertains to in-person voting, early voting.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. And in the Committee level, was there any discussions regarding changing the four provisions which override the absentee ballot voting process; so, instead of going through this process and having this as many of my colleagues have stated, really a huge unfunded mandate to our municipalities, why not change the parameters of absentee voting and was this discussed through the Committee process?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, yes, it was. It was discussed at quite length to the Representative. Some of the reasons for going this route as opposed to that route was that pertaining to the provisions relating to absentee ballots, was frowned upon by ROVAC, the Registrars of Voters. It was also frowned up by SEEK, and other organizations that were concerned by the expansion of that aspect of early voting.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I'll continue to listen to my colleagues on the amendment and I'll come back on the underlying bill. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Madam. Will you remark? Representative Ferraro of the 117th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Yes, and through you, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the proponent of the bill just to talk a little slower. I'm having a little difficulty understanding a lot of what he is saying. I hope he's not offended by that, but I would appreciate just a little slower.

I have question with regards to the absentee ballot and this amendment. Could the proponent of the bill please explain to me what this amendment does that an absentee ballot doesn't do?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The underlying amendment does not impact absentee ballots at all whatsoever. The underlying amendment is quite different in that it allows this body to make rules that will pertain to in-person early voting within a limited timeframe.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you. Could the proponent of the amendment please explain to me the conditions in which an absentee ballot would be provided to a voter?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Section 9-135 of the Connecticut General Statute dictates absentee ballot voting, voting eligibility. There are, excuse me, there are five, excuse me, there are six underlying categories that an individual will have to fall into to be accessible to an absentee ballot. The first is his or her act of service with the Armed Forces. Second is his or her absence from the voting, from the town of his or her voting residence during all the hours of voting. The third is his or her illness. The fourth is his or her physical disability. The fifth is the tenant of his or her religion forbid secular activity on the day of the primary election or referendum. The sixth is that essentially that they are involved, they are involved as an election official and therefore cannot vote at their voting location.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the answers from the fine Representative. So, given those reasons for why we would provide an absentee ballot, could I specifically have reasons that would fall outside of those six reasons just given, as to why this amendment would be needed?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess a specific example, as I mentioned earlier, would be if you commuted in and out of New York City, were unable to be in your voting district on the day of election. If for some reason, you had other obligations through work or childcare that would not provide you to be on your location on the day of election, but yet you could not fall under one of the six categories just stated. So, essentially, it provides opportunities for those who don't fall within those six subcategories just stated to have access to voting.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the answer. However, I do believe that if you are unable to attend voting that day because of an obligation at work, then you can get an absentee ballot. And so, I just see this as an unnecessary duplication that would put greater stress on municipalities and the registrars themselves and the folks that work the elections. So, I am going to listen to the debate on the rest of the amendment and I am going to listen to what comes up on the underlying bill. I do appreciate the proponent of the bills answers and I thank him for his time. And through you, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much. Will you remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Cummings of the 74th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to know who is in charge of this voting process? It's not quite clear to me in the amendment. Is it the town Clerk or is the Registrar of Voters?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The underlying amendment does not address who is in charge. The underlying amendment will simply provide this body with the authority to dictate the terms of early voting.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Where are these voting places going to be held? Is there going to be a centralized voting location? Or are we going to have to open all of our polling locations in days earlier?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, that's an excellent question by the Representative. It was an issue that was raised at the Committee level a number of times. This resolution does not dictate when, where, or how the voting will occur. It simply sets the structure for this body to later determine, is it going to be one voting location municipality, is it going to be two voting location municipalities for eight hours a day, for two hours a day. This resolution does not dictate the specific terms of where the voting will occur or when it will occur.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am just very concerned that there are so many unanswered questions about where this will take place, who will be in charge of it, how long, what the cost will be. I'm interested to hear the rest of the debate, but these unanswered questions have me very concerned. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Fishbein of the 90th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too had some questions for the proponent, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, sir. Is there anticipated to be a process by which one changes their vote or had the ability to change their vote, if they vote 14 days in advance of election day?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess I may ask the Representative to clarify his question in terms of the process by which he is going to change -- if I may, is the Representative asking if an individual votes early and then shows up on election day? Through you, Mr. Speaker, is that the question?

