THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 10: 40 o'clock a. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the House please come to order? Will members, staff and guest please rise and direct your attention to the dais, where guest Chaplain Elaine Ogren-Speranza will lead us in prayer.

GUEST CHAPLAIN ELAINE OGREN-SPERANZA:

Good morning and I want to tell you it's an honor and a pleasure for me to be here in front of all of you.

Heavenly Father, hear my words, for I am among fine men and women who have chosen to dedicate their time and efforts on behalf of our great State of Connecticut. In the next few days, important decisions must be made. Our legislators will be challenged with many issues, which will affect every resident of our state. Lord, give them wisdom to effectively employ the art of compromise - for this I pray.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me life 60 years ago. I have had the good fortune that my family immigrated from Sweden and Germany, settling in this amazing state. Lord, let us remember, I share my birthdate with our state hero, Nathan Hale, born June 6, 1755, in Coventry, Connecticut. He was a true patriot, who excelled in every aspect of his life, including being a trailblazer for girls' education. Hale was compelled to serve his country and left his position as a schoolmaster. Eventually, he was chosen to be an elite member of the Knowlton Rangers.

General Washington requested one of these young men to volunteer for a crucial spy mission, gathering information behind British enemy lines, which later proved to be successful. Unfortunately, Hale was later captured by the British and sentenced to death without a trial. On September 22, 1776, Captain Nathan Hale was hanged on an apple tree somewhere on the grounds of Grand Central Station in New York. Before he was hanged, the British commander asked Hale if he had any last words to say. With hands tied and feet tied, Hale stood bravely, calmly and distinguished. He replied, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. ” Then the blue-eyed, dusty-blond hair, 21 year-old Captain Nathan Hale met You, his Maker.

Lord, we are reminded of Nathan Hale, whose legacy of bravery and patriotism set a standard for men and women to follow. In the reality of war, lives are sacrificed. And walking through the Hall of Honor reminds us of 65 heroes and heroines, who heard this country's call and then answered with their lives. President John F. Kennedy once said, “The cost of freedom is high.

Heavenly Father, these words come from my heart. I do pray my next 40 years of life are enjoyed in the great State of Connecticut, rich in heritage, heart and hope. As a Girl Scout, I have learned this golden rule, “I will always do my best. ” That is all that we can expect of our leaders and legislators. Thank you and amen. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

And happy birthday. We tried that once. It doesn't work out well. (Laughter) Would Representative Ryan of the 139th District please come to the dais to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance? I would ask over the next two days, all of us in the Chamber be a little lenient with one another. I know nerves are frayed. Sleep is at a premium. We're not sleeping much. I've always enjoyed this Chamber simply because of the people in it. So let's think about over the next couple of days and please be our best selves. Thank you. (Applause) Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes. Good morning, Mr. Speaker. Communication from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Committee assignment changes.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Ordered printed in the journal.

CLERK:

And the last piece of business is the daily Calendar.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. We will use that today. Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Cheeseman of the 37th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm loathe to follow that wonderful benediction, but in light of what the kind lady said, I just want to remind everyone that in addition to being her birthday and Nathan Hale's birthday, this is the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion. And as so many of the amazing men and women --

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel) If we can just have the attention of the Chamber. The fine Representative is referring to D-Day, which was an important event in our history. Representative, please proceed.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Today is also the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion. And as so many of those fine individuals who gave their lives and suffered so much to give us our wonderful country, I ask for a moment of thankfulness and reflection on their sacrifice and our blessings. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

It seems absolutely appropriate. If we could all rise and just give a moment of reflection to the many brave people that gave their lives for our country. (Gavel)

Announcements or introductions? Representative Haddad of the 54th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning, sir.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to take a moment to introduce my intern, who has been with me since the beginning of the session, Cody Clark. Cody has been an outstanding legislative intern. He just graduated from Western Connecticut State University a couple of weeks ago and he stated on after the end of his internship to help me here in the Chamber and to help us conduct our business. He made a special contribution in my office with creating a very extensive binder that helped prepare me for a floor debate, unfortunately that we will not have. But such is the life of an intern. I appreciate his work and I just wanted to ask the Chamber to congratulate Cody on his graduation and to thank him for his work. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative Haddad. And you bring up an interesting point, I know, on both sides of the aisle. That we have many interns/volunteers that just take a special interest in public service and what we do up here. This building, overall, would not run without them. So point well taken and thank you very much, sir. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Dimassa of the 116th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and good morning to you, sir. I rise for the purpose of a brief announcement. I would just like to thank my very fashionable colleagues including yourself, Mr. Speaker, for wearing purple today for Alzheimer's awareness. It greatly affects many in our state, not only their families but all of their close friends and it's a terrible disease. And I do, from the bottom of my heart, thank my colleagues. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. And Mr. Speaker, at 11: 30 o'clock, we'll be doing a brief photo on the steps. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

All right. Thank you very much, sir. Is there any other announcements or introductions? I believe Representative Ferraro of the 117th has something to add.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

As we hit the homestretch here. I'm rising for the purpose of an announcement.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to remind everybody, today is Save a Suit Day. They're collecting suits and clothing downstairs in the cortico in the lobby on the south side. Please, if you have some, make your way down there. They will be there until about 3: 00 o'clock this afternoon. Thank you again, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Last chance for any announcements or introductions. All right, ladies and gentlemen, let's start our work. Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 486?

CLERK:

State of Connecticut House of Representatives Calendar, Tuesday, June 6th, 2017. On page 23, House Calendar 486, substitute Senate Bill No. 1003 - AN ACT CONCERNING REVISION TO VARIOUS STATUTES CONCERNING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The esteemed member from the great City of Bridgeport, Representative Stafstrom of the 129th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning!

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the bill before us is the Division of Criminal Justice's annual sort of omnibus bill to make various minor changes to our criminal justice system and statutes. Just to highlight a couple of the changes. This bill adds alcoholic sales to minors to a list of activities that would be basis of a state action to abate a public nuisance. It allows toxicologists to sign toxicology reports electronically. It expands the type of law enforcement officers who must be indemnified.

It extends the period in which a person may enforce a court order, that an offender provide financial restitution. It makes it a second-degree larceny for someone to take the property of a conserved person through false pretenses. It extends to victims of the crime of sexual assault in a spousal or cohabitating relationship to protections regarding their names and other identifying information.

It reconstitutes the eyewitness identification taskforce and repeals a duplicative reporting requirement for Medicaid fraud. I ask for the Chamber's support for the bill.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning to you. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the legislation before us. It certainly did come out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously and I think the Vice Chairman did a great job in highlighting the salient portions of the bill that's before us. Certainly, this legislation is supported by the State Victim Advocate because it does allow for an extension of restitution from 10 years to 20 years. And what that certainly means is that any victim of a crime would be able to get out-of-pocket expenses. So they are in support of it.

It's also supported by the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association. This taskforce for the eyewitness allows them to continue the good work, and especially in light of the emerging technologies that are out there. So it's great work being done by that taskforce as well. So for all the reasons that certainly the Vice Chairman had indicated and all of the support of the legislation, I ask that that my colleagues support it as well.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further on the bill before us? Will you remark further on the bill before us? If not, staff and guests please come to the well of the House and members please take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 1003, in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 136

Necessary for Passage 69

Those voting Yea 135

Those voting Nay 1

Those absent and not Voting 15

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

The bill passes. (Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Sampson of the 80th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. I rise for the purpose of an introduction.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Please proceed.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

I have the distinct privilege today to introduce my friend and neighbor, who also happens to be the reigning Miss Connecticut. Her name is Alyssa Rae Taglia and she is nearing the end of her reign as Miss Connecticut for 2017. Or is 2016? (It's) 2016. I'm sorry. And she has 18 more days to go. But I'm glad that we had the opportunity to bring her into the Chamber before her reign ends. She has been a tremendous ambassador for the Miss America organization and a great representative of our state. And I hope that the Chamber will offer her a very, very warm welcome. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, sir. Thank you and thank you for being here and gracing our Chamber. Are there any other introductions or announcements? Any other introductions or announcements? Hearing none. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 602?

CLERK:

On page 33, Calendar 602, substitute Senate Bill No. 948 - AN ACT CONCERNING DIGITAL DISCOUNTS TO REDUCE THE COST OF TEXTBOOKS AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

I call upon Representative Haddad from the great City of Mansfield.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

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

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is a piece of legislation that accomplishes two large goals. The first if the underlying bill, which it concerns digital discounts to reduce the cost of textbooks and other educational resources. Mr. Speaker, this simply allows the Office of Higher Education and constituent units to establish guidelines to encourage our institutional of higher education to implement programs that will help reduce the cost of textbooks in their systems.

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, there is an amendment offered in the Senate, and I would like to offer it here. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has amendment no. LCO 7920. I would ask the Clerk to call the amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 7920, which has been designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A"?

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 7920, offered by Senator Linares and Senator Bye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

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

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this amendment comes out of an effort that we engaged in in the Higher Education Committee to streamline the contracting procedures for certain kinds of contract at the University of Connecticut and at our CSU systems in our community colleges and the Board of Regents. It includes a number of provisions. They are all essentially aimed at reducing the challenges that our institutions of higher education have in our state procurement policies to operate efficiently, and more importantly, in a more entrepreneurial way.

We recognize that there's a lot of fiscal challenges in the state, and this is one way that the institutions of higher education have asked to help them meet those challenges of our tough fiscal times. Specifically, what the legislation does is it defines a narrow band of contracts that are served outside of the normal kinds of procurements that are typically experienced in other parts of state government.

Specifically, we're talking about contracts where a college or a university is selling its services or licensing its intellectual property. That would be defined as a revenue contract. This legislation would include alternations to our code for nonmonetary contracts. Those would be contracts that include no exchange of dollars, but are the kinds of contracts that you would engage in if you were to try to place students in a clinical placement or do other sort of similar agreements where there's no exchange of money.

It includes contracts that involve no state funds. And I would say that in this legislation, we defined state funds as being not just state appropriated dollars, but also student tuition dollars and student fee dollars, clinical revenue and athletic revenues. It includes international contracts. Those are agreements that our institutions of higher education have to compile and sign to arrange for products and services to be provided to students in overseas placements.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad. Could I ask the Chamber to quiet down? It has become very difficult for people to hear Representative Haddad and his rather extensive explanation of this bill. Again, can I ask the Chamber to quiet down please? Take your conversations outside. Thank you. Representative Haddad, you can continue.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It also includes industry collaboration contracts. These are collaborative efforts that are engaged in by -- for sponsored research or philanthropy or student placements between our colleges and universities and private institutions. What the bill does is it streamlines the mechanism that we use to ensure that all of the affidavits and disclosures that are required by our state laws are accomplished through alternate means besides the certifications that are typically accompanied when we sign contracts.

And it -- and additionally, the bill, in some instances, alters or allows the Board of Trustees or the Board of Regents to establish a policy for procurement when purchasing goods or supplies under the provisions of certain kinds of contracts. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further on the amendment before us? Will you remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Staneski of the 199th, ma'am, you have the floor.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation, but I have a few questions for the proponent of the bill. If I may, sir?

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Please proceed, ma'am.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

So it is my understanding that this language would actually not absolve our higher ed institutions of any state or federal laws. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. And through you, Mr. Speaker. Can I ask why UConn and CSCU and not other institutions or agencies?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I think that when you look at the definitions of the kinds of contracts that we're referring to, many of them are almost unique to this area of government with higher education. Specifically, you know, remember that, you know, higher education is supported by a block grant. Those block grants cover an ever diminishing portion of the total revenues and expenditures of our states colleges and universities. Our colleges and universities also, unlike most other areas of state government, operate in a competitive environment.

And so for example, if a college or university is trying to arrange for a research collaborative with a private entity, a business or a foundation, a research foundation, that research foundation and that business has a choice of making that arrangement with our public colleges and universities, any one of them, or going to a private college or university or to a public college in a different state. Our private colleges and universities don't have to adhere to these same standards and the laws are significantly different around the country, that many other public universities are also done and have to comply with the same kinds of standards.

And so this allows our colleges and universities to act and operate in a more competitive way by streamlining the forms and affidavits and certifications without abandoning the substance of those provisions. And for that reason, I think it's appropriate for our institutions of higher education.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you and I thank the gentleman for that clarification. I think I would also add that they are actually governed by separate boards as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Does this language do anything to alter any labor contracting?

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No, the contracts that we're referring to are narrow in scope and deal with only the certain kinds of arrangements. Labor contracts certainly are not. I would also say that it also does not include any UConn 2000 or capital projects. It does not include anything that would be covered by the Contracting Standards Board. It does not exempt higher ed from purchasing requirements for the vast majority of the higher education contracts that are -- that they use to with state appropriations or student tuition or fee dollars.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And through you, so I appreciate that answer. We are giving permission to the boards to set policies. Will those policies be adopted under a process that will allow input from the public?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. When the boards of our institutions of higher education adopt a set of policies that would govern in lieu of the standard procedures, they are required to adopt that policy in an open environment and they are also required to report those changes on an annual basis to the Higher Education Committee, and in perpetuity, to report all of the contracts that are signed according to those alternate policies on an annual basis to the Higher Education Committee.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. And I appreciate that answer and the fact that we are asking them to report because there is a little bit of trust in this legislation. If I could, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to walk through the different contracts that this may impact, and if the good Chairman of the Higher Ed could confirm with me that this legislation is really not gonna impact about 85 percent of the contracts that UConn and CSCU do.

So my first question is around nonpurchasing contract revenues. And that is the type of revenue -- excuse me. that is the type of contract that if I understand, they are just asking for the express agreement in the contract to comply with all applicable federal and state contracts, however, they're not asking for them to fill out that documentation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That's correct.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

And --

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Sorry, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. so if I'm understanding one of the examples that was given to us that -- and one of the reasons that they came was because, while we're speaking about all of our universities, public university systems, specifically, UConn lost $ 3. 4 to $ 4. 5 million dollars because of the state acquired affidavits and certificates when they were the top choice of Ascentra to provide analytic and data warehousing.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, reportedly that is an instance that occurred at the University of Connecticut. You know, I think it's important to remember that, you know, these affidavits and certifications which are, you know, accumulative in total, it can be a quite thick stack of documents that have to executed as they sign an agreement, is a very appropriate thing to do when we're expending state funds. In this instance, the company wanted to pay the university for its expertise in helping to train its employees. And in that instance, when the check was going in the other direction, the stack of certifications and affidavits turned out to be a significant barrier, and as a result, that company found its training opportunity at a different university.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. And so when we -- so that's on the revenue side. When we are actually doing a nonpurchasing, nonmonetary contract, is it true that some of the hindrance with respect to signing contracts, especially with large clinical facilities and placing our students, has been a barrier because there's different laws that apply to different clinical settings?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, that is the case. There are many clinical placements and some of them are -- the businesses and the clinical placements happen with national organizations. As a result, what the university has been required to do is to execute an individual contract on a state-by-state basis so that they can be sure that they comply. That takes an awful lot of administrative time that could be avoided, I think, if we were to expedite the process. And again, this is the kind of contract where no money is changing hands. It's simply a contract that sets up an arrangement for a clinical placement for a student with an entity.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. And my last question, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the good Chairman, is my belief is that this proposed statutory language does not exempt our higher ed from state purchasing requirements for routine goods and services. It does not exempt them from the Contracting Standards Boards and does not exempt them from the UConn 2000 Act requirements for capital projects.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That's correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. I urge my colleagues to support this. You know, the first part of this bill is -- has to do with open resources, digital discounts, and various other measures that can help reduce the cost of books and textbooks. We all know that book that we purchased when we were in college, we spent a lot of money and it's probably sitting -- we used one third of it and the rest of it, the book is sitting there as a book stop at a door somewhere in your house, never using the rest of it. With all deference to the Speaker, who would never do that in his classes he teaches.

The second and the larger piece of this legislation addresses some modifications to specific contracts that our higher ed institutions may enter into. You now, we expect our higher education institutions, when entered into contracts, to purchase quality goods and services, conduct the procurements in an open manner and be competitive. Our individual public bodies enjoy broad flexibility and fashion to detail such as competition. And this legislation would actually do that.

It would allow them to comply with all statutes or not absolve them of complying with all statutes. And all these are important components. As I said, this bill does not diminish the importance of the components, nor does it exempt them from entering into contracts or complying with our laws. What it does do is look to modify some procedural requirements and reduce the number of forms that are currently required to be filed by all who enter into the contracts, and it pertains to a specific number of contracts. I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative LeGeyt of the 17th District, please, you have the floor.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning to you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Good morning.

REP. LEGEYT (17TH):

I want the Chamber to know that I support this strike-all amendment and the underlying bill and am pleased that it's come out because it reflects a sort of a balance that we try to maintain in our state government regarding how much authority and oversight we require of agencies and institutions and how much freedom we give them to operate within the confines of their charge and their charters and their -- the direction that their boards of directors give them.

This bill seeks to balance some of that process so that the Board of Regents and UConn don't have to jump through hoops that are unwieldy and some cases unnecessary with regard to purchase contracts, revenue contracts, nonmonetary contracts. It's a very narrow scope of red tape relief that's being proposed, but very important to those institutions because they tend to lose contracts for lack of cooperation, and we are trying to resolve that.

I think the bill makes modest changes to the paperwork requirements that institutions have to suffer through and allows their boards of directors and trustees to create contracting policies that will make the process much more efficient for them without sacrificing any scrutiny or authority. And I am strongly in favor of this and encourage my colleagues to support it as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Ackert of the 8th District, sir, you have the floor here.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just a quick question to the proponent of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The only think that I was interested in asking is are we treating the -- both higher ed, the board of trustees essentially of UConn's and also the Board of Regents very similar in their contract process?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, all of the provisions of the legislation before us apply equally to the University of Connecticut system and the Connecticut state universities.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good gentleman for his work on this, along with the support of the Ranking Member over on the Higher Ed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER RYAN (139TH):

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

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 948, as amended by Senate "A" in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 145

Necessary for Passage 73

Those voting Yea 144

Those voting Nay 1

Those absent and not Voting 6

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The bill as amended passes in concurrence with the Senate. (Gavel) Are there any announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Representative Siegrist of the 36th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SIEGRIST (36TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. SIEGRIST (36TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have here today two students from Valley Regional High School from Deep River, Matt and Zane. They are both recently Eagle Scouts. They're in their senior year. Matt O'Keefe is going to Boston College, and Zane Bouregy is going to Virginia Military Institute. If everybody could give them a warm welcome, I'd appreciate it. Thank you. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Welcome to both of you and good luck in your future endeavors. And you are our future leaders as Eagle Scouts. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Linehan.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. On behalf of myself, Representative Santiago, Representatives Altobello, Candelora, Abercrombie, Mushinsky, Fishbein and Senators Fassano and Suzio, we would like to welcome the Arc of Meriden and Wallingford and I am going to yield to Representative Santiago to read them a citation.

REP. SANTIAGO (130TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Representative. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Good morning. I am honored to welcome the Arc of Meriden and Wallingford to the House Chamber today as we celebrate their 65th anniversary of outstanding support and services to families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the state and in our community. Thank you for your commitment to your tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of this vulnerable population.

I would like to present the general citation on behalf of our Meriden Wallingford delegation that reads: And I'm really not gonna read the whole thing cause we do have a lot of work to do. But this is a citation from the General Assembly. It's an official citation in recognition of the Arc of Meriden Wallingford for the 65th anniversary.

I would also like to introduce Pam Fields, who is our CEO. She has been working with the Meriden Arc of -- the Arc of Meriden Wallingford now for 30 years. And we'd like to -- also, she brought with her Sara Putterman, who uses the services at the Arc, and she is from Cheshire and she was really excited today to meet her Representative, Liz Linehan, and she's gonna make sure she votes for her. And we also have Mary Ellen Rivers, who is the director of facilities for 27 years at the Arc.

So here is a presentation from the General Assembly. And this is given this day, the 27th day of June. Well, it was rendered for the 27th because their big gala is June 27th. And it's presented here at the State Capitol in Hartford by Martin Looney, President pro tempore, Joe Aresimowicz, Speaker of the House, and Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill. So congratulations on 65 great years of service to our community. Thank you, Madam Speaker. And let's welcome them. (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you and welcome to all of you. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Are there any other announcements or introductions? Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 356?

CLERK:

On page 48, Calendar 356, House Joint Resolution No. 100 - RESOLUTION APPROVING A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PROTECT TRANSPORTATION FUNDS, favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Government Administration and Elections.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Good morning, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good morning, sir.

REP. FOX (148TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you. Madam Speaker, the resolution before us proposes a constitutional amendment to the State Constitution to ensure that monies in the Special Transportation Fund be used solely for transportation purposes. An identical resolution passed this Chamber in the December 2015 special session. Should this resolution pass this Chamber and the Senate Chamber by a majority vote, it will go before the voters of the State of Connecticut on the 2018 General Election ballot.

The money in the Special Transportation Fund - or the STF - comes from revenue streams designated for the STF by state law. The STF is supported by a number of revenue streams including the motor vehicles fuels tax, motor carrier road tax, petroleum products gross earnings tax, certain motor vehicle receipts and fees such as driver license fees, motor vehicle-related fines and penalties, and a portion of the state sales tax.

The STF can only be used to fund transportation purposes as defined by state law, in Connecticut General Statutes 13b-69, including paying debt service and state transportation obligations. Funds in the STF can only be expended for transportation purposes.

One issue I would like to specifically address, Madam Speaker, is whether a source of revenue can be diverted before it gets to the STF. Sources of funds, monies and receipts of the state credited, deposited or transferred to said fund, by state law, on or after the effective date of this amendment shall be credited, deposited or transferred to the STF so long as such source so authorized by statute to be collected or received by the state and the General Assembly, shall enact no law authorizing the resource of said fund to be expedited other than for transportation purposes.

So, Madam Speaker, there is a mandate that the traditional streams of revenue that are sources of revenue for the STF shall continue to be sources of revenue. But in terms of the amounts to be deposited from one category or another, will continue, I think, to be a matter of legislative action from session to session. Language to be included in the Constitution should the matter pass both Chambers by a majority and thereafter to be approved by the voters, is contained in line 17 and 27 of the underlying resolution. The question to be presented to the voters is in lines 35-42 of the underlying resolution. Madam Speaker, I urge passage. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The question before the Chamber is on passage of the resolution. Will you care to remark? Representative Devlin, you have the floor, madam.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Good morning for ten more minutes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good morning.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

I rise with a few questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker. If the good Representative could please outline how the sources of these funds are to be determined?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The source of funds is determined and are for transportation purposes.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, just for clarification. Would that be by constitutional amendment or by the General Assembly in terms of determining how the funds for this lockbox would be determined?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Transportation purposes are defined in statute.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker and through you to the good Representative. How could the sources of funds to this lockbox be changed?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. By action of this body.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

I'm sorry, Madam Speaker. Could you ask the good Representative to repeat his answer?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fox, if you would repeat your answer, please.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Of course, thank you, Madam Speaker. Through actions of this body.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So I would then guess that that would be by statute. And quite frankly, that's the issue. That's the problem that we have. You know, the concept of a transportation lockbox is really important and I think it's something that everybody in this Chamber, probably everybody in the General Assembly, agrees. But we have technically a lockbox already. It's called the Special Transportation Fund. The problem is the discipline is lacking to be able to manage that.

