CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Senate was called to order at 6: 45 p. m. , the President in the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

All right, the Senate will come to order. Members and guests, please rise and direct your attention to our new and wonderful reverend, Noele Kidney.

NOELE KIDNEY:

Please bless us with an inner strength so that our lives and our work may be a blessing on others. Amen.

THE CHAIR:

Amen. May this session go as quickly as your prayer. [Laughter] At this time, I'd ask Senator Marilyn Moore to lead us in the pledge.

SENATORS:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Thank you very much. At this point, I'd ask if there's any point of personal privilege. Seeing none, the Senate will stand at ease. (Chamber at ease) Senator Duff. Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Does the clerk have business on his desk?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, do you have business on the desk?

CLERK:

Yup. Senate Agenda Number 1, dated Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move that all items on Senate Agenda Number 1, dated Tuesday, May 23, 2017 be acted upon as indicated and incorporated into -- by reference into Senate Journal and transcript.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If I can mark two bills go, please?

THE CHAIR:

Please.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If we can mark calendar Page 15, Calendar 237, Senate Bill 260 as go, and calendar page 4, Calendar 95, Senate Bill 865 as go.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 15, Calendar 237, Substitute for Senate Bill Number 260, AN ACT CONCERNING AUTOMOBILE VEHICLES -- I'm sorry -- AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES, and there are amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson. Sorry, Senator Leone. Good evening, sir. Senator Leone, please.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Good evening. 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 LEONE (27TH):

Yes, I will. Thank you, Madam President. What we have here today is an effort by this body to incorporate new technologies that are on the horizon and so much so that they're even at our doorstep and what I'm talking about are fully autonomous vehicles. The ability for vehicles to be driven without a driver. But given that this is such a new technology and it's moving ever so quickly, we wanted to get out in front of this in order to draft some legislation to put in the framework that would enable this technology to thrive here in Connecticut but at the same time, put in some safeguards to make sure that we act responsibly, we act cautiously, and we have the ability to intercede if needed as this technology moves forward.

So with that effort, Madam President, I do have an amendment. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage -- oh I'm sorry.

THE CHAIR:

Sir, do you call the amendment, Senator?

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

The amendment is LCO 6730.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO Number 6730, Senate Amendment Schedule "A" offered by Senators Leone, Boucher, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

I move the amendment and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Yes, I will. Thank you, Madam President. This is a strike all bill that becomes the underlying bill and basically what it does is it entails the ability to establish a pilot program throughout the State of Connecticut. Up to four municipalities to participate in the ability to create a footprint to allow autonomous vehicles into our state and we did that with the goal, again, to move cautiously so that we have municipalities that are willing and already working with entities that can provide this technology to incorporate it and -- onto our roadways in a controlled manner so that we have the ability to see how it evolves.

Also, it creates a task force to monitor these pilot locations so that it will have the ability to have experts weigh in on how it needs to evolve. It also allows a task force to make recommendations either pro or con depending on the needs as this legislation moves forward and it's done in such a way that we will get reports to this general assembly in three different time frames so that we will have some information not only in the next session at the beginning of the year, but also at the next legislative body on the biennium.

So this allows us and the task force the ability to really monitor how this technology evolves and I gotta admit. There was a lot of information being provided to us as a state. We had a lot of input and we had a lot of companies and a lot of entities inquiring as to how this was going to evolve. We even had people that wanted to make this a statewide program.

But we felt that we wanted to move in a little bit more of a cautious manner so we have these four entities -- two cities that would be identified and another two cities that could apply if so desired and that gives the ability for our agencies to see what kind of other municipalities are interested in participating and as mentioned, I think there are probably more that would like to participate, but again, we just want to act in a cautious manner.

So I think this is a good bill that other states are actually doing as well and I do want to say that the technology's moving so quick that there are times it would -- the technology's moving faster than what the legislation can actually control or regulate. And because it's not here yet in the way that it is in other states, we wanted to make sure that we had our legislation in place so that it allows this technology to thrive in such a way.

So we didn't want to put too many burdens in front of the technology. We really want to make sure it does get up to speed so to speak, no pun intended, but it will be in such a way that I think when we have our recommendations from our task force, our Transportation Committee and this legislative body will then have much more data to determine on how to proceed and hopefully I would gather, to make this a statewide effort. And I do want to thank my Co-Chair Senator Toni Boucher and my House Chair and ranking members downstairs on the efforts to make sure that we crafted this bill in this manner.

We did have two seminars this year, one in the new Mystic area where a lot of outside and government agencies came in and weighed in on what autonomous vehicles are and are not, and we also did one here in the legislative office building to do exactly the same thing, to allow these outside agencies to provide information to everyone who was interested. So we had a lot of great discourse. I think we put in some good protections here but we also put in enabling legislation to allow this technology to thrive so that we can get ahead of the curve and make sure that we have the technology in front of us in a way that we can all support. So I would urge my colleagues in support of this endeavor.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Yes, good evening, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, Ma'am.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Good evening to you and I stand of course in support of this amendment and also to commend the co-chair of the Transportation Committee for taking a lead on this issue, who we feel -- many of us on the Transportation Committee -- it is a bill whose time has come. Just so that we can give any of those with still questions in their mind a few clarifying answers to some of the discussion that took place, if I might, through you, Madam President, pose a question or two to the chair of the Transportation Committee.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Ma'am.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam President. Madam President, there were several issues that were brought before us. One of them, as was explained just a minute ago, the question was asked many times why just for municipalities, why not countywide or even statewide was one of the questions that were asked and if I could just get further explanation, clarification, through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and through you, and thank you for that question. We did this based on municipalities that wanted to participate in this program. We had two entities that are fully ready to roll. There were other municipalities who were inquiring as to how they could potentially participate but we didn't get full cooperation from the full local legislative body so we -- that's why we made it permissive that they could apply up to the four municipalities.

We didn't want to go too many because then it would have become too unwieldly for this task force to monitor and that's again, just acting in a more of a cautious manner. I would hope that all the data that does come back will be more positive than negative so that we can go statewide and bring in even more investment into this technology. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, further, one of the areas that I was somewhat concerned about is that -- would this vehicle be totally autonomous or would there be some manual override and would there be [Coughing] -- excuse me, a requirement that the driver of the car would be in the front seat and ability to override if something should occur? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Again, thank you for that question. In this pilot program, in autonomous vehicles overall, this concept of fully autonomous vehicles, there's different levels as to what the industry's using as a standard and level one has a driver inside the vehicle, all the way up to a level five which is fully autonomous, meaning there is no driver in the vehicle. We -- I believe are far away from that.

This would ensure that a driver is in the vehicle while these pilot sites are located and being tested and the driver will be in the vehicle that if there is any kind of an emergency or a public safety hazard, they will be in a position to override the technology and to hopefully mitigate any forthcoming accident, so the hope is to make sure that there is a driver while we monitor this technology. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you very much for that answer. That's very helpful. Further, one of the big issues that looms of course, consistently, is insurance. Who is going to be responsible should this problem or a problem should arise -- and it would be great if you could please explain to us what the insurance provisions would be. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. The autonomous vehicle tester would have to register each fully autonomous vehicle to be tested with the vehicle. It would also have to submit to the Commissioner a manner and form directed by the Commissioner, proof of liability insurance, self-insurance, or a surety bond of at least $ 5 Million dollars for damages by reason of a bodily injury, death, or property damage caused by a fully autonomous vehicle.

And this is language that has been crafted from other states in terms as a standard to allow this to go forward. It's also -- the way we were -- we would look at it in terms for intent, it'd be in the same manner as a human operated would be as liable for either a negligent or reckless operation of a motor vehicle. So I believe this is a good standard from which to start. I didn't want to -- we didn't want to get so complicated that we prevented the industry from coming in to provide the investment and I think with this legislation and the task force, that gives us a vehicle to sort of build upon. Through you, Madam Speaker.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And finally -- my final question would be that in this particular bill, there seems to be some limitations. Is it anticipated that these vehicles would be tested at all on a limited access highway? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. No autonomous vehicle tester shall test a fully autonomous vehicle on any limited access highway, so this will be within the established footprint within the municipality. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. That concludes any questions I have about clarifying the nature of the bill. I want to again thank the good chairman of the Transportation Committee to bringing this bill -- a bill that regards something called FAV -- Fully Autonomous Cars also known as driverless cars. As I said in the beginning of the discussion on this bill -- it is a bill whose time has come.

In it, it establishes a task force that would analyze as was just mentioned, how these vehicles would impact the state and that particular task force would be made up of the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Office of Policy Management, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection -- and in doing so, they would bring forward any of the safeguards or insurance issues that could arise from the use of this new technology.

As fantastic as FAV innovation seems to be, those insurance liability and moral dilemma issues really are widespread. They abound, in fact, because the questions would be asked, if an accident should occur, is the car owner, the manufacturer or the software developer who would be at fault and by the way, who pays for those damages? Should a driverless car be programmed to choose to say run over a pedestrian to save the passenger of a car or save the passenger of the car at the expense of a pedestrian?

These are questions that are really fairly important. However, the benefits of driverless cars include giving mobility to the elderly, to the disabled. That could be revolutionary. Particularly, as we have an aging population in this state. It can reduce instances associated with impaired driving or DUIs, it could reduce traffic, it could cut pollution, it could save thousands of lives each year. Because human error actually contributes to 90 percent of all traffic accidents.

I can even foresee possibly a time in our future -- I don't know if I'll be around for that -- where insurance companies literally would punish someone if it -- if they were to be the driver -- in other words, charge them a great deal more in insurance premiums, as I know a lot of us really still like our antique cars and like that feeling of driving a car.

The adoption of self-driving technology will be much faster, by the way, than traditional adaptation rates of new technologies in the auto industry and the reasons for that is that this technology offers enormous benefits as we said, in terms of safety, the increased in -- available personal time, and the competitive advantage that early adopting companies seek into lower costs of labor and production, fuel, and insurance.

Every state is experiencing a wave of unprecedented innovation which makes the competition for these particular studies and completion of them, extremely critical. I believe and we believe and I know the Chairman who has really pushed this issue forward, will put Connecticut in a very prime position to be one of the first states to safely roll this out so that we will not be left in the dust, choking on the exhaust fumes of old technology. Connecticut must drive ahead into the future because the future is now. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you also. Can we put that down on the record someplace? [Laughter] Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Linares.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise in support of the bill and the amendment --

THE CHAIR:

Ladies and gentleman, can we keep our voices down --

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

-- would like to --

THE CHAIR:

-- so we can hear Senator Linares speak?

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Would like to thank --

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Would like to thank the co-chairs for their innovative perspective on this bill and looking forward, this will help Connecticut. This is embracing innovation and technology. It's something we need. There's going to be billions of dollars invested into autonomous vehicles. I'm reading here that truck drivers have to take an 11 hour break -- an eight hour break for every 11 hours they drive. An autonomous truck can drive for 24 hours straight, possibly, if we get there.

I also see that from research done based from this committee, see that this can possibly reduce car crashes by 90 percent and obviously that goes -- it goes far into protecting our constituents and people in our community but also reducing the log jam on 95 and we all know we need that. So Madam President, I'm happy to see this. I do hope that the task force will look into a statewide pilot program in the future.

I do appreciate the concerns by the chairs that they have to move cautiously here. This is a new technology that we all need to get comfortable with, but in the future I think a statewide plan will allow for autonomous vehicles to collect the kind of data and information we need to implement this statewide. So with that said, I ask my colleagues to support this bill as well. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. You know, with the -- I think the second, possibly the longest drive to the Capitol every day, it's about 180 miles round trip, no one will be more in favor of this concept so that I can actually read my Cal notes and bills and everything else on the way up and on the way back and let the thing figure out the traffic jams and all that kind of stuff, but in all seriousness, just one really quick question. Will this study group include studying the all-important issue of liability? Insurance and liability. Like who's -- you know, if there's an accident -- an incident, who at the end of the day is responsible? Is it the manufacturer, is it the person who should have been ready to grab the wheel? What's the deal?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you, the insurance issue obviously is a very important one. We're gonna treat it as the same as if it was an individual so the automobile vehicle tester -- the manufacturer, whoever the entity is that is producing the autonomous vehicle, they would be held to the same standard as a driver of a personal vehicle in the same manner that if an accident occurred, the same process would be in place if that were to happen. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Frantz
.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you. That's all I have and thank you, Madam President. I appreciate it.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Hwang. Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Madam President --

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, sir.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

I do rise in support of this innovation in technology and as the good Senator Frantz said, these long drives, having some aspect of help, is definitely a much safer way and I'm excited that we have initiated this effort to use technology to our advantage and I believe having a task force is a very important first step to vet the process, to be sure that we are complying with existing statutes and experiences. Through you, may I have some questions to the proponent of the bill?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you. Thank you. I think there was a good mention by the Senator Linares from Eastern Connecticut to talk about commercial trucks and could we elaborate a little bit more in regards to components of this study to account for commercial trucks and how they would be part of the study? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Leone
.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. What I can say is that the motor transport association of Connecticut is in favor of this legislation because of the impact that it could have on the trucking industry. At the moment, this is all about having autonomous vehicles within the municipalities footprint. So the agreement between the municipality and the entity that will be providing this technology if trucking were to be part of that, it could be included.

I suspect that that is not gonna be the case because this is, again, about using autonomous vehicles within a closed footprint and as the technology thrives, if -- as it can be applied to the trucking industry, then I think with the task force recommendations, that will enable us to go in that direction as needed or as desired. So I'm not sure we're quite there yet. It could possibly be within the agreement with the municipality but for legislative intent, that is not the case at this point in time. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Hwang
.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

I want to thank the good chair for his answer and it's very helpful. In finishing the study, would there be a next step -- what would you anticipate the next step to be, to -- to have selective cities implement this program and what would be the second step protocol if there's anything in place for that? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you, this was all about establishing a sort of a piloting program to sort of see where we are and where we need to get to. At the moment, this legislation allows for municipalities to participate, depending on the recommendations of the task force in the next legislative session or in the next biennium, then this body can determine if we need to go statewide to allow it to happen in any municipality or we could even do it in a permissive way to allow certain municipalities if only they are interested and others are not.

I would hope that at some point in time we go statewide. It could happen sooner versus later but we're really trying to make sure that we do this in a very methodical way. We could very easily leap frog from this year to fully statewide next year if that were the recommendations of the task force and the technology was up to speed to allay anyone's fears in terms of what they may be and if there are fears then that would, again, allow us to maybe take an extra step and not a fuller step. So again, this is all about making sure that we can get to where we need to be with the public interests in mind and public safety in mind as well. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Hwang
.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. One last question. As we go through the study and we valuate different vendors, is there any exclusive vendor that we're analyzing or will it be a open access study of various other technologies, various other vendors, will this truly be an open system in regards to people being engaged and offering the best possible technology for us to valuate? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you, what we did not want to do was to dictate what the municipalities and who they could enter into any kind of agreements. There are several large players out there that are investing in this technology.

We've read about them in the paper, we've seen them on the news, they are in other states, but there's also smaller entities that are willing to participate so we wanted to allow any municipality that needs to enter in agreement with any of the vendors which they could RFP out or choose to enter into an agreement, then depending on what we have in our pilot cities, again that allows us to see who is willing to participate who is willing to invest, and then if there's more players that want to enter into the agreement for the future that could allow us and be a reason to go statewide.

So this -- we're leaving it up to the municipalities to enter into an agreement with whoever they think could best suit the needs for their town and we did not want to mandate this. We really wanted to allow this to foster and grow in a way that we want the technology and the investors to come here in a way that they choose within the regulations and the process that we set forth with this legislation. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Hwang
.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

I want to thank the good chair for his very, very clear answers and I appreciate that. And again, it reiterates my strong support for the innovation and the advocacy of such technology. And I think he said something that is comforting to me, is the fact that we are undergoing this process. Even though it's a disruptive and potentially market altering technology that we are doing it cautiously. We are doing it with respect to the existing system and structure. And I think that's the way we should valuate any disruptive technology that we look to implement in our state and how we do business. I'm fully in support of innovation and change. But we have to understand, it has to be very respectful as the good chair mentioned, in regards to municipalities and existing laws. So I applaud the study, I applaud this process, and I am fully in support of this technology and I want to thank the good chair for his good work and I urge support.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. 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 of the amendment, please say “aye”.

SENATORS:


Aye
.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The amendment passes. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Madam President, if there's no objections, I would like to move this onto the Consent --

THE CHAIR:


Seeing --

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Actually, Madam President, I would ask [Crosstalk] for a roll call vote.

THE CHAIR:

[Crosstalk] You want to call for a vote?

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 the tally?

CLERK:

Senate Bill Number 260.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. Mr. Clerk, will you call the next bill, please?

CLERK:

On Page 4, Calendar 95, Senate Bill Number 865, AN ACT CONCERNING INCREASED ACCESS TO CERTAIN CLUBS UNDER THE LIQUOR CONTROL ACT. There are amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin. Good evening, sir. Senator Martin, please.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Good evening, 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 further, sir?

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam President. The bill authorizes a state liquor club permittee to allow by club vote the children or grandchildren of members of deceased members of a nationally chartered Veterans service organization to have the club privileges without having to provide their name and address in the guestbook. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Osten. Good evening, Ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Good evening, Madam President and through you, a couple of questions to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Through you, what -- I have gone to many American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars clubs and have never had or found it to be a hardship to sign in and I'm curious, through you, Madam President, what is the hardship of having people who are not members sign into the book, giving their name and address?