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Perhaps I can clarify. So, one votes utilizing this anticipated process, 14 days prior to the election, and then finds out through, you know, an October surprise or, well it would be an October surprise, that their selected candidate is better off in an orange jumpsuit than being in office. Do they have the opportunity to retract their vote and to cast their vote that would be legal on election day or sometime prior thereto, is that anticipated?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my response to that is whether it's anticipated for an individual to be able to change their vote. My response would be, no. Once an individual, if an individual were to vote early, let's say 14 days ahead of time and then show up on the day of election, that individual would already be crossed off the list as having voted.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Yes, in effect, they have already voted and then something happens untoward with regard to that individual, comes to the attention of the elector between that time of early voting and actual election day, is it anticipated that individual is not disenfranchised but rather has an opportunity to change their vote and have it recorded on election day?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Is the Representative asking, is an individual going to be able to invalidate their previously submitted ballot?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Give me a minute, Mr. Speaker. One minute, and I'll find out the answer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

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

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my response to the fine Representative would be that it somewhat is dependent upon what this legislature decides in enacting this underlying resolution, should it pass.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, I'm just trying to figure out, is it anticipated? Is that what we anticipate that the legislature would include in this? Because once the gate, the doors open, we are there. So, is the good Representative anticipating that to be part of the procedure? We've gone through a lot in 14 days, 2 days, all that stuff; is that anticipated to be able to recall?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

It's a fair question, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the gentleman's thoughtfulness and deliberation on the subject matter. I can't answer. I honestly don't know. I don't know what this body is going to determine. If ultimately this were to go before this General Assembly to determine the guidelines and specifics as to early voting, it likely will not take place for several years from now. So, I'm not sure what the makeup of the body at this point in time, how they would feel and how they would speak and address the issue of whether or not one could invalidate their own vote. I don't know the answer to that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, the unfunded mandate aspect of this. My understanding is the Town Clerk's Association is against this proposal?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. My understanding is that the town clerks have not, they have not directly spoken to me about the underlying proposal. Whether or not they are opposed to it or not. I know the town clerks were, the two options before the legislature early voting or no excuse absentee ballot voting, the town clerks were more supportive of the early voting.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And is it anticipated because like in my town we have voting at schools. Is it anticipated, if we were to go down this road, that all of the schools would have to be open, the regular polling place, or this would be something different?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again I thank the Representative for his question, a thoughtful question as expected. Again, that would be dictated by the forthcoming or legislation created by this body. So, it's not yet known will it be one voting location per town, will it be two voting locations per town; and that's not determined by this resolution. This resolution simply will provide this body the opportunity, should it pass, the general opportunity to make those, create those specific terms.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, if, let's just say that the legislation called for one polling place. Is it anticipated or thought about in Committee or one over, who would be in charge of it that one polling place for that eight-hour period, taking in these ballots? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And again, it's different to speak the actual specifics because that part of the legislation has not been created. But my assumption and guess is that the individuals who are currently responsible for election at the local level would assume responsibility for early voting.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just by way of comment, I think this is an unfunded mandate. I'll tell you that my particular, well at least in Wallingford, got an award this year because it had the highest number of people voting in its, which was something that we've never received before. I don't see this as being a problem and I think the absentee ballot program that we currently have in effect, which is quite liberal in my opinion, is sufficient and I just don't see the need for this legislation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

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

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise both for the question and a little bit of general concern, if I may.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Please proceed.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

My question, I heard earlier, I believe, that this was strictly for, just for clarity, in-person early voting?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

That's correct. The fine Representative is correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Buckbee.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

And this, this is where I have the real concern. I've been the head moderator of my town's elections and I know how difficult it is to get people to show up to vote as it is. The other concern brought up was it may be easier for the elderly or the sick and I'm going to disagree with that. There is confusion when we don't know what days we're going to be there or it was supposed to be this day and I missed that day and I went last week, it gets very confusing with different polling places. So, I think the bigger concern is the confusion is not just for the voter, but the confusion is for that staff that comes out and works it. I've worked the polls. It's been, it's been challenging for the long days to get people there. And granted it's a job available for the day, but it's a long day and it's quite frankly a little overwhelming for some of the people who do that who are retirees across the state.

Absentee ballots provide everything we need for this for people to vote early. But the other part of it is, when there is a lot of voting on multiple days, a lot of the sheets that are used for these polling places, for these voting places be it the school or whatever, it's a paper sheet that's checked off. And the chance for error in going to multiple days really multiplies. It's a serious concern to have multiple sheets and now different people working on multiple days. It can cause for serious error.