You know, just as a refresher, the Special Transportation Fund was put in place in order to fund our transportation infrastructure and part of the reason we have, I think now we're the sixth highest gas tax in the nation, is to be able to put those funds in the Special Transportation Fund and invest in our infrastructure. But two of the largest tax increases in our state's history. Let me remind you the first one was retroactive for seven month; and now facing a $ 5 billion dollar deficit. The funds in the Special Transportation Fund continue to be swept to deal with the fiscal mismanagement of our state!

This lockbox resolution is not locked at all. In fact, it could be opened with a hairpin. You know, news flash - we have a spending problem in this state. It is not a revenue problem. And while this bill sounds great, it's another sound bite for the people of Connecticut to believe that actually we would be doing something that everybody would like, directing funds to a lockbox that theoretically could not be touched, to finally invest in our transportation infrastructure. But the reality is; this will not do it.

And on that basis, Madam Speaker, I will not be supporting this resolution and I thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you care to remark? Representative France of the 42nd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise -- the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 8707. I ask that the Clerk call the amendment and I be allowed to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

And will the Clerk please call LCO No. 8707, which will be designated as House Amendment "A"?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 8707, offered by Representative Klarides, Representative Candelora, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize. Is there objection? Hearing none. Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And as was pointed out so aptly by Representative Devlin in her introduction and comments on the amendment as proposed, when we met in December of 2015 to first take on this constitutional amendment, it was in the guise of a need to enact discipline, as was pointed out. It's the will of the Legislature that has been lacking, that has allowed monies not to be put into the lockbox called the Special Transportation Fund.

And at that time, ironically, when we were sitting here in this Chamber 18 months ago or so, at that same time we were talking about locking up special transportation funds. The very next action that we took swept $ 35. 2 million dollars from that fund. So once again, it's an indicator that the will of the Legislature is the problem that is why we're sitting here today having to budget by Constitution instead of really enacting law and budget that represents the people of this state.

On top of that, that will has been lacking in the budget proposals that have been produced so far that have been discussed because it further sweeps the money in fiscal year '18 and '19, ultimately leaving a zero balance in the -- a projected zero balance in the Special Transportation Fund in FY '20, creating a crisis, to really create an illusion for the people of Connecticut thinking we need to create more money. We need tolls; we need other revenue, to increase gas tax. We don't have enough money to meet our infrastructure needs.

And that is why we have now proposed an alternate amendment. And as I summarize, one of the things was lacking in the current amendment as proposed and was discussed and debated 18 months ago in a special session, was it allowed modification by statute. It allowed, essentially, as long as it was authorized by statute, which really didn't lock up anything. It also didn't' specify with enough detail the sources of revenue, nor did it specify what that money could be spent on. So the amendment that has been proposed as a change here, in lines 12-14 is where it talks about the sources of revenue and as of the date adopted. So it codifies all the sources that are currently being used and going into the Special Transportation Fund are now locked therein.

And it goes on in lines 14-17 to add any further monies that are added to that Special Transportation are also locked up in the box. And following that, in lines 19 and 22, it does describe transportation purposes, but it goes a step further. And in lines 23-32, we actually define what transportation purposes are. And in there, they are for capital expenditures for capital projects. And it further defines them as planning construction, maintenance repair or improvement of highways, sidewalks, bridges, mass transit, rail stations, ports and airports.

And in addition, it includes the operating costs paid with the resources of the Special Transportation during our current fiscal year. So we've now defined exactly what the transportation expenses that are authorized to be expended, which the current amendment as proposed does not do. And in addition, it further limits, in the last part of that final section, to limit the increase of those operating costs to a maximum of three percent per year, further limiting the ability to grow the requirements of the levy on the taxpayers of Connecticut.

And then finally, in lines 33-36, it provides a provision for any citizen of the State of Connecticut to file in court and gives standing for them to file a court to hold this Legislature accountable. That is something that is also not in the current proposal. And with that, Madam Speaker, I recommend approval and ask for a roll call vote on the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. When the vote is taken, it will be taken by roll. Will you care to remark further on House Amendment "A"? We're on House Amendment "A". Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, we have an opportunity here today. We really do. Everybody has been saying that they want a lockbox, a real live lockbox, to put transportation funds in. And as I have said to this austere body before, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it. Well here it is; a real, honest to goodness lockbox.

The bill -- the underlying bill deals with a proposed amendment to the Constitution that allows the Legislature to decide from year to year what money goes in and what money comes out. That is a lockbox that leaks like a sieve; a lockbox that has no bottom; a lockbox that has no lock; a lockbox where everybody has the keys. Pick your metaphor. It doesn't matter. It all means the same thing.

It means a fake lockbox. It means it's not a lockbox. It means it is just something in the Constitution that says that the Legislature gets to decide from year to year how much revenue we want to spend, that we want to bring in and put in this fund for transportation and how much we're gonna spend and what we're gonna spend it on. It also allows us to continue to sweep this money into the General Fund. It is not a lockbox. We, under this amendment, are proposing a real, legitimate, ironclad lockbox, where the revenues that go in are defined in the Constitution. What we can spend it on is defined in the Constitution.

And even if we have a budget deficit, we can't just say, well, we're not gonna -- we're gonna ignore that this year. We're just gonna spend it on something else - like we do constantly. The people of this state deserve to have a real lockbox. Virtually every one of their Representatives and Senators has said that that's what they want. So let's give it to them.

We all know that one Legislature can't bind the next. We assemble this year and we decide something by statute. Then after the next election, the next Legislature can just come in and completely change it. That's what this underlying bill is subject to. From year to year, any given Legislature can just decide, can just change what the last one did. Except if you lock it in. Except if you make a real, live lockbox in the Connecticut Constitution, which is what this amendment is. That's what we need.

Because we all know that the temptation to grab this pile of money has proven just too strong for the people of this Legislature and previous Legislatures. It's just too tempting to go and grab that money when we've overspent on other things. There's this big pile of money there. Well, it's called the Special Transportation Fund, but we're not gonna pay attention to that. And just by putting the term into the Constitution, does not make it a lockbox so long as we still have the keys from year to year.

So, last year, this same underlying bill passed through the House, but didn't pass with enough votes to automatically go to the voters of the state. One hundred members of the House voted for it, 40 voted against it. So it fell short of the required supermajority. I and 39 others saw it as a complete fake, saw it as a fake lockbox, and we voted against it. Now, others have said, well it's half a loaf. Better to grab half a loaf than no loaf at all. But it's not half a loaf. It's a fake loaf. Because even if you take a little -- a couple of words and put them in the Constitution, but you still allow the money in and out to happen by statute, there is nothing there. There is no substance whatsoever to a constitutional amendment. This amendment actually makes it a real loaf and a whole loaf!

We have an opportunity now. We have an opportunity to do exactly what every member has said they really want; to have a special fund that can only be used for transportation. Now I and a number of other Representatives took a lot of heat from voting against that. We took a lot of heat in the press and had to stand up and explain why half a loaf was really just a fake loaf. But now we have an amendment.

This amendment is real. This amendment goes in and specifies what funds go into this box and what funds can come out, and we -- and based on this constitutional amendment, we are binding future Legislatures that they can't just steal the money out of the transportation lockbox, like we've done repeatedly over and over and over again. The Governor claims he wants a lockbox. Leaders from both parties claim they want a real lockbox. At least 100 members of this Chamber voted last year for a lockbox. It was a fake lockbox, but they claimed they wanted a lockbox. Well here's the real one.

This amendment is a real, live lockbox, and if you really want a lockbox, you need to vote for this amendment - because anything else is fake. And I could stand up to the press and explain last year why I voted against a fake lockbox. I don't think there's anybody who's gonna be able to stand up and say why they voted against a real one. So I encourage all of my colleagues and every member of this Chamber to support this amendment. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on House Amendment "A"? House Amendment "A"? Representative O'Dea on House "A".

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

So, in contemplating my remarks on this constitutional amendment this morning, I was thinking about how often I've influenced votes here in this Chamber in my many years. And I can honestly say, probably very few, unfortunately. But I've spoken with passion. I've tried to speak with reason and I've tried to convince people why sometimes I do make sense, despite what my wife may say at home about my comments and thoughts - and Mr. Speaker.

But today, truly I would ask that my friends on the other side of the aisle take a look at the "lockbox", but what I would say is a rather a leaky box, as I used previously. And look at lines 41-42. Basically, the sources of the funds deposited in the transportation fund shall be deposited in said fund so long as such sources are authorized by statute to be collected or received by the state. The original proposed resolution by definition has in it language that says it can be changed by us by a simple vote. That is not a lockbox!

When I become Ranking Member of Transportation a number of years ago, I followed a gentleman by the name of David Scribner. Many of you in this Chamber probably recognize that name. The good Chair of the Transportation Committee was Mr. Tolls [phonetic], and I say that with all due respect. He's a good friend of mine. Mr. Scribner was known as the anti-Tolls. He stood a few rows up in front of me and spoke out against Tolls, but he did speak for this constitutional lockbox. And my good Chairman friend on the other side of the aisle of Transportation agreed with Mr. Scribner on the lockbox.

And so, various iterations of that lockbox has become before this Chamber over the last few years. And I daresay, if you read the quotes of the Governor, and I've had conversations with him, I believe the Governor likes our lockbox better than the majority's, with all due respect. I think if you take a look at the language, it follows what the Governor wants us to do. It follows what the people of the state want us to do.

When income tax was passed many years ago, we were promised and our electorate voted on a constitutional spending cap. We're still waiting for that to be passed. As a result of not having a constitutional lockbox, over 100 and -- I'm not great at math, but it looks like over 140 million dollars have been swept in the last 14 years from the transportation fund - swept away, most recently, $ 76. 5 million dollars in 2014.

My friend in this Chamber, we have a spending problem. And so what I would ask you to do is take a look at the proposed constitutional amendment. This resolution protects the money going in and protects the money coming out. It is a true lockbox. It is the lockbox that we were asked to look at and pass. Please take a look at both of them. Just give me a look - a couple minutes. And let's do what the electorate have asked us to do. Let's spend their money wisely and on what it's meant to be spent on. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the amendment? We are on the amendment. Representative Lavielle, you have the floor, madam.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Good morning.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good morning to you.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

I believe that I have been hearing about lockboxes and thinking about lockboxes ever since I've been in the Legislature, which is awhile now. And last year, we passed the first step in a constitutional amendment process that was -- had something to do -- something that purported to be a lockbox. I think everybody's covered that. There was a lot it didn't do. It didn't name the sources that went in. It didn't name the uses. It allowed those sources to be undesignated after a certain amount of time and not to go into the lockbox. And it didn't stop diversion of those sources. And as you've heard, we now have something that does.

So a couple of things here; I hear again and again from constituents that they do not trust the Legislature to be a real, solid custodian of their money, to show stewardship. People don't trust the Legislature to spend their money on what it's supposed to be spent on. And they're right. If we were to go ahead and pass once again by a majority that resolution we passed last time to make it a constitutional amendment, we would be pulling the wool over the public's eyes, hoodwinking them into believing that if they voted yes on that ballot, that they would be getting a lockbox.

So the only way to be sure that we do our primary duty; and it is our primary duty here, of telling constituents the truth, is to change and commit to telling that truth now. This amendment does tell that truth. It says it's a lockbox and it is. Everyone else has said that, but that's the shortest way I can say it. This amendment says, "People of Connecticut, here is a lockbox for you, and that's exactly what it is. " It is a lockbox. There is a saying that if you can't trust yourself, why should other people trust you?

Well, I would insist that by not supporting this amendment, the Legislature would be displaying that it indeed does not trust itself. And if the intentions of the members of this Legislature are not to protect these funds -- pardon me, if the intentions are really to protect these funds from diversion, there is no reason NOT - NOT to support this amendment.

So, in doing our duty to the people of Connecticut, I would not say I would urge people to support it. I would say that we MUST support it. There is no other choice. Otherwise, forget the lockbox and don't put anything to people on a ballot. This is our duty and we must do it now. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Representative Lavielle. Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further? Representative Carney of the 23rd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, nice to see you today. I just rise in support of this amendment just for a very simple reason. You know, the people of Connecticut, they want us to work together and do things that they believe in, like the Special Transportation Fund lockbox. But when I've talked to people, based on the discussions from two years ago through today, they want a lockbox that they can believe in, that they can trust in, and one where us, as a Legislature, and future Legislatures can't change. And I think it is so important to give the people of Connecticut what they've been asking for, and I know we can do it in a bipartisan way.

I know if we put this amendment up on the board as the -- made it the underlying bill, it would pass unanimously. I believe it would. Because this is what people want to see and there'd be nothing better for this Chamber, who's gotten some negative press recently, to do something like this unanimously, in a bipartisan fashion. And that's what this does. This amendment works for the people of Connecticut and will give them confidence going into that ballot box to vote yes. To vote yes on protecting transportation funds that are so important to the future of our state and the future of our economy.

This is a good amendment. This isn't a Republican versus Democrat issue, in my opinion. This is just something that's good and I think it would be a good idea for everyone in this Chamber to vote for this. We can do it. It can get on the ballot in 2018, this language, and it will give people so much confidence for the future of the State of Connecticut and our economy. I urge adoption. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further? Representative O'Neill, you have the floor, sir.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I will attempt to be as brief as possible. I want to address my comments to lines 33-36 of the amendment that is before us. That language basically states that this lockbox will be judicially enforceable. And the reason why that language is in there is because the Connecticut Supreme Court has, through its decisions, demonstrated that it is very likely that it would treat any question, challenge to the actions of this Legislature if it ignores the lockbox, if it raids the Special Transportation Fund. It would treat any lawsuit brought to try to enforce the lockbox as a political question and it will not decide that question, saying that it is basically up to the Legislature and it is up to the people to elect different legislators if they want a different outcome.

The main basis, perhaps the most powerful example of that, is the spending cap, which we all know was adopted in 1992 by, I believe, the largest percentage margin of any constitutional amendment in the history of the State of Connecticut, and certainly the largest number of votes of any constitutional amendment up 'til that time. And when that was challenged, because the Legislature failed to implement the spending cap; I believe it was in 1994 or '95 that the court case was brought, the Supreme Court ruled that it was, among other things, a political question and therefore not justiciable. That was their decision.

And so in the intervening years; now, it's been a quarter of a century, we have not implemented the spending cap. And here we are a couple of days before the end of the session and we still haven't implemented the spending cap this year either. Now, it is possible to have an enforceable provision in a constitution, especially one that deals with a political question. We have an example of that. That is the language that we have in our Constitution that says that original jurisdiction lies with the Supreme Court when someone is challenging the actions of the Legislature or inactions of the Legislature when it comes to redistricting. And that redistricting and reapportionment are the two most political questions that any Legislature can ever decide. I tell you that both as having participated in two reapportionment and redistricting commissions, and committees before that in the last 20 years. But also, read about it and you will see that's the most political question imaginable.

And yet the court has on both of the occasions that I have served, I have ended up sitting in the Supreme Court and listening to discussions and waiting for decisions on the question of the -- this redistricting that we were going to do.

What the language does is, whatever you think of the lockbox, a good idea or a bad idea, it makes it enforceable in court. Without this language, you can pass a lockbox any which way you want, and the chances are the court will ignore it and it will have no impact whatsoever on constraining the Legislature and the Governor a year from now, or five years from now, in raiding the Special Transportation Fund. So I urge you, everyone in this Chamber, to adopt this language, this version of a lockbox, with the enforceability provision, so that you can honestly go and tell your constituents that you have something that at least is enforceable. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the amendment? Representative Polletta. There you are. You have the floor, sir.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker. How are you?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good afternoon. I'm fine. And yourself?

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Thank you. I will be brief. I rise in strong support of the amendment as presented to us here. I'd just like to make one quick comment. Back a few years ago, when I got on the town council in the Town of Watertown, we had something very similar happen to exactly what has happened here in the State of Connecticut.

We have seen the transportation fund be raided, swept and moved to other line items in the budget. That's unfair to our taxpayers. In the Town of Watertown, we moved money out of pavement and roads and sidewalks to pay for other line items. And you know what happened? After three or four or five years of consistently doing that, we had to go out for a very large bond which cost the taxpayers an excess of $ 6 million dollars over 25 years. That's just in our small town.

So if we're serious about telling taxpayers that the money that they send up here to Hartford is going to be used in the right place, then everyone in this Chamber will vote for this amendment. Thank you. I stand in strong support.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Just a -- actually a question for the proponent of the amendment, please.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fox, please prepare yourself. Representative Smith, you may proceed.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you. And just to be clear, Madam Speaker, this is for the proponent of the amendment. So I think that would be Representative France.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Whoop! How true. Representative Fox can stand at ease. And Representative France, please prepare yourself.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you for that clarification, Madam Speaker. Now, Madam Speaker, I kind of pride myself on the ability to be able to read some legislation, proposed legislation, and be able to figure what it says and what it does. And I'm looking at the underlying bill and I'm looking at the amendment that's before us right now. And, you know, they're very similar in the way it's drafted. But I've heard the comments by my colleagues here this morning, and I'm wondering if Representative France could tell the Chamber what are the differences between the underlying bill and this amendment and why do we need this amendment?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative France.

REP. FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the good Representative for his question. There are five principle differences between the bill as proposed, or the resolution that's proposed, and the amended resolution that I have proposed and we have been debating. The first is the definition of transportation purposes. Nowhere in the proposed amendment -- or proposed resolution is there a definition of transportation purposes. It leaves that up to interpretation by a future Legislature. In our -- the amendment that is proposed to replace that resolution, we specifically define what is transportation purposes.

In addition to that, along that same line, the resolution as presented only allows payments to debt service on transportation obligations. The amendment also allows payment to non-debt service-related operating costs, which are currently already being paid for out of the transportation fund, and it also caps the growth in those non-debt service-related operating expenses at three percent per year. So it caps the ability to grow that amount.

The second major point is it states that those resources would be credited only as credit, which essentially means, as has been discussed, the Legislature can change what gets put into the transportation fund each succeeding year. Ours explicitly states that the funds that are currently going into the transportation fund as of the adoption of the amendment are locked in by their source as they're defined now.

And in addition, if there's any future funds that are adopted by this Legislature that are designated for the Special Transportation Fund, they also will be locked up under that same provision. So that's the second thing.

The third, we've already had discussion, is that the current resolution as proposed allows it to be changed by statute. You'll see the word statute in the constitutional language. We have no such language in the amendment. So it removes the ability of the Legislature to enact statute and fundamentally change the Constitution of the State of Connecticut without going back to the people of the State of Connecticut.

The fourth areas is there is no prohibition in the existing resolution as proposed of sweeping those money -- that money or diverting it ahead of getting in the Special Transportation Fund, which has been one of the things this Legislature has done year over year and not expended the full amount of money within the revenue sources that are supposed go in the Special Transportation Fund. Our amendment, that is proposed to change that, explicitly prohibits that.

And the final thing, that Representative O'Neill summarized aptly, is it gives the authority of the courts -- the Supreme Court of the State of Connecticut to have authority over the actions of this Legislature with respect to this amendment and gives standing for a citizen of this state to hold this Legislature accountable within the court system. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to thank Representative France for that clarification. I know some of the colleagues around here that I have talked to this morning were wondering what the differences are. We now know, obviously, that the amendment's much stronger. If we're going to have a lockbox, we might as well have one that actually works that we can count on and we know forevermore will be locked into it. So I support the amendment, Madam Speaker, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative McCarty of the 38th, you have the floor.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I will be very brief. I just wanted to rise in very strong support of this amendment. I was one of the legislators last session that was not able to cast a vote in the affirmative because, as my colleagues have mentioned particularly right, that day we diverted over $ 30 million dollars from the fund. So I take the looking at the Constitution and putting an amendment on our State Constitution very seriously.

So with that in mind, I would be happy to support a lockbox as long at it had a provision that made for a strong and enforceable lockbox. And I believe that this amendment does just that. It gives the Supreme Court that final jurisdiction to compel compliance with the amendment. So for those reasons, I would be happy to support this lockbox if this amendment were to go through this afternoon. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Klarides of the 114th, you have the floor, Madam Leader.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this amendment. As we've all talked about time after time, year after year, raiding the Special Transportation Fund has put us in the predicament we're in. Any investment in transportation, dare I say, whether it be taxes, whether it be tolls, whether it be any type of revenue that is put in place to support and use for transportation, must be coupled - MUST be coupled with a lockbox that actually locks. I know that sounds like a bizarre concept, because we have a habit in this building of using words that everybody, upon hearing them, supports.

We've talked about reform many times. Who doesn't support reform? It doesn't actually matter what the language is, but we support reform. We support lockboxes. In fact, it was an idea that this side of the aisle came up with many years ago. But there is a difference between "sounding" like it's a good thing and actually being a good thing, and not just a good thing, but an effective, enforceable thing.

Is the underlying bill a good start? No question about it. I remember testifying in the Transportation Committee in early 2016 about this very thing. But in that vein, we have to make sure that not only do we have a lockbox that has a nice shiny lock on the front, but doesn't have holes in the back. And what most people will see is that nice shiny lock on the front. They won't see the holes in the back.

The biggest problem I have with the underlying resolution is that once sources of funding are in the box, they stay in the box. That's the good part. But those sources of funding may be manipulated. That's the problem, and that's a big problem. This amendment that we're debating right now, changes that. Stops it. Stops it in its tracks. We talked about it being judicially enforceable. That's why it's so important, particularly based on the experiences we've had with our spending cap. A spending cap that was voted on in the early '90s and asked to have been implemented; and we know what direction that went in.

I know it's complicated and a little confusing when we do these constitutional amendments. In the past, this has passed by three-quarters vote, I believe. And now it just has to pass, the underlying resolution, by a simple majority and then it will go on the ballot for November 2018. If this amendment that we're talking about right now is voted on and passes by three-quarters of a vote of this Chamber, it still goes on the ballot in November 2018. It does not slow this process down. It does not impede our ability to lock money down that we all say we'd like to do.

We use this term in this building often. It's good enough. It's a good start. Well, Mr. Speaker, I would say we have two alternatives on the table; the underlying resolution and the amendment. One is a good start and one does the job. One keeps the money locked and controls the sources going into it. The State of Connecticut deserves something that is not just good enough. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Godfrey, for what purposes do you rise?

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

I rise for a Point of Order, sir. Kind of as intriguing and interesting as the debate is in, I need to know we're operating under Article XII of the Constitution dealing with amendments that provides two ways for a constitutional amendment to get on the ballot. A ballot is required and a vote of the people of the State of Connecticut is required. The first way, of course, is you -- we pass it in both Houses by three-quarters and it goes on the ballot. That didn't happen with the current -- that didn't happen last session on the lockbox amendment. So the Constitution requires that the resolution go over to the next session, an election having intervened. And that's where we are with the underlying resolution.

