CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Senate was called to order at 10: 18 a. m. , by the Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

(Gavel) Good morning. By the power vested in me, by Connecticut General Statute, Section 2-1, I Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State, acting as President of the Senate, call to order the 2017 Senate of the Connecticut General Assembly. Let us now join together for prayer, led by Rabbi Lazowski.

RABBI PHILIP LAZOWSKI:

Happy New Year to you all. I want to take this opportunity to welcome all of the newly elected Senators and to welcome back the re-elected Senators to the circle, and wish you and your families much health and happiness.

This year we are witnessing history:  This year's Senate of the State of Connecticut is perfectly balanced between the two major political parties.  In 125 years, this has not occurred:  18 and 18.  And this places the Lieutenant Governor in a position to great responsibility, to cast a vote to break the tie.

I just want to tell you that, from my perspective as a Rabbi, the number 18 is a very good number.  It's called chai which means life.  And 18 and 18 is called double chai which represents good life and a full life. Our thought today is from Deuteronomy 30: 19, “Choose life.

Let us pray.  May the Creator of us all bless this Senate to fulfill the promise of 18, chai –life. Help them, O God, to legislate in a spirit of cooperation, and to create a good life with all the people constantly in mind.  

When they do not agree, guide the Lieutenant Governor to exercise her deciding vote with wisdom and good conscience for the good of all the people of Connecticut. Help them, O source of peace, to find common ground and to gather in a true spirit of friendship, mutual respect, and honor.   Help our Senators to rise to the highest level of ethics and responsibility in the fulfillment of their duties.  

Bless this Senate, our Governor, our Lieutenant Governor, the State government, and all of our inhabitants with Your spirit.   Grant us courage and good will, and integrity, and bless our brave military who protect our country.  May God bless all their efforts with success; hear us as we pray and to this, let us all say, Amen.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Thank you, Rabbi Lazowski. Now please direct your attention to our nation's flag for the Pledge of Allegiance.

SENATORS:

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.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Thank you very much. You may be seated -- those of you who have seats. I will now call the roll of the Senate and I would ask that you please speak up if you are present. John W. Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

District 2 vacant. Timothy D.  Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Steve Cassano

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Beth Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Terry Bielinski Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

John Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Kevin Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Paul R.  Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Gary A.  Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Martin M.  Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Edward Kennedy, Jr.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Len Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Gayle Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Joan V.  Hartley

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Joe Markley.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

George Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Heather Somers.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Catherine A.  Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Paul M.  Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Kevin C.  Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Marilyn V.  Moore.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Ed Gomes.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Michael A.  McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Bob Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Toni Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Carlo Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Tony Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Mae Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Craig A.  Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Henri Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

District 32 vacant. Art Linares.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Len Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Tony Guglielmo.

SENATOR GUGLIELMO (35TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

L.  Scott Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Here.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Thank you. Now if you will please raise your right hands for the oath of office.

You do solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut so long as you continue a citizen thereof and that you will faithfully discharge according to the law, the duties of the office of Senator to the best of your abilities so help you God.

SENATORS:

I do.

SECRETARY MERRILL:

Congratulations, you are now sworn in. [Laughter] [Applause] [Cheers]

And I also offer my sincere congratulations to all of you, especially the new members of the chamber. You're in for a wonderful experience and God go with you.

So I would now welcome to the dais, my wonderful friend and the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Connecticut, Nancy Wyman.

(The President in the Chair)

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Okay, now sit down. Sit down, sit down. That's enough. Thank you. Sit. Okay. Thank you very much.

Secretary Merrill, thank you very, very much. Sorry we kept you waiting but now you'll know. We do still run on Senate time.

It is great to be back here with everybody and I'm so thrilled. So at this time, we already have the -- we're figuring out what we're supposed to be doing. We got that taken care of and you're all sworn in, so that's great.

But I am going to -- as the Rabbi mentioned -- some group of people that I think we should be paying -- giving our thanks for and so I'd ask you to join me in a moment of silence to honor and remember our military men and women and their families. They are the very foundation of our democracy and their duty and commitment continues to sustain us here in Connecticut and across the country.

If you're able to stand, if you'd please stand for a moment of silence.

Thank you all very much. Hope everyone had a happy holidays and I want to wish you and your families a happy and healthy new year. We have some really very good news to celebrate today. All of your being elected but we have some good things that happened in the Senate that I want to talk about first, and one is Senator Looney, your health made us just a little bit nervous this past year. It's so great to see you here today. We are all thankful that your surgery went well and I know there's a gentleman here and I don't know where he is but -- that I want to thank. A man who truly gave part of his body to help Senator Looney and that's Superior Court Judge Brian Fischer. So thank you. [Applause]

What a tremendous act of selflessness and it's not because you wanted to be a judge. You still were going to be judge anyway, sir. [Laughter] And remember, Senator Looney's still not feeling well, so we have to be nice to him. I'm trying, Marty. Anything I can.

And of course, I do have to also say, we -- you don't usually hear this very much but Senator Looney's Deputy Chief of Staff, Courtney Cullinan Grasso is also a recipient of a new kidney and we are so happy to report that she's here, back, working and feeling great. Welcome back and congratulations. [Applause]

Now, I also have to say that we have an addition, we have a new grandfather that's sitting in the chamber today and yeah, he's a first grandchild born to Senator Len Fasano. [Applause]

Len, we congratulate you and your family on your first grandchild and I'm really looking forward to meeting Griffin and I do hope that you'd bring him up here so I can hold him because everybody needs a Jewish mother -- grandmother, so I'd love to get him in here. Congratulations to you. That was some Christmas present that you got this year. That's great.

I want to welcome back the leaders of course. Senator Looney as I said, Senator Fasano, of course. Senate Majority leader, Bob Duff, and our new Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore, Kevin Witkos. Now that's a mouthful. I can't wait to see that on the sign, Kevin, but -- really is great. I did hear another rumor the other day, I just bring it out to you and congratulate Senator Art Linares.

Congratulations on your engagement. [Applause] Of course, if you don't know it, he is engaged to Democratic State Representative Caroline Simmons. If we can't get you one way, we'll get you another way. [Laughter] You know, I just wanted to take also, a special moment to say hello and welcome to our three brand new Senators: Senator George Logan and Senator Heather Somers, welcome to our chamber. [Applause]

Of course, I did not forget that we have others. Senator Suzio, welcome back to the chamber. [Applause, cheering] And the next Senator I don't want to forget and I won't forget. It's kind of odd for me that he's kind of new or welcoming back, but it is great to see Senator Craig Miner up here who joins us from the House. Many of us did this before. He has 16 years of service. Welcome to the Senate circle, sir. Thank you. [Applause]

You know, those of you returning, congratulations to all of you. To me, this circle truly is a family and it's great to be together again. Congratulations to all of you for the hard work, you know? The Rabbi talks about and the newspapers talk about it, that this is the first time since 1893 that the Connecticut State Senate is evenly controlled by Republicans and Democrats. We've been called, divided and split. Rumor is that I'm going to have to break tie after tie.

I'm urging all of you to help me show the people of Connecticut that what we actually do here, much more often than not, is work together. Our constituents should know that we listen to each other and while we do not always agree, the majority of the bills that come out of the state Senate have always been bipartisan. [Applause]

My breaking a tie vote news is only because it happens so infrequently and I hope that continues. Democrat or Republican, in this chamber we come together to work for the people of Connecticut and for the better future of our children and our grandchildren and I'd like us to start this term focused on unity, not on division.

We face a budget -- a difficult budget year. It requires commitments from all public officials at all levels of government to make hard choices and find sustainable solutions but that's what the people elected us to do.

As we begin this work, it helps to remember that what we've been able to accomplish when we work together. Recently, the United Health Foundation rated Connecticut the third healthiest state in the nation. 24/7 Wall St. ranked us the second best state to live in because of low crime rate and social -- strong social and economic climate. These numbers and others reflect our joint commitment to the residents that we serve.

What's true for all of us is we want to do the best for the people that we represent, the state we love, and the future that we all share. So thank you for letting me be part of your circle again. I look forward to a very successful session. God bless you all and I want to thank your families for being here for the support that you've given to all of the elected officials. We know that we couldn't do it without all of you. So let's give a round of applause to your families. [Applause]

Okay. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President and good morning and good morning to my colleagues. I believe now our Senate President will elect our Senate Clerk.

THE CHAIR:

Will you place the name of Garey Coleman on the record, sir? Oh, I'm sorry. Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President --

THE CHAIR:

Welcome.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Madam President, it's my pleasure to place in nomination for the position of Senate Clerk, the name of Garey Coleman, who has performed admirably in that position for a number of years. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Are there any other comments? Are there any other comments? If not, I declare that the nominations be closed.

The Senate Clerk is elected by acclamation and Garey, congratulations and if you'll stand up here. There we go. [Applause] Wave. Put your right hand up. Do you solemnly swear or solemnly and sincerely affirm, as the case may be, that you will faithfully discharge according to law, your duties as Senate Clerk to the best of your abilities, so help you God or upon penalty of perjury?

