THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 11: 00 o'clock a. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz in the Chair. )

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel). Will the House please come to order? Will members, staff, and guests please rise and direct your attention to the dais with guest Chaplain, Representative Steinberg, will lead us in prayer.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let us pray. Lord, the work before us echoes the needs of your people. May our deliberations and decisions be tempered by compassion and a vision of justice. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Would Representative Soto with the 39th district, please come to the dais to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance?

REP. SOTO (39TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the list of reports to be referred to the committee's indicated.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning Mr. Majority Leader. For what purposes do you rise, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Good morning Mr. Speaker. I move that we waive the read of the list of reports and the reports be referred to the committee's indicated.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

So ordered. Anything further, Mr. Clerk?

CLERK:

The final piece of business, Mr. Speaker, is the daily Calendar.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

And, we are going to need that. Are there any announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? All right, will the Clerk please call House Calendar 573?

CLERK:

State of Connecticut House of Representatives Calendar, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. On page 1, House Calendar 573, Senate Joint Resolution No. 49, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THE HONORABLE MARIA ARAUJO KAHN OF CHESHIRE TO BE A JUDGE OF THE APPELLATE COURT AND A JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The esteemed chair of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Tong, you have the floor, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the Resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Question before the Chamber is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the Resolution. Please proceed, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We're considering the governor's nomination of Judge Maria Araujo Kahn for elevation to the Appellate Court. Judge Kahn has a particularly deep and varied background in experience. She served as an assistant U. S. attorney on the federal side for the district of Connecticut. She also served as a judicial clerk to federal judge, Peter Dorsey, and then has also served in a variety of respects in our state courts and most recently serving in part A criminal trials in the Fairfield judicial district in the superior court. Judge Kahn was approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee. She makes a most impressive candidate for our Appellate Court, along with Judge Elgo and I enthusiastically urge adoption of Resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative O'Neill of the 69th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I was hoping to if I could ask a couple of questions of the Chair of the Judiciary Committee regarding the nominee before us at this point?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Tong, please prepare yourself. Representative O'Neill, please proceed. The Chamber will stand at ease. The House will come back to order. Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Ah, yes, on further reflection, I believe I no longer need to ask the question. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Rebimbas of the 70th district, you have the floor, madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of Judge Kahn for the Appellate bench. Judge Kahn comes before us with a world of professional -- professional experience, certainly serving on the Superior Court, but also her background of having served the Judicial Branch in a variety of different facets such as serving on committee's and organizations and the improvement of the Judicial Branch, including most importantly access to justice, Mr. Speaker. That certainly has made a great stride for the improvement of the Judicial Branch and access to the public, so she is a great example of an individual who should be elevated and Mr. Speaker, if I may add? I have an extra special honor of supporting her nomination as the first Portuguese descendent to the Appellate branch, so I do stand in strong support of Judge Kahn.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Ziobron of the 34th, for what purposes do you rise, madam?

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. I'm rising to speak on this nomination and the next. I think several we have before us this morning, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Last week when we were here with the same amount of judges, I stood up on the --

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel) -- (Gavel) -- (Gavel). If we could just take our conversations out in the hall, the fine Representative is trying to speak and I'm having trouble hearing her up here. Representative Ziobron, please proceed, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I was gonna say I've even talked softer since my good friend from Hartford pointed out I have a tendency to be loud so I'll keep my tone at that same level, so Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, last week I stood up on the floor when we started our proceedings when we had all of these judges before us and I raised several issues regarding the fiscal State of Connecticut and whether or not we could afford these judges. At that time, I asked the good Representative a lot of questions about how much these judges cost and as a reminder to my colleagues, we learned that judges have a salary of about $ 170,000 dollars. We talked about their supporting staff. We talked about the security needs of our courts, the clerks in light of the fact that we actually had the union here in our Chamber -- the very same union, Mr. Speaker, that sent in testimony questioning the need of those judges. Later in the day, we discussed the deficit -- the efficiency bill -- and I noted in my exchange with my colleague, Representative Walker, that we have several steps of dealing with deficiencies and one of those is the FAC or the Finance Advisory Committee that myself and leadership of Approps and the treasurer's office and many others are a member of and I pointed out quickly that it was noted in the FAC meeting that there is a deficiency in the Judicial Department, so Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to rise today to once again say because of those issues has nothing to do with the merits of the nominees. I will be opposing all judges. Note, we are going to be meeting on June 1, the Finance Advisory Committee and the Judicial Department has a $ 675,000-dollar deficiency that they'll need transfers for, which solidifies my reasons to vote no today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Representative Zupkus of the 89th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of this nomination. She is from Cheshire and I do think she is very well qualified for the Appellate Court, and I rise in favor. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further on the nomination before us? Will you remark further on the Resolution before us? If not, staff and -- staff and guests to the well of the House, members take your seats, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? If so, the machine will be locked, the Clerk will take a tally and the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 49 in concurrence with the Senate.

Total number Voting 142

Necessary for Adoption 72

Those voting Yea 132

Those voting Nay 10

Absent not Voting 9

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Resolution is passed -- is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel). Mr. Clerk, please call 574.

CLERK:

On page 2, House Calendar 574, Senate Joint Resolution No. 50, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF JOHN L. CORDANI, ESQUIRE OF WOLCOTT TO BE A JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The distinguished Vice Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the Resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Question is on adoption. Will you explain the Resolution, sir?

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the next nominee we consider this morning is the nomination of John L. Cordani of Wolcott to be a Judge of the Superior Court. Mr. Cordani has a varied background, sort of unique to our Superior Court bench. He actually is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor's of science in chemical engineering, has a master's of science degree from RPI, and his law degree from Quinnipiac University. He served for many years in the private sector working as in-house counsel at the McDermott Corporation in the Waterbury area and for the last several years has been working at the law firm of Carmody and Torrance practicing in the area of intellectual property and patent litigation. The committee was impressed by his business acumen and the diverse background that he'll bring to the bench having served as in-house counsel and with a large company in the state. I urge support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. The distinguished Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us. Certainly, the Vice Chairman had indicated eloquently the professional background that this individual has and we do try to diversify our bench pulling people from different professional backgrounds and certainly, his in-house counsel did not lend that he had too much court time experience. I must highlight as well there were some concerns in the committee regarding a very, very light involvement in bar associations or committees or those types of services within the legal profession and also even community involvement. There was, I believe, one of the most recent ones was eight years ago but because that was something that we typically look at when these individuals fill out their applications, we also had an opportunity to inquire as to the reasons why and I believe that the nominee before us was very honest that his job really did lend itself to having to demand a lot of his time and hours, which is certainly the case many of times when you work for a large law firm and certainly, as in-house counsel to a large corporation that the ability then to serve in other capacities is very limited. I did find that this individual was very competent, capable, very honest in his questions and forthright, and I do believe that his diverse background will be an asset to the bench and having heard from the committee in the hopes that he will be able to take that knowledge and dedicate it in a variety of different capacities and improving and getting involved with different bar association committees in order to improve the Judicial Branch I think is something that was well received, so I do rise in support of the nominee before us.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further on the Resolution? Will you remark further? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House, members take your seats, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If so, the machine will be locked and the clerk will take a tally. Mr. Clerk, kindly announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 50 in concurrence with the Senate.

Total number Voting 144

Necessary for Adoption 73

Those voting Yea 126

Those voting Nay 18

Absent not Voting 7

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Resolution is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel). Mr. Clerk, 575 please.

CLERK:

On page 2, Calendar 575, Senate Joint Resolution No. 51; RESOLUTION CONFIRMING A NOMINATION OF ERNEST GREEN, JR. , ESQUIRE OF NORWICH TO BE A JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The gentlewoman from Groton, Representative Conley.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of Resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on the adoption and concurrence. Please explain the Resolution, ma'am.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Attorney Ernest Green has been a longstanding excellent member of the Norwich bar. He not only graduated from Brown University and the University of Connecticut Law School he also has his PhD from University of Penn. He served as a professor and most recently as an attorney, and he has been a public defender since 2003 doing excellent work on behalf of the Norwich residents making sure that people get their criminal cases moved quickly through the system. He's done a lot of public service as well and again, a very well-respected member of the bar and the community.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us. As the good Judiciary Committee Representative indicated, he does come from the public defense background so it's another area that we want to make sure is properly represented on our Judicial Branch. He also has taken the time to serve on a commission even prior to, obviously, this nomination in trying to give back to the Judicial Branch so I do think that he's gonna add diversity in a professional background capacity to the Judicial Branch, and so I do support his nomination.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Gentleman from Norwich, Representative Riley.

REP. RILEY (46TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise as well in support of Attorney Green's nomination. I've known Mr. Green for an awful long time and I believe he has the requirements and the ability to be one of the better Superior Court judges we have. I'll also say that in the testimony before the committee our former colleague and Senator McCrory was quoted in saying, "why can't we have more appointees like this? This gentleman has a degree in -- a law degree as well as a PhD, and I believe that he will serve the State of Connecticut well in regards as being a Superior Court judge. " Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. The gentleman from Oakdale, Representative Ryan.

REP. RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I briefly want to stand and also in support of Ernest Green to be a Superior Court judge. He's had a distinguished law career, long-term resident of Norwich, and as Representative Riley has stated, I think he will be a great addition to the Superior Court. Thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Resolution? Will you remark further on the Resolution? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Members take your seats. 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If so, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally and the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 51 in concurrence with the Senate.

Total number Voting 144

Necessary for Adoption 73

Those voting Yea 126

Those voting Nay 18

Absent not Voting 7

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Resolution is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel). 576, Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 2, Calendar 576, Senate Joint Resolution No. 52, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF SHARI MURPHY, ESQUIRE OF NORTH BRANFORD TO BE A JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the Resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Question is on acceptance and adoption. Would you explain it, sir?

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the next nominee is Shari Murphy of North Branford to be a judge of the Superior Court. She is a partner with the law firm of Keyes and Murphy in Branford where she has a general practice concentrating on personal injury, defense litigation, family law, wills, trusts, estates, and real estate. She is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University and also the Quinnipiac University School of Law, so certainly, a homegrown product here in Connecticut, has a varied practice, and will bring that litigation experience to the bench. I urge support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee that's before us. Certainly, very well qualified in her professional experience. Also, a little light on the bar memberships and community service. I hope certainly she'll take her background and add to the Judicial Branch nonetheless and just for clarification, through you Mr. Speaker, if the good Vice Chairman can confirm whether or not this would be a new nominee so a new individual serving on our bench?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

(Gavel). Thank you. Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. yes, in fact, it is a new nomination. She is filling the seat that was held by the Honorable William T. Cremins who elected to take senior status, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Vice Chairman for that clarification and again, I do rise in support of her nomination.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, madam. Distinguished Deputy Minority Leader, Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I also rise in support of Shari Murphy for this appointment. Ms. Murphy has been a stellar person in our community raising her family and has worked hard in the practice of law, sort of getting this appointment the old-fashioned way through hard work and dedication. She has a diverse practice in the courtroom and I think she will be a fantastic member of the bench. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Resolution? Will you remark further on the Resolution? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House. Members take your seats and the machine will be opened. (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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Ladies and gentlemen, there seem to be some trouble with the voting machine. If you just bear with us, we're gonna try and have it corrected. There seems to have been some trouble with the locking mechanism and we're gonna get IT up here to take a look at it. Machine seems to be in working order now. Mr. Clerk, could you re-announce this for anybody who may have missed?

CLERK:

The House of Representatives is voting on Senate Joint Resolution No. 52. Members to the Chamber.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

It seems ladies and gentlemen that the computer system is fine but the mechanical button that locks the machine is stuck and -- and that's what's happening. We have a couple of work-arounds we're gonna try out here in just a moment, so that's -- that's what caused the delay and I appreciate your indulgence and your patience, and if all the members have voted, the machine will be locked. The Clerk will take a tally and the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution No. 52 in concurrence with the Senate.

Total number Voting 146

Necessary for Adoption 74

Those voting Yea 128

Those voting Nay 18

Absent not Voting 5

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Resolution is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel). 577 please, Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 2, Calendar 577, Senate Joint Resolution No. 53, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF TAMMY T. NGUYEN O'DOWD, ESQUIRE OF BLOOMFIELD TO BE A JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the Resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Question is on acceptance and adoption in concurrence. Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Attorney Nguyen O'Dowd is a graduate of the University of California at Representative Sanchez Diego and also the Catholic University of America Law School. Ms. Nguyen O'Dowd also serves now as an assistant of attorney general in the office of the attorney general here in Connecticut. She has also served previously as a teacher teaching in California as a substitute and also as a tutor. Earlier, we heard that Judge Araujo Kahn -- if I pronounced that correctly, Representative Rebimbas -- made history as the first Portuguese American to be elevated to our Appellate Court bench. Attorney Nguyen O'Dowd will be the first Vietnamese American to be appointed at any level of our court system here in Connecticut and for that and other reasons, I urge adoption of Resolution.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us. Certainly, it is a historical day in this regard and one that we all can be proud of and I believe just to add to that, certainly, it sounds like if this individual does pass, especially through this Chamber, that it will be historical that, I believe, it's females predominately will be the majority on the Appellate bench and that's a good thing, Mr. Speaker, so Mr. Speaker, certainly, you know besides a historical significance of this nominee, she does come to us with a diverse background and again, we're adding to the diversity of our Judicial Branch, which is always a good thing, as we want our judicial system to reflect the people that come before them, so I do rise in support of the nominee before us.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Will you remark further on the Resolution? Will you remark further on the Resolution? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House, members take your seats, the machine will be opened. (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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If so, the machine will be locked, the Clerk will take a tally, and the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 53 in concurrence with the Senate.

Total number Voting 145

Necessary for Adoption 73

Those voting Yea 127

Those voting Nay 18

Absent not Voting 6

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Resolution is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel). Representative Sampson, I understand you have an introduction for us.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Good afternoon. Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have -- I'm rising for a point of introduction if I could?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

As the state Representative of the 80th district, I have the great fortune of representing one of the finest school districts in the state and today, we are joined here in the House Chamber with some students from Frisbie Elementary School. they're fifth graders. They're up in the gallery and I'd just like my colleagues to recognize them, maybe give them a wave and some cheers for joining us today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. [Applause].

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Let me welcome them also to the Chamber. I hope you learn a couple of things and have an interesting time in the historic Capitol today. Thank you. Representative Bocchino.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the last -- I pressed the button the last time so it didn't register. I'd like to be listed in the affirmative for the last vote please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The transcript will so note. Thank you, sir.

REP. BOCCHINO (150TH):

Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The House will stand at ease. Mr. Clerk, kindly call Calendar 572.

CLERK:

On page 1, Calendar 572, Senate Joint Resolution No. 48, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF BARRY F. ARMATA, ESQUIRE OF SUFFIELD TO BE A JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of Resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Attorney Armata is a graduate of Boston College and also the Syracuse University College of Law. He has practiced for some time in our state courts here in Connecticut, has a very diverse and varied background in the practice of law. He practices in family law, as well as in general practice matters including real estate, probate, criminal law, Worker's Comp. , and civil matters and he works at a mid-sized firm in the Hartford area. Judge Armata has worked, as I said, in our family courts and answered extensive questioning during his public hearing before the committee and in my view, I've found his answers to be forthright and complete and for those reasons, I and a majority of the members of the committee voted to support his nomination, and for those reasons, I urge adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Attorney Armata. Attorney Armata has been very dedicated to his law profession and comes from a very diverse background in handling very complex difficult matters. He is very dedicated to his profession. He's been -- I mean when you look at his application I don't even think there was enough room to fill with all of the good work that he has done not only in specific important decisions, services on bar associations, services on a variety of different committees and I know that myself and Representative Baram actually had the distinct pleasure of participating in a workshop and again, it was a legal workshop where people were able to ask questions, share information, and all for the betterment of the Judicial Branch and practice of law. This individual comes before us with great support. I think he did a very good job in answering the few questions that were actually posed to him in committee opposed to a lot of allegations against him but I think his performance before the committee was a very good one. It was to the best of his ability under the circumstances and since that public hearing, I know I, myself, have been reached out to in a variety of different capacities from a variety of different colleagues in the legal profession, as well as individuals who know him personally and who have vouched for his professionalism and dedication to his profession, so I do believe he would be an asset to the Judicial Branch and I thank him for the great work that he has done and hopefully will continue to do so on the Judicial Branch.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Gentlewoman from East Granby, Representative Zawistowski.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to wholeheartedly support that Barry Armata be approved for this appointment of Superior Court. He is very well regarded in his community. He is very active in that community and he is very committed to public service. He has strong education experience and he really stands out because of his commitment to the law. He is the strong support of his peers. He's committed to public service and he's a very -- he's a good man and I do urge that my colleagues support him as I will. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Gentleman from Wallingford, Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning. I have had the pleasure of knowing Attorney Armata for almost 20 years. With that being said, I adopt the comments of my colleague, Representative Ziobron, of this morning. I don't think it's appropriate in our fiscal situation to be appointing new judges and therefore, I have been voting against new appointments here today but with regard to Attorney Armata, I think he is very fit to be on the bench. As a clerk for three years in the New Britain Superior Court, I dealt with Attorney Armata on almost a daily basis and always found him to be humorous and good natured. As an attorney, which I've been practicing for almost 15 years, I've been on the other side of cases against Attorney Armata. I have had him appointed as guardian ad litem in cases. I've had him resolve some very difficult cases as guardian ad litem and cases where normally parents possibly would not be seeing their children they are seeing their children today based upon the good work of Attorney Armata, so I can't say enough about Attorney Armata and his fitness for the bench but on a fiscal note, I feel that I must vote against these new appointments, so thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Gentleman from Glastonbury, Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good to see you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good to be seen.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

I do rise, Mr. Speaker, in strong support of Barry Armata. I've had the good opportunity to meet the gentleman in the past, have had wonderful conversations with him, have met other constituents from Glastonbury who have spoken extremely high of him in the firm that he works for, which is a part of my town, and I urge my colleagues, both sides of the aisle, to support his nomination. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Gentlewoman from Hartford, Representative Gonzalez.

REP. GONZALEZ (3RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on Monday, May 15, we interviewed some candidates for judges and I remember that one of the candidates came in and he was explaining the way that many years ago we -- how the process was at that time, and he was explaining that the process was very private that it was -- that they put all the candidates in one room and it was one-by-one and also they put some capitol police at the door because it was very private. I asked him if you like now how the process is because it's a lot different and he said, yes. He said I do like the process now. It is very transparent and also gives the opportunity of the people to come and testify against or in favor, and I agree with him in a way that now the process is different. It is more transparent and also give opportunity for the people that have something to say to come and speak against or in favor and -- and we experienced that on Monday, May 15, with Attorney Armata. One of the things that I will say is that people come to us to the Judiciary Committee and people complain because they think that we hear and we aren't gonna listen to them and we aren't gonna help them and in a way, sometimes that happens and sometimes not but because I know that all the members, again they are not all members of Judiciary Committee, I believe that is right and is fair to bring the concern to the rest of the members in this Chambers and they have to make a decision but I think that they should know everything that is going on -- only was going on through the interview process. This position they carry enormous, enormous power and impact many peoples, and it's basically those who go to the family court and that's why I would like to explain why I'm opposing. To the rest of the members here, that are not part of Judiciary Committee and as you know, I've been a long-time advocate for families throughout Connecticut and a few years ago, we passed a legislation to the response to the outpouring of cries for many, many families across Connecticut and for many families across the state it's a result of the guardian ad litem abuses, and yes, we have seen some results but not enough. We still complain -- people still complaining about some judges are not going by the state statutes, some guardian ad litem are not -- they're ignoring the state statutes and there's no accountability for guardians ad litem, no pass for grievances and families were going bankrupt into foreclosures, but to keep up with all the court appointments, one of the problem is is the guardian ad litems I think they are very busy trying to help all these vendors that for some reason they got them involved in the family court. On Monday, Judiciary Committee, we heard from a family -- the Martowska family -- the Martowska family they drive five hours to come here to Connecticut to speak against Barry Armata. When I say five hours, I said two hours and a half and two hours and a half -- that's round trip -- and I do have a lot more cases against Armata and I picked a few for today but this Martowska's case -- I picked this one because listening to my Chair -- my Chair, Representative Tong, he agree that the Martowska face they are very credible and that's why

I'm gonna explain what was going on with their cases and also in a few other cases. I'm not -- I will say that some of the questions that I asked Barry Armata I would say he didn't give me accurate information, so the Martowska family -- the grandmother she's a retired attorney and she spoke in particular of her son's case who said lasted like maybe like for 12 years and her son being prevented from seeing his child for now for -- now for the last four years. The mother -- the child's mother never asked for a restraining order or for a protective order so that means that the father is not a threat to the child. There's nothing wrong with the father. He has some mental issues but he's not a violent person and he's being supported by his parent, and on this case, Barry Armata was appoint on this case when the child was three weeks old. Now, the child is 12 years old and Barry Armata failed to move this case along, keeping it going to profit off the back of the grandparents that they pay for their ability to stay in the fight for access to the child. In listening very carefully to Attorney Armata's testimony and what I heard today here -- with all due respect of everybody -- but listening you would think that he was an angel. He was articulate. His words seem to portray empathy and he supposedly was about children and honestly, I was waiting for his wing to grow so he could take flight; but however, we also learned from other's testimony, not also from the Martowska family, that Barry Armata is no angel and we need to question his word -- they were sincere or genuine -- and I suggest to you they were not sincere. They were not genuine. Everything was submitted showing Barry Armata violate many of his responsibility under the new guardian ad litem code of conduct. A code that he admitted himself that he helped to draft; however, when I ask him for some of the responsibilities, I said can you share with us -- he also from the top of his head -- he also remembered just one -- candor toward the tribunal. Candor to the tribunal means that you have to be honest and you have -- and honest and forthcoming -- and based on the Martowska's case and based on other cases and based on the people that came to testify, he even violate the one that he remembered, and we have on the code of conduct -- we have 25 responsibilities in the code of conduct.