However, amending this doesn't meet the constitutional requirement. In fact, back in 1981, Speaker Abate ruled, and for those who are following, it's 2-2-1 under the House Rules, that on the second submission of a constitutional amendment, the General Assembly may only confirm or reject the action taken in the previous Assembly. Therefore, the Point of Order is that this amendment is not properly before us.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The House will stand at ease.

The House will come back to order. (Gavel) The member has raised the Point of Order as whether the amendment is in order or not. The underlying resolution was approved by the majorities of both Houses of the General Assembly in December 2015. House "A" makes substantive changes to the underlying resolution, adding terms regarding transportation projects, limitation on the General Assembly and Supreme Court jurisdiction. Pursuant to Article Twelfth of the amendments to the State Constitution provides that any proposed amendment that passes both Chambers by a majority of both Chambers that is less than three-quarters of both Chambers shall be continued in the next General Assembly following the intervening election. The Constitution contemplates the exact language being reconsidered in the next elected membership of the Legislature

This issue came before the House through a Point of Order in 1981, as stated by Representative Godfrey, as recorded in section 2-1. 1 of the rulings of the presiding officers of the House. The member argued that the second vote on a proposed constitutional amendment is a reaffirmation of the action of the previous General Assembly prior to putting the question before the voters. The Speaker has ruled on the second submission of the constitutional amendment. The General Assembly may only confirm or reject that action taken previously. Speaker Abate was in the chair on May 1st, 1981.

In the opinion of this Chair, the Point is well taken. I will now allow debate on the minority side. I believe it will be Representative O'Neill. And on the majority side, it will be Representative Godfrey. So, Representative O'Neill, please proceed.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would indicate, I think, basically three points. First of all, the context of the ruling by Speaker Abate is very different from the context we are facing here today. That was an amended amendment itself. There had been changes to that amendment. We are not talking here about minor technical changes or changes of date. We are talking about a strike-all amendment that completely replaces the amendment that was placed before us the previous time that it was voted on in 2015, I believe.

Number two; nothing in our rules prohibits an amendment to a constitutional amendment. This is a very substantial authority that the Legislature exercises, which is to amend our Constitution. Effectively, it would be saying; and there's nothing in our rules and there's nothing in the state statutes and there's nothing in the Constitution that handcuffs one Legislature to the next. We have always lived by the principle that no Legislature can bind a subsequent Legislature. And by saying that if you voted once and have not changed the Constitution, which you've only voted once to begin the process of changing the Constitution, and that handcuffs the subsequent Legislature, flies in the face of that fundamental principle about the plenary jurisdiction of each and every Legislature that gets elected by the people of the State of Connecticut.

Finally, I would say that this is under hour of the statutes in the Article Twelve of the Constitution. It talks about the process of approval. It talks about the amendment being held over. The previous amendment was not held over. I am not precisely sure of what the process of holding over an amendment from one session of the Legislature to another subsequent term of a Legislature would involve. But clearly this amendment is not held over. This is a completely created in this session of the Legislature, a new constitutional amendment. It had its own public hearing. It was voted on by the Committee. The Committee had the right to not vote to approve the resolution that is before us.

If the Point is to be sustained here, if this Point is well taken, that means that the Committee had no authority to not vote that resolution out, to amend that resolution, to bring it to us or not bring it to us. That all they had to do was dust off the one from a couple of years ago and say here it is; this is the one you voted on in 2015. Even if they had that authority, that is not what they did in this situation, Mr. Speaker. They created a whole new amendment.

This Legislature has the power to strike this amendment and replace this document before us with something totally different; to strike this resolution and have a whole new resolution, which if it passes by three-quarters and goes by the three-quarters in the other Chamber, will go to the voters in November of '18. If it passes by a simple majority in each Chamber, it goes to the voters in 2020 if it passes subsequently in 2019 or 2020. So we have the power to change the Constitution. We have not given up that power because a previous Legislature voted by a simple majority to adopt language that is the same as this. We are not handcuffed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative O'Neill, I understand where you're going, but just to make it official. Can you please rise again and appeal the ruling of the Chair and receive the required second, please?

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I appeal the ruling of the Chair and ask for a roll call.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much. Is there a second? Representative O'Dea has seconded that. So it's properly before us and when that vote will be taken, it will be taken by roll. Representative Godfrey of the 110th, you now have the floor, sir.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On my good friend, Representative O'Neill's points, first of all he says it's technical. It isn't. Even the proponent said it's a substantive change. And pretty much all of the other people who spoke in favor of it agreed that this was a substantive change from the underlying resolution.

Secondly, the Constitution also provides that the Houses of the General Assembly can make their own rules and we have long used precedential material to interpret the way our procedures work. And certainly, where we're dealing with a very strict constitutional provision, our rules apply. Now, of course, through the appeals process, we have the ability to overturn a precedent. But I pause it in general that that's not a good idea.

Number three; this is the hold over, and here's the process. After the end of every session, of course, it's the Sectary of the State's job to have tracked to whether or not things have to go to the Governor for signing or a veto and she also is the official responsible for bringing that resolution we passed in the last session back to the House and the Senate. And indeed, in the summary by OLR, the first sentence, the resolution proposes a constitutional amendment identical to RA 15-1 in the December special session. So this has been ruled by the Secretary of the State that this is the carryover. This isn't a new proposal.

Indeed, if my memory serves me well, and it doesn't always, I believe that the Transportation Committee considered two resolutions. This one and another one that was different, but that's not the one we're taking up. The one that is different, the amendment that had been proposed, would have been properly before us.

And just in general, Mr. Speaker, if -- the Constitution, carefully drawn back in 1965; no, I wasn't there. I'm not that old. But what would be the purpose of the provision to be the carryover if we could just change it and ab initio [phonetic] have a new proposal that only has to pass by a simple majority? No, I don't think that's quite proper. I think that our Constitution is very strict. Amending the Constitution shouldn't be easy. It doesn't make it easy. It requires a huge supermajority to pass one of these onto the voters. So I would strongly urge that the ruling of the Chair be upheld. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you both. And I truly appreciate the time and effort that's been put in --

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Mr. Speaker, may I respond?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative O'Neill, just give me one moment. I truly appreciate the effort and the amount of research that was done by both parties. In that case, I'm gonna also you each to speak for the second time. Representative O'Neill, I know you're rising to respond. And then Representative Godfrey, you will also have the equal opportunity, and then we'll go to a vote.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I may, with respect to the precedence, the precedence are here to guide us in terms of dealing with the application of our rules. This is really trying to guide us with respect to the application, this precedent with the application of the Constitution.

For example, the next precedent that comes in our book of precedents is that can you change the number of members of senators and house members on a Committee without suspending the rules after the adoption of the rules that set the numbers. And the ruling was there was yes. Well of course. That's the kind of thing the precedents are for. The precedents are not there to handcuff us and say that we don't have any authority after some point to change things from what the previous Legislature may have done, number one.

Number two; the OLR report talks about this being the identical language, not being the same resolution as passed the previous time, but being identical in language. Again, the Constitution calls for this one being held over and brought to our attention, perhaps. I'm not exactly sure what that process is. But if we were to take this, as I said earlier, if we were to take this precedent and apply it in this way, what that means is that the general -- Government Administration and Elections Committee did not have the authority, apparently, to refuse to bring this amendment to us, and that when they voted for it, that that was some sort of just courtesy on behalf of the members or something. That the Secretary of State would've submitted this to us directly and without going through the committee process because there was nothing for the committee to do. There was no value to hearings, there was no value to votes, you could not amend it, could not reject it. So what was the point of this thing going through GAE Committee? There was no point.

This is not the same amendment that we voted on in 2015. It's not the same document. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Godfrey, do you care to respond?

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

In spite of the fact that there's a rule that you can only speak once on an appeal, I'll waive that Point of Order at this point. Folks, this is an identical resolution to the one passed in the last session. It does meet the constitutional requirements. Yes, under the Constitution, we create our own rules. But the one thing our rules can't override is the Constitution of the State of Connecticut. The resolution, unamended, straight up meets the constitutional requirement of Article XII. An amendment to it does not. That was, in my humble opinion, the reason Speaker Abate had made the ruling as he did back in '91. This is a constitutional provision. This is a ruling that upholds the Constitution and upholds Article XII, how to do an amendment. And, again, I urge my colleagues to support the ruling of the Chair. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Again, thank you gentleman, both. At these various moments in this Chamber, this is when you truly have an appreciation for the activities we do here. That was a pure debate on its merits. So what we're going to do now is we will be roll calling and voting. To clarify how we will handle the roll call vote, a green will be in favor of sustaining the Rule of the Chair. A red will be to reject the ruling of the Chair. The Chair has determined that the gentleman's original Point was well taken and the amendment was not consistent with our process. With that being said, staff and guests please come to the Well of the House, members take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Again, for those coming in, there's been an appeal of the ruling of the Chair. By voting green, you are sustaining my ruling that Representative Godfrey's Point was in good order. By voting red, you would reject the ruling of the Chair.

Have all the members voted? Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, please be sure your votes have been properly cast. If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally. The Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Appeal of the Ruling of the Chair,

Total number Voting 150

Necessary to Sustain the Ruling of the Chair 76

Those voting Yea 79

Those voting Nay 71

Those absent and not Voting 1

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The ruling of the Chair is sustained. (Gavel)

Will you remark further? Representative O'Neill of the 6 -- hang on, Representative O'Neill. Representative Johnson, for what purposes do you rise?

REP. JOHNSON (49TH):

Mr. Speaker, I, unfortunately, hit the wrong button when I voted, and I hit Representative DiMassa's vote button, so. Could you please correct that?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative DiMassa, your vote was to be cast?

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

In the affirmative, sir. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to a Point of Order.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Mr. Speaker, I believe that this resolution is not properly before us because it is not the resolution that was adopted or rather voted on in 2015 to amend the Constitution. Pursuant to the Constitution, the amendment to be voted on a second time has to be a resolution that was continued from the previous General Assembly. So my Point is that we are not following the Constitution's mandate that the resolution has to be the one continued from the previous General Assembly.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease.

(Gavel) The House will come to order. The member has raised a Point of Order, stating the resolution is not properly before us in the Chamber because it is not the same physical document that was approved in 2015 by both Chambers. The longstanding procedure and the custom of the General Assembly is that resolutions carried over pursuant to Article XII of the amendments to the State Constitution are returned at the start of the next regular session after an intervening election by the Secretary of the State to the Clerk of the Chamber where originated. In this case, the Secretary returned it to the House Clerk, who has retained possession of it during the legislative session.

The Clerk then sends a letter to the Committee of origin, in this particular case GAE. LCO then drafts a resolution identical to the one previously passed. Resolution and bills numbers do not carry over from session to session. After the session, the resolution is approved by both Houses. The original resolution and the one used to carry it forward are sent together by the Clerk to the Secretary of State with a cover letter setting for the above process. This process was followed by another amendment that originated in the Senate this very year, and has been followed in recent years with other amendments. And this process does fulfill the requirements of Article XII of the amendments to the State Constitution.

The gentleman's Point of Order is not well taken. Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

I would appeal the ruling of the Chair.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH): Is there a second? Representative O'Dea is the second again.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

I second that.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative O'Neill, are you rising to debate your appeal?

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, if I may?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

We will follow the same process, but this time it will be one speaker from each side. Representative O'Neill, you will go. Representative Godfrey, are you prepared? Representative O'Neill, please proceed.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It appears to me that the appeal, or rather the ruling of the Chair is based on a process that is and has been ongoing in the Legislature regarding regular resolutions, regular bills, and clearly has been done in the past with respect to constitutional amendments. However, in this particular, having looked carefully at the Constitution, it's very clear that the Constitution talks about the resolution having been continued from the previous General Assembly and that being approved again.

The Constitution does not make provision for a new resolution being adopted or a deferral to the process that the Legislature chooses to adopt for numbering resolutions. And it is my impression that it's really being done this way, of creating a new resolution, going through the GEA Committee, and coming to the floor of the House with a different number, is being done simply because our numbering system seems to be inadequate to accommodate the requirements of the Constitution.

If one or the other should give way, what should give way is our numbering system, not the language that's very clear in the Constitution. And the fact that we may have been doing it incorrectly for any numbers of years does not make it correct today. That doesn't change the language of the Constitution today.

What we should be doing is following the Constitution. We in fact have the resolution that we could vote on, that could be brought to the attention of the House, and we could be voting on that resolution. It's not like it's been lost. It's not like it's in somebody else's possession. We actually have the necessary document. And just for a point of comparison, Mr. Speaker, if this resolution, the resolution that's on the board right now, resolution no. 100, if that resolution has somewhat gotten lost; if the resolution were still in the Committee Clerk's possession or somewhat it had gotten into the possession of the Clerk of the Senate, we would not be debating it.

My Point of Order would be that that resolution is not in the possession of the House and is not properly before us for debate. If I had an amendment that I were filing to a resolution or to a bill, and the bill was not in the possession of the Clerk, it would not be properly before us and we would not be able to debate it.

We operate on the basis of, in many cases, the specific, actual documents. This may seem old fashioned. It may seem something from a different era, when people didn't have duplicating machines or computers to print out copies of things all over the place. But the reality is that our system requires that you have "the piece of paper," "the document," that was voted on by the Committee that's signed by all of the people who need to sign it and it's been reviewed by the people who needed to review it. We go on paper. We go on what this says in the Constitution, not the convenience of having a better or easier numbering system. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Godfrey of the 110th, you have the floor.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Article XII of the Constitution provides two different paths to get a resolution amending the Constitutions to the voters of Connecticut for their -- for them to make the decision on whether or not it will become part of the Constitution. It does not in any way shape or form require a particular procedure. Indeed, the Constitution gives to the General Assembly the power to create its own procedure through its rulemaking power. Our joint rules say any constitutional amendment must go to the Government Administration and Election Committee. The House Joint Resolution No. 100 has done precisely that.

And when you look at the bill history of HJR 100, you'll see the first entry is referred to the Committee. That's because of the Secretary of the State, in keeping her responsibility, transmitted the resolution that was adopted in the last session of the General Assembly, before an election, with a cover letter that came to the Clerk and this House referred that to the GAE Committee as it required by our rules.

That resolution, which I happen to have, was introduced by one Representative Sharkey. He's no longer a member. Only members can introduce legislation. So even other arguments aside, we could not have taken up a resolution that was introduced by a nonmember. You know, our rules are very clear. Constitutional amendments have to go the GAE. The GAE correctly had a public hearing on it. That's a very good thing. That's the point of our rules. And it has come out of GAE on a vote and is before us now. And my argument, it is correctly before us.

It does meet the constitutional requirement of being considered in identical form in two sessions of the General Assembly with an election intervening and it meets the rules of the General Assembly adopted for this session. So, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to uphold the ruling of the Chair. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Again, we'll explain to the members. To uphold the ruling of the Chair, you will be voting in the affirmative. To reject the ruling of the Chair, you will be voting red. With that being said, staff and guests to the Well of the House, members take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

CLERK:

Appeal of the Ruling of the Chair,

Total number Voting 151

Necessary to Sustain the Ruling of the Chair 76

Those voting Yea 79

Those voting Nay 72

Those absent and not Voting 0

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The appeal of the Rule of the Chair is rejected. (Gavel)

Will you remark further on the before us? Representative Wilms of the 142nd.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm here to speak on the resolution before us. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the resolution. I do so with a heavy heart. I do so despite the fact that I do believe that we need a lockbox, however, my opposition stems from the concern about the lack of enforceability and the lack of security and safeguards that are envisioned by this proposed amendment. Looking at the language, we still retain far too much discretion to engage in what I would call, "budgetary actions," that would be inconsistent with that I think the average voter believes they'll be voting if this were to be on the ballot.

The average voter, if this were to be on the ballot, would think that for every dollar of money that was raised that it would be a dollar's worth of transportation projects. But unfortunately, it won't. A major, major deficiency in the resolution is that there's no language whatsoever about a shifting expenses. Mr. Speaker, as we know, the Special Transportation Fund is an income statement. It has revenues. It has income. And that it also has expenditures. The expenditures are for the operating budgets of the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation. There is, of course, bond service. And so then the net result is what's available or transportation projects.

However, there's nothing in this amendment that would prohibit a future Legislature from looking at expenditures outside of the Special Transportation Fund and making a statutorily determination that those are really transportation and they really should go into the transportation fund. In a sense, creating a budgetary hole elsewhere and using that as a mechanism to increase spending and get around the intent of what this whole amendment is for.

So, again, with a heavy heart, I speak in opposition to this. There were other options out there to make the lockbox stronger, to make it, I believe, in keeping with what the voters think they're gonna be voting on if this were to be on the ballot. And because it's not, because there is a huge deficiency, I speak in opposition. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark? If not, staff and guests to the Well of the House and members take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

If all the members have noted, please check the board to ensure your vote is properly cast. If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked and the Clerk will take a tally. The Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

House Joint Resolution 100,

Total number Voting 151

Necessary for Adoption 76

Those voting Yea 101

Those voting Nay 50

Those absent and not Voting 0

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The resolution is adopted. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 295?

CLERK:

On page 12, House Calendar 295, substitute House Bill No. 6058 - AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRONIC TOLLS; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Guerrera of the 29th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Mr. Speaker, I have an amendment, LCO 8598. I ask that it be called and I be asked to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Will the Chamber please stand at ease?

The House will please come back to order. Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I apologize. The LCO No. is 8597.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Okay. Will the Clerk please call Calendar -- excuse me. LCO No. 8597, which will be designated as House Amendment "A"?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 8597, offered by Representative Guerra, Representative Arce and Senator Leone.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, members of this General Assembly, we have waited a long time, a long time to introduce a bill like this, which would be the implementation of electronic tolling. We just had a debate over a lockbox. And over the years, on both sides of the aisle, we have debated electronic tolling.

What this bill does, it allows the Department of Transportation to plan a study in regards to where these electronic gantries would be placed. It would come back to the General Assembly for a vote. It would tell us how much those tolls would cost. It would tell the members where they are situated. It would give the DOT the authority to give Connecticut residents a discount and also determine the amount of monies that we would receive.

Madam Speaker, over the years, as many people know in this room, I have tried to figure out a way how we can save our infrastructure. Over the years, we have seen the gas tax basically run dry. In our Committee, we had OPM come in with some sad news that told us that the STF fund within two years - within two years, will be basically broke.

Madam Speaker, I have tried in a number of occasions - a number of occasions - to try to do what's best for this General Assembly and the people of the State of Connecticut. I have told you that before I bring out a bill that I would have every "I" dotted and every "T" crossed. This bill says that any toll money that is used cannot be diverted anywhere. It is restricted by the Federal Highway Administration and we cannot move one penny of this money anywhere. So although we debated a lockbox for a number of hours, we could've not asked for a better lockbox than that.

But what we're finding is that people may have some objections to this. We've heard that we don't know where they're going. We heard that the federal government would have to be repaid. All those answers, all those questions, I should say, have been answered. This is the only way, the only way that is fair for our residents. Over 60 percent of the vehicles that travel on our interstate are from out-of-staters; 38 to 40 percent of vehicles and another 24 percent of truckers. The number of damage that has done to our roads is astronomical. We cannot afford - we cannot afford - to rebuild this infrastructure.

And we talked about how Connecticut needs to be -- rebuild itself to bring business back in. How can we do that, Madam Speaker, if we don't have an infrastructure that works? We all know, on both sides of the aisles, and I've had many debates with my good colleagues on both sides and I respect them very, very much, and all I've heard that it's inevitable. That they're gonna come in. What are we waiting for? Please tell me what we are waiting for?

Madam Speaker, maybe I am a little bit selfish about this. I thought about this long and hard. We all have children. We all have grandchildren. We have friends. We represent our constituents. It is our obligation - our obligations - to make the roads the best that they can be. And knowing that we have a crisis, and that's what it is, a crisis on hand, that within the next two years, we will be back in this Chambers looking at each other saying, what are we gonna do? You know it and I know it. And the people of the state know this.

We cannot afford to have another bridge collapse, to have a piece of concrete fall on vehicle that can cause a terrible accident. And you all know it's gonna happen! We're all gonna come in here and say, why did this happen? Why did we allow this to happen? I don't want to play this political football game. I did not get elected to do that. And you know who I am! Many of you people know what I stand for. I will vote the way I want to vote and you all know that. And I don't like particularly putting electronic tolling up, but no one has told me a better way of doing it. You want a bond? You want to tax the people of this state? Then tell me that. You want to raise the gas tax? There's not one vote in this General Assembly that will vote for a highering of a gas tax.

I have told you that this is the fairest way of doing this. Madam Speaker, the ironic part about this is like we all sit here and we know it's inevitable. And the other night, I couldn't sleep all night and I'm up watching TV, its' about midnight. And I'm sure, you know, I don't want to make light of this, but I was watching the movie Jaws. All right? Now, let's look at this.

I'm watching this movie and Chief Brody is sitting there and he's trying to tell his mayor's first selectman, "you cannot open the beaches. There's something bad in those waters. " And he's saying, "We have to. " He goes, "no, you cannot. The Fourth of July's the biggest day of the year and we have all these people coming and we're gonna do it. " Well, as we all know, they opened the beaches and a little boy gets killed by the shark.

The next thing you know, they go out, they try to find the shark. Chief Brody's sitting on that pier and the mother of that child comes in front of him, from the funeral, and slaps his face and says, "You knew! You knew there was something bad there, but you allowed it to happen. " And the first selectman looks at Brody and says, "It's not your fault. " And he turns to him and goes, "Yes it is. "

As funny as that may sound or as funny as movies get, this is the situation we're in. Let's not kid ourselves. We have just debated a lockbox for a number of hours. And who are we kidding ourselves? In ten years, that gas tax revenue won't even be here. You know it and I know it. We've got electric cars, hybrid cars. It's over. Self-driving vehicles. So what are we gonna do?

As I said, you want to put a carbon tax out there? Or are we gonna try to find a way that is fair for everyone? You use our roads, you pay. I travel throughout the whole northeast corridor and I have to pay. Why is it that we don't allow other individuals who travel on our interstates to pay? Why is that? There's something wrong here, guys. You know it needs to be done. And every day that we wait, it's gonna be on our backs. I don't want to wait any longer. And I know this is difficult. But Jesus, guys, we got elected to make some tough decisions here! That's what it's all about!

I want to sleep at night and I know all of you do too. I know all of you care deeply about every individual in this state. But I know this is a tough decision. But we -- our backs are against the wall! We have no other course here. And if we don't do it, you know that it's gonna end up being bad! Don't wait for that time.