CLERK:

I do.

THE CHAIR:

Congratulations. [Applause]

Senate Clerk, I'm going to call on you to -- okay, never mind. I'm not calling on you then. [Laughter] At this time, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, now that we have a Clerk, does the Clerk have any business on his desk?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

A little slow on the trigger this morning. Clerk is in possession of Senate Agenda Number 1. It's dated Wednesday, January 4, 2017. It's been duplicated and should be on Senators' desks.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move all items on Senate Agenda Number 1 to be acted upon as indicated and that the agenda be incorporated by reference into the Senate Journal and Senate transcript.

Madam President, does Clerk have Senate Agenda Number 2 on his desk?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Yes, I have Senate Agenda Number 2, also dated Wednesday, January 4, 2017.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move that all items on Senate Agenda Number 2 be acted upon as indicated and that the agenda be incorporated by reference into the Senate Journal and the Senate transcript.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on adoption. I will try your minds. All those in favor, please say aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The ayes have it. The resolutions are now adopted by voice vote. (Gavel) Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Will the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution Number 1.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution Number 1, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE JOINT RULES OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. LCO Number 887, introduced by Senators Looney, Fasano, Duff, Witkos, Respresentatives Aresimowicz, Ritter, and Klarides.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the -- there are obviously some changes this year in our joint rules reflecting new leadership titles, that we have the Deputy Senate President Pro Tempore as added as an ex-officio non-voting member of all committees. We also have other rules that say the House Chairperson and at least one Senate Chairperson shall jointly call organizational meetings, jointly schedule committee meetings, announce committee meetings, and that each committee bill or resolution, raised bill or resolution or favorable report shall be signed by the House chairperson and at least one of the Senate chairpersons, so reflecting in our joint rules our 18 to 18 split, and the fact that we have amicably come to a resolution on that and reflecting that in our joint rules here, today. Madam President, I urge adoption.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on adoption. I will try your minds then. All in favor please say, aye.


SENATORS
:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The resolution is adopted by voice vote. (Gavel) Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution Number 2.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution Number 2, RESOLUTION CONCERNING PUBLICATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN, PRINTING OF BILLS AND THE EXPENSES OF THE 2017 SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. LCO Number 883, introduced by Senators Duff and Fasano and Representative Ritter.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, these are actual boiler plate -- this is a boiler plate resolution and it's pretty self-explanatory in the title. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. The question is on adoption. I will try your minds. All those in favor please say, aye.


SENATORS
:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The motion carries and is adopted -- Senate -- Resolution is adopted. (Gavel) Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Oh, I ask for immediate transmittal of the Joint Resolutions to the House of Representatives.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the Clerk now please call Senate Resolution Number 1.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution Number 1, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE RULES OF THE SENATE. LCO Number 871, introduced by Senators Looney, Fasano, Duff, and Witkos.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, again, as in our Joint rules reflecting the changes in the Senate, this term in the -- some of the key rule changes are leadership titles, obviously we have the President Pro Tem. in the Constitution, we have the new title of Senate Republican President Pro Tem. , Senate Majority Leader, Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tem. , there shall be an equal number of Republican and Democratic Senators appointed to each standing committee. Each standing committee will have a Senate Democratic Chairperson and Vice Chairperson and a Senate Republican Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, and Judiciary Committee shall not have more than 11 Senators and Appropriations and Finance shall consist of not more than 13. I would urge adoption of the resolution.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on adoption. I'll try your minds again. All in favor, please say aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.


THE CHAIR
:

Opposed? The resolution is adopted by voice vote. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the clerk please now call Senate Resolution Number 5.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution Number 5, RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATIONS OF REVEREND JAMES NOCK OF EAST HARTFORD AS CHAPLAIN OF THE SENATE AND RABBI PHILIP LAZOWSKI OF BLOOMFIELD, REVEREND BONITA GRUBBS OF NEW HAVEN AND MONSIGNOR GERARD G.  SCHMITZ OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF HARTFORD AS DEPUTY CHAPLAINS OF THE SENATE. LCO Number 878, introduced by Senators Duff and Fasano.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the resolution is self-explanatory and I would urge adoption.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on adoption. I will try your minds. All those in favor, please say aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.


THE CHAIR
:

You're getting weaker. This only begun, you guys. All in favor?

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Anybody opposed? If not, the ayes have it and the resolution is adopted by voice vote. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the clerk now call Senate Resolution Number 3.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution Number 3, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PRINTING OF THE SENATE JOURNAL. LCO Number 880, introduced by Senators Duff and Fasano.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Duff
.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, this is a boiler plate resolution. Pretty standard. I would urge adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Question is on adoption. I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please do say aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Oh my God. This is going to be some year. [Laughter] Those opposed, please say aye -- or say, opposed or whatever, it doesn't matter. Okay, the ayes have it. Resolution is adopted by voice vote. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'll put a little more heart into this one. Would the Clerk please call Senate Resolution Number 4.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution Number 4, RESOLUTION CONCERNING ROLL CALL AND READING OF THE SENATE JOURNAL. LCO Number 879, introduced by Senators Duff and Fasano.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Madam President, this is a really wonderful resolution that should be adopted unanimously by this body.

THE CHAIR:

We'll try.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

It's - and enthusiastically, it's a resolution concerning the roll call and reading of the Senate Journal, very important for our duties every day over the next term. I would urge enthusiastic adoption of this resolution, please.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on an enthusiastic adoption. All -- I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please say, aye.

SENATORS:


Aye
.

THE CHAIR:

There you go. Opposed? The ayes have it and the resolution is adopted by voice vote. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the Clerk please call Senate Resolution Number 2, which is actually a very important resolution.

THE CHAIR:

[Laughing] It sure is, to you guys. Senator -- Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution Number 2, RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE ON CANVASS OF VOTES FOR STATE SENATORS. LCO Number 882, introduced by Senators Duff and Fasano.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Duff
.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption and would ask the Clerk to read the contents of the resolution.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE ON CANVASS OF VOTES FOR STATE SENATORS resolved by the Senate that a committee consisting of three Senators be appointed for the purpose of examining and reporting upon the Canvass and return of votes for Senators.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I would ask for a voice vote.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on adoption. I will try your minds. All those in favor, please say aye.


SENATORS
:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Just saying that you guys are all going to be elected. That's -- that gets them excited. Okay, anybody opposed? The ayes have it or the resolution is adopted by voice vote.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and I believe you're going to be appointing four members to the committee.

THE CHAIR:

At this time, I appoint Senators Hartley, Casano, Suzio, and Somers to the Committee. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, it's now time to elect the -- the leaders of the Senate and it is my honor to place the name -- nomination of Senator Martin Looney as Senate President over the next Biennium, the next term -- as was said earlier, we're -- we're very fortunate to have Senator Looney in this chamber for a number of reasons.

One is that he is a stalwart of this -- of this body and a stalwart of the legislature, someone who brings depth and passion and just a tremendous sense of history to the Senate. I think someone who most all of us could view as a fair and someone who when you looked him in the eye and shake his hand, you know that his word is his bond. Someone that is really just a remarkable, a humble, and a kind man as well, someone who represents his district with pride and grace and this great feeling of resolution -- resolute, and someone who is, I am proud and honored to call a friend as well. I don't -- I couldn't imagine this chamber today not having Senator Looney here with us and I'm so proud and pleased that he's here along with his family, so Madam President, it is my honor to place the name of nomination for Senate President Pro Tem. of Martin Looney.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano, Grandpa.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, it is my honor to second the nomination of Senator Looney for Senate Pro Tem. Madam President, Senator Looney and I have a relationship that dates back before we got involved in politics. Ones of friendship, both being lawyers in New Haven. We have known each other a long time, along with his law partner, Jack Keyes, Judge Keyes, who's here and even Brian Fischer, I've known for extraordinary long time and what you may not know is Brian is a great athlete, Marty with that kidney, I'm sure you'll be doing jump shots and playing tennis and -- [Laughter] and the basketball hoop. But Senator Looney, you know, our relationship was very important when we got to this historic time in the Senate. 1893 is the last time there was a tie and if you look at what other states have done, I think it's the relationship and the trust that Senator Looney and I have had over the years that helped us reach an agreement that I think will move this state forward. So I'm honored and proud to second the nomination of Senator Looney for President Pro Tem.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any other nominations? I declare the nominations closed. The President and Pro Tempore is elected by acclamation and now I ask that Judge Brian Fischer administer the oath of office to Senator Pro Tem. Martin Looney -- joined by Ellen Looney.

JUDGE BRIAN FISCHER:

[Clearing throat] You do solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, so long as you continue a citizen thereof, and that you will faithfully discharge according to law, the duties of the Office of President Pro Tempore of the Senate, to the best of your abilities, so help you God?

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

I do.

