THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Monday, July 24, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 10: 00 o'clock a. m. , Speaker Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel) Will the House please come to order? Will members, staff, and guests please rise and direct your attention to the Dias, where one of my very good friends is going to lead us in prayer, Representative Livvy Floren.

REP. FLOREN (149TH):

Thank you. I said I was going to ask for divine intervention, but I won't. [Laughter]

Let us pray. Almighty God, bless us as we come together for this session. Allow our deliberations to result in effective solutions to the State's business and resolve the issues placed before us. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative James Albis of the 99th District will come to the Dias and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

[Gavel] Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Are there any announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Representative Staneski of the 119th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, good morning, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

It is my privilege to introduce to the Chamber a young man who is a rising senior in one of our high schools, a constituent of mine, Matthew Rodriguez. Matt is looking at going into political science for college. He's been trying to get up here all year to see how we operate. And I thought today was a good day, given that school's not in session during the summer and I'm hoping this will be a short day for him.

So, would you please give a warm welcome for Matthew Rodriguez. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much for coming up today. And just to remind everybody, we'll be doing various things today, but right now we are convened in accordance with the Constitution in the State of Connecticut and the call of the Secretary of State to come in for the veto session. Prior to adopting the rules, I believe we are going to be taking a recess for caucuses. So, the Chair would now recognize Representative -- we'll have the Clerk read the official call just to make sure we're following process. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

CLERK:

The call reconvening the 2017 session of the General Assembly; whereas, the regular session of the 2017 General Assembly adjourned on June 7, 2017 in accordance with the Constitution of Connecticut. And whereas, the Governor has disapproved certain bills passed by the regular session of the 2017 General Assembly and has transmitted same to the Secretary of the State with his objections; and, whereas, said bills were not reconsidered by the General Assembly or were so disapproved by the Governor after said adjournment. Now, therefore, as required by Article Third of the Amendments to the Constitution of Connecticut, I hereby call the 2017 General Assembly to reconvene in session at Hartford on Monday, July 24, 2017 at 10: 00 o'clock in the morning for a period not to exceed three days following such reconvening, for the sole purpose of reconsidering and, if the General Assembly so desires, repassing said bills. Given under my hand and Seal of the State at the City of Hartford, this 13th day of July, in the year of our Lord, 2017, Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I order the call to be printed in the journal. Is there any additional business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Communications from the Secretary of the State, Governor's veto messages.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The fine Majority Leader, Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. I move that the reading of the veto messages be waived and that they be ordered printed in the journal.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Is there objection? Is there objection? Hearing none, so ordered. [Gavel]

Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

The only other business is the daily Calendar.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk. Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES-DITRIA (114TH):

See, you're shutting me off already. [Laughter] Common theme, guys, common theme. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Upon recess, the House Republicans will be caucusing immediately.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, Madam. Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We're going to do the same thing. So, we're going to caucus in 207A, thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

All right. Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

And I move that we are in recess, subject to the Call of the Chair. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on recess, subject to the Call of the Chair. Without objection, we are in recess.

(On motion of Representative Ritter of the 1st District, the House recessed at 10: 08 o'clock a. m. to meet again at the Call of the Chair).

(The House reconvened at 1: 44 o'clock p. m. , Speaker Aresimowicz in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

[Gavel] The House will come back to order. Will the Clerk please call House Resolution, oh, before we do that, I'm sorry, Mr. Clerk. Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Lemar, you have the floor, sir.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, thank you for our point of introduction.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. LEMAR (96TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I'm joined by a constituent of mine, Eli Savin, who is a remarkable steadfast community advocate and door knocker extraordinaire, who just came off of a summer working for the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC. Is returning to New Haven this summer, where he will be hopefully interning in a variety of different political and governmental issues. He is probably going to be Governor of Connecticut one day. But first, he's going to return to Hopkins School this summer to complete his senior year.

So, if we could, would everyone please give a warm round of introduction to Eli Savin. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Lemar has put that bar pretty high. I wish you the best of luck, my friend.

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Reyes of the 7th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. REYES (75TH):

Good afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in recognition of the Honorable Thomas F. Conway, Sr. , who passed away in Waterbury, this past 18th of July. He served our district, the 75th District honorably for 18 years and he is survived by his Wife, Irene, and they have been married 58 years. He's got four children. He's been a strong staple of the Waterbury political family. He has been involved in politics for 60 years in the City of Waterbury. I believe him to be a very fair, honest, and irreproachable man. I really respect him and I met him in the early 2000s. And in 2004, he had approached me about running for this particular seat that I'm in. And at that particular time, it was not my time. But it is interesting how today it is I who get the opportunity to thank him for his years of service at our city, our district, and our state. And I would just like to take a moment of silence for the Honorable Tom F. Conway. I understand that the State of Connecticut will be doing something for the family at a later time. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

We will, as with most of our colleagues that passed, at some point in the future be doing something to honor him. But I think it's totally appropriate if we take a moment of silence for one of our former colleagues. Thank you. [Gavel]

Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Boyd of the 50th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. I rise for the purpose of an introduction. This is Aiden. Aiden joined us a few weeks ago, when the Woodstock Academy team was here. He loved it so much in the Capitol, at the first opportunity we have to come back he came by to visit and plus it's always good to see Senator Guglielmo down here in the well as well. So, please welcome Aiden back to the House. [Applause]

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much for coming to visit again today.

Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Yaccarino of the 87th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A point of personal privilege.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. YACCARINO (87TH):

A good friend of mine and a good friend of this Chamber in the 1980s, Howard Luby, had passed away a couple of weeks ago. Howard was a great Representative, but he was really a great American and a great friend. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge with a Purple Heart. And he is such a person who just believed in service, never talking about himself, but just service. He was loved in this Chamber. A couple of years ago when the Minuteman Park was dedicated out near the armory, Lieutenant Governor Wyman, and Howard just stole the show, people loved him. And that just showed what a great man he was and I just want to give a round of applause, not applause, a moment of silence for this great man. He was a great friend of mine and I'll miss him dearly and I'm sure he was a great friend of the people in this Chamber. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

If we can please stand and observe a moment of silence for another fallen colleague. [Gavel] Thank you.

Now, will the Clerk please call House Resolution 101.

CLERK:

House Resolution 101, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE RULES OF THE HOUSE FOR THE RECONVENED SESSION OF THE 2017 GENERAL ASSEMBLY; introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to say that these rules, as set forth, are something that we have again shared with other caucuses. They are standard rules for veto sessions, and I urge adoption, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Will you remark? 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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, please check the board to ensure your vote has been properly cast. Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, please check the board to ensure 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:

House Resolution 101.

Total Number of Voting 142

Necessary for Passage 72

Those Voting Yea 142

Those Voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 9

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call House Joint Resolution 201?

CLERK:

House Joint Resolution No. 201, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE JOINT RULES OF THE RECONVENED SESSION OF THE 2017 GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Introduced by Representative Ritter, Senator Duff, Senator Witkos.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. These are our customary joint rules for veto session. I urge adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye. (All) Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call House Joint Resolution 202?

CLERK:

House Joint Resolution No. 202, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE EXPENSES OF THE RECONVENED SESSION OF THE 2017 GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Introduced by Representative Ritter, Senator Duff, Senator Witkos.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Once again, a typical resolution for the veto session, Mr. Speaker. I urge adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further on the resolution before us? Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye. (All) Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call House Joint Resolution 203?

CLERK:

House Joint Resolution No. 203, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PRINTING OF THE JOURNALS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE RECONVENED SESSION OF THE 2017 GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Introduced by Representative Ritter, Senator Duff, Senator Witkos.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you're up again.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I urge adoption of the printing of the journals.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying aye. (All) Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, thank you. I would move for immediate transmittal to the Senate of the three resolutions pending further action. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is immediate transmittal. Any objection? If not, so ordered. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call House Calendar 148?

CLERK:

House Calendar 148, Substitute House Bill No. 6880, AN ACT CONCERNING THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING LAND USE APPEALS PROCEDURE. Joint Standing Report -- a favorable report of the Joint Standing Committee on Housing.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Before calling on Representative Butler, I'd like to point out to the Chamber that in order to take up a bill vetoed by the Governor, we need to follow a two-step process. The first step is a motion for reconsideration. Assuming the motion is adopted, we then move on to a second motion. That motion would be the motion to repass the vetoed bill. The first motion, the motion for reconsideration is decided by a simple majority. The second motion is a motion to repass the legislation and that motion requires two-thirds vote or at least 101 members. I am requesting that the members avoid a prolonged discussion on the first procedural motion and reserve their comments and remarks for the second motion to repass the legislation.

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's good to see you today.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

It's good to see you, sir.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

I move for a reconsideration of House Bill 6880, and as it has evolved as Public Act-17-170.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on reconsideration of House Bill 6880. For the benefit of the Chamber, I will note that Representative Butler was on the prevailing side of the issue when the Chamber passed this motion and that was passed on May 30th, and it is therefore appropriate that the member to make the motion for reconsideration. Is there objection to the motion to reconsider? Is there objection to the motion to reconsideration? Okay. I will now try your minds. All those in favor of reconsideration, please signify by saying, aye. Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. We will reconsider the bill. [Gavel]

Representative Butler, you now have the floor, sir.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move for re-passage of the bill, House Bill, HB 6880, as it has evolved to Public Act-17-170. I move adoption or re-passage.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on re-passage of the bill. Representative Butler, you have the floor, sir.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we're today because this bill finds itself on the agenda of the veto session. And I just want to put this in its proper perspective. The Governor has opted to veto this bill for reasons he's given and I will explain those positions a little later. But I'd first like to say that I see this opening of the veto session as, in my eyes, a disagreement with family because I happen to believe that the Governor has really done a great job in housing over the last 10 years that he's been Governor. As a matter of fact, probably more housing has been built over his tenure, 20 years prior to him coming here. I agree with 98, 99 percent of all of that that he's done a wonderful job. It just so happens that on this one issue, we just don't see eye-to-eye. And there's a number of members in this Chamber also feel that way. So, having said that, we find ourselves with trying to resolve this issue that we don't agree upon. Now, the issue before this Chamber is to talk about this bill; and in my eyes, it's a bill that is going to establish more affordable housing in towns that wouldn't normally have the opportunity to build this affordable housing.

It also takes into consideration having these towns and cities establish an incentive housing zone so they can determine where affordable housing can be established in their towns and cities. The statute without this bill actually opens the door to predatory developers that actually build housing wherever they see fit, anywhere in the State of Connecticut. And I can say for 31 towns and cities that are exempt because they have 10 percent affordable housing in those designated towns and cities that this is not an issue. If somebody wants to build some affordable housing in your city, guess what, you know who approves it? Your local land use boards. Well, there's many towns and cities that don't have the opportunity and that developers get to build what they want, no matter what the land use officials say in those towns.

So, hopefully, passing this bill will give these towns a chance to reach a moratorium so they could have their own say in matters in terms of what is built in your towns and cities. Now, at the center of the disagreement is some of what the Governor has as an issue, is build affordable housing that is made available to policemen, firemen, teachers that work in certain towns and cities that can't afford to live there. That's the center of a part of what he vetoed the bill on.

But I will submit to you that the bill addresses that very issue that there are towns and cities where affordable housing is not built currently that will afford an opportunity for policemen, firemen, teachers, to actually have housing possibilities in those towns that they currently work in, but just can't afford to live in.

And the second part that we depart from agreement is I've seen a portrayal of this bill as making substantial changes to this statute that will eviscerate the statute. Well, that is not true. This bill is a collection of a compromise from many people in this Chamber that actually gave up consideration from their side to come together to reach an agreement, a compromise, to actually build more affordable housing and it is just a tweak of the statute that affords the opportunity for towns to determine where affordable housing will be built and the fact that people will have housing opportunities that they never had before.

So, I will leave on my brief explanation there and I will entertain answers to the questions that will be brought forward by the Chamber. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Soto.

REP. SOTO (39TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, I don't have any questions. I just rise for a comment. And so, we're here today for this veto override session, apparently to do one thing, only override one bill that we passed this whole session. And it's to veto or override a veto for an attempt to loosen affordable housing in the State of Connecticut, an effort around affordable housing. And so, just because the legislature passed something that doesn't necessarily make it a good thing.

In Texas, right now, the legislature just passed a bill, which is one of the most-harshest anti-immigrant laws in the nation. The legislature did that. And so, what I said when we first discussed this bill was that this is a moment for us as a state to make a statement on what we want to do with affordable housing. There was mention around 31 cities and towns that are not impacted and that might be the perception for some; 131 towns and cities in Connecticut have less than 10 percent of affordable housing in their community, less than 10 percent. So, out of 100 units, only 10 at most are considered affordable. And that's in 80 percent of our state; 97 communities have less than 5 percent. And again, we're not talking about low-income housing, we're talking about just affordable housing.

And so, when we discussed this in the past, we have a moment right now to take a step in a certain direction. And many of this in this Chamber feel that doing this would be a step in the wrong direction.

Now, also part of this bill, because there's been a lot of discussion around 8-30g and the appeal statute. So, let's also be very clear that 8-30g is not an incentive program. While there are elements that give incentives, 8-30g is an appeal process. And there are elements right in this bill that speak to that appeal process, but there are also elements that speak to communities like Milford, who want to make some changes to mobile homes, and that's all well and good. And as we've seen, we can do things without overriding this veto and help communities like Milford to make sure that they do what they need to do, and not impact the underlying statute. And so, again, we're here today on a hot summer day to override one bill, right? To override one bill. And so, I urge my colleagues that maybe thought about or were on the fence before about supporting this bill, who are now having second thoughts because maybe they had to swallow that pill for the wrong reasons. Maybe they didn't feel like it was the right thing to do in the past. I urge my colleagues that didn't support it before to continue and for those that were on the fence, to go with their gut and not let this override continue. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in staunch opposition to this bill. I voted no on this bill first go around. I will be voting no today. I don't see a need to really belabor the issue. The good Representative from New London has done a really great job at explaining how I feel as well. But I do have some questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, Ma'am.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

The first question I would like to ask is what will the effect of increasing affordable set aside as proposed by this bill be?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler, do you care to respond?

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Could you rephrase your question? I'm not sure what you're trying to get to.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What will be the effect of increasing the affordable set aside as proposed by this bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker. DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess I'm having a problem with your referencing a set aside. If you could speak to how you vision a set aside in the bill, I'll be more than glad to answer the question. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's my understanding that it would make it more difficult to profitably develop 8-30g projects. So, if that is the case, if the land's cost is high, the current 30 percent set aside makes those projects profitable; is this correct? This is where I was going with the question. I'm trying to understand the 30 percent set aside and if that's going to make it more difficult for those that wish to use affordable housing?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't see the bill as having an impact that you're referencing. The set aside in terms of percentages, 30 percent for affordable housing is still going to remain intact.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And these are clarifying questions. These are issues that have been brought to me. So, I'm bringing them to you because you're the proponent and I would hope that you would be able to explain it a lot better than I can. So, thank you for that.

The second question is, why are the proponents limiting 8-30g developments to projects of 25 units or larger?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Could the good Representative actually point in the bill where we're actually doing it for 25 units or greater?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I said, these are clarifying questions. So, if that is not true, I just need it stated on the record. Thank you, through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't believe we have anything in the language that speaks to a 25 unit, specifically in this language.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that answer.

Next question, why give more moratorium points for elderly units and units for the disabled?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. I can tell you, Representative Porter, that it's a long ongoing debate about this issue and talking to housing advocates around the state, there's various priorities to many different people in terms of elderly, family, disabled, supportive, all the various housing initiatives that are going on. I can tell you that the ongoing debate for several years, when I first got here 11 years ago, I was on the Housing Committee, and it's, you know, been pretty much a debate about all of these different housing priorities. And there was -- just felt the need that we're going to be encountering a large aging population in the State of Connecticut and that we should give incentives to build more affordable housing for the elderly, since we have an aging state and we should plan for it and try to encourage more of it being built.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that answer. I think that the constituents that I've been speaking with had had a concern because this was not what the bill was originally intended for to address elderly, it was really to address low-income and middle-income families and there is a concern that this is going to dilute the intent of the bill. So, that's why I was asking that.

Next question I have for you, through you, Mr. Speaker, would be if you could explain the need to increasing the moratorium period along the point of threshold for the moratorium?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that question because that is at the heart of what we're trying to do here. And again, I just want to -- I said this a number of times, too, in a lot of different venues. In this whole initiative, several years ago I started off into the position of we don't need any changes. We shouldn't do any changes, until I got to go out and visit some towns like Milford, Berlin, Trumbull, and actually looked at the affordable housing; and know that, you know, they're doing some great things but in certain towns who are doing all they can, just can't seem to reach a moratorium like the Milford and some other towns that are right on the cusp of actually making it there, but they're just not getting there yet.

So, the moratorium idea is to -- the bar has been set so high in initial statute that people didn't or towns didn't really feel that they could reach it, so many of them didn't try. I submit to you, after 10, 16 years after it was first put in place, they come up with the idea, let's try to provide a moratorium for those towns that can't realistically hit 10 percent affordable housing, but we're going to reward them for actually putting in place a lot of affordable housing that is probably, when you consider the economics of that town or city population, the economic position that they could actually be rewarded because they've done everything within their means to build the amount of affordable housing that you will be looking at as applicable to their means. So, that came, you know, afterwards. Now, we're at a point where we've had several years to look at that and that bar just seems to be a little bit too high, but some towns are trying.

So, the bill actually puts in place incentives for two reasons for the moratorium. For one, if we provide the towns to determine where this affordable housing can go themselves, we feel that more towns will build more affordable housing. Thus, reaching the moratoriums and that's what we all want. The people who will vote no here today, they will tell you one of their primary concerns is they would like to see more affordable housing, especially built in those areas that don't necessarily do it. Well, that's what this bill is trying to achieve. So, that's the background between, about the moratorium and I believe that answers that question.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And could you just briefly speak to what will happen if in doing this the towns and cities still do not meet the requirement?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is a great question because I'd tell you that I truly believe and I'm going to hang my hat on this one, too. And for all those who maybe, you know, a maybe just -- the answer to this should really, really help you, you know, maybe consider that yes vote. But this is -- I think -- I guess I should have you repeat it so I answer it correctly the way that -- the intent of the information you're seeking I could give, so.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, could you ask the question again.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Explain the need for increasing the moratorium period or lowering the point threshold for moratorium?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Well, increasing the moratorium for those who already have it shows that those towns that have actually worked, actually reached the bar of the moratorium that we have set for them in subsequent moratoriums, they should be actually given reward, incentives to do more because they have done all they could to reach a moratorium. And if they again build more affordable housing then, you know, the proponents of the bill, all the people I worked with felt that they should be rewarded for continued efforts to build more affordable housing. Again, that's what everyone here wants to see. We want to all see more affordable housing.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker. So, that takes me back to the question at hand. If they do not meet the mark, if they do not satisfy what we're requiring of them in this bill, what action, what course of action will be taken?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And yes, and that's the heart in your question that I really wanted to get to is the fact that what I like about this is the bill, if passed, hopefully with your support it will be passed, actually changes the whole paradigm of this argument. Right now, towns and cities who have a problem with the statute, they point the finger at us, the State of Connecticut, and what we're doing. How we're, you know, taking, you know, taking them for granted. Putting the ability for, you know, developers to circumvent their local zoning. That's, you know, what they have a problem with. But in this whole grand scheme, it's going to be really the fact that the onus is going to change then. Once the bill passes, it flips. Now, the onus is going to be on towns and cities to prove to us that they've done everything they could to build more affordable housing. And, you know, that's where I'd like to be instead of them pointing at us like we're the problem. No, prove to us that you've done everything you could, that you've taken advantage of these incentives and if they do and we get more affordable housing, then I think that's great. In the case that you pointed out, that they don't, let me tell you, they can't come back here and ask for anything. I want to be quite certain that people understand that. If we pass this, we need to go back to our towns and cities that aren't exempt and tell them to take advantage of the incentives in here and build as much affordable housing as they can and the clock is running because the provisions in this bill will sunset in five years. So, the onus is on them and if they don't do it, guess what, shame on them. They can't come back here in my position, where I stand, they can't come back here and ask us for anything if they don't make honest attempts or if they fail miserably in taking advantage of these incentives.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

[Gavel] I'm getting several complaints that several members aren't being able to hear what's going on this debate. So, if we'd just quiet down and take our discussions outside, if you need too. Representative Porter, you still have the floor, Ma'am.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you another pressing question has come our way. To the proponent of the bill, why are we giving credit, points or exemptions for towns to create a plan or a zone?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I didn't hear the amount of towns that you spoke of. What was the question again, if you could restate that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter, could you repeat?

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, the question is why is the proponent giving credit, points or exemptions for towns? I didn't say a number, but for towns that create a plan or a zone. So, I think the concern is, why are we giving credit for them doing this?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sorry, I couldn't quite hear the question before. But, yes, we feel it's important to actually again provide the incentives and for those particular towns that actually do their best to actually build more affordable housing and this is just one of the ways that we address that. I don't know if specifically, you want to get to the heart of another part of the question.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker. I just think that the heart of the question really points to why we should be giving incentives to people to do what's right. Why aren't they doing what's required to do without being incentivized, especially since as the good Representative from New London stated earlier, that this is not a bill to incentivize, that this is an appeal process. So, there seems to be some conflict and I think that's where the question came from. So, if you want to respond to that, you can.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, and, well, that perspective was somebody else's perspective. As I see this, this bill is all about, you know, providing incentives, you know, you could talk the appeal process is what happens when people who give application and those applications are challenged in the court by the towns, and the appeals process handle what that is all about. What the bill is about is actually providing incentives for towns and cities to build more affordable housing. So, that's the heart of the bill and what it's trying to do.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker. I think a lot of what we've heard pertaining to 8-30g has referred to predatory lending and issues of that sort. So, I think what I would like for you to respond to at this point is how does this bill address that issue? How is effectively addressing the issues and the concerns that have been voiced, I mean, quite loud around 8-30g?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Relative to how it addresses it directly, well, as I stated, the bill provides incentives for towns and cities and actually the points available, once they reach the threshold of reaching a moratorium, then the whole process, and they are exempt from this whole predatory developer situation because once they reach a moratorium, towns and cities will now have the chance to determine the outcome of plans in front of their local zoning in terms of approval. That's how this bill will address that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker. But what happens in the meanwhile between them actually meeting and reaching the moratorium? How does this bill impact predatory lending is my question?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, it's not the predatory lending, it's the predatory applications that they put in front of their land use, local land use. And in the interim, I mean, that's a part of the problem. Until we put, we actually vote and approve the bill, those predatory developers will probably right now they're rushing to their local land use to put in, you know, applications before this is overturned. So, yes, we need this and we need to pass this so that we can address that issue. And unless we do this that kind of action and behavior will prevail and continue.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I have one final question. I'm really seeking clarity on this, regarding changing the burden of proof for applicants on appeals based on design guidelines; is there something that you could speak to in regard to that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill does nothing to changing the burden of proof that you're mentioning, zero. So, there is zero impact on that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for that response and for putting that on record for me. And that will be it for me today. As I said, I still stand in staunch opposition, but that is no disrespect to you, Mr. Chair.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'm done.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to make a comment. First of all, I want to thank Chairman Butler for all the work he's done on that. He recalls 11 years ago, when he started. I recall 7 years ago, when I started. We were in different places. But it's interesting how we've come together over the years. We've both learned a lot in that context. I also want to recognize Representative Rose and Representative Kupchick for their hard work and even Senators Winfield and Hwang over there for their efforts.

It's only a shame that we're here talking about this bill again, having passed it once in this legislature. You know, when I read the Governor's reasons for vetoing this bill and I listen to some of the questions and comments of my colleagues, I have to scratch my head. It doesn't sound like the same bill we passed a while ago. What this is is far more modest, this is not an attack on 8-30g. it does not eviscerate 8-30g. This is not a statement bill. This is an action bill to make it easier to get affordable units built; that's the intent of this bill. And to my mind, it has nothing to do really with an appeals process or incentives beyond the fact that our only goal here is to make sure towns like mine build the affordable units that we want to see in every community across the State of Connecticut.

If you truly believe in diversity in housing, this bill is part of the solution. If you look at communities around yours that have not met their obligation to build affordable units, this is a path to build those affordable units. My point would be, you want to create a circumstance by which a community that has not reached a moratorium yet, believes they can reach a moratorium, that they have a good experience getting there and building those units so that once they achieve that very narrow window, that four-year window of a moratorium, they're inclined to continue on the path. They're used to the idea of creating inclusionary housing zones and encouraging developers in their right locations where their infrastructure and they stay on the path and continue to build affordable units. This bill, if you're really in favor of affordable housing, takes you on that path. If you want to knock it down, expect these municipalities to continue to fight. And in my town, our experience is, yes, we have predatory developers who come in, they take pieces of land that are not developable or they can't get what they want from the planning and zoning department and they basically put forward a project with a density and a coverage that doesn't make sense for that area. Those are the projects that I've seen in my town. That's what my community is reacting to.

More recently we passed through P & Z an affordable housing project because it made sense, it belonged to the zone. We're getting close to that moratorium. I wish we were at that moratorium because I know we'd stay on that path. It's a shame, in my mind, that we're here voting, requiring a higher standard to pass this because so many of us in this Chamber voted for this in the first place. If it doesn't affect your community, think about the fact that if you want people in your community to have a chance to have nice housing in another community, you've got to create the circumstances. This is actually taking us down that path. I encourage my colleagues to think twice about voting against this at this point in the game because this is our last best chance at creating the incentives necessary. And as Chairman Butler brought up, if it doesn't work, it's got a 5-year-sunset on it and we go back to the way things were. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to tell people in my town, put up or shut up. Build the units, get to the moratorium, stay on that path, and then we can talk about whether or not 8-30g is working. It's had 20-odd-years, it hasn't worked in a lot of communities, so rather keeping the same ole, same old, let's try for extremely modest changes to the statute and see what happens. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. [Gavel] It's getting a little noisy. We could take our conversations outside. Representative Arce.

REP. ARCE (4TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise, I do have a question for the proponent of the bill. But first, for the past few years, we're trying to pass a bill called the young professionals. And what the young professionals was supposed to do was create affordable housing for college students who attend Connecticut colleges to stay, to encourage them to stay and work in the State of Connecticut instead of losing them to other states. And it was always a problem to even try to get that out of Committee. But my question is, what is the difference between that bill and the 8-30g?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And to the good Representative, the former bill he is talking about actually addressed directly young professionals. This bill is more robust and involved the bill to provide affordable housing across the board to towns that don't already have exemptions. I believe the bill you're talking about would have been applied to any town anywhere in the State of Connecticut?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. ARCE (4TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that was correct. It was for any town that, I believe, that it was authorizing the municipalities to -- it was up to them whether they wanted it or not. And the main goal about that was to keep Connecticut students to be able to, be able to afford to live in our cities such as the downtowns. And it seems like it was a problem with that it could not be touched, so. I'm trying to understand, through you, Mr. Speaker, you know, the difference of this bill that we are talking about here today, 30g, and that other bill that was to keep Connecticut students to continue staying in Connecticut after they completed their education instead of us losing them to other states and moving out to other states. That's what I'm trying to understand. What is the difference? I mean, I believe that it was important that we keep our young people from this state, continue to reside in this state, instead of us losing our kids to other states and that was the problem. We were never able to get anywhere. But now we're talking about a bill, 8-30g. I'm trying to figure, I'm trying to understand what is the difference between those two bills; I mean, because one, we're trying to keep our future to stay here in the State of Connecticut and we're saying, “No. ” So, that's what I'm trying to understand.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And to the good Representative, I know in that particular initiative, I must give credit to Representative Davis, who actually on the Housing Committee, he brought forward the first version of this for consideration in the Housing Committee and that a couple initiatives went down in flames because just of the financial impact. I do know that you in this session partnered with him in trying to come up with the bill that you're talking about now. And I wholeheartedly supported that and if it comes before us again, I'll be the first in line to support it again. Okay. But that initiative was specific to giving these kinds of considerations for our young professionals and, if I remember correctly, that whatever we -- it was enabling legislation that actually allowed the towns and cities to decide if they wanted to make this provision available to their young professionals. That was one thing, and I applaud that initiative and we should endeavor to do that. I really believe in that because for us to keep our young professionals here instead of going all over the country after they finish college, we should reach out to them and keep them in Connecticut. So, I totally agree with that. This bill for consideration speaks to making affordable housing available in towns that ordinarily doesn't do a good job of building affordability. We actually give more incentives, allow them a chance to build it where they want to build it and hopefully give all of our professionals like policemen, firemen, teachers, a chance to actually work where they live. We want to make housing available in those towns that they work in and right now in many of those towns, people commute, they don't have that option because the price point of housing is beyond their means. This will address some of that. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative --

REP. ARCE (4TH):

Mr. Speaker, I've got no more questions, thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Kupchick.

REP. KUPCHICK (132ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to provide a comment as a Ranking Member of the Housing Committee. I did want to thank Representative Butler, Chairman of the Housing Committee for his, his really, his incredible hard work in the face of adversity on this issue. For looking past the obvious issues and looking deeper into seeing how the 8-30g statute needed some updates, that it wasn't a perfect bill that was written 30 years ago.

As a matter of fact, I don't think there are any perfect bills written ever, and it needed some tweaks. And frankly, I appreciate that you notice that it wasn't discriminatory to want changes to the law. Towns like mine, just wanted a fighting chance to be able to build affordable housing without having predatory developers breathing down our necks, building massive amounts of units and only giving just a few small units to affordable housing, which really isn't doing much to help increase affordable housing.

I also want to thank Senator Winfield, Senator Hwang, Senator Slossberg, and Representative Rose for the work. You know, for the last six years, we have spent, I would say, literally hundreds, hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours in talking about this with housing committee members, with advocates, hammering out details and changing and erasing and rewriting and working and working till we finally came to a compromise. Not something that I completely wanted, not something that housing advocates completely wanted, but things that we all could agree on, which frankly was not easy to come by. It wasn't easy to agree. So, I know that a lot of people think that towns are trying to skirt affordable housing statutes but, you know, just to give an example in my town, there are 223 affordable units that were built in 19 -- right before 1990 that don't count under this statute; simply because they were built before 1990. They're beautiful, they're affordable, they have 40-year-deed restrictions, they don't count. Hundreds more, through the Neighborhood Revitalization Act, that don't count because landlords don't want to jump through the hoops of a 40-year-deed restriction on their property. But those units are still affordable.

So, I'm hoping that these changes will at least allow this legislature to learn something in the next five years, before it sunsets. To see if they actually -- does increase affordable housing in the towns that have been having trouble. So, I once again want to show my appreciation to the Chairs and the other leaders in the Housing Committee and I hope we will see. I think we will see more affordable housing built, based on the changes in this law. And I appreciate everyone who worked hard to do that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise first to really express my gratitude to Representative Larry Butler. It's so clear that, you know, a lot of us are coming from a place that people think we're not coming from and Representative Butler has stood beside us and worked really hard to make this fair and to understand and to hear what we're saying. In my district, we're incredibly proud of the growing diversity that we're experiencing. We now have 30 percent of our children are on the free and reduced lunch program. We have lots of up and coming families moving into our community. But we are having issues with predatory developers.

Recently we had a gentleman who bought a side yard from a family. The side yard flooded. The family wanted to expand their own home and it was deemed unbuildable year after year after year. The gentleman wanted to buy it. He thought he could pitch a tent on it and bring his family and have some nice weekends. And the next thing we knew, he was going before zoning officials and asking to build a private home on an unbuildable lot. And they denied that and so came the affordable housing effort, which, you know, was clearly hijacking a statute for very selfish purposes. Everyone says, “Well, you have an appeals process. ” Yes, we do, and I'm sure we're probably going to win the appeals process. But we are in court now. Now, Branford, we do have some very wealthy people living along the ribbon of the shore. But we have a lot of hard working people and new up and coming families trying hard to pay their taxes and to deal with all the rising costs that we're all here to talk about. And so now we have rising court costs dealing with these. And it's just one little scenario, one little example.

Affordable housing is something I deeply believe in and I know my colleagues do as well. It's something we want to make happen in real ways and many of our communities are working hard to make it happen in real ways and, you know, I think the more we allow the statute to be hijacked and undermined by predatory developers who have selfish goals in mind, the more we put it in jeopardy, the more it loses credibility. And so, again, I just want to thank Representative Butler for his hard work and for standing tall and taking some brick bats from some of our colleagues. Thank you, Representative Butler. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I've been hearing a lot about predatory developers and how they take advantage of the system. But I believe if the town was producing the amount of affordable housing, we wouldn't have a predatory issue. That's why they take advantage of it, because towns are not meeting the demand. But yet, we come here today to reconsider this bill, to talk about developing more affordable housing. And I question if we'll be able to do more affordable housing. If the law, as we currently have it, has not accomplished that, I don't believe how these changes will do that. I do question that process. But this bill does facilitate, in my view, the ability to do less affordable housing and reach a faster moratorium. Here we are awarding points and through you, Mr. Speaker, when I look at the bill, when we're talking about the HUE Points, Housing Unit Equivalent Points, right now it is at 2 percent, yet we are lowering it to 1. 5. What's the rationale behind that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The rationale is for this -- I can tell you, when we considered everything that we wanted to put in this bill, we wanted to make sure that we had as minimal impact across the state as possible because one of the things that I was very, you know, afraid of in terms of touching this in the first place was the unintended consequences that may come out of changing anything associated with this.

So, I can tell you that there is a provision here that talks about having at least 20,000 dwelling units and where this is applicable that that is probably going to only impact about six particular towns. So, and at that threshold, I still felt that it was a minimal impact, which will provide incentives for those towns to actually go out and build more affordable housing.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker. So, the incentive is to do less affordable housing. Right now, the 2 percent is the total stock of the affordable housing that you have to have available. But yet, we're lowering it to 1. 5. On top of that, we're including, not even from the base a few points, now we're giving you bonus points to get there faster. We are also including certain restricted types of housing to count towards those points. So, again, through you, Mr. Speaker, in a sense, if we lower from 2 percent to 1. 5 percent, are we achieving less affordable housing?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No, I don't believe that. The whole intent is to actually put this in perspective to actually make more affordable housing and the possibility of it being built within the hands of the municipalities. I can tell you that in past years that the bar was so high that I don't think some of these towns and cities actually tried to do their best because it was so out of reach. As I explained in an earlier question that the sheer economics of trying to reach these thresholds was beyond a physical capability, sometimes geographically; and secondly, in terms of the economics, those particular towns of certain sizes just couldn't afford to get there. So, this is an attempt to actually put this within reach, but they have to build affordable housing to take advantage of it is the key. More affordable housing.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, if I understand this correctly, so lowering that -- because there's two ways to qualify, right. There's the 2 percent and then you have right now currently on the lower 75 HUE points, and we're lowering the HUE points to 0. 5 percent. So, the incentive is, although we are lowering it so that you can reach your goal, this would incentivize them to do affordable housing. Yet, within the bill, it requires them to adopt a housing plan. But the bill does not specify, unless you can point it out in the bill, but it doesn't specify which municipal body needs to adopt the plan. So, I can see the executive and the legislature going back and forth, it's not my responsibility to adopt the plan.

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, which body will adopt the plan?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, I would imagine that it could come and manifest itself in a couple of different ways. I think that I would look at the local body that is our equivalent, any local council or board of all the men or women will actually have the ultimate sign-off on it with the actual recommendation from any land use boards in those towns or cities.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the gentleman's answer, but that's not a guarantee that someone will adopt it, but it's assume they will. The next question, Mr. Speaker. Which housing units will qualify for the bonus HUE points?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. All of the incentives that we have is if there is housing built in incentive housing zones, every housing type will get an extra quarter percent and any elderly housing where the majority, 60 percent of the housing within that development is at least 60 percent family housing, we get an extra quarter, making it a half for elderly housing. And all of that going forward, if this is passed, would be available to meet this criteria.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Can the gentleman repeat that answer again? I'm not quite sure I understood, which housing units will qualify for the bonus points.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and maybe I just put too much into it. Let me just make it simple. Any affordable housing units built will qualify.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. [Laughter]

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelaria, better?

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

I'm not there yet, Mr. Speaker. But we'll try it again. Let's look at LW Housing. Will we give more weight to more elderly housing units? Do we give more weight through three -- housing that is three units or more? Would that qualify for the bonus points?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, there is -- as I answered another question earlier. Over the course of debate over years, many people were feeling that we should do more to actually come up with a solution to provide more elderly housing. And if we were to give an extra point for elderly housing, then that may actually help us actually encourage more affordable housing around the state as well as the affordable housing across the board. And in this situation for family units that have three bedrooms, actually get that extra point, too. So, this is in line with the commissioner's view that family housing is the priority of housing in the State of Connecticut. So, that's what we try to do there.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

I thank the gentleman for that answer. And I still have doubts and questions about all of these changes. So, a couple of more questions, through you, Mr. Speaker. On the first-year moratorium, will be a four year, first one is four-year-moratorium, then we're increasing it to five year. Why the additional year in the second year?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, you know, I answered this question a little earlier, too. And I can tell you that the extra year moratorium for the second and subsequent moratorium that towns actually achieve, we put that in place to actually really encourage and to, you know, those towns that actually are doing a good job reaching the affordable housing moratorium. If these towns and cities actually did what we asked, built enough affordable housing to make the first moratorium and then they continued to build more affordable housing, we should actually -- we should send a message to those towns and the rest of the State of Connecticut; if you build affordable housing, we will give you these kinds of incentives. So, this is just another incentive for those who have done it already to do more of it.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, when we looked at, and the way I'm going to interpret this. When I look at that additional year, I'm looking at an incentive to -- not only are we telling you build a more affordable housing, because now we are lowering the thresholds, right, plus you're qualifying for additional bonus points, but we're also giving you an additional year. So, that should be incentive enough to build affordable housing. Because as I look at the list, which breaks down by town, the number of affordable housing that have been completed. In many of the towns in our state is less than -- most of them are lower than 10 percent, even lower than 5 percent. So, I understand why these changes are being made, it is to incentivize. But again, after we are putting all of these measure in place, and I know there is a sunset. I believe it's 2022. What would happen if, after we do all these changes and the towns have not increased their housing stock, what would be the repercussions, if any through this bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Yes. Also, it's quite clear, it should be quite clear in my opening statement that what I hope to do is change the whole paradigm currently that those towns and cities point to the State of Connecticut as the problem. If these towns and cities don't take advantage of these incentives that we're providing for them today, then sham on them. Don't come back here talking about you have a problem with the statute or affordable housing. So, this is an opportunity for us to give those towns and cities a chance to say that we really want to build more affordable housing and thank you for the incentives because we're going to take advantage of it. And if they don't, okay, the onus is on them. It changes the whole paradigm of people pointing fingers. It's on them, not us. And that is important to me that we actually put this in the hands of towns and cities to hold them accountable now for the housing, the affordable housing that they built.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the gentleman for his answers. I said I was going to ask him a couple of questions, but not many, right? [Laughter] So, I thanked him for his answers. But at this particular juncture, I cannot support this measure because I believe it will not achieve the goal that is intended. I see that we are providing the incentives, we're lowering these thresholds. But at the end of the day, there is no other mechanism to hold them to the fire. Yeah, we could talk a good game. Yeah, we're going to do more affordable housing, but yet since 8-30g has been implemented, that has not happened. I hope that the incentive does accomplish that, but we'll see five years from now, if I'm still in this Chamber, if that's the case. Because I have been hearing a lot of my colleagues saying this is what we need to ensure we increase affordable housing. Yeah, we're going to have the ownership now. But at the end of the day, you know, it has to come from a plan that's adopted that has clear, clear measures and goals, that's where the town is going to be heading. And how are they going to achieve that in that period of time. I don't know if this bill will assist them in accomplishing that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rose.

REP. ROSE (118TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, just I'd like to make a comment. And first of all, I'd like to thank Chairman Butler, for years wouldn't even talk to me about making any changes or considering any changes to this statute until he was open minded enough to come to Milford to see what issues that we are particularly having and what are similar to what Representative Reed was speaking to before.

I'm very proud of Milford. Right now, we have over a thousand units of housing in development, in the planning and building stage, with 30 percent of those affordable. We are a very desirable town to live in. We have the train station. We have the harbor. We have a beautiful green. And we have diversity; 32 percent of my students in my district are on lunch assistance. So, we are a very diversified city.

What's happening in Milford is really not happening in a lot of other towns in the state. We have predatory developers that are purchasing small parcels, single family parcels, one house, in the middle of a development of Cape Cods. And they are coming in and putting in 15 units, three stories. I have people that are looking out their front window at an 8-foot fence and a three-story wall. It's not fair to the neighborhood. We need some sort of a reprieve and a way for us to be able to reach a moratorium so that our city planning and zoning agency can sit down with some responsible developers. We'd be thrilled to have a developer come in and say that they want to do an affordable housing development in an area where it's not going to be a traffic concern, where there's going to be some open space. These developments that are coming in in our town, there's not a drop of grass for any children that might live there. There is no quality of life, they're just dumping in units because why, because they can make money and they can circumvent our zoning regulations.

We are looking forward to responsible developers. If we were able to reach the first moratorium, we would have to continue to build affordable housing, as Representative Butler said. With the HUE points that we would need, we would have to build another 1,000 or 1,500 units with 30 percent affordable, to reach a second moratorium. We want to do that. We want responsible development. We need to be able to include some of the properties that we already have in the City of Milford that are affordable, such as Ryder Mobile Home Park, that is age restricted. We have many units of senior development. We have low-income housing and we also have affordable housing and welcome it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Staneski.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. STANESKI (119TH):

I wasn't going to speak today on this because I know the very good work that has been done by the Committee to broker such a tough topic. But those of you who know me in this Chamber know that housing and that word “affordable housing” is very important to me. I've said many times, if it wasn't for Navy housing when I was growing up with my family, I don't know where we would have lived. I have advocated over and over for affordable housing, true affordable housing in our community. But what I don't think people realize here is, while this law has good intentions, it comes with some unintended consequences. And the first piece is that I know when we couldn't afford to live in a home that I thought was absolutely beautiful when I was growing up and we were waiting on that list, that I would go to school and people would say, “Oh, you live over there in that trailer. ” And they would point that out because young kids could be cruel. And what happens in my town is that a builder comes in and he wants to put something in that doesn't conform and he doesn't like the conditions that our planning and zoning has put around that. And do you know what he says? He uses that appeal process and basically puts his finger up at our planning and zoning, doesn't want to come and work with them. He says, “Well, I'm going to go in under the 8-30g Appeal and I'm going to apply some affordable housing units to this development.

And instead of having them conform so that family who's living there could assimilate and be part of it and Wendy pointed out and says, “Huh, you're the one who lives in the trailer down at the end of the street. ” He builds something that's so big on such a small lot that it's like putting an X on it and saying, “Come make fun of me. ” Because that's what has happened to some of those kids, I know. My kids were part of that when I was growing up. My sisters and I lived with that. And so, to say that we are in our community fighting affordable housing is absolutely wrong. What we're trying to say is that these predatory builders, who are using a good law to put in something that does not allow families to assimilate is wrong, absolutely wrong.

And just to tell you, you could look it up on line because it's on Patch and Milford, a builder went to our planning and zoning over in my district, this is about three, four years ago, tried to broker some units that they wanted some modifications. The wanted -- actually our planning and zoning wanted parking for the people who were going to live there, parking, that was it. He said, “Forget it. I'm going in under 8-30g. ” Wound up in court. Was actually going to build four to five set-asides. There was a compromise, two set-asides. Tell me who wins there? Certainly not the people who are looking for affordable housing. But what did he do? He was so angry, he bought that property. He destroyed any green space there. Took out all the trees and destroyed the property abutting up against the neighborhood that this was supposed to assimilate in. Literally last week, one of those neighbors, who actually supported him putting this in in a reasonable way, had just finished putting a roof on their house. Talk about unintended consequences. “Hey, I supported your project. You didn't do what you said. ” Wind comes through. One of the trees that he had not taken care of that he had left, fell at 6 o'clock in the evening, after they had just finished putting a new roof on their house. Needless to say, the people who move into that house will not be welcome.

So, this is not again about the 2 percent or us achieving a moratorium. Heck, we haven't achieved that over 30 years. But what we do have in our community are a lot of stock that has not been included. Those mobile home parks that I spoke of, that I lived in, that are -- hey, it was my first house when I finally realized that I could actually sell the booger instead of renting an apartment. First house I bought; sold it for $ 1,000 three years later. We have one of those in Milford. And because we have this deed restricted piece, we couldn't use that. I don't think that's an unreasonable ask. I think part of what we have here, we try to do a lot of bills in a large bill. And if we would actually sit down and have the conversations about the pieces that work and the pieces that don't, that we would get more accomplished and I think there would be more support.

To my friends who oppose this, I truly tell you, this is not a bill that says we are communities against affordable housing in our community, we're not. I want my teachers, my firefighters, I want diversity. I want my kids and my family to know that Milford and Orange and Stratford, we are all communities for everyone. I want people who are working down the street to be able to afford something in our community. But I do want fairness when you're talking about what really is affordable housing. And when we have a law that's been on the books for 30 years, it does not include senior housing, does not include mobile home parks, does not include us getting credit. Right now, we have so many pieces in the queue and we can't get credit for those towards a moratorium until they are put in, but they are not affordable. And that is to somebody's, I think it was Representative Candelaria, says where are we looking for enforcement? Where are we looking for the enforcement on this? If a builder is coming in and they're putting something in under 8-30g, who is keeping track of whether or not that is actually truly affordable? It's not. But what is happening is these builders are using that to come in and build something with that X on it. And I can't have that happen anymore, not for the families who deserve affordable housing, and not for the families who deserve their roof to stay on their house. So, I do hope you will help support this and override it. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I rise just to make a couple of comments on the bill and through you, Mr. Speaker. I've heard the debate today and it's obviously a subject that is near to dear to many people's hearts. And many people seem to be on both sides of the argument and equally as passionate. For me, I grew up in what I consider a unique situation. I've lived on my own since I was 15 years old and if it wasn't for affordable housing, I wouldn't be -- I wouldn't have survived actually. And when I went to college, I put myself through college and lived in a trailer at $ 100 a month. And if that wasn't available to me, I don't know if I would have made it through my college years. I live in a town in West Haven that has a 14 percent affordable housing. I represent a portion of that town. I represent a portion of Milford and a portion of Orange, all of which have different circumstances with regards to affordable housing.

So, the bill in question today addresses specifically the situation in Milford, Connecticut and I stand in strong support for what it does for that town for all the reasons you've heard from the various people who have spoke. But I would like to take this time, through you, Mr. Speaker, to thank not only Representative Butler for all of his hard work, Representative Rose for her hard work, Representative Staneski, Senator Slossberg, Senator Winfield, Senator Hwang, but not only them but also the folks on the other side of the aisle who strongly oppose the bill, but who were willing to listen and to make constructive debate, which lead to this bill being passed.

And I just wanted to express that and I do hope to see that this bill goes forward and we override the Governor's veto. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of questions to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, Ma'am.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You mentioned incentive housing zones. I believe that was the phrase. Can you tell us what that looks like?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The provisions that this is enabling legislation that will let the towns that, you know, see this as a priority, take whatever part of town that they would like and designate it as their incentive housing zone. Usually they will probably pick a place that, you know, has a lot of infrastructure already in place and that would actually lend itself to adopting an accepting affordable housing. But they can embrace this process themselves and once they take advantage of it and designate this area, then they would be able to take advantage of the incentives provided within the bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, is it conceivable that a town could designate an area near, let's say, the railroad tracks or any area that is not desirable to live in?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Well, I don't think we want to build any housing on railroad tracks, to tell you the truth. But there is an initiative for transit-orientated districts that we would like to build and encourage affordable housing to be built in areas close to our transit areas, whether it's on rail or a business system, and because a part of the affordable housing part of this would maybe include some people who don't have transportation. And encouraging that kind of housing to be built will actually afford those people the opportunity to have access to transportation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, through you, Mr. Speaker, is it possible for a town to designate a mixed zone, an industrial zone where there are businesses, housing zoning? Is it possible for them to do that where you have -- the majority of businesses, you can have some housing there, but the majority of businesses? Tu, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. By no means is this bill trying to circumvent local authority and certainly the municipalities have the ability to do their due diligence and make sure that the area that they're trying to set aside of incentive housing zone meets all the criteria to make this an attractive place to develop housing.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, are those areas in law. Is there a law to say where they could build the housing, a certain criteria that the zone has to meet?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The municipalities have the ability to designate and write lines around the streets, areas, within their municipality -- just the way they would create any other or accept any other zoning that's within their purview, they would have the ability to do this as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Then why do they need the incentive housing zones?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The whole concept is to make sure that if -- it benefits both the municipality and the developers. What we're trying to do is -- and for the record, let me just say too, because we haven't actually touched on this. The vast majority of developers in the State of Connecticut do a wonderful job, okay. And we keep on talking about the predatory developers, but the vast majority of developers in the State of Connecticut do a great job. So, we want to recognize them and don't leave here making people think that all the developers in the State of Connecticut are just, you know, gone mad. But having said that, with the municipalities actually designated this area, it really is helpful to developers because now the developer knows that if they build an incentive housing zone it will create an easier path towards acceptance of all of what their building permits, everything else because the town itself has already run it through and run it by their land use commissions and gotten approval to do it. So, now, when a developer comes, you know, it's seen as that parcel of land is, you know, a prime area to actually develop. Versus now what happens is a lot of times that developer will just pick any point of a town and put something there that really many times, and what people have a problem with is what they actually choose to build doesn't meet the character of the neighborhood that they're trying to actually put it in.

Now, for the 31 towns that are exempt, they don't have a problem because their land use boards could just, you know, vote it down and it's over with. In the other towns, they just have to accept this application and, you know, if they fight it, it has to go to court.

So, the incentive housing zone will really actually kind of provide that mechanism to avoid all of that contentious spirit and provide a working relationship between towns and developers.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, the incentive housing zones basically tell a developer, you can come into our town and develop, but you can only do it in these areas?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

No. Again, this is not about providing mandates. This is just saying if you designate an area for incentive housing, you both get to set aside an area where you would like to see developed and the good part about it is the developers, who want to develop, look at that and say, “That's a much easier path for me to achieve what I'm trying to build. ” So, it's a win-win. The city, on the other side, gets to take advantage of the incentive points within the bill.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, what happens if I decide I don't want to live -- develop in your incentive housing zone in the city's incentive housing zone?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Developers are free to put in an application for wherever they like, where their zoning is applicable to the type of structure they're trying to build.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

So, through you, Mr. Speaker, you're saying that developers aren't locked into the, I'm sorry, the suburban town or the cities or the towns incentive housing zones; they can develop anywhere or put in an application to develop anywhere in the city?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. All I'm saying is municipalities, like any other zoning that they want to provide have the authority to adopt this and designate where they would like to see it in their municipalities.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I ask if the developer does not want to develop in the incentive housing zone, they want to develop outside of that zone, will they be able to submit an application to develop in another area, if they feel that that area does not meet their criteria?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I will say that the developers have the opportunity to develop wherever they would like to. They could put in an application and it's up to the municipality to determine whether or not that application is in order and it applies to the zoning that -- for instance, if somebody wanted to build an industrial site in a residential zone, “Hey, no, you can't. ” But if it's, you know, acceptable and meets that criteria, then developers could actually anywhere they would like to, outside of that incentive housing zone, is still free game. But the intent of the bill is to set up a mechanism to build an area that is more attractive because if they decide to build in an area that people resist, that's when a developer comes to local zoning and there's 200 people, you know, complaining about what they're going to build and where they're going to build it versus if it's built in incentive housing zone, this is something that the city has pretty much adopted to actually help the process of development.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, I just want to make sure that I understand what you're saying. That this bill establishes an incentive housing zone, but developers still have the option to develop outside of that housing zone. In other words, whatever is in existing law now doesn't change regarding the development, you're just establishing a way of streamlining the process by creating this housing incentive zone?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What I'm saying is very much like what we're trying to avoid. We don't want to put something before anyone that actually circumvents the local zoning. We want to actually create the opportunity for towns to select this zone themselves. So, the municipalities get to decide, they get to decide. And that still doesn't -- that doesn't preclude anybody from building outside the zoning. All of that is still applicable, but I would suggest that if I'm a developer and I want to build affordable housing and I want to build it someplace that I'm going to get 200 people to show up at a local zoning and complain, okay, it would be much easier to go the path of an incentive housing zone that the city has already established and build what I want to build there.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you for your answers and your patience in answering the question on the zones, the incentive housing zones. You said, you made a comment earlier that those who have done it already will do more. Can you explain what you meant by that comment, please?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Well --

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That was in a pretty long question with a pretty long answer. But I could just say that I believe that with the incentives that we provide that we will see more affordable housing built. And that's what we all -- I don't care if people want to vote no, yes, or they're in between. What we all would like to see is more affordable housing and that's what this bill does; whether or not you want to look at all the provisions, people are yea and nay for certain provisions, that's what this bill is going to do, encourage more affordable housing to be built.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, you said to encourage more affordable housing to be built. Is it to be built in those towns that are already complying or to be built in those towns that are not complying?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Well, let's just remove “compliance” from the whole question. The fact of the matter is there are 31 towns that are exempt. So, it's not a matter of compliance. It's that they're exempt from having to deal with it. The people otherwise will have reached moratoriums, don't have to worry about it. It's everybody else who have to deal with this. So, it's really not a matter of compliance. It's a matter of providing incentives for other people who don't, other towns that don't necessarily build or have a priority in their towns to build affordable housing to actually consider that this is something really good to take advantage of for their towns.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, what in this bill would incentivize a community that's not interested or having affordable housing as a priority to really build affordable housing?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Well, that follows that old saying that you could lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Okay. We could provide incentives. If they decide not take advantage of it, shame on them. But as I said, you know, those municipalities can't come up here and point to us anymore about, you know, why this isn't working because we provide incentives for them to take advantage of. And shame on them if they don't.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad you mentioned that because that leads into my next question. What happens if they do not take advantage of it?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. This is enabling legislation. So, we're giving everybody the ability to take advantage of this. If they don't, it's going to really be -- those municipalities that are going be at loss. And again, the whole approach to this bill was a big compromise and while we considered many things, we considered big sticks to beat up on towns that don't comply to actually more of a carrot situation and we felt that we should offer carrots and actually the incentives is the way we want to go. So, while you talk about people who don't want to -- or again, excuse me, towns that don't want to take advantage of this, then those are really the towns that aren't going to have -- they're going to have a lack of affordable housing, okay. They're going to be the towns that if they don't build anything, you know, they're going to be subject to predatory developers, they're not going to be able to reach any moratoriums. But the last thing we wanted to do was create a mandate from the state to any town or municipality. That was not the intent, okay. So, this was all about basing, offering carrots to towns that took advantage of the incentives that we provided for them.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker. I heard sunset mentioned. Can you explain that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. Most of the provisions that are in this bill are going to just fade away after a five-year-period. The areas that are going to remain is the mobile home criteria, based on ownership of the parcels, mobile homes that they sit on because we felt that they're deed restricted. So, they meet the deed restriction criteria. It's only 175 units in the whole state. So, it's very small. And also, the only other areas that is going to prevail after the sunset is the criteria to measure area median income. Now, you live down in the Fairfield County area. I don't have to tell you about the difference between the area median income in lower Fairfield County versus the rest of the state. It's a big difference.

So, what we're going to have is, we're going to have that language prevail even after the sunset because going forward, determining any of this affordable housing should take into consideration that the state area median income versus the area because in that region, it's just so much of a difference.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that answer. So, is it possible, and I should say since I've been here, I've noticed that certain legislation that had a sunset where we've gone and extended the sunset date. Is it possible that this sunset date will be extended?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. As everyone in here knows that any of these provisions can be changed by any, you know, session that we have. Okay. So, anything that we do can be changed by a future body of this legislative General Assembly.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Chair of Housing for his answers and his patience. I have a great amount of respect for the work that he's done on the Committee regarding mortgages and other work that he's done to help families of this state when it comes to housing.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to support this piece of legislation. My professional background is working with low-income families in housing and for about 30 years. And I was working in public housing and, in fact, I was the Coordinator of the Section 8 Program when this piece of legislation, 8-30g was enacted. One of the problems that families had with their vouchers is that they were locked into certain areas. They were locked into cities. They could go to Bridgeport, they can go to Norwalk. Towns, the small towns that surrounded our area would not allow families to come into those areas, rent apartments in those areas. And so, then there was the birth of 8-30g. When I see families that were residents of state income housing or state funded housing, now living in Darien, in a nice apartment in Darien, and to say that my children go to Darien High School, I think that what we have done is we accomplished what we wanted to do. We wanted to give every family the opportunity to live in any community that they wanted to.

And so, I cannot, I cannot support this piece of legislation because I just feel that it's going to push us backwards. I feel that once we open this door, that it's going to open the door for other things to happen. I feel for my colleague from Milford, where there is housing that we should consider. We should consider senior citizen housing. We should consider mobile homes, low-income, I'm sorry, mobile homes. We should consider that. So, why don't we use another mechanism to make sure we change the definition of what's exempt and what's not, what's included and what's not. But I don't think that this is the vehicle to do that. So, I stand here today in opposition of the legislation. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Rosario.

REP. ROSARIO (128TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't have any questions, but I do have a brief statement, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good.

REP. ROSARIO (128TH):

First of all, I want to thank everybody who worked on this piece of legislation. I know many of you have been working on it for many years. And I too want to applaud the Governor for vetoing this bill and standing up for affordable housing. I strongly believe that this policy will take affordable housing in the wrong direction. As somebody who's involved as an Anti-Blight Enforcement Officer for many years in the City of Bridgeport, I really believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have an affordable place to live anywhere in the State of Connecticut.

So, at this point I want to urge my colleagues to not override this bill and do the right thing for the people of the State of Connecticut. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of Representative Miller, Representative Rosario and the others before regarding their positions on affordable housing. And especially Representative Miller who has worked in this industry for many, many years. I'd also like to reference another Representative Miller, who is my colleague from Stratford, who left us a few years ago and was the Ranking Member for many, many years on the Housing Committee and served with the good Chairman, Representative Butler. That Representative Miller and Representative Butler worked in concert and then the mantle was picked up by Representative Kupchick to try to reach a combination and a comprehensive idea about how we could rework a 30-year-old bill that would have suburban and urban communities work together.

My community of Stratford is an urban ring. We border Bridgeport, Representative Rosario's community. We have had predatory housing projects in Stratford that have not been advantageous. However, we have an exceptional housing authority that has several hundred units of public housing for seniors, Section 8, and families. And what this bill will do is it will allow that kind of housing project by a responsible developer to expand. That kind of affordable housing project is truly affordable. Living in a nice community like Stratford, where families and seniors will be able to afford to live, and that's what this bill, House Bill 6880 does.

So, I applaud Representative Butler, Representative Kupchick, the others who have worked so hard on this bill and I urge my colleagues support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Hall.

REP. HALL (7TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise with a few questions for the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. HALL (7TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. How are we defining a predatory developer?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I view predatory developers as developers that actually put together plans that actually are obvious towards circumventing local zoning.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Hall.

REP. HALL (7TH):

Thank you for that answer. Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, what percent of housing has been built by predatory developers?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Seeing that we really -- I don't think anybody could tell you or give you a number of the amount of predatory developers over time. To me, I think it's impossible to give an answer to that question.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Hall.

REP. HALL (7TH):

I guess that's what I'm a bit confused by because that seems to be a huge concern by several members in this Chamber about predatory developers and developments in their districts. And, so, one would presume that we would have a number of that type of housing because that seems to be an issue. And so, there was no due diligence done about the number of predatory developers or, excuse me, developments done and housing units built by those developers?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I guess in the best face I could put on this, let me just say, it's easy -- there's people that are on this list of 31 towns that are exempt, okay, that could have opinions. But let me tell you, there's towns that aren't on those lists of exemptions that have developers run havoc with their towns. Okay. As I said, the vast majority of developers do a good job. But when these developers come before your local zoning and they propose one thing and say that you better develop it or I'm going to enter into an 8-30g application and you won't be able to do anything with it, and how many times that has played out over the State of Connecticut. There are legislators here that could tell you story after story after story. Being on the Housing Committee, public hearings, I can tell you how many times we've heard this from towns all over the State of Connecticut over and over and over again. There is a serious problem here. It's not a matter of due diligence, it's what's happening out there and hadn't been here for a while, haven't seen it reported on, having people talk before the Housing Committee in public hearings, okay, were there, have a microphone, cameras in front of them testifying to the fact that this is happening in their localities. I think that we need to recognize that that situation exists. So, what we tried to do was try to provide an opportunity to mitigate that happening in the State of Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Hall

REP. HALL (7TH):

So, I thank the good Chair of Housing for that response. I guess I would just add that with those folks coming from those different towns and districts indicating that they're having issues with the amount of predatory development in their specific town, it would have been great for them to provide specific numbers as to the percent of housing that is impacted in that way. Thank you, Mr. Chair, that's all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, that's all.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Kokoruda.

REP. KOKORUDA (101ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, I rise. This legislation doesn't impact the two towns in my district at all. But I will tell you, we can talk about percentages of these developers. We can talk about percentages that all of the towns are trying to make to meet. But let me just tell you a story of a neighborhood in Representative Rose's district. Lamplight Lane, remember that, Lamplight Lane, and you will look at these small houses, right near Lauralton Hall School, these small houses, people that are there are teachers just starting out, firefighters just starting out, young families just starting to have their kids. Families that just have bought their American dream, their first home. These aren't people that really have big bank accounts. As I just said, they're all young people. And it's a lovely little dead-end street. And a couple of years ago one of these developers came in and totally changed their investment and their lives and their neighborhoods.

So, as we talk about what percentage of these predatory developers, whether or not we know that number, how many towns have reached 5 percent or 10 percent, that's all good information. But I just want you to know of the people that are being impacted. I visited one of these homes just lately of a teacher's home and I sat on his tiny back porch, right next to his kids swing set. And three-and-a-half feet from that swing set is a four-story affordable housing complex that was put there. This neighborhood fought it. They had no control in Milford. The Milford leaders tried to fight it, they had no control, they were threatened with lawsuits.

So, we have young families with their largest, largest investment being impacted by these predatory developers and I think that's when we start talking numbers, it's pretty easy to forget those people. So, I invite any of you, if you have any doubts about your vote today, drive down Lamplight Lane, in Milford, you'll be quite surprised. You wouldn't want it in your neighborhood. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will you remark further? Will you remark further on the bill before us? Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And just to close this out, I'd like to thank the Speaker and the Majority Leader for actually allowing this bill to be put up on the board. Somebody mentioned that we're here to talk about one bill. Well, this one bill happens to affect many people around the state, and a lot of people voted for that. It is our ability, as members of the General Assembly, to actually advocate for things that actually our constituents want us to advocate for. So, that's the reason it's just one bill and we're here voting on it.

I'd like to also thank Representative Rose because I kept telling her no, and she was adamant and consistent and she said, “Please, just come visit our town, Milford. ” And once I did, I visited a half a dozen other town and, you know, it's a lot of towns that just didn't take the mindset of, “Not in my town. ” There is just a different consideration to give to certain towns that are out there.

I'd also like to give consideration to and thank my good friend, Representative Kupchick and Senator Hwang. I can tell you, please know that this debate starts with people on far sides of a line. And let me tell you, it took a lot of work to just get to the line to talk to each other because there was a great divide between many different perspectives from this statute. But we worked on it and we worked on it and people like Senator Winfield actually gave some input. We had Senator Slossberg come on board and help with the initiative. And I can tell you that planning and development for it had to go before them and just meet with them, Senator Logan and Representative Lemar had provided some input that was very helpful. But all saying that we all came together. And I tell you that I really want to see this pass because I think it's good policy. It will relieve pressure and the issue that I think is going to blow up if we don't do it today. But I also want it to pass because we're going to build a lot more affordable housing. In my mind, it will happen.

And finally, I want to say that in this General Assembly, if we come together from both sides of this aisle and compromise, and it took a lot of compromising, I hope that we're successful because it shows that we could come from great divides and cross that divide and actually pass legislation. And we need to send that message to the people in the State of Connecticut that despite our great differences that we can actually bridge that gap and come together and pass legislation.

So, I urge your adoption, I urge your support and hopefully we will pass this bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

CLERK:

House Bill 6880, as Amended by House A.

Total Number of Voting 148

Necessary for Re-Passage 101

Those Voting Yea 101

Those Voting Nay 47

Those absent and not voting 3

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The requisite vote for re-passage has been confirmed. The bill is re-passed. [Gavel] [Applause]

Representative Ritter.

Representative Arconti of the 109th, for what purposes do you rise, sir?

REP. ARCONTI (109TH):

I move that we immediately transmit the item to the Senate.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on immediate transmittal to the Senate. Is there objection? Seeing none, so ordered. [Gavel]

Representative Rebimbas of the 70th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for a point of personal privilege.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, Madam.

REP. REBIMBAS (70TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I report the passing of State Representative Kevin DelGobbo on July 3, 2017. He served in the House Chamber and also on behalf of the residents of the standard of care in the 70th District with great honor and distinction. And he certainly was a friend to many of us here in the Chamber and in this building.

On behalf of myself, State Representative David Labriola and Senators Logan and Hartley, we want to convey our sincerest condolences to his family, his friends, and his girlfriend. And I would ask, Mr. Speaker, for the honor of a moment of silence on his behalf and his memory.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Obviously, Kevin is another individual we will be honoring at some point, but I think it is completely appropriate to do a moment of silence in his memory now. Please bow your heads. [Gavel]

Representative Tercyak of the 26th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise to say just a couple of words to a former State Representative who was here before I believe all of were, but he's not here anymore, and we're going to remember him like has always been done. Joseph Gregorzek was a Democrat from New Britain, who probably served three terms here sometime in the '60s. Somebody described him, after he passed away recently, as always, the go-to guy. If you had a problem, you could go to Joseph Gregorzek and he would work on it until you were satisfied. He's well missed. We admired his courage in his 15-year-battle with Parkinson's disease. And from New Britain and now from the Chamber, we'd like to express our condolences to his family, who have lost a hero to them and to New Britain. Thank you very much. A moment of silence, please, sir.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative. Could we please rise. It doesn't seem like it's been a good month plus for some of our colleagues. Let's honor this individual also with a moment of silence. [Gavel]

Thank you, Representative Tercyak.

Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I'd make a motion that we stand in recess, subject to the Call of the Chair, on the veto session. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question is on recess, subject to the Call of the Chair. Without objection, we're in recess. [Gavel]

(On motion of Representative Ritter of the 1st District, the House recessed at 4: 06 o'clock p. m. to meet again at the Call of the Chair).

(The House reconvened at 4: 09 o'clock p. m. , Speaker Aresimowicz in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Linda Gentile will lead us in prayer.

GUEST CHAPLAIN, REPRESENTATIVE LINDA GENTILE:

Let us pray. Almighty Father, look with kindness upon your servants this day as we gather to handle the business of the State. Help guide us to do what is best for the citizens of Connecticut. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, Representative. Would Representative Betts of the 78th District, please come to the Dias to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the Clerk please call House Resolution 201?

CLERK:

House Resolution 201, A RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE JUNE SPECIAL SESSION, 2017. Introduced by Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. I would urge adoption of the resolution of the rules of the House for this special session. Again, these are the standard rules that we use for our special sessions, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark? The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Representative O'Neill of the 69th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do wish to remark on the rules, but mostly I wish to have the Clerk please call, and I be allowed to summarize, LCO No. 9216, an amendment to the rules.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 9216, which will be designated House Amendment Schedule A.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule A, LCO No. 9216, offered by Representative Klarides, Representative Candelora, et al.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The purpose of this amendment is to add a new Rule 48 to our rules. It would provide for a mechanism by which 1/3 of the membership of the Assembly, of the House here, could petition to bring a vote to have a vote on the budget that would allow the Minority Leader or the Majority Leader to have this be brought forward on such a petition, and I would move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the amendment. I will order a roll call vote in this case. Will you remark further on the amendment?

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Mr. Speaker, if I may --

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

-- speak to the amendment? This is an unprecedented amendment. I don't believe we have ever had anything quite like this in our rules previously. We do have a provision that does allow for the petitioning of a bill to a public hearing upon a 1/3 petition, that is 1/3 of the membership of the House petitioning to have a vote or a bill be brought forward to a public hearing. What this does is it empowers the individual members, at least a large enough minority, a third of the membership of the Chamber to bring a matter to a vote in this Chamber.

I say it is unprecedented and it is but so are the situations that we face here in the State of Connecticut today. We do not have a budget. We are three weeks into the fiscal year, more than three weeks into the fiscal year, and we do not have a budget. We have a $ 5-billion-dollar deficit facing us in the biennium and we do not have a budget. We have not, as far as I know, even a specific clear-cut proposal for a budget coming from the majority party or coming through the legislative process of the committees. There was not vote by the Appropriations Committee on a budget, when it was supposed to happen. We went through the fiscal year, no budget. We went through the legislative session, no budget.

This is an unprecedented situation. The State of Connecticut is in fairly serious condition, worse than I have ever seen it in the 30 years that I have been in this Chamber. It is not time for business as usual. It is not time to continue the process that we have followed in the past. That process has broken down and it is not working. The House Republicans and the Senate Republicans for that matter have budgets, budgets that have been reviewed, budgets by the Office of Fiscal Analysis, budgets that have been fully vetted, budgets that are balanced, budgets that we could adopt today, if we so choose. We can move forward. This is a way forward for the State of Connecticut. Adopting this rule will enable the membership of this Chamber to move forward to adopt a budget and to help solve the crisis that is facing the State of Connecticut.

This rule will empower the members, 1/3 of the members will be able to vote on a budget, if they sign the petition to bring the matter to the floor. It is past time that we took action. So, Mr. Speaker, I would urge adoption of this resolution and to amend the rules to enable us to move forward to adopt a budget.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Klarides of the 114th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. KLARIDES-DITRIA (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my colleague's amendment. As we are well aware, we're in a fiscal crisis in this state. I was hoping that on June 29th, when we were supposed to come in for the second time to do a budget, since regular session was over, I was hoping that today the third time we would be voting on a budget today. Clearly that's not the case. I, and I'm sure everyone in this Chamber, is frustrated with where we are. As I've said before and I will continue to say, we, and the House Republicans and the Senate Republicans are ready, willing, and able to vote on a budget. Now, that does not mean that I'm asking anybody to commit to anything.

This rule change is about one thing, the will of this Chamber. We deserve, and the State of Connecticut deserves, the right to call our budget, to debate our budget, and vote the way we all choose, yes or no.

As we know, the rules of our chambers are run by the Majority Party and we also know that the Democrats are in control of those right now. We are asking to change the rules in the spirit of fairness and have an up or down vote. Again, no commitment on anybody's part, but to allow the process to work so it is not only the Majority Party that makes that decision.

Mr. Speaker, I urge members to support this. I urge you to support this in the issue of fairness. This is the third time we're here. This is the third time we are all called to change our lives and change our family commitments and our work commitments to vote on a budget where we don't have one. There are people in this building that have a budget, it should be called, debated, and voted on. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have one question for the proponent of the amendment, please.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative O'Neill, please prepare yourself.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe there was a remark and I might have missed it. There was a discussion about the will of the Chamber. I believe the amendment says that 51 people could petition. Could the good Representative please explain why the number 51 was chosen to put the petition forward?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The number 51 was drawn from our existing rules as regards the petitioning out of a bill to have a public hearing. I believe it's under Rule 11 of the joint rules. This has been a traditional mechanism by which a minority, but still a large enough block to ensure that there is substantial support to bring a matter to a hearing and to force the committee that has refused to allow a hearing to do so. That's where the 51 comes from, it is 1/3 of this Chamber, which is the same number that is used, for example, to block certain things. We just had a vote on an override of a Governor's veto, 1/3 would have been able to stop the Governor's veto from being overridden. That's where this number comes from. It's a traditional number. As I said, it was an unprecedented action here to enable the Chamber itself to bring a bill forward, but that's where the number comes from.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

One more question, through you, Mr. Speaker, to Representative O'Neill. The regular session, as it was alluded to, it's unprecedented to amend the special session rules to do this. The regular session rules do allow for petition. But I believe, and I'm just asking for conformation, that that allows you to petition to a public hearing, not to bring something to the body for a vote.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative O'Neill.

REP. O'NEILL (69TH):

That is correct. The 1/3 petition is what is needed to have a public hearing on a matter.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the good questions from Representative O'Neill. I would urge my side of the aisle here to reject this proposed amendment and I appreciate the time, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much. 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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

CLERK:

House Amendment A.

Total Number of Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 71

Those Voting Nay 77

Those absent and not voting 3

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The amendment is rejected. [Gavel] Will you remark further on the resolution before us?

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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

CLERK:

House Resolution 201.

Total Number of Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 74

Those Voting Yea 76

Those Voting Nay 71

Those absent and not voting 4

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The resolution is adopted. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution 100.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution No. 100, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE JOINT RULES OF THE JUNE SPECIAL SESSION, 2017. Introduced by Senator Duff, Senator Fasano, Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will you remark on the resolution before us? Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to apologize to the Chamber as the Senate Joint Resolution was not the board when I moved adoption. So, not that it is properly before us, I would move adoption. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify by saying, aye. Those opposed, nay. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. [Gavel]

Will the Clerk please call Joint Resolution 101?

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution No. 101, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE EXPENSES OF THE JUNE SPECIAL SESSION, 2017. Introduced by Senator Duff, Senator Fasano, Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, thank you. I move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Will you remark? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor, please signify -- Representative Ziobron of the 34th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, I'm reading the resolution for the expenses of special session. There doesn't seem to be an end date to the special session. So, my question, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent is, is this -- these expenses, are they going to be paid monthly, are they going to be paid until we get a budget? How long are the taxpayers of this state going to be paying for a special session for us to do the most important job that we've been elected to do?

Mr. Speaker, through you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Expenses are paid until a conclusion of this special session.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if I could ask, what an average special session is costing the taxpayers of this state? When I think about sessional staff, mileage; we've been here three times in special session. We've had mileage expenses, but yet no budget vote. Is there an idea of what the typical expenditures for a special session is through?

Through you, please.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I do not have historical averages of special sessions dating back hundreds of years in our state. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate that answer from the Good Majority Leader. When I think about the situation we're in in Connecticut, when I talk to Veterans of this building and those who served with distinction, they often compare this session to the session of the income tax, which lasted until probably what, the end of August, September. So, I'm not looking for 100-year-historical averages, I'm just looking to understand what is worst case scenario, and we don't have to look too far to understand that. I'll go ahead and do a further inquiry with OFA or OLR, but I don't think it should be lost on folks that the taxpayers of this state are paying for us to be here and we're here today voting on anything but a state budget. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will you remark further on the resolution before us? If not, let me try your minds. All of those in favor, please signify by saying, aye. Those opposed, nay. The Chair is in question, I'll order a roll call vote. 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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted -- please check the board to ensure 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 that tally.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 101.

Total Number of Voting 148

Necessary for Passage 75

Those Voting Yea 77

Those Voting Nay 71

Those absent and not voting 3

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The resolution is adopted. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call Joint Resolution 102.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution 102, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PRINTING OF THE JOURNALS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE JUNE SPECIAL SESSION, 2017. Introduced by Senator Duff, Senator Fasano, Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I urge adoption. I move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the resolution. Will you remark? Will you remark? If not, let me try your minds, all those in favor, please signify by saying, aye. Those opposed, nay. The Chair will order a roll call vote. Staff and guests to the well of the House. Members take your seats.

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, please check the board to ensure 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 Joint Resolution 102.

Total Number of Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 74

Those Voting Yea 76

Those Voting Nay 71

Those absent and not voting 4

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The resolution is adopted. [Gavel] Will the Clerk please call Emergency Certified House Resolution 202.

CLERK:

House Resolution 202, RESOLUTION PROPOSING APPROVAL OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT AND THE STATE EMPLOYEES BARGAINING AGENT COALITION. Introduced by Representative Aresimowicz and Representative Ritter.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative D'Agostino of the 91st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move adoption of the Emergency Certified Resolution.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the Emergency Certified Resolution. Will you remark? Representative D'Agostino, you have the floor, sir.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the question before this Chamber is straight forward on this resolution. Approve it and realize more than $ 1. 5 billion-dollars in savings over the biennium, make deep structural changes to our workforce that leads to more than $ 24-billion-dollars in savings over the next 20 years, all while reaffirming the value and dignity of the work done by thousands of middle class state workers. Or reject it and reject those savings, deep in the state's fiscal crisis, and repudiate more than four decades of collective bargaining in the State of Connecticut.

Mr. Speaker, the savings and concessions in the agreement, that is the subject of this resolution, are significant and substantial. In the short term, over the biennium, $ 700-million-dollars in total savings in fiscal year '18, $ 868. 6-million-dollars in savings in fiscal year '19 and that's composed of various components, including wage savings, zeroes in fiscal year '17, '18, and '19, as well as three furlough days. Now, let me just spend a second on the wage savings because I'm aware that everybody has got the OFA report. And OFA booked zero in wage savings for fiscal years '18 and '19.

The fact is, Mr. Speaker, that every budget, Republican House budget, Republican Senate budget, Governor's proposed budget, our proposed budgets, they all book more than $ 300-million-dollars in wage savings for fiscal year '18 and '19, based on zero percent increases, zeroes in step, zeroes in wages. That is a real savings. That means we do not have to account for any wage enhancements in fiscal year '18 or '19 as part of the biennium. Pension savings, $ 210-million-dollars in the first year, $ 238-million-dollars in the second year. Achieved via increases in employee contributions, decisions in state contributions, cost of living restructuring and other changes. That's massively significant. And those pension changes are also built off of those zeroes. The actuaries that looked at this, a month ago that report came out. The actuaries that looked at this have booked those savings based on those zeroes in the out years starting with $ 200-million, $ 300-million, it drives up to $ 400-$ 500-million in savings in pension actuarial contributions over the long-term. That is significant. Healthcare savings, $ 154-million-dollars in the first year. $ 261-million-dollars in the second year, achieved via various measures. Increases in drug copays, structural plan design changes, premium cost-share increases. You wanted structural change, this is structural change. And it gets better. Long-term, $ 5-billion in combined savings over five years. $ 24-billion over 20 years. And we pay off the unfunded pension liability in 30 years. A new class of employees added for anybody hired after 07/01/17, and they will participate not only in a defined benefit plan, but for the first time ever, a defined contribution plan. Increases in employee pension contributions, both in amount and over time, from 10 years to 15 years now you have to buy in. Remove retirees to a Medicaid Advantage Plan, starting 01/01/18, for $ 200-million in savings in the biennium and more savings in the out years.

Let me pause on the Medicaid Advantage Plan for a second because I've heard a number of proposals out there that say, we can just do this as a technical matter. We can just move them over, we don't need any agreement to do that. We can impose it unilaterally on our retirees. No, we can't. As everybody knows, that SEBAC agreement that's currently in effect expires in 2022.

I would submit to you that any change that accounts for $ 200-million-dollars in the first two years is a substantial change. And when you make a substantial change to a contract, when the state unilaterally makes a substantial change to a contract, rather than bargaining for it, it is subject to suit, under Article I, Section 10, in the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution.

So, we cannot make that change unilaterally or we'll wind up in court. But we can collectively bargain for that change and that's what this resolution does, what the agreement underlying it does.

In addition, structural change, if we smooth out pension payments resulting, as I mentioned, in $ 300-$ 400-million-dollars in reduced actuarily-required pension contributions in the first 10 to 15 years, and that increases to $ 400-$ 500-million in the out years and again we pay off that unfunded liability. Not included, not included in any actuarial report or OFA's report is that zero for fiscal year '17. We owe nothing for that last year. All those bargaining unit contracts expired at 3 percent. Everybody's contract had RSA, Reserved for Salary Adjustments, based on that 3. We do not owe that. Zero for '17, zero for '18, zero for '19.

Not included in there, not included in any actuarial report is about $ 25-million-dollars in savings of moving people to SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance. That's another massive concession and a structural change. So, what do we get for all of this or what do we have to give up, excuse me, for all of this because this is a collectively Bargain 4 Agreement. Well, there is no lay-offs for four years to 06/30/2021. Now, I've heard a number of people say, “No lay-offs, our hands are tied. Our hands are tied for 10 years. ” That's not true. Again, those wage and hour agreements expire at 06/30/21. Yes, there is no lay-offs. But no lay-offs does not mean no reduction in state workforce. That “no lay-off” language that's in this agreement is the same exact language we've had in prior SEBAC agreements, most recently 2011 to 2015. And in the last 10 years, the unionized state workforce has shrunk by 15 percent. We can still do reorganizations and, and this is important, anyone hired after 07/01/2017, this year, is not subject to that. They do not get the lay-off protection. So, you can do reorganizations, you can do lay-offs of new workers and no lay-offs does not mean no reduction in state workforce.

Mr. Speaker, you assess a deal by whether or not it increases the liability or decisions it. Either it saves money or it doesn't. This deal saves billions.

Now, again, the choice is to approve this resolution or reject it. Understand, if you reject this agreement, this collectively bargained for agreement, it produces immediate savings. It's the only way to get those immediate savings for the biennium. Because if you reject this deal, you're likely in arbitration and you don't get all the structural changes on the pension and healthcare side.

And again, as I mentioned with Medicare Advantage, I want to be clear here. You cannot make those structural changes unilaterally or we are sued under the Contracts Clause and we lose. And everybody's familiar with the Rowan suit, and we're paying for that. At its heart, I think the choice here that I've heard between this agreement and accepting this agreement and rejecting it, is really a choice about collective bargaining, whether we're going to continue to have that in the State of Connecticut.

And I just want to close by saying, that choice isn't just financial, it's not just numbers on a page. Our state workers live here, they raise their families here, they pay taxes here, they spend their money here. They protect us, they build our roads, they maintain our parks, they drive our busses, they care for our elderly, our infirm, and our disabled. They built the middle class in this state, they were part of that. They are the middle class in this state. And by this agreement, they are helping preserve the middle class in this state. They've done their job for decades. It's time for us to do the same. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think it's generally known that I've had reservations about this agreement for some time. I haven't been a fan. No doubt the agreement makes progress incrementally, directionally, it's part of the solution. There's real savings here, obviously. But it also gives away quite a bit. I really like to do my homework, but something as consequential as an agreement like this is going to last for years. You know, I've talked to OPM, OFA, LCO, M-O-U-S-E and I've even spoken to Republicans. [Laughter] And I'm really not happy that we'd just gotten the OFA report and to do due diligence, I would have preferred to have more time. So, this leads me to have a number of questions and I will beg the gentleman's indulgence, I would like to address those questions with the Speaker's permission.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

You don't need my permission, but you may proceed.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Well, thank you, then. Let's start first with the LCO analysis. You made a point, Representative D'Agostino, that there is a difference between what the actuaries came up with a month ago and what OFA has noted as part of the savings related to salary. Are there really any other substantial difference between the actuarial report and what OFA has just come up with?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino, do you care to respond?

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you. The short answer to that is, no. No other substantial differences. You've referred to, I think, and if I didn't, I'll refer to it now. Again, the actuarial reports that have been in existence for more than a month, since June 6th, these have been out there, that analyze the pension and healthcare savings in this agreement. And OFA's report mirrors or, excuse me, parallels those savings almost exactly except for that one wage issue that I mentioned. And let me just spend another 60 seconds or so on that to again explain what they did there.

Again, in OFA's kind of myopic world view, they say these are zeroes and we need something to compare it to get a savings. So, they say, well, we don't have a budget to compare it to, all we've got are proposed budgets. And we're not going to compare it to the old contracts because in our view they've expired. So, to them a zero is a zero. Again, every caucus here, House Republican, Senate Republican, House Democrats, we're all booking savings because we realize that we all reserve for salary adjustments when it comes to wage. And to put more, to find a point on it, a zero we all know is a zero. It means that in this coming biennium, we do not have to put one dollar in for wage, except for the $ 2,000, which I'll get to, the stipend piece, but that doesn't count toward wage for purposes of the actuarial pension analysis.

So, the short answer to the Representative's question is, no, there are no other substantive differences between the OFA analysis and the actuarial report. Critically, the structural changes, the pension changes that leads to hundreds of millions of dollars in savings, OFA agrees with.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the good Representative for that answer. You've repeated on a couple of occasions that in the first several years of this agreement there is a 0 percent in salary increase, I'd submit that's pretty much what we can afford these days. But there are also some other increases that occur later on in the contract. What is the overall impact of those increases on the overall savings of this agreement?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

So, there's different components to that. OFA has costed out the wage increases in fiscal years '20 and '21, when I believe 3 percent, 3-1/2 percent plus step kicks in, so that's in the OFA report and you can see that. Those costs, and they are costs, I would submit are dwarfed by the other structural savings that we achieve through the healthcare and pension reform. I've also heard some discussion of, well, in these bargaining agreements there's all of these other hidden costs, we don't know what they are. Let's sort of just delve into that and be clear here when we talk about the bargaining unit agreements.

So, you've got, just to back up for a second. You've got the SEBAC agreement. Attached to the SEBAC agreement are 34 individual bargaining units, with the exception of the new AG unit and the state police, who don't commonly negotiate their wage and hour with respect to -- under the SEBAC umbrella. In each of those bargaining units, there are minor adjustments for things like tuition reimbursements. OFA has costed that out to about $ 2-million-dollars a year, that's based on past practice. That's the same language that a number of these units have had in the past and OPM and OFA are all familiar with. Those are miniscule cost adjustments compared to the overall savings.

So, you've got yes, a zero in '17, that we don't have to pay for retroactively. A zero in '18, a zero in '19, a stipend in '19, and I would just respectively quibble with OFA's numbers with respect to who gets the $ 2,000 one-time payment. They estimate that about 50,000 employees will receive the $ 2,000 payment. There are only about 44,000 bargaining unit employees who are actually entitled to that payment. I assume what OFA is doing here is they are assuming that the state will then let everybody else have, who's not in a bargaining unit, that $ 2,000 one-time payment, by the way, including us. Right, that's not happening. We're not giving ourselves a $ 2,000 extra stipend. The managers, I'm sure, have already been told by OPM that they're not getting the $ 2,000 stipend. So, that number is actually less. It's only the 44,000-plus bargaining unit employees who get that stipend. And that's worth, according to the actuaries, about $ 84-million-dollars rather than the $ 100-million that OFA has. On top of that, some people get an additional payment, plus step, that's only about $ 4. 4-million-dollars more. I say “only,” but obviously this is all you have to look at in scale. So, that's in fiscal year '19 and then in '20 and '21, the increases in salary do kick in.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let's talk about those one-time payments because they really sort of stick out. Do you have any insight as to why we agreed to one-time payments and do those count towards their salaries going forward?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the question because it's a great question. As to why, look, this is a collectively-bargained-for agreement. And there's going to be give and take in a collectively-bargained-for amount. I think a lot of the reason for that one-time payment had to do with offsetting increases in premium share that start to kick in. So, if you're at a zero and a zero on your wage and then you're actually getting hit more with premium share, you could actually have a reduction in your paycheck and I think that's meant to soften that blow. As to the why in the negotiations, but I wasn't at the bargaining table, obviously, so that's just a bit of a conjecture on my part.

But the important point in the gentleman's question, in the Representative's question, is this: That one-time payment does not count for salary purposes when it comes to setting the pension amount the actuaries look at. In other words, it's still a zero in terms of the pension analysis. It does not impact that pension analysis. If you do retire in '19, when that payment hits, that $ 2,000 does get added to your average wage for those three years. But I would tell you that that $ 2,000 payment for the people who are going to retire in those years, that is a statistically insignificant impact on a pension calculation. The big point there is that it does not count toward the actuarial-required contribution amount based on the wages, and we keep that at zero, so it's effectively for an actuarial perspective for that contribution amount, zero, zero, zero.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That makes some sense. One thing that I've had a hard time really understanding is the agreement on lay-offs, which may be the most significant component of this entire agreement in terms of what we have yielded as a legislature. Could you explain to a little bit more degree, how is it supposed to work? I understand it has something to do with the natural attrition of employees. How do we manage and reorganize government with this restriction as part of this agreement?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, a couple of points there and let me reiterate what I hope I said in my opening. The no lay-off guarantee does not apply to new hires after 07/01/17; they can all be laid off. It doesn't apply to the state police, by the way, since they're not part of the wage agreement here. They don't have any lay-off guarantee. But the big point is on reorganizations because I've heard some people say that this ties our hand, we can't reorganize departments. That's not true. You can always reorganize. And this agreement actually contemplates, I believe the words are “significant reorganization. ” You can combine departments. You can close facilities. The issue is that you can't lay somebody off because solely of a reorganization. You have to offer them another placement somewhere. And there's been in place since 1993 a process and training agreement, which for laid off employees, which we put them through if they get laid off, so that if they go through that process and they are trained for an opening somewhere else that we need to fill or want to fill, they get priority over somebody off the street. So, now, reorganized employees, pursuant to this agreement, will have that same opportunity. And if they say, no, you can fire them. That's up to them. So, you can lay off new employees hired after 07/01/17, you can do reorganizations, so long as you give people an opportunity to get a new job. And if they say, no, they get laid off.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, thank you for your indulgence. Just a few more questions. In reading through the OFA's summary, there is a section on retiree healthcare and the Social Security component of that and trying to shift people over to Medicare, where we only pay 20 percent and actually would save money. Could you explain, you know, how is that in there and how it benefits us?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

There is a couple of components to that. Obviously, I think the starting point, that I hope everybody agrees with, is that we are better off when Medicaid, Medicare is covering those costs for employees and we're reimbursed by the Federal Government. So, the Medicaid Advantage Plan that we're moving retirees into results in significant cost savings to the state that's already been bid out. All right. But that Medicare Advantage only takes effect, a new contract on Medicare Advantage only takes effect by Federal law on the 1st of the year. So, we have to approve this agreement well in advance of that to get a contract in effect, not on our -- he's already gone out, I think United Healthcare has been chosen, and they've guaranteed up to 90 percent reimbursement as opposed to the 80 percent that we currently get and, hence, a lot of the savings.

But there is another significant element to this in terms of Social Security and that has to do with Social Security Disability, which I mentioned. If you're disabled and retired, the state picks up the whole tab. This agreement now requires everyone who's on disability, state disability, to sign up for SSDI, and that's immediately, not two years, not five years from now, immediately. And OPM has got a list of everybody who is getting state disability. So, we move them all to SSDI and that generates about $ 25-million in savings, particularly to the health trust account, maybe that's why OFA didn't book it. But those are structural reform savings that are in here.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, I think I understand a little better now. I like the $ 25-million part. You know, one of the big issues I've had since the beginning is, we know that 80 cents on the dollar of everything we're paying on an annual basis goes to retirees, effectively, Tier I's and Tier II's. To my mind, that's where reform needs to take place. Are there components of what we have in this agreement that actually address the need to get savings from the Tier I's and Tier II's?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you. So, for current Tier I's and Tier II's, their pension contribution is going to go up. In the case of the Tier II's, not the Tier I's, by the way, but the Tier II's are at zero. And there is a history there that goes back, as I understand it, to 1986, when they came and negotiated for that and got that through this General Assembly. They move up to 2 percent contribution and then everybody else moves up from 2 percent from where they are over the course of two years. I think through, I want to say through '17 through '19 or '19 through '21, I'll check that number for you. But the point is that we're getting more contributions from those current retirees. With respect to both Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III. And, of course, the Tier IV, come into an all new agreement where they're paying even more, up to 5 percent into the pension.

So, yes, we are getting more out of the Tier I's and Tier II's, that structural change, that's all embedded in that. More than $ 200-million-dollars in pension savings in the first year, upwards to $ 3-$ 4-million four to five years from there and then you move that out into the out years into $ 4-$ 500-million dollars. Again, actuarily computed changes to our contribution to the pension system, this is what drives that cost down long-term and enables us to pay off the unfunded liability in 30 years. It's like taken out a 30-year-mortgage right now. We're going to have that unfunded liability off the books.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That actually is probably the most encouraging thing I've heard because we know that that's where a lot of cost is and if that is actually going to bend the curve, that is definitely beneficial in my view.

Last question, you know, I've had conversations with others who suggest that let's vote down this agreement and then we can take another path, that we statutorily can find a way to even greater savings, I've also heard that might invoke a legal action on behalf of the unions. This may be unfair, but if I could ask the proponent whether or not he believes that there is -- well, I would ask him to comment on that particular way of looking at an alternative to approving this agreement?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, it's a great question. Let's break it up into wage an hour and pension and healthcare because the operation assumption from the alternative budgets I've seen is this, wage-an-hour agreements are expired and; therefore, we can statutorily make changes. Now, I'm not sure what you do in addition to the zeroes that we've already got, you can't go less than zero. But that's the idea is those wage-an-hour agreements have expired, let's not renew them here. Let's impose zeroes rather than collectively bargain for these same zeroes that we've achieved here.

The problem with that is all of these agreements have what are called extension clauses, where the state signs that and it was obligated to continue negotiating. Plus you have a statute, 5-278, I want to say it's (f) that says that so long as the agreements are being negotiated, the prior wage-an-hour or at least the wage provisions stay in effect. And these agreements last ended at 3 percent. My point is that it's not as simple as saying we can statutorily, unilaterally mandate wage freezes because the agreements have expired. Because of those extension agreements, that is a contract that the state entered into. And we will be subject to suit, Article I, Section 10, just a quick quote here from the Supreme Court of the United States, “A state is not completely free to consider impairing the obligations of its own contracts on par with other policy alternatives. Similarly, a state is not free to impose a drastic impairment when an evident and more moderate course would serve its purposes equally well. ” Zeros are zeroes. We have collective bargained for that zero. I think there is plenty of case law out there under the contracts clause, which would say we would lose that argument.

Whether you believe that or not, there is litigation risk with that position. There is litigation risk with that position. We'll wind up in court. And I can't tell you how that will be resolved, but I'm telling you what the hurdle is. That's just wage-an-hour. Pension and healthcare are something entirely different. That contract is in effect, as I mentioned, until 2022. So, you cannot unilaterally make changes to pension and healthcare while that contract is in effect, or you absolutely wind up in court under the contract's clause and you lose. All right. Now, I've heard again things like Medicaid -- Medicare Advantage characterizes a technical change. But as I mentioned, I would submit to you that something that achieves $ 200-million-dollars in savings in the first two years is a far cry from a technical change.

Here's the big point, if you unilaterally make those changes, as I mentioned, you're subject to suit under the contract's clause. If you collectively bargain those changes, you're no longer unilaterally making them to a contract and you're not subject to suit from, say, the retirees. Now, the retirees have that vested right and they might argue that the COLA changes and the Medicare Advantage changes substantively effect their retirement. But we've bargained for that. We can't be sued under the contract clause now. You know who they can sue? The union. The union is taking the entire litigation risk associated with the retiree healthcare and pension changes. That doesn't show up in any actuarial report or any OFA report. But it is massive. We no longer have that risk, they do. That's what collective bargaining does.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, let's put the benefit side aside, I understand that part. Are you suggesting that we would be on weak legal ground on the salary side of things if we were to act unilaterally, would that effectively be ending collective bargaining?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I break up wage-an-hour and pension and healthcare. I think we are weak legal ground if we were to say that we're no longer going to collectively bargain wage-an-hour and working conditions because we think the contracts have expired. We'll wind up in court and a very good chance we'll lose.

But here's an important point on it. As I said, you certainly can't do that with respect to the pension and healthcare. So, if you were to reject the wage-an-hour and working condition components to this deal now, it all falls apart. You pull that thread and it all comes out. So, there are no savings anymore to book in fiscal year '18, no savings in fiscal year '19, no structural changes in '20, '21, '22, on and on. And all you are is in court.

So, the short answer to the question is, yes, legal risk on the wage-an-hour, significant legal risk, overwhelming legal risk on the pension and healthcare and practical risk in terms of the savings that we've got here, which evaporate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Well, I will say that I very much appreciate the proponent's answers, they were very much on point. I'm still, frankly, not totally comfortable, but I'm most concerned that I thought there was a realistic alternative path that might yield at least as much by way of savings. But now, I confess, I'm concerned about two points. One is the seeming likelihood and obviously you've got -- we talked to a lot of different lawyers and I get somewhat different answers. But I am concerned about the prospect of ending up in court on trying to act statutorily. And in the meantime, sacrificing a half-a-billion-dollars or more in concessions at least for the first year, where all that's being wrangled.

So, I'd have to say that even though I have my reservations about this, it kind of feels if I don't have good choices that it's this agreement, which does make some progress or taking gigantic risks down roads that have not yet -- have not been pursued previously, leaves me feeling even more nervous. So, I suppose I will be supporting this agreement, no matter how reluctantly. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Like Representative Steinberg has been spending the last few weeks trying to do my homework, I think it's something that I owe my constituents to do, to research all sides of this. Like him, I've also met with the Governor's office, OPM, various proponents and critics of the deal, to try to make the best and most informed decision I can as this is a huge linchpin one way or the other to our budget process and one that I hope we can do through a consensus process.

I do have a few questions that I would like to ask the proponent of the bill, with your permission, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

You don't need my permission, but please proceed.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Thank you. One of the parts I don't quite understand, not being labor relations, not being a lawyer, is within the umbrella of SEBAC is there is close to 34 different bargaining units. And my first question is, were those contracts changed, altered through this process or just the umbrella piece?

Through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the question. So, this is a comprehensive agreement. Attached to the SEBAC agreement are 34 of the bargaining unit agreements, again say for two, the AG's and the state police. And by voting on this resolution, you're voting not only to approve the pension and healthcare changes in SEBAC that apply to all of the bargaining units, but also the individual unit agreements as well. And each one of those also follow the same SEBAC architecture outlined, I believe it's in Attachment E of the SEBAC agreement, that yields the zero percent, excuse me, the zero-wage increase in '17, '18, and '19. Most of these agreements, and I've looked at them, are two or three pages because they just simply follow the SEBAC architecture. Some of them have changes to little things like, I say “little” again, I'm talking about scale here. Some of them have changes to things like tuition reimbursement, conference fees, if employees are required to go, conference fees, that's part of that $ 2-million-dollars that OFA is costing out on a yearly basis, net, net, for all of those changes.

I'll give you another example. We've got a number of employees who drive commercial vehicles, vans, the corrections officers, for example. UConn has a number of employees that do this. But by Federal law, they're required to get their CDL, Commercial Driver's License, and they also have to take a separate medical exam. Well, one of the things that we bargained, that's bargained for in this agreement is that we'll pick up the tab for that medical exam. We're making you drive those vans, we want you to be able to do it. We'll reimburse you for the cost of that medical exam that's federally required. Now, do I have a specific cost for that? I don't. It's not going to be $ 20-million-dollars a year. We're talking about maybe a few hundred employees that do this. And what is negotiated in here is rather than doing that on a unit-by-unit basis, we have collective bargained for the right to do that on a statewide basis. All employees get the same reimbursement and we do it, RFP out to have a uniform rate, rather than on a bargaining unit by bargaining unit basis. That's the kind of individual bargaining unit costs that are contained in here and what's embedded in that $ 2-million-dollars from OFA. Again, a lot of that is based on past experience. None of this is new. Tuition reimbursement is not new. Conference fees is not new. Something like the CDL piece, that is new. But it's not, it's not, at least even according to OFA and certainly according to the actuaries cratering the deal. There's not a landmine here of $ 20-million-dollars for one bargaining unit because they're, I don't know, all going to Maui for a conference, that's not in here.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

And I thank you for that answer. I think one of the concerns that I get from constituents is the concern that within these 30, 34 agreements that there would be something I would consider a land mine, something that is not -- you see in the summary of the report and OPM was very good about trying to provide some of these and it's really difficult different to read all, I think it's like 700 pages of all of this put together. But certainly, I did have a number of concerns in that area. I was wondering if you could take a moment and speak to probably what is the largest reported criticism of the agreement is extending the 2022 to 2027, there's a number of different analysis of this. One, you know, independent think tank refers to it as being, agreeing to some unsustainable benefits. And if we're going to agree to something that goes to 2027, do we have the means to support that when we would normally renegotiate at 2022? So, I'm wondering if you could just walk us through that extension and what that ultimately will mean for future Governors and future legislators as we grapple with some of these issues? Hopefully we can address, earlier rather than later, but if we are still in a state of financial distress, what this might mean for us?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

So, again, going back to that division between wage-an-hour and pension and healthcare, I appreciate that there is that incongruity, that the wage-an-hour agreements expire in 2021, SEBAC 2022, and by virtue of this agreement extended for five years to 2027. I think the short answer to that question is this is a collectively bargained for agreement. And the significant substantial structural changes in here require to give, that's collective bargaining. And so, what we agreed to was keeping that SEBAC, the overall architecture changed now, changed significantly in effect until 2027, in addition to that four-year no lay-off commitment. But I mentioned it has room to play within there.

So, you're not going to get one without the other. Again, this is a uniform deal that we are voting on here. And to simply say that well, we could get those zeroes. We should have stuck around for a harder bargain. We would have gotten those zeroes and they would have caved on SEBAC expiring in 2022. This went on for months, this negotiation. And the concessions contained in here imbedded in it, I have no problem, and I hope most of the members here have no problem, carrying forward. Because again, as I talked about, you're talking about not only long-term structural changes both in terms of everything from disability to Medicare, but the pension piece is so important. The savings it leads to over 20 years and allows us to finally pay off our unfunded liability in '30, I think it's a bargain worth making.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

And I thank the gentleman for his response. He is certainly much more eloquent in explaining this than I am. I guess the last question I have, for the whole here, is kind of the same question that I brought to OPM is that is this the best deal with all the circumstances out there that we could have gotten with everything considered, is this the best deal that we could have gotten in this negotiation?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

I'll say it three times, yes. Yes, yes, yes. [Laughter]

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Three times is a charm. Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Thank you for that answer. And that's all the questions I have, so I yield, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. The House will stand at ease. The House will come back to order. Representative Wilms.

REP. WILMS (142ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is really a momentous vote. I'm only in my third year here. Many of you have been here a lot longer. But, you know, this seems to me like of all the votes that I've cast in the last three years. This is probably the most important by far. And here's why, you know, I serve on Appropriations for the last three years and we've had a lot of hearings where we hear about fixed costs. Well, we can't do anything, those costs are fixed. You know, wages are fixed. Healthcare is fixed. Pensions are fixed. OPEB is fixed. Debt service is fixed. Everything is fixed or a lot of things are fixed and so, if we're going to balance the budget, what we have to work with on the spending side is restricted or constrained. Those are the variable costs. Inevitably, the variable costs are the services I think that many of us would like to see government do, helping those with disabilities, our parks, our roads, railroads and so on. So, the question is, you know, how did all of these things get fixed? Was this something that came from the all mighty in an edict? No, the answer is our predecessors made choices. Where we are today is a result of choices that were made by our predecessors. And the choices that they made we have to live with and we are living with them. And today we get to make a choice. And the result of our choice today is going to impact our successors 5, 10 years down the road. And so, for those of us who may not be here, you know, 5 or 10 years from now when our successors ask, “Gee, how did these things get fixed? How did we get to where we are?” Well, they can just look at us right now because we're at a choice point, a very important one that will determine which way our state goes.

And why is it so important? It's because we're in the middle of an economic and fiscal crisis. And how do you quantify a fiscal crisis? Well, I guess to put it really simply, in my mind the way I think about things, is if at this point revenues are growing at zero or maybe a half percent, and expenses are growing at 5 or 6 percent every year and legally we have to have a balanced budget, that's a crisis because things are out of balance. Things are out of whack. And so, when we're looking to address this crisis, we need to ask ourselves, “Does this action solve the crisis? Does it get the job done?” I respectfully suggest that it's not, well, this is the best we could do, you know, well, you know, under the circumstances, this is where we're at. The real question is, does this get the job done. And it kind of strikes me like, I'm going back to my high school days, I ran track in high school. And those of you know there is a, you know, the high school track. You know, I'm dating myself. We ran miles back then, we didn't run kilometers, but it was four laps around the track. Four laps equaled a mile. And this deal here admittedly has some good things, it does. There is wage freezes, there is pension reform, there is OPEB reform, there's healthcare reform, and there's no denying that.

But it strikes me as like we've run about a lap-and-a-half. We need to run four to solve the crisis, run a mile. But it's like we ran a lap-and-a-half, which is better than zero, but then we stopped. Okay. We're at a lap-and-a-half, this is a mile. This is the best we can do. Now, let's just take our marbles and go home. But it's not the best. It doesn't get the job done.

And let's go into a few things here. First of all, you know, I understand the proponent of the bill talked about the sanctity of contracts. And I don't think there is anyone here in this Chamber, certainly not me, who is suggesting that we unilaterally abrogate an existing contract. So, SEBAC, for example, is locked in till 2022. I respect that. I think it was a mistake for Governor Rowland to lock in a 20-year-deal back in the 1990s. It was a huge mistake. I think it was a further mistake for Governor Malloy to do, I think, 10 years back, you know, several years ago. And here we are, we're proposing to perhaps do it again for another 5 years on top of the current 5 years. There are some things though that, where we do have freedom of action on wages, on lay-offs, on furlough days, on pay cuts, on the teacher's pension and also, I believe, about 20 percent of our workforce is not unionized.

The fact is, is that our predecessors made a choice, they created the collective bargaining system that we are operating under. It was a choice. And respectfully, very few states in our country have made the same choice that we have. To my understanding, my understanding is 44 or 45 states in our county do not use our system, they use a more statutorily-based system. We're one of 4 or 5, I believe, that use collective bargaining to this extent. So, we clearly made a choice to pursue this particular route. And many of our other colleagues have made different choices. And so, the question is, you know, is this still the right choice for us today? I get that, you know, some may say, yes, it is it. We should continue this system. This is a good system. And I personally have nothing against collective bargaining or union membership, you know, it is what it is. I think a lot of unions came about because there were abuses that happened in the past and so I can understand that. I get that.

But we're in a fiscal crisis and is this system, has it helped or has it hurt? It seems to me it's hurt because what we've done is our predecessors made choices that locked in costs in roughly 40 percent of our budget that we are now having to deal with and, you know, having these budget crises year after year after year after year. And so, it seems to me that we need to be open to looking at different options, not for any ideological reason, but because we need to focus on what gets the job done. And respectfully, I don't think this is getting the job done.

I believe that if this -- if we choose to move this forward and if the Senate chooses to move it forward, we are essentially repeating the mistakes that our predecessors made 20 and 10 years ago. Because I believe that while, yes, we get a lap-and-a-half, which is better than zero, but what are we giving up? We're locking in our benefits for 10 more years. We're preventing lay-offs for four more years. We're fixing our costs. We are choosing to fix our costs again, like our predecessors, for 4 and 10 years. And we're choosing to do that in a very unstable and uncertain environment.

Let's look at our economic situation. Would any of us here believe that we are in a thriving, growing, vibrant economy right now? I don't think so. Our revenues have been declining each and every year. It's more likely than not that in the next 10 years we're going to have a recession. I hope we don't. But I would say it's more than likely that we will. And if I look at our past recessions, that usually takes about a 2-year-bite out of whatever we do. And so, doesn't it make sense that if on the revenue side we have an uncertain, unpredictable or negative trendline in environment, is this the right time for us now to fix our costs for 4 years and then 10 years? Shouldn't we maybe be unfixing them, to give ourselves the flexibility so that we could react? And it kind of leads to the question of who are we really reacting for and to? Who serves whom? I believe that we here in government were elected by the people to serve the people of Connecticut. And to my understanding, our population is about 3-and-a-half million people. We are elected to serve 3-and-a-half million citizens of Connecticut. My understanding is that our -- and we've chosen to allow our employees in government to create unions and my understanding there about 45 or 50,000 employees who are unionized. Sometimes I wonder who we really serve. Are we serving our employees union leaders or are we serving the people of Connecticut? I sometimes wonder.

I don't know of anyone else in Connecticut who is able to collectively bargain and arbitrate their way out of a fiscal crisis. Essentially, what we're saying here is we vote for this, we are going to create a protected class of individuals, roughly 50,000 who do great work and certainly deserve to be compensated at least at whatever the private, comparable private sector level is, and that we need to honor all our obligations to them. But we're essentially carving them out from our fiscal crisis and our economic crisis, and that's 50,000 people. But there's 3-and-a-half million citizens in our state, what about them? They're not carved out. They're not protected for the next 10 years or 4 years. They have to face our crisis each and every day.

And I guess my question is, why are we creating such a protected class for such a long period of time? Why are we? I don't know. I can't figure it out. It seems to me that if we are serving the people of Connecticut, that's where our focus would be. And I believe the people of Connecticut are asking us to fix the fiscal and economic crisis that we are all collectively dealing with. And why are we focusing on the employees? Not because we want to pick on them, but it's because they're 40 percent of our cost structure. And, you know, I, you know, if the 40 percent was named, you know, I don't know, the Fred Wilms Trust Fund, for example, we should be focusing on that because it's such a large number. And it just so happens that 40 percent happens to be employee compensation.

And so, you know, it just seems to me that what we need to do in this uncertain economic environment, we need to be not locking things in for a long, long period of time. Is it the best deal that we could get? I don't know. I mean, before I was here, I chaired the Board of Estimate for Norwalk for eight years. We were involved in a lot of municipal contract negotiations. I have to say that when I started serving here on Appropriations, I really haven't found the state negotiators to be all that impressive, quite frankly, I really haven't.

I found the union leaders, when they have spoken to Appropriations; on the other hand, I found them to be incredibly impressive. You know, they were focused, on point, knew that as a union they had different set of economic interests than we do as a state as their employer. Very on point. I kind of wish almost we had them negotiating on our behalf. But, you know, I found our negotiators, they didn't really seem to get that they're supposed to be negotiating on behalf of the state as an employer and we, and the citizens whom we represent, have a different set of economic interests. And so, is it the best deal that we could get? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not.

I heard a comment before about, well, you know, there's these, you know, contract extensions and I guess the part that confuses is me is sort of like it's like, well, even though the contract's expired, it's really not expired. So, I don't know which one it is. Is it expired? Is it not expired? I guess the question is, does it ever expire? Or are we -- have we created sort of a robotic never-ending system that we can never ever, ever, at any point in time in the future, you know, choose to you, you know, let's say move outside of the collective bargaining environment because we have these extensions that, you know, I don't know how long they go for. But I respectfully don't know if I agree with that legal analysis and certainly the lawyers that we've spoken to, you know, have a different view. But certainly, as a state, we created the system. It exists because we wrote the statutes. And so, to now suggest that somehow, we are so beholden that we can't get out of it, I respectfully don't see it that way.

I'm going to wrap this up, but let's just say this, you know, I was talking with some of my colleagues who have been here a long time and, you know, they brought up the income tax back in the early '90s when Weicker was Governor, and I know there was a lot of back and forth with that. And I think it, you know, obviously passed. And I guess some of the -- some members changed their minds because there was -- well, candidly, it was very frustrating and very painful. I think we all get that. You know, a lot of late nights. A lot of things going on. A lot of stress. A lot of back and forth. But the pot at the end of the rainbow was luck. All this misery we're going through here on the floor is going to go away if we just vote for the income tax. The money will come in. The budget will be okay. And everything is great, and you'll go back home and, you know, we can all resume our normal lives again and everything is going to be okay. That's not the case here. This is the reverse.

I respectfully suggest that if we put this through, it doesn't solve our problems. It doesn't -- we don't reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We don't go home -- it's like, okay, problems solved. We never have to deal with this budget stuff again. Next year it's going to be great. The year after that is going to be even better. Everything is going to be great. We can all move on to other things. Things are going to return back to normal. Respectfully, that's not going to be the case. We're going to be -- unless the economy just takes off and we get three, four, five percent growth every year, we don't have a recession. If that happens, then I think, you know, we're okay. But if we don't get that, if we stay around zero, if our growth is maybe one percent, if we have a recession, we are going to be back here and it's just going to be even more and more and more painful.

And so, I'm going to conclude by saying that before any of us vote here today, please be mindful of that. We're not just voting for now, we're not just voting for this two-year budget and then everything is okay, we are voting for the next 10 years. And at the end of the day, do you want your -- do I, or do you or do we want our successors to point their fingers back at us and say, “You know what, you guys, you should have voted differently. You should have acted differently because here we are now and it's still a mess. ” Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon, to you. If I may, a few questions to the proponent of the resolution?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have before me the House Resolution No. 202. I find it to be only five longs long; is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker --

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

-- I'll take the gentleman's word for it. It is short.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And to reading it because it's only five lines long. It discusses how we're voting or it should be approved by the General Assembly as submitted with all the attachments and agreements appended thereto and then filed on July 21st. And through you, Mr. Speaker, how many amendments and attachments and agreements are we actually voting on here today? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. There are, I believe, Amendments A-G, if I'm not mistaken. And the significant one, if I can anticipate where the gentleman is going, is the last that does append to the SEBAC agreement, as I mentioned, 34 different bargaining unit contracts that are included as part of this overall agreement. And it's important to note historically with respect to SEBAC and bargaining unit agreements, they build on top of each other. Some end up being codified in statutes, others are superseded, that's why we get the superseded report as well. But you have the various amendments, some of which explain further terms in the agreement. Like, for example, give examples with respect to the COLA adjustments, but the most significant attachments are those 34 bargaining unit agreements. So, when we approve this resolution, we're approving the entire SEBAC deal and architecture, which includes the pension and healthcare reforms that then apply to every single one of those bargaining unit employees, units, by virtue of those appended contracts, and the wage freezes that are also embedded in those unit agreements appended to the overall SEBAC agreement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And it references that it was filed. And through you, Mr. Speaker. Who were, who was the agreements filed with? Were they filed -- I mean, the Clerk of the House, the Clerk of the Senate, who received these agreements and attachments?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

So, the procedure for filing the agreement is laid out in the general statutes, 5-278(b), Subsection (b) of 5-278, which specifies that it's up to -- and again in a collective bargaining situation you've got the inside and then you've got the employer side, the state, in this case OPM and OLR, the Office of Labor Relations. It's their obligation per statute to file it and file it with the Clerks of the House, of the Senate, that was done on Friday.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, if I wanted to go online and fine where all of these agreements were over the weekend and figure out exactly, you know, what was in them, how I can make an informed decision on exactly what we're voting on, considering that it's Amendments A-G and then an additional 34 separate contracts, where could I have found that information and where could I find that information today?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative --

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I went to the House Clerk's office and I got everything, the agreements, the appendices, a list of them, of the appended contracts. I'd be surprised if we all didn't have the same access.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative --

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, we would have had to come in on Saturday or Sunday, go down to the House Clerk's office and ask for a paper copy of every one of these agreements and attachments?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. That's one way. I'm sure there are probably others. They were communicated to our various leadership teams, as I understand it. OFA certainly got it on Friday. I could have gotten it from them, as well. Again, with all the attachments as well. That's one way of doing it.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Now, what about the general public, the ones that we all represent. How would they have had access to this material? Would they have been able to access it through the same leadership channels that we, as members of the General Assembly, would they have been able to come in here on weekends and get hard copies? How would they have had access to this information over the weekend?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. These are publicly-available documents. I'm not sure exactly what the turnaround is for the Clerk's office. We'd have to ask them. If they could have had them up and running on Saturday, I don't know if they did or not. But, I think in the first instance, they were available to everybody in this Chamber. And I should note as a footnote to all of this, the actuarial report that breaks down every single element we've been discussing, everything from the wage freezes to the pension savings, to the healthcare savings has been on the Governor's website via a link since June 6th.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you. So, then were all of these contracts, agreements, everything else available on the Governor's website since June 6th or was it purely the actuarial analysis that was available and the actual information that that analysis was done by not available to the public?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Certainly, the actuaries work papers were not available, but all of their appendices were as well as obviously a summary of the conclusions as well.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. But my question was, were the actual agreements that the unions were voting on, were they made public on the Governor's website on June 6th, as indicated by the kind proponent?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

I don't know if that was available through the Governor's link or not. I mean, I do know that all of those different collective bargaining agreements were circulated earlier this week to the various caucuses available for distribution through us. I certainly would have been willing to help any constituent that asked me for it, if they wanted to take a look at it. I know other members of our caucus at least have been responding to questions all week with respect to both the overall architecture of SEBAC and the individual CBAs. So, I think the information was there. I mean, I can't point to a particular link off the top of my -- at my fingers. But, I mean, this has all been around for a week and certainly again, the overall analysis of it for almost two months.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I don't want to belabor the point. Just that we are here voting on Monday, where our House Clerk's received this package on Friday afternoon, I presume. And now we're asked to vote on it here today. But I'm certainly glad to hear that the proponent has done a significant amount of research into each one of these agreements and understands what they are. I was able to obtain some summaries or at least explanations as to what some of these agreements entailed, some of the 34 individual contracts. And I just wanted to ask the kind gentleman, and I'll tell him exactly who I'm referencing. I believe it's an AFSCME union contract for the criminal justice employees, Local 749. And I believe in that contract in Appendix E, and they define it as job security. They make a reference to “No loss of employment, including for loss of employment due to programmatic changes. ” And through you, Mr. Speaker, the kind gentleman had mentioned before that there could be a possibility for loss of employment through reorganization, changes to programs. And when I look at this AFSCME contract, it looks like that is not so. And through you, Mr. Speaker, am I incorrect that we would in fact be able to reduce employment due to programmatic changes in all 34 of the contracts?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

So, through you. All of the agreements are going to have similar language and they all adopt what's in the overall SEBAC architecture with regard to reorganization and employee moves. I mean, this is in the SEBAC agreement. In the event of a significant reorganization, and then it goes on to explain what happens in the event of a significant organization. That's embedded in every one of these bargaining unit contracts by agreement by being part of SEBAC.

And just to be clear, to answer that question specifically, to be clear, you can't -- while the four-year job security provisions are in effect, no one can lose their job solely because of a reorganization. In other words, you can't just -- if you close the facility and you say, “You're all out of work. You're all let go. ” If they're bargaining unit employees covered by this agreement. That can't happen. But what can happen is they are reassigned. So, there is a process in here, in SEBAC and in each of those bargaining unit agreements that adopt what's called the Placement and Training Program that normally applies to laid off workers, but now it will apply to reorganized workers, state workers. So, they go through that process and if they qualify for another opening somewhere else, yes, they have to be assigned there. We can't lay them off while those four-year protections are in effect solely because of that reorganization. If they turn town that transfer, “No, I don't want to work at this facility instead of this facility, it's too far away. ” There's various levels that you go through with respect to that. And if they turn it down, then you can lay it off.

But the important point as a threshold matter is nothing prohibits reorganization and, of course, when you've got attrition, and we will have attrition understand this agreement, because there's going to be some retirements I think before 2022, given some of the substantive changes we're making. Again, just as we've done for the last 10 years and as we've reduced the labor of the state workforce, the unionized state workforce by 15 percent, we've been able to reorganize, consolidate, shrink the state workforce. I see no reason why these same provisions that are effectively just carried forward, would have any impact on our ability to do that.

But the short answer is, you know, you can't simply lay somebody off during that four-year period solely due to reorganization. You have to give them an opportunity to go through the placement and training process, to be replaced somewhere else; and if they turn that down, then you can lay them off. And again, just to be clear, that is only for the current workforce. Anyone hired after 07/01/17, there is no job security.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, say, for instance the State of Connecticut faces a massive deficit, whether it be in this next biennium or the next biennium after that because this agreement ties our hands during that time period as well, and we reduce a program and we shift or we no longer need those employees from that program, from what the kind proponent had indicated that those employees then get shifted to somewhere else in the state. But we can't afford to have that much workforce. In fact, that would imply that we have a surplus workforce in those other programs because we were operating without those individuals in that area before. And through you, Mr. Speaker. How does that achieve savings for the State of Connecticut if we are then putting someone who was not needed in a different program and now shifting them into that program in order to prevent them from a loss of employment under this contract?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

So, again, Mr. Speaker. I think when you factor in, sort of again, looking at this holistically in terms of what might happen over the next four years, based on past experience, given attrition, given retirements, given the understaffing in various departments, you're going to be able to shrink the state workforce. But in that particular example, you're going to move people over to where they're going -- you're going to have more efficient employees where they're needed because they've gone through this placement and training process.

Keep in mind that, I guess I would add to that, there is sort of a little bit of a logical fallacy to just assuming that a reduction workforce automatically means savings. For example, we added employees to DAS, specifically on the recommendation from some of our frontline union workers by the way because they said if you give us a couple of more bodies, we'll be able to pay for that an increase our tax revenue. And that paid off over time, over the last few years. So, I guess I would quibble with the starting assumption that the only way to save money is to eliminate those people when they're qualified for jobs, where there is understaffing, where there are services that need to be provided in the State of Connecticut, services that can yield revenue in many respects.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to be very clear that I'm not saying that workforce or that savings can only be achieved through workforce reductions. In fact, what I'm pointing out is perhaps we're bloating state government by shifting individuals around to programs or areas that they're actually not needed or we were operating under without. So, it's actually quite the opposite of what you were indicating I was referring to.

But if I could move on to the Connecticut Association of Prosecutors in their contract change, it specifically says in this write-up provided by the Office of the Chief States Attorney's Office, it appears to be from, in Section 2, annual increments, that “during 2018 to 2019 contract year, each employee shall instead receive the lump sum pensionable bonus payment of $ 2,000. ” Through you, Mr. Speaker. The kind gentleman had mentioned earlier that those payments would not be included in someone's pension. And through you, is that correct for all 34 contracts or is that correct for only certain contracts that we are voting on here today?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that question. Let me clarify that. I apologize for the confusion for what I said because I'm referring to, I guess on the one hand, your pension, your average three years of salary to determine your pensionable amount when you retire versus the actuarial pension contribution, two different things. So, in that circumstance, and that $ 2,000 stipend, payment, in fiscal year '19, it isn't just the prosecutors, that's all, that's all 34, they all get that. It counts toward your pensionable amount if you retire, when you retire it's one of those three years. In other words, you retire in fiscal year '20, you got that $ 2,000 in '19, it counts toward your average earnings for the three-year-time period.

And again, as I mentioned before, I would submit that it's statistically insignificant in terms of what it's going -- that $ 2,000 that somebody is making $ 150,000 a year, $ 150, $ 152, it's not going to significantly impact the pensionable amount.

So, when it says “pensionable” that's what that means. What it does not count for is when the actuaries compute how much we have to contribute to the state's share of the overall pension amount. It does not count for that. In their eyes, it's a zero, '17, '18, '19. It counts if you retire for your average income amount and then, of course, there is the multiplier based on that, you get a percentage, you don't get $ 150,000 when you retire, by the way, you get maybe, what, $ 25 or $ 26 or something like that, depending on what tier you're in.

But it does not count, that net amount, and as I mentioned I believe it's $ 88. 4-million-dollars in fiscal year '19 that we owe for that $ 2,000 payment. Most people will get the $ 2,000. Some will get a little bit more, but it's only -- most people get the $ 2,000, that's about $ 84-million-dollars and about a certain number get a net of about $ 4. 4-million, and get the additional aggregate amount. That $ 88-million-dollars is not included when we try to determine how much we owe going forward on an actuarial basis. And the overall salary that we contribute to our pension that the actuaries use to calculate, okay, you owe. The State of Connecticut, you owe this much this year, this much this year, this much this year, and keep in mind because it doesn't count, there is no compounding effect. That's the great thing about those zeroes in '17, '18, and '19. That's what really, among other things, really causes that structural change and reduces our pension payments, I mean, I'm sure the gentleman has seen this, but it's -- this blew my mind when I saw it. I mean, $ 1. 6 to $ 1. 4 billion in the first year. $ 1. 8 to $ 1. 5, $ 1. 9 to $ 1. 7. Further down the line, $ 2. 5 to $ 2. 2. By the time we're in the out years in the 2030's, we dropped down from $ 2-billion-dollars to $ 1. 6, $ 400, $ 500-million-dollars, and that's all due to the fact that we're embedding these zeroes in there. And there might be zeroes down the road that help us further. That's a long answer to a -- that should have been a shorter answer to that question, I'm sorry.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate that answer and the detail that was given. And in that and the fact that he outlined how that $ 2,000 does go towards their pension, if they were to retire within that time period. And through you, Mr. Speaker, would it also, that $ 2,000 going forward, count towards their base salary that then the future raises would be based on, the 3-1/2 percent raises that we're guaranteeing under this contract?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, I can give a shorter and better answer, no.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Can't get much shorter than that. Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that. And then I was looking at the summary, yes, we'll call it a summary of the engineering, scientific, and technology P-4 contract. And then that contract, and please excuse me as I've only had a few hours to review all of these, but I think in Section 8 of that contract it says that we've changed the amount of increase in the number of union business leave hours from 2,500 for each contract year to 3,500. And through you, Mr. Speaker. I'll start by asking how much does that cost the State of Connecticut to pay these state employees for 1,000 hours, not worked under state business, but under union business?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I don't have that at my fingertips, so I can find that. I will say that that is netted into that -- that OFA $ 2-million-dollars annually, that's what's included in their cost for that kind of leave time, costs for tuition reimbursements, the CDL license that I mentioned. So, on a net basis, OFA is saying that's not going to amount to more than $ 2-million-dollars a year. And again, that's -- we've got a history here. We know what these -- how much they use, how much we can look at this for and cost it out. P-4 is one of my favorite unions, by the way. These are the guys who inspect our bridges and roads. Really smart engineers. And one of the things that they did, by the way, what you'll also see in that contract is they've contracted for the right that if there is going to be a reorganization in their unit, they get to share a lot of their save knowledge with the state and with DOT. This is unique to that particular contract, it's not in any others because of the kind of men and women that we're talking about in that unit. And they've come up with -- what they say is, look, if we're reorganized, we want to be able to show you how we can save money because I think most people are aware of this, DOT spends, I want to say it's, $ 6-million, maybe more than that, contracting out these services. This is one of those areas where we're severely understaffed. And if we actually just hired a few more of these engineers, we could get rid of a lot of contract and save money on a net basis.

So, P-4 has got some of these -- we talk about how these unit agreements have some different language in them, P-4 has got that. And then again, it's all designed to save the state money. Again, a longer answer to your question, I'm sorry about that.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I certainly appreciate that there is probably a lot of good that is contained in a lot of these agreements. But, through you, Mr. Speaker. So, if I'm reading this correctly, this is 1,000 hours of state taxpayer money that's going to go to pay for these individuals who do union business instead of inspecting bridges, fixing roads, telling us that all of the transportation needs that we need, instead of 1,000 hours of that manpower will now go to 1,000 hours of additional union business time through this contract?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

And again, through you. I don't think we can assume that all of that is going to be used. It's I mean effectively a bank. And again, when you're talking about costing this out, this is something the state is used to dealing with both in this union and there are others with, I think, similar provisions. And on a net basis, we're talking about maybe $ 2-million-dollars annually for all of these things lumped in together.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. But it's certainly 1,000 hours that instead of inspecting our bridges and roads, we'll be doing union business. And it's certainly -- the state might be used to 2,500 hours of that union business being done, but we're certainly not used to 3,500. And that's why that change is taking place here in this union contract.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and it's a similar group of individuals closely connected. The maintenance and service unit, the NP-2 contract change. I see that we're increasing the meal allowance from $ 1 a day to $ 16, a $ 15 increase for one meal for dinner. Through you, Mr. Speaker, in that's in Section 2, Article 42 of their meals policy and their contract. So, I can only imagine what page number that is on their actual contract. But, through you, Mr. Speaker, what -- how much of a cost is that for us to now give $ 15 extra dollars for someone's meal allowance while they're working?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, I know you asked that question. But just to amend my answer on the UBL time, I'm understanding that the cost on that is about $ 39,000 on your prior question. So, again, this is the kind of stuff we're talking about. I appreciate that it adds up and is part of that $ 2-million-dollars, I'll work to get an answer on just, I guess, a question for the question. Did he say it went from $ 1 -- I didn't have that in front of me, $ 1 to $ 15?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis, could you repeat that part, please?

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yeah, that's my confusion. Does it go up from $ 1 to $ 16 or does it go from $ 15 to $ 16? Through you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'll find out. My assumption is it goes from $ 15 to $ 16. I have a hard time believing that there is a $ 1 stipend for lunch, but I'll find out the answer to that.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And these individuals that get the stipend for lunch, what is the benefit to providing these meal allowances? It's something that strikes me as kind of odd that we don't necessarily have in the private sector very often that individuals get paid for their time period on here. I would imagine these individuals are there at night and are working on bridges and roads and it's a dinner allowance. But, through you, Mr. Speaker, what benefit does the State of Connecticut gain by offering this allowance?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

As someone who hasn't eaten today, I can tell you that I think there is a benefit to having a workforce that has had time to eat at some point during the day. I know we provide lunchtime and we provide things like that. But, look, this was something that I was obviously collectively bargained for. As far as I understand this, this is not a new provision. It's been in there. We've gotten something for what we've given. You know, it's all part of obviously having a workforce that feels like if they're on the job, they're out there, they can go out and grab a sandwich quick and be on the job working and get that reimbursed rather than, “Okay. You're not going to pay for that. I'm going to take my full hour, take a break, stop working, et cetera. ” My assumption on this is actually it probably ends up being a benefit to the state in the long run.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, it's individuals that get their time off for lunch or their time off for dinner, like most everybody does. But they also get money each day like a per diem allowance per day to pay for that lunch or dinner; is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

No, no. Just to be clear, this provision only applies to people who are held over after their normal shifts. So, again, you're being held over after your normal shift, we're compensating for that in the collective bargaining process by giving this. And it's only, and it is only a $ 1 increase, as I understand it, from $ 15 to $ 16. So, in terms of a net cost, I don't have that exact number off the top of my fingers. I'm sure I could get it. But again, we're talking about not a significant amount. But again, held over from their normal shift.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate that answer. Obviously, I apologize for ask so many kind of nuance questions about each one of these contracts, but not receiving them until just a couple of days ago, I guess predicates that need. Through you, Mr. Speaker. I see, in substantive language changes in that contract, they are calling for Article 6, which is titled, “Union Insecurity,” changes to the way that non-union members and they have to pay service fees to the union. And through you, Mr. Speaker, what are those service fees that the non-union members have to pay to the unions?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

I'm sorry, are we still on P-4? I'm sorry to answer a question with a question.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No, I'm still on the NP-2, which is the maintenance and service unit that we were just discussing the meal allowance on.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

And I'm sorry, can I have the question one more time?

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

One more time, Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, no problem. Through you, Mr. Speaker, it's the language change for non-union employees that have to pay service fees to the union. I'm just wondering what those service fees are?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

I don't know off the top of my head, but I can find out.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate that. And I'll hold off on my next question, which is, you know, what those language changes are, given that we're not sure exactly what those service fees are. I imagine it's to force those people that choose not to be part of a union that have to pay some sort of fee to the union, but I'll move on.

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I see that we are increasing in the educational administrators, the P-3A Bargaining Unit Contract. We are increasing the number of union stewards in that contract, under Article 5. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what do union stewards do for the State of Connecticut?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Well, for the -- I mean, they serve the union, not the State of Connecticut.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and are they state employees paid for with taxpayer dollars, serving the union and not the State of Connecticut?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Under some contracts, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, we are paying individuals to be union stewards with state taxpayer money to not conduct state business but to conduct union business; is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

I should note this is nothing new. This is not -- that's not a new concept, that's something that's been around for a while. Anybody who's served on a municipal board or dealt with different unions on a local level, that is not a new concept. That is not something unique to the SEBAC agreement. And again, from a cost structure standpoint, that is not adding in any way in a significant fashion to the cost here. It's all lumped into that $ 2-million-dollars.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate the repeated answer that this is nothing new and this is something that we've been doing for a long time. But ladies and gentlemen, we're facing a $ 5-billion-dollar deficit. We are in significant fiscal trouble. And doing things the way that we used to do them is not the way to do them in the future, if we're under a fiscal crisis. So, for us to continue to say that we're going to pay individuals through state taxpayer money, to not conduct state taxpayer business, not pick up the elderly woman that falls in the nursing home run by the state, not help the person with disabilities or not file the correct paperwork when you go to DRS or DSS, but instead do union business, to me, to then increase the number of people that are doing that under the guise that we're being told we're reducing union membership and union state employees, yet we're giving them more people to do that union business on the state taxpayer dime, sir, I find that to be reprehensible at the least and certainly something that I don't support and something that we should be negotiating to get rid of or to do away with, not negotiating to increase and give more to any of these public employee unions during this fiscal crisis.

And I thank the kind gentleman for his answers. I'm not going to go through each one of these contracts and ask specific questions, but it's important to note that what we're voting on here today is doing exactly that. We're taking what was done in the past and we're pushing it off into the future. We're saying, this agreement that was set to expire actually did expire in June 30, 2016, and we're operating under this current clause now to be under that same contract. That we're going to take that and move that forward and make some changes to it. Then we're going to take the benefits side, the healthcare and the retirees and move that from 2022 and move that to 2027. And to put that in perspective, someone who's in like 2nd grade right now, would have to graduate high school, before we can make any changes to anything that we pass right now. That's crazy. That is crazy. My daughter is 2-years old. What we're doing right now, she's going to have to be 12 to 13 years old before we can even touch this, even do anything to it because of the agreements that we're making right now. Because the State of Connecticut's laws are much, much different than many of the other states, as the kind gentleman from Norwalk noted. That we cannot unilaterally, as the people's House, or the people's Senate, move in and make negotiations happen when things go bad in the next 10-year-period.

Now, I certainly hope that the economy is going to start booming anytime soon. But I fear that in a 10-year-cycle, with any economist that you talk to, things are going to go down at some point. Unfortunately, what we're passing here today in this five-sentence resolution, this five-line resolution, one sentence, will hold our hands, tie them, for not just the next biennium that we still haven't even passed yet, but for 10 more years from today to 2027. And appreciate the kind gentleman's efforts and his research in it and his knowledge of each one of these individual contracts, but each one of them is different. And each one of them should be voted on separately because each one of them has many good things in it that I think we could all agree to. Each of them probably has something that we don't agree to that we might be willing to accept.

But when you're asking us to vote on all of them as one unit in a one-sentence resolution, containing five lines, that will hold the State of Connecticut for 10 years without having to make major changes to this agreement if things go south, I think is irresponsible. I think it's something that we should consider, that we could have done better, that we should have done better. And that quite frankly, we can do better through other paths that have been presented by the House Republican Caucus. So, Mr. Speaker, I will be opposing this resolution here this evening. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening.

REP. LAVIELLE (143RD):

I feel that it's important to remind people who are listening to this debate and wondering what we're doing here in the middle of July, to remind people of what is going on. We are sitting here because we are faced with a $ 5. 1-billion-dollar deficit for the next two years. We're a month into our fiscal year and we have no budget. And as Representative Wilms said a while back, the costs that we are discussing today, what we pay to the unionized employees of the state, in fact, what taxpayers pay to them, represents about 40 percent of our budget.

And when you are in a fiscal crisis of the enormity of the one that we are facing, 40 percent is a very big number. So, when we're conscious of that, there's a few things to observe in terms of what's going on today. And I know that more people in Connecticut now are conscious of the gravity of our situation than I've ever seen be conscious of our financial affairs before. So, there's a few things here to observe. Some of them have been pointed out. The information that pertains to the savings that are purported to come from this agreement, the information regarding that in a fiscal note, was only available today. The contracts themselves, the individual ones, which the importance of which Representative Davis has just highlighted so well, were very difficult to find. And earlier today when we began this debate, the Majority Leader indicated to us that not voting for, not approving this agreement would cause irreparable damage for the state, that this was the only choice that we have. It is not the only choice that we have. Today, when our Minority Leader, Representative Klarides, discussed raising our budget, the House Republican budget proposal for a vote today, which did not rely on this agreement, we were not allowed to discuss or vote on that. That was one alternative. So, what do we have then, if we don't have that? If we have something that if this goes through and it's our only alternative, what then do the taxpayers of Connecticut get? Well, this deal is supposed to save $ 1. 5-billion-dollars over the next couple of years and some later. So, one of the things that our taxpayers in Connecticut could get is the Governor's budget proposal. That, as we've seen, certainly would entail automatic, although disguised, property tax increases in almost all of the state's towns and cities. I know the three towns I represent would have to find $ 4-million-dollars, $ 6-million-dollars and $ 9. 5-million-dollars a year; that's a lot of money for a town. Okay. So, if there's not enough support for the Governor's proposal, which would lead to that kind of tax increases, well, then maybe it's the budget outline we've seen from our friends here across the aisle that includes about $ 800-million-dollars in sales and other tax increases. You hear that refrain, tax increase, tax increase, tax increase. And at the same time, we are seeing some very considerable service cuts. So, what does the taxpayer get with this particular agreement? All we've seen are scenarios that involve sales increases, tax increases, on into the future and service cuts that are quite draconian.

I would ask, as a couple of my colleagues have already asked, who then is defending the taxpayer in this scenario? I don't know, but it certainly isn't the legislature. So, what we have, and I'll be very brief with this because it's clear, it's simple, and it's not good. We are condemning the State of Connecticut to future tax increases on out into the future. We are condemning the State of Connecticut to future service cuts. We are condemning everyone in Connecticut to pay more and more and more every year to get less and less and less. We don't even know what taxes we're getting for people anymore. And then we have the situation that we will not, as we've heard again and again, be able to change any of that, at least not without a great deal of sturm und drang for the next 10 years. And 10 years is a very, very, very, long time. On the other hand, and I looked for the quote today, I wish I could find it, I couldn't, but it's been out there, it's been in the public. When one of the leaders of the public-sector unions wrote to the members earlier defending the agreement and said, “Folks, you're not likely to see another deal this good anywhere in the country. ” We can't say the same to the people of Connecticut. And to me, that's signals a failure in the legislatures doing its job. So, what I would say is that everyone, everyone, all of those who vote in favor of this agreement today will have every single tax increase, every single service cut, every single inability in the future to reduce taxes on our retirees, every single one of those things on their heads for years and years to come. And there is no escaping it. And I hope that everyone who intends to vote for this realizes that. I will not be one of them. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rovero.

REP. ROVERO (51ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't have any questions, but I have a short statement I would like to make. I met with several different agencies in regard to all of these agreements and I had so many questions that they said, “Isn't it time to go have lunch?”

There are several items that I do not like about this SEBAC deal. But I recognize that negotiations are a give and take on both sides. If we do not accept this agreement, we will not see a budget for a long, long time. In my towns and at social services and programs will not be able to operate. For those reasons, Mr. Speaker, I will be voting yes. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Representative Davis went through a lot of the items in the individual contracts. And I just have a few questions with regard to a couple of them in particular.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, Ma'am.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

I'm looking at the Transportation Bridge Safety Inspector, TBS 123 union proposal. I think it's Article 13, Section 6, impact on contracting out. Originally it was during the life of this agreement, that's been stricken and substituted no full-time and permanent employee who will be laid off as a direct consequence of the exercise by the state employer of its right to contract out. So, given this, during the life of the agreement has been stricken, how much further into the future does this apply? And also stricken is the provisions of this section expire automatically upon termination of the agreement. This seems to me a fairly major change in existing contract. So, I'd like a bit of clarification, with you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, important points I note about all of the bargaining unit agreements that are appended here with the exception again of the new AG unit and the state police. They all expire 06/30/21. These are wage, hour, working conditions agreements that are appended to the SEBAC agreement. Only the SEBAC agreement with the pension and healthcare architecture carries over to 2027. So, any changes within the agreements, including this particular bargaining unit would expire on 06/30/21 and we can renegotiate at that point on wage, hour, working conditions. We could also do it by agreement opened beforehand, but you can do -- so, we're not bound by those particular conditions or others for 10 years. They expire -- they are retroactive to the last extension, so it's another four years.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Now, when we look at an OFA analysis of this, would an OFA analysis take into account the savings we might have achieved from contracting out from which we are now forbidden?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

So, just to be clear. That prohibition on contracting has been in effect for, I think actually for that union, three decades. So, that is that same language is stricken that's carried over from the prior agreement and the prior agreement and the prior agreement before that. That is not a new change for that bargaining unit.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you for that explanation. The next part I'm looking at is Article 11, I guess, Section 2, with regard to the 40-hour-work week. And pardon my ignorance as a relatively new legislator. So, the standard state work week is 35 hours?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no, it's 40.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

If I'm reading this section correctly, it says there will be bargaining or there will be consultations with regard to increasing the standard work week to 40 hours in this particular bargaining unit. I'd just like to get some clarity on that. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, there might be two or three units. I don't know the number off the top of my head where it is less than 40 or it's 37-1/2 or so. This is probably one of them. So, there's bargaining, if we're going to increase them to 40. But for the vast majority of state employees, it's 40 hours.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

All right. Thank you. And I guess with regard to this particular contract, my last questions pertain to Article 21, Section 4. And I see that the amount of paid sick leave and family leave in the event of a family member illness has been doubled. Has the OFA factored these changes into their analysis?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, let me just break that question up a little bit because there is an overall change and there might be a particular bargaining unit change. I can't comment off the top of my head with respect to any particular bargaining unit increase in sick bank total hours. That may be unique to that unit, where they bargain for an increase in total sick time. Throughout the entire agreement, every bargaining unit, there is a change with respect to the use of sick time for a sick immediate family member. That is new. That's everybody, not just this particular bargaining unit. I want to be very clear about that. No one gets additional time in any unit agreement for family leave. So, you can use -- whatever your current sick bank is, let's say you've got 20 hours, you can use it if you're sick or now if an immediate family member is sick and you've got to take care of them, you can use that time for that purpose. But this does not add any time. Now, this particular bargaining unit there may have been also an additional increase in the total hours of sick time, I'll check into that, but I'm talking about the overall change with respect to the use of sick time.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Okay. I would welcome some clarification on that because it says it's up to and is stricken 5, up to 10 days of paid leave. And in Article 43, Section 5, in the event and critical is removed, it's again, 5 is stricken and up to 10. So, I would really appreciate some clarification on that, Mr. Speaker.

The other contract to which I would like to refer is the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges and in the longevity, pay and the summary that was given, a one-time delay in July. But then rates increase by 5-1/2 percent each year for those longevity bonuses. Again, I understand they're different agreements in individual bargaining units, but is this the case for that bargaining unit, they are seeing an increase in longevity pay of up to 5-1/2 percent a year?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

So, again, Mr. Speaker, you've got that overall architecture change that we talked about where the longevity payment is delayed to the following fiscal year, that's for every bargaining unit where there's an employee getting longevity pay. I'll note that those numbers are low. I can pull those. It's not like every state employee gets longevity pay. And in this particular bargaining unit, it sounds like there is an increase for that particular year with respect to the longevity pay that was bargained for. And again, that's all costed out by OFA, by the actuaries, in the runs that we've seen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

So, again, referring to the same contract increase in sabbatical days to 26 from 10, there are other things that referred to creating a sick bank, a sick leave bank. From my reading of the contract, it appears that they are still able to carry over until retirement 240 paid sick leave days. Has there been any change to the carry-over of sick leave through the terms of this new agreement?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Again, on an individual bargaining unit basis, there might be changes for sick leave time or frankly other bargained for each hour working conditions. For this particular unit, it sounds like, it sounds like actually they may not have even had a sick bank. But whatever was in effect, it sounds like is staying in effect for this particular bargaining unit. Again, nothing new. So, it's not like you're seeing in these, as I mentioned before, some sort of surprise or trap with respect to a bargaining unit, where all of a sudden, we're creating an additional $ 20-million-dollars in liability for a particular bargaining unit through longevity or -- these are all concepts that have existed for, I want to say at least more than a decade, probably longer than that when it comes to something like a sick leave bank. So, that's nothing new. If there is tweaks around the edges again, that's all embedded in that $ 2-million annual cost.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Cheeseman.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that there are all little things around the edges, but as Reagan said, “Do you add it up and all of a sudden it adds up to real money. ” I think part of the problem is that we have just tweaked, that we haven't -- yes, there are some wonderful things in here and there's some ideas in here that I know were in my caucuses proposals. But I've carefully monitored, as I think is my duty as a legislator, that emails and contacts I've had with my constituents and their concern and their concerns are my concerns. And the concerns voiced by many of the members in the Chamber on both sides, that going forward, we can't afford to repeat the mistake that was made 20 years ago or 5 years ago in terms of extending agreements that have been unaffordable for many years.

As other representatives have said, the only places we're going to be able to make changes are either taxing, are already heavily taxed citizens and businesses or cutting from those areas that are already suffering under our inability to create a sustainable economy in Connecticut.

So, yes, there are great things in this agreement. I wish I could stand up here and say, I can wholeheartedly support them, but I don't feel it goes far enough. And I look forward to hearing the rest of the conversation, but I think we can do more and the citizens of Connecticut deserve more. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Madam. Representative Srinivasan of the 31st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good evening, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you. I too, in the hours of being here in the Chamber, have been listening to this debate very intently. Because I know a lot is at stake here. State employees are our neighbors, they are our friends, they are family for us. And in my case, a good number of them happen to be my patients as well. So, we are talking about people who are the bread and butter of our state. Hardworking citizens in our state. So, this debate, this discussion, when you talk about the contracts, whom it impacts, obviously the state employees, the concern we have is whom are we impacting? And we are impacting the very people that are our friends, our neighbors.

But when I look at what is a compensation for somebody who is in a private sector and somebody who is in a public sector, doing similar jobs, we have seen report after report that tells us that the pay scales are very equitable. But it's the benefits, the healthcare benefits and the pension benefits that stack up and make a staggering difference where I'm told could be up to 25 to 45 percent higher than what one gets in the private sector.

So, those are the concerns. To be equitable is what we need to do. Given, as we've heard and we know the crisis, the financial crisis that our state is in. The good Chairman did say in his opening remarks or maybe in some part of the conversation that he was not at the negotiating table when these were discussed. And obviously, there are things that he's aware of but not there at the table at that particular time. But through you, Mr. Speaker. What was the rationale that we are holding the next legislatures and the future governors of our state for the next 5 years by extending this contract? So, how did we arrive that we were going to go for a 5-year extension? I'm not sure if it's a fair question to the Chair because he may have not been at the table, but I'm hoping that he would have some insight on how we arrived at extending because what we cannot do, afford to do, is repeat the mistakes of the past. And I know it has been done, the mistakes have been done by Republicans in the past, by Democrats in the past, so I'm well aware of that. But our job is not to repeat those mistakes. So, through you, Mr. Speaker. The basis of the 5-year extension?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative D'Agostino, do you care to respond?

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, thank you. So, again, I'm not going to put myself in the mind of the negotiators precisely. But I think you can look at the overall deal and make some logical conclusions. You're getting that massive impact of the wage freeze, not only in the immediate years, but the long term.

And then we talked about, for example, the new employees. No security, job security protection. And think about this, what we talked about before, we haven't talked about much in depth yet, but that new plan that they're in, this new Tier IV that we're creating, right. That's a new part of the pension plan that new employees go into that has a defined contribution element, something I know a number of members of your caucus and even members of my caucus have been calling for. That's a significant structural unique change that you wouldn't be able to get until if you just waited for SEBAC, if you waited for SEBAC to expire, you wouldn't be able to get that till 2022. So, they've agreed to accelerate that change to this year. New employee tier this year. No job security for that tier, this year. Wage freezes, this year, last year, the following year. All of those structural changes. As I mentioned in my opening, that's massive. Those are gifts. And so, what do we give to get that, the two main components, the job security for the existing employees for four years and that