THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 11: 25 o'clock a. m. , Representative Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

THE CLERK:

The House of Representatives will convene immediately, members to the Chamber.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel) Will the House come to order? Ladies and gentlemen, we are entering the last day. So, we're going to do something a little bit different this year. In a few moments, I will lead us in prayers, but I ask the leaders of their respective parties to join me on the Dias. This year has been a very difficult year. And today being our last day, I think the prayer is of a little more importance. But I really do want to recognize the leaders of the respective party for their ability to work together, their ability to compromise and their ability to advocate for their caucus. So, can we please recognize the leaders of their parties up here. [Applause]

And now, if we can bow our heads.

Dear Lord, give us this strength in this last day to continue to be our best selves, to operate in a transparent and honest way with one another, to give each other the patience when times become difficult and to do what's for the great good of the State of Connecticut. I ask this in your name, dear Lord. Amen.

Will Representative Cathy Abercrombie, please come to the Dias and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance?

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Mr. Clerk, is there any business on your desk?

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Albis of the 99th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good morning.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Without objection, so ordered. Mr. Clerk, anything else?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. The only other business is emergency certifications, Senate Joint Resolution No. 63 and the daily Calendar.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

We'll need both of those today. Thank you, Mr. Clerk. Are there any announcements or introductions? I see my very good friend from the 125th District, standing with the microphone, the Chair recognizes Representative O'Dea, you have the floor.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Good to see you on this final day.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, sir.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

I rise for the point of an introduction, if I may, sir?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Standing with me is Mattie Culpepper, a senior at my son's and daughter's high school, New Canaan High School. Mattie is going to Barnard College at Columbia University, and she's in the model U. N. She's an outstanding student and hopefully she will replace me here someday. So, please, would everybody give her a warm welcome in the Chamber. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you. Madam, thank you very much for coming up today, but I don't know that Representative O'Dea should have used, “you need to fill his shoes,” I imagine they're rather large. [Laughter] Just go your own way, but we look forward to seeing you in this building someday.

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Borer of the 115th, you have the floor.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too want to take this opportunity to thank the leadership of both parties. But I have a wonderful announcement here today and --

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Ladies and gentlemen, again, I know everybody is working on their bills trying to get us over the finish line and I truly appreciate all of your efforts. While we're debating, while we're doing introductions, while we're carrying on business on the floor, please do so in a respectful manner. If you have conversations, bring them out in the hall. And let's really enjoy our last day here in the Chamber.

Representative Borer, I'm really sorry for interrupting, but please proceed, Madam.

REP. BORER (115H):

That's quite all right. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know we've had a few introductions from West Haven this week, but we love to showcase our talent at the Capitol about our great city and our youth and all of their accomplishments. So, I am joined by Representative Ferraro and Representative DiMassa, and together we'd like to draw your attention to the well, while we introduce Arin Bhandari. Arin is from Carrigan Middle School and he was not the West Haven, but the State of Connecticut's Spelling Bee Champion. [Applause]

Thank you. Arin went on to represent the State of Connecticut in the National Competition and he really did us proud. And with him today are his parents and his assistant principle from Carrigan School, Mr. Rich Weber. Thank you. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, there is someone in the Chamber that we did want to recognize and I know you and the Minority Leader and I have talked about this. Mark Davis is on the Dias with you and he has been doing journalism here in the State of Connecticut for 50 years. And yeah, we'll applaud in a second. I'll just say that we all know how important it is in this country to have freedom of press, when they write good things and bad things. And he has done a wonderful job and we really appreciate all your contributions to the State of Connecticut. If we could give Mark Davis a wonderful warm round of applause, please. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

We thought it important to do it now, the Majority Leader and I, because depending on how long we're here, we don't know how many more years Mark will want to be involved in journalism here, but hopefully we keep him for a while.

Are there any further announcements or introductions? Seeing none, will the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution 63.

CLERK:

Emergency certification, Senate Joint Resolution No. 63, RESOLUTION CONVENING THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN SPECIAL SESSION. Introduced by Senator Looney, Senator Duff, Senator Fasano, Senator Witkos, Representative Aresimowicz, Representative Ritter, Representative Klarides.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The esteemed Majority Leader of the 1st District of the great City of Hartford, Representative Ritter, you have the floor.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move adoption of the emergency certified resolution before us. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the emergency certified resolution before us. Will you remark? Representative Ritter, you have the floor.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, the document in front of everybody is the call for the special session. It has been done in a bipartisan way and I'd be glad to take any questions. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Just as a matter of practice, when this vote is taken, it will be taken by roll, even though it's a resolution, it is one of great importance. Will you remark further on the resolution before us? I see Representative Davis standing and prepared. Representative Davis, you do now have the floor, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And certainly, after many months of work here, it's disappointing that we have to call ourselves back into special session, but we do recognize the fact that there are many important pieces of business before us that still need to be handled before the end of this fiscal year. And we look forward to continuing to work on a bipartisan basis in order to do so.

However, after reviewing this call to special session, I notice that there is a very important issue to a large section of the State of Connecticut and ultimately the entire State of Connecticut that has been left off of this call to session and that would be the issue facing Eastern Connecticut and crumbling foundations. We have been working in a bipartisan manner all year, actually for over a year, trying to come up with legislation to help the individuals that are most effected by crumbling foundations. And I ask that we please consider doing crumbling foundations during this special session as well.

So, Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 8859. Would you please ask the Clerk to call it and I be allowed to summarize?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease. Representative Davis. The House will return to order. [Gavel]

Representative Davis, I truly appreciate your patience. You did ask for the Clerk to call LCO No. 8859; is that correct, sir?

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

All right. Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 8859, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule A?

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 8859, offered by Representative Vail, Representative Davis, et al.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment. Is there objection to summarization? Hearing none, Representative Davis, please proceed, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This amendment is pretty simple. It just adds to the call of our special session bills concerning crumbling foundations and I move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. The question before us is on adoption of the amendment. Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate my good friend, Representative Davis for bringing this forward. The Senate sent this down last night, which doesn't preclude us from mending the call of the special session, but we would have to send it back up if we were to add anything to it. But let me give some assurances to everybody in this room because this is not a Republican issue or Democratic issue, it is a bipartisan issue. And I live in the City of Hartford and it probably doesn't affect any homes in Hartford, but it affects our state. It affects homeowners in our state and; therefore, it affects us all.

And the call of the special session, without a doubt, is broad enough to include the issue of crumbling foundations. I believe it is a state budget impact in line 8, line 10, bills and resolutions needed to implement the state budget which is a very broad language, and I would also point out there is a bond authorization, it's further in the call, in line 12.

So, to the extent we will address this in a special session because it's very important to everybody and if an amendment is filed, we will rule it germane. Everyone has my guarantee on the record of that and I really appreciate everyone's understanding. This is critical. This is not a partisan issue. We will address this. Everyone has my word on the floor of the House of that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Davis of the 57th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And with the Majority Leader's assurance that this crumbling foundation issue will be something that's taken up during this special session that the wait is no longer going to happen for these homeowners across Eastern Connecticut. With that assurance to all of here in this Chamber, I'm willing to withdraw my amendment.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. I very much appreciate it. [Applause]

Will the Clerk please remove the amendment? We're good. On the underlying bill, will you remark further on Senate Joint Resolution 63? Representative Smith of the 108th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. Just a comment, if I may on the resolution. You know, we came into session January 4th with the sole obligation of this Chamber and this assembly to prepare a budget. That was our sole task. We stand here today, June 7th, without a budget. I think it's a failure of the Assembly to actually do that. I understand we now have to go in special session to do what we should have done already. So, I'm disappointed on a whole, on behalf of my constituents in the State of Connecticut, I think we have failed them. So, I just want to put that on the record. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

My very good friend from the 34th District, Representative Ziobron, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, I rise today just to also speak about the things we've been working on here together. The Appropriations Committee, for those who don't serve on the Appropriations Committee, it is an arduous task. We have Sub-Committee, Committee meetings in the months of February, March, and April. Many of us are here probably 10 to 12 hours.

So, I rise today to say, you know, we were committed before. We're doubly committed now. While I certainly am disappointed we're not here with a budget, I just wanted to rise and specifically say how grateful I am to the Republican members and the Democrat members of the Appropriations Committee for the Sub-Committee work we went through. But, of course, I have a particular fondness for my caucus, Mr. Speaker, and I want to say all of the Republican members of the Appropriations Committee how much I appreciated your hard work, your suggestions, and we look forward to continuing those conversations in the special session and I look forward to working with you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Madam, and I understand the fondness for your own caucus. I feel the same way about mine. Totally understandable. Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Members take your seats. The machine will be open.

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. [Ringing]

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 63, Emergency Certification.

Total Number of Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 76

Those Voting Yea 137

Those Voting Nay 10

Those absent and not voting 4

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The resolution is adopted. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 888?

CLERK:

On page 2, House Calendar 88, House Bill No. 7071, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on General Law.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Clerk has a strike-all amendment, LCO 8897, I'd ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 8897, which would be designated House Amendment Schedule A.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 8897, offered by Representative Baram.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is affixed to the bill passed last night for shorthand reporters and court reporters. This bill essentially replaces the language that we eliminated last evening in Bill 191. It creates a certification process through the Department of Consumer Protection for Shorthand Reporters and Court Reporters. It has an application form. It adopts the same fee schedule that was in the existing bill and it also requires an individual to be certified to pass the national exam or to have already been registered as a professional reporter by that organization. Each application is valid for a three-year period and thereafter it's renewed for three-year periods. And the DCP essentially replaces the existing board that exists that oversees this occupation.

I would move for adoption of the amendment and passage of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good morning, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Just a question or two to the proponent, please?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Thank you, sir. To the Chairman of the Great General Law Committee, I see this as a bill that we were looking at late last night, when the hour got too early in the morning. So, I'm happy to bring it up the first thing this morning to get it going. I notice it's five pages of new language. My understanding is this language, most of which already exists in current law, and I just wanted to confirm that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That's correct. It's a reiteration of the existing statute that we deleted last night.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Just one more question, through you, Mr. Speaker. I notice there is some penalty provisions towards the end of the bill. If you fail to comply with the requirements set forth herein, so I'm just, if the Chairman could go through that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Again, this parrots the language that was in the existing statute and what it does is provide a penalty for violations, which are listed in line 91, going forward, things like failure to deliver transcripts in a timely manner, fraudulence, misdirection of monies, and so on. And again, none of these are new items. These were all contained in the existing statute.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Mr. Speaker, I know some of the colleagues here in the Chamber had some concerns with the bill that we passed last night that eliminated the license and requirements for these particular professionals. This bill cures that. It still requires the examination. It requires that they have the skills necessary to perform the work in our courts and depositions and things of that nature. This is a good bill that I believe fixes the issues that some of the concerns that were raised by my colleagues and some of the constituents out there. So, I urge my colleagues to support it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Godfrey of the 110th.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Strange things occur in the General Assembly in the closing days and one of the things happened yesterday, down comes a bill from the other place that is a strike-all that is completely filled with stuff that never was raised before, never had a public hearing, never had a chance for the people who were affected to be able to provide their input to us as to what was going on. By chance, I actually got an email from a constituent who said, “Hey, wait a minute. Have you seen this?” And she is a court reporter, she's a stenographer. And I go, “Whoa, what's going on here?” So, I spent a good part of the day yesterday trying to find out where this, you know, magic amendment came from. And I still, to this minute, have no idea where it came from, what the impetus behind it, why we did it, why it was such an important bill to do this. And, of course, these stenographers, these court reporters, these shorthand reporters are a vital profession to law firms large and small. It's a vital profession to the court system. The subsequent to my constituent's email I got an email from the Connecticut Bar Association who was just completely up in arms because anybody could have just like hung out their shingles and said, “I'm a shorthand reporter. ” Apply for jobs with no idea as to being able to check their credentials. It was a huge mistake, in my humble opinion, Mr. Speaker.

Subsequently, I heard from the Trial Lawyers Association and subsequently I heard from the Connecticut Court Reporters Association. Why we would ever downgrade a profession that is of such importance to the legal system here in the State of Connecticut, in such a stealthy way, is beyond my understanding.

I worked with the distinguished Chairman of the General Law Committee. I really, really appreciate and thank him for being able to bring forth the measure that's before us now. It's not, it doesn't 100% correct the issue, but I think it 75 percent corrects the issue, that's better than 0 percent. I will support the amendment and the bill. But I wish we had never repealed the whole state licensing system. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. CASE (63RD):

You're right, it is afternoon, now. I just wanted to thank the good Chairman for bringing this forward and making, as the good Representative just spoke, you know, a 75 percent correction. We're well on our way. You know, our session ended last night at approximately 2 a. m. My phone didn't stop with the court reporters. But, you know, it's interesting. You find out more and more information. These court reporters just reupped their certification this past January for three years. Yet the bill was going to make it not necessary.

So, I appreciate the hard work of the Co-Chair and the Ranking Member and others that were involved with this to make it a better bill and to make our court systems and our stenographers the ones who have to make the law and the court proceedings done properly. So, I'd just like to, once again, thank the bipartisan effort, especially the Chairman who has worked extremely hard to solve a simple solution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Dillon of the 92nd.

REP. DILLON (92ND):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon, Madam.

