THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 11: 50 o'clock a. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

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, where Father Terry Kristofak will lead us in prayer.

GUEST CHAPLAIN FATHER TERRY KRISTOFAK:

Let us pray. All loving and eternal God, guide the members of this governing body, for you have revealed your goodness to all nations. May there be less violence and more peace. May we be attentive to the needs of our people, no matter the creed or race or origin. For we need work for the unemployed, food for the hungry and appropriate health care for those who are sick.

In this season of memorial time, let us always remember our men and women serving our country - home and overseas. We ask you, loving God, to keep them safe and we give You thanks for this day, that Your word will bring hope to an often divided world. For Your goodness brings us blessings and liberty for all, and we ask this now and forever. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

And the Father was joined by other folks from the Holy Family Retreat Center in West Hartford. I thank you all very much for coming today. Would Representative Cheeseman of the 37th District please come to the dais and lead us in the pledge of allegiance.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

(All)I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk. Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Scanlon of the 98th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I actually am gonna do a quick twofer, if you don't mind.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Number one, I would like to introduce the gentlemen who are behind you today, starting with Seminarian Jaime Maldonado, Father Terry from the Holy Family Retreat Center, and last but not least, Father Stephen Sledesky, who is the Parish Priest in Gilford and will have the honor of marrying me and my wife to be on October 7th. So please join me in welcoming them to the Chamber this morning. (Applause)

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

I should have said that a different way. I have the honor of him marrying us. He doesn't have the honor of marrying me.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I think he granted you forgiveness, Representative Scanlon. (Laughter)

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

And then we also have a very special visitor today who is in the Well of the House, who is known to many of you here. I had the honor of succeeding her after a 20-year career as a State Representative for the 90th District. She's been a mentor to me, a friend, and so much more, and I ask you to join me in giving a huge welcome back to Representative Pat Widlitz. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Welcome back to the Chamber, former Representative Widlitz. And I see the other part of the dynamic duo, Mary Finnegan is there also, who was a longtime finance clerk. We thank you for visiting us, and if you'd like to talk about the finance package at all, I'll be back in my office later. No? No. I didn't think so. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Candelora of the 86th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

I'm up for a point of introduction.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also want to stand to welcome Representative Pat Widlitz back into the Chamber, and also our former administrator of finance, Mary Finnegan. Pat was a great mentor to me, both on the Finance Committee and in Gilford when I had to -- when I was redistricted and had to take over that portion of the town. We miss both of your wisdom and intellect in this Chamber and we continue to wish you well in your retirement. Thank you. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Hennessy of the 127th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the purpose of an introduction. As Chair of the Veterans Committee, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce to the Chamber the principal leaders for the South Park Inn emergency shelter for men, women and children in the Hartford area, and Homes for the Brave transitional housing including the first and only home exclusively for female veterans in Connecticut. So from the South Park Inn we have Brian Baker, who has been here several times before, assistant director, and we have Rich Linnon, who is a volunteer and the commander of the First American Legion, which is in this district. We also are joined for the first time this year, with Homes for the Brave, Vincent Santilli is the CEO, and Kathy Beardsworth is the director of communication and outreach for the veterans. I would just like to say that the need is still there. We are -- we have heard that we have ended chronic homelessness. But the fact of the matter is that veterans still are in crisis. We have veterans leaving prison and seeking to get their lives together, and these organizations are there for them. In the past year, South Park Inn has helped transition over 180 homeless veterans and Homes for the Brave transitioned, 180? Over 180 veterans. They do good work for the people that deserve it and I would like the House to all rise and give them our traditional warm welcome. (Applause) Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Zupkus of the 89th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

Thank you. I rise for the point of introduction.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

Thank you. I would like for you all to help me welcome my friends from Bethany Community School. Jack Keeley [phonetic] and his mom, Laura, bring up the class every year with their teachers and volunteers, and we're so grateful that you could come up and join us and see how the process works. So welcome everybody! (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Rojas of the 9th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For an introduction.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Here today with me we have a special guest, Representative John Carson from the 46th District in the great State of Georgia. He's usually hanging out on the other side with the Republicans, but today he's over here with me and we're trying to get him on our side, where he serves as Vice Chair of Appropriations. So he's here to give us some advice. And he did ask that nobody make any jokes about the Super Bowl with Atlanta and New England. We all know what happened there, so. I'd ask the Chamber to please give him a warm welcome. He is a former resident of Norwalk, Connecticut as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I forget. What was the matchup in the Super Bowel, Representative Rojas? (Laughter) Thank you very much for visiting our Chamber and welcome back to Connecticut. Representative Davis of the 57th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Almost good afternoon.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Don't remind me.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have the pleasure here today. I stand for the purposes of an announcement.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you. Or an introduction as well. we have the great pleasure here today to have the esteemed first selectman of the Town of East Windsor, Bob Maynard, and he is joined by selectman Dale Nelson and selectman Steve Deerborn, here advocating on behalf of the Town of East Windsor on their request for an expansion of casino gaming here in the State of Connecticut and to be located in the Town of East Windsor. So anybody who has any great questions, please feel free to come see them. They are more than happy to answer any concerns that you have about that facility. And we look forward to a spirited debate on that topic probably shortly. So I want to ask the Chamber for their warm welcome of the three selectmen here today. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much for your service to the local government and thank you for coming up today. Representative Arce of the 4th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ARCE (4th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the purpose of an announcement?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. ARCE (4th):

Mr. Speaker, for the first time today, we will have Hartford Day at 5: 00 o'clock downstairs. So I'm asking everyone to come join us for some good Puerto Rican food. All right? Yes, Puerto Rican food. All right. So you're more than welcome to come. So please join us at 5: 00 o'clock downstairs. Also, Mr. Speaker, if I may? I would also like to say thank you to the South Park Inn which is located in my district and thanks for the hard work that you guys do with our veterans. And hopefully Saturday I will see you in the cleanup day. And please don't forget to come down and donate to this shelter for the veterans. They do a great job in the district. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Are there any other announcements or introductions?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The House will return to the Call of the Calendar. Would the Clerk please call Calendar 155?

CLERK:

State of Connecticut House of Representatives Calendar, Wednesday, May 31st, 2017. On page 45, Calendar 155, substitute House Bill 7052 - AN ACT PREVENTING PRESCRIPTION OPIOID DIVERSION AND ABUSE; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. I also recognize Chairman Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good morning.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. You have the floor, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, we have before us what I think is an important piece of legislation. It is the latest effort for us to combat the opioid epidemic, which we all know is a scourge that affects every town and city, families of every socioeconomic background. I daresay we all know someone who has been affected by opioids and perhaps has even died from it. This bill reflects the hard work of both the General Law and the Public Health Committees, significant contributions by the administration, as well as many other people. Most importantly, I would say with regard to all the legislators who have been involved with the many working groups, this has been truly a bipartisan effort.

This is the kind of thing that really knows no politics. I would say this has been a nonpartisan effort because we've all really been seriously involved in trying to deal with this. It builds on some very importation legislation we've done over the past couple of years. Every year we try to make progress towards ending the crisis that we all feel across our land. It seeks to address the epidemic on several fronts, including such important things as destruction of unused medication, of much more serious communication and education about the risks and signs of opioid addiction. It has to also do with making people aware of what their choices are in many different ways. It asks us to study the possibility of a marketing and communications campaign. It asks us to develop a real-time online clearing house for unfilled recovery beds and other recovery treatment programs. It allows for standing orders, which we'll get into shortly.

It requires insurance coverage for those who need to go through the process of detoxification. It also reduces the number of days that can be prescribed for a minor from seven days to five days. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 8124. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 8124, which will be designated as House Amendment Schedule "A"?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 8124, offered by Representative Steinberg, Representative Ritter, Senator Somers, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment. Is there objection to summarization? Seeing none. Representative, please summarize.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I said previously, this reflects the hard work of a lot of different people, advocacy, practitioners, educators, emergency response personnel, experts across a variety of fields. And again I want to reiterate how important it has been for both sides of the aisle to have been working on this. This amendment reflects the collaboration and also effectively an amalgamation of more than one bill that came before either the General Law or the Public Health Committees this session. There have been any number of working groups that have informed this process, and I think it reflects real progress in terms of what we have already tried to do with regard to the opioid epidemic and what we hope to do in the future.

Again, just to reiterate, this has a lot to do with sharing of information between agencies, obviously compliant with HIPAA laws. It facilitates the destruction of unused medication in a variety of settings from the home to the facility. It creates the opportunity for a patient to sign a non-opioid form such that they would not be given opioids unless extreme emergency conditions require it, but I'm sure we'll get into that shortly.

It also requires other types of provider communication on the risks and of the signs of opioid addiction that practitioners can use. We've talked about a one-page fact sheet for dissemination to patients so they know what their risks are. And we've also talked about some other contexts in which it will be easier for individuals to seek either detoxification or other recovery treatment programs. I'll leave it at that. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further on amendement? Will you remark further on the amendment? Dr. Srinivasan, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a good bill. It's a bipartisan bill. It ought to pass. Having said that, I would like to discuss this bill with my good Chair, and I'm sure members of both sides of the aisle will have some questions for clarification purposes. Knowing very well and echoing the sentiment that was so well expressed by our good Chair, unfortunately we continue to be in an opioid crisis. What I call as an "opioid curse. "

The only one good thing about this opioid is it does not discriminate. And we have seen that. We have seen this curse. We have seen the crisis in towns, in our cities, in rural towns, in urban towns. It does not matter whether one if affluent or non-affluent. And unfortunately, as the good Chair said, most of us, our lives have been touched directly or indirectly by the impact of this opioid crisis. And systematically in every session, we have tried to do this in a logical way, stepwise fashion, to make sure that we do it, yes, in steps, but we do it the right way. So through you, Mr. Speaker, for clarification purposes to the good Chairman of Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg, please prepare yourself. Please proceed, Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. We see that the agencies, the commissioner is now allowed to share information with the other agencies. Through you, Mr. Speaker. What kind of information would be shared and what kind of controls do we have that this information is shared appropriately?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That's indeed an excellent question. I'm wondering if the good Representative who asked the question would be willing for me to yield to my colleagues, Representative D'Agostino, who has had direct experience in the General Law Committee with this particular section?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Representative Srinivasan has the floor and he cannot -- the person who asked the question cannot yield to any other member. So perhaps if Representative Srinivasan were to ask to be directed -- direct his question to a different member, for the appropriate process.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative O'Neill. Your point is well taken. We were going to proceed in that fashion. Representative Srinivasan, could you redirect your question please to the person that, if you'd like.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I definitely will do that.

Through you, Mr. --

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed to Representative D'Agostino.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to Representative D'Agostino, with your kind permission. My question is that when this information is shared by the commissioner to the various agencies. I get that it is important to share that information. But what kind of guidelines do we have? What kind of oversight do we have in this sharing of information?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So the section that the doctor is referring to relates to the Prescription Monitor Program that the state established in 2013. The state has a Prescription Monitoring Program for Schedule II to Schedule V substances that is maintained by the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection. And all prescribers and pharmacists have to report prescribing information for those types of controlled substances, and have been doing so for the past four years. There's very strict requirements on the confidential area of that data because it is patient specific. The reason the PMP program exists is so that prescribers in particular can be aware if a patient is receiving a prescription for a scheduled controlled substance from another provider. So that's maintained in confidentiality in accordance with all state and federal confidentiality requirements under federal law, and particularly under HIPAA.

What this section does is it allows the DCP commissioner to share specific information in the PMP program with the head of another state agency to study very specific things, disease prevention, control related to opioid abuse, study of morbidity and mortality caused by overdose of controlled substances. Any time the commissioner shares that data, pursuant to this section, it has to be pursuant to a written agreement with the agency head. That agreement has to set forth what's in this statute that it is shared for those specific purposes.

And specifically, the data must be maintained confidential in accordance with all the other statutory schemes that we have, and of course federal law. So for example, if HIPAA would prevent the sharing of patient-specific information for a general study, you would not be able to share patient-specific information. And I would imagine that given the limited purpose for the sharing here, the overall studying of overdose, that what we're talking about sharing for the most part is overall numbers with respect to prescriptions rather than patient-specific data.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In this sharing of information, will it be commissioner to the head of an agency or could it be anyone that the head of the agency, the commissioner designates?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The provision is very specific. It is commissioner only to the head of the agency. There is no provision here for designation to other members of staff. It's a specific agreement between the two agency heads.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Since the information is shared between the commissioner and the agency head, but for work to be done obviously others will have to be looking at that data to -- from that data to figure out what is the mortality, what is the morbidity. So others will definitely be involved in looking at the data and examining the details of the data. Will that be allowed through this piece of legislation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The point is well taken. Certainly, the appropriate staff members, once the data is transmitted, are allowed to review and study the information. The point I was trying to make is that there's no way that someone other than a commissioner could agree to transmit the data. That has to be at the highest level. Once it is transmitted, of course the appropriate agency head and staff would be able to use that data to accomplish the purposes of the section in terms of study.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. All of the necessary privacy and confidentiality will be maintained regardless of whether it is a state agency head or the staff?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Absolutely.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if you can continue with the rest of the amendment so that we can discuss the various other aspects of the amendement?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In lines 81 --

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan, just for a Point of Order, who do you wish to direct this question to?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

To the Chair of Public Health, Representative Steinberg.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Lines 81-94 describe in detail how the drugs, the opioids and other -- the opioid-related drugs can be disposed of. Through you, Mr. Speaker. It talks about a registered nurse. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is this registered nurse, does it have to be an RN or could it be an LPN, or who is allowed to make sure that these medications are disposed of appropriately?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My understanding is this is as designated by the Department of Public Health. It may refer to a registered nurse. I could not go further than that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I see in lines 91-94 that nothing in this legislation prevents these medications being dropped off in a drug box. Through you, Mr. Speaker. In a drug drop box. Can that still be done?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. For the medications to be dropped off in the drug box, would there be a need for permission from family members or any other person that is involved with this patient?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. My understanding is that there's always consultation with the families before it's disposed of. One of the important aspects to make sure that a trained medical professional is involved with this conversation is that the person involved can explain to the family the importance of disposing of unused medication.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Maybe the good Chair can explain to us lines 106-108, where a controlled substance is being prescribed to an inanimate object.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is an interesting reference, isn't it? Obviously, I think the objective is to make sure that there was always an individual, a specific person, to whom such an important drug is prescribed, and there can be no subterfuge or indirection about who is actually receiving that prescription.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Focusing on the transmission of this prescription, that's where you see an extensive part of this legislation deals with that, and if the good Chair can explain to us very briefly as to what is required when a prescription has to be sent electronically?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The good Representative is correct. This is a very important aspect of the bill and that's why so many -- so much language is dedicated to it. Obviously, this is important because we want to assure that the security of such prescribing is maintained. That it cannot be abused by the person receiving the prescription. Therefore, there are very strict protocols that have been mandated in any number of states which dictate the process by which a written order is translated into an electronic prescription and exactly what the pharmacist must do with regard to recording that electronic transmission. So there's really -- to summarize, there are records being kept. There are opportunities, as close as we can, to achieve real-time recording of any such prescription so that there can't be any abuse.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In this transmission of electronic prescriptions, does one have to start with a written prescription that is then sent electronically or could the health care provider start off with an electronic prescription to the appropriate pharmacy? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Would this electronic mechanical transmission from a health care's office, will it have to be done by the health care provider or can the health care provider designate somebody, a nursing staff, who he or she would be able to send the transmission?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. This is such an important area that we require the practitioner to be directly involved.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I was not clear on the answer. If the good Chair could repeat that answer for me one more time?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Could you clarify that answer, Representative Steinberg?