I am seriously concerned about the unfunded mandate because it really is a tremendous amount of money that will cost the town because you have to, you have to realize you can't change to one polling place for three or four days and then have your main vote. You have to keep all the same places open for every one of them; otherwise, people don't know where to go for the next vote. So, now it's an unfunded mandate with a lot of money to have all that staff out there every day for this, when we may not get as many there and then those people have to try to catch up with as many or more days of visits from other people. It just causes for more opportunity for error with voting and it certainly is a concern for the longer hours and more days for a lot of the staff that does this. It's very difficult to put that much more of a financial burden on us when the solution really is in absentee ballots that is, handle that. But as far as the, I guess I'm concerned about the overall expense as well. Because the overall expense of doing the whole thing it just doesn't make any sense to me to tack on an expense to something that doesn't have any true benefit to having them open any longer.

So, that's just my two cents. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Boyd of the 50th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Thank you, Mr. Ryan. The question that I have is we're talking a lot about kind of detail and process and stuff that's practical to the actual application of this. My question is, at this point, are we asking to enact the bill? Are we asking to put a ballot question this fall for the citizens of the state to decide if they want to authorize us to go forward with this or not? I'm a little confused as to where we are.

Through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I apologize. That might have been more my fault in the opening remarks and clarification in the underlying bill. This is simply to put a resolution ultimately before the State of Connecticut, the voters of the State of Connecticut as to whether or not they would approve early voting or not.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative, you are speaking to the Chair, so you can face the Chair. Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

The question then, so at this point it sounds like that we're asking the citizens of the state to give us the authority to move forward with this. Through you, Mr. Chairman, if the citizens approve this, Mr. Speaker, if the citizens approve this, would we then have to go through the Committee process and again debate what the detail of early voting might look like, or does this automatically go into effect?

Through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

That's correct, Mr. Speaker, the Representative's assessment of the situation is correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

All right. Thank you, sir. Just my commentary on the amendment as well as the bill. And I had introduced the bill earlier to have referendum as something that happens in the state. And I think we need to punt a lot more of questions to the residents and let them decide rather than the 151 people in this body who I think, we all agree, don't have all the answers for anything.

So, at this point, this bill is merely asking the question, should we have early voting or not, I think it's worth asking that question. And then we come back, all these good questions that come up is a very good point and then we can hash through what would be the weeds of the bill. I thank both the Chair and the Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Dunsby of the 135th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Please proceed.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I notice that some of the specific details contained in this about how early voting will proceed among those is the window of 14 days prior to the day of the election. And I'm just curious where the 14-day window came from?

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the 14 days was language that was, when we're looking at the 34 other states in the country that have early voting, the average length of time is 19 days. They range from a period of 45 days to 4 days, with the average length being 19 days. So, I guess, one response to that is that based upon a survey of the other states in the country that provide, that allow for early voting, the 14 days component was reached through that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Dunsby.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

Thank you. And I'd also like to drill down into a question that was raised before. But in many of our towns, especially the smaller towns, elections are held at the schools. Often that's the only facility with enough room to hold the necessary people, the election machines, the security, has the drive so that cars can access and egress. And when we have those elections, it's a big event. It's actually very disruptive typically to the schools. Often the gym has to be closed for the entire day. There is extra security in the schools. As a matter of fact, in all three towns in my district, the elections are held in the gym. And it's very disruptive to the education of the school children. So, my question is, was there any consideration and potentially this bill now what does specify some specifics of two, two-five days, so potentially it's the five days, plus election day; was there any consideration given to the disruption from having to have an election voting within a school over a period of six days when the school year is in session?

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the gentleman for the question. It's one that I've thought about quite a bit myself over the past several weeks. It's an excellent question. And it's a question that we put back before this body. Should the time come that the people of Connecticut approve this resolution ultimately; so, there was thought put to that. I'd have to say no, because that is not what's before us today. The specifics would be worked out by this body later and at a later date.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Dunsby.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I will just end with a couple of comments. As has been suggested before, this is clearly a mandate. There is just no way that this will have anything other than a very significant cost on our municipalities. When you think of the people who have to be engaged, the registrars, the town clerks, the security, Election Day workers, it's clearly going to be very, very expensive for our municipalities.

Further, it's also going to be very disruptive for our municipalities. As I just suggested, and it sounds like the proponent may actually sympathize, often elections and voting are held within schools, which are very disruptive to the school day of our children and it sounds like, you know, that's something that should be concerning us. And that type of disruption is something that's likely to come to pass should what this bill anticipates becoming. It's very straining on towns. The town Clerk, who has lots of functions to perform throughout the day and throughout the week would now have to monitor elections during the worktime, the Registrar of Voters, and many other town staff would now have to be employed or work at a polling place and be taken away from their daily duties.