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin
.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam -- through you, Madam President, I don't think it was a hardship. I think the Vice President of the club asked me if I would present this bill in that it would make it more convenient for the volunteers, basically, to those -- and specifically, the club that he belongs to, is in Plymouth and he is a member of the Sons of the American -- the Sons of the American Legion and he'd -- he sees that the -- it's a little bit cumbersome to sign the book going in and out of the -- out, perhaps on a daily basis. That's all.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you, very much, Madam President. And through you, if -- and through you -- if there is no record of this person who is not a member of the club, how will that non-member he held accountable if there is no record that that person was allowed in? That's part of the reason why the books are used to provide that record of who is in the club that is not a member of said club. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin
.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Well, I beg to differ. I believe that there would be a log or a member's name if they belong to the Sons of the American Legion, then they have their names when they go into the club.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Through you, Madam President. But there is no -- if this person who is not a member of the club, is allowed by a vote of the club to come in -- and that leadership changes and there is no record of that person being a member, they still would not be members of the club itself -- how do you track that? How is that -- these logs are used in many ways to make sure that, a, you're following the rules of the Department of Consumer Protection, b, that you're following the rules of the charted Veteran's Service Organization and c, that if there is something that happens at one of these clubs, that there is a record that the person was actually there. That you're not counting on someone's memory from -- you know, if something comes up that happened, two, three, four months or a year before that. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin
.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Well, as I stated in my opening remarks, is that their club would have to approve the organization such as the Sons of American Legion to allow them to use the club.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. And has this been vetted in the chartered -- in the charters of the Veterans Services organizations? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin
.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

The bill specifically leaves it up to the American Legions to decide whether or not they want to allow the affiliated or the auxiliary club such as the Sons of American Legion whether or not they would be -- the vetting would go through them before their vote.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, and I understand that this would be voted on by an individual club. But these individual clubs are chartered under the umbrella organization of the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars or any of the other service -- Veterans Service organizations, so I'm curious. Has this language been vetted by those national or international service organizations and their charters? Would a club, even though this may be authorized by the State of Connecticut, be putting at risk their -- you know, their organization? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I'm not sure if -- well, to answer specifically, no, it has not been vetted on a national level, however, you know, if you base it on the Women's Auxiliary which is allowed by our state statute, I don't think there would be any difference.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and through you, I believe that there is a difference because a Veterans organization, unlike its Auxiliary, has certain rules that govern them having the ability to be a Veterans organization under the auspices of the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I'm the -- I am the post commander for our -- the American Legion in the Village of Baltic, Town of Sprague and we have certain rules that govern our ability to have a post.

As a matter of fact, across the country, many posts have lost their ability to act as an organization and in the City of Norwich, one of the American Legions almost completely lost its ability to be an American Legion post in direct reflection of what was going on at its bar portion of the club and so I'm a little concerned about this because I think that it might be -- while I understand my colleague's wishes on helping this one particular organization, I think this puts at risk many of our American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars and I do think that, you know, when I go to the club as a member, I don't have to sign in.

But as a non-member, you have to sign in and you have to have a record of being approved by another member. So, through you, Madam President, if I could just get -- clearly has this language been forwarded to the national organizations of either the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

No, it has not.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much and through you, Madam President, to the point on whether or not children or grandchildren of any club of -- a former or -- of any member or former, deceased member of any club, so -- would it -- would this language eliminate someone who was a former member but not deceased? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I don't think so.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Through you, I believe that this does not allow former members to have their children or grandchildren come. What if that member left on a -- in -- with a negative light? What if that member left because they had absconded with funds or they had a problem with alcohol and were less than genial in their actions with other members? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I'm not sure how to answer that.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

So -- I just --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Oh, I'm sorry, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

No problem.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much. So I just think that there might be a couple of things here that are -- that -- and I understand that my colleagues and I appreciate all the work that he's done for Veterans and you know, as one myself, I just am a little concerned about the vagueness of some of the language when it comes to some of these clubs.

So through you, Madam President, if one -- at one meeting, it could be voted on that they were allowing children or grandchildren to enter, could they come back the next meeting and not allow it? What is the time frame for that allowance to happen? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I'd like just to respond to perhaps the previous question. You know, the constitution of the American Legion provides guidance and it says literally in its bylaws that -- it provides guidance and leadership to organizations and local chapters established under paragraph four but may not control or otherwise influence the specific activities and conduct of such organizations and local chapters.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I'm familiar with that piece but that does not belay an organization from losing its charter based on the actions that happened within that particular club. So I probably could talk a lot about the rest of the American Legion's rules and regulations governing each charter, but to the next question. If this is voted on, what is the length of time that this is allowed? Is this a one-time vote or can they come back the next month and change their mind, come back the following month and change their mind again? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Can you just rephrase that? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Sure. So, you're saying in here that they may be allowed to participate in all the privileges of such club by vote of such club members. So there is often a flux of members that happen in any of these organizations. People come, they go, they have time to participate in American Legion or VFW, activities, they may be an inactive member or an active member.

So if the active members got together and voted to allow the club -- these people to participate in the club, can the club then come back the following month and change its mind and then the following month after that and reverse the second decision and go with the first decision? So I'm confused, how long is this allowed for and what happens if the leadership of that club changes? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I think that they would be able to do that under the rules of the club. If it we're giving them the authority with this piece of legislation, that they -- should they choose to allow an auxiliary -- affiliation such as a Sons of America Legion to participate in the club privileges then they would have that right to revoke it at any time.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Through you, Madam President. Again, I would go back to whether or not the leadership changes or doesn't change so our -- if the leadership changes, does it revoke all the previous decisions that were made by this leadership in regards to allowing people who have not been Veterans to participate in any and all privileges by such club for Veterans? So non-Veterans now would get the privilege of Veterans in these clubs? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Was there a question there?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten, would you clarify your question, please?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Are we saying that these children or grandchildren of any member or former -- only former deceased members, that they can participate and get all the privileges of a club that is for Veterans, even though they were not Veterans themselves? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

They would be given the same privileges as the auxiliary members who are spouses or members or surviving spouses of former deceased members of any club that holds a permit under the provisions of this chapter may be allowed to participate in all the privileges of such club.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Through you, Madam President. So succinctly, they would get the privileges of a Veteran affiliated with this club? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Should the club or the American Legion decide to do that by a vote of its members, yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. So someone who is not a Veteran then with this would be allowed to -- would be allowed to participate in all the privileges of being a veteran at a club that is for a Veterans service organization and that there is no tracking of those folks who are not Veterans participating in this and we have no tracking of how this is being folded out because there is no way for them to sign in or out, apparently -- and so I'm a little concerned that this just becomes a bar that has no connection to the service organization. Through you, Madam President. Is that true?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

The underlying bill, the purpose of the bill itself, is simply to allow the club, should it decide, to allow its auxiliary club affiliations to participate in the club privileges. It gives them the right -- the auxiliary members -- to enter the club as -- not to have to enter the club as guests for the purposes of signing the book. Simply as that. Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. And I guess it's just that simple piece of it that gives me great concern because the privilege of being a member of such club -- was because you were in the service. You freely gave of yourself to this country and you said, I will, I do, and I am willing to put my life on the line. And I don't see that in here and I recognize the Sons of the American Legion and some of the other great auxiliary groups have done a lot of good work but I've never seen them complain about having to sign in.

I've never seen them complain about giving deference to the Veterans and so I'm a little -- I'm actually more than a little concerned that we're whitewashing the reason why Veterans were given this as sort of a manner of right and I'm really, you know, I understand your intent and I fully support auxiliaries and Sons of American Legion and some of the -- some of the other organizations that have done great work. The women who do the quilts of valor, but they all give deference to Veterans and I just don't see the hardship in signing in to a book which tracks who's in and who's out of the club and gives people an opportunity.

I'd like to be able to support something that supports Veterans but I think this actually dilutes the -- what a Veteran has as a benefit and unfortunately, I'm not able to support it based on the answers that I've gotten from my good colleague and I certainly understand what you're trying to do but I think that what we're doing here is not honoring Veterans and Veterans deserve a special place in our hearts for what they've done and quite frankly, I just can't give that right without that obligation. So thank you very much, Madam President, for allowing me to speak and I thank the good gentleman for his answers.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Winfield. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, good evening, Madam President. Just a few questions. I heard --

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I heard the end of the questions that Senator Osten was asking, but I didn't hear the first question so forgive me if any of these repeat. First, just trying to wrap my head around the bill. What is the purpose of this bill?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Through you, Madam Chair. The bill authorizes a state liquor club permittee to allow by club vote the children or grandchildren of members or deceased members of a nationally chartered Veterans service organization to have club privileges without having to provide their name and address in a guestbook.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And through you, Madam President, so am I to understand that if I'm the child or grandchild or I guess, said to be the child or grandchild of an individual, I would be extended those privileges without demonstrating that I'm the child or grandchild of that individual?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Madam Chair, through you, the child or grandchild of a deceased member or of a veteran would have to be a member of a nationally chartered Veterans service organization.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Thank you. And when the privileges are extended, they're extended by vote, do those privileges include voting?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I'm sorry, did you say voting?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield, will you repeat please?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Absolutely, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

My question is about voting. So, my question is, after the vote of the members that extend the privileges, does the individual who's not a member but is extended the privileges have the privilege of voting?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

That is not the intent of this piece of legislation.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I recognize that may not be the intent. Is it possible, as the legislation is written, for that to be the case? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I'm not quite sure, but what I do know is that in order to be a member of the American Legion, you have -- and to have voting rights, you would have to have served in a time of war for at least one day.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Through you, Madam President, I didn't understand the response.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin, would you repeat please?

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

In order to be -- in order to have voting privileges in the American Legion, you would have to have served -- you would have had to have served at least a minimum of one day during a time of war.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Or active service.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Through you, Madam President, is it not a correct understanding that this bill extends all privileges which I would believe would include voting -- to those who it is extending privileges to you, through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

[Long pause] Madam President, could we stand at ease for one minute, please?

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

(Chamber at ease)

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will come back to order. Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

What this bill would do would be no different than what is extended to auxiliary members currently who are the spouses or members -- spouses of members or surviving spouses of former deceased members of any club that holds a permit under the provisions of this chapter may be allowed to participate in all the privileges of such club, by vote of such club members, and shall not be considered guests for purposes of the general statutes or regulations of the Department of Consumer Protection.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Through you, Madam President. I'm a Veteran and I'm concerned about giving the privileges that a Veteran may earn to anyone to be honest with you. I understand what the current law is but I think spouses or the auxiliaries are a little bit different than grandchildren.

Spouses have to -- particularly of those who are married to people who have been in the service, have to put up with things, deal with things that grandchildren often don't have to do too -- so I don't actually see them as exactly the same thing. So to try again to get a direct answer to my question, would those who are allowed privileges under this bill be allowed to vote as the bill is written?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

The answer is no.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Through you, Madam President. A final question. So then, it does not extend all privileges of those who are members?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Perhaps if -- perhaps not.

THE CHAIR:

Senator --

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Voting -- the voting rights are for those that are members of the American Legion that have served -- have served -- in active duty for a minimum of one day. Whether or not they are able to vote or not, that I would say no. Because they have not served.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I understand and appreciate Senator's -- the good Senator Martin's point, but as I read the bill, I don't -- I don't see how that is possible. As someone who is a Veteran and concerned about Veteran's rights and privileges, I have a problem with the way that the bill is written and I will be voting no on the bill if it's written and left in its current form. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator McLachlan. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Good evening, Madam President. Nice to see you.

THE CHAIR:

Great to see you, thank you.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

I rise in support of this bill and I'm grateful for Senator Martin's work on this. I think there's some misunderstanding of the intention of the bill as I read it. Of course, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I'm gonna go to the Office of Legislative Research bill analysis for an easy clarification of the contents of this bill. First and foremost, this bill addresses state liquor regulations. That's what we're talking about.

This legislation is strictly to allow the Veterans organization to have an easier way to allow guests in the building whom they choose are special guests, and those special guests don't have to sign a guestbook which is required under state liquor regulations, currently. That's it. That's what it does. When -- I also heard some concerns about Veteran organization charters -- I refreshed my memory and read each of the charters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Catholic War Veterans and the Disabled American Veterans.

I took those four cause they were immediately available to me. They are federal charters and none of those charters address any of the concerns raised here this evening. So I think what Senator Martin clearly was trying to do was help struggling Veterans organizations who have guests in their facility and are regular guests, often supporters of the Veteran organization and just trying to make it easier for them to visit and enjoy the facility.

Now in Danbury, we have all of the above. We have the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, the Catholic War Veterans, and the American Legion and they all have their own home. And I will tell you that all four of those organizations have some form of struggle recruiting membership, paying the overhead, keeping the lights on, and trying to still remain active in the community. Now they all are very active in the community. Very active. But it's not easy and there are fewer members who are taking up bigger burdens to remain active and keep the club alive.

So I'm assuming that Senator Martin's constituent who brought this to his attention had some wisdom in thinking that this might be a good way to help Veterans organizations in such a way to help them keep their homes active and vibrant. So I urge support for this bill. I think it's a good idea and I'm grateful once again, for Senator Martin's efforts. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Madam President. I will take a moment to thank the Veterans that are within this circle for your service. It's greatly appreciated. Through you, Madam, some questions to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Ma'am. I think one of the questions that was raised earlier was the fact that each individual club will make that decision and it is up to the purview of each club to make that decision. Would that be correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Yes, Madam President.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

And it is something that I kind of sensed then, as I read through the bill, it was to kind of accommodate family members and grandchildren of previous members and deceased members. Would that be correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Yes, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

And I think that -- thank you, Madam President. I think that's an important fact for us to acknowledge here, is the fact that we are acknowledging that not only for the great work of the Veterans that are a member of that club, but we also recognize that families -- extended families share that experience with our Veterans. That when they go to war or when they put themselves at risk, that it is the family that participates in that process. Would you say that this is an extension of acknowledging the sacrifices and the support of these families to give them that kind of a connectedness? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you. Thank you. And I think that's important for us to understand this, right? That we are making an extension to acknowledge that their extended family members have given that commitment and sacrifice and that for that organization in their unique club decision to say we welcome you as an extended family. That's something that we cannot dismiss and I think the third thing is the fact that we've addressed from a legal perspective that these are vetted and making sure that there's no underage drinking, that all procedures and legal regulations are followed. Is that correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Yes. That is correct.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, and this is not to be taken lightly and I think the extension of these families is something that I want to thank the good Senator for reaching out and acknowledging that when Veterans go and make commitments, that it is their family that is also part of that and I want to thank you for making that effort to recognize them. But also, I think in this statute, we make a very, very strong effort to ensure that these privileges are not abused. Can you recite the criminal elements if these are not followed and if people abuse these kind of privileges? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Regarding specific -- anything specific?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

The penalties -- through you, Madam President -- the license and the violation and the fines that would be precluded.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Yeah, I believe that there would be a loss of use of their -- a suspension of their license in particular or a fine and perhaps even going to prison.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I want to thank the good senator for his answer and so as a result of these answers, I rise in support of this bill because when we talk about supporting our Veterans, it should not just be the Veterans themselves. This bill extends to recognize that the sacrifices that these families make -- and we also recognize that these clubs make their own unique local decisions so I rise in full support of this and I want to thank the good Senator for bringing it up. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise to remark on the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I want to under -- I want to say that I appreciate the intent of this legislation. I know that a constituent came forward to my good colleague and expressed a desire for this legislation and the Veterans Committee -- you know, looked at it carefully and in the time since the Veterans Committee has looked at this legislation, there have been a number of concerns that have come forward from Veterans and leaders of Veterans Service Organizations, from folks who are concerned about potential violations of our state's liquor laws and I'd like to associate myself with the comments of Senator Osten and Senator Winfield this evening and the concerns that they raise about this bill.

And Senator Winfield in particular talked about there being a difference between the sacrifices of a spouse who may be a member of an auxiliary organization which is already allowed in current law and children and grandchildren and I am one of the members of this circle who would be affected by this bill. My father is a Veteran.

He belongs to several different Veterans service organizations and I can tell you quite clearly that anything that has affected my life as the daughter of a Veteran is nothing compared to the sacrifice that my father has made and the sacrifices that my mother has had to make in the course of their marriage in supporting my father through the many difficulties he's had since his service in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. And so I don't think the two are comparable. I do not believe it's a good idea for us to move forward with this --

THE CHAIR:

Excuse me, Senator. Can we please lower our volume in the Senate? Thank you. So we can hear Senator Flexer. Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you. I'm very concerned about how this would work moving forward. I'm concerned about potential for underage drinking. And I have a couple of questions to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Under this proposal, Madam President, would my potential child one day, be allowed to enter one of these clubs by virtue of my father's membership in these organizations?

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin
.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Only if your child was affiliated with a national chartered Veterans service organization.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So, Madam President, would I have to be a member of this auxiliary organization -- in addition to my child or just the -- or just the child could be a member?

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin
.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

The way that this statute reads, it would be the child or grandchild of the Veteran.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Through you, Madam President. Could that answer be clarified?

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin, will you clarify for the Senator?

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

I would think that if you choose not to participate in the chartered -- national chartered Veterans Service organization and your child decided to, yes, they would be able to get those privileges -- without you participating or you being a member.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And Madam President, through you, if I were a member of one of these auxiliary organizations, and that club chose to move forward under this legislation and allow auxiliary members to be -- to have full privileges, would that qualify just at that particular club or would it be at all of the locations of the nationally chartered organization?

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin
.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Each club would be a standalone.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Okay. So through you, Madam President. Let's say my father is a member of VFW post number one and VFW post number one allows the Sons of organization of which I am a member to have these privileges under this piece of legislation and post number two that is in New York also allows for -- excuse me. Not in New York. It's in the other side of the state near the New York border -- would allow these Sons of auxiliary or organization members to participate as guests? Would I be able to enter that club of which my father is not a member?

THE CHAIR:


Senator Martin
.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

That's a good question. I don't have an answer for that question. I would think that if they -- if it is the same affiliation as a nationally chartered Veterans service organization and both clubs have agreed to allowing that specific organization, the answer would be yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And that really gets to the crux of my concern with this legislation. As someone who grew up around various Veterans service organizations, my father being a member of several of them throughout my childhood into today, that's my concern, is that I could have joined that organization at 18, 19, 20 years old and have had access to clubs and potentially get these clubs in trouble for violating our state's liquor laws.

And that's one of the main reasons I have a lot of concerns for this legislation and for that reason, Madam President, the clerk is in possession of an Amendment. LCO Number 7662. I'd ask that the clerk please call the amendment and that I be granted leave of the chamber to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO Number 7662, Senate “A” offered by Senators Looney, Duff, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the --

THE CHAIR:

Move adoption.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

I move adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The amendment that is before us strikes the underlying bill and it instead replaces it with a concept that is also before this chamber in another bill. It would help Veterans service organizations by exempting them from the State's current bottle bill. I would encourage the chamber to support this amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Madam President, I would urge my colleagues to vote no to this amendment. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. Oh, Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I ask that the vote be taken by roll call.

THE CHAIR:

Roll call vote will be taken. Mr. Clerk, will you please call for a roll call vote on Senate “A”? The machine is open.

CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate on Senate Amendment Schedule “A”. Immediate Roll Call in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

The machine -- if all members have voted, all members have voted. The machine will be locked. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule “A”.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 18

Those voting Nay 18

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

And then I will cast my vote Yea. Close the machine. The vote -- [pause] Will you call the tally again, sir?

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule “A”.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 19

Those voting Nay 18

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The amendment passes. (Gavel) Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Duff. Yes? No? Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, while we await the next bill -- may we stand at ease for a moment? Oh, we're still on this bill?