Judges appointments are for eight years and even though that I don't agree with eight years, I think they should be for four years and for four years, why? Because the highest position that we have elected official is the governor and he is only for four years so I think they should be for four years and if the next term the same governor don't get in, well then we have a new governor that he's gonna have the opportunity to name other judges and in eight years, a governor -- I'm sorry -- in eight years, a judge can really hurt a family, so knowing the guy -- the kind of guy that Attorney Armata has been a guardian ad litem for many, many years and there's a lot of complaints out there, I will ask only just one question to the Chamber. Is this the type of judge that you would like to handle your kids case, maybe your grandkids? Is this the type of judge that we really want? What we learned also from Barry Armata based on the evidence that was submitted that day, it was -- I start with supervised visitation and I asked him, can you explain what is the process of supervised visitation and I decide to follow up and take what was supervised visitation and supervised visitation is a program that if the guardian ad litem recommend to the judge that a father has to go or the mother has to go to supervised visitation they have to go to supervised visitation and this is not free. You gotta pay for it. Now, when I decided to check who was running supervised visitation, I find out that the person that was running one of the centers of supervised visitation he was convicted twice of a felony and it raised my concern because I said why a guy that was convicted of a felony is running a supervised center when they have to deal with kids, so I did more checking and also received a lot of complaints from parents saying that they didn't trust these places because these places, especially Saturdays and Sundays, the people that are supposed to be supervising this visitation, they were drunk, they were not paying attention, and they looked like they were in la-la land so some people say we don't feel comfortable but that's what happens at supervised visitation. It's not for free and also supervised visitation I think that is very unfair when there's no complaint from the father or the mother when they ordered supervised visitation almost for a year and I asked him -- I asked him, Attorney Armata, if how do he think about deprivation of conditional rights to those parents when they have to go on -- on a year on supervised visitation. Then I'm gonna start mentioning to you that I spent hours and hours and hours doing research and also I spent hours with the family and everything that I'm saying here today I do have proof and I will start with the first one about supervised visitation. When I asked him about prolonged visitation, almost a year, and I said you don't think that you are violating their constitutional right and the response was "never really thought about it" and you know what, I think that that was maybe one of the questions that he was -- that I can say that it was -- not the right question -- but I think that he was truthful on this one because I really believe that he never, never thought about it because even though that he's supposed to be working in the best interest of the child, it really proved to me that he was not working in the best interest of the child. Supervised visitation is just simply to make money, as money and to make one parent comfortable and if one parent said that it's okay and the guardian ad litem take their side well guess what it is okay even though there are fathers they are beginning, they are pleading to see their kids. This father has to drive 10 hours to Connecticut to have two visit with the daughter, two hours in one week, and when I said that they are some times that we've been telling parents that they should stay involved in their child's life, Barry Armata was doing the opposite. Barry Armata was making it so difficult for this parent because he didn't want this parent involved in the child's life so he was making everything in his power to keep this parent involved with the child's life and I will say how can we possibly look at the potential candidate for judge that -- who does not think on the basic potential constitutional implication in conducting his daily work. Now, Barry Armata -- the father is a father that he is going -- he is on SSI Disability. He decide to drive five hours to see if he could sit down with Attorney Armata and come up with a payment plan. He went to his office and asked Barry Armata can we sit down and can we discuss a payment plan because even though that I'm on Social Security Disability, I am doing everything that I have to and I'm doing everything to stay in my child's life. Can you help me with a payment plan and the answer was no. The entire balance of the bill was due and you have to remember he said, "there are no free ride in life. " The parent he knew there was no free ride in life because he was doing everything in his power to help and to stay in the child's life. I will say also that in my opinion Barry Armata failed the temperament test when the grandparents they are involved and they are trying to ask for visitation and Barry Armata told the parent -- the grandparent "well, I can work on that but we have two conditions. First one, you will never tell the child that daddy loves her. That's a no-no and second, you cannot talk about future events -- future activities with the child" and the reason for those response was that he was already make plan and he knew what was gonna happen with this family, and it was the same Attorney Armata that if this family came to try to work a payment plan -- the same attorney that he was billing the father at a private rate -- a private rate -- and it was a court order. They went into the court and the judge realized that this father he is an indigent, as well as the mother, and the judge ordered Attorney Armata to charge this parent state rate, and when that happened, when they charged state rate, they have to send the bills to the state and the state -- when they pay state rate, it's controlled. They got a cap so here I have also the order of the court saying you have to charge them state rate. Another -- another problem that the father has that he asked Attorney Armata -- "I was checking the invoices and I found maybe some mistake. Can you check for me because I think there are some mistakes in the invoices" and the Attorney Armata the response was, "well, I will check but you have to understand that if I have to research it effects my all mistakes you will have to pay me. I will charge you for whatever time I spent" and I will say that's unbelievable because if I got a credit card and I go to the store and I spend $ 20 dollars and I receive a bill from the -- from the Visa card saying your balance is $ 40 dollars, so I will say it has a mistake because I only spent $ 20 dollars and what they do is they send me a letter saying we apologize but your balance is $ 20 dollars, but not Barry Armata. Barry Armata was very clear if I have to do research and I have to find my own mistake you will have to pay for this, and it's outrageous that we can allow those things to happen. The only -- the only attribute and under the new guardian ad litem code that Barry Armata could remember it was candor to the tribunal. Again, you have to be honest and as a guardian ad litem, you are not supposed to recommend none of the vendors, none of your friends. You have a role that you have to go by and you have to be honest, so Attorney Armata recommend Dr. Linda Smith, one of the vendors. They got a pool of people and that pool of people they are like vampires. They want to suck the money out of the parent so he started now recommending people from that pool and he recommend Dr. Linda Smith for an evaluation, so the grandmother decides well this sounds a good thing and because my son he don't have the money I will pay the $ 500 dollars for the evaluation. Well, the mother paid the $ 500 dollars. It was a recommendation through Attorney Barry. The father showed up. The mother she didn't show up with the daughter so the doctor send $ 400 dollars -- returned $ 400 dollars to Barry Armata with the letter and the letter was saying this is a refund for the grandparents. I charged $ 100 dollars because I met with the father but the rest of the money belongs to the grandparents. Well, Barry Armata took the $ 400 dollars and paid himself but wait a minute. How many letters he received from the grandparents? How many letters received from the attorney from the other side saying that -- saying return the money to the grandparent and here I have the letters from the grandparents. I got letters from the attorney saying return the money to the parent but what he did -- he paid himself. He kept the $ 400 dollars, so I will say what kind of -- what kind of judge do you think that he will be if he can't trust -- if the parent that are dealing with him now, they can't trust him. I also -- I also asked him about the AFCC. The AFCC is an organization running by the court. When I really believe that the AFCC is another scam. Another scam to take money from the parents and I asked him, "are you a member of the AFCC" and he knows that the AFCC was something that we -- that we've been complaining about AFCC, and his response was "I don't know -- I don't know. " I asked but you don't know if you're a member of the AFCC? He said, "No" and I said, "but why not" and he said, "because sometimes the membership goes by the law firm. " Well, guess what -- I did some checking and I got the list of the members of the AFCC. His name is here that he is a member of the AFCC. Also, we went to his website. He is a member of the AFCC. Also, I got proof that he was a conference and that conference you can find his name there, so again, he didn't give me accurate information. I don't want to say this or -- you know, I can say a different word but I -- I want to stick with he didn't give me accurate information. Now, I also asked him -- I also asked him if when he works with members of the AFCC if he disclosed this to the judge and the rest of the people that are involved and the response was "no" and I said, "why not?" He said, "because it's like dealing with neighbors. " Well, no, that's the wrong answer because he's not dealing with neighbors because on 04/19/2013 the committee of the Ethics gave an informal opinion that you have to disclose when you work with these vendors and you a part of them that you have to disclose because it perceives a conflict of interest because all these vendors are not working for free. They are getting financial incentive. Now, I also asked Barry Armata of parental alienation and we all know we have -- we heard a lot of people complaining about parental alienation and I asked him "do you know what is parental alienation and what do you do if you notice that there is parental alienation in a case?" Well, in the beginning, he really seemed like he really understand it but then I did realize that he didn't have a clue what is parental alienation and as a guardian ad litem for so many years an attorney not knowing what is parental alienation it seems like he was not doing a good job. He don't understand the urgency for early intervention to assess and address this matter. He didn't bother to develop the understanding when he was responsible for the child so Barry Armata didn't have a clue, so I will say if this Barry Armata that have this case for almost 12 years, that he really was working in the best interest of the child, again, knowing that he was not supposed to, Barry Armata recommend another person -- another vendor -- to get involved in this case and you have to remember that every single vendor that get involved in the case they get paid, and also, as a guardian ad litem, he's not supposed to recommend anybody on the case so he recommend another person and this is the family saying but why, why is all these vendors. Now, while he was appointed as a guardian ad litem in this case, the girl was three weeks old. The mother registered the child only with her name and the father that is very into his daughter decided that he was gonna fight that in court because he wanted to be sure that both last names are reflected in the birth certificate, so Barry Armata they go to court and now it's two years and a half -- they go to court. They are in court discussing the name change and the judge asked Barry Armata why he didn't agree with the father and the answer was "well, because it's a badge of conflict. " A badge of conflict -- I couldn't understand that one because I -- as far as I remember, me as a Puerto Rician and in Puerto Rico we use both names. You use the father and you use the mother and I know that here it's a little bit different but in the birth certificate it always shows the father, so the judge didn't agree with Barry Armata. The judge was very clear the father is a responsible father. I don't see a reason why not but he keeps saying that he didn't agree and here we have -- I have the proof what happened that day in the court. I did my homework. Now, the case still on. They still fighting for the name and then Barry Armata tried to convince the father he came back and he said, "what do you think if -- if you withdraw the name change and I will allow you a few visits" so it was quid pro quo. You give me this and I will give you that when in reality the father has the right on both -- on visitation and also that he had the right that his daughter carry his last name, so if he was complaining and he didn't agree even though the judge agree with that, my question is if this guy was really working in the best interest of the child and I will respond no. It was in the best interest of the guardian ad litem because as long as you drug and drug the case and you don't do anything about it and you pass years and years you are getting paid and that's the whole thing. It's about money. Barry Armata didn't keep accurate bills and hasn't done the guardian ad litem code of conduct, and when he went to court and the judge realized that he was charging this parent private rate, he was ordered by the court that he has to pay -- he has to charge state pay. Now, what he did was he ignored that -- that order -- the judge's order and he continue charging the family private rate and at the same time, he grabbed the -- the judge's order to charge him as a state paid and he sent it to the state and here is very clear. This is in black and white. I didn't add this. This was exactly what I received. That he sent the judge's order and he get paid $ 988 dollars and 12 cents. Well, the family when they received this they said well wait a minute. He's still charging us private rate and also, he receive a check for $ 988 dollars and if this is correct -- if this is correct, I will say that this is double dipping. Now, also the father and the family was questioning a couple of other bills when he was overcharging and he got the same answer. "If I have to search for that, if I have to do research, you will have to pay for that" so another thing that I question Barry Armata because the parent knowing that they were indigent but the kid is Husky. The father plead Attorney Armata let me stay involved, let me help. I am from Massachusetts but I will check and I will -- I will -- I will search and I will find out if we can find providers -- Husky providers that will provide services to my daughter in the same area where she lives in Connecticut and the response was, "No. No because Husky is very inferior. They are inferior caliber and also, you have to wait at least six months to get an appointment" so because he didn't want the father to get involved so now he goes and he recommend another person to get involved in the case and that person was Kian [phonetic] Jacobs and again, I have the proof here that he recommend somebody else. He recommend another vendor from that pool of people, so the grandmother got a little upset and saying, hey, I'm gonna do research and I'm gonna check why he's saying that Husky is inferior so the mother she was trained -- a medical in Boston, so the mother went -- the grandmother went and did a research and she find out that he gave the information -- the information that he gave was not accurate information. She find out -- she find out that Husky they provide very good services around here in Connecticut and she also find out that Husky will have also home visit if they really need the home visit, so he was not, again, working in the best interest of the child so here I am asking myself why he don't allow the parents and the father -- the grandparents -- to get the state involved with their child. Another question that I asked to Barry Armata was about deposition and I learned -- I'm not an attorney -- but I learned -- with the Judiciary Committee, I learn a lot and I listen to all these attorneys and a deposition is when the attorneys are getting ready and they are getting prepared to go to court they call -- their offices -- all the witnesses and they question the witnesses and sometimes they have a witness will spend hours and hours during that deposition and that deposition is very, very expensive so I ask him do you go and sit in those deposition and the answer was "generally, no because I know that it drive up the cost for the parent. " Well, yes, he is right and I also -- I also have here proof that he sit, he go, and he meet with the attorneys and he stay there for deposition, so I got proof here that also he never gave me accurate information. Remember, depositions they are very, very expensive. Now, how -- I also ask him about status conference and I ask him what about status conference and attorneys they use -- and guardian ad litem -- they use status conference because guardian ad litems they have more access to the court but they have to fill out a form and the form has three reasons why you're requesting a status conference. One is urgent matter. The other one is safety issues and the other one is not urgent. He filed -- he filed that status conference and he marked down that it was urgent matter and it was safety issues and when they show up in court they find out that also he lied on this form. That he knew it was not an urgent issue or it was not a safety issue, but that's what they do because that's another way to extort money from the parent. I also asked Barry Armata about child support and I asked him if child support -- if they can -- they will say that child support can be treated in the matter if guardian ad litem's fees, if that's treated as nature of child support and he was very evasive on this one but he -- the way he answered make me believe that he really believe that the guardian fees that you can treat that in the matter of child support and also, that was wrong information because guardian fees go to the guardian ad litem pockets. Child support is treated for basic essentials like food, shelter, and clothes so it's impossible guardian ad litem feels that's not child support, but the way they use this is because they can bring this litigant to the court, the judge will order the guardian ad litem fees and also they treat this litigant as a dead-beat dad and they send them -- they threw them in jail, which is not right because you have the dead-beat dads that they are not responsible and you have this litigant they are going through court for so many years and they are providing child support. Also, I asked him about five letters that the Martowska family and the lawyers and him because what he was doing he was failing to follow up and was scheduling the psych evaluation and he was not returning phone calls, so the father and also the lawyer was sending letters saying what's going on with this case. Now, I have here also the letters from the attorneys and letters from the family that they were asking him to please let's get this case in court because it is all this time my son is not able to see the daughter. Can you help us but he ignore -- he ignore all those five letters from the lawyer and also from the father. That's one case and the reason why I brought this case, again, is because this family they've been here a couple of times, they've been complaining about the process, and that's why I brought this case and one of the people that he -- the he referred was Kian [phonetic] Jacobs and Kian Jacobs -- the father -- they did -- and the mother -- they did research and they find out that this person that he recommend -- the state of Massachusetts was pulling her license because unprofessional services, so this is the kind of people that he is recommending. Now, I know about other cases and I have some -- some here -- some proof. I asked Attorney Armata if I hire you for a criminal case or a civil case and you messed up my case can I sue you and the response was "yes. " I said and a guardian ad litem that I never hired -- it was appointed by the court -- if a guardian ad litem messed up my case and I got proof, can I sue them? He said, "no" and I said, "no, why?" He said because they got immunity. You can never sue a guardian ad litem. They got immunity and I asked but even if they decide to sue what you will do and he will say -- he said -- the answer was "I will hire an attorney" and I said, "but if you have immunity as a guardian ad litem, why you going to hire an attorney" and the answer was "Well, we need representation. " Now, I said, "and how will pay for that attorney if I'm gonna sue you who will pay for that attorney?" He said, "I will. " Well, wrong answer because here I got proof that a person that he messed up her case she sued him and what he did he went to hire a law firm and the law firm charged the parent, so it's ridiculous and funny that I'm gonna sue you and I have to pay for your attorney to defend you so it doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make any sense that how then I'm gonna be comfortable that I'm gonna sue you and I have to pay for your attorney. It is ridiculous but that happened with Barry Amata and is happening in the court system. Now, I know that we have in 2014 -- we have a lot of people that came here to testify against guardian ad litems and at that time, one-by-one to those people who came to testify, they were labeled. They were labeled as disgruntled parents. They were labeled as they were lying. They were labeled one-by-one-by one. Now, even I was labeled from people from this Chamber and from the judges and from people out there -- they were saying if Representative Gonzalez believe those parents and those parents are crazy, so Representative Gonzalez is also crazy. I'm not crazy. No, my friends I got a heart. I am a mother. I am a mother and I know what -- [pause] -- [crying] -- [clearing throat] -- I am a mother and I know how a mother or a father would suffer because for one reason or another they lose their child and I lost one three years ago, so I know the pain. I know the pain so these people that came here to testify they also are labeled and they give them a bad name and -- [clearing throat] -- a father that has been sending emails, an unstopped father that had been looking for help, this father is very well-known from all of us because he keeps sending emails and emails and emails, so now because he's doing that, now this guy -- this father -- he's a liar, he just wants to get into a fight, but the father is not a liar because I've been reading every single transcript from the court and this -- and his name is Peter Szymonik. I know that everybody heard about him and Peter Szymonik was very clear that he send a lot of information to us that Barry Armata was his guardian ad litem and he charged him $ 26,000 dollars and he spent only 50 minutes with his two boys. He never, never gave him or the ex-wife an invoice explaining what he was billing for. Somebody went -- the mother went to the court and complained that Peter Szymonik's mother locked the two boys in the room so when Peter find out, called Barry Armata, said go to my house, talk to my mother, and check everything that is going on, so he goes to the house and he realized that none of the doors they have locked so how come I'm gonna lock somebody in the room they don't have no locks and the reason for that was because the two kids they were Autistic but he never came back to the court and explained the judge that that was not true, that that was a lie. He never say that and before he left the house, the grandmother got close to Barry Armata and say can you help me please to see if I can see my grandkids and the response was "I will help you but you have to pay me $ 3500 dollars. " The grandmother turned around and said, "but I don't have that kind of money and this is a huge problem for me. I miss my grandkids" and he said, "well, go and get therapy. " That was very, very disrespectful. He is not a doctor to recommend any kind of therapy and he was very disrespectful with this grandmother. Another thing that happened in that case was Peter Szymonik was flat broke but he did have a settlement and the settlement was for $ 80,000 dollars, so what happened on that case the Judge Edelman find out about that settlement, called the lawyer and say and ask and order him that as soon as that settlement is done I want Peter Szymonik check in my courtroom and exactly what he ordered. The other attorney thinking that this is not correct but he ordering me so he brought the check to the court. Now, by that time, Barry Armata was sending letters to Peter Szymonik you owe me $ 7000 dollars and Peter Szymonik was asking but why? You disappeared from my case in 2009 and now it's 2011. I don't owe you any money so -- but anyway, it was the judge let people know we getting his check -- we getting his check for $ 80,000 dollars. Right away, all that group -- all that pool of people -- all those vampires -- they ran to the court and he was asking for $ 7000 dollars. Money that he was saying I don't owe you that money but -- but then -- but then he walk out from the court with a check of $ 10,000 dollars. This was an abuse. This was an abuse from the court. This was an abuse from the guardian ad litem and no matter how you see that it is an abuse and everything is about money. Now, I passed some information around here for some people to ask me some information about Barry Armata and I did pass information. What I heard this morning was that they were checking my information because they were planning to turn around all the evidence that I presented. Well, I know that can be done yes because that happened in the court. That happened in the court. It's gonna happen here but I will say that all the information that I have here in black and white from the court, from the family, all this information is accurate and if anybody in this Chamber decide that they will take my information, my evidence here, and then gonna turn it around, I will say first I don't think that'll be fair for the Martowska family that is watching and they've been through a lot for 12 years but also, I'm gonna say that it's gonna be a disservice for this generous family for a person to try to convince this generous family changing the whole information -- the whole evidence -- that I have here. I also will say that when those people they come to this building and they are looking for us to help them because they believe that the ball stop here and maybe we can help them, so -- but some of us were not listening. Some of us were not listening and we're not helping -- we're not helping these people so 2018, the elections are around the corner and I believe that some of these people will be listening and maybe -- who knows -- maybe some of us we're not gonna come back in 2018 because we're not providing and we're not listening to these people. We cannot afford to take two steps forward and one step back in the family court.

Barry Armata is very well-known to be the poster child of guardian ad litem abuses in our family court. The state -- I came this morning -- in committee I vote for all the judges and the reason I did that first because I didn't have anything bad to say about any judges and that's why I vote for the judges, and this morning I came here planning to vote for all the judges but the thing is and the reality is listening to the other side of the aisle is that we don't have the money. We don't have the money for 13 new judges. Right now, Judicial Department laid off a lot of people. Judicial Department they can't provide a lot of services that our people need. They can't provide because they don't have the staff so instead of us hiring 13 new judges, I think that we should turn around and provide more money to Judicial Department so they can help our people. Even with one judge salary, they can start a pilot program so they can help all these parents that are going through all this problem. We need to look at his action, as well as his words. His actions shows that he put his own interest above the people that he is -- [clearing throat] -- there to serve. A vote for Barry Armata is a vote not for our children. A vote for Barry Armata is that -- for that pool of people, for all those therapists, evaluators, guardian ad litems, AMC, it's gonna be a vote for them because the same way that he's being treated now in the court, if you go to the court, especially here in 95 Washington, you will see all the attorneys waiting for their turn but you will see Barry Armata going in and out, in and out in the judge's chambers, so the judges are allowing him to do whatever he want so if we vote for him, it's not a vote for him. It's for this group of people and like the other side is saying we don't have the money for all these judges but if we don't have the money for 12 judges, I don't think that we should have the money for Barry Armata. People get up here and say we don't have the money for all these judges, we shouldn't vote for them, but yet, they are saying we support Barry Armata, let's pick him from those 13, let's give him a vote, let's get him in the judge's chamber but not the rest and that's why I am voting against all those judges because I believe that fair is fair, not saying -- not getting up here and say judge -- let's not support Armata because we don't have the money but we don't have the money for Barry Armata but let's vote for the other 13. I don't think that is fair and I don't think that is right. That's the reason I am not voting. I don't have nothing bad to say about those new 12 judges. I do have something bad to say about Armata but I'm not gonna play the game and I'm not gonna say don't vote for the other 12. Let's vote for Armata. I think that's being very hypocrite and I don't think that it is fair to do that. Now, I will say that -- this is my last remark -- we have to look at his action. He put his own interest above the people that he is there to serve. He don't deserve to be a judge and I will say how many children need to become casualties like the Martowska child who have not seen in four years and this case has been lingering for the last 12 years. As a Superior Court judge, he will fail many, many others. We need the brightest judges on the bench and I will say for Megan Martowska White, for Nikita's [phonetic] children, for Hector Morera case, for Peter Szymonik, for Susan Skipp, for Jerry Mastrangelo, for Monica Peters, for Dianne Hart, for Paige Taylor, for Sheen Kennon [phonetic] for Marisa Ringel, for Mark Stodgen [phonetic] for attorney Paul Green, Frank Maturo, and for many, many other kids here in the State of Connecticut, let's vote against Barry Armata. Let's do the right thing. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Rebimbas for the second time.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker for the opportunity to speak for a second time, which is something I rarely do. As I indicated earlier, I am in support of attorney Armata based on his qualifications, experience, professionalism, and also his decorum before the Judiciary Committee. As I indicated earlier, he was asked few questions but many accusations made about him and to him. I think his decorum in those responses were very appropriate. He also highlighted the sensitivity of dealing with cases with minor children and opted instead of defending himself to protect the minor children in these cases. I thought that was admirable because again anyone who knows that the family law practice is one fraught with challenges, sensitive issues, and God knows not an area of law that many practitioners -- attorneys -- want to practice in so it's highly sensitive in that regard. We don't take it lightly when individuals come before the Judiciary Committee to testify. We actually find it to be very informative in a variety of different ways but we also try to be as respectful of those individuals as possible, asking them appropriate questions when necessary and reviewing any and all documents that's provided to the Judiciary Committee and I can speak for myself and the chairmen of this committee that every piece of information that's provided to us we review to the best of our abilities. I recall the family that's been referenced in this Chamber came before us and again with many sensitive issues and real issues and I did ask one simple question because it was my understanding through the testimony that Attorney Armata who served previously as a GAL in a particular case no longer was serving and I believe it was well over four or five years approximately, and so I asked the family one simple question whether or not the father of the child had parenting time with that child since because I had heard many accusations made against Mr. Armata or Attorney Armata. I was hopeful to hear something positive thereafter.