A good friend of mine, as we all know, Cam Staples, who sat on that board, looked at us in our Transportation Committee, at my Ranking Members, at myself, and said, "You have an opportunity to make change cause you know how bad it is. "

Madam Speaker, we need to do this. We need to take a vote to do what's right for our constituents and for the future of this state to bring economic growth, to make our roads the best that they can be, so people are waiting in traffic and collect those monies that go into those systems and make our bridges, our roads, our rails the best in this state. We can be number one. I truly believe that, but its' up to all of us to make that decision.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. The question before the Chamber is on adoption of House Amendment Schedule "A". Will you remark? The good Ranking Member of Transportation, Representative Carney, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. And through you, some questions to the proponent of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Okay. My first question is, as I did hear the good Chairman of Transportation cite some statistics regarding 60 percent of out-of-state drivers are -- would be -- are using our roads. Can the good Chairman tell me where he got those numbers?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerrera.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That was through the Cambridge Report that was sponsored to us a few years back and also through DOT that, as you know, we're talking to Cam Staples and Special Transportation Board that the Governor had, told us about the out-of-staters on that.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Okay. I appreciate the good Chairman's response. The statistics I have are below that, but I do appreciate his answers and I believe I'm looking at the same statistics. I have approximately 30 percent would be out of state, with a slightly higher percentage on major corridors, on 95 and 84, and only about 12 percent out-of-state drivers on specific locations. And some of those specific locations include Route 2, Route 9, Route 11, and I know there's been some talk about Route 8. So we're talking about 88 percent of in-state drivers on those roads would be paying tolls. And those were recommendations from the Transportation Finance Panel, which the good Chairman cited.

Now I heard the good Chairman discuss how tolls would ease congestion. If the good Chairman of Transportation could explain that in a little more detail?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I'm sorry, can you repeat the question?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Sure. So the good Chairman mentioned how tolls would ease congestion, traffic would go down with tolls. Could the good Chairman please explain that?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you. As we know through our hearings, through the good Representative, we have talked to members of Massachusetts DOT that said they had some congestion pricing in regards to if the toll lanes were to be put up, there would be one specific lane that might be a higher price that would allow individuals to hop in that lane to get to point "A" to point "B" in a quicker amount of time. Also, what would happen too is that maybe more people might get off of the roadways and use more rails or more bus service.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

I thank the good Chairman for his answer. And I did hear the recommendations from Massachusetts on what they did. But I must say that in Massachusetts things were a little different. You know, tolls -- I believe tolls are only on the Mass Pike, so Route 9 -- I-90. They are not anywhere else in the state I don't believe. So drivers in Massachusetts and the Mass Pike is predominantly a travel road, so you're not going to hit a lot of folks going to and from work or going to the supermarket. Not like you would for folks, especially in my area on 95 and Route 9.

And in Massachusetts, if folks don't want to use the Mass Pike, a lot of people in the state know of alternative highways including interstates and state highways that they can use. One of the concerns that I have is while I do appreciate the good Chairman's suggestion of the high-occupancy vehicle lanes becoming a high-occupancy toll lane; that was not specifically mentioned in the Transportation Finance Panel, the only suggestion.

And they would recommend tolls, I believe, they wanted tolls, again, like I said, throughout all of these different corridors. And one of the things that concerns me is they did mention that drivers would have the opportunity to get off on another roads and that would help ease congestion by avoiding a toll. And one of the realities we have in Connecticut throughout the state, especially on the shoreline, predominantly in Fairfield County, is there is 95, so we would assume tolls would be on 95.

And I've seen a map put on my C -- excuse me, CDM Smith, who would be the group that would do the toll plan, as in the bill. But they put out a map that showed 12 tolls from Greenwich to New Haven, 11 tolls from the beginning of the Merritt Parkway to the end of the Merritt Parkway. So, both of those roads would have tolls everywhere.

So the only opportunity, and the good Chairman recommended public transportation and I would love to see more people using the rail. But the only other opportunity then, I believe, would be to take Route 1. And we all know Route 1 is not exactly an easy travel road. A lot of Route 1 is one lane, there's stoplights. So folks, I believe, would have no incentive to get onto Route 1, but they would probably stay on the highway. So I'm not positive congestion would actually be eased on some of the major highways, predominantly, as I mentioned, 95 and the Merritt Parkway.

So, on to the bill, I do have some questions. So, my first question is does this bill carry a fiscal note?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you. Yes. The study would probably cost in the range of between $ 3-$ 5 million dollars, which would be offset, obviously, through revenues through the electronic tolling.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Okay. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Since there is a fiscal note, I do believe this matter should be referred to Appropriations. I'm not sure -- I guess I would ask does the good Chairman believe this should be referred to Appropriations since it has a fiscal note?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, to the good Representative. I believe it probably would have to go through Bonding.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Okay. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I would like to make a motion that this bill be referred to Appropriations.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease.

Will the House please come back to order? And Representative Carney you have the floor, sir.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I make a motion to withdraw my referral. I withdraw.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Well, your Point is well taken. The amendment is withdrawn. The motion. Excuse me, the motion is withdrawn. You still have the floor.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Okay. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. So back to the bill. I'm looking at line 129, section 6, and it regards prior to commencing a construction of an electronic tolling system on any highway or portion thereof, the Department shall hold; the Department of Transportation, I assume, shall hold at least one public informational meeting. And I'm just curious as to why it's a meeting and not a public hearing?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I apologize. It seems like my light seems to be a little delayed here. To the good Representative, I do believe that, again, that in the proposal it also states that there will be public hearings in regards to any locations that DOT determines where they're gonna be. And in that, also states that you and I will have an opportunity to review that and also have another vote in regards to what the plan is established by the Department of Transportation.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I appreciate the proponent's response, but I'm still a little confused because I believe section 6 would come into play if the Legislature were to adopt the tolling plan because -- so it would be prior to commencing construction of an electronic tolling system. So we would've approved it at that point. And I believe the good proponent of the bill said public hearing. But I see it as an informational meeting. So am I to understand that people will be able to voice their objection to the proposed tolling location and the DOT will actually take that into consideration? Or is this just a meeting to tell the folks within the vicinity of the tolling location that we'll be placing a toll with -- close by their home?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerrera.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you. Yes, there will be ample information gathered from the people of the area to hear their issues in regards before any of these electronic tollings would be put up. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Just one more quick question on that section. Where it says, "general vicinity of the proposed toll location," do we have a definition of general vicinity? Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerrera.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And to the good Representative, we do not. That is why we're asking the Department to come back with a plan for all of us to review.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and thanks to the proponent for that response. Now, moving on to section 10. It's just there's been a very -- a lot of versions of this, so I want to make sure I'm right. Line 227 is where section 10 begins. Now in that section, it describes reducing the gas tax by a penny per year over five fiscal years. And I'd like, through you, Madam Speaker, if the good proponent of the bill could explain when that reduction -- or what's the process to begin the reduction of the gas tax? Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerrera.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and for the question from the good Representative. Once the STF fund reaches that 2. 5 funding mechanism, that is when we start to decrease the gas tax by one penny, up to five cents within five years.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

So through you, Madam Speaker. It's possible that if tolls were to be implemented that because of that section regarding the treasurer determining if the STF is healthy, it's possible that if the treasurer doesn't sign off on that, that the gas tax may not be reduced, even though tolls would be in the state?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I would look at it that once the plan is adopted and then it comes in front of us, we would have the final say in regards to what is in that plan. So therefore, we can vote for it, up or down, and I would hope that that would be in there that the gas tax would still be reduced up to five cents.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

So am it to be correct, that when -- whoever DOT contracts with to do this plan, that they, when they're doing a plan regarding tolling systems would provide recommendations on how to reduce the gas tax by one cent per year?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerra.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. That could be a possibility.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Okay. Thank you very much to the proponent. Now, in -- from lines 237 to 250, it does discuss that gas tax piece. Now, are there any assurances that the Legislature couldn't then just raise the gas tax and reduce the gas tax from the raised gas tax?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Guerrera.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, and to the good Representative. If I had that crystal ball, Representative, I would not be here. I don't know whether the future legislators, what they're going to do. Obviously, we just passed a lockbox. We just passed 7138, and so therefore, I think all assurances would be that we would try to maintain whatever monies go into that STF fund. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Carney.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. And while I do appreciate the intent behind this section, I do have concerns regarding the Legislature raising the gas tax after this, or a future Governor, when facing a fiscal crisis, like the fiscal crisis we're currently in, just going back into this bill and eliminating that section. Upon some of the studies I've been doing regarding the gas tax, so I was told that about $ 14 million dollars goes into the Special Transportation Fund for every penny the gas is reduced. So, if we look at how much the gas tax potentially could be reduced over five years, so the state, I believe, would be at a loss of about $ 72 million dollars.

Now, one of the things I have concerns about is we're giving up $ 72 million dollars potentially - potentially. Now, I've seen toll plans out there saying that, oh, we'll get $ 900 million dollars from a toll plan, where there'd be 72 gantries or so, which would be a lot, throughout the state, hitting everybody, and we're only giving up 72 cents. So, I would like to see, you know, certainly, the gas tax reduced further, if we're going to be doing this to our residents, especially if approximately 70 percent or 65 percent of them will be the ones who are actually paying for these tolls. So, in the long run, the citizens of the good State of Connecticut will actually be paying more than what they're paying now.

And I understand the good proponent of the bill's passion. I understand that, you know, he's concerned about our roadways. I'm concerned about our roadways too. But I also think that the people of Connecticut, when you talk to them about tolls, when you talk to them about tolls in my area, you know, a lot of them think of border tolls. And we all know we can't do border tolls. We can't do border tolls. We can't just do tolls of out-of-state drivers.

But what worries me is the toll plans I've seen, they're everywhere. I've heard folks in this Chamber say, "tolls will be everywhere. " They're not everywhere in Massachusetts. They're not everywhere in New York. They're not everywhere in Rhode Island. They have roads that they are on. One in Massachusetts, where there's several gantries. They only have it, I believe, over two bridges in Rhode Island, and on the New York State throughway and over some bridges in the State of New York.

This is asking too much. What I've seen, too much of Connecticut residents. So that concerns me. You know, we have a crisis, a $ 5 billion dollar deficit. I wish we had been working that before. And, you know, going back to the good Chairman's -- good proponent's discussion about Jaws. Now Jaws is one of my favorite movies. I love Steven Spielberg. And its' funny he brings up Jaws, because it made me think of the scene, or several scenes, I guess, in the movie, when folks were running out of the beach because of the shark.

And all I kept thinking about is those are the people of the State of Connecticut fleeing this state because of higher taxes and higher fees. And all this bill will do is lead to more funds coming out of hardworking people's pockets because this state can't function! They can't spend their money right and they just want more and more and more from the residents of this state! Sixty-five percent of this will come from the residents of this state, at least. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I oppose this bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise to support this legislation and I could not disagree more with my colleague on the other side of the aisle. I have to tell you, folks, I am scared to death what these future budgets look like. We have an opportunity here to do infrastructure changes, long-term! We're not just talking two years. We're talking LONG-TERM changes. Aren't we tired of having these high gas taxes? Tax on gas goes away.

Aren't we tired of the General Fund being raided to go into special transportation when our families are hurting? There's $ 340 million dollars going into special transportation, and even that amount is not enough to help with what's going on with the infrastructure in this state. Public safety is not an option. Taking care of our roads and bridges is not an option! It's our obligation! And we have an opportunity here to do it. Tolls are gonna come eventually, folks. We all know it. So let's bite the bullet and do it now and let's protect our families at the same time.

When we go back to our districts and we talk about not supplying we need for ECS. And let's not even get started about human services, cause all of you know how I feel about that. But when we have to come here or back in two years and vote on a budget and tell our constituents - yep, we had to raise the gas tax because the fund is depleted, and we had an opportunity to change it, and we didn't take it. Well shame on us.

So I thank the Chairman because I think that he has put every concern into this bill. We get to look at this plan. We get to decide at the end of the day. We don't get that opportunity much. And we don't know what this Legislature is gonna look like in two years, and all that power may be taken away from us then. So please, folks, please, take a real hard look at what we're doing here, because we're in trouble. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative O'Dea, you have the floor, sir.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. And I rise in opposition to this amendment. My good friend, the Chair of Transportation said, "What are we waiting for?" I'll tell you what we're waiting for. We're waiting to get the trust back of our constituency. As I said before, every time we raise money for one thing, we raid it to take it away for something else. This lockbox, this leaky box we passed, it does nothing to protect the transportation fund. So what are we waiting for? We're waiting to pass a true lockbox. We're waiting to get our fiscal house in order rather than create another revenue stream.

This is a tax on those that can least afford it. Coming from Fairfield County, I will tell you, my constituency is not gonna be affected that greatly, many of them, by a few cents or a few dollars each way every day, as much as it will affect those that are less fortunate. And so I would tell you then, whether you're talking about Bridgeport or Stamford or New Haven, this is a tax on those that can least afford it.

The pennies that we're gonna save are not a real savings. If we -- when we enacted or took away the tolls back in the '80s, we raised the gas tax 25 cents. Reduce the gas tax 25 cents, and then we could talk about putting in tolls and put in a real lockbox. And let's pass that constitutional spending cap. Then let's pass tolls. That's what I'm waiting for. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Representative O'Dea. Representative Morin.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Madam Speaker, I'd like to speak in -- on the amendment, please?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have a few comments and then I'll -- I may have a question or two for the proponent. Obviously, this is a debate that I'm listening intently to. I want to talk a little bit about some history. In 1985, tolls were removed from the State of Connecticut's highways due to a fiery traffic crash that took the lives of, I believe, six people.

As we go about a little bit of history of this wonderful Chamber and this institution, I guess I have some interesting points to make. The person that was in the Republican Chair of the Transportation Committee at the time, happened to be my stepfather, Michael L. Morano, from -- I believe he was in the Senate then. So it would've been the 36th District. I thought he was a genius at that point, but then I was young. (Laughter) But, you know, he did that with the rest of the Legislature because they believed that was the right thing to do.

I think we found that it may not have been the right thing to do. Going back a few more years, and I'm gonna tie this together, when the Mianus River Bridge collapsed in 1983, the harm that it did to the residents of Greenwich, especially, was horrible. My mom lived down there at the time and when we would go to visit and we would have to try to finagle our way through Route 1, because all of I-95 was being rerouted through the local streets of Greenwich. In another fit of irony, that bridge is now named after Michael L. Morano. We seem to be going towards this.

The Chair of the Transportation Committee has been working diligently with that Committee to look at options to help us with our infrastructure. After the Mianus River Bridge collapsed, the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation was spending like drunken sailors. They went crazy. They built -- rebuilt every bridge, every road. They did everything they had to do to keep people safe. Times were good then. Bonding money was freely given out. They did a great job.

But do we know how many years ago that was? It's over 30. When we start talking about transportation lifespans of structures, you know, we all like to think these things last forever. We built them, they're gonna be great for 50 years. That's not the case. The life expectancy, you're in a 20 to 30-year range. All that money that was spent in 1983, all that money that was spent then, now needs to be reallocated.

This gives us the opportunity to do that. We can have responsible spending. We can make our roads and bridges safe for our families. I've heard arguments -- and I'll wrap up. I've heard arguments that we're driving people out of the State of Connecticut. It's not gonna be on me. I don't want it to be on me or anybody in this building that because we're worried about putting up tolls, when roads start going downhill and bridges start collapsing - aw jeeze, we didn't want to do tolls.

We don't want to put money in the Special Transportation Fund either, but we certainly don't want to do tolls. Let's do this bill. Let's do the responsible thing for the people of Connecticut. Let's make sure that our infrastructure is put in place properly, that will help families and businesses alike. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Gail Lavielle, you have the floor, madam.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Madam Speaker, thank you very much. So, if I've heard the message properly, it's, hurry up, this is urgent, we need money and we don't have any time to get it! We're doing this to get revenue right away because it's dire! It's very interesting. If you read the fiscal note, OFA seemed absolutely flummoxed while they were writing it. They wrote, "Revenue impact - indeterminate. " That's what I think and I think it's a little worse than indeterminate.

So we've got a plan that starts out with no deadline. The DOT can submit. We don't like it, we vote it down. They submit again. We vote it down. It could go on ad vitam aeternam. We don't know how long. But then let's say it passes and then we go to do tolls. What are the initial costs? There's gonna be a lot of initial costs because congestion pricing means that you've got to install a lot of other things like lanes and widening and stuff like that.

So this plan, which cost $ 5 million dollars or more, gets passed and gets ordered to be put into place, and then it could be five years, seven years before that happens. So, when you talk about the revenues paying for the plan; that might take an awfully long time. And then how much is going to come in? Well we don't know, because guess what, this amendment gives the DOT absolutely unilateral, sole authority to set toll pricing, to set who those prices apply to, when they happen, what hour of the day. That's all up to the DOT as often and as much as they want with no outside authority. And that is specified in the bill.

So we don't know anything about that. They set regulations to. The gas tax going down? Well, that's only triggered when the Special Transportation Fund's reserve hit 2. 5 times the amount of their debt service, their total debt service for transportation. And that may never happen in our lifetime! So we don't know if the gas tax will ever go down, frankly. And then of course there's penalties for people who violate the tolls, who don't pay for the tolls, who speed, whatever. Well, we don't know how much that will be, and besides, I thought the tolls were supposed to reduce the amount of traffic. So maybe there will be less people violating the law.

In short, the costs are unpredictable. The revenue we might get from this is uncertain. And whatever happens, we certainly won't have it before 2020. So forget the next budget, that's stipulated in the bill anyway. And the gas tax, it deceased and the effect on revenues? Well, who knows? So, basically, I think this proposal, which purports to bring in all this wonderful revenue and solve the transportation problems for Connecticut, is hoodwinking taxpayers.

It sounds so innocent, but it's not. Because it exposes everyone to unlimited, inevitable price hikes, especially commuters who can't get away from them, and an unlimited period of steady gas tax that doesn't decrease, along with the tolls as they come in. And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, that should all be enough to kill this proposal right there.

On behalf of my constituents, Madam Speaker, all I can say is how dare the Legislature suggest such a thing. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you care to remark on House "A"? Representative Perone.

REP. PERONE (137TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. So, if I understand the other argument, basically the other argument is - hurry up and do nothing. The fact of the matter is; we are dealing with a crisis. Just really, you know, if we're gonna talk about what we can and can't prove, there's a lot of discussion how many unknowns the state has to deal with going forward.

Basically, at the current -- the current situation is driving on our deficient roads costs the average taxpayer or average motorist $ 2,300 dollars a year in terms of maintenance costs and delays. It costs them 45 hours of their lives sitting in traffic. We have 300 or so bridges that are structurally unsound. However, there are other -- there's other data, there's other things that are also worth measuring.

My son actually has a tee-shirt. It says - What do we want? Evidence-based science. When do we want it? After a peer review. These are things that are important. But I think there -- in the discussion of tolls and roads and, you know, other issues, Representative Morin raised a really great point. The fact that after the Mianus River Bridge collapsed, we went on a building spree and it's -- all that's coming back around now. Those bridges are gonna have to be replaced. And it's 11 minutes to midnight.

We are so close to being in a situation where we're gonna have a slew of construction projects that are gonna have to be done. And that can't all come out of the General Fund. It cannot all be bonded. That's just delusional to think that. But there's another area that I think really has gotten missed in all of this. That the tolls also, they reduce congestion. They also reduce the impact on the environment. And here's why that's important and why this really hasn't been brought up much.

But the Courant wrote a really good story about it, and some key points. Connecticut is routinely cited by the federal monitors as having among the worst pollution on the East Coast. CT has the highest ozone levels in the northeast. More people die in Connecticut each year as a result of pollution than in any other New England state. Forty percent of the pollution in Connecticut is coming from motor vehicles. In 2016, CT, or Connecticut had 31 unhealthy air days. All the other -- every other New England state, none of them had more than 11.

This further study by NYU estimated that in Connecticut there are 168 deaths per year due to ozone and particulate pollution. In the same study, it estimated that about 500 were sent to hospitals and doctors, you know, for the same reason.

But the thing is, in Connecticut, motorists are driving more. They're buying the bigger vehicles. Basically, more pollution is going into the air. And why all this is relevant and how it ties to pollution, I believe that there is a cause. It's causal. It's not correlative. And when you look at what happened in China.

A few years ago, China had an event. It was like an eight-day holiday and they have tolls on their roads. But what they did was, for the holiday, they waived the tolls. So, basically everybody could travel for free. In those eight days, they saw a 20-percent spike in their pollution levels in that country.

We need to be doing a lot better by not only our fiscal reality, but our environmental reality. We are -- we have to -- we really do have to take action on this. I think that this is really only gonna come down to some simple questions. How many more new stories is it gonna take of, you know, crumbing bridges and, you know, adverse health effects before we act? I would say that we are coming close to being in a situation where saying that we -- it's indefensible to do nothing; if we're not there already. You know, the writing is on the wall. If we don't act, it's on us. It's on this body. We have an opportunity to act and we need to do it. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Harding, you have the floor. Good afternoon, sir.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker. It's good to see you there. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill. I am proud to represent the 107th District. And in the 10th District, my predecessor is Representative Scribner, who for many years was the leading advocate against tolls, and I am proud to follow in his footsteps in opposition to tolls as well.

No matter what we want to call it, a toll is a tax on the people of this state. We might call it toll, but in reality, it's a tax. And it's enough that we continue taxing the people of this state that can't afford it any longer. I'm tired of seeing my friends leave this state. I'm tired of seeing my friends' parents leave this state because they can't afford to live here in their retirement years. It's about time we got our fiscal house in order, resolve those problems that way, as opposed to finding another revenue source. And that's exactly what this is.

And one of the studies that I saw from DOT showed a map of I-84 and one of the possible locations of the tolls, and that map showed 12 different tolling locations from the New York border up to Hartford, Connecticut. I can't imagine putting that on the constituents in my district. Every single time one of them, who may be working in Hartford, came up to work each and every single day; that would be an extra gas tank a week at least. That is unfair to the people of my district and it is unfair to the people of the State of Connecticut as a whole. So I stand today on behalf of my entire district in opposition to tolls. No tolls. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Well, you almost -- most of you all know that I hail from the southern part of Connecticut. How'd I do Gail? Specifically, Fairfield County, and people from Fairfield County who get in the Legislature join the Transportation Committee. Why? Because transportation's the number one issue in our neck of the woods. Why? Because we have the worst congestion in the state, in the region, and in many ways in the country. So yeah, I've come around to the idea of congestion pricing tolls, because for me it's an economic issue. The economic vitality we sacrifice every day being stuck in traffic is undermining the one county in this state which provides much of the income here.

We have basically not only undermined our businesses, we've undermined our real estate values. So I can't ignore that. So that's why I started looking at tolling a long time ago. Guess what? You can have six tollbooths, you can have 12 tollbooths, you can have 50 tollbooths between Greenwich and New Haven, and the charge can still be 50 cents, a dollar during off hours. The number of tollbooths has no relation to what we're actually gonna be charging on the off hours.

But at rush hour, yeah, we're gonna charge more. Why are we gonna charge more? We want to get people off the road who don't have to be on the road at rush hour. Make them think twice about what their other options are. Guess what? This works for the rest of the world. Nobody else has a problem with this. We're conspicuous by our absence. Up and down the I-95 corridor there are tolls, but not in Connecticut. Why? Because we're principled in a fashion that is putting us behind the eight ball, destroying our infrastructure, and making it much more difficult to attract people to the state.