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will try. Because of the risks involved in prescribing these kind of drugs, it is essential that the practitioner be directly involved in transmitting that prescription.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker. What I understand that, and I want to be clear because this is extremely important for the health care provider in a day-to-day practice. Yes, it is extremely important. We all understand opioid and opioid abuse. But also we have to take it in the context of the health care provider's practice. So what I'm hearing from the good Chair is that in this transmission, other than like an antibiotic or maybe some other medications for hypertension, diabetes, where the physician could authorize his nurse or her nurse to send that transmission over, but in the case of opioids it would have to be the provider himself or herself.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you. That's my understanding.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In situations, and I know it's described in detail where electronic transmission does not -- is not feasible, a) because, you know, there's some electronic glitch and we are not able to transmit a; b) it happens to be a weekend or it happens to be after hours when the electronic transmission cannot happen until the next day. And in the third situation, where the health care provider does not have an electronic system at all, and I know quite a few providers do not have that. In all of those situations, what is the fallback?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you. I'm very glad the good Representative brought that up. You will see in the bill there are several specific subsections that relate to just those circumstances that the good Representative brought up. We spent a lot of time talking about this specific aspect, even those practitioners who are not fully online in terms of using the electronic prescribing capability. There are still physicians out there who prefer the old method of prescribing. I think you will see in the statute each of those circumstances is specifically addressed as exceptions and there's a clear protocol for how they would proceed in the event that they cannot comply for reasonable reasons.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is that -- is there a sunset date by which every provider will have to be transmitting this electronically?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you. Another excellent question. We talked about that, but we decided that -- not to put a sunset clause in, not knowing how long the physicians in this group might choose to continue practicing. So we did not put a sunset clause in. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker. (In) 2019, which is not too far away, is not the date where -- by which every prescription will have to be sent electronically?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No, there is not that 2019 date involved with this legislation. We expect that that generation will eventually move on and we may want to revisit this at some point.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker. Come a long weekend, come a regular weekend, when medications are prescribed. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Just for clarification purposes, how does one then send it electronically? Could they wait for the Monday morning, or like in this case, in Memorial Day, come in on a Tuesday morning to be able to send it electronically? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you. Obviously, again we discussed this. We wanted to be reasonable in terms of their ability to turn it around. The expectation is that at first opportunity after the conclusion of the weekend or holiday, that they follow through and the allowances are made in the statute for that consideration.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. There are certain situations which -- in which it may not be. It is suggested that this information not be transmitted electronically. Through you, Mr. Speaker. We are not talking about an electronic glitch. We're not talking about weekends. We're talking about certain situations, through you, Mr. Speaker, that it is suggested that this information not be sent electronically. If the good Chair could elaborate on those conditions where we do not have to send it electronically so we are all clear on that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Might I ask for a minute, Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber will stand at ease.

The Chamber will come back to order. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank the good Representative for the moment to refer to my notes. There are circumstances, exceptions, as I mentioned, under which electronic prescribing may not be necessary. Beyond the glitches that the good Representative referred to, there might be an emergency circumstance in which that going through the electronic prescribing network may not be sufficiently timely to meet the need of a patient. So that might be an exception. Whether the use of electronic might negatively impact patient care, such as longer, complicated directions, might be such a reason or a direction and administration for infusion as opposed to other methods of medicating, or demonstration that the practitioner does not have the technological capacity to electronically transmit. It also may be a circumstance in which the pharmacy is in a different state which may not be compatible with existing systems. So there are a number of enumerated circumstances. It was a good faith effort to anticipate exceptions such that we would not basically restrain the ability for the prescription to be filled.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker. As I understand it then, in these situations, which the good Chairman outlined for us elaborately, for which I'm very thankful for, in those situations, the information is sent over to the pharmacist either verbally or in a written order, but not electronically.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, that would be the case. Obviously, there are very clear protocols to assure the security in that instance as well.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, moving on to the non-opioid forms. So when a non-opioid form is filled, but how does one even be aware of the fact that such a form exists?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you. That's another excellent question. Part of our objective in educating and communicating is to create awareness that such a form exists. We are obviously also heavily dependent on the practitioner who might do the prescribing to make the patient aware of this option. We have not worked out all the details on all the different ways we want to get that information out there. But it is the keystone of this legislation that people become aware of it and that they have choices.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is it the responsibility of the health care provider to inform and provide these forms? Or do we leave it to the Department of Public Health to disseminate this information to the public at large? So the public are aware when they go to the health care provider, they have option "A" and option "B"?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you. Another good question. Rather than leaving it up to the practitioner or the potential patient to write their own form, we have asked DPH to create a form such that all the key issues are addressed.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and my final questions. And I'm sure there'll be other members who will want to discuss this at length also. Through you, Mr. Speaker. I see that the number of days of a prescription have changed from seven to five. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is that applicable to adults as well as children or to minors only?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you. This is one of the most challenging questions many of us have discussed. The focus in reducing the number of days that can be prescribed from seven to five is focused on minors in this instance, not adults.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. If this legislation moves forward, will the health care provider be only allowed five days? Or will it be at the discretion of the health care provider if the need is there? Obviously, we all know not to over prescribe. But will the health care provider have the capacity to override the five days?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I thank the Representative for such an important distinction. It remains within the discretion of the practitioner to extend it beyond the limited five days if there is a sound medical reason, and that reason has to be recorded in the medical record.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. When the decision is made to prescribe an opioid, you can just imagine there's going to be a discussion; there will be a conversation, pros and cons of the drug that is being prescribed, interactions, so on and so forth. All of that goes on before a prescription a) is either physically written or transmitted by the health care provider. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Will this legislation impose any other requirements on behalf of the health care provider?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes. The -- there's a section of this bill that requires the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council to investigate the creation of a one-page fact sheet, if you will, which gets into the risks and signs of opioid addiction which will facilitate a conversation between the practitioner and the patient receiving the prescription. So they can be self-aware, they can perhaps make their own choices, but that they're fully sensitized to the risks inherent in taking an opioid or similar narcotic.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. My final question to the good Chair is we already have, and as Representative D'Agostino referred to that as well, the Drug Monitoring Program. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Will this legislation have any impact as far as the Drug Monitoring - PMP program?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. My understanding is that this legislation does not change or expand the current requirements.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the good Chair and Representative D'Agostino. Because this is a very important issue, as both -- as you heard both from me, as well as from Representative Steinberg, on the importance of addressing this issue and at the same time addressing it carefully, logically, in a systematic form. And that is what this Chamber is been -- has been doing. Of which all of us should be extremely proud of, the product that we have come in a bipartisan way. And in this I want to thank the good Chair, Representative Steinberg, for always being available to us to discuss these issues. They have not been easy. There has not been smooth sailing. But there's a lot of discussions and he's always been available to discuss that.

And along with that, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my good Representative, Representative Tweedie, who has worked diligently to make sure that this passion and his reasoning of changing the seven to five days. He has been a big champion of that and he has made sure that this has become a part of our legislation because it is the right thing for us to do, a) as a chamber; b) as a state, for our constituents, so this curse, this crisis, we are able to get a better control of. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative, and that's a very good seque. Will you comment further on House Schedule "A"? Representative Tweedie of the 13th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I have a few comments about the bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. TWEEDIE (13TH):

I want to thank the good Chairman and the Ranking Member for doing a tremendous job on putting everything -- all the pieces together for this bill. I am honored to be the Co-Chair of one of the working groups that was to -- that was legislated in last year's legislation to -- for a working group to study the -- whether it is in the best practice of prescribing an opioid drug for minors for three days or less. And we reached out -- when this session started, we reached out to the medical community. We reached out to everyone that we thought could help us and participate in this working group. We were very fortunate. The medical community really stepped up. We had a pediatric pain specialist and intern and addiction specialist, an oral surgeon, a psychiatrist who is an addiction specialist, pediatricians, emergency room doctors, a few nurses; one that specialized in child and adolescent addiction, Connecticut Pharmacy Association, and the Hospital Association.

This problem of opioids with the youth is just gigantic and continues to grow and I'm glad that we stepped forward. You know the most recent study has shown that a child prescribed an opioid in his youth before the 12th grade, even if -- and especially if they're not at risk, if they've never smoked marijuana or been involved in alcohol. They have a 30-percent greater chance of abusing opioids after high school. And there generally are -- were two kinds of drug abusers. There was thrill seekers and self-medicators. Those that self-medicated because of anxiety and depression, and those thrill seekers. This -- you know, opioids being prescribed can now lead to a third group. So the importance of limiting opioids to our youth is a great step in helping to stop this epidemic. And I thank everyone involved and thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. On House Schedule "A", Representative Case of the 63rd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CASE (63RD):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative -- to Representative Steinberg you wish to direct your questions?

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think we're going in the right direction with this. I have a few questions of things that I've come up. Through you, Mr. Speaker. In section 10, alcohol and drug treatment facilities as defined, followed the general statutes. My question to the good Representative is does this say or allow for somebody to voluntarily bring themselves to a facility for help? Or do they have to follow the instructions on going into the facility, being a user and being either high or being intoxicated?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank the good Representative for bringing up this section. This is another section that we spent a good deal of time discussing. The problem we were seeking to address was the circumstance in which someone who really needed the benefits of detoxification or recovery services was not eligible because they were not currently, for lack of a better word, high on either alcohol or drugs. According to the requirements, they would not be so eligible. This is to provide them an opportunity to get the required treatment under those circumstances as well.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So somebody who is not high or intoxicated at the time now will have the availability to voluntarily get services?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes. The answer is yes because it's important to recognize that they are still addicted even if they're not high at that particular moment.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A comment, and then I'll have one more question for him. But that is a great step forward, especially given the times that we have. Because I've spoken many times in front of Public Health and, you know, you hear the stories of the families that have to go out and purchase a drug and get their child or their family member high before they can bring them in or have to go in intoxicated before they can actually get the services. So I look to see how this plays out and see how many people voluntarily go through.

We move on to section 12, part d. When the pharmacist dispenses the so-called -- I'll use Narcan. I believe that's the drug that you're talking about. Can you explain that process and who is eligible? Because there's a lot of wording in here in this bill that makes it be registered and the pharmacist needs to do training. Who can -- once the drug -- or once that Narcan is out there, the person who has been trained, who can actually use that Narcan?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. And again thank you for focusing on this. It does require a measure of clarification. This is what's known as a, "medical standing order," which is an understanding between the practitioner and the pharmacist in terms of the ability to prescribe or to deliver a prescription to an individual. Many other states have adopted similar rules which actually facilitate putting Narcan in the hands of the individual on a timely basis as possible. The important aspect of this is that Narcan does get to the individual rather than necessarily be focused on that individual's name or information at that particular point in time. This is simply a means by which to get it in the hands of the person, not only the person, but somebody who is trained to administer it, to be clear, such that it is available at a time where it is going to be needed. So it's a slight variation on the typical prescribing protocol which recognizes the importance of having Narcan available at the site where an incident may occur.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So I heard a few key words in there. So do you need to be trained with the Narcan or somebody who's not trained can use it under the Good Samaritan law?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I imagine that you could probably successfully administer Narcan without training, but we feel it's very important to that have training, to be aware of, again, sort of the signs and symptoms and to be prepared to react to the reaction of those -- the persons administered to. Therefore, we feel training is very important. That somebody on site has that basic background and can administer it successfully and be aware of the reactions.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good Chairman for his answers, and one quick follow-up. Just receiving the amendment a short while ago, I was trying to read through. Is there anything that addresses the length of stay within a treatment center? It seems to be that we're letting -- people are getting out of the treatment center too soon and it has to do to regulations of insurance. Is that the case?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Again, a very good question. I think we all recognize there is -- part of our crisis is the availability of detoxification and treatment beds or slots, if you will, and making sure that people get the kind of treatment they need for the length of period they need to truly beat the addiction, which has been a real problem in many ways. We do have a section of the bill that requires insurance companies to provide the appropriate level of coverage for detoxification. I can't recall specifically if it stipulates the number of days.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, just a few comments. I thank the good Chairman for his work and all the Ranking Members and Chairman's of the different Committees who worked to put this together. You know, I come from a small town in the northwest corner. And said to say, the month of May was another tough month; six opiate deaths - actually four in the past two weeks. So I'm glad that we're taking this up. There is some language in here that really helps things out. I look forward to stronger language as the years come. And I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the time.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. On House Schedule "A", Representative Skulczyck of the 45th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And just to echo many of the things that have been stated here today to the proponent. A good bill, a timely bill, and I just appreciate the hard work that you and your Committee put in. To the proponent, I would ask, through you, Mr. Speaker, in regards to section 9 in the inpatient detox services, did -- was it considered or any consideration to those under the age of 18 specific for detox facilities? And the reason I ask that question, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent, is the way I understand this is that there's a very much a limited amount of beds for those young people in Connecticut. And as a first selectman and as someone that's dealt with this issue directly and have lost many lives, I think that would be the next generation of where this bill would go and I just -- through you, Mr. Speaker, if we can get a comment from the proponent?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I share the good Representative's great concern for an entire generation that is particularly susceptible to this. However, since this addiction affects all ages, all socioeconomic types, all races and religions, I don't believe we specifically addressed that. But thank you for highlighting the fact that there's truly a shortage of these beds and slots to meet the growing need and I think the most important thing we can do is to reduce the need in the first place as we attempt to increase the number of beds and slots available.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you and thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you to the proponent for that response. I will say that working with DMHAS and some of the other agencies in southeastern Connecticut, we don't have any beds available, so I would emphasize that we would really like to see that go on in the future. But I do want to compliment the good work here. This is such a need. In southeastern Connecticut, this is an epidemic, as heard from other parts of Connecticut, and is affecting so many lives.

And as the proponent said, it's not just young people. It's all people. All socioeconomics are being affected by this. This bill is going to straighten out some of those fundamental issues with the insurance company, and I appreciate it. And I do want to want to make sure that we keep moving forward, looking for the best practices and evolving this so we get the best treatment for those that are suffering and for those families. A good bill. I urge our -- all of our colleagues to vote in support of this bill and this amendment. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. On the amendment, Representative de la Cruz of the 41st, sir.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just have a few comments. First of all --

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all I want to say that this is one of the main reasons I ran. It's one of the reasons that I am up here in Hartford today. Actually, this bill seems to be one of the most comprehensive bills that I've seen. I want to thank the Chairman for his great work and everyone that was involved. I do want to make a comment that a lot of the bills that we see coming through here are directly a result of this opioid epidemic. I didn't speak on the human trafficking last week because it's all so common.

We basically are a group working with three young women who currently are in a hotel in our town that we know are being basically trafficked. There's not much you can do because of the drug addiction. But just one of the many things that have been happening because of this opioid epidemic. The one part I do like is hopefully that point where the doctor actually has that first interaction with the patient. We still have doctors today prescribing opiates for wisdom teeth to young children. We just talked about the 15 and 16-year-old, where the parents aren't aware that this is actually heroin. And I think they're shocked to find out later on that it is heroin or it's a form of it.

Our group has about 60 people that show up. We meet once a month at the Groton Public Library. We average between 40 and 60 people at these meetings and our meetings have been going for over a year and a half. Unfortunately, most of the people that show up are deer in the headlights and know their son or daughter, or cousin, or a mom or a dad even, had this addiction. So when they show up, they're asking us questions of how this happened. And ultimately, the answer is prescription drugs.

So I like the fact that we're gonna have that conversation. I think it's long overdue. We are five percent of the world's population. We take 85 percent of the world's prescription opioids. In our group, all the time, we either say either Europeans are much stronger than we are or we're just being overprescribed. So I think it's the second. I think we're being overprescribed. I think doctors are actually starting to take accountability for it. They're realizing that they weren't trained in a proper way. And we're having more and more doctors speak at our meetings to show how serious this drug is. Just a little bit for numbers.

And another bill that you're gonna be seeing coming in has a direct effect from the opioid crisis is the grandparents bill. There's another effect that people haven't talked about yet. I think we count our citizens sometimes that they're gonna be okay further in life. But we have a lot of folks right now that have no retirement savings because they've cashed in everything they have to take care of their children. We have more than five or six members of our group that say they don't know what they're gonna do when they turn 65. And they were fully on their way to retirement. I mean this is, I think, our biggest problem in the state by far and I'm glad we're addressing it with a bill like this.

We had 917 overdose deaths last year in Connecticut. We have a couple members of our groups who are -- that are in recovery currently. They're coming and they're speaking out. They're speaking at schools. Unfortunately, because they're the folks that bought drugs and shared them with their friends, they are now being charged with murder. So the problem I see is we are, in a time when we're trying to reduce our prison populations, these -- and I get it. You know, if someone sells your child these drugs and they die as a result, you want revenge. But these folks are in addiction themselves.

Potentially, next, year, we could -- we're looking at 1,100 deaths by opiate because it's not going down. That would mean we'd have 1,100 murderers in our state that we'd be trying, with 1,100 trials with potentially 22,000 years in prison sentences. So this is our number one problem. I thank you for doing all the work that you've done. The folks of our community speaks out.

We mentioned Narcan. We have a man, Alan Salterman [phonetic] who's a member of our group who would gladly train anybody in Narcan that wants to. I know this is being broadcast all over Connecticut and I don't want to set him up for a long weekend. But if you wanted to come down to our group, I'm sure he would take the time. He'll do the training and provide you with it. Narcan is saving lives. There's a lot of folks on the other side of the issue saying that possibly this is a crutch for people. But Narcan is saving people's lives right now and we fully look forward to hopefully training everybody so they know how to use it and getting it into the sober houses.

So I would really like to thank you for this bill. This is what I came up here to do. I didn't have enough time to spend in the Public Health Committee. I do have a job during the day. So I really understand all the work that went into it, and am glad to be part of the Legislature now and making a difference. So thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Wilms of the 142nd, sir, you have the floor on the amendment.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in strong support of the amendment, and actually I intend to sign on as a co-sponsor to the underlying bill. I was very pleased to vote for last term, the opioid actions that we took to reduce the maximum prescription from 30 days to 7, also requiring Narcan by first responders. Since then, as my colleagues have said, the crisis just keeps getting worse and worse. It was my extreme displeasure a few months ago, Mr. Speaker, to attend a wake of a young man in college who attended UConn, who was found dead. And he was in the marching band with my son when they were in high school. And so it was very tragic to have to go to that wake and be -- you know, take two hours to get into the church to do that. So it's hitting close to home.

And I'm also pleased with a number of my colleagues. We've done opioid events in Norwalk and New Canaan which have been very, very well attended. So this is something that's very direct and very personal for all of us. I do have some questions, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg, please prepare yourself. Please proceed, Representative Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My first set of questions is on section 11 which talks about the -- there's a change in the antagonist that the EMS providers need to have. I just wanted to make sure I understand correctly. Right now I believe, through you, Mr. Speaker, the law is that all first responders or all EMS personnel have to carry Narcan. But with section 11, I understand that's being amended to have only one. And if the proponent could describe on how each town would implement that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I appreciate the question because it requires some clarification. The intent of the change in the language is to clarify that there must be at least one first responder, rather than everybody having to have it, so in the case that if three or four responders should show up and one doesn't have it, they would not be in violation. The obvious goal is to make sure that somebody has it available, one of the first responders, such that it can be applied in a timely manner. So it is really a logic clarification, if you will.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Chair for that answer. So going forward, each town, at least one would carry it. And through you, Mr. Speaker. I take it it's in the discretion of each town to designate which of the entities would have it. For example, it would either be the police or the fire or the EMS that would be at the discretion of each town?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Again, perhaps it requires a little more clarification. It's not necessarily that only one responder would have it, but one responder on the scene would have it in that context. I think it's up to the discretion of the municipality to determine -- want to know how many different first responders might actually have it available.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Okay. And I thank the good Chair for that answer. Moving onto section 12, where there's discussion of training for the administers of opioid antagonists, a question. There may be situations where someone is overdosing in a home and a friend may be there, and the friend may have Narcan and see that there's a crisis situation and administer the Narcan. And let's say that person is not trained. Through you, Mr. Speaker. I take it that our Good Samaritan law and our previous protections would remain in effect even though that person has not been trained?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. And again, thank you for the question just so I can clarify my previous answer. Yes, it is allowed for a non-trained individual to administer it. We would obviously prefer to have as many people trained as possible who are in possession of Narcan. But to the good Representative's point, the most important thing is that the drug -- the Narcan is administered on a timely basis. So even if the person is not trained, they are entitled to do so and if the administration is sufficiently straightforward, they should be able to do so successfully.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you for that answer. Moving on to section 5, subsection c and f, where they talk about the conversation that a prescribing physician needs to have with the minor and the minor's family. If the Chair could go into more -- the language doesn't seem to -- if he could go into more detail about what kind of conversation is required. For example, what I'm thinking of is my son, who is 19, had his wisdom teeth pulled out last year and we saw an oral surgeon. And the surgeon did have a conversation about Percocet and he described a pain management regime where it was a three-day prescription. But he said that the Percocet should only be administered as a last resort. There should be, you know, layers of pain management through no medication, then onto, let's say, Advil, and then finally to Percocet and only use that in a more extreme example. Does this legislation get into any kind of specific conversations that would minimize the amount of opioids that someone who's being prescribed the medication would take in the first place?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Another good question. Again, we spent a lot of time discussing the best way to both educate the practitioners so that they're aware of the risks and their process for educating the patient to whom they're prescribing. And we have not yet developed the fact sheet that's called for in the bill. We've obvious involved, as Representative Tweedie mentioned, any number of experts on this. Our goal is to make it as a easy as possible for the practitioner to explain to the patient what the risks and signs are. It does not involve itself in the prescribing itself or the conditions. That's really left to the discretion of the practitioner. But it is to ease the process of making them aware of risks and signs such that the, first of all, the patient can make a good decision with regard to whether or not they want to have opioids administered in this way. But more importantly, so the doctor can make them fully acquainted with the risks involved. So as I said, part of our goal is to make sure the practitioner is well educated on the risks and signs such that they may actually consider their prescribing behavior to minimize the amount that might be prescribed. But again, that's at the discretion of the practitioner.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good Chair for that answer. I just have one last question, and that's -- you know, I guess I'm speaking anecdotally at this point, but I've been under the impression that in the medical community, individual doctors or medical professionals who may be prescribing opioids, that not all of them prescribe them at a equal rate. Some may prescribe a disproportionate amount of opioids relative to other practitioners. And I was wondering if anything in this bill would allow us or the Department of Public Health to identify those particular doctors or medical professionals. And perhaps then to engage in a conversation with them to perhaps retrain them in terms of how much of the supply of these things they're issuing.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you. Again, a very good question. We know that one of the main reasons we have an epidemic is perhaps some practitioners are overprescribing. They're not aware of some of the risks involved. We're hoping that the education effort will help them see that there are alternatives and that they need to be very careful about the amount they prescribe. Section 1 of the bill, again the information sharing within the agencies, hopefully will allow us to look at aggregate data and see if there are patterns that need to be addressed. But we think the first line of defense is to get he practitioner to be aware of the risks inherent and to change their behaviors.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good Chair for his many good answers and I appreciate all the work that he and his Committee and the Ranking Member, Dr. Srinivasan, and my good colleague, Representative Tweedie and everyone who's been involved with this to move the ball forward as the crisis keeps getting worse and worse. We certainly need to respond and I'm very pleased that we are responding. And so I'll be very happy to support this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Orange of the 48th, ma'am, you have the floor.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon, madam.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

I rise in support of this bill, but I do have a few concerns and I have a question to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you to Representative Steinberg. Does this in any way tie the hands of the doctors that are trying to actually take care of their patients that really may be in pain and may need prescriptions longer than what they are able to prescribe for?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. An excellent question. Even though I was not serving on the Public Health Committee at the time, I know that there was a lot of discussion about making sure that the practitioner could still apply discretion in extreme circumstances. The language of the existing statute and is mirrored in this bill is to assure that they always have that discretion and if there are special circumstances, they are allowed to prescribe as to what they think is the necessary amount and period. And as long as it's noted in the medical record as to their reason, they maintain that discretion.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Orange.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you for that answer and I just have a statement to make about that piece of the legislation and the ability for physicians to prescribe opioids to their patients. I am the caretaker for my son and he receives treatment, pain treatment, through a -- through Backus Pain Management. And that's basically the route of people that are in chronic pain or have disease that actually needs a lot of opioid or medical -- medication care. And in speaking with the doctor that is there, he seems to think that sometimes we're tightening up the physicians a little too much, especially in dealing with patients that have different diseases such as cancer and many other painful diseases. He is trying to retire and he's having difficulty in someone taking over his practice because -- even my own Primary Care physician tells me that they feel kind of stymied as to what we are saying here and what we're trying to accomplish. It kind of ties their hands a little bit.

So I just had to stand up and say that in some instances, the physicians are leery now of giving out pain medication. That people are now suffering a little more than maybe they really should be. And I think that the physicians that I deal with for myself and the physicians I deal with regarding my son are certainly aware of the side effects of the medications, and I don't think we really need to be legislating to them what the side effects are and that kind of thing because they do know. As in any organization or any type of work today, there is always one bad apple that falls into the bag of oranges, as I say, that kind of spoils it for others.

And I just want to stand here and say that the physicians I deal with are well aware of the opioid crisis that we face here in our state and they need the leeway and not to be really scared they're gonna lose their license every time that they prescribe an opioid for a patient that is in their care. But I do support this. We do have an epidemic with young children. I think, of course, educating our young children is the first priority. And I also stand here and tell you that I believe that we need to spend more money on treatment because many, and there are many -- most of them are younger people, are not receiving the amount of therapy that they actually need to combat their addiction. It takes a long time. It can take up to a year.

A couple of weeks isn't enough time to detox and then go into a program and then it's too easy -- when they leave that program, it's too easy to fall back into a bad habit. And we have repetitive users that really, really need our help and we need to put the money into the treatment if we're going to be doing all this work here. So I do stand in support of this, but in honor of that good Dr. Hargus at Backus Hospital, I did want to say that -- make a few remarks on his behalf regarding pain medication and the availability and the authorization for them to distribute that and prescribe that pain medication. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative Orange. Representative France of the 42nd, sir, you have the floor - Schedule "A".

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a couple of questions for the proponent on section 2 of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please prepare yourself, Representative Steinberg. Please proceed, Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In section 2, starting on line 14, deals with essentially the custody and destruction of excess or undesired controlled substances, prescribes standards under the commissioner of Consumer Protection for security and safeguard. And then it goes on in section b to talk about long-term care facility and two or more of the following persons to be able to jointly dispose, and then in section c talking about an outpatient surgical facility, also two or more persons to take custody and dispose them. I'm looking at section d, and we don't have that same level of control. I'm familiar with two-person control on a number of instances and the requirements for that. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm curious why in section d we have a single person, a registered nurse from a home healthcare agency, as opposed to the two-person control that seems to appropriately mandated in the rest of that section.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. And I want to thank the good Representative for highlighting this section because it is an area we spent a lot of time discussing. You will note in sections b and c, those are controlled circumstances contexts. Those are facilities in which you will have a number of medical professionals available to have the highest level of protocol and security and making good decisions on the destruction of the unused medication. It's somewhat different in the home setting and that's why we've asked, usually the supervising nurse, to be responsible for having the conversation with the family in the home setting because it's not the same circumstance.

We had a lot of conversation. We struggled on how best to manage this circumstance because we recognize there is a lot of unused medication in a home setting which might otherwise not be taken care of. Perhaps it would be the death of the individual or just of the termination of the need for care. So we were as stringent as we could be given that context. And that does describe the reason between that section and the two previous sections.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

I thank the proponent for that answer and I certainly understand the unique situation dealing in a home healthcare setting. My concern, really as I look at the first 2b and c, we're not dealing with the nurse that's caring for the patient. If we looked at that, we're looking at a level above that. We're looking at directors, assistant directors, administrators in both those facilities, and certainly there is a greater structure in those situations. But my concern is we are setting up an individual now with having to take custody of a controlled substance and the only protection that individual has is the written log, as opposed to the two-person control which seems to be prudent. So I guess the question I would have for the proponent, was there any testimony of concern or how the nurses would deal with this particular situation and any concern they had on protecting themselves as their license and issue that they might have could result in revocation of their license or their ability to perform their job?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. A good question. And again, we spent a lot of time discussing this. Obviously, the home setting is a little different, but we felt that we had to balance the risks inherent of unused medication ending up in the wrong hands versus having anything more stringent than we were able to put in there. We believe this reflects our best efforts to provide that kind of stringent, rigorous control in that different circumstance and we're pretty confident that it's gonna work out well in this context. Again, it's not in a facility, so we have to make some allowances for the conditions. But we felt it was very important that we seek to take that unused medication out of circulation. It was important enough to make these allowances.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you for that consideration. And I agree with you on the concern of ensuring as expeditiously as possible that any opioid drugs that are no longer needed be taken out of the general public in being disposed of or cared for appropriately. I have one final question. Is there any federal law that requires two-person control of this category of drug?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I am not aware of it. It is possible.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you. And just a final commentary on this. I appreciate the challenge that is inherent in home health care and you generally have a single nurse who is providing that care, and certainly a registered nurse being licensed has a certain level of experience and training. But I also recognize that there are -- we seem to be taking - I won't say a shortcut, but a process where we ought to be taking more care to maintain that two-person control. And so having a nurse who is there routinely is not usually an individual visit. If you're part of a home health care agency, you're likely seeing that patient, if not daily, then weekly. That there ought to be a provision that if there's identification, whether it be through the patient passing on or no longer needing care, that instead of that individual being responsible solely, that we would then come back maybe the next day or that afternoon and have a protocol where they would bring a second person to maintain that two-person control, just as we do in the facility. So I would urge the proponent to consider that potentially in the future to improve this bill for the care of the nurse, who if they lose their license, loses their ability to perform the job that they have trained for and worked for many -- much of their life. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative France. Representative Abercrombie of the 83rd, ma'am, you have the floor. Schedule "A"

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Afternoon.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Just a quick question for the proponent of the bill?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a good bill and ought to pass, first of all. A couple of years ago, we gave authority to pharmacists for -- to be able to prescribe. Is there anything in this bill that changes that current policy?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Again, a good question. As you will note at the end of this bill, we allow for standing orders which does affect the pharmacist's responsibilities. We might view this as sort of a belt and suspenders approach, both in maintaining current statutory law in terms of the requirements of pharmacists, but giving them actually a little bit more responsibility in the context of a standing order. So I guess the answer would be yes it does affect or impact the pharmacist's role.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Abercrombie.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

But it doesn't change current practice?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. To be clear, it does not change existing practices.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Abercrombie.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Petit of 22nd, sir, you have the floor on Schedule "A. "

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A quick question and then a comment for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, Representative.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

I wonder about -- I think it's a very good bill. I wonder about how we facilitate it. I understand for the physicians that most of the information will be disseminated through organizations like the State and County Medical Societies. I wonder about the dissemination of the information to the home health care agencies and registered nurses involved with destruction of drugs, whether that will be under the purview of the commissioner of Public Health?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I would say that the Department obviously has an important role dealing with all those under their jurisdiction. But I would go further, that part of the responsibility of the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council is to figure out a number of different modalities by which we can get the information, not only to consumers, but to all practitioners and all of those involved in the entire chain of responsibility here. So our objective is to make this very top of mind through public service announcements, other marketing and communication strategies, having good information posted on agency websites. It's in our interest to make sure that we use every available means by which to get this information out there.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and a few comments. As a freshman legislator, I would really like to thank the proponent of the bill, the Co-Chair of Public Health. He was a wonderful broker through this entire process, keeping most of us in line, as well as Senator Somers. In addition, we were helped by a variety of people and I think the proponent named some of them, but the State Medical Society and the Connecticut Hospital Association were wonderful helps.

There were some comments about the use of narcotics and I think everybody has to understand this in terms of the last 40 or 50 years of history. When I entered medical school in the '70s, we were all told you're not treating pain well enough. You're holding out on the pain meds and there's patients suffering all over the country. You really need to use narcotics more frequently because people are in pain. Forty years later, the pendulum has swung the other way and people are saying, boy, you're using way too many narcotics. You're over treating pain and there's people that are getting used to these drugs.

So I think we have to strike the fair balances, as one the previous questioners has spoke about. And I think this bill goes a long way to helping that. And like many of the bills that are passed, the 95 percent of people that prescribe and document narcotic use appropriately are not the people who are gonna be affected by this bill. You'd hope that you'd get effective behavior of the five percent of people who don't do things properly. So I think education remains key, education both for patients and for the physicians. For physicians coming into practice it's obviously become a major issue of their education now in terms of using narcotics appropriately and having appropriate documentation in people's medical records.

So I think the more that we can do to educate people, the better off we'll be. But I think this is a good bill that may need some fine tuning in the years to come, and I really thank everybody on the opioid working group that worked together to bring this forward. So thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Morin of the 28th, sir, you have the floor on Schedule "A. "

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Nice to see you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good seeing you.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

I have a question and a brief comment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, Representative.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Thank you very much. Through you, Mr. Speaker. On the amendment, I believe it's on lines 403-412. It discusses the provider speaking to the patient and having to give a fair warning of the -- maybe some effects that would come from prescribing of these types of opioid drugs. For legislative intent, is -- does the Chair -- Mr. Chairman, do you feel that the health care professionals that are offering this advice, is there some form that they would have to signoff on or the patient would have to signoff on to say that they understand what could occur with the abuse of these drugs?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. A very good question. It's something we also discussed at some length. We felt the most important thing would be to create a one-page factsheet that would aid the practitioner in explaining risks and options to the patient such that they would -- they could most easily make sure they covered all the bases, if you will. We decided there should be less emphasis on a signoff as much as to facilitate the process whereby the practitioner would be comfortable having that conversation with the patient, and the patient would leave the office well informed and understanding why the doctor made that choice to prescribe.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Morin.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Yes, thank you. And I do appreciate the answer. Because one of the things that I think we see in a litigious society is if something horrible were to happen, the patient coming back and saying, hey they never told me this. And I'm -- you know, where I'm going with this is I'm just a little concerned for all the providers. And I guess with all the doctors that are in this Chamber, if they're feeling comfortable, I can feel comfortable as well.

And I'd just like to thank the Chairman for his leadership along with all the members that have put this good piece of work together. Not to beat the dead horse, but I think this opioid problem has touched every one of us, every corner of this state, and it's sad that we're actually here to have to do this, but I certainly appreciate the efforts that we are doing this. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative Morin. Representative Borer of the 115th.

REP. BORER (115TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't have a question for the proponent of the bill, but I do have a comment on the amendment --

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. BORER (115TH):

Thank you. Because I think it's a critical component of the bill. I -- being somebody who grew up amongst similar forms of addiction and actually lost a brother to addiction, I rise in strong support of this bill. Because I think, although we've made great progress over the years in acknowledging addiction and providing treatment avenues, we have a long way to go, and this bill helps us in that direction.

We've learned throughout the years that addiction is not -- does not discriminate. It doesn't discriminate amongst age or gender or sex or race, or certainly not income status. Addiction affects one in four families and it not only affects the person suffering from addiction, but also destroys the family and friends around them. This bill gives great hope to those families and those friends.

I, in particular, want to address section 8, 9 and 10 in the amendment, which I know has been addressed earlier, but I think this makes great improvement for access to care and treatment. For those of you who have been touched by addiction in your lives, you know that getting the person who's suffering from addiction to acknowledge that they have a problem is very difficult. Once they acknowledge that they have a problem, getting them to seek help is equally difficult. Those of you who are not familiar with what this is like, let me give you a very common and real scenario.

The day the person who's suffering from addiction wants to get help, they don't know where to turn and they don't know what to do. Some might go to the emergency room because they don't know what to do. They go to the emergency room and in the past they were turned around because addiction wasn't considered a medical issue and they didn't seem to be in an emergency situation.

Some will call their insurance company to find out if they qualify for outpatient or inpatient services. I they qualify for outpatient services, they're given a list of facilities and some therapists in the area. But when they call, they find out they can't get an appointment for four weeks because they're far and few between. If they qualify for inpatient services, they have to wait for their insurance company to make a preauthorization agreement and they have to wait for the doctor at the insurance company to say that they can get their inpatient services.

Once they qualify for that, they get a listing of facilities. They have to see if it's in their network. When they get the facility in the network, they need to see if there's a bed available. When they find out there's a bed available, they find out that this facility only takes you when you're in the middle of detox, which as the proponent said, that means you can only enter if you are drunk or high. And the person seeking help starts to lose hope and the cycle begins again.

This may sound like an exaggeration, but for those out there and those who are familiar, this is a very real scenario. And this bill helps change all that and many aspects, and in particular the component of getting help and making access easier for those is what we need and it strengthens those who need the help and the family around them. We need to acknowledge that addiction comes in many forms and can quickly spiral out of control. And as legislators, we need to give those who aren't in a position to help themselves, the help that they need.

I encourage all of my colleagues to support this and I want to thank the proponents on both sides of the aisle for all the work that they've done in this incredible bill. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Scanlon of the 98th, sir, you have the floor on Schedule "A. "

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I rise just to make a quick comment to echo a lot of what my colleagues have already said, which is that today marks another day and another chapter in a progress of a big fight that we are waging on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people, I believe, in Connecticut, who have either been touched personally by this, who are suffering themselves from substance use disorders or who may, for lack of action on our part, unfortunately may fall victim to an addiction at some point in their lives.

And I think that in the short time that I've been here, this is my third year in the Legislature, this is the third consecutive year that we have passed a bipartisan and comprehensive bill attacking this problem. And I think that while all of us are certainly not satisfied with over 900 individuals losing their lives in this state because of this problem, I think we should all be very proud of the fact that we are putting aside politics and doing something very good on behalf of this state.

And I want to echo the praise that's already been heaped upon Chairman Steinberg. I see Chairwoman Somers is on the corner of the Chamber over there, Senator Gerratana. All of them did great work on this bill, along with many others in this Chamber, and I think we should all be very proud of that. So I've very excited about the fact that we continue making progress in this, but I know, and I know that everyone in this Chamber knows, we still have a lot of work to do and I believe that we will do it together going forward in the best interest of our constituents. So that you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative Scanlon. Representative Perillo, do you care to comment or question on Schedule "A?"

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Mr. Speaker, thank you very much, and I'll be very, very brief. But I think it does bear repeating. You know, this is an issue that we know about, especially in these four walls, we know about. But most people don't realize just how complex it truly is and to be able to generate a bill -- an amendment that will become the bill. To be able to generate that in such a thoughtful way that takes into consideration all the variants -- variances that exist in the delivery of medication and the prescriptive process, and all the educational needs for patients and practitioners. To do it in such a thoughtful way that really is workable, truly workable, is no easy task. And the fact that legislators on both sides of the aisle could come together with the community, could come together with the Governor's Office and OPM, I think is very important to recognize. And I think -- I know this Chamber and myself and the rest of Connecticut should be very grateful for that collaboration. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Opposed? The ayes have it. (Gavel) The amendment passes. Will you comment further on the bill as amended? Will you comment further on the bill as amended? If not, will staff and guests please come to the Well of the House? Will members please take your seats? The board 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 BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 7052, as amended by House “A”,

Total number Voting 146

Necessary for Passage 74

Those voting Yea 146

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 5

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The bill as amended is passed. (Gavel) Any announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Representative Buckbee of the 67th, sir.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed sir.

REP. BUCKBEE (67TH):

I'm really proud when we get visitors from my constituents who stop here. It's pretty rare. New Milford's a little bit of a distance from Hartford, so we don't get a lot of people from New Milford that stop up here. So a wonderful invitation and a wonderful couple of people here that represent Kimberly Farms in New Milford. And they've not only come up to visit and talk a little bit about how important the agricultural community to all of us here in the state and how important that is from day one for all we do here in Connecticut, but how it's growing now in that Kimberly Farms now has milk in Big Y in three, four -- three stores now. So our big companies, our big stores are starting to buy local, which is a wonderful thing for our economy and what we do here. On top of that, we've got yogurt, right? Ice cream on the way. Cheese? Phenomenal. I didn't know about the cheese. And of course a full line of produce. Kimberly Farms is something we're very, very proud of in New Milford.

So today, in honor of bringing John and his daughter, Maranda, here to show what Kimberly Farms does, they've brought with them chocolate milk for the entire House! Right! Let's give them a big round of applause! (Applause) So that's a big round of applause for this right here. So two things; number 1 - the chocolate milk is right outside here. It'll be to your left and the Kimberly's will be helping you and getting your milk. But if it's not the best milk you've ever had, there's something wrong with you. That's all I'm gonna say. Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the Kimberlys for coming up.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative, and welcome to the Chamber. And all members can be advised that they can accept that gift individually. It's less than $ 10 dollars. (Laughter) Representative Gresko, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. GRESKO (121ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A point of introduction, please?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. GRESKO (121ST):

Colleagues, I'd like to introduce you to Jillion Chambers, the first, and I'll say it, best intern at the Commission of Women, Children and Seniors. She's a Stratford resident. More importantly, she's a constituent, so she's here with the rest of her colleagues from the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors. And I'm hoping on behalf of Representative McGorty and Representative Hoydick and myself, we can give her a nice round of applause. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

And welcome to the Chamber this afternoon. Thank you, Representative Gresko. For the purpose of announcements or introduction, Representative Skulczyck of the 45th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And for a point of introduction, I'd like to introduce a very good friend of mine, Assistant State's Attorney Sue Hatfield, from Connecticut, also Connecticut's 3-point champion up to 1994 in high school, from the town of Griswold, which I represent. And I think Sue brings a great smile to the House today, very energetic. She's enjoying her tour. She says, "Boy, we all look busy up here and doing a lot of fun things. " So I'd like everyone to give a warm welcome to Sue Hatfield. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Harding, the House recognizes you, please.

REP HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For a purpose of introduction, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, sir. Today, I am very proud to have joining with me the Insero family from the best town in the State of Connecticut, Brookfield. And what many people know about Brookfield is that we're home to Candlewood Lake. And the Insero family is a small business owner and I don't have props like Representative Buckbee has, but I have a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, it's not a Candlewood Lake cup of coffee. But they own the Candlewood Coffee Company here in Brookfield, Connecticut, and it's another small business owner and it's a great cup of coffee. I've had it before. And maybe we'll have another cup and I'll bring it up here to the House for everyone to share. So also can you give a warm welcome to the Insero family from Brookfield? (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you and welcome to the Chamber this afternoon. We can all use a good cup of coffee now and then. Thank you. Representative Butler needs one. Representative Hampton.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon, sir. For what purpose do you rise?

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

I rise for the purpose of an introduction?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

Sir, I'm delighted to welcome to the Chamber one of my constituents, Mr. David Blume, who's here to watch our democratic process at work, and I'm gonna put him to work to volunteer and help us out and learn more about the process. So I'd ask my colleagues to please join me in welcoming him to the Chamber. Thank you. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative Hampton. Welcome to the Chamber this afternoon. The House will return to the Call of the Calendar. If the Clerk please could call Calendar 604.

CLERK:

On page 41, Calendar 604, Senate Bill No. 975 - AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPALITIES AND UNMANNED AIRCRAFT; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Development.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. Representative Lemar, you have the floor, sir.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Great to see you today.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Mr. Speaker, I move the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question is on acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill in concurrence with the Senate. Please proceed.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the bill before us generally prohibits municipalities from regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, sale, use, transportation or operation of commercial, unmanned aircraft. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, Amendement No. LCO 7355. I ask that the Clerk please call the amendment and I be given permission to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Clerk, please call LCO No. 7355, to be designated Senate Amendment "A".

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule "A", LCO NO. 7355, offered by Senator Cassano.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the amendment before us limits the prohibition to regulations concerning commercial drones rather than all drones, and adds the exception for municipal water companies, while also modifying the definition of unmanned aircraft. I move for adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The motion before the Chamber is adoption of the amendment. The motion before the Chamber is adoption of the amendment. Remark further? Remark further? Representative Zawistowski of the 61st.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I voted in favor of this bill in Planning and Development with the understanding that there would be a compromise reached between the commercial interest and the municipalities. And this amendment does exactly that. Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of questions for the proponent of the bill, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar, please prepare yourself. Representative Zawistowski, please proceed with your questions.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What is the difference between the commercial operation of drones versus the private operation of drones?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you. The commercial operation of drones regulates the private use by commercial institutions such as realtors and insurance companies that are carrying out a government-regulated -- regulated by the FAA discreet activities. The FAA has regulations in place that all commercial users of unmanned aircraft systems must comply with. We concur with those regulations and we feel that those are adequate.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Zawistowski.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I'd like to thank the Chairman for that clarifying answer. I have one additional question, if I may. Does this bill in any way interfere with federal regulations or the operations of any airports handled by the CAA - the Connecticut Airport Authority?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. This is in no way interferes with other federal regulations provided for unmanned aircraft systems.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Zawistowski.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is a good amendment. It takes into account the commercial interest, as well as the ability of towns to regulate any of the private drones that are used. I do support this amendment and I encourage my colleagues to do the same. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Will you comment further on the amendment before us? Will you comment further on the amendment before us? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor of Senate Amendment Schedule "A" signifying by aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Opposed? The ayes have it. The amendment passes. Will you comment further on the bill as amended before us? Will you comment further on the bill as amended before us? Representative Smith of the 108th, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. A question for the proponent, please?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please prepare yourself, Representative Lemar. Please proceed, Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm wondering if this applies to drones under the definition of the amendment, or the bill as amended?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, under the bill, a commercial, unmanned aircraft is one operated remotely by a pilot, in command, holding a valid remote pilot's certificate with a Federal Aviation Administered issued small unmanned aircraft system's rating. And again, that regulation through FAA is under the operational -- has operational limitations and clear definitions. They can be found in the summary of small, unmanned aircraft rules, part 10 -- sorry, part 107 of FAA regulations.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for his answer. I'm still trying to get to the idea of whether this is talking about drones or whether it's talking about something else. So maybe we could just get a clarification.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar. I believe that was a question, sir.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Drones is the colloquial name for unmanned aircraft systems. Unmanned aircraft systems include drones. They have definitions such as unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 pounds. They establish lines of sight. They determine who can be a pilot of a commercial unmanned aircraft system. All of that is covered. The colloquial name is drones, but they are all -- the broader name is an unmanned aircraft system.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Yeah, I thank the Chairman for the clarification on that. So just to be clear then, because I missed some of the comments when the Chairman brought out the bill, does this in any way restrict a municipality from actually having a drone or to be able to use a drone for the -- let's assume for the police department if they wanted to use a drone. Would this govern that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you. This in no way restricts a municipality's use of their own drones.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

I thank the gentleman for this answer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. Will you comment further on the bill as amended? Will you comment further on the bill as amended? If not, will staff and guests please come to the Well of the House and members please take your seats? The board 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 BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 975, as amended by Senate “A” in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 74

Those voting Yea 119

Those voting Nay 28

Those absent and not Voting 4

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Senate Bill passes as amended. (Gavel) Representative Kokoruda, for what purpose do you rise?

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed with your introduction, madam.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to tell all -- everyone here in the Chamber today that I am honored to be standing here with people that are brining a wonderful new program to our children and to our state. And on August 18th, many towns will join not just Madison, but Hartford, Clinton, North Haven, Westbrook, Wallingford, Middletown, Killingly, Manchester, Windham, Bridgeport, Milford, Waterbury, Meriden. Children from those towns will come together on August 18th, and they will spend a day leading a workshop with Leading with Kindness right here in the LOB and it'll be hosted by our own Steven Hernandez, executive director of the Commission of Women, Children and Seniors, and this special opportunity is being hosted by Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and thank you to Seth Wallace for being here, Facebook's program called Inspired initiative, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, and our very own Madison resident, Jill Nesi, who has created a program called Stand Up and Speak Out. And this is a musical that teaches us about kindness and about the problems in our society, the way we treat each other and with bullying.

Teams of students and adults from several districts across the state will come here August 18th, and will participate in workshops and activities geared toward building a community to improve school climate, promote youth leadership and inspire a more connected Connecticut. I would just like to -- before I really give you a treat, I would just like to introduce Jill Nesi to you.

Jill Nesi came up with the idea of a song about anti-bullying. She has teenagers of her own. And that song has grown into a musical and a lot of us in the shoreline have been fortunate enough to see productions at Ivoryton Playhouse. We were there. Representative Candelora and I were lucky enough to attend. And this is starting a tour and a discussion for all boards of education. That's why we want you to get your towns involved. Stand Up and Speak Out is addressing this frightening issue with a new musical called Her Song.

The musical will highlight the severity of bullying while it educates and entertains our audiences. Our primary goal is to educate adults on what to look for is your child being bullied. Could your child be a bully? What do I do? Who do I go to? And as I said, it was at Ivoryton Playhouse. Jill wrote all the music in collaboration with Connecticut's own Nick Fradiani, Sr. I know we've had his son up here. (Applause) And all this was directed by the incredible Colin Sheehan, which I know he's here somewhere. Colin. (Applause) A lot of family collaboration.

There are children from many towns. This is just part of the group. It's growing. So we thought this would be a great way to kickoff the forum, to encourage you as State Reps to get your children, your boards of ed, your youth service boards involved even more in this issue and with this wonderful group and forum. And I know Steven Hernandez has been encouraging many towns and it's time for us to reach out and work with him. So with that, this will be quite a treat. I'd like to introduce the group called Stand Up and Speak Out. They have a message for you today. Thank you.

(Music and singing)(Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much for coming into the Chamber today. That was outstanding! Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber will stand at ease until the aisles are clear.

