CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Senate was called to order at 12: 04 o'clock p. m. , the President in the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz is going to do the Pledge of Allegiance. The Senate will please come to order. Members and guests, please rise. Attention to our Reverend Noele.

NOELE R. KIDNEY:

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

THE CHAIR:

I'm going to ask Senator Frantz to come up and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

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, sir, and at this time, Mr. Clerk, do you have anything on your desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Madam President. The clerk is in possession of Senate Agenda No. 1, dated Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move that all items on the Senate Agenda No. 1, dated Wednesday, May 31, 2017, be acted upon as indicated and that the agenda be incorporated by reference into the Senate journal and transcript.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered, sir. At this point, I'd ask if there any points of personal privilege. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have two points of personal privilege, please. I have a constituent here from Norwalk, Andrew Melansopolis [phonetic] and he is somebody who is very interested in the political process and will be working this summer in our State party this year and has shown a keen interest in our government and working to better our society here in the state of Connecticut and I would ask that the Chamber give our normal warm welcome to Andrew and I imagine one day he may be sitting in this circle himself, so Andrew, if you can stand up and the Chamber please give a normal warm welcome.

THE CHAIR:

Welcome, Andrew. Thank you for coming up and thank you for all your work back home, too. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. My second point of personal privilege, I have some folks here in the Chamber from the Tiny Miracles Foundation. I have George Colabella and some of his folks from the Tiny Miracles Foundation. I've gotten to know them over the last few years. They really do really great work with their nonprofit and I thought it'd be a great opportunity to recognize them for their work as well. And, so if I can ask George, come on up over here and we have a citation for you I would like to read and present to you. It's introduced by myself and members of the Norwalk Delegation and Senator Carlo Leone.

As well, it says be it hereby known to all that the Connecticut General Assembly hereby offers its sincerest congratulations to the Tiny Miracles Foundation in recognition of your outstanding work in hospitals to provide support for families of premature infants. Your work fills a unique and often overlooked need of preemie parents, an emotional support system which lasts past the hospital stay. We thank you for the many families who you have helped during their time of need and the entire membership extends its very best wishes on this memorable occasion and expresses hope for continued success given this 31st day of May 2017. And again, as we've had many conversations and we certainly know all the good work that you do in your nonprofit raising money and helping families, especially at their time of need, and we certainly want to extend our thanks as a Senate to you and as a General Assembly to all the work that you do. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you all so very, very much for all you do. We do appreciate it. At this time, points of personal privilege, Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. With all of the dark clouds swirling over Hartford these days, I have some really, really good news for the Circle and for the state of Connecticut and beyond and that is Grace Elizabeth Liaga [phonetic] was born several hours ago born to Adam and Katelyn Liaga [phonetic] at 6 pounds 7 ounces and 20 inches long. I think they're watching so if the Senate Circle could stand up and wave at one of the cameras, we wish you our best and all of our love. Thank you. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. I'm glad everything went well. And, points of personal privilege? Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Point of personal privilege if I may.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. I would like to introduce to the Circle here Gail Egan who is President of the Connecticut Condo Owners Association and her associate, Judith Doneiko. The Connecticut Condo Association Owners are comprised of a small group of volunteers whose mission is to give condo owners greater rights and protections, as well as to educate them on their rights and responsibilities. Under Gail's leadership, the CCOC has championed legislation that provides the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection with enforcement powers to investigate property managers and fine them if they practice illegally and the Association has also led the fight for other condo owners'' right. Gail, right here. I would ask you all to give them a warm welcome to the Senate. (Clapping).

THE CHAIR:

Thank you for protecting the people of the state. Are there any other points of personal privilege? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm very happy to welcome some special people from western Connecticut. They are the Inzero family and there are a whole bunch of them here. Dad is out parking the car. Oh, he's up above, okay. Hi dad upstairs. We have Tony and Tony Jr. , Marie, Krista, Sarah, and Ryan Inzero and this is a very famous family in western Connecticut. They live in Brookfield. I've adopted them as my constituents, but they're also the creators of Candlewood Coffee Roasters, a very successful small business in Connecticut thanks to their hard work and I believe they sort of live, eat, and breathe coffee and they've done a great job with it here in Connecticut. We're very proud of them and I'd like to pass on to Senator Miner from your District.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner. Do you accept the --?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Yes, Madam President. Thank you. I'd like to also welcome the family here to join us today. They certainly do demonstrate what I think Connecticut does best which is small homegrown local entrepreneurs that've found a niche market and have done very well with it and so I would ask of the Circle join me in thanking them for being here and welcoming them with our usual applause. (Clapping).

THE CHAIR:

Thank you all very much and thanks for starting a new business here. Any other points of personal privilege? Seeing none. Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I just rise to remind our colleagues that Senator Martin and I and the members of the Veterans Affairs Committee are hosting the Help a Hero event collecting various goods and items for the South Park Inn which does a tremendous job serving homeless Veterans from all over our state and I'd like to invite my colleagues to visit the truck outside and to make any donations that they brought with them today. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Can I add to that to also bring your camera. The Veterans out there really do like taking pictures with you, and if you could bring money or gifts. Never mind. Thank you, though. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I'm just going to mark a few items go so we can move on and I'll mark the other items go as we move on, but this is just a continuation of our list from last night. So, I'm just going to mark four go at the moment. On Calendar, Page 3, Calendar 116, S. B. 546, go; on Calendar, Page 10, Calendar 241, S. B. 4, go; on Calendar, Page 13, Calendar 286, S. B. 986, go; and on Calendar, Page 10, Calendar 244, S. B. 413, go, and if the clerk can go in that order, please.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Calling from today's Calendar on Page 3, Calendar 116, S. B. 546, AN ACT CONCERNING PARTICIATION IN PROVIDER DIRECTORIES AND PROVIDERS ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS ON OUTPATIENT SERVICES. Favorable report of the Insurance Committee.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I just would like to acknowledge this fine clerk team we have here. They got their original start in the great city of east Harford. Thank you so much for that warm favorable move there. Madam President, I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Yes, thank you Madam President. This will was introduced by Senator Kennedy and Senator Martin Looney. The reason for the bill is simply this bill provides more detailed framework for how insurance providers manage and display their directories for public view and how often they must update the information. Main change in the bill makes in addition to what Public Act 16205 did, is require insurance provider to make distinctions in their directories of who exactly is accepting new or outpatient services. This would be helpful to individuals to navigate directories easier and know what healthcare providers they can go to in advance, thus saving them time and search of their provider. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Kenney. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I rise in support of this bill. I want to thank my friends and colleagues, Senator Kelly and Senator Larson, for making this small, yet important change to Public Act 16205. As the good Senator just said, we have an important law that requires that participating providers list certain types of information, but unfortunately, there is a slight flaw that is confusing and misleading because even though a doctor may be technically accepting somebody's insurance and technically taking new patients, many physicians do not see patients on an outpatient basis. They only see patients in a hospital, and therefore, are not available to make an appointment with a patient, so this is an important remedy and important improvement in the existing law and I encourage my colleagues to vote in favor of this measure. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Remark? If not, Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. If there is no objection, I'd ask that this bill be placed on our consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

I see no objections. So ordered, sir.

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Page 10, Calendar 241, Substitute for S. B. No. 4, AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL ELECTRICAL UTILITY COOPERATIVES. Favorable report of the Energy and Technology Committee.

THE CHAIR:

That I believe is S. B. 413, sir. I apologize. Please proceed. Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes. Thank you. Good morning, afternoon, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. This is a bill that comes to us through the Energy Committee. I believe it came to us in a unanimous vote. What the bill does is it makes some changes to how municipal electric utility cooperatives work. Those changes would include prohibiting holding meetings outside of the state, public hearings, retreats, and strategic retreats. It would also require that within seven days of receipt, the annual forensic audit that is required under the bill be posted to the website. Currently, the boards of the CMEEC --.

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry. Senator Winfield. Can you wait one second? I apologize. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move that we just PT this as we're waiting for an amendment, please. If we can move on. Stand at ease. We have to move on to the next bill.

THE CHAIR:

Wait a minute. Which one do you want? Stand at ease or move on to the next?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Well, one is PT. Two is stand at ease for a moment.

THE CHAIR:

Stand at ease. The Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If the clerk can please call the next bill on the calendar, please?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Calendar, Page 13, Calendar marking 286, S. B. 986, AN ACT CONCERNING THE LEGISLATIVE COMMISSIONER'S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MINOR AND TECHNICAL REVISIONS TO STATUTES CONCERNING GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION. Favorable report of GAE.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer. Good afternoon, ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Good afternoon again, Madam President. Madam President, I move for acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, this like other bills that've been before us this year from other committees is just the Legislative Commissioner's office recommendations for changes and technical adjustments to the statues that govern government administration elections and I urge the Chamber to support this bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Stand at ease. The amendment has been called. The amendment has been called and it was PT'd at the point of discussion, so at this time we would hand the microphone over to Senator Somers. It has already been called. Senator Somers, we're gonna call you in one second. The clerk is going to call the amendment again and we'll let you take it over from there, ma'am. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCL 7938 which previously was designated Senate Amendment Schedule A.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Somers. Good afternoon.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Good afternoon. Should I move adoption again? Okay. Well, this amendment is put on --.

THE CHAIR:

The motion is on adoption.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Okay. Motion on adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Yes. This amendment as spoken to before allows a municipality to stop a gun range from being in their town if they decide to have a referendum or town hall meeting to vote against it and I urge adoption of this amendment and I would ask for just a voice vote on that.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. Those in favor of the amendment, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Amendment passes. Speak more on the bill itself. Is there any? If not, then I'll guess we'll have a roll call vote, ask for a roll call vote. Mr. Clerk. The machine will be open. Please call for roll call vote and the bill.

CLERK:

An immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. An immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. All Senators please report to the Chamber.

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

Total number voting 36

Those voting Aye 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. The Senate will stand at ease. Sorry, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

The Senate come back to order?

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will come back to order.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. Just a yield for a point of personal privilege, please?

THE CHAIR:

Oh, I'm sorry. Senator Flexer for point of personal privilege.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, my goal is to talk as much as I can today. I rise for a point of personal privilege to introduce some special guests that are here with us in the Chamber. Earlier in today's session, I talked about the Help a Hero Event that's going on outside and with us today we have a number of special guests who do a lot of critical work in supporting Veterans from throughout our state and two of those folks work at the South Park Inn who are here with us today; Brian Baker who is the Assistant Director and I believe Rich Linin, [phonetic] who is from the American Legion is also outside manning the truck and we're grateful to have him here today and there's a few other guests, and if I could have your indulgence, Madam President, my colleague, Senator Leone, will introduce them.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone, will you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I accept the yield gladly and I want to thank Senator Flexer for taking the lead on introducing our Veterans and those who help our Veterans for all the very much right reasons and I want to take the time to welcome the Homes for the Brave from Bridgeport with Vincent Santilli, the CEO, and Kathy Beardsworth, the Director of Communications and Outreach. Both these organizations do such a wonderful job in outreaching to our Veterans in the Veterans community and getting our Veterans back on their feet and into the community as great citizens as they are just naturally, so I want to thank them for all the work that they do. I know them firsthand and many times they are if not the last hope, but also a first step for our Veterans, so what they do is really God's work and I want to give them thanks for all that they do and also for the event that's out here today, they do that every year and it's a great show of support, so thank you for the indulgence, and if could from the Senate, give them a warm round of applause for all that they do and welcome them here today. [Clapping]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you so very, very much for all you do and we really do appreciate it. We know that we hold our Veterans at a very high rank and thank you for doing what you do. God bless you. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you says the Lieutenant of the Chamber. She holds you in very high rank absolutely. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the Senate please stand at ease?

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease. The Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the clerk please call as the next go, Calendar Page 48, Calendar 309, S. B. 1033?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. Calendar Page 49, Calendar 309, 1033, please.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 49 Calendar 309, Substitute for S. B. No. 1033, AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL FORECLOSURE ACTIONS ON TAX LIENS AND LIENS ON BLIGHTED REAL ESTATE.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I have before me a bill I would like to move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill. I'll waive its reading and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Yes. The bill basically involves foreclosure actions on blighted real estate and what it does is it speeds up the process so that these bills would move to the front of the line so we could deal with these on a quicker basis. I do, however, realize that the clerk has in possession an amendment. I believe the LCO number is 6914.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 6914, Senate A, offered by Senator Cassano.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Yes. Very simply, this changes the date, effective date --.

THE CHAIR:

Move for adoption, sir?

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

I move adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

The motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Yes. The purpose of this is to change the effective date from October 2, 2017 to January 1, 2018, the reason being the court is in the process of updating its computers. Their system would be done and this would be able to be a much easier flow, so I would urge adoption of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I stand in favor of the amendment and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The ayes have it. The amendment is adopted. Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

There is no further information. There are no questions. I would ask to be placed on the consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, we'll move it to the consent calendar if there's no objection. No objection seen.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease. The Senate will come back to order. Points at personal privilege. Senator McCrory.