JUDGE BRIAN FISCHER:

Congratulations, Senator Looney. [Applause]

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you all very much. I am happy and grateful to be here this morning. In fact, given what I've experienced the last few months, I'm happy and grateful to be anywhere and on my feet, but especially to be here and to have the support of the Democratic Caucus and the good will of the Republican Caucus to serve as President Pro Tem. of our beloved State Senate.

I couldn't begin my remarks today without acknowledging my loving, patient, smart, and beautiful wife Ellen. Words can't do justice to the depths of my love for you and just how lucky I feel to be able to share a life with you. [Applause]

[Clearing throat] To the honorable Judge Brian Fischer and his wonderful wife Katie, your kindness, generosity, and courage are truly awe-inspiring and will allow me to spend more Christmases and New Years with Ellen, our son Michael of whom we're so proud, his wife Becky [phonetic], and our grandchildren, Matthew and Anna Katherine. Thank you for this amazing gift and thank you for being here today. [Applause]

A little bit more about Judge Fischer. Many of you know him but I wanted to mention a couple of things. First of all, he is someone who if he had been born a generation earlier, probably would have been one of the original Mercury astronauts and with the temperament and courage chronicled by Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff. He is exactly that kind of cool, confident, serene person who is matter-of-fact about things that would send other people into a panic. For example, on the day of our surgeries, I called him that morning to wish him well and thank him once again and his wonderful wife Katie answered the phone and she said, "Oh Brian's out at the hardware store running an errand. " This is three hours before he's scheduled to donate a kidney. That's the kind of person that he is. And of course, Katie Fischer is in my mind, a great heroine in her own right because the -- one of the -- the coordinators at the transplant center at Yale said that often volunteer donors change their minds if the spouse is not supportive of that decision, or has severe misgivings about it, so Katie's role in this was absolutely substantial and critical in being so supportive of her husband's decision.

Volunteer live donors like Judge Fischer, like Mayor Dan Drew of Middletown, and former East Haven Mayor April Capone, are the heroes in our midst here today. Additionally, I'd like to thank Dr. Sanjay Kulkarni of the Yale, New Haven Transportation Center -- Transplantation Center for his wonderful care and for joining us today. Thank you, Doctor. [Applause]

My dear friend and law partner [clearing throat], our probate judge, Jack Keyes, reminded me that while this is my -- the beginning of my 19th term in the General Assembly, and 13th term in the State Senate, I have a freshman kidney to start the session with. [Laughter] I want to thank Jack for all of his love and kindness and for -- for being here today as well.

To my Democratic partner, our Senate Majority Leader, Bob Duff, the caucus has come to rely on your sound policy and political analysis and I look forward to that continued partnership and friendship.

To my friend Senator Fasano -- our friendship extends beyond the Senate chamber and the halls of the Capitol and while we may disagree on any number of policies, we have often been able to find common ground on important issues, notably, AN ACT CONCERNING HOSPITALS, INSURERS, AND HEALTHCARE CONSUMERS of the 2015 session that is increasingly seen as a national model on healthcare policy, especially regarding hospital acquisition of physician practices and un-regulation of facility fees. That was a proud bipartisan moment working on that bill and there have been others and there will be more.

And I would also like to acknowledge the presence of a number of my long-time and closest friends, Bill and Natalie Maneele [phonetic]. Bill has been my -- my friend for 55 years, since we were altar boys together at Saint Rose Church in New Haven, and his wife Natalie has been a dear friend for the last 46 years when she and Bill first met and started dating and have a large number of other friends here today, Dr. Leo Cooney [phonetic], Joe and June Patton [phonetic], John Cortmonch [phonetic], Professor Bob Farrell of the Quinnipiac University Law School and I have to mention also, my dear friend, Nick Neely, who has been either my Treasurer or my Campaign Manager in each of my 13 campaigns for the State Senate and is a dear friend, all of that time over the last 24 years, he's been instrumental in helping me to get back here each time.

So that -- all of these dear friends have been up here today, many of them are also close friends of Judge Fischer. So again, I want to thank everyone who has sent me cards and best wishes and it was a great sense of being supported and thought of and being the beneficiary of so many prayers over the last few weeks in particular and it is a great privilege [clearing throat] to address this chamber once again, as the Senate President Pro Tem. Your faith in me reminds me again of the great responsibility we all have to this chamber and to the people of Connecticut.

And speaking of responsibility to the people of Connecticut, there is no one who feels that responsibility greater than our wonderful Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, who as we all know, is a warm and gracious person but also someone who cares deeply about the state and its success. Nancy and I have been friends for 30 years, when she first was elected as a State Representative from Tolland back in 1986 and the 1987 session was her first. We sat near each other in the House and have been very close all during her four terms in the Legislature and her 16 years as State Controller and the last 6 years as Lieutenant Governor. She's a dear friend that came to see me while I was in the hospital and has been calling me every other day since then to just check on me and make sure I'm doing well. That is the kind of warmth and kindness that Nancy always exudes. [clearing throat]

Now this evenly divided chamber should be a place where ideas no matter how ambitious or modest Republican or Democratic should be vigorously discussed in the open. [Coughing] With bipartisan power comes bipartisan responsibility [clearing throat] and accountability. If you have a proposal, bring it to the floor for a vote. Members from both parties should be prepared for this chamber to a place of intense and robust debate where the outcome of votes on legislation is not predetermined.

Let the next two years be a measure of our capacity to put aside our partisan armor and work together to build a better Connecticut, a stronger Connecticut, and a more compassionate Connecticut, where no one is left behind. We must challenge ourselves to harness the innovation and talent overflowing from our Universities and State Colleges to create good jobs that pay well and offer the hope of advancement. We can build a future and a Connecticut that is the place of opportunity for all, not only for the privileged few.

Connecticut is not the only state facing challenges, but in a difficult national economy, we have risen to meet these challenges to build a better Connecticut and move our state forward. In recent years, in Connecticut, our General Assembly has had the courage to raise the minimum wage, enact paid sick leave, [clearing throat] create an earned income tax credit for the working poor, fight for cleaner air and water, bring greater equity to our automobile tax system, enable the largest expansion of prekindergarten in our history, fund job trainings through the Step Up program, and loans and grants of the Small Business Express Program, and we've partnered with our largest employers to keep high quality manufacturing jobs here in Connecticut.

And as we focus on businesses large and small, we must ask ourselves if we are doing enough for middle income families and those who hold two and three low wage jobs, trying to work their way into the middle class. We will also fight back against the tax on women's health, the environment, individual civil rights, and on Connecticut's families. We will not allow the bigotry, cruelty, and reckless character assassination that has turned national politics into a cesspool to undermine our public discourse here in Connecticut.

This could be the year we continue that progress and enact an employee based paid family leave law because everyone should be able to care for a newborn child, a sick family member, or for themselves in the event of an illness without the added stress of a financial hardship.

Strengthen Connecticut's laws against hate crimes in the face of rising incidents of bias, and exempt all social security income from the income tax to help Seniors live financially secure retirements without a financial incentive to leave Connecticut. And we must resist the temptation to sacrifice essential services for short-term savings, and finally, we must recognize that sustained investment in physical infrastructure and human capital rather than across the board retrenchment is the best way to build toward a prosperous future we envision for Connecticut.

There are only 728 days left in this legislative term and no day is guaranteed. We can do this. I just mentioned the number of days in our term because after going through what I've experienced over the last several months, one begins to think a lot about numbers. So please, if you wouldn't mind indulging me, I have an opportunity here to offer a public service announcement.

Currently, there are roughly 120,000 people, nationally, on the transplant waiting list. The wait for a deceased donor could be 5 years. Some states it's closer to 10 years. I'm one of the roughly 16,000 people last year who received a kidney transplant and I'm one of the lucky few -- about 5,000 or so, in any given year, who were able to find a compatible living volunteer donor. The final number I'll provide you is 866-925-3897. That's the number for the Yale, New Haven Transplantation Center. I would encourage anyone who is interested, willing or knows someone in need, to call. Volunteer living donors can provide a literal lifeline to families in need. Thank you for that indulgence.

To our new colleagues, I say welcome to this historic chamber, to my returning colleagues, it is truly a blessing to be here with you today, and finally, a note of thanks to our wonderful staff led by Vinnie [phonetic] Mauro and Courtney Cullinan and Joe Quinn and Joe Rudikoff. They have been superb all the way through, year in and year out, in helping us manage the Institution and also to create quality legislation that the people of Connecticut can be proud of. So let's get to work on a new term. Thanks very much. [Applause]

And now it is my great pleasure, to call to the podium our Republican Senate President Pro Tem. , my friend, Senator Len Fasano. [Applause]

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you very much. It is a pleasure and an honor to stand in front of you at this podium. Governor, Madam Secretary, President Looney, Members of the Senate, honored guests, today is an historic day for this chamber. I might add, I believe, a start toward a historic year for the State of Connecticut. Before I begin my remarks, Senator Looney said, you can't do this job and we all know this -- unless you have support of your family.

