CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Senate was called to order at 3: 42 o'clock p. m. , the President in the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon everybody. The Senate will please come to order. Members and guests, please rise. I direct your attention to Reverend Bonita Grubbs, who will lead us in prayer.

REVEREND BONITA GRUBBS:

Let us pray. Holy God, you made this day with its possibilities and opportunities like a clean canvas on which to paint a picture of integrity, fairness, and compassion. With it comes a renewed sense of awe and promise like the rainbow Of hope, harmony, and beauty. Your word calls us to rejoice and be glad in it. But how, when yesterday was full of missed opportunities and missteps, bad and troubling news, disturbing developments and disagreements, and discord and disbelief?

The answer is that every morning your mercies are new. Your faithfulness is great. Your ways are just and you call for justice. Your promises are true and you call for mercy. Your power, presence, and peace are real and you call for righteousness. Therefore, I give you thanks for this day, this day of new beginning in these hallowed halls. The task at hand is to make decisions that are difficult yet delicate on behalf of the citizens of this state with a preferential focus on those who are most vulnerable. The challenge is to find common ground and a way forward with purpose and honor. Lead us all to be glad and rejoice in the accomplishments and agreements of this day and in you every day. Amen.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much, Reverend. Would Senator Cassano please come forward to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance?

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

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.

THE CHAIR:

The Chair will entertain points of personal privilege or announcements, and I would recognize Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you very much. Madam President and members and colleagues of the Senate, I'm very happy to introduce to you a wonderful student from Southern Methodist University, a resident of Connecticut, grown up here, gone to public schools here, graduated, and he is going to be with us for the rest of the session to watch how government works. He has a tremendously positive image and interest in the political process. If you would give Dylan Carruthers I warm welcome would really appreciate it. Thank you. [applause]

And Madam President, although he's not in the Chamber right now, we also are joined by a young man from Naugatuck High School. Gonna be a senior next year and he also was present and that was Ben Wierzbicki, and so just for the record he also was here present and is enjoying being with us as I know that I am always -- really enjoy being with all of you. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and food afternoon. I rise for a point of personal privilege, please.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you so much. I'd like to introduce my great intern who has worked over the session. David Schultz [phonetic] is -- is here with me today and has done yeoman's work with my aide, Kim, and me over the session. He's graduing -- graduating Manchester Community College with an Associate's of Science in general studies very shortly.

He got accepted to Trinity College in the fall where he'll be studying public policy and pre-law. He's a hardworking young man typical of many of the young people here in the State of Connecticut that works hard at the Capital Grille to put himself through school. He's a -- in a band. Maybe we'll have him play later, but he's also volunteered to work after the intern program has finished. He's working with us for the rest of this session so I hope that the Senate Chamber would give a warm welcome to my young intern, David Schultz [phonetic]. [applause]

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, for purposes of an announcement.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I just wanted to let the Chamber know that on your desk today was a packet of information regarding the upcoming Council of State Government's Eastern Regional Conference annual meeting that will be held here in the State of Connecticut. The ERC has 18 different jurisdictions which include Canada and goes all the way down to Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands, and each of these jurisdictions takes a turn each year to host the annual meeting. It's Connecticut's turn.

I'm very excited about this. I'm a co-host along with Senator Formica and also Representatives Ryan and Staneski in the House. Should be an interesting annual meeting. We're asking members, of course, to register for the conference since it's right here in our state at the Mohegan Sun this year and also to help in any way, either volunteer or help with a sponsorship, so I would appreciate it. Please contact me or any of the other host Committee Chairs. Thank you so much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Are there any other points of personal privilege or announcements? Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for a moment of silence. I think most of you here last week heard the passing of John Marvell. He was a dedicated public servant. He served here in the -- at the State Capital for 33 years to the General Assembly faithfully spending most of his time in the Banking Committee so, you know, I'd like to ask the Chamber to rise just for a moment of silence on behalf of John. [pause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any other points of personal privilege or announcements? Seeing none, the Chair would recognize Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President and good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you for actually a point of personal privilege but we don't have the members in the Chamber at the moment, but I -- I will hold off 'til later 'cause we have exciting news for two of those members who are not in the Chamber at the moment.

Madam President, is there business on the Clerk's desk?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Clerk is in possession of Senate Agenda No. 1 dated Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move that all items on Senate Agenda No. 1 dated Wednesday, May 17, 2017, be acted upon as indicated, that the Agenda be incorporated by reference into the Senate Journal and Transcript.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'd like to mark items on our Consent Calendar, please.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 2, calendar 49, Senate Bill 755, I'd like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 10, calendar 160, Senate Bill 723, I'd like to mark that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 17, calendar 229, Senate Bill 962, would like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 23, calendar 280, Senate Bill 954, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 24, calendar 285, Senate Bill 983, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Calendar page 28, calendar 317, Senate Bill 1030, I'd like to place that item on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 28, calendar 319, Senate Bill 887, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar 33 -- I'm sorry, calendar page 33, calendar 354, Senate Bill 817, I'd like to place that item on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 34, calendar 362, Senate Bill 1045, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 45, calendar 429, House Bill 6520, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 61, calendar 75, Senate Bill 811, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page -- calendar page 51, calendar 75, Senate Bill 811, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar -- 61 -- I'm sorry, did I just do that? It's 51, thank you. Calendar 75, Senate Bill 811, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 51, calendar 111, Senate Bill 45, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

And finally, on calendar page 55, Senate Bill 155, Senate Joint Resolution 38 -- I'm sorry, on calendar page 55, calendar 154 -- try that again, yeah -- Senate Joint Resolution 38, I'd like to place that item on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered without objection. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Will the Senate stand at ease please?

THE CHAIR:

Senate -- The Senate will stand at ease.

Senator Duff, for what reason do you rise?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I would like to --

THE CHAIR:

Let me call the Senate back to order. I'm sorry, Senator.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Will the Clerk please call on calendar page 14, calendar 204 -- I'm sorry, calendar page 14, calendar 204, Senate Bill 41, please.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 14, calendar 204, Senate Bill No. 41, AN ACT CONCERNING PHLEBOTOMISTS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of this Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you. Madam President, before I proceed with the Bill, the Clerk has an Amendment. If he would please call LCO No. 6395.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, I believe that there's an Amendment to be called.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6245, Senate Amendment Schedule A offered by Senators Somers and Boucher.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana, please continue.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Madam President, unfortunately that is not the correct LCO. I need LCO No. 6395.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much, Senator.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Certainly.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

The Senate -- the Senate will come back to order. Mr. Clerk, do you have an Amendment?

CLERK:

LCO No. 6395, Senate A, offered by Senators Gerratana, Somers, and Representatives Steinberg and Srinivasan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. This Amendment simply adders -- excuse me, adds two more organizations for certification of phlebotomists. I urge passage of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

I'll try your minds. All those in favor of passage of the Amendment please indicate by saying Aye [Ayes voiced]. Any opposed? Amendment passes.

Please continue, Senator.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. This Bill specifically allows individuals practicing as phlebotomists in the state to obtain certification from a number of different entities which are delineated in the Bill. The Bill also defines phlebotomists as a person who draws blood for diagnostic testing, transfusions, research, or blood donations. I urge the Chamber to pass this legislation. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any other remarks? Are there any other remarks? Seeing none, Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Without objection --

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry. Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I stand for purpose of a question.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue. Senator Gerratana, prepare yourself.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Senator Gerratana, I see an objection in the public hearing testimony from the American Red Cross and wonder if your Amendments or their concerns have been -- if your Amendment addresses their concern and, if not, if you could just share with us your feeling about the concern of the American Red Cross. As I understand, they're the largest collector of blood in the State of Connecticut. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you. Yes, Madam President, yes we do. They were concerned that we'd be establishing licensure or certification for a phlebotomist. I believe that was the original Bill. We are not doing this under the Bill. I did speak with -- or during the testimony that was given to our committee, I did speak with the individuals who testified and had concerns about this so instead we're just putting a definition into Statute. There's no requirement for licensure or certification other than the fact that phlebotomists should and could be -- I think the language is made -- receive certification through the number of entities that we are mentioning in the legislation. So they would be certified but the State of Connecticut would not certify or license them. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Gerratana. I'll be supportive of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Is there any further comment? Are there any further comments? Are there any further comments? Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If there's no objection I would ask this item be placed on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any objections? Seeing none, so ordered. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If the Clerk can now call calendar page 20, calendar 249, Senate Bill 901.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 20, calendar 249, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 901, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH'S RECOMMENDATION REGARDING ADOPTION OF AMODEL FOOD CODE.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. We're going along here. This is very good for our committee. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The Clerk has an Amendment, LCO No. 6260. If he would please call and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6260, Senate Amendment Schedule A offered by Senators Gerratana and Somers.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Madam President, this is a Strike All Amendment; however, what has been done in cooperation with the LCO is that it does reflect the underlying Bill but the organization, if you will, of the language has been changed in the order the LCO had suggested. Otherwise it still does what the original Bill did and that is the adoption of the FDA, the Federal Drug Administration's model food code here in the state.

Our Department of Public Health, of course, oversees our use of food and how it is used particularly amongst public settings and adopting the model food code updates and helps many of our businesses as well as others in producing and making and preparing food in our state for commercial reasons and also in schools and in other settings. It's delineated in the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Any comments on the Amendment? Senator Somers.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

I'd like to say that this is a good Amendment. It clarifies language so that the state is in accordance with the FDA guidelines. It makes it simpler for folks moving forward and I would urge that everyone support this. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any further comments on the Amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of the Amendment indicate by saying Aye [Ayes voiced]. Any opposed? Any objections? Seeing none, so ordered. Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Madam President, I believe at this time I would have to yield to the -- to Senator Duff who will refer it to the Judiciary Committee.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move -- we refer this item to the Judiciary Committee please.

THE CHAIR:

Without objection, so ordered. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Our next two Bills are calendar page 3, calendar 91, Senate Bill 136, and to follow by calendar page 6, calendar 123, Senate Bill 916; both be taken out by the Republican Co-Chair of the Veterans Committee.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 3, calendar 91, Senate Bill No. 136, AN ACT CONCERNING VEHICLE NUMBER PLATES FOR CERTAIN VETERANS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I move for the acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam President. The Bill simply creates a farming license plate for those who use vehicles for strictly farming purposes from the Department of Motor Vehicles. The registration and the number plates issued by the DMV are available to either the veteran, a surviving spouse of a veteran, or a current member of the armed forces.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any comments? Senator Logan, do you stand for a comment? Thank you. Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Madam President, if there's no objection I move this Bill be place on a Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any objections? Seeing none, so ordered. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 6, calendar 123, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 916, AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR AND CONFORMING CHANGES TO STATUTES CONCERNING VETERANS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Madam President, thank you. Madam President, I rise -- I move the acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

The Bill requires each veteran service officer to complete a course in veterans' benefits for no later than a year after commencing employment instead of within the one year and also the Bill makes technical and clarifying changes to the Department of Veteran Affairs Statutes.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any comments? Are there any comments? Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm just wondering if you could describe some of those changes. I understand it might allow minors and others in --

THE CHAIR:

Excuse me, I believe that's a different Bill, Senator Cassano. This is minor and technical changes but it is not the technical cha -- is not allowing minors into Veterans. Thank you. Are there any other comments? Are there any other comments? Seeing none, Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Madam President, if there's no objection I would move this Bill be moved to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any objections? Seeing none, so ordered. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, if I can mark two more items please.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. The first will be calendar page 23, calendar 276, Senate Bill 912, taken out by the Democratic Co-Chair, followed by calendar page 10, calendar 167, Senate Bill 911, taken out by the Republican Co-Chair of the Education Committees.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 23, calendar 276, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 912, AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE STAFF QUALIFICATIONS REQUIREMENT FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

I move the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. At this time the Clerk has in his possession LCO No. 6846. I would ask that it please be called and I be granted leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 26 -- 6846, Senate A, offered by Senators Slossberg and Boucher.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue, Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The Bill before us -- the Amendment before us a Strike All Amendment and it addresses issues with regard to staff qualifications for our early childhood educators. As many of you know, and many in this Chamber have worked on for a long time, we've been trying to address the qualifications of our early childhood educators, but to do so in a way that works with all of our early childhood educator facilities.

The system we have currently has had some challenges and this Bill seeks to address those challenges through the changes in the Amendment. At this time if I may, I'd like to yield to Senator -- to Senator Boucher.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher, do you accept the yield?

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Yes, Madam President, I do.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Madam President, I rise to support the Amendment and the good work of our Chairs and other members of our committee on this very important Bill. I know a lot of time and effort has gone into this in working very hard to expand the pool of preschool teachers that we need in the state and the qualification issue has been something that's been raised year after year. I think this goes a long way to achieving both the -- two aims, and one is to make sure we have qualified people working with our most important population in education, and also in a way to expand the pool of qualified individuals. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Are there any other comments or questions on the Amendment? Seeing none, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of the Amendment please -- please say Yea. Any opposed? Senator Slossberg. Amendment passes.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. At this time I just want to clarify what the Bill actually does now the Amendment's been adopted. So basically this gives -- gives a -- creates a definition for a concentration in early childhood education. It provides that from now into July 1, 2018, early childhood educators can be hired with an associate degree with a concentration in early childhood education from an institution of higher education that is regionally accredited or similarly a bachelor's degree with a concentration in early childhood education from an institution of higher education that's regionally accredited.

From July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021, that requirement changes and it goes to a requirement that 50 percent of the individuals with primary responsibility for a classroom are out of one of four -- are able to do so one of four ways where they've been issued an early childhood teacher credential that is defined in the Statute, or that they hold at least a bachelor's degree with a concentration in early childhood education from an institution of higher education that is regionally accredited, or they have a teaching certificate in early childhood, or they are otherwise grandfathered as per the Statute.

As of July 1, 2021, it makes that -- it continues our obligation to move to 100 percent of the individuals with primary responsibility in the classroom to have those credentials and I've -- I share the background on this because it's been very confusing for a lot of our early childhood educators and I want to make sure that I've made it very clear for the record what this Bill does so thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Slossberg. Are there any comments on the Bill as amended? Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Question to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Prepare yourself, Senator Slossberg. Continue, Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Through you, Madam President, and I want to first express my gratitude to Senator Slossberg for her work on this and her diligence to make sure every word did exactly what it was meant to do.

My question just for the record is to ask Senator Slossberg at what point, what year do we require all early childhood lead teachers to have a bachelor's degree? Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

That would be on or after July 1, 2021.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you for that answer. The reason I ask that question, now I'll have some comments, thank you, Senator Slossberg, is that I've been up here a number of years and a proponent to make sure that we have the proper credentials for early childhood providers. This state has been moved back several times from 2017 to 2019 to 2020 to 2021. I just want to state for the record that the point of improving credentials is to improve care for our youngest children.

The current work force is not able to meet those standards primarily because the wages in early childhood are so low. It is in fact the lowest paid profession in the United States of America. Clergy used to be paid less but now early childhood professionals have outpaced them and I would argue that the early childhood education system in the United States and in Connecticut is funded on the backs of low wage working women who cannot afford to feed their own families in many cases.

I think this is really important to make a hard line that this is when a bachelor's is required and people in the circle agree that that is a date that will not be changed again and that as a state we will put young children first and their teachers first. We have very strict guidelines for who can teach children in elementary schools and middle school and high school and I would argue that, and science proves that the brain is actually more vulnerable in the first five years of life, that these years are actually more important than the college years when it comes to long-term outcome for children, yet we continue to try to develop a high quality early childhood workforce with care for kids paying $ 3. 50 an hour while we have $ 40 an hour minimum -- minimum hourly wage if you're working on a state construction project, so I ask people in this circle to think about women's wages and women's work and how we reward those as a state as we build the infrastructure of our future workforce. So I just say vehemently that we should never push the BA requirement out again. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Bye. Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Just a quick question to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg, prepare yourself. Continue Senator.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you. And first I also want to give my gratitude and thanks to Senator Slossberg and Senator Boucher for working on this Bill. It's such an important Bill and wide ranging in scope and sorely needed so I commend all the efforts that have been brought forward.

My simple question, and just for clarity just so that I fully understand it and I can say so when I go back to my district where this is very important, that a regionally accredited approval also goes across state lines, the region cuts across the state lines so that where -- because if you're too close to the border your region may be across the state line. We want to be able to pull qualified candidates from across the borders if necessary. Would that be correct? Is that my understanding?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. Through you. Yes, that is correct. Regionally accredited means in a region which is larger than just our state.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):


Thank you, and I know that it was probably overly simplistic from my standpoint but I do want to thank the proponents of this Bill for all their efforts and I would urge my colleagues for full support
. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If I may, a question to the proponent of the Bill as amended?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg, please prepare yourself. Please continue, Senator.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you to Senator Slossberg, there's a lot of reference to specific Statute numbers beginning with the 10s, which are our Education Statutes, right up through the 17 Statutes. Not being familiar with each one of those and they're not spelled out specifically what they do, my question to you is how would this impact or differentiate between daycare centers and early childcare centers? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you. If I may, Madam -- Madam President, I would just take a moment and review and make sure that I give him the correct answer.

THE CHAIR:

Please do so.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you. Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Please continue, Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

So, you know, this would relate to any school program that's a school readiness program, that is a head start program that is receiving state funding that address -- that is receiving state funding. So that's -- those are the centers that would be affected.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I see that it's really particular for age 3 and 4 and potentially 5 if they're not in a -- enrolled in a kindergarten program, if you will. But what happens if a -- a facility holds itself out as a dual purpose program where they offer the early childhood education resources to some but also have a lower aged group for others? Would they still be required to offer those or that is negated by the age limits contained within the Bill? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

No, this affects that those programs that are accepting state funds for infant, toddler, and preschool spaces do need to meet the requirements for this Bill, which is actually the current law.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you. So through you, Madam President, if somebody was monitoring an infant room in the year 2021, I believe it is, and they are required to have a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, is that correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Yes, I believe so.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the gentlewoman for that answer. You know, I have a concern that I can understand the premise behind requiring those individuals that will offer some type of instruction to our students that are preparing at an early age pre-K, if you will, they're going to their formal education through kindergarten or wherever they attend school, but I have a grave concern that we may be limiting the resources available to parents like that now when they want to send their child to a daycare facility that the individuals that may be watching their infant or 1 or 2-year-old is required to have a bachelor's degree. That doesn't necessarily make them a better caregiver, I believe personally, than those that do not and while I was hopeful that the -- that the good Chairwoman of the Education Committee was gonna tell me it's only particularly the 3, 4, and 5-year-old classrooms, we find that that's not the case. So unfortunately I'm not gonna be able to support the Bill today. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Witkos. Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I rise to support the Bill as amended given that we've been very fortunate in our -- both Chambers, in the House and the Senate -- to have individuals that have in their private lives worked in many facets of our professional sectors and we do have that here in the Senate with regards to early childhood education. For many years we also have it in the House, both on the part of a republican representative and a democrat representative, some of which were -- are in leadership positions on our Education Committee.

So when we deliberate on issues such as this, they bring with them quite a bit of experience, personal knowledge, and we also been the beneficiaries of some good data and research by individuals that sat on the Commission on Children that really educate us to the growing scientific body of knowledge that explains how we learn, when we start to learn, and it was staggering to find out that our research is showing that between the ages of 0 and 5 that nearly 80 percent of what we learn and the rapid growth of the brain during that period of time is so extraordinary that it becomes a foundation really of the basis of the rest of our educational lives and as we develop as mature adults, so that we cannot minimize the need to have good education background to be able to be engaged in that area.

I think as mothers, and fathers probably, I have been surprised to learn how much that baby that you're carrying might even be growing and learning in vitro and in essence in utero and be able to come out even with mannerisms that become something that characterizes them going forward as well. The things that we say and do around an infant that can't yet verbalize is still being internalized and it is remarkable. I think if I knew then what I know now I might have been a better parent or been able to engage more early, especially given the huge changes in pace of our society in the technology that is really surrounding us right now.

So I think that the -- it's laudable that we are trying to work towards getting a higher -- a higher trained workforce in this area. I can understand the frustrations of Senator Bye as she's seen this requirement be delayed year after year. I think we feel the same way about our graduation requirements for our high school as well as we saw that as we were trying to elevate the standards, do better than we did before, and not let the status quo become our future.

So for that reason I do support the Bill as amended and I can understand the frustrations that are being expressed because we do have a shortage in the workforce. That's probably the rationale while this has been delayed so much in the past. There is this constant, you know, divide and tension between wanting to have high standards and being able to fill those classrooms with individuals that, you know, are ready and able to work and when we have a decrease in that it causes a great deal of concern. That's why I think it's really important to have, as I said, membership that -- that works in that field has been able to see it on the ground floor of what's actually happening to their -- their sector and be able to weigh in on it in order to make it work better. So for that reason I am standing to support the Bill as amended. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Are there any further comments? Are there any other further comments? If not, the Clerk shall announce the pendency of a roll call vote. The machine is open. Please cast your vote.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check to see if your votes have been properly recorded. If so, the machine shall be closed and the Clerk shall announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Bill No. 912.

Total number voting 35

Those voting Yea 35

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Senator Flexer, for what reason do you rise? Oh, I'm sorry. Twenty dollars to vote first [laughing]. The Bill passes. Thank you. Senator Flexer, for what reason do you rise?