REP. MCCRORY (7TH): Thank you, Madam President. Good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

REP. MCCRORY (7TH):

With me today I have a group of students of Hartford Jumoke Academy Charter School. They recently participated in the Tails of Hope Foundation's Youth Ambassador Working Dog Program, known as YAP. Since Jumoke's approved Science and Technology School program was a stimuli enrichment curriculum designed to improve relationships between K9 law enforcement and the community. Students learned about national security, canine careers, and volunteer opportunities. They also designed and built K9 agility equipment that was donated to the Hartford Police Department K9 Units. The students study with a number of individuals, and I don't want to include all of them, but a few I do want to name. Linda Blake who is the President of the Tails of Hope Foundation, Detective Steven Sida [phonetic] with the K9 Unit with the Hartford Police Department and another staff member with Jumoke Academy. This ring of honor I would like to give them a warm welcome from the Senate here at the State Capitol. Can you give them a great hand for outstanding work they've done all year? [Clapping]. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you all very much for coming. Congratulations and thanks for coming here today and what a great idea that you had. Keep up the good work. Thank you. The Senate will stand at ease. She Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the clerk please call Calendar Page 28, Calendar 421, S. B. 623?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 28, Calendar 421, S. B. No. 623, AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE 7/7 PROGRAM TO ENCOURAGE THE REDEVELOPMENT OF BROWNFIELDS AND UNDERUTILIZED PROPERTY.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President, and thank you for that. I move acceptance of the committee's joint favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I appreciate that. Connecticut has an incredible history in manufacturing that goes back well over 200 years ago, up to 200 years ago I should say, and that's a lot to be proud of. In the wake of some of these different industries that have come and gone, there are a lot of residual of Brownfields in the state that need attention. Some of these buildings are absolutely incredible examples of architecture, are in beautiful places, and certainly in useful places from a commercial point of view, so all of the Brownfields efforts that we make in the state of Connecticut are well-received and well-intended. It has been a challenge to get many of these different Brownfields resolve and remediated because of the liability issues and a variety of other issues that go along with it as well.

So, what this bill does, S. B. 623, also known as the 7/7 program, is – what it does is it tries to offer incentives to potential developers and owners to come in and remediate these Brownfields to the point where they can have a viably commercial operation running and what it does in a nutshell is it offers during the first seven years after the owners redevelops a DCD approved property, Brownfields property, the owner then qualifies for a corporation, business, or personal income tax credit against the income attributed to that redeveloped property, so none of those benefits are given until the place is up and running and that is after seven years. In addition, a sales and use tax exemption applicable to items purchased for this commercial enterprise for use at that property is granted as well. And, then the owner also qualifies to have the redeveloped properties tax assessment frozen for five years at its predevelopment value which is a very valuable incentive for potential property owners.

And, then if the property was remediated during this period, the owner then qualifies in year A, so in other words, this is the second part of the 7/7, for an additional seven year benefit beginning in that eighth year and the benefit is a business or personal income tax deduction of up to 8. 57-percent for eligible expenses that the owner incurred during the remediation process. So, that's it in a nutshell and Madam President the clerk should have an amendment LCO No. 7668 in his possession.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7668 Senate A offered by Senators Frantz, Hartley, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Simply what LCO 7668 does is, in line 58, it strikes a licensed environmental professional, and in line 57, it strikes environmental professional again, and in inserts an eligible owner. The reason for that is that the Environmental Engineering Society did not feel comfortable because there was no definition as of yet as to what a Brownfield exactly is, so until we get that figured out in statute, it doesn't make sense for them to be required to do this because they really in fact can't do it legally and that's something that the Commerce Committee and other committees will go to work on promptly if this bill moves forward. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on Senate A? Will you remark further on Senate A? Senator Hartley, no. So, if not, I'll try your minds on Senate A. All those in favor, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Senate A passes. Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Will you remark further on the bill as amended? Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and good afternoon to you, Madam. The proposal before us part of an urban strategy which will speak to the reenergizing lands that hitherto fore have been off the tax rolls and have been fall, lied fell for all this time. Madam President, the proposal itself is a very robust proposal and I would like to ask the clerk who is in possession of LCO 8089 to please the call the amendment and ask that I be granted leave to summarize, Madam.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 8089 Senate B offered by Senators Looney, Duff, and Hartley.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Yes, indeed. Thank you, Madam President. The amendment anticipates the ability to sustain the commitment which --.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley, Senator Duff has asked for --.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Can we stand at ease for a moment, please?

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease. The Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I yield back to Senator Hartley. You've got the floor.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley. Will you accept the yield, ma'am?

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Yes, indeed. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, before us is LCO 8089. I would ask that we withdraw that LDO, madam?

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections. So ordered.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam, and the clerk should now be in possession of LCO 8121.

THE CHAIR:

8121. Mr. Clerk, will you please call it?

CLERK:

LCO No. 8121 Senate C offered by Senators Looney, Duff, and Hartley.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark further?

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the LCO that is in front of us is a correction to the previous LCO which was a technicality pointed out to us by OFA. It simply anticipates the ability to sustain the commitments that will be offered in the underlining bill which is a very robust program and so in view of the fiscal climate which we find ourselves in it is very important to know what we can sustain programs and our commitment, and hence, we have LCO 8121 before us. It simply says that the participants, the applicants to the 7/7 program, will receive the benefits when the accountability report indicates that in fact the state budget will be in surplus, madam.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Fasano. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. Madam President, I just received this, so I may just take a moment to --.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will come back to order. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

If I may to Senator Hartley. Senator Hartley, just seeing the amendment for the first time, so I apologize. In reading the amendment, it says that this particular bill, the participant may receive the benefits under this section only when the most recent submission. First question, we'll say submission. Is that submission for the 7/7 program or what is that submission of? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and through you. Yes. In line 5, only when the most recent submission of both the Secretary of the office of Policy and Management and the office of Fiscal Analysis, and so we have as we are very familiar with the accountability reports, and that is the information that they work to put together for that accountability report which will indicate what the budget surplus or deficit would be. So, we know that in fact we can fund the program so as not to have applicants midstream in a program which we are unable to fund. I think perhaps our history sometimes is that we initiate a program and then we find ourselves having to redefine in a certain way and I think perhaps we have some of those right now in the current budget we're dealing with. Thank you. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and I thank Senator Hartley, but recent submission, I'm just wondering, is that the submission of the budget analysis, is that submission of the application with respect to the process or project? What is that submission pertaining to? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and through you to Senator Fasano. It is my understanding that it is the submission, as it says in line 5, by both Secretary of OPM and OFA, so they in putting together their accountability report do a comparison and so that because in past history we recall different numbers. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I understand what the import of what the amendment is referring to, Madam President. Madam President, part of this bill is not a requirement of funding. That is to say, Madam President, what this bill talks about is not funding, but what it talks about is not paying taxes in the future. Madam President, what this bill has is two parts, so let's be clear.

It starts off with a piece of property that has not been used for over a set of years, 10 years, and a town designates this property as eligible for this program, so that's the municipal component. And then if somebody were to develop the piece of property, they would not pay property taxes for seven years municipality-wise other than what it was assessed at. So, if they built a building and finished the building and started work at the building, they would not pay taxes. That's the incentive to start building. They also would not pay sales taxes over seven years. OFA places a fiscal note because it's saying it's losing that money, but it's money they never had. If the property sat there for 10 years, they don't have that money to begin with, so you're not losing the money, so it's not being funded, so I guess the question I have is what is the concern over their funding if there is no money unless I misunderstand the bill, if there is no money from the state to this property, there's just money not being received by the state in the best case scenario, so there's no requirement to ensure adequate funds. So, I'm just curious as to whether my analysis is inaccurate. Through you, Madam President, to Senator Hartley.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and my apologies. Is there perhaps an abbreviated version to the question? My apologies.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

I guess, Madam President, the question I pose is, there's no money coming from the state to the applicant in this bill as I understand this bill. Is that correct? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Through you, Madam President. So, as the tax credit program works, it follows the development. Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff. Sorry.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If we can PT this item, please and stand at ease for a moment?

THE CHAIR:

The bill will be PTd and the Senate will stand at ease. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If the clerk would now please call Calendar Page 10, Calendar 249, S. B. 4?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 10, Calendar 241.

THE CHAIR:

It was PTd. It's fine.

CLERK:

Calendar 241, Substitute for S. B. No. 4, AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC UTILITY COOPERATIVES.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield. Try it again, sir. Good afternoon.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes. Good afternoon again, Madam President. I believe I already moved and had begun to explain it, so I will finish. I was almost finished explaining it. The other thing that this bill, S. B. 4, does when dealing with municipal electrical utility cooperatives is it changes the way that we deal with their Boards and makes the legislative body of the municipality able to appoint one of the members. Having explained what the bill does, I will yield to Senator Osten for an amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten. Do you accept the yield, ma'am?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

I do accept the yield. Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, the clerk is in possession of LCO No. 8137. I asked that the amendment be moved and I be given leave to summarize?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 8137 Senate A offered by Senators Osten, Somers, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. This is a strike-all and I urge passage of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH)

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, this amendment would be a strike-all amendment and essentially what this amendment deals with and what this bill started out as was a result of an incident that happened down in eastern Connecticut where the Connecticut Municipal Energy Consortium ran somewhat astray and it allowed members to go on offsite trips that were expensive and ultimately led towards an undermining of the public trust of very good, very positive organization whose mission was to keep the prices for our rate payers in eastern Connecticut low. As a matter of fact, they worked with many businesses in the area in order to decrease the costs they had on utilities. To name two would be the Mohegan tribe and its gaming industry and electric boats and its rather expansive industry on building the best subs in the United States, I would actually say in the world, but we wanted to put forth a piece of legislation that dealt with the problems that incurred as a result of the undermining of public trust.

And, so what this amendment does is it requires that meetings and public hearings be held with minutes resulting from those and the correct posting much akin to what happens with our meetings up here or meetings at a local level. It requires audits. It does have an initial requirement of one audit that would deal with a look-back over five years.

What we're trying to do is to make sure that this very good organization works within the trust of the community. This is a bipartisan amendment and all of my colleagues down in the southeastern section of the state were to put it mildly outraged and dismayed by what happened and we feel that and I feel that we need to do a piece of legislation that clearly outlines what should happen with this organization regarding their activity with the residents in our communities. We think that Connecticut pays some of the highest electric rates and this is a mechanism and has worked in the past to see a decrease in the cost to our rate payers in the area and we could not see what happened with this mission and the fact that there were some many egregious oversteps that had happened that allowed folks to not have that real clear trust that is so necessary in today's world in particular revolving around government organizations and we also feel that government organizations have an obligation to be as transparent as possible. I urge my colleagues to pass this amendment and to quickly forward this to our colleagues downstairs and I would remind everybody that we need organizations like CMEEC, but we also need them to act in the good faith of the people that entrust them with their care.

This is exactly what this piece of legislation would do and I so appreciate Senator Winfield, Senator Formica, Senator Somers, and all my colleagues downstairs who worked to make sure that we were engaging the public, addressing their concerns, and putting forth a piece of legislation that had common sense, transparent policies in it, and required a look back and had some public participation in the Board itself, so I'm hoping that this legislation passes quickly and moves forward. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark on Senate A? Senator Somers.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Yes. Good afternoon, Madam President. I wanted to stand or rise and speak on this amendment. This amendment is very important to the citizens of one of the towns that I represent in Groton. And, this amendment really is about getting to the truth and transparency and protecting the rate payers that reside in Norwich, Groton, Bozrah, Jewett City, south and east Norwalk. These municipalities all have locally owned electric companies, utility companies, and they are all part of something called CMEEC which stands for the Connecticut Municipality Electric Energy Cooperative. This group was formed, or this cooperative was formed, in 1976 as a way for the smaller municipal electric companies to come together to form a power purchase agreement to buy the best blended rate on the market so they could provide to their rate payers the lowest price for energy on the market.

In 1976 it was a novel idea. Now times have changed and there are other cooperatives that are available on the free market. And for years, CMEEC did a great job and they delivered energy. I was a beneficiary. I lived in Groton. We had some of the lowest electric rates of anyone around. Unfortunately, CMEEC lost its way and we're not exactly sure when that happened, but what we do know is that there's highly questionable financial spending that has occurred over a period of time.

Most recently, it's come to light that they spent close to $ 1. 2 million dollars of rate payer on lavish trips, four trips to the Kentucky Derby. The last trip they took cost nearly $ 400 thousand dollars. It was $ 360 thousand dollars. Forty-four people attended and only eight worked for CMEEC. This is a retreat that later on we found out after hearing the ethics hearings in Norwich that the money was taken out of the rate stabilization fund that is used primarily to keep rates down for municipal electric rate payers. CMEEC has talked to me directly about the funds they hold for each one of the municipalities. They hold a rate stabilization fund. They hold an equity fund and they hold an economic development fund. All of those funds are held at CMEEC for each municipality that requests them. What we don't know is what happens to that money when it's pulled out of those funds and how it's used, but what we did find in our further investigation that we have learned through the ethics hearings we've had is that rate stabilization money was pulled from an account again that's used to keep energy costs low and it was used to go on these trips.