REP. DILLON (92ND):

Good afternoon, now. I rise in support of the amendment. I want to thank the Chair so much for being so responsive. I was up in the Senate when some people were putting that amendment together. I think they meant well. They were very zealous about making sure that we have an efficient government. I think some babies went out with that bath water and we didn't really have time to look at all of it. But I think it was well intended. But having worked with the court reporters and worked on their fee schedules and so forth for a number of years, I'm just so impressed that Representative Baram, the Chair, and that other people were so immediately responsive and helpful both in the House and in the Senate too, because we all make mistakes. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

All those opposed, nay? The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. [Gavel] Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? If not, will staff and guests, please come -- Representative Smith of the 108th.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

Mr. Speaker, thank you. I just, you know, I forgot to ask one question to my good colleague over there. I know there is a, in the bill that's proposed before the amendment that's proposed before us here this morning, now this afternoon, I believe there is a recertification requirement every number of years. I think it's three years, if I'm not mistaken. If we can just have that confirmed for the Chamber?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

And I also believe there's some language in there that if they fail to do the certification there is like a grace period in which they can make it up and do so. I think that's an additional two years, if I'm not mistaken; is that correct? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Baram.

REP. BARAM (15TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH (108TH):

I think it's time to pass this bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the bill that is before us? 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 open.

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 MORRIS (140TH):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 7071, as Amended by House A.

Total Number of Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 74

Those Voting Yea 147

Those Voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 4

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The bill as amended is passed. [Gavel] Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Yaccarino of the 87th.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker, good to see you there on the last day of session.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Likewise, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

A special day for me. I'd like a point of personal privilege, through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Today I have in the House Chamber my mom, Mary Yaccarino, who hails from Staten Island, New York, which my good friend, Bill Samanski and my daughter, Carolyn Yaccarino, I'd like to give a warm welcome. And they are here visiting on their last day. My mother is an avid watcher of CTN. She sees most of us here on TV, so give them a warm welcome. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. [Applause]

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Welcome. So glad to have you in the Chamber here with us today. The value of CTA. The Chamber will stand at ease. I'll return to the call of the Calendar. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 619.

CLERK:

On page 30, House Calendar 619, Substitute Senate Bill No. 586, AN ACT EXPANDING MANDATED HEALTH BENEFITS FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND ADOLESCENTS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Insurance and Real Estate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to talk about a very important topic. And it's a topic that's getting a lot of attention lately. It's a topic that I hear about a lot from my constituents and I would venture to say that all of my fellow colleagues hear a lot about. And that's the topic of healthcare and specifically the topic of women's healthcare. And today, the bill that we're going to discuss SB 586 is a very simple presence. It says that no matter what happens in Washington, no matter who our president is, no matter who our congress members are, that the rights that women have to basic and affordable healthcare are preserved in Connecticut law; a very simple premise.

A very simple premise that today many women in our state, 900,000 to be exact, are quite concerned are going to lose that right. Because since 2012, under the Affordable Care Act, 900,000 women in our state have had access to the kinds of basic healthcare that we come to, I hate to say, take for granted. But that many people across our state, before the ACA went into effect, did not take for granted at all. In fact, they paid out-of-pocket incredible sums of money for it. And they sometimes made choices about what they were going to pay for in terms of healthcare in contrasting with paying other bills, like their rent or buying groceries, going out with friends.

The ACA changed all of that. And since 2012, we have had a policy of contraception without copay. But this goes beyond just contraception, it goes to the other healthcare needs of women. Now, it may seem odd that you have a guy standing up here talking about this bill. But this bill is not just about women's healthcare. Because healthy women are a healthy society. Whether it's your sister, your daughter, your wife, your mother, healthy women is a healthy society.

And so again, Mr. Speaker, I say very clearly, this is not about who our president is. This is not about who controls congress. This is about a very simple thing that all of us can do today on a bipartisan basis, just as we did in the Committee. It's to take what has become a right for 900,000 women and write it into CT law.

Now, Mr. Speaker, Connecticut has a long history and a proud history of protecting women's healthcare. In 1935, not too far from where we're all sitting, the first Planned Parenthood in Connecticut opened up. And it opened because women didn't have access to gynecological services that other women had.

On the day that we're standing here today, June 7, 1965, the exact day that we're standing here, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case known as Griswold v. Connecticut, that made Connecticut a famous part of judicial juris prudence history. And if you're not familiar with Griswold, Connecticut, it did a very simple thing. Estelle Griswold, she was the head of Planned Parenthood here in Connecticut, she was arrested for violating a Connecticut law that said she could not help others get access to contraception. She was arrested in our state. And she took her case all the way to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court ruled that her arrest and Connecticut's law was a violation on the right to marital privacy. And since 1965, because of what happened not too far from here in Connecticut, women have had the right to use contraception if they want to. They have that right.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, that right has come under assault lately and all I ask my colleagues for here today is for us to seriously consider the good that we can do together on a bipartisan basis today for Connecticut's women. There's a lot of debate, Mr. Speaker, about the future of the ACA. There's a lot of debate about the history of the ACA. But there is no debate, Mr. Speaker, on the importance of this right. There is no debate on the good that the essential health benefits in this legislation, known as the Affordable Care Act, has done for the women of Connecticut.

And in closing, Mr. Speaker, this bill just does a very, very simple thing. It says to every woman in the State of Connecticut, who is watching this or not watching this, paying attention, worried about this, whatever, it says that no matter what happens in Washington, given all the uncertainty that's happening down there right now as we speak, that they do not have to worry about affording their next visit to the doctor. They do not have to worry about the next time they go to a pharmacy to pick up their prescription. And they do not have to make tough choice between getting healthcare that is a basic fundamental human right and paying for the other things they have to do to support their family, to support their friends, to support their lives because we should not have to have that be a choice that a woman makes in this state. And if we pass this bill, they will not have to.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will you remark further on the bill that's before us? Representative Linehan of the 103rd.

REP. LINEHAN (103RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in very strong support of this bill, not just as a legislator, not just as a woman, not just as someone with many preexisting conditions, and not just as a parent, but someone who understands that this is our fundamental right.

I would like to talk briefly about the other parts of this bill. We focus so much on contraception because that is a hot button issue, but this bill does so much more. This bill would make sure that we have coverage for domestic violence screening, well women visits for women under the age of 65, breast cancer genetic testing, counseling, and risk assessment and chemo prevention counseling, hepatitis B screening for pregnant woman, gestational diabetes screening. These are also services that will be protected for children, preventative services that are in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics, their recommendations, including immunization. There is not one person in this room, male, female, parent, or not, that isn't somehow benefitting by this legislation.

This does not have to be a partisan issue. This does not have to be a women's issue. This, my friends, is a human issue, and I urge support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, Madam. Representative Luxenberg of the 12th.

REP. LUXENBERG (12TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand in strong support of this bill and I'd like to thank the proponent for his good work on moving this important issue forward to ensure that women and children in our state have access to healthcare, excuse me, have unencumbered access to healthcare. This bill provides financial relief for women who may have or maybe diagnosed with a preexisting condition and that they can no longer have their care excluded by their insurance company. As someone who switched insurance companies before the Affordable Care Act, I know the struggles of paying for a condition that my insurance did not cover and the stresses that put on me as a young college graduate with an entry-level position. I urge support of this for all the women and the children in the State of Connecticut. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, Madam. The House will stand at ease. The House will come back to order. Will you remark further on the bill? Representative Sampson of the 80th, good afternoon, sir.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. I thank the good Chairman of the Insurance Committee for his introduction on the bill. And I have some more or less technical questions about the language that's contained therein, and I'd like to talk a little bit more about the philosophy behind it. But I want to start by saying that I'm certain that every member of this Chamber is concerned about the health of our citizens and certainly the health of our women citizens as well. There's just an underlying philosophy about whether or not we should be telling citizens and businesses, in this case insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and so forth, what type of coverages they ought to be providing or whether we should be leaving the choice to those businesses and the consumers to help develop products that have the items that they think are important to them.

We know that we have a serious problem in this country and absolutely in our state about the cost of healthcare and the cost of healthcare insurance. And one of the main drivers of those costs are the actions of this legislature. We are one of the states that has the most insurance mandates in the entire country. An insurance mandate, essentially, is a law that requires an insurance company to provide certain coverages so they do not have a choice. There are certain people who might not want to purpose those coverages because of the cost, but when we tell the insurance company they must provide it, that means every consumer must also pay. And, of course, every insurance mandate that ever comes before us is a good thing because it's providing some additional health insurance benefit for the person with the policy. The problem is that each one of them also costs money and drives up the cost of premiums. And when we drive up the cost of premiums, there's only a few things that can happen. Either, one, people cannot afford to buy insurance and they go without, which defeats the entire purpose of providing the coverage and its access to begin with or the other taxpayers, the other rate payers, have to subsidize that additional cost of insurance.

So, this is a battle we have every year in this legislature when bills come before the Insurance Committee and this Chamber to decide what things are important, what things we must mandate to make sure that insurance companies are providing adequate coverage and what things should be left up to consumers and companies to decide on their own.

When Obama Care came along, essentially it took a great deal of that choice away from the individual states and said that many, many, many things have to be covered. In some cases, we had more coverage in our state then what Obama Care would require and in some cases, we had less. But the ultimate result was that coverage became much, much more expensive.

I'm going to go talk about the substance of the bill briefly, but I want to come back to this philosophy because it's important. I almost got ahead of myself by talking about the tremendous rate increases that have occurred just in the last year, I think 35 percent in some cases for the cost of various health insurance premiums. That is an unstainable thing and I think that's why you saw citizens across our country very much in favor of repealing the mandates that occur under the Obama Care policy.

So, Mr. Speaker, a couple of questions for the opponent, through you. In Section 1 of the bill, I'm hoping the good Chairman of the Insurance Committee can tell me what the significance of the word “shall” is?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, which line are you referring to? Which line is the gentleman referring to?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Mr. Speaker, that is line 5.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The “shall” in this case requires that the insurance policy in this specific section on the individual health insurance policy shall provide coverage, meaning that they will pay for coverage for those enumerated services throughout Section 1.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I bring that up just to point out that this is the very definition of an insurance mandate. When we tell an insurance company that they shall provide coverage, not that they may provide coverage, not that that can be in the product offerings, but that they have to provide this coverage and; therefore, charge for the premium. There are a number of shalls throughout this bill. I just pulled that one out as the first instance.

The next several lines talk about the exact types of coverage that shall be mandated to be provided by the insurance companies. And again, all of us would agree that these are good things that people should have, domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling, tobacco use intervention, well women visits, breast cancer, chemo prevention counseling, breast cancer risk assessment, chlamydia infection screening, cervical and vaginal cancer screening, gonorrhea screening, human immunodeficiency virus screening, human or HPV virus screening, sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women, anemia screening, folic acid supplements for pregnant women and women that might become pregnant, hepatitis B screenings, syphilis screenings, urinary tract screenings, breast feeding support and counseling, breast feeding supplies, screening for certain types of diabetes, osteoporosis screening. That is a pretty long list of mandates. All good things that I would hope that people have access to in our society to purpose coverage for protection against.

There are some that would try and make this argument about access. But it's not about access. Because everyone has access. These coverages are available to be purchased everywhere. The question is whether or not they are mandated to be provided and that people, whether they want to or not, must pay for them to exist.

In Section 3, and several other sections actually, there are references to deductibles. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Are there any deductibles for the coverage that I just listed?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Scanlon.

REP. SCANLON (98TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. It depends on the item. But the beauty of the list of things that you just enumerated when it comes to preventative care, is that it's not a new mandate because it's already covered under the Affordable Care Act. And all we're doing by talking about this bill here today, is ensuring that whatever the fate of the ACA is in Washington, won't matter to Connecticut women because they will know that the rights that they currently have and the preventative care that they're currently getting is going to continue being offered to them at no cost, in most cases here at the preventative level, should the ACA be repealed. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thanks to the Chairman for that answer. So, I don't know of any item on here that actually has a deductible. I believe they are all zero deductible, which clearly is beneficial to folks that are on a limited income or are on a fully-subsidized plan, so that there is absolutely no out-of-pocket expense for them. And I can understand there are people in our society that we definitely need to take care of and that may be a very, very good thing. But there are plenty of people that are more than happy to take a few bucks out of their pocket to voluntarily pay for their contraception and things like that that might help drive down the cost of insurance. And with this bill, we are unfortunately taking away the choice and the freedom of consumers and insurance companies to come to terms on what products they want to buy.

I notice throughout this bill that it says screening, coverage, et cetera, for women, which I have no objection to. But my concern is, why we are taking such lengths and efforts to provide coverages and we are specifically saying for women and not for all people?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Sampson, will you yield to the Majority Leader?

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Sure.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Without objection, the bill will be passed temporarily. The House will stand at ease. We will return to the Call of the Calendar. Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 591.

CLERK:

On page 27, Calendar 591, Substitute Senate Bill No. 445. AN ACT CONCERNING FAIRNESS IN PHARMACY AND PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGER CONTRACTS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is an important consumer protection bill that speaks to a number of different circumstances in healthcare where the consumer's needs need to be protected. Mr. Speaker, if I could get the attention of the Chamber.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

[Gavel] If we can just calm down a little bit, so we can allow everyone in the Chamber to hear the discussion or debate would be worthwhile.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Proceed, Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

I appreciate it. This bill relates to the practices of pharmacies, pharmacies benefit managers, insurance companies, and hospitals, particularly in the context of their outpatient facilities. The Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 7774. I ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 7774, previously designated Senate Amendment A.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 7774, offered by Senator Looney, Senator Fasano, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

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

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I said previously, the amendment that we have before us expands the scope of the bill beyond its original discussion of pharmacy and pharmacy benefits managers to talk about transparency and disclosure into the hospital setting and the facility setting and several other things that relate to insurance companies and disclosure. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule, previously set at A. Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you. Good to see you there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Likewise.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if the good Chair would inform the Chamber as to what is there in the amendment to give us a brief synopsis so then we can discuss this at length because as the good Chair said, this is an extremely important bill, it has lots of plusses for that, but there are some concerns about this bill as well. So, I think it is our duty to make sure that we flush through the various components of this bill as amended in the Senate.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the opportunity to give you further background about all of the elements of this bill.