Infrastructure is as important as any other economic factor here in the State of Connecticut. And we're just blithely saying - well, we really don't think so philosophically. We're just gonna let it go away. So, what we have here are a lot of myths and a lot of excuses. Myths and excuses. What we need is a plan that provides answers; that we can all vote on, that we decide whether or not we feel this is right. But we gotta get past this idea that it's a tax, cause it's not a tax. It's a user fee. You don't use it, you don't pay for it. We gotta get beyond border tolls. We gotta get beyond all the myths and excuses!

Let's vote for this bill. Let's get a plan. Let's fix out state and everybody benefits. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on House Amendment "A""? Representative Perillo, you have the floor, sir.

REP. PERILLO (113TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Myths and excuses indeed. Myth - taxes will be paid predominantly by folks from out of the State of Connecticut. Not true. We've heard over and over about 70 percent of the toll revenue will be generated by residents of the State of Connecticut.

Myth - there won't be any tolls near me. They'll only be paid by somebody else, somewhere else. In reality, we've seen studies that show as many as 120 tolls here in the State of Connecticut. Members of the Chamber, look to your left and look to your right. The constituents of the people you've looked at will be paying tolls.

Myth - what has been proposed to us is this concept that out-of-state drivers don't pay their fair share; that this is about equity. This levels the playing field; keeps everyone accountable. But if that is to be true, you have to also argue for true relief to residents of the State of Connecticut. True relief in the form of a reduction in the gas tax. And it has been positioned that, indeed, there is one in this bill. I would argue that is simply a hope and not a promise. And those who position it as a promise are being dishonest with the voters of Connecticut.

Fact - for a cut in the gas tax, there is a trigger. That trigger states that the Special Transportation Fund balance must be 2. 5 percent of covenant; 2. 5 percent -- 2. 5x is an amount that we have hovered on in the last few years barely. And in fact, it is indicated that number will decline. So to say that we are going to cut your gas tax is absolutely, positively dependent on whether or not we meet that threshold, and it is a threshold that right now we are slated not to meet. This is not a promise. This is a hope.

But, let's say that actually is true. Let's say that we meet that threshold. That great promise of a gas tax cut, that promise to voters and residents that makes them say, "oh yeah, I can live with tolls. " That promise, one penny per year for five years. Ask a resident of the State of Connecticut, do you want tolls, and oh by the way, we'll cut the gas tax by a penny? They will laugh at you. They will laugh at you.

Now, if we were really serious about equity, if we were really serious about cutting the gas tax, if we were really serious about giving relief to the residents of the State of Connecticut, we would eliminate the gas tax, 25 cents. And you know what? We could do it. We could do it, because by all accounts of what we heard in terms of testimony; is that we will generate hundred of millions of dollars. Well, the gas tax generates about $ 350 million dollars. And if we believe the folks who say we'll generate revenue out of this, they're putting out numbers that are far greater than that $ 350 million dollars.

We could do it if we had the will. We could it if we were truly interested in equity. But I would argue that we are not. We are truly interested, proponents are truly interested in a money grab. That is the driver here. It isn't fairness, it isn't equity, it isn't relief from the gas tax. If we were serious about that, we would do it right. The myth here is that this is fair and equitable and gives relief to the residents of Connecticut. It is neither fair, nor equitable, nor does it give it relief to the residents of the State of Connecticut.

Seventy percent of these tolls will be paid by residents of the State of Connecticut. That's not relief. That's not relief. And despite what was said previously, this is a tax. It is. I know we may wish it not to be, but it is. So we have that choice today. Do we impose another tax or do we not? I say we don't. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark? Will you care to remark? Representative de la Cruz.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Mrs. Speaker. I have a question for the proponent and also a comment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Yeah. It's been a long time since I've seen Jaws, Representative Guerra. Can you tell me what happened to the shark? I know the answer, actually. The townspeople all got together and they killed it, together. And I think that's what we need to do here in a sense, is get this bill passed and start making sense of what we really have to do here.

My wife reduced her tax last year on her own. She went and got rid of a car that was getting 20 miles per gallon and traded in for a car that gets 40. So, she effectively has cut her tax or her donation to the state to repair our roads in half. She's not the only person. It's a lot of people. If this doesn't go through this year, I promise that that big blue truck is going away and I'm gonna get an electric vehicle, and thank you all for letting me drive free on the roads in Connecticut.

This hasn't been an easy choice for me. I wasn't on tolls a few years ago. I talked to my father in-law and he told me he would not vote for me if I pushed tolls. After about a five minute conversation in explaining the position that we're in and that we need to fix our infracture, he was onboard, but I still don't think he's gonna vote for me.

We need to legislate this for the future. We're legislating like it's 1976, like people are gonna have cars that get 12 miles to the gallon. Those days are over. We need to legislate for the future, and we have an opportunity right now to do it. We have tolls all over, not just our country, but around the world that are smart tolls and no one in charge. We talked about the congestion tolling. All that' a real thing and we're legislating like it was 1976.

And we always talk about structural change. Structural change to the tax base, how we'd do things differently. Isn't this one of them? I'm sick of being criticized that Massachusetts and New York are so much smarter than us. They're better economically. They have smarter people. They have this, they have that. They all have one thing in common. They have tolls and we don't. So they're in a room laughing at us probably of how much, you know, they get over on us. It's free.

And as far as the trucks going through our town, remember one thing. When you're sitting in traffic next time because one of those retread tires peeled off and caused an accident and you see seven fire trucks, three EMS vehicles, and you see a car accident, and people having to lose time at work that are Connecticut residents.

Remember one thing when you see that truck laying on its side and they can't lift it up, we, Connecticut taxpayers paid for it. Because the one thing that I do know and truckers have told me this for a long time, from Virginia to Maine, interstate 95 is an interstate until you get to Connecticut, and then it's a freeway. And they enjoy that and they have enjoyed that for many, many years.

So, let's put tolls up on the board. Let's see who wants to move Connecticut forward. I'm ready to vote.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you Representative. Will you care to remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, I hold the good proponent of this bill in enormous respect and probably have the same level of passion against the idea of putting tolls in the State of Connecticut. I've been listening to the debate and the comments - We have an obligation. It's indefensible not to do this. The urgency. Oh my gosh, we've got to do this now! Where have we been? Yes, the Mianus Bridge crash. Yes, the horrible toll crash. We put in place the sixth highest gas tax in our nation to invest in infrastructure. And what basically exists today is a Special Transportation Fund, and yet those monies are raided constantly.

You know, this notion of tolls. We just passed a lockbox, a lockbox full of holes. Right? So, and the gas tax, we're talking about virtually no decrease, no relief to the people in our state. I represent the 134th District, Fairfield and Trumbull. The current proposal, the plans that have come forth that brought revenue projections that made everybody think this would be a great idea, show a majority of revenue coming from Fairfield County. You've heard the number of proposed tolls between the New York border and New Haven - 12 - with an introductory price of $ 6. 80 in congestion pricing.

Yes, those people who still have jobs or that try to get jobs in the State of Connecticut; we're gonna tax them more with a higher toll. What are we thinking here!? Seriously? Yep. So the argument that all the other states do it, we need to also.

Has everyone heard about the Tax Freedom Day, right, across the country? It averages April 23rd. In Connecticut, our Tax Freedom Day, holding the rank of number 50, is May 21st. The closest state to us is New Jersey. Following that is New York. Yep. By 13 days. Massachusetts is 16 days earlier than us.

United Van Lines did a survey -- or study that shows we are the fourth leading state of people moving out. This will only accelerate that departure. I've got to tell you, we have a spending problem in the State of Connecticut. Not a revenue problem. We can do things differently and it doesn't' involve tolls. Madam Speaker, thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the good Representative because I didn't realize the whole problem we had was we didn't have tolls. Now that I know that, I think we can just avoid all the other issues that we do have.

I do appreciate, and I know other speakers have said this, the good Representative from Rocky Hill and his passion for this issue, his digging his heels in, when it was an uphill battle. And I want to thank him for all of that because if we are not going to agree on everything here, but one thing we have to have is passion for what we believe in and respect for that and others.

I do agree with one of the speakers who said it is indefensible to do nothing. I also agree that it's indefensible to not acknowledge what the problem is, which is what I believe we've been doing. Having an intellectual conversation about whether we agree with tolls or not, what we get from tolls or not, where tolls go. All of those conversations are important conversations.

The problem is we're skipping over one very important part. This is another way to get revenue when we are not making the changes we need to in this state. We in this Caucus and our counterparts upstairs have put in proposals that do not require tolls, do not require gas tax increases. And what we did in those proposals was we prioritized. We have money to spend on transportation, Madam Speaker. We choose to spend it in ways that are not effective for the State of Connecticut. We choose to spend it in ways that are not effective for the State of Connecticut.

I believe when you go out into your districts, and I hear it, "oh, we should definitely have tolls. I hope you support tolls. " And of course there's just as many that say don't support them. But I believe that the people in this state that are not in this building that support tolls have no idea where those tolls are going. People believe, and listen, I don't blame them, because if you're not in this building, you certainly don't understand the details, the ins and outs of every bill we have.

When I have asked people why they support it, they believe that these are border tolls. They believe if you don't live on the borders of the State of Connecticut, it's not going to affect you. Maybe 95, so they go around the state in a big circle. It's not gonna affect you. Not the case.

These are contemplated going on Route 2, Route 9, Route 8. You're going one exit up to get a gallon of milk. There will be a toll. These are very serious proposals. We get so caught up in these conversations about tolls and casinos and marijuana, all valid debates, all debates that we should have.

But what is the common denominator of all these debates we have? Revenue. We skip right over the fact that we tax too much, we spend too much, and we borrow too much. We skip right over the fact that we're afraid to make the difficult decisions in the budgets we put together. We skip right over the fact that it is our job to do that. Not to find excuses. We skip right over the fact that the Special Transportation Fund has been cut time after time after time. I recognize there are issues with lowering the gross receipts tax and the gas tax. I understand we drive more energy-efficient vehicles. I understand that and that's wonderful.

But we can't go from point "A" in the conversation to point "D". We cannot skip over making the difficult decisions in this state we need to make. Because until we are -- have enough backbone in this Legislature to change our spending, to change our borrowing, to change our taxing and to change the priorities that we have put on the table, conversations like this should never happen because they're all excuses. They're all excuses on ways to get money.

And people like the good Representative from Wethersfield, Rocky Hill. Where you from? One of those two towns. People like that good Representative who really believe in having an intellectual conversation about this get overshadowed cause of most of us believe it's an excuse to once again not make the difficult decisions that the State of Connecticut wants and more importantly, needs. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I do want to echo the Minority Leader's comments, probably in one context. And that is to thank Representative Guerra, the longtime Chairman of the Transportation Committee. I'm not sure whether you or Dargin [phonetic] went longer. But you command respect from everybody in this Chamber on both sides and I heard that. And people respect your passion.

And I have a feeling, and I've said this, that I think tolls are inevitable in the State of Connecticut. That in five years or eight years or one year, you will be right and the people of Connecticut will support you for what you did and will be remembered for a very long time as we move out state forward.

And people talked about change, and we have to change. We continue to not change. We continue to not keep up. We continue to not be competitive. Because it's hard to change. It's hard to do things different, but it's easy to remain the same. Some want to make this political, make this Democrat versus Republican, spending versus everything. It's not a political situation at all.

And you know, we're very lucky in Connecticut when you think about our infrastructure, because it's diverse because of the beauty of our state. We have a lot of water, so we have a lot of bridges. Right? We have a lot of different small roads because we have a lot of smaller towns. There's a lot of things that we have in Connecticut that require far more money and upkeep than say the State of Kansas, where you just plow pavement every once in awhile, or right, go on the highway and just get it done. Not plow. Sorry, pave is the right word. It's flat. But in Connecticut, we have a gorgeous state with an old crumbling infrastructure that admittedly has to be kept up, and we all acknowledge that.

And we have bridges built in the early 1900s. And so when you have to repair them, they're gonna cost a lot of money. They're a lot different than the infrastructure you might find in Montana. But we're lucky to have that. It's one of the things that makes our state beautiful, is that we can go back 100 years and still see some of the bridges that were put, some of the beautiful towns we have, the scenic routes that we have. But if we don't keep up, if we don't play keep up, we'll fall behind.

Now, listening to this debate, if I were watching at home, tolls would seem like the demise of any state. That once you institute them, your people are overtaxed, overburdened and it is crumbling your state. It's the end of it all. Yet every state on the Eastern Seaboard has them.

On the Eastern Seaboard, they've been voted on by both parties and both parties control different governing bodies, different governorships in different states. They could repeal them if they were so bad, if they were so onerous. Get rid of them tomorrow. Nothing stops them. So they can be put in and put out at any time. And these other states keep them. They have no problem. Their residents still vote people in.

As a matter of fact, I had an intern look for an article on tolls that have caused a problem in any of the states in the Eastern Seaboard. A mass movement to say get these awful things out of here, they're punishing us. Couldn't find it in any state. Not one party. Because I think the concept of user fees, of crumbling infrastructure, investment, capturing out-of-state revenue, I think people go - in the 21st century, I kind of get it.

But where you -- where we all agree is, you gotta use it for that purpose. No disagreement here. We voted on a lockbox earlier, bipartisan. We hope it gets moved forward to a constitutional vote next year. But that's important. But let me also say, if we don't have tolls, what's gonna happen. We're just doing the bare maintenance. That's all we can afford to do. Patch it up, fix it. Can't we imagine a new Connecticut?

Since I was a kid, people have said why can't you get in a train in Hartford and be in Boston in 80 minutes? Why can't you get from Hartford to New York in an hour and a half? Because, guys, we can't afford it, and we all know it. So if you don't do tolls eventually and you don't have a new revenue stream, if you don't capture out-of-state revenue drivers -- out-of-state revenue from drivers, we're just gonna have the same old, mediocre, 1970, drive your car ten miles infrastructure.

If you want to have thriving cities, if you want to have trains, if you want to have ports that matter, if you want to be relevant in the 21st century, you gotta follow suit and do what 13 other states around us are doing. They don't want to appeal it. They don't want to get rid of it. We always say why don't we just follow what other states do? Keep it simple, stupid. That's what people say. So let's do that! Let's do what other states do and follow their lead on this, because their infrastructure's better than ours. That's the reality.

So what I would ask people is when we talk about change, let us imagine change in the State of Connecticut and not be so stuck on what we used to do 30 years ago.

And having said that, Madam Speaker, it is with regret and no pride, and certainly not make me happy to do this, but I'll acknowledge we're gonna fall short today. We are, by the narrowest of margins. But you now what? Ten years ago, man, there was a lot more nos. Eight years ago, you got a few. Six years ago, four years ago. Progress is coming, Mr. Chairman. Today is not gonna be the day. Maybe it's a month, maybe it's next year. But we got your back and you are right, and history will vindicate you. Madam, I move that we pass this item temporarily. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Without objection, this bill is passed temporarily. (Gavel)

Representative Albis, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I move that we immediately transmit all business requiring further action of the Senate to the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Without objection, so ordered.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

And, Madam Speaker, I'd also announce that upon recess, the House Democrats will be caucusing in room 207A.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Abercrombie.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, for the purpose of an announcement? Or an introduction, really.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you. And I apologize. I know we're going into Caucus, but these nice people have been waiting since about 2: 00 o'clock, so we didn't want to ask them to wait any more. First of all, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in this Chamber and the lobbyists and the Capitol Police for their contributions to this organization.

Every year, we do a dress-down day and every year we are successful. And this year we have raised $ 2,085 dollars and we are giving it to the Home for the Brave, who are here today, which is an organization out of Bridgeport that supports women veterans that are homeless, especially with children. And we just want to thank you guys so much for being here today. We have the director, Kathy Beardsworth. And I'm sorry, young lady, what's your name? Lana the intern. All right! Now you get to see democracy at its best.

But really, to this Chamber, you know you guys are very generous year in and year out. And on behalf of myself and Representative Zupkus and Representative McCarthy and Representative Dillon, we just want to thank you guys so much for supporting this organization and thank you guys for taking the trip up here. Congratulations! (Applause)

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Congratulations and thank you. Without objection, Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The motion is to recess, subject to the Call of the Chair. Is there objection? Seeing none, we stand in recess. (Gavel)

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the house recessed at 3: 12 o'clock p. m. , to reconvene at the Call of the Chair. )

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 4: 08 o'clock p. m. , Deputy Speaker Orange of the 48th District in the Chair. )

CLERK:

The House will reconvene immediately. Members to the Chamber.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The House will come back to order. (Gavel) And will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 311?

CLERK:

On page 46, Calendar No. 311, House Bill No. 6304 - AN ACT REQUIRING A STUDY OF THE VIABILITY OF NEW DISTRICT HEATING NETWORKS IN THE STATE; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. REED (102ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This bill directs DEEP - the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, to explore the option of creating a new technology, a new innovative kind of district heating that can be deployed potentially all over the state. This kind of heating system protects the environment and helps lower energy costs.

The districts can do this by using the system which captures the heat. It's based on an old system, obviously, CHP; if anybody's interested in CHP. And it captures the heat that is thrown off by electric generation and drives it back into the system through pipes that come up through buildings to create heat. And that way, not only does it keep it from disappearing into the atmosphere, it can lower costs.

The -- I want to say that the Clerk has an amendment that I would love to have you call and allow me to describe. It is -- the amendment is LCO 8706. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 8706, which will be designated as House Amendment "A"?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 8706, offered by Representative Gresko and Representative Reed.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize. Is there objection? Seeing none. Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This is a strike-all amendment that becomes the bill, and it calls for the establishment of a pilot program, as I said, this is a new technology; a pilot program in the City of Bridgeport to test drive this new thermal district heating technology. It proposes a combined heat and power facility of not more than ten megawatts and allows utilities to purchase and distribute the electricity that is produced. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of House "A". Will you remark on House "A"? Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mrs. Speaker. I have a few comments and then a few questions to the proponent of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

This pilot program is an agreement between the City of Bridgeport, the Bridgeport Thermal Loop Company, which is in statute from last year or the year before, United Illuminating Company, and we've had input from DEEP and OCC on this language. It's a pilot, not a study, to my colleagues in the Chamber. And the reason that it's a pilot is because we don't' have this technology here. Actually, this technology originates in Denmark.

For this pilot, it's a low-temperature thermal loop, where the thermal energy is then generated, as Representative Reed said, through a combined heat and power generation unit. The heat that is dispelled will then be send through pipes and heat the cities -- some of the cities' buildings. And so consequently, that's one of the reasons why the City of Bridgeport is one of the partners in public-private partnership.

In this case, as Representative Reed said, the generating unit will be ten megawatts of fuel cell or combined heat and power, and it will be owned by United Illuminating. Consequently, from the position of the Office of Consumer Council and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, this provides the ratepayers assurance that this generating system will be competitively bid, thus, costing ratepayers as little as possible.

The developer, the thermal loop developer, will receive the renewable energy credits, as well as the capacity payments. And this will help facilitate the structure of building the thermal loop. The City of Bridgeport may agree to abate property taxes on the generation system, as well as real estate in order to save the rater payers additional money.

The city will also go -- enter into a memorandum of understanding with the developer to buy the waste heat. And part of this pilot is the intention of being included in the Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which is managed by the Department of Environmental Protection. And to that end, as Representative Reed indicated, this is a technology that we would like to see if it is a viable technology for other cities and towns, to be able to utilize grid-resilient generating system, like a fuel cell or combined heat and power, and then utilize the waste heat to provide benefit to the communities' buildings. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have a few questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. Why is this being done in Bridgeport?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Well, Bridgeport actually has become the center of a lot of energy innovation. It is our largest city. And because of the dense population there and the density of the buildings, it makes a lot more cost effective to deploy these kinds of technologies in an atmosphere like that. Bridgeport has some fuel cell parks, some solar parks. It's got the University of Bridgeport. And all of these are generating waste heat that can be utilized in a system like this.

They've also, because they have been really moving in the direction of trying to lower costs, they've done some preliminary work to be able to make this -- to fast track it in every way possible and to -- and we also created a couple, I think it was last session. We created a program and this is an extension of that.

One of the great things about this is that it is a new technology. It did originate in Denmark. And to construct it, we're going to be able to teach companies and workers how to deal and implement this new technology. So it also has the possibility of being deployed all over the state and of having our own companies learn a new skill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. Why isn't Bridgeport paying for this new endeavor?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Well, actually Bridgeport is, by participating in this program, creating -- they are engaged, economically engaged, and engaged in opening up their city to let us try this out, but because it will have a benefit for the whole state. Additionally, one of the issues in Bridgeport has always been that -- we've actually just transitioned a coal-fired plant over to natural gas because it was polluting all of Fairfield County and really dirtying the air and making it very difficult for, you know, health issues to be relieved.

So cleaning up Bridgeport and helping them be much more environmentally, you know, on the cutting edge of having clean air and having more zero carbon is not only good for Bridgeport, it's good for the whole state.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. If this is good for Bridgeport because they're polluting the whole state, why aren't they paying for it? I understand that they just have this lease on life, that they don't have to pay for anything and the state is gonna pay for this?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

One moment, Madam Speaker. Through you, Madam Speaker. So this is a unique relationship that we're going to have with United Illuminating, Bridgeport, whatever thermal company gets chosen to handle the heat transition. And so all ratepayers are gonna benefit from that. I think that, you know, because it is new technology and because the city is participating, I think -- you know, I think that's quite a contribution, cause it's really gonna impact the whole state.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

And through you, Madam Speaker. What is the cost of this project that they're entailing?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Nine million dollars in the initial stages.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

So am I to understand that the state is now gonna pay $ 9 million dollars for this project in Bridgeport?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Actually, that money was set aside a couple of sessions ago for this program. But in point of fact, we invest in new technologies all the time, all over the state. And as a matter of fact, through the Green Bank, we've deployed more than $ 1. 2 billion dollars of renewable, innovative projects all over Connecticut and pretty much in everybody -- in every town throughout the state. So it's not unusual for the state to participate in this because everyone benefits.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, Madam Speaker. Why was Bridgeport selected and what unit are they converting to do this?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Bridgeport was selected because, as I may have said earlier, they have really been pushing to create a lot more renewable energy in the city and to improve the air quality and decarbonize the atmosphere. So they have, in the last few years, installed a fuel cell park. They have a fuel cell that helps run the University of Bridgeport. They have a big waste to energy facility that we're hopefully upgrading, Wheelabrator. They have a huge solar park. And so, they've actually been developing a reputation. There are actually people who come from other countries to drive through Bridgeport to see all of the things they're doing for the city. And so it was a natural outgrowth of the investments that we've already made.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, Madam Speaker. If they have this being done, did it go through Appropriations and was the $ 30 million dollars put into the budget?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Actually it did. It went through Energy and Technology and then it went to the Appropriations Committee for approval, where I think it won unanimous approval. And I believe it was $ 9 million dollars set aside, but there's going to be further investment made, including, you know, the private companies that are going to be involved with it.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And Madam Speaker, this is a strike-all amendment, and I am on Appropriations, and that originally started out at something like $ 30,000 dollars. There's a big difference between $ 30 million dollars and $ 30,000 dollars.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I'm not sure where you're getting the $ 30 million dollars -- where the gentleman is getting the $ 30 million dollar figure.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

I'm sorry, Madam --

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

I wondered myself. Representative Belsito, you have the floor now.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Nine million dollars, not 30 million dollars. It was $ 30,000 dollars in Appropriations when it was analyzed. And then it's -- now, it's $ 9 million dollars. Has that been authorized through Appropriations? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes. In fact, that money was authorized, I believe, at least one session ago, and perhaps two, and set aside for such a program in the anticipation that this technology was going to soon become available. Bridgeport is a place where, as I said earlier, there is a huge generation and loss of heat capacity and waste heat. And so it was really a place that people had been looking at trying to capture all of that and to run it back through the system.

