THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 12: 30 o'clock p. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel) Will the House please come to order? Will the members, staff and guest please rise and direct your attention to the dais, where my very good friend, Representative Floren, will lead us in prayer.

GUEST CHAPLAIN FLOREN:

Let us pray. Heavenly Father, this is a day that You have made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it. Bless our Legislators as they gather to labor in the best interests of the people of this State. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Would Representative Peter Tercyak of the 26th District please come to the dais to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance?

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

(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):

Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker, there's communications from the Secretary of the State, the Governor's veto message.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk. Are there any announcements or introductions? It's good to see Representative Guerra has come to the Chamber. I'm sure he might want to make some sort of announcement. My good friend, Representative Guerra of the 29th District, for what purpose do you rise, sir?

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

Well, good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. It's very nice to see you this afternoon and I have some great news, maybe not so great for you, Mr. Speaker, but for the members of this Chamber, in case you didn't know, Berlin, which was undefeated Friday and so was the Town of Rocky Hill, beat Berlin in the football game!

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

(Gavel) I'm gonna rule you out of order, Representative. (Laughter) Please continue.

REP. GUERRERA (29TH):

And therefore -- and therefore, Mr. Speaker, we had a gentlemen's bet, which I'm sure you will definitely pay up, without a doubt. So therefore, I look forward to seeing you at Max's at your expense. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Laughter)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, Representative Guerra. It was a very good game and that is a talented Rocky Hill team. Are there any other announcements or introductions? Mr. Clerk, I'm sending it back to you for a moment. It's my understanding you want to waive the reading of the Governor's veto message and just enter it into the record?

MR. CLERK:

Emergency Certification, Senate Bill No. 1503. Communication from the Secretary of the State, Governor's veto message.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Majority Leader from the 1st District, sir, you have the floor.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Good afternoon.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

I move that the reading of the veto message be waived and that it be ordered printed in the Journal.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

So ordered. Any other announcements or introductions? Will the Clerk please call -- Representative Ritter of the 1st District, for what purposes do you rise, sir?

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And if we could just have a little quiet in the Chamber. I know we're trying to get out of here quickly today, and we will, but we're gonna do a moment of silence. So if the Chamber could just, for a few seconds, hold conversations or take them outside please. One of our colleagues, Representative Bruce Morris, who is stuck in traffic in a very bad way on his way up here, and we were just talking on the phone and he did ask that we go forward and really said, you know, while everybody's in the Chamber, he thought it was the right time to do it as opposed to waiting until maybe after the vote. Representative Morris lost his father this past week, and for many of you who know the family's longtime service to the State of Connecticut is incredible, and Bruce has only carried on the tradition of his father. But Bruce's father was a Deputy Speaker. He served in the U. S. Army. He was a State Senator. He served as Governor Weicker's Public Works Commissioner and had -- clearly had an impact on his son, who ended up being here. But for those served with him, and there are some of us in this Chamber who did, I think everybody says the same thing, just what a wonderful man, what a dedicated public servant who did so many different things throughout his career. You think about being a Commissioner and a Senator and a House Member and a Deputy Speaker. It really is a remarkable and varied career. So, we're gonna do something more formal next year, obviously, and we'll make sure that hopefully Bruce, the traffic's not so bad for him on that day, obviously. But we did want to go forward, with his permission, to do a moment of silence today, knowing that we'll do something for formal next year, and send our condolences to the entire Morris family and to the city of Norwalk.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Majority Leader. If we all could please rise and observe a moment of silence for the passing of Bruce Morris' father, former Representative Morris himself. (Silence in the Chamber) (Gavel) Thank you. Will the Clerk please call Emergency Certified Senate Bill 1503?

CLERK:

Emergency Certification Senate Bill No. 1503 - AN ACT MAKING MINOR AND TECHNICAL CHANGES TO THE STATE BUDGET IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2019.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Walker, it's so good to see you back in the Chamber. Madam, you have the floor.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move passage of Emergency Certified Bill 1503.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move passage.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Hearing none, members please take your seats. The machine will be -- oh -- Representative Winkler of the 56th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. WINKLER (56TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to talk for a minute about the handling of the Renter's Rebate Program. I am grateful that the economically disadvantaged, elderly and poor will be receiving the same amount in their benefits and I'm grateful that we're moving away from the towns being 100 percent responsible from the program. But we're still dropping $ 8. 5 million dollars on towns that are four and a half months into their budget. My Town of Vernon is going to have to pay $ 144 thousand dollars. That doesn't seem like much, but in Vernon we budget very tightly. We deliberately underfund line items, know that somehow we won't have to spend money or we won't be able to spend money in some other account.

We discuss heatedly budget expenditures of less than $ 1,000 dollars, and this is $ 144 thousand dollars. To get the money, OPM is going to claw back from grants we give the towns the money they need to fund half the Renter's Rebate Program. That means that towns will never know how much money they actually have in any of these line items because OPM has no direction from us whatsoever about what accounts to pull the money from, what grants to pull the money from. And accounting will become very complex in a situation where things change on the fly. I know we want to get out of here. I know that if we don't get out of here today, Channel 3 will keep its clocking counting because it's good television to ridicule the Chamber. But the budget crisis is over. This is housekeeping and we could do the housekeeping correctly if we wanted to.

I also know that the Senate would have to come back into session if we changed anything in this bill. And I want everybody to know I'm giving that exactly the amount of consideration it deserves. So I'm going to vote against this, because allowing OPM to claw back $ 8. 5 million dollars from grants to the towns is a bad precedent to set. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Johnson of the 49th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. JOHNSON (49TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I just want to say that I agree with my colleague here and I am very, very concerned about the fact that districts like mine, districts like my colleague's here are gonna be paying a lot more for Renter's Rebate than the rest of the state. Proportionately, we pay more. We have, in my district, the highest percentage of public housing and subsidized housing than any other place in this state on a per capita basis than Hartford. So we are going to have a situation where we're one of the poorest districts.

We provide services to Eastern Connecticut State University in terms of fire service. We provide services in terms of student housing that's off campus. We provide services to the entire region. There's no other place in eastern Connecticut that has more public housing than Willmantic and Windham. And so for that, I am quite upset by the fact that we don't have a proportional cost sharing going on here. Having it capped at $ 250 thousand dollars creates a situation where my district has to pay proportionately more than any please else, perhaps, in the state. So I am registering my disagreement with this. I hope to work with my colleagues here in the House next session to remedy this situation. And for those reasons, I will vote in the affirmative, but if we don't do something about this, you won't have my vote next time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Ziobron of the 34th District, you have the floor, madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon. I wasn't planning on getting up and speaking today and had a very good conversation with the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee about some of the concerns of this deal. But after hearing some of the comments from my colleagues just now, I have no choice but to get up. Making statements in this Chamber that the budget crisis is over is not true. We know that the budget we just passed has out-year deficits of over $ 4 billion dollars. Tough choices were made in order for us to close this deficit of $ 5 billion dollars, and certainly the Renter's Rebate Program was one of them. But just one, out of dozens and dozens of cuts, like the Medicare Savings Program and other issues. But the reality that my colleagues and I on both sides of the aisle will be facing in the next session will still be dealing with this budget, because we're in deficit right now according to the revenue consensus numbers.

So, Mr. Speaker, I take my role very seriously. I want to make sure that my colleagues on this side of the aisle know that we have more tough decisions to make and we're gonna do that together. But let's be honest about the fiscal climate of this state. And to make a statement in this Chamber that our fiscal crisis is over is not accurate, Mr. Speaker. I look forward to working with you and leadership as we try to solve the problems of our future. Because it's gonna take all of us, all hands on deck, to prioritize taxpayer spending. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will staff and guests please come to the well of the House? Members 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.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill No. 1503 in concurrence with the Senate,

Total number Voting 135

Necessary for Passage 68

Those voting Yea 123

Those voting Nay 12

Those absent and not Voting 15

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

We've been in a lot this session, so I've assisted the -- requested the help of my assistant to bang the gavel. (Gavel) The bill passes. (Applause) Representative Ritter of the 1st District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that we immediately transmit Senate Bill 1503 to the Governor.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Without objection, so ordered. Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Slap of the 19th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. SLAP (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Who would've thought when Avon Middle School booked its trip to the Capitol for this day in November that they would be here witnessing the budget finally being passed. So there at least is some good that came from this, at least for the Avon middle schoolers, who I want you all to join me and my good friend and colleague, Representative Tim Legeyt, also representing Avon, welcoming the middle schoolers here who are up in the gallery. So, welcome to all of you. (Applause)

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

If we could welcome the Avon High School to the gallery. (Applause)

REP. SLAP (19TH):

Absolutely. Thank you very much. We're thrilled that you're here. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just like to make an announcement to the --

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH): (Gavel)

REP. MCCARTY (38TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'd just like to make an announcement to the Chamber that the Internship Program is in effect now. We would like you to be aware that you have until November 24th, Friday, to submit a request for an intern this year. As you know, this is a very valuable program. There are some 90 students that have received -- shown an interest in the program from 26 different schools this year. And so it's just a reminder to please get your requests in. We have a great program director in Lisa Roy, who is standing next to me here. You can ask her any of the particular details that you need to know. And as a quick reminder, last year, our interns gave over $ 280 thousand dollars worth of service to the state. And I think it was a very wonderful program for both legislators and interns. So, I'm encouraging you to please submit your applications and to contact Lisa with additional information. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

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

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. For an announcement.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed.

REP. GODFREY (110TH):

The Legislature is being televised by the so-called Connecticut Television Network today. And my announcement is, it's fraudulent. CTN for almost 20 years was produced by an independent outside nonprofit organization and they've been done away with. And this has been brought in-house. So we've gone from a transparency of news worthiness schedule to a political propaganda run by staff. I could go on for -- there's been too much staff moving in on legislative intent. But I intend to file legislation, because we can do this beginning now, to either restore it or do away with it, because it's just a travesty as it stands now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Any other announcements or introductions? Seeing none, Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, I move to adjourn this special session sine die.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

So ordered. (Gavel) (Applause)

(On motion of Representative Ritter of the 1st District, the House adjourned at 1: 13 o'clock p. m. , sine die. )

CERTIFICATE

I hereby certify that the foregoing 18 pages is a complete and accurate transcription of a digital sound recording of the House Proceedings on Wednesday, November 15, 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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