For smaller towns, that can be a significant impact. I think the accusations of fraud will probably increase with something like this. We will now have voting machines which have to be, some will have to keep custody of them for a week or more, potentially two or three weeks, depending on the timing. So, I think it's very, very expensive. Further, I just don't see what problem this solves. We have an election day. People come out and vote. If they have an excuse or reason not to come out to vote that day, then we have absentee ballots. The system we have seems to work perfectly well. This is a tremendous unfunded mandate and it solves no problem and I won't be supporting it and I just don't see the purpose of it. But thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

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

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon. It is still afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Good afternoon, Ma'am.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

I have a couple of questions for the proponent, please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Please proceed.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. First off, as I see in the portion of the amendment, 16 to 22, where the major changes are. We're talking about a minimum of, well not the hours, but not less than two days and not more than five days during the 14 days prior to the election.

So, those days could occur as early as the 14th day before the election; is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

That's correct, yes, sir.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you. So, it's a substantial length of time, it's not just the five days before. I'm curious about something. I've listened to all the questions and I'm afraid it's still not clear to me what is different besides the in-person presence here in terms of convenience to voters. What is the difference between a proposal to organize things like this and simply no excuse absentee voting?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it's an excellent question by the Representative and I thank her for it. I think the difference, the main difference is that, one of the main differences is that no excuse absentee ballot voting is opposed by the ROVAC, the registered voters, as well as SEEK. They have concerned as to the potential possibility of fraud with absentee ballots; that's one concern.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

So, in other words, the physical presence of someone voting is assumed by ROVAC or held by ROVAC to cut down on the potential amount of fraud; do I understand that correctly?

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. ROVAC is the body that would assume all the responsibility for the absentee ballots. So, it would be a greater burden on that organization. And also, the fraud issue would, yeah, the short answer to the Representative's question is, yes. The in-person voting is lead to believe that it would be much, a greater limit on fraud.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you. And I wasn't actually aware that the ROVAC organization was so concerned about fraud in absentee voting. We always hear that there is no such thing as voter fraud. So, am I incorrect about that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to clarify my previous comment. ROVAC was concerned by the greater numbers of absentee ballots, but not necessarily the fraud aspect of it.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Okay. I'm a little disturbed by the notion that we would be more concerned about the greater burdens on ROVAC than we would be about the greater burdens on our towns. But another question and because this is what particularly I am concerned about whenever we talk about early voting. Obviously, when you have to vote absentee because you really can't be there, we have to accommodate that. But does the good Chair GA have any idea of the history or the thinking behind why we actually fix the date of an election on a particular day?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the day of the elections are set forth in the constitution. I'm not sure if that's what the fine Representative is getting at or not. But the Section 8, of article third provides for the election members of the General Assembly on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, biennially in the even number years. I'm not sure if that's what the Representative is getting at.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

It's a good answer. It wasn't actually what I was getting at. I honestly don't know the answer to the question myself why the constitution does fix elections on a particular date. As you allow voting on more and more days besides the date of an election, you're actually no longer fixing the date of an election on a particular day, but rather you are having the election take place over a period of time. And this is the notion that concerns me the most because communication and campaigns of course are geared to communicate and convey a certain amount of information over a period of time so that all voters have access to it.

Now, the amendment, this change that it proposes, am I correct that this would apply to elections not just for people running in the State of Connecticut, but sometimes for nationwide elections as well; is that the case?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

That is correct. Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This just plays further into the point I just made, which is that I guess it's one thing when you have people in Connecticut who are kind of familiar with the way things are done in Connecticut and they are running for statewide office or they're running for the legislature in their town. And they're kind of, I guess, in sync with what may turn into being a two-week period during which the election is scheduled. But as these things proliferate, these changes and rules proliferate across the country, you have national elections where campaigns are calibrated to take place during a certain length of time, where a certain amount of information is available to voters everywhere over a certain amount of time. And as we move the potential dates of the election up farther and farther, there were more and more people who simply won't be voting, having received all of that information. And I think we begin to skew a fairness in some regard when we do that.