THE CHAIR:

This is the amendment we just voted on.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Oh, all right. We'll keep going then. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Okay. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you have -- will you remark further on the bill as amended? If not, Mr. Clerk, will you 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:

Senator Suzio, will you please vote? Thank you.

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill Number 865.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 19

Those voting Nay 18

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

Do it again. The bill is now passed. (Gavel) Okay, the bill is passed. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the Senate stand at ease for moment?

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease. (Chamber at ease)

Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I'd like to mark a few items as go, please. Calendar page 25, Calendar 336, Senate Bill 884 as go, followed by Calendar page 27, Calendar 356, Senate Bill 979, go, followed by Calendar page 31, Calendar 385, Senate Bill 10 --

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry, sir. Was it 305? Sorry. Is it page 31 --

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Calendar page 31, Calendar 385 --

THE CHAIR:

85. Thank you, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Senate Bill 1022, go. Followed by Senate -- Calendar page 53, Calendar 355, Senate Bill 929 as a go.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 25, we are looking at Calendar 336. Substitute for Senate Bill Number 884, AN ACT ADOPTING THE CONNECTICUT UNIFORM RECOGNITION OF SUBSTITUTE DECISION-MAKING DOCUMENTS ACT AND REVISING THE CONNECTICUT UNIFORM POWER OF ATTORNEY ACT. There are amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, 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, sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. This bill deals with -- it's one of the uniform pieces of legislation that many citizens work hard for us and this deals with power of attorney. As the chamber will remember, two years ago, we passed a comprehensive, uniform Power of Attorney Act that was successfully passed. The first provisions of this bill deals with the issue of achieving uniform recognition of power of attorney documents from other states.

So this piece of legislation before us calls -- counts -- details the other states' Power of Attorneys Act substitute decision-making documents but basically, what it does is it enables our citizens when their power of attorney is executed in other states, they can be brought into Connecticut and be effectuated in Connecticut and assist our families with these power of attorney documents.

You will remember that we refined our power of attorney documents over the past two years but so the first important part of this piece of legislation deals with bringing them in from the other state. The file copy, Section 11 on, deals with some refinements to our power -- Connecticut Power of Attorney Act.

However, since the time the Judiciary Committee passed this bill out unanimously, a lot of wise minds have come together and made some changes to it. So the clerk has an amendment. I would ask the clerk, please call LCO 7614 and I be allowed to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO Number 7614, Senate Amendment Schedule "A" offered by Senators Doyle, Kissel, Kelly, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Yes. Again, this amendment refines the file copy Section 11 and really, what it does is it makes some improvements to the public -- the language of the earlier version. It brings in language regarding giving the authority and the powers for digital assets in this new world of computers. It makes it clear that people can step in the shoes of the grantor and handle the computer passwords and like.

It also does a number of things: it clarifies some of the work of Senator Kelly. It clarifies the fact that an age -- it presumes that an agent may not use the power of attorney to benefit himself or his family. Now, the grantor, the principal could give this authority to the agent but this makes the premise that it's -- it is not the standard ability of a person granting -- receiving the power as the agent to utilize it. This adds other language to the power of attorney. It makes it a stronger piece of legislation and I urge the chamber to approve the amendment before us. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Kissel. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Good evening. I also stand in strong support of the amendment. I think it makes a good bill that much better and I really want to compliment and thank Senator Kelly for going over in great detail the underlying bill and coming up with the underlying substantive ideas for the amendment to make again, this good bill a better bill, and at this time, what I'd like to do, Madam President, is please yield to Senator Kelly.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly, would you accept the yield from them?

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Good evening, Madam Chairman. Yes.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening. Good.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you. I also rise in support of this amendment and I would like to thank the leadership of the Judiciary Committee, both Senators Doyle and Kissel for working so hard on this initiative over the past few years. It has not been an easy task, but it's certainly a task that's very important to families in making what are known as advanced directives in decision making for future events.

What we did here was we delineated that agents cannot self-deal. And also identified -- and this was an initiative that AARP wanted to see in the bill -- to make sure that they couldn't also self-deal for people with whom they are related and we tightened up the language. It was originally obligation of support but now it is much clearer to be that the power cannot benefit the agent or a dependent of the agent, unless the principal directs and provides that authority with special instructions in the power of attorney. I think these are important improvements to a good initiative and stand in support of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on Senate “A”? Will you remark further on Senate “A”? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of Senate “A” please say “aye”.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Senate “A” has passed. Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes, Madam President. Well now that the bill is amended it's a complete picture. It provides our citizens the ability to bring in power of attorneys from other states and it clarifies and cleans up the current power of attorney statute. I urge the chamber to approve this piece of legislation. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. As I stated earlier, it's a good bill, it's a better bill now. And again, I would urge my colleagues to support this proposal. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Madam President, if there's no objection I'll move this to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

There is an objection. We will call for a roll call vote at this time. Senate -- Mr. Clerk. Machine is open.

CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff. Have all members have voted? All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally?

CLERK:

Senate Bill Number 884.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. (Gavel) Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 27, Calendar 356, Substitute for Senate Bill Number 979, AN ACT CONCERNING NOTIFICATION TO SCHOOLS AND INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION OF RESTRAINING ORDERS, CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS AND STANDING CRIMINAL PROTECTIVE ORDERS AFFECTING STUDENTS. No amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, 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 KISSEL (7TH):

Yes, Madam President. What this bill does is it addresses a sort of a missing part in our system where individuals are fearful for themselves and what it would allow for is at the request of a protected person, if there was a restraining order to allow that protected person to notify the school district if a student might be impacted. And so, that's a little complicated so let me give you an example.

Let's say someone goes into court and get protective order because let's say they're involved in a contentious divorce matter. What the notification to the school district would do would allow the school district to keep an eye on that such that one of the spouses wouldn't go and pick up the children after school.

The school district would know that this other matter's going on but we -- what we want to get to is to not have one of those spouses sort of use the children as a pawn and then say, well, I'll bring them to you at a certain time and therefore ratcheting up the tension in that particular matter. So, I want to commend Senator Formica for bringing this to our attention and at this time, yield to the good senator so that he can discuss this bill as well.

THE CHAIR:


Thank you
. Senator Formica, will you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Good evening, Madam President. Yes, I will. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you to Senator Kissel and Senator Doyle for all their work on this. This was brought to my attention from a school safety officer in one of my district schools who indicated that there could be a problem that could be solved relatively easy with the addition of just simple notification upon this -- when this situation comes up.

So I think this is a good bill. It provides for the opportunity to protect the kids and to also protect the school districts who can then get notified of any change in status regarding a court document. So I urge acceptance and I thank the committee for bringing this forward. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Kissel for the second time.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Yes. At this time, I'd like to yield to my co-chair, Senator Doyle on this bill -- in the hopes that he would positively chime in. [Laughter]

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle, will you accept that proposal?

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Which is so highly unusual in this chamber lately.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes, Madam President. I accept the yield. Thank you, Madam President. Yes, I do speak in favor of this piece of legislation. It was a bill that was, you know, heavily discussed in Judiciary Committee. It was passed out 39 to nothing. It does provide further information to victims in the school system where they can actually -- it can assist people in the schools and greater information to schools, I think, is a good thing and I urge the chamber to accept and approve this piece of legislation. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for a few questions to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir -- Ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I want to thank the proponents of the bill for bringing this measure forward, but I just want to ask a couple of questions for clarification. Madam President, under existing law, can a victim request that this information be shared with a school or institution of higher education?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. Not to my knowledge. What this bill anticipates is that the Judicial Branch itself would be able to do this, therefore giving it the weight of authority but only if the protected individual requests it. I guess the protected person could go and try to notify the school district themselves but then the school district might say we would like some proof this gets the person out of that situation. The Judicial Branch would immediately do the notification and it would have the gravitas of the order of the court. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So just to clarify. Under current law, a victim can request that this information be shared with a school or institution of higher education?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

I'm sorry. I was getting advice from one of our outstanding legal counsel, so if that please could be repeated. [Laughter]

THE CHAIR:

Would you repeat your question?

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Sure, I'll repeat it and I'll just -- it's just to clarify. Previous legislation that this good chamber passed several years ago and the house passed with the good help of my colleague across the circle -- did allow victims to have this information shared with schools or institutions of higher education. The -- what's before us would make it a simple transfer from the Judicial Department to the school or institution of higher education, is that correct?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. That is absolutely correct, and again, I would commend Senator Formica. He actually spent quite a bit of time negotiating with the Judicial Branch working out their cooperation in being able to do this within available funds. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And just to clarify, with these changes to the law, this would only happen if the victim asked for this information to be shared. Is that correct?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Once again, that is absolutely correct. The Judicial Branch would not release this information unless it was requested by the individual to obtain the restraining order.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

And -- thank you, Madam President. And just a few more questions for clarification. The order could be shared if the minor child asked for the information to be shared only if the minor child were also protected by the order?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam President. I appreciate my colleague's responses.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on this bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Slossberg. Good evening, Ma'am.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Good evening, Ma'am. Thank you. And I have a question to the proponent of --

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. You know, I think this is a very interesting bill and what I'm trying to understand and perhaps you could -- could be explained to me is -- it is my understanding that under the bill, the court will notify the school or institution of higher education only if that -- the name of the school and the -- or the institution of higher learning has been given to the court. Is that correct?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Okay.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

So, what I -- I'm trying to understand is, is there any place in the bill that says who in the school will be notified?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much. We anticipate that the -- would be the Superintendent of Schools for that particular district.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Okay. So --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you. So does the bill specify who in the school system would be notified though?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

I think the bill is silent as to that particular matter. It would be up to the Judicial Branch contacting the appropriate individual in the school system.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Okay, so it is -- is it -- it will be up to the Judicial Branch's discretion to determine who in the school to contact with this information?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

It's my understanding that the bill before us is silent as to that aspect and we would leave it to the good intentions and knowledge of the Judicial Branch and I'm assuming that the person who pursued the restraining order would have important information to give to the branch regarding this as well.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Okay. Thank you, Madam President. Through you, one addition question. If the applicant, the person who is requesting that the school system be notified -- do you know, under the bill, are they allowed to designate the person in the school district that they would like to be notified?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

I think -- through you, Madam President. I think because the bill is designed to add another layer of protection to the individual who sought out the restraining order, not always but typically, the wife in perhaps a contentious divorce matter -- that they would be in a position to best know who in that school system should be notified and again, while this wouldn't be the only circumstance that this would be applied to, the intention is such that the school system itself can take any reasonable precautionary measures not to let that other individual that is the subject of the restraining order interfere with those children so as to ramp up any problems or potential violence in that situation between those two individuals.

As Senator Flexer and I know, having served on domestic violence task forces and the like, some of these matters can be very contentious. Unfortunately, domestic violence matters are all too prevalent as -- why we have high crime rates and so again, I would feel that the bill as proposed would allow the protected party to inform the school system as to the situation. They may get sent from one person to another. Might be the school safety officer, I'm not sure. But I'm sure that between the Judicial Branch and the school system and the person who sought out the restraining order -- that these details could be worked out. Through you, Madam President.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you and --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

-- and I thank the good gentleman for his answer and if I may -- please, by all means, you may sit down. I have no further questions for the proponent but I do just want to mention. You know, I understand the intent of this bill and I wholly agree with the -- you know, the idea to try to protect our -- you know, protect our kids in the school. I'm uncomfortable with the fact that there is no language here that designates a procedure on the school side for this.

I think there's a danger that the clerk of the court gets the name of a school and then just sends off this information and it doesn't end up in the right place or worse, where it goes maybe to a superintendent's office and it gets buried in a pile of papers somewhere and some parent who is concerned about the safety of their child thinks that the school knows but that the school actually doesn't know.

And there are -- and I have some questions about confidentiality as well. Who can the superintendent tell? How many people do we want them to tell? I'm just a little concerned that on the school side of this, it's silent in this bill. And so I appreciate the intent and the good work. I think I'm gonna sit and listen to the rest of the discussion amongst the circle before I decide how to cast my vote but those things raise an issue for me. So thank you very -- thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not -- Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

I think the rule of the day is I would request a roll call vote on this bill.

THE CHAIR:

Roll call vote will be had. Mr. Clerk, will you 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:

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill Number 979.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. (Gavel) Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 31, Calendar 385, Substitute for Senate Bill Number 1022, AN ACT ESTABLISHING A PILOT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE ENHANCED COMMUNITY SERVICES TO THOSE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. No amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel. Senator Kissel, please.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, 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 KISSEL (7TH):

What this proposal does is it addresses a longstanding desire of many of us on the Judiciary Committee as well as leadership here in the Senate. I want to commend in particular Senator Fasano and Senator Witkos for helping to drive the -- this bill forward. What this seeks to do is in the towns of New London, Hartford, Norwich, and New Haven, create a pilot program where services are directed towards those individuals entering into the criminal justice system with the notion that if we can address some of those underlying societal concerns that drive people to a life of crime -- and when I say a life of crime, this is low-level crime.

These are people that should probably never end up incarcerated but if you're homeless and all the homeless shelters are filled and you're in the middle of an urban area, and it's January and you're freezing -- you may break a window. You may do something to just be arrested and be in a warm spot during that evening. And so for individuals, maybe they're not on their meds -- maybe they have mental health issues, maybe they have home strife that are causing them to end up in our criminal justice system.

We want to create a pilot program in these four areas of our state -- those four courthouse areas -- where these things can be assessed and individuals can be moved away from the criminal justice system and there's a parallel to this. We found with some of our young people that they were ending up getting treatment and counseling and other support services but only when they actually were arrested in the criminal justice system and so we're trying to change that in our state as well.

Trying to have other groups less than or not the criminal justice system look at those individuals and again try to give them the services and support structure that they need to move their lives in a positive direction and with that, I would urge all my colleagues to support this particular proposal. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, if I may, some questions to Senator Kissel.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Senator Kissel, it's my understanding the idea of this program is to defer people before they get involved in the judicial system. That is to get them the right -- to get them in the right direction they need to go because these are generally people who need the social services help or have other issues. They're not true criminals in the world of true hard crimes. These are folks who need help and we divert them from being incarcerated or being part of the criminal system. Is that an accurate statement? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much. Through you, Madam President. Absolutely and in fact, it's my understanding that this has been started off by the state's attorney's office in New London. It's had very positive things occur thus far and we now want to expand this to other courthouses but when I say a life of crime, I certainly don't mean violent crime.

This is just a lot of like, petty crimes and it's almost like a revolving door and the notion is if we can put our thoughts and resources behind these pilot programs, absolutely as Senator Fasano pointed out, we can divert these programs -- these individuals from maybe never entering the criminal justice system. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And my understanding is, Senator Kissel, that this program originated by -- in New London where the judges, the prosecutor, the public defenders all knew each other and had relationships that extended over a period of time and there was a trust factor among them and as a result of that, they were able to sort of institute this on their own. Is that a accurate representation of what happened in New London? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Through you. Yes, absolutely. But I will also point out that there was also strong support from chief's state's attorney Kevin Kane as well. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And I apologize. Yes, there was strong support from Kevin Kane and his office that talked about it. My understanding is, is that bits and pieces of this was also done in Norwich as well. Is that an accurate statement? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

To the best of my knowledge, yes, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

It's also my understanding New Haven also has bits and pieces of these same type of programs. Currently, they do something very similar. Is that an accurate statement? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, just not as formalized as the initial efforts in New London. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And once again, in Hartford to a probably lesser extent than the others. My understanding is there's bits and pieces of this but to a much lesser extent. Is that accurate?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

So all these towns mentioned in this particular bill all have some sort of aspect and the idea is to now formalize these areas so we can have real data to see how they're working and if it works well, to expand this to other jurisdictions. That is the purpose of this bill. Is it not? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, we found that the initial efforts made in New London for the reason Senator Fasano so aptly pointed out, that the seeds were there in these three other jurisdictions and we felt that those -- that was an appropriate grounds to see these seeds germinate into full-blown programs or more mature programs such as is found in New London. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And Madam President, it's my understanding that the original bill had -- that came to the committee, I think, had New London, New Haven, and Norwich -- and then at some time later, the City of Hartford approached you and said, hey, don't forget us. We've got a very similar program and that was included in this bill that's now before us. Is that an accurate representation? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Yes, and in particular, the inclusion of the City of Hartford was very much championed by majority leader, Matthew Ritter of the House. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Okay. And with respect to the public hearing, I believe these other cities, not necessarily Hartford -- but these other cities showed up and testified what they were doing and why they want to be included in this pilot program in support of this bill. Is that accurate? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. To the best of my recollection, but really the chief proponent was folks from the chief state's attorney's office and specifically, chief state's attorney Kevin Kane. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

So through you, Madam President. The -- Kevin Kane suggested these would be the programs or the cities, I'm sorry -- for which this pilot would best be initialized and data could be gleaned from so that we can do a accurate review of the success of the program. Is that an accurate statement? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, and in fact, in my position as one of the co-chairs of the sub-committee overseeing criminal justice in the corrections department, I can state that Kevin Kane came and testified before us there, wanting to really see these programs blossom and the key word that Senator Fasano just stated is data and what we need is more data.

We have suggested to him that along with the pilot program there be a connection with either University of Connecticut or some other willing university graduate student, someone seeking their PhD to help gather the data so that we can prove not only we're changing individuals lives but that in the long-term, this is a cost-effective methodology for the State of Connecticut to address these individuals that might otherwise end up in our criminal justice system at an exorbitant cost to house them for any period of time. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President and I thank Senator Kissel. You know, this bill I think is a great bill. A lot of reasons -- a diversionary program before getting in the system speaks volumes. I know that Senator Winfield and Senator McCrory were also involved in some initial discussions regarding this bill because it is important. Some people just lose their way. They don't have the malice intent one would think.

These are folks who, for whatever reason, got on a wrong foot. But with the proper education, proper counseling, proper support, can avoid the system and get the right help and get the right -- on the right track that they need to be productive citizens. This is important. Because once you get into the system, that name forever in that system is gonna follow you. We've talked about this in this chamber, we've talked about this in committee meetings, that somehow for the smallest act, you're branded for life. And what we try to do here is avoid that.

What we try to do is give people a second chance because they don't have the means to do it themselves. That's what government should be doing. That's what government should be doing. So I applaud the Judiciary Committee -- the two chairs, Senator Doyle, Senator Kissel, and all those who helped on this bill. I look forward to its passage. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise in support of the underlying bill. It's a good piece of legislation that as I interpret it -- basically, it's trying to identify and track people that have the first entry into the criminal justice system and where we can get the state's attorney, you know, the have the staff pay particular attention to people coming into the system that may have -- that are homeless, addicted, or mentally ill persons.