Unfortunately, I was surprised by the answer that that father, unfortunately, still had not had parenting time and I was trying to connect the dots in that regard and again, we try to be as sensitive as possible knowing that there's minor children because guardian ad litems or attorneys for the minor child, which references the AMCs typically are not appointed unless there's minor children, but Attorney Armata or any GAL or AMC is not the person who makes decisions in cases. The one and only person who does is a judge. What a guardian ad litem's duties and responsibilities to and it has been referenced here is to try to determine what's in the best interest of the child and that's gathering of information, speaking with individuals, and then certainly, providing that information to the court and only if the judge asks for a recommendation then will that guardian ad litem share what their opinion of the best interest of the child is. Nowhere at any time is any recommendation made to the court by any guardian ad litem the end all-be all. Usually, those recommendations could be done in a hearing, in a trial, in a variety of different ways that's requested by the parties or certainly, their attorneys if they are represented by attorneys. All of the information that's provided to the court it's up to the judge to decide. Having a guardian ad litem is a very sensitive issue in any case because that means that the parents of the children and certainly any other individuals that might be parties of the case, such as grandparents, they have been unable to reach a decision. The ultimate power lies with the parents. If they're able to reach a decision and agreement, then the court will certainly review it and accept it. It's only in the highly contentious cases where the parents cannot reach an agreement that a guardian ad litem is then appointed, so at no time is it a guardian ad litem making a decision in a court.

The parties still have the ability if they're represented by counsel to have their counsels represent them, certainly provide testimony and evidence from a variety of other matters. Now, certainly, we've heard over the years a variety of different complaints regarding attorney's fees and fees associated with that and I think many of those are very valid and I think the Judicial Branch and this legislative body have taken steps in the right direction in that regard and it's certainly something that could still be addressed in any courtroom by any judge in that regard as well. Also, regarding any recommendations of professionals in cases, again, if the parents reach a decision, it will be the parents decision in that regard after review by the judge. Certainly, also, I'd like to highlight that there's many services through the Judicial Branch before it gets to the point of a hearing before the judge. There's family services. There is many times special masters and mediation that will assist in trying to resolve a case to avoid the appointment of a guardian ad litem or ultimately, getting to a hearing, so again, it's just unfortunate that in some cases parents are not able to reach the decisions and these are the services that have to be provided to those individuals in order to reach some type of resolution but again, I must highlight that the only decisions being made in a courtroom is made by a judge.

Now, I also agree with many of my colleagues who have raised budget issues and certainly, respect their votes in that regard because we do have a judicial system that is pretty much operating on very skin and bones in the sense of not having appropriate staff for judges or even appropriate state marshals and I think we've heard testimony in that regard previously as well. When I review these judges, I review it just based on the merits of their abilities and capabilities in order to serve us. Certainly, I will then leave it to the budgetary system to determine whether and if those individuals will then serve as judges in that regard. Based on all of the information that I've heard here today, also throughout the Judicial Committee review and public hearing, I've had the opportunity to review the qualifications of Mr. Armata. I have heard from the individuals who have provided testimony and my position has not changed that I do believe that Mr. Armata with all of his professional experience and certainly, many resolutions to his credit in some of the most difficult cases in the State of Connecticut that he is most qualified to serve us on the Judicial Branch, so I do rise in his support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, madam. Gentleman from Hartford, Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, sometimes it's said that when you are expelled from the Garden of Eden from a state of innocence you can never return because two angels with flaming swords are placed at the entrance to preclude that possibility. I had the honor of serving on a taskforce looking into this issue of guardian ad litems and it opened my eyes to some issues that once you know you can't forget -- things you hear, things you see, things you read -- you cannot forget. The make an impression on you -- a lasting impression.

This situation that's facing us today, which is whether or not we vote yea or nay on the -- whether we vote yea or nay on the confirmation Resolution for Attorney Barry Armata to be or not to be a judge of Superior Court is something that I'm sure all of you are mulling about in your minds. You've heard the testimony of Representative Minnie Gonzalez. I've had the opportunity to read the record and look at the evidence firsthand and I have to thank Representative Gonzalez for bringing this information before this body. Normally, I vote along with the recommendations of the Judiciary Committee. I know we serve on only three or four committees and there's 27 committees so I tend to defer to my colleagues on committees that I do not serve on as they defer to our recommendations from the committees that I do serve on but once in a while when you have knowledge of a certain issue or a passion about a certain issue, you have to disagree with your colleagues.

On this particular appointment, I listened carefully to the evidence presented in support of Attorney Armata. Most of the evidence was about how he served on legal committees, how he's been on taskforces looking at legal issues, how he's gone to legal conferences. All this tells me is that Attorney Armata is a consummate insider in the legal profession. That's the only -- the only information I can actually glean in favor of Attorney Armata. There's no talk about his involvement on philanthropic issues, community issues, issues with supporting our youth and things that interest me as an educator. Simply, that he is a consummate insider in the brotherhood and sisterhood of attorneys, while that really hardly recommends him to me. During his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, he mislead, he was vague, he made outright false statements. All this under oath. He double billed and when questioned, blamed his staff. This is not the kind of individual I want to see wearing a judge's robe and sitting in our Superior Court, so I'm gonna urge all my colleagues to vote against confirmation of Barry Armata. To my friends and colleagues on the other side of the aisle, I know many of you have been voting against the confirmation of these judges on the basis of the fact that the State of Connecticut just simply can't afford it. Well, this may be a happy convergence of your interested in protecting the taxpayers and also preventing a questionable appointment to the bench. I sincerely wish that Governor Malloy had not brought this name forward. I wish that upon learning around the controversies that surround his nomination that he would have pulled this nomination but the fact is we're faced with a choice and we have to place our vote on that board as a green or a red. I'm voting red. I urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote against this nomination. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Gentleman from West Haven, Representative DiMassa.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I must rise against the nomination against the nomination of Attorney Armata and I would beseech my colleagues to lend me their ears momentarily. Mr. Speaker, I don't rise. This puts me at a very difficult position. I do not stand against some of my colleagues and the governor of this state lightly; however, Mr. Speaker, I come from nothing and I have done very well over the years but I cannot stand here and put anyone to the bench that I don't believe has humility and empathy and I am not judge, jury, or executioner. I cannot stand here today and say for certain that the charges against this individual are true or not true, but I can tell you this. I have seen enough court documents. I have seen enough emails. I have seen enough proof to tell me that this individual is too concerned about where his fees are coming from and when he is receiving them. There have been assets sold by some individuals. When we talk about a defendant sending college bonds for his children to pay this individual's fees, I'm sorry, no one can tell me that is in the best interest of this child.

I cannot stand and support this nomination. There were nights, Mr. Speaker, during the summer when I would shower in cold water because I could not afford the oil in the summer for my family. I stand here today doing well but through humility and empathy, through understanding where I come from and where others come from and I cannot put someone on the bench that I do not believe will view it the same way because heart, empathy, humility that is what we need in this judicial system. He may be qualified. He may know the laws better than I do, better than all the other attorneys in this state but if he doesn't have the empathy and the heart and humility, I cannot support it and I would urge my colleagues to stand with me on this because if we put him on the bench today -- I don't care what governor has appointed him -- I don't care whose voted for him up until now -- if we put him there today, we are endorsing his actions going forward and I cannot have my name associated with those actions, Mr. Speaker. We have had members on both sides of this aisle who have not come back to join us on accusations far less than what we've heard today -- far less -- and I would urge my colleagues to stand with me. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Gentleman from Windsor Locks, Representative Storms.

REP. STORMS (60TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to support this nomination. I've sat here and listened to the testimony both in the Judiciary Committee and the testimony given today. I know this nominee is a highly competent lawyer in his field. I have, since listening to the testimony in the Judiciary Committee, I did go back to my own community and he has an excellent reputation with the bar members and his legal colleagues in North Center Connecticut. I did hear that there was some concern about his involvement outside of his own legal practice. I did review our notes from the Judiciary Committee and I find that he is a man who has devoted a substantial amount of time to different entities within the law profession. He serves as a Chairman of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, Cooper Fellows Roundtable Program. He is a past Chair to the Family Law section of the Connecticut Bar Association. He is a past Chair of the Hartford County Bar Family Law Committee, past President of the Connecticut Council of the Divorce Mediation and the Chair of Collaborative Divorce Lawyers Association. I also would note that he has served on Suffield's Juvenile Review Board for -- since the year 2000 and has given substantial amount of pro bono work in the areas of the law that we've talked about, the greater Hartford Legal Aid, Legal Aid Society of Hartford, served as a Special Master in our courts in New Britain, Hartford, Middletown, and the Regional Family Trial Docket and the Early Intervention Program in Hartford Family Court. I believe this man through his many years of service to our -- our legal profession and to his community at large has dedicated himself to the law. He is an extremely competent attorney and I believe he would make a great judge. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

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

REP. GONZALEZ (3RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the second time. I heard Representative Rebimbas and I do respect her opinion. She's an attorney, also a guardian ad litem, so she might know more about the process so I respect her opinion but I disagree in a way with a lot of her opinions because in a perfect life and in a perfect court the judges they make their decision but we don't have that in Connecticut. We've been complaining about the system I don't know for how long, so here in Connecticut it's not the perfect court.

I'm not saying that all the judges are bad -- no -- because we have the good and we have the bad ones but we don't have a perfect system in Connecticut where the judges will decide. The judges, 100 percent and sometimes maybe less than 99, goes by the recommendation of the guardian ad litem and everybody here in the Chamber know that I go to court and I watch those cases in family court and I don't go just in Hartford. I go all over the state, even when I was going through my surgery that I have a cast, even in a wheelchair, I show up in one court -- Stamford court -- to watch a case, so I know we don't have the perfect court so they don't make decisions. They go by the recommendation of the guardian ad litem and I also know that from attorney to attorney, yes you work with them, and you all buddies, and you all help each other and you're not gonna say oh, Attorney Armata is not a good attorney. All attorneys -- well, all attorneys just protect themselves and their work together but in reality, that's not the case with attorney Armata. I have here in my possession one attorney that complained to a judge what Attorney Armata was doing and he said -- and she said that it was a problem because Attorney Armata hired a clinical psychologist on the Martowska's case and she said, "well, I got problems because he -- she -- he is acting -- she's acting as a consultant for the guardian ad litem" so we pay a guardian ad litem, they hire whoever they want, and all these parents they end up paying for all these services, so I'm saying it's not a perfect system and we all know that. Also, I do have proof about Attorney Armata altering, changing recommendation from a doctor, and I will say if he is that great guy that everybody talk about it wouldn't he have on May 15, on the interviews, wouldn't he had not even one -- one attorney -- one friend -- one family that came and speak on behalf of this guy and we all have a friend. We also have families but not even one -- everybody that came and speak against Attorney Armata, so I'm saying it again we don't have a perfect system in the court. We're trying to see if we can do more changes and also, my last remark is I don't care if it is a candidate that he's a Democrat and he's a bad candidate, I would vote against it and I don't care if it appalling if it is a Democrat but when I decide to overlook all the bad complaining because he's a Republican candidate, c'mon, give me a break here! We got problem with the deficit. We all are saying let's not vote for the rest of the judges because we got problems, we got a deficit; but yes, we have to vote -- or we -- or they are asking to vote because this is a candidate -- this is a Republic candidate. Well, guess what -- it could be my family, my brother, but it's bad and he is bad is bad and I'm asking again this Chamber please vote no on Barry Armata. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Vargas for the second time.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me a second opportunity at the microphone. First of all, I appreciate Representative Storms and his comments. I had, you know, mentioned the fact that it seems that Barry Armata is focused on the legal profession perhaps all along planning his appointment to the bench and I listened to the long list of contributions and volunteer work done by Representative -- I mean by Attorney Armata and it seems like Barry Armata's work all was done in the legal profession as I had said in my earlier statement. I was hoping to hear more about actual community or philanthropic kinds of works but I still appreciate what Representative Storms said about his many hours of contributions to the legal profession, but that doesn't change my opinion that all this is inside baseball. I want to really appreciate the testimony of my colleague, Representative DiMassa, who's a young person in his first term here in the legislature and comes in with a lot of idealistic enthusiasm and I hope he keeps that in the light of the things we have to deal with here in this body and the last point I'd like to touch on is on Representative Rebimbas' tutorial on how the GALs and the courts work, which I think was a very accurate description of the roles everyone plays.

Unfortunately, even though it was very accurate, it was only the theoretical basis of what goes on in the courts. Yes, the judge has the final word. The GAL only makes recommendations, that is true. The final decision rests with the judge. Unfortunately, the reality is different. Once the judge defers to a GAL, that GAL allegedly works with the family and comes back and makes recommendations to the judge. I dare say that in most instances the judge defers to the GAL and rules based largely on the recommendations of the guardian ad litems, so here you have a case of an individual that despite their high standing within the legal profession and I don't doubt that Barry Armata has a very high standing among his colleagues -- despite the fact that he served as a GAL, that perhaps this experience is the kind of experience that's the wrong experience to bring to the bench from his past actions that smacked me as being mercenary to going onto the bench, I believe that experience will not serve the State of Connecticut well, nor the families that are brought forth before family court. I hope after listening to the second round of testimonies that this body votes in opposition to this particular nomination. It's high time that this body votes independently and shows its ability to make a decision not always in concordance with committee recommendations. We've done it in the past. I believe this is time to do it in the present. Let's send a message to these courts that they need to police themselves aggressively and consistently. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Gentleman from Wallingford, Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for a second bite at the apple. You know, in my opinion there's nothing wrong with a professional using their professional tools to volunteer or to perhaps render pro bono work. I, myself, have done some very high-profile cases in the state on a pro bono basis because those are the talents that I bring to the table, so I find it difficult for one to denigrate Attorney Armata for using those tools on a volunteer basis to help his community or ones around him. You know, the GAL in fact works for the court. The GAL is the eyes and the ears of the court cause the judge can't be there watching what goes on on a daily basis. It's unfortunate the amount of cases that GALs do have to get involved with and I'll represent that the changes that this legislature did make not too long ago have, in my opinion, been good for the system because I think there was a little bit more liberal appointment of GALs in the past, but I just wanted to tell a story about, I think it was the last case that Attorney Armata served as GAL, and perhaps, I was the reason why he isn't doing GAL work anymore but in this particular case I represented the wife. There was four young children and Mr. Attorney Armata was appointed and the husband had a problem with substance abuse that I recognized but was never tested for and he happened to take the children with him on New Year's Eve to a hotel and was having dinner and the children are up playing in the room by themselves and he shows up in the middle of the night inebriated and has a fight with someone else in the room in front of the children.

A very sad and frightening thing for especially the little six-year-old girl and I got a call and we were in court in two days, and I was very strenuously arguing that this gentleman should not see the children for a very long period of time and Attorney Armata felt a little bit differently. He felt that the children were entitled to have access to both parents and perhaps if we put a leash on the father and did some drug testing and we had periodic report backs that that would be in the best interest of the children. Certainly, a different story than I've heard today with a lot of allegations, many of which I think are unfounded, but I can tell you from personal experience that while I will vote against the appointment, I think that Attorney Armata is definitely appropriate for the bench. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Resolution? It's my intention to go to Representative Tong for the final summation on this. If anybody else wants to speak, last chance. Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of this nominee. I would not have brought out the nomination as the Chair of this committee if I did not. I want to say to the body that I've spent much of the last couple of weeks working with the Vice Chair and the Ranking Member and the other two chairs in the Senate and going through the nominees and in particular, focused on several nominees about whom there were questions. One nominee in particular we spent a lot of time working on and discussing that nominee's fitness for reappointment and their temperament and at one point, we held that nomination because of those concerns, so I spent much of this week doing what the Judiciary Committee does every year and with every nomination -- taking our role as an independent arbiter of the fitness of these nominees for service or continued service in some of the most important and powerful roles in state government. We take that responsibility very seriously. As I said to one of the nominees, when you sit on that bench, you are clothed in the power and the authority of this state and you must do so fairly, judiciously, compassionate, with compassion and empathy for the people that appear before you and I believe that that message was received loud and clear by that nominee. With respect to Attorney Armata, questions were raised about fees and billing and it ink there's no doubt that the high cost of litigation, the high cost of accessing our court system and seeking competent representation and litigating cases in any area of the law is extremely expensive these days and we see that time and again in our family courts, particularly in the most contentious cases, in cases requiring the appointment of a guardian ad litem or attorney for the minor child, those folks are brought in when they're needed.

Those folks are brought in when the parties -- a husband and a wife -- cannot work it out amongst themselves. GALs and AMCs are brought in when the case has reached a level of contention that requires the help of outside people, outside attorneys who look out for the interest of the child and it's in those cases, not coincidentally, that the fees tend to be quite high and the whole issue -- the issues at the heart of the cases are -- are very difficult and it becomes very costly. It's impossible for the committee though, based on the information that we have, to really unpack what's happening with these fees and invoices. We do our best to make an independent judgement about the veracity of certain claims made by people who come before our committee. We do the best that we can. We listen to the people that testify before our committee.

Representative Gonzalez is correct. The Martowska's have been before us several times. I find their testimony to be very compelling but it's very difficult for each member to sit there and to find the -- the absolute truth in issues like billing and invoices and the minutiae of cases because we're not trying them. We're not the judges. We're not involved in those cases. What I can tell you is that there's no evidence of wrong doing. Attorney Armata, as far as I know, is an attorney in good standing here to practice before the courts of this state. If I know evidence of any effort to disbar him or to deny him his license or of any malpractice, and so without more, I am unconvinced that Attorney Armata is unfit to serve. I did not see evidence that anything he said was untruthful.

I do credit that others did not find his testimony to be accurate. I do credit that others on the committee have information and documents that they believe tell a different story. I don't see it that way and a majority of the committee, I believe, shares my view. I want to just say one more thing about our committee. I've said this a couple of times just this year but again, we've heard some comments about the Judiciary Committee, about the community of lawyers generally, about the legal system and that somehow it is an insider's game, that it's a club. It sounds to me like an indictment of the legal system, the judicial process, and the Judicial Branch generally and I take great exception to that. I will tell you that one of the great honors of my life was to serve as an intern in the Public Defender's service of Washington D. C. , to represent the indigent. I worked on behalf of juveniles accused of murder and it was my honor to spent a summer uncovering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and trying to help represent two young men who did not have the resources to represent themselves and they were accused of the most heinous crimes and were facing the full power of the state and they were both acquitted because the evidence did not show that they -- the evidence was not competent to show that they were guilty or not and I'm proud of that work. The public defenders here in this state, the attorneys that work for legal aid they have nothing by in large to do with the subject matter that we are talking about today.

I am a commercial litigator, so is the Vice Chairman. We do not practice in our family court system but we're lawyers too and I can assure you that there's no relationship between all of us. There's no cabal. There is no insider game among lawyers. The Ranking Member and I our two practices could not be more different. What we are joined by is a commitment and an oath to do justice and that is our commitment and I'm confident that every lawyer member of this committee takes that very seriously and honors that commitment and so I would say that, you know, there are other committees in this legislature -- there are police officers that serve on the public safety committee. I don't question their fitness to discharge their duties. There are doctors that serve on the Public Health Committee. I don't question their integrity. Teachers that serve on the Education Committee. I don't doubt that they do their role and exercise their responsibility honorably. I would ask this body for the same respect of the Judiciary Committee. All of us lawyers have taken an oath. Attorney Armata took an oath before us to tell the truth. I believe him and I encourage all in this Chamber to support this Resolution. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. staff and guests to the well of the House, members take your seat, 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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, please check the board to ensure your vote has been property cast. The machine will be locked. Representative D'Agostino of the 91st, what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Could you cast my vote in the negative? My button wasn't working.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Cook of the 65th, for what purpose do you rise?

REP. COOK (65TH):

Mr. Speaker, apparently, my button wasn't working. Could you please cast me in the affirmative?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Davis of the 57th, for what purposes do you rise?

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to cast my vote in the affirmative.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Betts of the 78th, for what purposes do you rise?

REP. BETTS (78TH):

I'd like to cast my vote in the negative, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Morris of the 140th, for what purposes do you rise?

REP. MORRIS (140TH):

To cast my vote in the negative, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Scanlon of the 98th, for what purposes do you rise?

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to mark in the affirmative.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Verrengia of the 20th.

REP. VERRENGIA (20TH):

Go figure, Mr. Speaker, the only time my button doesn't work it comes down to a close vote so I vote in the affirmative, sir -- Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Reed of the 102nd, for what purposes do you rise?

REP. REED (102ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Please cast my vote in the affirmative.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Klarides of the 114th, for what purposes do you rise, madam?

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to be recorded in the affirmative. Apparently, you're a quick machine closer today I'm noticing. [Laughter]. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the Clerk announce the tally?

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 48 in concurrence with the Senate.

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 78

Those voting Nay 71

Absent not Voting 2

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Resolution's adopted. (Gavel).

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Return to the call of the Calendar. Mr. Clerk, 543 please.

CLERK:

On page 41, Calendar 543, Substitute Senate Bill No. 954, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEVELOPMENT OF A PLAN FOR A UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL. Favorable report on the Joint Standing Committee on Education.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The distinguished Chairman of the Committee on Education, Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Question on acceptance and passage. If you would explain the bill please, sir?