I've always been very cognizant of the necessity of having the convention of the absentee ballot and the necessity for some way to vote for people who really can't be there. But as this spreads out, there are states that have even more than two weeks for early voting. But already a lot can happen in two weeks. I think someone made that point earlier, at least once. And so, I'm troubled by it in addition to the questions of expense that we've brought up. So, in any event, I thank the Representative for his answers. And I'll continue to listen to the debate. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You've changed.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

We've changed. Thank you, ma'am. Representative Tweedie of the 13th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I have a question or two to the proponent of the bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you, sir. Now, on lines 16 to 22, the General Assembly may provide qualified voters a polling place for not less than two days, more than five days in the city or town for which such qualified voters are inhabitants. Is there any provision in this or any thought in this in college campuses and how this will affect voting in college campuses?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you, to the fine Representative. Specifically, I don't think there is any reference to college campuses in this underlying amendment. If the Representative is asking, can the Representative rephrase the question that is, is he asking how will this affect college campuses in the voting?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tweedie, can you reframe.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the proponent for asking me to clarify this. I'm just, you know, I know that there is college campus voting now. But during this time, two weeks prior to an election, and a student is going to be away from their hometown and at their college campus, is there going to be a situation, a set up at the college campus that would provide for early voting?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, line 18 of the proposed amendment referenced is qualified voters. A qualified voter is an individual possessing the qualifications prescribed by the constitution duly admitted to and to actually have the privilege of an elector in a town. So, I suppose that they, an individual on a college campus, assuming that they meet the statutory definition of “elector” and they are qualified to vote in the town in which they attend college, then they would be able to participate in early voting, should this resolution be approved by the State of Connecticut and thereafter regulated by this body.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tweedie.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the answer. That opens up another potential problem, I think, in college campuses voting. If someone were to be at campus 14 days beforehand and then something changed, and they voted, and then something changed and they were able to go home, but would that, in that short amount of time, would they be crossed off of their place of residence for having already voted?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Mr. Speaker, through you. I assume that if the student who resides, let's say goes to UConn in Mansfield, and is a resident of Stamford, and votes early at UConn in Mansfield. Then I presume that this body in setting up the terms of early voting would address how that is to be determined by the town clerks of the municipality.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tweedie.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for your answer. The other day was Town Clerk's Day and actually I still have my bag here, if anybody wants any Doritos. [Laughter] And he was concerned with early voting and the potential chaos it would cause to the Town Clerk's Office. And asked me not to support it. I think that, you know, it is as everyone has said before me, an unfunded mandate. I think that it opens up some potential for problems with accountability in the voting process and because of these things, I cannot and will not be supporting this today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good proponent of the bill for doing an excellent job of providing us the information. Thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Hoydick of the 120th, you have the floor, Ma'am.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good evening. A few questions to the proponent of the bill, through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, ma'am.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you. To the good Chair of GAE, this resolution sounds vaguely familiar to me, and I wondered if he could share the last time we had a constitutional ballot amendment and what year it was and what the ballot was for?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I thank the Representative for the question. This issue was put before the State of Connecticut back in 2014, before the voters in the State of Connecticut in 2014, before this body, I believe, in 2012 and 2013. And that resolution, if my memory serves me correct, that resolution was much more redundant, not as specific as this resolution. Also, but opened the door for no excuse AB voting as well as a potential for online voting, voting by telephone, voting by mail, things of that nature. That resolution, in my opinion was much less specific than this resolution.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

And I thank the good gentleman for his answer. Just to recap, the amendment, the ballot amendment that was proposed in 2014 had many other issues than just early voting on it. As I understand, it was internet voting, et cetera. But there is something that is very similar to me, and that's the ambiguity of the process. And I just wondered if the good gentleman could address why this particular proposal is not as clear as it seems to me that the voters would have liked and might have passed in 2014?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I may have to ask the Representative to rephrase it. She's asking why this proposal is more specific than the prior proposal? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Hoydick, can you rephrase your question, please?

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Yes, I most certainly will. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This proposal seems very vague to me as far as the facts of the process. And since the previous ballot failed, I'm wondering why there aren't more specifics in this proposal?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the question I believe, from the fine Representative, is why are there more specifics in this resolution as opposed to the prior resolution; is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

That is correct, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think there are more specifics in this resolution because the last resolution we believe, I believe lacks specificity. It was a little more vague and open ended and the voters in the State of Connecticut were somewhat unaware of the scope of the potential early voting that would be implemented through it.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good Chairman for his answer. This seems to me to be very vague, as my colleagues are asking questions and there really isn't any, very little specificity to this bill as well. The timeline is vague. The costs are vague. Who is going to make these decisions? It's left to the General Assembly, which is exactly the same issue we had in 2014, when we were at the polls trying to explain what that ballot intention was. We didn't have a lot of facts. And to that point, I would hope that so many of us who want early voting, who want safe early voting, were looking for something that is a little more tight in this proposal.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, another question to the proponent. Does ROVAC support this current resolution?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. ROVAC proposes early voting and town Clerk's oppose no excuse absentee ballot voting.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Representative for his answer. Again, this concerns me because not only did the people of Connecticut not vote for a concept similar to this in 2014, but again, our Registrar of Voters, our town clerks are professionals in the areas of elections are urging us caution. For that reason and the reason of the unfunded mandates to our towns and cities, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to be a no vote on this. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Will you remark further? Representative Sredzinski of the 112th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