The Chamber will return to the Call of the Calendar. Will the Clerk please call Calendar number 601?

CLERK:

On page 41, Calendar 601, substitute Senate Bill No. 945 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE SOUTH CENTRAL CONNECTICUT REGIONAL WATER AUTHORITY; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Development.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Mr. Speaker, with deference, I'd like to recognize -- I would yield the floor, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The House recognizes Representative Zupkus.

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

I request to recuse myself from this for a possible conflict of interest.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber will stand at ease.

The Chamber will return to the Call. Representative Lemar, I believe that you were getting ready to announce the bill, Calendar 601.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

I was. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question is on the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage. Please proceed.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the bill before us would allow the Regional Water Authority to expand past their current core services and invest in non-core business activities to seek both savings and new revenue sources to alleviate customers from what they anticipate to be pretty remarkable future rate hikes. We'll be authorizing these non-core business investments in agriculture and renewable energy sources. And I move for adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The motion before the Chamber is adoption. Will you comment further on the bill? Will you comment further on the bill? Representative Zawistowski, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill would allow the water company to access new revenue sources in order to offset future rate increases. It was passed unanimously in Planning and Development and I recommend passage. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Will you comment further on the bill before us? Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar, please prepare yourself. Representative Hoydick, please proceed, ma'am.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the good Chairman of P&D, could you explain non-core business activities in this bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker. DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Non-core business activities relate to investments in business activities that are not core to the essential mission of providing water to their customers.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And through you, Mr. Speaker. This excludes only one class I renewable resource. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. It excludes the RWA's investment in one class I renewable resource, yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the good Chairman for his answer. Why was that resource excluded?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill is a result of multiyear negotiations between the Regional Water Authority, the Governor's Office, impacted communities across the district, and Representative and elected officials from those districts. It was the determination that in order to get everyone onboard, this was one of the investments that people wished for the RWA to not make.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And in line with that thought, it seems to me that this would be permission only for this water company and not extending this moratorium for others. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you. So just reiterate again, the exclusion of that class I renewable resource is just for this particular water company and should not be interpreted to mean that other water companies could exclude that class I resource if they were truly to use a renewable energy generation process.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Mr. Speaker, through you. The good Representative has it exactly right.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

I thank the kind gentleman for his answers, and thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will you comment further on the bill before us? Representative Ferraro of the 117th, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar, please prepare yourself please.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, to the proponent of the bill. I was just curious for my own edification. Why is it necessary to have this legislation to begin with? Why is it important? Why can't the water company invest in these other investments already? Why do we have to do this?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you. The RWA is a quasi public agency established through a special act and charter. This type of investment is not allowed under the definitions within that permission. And so in order to allow them to make these investments, we need to amend their charter.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for his answer. So the need for the RWA to proceed into these additional investments is because they're in currently need of revenue?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through yes -- through you, yes. They are currently precluded from these types of investments. They've determined that in order to keep up with rising costs associated with providing clean and potable water to all of their end users, they're faced with the conflicting choice of having to raise water rates or find alternate means to raise revenue. They feel, and the Planning and Development Committee felt, and negotiations with impacted communities across the RWA's district felt that the types of investments they're seeking to make would limit both what the rate payers would have to pay in ongoing years and also provide a reasonable investment in clean energy sources that -- if communities were behind.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the gentleman for his answer. And so this -- RWA is a quasi public organization and I guess the next question I would have was if we approve this bill today and give this organization, the quasi public organization, the right to invest in these alternative investments, are we paving the way for the floodgates to open for all the rest of the quasi public organizations?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. No, I do not believe so at all. Again, this bill is a result of numerous years' worth of conversations between impacted communities within the district, legislators from these communities, the Governor's Office, environmental organizations, rate payers throughout the district and the RWA. I believe it represents what the best of intentions can yield, which is when everyone coming together and recognizing the challenges in front of them. All communities, all stakeholders were in place and onboard with making these changes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And again I thank the gentleman for his answers. I'm going to listen to the rest of the debate and decide what to do with this bill. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Will you comment further on the bill before us? Will you comment further on the bill before us? Representative France of the 42nd, sir.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just have one question for the proponent, through you?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

I guess the question I have is why we're singling out this particular Regional Water Authority. If it's good for one Water Authority, why aren't we just broadly allowing permissively through every Regional Water Authority to take advantage of this opportunity?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you. Again, this was the years of -- the result of multiple years of negotiations amongst community members, impacted constituencies, environmental organizations and residents throughout the impacted district. Legislators in this body and the body upstairs were part of these negotiations and we felt that the RWA had made a specific and justifiable cause for this consideration under the limitations of their special act. We have made these accommodations in concert and agreement with the impacted constituencies. I think that if other water authorities or quasi public agencies want to follow the model that was established by the RWA, that would be in good practice. But we did not want to determine for anyone other than those who were party to the negotiations what they would be allowed in their districts.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

And I thank you for that answer. I guess the question I have at this point is my understanding was this was permissive, not a mandate. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is exactly right. This is permissive language.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

I guess then I'm further confused. If it's good policy for the state to allow a Regional Water Authority that's permissive and active locally, why that policy, as I said, would not be broadly as opposed to carving out south central Connecticut and then potentially having to come back at the request because it's a good idea? If we think it's good policy, why didn't we just make it generic to all Regional Water Authorities, all quasi public Regional Water Authorities across the state?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the practical realities of this is that each individual Water Authority is governed by their own separate special act charter, this applying to the Regional Water Authority is specific in nature and would allow us to, you know, make the policy choices that the communities, the impacted constituencies and the member towns thought was most appropriate for their town.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

I thank you for that. And so now that I -- maybe I should rephrase. So as I understand the proponent's response, each Regional Water Authority is enacted by a special act and therefore, in order to make this change, we would have to have individual legislation for each Regional Water Authority to enact this, as opposed to being able to broadly enact policy that would apply to all. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lemar.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you very much for that answer. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will you comment further on the bill before us? Will you comment further on the bill before us? If not, will staff and guests please come to the Well of the House? Will members please 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 BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 945, in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 145

Necessary for Passage 73

Those voting Yea 123

Those voting Nay 22

Those absent and not Voting 6

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The bill passes in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel) Representative Albis of the 99th, sir.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, upon recess, the House Democrats will be caucusing in room 207A.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Is there objection? Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And upon recess, the House Republicans will be caucusing in room 110.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With that, I move that we recess subject to the Call of the Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Is there objection to recess? Seeing none. Recess -- The Chamber will recess, subject to the Call of the Chair. Thank you.

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the House recessed at 2: 32 o'clock p. m. , to reconvene at the Call of the Chair. )

(The House reconvened at 3: 48 o'clock p. m. , Deputy Speaker Berger in the Chair. )

CLERK:

Five minutes. Members to the Chamber. The House of Representatives will reconvene in five minutes. Members to the Chamber.

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The House will reconvene. Announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Representative Hennessy.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. HENNESSY (127TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my fellow colleagues for their support in embracing this collection drive that went on today for the Help a Hero. It was very successful. They'll be leaving shortly. As we do -- as we have done in the last few years, Kim Rose - Representative Rose - is going to be passing the hat for those that might not have had the opportunity to make a donation. So this will be your opportunity now.

Furthermore, I would like to just mention that next week, Tuesday, June 6th, we will have our annual, as this will be our second year, Save a Suit drive in which professional clothing will be collected. This is an organization that helps vets prepare for job interviews, with training, and with outfitting them with suits and professional clothing. So don't forget, Tuesday, to bring in the clothes that you might be interested in donating. They'll go to veterans. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative Hennessy, and thank you for all that you do for veterans both on the

Committee and in your work outside of the Committee. Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I apologize for my microphone not working, but that seems to be the way that my predecessor left the desk.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Do you have an introduction, sir?

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Yes I do, sir. I would like to introduce the Chamber to my dear friend. This young man, Ian Quickmire-Pettigrew, is visiting us today. He lives in New Haven, but he's followed the team from New Britain to Hartford and is now an employee of the Hartford Yard Goats, which I hear is a very successful team, even though they're not in New Britain anymore, but separate from them. Please give my friend, Ian, a nice, warm welcome. Ian Quickmire-Pettigrew, thank you. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber will stand at ease.

The House will come back to order. Representative LeGeyt, for a purpose of an introduction, sir, I believe?

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the House's indulgence to fit in this announcement and introduction that I have to make. I want the House to recognize and receive the Canton High School girls basketball team, who are the -- these young women are the Class S State Champions, SIAC, and this is not the first time that they've won the State Championship. They have been in the State Finals for three years in a row.

And frankly, I would be remiss if I didn't include a reference to the team that they played against all three of those years, the Thomaston girls basketball team, who are represented today by Representative Piscopo. And it turns out that in the last three years, those two teams have played each other successively in the State Finals for the Class S Championship, which is a -- not only a school record, but a state record for consistency of similar teams in the State Finals.

Two years ago, they played each other and Thomaston won, narrowly. Last year they played each other and Canton won. And so this year they played each other and Canton won again. So I'm so pleased to have them here. I'd like to introduce a couple of the players and the coach; first of all, the coach, Brian Medeiros. (Applause) And I have three seniors that I'd like to introduce. I'm not sure they're all here. Is Leah Eschenbrenner here? Leah couldn't come. Must be doing senior finals or something, you know. Abbey Skinner? I didn't see her either. Okay.

So the senior class is represented today by Emily Briggs. Stand up Emily. (Applause) And if you would, stand up and stay standing for a minute. Emily is not only the strong senior on the team, but she has been named the All State Connecticut High School Coaches Association choice for Player of the Year. The first time in a long time that that's happened for a Class S player. And in doing that, in getting that designation, she finished second in all-time scoring in Canton High School. So we've been very lucky to have her as a player on the team and next year she's headed to Tufts. I think that's it. Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask that my colleagues offer these players and coach our usual warm welcome. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. The Chamber would like to congratulate these student athletes and their victories and their championships, and look forward to a bright future. Thank you, Representative. Representative D'Agostino, did you wish to speak, sir?

Return to the Call. Would the Clerk please call Emergency Certified Senate Bill 1059?

CLERK:

On page 49, House Calendar 610, Emergency Certification No. 1059 - AN ACT CONCERNING DEFICIT MITIGATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good afternoon, ma'am.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Mr. Speaker, I move passage of Emergency Certified Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The motion before the Chamber is passage of Emergency Certified Senate Bill 1059. Please proceed, ma'am.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, before you I am presenting the Deficit Mitigation package that has been passed through the Senate. OFA is projecting a $ 317 million dollar deficiency for this year, 2017. The Emergency Certified Bill before you, Senate Bill 1059, addresses the deficit as follows:

The bill before us transfers $ 93 million dollars from various fund accounts that we have; $ 2. 3 million dollars in expenditure reductions, two different accounts, and also takes $ 222 million dollars out of the Budget Reserve Fund. Mr. Speaker, the bill before us addresses the deficiency that we have for 2017. Thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further on Emergency Certified Bill 1059? Representative Ziobron of the 34th.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, we're here today after a very long process through some conversations with not just our friends on the other side of the aisle, but in the Chamber upstairs as well. But we have to kind of back up to understand how we got here in the first place. And I would submit to you, we got here in the first place because structural changes that our Caucus has offered year after year have not been implemented.

I was reading comments from my colleagues in the Senate Democrat Caucus and was surprised to see them right that this deficit creeped up on us. It caught us by surprise. Nothing could be further from the truth. This deficit isn't a surprise. Not to those of us who have been paying attention, raising the warning flag, being accused of being the party of "No", being accused of constantly talking about negativity.

I was saying to a constituent of mine the other day -- it is not easy to keep sharing stories like I do with my constituents. I don't take pleasure in that. Nobody on this side of the aisle takes pleasure in reminding our constituents how bad our fiscal crisis is. But it is the reality that we're facing today and certainly, as legislators, we have a responsibility even though we may be cleaning up the mess from others.

When we go through this process, sometimes I'm chastised for trying to make a bad bill better. But in this case, it's critically important that we did so, because the Governor's proposal was punitive to every single school district in this state. Sweeping Pequot money and not giving that last payment to our schools, especially to districts that are home to state institutions like prisons and others, would have caused those districts to find a million dollars in 30 days. And that's not fair. So yes, this was an attempt and is an attempt at making a bad bill better.

So having the Pequot Fund sweep removed from the original plan is a good thing. Understanding the payment for our hospitals and why it would be considered a lapse, getting them in writing to tell us that they fully expect and have been promised full funding in the 2017 fiscal year. That's important. But I had to take a little pause when I saw one of the things the Governor chose to do, which was put up Governor's Bill No. 1 on the chopping block. Gap funding.

I remember when I was listening when he was elected and he kept talking about gap, gap, gap, gap, gap. Nobody even knew what that meant. How quickly things have changed - $ 47 million dollars - So when we went through that process with our colleagues, we all tried to make a bad bill better and I give credit to my colleagues for doing so. Whether it was removing the sweep to our State Park accounts, going after accounts that were raised by volunteers in a community, by staffing weddings, taking care of gardens, sweeping cobwebs up out of a castle, all of those individual funds were in the original Deficit Mitigation Plan. They have been removed and that's a good thing.

A sweep of our employment day services, which is critical funding for children who have a variety of disabilities. That was taken out. That's a good thing. Taking out sweeps for the Community Investment Act. I don't understand why the Governor and others keep going to that account for sweeps when we've been told over and over again that even though that account shows a balance, it's actually been earmarked and allocated for throughout the state. That's a good thing.

I'm appreciative of the policy that's in this document because it's important to me and my Caucus, which is one-time revenue should not be deposited into the General Fund. It should be deposited into the Rainy Day Fund. A $ 14 million dollar, one-time settlement should not be counted on as revenue. This document does that. That's a good thing.

But there's still a couple of bad things in this bill and we need to talk about those things. There's two accounts that don't have a ton of money in them that I feel tie up constitutional rights for those who want to be able to take advantage of their constitutional right for the Second Amendment. It's not a lot of money. I'm surprised it's still in this bill. We need to talk about that, and I know we will be as this conversation goes forward.

There's a couple other things that we keep doing here that I just point out to you, I wonder as a policy, what the message is to the Connecticut taxpayer. We continue to raid the Tobacco Health Trust Fund; a significant amount of dollars. We talk about some other individual accounts as we're -- this building is buzzing with talks of casinos. We look at raiding the fund for folks who are addicted to gambling. What is the message we're sending to taxpayers when we are putting together a Deficit Mitigation plan, sweeping those kinds of accounts? Because frankly, we don't have many good choices with 30 days left to go in the fiscal year.

Which is why I have said it over and over again in this Chamber, we should've been dealing with these things a long time ago, simply because our choices would've been better. So Mr. Speaker, I know that there's several of my colleagues that have a number of questions. I want to give them the opportunity to ask those questions and I reserve the right to stand up for the second time. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank -- Mr. Speaker, I rise for some specific questions I think Representative Ziobron alluded to, two sweeps in particular. In section 47 and 48 of the bill, we have a $ 150,000 dollar sweep for pistol permits, and in section 49 we have a $ 150,000 dollar sweep for ammunition certificates. And I was wondering if the good Representative could just explain what those accounts are.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I thank the good gentleman from North Branford for those questions. The number 47 is a pistol permit for pictures for -- and the costs and the fee that are applied. And that fee is $ 10 dollars per certification. And the 49th one, which is the ammunition certification, is a fee for ammunitions that have to be registered with the state, and that is $ 35 dollars. Just to point out to the good gentleman that the sweep of $ 150,000 dollars in the pistol permits still leaves a balance of 273, so it doesn't impede the process that is needed or the monies that are needed to continue the process. And then for the ammunition certification of the $ 150,000 dollars still leaves $ 42,000 dollars in the account, again so that it can continue to provide the services that are required under those two sweeps.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate those answers. And as I understand it, both of those accounts are separate and nonlapsing accounts by statute. Does the Representative know why we have that structure set up in law?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Allowing the monies to be accumulated and allowing the monies to be available in times of need also is important. I think the important thing in this process is the fact that when we have shortfalls, just like at home, sometimes we have to shift dollars. And by doing that, that's where we use the nonlapsing accounts.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think those are the only questions I have at this point. You know, this issue I think became aware to many individuals in the Finance Committee when the Governor's first proposed budget had sought to significantly increase pistol permit fees into the ranges of over $ 300 dollars. And in doing a little bit of research, it first came to our attention that most states do not charge exorbitant amounts of money for a pistol permit. And in fact, Connecticut would've been the highest in the nation had we adopted that policy.

But the Finance Committee did not move that policy forward. One of the concerns that we had, and, you know, I certainly had looked into and discussed with Secretary Barnes during a public hearing, was the fact that what was so egregious about it and what was of concern is that there is standing case law that provides that an exercise in constitutional rights, states can't charge individuals for those rights. And the case law really generated out of the discriminatory practice of voting, when states had issued -- implemented poll taxes that would require an individual to pay in order to be able to vote. And the Supreme Court has said that is a violation of one's constitutional right.

And so as a carryover into that legislation, we sort of have the same issue potentially with gun permits, because individuals are required to get those permits in order to exercise their Second Amendment rights. And one of the ways, certainly, if people don't want individuals to exercise their Second Amendment rights, similar to when states didn't want certain individuals to vote, they would increase the fees and make is cost prohibitive for people to be able to exercise those rights.

And as a result, that has been litigated time and again. Just recently, in Kwong v Bloomberg, in New York City, the issue was litigated because the City of New York had increased its permit fees to an exorbitant amount of money. And in that case, -- that case had cited a Supreme Court case. And what is stated was that the Supreme Court has held that government entities, they may impose licensing fees relating to the exercise of constitutional rights when their fees are, "designed to meet the expense incident to the administration of the licensing statute and to the maintenance of public order in the matter licensed. "

So as this case said, put it another way. Imposing fees on the exercise of constitutional rights is permissible when the fees are designated to defray and do not exceed the administrative costs of regulating the protected activity.

One of my concerns here is that this sweep that we're actually taking, and although, you know, as the good Representative pointed out, there's money left in that account, we are essentially profiting or taking money away from the permitting process and diverting it to the General Fund, which I would argue is not constitutionally permissible, that those monies need to stay in that nonlapsing account and only be administered for the purposes of issuing these permits.

And so with that concern, the Clerk is in possession of LCO 8133, and I ask that it be called and I be allowed to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber will stand at ease.

The Chamber will return to the Call. Clerk, please call LCO 8133, designated Senate Amendment "A". Excuse me. House "A". Excuse me.

CLERK:

House Amendement Schedule "A", LCO No. 8113, offered by Representative Klarides, Representative Candelora, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this amendment seeks to replace those two sections, sections 47 and 49, by eliminating those sweeps and instead transferring $ 300,000 dollars from the Tax Credit Film Production Account that's administered by DECD in order to balance the Deficit Mitigation Plan and I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The motion before the Chamber is adoption of the amendment. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Mr. Speaker? If I may, I just wanted to finish my remarks?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Oh! I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Representative. Excuse me.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I apologize. Mr. Speaker, I think the concern that we certainly have here today is that we need to make sure that the exercise of a Second Amendment right is affordable. If we begin sweeping these accounts, which are really segregated and left there for the purposes of exercising those rights, that eventually next year we may see as a proposal again to increase permit fees. I think as it was pointed out and through research, there is no other state in the country that charges the amounts that Connecticut charges in order to exercise this constitutional right.

In fact, New York City is the only, I would say, entity that charges more than any other state. And so I think it sets a bad precedent to begin sweeping these monies and setting us potentially up for a constitutional challenge. And when I ask that the vote be taken, it be taken by roll.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question before our Chamber is a roll call vote. All those in favor signifying by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The twenty percent has been met. When the vote is taken, it will be taken by roll. Will you comment further on the amendment before us? Will you comment further? Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I thank the good gentleman for, you know, his amendment and his words, and I understand the passion that he has. But I did a quick research on fees for guns, and just quickly I found 11 other states that had either the same or more. And I believe New York and specifically in New York City also, it's more than us, the cost of the Connecticut. And I understand that we want to protect the things that we hold very much near and dear to us in this thing -- in this process. But there are many things in this -- in these sweeps that many of us probably would find objectionable. And, you know -- and as we go through them, there are so many. There are pretrial accounts. There are the court reimbursements. There are school bus seatbelt accounts.

I guess I demonstrate that to show you that many of the things in here, because of the circumstance, because our revenues were not able to cover the complete cost for 2017, we had to make some adjustments. Do we take the money totally out of these accounts? No sir. Do we eliminate these accounts and underwrite the importance of it? No. But what we are doing is trying to meet the needs of our fiscal responsibility for this year so that we move into 2017 in a balanced way. So with that, I urge my colleagues to reject the amendment. Through -- thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Will you comment further on the amendment before us? Will you comment further on the amendment before us? Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just had some questions for the proponent of the underlying bill so I can ascertain the need for the amendment. If I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The motion before the Chamber is on the amendment. On the underlying bill you would have to wait until we come back to the bill after we make a vote on the amendment that's before the Chamber.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Mr. Speaker, the proponent of the underlying bill is opposed to the amendment and has made representations as to her opposition, and therefore I ask to be able to question as to her representations. Otherwise, I could go to the proponent of the amendment, but I don't think that he has made those representations.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, sir. Representation was made that other states had higher fees, specifically New York was described. If I may ask, what other states have those higher fees?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the good gentleman from Wallingford for that question. Yes, I did -- like I said, I did a quick overview. It was very quick because I was trying to look at this. Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and then New York and New York City, and the ranges are between $ 35 dollars and $ 100 dollars each.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I note that the first state that was described by the good proponent of the bill was Indiana, and OLR happened to put together a report, dated March 30th of 2017, so mere months ago, as to the fees, and Indiana, specifically, is, based upon that report, less than Connecticut. And I believe many of the other states that were described are also less. But moving forward from there, the ammunition certificates themselves, what are they used for? I believe I heard from the proponent of the bill a proposed use or a purported use. And if I could know what ammunition certificates in Connecticut are for?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too am looking at an OLR report. So I just want to make sure that I'm clear on what I am reporting to the good gentleman from Wallingford because I don't want to misrepresent. But I'm looking. Unfortunately, I'm looking at it through an iPhone because I don't have my laptop here. So my older eyes aren't very clear, but it says permit to carry a pistol $ 40 dollars. Permit to carry a handgun for lifetime is $ 125 dollars. So that's just one of the states that I'm looking at. So I just wanted to make sure that -- and I'll be glad to share this report with the good gentleman so that he can see that.

But through you, Mr. Speaker. Could the good gentleman please repeat the question that he had? I thought we were talking about the amendment. But I'm confused as to how we have this discussion on the amendment -- on the bill without having the addressing on the amendment. But I'm perfectly willing to talk about anything, so. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Please ask the good gentleman to please repeat the question on the underlying bill that we're trying to amend.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Fishbein, you would have to direct your comments towards the amendment. We can query the bill, either amended or under amended, when we get back to the bill. So I don't know if you'd like to redirect your question in another way on the amendment that's before us.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. But first of all, the amendment specifically deals with the line having to do with ammunition certificates, and therefore the question is certainly relevant as to, and representations were made as to the ammunition certificates. So I adopt the question, or I recall the question. But before we get there, I just want to point out that Connecticut's fee is $ 140 dollars. And I believe the representation from the good Representative was that Indiana is $ 125 dollars, and that's certainly lower.

But moving back to the question, what is the use of ammunition certificates in Connecticut?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

I'm sorry. I apologize, cause I wanted to look back down. But Through you, Mr. Speaker, I promise I will listen intently this time. Could the good gentleman from Wallingford just state -- restate this -- the question? I apologize, Mr. --

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Fishbein, could you restate --

REP. WALKER (93RD):

The question.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Yes, I shall. What is an ammunition certificate used for in Connecticut?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'm not totally versed in this, but I do believe that we are required to register our ammunition with the state so that they are aware of what items you have in your home that could be classified in this way.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll represent that that's not true. While some members of this Chamber would have that happen, that is not currently the law in Connecticut. One who wants to purchase ammunition is required in the State of Connecticut to have an ammunition certificate. So -- and Mr. Speaker, just so that you are aware, you know, I come to the Chamber with a lot of knowledge in this area in that for the last five years I've been the Vice Chair and the Secretary of the Board of Firearms for the state. And I've also, for many years, practiced gun rights litigation.

So moving forward from there, why have monies accumulated in this account?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Could you repeat that, sir?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Could you repeat that, Representative, a little bit louder so that -- I think we're having a little trouble hearing in the back of the Chamber.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yeah.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Sure. Why have monies accumulated in this account for ammunition certificates?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. What we do when we collect fees, we put them into an account. And any fees or things that are needed to support what this certificate or license is, are paid for through that account, whether it be staffing, whether it be photocopying, stamps, envelopes, paper.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I heard a representation early on that there's additional monies in this account over and above the $ 150,000 dollars and I inquire as to how much more than the $ 150,000 dollars is left in this account.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Well, let me just figure out. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Are we talking about the ammunitions specifically or are we talking about the gun license?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

We're just talking about the ammunition certificate, line 49. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Currently, there is $ 42,897 dollars still in the account. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And is the representation of the good Representative that draws against this account are made on a somewhat periodic basis, based upon staffing of the SLFU which issues ammunition certificates?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure the good gentleman probably has more knowledge of this because I don't know exactly what would go into much more in certifying the ammunition and I don't -- I'm not saying that I wouldn't, but when you have these types of accounts, then you are allowed to charge fees in these accounts that are directly related to the maintenance of the certification or the license.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, by way of comment, I am in favor of the amendment that's before us. I'll bring to your attention that over the past five years the budget for the Board of Firearms has been cut and it's at a quarter of what it is. This money should be used for that, as they are unable to conduct as many hearings as they are statutorily required to do so. And I'm a little distressed that we have the accumulation of money that's, in my opinion, inappropriate. So thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. We have several Representatives on the board to speak. We're on House Amendment "A". For those that would like to speak on House Amendment "A". There's no other members that want to speak on House Amendment "A"? Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we are here again talking about a bill to directly infringe on the constitutional amendments -- constitutional rights of the people of this state. We have enacted laws in this state that are much more strict than virtually any other state in this nation, imposed on a constitutional right of the people of this state. And what those laws say is that the people of this state need to ask permission from the government to buy a box of shells to go rabbit hunting. We have to go ask permission. And the way we do that is we have to go and get a permit, a permit to buy a box of shells! And when we go and we get that permit, we spend our money. We give our money to the government for permission to buy a box of shells to go rabbit hunting!

And where does that money go? Well that money goes into a fund. And the fund is supposed to be used to process the applications. It's supposed to be used so when somebody goes and applies for this permit, that money is used to process that application, provide the citizen with his permit to go buy a box of shells to go rabbit hunting. And under the United States Constitution, we cannot charge the people of this state more money than it costs to process that application. We can't profit on the infringement of a constitutional right. Clearly, that's what we're trying to do right now.

We are taking the money that was specifically designated to process these applications, that was taken from the people of this state in violation of their constitutional rights. It was taken from them for the purpose of processing these applications. And we're saying, well, we're not gonna use that money for that purpose anymore. We're gonna use it to fill another hole in the dike because we didn't do a good job budgeting in the first place. We didn't do a good job projecting how much revenue we're gonna take in. So now we're gonna take this money from the people of this state, in violation of their constitutional rights, and we're gonna make money on them. And we're not only gonna do it for ammunition, but we're gonna do it for firearms also. People get a pistol permit.

Everywhere in this country, people are allowed to lawfully carry firearms. In Connecticut, we say, well, you need to have a permit to do so. How do we do that? We charge them a fee. A person wants to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms; they have to pay a fee to the state. They have to ask permission from the state to exercise that constitutional right. And where does that money go? It goes into a fund. A fund designed to process those applications. And what are we doing? We're trying to sweep that money into another hole in the dike.

How are we gonna process those applications without the money? Isn't that the whole point of collecting this money, is to process the applications? So if we sweep this fund, we've got no money to process the applications. The next person who goes to apply for a permit to exercise their constitutional rights is gonna have a hard time getting their permit, getting permission from the government to exercise those rights! That money should stay in those funds. If we are going to demand that the people of this state ask the government for permission to exercise their constitutional rights, we have an obligation, we have a duty, we have a constitutional obligation to use that money for that purpose.

This amendment respects the constitutional rights of the people of this state. Without it, this bill does not. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Case of the 63rd.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A few questions to the good Chairman of Appropriations if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker, if you could prepare yourself. Representative Case, please proceed.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I will stick germane just to this amendment that's on the floor. Many of us have spoken just now on the pistol permits and the fees. So, Madam Speaker -- or, Mr. Speaker, through you. We are taking $ 150,000 dollars from permits for fees from one group of people in the State of Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. We're taking fees from an account, a line account, in the General Fund, the ammunition.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

In line 47, that's not the ammunition account that I am speaking on. Through you, Mr. Speaker. There are two accounts within the same caliber, if you may, Mr. Speaker. Is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank -- through you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the good gentleman from Torrington. Yes. But, I'm sorry, I was trying to follow because I thought we were talking about ammunition with the other good gentleman, so that's why I made that mistake, so. Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Line 47, are the pistol permits.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So we're looking to take $ 150,000 dollars from monies that were collected from good law-abiding citizens to get their pistol permits. We also are looking to raise that in the possible budget up to 400 percent. With that said, the money in this amendment that's coming from tax credits, where does that money come from?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I believe the good gentleman is talking about a bill that was not voted out of the Finance Committee. That bill did not reach the floor of the House or the Senate. So I just wanted to point that out.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

I understand that and that's why I posed that we were looking. But my main question was where do the tax credit dollars come from that are in this amendment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Could the good gentleman please point out the tax credits that are in this bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Mr. Speaker, through you. In the amendment, we are looking to take monies from the tax credit of $ 300,000 dollars to fill in where we're taking out. Are those tax credits dollars that affect every person in the State of Connecticut? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I realize the confusion. This is not my amendment. This is the good gentleman that presented this earlier, his amendment. So I don't know where the tax credits are coming from. This is not my proposal.

So through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will end with a comment on that. In the amendment, we get rid of monies that come from one group on paying fees for permits. Those fees are paid in order to take care of things in the Department of Public Safety so that people can get their permits and it doesn't hold things up. I believe the amendment, going through the tax credit process, will take dollars that will affect everybody in the State of Connecticut, not just one certain group. So I urge my colleagues to approve this amendment and not just single out one revenue stream and let all take part in this deficit mitigation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative MacLachlan on House Amendment "A".

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, I understand the necessity for different government fees. You know, in the case of a pistol permit, requires government time, effort and labor to process the permits, because we want to make sure that folks that have a pistol know how to use it and don't hurt themselves or others. I understand all that. but I also understand that for several government services, we ask citizens and taxpayers to chip in a little bit, whether that be a dedicated fund for the Community Investment Act funded through municipal lands permitting.

But we also have this really bad habit when things get tight. After telling the people that dollars will be used for a particular purpose, get spent elsewhere. And the amendment is looking to address one such mistake that I think we make, by diverting dedicated funds into the General Fund when things get tight. And I think that hurts our credibility in a lot of ways and doesn't do much to build confidence on behalf of the taxpayer.

Now, my understanding of the underlying amendment -- I'm sorry, the amendment on the floor right now, is that should this amendment go down, OPM and the underlying bill passes. OPM will be allowed to sweep $ 150,000 dollars from the ammunition certificate account and then credit those funds to the General Fund. If I may, Mr. Speaker, ask a question on the nature of these ammunition certificate account to the proponent of the underlying bill?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Yes, sir. So you would like to question Representative Walker on her opposition to the amendment in regards to the ammunition account?

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Yes sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Could the good gentleman from Westbrook repeat his question? Because I'm not sure exactly what I'm answering. Through you. Again, I want to point out that I'm talking about an amendment that I did not bring in. I just want to make sure that everybody understands that. (Laughs) Okay.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good gentleman from Westbrook.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Yes, again, just for the record. If you're gonna direct a question to Representative Walker, it would be to Representative Walker in her opposition to the amendment that's before the Chamber. If you wish to ask a question concerning the amendment, we would have to turn to the proponent of the amendment.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Yes sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Okay. So if you could rephrase to Representative Walker.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Yes sir. Absolutely. Through you, Mr. Speaker. To what end does the funding of the ammunition certificate account serve? To the good Chairwoman, through you, Mr. Speaker. In other words, through you, Mr. Speaker, what does the ammunition certificate account do?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I am -- again, I will restate that I am not exactly aware of what it does and what it pays for except for the fact that it is part of two certificates that are required or licenses that are required if you have a gun permit and if you want to purchase ammunition. I believe both of them are used towards background checks or fingerprints or photocopies or staffing that is required to process this. So I'm not very well versed. I'm sure the good gentleman from Westbrook could probably tell me. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, that's the best that I could do.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative MacLachlan.

REP. MACLACHLAN (35TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate it and I thank the good Chairwoman for her answers and I'm sure with a little bit more digging, I'd be able to understand that better. As I stated previously, I think we're gonna get ourselves into trouble by digging into dedicated funds when things get tight. But what I'm really concerned with is if this fund does intend to facilitate government permitting administrative duties, and we've already raised the revenue from the taxpayer, and we're gonna spend it elsewhere, I think we're in danger of raising government revenue on a constitutional right and I think those are waters we need to be really careful before we go forward. So I would urge my colleagues to think this amendment long and hard and I encourage all of my colleagues to support it. Thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. On House Amendment "A", Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today, Mr. Speaker, in strong support of this amendment that is before us. I've been listening to this debate and reflecting on where we are in this debate at this point and time. I want to bring attention to the Chamber that every morning we begin our day by pledging our allegiance to the Flag. We all know and believe in our Constitution. We all know the rights that the Constitution affords each and every one of us. And what this amendment does, plain and simple, Mr. Speaker, is makes sure that our constitutional rights are preserved for each and every one of us in this Chamber and across the state.

I rise in strong support of the amendment and I hope that this Chamber, realizing the value, the importance of the next vote, will make the right decision in supporting this amendment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Sredzinski of the 112th, sir.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On the amendment, a question to the proponent of the amendment, the Representative from the 86th District, please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Candelora, please prepare yourself. Representative Sredzinski, please proceed with your question, sir.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The amendment that you proposed, Representative, eliminates sweeps of the Pistol Permit Fund and the Ammunition Certificate Fund and makes up the difference from an account called the Tax Credit Film Production account. And my question is how has that account been spent in the last two years? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this account is primarily used for the marketing of film festivals. In fiscal year '16, $ 46,000 dollars was spent and in fiscal year '17, $ 20,000 dollars was spent.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Sredzinski.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the proponent of the amendment for his answer. And I think that that was a clear indication of the fact that we should all be supporting this amendment. We're talking about a marketing account for film festivals in the State of Connecticut, something that has not been fully spent in either of the last two years. Versus two accounts that are being swept that are used by primarily people who have sought after pistol permits and are following the laws of our state. I think it's very important. There is at least some controversy and some question about the constitutionality of the sweeping of those accounts and I think it's very important that this amendment passes, and I urge my colleagues to support it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Sampson of the 88th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of the amendment before us also. And I don't want to tread too far over ground that's already been covered. But I just want to reiterate the necessity of the amendment before us. I think that some people may be under the impression that because this issue affects the Second Amendment in some way that that is raising concerns over those specific issues. And while that's true, and I'm sure no one's surprised to see me standing before you speaking in favor of this amendment, as I known as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment as well, the reason why I'm here is for other reasons.

It is because I believe that supporting this amendment is key to preventing further implications and problems for the State of Connecticut going forward. And I would encourage those listening to me to give strong consideration to whether or not this is the right choice for Connecticut, and not whether or not this amendment is here for any other reason but that.

It's been brought to our attention that sweeping the funds from those two accounts, the pistol permit account and also the ammunition certificate account, could run us afoul of the law. There is case law and precedent that was mentioned by the proponent of the amendment. I've got it here before me. It's in a case called Kwong v Bloomberg. It's very, very simply stated. It says, "The Supreme Court has held that governmental entities may impose licensing fees related to the exercise of constitutional rights when the fees are designed to," and this is the important part, "to meet the expense incident to the administration of the licensing statute and to the maintenance of public order in the matter licensed. "

I think you can read that to say that no money can be used for any other purpose in that case or context. And by virtue of us sweeping that account, taking that money from what its intended use is; and I believe those accounts were set up that way on purpose and for that reason, we are doing exactly the opposite of what this law says. We would be using that money as revenue for the State of Connecticut. And I just think it makes common sense, whether you're concerned about the Second Amendment or not. This particular sweep can get us in trouble. The sweep of the Film Tax Credit account will not.

I understand that we're in this position of debating the Deficit Mitigation Plan and the proposed sweeps. And it's become somewhat controversial because of the timeframe. There's only 30 days to go in the fiscal year and therefore there are very few places to take this money from to make up the deficit. I get all that. but in the process of doing so, I would urge caution and careful consideration that we're not gonna create a further burden on the taxpayers of this state by inviting a lawsuit, which I think will happen unless this amendment passes.

So please, my colleagues, think ahead. I think this is a very, very good amendment. I understand the concern with adopting here in the House and that causing the bill to have to go back upstairs to the Senate to be voted on again. But it's the right thing to do. We can certainly accomplish it and I think it's the right move for our state and the taxpayers going forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too have been listening to the debate here and have been considering this amendment with regards to the underlying bill, and the choice becomes a pretty obvious choice. Between choosing an account that is little used, as Representative Sredzinski said earlier, and the account that has plenty of money to be -- to accomplish to $ 300,000 dollars we need, versus an account that by sweeping the $ 300,000 dollars will put us in a position where we may be violating the Constitution.

With those things in mind, I do have a question for the Representative who opposes the amendment.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Walker, if you could please prepare yourself. Representative Ferraro, please proceed, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

How are you today, Ms. Walker?

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Great. (Laughs)

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you. And through you, Mr. Speaker, my question to the Representative in opposition to the amendment would be, do you believe the testimony you've heard today that the two accounts being designated for the purpose of either pistol permit -- collecting money for pistol permits and the administration thereof, and the other account, collecting money for ammunition certification and the administration thereof, do you believe comingling those fees with the General Fund would be in violation of the Constitution? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Yes. Representative, just to clarify. That was a question about fact, not a question about opinion.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you. I'll rephrase.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, sir. Representative Walker, rephrasing the question. Representative Ferraro, please proceed.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Sorry about that. So my question then through the Speaker would be, based on Constitutional law, does this amendment protect us from the possibility of constitutional fraud or constitutional crisis?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. First, I want to thank the good gentleman from West Haven, my neighbor, for that question. I want to address it in a couple of ways. Number one, I am not a constitutional lawyer. I do not have that background. I am a social worker. I can talk about how it affects the community, but outside of that, that is kind of where my foundations are. But as far as it impeding the requirement that is set up for these two accounts, in our system what we do sometimes is when an account within an agency has a shortfall, we then sometimes actually go to what's called the Connecticut Financial Advisory Council, and we move funding from different line items, which do not impede the process of the operation that is required for those areas. What it does is it helps us to always meet the bottom line.

So, in many areas, we do make transfers in order to meet our financial responsibilities here in the state. So I don't believe that by transferring any money right now into another account to address that impedes any of the things that were meant for the definition of these accounts for ammunition or for a gun permit.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good lady for her answers. My next question would be, has the Representative in --- well, I guess that would be crossing over into the underlying bill itself, so I'll save that question for later. With regards to the amendment that the Representative opposes, the suggested substitution for the theater -- theater account -- I forget what -- Film Tax Credit account. Has the -- does the Representative believe that by using this account in lieu of the other two accounts could prevent us from future litigation with regards to a possible future lawsuit?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Sorry, the microphone was off. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I thank my good friend and neighbor from West Haven for that question. We -- I do not believe that the necessity of going to another line item. I just want to point out that we did talk about this and the bill that we are talking about passed unanimously in the Senate. So I believe that in regards to this movement out of these two accounts does not eliminate the funding, it does not stop the process of registering to your ammunition or registering your gun or asking for an application.

It is just a transfer because of the immediacy that we have right now at the end of the year. We are at the end of the month of May and we have a problem right now that we need to address. And so this is just one of, I believe, several accounts that we have actually gone after to try and address this fiscal responsibility that we have. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. I hope that helps the good gentleman from West Haven to understand my belief.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I certainly thank the good neighbor from New Haven for her comments. And I do recognize that a tremendous amount of work has gone into these line items that are being swept in order to deal with this deficit mitigation. I also understand that we are approaching the end of a session and this becomes more important because of the timing. But I also understand that the symptoms that led us up to where we are now began a long, long time ago and probably could have been avoided if we'd put our house in order earlier on.

I will have a couple of comments regarding what seems to me to be a situation that many people are struggling with here in this Chamber. And I think most people want to do the right thing and most people, as has been indicated earlier, -- I think the good doctor brought up the love for the Flag and the love for the Constitution. I don't think there's anybody in this Chamber that wants to knowingly violate the Constitution. So we have a question before us that is supported with case law and precedence that shows that to mingle these funds that were designated for the purpose of protecting a constitutional right. In other words, no one's arguing that the State of Connecticut doesn't have the right to charge for pistol permits or the right to charge for ammunition certification, although there may be some that really feel that that's unnecessary.

The problem is is that once the state has gone in that direction and has made a decision to make those charges, then according to precedence and case law, the money that's collected must be used for the administration thereof and the future permitting or certification of the items suggested. So by sweeping those items and putting them in the General Fund and allowing them to be spent on other items, becomes a question for many as to whether or not it will be a violation of the Constitution. And so many of us here are weighing on one hand whether we knowingly would like to pass a bill that would violate the Constitution, or whether there's another alternative that is much simpler to accomplish the same thing.

So based on that and the choices that I have, I will be supporting thi amendment wholeheartedly because I see it as a solution and it's a solution that, if the amendment is adopted, I can go home and sleep easy at night. Otherwise, I really don't think I would feel very comfortable with this at all. So through you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the time you gave me and the indulgence of this Chamber. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Wilson of the 66th.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'm gonna be very brief. I certainly would urge all my colleagues in the Chamber here today to support this amendment because I think its' a simple solution to the potential problem that we've now spent quite sometime talking about. I would also like to share this piece of information. And that's that as we've been sitting here, my email has been ticking, ticking, ticking with one email after another from folks who are watching this debate right now and telling me that they support this amendment. And I would guess that a number of our colleagues in the chamber are getting the same kind of emails. So, Mr. Speaker, I would support this amendment. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Orange of the 48th, madam.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've listened to part of this debate. I didn't hear all of the debate. And I have a problem here because, you know, in my area, the Second Amendment is a sacred amendment, as the rest of them are. But I don't understand where we have a constitutional problem. So if the proponent of the amendment could answer a question, I would appreciate it.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Candelora, if you could please prepare yourself. Representative Orange, please proceed with your question, ma'am.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the amendment. It's my understanding that we're just sweeping money and moving it from one account to another and I don't know -- is it because it's this particular account that there's a problem, because we do it with many accounts. So why is this -- why am I hearing that this is unconstitutional?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my concern is that the statutory construction of all of our permit fees, whether it be an ammunition permit or a gun permit, are set up by statute as separate nonlapsing accounts. So the money for all these fees are being collected, put into that account, kept separate from the General Fund, and they don't lapse each year. So the money just continues to roll and accumulate.

I think the reason why these particular permits are set up that way, as opposed to other licensing for like when you apply for a, you know, a hairdressing license or an attorney's license, is because this money needs to be segregated because under the United States case law, the Supreme Court has stated that you can charge individuals to exercise a constitutional right - in this case a Second Amendment right - however, those charges can only be to the extent needed to administer the permits for exercising that constitutional right.

And so by this action of taking that money from that account and moving it into the General Fund, we are potentially violating a constitutional right because that money is no longer necessarily being used to administer the permit, but it's being transferred to be used for something else. And I think that these types of transfers, we should just look at at a later date and that's why this amendment is proposed to use other money instead.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Orange.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the good Representative's answer to that, but you said "potentially" could cause a constitutional problem. So you're not 100 percent, through you, Mr. Speaker, sure it will create that problem?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, being an attorney and wearing my attorney hat, it's our courts that make the decision of whether something is actually constitutional or unconstitutional. So I used the word potentially because I would not be the arbiter of the facts of this situation. But based on the case law that I've read, I am concerned that we are setting ourselves up for that type of a challenge.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Orange.

REP. ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the good Representative, my good friend, Representative Candelora, for the answers to that particular question. I think I will continue to listen to the debate, but I still don't see where a sweeping an account has anything to do with a constitutional problem. We sweep accounts and move money accounts and move money around quite often around here to meet the bills and the needs of the state. And I'm just kind of surprised that this wasn't an issue in the Senate, where it was voted on, I believe, unanimously. So I will continue to listen. And I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Belsito of the 53rd, sir, you have the floor.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a proposal. I use the KISS system. I don't know if you know what the KISS system is. But anyway, I'll tell you if you want. But through you to the proponent of the --

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

You do have the floor, sir. (Laughter)

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Well thank you! Then I'll tell you. I like the KISS system because it's called keep it simple, stupid. So we can make a decision right here and now, if I could get an answer from the -- not the proponent of the bill, but from Representative Walker.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker, please prepare yourself. Representative Belsito, please proceed with your question, sir.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Here it is. This is a simple solution to this problem. We have $ 300,000 dollars, or $ 150,000 dollars coming out of the pistol permits and $ 150,000 dollars coming out of the ammunition. All we have to do is for Representative Walker to say - okay, we'll just switch it and you can take the $ 300,000 dollars from the Film Credit account. It's that simple. We've been talking about this for almost a couple of hours now. But that's a very simple solution. All she has to say is "yes". It's the same amount of money, we're just switching it. We don't have to go through a whole rigmarole of things. It's time to do the simple thing. And that's why I call it - keep it simple, stupid.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes. I thank the good gentleman from Tolland for the question. And first I just want -- I am the proponent of the bill, not the amendment. So I just wanted to make sure that you understood that. And I wish it was a KISS situation. In this regard, when we are using dollars, moving them from one area to another, we have to evaluate the lines to make sure that they are able to actually make those transitions. We have to review it. We have to talk to the Office of Fiscal Analysis to make sure that these lines can support any transitions or transfers that we make in this process.

The most important thing is we don't want to put something else out of whack that we will have to address at another point. So in the financial arena of doing these, we look at the lines and see - have we ever done this; are there areas where they -- that they can do; have they concluded all the business that they need for the year of 2017; are we - do we have other dollars coming back into the till that are going to be put into this account. And then when we go into the idea of moving to the next item that the good gentleman is referring to on the amendment, we're talking about taking $ 300,000 dollars from a Tax Credit Film Production. We have to find out is that tax credit paid through bonding or is paid through fees. Is it paid through allocations?

There are many, many things that we have to do in order to make sure that those lines are available. So I do appreciate the good gentleman's suggestion. But in this regard, it would not be wise for us to just move something without actually looking at the impacts that it has in any of the other things. So I thank the good gentleman for the question.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just have a few words to say. I am sure the proponent of the amendment has looked into this clearly and that there is no problem with taking the $ 300,000 dollars from the film. So it really is a very simple, easy, easy solution that we have spent an awful lot of time on. And you know time is valuable. And I'm sorry to say this, but I think we have just wasted a few hours. But thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in strong support of this amendment for several reasons. I just heard my good friend talk about making sure we really look at accounts and understanding the unintended consequences, and I couldn't agree more. Which is why when we are looking at offsetting this sweep, specifically looking at this film account, was purposeful because it's for marketing.

This account is used to market. It is not used for some real significant issue. While it's important to market this area, and it also leaves a balance of $ 170 -- roughly $ 170,000 dollars, so we are not sweeping the account and eliminating it. We're just simply swapping it out. And I would really hope it would be viewed as a friendly amendment because we are simply trading two accounts that have a potential of a constitutional issue for one account that's used for marketing in the State of Connecticut.

I listen to my neighbor and very good friend ask the proponent of the amendment questions regarding the constitutionality. And it kind of brought be back to my time in my local district, when I remember the Board of Finance there was talking about trying to build a Budget Reserve Fund. And back then, the idea was if you charged a little bit more, you could build a capital account for the town to purchase long-range items. And there were some people who said that's overtaxing. You are overtaxing the constituency.

So when you look at these two accounts for ammunition and licensing, the fact that these accounts are holding more money than it costs to actually run the programs, number one, that goes to the constitutionality. But number two, I just heard the good proponent -- the good Representative who has the knowledge on these issues talk about a two and a half year backlog - two and half year back log on cases before them. It's no surprise to OPM or the executive branch that these balances are there. So I would submit to you, why aren't they reallocating these dollars for the purposes that they were so collected? Why should legal, law-abiding gun owners have to wait two and a half years to have a case heard, while that organization is squeezed like a rock and we have hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting in accounts where you could actually say legal gun owners have been overtaxed for their constitutional right!? And that gets to the issue that we're talking about.

This doesn't have to be a moment where we're all gonna vote on party lines. This is simply a swap. This amendment takes an account, from one account $ 300,000 dollars, and swaps out a mistake in this DMP for $ 300,000 dollars. It's very simple! It doesn't have to be something that is partisan. Our constitutional rights are important regardless whether you want to own a firearm or not. But those who choose to be able to own their firearm should have an opportunity to understand what's really going on here.

And I would just say to you, last night I watched the Senate debate on this issue because I was still unsure, because we were waiting for information from OFA. And our friends in the Senate talked about this issue and I believe they were given inaccurate information. And the inaccurate information they were given was basically that this money was seed money that was put in for technology. You know me. I have it here at my desk. Trust, but verify.

So we called OFA this morning. I wanted to understand what exactly was that money used for. And clearly, the answer we have gotten twice now is that that money is from fees. So even if there was a little bit of seed money in there, it's intermingled. That's not right! We have an opportunity to fix it and send it back to the Senate so they can fix it too, because they were given inaccurate information. Let's fix it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative O'Neill of the 69th, sir, you have the floor on House Amendment "A".

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to make an observation about proper parliamentary procedure for the debates that we have here. There have been extensive references to the Senate, and in particular to the margin by which this bill passed when it was in the Senate. And according to Mason's section 112, subsection 2 -- I'm sorry, 11. Section 11, subsection 2, it's inappropriate for us to be quoting the margin of victory or passage of a piece of legislation in that other Chamber.

We make an independent decision in terms of how we're gonna vote on this. It's not relevant how the vote went in the other Chamber and whether or not they thought or didn't think that there was a constitutional issue because that's a decision that we have to make in this Chamber. It's part of our independent judgment that we have to make.

Inevitably, every bill passes one Chamber or the other, but each Chamber is supposed to make an independent decision about the merits of that matter. And really, Mr. Speaker, I didn't call a Point of Order during the course of these debates. But I really think that we should stop referring to how big a margin it passed by or didn't pass by in the Senate. It's up to us to decide this amendment and up to us to decide this bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative O'Neill, and the Chamber will take that under advisement. And you are correct in Mason's interpretation. So thank you for advising the Chamber. We concur. Will you comment further on the amendment before us? Representative Yaccarino of the 87th, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've been listening for the last couple of hours, like we have all said. And to me, this is such a common sense amendment. It potentially avoids a constitutional crisis as far as being a law suit for the folks that will call this a constitutional breach. So I stand in strong support. You have to make a choice. Do you do the right thing?

It looks like we're doing the right thing with the -- taking the money out of this fund. But really we have the choice of taking the money from the $ 38,000 dollars over the last two years from the tax credit, film tax credit, and I stand in strong support of this. It's common sense. It might be a little more difficult to go back up -- do it here and then go back upstairs, but it's the right thing to do. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Esteemed Minority Leader of House, Representative Klarides, you have the floor, madam.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I didn't really anticipate this amendment debate going as long as it did, but I think that will tell you how important this is. I think back to comments that the good Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee made in regards to making difficult decisions. And you've heard me say time after time that no matter whose ideas we're using or debating or discussing in regards to the budget, in particular, that they're all very difficult decisions and they are all very necessary decisions.

And when we make those decisions, we usually have a list of options to use in making them, although every day that goes by, with the budget deficit getting worse, that list gets smaller and smaller. But today, we have a very easy decision, which is something we don't run into very often. And although I understand and appreciate the content of this Deficit Mitigation Bill, we oftentimes and as we have since the Governor proposed his original Deficit Mitigation, we sit in rooms in this building and we - Republicans, Democrats, House and Senate - we go through the bill and we say, well you know, this ones' okay. We can agree on it. But we don't like this part. And usually the question is, well what will we use to replace it? Do you have the money to replace it?

And if we do and there's no real philosophical opposition, we replace it. Because the bottom line is we have a deficit we have to fix between now and June 30th and that's why we're standing here. But when we get to a part that we can say there's serious concerns with this, and not just because I don't like it or you don't like it, but because there is a potential for a constitutional problem. A constitutional problem! Not a problem with my district or somebody else's district. It's okay with me. It's not okay with you. Those are conversations we have every day. And to the good Representative's question to the proponent of the amendment, do you know for certain if this is a constitutional problem? No. But do we know that the potential is there? And it's not a little potential.

There's a reason that this line has not been swept before. I believe that reason is because of the constitutional implications. So we have a viable option. We have a replacement for the money. I don't think many people -- when this Deficit Mitigation Plan was put together, I don't think many people said - hey guys, I'm dying to cut the money out of this line! Let's take $ 150,000 dollars from each one because we should really take that money. I don't think that's how it happened. I think that we scour the budget to try and find a way to fix out deficit. I know we do that because I've done it for several years. We've all done it.

But today, we have one of the easiest choices we've had all session and probably will have the rest of session. Do we choose to take out $ 300,000 dollars and a potentially constitutional problem, and replace it with something much more benign? Or do we take a chance and go against our Constitution? I do not understand for the life of me why this debate has gone on. I don't. I understand why lots of debates go on. I get we all have very strong feelings on many issues. This is not one of them.

Take the money out. Replace it with the new choice. The bottom line is the same. We fix the deficit and we move on. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Majority Leader of the House, Representative Ritter of the 1st.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill comes down to us from the State Senate 36-0.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

As I indicated earlier, it is improper to refer to the margin by which a bill passed in the other Chamber. I just finished saying that about ten minutes ago. It's been going on all afternoon. I didn't call a Point of Order on earlier speakers. I raised it as a point of a debate. It is improper to refer to the margin by which it passed in the other Senate -- other Chamber. It's clear in Mason's. It's unparliamentary. And so I am raising a Point of Order.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Majority Leader Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My apologies. There's no disagreement on the rules and I apologize. And I will withdraw that comment. And I appreciate the good gentleman for raising that Point of Order. Mr. Speaker, thank you. Mr. Speaker, we looked at the -- there's been questions of constitutionality on this case. And granted we're doing a pretty good job of researching it pretty quickly. The particular case that is cited does not cite the proposition that I believe people have said on the other side of the aisle that it does. And as a matter of fact, in that case in New York, the fees were deemed legal, rational and reasonable, and they talked about how you used those fees. The question now has come into that can you remove it from one line item to another in the state budget? We have a rational basis here in Connecticut to charge fees for things like pistol and ammunition. No one is disputing that here.

The question is what do you use that money for? I asked OFA to tell us how much is in that account for the whole fiscal year. It is about $ 550,000 dollars. What we are saying is that the fees that we charge are rational to help defray the costs of the program. But there are no questions that there are other costs associated with running the program than just those in the account. So therefore, it's not enough to say that this is only account by which this program is administered. Thus, the constitutionality, I think, is not in doubt. It's rational. We are moving it to the General Fund, where there are other costs associated with running with said account and I believe a court would uphold it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, sir. Will staff and guests please come to the Well of the House? Will members please take your seats? The board 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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally. The Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Amendment “A”,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Adoption 75

Those voting Yea 73

Those voting Nay 75

Those absent and not Voting 3

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The amendment is rejected. (Gavel) Will you remark further on the bill before us? Will you remark further on the bill before us? Representative Ziobron of the 34th, you have the floor.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I really was -- was really hoping that we could take this as a friendly amendment today so I could support the good work that was put into this Deficit Mitigation Plan. Again, I go back to my earlier comments. We did take things out. We made something a little bit better. But with these provisions, these two sections still in the bill, I just can't support it and I'll be voting no. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further? If not, staff and guests please come to the Well of the House and 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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally. Representative Fusco of the 81st, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. FUSCO (81ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Sorry, just getting back from the funeral of a close friend of mine. I did the best I could to get back here as soon as I could. I'd like to cast my vote, if I may?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Fusco in the nay. The Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Bill 1059, in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 75

Those voting Nay 74

Those absent and not Voting 2

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The bill is passed in concurrence. (Gavel)

The Chamber will stand at ease.

CLERK:

The House of Representatives will reconvene in five minutes. Members to the Chamber. The House of Representatives will reconvene in five minutes. Members to the Chamber. The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately. Members to the Chamber. The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately. Members to the Chamber. DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The House will reconvene. Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Favorable report Senate Bills to be tabled for the Calendar.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that we waive the reading of the Senate favorable reports and the bills be tabled for the Calendar.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

So ordered. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call Calendar 528?

CLERK:

On page 33, Calendar 528, Senate Bill No. 817 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE CLAIMS AGAINST THE STATE OF JOANNE AVOLETTA, PETER AVOLETTA AND MATTHEW AVOLETTA; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Conley of the 40th.

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

REP. CONLEY (40TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a claim about a child who was ill in the school which had some mold which caused some lung damage. This claim did go up, was approved by the House and Senate, went up to Appellate and is back here again. We are just remanding it back for a hearing on the merits. There's a public purpose, so that education -- children in the education system are in good health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. Thank you, Representative. Will you comment further? Representative Storms of the 60th.

REP. STORMS (60th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to support this bill. It does serve the public purpose and I believe it should be supported and passed by the members of the House. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, sir. Will you comment further on the bill before us? Will you comment further on the bill before us? If not, will staff and guests please come to the Well of the House? Will members please take your seats? The board will be 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 BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 817, in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 144

Necessary for Passage 73

Those voting Yea 144

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 7

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Porter, for what reason do you rise, ma'am?

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to be cast in the yea, the affirmative please? Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please show Representative Porter in the affirmative in the transcript. Thank you. The bill passes. (Gavel) Representative Riley, for what purpose do you rise?

REP. RILEY (46TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to be recorded in the affirmative please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The transcript will please show Representative Riley in the affirmative. Return to the Call of the Chair. The Clerk will please call Calendar 419.

CLERK:

On page 22, Calendar 419, substitute House Bill No. 5992 - AN ACT CONCERNING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE EARNED RISK REDUCTION CREDIT PROGRAM; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

House Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Tong, you're recognized, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The motion before the Chamber is the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. Please proceed, Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill requires that by January 1st of 2018, the Commissioner of Correction provide recommendations to the General Assembly on measures to enhance the risk reduction -- earned risk reduction credit program, including the possibility of graduated sanctions for second and subsequent offenses, identifying offenses that could lead to a loss of credits or total loss of credits and improving compliance by inmates in our system with their individual accountability plans. I urge passage.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the legislation before us. I want to thank the Chairmen and the members of the Judiciary Committee that vote unanimously on this proposition. It's a very good one and it allows the Commissioner to make recommendations, and again, he's been very informative and helpful, and I think this is a good piece of legislation. So I would ask my colleagues' support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further on the bill before us? Will you remark further on the bill before us? Seeing none. Will staff and guests please come to the Well of the House? Will members please take your seats? The board 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 BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 5992,

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 147

Those voting Nay 1

Those absent and not Voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The bill passes. (Gavel) The Clerk will please call Calendar 172.

CLERK:

On page 7, Calendar 172, House Bill No. 6623 - AN ACT ESTABLISHING A WORKING GROUP TO STUDY HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUM RATE INCREASES AND DEVELOP RECOMMENDATIONS TO MITIGATE SUCH INCREASES; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Insurance and Real Estate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The House will recognize Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Clerk has in his possession amendment LCO 8010. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Clerk, please call LCO No. 8010. It will be determined to be House Amendment "A".

CLERK:

House Amendment "A", LCO No. 8010, offered by Representative Sampson, Representative Klarides, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Representative seeks leave of the chamber to summarize the amendment. Is there objection to summarization? Is there objection to summarization? Seeing none. Please proceed.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would ask that we move forward on this amendment and then we can discuss the actual bill. But this amendment is a strike-all amendment that basically just enhances the taskforce that is underlying in this bill. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule "A". Will you remark on House Amendment "A"? Representative Sampson of the 80th.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you and good evening, Mr. Speaker. I concur with the Chairman of the Insurance Committee that this is just a clarifying amendment that enhances the taskforce of the underlying bill and will certainly talk about it briefly, assuming the amendment is adopted. And I encourage my colleagues to vote in favor.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Opposed? The ayes have it. The amendment passes. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark on the bill as amended? Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill is very easy and self-explanatory. It basically does exactly what the title says. It establishes a working group to determine and investigate what's happening with health insurance premiums. All of us have had conversations with the constituents about the rising cost of premiums. This group is gonna attempt to figure out why that is, what's causing it, and how we can try to address that. This is a bill that comes to us from our friends on the other side of the aisle. But I believe this is a very good bill and in the nature of bipartisanship, I urge my colleagues to support this bill. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thanks again to the Chairman for his kind comments. I want to just thank everyone, including the Chairman himself and the other members of the Insurance Committee, and several other folks in the Chamber who helped put this bill together.

I think it's very, very important, especially hearing the news today about Aetna, that we worked very hard to try and address the insurance industry in trying to make Connecticut as attractive a place to be as possible. And this bill addresses it in several different ways by putting together a working group that's going to investigate how we should handle what happens after the ACA, encourage competition in the marketplace, maybe come up with ways for insurance carriers to offer different products.

It will study the impact of insurance mandates, and finally address the root of the problem, which is the cost of health care and prescription drugs. It's an excellent bill. I think it's what we need to do now that the federal government is going to give states more control over what happens with our destiny in the insurance industry. And I encourage my colleagues to wholeheartedly support it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further on the bill before us? Will you remark further on the bill before us? If not, will staff and guests please come to the Well of the House? Will members please take your seats? The board will be 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 BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 6623, as amended by House "A",

Total number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 125

Those voting Nay 23

Those absent and not Voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 488?

CLERK:

On page 30, House Calendar 488, Senate Bill 1021 - AN ACT REVISING THE UNIFORM FRAUDULENT TRANSFER ACT; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The motion before the chamber is acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill in concurrence with the Senate. Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the practical effect of this bill is to reduce the look-back period from four years to two years in which a bankruptcy trustee can seek to recover tuition payments made by a parent on behalf of a child. This is a good bill which would protect children from adverse effects of their parents subsequently defaulting on obligations after they've made tuition payments to colleges and universities. It's been requested -- this bill's been requested by the Attorney General's Office, as well as the colleges and universities in our state, both public and private, and has a positive fiscal impact for the colleges and universities in the state system. I ask for the Chamber's support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Rebimbas, State Ranking Member.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the legislation before us. Just one quick question, though you, to the good Vice Chairman.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please prepare yourself, Representative. Please continue, Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker to the good Vice Chairman, just a clarification. This has no impact whatsoever on the trustee's two-year discretion to look back. Is that correct?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

That is correct, Mr. Speaker. We cannot change that federal law.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And this has a very good fiscal impact and it also is for the future of our children. I ask that all my colleagues to support this piece of legislation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will you remark further on the bill before us? Will you remark further on the bill before us? Seeing none. Staff and guests please come to the Well of the House. Will members please take your seats? The board 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 BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 1021, 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 BERGER (73RD):

The bill passes in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel) Announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Representative Luxenberg.

REP. LUXENBERG (12TH):

I have a few announcements for general notation, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, ma'am.

REP. LUXENBERG (12TH):

Thank you. We have a few Representatives who missed votes today for the following reasons; family business - Representative Urban; business outside the Chamber - Representative Baker; legislative business outside of the Chamber - Porter, Riley, Rojas, Walker and Dillon. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Representative Betts.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For a journal notation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Thank you. Representative Labriola was in district on business and Representative Hoydick is in district on family business. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Pursuant to House Rule 11-F, I move that we immediately transmit all bills required further action by the Senate to the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Without objection, so ordered. (Gavel)

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

And Mr. Speaker, with there being no further business on the Clerk's desk -- I just heard a question about what time tomorrow. Just as a reminder, we'll be in at 10: 30 o'clock tomorrow morning. Looking forward to seeing everybody there. Without there being any further business on the Clerk's desk, I move that we adjourn, subject to the Call of the Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Is there objection? Is there objection? The House is adjourned, subject to the Call of the Chair.

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the House adjourned at 8: 20 o'clock p. m. , sine die. )

CERTIFICATE

I hereby certify that the foregoing 252 pages is a complete and accurate transcription of a digital sound recording of the House Proceedings on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

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

________________________

Alpha Transcription

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