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, so this is one of those measures where the title of the bill is quite descriptive of the contents of the bill. This special act would require that the commissioner of early childhood in conjunction with folks from the State Department of Education develop a plan for provision of preschool for children three and four years of age with the plan to commence in July of 2022, which for those who are not immersed in education speak means fall of 2022, five years from now, the plan would be ready for effectuation. It involves utilization of private and public preschool programs so just to be clear this is about universal access. It's not about a universal requirement. It's about making sure that if you're a family in the State of Connecticut and you have a family three or four years of age that child has access to preschool. Mr. Speaker, this is the approach to preschool that's considered best practice. If you attend conventions of education policy experts in this country or internationally, they will tell you that the notion of having school start at age five is something that comes from the 19th century and is arbitrary and that the latest signs of brain development indicates that we should start children in preschool rather than in kindergarten and that we should make it universally accessible. Mr. Speaker, this is not a partisan issue. When this bill came before the Education Committee, the vote was 34 to 2 and as I recall the two votes in the negative were individuals who said they weren't sure and they wanted to flag the bill for future consideration. This is aspirational Mr. Speaker and even in the midst of challenging budget crisis, I think it's important that we have a vision for where Connecticut is going to go and what we're going to achieve. Mr. Speaker, this bill speaks to that vision. I hope the entire Chamber will join me in supporting it.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. The distinguished Ranking Member of the Education Committee, Representative Lavielle. (Gavel) -- (Gavel). Thank you. Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

I have a few questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you so much. In no particular order, I'd like to ask the good Chairman of the Education Committee how many children at this point in Connecticut do not have access to preschool?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I thank my good Ranking Member for that good question, so I don't have statistics that are, you know, up to the date for 2017 in front of me in my file. The last time this issue was discussed before the General Assembly, I know that the number of children ages three and four who didn't have access to preschool was in the thousands and I believe the last estimate that I saw was 9 to 10,000 children.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and while this may sound prisnickety, I think it's important that we clarify what the concept of access actually means. Does it mean that there are no preschools in the area? Does it mean that they cost money and their parents cannot afford to send them? Does it mean that their parents work and do not have childcare? What exactly do we mean by access?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the gentle Chair -- Ranking Member for her question. I actually think it's a very reasonable question. Lack of access to childcare encompasses two of the three categories that I heard her enumerate. If there's a family that simply lacks the dollars and cannot afford preschool, that's lack of access because we make public schools available to families that are low income. We do that for kindergarten but we do not do it for preschool, so a family lacking the resources to pay for the preschools in their area they would be considered a family that lacked access. Similarly, if there were a family with working parents who lacked any means to make sure that they could get their children to and from preschool because there was no provision made in their locality for a family in their situation, nothing allowing for one parent to drop off and another to pick up or some type of accommodation that could ensure they could get their child to preschool, that would seem to me that would be lack of access.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, so I thank the gentleman for his answer. Is that -- do I understand that the second category he had mentioned also include people who he mentioned not having a preschool in the area but does it also include people who simply don't have a way to get them back and forth or be home when they're at home or school or what have you or they can't go to work, etc. because of the back and forth?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, you know, I think that some of these detailed issues are going to be left to our Commissioner of Early Childhood to figure out in conjunction with our Commissioner of Education, but it seems to me that if you've got a family with two working parents and a preschool system that doesn't make enough accommodation to allow them to get the child to the preschool and home from the preschool in a way that works for the family, while they might physically have access to a facility, they don't really have access cause they can't put their child into the school, so I believe that the Commissioner of Early Childhood would really be asked by us under this measure to figure out a way to make sure that a family in that circumstance could indeed send their child to preschool.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you and I know that the good gentleman spoke a little while ago about the inclusion of both public and private preschool programs and I wonder if he could elaborate further on how private providers would be expected to be involved in such a program, at least to our knowledge, and anticipation at this moment?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. through you, I believe that what we would expect would reflect the circumstances that we see today. Children who are in preschool are in a mix of public provided preschools and private preschools and families are free to make the election that fits their family best. The same situation would pertain under this approach. I think that what the Commissioner of Early Childhood is being directed to do is to be aware of where there are private sector early childhood programs in existence and where there are not so that to the extent that we're creating new spaces for children, young children, we're doing it in communities where's there's the greatest need. I think there would also be an expectation of an appropriate balance being struck where in providing public access to public preschool we didn't excessively undermine some of the excellent private preschools that are available today in Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, so the involvement of -- I guess there's two ways you could look at this -- one is making sure that a public school district offers a preschool. It's public; therefore, there's no direct payment from the -- there's payment by taxpayers but no direct payment by the parents or taking the private providers and ensuring that funding is somehow provided by the state for those who are in need financially and could not otherwise send their children to the private preschool. Those are basically the two things that we're looking at in tandem?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would say those are two of the options but it's not that stark a dichotomy. For example, we currently have school readiness programs in the State of Connecticut that have sliding scale tuition systems meaning that some families attend while paying nothing because they're low income and other families may pay $ 7000 to $ 8000 dollars per year because they're able to afford it and that's what the sliding scale dictates so we have a number of programs of that sort in the State of Connecticut that are publicly supported where we do expect families to pay some tuition. We also are aware of private providers that will sometimes make accommodation for families of lower income and not charge them the same tuition of those who can afford the full boat, so in essence, while I agree with what my distinguished Ranking Member offered, those are not the only approaches that are available today, nor are they the only ones that would be considered in this plan.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Do we currently have enough slots existing in the State of Connecticut for all of the children who are not currently attending preschool?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so I don't know for sure but my sense is that we do not at present have enough preschool seats for all the children who merit them.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Actually, further to that question, Mr. Speaker, do we have at this point -- I know we've been working on it and thinking about it for some time -- do we have enough data to indicate to us clearly and accurately exactly how many children per community are of preschool age and whether they are attending and whether they are not?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe the answer to that question is yes. The office of Early Childhood has done a mapping of children across the state and provision of early childhood across the state and has an awareness today of -- of where we have mismatches and I believe that would be used in the development of this plan.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, so I would assume that data collection would not necessarily be necessary for the planning process as provided for in this bill cause it's already done?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I wouldn't completely agree with that assertion just made because of course demographics are always changing so I would expect that the Office of Early Childhood would not only consult with the latest census data to see what's happening with the cohort of three and four year olds who would be needing this type of education, but in addition, they would be looking at a dynamic model that would allow them to have a sense of what we might expect 10, 15 years hence.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you. Knowing the situation that we're experiencing at the moment with Care for Kids and funding for Care for Kids and some of the changes in the federal regulations, how do we anticipate -- what do we anticipate the role for the Care for Kids program might be and its capacity for actually fulfilling that role under our budget circumstances even two years hence in this planning process? What do we see that -- how do we see that role panning out?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There are multiple pieces to the early childhood puzzle. Care for Kids is just one of them and it's -- it's a valuable one that really makes it possible for a lot of families to ensure that children get care while parents go to work. It would be up to the Commissioner of Early Childhood and the others gathered for this planning effort to determine how each of those pieces fit into the larger puzzle.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, so to move -- well, actually before I do that -- are we envisaging -- and I understand the plan isn't done yet so perhaps what might come out of it could be very different from what we envisage at the present time, but when we refer to and it's -- it's really only referred to in the title of the bill, not in the text, but the concept of universal preschool, which is a phrase that's used very frequently, are we envisaging that as something that would be obligatory for children who are three and four years old or would it remain optional for parents including those who could afford it?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe that the way this measure is worded it would remain optional. I don't see any mandate spelled out here. The challenge that we face is that for many families today that might be interested in exercising this option it's not available because they simply cannot afford preschool and many families in that situation will try and get their children into kindergarten as early as possible so that they're in some type of educational setting. That's not what's best for the child. That's not what's best for our kindergarten setting. What would be best would be creating this type of access broadly as an option.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, so just to move into the planning process to make it -- because this is a sparse bill and it's -- it's certainly concise but it also leaves a few things a little vague -- how does this exactly lay out the process in terms of how it must be presented and what has to happen in order for a plan to be adopted by the state were that to be the case? Is the legislature's approval required and it does say it has to be submitted to the legislature but would there be -- would we need legislation to implement the plan and what -- what exactly would that process entail?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As is spelled out, I though fairly clearly in lines 10 through 14 of this measure by January of 2019 the Commissioner of Early Childhood has to submit the plan and any recommendations for legislation needed to implement it to the Joint Standing Committee of the General Assembly having cognoscente, which would be the Education Committee, and then the Education Committee and the General Assembly would have to act on any and all aspects of the plan requiring statutory change.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I know exactly the lines that the good gentleman's referring to. In fact, I will refer to them myself from line 10 on to the end, which is line 15, not later than January 1, 2019 the Department of Education shall submit the plan and any recommendations for legislation necessary to implement it to the committees, etc. I am not clear from that whether legislation would indeed be necessary to implement it and what I'm getting at here is would there be any possibility that the State Department of Ed and colleagues, as articulated in the bill, whether those agencies -- whether anything they would come forward with could simply be implemented without the approval of the General Assembly?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, given the facts that we've discussed a few minutes ago regarding the thousands of children who currently lack access to preschool in the State of Connecticut, it is entirely beyond my possibilities to imagine that there could be any plan for universal access that would not require action of the General Assembly. As we know under our system of government, the legislature has the power of the purse however constrained it may be at various times. There will doubtless be areas that require funding under a plan. There doubtless will be changes necessary that involve how our statutes are written and the Executive Branch cannot by fiat change our statutes nor can they by fiat send dollars to places that we haven't authorized so in short, I fully expect that any plan that's presented to us will require legislative review and approval and passage.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to talk for a moment about the members of the group who would be developing this plan, so we have the Department of Education, which must consult with the Office of Early Childhood and the Early Childhood Cabinet, and -- and I believe we did add this in committee. It was a good addition -- two providers of private preschool programs as selected by the Commissioner of Early Childhood. Do we know anything about the criteria for selecting those two private providers?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, my understanding of statutory interpretation is that it's our job to read the language as it appears on its face so in this case, the Commissioner of Early Childhood would be empowered to select two providers of private preschool and who those providers will be shall be at the Commissioner's discretion.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question because none of us knows what's going to happen in the next week or maybe even the next few months because there are many budget proposals on the table right now and some of those involve consolidation of different agencies and I know that there's at least one, maybe more, proposals to actually consolidate the Office of Early Childhood into something else were that to happen and were there no Commissioner who would do the selection?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I -- it's -- it's an unusual hypothetical -- I am not supportive of abolition of our Department of Early Childhood and don't expect to see that department go away and therefore, really can't envision the hypothetical. I'm guessing that our legislative commissioners have opinions on what happens in those circumstances and I'm guessing that there are rules that indicate if the Commissioner of Early Childhood becomes the Director of Early Childhood reporting to the Commissioner of Education that they would retain the discretion under their new title but that's an interpretation that's above my pay grade.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

It's a good answer, Mr. Speaker. I don't necessarily support that either but I'm a realist and I know that almost anything is possible right now as we stand here given the state's financial condition, so I think it's wise to be prepared for every eventuality. Another question that I have is that in testimony the Commissioner of Education noted that while she certainly supports the concept of giving every child in this age group access to preschool that developing a plan in the timeline provided is -- gives about a year and a half I guess depending on when things move -- is very ambitious -- could be over ambitious -- and that funding -- federal funding, alliance district funding, all sorts of whatever funding is coming from the State of Connecticut is rather uncertain and unreliable at the moment and I just wondered if we are able to reconcile this -- this move toward a plan with all of these various uncertainties that we are facing at the moment? Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

We're kind of floating into the area of opinion and guessing what the future is. I think Representative Fleischmann has already said his crystal ball is a little cloudy. Representative Fleischmann, do you want to give a stab at this?

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, yeah, I appreciate your summation there. I really can't speculate too much on what may be happening in the next few years except to say as I mentioned in my opening summary it's really important that we maintain a vision, a clear vision for where we want to go even as we wrestle with budget uncertainties. That's what allows us to continue to stakeout ground as the best educated state, the state with the best trained workforce, the workers who are most productive, who come up with the most patents. All that starts with preschool. I think that's why this measure passed the Senate by 36 to 0. That wasn't five years ago or last year. That was this year a few weeks ago in the midst of the same budget crisis because the upper Chamber deals with the same issues we do; 36 to 0, they passed this measure with the understanding that it sets forth a vision for the future.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I am, as you mentioned, I am very sympathetic to the good Representative's hesitation to guess on the future. I'm -- I'm trying to be pragmatic because I know that we are -- I know that a lot of folks here in the legislature are -- even as they support the best early education that we can possibly offer children in Connecticut -- that they are too grappling with the uncertainty that's facing not only all of us and taxpayers but also the people who are planning budgets in all of our 169 towns. We know that this year in particular they're all facing incredible timeline obstacles trying to guess and really guess on what is going to come down the pipeline at them when the state budget is finally established and it's something that -- that of course is somewhat haunting when you look at this bill, and I'll just ask one more question, which is to the good Representative, as -- as this plan is formulated, is it envisaged that if not town leadership then district leadership would at some stage be involved in the thinking behind how the plan is delineated and funded because it's possible since public schools are definitely in the mix here -- of course they are -- that some of the responsibility for public preschool and its funding would devolve upon the towns, so my question is to what extent they might be involved -- the districts or the towns as it were, whatever is most appropriate -- to what extent would they be involved in the planning process?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would start by observing that the Early Childhood Cabinet is to be involved with this planning and that Cabinet includes a number of individuals who come from the district level. In addition, this is meant to be a planning process that encompasses public sector and private sector preschool providers. Local education authorities are one of the largest providers of preschool in the State of Connecticut so it's my expectation that as the Commissioner of Education and the Commissioner of Early Childhood work on this plan that in addition to talking to members of the Early Childhood Cabinet they would be talking to and hearing from leaders of school districts since it would be, to my mind, virtually impossible to create a statewide plan without such consultation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would -- I would certainly hope that would be the case. I don't have any more questions for the good Representative, just a couple of comments. I like to think most of us -- I don't want to speak for everybody -- but I know a lot of us consider the question of early education probably the most important question in education that we're facing today. Once again, if a child doesn't learn to read or at least is not prepared to learn to read early, there's an exponentially greater chance that that child will have problems learning not only reading but everything else later on in his or her educational courses.

There are also other things simply the use of language that one learns at that age and there is also a possibility if a child of three or four is in a school context to recognize certain early -- certain learning disabilities very early so that interventions can be conducted as early in that child's life as possible because that's when they're most effective so the idea of making sure that every child has access to preschool is -- is something that you know I can't see why in the abstract anyone would not support and I do support it. I do understand that even at the stage of a plan some could have misgivings simply because this is -- this is an amazing complex enterprise. If children don't have preschool in their community where you have to find ways for them to have transportation.

When you involve private and public providers, there is a possibility on the public side that certain towns will find themselves faced with heavy mandates. Mandates are something that we are trying as hard as we can to remove when they are unnecessary. I'm not saying this is unnecessary. Of course, it's not but under the current situation of financial duress it may be something very difficult for municipalities, local districts to undertake that plus transportation and then the complications they were facing and then trying to resolve even as I speak the question of compensation and then retention staff, particularly with private school providers, some of the problems that they've had facing them with short falls, very significant short falls in the Care for Kids program, which allows parents to send their children to preschool and have it funded so that they can go to work or they can go and get some higher education that will allow them to improve their salaries and so it's complex.

It's complex and we are at this moment facing probably the greatest financial crisis that the State of Connecticut has ever faced, which could lead to significantly higher property taxes, significantly higher other taxes, and significant cuts to schools and school districts all across the state, so I can understand misgivings on the part of those who might not want to see this taken up at this time. The other thing that I would mention is that the date of submission of this plan is January 1, 2019 and I don't know whether we'll be facing business as usual on January 1, 2019 or not. I don't know what will have happened to the conditions. I don't know how the budget that's in the process of being passed will affect us or not and who will be making those decisions. Whatever happens, we will have a new administration, so it is a time of great uncertainty with which we are trying to grapple even as we're dealing with this subject which is of very great importance and so I think that it is -- it is something that we should be dealing with, that we should be grappling with and trying to resolve because early education is that important and it is a plan at this stage but I will leave it up to those who may see more or less in it as the case may be to decide what they will do. I voted for this in committee. I'm going to support it going forward because it is a plan but I do it with the understanding with myself that as it is being developed the circumstances may change dramatically, quite possibly for the worst, maybe for the better, but at least we'll know more than we know now and I also do it with the understanding with myself that it may be something that can't be implemented once the plan is delivered. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Gentleman from Westbrook, Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's good to see you up there. A few questions and a few comments.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

First, I just want to thank the good Ranking Member for her questions and comments and the good Chairman of the Education Committee for his responses. It's a fascinating debate and I'm glad we're talking about -- I'm glad we're talking about early childhood education. You know, one thing that I think our state is in dire need for is a continued effort in the way of development in human capital. You know, if you look back through history, you'll find countries that weren't necessarily rich in natural resources, were going through their own economic difficulties -- countries like Japan post World War -- World War II, Singapore. These are countries that had high liability, not the most resources going into developing the workforce and they took it upon themselves to -- despite not having at their disposal vast oil reserves or gas or coal, no real military to speak of, and not even a robust manufacturing sector -- they made it their responsibility to have some of the best educated professionals in their region of the world and now globally and I think just the case of Singapore in itself is something we should all take a minute to look into. A country that was one of the poorest in the world not 50 years ago and now, recently, has been named one of the most profitable and prosperous countries from a GDP perspective per capita. The reason I'm bringing this up is because I think there is certainly a correlation between a productive professional in an adult's professional life and time spent as a -- as a young person, particularly between the ages of one and three, in their cognitive developments, exposure to conversation back and forth between adults, a robust social life, as robust of a social life as a three-year-old could have and so I have a -- I have a few questions for the proponent of the bill before sharing a few more ideas so through you, Mr. Speaker, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, sir. To the good Chairman of the Education Committee, do we know what the current need is in the State of Connecticut for -- for Pre-K access?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to my good friend from Westbrook also knows as the gentle giant of Westbrook. [Laughter]. As I --

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Let's be careful there Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

That was meant to be a wholly positive characterization, through you, Mr. Speaker. [Laughter].

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Oh, okay.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

As I said to my good Ranking Member a few minutes ago, I don't have in front of me the latest estimates but the last time this issue was discussed and I did see data that had been put together by the Office of Early Childhood, the estimate was 9 to 10,000 children in this age range who, you know, would benefit from early childhood education but who currently don't have access to such education.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good Chairman for his comments and characterizations. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what are the developmental benefits of Pre-K education -- early childhood development?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, another giant among colleagues on the other side of the aisle was engaging me in a side conversation and I was distracted. I would appreciate if my good friend from Westbrook would repeat his question.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, certainly. What are the developmental benefits -- to the understanding of the good Chairman -- of universal Pre-K and early childhood development?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, so the developmental benefits are many and in fact for those who have had the benefit of getting to see a full evaluation that an early childhood teacher or an early childhood center may do of three or four-year-old who is halfway through a year and then near the end of the year, there are an array of domains that early childhood experts look at as they are providing early childhood education. Some of the ones that I'm aware of are social emotional development, communication skills, preliteracy skills, prenumeracy skills, and so those are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head. As you can imagine whether it's understanding how to self-regulate and make sure that one's emotions remain under control, understanding how to cooperative with others, or understanding what it means that a picture book has both pictures and texts, all of that understanding that underlies all future success in life tends to have the groundwork laid in preschool.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the response. I think the good Chairman is eluding to the benefits that correlate between early childhood development and an improved emotional quotient -- the ability for a young person to understand their own feelings, to process and synthesize -- excuse me -- information through a social context and what we don't learn in a vacuum. School doesn't take place necessary in a social vacuum. You wake up and you're brought to the classroom and maybe you had breakfast that morning and maybe you didn't. Maybe you forgot to clean your room so your mom's giving you a hard time and so you're a little upset. You walk into the classroom and you're emotionally frazzled and someone's giving you a hard time because you're wearing Reebok instead of Nike and now it's time to sit down and crunch your ABCs for the next three hours and so you know given that, there's an aspect of intelligence, namely emotional intelligence, I don't think is given nearly enough credence and so I appreciate the efforts of institutions like Facebook, the Born This Way Foundation at Yale's Center for Emotional Intelligence that are really taking a lead and trying to get through to parents and institutions the importance of supporting emotional development as opposed to strictly, you know, measuring a kid's intelligence through their IQ. I've heard it said that an IQ is good for acing a standardized test but an EQ is how you navigate the perils of the workplace and so I appreciate the good Representative from West Hartford for bringing that up. You know, research suggests that -- particularly through the world bank -- that every dollar spent on preschool has a pretty robust and significant return between $ 6 and $ 17 dollars. I haven't completely vetted that study -- who might have at the world bank -- but there seems to be a significant public benefit to preschool education, you know, resulting in a healthier and happier workforce, you know, and Cambridge University has come out with research suggesting that a good early childhood development curriculum is one marked by both play-based learning and also, you know, conversation and interaction and so given -- given some of the models that have been suggested, particularly coming out of the Scandinavian countries, an emphasis of outdoor play, of social interaction, of problem solving, of having conversations with one another instead of being anchored to a chair -- the good Representatives behind me know very well I have a hard time sitting still as you can imagine how my kindergarten teacher felt trying to hold me on topic -- and as the good Representative who was at the dais a few -- last week -- knows I do have a hard time staying on topic when I pick up the microphone but you know given -- [laughing] -- given the current -- given the current models being offered through Scandinavian education systems are -- would the good Representative from West Hartford have an idea of what kind of early childhood development policies between the hours of, you know, 9 and 2 -- what is a young person's day gonna look like in a universal pre-K program?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, I think that we don't have to imagine something from a science-fiction you know how does the future look 100 years hence type show to imagine what a schedule would look like in a preschool program. There are different preschool programs today with different approaches and that universe of approaches would continue under the measure proposed so there are preschools with a child centered approach where children go ahead and evince an interest in the weather and they may study different aspects of weather for weeks in order to get at the questions that the young children have and it's fun for them because it's a topic that they've chosen. It's playful but it's also deeply informative because you end up with three and four-year-olds who know more about meteorology than you or I. There are approaches that are more old school where there are stations and kids move around to different stations, and there are approaches like those of Montessori where there are certain different stages that kids are encouraged and sort of play centers kids are encouraged to explore at a pace that suits them, so there's no one-size-fits-all today and there would be no one-size-fits-all under a plan that would be put forward per this bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'm certainly encouraged to hear that. The towns that I represent tend to have a common -- a common interest as it pertains to education policies. You know, they're looking for their child to -- to receive an education that puts them in a position to compete in the marketplace, equipped with literacy skills, problem solving skills, social skills, that give them a chance to choose what they want to do number one. Number two, they're looking for a sense of exposure for their child, exposure to different ideas, opportunities in the workforce; if possible, connections to institutions of higher learning. I was very fortunate, my high school offered credits through the University of Connecticut, but I think what I'm seeing across the board whether it be a child's interest -- or a parent's interest -- in their child's development as a toddler to the days leading up to their senior prom, I think they're looking for a greater sense of control that's expressed through a local board of education in creating curriculum in monitoring classroom performance, of fairly evaluating their teachers, and so you know, another brief question to the proponent, Mr. Speaker, to what extent would a universal pre-K program fall under the purview of common core curriculum? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, so to my knowledge, the common core standards pertain to kindergarten through grade 12. I'm not aware of common core standards that have been specified for preschool. I do know that high quality preschools are aware of what children are expected to achieve by the end of kindergarten and trying to make sure that they're laying the foundations for success in kindergarten but in short, to my knowledge, there is no set of requirements or guidelines from the common core curriculum for early childhood.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good Chairman for his answers. If -- if a pre-K curriculum then is not -- is not need to be in compliant with common core state standards, what regulation, be it federal or state, would a universal pre-K program fall under the purview of?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so we have rules in the state that for a preschool program to receive any public funds it must seek and achieve NAEYC accreditation. That's accreditation that comes from the most respected national authority on early childhood education. For a program to receive its NAEYC accreditation, it needs to demonstrate its efficacy in a whole array of demands and there have been studies done that show NAEYC accredited programs do indeed prepare children well for kindergarten and those lacking the accreditation do not achieve the same forward progress with the children who it may serve so that's why that standard exists here in the State of Connecticut. It's certainly my expectation that that standard would remain in place under this bill. It's one of the things that makes Connecticut's early childhood system more advanced than many across the country because we do have that floor that we will not permit programs to drop below and it's that standard that I expect would allow this universal system to be one which we could be assured would have great quality.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I -- and I do appreciate the explanation. I'm certainly learning a lot in this conversation -- in this floor debate -- sir, and I certainly, thank the good Representative, so am I to understand then that according to this accreditation process, would a private institution -- a private pre-K -- universal pre-K institution need to follow the similar guidelines as a public institution under these accreditation guidelines?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm not as family with private preschool as I am with public. To my knowledge, not all private preschools have the same accreditation hurdle that they must clear but in order for them to succeed with the public, in order for them to attract children, many if not most, do seek accreditation so as to reassure parents and families that they are providing the highest quality preschool education.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the answer and I think I got it. It sounds like it's similar to applying to a business school. You've got -- you've got some schools that are accredited, some that aren't, and employers are gonna look at those degrees with a different lens and so I appreciate the level of standard that's being set, although I haven't had necessarily the time to familiarize myself with those set of standards. I think it's important that benchmarks are set. You know, my issues with common core don't necessarily come from a disagreement with setting high standard but namely, the mandate approach. The fact that, you know, federal dollars may or may not come our way as a result of adopting those standards, which brings me to some of my questions on involvement with the federal government in setting up a universal pre-K program, so a question to the good Chairman, through you, Mr. Speaker. What federal programs are we eligible to compete for should we set up a university pre-K program and what guidelines must we follow in order to qualify for those funds should they exist?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure. As my good colleague is aware, the new administration just recently put forward its detailed budget plan to the U. S. Congress. The Congress will have to go through that plan and determine what it wants to fund and what it wants to defund, so at this point, it would be purely speculative on my part. I really don't know what federal programs may or may not be available in the timeframe set forth in the bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the candor from the good Representative. To the extent possible, I think it would behoove us to do a deep dive into what federal funds are available. If only because, as the good Representative and the good Ranking Member on the Education Committee made it clear, our small towns, our municipalities are under some significant strain right now in these very difficult budgetary times and the feedback I get from my municipal leaders and the concern that they express to me almost always centers around the status of the educational cost-sharing formula and cuts being made to that grant, not to mention the proposal from the Executive Branch to ask for more payback into teacher pension obligations from municipalities and so right off the bat, we're sailing into what could be austere waters asking small towns to pay more as the state cuts back and so I would encourage my colleagues to think about the benefits of early childhood development, the positive impacts it can offer in our future workforce, and to balance those benefits with the fiscal impacts they may have in the immediacy on both our state and our municipalities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Gentleman from Easton, Representative Dunsby.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just have a question for the proponent of the bill and --