As the good Representative mentioned, it is far reaching. It initially was intended to make sure that pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers could not keep from a consumer the actual price or costs of a particular drug to their benefit. In other words, if there was a way to obtain that medication at a lower price, that information needed to be disclosed. And it also speaks to the relationship between pharmacy benefit managers and insurers so that they don't enter into contracts that would forbid disclosure of that kind of information and there are a few elements that relate to that.

Secondly, it provides standing, legal standing for someone who feels that they have been disadvantaged by pricing policies for suing the manufacturer even if they are not the direct purchaser.

In other words, if there is some middleman and their harm was done indirectly, they might still have standing in context. I'm sure we'll discuss that further. And then it also, other sections deal with a very important issue, which is the exchange of electronic medical information, making sure that the critical information hospitals maintain can be effectively and securely communicated to various other parties to benefit the patients. So, it clarifies some of those rules and then lastly, it gets into the broad subject of facility fees, which we know is a growing occurrence that hospitals have various entities that are not part of the hospital proper, in which they may be able to charge facility fees and we also want to make it very clear to people that that could happen when they are advantaging themselves of services to give full disclosure and to make sure they have all the information they need before they make a decision to avail themselves of the services at an outpatient facility. I think that will do as a summary for the short term.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do want to thank the good Chair for giving us a wonderful overview of this very complex bill. As the good Chair said, it has different parts to that, it impacts facility fees, it talks about medical records going back and forth and, of course, it talks about the pharmacy and the pharmacy managers. And I want to thank the good Chair for giving us this overview. And through you now, Mr. Speaker, if you could be kind enough to have this debate on the various parts of this complex bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

I'm uncertain of the gentleman's request.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, if the good Chair can explain to us, in this bill, would the consumer have the opportunity to go up to the pharmacist and ask the pharmacist what is the real cost of the drug that is being prescribed to them?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. As I understand it, if I go to the pharmacy and pick up and antibiotic, I can then ask as a consumer, I can ask the pharmacist, “What is the actual cost of the drug?”

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I might characterize it a little differently. I think you can ask the pharmacy person whether there are alternatives that might be at different prices or costs that might provide you with a cost advantage.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, so that I get this clear. So, what the consumer is asking the pharmacist is, if a generic drug is available and what cost that would be and if the person chooses not to go for a generic drug in that case, what the cost of the drug is? Is that what we are trying to address in this legislation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, I appreciate the question because it helps us focus on legislative intent in this instance. The goal is to make sure the consumer is aware of his or her choices in obtaining and appropriate medication at the lowest cost. So, this is a bill intended to provide full disclosure and to forbid a pharmacy or pharmacy benefits manager from withholding such information.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. We are well aware of healthcare costs and no matter what we try to do and I know we all as a Chamber try to be as efficient and cost aware as possible. But in spite of that, we all know the harsh reality that the costs are escalating, pharmacy costs are definitely escalating. So, it is important for the consumer to be aware of alternatives, I get that, it is definitely important. But I just want to make sure that what we are asking of the pharmacist in terms of cost is it the cost for the alternative compared to if it is not the generic or are we asking for the actual cost of the medicine itself to the pharmacy?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I'll try to answer the question as well as I can. The objective is to make sure that not only are they aware of the price for that which the prescribing practitioner put forward, but they are aware of other options that are equivalent in efficacy and safety that may have different prices, whether they be generic or something other, that generic is probably the most obvious example, such that can make an informed choice, make sure they get the right product for the lowest possible price.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I get that and that's a good intent because as a consumer you and I and the good Chair when we go to get our medications, you know, we want to make sure we get it at the best price and price necessarily does not always translate to quality, we know that as well. We can always go for a low price, but then you always run the risk factor, or you need to be aware at least that's a choice you made, a choice that I made for the fact that I'm getting something maybe less effective but you know what, I'll take it because that's all I can afford at this point in time.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. What will happen if this legislation moves forward as far as the conversation between the consumer, you and me and the Chair and the pharmacist on the other side, when they go to pick up a prescription?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I would like to clarify what I believe the good Representative said. One thing that every consumer should be very much confident about is that when alternatives to the initially prescribed medication are offered to an individual, that that represents the full protections of all the protocols and policies of the Food and Drug Administration and that nothing can be offered that is not equivalent in efficacy and safety and that they will not be put at risk in terms of quality as it was put forward. What we're trying to accomplish here is to make sure that there is a brief dialogue between the pharmacist and the individual so that they are made aware that there are other choices and these are other safe choices they could be making that may actually provide them a benefit on cost. The products must be totally equivalent in every other way.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. You know, when we are here as Representatives, you know, all of us have different backgrounds. We come from different professional backgrounds and obviously sometimes that background is an advantage and sometimes the fact that you don't have the background you obviously have to learn, be a fast learner. And in the past, over the last many years, especially when it comes to legal issues. I'm trying to catch up and trying to get on to speed and I always am very thankful when the other attorneys in our Chamber, both sides of the aisle, educate us with the right intent, not talking down to us, but educate us so that we all make informed decisions and that's the whole idea of the Chamber and that's the point of having, you know, a Chamber which is so wide in terms of its depth, depth of reach so we are citizen legislators and that's the advantage.

Having said that, since I happen to be a practicing physician for over 30 plus years now, I do understand what the good Chair is telling us that when we go for a medication, medication A and medication B are equal in terms of every sense of the word, it has gone through due process, it has gone through the approval. But I do want to -- I would like to inform you and the Chair and the Chamber that again and again on a repeated basis, patients will come back and tell their providers that when a generic was substituted, they don't feel the same efficacy, whether it be an inhaler, whether it be an antibiotic or it be any psychiatric medication, so on and so forth, and this is what we hear on a daily basis.

So, you're right, your absolutely right, that theoretically, it is the same. We are not selling something that is not having the same efficacy, the same potency, 100 mg is 100 mg, 20 mg is 20 mg, we get that. But unfortunately, reality is that patients do notice that difference. So, having lived that, or sorry, not lived, continuing to live that, continuing to live that in my profession, through you, Mr. Speaker, when a consumer goes to the pharmacy and says that this inhaler, let's say costs $ 100, you can take the inhaler which is the same potency as a generic and it will cost you $ 60; is that the information that we're trying to get to our consumers in this legislation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I very much appreciate the good Representative's discussion about expertise. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry myself, I know a little bit about how it's supposed to operate. The good Representative makes a good point that sometimes generics do not seem to have the same effect. We also understand when it comes to prescribing medications that there are always individual differences in how someone reacts to a particular medication. And what's most important is if that circumstance happens where they don't feel they are getting the same response that they had had on another drug, is to have that conversation with their prescribing practitioner. That's a critical interaction. And by no means is this conversation with the pharmacist in any way a substitute for that ongoing dialogue to make sure the drug is having its intended effect. The good Representative raises a valid point, FDA I think does a pretty good job of monitoring generics and compounding agencies, but that is not always something that works out 100% of the time.

So, if I understand the good Representative's question, what we're trying to accomplish here is to provide an opportunity for disclosure as it relates to alternatives that are appropriate as per the formulary and the pharmacist has knowledge about the similarity, the equivalency of these medications, such that when the pharmacist offers up an alternative, he does so with the expectation it will have the same efficacy and safety.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Full disclosure, transparency, is all that we are all about. You know, we all agree on one thing in the Chamber, regardless of which aisle we are sitting at, that we want disclosure, we want transparency, not just in this bill. We had this intense debate yesterday and we've had this now for the last couple of weeks, ever since we have been coming to the Chamber on a regular basis in the last couple of weeks.

So, I'm all for transparency. I'm all for disclosure, no question about that at all. It is what is common, the common bond between each and every legislator both upstairs and here. But through you, Mr. Speaker, I just want to make sure that when you or I, as a consumer, go in front of the pharmacy, pharmacist, and just showing our prescription as we do right now and the pharmacist fills the prescription and then, of course, you pay whatever you need to pay, your copay, whether it be five dollars to twenty five to fifty, that's what's happening right now. And, of course, you get this print out of the medication, advantages, what are the side effects, what to look for and all of that, and that is by and large 80 percent or 90 percent of the time the interaction between A, the consumer and B, the pharmacist.

With this legislation is there any change? Is there any requirement on the part of the pharmacist to engage the consumer in a conversation other than pleasantries?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. It's an interesting question that you pose. I would surmise that the interactions will remain roughly the same. But what's important is if the consumer is interested in considering alternatives, the pharmacist must disclose those alternatives and cannot enter into any agreement that would prohibit him from sharing that information.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

[Gavel] Excuse me. I'd ask the Chamber if we would just calm our voices down and take our loud conversations outside of the Chamber. Thank you, so the gentlemen can hear each other. Proceed, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

I've concluded.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. So, when the consumer goes in front of the pharmacist and gives, hands in a prescription for an antibiotic, and by and large, the reason I chose antibiotic as an example, that's one which always has, most of the times, an equivalent generic, same potency, same everything as far as the drug is concerned.

So, when the consumer presents the prescription and the pharmacist takes it, fills it, and gives it back, and as I said, obviously, you go back to the same pharmacy over many years, you have developed a relationship and, of course, you exchange pleasantries about the weather, health, so on and so forth, that's what happens now.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Does that change with this legislation?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you. It's interesting that the good Representative chooses antibiotics, which is a particularly challenging area because we know that people have different reactions to antibiotics. And that's a particularly important example. To answer the question, through you. I would say that the interaction is materially the same. But with the opportunity to extend it pretty much at the consumer's benefit and desire.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good Chair for clarifying that. Because that was my concern, that is my concern, that is my concern. So, as I see it now, if you and I go present the prescription and the pharmacist fills it and there is no discussion about prices at all, because what you are paying what I'm paying or anybody else behind us in line are paying is the copay, whatever the copay is, you pay the copay, pick up the prescription, obviously read the side effects, so on and so forth, and head out. And you do not engage in a conversation about price. Through you, Mr. Speaker, is that any different with this legislation, if the consumer does not begin a conversation regarding alternatives and regarding prices?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I think that pretty much sums it up. I guess if the consumer, when presented with the bill says, “$ 50, that's a lot of money. ” Maybe that would stimulate a conversation on the pharmacist's side. But I think that pretty much describes it.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I do get that. And I stand in line and people are startled and I might be hearing that you and I are paying $ 5 for our copay and when they go to get their prescriptions it's $ 25 to $ 50. So, I definitely see that. But through you, Mr. Speaker, if copay is all that the consumer is paying and that's where I don't understand this bill. If copay is what the consumer is paying, unless the consumer is interested in the actual cost, what is the conversation between the consumer and the pharmacist?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, I imagine if it's a modest copay, it's unlikely that the conversation would go much beyond that. But as the good Representative knows, there are real differences in the packages that insurers offer their customers in terms of not only what the copay is, but what the premium would be, and what's in the formulary. So, sometimes it gets pretty complex and it is, I suppose, conceivable that a copay could be high enough that they might want to consider alternatives.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. As we speak now, if a pharmacist substitutes a generic and we'll go back to our classic example of an antibiotic because they are generics, very potent generics, equally potent as far as the antibiotics are concerned; so, if a generic is substituted, will the pharmacist have to inform the consumer for transparency that they have not filled the prescription as requested, but has replaced it with a generic?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, I believe that's current practice.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. If there is no cost difference to the consumer, to the consumer, as far as a copay is concerned and you and I as average consumers obviously do not know what the medicine costs, we only know what you and I pay, which is obviously the copay. So, the consumer, you, me, and the Chair, are not aware of the cost of the medicine. We only know that if I go for a generic, I pay $ 5 copay and if I opt out of a generic, I have to pay a higher copay and maybe it's $ 10 or $ 20. So, that's what the consumer knows at this point in time; does that change?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I do believe that's probably the most typical and common kind of circumstance. But as I described, it is not a replacement for the kind of dialogue a consumer needs to have with their practitioner with regard to the use of generics versus other alternatives. Continuity of care really describes communication and I think that that is implicit in this bill, that that still obtains and remains important.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. What then information would a pharmacist have to give to the consumer that is not happening now that we need this legislation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. As I believe I've said before, the pharmacist must be able and willing to disclose, upon request, alternatives that may offer a benefit on the bottom line. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, the operative word is “upon request. ” So, if no request is made, we leave it to the discretion of the pharmacist to either give the prescription as it is, talk about a generic, the advantages, what could be possible limitations, if any at all, and let the informed consumer decide as to which of the two that they are ready to pick up from the counter that day?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, I believe that the ideal circumstance would be that the pharmacist has the opportunity to, and has some understanding of the customer's needs and would be looking out for their best interest. Pharmacists have significant training and background and confidence and understanding, drug interactions and alternatives, but that unless a real option presents itself, it's perhaps unlikely that they would have an extended conversation.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. When the consumer goes to the pharmacy, has a discussion with the pharmacist about the choices that they have, choices they could have, the pharmacist then will discuss with them, and that happens right now. It happens right now. Because the prescription that they brought from the provider, all right, now it's all E-Script, so whatever has been sent in an E-Script form to the pharmacy will say that the person can use, as prescribed, it does not say that a generic cannot be substituted in most of the prescriptions, the generic can be substituted is not mentioned, which gives the pharmacist the flexibility, gives the pharmacist the latitude to use either the generic or the non-generic. That's what is common practice. That's what happens right now, which all of us can leave it because we know as a consumer we have that option. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, what I don't get is what does this legislation change as far as a conversation between the consumer and the pharmacist?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. And I appreciate the opportunity for some clarification. I'd say two things. First of all, there are in existence today contractual arrangements particularly with pharmacy benefit managers and insurers that forbid such disclosure and that's an important thing that we're changing here.