We also found that during some further inquiries, I had asked for the CMEEC budget and I had asked for a copy of a CMEEC invoice to one of the local municipalities' electric companies. To this day, I still have not received them. They are considered trade secret and confidential. At one point, a municipal company in Wallingford was part of this cooperative, but they had pulled away. Wallingford was kind enough to give me a copy of an invoice and on that invoice what we saw was an inflation of the wholesale price from CMEEC to the local municipalities. It was a dollar surcharge for every megawatt served. This went into something called a margin fund. Actually, they don't call it a margin fund. They call it “margin”.

So, as things progressed, it was clear that we did not have a good handle on how the financials were being spent and the account of the revenues, so in a bipartisan manner we came together and developed this amendment which basically will have CMEEC do a five year look back and a forensic examination by a certified financial forensic auditor to look at exactly all the money coming in, all the money going out. It will look at travel expenses. It will look at credit card receipts and it will hopefully restore the public's trust in how money is managed at CMEEC. It's interesting that CMEEC did not report any of these trips on their annual report either. There is no PURA regulation. The Attorney General has no oversight. This is a creature of the legislature because it was created by the legislature and I feel that we as legislators have a duty to the citizens that are paying into this CMEEC Corporation through their utility companies to make sure that they are getting their money's worth and that their money is spent properly.

To-date, CMEEC really has sort of had free rein on how they spend their money. Many of the things that are required in this bill they should already be doing. We require them to post minutes and agenda online. That's something a $ 300 million dollar company should know that they have to do. No matter what happens with this legislation, I can tell you that the bipartisan support that we have received to restore the public trust has been overwhelming. We have many people on Energy and Technology that have come forth and have been very unhappy with what they've seen and they have come to me personally and are glad that we have been able to come to a bipartisan amendment that will help again restore the public's trust.

I would like to thank Senator Osten, Senator Formica, Senator Winfield, Representative Lonnie Reed for all their hard work on this amendment and I urge its passage and I hope that my colleagues will join me. Thank you very much.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you. Briefly, I'd like to add my two cents on this particular bill and thank everybody for working on this bipartisan arrangement. When this news came out of this retreat back in November, I immediately reached out to the two chairs at the time, Representative Reed and Senator Doyle about the opportunity to be able to look into this as we move forward, and as things developed and committee leadership changed, I'd like to commend Senator Winfield for picking up the ball and moving this along with Representative Reed because this is an opportunity that the legislature needed to address and I think that this amendment and this bill addresses that opportunity by requiring CMEEC to conform to certain operational opportunities that will make a better organization.

They are a good organization. They've worked hard to save money for many of their customers, but these requirements just need to be tightened up and I urge my colleagues to vote in support of this bill. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on Senate A? Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Madam President, I rise for a comment on the bill and maybe more of a matter of perspective. I've been around long enough to be here and as former chair of the Energy Committee, having many, many meetings with and about CMEEC, and there was a time not too long ago when there were people in this building that put CMEEC forth as the model that they wish every town in Connecticut could be a part of. I've had many a meeting with the organization in the past and know the dedication that those folks have and the fact that the residents and the businesses of CMEEC's territory have enjoyed the lowest rates in the state in most cases.

And, in fact, there is a reason for that, many of them being that they are exempt from most of the requirements that our investor-owned utilities are subject to, energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements that the state has and this building has put forth on our investor-owned utilities the municipal electrics are exempt from and many of the taxes that we have put on the investor-owned utilities the municipals are exempt from and a whole host of other costs that we as an institution here, the legislator, felt was necessary. The investor-owned and CMEEC are exempt from. Mainly because they have wanted to stay out of this building, they went out of their way to make sure that we did not bring them up in conversations actually for years. That was the practice and I'm not rising, Madam President, to speak on the issues that have brought this bill before this Circle, but I do want to bring some perspective to the issue and sometimes be careful what you ask for, you might just get it and that many of the people of this state would enjoy the rates that the folks that CMEEC covers and the commitment that that organization has had for decades now.

I would say, though, that I doubt very seriously if most people in this Chamber or downstairs, when asked to vote on saying do we want to end or reduce our commitment to renewable energy to energy efficiency, to a host of other initiatives that we ask our investor utilities to undertake, most people would say no we don't. There's a reason. If we believe we have high rates in Connecticut outside of the municipal electrics, there's a reason why we do because we have said there are things we want our utilities to embrace and to support and there's no free lunch for that, Madam President. If we want clean air, if we want to have the energy that we have come to rely on to be there and available to us all the time or almost all the time, there's a cost for that. If we don't want people to be shut off in the middle of winter on a subzero day, there is a cost for that and I could go on and on and on, but I just wanted to rise, Madam President, to speak more to the point of the work that the organization and I heard the proponents of the bill address that, but just some perspective going back a couple of decades now of experience with respect to CMEEC and the work that the organization and individuals at that organization have done. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on Senate Amendment A? Will you remark further? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The amendment passes. Will you remark further on the bill? The amendment is now the bill. Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Just to be sure I'd ask this be voted by roll call.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk. Hold on. We're going to stand at ease for a second. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the bill and the machine will be open for roll call vote.

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 call the tally?

CLERK:

S. B. No. 4,

Total number voting 36

Those voting Aye 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent, not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. At this time, are there any points of personal privilege? Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Madam President. For point of personal privilege and an introduction.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President. We're joined here in the Chamber today by a young man from New Haven who was my original legislative aide when I first came to the Senate in 1993. He was my aide for my first two terms in the Senate. He then moved to Washington D. C. and became a key staff member for the Mayor of Washington D. C. at the time, Mayor Tony Williams. He then became a Washington D. C. lobbyist for a time and then after that changed direction for a new and exciting career. He moved to Los Angeles and is a successful screenwriter and film producer now, so I would like to introduce to the Chamber for our warm welcome someone whom we used to see around here a great deal in the early and mid-1990s, Jim Warrick. [Clapping]

THE CHAIR:

Jim, it's wonderful to see you again. There are many people around here who wouldn't recognize you, but I do, so do me a favor, don't write any of those playwrights about the times when you were around. Thank you very much. Take care, Jim. Good seeing you. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'd like to ask the clerk to go back to the item we just marked PT, Calendar Page 28, Calendar 421, S. B. 623.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 28, Calendar 421, S. B. No. 623, AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE 7/7 PROGRAM TO ENCOURAGE THE REDEVELOPMENT OF BROWNFIELDS AND UNDERUTILIZED PROPERTY. Senate A has been adopted. Senate C has been designated.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So, last we spoke, before us was LCO 8121 which simply is for the purpose of ensuring to the participants in the 7/7 program that there has been a definitive commitment to them in the program. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, just one question for Senator Hartley.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Senator Hartley, when they make this submission of their application for the program and at that time it shows that there is a budget surplus, is that a snapshot or if it goes into a negative in the budget they lose the program? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and through you to Senator Fasano, the father of the 7/7 program. Yes, indeed. It is a snapshot in time. It is a criteria when then indicates to the participant that yes, you are in the program and you will be sustained in the program. Thank you, sir. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thanks Senator Hartley for that answer and I find the amendment to be a friendly amendment to the bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on Senate C? Will you remark further? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Senate C is adopted. At this time, any more discussion? Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President, I appreciate that and I'm glad we got through that discussion there because this is a good bill. The underlying bill is a very good bill in that it will allow the potential of one of these Brownfields to be realized going forward, and as I was saying before, we have a lot of them in Connecticut and it does bode well for our future if this does move forward.

I will point out that it made it through the Finance Committee 51 to 0 and Commerce 21 to 0 and I'd also like to thank my co-Chair, Senator Hartley, whose always an awesome person to work with on any of these initiatives and Representatives Yaccarino and Simmons in the House and also our own Senator Fasano for coming up with this idea in the first place. Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, Mr. Clerk, will you call for roll call vote?

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

S. B. 623,

Total number voting 36

Those voting Aye 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent, not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. [Gavel]. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the clerk now please call the bills on the consent calendar followed by a vote, please?

THE CHAIR:

Absolutely. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 3, Calendar 116, S. B. 546; on Page 49, Calendar 309, S. B. 1033.

THE CHAIR:

Okay. At this time, please call for roll call vote on the consent calendar and the machine is open.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on consent calendar No. 1. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

On consent calendar 1,

Total number voting 36

Those voting Aye 36

Those voting Nay 0

Absent, not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Could you ask does the Clerk have Senate Agenda No. 2?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Is in possession of Senate Agenda No. 2, dated Wednesday, May 31, 2017. It's been reproduced and is on Senators' desks.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move that all items on Senate Agenda No. 2, dated Wednesday, May 31, 2017, be acted upon as indicated and the Journal be incorporated by reference in Senate Journal and transcript.

THE CHAIR:

So be it. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, will the Senate stand at ease, please?

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease. The Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the Clerk please call Calendar Page 15, Calendar 313, S. B. 985?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 15, Calendar 313, S. B. No. 985, AN ACT CONCERNING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DUE TO AN EMPLOYER OTHER THAN THE STATE UNDER THE STATE CODE OF ETHICS. There is an amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer. Good afternoon again, ma'am.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Good afternoon, 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?

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the bill before us today applies existing laws concerning substantial conflicts of interest of the State and the State Code of Ethics for Public Official and State Employees to conflicts that involve the public officials or the state employee's employer or the spouse's employer. This measure enjoyed board bipartisan support in the GA Committee. I want to thank my colleague, Senator McLachlan, for his support of this bill and I hope that the Chamber will support it. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Senator McLachlan. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I stand in support of the bill. I just want to clarify that some elected officials may have concern that it spreads too far a wide net in this ethics regulation proposed. I will say that this has been looked very carefully over the last several years and we've discovered that there are some loopholes in current state statute. Whenever an elected official here in the Connecticut General Assembly or elsewhere has a concern, they can very simply select two choices. One is recusal on the matter or two is seek out guidance from our ethics officials here in the state of Connecticut. I urge adoption. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Miner. Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. Madam President, I was reading this language earlier and am concerned not to the extent that I'm in opposition, but concerned that this may actually be a significant change, not only a significant change to the public, but a significant change to members of this Chamber and the Chamber downstairs. And, so I come to that opinion by looking at lines 28 through 40. With respect to the fact that it no longer is limited to, in my reading, whether or not the individual or the individual's immediate family would benefit. It's a matter of whether the employer outside of this Chamber would benefit.

And, so when I look at this language, I think to myself, so let's say I was a member of the City Council in the city of Hartford, and in that role, I was an employee. I actually got a stipend. If in advocating for the city of Hartford, the city of Hartford ended up with a significantly larger amount of money through the budgetary process than any other municipality, what I'm questioning is whether or not that would require any member of this Chamber or the lower Chamber in voting for that budget to have to file an affidavit acknowledging the fact that that occurred, that in advocacy for the community that your employer would've benefited at a rate higher than any other municipality.

In fact, the language says up or down, so in supporting a budget where there a monetary loss, I think it's conceivable that you'd have the same obligation to seek out that opinion and file that written statement and so I'm not really sure if I can get this answered through a question, but I'd like to try and that is, in Section B, is my read of Section B correct? Through you, Madam President to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Through you, Madam President. If I could just ask for a clarification from my good colleague and neighbor, Senator Miner, for his read of Section B.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Certainly, Madam President. So, in reading Section B, the deviation from past language, in the past it seemed to me that there had to be a direct benefit to you, to your spouse, to some member of your immediate family, there had to be a direct connection. So, if I cast a vote and my wife was a bookkeeper in the town of Warren and Warren somehow got additional revenue and quid pro quo for that she was getting a $ 2,500 dollar kick in her stipend, then that would be a very direct, very real conflict of interest. In this case, it appears to me to say that if there's a direct monetary gain or loss for the other employer, it's no longer required that it be direct to the employee's spouse or immediate family, so that's my question. Am I correct that this is a change that would require a written statement should I vote on that budget? Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. My interpretation of this is that while a written statement under this proposal in front of us could certainly be done out of an abundance of caution, many of our colleagues and many folks who fall under the purview of this existing statute choose to go above and beyond in their interpretation of our state ethics laws and filling out that written statement I think would be going above and beyond. My interpretation is that what is before us, the scenario that my colleague has described, would instead of a deminimis nature in terms of the benefit to the employer and would be a broad – it wouldn't be a narrow benefit that was directly for the particular employee or that employer.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and I thank the gentle lady for her response and so the response included the words or the caveat of deminimis and so if she could help me then understand what is the threshold of deminimis? When do we cross that deminimis threshold in whether or not I would be well-advised to file that written statement or not file that written statement? Is it a dollar threshold or is it a change in policy? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Existing law that is outlined here in the bill that's before us describes an interest of a deminimis nature is an interest that is not distinct from that of a substantial segment of the general public or an interest in a substantial conflict with the performance of official duties as defined in Section 1-85 and has a potential conflict of interest.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Again, I thank the gentle lady for her response. I'm not opposed to the language. As I said in the onset that this is something that I think moving continuously looking at this issue and trying to move in this direction where we provide people an opportunity to seek an opinion, make a statement, make it clear to the public what our intentions are, are all good in terms of our public role here. I guess I'm hoping to point out that deminimis as I understood it was, that if I took action on a corporate policy or a tax policy here and it affected me the same it affected anyone like me all across the country with regard to the value of a stock or any number of things, that I was such a small fish in that big pool it didn't really matter.