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, today is a very special day. Today one of a great members of our staff is celebrating his significant birthday, Robin Bumpen, who's the Clerk of the Environment Committee and Senator Kennedy and Senator Minor and myself are thrilled that we get to work with him on the Environment Committee, and Senator Somers as well, and we just wanted to take this opportunity to wish Robin a very happy birthday, so if the Chamber would please rise and give him a great ovation. Thank you. [applause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, we also have a few more celebrations as well. Would certainly like to take a moment to wish Senator Bye a happy birthday and her wife, Tracy, as well. They both share the same birthday. And on Mother's Day Senator Slossberg had her birthday as well so we want to certainly take a moment to -- to wish them happy birthdays and wish them all the best and thanks to Senator Bye for spending her day with us. We appreciate it and hope that we make it a fun day for her. So if we can just rise and congratulate them on their birthdays and wish them the best in their day today. [applause]

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I believe I have already marked the next Bill for -- for a Go, but before that I wanted to make sure that when you closed the machine you read off the vote and what it was if all set?

THE CHAIR:

Yes.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Okay, then. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

That part I got right.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. There was some --

THE CHAIR:

I'm still working on it.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

There was a question. You're doing fine, thank you. We appreciate it. Madam President, thank you, and I'll ask the Clerk to call next Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 10, calendar 167, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 911, AN ACT CONCERNING SERVICES FOR GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of LCO 6442. I ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6442, Senate A, offered by Senators Boucher and Slossberg.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher, please continue.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption of the Amendment and waive reading and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Connecticut currently has a law in place that mandates the identification of talented and gifted students by every school. However, there are many low income minority students that reside in some districts where we don't always get the information needed and it should be noted that many gifted and talented students come from all socioeconomic and culturally diverse groups. Some also have disabilities and for others English is not their first language. Without proper identification, talented and gifted students are placed in classrooms that don't necessarily align with their educational, linguistical, or social needs.

Senate Bill 911 works to provide some enhancements to programs in school districts. It does so by first providing some guidelines needed to include the best practices for addressing the intellectual, social, and emotional needs of gifted and talented students in schools as well as providing some important training and professional development related to gifted and talented students. The Department of Education would make these guidelines available to local and regional Boards of Education no later than January 1, 2018.

This is really important because it does call attention that we should have someone at the Department of Education that is responsible for this area, is responsible for providing information and assistance to local and regional Boards of Education and to the parents of those students. We received over 22 pieces of testimony in favor of this proposal. There were zero in opposition. No -- there was no state or local fiscal impact whatsoever on this Bill.

The advocates have been coming to us for many years in a row trying to call attention to this population that oftentimes is invisible, particularly in our urban centers that need some identification and services directed at them so we can try to elevate our academically advanced students and provide them with a better instructional environment. So for that reason, Madam President, I urge adoption of this Amendment and hopefully the support of this Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any comments or questions on the Amendment? If not, The Chair will try your minds. All those in favor please indicate by saying Aye [Ayes voiced]. Any opposed? The Ayes have it and the Amendment is adopted.

Please continue, Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, if there's no objection I would ask that we move this to the Consent Calendar if possible?

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered. Thank you very much, Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Much appreciated.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I'd like to mark a few items as Go.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 14, calendar 205, Senate Bill 923, Go. Calendar page 25, calendar 292, Senate Bill 377, Go. Calendar page 25, calendar 293, Senate Bill 922, Go. Calendar page 18, calendar 230, Senate Bill 963, Go. Calendar page 12, calendar 188, Senate Bill 818, Go. Calendar page 37, calendar 383, Senate Bill 366, Go. Calendar page 38, calendar 389, Senate Bill 980, Go. Calendar page 55, calendar 99, Senate Joint Resolution 25, Go. And if the Clerk completes call in that order.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 14, calendar 205, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 820, AN ACT CONCERNING ELIGIBILITY OF PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS UNDER THE SMALL BUSINESS EXPRESS PROGRAM.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. It's calendar page 14, calendar 202, Senate Bill 923. It's a Planning and Development Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Page 14, calendar 202, Senate Bill No. 923, AN ACT CONCERNING THE POSSESSIONS OF DECEASED TENANTS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. How are you?

THE CHAIR:

Great.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Good to see you back.

THE CHAIR:

Thanks.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee Favorable Report and move passage of the Bill, waiver to read, and seek to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Motions on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Yes, this is a Bill that has been -- come affectionately known now for the last four years as the possessions of deceased tenants. I was just kidding with Senator Fasano, four years ago we passed this Bill. We passed this Bill because of a request from a Manchester landlord. Under the law he had a single tenant and that tenant passed away with no relatives. By law he could not remove those items from the tenant's apartment and he had to actually file with the Probate Court a Motion to -- that she had to sign within 30 days. Obviously the dead tenant could not sign the Bill and now we affectionately call it the dead tenant's Bill. That was the first. Since that time there have been 12 of these situations in the State of Connecticut, 12 different situations where, by law, the dead tenant has to sign because of a quirk of a referral in the system.

This Bill changes that. The Bill has been passed unanimously every year and it's one of those that waits all day the last day of the session but is not quite important enough to get passed so we're trying to get it out early and would urge everybody to join the Committee which has been unanimous in supporting this Bill for the last four years.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? If not, Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Well I would ask that it be placed on the Consent Calendar. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 25, calendar 292, Senate Bill No. 377, AN ACT AMENDING THE CHARTER OF THE ODD FELLOWS HOME OF CONNECTICUT.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. The Clerk is in possession of LCO No. 6267. I ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

I'm gonna ask to hold for one second, sir, just to stand at ease a moment until we get the Board fixed.

Senator Logan, I'd ask if you'd ask for acceptance and passage.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Yes, I will clarify, excuse me.

THE CHAIR:

Please.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

I move acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of the Bill No. 377.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. The motion's on acceptance and passage. Will you remark further?

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Sure.

THE CHAIR:

Now you can call your Amendment, sir.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you. So as I mentioned before, the Clerk is in possession of LCO No. 6267.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you call the LCO number please?

CLERK:

LCO No. 6267, Senate Amendment Schedule A, offered by Senator Somers.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption of the Amendment, waive the reading, and seek to summarize the Amendment, but in order to understand the Amendment I will have to describe the Bill as well.

THE CHAIR:

Motion --

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is to adopt the Amendment. Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Sure. The Amendment itself is changing one word and the word is -- strike the word assess. The Bill itself clarifies the tax exempt status of the Odd Fellows Home, which is located in Groton. Odd Fellows Home is a nonprofit acute care home established by the Order of the Odd Fellows by way of a special act of the legislature back in 1893, which ironically happens to be the last time that the Senate was tied.

This Bill aims to make current law less ambiguous. The word that's being striked is assessed and what that does, effectively it changes -- it makes the value of the property was at issue -- market value as opposed to some sort of assessment by someone locally.

THE CHAIR:

Motion -- motion is on the acceptance Senate A and I try your minds. All those in favor Senate A, please say Aye [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? Senate A is adopted.

Senator Logan, would you like to speak further on the Bill?

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

I have no further comments in terms of the Bill itself and I urge adoption of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? If not, Senator Logan, would you like to place this on the Consent Calendar?

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

I move to place this on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir. Thank you, Senator Logan.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 25, calendar 293, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 922, AN ACT CONCERNING TEMPORARY HEALTH CARE STRUCTURES.

THE CHAIR:

Okay. Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Yes, Madam President. Good to see you again.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Same here, sir.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee Favorable Report and passage of the Bill and waiver to reading.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Yes, this is a Bill in fact brought to us by Senator Osten when it was called the Granny Pod Bill. Today we're finding that particularly seniors, people with disabilities, and so on are really finding it tough to find a place to live and their families want to bring them in but the house just isn't big enough.

What Granny Pod is, it's a small unit that can be attached to any home. It's 500 square feet maximum. They can have kitchen facilities, toilet facilities, a bedroom, and so on within that 500 feet. Municipalities have the right to decline their presence if they would like to. This allows relatives, family members, and it can only be someone that is related to have care, have shelter, and be close to their families. It's something that is growing across America. It's passed 21-nothing in the Committee and I would urge adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Osten. Good afternoon, ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I would just -- I rise to support the Bill. This is a piece of legislation that allows another tool in the toolbox to stop our family members from entering convalescent homes. In many cases people own homes that cannot be rehabbed to have a ADA bathroom and this can provide that mechanism and allow people to stay out of convalescent homes, so it does many different things. It's more humane, it's cheaper, and it allows another option in order to keep our loved ones home with us just that much longer, and I urge the circle to adopt this piece of legislation. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you -- will you -- will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Just a quick question for the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

So if I understand this correctly, we're talking about a -- a outbuilding outside the house that would be -- I guess my question is different communities have different zoning regulations. Are we, by this Statute, would they be allowed in all zoning -- residential zones? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

It would be allowed and if there are difficulties they could either go through zone change if necessary, but they also have -- the community has the right to opt out so that none would be there. The real hope is that they would be attached basically to a home simply because it would be much cheaper in the vet used facilities.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Through you, Madam President. So would there be a foundation or would there be -- would it be on, you know, piers, so to speak?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

I would have to defer to Senator Osten on that. She knows more about the construction.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten, will you accept the yield, ma'am?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Yes, Madam President, I will. Could you repeat your question, Senator Martin?

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I'd just like to know, are we talking about a outbuilding that would be with a foundation or on piers? Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Through you. This would be a temporary building. It could come in on wheels or it could not have wheels. It doesn't need a foundation and when it's not in use any longer it has to be removed within 120 days, so it does not have -- it will not end up with communities having temporary medical health care structures dotted about for decades. It is a requirement of the Bill that once the person who was authorized to use such a structure is no longer using that structure then the structure must be removed. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you. So the law -- we approve this, will each municipality have to go through its zoning and approve or adopt this? From what I understand, yes, but if -- will they have to go -- each municipality have to approve this?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and through you. A municipality, if they don't want to do this, would have to take an action to opt out, but they do not have to pass this at their zoning. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I just want to clarify 'cause I know I'm gonna get some questions when I go back to my district so thank you so much. I think it's a great idea and there's definitely a need for that. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Just if I may, a couple of questions to the proponent of the Bill or if they want to yield that's fine.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam President. The way I read the language, as long as the individual that applies to the municipality for a permit and follows the conditions set forth therein, meaning that they have to send -- they pay their money, the structure has to be less than 500 square feet, they have to be one of the -- mentally or physically impaired individual, and they let their voters know, there's nothing that a municipality can do to stop this from happening. Is that correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

The municipality does have the right to opt out if it chooses.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, and I -- I didn't see anything when I was just looking at the Bill. It says that the municipality does not have to hold a public hearing but then it says the municipality shall not deny the permit if the applicant provides proof of compliance with this Section, which is Section 1. So if the good Senator could point out where that -- the language would say that a municipality does not have to participate in said program. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

On the very first para -- second paragraph in the middle, Unless a municipality opts out of the requirement -- I'd like to find the actual opt out.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease for a moment.

Senate will come back to order. Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Yes, line 71, A municipality by a vote of its legislative body, or the municipality where the legislative body is a town meeting, by vote of the Board of Selectman may opt out of the provisions of this Section and the provisions of the Subsection A of Section A-2 of the General Statutes as amended. Page 3 in the --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm just quickly reading. I was looking at Section 1. I wasn't looking in the pdf format so I didn't have any line numbers. Okay, I see what the good Senator is talking about and I'm appreciative of that. Thank you.

I want to make sure that the local municipality has the ability to do that and my fear was that in some municipalities they don't allow mobile homes or RVs or things to be parked in someone's front lawn and I believe that this would allow them to do that because they certainly fall within the parameters of what would be allowed because it's a temporary structure, generally less than 500 square feet. It certainly in my mind makes sense for a comfortable granny pod -- would be to -- be able to reside in an RV on a caregiver's front lawn.

So if a -- if a community has an existing restriction on a mobile home or recreational vehicles, would they still be allowed to participate in this specific program as long as they go through the permitting process for the caregiver aspect of it? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

I would think that the community would have to meet with the proposed owner of the pod because the regulations clearly for the granny pod would be dramatically different from, let's say, a motor home or whatever it might be, a trailer. Different circumstances, plumbing, all those things are different, different regulations. They may deny them now or they may allow them now. They may deny trailer homes as an example but allow these because of the size and the family relationship and so on, but it will be up to those individual communities and then they have the right to opt out if they want.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the -- the Senator for those answers. You know, I think this gets to -- gives us a solution to a problem that many families face in that how do you take care of a loved one that may be needing to be relocated so somebody can take care of them but yet still respect their privacy and their individualism so they can live as independently as they possibly can and I think this is a good measure and I would urge my colleagues to support it. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

I'd just like to indicate that I think this Bill further helps to encourage good family values and I support this Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Logan. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? If not --

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

No other comment, I'd ask to place on the Consent Calendar. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no -- no objection, so ordered, sir. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 18, calendar 230, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 963, AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES RELATING TO MANUFACTURING. There is an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher. No, I'm sorry. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Senate stand at ease.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease.

Senate will come back to order. Senator Hartley, good afternoon, ma'am.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Good afternoon to you, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee Favorable Report, Madam, and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark?

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Yes indeed, thank you, Madam President. Madam President, there is an Amendment. The Clerk is in possession of LCO 6965. I ask that the Clerk please call and I be granted leave to summarize, Madam.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6965, Senate Amendment Schedule A, offered by Senators Hartley and Frantz.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark, ma'am?

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Yes, yes indeed. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the LCO before us very simply strikes Section 1 and the reason for that actually is the action of this body last week when we in fact adopted that Bill through an education proposal that was before us, so I move adoption, Madam.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption of Senate A. Will you remark? Will you remark? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor please say Aye [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? Senate A is adopted.

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The underlying Bill now as it exists is the result and the work through the manufacturing caucus in the State of Connecticut to address low level infractions that do not affect health and human safety so there would be a suspension for first-time violations that had to be remedied within a defined period of time, Madam. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? If not, Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam, and without objection it's -- this could be considered for the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 12, calendar 188, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 818, AN ACT CONCERNING THE SUSPENSION OF CIVIL PENALTIES IMPOSED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ON CERTAIN BUSINESS ENTITIES PURSUANT TO STATE REGULATIONS. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz, good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President, and thank you for the floor. So there is one Amendment, I believe, Mr. Clerk, and is that correct?

THE CHAIR:

There's two, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

There are two, okay.

THE CHAIR:

Just call one.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Okay. So if -- gotcha. 6403? Okay, so Madam President, I move acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If I could, I'd like to introduce an Amendment first and then go back and discuss the underlying Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you. The Clerk is in possession of LCO No. 6967.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6967, Senate Amendment Schedule A, offered in -- offered by Senators Hartley and Frantz.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption of the Amendment. We've --

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

We're prepared to proceed with that.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So what LCO 6967 simply does is, if you're looking at the Bill, it strikes lines 23 to 26 in their entirety and we'll come back and revisit what 23 and 26 is when we describe the Bill. So I urge adoption of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark on the Amendment? Will you remark on the Amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of the Amendment please say Aye [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? The Ayes have it. The Amendment is adopted.

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So the underlying Bill, Senate Bill 818, is a response to a lot of criticism that we've heard over literally the decades having to do with Connecticut having a very onerous regulatory system, particularly in the area of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It's one of the single biggest complaints that I've received, having been involved with economic development for far longer than I'd like to remember, and so this Bill is -- is meant to address that.

And simply what it does is, and is only within the purview of DEEP, what it does is -- is it calls for there to be a waiving of any penalties for a first-time violation, any civil penalties of a first-time violation found by DEEP provided that the business entity who is -- that is being assessed within 30 days after that penalty is assessed agrees to take reasonable measures to ensure that the condition that caused the violation in the first place would be remedied within a reasonable period of time up to six months as per the Bill. And then if that is in fact the case, then what DEEP does at that point is they will suspend the civil penalty unless -- unless there's willful -- willful or gross negligence in terms of that violation or for a violation that harms human health or the environment, or it's something that -- or if something is required by federal law or regulation as -- including as a condition of receiving federal funding for that particular -- for that particular part of the regulation.

So the idea is to make this -- make this a little bit more business friendly. I think the business community, if this were to pass, would cheer this because they -- they feel that they're being unfairly targeted so I think it's a good Bill as amended.

The Amendment, by the way, what that does is it strikes out lines 23 to 26, which was a provision that allowed you to take a -- a violation that you felt was incorrect and take it to the Superior Court system, but that's gone now, making the Bill a much more realistic one at this point.

So at this point, Madam President, if there is no objection I would move that this Bill go to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy, would you like to speak first, sir?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes, Madam President. If I could, I -- I have a few questions for the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz, will you prepare yourself, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

I am prepared, thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy, proceed.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Madam President. First of all, I want to thank my colleague, Senator Frantz and Senator Hartley, for all that they do to try to expand and make our current business climate more attractive in our state and I think that the idea of this Bill may sound like a good idea but in fact it's actually rewarding polluters who ignore the law and it -- it really undermines the basic tenet that we have in our environmental laws in our state, the legal enforcement recognism -- mechanisms by allowing polluters to benefit by -- from their own penalty payment.

So I don't think it's fair to reward companies who violate the law until they're caught, which is what this proposed Bill does, and I think it's unfair to the many companies who comply with the law and spend a lot of time, effort, and energy on expenditures to comply with the law, so it -- it actually gives polluters, I believe, an unfair financial and competitive advantage over the other regulated entities.

So I just have a couple of questions, if I could, to the proponent of the Bill. So first of all, through you, Madam Chair, Senator, are -- are you aware that DEEP can already offer violators an opportunity to clean up their mess without paying a fine? Are you aware that they're already able to do that? Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. The answer is yes but my understanding after being exposed to the sets of issues for over two decades, or about two decades now, is that they rarely do that.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

How -- how many cases do you -- do you -- do you know how many cases on like an annual basis people are fined civilly when you're -- you're -- you want to change the law now, longstanding law that we have in our state -- how many businesses every year would -- would be potentially affected by this change that you want to make? Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. The answer is I don't have the answer there but this is purely for a first-time violation and anybody who's into manufacturing typically is -- is gonna -- probably have been around for a while. You don't get too many start-ups in the State of Connecticut these days in manufacturing, so I think everybody's become very familiar with what DEEP's regulations and requirements are and they all try to comply as best they possibly can, but I've seen -- I've witnessed several cases where it's just unbelievable how difficult it is to get themselves out of a position of noncompliance because it -- you know, they did something else wrong in trying to fix the original problem and then they get fined for that and it just snowballs into the point where the company is literally gonna have to go out of -- out of business if they don't get the fines removed. So I don't have an answer for you, sorry.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes, I'm sorry, through you, Madam President. Just a few more questions for the proponent of the Bill. The -- do you know how the fine levels, the level of fines that these businesses that you say are -- are being needlessly burdened by these regulations and need to fix the problem, like what kind of -- what kind of fines do you think the State would not collect as a result of this particular measure? Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam President. I think the answer varies. There's a wide range. I mean some of the -- the smallest fines, I believe, are, you know, the thousand dollar range for some sort of polluting violation and then it can snowball into -- into fines that go back retrospectively because the problem wasn't -- wasn't solved to the satisfaction of the DEEP folks quick enough or sufficiently enough and so you get up into the, you know, several hundred thousand dollars per year being assessed on some of these -- some of these companies which is completely unmanageable -- unmanageable for some of them.

That's a different story than a first-time violation. This is, you know, this is a company that's clearly, you know, being pushed around and kind of being beat -- beat up by DEEP, which does happen unfortunately.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

So -- so if a fine -- I want to make sure I understand this. If a fine is waived for a first-time violator of these civil penalties do you imagine that -- that DEEP would enter into some kind of an agreement, some kind of consent agreement, with that violator to say you can clean up this mess but if you don't do that we're going to assess a fine? Do you -- do you envision that there'll be some kind of an agreement between DEEP and the first-time violator? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Sure, thank you, Madam President. Through you. I think the answer there is that just -- just if the Bill were to pass I think that alone obviates the need for a Consent Decree, you know, or letter of some sort because the condition is you have to fix that problem to 100 percent of their -- to 100 percent satisfaction of DEEP, otherwise the penalty goes right back into place after six months.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

I thank my good colleague for that answer because there are -- been a number of attempts in the General Assembly over the last couple of years to in fact alter the way that DEEP and other agencies use the Consent Decree process, the Consent Order process, and I think if we're about to embark in a new regulatory scheme to enter into what is essentially a relief of a fine to fix the environmental problem I think that we're gonna need to use the Consent Decree process and so I -- I really don't want to see that Consent Decree process watered down anymore.

So I just -- a couple more questions. In terms of the -- the views of many of the environmental organizations in our state, through you, Madam President, why is it that you think that so many environmental organizations are -- are upset by not just this Bill, there's a couple lookalike Bills that are circulating in the General Assembly about the idea of, in essence, rewarding polluters who -- who violate the law? Why -- why do you think that's the case?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

I think it's -- through you, Madam President. Through you, I think it's wonderful that there are that many groups and I belong to many of them. I know you probably belong to all of 'em, but -- and thank God for them because they're wonderful stewards of the environment and I think there might be a little bit of a misunderstanding with many of those different groups and individuals in that we crafted this Bill so that there's -- there's a way out so if there is damage to the environment, if there is gross misconduct, that -- that DEEP can in fact impose those civil penalties without any obstruction.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

No, and I must say I do appreciate, through you, Madam President, your willingness and the proponent's willingness to -- to make those changes that will address the willful or grossly negligent violations and other -- and other accommodations, so to speak, from people who are concerned about this change in policy.