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

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

If the proponent could explain the clear difference between what an absentee ballot voting, one that we currently do today, versus what this amendment would do, it would be very helpful for me, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, absentee ballot voting, it's very specific as to who can obtain an absentee ballot. There are six categories of individuals who can obtain an absentee ballot. This proposal would open up the door to early voting to anyone, so long as they're a qualified voter in the municipality in which they reside.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just a quick question about the actual procedure today. What is the procedure for today's vote? My understanding is that we need a two-thirds majority. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, do we need a two-thirds vote of this Chamber today and does that include those members present or two-thirds of our 151?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Representative for the question and I should have provided this information earlier in my statements, I apologize for that to the Representative. The procedure today, in terms of timing, there are two possible timelines for passage. If the resolution passed with support from three-quarters of the members of each Chamber that would appear on the ballot of 2018, if the resolution passed with the simple majority needs Chamber, then it will have to be reintroduced when the next General Assembly convenes in 2019 and passed again in each Chamber by the majority. At that point in time, if it does pass a second time, it would then be placed into the ballot of 2020 for the voters to approve.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just for my clarification, does that, did I hear correctly that we need three-quarters of the majority today in this Chamber in order for this to move forward?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

We would need three-quarters of the majority in this Chamber today in order for this to appear on the 2018 ballot. If it does not get three-quarters of the members of the Chamber today, it would be passed with a simple majority in this Chamber today. It would then come before this body again after the next General Assembly convenes in 2019. At that point in time, if it passes again, by a similar majority, then it would appear on the ballot in 2023, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

I think I got that and I thank the good gentleman for his answer and I believe that it is that if we do not pass it today with a three-quarters majority, which I think we would all agree that a three-quarters majority is a pretty high standard, that a three-quarters majority failing to meet that today would mean it would be up again in 2018 or 2019. And through you, Mr. Speaker, just so that I'm clear on that. Is that because it would require a new General Assembly to be sworn in?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, that is because of the Connecticut Constitution, Article 12, requires that it's a procedure by which an amendment of this nature goes forth.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that answer. And if today we pass this motion, resolution, as is on the board. If we pass this today by the three-quarters majority and I correct myself because I had originally said two-thirds, by the three-quarters majority, does that mean that it's automatically on the ballot for next year or does the process go that if we pass it today with a three-quarters majority that it is automatically law?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the proponent for the question, a very good question again towards the procedure. Not only would this body, this Chamber have to pass the resolution, but upstairs in the Senate would have to pass the resolution as well by three-quarters majority. If that happens, it then appears on the 2018 ballot.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the answer to that question. And I'm all done with my series of questions. My larger concern under the auspices of early voting is not so much that we allow it. I think that most people appreciate the convenience that it provides. However, not everyone has thought it out completely when it comes to how is it actually going to be applied in everyday life. And my larger concern goes to the town clerks, who have opposed this bill. I know some registrars have supported it. I know that the Secretary of State has supported this bill; however, I feel at this time that it is premature and that we should not be taking this up. So, I oppose this bill today and will look forward to the rest of the debate. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Cheeseman of the 37th, you have the floor, Ma'am.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and through you, Mr. Speaker, a couple of questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much. I understand the purpose of this bill is to increase the percentage of voters who actually turn out to vote. Could the proponent tell us what evidence there is that early voting does, in fact, increase the percentage of voters?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I thank the Representative for the question. In terms of evidence, I have no numbers in front of me that would indicate that increased voting would occur. I can tell you that, for example, according to a 2016 Gallop poll and I know we may not want to rely on polls, but 80 percent of Americans support early voting. This report remains consistent across the range of Democratic and demographic and political groups. So, I don't have any hard numbers of the percentages that would increase, should this resolution pass. But I do believe that early voting is supported by the general public.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much. I'd be interested to share some research that I've done recently with you. In fact, the American Association of Political Scientists and Adam Berinsky, a renowned MIT Professor, Political Science, examined all the research and found that early voting in fact decisions voter participation. It increases the number of people who would have intended to vote who are now voting early, but it doesn't actually put up those numbers.

So, to the proponent, did you consider other ways to increase the percentage of people actually turning out to vote?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, to the Representative. There were other discussions held at the Committee level in terms of other options for early voting, such as potentially no excuse absentee voting. But ultimately, we decided that this method of voting would be more supported by the general public and open up the door to a greater number of individuals to vote early.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

I'd be interested in hearing a bit more about the discussion of no excuse absentee voting because that would seem to me a way to increase the percentage of people voting without putting an undue burden on the towns we've heard so much discussion of the effect that might have in terms of increased costs, logistical difficulties. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, I'd be interested in knowing a bit more why that was ruled out?

Through you, Mr. Speaker, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the no excuse absentee ballot voting was, I guess you could say, ruled out in light of the fact that we felt that this procedure would provide greater flexibility to the State of Connecticut and the residents to access early voting. And it would open up the door to more individuals and, in essence, and in some respects, it would alleviate some of the burdens placed on the towns. In fact, we were to require or provide no excuse absentee ballot voting.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much and I thank the proponent for his answers. And I just have a few comments to add. I too am concerned about the financial and logistical burden this will place on the towns. I understand that what we're discussing today does not outline the final language of any legislation that would result from this that would empower the towns to do this. But given all the constraints on our municipalities and in fact they may be facing even greater costs in the future going forward depending on what we as a Chamber do this budget cycle, I am very loathed to open the door to that kind of burden on them.

Simply figuring out how many ballots every polling place is going to have to accommodate the early voting, with no history of this, I think is very hard to foresee going forward. So, I thank the proponent for his answers. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I will listen with interest to the rest of the conversation. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Srinivasan of the 31st, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

It's good to see you there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Same here.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

I've been listening to this debate, which has been going on for some time, and obviously getting a sense of direction as to what we're trying to accomplish in moving this legislation forward today.

So, with that in mind, Mr. Speaker, what we are trying to do is just to today, if this were to pass, so that I'm clear as to what is it that we're doing, is it just saying yes to early voting or are we also going to work out the details as to how this early voting will take place?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Representative for the question. I'll tell you, if this resolution passes this body today, nothing changes. There may be no changes to election law, if this resolution passes today. Ultimately, if this resolution is approved by the residents of the State of Connecticut, nothing changes to election laws. The change to election law will be made by this body ultimately down the road, should this resolution pass.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, that was not clear. If this resolution passes, nothing changes, I heard that in the election laws. I got that. But then what change will happen?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The changes that will happen will be dictated by the members of this body, so it's speculation for me to stand here and tell you what specific changes will occur; I don't know. It will be dependent on the members of this body to make those changes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, what we, until we have the number in the vote count, which we will not know what's going to happen, I get that. But my question was more directed to the details that we see in this bill as amended as to whether it is going to be the eight hours in a day, is it going to be two days, is it going to be five days, all of those details; is that going to be decided in this bill today or is that work in progress?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I thank the Representative for the question. The resolution before this body today outlines the scope of what ultimately could be decided upon by this body. So, it in a sense sets the parameters for what we could, the parameters for what we could decide. Should this resolution pass this body today and ultimately receive the support of the residents of the State of Connecticut, the guideline, the parameters that this body then will use to dictate are contained in the resolutions. So, at that point in time, should it get that far, it may, it may not, who knows, should it get that far, this body will be in a position to dictate the early voting, 14 days prior to election, maximum five days, minimum two days, eight hours per day, that will be up to this body. This body could ultimately say, we only want one day of voting and one hour each day. This body could say we want five days of voting, we want the Saturday and Sunday before election day and the prior Saturday and Sunday before election day for four hours each day. The resolution before us sets the guide for guide work and framework for ultimately what will be decided by the specifics that will be decided by this body, should it receive the support of the State of Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good Representative for clarifying as to what is it that we will accomplish with this resolution moving forward today.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, you know, we've heard the stresses that there are on the towns and municipalities. So, if this were to move forward, will this be a mandate that we'll be passing on to our municipalities or if this were to become effective, would that also, the cost of that, would that be borne by us at the state?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, should this resolution get through these chambers and assuming it's approved by the residents of the so Court, any costs associated with further implementing it will be dictated by this body. So, it's impossible for me to stand here today and say it's a mandate or the costs of the mandate that may be associated with it because I don't know the specific terms and ultimately will be determined by this body. I don't know if it would be eight hours a day, I don't know if it would be one hour a day, I don't know if it would be two days, five days, four days. Until those issues that are determined by this body at that point will be able to determine the fiscal impact on the municipalities in the State of Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I do get that, that we won't know the exact cost because obviously, we haven't worked out the details as to whether it's going to be two days or five days and the cost is going to vary depending on that. If you're going to be open for eight hours or are you going to be open for 12 hours, I get all of that. But my question is, whatever the cost is, whether it be X, Y, or Z, or multiple times of that, will that cost be borne by the municipalities or will that be something that will be the responsibility of the state?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Ultimately, the cost of the election will be assumed by the municipalities in which they occur.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, if I'm hearing that clear. Regardless of what the cost is, all our towns, all our municipalities, if this were to move forward when it does and if it does will be an unfunded mandate to our municipalities?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just would like to reiterate. This, what's before us today, is not an unfunded mandate. There are no costs being incurred by municipalities as a result of this resolution. Ultimately, should this resolution receive the support of the voters of the State of Connecticut, and this body then dictates the specifics as to what's going to be implemented at that point in time, there may be costs associated with municipalities.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank for the clarification and that was what my question was. When it does become effective, if and when it does through the process, whatever the process is, and whatever the time factor it takes, whether it takes one cycle, two cycles or many more, but at the end of the day the cost of implementing this resolution, the details of that will be borne by the municipality; and I just want to make sure that the good Representative confirms that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Assuming that this legislation were to pass, get through the process and terms be dictated by this body to outline early voting procedures, then at that point in time, costs associated with those procedures, which at this point are speculative, would be incurred by the municipalities, that's correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Could a municipality have the option of opting out and saying that, yes, we heard this, we hear that this is being passed, but my town, my town of Glastonbury will it have the option of opting out?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, that would be dictated by the terms as outlined by this body. If this body in its wisdom were to say, early voting is going to pertain to X, Y, and Z towns. The X, Y, and Z towns would fall under that. But again, those are terms, specifics that would be dictated by this body at a later time.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. My final question is, you know, we know we have absentee ballots, we have that already in place and we know it's very effective because anybody and everybody can cast their vote using that format, if they happen not to be in town or they're not able to go to the voting booth on that particular day. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Where I'm not able to understand still, in spite of all of this debate, is the added advantage when we already have absentee ballot, when that is already in place; what is it that we gain with this early voting?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Representative for the fine question. Currently in state statute, the absentee ballot is limited to six categories of individuals who may obtain one. This would open up the door to all individuals to early vote.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good Representative for his answers. I too am concerned because as I see options that we have. We have the absentee ballot and maybe that might be in the area where we can explore to make it far more efficient than where we are right now. That's always a viable option A. And B, it's a mandate to the municipalities and we know our municipalities are stressed. Yes, this is not happening in 2017, 2018, I get that. But this is the starting of a journey and I want to make sure, if this journey were to continue, and we will finally yes, voted by the residents of our state, ultimately the bill is going to be borne by you and me in an indirect way through the municipalities that we all live in.