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

Then a couple of comments. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, so through you, so clearly where this is heading is a mandate for the provision of preschool for all three and four year olds, so how are we going to pay for that?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, though the Chamber has been rather quiet, I'm afraid that my good colleague may not have heard some of the earlier discussions that have gone on. This measure before us contains no mandate. It is not expected that the report that comes from the State Department of Education and the Early Childhood Department -- the Commissioner of Early Childhood -- will contain any mandate. Our current system with a mix of private and public preschool providers is expected to stay in place. The idea is to make sure that those families that currently lack access to preschool would gain access and it will be up to the Commissioner of Education and consultation with the Early Childhood Cabinet and the Commissioner of Early Childhood Education to recommend to us what steps we would take to expand that access and what type of funding would be needed and if it's more than is currently available, what mechanisms might work.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Dunsby.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do apologize if I missed some of the earlier discussion. Nonetheless, my reading over the bill I think is a little bit different in regards to where we are heading it. It clearly says establish a plan to provide preschool to all children three and four years of age and there is certainly gonna be some cost associated with that but I do have some additional thoughts and I do think it's important to recognize what -- what this is, so this is a plan which is to be put together, is not to be whether a question of whether the preschool is necessary or how necessary. It doesn't ask or look into whether the state can -- can afford it. It's a directive to create a plan, which is then to be implemented. I'd like to draw a distinction. We've had a lot of talk about access. Access is different than attendance. I think in most of our communities there are many preschool options. There are religious houses of worship, there are community centers, there are public schools, there are private preschools so I think there's lots of options and lots of access in many of our opportunities. Now, there may be some reason why parents choose not to send their children to preschool. There may be parents just choose to keep a say a three-year-old home. After all, a three-year-old is very young or there may be affordability issues for some but affordability is -- is different than access.

I'd also point out that many three and four year olds in our state already receive preschool at the public expense. For instance, special needs children already receive a public school education at the age of three and four and also birth to three for those who are younger from the state. The three year olds receive the education from the district. The birth to three receive it at state expensive. I would also point out a related issue is that Connecticut still has a January 1st cutoff so that means that if you are say four in September but turn five on January 1st or December 31st, you are eligible to enroll in public school already. That access is already there. It actually raises an interesting question. Since many parents choose to hold their children back, what would happen if a four year old is eligible to attend the public school but the parents choose to hold the child back? Would they then be eligible for a publicly financed preschool education but I think it -- and also, as far as the question has come up, what percentage of three and four year olds attend school. I think the number is actually closer to 70 percent. I think Connecticut is basically at the top of the list of the attending three and four year olds attending school and I think it's close to 70 percent do attend, maybe a little bit less.

What really concerns me and what this really comes down to I think is that we're clearly building momentum for a mandate, which we simply don't have the funds for and simply can't afford so who is going to pay for it so if you take K through 12 and call that say 13 grades and you add on two more grades, a grade for three year olds and a grade for four year olds, that's an increase of about 15 percent, so back in the envelop, that's maybe a 15 percent increase in education -- in education spending. Where are we going to get those funds -- those funds from? Obviously, the state doesn't have the money to afford it and our municipalities can't afford it. Our municipalities are already stressed. There's language in this bill that says the plan has to contain something about the provision of assistance for local boards of education. I mean really? I have to wonder if the person who wrote that was able to keep a straight face. The state consistently breaks it's promises as far as education funding goes from ECS to MRSA to special education to -- to PILOT. It's -- it's not realistic to think that the state can pose a mandate and say it's going to pay for it when it hasn't done that in the past. Also, I would mention related to this just a week or two ago we passed a bill instructing the state to develop a compensation schedule for early childhood educators and clearly, the intent of this plan is to raise wages for early childhood educators so what we're doing is we are increasing the cost of -- of preschool education and then we're going to mandate it and --

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Excuse me, Representative Dunsby. (Gavel) -- (Gavel). I'm having trouble hearing Representative Dunsby. Take your conversations outside. Proceed, sir -- sorry.

REP. DUNSBY (135TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll just back up a little bit and say just a couple weeks ago you might recall we passed a bill stating that the state has to fix a schedule for early childhood educators. The intent of that bill was clearly to increase the compensation of early childhood educators and now having done that we are now anticipating making preschool -- effectively creating a system where preschool must be paid for by the public in some way. That could either be the municipalities or the state. There's really no other choices outside of -- of that, so I guess what it really comes down to is that we shouldn't be building momentum for a program that we -- we simply cannot afford. If there were federal funds available or grant funds available, maybe that would be one thing, but we know the money can only come from two places which is the municipality or the state. Neither of those can afford it right now. Further, the scope of the directive really exceeds the problem. Most Connecticut three and four year olds do attending school. I think the number is close to 70 percent. Some who don't is probably because their parents choose not to send their children so there may be an affordability issue for some but that doesn't require a universal takeover of the preschool -- preschool system, so I view this as basically putting a train on the tracks and the only destination is a giant unfunded mandate. I voted against this in committee for that reason and I am going to vote against it today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Gentlewoman from East Lyme, Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Good to see you up there. I have a few questions for the proponent of the bill if you please, Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, ma'am.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what percentage of the funding Connecticut currently receives for preschool comes from the federal government?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I don't know. We receive considerable funding through the Head Start program. There is also funding that comes through some other categorical grants that gets directed to preschool but I don't know what portion of the overall preschool pie that represents.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if you can't tell us the amount, could you tell us approximately how many children benefit for the federal funding for preschool programs?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I know that there are thousands of children enrolled today in Head Start programs around Connecticut, but the precise numbers I do not have at my fingertips.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe the good proponent of the bill stated that there were some 8 to 10,000 children it was believed were not able to access or were not currently enrolled in preschool. Can he say whether or not this absence from preschool results from inability to afford preschool or parental choice?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the last report that I read on this topic indicated that the vast preponderance of the children who my good colleague has just referenced are not in preschool because their families could not afford it.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, what efforts does Connecticut make currently to inform parents of the availability of say programs like Head Start?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, both federally funded and state funded Head Start programs and state funded school readiness programs do outreach in communities to make families aware of early childhood education opportunities.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

I realize this is only a plan going forward but does the good Representative have any idea of how this plan would liaise with local schools to ensure that they were working with their local school districts in preparing these children for kindergarten?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, first, I'd observe that there are already those kind of discussions that happen today to make sure that children are ready for kindergarten. In fact, there is a kindergarten assessment that is given right at the outset of kindergarten as well as at the conclusion in order to ascertain what children knew when they came in through the school door in the beginning of the year and what they know when they leave. Under the bill before us, the Department of Education, the Department of Early Childhood would continue to work with districts to try and make sure that we had the best possible articulation between preschool and kindergarten.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I realize the purpose of this plan it to prepare children better for preschool. What will we be looking at to see if in fact this universal preschool results in the -- results in the desired outcome? I'm looking at a study that the Department of Health and Human Services conducted in 2012 of the Head Start program and found that unlike earlier studies there was no long-term benefit to the children in terms of academic achievement and I wonder what metrics we will be putting in place to determine whether or not we are achieving that desired outcome?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would offer two responses to that good question. First, the State of Connecticut conducted its own regression discontinuity analysis just about a year ago in order to see are the school readiness programs that we have funded over the past 20 years having a real impact on the children who participate and the answer from that study that involved data from thousands of children was a definitive yes. It was evident in their literacy and their social skills and to some extent in their numeracy that the children who had attended school readiness benefitted in the subsequent years with their education and that redounded on through life. Second, with regard to the metrics to be used under this plan, that is the domain of expertise of our Commissioner of Education and Commissioner of Early Childhood. I would hope and expect that the plan that they put forward would not only include the measures that would take to move us to universal access to preschool but also the measures that we'd put in place to make sure that all such preschool was high quality and was improving children's social skills, emotional skills, reading skills, mathematical skills, etc.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the proponent of the bill for his answers to my questions. I do have a few comments to make. I appreciate the intent of this bill. I realize that there is nothing more valuable to us as a society than our children and equipping them to succeed in the world ahead. I share Representative Dunsby's concerns about the cost of this to the municipalities. In my neighboring district, Representative McCarty is seeing a friendship school, which was a joint cooperative effort between New London and Waterford. Her town of Waterford had to withdraw from this pre-K kindergarten program because of the increased cost and decrease in state level funding. I also think we have to be very careful as we move forward not to make pre-K -- the early years of childhood -- over institutionalized. The value of play cannot be over emphasized. I don't want to see bubble tests in third and fourth grade. I realize that NAY -- NE -- NAEYC -- I'll get it right eventually -- accreditation is very important but Representative MacLachlan cited Scandinavian countries where formal schooling does not begin until age seven, so I vow to no one in my desire to make sure the children of Connecticut are properly equipped for a productive future but I worry about the effect of this on the municipalities and if this is in fact the right way to go. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, madam. Gentleman from Tolland, Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Once again, we have another study. You can call it any name you want but it's a study. A study is a study is a study. I have a few questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent. If this study moves forward and gets completed, do we have any idea of what the unfunded mandate cost will be to the state?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier in the debate and it's possible my good colleague from Tolland was not present at that juncture, the measure before us does not foresee a mandate. It foresees a build out of our publicly available preschool programs so that there is universal access to preschool for all families in Connecticut so there being no foreseeable universal mandate I do not have -- I do not foresee some kind of great cost either but that's something that we will know once we are presented with a plan.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and could the proponent specify that there will be a cost to the cities and towns specifically?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no, I could not because it is quite possible that the Commissioner of Education, the Early Childhood Cabinet, and the Commissioner of Early Childhood will come forth with a plan that increases access to preschool without creating a requirement for our localities to be on the hook for the expansion.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

And, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. Does that mean that the preschool will not be in the public schools or will they be out of the public schools?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the question moves us into the realm of speculation. The answer is it could be either. We have an example in Connecticut today, the Smart Start Program, that uses state dollars to promote the provision of preschool in public school districts. Similarly, the state-funded state readiness program ensures access to preschool for thousands of Connecticut children and many of those programs are housed in existing elementary schools so we also have programs that happen in centers that are outside of public school districts, so as with our current system, there's probably gonna be a variety of answers. Hard for us to guess before we see a plan from the Commissioners.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, Mr. Speaker, does the proponent of any idea of how many students will be going to the new preschool if it is approved?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, as I've discussed with a couple of colleagues previously including the good Ranking Member of the committee, the last estimate I saw was that there were 9 to 10,000 children who currently lacked access to preschool. Generally, because lack of family income to pay for any preschool and lack of access to a subsidized program. It's hard for us to know how that number will change in the next five years but that seems like it's a good ballpark.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, Mr. Speaker, if the public school preschool does come to fruition and there are 9000 now, how many will be expected to leave the preschools that they are in and go to the public preschool at no cost?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

More speculation, Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker, so as I also pointed out in discussions with some of my good colleague from Tolland's friends, we do not foresee a system in the future that has no cost for families any more than we have it today so for example, if you look at an early childhood classroom that is funded by school readiness dollars, there may be a handful of families that are paying zero for participation because they are living below the poverty line. There may be a group of families that are paying 4 or $ 5000 dollars because that's what the sliding scale indicates they owe and there may be a group of families paying 7, 8, $ 9000 dollars because that's the top of the sliding scale, which is where their family income places them. That's the approach today in school readiness. I'm not going to prejudge what the Commissioners put before us but I think it' fair to say that we would expect any expansion of the system to follow the contours of the current system as just described.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, Mr. Speaker, if this does come forward, can -- we probably can expect or will we expect to have the entire preschool population all of a sudden for each of the next -- for three year olds, four year olds, and five years old enter the school system because it's a free preschool?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

And, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. How do you expect to keep all those people out of the public school system if they don't have to pay and they are now paying through a private company?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I will try again to make clear that there is nothing in this bill and there is nothing in the current system that says all children shall be provided with free preschool. Rather, we say we'll provide preschool access along the lines of our current school readiness program, which has a sliding scale of tuition.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, Mr. Speaker. If we have a majority or -- or a good amount of young people who are now in private preschool transfer out, does that mean that the private preschools are going -- or small businesses -- are going to go out of business?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. How will they stay in business if their students are now in the public schools?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, there is an assumption in the underlying questions, which I don't accept. If you have a sliding scale for participation in preschool, which we do currently and I would expect under this measure, families who are at the top end of the sliding scale would face similar costs whether they participated in the public program or in a program provided by a private provider. They would therefore make their selection based on what their preference was for one provider or the other and cost would be a minimal factor.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I have no further questions for the proponent and thank him for his answers.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Gentleman from Waterford, Representative McCarty.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just have a very quick comment and then one very quick question to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First, I rise in full support of the bill in front of us today. I think it's well-known about all of the benefits of early childhood education and they were numerated very well today. I think this plan will take into account a mixed delivery model. It takes into account public and private providers. We talked about the Care for Kids. I believe this plan is important in order to provide equal access to early childhood education throughout the state. We know that many obstacles currently exist and I think it's only fair that we put together a plan that addresses all of these obstacles.

My good colleague, Representative to my left here, mentioned my friendship school in Waterford Connecticut where we have the first urban/suburban school readiness plan and pre-K education and there were some obstacles there so I think this plan will do us all very well to see which obstacles really exist throughout the state that denies certain families access to early childhood education, so I'm a very strong proponent but I would just like to ask one quick question to the Chairman, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you. Mr. Chairman, do we know that throughout the state currently how many districts offer full-day kindergarten?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe that as of this year all districts are offering full-day kindergarten.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative McCarty.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that explanation but would that include all students then throughout the state?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

To know knowledge, yes, Mr. Speaker.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative McCarty.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Those are the end of my questions. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Gentleman from Manchester, Representative Tweedie.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

I want to thank the good Chairman for a great job of responding to all the questions here and I just have one more and it has to do with transportation. Who would be responsible? Would this -- this development of a plan include studying for the transportation to and from school for three and four year olds and you know, which takes into another question of who would be responsible for such things as five-point restraints on buses and would we need the same type of ratio of taking care of kids in the bus of you know, a 1 to 10 ratio of taking -- so the transportation issue if you could just elaborate on how that's been discussed or how much it will be discussed?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I heard a few different questions in there so let me take them one-by-one. First, to be clear because under our current system preschool is not considered part of the public education that the state must provide to all children across the State of Connecticut, transportationed preschool is not considered something that the state must provide, so while there are some preschoolers who go and attend preschool programs that are at public schools and get on buses, that's not required of towns, that's not required of the state, nor would that be required necessarily under this plan; so that brings me to what I think was Representative Tweedie's opening question -- you know, to what extent will the Commissioners be looking at transportation. It's really up to them. I don't believe that transportation is the major barrier for most families that are not currently in preschool in Connecticut. I think the number one barrier is poverty and lack of subsidized programs for families in poverty but if I'm wrong and transportation is a barrier, Commissioners may look at it. I just have not seen data to indicate that nor is there a state duty or a local duty to provide transportation. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tweedie.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again, I thank the good proponent of the bill for all his hard work. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House, members take your seats, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? So, the machine will be locked. Clerk will take a tally and the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Bill 955 in concurrence with the Senate.

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 103

Those voting Nay 46

Absent not Voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The bill is passed in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel). Representative Hennessy, I understand you have an announcement.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I do have an announcement. Tomorrow is our annual Help a Hero fund drive, so tomorrow in the parking lot in front of the Capitol there will be a Humvee positioned to accept your donations of healthcare items, personal care items for men and women, clothing, and gift cards of course. This is, I think, our fifth year and it's been well received. This year we're including not only are the donations going to South Park Inn, which is right around the corner but also from Bridgeport. Homes for the Brave will also be benefitting from our largesse, so I do hope that we will all be bringing things in tomorrow to help our homeless veterans. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Klarides. Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the House Republicans upon recess will be caucusing in room 110 at 4: 15.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, upon recess, the House Democrats will be caucusing in room 207-A and with that, I move that we recess at the Call of the Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Without objection, the House stands in recess subject to Call of the Chair. (Gavel).

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the House recessed at 3: 46 o'clock p. m. , to reconvene at the Call of the Chair. )

(The House reconvened at 5: 26 o'clock p. m. , Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore Godfrey in the Chair. )

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

House will come back to order. We're gonna return to the call of the calendar. Mr. Clerk, calendar 578, please.

CLERK:

On page two, calendar 578, Senate Joint Resolution number 54, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF WALTER M. SPADER, JR. , ESQUIRE, OF NORTH HAVEN TO BE A JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

That wasn't a technical difficulty, folks, we just didn't have the right person up here to run the machine. Now that it's up on the board, Representative Stafstrom. Wherever we were.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Wherever we were before. I believe we were at the part where we said, Mr. Speaker, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

I believe you're right, the questions on adoption and concurrence. Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we were returning to the last of our Judicial nominations that are before the Committee right now and this one is Attorney Walter Spader of North Haven.

Attorney Spader practices with the Marcus Law Firm in North Branford where he's been since 2003 and has a diverse practice that includes bank and tax foreclosures, commercial and residential real estate transactions, criminal law and planning and zoning issues.

I believe his breadth of experience and also his dedication to the bar and the many bar service committees he's been on will be an asset to the bench.

I am particularly impressed by his background. He is a, has his undergraduate degree as well as his master's degree from a certain Jesuit University in Fairfield, Connecticut, which is near and dear to my heart and that of the ranking member and also has his law degree from the University -- sorry, from Quinnipiac University. So he's a local guy as well.

I urge support for the resolution.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us. Just for some clarifications and I must say that I agree with the Vice Chairman regarding the undergraduate degree of fellow stag of mine. If I can just, for clarification, through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good Vice Chairman, is this a new appointment? Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, through you, it is a new appointment to fill a vacancy on the Superior Court Bench.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'd like to thank the Vice Chairman for his response. This is certainly a well-qualified individual and I do rise in support of his nomination.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand in support of Mr. Spader. I've known him for over ten, 12 years. Walter's been very dedicated to the town of North Haven, be it volunteer for the girls' softball league, the president of the girls' softball league, a police commissioner, state police commissioner. I believe he'll take his dedication that he's given to the Town of North Haven and State of Connecticut to the bench and I urge support of Mr. Spader, I think he'll be a very good jurist.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the resolution? Will you remark further on the resolution. If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house. Members take your seats, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If so, the machine will be locked. Clerk will take a tally. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 54 in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 129

Those voting Nay 20

Absent not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The resolution is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel)

Mr. Clerk, 579, please.

CLERK:

On page three, House calendar 570, Senate Joint Resolution number 55. RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ROBERT A. D'ANDREA OF LITCHFIELD TO BE A WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSIONER. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on acceptance and adoption and concurrence. Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is the nomination of Attorney D'Andrea to be a Workers' Compensation Commissioner. He'll be filling a vacancy created on the commission.

He is homegrown, went to Torrington High School, University of Hartford for his undergrad and graduated from Suffolk University Law School. He has also a varied background in the practice of law; he was for a time assigned to the state's attorney's office and served as a prosecutor and then went on to practice in a variety of general practice areas at various firms in our state.