And I haven't had the opportunity in a long time to do this. I would like to introduce to all of you, my wife who is so supportive and so beautiful and I thank her so much for all the help she's given me. My wife Jill. [Applause]

I also have with me, of my three children, one Robert -- my son Robert. Robert interned here in his senior year at high school. I think he was here like an hour and a half and then left for the rest of the day, but my son Robert, please rise. Thank you Robert. [Applause]

He is finishing his last semester at Georgetown LLM tax program after passing the bar. I'm very proud of his accomplishments. I have two other children. Two daughters who are not in the state, who could not be here, and as the Lieutenant Governor mentioned, I -- December 13th I did have my grandson -- a beautiful baby boy, Griffin, and I want to take this moment just to cherish who he is and the fact that anybody call you -- calls me gramps, you're in trouble, okay? Just for the record. [Laughter]

I also want to congratulate all the new Senators here today. Senator Logan, Senator Somers, Senator Miner, repeat Senator -- Senator Suzio, all of who worked grittily hard to get here. I welcome to this chamber and I know they're ready to represent their community, have their voices heard with honor, pride, and integrity. I also want to thank Senator Witkos, for the past two years as the Deputy Leader for helping me and running the caucus. He did a terrific job and look forward to the next two years.

Senator Duff, I want to thank you for your leadership as the Majority leader of this Senate and look forward to working with you for the rest of the session. Senator Looney, I'm going to get you in a little bit, and Lieutenant Governor, your humor up here is something that we always cherish. It keeps things light.

As note, this chamber's tied 18-18 for the first time since 1893 and on November 3, when it came obvious that there was a tie, many people questioned whether or not we would have a functioning State Senate, whether or not the State Senate would be able to do the people's business, whether or not we could all get along and work together. Other states that had a tie ended up taking a divisive role and those legislatures didn't work out so well.

And there should be no mystery why we have an agreement here today, because this agreement that will guide this Senate for the next two years was rooted and formed from the friendship that Senator Looney and I have had for over 30 years that dates prior to us being involved in politics.

As lawyers often say, when you're making a contract, I can never make a contract that can protect my client unless there's some sort of trust on the other side of the table. Trust is a fundamental element of any agreement. That's why when it comes to Senator Looney and me, we trust each other. That certainly doesn't mean we agree on all policy issues, we know that, but it does demonstrate the trust, admiration, and respect rises us above politics.

We all know what Senator Looney went through [clearing throat] -- excuse me, short -- couple of weeks ago and we're so glad to see him today in this chamber. It is remarkable that he's able to be here but even more remarkable is this: less than 24 hours after having surgery, our agreement had met an impasse. There was some loose ends that couldn't be resolved with staff and Vinnie Mauro said give Marty a call. He'll talk to you from the hospital bed. This is within 24 hours. I called Marty. He sounded terrific. I asked him if he was on any drugs, he said, oh yeah, plenty. [Laughter] So when I talked to him, I said, here's some impasse issues and it was the trust and relationship that we had that in five minutes we put those issues to rest and we were able to solidify an agreement and this agreement is going to make us a stronger chamber because it requires conversation, compromise, understanding, and exchange of ideas that one could argue has been missing not only from this chamber but I would argue from government far too long.

There's not a doubt in my mind that all the members of this chamber has the best interest and share the goal of making Connecticut the best state it could be. However, we go at it from different avenues. This agreement will almost insist upon collaboration to achieve that end. I'm always so proud of the work ethic and the debate that we have in this chamber on each session day and although I may disagree with the policies that are passed, I will never question the motive behind the results. I'm proud to stand before this chamber of equal parties today. I'm proud to commit to working together to face the challenges that we know are coming.

This is a great state. We've got great opportunities but there's much more we can do. To start, we must reach out to our cities and bring hope where there's despair. Push for opportunity where people feel they've been disenfranchised. Educate our youth for the jobs of tomorrow and make prudent, responsible investments to ensure that everyone is truly given a chance to be successful and for those who need a hand up, we need to preserve our core governmental services for the ones most in need.

We cannot be content by saying we're open for business. We need to acknowledge that there is an exodus of people from our state. We need to stop this exodus by sending a message early that we understand the issue and we're ready to take action. We have to legislate both a short-term plan and a long-term plan to demonstrate some commitment to growing jobs and the economy to make Connecticut a better place.

We must propose and pass legislation that reduce burdensome regulations and end policies that scare businesses and jobs out of this state. We need to tackle our state budget head on and I propose we do it in three phases.

First, we do a plan, the next 30 days that solves our deficit at the end of 2017. Second, we immediately start working on our 2 year budget plan, and third, we lead a course that other legislatures can build upon for the future to move the state forward in the next decade.

As Winston Churchill said, he who fails to plan, is planning to fail. It's time we think ahead and start -- stop budgeting for elections and start budgeting for generations. All of these goals brings the most important goal. We need to restore confidence to this state.

If people are confident that our state is stable, a place where opportunity for all people exist at all economic levels. A place where people have a ladder to climb out of poverty, a place with sustainable, predictable budgets that allow businesses to plan for future expansion. Then we can make real strides to make Connecticut a better place to raise a family, obtain a job, and run a business. There's no doubt in my mind that this chamber collectively, can meet those goals. The strength in this chamber comes from the members themselves.

I have witnessed this chamber do remarkable things. We all have strong voices, strong opinions, and strong resolve, but we must remember that our voices are strongest when they're raised together. When all our ideas are heard and all avenues are explored, that is when the best legislation is created. I'm proud to serve with each and every one of you in this circle and I know that together Democrats and Republicans can surge Connecticut forward. God bless this chamber, and God bless the State of Connecticut. [Applause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Fasano. At this time, I'll recognize Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President, for purposes of a couple of announcements and points of recognition.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Mr. --

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President. First, it's my great pleasure to announce that the Senate Democratic Caucus has once again elected Senator Bob Duff as our Majority leader. That was of course, a unanimous vote, given Bob's strength and his great performance in his first term as majority leader and we're counting on that again this year -- his superb job on managing the floor operations and once again, it's my great pleasure to announce the results of that caucus vote. Senator Bob Duff as majority leader for the 2017-2008 [phonetic] sessions. Also, Madam President, I would like to introduce a couple of visitors here today, who are no strangers to us.

Two of our most beloved former Senators. Senator Billy Ciotto is with us and Senator -- [applause] [clearing throat] -- and also [clearing throat] -- and also [clearing throat] Madam President [clearing throat] someone who for many years was one of the most activist legislators we had, who was in many ways the conscience of the Senate and if you did something that she didn't approve of, you knew it pretty quickly, and that is the wonderful Senator Edith Prague. [Applause]

And [clearing throat] we also have among our alumni here today, Senator Cathy Cook as well, who served with great distinction in this chamber. [Applause] Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. At this time, I have been told that the -- that [pause] -- which one? [Laughter] Okay. Okay. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I want to just rise for a point of personal privilege and to thank Senator Looney for his kind words. Senator Fasano for his kind words as well and I am humbled by the support of the Democratic Caucus of re-electing me as Senate Majority Leader. I also look forward to the next two years and know that working together, we will produce good legislation for the people of the State of Connecticut and as I'm fond of saying, 75 percent of the legislation that we pass here in the Senate is unanimous and 95 percent is bipartisan, so we do have a strong record of working together and I know that that tradition will continue as well.

Also, as Senator Looney and Senator Fasano did, I would like to also just recognize my family for being here today. We all know as well that you cannot do this without the strong support of your family, whether it's this job, whether it's through the campaign season, or the phone calls or anything else that interrupts kind of the daily lives of things, but they are stalwarts and they are supportive and they make our jobs and our lives a lot easier. So I want to just recognize my wife Tracey, my son Collin [phonetic], my parents Bruce and Joanne [phonetic] and my aunt and uncle, David and Linda [phonetic], and thank them for being here in the Senate. If the Senate can give them a warm welcome, I'd appreciate it. [Applause]

So thank you Madam President, I do look forward to working with Senator Looney, [phone ringing] Senator Fasano and Senator Witkos as we've worked very well together and as a body and as a chamber, we all work well together when we're putting our best ideas forward and rolling up our sleeves. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Duff. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, our Senate Republican Caucus has made Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tem. the title of Senator Witkos. I don't know how he's going to fit that on a license plate, but that's a whole 'nother issue [laughter] and we're proud to have Senator Witkos, who for two years, has done a great job and I know for the next two years will continue that on and with you, like to yield to Senator Witkos, please, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos with that big title, will you accept the yield?

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Yes, yes, I do, Madam President. Thank you very much and I'd also -- I guess I'll offer a quadpeat and thank you to my family members here today. You know, my wife Esther, my daughter Kiera and her boyfriend Nick, haven't missed an inauguration, well, my -- I would say Nick wasn't there at the first one because my daughter was only in Kindergarten, she didn't have a boyfriend when she was in Kindergarten but they've -- they're up in the chamber -- I just want to recognize them. [Applause]

And my son Casey, he follows in the Witkos, I think, family values. He couldn't be here today because a friend of his is a freshman transfer from a New York University to a Connecticut State University and he's helping him move into his dorm room today, so he couldn't be here so -- a good reason why as to bring our students and keep our students here in the State of Connecticut. So my remarks, folks, I just want to say it's so nice to see my colleagues returning to the circle after your reelection to do the things that people want us to do and that is to improve the economy of the State of Connecticut, allow businesses to grow in a more predictable, stable environment, and empower our residents to just succeed and endure as much happiness as they can and as lawmakers, we have that unique ability to help create this environment in our state where opportunity can flourish.

To do so, we must empower the people to pursue education, work force development, self-reflection, and I think most importantly, to invest their time, energy, and love into our great state's future. That being active and interested in their children's future, 'cause we all have to look ahead together to build a better and brighter future for today, tomorrow, and for generations yet to come.

To our new members, I say welcome. Your hard work and your clear vision for a prosperous Connecticut has enabled thousands and thousands of people to vote for you to come and represent them here in Hartford. You are their voice, you are their reason for change, I implore you to listen, to learn, and to act on their behalf and today you join a club of only 7,383 legislators across this great country we can all call home.

And finally, to the Senate leadership, it's been a privilege and an honor to have served with you in the past and I look forward to the future term which begins today, to continue our work in a bipartisan manner. The 2016 election has provided us the keen opportunity to create history together as equal partners in the state senate we must move our state forward and correct budgeting mistakes of the past. Together we must protect our most vulnerable citizens through finding efficiencies, eliminating duplication in government, we must bring all of our ideas together to do what's in the best interest of our state and the people we are all elected to serve.

Never compromising on our principles however, we will still agree to disagree at times, but all the while, we remember that we each -- all of our actions impact 3. 5 million people in the State of Connecticut and they depend on us to create an environment where businesses will grow, jobs will flourish, and be able to keep more money in their pockets at the end of the day.

We will focus on becoming a destination state for businesses, students, families, and visitors alike and I promise to work side by side with each one of you as we tackle our state's deepest challenges this legislative session because unity can build confidence and confidence in our state is what we need to grow, to heal, and to thrive. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. [Applause]

Thank you, sir. Congratulations. Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. For a couple of additional points of recognition.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you. Also with us today is Matt Fischer, who is the son of Judge and Mrs. Fischer, and Matt of course, is so proud of his parents as he should be and he works here in Hartford and is with us today as well. I'd also like to acknowledge the presence of Attorney Shari Murphy, another of my law partners who is also here today and to again, thank everyone who has been so supportive and also the fact that we, in this chamber, have an opportunity to do good work against all the odds that might be facing us and I think the will to be productive, as Senator Fasano said, will overcome everything else and Thank you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Sir, and thank you all very much. [Applause] At this point, I do want to report that the committee on Canvass votes has reported back and reports that all Senators are seated properly, so congratulations to all of you again. Good job. [Laughter] Thank you to the committee, for all that hard work. At this time, I'm going to start with asking people if they all have points of personal privilege -- and the first one on the list -- I have a list and I'll see people -- all I ask -- the list is here and I'm adding the names, so the first one I'm going to ask is one of our brand new Senators, that's Heather Somers. [Applause]

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Thank you, Madam President. First, I would like to say that I'm humbled to be here today, and I'm very excited to join this circle. It's a historic day here for Connecticut and I believe that together we can actually make history. I'm very excited.

I would like to recognize a few people that are here with me today. Some of them, most of them, are very, very important. The first person I would like to acknowledge for his unwavering support is my husband, Dr. Mark Somers, who is here with me today. [Applause]

My daughter who lives in Nashville could not be here today, but I have my son, who took time out of Fordham University where he will be graduating this May with a degree in Theology, Middle Eastern Studies, and Arabic -- Ian [phonetic] is here today from New York. [Applause]

And of course, it would not be -- we would be remiss if we didn't introduce Grace Somers, who is missing first grade today. Also with me, I have my mother Karen Sherman, who is sitting over there and my father Roger Sherman, right here. [Applause]

In addition, my mother-in-law who is 81 years old, traveled all the way from Dayton, Ohio to be here today and she is up in the gallery. [Applause]

In addition, we -- I have some honored and distinguished guests who have joined me here today. She had a previous introduction but I would be remiss without reintroducing my good friend, someone who held this seat for 16 years, Senator Cathy Cook. [Applause]

And we have a former State Representative, a former DEP Commissioner, and a former Chief of Staff, Sidney Holbrook in the audience. [Applause]

And last but not least, I want to acknowledge everyone I have visiting from -- that's up in the gallery. We have first Selectman and Town Counselors and various representatives that have been very, very helpful to all of us and are excited to be here today from my district up in the gallery. Thank you for coming. [Applause] Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Senator Logan. Welcome to the chamber.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you, Madam President. You know, it's a great pleasure to be here. I look forward to doing what I can to help improve the lives of those working and living in Connecticut. At this point, I'd like to thank my family for supporting me during the election period and the campaign, particularly I'd like to mention my mother who is undergoing cancer treatment now, but made the trek all the way up here. She's been very encouraging. She has throughout my entire life, has encouraged me to do -- find things and to make sure that education and giving back to a community was very important so I thank her for that.

I also like to acknowledge my president and CEO of Aquarion Water Company, Charles Firlotte who is here today. Without my company's support and understanding, I would not be able to be here as well, so thank you. [Applause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. I'm going to ask Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. It is indeed an honor and a privilege to be here and I can't tell you how thrilled and excited I am to be here. I enjoyed myself so much here, five and six years ago. I decided I was going to be determined to come back here no matter what and it was a long road but I'm back and I'm happy to see many of my fellow Senators still here.

None of us would be here without the support of our families and our friends and the community itself and I do want to call to the attention of my colleagues, several important people. First and foremost, of course, is my wife Kate, up in the gallery. Kate, my wife for 45 years -- my best friend and the love of my life, for sure, and two of my children are here -- Kate up in the back row I think I see you up there, and Josh, my son. Katelynn and Josh. [Applause]

And I have a young man who is here with his mother, Jamaris Calderon [phonetic] and Angel[phonetic] Mendoza -- Angel -- he wore his three piece suit and he was waiting in line and he said to me, "Is President Obama going to be here? When does he get here?" [Laughing] I said, no, Angel, he's not going to be here. He said, "Well, President Trump's going to come, isn't he?" I said, no I don't think he's going to be here either, you'll have to settle just for us little ol' Senators but he hopefully will secede me someday in the State Senate, another 20 years from now.

I also want to thank the Bennett family up in the corner there, they're kind of a conversion of the von Trapp family, they've always been active in their community, doing wonderful charitable work, Ray and his family. [Applause]

On the floor of the Senate here, there's a special friend of mine, and my mentor from 53 years ago, I shouldn't admit it, but Richard Antonetti who not only taught me civics at Notre Dame High School but he taught Martin Looney over here, too. Martin knows him very well -- oh, and right back there -- okay. So -- and Dick has a number of alumni here in this in the Senate and the in the House and I don't know if there's another teacher in Connecticut who has more alumni who have occupied a seat in the State Legislature one time or another. Richard, you've certainly inspired a lot of us to serve the public interest and I always remember you from 1963, if you can believe it, but I do want to acknowledge too, my Parish Priest Father Zonicci [phonetic] and Father Nadonelly [phonetic] is here as well. Thank you very much. [Applause]

They're just -- there's many people up there that volunteered and helped out in the campaign and again, people who went far beyond -- I've always said to people, you're fundamental responsibility and privilege in Democracy is to vote but it doesn't begin or end there -- it shouldn't begin or end there -- you can influence and have a lot more influence on public policy by getting involved and supporting people who you believe in and I was blessed with many, many, many good people who supported me and without whose help I wouldn't be here and I can't express my gratitude enough for them. There's so many of them up there, I know that you would probably terminate my point of personal privilege if I went on, so I will thank all of you up there in the audience, thank you very, very much.

Oh, I do want to -- Jerry Shephard [phonetic] and his mother Maureen [phonetic], who is in the back here in a wheelchair, I just want to call your attention to them too. [Applause] Yeah, so thank you all -- thank you all very much and I'm looking forward to an exciting and very active session here in the State legislature and the state senate. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Suzio. Senator Miner. Sounds so different.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Feels very different, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

You'll feel comfortable with it, very soon.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

All right, I'll trust you. Madam President, I am honored to be here today, as a member of this chamber, having served for 16 years in the House and I'm even more honored to be here following Senator Clark Chapin who was, in my estimation, a wonderful legislator and a good friend and it's the first time in 16 years that I've been sworn in without him and so it's different.

Today, Madam President, I am joined for the first time, by my grandson and Margie's grandson, Jack Barecki [phonetic] who is up in the gallery to see the proceedings today. My wife, and best friend, Margie Miner is also up in the gallery and two very good friends -- I think all of you remember that first phone call when someone came up with the crazy idea that you'd make a good public official.

I was changing oil on a pickup truck that day and Victoria Sansing called the gas station and said can I talk to you about running for office? And I said, no. She didn't let up. I told her I would think about it, a week later, and she never let up and they are about the best friends you can have in the world. They listen, as does my wonderful wife, at times when I get frustrated and times when people get frustrated with me. So again, I am honored to be here and I hope that I can fulfill the obligation that those who have elected me have sent me here to do. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Miner. Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Great to be here with you today. What a joy to be with all of you and back in this center. It's going to be hard -- in the -- in the circle -- it's going to be hard but we're going to get through it, like we do most of the bills that go through this chamber. I liked telling people when I was on the phone, they'd say, well, why can't you people get along? And when I would tell a constituent that 75 percent of the time we agreed on bills, they said that's not true. No, it really is. And so I think it's important that those of us in this circle remember to tell people that we get along sometimes.

I think in the current media environment, it tends to be the extremes, but you know, I know what it's like to sit in Senator Linares' office and share ideas and the rest of you, so I think we've gotta stress that so that our residents see us getting along and we will move this state forward so it's a pleasure to be here.

I have a few thank you's. When I first was deciding whether or not to run for the Board of Ed, my wife Tracey Wilson said, run and I had young children. I was a single mother [pause] and you've always been there. I -- I thought I could do it -- anyway, she's always been there, she's such a wonderful support and I'm so glad you're here today, feeling good. [Applause]

We often thank a lot of our public servants and Tracey was a public school teacher for 38 years and I think sometimes we need to make sure to go out of our way to say thank you to teachers. Spend a day in a high school classroom with 100 kids -- that's public service. So thanks for your service Tracey and thanks for always being there for me and our family.

We have five kids and representing our kids today is Caroline. Caroline and her boyfriend Josh Silver [phonetic] are here. They just graduated from University of Chicago, both interested in public policy and how to make this world a better place. There's so many great young people out there, I think we've got to figure out how to harness their power and speaking of that, I have two young women who helped on my campaign. I have Zora Duram [phonetic] and Sophia LePorta [phonetic] who both came. Stand up, girls. [Applause]

Sophia came out at 6 AM, three times to lit drop the mountains of West Hartford, so -- and Zora came to many events. Thank you girls, for your help, and they sort of represent so many people who helped to elect all of us and I think it's important that we involve our community in our elections.

Also with me today, I know she's around, is Beth Kerrigan over there from the Town Council in West Hartford, who's been an incredible support -- Kerrigan v. Connecticut always an incredible advocate and public servant and we're so glad to have you in elected office now in West Hartford. [Applause]

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Next Senator is Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Well, congratulations to all the folks that won their first race and to all those folks who won reelection. I am tremendously honored to be here. I think it's now just Senator Guglielmo, Senator Looney, and myself who are marching into our 13th term here in the Senate. There may be others that when you add up your House service are still beating us. I don't think anybody's beating Marty anyway, anyhow.

I am tremendously honored to have with me, throughout this entire process over the last 24 years going into now 25 and 26 -- my beautiful and wonderful supportive wife, Cindy is here with us. [Applause] As soon as Senator Fasano called his wife beautiful, I just want you all to know if you leave that word out, you're in trouble at the end of the day.

I also have with me, my two sons. They are out with me on the campaign trail, they are good sounding boards, they're ever supportive, but most of all, they tolerate me, they know what an idiot I am at home, on many occasions, and yet they're still there for me and believing in what I believe in and that's public service, so Nathaniel [phonetic] and Tristan [phonetic], why don't you stand up? [Applause] That's about all I'm going to get out of those guys. [Laughing] [Applause]

But they're here. They're here every two years and maybe at the end of this session too. Also, next to my wife is her mom and very supportive -- my mother-in-law, Saraphina Pallotta [phonetic] and guys my eyes just aren't what they used to be, somewhere up there is Ben Pallotta, [phonetic] my father-in-law, who worked so hard on my campaign and Mike Danhue [phonetic], my brother-in-law who did stealth lit drops, you were fabulous, my man, but last and not least, I want to thank all the people of the 7th district who have been so supportive of me for the last 24 years and giving me this honor and privilege to serve them here in the Senate for the next two.

I share with each and every one of you, the optimism that we can turn this tie that is so historic into something that will be an engine for positive change for not only the people of the 7th district, but for everyone in the State of Connecticut. God bless you all, thank you for allowing me to serve with all of you. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. [Applause] Senator Cassano. Senator Cassano, point of personal privilege.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I first of all, want to congratulate everyone and tell you that I look forward to working as a collective team. I think we'll do a lot together. My wife -- I've been married 34 years and she knows better so she's at the beach. [Laughter] But I do have a very good friend with me. I've asked Bob DiBella to join me. Bob DiBella just completed his 50th year of Service to the town of Glastonbury. Bobby's been involved in every aspect of government in Glastonbury also, the legislative letter -- level going back to Bill Carter.

I call him the Captain, Bobby's been one of the real founders in homeland security in the State of Connecticut, long before places even heard of homeland security or emergency response. I remember the October storm, the famous Halloween storm -- the 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning sitting in the shack over there in Glastonbury and the phone ringing off the hook and Bobby was taking care of one after another after another. He is known as Mr. Glastonbury and he's earned that title. He just works hard every day. He was involved in the committees that developed the first lifestyle program, to give you an example of some of his background. He's been teaching in homeland security for years. Bob DiBella from Glastonbury, welcome. [Applause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Guglielmo, for point of personal privilege.

SENATOR GUGLIELMO (35TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'll be very brief. I just want to thank the people of the 35th district for a great honor -- greatest honor of my life. I've been here -- it's my 13th term. I think that I've learned the lesson of public service from my mother who is here with me today. She was just selected about three weeks ago as one of Connecticut's health care heroes and -- [applause] with about 20 others from the State of Connecticut and they were honored at the Connecticut Convention Center. It was sponsored by the Hartford Business Journal. I was very proud and she has 34 years -- right? Of volunteer service -- I think I did the math. It totals up to about 10 years of full time service to Johnson Memorial Hospital and so I'm proud that she's here with me today and I want to thank all of you and I enjoy serving with you. I know we'll make this happen and again, thank you to the folks of my district.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. [Applause] Next person is Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

I would like to introduce to the chamber once again, my beautiful wife --

THE CHAIR:

[Laughing] You got it.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

The greatest friend in the world, Kiki [phonetic] please welcome her. [Applause] I would also like to introduce again, my son Teddy [phonetic] a Freshman at Wesleyan University -- [applause] to the chamber. I -- also as a lifetime advocate for the civil rights for people with disabilities, I also wanted to invite all of my colleagues to view the art exhibit that's on right now in the hallway between the LLB and the capitol -- [clearing throat] it's called Art Expressing the Journey of Mental Health Recovery in Youth. It's -- I'd like to introduce a young woman from my district, Janet Peterzyck [phonetic] and her friend Ann Nelson [phonetic].

You know, it takes a lot of courage -- [applause] It takes a lot of courage for anyone to talk about their journey of mental illness and Janet is a poet, she's an artist, and if you go along that hallway, you'll see the stories of young people who depict their lives of -- and their struggle and their success in addressing their mental health issues with courage and pride and I just invite all of my colleagues to take a look at that exhibit and thank you very much, Madam President, it's a privilege and an honor to serve with each and every one in this circle.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. [Applause] Senator -- points of personal privilege, Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. So nice to see you back again. You know, running for office is hard and always challenging and we always have so many people to thank that our backbone, our foundation for what we do and I have a wonderful family and also a beautiful husband [laughter] -- he's lovely actually, a lovely husband. [Applause]

You know those people that Heather Somers mentioned, that stake those signs out for you and do all that grunt work and drive you around, become your personal drivers and your families and children and I'm even lucky enough to have a daughter-in-law that is a huge support and campaign helper as well, but there's so many people -- some of them are here and I'm so blessed to have young and old here from the district, from Westport, our wonderful registrar of voters, Tim Beeble from Bethel who has not only been a registrar but he's worked for our municipalities in Connecticut, he's donated his time, he's been such a great supporter and friend over the many years and yes, for some of us, this -- we've done this before a few times and it's always so exciting when it's your very first time.

It's so exciting for me to welcome another female in our State Senate on the Republican side, which is wonderful -- integrating a little bit more and -- and the wonderful George Logan, who as you've just heard, is such a gentleman. So articulate. When he's in front of the cameras these days, it's as if he's been here for 20 years and he's going to be such an asset to our caucus and of course, the irascible Len Suzio who is always calm, right? Always mild-mannered, who in the past, when he served on Education with me, the chairs would say can't you quiet him down? And I would respond, no, I can't and if I could, I wouldn't want to anyway, so welcome back and certainly a good friend from the House as often happens, Craig Miner, we are so lucky to have his wisdom and his talent. It's absolutely wonderful.

My seatmates, all of you that I treasure the relationships that go beyond everything and Senator Looney, you know everyone -- everyone was rooting for your good health. No matter how we differ, you know you and I differ a great deal on big issues but there is no question the respect, regard, admiration, everyone has for you. We are so happy to have you back and so soon after your procedure. It's remarkable and the champions around you that helped to bring you here. We're grateful and certainly to my good friends here and Jill and Senator Fasano, you have now entered a club -- the best club in the whole world -- the grandparents' club and you'll see that little one will come up to you with a big smile on its face with great anticipation because they know that you will give them everything their parents said no to, always and you will find that.

But I will end and conclude with a happy, happy, happy note on some people that I have great affection and fondness for, Senator Art Linares and Representative Simmons from the House -- you have helped to inaugurate this session with a true bipartisan effort in having a romance that I'm over the moon about. I couldn't think of two wonderful people that have met and now are going to spend the rest of their lives with. I hope that that sense of bipartisan support will imbue the whole Senate this session. Thank you, Madam Chairman.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. [Applause] Senator Osten. Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I rise for a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you. First I want to say I'm honored and humbled to come back and work with everyone here in this Senate, having as I've talked with my -- I know who you are -- [laughter]

THE CHAIR:


Seatmate
.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

I'm trying to --

THE CHAIR:

Seatmate.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

My chair mate, here and his family who are here today, we agree, 86. 6 percent of the time and I think that that's a wonderful thing because that means that we are all working towards the best thing for the State of Connecticut.

I have three people here that I want to personally thank. Of course, Senator Prague for always -- my predecessor -- someone who has always reminded everyone and has been that, as Dick Zecta [phonetic] says, that loud voice for those who have no voice. I every day when I come here [phone ringing] am reminded of her compassion, her work ethic, and her simple way of saying what is right and what is wrong and working for years and I'm honored to have her here today to remind us all what this is truly about, the people of the State of Connecticut and -- you're welcome. [Applause]

I also have with me, two fighters. One, the President Emeritus of the Norwich NAACP, Mrs. Owens. She reminds everybody every day about this is exactly why Senator Formica and I get along so well, we know all the best people. She reminds us every day how we have to act and how it is so important to recognize that all people need to be treated with respect. She has always stood up for the people of the 19th district, the people of this state. It is her great work on the Norwich NAACP that has led to the best relationships in the area and I want to thank you very much for all you have done, all you will continue to do, because while you say you're retired, I haven't seen any signs of that. I see you working every day to recognize the young people in this state in their assets and all of the work that is being done and your work with the young people in the Norwich area has always been something that I have admired and something that I look forward to emulating and I know that your Diane will work as hard as you have to represent the Norwich NAACP and I'm really pleased to have you here today.

And I've also with me, Sheila Hayes [phonetic] who has worked -- she's over here -- [applause] she is somebody that in Norwich has been that reminding voice of what to do, when we need to stand up for things, and she will not be quiet and I love it. I think it's great. I want to thank you for letting me stand here today and recognize three very special people from Norwich, even though Jackie lives in Lebanon. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. [Applause] Senator Larson. Senator Larson, please.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I stand for a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

In keeping with protecting the home front and the good graces of Mrs. Larson who couldn't be here today, she's the Principal at a middle school in South Windsor and I'm always comported by the Junior Congressman, former Senator Billy Ciado [phonetic] that in fact, I am a social climber because I did in fact, marry an Italian. So to you, Senator -- Senator Nonno Fasano, to my wife, tu sei la bello di mondo, that means you are the most beautiful in the whole world. Taught to me by Billy Ciado. I practiced that every single day. It's a tremendous honor to be here, again, representing the 3rd Senatorial district.

I have some friends that I would like to acknowledge but first I'd like to congratulate all of the new members. I think that there are six of us who have graduated to the sophomore class. I will leave the secret handshake to my great friend, Paul Formica to deliver to our new incoming Freshman in -- Representative -- Senator Suzio, I think you already have the -- the secret handshake.

I'm joined today, here, by several friends of mine. In the Larson family, when we all get together, there's 58 of us, so they're now at the Hartford Civic Center, but I'm joined here by my -- one of my big sisters, my sister Mary Lou Oneidi [phonetic]. Mary Lou. [Applause]

I also want to give a shout out to my oldest brother John, who's the Congressman from the first CD here in the great Capitol City -- he's -- was introduced and sworn in to his 9th term in the US Congress just yesterday, so this is a seat that John had held for several years before and I'm honored to continue that great, great tradition.

I'm also joined here today by some great friends, in fact, the woman who signs my paycheck at the Tweed New Haven Airport and her husband -- Diane Jackson and Doug Jackson. [Applause]

Madam President, you and I, in October of '15 had a great opportunity to spend some time in Taiwan on a diplomatic mission with several colleagues and so forth and we have two of our very good friends with us today, in the gallery. So I'd like to introduce Joel Chen [phonetic] who is Council Joel, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York and the Director Ronnie Liu [phonetic], the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York. Thank you all so much for this great opportunity. [Applause]

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff, why do you rise, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the House is ready for us. We still have to form our committee to let them know that we are ready, however, I know we still have about five or six more people who want to make remarks so if we can just ask those who still would like to make opening remarks to keep them brief so that we can get down to the House chamber in relatively short order. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. The next person then would be Senator McLachlan. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I stand for a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm -- it's an honor to join everyone in the circle for our next legislative session. I'm honored to serve the 24th district. Today I have with me a very special guest.

When I was a youngster, my mother often said that volunteerism is the most God-like thing on Earth and community service as you've heard today, is very important, but one of the community heroes of my hometown of Danbury is Brendan Sniffin. Brendan is here today, President of the Korean War Veterans Association of Danbury, President of the Danbury Veterans Council, a consortium of all the Veterans Associations in the Greater Danbury area and I met Brendan when I was a volunteer for Special Olympics, 35 years ago, I think. Brendan spent a lifetime supporting Special Olympics. This is truly a community service hero in Connecticut, a dear friend and I'm -- I hope you'll join me in welcoming him here today. [Applause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir, for your service. We appreciate it. The next speaker would be Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

I rise for a point of personal privilege, Madam President.


THE CHAIR
:

Please proceed, Ma'am.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you. First of all, I just want to recognize your leadership in this chamber, Madam President. You lead this chamber with such distinction and grace and style. Not to comment on the shoes, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Love them -- and to all of my colleagues, I just want to say it is such an incredible opportunity to once again, be able to work with you and to serve with you in doing this most noble and important work and to our new colleagues in the circle, welcome and we are so glad to have you here. You have joined a group of most dedicated, passionate people and we are so happy to have you amongst us.

I would like to also congratulate our leadership, Martin Looney, you had us on pins and needles, and we are all breathing a sigh of relief and to Judge Fischer and his family, he is a wonderful friend and an incredible person and I recognize that Judge Fischer has incredible style and decision making because I find out today that he is married to Katie Murphy who was one of -- whose sister was one of my dearest friends for so many years, left us to the State of California, and so it's just this reunion of all great people and we are so, so happy Marty, for you to be back with us.

And to our new leadership. To Len Fasano, Senator Fasano, and Senator Witkos, we congratulate you and look forward to this new dynamic because we all know collectively we can and we will, as we have in the past do the State of Connecticut proud.

But why I rise is to in particularly, is to thank the voters of the 15th district for once again giving me the opportunity to serve them and to also ask that you welcome two very important constituents of mine who have -- one of whom is AWOL from school today. That's Johnathon Barney -- you want to stand Johnathon and his mother Suzanne -- [applause] Suzanne is a small business owner in the City of Waterbury -- runs a small business and Johnathon is one of the elite students at the Holy Cross School. He is a very accomplished pianist and he is an entrepreneur himself, having started a small business teaching children who could not otherwise have the opportunity to learn music and so, I'm so happy to have them as my constituents and very happy to have them with us today and ask the circle to join me in welcoming them. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Linares, would you like to stand.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I rise for a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Happy New Year, it's good to see you here and thanks for your kind words.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

I would like to congratulate our leadership and of course, very happy that Senator Martin Looney, that you are healthy and I wish you the best recovery. Of course, congratulations to Senator Fasano for his elevated position here, it's very well deserved and we look forward to seeing you lead this great state.

To our new members, Senators Somers, Senators Logan, Senator Suzio who has been here before, and Senator Miner, it's an honor to serve with you as we, together, take on this incredible responsibility, awesome responsibility of continuing to work to improve our state and I can't wait to get to know you better and to work closely with you on that.

I'm joined here today with my family. I have my father and mother, Robin, Art Linares from Clinton who are here today. I also have my uncle Lou from New Jersey, made the trip all the way here. My brother Ryan who has ran my past three Senate campaigns could not be here. He and his girlfriend Ashley are hiking mountains in Iceland right now. It sounds like fun. I don't know why he would do that but that's what he is doing. And I'd like to also congratulate my smart and hardworking fiancée, Caroline Simmons for her reelection to the 144th --

THE CHAIR:

Beautiful.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Beautiful, absolutely. And her family who she is joined with, here today. And of course, my best friend Chris McCarthy [phonetic] who is here. He had done an incredible job working on my campaign and Mark Lini [phonetic], Harry Rupernicker [phonetic], Cid Holbrook [phonetic], and of course, newly elected State Representative Bob Siegrist from Haddam. With -- I'd like to just ask that we offer a warm Senate welcome to some constituents who had did just an incredible job on my campaign. They are high school students from Old Saybrook, Eric Zultini [phonetic], Jason Rothman [phonetic], Lance Singersmith [phonetic], from Old Saybrook. They're high school students just very interested in serving our state in politics and government and I wanted to ask that we offer them a warm Senate welcome here today. Thank you. [Applause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Linares. Senator Flexer, why do you stand.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. First of all, I'd like to offer my congratulations to all of our leadership and a special welcome back to Senator Looney. We're all so happy to see you here so brisk and healthy today. We're so grateful for your leadership and for your good health.

I want to thank the people of the 29th district for the amazing opportunity they've given me to once again, serve as their State Senator and I would be remiss today if I didn't stand as a resident of the town of Killingly and acknowledge the tremendous loss our community has felt over the last several days. The loss of two students at Killingly high school, Emma Adams and Ryan French and the Assistant Principal at Killingly Intermediate School, Steve Tagen.

The young people in our community are dealing with an overwhelming sense of loss right now and I would ask that the members of this chamber, despite this being a day of celebration, please give a moment of silence in recognition of those lives lost in our communities.


THE CHAIR
:

Please, all rise.

Thank you. Our thoughts are prayers are with the families.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and thank you all for that recognition.


Those young people that we lost this weekend are our future and I know that every member of this chamber is very conscious of how much the decisions we make as State Senators will affect young people in our state moving forward and I
'm very blessed to have three tremendous young leaders joining us here in the gallery this afternoon.

Breanna Divivo [phonetic] is here with us. She's a resident of Mansfield and she has been with me since the day I decided I wanted to potentially be a State Senator, so I want to thank her for being here today and two tremendous leaders I've had the opportunity to get to know over the last couple of years. I know we're going to be seeing great things from them in the future. Renato McGurza [phonetic] and Stephanie Sponzo [phonetic] are also here in the gallery today and I want to thank them.

I want to thank my friends Mike Prowless [phonetic], April Capone [phonetic], and Dr. Shannon Lane [phonetic] for being here and I want to thank Andrew Illash [phonetic] who has been my partner in serving the people of the 29th district over the last two years and I look forward to doing that great work for the next two years together, and finally, I just want to take this moment to thank my family.

I am so blessed to be here this afternoon with my amazing family. My sister Helene [phonetic] is with us, she is a great leader in her own right. She worked with those young people that we lost this weekend. She serves on the Board of Education in Killingly and she's one of the fiercest and most brave and most loyal people you'll ever meet and I have such great admiration for her and I'm so grateful for support in allowing me to serve in the State Senate and then my mom and dad.

My mother, Margaret and my father Howard are just the most tremendous people you'll ever meet. They have given everything to support my sister and I. They've never had much, frankly, especially when we were growing up, we -- they didn't have anything but they gave it all to my sister and I and made sure that we'd have an education and have the opportunities that they never received as young people and I know that everyone in this chamber will follow the example that my parents have set in making sure that we're building a Connecticut that gives an opportunity to every young person in the State of Connecticut, whether they come from a wealthy background or a much more modest background, like I did. So thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:


Thank you
. [Applause] Our next Senator -- [applause] Let me -- I don't want to be rude or anything to the people that still have -- that still want to speak but the House is waiting for us, so the next speaker and I will -- the ones I have I'm going to call. Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'll keep it brief. Congratulations to you as well, it's a pleasure to have you back here. We are looking forward to working with you going forward. Of course, congratulations to Senator Looney for your wonderful, miraculous health achievements. We look forward to having you lead us once again and to the new leadership, with Senator Fasano, Senator Witkos, and of course, Senator Duff, it's a great team to be working with and I look forward to some great things and to our newest members, and those that are returning and those from the House, may you make wonderful lifelong relationships here in our Senate chamber. I know I have and I hope the same for you. This is a great place to be part of on behalf of our constituents and I look forward to some future memorable legislation coming forward in the spirit of equal partnership.

I do have a couple of special guests. I wanted to say thank you to my wife and my son who couldn't be here today and my father as well. He couldn't make it, but in their behalf, representing them I have my mom who is in my mind, one of the best cooks in the world, Josephine. I have also a cousin, Serina Furita [phonetic] here, on behalf of our family, and I have the Mayor of our fair city of Stamford and his Chief of Staff, Mayor David Martin and Chief of Staff, Michael Pollard, here. So I wanted to give them a warm welcome. [Applause]

And finally, I'd like to say congratulations to Senator Art Linares for now joining the Stamford delegation, so we look forward to having you with us. [Laughter]

THE CHAIR:


Thank you very, very much
. At this time, I can call on Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and I'll just kind of rehash what everything else -- everybody else has said, but I did want to take a moment to acknowledge my mother who is here with me. As an immigrant, she is truly an embodiment of someone who has given me an opportunity to succeed. I would not be here without her and she's here in recognition of my dad who was unable to be here, so I miss him every single day. At the same time, I know my family's here via my beautiful and incredibly talented wife -- and patient -- my wife Grace and my incredibly wonderful son.

They are an embodiment of what makes us tick. They are an example of the patience and the tolerance and the unconditional love that they give us to do what we love to do here and in closing, very quickly, for all the people that are out here supporting the people that you love and really believe in, this is why this Senate is always late. And this is a reason why I say to my wife, what were you talking about? We're always running late, but it's an incredible privilege to serve. Thank you, Ma'am.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Senator Martin, why do you stand, sir.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Am I last?

THE CHAIR:

No.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Okay. Nonetheless. [Laughter] Very quickly, then.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much, sir.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I'm truly humbled and honored to be -- have been selected again to represent the 31st district. It's really a privilege to serve. I do want to recognize a couple individuals from my family and friends that came with here today. First, I'd like to begin with my wife of 33 years -- we just celebrated 33 years this past Monday. My very extremely beautiful wife, Roxanne [laughter, applause] also -- also bipartisanship run in my blood. My daughter Heidi [phonetic] and son-in-law, Eric [phonetic] are here and Marilyn, Senator Moore -- you may want to go knocking on their doors because they'll be moving to Trumbull within the next couple of weeks.

My daughter Julie who, when my wife, I press the limits with all the political stuff, she -- my daughter Julie comes to my rescue every day and my mom who will be 81 years old who is -- who led the charge with all the literature drops in the district is here as well -- [applause] as I have a handful of people, relatives as well as friends that I've made throughout the whole 31st district who I can't thank enough for their countless hours of volunteer work for making sure that I return back here to represent the 31st district. So with sincere gratitude and thank you. Thank you, so much, bye.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Formica. Senator Formica. Why do you rise, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Turn the light on. Thank you, Madam President. I rise for a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. 34 years ago, I opened -- I turned a small, single family home into a small business. Not having any idea what would happen the next day or the week after and it's been an incredible journey that's been -- as I've been able to serve not only my customers but my community, grow a family, and now thanks to the people of the 20th district, stand here in this wonderful circle and serve with each and every one of you. I am privileged and feel honored to be part of this historic session coming up and I look forward to working with each and every one of you to make our state even better than it already is. This is the greatest state in the greatest country in the world, and I stand here and say that. And I'd also like to introduce my family.

My favorite daughter Ally [phonetic], my favorite daughter Olivia, and my favorite daughter Hannah are here with me today. [Laughter, applause] Thank you. My son Matthew is in sunny California but his wishes are here and our good friend Julia Provost [phonetic], who though a student at the University of Albany is an East Lyme resident, born and bred, we're going to get her back here to be one of the great student leaders -- young people leaders in our future. So thank you very much for the -- the latitude of the time and for the opportunity. [Applause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Formica. [Applause] At this time, I'll call on Senator Duff for another resolution. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I would ask our beautiful clerk [laughter] to please call Senate Resolution Number 6. You're all beautiful.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk. [laughter] Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution Number 6, RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO INFORM THE HOUSE THAT THE SENATE IS ORGANIZED -- hmm -- [Laughter] AND READY TO MEET IN JOINT CONVENTION. LCO Number 881 introduced by Senators Duff and Fasano.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move the resolution and ask for a voice vote.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on adoption. I will try your minds. All those in favor, please say aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Those opposed. The ayes have it, the resolution is adopted. At this point, I am going to appoint Senators Moore, Gerratana, Logan, and Miner to inform the House that the Senate is ready for -- to meet in Joint Convention.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. To our beautiful lieutenant governor, please run -- don't walk, downstairs so we may start our joint session. I move that we adjourn for the joint session.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

(On motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the Senate at 12: 14 p. m.  adjourned subject to the call of the chair. )

TOP