I -- I am concerned about -- on line 6 of the Bill, that the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall suspend any civil penalty. You may note that there's a -- a lookalike Bill that was passed in the House very recently, House Bill No. 7063, that -- that did pass the House. That was a may instead of a shall so this -- this piece of legislation that you're proposing is -- is -- is significantly different because of that obviously one minor word change and I would probably support this Bill if it were more permissive instead of directive.

I just have a couple of -- I'm wondering if my good colleague is aware of the -- this document, the civil penalty policy of the State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Through you, Madam President. No.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Well it's a very interesting read. I recommend it to all my colleagues here and it's -- it basically outlines -- it's about a 25-page document. It's about 20-year-old document that really sets forth the civil penalty policies for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and I'll just read a couple of sentences in the introduction. They say, Penalties are extremely important to the success of the Department's programs. The goal of any Department enforcement action is to bring the violator into compliance with these requirements and to assure that they will stay in compliance. Penalties are critical to this goal since without penalties the only risk a violator takes is that if he gets caught he will have to do what the law already requires him to do.

In the meantime, he has saved money, time, effort by not complying, and has gained a competitive advantage over others who have incurred the costs necessary to comply with the law. The penalty estimates the incentive to violate by recouping any money to the violator -- the violator saves by noncompliance and so in essence their -- their civil penalty policy is -- really tries to make noncompliance more costly that compliance. That is the fundamental principle of the civil penalty policies.

I'm not gonna go over and over and over. I think I've sort of made my point here. But they -- they -- currently DEEP, you know, takes into consideration the -- all sorts of factors when they weigh a decision whether or not to offer, you know, these kinds of relief to the potent -- to the potential violators, to the violators. How long has the violation occurred, for example. How large is the violation? How bad is the violation from a public health perspective? How toxic the violation?

They get into examples of you can spill a certain number of gallons of -- of pollution but if -- if it comes out one pipe versus perhaps out of five different pipes shouldn't the agency be able to make a -- distinguish -- differentiation between perhaps something that is a widespread problem in the business and what may -- may just be one -- stray kind of violation.

So I'm just -- I'm just wondering if you -- if you -- when you think about the violations that you're envisioning, you know, do you think about sort of the range of potential violations or are you -- are you -- it sounds to me by your comments that you're anticipating that these are kind of minor viola -- these are almost kind of nuisance violations. Is -- is that -- is that your -- your position here today?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam President. Yes, Senator, that would be my position today. You know, we're not talking about, you know, Millstone dumping nuclear rods into Long Island Sound or anything like that. We're talking about typically a smaller manufacturing company that may not have the staff or scientists or other personnel on board to do everything perfectly right.

You take a -- as a real life example, a furniture building company and refinishing company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which was on its way to be very big in its -- in its business and industry and because it was measured in parts per million a particular -- particular, you know, leftover from a chemical process that went through the filtration system and several filtration systems, but because they found that it was, you know, this high over the allowable limit that they started to assess them fines and then it turned into, you know, them trying to fix the problem and they didn't do it exactly right to their new standards and it just got worse and worse and worse until literally they were looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think it actually got to a million dollars at one point that they owed to DEEP, a never-ending downward death spiral for the company.

So the quick answer to your question is we envision smaller violations and certainly none that include any sort of grossful, you know, gross, you know, negligence or anything, but small things. And again, in the Bill's language here it says if there is any damage to the environment or human health that DEEP is -- is justified in giving the civil -- civil penalties.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

I just have two more questions for the proponent of the Bill. Through you, Madam President. Would you favor -- this is a hypothetical question. Would you favor the publishing of a list of the businesses that availed themselves of this type of relief that you're proposing so it's publicly disclosed which businesses can avail -- have availed themselves of this program? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. I think all of that information would be publicly available through the FOI process or maybe just, you know, reviewing DEEP's website if they wanted to publish that, but I wouldn't like go out and promote the companies that, you know, took advantage of this. We want to be a much business -- more business friendly state. We're one of the worst, as you know, in the entire country, and we need to show that we really do care, that we will respect all the environmental laws out there without a doubt. We all love the environment. There are some more than others, and we'll do anything we can to preserve it.

It's an amazing state and amazing Long Island Sound that we have and the lakes and rivers and everything else are tremendous, and we gotta protect those for sure. But we also have to make sure that we've got a friendly business environment so that we have a -- an economy, a state economy. Otherwise we won't be able to afford to take really good care of all of those different assets. So that's where I stand.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

And then one final question --

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

-- through you, Madam President. There are many federal laws and other states have laws that -- that permit violators of pollution laws to -- you actually take that penalty and have to give it to an environmental organization that's, say, trying to clean up Long Island Sound or trying to expand open space or something like that. Are you -- would you be in favor of that kind of program?

In other words, would still be the same idea, taking money instead of that money going into the state to pay a fine, having those business entities actually pay for other environmental organizations locally to help fix the problem that they're -- are facing because I think -- I've heard of many programs like that but I've never heard of a proposal like this which is basically allowing polluters to benefit from their own violations of the law. But would -- would that be something that you could conceivably support? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. The answer there is yes, absolutely, but that's sort of step two in terms of the timeline of this Bill. This would also -- if they had that kind of program in place would basically say, you know, the -- the civil fine or the required contribution to, you know, save the environment on X, Y, Z is waived because this is your first offense. You've done absolutely everything in this somewhat minor offense to remedy the -- the situation and everything is hunky-dory.

Now if there's a further violation down the road and it's a legitimate civil penalty that they impose on them and they want to have them give to an environmental group instead, fine, absolutely.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you. Because I think that this proposal allows the "penalty" to inure to the benefit of the provider and because I think it allows businesses to gain a financial and competitive advantages over other regulated entities, I will not be able to support this Bill and I urge my colleagues to -- to reject this Bill for those reasons. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Indeed I would like to remark and I would like to thank Senator Kennedy for his input as well as my Co-Chair, Senator Frantz, who has worked so diligently with the Committee on this. And we should note that this is the work of the manufacturer's caucus and I think that if you can go around this circle to even the 36th senatorial district you will find manufacturers in every single one of our districts.

The intention of this was to work in a collaborative but positive way and yes indeed we are all stewards of the environment and so in no way is there any intent to elevate, reward, or allow polluters to abscond. And the testimony that we heard in the manufacturing caucus was varied but I'll share with you an example or two.

In fact this was a manufacturer from the Southeast District who talked about the fact that in the recycling or returning of their fluorescent light bulbs that they were supposed to have sent them FedEx. They mistakenly sent them UPS and they were cited and fined for that. There was other testimony that talked about the -- the posting of signs with regard to egress and -- and procedure on the manufacturing floor that were posted in the wrong places. They were cited for that.

So very clearly in this Bill you will see that it is affirmatively stated that this should not be applicable to any instances where there is a violation of -- which harms human health or the environment or whatever is required by federal law or regulation. So it's not about noncompliance. It's really -- and it's not about any overt action most of the time, at least in the testimony that we heard. It is about the unintentional first-time instance and it's about trying to in some respect work together more collaboratively and so I thank the Chamber and all those who worked on it and ask for your support on this. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Senator Osten. Senator Osten, please. Osten, please.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, through you, a question to the proponent of the Bill?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir -- ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. My hair's short so maybe that's it, I don't know. Senator Frantz, through you, Madam President, does this in any way impact the Transfer Act in regards to polluted properties? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Through you, Madam President. I think the answer to that question is no, it does not.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

So if a property is polluted as a result of the owner this in no way abdicates their responsibility in cleaning up or in some way finding some resolution to the problem that they leave behind? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, that is correct, Senator, yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam President. Thank you very much, Senator Frantz.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. My colleague, Senator Kennedy, had used some phrases about benefitting or rewarding polluters and I just want to clarify for the record what this -- this legislation would do. It's my understanding that if the violation does result in pollution, harm to the environment, or harm to human health, that this Bill does not apply. Through you, Madam President, to the proponent, is that a correct understanding of the Bill?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Yes, through you, Madam President. The answer is yes, that is correct.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, and through you, Madam President. I see, too, that the Bill says that the suspension of the penalties does not apply in cases of willful or gross negligence such as, for example, I -- I would say somebody who might be storing chemicals on their property perhaps improperly that the chemicals haven't leaked onto the envir -- onto the property so there's no damage caused but nonetheless if there's gross or careless storage of chemicals that might be harmful to the environment, that may result in damage to the environment. Under those circumstances, if it's considered to be gross negligence or willful then DEEP would still impose their penalties. Is that a correct understanding?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, that is correct.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. So then it's fair to say that if you're a polluter, if the activity that -- that DEEP is potentially going to fine, if that activity has harmed the environment, if there is indeed pollution on a site, then this particular Bill would not waive the penalties. I just want to make absolutely certain I understand that. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. The answer is yes again.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

So if I can engage in a theoretical, if -- if a DEEP inspector is on -- on a site and there's perhaps dozens of drums of chemicals, potentially hazardous chemicals stored, and one of those drums was improperly sealed, let's say it's an open container, but all other drums were sealed properly, that may not be considered to be willful or gross negligence. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Could you ask the last part of the question again?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio, would you repeat that?

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Let's take a theoretical situation where there's hundreds of drums of chemicals that are stored on a property and one particular drum is open. It's not being properly stored but all other drums are properly sealed and stored. Would that be considered to be a willful or gross case of -- a case of gross negligence? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Through you, Madam President. I think the answer to that would be there would have to be an investigation to see what went wrong. Why is there that one con -- open container on the property? And after doing their investigation they might determine that it was, you know, willful negligence on the part of someone -- someone, an employee of the company or it could have been just, you know, some -- an oversight. Or maybe it's just a -- it was a bad container, you know, top to the container that rotted out over the course of time and then you go after the manufacturer, I think, you know, of the container itself. So it's hard to say. I think the investigation would have to occur before you can say it is gross negligence or not.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you and through you, Madam President. In a situation where a company has dozens of drums of chemicals or hazardous and they're carelessly stored there, open, and they're in bad condition, even though no harm has been caused to the environment at that point in time the fact that the chemicals have been improperly stored and -- and it's -- appears to be a widespread practice, that would be -- that would not be subject to waiving the -- the DEEP violations. Is that a correct understanding? Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, that is correct.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. I have not further questions for the proponent. It does seem to me that the Bill does give some latitude in terms of companies that might have unintentionally violated a DEEP regulation but have not caused harm to the environment. Obviously once harm to the environment has been caused this Bill does not apply according to the proponent and moreover, again, even if harm hasn't been caused to the environment but if the practices of a particular company are widespread or viewed to be grossly negligent or willful, even then the -- DEEP would be still free to impose its penalties.

So I -- I believe this is the kind of Bill that we need to encourage Connecticut to get back on its economic feet and I don't think it betrays environmental concerns. I think it -- it still in fact reinforces those environmental concerns 'cause -- because it makes it very clear that if there's willful or gross negligence or if there's actual harm done to the environment no penalties are waived whatsoever. The full brunt of the law and the enforcement by DEEP would still apply. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Somers. Good afternoon, ma'am.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Good afternoon. Thank you, Madam President. I would like to urge my colleagues to support this Bill. It's a business friendly Bill and I want to give you an example of a small business that could benefit from something like this.

A small private company that actually applies pesticides for peach trees and apple trees and the do it and they don't actually get written confirmed consent from the person doing the job and they allow the person to stay a little bit longer in the area than they should. DEEP assessed a civil penalty for them because they did not actually get the written signed consent. It was just under $ 19 hundred dollars but it's still $ 19 hundred dollars for a small business that if they were given an opportunity -- perhaps it was something that they didn't realize they actually had to get the signed consent -- they gave it orally but not signed -- they would have an opportunity to, in this case, perhaps waive that fine on a small business, learn from their mistakes, and not be a violator in the future.

So civil penalties are applied in many different areas and I think it's something that we should look at as a business friendly initiative here in Connecticut and we all know we need to be more business friendly with all of us working on the budget here. So I would just like to have everybody consider that. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Good evening. Nice to see you.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

I stand in firm support of this Bill and the Amendment. I'm grateful to the Commerce Committee leadership for their work on this, persistence, as I understand this has been around now for at least three or four years and they've tried to fine tune it, I guess, even with an Amendment today that took out the ability to appeal to the Superior Court.

I did hear concerns of some of my colleagues about a polluter being let off the hook and I think if we look at the language of the Bill, lines 18 to 22, it makes it perfectly clear that a polluter is gonna pay. It is someone who perhaps has a paperwork violation or a simple violation, as Senator Hartley had discussed, that we're talking about here.

But if you are a polluter and a willful negligent polluter this doesn't apply to you. It doesn't apply to anyone who is harming humans or the environment and it certainly doesn't apply if federal law trumps this particular violation in question. So I hope that we can engage enough members of the Senate to approve this. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further -- don't run, don't run, don't run. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I rise to support the Bill. Madam President, what is clear, and I think Senator Somers and Senator McLachlan and Senator Frantz had said it, is we have to make Connecticut more business friendly. I will tell you those of us who have businesses on the shoreline, those of us who represent clients or constituents on the shoreline have experienced heavy-handedness by DEEP.

And what I mean is it's my understanding when you read the Statute is the only entity or organization or agency that can issue a Cease and Desist Order is the AG. And DEEP personnel frequently issue Cease and Desist Orders. They're not authorized to do it. The reason why they did and how that came about was that they're supposed to go to the AG and say, hey, this is a violator. We need a Cease and Desist, and if the AG felt it rose to a certain level I guess they would issue the Order. If they didn't, they would say, look, you guys gotta work that out. We're not involved.

So the agency slowly took over by using a -- a form and changing some dates and putting some things in, adopted their own Cease and Desist. There's no authority in the Statute. And we all know one thing. If you've ever dealt with DEEP on a constituent DEEP it is like fighting the IRS. They have more resources to throw at you than you could ever come up with, more ability to stop you, annoy you, and send you into debt than any other agency besides the DRS. So people shake when it happens.

Now, with this -- let's put this Bill in perspective. All this Bill says is if you are a first-time violator and you haven't offended the environment, you correct the problem and we don't fine you. What is so wrong about that? To think we even have to do this Bill suggests that DEEP is not even doing what logical, right-thinking, right-minded people believe they should be doing. We actually have to put it into law to tell them to do something that we all would say, yeah, why are you bothering with that? Why are you bothering with that?

I will give one example to me. Long before I was in this Chamber, these cars were going into this creek so I put a rock in the creek before the creek on top so the cars can't roll into the creek so people don't get hurt. Well apparently that rock, according to DEEP, displaced a certain amount of water which could cause flooding to some house along the shoreline. Assuming I even understood that, they wanted to fine me for doing it. What, really? I'll move the rock. Nope, that wasn't good enough. That was not good enough. Now, I paid because I wasn't gonna fight it.

But those are the illogical things that DEEP does and those are the things that hurt the State of Connecticut. Those are the things that don't advance us forward. We're not talking about the constant violator. We're not talking about someone who has cheated and has profited from that cheating on an ongoing activity. I would argue that is a continuous practice for which they should be fined. We're talking about a business, an association, an LLC, who has inadvertently made a mistake that doesn't affect the environment. There's no reason to rake them over the coals. And we have to pass a Bill to say that. That's lunacy. That speaks about a bureaucracy out of control. So Madam President, I do support this Bill. It's the right way to go. I thank Senator Hartley. I thank Senator Frantz for bringing this out and I look forward to its passage.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Mr. Clerk, will you call for a roll call vote? The machine will be open.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

All members have voted. All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call a tally.

CLERK:

Senate Bill No. 818.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 26

Those voting Nay 10

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. Mr. Clerk. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The next item which is calendar page 37, calendar 383, Senate Bill 366, I'd like to mark that TR, please, and if the --

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

-- Clerk can move on to the next Bill, please.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 38, calendar 389, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 980, AN ACT CONCERNING TAMPERING WITH A WITNESS. There is Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, Senator Doyle. Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Good evening, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. What this piece of legislation does, we currently have one Statute that deals with tampering a witness. This divides that and creates two Statutes that kind of -- it divides the current one into two in a first -- a second and first degree, and basically the existing Statute does not reference -- it talks about attempting to -- induce or attempt a witness not to testify but there's no violence involved.

What this Statute does -- or what this Bill does is the new second degree is kind of current law that says if you are inducing or attempting to get a witness to testify falsely that is a second degree and it's a Class C felony. The new Statute, which is the first degree has the same content of what I just said in the sense that tampering with a witness but it adds in the component when there's -- when a person physically harms or threatens physical harm to the witness, that becomes --

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry, Senator Doyle. Thank you. Now I can hear you, thank you. Please go.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Sorry. So the -- the new first degree, as I said, deals with the added component is really a person physically harming or threaten to physically harm the witness or the person. It's an important piece of legislation. One of our colleagues presented it to the Judiciary Committee and it certainly is a significant problem and it makes perfect sense that if a person -- one thing is to tamper with a witness. The second one is to induce -- I mean the second one is to threaten or actually physically harm the witness would justify the second -- the first count and I urge our Chamber to approve this new crime. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Great to see you this afternoon. I stand in strong support of this Bill as well. It makes perfect sense to have heightened penalty available for state's attorneys if an individual actually attempts to tamper with a witness by threatening the use of physical force or actually using physical force and I'd like to thank Senator McCrory for bringing this matter to our attention in the Judiciary Committee and I just can't imagine how one would feel if someone actually says you go and you testify against me and I'm gonna hurt you or actually does some harm to scare you, punches you or threatens your life, who knows? So we need to do everything we can as a law abiding society to address these issues if they ever come to our attention and, again, I would urge my colleagues to support this Bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you -- Senator Suzio -- oh, Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

I apologize, Madam President. It's an oversight on my part. The Clerk does have an Amendment. I should have called it. I apologize to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Please go forward.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Thank you. The Clerk has an Amendment, LCO 6620. May the Clerk please call and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6620, Senate A, offered by Senators Doyle, Kissel, and McCrory.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Thank you, Madam President. This Amendment is to strike everything amended but what it does is --

THE CHAIR:

Want to move to adopt?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Sorry. Move -- move adoption of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes, so what the Amendment does, it changes it from a Class C felony to Class B felony for the person guilty of intimidating a witness and I urge the Chamber to accept the Amendment before us. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark on the Amendment? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and the Amendment merely clarifies the points that we had raised earlier in supporting the Bill and I would urge its adoption as well.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark on the Amendment? Will you remark on the Amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor please say Aye [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? The Amendment passes.

Are there any questions on the Bill? Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I, too, stand in support of the Bill. I wanna compliment Senator McCrory. This tampering with a witness or intimidating a witness is a fundamental threat to the operation of our system of justice and it's a very serious crime as far as I'm concerned that threatens to undermine the integrity of the entire judicial system. I strongly support this -- this law, this proposed Bill, I should say and, again, I wanna thank the good Senator for proposing it. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes, Madam President. If there's no objection I move this Bill to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 90 -- I'm sorry, page 55, calendar 99, Senate Joint Resolution No. 25, RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING CONGRESS TO RECOGNIZE WOMEN IN THE CADET NURSE CORPS DURING WORLD WAR II AS VETERANS.

THE CHAIR:

Good aft -- good evening. Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Good evening, Madam President. Madam President, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and adoption. Will you remark?

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. Madam President, this Resolution is before us today because of the great advocacy of a group of women led by Senator Cathy Osten. This Resolution memorializes Congress to recognize the women in the Cadet Nurse Corps who served during World War II under the Public Health Services. These women were shortchanged their ability to be called veterans.

This Bill, or this -- excuse me, this Resolution asks Congress to recognize them for the tremendous service that they did to our country -- for our country during World War II and to make them eligible for veterans' benefits that all of the other veterans who served alongside them are eligible for. I urge the Chamber to support this Resolution.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and I want to thank my colleagues in the Veterans' Committee and in particular Senator Flexer for bringing this forward. This group of women who helped us during World War II were -- should have been always eligible for military benefits. Without having the Nurse Cadet Corps our ability to save lives in World War II would have been negatively impacted. The -- the 112th Congress brought a Bill forward to recognize these women as military members as that is what they are.

I still have people today who served in the Nurse Cadet Corps in my district and are spry and could talk about what they did for our country in terms that would surprise every one of us around the circle. This is the only group of veterans who have not been recognized by Congress and I would highly recommend that we correct wrong before we correct it posthumously for women who served our country.

Women in the Nurse Cadet Corps served both in-country and overseas. They were needed by our country and it was an Act of Congress that established them. That Act of Congress said that we need nurses and this was the beginning of nurses serving in the military. It is an injustice to these women to not recognize that they are members of the military and it hurts not a single person to have them recognized.

As a female veteran, I get -- I'm lucky enough to get to go around and talk to American Legions and veterans of foreign wars and when I talk to people, other veterans, about this injustice, male or female, does not matter which branch of the Service they were in, they all think that these women deserve recognition. As a matter of fact, to not have that recognition is an injustice to every other veteran. It diminishes what we do, what we did, and what our active military folks are doing today.