And secondly, it's conceivable that a copay for a particular drug could actually be higher than the cost of the drug without a copay, such that that information might be of real value to the consumer to be aware of.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, as I see and I was getting there and I'm glad the Chairman brought up that important difference between a conversation between a consumer and the pharmacist, which is what we were alluding to so far. And on the other hand, the conversation that is restricted and we do not want that. We do not want restriction at all. We want transparency. We want full disclosure as far as the efficacy. And for you and I, the informed consumer, to make the decision. So, what I'm hearing now, it is the contracts between the insurer and the pharmacy benefit manager that restricts such an open discussion between the pharmacist and the consumer?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, I would say that that is a key characteristic of this bill is to make sure such arrangements are not made. But I would add that by passing this legislation, the intent would be certainly a pharmacist would be made aware of the fact that they're enabled to have this conversation and it may have an impact on the process itself.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. We talked about where we are right now, where without this legislation the pharmacist can give the consumer the option. The consumer then makes a decision and, of course, that is followed through when the consumer goes back to the healthcare provider as to what was prescribed, what was actually picked up at the pharmacy and what the either positive or the negative impact of the medication. All of that happens right now. And I don't see any problem with that as such. Occasionally, occasionally, we will get calls from the pharmacy as a provider and I'm sure other providers in the room will agree to that as well that we will get a call saying, “Is it okay to substitute?” Because it is not clear in the prescription can they or they cannot. So, all of that is happening right now. So, what we are referring to is the handcuffing of the pharmacist by the insurer on the one hand and the pharmacy product manager in conjunction not giving the freedom to the pharmacist for full disclosure?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Pretty much.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Now, that we've identified, it's not so much at the pharmacy level, but it is A, the insurer and B, the pharmacy benefit manager who are involved in what can or cannot be disclosed at the pharmacy level. If the good Chair can tell us, in this legislation, what is being changed so that full disclosure is there?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. To clarify, yes, it prohibits such agreements or contracts between insurers and pharmacy and pharmacy benefits managers that would keep them from disclosing the information we've been discussing at length. So, first of all, it makes sure that that cannot happen in the first place and it also talks about repercussions should they fail to honor that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. As we stand right now, if an insurance company requests or requires is probably a better choice of words rather than request, if it requires that such information as far as the cost should not be, cannot be shared with the consumer, if that's the agreement between the insurer and the pharmacy and, of course, the pharmacy manager, the middle person there, if such an agreement exists, what we are trying to do here is make sure that those agreements are null and void and moving forward those agreements cannot be made?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, such agreements will be deemed void and unenforceable.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Are these agreements A, from a cost point of view, from a financial point of view or B, is it from effectiveness point of view?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I'm not sure that I could necessarily fully represent the conversations between insurers and these PBMs, but I would surmise that it's primarily related to money as everything usually is.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. As we are standing here, there could be contracts out there between the insurer, between the PBM, and I want to thank the good Chair for giving that PBM, that's a lot easier to say than the full name, I appreciate that. So, between the insurer and the PBM, that will restrict for the pharmacist to inform you, me, and the Chair, as far as alternatives are concerned when we go as a consumer to fill our prescriptions?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. If I understand the good Representative correctly, that is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. Moving forward, those inhibitions, those restrictions cannot apply anymore if this legislation moves forward?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. As a consumer, how can you and I or anyone know that what was being told to us, informed to us, when we go to pick up a prescription that it is this new legislation now and there is no handcuffing between the insurer, the PBM, and the pharmacy? Through you, Mr. Speaker, as a consumer?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Well, I'll certainly tell everybody I can.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Maybe the good Chair can expand on that about me telling everybody?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. There is not, I believe, a specific provision perhaps -- could I have a moment, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The House will stand at ease.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

If I might continue?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

The House will come back to order. You may proceed, Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

I can't seem to find a specific reference with regard to the communication of this change, but perhaps that exists.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. How would we implement when a consumer is not informed of these alternatives? Are we putting a mandate on our pharmacists, on our pharmacy staff that any time and every time a prescription is being filled, they will automatically have to look at alternatives and then have a discussion with the consumer about the alternatives?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. No, I would not characterize it quite in that fashion. You know, the wonderful dialogue we've been having here for the past, I don't know how many minutes, really describes the importance of the opportunity for dialogue between the pharmacist and the consumer. And that the pharmacist will certainly be inclined to adhere to the letter of the law, if we should pass this legislation, and would be the ones most likely to open the subject and engage if the circumstance was appropriate.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. We may have the best of intentions, we always do. Most of us always get up in the morning every day and say, “I'm going to do the best that I can. ” And having said that, through you, Mr. Speaker, if that information is not passed on to the consumer, to every consumer, every single consumer on the daily basis in a busy pharmacy where you see, I'm sure you've observed this many times, four or five people standing in line to get their prescriptions and everybody kind of, you know, kind of a little fidgety because of the long wait.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Are we going to be expecting that when a prescription is being filled that now with this legislation we will have a dialogue between the pharmacist and the consumer?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. And I really appreciate the question from the good Representative because I've stood in those lines trying to get a prescription filled and noted the occasions in which the pharmacist engages the patient or the consumer in extended dialogue. I really have confidence in the professionalism and the training and the integrity of the pharmacist to make sure that if that conversation is appropriate, that conversation takes place.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The conversation that our good Chair is alluding to so far what it would have been would be, what is the drug, how it has got to be taken, and what probably could be the interactions because a lot of people take a lot of medications and you just want to make sure that you, that the consumer is aware of possible interactions and, of course, a long list of side effects. So, that's the conversation that we have had, that we have right now as we stand in lines.

So, in this piece of legislation, what is it that we're adding to the pharmacists in engaging the consumer?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That would be the discussion of alternatives and alternative costs.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. This added discussion of alternatives, alternative costs and, of course, now, it is not just the medication that is prescribed, you now have to talk about the efficacy of the medication prescribed, the interactions, the side effects, and now another discussion, a second discussion of the alternatives; is that what we are requesting or we are mandating of our pharmacists?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I believe I've said it's the circumstance that would spark the conversation only in the instance where it would be appropriate for the pharmacist to share that information. Right now, they are constrained in some cases. We are actively removing that constraint and saying that such a constraint should not exist. But once again, we are confident in the professionalism of the pharmacist to bring it up in the appropriate context. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. As we are all aware of even in generics there are multiple choices within the generic family for the same medication. So, you have medication A, and that medication could have generic B, C, D, and E. Through you, Mr. Speaker. If multiple generic possibilities exist, would all of that have to be discussed with the consumer both in terms of efficacy and B, in terms of cost?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. If it should be appropriate, it's the pharmacist's responsibility to share all the relevant information about these choices. But it does not effectively change the nature of the interaction otherwise. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. As I understand it, if cost is no different between generic A, B, C, and D, it is up to the pharmacist's discretion to prescribe or dispense, not prescribe, dispense, dispense generic A or generic B?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I imagine that's probably the prevalent circumstance unless, of course, the practitioner stipulates a specific generic in his orders.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. In this legislation, would the different generics, would they have to be changed, have they to be discussed with the consumer or we leave it to the discretion, as I said, of the pharmacist?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. A good question. The chain of communication remains very important, that's why we have such a good system assuring that the practitioner's wishes are effectively and timely communicated to the pharmacist. So, the pharmacist is aware of precisely the intent of the practitioner and then follows the established and effective protocols for having the communication with the customer themselves. And this is consistent with that entire process. But as I mentioned, adds to it the prospect of a conversation about totally equal, equivalent in efficacy and safety products that may offer a lower price. That's all this does.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Between an insurer and a PBM and the third person in this chain, the pharmacist, in that combination, through you, Mr. Speaker, they have agreed behind closed doors with one of the contracts they've agreed and signed upon, that this is the medicine that is going to be used because it is most cost effective as far as the pharmacist, as far as the PBM, and as far as the insurer is concerned. So, they have come up with the plan that let us all use generic A, because that is most cost efficient to them, through the three arms that we are talking about. Will that have to be informed to the consumer if this legislation moves forward?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Mr. Speaker, through you, I'm not sure I really fully grasped the question. If the good Representative wouldn't mind repeating it?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Srinivasan, if you will restate your question.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

I definitely will, Mr. Speaker. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Between the insurer, the PBM, and the pharmacy, the chain, you know, obviously if the pharmacist is at the front end, but behind him or her is the chain that they are working for, so at the corporate level of the pharmacy, at their level, you know, discussions are made and they come up with contracts, they sign, they agree, it is agreed and finally sign up a contract, and all of that happens obviously at a corporate level, behind closed doors. But when you and I as a consumer go to the pharmacy and have to deal with the pharmacist, what the pharmacist has been asked to dispense because it is most profitable to the three arms that we have talked about, the insurer, the PBM as well as a pharmacy chain, will in this legislation anything change when alternative A is used instead of alternative B, given the fact that efficacy is the same?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORRIS (140TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The good Representative asks a very complex question, which I believe I've fathomed at this juncture. I would start by saying that this system that we have currently, which allows insurers and corporate entities other than directly with the patient or a customer themselves is a feature of our healthcare system that, in my opinion, could be improved upon. It doesn't always necessarily serve the best interest of the patient because of the profit motive.

So, I think the good Representative raises a good question about the behind closed doors. Most of us, despite what some people would like to believe, are not in a position to really discriminate the fine print of the healthcare coverage they receive, which perhaps may be intentional on the part of the insurer. But unfortunately, this is the system we have and the customer is not always aware of the choices or the decisions made as to what appears on the formulary, what equivalents may be made available and at what cost. It is an unreasonably complicated system that I would like to see changed some time in the future.

So, to the good Representative's question, yes, I do believe that this interaction may not fully disclose all of the information that the customer would ideally like to have; if that answers his question.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, good to see you there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Good afternoon to you, and nice to see you, as well.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Please proceed.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. We are all concerned and have to be about the bottom line as to the end of the day what does that medicine cost for the production and what does it finally cost at the time of it being dispensed? Obviously, you can see there is going to be a huge margin there and that's life, that doesn't happen only with medicines, it happens with anything and everything that you and I buy out, go out and buy. So, that's how it is.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. Given the complexity here that it is efficacy that you're dealing with, you're dealing with generics and non-generics, and you're dealing with individual responses. You may react adversely, unfortunately to the same generic that I have no problems with at all. And it is a fact of life. It happens. And as the good Chair said, it's the discretion of the healthcare provider then we'll have to decide moving forward, make sure that you do not get this generic and insist on getting either B, or C, we get that. So, cost is a factor here, bottom line is what we are talking about. But my concern in this, which is a great objective, who would not want to cut down the cost of healthcare. We all of us agree on that.

But my concern is that what are we asking? I'm concerned about the ask of our pharmacists and what are they going to be liable for if they do not have such a conversation, when requested by each customer, day in and day out?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I do not imagine that this effectively changes their liability in terms of providing good information to consumers. They have that obligation already. And to the good Representative's point, we count on in a very complex system that all the players that take care of the consumer are looking out for their interests and that they are following protocols, that we have good laws, that we have good regulation enforcement at the FDA level and at the state level, and that there are, if all else fails, effective legal recourse when that is not adhered to.

But the key aspect of this is to reinforce the importance of communication, the backbone of continuity of care that really looks out for the patient's safety. And in this case, that is all in place. All we're adding in this case is that if there is an alternative that is equivalent in efficacy and safety and is somewhat lower in cost, that information is provided. Everything else that we count on in our system to protect the interest of the consumer remains in place.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In the real world that we all live in, between the insurer, between the PBM and the corporate pharmacies that now we all have to deal with, whether it be the Walgreens, the CVS's, you know, so those are the entities that we are talking about here, the huge chains.

So, when they have all got together, the three of them and have decided that they are going to have generic A on their shelves, generic B, generic C, exist for the same medicine, and we all know they do, but it is for their bottom line, corporate world has decided that they are going to put out generic A. But now with this piece of legislation, will the consumer, whose been getting a good deal, the consumer is not gouged at all, he's been getting a good deal, but the consumer is not given the opportunity of a conversation about generic B, generic C; will that change with this legislation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, in the course of this extended conversation, I realize I share the good Representative's concern and sensitivity on behalf of the customer in all of this, but also for the pharmacist to make sure that they are well protected. You know, I really wish I could solve the good Representative's issues. I wish I had an amendment before me today that would bring Connecticut into some equivalent of a single payer system, so we could get around all of this insurance stuff. I don't have such an amendment. I do have another amendment I'd like to call at some point, but I don't have that amendment.