The City of Hartford for many, many years, I think over 53 years ago, installed a steam loop program and the steam loop has been here for 53 years. But because it's an old technology and because it puts steam under such high pressure to drive it through the pipes, it's much more expensive and hard to maintain. So this new technology is really going to be on the cutting edge of being able to recycle waste heat and to really make a difference on people's bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and through you, Madam Speaker. Why was Bridgeport selected instead of Hartford if they have a 50-year-old facility that could've been improved? Why did they make the choice to Bridgeport and not Hartford?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED:

Through you, Madam Speaker. Well, one of the very interesting things, and actually I don't think Hartford was interested because the steam -- the Hartford steam company is very happy keeping the customers it has. But that technology, those pipes are dug really, really deep in the Hartford steam loop. It's a whole different technology.

And the new technology, the one that has been innovated in Denmark, these are very, very narrow, flexible trenches that are much easier to dig. So the City of Hartford was not interested in digging up its entire steam loop. Just retrofitting it would not have been possible. So, it's a new technology. It looks different. It's placed differently. And Bridgeport, because they haven't had one before, was a much better place to do it.

And as I said earlier, it is the state's largest city.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I don't have anymore questions for the proponent, but I'd just like to make a statement. It seems like for a state that's basically bankrupt at this point and time, there are certain things that are going through that should not be going through. And I believe this is one of them. If it's a new product and it has to be tested and it's going through, and the City of Bridgeport wants to have it done there, then the City of Bridgeport should be paying for this. I believe that this bill should be voted no because we just can't afford it. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Stafstrom, would you care to remark on the amendment, sir.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise just to say a brief word of, first, thank you to the Chairwoman of the Committee, as well as the Ranking Member of the Committee, who have worked tirelessly on this legislation this session and in previous sessions. And on behalf on the City of Bridgeport and our delegation, a huge thank you to the bipartisan work they've done to bring stakeholders together to make this possible.

And I did just briefly want to respond to the comments of the previous gentleman. And I think we have to -- we've had many conversations I think, especially over the last week and throughout this session and throughout the last couple of years, about the vibrancy of our urban centers in the State of Connecticut, and how in the 21st century economy, the world is moving in a certain direction. It is moving back to vibrant cities. And I believe what we're doing here today is continuing to make a small but significant investment in our state's largest city.

This is a $ 90 million dollar investment overall that's being made, not by the state taxpayers, but mostly by private industry, in order to provide more reliable and cheaper heat into our state's largest city, in the downtown of our state's largest city, to allow that city to continue the progress it's made over the last 10-15 years to revitalize its downtown, to bring jobs and residents back into the downtown, close to transit-oriented development, and to be the economic driver that we, the City of Bridgeport, know we can and should be for the State of Connecticut.

So with that, Madam Speaker, I again thank the Committee leadership for their support of this and truly hope for the Chamber's support in order to allow us to continue to help to make Bridgeport the city that the state can be proud of.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on House "A"? Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good evening. I too have some questions for the proponent, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

You may proceed.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you. The language that was JF'd out of the ENT Committee that I sit on was a study comprised of 58 lines. Is that the case?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. to be honest, I cannot remember how many lines it had, but I think as I said with many of our bills, we knew it was a work in progress, and because it is a new technology and because we had a lot of moving parts, we knew that there were going to be some changes made in order to make it work.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. In the language that we have before us this evening, the amended bill, comprised of approximately 169 lines, do those concepts go through the ENT Committee?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Actually, the concepts are based in current statute. And so as we wrestled with how to make this happen, we went back into the statute books, looking at energy policy and energy regulation, and the relationships between the EDCs and partnerships with, you know, any kind of other company that would be delivering another aspect of an energy proposal. And so -- and we brought in the OCC, the Office of Consumer Counsel, to make sure that we were really creating some provisions and some oversights to ensure that the ratepayers, and we have that in this legislation, in this product several times, that the ratepayers are truly protected.

So the things that we included were -- definitely had gone through the Energy and Technology Committee. And as I said, we're in current statute and actually in current practice of how we do this kind of legislation. We never like to just throw it out there and figure it out. We try to get out in front of it as well as we can and to bring everybody in who's gonna be either implementing it, overseeing it, policing it. And so I think it was -- the information was pretty familiar.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. To be a little bit more specific, during this session, did the Energy and Technology Committee discuss and debate this -- the concepts that we have in this amended bill?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. You know, going back over the testimony, I think we pretty much did. Through you, Madam Speaker, when I look at all of the concerns and all of the questions and the testimony as to what it was going to bring and what the possibilities were, the testimony from our Regulatory divisions and DEEP about their concerns, all of that was laid down in front of the committee members, and we obviously made a pledge to do our best to make sure that the final end product met our highest standards. And we worked very, very hard to make that happen.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. May I ask as to the origins or the $ 9 million dollar expenditure, is that for the study that was JF'd out of Committee? Or for the implementation of what we now end up with this language here tonight?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. No, that money was set aside, I think, and I keep saying, I think it was two sessions ago, but I can't remember. We anticipated that we wanted to upgrade the CHP systems around this state and we knew that this technology was arriving on our shores. And so we set aside $ 9 million dollars to be able to implement it as soon as pulled a process together that made it possible.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And the representations to the Appropriations Committee on the original bill was a $ 30,000 dollar-expenditure for fiscal year '18, and that was approved. The revised fiscal note tied to the amendment is in the same $ 30,000 dollars, but it's for another fiscal year. When did the Appropriations Committee approve that new fiscal note?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

I know that the -- through you, Madam Speaker. I can't be specific about the actual date. But it was referred to Appropriations, and as you know, Appropriations is very precise in going through all of the details, and must have asked for a fiscal note. As I was looking at the last fiscal note I saw, and it said it would have no municipal impact.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I compared the two fiscal notes tied to this matter, and my understanding is that the amendment was just drafted or released today. And I don't think that Appropriations has met today. So, am I to understand that the fiscal note for the amendment, which says $ 30,000 dollars for fiscal year '19, has been addressed in any way, shape or form by the Appropriations Committee?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. So that was for what we anticipated to be an initial study. But upon closer reflection, Appropriations realized, as we realized, that that $ 9 million dollars had already been set aside. So the money was already appropriated and awaiting a project. And so that's why that was zeroed out.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Madam Speaker, I -- perhaps I'm looking at something different. But I'm looking at the fiscal note tied to the amendment, and it says that this may result in a cost estimated to be approximately $ 30,000 dollars in fiscal year '19 to conduct the study, and that's tied to the amendment. And my question is when, during today, which is the only time it could've happened, did the Appropriations Committee meet to address this fiscal note solely tied to the amendment?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. So, the fiscal note was attached to a study. We are not doing a study. We're gonna do a project. We're going to do an RFP. DEEP is gonna do an RFP and let various companies compete to be able to participate in it. And that $ 9 million dollars that was set aside a couple of sessions ago has been awaiting such a project. So, I think that should explain what that is. I didn't see a fiscal note on this LCO 8706. When I looked at it, I saw no impact to municipality.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, madam. Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I represent to this body that there is a fiscal note tied to 8706. And I understand the good Representative, the Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, has perhaps not seen it, but it's certainly there. And I don't think Appropriations has met with regard with to that. When was the representation made to the Appropriations Committee that $ 9 million dollars was being held in reserve somewhere that could've been swept, perhaps, to mitigate our deficit spending?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, I'm -- I suddenly see what it is the gentleman from Wallingford is looking at, which is, after the project has been implemented and the study is looked at, they want to make sure that -- PURA wants to make sure that it's worth it, that ratepayers, the capital outlay and the maintenance and, you know, all of the tasks that it's gonna take to implement it are worth it. That it's not overpriced for what benefit consumers are gonna get out of it. So in the process of pulling that together and doing that presentation, this may, it says, result in a cost estimated to be $ 30,000 dollars in FY '19.

We're asking them to do this as quickly as possible. We're trying to make sure that we -- that this is not a project that lingers and goes on and on and on. And we actually -- I think it's a two-year drop-dead period. If it's just laying out there and no one makes the kind of application that's gonna make it worth their while, it will go away. But I think that would -- it may, as it says, be a $ 30,000 dollar study to be very specific and detailed about how to implement it, what its impacts are so that we're generating a document that every municipality can use.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, I don't know, perhaps I'm lost, cause I heard a little while ago that we weren't doing a study, but now we are doing a study. And there's now acknowledgement that there is a fiscal note with a $ 30,000 tie to fiscal year '19. So everything that I said previously, I guess was correct. So, I guess I have to go back to the questions that I asked previously, is when did the Appropriations Committee address this fiscal note? It's a new fiscal note in the same amount for another fiscal year.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. This is -- well, this is the kind of thing that we do when we're doing new, you know, new programs. So, PURA, as they began to look at this, I'm assuming it will be within available funds that they already. And I don't we're regenerating any new funding for it. But I think that it was just a heads up that it may cost $ 30,000 dollars. But I don't think it was any new money being generated for this program.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, I think -- I guess the answer to the question is that Appropriations never did address this new fiscal note, cause I've asked the question, I think, four times and I haven't gotten an answer. First it didn't' exist and now it does exist, and I don't get an answer. So, I think our procedure is, it's a new fiscal note and it should be addressed by the Appropriations Committee, and therefore, I make a motion that we refer it to Appropriations, following the proper procedure.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Stand at ease.

The Chamber will come back to order. Representative Fishbein, you have the floor.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, I -- time and time again I've seen things like this through this session and I think I'm getting a little unnerved with the procedure. And I understand where we are and I think that I've made my point, and I withdraw my motion. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Without objection, the motion is withdrawn. (Gavel) And now I would like to go to the esteemed Ranking Member, Representative Hoydick. You have the floor, madam.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to propose some questions to the proponent of the bill.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Madam Speaker, I'm interested to know if the proposed bill that we heard in Energy was for a pilot. Or was it for a study.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. It was for a pilot.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

I thank the good Chairwoman for her answer. And through you, Madam Speaker. Initially, when the bill went through Appropriations, had we finished working on the pilot language or was it still considered a study?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. It was still considered -- well, it was to be a pilot, but it was still considered a study, and we were very clear about that as we voted it out of Committee, that it really -- it hadn't finished its journey yet.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And as I understand, when the vote came in Appropriations, it was within available funds. Through you, Madam Speaker. Is that correct?

Through the good Chairwoman.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Yes. Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, exactly. There were no new funds to be allocated within available appropriations and also the PURA role, and this is the traditional role that PURA plays in overseeing, you know, how a project is doing and whether the ratepayers are being well taken care of.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the good Chairwoman for that answer. And as we progressed -- let me rephrase. Last year, when the bill -- this bill was proposed, there were all different ideas about how to fund this bill. And one of them was to allow Class I renewable RECs to fund this bill, just the thermal loop piece of it. And I remember having a conversation with the good Chairwoman at that point, not wanting to change our renewable portfolio standards. So the bill was then funded through the implementer for $ 9 million dollars, and that was last year. Is that correct, Madam Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And as we move forward, is there any taxpayer dollars allocated for this project in Bridgeport?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. No.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And also, as we included in this bill to include the results -- the review by the Department, and then it be included in the comprehensive energy strategy, is there any additional expense to the taxpayers of Connecticut for that inclusion?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Madam Speaker. No.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. In conclusion, I support this pilot. I support the efforts that we put into this pilot to see if it was going to make a better pathway for Connecticut to utilize its waste heat and provide heat to its buildings. I understand our good Representatives in the Chamber are doing their due diligence in asking the questions and I thank them very much for that because it made me realize that I should have explained things differently when I got up the first time. So, for that, I extend my apologies. However, with that said, Madam Speaker, I think this is a good project and know it will affect the ratepayers, and the bill we voted on Saturday will have that -- about that ratepayer impact, would show that there is a ratepayer impact for this bill. I think it's money well spent and I think it's something that will benefit Connecticut. So I stand in support of this, Madam Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you care to remark further on the amendment? Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I rise just to make a couple of comments?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Please proceed.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I sit on the Energy and Technology Committee and I want to just take the time to thank the good Chairwoman and the Ranking Member for the hard work they did on this bill. My experience with both of these individuals is they've been very transparent in that work and that the goal of this project in this bill was to at the end of day make it a better situation for the ratepayers. And this technology, this new technology that's being put in place that's going to loop the energy -- the used energy back in so that they have more efficient use of the energy can only be good for the State of Connecticut, the City of Bridgeport.

And once this project proves to be a successful project, there will be other communities that will take advantage of the new technology. So I stand in strong support of this, especially given the fact that the money was set aside for this project to begin with. So again, I urge my colleagues to support the bill. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Will you care to remark further on the bill as amended? Care to remark? If not, staff and guests please come to the Well of the House. Members please take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 6304, as amended by House "A",

Total number Voting 151

Necessary for Passage 76

Those voting Yea 100

Those voting Nay 51

Those absent and not Voting 0

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The bill amended passes. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 497?

CLERK:

On page 24, House Calendar 497, House Bill No. 7320 - AN ACT CONCERNING A STUDY BY THE COMMISSION ON ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS OF STATE TAX, REVENUE AND BONDING POLICIES; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Elliott.

REP. ELLIOTT (88TH):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

REP. ELLIOTT (88TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The Clerk has an amendment, LCO 8717. I would ask that the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 8717, which will be designated as House Amendment Schedule "A"?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "A", LCO No. 8717, offered by Representative Ziobron, Representative Walker, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize. Is there objection? Without hearing objection, Representative Elliott.

REP. ELLIOTT (88TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Are you ready to have a little bit of fun? So, this amendment is for the legalization of recreational marijuana. I want to first start by thanking Representative Ziobron for being extremely easy and cordial and helping me through this process, along with some of my other colleagues, Representative Candelaria, Representative Porter, Representative Walker. Thank you so much for working with me on this. This is very important to me.

The bill specifically follows the language of Senate Bill 11, which did get a hearing. And the general specifics, we can talk about later, but what I do want to say are a few things. First of all, the main argument here is not that marijuana is the safest drug on the planet. The main argument is that compared to many other legal drugs, it should not be treated as though it's something that it's not.

We have legal alcohol. We have legal pharmaceuticals. We have legal caffeine. We have legal cigarettes. And the issue here is that you can overdo just about anything, but that doesn't mean that your civil liberties should be stripped away because your moral compass is not in line with my moral compass. Now, there's a limit to this, and if you are using marijuana, if you are drinking, if you are smoking, if you're doing something that affects other people, that's a problem. You should not be on the road. You should not be around children.

And to me, we are living in a paradigm that just does not make sense. If we legalize this drug, it doesn't mean that people who don't use are all of a sudden going to be buying ounces and ounces of marijuana. The people, who already smoke, will probably continue to do so. The people, who don't smoke, may try it and find that it's not for them. But for the most part, I think the paradigm will stay mostly the same. Some people will like it. Some people will not. And the world will continue.

But, we'll have a market that we can tax and regulate. We can make sure that it's safe. We can make sure that it's not getting in the hands of children. And we can treat it humanely. And let's say you still really believe that this is a social ill, then let's study it. Let's take some money from the taxation and use it towards education.

I raise dogs for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and I've been doing this for 20 years. And what I have found is that they had a lot more success when they started teaching the dogs through education and positive reinforcement, as opposed to negative reinforcement. So, instead of punishing, punishing, punishing, it became educate, educate, educate. And I am totally fine with really taking a deep look at what the long-term affects of marijuana use are.

But if we do this, I want to do it in a paradigm of educating, not in a paradigm of punishing. So, I ask the body to really take a deep look at what we're doing here. Because if you believe as I believe, that the dominoes are starting to fall and that has states legalize, they're getting youth, they're getting new business, and they're flourishing, property values are increasing. Do we want to be late or do we want to be leaders? Thank you, Madam Speaker. I move for adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you very much, Representative Elliott. The question before the Chamber is on adoption of House Amendment Schedule "A". Will you care to remark further on House "A"? Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I think the question was asked if we'd rather lead or be late. In this issue, I'd rather be late. I think we're hearing, from Colorado, the impacts that they've had and what the effects of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes has done. And I think the jury is still out on that issue. And I think the State of Connecticut should pause and take time and listen to what Colorado has to say.

This year, I know this was a very contentious debate and the Chamber - the General Assembly was concerned about even raising a bill for pubic discussion. And somehow we managed to have not one, but two public hearings on marijuana in both the Public Health Committee and the Judiciary Committee, and I happen to serve on both Committees. So I got to sit through hours and hours and hours of testimony.

And it only further hardened my position on this issue and my belief that we should not be loosening our standards on marijuana. I had originally opposed the medical marijuana legislation that was first passed and served on Regulations Review to make sure the regulations, when they were crafted, could be the best that they would be. And I think, on a bipartisan level and through many struggles, we put together a program that is the envy of the entire country. I'm concerned of the impact that this amendment would have on that program because we have moved to an area of testing. We've moved to an area of research. And certainly we know there could be some medicinal value, especially in the areas of epilepsy and brain function.

What states like Colorado has done, and potentially now Massachusetts and Vermont, they, by deregulating the market, essentially, they are putting marijuana on the streets that we have no idea what's in it. We don't know the THC levels. And when a lot of people say that they're in favor of medical marijuana, it's not the drug that was around in the 1970s or 1980s, when I went to school. These THC levels are upwards of 30 percent, where they might have been 3 percent back 30 years ago. So a point of reference for everybody in this Chamber, it has a much greater impact. It's now proven to be physically addicting.

We heard testimony that people are no longer being treated for drug use, for drug addiction, that might have been born out of using marijuana, where they moved onto stronger drugs like heroin or cocaine. People are now being treated for marijuana addiction. It's now becoming a destination drug. And that took me aback when I heard from these experts. There wasn't a single person in the treatment field that testified in favor of recreational marijuana. And their stories were quite compelling.

A woman said to me that they no longer have the ability to treat marijuana as an outpatient basis. It's not good enough anymore. They need beds for these people. And we just recently now have been struggling to get our arms around the opioid addiction, and I think we've done good work here in the last couple of years. But that is one of the things we can continue to hear. The Sober Home legislation that we just passed, getting people appropriate beds, and we're concerned at the bad actors that are allowing people to go into homes that aren't suitable to help their treatment, and they're only getting worse. This is what we are gonna see if we put more marijuana on the streets.

My son just recently turned 16 and he got a job. He came home from that job and he said, "Hey, dad, I know what pot smells like now. " And I was taken aback. I said, "Where did you smell it?" He said, "Well, while I was working. " And he was working at a recreational facility that I happen to own, which you would think that in the sporting facility that you wouldn't see that kind of activity. But since medical marijuana has been put on the streets, you know, make no mistake; people are not abiding by what laws are put in place. They could basically get card and smoke it, and they believe it's a license to smoke anywhere.

So, we now deal with marijuana being smoked in public places. So never did I think that my 16-year-old son would go to his first job in his life and learn what marijuana smells like. That's what our children are gonna be exposed to if we make it more accessible. We are now seeing an increased use in marijuana use among our children. Why? Because we're treating it differently. Studies have shown and the Guilford D. A. Y. has done a lot of research on this. Children no longer fear marijuana.

And when the fear goes away and they don't think it's a big deal, that's when they're gonna start using. And all the education in the world is not gonna help us. So, I guess I'm gonna end my remarks with those statements.

I have grave concerns about this issue. I don't want to see it -- this debate being driven by revenue. And I'm happy so far to hear it's not being driven by a revenue discussion because it can't be that. It needs to be based on policy. And based on all the testimony that we've heard, I think it's bad policy. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

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

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this amendment. I don't rise lightly, because I was conflicted if I would support this bill five or six years ago. When we talk about marijuana, there has to be a realization that there is the black market out there, in our state, that's generating approximately $ 350 million dollars. That market is subsidizing the lavish styles of drug dealers.

What propelled me to support this type of legislation was a conversation with my son. One day he came from school and he said, "Dad, this kid in school offered me several drugs," and he started naming them; marijuana being one of them, cocaine, opioids. And I said to him, is this readily available in school? Are children purchasing it? "Yes, dad, we are purchasing them. " I almost had a heart attack.

And it was that moment that changed my thinking. Because at that moment, I realized, you know what, these individuals who are selling the marijuana, have an incentive to get these kids hooked on harder drugs! And that's where I said, we need to regulate. We need to regulate to ensure that we control it.

I'll even tell you another little story. I had a very close family friend, 23 years old, smoking marijuana. I remember she was in my living room and I said you need to stop this. You have a one-year-old baby and if you don't stop, one day, I don't know what's gonna happen to you. I don't know who's gonna be raising that child. A week after she died in a car accident. Why? Because the drug that she was smoking was infused with embalming fluid.

That is what's being sold to our kids out there, and even to our adults! It is for those reasons that we, as a body, need to pass this amendment, because that's a save. We will not have an incentive to lace marijuana with other substances. We will monitor the level of THC in the products that are being sold. This bill will have labs testing the levels of THC, the potency. That's what this bill does.

You know, programs like D. A. R. E. , Just Say No, don't' work no more. That's in the past. This bill will send language for education, substance education, so that we can talk to our children. As we think about the prohibition era and we talk about alcohol; that did not work. Organized crime was even worse. We just need to open our doors and look out the street and see how our drug dealers are going after our children, our residents, our voters. That's a reality!

We need to have that conversation. Drugs are there. Marijuana is out there. We don't know what our children or our constituents are smoking. That's a fact. We can sit here and say, you know what, that's not happening. It's gonna increase more drugs. We're trying to do the opposite. We're not encouraging. We're trying to regulate. They talk about marijuana being a gateway drug. Alcohol, tobacco, is the first gateway drug. Those are the things that we need to talk about.

And I'll talk a little bit about some of the statistics that I have, that shows the increase in alcohol use in our children and how marijuana has dropped. We are concerned about people being high and going to work. The language in the bill prohibits that. Just the same way we treat alcohol, we will treat marijuana. If you smoke it, you cannot go to work. If you smoke it, you cannot drive. And if you do, there are consequences. It's no different. Think about that for a second. It's no different.

Eight states already have passed a measure to legalize marijuana. Connecticut should be the ninth. And I'm gonna state about revenue, because we agreed we're not gonna do that. I'm not even gonna talk about that piece. Now, when we talk about moving this forward, there needs to be a realization that Connecticut voters, 63 percent, support this measure. As you all know, the Quinnipiac Poll of 2015, clearly states that. Let's do a poll today. I'll bet you it'll be close to 70, and that's the message our voters are sending. And yet, we choose to ignore it.

I understand this is not an easy topic for anyone. There are risks and there are concerns, and they're legitimate concerns. But we need to do the right thing. We need to engage in that conversation. When we look at Colorado and Washington, and I'll talk a little about these statistics, the use in the past year -- so when we look at 2012 and 2013, 18. 76 percent. When we look at 2013 and 2014, that was when it was legalized, there was a spike, and that is an assumption that that would happen. Right? Something legalized, something new, let's try it out - 20. 81. (In) 2014 and 2015, 18. 35, declining.

Now, when we look at alcohol consumption amongst teenagers 12-17, and we're looking at the past 30 days; 2011 - 36. 4 percent; 2013 - 31 percent; 2015 - 32. 2 percent. And I'll give you the same figures for marijuana within the 30 days; 2011 - 22 percent; 2013 - 19; and 2015 - 21. 2. These are figures that have been collected from when it was implemented to 2015. I'll be curious to see the figures today.

But, not passing this measure is not going to stop our children from smoking. Think about it for a second, how many times have you walked to the corner store and you smelled the smoke of marijuana? One thing that's excellent about this bill, I was concerned if we moved this, we're talking about how many plants can an individual grow. This bill talks about six plants and ten per household. Now if i am a renter, can I grow? This bill says you cannot, only a homeowner. Those are measures that have been placed in this bill to want, to protect, to protect the public. Can you smoke in public places? No. That's in this bill.

So what are we doing? We are regulating an industry that needs to be regulated. It's time that we do it. It's time that we move forward. Doing a measure like this, I see an improvement in our state. I see cost-saving measures as a consequence of this bill. I see a reduction in teenage usage, not only because of the figures that I just spoke about, but because of the fact that we will be removing the drugs from the drug dealers. We're not gonna eliminate them. Let's be realistic. If we're gonna talk about truth, that's the truth. It's not gonna be eliminated. But it will be reduced drastically. Think about this for a second. A drug dealer that sells marijuana, will he take a risk if we pass this measure.

And there's language in here that talks about penalties if you sell once we legalize. Will you take that risk? I doubt that we'll take that risk. There are some that won't care. They'll say, "You know what, for me it's a profession. I don't know nothing better to do. So I'm gonna continue selling. " There's others that will say, "It's not even worth it. " That's how I see this bill impacting.

I know it's farfetched for us probably to pass this measure tonight. But we need to have the discussion. This discussion should've happened three or four years ago, because if we don't have the discussion, we cannot educate ourselves. Because I know, that we're conflicted. We're conflicted because some of our constituents are one side. They have children. There's some legitimate concerns. There's others that support it and you have those calling you as well. And I know you have to balance out what's best for my district. What's best for the state.

But let me assure you, that if we do nothing, and I will repeat this again, we will continue - we will continue- to subsidize the drug dealers of our state. We will continue to subsidize the lavish style. They will continue to buy the Mercedes. They will continue to buy the BMWs. And you know what, at the backs of our children and Connecticut residents. That's what we do when we don't do anything on this bill.

So, I know there's others that want to speak on this measure. I could be here all night because I feel so passionate about this. I thought I was preaching there for a minute, you know? (Laughter) But with all respect to all my colleagues in this Chamber, I respect each and every one of your, and I know it's a tough decision, but if we don't take this to a vote tonight, for a minute just -- when you go home after a late night, just think of what I'm saying, really truly analyze. Analyze how our kids have access to marijuana and other drugs. Think about the drug dealers that are playing our children. Think about those things. And hopefully, when you come back, you'll be in support of this measure. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further? Representative Ziobron of the 34th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the amendment that's been offered here today. And I've listened to the passionate debate of my colleagues, including one of my closest friends, who disagrees with me just as adamantly and as strongly as our friendship is, and I appreciate his comments, but I disagree.

I do not believe that marijuana is a gateway for opioid addiction. I believe alcohol is that gateway. I don't believe in the premise that you can become addicted to marijuana. I have spoken to countless counselors and my constituents. My constituents have an issue with opioid addiction because they're addicted to prescription drugs. The fact of the matter is no one has died from using marijuana alone. In 7,000 years, no one has died from marijuana use. They die from marijuana use and drinking a six-pack of beer and getting on the highway. They die when they mix any drugs together.

But let's be clear about what we're talking about. We're talking about the adult use of marijuana. No one here wants our children to use marijuana. I have two teenage children. We have this conversation all the time. It is adult use of marijuana. And when you think about how our young children, what they expose to, I think about how they pick up Tide packs; you know the laundry detergent. How many deaths have happened from that? But somehow, we know parents are keeping their children safe and storing that properly. They're storing alcohol properly. They're storing tobacco properly. Do we not think that they have the ability to also store cannabis properly?

I stand in strong support because this is about personal liberty! This is about a plant that I should have the right to grow in my backyard. This is personal liberty! When I brought my bill forward, and I must say with the strong support of my leadership in this Caucus, because they support their members who have passion for a variety of topics, and that bill had a public hearing in the Public Health Committee. I sat down next to two women in this building that I have come to develop a very strong admiration for and friendship with. And we went through a top ten list of why we, all of us, believe that marijuana should be legalized.

That bill is H. B. 5314. That's not the bill we have before us today. But if you want to see the details on why I support this measure, I encourage you to look at that testimony. The reality is eight states have legalized it and when you look at a map of the United States of America, more than half have laws in the books that have freedom and responsibility in some way, whether that's medical marijuana or other things.

I want to talk about the policy here of this debate. And I am grate that we are having this conversation in this Chamber. That's exactly what we're here supposed to be talking about as legislators, without accusations, without throwing fingers around. This is about a policy for our constituents. Do 100 percent of my constituents agree with this policy? Of course not. But I've done my due diligence. I've had public forums in my community. I have polled them. And when I get an email from someone who says, "Melissa, I couldn't disagree with you more. " I engage them in that conversation. I want to understand why. And that is exactly what we should be doing in this building.

Let's talk about our kids for a second. Let's talk about the programs they've been exposed to that have done nothing to teach them about what's really addictive and what's not. When my children participated in D. A. R. E. , Madam Speaker, at that time, I had been smoking cigarettes for probably ten years. Knock on wood, I quit about six years ago. But I remember when my son came home and he looked at me and told me I was gonna die from smoking cigarettes, and I had to sit down and explain what was really going on. The reality is that research shows that those programs and those scare tactics, and that's what they are, are ineffective.

What's effective is when we talk about the traits that children have for addiction, and it could be on anything; sugar. You want to talk about one of the most addictive substances in this country, it's sugar. But I don't think we should be talking about just what those kids are addicted to. We monitor that as a parent. I don't allow my kids to go into the refrigerator and eat whatever they want. We have to have a real conversation about these things. There are addiction traits. Let's talk about that without the scare tactics of marijuana.

The policy of this, of course, is of interest because of the change in administration. But there are bipartisan efforts across this country including in Florida right now, where a Republican and a Democrat both have put forth an amendment to prohibit the federal government from discriminating against banking and banking groups when it comes to doing business with legal, law-abiding business owners. Another reason I support this policy is cause let's about business owners and let's talk about Colorado.

We would be envious to have an economy that Colorado has - envious. In 2015, they were ranked number one in business. They have created more jobs there than we have in this state in God knows how long. And these aren't jobs of farmers. These are jobs of electricians and plumbers. You want to rent warehouse space in Colorado. Good luck! You can't find it. Go to Massachusetts right now. Try to rent a warehouse on the border between Massachusetts and Connecticut. You're gonna be paying top dollar because that economy is starting to recognize what's happening there momentarily. And we're gonna get left behind. We're gonna get left behind in Connecticut because when you look at a map of New England, every single state is taking action. Is it all successful immediately? Of course not.

In Vermont, the Legislature approved it, the Governor vetoed it. I respect that democracy and process. But the Governor also, in Vermont, says he's willing to explore a pathway to making that happen. Maine, ballot initiative; Massachusetts, ballot initiative. I would suspect if we had a ballot initiative in the State of Connecticut, we would not be here debating this today. We would be looking at implementing policy.

I don't begrudge the process we have in Connecticut. But the fact that this is the first time in this Chamber, in this beautiful, historic Chamber, that we are having debate is unfortunate. But I'm glad we're having it today. There are a lot of reasons also to be concerned. But let's deal with that. Let's figure out a way to get to yes.

No one on this side of the aisle is more keenly aware of our budgetary problems probably than I am. But that's not the only reason why we should be looking at marijuana. I go back to personal liberty and freedom. Those are some of the reasons why, Madam Speaker, I support the legalization of marijuana. It's not just Colorado. It's eight other states - eight other states. But everyone wants to talk about Colorado, So a couple more tidbits about Colorado, Madam Speaker.

In 2015, they welcomed almost 80 million visitors, who spent almost $ 20 billion dollars. In Denver, their overnight visitor stay reached a record $ 5 billion dollars. And in unemployment, jobs had the largest drop in unemployment in the entire country - in the entire country.

Yes, we want to protect our children. Of course. No one is promoting the legalization of cannabis because we want kids to be exposed to it. That's utterly ridiculous. We're talking about it because there are other reasons, and its' not all about revenue. And I look forward to hearing the rest of those reasons from both sides. Because one thing I am grateful for as a Connecticut Republican is the fact that I can have these conversations with my colleagues. They'll listen to me and I will listen to them if they disagree. And I'll continue to do that in the Chamber with ears wide open, and I thank the Speaker so much for allowing this conversation to happen today. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you care to remark further? Representative Hampton.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

Good evening, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good evening, sir.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

I rise to make a few comments on the proposed legislation -- on the amendment. Thank you. To the proponent, thank you so much for your energy and enthusiasm on this initiative. It's very much appreciated. But earlier you said, at the beginning, you know, "let's have some fun. " And I don't think this is a fun or a funny topic. In talking to my two constituents this week, one, a mother of a 24-year-old clutching the hand -- clutching the picture of her son, who told me to my eyes that marijuana killed her child. And I think it's sad in the waning days of session, as our financial situation is so dire and people are fleeing the state and businesses are fleeing the state that we're not talking about raising up the profile of our state, raising up our economy and our children and our businesses.

I don't quote him often, but Ronald Reagan talked about the, "shining city on the hill," that our country used to be. And I think Connecticut used to be a shining city on the hill. But I think with initiatives like this, we become less shiny and that we degrade ourselves, and we degrade our children, and we degrade the future of our state's economy.

So, I really respect everyone's opinions on the other side of the aisle, but I think this is the start of some bad decisions for our state. We're at a critical juncture. We used to be known as the land of steady habits. I don't want to be known as the land of bad habits. I want our state to shine again and I think this initiative, this amendment, really does the opposite. So I thank you for letting me speak and I thank everyone for their differing viewpoints on this issue. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Cheeseman of the 37th.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and I want to thank all of my colleagues for their evident passion on this topic. It raises so many questions and so many concerns for all of us. I had the pleasure of appearing at Representative Candelora's press conference, when this subject first came out.

I was surrounded by representatives from the Connecticut Branch of AAA, the Connecticut Association of Police Chiefs, the Connecticut representative for the American Academy of Pediatrics, two lovely young women from an organization similar to SADD, and each one of them had the same message. Please, please do not do this. Do not subject our children, our state, to this. The police chief's concern was the lack of a test that's reliable for recent marijuana use. Washington State, which recently legalized marijuana, smoking marijuana, using marijuana, by the way, doubles your risk of a crash; saw a six-percent increase in fatalities in 2015 from people who tested positive for marijuana. While the rest of the country saw a decline.

We have heard that marijuana is not a gateway drug. Approximately 10-15 percent of the population is vulnerable to addiction. And currently, and these are 2014 figures, approximately 4. 2 million Americans over the age of 11 battled a marijuana disorder. And marijuana abuse disorders accounted for the third highest number of treatment admissions to substance abuse programs.

And I know we've said we're not, you know -- children will not be allowed to smoke or use marijuana products, yet the presence in the home acclimates them to that use. And the American Academy of Pediatrics is so very clear on this. We learn about the developing brain in our adolescents and young people. Indeed, there was legislation before this Chamber or -- in Committee, to raise the age of cigarette smoking to 21.

Marijuana smoking consequences include impaired short-term memory, decreased concentration, attention span. Indeed, long-term marijuana use has shown an increase in psychiatric conditions, like schizophrenia and psychosis. This is not gonna happen to everyone, just the way a gin and tonic doesn't make everyone, you know, an alcoholic or one cigarette doesn't make everyone a three-pack a day smoker. But if you have that genetic prevalence, indeed, it can lead to that.

Use of marijuana in the home, second-hand marijuana smoke has shown up in adults. And some random studies of states in which marijuana use is legal; one in six infants admitted to hospital for respiratory syndrome, had traces of marijuana in his or her system.

And I think, to finally comment, and you'll know how I feel about this. I have had no constituents approach me and say please promote this. On the contrary, the constituents who have talked to me have said, please, please, stand fast against this. I was privileged to attend a breakfast at the New London Superior Court. And after each judge from the civil branch, the juvenile branch, the criminal branch presented, they took questions. And is said, tell me, you in the judiciary, how do you feel about legalization of marijuana and recreational marijuana? To a man and woman, they said, don't do it. One of them commented that he almost never sees a docket where somewhere there isn't the line - started smoking marijuana at the age of 9 or 10 or 11.

I'd like to say, and I don't mean it flippantly, that politicians have an addiction to revenue. Once we get it, we can never get enough. And I know this was not a topic today, but please, let's not try to solve our addiction by creating more addicts in our population. Thank you very much for your indulgence, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you care to remark further? Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And this has been a very interesting debate, however, I would like to take it in a different direction because I believe that before and after I speak, it will continue to go along the lines that is. But often times, when we speak about marijuana and legalization and regulation, we don't tend to talk about why it's actually illegal in the first place.

So I did a little research, and the New York Times reviewed the history of cannabis criminalization, and found it has been racist from the outset in the 1930s. The campaign to make cannabis illegal was firmly rooted in prejudices against Mexican immigrants and African Americans, who were associated with cannabis use at the time. It's interesting to note the word, "marijuana," was popularized as a way to associate the plant with Mexicans. With that being said, there is a certain degree of cynicism one can develop in looking at social and power structures in the world.

But sometimes you come across something so unexpected that it is like a sharp slap in the face. Dan Baum mentioned of his New York Times interview with John Ehrlichman, counsel and assistant to the President for domestic affairs, under Nixon, is one of those moments. And this is what Nixon's aide had to say. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies; the anti-war left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing them both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did. "

Well, growing up in that era, you might have reasonably assumed that people pushing to criminalize drugs, might have thought they were doing the right thing. But with all that we know now, the perfidity throughout the Vietnam War, the My Lai massacre, cold-blooded murder of civil rights advocates, the COINTELPRO program of the FBI, internment of American citizens during the Second World War, simply because of their race or ethnic background, and the long list that a casual look at history could fill many times over. That someone might commit such an evil for their ends can hardly be shocking. After all, the Nixon campaign embraced the so-called southern strategy of playing on the prejudices of southern whites to gain votes because black Americans tended to back for Democrats.

When Ehrlichman called blacks and the opposing -- and those opposing the war enemies, he meant it literally. They were political enemies that could potentially keep Nixon out of office. But Nixon, himself, proved to be his own worst enemy. Nevertheless, the United States Government developed a major policy with massive implications on spending and societal impact to declare that two classes of people should be destroyed, locked up if possible, for the convenience and pleasure of people in power.

The justice system was warped into a private enforcer. In the U. S. , money becomes power. And that is a fact of history. So long as any economy needs concentrations of resources to obtain anything, there will be disparities. But that type of practical recognition of some having more, some having less, is different that systemic income and equality that first, last and always is an attempt to enthrone the chosen few, cloaking them in power on the backs of everyone else. That -- this country pursued a reckless policy, given how badly prohibition proved itself not that many decades before; to reinforce the personal vendetta of a Head of State should be shocking. People's mouths should drop open. Except the criminalization and creation of the, "other," to fear, much as is happening in politics today with a different set of targets, has been too useful to too many.

When the communist boogeyman collapsed its instability in Russia and China began to recognize the need for a degree of independent industry, something had to take its place. The drug wars continued into the Reagan years. Bill Clinton then tried to prove himself tougher than any Republican with the 1994 Omnibus Crime legislation. He now admits that he made the problem of incarceration worse than it had been. That is a euphemism. What the policy did was stab millions in the back, all to get votes, to stay in power.

Policies like the Three Strikes Rule that mandates someone to life imprisonment for nonviolent offenses are even emasculating than Nixon. And even now, as the debate, the concept of marijuana legalization and regulation, African Americans and Latinos are arrested and convicted at much higher rates than any other, according to an analyst by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. And yet, the country is slow to recognize how much it has targeted and continues to target those with the fewest resources to protect themselves. Once the machine starts, it keeps moving out of inertia and over time, injustices seem normal.

Well, let today be the day that --

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

The House will stand at ease, please.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I believe, as I raised a Point of Order --

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

I raised a Point of Order. I will now withdraw that point. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you. Without objection, the Point of Order is withdrawn, and Representative Porter, I believe you do have the floor, madam.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And even now, as we debate the concept of marijuana legalization and regulation, African Americans and Latinos are arrested and convicted at a much higher rate than any other race, even in states where laws have changed, according to an analysis by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. And yet, the country is slow to recognize how much it has targeted and continues to target those with the fewest resources to protect themselves. Once the machine starts, it keeps moving out of inertia and over time, injustice seems normal.

Well, let today be the day that Connecticut says no more to the injustices inflicted upon our marginalized and disenfranchised communities, and yes to this amendment. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Representative Porter. Will you care to remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Staneski, you have the floor, madam.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you. Good after -- whoops! Good evening, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good evening.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

So, I rise conflicted. I am glad that we actually are bringing this forward, but most of you in this Chamber know that I work in prevention and I work with kids. And I truly do believe that all kids are good, and good kids make bad mistakes occasionally. And it's up to us, as the adults in the room, to help them with those decisions.

So this is one of those topics that I'm very familiar with from the prevention side, from the proper education side, from the tell-the-truth and have the kids tell-the-truth side to me. Not dealing in the extreme, marijuana's bad, you're gonna die from it kind of deal. But educating kids on what it actually does to their developing brain. You know, it's interesting, we had a basketball star who was a big star at one of Indiana colleges, went on to play for the Celtics, got a couple of second chances, and he came to our hometown to talk to kids about heroin use, because heroin use had grown in our district, as it has in this state, as it has in this nation, unfortunately.

So one of the kids who was from one of our local basketball teams got up and said, "So we know heroin's bad. What about pot? What about marijuana?" And his answer back was, "I've never known a heroin addict that said give me the needle first. " That was an opener for me, because quite honestly, I learned more about the use of marijuana from my younger sisters. I was that big older sister that told on everybody.

So tonight I stand willing to have the debate and discussion on legalization. But I think that what we need to do is do this in a holistic discussion, a holistic approach. And when this was first introduced, whether it's true or not, the conversation in the papers and the conversation amongst those of us here were about the revenue that we are missing by not legalizing this.

So, I would say to my friends, who support this, that maybe we also need to look at the cost to legalizing this. If we're gonna have the discussion, let's have a holistic discussion, one that dives deeper. And I was happy to hear, when this was first introduced, that there were some conversations saying we need to talk about this deeper and that we need to have a discussion, and that there are differing viewpoints.

No doubt, our neighboring states have touted the increase in revenue from the legislation. But I do challenge this state to be more transparent than just looking at revenue. If we are truly seriously considering this, then we owe it to our citizens and we owe it to our state, and to ourselves to talk about the cost side of this legislation. Does this legislation address the administrative and enforcement costs for regulators? Does this legislation address the cost to enforce drug driving? Does this legislation address short-term health care costs, emergency room visits, poisoning increases, visits that have increased with respect to in those states that have actually legalized it? And I'm talking more about edibles and young children.

Does this legislation address the safety of those in the workforce? And does it -- when we are talking about manufacturers, does it regulate and protect those who are working in those concentrate extraction labs? Because this isn't the pot that my parents grew up smoking. This isn't the pot that I was around when I was in high school. The THC levels are very high and kids want them to be high. And I will say this, that one when I was growing up, cigarettes were the big drug that we would grab, and our parents' beer occasionally. And there was a reason Joe Camel was out there, because they needed more people to buy it.

So while we are -- when we are having this discussion, we need to know that our children are protected from being the future customers, until they're older, I suppose. I need somebody to help me understand, as we're having these discussions, the health costs As I said, when they legalized marijuana in -- for recreational use in Colorado, ER visits saw an increase over the three years following legalization, a cost of around $ 1,200 dollars per visit.

Then when you talk about the concentrated labs to actually extract the THC, there was a large cost to burn centers. Costs increased from a $ 1. million dollar cost to a $ 5. 2 million dollar cost. Oregon kept stats on their legal labs, where explosions occurred one year after legalization. The property damage to extract the plant. I want us to think about the cost of businesses. We all can say, well, alcohol's worse for people to consume. But I would query that there's a reason that there's all jokes on Saturday Night Live about living in the parent's basement smoking weed.

So, we do want to think about our businesses and absenteeism. We want to think about those social costs. I know that -- I believe that this bill includes edibles, and that's a conversation that we have around here. And again, I go back to the work that I've done in my community and the work that so many have done around this state to protect our kids. Edibles and access to children and edibles and access to pets.

I was talking -- I happened to go to New York City to visit a friend and we were taking a walk through the park there and there were a bunch of dogs playing. And I was talking about how my dogs cannot be out there. She was telling me a story about one of the dogs there, whose owner was a veterinarian, and found that there was an increase recently to the report of canine marijuana poisoning and that its' a daily occurrence in New York City.

We need to think about the message to our youth and environmental costs. Because while we're looking at regulating this in a legal fashion here, when we do, and I do know it will be coming, there will be a cloak of legality that will cover illegal actions. And I know out in the west, ecosystems have been decimated by illegal grows, and the chemicals on the road and side that is put there to keep animals away from their grow facilities.

As I stated before, Madam Speaker, I am willing to have the discussion. But those who are advocating and touting a tax revenue need to look only at the lottery fix for fiscal issues as a counter to that argument. From prevention, I'm hoping that there's money when this happens that is dedicated to prevention.

There are costs and we need to look at them and learn from those costs from those states that have actually legalized it. Madam Speaker, I do know it's coming. I want the headline to read - Connecticut got it right, not, and the pun intended; Connecticut goes to pot. I do believe that will require more discussion, a deeper dive. And when we just passed a resolution about a lockbox, I'm hoping that there'll be a lockbox on prevention. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you care to remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Vargas of the 6th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. It's good to see you up there and I'd just like to thank Representative Elliott for bringing this forward. Representative Candelaria, who together with myself were to back it a couple of years ago, same issue. And people seem to be forgetting that we're talking here about the amendment, which is precisely to study the issue. We're not actually voting on implementing anything during this discussion.

However, I had to speak on this issue because it's an issue that's very dear to my heart. I represent the south end of the City of Hartford. I was a teacher for 35 years in the Hartford Public Schools, as was my wife, Sylvia. We've seen over three generations of inner city children being destroyed by this misguided war on drugs. Representative Porter spoke about the origins of this war on drugs during the Nixon administration.

And let's take a look at what's happened. There's a lot of hypocrisy around this war on drugs. Have we been winning the war on drugs? Now, people talk about preventing children and people from becoming addicted. We know there is a certain portion of our population that is substance dependent. We know that for a fact. People that have addictive personalities will be addicted to something. There are people that when deprived from alcohol, will drink cologne or perfume, or anything they can get their hands on.

Now, who is pushing the drugs and why are they pushing the drugs in our communities? Think about that for a minute. Who pushes the drugs? A person that wants to create a market, that's who pushes the drug. Legalizing marijuana would knock the floor of the illegal market. Why is there an illegal market that's thriving in marijuana here in Connecticut? It exists. We're not taxing it. We're not regulating it. But it exists already. We're talking as if we were about to introduce it to the state. That's not the case. It's here and it's thriving. But who controls it? Criminal gangs control the market.

And what do they use the profits for? They use the profits to buy guns! Bravo! They use the profits to control prostitution, loan sharking, to corrupt government officials, to corrupt law enforcement! That's what they use the profits for. And we allowed that to happen with this war on drugs. We allowed this to happen. We allowed criminal enterprises to control this industry, while we stand to the side, allowing it to happen, to destroy our young people.

Public -- you know, addiction is a public health issue. It's not a criminal issue. There have always been people who are drug dependent or drug addicted. We should show compassion to those people, not incarcerate them. Now, the money to the State of Connecticut may be important, but that's not the primary reason why I support this bill.

I support this bill because it's the first step in deescalating this war on drugs. It's a first step in deescalating a war on drugs that we're not winning! We're losing! Has anybody noticed that we're in the middle of a heroin and opioid epidemic? That people are dying? Are we blind to that fact?

You know, there are people that contacted me. When Representative Candelaria and I put the first bill a couple of years ago, people contacted me, telling me about how they had lost loved one to heroin. My question, did all these harsh laws, all these long prison sentences, did they protect your relative? If you lost a loved one to an overdose, let me ask you this question. What did these harsh laws, what did these imprisonments, what did it to protect your loved one? Well, obviously not enough - obviously not enough. So, let's not keep doing. Let's not be the ostrich that digs their head in the sand. Let's tackle this issue. Please support the amendment. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, Representative Vargas. Representative Sredzinski, I believe that you are next, sir.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Good evening to you.

REP. SREDZINSKI (112TH):

I've been sitting in the Chamber listening to the debate on both sides of the aisle; obviously differing viewpoints on both sides. This clearly isn't a Republican or Democratic issue. This is about the future of our state, and in my opinion, the health and wellbeing of our future children, our generations to come.

And looking at the testimony and this isn't coming from myself. I'm not a doctor. I know we have doctors in the Chamber. However, we have testimony from very, very highly-respected people, doctors of psychiatry, professors at Yale University, and they make statements such as, "There is absolutely no question that cannabis is addictive. That has been proven by the scientific community. " As others have stated, I could go on and on about why I feel this is the wrong approach for the State of Connecticut. But I think that really sums it up. There is absolutely no question that cannabis is addictive, and this has been proven by the scientific community.

Studies have demonstrated that ten percent of cannabis users; that use it recreationally, will become dependent on it; compulsive use, impaired control, addiction. We are surrounded by an opioid epidemic. We're surrounded by an addiction problem. It's been called a health crisis in our state. And yet, we're here tonight, 6: 00 o'clock p. m. , the night before our session is set to end, talking about legalizing more drugs! I don't understand it, Madam Speaker. I respect those who are in favor of it. I understand the points that have been brought up tonight. But I honestly cannot get my mind around the fact that we're not discussing the budget. We're not discussing anything else. We're discussing legalizing drugs, here in our Chamber.

I firmly believe this is the wrong approach and that we, as a state, can absolutely do better. Thank you, Madam Speaker, for your time.

DEPUTY SPEAKER ORANGE (48TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you care to remark further on the amendment before us? Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this amendment. And as I sat here and I listened to the discussion and the debate, we've had this discussion and debate for the last three months in various chambers here at the Capitol.

You know, it's very interesting, when we come here we talk about the fact that we are here to represent our constituents. And many of us took it to our constituents and we asked them - what are the things that you would like us to talk about and things that we need to address that will affect your communities that you live in? And one of the three things that I got from my constituents was legalizing marijuana.

You know we talk about how this drug has affected people's lives, but yet we keep skirting around it and only addressing it in one way. We incarcerate people. We condemn people. But we don't address what it is that they're doing. We can continually run away from fears and never come to a solution. The underlying bill that we have before us, Madam Speaker, addresses many things that I think we want to do in working towards legalizing marijuana.

Many people talked about the other states that have legalized it. They talked about the effects. They talked about the business industry that can be grown out of this. They talked the needs that you have to do in order to evolve beyond fear. You can tell by the conversations that we've had today that there is such a fear, that it ignites aggressive and angry responses in some regards.

We can't be angry with each other. We've gotta talk. The bill before us, the amendment before us, addresses all of those things. You ask, let's talk about what the bill does. Let's talk about a few of them.

Does it set parameters and guidelines on how marijuana is going to be grown? Who will have the ability to grow it? Where it can be grown and how it can be sold. Yes, it does. Does the bill before us talk about education in our communities? Does it talk about talking to our children, who we don't know what they're doing or what not because we don't talk to them. We just tell them it's bad and we walk away.

We have to have those conversations. And this amendment does that. Do we talk about the addressing on how many plants a person can have in a house? Can a person who's renting from you, grow marijuana? Can people give seeds? It talks about all of those things and it talks about how we are gonna control, evaluate and maintain the legalization.

I would rather have children understand what marijuana does and be honest with them about it. I would rather have adults, if they choose to utilize marijuana, make sure that what they're smoking is what they know they're smoking. Not something that's laced with ammonia or any other drugs that people have done, but look at it and make sure it's controlled. That what we do for the state is to say we are going to set up the guidelines and protect you. If this is your choice, we will protect you and make sure that everything that you use or participate in is something that we have regulated.

Yes, there is a business part of this also. We offer jobs in farming and agriculture, research. No one in here has talked about the research that is going on with the usage of marijuana, the things that they've addressed; Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease. All of these things that we just have touched the edge, because we're so afraid to talk about it. We're so afraid and we run away from it. We cannot do that to this state.

We are very educated and informed people and we want -- and we pride ourselves on that. It's important that we continue to do things that are regulated, that are maintained, and that we have an opportunity to invest in and talk about.

Mr. Speaker -- Madam Speaker, or Mr. Speaker -- now we changed. It is something that I think all of us are passionate. It is something that all of us want to have a conversation about. And we want to make sure that when we sit down with our children, we talk about the truth. The truth is what we need to say more than anything. We talk about gateway drugs. Addiction is something, as many people have talked about, and it can come in many ways. It can come through sugar. It can come through eating. It can come through sleeping. It can come through sex. Addiction is an addiction and that is what people are asking us to run away from.

Madam -- Mr. Speaker, they amendment before us is something that I think will free up our state from our own fears. It will give us an opportunity to grow and develop and be the strong state that I know and love. It is also -- the bill before us will give us an opportunity to develop industries that can branch and grow in the medicine world. Medicine is one of the biggest things in industries that we have in this state and I think that we need to maintain it and move forward.

Mr. Speaker, I sit down now and I sit down reluctantly, because I think that many people still need to hear and discuss this. But I hope that we will not stop here. I hope that we will do what we want and address what 70 percent of our constituents out there say they want to have happen. They are the ones we are out here to represent. They're the ones who come and give us what we should be doing. And that's what I hope we will do as a body here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much, Representative Walker. Representative Polletta of the 68th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. POLLETTA (68TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening in opposition to this amendment at hand, and I have a brief comment I'd like to make. I realize that the debate has gone on for sometime here in this Chamber. While we have other pressing needs that we should be tending to, instead, we're talking about marijuana.

Watertown is home to one of four medical medicinal marijuana facilities in the State of Connecticut. I heard a lot of my good colleagues talk about the positive effects of marijuana, whether it be treating any other -- I'm not gonna go through all of the different illnesses that it has. But medical marijuana has had a phenomenal impact. And Theraplant is in Watertown, Connecticut, and has been a great partner with our community.

But the key word that we're missing here is that it is medicinal marijuana, not recreational marijuana. There are two different forms. I fear that legalizing pot will lead us down a slippery slope here in Connecticut. And let's be honest, the tax revenue that will be generated from this, I have very little confidence that that tax revenue will be used in the right areas.

So I am all for medicinal marijuana. But this amendment, I stand opposed and I hope my colleagues will join me in voting no. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much, Representative Polletta. Representative Petit of the 22nd, you have the floor, sir.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to address the amendment with some concerns. We know a fair amount about the neurobiology of cannabis and related compounds, and clearly there is a great role for cannabidiol in terms of treating epilepsy and other issues, as we've recently seen in our local papers in a front page story.

However, my concerns in terms of what -- in terms of the amendment and in terms of study include -- I would reiterate what one of the previous speakers mentioned, that I think there's pretty clear data that there is medical dependence on marijuana. It's perhaps only somewhere in the 8-12 percent, so say about 10-percent range, and there's no clear-cut treatment for people that become dependent upon marijuana, number one.

Number two, my biggest concern is really the growing brain. There's pretty good data from other countries and the U. S. that the ingestion of marijuana between the ages of say 13 and 25, impact the developing brain and cause permanent changes that affect memory, executive function, overall global function, and one study showing a decline of I. Q. of about ten points over 25 years or so. In fact, to that point, the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out recently with a statement in opposition to legalization of marijuana because of the effects on the developing brain. So they are completely opposed to the use in the group under the age of, they say 21, but I would say that scientific data supports up to the age of 25 or so.

Another area that I think that requires significant study is the driving while impaired issue. There's no clear-cut test at this point. There is the ability to test it in saliva and blood, but levels of THC do not correlate well with people's function and that's gonna place police and other folks in charge of it, attempting to patrol our roads, in a difficult situation at attempting to decide who is impaired and who is not.

A more complicated issue that I think the study will have to approach is the use in the workplace if it becomes legalized. And it may affect people's function in terms of cognition, memory or motor skills. If someone ingests a marijuana product and then a week later is at work and still can have detectable marijuana in their system, and there is an accident, whether it's worker's comp or someone else is impacted, what does the presence of marijuana in their system mean. It may not have an acute impact on them. Is it a chronic impact? That's gonna be a difficult issue that I think we certainly need to address as well.

Finally, I think that the data, in terms of follow-up on the driving while impaired, has been a little bit scary. There's certainly been an increased number of accidents and deaths in Colorado. I know there's some controversy about that. It depends who whose date you look at. Data that I've looked at from the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity data showed traffic -- marijuana traffic as increasing 48 percent over three years and accidents increasing a significant amount.

So I think there's a number of questions to be answered and I think we need to be cognizant. And I'll close on an issue that I think a lot of people don't know about, and that is there is people in the population that are susceptible to disorders that manifest themselves as psychosis, delusions, such as schizophrenia. And the use of marijuana sometimes can precipitate acute schizophrenia or acute psychotic disorders. This is certainly not a huge number of people, but those are very disabling illnesses that may create a lifetime of disability for folks. And I think that's an issue we need to address to decide what the impact upon society is gonna be and what the financial and societal costs will be to us.

So, I think there's -- I think that's a short list of issues that we need to address and I -- the real-time study is going on in Colorado and the seven or eight other states that have legalized it, and I think we should learn lessons from them before we proceed further. I thank you for the time, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to explain the Point of Order that I earlier made in response to the discussion that we were having on this bill. First off, I raised the point because I believed that I had a valid Point of Order regarding the conduct of the debate. I don't want to rehash what that was, but I did raise the point on account of that.

Number two, I believe that the only way for men, and perhaps the Speaker can correct me if I am wrong. If I have a Point of Order that I wish to raise that I have to gain the attention of the Speaker. And because my microphone is not normally on, I have to raise my voice to a level that the Speaker can hear what I am saying to give me the attention to take up my point.

Number three, I would like to indicate that I have no disrespect for any member of the Chamber, certainly not for the person who was speaking at the time that I raised the Point of Order. However, the process that we have, which is that Points of Order have to be raised in this manner and cannot wait until the speaker has finished speaking, requires in effectively an interruption which may seem inappropriate, but it's the only way that I know that we can proceed in accordance with the Mason's manual and normal parliamentary procedure. And we have a lot of new people here and perhaps we have people who have even been here for a term or two. There are times when Points of Order start to come fast and furious, especially at the end of the session.

I will certainly raise Points of Order when I think it's appropriate and I hope to gain the attention of the Speaker when it's necessary, and I hope everyone will understand that that is not meant by me, at least, to be disrespectful for anyone here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative O'Neill. Your comments are very well taken and the procedure you describe is certainly one that I've seen since I started here in 1995 as well, so. (Knock) Who is it? It's Representative Elliott, you have the floor. (Laughter)

REP. ELLIOTT (88TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, I want to thank everybody tonight for this debate and it's clear that there's going to be no resolution tonight, and I think that's okay. I think this is all a part of the process.

When I started about an hour, hour and a half ago, I mentioned the public -- health and safety issues, and people look up to us here. And it's really important that we strive for accuracy and honestly. And one thing that concerns me is that we're treating marijuana use like it's an opioid or something as dangerous as meth or heroin. And the fact is that there is a stark, stark difference between these drugs. And if we don't want to turn marijuana into a gateway drug, then we need to be honest with ourselves and our children. Because if we don't, and we say this drug is as bad as all the others, and people will be people and children will be children, and people will always be experimenting, and they try this drug and they see that's it not what they've been told. And they'll say to themselves, well, this drug isn't what I've been told, then what about this drug and this drug and this drug.

But if we start at a point of honesty, then we can say these are the effects of this drug. These are the effects of this drug. These are the effects of this drug. We know heroin, meth and opioids can lead to overdose, can lead to addiction; can lead to the decay of society. And five years ago, one of the strongest opponents against decriminalization and medical marijuana just stood up tonight and said that we now have a model for the rest of the country. And a lot of the arguments that we heard here tonight were the same arguments that we heard then. And yet, none of the things that we thought were going to happen has happened.

There's been no increased death on the road. We've had a decrease in prison population. All these bad things never came to pass. And what will happen in five years from now or five years after we pass this legislation, whether it's tonight or in the future? There will be so much less that we think will happen that will happen. So, I thank the body for debating this, and through you, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much, Representative Elliott. Representative Ritter of the 1st District, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I just quickly want to talk quickly about the Point of Order and appreciate the comments of Representative O'Neill and just, you know, remind us all that, you know, as we get to the last day and a half or so, there's always a way to -- we're always gonna continue to communicate on these things and appreciate the, you know, the conversations that happened here today and we'll continue to communicate in these matters as we move forward.

At this time, I'd like to temporarily move that we pass this item temporarily. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Without objection, so ordered. (Gavel) Are there any introductions? Are there any introductions? Representative Luxenberg of the 12th District, you have the floor, madam.

REP. LUXENBERG (12TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For an introduction, please. This is my daughter, Zoe. This is Zoe's first time being introduced on the floor of the House. She's three years old. And one of the hard things, I know for all of us, is all of this time away from our family. But it's wonderful to have her here tonight and remind us about the next generation. And I see some other generations -- another next generation on the other side of the aisle which is great as well. So thank you, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Luxenberg. Hi, Zoe! How about a wave? Could we get a wave? Hey! (Applause) Thank you, madam. Further? Further? Representative Davis of the 57th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker. I rise for the purpose of an introduction?

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Oh please do so.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm here with my daughter, Evelyn. This is her, I think, third visit here to the General Assembly. She was born in 2015 and she asked for many weeks now to visit the, "palace," as she calls it, and she is so excited to be here to meet everybody and see everybody. And I'm joined by my beautiful wife, Emily, my mother, Mystica, and my father, Chuck, as well. So if you could all give us our usual warm welcome. Thank you. (Applause)

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

And a hearty welcome to all of you. Evelyn, can we get a wave? Can we get a wave? Come on, come on! All right, close enough. Thank you very much. Representative Ferraro of the 117th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise for the purpose of an announcement.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Please announce, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to congratulate everybody in the Chamber today for the effort in supporting the Save a Suit Charity downstairs and I have received a note from Robert Silverberg. Robert Silverberg is one of the lobbyists. This was basically his idea. It was not only his mental energy that went into it, but he financed the entire project as well. And I want to make a good shout out to him for his efforts in getting the program off the ground. And he reports that his Chamber has given over 413 clothing items today and has raised; it was $ 88 dollars, but thanks to the good Representative, now $ 108 dollars. So everybody deserves a good round of applause for a work well done. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much, Representative Ferraro. Further announcements or introductions? Further announcements? Points of interest? Funny jokes? If not, the House will stand at ease.

The House will come back to order. (Gavel) Would the Clerk please call Calendar 648?

CLERK:

On page 41, House Calendar 648, Senate Bill No. 1051 - AN ACT CONCERNING CTNEXT PLANNING GRANTS AND INNOVATION PLACE DESIGNATION APPLICATIONS, INVESTMENT FUND AND CREDIT TRANSFERS BY STATE INVESTMENT WITH CAPITAL FIRMS, favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk. The House wills stand at ease. We are waiting for some copies, I understand, of the amendment.

(Gavel) The House will come back to order. Representative McGee of the 5th District, the Insurance City, you have the floor, sir.

REP. MCGEE (5TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good evening.

REP. MCGEE (5TH):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

REP. MCGEE (5TH):

Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 8777. I would ask that the Clerk please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Would the Clerk please call LCO 8777?

CLERK:

LCO No. 8777, designated House Amendment Schedule "A", and offered by Representatives McGee, Rojas and Davis, and Senators Fonfara and Frantz.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. The good Representative asks leave Chamber to summarize. Is there objection to summarization? Do I see objection? Seeing none. Please proceed, Representative McGee.

REP. MCGEE (5TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. this amendment simply strike lines 679 to 681, inclusive, in their entirety, and inserts the following in lieu thereof: provided no such transferee may claim such credit for an income year other than the transferee's income year in which such transferee has bought, was assigned or was otherwise transferred such credit.

Mr. Speaker, just to elaborate a little bit more on this particular amendment and to summarize. It also allows -- this bill actually allows CTNext, Connecticut's innovation, to accept additional rounds of innovation, place applications and planning grant applications. It also allows insurance companies who hold CT tax credits to sell or otherwise transfer for credits to any taxpayer, rather than just their affiliates, and makes a confirming change. And lastly, real simple, it imposes various requirements on venture capital investments the treasurer makes after July 1 of 2017. I move adoption.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House "A". Adoption of House "A". Eleanor, prepare yourself, your father's about to speak. Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That would be "Evelyn. "

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Evelyn, excuse me. Sorry Evelyn.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

It wouldn't be the first time, Mr. Speaker, so. So, Mr. Speaker, I think the kind gentleman from Hartford did a good job explaining what the amendment was and then also what the underlying bill would be. One section, though, of course, that this amendment does that we're discussing right now, it actually strikes that section 4. So it actually removes the part about the treasurer investing in venture capital funds, as the kind gentleman had mentioned, mostly supportive of the lines that we are substituting here in this amendment, because it would make it clear that this transfer of credits can only take place in the year that they're earned so that it doesn't impact future years unknowingly. So, I approve this amendment and ask my colleagues to approve as well. Thank you.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Davis. Further on House "A"? Further on House "A"? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Opposed? The ayes have it. House "A" is adopted. Further on the bill as amended? Further on the bill? If not, staff and guests please retire to the Well of the House and members take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 1051, as amended by House "A",

Total number Voting 150

Necessary for Passage 76

Those voting Yea 146

Those voting Nay 4

Those absent and not Voting 1

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The bill as amended passes. (Gavel)

Representative Albis, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that we immediately transmit Senate Bill 1050 to the Senate.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Without objection? Without objection? Seeing none, so ordered. (Gavel)

The House will come back to order. The House will come back to order. Representative Albis of the 99th, do you have the floor and for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that we immediately transmit House Bill 6304 to the Senate.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

House Bill 6304, sir? Without objection? Without objection? So ordered. (Gavel)

The House will stand at ease.

CLERK:

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Would the House please come back to order. (Gavel) Would the Clerk please call Calendar 588?

CLERK:

On page 31, House Calendar 588, Senate Bill No. 126 - AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good to see you. Some people may recall that we had some conversations on this bill earlier. But we'll start off with, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the chamber is acceptance and passage. Please proceed.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

This bill relates to community health workers. We've had some nice conversation about them and I -- the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 6222. Right? I ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 6222, previously designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A"?

CLERK:

LCO No. 6222, designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A", and offered by Senators Gerratana and Somers, Representatives Steinberg and Srinivasan.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When we last left our heroes, we were talking about community health workers. We're gonna create a definition for them. We were going to develop a path to certification which takes into account their various required skills and training, and we had the State Innovation Model director involved with the Department of Public Health working collaboratively to develop those criteria and a certification program. I move adoption.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

The question before the chamber is adoption of Senate "A". Further on Senate "A"? Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

I think that sums it up. I move for passage of the bill.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you. Representative Srinivasan, on Senate "A", you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good evening, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

As the good Chair, Mr. Speaker, just had mentioned very appropriately, that we've had an intense, in-depth discussion on this bill as amended just a short time ago, maybe a day or two days ago. So, we have covered all that needed to be covered on the subject matter, and it is a great bill, and it ought to pass. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you, Representative Srinivasan. Further on Senate "A"? Further on Senate "A"? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Opposed? The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Further on the bill as amended? Further on the bill as amended? If not, staff and guests please retire to the Well of the House and members take your seats. The machine will be opened. (Ringing)

CLERK:

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 126 as amended by Senate "A" and in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 151

Necessary for Passage 76

Those voting Yea 125

Those voting Nay 26

Those absent and not Voting 0

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

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

Are there any introductions? There may be! Representative Morin of the 28th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

For the purpose of an introduction, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Oh, please proceed.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Mr. Speaker, I'm joined at my seat by a very fine young man named William Palmer. You might now his parents. His mom, Diana, is an integral part of the House Democrats and her dad -- William's dad, Stephen, works up in the other Chamber. But we still like him. (Laughter) And today is a very special day for my friend William because it's his fifth birthday. So I wish all of you would wish him a happy birthday! (Applause) Wave, William. Thank you everyone. Thank you, Mr. Speaker

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Thank you for sharing, Representative Morin, and happy birthday. Would the Clerk please call Calendar 4?

CLERK:

On page 21, House Calendar 465, favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee --

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND)

Would the Clerk please call Calendar 465?

CLERK:

On page 21, House Calendar 465, substitute Senate Bill No. 191, - AN ACT CONCERNING CHARITABLE BINGO GAMES, BAZAARS, RAFFLES, THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING; favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on General Law.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Representative Baram of the 15th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):

Good evening.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

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

ASSISTANT DEPUTY SPEAKER ALTOBELLO (82ND):