I urge my colleagues to support this Resolution and I hope that the Congress will take it seriously and finally correct this egregious wrong. Thank you very much, Madam President, and thank you, Senator Flexer.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, and thank you for your service. Will you remark? Senator Martin. Senator Martin, please, thank you.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Just very quickly, you know this -- this Act of Congress was established in 1946 and at the request of Franklin -- President Franklin Roosevelt and its purpose and the Cadet Nurses -- their purpose was really to make sure that the country at home and abroad -- that we had nurses to take care of -- to take care of those in need during the war and I can't say enough. I want to echo Senator Osten's word of the great justice that they did, but also they really do need to be recognized as a vet because that's what they were. They were vets. So I stand in support of this -- this Resolution. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

You're welcome. Will you remark further? Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I just want to brief comment on the Bill. I want to thank the Chairs of the Veterans' Committee and also Senator Osten for bringing out this Resolution. And my simple comments are thus: As a former Chair of the Veterans' Committee and as a veteran, I fully support this endeavor to recognize the women who served our country, not just today and going forward, but also in the past and when we look back through our history, look back to the past, obviously back then this was a world war where everyone participated in one form or another and that means the female gender as well.

They stepped up. They entered into the -- into the fray just as all our men have done over the years and I think for their effort they should be recognized in the same way that our -- our -- our male counterparts are recognized for their efforts in the military. So this is most likely more of an oversight given how the thought process was back then but we've come a long way and we should be able to rectify those -- those mistakes and so I fully support recognizing all members who contributed in our efforts in the great wars, not just then but moving forward, because it is -- it is an effort that no matter what gender you have you should be recognized for those efforts serving your country. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, and thank you for your service. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Seeing not, Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If there's no objection I move that we place this item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, ma'am. Mr. Clerk. The Senate will stand at ease.

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, a few more items to mark --

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

-- as Go. Calendar page 8, calendar 136, Senate Bill 808. Calendar page 9, calendar 145, Senate Bill 24. Calendar page 10, calendar 170, Senate Bill 928, to be taken out by the Republican Co-Chair. Calendar page 11, calendar 174, Senate Bill 806, taken out by the Democratic Co-Chair. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 9 --

THE CHAIR:

8.

CLERK:

Page 8, calendar 136, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 808, AN ACT INCREASING THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF INSURANCE COVERAGE REQUIRED TO ISSUE A MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE OR CERTIFICATE OF MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, Senator Larson. Senator Larson, please.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. This Bill increases the minimum amount of automobile insurance a person must maintain to receive or retain driver's license or registration. Specifically it increases the minimum amount of liability coverage, bodily injury to others and property damage, and for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, bodily injury to the vehicle owner, relatives living with owner, and passengers injured in a hit and run accident or an accident caused by a driver who is uninsured, who has insufficient bodily injury coverage.

THE CHAIR:

Would you like to remark further?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Yes, Madam President. I understand that there is an Amendment, LCO 6621, and I'd ask the Clerk to call the Amendment and I ask to seek leave of the Chamber to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6621, Senate A, offered by Senators Larson and Looney.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. This Amendment --

THE CHAIR:

Will you move the adoption?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

I move the adoption of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Yes, thank you again, Madam President. This Amendment increases the amount of coverage required per person to 30,000, increases the amount of coverage per accident to 60,000, and makes a technical change regarding the effective date which leaves the minimum amount needed for coverage for bodily injury at 25,000, which was in the original Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark on the -- on the Amendment? Will you remark on the Amendment? Senator Kelly. I'm sorry, Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I also rise in support of the Amendment and also for the leadership of Senator Larson on this issue in working the Bill through Committee. One of the things that we gotta keep in mind here is that we haven't had a change in the minimum insurance requirements since 1971, the Nixon administration. So this is something that's long overdue just from an inflation perspective and it's something that I think is important to make sure that we have adequately insured motorists on our roads. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Amendment? Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Speaking in support of the Amendment. I wanted to thank Senator Larson for his work on this Bill and the Amendment, and Senator Kelly also. And I think the points made are critically important in terms of this Bill. As Senator Kelly pointed out, there has not been an increase in the limits since the law was first passed in the early 1970s.

Even with this Bill and even with the Amendment proposed we are still far behind in terms even in inflation-related adjustment for what the -- those rates would be if we were to truly replicate the mo -- contemporary equivalent of what they were in 19 -- in the early 1970s, but it is at least progress. And the consequences of having the thresholds as low as they are involve in many cases people having to bring claims against their own insurance policies for underinsured motorists and that really is -- is not fair to those people who have adequate coverage and are injured by people who have minimal coverage. So at least we will have some greater equity in the whole system as a result of this Amendment and this Bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam President. I apologize for speaking after the President pro tempore. I just had a question. Was there any testimony during the public hearing as to how this may impact premiums --

THE CHAIR:

This is on the Amendment, sir?

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

On the Amendment, which increases the coverage so I wanted to know if there was any testimony as to the extent on how, if any, insurance holders or policy holders would see an increase in their -- in their premiums. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. It's been a while but, yes, my understanding was that in the original amounts there was some, mostly favorable testimony. The fact that it's been, I believe, since 1974 that we've even looked at this and that when we were asked what the -- what the overall determination might be or the impact on rates, it was too hard to ascertain other than having individuals possibly go back to their own carriers and try to figure out what was going on so there was -- there was discussion about that but there was no definitive sort of percentage or dollar amount. I've heard anecdotally from several people that when they've checked their own coverage it appears as though that they're somewhere between a 7 to 9 percent increase in -- in the amended limit of liability.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank Senator Larson for that answer and I -- I'm gonna support the Amendment and ultimately the Bill. I'm just concerned that, you know, with the rising costs of everything else and I know we're trying to bring ourselves up to a vast majority of the states in this country to have the same limits, but I hope we don't see a large percentage of our population because of a 9 percent increase in their insurance rate decline or just not be able to afford insurance on their automobile, so I'm gonna support it and let's just hope for the best and bring ourselves in line. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Amendment? Will you remark further on the Amendment? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor please say Aye [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? Amendment passes. Now onto the Bill. Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. If there's no objection I'd ask that the Bill be placed on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection --

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

I'm sorry.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Moore.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Thank you. Senator Larson, you say the increase is between 7 and 9 percent overall for the policy?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

That was an anecdotal sort of -- that was not statistically given. Several people that I've spoken to had effectively checked with their own local carriers and automobile situations and tried to get a -- an estimate so that's where that number comes from. That was not given to me by the industry or the lobbying concern.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

So I have some concerns over the increase so I would ask for a roll call vote.

THE CHAIR:

A roll call vote will be had. Any other discussion on the Bill? Seeing none, Mr. Clerk, will you please call for a roll call vote and the machine will be open.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

All members have voted. All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Bill No. 808.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 34

Those voting Nay 2

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 9, calendar 145, Senate Bill No. 24, AN ACT REDUCING THE TIME FRAME FOR URGENT CARE ADVERSE DETERMINATION REVIEW REQUESTS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. This changes the current Bill's language of 72 to 48 hours for the time an insurance provider has to respond by accepting or denying an appeal from a patient for urgent care from the health carrier.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and thanks to Senator Larson for bringing this Bill forward in the Insurance and Real Estate Committee. This Bill has somewhat of a history, Madam President. It does decrease the time frame for expedited reviews when an insurer denies a service so the patient will get an answer sooner. Also I worked with Representative Yaccarino on this issue, who had proposed a -- a 24-hour limit.

Under the current law the insurer has 72 hours to respond to an urgent care request and as we know in some cases 72 hours can put a patient in serious danger of a negative outcome and this Bill, as a compromise, would reduce the time frame to 48 hours and unfortunately that time frame was -- was lengthened to 72 hours back in -- in 2011.

The Affordable Care Act requires that the longest time allowed for an urgent care request is 72 hours and prior to that Act the time frame was two business days and that requirement really isn't consistent with the -- with current federal law because on requests that include weekend days two business days can actually exceed 72 hours.

So in -- in 2013, in Public Act 13-3, THE ACT CONCERNING GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND CHILDREN SAFETY, we decreased the time frame to 24 hours for an insurer to respond to an urgent care request regarding mental health and substance abuse denials, and objecting to a 24-hour requirement some of the health carriers at the time asserted that -- that if the time frame was moved to 24 hours for all urgent care requests that it might result in more denials but the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association have announced joint policy goals which included 24-hour time frame for urgent care requests and clearly I think 24 hours would be the most superior policy but 48 hours would be, I think, a significant and reasonable improvement from current law and also represents a very reasonable compromise on this issue. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? If not, Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. If there's no objection I'd ask this Bill be placed on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 10, calendar 170, Senate Bill No. 928, AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY METHODS OF DEVELOPING, EXPANDING, AND IMPROVING THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY WORKFORCE IN THIS STATE.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Good evening, Madam President. I rise to move acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. What this Bill does is something straightforward and it's something that came out of an insurance forum that I had with the insurance industry in December where I asked the insurance industry what is it we can do for you as a General Assembly? And one of the things among many that the insurance industry came back to me with was that we have an aging workforce in insurance. It's a workforce that is highly qualified.

We have some of the best and the brightest working right here in Hartford in the insurance industry but, like manufacturing, we are not getting and capturing the excitement and interest of our youth and there was an analogy that what we need to do for our insurance industry is the same what we did for manufacturing and to look at that and see what we could do to encourage more individuals, not only to go into insurance, but to work with our insurance industry to find what we can do to develop and encourage our workforce development here in Hartford so that we can maintain good paying jobs, good paying insurance jobs and that's basically what this Bill is going to do.

It's gonna work with the industry to study this issue and hopefully report back with a plan on how we can partner together, both the state government and our insurance industry, to make it more robust and to create more jobs here in Connecticut for our families.

To that end, Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of LCO No. 6682. I ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6682, Senate A, offered by Senators Kelly and Larson.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. This Amendment --

THE CHAIR:

Would you like to adopt this Amendment, sir?

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Oh, pardon me. I move adoption of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thanks. This Amendment basically in the appointment of the task force basically resembles the tie in the Senate and makes it equal between both leadership of -- of the Senate and I would move its adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark? Will you remark on the Amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor please say Aye [Ayes voiced]. Hello?

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Thank you very much. Those against, please say Nay. The Ayes have it. Senate A is adopted.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. If there is no objection I move this Bill be placed on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 11, calendar 174, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 806, AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE CRUMBLING FOUNDATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AND ASSISTING HOMEOWNERS WITH CRUMBLING FOUNDATIONS. There is an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you. As been presented, there is an Amendment. I'd ask leave of the Chair to call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, call the Amendment, please.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6832, Senate A, offered by Senators Larson, Looney, Duff, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Move adoption?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Pardon me?

THE CHAIR:

Motion on adoption.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Motion on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you. I -- I wanted to speak to the Amendment, LCO --

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Continue?

THE CHAIR:

It's been called so you don't have to repeat the number.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Okay. First time, I wanted to alert the Chamber that this is not final action. We are referring this to Finance and just to develop the -- the Amendment clarifies the policyholder's responsibility for surcharges when issued or renewed, describes two different types of insurers and their methods of remittance, and makes conforming changes to mime -- mime -- makes conforming changes to mirror changes made in Section 1 that clarify which party is responsible for surcharges, et cetera.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Amendment? Will you remark further on the Amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor please say Aye [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? The Ayes have it. The Amendment is adopted.

At this time Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move that we refer this item to the Finance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, if we can now get a vote on our first Consent Calendar, please? If the Clerk can please call the Bills on the Calendar, followed by a vote.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, please call the long list of Consent Calendar. Thank you.

CLERK:

On page 2, calendar 49, Senate Bill No. 755. Page 3, calendar 91, Senate Bill 136. Page 6, calendar 123, Senate Bill 916. Page 9, calendar 145, Senate Bill 24. On page 10, calendar 160, Senate Bill 723. Also on page 10, calendar 167, Senate Bill 911. Page 10, calendar 170, Senate Bill 928. Page 13, calendar 199, Senate Bill 948. On page 14, 204, Senate Bill 41, and calendar 202, Senate Bill 923. On page 17, calendar 229, Senate Bill No. 962. On page 18, calendar 230, Senate Bill 963. On page 23, calendar 280, Senate Bill 954. On page 24, calendar 285, Senate Bill 983. Page 25, calendar 292, Senate Bill 377, and calendar 293, Senate Bill 922. On page 28, calendar 319, Senate Bill 887. Also on page 28, calendar 317, Senate Bill 1030. On page 33, calendar 354, Senate Bill 817. On page 34, calendar 362, Senate Bill 1045. On page 38, calendar 389, Senate Bill 980. On page 45, calendar 429, House Bill 6520. On page 51, calendar 75, Senate Bill 811. Also on page 51, calendar 111, Senate Bill 485. On page 55, calendar 154, Senate Joint Resolution No. 38, and on page 55, calendar 99, Senate Joint Resolution No. 25.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you please call for a roll call vote on the first Consent -- Consent Calendar?

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call on today's first Consent Calendar has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

All members have voted. All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Excuse me. Hold on. It's the Consent Calendar. I'm sorry, the machine is closed.

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. There was a Bill mistakenly put on the Consent Calendar and if we can have a re-vote of the Consent Calendar --

THE CHAIR:

You want to reconsider your vote, sir? Since you were on the --

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

I was on the prevailing side.

THE CHAIR:

Prevailing side, right.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Though not a mistake of any of the -- any of the Senators, a vote -- a Bill was put on the Consent Calendar so we need to re-vote the Consent Calendar, please.

THE CHAIR:

First --

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Reconsider --

THE CHAIR:

Reconsider. So I can ask for a voice vote on reconsidering the Consent Calendar. All those in favor? [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? Motion carries. At this time --

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Yes.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

I probably should mention which Bill that was we're taking off.

THE CHAIR:

Yes, that would be a great idea, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Senate, stand at ease for a moment.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease.

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The offending Bill was calendar page 13, calendar 199, Senate Bill 948.

THE CHAIR:

At this time that Bill will be removed without objection. Seeing no objection, at this time, Mr. Clerk, will you call for a roll call vote on the first Consent Calendar again? Machine is open.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call on the real Consent Calendar No. 1 for today.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio. Senator Suzio. Senator Kennedy. Senator Kennedy. Vote please. Thank you. Senator Fasano. We haven't gotten them all yet, sorry. Thank you, Senator Miner.

All members have voted. All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally.

CLERK:

On the real Consent Calendar No. 1 for today.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

And this time it passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, for some referrals please and other markings?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 4, calendar 105, Senate Bill 769, I'd like to refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 7, calendar 124, Senate Bill 917, I'd like to refer that item to the Judiciary Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 15, calendar 212, Senate Bill 996, I'd like to refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

I'd like -- on calendar page 17, calendar 224, Senate Bill 501, I'd like to refer that item to the Finance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 20, calendar 246, Senate Bill 973, I'd like to refer that item to the Finance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 25, calendar 290, Senate Bill 602, I'd like to refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 27, calendar 309, Senate Bill 1033, I'd like to refer that item to the Judiciary Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 32, calendar 350, Senate Bill 364, I'd like to refer that item to the Finance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 37, calendar 386, Senate Bill 1025, I'd like to refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 38, calendar 387, Senate Bill 12, I'd like to refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 57, calendar 51, Senate Bill 760, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer that to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 57, calendar 69, Senate Bill 757, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 57, calendar 72, Senate Bill 770, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer the item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 57, calendar 73, Senate Bill 771, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the Committee and refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 57, calendar 93, Senate Bill 503, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer it to the Finance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 58, calendar 112, Senate Bill 752, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer the item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 58, calendar 152, Senate Bill 376, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 58, calendar 169, Senate Bill 927, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 59, calendar 183, Senate Bill 873, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 59, calendar 200, Senate Bill 971, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer that item to the Appropriations Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 59, Senate Bill -- calendar 222, Senate Bill 261, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer that item to the Finance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 60, calendar 247, Senate Bill 3, I'd like to remove that item from the footnote of the calendar and refer that item to the Finance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

And that completes our markings and will the Senate stand at ease for a moment?

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease.

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I'd like to immediately transmit those items to the -- their respective committees, please.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President and now if the Senate will stand in recess.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will be in recess.

CLERK:

There will be an immediate Senate Republican Caucus, an immediate Senate Republican Caucus.

There will be a almost immediate Senate Democratic Caucus, Senate Democratic Caucus.

There will be an immediate Senate Democratic Caucus, an immediate Senate Democratic Caucus, an immediate Senate Democratic Caucus.

The Senate will convene immediately. The Senate will convene immediately. Senate will convene immediately.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. The Senate will come to order. Senate will come to order. The Chair will recognize members for purposes of announcements or points of personal privilege.

Chair recognizes Majority Leader, Senator Duff, for purposes of markings.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Senator Looney. Good to see you up there.

THE CHAIR:

Good to be here.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

I have for markings on Go's for the rest of the evening. On calendar page 2, calendar 76, Senate Bill 766, I'd like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 2, calendar 79, Senate Bill 129, I'd like to mark that as Go. On calendar page 4, calendar 95, Senate Bill 865, I'd like to mark that as Go. On calendar page 5, calendar 108, Senate Bill 894, I'd like to mark that as Go. On calendar page 7, calendar 126, Senate Bill 906, I'd like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 7, calendar 129, Senate Bill 823, I'd like to mark that item as Go. Calendar page 8, calendar 142, Senate Bill 522, I'd like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 13, calendar 193, Senate Bill 974, like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 14, calendar 205, Senate Bill 820, I'd like to mark item as Go. On calendar page 15, calendar 208, Senate Bill 506, like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 16, calendar 213, Senate Bill 998, like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 16, calendar 216, Senate Bill 871, like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 17, calendar 220, Senate Bill 975, like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 17, calendar 223, Senate Bill 345, like to mark that item as Go. Calendar page 19, calendar 237, Senate Bill 260, like to mark that item as Go. On calendar page 50 -- on calendar page 30, calendar 340, Senate Bill 1020, I'd like to mark that item as Go, and if Senate could stand at ease for just a moment, I have to find a page number.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, on calendar page 13, calendar 199, Senate Bill 948, I'd like to mark that as Go, and on calendar page --

THE CHAIR:

Could you announce that one again?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Calendar page 13, calendar 199, Senate Bill 948, I'd like to mark that item as Go.

THE CHAIR:

Okay, thank you.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

And on calendar page 14, calendar 203, Senate Bill 944, I'd like to mark that item as Go. And if the Clerk can call those in calendar order, please.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Mr. Majority Leader. The Clerk -- if the Clerk would begin calling the items beginning with the first item marked by the Majority Leader, calendar page 2, calendar 76, Senate Bill 76 --

CLERK:

Calendar page 2, Senate Bill 766, AN ACT EXTENDING CERTAIN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES REPORTING DEADLINES.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Moore.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Thank you, Sen -- Mr. President. Senate Bill -- I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Moore. Will you remark?

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Yes I will, thank you very much. This Bill, AN ACT EXTENDING CERTAIN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES REPORTING DEADLINES. The purpose of this Bill is to change the dates of reporting from January 2 to February, which would allow time for them to gather data that comes through in the month of December.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Moore. Is there any additional comment on the Bill? Additional comment on the Bill? If not, Senator Moore.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Thank you. If there's no more comments I'd ask that this be put on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Moore has moved the item to the Consent Calendar. Is there any objection? Seeing none, the Bill will be placed as the first item on Consent Calendar No. 2.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Moore. If the Clerk would call the second item, also calendar page 2, calendar 79, calendar 129.