So, I think this is the system we have. I think this bill respects and acknowledges the existing system for its benefits and its inherent flaws and it provides an added value to the customer in that they are made aware of something that would benefit them.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. My concern is it is the perception that we have in this bill that we are helping the consumer and, in reality, we may not be making any difference at all. I'm not saying we're hurting them in any way, far from that, but the whole point of this legislation moving forward is to go from status, go where we are to move forward to a better place to be in. And I do not see here that when there are multiple options, multiple alternatives, given the system that we have; A, with copays, and multiple generics being available that this is going to change effectively what the consumer gets and make a difference as far as healthcare costs are concerned.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In this legislation moving forward, it is necessary for the pharmacist, as I understand it and I want to make sure that's what is intended in the legislation, that if the drug actually costs to the pharmacist less than what the copay is, the pharmacist has to inform that to the patient and make the necessary cost adjustments.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I know you were surprised and a little bit taken aback when I made that and I'm sure now that the good Chair has said that that is a part of the legislation, it is, it is a part of this legislation.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. When I go in, when you go in to fill your prescription, your copay happens to be unfortunately $ 50. You know, some of us have those kinds of copays. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. If the copay is $ 50, and the pharmacist, the cost for the pharmacist happens to be $ 45, what then happens with this legislation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A good question. If the cost to the customer for the drug is lower than that of the copay, for whatever reason, it would be important for the pharmacist to disclose that information to the consumer so they can make that choice.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Cost is a four- letter word, but it is very extensive in terms of what it includes and maybe to some point, what it may not include. Through you, Mr. Speaker. How does one know what is the cost of a medication to a pharmacy?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I don't think I know.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. That's where I have some difficulty with this legislation as well. We do not know how to define cost to the pharmacy, but we are requesting, not requesting here, we are mandating, we are requiring that the pharmacist inform the customer that the cost of the medication happens to be $ 40, your copay happens to be $ 50, and so, you can get it for $ 40; is that right? Is that my assessment of this legislation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I hope we're not becoming somewhat confused with the distinction between cost to the pharmacist and price to the consumer because they are not synonymous and that the contractual arrangements that are part of the insurance plan in the case that such a plan exists, explicitly stipulate what the price to the consumer is, which I'm sure must take into some account what the cost of the product is to the pharmacist. But I can't tell you precisely what is the nature of the relationship between cost and price. What we're focused on here today is price to the customer.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the good Chair for the distinction because that is important and that's where we were slowly in this short conversation we've had so far. And moving forward in this very important conversation we are having today, there is a big difference between cost and price to the consumer and that's not only for pharmacy or pharmaceuticals, it is across the board.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. What are we referring to when the pharmacist has to inform the patient? Is it the cost or is it the price to the consumer?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, there's a certain amount of chatter that I didn't hear the good Representative's question.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

[Gavel] Ladies and gentlemen, Representative Steinberg could not hear the good ranking member's questions. Please keep your conversations to a dull roar. Would you mind rephrasing that question, restating it, please?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Not at all, Mr. Speaker. In fact, I want to thank the Chair for saying that because I myself couldn't hear myself. So, I was just wondering how is the good Chair going to answer and be able to respond to my question. I appreciate that.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

I apologize for allowing that to happen. We will try to keep it under control.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. We made the Chairman, the good Chairman made a very good point, a point that I want to thank him for, for informing the Chamber because that is what we are doing here, debating a bill, its plusses, its minuses, and before we cast that red or green, understanding the bill so we all make an informed decision. That's what the debate is all about. And I'm very glad to have this opportunity today, though it is the last day of this session, to talk extensively on a bill, which is going to have a major impact as far as cost is concerned for medications.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. We have the cost to the pharmacy, we have the price to the consumer. So, when we say “cost,” we are actually looking at price to the consumer?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Once again, I want to make sure that we're all clear that there is a distinction between cost and price. What we're focused on is what the consumer will have to pay the pharmacist.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, the price, if the price of a medication happens to be less than what the copay is, that is what we're discussing here, the pharmacist will then have to inform the customer that the price to you actually is only $ 40, your copay is $ 50, so you need to pay us only $ 40?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, that's my understanding and speaking for myself, I sure hope the pharmacist would do that on my behalf.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. If this legislation were not to move forward, the pharmacist cannot have the conversation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'm not sure that's the case. I'm sure there are many cases already today, which that conversation takes place. But as we discussed, there are some contractual arrangements between insurers and pharmacists and PBM's, which might forbid that. We certainly want to eliminate that barrier.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. And on this part, my final question, and I'm sure there are others because this is a very important piece of legislation to flush out and make sure that all our questions, our concerns are addressed. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. As I understand that, if the price to the consumer is less than the actual copay, would this legislation we are requesting, we are mandating that the pharmacist so inform the consumer and the consumer then makes the decision?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

Through you.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And my final question on this amendment so far. Through you, Mr. Speaker, is that is it applicable whether it's a generic or a non-generic?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I would imagine it would apply to whatever equivalent medication is being offered to the consumer.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the good Chair. We've had a very important discussion. A lot of areas that we covered. And it is important for all of us here in the Chamber and obviously moving on. We impact the lives of our communities in the entire state. And it is important we flush these various concerns that we have on this piece of legislation. I will be listening to the debate because this is just an amendment that we got from the Senate and I'm aware that the good Chairman plans to bring out an amendment on the floor of the House and I will be listening to the debate that we will continue for the rest of the afternoon.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

All those opposed, nay. [Gavel] The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do object to the use of the Representative's use of the word “flush. ” I do believe he means flesh. And I don't want this confused with the Saline Flush Bill by any means. The Clerk is in possession of another amendment, LCO 8614. I ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize. DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO 8614, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule A.

CLERK:

LCO No. 8614, designated House Amendment Schedule A, and offered by Representatives Steinberg, Ritter, and Scanlon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

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

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One thing this does is removes the surprise billing section of the bill. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

The question before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule A. Will you remark on the amendment? Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Petit of the 22nd District. Good afternoon, sir.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, how are you?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

I'm great. How are you?

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Very well, sir, thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker to the Co-Chairman of Public Health. This amendment, LCO 8614, provides an opportunity for, as I understand it, for patients to understand their billing responsibilities when they are in a hospital-related facility; is that so?

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. In what forms should this information be transmitted? It wasn't clear to me as to whether this could just be a verbal conversation or whether it had to be a written or in combination that the patient or the patient's family would be able to obtain this information?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. A very good question because it is indeed both oral and written so that the patient is fully aware of the possibility of a facility fee being charged.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is there a distinction in terms of the types of facilities with many practices now being purchased by larger healthcare entities including hospitals, many procedures being done, small surgical procedures and things such as mammography or colonoscopy, upper GI endoscopies being done on a variety of facilities; what specific facilities actually does this cover?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, the Representative raises a good point. There is a definition in this statute that explains that this facility has to be hospital-related, effectively owned in some fashion, such that it's very clear that it's part of that hospital's system and responsibilities and does not apply to facilities that do not fit that requirement.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you. In terms of the communication of the fee, through you, Mr. Speaker, is there any limit in this legislation as to what can be charged in terms of facility fees or, for example, if it is suggested to the patient verbally and in a written fashion that the fee is say, just for argument sake, $ 100, then the patient then receives a bill for $ 250; is there, does the patient then have any recourse?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Indeed, there are different charges for different procedures, I would imagine. And certainly there is legal recourse if the facility charges something other than what they have suggested they will charge.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, sir. I believe the legislation specifically outlines, Mr. Speaker, that there be a specific number that patients or patient's families may call for additional information; is that to be available during normal business hours, is that to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Are there any restrictions in terms of the ability of the patient to communicate with the facility?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER MORIN (28TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. Yes, that's a very important feature that the facility must disclose the availability, this phone number; as to its hours of operation, I'm not familiar.

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Petit.

REP. PETIT (22ND):

Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe we've, a comment, we've worked on this bill a long time and I think our colleagues in the Hospital Association, the Medical Society is in agreement that it's a very good bill in terms of patient and consumer protections. And I urge my colleagues to support the bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Srinivasan of the 31st, is that yes, or was that previous?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good to see you there. Just one quick question to the bill as amended.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. This bidirectional that is going back and forth, will that have an impact on small practices in terms of having to get the appropriate electronic services, the EMS and soon and so forth, so information can be transferred?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, through you. I believe the Representative is referring to the section of the bill that deals with electronic medical records and how important it is that we have timely and secure transmission to that information, particularly to small practices and other facilities that require that information to serve the best needs of the consumer, the patient. So, yes, that's indeed what that section does.

Through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Again, Representative Srinivasan, I do apologize. I know we adopted Senate A. This is House Amendment A. So, I said, “as amended,” but I wanted to clarify. Do you have anything further, sir?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

No. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good Chair for clarifying the electronic records.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

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. [Ringing]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all members voted? Have all the members from the 63rd District voted? Representative Case, it's always easy to remember my old football number. So, I'm always watching you, budget. [Laughter] Have all the members voted? I was a lineman, they didn't let me touch the ball. If all the members have voted, please check the board to ensure that your vote has been properly cast. If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked, the Clerk will take a tally. The Clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Bill 445, as Amended by Senate A and House A.

Total Number of Voting 149

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 127

Those Voting Nay 22

Those absent and not voting 2

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The bill passes as amended. [Gavel] Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would move that we immediately transmit all of the items awaiting further action in the Senate.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Without objection, so ordered. [Gavel] Are there announcements or introductions? Representative Ziogas of the 79th. Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you again have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, there's going to be an immediate House Democratic Caucus. We'd ask everyone to go immediately, please. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

207A, Mr. Majority Leader.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

It's the only place, baby.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Gotcha. Representative O'Dea.

REP. O'DEA (125TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The House Republicans will be meeting in room 1D, as in David, in the LOB, do not dilly dally, that's where the action is going to be. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

No dilly dallying, straight from Representative O'Dea. Representative D'Amelio of the 71st.

REP. D'AMELIO (71ST):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The transcript will so note, but if you could do me the rare favor, Representative D'Amelio, the Majority Leader did not recess, subject to the Call of the Chair. Would you do that so we could all go caucus, how about that?

REP. D'AMELIO (71ST):

Would you like me to recess subject to the Call of the Chair, Mr. Speaker?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you.

REP. D'AMELIO (71ST):

You got it.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

We're in recess. Thank you, sir.

(On motion of Representative D'Amelio of the 71st District, the House recessed at 1: 53 o'clock p. m. to meet again at the Call of the Chair).

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The Chamber will please come back to order. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call Calendar No. 644?

CLERK:

On page 33, Calendar 644, Substitute Senate Bill No. 959, AN ACT CONCERNING AN INVENTORY OF THE STATE'S BIOSCIENCE EDUCATION PIPELINE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good afternoon, Madam.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

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

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The bill we have before us, requires the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Innovations, the State Department of Education, the Board of Regions, UConn and other institutes of higher education to collaborate on conducting an inventory of bioscience resources and educational programs available in our state.

The purpose of this bill is to continue to support the bioscience industry, which employs over 25,000 people in good high-paying jobs in our state. This bill is one of the key recommendations of the Connecticut Health Data Collaborative Working Group, and I want to specifically thank our Senate Co-Chair, Senator Hartley, Senator Frantz, as well as Ranking Member, Dave Yaccarino, for their support for this bill and I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Will you remark further? Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker. One question to the proponent, then I have some comments. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons, please prepare yourself. You may proceed, Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

With this initiative, is there a fiscal note?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. There is no fiscal note due to the amendment that was brought forward in the Senate, getting rid of the mileage reimbursement. So, no fiscal note.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you for that answer. This is, to me, a small piece of the puzzle of Connecticut. If you look at Massachusetts, you look at New York, Brooklyn, New York, what they've done with the old Brooklyn Navy Yards, through innovation, creativity, critical thinking, and really people putting venture capital and the capital investment into the sciences, into research. And I would argue that --

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease for a moment, please. Representative Yaccarino, there was an amendment that we neglected to call. Do you mind yielding the floor back to Representative Simmons?

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Not at all. Through you, Madam Speaker --

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

The floor is to the good Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Simmons, when you're ready, you have the floor.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The Clerk has an amendment, LCO 7943. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 7943, which was previously designated Senate A.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment A, LCO No. 7943, offered by Senator Frantz and Senator Hartley.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The Representative seeks leave of the Chamber to summarize the amendment; is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, Representative Simmons, you may proceed with summarization.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The amendment before us removes the mileage reimbursement to this working group in order to eliminate the fiscal note and I move adoption.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of Senate Amendment Schedule A. Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Yaccarino.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. For the second time, since that was clarified, I'd like to go on to my comments through you, Madam Speaker.

So, back to the sciences, biosciences and biotech, if you look at the industry in our state, this will coordinate with colleges, Board of Regions, obviously, but also companies what they're looking for. But if we, as legislature as our own self-interest, we should look at what's going to drive Connecticut's economy. Like I said earlier, if you look at Massachusetts; California really for the last 30, 40 years, New York state, Brooklyn, in particular, what they've done with the old Brooklyn Navy Yards with innovation, incubators, folks with venture capital, with just different inventions. So, when it comes to sciences of bioscience, it helps our healthcare. And I would argue that this could be a driving force for our state's economy.

