THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Thursday, October 26, 2017

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel) The House will please come to order. Will members, staff and guest please rise and direct your attention to the dais, where my good friend, Representative Carpino of the great city -- town of Cromwell will lead us in prayer.

REP. CARPINO (32ND):

Let us pray. Almighty Father, we need Your presence, Your power and Your providence in our lives. We pray for the Leaders of our State, who have been willing to listen to each other, to respect each other and to learn from each other and to be supportive for the sake of the State and all of her people. Please, please be with us as we wrestle with the tough decisions of the day. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you. Will Representative Ritter of the 1st District and Representative Candelora of the 86th please come to the dais to lead us in the Pledge.

REPS. RITTER (1ST) AND CANDELORA (86TH):

(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):

Are there any announcements or introductions? Announcements or introductions? Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative DiMassa of the 116th, you have the floor sir.

REP. DIMASSA (116TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Good morning to you. I just rise for the purpose of an announcement. Over the weekend, in West Have, we had a former National Guard soldier who was seriously injured in a head-on collision, and I would just like to ask the Chamber for a moment of silence for her speedy recovery. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the Chamber please rise and we'll do a moment of silence, prayer or meditation on behalf of the serviceman and wishing him a speedy recovery. (Gavel) Thank you, Representative. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Representative Belsito, I thought maybe you'd stand up to talk about the Tolland-Berlin game tomorrow night. No? I understand it's the game of the week on channel 8, so it'll be quite the match tomorrow night. Representative Belsito of the 53rd.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you -- thank you very much, and hopefully they're gonna win, and I think they will. Thank you very much for the opportunity to say so.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Laughing) Representative Belsito, my standard answer always is, because I don't like to give bold, tempered material - I hope both teams and both accompanying fans leave the game happy with their own individual outcomes.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

I agree.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the Clerk please call Emergency Certified Senate Bill 1502?

CLERK:

Emergency Certification Bill No. 1502 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2019, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFORE, AUTHORIZING AND ADJUSTING BONDS OF THE STATE AND IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE BUDGET. LCO No. 10377. Introduced by Senator Looney, Senator Duff, Senator Fasano, Senator Witkos, Senator Osten, Senator Formica, Senator Fonfara, Representative Aresimowicz, Representative Ritter, Representative Clarides, Representative Candelora, Representative Walker, Representative Ziobron, Representative Rojas, Representative Davis.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk. Before we start the historic debate on this Emergency Certified Bill and I call on my good friend and the extremely hardworking Chair of the Appropriations Committee, I want to go over a detail that's contained within this Emergency Certified Bill. It would be a spending cap. Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention, this is gonna lay out the rules so we're all clear on what we're voting on.

Within the budget that we take up today, there is a section regarding the constitutional spending cap. Something that was on the ballot in the early '90s and the voters overwhelmingly approved. Article III, Section 18, Subsection B of the Connecticut Constitution states that the enactment or amendment of such definitions to the spending cap shall require a vote of three-fifths of the members of each House of the General Assembly. What this means is that in order to enact the constitutional spending cap within this budget bill, it must pass by a three-fifths or 91 total members in the House. However, it is important to note that the budget bill itself only requires a simple majority. So please bear that in mind. We will remind one more time before we vote. But with that being said, Representative Walker of the 93rd District, you have the floor, madam.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move passage of the Emergency Certified Bill.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on passage of Emergency Certified Bill. Will you remark? Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all, I want to say good morning to everybody. Mr. Speaker, we have been coming through this journey for a long time. We've been working on this bipartisan bill for several, several days. Before I get into what I'd like to say about the bill, I'd just like to thank some people who helped make this possible for today, and might I say, in ten minutes of the starting time. I think that's pretty amazing. But there are many people. First, I'd like to thank my good colleague from East Haddam who has worked with me tirelessly in doing this budget. I want to thank the Leaders of the caucuses, the House Caucus -- House Republican Caucus, the House Democratic Caucus, the Senate Republican Caucus and the Senate Democratic Caucus.

For many days, we have spent, and as many people know, we spent many days in what we called the "windowless room," where we talked over this budget day in and day out. Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank someone who probably will be very embarrassed by this. But there is a gentleman who is head of our Office of Fiscal Analysis who has experienced some serious tragedies over the last month. I think the last time I stood up and spoke to everybody, he had lost his father. Since that time, he also lost his mother. This young man carried that burden plus the burden of Connecticut's fiscal problems quietly and elegantly through this whole thing. And I ask everybody here to please, when you have a chance, give him your prayers and your love, because he is also part of our family and I think that's very important.

Mr. Speaker, I rise before you today to present a bipartisan FY '18-'19 biennium budget for the State of Connecticut. For more than 28 days, we have worked on a budget to address the many financial issues our state currently is facing. The budget before us is not something that we should celebrate, but monitor and evaluate. It is an answer to a need that we must address. This budget contains structural changes such as creating a new bonding cap and a new definition of the spending cap that the Speaker has talked about. But it also, my friends, contains fiscal reductions. It is because of the critical changes in this document that we require us to closely monitor the budget's direction and the impact it has on our citizens of Connecticut.

We must recalibrate the future -- the financial future of Connecticut for our families, our business, and our budget must begin that process today after we go through this process. I'm gonna say that one more time because I don't think anybody heard me and I think everybody's spending the time talking about their own personal things. This is important.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker. (Gavel) Will the House please come to order? Both staff and members, if you have conversations, please take them out in the hall. Representative Walker, please proceed, madam.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want everybody to understand - we must recalibrate the financial future of Connecticut for our families and for our businesses. And this budget begins that process. We still provide services for our citizens in a wide spectrum of areas, but also management of our financial issues for our children coming in the future is critical. We will continue to provide everything that we can in this spectrum, but it is up to us to continue the monitoring of what we need to do to make this state a solid financial foundation for families and children and all that depend on us for services.

Before I conclude, I would like to say thank you to also the state employees who started this process way in the beginning. They started it. They gave us the opportunity to continue it and address the problems. Everybody has participated in this process and I thank you all for all of those supports. I thank you for learning about everything that we have to do for the state, but also I thank you for letting us have the time to do this. Mr. Speaker, I move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adoption of the Emergency Certified Bill. Will you remark? Representative Ziobron of the 34th District, madam, you have the floor.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning. Mr. Speaker, I am standing here today representing my colleagues on this side of the aisle to say a little -- a few words about our budget. Like my friend from New Haven, we also share in the gratitude of the folks that you have thanked earlier, especially our nonpartisan staff and Neil Ayers specifically. In addition, I would be remiss, because I didn't have a chance to thank the partisan staff when we were here just a few short weeks ago, so I want to make sure I do that now, because the staff on our side of the aisle, to put it into perspective, have developed ten budgets - ten budgets - since the beginning of the year. So I need to thank not only Jared Schmitt, who is the House Republican budget staff, but also Lisa Hammersley in the Senate Office, and of course our Leaders on both side of the aisle for navigating waters that, frankly, were historic and had never been done before, over the last month and a half.

While there have been some people who have rightfully been frustrated with not being able to see budget documents over the last couple of days, what's kind of amazing from our side of the aisle is our ideas, our concepts, our proposals have been publicly available for months. and while this document is certainly a compromise, what I've been trying to remind the people that have been contacting me is, what's amazing about this is that the minority party has been engaged, has developed those kind of proposals in a historic way and even though our budget that contained 100 percent of our reforms didn't garner enough support for a veto override, we didn't give up on Connecticut. This side of the aisle could have at that point sat down, crossed our arms, said we gave you our best ideas, now it's your problem, and frankly, some of our more rabid partisan supporters, probably on both sides of the aisle, would like to see us stay in that mode. But that's not what governance is about.

So, I'm proud of the fact that this document, while it doesn't have 100 percent, I would say to you and to those people who are out in the state wondering what Republicans accomplished in the minority, we accomplished 85 percent of our policy goals and the respect and earned respect as this process continues. Because like my good friend mentioned, this is the first step in a very long road. It's the first step, Mr. Speaker, because as you know, by the end of next month we'll have updated revenue consensus numbers. I know, I hate to remind you of that, sir. And I fear we're gonna be right back to having some very hard choices in several months. But we are not giving up on Connecticut. We are ready on this side of the aisle to continue this new historic process and govern a document together through the next session. And I think that's important to understand.

There are a lot of structural spending reforms in this document. You're gonna hear more about them from the Ranking Member of the Revenue and Finance Committee. But not only did we provide spending reforms; we also prioritized spending and we listened to our Democrat colleagues after we brought out the first historic budget vote of this Chamber. And you see that reflected in this document. But we also made sure our priorities, our spending priorities were met. We made sure to fund an additional $ 2 million dollars for our seniors, for Meals on Wheels and senior centers across this state. We made sure to fund a program called Care for Kids. Because the principles on this side of the aisle is a hand-up, not a handout, a hand-up, and the Care for Kids program provides an opportunity for working parents to stay working to provide for their families and provide to be the role models to break the cycle. We reopen both priority groups in Care for Kids. DMHAS and DDS, one of the longest conversations we've had over the last weeks is whether we agreed with the Governor's holdbacks and rescissions for these agencies that provide the critical safety net for this state. We refused to cut those funds. We had policy conversations about it for the first time in a very deliberative way. And so we restore that funding in most areas with the exception of one.

Leaders from both sides of the aisle worked on a new ECS formula, and to their credit, they looked at least a dozen formulas over the last several weeks and came to a decision with Republican input, that changes drastically the horrible Governor's executive order to our communities to make sure that if there's gonna be reductions, it's sustainable, and most importantly, predictable for our school districts. And we did that together, Mr. Speaker. We provide fully funding -- full funding to our pensions, full funding to our pensions as required by actuaries of this state. We provide funding for Connecticut Homecare for the Elderly, additional funding for firefighter training schools, and we listened to the hospital and those business owners and another safety net of this state when they said we support this negotiated deal, and we inserted the hospital tax, which was not in our original proposal.

While some claim that this does nothing to help the state, and I would agree, it certainly doesn't put us to balance in the our years, the spending reforms in this document are gonna help pave the way for the future and I hope, I really sincerely hope, ensure that the minority party in this building has a seat at that table in good faith and in partnership to take the "R" off and put the "C" on our lapels and work together for the betterment of this state we all love. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Rojas of the 9th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning. What we have before us today is a bipartisan revenue plan that has been the subject of significant negotiation, not only over the last month, but over the last ten months. A lot of the revenues that's included in this package is something that's been included in the Governor's proposed budget back in February, and obviously when it was turned over to the Legislature, we had an opportunity to put our footprints on it and make sure our priorities were also represented in this revenue plan.

There are revenue -- significant revenue being generated by this plan. There are also included a number of structural changes that has been referred to a number of times. We look at reducing some taxes that have been the priorities I think of both caucuses, but certainly I think you're gonna hear from Representative Davis some of the priorities that they've had for a long time. And that's really the beauty of being able to get together and work together on a bipartisan basis. Working on a bipartisan basis isn't something that's happened in the last month. I don't think we give ourselves enough credit from year to year when we do our work here in this Chamber. A lot of the work that comes out of this Chamber is bipartisan. And certainly the significant issues on which we disagree on, they're very real. But this year, we had the opportunity to come together and I think Representative Davis and I, from January, kept an open channel of communication. We talked to each other on a regular basis. and I think it's important to note for the public to realize, although we disagree and we have to do what we have to do when the TV cameras are on or when the newspapers ask us for a quote, we do work well together and we have priorities that at times are competing, but we have found a way to compromise, and I think what you have today is a product of compromise that allows us to move the state forward. I move adoption.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good morning to you. I stand here before this Chamber in a truly historic day in a sense, the precipice of the state budget being passed with large bipartisan support most likely. We saw that last evening in the State Senate, a historic vote of 33-3. I would assume that we'll have similar support here in the House today. And that is due to the product being a true bipartisan compromise. As the Chairman of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee had mentioned, we did work together and we continue to work together, and I thank him for his kind words and his friendship over the last few months and able to achieve this goal that we have here today.

And I want to note that, yes, there is revenue being generated in this package that is the result of compromise. I think in the seven sessions I've been here, I think I've developed most likely a reputation of not supporting tax and fee increases. I think that is something that I still strongly believe in, but I do believe that we did need to compromise in order to make this budget. And I want to point out to my colleagues that have concerns about that, that of the additional revenues generated by tax policy changes, only 0. 85 percent are generated through tax policy changes of that revenue. Only 0. 11 percent are generated from fee policy changes. So we are solving a $ 3. 5 billion dollar deficit with 0. 85 percent in tax policy changes and 0. 11 percent in fee policy changes. That is incredible, if you think about it. It's incredible. And it's done through the hard work of both sides of the aisle to achieve this through savings, through cuts, but it also done through structural changes, and they've been mentioned - a spending cap. Also of great, great importance to me, as the Ranking Member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, that we are having a strong bonding cap put into place. That we having a revenue cap put into place so, in the future, we will not be able to spend every single dollar that we receive as a State of Connecticut. And that money gets put into the Budget Reserve Fund, gets towards pension costs, gets put toward long-term liabilities, all that excess money. And as well as a volatility cap that takes incomes that have historically been up and down and smoothes that out and says any additional money cannot be just spent in the current fiscal year, but must be put into the Budget Reserve Fund.

These are fundamental changes. These are historic changes. These are things that the Republican Caucuses have been fighting for, for many, many years and are taking place here in this budget, not just so that we can try to address the issues that we're facing today, but we're facing issues -- trying to combat issues that our children are gonna face. And with a bond and revenue and spending caps, we're facing challenges that our grandchildren are gonna be facing, and we're doing that here today with this budget, and its' one of the main reasons why I'm willing to support it here today.

And there are -- as with any compromise, there are many things included in this budget that I don't necessarily agree with, but I'm wiling to support because of these changes that we were able to make. And I know on our side of the aisle, we have worked diligently to try to avoid any major transfers from any funds that could potentially put our economy at risk. And I understand the concerns of those in the energy sector that believe that those transfers from the energy funds will negatively impact our economy and negatively impact our way of producing energy at a responsible level here in the State of Connecticut. And I know that in our budget that was passed in September, the one that was crafted by the Republican Party, did not include those fund sweeps. We did not believe in those and we fought very, very hard during these budget negotiations for those transfers from those funds to not be included in this final document. But ultimately, it is a compromise and in order to avoid a greater harm to our state, those changes had to take place here in this budget.

I also want to note that for those of us in Eastern Connecticut, there is a very important portion of this budget, and that deals with crumbing foundations, something that is affecting over 30 towns in the State of Connecticut. One, that I believe, is responsibly addressed within this budget and done so in a manner that I think all of us here can appreciate and done without insurance surcharge --

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Davis, one moment. (Gavel) Ladies and gentlemen, please, this is a historic day in the State of Connecticut. We're gonna be discussing and ultimately voting on a budget in the way that's never been done in this state. If you are having conversations, please take them out in the hall. This is my final warning. Can I do that? I think I can. So please be respectful to everybody who has the floor today. Representative Davis, I apologize, and please proceed, sir.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To go back to what I was mentioning about the issue facing Eastern Connecticut with crumbling foundations, this budget addresses this for the first time and we are hopeful that what we are doing here today, we'll finally be able to provide relief to those homeowners that are facing such a devastating decision of walking away from their homes because, literally, the foundations in which they are placed are crumbling beneath them. So, it's important for all of us to recognize all the great things that are in this budget, but I think it's also important to recognize the things that aren't included in this budget. The things that we fought for, especially here on this side of the aisle, to not have going forward in this budget. And those include income tax rate hikes. Those are not in this budget. Sales tax hikes - not included. Expansion of the sales tax is not included. There is no cell phone tax. There is no secondary home tax. There is no restaurant tax. There is no increase to the hotel tax. These are all things that were very important for us to be able to block and we have been successful in doing so in this budget.

And I just want to say, in closing, that I am supportive of this budget because it truly is a compromise, one that is done over many long weeks of hard work by both sides of the aisle to get us to this point. Very difficult decisions were made, but I believe that they are decisions that will move the state forward in a positive direction, one in which I think all of us can be proud of and one all of us can be supportive of. So, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Floren of the 149th, you have the floor, madam. We're actually gonna defer to Representative Pat Billie Miller. Madam, you have the floor.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad Representative Floren is paying attention, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I stand before the Chambers today to discuss what's in the bond package that's in this bill. The bill authorizes $ 1. 6 billion dollars of general obligation bonds in FY '18 and $ 1. 3 billion dollars in FY '19. The total authorizations of the biennium were $ 880 million dollars less than Governor's February package. And this couldn't have happened without the bipartisanship of both sides, and especially my co-chair, Representative Floren. And Mr. Speaker, I just want to stand and thank you, say a thank you to the individuals that helped make this happen.

This is my first year chairing the committee and I couldn't have done it without these individuals. So, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. First of all, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you. Mr. Speaker, I'm talking to you. (Laughter)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

And everybody in the Chamber see how quick I turn too when I heard it was her voice. (Laughter)

REP. MILLER (145TH):

No, but I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, seriously. You know I like to tell jokes. I like to make people laugh. But I seriously want to thank you for giving me the opportunity. And you, you know -- I was on the appropriations side and your purview appointed me to sit on the finance side. So I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity, although I didn't receive all the promises that you had given me. No, but I'm only teasing. But thank you so much, because it's been a great opportunity.

I also want to thank Majority Leader Matt Ritter, Minority Leader Klarides, Themis Klarides, Governor Malloy, the Office of Policy and Management, Secretary Ben Barnes. They were a true partner in making sure that we stayed under the cap and sitting down and negotiating with them. So it was more of a partnership than sitting down as a -- more of a partnership, excuse me, than an adversarial partnership -- relationship. I'm sorry, I'm a little bit nervous right now. Garrett Eucalitto, who's no longer with us. He's gone onto better sites. Steve Kitowicz, who knows bonding from the top to the bottom, from left to right, inside and out, and so he helped me as well in becoming acclimated with my new position. The Office of Fiscal Analysis, Eric Michael Gray. This was his first year on the committee as well. He did a stellar job. We couldn't have done it without him. Also, Anne Bordieri, from Transportation Bonding, Michael Murphy. Michael was there as well. Michael underwent some tragedies too, some hurdles, and he was there.

From the Legislative Office, Kim Kirschbaum, Angela Rehm. From the Office of Legislative Research, Rute Pinho and Kristen Miller. Leaders of the Finance Review and Bonding Committee. Senator Fonfara, he has been a leader. He held my hand through this whole process. Senator Frantz, our own Representative Rojas, Representative Davis - thank you for your leadership, Senator McLachlan, who was also very supportive of me. The members of the Bond Committee -- Subcommittee, thank you very much. You made every meeting, your questions, the questions that you asked the presenters helped us to formulate the decisions that we had to make. So, thank you very much. And Tom Spinella, Tom, thank you, the committee administrator. Tom, thank you so much. You organized the meetings, you called us for the meetings, and so thank you very, very much.

Also my aide, Luz Osuba. Luz was very supportive. Luz, thank you, as always. I don't know what I could've done without you. And I want to thank Matt Brokman. Matt, thank you. Thank you for being in the room to make sure that whatever that the Bond Committee needed, we received. Thank you so much for your input and your support. And most of all, I have to thank Diana Palmer. Diana, thank you so much. I couldn't have done this without you. Your knowledge helped me to make the decisions that I needed to make. And I believe that you're only as good as the people that you work with. So, thank you very much. And last and not least, Livvy Floren, my co-chair. Livvy, thank you. Thank you for your support. Thank you for the words of encouragement. You always encouraged me and I really appreciate it. Your knowledge helped. It felt good to have. It was great to have the institutional knowledge. Thank you so much and I couldn't have done this without you. You made my transition seamless. So, thank you very much.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me this time to again thank everyone who participated in making sure that we stayed under the bond cap. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, ma'am. Now, Representative Floren of the 149th, you have the floor.

REP. FLOREN (149TH):

Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker. Well, this pragmatic, data-driven bond legislation was crafted in a totally bipartisan manner with input during four full days of testimony from the commissioners of our state agencies, on-site visits to various bonding funding sites, and consultation with OFA and OPM. The bond document is the resulting work product. In these dire economic times, the committee worked diligently to remain under the 90 percent debt limit and the bond cap. We restricted new authorizations and we reduced, delayed or cancelled existing authorizations which were no longer needed or were not in process. Working with Representative Pat Miller was a joy. She is inclusive, thoughtful, and very, very smart. The General Bonding Subcommittee members were present, prepared and proactive. And Representative Miller, who's done a wonderful job of thanking, I think, everyone left in the western hemisphere, who helped us. And we needed a lot of help. But I would like to just specify Eric Gray, Michael Murphy and Diana Palmer.

I'm proud of this bond legislation, its vision, its validity, and its voracity. The proposal supports initiatives for our cities and towns and it provides funding for programs and projects that are necessary to move our state forward. I urge passage. Thank you.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Representative Candelora of the 86th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good morning.

Rep. CANDELORA (86TH):

Mr. Speaker, it's been ten years since I've been able to rise and say that I'm in support of this budget and it gives me great pleasure to be able to do so. Back about, you know, ten years ago, we had very different times in the State of Connecticut and I think our focuses weren't necessarily on the issues that we're focused on today. We sort of had budgets that we were looking at from cycle to cycle. Every two years we would look at a biennium. And in 2007, we saw sort of the tide turn and I think it's been actually ten years, I think with the exception of Senator Suzio, that we've had Republicans ever vote for a budget in this state in the past ten years. And it wasn't because we didn't want to support the State of Connecticut and the budgets, but we saw where our spending was outpacing our revenues and Connecticut was really getting into fiscal trouble.

And today, I am here to vote for this budget, not because of the line items that are in it. But having spent many weeks talking about the process and talking about the issues that the State of Connecticut has gone through, I just want to focus a little bit about the process and what we did. Because facing a $ 3. 5 billion deficit in this cycle is overwhelming to everyone. And I know, you know, our side of the aisle tried in earnest to get our policies put forth, proposing budget after budget. And I know the House Democrats as well have put forth their proposals. But what it came down to was not the line items, not the actual cuts and reductions, but we needed to have a discussion about policy. Because looking at cuts and looking at line items is not getting us where we need to be. And as anxious as I was to get to that number and balance, we started out this month-long process of focusing on that policy.

And I think as the weeks passed and this deadline approached toward the end of October, we were all getting a little bit stressed - how are we gonna come to the bottom line? And there were many people in the room that said the bottom line will get there, but we need to focus on the policy. And so what we have done with this document; and I'm not gonna point out all the specifics that other people have been talking about over the last few days, but what cannot be lost is that this document is creating a new foundation for the State of Connecticut to begin building back its agencies and its programs. It's built on a foundation that changes dramatically the direction for the State of Connecticut. It's providing cost-saving relief for our towns. It's providing a new outlook in how our agencies are gonna need to be treating businesses and it's also a new way of running government. And so I have no doubt in the next months that we are gonna be right back here having the same discussions about how Connecticut is going to balance its budget. And I'm going into this with my eyes wide open.

And what I say to everybody today is don't look necessarily at these numbers; because these numbers are gonna change. But what is not gonna change in this document is the strong foundation that we are creating here today. And I just want to thank all of the leadership and the people that have worked so hard on this budget to get there. It was a true conversation and hopefully it will be a new direction for the State of Connecticut. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further on the bill before us? Representative Sampson of the 80th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker. I want to start by saying that I know very well that the leadership of my party has worked very, very hard to come to an agreement with you, Mr. Speaker, and also the Majority Leader and the leaders in the State Senate. And I want to make it abundantly clear, before I say anything else, that I'm very sincere when I say that I appreciate all of the time, energy and effort that has been put into the document that is before us today. I particularly want to recognize my good friend and colleague, Representative Vin Candelora, who I have been in contact with pretty much throughout this process, and even though it became clear at some point that we might not end up on the same page, he always took the time to make sure that I was informed and we were working together, ultimately, for the best result for the citizens of our state.

Certainly, all of us would like to have had a budget before now. But we have to acknowledge that the reason why we are here today is simply because we are being forced by the intense pressure to avoid the pain that is being threatened by Governor Malloy if we do not comply with his demands. I want to take this moment just to remind everyone that we have already passed a budget, through this Chamber and the State Senate. And as of today, there is only one reason why we don't have a state budget in place, and that is because Governor Malloy rejected a perfectly legitimate bipartisan budget and instructed us to go back and work on it again because HE did not like it.

Now, I keep hearing that we need to vote for this budget agreement simply because people are blaming us for this budget impasse and how its' important that we need to do something. I want to speak to the notion of doing something. There is an expression, it says - Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, something I've heard a lot about throughout this process. I think in this case, we need to change that to - Don't let the pressure to do something be the enemy of doing something right or good. And that's the question, Madam Speaker. Many here among us are wondering how this works in our respective districts and whether or not this is something that is worth voting for. Are there enough Democrat items contained in this document? Are there enough Republican items contained in this document? And for all accounts and from what we're heard from the previous speakers, there certainly seems to be. But I'm asking entirely different questions. Do the people of Connecticut benefit from this deal? Will businesses, both in our state and outside of our state, see this budget as a change in direction that is going to make Connecticut a better place, more attractive to do business, to maybe come here and start a business? Will the changes contained in this budget be enough to cause any of our friends and neighbors that are considering moving out of our state to change their minds and stay? I don't think so, Madam Speaker.

So what is wrong with this state? What is the problem? Why do we have a deficit? Why are we losing population? Why are residents moving away? Why is Connecticut known to be hostile to the business industry? There are loads of reasons and we could talk for quite awhile about all the individual policy choices and votes that have been made over the years that brought us to this place. But if I had to pick one phrase that boiled it all down, I would simply say that are not competitive. If you ask your constituents what's wrong, they will be able to tell you. I don't think it's a secret. Everybody knows. It's too expensive to live here. There are too many taxes. Energy costs too much. And many of our friends and neighbors are indeed asking themselves can they afford to live here any longer? Businesses say it's too expensive. I've even heard them say that they fear us. And who can blame them when they have to be concerned with what the next action this state government might take that affects their bottom line and their businesses. College graduates, if you talk to them, they're all leaving when they graduate, and that's because of the same reasons. It's too expensive and there are no jobs here. No matter who you are and how much you love this state, you cannot help but recognize that we are simply not competitive.

So let's talk about that. If the problem is that it's too expensive to be here and there are just too many taxes and regulations, then the answer must be to work on those problems. So how do we do that? Again, I think it's simple. I think almost anyone can tell you. First and foremost, we need to make it clear that we intend to make it so you are not better off in South Carolina or Texas or Florida, or even Massachusetts or New York, as we have seen recently. Whether you are a single person or a growing family, a retired person, a small business owner, a huge corporation, we need to let everyone know that we want Connecticut to be the smart decision for where to be.

I think everyone in this room knows what the problems are and even knows how to fix them. We need to address our long-term obligations, and yes, that means reigning in public sector employee unions and the pension debt that is threatening the financial future of our state. We need the structural changes that many of them are contained in this document. These are the good things that do make it very difficult for me to make a decision to vote against this bill. I firmly believe in a spending cap, but I also have some concerns about whether or not that spending cap is enough.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Excuse me, Representative. (Gavel) Will members please take their seats and keep their conversations to a minimum? If you need to speak to your colleagues, please take it outside. We're having difficulty hearing the speaker. Thank you, Representative Sampson.

REP. SAMPSON (80TH):

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I was just going to say that, of course, I agree with a spending cap and a bonding cap and structural changes that will tie our hands from doing more damage to this state. My only concern is that words on paper mean nothing unless the people are there that will stand by them. Last night, I was watching the Senate debate and Senator Markley got up and he talked exactly about this. And then I started thinking about our own Constitution. The Second Amendment, for instance, says - Shall not be infringed. I think we're a long way from those words on the paper.

We've had a spending cap. It hasn't been honored. The Commerce Clause in the United States Constitution, I think the intent was pretty clear, and we've worked our way around it. I was here on a day we passed a bill to create a transportation lockbox at the same time we were sweeping the Special Transportation Fund. I have no faith in words on paper. The only thing that will make a difference is the will of good people to do the right things. So structural changes are what we need. Long-term obligation fixes are what we need. But more than anything, people will tell you we simply need to just stop the spending and the taxes. But this budget document, I'm sorry to say, for the good things that are in it, does not do that. In fact, it does just the opposite.

We just got this document very, very late last night and I will admit that, like a lot of people, I have not read through it. There was no way I was gonna read 1,000 pages overnight and be ready to stand here and talk about it. But I know enough about what's in it to have my strong opinions. I am told that this budget taxes and spends to the tune of hundreds of millions more in each year. There are newspaper reports that it's over a billion dollars in new spending and taxes. And we can debate what's really a tax and what's not, but I know it's a lot more than it should be. Someone last night during the Senate debate said that the spending increases are 3. 6 percent in the first year and 5. 1 percent in the second year. Without going any further, Madam Speaker, that is an automatic no vote for me. Aside from promising this session to only vote for a budget that would not raise taxes and fully fund my towns, I have also, since I first ran for office, made a promise to do Republican things - cut spending, cut taxes, allow the economy to grow. I cannot break those promises.

So, I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about the individual items in this budget, but I want to mention a few of them. First and foremost, when we come to the discussion about taxes, one of them that stands out for me, which I don't think is being addressed by most people as a tax hike, are the cuts to funding for our towns in education. Now, certainly, when you cut aid that goes to our municipalities, they have decisions to make and they can make cuts, for certain. But being that it's so late in this fiscal year and that in some cases those changes might mean the loss of jobs for teachers and other folks, they are going to rather increase taxes on their residents. I'm not in favor of a property tax increase. I think our property taxes in Connecticut are damaging to our economy. I think they are a part of the reason why people are relocating. I think it's why our housing values are not as strong as they possibly could be. There's also the change that's being made to the property tax credit. This is not a small thing. I remember when this property tax credit, and for the people listening who don't know what I'm talking about, this is the last page of your state income tax return, where you figure out how much tax liability you have to the state, and then you are able to offset any property taxes you've paid on your home or your car to say you're going to reduce that tax liability. When I first got elected, that was a $ 500 dollar credit, and then in subsequent budgets, it was reduced to $ 300 dollars and then $ 200 dollars. And in this budget, it is changed so that it only applies to seniors, thank heavens for them, and people with dependents. But it no longer applies to me and countless other people in the state who are now gonna pay $ 200 dollars more in state income tax. So when people say there's no income tax increases in this budget, they are flat out wrong. That is an income tax increase.

Let me talk about the cigarette tax for just a minute too. I understand why the cigarette tax happens. I think it's an easy thing to go after for a lot of people because it's unpopular to smoke. But note that that tax itself is one of the most hypocritic things that you could possibly do in government. The argument is that cigarettes are dangerous for you so you should not smoke and that adding an increased tax might encourage people not to smoke. But it seems pretty disingenuous to me when we are balancing the budget off of the income of that tax. It's also noteworthy that in this same budget document, we are sweeping $ 6 million dollars per year out of the Tobacco Health Trust Fund, the money that is spent for tobacco education programs. And finally, smokers are people too. Why are we going after any particular group of people to balance the budget by having them have an increased burden?

People keep saying there's policy reasons for these taxes. So what the reason? We need the money? I know there's a bunch of other fees in here and I have not had the time to research them, but I'm concerned that they're going to impact people and we're gonna be finding out what they are in the days to come. I want to mention just one other quick thing, and that is the Energy Efficiency Fund.

My dear colleagues, Representative Davis, mentioned that this was not in the original Republican budget, and I'm thankful for that. I'm one of the people who said we cannot possibly do this. This is money that is collected in your electric bill that goes into a fund that is used for the purpose of helping people find ways to save on their energy costs. But this is not money that is collected on behalf of the state. It's not a tax. It's not our money. It's their money. And for us to go in there and sweep $ 64 million dollars per year, to me is the equivalent of theft. It just is. We are taking their money and we have no real reason or right to do so. And simply saying we need that money to balance the budget is not adequate for me. I would have preferred a legitimate tax, because at least it would've been honest.

There's also money in here for things that I just cannot abide at the same time that my own district is being cut for municipal and education aid. The constituents that I represent are not responsible for the failure of Hartford's finances. But yet, this budget spends $ 46 million dollars each year to prop up Hartford. There's money in here for the XL Center, $ 40 million dollars. There's a lot of question I would've liked to ask before I spoke today. I wanted to know exactly how much all of the reductions in education aid cost all across the state, because my guess is it's probably around that same $ 40 million dollars. So, if we have a choice to fix the XL Center or fully fund education to our towns, why is this the choice that we're making?

Everyone keeps saying that we need to compromise, and I get that. I am very willing to work with people of all stripes to come up with resolutions. I want to associate my comments with the remarks made by Senator Gary Winfield last night. A gentleman I probably don't agree with much on policy, but I could've given the exact same speech he gave last night about compromise and bipartisanship. It was spot on. He completely understands the idea of having principles, holding to them, and why. That's what matters more than anything. I think it's dangerous and even shortsighted to put compromise above all else. For me, I don't believe there is more than one way to fix the problems the state has. There are only the ways I listed before. So to me, compromising means moving away from the correct and only solution. And make no mistake; this budget will not solve our problems. We will be back here in no time addressing the same issues, we'll have more deficits, and we'll be passing more band-aids and there will be discussion of corporate welfare and a lot of other things that are not going to get us moving in the right direction.

What we need to fix this problem and move the state forward is much, much harder than what this budget represents, and its' only gonna get harder in the future. Sadly, our ability to pass a more responsible budget than this one was dramatically reduced when the labor deal passed this Chamber on a nearly party-line vote a couple of months ago. The budget that we already passed was certainly not perfect, but at least, under the circumstances, I believe that budget pointed us in the right direction to fix the state. This budget on the other hand, Madam Speaker, is in direct contradiction to the message that we need to send as a signal to businesses and citizens that Connecticut has a bright future. It's also in direct contradiction to my beliefs as a Republican and an American, and I cannot vote for it. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Elliot.

REP. ELLIOT (88TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, I rise in opposition to this budget because it is antithetical to everything that I believe in. If we talk about the problem of the tax structure in Connecticut, let's look at the facts of the tax structure in Connecticut. DRS put a report out about two years ago looking at how the different income quintiles pay into the system, looking at both state and local property -- local taxes. And what you look and find when you see this is that for earners who make $ 75,000 dollars or less, they are paying at minimum 14 percent of their income to state and local taxes. And for those earners who make $ 165,000 dollars or more, they pay no more than 8 percent.

A lot of talk has been bandied about in terms of the people who are leaving this state. If you look over the past six years at the tax filers in Connecticut, what you'll see is the diminution of filers who make $ 50,000 dollars or less and you will see accrual of earners who make $ 100,000 dollars or more. But the narrative we all have in our collective minds is that the wealthy are leaving our state because it is simply too expensive due to the tax burden of living here. And so anytime there is a person who is wealthy who leaves the state, we all point to that person and say - Look! See, this is the problem with Connecticut. And we take this anecdotal evidence and paint broad strokes across the board and say this is the problem. And then we ignore the facts that we are the wealthiest state per capita in the U. S. We ignore the facts that over the last ten years, through two tax increases, we've gone from fourth most to second most and now we're tired for first in terms of millionaires per capita. We ignore the fact that the top income tax earners in those two largest tax increases in our state's history, and I say that tongue-in-cheek, because the top tax income bracket went from 6. 5 percent to 6. 7 percent, and then 6. 7 percent to 6. 99 percent, so an aggregate less than one-half of 1 percent on our top income earners making $ . 5 million dollars or more. And if you look between the 1940s to 1970s, at the federal level, and see that the top marginal tax rate was between 70 percent to 94 percent, and you can see that right now we're arguing over literally 0. 2 percent, 0. 3 percent on what our wealthy can pay into the system?

And then we put out a budget that slashes EITC, going from 27. 5 percent to 23 percent. Now, it's certainly better than slashing it entirely. But this is a program that gives money back to people who need that to live, who are working 40, 60, 80 hours a week. We are slashing energy efficiency funds, Green Bank funds, reg E funds, investments in the future and health of our state and our environment. And when you look at what has happened to the wealthy in our state and across the country, but our state specifically because we are very much indicative of what is happening more broadly, in the past 30 years, the top one percent of income earners in Connecticut have gained 84 percent of all income gains accessible. Meaning that for all the new revenue that is made within the private markets, it's all going to those who already own the capital, thereby cementing their place in that top quintile, making it nearly impossible for those who are lower to get their up. And we have this dream; this American ideal, that anybody can work their way up, but we have tax policies that make it nearly impossible to do so. Because what happens is, at a certain point, you outrun the cost of living. And when you outrun the cost of living and you're making millions of dollars a year, you take that money and you invest it. And when you do that, you keep on outrunning and outrunning and outrunning the various costs and you store it away and you accrue and you accrue and you accrue. And you get more of a stranglehold on the political process, thereby making the issues of our unbalanced tax structure even more unbalanced and making it even harder, going into the future, to make these fixes.

So when I get up and I say that the top one percent needs to be taxed more, the opposite side can say - but look at how much they're taxed already. They're getting 30 percent of the overall revenue going toward the state. How much should they be putting in? Well here's the problem, if we don't address this problem now, in five years, instead of 30 percent of the overall revenue coming from the top one percent of earners, it's 35 percent. And then in five more years, maybe it's 40 percent, then 45 percent. Then the argument of not being able to tax our wealthy becomes stronger over time and self-perpetuates until the people who are making $ 30,000, $ 40,0000, $ 50,000 dollars a year are looking up and seeing these incredible amounts of money that's just flowing upward because we have no way of balancing the scales.

Capitalism isn't a natural phenomenon. We've created capitalism and by and large it's a good for the common man. And the reason is, is it takes our natural tendencies to be greedy and to hoard and it turns us into entrepreneurs and it turns us into heads of companies, where we are using the methodologies of accruing more money as a way to invest and create new jobs and invest in research and development and create new technologies, and that's great and that's wonderful. But to ignore the downsides and aftermath effects, and various parts of like economic inefficiencies would be to basically say that it's okay for the power brokers and for the ultra-wealthy to maintain their class status in definitely. And part of the reason we became the country that we are is because we understood that the investments that we make now are what we attain later for the rest of humanity.

Now, as a millennial, I can tell you that my peers by and large are walking out of universities tens and tens of thousands of dollars in debt. And for decades, through the GI Bill, through various subsidies, it was possible to walk away with a college degree with no debt by working a part-time job. And now we're at a point and time where for maybe 20 years out from graduating, you may still have debt. Never actually being able to put away for the future and safety of your own retirement or being able to take care of your children for the generation ahead of you.

So what we're doing right now is we're being very shortsighted in terms of what we're doing for the structure of taxation in Connecticut. And that is ultimately my concern, is that every year we come back to this budget cycle, we are thinking how do we solve the problem now, as opposed to how do we solve the problem of the future? How do we ensure that we're making the investments so that we can grow the economy, just as my colleagues on both sides of the aisle say? Now, if we didn't have transportation and our federal highway system and we didn't ask our ultra-wealthy to pay into the system to ensure that we could have the structure of, whether it's investing in the internets, in vaccinations, whatever the common good may be, then we wouldn't be here today. And there's nobody crying tears for the wealthy of the past who paid more into the system to ensure that it was more stable for the future.

So, ultimately, for me, the reason I stand in opposition is that I think this is a budget that ultimately asks of everybody but those who can afford it most. It punishes the poor for being poor. It punishes the middle class for living in a society that does not protect them, and it rewards those who already have it made by either growing up white, growing up rich or growing up in a state that protects only those who are in the top quintile or, in some cases, the top one percent of income earners. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will close my remarks.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Porter.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I actually stayed up quite late last night, or should I say this morning, listening to the debate in the Senate, and I've caught some of the debate here today. And I have to tell you that the thing that just doesn't sit really well with me is what's been said in the Senate and also been said here today by one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and that is that when we talk about a bipartisan budget, we talk about having to make compromise and concessions. And for me, I just found it very hard to have to compromise on my morals and my values and the principles that I stand on as a Democrat. And I do realize that the State of Connecticut is between a rock and a hard place right now. I, like among everybody probably in this Chamber right now, cannot go anywhere without being asked about what are you doing. When are you guys gonna pass a budget? We need a budget. Well, I think it's very apparent today that we do have a budget, and sometimes you get what you asked for.

And I feel at a great disadvantage because I haven't really had time to delve into this budget, and I know I'm not alone. But there are some things that were brought to my attention that I just think I need to address. You know, we talk about we're making structural changes. I want to know what it looks like when the structural change means that you no longer have health care, or that you no longer have access to the EITC. Because as a single parent, raising two kids, I can remember filing my taxes and that was what I looked forward to, because that tax was what enabled me to pay my bills, my utility bill, my car insurance to ensure that I could get back and forth to work. It wasn't a whole lot or maybe it didn't seem -- it doesn't like a whole lot to people that don't need it, but I'm here to tell you, when you are struggling and you are in the working class and you're living paycheck to paycheck and when you pay your bills, you may have a few dollars left over, $ 100 dollars makes you feel like you're rich. So this may not seem like a big deal to some people, but this is a very big deal to many of the people that I represent in my district.

You know, we look at this budget and we also see that it lowers the income limit for Husky-A parents and caretakers from 150 percent to 138 percent. That's the cut I'm talking about, among just several, you know. We talk about a tax structure. The tax structure in this state, and this state is not alone in this category, it's unfair. And I think that's something that we need to talk about. When you have people like you, me, middle class, working class that are paying an exorbitant amount of taxes. Every year, I owe taxes to the federal government and I am not middle class. I am working class. But I have millionaires and billionaires in this state that pay little to no tax. I have corporations that are getting breaks. And these are the things that we don't want to talk about. We don't want to talk about revenue. But you can't have cuts without having revenues. And when we make these cuts, we have to look at who is hurting, and it's hurting the people that are most vulnerable in this state, that are living paycheck to paycheck and trying to make ends meet, trying to put food on the table, trying to keep a roof over their head. And we justify that by giving breaks to, let's say -- what do we have in there? The gift and estate tax, and I think that's an area where I know people on my side of the aisle support. But I have an issue with that. I think we talk bipartisanship and we're talking about compromise and we're talking about concessions, that this should be equal across the board. It should be fair and it should be equitable. And I'm not feeling a whole lot of fairness and equitability in this budget right now.

And I know that I don't stand alone and I understand that we're all gonna do what we feel we need to do today, but I have to stand in my truth. I have to stand for the people that I represent and I have to flag this. Just like when we're in committee and we're passing bills and we have people say, oh well, I'm gonna vote no, to flag this, because we need to keep an eye on this. I'm voting no on this budget today to flag this, because we need to keep an eye on where we're headed in this state and what we're doing and who we're helping and who we're not helping. Because I don't think it's right for us to cut people off at their legs and then come back and take their arms and they can't feed themselves. They can't feed their families.

There has to be a better way, and there is a better way. and I hope as we proceed past today, because it is quite evident to me that we do have the votes to get this through and that this budget will pass, that we will come back to the table in a true bipartisan fashion and figure out how we take care of everyone in this state and not just the ones that can afford to get what they want. I want to be the voice for the people that have a voice but just don't seem to get heard in this building. So if anybody is really listening, I hope what you hear and take away from what I'm saying today is that we got a lot of work to do and that we may want to pat ourselves on the back and we may feel like this is historical, but I would like to see us doing something that is collective, that will be beneficial for us all, for everyone. Not just for the wealthy, not just for corporations.

We talk about being business friendly. I want to talk about being family friendly, because I got friends that are leaving the state, middle income people and working class people that can't afford to be here no more. My daughter is in graduate school and she's telling me, "Mommy, when I'm done, I'm outta here because I can't afford to live in Connecticut. " What are we doing to help those people, the graduates? Where's the workforce development gonna be? How are we gonna compete with the likes of Boston and New York, where our businesses are moving to, because we don't have what they need here in this state. What are doing to address those issues? How does this budget help move us in that direction? You know, I applaud my Senate Chair for what he said last night and I want to reiterate what he said. And I want to applaud SEBAC and my union members for giving up $ 1. 5 billion dollars out of their contract that was already negotiated and guaranteed to them. That's money in their pockets - out. That's food off their table - out. And they started this for us. And I just think we fell a little short in doing what we needed to do to make it equitable.

(Sighs) There's so much more I could say, but at this point, I really feel it's a mute point and I don't want to take up a lot of time because I do realize that there's other business that needs to be done in and outside of this Chamber. But I really do hope that what I've said today will be taken to heart and that when we talk about bipartisanship, we can talk about bipartisanship that is truly bipartisanship, because I've been trying to work in a bipartisanship manner in this building since I've been here and I have yet to experience what I really want to see as bipartisanship on the level that we're claiming it on. And no, I'm not saying that there has not been any bipartisan work done in this building. But I think there's a lot more that can be done. And if we're gonna talk about being bipartisan, we need to be talking about that in spirit and in truth. So with that being said, Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak on this and I will be voting no, as I said, to flag this in the hopes that the next time we come back to a budget, it will be a budget that I can vote for. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further? Representative Dubitsky.

REP. DUBITSKY (47TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I want to talk a little bit about process. I'm not gonna talk too much about the content of the bill because, frankly, I don't most of the people in this room have actually read it. When I first came to the Legislature, I came here very much wanting to work with people from both sides of the aisle and to develop policies and a budget for this state that everybody would like. And I really thought when I got here that one of the biggest problems were we just weren't talking to each other, that this side wasn't talking to that side, and the liberals weren't talking to the conservatives, and a lot of people weren't talking to anybody, they were just listening to their leadership. And when I got here, unfortunately, I found out that that was really true and that people really weren't talking to each other. And that when the minority had some good ideas, we would often scream and yell and try to get them heard and the majority, being in the majority, having the control, very often kind of brushed us off and said, no, we don't need to listen to you. We haven't listened to you in the last 40 years and we're not gonna start now.

Now, we got our -- a couple of -- you know, a couple of things passed here and there, but really didn't have any ability to push anything over the finish line except if we said we were gonna stand up and stomp our feet and scream until the wee hours of the morning, and the majority would say, all right, all right, we don't want to sit here all night, so we can pass a couple of your bills.

And then we got to this year and the numbers are a little closer and there's still a majority and a minority, but the pressure really is on from the people of this state to have a budget that really works for everybody. And I give the few renegades on the other side of the aisle all the credit in the world for looking out for the people of this state over party to come and join in a budget and pass a budget that really changed the game, really moved the state in a different direction. And that budget passed both Houses. That was historic. That was truly bipartisan. And what did that do? Those few on the other side who decided to vote with the minority, they changed the game. They suddenly made it clear to everybody in this Chamber and everybody in this state that things could not keep going the way they were going. We had to do things differently. We had to actually talk to each other. We actually had to sit in a room and go over how to move this state in a good direction. For the first time in decades, we actually had both sides sitting in a room looking at charts and numbers and policies. It was historic. The product of that discussion is historic. And had it not been for those few on the other side who voted for the Republican budget; that never ever would've happened. And I have to give those few all the credit in the world for changing the dialog and changing the direction of the state.

I also have to give all the credit to the leaders on both sides and the staff on both sides who spent untold hours toiling going over these numbers and policies and trying to come up with something that was truly unique and truly bipartisan. And as they were doing that, we were all hearing little bits of it. We were hearing, well, this is in, this is out, this changing, this number changed here and there. We would occasionally get these little summaries, little sheets; this is where it is right now. We would caucus and we would hear where it is right now. Great. We like this, we don't like that. We'd give feedback as to what we like and what we don't like. And our leaders and our staff would go back in and start negotiating. And at the same time, I'm talking to my constituents, the people who are gonna be affected by this, the people who are gonna do all the paying in this budget. And they'd keep asking me, well, what's in it? And I'd tell them, well, what I know at the moment, this is in, this is out, these numbers are changing. And they'd keep asking me when are we gonna get a document to read? What are we gonna get something that we can actually sit down and go through? And I keep telling -- you know, I feel like a jerk! Well, we don't have a budget yet, we don't have a document. There's nothing you can look at yet.

You know, although -- you know, I represent a lot of small towns, but some of the people in my district are very adept and very sophisticated and they want to look at the document themselves. They don't want to rely on me, in the same I don't want to rely on anybody else to tell me what's in it. So, yesterday, yesterday, we're waiting for this document, which is gonna be close to 1,000 pages long, and it's, you know, it's getting 2: 00 o'clock, 3: 00 o'clock, 4: 00 o'clock. The Senate's gonna convene at 7: 00 o'clock and we still don't have a piece of paper to read. Five o'clock, people are asking me, where is this budget? How come I can't look at it? How am I -- I'm asking my constituents to tell me whether or not I should vote for it, and they're saying, well how are we gonna tell you whether to vote for it or not if we haven't seen it?

Seven o'clock, in comes the Senate, still no document. Eight o'clock, nine o'clock. People are screaming at me, where is this document? How are we gonna tell you if you should vote for it or not if we don't see it? After 10: 00 o'clock last night, finally, 881 pages shows up online - 881 pages shows up online and I send it out to my people, and they're like, how are we supposed to read this and digest it? This is longer than Atlas shrugged. This is like War and Peace. We're supposed to read this and tell you whether or not we like it between 10: 00 o'clock at night and 10: 00 o'clock in the morning? It's just not happening!

So, we changed this process. We changed the way we do things up until it's time to vote, and then we fall back in that same old habit of rushing things through without giving anybody an opportunity to look at it! Now, the people in this Chamber probably have a decent idea of what's in it, but nobody's read it. This was put together by a staff of attorneys, and each one of us is supposed to go through it in the hours of 10: 00 o'clock at night to 10: 00 o'clock in the morning? And our constituents are supposed to do that? It's not happening. We hae fallen back on that same bad policy, that same bad habit of rushing things through. The Hartford Courant had an editorial yesterday. What's the rush? Why are we doing this? Why is the Senate voting at 2: 00 o'clock in the morning? Why are we voting the very next morning? Why don't we give it a little time, give people an opportunity to read it? If it's decent, what do we have to fear if people look at it and read it?

That's what we should be doing. We should be doing this openly, honestly. If there's something wrong in it, we should fix it. But why are we rushing this through? Why did we have to have the Senate vote at 2: 00 o'clock in the morning? It's already four months late. What's another couple of days to give people an opportunity to read it? For that reason, I will certainly listen to the debate, but my constituents deserve to be able to see what's in this document, to look at it, to analyze it, to talk to their friends and neighbors, to talk to me and tell me whether they like or not. And right now, we've completely taken that opportunity away from them. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

(Gavel) Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Guerrera.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Good morning, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise because I will support this budget. And I know for many of my colleagues, they may be thinking that -- you know, why is he supporting this, especially that there was no form of electronic tolling in this budget. And I get that. But I have to look at the bigger picture here and I know that -- I hope that we can come together with an electronic toll bill maybe next session or a year after that, but having those dialogs with my colleagues on the other side and my colleagues here. But more importantly, this is a historic time for all of us.

The Senate passed a budget 33-3, I believe it -- I believe that was the final number. And we're here today, most likely going to pass this budget. I can't tell you how many people have talked to us in our districts and said when is the General Assembly finally going to pass a budget? We have come together on both sides to craft something that we can all live with - that we can All Live With. And there are parts of this budget we don't like, but for the most part, we do like it. I want to thank the Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, the Majority Leader Matt Ritter, the Minority Leader Themis Klarides. It has not been an easy issue. That's why it has taken so long, because everybody cares about a certain organization or a certain priority. And trying to get people to the table to vote for something like this is very, very difficult. But we have come there now and we can do this.

People across the state want to see both sides of the aisle finally, finally coming to an agreement that says moving the state forward. And I truly believe that! And there might be people in this room that don't see it that way, but I do. Because I talk to many businesses out there that are struggling today, saying they don't know what to do. Builders don't know if they should build a house for their clients because they don't know if they're gonna have a job in this state. Organizations, if they're gonna be cut, whether it's a nonprofit organization, or whatever it may be. This puts things in perspective and moves the state forward in a manner that people expect us to do. So I congratulate all of us to finally reach an agreement that we all can live with - that we can all live with. And I thank both sides of the aisle, the leaders of this General Assembly, both the Senate and the House, to craft something that the State of Connecticut can move forward with and our municipalities can move forward with, and move forward to bring this state to where it should be. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Dauphinais.

REP. DAUPHINAIS (44TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Sorry about that. I can't help but think if we were voting on this budget in May, this budget would never have been brought to the floor and would've never passed. Now, several months later, after draconian cuts by our Governor, fear and desperation from our towns, we are here yet again with another increased tax and spend budget.

This bill came before us at almost midnight last night, a bill of almost 1,000 pages. How can I possibly know what was in it? As a first time candidate and a legislator, I have been asked over and over again - will you change your commitment to us when you get to Hartford? My answer was and still is, no. As I stand here today, I will stand by my commitment not to support another increased tax and spend budget. Next year at this time, we will surely face again billions of dollars in debt, more taxes and more spending. My constituents said enough is enough, and therefore, I cannot face them tomorrow and say I voted for more of the same. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Good morning, Madam Speaker. It's good to see you up there. This morning I rise to speak on this budget we have before us and I can tell you that I have very mixed feelings about the content, but having said that, I'd like to thank everybody who worked on bringing this historic budget before us for consideration. I know people on both sides of the aisle, leadership and their staff, has given up their entire summer, time with their family to actually try to come up with a solution that will work for the State of Connecticut. And I really appreciate that. But I could tell you that I'm concerned with the product that's before us.

Yesterday, being a member of the Finance Committee, we voted for the revenue and I'd like to applaud our Senate Chairs and staff and our House Chair Representative Rojas behind me and Ranking Member Representative Davis, for your good work on this in the revenues because I know that's not an easy thing to do to actually come up with the revenue side of this, because it's -- you know, those are the issues that really resonate. Those are many of the issues that we get emails on that actually talk about the burden that the state is putting and placing on people. But for the most part, everybody voted for the revenue package and, you know, I didn't have a problem. There's a couple of questionable line items. And, you know, in any finance package, you know, you could find items that would be questionable in any given year. So, given what's before us, I was very happy to support the package.

But actually fast forwarding to today, we have to complete the budget with the spending side. And to tell you the truth, Madam Speaker, you know, I don't have a lot of details about the spending side of this equation, which really gives me pause. I share a lot of the concerns that Representative Porter actually brought forward and I came prepared today to ask probably about a couple, 3, 4, 5 pages worth of questions that I really wanted to get answers to that delve into the cuts that we're gonna make to areas in the state that we're gonna have to live with with this budget. But in consideration for the leadership and all those people who spend their whole summer here, I'm gonna forgo with my four or five pages worth of questions and I'm just gonna talk about some of the agencies and departments that I had concerns of. Because I believe this budget's gonna pass by an overwhelming amount, but somebody needs to speak about the ongoing dilemma out there, the people who are gonna be affected and continue to have to rely on the State of Connecticut to do right by them.

And the first area I wanted to talk about is an area that, you know, I think that -- it's really incredulous to me that we actually make cuts to some of these programs; the first one being Platform to Employment. You know, I don't know how much money we've actually cut from them in the last couple of years, but I could tell you if we're looking for a solution to actually get more revenue in the State of Connecticut, organizations like Platform to Employment is probably the best thing we could support. We shouldn't be cutting them. We should be giving them more money! With their record of getting people back to the workforce, they should be supported more. Their record is outstanding. They actually help people, the long-term unemployed, get back to work. Those people who no longer collect checks for unemployment; those people who have given up hope for looking for jobs, Platform to Employment actually helped them find employment, get them back to the workforce, paying taxes, income taxes, which we sorely need. And we should be supporting them more so and not cutting them.

Other organizations like STRIVE does something of the same things, especially with some of the people who recently returned from incarceration, okay? Helps them reenter the workforce. And having seen the job they've done in the Hartford area, the Bridgeport area, and especially New Haven area, where they've made great strides in actually getting people back to the workforce. We should be supporting them more and not cutting them.

And our five OIC programs, they have training also to help people get back to the workforce. Now, for the probably last 15 years, they've had the same amount of money that we've given and without any increase and we actually gave them a haircut. And again, many of these organizations I'm gonna talk about, you know, have been restored to just a haircut. But getting a haircut is a relative term. Okay? When you have hair down to your shoulders and you get a haircut and you get a buzz cut, that's substantial. If you're somebody like me, who waits sometimes until I got a modified afro to get a haircut, that would be substantial. But some people actually go all the way to the extreme and get a bald head. That's extreme, okay? I guess to actually say this; I just wanted to make the point that a haircut can vary, depending on what that haircut is perceived to be and the result it. And there's some agencies that may be okay, and others it could be the, you know, the difference between just hanging on or not being able to continue.

Also, what we do for, and this is very important, is the Youth Summer Employment program. You know, that didn't happen this year, you know, and I want people to know, as we're considering this budget and going into next year, that this is an area that we need to restore. How important to have our youth employed, teaching them a work ethic, having them go and earn money to help their families, sometimes and many times, just to survive is an important thing! Also, cuts to the Small Business Incubator program. If we're trying to generate more economic development, how do we cut a program like that? It just doesn't make sense.

There's areas -- to talk about some of the state agencies, you know, whether it's DDS, DMHAS, DSS, you know all the cuts that we made there; I'm sure we made some substantial cuts, but they support a lot of programs, a lot of programs that I hear from individuals. When somebody just the other day tells me about a program for the hearing impaired, that they're having a whole bunch of problems with, and with the state being where it is, it's just not happening. No, that doesn't affect every family, but you know what, for the people who have loved ones that have hearing impaired people in their families, it's a lot. The intellectual and development challenged people that we've tried to actually restore a lot of those budgets, well, there's still a lot of people that need funds to help those people, you know, acclimate and get incorporated to society, back to the workforce, sometimes just to survive.

CHRO, they play an important part in the state, a very important part. We shouldn't be cutting them, you know. They have major responsibilities and we need to make sure that we keep our commitment to them and how they serve our state. The Fatherhood Initiative program, Cures for Kids, Energy Efficient funds, earned income tax credit, all those areas. I want to know that when we actually vote on this and if the revenues don't hold, people usually say that it's because we need to cut spending. Well, we've cut all these areas. If there's an issue next year, are we gonna continue to cut these areas? And will we come together in a bipartisan spirit to do what we can if there's any shortfall in these areas?

There's other areas; Youth Violence Prevention. We cut them. Let me tell you this is important to me because a lot of these programs keep the youth off our streets, out of harm's way, providing programs after school, tutoring. That is so important. You know, when we look at the crime that's around the state in certain places, this is a commitment to actually give our youth a safe haven in an area where they can thrive. We need to do more of that. Other areas of concerns is Meal on Wheels, providing meals to people. Okay. And coming down to the last few areas that I'm speaking about, is just areas of housing, which is near and dear to my heart. Okay.

And those areas are -- I don't know about how much organizations like Columbus House has been cut, but I know that for a homeless shelter and a department that actually does a lot of respite work in the New Haven area, you know, I hate to know that that was cut even more. Youth Homeless Initiative, Rapid Re-Housing, Moderate Housing Program, these are all areas that I hope that we can actually come back next year and look at how we can restore them o some extent. Hopefully, the revenues will start to really work in our favor and we can do more.

And finally, what we're looking at now here today, what we're looking at today, is trying to help the state get past this difficult time, and again, I applaud everyone who put it together. I know it's gonna probably pass overwhelmingly, and to that end, I know that the cities really will appreciate it, cities and towns. And finally, I'd just like to say I really don't know how I'm gonna vote yet. I don't know if I vote yes if my vote will get caught in a sea of green that just goes by and people forget the things that we talked about here today and the people and the programs and agencies that need our support. But I believe if I vote no, that people will ask me and I could tell them exactly what that no vote represents. That I want to know that next year, I hope that the same people come together in a bipartisan manner and actually support what we need to do for our residents. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Abercrombie.

REP. ABERCROMBIE (83RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And Madam Speaker, I will be short. I rise to take this opportunity to thank my leadership. This has been a really long and difficult process. And I also want to take the opportunity to thank Representative Rojas, Representative Walker, who have given up their time to work on this since June. Thank you guys very much. I will be voting for this, but I have to say I do it with a heavy heart. I really do. There is a lot of good in this, crumbling foundations, ECS, municipal aid. Thanks to Representative Cook, Torrington DDS-DSS office is maintained in this budget

But there's also portions of this budget that I am very concerned about, and my concern is for our elderly. There are some programs in the DSS budget that are cut in this budget that are gonna have long-term ramifications for our seniors, and I am very, very concerned about that. But I will say that we are not done fighting. This is a 2-year budget and I give you my word that some of these cuts we will be working on for the second part of this budget. You know, we're all here today and we all have a piece of this budget and its' good, bad and its' ugly. But the one thing we can all agree on, I think, is that this budget outweighs what the ramifications are in the Governor's executive order goes into place. So I think that each and every one of us need to think about that when we put our hand on the button. So thank you all today and thank you to the leadership.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Case.

REP. CASE (63RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. It's good to see you up there on this October afternoon.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good afternoon to you, sir. Madam Speaker, I go back a little bit to when we started all this. You know, being on Appropriations, we started talking about a budget in January. We pulled together, nights, weekends, and come April, no vote. We keep moving forward with our good leaders and they put some things together. We got a bipartisan budget pulled. The only budget that was pulled for a vote, and it passed. Yes, it did get vetoed and we didn't' override.

Here we are today, on a historic day, with a budget that has some good things, has some things that maybe I don't 100 percent agree with. But boy, I'll tell you -- we talk about the previous speaker with DSS in the City of Torrington, I might have a little bit of a problem, but the CAAs, and if anybody's in Appropriation and Human Services, you know they do owe some dollars back to the people who service the unfortunate, because they weren't paid in a proper manner. But I'm sure we'll work that out.

When we talk about the school districts, the Alliance Districts in the State of Connecticut are held harmless in this budget and that is greatly due to all the negotiations that worked out in the past month. There are three towns that are going to move out of the Alliance District, one which happens to be mine, Winchester, and then Bloomfield and Windsor Locks, because their grades are improving. But in negotiations, they felt as though it was fair to hold them harmless because we haven't had a budget, and therefore, it's only fair to hold them harmless as an Alliance District so they can prepare for the future and look for the priority district dollars.

Now, on the flipside, in March, I was made aware that the City of Torrington would becoming an Alliance District, which is another town that I represent. So, in the negotiations, the three towns who are entering are also held harmless, thanks to the bipartisan work done in these negotiations. Not one single person, it was done in a bipartisan manner to hold all 30 underperforming districts harmless so they could move forward.

You know, we come today and a lot of us are going back and forth and, you know, we're talking good things, bad things. I will support this today. We need to move Connecticut forward. We've had two chances now to bring a budget forward and they both -- one didn't get a budget and one didn't get an override. But now, I want to thank the leaders who are moving this forward and their long and lengthy discussions that they've had, in keeping us informed, talking with us to see what is the best thing to help move the state forward. Trust me, as legislators, we are involved in the -- on the back scenes when our Appropriations chair needs us or our leader needs us, you know, they reach out to us.

And another big issue, as many in this Chamber know, DDS. DDS took some big hits in past budgets. But I'll tell you what, I can't wait to see the smiles on those faces of the students who graduated last June who will now have day services to go to and not be sitting at home like they have been for the past 3-4 months, and losing a little bit of what they learned in school. I'm excited for that. There are some good reforms that we have gotten in this budget. I won't go through them because many speakers have talked about them. But when you think about it, the constituents out there today, we need to have a budget that moves the state forward. If everything was perfect, that means something's wrong. This is not perfect, but let's get a budget on the table that is veto proof and let's move the State of Connecticut forward. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Porter, did you wish to speak for the second time?

REP. PORTER (94TH):

Yes, Madam Speaker. Thank you for the second time.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

You may proceed, madam.

REP. PORTER (94TH):

And I just wanted to say briefly that it would be remiss of me not to thank my leadership. So at this time, I really want to thank our Speaker, Joe A-Z, Majority Leader Matt Ritter. I would like to thank our Appropriations chair and our Finance chair for the wonderful job done. I would like to thank my colleagues and leadership on the other side of the aisle. I don't want you to think that I'm not appreciative. I am very appreciative and I am hopeful, moving forward, that we're gonna get this just right. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Madam Speaker, good to see you there.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Good to see you, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And its' good morning yet, still, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I stand before you and this Chamber with mixed emotions, like a lot of my colleagues. Day in and day out we go out and the first question that's asked of us when we are outside our homes or businesses - when are you going to have a budget? So I see us sitting here today, standing up and speaking on the budget, knowing that something has to be done so that we move our state forward in the right direction.

One thing, Madam Speaker, is very clear. We need a budget, because any budget, any budget, is better than the draconian cuts that have come down the pike through executive order. Another thing that is extremely important, Madam Speaker, is not to live in this land of uncertainty where towns, cities do no now know what's gonna happen to them. So I get that. I get the urgency. I mean, we are well past urgency. We are in October rather than in June and we still don't have a signed budget in spite of the fact that a bipartisan budget was passed both by the House and the Senate. And we know what happened to that budget. So on the one hand, I'm tone to move this forward so that our state moves forward. But on the other hand, there are concerns about this budget, as we all talked about, and nothing, as we know, is perfect. Through you, Madam Speaker, just for clarification, a few questions and I'm not even sure to whom they go to, but I will address them through you, and they relate to, Madam Speaker, on structural changes.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Walker. The Chamber will stand at ease for a moment. Representative Srinivasan, could you ask your question. Representative Walker, may you prepare yourself please? Are you ready Representative Walker?

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yes, I am.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan, you may proceed.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And good to see you, Representative, there.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Good to see you, sir.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker, in section 709, we talked -- we talk about the spending cap, the constitutional spending cap. And as I understand it, Madam Speaker, we have a constitutional spending cap. But in the years that I have been here now, I have seen items that are not included in the so-called spending cap. Through you, Madam Speaker, in what I see here in section 709, are there any items that are excluded from the constitutional spending cap?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Just one moment, Madam, please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

The Chamber will stand at ease.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Walker. The Chamber will please come back to order.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I think the good gentleman for the question and I apologize for not having that right away, because we had been talking about it. But the -- right now, currently, we are excluding federal dollars. We're phasing in pensions and the other is debt and court -- debt service and court orders, such as 1F, when it first came through, that would be a court order and then debt service for some of our bonding.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker, if the kind gentle lady would just repeat her answers. I think -- with the background noise, I was not able to hear. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

(Gavel) The speakers are having trouble hearing each other. Could we please take our conversations outside of the Chamber? Thank you. Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker, again, federal funding, debt service and pensions are phased in over a 5-year -- 10-year period.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker, other than those 3 that were just mentioned that are being phased in, is anything else being excluded from being in the spending cap?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Distressed municipalities used to be part of this, but they are now being removed.

Through you. They're being put in. I'm sorry, being put in under the cap.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. If I understand it clearly, distressed municipalities amounts will be included in the spending cap.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

That is correct, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, as far as looking at restructuring our long-term debts, which obviously is a huge concern for all of us in the state, this document, does that address that concern that all of us have about not what we owe just moving forward, but what are we going to do with our long-term debts?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Could you have the good gentleman repeat his question because he -- I think that might be for Representative Rojas, but I just want to make sure. Could you repeat that question again please?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan, would you be so kind as to repeat your question please?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Of course, Madam Speaker. Through you, Madam Speaker, I'm concerned about our long-term debt, which obviously we know is in millions of dollars. So, in this document that we got so late, does this document address some of our long-term debt and is there a plan for restructuring those long-term debts? Whether it goes to Representative Walker or to Representative Rojas, I'm not certain. I'll leave that to you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rojas, I believe that would be you, sir.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yes, there are significant policy changes included in this document that move us in a direction of addressing those structural deficits that we have in the out years. One example of that would be volatility cap. We will no longer allow all the revenue that's generated from the estimates and finals, which are the manner in which wealthier folks in Connecticut pay their income taxes. We're gonna cap how much of that revenue we're gonna use in any given year and anything above that threshold will be sent directly to the Budget Reserve Fund, but it will also allow the treasurer, at her decision, to be able to spend it -- to dedicate it towards a state employee pension system or towards the teacher retirement systems. So, we begin to make payments into those systems over the long-term to try to make up for the deficits that have been created over the last 80 years.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

So through you, Madam Speaker. These changes in this document that Representative Rojas talked about, will that be addressing directly our long-term debts that we have incurred over these years?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, and it will also have a positive impact on our bond rating as well. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Moving on to the bonds, and I know that in that case it goes to somebody else. I'm well aware of that.

Do we now have a bonding cap, through you, Madam Speaker, in this document?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, yes. It'll be capped at $ 1. 9 billion dollars a year.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And through you, Madam Speaker. If I understood what was presented to us earlier in the day, a current bond that they're looking for is $ 1. 6.

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. I believe that number, the $ 1. 6, is current law. Basically, we're allowed to bond up to 1. 6 percent of our general fund revenues. So, that's what the $ 1. 6 is. The bond cap itself is actually $ 1. 9 billion dollars.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Speaker. The bond cap is $ 1. 9, I get that. But I thought what was presented to us earlier was that in the first year, we will be bonding $ 1. 6 million dollars and then moving on to $ 1. 3 in year '19. Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker. Yes, that's correct. Those are the current bond authorizations that are included in this budget.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you, Madam Speaker. It was not clear to me, in the sweep of the Energy Fund, where -- what is the amount that is being swept from the Energy Efficiency Fund into the General Fund?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Through you, Madam Speaker, $ 63. 5 million dollars in each year. Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

And my final question, through you, Madam Speaker. The Tobacco Settlement Fund, which obviously is used for tobacco cessation and for tobacco education, is more of that Tobacco Settlement Fund being transferred into the General Fund?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Through you. Was the question whether there is a transfer?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan, would you care to clarify please?

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

I definitely will, Madam Speaker. It's probably a two-part question. What is the amount being transferred and is it more than what we have transferred in the past in previous budgets -- in the previous budget that we just passed?

Through you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

The transfer amount if $ 6 million dollars for the current fiscal year, and I think depending on the year, that number fluctuates up and down. So, I can't tell you whether it's more than the current year, but it's $ 6 million dollars in this budget.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Representative Srinivasan.

REP. SRINIVASAN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Those are the questions I had to just clarify for myself. I will definitely be listening to the debate as it moves on. As I continue to struggle as to what needs to be done, knowing very well that we need a budget. There's no question about that at all. Knowing very well, that this budget -- there's a lot of good in this budget. No question about that as well. I mean, towns do take a cut, but fortunately, not the draconian cuts that have been the alternative, whether it be the general funds that go back to the municipalities or the ECS in itself. So there is, thanks to the good work in a bipartisan way, a lot of good in this budget. But the taxes that are there, the sweeps that are there in this fund, and the fact that we've always talked about no increased taxes gives me those mixed feelings about what needs to be done moving forward. And I will continue to listen to this debate and see what direction I will be heading to. Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Belsito.

REP. BELSITO (53RD):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm here between a rock and a hard place. We have a budget that's coming forward, but there were some things that happened that we should not be in this situation. First of all, we've had the two largest tax increases in the history of this state. I've been in this state since 1966. That's a long time. The state has changed quite a bit. Right now, the budget that we have coming forward will probably suffice. It doesn't solve our problems. We have major problems. And the one major problem we have is that we are continuously over spending. We do not know when or how to cut spending.

It's too bad every one of us here did not own a small business, because we're in the State of Connecticut and we're in the Legislature, and what difference does it make? We're just spending other people's money. But the problem that's coming is not this year, it's not next year. We have to be looking at the problem that's coming in two years. At that point in time, ECS will probably be cut down to a fraction of what it is now. We are not going to have the money to support it.

I don't know if many of you are aware of this, but our revenues are down, income tax is down, the sales tax is down. Every source of our revenue is down and yet we're spending more than we're taking in. Of course, we can always bond. What difference does it make? They can pay for it in the future. That's the route that we're going. It is time for us to look ahead and we are not doing that. And I can't emphasize this enough, in two years, we are going to be on our knees because we will not have the funds to support this state. This is a budget that's gonna pass and it's gonna take care of us for, let's say, two months, and then we will be back here with a deficit. And where are we gonna get the funds for that? It's time for us to change. I'm not saying that this is not a good budget. It's probably the best budget we could have right at this point, but it does not solve any problems, and we have major problems. And I would like the towns and cities to wakeup to this and start preparing for two years from now, when we are going to be on our knees in here trying to solve the problems. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Byron.

REP. BYRON (27TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, a bipartisan budget. Quite frankly, I think all previous budgets should've been negotiated in a bipartisan manner, and going forward, I'm hopeful that the future budgets will be negotiated bipartisan manner as well. You know, there is a lot here in this budget that municipalities can work with. In fact, I'd go so far to say that there's more good things in this budget than there are bad. Some of the bad I could even live with. That's what a negotiated compromise is all about. But there is one very big element of this budget that prevents me from supporting it, and that is the nearly $ 900 thousand dollar cut in municipal aid to the Town of Newington.

While the City of Harford sees huge increases, increases to compensate for poor financial management. And make no mistake; a vibrant and thriving capital city is important for the state and especially to the surrounding suburbs. I want to see our capital city succeed. But what I don't see today is the plan that puts the City of Hartford on the path to solvency. All I can see is the city coming back year after year seeking more financial aid. I don't want to find out the hard way, when we realized a few years from now that Hartford has not been able to right itself, to add fuel to the fire.

I received this budget document last night at 11: 30 o'clock p. m. and we gaveled in this morning at 10: 00 o'clock a. m. to vote on this document. My constituents deserve a lot more time to vet such an important document. I'm reluctant, like I said earlier, to vote for yet another tax and spend budget. But I have an open mind and I will remain listening to the ongoing debate. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair. I will be brief. Madam Speaker -- thank you. As has been said by many people here today, I am pleased to be here finally to be voting on a consensus budget and I truly hope this is advent of a new era in this Legislature where we may work on issues across the board on a bipartisan basis.

However, I do feel that we do need to continue to highlight one of the more egregious aspects of this budget, which have to do with the Energy Fund sweeps. It's been mentioned before, but it needs reiterating. First of all, this action is wrong. This is not our money. This is ratepayer money. We should not be sweeping it. It establishes not only a bad precedent for us to sweep it into the General Fund, but also a very, very bad precedent and symbol to the marketplace. We have undermined the Green Bank. Even though we mitigated it somewhat by restoring some of the funds, we've made it hard for them. This is the model for the entire country. We've now made it hard for the Green Bank to continue to convince private equity to invest in the State of Connecticut. We have undermined our commitment to ISO New England to fulfill energy efficiency requirements. We have undermined our commitment to people who have made these payments that we are going to invest in energy efficiency in our homes, in our businesses in variety of contexts. So this is something that we will rue in the future, partially because it is an example of our failure to make investments, as well as protect the most vulnerable. If we do not make investments in our future, which are directly related to green jobs, good paying jobs, and keeping installers in our state, we will never get out of this morass, which is -- the only other point I will bring up here today is things that are not in this budget.

I've just finished going through 600 odd pages and I'm devastated to see the things that we worked on that might've actually bended the curve on the unfunded liability and led to economic growth are no longer in here. Such as the pension real estate trust which might be used to actually reduce the unfunded liability and a project we were working on for zero corporate tax zones in distressed neighborhoods. These were things that a lot of people here worked on. On the energy efficiency side, there are many people here who worked very hard to try to restore these funds. These are investments in our future that we're not gonna be able to realize in the next two years. And as others have said, all we've done is paper over another two-year budget. We need to address the underlying economic realities of this state and unfortunately, we've missed some opportunities. All I can say is that I pledged to continue to try to fight for those things and restore them in the near future, whether it's in the budget or through other programs. Next year, which seems to be around the corner, is another session, another new day for us to continue to move things forward. I will vote for this budget even with reservations. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I'm gonna be very brief, but I just need to say one statement. First of all, I want to thank the leadership on both sides of the aisle for putting this document together. I know there was many hours and sleepless nights in putting this document together. But when I look at this budget before us, I am a little bit concerned. I am concerned about the cuts and the areas that will be affected. When I look at cuts to Medicaid, EITC; when I see the 45-cent tax on cigarettes, that's concerning to me. The elderly circuit breaker rebate, now the burden will be on the municipalities. These cuts affects the most vulnerable population in our state. But I'm a person that have hope and we'll be next year, and hopefully we'll be able to make adjustments in next year's budget to ensure that we restore a lot of the cuts that we see currently in front of us.

Because the impact of this is gonna be a lot bigger. When we look at the reduction in the eligibility for Husky, that impacts about 9,000 people. That will be probably 1,500 in the City of New Haven. I'm concerned about that because that's my constituency we're talking about. But then, we talk about structure change, there is small structure change in this budget. But we need to look even before that. We're not talking about tolls. We're not talking about recreational marijuana. Those are two things that I've brought to this Chamber and we have not addressed. We're talking about revenue. We have revenue. But yet, we chose to make reductions that target the most vulnerable in this state. I will be supporting this budget today because I'm hopeful that we'll be back to correct all the cuts that we have made. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GENTILE (104TH):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Representative Klarides.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, some of us stayed up last night watching the Senate debate and then we were fortunate enough to hear our colleagues speak today. And I rise to support this budget, but I don't do it with a lot of joy. I don't think this is a time for celebration. But what I do think it is, it is a time for hope. Hope for the people of this state. Hope for the cities and towns who don't know what the next day brings. Hope for our children. Hope for our social services. Hope for disabled populations. Hope for the elderly. That's what this budget does today. I know it may seem odd that a Republican leader is standing up supporting a budget in this regard. And this budget is not perfect by any means. I've said before, I don't think that document exists in the world, a perfect document, or for that matter, a perfect anything.

Does it do everything we need it to do? No way. But this budget is a start. There are included in this budget a number of elements that will begin the upward movement of the State of Connecticut, instead of the downward movement we've seen day after day. This budget includes a spending cap, a bonding cap, a revenue cap, municipal mandate reform that towns and cities beg for every day. It includes mandatory votes on union contracts, phase out of pension, Social Security and estate. And maybe just as important as all of those things, it makes sure that our hospitals, who help each and every person in this state, it makes sure that those hospitals get the funding they deserve, the funding that has been held back and treated inappropriately for several years.

I'm gonna be honest, I would prefer the budget that passed in September. I would prefer it wasn't vetoed by the Governor and I would prefer it was overridden by this body. That would be my first choice. But unfortunately, we live in a reality. That was not going to happen. So we had two choices after that. We either allow the draconian cuts by the executive orders to schools, to towns, to all the people that I mentioned before. Cuts that I believe in my heart were not going to stop for the next year. We either allow those to happen or we go sit in a room and we torture ourselves for weeks on end. And yes, I use that word. I don't use it loosely. It's -- it was torturous. There were fights. There were happy times. But what there were mostly, guys, were compromise. And when I have heard the word in the past week used very often, you compromised, you gave in, you didn't fight. And I have to tell you, of all the issues we've had, the one thing that gets me at my core is being told that I or this caucus didn't fight.

What people out there need to understand is, we don't have a magic wand and can just go like this and say this is the budget that will be, the budget of the State of Connecticut. We have a Democratic Governor and we have a Democratic-controlled House and Senate. I don't say that to be critical. I say that to put the reality out there. Sticking our heads in the sand, digging our heels in, and saying I'm taking my toys and going home doesn't do anybody that's watching us today any good. Because that will guarantee education cuts, municipal cuts, and just as importantly, no structural change that will move this state forward. This begins the process of getting our house in order.

When we talk about all those changes that we made, I have to say that the spending cap, and I'm embarrassed to say, the State of Connecticut told us to put one in place in 1992. It's 2017. We finally got that. We got all of these things in this budget because these are the things that will change the face and the trajectory of the State of Connecticut. Will it do it tomorrow? No. But I'll tell you what will happen soon, your towns and cities, those 88 towns and cities, who got zero funding under the executive order, the 54 additional towns and cities who got cut 22 percent to 66 percent, those are the people who will see relief sooner than later.

And just as important as what we got accomplished in this budget, what we got stopped is just as important. There is no sales tax increase. There is no income tax increase. There is no business tax increase. There is no real estate tax increase. There is no cell phone tax increase and there is no restaurant tax increase. There are no tolls and there are no marijuana in this. And I know I have colleagues on both sides of the aisle that love those bills or hate those bills. The reason it's important it was not in this budget is because those are serious policy changes that we need to think long and hard over. We cannot do things and make major policy changes in this state just for the purpose of fixing a budget. That is no way to change policy, particularly public health policy, in this state.

This is a hard budget and difficult choices were made. But that's why we were sent here, to make those tough choices. And I'm proud to say we did the people's business today. I want to thank everyone in the House, legislators and staff and nonpartisan staff, for all the work they put in. We may be legislators, but we also have families and other jobs and we had to give up a lot of that. I'm not complaining. I just want to say thank you to everybody who put their time and effort into it. And I hope we can continue in good faith in having these conversations down the road. But to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, make no mistake; we are not done, not by a long shot. I urge support.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the Good Minority Leader for her remarks. I do, myself, want to say a few thanks you also. A little levity to the situation here, last night, I was jotting notes down and my wife turns to me and she says, "What are you doing?" I said, I'm writing notes for my wrap-up speech tomorrow. She goes, "Honey, if I were you, I'd be quick and don't blow it. " She said, "It's November 1st. " She's right. It's always good to have your spouse keep you in check up here.

To my caucus, to our caucus, Mr. Speaker, I know you share my sentiments. You guys hung tight in what's been a very, very tough year. We have put our heart and soul into you because you've given it back to us. And I know this has not been easy. I know for many of you there were times you were ready to go a lot of different ways, and you always stuck with us and you trusted us. And even today, as difficult as this is for some people, the love, the appreciation, the respect is right back at you and I really do appreciate that.

To my constituents in the 1st District, for your patience and your understanding. This has been hard on all of us. And in the grocery store, when you asked me how the budget was going, I always told you we'll get there eventually, and you gave me enough confidence with your nice notes and your thank yous. To the leaders, Senator Duff referred to the windowless room, which sort of sounds like a Stephen King novel, that we were trapped in for three weeks. But to Senator Looney and Duff, Fasano and Witkos, to my colleagues across the way, Themis and Vinnie - I hope you don't mind the first name informality here - because really, it was special and it was unique. And to our Speaker, Mr. Speaker, you got handed a tough deck, so to speak, that was dealt to you last November. We all did, upstairs as well. The voters made it very clear this wasn't gonna be able to be the way it's been in the past. And it takes a unique skill set to keep everybody together. And I picture that moment in June when we voted, we were about to adjourn, and everyone gave you a standing ovation. And although people in this room do not agree on every political view, you started every day on time, including today, which many of you didn't think were gonna happen, you never called a bill after midnight, and you treated everyone in this Chamber with respect. That lays the framework for what happened in that room over the last month and I want to thank you. You have been a mentor. You have been a friend. You've allowed me to probably do things and expand beyond the normal role of a Majority Leader without frustration or questioning, because I think you know how I feel about you and the relationship that we have.

To the Governor, who I think is felt in this budget. Senate "A" and Senate "B" are merging, so to speak, and the Governor has taken on difficult challenges throughout his career. He is not afraid to say what he feels. He's not afraid to call out things like the teacher pension issue, which is a huge liability looming. I want to offer my appreciation and respect to him for what he did. For nonpartisan and partisan staff, Senator Looney mentioned it last night, but I'd be remiss if I didn't tell the Chamber. Neil Ayers, our head of OFA, lost his mother and father within about two and a half weeks of each other, during the middle of this in September and October. And that man came back after the death, I think, it was his mother who was -- who passed subsequent to the father, with his laptop, with his numbers, with a smile on his face, and he is the epitome of a class act and professional civil servant, and we're lucky to have him in the state. To Matt Brokman and Maureen; the Speaker's staff, to Jamie Spallone, for their support. To Ricky and to Franklin. To the press folks of Todd, Liz and Larry. You really have helped us a lot.

And so I will wrap with this. We all have to vote soon. And I stood up here last month and I pointed out the revenue similarities and that sort of led us to look at a lot of the similarities in the budget. But there are differences in this budget versus the one that -- Senate "A" and Senate "B" of last month. And you have to weigh the scale. For some on this aisle, it's not enough for them. The scale weighs, in their mind, too closely to that side. And there's some that I heard today on that side who think the scale weighs too much to this side. All I can say to the rest of us who may not feel that way and are prepared to vote yes is, we, unfortunately, and that's the fair word, we don't have alternatives.

We, right now, have no budget. We have no revenue coming in and we have a $ 3. 5 billion dollar deficit. Schools will close. Libraries will close. I'm not saying this to scare people, it's true. How many people in this caucus or your caucus sent emails to their leadership saying we're closing schools; we're merging classrooms; we're closing libraries. The effects were real. We had municipalities - municipalities with a plural - on the verge of insolvency. There is a moral obligation up here to not allow that to happen. And it's happened to Democratic and Republican towns in the past and we have always stepped up for them no matter who was in the charge in the Governor's Office or in the Legislature. If we have no budget, we would strand $ 140 million dollars in federal revenue. We would not have Care for Kids funded to the levels we have here. I mentioned ECS. There would be no tax break on Social Security for seniors next year. There'd be no renter's rebate checks. You know, that's the call I got the most of as an urban legislator, beyond the financial woes, was the renter's rebate checks the Governor couldn't issue because we had no budget.

So look, this is tough. We're at the end of a journey. This budget offers needed reforms, but also some immediate comfort that is so needed by a lot of our residents and our towns. And I hope there's a lot of green lights on this board, because I think it will send a message. It will clearly illuminate across the state that in the darkest of days for, I think, for anyone up here, we found a way to pull through. It always wasn't pretty. We were often times about ready to leave that room. But we found compromise. In every sticky situation; I'm looking at, you know, at Vinnie and Themis and Joe, Mr. Speaker, someone would bend just a little bit. You know, we got to the end and it looked like at any minute wouldn't work out. And someone would look across the aisle, because of those friendships, that respect, and just bend enough to keep the conversations going. This is not a miracle, but this is a product of a lot of good will and a real friendship. And every time I see any of the eight people who sat in that room the rest of my life, I will only be able to think about one thing; it'll be a happy moment when I think about it.

So, it's time to vote. It's time to put our state on the right path forward. And I would also add one last thought. As we went on this course undeterred by the taunts and the jeers from the sidelines and the critics, which we're all gonna get. A few years from now, and I hope it's more, because it is October 26 and I don't wish this on another Legislature, something like this will happen again. We may all be gone. Maybe our kids. People talk about their kids and grandkids a lot in here. They will cite this Legislature when they hit rock bottom, the way we sort of did this summer and September, when the screams got louder and louder, when parents with kids with intellectual and development disabilities called me and emailed me and said what are you doing? Where's the humanity in your people? Why can't you pass a budget?

And although it took a little longer than we thought, we summoned the courage to ignore the critics and to do it. And it's not a perfect product and I'm not angry. I understand why you might vote no. I totally get and respect that. But in future years, they will look back and they will say, when all looks lost, when there is no hope, there were some brave people who stood together and defied the odds and passed a bipartisan budget when our state needed it the most. And I'm proud to be in that club. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will staff and guests please come to the well of the House? Members please take your seat. The machine will be opened. (Bell)

CLERK:

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

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

If all the members have voted, 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:

Emergency Certification 1502 in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 147

Necessary for Passage 91

Those voting Yea 126

Those voting Nay 23

Those absent and not Voting 2

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The bill is passed. (Gavel) The Journal will reflect that section 709, containing the definitions regarding the constitutional spending cap passed with the required three-fifths majority pursuant to Article III, Section 18, Subsection B. (Applause)

The House will stand at ease.

DEPUTY SPEAKER COOK (65TH):

Members of the Chamber, if you could all please stick around, we will reconvene in about five or so minutes. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will the Chamber please come back to order. (Gavel) Will the Clerk please call Emergency Certified Senate Bill No. 1501?

CLERK:

Emergency certification Senate Bill No. 1501 - AN ACT CONCERNING ZERO CARBON PROCUREMENT. Introduced by Senator Looney and Representative Aresimowicz.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. Representative Fleischmann, for what purpose do you rise?

REP. FLEISCHMANN (18TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to recue myself due to a potential conflict of interest.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. Representative Fleischmann should be recused. Representative D'Agostino, for what purpose do you rise?

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The same reason, due to a conflict of potential -- potential conflict of interest.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The Chamber will recognize Representative D'Agostino as being recused. Representative Reed -- oh, I mean Representative Zupkus. I'm sorry. The purpose or reason you rise?

REP. ZUPKUS (89TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise too for a possible conflict of interest.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. The record will reflect that Representative Zupkus recused herself. The Chamber will stand at ease as the members will exit the Chamber.

The Chamber will come back to order. The Chamber will recognize Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good to see you, madam.

REP. REED (102ND):

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question before the Chamber is passage of the bill. Will you remark further, Representative?

REP. REED (102ND):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. The Clerk has in his possession LCO 10080. I asked that he be requested to call it and that I be allowed to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. Will the Clerk please call LCO No. 10080, which will be designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A. "

CLERK:

LCO No. 10080, designated Senate Amendment Schedule "A" and offered by Senators Winfield, Osten and Formica.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

REP. REED (102ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is a Millstone bill, no surprise. But it has changed and evolved considerably since we were first introduced to it a couple of sessions ago actually. And it's done so to alleviate many of the concerns that legislators have expressed about potentially not having a role in what is determined as this process goes forward. This amendment would require DEEP and PURA to conduct an appraisal of Millstone that is then brought to the Legislature and it's due to the Legislature to be -- their findings need to be brought to the Legislature by next February, February 1, 2018. Then the Legislature can either approve those findings or deny those findings. And if they are approved, there is a process that will allow DEEP to really study and do the analytics on what is going on with our energy supply, our global warming goals, and the viability of Millstone. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. The question before the Chamber is adoption of Senate Amendment Schedule "A. " Will you remark on the amendment? Will you remark on the amendment? Representative Hoydick of the 120th, ma'am, you have the floor.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, a few questions to the good chairwoman of the Energy Committee through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed, please prepare yourself. Representative Hoydick, please proceed.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, there's a lot of debate and dialog and difference of opinions going on about this bill, as it has been for the last several years. So I just want to ask a couple clarifying questions to Representative Reed from Branford. Does this bill provide any subsidy to Millstone?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No, it does not.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you for that answer. And does this bill complement the Governor's executive order? I think the number was 59.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes it does.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thanks to the good chairwoman. Does this bill raise electricity rates in Connecticut?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No, it does not.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the good chairwoman, who or what agencies will take part in this entire process?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. DEEP - the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection - and PURA - the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. And all of these processes, obviously, are going to involve public hearings and the ability of legislators and various stakeholders to participate as well.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And as this process moves forward after the March 1 deadline, that I believe the Committee of Cognizance is updated on the status of DEEP's findings of this appraisal, are there any other agencies, like the Attorney General or the Office of Consumer Counsel, a procurement manager, is there anybody else included -- input included in the outcome of this process?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes indeed. The Office of Attorney General, the Office of Consumer Counsel, who's been -- actually very, very involved in the whole process of developing this legislation, and the procurement manager that we have within DEEP.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, just so the folks in the Chamber understand, what is the role of the Office of Consumer Counsel?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. The Office of Consumer Counsel is to protect the consumer.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, to that point, we have many sets of eyes looking at this and a lot of balance of this process of this appraisal or study. Would that be correct in stating that?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes indeed.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you. And as we get through -- past March 1, and if this process moves forward, in the evaluation, is there any opportunity for DEEP and PURA or the other agencies that we have mentioned to weigh in on what resources we have in Connecticut for generating electricity - what the balance is, how much they produce, what the cost is to ratepayers? It's similar to the -- is it the IRP, the Integrated Resource Plan?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. And as those of us who spend a good time in dealing with these kinds of issues, it's the kind of thing where we realize that there's essentially a battle on for the control of the next generation of energy. We're in a transitional period. It's really important to know that we are ready to go when we do lose our nuclear, and we are losing our nuclear all over the country because of the change in the economics of it all. And so it's incredibly important that we finally get to a place where we understand what is going to happen after Millstone and begin planning to make that happen. And to do that, that just can't happen in, you know, a kneejerk way. That has to have analytics. That has to have study. And so this is going to be a process, if implemented, if we approve to go ahead with this, that will do all that due diligence that we really have not done in the past and it needs to happen.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And my thanks to the good gentlewoman from Branford. This process that -- and this education that we've been going through for the last two years or so seems to be ongoing. Yet, at this point and time, through you, Mr. Speaker, do you think we are at the position where we can store electricity on a grid-scale size in order to really promote our renewables, our renewable power, so we can harness it and maintain it and save it for another day or do we -- is that a few years in the future? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Not only do we not have the storage available yet to really make renewables ready for primetime on a major grid scale, we also have in this region, in the New England region, siting issues. The reality is we are a much more densely populated area and we have a very, very savvy environmental class of people who are really, really involved in trying to protect the environment, and that makes siting anything extremely difficult. So what we've been discovering is -- we may remember, we passed a bill last session that is essentially putting a moratorium on developing grid-scale renewables - solar, wind - on farm fields and forests. We're discovering that when -- people intellectually love this stuff, but the minute it begins to come to a neighborhood near them, they suddenly are terrified by it. Wait a minute, it's too big, it's gonna take up too much acreage. These siting issues are really going to be something we have to surmount and its' gonna take a lot of time. So, in the interim, we cannot lose 2,100 megawatts, 50 percent of our power. We have to have a game plan. We have to come up with something that gets us from here to there and in a rational way. And so, no storage yet. Siting is going to be a real challenge and that's one of the reasons that this bill is really important. It's really gonna take a look at where we are and how we can get to where we need to go. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good Representative for that very thorough answer and explanation. I understand that we have other kinds of generation, solar, wind, some anaerobic digestion, but, through you, Mr. Speaker, what is the major electricity -- source of electricity generation for Connecticut and New England?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. It is nuclear and that is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week base load generation, 50 percent, sometimes more than 50 percent of our electricity, the largest generator in all of New England. It's an incredible, valuable resource. And one of the things we also talk about is given some of the economic challenges we're facing now, to send a message that as we grow Sikorsky and as we grow Electric Boat and as we develop -- try to develop more manufacturing, because that's who we are, you know, we're a state that has always excelled in those areas, we can't be losing our base load until we are ready to replace it. And those replacements have to be in place. You know, one of the other issues is when Millstone shuts down to refuel, the prices of electricity spike, because you suddenly realize that we're turning on a lot of gas plants. We're turning on a lot of clients that don't -- they're called peakers. They only operate when you need them, in peak demand, and those prices skyrocket. So it's a little bit of a bellwether of understanding how we have to get a handle on this.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, through you, what would be the second most prevalent generation of electricity other than nuclear in the New England states?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, natural gas.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Excuse me just a second. I just want to make a comment first before I ask the question. So, there are several of us in the Chamber who are fighting the pipeline expansion that would be based on the ratepayers paying for it rather than the utility companies, and I can understand that argument. But I guess we'll do that for another day, maybe next session. But currently, through you, Mr. Speaker, are we constricted at any time with our natural gas pipeline and when would those constrictions happen most normally?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Not only are we constricted, it's getting worse, and it happens frequently in the winter months. And I think most of us will remember just a couple of years ago, when those constrictions really impacted our generation, because we generate with the actual gas throughout New England. We switched our generators over from coal to natural gas. When there was not enough fuel available, the prices skyrocketed. It's a problem. And there's even concern -- I know the Consumer Counsel has really been concerned that there might be blackouts and brownouts. So, this is something that ISO New England, our federal oversight entity, has been looking at and is worried about. And so, you know, making sure that we have the resources available to keep the lights on and the houses warm is really key.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you very much. So, in my summary, initially anyway, on this, to retire 2,100 megawatts or to lose that generating capacity would put Connecticut at a disadvantage, for several reasons. One, it's zero carbon. Two we don't have the natural gas generation that would need to supplant all of the nuclear energy that we are currently producing. Three, we don't have storage that would support a true renewable product that would be efficient for Connecticut. And four, I guess the last part about this is this is an appraisal. This is a look. This is a study. This complements the Governor's Executive Order No. 59. This is part of the process. We just went through a process, a collaborative, consensus-building process with the budget. I align this, even though not everybody was happy because the results weren't exactly perfect for everyone, but this is a process to understand what we do, when we retire nuclear, or what we stand to lose or gain if we keep it and we work together and we have a blend of different kinds of generation. So, Mr. Speaker, I am in support of this bill again. I think I voted for it several times in several reiterations. I will continue to listen to the debate, but I would encourage my colleagues to support it as well. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Representative McCarty of the 38th on Senate Amendment "A. "

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Good afternoon. I rise in very strong support of the bipartisan legislation in front of the Chamber today for so many reasons that are vital to the economic wellbeing of the State of Connecticut. I would also like to take this opportunity, if I may, to thank and commend the leadership on both sides of the aisle for keeping the discussion on nuclear going forward, and to our House Speaker, Joe Aresimowicz, for allowing the bill to be called today. As we know, this debate has been going on for the past 24 months, and I would like to today try to point and enumerate the reasons for which I am so supportive of this legislation and then also to try to dispel some of this very spurious and false characterizations that have been levied at the legislation and at the nuclear power plant.

So, to begin with --

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative McCarty, we are on House -- Senate, I'm sorry, Amendment Schedule "A. " If you have comments on the bill, maybe they would be appropriate when we pass the amendment and then have the bill.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Excuse me, Mr. Speaker. You're correct. I have already moved over to the actual legislation. So I apologize and I'll stand again. I am actually in very strong support of the amendment by Senate "A" as well. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Steinberg of the 136th on Senate Amendment Schedule "A. "

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will reserve my comments for the underlying bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will you remark further on Senate Amendment "A"? Will you remark further on Senate Amendment "A"? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of Senate Amendment "A" signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Opposed? The ayes have it. The amendment passes. (Gavel) Will you remark further on the bill as amended by Senate Amendment "A"? Will you remark further on the bill as amended by Senate "A"? Representative Steinberg of the 136th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to think of myself as a good environmentalist. I've tried to always be on the right side of the key environmental issues in the state. I'd also like to think of myself as an avid proponent of new energy, by which I mean renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. So, you would think that when it comes to this proposal on behalf of Millstone, I would be lining up with the environmental community, ARP and the like, but you would be wrong. I support this study because it is necessary for us to confront, as Representative Reed pointed out, the strategy for the future for this state. This legislation opens the door for us to have the conversation we need to have. In fact, I would say we need an even broader conversation about our energy portfolio. I think we should, now that we've cut the original greenhouse gas initiative funds, we should be talking about a carbon charge for the region and talk about ways in which we can appropriately assess the value of carbon fuels, of carbon free fuels in our entire portfolio.

My fear is if we do not take this path, we are consigning ourselves to some very bad choices, not really for ourselves, but for the entire region. I do take Dominion at their word that they could in a period of years, not immediately, but 5, 7, 10 years, shut down this plant, leaving us with a serious capacity issue in New England. I, for one, would not like to be more reliant on natural gas as we go forward. That's a huge infrastructure build that is better invested in new technologies for really green energy alternatives, such as storage, such as solar, such as wind. That's where our investment really ought to be. We should build out only as much natural gas as we need as a bridge fuel until we can get to a truly renewable economy, which is inevitable for us.

For right now, and for right now I mean a period that might last as long as 5-10 years, Millstone is part of that equation and it is in our interest as a state and as a region to keep Millstone in the mix and not to risk them following through on what they have done in other states. What we're talking about here, if the study confirms some of the things we've talked about, is no more than a 5-year contract, which I view as an eye blink in the context of the energy landscape, which is constantly shifting. I believe that if we go down this path, we will have more bites of the apple, more opportunities to talk to PURA, to OCC and others, to make sure this is in ratepayer interest. And I believe that this is a strategic choice for Connecticut that suits our long-term interests. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative McCarty, on the bill as amended, ma'am. You have the floor.

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise for the second time to express that I am in very strong support of the legislation as amended that is before us today for many reasons, but primarily because it is in the best interest of our State of Connecticut for both economic and environmental reasons. And if I may again, I would just like to commend the leadership on both sides of the aisle for keeping the discussion going and also to House Speaker, Joe Aresimowicz, for allowing the bill to be called today. As we said, this debate has been going on for 24 months and it's really vital that we take action today. I would like to try to dispel some of the false arguments that have been promulgated over the last 24 months and try to explain that the bill in front of us, the legislation in front of us today, what it is and what it is not.

First, I'd like to begin by saying that this legislation is not a subsidy. I'll repeat it. It is not a subsidy. What it does, actually, is it allows nuclear power to be allowed to make a bid and to the state procurement process if it's deemed necessary. There's tremendous oversight that is attached to the legislation by both PURA and DEEP. So there is really truly no risk here. We currently -- this is a procurement process that currently exists in state contracts and we do allow large hydropower, which is a company outside of the United States, into this procurement process without questions asked. So, I would just say this is a Connecticut company and it seems to only be fair practice in a deregulated market to allow them to bid into the process. Again, it does not mean that there's a mandate to offer the bid. It allows DEEP and PURA to give tremendous oversight and to see if the bill is in the best interest of the ratepayer. I think this is a very important point to emphasize - in the best interest of the ratepayer. And if, in fact, it is not deemed that this will help lower electricity rates, there is no obligation to give the bid.

I can tell you, as I know you're all very well aware, that we have some of the very highest electricity prices in the United -- in the nation, with only Alaska and Hawaii that fall just a little behind us. And it's incumbent upon us as legislators to do what is in the best interest of Connecticut's ratepayers. This allows the potential to lower electric bills for our consumers, and particularly, I'm thinking about our seniors on fixed incomes, our middle class families. I think all of us, wherever we go, we hear repeatedly - is there anything we can do about lowering our electricity bills. Well, this right now in front of us today is that option.

We cannot afford to squander this opportunity to allow our nuclear power into this procurement process. And as been said my colleagues, let's keep in mind, to reach our comprehensive energy strategy plan and our integrative resources plan, we need nuclear. We need nuclear power. It generates 98 percent carbon-free energy and it prevents many of the pollutants such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides into the air, which creates smog and acid rain. And this is also posing a health problem to many of our residents. The actual deferral of costs is in the neighborhood of $ 6 billion dollars that Millstone is contributing avoiding these risks that the pollutants cause in the air. So, I would say that for the environment, this is crucial. And it was mentioned by my colleagues that we're looking to move to renewables. Everyone is. And I can say for myself, this legislation does not hurt or hinder us moving forward on solar and wind. The RFPs and the solicitation process are different. So this will not in any way harm those entities for continuing to meet our clean air goals. I think that's an important piece to underline.

Another very important factor; and I know firsthand, having met and been in continuous contact with the executives and leaders of Dominion, that they will close. This is not a bluff, as I've heard throughout the Chamber. They are very serious, because they will need to make a business decision. And I've asked, "well, what about the timing? And why couldn't we hold?" The answer that I received was that the company needs to make a business decision because they are planning to put in over $ 700 million dollars into the facilities for upgrade and maintenance on their reactors in the facilities. This is a very substantial amount of money to put forward if the Legislature is not going to allow them into this procurement process, which gives them a little bit of stability going forward.

And finally, I'd just like to say, as a legislator from Waterford, Millstone is housed in my hometown and this is as much about a jobs bill than the other areas that I've spoken. Millstone employs over 1,500 employees on support services, another 3,000, over 4,000 employees in the State of Connecticut. They contribute back over $ 1. 5 billion dollars into the economy. They're a great corporate community partner helping us in our district throughout the years, and I would be remiss if I didn't say that they pay to the Town of Waterford close to $ 30 million dollars. And when we look at the comparison when we talked about GE and the impact on Fairfield and what that would cause, we were in the neighborhood of $ 2 million dollars. So this is a tremendous amount for my district to absorb. It would be devastating to our schools, the programs, the education, all of the infrastructure that has built up in Waterford.

So I would like to say that this legislation before you today is a win-win. It's good for the economy. It's good for the environment. It's good for jobs. It's a transition period over to more renewables in the state. There's no risk involved, but there will be a tremendous loss to us here in the state if this bill does not go through today. So i would like to encourage all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to really support this bipartisan piece of legislation that is one of the most important pieces that will come in front of this Assembly for a long time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Representative Ackert of the 8th on the bill as amended. Sir, you have the floor.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, sir, and good to see you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Good to see you.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

A couple questions to the proponent of the bill as amended, sir?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed, please prepare yourself. Representative Ackert, please proceed.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you. I'm gonna actually go to a couple of the sections just for clarity. I want to say that I would like to align my comments with Representative Steinberg on the fact that we need to do more here in Connecticut to assure our energy portfolio and look forward to moving this legislation forward along with others that will open that up. But in lines 21-25, I take it that that is the piece of the legislation that kind of says, okay, the only one that really fits that description would be the Millstone Power Plant. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Actually, Millstone Power Plant and Seabrook.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

So Seabrook could actually compete in this process?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I thank the good lady for her answers. And then the next section, lines 26-27, they describe a process of the appraisal and I just -- the dates kind of caught me a little bit in terms of the appraisal dates on line 32 of February 1, that they have to have that appraisal completed and have it ready for our review. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Great. And that's when the Office of Consumer Counsel, all other stakeholders, could weigh in on that appraisal process. And then, we're kind of given a short timeframe if we don't like that appraisal to actually come into the Chambers on March 1, to decide if we like that appraisal and want to move forward. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Then I ask this Chamber and I ask the good people in this Chamber and the leadership at that point, that if the pushback and the appraisal is not satisfactory to us in this Chamber, that we make sure that we come in, in a timely fashion, and oppose that, you know, that appraisal that's coming to us by March 1. Because listen, we're only going in in that first week of February and we have a limited timeframe. Do you believe that is accomplishable? To the good lady, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes I do. And as the good Representative knows, this is not an issue that is new to us and we have really -- and I think it's -- we've really engaged more and more of our colleagues. As energy issues tend to be, they make your eyes glaze over for most people. But our colleagues -- and it's actually -- it's important today that we're discussing it in terms of also the budget that we've just passed. This is really an economic issue. The Millstone plant, the survival of the Millstone plant until we're ready to replace it, is an economic issue. Everything that we value, everything that we're trying to do, grow jobs, protect our industry, really create much more incentive in desirability for economic development in this state. So, you know, I think that it's really gonna rise to the level of being a number one priority to deal with it when it happens in February and I do think that we will indeed have the ability to have the information at hand, and I think it's something we're gonna really want to do because we need a plan. We need a plan for after Millstone.

You know the states that haven't done this -- New York State suddenly had 3 nuclear power plants closing upstair -- upstate - (Laughs) upstairs, upstate. And I think they had to come up with something like $ 7. 6 billion dollars to keep those plants open. Now you would think a state like New York had enough power happening all over the place. They're doing wind. They're doing solar. They've got hydro. I mean, they've got Niagara Falls. They've got more hydro. No. They could not survive without those plants. So we don't want to be caught in a situation like that where we're held hostage. We want to do something that's proactive, smart, rational, reasonable, and I definitely think that it's something that we'll all come together on after the findings are submitted to us on February 1, 2018. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT (8TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good lady for her answers. It was an honor serving with her on the Energy and Technology Committee and all those that have put the good work into this. I look forward to getting a good positive appraisal that comes back and says that this is gonna be good for the ratepayers and I'm gonna be in support of this legislation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Cheeseman of the 37th on the bill as amended. Madam, you have the floor.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. And I want to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting this. I want to thank the good chairlady of Energy and Technology for all the work she has put in and the Ranking Member. As Representative Steinberg said, this is a vital part of our electricity and energy infrastructure. Should these plant close, we'll be relying on a fossil fuel for almost 100 percent of our electricity. I know everybody's probably been surprised; as a freshman, you know, all this is new to me, about they've been inundated by opponents of this bill.

Why? Follow the money. If you can go from controlling 40 percent of a market to almost 100 percent of the market, wouldn't you want that to happen? I don't blame them. These fossil fuel corporations are looking after their bottom line. But our job here in the Chamber is to look after the citizens of Connecticut, to look after their pocketbooks, to look after their health, to look after their jobs. And this bill helps do that. Representative McCarty mentioned the 1,500 jobs that Millstone supplies. The median salary package is $ 168 thousand dollars a year. And you can have that job without having a 4-year degree. In fact, Dominion and Millstone supply 18 scholarships every year to Three Rivers Community College to train young people, older people, veterans to go work at the plant. And they're guaranteed jobs after that. These are union jobs, laborers, carpenters, pipefitters, insulators, operating engineers. Especially when they're in an outage like now, an additional 4,000 jobs.

We need good jobs. We need jobs that provide opportunity to raise a family and stay in Connecticut, and this is what they supply. I'm gonna leave you with three numbers. Zero - this is the amount of subsidy that's included in this bill. There is no subsidy. It's an opportunity to bid. Fifteen-hundred - the number of jobs that are there now; the number of jobs that will remain. Ninety-six percent, 96 percent of our carbon-free electricity that keeps our air and water clean, that keeps our children healthy, come from this plant. And finally, $ 1. 6 billion dollars of the Connecticut -- contributed to the Connecticut economy every year. So I urge you, for the sake of our environment, of our economy, and our welfare, support this bill because we need it as we move to a renewable energy future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Lesser of the 100th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, this bill is called an act concerning zero carbon procurement. For those of you haven't worked on energy bills before, you've probably heard some jargon this afternoon, a lot of what seems like gobbledygook, and I don't' mean that in a disrespectful sense. I think that energy bills, for those of you haven't worked on policy matters before, can sometimes get complicated. Sometimes the public is confused about what we're going -- what we're debating, and sometimes even the members of this Chamber can be. So let's be crystal clear about what the bill before this afternoon does.

At the very outset of the debate this afternoon, the gentle lady from Branford called this the Millstone bill, and she's absolutely right about that. This bill creates a process that could force two companies, Eversource and United Illuminating, in this state to purchase electric power against their will, presumably at higher than market rates, from a Virginia-based publicly traded corporation. The cost of those contracts would then get passed down onto Connecticut's electric ratepayers. So what are electric ratepayers? That's you and me. That's Pratt & Whitney. That's Boehringer Ingelheim. That's Aetna. That's Sikorsky. That's Electric Boat. That's every teacher, every senior, every small business person and every manufacturer - underscore manufacturer - in the State of Connecticut.

A few minutes ago, we just passed a budget that raids the Energy Efficiency Fund and the Green Bank. And there was some discussion during the debate on the budget about the potential impact of that on electric ratepayers. So let's be very clear. The potential impact of this bill, which could be $ 3 billion dollars or more over ten years, is staggering. Members on both sides of the aisle talk about and care about the business climate in Connecticut. Some of that is determined by taxes and red regulation; some of that by the state of our state's infrastructure; some of that by the tone that we set as a General Assembly. But everyone in this body should be aware of the fact that Connecticut has highest electric in the continental United States and there is nothing more critical to our competitiveness, particularly if you care about manufacturing, than the price of electricity.

So the proponents have made a few arguments this afternoon. But in their conversations on the floor in their colloquies, they focused on a couple of issues. One, the Millstone plant in Waterford employs a lot of people and pays good wages. And two, if the Millstone plant were to shut down, that could be disruptive to our state's electric grid. I take these concerns seriously. I could even see myself supporting ratepayers subsidies for Millstone if that were demonstrated to be in the best interest of the State of Connecticut. But with respect to my colleagues, this bill is badly drafted, it's dangerously drafted. And with respect to an ongoing study being conducted by DEEP right now and with respect to ongoing rulemaking being done by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, I suggest that this bill jumps the gun.

There are four questions that each and every member of this body should ask and be able to answer before you vote in the affirmative on this bill. Do you know what the impact of this vote is gonna be on Connecticut's ratepayers? Do you know what? Does Millstone actually need the money? Is the amount that Millstone will actually get in this bill reflect that need? And do the benefits of subsidizing Millstone, of subsidizing the Dominion Power Company outweigh the costs to the overall state economy of raising electric rates to provide that subsidy? And with respect, I don't think there is a person in this Chamber who has the answers to any of those four questions.

This summer, Governor Malloy signed Executive Order 59 that is looking at the potential impact of a closure at Millstone and potential policy solutions. There's only one that's baked in this bill, but there are others that are potentially available. and I will say, I'm very disturbed to know that when the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection wrote a letter to Dominion requesting information about the finances, about the viability, about the impact on ratepayers, Dominion wrote back, and I'm gonna summarize it and I hate to say it if I put words in their mouth, but I have the actual text somewhere. But what they said was very simple. They said this is proprietary information. We are not obligated to give it under state law and we wont' give it, despite the fact that PURA has a process to make information to them confidential. If this is so important, if this is so critical to their bottom line that they are willing to hat in hand to this Chamber asking for as much as $ 3 billion dollars over ten years of your constituents ratepayer money, they should be happy to show us their books. To date, they have not done so.

Some of the -- a lot of the members of this Chamber are new, but the gentle lady from Branford and I were here in 2010. We remember a different time, when natural gas prices were high and Millstone was generating windfall profits. That year, in 2010, the Energy and Technology Committee, where we were both serving, debated a bill that would have taxed Millstone's profits and redistributed those profits back to Connecticut ratepayers. And at the time, Dominion Resources came and they argued, I thought, with quite a bit of force and validity that the market was working, that when prices go, profits go, when prices go down, profits go down, and that the free market was the way to go. Fast forward seven years, and boy has the story shifted.

Up until 1998, the State of Connecticut had a monopoly in terms of power generation. We had a deal that we were gonna go in as a State Legislature and decide who could generate electricity and who couldn't. We went in, we looked at people's books, we guaranteed Eversource and UI a profit on their electric generation. We said, generate all the electricity -- you know, we will allow you to generate the electricity, we will give you the cost of your service, and then we will give you a reasonable rate on return. But in 1998, the Legislature decided we were going to embrace the market. We thought that that would be a better deal for our constituents. And so we forced Eversource and UI to sell of their electric generation capacity. Now that may be a good idea; that may be a bad idea. I wasn't in the Legislature in 1998. I was in high school. (Laugher) But the fact of the matter is we embraced the market. And since then, there have been real wins. One of the things that's really been a success is, you know, we've been able to reduce -- to embrace energy efficiency to a much greater extent than we were before. Whether or not it's had -- been beneficial to ratepayers, I think is more of an open question. But this bill doesn't return us to 1998. Right? It says if you make money, great. But if you lose money, we will come in as a Legislature and we will intervene and we will skew the market just a little bit to make sure that you get your profit anyway. So it has all of the benefits for market participants that exist and all the protections that they had under the old system, but none of the protections, none of the protections for consumers, for ratepayers, for all of the manufacturers in this state who rely on electricity that we had before. So it's all of the downside, none of the upside.

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully submit that this is a bad deal for Connecticut's economy and bad deal for Connecticut's ratepayers. One last point that I want to make, Mr. Speaker. There is no doubt that Millstone is a critical component of New England's electric grid, but I want to underscore that last point - New England's electrical grid. Not just Connecticut, because Millstone can sell electricity in Rhode Island, in New York, in Massachusetts, all across the region. And yet the bill before us has a regional benefit, but has the ratepayers, only some of the ratepayers, by the way, only ratepayers who live in UI and Eversource territories paying money to keep a regional plant open. There are other ways of doing this. The entire region should pick up the tab if that is what we decide to do. The bill before us, I think, is greatly problematic. And through you, Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of questions to the proponent of the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed, please prepare yourself. Representative Lesser, please proceed, sir.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Yes, through, Mr. Speaker, can the good -- could the gentle lady please explain to the Chamber how much money Millstone generated or lost last year or over the last ten years?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

So we are about to debate legislation -- we are about to pass or vote on legislation and we have no idea what Millstone's profit or loss was over the last ten years. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Has a ratepayer impact study been prepared? Does the gentle lady know what the maximum potential ratepayer impact of this bill is?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. This bill is designed to do analytics on Millstone, on its health, on its longevity, and to, one would hope, incorporate the impact on ratepayers.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

I believe I -- if you listen to the gentle lady, the answer is -- is there a tap in this bill? My understanding is that if the Legislature -- if this bill passes, the Legislature does not have another bite of the apple. PURA can go ahead and require these contracts. Is there a tap on the total impact on ratepayers contained in this bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Well, as the gentleman from Middletown knows, there is not any of those governors on any energy legislation that we do. The gentleman speaking a little earlier about the market. This bill is designed to create an RFP is possible that's going to be overseen by DEEP and PURA and the Attorney General and the Office of Consumer Counsel, who is -- her one objective in life is to protect consumers. The goal is to, if a RFP is deployed and if an RFP is accepted, it has to be in the best interest of the ratepayer. Millstone is not a stupid company. They are not going to, I would hope, put out an RFP that is so exorbitant that it won't be chosen. So the hope is that the ratepayer will actually benefit if this process goes through. But again, circling back, this bill does -- this is not a fait accompli bill. This is a bill that is going to allow DEEP to do the study, PURA to do a study, to submit findings to the Legislature so we have a bite at the apple, and then it's going to create a venue in front of PURA and in front of DEEP at public hearings to let -- I would say we're right now in the energy equivalent of Game of Thrones. We have energy titans from every sector. I'm talking solar. I'm talking wind. I'm talking natural gas. I'm talking fuel cells. All of these entities want to dominate what's next. And so we want them to be able to battle it out in an arena where we also have access. As we all know, the PURA public hearings, we can all go, we can participate, legislators can participate. It's a very active and interactive process. So when it's out the door here, there are other venues in which we can participate and take part. And again, nothing will happen unless it's in the best interest of the ratepayer.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I do believe the answer was no, that there is no cap on the maximum ratepayer impact to the ratepayers of the State of Connecticut. You know, the gentle lady spoke earlier of, just a minute ago, of allowing Millstone to compete. Right now, Millstone's power gets dumped into the competitive market, 100 percent of it. This takes, as I understand it, half of Millstone's generation and takes it out of the competitive market. It makes the markets less competitive. But, Mr. Speaker, I have here a report, because I asked a minute ago what Millstone's profit and loss was. How much are they making? Are they making a profit, are they losing money, why are we doing this? And the gentle lady didn't have an answer for that.

I have a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center on Energy and Environmental Policy Research. It's a working paper from March of this year and it's titled - Early Nuclear Retirements and Deregulated United States Markets Causes, Implications and Policy Options. I don't know if the members of this Chamber have read this report, but it is a study of every nuclear power plant in the United States of America and an estimate by MIT about what the market conditions are currently. And according to this study, the Millstone plant is the single most profitable nuclear power plant in the United States of America.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the gentle lady. Has the gentle lady read this report and does she agrees with its findings?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I've not only read the report, I've been up to MIT. I've been conferences at MIT in Pennsylvania, in Austin, Texas. I've been doing conferences talking about the viability of our nuclear fleet, the viability of our nuclear fleet given the arrival of natural gas, which is much cheaper fuel, and the amount -- the billions of dollars it costs to maintain the fleet in terms of protecting consumers and the public. They have to be upgraded constantly. They have to be refueled constantly. They have billions of dollars. They are run like military bases. They employ thousands of people who make very big salaries and they have to be securitized. They have to be -- have major protection. So when they're not making the money that they're used to making, they look to other areas.

Dominion has gotten very involved in natural gas. Dominion has gotten very involved in renewables. As a matter of fact, every renewable opening I go to in the state, Dominion played a role. They've been a serious partner to Somers Solar Field, the fuel cell down in Bridgeport. They have explored all of the new technologies. They're moving on from nuclear. The fact that this plant is still making money is a good thing, which means that it might survive longer than other nuclear plants around the country. But to suggest that they're just gonna sit on an old technology forever and ever and not have a level of certainty about the kind of money they're gonna make, there is no board in the world that would sit there and let that happen. And so I think sometimes when you see numbers on a page, and as I said, I have been to MIT. I'm going up again I think in 2 or 3 weeks to be on a panel there to discuss this very issue. They don't tell the real story. The real story, old technology, most nuclear plants built in the '70s, these big companies; these smart companies, they're moving on. And so, you know, my feeling is that anything we can do to kind of not only delay that, but prepare for that, for what happens after Millstone, is really, really important.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate hearing from the gentle lady about Dominion's diversified presence in Connecticut and across the country in a variety of different energy markets. But my question is really specific to their Millstone generating facility. The MIT study, which is not based on proprietary data, because Millstone has not released any proprietary data, but it's based on publicly available data, suggest that Millstone is the single most profitable nuclear plant in the United States of America.

Does the gentle lady, through you, Mr. Speaker, agree with or disagree with that assessment? And if she disagrees with that, does she evidence that she'd like to share with the Chamber to that affect?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. So, just to circle back. So, the gentleman is asking if I think -- if I agree with the data that has been -- not publicly available data, but I mean -- publicly available data, but not the books, that it's probably the most profitable nuclear facility in the country? I would say it is. I'm a person -- I used to be a journalist. I spent a lot of time in nuclear power plants. I've spent some very unhappy times in nuclear power plants. I covered Three Mile Island. I got tear gassed covering 2,000 people marching to keep Seabrook from opening, my camera crew and I. I covered Shoreham. I was out in Hanford, Washington to cover a nuclear power plant that was disposing of radioactive water into the Columbia River. And actually I covered Millstone before I went to New York. I was at channel 3. And Millstone was operated by what's now Eversource, Northeast Utilities. It was very badly operated. There were a lot of shutdowns. There were a lot of issues. Dominion came in and they know how to run nuclear power plants. As I say, not a big fan of nuclear, but if you're gonna have them, you better have a company that knows what they're doing. If they're doing it well -- when you meet the engineers at Millstone, they are an impressive, impressive lot. These people are educated. They are devoted. They are on it. and so I think when you know how to run something and you run it well, you're probably more profitable than your competitors or your -- not even competitors, other nuclear plants in other areas who really don't have that level of professionalism.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciated hearing about the professionalism of the Millstone employees and I share the gentle lady's appreciation for the hardworking Connecticut residents who are there. But with due to respect to that, I don't it's the issue before this Chamber. It's not whether or not we like the employees of Millstone. We do. The question is whether or not this particular bill that's before us is the appropriate public policy for solving a political -- a potential political and policy problem. I mentioned earlier, there is currently a review under way, according to Executive Order 59, to look at the impact of a potential Millstone closure on Connecticut and come up with policy options. In addition, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is currently developing rules to subsidize base load power generation in the United States of America, across the entire country. And if they move to adopt those rules, it won't just be Connecticut ratepayers who will be supporting Millstone, but Massachusetts and Rhode Island and New York ratepayers too. My understanding, Mr. Speaker, is that Executive Order 59 requires a ratepayer impact study.

That is not in this bill. I just heard a minute ago from the gentle lady that there is no cap on this bill on the potential ratepayer impact. And just a minute ago, we also heard that she agrees with the assessment that Millstone is most likely the most profitable nuclear power plant in the United States of America. So if all of those conditions are there -- and she said they might hang on longer than other plants, that they might be profitable, they may be around more than other plants. So if all of those are true, and I believe that they are, why are we here in special session short circuiting a process currently under way at FERC and at PURA with this bill that, one, eliminates any requirement of a ratepayer impact study, two, takes the General Assembly completely out of the equation, because we don't have to ever vote on this again. Three billion dollars of your constituents' money could be spent if we adopt this bill with no safeguards from this body whatsoever. And three, no regional support at all. It's simply borne by those of us who live in Eversource and UI territories. So if any of you represent Wallingford or any of the other towns served by municipal electric companies, lucky you, this is a free vote. But for those of who have to pay the bill, this could be serious business. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the gentle lady, why are we short circuiting the process in this special session?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser, I believe we should focus our attention on the document that's before us, the verbiage within the document, and try to avoid a personal comment or opinion that the chairwoman would have based on a question that is a little bit off the path of the document that's before us. So, I don't know if you'd like to rephrase?

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Mr. Speaker, I actually would choose not to and certainly no personal comment was intended through my question. I withdraw the question.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, sir.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Mr. Speaker, the Clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 10103. I would ask that the Clerk please call the amendment and I be allowed to leave the Chamber to summarize.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will the Clerk please call amendment, LCO No. 10103, designated as House Amendment "A"?

CLERK:

LCO No. 10103, designated House Amendment Schedule "A", and offered by Representatives Lesser, Candelaria, et al.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser, will you comment on the amendment before us?

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this amendment's very simple. It allows the bill to go forward. It simply requires that prior to the bill going forward that Dominion show us -- show PURA their books. I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

I'm sorry, Representative Lesser. I was on the phone. Could you please proceed? I'm sorry.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

I move adoption.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The motion before the Chamber is adoption of House Amendment Schedule "A". Any comment -- further comment on House Amendment "A"? Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Yes, I also ask that when the vote be taken, it be taken roll.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question before the Chamber is the vote be taken by roll call. All those in favor of a roll call vote significant by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

When the vote is taken, it will be taken by roll. Will you comment further on the amendment before us? Comment further on the amendment before us? Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

I think I summarized it before. It seems like a common sense proposal. It would require that Dominion show their books prior to receiving one of these contracts. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Before the Chamber is House Amendment "A". Does anyone wish to comment on House Amendment "A"? There's several members listed on the board. Representative McCarty on House Amendment "A".

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Mr. Speaker. Yes, I would like to comment on it and I'd just like to clarify one point that the proponent of the amendment has made and that it's asking for Millstone to open up its books. My understanding is that the regulators will take care of that. They've already promised to comply with opening the books. So I feel that this amendment is not necessary. I would urge all of my colleagues to vote no on the amendment in front of us. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Hoydick.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I agree with my colleague from Waterford. I've heard the same thing. I believe the Governor was fairly direct in his executive order that he expected this to happen as well. I understand that Dominion has agreed to this. This is not the way to do business in Connecticut as usual. This is not a Connecticut asset that's owned by Connecticut ratepayers, as some of our other assets. And then I'd like to also address that when we had those assets that were then owned by Connecticut ratepayers, that we had to dispel with when we did deregulation, there was a reason because due to my -- as mentioned by my colleague from Branford, the operation was not as clean as we would've hoped, not as professional, not as efficient, not as safe. And so consequently, I also urge my colleagues to vote no on this amendment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Representative Tercyak, you have the floor, sir, on House Amendment "A".

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. A question to the proponent of the amendment please?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you. Is there anything in this amendment that stops this cold in its tracks? If we pass this amendment, is there any way for Millstone to show that they have a need and for us to respond to that once it's proven? Or will this just stop it dead in its tracks and we've not given Millstone a fair chance? I'm asking about which it is, sir, or if there's another choice.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

To my knowledge, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the gentleman from New Britain, this bill -- this amendment has no effect except to require them to disclose elements of their finances privately to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm content and I hope everybody will join me in supporting this amendment. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, sir. Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA (95TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this amendment before us. As you know, the underlying bill does impact the ratepayers. We might have the conversation that it will not have an impact, but definitely it does. And we just recently passed a budget that affects the most vulnerable population in this state and we're telling them to just take it on faith this passage of this bill is not gonna have an impact on you. What we're doing, we're talking about transparency with this amendment. That's all it does. It is transparency. You are asking us to pass this bill. What we are asking this Chamber is for transparency by passing this amendment. That's all that we're doing. So, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, Mr. -- thank you, Mr. Speaker. And just very briefly, I'm associating my remarks with my colleagues on accountability, transparency. And as an economist, the best decisions are made with the most information available for consumers, for our ratepayers and for us as legislators. This is merely -- and I was here many, many years ago when we had to do with the "sooty six". And I was the economist that did the analysis of the "sooty six" and we went through this same issue. The proprietary numbers, what were numbers. We managed to get there and we managed to protect our citizens from the pollution from the "sooty six" power plants. This is yet again another request for information so we can make a good decision. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Cheeseman of the 37th, madam, you have the floor.

REP. CHEESEMAN (37TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I just want to reiterate what my colleagues, Representative Hoydick and Representative McCarty, said. Dominion has committed in meetings with PURA and DEEP to provide the information needed so they can make an informed choice. And this is a study. This allows the process to move forward and the recommendation to come back. I have full faith in the Office of the Consumer Counsel, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and PURA to make a decision based on the information they need. And they will have that information and make a decision that's in the best interest of the ratepayers. With having said that, I would urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and let the underlying bill go forward to provide the certainty we need for a safe, reliable, affordable energy future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Representative Mushinsky, are you want to rise and comment on the amendment?

REP. MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I do. I do rise in support of the amendment. We are -- first of all, I have no dog in this fight. I come from Wallingford. It's a municipal electric company. We -- none of my constituents are affected by this bill whatsoever. So I can just at it as an outside person interested in the policy. But we are about to give a special deal without getting all the factual information and in my view, the third-party review of this status should happen before passage of this bill, before authorizing a new subsidy. PURA is the logical choice for the review. This is what they do all day. They review data. Their charge is to represent the consumers as well as determine the supplies and deal with the best interest of the state. So that's probably who should do the reviewing. And even if they have to review it privately and issue a finding, that would be acceptable to me also.

When we did the state water plan, which is coming up now to the Legislature in February, we had the same issue. The water companies did not want to reveal their personal data. They didn't want -- did not want to show weakness or show any numbers to their competitors. And we said, okay, we can't write the water plan with the data, so how about if all of you share your data with a third party who will be bound to not release the information, but will evaluate needs of the state based on data, which will remain top secret. And that is how the state water plan was written and that is how it will be presented to you, my colleagues, in the next session. So we won't know how healthy or unhealthy MDC or Connecticut Water or any of those companies are, but we will know the needs of the state and how they will be dealt with by balancing the production of water.

In the same way, we're being asked now to give these folks a special subsidy, but we don't yet have the information. The people who can best judge it don't yet have the information. But the decision we make today will authorize the subsidy. So we're doing this in backwards order. If we said -- and I didn't actually read my colleague's carefully. I don't know if PURA's allowed to keep the information within their own building and not release it. But even if we said the data had to be submitted, PURA would analyze and not release it; that would be acceptable to me. But I just want someone whose job it is to protect the state to look at this information and look at this data and make a ruling, and then I would feel more comfortable giving them the subsidy. I do want the plant to stay open. It is a carbon-free plant, important to the state. But I'm not convinced as of today that they have made their case. So I do support this amendment. We need the information. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Morris.

REP. MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A point of clarification, if I can, from the proponent of the amendment?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser, please prepare yourself for a clarification question. Representative Morris, please proceed, sir.

REP. MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think we just heard earlier from my colleagues from the other side of the aisle in the 37th that there's a number of different agencies that were listed that provides some kind of assessment as to the -- do Dominion's, you know, ability or need for such a subsidy. What is the difference between those organizations and what is being proposed here in your amendment? Or are they same and it's just a matter of timing? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you to the gentleman from Norwalk. You know, the bill will remain the same. The question is the due diligence that is being done beforehand to make sure that the contacts entered into under this bill are in the best interest of Connecticut ratepayers. And if we're gonna ask the Public Utility Regulatory Authority to make that determination, they need to know whether -- the full impact of whatever potential contract is on Millstone's operations, whether or not Millstone needs the money, how much they need, and the impact on ratepayers. And they can't get that without full cooperation. One of my colleagues from the other side just mentioned that in the last few days, after rejecting in writing a request from DEEP for information, that they have come forward and said, "Well, now, we will allow you to see of our information. " But to my knowledge, none of that has happened so far. This simply puts that promise that Dominion has now made to the people of Connecticut into the text of the bill. It comports with what Dominion says they're gonna do. This is just to make that they actually follow through on that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Morris.

REP. MORRIS (140TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the good gentleman. So my understanding is that in essence it is still the same type of assessment regardless of whether it's done before or afterwards, this really is a timing issue. Therefore, I highly support this amendment. I don't understand why we would be willing to do any other type of subsidy without knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is such a need. And if Dominion is willing to provide that after the fact, I don't understand why they wouldn't want to do that beforehand in order to assure the public and tax dollars are rightfully needed and spent for this. So thank you very much for this amendment. I will be supporting it.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Elliott, do you wish to comment on the House Amendment "A" or on the bill? On the bill? Thank you, sir. Representative Hoydick, do you wish to comment or question for the second time, madam?

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, for the second time. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. HOYDICK (120TH):

The good Representative from Middletown mentioned the word "gobbledygook". Having dealt with energy in this Chamber for over six years, I know when your eyes glaze over. I understand when we don't understand what we're talking about. I understand that this is a very detailed and difficult subject matter. But let me make this perfectly clear to every one of you, on the basis of my children's lives, this bill is not a subsidy. Don't use that word. It doesn't pertain here. This bill is about an appraisal. This bill is allowing the Connecticut DEEP commissioner, along with PURA, to look at the analysis that they have presented by the nuclear power plant that we have in Connecticut as to whether it is appropriate enough for them to be involved in the procurement process for Connecticut residents. I can't' say it any more clearly! It is not a subsidy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, just a comment. We're asking today why -- you know, why we wouldn't support this amendment. Well, why I'm not supporting it today, in essence would kill this bill today if we do vote on this. This is something that will have to be another, "wait 'til next year. " And again, the speed of business moves a lot faster than the speed of government. There's no doubt about that. We can all agree with that. We talk about 24 months that we've been talking to Millstone and trying to come up with a solution to this problem. And after 24 months, we're talking about creating a study so we can find out where they stand.

I have a different kind of outlook on this. I actually have done 4 Millstone shutdowns. I'm a union sheet metal worker. It's hard to understand the energy side of it. It's hard to understand the side that where instead of selling to a hedge fund, they're gonna sell directly to Connecticut. Those are all confusing issues. The issue I can bring up and let folks know is Millstone has three nuclear power generating stations on site, or had three. One is shut down. The other two have a nuclear license until about 2033. We know and Millstone both know that they won't be here in 15 or 16 years no matter what. So when we make our decision on how -- or when they make their decision -- and we go through these shutdowns all the time. The doors open up and we walk in. Sheet metal workers take all the insulation off, all the lagging. Then x-ray technology guys go in there and they detect all the pipes. So if those pipes get a little bit thinner, they're required to change them in the next shutdown.

This is a business that knows how much money they're gonna spend almost to the nickel over the next 15 years to continue the business to run. So it makes sense, right now, that they're asking to become competitive in this new market. It is a new world. Gas and pipelines have created pressure probably on their business. But for them to make a decision, do they want to make an $ 800 million dollar investment in a plant that they know is gonna close in 16 years, they window starts getting shorter. So if they're getting the idea that they're not gonna make enough money to stay open, I think the problem is in this room, some of us are feeling they're so big. You know the too big fail. That one? A lot of us feel that they're too big to close. Well, that's not really the truth and it's a gamble, I think, that I'm not willing to take. There are a lot of jobs connected to it. We mentioned 1,500 jobs. I think of the thousands of people that actually retired from local unions that are in my union, in particular, but also the pipefitters union that are retired because of what Millstone not only has done in the past, but what they continue to do. You know, they do the shutdowns. A lot of the guys that I work with rely on those shutdowns to keep their insurance for the year, to keep that going. And to just sit here and think that there's no way they're gonna close because they're too big, I think is a calculated error on our part, because if -- again, all these things are numbers. And if their calculator comes up and the bottom number tells them to open or close, they're gonna go by that calculation. And I think we're taking a risk by not heeding what they say at least.

I think a lot of them -- again, they are a big business. They've made a lot of money. But they've also been an unbelievable asset, not only to our region -- I've heard other legislators who are from other parts of the state make an announcement that said they don't have a dog in this race. I disagree. If they're creating $ 1. 5 billion dollars into our economy, I would say it's -- they're all -- they're our dog. We have to be with them.

So again, I stand up against this amendment, not because I don't like transparency, not because I'm against finding out everything I can find out ahead of time. I have heard from the Millstone folks that they are opening up their books. DEEP will get a look at them. And again, after two years of talking, how much longer could we possibly wait? I just don't think we can. So again, I am against this amendment. I'm supporting this bill along with my delegation form southeastern Connecticut. Make sure everyone knows, this isn't a southeastern Connecticut effort. This should be an effort by all of us. This -- Millstone is very important to all of our state. So, hopefully everyone in this room can support it. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. Representative Carney of the 23rd. Sir, you have the floor.

REP. CARNEY (23RD):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just rise for a comment. I would like to piggyback off what the good Representative from the 41st District had to say. We don't share a ton in common. We both worked at Pizza Works in Old Saybrook. But we both agree that this is a bad amendment. And I agree with Representative de la Cruz, for the reasons he gave, that this amendment would effectively kill the bill. I just want to remind folks that, as he had, that Millstone generates about $ 1. 5 billion dollars in annual economic impact, employs a workforce of 1,000-plus, and that's not including the jobs that the good Representative was discussing that comes in during shutdown. And these jobs are highly-skilled, well-paid jobs and they're for people that -- you don't even need a college degree and you can go and work at Millstone and you're well treated, you're well paid. And you are able to give back to your economy. You're able to buy a home. You're able to start a family.

This company provides folks with something that I think a lot of us feel is sort of dying in the State of Connecticut, and that's the American Dream or the Connecticut Dream. It gives someone the opportunity to go to a 2-year college, go and work at Millstone and go buy a home in Waterford. Go buy a home in East Lyme. Go buy a home in Old Lyme and participate in that economy. What this amendment could do is eliminate that. It could get rid of the payroll of $ 118 million dollars that this company provides its direct employees, and $ 27 million dollars alone to the Town of Waterford. We just passed a budget that saved a lot of towns from drastic property tax increases and a potential to dissolve into other towns and things like that.

This -- not passing this bill could effectively do that to the Town of Waterford and it would have drastic repercussions all across southeastern Connecticut. And I talk to people in southeastern Connecticut all the time and they always seem to feel forgotten by the people up here, by legislators up here. And that's shame because southeastern Connecticut, in my opinion, I know I represent a district there, is the greatest place in the state, one of the greatest places on earth. And, you know, aside from the jobs, we also have to think about the environment. And Millstone isn't struggling in this energy market necessarily because of renewables. I'm a huge supporter of renewables. I think we should get to 100 percent as quickly as we can. We can't do it, though, without a carbon-free power to get us to bridge that gap. It's still a long ways down the road and the technology is still a long ways down the road to get us to get to 100 percent renewable. But the problem is, is Millstone is in this position because of an abundance of natural gas due to the development and continued development of fracking technology.

Now, we had a bill here to ban fracking waste, which I was a strong supporter of. I don't like fracking. I don't like natural gas. I wish we could get away from that. It's bad for the economy. It's causing climate change, and we really need to move away from that. And Millstone is a partner in that. It's not the only answer. It's a partner in that to get us to that renewable goal. So as I've said, this amendment will effectively do a great deal of harm to the people of the state in southeastern Connecticut, whether you're from North Stonington, Stonington or Old Lyme or Old Saybrook. And I'm not economist, but that's not good. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Reed, would you like to comment on House Amendment "A" now?

REP. REED (102ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, yes, just briefly. You know, I think it's an enormous myth that we bring in companies and that they open up their books and we look at all their books. We don't look at these. We don't see the books of NRG or Calpine or DNRG or Hydro-Quebec, a foreign company that's selling us a lot of electricity. We don't see these books. And so it's -- this is a -- this -- I'm opposed to this amendment. I should say that. This is a distraction. Already Dominion has agreed to sit down with PURA and DEEP and to talk about where they are economically, but this doesn't become -- this is proprietary information. This is the kind of thing that competitors need to keep, you know, in correct venues and not just blow it out all over the place without it being, you know, people making sure that they're taking care of it and not abusing it and not misusing it and giving competitors an edge, all those things. We do this all the time with companies. Connecticut Innovations, when they are talking to private companies to get grants or competing for grants, they will sit down with the Connecticut Innovations team and they will talk about what their books are and it's very proprietary. They can't throw it out there into the general public. It has to be kept at close range, but they use it in their decision making. And that's exactly what's going to happen, if it happens, if we approve the analytics and the findings and allow this to go ahead. That is exactly what will happen with PURA and DEEP. They're having -- actually, they're making plans right now, Dominion, to meet with PURA and DEEP. So again, I'm opposed to this amendment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Will you remark further on House Amendment "A"? Will you remark further on House Amendment "A"? If not, will staff and guests please come to the well of the House? Will members please take your seats? The machine will be opened. (Bell)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

House Amendment “A”,

Total number Voting 142

Necessary for Passage 70

Those voting Yea 55

Those voting Nay 87

Those absent and not Voting 9

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

House Amendment "A" fails. (Gavel) The House will return to the call of Senate Bill 1501. Is there a comment or questioning on Senate Bill 1501? Is there further comment on Senate Bill 1501? Seeing none, staff and guests -- Representative Urban of the 43rd, ma'am, you have the floor.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is on the bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Yes, ma'am.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, sir. Mr. Speaker, I find it a little ironic that in this budget we just cut green alternative energy initiatives that were funded by the ratepayer, enacted as a strong incentive for job creation in that industry, and now we're looking to allow nuclear power to compete for class I renewables. The nuclear power industry already has a huge market advantage and I'm just going to briefly give you some useful data that is rarely heard.

We started the nuclear power industry under something called Atoms for Peace, if everybody remembers the atom bomb, and it was to boost homegrown energy and showcase the peaceful use of nuclear power, which had previously only been used for war. I think people here might remember some of that when we talked about pennies per kilowatt. But the industry was afraid of initially the liability in the case of an accident. And because of that fear, Congress passed something called the Price-Anderson Act. That Price-Anderson Act limited capped liability in the case of a nuclear accident. And I will quote from that Act. It says that "Federal and State -- listen to what I am saying. "Federal and State Governments wills step in and cover bodily injury, sickness, disease, resulting death, property damage and loss, as well as reasonable living expenses for individuals evacuated in the event of a disaster. " That law capped liability at $ 12. 6 billion dollars. That was back in '50s. In 1982, the Sandia National Lab, commissioned by the NRC, looked at that cap again and realized that it would be $ 314 billions dollars in the case of a catastrophic accident. In today's dollars, that is $ 720 billion dollars. So that act has created a cap which I would submit to you gives the nuclear industry already a huge advantage in the energy market. And we are now contemplating giving them another advantage and allowing them to compete with alternative energy sources.

The state government has a report due in in February 2018. Secretary Perry of the Energy Committee -- Commission in the federal government is looking at ways to give nuclear industry an incentive. So I would submit to you today that we do not need to do this. I actually have an amendment, but I will not call it. I just wanted to have the opportunity to remind people that if there is a nuclear power accident, federal and state money, they're the ones that are gonna cover that, up to $ 12. 6 billion dollars. Those accidents can cost $ 730 billion dollars. That is a market advantage. They have a market advantage. We need to let them compete. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, madam. Representative Tercyak, you have the floor.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I was hoping to call an amendment. If there are other people who want to speak on the bill and you want me to wait, that would be fine, or I could do the amendment now.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Tercyak, you have the floor, sir.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much. This is a horrible bill, folks. It's a straight up subsidy. It's not good for our constituents. You've heard the potential for costs here. We're being told jobs, jobs, jobs because we're just supposed to fall down and genuflect when somebody says jobs, jobs, jobs. We're being told this is good for pollution, but as long as we ignore that the byproduct of this, the waste of this kind of power, has to be watched for 10,000 years. But we'll saddle on ours. It's okay. We're not gonna call that a subsidy. But still, we're -- in this bill, as it's written now, we give up our right to say yes or no to the -- any increases in rates that are proposed by DEEP. My amendment is simple. Just like we earlier today decided that the only right thing to do with employee contacts is to have a vote on the record. We should do that with this too. Let's have a vote. The amendment --

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Yes, sir?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Tercyak, I believe we need to first call -- have the Clerk call the amendment, and then we can move to summarize or have an opinion on that. So --

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you, sir. I still get that wrong after all these years.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

So, will the Clerk please call LCO No. 10101? It will be designated House Amendment "B".

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much.

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule "B", LCO No. 10101, offered by Representative Tercyak.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you. Representative Tercyak, would you like to summarize the amendment, sir?

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Yes I would, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

And then proceed for move for adoption.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Yes. I would like when we have a vote on this for it to be by roll call please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question before the Chamber is a roll call vote on the amendment. All those in favor of a roll call vote on the amendment signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVE:

Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

When the vote is taken, it will be taken by roll. Please proceed, Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much. I've already -- Mr. Speaker, I've already mentioned some of the things that I don't like about this bill, but my amendment is a simple one. In the way that we decided earlier today that the only fair thing to do is for us to stand up and be counted when it comes to being responsible for money. When we said every state employee contact will now not just go into -- will now not just have a period for us to turn it down, but we will have to actively and affirmatively pass it. We should make Millstone -- should we be silly enough to pass this bill otherwise, we should make sure that they follow those same rules. It was good for them. It'll be difficult for us. It's the same deal. I hope everybody will vote for my amendment. It's just that simple. Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative Tercyak. Representative Winkler of the 56th, did you want to comment on the amendment? But before you do that, Representative Tercyak, I believe we need you to move adoption of the amendment, sir.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I'll volunteer to keep standing here until we're sure I've done everything right. I appreciate your help. And I move adoption of this amendment. Thank you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Winkler of the 56th, do you wish to comment on House Amendment "B"?

REP. WINKLER (56TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. WINKLER (56TH):

For over 40 years, this Legislature showed a lack of intestinal fortitude. We allowed state employee contracts to go into effect without a vote. We should vote on state employee contracts. Now we're being asked to allow a major change in our electric rates to go through without a vote. If the bill - -the underlying bill would allow -- would allow the appraisal to go through if we did nothing. All the amendment does is say that we will vote on the bill. We will vote to accept or reject the appraisal. We will not let it go through by doing nothing, the way we used to do with contracts, until the vote today. It is irresponsible to dodge votes on issues. Please vote yes on this amendment and be responsible. Vote to accept or reject the appraisal. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on House Amendment "B"? Will you remark further on House Amendment "B"? If not, will staff and guests please come to the well of the House? Will members please take your seats? The machine will be opened. (Bell)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

House Amendment Schedule “B”,

Total number Voting 140

Necessary for Passage 71

Those voting Yea 53

Those voting Nay 87

Those absent and not Voting 11

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

House Amendment "B" fails. (Gavel) The Chamber will return to debate on Senate Bill No. 1501. Any comments or questions on Senate Bill 1501? Representative Elliott of the 88th, sir, you have the floor.

REP. ELLIOTT (88TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. What is the cost of this bill to the General Fund?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed, please prepare yourself. Representative Reed, did you hear the question before the Chamber -- before you?

REP. REED (102ND):

Yes I did, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed.

REP. REED (102ND):

The process will be paid for. The process that might be initiated finding -- after the findings are accepted by the General Assembly. If that happens, that process will be paid for by the nuclear company that is involved in the process. Not from the General Fund.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Elliott.

REP. ELLIOTT (88TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the proponent of the bill. Does this bill have anything to do with the state budget?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. No it does not. And as a matter of fact, that was something that all of us who really believed in this bill wanted to make sure did not happen. We did not want it to show up in an implementer. We did not want to have any -- it to appear sneaky or that there were ulterior motives. We wanted to bring it before our colleagues, have a debate, have a debate again -- if this indeed bill is passed and the findings are brought to us in February, have a debate again. We want to make sure that our colleagues are very engaged in the process.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Representative Elliott.

REP. ELLIOTT (88TH):

That's all, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Will you comment further on the bill before us, Senate Bill 1501? Will you comment further on the bill before us? If not, will staff and guests please come to the well of the House? Will members please take your seats? The machine will be opened. (Bell)

CLERK:

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

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

CLERK:

Emergency Certification 1501 as amended by Senate "A" in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 141

Necessary for Passage 71

Those voting Yea 75

Those voting Nay 66

Those absent and not Voting 10

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

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

Any announcement or Journal notations? Any announcements or Journal notations? But before we do that, the Chamber will recognize Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move that we immediately transmit Emergency Certified Bill 1501 and 1502 to the Governor.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Is there objection? Is there objection? Seeing none, so ordered. Journal notations? Representative Santiago, you have the floor for a Journal Notation.

REP. SANTIAGO (130TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For Journal notations we have Kelly Juleson-Scorpino, Representative, she was out ill. Business in the district is -- business out of the district -- in the district, I'm sorry, Representative Ritter and Representative Joe Aresimowicz, Representative D'Agostino, Representative Fleischmann, Representative Hall and Representative Gresko. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Betts, for a Journal notation, sir.

REP. BETTS (78TH):

Good afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the purpose of a Journal notation?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Please proceed, sir. Representative O'Neill was out of state testifying before the U. S. Senate today, and Representative LeGeyt missed votes due to illness. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Albis.

REP. ALBIS (99TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There being no further business on the Clerk's desk, I move that we adjourn, subject to the Call of the Chair.

DEPUTY SPEAKER BERGER (73RD):

The question before the Chamber is adjournment, subject to the Call of the Chair. The Chamber will adjourn, subject to the Call of the Chair. (Gavel)

(On motion of Representative Albis of the 99th District, the House adjourned at 3: 04 o'clock p. m. , sine die. )

CERTIFICATE

I hereby certify that the foregoing 229 pages is a complete and accurate transcription of a digital sound recording of the House Proceedings on October 26, 2017.

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

________________________

Alpha Transcription

3244 Ridge View Ct 104

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