CLERK:

Page 2, calendar no. 79, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 129, AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE TAKING OF MUSHROOMS AT STATE PARKS AND ON OTHER STATE PROPERTY.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Just looking for the file here. Yes, thank you, Mr. President. Good evening. I move acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

The Bill has been moved. Is there comment? Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, the Environment Committee heard a Bill which would permit the taking of mushrooms for personal use only on state lands. I don't know if the Chamber is aware, but there are some regulations that speak specifically to the taking of plants and other vegetation. It is under the -- under the current regulative process not permitted. We had testimony, very limited testimony, however, in favor of the Bill and I move passage.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Is there additional comment on the Bill? Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. I just -- first of all, I want to thank my -- my colleague and friend, Senator Miner, for raising this Bill. I just have a couple of questions for the proponent of the Bill, Senator Miner. Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Kennedy. Senator Miner, would you prepare yourself for the questions? Thank you.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

So Senator, the -- the taking -- the picking of the mushrooms in the state parks, is that for a commercial use or for a personal use? Through you, Mr. Chair, Mr. President.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. President. That would be explicitly for personal use, personal use only.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you for that question. And one of the questions that had -- were raised in the Committee was, through you, Mr. President, is is this permitting to anyone to take any other items out of the state park such as fiddleheads, wildflowers, berries, or is this only for the personal consumption of mushrooms? Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Through you. So the Bill speaks only to mushrooms. I believe all the other items that you have spoken about are also covered under regulation. Currently they are not allowed to be picked so, for instance, you're not allowed to pick fiddleheads or wildflowers. You're not allowed to pick any -- you know, anything that would be a plant material that's not explicitly allowed, and I'm not aware that anything is allowed, which was the reason for this Bill. Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Miner. Senator Kennedy, you have the floor.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Just one final question about the -- the possibility was raised by several members in the circle about poten -- somebody potentially eating a poisonous mushroom and if in fact the state would have liability if someone were to mistakenly eat a poisonous mushroom. Could you please offer your comments and thoughts on that question? Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Kennedy. Senator Miner, will you respond?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Certainly, Mr. President, and thank you. Through you. On lines 27, 28, and 9, the State explicitly says that they will have no liability for the consumption of mushrooms. We did have a discussion about this in Committee, in fact, and as I recall in order for someone to bring suit against the State of Connecticut it actually takes, I think, legislative authority. So it's my understanding with the passage of the Bill the State would not be liable. Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Miner. Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you very much for your answers to those questions. I learned when we were having the hearing on mushroom hunting in state parks that in fact over a dozen states actually permit this practice and it's enjoyed by many, many people throughout the country and so I am in support of this piece of legislation and I encourage my colleagues to support it as well. Thank you very much, Mr. President, and thank you to my friend and colleague, Senator Miner.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Kennedy. Additional comment on the Bill? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. President. I rise for a few questions to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Osten. Senator Miner, would you prepare yourself for Senator Osten's questions?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Certainly.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. President. Through you. In regards to the consuming of wild mushrooms, is there literature that's available to park-goers that talks about the different kinds of mushrooms and what is good, what is not good, and what the side effects are vis-a-vis consuming a mushroom that is -- that would have bad side effects? Through you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Through you. I am aware that there are a number of publications. In fact you can go online. There's a lot of information online as well. I was at the DEEP facility in Burlington about three weeks ago and they in fact had offered a course there which I was kind of interested in because apparently there are people that are doing this now and they thought maybe they better get ahead of the curve, I don't know. So as far as I know, there is a lot of information available both on the internet and in print. There are mycological societies throughout the state and throughout the nation that would be willing, I'm sure, to provide information.

In fact when we heard testimony the day of the public hearing there was a woman there who actually is a volunteer with the Poison Control Commission and so if calls come in relative to mushrooms she's the go-to person and I think Senator Kennedy may have asked her a question about, in fact, where that may have occurred and as I recall she indicated that the mushroom came off of the person's neighbor's property. Don't know if that helps. Mr. President, through you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Miner. Senator Osten, you have the floor.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. President, and I appreciate my colleague's answers but in order to protect the public I have an idea for a possible Amendment and if the Clerk has there LCO No. 7300, I seek to summarize the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, is the Clerk in possession of LCO 7300?

CLERK:

LCO No. 7300, Senate A, offered by Senators Looney and Duff.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. President. I move adoption of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten, if we might stand at ease for a moment?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. President. I would seek to withdraw the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Osten. Senate Bill -- Amendment LCO 7300 is withdrawn. Is there further comment on the Bill? Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, I will -- I'll ask the Clerk to call LCO 7300 and yield to Senator Osten.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Majority Leader? That Amendment has been withdrawn. If we might stand at ease.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

I will stand at ease.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Is there additional comment on the Bill? Further comment on the Bill? If not, Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. If there is no opposition then I would ask that the Bill be put on Consent.

THE CHAIR:

Is there objection to placing the Bill on the Consent Calendar? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Roll call on the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

We will order a roll call vote on the Bill. We have to get the Bill appearing properly on the board.

Thank you. The Bill has been properly registered on the board. If the Clerk will please call for a roll call vote on Senate Bill 129.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

All Senators have voted. Mr. Clerk, would you announce the tally?

CLERK:

On Senate Bill No. 129,

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 31

Those voting Nay 5

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Mr. President? Mr. President?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Majority Leader.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, just for a few more markings, please?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. On calendar page 5, calendar 108, Senate Bill 894, I'd like to mark that PT. Thank you. On calendar page -- on calendar page 52, calendar 128, Senate Bill 821, like to mark that as Go, and then on calendar page 7, calendar 129, Senate Bill 823, like to mark that as PT.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Mr. Majority Leader.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

I believe the next item marked Go, proceeding with the list previously announced by the Majority Leader, is calendar page 4, calendar 95 --

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Yes.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

We're gonna -- we're gonna mark that as PT for now and move on to the next item which is calendar page 7, calendar 126, Senate Bill 906.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Mr. Majority Leader. If the Clerk would call calendar page 7, calendar 126, Senate Bill 906.

CLERK:

On page 7, calendar 126, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 906, AN ACT CONCERNING LEAD GENERATORS OF RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE LO -- LEAD GENERATORS OF PRESIDENTIAL -- OF RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE LOANS.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. This is a Bill that comes to us from the Banking Committee. What it does is it sets forward --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield, would you -- would you move the Bill?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yeah, I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill. Sorry.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Will you remark?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. So this is a Bill that comes to us through the Banking Committee. It establishes requirements and fees for initial licenses and for the renewal of those licenses. It establishes record retention and notification requirements. It gives the Banking Commissioner the pow -- the ability to do investigations and enforce licenses. It prohibits mortgage professionals from using unlicensed lead generators and it -- and it -- that is what it does. And Mr. President, there is a LCO. It's LCO 6935. I'd ask the Clerk call it and I be granted leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Winfield. The Clerk will please call LCO No. 6935.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6935, Senate A, offered by Senators Winfield and Martin.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, Mr. President. This Amendment --

THE CHAIR:

Senator, would you move the --

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes. I move acceptance of the -- I move Acceptance.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Would you remark further on the Amendment?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. This is an Amendment that is a Joint Amendment with the Chairs and Ranking Member of the Banking Committee. It's largely technical. It does things like, for instance, clarify that -- misrepresentation that is spoken about in the Bill -- is misrepresentation in connection with lead generators' license and makes corrections to periods, commas, and strikes out some language that was agreed upon by the Chairs. I move acceptance.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Is there additional comment on the Amendment? Additional comment by the members on LCO 6935? Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, I rise in support of not only the Amendment but the underlying Bill. The Bill creates new license category for the lead generators which the Banking Department had no authority of before this and basically the lead generators are individuals who sell information, identifying new customers for residential mortgage loans, and authorizes the Banking Commissioner to have regulatory authority over these individuals. So I urge my colleagues to support this Bill and Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Martin. Is there additional comment on the Amendment? If not, would try your minds. All in favor of the Amendment please indicate it by saying Aye [Ayes voiced]. All opposed, Nay. The Amendment passes.

Senator Winfield on the Bill.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. If there's no objection I'd ask this be moved to Consent.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. The Bill as amended has been moved to the Consent Calendar. Is there any objection to placing the Bill as amended on the Consent Calendar? Seeing not -- seeing none, the Bill will be added to Consent Calendar No. 2. Thank you. The Clerk will proceed with the call of the Go list.

CLERK:

On page 8, calendar 142, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 522, AN ACT AUTHORIZING BEAR HUNTING IN CONNECTICUT.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff, did you have -- should be recognized?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Could we just PT this for now and move on to the next Bill, please?

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. The item will be passed temporarily. Mr. Clerk, if you would proceed to the next item marked Go, I believe that is calendar page 13, calendar 193, Senate Bill 974.

CLERK:

On page 13, calendar 193, Senate Bill No. 974, AN ACT REQUIRING THE STUDY OF ENERGY SOURCES. There is an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Mr. President, can I be given a second?

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. The Chamber will stand at ease.

Thank you, Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable -- Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. The Bill has been moved. Further discussion. Senator Winfield, will you remark further?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. What this Bill does is it requires a study of energy sources. There is a -- by the Chairperson of the -- of PIRA. There is an Amendment. The Amendment number is 7087. I'd ask it be called and I be granted leave of the Chamber to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Winfield. If the Clerk would please call LCO 7087, designated as Senate A.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7087, Senate Amendment Schedule A, offered by Senators Looney, Duff, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. What this Amendment -- I move acceptance, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Winfield. Will you remark?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes. Mr. President, what this Bill does is after line 3 it -- after the word sources it inserts language that adds to the study of broadband internet access service and data privacy and I move acceptance.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Is there additional comment on Senate Amendment Schedule A? If not, will try your minds. All those in favor please indicate it by saying Aye [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? The Amendment passes.

Senator Winfield. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, I move this item be referred to the Judiciary Committee.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Duff. The item will be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, the item as amended. Thank you. Mr. Clerk, if you would proceed to the next item marked Go.

CLERK:

On page 14, calendar 205, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 820, AN ACT CONCERNING ELIGIBILITY OF PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS UNDER THE SMALL BUSINESS EXPRESS PROGRAM. There is an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Hartley. No, Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate that very much. I move acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. The item has been moved. Will you remark further? Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. The Bill I will get into in a -- in a minute, but we do have an Amendment on file, LCO No. 7233. If the Clerk could please call that.

THE CHAIR:

Clerk will please call LCO 7233.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7233, Senate A, offered by Senators Frantz and Hartley, et al.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. I move adoption of the Amendment, waive the reading, and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Senator.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Mr. President. Very simply, what LCO No. 7233 does is after the last section of the Bill's language is it adds the following, and that is that the Commissioner of the DECD in consultation with the Connecticut State Medical Society shall review the application process, not applications, but application process for the Small Business Express Program to ensure that said program facilities -- facilitates the participation of physicians and physicians' offices in the program and, if necessary, modify such application process to facilitate and reduce unnecessary barriers to physicians and physician -- physicians' offices participation in this program. And I -- and I would -- I would urge adoption of the Amendment and ask for a voice vote.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Is there further discussion on the Amendment, on LCO 7033? Further discussion? If not, will try your minds. All those in favor please indicate by saying Aye [Ayes voiced]. Opposed? The Amendment is adopted.

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate that. So Senate Bill 820, now amended by 7233, is a Bill that is intended to recognize that in Connecticut we have a problem with physicians and physicians' practices growing and -- and becoming stable in the State of Connecticut. We tend to lose doctors over the course of time because it's not the easiest state to perform these services in.

So Small Business Express, which is a large program now -- it's well over a quarter of a billion dollars -- has been very successful in getting money out into the private sector to support these different industries and companies but it has not done a great job in terms of supporting the physician and physician -- clinic industry and so the -- the Bill here aims to do exactly that. And what it does, it lowers the requirement from 12 months to 6 months for in-state physicians or physicians' offices that provide primary care services to adults or children in the state and in order to eligible for the Business Express Program in the first place, just like all other businesses in the program, they have to employ 100 or fewer people and on at least 50 percent of their working days during the preceding 12 months be in good -- and be in good standing with payment of all state and local taxes with all state agencies.

It's a good Bill in that it tries to -- tries to encourage physicians, many of whom are educated here in the State of Connecticut, to stick around and start their practices here. Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Frantz. Is there additional comment on the Bill as amended? Additional comment on the Bill as amended? Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this particular Bill 'cause I like to see that physicians do get the help and become part of the Small Business Express Program. However, in general I have a problem with the Small Business Express, and even though we're making that exception and changing the rules from 12 months to 6 months, I do support this particular Bill. However, there is a deeper problem with the Small Business Express Program personally.

Like what was said by my colleagues, hundreds of millions of dollars have gone out from the State of Connecticut to businesses across this state. However, when I look at the data I notice there is not a lot of businesses of color that is receiving money from the State of Connecticut to support small businesses, urban communities specifically. I can walk down streets of Hartford or Main Street, Albany Avenue, Blue Hills Avenue, and those communities have not been economically developed by the Small Business Express Program or any other program.

So I will support this particular legislation but it's the same thing. I can walk on Wigely [phonetic] Avenue or Dixie Avenue, New Haven. I can walk Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport. I can walk North May Ave -- North May Street in Waterbury, and those communities have not been economically developed. And hundreds of millions of dollars are going out there so I challenge the State Department, the DECD, to put more programs or funds -- funds in those urban communities so they can develop themselves so those people in those -- in those communities have opportunities for economic development and community uplift.

So, again, I -- I support this initially even though we're changing the rules to have other doctors to become part and get access to these dollars -- there's a whole lot of dollars that's going out here and they're not reaching the communities that they need to reach and we need to do something about it. We need -- I'm challenging all of us to help us change that trajectory. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator McCrory. Is there additional comment on the Bill as amended? Additional comment on the Bill as amended? Senator Gomes.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):


I rise in favor of the Bill as Senator McCrory has spoken, but what he had spoken about, the small business enterprise, things we need a decision of, vote on right now, does not result in anything in the City of Bridgeport
. He is talking about Hartford. I'm talking about Bridgeport, and I'm sure if somebody was here from Waterbury or one of the other major urban areas you would find out the same thing. And I, just like Senator McCrory has said, I challenge him to come down to Bridgeport as well as any other urban city in here and do something for people of color. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thanks, Senator Gomes. Is there additional comment on the Bill as amended? If not, Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Yes, thank you, Mr. President. I for one appreciate the comments that were just made by the two previous Senators and that's been heard loud and clear by the people on the Commerce Committee as well as the Finance Committee and there has been a lot of effort put into trying to reach the urban areas with these economic development programs. You're sitting right next to a proponent of CTNext, which was one of the highest priorities last session and I think that's gonna make a big, big difference, but you raise some very valid points here and I for one appreciate that.

So, Mr. President, if there's no objection I'd like to move that this goes to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Frantz. The item has been moved to the Consent Calendar. Is there objection to placing it on the Consent Calendar? Seeing none, the item will be added to Consent Calendar No. 2.

If we might stand at east for a moment before calling the next Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will return to order and the Clerk will call the next item on the Consent Calendar -- I mean on the -- excuse me, will call the next item. Oh, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, if the Clerk can now call calendar page 8, calendar 142, Senate Bill 522.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 8, calendar 142, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 522, AN ACT AUTHORIZING BEAR HUNTING IN CONNECTICUT and there are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

And we need to have that post. Thank you. Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Just give me one moment. Just need to find that file, please. All right, I got it.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner, do you need us to stand at ease?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

All set, thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the Environment Committee heard the Bill, Senate Bill 522, this year. It's not the first time we've had a Bill concerning chall -- char -- challenging the DEEP with developing regulations about the taking of bear in Connecticut. The bear population has increased to almost 700. The DEEP has a policy where black bears in Connecticut are pretty much limited to the Connecticut River and west, in the I-84 corridor and north. They are beginning to show up below 84. They are beginning to show up in the eastern part of the state but it has been the policy of the State of Connecticut, the DEEP not to move the bears outside that geographic area that they are currently in.

A couple years ago the DEEP commissioned a study. The study was done jointly with UConn and it was trying to identify whether this population was going to be stabilized at a certain level or whether it was gonna continue to grow. And what I think the agency found out was that there is no relief in sight, I guess is the best way to put it. The bear population has continued to grow. It's expected to grow to about 3,000. The report said that the bear population, once they get past the first year, has almost a 95 percent survival rate until maturity.

And so when you think about that, 12 years or so for a bear, that's a lot of reproductive capacity. That's a lot of offspring. That's a lot of bear. And I think most of us on the Committee when we reviewed this Bill took the challenge pretty seriously. The agency gave us a lot of information, was not an issue that was easy. It's still not an issue that's easy today. I think most of us when we see bear on television we think that they are soft, cuddly, friendly animals and that is not the case.

I had an opportunity about two months ago to go on a -- an actual survey where they have females collared. There are about 30 of them in the state and they know where they are. They know how many offspring they have and they know what their survival rate is. They actually put a chip in to try and determine where those bear go in the future. It really is a science and the biologists take this very seriously. The number of bear killed on an annual basis by automobiles is in excess of 40. That's the recorded number of deaths. The number of bear that are killed that are not reported are probably even larger than that.

And so when I was asked to take a look at this issue by my constituents, and then again by some of your constituents, the issue wasn't whether or not the population was sufficient for Connecticut at this point. It was how do we control them to try and make sure that the bear/human incidents didn't become worse. Some of you may have seen on television bears pressed up against the window. I think there was one the other night, bears on a trampoline.

Those are all circumstances where they kind of elicit a smile, I think, in most cases but the fact of the matter is they're wild animals. The female that was collared was about 270 pounds. The cubs were probably about 10 pounds. But within a year they get up over 100 pounds and the amount of damage that they can do is considerable. I have constituents that have said to me, I've lost livestock. The bee industry, as much as it is not a huge industry in Connecticut, is always impacted by bears. Every spring they come out of the den, every spring they're looking for forage, and every spring people lose pretty valuable property in beehives.

So, Madam President, the Bill is, as it is drafted, is pretty simple. It charges the agency with developing regulations. It sets out a maximum of 5 percent in the first year so that if the bear population, which is what they believe is happening, is growing at a rate of excess of 10 percent, at 5 percent it would be a well-managed modest process.

I do have one Amendment and if I might, through you, Madam President, the Amendment is File No. 241, LCO 6744. If the Clerk would call it and I be allowed to summarize, please.

THE CHAIR:

The Clerk does not have that Amendment, sir. Please hold -- please stand at ease.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

6744.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner, what is the LCO number on that?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

LCO No. 6744.

THE CHAIR:

We do not have that Amendment.

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6744, Senate A, offered by Senator Miner.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

And seek permission to summarize?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

And seek permission to summarize, I'm sorry.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Senator Miner, please proceed.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, what the Amendment does is strikes the language on line 66 beginning with letter B and then goes down to line 70, ending there, and converts Section C to Section B, and what that does is it -- it actually sets a very specific procedure by which the DEEP would manage bears. I thought that that was probably not the best idea. I had communication with the DEEP about that subsequent to the Bill's passage. They asked me to remove that language and that's what this does and so I would ask the Chamber's support for that Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any comments on the Amendment? Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President, and through you, Madam President. I just want to make sure I understand the Amendment. So by striking Section B, what are we actually -- what are we -- what are we making this Amen -- this Bill do?

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much, Senator Winfield. Senator Miner, are you prepared?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Yes I am, Madam President. Through you. What that language by being removed would do would be allow the agency to make a determination where they think the most effective place to allow hunting to occur and how they allow it to occur. We had heard testimony that some of the largest population may in fact be in areas that are Canton, Farmington, Avon, and the concern was, at least initially, is that an area where we would like to have hunting or wouldn't like to have hunting?

The agency said we allow deer hunting there. We allow all other hunting in those locations and if they do the restrictions as they would with deer hunting, which seemed rather likely, that it would be limited to private land in excess of 10 acres and so I was -- I thought that was a good management decision rather than have the legislature decide how it should be done. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and through you. Just one more question. As I'm looking at the language that's being struck, it also -- there is a part about why you're removing those bears, the interaction between the bears and the public, and I think -- I'm not on the Committee, I don't know -- but it seems like that's kind of important to me so -- and -- and looking to give the Department some freedom, I'm just trying to figure out why we would take that language out as well. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner, are you prepared?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

I -- I am, Madam President. And so, through you, by taking the language out what we allow is the biologists and those that do animal management to make a determination how we can best affect the population where they have problem areas as opposed to where someone may want to perhaps hunt bear. There are a lot of places in Connecticut where no one expects bear hunting to occur. In fact, we have different regulations on deer hunting. Fairfield County, for instance, where we had a very large population of deer, there were established very specific, very special regulations for very prescribed areas.

And so in this case rather than have me as a legislator tell the agency how we think this should be done, I chose instead to delete this Section and allow the professionals to determine how it should be done. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any other remarks on the Amendment? Are there any other remarks on the Amendment? Are there any other remarks on the Amendment? Seeing none, I'll try your minds. All those in favor indicate by saying Aye [Ayes voiced]. Any opposed? Any abstentions? Amendment is passed.

Senator Miner, do you have any further comments on the Bill as amended?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

No, no thank you, Madam President. Not at this time.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. A couple of questions to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner, prepare yourself. Senator Bye, please continue.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I received a large number of emails about this Bill and these are some of the questions that my constituents were concerned about. One, for my clarification, can the gentleman explain what taking a bear means in a statutory framework? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

So this language, through you, Madam President, this language as drafted is inserted into what is currently the deer hunting section of the Statutes and so the taking of bear would be through hunting only, regulations to be adopted by the agency. Once again, it's the way they developed regulations for everything else that we have a hunting season for in the State of Connecticut. So it would be hunting only.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Senator Miner, and through you, Madam President. So the Senator is saying that taking of bear really means hunting bear. Is that accurate? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, that's exactly accurate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you for that answer. One of the questions that came to me from a constituent is are there particular protections for bear cubs or no? Are they considered a bear like a large full-grown bear or are they considered differently? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and I thank the gentlelady for her question. When the deer hunting regulations were established the agency made a determination that hunting a deer at an age prior to when they had weaned was not appropriate and the regulations specifically prohibit the taking of deer at that age. I would expect that that very same process would occur here with the hunting of bear. Bears stay with their mother, a sow, for about a year-and-a-half and so I would expect that a year-and-a-half old bear, which is about the time that she would begin the process again, May or June would be a time. In the fall of that year they would be eligible to be taken when they're no longer with their mother. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. But just for clarification, through you. So nothing in the statutory framework prevents the hunting of bear cubs?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So the statutory framework for the hunting of deer or the hunting of turkey or the hunting of rabbits are left in all those cases to the professionals, to the biologists, and I would imagine that before the regulations came back to regs review that there would be communication about how that process would occur, the hunting, where it would occur, to what extent it would occur. Statutorily, that language is not here. I would expect if the agency wanted something included in the Statutes that there would be time for them to do it prior to establishing regulations and right now it is not in this language and it was not anticipated that the hunting of cubs would occur. I don't think the agency would permit it. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, and through you, Madam President. Can Senator Miner explain if there are any rules considered in this -- in these Statutes around hunting in remote areas versus hunting in areas where bears are being found in more suburban areas? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. So the way the agency described the situation to me was that there are large parcels of property even in areas of dense population and dense bear population where the taking of bear, hunting of bear, would be permitted provided it met the acreage requirement provided, for instance, that they develop regulations similar to what they have with deer hunting. You're not allowed to hunt on someone else's property without express written permission. I would imagine that those are the same guidelines that would occur here.

I've had constituents say to me, I'm not a hunter, but I would love to give someone permission to do this on my property. And so I think the agency would view this very similarly. While it's not in this language primarily because we didn't have statutory language for the deer hunting regulations either, this seemed to be the cleanest way to do it and allow the biologists and the agency staff to determine how best, where, and how often. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Through you, Madam President. I appreciate that thoughtful answer. One other question related to the agency. Did this Bill and this idea for this Bill come from the Department of Environment and -- Energy and Environmental Protection or did this have a legislative origination? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So in the past the legislation has been requested by residents of Connecticut. In the past the agency had said to me and others we would prefer to do a more developed study of the population, try and see what the trends are before developing regulations. In this case this year when we had a conversation with the agency as the Environment Committee leadership has had in the past, this Bill was already in consideration and the agency actually had responded affirmatively to it this year. It's not something that's come easily to them.

I think most people, biologists especially, are very concerned about how we develop some of these procedures politically and in this case I think most of the people, and there are some biologists that work with the bear population that have had a long history of participation with the DEEP here, have said to me the time has come. If there was some other way to change the population, redirect the population -- no one in Massachusetts wants them, no one in New York wants them, then certainly many of those ideas were worthy of consideration. Again, they don't really wanna -- they don't wanna move them across the river and they certainly don't wanna take them to Fairfield County. So I would say this time it was kind of a joint effort. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you for that answer. Through you, Madam President. I have two more questions. One is related to mother bears who may be nursing and are there prohibitions on hunting bears, mother bears, who have cubs? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Again, this language is not overly prescriptive because in Connecticut we count on the DEEP to develop those regulations. In some states the legislature actually is very specific. They are very prescriptive. They don't allow the agency to make determinations about take possession, that sort of stuff, it's all done by Statute, but for some reason in Connecticut this seems to be how we've done it. And so I would fully expect that part of the regulatory procedure, there would be a prohibition on bears at that stage of their life. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And my final question for Senator Miner before I make a comment is about bear baiting. This was a big concern of some of my constituents about what they feel is a very unfair hunting practice. I know it's been a matter of debate for many years in Maine so my question is is there anything in this Bill that prohibits the practice of baiting bears? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Another very good question. Through you, Madam President. So again, the language is specifically vague because my conversations with the agency have been such that they don't anticipate approving a regulation or adopting a regulation that would do a lot of what may be done in other states. For instance, in some states bears are tracked with dogs. They're trapped. They are baited. The only place that I'm aware of that the agency has allowed through regulation the baiting of deer, for instance, is in Fairfield County and so I don't expect that that would occur here. I didn't hear anything from the agency where they thought that that would be something they would recommend. I believe that they view this as an opportunity for people that would regularly hunt in areas where bear may be found but it would be more of a stalking procedure similar to the way people hunt deer or turkeys or other animals. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

I thank the gentleman for his answers. I know the Bill is offered in good faith. I -- I continue to have concerns primarily based on significant number of emails from constituents who are concerned about the vague wording of the Bill that left so much discretion to the Department of Public Health, number one. There were also concerns that a lot of this hunting would go on in remote areas where in fact bears are living in their habitat in Connecticut and should be allowed to continue to do so.

As Senator Miner knows, I've always voted for Sunday hunting. I'm not somebody who says no hunting and one of my most famous Capitol Report captions was Senator Bye, Kill 'Em with a picture of a bear because there was a bear who was behaving badly in my district in Burlington and DEEP determined by that bear's behavior that it was not safe to be around people and in fact DEEP ultimately did have to get rid of those bears in Sessions Woods.

So I do think there are cases and DEEP seems extremely well versed in when bears become a menace and what needs to happen in those cases but I -- I cannot support it at this time because of the lack of specificity and also really because of a incredible outpouring of opposition from constituents in my district, many of whom live with bears in their neighborhood. I happen to have Burlington and Farmington where there are a whole lot of bears and when you talk to constituents there they talk about the damage that bears are causing and it's primarily garbage cans and birdfeeders and they have come to learn to live understanding the bears in their culture. So I appreciate the gentleman's answers and I will be opposing this Bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Are there any further comments? Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. And just -- I think very briefly one or two questions depending on the answer to the first question. So a lot of the Bills we do have a story that grows up around the Bill. As I've listened to the story that's around this Bill I'm just trying to find out if it's true or not. So there was -- there's a lot of talk about tranquilizing and moving bears to a -- a different area and that could be of concern, so through you, Madam President, if the good Senator could talk about the issue of tranquilizing and transportation of bears as it relates to this Bill.

THE CHAIR:

We will be PT-ing this Bill right now.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Madam President. Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Yes. Yes, Senator.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

I may today.

THE CHAIR:

Okay, Senator Duff, why do you rise [laughing]? I'm sorry.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move that we PT this item and move on to the next calendar item that I have marked as Go, please.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 15, calendar 208, Senate Bill No. 506, AN ACT CONCERNING WATER USAGE AND CONSERVATION DURING DROUGHT CONDITIONS. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Hello, Madam President. Madam President, I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of a Strike All Amendment, LCO No. 7145. Will the Clerk please call the Amendment?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7145, Senate A, offered by Senators Kennedy, Leone, and Gerratana.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

I'll just make a couple brief remarks before yielding the floor to my friend and colleague, Senator Leone, who's worked very hard to bring this Bill before the Environment Committee, but I think all of us in this room know that from an environment and public health perspective there are very few issues that are as important as ensuring a fresh water supply for our citizens and businesses. Again, this is a Strike All Amendment from the Bill that we heard at the committee level which was very prescriptive in terms of when a drought could be declared and specifically what provisions citizens and business needed to do under those various circumstances, but this Bill is a good Bill because it simply asks the Water Planning Council which already exists to make recommendations to the General Assembly, review state and local authorizations concerning drought.

There are four levels of drought, advisory watch, warning, and emergency, and I think most people in the state have no idea what is the difference between a drought watch, between a drought advisory, and an emergency. In fact another agency has another level called heightened awareness. So what we have basically and what this Bill tries to do is there are literally dozens of agencies in our state. There are state agencies, there are water utilities, there are localities, all with jurisdiction, overlapping jurisdiction, about what a drought is and what people need to do.

So I think this is a very common sense measure to help us standardize what these triggers are, account for the variation within the state. We just got through a drought. I know most people -- we've had a lot of rain in the last month so people have forgotten the fact that the last two years our state has been in a drought. So we -- we are trying to get better information on what is voluntary and what is mandatory use restriction. What does that mean that people should voluntarily reduce their water intake? No one knows what that means. So we want to turn to the experts who can tell us and create some uniformity and I turn the -- the -- yield the floor over to my friend and colleague, Senator Leone, who can just explain the -- what prompted him to bring this issue before the Environment Committee. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone, will you accept the yield?

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President, I do, and I want to thank the good Senator from the Environment Committee and all his members on the Environment Committee for bringing this Bill to light and for working with all the members who have worked on this issue.

And one of the main reasons why I submitted the Bill was more -- was first a local issue but then the more I thought about it and the more I realized the reality of the situation it became more of the right thing to be doing for the State of Connecticut because it's not only affected my community in a very severe manner, it's affected other parts of the state, some as severe and others maybe not as severe, but nonetheless it has affected almost everyone statewide.

And that's the fact that, as mentioned, that we've gone through a serious drought here in Connecticut for the past two, two-and-a-half years and it's really simple that it's easy to overlook because we're all used to going to our homes, turning on the water faucet and the water's there. Taking a shower and the shower water is there. Flushing our toilets and the flushing continues. When that doesn't happen then it becomes a major issue because it's very disruptive and I would not want anyone to have to go through that disruption.

Now in my community in Stanford we have a reservoir that got down to the lowest levels in recent times, most likely even historic times. It was down to the point where you could walk throughout large sections of the reservoir where normally the water would be over your head. So much so that the water utility company had to put in an above-ground pipeline from a neighboring reservoir miles away along the Merritt Parkway through the North Stanford area into our reservoir and pump water from another reservoir north of my community to make sure that there was enough water usage for the people in our area in that reservoir's watershed. And because that was done people didn't really realize the severity of the issue unless they happened to drive by that reservoir and not everyone does that for many reasons.

Now I will say this, the water utility company did make efforts to contact residents through a reverse 911 to do voluntary reductions but aside from maybe one or maybe if you caught a local newscast, maybe was reported in the newspaper, and with the declining subscriptions even that is not as good as one would think, not a lot of people realized we were in the severity that we were in and even that communication wasn't good enough. So there were people uselessly using the water when they really shouldn't have so what is voluntary, what is mandatory, when should our citizens know that they need to act before it's too late or before it's a problem?

That was the genesis of this Bill, to get information out to our constituents, to our residents, that as water is declining in our reservoirs they should be notified and they should be notified before it becomes a problem. They should be notified before you have to do this voluntary or even mandatory reduction. They should be notified before you have to put in an above-ground pipeline across multiple communities to divert water from a different reservoir to another reservoir.

Now as a result of this the local communities started to talk to each other and it was mentioned how we wanted a standardization and in some communities they do that better than others, but as a result of the severity it forced the communities to start talking together and I think that's a good thing. But I don't think it should happen on an as needed basis. There should be a plan that we have throughout the State of Connecticut that should have some kind of communication standards that come out to our community to tell our residents what's going on with their water supplies.

And it's really simple. Water is the lifeblood of our community. You don't think about it because it's always there. And it's been said before a few years ago, even in this Chamber -- maybe not in the Chamber but in this building that, you know, Connecticut is water rich. We don't have droughts.

Well the past two years proved that wrong. And different reservoirs have different capacities. Some of have underground pipelines where water is being diverted and we don't know about it. You could say that's good management of getting the water where it's -- where it's at to moving to water where it's needed, but I think we should know what's going on with our water even when that's being done. I think we all deserve to know how our water usage is being used and by whom is using it and by when they're using it, and if they're not using it in the right way we should be -- we should have a plan on knowing what to do, how to act, and it should be communicated to our municipalities and to our residents.

Now as little as April 25 in 2017, the State of Connecticut was either in a normal, abnormal dry, or moderate drought throughout the state and roughly about eight-tenths of that was either in a abnormally dry or moderate drought. Only a small section was normal. So this happens more than people think, more than people realize, and I think they should know. They should know before it becomes critical.

What I don't want to see is the State of Connecticut have to go through the severity as to what's happened in other states, specifically in California. California went through multiple years of drought and it is only because of sheer luck that this past year they've had record amounts of snowfall that will provide the snowpack runoff for the new year so that they will have adequate water supplies, and even then it's not -- the drought that could still potentially come out there still might make things worse than better.

I would say that we have been lucky because we've also been fortunate with enough water supply, enough water and rain, through this past season that has brought up a lot of our water levels and even -- I will say even in my area our -- our water drought has been lifted because the reservoirs have been filled with the water runoff and the diversion of the water and as a result now they're starting to dismantle that pipeline that I talked about so that's kind of a good thing.

But at the same time that pipeline that was installed was -- is not installed for free, or even the dismantling of it is not being dismantled for free. At some point the utility company that acted is gonna want to get reimbursed and they're gonna get reimbursed by the rate payers by the request for increased rates down the road so I want to make sure that when we do something like that if we have to authorize that or if the agency authorizes a rate increase because of that we should know how to prevent those things from happening in the future and good water policy is the way to make sure that we don't go through that kind of severity. We should be managing our water supply going forward.

Now I know the state is gonna -- is in the process of creating a state water plan. It's gonna be pretty much a large scale big picture. This Bill here is a little bit more narrowly focused on the standardization on how to communicate, making sure that there's information on local websites, at your municipality, and also your utility company so that you could get a link on either website telling you and informing you what to do.

So that's just a small measure and even though their plan is gonna be in January of next year, this report that we're asking the agency to give us in February 2018 is right after that. Even though it's a very close timeframe it's simply asking for recommendations and even though the recommendations might not be 100 percent fully vetted I think that's still a target date that we should shoot for so that this body can act so that we have a starting point of information on how to make sure that we're managing our water supply for the State of Connecticut and for our regions in the proper manner.

So I'm hopeful that we have support in this Bill for making sure that we prepare for our future so that we conduct our water usage in the proper way and that if we have to put in controls, if we have to issue drought warnings or drought severity notices, that we know how it's being done, it's being done properly, it's being done ahead of time. No one should be blindsided or questioning why their water doesn't come one when they feel that it should. So I would urge support of this Amendment. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I want to speak in favor of this Amendment. It was during one of our caucuses that I discussed with Senator Leone and Senator Kennedy the situation that went on in my local community of New Britain, my hometown, and a number of my constituents had come to me and said, you know, aren't we in a drought? Aren't you concerned about some of the policies of our hometown and also the lack of information? At that time the City of New Britain was contemplating actually selling a well, a well that was a source of water for the city, and there was a lot of discussion and it wasn't until I started reading the Board of Water Commissioner's minutes that I found out that our city was experiencing a drought and I thought that that was pretty alarming. So subsequently in doing a little investigation, I found out that our city's capacity and our major reservoir was down to something like 22 percent. It was so low that the city had to end up buying and purchasing money from the MDC, which of course my colleague, Senator Beth, knows very well, a major source of water in our Central Connecticut area.

And there was much discussion and much confusion because it would seem that there would be some sort of notification and here I am surrounded by my wonderful neighbors who have their sprinkler systems, their automatic lawn sprinkler systems, going on and watering their lawn, and I'm thinking but we're in a drought and shouldn't there be some sort of notification, some sort of precaution? So with that I'm very glad that we're coming forth with this Amendment. I did have a little bit of input. I think -- and I know that the reverse 911 system is used for notification for -- and to all of our people in our communities about things that may be going on that they should be aware of and I'm glad that this is included in the Bill because I think it's a system that could be utilized and prevent certainly the gross overuse of water when we don't have it and that was my overwhelming concern. So I do ask that the Chamber support this legislation. I think it's well crafted and we should develop a policy. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any further comments on the Bill? Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Excuse me, this is on the Amendment.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and if I might, just a few questions about the amendment, through you, to the good Chairman of the Environment Committee.

THE CHAIR:

Please prepare yourself, Senator Kennedy. Please continue, Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. As I recall during the Committee meeting and the public hearing, there was a lot of discussion about the impact of making a determination of whether or not the state was actually in a drought condition as it pertained to mandatory cutbacks in usage and as I recall under the original -- the language of the original Bill, there was a requirement that one certain threshold had been reached. In fact that that zone would be required to curb water usage by 20 percent, 35 percent, and then up to 50 percent, and if the gentleman could tell me in the Amendment, is it anticipated that that type of a recommendation or whatever the recommendation would be would come through the process of this, what appears to me in the Amendment, to be a more in depth evaluation of how we can communicate that and what the impact might be regionally as opposed to statewide? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you to Senator Miner for that question. The original Bill really called for our General Assembly to really update and accelerate our current law on water supply plan regulations under 25-32d-3. This is a list of actions that need to be taken in case of a drought advisory which prescribes certain types of reductions, a drought watch, mandatory emergency, and we felt that we needed to accelerate this because it was -- people were waiting too long before their reservoir -- in fact many communica -- communities around the country wait until their reservoir is 10 percent full or 20 percent full before they issue the red alert that we're running out of water.

We thought that didn't make sense. It made much more sense to advise the community when we're maybe half full or we're heading towards a drought. Shouldn't we take protective measures before we're in a full-blown crisis? So to respond to my friends' and colleagues' questions, we have these regulations in place but we are not trying to presuppose what this Water Advisory Council is going to recommend, this Water Planning Council. The Water Planning Council already exists under Section 25-33-0. The Council may establish an advisory group of professionals so what -- what we envision is that this advisory group of professionals are gonna come back to the General Assembly with their recommendations about what they would do to try to make sense of these dozens, as I said, overlapping jurisdictions leading to confusion and conflict. There are literally -- there's over 40 water companies in Connecticut that have their own drought reg -- you know, rules and regulations.

It's just a hodgepodge and it makes no sense and so to respond to your question, I don't know what -- honestly, what the Water Planning Council is going to recommend. I respect that there is tremendous variation in our state as my friend and colleague knows from our work together in -- on the Environment Committee. We know that in some parts of the state experienced a very severe drought recently while other parts of the state had plenty of water so we know it's not a one size fits all strategy throughout the entire State of Connecticut 'cause we're very different geologically and environmentally even though we live in a very small state. We do have different water pressures in different parts of our state.

So I'm interested in knowing honestly what this group of people comes back to recommend how we can improve this -- the levels and what they specifically want the general population to do when they come up with an advisory or mandatory reduction. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So as -- as the Amendment is currently drafted there's no specific recommendation yet. It's anticipated that there will be a series of recommendations that in fact could be regional, could be statewide, we're not -- we're not making a predetermination. And my last question is I believe under the original Bill there was a report to the Committee of cognizance and under this Amendment it says, I believe, Committees, and so I heard Senator Gerratana, the Chair of the Public Health Committee, speak already -- it would be expected that there would be a series of recommendations for both the Environment Committee and the Public Health Committee. Am I correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Through you, Madam President. My colleague is correct. Earlier versions of the Bill simply had a report back to the Environment Committee. We felt, through many discussions with our friends and colleagues in the General Assembly, that in fact this is a joint concern between the Public Health Committee and the Environment Committee, which is rea -- the reason why we are asking that the report be submitted to both the Environment Committee and the Public Health Committee of the General Assembly. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I don't have any further questions. I also rise in support of this Amendment. I think the February 1st date is sufficiently long enough to get some kind of an answer. I think most of us heard from constituents pretty much all summer and all fall last year how concerned they were about whether or not we had reacted soon enough or water company to have reacted soon enough. It may very well be that after this body meets and the recommendations are made that we are perhaps better prepared or at least more aware of where we are in this process and so I would urge my colleagues to support the Amendment. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any further comments? Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I am speaking in opposition of this Amendment, main reason being is that I think the discussion is partly missing the mark. Our good Senators have all made some very good points but the fact of the matter is is that the Water Planning Council is already looking into this issue. As a matter of fact my main opposition to the Amendment -- the original version of the Bill was overreaching and I think that's why the Amendment came through.

The Amendment kind of waters it down a bit to a report that would be submitted to the Water Planning Council; however, however, the Water Planning Council currently and, again, this speaks to the redundancy of the Amendment, the Water Planning Council right now is working on a state drought plan. There was an original drought plan that was created back in 2003. That plan is now currently being updated. The state drought plan through a work group, again, some of the same language that you're hearing in terms of this report and how it's gonna go about, is already happening now.

This state drought plan work group was formed by the Water Planning Council advisory group as the result of a directive from the Water Planning Council to improve the Connecticut drought preparedness and response plan, the state drought plan. The current state drought plan, again, was last adopted in 2003.

As a volunteer body representing several water interest groups inside and out of state government, the state drought plan work group currently, right now, has the responsibility of updating the state drought plan so that, and listen carefully, that it may be reliably and consistently implemented during future periods of drought. This involves identifying and analyzing alternatives to address the shortcomings of the existing plan. For example, the work group is reconsidering the plan's reliance on several statewide drought indicators since it is known that drought conditions can be localized and not necessarily felt across the entire state. The drought response actions such as coordination, public outreach, conservation, and preparedness are also being updated to be more realistic and achievable based upon the abilities of the state, municipalities, and water utilities to manage a drought situation, current status of this drought plan.

Now I've seen this drought plan because I actually participated in some of these discussions and -- and meetings. The drought plan is about three quarters to an inch thick. It is a complicated issue that is currently being studied now and as a matter of fact the drought plan work group is being jointly chaired by one individual who actually works for the town of Greenwich and someone who's retired from the USGS.

Please also note that the state drought work group is separate from -- there's another agency called the interagency drought work group which is the group responsible for implementing the state drought plan. Now this group meets on a regular basis. I know that they are looking at finalizing their drought plan sometime this year and they actually suggest and encourage for folks that want further information on the drought or water conditions to visit the Connecticut water status website, so there is a water status website. They also suggest that if anyone has ideas for improving the state drought plan that they want to hear about it and they have contact information that's available.

So my issue is is that why are we talking about adding another study to cover something that is already being addressed now? Going through the same Committee, the Water Planning Council here in the State of Connecticut, it's my feeling that we must stop this very type of activity where we are asking an agency to do something or asking folks to fill out information or forms to do a study and with the left hand and then at the right hand we're asking 'em to provide a report to the same organization for the same information that they're already charged with doing and that they're in the middle of doing.