So early on, there's an appreciation of the -- of these individuals with these concerns and problems and then we can -- they can be identified, tracked, and then we can direct them directly to our existing diversion programs. Particularly in the current economic climate of the state, I'm particularly pleased that the legislation as written does not have a fiscal note because the state's attorney has been trying to do this already.

They -- as Senator Fasano said, so the fact that I'm sure the state's attorney's office is encouraging this piece of legislation, so it doesn't have a fiscal note. I'll also say that -- which is good for all of us because it is -- will be a pilot program in these communities. The state's attorney on February 1, 2019 will report back to the Judiciary Committee, a report of this of the effectiveness of this pilot program.

So I think that will help us to analyze it in 2019. That being said, I think this is a great piece of legislation, but it can be better, I believe by adding a community to it. So the clerk has an amendment, LCO 7667. May the clerk please call the amendment and I'd be allowed to summarize, Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO Number 7667, Senate “A” offered by Senators Looney and Duff.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff -– Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I first move adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Yes, this simple amendment –- the file copy has a pilot program in four communities. We have Hartford, New Haven, New London, and Norwich. This amendment before you adds one -- a fifth community, Norwalk in Fairfield County. I think to have Fairfield County represented in the legislation makes good sense and I think it'll make a good bill better because we can get better comprehensive data statewide. So I urge my colleagues to approve this amendment. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And through you, to the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Senator Doyle, as I understand the amendment, it is to add Norwalk to Hartford, New Haven, New London and Norwich. Is that the intent of the amendment? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And do you know whether or not Norwalk showed up to any of the public hearings that were in front of Judiciary requesting to be placed on this list and -- well, let me ask that question --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle --

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

-- did they ever show up? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Through you, Madam President. I do now know if they showed up, to be honest. Through you, Madam President.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

-- And when --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Sorry, Madam President. When Senator -- sorry, Attorney Kane testified and gave a list, was Norwalk on that list? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

To the best of my knowledge, I do not believe so.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And through you, Madam President. Do you know whether or not Norwalk has given you or the Judiciary a letter indicating, in letter form, that they have bits and pieces of the very program that Senator Kissel testified to that these other named towns have? Do you have a letter to indicate that? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Through you, Madam President. I do not have such a letter, but I am -- you know, confident in the capabilities of the Norwalk GA to serve this and really utilize this great program. So, I may not have the letter but I -- the hard work done on this piece of legislation I think can be easily transmitted to Norwalk and benefit the entire state and bring it to Fairfield County. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President, through you, does Senator Doyle know whether or not there is a program similar to New London that is actually in place in Norwalk? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Through you, Madam President. I do not believe so, but I am not certain. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President, I thank Senator Doyle for his answers. I appreciate them. Madam President, I rise to oppose this amendment for these reasons: this has been a bill that's been talked about for at least three years in this building. Not in formalistic terms but sort of conversations that I and others have had with Senator Kane -- sorry, I keep saying Senator Kane -- not Rob Kane but Attorney Kane -- for a few years about the diversionary program.

And when it came to pass that New London was already doing this, and when it came to pass that Norwich was already doing something like this, when it came to pass that New Haven was already doing something like this, when it came to pass that Hartford was already doing something like this, it came to a conclusion that in order to get real data, we have to use towns that already have in place this program.

Because if you add Norwalk that does not have these programs in place, you're gonna throw off the data. You're gonna have data from -- we don't even know whether the GA has the resources to do this or the expertise to do this, or the staff to do this. I don't mind adding them if they come back to Judiciary and testify in front of the good chairs and say that look, we can do this. But this is data-driven. This is a breakthrough legislation.

If we have a new GA that we don't know have any of the tools to get the success that we all want out of this program, then we're adding them for the wrong reason. And that's the problem. We've gotta be consistent. I want this to work. This is important. Given the opioid addiction, given the problems in our society, we need to have GA's who are prepped, ready, and all ready embarked upon the program. To add a neophyte to this program would throw the data in the wrong direction. That's my problem with adding Norwalk.

Nothing against Norwalk, but -- Attorney Kane and others have gotten together. They've picked these for a particular data-driven reason. Why are we messing with this? Why are we messing with this? The answer may be rhetorical, but the problem is, is we want this to work. We need real data with those who are doing this so that we can expand this statewide and I would argue throw money at it.

Not this year, but when we do it statewide. Because the success of this program depends upon the social services that get wrapped around to make this program work. Job opportunities, drug rehab, homeless shelters. That requires money. But we have to get the data to prove it. Let's not mess it up. These were picked for a reason. Let's keep it going the right way it was intended. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I'd like to be associated with the remarks of Senator Fasano. One of my primary concerns is again, the data. We need the data to justify the program to show our colleagues that this will not only positively impact individuals in our state regarding their quality of life but actually in just a few years will prove major cost savings. Any I would also ask for a roll call on the amendment. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

A roll call will be had. Will you remark further on the amendment? Senate will stand at ease. (Chamber at ease)

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move that we mark this bill PT and move onto the next bill, please.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 53, Calendar 355, Senate Bill Number 929, AN ACT EXTENDING WHISTLE-BLOWER PROTECTIONS TO CERTAIN EMPLOYEES.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

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 adoption. Will you -- I'm sorry. Acceptance and passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. This bill is a bill that was voted out of the Judiciary Committee and the -- it deals with a situation -- the whistleblower -- the current whistle -- it amends our current whistleblower statute for employees and the addition to the statute deals with when an employer may not discharge an employee if an employee objects or refuses to participate in any activity that he reasonably believes is a violation of federal or state laws and also if he objects to any activity related to those federal laws that the state employee -- that the employee reasonably believes is a violation.

Now the bill, in addition to that, it expands the ability of the plaintiff employee if he is wrongly terminated or disciplined. It enabled the employee to seek compensatory damages and other remedies under the statute. It's a piece of legislation I think is a good piece of legislation that does provide proper protection for our employees under our whistleblower statute and I urge the chamber to approve this piece of legislation. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I'd like to associate myself with the remarks of Senator Doyle. There was a lot of testimony on this particular matter and I believe that the proposal that we have before us is probably the best version that we were able to come up with regarding this particular -- these particular issues and I think that -- you know, the underlying concerns that the bill addressed are extremely important and we want to make sure that folks have adequate protections if they bring certain matters to the attention of individuals that can solve them or adequately address them.

So I stand in strong support of the bill. Like to thank my friend and colleague, Senator Doyle, for working so hard on this measure as well as other similar measures in the committee. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, Mr. Clerk, will you 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:

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill Number 929.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 30

Those voting Nay 6

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. (Gavel) Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If the clerk can go back and call calendar page 31, Calendar 385, Senate Bill 1022.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 31, Calendar 385, Substitute for Senate Bill Number 1022, AN ACT ESTABLISHING A PILOT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE ENHANCED COMMUNITY SERVICES TO THOSE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. Senate “A” has already been designated.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move that -- to withdraw Senate Amendment “A”, LCO 7667.

THE CHAIR:

All those in favor, please say “aye”.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Amendment “A” is withdrawn. Back on the bill. Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much. Again, I support the bill and urge my colleagues to support the bill as well.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Just a few questions to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, Ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I just -- for clarification. Through you, Madam President. The people who would be involved in this pilot program in the various judicial districts, they would have entered the criminal justice system, correct?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, they would have been arrested. Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And through you, Madam President, during the public hearing in the Judiciary Committee, there was testimony from the Office of the Victim Advocate concerning the state's attorney notifying and victim of a crime that may have been committed by a person who is a part of this pilot program. Do we know if the pilot program going forward is going to have that kind of victim notification? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. We're going to rely on passed practices that were done in New London and by way of clarification, they're in the criminal justice system merely because they've been arrested. All of these diversionary programs, the support services are done pre-prosecution.

I would suspect though, since much of this is being driven by the court system, the judges, the prosecutorial staff and other court support services, that if there's something where restitution would have to be made or something like that, that that would be addressed as well regarding these individuals. But again, this is targeting low-level crimes. Very often victimless crimes -- people off their meds -- but I would believe that the New London program would not have been put on a pedestal and looked to for guidance if victims weren't addressed in some way, shape, or form as well. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And I thank the good senator for his answers. I would just say for the purposes of legislative intent that as this pilot program moves forward and expands to other areas of the state, that these programs make sure that victims are notified of what's -- how the case is being disposed of and that victims are included in the process as folks are moving through this pilot program. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not --

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Madam President, I would ask for a roll call vote.

THE CHAIR:

You have, sir, already. Your roll call vote. Mr. Clerk, will you please 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:

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

CLERK:

Senate Bill Number 1022.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. (Gavel) Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the clerk please call calendar page 51, Calendar 173, Senate Bill 957.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 51, Calendar 173, Substitute for Senate Bill Number 957, AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF GAMING AND THE AUTHORIZATION OF A CASINO GAMING FACILITY IN THE STATE. There are amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Really. Senator Larson, good evening, sir.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Good evening, Madam President. How are you doing?

THE CHAIR:

Fantastic.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Wonderful. 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):

I believe the clerk is in possession of an amendment: LCO 7686.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO Number 7686, Senate Amendment Schedule "A" offered by Senators Larson, Osten, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

I move the amendment, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption, sir? Will you remark?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Yes, I will. Thank you very much, Madam President. After a very long process, Special Act 15-7 allowed MMCT, our two native tribes -- the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan Sun to RFP towns to form a development agreement. After this process, the town of East Windsor was selected. Senate Bill -- the bill before us is seeking to authorize the General Assembly in order to have MMCT conduct a gaming facility in East Windsor, Connecticut. However, this is conditional on four items.

The first item is the governor would need to amend the current MOU and compacts that are currently standing, approval of the Secretary of Interior, the tribes would need to enact a resolution to waive sovereign immunity and then it would effectively come back to the General Assembly to improve -- to approve all of those conditions and amendments.

As it's been stated before, in this particular bill, the inclusion of East Windsor in this process will allow the state to reap some additional profit from the gaming facility that it has -- has not had in the past. Which is traditional now -- is 25 percent of the slots would go from this new facility -- would go to the general fund.

An additional 25 percent of table games would be distributed in this fashion: 15 percent to the general fund, 10 percent of the 25 percent as well to tourism and to note, in our state tourism is a separate entity and in excess of 50,000 employees here in our state. In addition to that, a separate -- an account, a grant account of somewhere of $ 4. 5 Million dollars would be going into an MMCT fund to annual grants which is consistent with a current surrounding town grants at the local facilities, the tribe facilities today of $ 750 dollars -- $ 750,000 dollars, excuse me.

The six communities, Enfield, Ellington, South Windsor, and Windsor Locks would receive $ 750,000 dollars as well as East Hartford and Hartford because of their condition of being a distressed municipality. In addition to providing some additional funds for problem gambling in the amount of $ 300,000 dollars in Section 6, the casino will be assessed a million dollars 30 days after this process has taken place and will pay -- MMCT will pay for all of the Department of Consumer Protection costs and regulations of this facility -- the startup costs and so forth. So this is all-encompassing, if you will, as well as the liquor control and those related costs.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I have no questions for the proponent of the bill and I understand the passion that the folks that are proposing this bill have. In particular, the representatives -- the Senators from Southeastern Connecticut. The two tribes have been good citizens in our state for over two decades and above and beyond helping us financially through the compact, have benefited through community outreach in that part of the state in particular for a number of years.

I have always been opponent though of a third casino in the State of Connecticut. So there should be nothing new here. While I have the utmost respect for all the people that spent a lot of hours working this bill out and I commend them and it's a beautiful example of bipartisanship or nonpartisanship.

First of all, I don't believe this casino should be located in my neck of the woods. Granted, it's Senator Larson's district but it's a lot closer to where I live than probably where he lives in East Hartford. It's just a few miles down the road from our high school in Enfield and I just -- the largest town in my district, Enfield came out en mass -- hundreds and hundreds of people -- to argue against expanding casino gambling in North Central Connecticut.

They are also widely disparate opinions in other towns that I represent -- Windsor Locks is fairly split. Suffield, I don't believe there's a ton of support. Somers, not a ton of support. We have a quality of life that we're very happy with and proud of and so, for quality of life issues, I would stand here in opposition. I don't think that I can argue necessarily that gambling is inappropriate because we have gambling in so many ways, shapes, and forms in Connecticut.

We have the two destination casinos in Southeast Connecticut. We have off-track betting in my district. And they are a good corporate citizen. Located in Windsor Locks, they've just invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their facility and how is this third casino going to affect them? Are we merely robbing from Peter to pay Paul? Are they going to lose jobs? Are they going to be able to stay in business?

So I have already some form of gambling within my district and they're going to be impacted. There are other detrimental things with gambling -- especially casino gambling. There's problem gamblers. In my district, I know of individuals who one spouse or the other gambled a ton and lost tens of thousands of dollars. One in particular, I certainly won't name them, but the husband seemed to die very -- way too young for his age and I just wonder if that family was feeling the psychological and financial pressures of an individual who was going down to one of the casinos and gambling far more than that household could afford.

That's going to happen and expand. There's only so many gambling dollars in America, in the Northeast, and where we are. Unfortunately, the halcyon days when the two casinos Connecticut had -- we could rely upon those gambling revenues -- cannot be sustained. Other states -- be it Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York -- want their piece of the pie now too and it's not an expanding pie. In fact, as the economy gets more -- more difficult in the Northeast, people are very cautious with how they spend whatever disposable income they have. So to think that by building a third casino we're going to expand the pie, I think is misguided.

I think there's huge problems as well -- and I won't even get into increased DUIs, because you're gonna have more traffic on the road or people cramming into households because they're working different shifts at a casino or increased petty crimes because people are attracted to some of these facilities that maybe don't have the best of intentions -- those things exist. I've talked to some of my police chiefs who've -- called the police chiefs around the existing casinos and these things happen.

And so that's why surrounding towns do get sometimes negatively impacted and that's why I appreciate the fact that the underlying bill has some compensation for those surrounding towns. But fundamentally, I feel this is flawed because I see great legal dangers. And I read that the Bureau of Indian Affairs sent a recent letter to the Attorney General's office and some of their concerns have been assuaged but my concerns have not been assuaged.

There may be standing issues for MGM to challenge this, should it pass the House and Senate and be signed into law because as was brought to my attention a few weeks ago, under their agreement, in Massachusetts they can't build another casino within a certain radius and that that radius would encompass East Windsor and therefore, perhaps if they brought a challenge they would be found not to have appropriate standing. That could come to pass. I don't know.

But an individual like Steve Wynn or any of the entrepreneurs or corporations that have casinos out in Las Vegas that wanna get their way into the Connecticut marketplace in particular that greater New York and Fairfield County -- they would have no problem asserting standing. And having standing and with this second bill having been passed, there would be determination that this issue was no right for determination in the State of Connecticut because I think previous challenges were not right because you needed this second shoe to fall.

You needed this second piece of legislation to pass but clearing all those jurisdictional hurdles, I see problems with due process. I see potential commerce clause issues. But in particular, I see equal protection issues. And I really feel and is this is fully litigated, that will be the Achilles heel of this entire process. I don't know how we can necessarily justify a specific benefit just to the two tribes outside tribal lands.

What makes this different than a special emolument to some individual or some corporation to the exclusion of others? We have very strict guidelines when we put out RFPs. That if it's over a certain threshold, it has to be drawn in a way that there is equal opportunity for folks within our state or outside of our state to meet those criteria. How do we overcome as a state, an argument that this doesn't violate the equal protection clause? How?

And especially with the fact that this will be outside tribal lands and while I understand that Bureau of Indian Affairs letter addressed some of those concerns, my research through OLR -- Office of Legislative Research -- I asked the specific question, has any other state allowed a tribe outside of its tribal lands to build a casino?

And as of six months ago, maybe it's changed, but our researchers indicated to me just one and that was in New York state and that there were very complicated rules that had to be followed, hurdles to be overcome, to allow that to occur under federal Indian gaming laws and that that New York tribe complied with all of that. Then the research told me what we're doing here in Connecticut did not comply with any of that.

So what evidence and research can be -- testimony be brought to bear in any litigation that might work to undermine this? As a last point, because I know a lot of people want to weigh in on this and my views are well known by my constituents -- is that if litigation does take place and there's been found to be violations of either the law or the constitution -- Connecticut constitution, United States constitution -- whatever grounds -- would that open up the potentiality for yet other casinos to be brought to Connecticut?

And I have heard time and time again that the real prize is that Fairfield County market. Maybe it's Bridgeport, maybe it's somewhere else. Maybe the idea is to get a place along Long Island Sound so that you can ferry people in from New York city and really, really build a competitive destination casino. What does that do to the revenues that we'll get from the two casinos that we have now? What will that do to the compact that we have now? And if that's possible, what happens in other parts of the state?

In other words -- do we see through this legislation the possible Pandora's Box for all sorts of negative unintended consequences for our citizens? I'll go back to a movie -- I wasn't around when the movie came out but It's A Wonderful Life -- right? We all remember that. But what happened? There's sort of two worlds and one of them was Pottersville -- happy, booze, gambling, everything, anything. But that wasn't what ultimately was held to be what that community was all about. They had a fork in the road and it was all about can one person make a difference and if that one person's not there, look at where that community could end up.

I'm not saying it's all horrible or bad. You go down to Southeast Connecticut and they've worked cooperatively together but it has been a hard road. I remember when one of our former colleagues, Senator Cathy Cook, worked tirelessly for many years to get compensation for the adjacent communities. There were unintended consequences and impacts that occurred. It wasn't necessarily easy. There were a lot of growing pains. So, I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues here, fighting for jobs and there's less than 2,000 jobs guaranteed to the folks in my neck of the woods and the greater East Windsor area.

And so I think the notion is that people will be bussed up from Southeast Connecticut to take any of the other jobs that are there but I think the projections as far as revenue are quite rosy. I think ultimately that what will happen if there's not an injunction to stop the construction until the litigation is finalized, is that the revenues will be far less than what people imagine.

I asked people that enjoy gambling, and I said, if this is here or even the one in Springfield, will that change where you like to go? And they say, no, you know, we really like the drive to Southeastern Connecticut. We like the notion of a destination casino. Which is not what is anticipated in East Windsor. If you look at the square feet, it's rather small.

And if we don't generate the revenues, will someone be knocking on our door a few years from now -- assuming it clears all these hurdles and all the litigation -- saying we want to expand because we're not meeting projections? I hope not. So I see a huge downside to this proposal and I see a very precarious possible upside.