I would like to go much further than this. We have some bills that we haven't got called this evening or this afternoon that I think we should entertain in the future to bring light on the industry between manufacturing, the sciences, bioscience, and we could compete with the world, I believe, and I think we could be better than most. So, I'd urge you to support this. But I would also urge to think big and look to the future for medicine, for health collaborative and all of these subjects. But you have to put meat to it or skin into the game; and I think this is a first step, but I think we should go much further.

If you look at why GE left or other companies leave, there is no real energy in Connecticut, unless you go into New Haven County and Fairfield. And that's where I believe in the long term we have to start looking. Like what I said, look what they've done in Brooklyn. So, I would look to urge support for this but look to the future, look for energy. We have to listen to folks what they're saying in articles in the Wall Street Journal, our young folks, and these industries, if you look at Mount Sinai in Branford, Connecticut, they'll hire folks out of community colleges with science degrees and send them back to school and they work there. So, these are the things that have substance and I'd like to go much further than this, but I urge support and I know I rambled a little, but I'm very passionate about this. And you just have to look at Massachusetts, six years ago, they were 14th in the world, now they're between state government, private equity, and academia, they're number one in the world. They put skin in the game. And I think we have to look deep and big. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, Representative. Will you remark further on the amendment before us? Will you remark further? If not, all those in favor, please signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Opposed, nay? The ayes have it. [Gavel] The amendment is adopted. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Good afternoon, Madam Speaker. I just had some questions for the proponent, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, sir.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Through the amendment we are getting rid of the mileage reimbursement, but is it anticipated that this working group is going to meet collectively at any time in the future?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, it is anticipated that the working group will meet.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And in the good doings of the body, would there not have to be some sort of recording of their meetings?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, I believe there will be recordings of their meetings.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And would those recordings be solely electronic and through the infrastructure that we currently have at the Capitol or would a reporter be necessary of some sort?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I believe, yes, they would be electronic and there would probably be note taking as well.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, the note taking by a member of the working group itself or would Capitol staff have to be utilized for monitoring the doings of this working group?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein. I'm sorry, Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. It could be a combination of both or it could be a member of the working group; that is yet to be determined.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I would expect that that staff person would be paid for rendering that service?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, but it would not require an additional staff person. The group could rely on existing staff that is already paid here through the legislative office building.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Fishbein.

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I notice that the termination of the working group, there is a date, but then it says, whichever is later. So, let's just say that the report is rendered three months from now. Under the language that we have before us, the Committee, the working group would still exist through the date. So, was that intended by whoever crafted this legislation?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Simmons.

REP. SIMMONS (144TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Thank you for the question, Representative. And I believe in lines 30 and 31 it says, “The working group shall terminate on the date that it submits such report or January 15, 2018, whichever is later. ” So, if under your scenario the report is completed within three months, the working group would terminate at that time in order to save resources.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative --

REP. FISHBEIN (90TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I respectfully disagree because January 15, 2018 is far in excess of three months from now. That would be the later date. So, while the report might be issued three months from now, because January 15, 2018 comes after that date, the way I read the plain language of the legislation, the working group would still exist through January 15, 2018, and I think that is inappropriate and it would be a waste of someone's resources.

So, I bring it to the attention of the good Chair of the Commerce Committee and I think it's an error and I don't know how you'd wish to deal with that, so. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

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

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 959, as Amended by Senate A, in concurrence with the Senate.

Total Number of Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 146

Those Voting Nay 2

Those absent and not voting 2

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The bill passes in concurrence with the Senate. [Gavel] Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Upon recess, the House Democrats will be caucusing very briefly in Room 207A. And with that, I move that we recess, subject to the call of the chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Without objection, without objection. Seeing none, so ordered.

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the House recessed at 4: 19 o'clock p. m. to meet again at the Call of the Chair).

CLERK:

The House of Representatives will reconvene immediately, members to the Chamber.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

[Gavel] The House of Representatives will come back to order. Representative Borer.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just request, I was in a meeting during the last vote and I didn't get back here in time. If you can just cast me in the affirmative, I would appreciate it.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The transcript will so note, Madam. Thank you.

REP. BORER (115H):

Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move for suspension of the rules for immediate consideration of Senate Bill 943.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question on suspension of the rules for consideration of Senate Bill 943, is there objection? Hearing none, Mr. Clerk, please call, I think it's Calendar 657.

CLERK:

Correct. Thank you, sir. Calendar 657, Senate Bill No. 943, AN ACT CONCERNING THE INSTALLATION OF CERTAIN SOLAR FACILITIES ON PRODUCTIVE FARMLANDS. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Distinguished Chairman of the Environment Committee, Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on acceptance and passage. Representative.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, it's LCO 8437, and I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Clerk is indeed in possession of LCO No. 8437, previously designated as Senate Amendment Schedule A. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 8437, offered by Senator Kennedy and Senator Miner.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

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

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the goal of this amendment, which will become the bill, is to balance land conservation efforts with increased renewable energy production. This bill has two basic parts. The first one takes steps to site solar projects on prime farmland by having the siting council consider environmental impacts to farmland and forests. And the second part of the bill creates a less cumbersome permitting pathway for anaerobic digester projects. And I ask my -- I move for adoption of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is the adoption of Senate Amendment Schedule A. Distinguished Ranking Member of the Environment, Representative Harding, who is in the sunlight. I hope you can see.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. My bigger concern is my Irish skin getting burnt, but --

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

I understand. [Laughter]

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And a few questions to the proponent, if I may?

Through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'm looking at line 57 and that is in regard to the prime farmland and it says it materially affects the status of such land. Could the good proponent please explain what the original language had in regard to any rebuttal, presumptions, or any determinations that hadn't been made by DEEP or the siting council in regard to this prime farmland?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco, do you care to respond?

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I'm not sure of what the original language had, but I know that we have a change in line 57, referring to materially affect the status of such land, which I believe refers to a depletion of the quality of the soil. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you. What I'm referring to is I believe in the original language, if I'm correct, and I just want to confirm this, there was a rebuttable presumption in regard to prime farmland, which meant that it was on the farmer or the individual applying to prove that the land was not prime farmland in regard to this application. And it looks like that language is no longer there. So, I'm just confirming that has been removed. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker. The gentleman is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And so, I'm looking at the language here and if my understanding is correct, is that this language allows for an application to be granted for solar to be placed on prime farmland in situations where it does not materially affect the status of such prime farmland. And so, I'm looking here and I would like to know if the good proponent would know, through you, Mr. Speaker, what materially affect the status of such prime farmland technically means?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker. I believe that that would involve a permanent degradation of the farmland.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And through you, Mr. Speaker, if I may, just for legislative intent purposes, your understanding and my understanding of the legislation that's here before us today is that materially affect is basically referring to land which has a permanent impact on the farmland?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, the gentleman is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if I may move on to the strike-all amendment here. My understanding is that the language that we just discussed in lines 56 and 57 in regard to materially affecting the farmland, that language specifically refers only to expedited applications; is that true?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, I believe that is correct. It only refers to the expedited process.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, my understanding, if I am correct, through you, is that in situations where an individual has farmland and wants to place solar on that farmland, that if they do a full review process to place those solar panels on their farmland, that the prime farmland status and standard, which is set out in lines 56 and 57, does not apply to them?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Once again, the gentleman is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And moving on further, so now that we've established that individuals that do a full review process do not have to -- the lines 56 and 57 in regard to materially affecting the land does not apply to those applications. My understanding is that lines 91 through 99, and if, Mr. Speaker, just gives me a moment to acknowledge what section. Section 4 of this strike-all amendment in lines 91 through 99, that section and that provision of this strike-all amendment that does apply though to the full review process for individuals looking to place solar panels on farms?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, through you. The gentleman's interpretation is correct.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, what I see here is that the only change that's being made, it looks like in line 98 in the strike-all amendment from existing language currently are the factors in which are considered by DEEP and by the siting council in regard to whether or not they would approve a siting application here for solar panels. And now, I'm looking at linen 98, the only addition to what is to be considered in addition to ecological balance, public health and safety, scenic, historic, and recreational values, is now agriculture will be one of the things that are considered in that application? Through you, is that correct, Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

That is indeed correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if the good proponent could explain for legislative intent behind what considering agriculture would mean?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker. As it stands now, the consideration of the impact on agriculture is not one of the considerations that has to be employed here. But by adding this language, we are mandating that the effect on agriculture has to be considered as one of the criteria.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if I'm correct, I believe that balancing all of these factors that are currently in existing law and now the agriculture, which is being added through this strike-all amendment, that one of the -- the thing that is balanced with this, basically the public good in it in adding one of these solar panels; is that true?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

I'm not sure I understand the question.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding, do you want to give it another shot?

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, because it was poorly worded and I do apologize for that. So, trying to make it a little more feasible for an answer. One of the things that I believe, so all the factors that are currently being considered are in existing law, we're now adding agriculture, one of the things that are being considered. And I believe all of those factors, what I'm asking, is balanced against the public good for adding this solar application. I believe that is the standard. So, I'm just trying to confirm that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, that is correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, it is my understanding that agriculture is one of the things that's now considered, but the public good of placing a solar application and possibly reduce energy rates, more efficient energy, would be one of the things that's balanced against maybe some agricultural aspects of placing solar panels on prime farmland.

Moving on, if I may, Mr. Speaker, to lines 182 through 195 of the strike-all amendment. I'm looking here at the virtual net metering aspect of the bill, which has been added. And from my understanding, this was a separate bill at the beginning of session originally?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, that is correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And it's my understanding that the virtual net metering and the anaerobic digestion was a bill that received a public hearing and was actually voted out of Committee?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Once again, the gentleman is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And so, my understanding, through you, Mr. Speaker, is that this allows now, it extends the virtual net metering cap for $ 3 million dollars and it allows anaerobic digestion into this pool, and it allows farmers to or any individual to use cow manure to generate energy and electricity; is that true?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. The gentleman is correct, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And one concern that I do have is the aspect of the $ 3 million dollars in expansion of these credits and the possible impact it may have on the general population that are the rate payers here in the State of Connecticut. Would this have any impact? And if so, through you, Mr. Speaker, are we looking to possibly work with PURA in limiting that impact and working with the Energy Committee on this matter?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. It's my understanding that if the full $ 3 million dollars in energy credits, if the full $ 3 million dollars in credits is used, it would be an approximate cost of about $ 2 per rate payer per year.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And through you, Mr. Speaker. My understanding is that there is a discussion ongoing through the very distinguished Energy Committee here in this building in regard to expanding the caps currently. So, is this something that, you know, we could possibly, working with PURA and other officials throughout this building, utilize this in the cap that's already intended possibly to be expanded?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. As the gentleman indicated, the Energy Committee has been working diligently on this issue for quite some time and they will continue it into next year. And I'm sure that, I'm sure that we will be able to work this out.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And just a comment on that, if I may, Mr. Speaker. The one thing that, you know, I'm concerned about is obviously placing some of these credits on to the rate payer. But I am very happy to hear that there's going to be expansion underway to begin with. And I'm also very happy to hear that we're going to work with the Energy Committee, we're going to work with PURA and other agencies and officials throughout the state and in this Chamber here, to make sure that impact is as limited as possible on the rate payer. And I believe if there is already going to be an expansion that this could be something that's already going to be in the mix and I think it's very important to keep the Energy Committee apprised of some of the additions and caps we may have so they can fit that in their plan and in their expansion. So, if there's other areas they are looking to expand credits on, they could possibly look at or factor into the fact that here in this bill, we're already expanding it $ 3 million dollars, so we may limit the expansion on some other areas. Or maybe in some instances, if this is doing well enough, or we believe that it has high enough prospects, that we could place further money in credits on this particular area.

Moving in, if I may, Mr. Speaker, into the section in regard to the manure use and the anaerobic digestion utilized here in this anaerobic digestion process, it's my understanding that there's a goal of utilizing 100 percent of the manure generated on such farms. And I think that goal can be found in lines 194 and 195 of this amendment. Could the good proponent please explain what that goal and what that language means?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. I believe that the goal is for the 100 percent use of anaerobic digestion -- the 100 percent use of manure that's generated on farms to be dealt with through the anaerobic digester process.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, my understanding is that it's simply a goal, through you, Mr. Speaker. So, it's not necessarily a requirement of law?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

I believe that is correct.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Because one concern that I do have is that after speaking with some of my esteemed colleagues, who have worked a lot with the farmers throughout this great state, that they have spoken with them and maybe they use manure in other ways. And so, maybe they'll use 90 percent of their manure on anaerobic digestion and utilize 10 percent in another way.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is it your understanding that those individuals, let's say if they're using 90 percent of that cow manure, would they be restricted from utilizing the digestion program?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No. I don't believe that there would be any restrictions.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And that's important. So, my understanding is simply just a goal to have these individuals using it at 100 percent, but that we would allow them and give these good farmers the flexibility to make the decisions they believe are in the best interest of the farm, the best interest of their business to utilize the manure how they believe necessary in that simply by placing one of these anaerobic digestion machines or equipment here on the farmland doesn't necessarily restrict their ability to utilize their supplies in the way they deem suitable. So, I'm very happy to hear that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Another aspect of the strike-all amendment is Section 6. And I'm looking at the kelp aspect. If the good proponent of the bill could please explain what Section 6 does here in this amendment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Section 6 directs the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection along with the Department of Agriculture to assist companies who are submitting petitions to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency for approval of kelp oil as a feed stock for the Heating Oil Program.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And it was my understanding, through you, Mr. Speaker, that earlier in the Environment Committee in regards to many discussions and good bills that we had positive discussions about, kelp was one of them. And I believe that there was one bill before the Committee in regard to ways that kelp could be utilized in different fuels and oils and possibly even having a law, which required kelp to be used. You know, so, through you, Mr. Speaker, if the good proponent could please explain to me why there seems to be such a strong discussion now in regard to kelp?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. My understanding is that there are several companies that are interested in using this resource as a feed stock for heating oil and this part of the bill would help to facilitate that process.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And it's my understanding that there is a strong amount of kelp located in our region; is that true?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding. Representative Demicco, sorry.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, that is my understanding. Yes.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And that is good to hear that we might be able to use some of our naturally growing product here in the State of Connecticut to utilize for business purposes and to maybe start up new businesses, to create innovation, which is always something that's very important to all of us here in this Chamber is creating innovation and innovative businesses and this might be a good step in creating new innovative businesses here in the State of Connecticut; especially with some product that's naturally grown here in the state. We don't have to go very far to get the product to utilize its benefits. So, I'm very happy to hear that we are engaging in this process of looking into different ways we can use kelp. It's a very positive thing.

I also like the fact that some of the discussions and some of the laws surrounding kelp earlier in this session involved possible requirements, Mr. Speaker. And that is something that I don't believe is absolutely necessary at this point. I don't think requiring businesses or requiring certain products to have kelp in it might not be the step that we want to take right now. But at the same time, I think that we also want to open up our state's innovation in regard to kelp.

So, I'm happy that we're addressing this issue in this particular bill. One thing I just, I'm reading through the amendment here in lines 196 and 197, here in Section 6, and it says that DEEP and the Department of Agriculture will assist these companies in possibly getting approval from the EPA.

Could the good proponent please explain what “assist” would mean? What kind of assistance would they provide? What would their goals be through this particular legislation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. It's my understanding that the idea is to have those two departments act as a liaison with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And the question, if I can go a little further into that, and I want to thank the good proponent for his answer is, as a liaison, what kind of role do you see them playing? What would they be doing?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. I believe that there is language in the bill that describes that that such assistance may include, but shall not be limited to, inquiring of the status of kelp and kelp oil for consideration as a feed stock for heating oil; and that would be lines 201 through 203.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, Mr. Speaker. The question that I have is the application process. Could the good proponent please explain what that application process involves and what exactly we would be petitioning the EPA to do in regard to kelp?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, I was distracted momentarily. So, I would appreciate it if the good gentleman would rephrase his question.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and absolutely, I'd be more than happy to. So, the question I had was, what exactly would we be applying for to the EPA? What would be our goal in regard to our connections and our discussions with EPA and the application process with the EPA?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Through you, Mr. Speaker. It's my understanding that these two agencies from the state would be assisting in the questioning of the Environmental Protection Agency for whatever assistance or information that they could provide to support such petitions by the firms.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Harding.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if I may, I would like to yield the floor to the Deputy Majority Leader, if I may?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Just yield the floor and I'll call on the Deputy Majority Leader. How's that Representative Harding?

REP. HARDING (107TH):

I would be more than happy to simply just yield the floor and leave it to the good Speaker to make that decision.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Always go for the simpler way. Thank you. Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question on passing temporarily, is there objection? Hearing none, this item is passed temporarily. [Gavel]

Mr. Clerk, would you kindly call Calendar 626.

CLERK:

On page 31, House Calendar 626, Substitute Senate Bill No. 317, AN ACT CONCERNING A PILOT PROGRAM ALLOWING EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PERSONNEL TO PROVIDE COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTHCARE SERVICES. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Distinguished Chairman of the Public Health Committee, Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

I thank you, Mr. Speaker. May I say, good evening or is it -- I think I can.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Hi.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Good to see you again. I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill in concurrence with the Senate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on acceptance, passage, and concurrence. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We've had a couple of themes here in this session that are coming together in this bill. One, is the role of emergency medical service providers in a variety of contexts, and the other is the role in the community. We've talked about community health workers. In this bill, the two of the come together to talk about how emergency medical service personnel can operate in a community setting, a non-hospital setting.

Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has in their possession and amendment, LCO 8234. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Clerk is indeed in possession of LCO No. 8234, previously designated Senate Amendment Schedule A. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 8234, previously designated Senate Amendment House Schedule A, offered by Senators Gerratana, Kennedy, Leone, Somers, and Representative Steinberg.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The gentleman has asked leave of the Chamber to summarize. Is there objection? Hearing none, Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We talked about emergency medical service personnel. In this case, we're talking about the scope of practice of a paramedic to operate within the community setting. But for us to best understand how a paramedic can be effective in helping with healthcare decisions and outcomes in a community setting, we need a working group. And this amendment speaks to the composition and the charge of a working group to define and expanded scope of practice for such an emergency service person. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on adoption. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker, good to see you there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening, sir. Proceed.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Line 4, talks about within available appropriations. Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, this whole working group is contingent on appropriations? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I yield the floor.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Without objection, this item is passed temporarily. Mr. Clerk, would you kindly call Calendar 606.

CLERK:

On page 28, House Calendar 606, Substitute Senate Bill No. 1002, AN ACT DESIGNATING VARIOUS DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS, AND STATE SYMBOLS NAMING A STATE OFFICE COMPLEX. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Government Administration on Elections.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Distinguished Chairman of the GA Committee, Representative Fox, and let's just clear the space between me and you. Perhaps, yes, thank you. Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Mr. Speaker, it's a good night to talk fast.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Me too.

REP. FOX (148TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on acceptance and concurrence with the Senate. Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the bill before us was one of the more memorable and enjoyable public hearings of this session for me. It concerns designated various days, weeks, months, and symbols in honor of individuals who have graced our state with their presence and accomplishments. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of Amendment LCO No. 7934. I'd ask the Clerk the amendment be called and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Clerk is indeed in possession of LCO No. 7934, previously designated Senate Amendment Schedule A. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7934, designated Senate Amendment Schedule A, offered by Senators Flexer and MacLachlan.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the underlying amendment strikes Section 3 in its entirety of the underlying bill. That section concerned naming a state complex in honor of former Governor, by agreement of the parties, that request has been removed from the bill. I urge adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on adoption. Representative Devlin, the Ranking Member of GAE. I still haven't learned where everybody stands yet. And Representative Devlin, just a moment. [Gavel]

Representative Devlin.

REP. DEVLIN (134TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of this bill and I think it's important for the Chamber to know that there is a piece of this bill that includes the Connecticut State Dinosaur. And when this bill was being heard, Representative Guerrero promised that should it pass, he will arrive with the dinosaur head on his. So, we are looking forward to that and I urge everybody in the Chamber to support this with enthusiasm. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

That's a good reason to be enthusiastic, Representative Devlin. I'm very much looking forward to it; how different will it be? Okay. Representative Guerrero in rebuttal.

REP. GUERRERO (29TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I obviously stand in great support of this legislation. I want to thank the good Chairman and also Representative Devlin. And I know she cannot wait to see me with that dinosaur head on, running around this Capitol. But I will do it very proudly, once this is passed.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank God, we all have camera phones, Representative Devlin. Representative Genga.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill and specific lines 40 to 45, to speak in favor of establishing a Canine Veterans Day to honor our canines who served our country and our community and have been due this recognition for a long time. I think you would agree with me that all our Veterans, when they come home from the war, should be treated like heroes. But there was a time when this did not occur.

If you remember the Vietnam era, we sent 4,000 dogs to Vietnam, but only 200 returned. The reason for that we didn't bring them home was because the military considered them equipment. That was eventually changed to a working dog team. And I will tell you that these canines were real heroes. They make sure that areas are safe, the explosives are not there, and also go into combat. And the first military dog that went into combat in World War I was Sergeant Stubby from New Haven. Sergeant Stubby also was from Yale. He was found hanging around campus, so the Army enlisted him and he went to serve. And I will tell you that that dog served well; 17 different combat zones, wounded and recognized by two United States presidents.

This dog saved many lives. As you may know, dogs have anywhere from 1,000 to 200,000 times greater smell than we do in their nose. And one night, when the soldiers were sleeping, this dog bolted out of his place, went into the woods, and after a lot of commotion, the soldiers found him with a German who could not use his weapon, could not set off the explosives that he was going to blow up all of those soldiers with because Stubby had him by the butt and he wouldn't let go and he couldn't move.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you that one of my constituents, a woman named Lisa Phillips, who traveled all the way here from Texas with her dog, Rambo, a military dog that was wounded and has three legs, to testify on behalf of this. She runs a foundation for military dogs that have been wounded and need care. What's significant about this in addition, Lisa, is a 2000 graduate of East Hartford Public High School, where the infamous Michael Robert Biagioni also graduated. But Lisa has done something to make her town and her school proud.

Mr. Speaker, March 13, 1942, was the first day that the military inducted and accepted dogs. So, we're asking that March 13th, in Connecticut, be designated as Canine Veterans Day and that appropriate ceremonies be held by the Governor and whoever in order to recognize these overlooked animals. I would ask that the Assembly support this wholeheartedly just like the GAA Commission and also, I want to recognize Dan Fox for his leadership in allowing this. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. I'll remind the Chamber, the question before the House is adoption of Senate Amendment Schedule A, would you wish to comment on Senate A? Representative Sampson, no. Will you remark further on Senate A? If not, let me try your minds. All of those in favor, signify by saying, aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. [Gavel] Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of a second amendment, LCO 7649, I'd ask that to be called and be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Clerk is indeed in possession of LCO No 7649, previously designated Senate Amendment Schedule B. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7649, designated Senate Amendment Schedule B, and offered by Senators Duff and Flexer.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fox.

REP. FOX (148TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the amendment makes a minor change to the legislation, changing the effective date of the underlying legislation. I urge adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on adoption. Representative Sampson, on Senate B. I guess not, that's quite all right. Will you remark further on Senate Amendment Schedule B? Will you remark further on B? If not, let me try your minds. All of those in favor, signify by saying, aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. [Gavel] Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Representative Sampson. You've been very patient. [Laughter]

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I apologize for that.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Not at all.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

I was a little aggressive with not hitting the button to speak. But I want to rise very briefly in support of the bill before us. One of the provisions in here is the recognition of the third Monday in April as Patriots Day and we will join three other states in recognizing the day in history that the American Revolution really began at Lexington and Concord. I think it's very important that we remember our history and that people in our state are reminded where we come from and the people that have gone before us to secure our freedoms and I think this is a very nice gesture to do so. And I wholeheartedly support it. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Members take your seats. The machine will be open.

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. [Ringing]

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 1002, as Amended by Senate A and B in concurrence with the Senate.

Total Number of Voting 150

Necessary for Passage 76

Those Voting Yea 149

Those Voting Nay 1

Those absent and not voting 1

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The bill is passed in concurrence with the Senate. [Gavel] Mr. Clerk, 649, please.

CLERK:

On page 33, Calendar 649, Substitute Senate Bill No. 796, AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF RESPECTFUL AND PERSON-FIRST LANGUAGE. Favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Health.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg. Just a second, Representative Steinberg. [Gavel] The House will come to order. If you need to have loud discussions, kindly take them out into the lobby. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Now, Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on acceptance and passage and concurrence. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, we talk here quite often about bills that are really long overdue and this is perhaps one of the most extreme cases. It deals with what we call respectful and person-first language and goes through the statutes with some fine-tooth comb and hunts all of the anachronistic references that we have in statute that really need to be brought up to date. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 8612. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Clerk is indeed in possession of LCO No. 8612, previously designated Senate Amendment Schedule A. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 8612, offered by Senator Gerratana, Senator Somers, and Representative Steinberg.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The gentleman has asked leave of the Chamber to summarize. Without objection, Representative Steinberg. One more time, Representative Steinberg. [Gavel] I meant it. [Laughter] Representative Steinberg, now I can hear you.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is indeed ironic when we're talking about being respectful that we have to bang the gavel twice in such short --

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

I have had a finely-honed sense of irony since I got into politics, Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Maybe we can get that back for you at some point. As I said, this bill changes nomenclature terminology for any number of references within state statutes that frankly I would almost prefer not to repeat on the record because we don't speak that way anymore. It also renames the Board of Education and services for the blind as we used to know as BESB, as the advisory board for persons who are blind or visually impaired.

So, you get the sense of things. We are updating our statutes to reflect current nomenclature that shows respect and regard for those often disadvantaged. I move adoption of the amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on adoption. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Good evening again, Mr. Speaker, good to see you there. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Just a question, a few questions to the amendment.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure the good Chairman is aware that in the public hearings, there was a lot of concern that was raised, a lot of opposition that was expressed to our good intentions. I definitely agree, we have great intentions, but at the same time, the opposition that I remember vividly hearing in the public hearing was that the very communities that we were trying to address, they were the ones that felt they were hurt the most in this use of language. The blind, the deaf, and the autistic. All of them have raised concerns with this bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Does this amendment address the concerns that were raised in public hearing and make sure that we are doing what we need to do right by the people that we want to address mostly?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the good ranking member for bringing that up. The reason this amendment exists is precisely for that reason. The experts went out of their way to engage the communities involved to make sure that they were not only okay, that they were avidly supportive of the changes in terminology of this archaic language that we were seeking to get rid of. And this amendment reflects that sincere and comprehensive effort to look through the statutes and get it right. And my understanding is we have the support of those communities for this amendment.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. On the communities that had raised significant concerns in the public hearing, in this amendment, do we address the communities that are concerned with regard to deaf as well as blind?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, we specifically address those particular uses of terminology.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Mr. Speaker. My final question is, there were concerns about the way we were addressing language for those who are autistic. Through you, Mr. Speaker. How does that issue be addressed in this amendment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I believe the language now reflects the current and most appropriate usage when we're referring to those with autism spectrum disorder.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

It is my understanding that with this amendment, the language that we see in the amendment has been acceptable to those that we want to try to do the best for. And through you, Mr. Speaker, I just need to be ensured that that is what the amendment does through the good Chair of Public Health? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know that the good ranking member certainly does care because I saw him combing through this amendment very carefully to make sure that we really had addressed everything that had been raised in terms of objections in the Committee. And I am confident that this change to the statutes now brings us up to speed, up to date, with contemporary and appropriate and respectful use of phraseology.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the good Chair for his answers, addressing the concerns that I had with this bill, but the amendment does what it should. And I hope and I urge my colleagues, both sides of the aisle, to support this amendment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Are you ready for the question? If so, let me try your minds. All in favor of the amendment, signify by saying, aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. [Gavel] Will you remark further on the bill as amended? If not, staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Members take your seats. The machine will be open.

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. [Ringing]

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 796, as Amended by Senate A in concurrence with the Senate.

Total Number of Voting 150

Necessary for Passage 76

Those Voting Yea 138

Those Voting Nay 12

Those absent and not voting 1

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The bill is passed in concurrence with the Senate. [Gavel] And the House will stand at ease. [Gavel] The House will come back to order.

Mr. Clerk, Calendar 571, if you please.

CLERK:

On page 26, House Calendar 571, Substitute Senate Bill No. 1022, AN ACT ESTABLISHING A PILOT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE ENHANCED COMMUNITY SERVICES TO THOSE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. Favorable report on the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Distinguished Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Representative William Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on acceptance and passage in concurrence. Representative Tong.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment, LCO 7667. I ask the Clerk please call the amendment and I be given liberty of the Chamber to provide a summary in English.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Tong, there is no amendment.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Mr. Speaker, I think you're right. May I proceed with my --

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Of course.

REP. TONG (147TH):

-- summary of this bill, Mr. Speaker, from the Senate?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This provides for the establishment of a pilot program by the Office of the States Attorney to screen cases and identify and track persons arrested who are homeless, drug addicted, or mentally ill for intensive assistance and diversionary programs. It passed the Judiciary Committee unanimously and I urge passage.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rebimbas, distinguished ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the legislation before us. Certainly, we want to make sure that these individuals who are arrested for these crimes, if there is any way of providing them with services in order to prevent them from reoccurring, we certainly want to do so.

I just want to also echo the testimony that was provided by the victim's advocate, indicating that we should also keep in mind the victims and the impact that it had on victims in that regard when making decisions regarding services and again the intent of the legislation is a very good one, and I ask that my colleagues support the legislation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Madam. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, staff and guests, please come to the well of the House. Members take your seats. The machine will be open.

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. [Ringing]

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill 1022 in concurrence with the Senate.

Total Number of Voting 150

Necessary for Passage 76

Those Voting Yea 150

Those Voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 1

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The bill is passed in concurrence. [Gavel] The House will stand at ease. Mr. Clerk, let's return to Calendar 657. We had suspended the rules to take this up. Those rules remained in suspension to continue this. Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Is it necessary for me to reintroduce the amendment?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Actually, first, let's move acceptance and passage of the bill.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Before we proceed, Representative Zupkus.

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise. I would like to recuse myself, please, for a possible conflict of interest.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Very good, Ma'am. The House will stand at ease. Very good, we'll come back to order. The gentleman has moved acceptance and passage of the bill. If we can get it on the board, please. Representative Demicco, I believe we have to reintroduce the amendment.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

I'd be happy to do so, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment LCO 8437. I would ask the Clerk to please call the amendment and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Clerk is in possession of 8437, previously designated Senate A. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 8437, offered by Senator Kennedy, Senator Miner.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe the amendment was explained previously and I'm happy to entertain any questions.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

How about if we move adoption?

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Oh, I'll move adoption in that case.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on adoption. Thank you, sir. Representative Harding, are you still correct? [Laughter]

REP. HARDING (107TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker, good evening, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening.

REP. HARDING (107TH):

I am in support of the adoption of the amendment and the reason being I look at the language, particularly, and if Mr. Speaker gives me a moment, in lines 57 through 60 of the strike-all amendment, which essentially changes the rebuttable presumption to materially affect the status of such land, a very, a much lower standard which allows farmers to place these solar panels on certain farm lands, particularly a lot of my colleagues discussed how certain farmers subsidize their income by placing these solar panels on their farm land and also having a productive farm land. And for that reason, I'd be supporting this amendment. So, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you. Further on Senate A. Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, Ma'am.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. On lines 50, starting on 50 of the amendment, the question it outlines in this particular section that solicitations prior to July 1, 2017 will be null and void. And through you, Mr. Speaker. I am wondering if that includes the three-state's solicitation that included Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Mr. Speaker, if I could have a moment, please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Certainly. The House will come back to order. Representative Demicco.

REP. DEMICCO (21ST):

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's my understanding that those projects are not excluded.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the kind Chairman of Environment for his answer. And, Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an amendment --

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

I'm sorry, Representative, we're on Senate Amendment A right now. We have to finish this first.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

My apologies, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Not at all. Will you remark further on Senate A? Will you remark further on Senate A? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, signify by saying, aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Opposed, nay. The ayes have it. Senate A is adopted. [Gavel] Now, Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Of course.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has the amendment, it is LCO 8962. Would you please ask the Clerk to call it and would I be allowed to summarize?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The Clerk is in possession of LCO No. 8962, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule A. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 8962, offered by Representative Klarides, Representative Candelora, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The gentlewoman has asked to leave the Chamber to summarize. Is there objection? Hearing none, Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as you know, we have a generation, electricity generation asset that has been in our state for many, many years. It is currently owned by Dominion and it is also referred to as the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant. And, Mr. Speaker, many people have worked for the last two and three years regarding a procurement process that would include nuclear power and allow Dominion to bid on this power procurement and see if it would be of benefit to rate payers. In this particular amendment, Mr. Speaker, there are definitions of nuclear power facilities. It also talks about how DEEP would appraise these facilities, the appraisal would be at the cost of the nuclear power plant. And then, Mr. Speaker, after the appraisal is done, the results deemed by both Chambers of the legislature of the results on March 1, 2018, and if there was a process that DEEP would implement, it would be in May of 2018.

DEEP's appraisal shall assess the current conditions of nuclear facilities, projected economic conditions in nuclear facilities, also impacted facilities such as rates and markets, security, fuel diversity, and grid reliability. After the appraisal, DEEP shall determine the following options, whether making changes to standard service and the state's utility procurement or having DEEP issue an RFP, which would include zero carbon generation, facilities with zero carbon generation.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Hoydick, just a moment.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

[Gavel] Thank you. Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the Commissioner, the DEEP Commissioner finds standard service changes to be in best interest, we would recommend that PURA make the necessary changes. If the Commissioner finds procurement shall being conducted, he shall issue an RFP for baseload zero carbon electricity. The cost up to a million, associated with the appraisal and DEEP's appraisal would be implemented and paid for by the nuclear power plant.

Mr. Speaker, as outlined in this bill, there are no subsidies. This is the opportunity to bid to see if Connecticut can realize lower electricity generation rates. This process was public, transparent, and went on for two years. I'd like to thank the Chair of Energy and Technology, Representative Reed, the Co-Chairs, Formica and Winfield, past ranking member, Ackert, past Chair, Doyle, for working on all these things together to find a good product. It is unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, that we have met with such opposition and not everything was as transparent and truthful as we would have wished.

So, Mr. Speaker, I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

The question is on adoption of House Amendment Schedule A. Representative McCarty.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, and good evening, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

I rise in very strong support of this amendment. This is indeed a very important amendment for many, many reasons. And I'll try to outline them as succinctly as I can and with as much reason. I'd like to identify as it the big 3 E's, the Economy, the Environment, and Employment. Millstone is one of the largest employers in our state. They bring back such economic diversity to all of us. This is not just a district, region issue, although Waterford is my district, but this really affects the entire State of Connecticut. As I said, Millstone supplies over 50 percent of our electricity. What would this state look like without Millstone? I'd hate to imagine it. We would not be able to meet our clean energy goals that we have in place. Millstone produces 98 percent carbon-free electricity. This is important to meeting our goals. The integrated resources plan, our comprehensive energy strategy. I just can't imagine how the State of Connecticut would be able to meet those goals without Millstone.

So, if we're serious about the environment, this amendment makes a lot of sense. Additionally, as I said, Millstone helps our economy throughout the entire state. Locally, it pays over $ 110 million dollars in salaries to over 1,500 employees and then if we look at additional support services, we have an additional 4,000 employers. So, with the dialogue that we've been having throughout this session and over the years about keeping our major employers in the state, I can't understand why we would take a risk right now to lose this fabulous employer that does so much, as I said, for the economy and the environment.

Additionally, this amendment, I thought was a fair and balanced compromise. We have heard the dialogues throughout this Chamber and in other Chambers over the past few years about the need to support and protect our economy with jobs and employment. And this is exactly what Millstone is doing, but they've tried to be a very fair player and to work with all parties involved. And this amendment does that. It starts with a study by DEEP. DEEP hires the appraiser and Millstone pays the bill. There is no cost to the state for the appraiser to do this study. It comes back with suggestions for two procurements and if it's decided, as the good ranking member of Energy pointed out, there are several factors that are involved in deciding whether to go the route of which procurement. But the legislature would still have the opportunity, if it did not approve to come back and deny the recommendations.

So, with that, I think it's definitely a win-win for all of us because of those areas I pointed out, the environment, the economy, and employment. I do not think that we can in the state continue to lose our major employers. We saw what happened when GE left. We don't want to lose AETNA. I think we have an opportunity here to vote and to keep Millstone here and do our best. It's a win-win, as I said, not a subsidy. We're all trying to work together to do what's in the best interest of our state. But most of all, what's also in the best interest of our rate payers, protect all the various jobs. And I'd like to point out that Millstone pays on their salaries over $ 100,000 to $ 150,000 a year to some very good engineering and great jobs, but they also have many, many union jobs there, painters, plumbers, all kinds of different professions that work there. So, this is a bill that will help our middle class, it will help the good paying jobs. It's important that we take a proactive stance as a legislature. So, I could not support this with greater vigor and passion than I'm doing. And I thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Representative McCarty. [Gavel] Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much. I, too, rise in strong support of this amendment. I've, as a freshman, this has been a wonderful learning process for me. And I've sat here through the days as we have discussed projects and legislation and acts that would help so many different parts of our state. And let's face it, our state does need help in many areas. Yet, I come from a region of the state that has the ninth worst recovery in the country, not the State of Connecticut, not New England, but the entire United States of America.

You've heard Representative McCarty talk about the local impact such a closure would have. We've seen what happened when Electric Boat downsized, we've seen what happened when Pfizer downsized. As wonderful as those casino jobs have been and we took a long step toward preserving them. Last night, I think it was, these jobs here, as the Representative said, have a median package of $ 150,000 for 1,200 people. Over 2,000 support jobs. She listed the union jobs that are supported; laborers, carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, insulators, iron workers, operating engineers, Teamsters, Millwrights. This affects everyone. There have been so many misconceptions about the underlying amendment and this legislation. And people have said, “It's so complicated. It's too hard to explain. ” But I say to them, “Look, we're talking about a power plant that supplies 60 percent of our electricity. If that goes away, the only way to replace it is through a very volatile resource, natural gas. ” You know what it's like when you go to the pump, when gas supplies are low. We're paying $ 2. 50 now, it's not too long ago we were paying $ 4 a gallon. Last summer, one of the plants at Millstone went offline. The spot price multiplied 100 times. Imagine going to fill your tank up and instead of paying $ 2. 50, you're paying $ 250. That is the kind of impact that the closure of this plant could have. So, I've talked about the effect on local employment. What about the effect on statewide employment?

We have the second highest electricity prices in the country. Do we want our major manufacturers to face potentially even higher electricity prices, if these nuclear plants close? I don't think so. Electric Boat, in my part of the state, Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, do you think they need any more pressure on their bottom line?

Representative McCarty mentioned the environment. I know the Governor feels so strongly about maintaining our greenhouse gas goals and staying in the Paris Climate Accord. Our carbon footprint goes up 25 percent, should Millstone close. That's the equivalent of putting half a million extra cars on the road every year.

I received a copy of a letter that the environmentalprogress. org sent to Governor Daniel Malloy, pleading with him to do everything in his power to keep the Millstone power plant open. It provides 96 percent of the state's zero carbon electricity and 46 times more electricity than Connecticut's solar and wind combined.

If you were serious about the environment, you cannot want this plant to disappear. I could mention so many other things. There have been questions about, why don't they open their books? If they're entering a competitive bid process, they don't want to let the competition know what the bottom line is. And, indeed, Dominion itself is a profitable company, yet many profitable company's close assets that aren't as profitable as they want them to be.

Look at our automobile manufacturers, GMM and Ford maybe making money, but they don't hesitate to close the plant in Flint, Michigan or Columbus, Ohio, if the profits aren't what they desire. So, from an environmental point of view, from an economic point of view, from an employment point of view, this amendment is a good one. I urge your support and I urge you, as I have tried to support other residents throughout the state who need help to support the residents of southeastern Connecticut. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH)