CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Senate was called to order at 8: 42 o'clock p. m. , the President in the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Please come to order. Members and guests, please rise and direct your attention to our active, very active, short but active Reverend Noele Kidney.

REVEREND NOELE KIDNEY:

Let us remember that understanding is one of the greatest accomplishments of life and with it comes wisdom. Amen.

THE CHAIR:

Amen. At this time I'd ask Senator Formica to come up and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

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. At this time, I'd ask if there's any points of personal privilege? Since nobody's here we know there isn't so at this time I'm going to say -- you do? Oh, I'm sorry. Senator Fonfara. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Good evening, Madam President. It's great to see you tonight.

THE CHAIR:

It's great to be seen, thank you.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Madam President, I'd like to ask the Chamber to recognize a young lady who has joined us for the last couple of weeks, Marissa Bartone [phonetic], who is sitting over here. She is just finishing up her first year at Fairfield University. I would say that I know her parents are very proud of her. She's a straight A student and really wanted to come and see what this is all about and she takes more notes than any stenographer that you could ever think about and really has embraced this but I did promise her father to do everything I could to not have her fall in love with this institution, at least at not at this point in her life. But if the Chamber would give her a typical Senate welcome I'd appreciate it.

THE CHAIR:

Melissa, thank you so much [clapping]. Thank you so much. It's wonderful to see young people actively involved so keep up the good work and please fall in love with the Chamber. Senator McLachlan, why do you stand, sir?

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

A somewhat selfish one, Madam President, I want to wish my dear wife, Alesia, a happy 30th wedding anniversary today as we start our business at 8: 30 p. m.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, congratulations to you. Congratulations. You have 21 years to catch up to me. Senator Miner. No? Oh, was yours less? Oh never mind. I'm not gonna ask. Thank you very much, congratulations. At this time anybody else? If not, Mr. Clerk, do you have anything on your desk?

CLERK:

I have Senate Agendas No. 1 and 2, both dated Tuesday, May 30, 2017. They're already on members' desks.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move all items on Senate Agendas No. 1 and 2 dated Tuesday, May 30, 2017, be acted upon as indicated and that the Agenda be incorporated -- the Agendas be incorporated by reference in the Senate Journal and transcript.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, if the Clerk can now call on Senate Agenda No. 2, Emergency Certified Senate Bill 1059. Before he does that I would ask for suspension of Senate Rule 9-E to take out the Emergency Certified Bill, Senate Bill 1059.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Now if the Clerk can please call Emergency Certified Bill 1059.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Bill No. 1059, AN ACT CONCERNING DEFICIT MITIGATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2017, LCO No. 8068, offered by Senators Looney, Fasano, Duff, Witkos, and Representatives Aresimowicz and Ritter.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten. Good aft -- evening, sorry.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Good evening, Madam President. It's nice to see you tonight and I move acceptance of the Emergency Certified Bill and passage of said Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, ma'am?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Yes. Madam President, this Bill modifies the general fund budget and eliminates the projected $ 317. 1 million in deficit and will result in the general fund balance of $ 1 million. It does not affect the spending cap level as it does not alter appropriations, but rather provides the Authority to adjust expenditures.

In addition, it reduces regional service grant payments by $ 750 thousand from the municipal revenue sharing fund. It specifies that no fund shall be carried forward from FY 17 to FY 18 unless approved by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. It restores $ 1 million in rescission reductions made to the employment opportunities and day services. It will result in $ 29. 2 million left in the budget reserve fund and I urge my colleagues to support this deficit mitigation plan.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, ma'am. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Formica. Good evening again, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Good evening, Madam President. I rise in support of the Bill. I think this is a good bipartisan effort where we all came together to restore some needed funding for privately raised money for state parks. It restores $ 19. 4 million to municipalities through the Pequot fund payment for June and it keeps approximately a $ 30 million balance in our rainy day fund while it holds hospitals harmless and I believe this is a good first step to moving forward on our budget process in a bipartisan way, so I urge my colleagues to approve. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Good evening. If I might, just a couple of questions to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you Madam President. Madam President, like most deficit mitigation packages, as I read this, there are a number of adjustments. Some people call them sweeps. I see the animal population control account. I see ammunition certificate account, pistol permit account.

Would I be correct, through you, Madam President, with respect to these accounts, these are surpluses in these line items that are not necessarily directly related to someone making an application, so in the case of the ammunition certificate that is now required under our State Statutes, my recollection in this case it was money that was set aside for technical upgrades to accommodate that process so we never had a certificate requirement for ammunition purchases.

So through you, in those cases I guess it's a pistol permit, photographic costs, and ammunition certificate. Are those surpluses from those initial allocations as opposed to surpluses from an accumulation of applications? Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. And those would be lines -- item no. 47 and item 49 and my colleague accurately describes them and they are from a prior allocation having nothing to do with current permit costs of pistols. Through you, Madam President.


THE CHAIR
:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the gentlelady for her answer. And the other one which is just something that, you know, for almost as long as I've been in the legislature, primarily because when I was First Selectman, I think the legislature adopted this program which was the animal population control account.

It has historically run surpluses in this line item and it doesn't necessarily mean that by taking these funds people, when they adopt a dog, would not be able to avail themselves of these dollars and so I think, to the extent the gentlelady may know, would this be a surplus that still would allow that program to continue much like many of the others? It's probably an area that's got additional funds in it that will allow the program to continue but still allow us to try and manage this deficit at this time of the year. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and through you, that would be line item no. 51? Through you -- or item no. 51?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

I believe that's correct, Madam President.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Then that is exactly -- I would concur with Senator Miner's assessment of the animal population control line item. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the gentlelady for her responses. Madam President, with this is unfortunately one of those circumstances that we find ourselves in. I mean we don't -- we don't like being here. I think we find that we're at that point in the end of the year where we're trying to balance some of the other needs of the legislature and some of the leads of our constituents, and so in this case we more often than not do balance these accounts so I also rise in support of this mitigation package. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Good evening, Madam President. How are you?

THE CHAIR:

Great.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President, through you to the proponent of the --

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

It is relative to the hospital issue that you mentioned in your opening remarks and I think Senator Formica mentioned as well. I'd just like to clarify for the purposes of what this Bill does. The Governor's rescissions for May 10th did include a $ 2 million reduction to the hospital supplemental payment. Is that an accurate statement? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Through you, Madam President. That would be an accurate statement, yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. My understanding that the federal share approved by the federal government was more than what the legislature had anticipated. Is that also your understanding? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. That is accurate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. It is also my understanding that the State could not, even if it wanted to, reduce the payment to the hospital this fiscal year without modifying a State Plan Amendment with the federal government. Is that your understanding? Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. That is also accurate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And to date it's my understanding no such Amendment has been filed with respect to reducing any payment to the hospital by the State of Connecticut. Is that your understanding as well? Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. That is my understanding also.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank Senator Osten for her answers. The bottom line of this action, Madam President, is the Governor put the rescission in. It would have no negative effect on the hospitals because the money that they were receiving -- the hospital is receiving from the federal government, would keep them even. This would have been surplus money and that's the reason why the Governor and this legislature will continue on with the process of removing the $ 2 million from the budgetary requirement so, Madam President, I thank Senator Osten for her work. I thank Senator Formica for his work and all those who got together on Thursday night to put this together for today. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Seeing no objection, I would ask that this be put on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

There's an objection. Will call for roll call.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Roll call vote, then.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you call for 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 tallies.

CLERK:

Senate Bill 1059.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk -- I'm sorry, Majority Leader Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam President. Move for suspension of our rules for immediate transmittal to the House of Representatives.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Yes.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. If the Clerk can now please call on calendar page 49, calendar 546, House Bill 7323.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 49, calendar 546, House Bill No. 7323, AN ACT MAKING DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2017. There are amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Formica. Good evening again, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Good evening, Madam President. I move -- I move acceptance of the Emergency Certified Bill in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. Unlike the Mitigation Bill, the deficiency item manages line items within the budget. As we all know, budgets are an estimate when they're prepared in the beginning of the year and as we get toward the end of the year some line items just don't balance up and need to have a period of reconciliation and that's what this Deficiency Bill intends to do.

The agencies affected: The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Department of Developmental Services, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Office of Early Childhood, and the Public Defender's Services Commission all are affected by these line items that total $ 19,496,939.

To balance those, there is extra dollars in the State Comptroller Fringe Benefit Account, the State Employees' Health Service cost at $ 15 million, and the Retired State Employees Health Service cost at $ 4,496,939; balance combined together would offset the reconciliation of those accounts. Madam President, I think this is a good bipartisan opportunity to clean up this deficiency in concurrence with the House and I urge my colleagues to adopt. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and I appreciate working in a bipartisan basis with my Senate colleague and would urge also everyone in the circle to pass the Deficiency Bill that was passed in a bipartisan down in the House. I would just state for the record that there is no direct impact to the outyears from changes that are included in this Appropriations Bill and I would say that the -- that this will allow the Birth to Three Program to be funded and allow those providing those services to be paid out. I urge my colleagues to act in concurrence with the House and pass in a bipartisan basis. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, I guess I'll call for a roll call vote on this Bill. The machine will be open. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:


Senator Kennedy
. Senator Kennedy. Thank you. Will all -- all members have voted. All members have voted. Please -- the machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you call the tally?

CLERK:

House Bill 7323.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, for markings please. Madam President, before I move to that may I ask for suspension of the rules for immediate transmittal to the Governor, please?

THE CHAIR:


Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir
. Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On markings, please.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 48, calendar 303, Senate Bill 1014, Go. On calendar page 45, calendar 141, Senate Bill 287, Go. On calendar page 1, calendar 74, Senate Bill 772, Go. On calendar page 9, calendar 235, Senate Bill 874, Go. On calendar page 2, calendar 97, Senate Bill 918, Go. On calendar page 14, calendar 304, Senate Bill 1017, Go. On calendar page 3, calendar 116, Senate Bill 546, Go. On calendar page 10, calendar 241, Senate Bill 4, Go. On calendar page 13, calendar 286, Senate Bill 986, Go. On calendar page 10, calendar 244, Senate Bill 413, Go. On calendar page 48, calendar 309, Senate Bill 1033, Go. On calendar page 28, calendar 421, Senate Bill 623, Go. On calendar page 15, calendar 313, Senate Bill 985, Go. On calendar page 29, calendar 425, Senate Bill 734, Go.

Madam President, could the Senate stand at ease for a moment?

THE CHAIR:


Absolutely
. Senate will stand at ease.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar -- next one is calendar page 17, calendar 335, Senate Bill 941, Go. On calendar page 22, calendar 383, Senate Bill 366, Go. On calendar page 6, calendar 176, Senate Bill 889, Go. On calendar page 10, calendar 239, Senate Bill 959, Go. On calendar page 23, calendar 390, Senate Bill 1005, Go. And on calendar page 45 -- I'm sorry. Yes, on calendar page 45, calendar 156, Senate Bill 836, Go.

Madam President, if also can refer an item please?

THE CHAIR:


Please proceed, sir
.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 13, calendar 291, Senate Bill 644, I'd like to refer that item to the Finance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'd like to ask for immediate transmittal, please.

THE CHAIR:


So ordered, sir
.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Stand at ease please?

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease.

Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 13, calendar 291, Senate Bill 644, I think we'll just mark that Go. It'll be a Go A to Finance.

THE CHAIR:


Sorry, sir
.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

It'll be a Go A and then we'll -- I'll get up at that point and refer it to Finance.

THE CHAIR:

Okay. So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

If the Clerk can please call in that order, please.

THE CHAIR:


Mr
. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 48, calendar 303, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 1014, AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS REVISIONS AND ADDITIONS TO THE EDUCATION STATUTES. There is an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Good evening, Madam President. So nice to see you this evening.

THE CHAIR:


Same here, ma'am
.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark?

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Yes, Madam President. The Clerk has in his possession LCO No. 7652. I ask that it be called and I be granted leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:


Mr
. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7652, Senate A, offered by Senators Slossberg, Boucher, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:


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

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Yes, Madam President. This is various line changes to the underlying Bill which when comes to -- when comes to the full Bill I would prefer to explain it then. It will make a lot more sense so the Amendment here strikes a number of provisions that have fiscal impact. They are no longer in the Bill and makes some technical corrections.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Amendment? Will you remark further? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor please say Aye. Those opposed? The Motion carries. Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So on the main Bill, this is our standard Education Committee Various Revisions Bill that has a variety of different elements to it and addresses a number of things.

In particular, it extends our school security grant program so we can continue to help our communities address their school security needs. It creates a new out of state teacher permit that is consistent with our current Statutes. It extends the length of a resident teacher certificate from one year to two years to be consistent with Teach for America. It makes a number of specific -- a number of other changes as well. It adds to our pilot program, our private school transportation program that was so successful in East Haven -- will now be extended to a number of other communities who have requested the opportunity to participate. It extends private schools -- extending to private schools the applicant and employee background check requirements that currently public schools have, and makes various other changes to our education Statutes.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Senator Boucher. Good evening, ma'am.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Good evening, Madam President. Nice to see you here this evening. I stand in support of this particular Bill. It was well described. It makes the changes necessary and I think we all came to agreement on them and there were a few sections that were eliminated that might have been more problematic, so I think it's a Bill ready to go. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Senator Slosberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If there's no objection I'd ask this item be placed --

THE CHAIR:

There is an objection. Senator -- sorry, Senator Kelly, did you want to remark, sir? Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

With regards to Section 14, is that still in the Bill or has it been taken out?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly, can you tell what that is because everything would be renumbered again. Could you explain what Section 14 was at the time?

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

It had to deal with school nurses and having them go out into the community.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. That section has been removed due to the fiscal impact.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I have no further questions.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark any further? Will you remark further?

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Madam President, if there is no objection at this time I'd ask that this be placed on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, ma'am. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 45, calendar 141, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 287, AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE TESTING OF SHELLFISH AT ALTERNATIVE LAB FACILITIES.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Good evening, Madam President. 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 KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes. The Bill before us expands the number of laboratories capable of testing the safety of shellfish. Under current law the Department of Agriculture requires water testing and the testing of the flesh of shellfish for public safety; however, we only have one state lab in Milford and that has posed a problem for many of the shellfisherman in the eastern part of the Sound which is the reason that Senator Somers brought this issue to our attention and I would like to yield the floor to my colleague, Senator Somers, who can speak to the need for this Bill.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

I will, thank you, and good evening, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening. This Bill is designed to help our oyster industry, in particular in Southeastern Connecticut our shellfishermen, which is a booming industry now. Not only is it good for business but it's good for the environment as oysters filter the water. Ten years ago there were literally no oysters in the Mystic River and now there's over 30 million oysters in the Mystic River. So not only has it been a good business but it's actually been a good environmental prospect going forward.

The issue that we run into is that the laboratory in Milford is only open in certain hours and certain times which does not correspond necessarily to when you have to do your water sampling based on the tides. So we would like to provide some relief to our local shellfishermen to allow them to go to an FDA-cleared lab where they could do their testing, send it to the Department of Aquaculture under the Department of Agriculture, have the test report signed off, and be able to ship product.

They are not allowed to ship product until the testing has actually happened and what happens sometimes is if you happen to have to do a water sample, let's say on a Thursday and it's a holiday weekend, you are not allowed to ship any product until you get your test results back. So there have been times in the past where our oystermen have had to wait weeks to be able to ship product which is unacceptable and we need to change the way we do things here in Connecticut.

They are also down a microbiologist in the laboratory. I'm not sure with our current financial situation if that position will be replaced so we need to provide them some relief or they will lose business, they will have to lay people off, and we have an opportunity here in Connecticut to become really the oyster capital of New England and I hope that you will help me and support this Bill. Thank you.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Senator Somers. Will you remark? Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):


Thank you, Madam President
. I think the prior two speakers have pretty much summed up the intent of the Bill. The issue for all of us, I think, last year was that we have oyster fishermen and women that are kind of sitting on the sidelines depending on when that event occurred.

Markets outside the State of Connecticut aren't sitting on the sidelines. They're delivering product into Connecticut and into other markets that we could have been delivering product into. So that's really the genesis of this Bill, is timing, providing our men and women the same opportunity that other states have and I would urge the Chamber to support the Bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark? Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I, too, rise in support of this Bill that would provide an opportunity of choice for our great oyster harvesters throughout the state. Currently we all know the issue on traveling on I-95 during the course of a heavy July day. It's very difficult and if you are harvesting shellfish in the eastern part of the state and then having to drive to the only testing facility down in the western part of the state, Milford, it could take a long period of time to traverse that highway when we could have an opportunity to make that a little bit easier for our oystermen and provide an opportunity to grow this industry which I think is on the verge of really being a superb economic opportunity for the State of Connecticut. So as this will provide a list and then we'll provide the list on the website for the Department of Agriculture, I think this is a good first step to moving forward in increasing the opportunity for our oystermen. So thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If there's no objection by anybody in the circle, I would ask that this item be placed on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

On page 1, calendar 74, Senate Bill No. 772, AN ACT REQUIRING EMERGENCY GENERATORS IN CERTAIN HOUSING FOR THE ELDERLY. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Well, good evening, Madam President. Madam President, I move to accept this as Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Absolutely, Madam President. Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of LCO Amendment No. 6915.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you please call the Amendment?

CLERK:

LCO No. 6915, Senate A, offered by Senators Looney, Duff, Doyle, Slossberg, Gerratana, Winfield, and McCrory.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

I move the Amend --

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the Amendment limits electrical generators requirement to certain housing projects and municipalities of a specific size, at least 15 stories in height with age restricted dwelling, the Amendment will, therefore, limit the cost noted in the underlying Bill to New Haven Housing Authority based on the current population. I move the Amendment --

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on Senate A? Will you remark further on Senate A? Senator Markley.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for a question for the proponent of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Through you, Madam President. I wonder on what -- which municipalities will ultimately affected by this Bill as amended? I guess I would ask that question first. Are there any specific towns, cities, or projects that fall under this? Is there one, many, or how many?

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. This Amendment really pertains to the City of New Haven. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Markley.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you for that answer. I guess I would ask the proponent of the Amendment if in fact there's a need for the generator backup at elderly housing projects why we're limiting it to projects in the City of New Haven? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, last year there was -- during the summer there was a huge -- we had a wave, heating wave where this particular housing unit, the generators failed the senior citizens in that community and they were out of electricity for a number of hours. Therefore, we're looking to seek relief for those individuals in that particular housing unit and, therefore, that was the only place that something like this was limited to so, therefore, we want to provide some support. I have the University -- I mean I have New Haven Housing Authority work on this particular issue. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Markley.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and thank you to the Senator for those answers and if I have further questions I'll ask them on the underlying Bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir, very much. Sorry, Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you, I have a few questions to the proponent of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you very much. This Amendment appears to only apply to privately owned multifamily housing. Was there a policy reason for that? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

No, no, no specifically, Madam President. It was just -- actually these units are managed by the Housing Authority of New Haven. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Madam President, I didn't quite get that answer because there was a lot of noise occurring behind me.

THE CHAIR:

I'd ask people in the Chamber to please lower their voices. There's debate going on between Senator Kelly and Senator McCrory and Senator Kelly was having problems hearing so if you keep your conversations outside of the Chamber. Senator McCrory, would you answer?

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Yes, Madam President. The units are managed by the New Haven Housing Authority. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

So this is managed -- although it's privately owned, it's privately owned by the New Haven Housing Authority? Do I have that correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Yes, Madam President. Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Does this, I'm gonna say qualify for federal housing residents and tenants? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory. Can you repeat that again? I'm sorry, Senator Kelly, it was hard for me to hear so I'm sure it was hard for Senator McCrory to hear.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Sure, Madam President. Does the facility have individuals that receive federal financing and these individuals are either tenants or residents? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. Yes.

THE CHAIR:


Senator Kelly
.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

And through you, Madam President. Are the -- I see that the Amendment is restricted to individuals by -- by age. Could we define what that age is? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Yes, Madam President. Senior -- senior -- senior citizens of age 62 and over. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Me sir. Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Are there any individuals under 62 who qualify for housing and residency in the complex? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm not quite sure if there's some individuals under the age of 62, but it's specifically designed for those who are seniors. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

It appears from the language of the Bill that it's specific to one particular housing pro -- development. If there are individuals under the age of 18 that rent, would that disqualify them from falling under this Amendment? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. I don't think there's any individuals under the age of 18 but I don't -- this would not disqualify those individuals who are living in this dwelling from this ability. Thank you. Through you, Madam Speaker -- Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

That's okay. Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. As I understand housing and in particular with regards to senior housing, there are some issues with both senior housing as well as individuals who are disabled and less than 62 and in those instances they all live in the same complex. My question here isn't whether or not people who are 62 or older would qualify for this because I don't think it's limited to individuals. It's actually limited to a certain complex and, therefore, my question is if there are individuals under 62, would that eliminate the purpose of the Bill going to that complex? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Sorry. Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. No.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Okay. So that wouldn't -- so then age is more inclusive than just over 62? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

From my understanding -- through you, Madam President. Through my understanding, the majority -- the vast majority of the individuals that live in this complex are over the age of 62 and if there are some individuals that are under the age of 62 that would not limit it. Through you, Madam Speaker. I mean Madam President, I'm sorry.

THE CHAIR:

That's okay. Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you very much. I thank the Senator for his answers and I have no further questions. Thank you very much.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Kelly. Will you remark further? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Through you, a couple of questions to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much. I would be concerned about other housing environments that don't fit within this qualification. Is it the Senator's intention in the future to require emergency generators in all housing authorities that provide services to seniors and the disable? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. This particular Bill doesn't address all housing authorities or those individual housing units with senior citizens, but this specifically was just for the one in New Haven, but if we want to do something like that in the future there is something that we can work on like that, maybe another Bill. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

I'm sorry, Madam President, I didn't hear the very tail end of what he said. I apologize.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory, would you repeat, sir?

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

So, yes, I was saying if -- this doesn't pertain to all housing units for seniors but it specifically ideal located for the one in New Haven, but if it's something like that we would like to see a policy for our state moving forward maybe that's something we can do in another Bill. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I look forward to working with my colleague on that. Based on the fact that this state has seen a number of long-term outages, I think that this is something that should happen in housing authorities and wherever there are seniors and the disabled population makes it very difficult if we have to move people out of where they live and where they're most comfortable when they're in these types of situations, and put a Bill in before that's passed out of Planning and Development and some other committees, but never been successful in getting the funding and I would like to see us come up with a policy that requires emergency generators to be put in all new structures and renovating structures to make sure that we are, at a minimum, providing heat and enough electricity in these housing environments to satisfy any medical needs. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I just rise to comment briefly on the Bill. I first want to thank my colleague, Senator McCrory, for his work on this Amendment and the underlying Bill, and I want to associate myself with the comments of Senator Osten.

Now I understand why the Amendment that's before us gives this Bill a much more narrow focus. I am, however, disappointed to see that we aren't trying to have these sorts of protections in place for senior housing of a wider variety and that we're not ensuring that in times of crisis these kinds of generators are available to maintain power for heating and elevators and other critical equipment that's necessary in these complexes.

It's too bad that this isn't being applied to towns of all sizes. I know many of us in this circle have been involved in the aftermath of several storms. I know during Hurricane Irene there was -- there were towns in my district at the time that had power out for 5, 6, 7, 8 days, and there were many emergencies with generators in facilities that house seniors and I'm glad we're moving forward with some proposal, but I wish this sort of protection was being given to seniors no matter what size the municipality that they live in and I hope in the future, as Senator Osten suggested, that we can find a solution that will protect seniors in housing of all types in all size communities. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, to the proponent of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, it's my understanding that the unit for the facility that this is gonna pertain to has five buildings. Is that your understanding? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Yes, Madam President. Yes. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And it's also my understanding that these five units are subsidized rent-controlled units. Is that also the Senator's understanding? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Yes. Through you, Madam President. Absolutely.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you and, Madam President, through you, the cost for putting in this generator for five units, which according to the Amendment, would -- the generator that would be hooked up to, number one, elevators; number two, water; number three, electricity; number four, heat; number five, lights. Do you have an understanding of what that total cost would be per unit for this to take place? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. The cost is estimated to be about $ 350 thousand. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And that cost of $ 350 thousand, if I understood the answer correctly, is that per building or is that for the one generator? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. That would be the total cost.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

So it's your understanding that it's $ 350 thousand for one generator. Will that include hooking up all of the units and the elevator and the items that the Bill discussed? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. I believe they already have one for the elevators so the cost would be associated with the other four areas of the project. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And through you, Madam President. Would this generator that's hooked up to the elevators be the same generator that's extended to the rest of the facility or are these new generators for the rest of the facility? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

I believe they'll be hooked up with the one that's already associated with the elevator. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And do you understand whether or not that generator that's on site has the capacity to take on the elevator currently and all the electricity and all the heating and all of the lights? Do you have an understanding whether or not that is accurate? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. Yes, the study that was associated with this, the work they've been doing over the last six months indicated that that'll be -- that'll be -- the cost will be accurate to service the needs of this particular project. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the Senator for -- well, let me just ask him to answer another question. Do you know of any economic relief that the owner can receive, since it's fixed income, to help pay for this additional cost? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

I'm not aware of any cost -- I mean not any resources that the Housing Authority would be afforded but it is known that this project will cost $ 350 thousand. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And is there a date certain for which they have to hook up all this electricity that you so describe? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. There is no date specifically identified in the Bill but it is the hope that by -- by the summer that this will be completed. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And through you, Madam President. Number one, if they don't do what this Bill suggests is there a remedy in the Statute that would enforce the provision of the Statute? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. There's no remedy in here in this particular Statute that will require them to do that but the hopes is the fact that because of what happened last summer we wouldn't want to see a repeat occurrence so I would expect that they'll do what is necessary for them to get it done by this summer. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, as I understand the notes on the Bill, it talks about $ 350 thousand per building, not total. Is that my correct understanding of the note located in the Amendment by OFA? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

One second, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

The Senate will come back to order. Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, OFA's estimate is $ 350 thousand per building but I don't -- quite sure they took into account that one of these generators have already been associated with the elevator so OFA is saved $ 350 thousand so I'll leave it at that. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

So if it's $ 350 thousand times five buildings, I'll just it's a million five, and that's just for the cost for the five generators at $ 350 a generator and the fuel, but that doesn't, as I understand it, include the hookup charge with all the electrical work that has to be done. Does the good Senator agree with that statement? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. I will agree with $ 350 thousand and, again, OFA did not take into account that a generator is already set in place for the elevators so, therefore, I will assume that it would cost a little more than $ 350 thousand but I don't have an exact number. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Well in that case would the good Senator also agree with me that OFA doesn't know whether the existing Senate -- the existing generator has the capacity currently on site to be expanded to take other things into account besides the elevators? So assuming it does have this generator, there's no knowledge by anyone whether or not that generator is at its capacity with the elevator such that when you add other things it may cost a heck of a lot more. Is that a fair statement? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Through you, Madam President. It's safe to assume that we don't know exactly what the generator that's already in the building has the capacity of so it's safe to assume that it would cost some more. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I don't mean to put the good Senator on the spot but I thank him for his honest answers. Madam President, here's the issue. The issue is very simple. First of all, the effective date of this is October 17, 2017.

That means the low income folks that live in that building, if the generator didn't go in -- I don't know, maybe they have to be removed from the building, because we said by this date you shall have the generators in the building. Where are they gonna go? You're talking 1,400 people; 1,400 people are in that building now and by October 1st, the effective date, you must have a generator. If you don't have it you violate the Statute. Do you remove them and where do they go?

Bella Vista has been around forever. That's the project we're talking about. Bella Vista has been around forever. I understand the problem and the intentions of Senator Looney's Bill. I appreciate that, I really do. There was a fire, the elevator was out of service and there's a problem.

But here's the issue. We don't have enough housing in this state for low income folks. We don't. This one's been forever and we've got it, and now we've got someone who's operating a project that was built in the 60s or 50s -- well actually most of it was built in the 60s and then they added a couple buildings recently, and we're gonna tell a person who has a fixed income by us, a fixed rate of return by us, that you can have to put in $ 1. 5 million into this project by October 1st, which doesn't include hookup.

I can tell you I bought a generation -- generator for my business. At $ 350 thousand, is the cost of the generator, maybe not for the building this size, I think it's gonna be more. Then you gotta build a pad 'cause it's gotta sit on a pad. Then you gotta run electricity under the ground. And if there's a generator on site for the elevator that's all that generator capacity is probably for 'cause you're not gonna do it for the whole building. This is gonna run 1,400 units.

So you ask why don't we have enough housing in this state? Because when the state gets involved and a building is built and then we change the rules and the person doesn't have the resources to get $ 1. 5 million in six months people say I'm not gonna do the housing through CHFA. I'm not gonna do the housing through the State of Connecticut because they change the rules midway through the project and in this case at the very end go back and change the rules.

I understand why the Bill was put forward. I get it. Prospectively you want to do that, fair game. Why? 'Cause when you do it prospectively the cost of that generator is built into the cost of construction which is built into the budget that you get from the State of Connecticut and the loans you receive. Prospectively I will sign up for this. Retroactively, we're hurting ourselves. We're shooting ourselves in the foot.

Remember when we talked about this Bill? Predictability, stability. Predictability and stability. By doing this we take away predictability for those who want to partner up with the state to do good things like low income housing, and stability because we put these projects at risk. He can't go up on the rents. It's gotta come out of his pocket or the people get evicted. That isn't the deal we entered into. That is not what this contract says. That's the problem.

I think it's good with good reasoning. I understand Senator Looney's position and as stated by Senator McCrory. I understand it. But we're sending the wrong message. So Madam President, I vote against the Amendment because I just think this is not the right way to go about it. Prospectively, great. Retroactively, telling someone dig into your pocket, at least $ 1. 5 million and three -- I can't do the math that quickly -- let's say six months from now is a short period of time to find $ 1. 5 million in this economy with a fixed income on the building. I don't know what his mortgages are, but fixed income on this, Madam President, I will not be able to support this Amendment. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Good evening, Madam President. Madam President, speaking in support of the Amendment, first I want to thank Senator McCrory for his committee, for his hard work in developing this and bringing it out. In communications with the City of New Haven have indicated they have been in communication with the officials of Bella Vista who have not expressed the sense that this project would be impossible for them to manage or -- or sustain.

What happened was a few years ago there was a fire and power outage in the building and because each of the units, each of the five units, is at least 15 stories high there was a very significant health and safety hazard when the power was out. Many elderly and frail people were stranded in the upper floors of those buildings, were unable to get down, and a number of cases for a number of days and there was severe concern about many of these residents because they are with severe and complex medical conditions, in some cases needing electrical equipment, monitors, and things of that nature.

So since that time the management at Bella Vista has installed some generators capable of powering one out of four elevators in each of the buildings and there are four elevators in each building, and there is now a generator in one of the four in each building. But they don't provide power to any of the units which would be able to power medical equipment like ventilators or monitors that many of the residents need.

In some other -- in some other complexes emergency generators are wired to power, in addition to elevators, one outlet in each unit for critical medical equipment and were Bella Vista wired this way patients in need of medical support would not need to be relocated during emergencies as has been the case in the past, saving time and relocation costs.

The concern here is the nature of these buildings because they are high-rises that raise particular safety concerns for the residents who cannot easily get out in the event of an emergency and are dependent upon those elevators because many are frail or disabled so the city -- the Housing Authority has been in discussion with the management of the company that owns the buildings and the city has seemed to indicate that there is a working relationship there toward getting this done.

So I certainly agree with the comments of Senator Osten and Senator Flexer that ideally we should make sure that generators are in all buildings where they might be necessary for safety and health reasons. T he reason for this one in particular is because we've already had a crisis in that particular building a few years ago and the nature of that crisis was exacerbated by the fact that these were high-rise buildings at least 15 stories high; in a few cases 18 or 19 stories.

So that's the reason and I would think that once the generators are installed this would make Bella Vista an even more attractive place to be, that there will be more people looking to -- to live there. There will be fewer vacancies and it will be something that will enhance the value of the property for the owners as well. So I would urge adoption of the Amendment and would thank Senator McCrory for his advocacy.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Mr. Clerk, I 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 has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Would you check the board please and call up somebody 'cause the votes have disappeared, though I have them. I can take care of it. We're still waiting for Senator Leone.

The Senate will stand at ease. At this point we're having some flashing lights on your desks, though I can tell you who's winning this battle but I can't do it right now 'cause I'm still waiting for one more Senator to come. I can do that for you, thank you. I was the Controller. Should have stayed there.

Getting a little bit funny up here even. I have to tell you we are gonna be standing at ease waiting for the mechanics to come.

Senator Boucher. Senator Boucher, Senator Miner, Miner, do you want to vote again, please? Senator Fasano, you can't -- oh, that's a nice vote, Senator Fasano, but I don't think you'd like it.

Senator Boucher has to come back to vote, please. This is bad. This is not working. The machines are not working so we are gonna stand at ease and check this out because we have Senator McCrory voting against his own Amendment.

We got a problem with the machines. The Senate will stand at ease and this vote count will not be taken right now.

We're gonna ask for a second roll call vote. The machine had been voided of all votes so it is a vote on Senate A again. Mr. Clerk, will you call the tally? The machine is open. I mean call the vote.

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley, can you vote again, please? You have not shown up on the -- on the screen. Senator Hartley, want to try it one more time? Gentlemen, Senator Hartley's button is not working. Okay, it has -- it is now working.

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

CLERK:

On Senate Amendment Schedule A.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 18

Those voting Nay 18

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry, the Bill has passed. The Amendment has passed. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

First of all, Madam President, I do find it extremely ironic that we're talking about generators and electricity and we can't get the board to work.

THE CHAIR:

Is it something we said, sir?

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

I don't know. But I do rise because I'm gonna go back to my first years in the Senate when I was Ranking Member on Aging and serving with the good Senator Edith Prague from the 19th that this issue of electric or generators came to be and it was in the wake of San -- Hurricaine Sandy and that there were issues across the State of Connecticut and that is why every year I put a Bill in to do this.

But we have to do when we look at this is not only look at the need but how is it going to be funded. How are we going to deliver these services to people in need to make sure that seniors and people that live in this type of housing have the essential services that they deserve. And that's always been our problem is how on a state level can we afford to do that. And in this type of budget it's very difficult because we don't have the money because of decisions that are made here in Hartford.

But one of the things that you hear a recurring theme, and I heard it all weekend long when I went out to the various, you know, gatherings on Memorial Day weekend, about all the burden we place not only on local towns and our cities but also on jobs in the State of Connecticut. When the State of Connecticut wants something done we love to pass the buck but we don't put our money where our mouth is when we have the public policies.

That's the type of Connecticut that I'd like to see. The type of Connecticut that when it says something is necessary and important that we actually back it up with the money to do so, not to just pass the buck onto somebody and say, you know what, this is a good cause and it's so good it's gonna cost you $ 1. 5 million and you gotta come up with that in a couple months. That's not the kind of Connecticut I want to live but that's what we're doing here, is we're hijacking a very good idea, something that I think is necessary in senior housing, but it's done in a manner where we're not putting the money behind it.

And it shouldn't just be one place in the State of Connecticut. It should be across the State of Connecticut. But this is too narrowly tailored and it's not the intent of the type of Bills that I've requested and that I would like to see pass. Not only passed out of Aging -- but pass through the Senate, the House, and signed by the Governor.

As a result, this Bill doesn't get us there. It passes the buck and it's narrowly tailored to one place in one city. And for those reasons I cannot support this.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. 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? The machine is open.

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

Senator Formica, have you voted, sir? I don't have a -- it's not working.

Senator Formica, would you please stand and give your vote verbally so that we can record it on the screen? You are the only one, sir, except for me.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for the purpose of voting.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir. In which way would you like to vote, sir?

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

I vote No.

THE CHAIR:

Okay. At this time I will -- I can still close it and will still show that it's an 18/18 -- the machine is closed and it will show what you say, they said. There you go, sir.

Now though we had a lot of discussion today, I do believe it has to be done so I'm going to say I'm voting in the affirmative so the Bill passes 19/18.

I have asked for a -- the Senate will stand at ease so they can fix the machine.

The Senate now -- let me explain. We are gonna call the Senate back into order. There will not be any markings on the board because they are fixing the machine. We will have time to debate and discuss the Bills as we go. If the machine isn't quite ready at the time we will have to do a voice vote, standing voice vote or a standing something vote. So at this time I'm going to ask -- Mr. Clerk, is it possible for you to get the Bills to call, Mr. Clerk? Do you have the Bills that you can call? Please proceed, then, sir.

CLERK:

On page 9, calendar 235, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 874, AN ACT REQUIRING ELECTRONIC NOTIFICATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES.

THE CHAIR:

Oh, Senator Moore. Good evening, ma'am.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark?

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Yes, thank you. This Bill requires the Department of Social Services to release new guidelines contained in its provider bulletins ten days before the implementation if the guidelines are not being adopted as regulation. DSS must release the guidelines to all appropriate provider types in the Department's provider enrollment system that are formal recipients of bulletins and are affected by the state -- new guidelines as determined by the Department and any provider or person who has signed up to receive electronic notification a provider bulletin on the website maintained by or for DSS.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Thank you, Madam President. Without objection, I ask that this be placed on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, ma'am.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you call the next Bill?

CLERK:

On page 2, calendar 97, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 918, AN ACT CONCERNING A MUNICIPAL OPTION PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR GOLD STAR PARENTS AND SPOUSES. There is an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer. Good evening, ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, ma'am?

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the Bill in front of us frankly is really appropriate for us to be taking up today. Many of us over the last several days have taken time to mark Memorial Day, give gratitude and thanks to the people who have served our nation in the armed forces and pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Starting last Thursday, Madam President, with the wonderful ceremony that you led for the Wall of Honor and throughout our Senate districts over the course of the past weekend and today on the original Memorial Day, and what my father would call the real Memorial Day, it's very appropriate that we're considering this Bill before us that would give additional municipal options for property tax exemptions for Gold Star parents and spouses.

Gold Star parents and spouses are the parents and spouses of those people in our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice and this Bill before us today would allow municipalities to provide a property tax exemption to a service member who was killed in action while performing active duty military service.

This Bill had broad support in the Veterans' Affairs Committee. I was proud to work on this Bill with my Co-Chair, Senator Martin, and I hope that the Chamber will support it.

Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of an Amendment, LCO 7588. I would 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 No. 7588, Senate A, offered by Senators Looney, Duff, Doyle, Slossberg, Gerratana, Winfield, and Flexer.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Yes. Madam President, the Amendment that's before us was drafted in response to a concern from the Legislative Commissioner's Office. This Amendment ensures that the provisions of this Bill are consistent with existing Statutes concerning similar property tax exemptions and I hope that the Chamber will support this Amendment. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Amendment? Senator Martin. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Good evening, Madam President. You know yesterday, Madam President, I had the honor to attend a ceremony in the town of Plainville that unveiled a beautiful monument that was dedicated to the -- to the mothers and families of those servicemen and women who gave their lives, and it was actually they -- I believe one of the first Gold Star monuments here in the State of Connecticut and, you know, we hear a lot -- we hear a lot on Memorial Day about the soldiers who serve our country and protect our freedoms and we don't always think about the soldiers' families and how they serve our country.

When a young man or a young woman joins the military their whole family actually joins, you know, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers and sisters, and their children, and they all become part of that military family which entails including sacrifices that they have to make. There's no pain quite like losing -- the loss of a child.

When they're born, you know, we have so many hopes and dreams for them and their future. We're proud of their every achievement and when they join the branch -- a branch of the military we're proud that they've decided to serve our country. The families of our nation's service members know there is the possibility that every time that they're deployed that they may not come home. Even with that knowledge, there's nothing that prepares a family for the call or that knock on the front door.

So since the monument was to honor the Gold Star parents and their sacrifice for our country and for our freedom, like that monument that I attended -- that dedication yesterday, in a small -- my minuscule way this Bill provides some kind of recognition, honor, and thank you to the families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice.

So I urge my colleagues support the Amendment and the underlying Bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will 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 Senate A please say Aye. Opposed? Senate A is adopted. We're on to the Bill now. Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Madam President, if there is no objection, I would move that we place this item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, ma'am. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 14, calendar 304, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 1017, AN ACT CONCERNING UNSUBSTANTIATED ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT BY SCHOOL EMPLOYEES.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher. Good evening again, ma'am.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

The Bill.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

-- Substitute Senate Bill 76 -- no, excuse me, 1017.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark, ma'am?

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. Madam President, this Bill generally talks about the -- an unsubstantiated claim against a teacher and upon a completion of an investigation of that report that a child has been abused or neglected by school employee, the Commissioner of Children and Families finds that such an abuse or neglect is unsubstantiated the Commissioner shall notify the school employee and the employee's superintendent, the employee school and school district of his or her findings and upon receipt of that would essentially remove any references to the report.

Madam President, I move passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Ma'am, he did.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Oh, that's right. Okay. Very, very good. Okay. May I further explain this Substitute Bill to our colleagues here in the Senate?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you. This is a Bill that actually has come before the Senate a couple of times already. In fact, just a year ago, in fact, and passed unanimously through the House and Senate. There was some concern on the part of the administration and as a result because of those concerns it was vetoed. And this year there was a great deal of effort put into making sure that those concerns were addressed in this language.

It does so by putting into Section 2 of this Bill that if a finding by the Commissioner of Children and Families that a report of abuse or neglect is unsubstantiated shall -- it shall not prohibit the Department of Education or a local and regional Board of Education from either conducting for purposes of relating to professional certification or employment an investigation of the conduct of a school employee who is the subject of such unsubstantiated reported abuse or neglect, and also upon completion of such investigation taking action with respect to such employee's employment, professional certification, authorization, or permit including but not limited to actions with respect to discipline, salary, promotion, transfer, demotion, retention, or continuance of employment, termination of employment, or any right or privilege related to the employment provided such unsubstantiated report of abuse or neglect shall not be the sole basis for an action related to a school employer -- employee's employment, professional certification, and authorization or permit.

As you can see, there was a lot of effort put into language that would keep in the purview of the Board of Education and the local district to continuing to pursue if there's an -- a situation that is inappropriate or they feel is inappropriate within the classroom or in that school. However, it was shown many times by those that came forward that talked about this issue that an individual teacher, once she learns of the fact that there has been an allegation against them, is frequently devastated about such allegation and getting a label with the attendant consequences that can come out of nowhere.

These educators that have chosen this noble profession to help children and to have their spotless reputation called into question for no reason at all is inconceivable and contrary to the system of fairness. And that is why this issue has been brought before us a couple of times and why it was given serious consideration, why it passed the Education Committee, the House, and Senate previously.

It is a difficult profession more and more. I had a lovely kindergarten teacher that I've known for over 30 years retire recently who said to me, "Senator Boucher, it has changed. The environment in which I work at" -- and this is one of the loveliest person you would ever meet -- said, "It has become so hostile so often that we feel under siege at times that it has become so litigious anymore" and that is a -- that is a -- that is a kindergarten teacher.

One of the teachers that talked to us about their circumstances was a teacher in our vo-technical schools that gave such compelling testimony that ten years after this incident occurred to them when they were a first-time teacher when some students that did not want to take on classroom responsibility had an incident and an accusation was made that was completely untrue, the person had to defend themselves against these allegations that were false and malicious and they had no tenure protection at the time. They were very fortunate that the school and their union stood behind them and when there were unsubstantiated they were able to continue to teach and the decade that followed showed no similar accusation, but yet in their personal records it was still there. And it was very moving to hear that testimony when this teacher was brought to tears just thinking about what they went through those many years ago.

The good news is in this. It also continues, though, to protect our children because that -- that claim, that unsubstantiated claim, still resides within the Department of Children and Families so if there's further an incident there is a record that is maintained to make sure that there's no trend that has occurred and as you heard from the language in this particular rendition of this Bill there's a tremendous amount of leeway and freedom on the local School Board to certainly deal with a situation in a classroom that they're not comfortable with.

And I think that that should go a long way to preventing this Bill if it goes through, and I hope it does unanimously like it did before without these protections, that at this point in juncture it wouldn't be something that would be vetoed at the Governor's level. But today when teaching has become more and more difficult, when the classroom environment is more di -- and it's not just in difficult school systems in inner cities. It's in our suburban communities where too often many of my teachers find that there are parents that are quick to litigate and not consider the teacher's point of view, but oftentimes will defend legally and in courts indefensible behavior on the part of their own children. Those are rare, thank goodness, but it does occur with more frequency and it has become a difficult environment.

Teachers oftentimes don't get the respect that they deserve and they work in an increasingly more difficult environment. So I think that we worked really hard to make this Bill a good one for everybody concerned and that on balance it takes both sides in protecting children and also, you know, protecting teachers as well.

So for that purpose I certainly know that this is going to be a roll call vote, Madam President, and I hope that my colleagues would vote in support.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Through you, a couple of questions to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, through you, my good colleague spent some time talking about a case and, through you, in that case was not that school employees supported by both the union and the administration, through you --

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Yes, through you. That teacher was heartened to be defended even though they were a first-time teacher and didn't have the tenure protection that many others would, but they were supported and were allowed to continue with their career.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and through you. In that case the teacher did not need tenure protection because through an assessment by both the administration and the union the teacher was not held accountable for false or, as my colleague described, malicious accusations. Through you, program.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I believe that the teacher that testified testified that they had to defend themselves against allegations that they considered false and malicious as the new teacher. However, they were heartened that they were able to continue their career but it hurt them terribly because even though those claims were unsubstantiated their personnel files -- the documents regarding the accusations remained. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and Madam President, through you. So the employee was heartened that they were supported by both the administration and her -- his or her union yet felt that having that fact in their record that they were cleared of an accusation, not only found not to be unsubstantiated but apparently cleared of that accusation, that they felt that that should not be in their file? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Yes. The reason that it concerned them, and they were fairly emotional about this, they felt that if someone for some reason filed an FOI request on their file, all the documents that refer to the report would be there and that is what concerned them and lingered and cast a shadow over them over those many years. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and through you. Again, in the same file would it say that the teacher was cleared of any accusations? Through you, Madam President, if my colleague knows.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Madam President, I don't know that for a fact. I would hope that that certainly would be the case. I would hope that that would be the practice. I believe that they were concerned that it would raise some -- some doubts in whoever was taking a look at it and I think that given that a personnel file is used for many reasons that the fact that it remains with the Department of Children and Families would be substantial enough to allay anyone's concerns that there could be a record just in the event in some other situation there might be a pattern that needed to be pursued. But for this teacher the fact that it was in their personnel file was enough to cause them a great deal of -- of -- of concern of emotional distress. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Moving on because quite frankly I think if it said she's cleared -- she or he is cleared, then I think that that would provide them with some relief. But through you, if an employee that is a certified employee moves from school A to school C and commits the same sort of abuse how is the school administration going to know of the previous allegation? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator -- Senator Boucher, sorry.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I believe that, again, any record brought to the Department of Children and Families is kept on record and it would be there and I believe that -- that this does not, as I said, does not preclude the local Board of Education, the superintendent, the building -- the principal and others from continuing to make note of a person's behavior with regards to discipline, with regards to the school climate, possibly the class climate. Any concerns that they might have with that individual's behavior would continue to be in the personnel file.

The only -- the only caveat would be that -- that the unsubstantiated report would not be the sole purpose of action against the school employee's employment, professional certification, authorization, or permit. Through you, Madam President. So any other negative action would certainly continue to be in the personnel file. It would not expunge everything. It is just that particular incident that was proven to be unsubstantiated and raised to a very serious level. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Through you, Madam President. I think that the term unsubstantiated does not mean that it's proven to not have happened. It just means that there's a lack of enough information to substantiate. Being unsubstantiated does not negate the fact that an abuse could have occurred but I would go back to the -- where the allegations are kept.

If the allegations are kept at the Department of Children and Family and kept in the office where school A is and they move to the other end of the state to school C, again, how is that administration gonna know about the previous allegation of abuse to -- that -- that would lead to showing a pattern of bad behavior? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, first of all, I would maybe challenge the way that this was phrased that somehow that for some reason there is -- seems to be the thought that because an unsubstantiated claim of abuse or neglect has been proven unfounded, that somehow that that abuse and neglect did occur, and I would challenge that thinking right now because in fact this kind of charge is taken very, very seriously. This is not just passed over. The Department of Children and Families and the schools, because of the litigious nature of something like this and about the concern about the safety of a student, would be taken very seriously and not lightly be able to be proved unsubstantiated.

If it's unsubstantiated it means that it was false. This was a false accusation and as such shouldn't that particular -- it's a criminal act in fact. But if that's not true then it should not be in the record. However, this clearly states in Section 2 that any finding by the Commissioner of Children and Families that as a report or abuse is unsubstantiated shall not prohibit the Department of Education or the local or regional Board of Education from conducting for purposes related to professional certification or employment investigation of their own of the conduct of the school employee who is the subject of such unsubstantiated report of abuse or neglect, or upon completion of such investigation taking action with respect to such school employee's -- their employment, which means of course it would be in their record there at the local school, their professional certification, authorization or permit including but not limited to actions with respect to discipline, with respect to their salary, promotion, transfer, by the way, which is your concern, I believe, demotion, retention, or continuance of employment including being fired, termination of employment, or any right or privilege related to employment provided that this unsubstantiated report of abuse and neglect should not be the sole purpose because it was just proven unfounded by the Department of Children and Families for an action related to their employment and so on.

So with an abundance of caution, this language was put in this Bill just to make sure that concerns that were just expressed were addressed. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, through you. I believe my good colleague is in error when she said unsubstantiated means unfounded. Unsubstantiated means that the -- the facts of the case don't have enough wherewithal to support it. Unfounded means that the -- that the allegations were cleared. We're talking two different things here so I go back to the unsubstantiated piece.

Unsubstantiated is not the same thing as clearing someone of a bad action. Unsubstantiated means by a term of art that -- that there were -- that there was not enough proof or the child was in a way unable to explain what happened to them. Those are things that are different in nature and I go back to if the Department of Children and Families has an unsubstantiated case of abuse in office A and the employee moves to another school outside of that regional area for the Department of Children and Families, how is the next administration going to know if there is a pattern of abuse that are -- that is in a way putting the children in the next school, and we have passed legislation here in this circle before that has ultimately been signed by the Governor saying that we could not move problematic employees from spot to spot without showing what those problems were.

So this is in effect negating some of the laws that we have passed providing protections to children so, again, two different things, unfounded and unsubstantiated, by a term of art and moving people around to essentially in effect disguise or hide possible allegations of abuse and not allow administrations to know if they are receiving an employee that may be problematic are concerns for me and I understand that we don't want to have employees bear the burden of unfounded or false or malicious claims, but that is not the same thing as unsubstantiated and I get concerned that we're moving this in a direction that may not be where we want to be on how we would handle problematic, possibly problematic, employees and for those reasons, and I may have more questions as we debate the issue, for those reasons as we stand today I cannot support the Bill.

I understand the work that people have put into it but as of this minute I feel that if we had changed these terms to unfounded or allegations of which someone was cleared because they were determined to be false or malicious, but unsubstantiated is a totally different legal term of employment and I am concerned with that and so I -- while I appreciate my good colleague's passion on education and I actually don't know anybody that's more passionate about education than her, I do have a problem with this Bill and I unfortunately cannot support it and I apologize. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. Madam President, I also -- preface my remarks as well and associate myself with Senator Osten's questions with regard to this issue. I know this Bill has been voted on in the past, has been vetoed by the Governor, and certainly I think any of us respect the teachers in our state and have supported them tremendously through the work we've done in this circle and we've done in a very bipartisan basis and myself, as a former long-term substitute teacher many, many, many years ago getting out of college, understand some of the dynamics that are in our school systems these days, but I -- I do share some concerns as well with regard to this particular issue and thought that I would also try and see if I can understand this a little bit as well.

The -- Senator Osten had talked about the word unsubstantiated which was a point of the main -- I think the main thrust of -- of this particular legislation and the State Department of Education had mentioned and talked about that word in their testimony and I wondered if the Committee agreed with the Department when they used the term unsubstantiated, meaning that it is a legal term of art and that the definition is -- did not meet the statutory definition of abuse or neglect set forth in our General Statutes and does the Senator remember that testimony and did the Committee accept that definition or the testimony of the State Department of Education when it came to the term unsubstantiated? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, we listened very carefully to all sides of this issue. I think we can get into the semantics of a definition of unsubstantiated but the -- but the really important word here is having proof and there is no question when there is a criminal act it will be prosecuted. They will find proof and they will substantiate a claim and take appropriate action.

But in these cases when they do a thorough investigation, not just by the school system, but by the Department of Children and Families and oftentimes even by the -- our law enforcement agencies as well, and there's found to be no proof as was in the case of one of our testifiers who was a teacher that was carrying this burden with them for a ten-year period and talked about this. It was compelling enough and the unfortunate circumstances that are being replicated more frequently now caused a great deal of concern.

And as we have worked so hard and all of us included have worked and supported every Bill that's come before us that would not allow for teachers to move from one position to the other to escape some bad action or behavior or, and this is the worst case, if there was a criminal act, we would -- we all were on board with that. But we also have to have some balance in the process and I think that's why this is a very valid debate to be having so that we can express that kind of concern to have a balance particularly in such a field as education. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and I believe the good Senator brings up a good point. If the word unsubstantiated isn't -- is not the correct word and the word proof is the correct word then why isn't the word proof in the Bill and what is proof? What -- what does that mean? What would that mean legally if we had the word proof in the Bill from a standpoint of it were a child versus an adult, what does -- how does that -- how is that fair really to either party because obviously nobody wants to get blamed wrongly, but also on the other hand if you have a child that certainly meets a different standard because they have to be comfortable in what they're reporting.

So if proof is really the important word here why is that not in the Bill and what does that exactly mean legally? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the good Senator for his question and I think that's why we have a Department whose whole purpose is to be the experts in the area of -- of children in the -- and the protection of children and having the kind of legal resources that are experts in that field, certainly much more expert than any of us in this circle would be in this area, and it would be up to them in order -- in their investigation to find that there is cause to pursue a claim that was made that a criminal activity had taken place and this is their reason for being and this is why this Bill directly relates to both the Department of Children and Families that continues to have these allegations on record and also allows the local school district to pursue their own investigation. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I appreciate the explanation. When we talk about abuse or neglect, does that include child abuse? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

I would absolutely believe that that in fact would be the case and whatever activity would relate to that particular topic that we have in all of our Statutes, I believe, and that is certainly the area of expertise of the Department of Children and Families.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would that also include sexual abuse? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

I would absolutely assume that that would. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So the issue really here is that as we know through hearing from victims in other areas outside of our public school system about abuse and neglect, especially child abuse or sexual abuse, that is a standard sometimes that is difficult to reach and so, therefore, especially when you're dealing with school children, again, you want it to be fair on either side for the adult and the child but you want to make sure that if anyone is doing something wrong they're property prosecuted, that there is a bar in which you can meet that rather than getting to -- having some sort of unsubstantiated, I guess, which is a legal term of art, I guess if we're to do that, but not using the word proof in the Bill that causes some concern about how this is written in a way that does weed out bad actors in the public school system.

Now again, I'm sure 99. 9 percent of our teachers are doing the right thing and the good thing but we do entrust our children in the school system each and every day for 180 days and we need to make sure that they are safe and as safe as they can be.

So my concern also is that -- and I'm all set with my questions, I think, for now Senator, thank you, is that there's just really this -- this bar that I'm not sure where it is with the term unsubstantiated that if there's no fact pattern that is existing on this Bill, meaning that it -- it -- folks -- teachers are doing things that creates a pattern that they're -- a pattern may not then exist if it hasn't met this level and then also if the State Department of Education also has to investigate that then they do a second investigation after the Department of Children and Families which, again, to my understanding any kinds of abuse or neglect, that could be very traumatic to the child. We have the Human Services Council in Norwalk and the Children's Connection and they try to work all together -- all the agencies together at one time to do one interview because they know how traumatic that is for small children and I imagine it's very traumatic for adults as well, but especially for small children.

So I just -- I just have real concerns with this legislation and I certainly would never question the intent of the proponents of the Bill of this 'cause I know what they're trying to do, but I have some major concerns over how this would work in practice and most importantly in how we're protecting our children in our school system. So I will listen to the rest of the debate at the moment but as it stands right now I'll be opposing the Bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam President. In Section 2 it states that the school district can actually do an investigation after the Department of Children and Families about that -- the allegation is unsubstantiated. My concern is if the school district does an investigation and found out that something took place, they can't name it, and the person actually goes to a point where it says the educator will lose his license, one would think that there was something that took place that was so detrimental that the educator had lost his license.

My concern is what was said by my colleagues. Many times what's said in the business aspect, I'm an educator and where there's smoke there's fire and so often that -- I can talk from my own personal experience, someone who was charged with a case against a child and once the information came out it was revealed that years ago that this person had did the same thing in another school district.

So my question would -- is if a person is found in a situation where it was unsubstantiated, is that information lodged somewhere at the DCS office or is it somewhere at a local School Board office? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Just to clarify the language of this Bill, it doesn't say that they may continue an investigation when something was found to be false. It says that it doesn't prohibit the school district from conducting something of their own. In other words, they can choose to if they want to or not depending on the facts or the situation. Now right now there's nothing to say that a school system will necessarily access the records of another school or wherever the other employer -- employee worked. It depends on the process that each School Board has or their personnel department has, as you well know that.

And I would tell you that this certainly if it was an accusation of sexual abuse, something of that level, we -- the situations we're talking about here is basically bad behavior, maybe a teacher's reaction to that bad behavior, that they were, you know, that maybe there was an accusation falsely that the teacher somehow was abusive to them in that behavior, but when you're talking about something that we're talking about here, it raises it to a whole another level.

I have to tell you when I was newly appointed to the State Board of Education some years ago the very first case I had to read about was taking away the certification of a teacher of an incident that happened, sexual abuse at a high school 17 years prior and the vote, by the way, was 4 to 5 and I was the fifth vote to actually take that certification away from that teacher over an abundance of caution, of concern that somehow they could continue to practice in -- in a classroom where something like that might occur. So you can imagine how concerned I am about entertaining any legislation of this kind that we're discussing.

So in the -- in the cases that we saw and discussed in the Education Committee it had less to do with sexual abuse -- now could be some sort of hostile behavior, a discipline issue and, as I said, increasingly now, as you probably know being in the education profession, can see that the climate has become a great deal more hostile to teachers and the -- the -- it's -- typically more and more it seems like the teachers at fault even before they've had a chance to even defend themselves and it has risen to a point where this kind of legislation was thought to bring some balance to the process without negating any of the investigatory, you know, certainly process that occurs, particularly with such a serious case that you're describing and I do believe that even today it's very difficult to -- unless there -- there begins to be a pattern, as you said, that can be pointed out and I think the best place for it to be would be with the Department of Children and Families that can generally be accessed by any School Board itself versus, you know, reaching into the various placements, particularly if they were from out of state.

But I -- I think it's -- it's becoming better known now from state to state and we have certainly now registries that can be accessed and we do background checks now in a way that we've not done in the past. So I think there's enough safeguards in the system for us to not be as concerned. It certainly didn't seem to be the concern of the House and Senate previously when there wasn't as strong a language as we're looking at right now and just only a year ago. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So my question will be if a potential employer wants to hire -- and I want to save -- I want to save teachers who are doing the right things. I know that this profession has gotten a lot difficult in ways but we also gotta look at the best interest of children. So my question will be if a potential employer wants to hire a teacher or individual and that potential employer, can it ask the Department of Children and Families -- just ask the question whether this individual has been -- there's any allegations that has been substantiated or unsubstantiated -- can you get that question answered by the Department of Children and Families? Through you, Madam Speaker.

So basically I want to know if the employer -- was the -- if the employer asks were there any unsubstantiated allegations, can I get a answer? Through you, Madam Speaker.

THE CHAIR:

Sorry. Senator Witkos, why do you stand, sir?

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I ask that this Bill be PT'd at this time.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir.

The Senate will stand at ease.

The Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

The Senate will stand at ease still.

Now, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam President. I move that we mark this Bill PT please and --

THE CHAIR:

Already have, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Oh, thank you. And then we move to a vote on our Consent Calendar if the Clerk can call those Bills and then have a vote.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you please call the Bills on the Consent Calendar and then the machine will be open.

CLERK:

Page 2, calendar 97, Senate Bill No. 918.

THE CHAIR:

Okay, hold on. Now it's closed?

Senate is standing at ease. Okay, ready?

Okay, please announce again. The machine will be open. Okay, we're gonna try to call all the Bills on the Consent Calendar. Go ahead.

CLERK:

Page 2, calendar 97, Senate Bill 918. Page 9, calendar 235, Senate Bill 874. Page 45, calendar 141, Senate Bill 287 and 48. Page 48, calendar 303, Senate Bill 1014.

THE CHAIR:

At this time everybody please vote on the Consent Calendar. The machine is open. Thank you, Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on the first Consent Calendar for the day. 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:

On today's Consent Calendar.

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

Consent Calendar passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, that concludes our business for today. I would yield at the moment for announcements or points of personal privilege, please --

THE CHAIR:

Sorry. Are there any announcements or points of personal privilege? Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The Senate Republicans will have a caucus tomorrow morning at 11: 00 a. m. in the caucus room.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The Judiciary Committee will have a Committee meeting a half hour before the first Chamber goes in which we believe is the House. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. It is our intention to meet at noon tomorrow here in the circle and for the Senate Democrats to have a mandatory 11: 00 caucus tomorrow morning, a mere 12 hours from now, and with that, Madam President, if there's no other points or announcements I will move that we adjourn subject to call of the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered. Please drive safely.

(On motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the Senate at 11: 02 p. m. adjourned subject to the call of the chair. }

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