So my issue is this seems to be redundant. I understand that it's an effort to salvage an overreaching language of the original Bill, but unfortunately this study is redundant, it misses the mark, it's gonna cause the state, particularly the Water Planning Council, to do a lot of extra work in putting this extra report together that is already included in the drought plan that's being revised, not to mention that the Water Planning Council provides an annual report to the legislature every year as it stands now.

When I look at the -- the Amendment, it has a number of different aspects of it. A lot of it includes recommendations in terms of trigger -- recommending trigger levels for reservoir depths and those sorts of things, actions that are already included in terms of water supply planning from the water industry and for the water utility which is held and controlled by the Department of Health. So my issue is that, again, redundant Amendment. Most of -- most of the actions that are requested as far as for the report are already underway in being done now and it would be a matter of collecting information and putting it in a different format and a different report to address or satisfy this Amendment.

So I will be voting in opposition of this Amendment and of this Bill. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Are there any further comments? Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes, I - I just wanna make a couple of comments. First of all, I thank my -- my colleague, Senator Logan. I know you know a lot about these issues obviously so I'm very respectful of your thoughts and opinions on this, but I think -- I think that in fact Senator Logan makes my point.

My point is that we are overwhelmed with reams and reams of information, okay, and no cohesive plan. There are dozens of agencies, as Senator Logan mentioned, the Connecticut interagency drought advisory group. There are individual water utilities. Over 40 of them have their own drought plan. There are conservation directors who can order a -- and trigger a drought alert. Upper Selectmen of any given town can order a drought alert. So can the Director of Health in any town. The Fire Chief in every town can order a drought alert. There's the Water Planning Council advisory group. There's the state drought preparedness and response plan. There's the local water supply Ordinances. Many of our towns have their own Ordinances relating to drought. The Department of Public Health may implement a mandatory water restriction. The Governor can declare a statewide water supply emergency when the water levels fall below a 25 percent cap. I can go on and on. You get my point.

There are so many agencies and local water utilities and individual towns who are all trying to tell the public what to do and the public's confused. I'm confused. And I spend a lot of time thinking about these issues so I think that all we're asking for, again -- I want to be very respectful to my colleague who knows a lot about water, I understand -- but what we're -- all we're simply asking for is a series of recommendations about how we can simplify what I think is a very byzantine and very confusing set of -- of regulations and rules pertaining to how we manage water in our state.

So I -- I think we do need recommendations and I urge my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you and, Senator Kennedy, are you asking for a roll call on this Amendment?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, yes I would, thank you, please, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Is there any further comments on the Amendment? Any further comments on the Amendment? If not, Mr. Clerk, call for a roll call vote.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on Senate A. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please make sure your members -- your votes have been properly recorded. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Senate Amendment Schedule A.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 27

Those voting Nay 9

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Amendment passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If the Clerk can now please call calendar page 16.

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry. Senator Duff, we have to vote on the Bill as amended.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Oh, I apologize.

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry. Senator Kennedy, do you have any further comments on the Bill as amended?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

No, I have no further comments of the Bill as amended.

THE CHAIR:

Does anybody else have any further comments on the Bill as amended? Any further comments on the Bill as amended? Seeing none, Mr. Clerk, if you can call for a roll call on the Bill as amended.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kenne -- Kelly. Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check your votes to make sure they've been properly recorded. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Senate Bill No. 506.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 28

Those voting Nay 8

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill as amended passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Sorry about jumping the gun a little bit earlier. Will the Clerk please call calendar page 16, calendar 216, Senate Bill 871.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 16, calendar 216, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 871, AN ACT CONCERNING THE ENDOWED CHAIR INVESTMENT FUND.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Good evening, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and move passage of the Bill, waive its reading, and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I believe the Clerk is in possession of an Amendment, LCO 7339. Mr. Clerk?

CLERK:

LCO No. 7339, Senate A, offered by Senators Bye and Flexer.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Through you, Madam President. I have different co-sponsors to LCO 7339, so if you can please hold so we can make sure I have the right one before me.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I was just confused because Representative Staneski and Haddad were not read so I was afraid we had the wrong Amendment, but we have the right Amendment.

What this Bill does is that this Bill has the Office of Higher Education establish an endowed chair's investment fund that will allow the foundations at UConn and the state university system to request funds that are being held by the Treasurer and invest it with the short-term investment fund over into their foundation to be able to maximize interest rates and enhance the funds for things like scholarship and activities.

With that, the Committee has some very important safeguards. One is that they would need to maintain those funds, the state funds, separately from the non-matching contributions and by that I mean maintain separate accounting for those funds. They have to hold those funds as a permanently restricted asset and they need to manage those funds in accordance with the Connecticut uniform prudent management of institutional funds that is a statutory reference that follows.

This Amendment makes those things clear and also enhances the reporting requirements so that the investment and return on these funds will be reported both to the Office of Higher Ed and to the General Assembly Higher Education Committee. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

And just for clarity, Senator Bye, is this a Strike All Amendment?

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Very close to a Strike All Amendment. Yes, it is a Strike All, Madam President. Thank you for that question.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any comments on the Amendment? Senator Linares.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise in support of the Bill. I do have one -- or rise in support of the Amendment. I do have one question for legislative intent I would like to ask the proponent of the Amend -- Amendment. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye, prepare yourself. Please proceed, Senator Linares.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

One concern I do have, especially now during these times of fiscal crisis that -- especially with our universities running into financial issues themselves, that there might be temptation for the Board of Regents or UConn in -- while they are in dire straits and need for more revenue for their own university, to use the principal that will be transferred from the Treasurer's fund to the endowed chair's investment fund to cover some of their own operation -- operations and expenditures and overhead and so, Senator Bye, as a proponent of this Bill, I would just like clarification to know that this money is not going to be used for that, cannot be used for that, and that the dividends and interest from this principal will be used to invest in scholarships for students and for the wellbeing of our young students in Connecticut. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Through you, Madam President. I really appreciate that question from Senator Linares and his work on this Bill as well as other Committee members. We had a long meeting with the foundations because of concerns around safeguards and we've worked with LCO and we've structured the language and also the investment rules and the rules that they need to follow and the standards of practice would assure that the dollars would stay in the foundations. The foundations are a totally separate entity so the Board of Regents would not be allowed to sweep those funds or use those funds except for the intended practices which is part of the uniform prudent management of institutional funds standards. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Linares.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I have no further questions for the proponent of the Bill and I do, as I had mentioned before, I do support the underlying Amendment and the Bill. I -- I understand that the Treasurer's office under the current investment formula, the term investment fund, or short-term investment fund, does not yield the kind of return and interest that the endowed chair's fund is currently getting under their management and so if we can shift this principal it will ultimately result in more investment into our students, more investment into our schools, and so after -- after a lot of thought and discussion I -- I do support this Bill and I would like to thank Senator Bye for her work to make this -- to add safeguards to make sure that the principal is not used for any other purpose than for investing in our students. So I urge my colleagues to support this Bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Will you remark? Will you remark further on the Amendment? Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I rise to support the Amendment and commend the Chairs of the Higher Education Committee for this movement. I think it's really critically important that we shore up the financial circumstances of our state universities and at community colleges and one of the small ways we can do that is by changing the dynamic of where these funds lie so that it gives them some more support given the kind of financial situation the state finds itself in and many of our universities find that they're in situations where they could have shortfalls.

So this is, I think, a very positive step. I think it's a very responsible step, particularly the way in which this Amendment was crafted and, as I said, I commend the Chairs of this Committee and support the Amendment. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark? Will you remark further? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair. I stand for the purpose of a question to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye, please prepare yourself. Please continue, Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Senator Bye, I wonder if you could share with us, is there any other agency or organization of Connecticut state government that currently manages investment funds that were previously managed by the Office of the State Treasurer? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Through you, Madam President. No, I am not aware. I'm only aware of this particular fund.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and thank you, Senator Bye, for your answer. I think that this is a major policy shift for state government to allow taxpayer invested funds to be shifted from the primary financial officer of the State of Connecticut to another agency and I believe that this should be looked at in more -- great detail before this decision is made and for that reason I'm opposed. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Will you remark? Will you remark further on the Amendment? Senator Bye, I believe you're asking for a roll call vote?

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Yes.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. A roll call vote has been asked for. Mr. Clerk, would you please indicate that we need a roll call vote?

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on Senate Amendment Schedule A. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check your votes and make sure they have been properly recorded. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Senate Amendment Schedule A.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 33

Those voting Nay 3

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Amendment passes. Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. As we have debated the Amendment, the Amendment becomes the Bill so I urge adoption and move the Bill --

THE CHAIR:

Are you asking for a roll call vote?

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Yes, with a roll call vote. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Oh wait. I'm sorry. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I just wanted to make a few comments on this Bill before we vote on it. When we look at a fiscal note you look at the interest rate that the Office of State Treasurer has received an average of 1. 2 with a spread between 0. 13 and 4. 78 where UConn Foundation had a loss between roughly 20 percent but a high of 15. 9, which means an average of 3. 9. When you add that all together one has to question how the Secretary State -- Secretary -- should say the Treasurer's Office, ends up with such a low return rate on investments and when you look at our other investments around this state relative to the budgets that we're facing it seems to be apparent that we need to look at the Office of State Treasurer to determine how these funds are -- are being invested and what the return is.

So I recognize why UConn would want to say the returns are extraordinarily low and we're suffering those consequences so what we're asking for is our ability to make more prudent investments so we can yield a better return and that's exactly what the Office of Fiscal Analysis report says, is that if you allow UConn Foundation to do it you're gonna get more money back. Well somewhere along the line this body's gonna start to wonder what is happening with all the other funds if it is true that this fund is underreporting and I think that this has to be a flare in the night to say we should start to take a look at these funds, see what's happening, because we all in this Chamber and the Chamber downstairs have to answer when those funds don't meet the expectations of the pensions and other items because we have to find that shortfall.

And maybe they're doing it prudently but I would suggest us not reviewing that would be a fiduciary lapse of obligation on our behalf. So I support this Bill. I thank the Chairs for this Bill and there's a sound reasoning for this Bill but we need to look further. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark? Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. As you know, I support this Bill but the comments made by our leadership just a minute ago just prompted my getting up and making a comment that the good Senator is absolutely right that one of the compelling reasons to make this change is because currently the funds for this account for a community college and state university systems is in a stable value fund which has very, very, very low return and as a result by shifting the funds they can do much better when the various foundations now will govern this.

What's particularly important of the comments recently made was, as members of the Finance Committee, we have empowered the -- the Treasurer's Office in the last few years to make changes to their asset allocation that was not quite as a staff conservative as the stable value fund. We've given them an opportunity to -- to be more diversified so that they can get a higher return as our various colleges have done, whether it's UConn Foundation or others, that have done much better.

In addition, we also passed a Bill last year we worked hard on to allow them also to have a different salary structure for the individuals in the investment office at the State Treasurer's Office hoping, therefore, to get more expertise to help them gain a better return. However, unfortunately we haven't seen that kind of return produced. Given the kind of situation we now have on Wall Street where the equities have gone through the roof and a lot of people's 401(k)s and pension funds have done enormously well, we would expect the same thing for our pension fund as well.

So I -- I believe that the good Senator's comments were very well taken and should certainly cause us to review the situation with regards to the returns in our pension funds. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Will you remark further? Seeing no further remarks, Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? If so, please check your vote and make sure it's been properly recorded. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Senate Bill 871.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 34

Those voting Nay 2

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Will the Clerk now please call calendar page 17, calendar 223, Senate Bill 345, with Bill to be taken out by the Republican Co-Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Good evening, Madam President. Madam President, I move acceptance of the Committee's Joint Favorable Report and passage of Senate Bill 345.

THE CHAIR:

Excuse me, Senator Boucher. Please give me one minute. Mr. Clerk, would you please call the Bill?

CLERK:

Senate Bill No. 345, AN ACT CONCERNING LIVERY SERVICE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND ELDERLY PERSONS. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry, Senator Boucher. Please continue.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Not at all, Madam President. Madam President, I ask your indulgence and permission to yield to Senator Terry Gerratana for the purpose of an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I accept the yield and I have for the Chamber an Amendment and if the Clerk would please call LCO No. 7238 and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7238, Senate A, offered by Senator Gerratana.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue, Senator.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you. This Bill came to my attention when we were caucusing it a week or two ago and I had some concerns about the underlying Bill and those concerns were, of course, from a public health perspective, you know, Public Health Committee which I co-chair, oversees and works with EMS and our ambulance services through the Department of Public Health and my question was this is a livery service for persons with disabilities so I was very concerned because I felt, well, if this is a person with disabilities what are those disabilities and what kind of precautions would we be taking? This is not emergency transport, I fully understand that, nor are we trying to attempt this here, but I really felt that there should be some safeguards put into the legislation so the Amendment, I hope, will take care of those concerns.

The first part, lines 3 through 12, talk about getting consent from a -- written consent from a practitioner to -- for a patient or a person who may be transported in this way. I felt that that was an appropriate safeguard because, after all, the practitioner would know his or her patient and any limitations or even any dangers. For instance, somebody who is lying prone in a stretcher may have respiratory problems so I thought it would be very appropriate to get a primary care provider to give consent.

And also I felt that there should be some training on lifting and moving and transport of the person in the stretcher. Again, I was trying to envision, well, what kind of scenario or situation would be -- would we be talking about here? So training, I thought, was quite appropriate.

I added a new section in here that any person who transports an individual would have to make sure that the stretcher would be secured in the van, and this means the person who would be using the stretcher would be appropriately secured onto the stretcher as stretcher transport is appropriate in this way.

In lines 36 to 44, in this I worked on with the person who is the proponent of the legislation and came to us in the legislature. He felt, and I was in agreement, that there should be some sort of an attendant who would be present when this person is being transported.

And finally, in the last section I think that's just for consistencies regarding motor vehicles registered in the state.

So with that I certainly hope the Chamber will take in consideration this Amendment as it does provide some safeguards and I would urge the Chamber to approve the adoption. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Berthel.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Good evening, Madam President. I have a couple of questions for the introducer of the Amendment, please.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana, prepare yourself. Please continue, Senator.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. Senator, I appreciate your introducing this Amendment. It does address some of the concerns that I had with the legislation when I initially saw it. I'm just wondering if you could provide a little more clarification with respect to lines 7 through 9 with regard to the written consent. Do you -- do you have a idea as to what that written consent would look like? Is that gonna be something similar to perhaps like a prescription or is it just a -- do you envision something like just a note that says it's okay to -- to go on this van? Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. It is appropriate for a practitioner to evaluate and consider, of course, his or her patient and just as we do with children and with others that a practitioner would then come up with a consent and say that it would be appropriate for this person to be transported in this manner. Sometimes a physician will use a prescription pad or form to do this. Sometimes it would be appropriate. There might be other forms that the practitioner has available that may be already tailored to this kind of condition but certainly it would be so that the practitioner would sign and affirm that this would be appropriate. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Berthel.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Again, through you, Madam President. I thank the Senator for that answer. So we would envision that the consent would include a statement from the primary care provider that says it is safe for this patient to be transported in this manner? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Berthel.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Thank you. Again, through you, Madam President. I thank the Senator for her answer. Moving on to the second page of the Amendment, am I correct in -- when I look at lines specifically 38 through 40 that state -- I know you stated that the training would include similar training that is provided to personnel that are involved in lifting, moving, and transport of a person on a stretcher. Is it -- is it appropriate to say that the training would not include any emergency services personnel training as described in the Statute that's stated and offered through the Department of Public Health? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Through you, Madam President. This would not be, for instance, an EMS personnel or a paramedic or there are many designations that are utilized but one pers -- a person who would be trained in accordance with those kinds of protocols and be aware. Now I didn't look at Statute 19a-180b that we reference there. I mean I'm happy to take a look at it but that's my interpretation. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Berthel.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Thank you, Madam President, and, again, I thank the Senator for the answer and through you, Madam President. I'll support the Amendment tonight only because it does -- it minimally addresses my serious concerns about having a -- having an attendant on board which I think is a -- an important component of this and having the permission and, you know, the -- the analysis by a primary care provider to say that -- that this person is safe to travel in this manner. So, again, I thank the Senator for her answers. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any further comments? Senator Boucher, on the Amendment.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. On the Amendment, I do appreciate the various safeguards that were put in place. It -- it goes a long way to hopefully allaying a lot of people's concerns about the Bill including yourself, Madam President, has numbers of -- of cases and examples as I do and others we are -- this Bill is very much needed and necessary right now.

I think that we are talking about the Amendment but at some point we will also want to talk about the underlying Bill and the reason for this even coming before us and that is the very high cost right now and the non-differentiation between those that can be safely transported and those that need full medical attention, full EMT and ambulance services versus those that have to make necessary and not be isolated, whether it's a case of -- of a funeral of a spouse or hospitalization of someone in their family, or other events in their lives where it -- it has become cost prohibitive, up over $ 700 to $ 800 for one trip and in my case meeting with a constituent it cost them nearly $ 200 to make a short visit so that we could talk.

And so I think this does address those kinds of concerns and is very necessary and this Amendment goes a long way, as I said, to taking care of a lot of the concerns that others have had about safely transporting those vulnerable citizens that we would like to help. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any further comments or remarks on the Amendment? Seeing none, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of the Amendment please indicate it by saying Aye [Ayes voiced]. Any opposed? Amendment passes.

Senator Boucher, on the bill as amended.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Yes, Madam President. On the Bill as amendment, I would move if there's no objection to putting this on the Consent Calendar. Oh, I'm sorry. Before so, may I please yield to our Co-Chair of the Transportation Committee, Senator Carlo Leone?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone, will you accept the yield?

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Yes, I would. Thank you, Madam President. I just wanted to rise and give my support for the Bill as amended and I want to thank my Senate Co-Chair for her great assistance and leadership in helping craft the Bill, along with Senator Gerratana with her expertise from Public Health to address some of the concerns that were just previously mentioned by making the Bill even better with the safeguards and the training of personnel to provide this type of service for the people that do request it and need it.

And it's one of those kind of services that you would not normally think is required for out there if you're a healthy person but if you don't have 100 percent of your health and you find yourself in the position where you can only be transported in the prone or supine position and it's not a medical issue, prior to this Bill the only options you had were to go through the high cost either through the ambulance or something covered under insurance or Medicaid and if you didn't have those available to you were out of pocket a significant cost potentially, or you would not be able to undertake what you would be desired to do, whether it's to visit a loved one, to go shopping, to go visit family, just to do some simple tasks, not that some of those tasks would be overly simple being in that position but, nonetheless, you want to be able to have as normal a life as possible given anyone's circumstances and this Bill goes in that direction to allow people flexibility when there is a nonmedical issue, a non-emergency issue. There is something -- they need to get from point A to point B with -- in a safe manner that is not an exorbitant cost and I think this Bill goes a long way towards doing that.

So I'm happy to support this Bill and I would urge my colleagues to support it as well. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Berthel.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Madam President, I would ask for a roll call vote on this. The -- I fully respect and appreciate the intent here and that is to lower the cost of access to certain types of transportation for patients that we may believe are not medically complex or that might not medically require this type of transportation, but I think inherently and from my own personal experience many years ago working in the EMS industry, that a patient who is confined to a stretcher is by definition medically complex. There's a reason why someone needs to be on a stretcher to be transported. They don't have the ability to sit or stand on their own. They have to be lying down and moved on a stretcher.

The current regulations do require, as we -- we've talked about briefly, that a person with disabilities who are confined to a stretcher be transported in an ambulance vehicle and there are very specific guidelines and laws and regulations that -- that apply to what is an ambulance vehicle in Connecticut and that, of course, is part of the -- the cost in using that vehicle. Those vehicles are subject to regular and ongoing inspections by DPH. They're full of hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of lifesaving medical equipment.

So, you know, I think that we're -- we're trying to do the right thing in terms of offering a -- an option that is more cost effective but I'm not sure that we are necessarily doing the right think with our obligation to protect the people that we are obligated to protect. And I'm not sure that this is a -- I'm not comfortable that this is a safe way to move a patient that is, as we defined in the Bill, disabled or elderly that needs to be on a stretcher and it's not a risk that -- that I'm willing to take.

So I am voting no on the Bill and thank you, Madam President, for a few minutes to explain myself.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Somers.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. I, too, have reservations about the underlying Bill in effect and I will echo what Senator Berthel said. If you are on a stretcher you are, by nature, medically compromised and a patient that requires more than just -- below the standard of care, I should say, to be transported.

I also would like to point out that the DOT -- this Bill requires the Department of Transportation to issue these permits and currently, as Senator Berthel says, the DPH is required to inspect medical transportation, ambulances, and this would fall under the DOT. According to the DOT's original testimony, they would have to create specifications, regulations, do new inspections, and perhaps even hire new inspectors to look at these new stretcher vans that will be under their cognizance to transport these possibly medically compromised patients.