I think that there's huge equal protection issues as well as many other issues regarding this, including potential violations of the compact or challenges to the compact by outside entities and again, potential due processes -- due process issues -- and commerce issues, maybe from individuals that were competing for these casinos from other communities that will want to join in these lawsuits if there are one -- and I can almost guarantee there will be -- challenging this. I think the downside -- far outsides any potential upside and for those reasons, Madam President, I will not be supporting this bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. And I rise in support of this piece of legislation. This has been a long time in coming with much thought put into the legislation that stands before us all today. The district that I represent has both of the Southeastern gaming facilities in my district. Both Mohegan Sun and the Mashantucket Foxwoods gaming industries reside in Ledyard and Montville respectively.

And they have provided for Eastern Connecticut, not just Southeastern Connecticut but Eastern Connecticut -- jobs, they are good community partners, they have stabilized a region that was in many ways in flux after we lost many of the jobs that were down at Electric Boat. We were a region without an anchor and this provided us with that anchor industry that not only gave us another place to work, it diversified our workforce.

But it's not just jobs in Eastern Connecticut. 140 towns send workers down to the gaming industry -- 140 towns. There is a worker from each and every town that sits around this circle. We willingly welcome workers from all over this state. I will grant you that 6,000 of the workers that are at both gaming industries reside in my district and I stand firmly with them.

And many people have asked me why do you want to support jobs that are gaming jobs? They're awful, low wage, and nobody can make a living at them, and that cannot be further from the truth. Quite frankly, these jobs are good paying, middle-class, benefits and allow people to have joy and success in their life. They own homes. They pay property taxes. They provide college for their children. They are -- they shop in our local businesses. The facts are very simple.

This has been and always will be, a jobs bill not for Southeastern Connecticut but for this whole state. There are 12,000 people that work between the two gaming industries and this does not account for the ancillary jobs that support the local restaurants, that support the movie theater, that support the stores that people shop at -- this is simple and basic. This is a jobs bill 101 and it is truly as Senator Kissel has said -- it is truly a nonpartisan bill.

As you see by the number of people who have stood up in support of this, it is supported from many areas of this state. It is supported because the jobs are good paying, solid, middle-class jobs and I would ask my colleagues to stand with Connecticut workers as we have over the last four years that I have been up here, when we looked at assisting Sikorsky and Pratt with the jobs that they had, when we have looked at finding training for advanced manufacturing, when we have looked at a variety of other jobs bills that support workers all over this state, this is what this is about.

It's about day-to-day people that live and work here in Connecticut that are looking to be successful and support their families and it is a way for us to thank those workers for staying here in Connecticut because these workers love Connecticut. They love working in the gaming industry, and they love having the ability to support their families and I am asking my colleagues to stand once more with all of us supporting Connecticut workers here today. This is a good jobs bill. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Somers. Good evening, Ma'am.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Good evening. Thank you, Madam President. I rise in support of this bill and I ask the circle to think about this as Senator Osten has mentioned, as a jobs bill. If this was any other large corporation, we would all be gathering around and in full support of helping this corporation maintain the jobs here in Connecticut. And I'd also like to have everyone perhaps think about this as not as a gaming expansion but really as another location for increased jobs here in Connecticut.

Because as we've heard, there's only so many dollars and so many people that are interested in gambling, so it's not really an expansion per se. It's a different satellite location to help prevent a competitive threat. Just to give you a perspective, in my district in Groton, I have 2,600 people that work in the casino. Groton is a town of about 45,000 people and the mayor of our town works as the director of ticketing at Foxwoods. The former mayor worked in ticketing at Foxwoods. Two of our counselors work as Pitt Bosses there.

I can tell you they all have large families that they support. They live in some of the nicest areas of town. One of them's called Pill Hill where all the pharmaceutical executives live, so as Senator Osten has mentioned, these are good paying jobs. They have started when the casino opened, they've had opportunity for an advancement and for a career, that before the casinos were there was never available to them. When Electric Boat downsized, the casinos were the savior for Southeastern Connecticut.

Another town of mine, Preston, has been the beneficiary of an agreement with the Mohegan Sun who has now offered to take over the former state mental hospital that sat vacant for years and years, decaying. They have plans to expand and create a sporting resort that will not only benefit Preston but many of the surrounding towns, if not entire State of Connecticut as a destination for people to come.

In the town of Griswold which is also in my district, over 60 percent of the people there work at the casino. If we do not go forward with this bill, it has been estimated by the Office of Fiscal Analysis that Connecticut stands to lose $ 68 Million dollars in year one. The casino tribes have told me it's closer to $ 78 Million dollars and I don't know where anyone in this circle is gonna find that kind of revenue to make up for that loss, especially in the financial crisis that we're in right now.

Another thing that has not been mentioned about the casinos is some of the really work they do for the disabled. I know the Arc in Groton works extremely closely with the casinos to help those who are disabled be trained and be able to work at the casinos whether it's in food service, the bakery, or whatever other area that they can find, and they have been a willing and helpful partner. This is something that you don't find every day and something that has not been discussed.

We heard about the fact that only 2,000 jobs were gonna be created supposedly in the area where the casino is gonna go in East Windsor. That's 2,000 jobs that we don't have right now. And in this climate, I think we should all be standing up and cheering that we have some place that is gonna create 2,000 jobs for people here in Connecticut to have an opportunity to grow with a corporation.

Again, this is something that not only just affects Southeastern Connecticut but it is primarily the focus of where the affect would be, but the entire State of Connecticut. We have two tribes that we have a long history with and yes, there were some growing pains when we got started and there's been some -- a learning curve as we go forward, but we have that learning curve under our belt.

We have the relationship established and in good faith, they have come to us. They have asked us for our help. Again, this is a competitive situation that if this was Sikorsky, if this was Electric Boat, if this was Pfizer and I could go on and on, Aetna -- we as a legislature would do something to help them retain their jobs. Especially where we are right now.

So I would urge you on behalf of all those people that I just mentioned that work at the casinos, for the entire 18th district -- and for all the citizens of Connecticut that work at the casino or are touched by it in some ancillary way, to please consider supporting this bill. It is the right thing to do and I hope that we will have your support. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on this amendment? Will you remark further? Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Before I start, I do want to take a moment to recognize the champions and advocates from Southeastern Connecticut who have fought so hard to represent their community and it really is a bipartisan effort and it is one that I greatly respect. I admire their passion, I admire their representation, and I want to make that known as we move forward in this discussion. I also want to acknowledge the unique relationship that we have in the State of Connecticut with our tribal partners in the gambling expansion as it is.

They have indeed contributed to the well-being of our state and they are good people, employing good jobs and I want to acknowledge that as we begin this debate on this issue because this is a difference of opinion. This is a difference of contexts of what direction we want the State of Connecticut and the legislative body to represent.

Do we want to represent a future that is focused on growth and possibilities or are we holding on to what may be working or may not be working and trying to just squeeze every little bit that we can and not really bringing forth the promise that can be a greater Connecticut? But saying that, I know this amendment was just presented very short -- very briefly -- very recently -- so through you, Madam President, some questions to the proponent of the bill to address some of the bill -- amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you very much.

THE CHAIR:

Prepare yourself, Senator Larson.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

And before I begin, I do also want to acknowledge Senator Larson for his good work and passionate advocacy on this issue. He has worked relentlessly, so I do want to take a moment to acknowledge his good work as well on this matter. Let me begin by saying on this amendment -- on Line 24, there is a chat about -- in regards to the definition of off of tribal land. Could the good chairman explain a little bit of how this is proceeding?

Because this begins the whole conversation of what the good Senator Kissel has suggested in regards to equal protection and equal access but through you, Madam President, could the good Chair explain how we have begun this process to change the landscape of our compact and our relationships with the tribes in allowing gambling outside of tribal land? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator, could you again be specific on what language you're talking about?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Sure. This is Line 24 where we are authorizing games on provisions to be off of tribal land.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. Senator Hwang, are you referring to LCO 7686, lines 19 through 24?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Yes. I'm sorry. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Okay. So I'll read -- it says casino gaming means any casino gaming facility authorized by any provision of the general statutes or a public or special act to conduct authorized games on these premises but does not include any casino gaming facility located on Indian lands pursuant to Indian Gaming Regulatory Act PL 100-497, 25 USC 2701 et al. So --

THE CHAIR:

Is that the correct [Crosstalk] --

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

And the question is how did we arrive at the opportunity to move off of --

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Tribal lands.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

-- tribal lands?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

As it's been explained to me by both of the current -- the MM -- I'll refer to them as MMCT for discussion purposes -- that for several years they have seen a tremendous amount of leakage with regards to the revenue in a number of their opportunities of gaming and as well, we have seen a reduction in the opportunities for collecting that percentage of slot revenue. We've seen that decline over the last several years.

Anecdotally we were at -- apparently at a number equal to the Connecticut Lottery at one point and we've seen that tilt down and they recall that or understand that with gaming facilities opening up in neighboring states like Rhode Island and in Massachusetts, it started to deteriorate their -- their platform.

So, with that, they came to us and explained that they were looking for our help and that they believed through their own due diligence and their own efforts with their own money -- were able to sort of target an area which was effectively along the 91 Corridor North -- including Hartford North and suggested that that was an opportunity for them to look towards trying to fill that gap of lost revenue. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Mr. President -- Madam President. You bring up a very interesting point. You talked about the declining numbers that we have been able to receive from gambling and it reinforces national studies that looked at gambling as a declining industry of a very saturated market that does not reflect what it was 20 plus years ago when we had a virtual monopoly in the New England area and that is one word of caution that I would throw is the fact that, are we chasing after a limited pool of resources?

Are we making investments as a state in empowering legislative policy that run the risk of constitutionality concerns to chasing after something that is truly on the decline? And I would serve that as a point of question going into other questions that I may have. A point of interest is in regards to Section 2-37. We have the commissioner of Consumer Protection that shall regulate this new process or new casino that we're gonna build off tribal land.

Could you share with me what the commissioner's role and what the roles and regulations that they will promulgate in regards to working with the tribes that are accustomed to tribal laws within their tribal lands? Will we have jurisdiction? Will we have control over all aspects of that gambling operation? Or will it resort in some cases to tribal law and tribal regulations? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair. It's my understanding that the Department of Consumer Protection currently handles the operation for the State of Connecticut on tribal land and this in fact, would be what I would refer to as a straight commercial opportunity so they would have that same authority and use their same method, if you will, to regulate and oversee this facility. You know, much like they do with other you know, gaming opportunities etcetera.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. Would that also include law enforcement and judicial actions and decisions? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

My understanding is, is that inside the facility they would be providing their -- the MMCT would be providing their own security, etcetera and that the town of East Windsor would be responsible for -- again, traditional law enforcement protection and so forth.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. I think the question would be more specifically jurisdictional impact. Meaning, that law enforcement on those properties -- would it conflict? Would tribal law and policies and would we have the full weight of the State of Connecticut's judicial purview on those properties? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

I believe we would. These are not sovereign lands. These are -- this is a straight commercial opportunity.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. I think it's important for us, for legislative intent to ensure that -- that as we possibly move forward that we offer that as a reiteration. That any aspect of law enforcement, any aspect of judicial decision making, should be reflected under the laws of State of Connecticut and not come into conflict with the tribal regulations and laws because I know it can be inconsistent and it may not be compatible. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

I believe that's accurate. I would contend that we would have straight jurisdiction as we would with any other type of a facility of that nature.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And one result of the compact is the fact that no other entity other than the two tribes could engage in any other form of gambling outside the lottery in this state. Would that be correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

This doesn't authorize any other location.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. The question I'll rephrase is, the compact and relationship that we have with the two tribal casinos, the tribal partners -- allows them complete control and monopoly over any other form of expanded gambling outside of the lottery in the State of Connecticut, would that be correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Well, I don't believe so. I mean, we have off-track betting and we have the Connecticut Lottery and then we have our two tribal casinos. So, I don't think that the -- this bill authorizes anything other than this particular location and I don't think that it would govern any current off-track betting or pari-mutuel operation.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. And I appreciate the clarification but again, does our compact as exists right now, preclude any other possible outside entities or private parties to expand gambling in the State of Connecticut? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Yes. Based on the moratorium with regards to our existing compact.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. Could the good Chair clarify what yes means and as it relates to the compact? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

It's my understanding that we have a current compact that is responsible for gaming in the State of Connecticut. A memorandum of understanding and a compact that sort of monopolizes the two Indian tribes if you will, the opportunity to provide gaming in this state.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Exclusively.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. That is exactly as I understood it, again. But let me repeat again what the good Chair shared. That the compact allows the two tribes to have a monopoly on expansion of gambling in the State of Connecticut and that runs to the core of what we talked about. From a basis of constitutionality, under the jurisdiction of federal law, when this is open to litigation, we potentially put the State of Connecticut under the risk of equal protection.

So I appreciate the Chair's clarification on that. I'll move on to -- I'll stay consistent with the bill and the flow of it. On Line 63, Section 9, I find it is a very interesting procedure and it says, procedures regarding the maintenance of lists of persons banned from any casino gaming facility and securities measures to enforce such bans. So, is there policy for violation?

I know on tribal land casinos that there is a self-imposed ban and that there are cameras that kind of -- in most -- very sophisticated manner track facial recognition of people that are gambling addicts, habitual gamblers that can't stay away but I have heard in testimonies in Public Safety that these people continue to go back because the lure of addiction is so strong. Can you share a little bit more of what the current policy is of what you interpret that language to be and what the real practice may be -- what you've heard in testimony in other tribal casinos? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam Chairman. I'm trying to -- you're asking for a clarification on a particular procedure on Line 63 which is a multitude of requirements. There seems to be 13 of such that would apparently fall within the purview of both the proprietor and the Department of Consumer Protection. Right. And so they would have to adopt -- the Department of Consumer Protection would have to adopt regulations accordingly. Which I believe it would be consistent with their current procedures.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam President. I understood from the public hearing testimonies from some of the addicts that have consistently revisited the casinos and one such testimony rang to my ears when I remember saying that they know who I am. I keep coming back and I keep losing but you know what? If I ever hit the jackpot, sounding like the addicts reaction and emotionality -- they said if I ever hit the jackpot, they have every right to take that away from me.

So for legislative intent, I want to ensure that if the addicts that are going back because that's what gambling addiction does to people, that if they should win, that those proceeds are theirs and not to be taken away because they've been “under this procedure, banned”. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam Chairman. I'm not, you know -- a professional on the actual policy and procedures as to how problem gamblers are identified through the casino security, what those policies and procedures are. I assume that they've been practiced, tried and true. I'm sure they're available. I'm sure that at some point I would be able to provide you exactly what that is but I don't have the ability to answer that question because I don't know exactly what those procedures are.

I can tell you that parenthetically through testimony that they have been vigilant with problem gambling. They contribute money voluntarily to problem gambling. In fact, the two tribes, I believe, are -- along with the Connecticut Lottery and along with the OTB's also contribute dollars to that.

They're very mindful, frankly, of that situation because of the experience that they're trying to create and because of the technology that they have and the high level of security that's provided, they know who their customers are and they know who spends and who doesn't but I -- Senator Hwang, I couldn't answer you with any, you know, definitiveness that I can speak to their procedures.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And I think for just legislative intent, I'd like to ensure that as I cited earlier, that if there was a jurisdictional dispute that the laws of Connecticut would dictate versus any tribal practices and judicial review. I'm gonna jump to the funding mechanism that we have allocated. So on Line 215, we have the State Gaming Regulatory Fund, which is a new fund, I believe. Could the good chair explain a little bit about how that fund works and how it contrasts and compares to the Pequot Fund? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Okay, so for the viewing audience, on 215, there's an established fund to be known as the State Gaming Regulatory Fund. This fund shall contain any moneys required to be deposited in the fund and shall be held by the treasurer separate in part from all other moneys. The funds and accounts, investment earnings credited to the assets of said fund shall become part of the assets of this fund. My understanding of this is the contribution that they are making off of their commitment on the slot revenue and table game revenue. I believe that that is where that sort of repository is, on the state's side. If I'm reading that correctly.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President and thank you for that clarification. Is there a minimum requirement for the MMCT to contribute into that fund, should business fall below expectations? Is there a minimum threshold number that through this agreement, through this empowerment that we've given to MMCT, that the state is somehow buffeted and protected from a minimum dollar amount? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chairman. My understanding is, is that there is a direct deposit currently. There is a direct deposit monthly to an account and it's been heralded as never has missed a deposit, if you will. From the perspective of a minimum, I would suspect that they would somehow aggregate 25 percent of the annual take, if you will, and then deposit. I'm not familiar with exactly how the accounting would play out, but I would suspect that there wouldn't be a -- necessarily a minimum if in fact, the percentage was complete. So if there was $ 100 dollars worth of slot revenue to be had, $ 25 dollars would be our slot revenue bit and that would get deposited into this fund. Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. I thought I heard earlier that there were certain dollar amount of expectations that the good Chair had cited. If the good Chair could repeat those dollar expectations that we have based upon the studies or whatever calculations that we had. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam Chair. Could you repeat the question? I was between two minds here when you asked. I apologize.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. You have a very good mind behind you, so with that said, I think the question was, there were some dollar amounts that were shared during your introductory statement and summarization. Could you repeat those numbers --

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Sure.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

-- and I think the basis of what I'm looking at. If those are numbers that we're calculating, and again, as my colleagues have served in this circle, that this is about creating jobs and building our businesses and solving the budget crisis that we have. Are those numbers sustainable? Are there minimum guarantees that the MMCT entity will meet and what would happen if they didn't meet those numbers and it fell significantly below expectations?

As the good Chair offered earlier in regards to the impetus for this expansion was the numerous points of declining revenue cycle of casino gamblings in our state. Is there a dollar amount and is there a minimum expectation that we have and if not, what would happen if it was a potential failure? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair. There has been a projected value to this operation. A projected value of some -- an assumed loss of $ 68 Million dollars. All right, I don't know exactly how that was calculated. I don't know that there is any minimum that is being provided to the State of Connecticut from either the 25 percent of the revenue accumulated from the slot machines or the 25 percent of the revenue that is accumulated through the table games. So there is no minimum dollar amount. There is a guaranteed percentage.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President. And that's the challenge I have in this effort. We are potentially chasing after a revenue source that is not a steady stream of revenue. It is potentially unpredictable and we are basing our calculations and our analysis based upon, as you said earlier, a nationally respected business analyst but it was paid for by the casinos.

There was no true third party independent analysis as to what the potential loss and what the potential revenue stream that could be derived from this new casino expansion off of tribal land. So again, we do not have numbers. We do not have minimum guarantees. We have, as is in the gambling parlance that is so alluring for so many people, is the fact -- let's roll the dice. Let's hope we make a lot of money. But there is no guarantee. And the state does not have a minimum guaranteed threshold number.

We only have a percentage but then I hate to say it, zero of 25 percent is zero. So I think it's something that we have to be very sensitive to when we're looking at this as a bill to solve our economic crisis, to solve our jobs, to solve our business crisis. When you look at the overall national landscape, when you look at the State of New Jersey and the city of Atlantic City, the fact is, gambling expansion may not be the best bet for the State of Connecticut. And with that, we open the door of a constitutional challenge.

So again, I understand there is no definite number. I simply hope that there was a minimum guarantee would make me have some degree of comfort. But let me move on to --

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Could I comment on that?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Through you, Madam President.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair.

(Senator Osten in the Chair)

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you. Senator Hwang, understanding -- and I can appreciate the content of your questioning. There is no state investment here. This is a private -- privately funded -- 100 percent privately funded opportunity by the MMCT organization. So they're not asking for any relief from the state. They are putting up the cost of construction, hiring of you know, 1,200 workers, they're projecting 1,700 construction jobs, etcetera. Again, this is their investment with their money, so -- and they are looking at the opportunity to sort of mirror what is currently going on, on tribal land.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam President. With that same follow through, and I certainly hope that it is that and it is successful if we should pass this through -- I would actually like to call an amendment. The clerk is in possession --

THE CHAIR:

We're still on an amendment, so we have to finish voting on this amendment before we can vote on any other amendments, Senator.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you. It's the first time I've done it, so. I think I will allow other people to offer their viewpoints. I think I've shared my perspectives on this and as we've debated this, I want to thank the good Chair for his time. We've been talking about dollars. We've been talking about jobs. We've been talking about businesses. And at the same time, we've only briefed dabbly [sic] -- briefly dabbled in the societal cost of gambling expansion.

And I know the good Chair, through this conversation and work on this issue understands the tremendous need that we have to still work toward in supporting those people with gambling addictions. But no where -- no where have we accounted for the societal cost of gambling expansion in this calculus. We are looking at simply money and simply the idea and the promise that this is going to be bail us out in the State of Connecticut.

Without fully respecting and understanding and seeing the tremendous devastation that gambling addiction has brought forth on those people and their families that have been impacted by it. To the point that we now have a coalition of religious and community groups that have spoken loud and clear but unfortunately, it is a David versus Goliath battle in this. We have people that are taking time from their jobs, taking their time from what they normally have to do to come and speak and engage in the legislative debate.

They are so far outnumbered by the number of specialists, consultants, and lobbyists. I simply hope that as we engage in further along this debate that we let those voices be heard. That we listen to lives that have been shattered by gambling addiction and I will wait for the passage of this amendment but I urge if people can see the spirit of what we're trying to do here is trying to create a brighter, a more opportunistic -- a better Connecticut -- that we seek other ways to try to fix the problems that we have in our state. So I urge -- I urge that we do not support this bill and move forward in a positive light for the State of Connecticut. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any further comments or questions? Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, good evening. It still remains the evening.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

I rise in opposition to the amendment which I understand is now the bill and I do so not because of the underlying effort to protect jobs in a significant direct and indirect economic benefits that the -- that the efforts in Southeastern Connecticut known as the two casinos have brought to that community.

I've been here long enough to remember the immense opposition from the community down there to gaming and the impact on the community and the calls -- repeated calls from this institution to help support additional police coverage because of the increasing crime that the casinos and the people that it was drawing to those facilities was having on the surrounding communities.

But today, clearly, with the activity in this building and beyond the effect -- the positive effect that the casinos have had not only to Southeastern Connecticut but to the State of Connecticut as a whole in terms of resources that those facilities have contributed far outweigh whatever legacy memory there may be of the initial opposition -- not withstanding the comments of Senator Hwang and his feelings and shared by many regarding the effects of problem gambling.

I certainly recognize the benefit that the casinos have brought and continue to bring but the bottom line is those casinos are economic drivers. They generate millions in themselves. They've produced economic activity surrounding the community that serves that industry and beyond. And no question that this is an effort on the part of the legislators who are most affected by it and others in this chamber and I suspect downstairs as their reasonings for supporting it.

I want to acknowledge Senator Somers comments. She's not here at the moment, but her comments regarding if this bill were not to pass, what is estimated to be a loss of some $ 68 Million dollars in the first year to the state and a significant impact on the community. Madam President, we act here tonight as if this decision were only a positive one with no negative consequences, however, I will point out that for some time now, the efforts of the tribes to increase, move beyond purely gaming to draw more people to the casinos has led to them taking steps primarily because it's important for them to do so to diversify the population of the Tenza [phonetic] facilities to provide other alternatives -- has led to a draining of opportunities here in this city of Hartford at the XL Center, a facility that is in deep trouble and great need of renovation.

The governor has proposed several hundred millions of dollars in the first two years and then beyond the biennium to renovate a facility that hasn't been renovated in many years, is bleeding funds every day because of its age and if -- it's very poor condition. A facility that has been a place that has created memories, I dare say, for every person in this chamber whether it be a concert, whether it be a -- maybe it was a first date for some people in this room, maybe it was a UConn basketball game in which great pride for our state was brought.

And yet, we struggle in this building to find the will to support that institution that will cost millions, literally hundreds of millions to take down if we decide not to rebuild it. We struggle to address what we will do with that despite being the central place for many in this state to come to enjoy events, to bring people into the capitol city and yet that facility is being -- has been affected.

As an example. Prior to the casinos paying concert promoters, paying the acts to go to the casinos, on top of the ticket price -- we enjoyed some 12 or more concerts a year at an average of 50 -- $ 150,000 to $ 200,000 dollars an event. Today we have three or four a year if we're lucky. The State of Connecticut committed to the development of Adriaen's landing. The centerpiece of that was the convention center. A $ 360 Million dollar investment of which we still owe $ 200 Million dollars in revenue and GO bonds.

Today the Mohegan Sun -- Mohegans are planning a convention center of their own to compete directly against the Connecticut Convention Center here in the city of Hartford. Competing directly with the obligation that we as a state have committed to here in the city of Hartford that taxpayers are on the hook for. Madam President, to ignore -- to believe that we live in a vacuum, that this bill -- that this effort here tonight is being undertaken in a vacuum as if it has no consequences on other parts of our state -- without taking into consideration in this particular bill how some of those consequences could be ameliorated.

It ignores that effect and how this effort will, in fact, accelerate the disinvestment in the city of Hartford, will further draw resources and people out of the city of Hartford. The city of Hartford that in itself is on its knees. Is facing bankruptcy. The capitol city of the State of Connecticut facing serious possibilities of having to file and go bankrupt. But it's on its knees because it's accepted willingly the obligations for the region.

Within walking distance of this building, there are three homeless shelters. I dare say there aren't three homeless shelters in most parts of the region of this state, never mind one that are within walking distance of this building. Within five minutes walking distance of this building. That take people from all over the state. A homeless -- a halfway or several halfway houses, a methadone clinic -- right up Capitol Avenue. I'd be glad to bring it to you to visit. A prison not too far from here, more low-income housing than the entire region multiplied probably by 10.

And we do it willingly because the city of Hartford, like all cities in the State of Connecticut accept their -- it's their obligation. They're no different than the message on the Statue of Liberty. Bring us your poor. Bring us your tired. That's our job. But we don't have a printing press in the basement, ladies and gentleman. But we take actions as if there are no consequences. Half of our property here in the city of Hartford is tax-exempt and as the mayor made me think about -- the mayor of Hartford, Luke Bronin, who's fighting every day to turn this city around, said with a city of 74 mills, think about that. I don't know what the mill rate is in your town or your towns, but that's what it is right here in the city of Hartford.

And whatever action that we take in this building this year and I pray we do -- to give this city a chance -- the chances of that 74 mill rate being affected sadly right now, I would say are minimal. So even if we can avoid bankruptcy, even if we can continue to move forward without that consequence, the chances of us not being -- and what's happening when you -- tell you about the spiral that we're in of 74 mills. What happens is it makes more nonprofit establishments buying up more property because why? They're not paying that property tax. That 74 mills.

So the -- I don't want to use the word that often is associated with a spiral cause that's a consequence. That's a vision that I don't want to say here on the floor of this senate. But that's a reality. And we'll take a vote tonight that ignores all of that, ignores all -- and it didn't have to happen ladies and gentleman. It didn't have to happen. But it will, at least, in terms of this vote. What happens downstairs -- only God knows right now.

But I feel it's important in doing my job and I won't speak -- for my good friend and colleague, Senator McCrory, I think he will be speaking for himself, but it's a tough job that we have. Like other urban legislators have. We all have a tough job. But we have an added one in accepting the responsibilities of those who need government more than any who take on responsibilities every day, every week in the city of Hartford.

Another family comes to this city often not only are the children but their parents not speaking a word of English and from day one, we have to -- like those in the city of Bridgeport and the city of New Haven and the city of Waterbury and the city of New London, take on obligations to educate those children and then we're asked why can't we do the job like others do? Why can't we meet our obligations? Balance our budgets? Come visit us. Come see what we have taken on. What the people of Hartford open their arms to because frankly, there is no other place for them to go.

And I'm sad tonight that we're taking another step that ignores these realities. It could have been different. Sadly, Madam President -- and I know the work that you have put into this and the belief in the community that you represent. And I congratulate you for it. I wish that we could have found a way to recognize the needs of another community along the way that would have made the impact of this effort and even a fairer one and have a more positive outcome than this will have for your community. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any other comments? Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. And [Clearing throat] I will start my comments also by thanking you for all the work you're doing to protect jobs [Clearing throat] in the Southeastern section of Connecticut and my colleague Senator Larson for his efforts also. I mean, today probably was a very rough day for many of us in our caucus. This is a contentious conversation we are having because what we're trying to do is to protect the best interest of the people that we represent.

My colleague did a great job of explaining the situation that exists in the city of Hartford. And it's true. I'm a 51 year resident there. It was talked about by some of my colleagues that the tribes, the casinos in Southeast Connecticut provide great opportunities for employment. Great middle-class jobs. Jobs for low-skilled individuals who can do things with their hands and their heads. And I love that.

I think it's great. And if we pass this legislation, and build another casino in East Windsor, more jobs will come, as stated. First, I gotta say that I am not against gaming. I probably spend more money at the casino than anyone in here. I'm pro. If that's what you want to do, let's do it. But this was talked about as a jobs bill. It was mentioned by some of my colleagues that, you know, if this was any other industry, we'll be supporting this.

And I think this is a jobs bill. I want it to be a jobs bill. I want it to be a jobs bill for the people that live in my community. See, I didn't have a -- I don't have a Sikorsky. And I didn't have a GE. I don't have a Jackson Labs that we invested in. But here's an opportunity to bring employment opportunities to the people of the city of Hartford. See, we might be going bankrupt. The city is, but the people aren't broke.

They want a chance. In this legislation, it says it provides -- it will provide the city of Hartford $ 750,000 dollars. I don't want that. I don't want fish. I want the people to be able to fish for themselves. And how do they fish for themselves? By working. This opportunity can get people -- parents, children who see their parents going off to work every single day -- pride in themselves.

You can have people say, I helped build that thing or I work there. There's nothing this legislation says it's gonna do that. Not for the people in the East -- Windsor, or the people in my community. I think we can do better. I know we can do better. If other people were at the table when this bill was being negotiated, I'm sure we would have did better. And I'd probably been the person up, standing up, saying yes, yes, let's do it. But that's not the case. That's not the case.

$ 750,000 dollars is a shot in the pan. My city is broke. The people aren't broke. If we can put them to work, if we can provide opportunity, if we can show them that hard work will provide you a better chance of living, we can keep them there when they come here from other places. We can do that. With this jobs bill -- but we have here today is not that. It's disappointing that we have to compete among regions of the state for job opportunities. We were competing with other states for companies to come here. But now we're competing among ourselves.

Our city provides opportunities for those who don't have much. My colleague said it great. We take everybody. More low-income houses than anyone. More shelters than any place. See, what we must understand in Connecticut that we have wealthy suburbs and we have poor cities. But not just poor cities. We have concentrated poverty in our state. So you have poverty, concentrated poverty, and then you have Hartford -- which is low, low, lower than concentrated poverty. And we have an opportunity to help those folks by providing job opportunities. By working with the tribes who I believe will work with us if we give them a chance.

But when we stuff things down at the last hour and bring it to the vote and say let's do it, no one wins in that battle. That XL Center will be closed. The Convention Center will be closed. We'll be bankrupt. There won't be any more jobs for people who come from outside of Hartford to work in cause no one wants to be there. If we have opportunity to uplift the capitol city, why not do it?

Why not slow down? Somebody said we gotta do it right now. No we don't. We can sit together and figure this out. The state is not gonna leave us. The tribe's not gonna leave us. They wanna work with us. Why not give them a chance? Why not give Jose or Juan or Millie a chance? Why not give it -- them an opportunity to work? Why not give their parents the opportunity to get up every morning and go off to work and come back so they can have pride in themselves and say, I built that. I work there. That's not what we're doing here. That's what I would like to do.

So even if this -- I got a feeling that this bill might pass. And if it does, I'll be disappointed but I'm gonna come back and do what's best for all the citizens in the State of Connecticut. I want to be -- I know the Southeastern section of Connecticut doesn't want to be what Hartford is. I'm already there. They don't want to be there and I've been there for a long time and the people I represent in Hartford and the surrounding areas don't want to be in that condition anymore. They want a way up and a way out. This is an opportunity for them.

Jobs that he can do. I hope that we'll look at things that way. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise to speak in support of this. I also -- I just want to say this is the kind of discussion that we run for office and hope that we have. The feelings, the sincerity, the straight forwardness of everybody here around the circle on this particular issue has been what we hope to see all the time. There's no D in our forward, there's no R in our forward, it's just what we feel here.

The casinos have been here almost 20 years. I don't think they've ever missed a payment. I don't think -- I can't think of an incident where the casinos have not done what they had agreed to do when they were building the first place. It was rough for those towns. I can tell you I know. I saw it firsthand because I was very much involved with CCM more than 30 years ago. I was president. And I say that because I talk about the city of Hartford at the same time.

While the casinos every year have paid their money on a regular basis to the State of Connecticut, for more than 30 years, I came up here as a mayor, a deputy mayor begging for pilot payments. For full pilot payments to cities and towns from the State of Connecticut that were earned and the payments were based on something very simple: state owned property, non-taxable property, hospitals and so on.

And no place in the State of Connecticut has a higher percentage of those properties than the city of Hartford. One of the smallest geographical cities in the country, probably -- clearly in the state, and more than half of its land is not taxed. And they get probably 20, 25 percent of what they're supposed to get in pilot programs.

And so, while the casinos did their job in paying their bills to the State of Connecticut on a regular basis, legislative bodies over the years have failed to do their job to all of the cities and towns in the State of Connecticut by not making the pilot programs. The emotion in this debate is real. If you've been to the casinos, I don't know of any place that has a higher integration of national workers from around the world than our casinos. No place.

It is phenomenal. It's like being at a UN party or something like that. The different nationalities and how everybody gets along and works well. That takes work. They have a role in the community. They have cross agreements in public safety with both police and fire. They're extremely active in the Southeast Regional Counsel of Governments, along with the sub-base and others because they have an impact in the region so they're a player in the region. And most important, we are dreading our budget.

We are not making the money that we're supposed to be making here in the State of Connecticut and there's no way, whether it's $ 68 or $ 78 Million dollars that we can afford to lose either of those numbers and we know that. And if there's one driver behind this bill, it's the potential loss of revenue immediately because MGM is up and open. MGM is no different than the casinos in Rhode Island or in other parts of Massachusetts. People want to gamble and so others have built casinos and we are paying the price. Do we throw in the towel and give them all of it?

That's $ 78 Million dollars. We are seeing cuts both at the national level and this level -- of human services, of programs to people -- programs to those with disabilities. No programs for children to go into daycare through, early childhood programs, and we could go on and on and on with the loss of things in our budget because we have no money.

We don't have a financial choice whether we want to say so or not. The reality is, we need to do this. But at least we're doing it with a partner that's been there for close for 20 years, that we trust and have respect for and have had a relationship with and that's important. I thank everybody for their sincerity and for the way that we've handled this bill. Because it has -- I think it's been a plus for the circle. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any further comments? Senator Gomes.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

I stand up here to speak for the bill and of this casino. I very seldom speak up here but when I speak, I try to speak honestly and what I feel. I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place for what I'm about to say. But I'm not against building this casino. I spoke a little while earlier this day about what I felt like Bridgeport should get and maybe some of the residue of what happens in the building of this casino.

I'm like my friend, Senator McCrory. I spend time at the casino. I like the casino. I've always gambled on my own. But that's not even the issue here right now. As I gamble up there, I've talked to many of those people that work up there and I found out that they come from all over this state. They don't live -- they don't -- the town won't be just South Windsor that will have a job or any place else. You talk about bankruptcy. 1989 Bridgeport was threatened with bankruptcy.

Bridgeport used to be a thriving city. 147,000 people right now or back in Second World War we were called the Arsenal of Democracy. We had so much industry that in the 50s you could walk across town, lose your job, get fired and walk across town and get a better one the same day. Now we have nothing there. I was an international rep and I worked in a steel mill in Bridgeport. I came out of there, I came became an international rep and I spent 14 years there.

I had 23 locals throughout the state. Nine of them were in Bridgeport. Long before I learned to represent anybody up here or as a councilman, I represented over 3,000 members down there. And now they're all gone. Bridgeport was strategically drained of any commercial industry on the main street of Bridgeport by Trumbull building a shopping mall right on the border. It drew everything away from there.

Am I gonna sit here and say, hey, because I'm not getting anything, nobody else should? I think this casino will be a good thing for this state even though I also have mixed feelings. Like I said, I'm between a rock and a hard place here. But my job is not to compete with others up here. I am here to represent my community, my city, and my state and I'll do anything that I think will advance any of them.

We all have -- I think we all have the goodness -- goodness for the State of Connecticut here, one way or the other. We come from different regions. We come from different places that have different problems. Bridgeport way back in the 90s was a target for a casino to be put down there. It never worked out. We had the best opportunities and we had the best features down there. Within one mile we had bus, we had the train station, we had the water, and we had an airport. It didn't work out.

And right now, if we try to build a casino down there, we'd know what it is. I'm not in favor of MGM because I think that that tactic is just to build something down there to fend off what will come from New York and starve the casinos that are here already in Connecticut. If we're gonna build a casino, I don't think that we should beat each other and then come up with no opportunity at all. I feel for Hartford.

I feel for Hartford cause I know you guys are going through the same things that we went through. But the thing of it is, I just cannot in all honesty, fight the building of this casino. No matter where you build it. I think we should get together and come together and do the best we can for the State of Connecticut, all together. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any further comments? Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to stand here and I want to start by saying I'm in such great awe to be standing around this circle this evening and I have such great respect of everybody on both sides of this. Concern about the social implications of gambling that may be occurring in and around the communities of our state, concerns about the great cities of our state, that we need to resurrect and renew its economic opportunities.

And I for one, believe that this is a way to start forward and I want to talk a little bit tonight, Madam President, about a story of economic diversity. You see, I go back to the early 90s when my business was established in Southeastern Connecticut and we depended on manufacturing. We depended on Electric Boat. We depended on small manufacturers around.

And I remember, I was president of the Chamber of Commerce and the representative of Electric Boat came and said we are at 7,000 jobs which is at critical mass. We can't go below -- much below that cause we're not sure what's gonna happen. And we were not at all diverse, economically. We were afraid for the future. And then the Mashantucket Pequot stood up and decided to build a resort casino in Southeastern Connecticut. A resort casino that would change the direction of Southeastern Connecticut. And they're a bunch of very forward-thinking people more versed in business than I.

I was a young businessman -- a small retail establishment. And they got together and they said, let's work and create an opportunity. An opportunity was called Mystic Coast and Country. And they banded together with the casinos to form this. I remember putting up $ 250 dollars to be part of that opportunity to promote Southeastern Connecticut, which was more money than I thought I could afford at the time. But what has happened since -- the Mohegans, a few years later, came and we were able to grow the hospitality industry in Southeastern Connecticut.

Mystic Coast and Country became a well-known organization and it created jobs and it created opportunity and Mystic is now a worldwide recognized term. The casinos are two of the largest resorts of its kind, not just in Connecticut, not just in the United States, but in the world. And yes, they do offer convention opportunities, professional sports, concerts, but now Southeastern Connecticut is synonymous with tourism, with entertainment, our growing culture of the arts, museums, and we have good employment. 12,000, 15,000 jobs at the casino.

And all the while, the manufacturing opportunities began to increase and now Electric Boat is looking at its potential new class of submarines and it's hovering on the cusp of 15,000 jobs. That is a diverse economic story. Nearly 30,000 jobs between the two. The tribes have also expanded their commercial opportunities throughout Southeastern Connecticut off the reservation and diversed themselves into the community.

Now imitation, we know, is the sincerest form of flattery and many of the states around us have opened casinos to try to emulate the success of here in Connecticut. And the one that's giving us the most challenge, as my good friend Senator Cassano mentioned, was MGM. So this opportunity that we have in front of us this evening, is an opportunity to preserve our jobs, to preserve our revenue to the State of Connecticut and to create perhaps, and I would argue, a new growth opportunity.

A new section of economic diversity along the 91 Corridor that I would suggest may envelop the city of Hartford over the next number of years, as a result of the opportunities brought to this casino, should we pass this legislation tonight and should it open in East Windsor. And we talk about 2,000 jobs like it's really not a lot of jobs. But if those jobs averaged $ 35,000 dollars each, that's $ 700 Million dollars of economic impact. $ 50,000 would be a hundred million of economic impact and I believe that impact would expand and grow the hospitality industry along the 91 Corridor.

It will protect opportunities to drive people to the resorts back in Southeastern Connecticut and I would argue it would also bring people this great city of Hartford. I'm concerned about the price. The price of inaction. Concerned if we don't stand up together and begin this opportunity to protect our jobs, to protect our revenues, and I'm afraid of the close consequences.

I have spent my entire life in the hospitality industry and I can tell you those are good jobs. We have many people working for us. Single moms, teens, married folks, who have created a life working in the hospitality industry. These are the jobs that we're protecting. These are the jobs that we want to stay in Connecticut. These are the jobs that we want to preserve here. This is the revenue that we want to keep in the State of Connecticut and not have it travel over the line in Massachusetts moving north to some other casino.

So I agree that we need to work hard to resurrect the cities of Hartford, Bridgeport, the major cities in our state because it's been said here many times by our leader, Senator Fasano, the strength of our state depends on the strength of our cities. But I think this is a step one to help that, not a step to hurt that.

So I urge passage of this and I will close, Madam President, by saying in my office I have a sign. A sign that was given to me on my last day as first selectman of the town of East Lyme by a -- one of the constituents that lived there and it's a blue sign and it says Stay in Connecticut. And I had it framed and I had it put on my wall in the back, always reminding me that that's job one and I think this is what this bill will do and I think it will help move the State of Connecticut forward and I thank everybody for their passionate input on this but I urge passage on this amendment and I thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any further comments? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for purpose of some questions to the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson, prepare yourself.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan, please continue.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And thank you, Senator Larson for your hard work on this and many others. I have tried to follow this. It's changed and its many iterations over the last several weeks, but some of my questions date back to the public hearing on the bill and I think you were present through all or most of the public hearing and one of the speakers at the public hearing was the former United States Secretary of the Interior who seemed to ask some pretty hard questions about the proposal even though it had not been formalized or matured as well as it has tonight but some of those concerns were around the compacts that exist between the State of Connecticut and the tribes.

And I wonder if you could please elaborate on how you and the State of Connecticut are sure, absolutely positively sure that those compacts are rock solid today and will remain rock solid after this legislation passes the Connecticut General Assembly? Through you, Madam President.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chairman --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you. Thank you for that question. I'm trying to recollect. It's been a while -- on the Secretary of the Interior, but I do remember quite vividly both chairman of the prospect tribes, Rodney Butler and chairman Kevin Brown indicating they were solidly committed to assuring the State of Connecticut that they were going to support and continue to support the existing compacts as we know off tribal lands and there has been some discussion through the attorney general's office and recently, a letter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that effectively said that they were not going to interfere with that compact and that would support effectively what we know of today currently going on.

They would not try to take away from anything that was current in our particular compact but let them prospectively move forward. We've learned from both chairman that the prospective compact is fairly significant. Other Indian gaming facilities around the country do not provide 25 percent of slots. They're a lot lower and both chairman testified continuously, on two separate occasions, that they would fortify and stay with this particular compact number.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan, does that answer your question?

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator. A follow-up if I may. The -- through you, Madam President. I'm glad you raised the point that Connecticut's compact with the Connecticut's tribes is unlike any other in this -- in the whole country. Not only is the amount or percentage of royalty payments, I believe the highest in the country, it is now gonna be doubled, essentially with the new compact, mentioning this off-tribal reservation arrangement where now it's gonna include table games which are not included in the main casinos.

So my question, more specifically, is that the -- the review of tribal compacts elsewhere in the country has looked very carefully at the arrangement between the states and the Bureau of Indian Affairs has a statutory authority and requirement to look out for the best interest of the tribes and in the past, has ordered a reduction in an agreed upon royalty payment by the tribes to the states.

Although both tribal chiefs have publicly stated multiple times in the State of Connecticut this year that they have no intention of seeking such a reduction. That that they have every intention of supporting the current 25 percent royalty payment on the main casino facilities and in fact, even enhancing that in this new agreement. It really doesn't matter what they think. It's the Bureau of Indian Affairs review of the compact that makes that decision. What is the state's position and this legislative leadership's position on that possibility? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator McLachlan. Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. Again, an excellent question, Senator. As I stated in my initial remarks, this bill before us is authorizing the General Assembly to have MMCT conduct a gaming facility in East Windsor, Connecticut and there are conditions upon getting that gaming license. And that would be the governor amending the current MOU and compact to reflect what's being stated here today.

Also, approval of the Secretary of the Interior on that compact arrangement and also the tribes themselves enact a resolution to waive sovereign immunity so that in fact, if they were to default on that compact, we would be able to sue them. And then that set of circumstances would then come back to us -- to this body and then we would approve the entire arrangement.

So there's sort of a belt and suspenders, if you will, on the whole notion and again, three more -- four more steps actually, that the tribe has indicated very confident that they will get the support from the Secretary of Interior. That will come back to us. Their own tribe's enacting a resolution to waive that sovereign immunity. Again, part of the conditions of granting those -- that gaming license.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan, does that answer your question?

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And if I may continue, the point of all of the steps that are in this legislation, how do those points of approval -- meaning that I believe you said it was 13 steps required --

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam President.


THE CHAIR
:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

So, we effectively -- they're looking to conduct a gaming facility in East Windsor. Before they can get that permission, if you will, the current MOU and compact would have to be amended by the governor. You know, I'm of the understanding that he would work with the attorney general to make sure that, you know, all of the I's were crossed and t's were dotted -- I just said that backwards cause I'm tired -- approval of the Secretary of Interior, enact a resolution that waives the sovereign immunity. So all of that would be effectively -- be part of final legislation coming back to us for the approval before this process could start and they could effectively build.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Larson. So what I'm hearing is that you and your fellow legislative leaders -- and obviously, I guess the attorney general feel comfortable that this step process is going to keep these compacts rock-solid in that they're not gonna be tinkered with if it's evident anywhere along the way that the deal has fallen apart.

And my only concern remains, that the tribes really don't have a whole lot of say according to federal law and federal regulation on the final decision. They can write a nice letter to the Secretary of the Interior and whoever they want to and say, well, we love the State of Connecticut and we have agreed to this deal and we want you to approve it. But the Secretary of the Interior, under current federal law, can say we don't think this is a fair deal and this will be your new deal.

So, that's my only concern really, on this compact issue but frankly, it's a big concern. I believe that the compact is out of our control and so I'm worried about tinkering with the compact. And the only way to avoid tinkering with the compact, is to throw this away because once you open the compact, you're tinkering with it and now it's subject to review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and so that's my concern. Thank you, Senator, for answers to those questions.

Madam President, I'm not in favor of casino expansion in the State of Connecticut. I've been wrestling really hard with this whole topic. It's been a long, arduous process for me to think about how can I represent my district and the whole region of Western Connecticut and at the same time, wrestle with my own personal belief about expansion of casino gambling in Connecticut. So it's been a challenge, I assure you.

One thing I must say is that I've been opposed to casino gambling in Connecticut dating back many years ago when there was a proposed casino -- Indian tribal casino in Danbury and at that time, I got to know the casino business a bit. I actually have a nephew who is involved in casino gaming business as a supplier of casino gaming equipment to tribes and so I knew it a little bit from him but I spent some time studying Atlantic City and Las Vegas and wanted to know if Danbury indeed did have a casino, what would it mean to our community? And everything that I read about was not friendly at all.

Very different, I might add, very, very different, I might add, than the experience in Southeastern Connecticut with the two tribes. Very different. But that was my research, that it was something that we should fight tooth and nail and so ultimately, as chief of staff to Mayor Mark Boughton in Danbury, I assisted him in that research and ultimately, the threat of a casino in Danbury went away because the tribe that was considering the casino was never duly recognized permanently. They were recognized twice but not permanently as they now are still seeking federal tribal recognition.

So what does that mean to Western Connecticut? Well, not what I'm worried about is, what if? And when I look at the billion dollar investment by MGM in Springfield and all the running around that they're doing, trying to protect their investment in Springfield and I look at the mega-billion dollar investment of the Mashantuckets and the Mohegans in Southeastern Connecticut, and how they need to protect their investment, and protect Connecticut jobs and residents at the same time, you're looking at a pretty heavy duty disagreement.

And so what does that mean? And what I'm concerned about is what happens if MGM somehow finds a way to open a casino elsewhere in Connecticut? In Bridgeport or Danbury or whatever. Now, I've been hearing tonight and all year long, that that can't happen. No way that can happen. But what if? What if those tribal compacts blow up in Washington? We're not gonna blow them up. The tribes say they're not gonna blow them up, but what if they do? What happens?

Does that mean that the State of Connecticut now is gonna be desperate now that we've got this other new tribal casino in East Windsor, is there gonna be another one elsewhere in Connecticut? So I'm worried about this. I don't -- I'm not really feeling like this legislation is rock-solid. But I must tell you, I am also gravely concerned about the State of Connecticut regionally and as a whole.

You know, the residents of Connecticut, and especially the politicians in Connecticut, have not understood or appreciated the monopoly that we've had on casino gambling in the United States. The Northeastern United States especially, but when you think about it, it goes far beyond Northeastern United States. Connecticut had a monopoly. That's why we have the two largest casino gaming facilities in the world. Casino gaming facilities across the United States of America, on average, are a fraction of the size of the one that's gonna be built in East Windsor.

If you go to the Mid-West, take I-40 across Oklahoma as an example to see the Indian gaming facilities there. Every 50 miles you'll find one. They're 30,000 square feet. East Windsor's gonna be 200,000 square feet I'm told and they've got millions of square feet in the Indian gaming facilities at -- in Southeastern Connecticut. So we've had this mega monopoly. $ 400 Million dollars a year we were bringing in. The coffers of this state government.

And by the way, federal law forbids that. Did you know? I mean, that's the other thing that worries me about this tribal compact. Federal law says [Cough] that royalties [Cough] paid by tribes to state government is supposed to go for casino regulation not general funds. But nevertheless, we brought in almost $ 400 Million dollars a year and now it's 60 percent of that. We can't afford to do without it. I understand that. We also can't afford to lose 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,000 jobs. I've heard all different numbers. Lots of jobs.

Because people are gonna [Coughing] -- excuse me -- run up to Springfield to spend their casino dollars. So I understand the challenge here. Big challenge for all of us, even those of us who are opposed to casino expansion. But I think lo and behold, the biggest problem for the State of Connecticut is when are we going to stop chasing easy money like this? When? When are we gonna do that? I'm hopeful that this year everybody that works in this building has really come to a reality check that the easy money's gone.

Our monopoly is gone -- long gone now. And casinos popping up in Springfield and Rhode Island and New York, all around us, means that the whole dynamics of casino gambling and the whole dynamics of royalty payments to the State of Connecticut, are gone. So if we're now gonna be in the casino business like other states are in the mid-west, where they're every 50 miles, I don't want to see that. If we're gonna approve another casino for East Windsor, I hope you're not coming back three, four, five years from now saying well, now we gotta have one in Danbury.

Cause I'll get a bulldozer. [Laughing] You can't do that. So you dragged me to the table, Senator Formica, Senator Somers, and others. I will vote for this today but I am gonna keep a very close eye on this process and I'm very concerned that the moneyed interests are also very keeping close eye on this process and this could be a dog fight. And I'm a little worried that we're not gonna pull the plug on it before we spend way too much money on a losing effort. But I think I've gotta give it a chance for the people of Connecticut who rely on legislative leaders to give them a shot to keep their job, to give us a desperate shot to hold onto some of the royalty money that's coming here and so somewhat reluctantly, I will vote yes tonight. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any further comments? Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm one of the participants in tonight's debate that truly is undecided about how I'm going to vote on this and I'm listening with great interest to the different points of view being expressed. I do have some questions for the proponent of the legislation, if I may, through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson, prepare yourself. Please continue, Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The underlying bill has -- I counted 15 amendments that have been filed regarding it. My question is, why is the amendment that's in front of us the best alternative of the other 14 proposed amendments and the underlying bill itself? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam President. The amendment we have before us is a strike-all amendment and as you are familiar, maybe even more so than I, that as these bills are being constructed and built, ideas are being added all the time and rather than try to fashion a handful of amendments and get through each of those, it was decided that putting all of those amendments together into a strike-all would be the best way to approach this bill in this form. Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, and through you, Madam President. So the amendment that we're debating right now, basically reflects a consolidation of most or all of the other amendments that have been filed regarding this particular underlying bill? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair. Yes.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. And through you, Madam President. One of the concerns from me as I reflect on this issue is the local community and its response to the potential casino. Have there been formal surveys, market surveys, referenda -- what sense do we have of -- I'm certain there's mixed opinion in the community, but is there anything that gives a flavor or sense of the community's overall response to the proposed establishment? Through you, Madam President.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair. Yes. Absolutely. In fact, you know, advisory referendums and a lot of communities are frowned upon because you know, you have the issue of what color we're gonna paint the school and that takes time and energy, but in fact, the town of East Windsor went so far as to hold a couple of public meetings, if you will, and actually took a vote at a public meeting on this very topic as to whether or not there was support and my recollection was that it was at least 2-1 in favor of support for this.

The town of East Windsor as well testified before -- their first selectman and a handful of others as well as the chief of police who'd actually gone out and in the development agreement wanted to test -- you know, their response to items like this. I don't know if you're familiar with the location in East Windsor, but it's an old, large banquet hall facility. It used to be called the La Renaissance and so they're quite familiar with -- you know, an activity like a large banquet facility for the most part.

This is not some small community that is not skilled in public safety response. Their chief is very professional, is very concise with his effort and I wanted to make sure during the public testimony that they felt comfortable that there was adequate public safety and police response to that and unequivocally, they answered that and so I'm quite confident that this has run its test in that community.

I'm sure that there are detractors like there are in every community, if you will, but I think that they've done what they needed to do. They've hired legal counsel to advise them on their -- you know, their due diligence and so forth, and so I think that they've done everything that they need to do to best prepare for it and in as much as that this facility geographically is in a very Northeast corner of the community, most of the relative traffic, I believe, is going to come right off of 91 at an exit and get right to that facility. Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. And through you, Madam President. The genesis of this idea has been precipitated by the development of the MGM property in Springfield and from what I've read about that project, it's over 500,000 square feet, it's an $ 800 Million dollar project and when I looked at the -- some of the details, I saw that the 500,000 square feet, 125,000 for gaming, 165,000 for dining and the retail facilities and entertainment, it's gonna be quite a formidable operation to compete with.

The -- can you share with me -- the proposed facility in East Windsor's gonna be much smaller and I would guess that the Springfield operations may be in the ballpark of 20 miles away or something. It's not too much farther than that. So one of the questions I have in my mind is the construct of the East Windsor facility -- how much of it is gonna be devoted to gambling versus the entertainment and the other activities that surround casinos? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair. All of it is gonna be predominately table games and slots. I'm sure there'll be some restaurant facilities there. I don't believe that there is any setup for any type of entertainment -- you know, music acts or things like that. There may be some small type venue but not necessarily a concert facility if you will. I think that there is a lot of sensitivity towards trying to contribute back to the community.

In other words, using some of that traffic to drive additional residual building in and around that community as well as look to share the Hartford Civic Center is a -- for part of that. I know that in discussions with the tribe, that they have talked about, you know, the potential for using the Hartford Civic Center for WNBA games, for some of their other concert venues if you will, and those types of things as well as using, you know, Wampum card and credit and discount coupons to be shared back and forth between the two facilities.

Understand that -- I think that what sometimes gets lost on people in this transaction is that, you know, we're taking Macy's and Gimbels and we're making them become one entity. Two competitors, making them become one entity and they are very skilled and this is all without a single nickel or penny of state money. So you have two competitors that are willing to come together as one entity and continue to support the effort as they've done for the last 20 years in the State of Connecticut with, you know, $ 7 Billion dollars or thereabouts in contributions to the state.

Not to even shy away from, I think that there's probably not a municipality where the Mehgans or the Foxwoods groups have not funded some alternative high school program or sports program or sponsorship, etcetera. So I think that they're quite confident in as much as that this is their investment, that they know what they're doing in planning and dissecting this opportunity.

As well, I have had the -- you know, I guess the good fortune of having three of my communities that I represent -- three of the four communities that I represent, participate in this selection process and you know, people would always ask me, they would say, well how come this isn't at the Showcase Cinema in your town? And you know, parenthetically, they're already getting $ 100 dollars from an East Hartford gambler in one of these facilities and then they would have to split that up.

So they have surgically looked at this thing with their own money and done all of the testing and so forth that they need. This is their money. They're putting up, what I believe is a $ 300 Million dollar facility. They are investing in that type of an arrangement in Connecticut.

So I hesitate to question their integrity or their motive and you know, frankly, I think that there are -- you know, in my mind, could have been better opportunities but you know, they tested each of these communities and went through and arrived in East Windsor and East Windsor, you know, stepped up to the plate and embraced it. Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam President. I had no intention of questioning their integrity or anything like that but I was just trying to understand the nature of the operation cause I know that many people, again, that go to gambling facilities -- gambling's part of the experience but there's the dining and there's entertainment that goes on and sometimes people go to these facilities and don't gamble at all. They just go to the entertainment and to the restaurants.

One thing that troubles me a little bit is if it's gonna be basically a pure gambling facility as opposed to a facility that has entertainment operations and restaurants and things like that. It's -- I'm not questioning their marketing perspicacity, I'm just saying that it's a little less appealing to me if it's just a singular facility focused only on gambling as opposed to a broader venue and I am a little concerned that, again, with an $ 800 Million dollar, brand new operation that's gonna be 20 miles up the road, you know, they're putting their money where their mouths are as the good Senator said a minute ago.

They put a lot of time and investment in this but I look and I think, wow, they're gonna have a tremendous disadvantage vis-a-vis the operation that's gonna be 20 miles up the street, basically. And you know, one -- as I was -- been reading about the debate that's been going on for months now and it didn't come before any of my committees so I didn't study or get into the debate that much and I waited for it to become an issue in front of us but I thought to myself, in a lot of ways, I'm thinking, boy this would have been a great potential for the XL Center.

I mean, why isn't this in the capitol city drawing thousands of people every day to downtown Hartford? And it seems to me, it would take care of two big problems simultaneously. I don't know, and you maybe don't know yourself, Senator, what -- you know, why the tribe or the tribes might have rejected that. I presume they did take a look at that as an option and let me ask that as a question through Madam President. Did the tribes look at and consider Hartford itself and the XL Center as a option?

(The President in the Chair)

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson. Hi.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

[Laughing] Good morning.

THE CHAIR:

Now it's the gray haired lady.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm not sure specifically. I've heard from the lobbyists and representatives of MMCT that Hartford was looked at. A number of locations in the capitol city were looked at and for whatever reason, whether it was proximity to the highway or the city's -- you know, willingness necessarily to participate. I'm sure that there were sites that they were willing to look at.

I'm to understand that sites in the Meadow where the music venue -- were looked at but because of traffic patterns and size were turned down. I -- you know, I don't know specifics about whether or not the Hartford Civic Center was looked at. You know, a lot of the development agreements, because this is a commercial enterprise, were private and that -- you know, in order to -- you know, much of what goes on and I'm sure you've had development in your own town where you have a big box realtor that's coming in but nobody can understand who that is until, you know, everybody's signed off and done and you've got approval and then you can -- you know, you can offer that so I don't know specifically if the Hartford Civic Center was looked at as an opportunity but I know that there were several locations in the capitol city that were looked at.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you and one more question. Through you, Madam President. If the outcome tonight is that the proposal does not pass. If it does fail, is this over with and done or is there a second potential go around or is this a drop dead, take it or leave it? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

The bill before us, I believe is an opportunity that's being supported by MMCT and that because we are effectively looking at their selected site, if that in fact was rejected, I think we would be back to square one. We would be looking at lost jobs. We would be looking at lost revenue opportunities.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam President.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Again, I just want to make sure I have a clear understanding. This is not a situation or is it a situation where if the bill in front of us tonight does not successfully pass, does this mean the potential for the venture that they've proposed -- proposed by the tribes, is done? Or is -- are --

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Yes.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

-- are any other possibilities foreclosed -- totally foreclosed or is it over with and done once this has happened? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

I believe that this is the opportunity to support their effort.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

I'll just --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. I have no further questions for the good senator. I will just thank him and for his hard work. I know it's a difficult and a controversial project to say the least and I appreciate the fact that he's worked so hard on it and I have been listening very closely and I will listen to see what further comments might be coming about. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Senator.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on Senate “A”? Will you remark further on Senate “A”? If not, Mr. Clerk, will you call for a roll call vote and the machine will be open.

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:

Senator Suzio, will you please cast your vote, please?

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

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule “A”.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 24

Those voting Nay 12

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The amendment passes (Gavel). Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not -- oh I'm sorry. Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

I guess so.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

It is. It's a wonderful morning. The clerk is in possession of LCO Number 7707.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

I ask the clerk to please call the amendment.

CLERK:

LCO Number 7707, Senate “B" offered by Senator Hwang.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Yes, Ma'am.

THE CHAIR:

Would you like to move for adoption, sir?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. I move adoption of the amendment, waive the reading --

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Please repeat --

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Waive the reading and seek to leave summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you very, very much. This amendment will add a new section to the current amended bill and it states specifically that no state funds should be appropriated or expended for the construction or financial support of a casino gaming facility. Just in case this facility does not work out, it does not become a burden to the State of Connecticut. It's a simple solution, has a protection. As we've cited many times in other projects in which the burden falls on the Connecticut taxpayer, I would simply as this as an amendment to protect the State of Connecticut as we take this gamble of gambling expansion. So I urge support and I urge the chair's consideration of this. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on Senate “B”? Senator Larson. Good morning to you, sir.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Good morning and thank you very much. I would urge my colleagues to reject this amendment. I know that the casinos have committed to not taking any state funds but they are putting all of their own effort in, aren't looking for any state money, but as we've rolled this out, if there was -- for some reason or other that the city that was hosting this needed some assistance from the state, we wanted to keep that option available.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I would urge my colleagues to not support the amendment that my good colleague has put forward and I would ask for a roll call vote.

THE CHAIR:

A roll call vote will be taken. Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on amendment --

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

If I may, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang, for the second time. Please proceed sir.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you very, very much. And I think what the good senator from East Hartford cited is the fact that we aren't given any guarantees and I believe this amendment to be something that we should reassure the residents of the State of Connecticut. That as we move forward, should we move forward, that we protect them from the liability, the burden, of financial liability to help bail out what may be a project that may not work.

As we cited many times before, the fact that we are looking at industry that is on the decline and as I repeated before, we had looked in many other municipalities and projects such as Atlantic City and various other projects in which we have vacated buildings and projects that have not worked out. And we brought up in many times the good senators from Hartford talked about the real challenges of the XL Center and what we need to do on that and the potential burden it has on the State of Connecticut.

These are real choices that we need to make but for us to potentially push forward in making this decision to move gambling outside of tribal land onto Connecticut land, I think it should be something that we should consider to take the liability away from the resident and taxpayers of the State of Connecticut and again, I urge support and passage. Thank you, Ma'am.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, 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 on Senate Amendment Schedule “B”. Immediate Roll Call in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

If all members have voted, all members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you call the tally?

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule “B”.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 14

Those voting Nay 22

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The amendment fails. (Gavel) Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Again, Ma'am. Madam President, let me try this again. The clerk is in possession of LCO Number 7673 and I move that this bill be -- no -- I ask the clerk to please call the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you please call the amendment?

Can you repeat that number one more time?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

7673, I believe.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk do you have 7673? 7673. The Senate will stand at ease for one moment, please. (Chamber at ease) Senator Hwang, the clerk is not in possession of that amendment. Senate will stand at ease. (Chamber at ease) Senator Hwang, we do have the amendment. I will -- Mr. Clerk, will you please call the amendment?

CLERK:

LCO Number 7673, Senate Amendment Schedule "C" offered by Senator Hwang.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hwang.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you proceed, sir?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you, Madam President. This is an amendment that reinforces the concerns that we've had in relations to the constitutionality of equal protection and equal access. And what this amendment simply does is ask that if a court decision had rule that indeed that this bill had violated the equal protection clause that we would deem this bill -- if it passes -- to be null and void. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair. I don't believe that this is strong to the lines that we're trying to amend, so -- do we --

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease for a moment, please. (Chamber at ease)

Senator Hwang. Can you tell me if this amendment was drawn to the amended bill?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

I believe. There were so many, so there might be some confusion on them, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Yeah, Senator Hwang, this amendment is not -- what we can find out -- drawn to the amendment so it can't be before us right now because it's not on what has already passed.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

And Madam President, if I may, it's actually a perfect segue for me to summarize my opposition to this bill and the idea of casino expansion in our state.

THE CHAIR:

It's on the bill then, sir? Same as on the bill?

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Yes. In fact, I would retract the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please. If you withdraw it, thank you very much.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

I withdraw the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much and please proceed, sir.

SENATOR HWANG (28TH):

Thank you. And in my closing I would offer to ask that as we move forward on this bill and consider final passage that we consider the debate and the idea of casino expansion in our state and I would implore us to give strong thought to the societal cost of casino and gambling in our state. Out of respect for the time of this chamber and the members of the circle, I will not call the rest of the amendments. I recognize that it is something that I feel very passionately about. I think I made the point clear in saying that though, I truly want to respect the time and the efforts of the members of the circle. So I urge voting against it but I understand and respect people's decision making process. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Thank you, Senator. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I just wanted to thank each and every one of us who have been supportive in this conversation the dialogue has been tremendous. I want to thank our partners, MMCT. I think that they have been extremely resilient for two years in fashioning this. I know that there's still some work to do. I know that they are still very committed to hiring local talent, hiring Connecticut workers and starting the Connecticut comeback and if there's no further questions, I'd ask that this bill be -- a roll call vote be taken on the bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

There will be a roll call. Will you remark further though? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, briefly as the hour is late, I just want to take an opportunity to thank Senator Larson and Senator Osten, Senator Formica, and others who have worked hard on this bill. Over the long term -- the last few years, I think that as has been said a number of times, this legislation really is about protecting our turf, protecting Connecticut jobs, protecting those families who have a good middle income, good middle income families with health care and retirement benefits.

Those who are looking to make sure that they have a roof to put over their head and can feed their families and provide the needs for their families as well. So for us, I think that this is an important step and this is -- by no means do I think that this bill is any sort of endorsement of gambling or gaming but it is an endorsement of keeping good paying jobs here in the State of Connecticut. So I'm just -- I know that this has been a long haul for a lot of folks. It's one that is difficult on a number of different levels but I think in the end of the day, the folks in Connecticut whose jobs that we are protecting by voting for this bill makes this a very important piece of legislation.

One that I believe, we'll look back on and say, we did what we had to do. We stood up for Connecticut workers. We stood up for the thousands of people all across the State of Connecticut who are impacted by what may happen in Springfield and in other places, so again, I think that this is an important piece of legislation. One that is good for Connecticut, good for jobs, good for the economy, and good for families. So again, I urge my colleagues to support the legislation and thank again, everyone who has worked so hard to get us to this point. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Duff. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President. [Clearing throat] Madam President, speaking in support of the bill as amended. [Clearing throat] In addition to those who Senator Duff has thanked, wanted to thank our majority leader, Senator Duff for his [Clearing throat] great work in building a consensus around this bill. [Clearing throat] What it does as Senator Larson and Senator Osten and Senator Duff has said, is recognize the fact that the regional monopoly that we have had for a number of years now in the area of the [Clearing throat] Native American gaming that has provided so much revenue to our state peaking at over 420 Million some years ago and still at about 270 Million.

That is of course, now threatened by competition from other states and notably, Massachusetts with the very large MGM casino soon to open in Springfield. And this measure which I hope we will pass this evening, is a way, I believe -- it's a step in the process of helping to protect Connecticut jobs to continue to hold our niche in this important area both in terms of employment with good paying jobs and also in terms of revenue for the State of Connecticut. But it's important, I think, to recognize that this is only a step.

It's a procedural move because before the final authorization would be effective, the bill requires the governor to enter into an agreement with the tribes to amend the Mashantucket Pequot federal procedures, the Mohegan compact, and both of the MOUs on the operation, the casino facility and each of these amendments has to include a provision that MMCT's authorization to conduct the casino games in the state does not terminate the moratorium against operating video facsimile games in Connecticut.

So that there are a number of steps that will have to go forward after the passage of this bill before there would be an operating facility on that site in East Windsor. And the amendments must be approved by the state legislature and the department of -- the DOI pursuant to federal regulations. So there is a great deal of -- the federal Department of the Interior must be involved, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the entities that supervise the Native American casinos at the federal level -- all of these hurdles have to be successfully passed before this could come into fruition. But none of that can happen unless we pass this bill this evening and move that process along and I would urge passage of this bill, Madam President. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Mr. Clerk will you 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 in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff. If all members have voted, all members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally?

CLERK:

Senate Bill Number 957.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 24

Those voting Nay 12

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

(Gavel) The Bill passes. Will you remark further? Senator Duff. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the clerk please now call calendar page 29, Calendar 369, House Bill 7121.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 29, Calendar 369, it is House Bill Number 7121, AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE STATE'S SAFE HAVEN LAWS.

THE CHAIR:

So sorry. Senator Markley.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

I rise to urge 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 MARKLEY (16TH):

Yes. The safe haven's law which has been in place since the year 2000, I think has been a notable success in Connecticut. 28 infants who might otherwise have lost their lives have been safely put in a good home because of this law. This year, we had -- were told a very sad story. You know, as a member of the Infant Services Committee, I think you get used to hearing difficult things but a story from a woman who had been given one of these children by DCF for adoption and then for various reasons, her testimony is available at the website obviously, it's very interesting. Her name was Katie Leavitt.

A very moving testimony for various reasons, DCF came to her after she'd had the baby for some time and decided to take it away from her and give it to another family in order to unite this infant with a sibling which DCF had discovered had also been adopted through the Safe Havens program. It was a traumatic experience for her and one suspects, for the infant as well and something that just didn't work right. The working group on safe havens and especially Representative Currey was involved in making -- in coming up with legislation to address this going forward to prevent a recurrence of this particular unfortunate situation.

And this bill does that by making specific prohibitions about information about an infant that comes through Safe Havens, limiting the ways in which DNA tests can be used and also kind of standardizing the procedure for this adoption once it's in process. I think that the bill we have before us which passed the House unanimously, does a good of doing this and I would urge my colleagues to support it.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If -- Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise in strong support of this bill and I want to thank Senator Markley for his explanation and Senator Moore for their support of this bill. This young woman, Katie Leavitt is a constituent of mine and I have so much respect for her because out of an incredible tragedy, she has worked over the past year to make public policy to make sure that nobody else, no baby and no mother, no family, has to go through this tragedy again.

As Senator Markley said, we all sit through painful stories sometimes about what our constituents are going through. But this woman, I will tell you, sitting in the Starbucks in Farmington, Connecticut, listening to her story is emblazoned on my brain and I think that why it's so -- it's so hard to imagine having a baby and feeling like you're doing something good, accepting a safe haven baby -- and eight months later, a social worker at DCF had a genetic test done because this case reminded that case worker of another case.

And then to have a baby who is happily settled in a family removed to go be with this sibling who is also in foster care across the state, was one of the cruelest stories of what can happen in government, that I have ever heard and many of us reached out to the Department of Children and Families seeking a better solution for this family and did not find it. But Katie Leavitt persisted. She reached out to her friend, Representative Currey who helped.

She reached out to our Human Services Committee and Representative Pam Sawyer who was the original -- one of the original proponents of the Safe Haven Baby has been with this mother every step, has been talking to legislators all along the way. This is the best of what we do -- is to make a law that makes sure that a tragedy like this never happens again. So I just want to say tonight how much I honor Katie Leavitt and she is due to have a baby any day now and we wish her all the best and so I'm really proud of her, proud to represent her in this circle and I urge adoption. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Moore. Good morning.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise in support of the bill and thank the -- my Co-Chair of Human Services and the other members of Human Services. This bill went through unanimously. No parent or anyone who is trying to help a child who's been left at a doorstep or at a hospital should have to worry about someone coming back and taking the child back after they've been promised that the child can stay.

Since 2000 -- the year 2000 -- there have been over 20 babies that have been saved through Safe Haven and this is very important and it's also important for young people and older people who are having children and choose -- have to make this difficult decision to leave their child someplace and to know that you could leave it at an emergency room or a hospital and not be chastised, not be prosecuted is very important. It'll also save babies lives. I want to thank Senator Bye for sharing the story of the young woman who had to go through this and I hope that this bill will help protect future adoptive parents from having to go through the same problem. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I also rise in strong support of this piece of legislation and its need to quickly pass and become law because we need to protect the anonymity of women who choose to bring their babies to a safe place like an emergency room. Without that anonymity, it puts the very fabric of this law in jeopardy. I also want to thank Representative Sawyer for all her work on the Safe Havens law and I urge my colleagues to remember Safe Havens Day which happens in April so that we can keep this message going through our young people and it's not forgotten. And I want to thank everyone who's worked on it. I urge that we pass this.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Mr. Clerk, will you please call the roll call?

CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

If all members have voted, all members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally? Thank you.

CLERK:

House Bill 7121.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. (Gavel) Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, that concludes our business for the day. It is our intention for -- I think for caucuses tomorrow. I'll speak for our side of the aisle -- caucus tomorrow at noon and going to session probably shortly thereafter at 1 o'clock and I don't think it will be as late of a night as it is tonight. It'll probably be a little bit earlier so get some rest. Safe travels and I will yield to any -- to Senator Witkos.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos, will you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Yes, I do and for the Republicans, we will also caucus at 12 noon tomorrow.

THE CHAIR:

Are there any other points of personal privilege? Seeing none. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move that we adjourn subject to the call of the chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand adjourned.

(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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