And I've not heard any statistics at all from the good Representative saying that because of the fact that we have early voting, the turnout at the end of the day, the election, you know, more people participate in the system, which is what we all want. We definitely agree with that. One thing common among all of us in the Chamber is we want more participation. We want the voices of our residents to be heard loud and clear, no question about that at all. Whereas I did hear from this side of the aisle, statistics saying that actually the participation drops in the few examples that they have given. So, I do have significant concerns and reservations with this resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative O'Neill of the 69th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good evening. Yes, it is evening. I have a few questions for the proponent of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

And I believe it is language that has not been discussed as yet in this discussion. I notice starting in section or lines 25 there is language that is deleted. The language that is bracketed out is “receive the votes of the electors and,” and then on line 27, it continues to delete the word “them,” and then replaces apparently, that language with “the votes of the electors. ” So, that the new sentence will read, “At all elections for members of the General Assembly, the presiding officers in several towns shall count and declare the votes of the electors in open meeting. ” And so, I could ask what is the purpose of these language changes?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Representative for the question, the clarifying question. The purpose is that the current general statutes are tighter timeframes than are required by the current constitutional requirements. The section that the fine Representative refers to is currently codified in 9-308.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What we're talking about here is changing the constitution. Is there a problem with the language that's being bracketed out? Has it been found to be problematic in some ways? Has the court found it unconstitutional or something of that sort?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. For purpose of clarification, is the Representative referring to the last section he just spoke of?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Oh, yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I'm referring to lines 25 through 27, I believe.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my opinion, that language is unnecessary and can be included in other statutes where they are, in fact, already included in 9-308, and they are more restrictive in those sections.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, in the statutory section you just referenced, is the statutory language more restrictive than the constitutional language or is the constitutional language more restrictive than the statutory language?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you. I believe the statutory language is more restrictive.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, that there is apparently an inconsistency between the statutory language currently on the books and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut; is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.