THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 11: 30 o'clock a. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz 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 Charles Jacobs will lead us in prayer, or maybe a couple of prayers as we were just discussing.

FATHER CHARLES E. JACOBS:

How about a couple of dozen Speaker? Let us bow our heads and seek the Lord's blessing.

Let us pray.

God of peace, as we prepare for the coming of the final days, we seek Your guidance and direction to do what is right on behalf of all the people of Connecticut. We know that all things are possible for those who believe. We end our prayer with the word that signifies our belief. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you Father. Father we'll meet privately and maybe go through a couple more prayers for us here. Would Representative Baker of the 124th district please come to the Dais to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance?

REPRESENTATIVE BAKER (124TH):

(All) I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America; and to the republic for which is stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good Saturday morning. Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Slap, it seems as though you have someone with you today. Any introductions, or am I going to get you in trouble here? You have the floor, sir.

REPREPRESENTATIVE SLAP (19TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Yes, my oldest daughter Maggie is with me today for a few hours to learn about the legislative process, so I appreciate everybody's welcome to Maggie Slap. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I believe I recognize her from a public hearing. Was she here for a public hearing earlier in the year? Thank you for coming back to visit us, and I believe that was on pay equity correct? Are there any other announcements or introductions? Is there any business on the clerk's desk?

CLERK:
Yes, Mr
. Speaker, there are favorable reports, Senate bills to be tabled for the calendar. Representative Currey, you have the floor sir.

REPRESENTATIVE CURREY (11TH):
Thank you Mr
. Speaker. I move that we waive the reading of the Senate Favorable Reports and bills to be tabled for the calendar immediately.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Without objection, so ordered. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:
Last piece of business is the daily calendar
.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much Mr. Clerk. I see folks still filtering in. Is there any announcements or introductions? Chamber will stand at ease.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Will the chamber please come back to order? Representative Hennessey of the 127th, you have the floor sir.

REPRESENTATIVE HENNESSEY (127TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REPRESENTATIVE HENNESSEY (127TH):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Thank you for this opportunity to once again inform the legislature that we are doing the Save-a-Suit Drive next Tuesday and that it's for men and women. I was just informed that the women didn't get as many clothes as the men and we should seek to address that. We have many women veterans that are going to be applying for jobs and they want to look right. So this is just a reminder to put the clothes into your cars when you get home so that they're not forgotten and that we can have a great drive next Tuesday. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you sir. Are there any other announcements or introductions? The chamber will stand at ease.

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 CANDELARIA (95TH):

The House will come back to order. Are there any announcements or introductions? Are there any announcements or introductions? Hearing none, are you ready?

Will the Clerk please call calendar 448?

CLERK:

State of Connecticut House of Representatives calendar, Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. Calendar 448, Substitute House Bill number 7044, AN ACT CONCERNING PRETRIAL JUSTICE REFORM. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong, you have the floor, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment LCO number 8351; I ask the Clerk please call the amendment and I be given leave of the Chamber to provide a summary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO number 8351? Designated House “A”.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO number 8351, offered by Representative Rebimbas, Representative Tong, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment. Is there any objection? Is there any objection? Representative Tong, you may proceed, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a very short amendment that provides that in the bill there's a section in which the Bail Association of Connecticut and our state, through OPM, will come together to discuss ways to provide for a Bail Assistance Program funded by members of the Bail Industry. We wanted to make sure that Bail Industry was well represented across the industry including bail agents who are not members of the association.

So that's what this amendment does and I urge adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The question before the Chambers on adoption of House Amendment Schedule “A”, will you remark on the amendment. Representative Rebimbas, you have the floor, madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the amendment that's before us for all of the good reasons that the Chairman had indicated. This was something that in a bipartisan manner we brought to the attention of the individuals that had reached the agreement on the underlying bill that we thought this one additional individual with the professional background should then be part of the study that's gonna be taking place moving forward in this section of the bill.

So I do rise in support of the amendment before us and I'll certainly then reserve my comments that if the amendment is successful, then I reserve my comments for the underlying bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

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

REP. TONG (147TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is the Bail Reform Bill that we've been working on for the last couple of years in the Judiciary Committee with the Bail Bonds Industry and many others who touch the Criminal Justice System.

Connecticut is one of the safest states in the union. We now have a 23-year low in our prison population. We're down from 19,894 inmates, almost 20,000 people in custody in 2008 down to roughly 14,387 individuals, a drop of 28 percent.

In just the last five years, Connecticut leads the nation in a 23 percent drop in violent crime. And I think it's clear that as a state over the last many years, we've taken significant steps to reducing prison population, reducing violent crime, reducing the rate of recidivism here in the state and maintaining and improving Connecticut's status as one of the safest states in the country.

It's due to the reforms that we've come together on a bipartisan basis to effect including the Second Chance proposals we did a couple of years ago. The work we did on the excessive use of force and many other criminal justice reform bills that have made our state safer.

We take another step today, Mr. Speaker, to make sure that people who need to be in jail are in jail and that we make sure that we are protected, our families are protected from violent crime but that people who shouldn't be detained, that people who should not be in jail, that people who are picked up for nonviolent misdemeanors, that they're not held unnecessarily because the result of being held and detained in our jail system and in our prisons for non-violent offenses is that people end up losing their footing in life.

And what ends up happening is that people who are incarcerated because they can't make bail for low-level offenses, they lose their jobs. They could their housing, they can lose relationships in the community and while they're trying to get back on their feet, it snowballs and makes it worse and pushes them back, potentially, towards recidivism and further crime.

So this is about people roughly 350 to 400 people in our system who are detained simply because they can't make bail, because they can't pay a low-level that's been set by the court and this is an effort to make sure that our system doesn't bear the burden of detaining those people and that we don't cause the unintended consequences of sentencing those folks who are accused of misdemeanor crime to further dereliction and years of joblessness and homelessness and other bad effects.

I should note that we talk a lot on the Judiciary Committee and this legislature about disparities. And this really speaks not necessarily to racial, ethnic or really social disparities. This speaks to financial disparities and under our system now, you can have somebody who is simply quite poor and is having a really tough time finding employment, finding housing, has made some tough decisions and they're picked up for a misdemeanor and they're held because a Judge has maybe set a very high cash bail they can't get a surety bond for it, they can't get a bail bond for it.

And they're held in jail and they're -- ultimately, because it's a misdemeanor, shoplifting, something like that. Because it's a misdemeanor, they're not gonna be ultimately sentenced to a term of imprisonment but they could be held and detained even before they go to trial whereas somebody who's accused of murder could be picked up, arrested, arraigned and even though bail is set at a very high number, if they can make bail, if they've got the money, if they can get a bail bond together or if they can scratch the money through friends and family together to pay that -- to pay that bond, they could get out on a much more dangerous crime.

And so that is a disparity, I think, that we seek to remedy with this bill.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, let me just go quickly through the provisions of the bill. Section one eliminates the cash bail that I provided for.

Section two provides that we won't impose bail for misdemeanors unless the person is charged with a family violence crime, the person requests bail or the court makes a finding on the record that the arrested person will fail to appear, that they'll obstruct justice or that they will engage in conduct that threatens the safety of other people.

And this section really addresses the concerns that we heard over the last couple of years -- what about situations where somebody is accused of a misdemeanor but they oppose a threat to the safety of others or it's a misdemeanor that's classified as a misdemeanor but really there are elements of violence related to that.

And what do we do with those individuals -- this section provides that we have the power and the latitude to detain those people with bail. It also provides for a somewhat more accelerated, in misdemeanor situations, somewhat more accelerated bail redetermination hearings so that when you go and look back and see if the bail is appropriate, that happens quicker for a misdemeanor.

And finally, it provides for that collaboration between OPM and the Bail Industry here in Connecticut for a system where we can provide assistance to people to pay for bail.

I want to thank the Governor for his leadership in bringing this to us and for his persistence; it's been a couple of years in getting there but this bill makes a lot of sense and we appreciate his recommendation to us that we undertake it.

I want to thank the Ranking Member, the other two Chairs in the Senate and the Sentencing Commission and OPM -- all of us came together several times with the Bail Industry to negotiate over the provisions of this bill.

This bill reflects a negotiation of all of these parties. Everybody is on board as reflected by the amendment and I'm proud of the work that we did together as a committee and I urge passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you sir. Would you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Rebimbas, you have the floor, madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill as amended for some of the same reasons that has been highlighted by the good Chairman.

But I would predominately say mostly by the process that got us to what we have before us here today. There was quite a disagreement regarding the number of individuals that once, if this bill is passed, would actually be positively impacted by it.

Even clearly in the OFA report, it says “potentially affects 388 individuals”. But as we dove a little bit more in detail for those individuals, there was a variety of other factors that those individuals were in prison and detained and not simply because of a fiscal impact.

I think the one thing we all certainly agreed on when we came together, and the good Chairman highlighted that, that I do appreciate that the Governor's office, the bail bondsmen and a variety of other individuals all came together and worked out this agreement, was the fact that none of us -- none of us -- wanted to see an individual in prison solely because they were unable to financially bail themselves out. We all agreed on that.

But again, when we dove into the histories of specific individuals, there was prior records, there was prior incidents of non-appearance in court, so there were many other factors that drove the reason for some of those individuals.

But again, the product that came before us, because it was done, negotiations in good faith, full disclosure and honesty and in a bipartisan manner, that is why I stand here in support of this legislation.

I'm also confident that the portion of the bill that has to do with the study is going to continue to look at this item. Is going to study this. Is going to see what the ramifications, impacts, if anything, that this legislation will have if it is passed.

And then we can come back, see if it worked, if it doesn't work, then tweak it because that is our duty and responsibility as legislators is to pass responsible legislation and make changes if necessary. And maybe even expand on it if necessary.

But again, that's why the amendment that we highlighted that is now the proposal before us was important to make sure that all of those individuals are properly represented in the study in that regard.

But I do want to take a few minutes and highlight the changes in this proposal that is different than what is currently current law.

So through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good Chairman, if an individual goes before a Judge, does this mean that in no way that a Judge can put financial restrictions on the individual's ability to bail out? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you. This provides for -- this does not provide that a Judge, that there's no way for a Judge to provide for bail, if that's the question. I was trying to unpack and answer the question posed. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Chairman for that response. So in fact, in the legislation that's before us, there is some suggested factors that the Judge can still take into consideration and yeah, it's not fully inclusive, so if there was any other factors that the Judge wanted to put on the record, that Judge may have the ability, then, to put a financial -- financial burden on the individual, is that correct?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm sorry, I could not hear the question posed, could I ask the Ranking Member to repose her question? Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

(Gavel) If you're having any discussions, please take them outside of the Chamber, please. Representative Rebimbas, can you repeat the question, please?

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Absolutely, thank you. Again, through you, Mr. Speaker, the legislation before us highlights several factors that a Judge can take into consideration but it's not exclusive so certainly a Judge could also make a finding on the record of any other factors in addition to the ones that's enumerated in this legislation as to whether or not to put a financial surety, is that correct? Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

As a general matter, through you, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker, under current law, technically the practice was that an individual would be up for review of a financial situation if in fact that was one of the issues that they were still sitting in prison in 30 days.

What this legislation proposes is that they would be up for review within 14 days and then 30 days thereafter. Is that correct? Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, only as to misdemeanors. It does not change the law as to very, very serious and violent crimes. That time period remains 45 days. B&E felonies remain 30 days, misdemeanors only 14 days. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and Mr. Speaker, the original version we had seen, whether intentionally or not, implied that it was gonna be 14 days on a repetitive basis and we made that correction that it's now 30 days.

And certainly, again, I'm gonna put the confidence into the study that's going to continue to see whether or not even the 30 days would be some type of undue burden even on the court system because through this legislation in current law, any individual at any time can file for a motion for modification.

So if the individual, whether before the 30 days or after the 30 days truly has a change in financial circumstances, they can always get before a Judge.

So again, I'm supporting the legislation because we don't change that but we'll hear back regarding the study whether or not it still is an undue burden on the court to have the individual repeatedly go before the court every 30 days.

So Mr. Speaker, I do rise in support of the bill as amended before us for all of the reasons previously stated. And again, the process -- I can't state that enough here today. I think the process was one that was started early enough. All of the interested parties were at the table, if any interested party wasn't at the table, certainly they had more than ample amount of time to have input, to review the proposal and so I do rise in support of the legislation before us but understanding that some people may still believe that this was a solution in seeking a problem.

And I certainly do respect that and that's why I do believe that the study will certainly provide us with that information necessary as to any changes that may be necessary in the future, expansions or if it's not working.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further? Representative Labriola of the 131st, you have the floor, sir.

REP. LABRIOLA (131ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in opposition to this bill for several reasons. I believe that it constitutes a danger to the public.

What this bill is going to do is it's going to require Judges to articulate the reasons why they're setting bond. Currently, Judges don't need to do that. There are well-known reasons why bond is set; either the defendant represents a flight risk or more importantly, the defendant represents a danger to the public.

And so what this bill does is it interferes with the Judge's discretion by making a Judge articulate the specific reasons why bond is set on all misdemeanors, it constitutes an impediment to setting a bond and so it will result in more defendants being released, thereby endangering the public.

You see, making a Judge articulate the reasons could constitute a possible basis for an appeal. Not only an appeal on the bond setting itself but an appeal on the case once the case is resolved.

And so there certainly does not seem to be a burning need to change this current system that we have where we're relying on the faith and the experience, the judgment of these Judges and their discretion in the setting a bond. We're making it harder for Judges to set bond.

And so we have a danger to the public is going to result. There could be some unforeseen consequences because prosecutors and the police will be discouraged by this process when they arrest people for misdemeanors.

And yes, the good Chairman mentioned that a misdemeanor could be a case like shoplifting. But there are many, many misdemeanors that are quite serious and this legislation covers all misdemeanors. And many of those misdemeanors cover very serious conduct.

In fact, I've talked to some prosecutors who say that they'll take the same set of facts and instead of charging misdemeanors, they may charge a felony. So there are some unforeseen consequences to this proposal that I think are going to be both impractical, inefficient, the system is not ready for it, there's really no need for it and most importantly, it will constitute a danger to the public.

When we discourage police and prosecutors by making it harder to set bond and having people be released more frequently, you're gonna see fewer arrests because of this discouragement and it's gonna have a chilling effect upon our law enforcement. And so it will end up threatening public safety and constitute a danger to society.

For all of those reasons, I urge that this Chamber opposes this legislation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Cheeseman of the 37th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. With your permission, Mr. Speaker, a few questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much. I looked carefully at the bill itself, the underlying amendment and the public hearing testimony and I was struck by the fact that in support of the bill, there were a number of different organizations, including the Yankee Institute, the Bar Association, obviously the Governor.

I saw that the Bail Organizations were opposed. I understand, I could understand their point and I believe that their objections have been solved with this amendment.

But the thing that really concerned me was the opposition of the Office of the Victim Advocate who pointed out that there were 24 misdemeanors that involved some violence, including strangulation, stalking and threatening.

And I was concerned by their dismay at this and also in the terms of the bill, unless it relates to family violence, people who are committing these misdemeanors might be released on bond.

Could the good proponent of the bill help assuage my concerns on this because I take very seriously the Office of the Victim Advocates concern.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I share those concerns with the proposal last year. And those very same concerns were articulated by many of the advocates for bail bondsmen and the bail industry here in Connecticut. They made a couple of arguments -- number one that there are misdemeanors that do have elements of violence to them. And not all misdemeanors are non-violent misdemeanors or that they don't involve some sort of physical force or assault or battery.

And also that the previous proposal did not take into account failures to appear where people have been arrested previously that they were released on their recognizance and they didn't come back and there were other failures to appear.

So those two issues were front and center in the debate last year and at the front of the line, of course, is what you, Representative, articulated which is what about people who pose a threat to others. And what about the threat to public safety.

So this bill addresses those issues and we worked very hard as the Ranking Member said, through success of negotiations to address the failure to appear issue which is now a factor that the Judge can make a finding on and impose bail.

And also, very clearly, and I will direct the members to the bill in lines 30 through 34. It clearly states that a bail may be set if a person attempts to obstruct justice or threaten, injure or intimidate a perspective witness or juror or the arrested person will engage in conduct that threatens the safety of himself or herself or another person.