I believe that this is a safety risk for people that are being transported and at this time I understand the idea of trying to save money and the cost associated with it; however, again, if you are on a stretcher and need to be removed or helped from one facility to be transported to another place you are medically compromised and I think that you should have the required medical care that's necessary to make sure that you are transported properly so I will be opposing this Bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any further comments? Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

I rise just to comment on the Bill and lend me support to this Bill as amended for and certainly understand the good Senators' conversation and concerns with regarding safety but I don't believe that the intent on this Bill is to compromise safety, but just to move and transport people who have been, one, cleared by their primary care physician to travel in this manner, to be attended by a person alongside them during the trip who has been trained, and it does, as the good Senator talked about, save considerable money on trips that just simply are to move to and from and not in any an emergency opportunity. So while I appreciate the safety concerns I think that they've been adequately addressed in this Bill and I urge my colleagues to support. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any further comments? Seeing none, Mr. Clerk, if you'd call for a roll call vote?

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Mr. Clerk if you could call the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Bill No. 345

Total number Voting 36

Necessary for Passage 19

Those voting Yea 28

Those voting Nay 8

Those absent and not Voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill as amended passes. [Gavel] Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. Madam President, would the clerk please call Calendar Page 52, Calendar 128, Senate Bill 821 taken out by the Republican co-chair of the committee, please?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 52, Calendar 128, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 821, an ACT CONCERNING ROOFING, WINDOW AND SIDING CONSUMER WARRANTIES AND POST-SALE WARRANTY WORK REIMBURSEMENT FOR POWER EQUIPMENT DEALERS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you Madam President. I move acceptance of the joint favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you Madam President. There is a strike-all amendment so at this time I would ask the clerk to please call LCO No. 6833 and I'd be given leave to summarize?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6833, Senate A offered by Senator Witkos, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos, please continue.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you Madam President. First, I want to thank my co-chairs Senator Leone and the other members, Representative Baram down in the House along with Representative Smith to move this bill out of the General Law Committee and then the folks on the Appropriations Committee, which it went to and passed out by both committees unanimously. This is a consumer protection bill wherein if a manufacturer on the first section offers a warranty for replacement of roofing, windows or siding supplies and there's a recall then the individual that once those items have been -- if it falls within the warranty period and it's recalled, then the manufacturer will fully refund the total amount of the product including re-installation of that product not more than what the person originally spent. Many homeowners if you had placed a roof on your house and there was a recall or warranty defect, it's a small amount to replace the cost of the actual product but what happens is folks are required to go get an additional permit sometimes at their town hall. They have to pay to have their roof stripped again. They have to pay to have a dumpster brought in again and they have to pay to have somebody else reinstall the shingles at no fault of their own only because if it's a faulty product. So if the manufacturer puts a warranty on their own product then this bill would require them to offset the cost of the replacement back to its original condition. That's Section One of the bill.

Section Two of the bill has to do with automated equipment that's sold at a dealer's repair shop. We heard in the General Law Committee during the public hearing that there are some dealer repairs that require the -- to sell a certain product and that the big box stores they sell them but they don't repair them. So when somebody goes to return the product to the big box store because of a warranty defect, they are directed to the local dealership store to have those products repaired and currently under the current law, the dealerships are only given X amount of dollars to pay for the cost of the repair which does not meet their non-warranty repair costs of their hourly rate. So this language requires those again, those suppliers that supply these types of product to pay the cost of the dealer's actual labor cost if it falls within the warranty period.

We mirrored this law after those in neighboring states of Vermont and New Hampshire, so it's not anything new and I ask the Chamber's adoption. Thank you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any comments on the amendment? Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you Madam President. I rise also in support of this bill and this language, specifically for the reasons mentioned by my co-chair Senator Witkos and I want to think him for his leadership, as well as the leadership of our House co-chairman Representative Baram, and all members of our General Law Committee. This was an overwhelmingly supported effort on both issues. The testimony was clear. It was supportive and we feel it's a good consumer protection bill in the sense that A, for the roofing or the windows as approved in Section One and for those dealers that do tackle the extra work that needs to be done on a product that should be covered under warranty. They should be fully reimbursed and that's just a fairness issue. So this was a good bill supported by the committee at large, and I would urge my colleagues to support as well. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Senator. Are there any further comments on the amendment? Any further comments on the amendment? Seeing none. I'll try your minds. All those voting in favor please indicate by saying "Aye".

SENATORS: Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Any opposed? Amendment passes. [Gavel] Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you Madam President, if there's no other questions I ask this to move to consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, Mr. Clerk. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President, would the clerk please now call Calendar Page 14, Calendar 203, Senate Bill 944 and that will be taken out by the Republican co-chair --

THE CHAIR:

--Hold on one minute. Okay. The bill is moved to consent calendar. Senator Duff, I'm sorry. Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President, will the clerk now please call Calendar Page 14, Calendar 203, Senate Bill 944?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 14, Calendar 203, Substitute for Senate Bill 944, an ACT CLARIFYING THE CONTINUATION OF NONCONFORMING USES, BUILDINGS OR STRUCTURES. There's an amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Good evening Madam President. I move acceptance of the committee's joint favorable report and passage of Senate Bill 944.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you Madam President. This bill allows for the continuance of nonconforming use for repairs, improvements and where reconstruction is required. Madam President, the clerk is in possession of LCO No. 7276. I ask the clerk to please call the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7276, Senate A offered by Senators Cassano and Logan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you Madam President, I move adoption of the amendment, waive the reading and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you Madam President. The amendment allows for the demolition or deconstruction of a nonconforming use building or structure and that by itself will not be evidence of such property owner's intent to not reestablish such use building or structure. There's no limit to when this work must be completed. The nonconforming use building or structure can be discontinued voluntarily by an intent to not reestablish such use. I urge adoption of the amendment and ask for a roll call vote.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any comments on the amendment? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you Madam Chair. I stand for the purpose of a question to the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan, prepare yourself. Pleas continue Senator.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you Madam President. Thank you Senator Logan for your work on this topic. It certainly is a challenge to property owners across the state. I'd like to just share a scenario and if you could clarify what the outcome would be post-passage of this bill.

If a property owner's building is damaged either by fire or storm and is irreparable and has to be demolished. It's in a nonconforming lot meaning in many downtown communities for instance pre-dating zoning they shoehorned buildings in that no longer would be acceptable with front edge and square footage of the lot, and so this nonconforming lot is home to a multi-family building. The multi-family building is going to be torn down but the property owner is not prepared to rebuild for several years, three, four or five years, it's unknown exactly when. What would happen to that property that would not be subject, would not be able to get a building permit under current zoning regulations. What would happen to that property once this bill is passed? Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Right, so in that scenario given that the building or structure was damaged. It was demolished because it was perhaps unsafe, it had to be raised, unless the property owner voluntarily decided to give up the, described as intent, not to re-build that facility or structure to non-conforming use would remain indefinitely.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you. Thank you Madam President. So just for clarification, the property owner intends someday to rebuild. They're not abandoning. They don't want to abandon because it dramatically reduces the value of the property if they did abandon, the grandfathered use. So I'm correct in assuming then that they have an unlimited period of time to take advantage of the grandfather zone on that property? Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

The way the amendment is written, that is correct.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you Madam President, and I appreciate your answers Senator Logan, and I encourage support of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any further comments or questions on the amendment? Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you Madam President. A question to the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan, prepare yourself. Please continue Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

So with the scenario that a building is now nonconforming because of a zone change and the structure is taken down, the property sold, is the next owner allowed to build under the old regulations?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you Madam President. Yes, that is correct, as long as they plan on building the same or similar structure that existed prior to the raise.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Okay, thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you Madam President. Good evening, or good morning. Question to the proponent, Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan prepare yourself. Please continue Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Senator Logan, Connecticut has what I believe to be the strongest laws in the country regarding protecting nonconforming uses. Unlike many states a use is protected in its current form. As an example, a cottage along the shoreline as long as its continuing in its present form, it's protected. In many states if that property were to be destroyed by an act of God or something it could not be reconstructed, but Connecticut has an extraordinarily strong law protecting that provision in that it can be reconstructed. How does this bill differ than what Connecticut law currently provides for, or the amendment that is before us I should say? Through you Madam President--

THE CHAIR:

--Oops I'm sorry. Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Yes, I mean that's specifically the purpose of this amendment. It's to tighten that because there is some confusion. There is some wiggle room in terms of interpretation and this would tighten that and make it more clear, what the intent of current laws are.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Through you Madam President, but what is unclear about our law currently?

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

That if the structure is raised or destroyed or it's left abandoned for a period of time, and particularly if the zoning regulations change in that area that they would not be able to build or rebuild that nonconforming use.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Through you Madam President, but current law does protect, that's why it's conforming because some aspect of zoning policy has changed that would bring that property or the use of that property into nonconformity. My question is what is it that this amendment is attempting to correct?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

So as a clarification if a building is raised and left abandoned for a certain period of time, the town may be able to assume that the property owner has abandoned the structure in terms of wanting to rebuild. This would just clarify, particularly in a situation where the property is sold to another entity.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you Madam President. Through you, so hypothetic but it could be one that becomes an actual condition if a property owner were to leave the property or the use unreconstructed for 50 years, is there a step that the property owner has to take? Is there an action that the property owner has to take or they have to notice the town or the municipality that they intend to -- or do they have to notice that they do not intend to maintain the use?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you Madam President. They would have to notice that they intend not to continue the nonconforming use.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

SO if they do not then it is, for legislative intent Madam President, that is to be construed to be continuing the use even if for many years that property were to remain unreconstructed or the use were not maintained?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you Madam President. Yes, this clarifies that it does not lapse due to time.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you Madam President. I don't have any questions for Senator Logan today. Sit down. I had the pleasure of serving, I think my first year, in the General Assembly as Senator Fonfara as my chair of planning and development and so let's take a run at this. This is a pre-existing nonconforming right. It's a constitutionally protected right in the state of Connecticut, which is what Senator Fonfara was eluding to and clearly when you have a pre-existing nonconforming right that's a constitutionally-protected right, it is a property right to which the state cannot or any public entity, municipality or state, cannot take away from you without compensation. That's what that right is and Senator Fonfara is correct in that we held that very high esteem here in Connecticut and protect that.

Unfortunately I think the reason for this bill is the fact that there are certain zoning officers who require more. Their indicating that you have to show a clear intention that you reserve that constitutional right. So if you remove a deck because it is decaying and it is a pre-existing nonconforming encroachment, we'll say in the front yard, and then you try to get your funds together to rebuild that a year or two later, there are zoning officers who are taken opinion that that lapse of time is equivalent to your intent to not keep that pre-existing nonconformity right in place, and what I think this bill is trying to say which is what the case law has said is you have to have a clear intent to abandon that constitutional right. Zoning officers have argued your non-building on that house that gets torn down because of a storm, that deck that you take down. If you don't act quickly enough, that is enough to infer your intention to abandon, and what this clarifies law to say you cannot, there has to be a clear intention. So because of the aggressiveness of zoning officers to challenge, resulting in constituents having to spend money to go to court to attack that challenge, this bill takes the existing case law which is crystal clear and codifies it. And I think that's the reason why this amendment has been brought up. Thank you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Are there are any further comments on the amendment? Seeing none. Mr. Clerk if you could a roll call vote?

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on Senate A. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Mr. Clerk if you could call the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule A

Total number Voting 36

Necessary for Passage 19

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The amendment passes. [Gavel] Senator Logan. We are now talking about the bill as amended.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Got it. Without objection, I move to consent.

THE CHAIR:

Is there any objection moving this to the consent calendar? Seeing none. Mr. Clerk, if you could move this to the consent calendar? So ordered. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. Madam President, would the clerk now please call Calendar Page 5, Calendar 108, Senate Bill 894, which will be taken out by the Republican co-chair of the Children's Committee.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 5, Calendar 108, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 894, an ACT ESTABLISHING THE STATE OVERSIGHT COUNCIL ON CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you and good morning Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's joint favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you Madam President. This bill would establish an independent oversight council to replace the current advisory council with respect to the Department of Children and Families. This is particularly appropriate in light of the ongoing questions regarding the efficacy of DCF programs and the safety of the children for whom DCF is responsible. It's also I think particularly appropriate in light of the fact that the department itself has been subject to ongoing court supervision for nearly 25 years and this act will demonstrate to the court that the legislature is exercising its oversight responsibility and authority with respect to the services provided by the Department of Children and Families.

Madam President, the clerk is in possession of an amendment, LCO 7343. I ask the clerk to please call the amendment?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7343 Senate A, offered by Senators Moore and Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you Madam President --

THE CHAIR:

--Please continue.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Madam President, I move adoption of the amendment, waive the reading and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you Madam President. The amendment is a strike-all amendment and it establishes the committee and to whom the committee reports. The committee would report to the legislature via the committees of cognoscente which would be the Children's Committee and the Appropriations Committee. The bill itself identifies the membership of the committee and it would establish the meetings to occur bi-monthly, that is every other month. And the committee would render, among other things, a report an annual report to the legislature both to the Appropriations Committee and the Children's Committee. It would monitor and track and evaluate the policies and practices of the Department of Children and Families. It would submit policy recommendations regarding DCF to the Children's Committee. It would annually review the proposed DCF budget. It would receive quarterly reports from DCF regarding its strategic plan including safety, permanency, outcome data categorized by race, ethnicity, age, departmental region. It would receive the annual children's report card from the Children's Committee, and it would monitor DCF progress in achieving its strategic plan. And finally it would help DCF implement recommendations of the council itself. I move acceptance and passage of the amendment Madam.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, are there any comments on the amendment? Any comments on the amendment? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you Madam President. I stand for the purpose of a question to the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio, please prepare yourself. Please continue Senator.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you Madam President. Senator Suzio, thank you for your work on this amendment. I just have a simple question. On Line 58 of the amendment LCO 7343, it references the minority leader of the Senate, that position no longer exists and I wonder if the balance is correct in the appointments to this new organization. Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you Madam President. The Senator is correct in pointing out that under the current conditions there is no minority leader in the Senate because of the 18: 18 split in the Senate. Nevertheless, I would suggest that the two appointees that would subject to the minority leader would be split. There's in fact two majority leaders right now in the Senate and clearly between the two of them there are four appointments. So whether one is done in the capacity as majority leader or minority leader, the outcome is the same. It would still be four appointments split between the two positions. Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you Madam President. Thank you Senator Suzio.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any other comments on the amendment? Senator Moore.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Thank you Madam President. I want to thank my co-chair for the work that was done on this bill and I think it's a very necessary issue that we need to be taking care of at this time with all things that are going on within DCF and our children's protection. This bill has a lot of inclusion and transparency and I think that's what we're looking for. I urge that you support the bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Are there any other comments on the amendment? Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you Madam President. Madam President, I rise to support the amendment. I would like to thank Senator Suzio and Senator Moore for their leadership on this bill. The oversight just to talk a little bit more about what Senator Suzio said is we get out of the echo chamber. We get out of a chamber which was controlled by the Commissioner, the appointees controlled by commissioners, the outcome controlled by Commissioner. I don't think there's anybody in circle that believes that has been a good result for DCF over the number of years. And what this does is bring people who have stake in the game and understand the issues that kids face in this system and let their voices be heard, and that is what has been missing. That autonomy, that autonomous body that look at this without being afraid of a Commissioner who controlled the conversation in and the conversation out. I applaud this amendment and I look forward to its passage.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Senator. Are there any further comments on the amendment? Seeing none, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of the amendment please indicate by saying "Aye".

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Any opposed? [Gavel] The amendment passes. Senator Suzio, the bill is now amended.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you Madam President. If there's no objection, I would move that the bill as amended be put on the consent calendar?

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

And by the way I do want to thank Senator Moore, my co-chair. She was a pleasure to work with and I look forward to many more years serving with you Senator. Thank you very much Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Mr. Clerk. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. Madam President, will the clerk now please call Calendar Page 30, Calendar 340, Senate Bill 1020 brought out by the republican co-chair of Judiciary Committee?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff, could you please give the Calendar number and page number again?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. Calendar Page 30, Calendar 340, Senate Bill 1020. Correct?

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 30, Calendar 340, Senate Bill No. 1020, an ACT CONCERNING THE ENFORCEMENT OF A DEFAMATION JUDGMENT ENTERED BY A COURT OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Good morning Madam President and Happy Thursday. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. What this bill does is it shuts out the requirements for a Connecticut court to recognize a foreign defamation judgement. Unfortunately what has been happening in the world is if someone outside the United States feels that their reputation has been harmed they go to basically forum shopping and they go to jurisdictions where that is very easily asserted and difficult to defend. Two of the areas that were particularly noted in our public hearing are London and Singapore and this has been happening with greater frequency. So many of our sister states in the United States of America have adopted similar bills. What this bill does is set up the requirement that if you're a defendant for the foreign defamation judgement to be looked at here in Connecticut, then the rights that you have here in Connecticut regarding freedom of speech and freedom of the press have to be equaled or better than in that foreign jurisdiction. So what that ultimately will do will stop these individuals from getting these judgements and then trying to come to America to enforce them to basically silence folks that are writing books or speaking out about things that are going on in the world, and so we owe it to folks in Connecticut to protect them from these actions by others trying to enforce these foreign defamation judgements and I would urge my colleagues to support this bill. Thank you very much Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

I want to echo the fine remarks by my co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee. This bill, again, will just protect individuals in Connecticut that may in other country, a foreign country, where their free speech or freedom to press or rights are abrogated by a foreign judgement against them where their livelihood could be jeopardized and the key to this bill is a Connecticut judge has to assure on the record that in fact a defendant of a Connecticut resident in the court has the rights of the country that were brought over here conform to the standards of America and the standards of our U. S. Constitution. SO it's really an important piece of legislation to protect the residents of Connecticut, and I urge the chamber to support this piece of legislation. Thank you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you Madam President, and I certainly commend the Judiciary Committee and the co-chairs Senator Doyle and Senator Kissel for bringing this forward because I think it is, it meets a legitimate need where Americans may be victimized by foreign courts, but if I might a question, through you, to the proponent Senator Kissel?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel prepare yourself. Please continue Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you Madam President. Through you to Senator Kissel, Senator Kissel Senator Doyle in his comments in support of the bill, which I wholeheartedly agree, pointed out that the safeguard in this is that it would require a finding by an American court judge to make the finding that the rights in the other jurisdiction where the judgement was sought to be -- where it was issued and now sought to be enforced in the U. S. are comparable right? Would that mean comparable in terms of due process protections and things of that nature?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. Through you to the good president of the Senate. Yes, I would say that basically all the safeguards in totality would have to be there because if I am a defendant here in Connecticut, I can rely both on Connecticut constitution, United States Constitution, any statutory protections and the common law, and so I would think that the totality of all those protections that I have, that if I was the defendant in a defamation suit would have to be there in the foreign jurisdiction for that foreign defamation judgement to be looked at here and respected and enforced by Connecticut court. Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

So through you Madam President, thank you Senator Kissel, I think that is exactly the answer that we were hoping for here. My one additional further question Madam President to Senator Kissel is if the American judge makes a finding that the foreign jurisdiction does not have comparable rights of protection of the individual rights/liberties comparable to our American both constitutional and common law or statutory rights. Is that an appealable judgement? Now can the person seeking to enforce the foreign judgement go up a chain of appeals to contest that, I assume it would be a superior court finding?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. There's nothing in the bill before us that speaks to the appealability of that determination. I would suspect that that decision could be appealed because any litigant has the ability to file an appeal, but hopefully the appellate court would make swift judgement on that and minimize whatever damages would occur to the unfortunate victim of that lawsuit. Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Yes, Madam President through you, thank you Senator Kissel. And I assume also, if I might ask an additional question through you Madam President, that the converse would also apply that the American party who was a defendant in that action, if the Superior Court judge made a finding in favor of the foreign claim that that also would be appealable?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and absolutely the defendant would have a right to appeal that. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Through you Madam President, thank you Senator Kissel, thank you Senator Doyle, and I think this is a very good bill in protection of important rights that might otherwise be exploited.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, are there further remarks on the -- Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Seeing no other questions, I would ask without objection if this could be moved for the consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered. Mr. Clerk. That's ordered. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. Madam President, before I move to the second consent calendar, I'd like to have additional marking?

THE CHAIR:

Please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. On Calendar Page 60, Calendar 271, Senate Bill 1001. I'd like to take that item off the foot of the calendar and mark that PR?

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. If the clerk could now call the bills that are on the second consent calendar followed by a vote please?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 2, Calendar 76, Senate Bill 766. On Page 5, Calendar 108, Senate Bill 894. On Page 7, Calendar 126, Senate Bill 906. On Page 14, Calendar 205, Senate Bill 820. Also on Page 14, Calendar 203, Senate Bill 944. On Page 30, Calendar 340, Senate Bill 1020. And on Page 52, Calendar 128, Senate Bill 821.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Mr. Clerk. If you could call for a roll call vote.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on the second consent calendar for the day. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel. Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Pleas ensure your vote has been properly recorded. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On the second consent calendar for the day

Total number Voting 36

Necessary for Passage 19

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not Voting 0

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. Madam President, I think we've had a very successful and productive day today even though it is now tomorrow, but it is today actually. So I will yield to any points of personal privilege before we make our announcement for later today.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any points of personal privilege? Seeing none, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you Madam President. Madam President, it is our intent to gavel in tomorrow at 10: 30 sharp tomorrow morning and we will be taking up the bills that were marked PT earlier yesterday or today in our legislative day, but those will be the bills that will be going first will be the ones that we marked PT so hope to see everybody later today at 10: 30 am. With that Madam President, I move that we adjourn subject to the call of the chair.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the Senate at 12: 45 a. m. adjourned subject to the call of the chair. )

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