He impressed us with his forthrightness about his background and made a very good presentation before the committee and I urge adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Sir. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I do rise in support of the nominee before us. I think certainly the good Chairman had indicated that Mr. D'Andrea was very forthright with his background as he was honest in his questionnaire regarding a previous arrest and did go into detail regarding the circumstances.

If I may, just initially before inquiring regarding those circumstances, his nomination would be for a Workers' Compensation Commissioner and if I just may inquire whether or not he is a new appointment to the Workers' Compensation Commission.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

I believe Representative Tong mentioned that but we'll go for confirmation.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Yes, through you, just to unpack that and to be technically correct, he would be new but he would be filling a vacancy -- there were two recent vacancies, Commissioner Goldberg and Commissioner Stephen Delaney. I believe that this nominee would fill the space left by the departure of Stephen Delaney.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'd like to thank the Chairman for his response. I think that's certainly important for many of our members who have been certainly directing their votes based on budgetary issues but it is filling a position that has since been vacant.

And through you, Mr. Speaker, if the good Chairman could just highlight for us a little bit regarding this individual's prior arrest.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tong?

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, it's a long story as the Ranking Member knows. He was serving as a clerk for a time in the very early 80's, I believe this happened way back in 1981. And because of some family relationships, it was thought that he may have some relationship to a wiretap and that he may have been the source of a leak on a wiretap and he maintained his innocence throughout the process, even when he was a prosecutor and after lengthy negotiations, he did agree to a 90-day term of accelerated pretrial rehabilitation in 1987 but it was very clear that he wanted to clear his name and did not receive a conviction for the matter related to the wiretap and was very forthright in the committee.

Because of the age of the claim against him and also because he received AR, he was not required to disclose this to me but he did so voluntarily and was very forthright about what was a long and difficult saga for him and his family.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the Chairman for his response and certainly I would like to echo the same sentiments that this particular individual did provide the Committee with written details, very detailed indication as to the program that he was afforded, the AR as in short, the accelerated rehabilitation and that was back in 1987.

And to the best of my knowledge, to the best of his disclosure, there has been no arrest since and certainly he felt that at that time, it was the best decision for him.

And if I may also indicate that he also shared with us through his application that he received over -- or over exactly 100 letters of support from other local attorneys and certainly also the Judge who granted him this program thought that he was a good fit for it.

So many of times we talk about individuals having second chances and many people certainly make mistakes in their lives and all because if they afford themselves a certain program doesn't necessarily mean that they're guilty of any particular crime, it's just that at that moment in time it was the best decision that he made.

So certainly with all of that said and indicating the fact that he does come with a considerable professional background and resume and has since not been involved in any type of arrests and things of that nature, then I do rise in support of his nomination.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Wilson.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also rise in support of Attorney D'Andrea. Having known him for well over that period of time that we're recently discussing and from the great town of Litchfield, home of the first law school in America, I can certainly attest to the integrity that he has in our community and would support his nomination. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the resolution? Will you remark further on the resolution? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house, members take your seats, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? If so, the machine will be locked. The Clerk will take a tally. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 55 in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 130

Those voting Nay 19

Absent not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Resolution is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel) Mr. Clerk, 580, please.

CLERK:

On page three, calendar 580, Senate Joint Resolution number 56. RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THE HONORABLE DATHERINE Y. HUTCHINSON OF ANDOVER TO BE A FAMILY SUPPORT REFEREE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move for acceptance of the Joint Commission favorable report and adoption of the resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on acceptance and adoption in concurrence, Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this resolution reconfirms Magistrate Hutchinson for a new five-year term as a Family Support Referee. She has served with distinction on the bench as a Family Support Magistrate since 1987 and provides a breadth of knowledge and experience to the bench. She is primary serving in the Windham Judicial District. I urge support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you sir. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us certainly to become a Magistrate referee. She does have a great bit of knowledge based on her experience as a Magistrate and also, just alone, Mr. Speaker, just to indicate to everyone, just in the past year she was able to handle 3,500 cases. That's 3,500 cases less the other Magistrates who spend considerable amount of time in the courtroom would have to handle. So we certainly appreciate when we have individuals willing to continue to serve and have great knowledge that would assist us with the process. I rise in support of her nomination.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Will you remark further on the resolution? Will you remark further on the resolution? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house, members take a seat, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked. Clerk will take a tally. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 56 in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 133

Those voting Nay 15

Those absent and not voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The resolution is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel) Mr. Clerk, 581, please.

CLERK:

On page three, calendar 581, Senate Joint Resolution number 57. RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THE HONORABLE HARRIS T. LIFSHITZ OF EAST HARTFORD TO BE A FAMILY SUPPORT REFEREE.

Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Conley.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on adoption of the resolution and concurrence? Representative Conley.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Judge Harris Lifshitz has been on the bench since 1987.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Just a second, Representative Conley. (Gavel) Thank you. Representative Conley.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Thank you. This Judge has been on the bench since 1987. He currently sits at the courts of Hartford, Rockville and New Britain as a Family Support Magistrate. He also fills in when needed at Middletown, Meriden and Norwich so he's traveling our state when folks are on vacation filling in so that the docket gets caught up.

He was a graduate of Boston University, attended law school at the University of Connecticut and for -- he also serves on the United Synagogues of the Greater Hartford Board of Directors, serving his community in that way.

I urge adoption of this Judge as he's been serving the bench for many years and continues to do so.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us. And certainly this is an individual who's being reappointed so this is not a new position for a Magistrate Referee and he has been a great asset to the branch in this regard and all of his service and professional background. So I rise in his support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Will you remark further on the resolution? If not, staff and guests please come to the wall of the house, members take your seats, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked. Clerk will take a tally. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 57, in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 137

Those voting Nay 12

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Resolution is adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel) Five-eighty-two, Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page three, House calendar 582, Senate Joint Resolution number 58. RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THE HONORABLE GLADYS IDELIS NIEVES OF NEW HAVEN TO BE A FAMILY SUPPORT MAGISTRATE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Gentleman from New Haven, Representative Paolillo.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on adoption and concurrence, Representative Paolillo.

REP. PAOLILLO (97TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I'm honored to present Gladys Nieves tonight for reappointment as a Family Court Magistrate. Prior to her being appointed to a Magistrate, Ms. Naives was a solo practitioner in New Haven. She was first appointed in May of 2014. Her current assignment as a Family Support Magistrate is in New Haven, New Britain and Bridgeport.

Being a New Haven resident, I'm honored tonight to speak on her behalf. I urge adoption. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us. Certainly she already has great experience and she answered all the questions appropriately and appeared appropriately before our committee and so I rise in her support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Gentleman from Meriden, Representative Santiago.

REP. SANTIAGO (84TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am in support of Gladys Nieves as the New Haven -- from New Haven -- as a Family Support Magistrate. But just to give a little history of Gladys Nieves, she is a byproduct of Meriden. She was born and raised in Meriden and her family still lives in Meriden. I have known her father for many years and he worked hard to put his two children through college and Gladys is a lawyer and her brother, Julian, is a medical doctor.

So even though she did go to New Haven and she made her business there, she still comes to Meriden and visits her mother who is one of my constituents in the city of Meriden. So I really support Gladys Nieves a Family Magistrate. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Will you remark further on the resolution? Will you remark further on the resolution? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house, members take your seats, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked. Clerk will take a tally. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 58 in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 135

Those voting Nay 14

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The resolution's adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel) Five-eight-four, please.

CLERK:

On page four, House calendar 584, Senate Joint Resolution number 60. RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF PETER C. MLYNARCZYK OF HADDAM TO BE A WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSIONER.

Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Conley.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on the acceptance of adoption in concurrence, Representative Conley.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Thank you. Commissioner Mlynarczyk has been serving as a Commissioner since 2007. He most recently served in Middletown following the asbestos docket which is one of our most complex dockets in Workers' Compensation. He's currently sitting in beautiful Norwich, splitting his time between Norwich and New Britain.

He's been doing a great job cleaning up our docket which in Norwich did get a little bit behind so he is working very diligently on our docket to try to get injured workers' claims moved in a timely manner. He's been doing a wonderful job since 2007 and I ask my colleagues to once again renominate him.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us. Certainly he has been a great asset to the Workers' Compensation commission and I believe he will continue to be an asset in that regard so I do rise in his support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am, will you remark further on the resolution? Will you remark further on the resolution? If not, staff and guests, please come to the well of the house, members take their seats, the machine will be opened. (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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked. Clerk will take a tally. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 60, in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 147

Necessary for Adoption 74

Those voting Yea 135

Those voting Nay 12

Those absent and not voting 4

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Resolution's adopted in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel) Five-eighty-three, Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page three, calendar number 583, Senate Joint Resolution number 59, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THE HONORABLE WILLIAM T. STRADA, JUNIOR, OF STAMFORD TO BE A FAMILY SUPPORT MAGISTRATE -- FAMILY SUPPORT REFEREE, I stand corrected.

Favorable report of the Joint Senate Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening.

REP. TONG (147TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and adoption of the resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on adoption and concurrence. Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Referee Strada has served as a Family Support Magistrate and now as a Family Support Referee since 2002. He's a graduate of Fairfield University and also Fordham University which should make the Vice Chairman very happy to hear.

He has served ably in a number of roles and was first admitted to the bar in 1962 in Bridgeport. He impressed us with his knowledge and his long service and I urge adoption resolution.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Fordham, you said. Go Rams. Representative Rebimbas. Just a second, Representative Rebimbas. Representative Rebimbas, I like to see who I'm talking to. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I also enjoy seeing you up there as well.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us for a referee, Magistrate Referee and I too, along with the good Vice Chairman who is just blocking your view, am happy that this individual is a graduate of Fairfield University.

And just, through you, Mr. Speaker, just a quick question to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee that did a wonderful job in highlighting the history regarding the nominee before us.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, ma'am.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the good Chairman, I just wanted to point out if the good Chairman's okay, I notice that this application was hand written. Is he okay with that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tong, are you okay with that?

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, because of Referee Strada's long service and the fact that he's from the city of Stamford, I am okay with this handwritten application. But in all other respects, I am not okay with handwritten applications.

Thank you, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

It's a Jesuit thing. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'd like to thank the Chairman for his ability to foresee beyond the handwritten and seeing that he's from Stamford and a graduate from Fairfield University and most importantly, as a result of this individual being an asset truly to being a Magistrate so I do rise in support of his nomination.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am, will you remark further on this resolution? Will you remark further on this resolution? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house, members take your seats, the machine will be opened. (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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If so, the machine will be locked. Clerk will take a tally. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 59, in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 136

Those voting Nay 13

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The resolution is adopted in the concurrence of the Senate. (Gavel)

Mr. Clerk, 585, please?

CLERK:

On page four, calendar number 585, Senate Joint resolution number 61, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THOMAS J. WELCH, ESQUIRE, OF SHELTON TO BE A JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT.

Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think we've reached the end of the line here so with that, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report, adoption of the resolution in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Any questions on adoption and concurrence? Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Attorney Welch is a Shelton native who practiced with the law firm of Welch, Tedosio and Stanek in Shelton for the past 26 years. He's focused on general practice and litigation, municipal law, real estate, land use and representing small businesses.

He currently also serves as the corporation counsel for the city of Shelton and Derby. Has a distinguished career and a lot of community service in the community which I'm sure folks will speak on.

He's a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross as well as the University of Connecticut School of Law. I urge support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the nominee before us. He certainly has a very vast general professional law practice background so he can certainly be an asset.

He also appears regularly in the court system which is also something we always look to when providing the support to nominees, making sure that these individuals are well familiar with the judicial system so that they can enhance it in a positive way.

And certainly as the good Vice Chairman indicated, he also is very active in the community and certainly that has been a plus for the town of Shelton. So I do rise in support of his nomination and believe that he's gonna be bringing all of his skills and professionalism to the Judicial Branch and we look forward to that so I rise in his support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Perillo.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. I thank the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee and of course the Ranking Member for their kind remarks.

Attorney Welch has spent his entire career, in fact his entire life, dedicated to his community and also to his clients. Attorney Welch is my personal attorney and in fact his grandfather -- or his father -- was my grandfather's family attorney.

And you don't generate that kind of multigenerational clientele without trust, without honesty. And that's how Tom practices and that's how he lives his life. Attorney Welch is perfectly suited to serve on the bench and in fact, I believe the residents of Connecticut will be well cared for and attended to and judged, quite frankly, by Attorney Welch. He is truly an honorable gentleman and we will be fortunate to have him serving us as a Justice in the Superior Court.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you sir, will you remark further on the resolution? Will you remark further? If not, staff and guests please come to the wall of the house, members take your seats. 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 ORANGE (48TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 61, in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 134

Those voting Nay 15

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The resolution passes. (Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Good evening, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good evening.

REP. TONG (147TH):

You look lovely up there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Well, thank you. You look lovely there as well.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you for saying that. For the purpose of an announcement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Madam Speaker, the Judiciary Committee will meet tomorrow a half hour before the start of the first session outside of the Chamber, outside of the hall of the house.

So just to clarify, there is some confusion about when the Judiciary Committee would meet, it's a half hour before the start of the first session. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

And do you know what time the first session is, sir?

REP. TONG (147TH):

I understand that that's still a matter of discussion, so --

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Okay.

REP. TONG (147TH):

-- if that has been established, I would look to my leadership to say so. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? If not, we will return to the call of the calendar and will the Clerk please call calendar number 120.

CLERK:

On page 51, calendar number 120, Substitute House Bill number 7013, AN ACT ESTABLISHING STANDARDS TO ALLOW THE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER TO DESIGNATE CERTAIN DOMESTIC INSURANCE COMPANIES AS DOMESTIC SURPLUS LINES INSURERS.

Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Finance Revenue and Bonding.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The motion is passage of the bill. Will you remark? Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have the technical amendment here and I would ask that my good friend, the Ranking Member, allow us to move forward on the amendment and then we can have a discussion about the bill itself. So Mr. Clerk, I have an amendment LCO 6132 I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO number 6132 which will be designated House Amendment Schedule A.

CLERK:

LCO number 6132, designated House Amendment Schedule A and offered by Representative Scanlon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize. Is there objection? Objection? If not, Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, again, this amendment is technical in nature and I would ask that we adopt the amendment and then we can have a discussion about the further of the bill. Thank you, Madam Speaker, I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I will concur with the good Chairman, so a description of the amendment is just technical in nature. It helps to clarify the scope of the regulatory powers of the insurance department over this particular line of insurance and we will certainly debate the merits of the bill but the amendment is just technical and I would encourage adoption for my colleagues. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

All those opposed nay. The ayes have it, the amendment is adopted. (Gavel) Would you care to remark on the bill as amended? Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. What this bill, it sounds like a pretty complicated title but it's a very simple bill. And what it does is it tries to give our insurance companies a tool that they can use to sell a product in the state.

To date, ten other states in our country have passed a bill allowing insurance -- domestic insurance companies -- to sell what are known as surplus lines insurance policies. What is a surplus lines insurance policy? Essentially it's someone that's very risky or unusual and is not someone that traditionally the insurance would decide to write a policy for.

This bill would allow them to actually market those policies and sell those policies in the State of Connecticut. I think it's a good bill that our domestic insurance companies would benefit greatly from as ten other states have done and I urge my colleagues to support this very common sense bill.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Would you care to remark, the good Ranking Member of the Insurance Committee, Representative Sampson, you have the floor again, sir.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and thanks to the Chairman for his description of the bill. I do have a couple of questions I'd like to ask through you, Madam Speaker, and the first one is I'm hoping that --

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, I'm sorry. I'm hoping that the Chairman might give us some enlightenment in what makes a surplus lines insurance company different than other types of insurance companies.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, it's not that they're different, it just allows them to sell a different kind of policy. It's the same domestic insurance companies that we come to know popularly. This just allows them to sell a different product.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. My understanding of a surplus lines company, often called an excess and surplus lines company, is one that is not admitted into the state to sell product and often because there are no other sources to obtain the type of insurance or the risk that's before domestic or local insurance companies and these folks are allowed into the market place to make sure that that product is available to consumers so that they have a protection.

The bill before us essentially allows a domestic insurer, an insurance company that's in our state already, to act as an excess and surplus lines company much like ones that would be outside the state. And I believe the bill is here before us because there is an opportunity for the State of Connecticut to help a particular insurance company get into this market and engage in this business.

I think that's a good thing, I wanna see us act proactively in allowing the insurance industry to, you know, move swiftly and come up with products and services that they could offer to consumers that might help on premiums and grow business and jobs in our state.

But at the same time, we've gotta make sure that we are very cautious and we provide the proper consumer protections in all cases.

And in this particular case, we're referring to a type of insurance that is regulated to a little less of a degree than typical insurance companies might in our state.

And because of that, I would just like to flush out what the differences really are and what we are allowing by passing this legislation. So through you, Madam Speaker, can the Chairman tell me what the requirements the insurance department places on domestic insurers versus surplus lines insurers?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, there are obviously a host of differences between them but one of the primary differences in this instance between a domestic carrier and a surplus lines insurer is that they have to have at least $ 15 million dollars of capital in order to be deemed eligible to be a surplus lines insurer by the insurance department.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. From my reading of the bill and the amendment that was just adopted, it appears that we are making the requirement for a domestic surplus lines insurer so that they have to achieve that $ 15 million dollar standard.

Am I correct based on what the Chairman just indicated that an insurer that is not a surplus lines insurer does not need to have that significant a financial requirement?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, the domestic carrier must have a capital surplus of $ 15 million dollars.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Are there any other requirements, maybe filing of rates or other consumer protections that exist for domestic insurance companies that don't exist for surplus lines companies? And then how would they be affected by the adoption of a domestic surplus lines company?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, there are and I'm looking for them here in the bill. I don't have the section off the top of my head but there certainly are.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So I was gonna -- hopefully I have some answers to work with so I could follow up on them but without that information, it's difficult to do so.

Let me just ask another question then. Through you, Madam Speaker, have we looked at the other ten states that the Chairman mentioned to determine exactly what they have adopted as far as setting up a policy construct for these domestic surplus lines companies for guidance in how we've come up with our plan.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, yes. The Insurance Department, who proposed this bill and came to our committee with this proposal this year has an extensive research about the ten other states and what they've done and frankly, other states that are proposing this kind of legislation as we speak, I believe that they have done their absolute due diligence on this and our law is conforming to what the other ten states have done throughout the country.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and that's good to hear. I have great respect and confidence in our state's Insurance Department to make sure that they are acting in the best interest of our consumers and I'm certain that they would've put in the appropriate provisions. But it's nice to know that we are certainly trying to stay in line with other states that have adopted similar policies.

There are a couple of sections in this bill that refer to the tax that is imposed upon insurers in our state. And I'm referring first off to lines 14 through 17 which say that this new creation of a domestic surplus lines insurer will be subject to a tax that's imposed under a specific section 38A-743 which I believe is the section of our statutes that describe how much tax is charged based on the premium to surplus lines insurers.

And I'm curious to know if that is accurate, that we are going to be charging these domestic surplus lines insurers the same amount of tax as out-of-state surplus lines insurers.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you, can I ask also what is the amount of that tax.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, it's four percent.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and what, through you to the Chairman, is the tax that we charge to non-surplus lines carriers that do business in our state?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98Th):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I believe that is 1. 75 percent. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the gentleman for that answer. So there's a section later on in the bill and it's lines 177 through 180 and I've read through it a couple of times but it says, “Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A of the section. The tax shall not apply to surplus lines insurance policies issued by domestic insurance companies designated as surplus lines insurers pursuant to Section 1”, which is the one we just referred to.

So I'm hoping that the good Chairman can enlighten me as to what exactly this small bit of tax means. Because I've read through it a couple of times and it sounds to me like we're saying that they are not going to be required to pay the same amount of tax but maybe I'm reading it wrong.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I believe what this is trying to say is that they are subject to the four percent tax.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, so is this in conflict with the other section that we read initially in section one of the bill or is it just reiterating that they are going to be subject to the same surplus lines tax that out-of-state surplus lines companies have to pay already?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, it's just reiterating what was in the earlier section.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

I appreciate that. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Just a couple of more questions just to follow up on the notion of what surplus lines insurance is. I think that the Chairman mentioned something about risky insurance. My understanding has always been that it's not so much risky insurance, it's just situations that are not necessarily everyday situations for insurers in our state.

Many folks have maybe heard of Lloyds of London. That is an excess and surplus lines insurance company and they'll insure almost anything. You know, it's just a matter of for giving them a proposal about what you want to insure and they will find a way to make that happen through their investors.

More commonly, surplus lines insurance companies sell a lot of property insurance ere in our state. Maybe buildings that are in less than desirable condition and the voluntary insurance market is reluctant to provide coverage because the risk is great for fire or vandalism, that sort of thing.

So I guess what I want to really know and understand is how we came to this point where we have insurance companies that offer product in our state for all types of insurance, whether it be automobile or property and casualty and buildings like we just said, commercial liability insurance.

And then we adapted by coming up with this plan for these more high risk situations or unusual situations by coming up with surplus lines coverage. And now we are going to do something which I think is odd although I see the benefits to our economy in our state and I see the reason for it but it strikes me as odd that we would be setting up rules to say a company that is actually in our state that would be regulated like any other insurance company is now going to be regulated as if it is an out-of-state excess and surplus lines company.

And I don't know if the Chairman can give me any information on this. It's been hard to come by but anything he could maybe point to that shows me the reason why we would treat a company that is domiciled in our state is not treated as any other company that is regulated by the Insurance Department in the same way.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, the gentleman raised a good point. I don't necessarily mean to say it's risky, it's basically -- covers that's unavailable in the traditional market which is a better way, probably, of saying than risky. Untraditional, you know, not traditionally available.

The goal of this is because right now they are unable to market something and that's because our existing law does not allow them to do that and the reason for that is because this kind of policy was not something that was around when they originally put these laws together.

So we're basically taking an outdated statute and making it more up-to-date with the mood of the country, so to speak, in terms of what other states are doing and what the insurance companies here in our state are asking us to do to try to help them do more business and serve the needs of our constituents here in Connecticut.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I appreciate the Chairman for his attempt in answering my question. I know it's a difficult one to really get your arms around. We've -- I tried to research the history of the original laws written on surplus lines insurance in the state and it's very difficult to really figure out exactly at what point we decided we were gonna handle things in this way.

So that being said, I still think that the proposal before us does have merit because of the pro-business concerns that we started by talking about.

Just a couple of final questions for the Chairman, I have, Madam Speaker. The first one is, would the same requirements for a domestic surplus lines insurer exist as do out-of-state surplus lines insurers in the way the product is sold?