So we made it very clear in this bill that the court retains its ability to impose bail and to hold people because they pose a threat to others and a threat to public safety. I would not be supporting this bill today if it did not do everything it could to keep our communities and our families safe.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

I appreciate the good proponent's comments. I still do remain concerned. It seems to me we're requiring Judges to do a bit of mind reading here. I would be very happy to support this if it became clear that any misdemeanor involving violence, whether performed on a family member or not, that bail or -- additional judicial scrutiny would be required.

I also understand the need for some sort of bail reform. In my early days as a legislature, I was able to visit York Women's Prison and the number of women who were there solely because they were unable to post bond in the amount of $ 300 dollars or $ 400 dollars was very disturbing to me.

But I thank the good proponent for his answers and I will listen carefully to any further debate.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A few questions for the proponent, through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you and to the proponent of the bill, you made some quotes earlier and some statistics. I just wanted to confirm as I took my notes, if the proponent could allude to, you said 20,000 inmates incarcerated today and those numbers have dropped since when? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, I said roughly 20,000 -- 19,894 to be exact as of October 1st, 2008 down to 14,387 today. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again to the proponent, would you be able to offer the numbers of parolees and probation in combination with the Department of Corrections incarcerated?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, I do not have that information.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

So if I was to, through you, Mr. Speaker, to focus on the probation population, would the proponent be able to get the number of how many probation offenders are under supervision in Connecticut? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, I do not have that information.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. And so if I focused on probation offenders who are on supervised release under the probation responsibility -- let's say someone was 11 years on probation, which is conceivable -- and they committed one of these crimes that's outlined in the proposal, they would eligible for a Judge to render this proposed legislation and allow that individual to walk away without issues or notification through probation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, that is not correct. If an individual is on probation, they violate the terms of their probation, they could be prosecuted for being in violation of the terms of their probation and there is a process for that.

There is a hearing. You have to be charged with violating the terms of your probation and so that person would likely face sanctions for violating the terms of their probation.

Also, with respect to this legislation, it's clear that if a person was arrested for a misdemeanor while on probation, that the Judge could impose bail based on a number of factors; family violence crime, a prior failure to appear, obstruction of justice, threatening safety of others and their prior criminal conducts.

So all of those could be, would be considered by a Judge and depending on the level of risk of that individual, the Judge would make a determination as to what the appropriate sanction or bail would be. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again to focus in on that piece, if the look-back period is ten years, what I believe the proposed legislation is, and let's say that a probation violation doesn't happen on the spot as you know, through state, on your statute.

The system would then be -- how would we handle that situation? An individual comes in, again, on probation. The look-back period is ten years, misdemeanor. No violation, because you don't do that on the spot.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is there any response to that, to the proponent?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, sorry I didn't understand the question and what I'm responding to. So if I could ask my colleague to please rephrase so I can provide an effective response.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Convictions prior to ten years, which would render a probation period. Individual gets arrested on one of these outlying misdemeanor charges. How would that situation, after the ten-year period, which is the look-back I refer to. Through you, Mr. Speaker, how would that be handled in your opinion, to the Judge?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I think that my colleague is referring to the look-back in lines 36 through 40, is that correct? Or are you -- or is he referring to another look-back period? Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Is the ten-year for a second degree failure to appear, I believe it is in -- Mr. Speaker, yes it -- I am referring to the ten-year look-back which is outlined. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, I, I believe just to clarify, so we're clear about what we're talking about, I believe that we're talking about the court's ability to consider past criminal history including any prior record of failing to appear that resulted in a conviction for first degree failure to appear during -- at any time and during the last ten years for a second degree failure to appear.

I believe that the difference between first degree and second degree, which is 53A-172, that's first degree. I believe that's for felonies and I believe that 53A-173 is with respect to misdemeanors and motor vehicle violations, if I'm not mistaken. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKYLCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you again and through you, Mr. Speaker, so we are looking back not at any crimes other than those crimes that are outlined. In other words, misdemeanor crimes should not be involved in that look-back through the Judge under this legislation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Or failure to appears, Mr. Speaker, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no. At line 35 it says, “The court may consider past criminal history”, I don't see any words of limitation but it provides, “Including a prior record or failing to appear”. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you. And so, thank you for clearing that up through the proponent, I appreciate that. Some confusion. But I, I -- to make a point through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill, I think as my career working inside the correctional facility for 21 years, having been a part of the supervision program under the Department of Corrections for 20 or -- excuse me, 13 years -- I can tell you that there's a great need for supervision. If the proponent could tell me, does he have any feelings that individuals that might qualify for this legislation will not have anyone under bail bonds control. Who would they be reporting to through this process?

Through you, Mr. Speaker, for the proponent.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if it's -- if we're talking about someone who has been charged with a crime and has not been convicted and they're presentenced, they're -- and if they are released on their own recognizance, they would be supervised by the court.

But there is no -- in no circumstances talking about a non-violent misdemeanor, okay, in which it's not a family violence crime, they haven't been found to be a threat to other people in the community. They haven't been found to be obstructing justice or threatening witnesses or jurors, in those limited circumstances we're talking about at this point, 388 people in our criminal justice system who are held because they can't make bail on such small offenses.

If we're talking about those people, they're not subject to active supervision by a probation officer. They're not subject to active supervision by law enforcement. They are released on their own recognizance to the court, so as a technical matter, they are accountable to the Judicial Branch.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZUCK (45TH):

Thank you for that response from the proponent. And through you, Mr. Speaker, could the proponent offer to me some statistics on how many offenders under these same conditions presently have been rearrested during any time period, during the research? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I don't have that information at hand.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Okay, thank you again. Through you, Mr. Speaker, 388 per year, I believe is the number, through you, Mr. Speaker to the proponent.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, I don't know that it's per year. It's 388 at any given time is my understanding and we took a snapshot and it tends to be between, you know, 350, 400 -- 388 is the number that we landed on when we did the analysis.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again, do we have any fiscal note on a proposed possible savings for the state on your proposal? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, yes, Mr. Speaker, it's my understanding that it has been established that there's a savings of $ 30 million dollars in the biennium. It's also my understanding, if I recall correctly, that the various budget proposals of the various caucuses all take into account that $ 30 million dollar number. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYCK (45TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and could the proponent break down the $ 30 million dollar savings that could be seen, each one, please? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm looking at my hand iPad here. I believe it's $ 14. 9 million dollars in fiscal year 18 and $ 16. 4 million dollars in fiscal year 19.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Skulczyck.

REP. SKULCZYZK (45TH):

Thank you for that, sir, that totals to your $ 30 million dollar mark and so that's the anticipated saving from this program.

And I'll wrap up and just say that I have concerns but I do want to thank the proponent for presenting a very good bill going in the right direction. However, I would echo some of the thoughts of my other colleagues. Public safety is a priority of all of ours and I do worry about recidivism, I worry about some of the crimes that are committed.

You quoted earlier, the proponent did, through you, Mr. Speaker, about the Second Chance program. And understanding since its inception, about 82 murders and homicides have taken place of offenders who've come through that program.

I'll be looking at these stats a little deeper. I don't believe I'll be supporting this bill today and I urge my colleagues not to as well.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Cummings of the 74th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, is there a particular class of misdemeanors that this is limited to or is it open to all classes of misdemeanors?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, there's no limitation on the classes of misdemeanors.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Mr. Speaker, through you, would that then allow for a person who is charged with assault of an elderly person, assault of a disabled person, a pregnant person or a person with intellectual disabilities to be immediately released without bail?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147Th):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I just wanna clarify with my colleague from the Judiciary Committee, are those misdemeanors on our statutes? I don't have those statutes in front of me. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes they are classed, that is a Class A misdemeanor. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and if I'm not mistaken, as a Class A misdemeanor, it's punishable up to one year in jail. Through you, is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, those are very serious, serious crimes and contain an element of physical injury and threat to public safety. So in that circumstance, I would expect a Judge to look very hard at the circumstances of the case and could very well find that the conduct of the person so charged threatens the safety of himself or herself of another person and could then impose the terms of bail. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, but that would require the Judge to articulate those specific instances. But there is still a chance that that person could be immediately released without bail, is that not correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, this is what Judges do every day and this is what we demand of them on the Judiciary Committee and I would expect them to take that responsibility very seriously and I would expect them in a circumstance where you posed a threat, for example, to an elderly person or a pregnant person, that they would impose the conditions of bail.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, would a person who is charged with strangulation in the third degree be potentially released immediately without bail? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, I'm having trouble hearing again.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

(Gavel) Please take your conversations outside of the Chamber. Thank you.

Representative Cummings, can you repeat your question, please?

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, would, is there a potential that a person who is charged with strangulation in the third degree will be immediately released without bail? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, just to clarify again, that is a misdemeanor, is that correct?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

I'm sorry, I'm just looking at our statutes to make sure that we're looking at the same information. But the question was strangulation and I guess I would -- I would repeat my answer which is that in that circumstance, I think that person has demonstrated that they're a threat to others and I would expect a very high likelihood that conditions of bail would be imposed.

I would also note that over 90 percent of people in our system who receive some kind of bail, they make that bail and I would also point out as I did earlier, that for that circumstance, if bail was set and the person had the financial means to meet that bail condition that they would be released.

But if the question is whether there is a low possibility or probability that that could happen, that somebody could be released because, again, low probability that a Judge would find that a person accused or charged with strangulation is not a threat to others, is that an academic or technical possibility, the answer is yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and is it correct that the misdemeanor of rioting in the first degree and inciting a riot would then also allow for the potential for that person charged to be immediately released without bail?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, again Mr. Speaker, I would say that if a person is accused of inciting a riot, I would find it very hard to believe that a Judge of our Superior Court would not see a threat to public safety in that circumstance which would then trigger, under this provision, their ability to set conditions of bail.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, isn't it true that it's also a possibility that a person charged with stalking in the second degree could possibly be released immediately without bail?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, could I ask my colleague to repeat her question?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings, would you mind please repeating your question?

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is it true that it is a potential for a person who is charged with a misdemeanor of stalking in the second degree, could possibly be released immediately without bail?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, again, stalking -- we've worked on stalking laws at length in the Judiciary Committee. Those are very serious crimes that threaten the safety of others. I'd be very surprised if a Judge in our Superior Court did not see a threat to the safety of another person and would not invoke their powers to set conditions of bail.

You know, there are -- we can go through the parade of horribles which we do in law school and find a sliver of probability or possibility that something might happen.

You know, I suppose it's possible that someone could get picked up or someone could get called to a domestic disturbance at a home and somebody who would qualify for a very serious misdemeanor or even a felony could avoid prosecution because of the failure to arrest that person or because of a decision by a prosecutor in any given circumstance, they don't have enough evidence.

There are a number -- there are a myriad of vagaries in the criminal justice system in which people who have, in fact, done very bad things may avoid detention or even prosecution. I know that my colleague knows that and that happens every day in our criminal justice system, it's not foolproof.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am not in support of this bill as amended, simply for the purpose that there are charges like assault of an elderly person, disabled person, pregnant person or person with intellectual disabilities. Charges of strangulation in the third degree, rioting in the first degree, inciting a riot and stalking in the second degree that could allow for the possibility of the person charged to be immediately released with providing no break to the victim and going right back out onto the streets.

I think this bill is just too open and therefore I cannot support it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, madam. Would you remark further? Representative Harding of the 107th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for the patience, sir. Mr. Speaker, I just have a comment to make, I want to thank the good proponent for some of the clarifications. I also wanna thank my fellow colleague, Representative Cummings, in listing some of the crimes that are misdemeanors.

And I think that oftentimes that we look at certain criminal offenses, particular misdemeanors and assume that they're not great violations of the law.

But as Representative Cummings noted earlier, there are serious crimes, including criminally negligent homicide, including even sexual assault in the fourth degree which are Class A misdemeanor crimes which are very serious violations of the law. In my opinion, very serious breaches of the public and really something that puts the individuals in our state at risk that we have individuals that commit these acts and are let back out on the streets.

And I understand and I appreciate the fact through Representative Rebimbas and Representative Tong some of the comments that were made and some of the exemptions that are place. Which I think they're very good. I think the fact that Judges can look back at criminal history, that Judges can say on the record whether or not, if an individual committed a crime, if it's a heinous crime, even though it's a misdemeanor, that can be stated on the record and then the Judge can place a bond.

So those are all positive things. I like the fact that it's not just an outright ban on placing bonds on misdemeanors which is positive.

With that being said, though, I look at the message this legislation sends. And the message it sends is we don't want you to place bonds on misdemeanors. That's pretty frank, that we want you to go through hoops. If you're gonna place a bond on a misdemeanor, that you have to find exemptions to place a bond on a misdemeanor.

And as Representative Cummings noted in the crimes that you can commit that are misdemeanors and the serious risk that places on public safety, I think it's a serious problem.

And now we sit in this Chamber many days, many hours discussing and vetting Judges. We do it very often in this Chamber and it's a topic of hot discussion. And it's a good discussion that we have.

And I think we need to give those Judges discretion in these particular cases. If we vet them the way we do and we discuss them and we have to vote on them and we place them in the high regard that we do, we have to give them the discretion to make the decisions that they believe are in the best interest of justice and safety for the people of this state.

And we, as legislators, trying to play Judge through legislation is not good. And in my opinion, it places the people in this state in danger.

So I do not support this legislation for those reasons. I appreciate the hard work that the proponent has placed on this bill, the hard work the Ranking Member has placed on this bill. I will not be supporting it even though there have been some positive changes to the bill.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Would you remark further? Representative Petit of the 22nd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A comment and a question for the proponent.

The comment is that I have concerns like many of my colleagues about the impact upon public safety. I also have concerns about the impact upon the court system and I would note that from my perspective, it seems like we spend a significant amount of time on the accused, the criminals and the monetary parts of the criminal justice system but very, very little time on the victims, from the victim's point of view.

So my question for the proponent is what he feels the impact this bill would be to victims in terms of court appearances, the need to reappear, to exercise their constitutional right to confront the person who's been accused of the crime.

Through you, through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I think that this bill shines a light on the pretrial process and tries to strengthen it. And I believe that the work that we've done in this bill, as I said earlier, focuses on two really important overriding concerns that when people are arrested and the court does not detain them, does not incarcerate them pretrial, that those people will come back. That they will not fail to appear.

And this makes it clear that when setting the terms of bail that the court must, should consider prior failures to appear or the possibility that they won't reappear.

So this bill redirects our focus and attention to that. And also, this bill redirects our focus and attention to public safety and keeping people safe and we've heard from my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee and I respect each and every one of them.

But respectfully, this bill puts public safety front and center and I don't believe that it makes people in this state less safe. I don't agree that it does not provide for discretion. There is discretion and strength for Judges all over this document.

And it's very clear, for example, in lines 41 through 48 that the Judge can consider the nature and circumstances of the offense -- the person's record, the prior convictions. The person's past record of appearance in court.

This is what Judges do every day and I don't we would be standing here today with this bill here before us if it did not do all that it could to protect public safety.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you to the proponent. Mr. Speaker, through you, as a person, unfortunately familiar with a criminal proceeding but perhaps not the day-to-day misdemeanor type proceedings, again I would ask the question really for my own lack of knowledge, in terms of the victims, will this increase the number of appearances victims have to make? Decrease the number or actually have no impact? How does this, separate from the public safety issue, how does this type of bill impact the victim in terms of confronting the person that's accused of the crime?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So to answer that question directly, the victim has the right and the option to confront the perpetrator and the accused and even the convicted, right.

And so that is the victim's right, it is ensconced in our constitution. I was actually looking at that earlier and it's actually in the same section of the constitution as the provisions about the right to bail and the right against excessive bail. So it's -- both ideas are in the same section of the state constitution.