In this case where we do things here that directly impact municipalities, that directly impact budgets, that directly impact professions, I think this language is a significant change. I'm not saying it's a bad change. I'm just saying I think it's significant and I think it bears us really paying attention to as this bill moves forward, assuming it will pass the House and then be signed by the Governor, because the last thing I think we want to do is to get jammed up because we're trying to help a community through some economic times or we're trying to correct a policy statement. That's really the only point that I was trying to make. I think in this case it is less clear because it gets away from the language dealing directly with the employee and the employee's immediate family and now talks about the employer. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Bye. Good afternoon.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. A couple questions for the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Senator Flexer. Through you, Madam President. As we consider the current state of the law versus the change, how would that impact somebody in their workplace? What would change from today to the day this becomes law in terms of the steps they would need to take if they had substantial conflict of interest with their workplace?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, this proposal in front of us expands existing law so that a public official would have to include both their employer, their outside employer, and their spouse, and their spouse's employer and they would have to go to the office of State Ethics like many of us do now to get an opinion on various issues that may come before them in their role as a public official.

And, then under this proposal they would either be able to excuse themselves from that debate and the role that they have in that particular issue or they could file an official statement under potential penalty of a false statement explaining the nature of the potential conflict and why despite the conflict they believe they can move forward in an unbiased way. They can participate, as the bill before us says, fairly, objectively, and in the public interest in such matter. And, that statement will be filed with the office of State Ethics and I think that's a great improvement in our existing law.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and through you, another question for the proponent of the bill. In the Circle, oftentimes I ask Senator Witkos if I could use him as an example. If a bill comes up that concerns his company, he recuses himself and leaves the Chamber for that vote, what does this bill change about this or would there be instances during which he would not need to recuse himself from the vote because he worked for a company that may be impacted by that policy? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH)

Through you, Madam President. Again, the scenario that you just described, our colleague would still work with the office of State Ethics to determine what the best course is, and the scenario that you just gave, the good Senator could certainly continue to recuse himself from those matters, but if a situation did arise where there was a potential conflict and he did not see it that way, he could file this statement and explain why the conflict did not exist and why he could continue to participate, again fairly, objectively, and in the public interest on that matter.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you. I thank the gentleman for her answer. I have one last question. Through you, Madam President, what does it mean to have an influence on the policy? Would that include trying to affect a bill during the process, through the committee process, and the bill development and the compromises on that bill? Would that all be included in the type of activities that would require such approval from the office of State Ethics? Through you, Madam President, and that's my last question.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Through you, Madam President. There is – all of the things that the good Senator just described could fall within the proper discharge of the public official's duties or their employment in the public interest, so someone could choose to file this statement and say that they could participate behind the scenes in all the ways you just described. On a matter, they could just choose to do it at the point of a vote and those are the sorts of things I think this legislature needs to continue to look at. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Would you remark any further? Will you remark any further on the bill? Will you remark any further on the bill? If not, I guess I'll call for roll call vote. Mr. Clerk, roll call vote and the machine will be open.

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

S. B. 985,

Total number voting 35

Those voting Aye 35

Those voting Nay 0

Absent, not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the clerk now please call Calender Page 10, Calendar 244, S. B. 413?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 10, Calendar 244, S. B. No. 413, AN ACT MAKING MUNICIPAL UTILITY COMPANIES' BOOKS AND FINANCIALS SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT AND CONCERNING MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC UTILITIES AND RATE DESIGN STUDIES. There are amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, Senator Formica, again.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Good afternoon again, Madam President and thank you. I rise to move acceptable of the Committee's Joint favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Yes, Madam President. Thank you. This is a bill that came out of one of the previous bills that we discussed earlier today in giving utilities the opportunity to disclose under Freedom of Information Act. This requires municipal utilities that their books and accounts be subject to FOI and exempts municipal utilities from studying electrical vehicle rates if they already have recently. This is a good bill and I urge adoption and I thank the members for this consideration on this particular bill.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I would ask the clerk to call LCO 8061.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 8061, Senate A, offered by Senator Fasano.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, we'd move the amendment and request permission to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark sir?

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, what this essentially does is it allows a municipal electrical energy cooperative, it requires them to maintain a detailed and accurate accounting of expenses. Madam President, I would ask to withdraw that amendment. Apparently, there is a new amendment and withdraw that amendment.

THE CHAIR:

I see no objection. So ordered. The amendment is withdrawn.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And, I ask the clerk to call LCO 8175.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 8175, Senate B, offered by Senators Fasano and Winfield.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President, this is the right amendment. Madam President, I am joined on this amendment by Senator Winfield and I thank him very much. Madam President, once again this is an amendment to the underlying bill. What is requires is to maintain a detailed and accurate accounting of expenses paid. It also requires employee labor expenses using detailed employee timecards and not to charge more than the expenses incurred by the service or agent. The point is that when these expenses are paid, there's not supposed to be a surplus to the municipal electric companies. It is supposed to be net neutral; however, and there's other supporting documents that go along with this. However, Madam President, without knowing what these documents are, there's no way of actually knowing what the costs are and what the recovered costs are. Madam President, you may or may not recall that there has been a problem recently with respect to a certain municipal electrical cooperative that has raised some concerns.

Madam President, what this does is sort of stop that at the pass. That is to say this would require a reporting such that anybody who's part of this cooperative can look at this reporting and determine whether or not those expenses are matched to what is recorded. Madam President, this is just a failsafe protected measure to ensure an accurate bookkeeping, and more importantly, those folks who are outside looking in can ensure that this is an accurate match-up to what is said to be the expenses when it's not.

Madam President, I recognize to some extent one may argue that this requires more bookkeeping. I appreciate that, but an ounce of cure is worth a pound of something as the old saying goes like that, so I think what this does is certainly make sure that we get our information out there, sunlight out there, so Madam President, I look forward to adoption of this amendment. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of Senate B, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Senate B passes. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President, I also have LCO 8178.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk, will you call the amendment, please?

CLERK:

LCO No. 8178, Senate C, offered by Senators Fasano, Witkos, Markley, and Winfield.

THE CHAIR:

Okay. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President. Apparently this cleans up some issues with the last amendment which are minor and technical and that's all it really does. Thank you, Madam President. I move the amendment --.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. This motion is on adoption. Yes, sir. Thank you. Okay. Will you remark further on Senate C? Will you remark further on Senate C? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Senate C is adopted. Now, are we on the bill? We're on the bill. Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Quick question for the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Through you, Madam President. I just want to assure that this bill pertains only to electric service. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Yes. Through you, Madam President. That's correct.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, Mr. Clerk, will you please call for roll call vote and the machine will be open.

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

S. B. 413,

Total number voting 34

Those voting Aye 34

Those voting Nay 0

Absent, not voting 2

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the clerk just mark a few items go so everybody has an idea where we're heading to next. Thank you, Madam President. If we can call as our next item, Calendar Page 29, Calendar 425, S. B. 734; followed by Calendar Page 17, Calendar 335, S. B. 941; followed by Calendar Page 6, Calendar 176, S. B. 889; followed by Calendar Page 9, Calendar 239, S. B. 959; followed by Calendar Page 23, Calendar 390, S. B. 1005; followed by Calendar Page 46, Calendar 156, S. B. 836? Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 29, Calendar 425, Substitute for S. B. No. 734, AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TAX DEDUCTION FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO A CITIZNES IN NEED ACCOUNT. There are amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz. Good afternoon, again, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. Thank you for that. We appreciate it very much. You know, times are challenging in the state of Connecticut these days and we as a state, unfortunately, are having a tough time funding our social service programs and our commitments to those who are desperately in need of many of these different services and we're also from time to time accused in this Chamber of not thinking creatively enough to move the state forward, to figure out new funding streams for these different programs that are so vitally needed for people in need.

So, I'm pleased today to introduce to the Chamber, S. B. 734, which AN ACT ESTABISHING A TAX DEDUCTION FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO A CITIZNES IN NEED ACCOUNT. And simply put, what it does is, and we all know that Connecticut does not allow itemized deductions nearly 100-percent; what this does is for the first time in a long time, if perhaps not ever, allows for there to be an itemized deduction with personal income tax within the state of Connecticut.

It not only allows that, but it doubles it. The idea here is that if people elect to contribute to a Citizens in Need program, which this statute would establish, they will get not only 100-percent tax deduction, but they will get a 200-percent tax deduction which is something that's completely unheard of in the state of Connecticut. In addition to that, that taxpayer would be eligible to take advantage of the federal IRS deduction as well, and when you put those two elements together, it creates a lot of incentive for people who are particularly concerned about other people to pay close attention to this and perhaps consider giving to that Citizens in Need fund.

And, I think it makes a lot of sense because it's essentially a costless or nearly costless exercise or experiment to see if this concept would work and would be a win-win for the people of Connecticut because now all of a sudden you're getting to fund the social service programs that've been neglected over the last few months and years in many cases. And, you're also delivering a benefit to the taxpayer that they were not able to take advantage of prior to this, so it's a novel way of trying to raise the revenues that are necessary in these difficult times for the state of Connecticut and I think it's a wonderful creative gesture here. And, so what I'd like to do is to yield to the originator of this concept if it's okay with you, Madam President, and that's Senator Len Suzio.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio. Will you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

I'd be very pleased to accept the yield, Madam President. Thank you. And, thank you, Senator Frantz, for the introduction of S. B. 734. I urge my colleagues to support this bill because of its impact on the poor and its impact on the budget. Last December, I was perusing the local paper and I read a story about how the energy assistance program, the LIEA program, which is there to help the poor heat their homes and their apartments, was running low on money.

And, I started thinking about, wouldn't it be nice if we could contribute something to the fund to help people heat their homes and I realized that there's no tax deduction in Connecticut to encourage that kind of behavior to contribute to the citizens who really do need our help and assistance, and as I thought more and more about it, I realized it's not just the LIEA program, but also all sorts of social service programs that are offered to the needy, to the poor, to parents with disabled children, to senior citizens. I thought of Care for Kids. I thought of Choices at Home. I thought of the Connecticut Aids Drug Assistance program; just one program after the other that all are threatened in terms of our budget crisis right now.

We are going to be staring at a budget deficit that's growing day by day, week by week, to shocking proportions and there's no doubt that there's gonna be some cuts in funding of some of these very important and needed programs by the poor so the poor, the neediest of the neediest.

So, I thought about, why not establish a special fund that would be controlled by the state of Connecticut called the Citizens in Need Fund which would help to restore funds to these programs that are badly needed by our citizens and families, and as I thought more about it, I thought, why not come up with the idea of making it deductible and at the same time maybe even making it double deductible to really attract attention.

And, I went to a couple of tax experts here in the state of Connecticut, Professor Pomp at Yukon and Bill Saas who's a CPA and one of the lean tax experts in Connecticut as well and they both said from a tax point of view it definitely works. It could be very appealing and very attractive and we did some more research on it to see what experience other states have had, and while other states do allow charitable deductions, no state has ever set up a program that is along these guidelines. So, from a budget point of view, I want to make certain that this potential legislation achieves two what to many people might appear to be contradictory goals at the same time.

We are able to cut taxes and simultaneously increase revenues to the state of Connecticut and the increase in revenues is not dollar for dollar. It's eight to 10 times the amount of the tax cost of this bill. To make certain that my colleagues understand how the concept works and how it impacts the budget, I just want to explain it in a little detail, but basically if someone has a $ 100,000 dollars a year adjusted gross income, which is what Connecticut's state income tax is based on, if they were to donate $ 1,000 dollars to this fund under the proposed program, they would be entitled to deduct $ 2,000 dollars from their adjusted gross income, reducing it to $ 98,000 dollars. If that taxpayer was in the five-percent bracket and basically under the proposal, they'd be entitled to a $ 2,000 dollar deduction which effectively in the five-percent bracket would save them $ 100 dollars on their state income tax.

In other words, the state of Connecticut would get 10 times the revenue of the tax loss that would be foregone under this proposal. Moreover, it is suggested or structured in such a way that Connecticut's citizens who make the contribution would be eligible for federal income tax deductibility as well thereby leveraging and multiplying the benefit all the more for Connecticut citizens. Why not in effect keep more of our dollars here in Connecticut rather than sending them down to Washington, D. C. ?

So, basically it's a no lose proposition. And, by the way, I did go to Commissioner Sullivan and I did speak to him at the urging of some of my colleagues who said, why not speak to the Department of Revenue Services, to see what impact it would be and Commissioner Sullivan assured me that it would be very easy for the Department to implement if the legislature should approve it and he said it would have almost no cost to the Department, so this is one of those propositions that is a no-risk no-lose proposition. We can only gain by it. We've got nothing to lose by it and some of you might think, well what is the potential? I'll give you an idea. In 2015, the latest year I could find tax data from the federal government on Connecticut residents, $ 3. 6 billion dollars of charitable contributions were reported and itemized by Connecticut residents that year and it's estimated that amount is understated by another 25-percent for people who don't itemize their deductions.

So, it's estimated that close to $ 4. 3 billion dollars of charitable contributions are made by Connecticut citizens every year. If we were to capture just one-percent of that amount, that's $ 43 million dollars and personally I do believe that's a very realistic goal. If we were to capture $ 43 million dollars of contributions, it would cost us only about 10-percent of the amount in terms of lost tax revenues, $ 4. 3 million dollars. It's just a win-win proposition for the state of Connecticut. It's a win-win situation for those who are our neediest citizens who need help the most. And if I may, Madam President, the clerk is in possession of an amendment. It's under LCO 8108. I ask the clerk to please call the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 8108, Senate A, offered by Senator Suzio.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Madam President. I move adoption of the amendment and waive the reading.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you very much. The amendment to the original bill basically is to in effect restrict the use of the funds that would be brought forward from this program should it be adopted and limit it to the neediest cities in the state of Connecticut and their citizens. And, specifically it would limit the use of the proceeds to Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, New Britain, Hamden, Bristol, and/or Meriden. In other words, these are some of the biggest cities in the state and also the cities that have the highest poverty rate, the cities which have the highest concentrations of people, Connecticut citizens and families, who need the social services programs provided by our state and which are threatened by our dire budget situation.

I urge and I hope to see a unanimous vote in this body because this is again a proposition that will benefit the neediest of our citizens at no cost to the state government. It will be not a problem in terms of the budget itself, and in these times when we're looking at a budget that is collapsing day by day, to have a program which enhances our ability to reach out and support the neediest of our citizens without exacerbating the budget situation, but on the other hand actually helping the budget situation, I urge unanimous approval by all my colleagues in the Senate of this amendment. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark Senator Fasano on Senate A, please?

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I apologize for sort of going out of turn in the Circle, but I have to be at another meeting and I wanted to comment on the bill and the amendment brought in by Senator Suzio. You know, in this building very rarely do we think out of the box and very rarely do we think of innovative ways to try to move something along. So, let's take a look at what this does. What we're saying is people are gonna pay money into a fund and the deduction is going to be less than the amount of money that actually goes into this fund. So, we've got their money. It is there. It is tangible. It can be withdrawn from that account and then what we're gonna do to make the bill even better, we're gonna dedicate this fund aptly named Citizens in Need and we're gonna put it to some of the largest cities in the state of Connecticut.

Think about it. We're not gonna grant money from our tax base. We're not gonna loan money. We're not gonna put ourselves into debt. We're gonna use cash, cold cash in a deposit account, to fund various activities. It's a win-win-win. Now, it's foreign to the Circle to see something that doesn't fit our general diagram of how we do things in the building. I understand that, but identify the downside. When Senator Suzio brought this up maybe six months ago or so, I said there's gotta be a catch. There has to be something wrong because it sort of makes too much sense that you're able to put money away, get a deduction, and in effect, there's more money with the state, so something, what's the catch?

And when you look at it, there is no catch. Politically, it makes sense. Business-wise, it makes sense. If you're gonna give me $ 60 dollars and I'm gonna give you back 20, see me outside. I'll do that every day of the week until you get tired of doing it. That's what all this thing is. We're getting 60. We're giving the person back 20. That's a good deal. Now, maybe I'm missing something, but I tell you, I looked at this in many different ways. The fiscal note kind of talks about you're losing money, but they're not looking at the full game plan here which is money in an account that offsets that fiscal note. It's there. It's not a promise. It's not a business entity that's gonna get jobs and sooner or later we're gonna get the money back like a first five or some other initiative. This is an honest return day one with no risk to the state of Connecticut and an upside. This is better than being the house in a casino. You're ahead of the game without any risk.

And now we're gonna fund those areas that this Circle and the Chamber downstairs are dealing with at this very moment. How are we gonna fund DCS? How are we gonna fund Pilot? How are we gonna fund construction projects in our cities? How are we gonna fund job programs? And, we struggle with that. What are we going to take from to fund this? This answers that question. You don't have to worry about that now. Citizen in Need Fund is there to be pulled upon. Madam President, this amendment makes the underlying bill better and that's why I don't want to wait 'til the underlying bill to talk. This amendment makes the underlying bill better and certainly makes all the sense in the world. I look forward to its passage. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you and good afternoon, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

I also stand in strong support of the amendment as proposed by Senator Suzio. You know, just yesterday we gathered around the Circle to discuss a deficiency plan and there seemed to be a rush over the course of the end of last week and the beginning of this week because there was a program known as the Birth To Three Program where bills needed to be paid so folks felt it was of the utmost urgency to come forward and make sure that the money was transferred from account to account to pay for this program, but there's only so much money. There's so much of the piece of the pie that can be delivered and we were able to accommodate that and this is just one more. If you want to say it, this is the confectionary sugar on the piece of the pie, an additional piece of funds that the three of the 10 largest communities in our state can make themselves available to all the different social service agencies for these fantastic programs that we have in our state. It gives the folks that have the ability and the wherewithal to donate yet receive a reduction off their state and federal tax return in exchange for donating hard cash dollars to the state of Connecticut which can be used not in a specific program, but in a community and those programs up to that community can be decided which ones have the best return on its investment, so I stand in strong support of the amendment and ask for the Chamber's adoption. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam Chair. I rise and would ask a couple questions of the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

I'm familiar with the bill. I did have this in Finance and I voted against it because if I remember correctly we were pretty much under the gun of the House going into session or something like that. We didn't really have a lot of time to ask questions. So, I'd like that opportunity now.

THE CHAIR:

This is on the amendment, right, sir?

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

I'm sorry.

THE CHAIR:

We're on the amendment, not the bill.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

On the amendment, right.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

You've identified 10 cities. Why are we identifying 10 cities as opposed to people in need?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Yes, and through you, Madam President. It's the people in need in those cities. In other words, its' not going to the cities as municipalities, but is going to be restricted to the social programs offered through the state to people who reside in those cities. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

And it seems, I don't know how we do the geography, but a lot of people don't cross the river. The river's not cement. It's water. As you go east, east Hartford, Manchester, Willimantic, in any cases from any people, among the poorest people in the state of Connecticut. Manchester is the center of social services east of the river. The numbers of people that spend hours on the phone and hours in line to get services are incredible and they're not included in the bill and I don't know the process for doing that, but if it was people in need based on finance or something as opposed to picking 10 towns. I think they're one of the 10 largest towns now, east Hartford next door and Willimantic, a little ways out, all have the same problems.

If this was people in need in our urban areas, whether they be relatively small like Willimantic or in the larger urban areas, I think it would be great, but to be able to pick some and not others, I have a problem with, and if there's a way we could do that here as an amendment or suggestion, even if we hold out, I think that would make a significant difference because everybody in need would have an opportunity, so that was real concern. I don't think there's a real economic impact, a negative impact, on the taxpayer as far as because the money's going to another – the last part of this question is, is this money protected from sweeps?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Yes, and through you, Madam President. Yes, the money would be put into a lockbox controlled only by the Department of Social Services. It would be restricted to the programs that are offered through the Department of Social Services and to the people who are qualified for those services. And, going to your question about the restriction that is in the amendment insofar as the 10 cities that have been identified, I envision that as a starting point that if the program catches on and becomes very successful, there's no reason to restrict it to the original 10 cities or towns that we're identifying in the amendment itself. And, if it does indeed reach the success I think it has the potential to do of tens of millions of dollars, then it can and should be expanded so that every citizen who basically benefits from the social services offered by the state and are qualified by virtue of their income or lack of income and their needs, that every citizen in this state would eventually be eligible, but this in effect establishes a prototype, a program which we can grow and learn from and become even more successful over time. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you. Through you, Madam President. One more question.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Again, going back to, if we were to make that change if you adopted this the way it is at this time, you'd have to come back to the legislature to make additional changes. If this was at the discretion of the Department of Social Services based on need, we would not have to come back here and the neediest of people would be served, not only in those 10 towns, but in other towns as well. Would you be agreeable to making that distinction?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. I would be agreeable to anything that we can do to help any and all citizens in Connecticut. Again, the original bill did not have the restriction of the 10 cities in it, but we thought – the thinking was, look it, where are the greatest concentrations of poverty and people in need because we'll have more benefit and bang for the buck if we concentrate the resources that we generate from this rather than dispersing it everywhere throughout the state. And again, they can become the prototypes that we can use to expand the program, but I have no objection. If the Chamber were to say, 'no, we like the original bill as unamended' and passes is that way, I would be just as happy to do that as well, but my thinking was by virtue of offering the amendment was let's – in the first couple of years, it'll be new. People will be learning of the program's existence. I am certain once it catches fire, and by the way, I think any tax advisors in Connecticut that catch wind of this, we are probably going to see some I think pretty substantial donations made by people who have the means and the income to do so and I think it'll explode in terms of the potential resources that we can offer to the citizens of Connecticut.

So, the thinking again was let's learn from our experience in the first couple of years and then focus it on 10 cities or towns, but if you were to vote against this, through you, Madam President – if Senator Cassano were to vote against this and say 'no, but I'm going to vote for the underlying bill', I would not have a problem with that at all. I'd be the first to come over and shake Senator Cassano's hand.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Yes, and one last question again. I would assume that somehow Senator Suzio that we would be able to put together some kind of a program that you mentioned the accountants. Would we be as a state in touch, would Social Services be in touch? How do we get the word out because the concept's a great concept, but if people don't know about it, it's a problem.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Just to clarify, I think the questioner is asking how will we communicate with potential donors? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

I can just tell you the people who are the most likely to contribute to this program are the people who have advisors, tax advisors, who are up on things like this. And, by the way, when I was first conceiving of the program, it was in December when I was reading about the LIHEAP program and what was I doing at the time? I was reviewing my contributions and writing out more checks to more charities and I thought this would be great if I had something to contribute. I would've contributed to this fund. In fact, if the legislature does pass this, I want to be the very first donor to the Citizens in Need Fund. I will write out a check for $ 1,000 dollars the very first day this becomes law. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana. Good afternoon, ma'am.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. Thank you, Madam President. I have some questions for the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you. Senator Suzio, I just want to know how this is going to work or what you envision. The first thing is, how would this amount of money – the underlying fiscal note says it would be the account would probably take it about $ 300 thousand dollars on the underlying bill, of course, but for this amendment, you do say that monies in the account shall be expended by the comptroller in consultation with the Commissioner of Social Services to assist residents and the money should not be used for administrative purposes, but what I want to know is, with this amount of money, how would it be determined that it would be distributed? Would there be a formula to it? Perhaps you could explain to me.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Yes. And, I'm actually glad you brought up that question because I do want to correct a comment that was made by Senator Fasano about this having a cost. The actual fiscal impact as developed by the Office of Fiscal Analysis is positive from day one. It shows $ 300 thousand dollars of revenue annually and then about $ 140 or 50 thousand dollars of cost in the first year, decreasing to about 120 thousand I think in the second year and we could all argue or debate how much money it will raise, but whatever it does raise would be used by the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services and directed to programs that the Commissioner feels should be the priority programs.

I would leave considerable discretion to the Commissioner to determine where the biggest bang for the buck would occur and where the most important needs are. It would be up to the Commissioner just like it is today with the Commissioner working with the budget he's allocated. He determines what the priorities are when he spends money and if he has to cut spending to the programs. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The amendment in lines 11 and 12 is very broad and who receives benefits from social services programs. I know you talked about LIHEAP. Well, there are many, many social services programs that DSS administers. Given the amount of money, I still don't understand how the actual distribution -- did you consult with DDS to ask them how this or what amount would be distributed? Would there be a cap on the amount? Would there be a – when someone I assume would apply for this, would they be told, well, you can get $ 10, $ 15, or I'm trying to understand how this would be carried out. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes. I want to make sure there's no misunderstanding. I'm not advocating that the money be distributed as cash to people as recipients. I am advocating that the money would be used to support the social service programs for the clients of the Department of Social Services, those people who benefit from any one of the dozens of programs administered by the Department itself. It could be Care for Kids. It could be the Connecticut Age Drug Assistance Program. It could be any of those programs at all, all of which are threatened today by the budget crisis that we're confronting today and all of which face potential devastating cuts which will hurt many people, the people who need help the most, and this I hope the proceeds from this will go a long way towards mitigating that damage and maybe even exceeding it so that we can actually not only prevent the loss of those badly needed services, but we might actually be able to increase those services. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Well, it was not clear to me from the language in this amendment that it would go to DDS and then be distributed in these communities to be used in general I guess to help people in the communities who may --. In other words, what you're saying, is that this would offset the cost if you would of people who receive benefits, social service benefits, so I'm trying to think of how that would work. So, is this some sort of, this fund would kind of reimburse DSS for money that they would expend for people who are receiving these benefits, so it wouldn't go directly to the person?

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

And, through you, Madam President. That is absolutely correct. There is no intention for the money that would be collected to be distributed as cash to beneficiaries who are decided by the Department of Social Services. No. The whole idea is to support programs that already exist that are operating on underfunded accounts already and whose funding is threatened, so I think of Care for Kids for example as a good example which is a program which is teeter tottering in terms of its funding. I would say and hope that the Commissioner might make that one of his priorities. I also want to point out I don't want to get into micromanaging the Department either.

I mean we do trust the Commissioners that run our various departments to decide what their priorities are and where the money goes. That's both when they're bringing their budgets forward to us and when the Governor is telling them they have to cut their spending. They are the ones who are deciding where those spending cuts are occurring, so my hope is that the funds that come in through this program, the millions of dollars I hope that we raise voluntarily from Connecticut citizens, will go to help to restore or preserve programs like Care for Kids, the Energy Assistance Programs, food pantries that benefit, the Husky Healthcare Program.

I mean there's dozens of programs that could benefit from this, the shelters for battered women, all of which--- there's so many programs I think most of our citizens would be surprised by what the state of Connecticut does to help the neediest of the needy and we all know, every one of us in this Circle, know that the funding for all those programs is threatened right now and very likely to be cut. This is a way of countering that threat, and I hope more than countering it, I hope actually giving us a means of sustaining these programs not with taxes that are imposed on people, but with voluntary contributions from our citizens. What better way to help those in need than they get it voluntarily from people of chartable impulse rather than at the point of the taxman coming to collect the money. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. One last question, if the money is going to DSS from this account, how does DDS determine that it will be used only for residents who receive social services and these communities only?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. I know that the DSS has offices throughout the state. They know the residents and the location of people who are beneficiaries to their programs, so it'll just be a question of just saying at least initially for the first couple of years, this program would be restricted to people who have their residence in one of the communities that are identified as the priority communities at the initial part of this program. So, I think that's identifying who's qualified by virtue of their residence would be a very easy thing for the Department to do. Thank you. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I have no further questions, but I am puzzled as to how DSS would accept money from this fund and then somehow or another -- it isn't a reimbursement, but expend certain dollars only on these particular residents in this city from this fund, so I thank the gentleman for answering my questions. I appreciate that. I think there's more work that has to be done here, but I understand the good intentions. Thank you so much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Very briefly, last year I think the Chamber may remember that there was an incident where the Department of Agriculture took custody of I think it was about 40 horses and Representative Ziobron did a Go Fund Me page, and as I recall, I think it raised about $ 12 thousand dollars.

The Department of Agriculture accepted the money and made the expenditures. It seems like these agencies can figure this out. This is certainly a radical idea. I would say it's probably no more radical than establishing a Go Fund Me page and I don't know how successful it will be or won't be, but given the situation that we're in, what if it worked? What if it actually fulfilled the dream that Senator Suzio has and others have? So, I'm inclined to support the language, support the bill, and would hope that the least problem that we have is that our agencies can't figure out how to make these good dollars work out to the benefit of the people that we need to help. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Good afternoon, Madam President. Madam President, I rise for a few questions of the proponent.

THE CHAIR:

please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

thank you, Madam President. Senator Suzio, I believe I heard you correctly that you indicated it was your estimate, based on some data that you received, that there is approximately $ 430 million dollars in charitable contributions made by Connecticut taxpayers? It that accurate?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

thank you, Madam President. No. The amount was 4. 3 billion. There were 632 thousand taxpayers in Connecticut who itemized their deductions and claimed charitable deductions on their federal tax return in 2015 and it's estimated by philanthropic groups that there's another 25 to 30-percent of donations that are not itemized and it's an estimate, so I took I think it was the 3. 6 billion was what those – 630 thousand taxpayers claimed and added another 6 to $ 700 thousand dollars to come up with the $ 4. 3 billion dollars.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

So, I misheard you. Instead of 430 million, which I thought was a significant number unto itself, but I was off by a factor of 10, 4. 3 billion dollars.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Yes. That's correct. Through you, Madam President. Yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

That seems like a fairly successful process that's going on right now to me to be able to generate those kinds of contributions. Why would we need a program such as you're offering here today which the Office of Fiscal Analysis I believe estimates a gain of about 300 thousand if Connecticut residents are contributing $ 4. 3 billion dollars in charitable contributions currently? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

through you, Madam President. Because I know that Connecticut citizens are motivated, one by a charitable impulse, but two, they're also motivated by the tax aspects of what they do. And, right now Connecticut is a pretty stingy state if I may say so because we don't allow nickel for charitable contributions as a deduction on our state income tax returns. We are pretty exceptional in that sense. I think it's high time that Connecticut adopted a policy which encouraged our citizens to support charities, and if they're already donating 3. 6 billion plus another 700 million or so, then just think how much more – if we can add just one-percent to that and that's what I estimated we might be doing. That's $ 43 million dollars. Maybe it might be 10-percent. It could be $ 400 million dollars for all I know. I'm not gonna go out on a limb that far and project it, but I think the very fact that Connecticut citizens, and they are claiming $ 3. 6 billion dollars' worth of deductions, so they are itemizing those deductions. They are getting the federal tax benefit. I think they'll be motivated that much more by a double deduction on Connecticut state income tax. I think it's exciting. I'm really jazzed about it. I just can't wait and hope that we do try it. I hope that we are innovative enough and fearless enough to give this thing a try because it is a no-risk proposition. There's no way we lose on this. There's everything to gain and nothing to lose. That's why I think it's worth a try. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I guess I have a few more questions for the proponent, madam.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

I would like to thank you. I would like to address this particular point because often we hear why is the government injecting itself into a space if the private market is addressing a problem by itself. In this case, again billions of dollars being donated by residents of our state to charity of their choosing, no government interference, no in any way that we are requiring anyone to participate, no hand of government mandating anything, no mandate here, and yet I believe you said, Senator Suzio, that $ 4 billion dollars is currently contributed to charity by our residents. Why do we need government to inject itself into this space when it seems to be working far better than I would suspect most people sitting around this Circle would ever believe? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, and through you, Madam President. Thank you very much for that question, Senator Fonfara. I can only say this. I know that the wealthiest of the wealthy are motivated by tax implications and it is a consideration when they donate and we have done nothing to encourage that impulse or make that appeals to Connecticut's wealthy residents. Why wouldn't we do so? It seems to me we are overlooking a fantastic opportunity and it's not interfering at all. It's all voluntary. In fact, the federal government does that.

The federal government in most other states does allow charitable contributions as tax deductions. Connecticut does not. I think that's almost scandalous when I think about it. Why would we not want to have a government policy which encourages our citizens to voluntary give money to a good cause to a needy cause to help out our most needy citizens. I was confronted by parents who have learning disabled children who were begging me not to cut programs that are provided to them by the Department of Social Services. I mean my heart was bleeding for these people and I know and every single one of you in this Circle know that the funding for those programs is threatened right now. This is a proposal which helps to mitigate that and maybe even avoid those cuts that are coming down the pike. Why not use the charitable impulse? Why not appeal to people? If a tax deduction works and we know it does, there is no doubt it does, then why not give this a try? And, remember there's no risk to us in this.

This is not like, 'oh, we might give up $ 50 million dollars of taxes and maybe get nothing in return'. There's no risk. This is like – to me, it's the safest bet you could possibly make and I would urge every one of you when you cast your vote in the next few minutes think of some needy citizens that came to you who are begging you not to cut their programs and you know you're going to be cutting some of those programs as things stand right now. This gives us the hope and this gives them the hope that we can preserve those programs that they're counting on that they do need and there's no risk for us to do that. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm certain that the gentleman knows that as being one of 187 members of this General Assembly and 36 of this Circle that he certainly has the ability to affect the outcome of how this institution spends its money to address the needs of those individuals that you represent who asked you to cast your vote in favor of not cutting those programs. I know the gentleman understands that, but through you, Madam President, Senator Suzio, is there anything in our law that prevents the individuals that you believe this proposal will incent, is there anything in our law that would currently prevent people or deny people the right to contribute to charity?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. Through you. There's nothing that prevents people from contributing to charity, but there is a policy which discourages it. We discourage it when we – the federal government itself and every, almost every other state, has a tax policy which encourages this impulse which encourages people through tax motivation to help out charitable institutions. Why are we not doing that here in Connecticut? That to me is a scandal. Here we are going to be looking at cutting money to programs that are badly needed by people and we have an opportunity possibly to raise tens of millions of dollars to help out at no risk and no cost to the state and we're kind of having anxiety about it for some reason. It will not cost us anything and it's not so much that people are prevented from doing this now, it's just that they need more encouragement and every government I know of except for the state of Connecticut does encourage charitable giving by its tax policy. We do not. In fact, our tax policy actually discourages it because we don't give any recognition for charitable giving. That to me, I find that almost embarrassing that here we are the richest state in the country and we don't recognize charitable contributions for the calculation of our state income tax. That is shocking and scandalous to me. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

thank you, Madam President. I'm glad the gentleman clarified and underscored that there's nothing in Connecticut law currently that would prohibit someone from contributing to charity, and in fact, Connecticut residents do that in abundance as the gentleman has stated both while using a deduction and those that are not.

another question for the proponent, Madam President. Madam President, through you, can you tell me, Senator Suzio, how the list of cities that are enumerated in the bill were identified? Was there a process by which they were selected?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Yes. Through you, Madam President. The first thing we did is we identified the largest cities, the urban centers of Connecticut, and then we looked at poverty statistics. So, for example, Greenwich, Connecticut is one of the bigger cities in Connecticut, but it doesn't have such a high poverty level as some of the other cities. So, it was a combination of the concentration of the population and the poverty and also by the way of the racial and ethnic characteristics of the area, too. We wanted to help out not only those that were poor, but those who are minorities especially. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Through you, Madam President. So, you have chosen in your process to identify by race who will be beneficiaries irrespective of their poverty level or if I could ask for clarification or their poverty level and their race? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. We looked at the demographics of the cities in Connecticut and we decided that obviously first of all the concentration or size of the population would be number one. Number two; we looked at the poverty statistics and said okay, which cities have the highest levels of poverty in the population and we also looked at the composition of the population demographically that is racially and ethnically because we know that minorities tend to have a higher concentration or higher issue incidence of poverty, so we tried to reach out and identify the communities in Connecticut that had the neediest populations and the greatest concentration of populations. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. So, you could have a community outside of one of these cities in which the degree of poverty or the degree of poverty and racial concentration were such that it was significant, but did not have the population that these particular communities had, and therefore, they would not receive this benefit that would be realized by this program. Is that accurate? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. The cities that we selected have the highest numbers of people, of people who are in poverty, and people who are identified racially as minorities. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Through you, Madam President, but the question is, if you had a community that had a high concentration of individuals who are in poverty, first had to be recipient of these programs in poverty and additionally were a concentration of racial or ethnic, certain populations, but did not exist in these six or seven, eight, towns, they do not reside in those, they would not be beneficiaries of this program?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. There are people who would be characterized as a minority population or people who would be below the poverty level who are not in those cities that we selected that initially, of course, would not be because of their proximity or their location, would not be eligible for participation in the program, but again, I want to point out that in the initial year or two of the program when it's just getting started, the research is going to be fewer and the thinking was, let's focus the initial resources and concentrate them rather than dilute them over the entire state. It was felt that would have a much more beneficial impact if the impact was concentrated on areas where there is the greatest density of population in need. That would result in getting the biggest bang for the buck, and if this program does take off like I strongly suspect it will, I don't see any reason why in the next several years it can't and should not be expanded to the entire state. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Lastly, through you, Madam President, Senator Suzio you indicated there was no risk to this program, but when we understand better the way the amendment would work, if one is a resident of one of the enumerated communities, a recipient of social service programs operated by DSS, and again they were a resident of that community, they would receive a benefit from these expenditures. Would that mean that if you reside in one community one of these listed, the level of benefit would be such that it'd be greater than the level of benefit in a community that is not enumerated in this bill and how would that not create a risk of sending a message that if you want to receive a greater benefit, a greater social service benefit in the state of Connecticut, you should reside in one of these communities to do so. Would that not be a likelihood? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

With all due respect, Madam President, I would suggest that you'll find that the services that are already being offered are highly concentrated in the communities that we've targeted and the resources are there and the focus is there simply because the need is there. The need is greater in those areas. That's not discriminating against people or not in those areas, it's just putting your limited resources to their best use and getting the biggest bang for the buck and I hope that someday we generate so much money from this program we'll have plenty to go around for everybody in Connecticut.

And, by the way, I would also point out to you, Madam President, that this does not necessarily affect the level of service that a particular beneficiary gets, it affects the number of beneficiaries. For example, we're gonna cut out the Care for Kids Program. It was threatened to be totally abandoned basically not so long ago. Money from this could be used to sustain the Care for Kids Programs in those communities, so I wouldn't look at it as a certain beneficiary gets 50-percent more benefit than a beneficiary living outside these communities, it enables us to serve a greater segment of the population rather than a restricted segment, and since those are the communities that have the largest number of people in need, that's where the resources are gonna have the best impact and the biggest bang for the buck. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I'd like the gentleman to if he would respond to the question more specifically. My question is, if this through this program that the recipients, and I would like to clarify. It is my understanding that the programs that would be beneficiary of this currently do not make decisions on the benefit level based on where you live. If you qualify because of your level of poverty or whatever the other conditions are that would make you eligible and you receive that benefit, whether you live in Enfield or whether you live in Saybrook or whether you live in Kent or whether you live on the border of Rhode Island, in our cities, in our suburban communities, in our rural communities, you receive that benefit.

That is my understanding of how our social service programs work, not based on where you live, but based on what your conditions are and your eligibility based on those conditions, but this program would say in fact if you live in a particular community, in fact only 10 communities in our state, a state of 169 cities and towns, only 10. If you live in one of those, your benefit will be greater than if you do not reside in one of those communities. Isn't that accurate, Senator Suzio? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. No, I would say that's not accurate. What we're saying is that there'll be the resources will be focused in those communities, but there's more people that need those resources in the community, so it's not as if some beneficiary in the community is gonna get 50-percent more benefit than someone who's not in the community, it enables us to serve more people where the need is the greatest.

And, by the way, state tax policy has always been focused on what can we do to help out our cities and towns? We're looking at debate coming up maybe about whether we're gonna give $ 40 million dollars to help the city of Hartford out. Well, if we're gonna give $ 40 million dollars to help the city of Hartford out, why don't we give them millions of dollars more to every other city and town in Connecticut as well? The truth is that we're always making decisions about the geographic location, the need of the community, what the characteristics of the community are, and we know the urban areas are where the greatest concentrations of poverty are and the greatest need, therefore.

So, it's just common sense to make available the resources to maximize the bang for the buck if you will that our money is being used and getting the greatest benefit for the dollars that we're spending. And again, I would hope, I don't envision this restriction to be a permanent restriction. I want it to help out communities like Hartford and New Haven and Bridgeport right now because that's where the need is greatest. That's where there's far more people who are in need of these services are being threatened to be cut right now. I'm hoping in two or three years, we're gonna be back in this Chamber saying, 'wow, look, we've raised $ 100 million dollars, let's expand it, let's do it throughout all of Connecticut', but I think we have to realize that we're gonna have limited resources, and therefore, we have to prioritize where we're gonna put those resources and to me it's gotta be where we get the greatest bang for the buck and where the greatest need is, where the greatest concentration of poverty is, where the greatest people in need or the greatest concentrations of people in need are.

And, I'm hoping two or three years from now, we can get rid of even the 10 city limit and let's go and do it for the whole state. I'm hoping this becomes an example for the rest of the country to follow. We can lead the way in a very positive way showing Connecticut is compassionate and charitable and let's use that charitable instinct and tax motivation to maximize the benefit for those who are in need. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I don't want to belabor the point, but it is important in terms of my vote on this amendment and I'd like to ask the gentleman specifically because his statements have been that it wouldn't result in a discrepancy between one community and another. So, if I am a recipient or not or could be soon a recipient or eligible for support from the Department of Social Services and I reside in Wallingford currently and I understand that if I were to live, if I have a friend, a relative, family members who lives in Meriden and this program is in effect and it is achieving the results that you believe it could and I learned from my family member, my friend, a coworker, that the services that I would receive in the value of those services would be greater in Meriden than they are where I reside -- first let me ask the gentleman is that a scenario that could likely happen? Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. Right now in Meriden, I would venture to say there's 10 times more affordable housing in Meriden than there is in Wallingford for example, but that doesn't discourage us from building affordable housing or making more affordable housing available in Meriden, so and yet you have to live in Meriden to get that benefit and not in Wallingford or Cheshire for that matter.

So, I just don't think that the distinction that's being drawn here is a significant distinction, that all the time in our housing policy -- you take a look at the 26 affording housing projects that were built in 2016. They were in targeted communities where the greatest concentrations of poverty are. No one's saying, 'oh, that's not fair or that's discriminating against people in Cheshire, poor people in Cheshire', so I just think that this goes on all the time and I think focusing it on this particular program is inconsistent. If we're going to focus that kind of attention on this program, then every other social service that we offer, we ought to take a close look and say, 'well, why is it being concentrated in the cities' because that's where all, and by the way, that's where all the third parties are. The charitable organizations that offers services to the poor. They're there where this need is the greatest. They're in Meriden. They're in New Haven. They're in Bridgeport. They're in Hartford. They're not in Cheshire or Greenwich. They're where the need is and that's what we're saying. Let's take the millions of dollars that we're gonna generate from this program and put it where it's needed the most just like we do all the other services that we offer to our citizens. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I'm sorry the gentleman has decided not to address the question and the reason we're focusing on this is because this item is before us. It's before the Chamber. We're not speaking about any other housing program or any other social service initiative. We're speaking about the introduction of a new program, that according to this amendment if it were to prevail, would result in by the proponent's known acknowledgement a greater benefit concentrated in these eight of 10 communities and the question was, if I were a resident of the city of Wallingford, town of Wallingford, and I realized that the benefit in Meriden, not too far away, were greater, how could that not result in a migration to these communities by individuals who are smart, who understand, they can read, they can learn, they can talk to people to understand where the benefits are. You've indicated that this amendment would incent people to contribute more. Well, are you suggesting that people who are recipients of services wouldn't be incented and make decisions on where they live in order to get the best benefit for their children, for their family? I think, Senator, you would consider that. I certainly would consider that. This is not the domain of only a certain group, I don't think that you're representing that that's the case. I know that that's not the case, but the question is, would this, how could this not result in individuals making decisions that would further concentrate poverty, that would further result in concentration within our school systems, within our communities, which as my colleague, Senator McCrory, represented recently and articulated better than I could ever.

There is poverty. There is concentrated poverty and then there is fill in the blank. The Good Senator represented the other day was Hartford, but I think most of these communities that you've enumerated here would fill in that blank equally.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

If I may answer, through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

The reason why people are concentrated in our cities partly is because that's where the services are. That's where the affordable housing is, and in effect, state policy on a ubiquitous basis, not on an exception basis. It's biased in that respect. I know most of the poor don't have their own automobiles. They rely on public transportation or they walk or they bicycle to where they're going, so I know that the folks in Wallingford that are poor and needy have a harder time getting to services they need than the folks in Meriden because there are more agencies in Meriden. There are more locations in Meriden. There's more affordable housing in Meriden that's there and many of those programs are administered by the state of Connecticut.

It's ubiquitous. It's imbued in all programs in the social services that the state of Connecticut uses, so why the monies that would be forthcoming from this program would be somehow administered in a way that's inconsistent with the rest of state policy and rest of state social services is to me it's not the main focus. The thing is if we can raise money to help out people, why not do it? If we don't do this, if we don't proceed with this, then they'll be tens of millions of dollars of resources that we're denying to people who are in need, so I would urge the focus to be, and by the way Senator, I want to complement you. You ran I thought the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee -- the way you ran that committee was very fair, very open-minded, and receptive, and I appreciate that having sat on that committee under your leadership and I also understand and respect, through you, Madam President, that the good Senator is very well-thought of and has a great reputation up here and is a tough questioner which I notice that, Madam President, you didn't order me to prepare for Senator Fonfara, but I'm getting prepared now. I'm getting my baptism of fire. Thank you, Madam President, through you.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I did not rise, and I indicated such, I had questions, but unfortunately, I feel I have to rise in opposition to the amendment before us for the reasons associated with my questions. I think to, and this isn't just with respect to this proposal, but any that would come before us for consideration that would in any way seek to further concentrate intended or otherwise, and I do not believe for a moment that Senator Suzio is offering this to further concentrate poverty, but I do believe it would result in that, particularly if this is as successful as he indicates it could.

I think it does require more time and more consideration. There may be in fact a value to this, but I believe we need to understand it better and figure out how to take advantage of those that might in fact be incented further to contribute, already a considerable amount, much more than I ever believed and I thank the good Senator for enlightening us regarding the amount of contributions to charity that the residents of this state make currently, but I do believe it needs more time and so for that reason I'm going to oppose the amendment and I hope we can do that by roll, Madam President. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Roll call vote would be had. Will you remark further on the amendment? Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I rise to support the amendment and commend the good Senator for bringing this forward. It is a creative way to try to help those that most need it in this very bad economy, this very bad budget period. I can't even say budget year because it has been a long period of difficult budgets and deficits. And, it is a voluntary way to help those most in need that the state now has fewer and fewer resources with.

I might add and it reflects the most generous country on earth and the people in it that donate over 350 billion with a B every year to nonprofits. This whole area of providing of services in this fashion, in a voluntary way in a charitable fashion, is something that American has been identified with and is the envy of the entire world. This is a really creative way to go about it. I know that we did have this public hearing in Finance. It was discussed at great length and I just wanted to rise to say that it is something that I would support and hope that our state might think about as one way to address some of those that have tremendous needs, particularly in our inner cities. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the amendment? Will you remark further on the amendment? If not, Mr. Clerk, will you call for roll call vote on the amendment and the machine will be open?

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

On Senate amendment Schedule A,

Total number voting 35

Those voting Aye 17

Those voting Nay 18

Absent, not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

The amendment fails. [Gavel] Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Call me Fonfara if you want. Call me Ray. France, England, whatever.

THE CHAIR:

I would normally look to my right and see you. Never mind.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

I'm not to the left of you. I'm in fact to the right, so you can turn around and then I'll be on your proper side.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I appreciate that very much. So, before the underlying bill is -- I did not realize that my colleague has something to offer the Circle.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I appreciate the yield if that's what it was.

THE CHAIR:

Please accept the yield, thank you.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Madam President, I have an amendment at this time, LCO No. 7542. May it please be called and I be permitted to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 7542, Senate B, offered by Senators Looney and Duff.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

I move adoption, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

The motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Madam President, I think the debate that we just engaged in, Senator Suzio and myself, indicates just how potentially complicated this subject could be and that is in no way to cast aspersions on the intent of the bill, the underlying bill, but in fact, to help us understand it better. And, therefore, this amendment would call for a study by the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee in consultation with the Commissioner of Revenue Services to examine various things regarding deductions of our income tax and against our income tax and that would include the effect of deductions on taxpayer behavior, as well as on what the most effective rate would be for those deductions and which deductions are utilized by the largest portion, percentage of taxpayers. And, I think the gentleman, Senator Suzio's initiative would be included and I could represent that that would be included in our effort. The effort in fact intrigues me and I would like to know more, but I think having the opportunity to spend some time on this over the interim to come back with not only what the specifics of this particular amendment would call for, but also to examine further the impact of Senator Suzio's Citizens in Need account initiative and in particular how we might be able to do so in a way that would generate additional and get a better understanding of the impact of this both positively on our state and potentially negatively, so for that reason, Madam President, I urge adoption of the amendment and I ask for roll call vote. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Senator Frantz, would you like to speak on Senate B? Thank you.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Indeed I would. Thank you, Madam President. So, I rise respectfully to urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment. I see this as such a great idea. It's a refreshing idea. It's creative. It's really thinking outside of the box. We are in desperate, desperate shape when it comes to raising revenues. We know that our tax base has been eviscerated by some people's measure and that future quarters and future years are not gonna be nearly as good as we would expect them to be and want them to be. Therefore, we do need to have to start thinking creatively, and yes, there are some issues that you raised which could be of concern, but this is essentially a costless exercise, costless experiment, to see if this concept works. It's only gonna cost a few, $ 60 thousand dollars or something like that, from an administration point of view to put this into place to see if in fact we can raise as much as 3 or $ 400 thousand dollars the first year and then maybe five times that because it's getting great press in the following calendar year or fiscal year.

So, I think that whatever risks there could be that have been raised by Senator Fonfara are far outweighed by the state's ability to perhaps raise these new revenues to take care of those who are desperately in need and whether they're in the hardest hit cities or just outside of them or in the rural areas, it really is irrelevant because there's so much that's gonna be cut and has been cut already that if we don't get another source of revenues into the social services area, there are gonna be that many more people who are hurting regardless of where they are. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on Senate B? Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I have some questions for the proponent of the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Now, you'd better prepare yourself, Senator Fonfara. Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Through you, Madam President. Yes. The amendment proposes a study of all “existing deductions” against the state personal income tax. Would the proponent please enumerate what those deductions are that are the existing deductions that would be the object of this bill? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. If Madam President and the Chamber would allow me to violate the rule of reading.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

I'll be quick because I cannot commit these to memory in such a short time or maybe ever, but they would include through you, Madam President, the interest on U. S. government obligations, exempt dividends from certain qualifying mutual funds derived from U. S. government obligations, Social Security benefit adjustments, refunds of state and local income taxes, tier one and tier two railroad retirement benefits and supplemental annuities, military retirement pay, 25-percent of income received from Connecticut teacher's retirement system, beneficiary share of the Connecticut's fiduciary adjustment gain on sale of Connecticut state and local government bonds, Connecticut higher eduction trust shed contributions, and other and you have to specify what those would be. The taxpayer would have to specify. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you and through you, Madam President. Based on that reading of the deductions, there is no deduction right now for a charitable contribution as is contained in the underlying bill. Through you, Madam President, would that be true?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Through you, Madam President. I believe that is accurate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. And, just one final question for the proponent, the underlying bill and the amendment which has just been defeated, by the estimate of the Office of Fiscal Analysis would've generated hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue above the cost of administering the program. Why does the proponent reject the idea of a bill that would generate conservatively hundreds of thousands of dollars to the benefit of the state and the poor who benefit from social services programs in lieu of a study which will take time and money? Why would we not want to in effect use the idea as a test itself and a study simultaneously? Why does the proponent advocate foregoing the hundreds of thousands of dollars of estimated benefits from OFA in lieu of a study that will cost us money and gain no revenues? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Through you, Madam President. Briefly, firstly because of the fact that as the gentleman suggested, we have not done this before. This would be the first time that we are offering such a deduction from our income tax. We've tried and I think for the most part succeeded at keeping our income tax as clean as possible. This would make a change to that. I think it would benefit the effort and your effort, Senator Suzio, if we understood fully or much better prior to implementing such a program how best it could be implemented, how best it could be established so that there is an understanding and a comfort of what the full impact would be both positively and negatively and for that reason I believe putting time into this to understand it better would be of benefit to our state in general. Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you and one final question through you, Madam President. I noticed that the deadline that is in the proposed study is December of 2018, about 20 months from now. Given the urgency of the state situation and the potential benefits of the underlying proposed piece of legislation, why has the study itself been delayed to be produced until the end of next year? Why do we not have a shorter deadline so that we can act on it next year in the next legislative session? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Through you, Madam President. I don't disagree that if the committee in consultation with the Department of Revenue Services could complete its work prior to next session in February that it would be properly before us. I don't think anyone would prevent that from happening; however, I think it's better if we did have the time if we needed it to be able to be required to report back within a period that would allow us to learn as much as we can about this particular subject, but certainly we're not required to do that by then. It would not prevent us from acting next session. Through you.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. I have no further questions for the proponent and I know that he's a man of such influence up here. I'm certain that that study can be brought forward before the start of the next session at the beginning of next year. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Madam President, I'd like to withdraw my request for roll call vote at this time.

THE CHAIR:

It will be withdrawn. At this time, would you remark further on Senate B? Would you remark further on Senate B? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of Senate B, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Those opposed? I think the Ayes have it. The Ayes have it. Okay. So, anybody want to speak on the bill? Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So, before we vote on the underlying bill, I did want to thank my great co-chair, Senator Fonfara. He's made some reasonable points today, but hopefully they will be addressed in the future, in the not too distant future, and I hate to see a good idea go by the wayside because of some concerns that are maybe legitimate to a certain degree, but once again, we're in such dire straits when it comes to revenues for the state of Connecticut. I think we need to be doing everything we possibly can right now to be raising these revenues, so I would make that appeal to the 35 others of you out there that this is a really good idea. It's costless essentially and let's give it a whack here and see if this is gonna help the state of Connecticut. It's all in the name of the people who desperately need these revenues and these social service programs going forward. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Yes. Madam President, the clerk has an amendment, LCO No. 8181. Would the clerk please call the amendment?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 8181, Senate C, offered by Senator Suzio.

THE CHAIR:

We'll stand at ease for a moment.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I respectfully withdraw the amendment.

THE CHAIR:

The amendment will be withdrawn. At this time, I'll ask will anybody remark on the bill? Will anybody remark on the bill? If not, I'll ask Mr. Clerk, will you call for a roll call vote and the machine will be open.

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

This is the bill. Senator Formica. Senator Formica. All members have voted. All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call a tally?

CLERK:

S. B. No. 734,

Total number voting 35

Those voting Aye 31

Those voting Nay 4

Absent, not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. [Gavel] Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 17, Calendar 335, Substitute for S. B. No. 941, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH'S RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING REVISIONS TO LOCAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PLANTS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, 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, ma'am?

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, this bill comes to us from the Department of Public Health. It will require municipalities to update and submit their EMS plan every five years. Currently, they have the option to do it as they see fit. DPH explained in their testimony that it's important for each community to have an updated EMS plan. The bill also establishes protocol and timeframes for submission and approval of the EMS plans. I know talking with DPH they are very willing to help municipalities become compliant. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Thank you, Madam President. As Senator Gerratana, my co-chair has explained, this is very important for DPH to ensure that we have quality EMS service throughout all communities both rural and urban and I would urge passage of this bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Madam President, if there is no objection, I would ask that this be moved to our consent calendar. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

I see no objections. So ordered. Senate will stand at ease for a moment. The Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the clerk now call as the next go, Calendar Page 17, Calendar 461, H. B. 7106? I'm sorry, Madam President. Calendar Page 33, Calendar 461, H. B. 7106.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 33, Calendar 461, Substitute for H. B. No. 7106, AN ACT CONCERNING AUDIT REPORTS FILED WITH THE PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease for a moment. I'm sorry, Senator Formica. I'm sorry. Were you standing starting to bring the bill out? I apologize. Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

That's all right. Good afternoon once again, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

I move acceptance of the Committee's Joint favorable report and passage of the bill in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

The question is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark in concurrence?

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Yes, this is a bill that would provide some relief from telecommunications companies who now currently have to provide separate audits for their national accounts and for the state of Connecticut. This would provide a combined opportunity where they would be able to only need one national audit which would suffice and we think this solves a problem and is a prohibitionist bill and helps move things forward, so I would urge adoption. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? Seeing not. Senator Formica. Do you want to put it on consent? No, we don't. We're gonna call a roll call vote. Mr. Clerk, will you please call roll call vote on this bill? The machine is open.

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

Would all members please stay in the Chamber? All members please stay in the Chamber. Your Majority Leader who I asked to stay in the Chamber because we're gonna do a consent calendar right after you leave. We're going to be doing consent calendar. That's the reason, but if you can run fast, you can. Go and gun, Senators. Run and go. All members voted. All members voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally?

CLERK:

On H. B. 7106,

Total number voting 34

Those voting Aye 33

Those voting Nay 1

Absent, not voting 2

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the clerk now please call Calendar Page 27, Calendar 417, H. B. 7250?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On Page 17 --

THE CHAIR:

27.

CLERK:

I'm sorry, 27, Calendar 417. It is --

THE CHAIR:

7250.

CLERK:

It is H. B. 7250, AN ACT CONCERNING DESECRATION OF AN ABANDONED CEMETERY.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Good evening, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, sir.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's favorable report and passage of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

The motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes, Madam President. This piece of legislation passed unanimously out of the Judiciary Committee 39 to nothing. What it does is over the past several years we've created the crime of interference with the cemetery or burial grounds and basically the desecration of our burial grounds. The past legislatures have dealt with that issue. The current law, it's a class C felony. What this piece of legislation simply does is it deals with the situation where someone damages or desecrates an abandoned cemetery where for over 40 years nobody's been buried. It's really a clarifying piece of legislation. It corresponds with the past intention of the legislature. I think it makes good sense and it just protects the sacred buried. Thank you, Madam President. I urge the Chamber to approve it.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Good evening, Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I stand in strong support of this legislation as well. I'd like to be associated with remarks of my friend and colleague, Chairman Doyle. When we passed the original legislation protecting cemeteries, I think we all contemplated that abandoned cemeteries would be included in that, but apparently there has been various disagreements regarding that and so as Senator Doyle indicated this clarifies the point that desecration of a cemetery, whether it's abandoned or not, is a crime in the state of Connecticut. I can't really imagine anything to be more sacred than where other human beings are laid to rest and would urge my colleagues to support this bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I just have a couple questions if I might to the proponent of the bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So, as this is constructed as it's written, if there is no marker, if there is no delineation of where perhaps a private cemetery -- if you go back and look at some very old farm property, you'll find that there actually are burial grounds there. Some of them may have headstones. Some of them may not. In the case where there's been no demonstration, no written record, would this pertain? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Through you, Madam President. I would say it would condition upon if it's objectively evident to be a graveyard or cemetery would be appropriate. I mean, you have an interesting question. I guess your point is, Senator, what if it's on a particular farm, they have one little headstone, I mean it is what it is. I would think if its' identifiable to be a burial place, it could be covered under this statute. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you. My last question then; so that stone if it were placed on the ground would have to have some writing on it that would demonstrate that there's actually someone there as opposed to a stone that may be conveniently laid up against a tree for someone's pet or something like that? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Through you, Madam President. And your hypothetical clearly laid against a tree would not apply; however, there are, for instance, in my town there's old cemeteries that don't have marked gravestones and don't have markings on them 'cause they're so old. So, I don't want to say in the record if there's no writing on a stone, it's not applicable because there are some that are just worn off over time. So, your hypothetical makes sense, if it's a stone against a tree and it clearly doesn't look like it, but we have many cemeteries that are so old and so abandoned, you may not have markings, so for the purpose of legislative intent, markings are not required to desecrate a cemetery. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the gentleman for his response.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If, as we're talking about abandoned cemeteries, if we're talking about a cemetery say a few hundred years ago and there are no headstones, but there's historical records that a cemetery was once there and there doesn't seem to be any graves or no proof the bodies are even there, would this be applicable?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Through you, Madam President. The answer is no, because like in any criminal statute, you need intent to desecrate, so any criminal laws need intention to break, so in your hypothetical, if say you purchased land and you happened to dig it up and it turned out there were unknown graves, you do not have the requisite mens rea or intent. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

But, if it was an abutting property and someone disputed it, if you were doing some work and it went onto the abutting property and someone disputed it for the fact that it was once an abandoned cemetery, would that fall under this proposed legislation? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Through you, Madam President. It that hypothetical was proposed, I would before I started digging up, I would try to establish whether it is, but clearly there's a factual issue in your hypothetical. Whether it is or it isn't a cemetery, I would advise a client to determine what it is before you start digging, but again, even if you in good faith determine it was not a cemetery and you dug and there was, you would not have the requisite intent to be charged. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I'll leave it at that for now. I understand the intent of this bill, but I think it does open up another door for some potential future litigation and that was the concern that I had, so I appreciate the answers. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

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

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

CLERK:

H. B. 7250,

Total number voting 35

Those voting Aye 32

Those voting Nay 3

Absent, not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. We have some items for our consent calendar, please.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On Calendar Page 21, Calendar 378, H. B. 6979, I'd like to mark that item for the consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On Calendar Page 32, Calendar 450, H. B. 7196, I'd like to mark that item for the consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

I'm seeing no objections to the order, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On Calendar Page 20, Calendar 368, H. B. 7173, I'd like to mark that item for our consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

I'm seeing no objections to the order, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

And, thank you, Madam President. For our last item on Calendar Page 39, Calendar 495, H. B. 7245, I'd like to mark that item to our consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

I'm seeing no objections. So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. The clerk can now call for a vote on the consent calendar, please.

THE CHAIR:

You'll have to just give us a minute and we'll do that in a second. Mr. Clerk, will you please call, do you have the bills that are on the consent calendar? Would you repeat that, please? Would you tell what bills they are, sir?

CLERK:

Page 17, Calender 355, S. B. 941; on Page 21, Calendar 378, H. B. 6979; Page 32, Calendar 450, 7196 H. B. ; Page 20, Calendar 368, H. B. 7173; and on Page 39, Calendar 495, H. B. 7245.

THE CHAIR:

At this time, Mr. Clerk, will you call for roll call vote on the second consent calendar? The machine will be open.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on the second consent calendar for today. Immediate roll call in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

On the 2nd consent calendar for today,

Total number voting 35

Those voting Aye 35

Those voting Nay 0

Absent, not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

The consent calendar has been adopted. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. That concludes our business for today. I will yield to any announcements or points of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Any points of personal privilege or announcements? Seeing none. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Everybody have a safe drive in the daylight. That may be a little unusual right now, so put your sunglasses on and with that it is our intention to meet tomorrow at noon and I move that we adjourn subject to call of the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand adjourned.

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