For instance, I know that generally speaking the person selling the policy to the customer must have them sign an affidavit acknowledging that it is an excess and surplus lines product. Does that still apply in this case?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I believe the answer is yes. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, there's also a requirement, I believe, that says that the person selling the policy must have exhausted other options in the voluntary market before they go to an excess surplus lines product and I'm curious if those requirements are the same also versus an out-of-state excess surplus lines company.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I believe that is also correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, I have just one final question and that is, in the case of these types of products that are sold currently in the state, I understand that they are not sold directly by the company themselves. They are sold through something called the Managing General Agent which essentially is a broker who is acting on behalf of that company and maybe dealing with the public directly or agents representing the public.

Is that required also or can a domestic surplus lines insurer sell their product direct to consumers? Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, it can be sold directly through the company or through a broker. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, that's interesting and just as a follow-up, is that different than an out-of-state surplus lines company because in my own experience, I've never seen the sell directly, only through an MGA or a Managing General Agent.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Uh, no. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and I thank the Chairman for his answers to the questions.

Again, somewhat a complicated issue, one that we've wrestled with over the course of this session. The bill is pretty clear, we are just setting up a regulation structure in our state that allows for something we allow out-of-state insurers to do, to happen for someone that is located in the state.

I don't see the harm in it. I do have some questions about the history of surplus lines insurance and how we got to this point but nonetheless, I think that this is a good pro-business type of legislation and I would encourage my colleagues to support it. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir, will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Will you care to remark? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house. Members take your seats, 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.

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

CLERK:

House Bill 7013 as amended by House A:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 149

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The bill as amended passes. (Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Any announcements or introductions?

Representative Abercrombie.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good evening.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Ladies and gentlemen of the Chamber, it's that time of year again. This Friday we will be doing dress-down day. For those of you that are freshmen and are not familiar, what we do is you pay $ 5 dollars to dress down, $ 10 if you wanna wear your suit or your good clothes, as we call them.

But this is something that we do every year and this Chamber has been just so generous to the organizations that we support. This year we'll be supporting Homes for the Brave which is a nonprofit that supports female veterans and their children and I'd like to give the -- I'd like to thank Representative McGorty for bringing this organization to our attention.

I will be collecting money and so will my good colleague Representative Zupkus on the other side of the aisle. So please, come and see us and give us your money and have fun on Friday. Thank you, everyone.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam, are there any other further announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions. Will the Clerk please call calendar number 270?

CLERK:

On page 15, calendar 270, House Bill number 7225, AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR AND TECHNICAL CHANGES TO COMMERCE-RELATEDS STATUTES. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reyes.

REP. REYES (75TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The question is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Reyes.

REP. REYES (75TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and that 7225, AN ACT CONSIDERING MINOR AND TECHNICAL CHANGES TO COMMERCE-RELATED STATUTES, it passed Joint favorable and it is purely technical and relating changes to the statute is related to DECD in Connecticut Innovations.

Through you, Madam Speaker, I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill before us? Will you care to remark further on the bill before us. Representative Yaccarino, you have the floor, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Good evening, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good evening, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

It's good to see you up here. Through you to the proponent of the piece of legislation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH);

There are minor changes, one major change in here and could he explain what that change would be as far as a bond authorization or lack of authorization?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reyes.

REP. REYES (75TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, it's a great question and this bill repeals an obsolete provision requiring that the Department of Economic and Community Development to establish a program and employing youths and young adults.

And again, it is purely technical in nature.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair and thank you to the good Vice Chair of Commerce. What the good Vice Chair has described, it's a technical bill but it does remove a major component through authorization of bonding for future employment and I urge support. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill before us? Will you care to remark further on the bill before us? Will you care to remark?

If not -- if not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house. Members take your seats, 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 ORANGE (48TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Please check the board to determine if your vote has been properly cast. If so, the machine will be locked. And will the Clerk please take a tally. And will the Clerk announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 7225:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 149

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call calendar number 304?

CLERK:

On page 53, calendar 304, Substitute House Bill number 7226, AN ACT CONCERNING AWARDS FROM THE CONNECTICUT ARTS ENDOWMENT FUND. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The bill we have before us modifies the Connecticut Arts Endowment Council to allow for four percent of the average market value of the fund to be distributed to arts organizations across Connecticut.

We believe this change is critical in order to help support arts organizations in our state which contribute substantially to Connecticut's economy and to job growth in Connecticut and I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Representative Simmons. The good Ranking Member, Representative Yaccarino, you have the floor, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Madam Speaker, through you, Madam Speaker to the good Chair of Commerce, the arts endowment piece of legislation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you, Madam Speaker, currently where does this money derive from through the arts endowment, is it -- I know it's an existence of DECD but where did the money actually come from? And the second part of the question is how much in the fund currently?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, the funding came from bond authorizations between 1989 and 2002, totaling up to $ 14. 5 million dollars and now the fund has grown up to $ 19 million dollars in assets.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you for that answer. And currently, we're changing, if I'm not mistaken, to go four percent of the whole fund instead of the actual interest accrued, is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

That's correct, through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you for that answer. And, sorry, and the Treasurer's office realized that they changed the mechanism of the funding from 100 percent to 67, I think 33. 3 to get a greater amount of return or growth to make this fund grow, to utilize it for our fairs, our museums, so many treasures in our state.

Is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Yes, through you, Madam Speaker, the Treasurer's office changed their investment strategy from 100 percent fixed income to about 67 percent fixed income and 30 percent equities.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

I support this bill for many reasons but it's for arts, our sciences, our culture, and really for jobs and I have the pleasure of working with a good share of the committee. That's all I have to say unless the good Chair wants to add anything else but thank you, Madam Speaker. I urge support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill before us, Representative Ziobron, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good evening to you, neighbor.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Madam Speaker, I have just a couple of clarifying questions, please, to the proponent.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much. So I'm reading the fiscal note for this bill and it talks a little bit about how the change in the percent for the market will actually start the potential of digging into the principal of this funding and I was wondering if the good proponent could talk about the difference of what that will mean and how long that fund will be sustainable if we're taking principal to make up the payment.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, through you, Madam Speaker. Thank you for that excellent question, Representative, and we had those same questions for the Treasurer's office as well during the public hearing and essentially, allowing for the four percent distribution would allow for potentially about $ 320,000 dollars more to be distributed to arts organizations each year which was actually when it was the high in 2010, up to $ 800,000 dollars was distributed to arts organizations across our state.

It's now down to $ 390,000 due to our low interest rate environment and so right now we can only distribute funds based on interest earned from this fund. But by allowing for the four percent distribution from the total market value of the fund, we may be tapping into the principal slightly but the fund has grown from $ 14 million dollars to $ 19 million dollars in assets and so they've confirmed that they believe that we would be able to do that without depleting the fund.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and that's great news to hear that you actually have a larger fund balance and I'm not very familiar with this fund so if the good proponent could just talk about how organizations avail themselves to these taxpayer dollars.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Sure, absolutely, through you, Madam Speaker. So the Arts Endowment Fund is one of 15 funds and arts, any arts organization that's a nonprofit in Connecticut can apply for funding through this program.

They have to have received at least $ 15,000 dollars in private sector investment and then the state can offer a 25 percent matching grant.

And part of the reason that it's designated that way is in order to encourage private sector funding into our arts organizations.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and another good answer that I think it's important for people to hear because it's always important, I think, when we're trying to leverage taxpayer dollars, as I remind my good colleagues, there's no such thing as state money.

So it's important when we're leveraging taxpayer dollars that there's skin in the game, so to speak, from others. So I'm glad to hear that there's a $ 15,000 dollar benchmark.

Through you, Madam Speaker, is it a competitive grant? Is it done by tourism district? How is the actual allocation made throughout the state or is it a first come first serve?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and thank you for that question, Representative. And any organization can apply, it's not given out by a certain district, you simply have to have that $ 15,000 dollar private sector donation that you can prove that you've received and then any arts organization can be eligible.

Last year, for example, over 114 arts organizations from across Connecticut received funding and we did receive testimony from all arts organizations and councils from across the state so it did appear to vary by region.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Great, thank you very much, Madam Speaker, I appreciate my good colleague's answers to my questions. I think it's important to understand what those changes might mean, especially for the art districts within our own districts as legislators that we can make sure that we pass the word in these trying financial times that there is an even playing field out there, if there's just a little bit more skin in the game, and I'm happy to support. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Madam. Will you care to remark further on the bill before us? Will you care to remark further on the bill before us?

If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house, members take your seats, the machine will be open. (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 ORANGE (48TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? Please check the board to determine if your vote has been properly cast. If so, the machine will be locked. And the Clerk will take a tally, please. And will the Clerk please announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Bill 7226:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 148

Those voting Nay 1

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call calendar number 544?

CLERK:

On page 41, House calendar number 544, Senate Bill number 962, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEVELOPMENT OF EVALUATIVE METRICS FOR BIOSCIENCE INVESTMENTS IN THE STATE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This bill requires Connecticut Innovations to develop a set of evaluative metrics to evaluate the state's investments in our bioscience sector.

The importance of this bill is to ensure that we're holding our state investments accountable and that we're ensuring the greatest return on investment and job creation with these investments as possible.

It passed nearly unanimously out of the Commerce Committee, there's no fiscal note on this bill and I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Madam. Will you care to remark further? Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker, to the good proponent, or good Chair of Commerce, where does this money derive from and who will do the evaluation? Through you, Madam Speaker. Well, will there be a cost and who does the evaluating?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, thank you, Representative for the question and Connecticut Innovations has confirmed that they will be able to fund this through their existing operating revenue which is generated by returns on their investments and the bill requires them to contract with a private vendor to develop these set of metrics.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thanks for that answer. If I remember correctly through testimony and in the bill, that's about $ 50,000 dollars that will come out of CI, is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, and will that be a one-time cost?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you for that answer and when the study's done, I believe it's January, 2018, who will see our reports through and how will we move forward with the results?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and thanks for that question. Once the developed metrics are created in January 2018, CI is required to report to the legislature and in particular, the Commerce Committee on their metrics and at that time we will be able to decide whether we'd like to move forward with their metrics and how to apply them to the various state investments.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you for that answer. Reading through testimony and listening to the public hearing, there are many -- Mount Sinai Hospital, Yale, Jackson Labs -- many smaller bioscience companies or scientists that are interested in this legislation.

But we, as a body, have to really create policies with this going forward and help this industry. To me, it's the fastest growing industry in the world. Connecticut could be a leader. We have some more bills, hopefully, out of our Commerce Committee that will go much further than what we're doing here but this is just an evaluation. CI's gonna do this performance.

But we need, as a state, after this is done, we need to really do something with it. So I urge support of this but it's one of the fastest growing industries in the world. We could compete with Massachusetts, we could compete with California and really it helps not your scientists but it helps manufacturing from precision manufacturing, it helps medicine so I urge support.

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Fishbein. You have the floor, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I did vote against this in Committee, I intend to vote against it here this evening. If I may, just some brief questions for the proponent.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you and I did -- the proponent did come over to me, I did indicate to her that I had no questions but I'll be -- I'll be good.

So is there a reason why we are not having DECD contract directly with the vendor as opposed to this quasi-public group?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Thank you for that question, Representative, and because the Connecticut Bioscience fund is situated within Connecticut Innovations, we believed it made the most sense for Connecticut Innovations to contract directly with the private vendor.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

And -- thank you, Madam Speaker -- and in the course of getting a bid, so to speak, on this, do we know whether Connecticut Innovations solicited from various vendors bids to try and protect the taxpayers here?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. And thank you for that question, Representative. In my conversations with Connecticut Innovations, they indicated that they've not started this process yet but if the bill does pass, they would put out a request for proposal and as you mentioned, go through the competitive bid process.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, so should this legislation pass, it's understood that $ 50,000 dollars is going to be appropriated for this.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. There's actually no general fund appropriation for this bill. Because Connecticut Innovations is a quasi-public agency they're currently funded by bonding funds and Connecticut Innovations has indicated they would be able to fund this through their existing revenue that they generate from return on their investments as well as their existing operating revenue. So there won't be an actual fiscal note to the state or an additional general fund bond or obligation.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So my being protective of taxpayer funds, if this project was to only cost $ 10,000 dollars, as opposed to the $ 50,000 dollars that we're understood it's going to cost, what is to happen with the $ 40,000 dollar overage?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker and thank you for that question, Representative and Connecticut Innovations has indicated that they will use a competitive process and through that process try to get the best price possible when contracting with the private vendor.

So as you mentioned, if there was that $ 40,000 dollar surplus, they would just continue to keep that within their operating revenue and not use it for this purpose.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and that's exactly my point. I don't think we need this additional middle person. I think DECD should be able to put this out to bid, if this is a good project, which I don't know that it is.

I just don't think this is necessary, I don't think there's enough oversight over Connecticut Innovations as well as other quasi-publics that we are dealing with and therefore I'm very much against this.

So thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill before us. Representative Sam Belsito, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Oh my God, another bill, another study, another look-see, another evaluation number 14,541. I'm keeping track of these.

To the proponent of the bill, I have a few questions, through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Now I understand that the $ 50,000 is not coming from the state, is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144Th):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

I have a few questions for the proponent. If it is not the state's money, why does the state have to write a bill for this?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, the purpose for this bill is to require that Connecticut Innovations, by legislation, develop this set of evaluative metrics in order to ensure that we're holding our esteemed investments in the bioscience industry accountable.

This is an incredibly high growth, high wage industry; it's grown by 3. 5 percent, it creates and retains over 25,000 jobs in our state and it's essential that we continue to invest in this industry but also that we develop a set of rigorous and standardized and strong metrics to evaluate our investments to ensure that we're holding them accountable.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Madam Speaker, could you just ask the hall to quiet down a little bit? I'm sorry. (Gavel) Thank you, Madam Speaker and through the proponent of the bill. Could you just back up a little bit and tell us why we have to authorize them spending $ 50,000 dollars if it is not the state's money? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, thank you for that question, Representative. The purpose of this bill is to require Connecticut Innovations, which is a quasi-public agency, to develop this set of evaluative metrics in order to ensure that we're holding our investments in the bioscience industry accountable and that we're ensuring the greatest return on investment and job creation as possible with those investments.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker and another few questions. What uh, what is happening now in this organization with the bioscience that's going on that -- are they, are they testing it now, are they looking at it now? I'd like to know what they're doing if they're doing anything at all.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and thank you, that's a great question, Representative. And currently they are using metrics, they prioritize return on investment and job growth as their top two priorities with their investments.

But as they've indicated to us, it was critical that, especially with the rapidly growing industry that's constantly changing, that we continue to update and improve and revise or metrics to ensure that we're holding these investments accountable. Oftentimes metrics drive performance and we need to make sure that we consistently hold ourselves to a high standard and holding these investments accountable to the greatest return on investment possible.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And through you, Madam Speaker, so as I understand it, they have no way of checking upon themselves and what they're doing and what's happening in the industry and that's why they want to spend $ 50,000?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and thank you for that question, Representative. They certainly are evaluating their investments right now but one of the reasons we're doing this bill is to require that they contract with a third-party private vendor neutral source so that the agency isn't solely self-evaluating. We think that's important in order to ensure that we're holding these investments accountable through a rigorous, neutral and standard source of metrics.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker and thank you to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further? Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the second time. I just want to make it clear that Connecticut Innovations is a quasi-private public entity with millions and millions of dollars of venture capital, private equity to invest in companies, all different companies.

So we're charging them to do this, to hopefully grow Connecticut's economy. We can't sit stagnant and I believe, as much as I believe in proactive bioscience, this is something we wanna develop the metrics.

Fifty thousand dollars, yes it's a lot of money but compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars, I mean hundreds of millions of dollars that venture capitalists invest, this is, I think, a small investment.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further? No questions. Representative Fishbein for the second time.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, I'll be really quick. Just a couple more questions for the proponent. I'm just trying to understand, if I may.

The funding, where does CT Innovations get their funding from?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, through state bonding.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

And who pays for state -- that's our money, correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, yes that's correct but in this bill, we're not increasing the amount of bonding for Connecticut Innovations through this bill. So they confirm that they will be able to use their existing operating funding.

I should also note they do also generate income from the return on their investments and interest on their investments.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have yet to see any generation of income through return on investments, but I just -- because my colleague, Representative Belsito, did ask whose money it was, I just wanted to clear that up that this is anticipated to be solely taxpayer dollars that pays for this study.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

And if that's a question --

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

-- Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144Th):

Through you, Madam Speaker, yes. Technically, however, the funding will be through their existing operating budget which is a combination of state bonds as well as returns on investments.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill before us? Care to remark further on the bill before us, would you care to remark further?

If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House, members take your seats, 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 ORANGE (48TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally, please. And will the Clerk please announce the tally.

Senate Bill 962 in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 132

Those voting Nay 17

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

And the bill passes. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call calendar number 489?

CLERK:

On page 35, calendar 489, substitute Senate Bill number 1026, AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Education.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, it's a pleasure to see you up there tonight. I move acceptance to the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH)

The question is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, it's a pleasure to be able to put this bill before the Chamber tonight. For a number of years now, the State of Connecticut has held to the notion that we need to move our high school graduation requirements to a higher level of rigor, that we need to move from 20 to 25 credits.

And year after year we've pushed back that requirement by a year or two because (a), we weren't sure our districts were ready and (b), we weren't sure we had the right framework.

Madam Speaker, I'm happy to say that in a manner that was bicameral, bipartisan, involved collaboration between the legislative and executive branches, we have before us tonight a bill that does push back those requirements by a couple of years but that clarifies them and that makes it so that for the class of -- that begins the 2019-20 school year in high school, we will have a new -- a new rubric, a framework for high school graduation.

It will involve both greater rigor and greater flexibility. Greater rigor because we'll be increasing from the current 20 credits to 25 credits statewide. There are many districts already using a 25-credit standard but that's not our state standard. That would become the new state standard.

But at the same time, rather than having the incredibly specific requirements that we have today which basically straightjacket a lot of our local boards of education that would like to be more creative, we set up a system whereby there are zones that we have requirements -- like the humanities, seven credits. STEM -- science, technology, engineering, mathematics -- seven credits.

And then we leave latitude to the districts to ensure that students follow the right path. Now we don't give total latitude because we're gonna still have master exams which means students will still need to demonstrate at various grade levels that they have the skills that are required for English, language arts and for mathematics and for science.

But meanwhile, they'll be able to reach those levels in a framework that our local boards of education will be working on, a framework that gives much greater latitude than we give boards of ed today even though there is greater rigor.

Madam Speaker, it seems clear to all of us that this system is one that will be stronger and better than the current one. This measure passed the Education Committee unanimously which is very unusual for something of this type.

After the bill passed through the Education Committee, a number of us were talking and realized that we had inadvertently knocked out some health requirements that on a bipartisan manner, we had really purposely added to the statutes to make sure that our children learned proper health, public health lessons about use of social media, about cardiopulmonary resuscitation, about cancer screening, a whole array of things that we all believe in in this Chamber, that we've all supported and that we would've stricken with the new requirements.

So in that spirit, Madam Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 6430. I ask the Clerk please call and I be given permission to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO number 6430 which will be designated as House Amendment which has been previously designated as Senate Amendment A.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule A, LCO number 6430 offered by Senator Slossberg, Senator Boucher, Representative Fleischmann, Representative Lavielle.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize without objection. Please proceed, sir.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. As I mentioned a minute ago, we were concerned about inadvertently undermining some great public health statutes that we have in place, so Senate Amendment A would restore the required minimum health and safety education high school graduation requirement to one credit as opposed to a half credit in the underlying bill.

And in so doing, we would also restore the sections of statute that ensure that students in high school are learning about CPR, cancer screening and other critical public health matters.

I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Questions before the Chamber on adoption of Senate Amendment A. Now we are on Senate Amendment A and would you care to remark on Senate Amendment A? The good Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good evening.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

And briefly, briefly, I rise in support of the amendment. Many of us, when we had formulated the bill and voted it out of Committee, received quite a bit of feedback from our districts in exactly the terms that the good Chairman described.

There were simply a number of points that could not be communicated that should be specified, we felt, especially considering this input, in terms of health education.

The addition of the amendment does that. We have felt that in most areas we didn't want to be too prescriptive from the state level but this was one where it seemed to apply to everyone and it works. It's concise, it's clear and districts will know what to do for the good of every student.

So I do support the amendment and I urge everyone else to support it.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Madam. We are on Senate Amendment A. Would you care to remark further on Senate A? Representative Linehan on Senate Amendment A, please.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise in support of this amendment. And I've been asked to state briefly why this amendment is so important and I will just say this; at the age of 19, I was saved by CPR. I was actually -- they performed CPR on me for well over 20 minutes and they normally don't do something like that for someone unless you're as young as I was.

And so I have been an advocate for learning CPR every day since then and when I heard that this original bill did take that out, I thought it was important to talk to the Chairs and they did that inadvertently and then put it back in this amendment.

I can't tell you how important it is to people like me and people all around the world who have been saved by CPR. If it weren't for someone learning CPR, I wouldn't be here today.

So I think it's extremely important for our students to learn that because you never know when you're able to save a life.

So I rise in support of this and I urge the Chamber to do so as well. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Madam. Will you care to remark further on Senate Amendment A? If not let me try your minds. All those in favor -- Representative Ferraro on Senate A?

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and it sounds like a good amendment and I just have one question for the proponent of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. My question is, the CPR portion of this amendment that has been added back in, just so I understand where I am in the underlying bill, is this the part where in the underlying bill, the life credits were reduced from three-and-a-half to one, I believe it was? And -- no, it was from three-and-a-half to one, yes.

Is this the portion of the bill that was restored?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Madam.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

I believe, in answer to my good colleague, this is the portion of the bill where in the measure that was in file copy, it talked about one-half credit in health class and in this version, it talks about a full credit.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Great. So then for clarity then, the schools generally had a one-credit health, in health, which included CPR training and then it was taken out of the bill and now it's being put in by the amendment.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I think that was a very succinct and accurate description.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the good gentleman for his answers.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on Senate A? Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was just conferring with the good Ranking Member of Education about this bill, trying to understand where the mandate to provide CPR training is and if the good proponent could point that out.

In listening to the debate, it sounds like there's a new mandate to have CPR trained in our schools and I can't seem to locate it and I'd like a little help by the proponent to point out where that is in the bill or in the underlying amendment.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you, to my good colleague, there are no new mandates in Senate Amendment A. Nor are there new mandates in the bill, per se, beyond the expansion of overall high school graduation requirements.

Rather, what was just discussed, the requirement that high school students learn CPR or that high school students learn about cancer screening or about safety on social media, those already exist in statute today.

The underlying bill would have completely wiped out that entire section of statute which all of our school systems are used to doing. There is a brief effective curriculum regarding CPR, regarding social media awareness, regarding these other areas that is being used in our high schools today.

We inadvertently struck that with the underlying bill, and Senate Amendment A, by restoring a full credit for health and wellness basically allows that section of statute to once again be effective.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I really appreciate that very detailed response. The good Ranking Member, Representative Lavielle, was trying to quickly point out some of those things in between the conversation and it was difficult for me to pick it up so quickly.

I'm really glad to hear that because any new mandates on our municipalities, especially in education, is very worrisome to me and small towns across Connecticut and I'm glad to hear that clarification for the record.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you care to remark further on Senate Amendment A? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor of Senate Amendment Schedule A, please signify by saying Aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

All those opposed nay? The ayes have it. (Gavel) The amendment is adapted. Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended?

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I wanted to follow up on a couple of remarks that the good Chairman of Education has already made and to also ask him a couple of questions for clarification.

I will summarize that this has been very long in gestation. These are -- these are high school requirements that there has been an effort to put some in place with some more rigor since the year 2010.

And there was also since then, in addition to some financial concerns, there was a concern for aligning those requirements with the standards for graduation that we currently have in place which are quite rigorous.

And so there are -- there are a couple of things that I would mention here; one that it does increase the number of requirements needed to graduate from 20 to 25. So an increased rigor there.

And also, then, and something that I find appropriate, while the state has set very -- very rigorous standards, it has, the bill leaves it largely, with some exceptions, up to the districts to determine exactly how those standards will be reached within limits.

And so I did want to ask the good Representative from West Hartford if he could elaborate for us a bit on the thinking behind the way that the requirements such as they are, are enumerated in the bill and what latitude this does and does not leave to districts to determine how students will choose their courses.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you to the good Ranking Member.

As many in the Chamber may recall, there was an extremely effective task force on high school graduation requirements that came together a few years ago to recommend a new framework for high school graduation.

Their recommendations were first presented to us last year and were a bit too vague for us to figure out how to draft in time to win passage during the short session so we prevailed upon the leaders of that task force and its members. It was led by the Commissioner of Education and the head of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and included folks from the boards of education, from the public schools, from a variety of stakeholders.

We asked them to come together and give us something that we can understand a little better and know how to draft and that's what they did. And essentially, they said 25 credits is the right level of rigor, that's the level that all of the states that are leading in the national measures, the national assessments of educational progress, that's what they require.

There's also greater flexibility that's being used in other states and we should take that approach. So rather than being very specific about what students shall and shall not do in math, let's have seven credits required in science, technology, engineering and math so that districts that wish to keep to the current system can have requirements relating to Algebra I, Algebra II, Trigonometry, Calculus.

But districts that want to move in another direction could include requirements for coding. Or other types of computer work. Or could offer greater latitude. The same is true in the area of history and social studies and English. We used to have some specific requirements and now we say seven credits in the humanities. We leave it to districts to determine how those shall be distributed.

So that's the, that's sort of the area of greater flexibility but when it comes to greater rigor, number one we're saying 20 credits is not sufficient in the 21st century, we want 25. And second, we're saying we expect you to have all of your students take master exams as they are currently doing and to perform well in those master exams. So you better have various math and English requirements in place that are sufficient for students to reach master levels. And similarly in science, you better cover the key topics that will be covered in the science master exam that the state offers.

Last but not least, just a couple years ago, we put in place a new accountability index for all districts and schools. That accountability index, unlike the old performance index, is not just about test scores. The State Department of Education factored in an array of other measures on the accountability index that included indications that students had good physical well-being and good physical education. That students were learning about things like the arts, music and the visual arts and theater.

There's a long list of items that are included in the accountability index which has led districts to be more holistic in their approach to education.

So when you take those three factors together, the accountability index that holds all districts and schools accountable, the master exams that hold all of us accountable for each student's academic growth and performance and the new 25 credit requirement that's in this bill, what you've got is greater rigor with greater flexibility, something that better matches the needs of the 21st century.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker and I thank the good gentleman for his answer. Is there any risk under a system such as this that students in high school might have too much flexibility that would somehow allow them to avoid some material that might be necessary for their advancement?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, no I don't believe so. As I mentioned a moment ago, students must take the master exams that we put in place today and districts that are serious about education, which means most of the districts we represent, will be ensuring that students reach the levels that they're supposed to before they're given a high school diploma.

So last but not least, our districts can fill in the blanks. So if they think that the humanities requirements are too vague, they can specify that specific English classes and social studies classes are taken. The same with STEM, they can specify certain mathematics classes.

So when you add the local discretion to fill in this matrix to the accountability requirements we already have through master exams, we will have the same level of accountability that we have today and probably greater rigor.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and if I understand correctly, districts certainly have the latitude to be more prescriptive than the state is in this particular bill. Is that correct?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Since this has been in gestation for seven years, I -- we are, and we have always -- each year when we've convened in the Education Committee since then, we have talked about making progress on this and finally passing a piece of legislation.

This bill would have these requirements take effect, I believe, in two years from now but we have -- with this in place, would we have no longer any need to pass any further legislation to implement this?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I believe that is fully correct. It's my hope that we may avoid this subject area for many years to come.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you but if -- were we defined that there were -- there was a need for a little revision, we also have the latitude to do that so I ask the question for the record.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, absolutely. This legislature shall not bind the hands of future legislators and if we find that there are any trends that emerge under this new framework that we don't like, we could come back and amend so as to halt those trends.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And there is -- well, no I won't ask that. Okay, I have no further questions but just a couple of remarks.

The original plunge that we took into this subject -- I say we, I wasn't here, it was in the short session of 2010, right before I was elected.

And that was as part of a race to the top grant where the state had to implement some changes in high school graduation requirements. And then did not win the grant which was what led to delays because we didn't have the money to implement.

And then as I said, later on there were more postponements because we needed the requirements to be in sync with our standards.

This, I think that this legislation does that. I am very much in accord with the idea of not having the state be over the prescriptive. And I think that we have certainly given an assignment to all of our districts which have made a fair amount of progress towards this vaguely general goal and now we'll have much more clear guidelines to get there.

They have needed these guidelines. School districts have been waiting for us all this time. I think it's a good thing that we've made this move, that we convened a task force that worked hard -- of educators, which we are not, for the most part. And we had some very clear input.

So I think that we should move ahead with this and we should monitor it and we should see how it works. But I think it's a step in the right direction and I hope to see not only improved graduation rates but an improved quality of the education received by all our graduates as a result.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Representative Lavielle. Will you care to remark further? Representative Ferraro, 117th, you have the floor.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, I rise for a couple of questions for the proponent of the bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, sir. Please proceed, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Yes, thank you. To the proponent of the bill, I have a couple questions regarding the changes in the requirements.

I'd just like to go through a couple of them. The language requirement that went from two credits to one credit -- I guess it would be fair to say that high school students would be required to take one year of language instead of two?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, you know, I'm looking at a version of the bill that says at least two credits -- oh, I take it back. My good colleague is right, there's one credit of world language that's required under this rubric but that's high school.

We have another section of statutes that talks about middle school and world language and if memory serves, there is at least one credit that students must get in middle school as well so by the time a student graduates high school, they will have had at least two credits, one in middle school and one in high school. But under the measure before us, there's just a single credit required during the high school years.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you I appreciate the answer from the good Representative because as many of us know that once we get to the university level, the requirements for language are as such that I think that high school students, given that they have one year in middle school and one year in high school, I think they're gonna need every bit of it once they get to high school.

That was one of my problems when I got to the university, was finding the right language that I could manage to get through two years of college level foreign language.

The other one I have a question regarding the mastery-based diploma assessment and I would like the Representative to explain the -- and/or compare the new mastery-based diploma assessment to the former senior demonstration project and how that difference would benefit high school students.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I think my good colleague is referring to a name change that doesn't change the approach. So whether you call it a subject matter content mastery approach or a senior demonstration project, it's the same thing. It's an educational experience that's been approved by the local Board of Education that meets requirements that, you know, satisfies levels of rigor that show that the student has achieved mastery in one of the nine areas laid out in the bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker and I do appreciate that because I couldn't really figure out what the difference was and now that I know it's exactly the same thing and it's just a matter of changing the name, I understand.

Getting into the portion of the bill that speaks about removing the year-end exams -- are they being permanently removed? I'm just -- I might be dating myself but I sort of remember these exams being called achievement exams at the end of the year and are they being replaced with the science and engineering exams or mathematical exams that the good Representative spoke about earlier?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank my colleague for his question. So the year-end exams that are referred to and deleted in the bill don't currently exist.

And if we were to leave them in place, we would be looking at a bill with a massive fiscal note because the state would have to develop all those year-end tests and then our local boards of education would have to administer them. So that's the reason for that deletion.

The exams I was referring to earlier are mastery exams. Those do currently exist. We have mastery exams in English language arts, mastery exams in mathematics and a mastery exam in science that's getting updated to reflect the next generation standards.

Since those exist, they will ensure that students reach certain levels of attainment but will not create a fiscal note for the state or for our local boards of ed because they're already in place.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the good gentleman for that answer.

So these, just for clarification, these exams existed at one time but have gone away for more modern innovation with regards to the mastery exams and they're just sort of hanging around as remnants in our statutes.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, they were remnants hanging around in our statutes kind of like useless appendix but the reason that they were not useful was while they were put in place in statute in 2010, the State Department of Education never actually developed them.

So they existed as an ideal but not as anything that was ever created, whereas the mastery exams, the State of Connecticut developed and put in place in the last few years aligned with the core curriculum and aligned with what we expect to happen under this new high school graduation requirement framework.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the gentleman for his complete answer, it made it very understandable. I would like to just quickly touch upon the life skill credits that have been reduced from three-and-a-half to one. What sort of things will be eliminated from high school curriculum by cutting out two-and-a-half credits of life skills?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, you know I can't really answer that question with great specificity unlike the last one because that relates to district by district standards for what they might have put in place.

But I would point out that what my good colleague is comparing is the old standards that we passed in 2010 that were never put in place with new standards that we're seeking to put in place a couple years from now.

So I don't think there are many districts that actually went to the level of life skills credits that Representative Ferraro described because those old requirements were never actually put in place for the district.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

And thank you, Madam Speaker, I thank the good gentleman for his answer.

My last question has to do with increasing the number of credits from 20 credits to 25 credits which would certainly indicate making the high school curriculum more stringent.

My question is, if you're going to increase the number of credits by 20 percent, where are the high school students going to find the time to take the additional classes to make up for that 20 percent increase in credit requirement.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, because this assembly in 2010 said 25 credits was gonna be the new standard, districts started moving in that direction. And over the course of the last seven years, the vast preponderance of districts in Connecticut have actually moved to 25 credits.

So I can think of very few districts and I can name no districts for whom that number will be a change. The most traumatic shift will be the greater flexibility that we'll be giving to our local boards of education. The greater discretions to determine how those credits are allocated.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the good gentleman for all his answers. He clarified quite a bit and I just have a short comment.

Our high schools need to be more competitive with the high schools around the country and from other countries as well. Our world is moving into a more technical and technological area and I think our students need to be prepared and from the sound of it, it seems to be moving the high schools more in the direction of math and science and while though not neglecting the other subjects as well but I do think that this is an important movement, it's a good step forward and I thank the gentleman and I thank him for bringing the bill forward.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Ferguson of the 138th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FERGUSON (138TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, just a few questions to the proponent of the bill, please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. FERGUSON (18TH):

In regards to the -- thank you very much, Madam Speaker. In regards to the mastery-based diploma assessment, I was under the impression after listening to the Commissioner during the public hearing a few months ago that the mastery-based diploma assessment was actually different than the senior demonstration project in that it gave a little more flexibility to a school district.

The senior demonstration project would have to occur during the senior year of high school by a student, have direct oversight by staff, probably take place within the building or during school time, whereas the assessment, mastery-based diploma assessment, can involve internships, more hands-on learning and can occur throughout a student's high school career.

Which districts, you know, especially larger districts generally like that idea because it's a little more flexible for them.

Would you just explain, the good proponent of the bill, if I'm correct in my assessment of this?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, yes, I do think that you've made some excellent points. So while the spirit of the two requirements is similar, you're right that the mastery requirement need not happen during senior year, a junior could do it or maybe even a sophomore who was ambitious enough.

I believe my good colleague is also correct in asserting that some of these requirements could now be satisfied outside of school as opposed to just in the school environment. So I -- his comments are well taken and I agree with them.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Ferguson.

REP. FERGUSON (138TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker and thank you to the good Chairman of the Education Committee.

I'd just make a quick comment in which -- so this bill goes from a precise list of courses to a more broader list of courses that are grouped by academic domain which is probably a good thing for districts, it provides a little more flexibility, especially for larger and growing districts.

I would add that although I don't think this is necessarily a perfect bill, it's necessary to pass and I do believe it's important for us to pass it this evening mainly because it effects the incoming freshman class next fall and so passing this bill today delays the implementation of these credits two more years, provides districts a little more time to prepare for this and appears that we're definitely now increasing the credits to 25 credits. I know there had been conversation to possibly scale that back because that was passed six or seven years ago now.

And ultimately, although originally I do believe the proposed -- the current law which this basically makes a little better, I do believe the current the current law was basically an unfunded mandate, although this bill before us lessens some of the burden on school districts by providing more flexibility for the courses that they can offer students to take and I think is excellent for larger and growing school districts.

And I just thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to express my thoughts on this and I urge -- and I also thank the Chairman of the Education Committee for his answers and for clarification and I urge my colleagues to support this. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark? Representative McCarty.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Just very quickly a comment. I believe that this legislation in front of us will offer much more flexibility and it will increase personalized learning for our students. And so I rise in support of the bill but I have a very quick question to the Chairman, if I may, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

You may, please proceed.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you. Thank you. To the Chairman, I'm wondering, the world language credits were reduced from the two to one credit and would you know if you chose an optional world language credit, whether that could be applied toward the humanities credit?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

And through you, Madam Speaker, I -- it's an interesting question. I don't believe so because world language is specified outside of the humanities bucket. So I think that it's a credit that is required and that is separate from the credits in the humanities as I read the bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative McCarty.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question really dealt with the second credit in world language, whether if an individual chose we're going to become a world language major and if they chose an optional world language credit, perhaps it would be two credits in world language but I wondered if that would also quality for a humanities credit.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I'm not sure. I'm looking at the bill and there's clarity on some of the things that must be in the nine credits of humanities. World language isn't listed there but I think that guidance from the Commissioner of Education will clarify whether a district could have a second credit in world language included in the humanities bucket.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative McCarty.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I appreciate the answer to my questions. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam, will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have a few words to say about this bill. I like this bill very much. I wish it was a little quicker. Right now I just wanna make one statement. The United States is ranked 35th in the world in education. Thirty-fifth. We're not number one, we're not number ten, we're not number two, we're 35th.

I like this bill, I think that we should be doing more and this is a start. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Care to remark further on the bill as amended. If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house. Members take your seats, 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 PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? So the machine will be locked. Clerk will take a tally. And the Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Bill 1026 as amended by Senate “A” in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 148

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

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

Mr. Clerk, I believe 537.

CLERK:

On page 41, calendar 537, substitute Senate Bill number 912, AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE STAFF QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENT FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Education.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on acceptance and passage. Explain the bill, please, sir.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So this, like the measure before us, is an area of law where -- the measure we previously considered, I should say -- it's an area where we've delayed and with some great help from people in our Chamber who have expertise in early childhood and people outside the Chamber with thoughts and expertise in early childhood, we've managed to move from just a process of delay to a process of resolution.

The measure before us does push out by one year the onset of new early childhood educator requirements from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018.

It also creates additional ways for school readiness staff to meet the requirements to enter the field; one by holding a bachelor's degree with a concentration in early childhood education from a regionally accredited institution. So Columbia University would work as well as UConn.

Second, by holding an associate's degree with a concentration in early childhood from a regionally accredited institution and a program approved in Connecticut.

And third by submitting a degree for review by the state to determine it satisfies requirements and four being grandfathered in under our statute as it's currently drafted.

Mr. Speaker, this is the version that passed through the Committee. My good Vice Chair, Representative Sanchez and our Deputy Speaker, Representative Cook worked hard with advocates and with people in both chambers to improve the bill that passed out of Committee.

And Mr. Speaker, in that spirit, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 6846 previously designated Senate “A”. I ask that the amendment be called and I be given permission to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Clerk is in possession of LCO 6846, previously designated as Senate Amendment Schedule “A”. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule “A”, LCO number 6846.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The gentleman has asked to leave the Chamber to summarize without objection, Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I mentioned, Senate Amendment “A” modifies and improves the underlying bill in the following ways -- one, it specifies that a qualifying bachelor's degree have a concentration in early childhood education rather than in early childhood education or a similar discipline.

Second, it defines what a concentration in early childhood education shall mean in some very clear terms.

Third, it makes some minor changes to the current staff requirements.

Fourth, it changes the first phase of staff requirements for staff that submits a degree for review by the Office of Early Childhood to determine if it satisfies state requirements.

And six, it makes conforming changes that align with those I just outlined. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on adoption, will you remark further on Senate “A”? Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise in very strong support of this amendment and the bill. We've had sort of a hard time for a long time finding enough good people to teach early childhood education and also people who had the right qualifications.

So enough of them and the right ones. And this actually addresses both of those issues. It expands the field of institutions and programs that can offer accreditation and it also makes the content of that accreditation more precise and means that the people we have offering early childhood education will be more qualified.

So I think this is a necessary bill, an important bill and I believe everyone ought to support it, as do I.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Will you remark further on Senate Amendment Schedule “A”? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

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

Will you remark on the bill as amended? Will you remark on the bill as amended? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the house, members take your seats, 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 ORANGE (48TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 912 as amended by Senate “A” in concurrence with the Senate:

Total Number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 133

Those voting Nay 15

Those absent and not voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

Will the Clerk please call calendar number 352?

CLERK:

On page 22, calendar 352, Substitute House Bill number 7276, AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATION MANDATE RELIEF. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Education.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann, good evening.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Good evening, Madam Speaker, a pleasure to see you back. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Question before the Chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, it's a pleasure to bring this bill out on the floor of the House tonight. Mandate relief is something that everyone talks about but when it comes down to what to do, there's often a challenge in finding which mandates can be relieved without creating unexpected challenges.

I'm happy to say that a number of education stakeholders and among them and really first and foremost among them, the Ranking Member of the Education Committee, Representative Lavielle, put in the time necessary to put the meat onto the bones of mandate relief and make sure that the bill that we move this year was substantive and truly helpful for the district.

So the measure that's now before us would allow rather than require our local boards of education to conform to a unified regional calendar. It would expand the type of alternative education available to expelled students that boards offer.

It would reduce the number of board employees who have to receive training in the subject of restraint and seclusion. It would shorten the look back period for background checks of employees from ad infinitum which is what we inadvertently passed last year to 20 years.

And it would also require the State Department of Education to conduct a survey of digital reporting systems used by school districts so that we can see if there is a standard out there that we could adopt more broadly down the road.

Mr. Speaker, this is an excellent bill that can be made even a bit better. In that spirit, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 7761. I ask the Clerk to please call and I be given permission to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO number 7761 which will be designated as House Amendment Schedule “A”.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule “A”, LCO number 7761, offered by Representative Fleischmann, Representative Lavielle et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

So, Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize, is there objection? Is there objection? Seeing none, Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So as I just indicated, the amendment before us makes the bill better by giving greater clarity to who shall be trained in restraining seclusion and who is not mandatory and essentially narrows the group of individuals who require this training to members of the Crisis Intervention Team for each school in the district identified pursuant to the section subdivision two of the subsection.

So in short, while the underlying bill sought to narrow who received this training, it didn't really do so in a very clear and effective manner. This amendment basically says if you're on the Crisis Intervention Team, you must have this training. If you're not, but have direct contact with students, you may have this training.

It's a great lessening of the mandate on local districts that maintains the safety of school children by ensuring that those who really need the training get it.

Representative Lavielle worked very hard on this to make sure that the language was clear, specific and worked for all parties involved. I thank her for her work on it and I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule “A”. Will you care to remark, House Amendment “A”, Representative Lavielle. You have the floor, madam.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Just briefly on the amendment, I stand in very strong support and I thank the good Chair of the Education Committee for his collaboration and support on making this section of the bill better, making the mandate relief contained in it greater and certainly making the service to students better.

So I urge everyone to support the amendment. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam, will you care to remark further? Representative Kokoruda.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Thank you, Madam Chairman. Through you, Madam -- or Madam Speaker, rather, excuse me. I have a question for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Thank you. In the amendment, I understand about the Crisis Team but my question is, how often would this training be required of each member of the Crisis Team?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, I would refer my good colleague to line 14 of the amendment where it says, “Such training shall be provided during the school year commencing July 1st, 2017 and each school year thereafter.

So it begins July 1st of 2017 which means next fall, in reality for the school calendar and then proceeds annually thereafter.

Through you, Madam Chair -- Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Kokoruda.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, you know I think this is a good amendment, I support it. I would like to have seen the training not done annually if not needed. I think one of the things we heard about mandate relief in professional development especially is that one of the issues -- and this mandate does address it -- is who has to be trained or have this professional development or whatever and how often.

And I think this does address the who. I don't think it addresses the how often but I will support the mandate, I think it's a step in the right direction.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you care to remark further on House Amendment Schedule “A”? Will you care to remark further on House Amendment Schedule “A”? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Those opposed nay. The ayes have it, the amendment is adopted. (Gavel)

Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Dubitsky of the 47th, you have the floor sir.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, several months ago I met with a number of representatives from the Norwich Public Schools trying to figure out various ways to reduce the mandates that are imposed on the schools by state law and this bill incorporates a couple of the suggestions that we came up with at that meeting and I thank the Chairman Fleischmann and Ranking Member Lavielle for working on this and incorporating these suggestions.

I think these will go at least part of the way to reducing some of the mandates that are on the schools and giving them a little bit of relief. So I encourage everybody to support it.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Just a couple of remarks, no questions. I'm so very pleased to see this bill going forward. Ever since I've been in the legislature, I've had superintendents, boards of ed, parents, teachers -- asking for mandate relief in the schools.

As the good Chair of Education said, it's often been difficult to isolate and identify the exact mandates for which we could provide relief. We've done that here in a number of area. I, clearly reflecting that not every school district needs to do the same thing in every area. So it addresses the question of one-size fits all mandates.

It also addresses the question of cost savings, time savings and resource savings and particularly in a context where all of our towns and school districts are facing a great deal of budget uncertainty.

I really can't think of a single school district in the state that will not benefit from this bill and I hope that it will be helpful to every Representative in this Chamber and his or her constituents, teachers and students included.

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and I do urge everyone in the Chamber to support the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Representative Lavielle. Would you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Care to remark further on the bill as amended? If not, staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Members take your seats, 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 ORANGE (48TH):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 7276 as amended by House “A”:

Total Number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 126

Those voting Nay 23

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The bill as amended passes. (Gavel) Will the House please stand at ease while our IT people reset our voting machines.