I would say that this bill likely provides more opportunities to victims should they choose to exercise that right to confront and to weigh in, because of the motion process and the timing for re-determining bail. There's always access to information but that right of confrontation or the right of consultation or intervention as the case may be for a victim remains there and constitutionally protected and this bill does nothing to change that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So I understand the response to be that there's the potential for the victim to attend more hearings that typically was required in the past and that creates somewhat of an issue for me because I think we are woefully underserved in terms of victim advocates in the state and for people to make these appearances on their own and for there to be more appearances, I actually think increases the burden upon the victim but I'm again willing to listen to the proponent to see if I'm misunderstanding the procedure in terms of day-to-day criminal proceedings.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I know I gave a long-winded answer earlier. I apologize for that but I was really just trying to say that the victim has a constitutional right to participate. Victim may choose to exercise that right or not. This doesn't change that. There's no compulsion to force the victim to participate if they choose not to but the victim always retains that right.

I could not agree more that it's important to provide resources to the office of the victim advocate and it's important to provide resources and information to victims. We've done that in a number of bills in the Judiciary Committee this year and over the last few years.

And I can only say that that's a focus of our work. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and if I am breaking protocol, I apologize. Through you, Mr. Speaker, can I ask whether or not the Office of the Victim Advocate and Public Testimony was against this bill? Can I ask the proponent if the Office of Victim Advocate had changed their opinion on the bill in the interim? With changes since then?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the victim advocate has changed her opinion. I can tell you that I have met with the victim advocate on a number of occasions. I can tell you that since this bill was passed out of Committee, I have not heard from the victim advocate on this piece of legislation.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I have no further questions. Thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Rebimbas of the 70th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for the second time, I thought it would be important just to highlight at least some portions of the bill that, beyond the respect of the process that took place, that is one of the main factors that I am supporting the legislation.

I also had to make sure that the legislation before us was one that I felt was responsible and again, I did highlight previously that there's a study, so there's a review process to it.

But having heard from a lot of my very well-respected colleagues who I share a lot of the same concerns, I just wanted to highlight the legislation again before us that may be responsive in support of certainly what the Chairman has already indicated but I would remind everyone that in lines 29 through 40, the Judge does still have discretion. As previously said in our exchange, these are some suggested factors.

Any Judge, and this will be clear for legislative intent, still can go beyond the factors in the legislation before us. Again, legislative intent. The Judge still has the discretion to go beyond the factors before us. And I'd like to get that confirmation, so you -- through you, Mr. Speaker, if the good Chairman can confirm if that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, that is absolutely correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rebimbas.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And then further, just to highlight the actual factors that could be considered in the legislation and I didn't wanna go through this earlier but I think it is important to do so.

Number one in line 29, “The arrested person will fail to appear in court as required”, and again, a likely risk of that. Not an actual confirmation but a likely risk. And that will be determined by the Judge as to what may or may not have been in his or her mind at that time to make that finding.

There is certainly no requirement that the Judge provide any evidence or proof of why he or she determined that, just simply that there's a likely risk of that.

And then number two, and these are or, so this is not a requirement in conjunction but in or. The arrested person will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice or threaten, injure or intimidate or attempt to intimidate, threaten, injure or intimidate a prospective witness or juror, another option.

Then three, and I think that this is one of the most important ones for me, Mr. Speaker. The arrested person will engage in conduct that threatens the safety of himself or herself or another person.

So again, we are not asking that the Judge articulate what led he or she to that decision, just the mere fact that it's likely in that Judge's decision that they may pose that conduct that threatens the safety of themselves or another person.

So again, I just thought it was important to highlight that we're not narrowing a Judge's discretion. We are requesting that a finding be made on the record, yes, certainly. But we're not narrowing it simply to these factors or that all of these factors have to be present or that other factors cannot be considered.

So again, I just thought that it would be important to highlight the matters that have been raised. I don't know whether or not that will provide any changes of assurances but I also must say that I share some of the concerns that often I believe we, too, spend a lot of time on the rights of criminals.

And again I say criminals with all due respect but they are individuals who commit crimes that does something that's against the law. And it's just unfortunate that those are the topics that come before us quite often as well.

I do believe that this is certainly a well-intended piece of legislation. I do believe that we have a group of very sophisticated professionals that are going to be studying this and looking at this and I certainly hope to hear back from them.

And regarding, I think, also the victim advocate. That's something that I certainly have raised throughout this entire session as well. I, too, sense the passage of the amendment and legislation before us in the sense of out of committee, I did not hear back from the victim's advocate in this regard. I hope we did certainly listen to that department. I certainly, myself, have been a strong advocate in the making the voices of victims heard and I certainly intend to continue to do so and would be very much interested in hearing the input of the victim advocate moving forward in this regard, too.

But clearly, the intent is truly to get to those individuals that but for financial circumstances are still sitting in prison.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak the second time.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a couple of questions about the bill. The first one is, and I guess I'm trying to understand and always have tried to understand to some extent what we're aiming at here or how we're going to do this within the context of the constitution.

As I read the constitution, it says that in all criminal prosecutions, which would include misdemeanors, the accused has the right to be released upon bail or on bail upon sufficient security except in capital offenses where the proof is evident or the presumption is great.

And then it goes on to talk about prosecutions for indictments. It doesn't say anything about the right to bail being curtailed if we think the person might injure somebody else or themselves.

So if I could ask, is there something I'm missing about the basic constitutional provision about bail that you get it if you can provide security but you don't -- but we're going into all these other considerations where the Judge is gonna be making an evaluation based on what you might do in the future.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):
Through you, Mr
. Speaker, I'm looking at the same provision. I believe we're talking about Article 29 of the constitution if I'm not mistaken.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Well, I'm looking at section eight, it's probably the basic rights that people have, the statement of rights.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, I am looking at the same language, a few lines down. I should also note for purpose of the discussion that it also provides that there is a constitutional ban on excessive bail or excessive fines.

But I should note that I think that -- no, this section does not -- to answer the question, the section does not provide for the right of the state to hold somebody because they pose a threat to another person.

So if that's the question, this section does not provide that. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker because I mean part of the discussion, when we get into this discussion about looking at someone's, I guess for want of a better term, dangerousness either to themselves or others, the danger that they might try to intimidate a witness, the danger that they might hurt themselves or someone else.

As a sort of a precondition to determine whether or not the Judge should impose bail, seems to me what gets us into a whole realm of conversation where people are gonna start thinking in terms of that as the basis of bail rather than what I've always understood is, is the person likely to show up for the next step in the court hearing process and the court process.

And so because it seems like it says everybody's entitled to bail. It doesn't say that the state is entitled to require bail and I think there's always been sort of an implication that in the absence of security, bail is gonna be provided, it doesn't say that there's a reciprocal power on the state to hold people in the absence of security but it certainly seems to imply it.

And here we're saying well, we're not gonna require bail of people by statute, even though it seems like this is a constitutional concept that we're playing with here.

So as I say, I don't think I've ever fully understood how it is that we're changing this particular process that's been embedded in our constitution for a very long time. As far as just looking at can you provide sufficient security that the Judge determines is likely to result in your showing up at the next step in the court process.

Perhaps the proponent could explain to me what is it exactly we're trying to accomplish? I understand we're trying to get people out of jail. We're saying well if you do it for misdemeanors although this doesn't distinguish between misdemeanors and felonies, it just says for any crime in the constitution -- that we're gonna start drawing these distinctions, that you get bail or you don't get bail based on, or there's a provision for bail based on the constitution but we're gonna have this other system that's talking about misdemeanors and felonies and no bail. But then we're gonna look at dangerousness, we're gonna go down a whole other route from what's in the constitution.

So if the proponent could explain to me, is there some legal theory basis for going this route?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanna make one thing clear and I know that my colleague from the Judiciary Committee and the former Ranking Member knows the importance of language.

And he said, I think he said that the purpose of this bill is to let people out of jail. That's not the purpose of this bill. The purpose of this bill is to make sure that we have an effective system for administering bail and securing the reappearance of people in court and having a system that's efficient and cost effective and effective in preventing people from recidivating and committing further crimes, losing jobs, losing housing and to make sure that really, at its core, people aren't held, detained in our jails and in our prisons for low-level misdemeanor non-violent offenses simply because they can't afford it.

That is the purpose of the bill. The bill is not to let people out of jail. I would not support a bill that the stated purpose was to let people out of jail. If they should be in jail, they should be in jail.

This bill asks the question whether a certain class of people should be in jail or not and for what reason.

That being said, I think this is a larger question about the state's police power, that would be the legal theory. To protect its citizens from harm, from threats of violence. I believe that our state constitution and our Federal constitution strongly recognizes the general police power of the state and of the Federal government to protect people from harm.

And so the state draws from that ability and that police power and the prerogative to assess the risk of certain individuals who may threaten others or breach the peace. And we do that at various stages. Police officers do that the very second they show up on the scene and on through the process.

So risk assessments are a factor. They are not dispositive under this bill but they're a factor, they're a valid factor under the state's police power and so if that -- if I may, that would be the legal theory that I would post today.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just say, I don't wanna get into the purpose of the discussion too much but I would just note that this bill is a substitute for Governor's bill HB 7044 and it starts off saying, an act concerning pretrial justice reform and the statement of purpose is to implement the Governor's budget recommendations.

His budget recommendation was to reduce the cost of pretrial detention. The way you get there is by getting people out of jail and not detaining them and that's what the fiscal note is all about and that's what's really driving all of this but that's what it says in the bill.

That's why I thought that's what the purpose of this really was, to accomplish a reduction in the number of people being detained in order to save money as part of the budget.

I do have a few other questions, if I may, that are a little bit more technical in nature. One of the exceptions to the assumption that a person is not gonna have to post bail if they're charged with a misdemeanor is that a person is charged with a family violence crime as defined in 46b-38a.

Now I looked up 46b-38a and what it seems to -- I had to use my iPhone to identify the section that I wanted to talk about. What it talks about is really a reference back to anything that contains some element of family violence.

When I tried to get a definition of what is family violence, it turns out to be very, very circular. It talks about family violence means a crime which in addition to its other elements, contains an element thereof an act -- as an element thereof an act of family violence to a family or household member.

Now I don't know exactly where this definition gets used or how it's applied in other circumstances, if you get treated differently in the court system if something gets designated as a family violence crime.

But here, what's gonna happen is at a very early stage in the process, the very first step in the process where a Judge has contact with a defendant, they're gonna be presented with some evidence, I assume, in the prosecutor's file generated by the police, and they're gonna be making a determination as to whether or not this is a family violence crime.

And I'm just looking for some guidance because I suspect that there's gonna be a need for some guidance as to exactly what is meant by a family violence crime. If we could articulate that a little bit.

And let me throw out one example. An individual enters an apartment formerly shared, but just recently shared with a person that they were living with. A girlfriend, boyfriend -- and they enter the apartment and remove a piece of property that they believe is theirs. Does that qualify as a family violence crime?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REPRESENTATIVE TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, let me unpack that. Is the person, I would direct my colleague to 46b-38a, section 2f. Is the question -- does the question presume that the person is or has recently been in a dating relationship?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

No, Mr. Speaker, I would go back to the immediate preceding section there, clause C, or have lived together at any time. That's the -- that's the factual predicate here.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Section C provides for people who are presently residing together or who have resided together. If we're using that definition, then is the question whether that person's entering of the home and taking of the object is a family violence crime or is there some other action?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Just the removal of a piece of property. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm looking at the definition of family violence which is fairly detailed. In that hypothetical, I fail to see or recognize any element of quote “physical harm, bodily injury or assault or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault”.

So in the absence of those facts, I would say no, it is not a family violence crime.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Okay, so then a person entering an apartment, removing, oh I don't know, an iPad. About which there is a dispute as to who the real owner is. Walks off with it. That would not qualify under the terms of this as I understand it.

What would qualify, what extra fact in addition to what I've laid out would qualify it as a family violence crime for which the bail would not be -- would be required. For which there would be a requirement for bail?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I guess there are any number of facts I could add to the fact pattern to make it a family violence crime.

But I should say first of all, if someone who didn't live there anymore came into my apartment and stole my iPad, that could be burglary or larceny or any number of crimes.

But let's put those to the side for a second. So you're in the apartment, you're trying to take the iPad, I walk out of my bedroom and say, “Hey, why are you taking my iPad”, and then you take a swing at me and punch me in the face, that could be a family violence crime.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So it would still require an independent assault as opposed to the removal of the property at that point in time for it to qualify as a family violence crime. That was the example given by the Chair of the Judiciary Committee.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you. Based on the limited facts before us, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And part of my concern about this and as I say, it seems to me that the definition of family violence crime is a little bit circular. It's a crime that involves violence in a family, kind of, it takes the name of the thing and then defines it by just using those words slightly in a different arrangement to make the definition.

The concern that I have is that it is precisely that kind of a limited set of facts that are gonna be presented to the Judge when the police officer hands in his report to the prosecutor, the prosecutor stands up in front of the Judge and a determination is gonna be made as to whether does this qualify as a bail able one or is this a non-bail able misdemeanor and at end, we're dealing with one of the clear exceptions to the bail able one but it in of itself, the definition seems to be -- it's not any crime that involves family members but it has to be a crime where there's some, I guess, touch or value of violence.

There's a line by Rodney Dangerfield that I feel the urge to say but I'm not going to. So maybe that's a signal that I should let this go at this point in time, I don't know.

As I said, I have a concern because the stage at which these decisions are gonna be made is very early in the process and a decision about letting someone go without any bail being posted is gonna be made based on those kids of partial facts.

I don't know how often, I haven't been there very often, the Chair of the Judiciary has been to the bail section hearings. The decisions when the people are presented for their first time in the GA court. Usually it goes pretty fast. Sometimes it takes a while but usually it's done on a kind of rapid decision-making process and I'm not sure how this is gonna work out.

Certainly I'm not sure we're gonna get the savings we're looking for if the Judges are going to be making these decisions and trying to get to a quick resolution of them in these circumstances.

So I voted against this. I don't necessarily see a tremendous improvement in the amendment that's been adopted. I voted against it in the committee. I still have some pretty serious misgivings about the route we're taking here. It seems to me -- for two different sets of reasons. The complexity, perhaps, of actually administering this in the court and the time it's going to take.

Plus the other side of it which is we're treating bail as this whole other thing that implicates issues about dangerousness that I'm not sure are really part of our system or ought to be.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Wood of the 141st. You have the floor, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'd like to thank Representative Tong and Representative Rebimbas for their work on this.

I do have a question to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Can you tell me more about the study, the details and what the scope of it is?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, I would direct my colleague from Darien to line 106 of the bill. The study focuses on a system or establishing program that provides assistance to the indigent who are being detained on a pretrial basis.

I think what it does is it opens up this review to all of the questions pertinent to that, to that issue, right? And so it really requires not just an analysis of the assistance program but all the factors that go into the pretrial detention of the indigent.

I should also note that this proposal, I made short reference to it earlier, was developed in consultation with the Connecticut Sentencing Commission which had an alternative bill in proposal.

But this bill reflects the heart of their proposal as well so the Sentencing Commission is part of that work.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Wood.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Thank you. So it's looking at how you're going to fund the reduced bail or elimination of bail in this Bail Reform Program.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, I guess I would say that it's not quite right. It would focus on the possibility of a system, a fund, a mechanism, to help the indigent who commit an offense and for which bail has been applied. How they would pay for that bail if they can't afford it.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Wood.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Great, thank you very much for that answer. And this study is due beginning of January next year? Ready for next session?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Wood.

REP. WOOD (141ST):

Great, thank you. I do stand in support of this legislation. I think it's, quite frankly, some of the most important legislation we're gonna do this year. It is about social justice and it is patently unfair that someone that has the means to pay their bail can get out and someone who can't, can't get out.

It disrupts their life. When that person who can -- granted, they've done something wrong but it's a very defined area of what they've done wrong. These are people who are not going to be dangerous to other people and I just feel this is the right thing to do.

Currently, the system -- I saw this testimony and I thought this made a lot of sense. Currently, the system outcomes are less related to achieving public safety than who can afford bail. And I don't believe it's right to allow people to sit in jail when their work lives and their family lives are disrupted because they can't afford bail.

I also appreciate that this, as I think Representative Rebimbas mentioned in her words today, that at the table -- you were all at the table early on this, the Governor was there, OPM, OFA, ACLU, Department of Corrections and the bail bondsmen were also at the table.

So the work on this, it was collaborative. It's well-intended legislation and I do plan to support it and I thank everyone on the Judiciary Committee for their words and especially the Chairs and the Ranking Member. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you madam. Will you remark? Representative Srinivasan of the 31st, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Mr. Speaker, I've been listening to this debate which has been going on for some time now. And I'm not a lawyer. So for me, this is all uncharted territory and I'm trying to just get my hands around the subject matter clearly because obviously it is important that we make the right decision moving forward today.

With that, through you, Mr. Speaker, just a few questions for the proponent of the bill as amended for perhaps my own clarification.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, as I understand it now, if a bail has to be imposed, the Judge does not have to give any explanation or reasoning for the bail and the amount of the bail.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Not bad, I didn't realize that I knew that much of it already.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, on a serious note, if what we're trying to do here in this bill is that if a Judge decides for the misdemeanor, whether it be Class A, B or C and of course we heard the long list of Class A misdemeanors. In all of them, if a bail is to be imposed, there has gotta be an explanation, there's got to be a reasoning as to what the bail -- the reason for the bail and the amount of the bail as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is not correct. The Judge has to make a finding. The Judge does not have to explain his or herself. The Judge may impose bail if there is a finding of a family violence crime, of obstruction of justice, of a threat to a witness or a juror or a threat to another person.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, maybe the good Chair can just repeat that one more time so that I understand when the Judge does not have to explain himself or herself for the bail.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, just to give an example, if the Judge wishes to impose bail in the context of a misdemeanor, the Judge simply needs to state on the record, “I'm imposing bail because I find that the person will engage in conduct that threatens the safety of another person. ” Period.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, as we stand right now, if this legislation were not to move forward, for the same misdemeanor the Judge does not have to say that, “That I find this reason and that is why I'm imposing the bail.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you. Under current law, yes, the Judge decides, may decide to impose bail. The Judge may decide not to impose bail. Under current law, the Judge is not required to state the words that I just recited that the Judge has made a finding of a threat to the safety of another person.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the Judge, obviously a distinguished person, him or her that is sitting on the bench. When he or she decides that in this misdemeanor a bail is required in their wisdom, in their knowledge, over all these years of practicing a law and then obviously now wearing the robes and sitting on the bench.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, what is the advantage that now we are saying that the Judge has to give a reason that a bail is being imposed. That is the part that I'm not able to understand. That the Judge, we are not taking away the Judge's decision. The Judge can decide yes or no, I get that. That we don't take away, even in this legislation.

But a Judge having the experience that he or she has, then why is it that we are requiring of them, we're almost, I feel questioning the Judge when he or she imposes a bail.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in this legislation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, just to clarify again, I believe that I stated earlier that the Judge does not have to state a reason. So there's no explanation. The Judge needs to make a finding. So I think that's technically important because the Ranking Member made it clear earlier that the Judge does not have to otherwise explain the basis of their finding. They need to state their finding, they don't need to unpack their reasoning.

That being said, if I could take a step back, I think there are two values in the law that we're trying to vindicate here. One is consistency of process and two with my good colleague's indulgence, I'll take him to law school for a second.

In law school, we talk about default rules. And default rules are really this concept that, you know, where does the law lie when you walk in the door? What does everybody understand to be the case? What is the default without knowing more.

And I think what we're trying to establish here is that for low-level misdemeanor offenses that are nonviolent, the default rule is that a Judge should think -- I probably should not impose bail here.

But, if I make a finding that there's a threat to another person or obstruction of justice or a family violence crime, then I should impose bail and I need to state that finding on the record.

So default rules and the process are important under law because it is not really a mechanism to second-guess Judges but it's a mechanism to guide them in the practice of judging. It is a mechanism to guide them in how we want them as a society to view these problems.

That's not second guessing, we do that all the time with Judges with default rules and presumptions and process. That's what the Judiciary Committee does every day, it provides that guidance.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (34TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good Chair for that explanation and making it a little clearer for us who are the non-legal profession to understand this complex issue that we're dealing with today.

So through you, Mr. Speaker, a few more questions. So am I to understand that in a misdemeanor Class A, that there is a possibility that the Judge may say that this person can be released without a bail?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if the question is whether on a Class A misdemeanor undefined. You haven't defined -- my colleague hasn't defined which misdemeanor we're talking about.

But a Class A misdemeanor, in general terms, is it possible that a Judge could release somebody on a promise to appear without setting bail, yes. They can do that today.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (34TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So if the Judge can do that today, through you, Mr. Speaker, then regardless of the financial condition, we did hear about that, I heard that very loud and clear. That in the current system it could happen that people who are with not -- who are not so affluent -- and not in good financial situations may end up in jail. We heard that. And maybe that is what this bill is trying to address so that that does not happen.

But through you, Mr. Speaker, if in a Class A misdemeanor as we speak right now, the person can be allowed to go out into the public at large without a bail, then what does this legislation do to that situation other than saying a funding -- I mean as the good Chairman told us, there's got to be a finding, if that's the right choice of word.

Other than that fact, what difference does it happen in a Class A. Because that's what we're concerned about. I think our concern is not the Class C misdemeanors but in this situation, would we, and where the question of public safety comes up is in a Class A misdemeanor, without a bail, what could happen to the society at large? That is a concern.

So through you, Mr. Speaker, my question to the good Chair is as we speak now, in a Class A misdemeanor, can the Judge, in his or her infinite wisdom, decide to let the person go without a bail?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, again I guess I would go back to my answer about default rules and guiding our jurists in how they approach these decisions so that there's more consistency in decision making.

The default rule we're establishing with this legislation is that if you commit a misdemeanor crime that is nonviolent, that's a low level offense, without more information that in general terms, bail is not likely appropriate.

But, if the Judge goes through this process of assessing these factors, including the past criminal history of the accused, including the person's record of prior convictions, looks at the charge, we've heard about some misdemeanor charges that use words like riot or assault and of an elderly person. If you add those factors to the mix, then a Judge may find that the person -- would likely find that the person poses a threat to the safety of others.

So again, it is -- the law that we're seeking to pass here would establish a default rule and a process for analyzing bail for misdemeanors.

You know, I guess I'd have to say this that my colleague from Glastonbury, we've had this conversation before about practicing law and practicing medicine and of course, a doctor who has practiced for 40 years can walk into a hospital and assess a situation and make a decision and based on their experience and knowledge, you know, if they're a good doctor, that decision is likely to be right.

But I'm sure that we teach doctors to take it step by step and in each case for each disease or each condition, that there's a checklist of things to go through and that there default rules; what you see, what the indications are, what the counter indications are.

This is the same idea, that we're providing guideposts for Judges when making the decisions. Why? Because we're dealing with people's liberty in the same way that a doctor deals with the person's health and their life or death.

We're doing a similarly important analysis -- does this person need to be detained? Do they need to lose their liberty? Do they need to lose their liberty which may cause them to lose their housing or their job? It's also a very decision and we wanna make sure they do so according to the process that we lay out for them.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (34TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I get -- I get that and I wanna thank the good analogy between a junior physician and a senior physician, chief of the department, so on and so forth.

But through you, Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, nothing at this point in time prevents a Judge for a misdemeanor from letting that person go without a bail.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Through you, that is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (34TH):

And through you, Mr. Speaker, that's been what I'm not able to understand. If the Judge is already capable of making that decision, not on a financial condition but on the -- I would, I should not use the word merit, that's not the right choice of word -- on the, on the misdemeanor committed.

And the Judge can say, you know, while this misdemeanor does not warrant this, that or the other and I'm gonna let you go. You have to appear, obviously, in court for your day in court but you don't need a bail.

That already exists. Then what is this roadmap or what is this guide that we are giving. Not to somebody who stepped out of law school yesterday but a Judge. I mean who's gone through years of law practice, that was my assumption, before he or she gets onto the bench. That is the part that I'm not able to understand, why do we have to give them the roadmap. They should have that pretty much en route given the years of practice.

And through you, Mr. Speaker, my final question is, I've heard this from both sides of the aisle, both from the Chair as well as members from my side of the aisle, that one of the concerns is that people with not adequate financial means who we're addressing, and we do need to take care of them, no question about that at all.

But somehow those people could end up being in jail as opposed to somebody who has reasonable financial means. And that is what I was not able to understand. If the good Judge -- if the good Chairman, not Judge, if the good Chairman can tell us how a financial condition results in the person being in jail. My assumption is it is on a temporary basis till he or she is brought up in trial.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The good Chairman, Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm not interested in being a Judge but I appreciate the compliment.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I did have a hard time hearing what Representative Srinivasan had asked. I think I heard him ask, you know, what is the -- what's the concern about people who are indigent and can't afford to post low amounts of bail.

And the concern is that the data is pretty clear, that people who are picked up for misdemeanor offenses and can't post a low level of bail, they tend to be the poorest of the indigent and they tend to be struggling in their private and professional lives and holding onto a job or housing is very difficult.

You know, the homeless veteran, for example, comes to minds, right, who may have been picked up for shoplifting and they're requiring -- they're relying on housing and if they're picked up and they disappear for three days, they may lose that housing.

Or somebody who has, you know, made some bad choices in life but is back and trying to work and they're doing, you know, minimum wage labor, their attendance at work is extremely important to their employer and if they go two days without showing up to work, they'd probably lose that job.

So I think those are the people who we're concerned about because what happens with those folks is if they lose their job, if they lose their housing, if they had a substance abuse issue, if they had friends that were not good influences that they might be prone to recidivism. They might offend again.

And that's what we don't want. That's what the criminal justice system is designed to prevent. And that's the purpose of this legislation.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good Chair for his answers and his indulgence in walking me through some of the concerns that I have not being in the legal profession.

But I see this in this legislation, I get the idea. I get the purpose of this legislation but I really don't see the need for that. And my bigger concern is that at the end of the day, through this legislation, would we be creating, as some of my colleagues have said repeatedly and a big concern for me is public safety.

Through you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I wanna thank you for giving me this opportunity.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you sir. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Godfrey of the 110th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Now, Mr. Speaker, every day we stand at the opening of the House and communally pledge allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands. We all say that every day. And that pledge ends with the words, “And justice for all”.

When I look at a judicial system that says okay, I'm gonna pull some numbers out of the air -- bail on this is gonna be $ 2,000 dollars and if you're a millionaire, that's half a day's pay and if you're making minimum wage, it's 25 days' pay.

I don't think that's justice for anyone let alone for all. And I think that's the real purpose of this bill. It's not to get people out of jail. It's not to implement a budget, that's a term of art that we use to get the Governor's bills into the hopper in the General Assembly.

No, this is designed to be a solution to a real problem which is justice for all. Justice for all is the ideal and the current bail system interferes with that, in my humble opinion, Mr. Speaker.

It's -- it's timely, it's the impetus for this even being discussed by the Governor and by the legislature. And it's just simply fair. People have to be treated the same by the justice system. There's too much of a perception out there and there's evidence for it, there's a system of justice for rich people and a completely different one for poor people and working families.

We have to put a stop to that and this bill goes a very long way of saying we're on the side of justice for all, not two systems, one for the rich and one for the poor.

I'm standing in support of this legislation, Mr. Speaker, and thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? 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, members take your seats, the machine will be open. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 7044 as amended by House “A”:

Total Number Voting 150

Necessary for Passage 76

Those voting Yea 88

Those voting Nay 62

Those absent and not voting 1

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The bill as amended passes. (Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Ziobron of the 34th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Mr. Speaker, I've had several visitors this legislative session but this is a special visitor that I wanted to introduce to the Chamber today.

With me is a student from Nathan Hale-Ray High School, his name is Eric Sikorsky and Eric is a wonderful student involved in a number of activities including mock trial and he's dabbling a little bit in politics.

He's so interested in what's happening here in the Chamber and our own community and really has been getting involved and making himself available and learning about the process, so he's gonna spend some time with us this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, watching what happens here in the Chamber and I hope everyone will give him a warm welcome. Thank you.

(Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you. Welcome. Welcome to the Chamber and hopefully as you see the debate today, it's a learning experience for you. Thank you so much.

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Hearing none, we'll return to the call of the calendar.

Will the Clerk please call Calendar number 396?

CLERK:

On page 20, calendar 396, substitute House Bill number 7222, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH'S VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATUTES. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg, you have the floor, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

Please proceed, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is the annual Public Health Technical Revisions bill. It contains all sorts of technical revisions and a few other things. Nothing to worry about here.

The Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO number 8433; I ask that the amendment be called and I be given an opportunity to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO number 8433 which will be designated House Amendment “A”.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule “A”, LCO number 8433 offered by Representative Steinberg, Representative Srinivasan et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment, are there any objections to summarization? Any objections, if not, please proceed, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Yes, as I stated previously, as we do every year, we make a very studious effort to go back through any number of statutes and make some changes and corrections. There are also some things that we discussed in the Committee that have been added to this bill. I think there are roughly 49 sections and I'm sure there'll be some questions so I'll just move passage of the amendment, adoption of the amendment, please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The question is the adoption of the amendment. Would you remark further? Would you remark further on the bill as amended?

Representative Srinivasan of the 31st, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This amendment that we are gonna be discussing for some time is a work -- true bipartisan work. A lot, as the good Chair mentioned, there are about 49-plus sections in this bill. A lot of back and forth, a lot of discussions and I'm not sure how many of these amendments that we have had in work-in-progress till we arrive here today on amendment 8433.

So I want to thank the good Chair, I want to thank the Department of Public Health and I want to thank all the people involved in putting together this annual bill that we will now discuss so that we're all clear what is there in these 49-plus sections.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker to the good Chair, I'm just thinking, 49 sections, I'm not sure what are we -- what we're gonna discuss and how long we're gonna discuss this because these are all important issues facing our state.

Section one, through you, Mr. Speaker, requires the fee along with the licensure. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what is the change that we are seeking in section one? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. An excellent question and I'm sure I'll be saying that quite often today. The intent here is not to create a new fee. This is an existing fee. However, the Department has experienced any number of requests that have turned out not to be serious and they've gone through the whole process and not actually gotten paid for all that work.

So the expectation is when you file requesting such a -- with such an application that you pay the fee at that time so that basically covers the cost of the work being done.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, the fee goes along with the application and then this moves forward as opposed to being paid at some later point in time. But will the fee structure change?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. No, that has not changed, it's really just changing the timing of the payment. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, what section two does is try to talk about in statute and out-patient dialysis unit. So in this section, are we addressing all of the dialysis units that we have, whether they are standalone or they belong to a system?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. This is simply a matter of codifying what has been in regulations for many years. It's almost amazing, we never actually put in statute such a definition of dialysis units and yes, it does cover all the different applications or uses of dialysis units in the state.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in section three we talk about a contact hour for dentists. So through you -- for the dental hygienist, I'm sorry. For a dental hygienist. So through you, Mr. Speaker, what is this contact hour and what is different than what we have at this time?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEIBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, a contact hour, interestingly is 50 minutes in the context of continuing education. I think in the case of this legislature, it's probably like two hours. But it just makes it consistent with the definitions that we have in statute for other professions. So it's making the dental hygienists basically consistent with other dental professionals and others.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, how often, a number of, is it on an annual basis or is it every other year that the dental hygienist needs to have this one contact hour?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm not exactly sure if we stipulate that in this revision but, bear with me one moment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

I'm ready, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Chamber will come back to order. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Mr. Speaker, my understanding is it is within a 24-month or two-year period. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so currently is it on an annual basis that we are switching from an annual basis to every two years?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No, I don't think we're changing the period as much as just bringing it into alignment with other professions. So I think that's consistent with the existing statute.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in section five we talk about the -- every three years that the report needs to be made for patients -- for students diagnosed with asthma.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, why would we want to change it to every three years to what it is right now?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, an excellent question. There are really two reasons. One is that the nurses who provide much of the data that informs this particular report, on the report every three years. So it's logical to make that consistent.

And secondly, it does relieve a little bit of time pressure on the limited resources of the department.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, section six deals with DNR. So if the good chair would then explain to us in the chamber what is it that we're trying to accomplish in section six.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker, do not resuscitate orders are becoming more and more important in family and end-of-life planning, particularly when one may consider or contemplate a serious illness.

So it only makes sense for us to really clarify the definition of do not resuscitate, what falls in that category, whether it being the withholding nutrition or use of artificial ventilation, any number of factors so that we're just making explicitly clear the latest definition of DNR in this context.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, in this DNR that when this is being signed off by the appropriate individuals, through you Mr. Speaker, how would we ensure that that is being followed?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136Th):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, my understanding, obviously is that DNR instructions are in writing, they are usually given to family members and perhaps to lawyers so that when such a circumstance occurs, such instructions are eminently clear.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, when there is a disciplinary action against a health care provider, done at the Federal level, there's a Federal investigation against a health care provider -- through you, Mr. Speaker, what role does the state have in monitoring that health care provider who is under investigation at the Federal level.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, I appreciate the question from the good Representative as we move into section seven.

This just allows the department to monitor or begin evaluation of a disciplinary action once they're made aware of an initiating of a Federal action.

So in other words, if the Feds think that there's a problem, the state can at least start investigating it.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (36TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, moving on to sections nine through eleven. We are encroaching on professional counseling, marital and family therapy professional counselors.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, how will the students be notified who are not yet licensed if they have not, (a) completed, if they have not passed the exam will they still be allowed to practice?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, this is the intent of these sections nine through eleven is to address the circumstance whereby they may not have passed the exam but have been allowed to continue to practice in the interim.

Obviously, with the way the statute is written currently there is some lack of clarity and that sort of limbo state could continue without end. So this puts some reasonable limits on it and that certainly the department is directly involved with making sure that those involved are aware of what their status is and are clear about the rules for completing the requirements such they will be restored to good standing.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the good Chair talked about restrictions being applied. What are these restrictions?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Well, section nine currently prohibits psycho, psychologists' licensure applications from providing unlicensed services to clients after they've completed the statutory work experience.

The department's experience has been that some applicants for licensure continue to rely on work experience if they have failed the exam. So that has been allowed to this point but it's clear they really should take the exam.

So what we're making clear is that there's that expectation and there is a window of time in which they can complete it. And that applies in virtually every case with the exception of the marriage and family therapists who through an understanding with the department are allowed to continue practicing in their context.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, as I understand that either it's one year since they have had their work experience or till they pass the exam. Either or the need to make sure that if that does not happen, if more than a year passes (a) or the person does not pass the exam (b), they will not be able to continue the license and so hence will not be able to practice.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you, yes the good representative has it right. The idea is you eventually have to complete that exam and they're putting some limitations on it so you both have to have the work experience and complete the exam to be in good standing.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Section 12 talks about purchase of medically necessary and durable goods -- equipment, goods, so on and so forth.

And through you, Mr. Speaker, what are the limitations on the purchase of these necessary items by DPH?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that under current statute the purchase of this very specific and professional equipment is treated the same way as a lot of other state purchasing and the goal is, because of its nature, to remove it from some of the other restrictions we have in purchasing because it is very specialized equipment for a very small audience.

The statute also makes some technical changes to the use of language to bring us up to the modern age in terms of how we describe people in this category.

So they're really literally technical changes rather than substantive ones.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, as I understand this section, DPH will not be allowed -- and I want the good Chair to let me know if that is how I read the section.

DPH will not be allowed to purchase any of this long list of necessary equipment if that rate of purchase is higher than that of the Medicaid payment rate.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, the Representative makes a very good point. Obviously we want good value for our purchasing and that is the measure by which we assure that that is the case.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, my concern is that if in the purchase of certain durable goods or equipment there is no Medicaid rate, then what happens?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, my surmise is given the nature of the people being served in this case, virtually all the equipment we'd be talking about falls in that category. Perhaps there could be an outlier but I don't know how relevant that would be.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, if I heard the good Chair well, his presumption is that all of these goods would have a Medicaid rate and it would be very unlikely that there would be one without a Medicaid rate and so there is always a cost comparison.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you, yes I would agree with that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in section 13, we talk about a birth defect surveillance program. In this program, for children under the age of one, what is it that we are trying to accomplish in this program?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Well, it modifies the existing birth defect surveillance program. In terms of what needs to be reported with regard to children under the age of one, instead of children under the age of five, it's a reasonable distinction based upon their experience.

I will say the main reason for this section, as much has to do with our ability to access a CDC grant which required the program's ongoing viability and we had previously eliminated the program from consideration and therefore became ineligible for the CDC grant.

So that's why this section is particularly important because the program and its funding is very important.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, as I understand that this program is critical because when this is maintained and maintained as it should, it will then allow us that we can qualify for some of these CDC grants.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, that is correct and that is the key import of this section.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in section 15 we talk about DPH's role with regards to water in terms of private wells. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what is the impact of a), of the analysis that's done in a local well that has to be reported to DPH at the time of sale of a house?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. As the good Representative knows, homes that rely on well water rely on it for their source of potable water in most cases. So it's very important to understand what is in there and obviously since they're often drawing from the ground water, there may be contaminants that unless you test for them you would not know are present.

So there could be anything from things we find in runoff off lawns to actually pharmaceuticals or other kinds of products.

Therefore, when a house is sold, it's very important that the purchasing homeowner is aware of the quality of water in that well.

What we're trying to do here is we're putting this burden on the purchase of a home, that you have to have this test, that we're being reasonable about it. This is actually kind of a business friendly, realtor friendly version because it gives them adequate time after the closing of the sale of the home to get the test done and provide the information to the state.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so that it'd be all clear, it is the responsibility of the seller of the home to get this analysis.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker, in the event that there was something that was found in this analysis, that the homeowner, is he or she required -- is he or she mandated to report whatever is found in this test to DPH?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, my understanding is I think the report is voluntary but if there's something found in it, they are required to send it in. So in other words, if it's normal, I'm not sure they do but certainly if there's a contaminant particularly since it relates to the groundwater it may affect other wells in the area, it is reported to the department.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, so that it would be all clear, when the test analysis is normal, there's no contaminant, the seller of the home does not necessarily have to report that, send that information to DPH.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, actually I think I'm wrong on that. I think the existing statute requires everybody to report but that information is not shared beyond the department.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, if all information has to be reported to DPH, then it should stand to reason as well that if there was a contaminant found that DPH would be aware through the reporting that happens.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes indeed, that is the intent of the statute to protect the public health. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, such a report that is done, obviously it's not free, it's got a cost attached to that which obviously will be burden of the seller of the home.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, how long is this report valid for in the event the home does not sell, you know, with that particular deal that falls through and then obviously some other deal comes across in another week, another ten days -- would the seller have to be repeating the study or does the study have a certain timeframe for which it is valid?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you, I believe the period is six months which is why the testing is typically done closer to closing when there's an expectation that a sale will be made.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in this section, we address also the licensed bulk water haulers. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what will be the responsibility of these bulk haulers?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. First of all, it's important as it says in the bill, that only licensed water haulers are allowed to make deliveries to private or public sites and more importantly that they have to provide advance notice of their intent to make a delivery. No one wants to be surprised by a bunch of bulk water without being prepared for it.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, it is only a licensed bulk water hauler that will be able to supply to a semipublic or a private residential well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes that's correct. We want to make sure that the right people are making those kind of deliveries of potable water.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, cremation, I've noticed is something that's happening more and more of late both in our state and across the nation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in this legislation, what restriction are we placing in establishing or creating a crematory?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, the good Representative is correct, there seems to be some proliferation in the use of crematories. This puts what we believe are reasonable limits as to where a crematory can be located, specifically not anywhere within 500 feet of a residential property unless the crematory's owners also owns that other property. So it's a reasonable standard.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST)

So through you, Mr. Speaker, if somebody has a relatively large property and chooses to establish a crematory within their own property, would there be any restrictions to that with this section?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136Th):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if I understand the good Representative's question correctly, if the owner of the crematory adjoins the -- owns the adjoining property, he is entitled to locate the crematory there. I hope that answers the good Representative's question.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, yes. I mean he did understand -- the good Chairman did understand my question well. But my concern is if this 500 feet kind of limit that we are placing, if it is -- if it is in the property owned by the owner but how about the abutting property? How far do they have to be from the next property where -- so that, which obviously this person does not own.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136Th):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm not an expert on realty law but my understanding as written is that the property in which the crematory is situated has to be no closer than 500 feet from a property which is adjoining. So I think that gives you the definition.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, for clarification purposes, if the crematory is within somebody's property that is fine but it still has to be 500 feet away from the neighbor's property. That is the way I would understand this and I just want clarification.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes that would be my interpretation.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in lines, I mean sections 17 and 18 are relatively good sections of the bill where we are saying that these meetings do not need to happen on a mandatory basis as we now have them to do so but if the need is there, if a need arises, then and then only do those meetings have to take place.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes. These sections recognize the good work that the specific committees, the Quality of Care Advisory Committee and the Public Health Preparedness Advisory Committee have already done. And they provided a lot of value and have import on our existing regs and statutes.

So we want to keep them around but they no longer have the need to meet as regularly so therefore we've removed the mandatory requirement.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Section 20 talks about a registration fee. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to whom does this registration fee apply?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, though you. It's a relatively small number of companies that would take advantage, I would imagine. But this is a biennial fee of $ 400 dollars for microbiological and biomedical biosafety laboratories, of course, exempting state and Federally operated laboratories.

So it recognizes that for the very technical lab work that must be done that it's appropriate to institute a fee to cover the cost of providing that kind of information back to the applicant.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, for these private laboratories, what we are saying is the fee would be $ 400 on a biennial basis.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in section 22, we talk about licensed alcohol and drug counselors. The LADCs as we refer to them.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, what is it that we are trying to do with the LADCs in this section?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the good Representative bringing this section up. I think it's a very important section because it enables these professionals to work with people when there are co-occurring conditions. For example, we discussed this in the context of opioid abuse. There may be an individuals who have both alcohol and drug abuse issues. And previously, they were somewhat limited in their ability to work in this context.

This recognizes that these two addictions are often co-occurring so it enables the professionals to help people who are displaying both of these kinds of addictions and that's really very valuable.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, along with alcohol and/or drug addiction that these people, these counselors will be able to help and counsel. Will the counselors be able to address other coexisting conditions like other mental health conditions?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes. Yes, indeed, that is an important distinction that there are other co-occurring conditions that would now be allowed.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINICASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and these are the conditions that they can address. Will it have to be within their scope of practice?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes that's a very good point. They obviously have to have the professional training and background to be helpful to these people and since they relate to a variety of mental health conditions which are often underlying, that would be the requisite experience.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease. Representative Ritter, for what purpose do you rise?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that we pass this item temporarily. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Is there objections? Is there any objection? Hearing none, we'll pass the bill temporarily.

The Chamber will stand at ease.

The Chamber will come back to order. Will the Clerk please call calendar 72?

CLERK:

On page two, House Calendar 72, Substitute House Bill number 6352, AN ACT CONCERNING BENEFICIAL END USES IN CONNECTICUT FOR DISCARDED TIRES AND REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TIRE HAULER LICENSE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose of the 118th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment LCO 8415. I would ask the Clerk to call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 8415 which will be designated House Amendment Schedule “A”.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule “A”, LCO number 8415 offered by Representative Rose.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment, is there any objection? Are there any objections to summarization, if not, Representative Rose, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we -- this is a strike-all amendment. I once again stand before this Chamber. We passed in 2013, the House and the Senate. The Governor signed it, Public Act 1323 which is a bill to require kennels or anyone advertising the services of a kennel to produce their license number in any of their advertising.

The problem with the original bill, Mr. Speaker, is that the definition of kennel did not match the intent of the act and I'm here today with an amendment that corrects that.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you. The question before the Chamber is on adoption, House Amendment Schedule “A”. Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Ziobron of the 34th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise with a significant amount of questions regarding this strike-all amendment that we're seeing for the first time as a member of the Environment Committee.

I distinctly remember doing a similar bill last year. Could the good proponent explain this strike-all amendment as it relates to the legislation that she advocated for last year and what's the difference?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you to the good Representative. Thank you for asking that question. This is exactly what we passed last year in this Chamber, Mr. Speaker. It did not -- it failed to be called in the Senate so I am back here again with this amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, so this is the exact same language, the exact same language that was debated in this chamber last year, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes it is. The only -- the only change that this amendment does to the original act that was passed by both House, the House and the Senate and signed into law is it redefines the definition of the word kennel.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34Th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and so in line seven it talks about sections 22 through 327. Is that the definition of kennel that she's referring to, the good proponent?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Mr. Speaker, through you -- through you, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and if I recall and I'm looking at the lines 25 through 26 talking about advertising. They also talk about a license number. So someone who is helping out a friend, someone who is having a, maybe a pet-sitter service, are they affected by this legislation, through you?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you to the good Representative, it does not affect anyone who is pet sitting for a friend. Mr. Speaker, there are many websites available such as rover. com where people are literally advertising the services of a kennel. They're boarding people's dogs in their homes but Mr. Speaker, they are not zoned for that purpose, they are not licensed through the state of Connecticut and they are not paying taxes.

This is what this piece of legislation and amendment aims to correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and if the good Representative could explain exactly how one becomes a licensed kennel. I see a lot of changes in the wording of this amendment where it talks about such license number.

How does one, in fact, become a licensed kennel?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118Th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you, they would go through, if it's someone that's running a home-based business that is advertising the services of boarding and kenneling someone else's dog, they would go through the same procedure, Mr. Speaker, as any commercial kennel would do.

They would go to the state of Connecticut, they would apply for a license and they would be subject to all of the conditions thereof.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, I'll continue to listen to the debate and certainly I'll be listening to the Ranking Member of the Environment Committee talk about this proposal as well. I do recall the conversations from last year. I'll go back and look at my notes and I appreciate the conversation. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, madam, will you remark further? Representative Harding of the 107th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

A few questions to the proponent, if I may.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm looking at this language here in the strike-all amendment and if the good proponent could please explain to the Chamber the difference between the original bill and the bill that she has -- the amendment that she's proposed to you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118Th):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Through you, I'd be more than happy to. This bill was passed in 2012 through this Chamber and the Senate.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the issue is that there are people that are advertising the services of kennels, boarding other people's dogs and doing it from home-based businesses.

The intent of the bill was to require anyone advertising services of a kennel to advertise their license number in their advertisements much like our home improvement contractors must do.

However, Mr. Speaker, once this bill was enacted, we discovered that the definition of kennel did not match the original intent of the bill that was passed.

So Mr. Speaker, we -- this is my second time back before this Chamber to try to get the definition corrected so that the bill can actually be enforced.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and thank you to the good proponent for her answer on that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I think that there was a little mis-clarification with my question, though. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what was the original bill and the bill I'm referring to was THE ACT CONCERNING BENEFICIAL END USES IN CONNECTICUT FOR DISCARDED TIRES AND REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TIRE HAULER LICENSE.

What I'm asking the good proponent if I may, Mr. Speaker, is could the good proponent please explain to me the difference between the underlying bill and the amendment she is proposing the differences.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you, this is a strike-all amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I understand that it's a strike-all amendment, I could see that on the bill here.

Through you, what I'm looking to find out is if the good proponent could explain what we're changing here in the particular bill. I understand it's a strike-all amendment but the substance of what the original bill was and what we're changing here.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker through you, this is a completely new bill being introduced through this vehicle, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and if the good component could please tell the -- myself and my colleagues if she may, how this is germane to tires and how this is germane to requiring a tire hauler license. What would be germane in this particular bill? Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you, we quite frankly needed a vehicle to move to this bill forward.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you and I thank the good proponent for her answer. Just a little bit about the amendment if I may, Mr. Speaker. If the good proponent could please explain what the state's definition for kennel is.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Mr. Speaker, if I might have just a moment to get that information for the good Representative.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Sure, the Chamber will stand at ease.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Chamber will come back to order. Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And Mr. Speaker, through you, the old definition of kennel would be a commercial kennel, whereas a home-based business that is operating not under our current law as a law-abiding kennel was not considered to be included in that definition.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and through you, I, if the good component could please explain what we're trying to legislate here. Some of the problems that we're currently having with kennels and what this bill does to address maybe some of those issues.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you, there's many, many issues. As I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, there are three or four websites out there, one being rover. com that have hundreds if not thousands of ads of people that are in their homes offering to board other people's pets.

The problem with that, Mr. Speaker, is they are not licensed through the state of Connecticut, they are not paying taxes. There is a question as to whether they're zoned in a proper zoning according to their city regulations, Mr. Speaker.

There's also issues of insurance. If I board my dog with someone and my dog either bites someone that comes into their house or the person I'm boarding them with, Mr. Speaker, we don't know who is liable for that.

There's no oversight, Mr. Speaker, if my dog runs away once I drop my dog off at somebody's home. There is no oversight into these businesses and we're working to correct that through this legislation, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and through you, Mr. Speaker, the good proponent was explaining before and I apologize if I didn't hear, if I didn't understand well enough.

But if the good proponent could please maybe explain again, what was passed last year which I believe was supposed to address that issue and what this is doing to address the issue. What -- what falls were occurring between what was passed last year and what is trying to be passed now.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what was passed last year was the same thing. We were attempting to change the definition of kennel. Unfortunately the bill was passed through the House of Representatives, it died in the Senate so I am back here again, Mr. Speaker, to try to get this corrected.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and I look forward to the debate and I would ask the patience of the Chair, excuse me, the Speaker to possibly speak again as I look through the strike-all amendment.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you sir. Will you remark further? Representative Dubitsky of the 47th. Representative Dubitsky, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I apologize. A few questions for the proponent of the bill if I may.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you. I would ask the proponent what the original bill was supposed to be. I see this is -- this bill is now called AN ACT CONCERNING BENEFICIAL END USES IN CONNECTICUT FOR DISCARDED TIRES AND REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TIRE HAULER LICENSE.

But I seem to recall that this bill used to have a different name and through you, Mr. Speaker, if I could ask what the original bill was.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, through you to the kind Representative, thank you for that question. This is a completely new concept, this is a strike-all amendment. The original bill, Mr. Speaker, that was passed in 2013 was House Bill 5899 and it became a Public Act 13-23 in the year 2013.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm -- I'm actually talking about the bill that went through the Environment Committee this year because I was doing a little research back on this bill and noticed that it had come through a committee on which I sit and that I had voted against it.

And I looked at it and I'm trying to figure out well, why did I vote against it and I see that it used to have a different name. It was AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TIRE STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM.

So the bill that came through Committee dealt with a tire stewardship program and that's what we debated in the Environment Committee and that's what I voted on. And the people at home watching saw the debate and saw how I voted on the tire stewardship program and now when the bill comes up, it comes up with a completely different name and it deals with something that isn't a tire stewardship program, it's considerably longer name and it has a different meaning.

Now when we get this amendment, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with tire stewardship or discarded tires or hauling, or a tire hauler license.

Now I'm looking at the amendment and I notice that it actually has -- line 39 of the amendment has, is the same language of a bill that I actually introduced last year. To change the definition of commercial kennel. And I seem to recall spending quite a bit of time meeting with a number of people to get that word changed because the word commercial kennel, the current statute said commercial kennel means a kennel maintained for boarding and grooming dogs or cats.

And elsewhere, the actual definition of kennel, which does not appear in this amendment is a group of dogs. So it appeared to me a bit odd that a kennel would be a group of dogs and a commercial kennel would be a kennel maintained for the boarding and grooming of dogs and cats. This didn't make any sense.

So actually over the last two years I've spent a considerable amount of time trying to get that word changed from kennel to place. Makes perfect sense. Commercial kennel means a place maintained for boarding and grooming dogs and cats. Makes perfect sense.

But how my bill from last year that deals with kennels suddenly pops up on the House floor under the title AN ACT CONCERNING BENEFICIAL ENDUSES IN CONNECTICUT FOR DISCARDED TIRES AND REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TIRE HAULER LICENSE is frankly a bit baffling to me.

More baffling is the fact that that bill used to be called AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TIRE STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM which is the bill that was before the Environment Committee on which we voted.

I do hope that the people in this Chamber can recognize that what we're doing here is we are essentially playing games. We're doing things procedurally which don't appear to make much sense.

Now, you know, inside baseball, I guess the people in this Chamber kind of figure, well that's the way things go. But imagine how your constituents are viewing this. Imagine how the people at home are looking at this and saying, “Well, we're -- we've got this bill. The merits of it seem pretty good. Especially since I introduced it so of course I think it's a good bill.

But imagine how the people at home are looking at this and saying, “Well, we expected to tune in and see a debate on AN ACT CONCERNING BENEFICIAL ENDUSES IN CONNECTICUT FOR DISCARDING TIRES AND REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TIRE HAULER LICENSE.

You know, if you don't think that the people at home are laughing at us, I think you're wrong. You know, I've got no problem with this amendment other than that it should probably be standing on its own feet and you know, certainly I like the piece that I wrote and hope everybody supports the piece that I wrote, at least, because of course it's a good bill because I wrote it.

But again, look at the board. AN ACT CONCERNING BENEFICIAL ENDUSES IN CONNECTICUT FOR DISCARDED TIRES AND REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TIRE HAULER LICENSE. That's what the people in my district tuned in to see the debate on. And they're not seeing it. They're seeing something completely different.

So I will certainly continue listening to this debate and I will certainly, you know, chalk this one up to one of the stranger amendments I have seen in my short time in the legislature and at some point, perhaps we will debate beneficial end uses for discarded tires. Doesn't sound like that's happening this year. But unless it pops up under some other title that deals with some other issue but for now, I will continue to listen to this debate and thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Ritter, for what purpose do you rise?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I move that we pass this item temporarily. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Any objections? Any objections? Hearing none, the bill's passed temporarily.

The Chamber will stand at ease.

Will the Chamber please come back to order. Will the Clerk please call -- will the Clerk please call calendar number 395?

CLERK:

On page 19, calendar 395, Substitute House Bill number 7220, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH'S RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING SAFE DRINKING WATER. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg of the 136th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move adoption, passage of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill, something like that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The question is on acceptance of the Joint Committee favorable report and passage of the bill. Representative Steinberg, you have the floor, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, this is a bill related to water quality and some regulations, particularly that of small water companies. It represents a lot of hard work in agreement between the Department of Public Health and the water companies and those represented by them.

As we are all aware, there are many small water companies in the state of Connecticut and we're trying to protect the public interest with public safety with regard to these small water companies.

The Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO number 6199. I move adoption and the opportunity to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Would the Clerk please call LCO number 6199 which would be designated House Amendment “A”.

CLERK:

House Amendment “A”, LCO number 6199 offered by Representative Steinberg, Representative Srinivasan, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment. Is there any objection to summarization? Is there any objection. Hearing none, Representative Steinberg, you have the floor, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I mentioned previously, this bill really targets the smaller water companies. Particularly this bill asks these smaller water companies to submit to the department a fiscal and asset management plan for all of their capital assets, requires the Commissioner to notify the public at least six months before publishing civil penalties for such companies and to establish a schedule of such civil penalties and establishes a process for placing certain small water companies into receivership if they abandon operations or fail to correct certain violations.

So this is really a public protection bill as it relates to the many small water companies we have across the state. I move passage.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of House Amendment Schedule “A”. Would you remark on the amendment? Would you remark? Representative Srinivasan of the 31st, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Good to see you again here.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Nice to see you, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

It seems that it's a triangle of you, me and the Chair of Public Health this afternoon. (Laughter) Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good Chair of Public Health, if he would just explain to us, because this is a big bill and with the amendment, obviously which was just passed, you know, we did in terms of excluded, deleted a whole, a lot of sections.

So what does this bill now, in its, the two sections that are left behind in terms of small water systems, in terms of their assets and of course in terms of receivership.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and I thank the good Representative. It is important to clarify that the amendment represents the agreement between the department and those representing the small water companies.

It was certainly something of great concern to make sure that the rights to the small water companies were preserved but equally importantly that the rights of citizens dependent on the water from these companies was protected so that this bill reflects the understanding that oversight is required and some follow through indicates that they're unable to continue operating appropriately and rules for how one puts a small company into receivership and the oversight of that process.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, what is a small water system? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Typically a small water company serves fewer than a thousand residents. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so if the system serves in excess of a thousand, would they come under this bill that we are discussing today?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, a very good question, through you. Companies larger than a thousand currently are obliged, they -- they have different rules. They are required to provide water plans, which we do not ask of the smaller companies, so there are fewer of those, obviously and they are actually much more rigorously regulated in a variety of ways.

So there's a real distinction between those of under a thousand customers and those with more than a thousand customers.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the regulations are not as stringent as the good Chair told us for the smaller companies. So the smaller water systems. So through you, Mr. Speaker, are both the small water system and the large water system that we have, are they both regulated by DPH?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, they are both regulated but as the good Representative pointed out in somewhat different ways, depending upon their size and the number of customers they serve.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, when these plans that are requested of the small water systems in terms of their assets and their status, in terms of how functional/nonfunctional they are, when all of those plans, as this legislation moves forward have to be provided to DPH, is there a timeline by which these plans have to be provided?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes, the bill does try to map out a reasonable timeframe for them to comply with these new rules to create asset plans to share with the department. We anticipate in a number of cases they may not have that information prepared in a fashion that would be required so we want to afford them sufficient time to pull that together. They may need to actually get some outside resources to help them with that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, in the plans that needed to be -- that need to be provided to DPH so that we are clear of what is it that we are asking of our small water systems; (a) as I understand it, it is their assets, the capital assets, and (b) the structure. The physical structure of the plant itself.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe that's correct. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (136TH):

And through you, Mr. Speaker, in terms of imposing penalties by DPH, through you, Mr. Speaker if the good Chair could explain to the Chamber as to what is the process by which DPH will impose a penalty to the small water systems.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you, an excellent question because this speaks to the heart of much of this bill.

There is a process that is very deliberate which gives ample opportunity for the small water companies to deal with problems.

The first thing DPH must do is notify them of violations so that they should understand chapter and verse of where the problems are and then they're afforded an opportunity to correct those problems before any civil penalties would be instituted.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker, when these penalties are imposed, is there an appeal process?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, that's another good question. We felt it was very important that if they disagreed with some of the terms of the violation there would be an appeal process so that is included as part of the process.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, as the good Chair had mentioned that the original bill had parts that were not, all of us were not agreeing upon but the bill as amended, you know, is a bill that is acceptable to everyone because it basically addresses the concerns of the small water systems, it gives DPH the authority to be able to look at these systems so that they are safe and if DPH realizes or feels that there's -- there's these issues need to be addressed, have the capacity to impose fines and be fair that there is due process. There's an appeal process available but there's always two sides to every coin.

So as I look at this piece of legislation as it is amended, I think, Mr. Speaker, I would urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to strongly support this legislation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Delnicki of the 14th, you have the floor.

REP. DELNICKI (14TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. A couple of questions to the proponent through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good afternoon and please proceed, sir.

REP. DELNICKI (14TH):

Okay, my first question pertains to a bill we passed, 7221, that covered the protection of the information of large water companies doing business here in the state of Connecticut.

Would a small water company by definition here have all the documentation protected from the Freedom of Information Act so that people that would do harm to our water system would not be able to get them?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, an excellent question from the good Representative. It certainly is the intent of the other legislation that we passed to protect all information that would be security related. So the expectation would be that every water company submitting plans of any sort would be protected in that fashion.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Delnicki.

REP. DELNICKI (14TH):

Yep, thank you Mr. Speaker. And a follow-up to that, to that answer, Mr. Speaker, through you. So regardless of the size of the water company, any entity doing business in the state of Connecticut providing drinking water to residents of the state of Connecticut will be covered under that legislation 7221.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would ask for some clarification what the good Representative means by anybody providing water. I wasn't sure I heard it precisely.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Delnicki.

REP. DELINCKI (14TH):

To clarify that, through you, Mr. Speaker, any commercial water company that is doing business in the state of Connecticut or municipal water company regardless of size. And that would include, you have some water companies that in essence serve a subdivision that are created as a community asset of that subdivision. Would they also be covered through that 7221 provision just as it seems that this would be?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the clarification. Yes, I believe that's the case.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Delnicki.

REP. DELNICKI (14TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Second question and it pertains to line 26 where there's a reference, “Except that each water company shall complete on a form prepared by the Department of Public Health, the asset and financial management plan assessment review of the hydro pneumatic pressure tanks at each of the small community water systems no later than May 1st, 2018.

And I ask this question based on a catastrophic failure that occurred in North Stonington in 2015 when they had one of these water tanks burst.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. DELNICKI (14TH):

My question is this. Is May 1st, 2018 a reasonable period of time for companies to do this analysis and to ensure that they might not have a problem with that piece of equipment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. An excellent question. Obviously we've created an earlier date than for the full asset report to look at these tanks because of the very reason the good Representative brought up, they are a particular risk.

Certainly DPH has been aware of the problem and I would imagine most of the water companies have been evaluating the condition of their tanks ongoing. I believe that the time period allotted should be sufficient for virtually all of them to complete the analysis and provide a report to the DPH. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Delnicki.

REP. DELNICKI (14TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and one final question, through you. Does this language essentially bring the small water companies up to the same standards of responsibility and documentation and maintenance and service work and in basically defining what they have in the way of a system up to the same standards of the legislation for the current larger water companies?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure I could characterize it as bringing it up to the exact same standard. The small water companies have a ways to go. This is progress along those lines. It should provide greater assurance and peace of mind for people who obtain their water from small water companies but I would not say it's really the same standard we hold some of the larger ones.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Delnicki.

REP. DELNICKI (14TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and hopefully one final question here. Is the intent of this as a step in the right direction that may require additional and future action to bring the small water companies up to the same standards?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that's a good question. I think we have to recognize there are functional limitations of the small water companies. There's an argument that perhaps that some of them who struggle to remain in business might want to consider whether they want to remain in business and I think that ultimately, and this is just my opinion, there will be some consolidation and it's most important that we make sure that all the small water companies that continue to serve the people of Connecticut are held to a reasonable standard and that they have a plan for their assets and the maintenance of those assets.

So I do think it's a step in the right direction and I'm sure we'll be talking about this again at some point in the future.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Delnicki.

REP. DELNICKI (14TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and thank you to the good proponent of the bill here. Obviously this is a piece of legislation I'm gonna support because it does make steps in the right direction to ensure that small water companies which have the same responsibility as larger water companies to provide good, safe, clean drinking water to all their customers are meeting a standard and following rules that make sense.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Those opposed nay. The ayes have it, the amendment is adopted. (Gavel) Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? If not, will staff and guests please come to the well of the House, will members please take your seats, the machine will be open. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 7220 as amended by House “A”:

Total Number Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those voting Yea 148

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 3

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The bill as amended passes. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call calendar 380?

CLERK:

On page 18, calendar 380, House Bill number 5741, AN ACT CONCERNING SOBER LIVING HOMES. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook of the 65th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

What happened?

REP. COOK (65TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good evening, madam, how are you today?

REP. COOK (65TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Question before the Chamber on the Committee's favorable report and please proceed, madam.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of LCO 8448. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and I be granted to leave to summarize the Chamber.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 8448? Designated House Amendment “A”.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule “A”, LCO number 8448 offered by Representative Steinberg and Representative Cook.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

The Representative leaves, seeks leave so the Chamber can summarize the amendments, are there any objections to summarizations, is there any objection? Hearing none, Representative Cook, you have the floor, madam.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is an act concerning sober living homes. This is something that's been very important to several people on our, on both sides of the aisle in both the House and the Senate and our municipal leaders as well.

This is truly about doing a great consumer protection piece to people that are struggling with opioid addiction and finding a place to go for clean living and a transitional period.

In this strike-all amendment, section one defines sober living homes, what an operator is, what the responsibilities are of that new operator.

Also puts in provisions for a tenant lease and ensuring that there are papers kept on file, God forbid we have a tragedy as we have had in our sober homes in Torrington and if family members need to have any of those protections made in case a life is lost.

I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Question before the Chambers on adoption of House Amendment Schedule “A”. Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Srinivasan of the 31st, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, a few questions to the proponent of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, line five talks about a supportive environment. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what is this supportive environment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the definition or the insinuation of a supportive environment is a home in which is offered to people when they are looking to transition from sometimes a program, a very solid and secure and structured program into a more less structured environment.

Sometimes these homes, or a lot of times these homes have no one there overseeing them, there's no oversight, it is simply a place for somebody to lay their head and pay a rent.

This is truly about giving them a little bit more in the oversight situation, having Narcan in the home and ensuring that there are protections for what is or what we would call traditionally as a lease, which right now they do not have.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, line six talks about who are recovering from a substance use disorder. Through you, Mr. Speaker, would that be something that could not be challenged? That we are now creating a class and saying that in these homes it is for those recovering from a substance use disorder.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe so.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, we are talking about in line 17 and on that the operator of a sober home shall not advertise that the services -- that this place is a certified or licensed to provide substances use disorders, treatment services and so on and so forth.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is it a positive saying that we do not provide these in terms or not even having to need to say anything at all and assuming that the services are not provided.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I thank him for his question, I think that that is really part of the conversation that drove us to do this piece of legislation. Right now we recognize that there are several sober home that identify themselves as a sober home without any identification. They -- and the insinuation is you provide a sober living environment.

And so people go into those homes assuming that they are going to be given some type of treatment or oversight of their supportive there. So by saying that there is not or that you do, so distincting the two really helps the consumer understand what they're walking into and not being misled in something that may or may not be there.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is the part that I find confusing where right now, as I understand it, into these homes when people go and need some kind of time to, as the good Representative said, to lay their head on the pillow and rest. There's nothing they're saying that any of these services are provided.

But in this legislation, we want to make sure that the people coming in and using these homes are aware that these services are not being provided there at all. How does one go about doing that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, right now if anyone Googles sober homes, you will come up with a variety of different answers with very little information at all. I give an address or a contact number but it gives absolutely nothing of whether they do or don't provide.

So the insinuation of what they label themselves as, as sober home, the average person would assume that they are providing a sober living environment. We want to ensure that people know what is not in that home. We do not offer counseling, we do not offer services, we do not have somebody that lives there because the whole goal is to ensure that we have safety measures in place and we want people to know the type of environment they're walking into.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I definitely get that, that none of these services are provided and there's an assumption, as the good Representative said, that when you Google and the sober home pops up, that these services are being provided. And they're not.

We're aware of that and that is what we're addressing here in this legislation. But what I want to make sure we understand clearly in the Chamber is how do we put that message, that these services are not being provided? That's the part that I'm trying to address.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, with the assistance of the -- with the assistance of DMHAS, they are developing or they have developed a form and it will somewhat of a lease or a tenant agreement and in there they are signing off on what they know is not being -- those services will not be received in the home.

So there is a complete understanding. So not only is this a protection for the person that may want to reside in these homes, this is also a protection for the person that may own these homes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, in lines 30 to 41 which addresses what the good Representative just talked about, so this is a form that the commissioner and the staff will come up with prior to August of 2017 which will be used, (a) at all of these homes and that will have to be signed off by the people that enter these homes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, are we addressing in this legislation if these forms are not given to the people coming into these homes, number one, and number two if the people who come into these homes do not sign those forms, what then happens?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that was one of my biggest concerns to ensure that we had some teeth in a piece of legislation. That's why these forms will be sent back to the Department of Mental Health so they are on file. They'll be remaining on file for three years and then in that way, God forbid, if there is a tragedy or a situation, the family members of somebody who has maybe had a tragic experience or lost a life have the ability to now go back and pull out those forms and say -- yes, they were agreed upon or there was no form ever filled out and then they also have protections there and say the law of which we are hoping to put into place has not been followed.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in this legislation what we have in front of us, does it spell out or does it give in any details what happens when these forms are not signed either by the operator or by the person who comes and resides in these homes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, a lot of this will fall under the Consumer Protection laws that are already in place so if somebody's identifying themselves as one thing and they are not, if somebody's supposed to be doing something and they are not, there are already protections in place under consumer protection and business law or rental laws that will be able to protect that we would not need to duplicate it here.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, there are consumer protection laws, we're well aware of that. There are rental laws, we know that as well.

But here we're dealing with a very specific situation. We're dealing with somebody who is trying to recover and that is why it's coming into these homes.

So some special situations may require some special legislation or special kind of a format that needs to be included as well.

I do not see this in this legislation so are we relying only on general consumer laws and rental laws?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I will bring the attention to the good gentleman on line 29 where it does reference another statute, 42-110b in the general statutes. And also line 51 where it's 42CFR part two is also referencing some of those laws.

So it would be in other statutes, unfortunately I do not have those in front of me at this time.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Representative for pointing out those two important pieces of legislation which obviously helps us move forward with this piece of legislation.

My concern, line 62. Maintain a supply of opioid antagonist. What is that maintain and what is that supply?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, we are referring to the drug of Narcan and making sure that people that are residing in these homes go to their local pharmacy, get a prescription for Narcan. Anybody can do that, we were very ahead of the game in this body last year and the year before taking a lead on the Narcan availability through any pharmacy to ensure that people had that if, in fact, we know that there's a danger of an overdose situation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, my concern is not getting the Narcan. My concern is who is responsible to maintain the Narcan supply in the home?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe that that would be depending on the type of sober home we are referring to. If this is an individual home, then the residents would be responsible to have their own Narcan.

If it is a home that offers other types of services and counseling, I could refer to one that's in Torrington called McCall's. They offer a variety of different services and have multiple staff on board. They do have Narcan in their presence so it just depends on the type of home where you're looking at as to what the residents are, you know, clients or patients are.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm an operator of a sober home and I have four rooms which I let out and people come and stay there in those rooms.

As an operator, through you, Mr. Speaker, am I supposed to maintain the supply of Narcan for those four people living in my home or those individuals are responsible for their own supply or the antagonist.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the operator.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if the operator is responsible, and that is why I was referring to line 62. It talks about maintain a supply.

So through you, Mr. Speaker, if me the operator is responsible for keeping a supply of the antagonist in that home, is there any piece anywhere mentioned as to what are my responsibilities of the operator in terms of the availability, in number of Narcans available, so on and so forth into the details as to what needs to be available in that home as an operator.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the hope would be that we have one Narcan unit per resident. God forbid we see that there are several overdoses in one house in one time but we do know that there are often overdoses that happen in a close proximity.

So we are, we are looking for and we would hope that the operator would be thinking ahead and ensuring that they have enough for each individual that is living in that home.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, hoping is one thing that the operator keeps this, keeps one, keeps two and the other. But through you, my question through you, Mr. Speaker is are we requiring, are we mandating --

REP. COOK (65TH):

Yes.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

-- a certain amount of supply by the operator. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

No, I don't believe that we can do that because each sober home would have different amount of residents in it. Somebody might have three people, somebody might have ten. So we cannot put a blanket statement on the amount of Narcan units that you have on hand because the amount of residents that you have could vary from home to home.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker, my final question is on the training of the use of the antagonist which obviously is a part of the overall opioid overdose in terms of the prophylaxis that we need to do in the event that there were such-- such a thing were to happen as in overdose that if you wanted to prevent the process getting from bad to worse.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, who is responsible for the training and how often does the training have to be provided?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, when an individual goes to the pharmacy to pick up a unit of Narcan, that pharmacist will take the time, often they would ask that you not come during their busy time, they would take the time and they will explain to you how to use and administer Narcan if in fact that situation is necessary.

And I know that we have also talked if it is an area of like I had referred to the home at McCalls there are medical staff on board so you would not have to do that training, that would already be provided in-house.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, as I see this, it is a responsibility of the individual who's coming to the sober home, (a) to get the Narcan, the antagonist, (b) to get trained on the use of the antagonist.

And we are not requiring that the owner, the so-called operator, (a) be responsible for (a) for providing the Narcan and providing the training.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would bring the attention to the good gentleman in line 61 where it says the operator of a sober home shall -- and it says that he shall maintain an opioid and he would also be the one that would be responsible for having some training.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Mr. Speaker, it is the operator that is responsible for making sure that the reversal drug is there and provides the training to all the people that are in the home.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the operator would be responsible for having training of himself and anybody that goes to get the prescription on their own would also be required to have training from the pharmacist.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the good Representative for bringing out the bill as amended. It is definitely a piece of legislation that we need to address given the time and the circumstances in which we live.

But I do have concerns with this bill because it leaves the operator open-ended in terms of the amount that needs to be there. I get that. I get that, if there are ten people the amount is gonna be different than if there are two or if there are three. I get that as well.

But I think an operator needs to know per person you need to have this or you need to have that. That is not spelled out in this legislation at all and also the training, to me, is not clear. Is it the operator that needs to train himself or herself and train his individuals or the individuals when they go and get their own supply, obviously gets trained as well.

This is a good piece of legislation with good intent but I will listen to the debate to see as to what are other concerns that people have as this moves forward.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further?

REP. COOK (65TH):

Mr. Speaker, may I please respond?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed.

REP. COOK (65TH):

On the -- thank you, Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to ensure to the good Representative that on that form that the department will be developing, there will be a requirement as to the amount of Narcan unit that will be required in each home.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further? Representative Soto of the 39th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SOTO (39TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So there's a district -- through you, there's a district in my street, excuse me, a street in my district where -- that has a sober home. And two people have overdosed and died.

And what we've been able to do about that is nothing. And I know that this issue has come before this legislature for years and we're finally taking a step.

And as the opioid crisis has grown, so too has another issue and that issue is people that are taking advantage of those in recovery and that is exactly what we're trying to address with this good piece of legislation.

People are dying in Torrington, they're dying in New London, they're dying in Waterbury, they're dying in all different cities of our state. It's a bipartisan issue and every day that we don't do something, people continue to die and that is just fact whether it's two people in the same sober home or sober homes across the state.

And finally, this bill has a mechanism that we can hold people accountable. That we can give people in recovery some exposure to the environment that they're going to be living in.

It's not the perfect bill. This bill has been before the -- or elements of this bill have been before the legislature before, but it's a start. And it's a mechanism and it's gonna help people in recovery understand the environment that they're living in.

And so I do ask my colleagues to support this literally life-saving legislation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you sir. Will you remark further on the amendment? Representative Staneski of the 119th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Good evening.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Through you, a couple of questions for the proponent of the bill, please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. So through you, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to continue the conversation around lines 62 to 65. I know that this bill does not specify the amount that's gonna be housed at each of the two different types of sober homes and I wanna make sure that I'm understanding her answer to the good Ranking Member of Public Health.

That there will be regulations with respect to the amount of the -- the opioid antagonist that's supposed to be held and that's gonna be done on a form that is signed by the people who are living there or the operator or will it be cited through regulation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I thank her for her question. This will be on the form that DMHAS is developing that will be signed by both the operator and the tenant. All of that information will be there.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you and this bill does not preclude the agency from setting further regulations around how these homes will operate, will it?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no. Quite frankly this is a starting point. I personally would like to see us go a little bit further but we recognize that there are -- it's sensitive topics for people. People are afraid that we will violate one right or another so this is a starting point. We need to build on this and also we need to bring people together.

And so this is where we're starting and we're hoping that by this beginning process here and the work with the departments that we'll be able to continue to do good work and strengthen these as we move forward.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good lady for those answers and clarifying that.

You know, I had the opportunity back in March to join the proponent of the bill and many of my colleagues here with a group of people who work at facilities, sober home facilities, run them or have had services through them.

And one of the things that I found very interesting in that round table that was held by the agency was the candid conversation where the people who were receiving the services said they valued the work of those who were supporting the sober houses and that they wanted these regulations put in place because they need stability. They wanna learn life skills. And they want to be held accountable for the choices that they have made.

Certainly, I agree with her that this is a start. I loved working with her on this with respect to public health and with my Ranking Member and I hope that we can truly put in a model that will allow people to return back to their communities because I believe that this model that we are talking about and at least talking with those who were at the round table is they don't want this to be their permanent residence. They want it to be that stepping stone that gives them what they need and the tools to go out in their community and become viable citizens again.

And I support this legislation. I know there's things that we'll probably have to work on. I hope that the committee will take me on my word that I'll be there to help them as well as the agency and thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, madam. Would you remark further? Would you remark further? Representative Cummings of the 74th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, how does one register as a sober home?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is part of our problem right now. There is no registration involved. You label yourself as a sober home or a sober living environment. You identify yourself that way on any of the social media or internet sites and that's part of our problem.

Part of our problem is the fact that anyone can label or identify themselves as a sober living home and we do not have any oversight, so that's why the beginning is here.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, how does this bill change the process by which one can register to become a sober home?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that's a very important question. Currently, right now there is no process.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I have some concerns with the requirement for the sober home to maintain Narcan in the home.

Does this piece of legislation create a cause of action against an operator of a sober home who does not maintain a sufficient amount of Narcan on premises?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, it does not create one but if one does not do that, that is a problem and that is part of the problem that we currently have today.

People are dying in these sober homes on a weekly, sometimes daily basis and there is no protections in place for somebody that has that type of ill fate.

And I do believe that it is important that we say that nobody wakes up tomorrow and decides that they want to be an addict or have an addiction. And they succumb to something that they don't have control over.

This is giving those consumers that are really trying to fight to get their way back to a normal sense of life some protections and some safety measures.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so despite the requirements that the sober home maintain a sufficient amount of Narcan on premises, there is no cause of action against -- of negligence -- against the operator of such home, it's just merely a problem.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe if you are falsifying information through the Consumer Protection Laws and you state that you have those things in your home and you're required to have them and you do not, then you could be brought, you could fine -- there would be fines.

But I believe that those are also situations that are as we referred to before in those two different pieces of statute and legislation and existing law.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, would the proponent of the bill please clarify the fine as compared to an act of -- or a cause of action of negligence against the operator of the home?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I don't believe that I would be the one that could identify or what a cost of a fine or some type of a charge would be.

I believe that each individual situation could be very different. I believe that if a family member, after God forbid, the loss of someone in a sober home finds that there was negligence, then they have legal parameters at that point and that would be something that is within the hands of the court and not necessarily in the hands of the legislature.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm a little confused because I thought I heard the proponent of the bill say, so would you please have her clarify. Earlier she said that there was no cause of action for negligence against the operator of a home but now she's saying that it's in within the hands of the court even though us as the legislature are setting the statute by which the court will have to interpret.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, there is no new cause of action.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is there a cause of action of negligence against the operator of a home if there is determined to be an insufficient number of Narcan on premises?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, with this piece of legislation, hoping that it passes both this Chamber and upstairs, there could be a case of negligence brought forward but as I had said previously, currently right now there is no cause of action taken because there are no parameters put in place so nobody is held accountable.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if there is a cause of action of negligence available to an operator of a sober home, what are the parameters by which they must maintain a certain amount of Narcan?

Should we not set forward the specific amounts of Narcan that must be set in the home?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, that that would be determined by the Department of Mental Health and the form of which they create and I believe that they are looking to do one piece of Narcan per -- or one unit of Narcan or vial or however you want to determine it -- per resident of each home.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, what is the timeframe that the Narcan must be replaced after use?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, it would be after the use of one you would hope -- or not even hope, so I want to take that word back -- so you would want that individual or the operator to ensure that that used Narcan was replaced the next day.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so if the intent of the bill is to have the used Narcan replaced within 24 hours, what happens if there is an overdose in that period of time and there is no Narcan on premises? Will the operator of the home be held responsible through a cause of action of negligence?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65Th):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I have never seen a sober home that only has one individual so that would mean that there would not be only one Narcan supply in the home so there should be multiple supplies of Narcan given the fact that there are multiple people that reside in these homes so there should never be.

But to the good Representative's question, I believe that -- I am not an attorney, so if there are legal parameters or legal arguments that are brought up, that would be something for the court to decide, not for myself to decide.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in the case of a sober home with two individuals and both individuals overdose and both cans of Narcan are used, is there a cause of action if another resident comes in in the 24 hours and there's no Narcan and they, too, overdose.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, as I have previously state, there are causes of action that could be taken after we pass this legislation through the courts. Currently there are none. But there again, that is a court or jury decision or a Judge and lawyer decision, not a legislative decision.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is there a cause of action against a resident who improperly administers Narcan? For example, does not administer the proper amount of Narcan?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to this day I have never heard of anyone dying or having any type of reaction to the administration of Narcan but I would also say that those individuals that are residing, we have the Good Samaritan Law and they would fall under that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So is it the proponent of the bill's opinion that the Good Samaritan Law would cover any resident who does not, even though they are state mandated to be trained in the administration of Narcan, if they do not administer the correct amount of Narcan or improperly administer it, they shall be covered under the Good Samaritan Law.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to correct the good Representative, you cannot give an incorrect amount of Narcan, it is a dose. It is already a standard set dose, similar to an EpiPen. And so that would be the -- that would prevent an overdose or an inappropriate administration.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is there any situation in which one dose of Narcan is not enough and two doses must be administered?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I am not a medical professional, I cannot answer that question.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm a little concerned by that because the good proponent of the bill just said that she's not aware of anyone ever untimely passing away because not enough Narcan has been administered because it is a vial yet she is then claiming that there, she's not a medical professional, which I am not either so we don't know if two doses of Narcan must be administered in order to prevent overdose of a particular individual. That is very concerning to me.

But another question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is there a cause of action against the operator of a sober home when the, when Narcan is improperly administered by one of the residents?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):
Through you, Mr
. Speaker, again, I am not an attorney. I do not practice law so I am not able to answer that question.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cummings.

REP. CUMMINGS (74TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I just have a couple comments, thank you.

I have -- this is a great bill with good intentions. However, I am very concerned that we as a legislature who are charged with drafting the legislation for the courts to interpret that we are saying we don't know, it's up to a judge or a jury.

We are the legislature, we are crafting this legislation. In my opinion, we should be the ones who are making sure that the legislation is locked tight.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further on the amendment? Representative Godfrey of the 110th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. I rise in support of this amendment and since it's a strike-all, the bill. I've been working with Representative Cook for some very long time now that I think about it, because we've shared instances of family that have been directly affected through the death from an opioid overdose in a sober home and the family has lived down my way. So we've kind of seen both sides of the issue.

And as I look at this sober home, it's been advertised, people are offering this and the question, my first question was, well what's a sober home?

And as of right now, there's no definition. There's no definition. You've got a boarding house, we'll call it a sober home, we'll accept people who've got title aid or some kind of social security disability.

But besides providing a roof over your head, what else does sober home mean? Well, nothing. What we've got here for the first time and rightly so, is a definition of what a sober home is and the beginning of the framework of what sober homes should be providing. They need to be safe places for people who are wrestling with the problem of opioid addiction and other addictions.

They need to have access and knowledge of the vast number of programs and assistance that the state offers, nonprofit offers and it's just important that these are clearly people who are looking for help and need to have that help provided.

And in the last few years as I've been following some of the discussions over Narcan, but talk about it, it's truly a miracle drug. It's very effective, it's simple to administer, it's -- and if you're saying you're operating a sober home, it's the least you can know about and work with to be able to take care of the people who are renting from you.

So this goes, this is the first step as I think Representative Staneski mentioned, in our concern, first in identifying who is operating and advertising as a sober home and seeing what the playing field kind of is. What are they offering collectively? What aren't they offering collectively?

Now and this question of negligence. Well, if you're holding your home to be a sober home and one of your tenants has an overdose, I'm a lawyer, I'd bring a case of negligence against the operator in a New York minute because if you're saying you're providing a safe place, it better be a safe place or you're gonna face a case of negligence.

So I think this actually helps in the definition, in creating that kind of the opportunity to fine tune what provides, what services you need to provide and what ones you don't to be able to deal with a negligence claim.

So I urge all of my colleagues to vote both for House Amendment Schedule “A” and then since this is a strike-all, the underlying bill.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Would you remark further on the amendment? Representative Wilson of the 66th, you have the floor.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've been listening intently to this debate and I certainly support in concept everything that we're trying to do here.

I am a little confused because when I looked at the first fiscal note on this, I see an estimated up to $ 150,000 dollars in fiscal year 18 and up to $ 150,000 dollars in the year 19 and I'm curious and through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill, how is it that we eliminated that fiscal note?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In the current piece of legislation we had the sober homes registering as a business which would've required a significant amount of paperwork and oversight.

And so we have retracted back from that and we have simply had a form being developed which I believe is part of something that they have, that the Department of Mental Health has already had back in years prior that they would be bringing off of the shelf and now you do not have to administer paperwork, this will be put online and then they will simply be housing the information.

So it was with the partnership of both departments that they have retracted from the fiscal note because we are not registering as a business or requiring different types of fees.

Through you.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

And through you --

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Wilson.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker to the proponent, I thank her for that answer. I'll continue with my fiscal concerns. If I, if I look at lines 71 through 75, it appears to me that this bill passes the responsibility down to the community.

I see municipal ordinance, state building code, fire safety code -- so now through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good proponent of the bill, I'm wondering about the municipalities having to send their fire marshals out to inspect these premises, their building inspectors out to inspect these premises, their zoning and enforcement folks out to inspect these premises and I'm wondering, through you, Mr. Speaker, if we're not setting up an unfunded mandate to our municipalities.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his question. I believe it's very important that he understands that the municipal leaders are begging to be able to help do some of this oversight.

Because right now, having sober homes that are unidentified are costing the municipalities more money than they can begin to understand and explain. We put our first responders, fire and police and EMTs in jeopardy because we do not know the type of home that we're walking into.

And so quite frankly, this is already existing law, that if you are a business, you already have to comply with these things and right now they are not businesses. Right now they are underground markets for taking cash and sometimes preying on the weakness of somebody that's looking to better their life.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Wilson.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, thank you to the good proponent. I just have a couple more questions if I may.

I'm hearing the need to keep Narcan on the premises. It then speaks in my mind to a question of a 24/7 kind of responsibility for the operator of the sober home so I'm also curious, are we then advocating, through you, Mr. Speaker, for 24/7 staffing of these premises?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, this bill does not require 24/7 staffing but I personally would love to see us go that route if we are identifying ourselves as a sober home and we are creating a safe living requirement so there is oversight there but in this bill we are not.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Wilson.

REP. WILSON (66TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker, just a couple of comments and my thinking process.

So to me these are questions that it would seem would be appropriate to have in the piece of legislation when we put it into final form because they're questions that are really not answered here in this legislation as it's written.

So in essence, part of this to me says there's -- not only do we have the wonderful concept of trying to help people and make sure that they're safe but we also have another positive concept, I think, in my mind that one of the things that we talk about here is promoting small business. This certainly sounds like a small business that we're advocating for in this legislation and yet we're relying on the regulation or the enforcement of this all to go through consumer protection.

And I'm wondering again if this legislation is properly addressing the total need that we have here and I thank the good proponent for her bill and I'll continue to listen to the debate, through you, Mr. Speaker, but I'm reserving whether I'm going to support this in its present form or not and I thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

REP. SKULCZYCK (45Th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and I just quickly want to say for the purpose of time to the proponent, I support this bill. I'm a First Selectman of a small town of Griswold in southeastern Connecticut and much to what my colleague, Representative Soto, spoke to, we fought hard in our area to get some language like this.

Now I do think there's a lot of work in this bill to be done. I think next go-around, we need to clean up these issues. But I will tell you, right now what we're doing in Connecticut is allowing gypsy sober houses to operate. These people are not only breaking the law when it comes to providing a service but they're also not paying taxes on the money from the people occupying these houses.

This is just a make sense law. There are some things that need to be fixed and I think some of my colleagues are gonna articulate a few of those issues and you're doing a great job, hang in there.

However, through you, Mr. Speaker, I just urge everyone, this is a step in the right direction. This is not only halfway -- back to my correction days -- this is not only three-quarter house facilities for heroin users, this is for anyone with a dependency issue, right? And we need to provide those transition homes. I urge everyone to support this bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the amendment? Representative Borer of the 115th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. BORER (115TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to take the opportunity to thank Representative Cook for her leadership not only on the underlying bill but on this amendment and the work of the Public Health Committee and their bipartisan efforts.

A lot of work went into this bill to remove the fiscal note but still have a lot of good teeth to this bill. It's another bill that puts controls in place around the resources for those suffering from addiction and they're one of our most vulnerable populations.

I will spare you the details of my firsthand experience of dropping loved ones off at sober homes and picking loved ones up from sober homes but I can tell you there's some very good ones. They provide a great service but there's also some sober homes that shouldn't be in operation. And the difference between the two can be life and death.

So I think this is a great journey as we continue to explore how we could help our residents. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further? Representative Ferraro of the 117th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise first to make a couple comments and then ask a couple questions of the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First off, the need to provide these type of remedial services to those recovering from drug addiction is apparent in just about every community in our state and I commend the proponent of the bill for getting us started in the right direction and I do think that this type of legislation is long overdue.

However, I do have a couple questions for clarification purposes through you, Mr. Speaker to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the proponent of the bill, it's my understanding from what I've heard today that we have sober homes that are not registered throughout the state of Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is that true?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely true, there is no registration currently of sober homes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I thank the good lady for her answer. Is there any indication at all as to how many sober homes we're looking at throughout the state of Connecticut?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I can only speak for the communities of which I know and I can say that my community specifically has 50. And so we can say that if you just pick three or four towns out of the state at this point, well over 100 and I would say hundreds.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and I thank the kind lady for her answer.

I guess my question, the question that seems to be begging to be asked is why didn't we, through this legislation, begin a registration process for sober homes?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Well, Mr. Speaker, through you, that is a question that is near and dear to my heart.

So we recognized that we do have some 88 fair housing laws that become very delicate when we're having this conversation. So as I had started my conversation and as you have heard me say throughout this debate that this is a starting point.

We need to start somewhere, we need to kind of get an idea of what type of sober homes and the amount that we have to the community. My goal would be maybe even as early as next session, start that registration process but given the situation that we're in right now, we need to start somewhere and this is where we are starting so we can kind of get an idea of how many and then set the parameters of what that registration would look like.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and I listened carefully to the proponent of the bill's answer and I understand the frustration and difficulty surrounding this but we do live in difficult times and we are faced with difficult problems.

And usually the way we handle difficult problems is we work the hard solution and I really do believe that we're kind of putting the cart before the horse with this legislation in that we're making regulations for sober homes with regards to the amount of Narcan they have on premises, the training involved in administering the Narcan.

But the problem is, is that we don't know where these homes are. We don't know if they're complying with the rules or the law until after we have a tragedy and that tragedy, unfortunately, can often result in the death of somebody.

So I'm really at a loss because I would love to see this legislation go through accompanied by some sort of registration where these homes are registering, we know where they are, we know if the people involved in these homes are qualified and we make sure that they abide by the rules and we have safe environments for those that are trying to recover from substance abuse.

So I do commend the good lady for this legislation. I do think it's high time we do something but this legislation did not go far enough. She apparently agrees with me and understands that this legislation does need to go further and my only comment would be I look forward to seeing the sober homes proliferate throughout the state because I think wherever there is a need, we should be able to provide some sort of solution.

But I do think it needs to be regulated and we need qualified people and we need to make sure that the folks that go into these sober homes are getting the type of care and quality response that would be necessary should an emergency take place.

So through you, Mr. Speaker, I thank the good lady for her answers and I look forward to seeing this legislation improved in the future. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I might, just a couple of questions.

In looking at the testimony that was submitted on the original bill, there was some opposition to the original proposal and some of that centered on the exclusion of licensed providers of services and I just would like to ask, under the amendment, would the licensed providers of services be excluded from the definition of sober house?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Okay, I guess that was not exactly how I read the first paragraph of the definition. I thought that it was only applicable to people who were not licensed and were not gonna be providing active services not regulated by the Department of Public Health and Addiction Services.

So I gather then that I am misreading that first definitional paragraph of what is a sober house. Is that correct? Through you, Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the good Representative to please repeat. There's a conversation going on back there and I didn't hear your entire question.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill, if you don't remind repeating the question.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Sure. As I was reading the definition of what is a sober house, the opening definition of what is a sober house, it appeared that it excluded entities that actually provide active services to recipients or to the residents of the sober house. The very opening definition of what is a sober house in the amendment is -- am I reading that correctly?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, maybe it's just because I'm tired but my understanding is in the first section we are giving a definition of what a sober home, sober living home means. We already have sober homes that are doing good work that are under the premise of our departments that are already being regulated.

So they would, in my opinion, they would not change what they're doing, they are already doing the work. This is just extending that branch to those who are not over -- have any oversight or any regulation.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Yeah, thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I might have a moment I just want to make sure that I'm reading the right piece of language. Perhaps I was reading something else incorrectly.

So if I beg the indulgence of the Chamber for a moment. I guess as I read the definition it says that a sober living home means a residence with an operator that provides or offers a supportive environment for people recovering from substance abuse.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what supportive environment really means. So perhaps I could just ask that question. What is encompassed by the phrase supportive environment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, each type of environment could offer a different type of supportive environment. A different type of supportive services.

Some homes offer many more services, some offer just somebody there to check in on them and collect what they charge for rent.

So that would be part of the conversation that we're having. There is currently in statute, no definition of sober living home and so this was the starting point and that is why you also see section two where it says operator.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Okay, because when I jump down to line 17 in the amendment it says, “No operator of the sober living home shall advertise or represent the sober living home as a facility that is certified or licensed to provide substance abuse -- substance use disorder treatment services.

Now, I took it that the original definition was meant to provide things like perhaps food, shelter, perhaps some kind of opportunity for group therapy or counseling or people exchanging ideas among themselves, among the recovering addicts but that it was not meant to encompass certified or licensed treatment, that that was excluded from the definition of sober house because sober living home is gonna be something that by definition does not provide services.

Because if that's the case that it is providing services, then line 17 says that they can't advertise that they are doing so.

So I guess when I, when I read this thing together, these two different pieces, I thought that what was being created here was a definition that encompassed places where people just lived but no services were being provided.

So again, I'd like to make clear that I have perhaps -- so that I make sure I understand, is the definition of a sober living home meant to encompass places where the facility is gonna provide certified licensed treatment services.

Through you, Mr. Serve -- Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In fact, they could but we're trying to reach the ones that are not providing any services or representing or misrepresenting themselves that they are but in fact they are not.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Okay, I guess I'm gonna have to more carefully read the amendment because I thought I had understood it to be designed to treat sober homes, sober living homes, as something that was providing a place for people to live with substance abuse problems but not providing any services to them and that as such, it was reasonable to prohibit them from advertising that they were providing such services.

And not, what I'm now gathering is the intent because then I don't understand what lines 17 and 18, 19 are designed, why that language is there. If they're not supposed to advertise that they provide these services when in fact they do and they're licensed, why are they being prohibited from advertising?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure I'm totally grasping the good Representative's question or maybe we're in two different paths.

The intent of the legislation is to ensure that someone does not identify themselves as a sober living environment or sober living home. That they are offering or providing services of which they are not. That they are not being misleading to the consumer of which is looking for a safe environment and because we do not have any type of a definition of sober living home, that this is where that starting point was.

We do know that we have sober living homes in the state of Connecticut. I mentioned one several times that's in my town specifically that is licensed and registered and regulated but they also have a multitude of other services that they provide.

This is a smaller scale. Quite often this is one individual that might be buying five, six, seven, eight, ten properties simply taking cash, $ 150 dollars to $ 300 dollars a week for a bed. And they're identifying themselves as a sober living home which in fact there is no oversight, there could very well be drugs, alcohol and other types of substance issues and there is no, no one in there to help or provide any type of those environments and that's why we want to ensure that it states that they are not there.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Okay, I -- if I could direct the proponent's attention to line 17 and thereafter, I guess through line 19, to the end of line 19, it says, “No operator of a sober living home shall advertise or represent that a sober living home is a facility that is certified or licensed to provide substance use disorder treatment services.

Stopping at that point, if someone is providing substance abuse services, substance -- I'm sorry, disorder treatment services, why is it that we are prohibiting them from advertising such?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative Cook.

REP. COOK (65TH):

Could the good Representative please repeat his question?

DEPUTY SPEAKER CANDELARIA (95TH):

Representative O'Neill, can you repeat your question, please?

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Lines 17, 18 and 19 indicate that a sober -- state that a sober oper, no -- that an operator of a sober living home, none of them shall advertise or represent that a sober living home is a facility that is certified or licensed to provide substance use disorder treatment services.

It seems to me that it's pretty clear that they can't advertise if you're a sober living home as defined in the very first section of the amendment.

Why is this prohibition included in the amendment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker