CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

Tuesday, June 6, 2016

The Senate was called to at 3: 51 o'clock p. m. , the

President in the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senate, please come to order. I'm going to invite our favorite Reverend Kidney up here to give us one of her short prayers.

REVEREND KIDNEY:

We ask for patience to understand those who disagree with us, sensitivity to the needs of others, and prudence to make decisions which work toward the common good. Amen.

THE CHAIR:

How perfect. Senator Larson, will you come up here and lead us in the Pledge please?

SENATOR LARSON (3RD):

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. Mr. Clerk, do you have anything on your desk?

THE CLERK:

I have Senate Agenda Number One dated Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff, good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I move that all items on Senate Agenda Number One, dated Tuesday, June 6, 2017 be acted upon as indicated and they be incorporated by reference into the Senate Journal and transcript and without objection be placed on the Senate Calendar immediately.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I have a number of items for our Consent Calendar and then a number of items on our Go List.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. For our Consent Calendar, on calendar page 8, Calendar 259, House Bill 5583, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 17, Calendar 393, House Bill 7161, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 17, Calendar 395, House Bill 7230, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 18, Calendar 402, House Bill 7082, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 23, Calendar 436, House Bill 7214, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 23, Calendar 437, House Bill 7284, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 26, Calendar 465, House Bill 1056, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 29, Calendar 46, House Bill 7020, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 32, Calendar 530, House Bill 7192, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

And on calendar page 32, Calendar 533, House Bill 7202, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President and I would now like to mark a few items as GOs.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 23, Calendar 435, House Bill 5743, like to mark that item Go and as our Order of the Day. On calendar page 38, Calendar 564, House Bill 7052 Go. On calendar page 48, Calendar 240, Senate Bill 966, like to mark that item Go. On calendar page 5 Calendar 157, Senate Bill 943, like to mark that item Go. On calendar page 24, Calendar 442, House Bill 6266, like to mark that item Go. On calendar page 5, Calendar 178, Senate Bill 778, like to mark that item Go. On calendar page 26, Calendar 460, House Bill 6012, like to mark that item Go. On calendar page 31, Calendar 526, House Bill 6668, like to mark that item Go and on calendar page 5, Calendar 153, Senate Bill 1, like to mark that item Go. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 23, Calendar 435 Substitute for House Bill Number 5743, AN ACT CONCERNING HATE CRIMES.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee Favorable Report in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance of passage with concurrence. Will you remark sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. We have before you today the, our hate crimes bill. This is a piece of legislation that unfortunate was spurred by a large occurrence of hate crime incidents in the nation and even in our Connecticut over the last year or so and just for background purposes I'll just tell the Chamber some of the incidents. The JCC of West Hartford, there was bomb threat on March 8, 17, the Hebrew High School of New England there was a bomb threat in February of 17, the White Supremacist filer in South Western Connecticut in Februarys of 17. Unfortunate another JCC bomb threat in New Haven in January of 17 and another JCC in West Hartford Woodbridge bomb threat in January of 17, a Stamford racial slur January of 17, the Islamic Center of New Haven there was a threatening letter of December of 16, a swastika painted in Danbury, then of course the Meriden mosque shooting in November of 15 that we are all aware of. These incidents that I just detailed from the State of Connecticut are really, unfortunately they encompass the entire state, so there certainly is, unfortunately lately a much greater occurrence of the heinous and cowardly crimes. Fortunately, the Judiciary Committee raised a bill this session and in a bipartisan fashion with Chairman John Kissel, we worked hard with the leadership of the Senate Dems and Senate Rs. We started this piece of legislation back in January and earlier today, at noon, we had a great occurrence where we had a large press conference on this piece of legislation that was attended by many democratic and republican senators together with our leadership and with other interested parties that are in the real world, that unfortunate are experiencing these cowardly crimes. So that was an event that personally made me feel great, where it was a bipartisan event, working together to really address a certain significant problem in the State of Connecticut. Now the piece of legislation before us, it was amended in the House to clean it up a bit but I like to describe this piece of legislation really as a modernization of our hate crime statues. With out to the minutia of all the different changes, basically imposes fines for some of these hate crimes that did not exist before so defendants would have some financial costs in their conduct. It also increases the penalties for desecration of our religious institutions as the examples I prior mentioned, there were of course several different religions institutions. The penalties went up in several of these statues and another area, when the individual defendants go to court, we've created in this piece of legislation a program so in addition to the crimes and penalties the defendants will hopefully get educated and learn the incorrect and misdeeds of their actions and how these programs that we have in the court and other situations. The bottom line is I am just proud to stand here today to urge the Chamber to approve this piece of legislation because it's really done in a bipartisan fashion and that is how we should operate here, we often do but todays really I think the best piece of legislation this year in the Chamber. We all worked together to come to a mutually agreeable resolution. I am proud to be here and I urge the Chamber to approve this piece of legislation. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you offer further? Senator Kissel, good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Good afternoon Madam President. At the outset I would like to be associated with the remarks made by my friend and colleague Senator Doyle whom I share Co-Chairing on the Senate Side the Judiciary Committee and I agree that what we are about to do is hopefully vote together to move this bill forward to the Governor's desk making a very clear bipartisan statement that hate crimes will not be tolerated in the State of Connecticut. Unfortunately, as Senator Doyle pointed out there has been a growing number of hate crimes and they are not targeting any one group or set of individuals. They tend to be across the board whether it is certain sects within the Christian church, whether it is Muslims, whether it is Jewish individuals, whether it is other individuals that simply may not express their views the ways someone else believes they should, we will not accept in the great State of Connecticut individuals trying to intimidate, harass, demoralize or demean our free and open society and our citizenry from being able to express themselves. As I had indicated earlier in the bipartisan press conference imagine when we leave this evening, one day before session is going to end, it is probably going to be late at night. We will get to our homes with our loved ones, our neighbors sleeping in their homes and what could be worse that waking up the next day and seeing some symbol of hatred, seeing some words scrawled either on your house, in your neighborhood. If it is a mosque, a synagogue, if it's a church, if it is a daycare center that is affiliated with a religion, if it is a school. The ramifications of that are far reaching because it goes beyond the isolated incident because now all of a sudden where you believe you are safe and secure and if you live, and grow and raise a family and have your job now all of a sudden it is not quite as safe, not quite as secure. And unfortunately, in these incidents, these individuals aren't brave, aren't bold, aren't outside saying, "It was me" that did this, typically they will hide. They may make a phone call under anonymous circumstances or drop a letter, but fundamentally these individuals are cowardly and that's why they operate in this fashion. Again, we can't allow that to continue in the State of Connecticut and while we have seen an increase in the last year or two, unfortunately it never fully goes away. So, Senate Democratic staff deserve a awful lot of credit for getting the ball rolling and cobbling together the original draft of the bill and then the Judiciary Committee bipartisan fashion utilizing legislative research, fine-tuned everything and it was stated by an independent individual this afternoon that in his opinion and I believe he was either from the Anti-Defamation League or some other similar group stated that in his opinion, knowing the laws throughout the United States, we have now, should this bill go forward, be signed into law, take the lead in being the toughest on hate crimes. We reestablish and give strength to a Hate Crimes Advisory Council that will have representation from throughout the state and they will be able to monitor while we are not in session what is going on the Great State of Connecticut and report back to us and if the Judiciary Committee next year has to step up and do further actions and pass further laws we will do so. It also makes it very clear that more than gender identification; gender itself will now be included. That if you attack an individual simply because of their gender that will be considered a hate crime. And as I believe our good Senate President, Senator Loony pointed out this afternoon that had not been in place and was a missing portion of the underlying fabric of our hate crime law prior to this bill moving forward. So, I want to thank Senator Doyle for working in bipartisan fashion. I want to commend Representative William Tong, our fellow Co-Chair from the House of Representatives and our Ranking Member Rosa Rebimbas. All four of us worked very mightily together to move this matter forward and we have come a long way in the last several months. And how nice with one day left to go, today and tomorrow, and midnight tomorrow, the formal session will come to an end and while we are in inevitably going to have to come back into special session to resolve some budgetary issues it is nice to know that we can bridge the gap across the aisle, work together to pass landmark legislation that makes it very clear that the little State of Connecticut and that portion of the United States called New England finds somethings completely unacceptable for a free and peaceful constituency. We value First Amendment rights. We value peace and tranquility. We value the safety and security of our citizenry and for those reasons, Madam President I would urge my colleagues to support this good legislation. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you mark further on the bill? Will you mark further on the bill? Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I really want to extend gratitude to Senator Looney for his leadership on this and Senators Doyle, Kissel and Fasano for making it a bipartisan effort. If you listen to Senator Doyle you heard several of the incidents of hate crime happened in my district and these are intended to make people fearful and scared. It makes young children have to leave their daycare centers, people swimming in a pool have to get out in the leisure time and run outside for fear of their lives. An so I want to extend one more thank you to Alan Levin who was here today on behalf of the ADL to thank us and to make clear that this is the strongest statute in the nation according to the ADL and I think we are all proud to stand together to support this legislation today. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further? Senator Looney. Good afternoon sir.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Good afternoon Madam President. Madam President speaking proudly and happily in support of this Bill which passed in a bipartisan basis in the House and I believe is about to do so here. This is a very important Bill Madam President and it is one that I think that all of us are proud to support regardless of party and of the process that brought this before us. There are a number of changes as we said by earlier speakers that will make this Bill the most comprehensive and strongest hate crimes bill in the nation and what it does do is enhances penalties in a few areas but also provides I think importantly that more kinds of cases will be considered serious hate crimes and I think one of those important changes is expanding the threshold for first degree hate crime from the current requirement of causing serious physical injury to instead causing physical injury, meaning that a larger category of injuries can come into category potentially of a first degree hate crime. Also, the provision to establish a courts power to order extensive relevant community services or restitution in addition to any other penalties imposed also I think is a way to draw attention of offenders to the seriousness of what they have done and the fact that society regards with horror and contempt of the actions that constitute the crimes under this bill. I think it is also important that we fill in a couple of gaps that had existed in our previous statute that previously our hate crimes law protected against gender identity or expression, crimes committed for that basis but not gender itself. We all know that crimes committed on the basis of gender are unfortunately not uncommon and again strengthening from to a Class C felony from a Class D felony for making a bomb threat or other threat of violence against a house of worship or religious community center or other religious institution or daycare facility if the intent is to terrorize any person and this puts that penalty for such bomb threats on the same level as threats made against schools. Also, previously had a difference that really was not justified by any policy reason for the seriousness of a crime committed against an individual as against an institution. So, if someone drew a swastika on the home of a Jewish person it might have been a Class C felony but if it were done against a synagogue or Jewish Community Center it would have been a Class A misdemeanor so now we raise that penalty to make it the same in both cases from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony for desecrating any house of worship or religious cemetery if there is more than $ 10,000 dollars in damage or a Class D felony if the damage is less than $ 10,000. So, these are important changes. It is also establishing a mandatory fine of $ 1,000 dollars for individual convicted of hate crimes and also creates a state-wide hate crimes advisory council. So, I would greatly thank the leadership, the bipartisan leadership of the Judiciary Connecticut, Senator Doyle, Senator Kissel and Representative Tong who championed this Bill in the House, Senator Fasano for his leadership on it as well. The press conference we had today had a substantial number of members of both senate caucuses as well as representative from the ADL, the Hartford Jewish Federation where it was pointed out that when this Bill passes this will be a model bill and one of the strongest in the country in this area both because of the scope of items covered under the Bill but because of the severity of the penalties of these and the level of crime that is attached because raising penalties for misdemeanors to felonies is a significant step expanding to cover gender as a significant step and also increasing the penalty for attacks against houses of worship is also significant. So in this troubled climate when too many people feel that they can act with impunity out of bigotry or bias this legislation says that the State of Connecticut is not blase or casual aobut this kind of crime, that we take it seriously, that we recognize it as a foundational breach with the values that we uphold and that we are prepared to punish that breach significantly and I think this is something that we can all celebrate despite all of the issues that have and will continue to divide us during this session and the special session to come. I am proud that this is one that we will be able to come together on. I also want to thank Joel Rudicoff of our staff for doing so much of the original work on this as well. So again, thank you Madam President for your interest in this as well and I think this is something that despite all of divisions that we can celebrate today. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Who will remark further? Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Thank you very much Madam President and just very briefly I want to commend all those associated with this excellent piece of legislation particularly the Judiciary Committee and all the leadership there. I have to say that this touches me at home, the town of Wilton experienced a good number of acts of anti-Semitism for a period a few years back when I was their state representative and so much so that together with the ADL and others we planned a birthday celebration in that town. It was massive. It took the entire athletic fields and it was a signal to all those out there that this community was not going to tolerate those types of acts and in fact they championed the Jewish people, the State of Israel and it was a very successful event. Unfortunately back in around 2008, excuse me, just a couple of years back, we were going to have a very important meeting at Temple Israel in Westport that I was invited to, a luncheon, and there was a conflict that occurred here in the legislature so I had to drive up and as I was driving up they did have what someone would have thought might have been an act of violence, they did stop some perpetrators from crashing the meeting and arrested some folks but not before the terror that produced everyone leaving, there was preschool that was convening at that time, there were parents and children. It was terrifying. At one point the very worst was being imagined and as I said, it was only a few minutes that I had to leave and come here and I would have been with that group as well. So, it calls to mind not only has this been an issue over many years but it continues to be and it think this makes as really strong statement that for us here in Connecticut that this will not be tolerated, should never be tolerated and that if you decide to engage in something like this, that we are going to take it very seriously and there is going to be very big penalty. So, I am really pleased that you are all doing this. I commend everyone there and I certainly apologize for speaking after our President of the Senate. I didn't mean to do that but I just was so incredibly heartened that this legislation is going forward, not to mention all the other categories that are rightfully included in this legislation as well but particularly by our friends, our Jewish friends, this is a statement in completed solidarity with them. Thank you, Madam.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Remark further? If not. Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH): Yes Madam President, can we have a rollcall please? Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk will you please call for Roll Call vote. The machine is open.

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

THE CLERK:

House Bill No. 5743.

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

(Gavel) The Bill passes. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President without objection I would like to immediately transmit this item to the Governor please.

THE CHAIR:

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

CLERK:

On page 38, Calendar 564, Substitute for House Bill Number 7052 AN ACT PREVENTING PRESCRIPTION OPIOID DIVERSON AND ABUSE.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon Senator Leone.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Good Afternoon Madam President, nice to see you again today.

THE CHAIR:

Same here, sir.

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Acceptance and passage in concurrence. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. To my fellow colleagues and members in the audience, this Bill before us is an Act preventing prescription and opioid diversion and abuse and this is our ability to put in protections and identify some of the issues that have coming up as we have seen in the news lately in terms of the opioid crisis that is afflicting not only our state but other states in the nation, abroad and most likely even internationally. And what is happening, what's going on is the opioid crisis is coming to a head where we need to act and we need to move forward providing protections. This Bill headed with the Governor's assistance and direction because he was quick to acknowledge the importance of this issue and wanted to get out in front of it and also with legislative leaders from multiple committees this legislation that we have in front of us has been with multiple committees working specifically the General Law Committee and also the Public Health Committee and so I want to thank our members, our leadership from both of those committees, the members and everyone involved are many and that is easily noticed by virtue of the number of sponsors on this bill which is across the aisle, bipartisan both in the Senate and the House. This is an effort for us to work collectively to address this issue. And I will speak to this briefly and then I will yield to Senator Terry Gerratana who will then most likely yield to another colleague.

And I just want to over some of the topics and then if there are any questions, we would be happy to take them. But again, this is a Bill that would make various changes to prevent and treat our opioid drug abuse that is occurring in our state. This would allow the DCP, the Department of Consumer Protection, to share certain prescription drug monitoring program information with other state agencies for some of these abuses. It would generally require prescriptions for controlled substances to be transmitted electronically to a pharmacy which would have the technology to accept such prescriptions so it is bring our abilities up to speed technologically speaking. It would limit access to controlled substances and to allow certain registered nurses employed my home health care agencies to destroy or dispose of them, in creating a process for patients to request to not be prescribed opioids and generally reducing the amount of opioid drugs a minor may be prescribed. It requires our practitioners when prescribing opioids to discuss with all patients rather than only minors the risks associated with opioid drug use. It requires the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council to take certain actions to address these concerns. It continues to require certain individuals and group health insurers to cover a specified medically necessary inpatient detoxification services for an insured or enrollee diagnosed with substance use disorder. It requires alcohol and drug treatment facilities to use admission criteria developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. It extends the date by which municipalities must amend their local emergency services plans to require at least an EMS provider to like arrive first on the scene of a medical emergency that would be required to carry an opioid antagonist and complete a training on how to administer it. And it allows a prescribing practitioner authorized to prescribe opioid antagonists to issue a standing order to a licensed pharmacist for an opioid antagonist under certain conditions. Then it was also amended which added other provisions that would most specifically allow practitioners to apply for a waiver from the electronic prescription requirement indefinitely instead of the effective date originally proposed so that give a little bit more flexibility and it provides immunity to certain prescribing practitioners who prescribe the opioids without knowledge of the patients voluntary non-opioid directive form, generally reduce the amount of opioid drugs a minor may be prescribed which is a huge concern and then it continues to make minor and technical changes. This is a very in-depth soup-to-nuts coming from a consumer protection angle on how we dispense and how we can make preventative measures to attack this very important issue that we are all so concerned about, that we have all received and head the stories when these abuses occur and more specifically and most importantly to prevent the tragic, the tragic instances that are far too many of someone overdosing on opioids. It cuts across all lines and it afflicts across all age groups and the most saddening thing is they all could be prevented. And this is a measure, a strong measure I believe, going in the direction of trying to prevent those from ever occurring going forward while at the same time allowing these medicines to be prescribed when medically necessary. So, it is with that that before I yield I would ask everyone who has worked on this, I think them for their support, there is a lot of information here that you should gladly read. This is something you can report back to your constituents on how we are trying to improve our state from this perspective and I would urge its support and passage but with that, Madam President I would gladly yield to Senator Gerratana the Chair of Public Health who has been also, her and her committee, have been very instrumental in helping shape and make sure that we put in all the proper and necessary protections from the agency from the Department of Health. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

I will Madam President, thank you. Madam President before I speak actually I would request and ask that I yield the floor to Senator

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos, will you accept the yield?

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH): Thank you, Madam President, yes, I will and as the other Co-Chair of the General Health Committee I will say that when we were screening the number of opioid bills this legislative session, it was a concern on everyone's mind and I would classify this piece of legislation as a vaccine to the opioid epidemic that we are facing here in the State of Connecticut, not only in the State of Connecticut but across this country. And this piece of legislation goes so far, so far, to address the issue. It is not a cure but it, we're certainly moving in the right direction and again like Senator Leone said thank everybody that was involved, the people that came up and spent hours testifying, submitting testimony, the personal stories, the tragedies. This is something that is really good government that we are doing today. I look forward to casting a Yea vote on this Madam President and I want to thank Senator Gerratana for the yield and I would like to yield back to her.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Yes, Madam President. Thank you so much. The legislation before us is of course, a wonderful work product of the whole General Assembly, I want to say as Senator Leone referred to the fact that many, many different committees and many members both side of the aisle worked on this legislation. It builds on legislation we passed last year and at that time we had limited prescriptions, first time prescriptions for opioid drugs not in hospital setting to seven days a week, we go a little bit further in this bill, I will delineate or further explain in just a minute. But also last year we addressed the availability of Narcan, naloxone of course which is something that our pharmacists and pharmacies now have available. People can walk in and get upon request a prescription for naloxone which of course is an opioid antagonist and works very effectively in reversing any of the symptoms that may arise from an opioid overdose. But his Bill specifically I want to mention some of the work that was done by some members here in the Chamber, our Public Health Committee worked on expanding as I had just said in Section 5 the work that we did last year to reduce the prescriptions to both adults and minors, in this Bill we actually say that the prescriptions for minors would go from seven days to five and we keep in there also the requirement that minors be educated about the uses of these kinds of medications and be aware that these medications appropriately should only be used in certain circumstances such as for chronic pain or palliative care or terminal illness but also just temporarily for those things that may afflict us. I also want to mention that in this Bill is a bill that language that Senator Tim Larson worked on that this is to bring to our Drug and Alcohol Policy Council, which sets policy here in the state regarding SUD, Substance Use Disorders and they do this work on a monthly basis and have subcommittees and the work that Senator Larson brought to us is to involve our police officers and our police chiefs, our community officers in programs that may allow individuals to come in and seek, seek treatment rather than be constrained or put under arrest if they ask for it and this program is currently being used in, I believe it's Gloucester, Massachusetts, it is called the Angel Program. It has been very successful because one of the components that makes it so successful is not just the fact that you can walk in and seek this kind of relief and help but also being linked immediately, immediately for treatment and that is something that I think our state should explore so I applaud Senator Larson for the work that he did. Also in this legislation is Section 12, actually a bill that came before us in Public Health Committee that Senator Kennedy had introduced and that we've been trying to do now for the last almost five years and this year, Senator Kennedy was very successful in negotiating and getting into this bill standing orders to pharmacists for the dispensing of the naloxone so that you have two options now under the law. Both will obtain the same goal and that is you walk into a pharmacy if you need Narcan or naloxone which is the appropriate name you may be able to obtain it quite easily and we hope that citizens will be able to do this. With that I am for and ask that our Chamber support this wonderful piece of legislation and at this time, Madam President I ask if I may yield the floor to Senator Heather Bond Somers?

THE CHAIR:

And Ms. Somers will you accept the yield?

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH): Yes thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I rise in support of this Bill and I would like to thank many of the individuals that worked on this Bill. This is a bill that comes together with a few items from the Governor's Bill and a lot of work from the Public Health Committee including some folks in the House, Dr. Petit, Dr. Srinivasan, Representative Candelora, Representative Scanlon, Senator Kennedy and if I forgot anybody I apologize but it was a great working group. We also worked together with the Medical Society with police officers, with the Regional RACs and the mental health boards to come up with the best legislation that we could without spending any money of course, to help our opioid crisis here in Connecticut. And as the other folks have mentioned I don't think there is anyone in this circle or actually in this building that hasn't been touched in some way by the opioid epidemic that we face, not only in Connecticut, but across our country. It is staggering, it is destroying an entire generation of individuals and leaving behind mass destruction in families and I think that as a legislature we are doing the right thing in trying to move the needed in the right way. Just recently the Lieutenant Governor from Ohio announced, her name is Mary Taylor, and she announced that her two grown sons are both suffering from an opioid addiction. So, when people say it touches all lives, it touches everyone. We talk about how opioids and heroin do not discriminate and they will go everywhere and anywhere that they can.

So, I wanted to highlight for you some of the things that I find most important about this bill in a little more detailed way. The first thing would be the fact that we struggle with opioids that are left in the household when somebody is elderly and they are being cared for by a RN or home healthcare person. This Bill allows that healthcare person to remove those opioids from the house upon consent of the patient. That has not been able to be done before because those opioids actually belong to the patient. The other thing we talked aobut was what happens when you have a terminal patient who has opioids all over the house for pain management and that person passes away? There is no way to legally remove those opioids from the household because once the person passes it goes to probate. So, we were able to set up a working group to study that, to figure out how we will handle that. There has been many cases of burglaries when people find out that someone has passed away, their house is broken into and the opioids are stolen. We looked at, in Public Health, one of the things the physicians find most frustrating is what beds are available for treatment. We wanted to have a 24 hour real time porthole on the Public Health website to talk and to be able to display exactly what beds were available in what facility. That is something we were not able to do because of the fiscal note but we are going to study it and come up with a creative way to make that happen. So that is in this Bill also. We talked about coming out with a public service announcement on the risks associated with opioids and that addiction looks like that we will also will be working on in a working group. The other items that I think are very, very important are the fact that right now when someone goes for treatment many cases they are turned away because they are not actually actively high at the time of requesting treatment. This will change that and it will allow somebody who is seeking treatment to come in and to be cared for because it will follow the requirements for the drug and alcohol treatment facilities used for admission criteria. That is something that is very, very important. We also talked about the need for having individual health care systems, treat someone based on what the doctor thought was medically necessary not some arbitrary amount of days that is allowed per a formulary. This is also in this Bill. And lastly, I think that it is very important that we were able to get this standing order incorporated in here. The difference between a standing order and what we have now is, now you can go into a pharmacy and say that you have a problem with addiction and you would like to have Narcan and the pharmacist who has been trained can dispense it to you, but under a new standing order, you could go in and say my mother has a problem, my child has a problem and you would be able to be issued it. Better access to Narcan and every life that we can save is very important. There is also a voluntary contract in this agreement which says that if you are someone who has a problem, you can sign a contract with your doctor saying please do not give me opioids and they would be bound by that. However, there is criteria in there is there is an emergency that they will not be held harmless if they don't have that contract available at trauma time. So, I want to thank everybody again who worked on this. I think it is a very good step in moving the needle although the needle isn't exactly where it needs to be. We have to keep taking baby steps to get there. And I would like to thank the Governor and the Governor's Office for working with us on this bill and I would hope that everyone would support it because I think it sends a strong message that the State of Connecticut understands, recognizes this opioid epidemic and will do everything it can within its power to make sure that we do not lose one more person to this cruel, cruel crisis. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Somers. Senator Kennedy?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I will be brief. I just want to say thank you to Senator Somers, thank you to Senator Leone and thank you very much to Senator Gerratana for incorporating an initiative that I felt was very important and that is the establishment of a standing order for naloxone in the State of Connecticut. There are about 35 states, red states, blue states, Midwestern states, costal states that have established a standing order that simply removes another barrier to accessing naloxone, allows people to go into a pharmacy, no questions asked, non-patient specific order that I hope will prevent even just one death from opioid overdose here in the State of Connecticut. So, thank you so much to all the people who worked so hard on this bill and hopefully we can make a difference in those facing addiction here in our state. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Not, then Senator McCrory. Good afternoon, sir. Senator McCrory, please.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Good afternoon Madam President. Madam President I rise in support of this legislation. I want to thank everyone who did yeomen's work on this piece of legislation to help out with this opioid epidemic that is destroying our communities, not just in the State of Connecticut but all over the United States. Early this morning I saw that the Attorney General of Ohio is actually suing some pharmaceutical companies who actually do some of these drugs and so I am very excited and I am going to be excited when I press that letter green to support this work that everyone has done. But I just want to remind everyone that this is not the first time we had a crisis, a drug crisis, in our country, especially out state. I was so happy that we are finally seeing that this issue of substance abuse is more of a public health issue as opposed to a criminal issue because there was a time, not too long ago, when people were suffering from substance abuse such a heroin, crack cocaine we threw them in jail. We didn't find supports that we are doing right now. We looked at them and said they didn't have family values. They weren't raising their children right. They were not making good decisions. So finally in 2017 I am very happy to say that we have come full circle and realize that things that we did in the past, that destroyed communities in the past, that destroyed families in the past, destroyed neighborhoods in the past and we're still dealing with those issues today that we are not going to allow that to happen as we move forward. So, in retrospect I wish we had this conversation 25 years ago. I wish I was here to make these statements 25 years ago, I wasn't. But I know as we move forward your children, my children and our children will have the public health support that we didn't have instead of mass incarcerating families, children, neighborhoods, mothers, fathers, grandmothers as we did in the past. So, I will proudly press this green button so we can help everyone as we move forward but can't forget about what we did in the past in issues that we are still dealing with from the past. Thank you very much.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson first and then Senator Winfield.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise is support of this Bill. I too want to thank each and every one of the Co-Sponsors of this Bill. I made this a priority in my election effort and I just, you know you continually read about young kids falling fate to this and so forth and I think that communities that I represent have rallied around this issue and have gone to great lengths to identify opportunities. I believe that introducing something for public safety officials to effectively translate what might be patient activity from a crime activity and hopefully part of this study will also enable them to be more effective in transferring people rather from to incarceration but to some volunteer programs. I know that the Town of Manchester is moving in that direction. In fact, their chief of police had agreed to serve on my subcommittee and my study committee. They are ready, willing and able. Again, I just want to lend by support and thank you all for your efforts on this bill.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Winfield?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, good afternoon Madam President. I want to align myself with the comments of Senator Doug McCrory. I have never touched any sort of drug for a very good reason. One, my father was a drug addict and two; there was a show that used to come on when I was a kid called "Like It Is". I used to watch the heroin addicts that they would put on this show and what heroin did to them, so that's like 40 years ago. And we are here today dealing with the opioid crisis which is the same problem. You know when we do some of the bills that some of us from the urban communities try to do here, one of the things I hear, and I think people are well-meaning, but one of the things that I hear people say is well we don't have that issue in my community. You will, 40 years later maybe, but you will. We come here, we are not just representing our communities, those fixed boundaries that are drawn on a map. We are representing all of the people in this state. If you don't have that issue today, if it is not somebody who you know, it will be and I hope we learned a lesson that it is inherent in his discussion that we are having today to do this good piece of policy that we are doing and that lesson is you will have that problem. So, I rise in support of this bill and I hope that 40 years down the road, something that we are trying to work on today is not something that someone else will rise and say you will have that problem. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Cassano by Senator Osten.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I to rise in support of this Bill. I do, so Senator Gerratana mentioned earlier the Gloucester Project and Senator Larson referred to Manchester. I am very familiar with the Manchester program. The police chief has been a pioneer. Chief Montminy has recognized how serious the situation is in our community where a community of 55,000 to 60,000 people, we have a problem. For many of us parents, siblings, relatives just people who live in the community. It is like flying to California at 35,000 feet. You see nothing. You see clouds. What goes on in our own household, in our own neighborhoods and our own streets and so on we fail see. It's like being on that plane. Chief Montminy was approached by a woman, a young woman who was a drug addict. She went through recovery and she vowed to do something about it. Sarah Howard. Sarah was so determined that she actually went into the school social work. She just graduated this year with her MSW. She spent the last six months doing her internships with Chief Montminy and working on building the program in Manchester. It doesn't happen alone. Manchester Memorial Hospital was big part of this, literally set aside beds in a wing to be able to provide treatment. Sarah arranged an event in the park. "Opiates in the Park. " There were almost a thousand people, Narcan was distributed, people were showed how to use it, how to help others with it. Various agencies were there. Most important seven individuals, none who I knew myself, all who lived in town came up and either talked about the death of their child or their recovery from opiates. This is as serious a problem as anything we have in Connecticut. We will fly in the clouds. I think this bill will get us down to the ground where we can face this head-on. Chief Montminy had courage. He announced to his department that we treat first, arrest last. That should be the philosophy because if we treat and deal with the issue that this Bill starts to do, I will be a great start in trying to overcome this real serious problem. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. It is a pleasure to stand up and rise in support of this Bill. But I would like to align my comments with those of my colleague Senator McCrory and Senator Winfield. For 21 years of my working life, I worked inside Connecticut's prison system. I would say quite frankly that the opioid problem has been around for that entire time that I worked inside our prison system. I am happy that we are facing this and working on it now. But I saw a lot of intelligent young people who spent their lives in and out of our correctional system because of opioid addictions and I think it should be recognized that this legislation is a longtime coming. It should have been recognized as a crisis as it wheeled its way through our urban areas. It has been long there and for too many years, too many families have lost brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandchildren to an addiction that was ignored. I will happily push the green button today as Senator McCrory said but I lament the lives that have been lost as a result of an addiction that has long been in Connecticut. Thank you very much Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? I'm sorry, Senator Gomes.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

I rise to support this Bill. It is a very important Bill. It affects different cities in different ways. I can remember years ago, many friends that I had, I won't say many but they were my friends and some of them had problems. I remember when I was a Councilman in Bridgeport and I was traveling through one of the towns on Merritt Parkway and I stopped for gas and this guy was pumping the gas. And I had this medallion on my car and it said I was a City Councilman and he asked me, "What city are you from?" I said, "Bridgeport. " And he said to me, "Well I don't go to Bridgeport cause they got too many drug problems down there. " And I said something because I didn't feel like what he said to me was very nice. I said something very mean to him. "I said you keep your children home and we will have less of a problem" because that where they were selling the drugs. There were a lot of kids coming in to town and purchasing their drugs and I knew it firsthand. But the thing of it is I knew it was mean to say because I deal with it the way other people deal with it. He had problems. It wasn't a crime problem, it wasn't a civic problem, it was a health problem and I am glad to see this Bill pass and I hope that it will do somebody some good. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the bill? Will you remark further on the bill? If not, Senator Leone?

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I just want to close with a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has stood up to make some good comments, great comments and the reasoning for the support of this legislation and specifically to the fact that this has been an ongoing crisis for too far many years in the making and the solace that I have is that when this Chamber is finally presented with the crisis that it is, we have decided to step-up to the plate to produce this very important piece of legislation. It should have happened much sooner, but the fact that it is happening today in this Chamber with this group of colleagues gives me much comfort because what that shows not just to me but to everyone in our state that we are all in this together. We are all trying to do what is right by our families, our friends, our constituents and the last thing anyone of us wants is to have to confront any family member who has to give us their story, their tale of losing a child, a sibling, a parent to this crisis. And I think those stories have become far too many and we need to act and this is the legislation that will cause us to move in the right direction for all the reasons mentioned by my colleagues, my great senators and friends from all the different communities the urban centers, the rural areas again it affects everyone and anyone and many times it affects people without them even knowing that they are going to be afflicted with this because you go in using some medication for an issue and then before you realize it, you're addicted and then when it is cutoff you are now going to do the wrong thing. So, this goes a long way in trying to prevent that. So, I just want to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone in support of this legislation. I know the Chairs of General Law Center, Senator Witkos, myself, Representative Baram and Richard Smith, Representative Smith down in the House. I do want to thank Senator Gerratana and Senator Somers for their great work in advocacy from a Public Health perspective mainly that this is now a public health issue and not a criminal issue as mentioned earlier. And I do want to thank Governor Malloy, the Department of Consumer Protection, Department of Health for assisting in taking the lead to craft this and get all these bright minds working in a concerted effort to produce this great piece of legislation. So, I want to a warm thanks to everyone for this and I would urge and support and if you could Madam President I would appreciate a Roll Call vote.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk will you call for Roll Call vote. The machine will be open.

CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

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

THE CLERK:

House Bill No. 7052.

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The bill passes. (Gavel) Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 48, Calendar 240, substitute for Senate Bill Number 966, AN ACT CONCERNING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS ADMINISTERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT. There are amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel, oops sorry. Senator France.

SENATOR FRANCE (42ND):

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

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Madam President, indeed I will. Senate Bill 966 is a transparency and accountability bill in economic development. The first thing I want to do is thank my Co-Chairs for their excellent work on this, they are terrific to work with and there is nothing like having C-Chairs and ranking members who totally get it when it come to a subject, in this case economic development, so Senator Hartley, I want to thank you for your hard work and being just an absolute charm to work with and Representative Simmons and Representatives Yaccarino as well as the Ranking Member from the House.

So as a backdrop Members of the Circle, we all know the economy in Connecticut is not very strong. In fact, it is one of the worst in the country and has been for about eight years now since the beginning of the great recession. The Connecticut workforce is only grown by about 0. 4 percent annually since the beginning of the great recession versus 7. 3 percent on the national level. The Connecticut economy has grown at less than one percent in those eight and one-half years since the beginning of the great recession and it is continually ranked 49 or 50 in terms of its economic performance between the years 2005 and 2015. We recovered only 78 percent of the jobs that we lost since the great recession whereas our neighboring state of Massachusetts, which sits geographically in an almost identical location, has recovered up to 300 percent and all other New England and Northeastern states are well in excess of a hundred percent and in many cases closer to two hundred percent. In the last six and a half years, yes Connecticut has become very, very aggressive in terms of economic development and that is exactly what we should be doing. But I would also argue that we have taken our eye off the ball when it comes to creating a better business environment, one that is workable for business and business decision makers both with respect to taxes, with respect to regulations and the overall mood of what they see up in the Capital when they hear some of the crazy ideas that are brought aobut in some of these committees up here and sometimes make it to the floors, they scratch their heads and say why would we ever want to stay in Connecticut or move to Connecticut. But I applaud the Executive Branch and what they have done in terms of being aggressive and trying to recruit companies and trying to get companies to stay. You should note that all of these direct economic development programs and some of the indirect economic development programs add up to well over a billion dollars and I would argue even close to two billion dollars so it is important for all of us to know because we represent every single person and every single tax payer in the State of Connecticut are these programs working. We in the Commerce Committee have been in agreement now for a couple of years that we need to step it up in terms of trying to understand what the metrics are, what the data is and in fact and the end of the day are these programs doing what they were promised us to do. Is there in fact an economic return on the "investments or the loans" to these individual companies or partnerships? Is there a payback of that original loan or capital when it is through a company or a limited liability corporation in the form of equity? That has been absent in the reporting in previous years so we would seek to get that return information within 966 and specifically we are focusing on the First Five which should be renamed the First 20 because I believe we are up to 16 now, we could be up to 18 within the next couple of months here and again we will be looking for more precise data that gives us an idea of whether these programs are working or not. We will be looking for return on investment numbers, internal rate of return, IRR, and the like. Within this Bill it will get changed. You will hear about an Amendment in a few minutes here. There was legislative approval required for any deal over $ 30 million dollars. It could no longer lapse into or be tastily approved by the General Assembly; no action was taken. That will be changed in an Amendment. The First Five Program as many of you know sunsets on June 30, 2019; 966 requires there to be reporting to the committees of cognizance both the Finance Committee and Commerce Committees and we will have joint Committee Hearings about that and meetings about that and make our recommendations as to whether that program should be extended or whether we should honor the sunset June 30, 2019.

Another component of this Bill is we are asking the Small Business Express Program as administered by the DECD to work with the private banking industry to see if there is an interest in buying portfolio loans from Small Business Express so that would increase their liquidity which would give them in essence more leverage to do more economic development work in the marketplace. With that there is an amendment. What I would like to do is yield to Senator Hartley at this point.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Yes, indeed Madam President and good afternoon to you.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

So I would like to continue with regard to the remarks on 966, it could be best described as an Omnibus Bill from the Commerce Committee which was really a labor and many iteration to try to get it right as we recognized that we are all the stewards of the taxpayer dollars and so when we make these investments, we do not make them lightly and we want to know very definitively about what they yield and their return is and that we are channeling our limited and very precious resources in the right areas in the right direction. And so, I also Madam President would like to express my great gratitude to my Senate Co-Chair Senator France and also the House Ranking Members and House Chair as well as actually Madam President the sponsors on the Amendment which we will call momentarily who have all worked to make this very important piece of legislation what we need to do going forward and quite frankly to bring it current. As we recall the cornerstone of our economic development is based in two programs as was indicated by Senator France that is the First Five Program and then subsequently as a result of jobs initiative in 2011 was the Small Business Express Program. Both of those go back to 2008, 2009, 2011. Here we are 2017 and certainly the economic horizon has rapidly changed and continues to change exponentially. These changes will reflect the processes which we need to continue to make these programs very targeted and to have the maximum return to the taxpayers of the State of Connecticut.

And so, Madam President I would like to call LCO 8723. The Clerk is in possession and ask to be granted Leave to Summarize, Madam.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO Number 8723, Senate "A" offered by Senators Hartley, Logan, etal.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. I move adoption.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is then adopted. Will you then remark ma'am?

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):


Yes
. Thank you, Madam President. This is a continuation as I referenced to the iterations that we have done on the evolution of trying to make our oversight and working legislatively with the Executive Branch on these most important programs which are the cornerstones to the economic development in the State of Connecticut. And so, they represent best practices. They introduce some new evaluative metrics which will be, I think, very important in terms of having full information as we go forward making these decisions. And so, what we do with regard to the URA Program is go back to the existing law right now which would require an affirmative vote to reject such a proposal. However, with regard to the reporting from the Department and I want to first of all recognize the Governor's Office and also the Commissioner and her staff in working with this in a very candid cooperative way to get to the piece of legislation that we do have before us today. So, we are recognizing the fact that we want to be lean with regard to our reporting and also our assessments and so what we are doing is changing somethings with regard to the Annual Report and also the Strategic Plan which is done in four year intervals to coincide with the Administration of the Executive Office. And so the Annual Report will include an analysis of the Financial Assistance and Tax Credit Programs, not only of the Department of Economic and Community Development but all other departments that have such programs so that when the legislative Committees of Cognizance and then ultimately this, the entire Chambers, House and Senate will have all of the information with regard to economic development programs and we are not seeing siloed information, we will have a more complete picture. It will also require that the Appropriations, the Commerce Committee and the Finance Committee, the Committees of Cognizance hold annual hearings upon receipt of the Annual Report and there is an addition in here and I want to also recognize the work of the Finance Committee and Senator Fonfara with regard to the inclusion of having the auditors of public accounts do an analysis of the Annual Report to determine, one its accuracy and also to report that it is meeting its goals in conjunction with the stated Strategic Plan. So, it is kind of an additional check. It is also an outside look and I think it is value added in terms of really drilling down on these programs and actually their investments, and having received the report from the auditor, upon the conclusion of that analysis, it once again goes before Committees of Cognizance for a joint hearing. There is also a very important piece that I want to point out, Madam President, and that is to codify the MBI, that is the Minority Business Initiative which is an existing entity right now working with the Department of Economic and Community Development but in codifying it we've further delineated and incorporated into the overall programs specifically the Small Business Express Program. Its intended purpose is to work to develop programmatic support under these economic development programs in the minority business community. If there is one Achilles in this program it is that we have not been able to really get in and incentivize and build minority business programs and so the codification of Minority Business Initiative is intended to do this. Right now that entire SBX Program only represents eight percent in the minority community so it codify a board and its intended purposes will be to provide technical assistance to the Commissioner or her designee who also sits on this board to provide assistance to minority businesses, increasing their access to capital and contracts and to develop and administer programs specifically for the fostering of literacy, minority employment, entrepreneurship, apprenticeships, externships and things of the like. There is an allotment to do that in the first year of $ 2 million out of SBX so it is revenue neutral. This does not require any new money and a million in the second year 19.
Any money that is not resources used in those years would lapse as they do in any economic development program
. And so, with that, Madam President I ask support from the members of the Chamber on these important changes and this new initiative. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Amendment? Will you remark further on the Amendment? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor of the Amendment please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Amendment passes. Will you remark further on the Bill as amended? Senator France.

SENATOR FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Madam President. If there are no objections I would like to move this to the Consent Calendar 30.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered. Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 5, Calendar 178, Substitute for Senate Bill Number 778, AN ACT CONCERNING EXPENSE FOR CONSULTANTS BORNE BY TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROVIDERS. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Excuse please, please. The Senate will stand at ease for one second please. -- Okay, Mr. Clerk will you recall a different bill please?

CLERK:

On page 5, Calendar 157, Senate Bill Number 943, AN ACT CONCERNING THE INSTALLATION OF CERTAIN SOLAR FACILITIES ON PRODUCTIVE FARMLANDS. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion on acceptance and passage, will you remark, sir?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes, this Bill has been an initiative of my Co-Chair Senator Miner and myself together with the Departments of Agriculture and Energy of an environmental protection to really craft a balance between the states land, conservation efforts with our goals for renewable energy production. There is an Amendment. The Amendment is LCO Number 8437. Call the Clerk please. Call the Amendment?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO Number 8437 Senate "A" offered by Senators Kennedy and Miner.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes, thank you very much. I move adoption of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Motion on Adoption, will you remark sir?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes. This bill does a few important things. One it is aimed at stimulating the solar energy facilities in places other than our state's prime farmland and forests, that is to say brownfields, landfills, state land, highway corridors, industrial locations, roof tops and disturbed lands. It doesn't prohibit the installation of utility scales solar on prime farmland but it establishes a small but important administrative step to the sighting of utility scales, solar projects on prime farmland. The second important thing this Bill does is create a permitting pathway for anaerobic digesters. Anaerobic digesters are a method of containing waste and as waste biodegrades that produces methane that can be turned and converted into electricity. There are aobut 2,000 farms in Europe that have anaerobic farm based and anaerobic digesters, about 250 in the United States and we want to do everything we can to promote this as an alternative energy sources for our farm sector in our state. The third important thing this Bill does is ask DEEP to submit a petition if asked by a Connecticut company to approve kelp oil as a feed stock for our renewable fuel standard program, we have a number of local businesses operating on Long Island Sound that grow kelp, countries around the world are making jet fuel out of kelp. We have a potential to develop this as an industry and create jobs but in order to do that we need business and government working together to make that happen. So before yielding of the floor to my friend and colleague.

THE CHAIR:

Can you Senator Kennedy, can you wait one second? Senator Linares why do you rise sir?

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise to recuse myself under Rule 15. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, we will wait for you to leave the Chamber sir. Stand and hold a moment. -- Senator Kennedy I apologize.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Not a problem Madam President. I will be brief. At issue is really something that many of the folks in the Chamber have been aware of at that is the dramatic surge in placement of solar facilities on our prime farmland. This trend is accelerating nationwide. It is an issue that faces not just Connecticut but Maryland, Oregon, the Eastern short of Maryland as I said, North Carolina many other places around the country while we want to of course encourage solar as a renewable energy sources we feel we need to really strike the right balance of encouraging solar and developing solar while also not losing our valuable farmland that we have here in the state and just last year DEEP and the Siting Council approved about 1600 acres of prime farmland compared to just 200 acres in just the year before. So there is a huge propensity to develop solar facilities on farmlands because it is the cheapest place to do that and we believe that there should be other considerations other than just lowest cost for where to site solar facilities which is why this Bill makes a small but important administrative step in allowing the siting council to consider, not supersede but just to consider agriculture and productive farmland as one factor when it decides to approve the siting of a utility scale solar facility. So, I think that this is an important Bill, again turning to the other important factor of this bill which is concerning anaerobic digesters which I spoke aobut just a minute before, we have no permitting pathway currently for anaerobic digesters. With the proposed changes that we are suggesting today we will no longer make anaerobic digesters projects costly and consuming because we will eliminate the so-called determination of need process. This will greatly speed up the permitting process. We were told, we heard testimony at the Environment Committee that people that wanted to develop anaerobic digesters, we do have a few operating commercially in our state but they talk about needing three, four, five years to get approval from our state agency before they were allowed to build. They had the financing lined up. They had the land lined up but they could not get the permitting approval. This change that we are suggesting will create a special pathway to allow with the rapid development of this technology here in our state. So, I again want to thank my Co-Chair and colleague Senator Miner for working closely on this Bill and I encourage my, the Chamber to support it and of course I stand ready to respond to any questions if they arise. Thank you, Madam President and I yield now to my Co-Chair Senator Miner.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner will you accept the yield?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

I thought he went to my school of filibustering Madam President. (Laughter) Madam President I also rise to support this Amendment and.

THE CHAIR:

So then, do you accept his yield?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

I do yes.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Madam President this was a much more complicated issue than I thought it was when we initially started, I think it was about five months ago. Senator Kennedy and I met and we talked about this consumption of farmland and how without some mechanism to make people stop and take a look at the other options, we were concerned, I think jointly that some of this valuable farmland that we had worked so hard to protect in the state, either through 490 Designation, through acquisition on the part of the Department of Agriculture, many different mechanisms was being consumed at a rate, not for a bad purpose because I think a lot of people believe in solar energy but yet wasn't service an agricultural purpose. Since that time, I have learned that these are not necessarily mutually exclusive. That in fact there are, if you look at examples all across the world there are examples where good solar infrastructure works and is very compatible with good agricultural processes. And so, we tried to craft some language that wasn't so onerous that people couldn't develop especially farmland recognizing personal property rights, but at the same time made people stop and just take a look at the total volume that we were creating.

As Senator Kennedy spoke about the kelp industry is growing in this State of Connecticut and that is not really a pun but we have other uses of marine water that were at one time flourishing such as the lobster industry that is going through some more difficult times now because of the population of lobsters and I learned from a lobster fisherman that this is a key component to their business model in the winter especially developing bases for growing kelp. Senator Kennedy spoke aobut the digester situation and I visited one of these a number of months ago and found out that it was almost five years to get the permit. I couldn't imagine waiting five years for anything yet alone a permit to try and help DEEP and the Connecticut residents achieve its goal of recycling and reuse and waste reduction and at the same time have to deal with kind of a bureaucracy of government tie up money and not kind of get this thing up and running and I am happy to report that I think within a month they may actually flip the switch and somebody is going to get a light turned on as a result of that one digester. In this case, it does help us actually reduce nitrogen loading, phosphate loading on streams adjacent to many of these farms because we are going to take the nutrients from cow manure and chicken manure and hopefully turn that into energy as well. It is a complicated Bill. I think it strikes a balance. I would urge members of the Chamber to support the Amendment and the underlying Bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you and will you remark on the Amendment? Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much. Through you, does this Amendment allow for some solar to go on prime and important farmland soils?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Through you, Madam President.

The answer is yes. There is nothing in the Amendment that prohibits the installation of solar panels on prime farmland. All this Amendment does is allow the siting council to consider agriculture as one of the seven or eight different factors that they are authorized to consider when deciding where to place utility projects including solar panels. So, to answer my friend and colleague's question, there is nothing in this Bill that would preclude a farm from installing solar panels.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Through you Madam President.

Would this bar said farmer from receiving any tax credits or other credits for putting solar on their farmland, their own personal farmland?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

The answer to that question Madam President is no. We currently as many people know in the Circle we subsidize the development of solar energy much like we subsidize biomass and fuel cells and wind energy and many, many different types of renewable energy. So, we do subsidize both at the federal level and the state level the development of solar power because we believe it is an important part of our energy mix and right now, through a low that was adopted by this Chamber a few years ago, we authorized $ 16 million dollars in what are called virtual net metering credits and farmers would be able to avail themselves of those virtual net metering credits.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. And I think it would be fair to say that we also subsidize the fossil fuel systems throughout this country and I would certainly like to talk to my good colleague about that sometime but not tonight. I just want to make sure and I am all set with my questions but I would like to say for the record that sometimes there are generational issues that happen within the farming community where the next generation is not interested in necessarily participating in farming and my concern is that this form sometimes allows for a farmer to save that land or salvage that land from being subdivided into a residential environment. I have seen many times when without that next generation there a good portion of prime and important farmland is subdivided and a hundred homes are placed on what was a pasture or corn field or it was an area that cows grazed on or horses or a whole host of other agricultural issues and so I am concerned that we are saying that we will not allow solar to happen and are not considering the fact that this is someone's farm who has spent years on it and if they chose to do this versus subdividing the property I know I 20 or 25 years that farmland could be returned to active farming, not necessarily so if someone's farmland is subdivided and a hundred homes are placed on that farm. I will support this legislation moving forward but I have grave concerns that we are putting our will on someone else's property and I think that sometimes we go a bit too far and I am hoping that we are not going that little much too far in not allowing someone to save farmland for the future in a rush to bar them from participating in renewal energy. So again, I will support it moving forward but I will be keeping any eye on this to make sure that we are not crushing an opportunity to keep farmland around.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark? Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes, Madam President. And I just have a few statements in response to my friend and colleague Senator Osten who makes some fair points and legitimate points about the right of farmers to develop their property as they see fit. And let me just say this is not an attempt to try to circumvent that farmer from doing what they will with their property. It is a recognition that we need to as a state allow, right now the siting council, there is nothing to stop the siting council now from covering everyone in our state with solar panels and I think that we know that we want this to be a balanced approach. This legislation is specifically designed to cover installations of a utility scale of 2 megawatts or more. That is approximately ten to fifteen acres of solar panels. The average farm in our state is 87 acres. So, we anticipate, in fact it is our hope, in fact that the allowing of solar panels on farms can actually keep many of our farmers in business. Farming is a really difficulty job. Our farmers are under stress. It is very difficult to make a living farming in Connecticut. So, we actually se, and we hope and expect that this will actually produce an additional revenue stream for farmers. In addition to solar as well as the anaerobic digesters which through this legislation we expect that we will be able to develop between six and ten farm based anaerobic digesters in our state so I see this, as I know my colleague Senator Miner does is a way to really save our farms and rally provide farmers with an alternative revenue stream but I do take the comments of my colleagues quite seriously and I hope that we can work together to fashion this because I think this is an issue that is not going to disappear anytime soon.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will remark further on Senate "A"? Will you remark further on Senate "A"? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor, oops, okay, Senator Cassano, sorry. Senator Cassano, please.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Sorry, Madam President I was going to shout but. I just have a brief question. I have discussed this with Senator Kennedy. The bill is an improvement I have to say that. The bill at least gives us direction and my concern is that we don't control what goes on in the siting council. I am worried about the runaway train aspect. We may be in that now, large farms have already been converted. I have had that nightmare of driving from Bradley Field into Hartford and seeing solar panels instead of tobacco fields. The tobacco fields scene is a beautiful scene and I don't want to lose that. I represent Glastonbury which is one of the larges farming communities in the state. Beautiful farmland, I don't want to lose that. I think this actually might control it a little and so I am going to support the bill because I have confidence that if needs be, we make changes later on. I think we can maybe slowdown the pace. Solar energy is great but a lot of solar panels replacing fresh crops scares me. So, with reluctance, after conversations with Senator Kennedy I will support it but my concerns I think are the concerns of many of the people of Connecticut. It is a beautiful state, the landscape is beautiful. If it's solar fields, it's not. There are state properties, the idea of adding the brownfields, I thing great, great oh that's a big move. That makes it productive, it can be done well. Let's be careful with the farmlands. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on Senate "A"? Will you remark further on Senate "A"? I will try your minds. All those in favor please say Aye.


SEANTORS
:
    Aye
.

THE CHAIR
:
   
Opposed?  Senate "A" is adopted
. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator McLaughlin, good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Good afternoon Madam President. I stand for the purpose of questions to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Senator Kennedy thank you to you and your Co-Chair Senator Miner and many other who have worked hard on this. My question is does the Bill now run any interference with the 2013 Bill that we passed here in the State Legislature regarding virtual net metering. That legislation I believe did produce a number of opportunities for farmers and I wonder if you just clarify for us, does it negate that program and/or make it better.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I wasn't here in the Chamber when this body established the virtual net metering program that allowed farmers to put solar installations on their farms in a virtual net metering capacity and sell excess capacity to the grid and to their fellow farmers so we already have that program in existence. So, this proposal intends to build upon the existing virtual net metering program through the anaerobic digester proposal and with this siting mechanism.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLaughlin.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Kennedy, for your answers.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? Mr. Clerk will you call for a Roll Call vote. The machine will be open.

CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gomes. Thank you, sir.

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

THE CLERK:

Senate Bill Number 943

Total number voting 35

Necessary for Adoption 18

Those voting Yea 34

Those voting Nay 1

Those absent and not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. (Gavel). Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, will the Clerk now please call calendar page 48, Calendar 291, Senate Bill 644?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

On page 48, Calendar 291, Senate Bill Number 644, AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGISTRATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES REGISTERED OUT OF STATE. There is an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Cassano. Good evening or good afternoon.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Good evening or good late afternoon Madam President. I rise, I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report, passage of the Bill, wave its reading and seek to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Yes, Madam President. This is a bill that we all should like because I believe all of us have gotten a phone call from someone in our town questioning out-of-state license plates. I have a resident in Glastonbury that I think has made this a hobby that he calculates on a weekly basis the number of times the car is in the driveway, when it leaves, when it's back and he has the number of days on multiple cars and that is something we have in all of our states. It is interesting and if we look at our laws, by law the vehicle's owner is liable for property taxes is Connecticut if the vehicle, during its normal course of operation most frequently leaves from, returns to or remains in which simply means garaged in Connecticut. The tax applies whether or not the vehicle is registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles. That is the bill and I move acceptance of the Bill and I would like to yield to my Co-Chairman Senator Logan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan, will you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise in support of this Bill. I think the bill is a good thing because it establishes a process for DMV to transmit specific information regarding out-of-state vehicle registrations to municipalities, nor to add such vehicles Grand List. I think it is something that requires our attention. I think as far as our municipalities should have the ability to address this issue and we should do what we can to help to support them. At this time, I would like to yield the floor to Senator McLachlan if I may, Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan will you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President, I do accept the yield. Madam President the Clerk is in possession of LCO Number 8639. I ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

8639 Senate "A" offered by Senator McLachlan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. This Amendment seeks to address a concern of a fiscal note on the underlying Bill, namely that we are asking the Department of Motor Vehicles to coordinate with assessors across the State of Connecticut in providing information necessary to begin collection process for personal property taxes on out-of-state registered vehicles. I urge adoption. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator McLachlan. Will you remark further on Senate Amendment "A"? Will you remark further? If not, all those in favor of Senate Amendment "A".

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Those opposed? The Ayes have it. The Amendment is adopted. Will you remark further on the Bill as now Amended? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and I stand in support of the Bill and I want to thank Senator Cassano, Senator Logan and many others actually who have worked diligently behind the scenes in trying to address this issue. I thought it was a somewhat unique problem to border towns in the State of Connecticut but as I did research and spoke to people like Senator Cassano, hardly a border town, but in Danbury we have a number of out-of-state vehicles that spend the night and essentially that means that they should be registered in the State of Connecticut and they should have to pay personal property tax on the vehicle like everybody else does. And so, I to have people who would often tap me on the shoulder and say, "I'm doing my fair share and my neighbor has two out-of-state registered cars in his garage. Why does he get away with that?" And so, what I discovered over time was that assessors didn't have the tools in their toolbox necessary to get the information and begin the process of collecting property tax on those vehicles. We did discover that nearly 20 years ago the Department of Motor Vehicles had a unit that worked on unregistered or out-of-state registered vehicles in Connecticut and due to budget constraints over the years that unit was minimized or done away with completely. And so, what we are asking with this legislation is that the Department of Motor Vehicles is going to jumpstart that out-of-state registration unit of one person, it is now computerized and a fairly simple process. It is going to allow assessors to promptly add a vehicle to the Grand List in a town and begin collecting property taxes. Madam President we believe that this is perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars in uncollected property taxes to local municipalities in the State of Connecticut. I think that this is a good measure to help our local towns and it is a fair measure that someone who should be paying property tax like we all do will begin doing so. I urge adoption. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Bill as now amended? Will you remark further? Senator Witkas, you have the floor.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH)):

Thank you, if the Chamber could stand at ease for just a moment.

THE CHAIR:

The Chamber will stand at ease. --

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH)):

Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH)):

I thank you, Madam President. At this time I would like to yield to Senator McLachlan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan you have the floor, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I seek to withdraw an Amendment that has been adopted as a technical deficiency was discovered after it was called and approved. LCO Number 8639, I seek that that be withdrawn.

THE CHAIR:

The motion is to Withdraw LCO 8639 without objection. So ordered. You have the floor, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and correct LCO with the correction necessary is LCO Number 8758. Madam President I move adoption of the Amendment, waive the reading and see leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

And we have to get the Amendment in front of us, sir. The Clerk is in possession of LCO 8758.

7105

CLERK:

LCO Number 8758, Senate "B" offered by Senators McLachlan and Cassano.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President just as a Point of Order the First Amendment, Senate Amendment "A" was adopted so we need to reconsider the Amendment not just withdraw it. So, I would move that for reconsideration of Senate Amendment "A".

THE CHAIR:

The Motion is Reconsideration of Senate Amendment "A". I will try your minds. All those in favor please indicate by saying Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The Ayes have it. The Amendment is reconsidered. (Gavel). The Amendment is before us Senator Duff. Senator McLachlan you have the floor.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I respectfully request to withdraw LCO Number 8639.

THE CHAIR:

The Motion is withdrawal of LCO 8639. All those in favor please indicate by saying Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The Ayes have it. The Amendment is withdrawn, sir. You have the floor.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and the correct Amendment with the technical deficiency corrected is LCO Number 8758. Madam President I ask that the Clerk call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Will the Clerk please call?

CLERK:

LCO Number 8758, Senate "B" offered by Senators McLachlan, Cassano and Logan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Madam President I move adoption of the Amendment, waive the reading and seek Leave to Summarize.

THE CHAIR:

The motion is on adoption. You may proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Madam President this is technical correction of the previous amendment with no substantive change. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Amendment before us? Remark further? If not, I will try your minds. All those in favor please indicate by saying Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? The Ayes have it, the Amendment is adopted. Will you remark further on the Bill as now amended? Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If there is no objection I would seek to add this to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Without objection, so ordered, sir. Senator Duff you have the floor, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If we can go back to calendar page 24, Calendar 442 House Bill 6266?

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Duff. Will the Clerk please call?

CLERK:

On page 24, Calendar 442 substitute for House Bill Number 6266, AN ACT CONCERNING BOXING EVENTS AND MIXED MARTIAL ARTS MATCHES.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. The Chair will recognize Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

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

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Yes, I will and thank you very much Madam President. The summary of this Bill is this eliminates mixed martial arts, affectionately known as MMA, the promoter's liability to pay health care costs for an MMA competitor which a MMA competitor may incur from an injury, illness, disease or condition resulting from MMA Match for the entire duration of the injury, illness, disease or condition. It instead requires MMA promotors to provide liability insurance and death benefits on the same terms as boxing promoters. The Bill applies to any person, firm or corporation that employs or contacts someone with complete, someone to compete in a MMA match.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Bill before us? Will you remark further? Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Like you I was a representative too and.

THE CHAIR:

And I am harkening back to those days, ma'am.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

I rise in strong opposition to this Bill. I have been in his legislature for ten years now and I have worked on a concussion bill almost every year that I have been because we know the damage that concussions cause to children's brains but not just to children's brains, to adult brains. So, I have serious concerns that a body that has been passing legislation to protect brains is now passing legislation that says in a sport where you are likely to have a brain injury we don't want to require you to have the same level of health insurance anymore. Those of you who were around the Circle when this bill came and was promoted by Senator Aiello will remember my strong opposition to this bill and this industry. I am an early childhood educator and basically my job is to teach kids to treat each other well and not to hurt each other and that starts when they are toddlers and goes forward. I don't deny that there is an industry going on in Connecticut and that there are people here who are supporting this Bill with all the best of intentions. But I do have a couple of questions for the proponent of the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please frame your questions Senator.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Senator, through you Madam President.

Senator Larson explain the difference of the health care requirements for the Bill that was passed several years ago and the health care requirements that this Bill holds?

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam President.

I think the simplest way to explain that is that the former, the amount of liability for the promotor, would be liable for any health care costs incurred by such competitor for the diagnosis, care and treatment of any injury, illness, disease or condition resulting from an injury, illness, disease or condition by such competitors participation in such match for the duration of such injury, illness, disease or condition. And so, the new language affectively mirrors what we currently hold for boxing, although we haven't seen boxing for quite some time in the State of Connecticut. What the Bill requires is that promotors provide insurance coverage of at least $ 20,000 for an injured competitors medical, dental, surgical and hospital care, death benefits of a least $ 50,000 to the estate of a MMA participant who dies as a result of participating in an MMA match and boxers must provide these same amounts under the existing state regulations.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

And through you, Madam President.

Did I understand you correctly that is the death benefit limited to $ 50,000 dollars even if there was negligence during the match?

Through you, ma'am.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson:

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

I am not sure. I pause only because when you say negligent I am not sure what you mean about that.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Through you, Madam President.

Maybe it is simpler to ask is the death benefit limited to $ 50,000 dollars.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson you have the floor.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

The death benefit as stated is at least $ 50,000.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. You have the floor Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Another question is in MMA is it common after someone has been knocked out that they suffer additional blows to the head after they have been knocked out?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson, you have the floor.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam President.

I don't know.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President and through you.

My data shows that the most recent study that in 20 percent of matches after the competitor is rendered unconscious there are an average of 2. 6 additional blows to the head. That is a grave concern to me. I am done with my questions for the proponent of the Bill. I want to thank the gentleman for his answers. I just want to close with a few comments for the Circle. A number of you have served on Appropriations with me and you'll recall that when we have a TBI waiver hearing that is a traumatic brain injury waiver hearing, we have people come before us who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and we see right before our eyes the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury. Sometimes they will come before us and say I was injured when I was eleven and now they are forty. My concern aobut what this Bill sets up is that, that person injured when they are 18, 19, 20 because these are mostly young men and women between 18 and 30, they are going to have long-term consequences and when this Bill passed the first time, this Chamber adopted very strenuous health care policies required for these fighters because of the knowledge that there were long-term health consequences for people who fought these bouts. And a corporation is making huge benefits TV rights, match rights, ticket sales, and we decided here in this Senate that if we are going to allow this in Connecticut at the very least we will make sure that the people fighting these fights have health care forever because we know that there are long-term consequences. The other reason I really don't want to promote this industry in our state is our children. Our children are watching this and I've had other folks in the building say to me Oh, my son or daughter loves MMA. They love the fights. Well there are other things that are loveable that are not nearly as hazardous. This sport is much more damaging than hockey, football, even boxing is considered to be twice a bad for physical health and in fact again those of you have been in those TBI waver hearings know that very often a consequence of traumatic brain injury is mental health challenges and so people would come before us and talk aobut all they had been through after their traumatic brain injury and why we as a state needed to pay more than 100 percent of institutional care to make sure these people who suffer traumatic brain injury had the care that they needed in their homes. I just have been going back and forth with a woman from my district, Sarah Raskin whose has been serving on various boards related to brain injury and they are, The Brain Injury Alliance, they are strongly opposed to the sport to begin with but if we have the sport to not providing long-term medical care for the participants who are earning the money for these businesses and I just want to thank Sarah for her advocacy. I looked up on Google how long does it take to recover from a concussion from a blow to the head? Now we know that almost a third of these fights results in a TKO, meaning they're knocked out, not just a concussion these fighters are knocked out. Well the only treatment for that is to rest your brain and to not suffer more blows. And these fighters are fighting, being knocked out and then within weeks or months back in the ring, taking more blows to the head. As a culture, I believe we've moved forward. I can remember growing up, probably like all of you, going to school, who are rooting for Frazier or Ali. It was a big deal when we were growing up. This was sort of the center of our sports universe. But we have moved from that place and even with the NFL now changing the rules, our understanding of head trauma and what that means. Our sports are moving on and doing more and more to try to protect young people's brains and adult brains with those rule changes. What we're being asked to do here in Connecticut tonight is we are being told we want this business to go on and we want to unfetter them from this rule that their fighters are covered by long-term, by health insurance for the long run when we know that the injuries that they get in these fights carry on for the long run. So, I ask us to think about the contradiction of a body that is constantly having press conferences and public hearings about concussions and the danger of concussions, asking our school districts to make sure they do pre and posttests on students when they are participating because of the traumatic brain injury. And then turns around and says, you know what, ah, its business, it brings people to the state, its entertainment. Okay if its entertainment and everyone in the Circle thinks it's important, then pay for the health care for the long-run for these fighters who are putting their brains and their bodies on the line for the profiteers, profiting on their backs. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Bye. Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Flexor.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I rise in strong opposition to the Bill before us and I want to associate myself with the passionate and well throughout comments of my colleague Senator Bye. She has outlined very clearly why moving forward with this legislation is a very bad idea and frankly contradictory to many of the things that we worked so hard on in this legislature. This legislature has done a lot of great work as Senator Bye just talked about in the area of concussions and I want to focus my comments on the work that we've done to try to combat violence generally in our society. We worked on a lot of different issues trying to make sure that children aren't exposed to violence. Every year that I have served in his legislature I have worked with many of my colleagues in this Chamber on legislation to combat domestic violence and to make sure that we are not promoting violence in our homes and in family relationships and I just cannot understand why we would want to do something that would roll back protections for workers in this particular area and why we would want to be promoting this kind of violence in the first place. It is completely contradictory again to much of the work that we do in this building to try to insure that we are not promoting violence in our society are instead doing everything we can to enact policies that prevent violence from occurring but not only are we going to promote this particular art, I guess it is called according to the Bill, and promote violence being displayed in this way but we are not going to protect the workers. When we initially allowed mixed martial arts in the state, we stood up and said if we are going to engage in this kind of activity, if you are going to hire people to participate in this, then you are going to make sure that the cost of their health care coverage is covered. You are going to make sure that if they are injured you are going to stand by them and make sure they will be able to recover. I just can't understand why this is moving forward. I know it is the last 30 to 35 hours of this session and sometimes the way things get done in this period of time is a little bit tricky but again I cannot understand why we are promoting this kind of violent activity. I think this is the wrong direction for us to be moving in and I would just say generally that I know that some of the proponents of this are concerned about economic development for their communities and this is not an answer to economic development I believe for the state of Connecticut. The fact of the matter is MMA thankfully is getting less popular. Attendance is down at these sorts of events, viewership is down. I think that is because we are succeeding as a society as in creating a culture that does not promote violence and does care for the wellbeing of everyone and so moving forward with this sends the wrong message and isn't going to help communities because this is thankfully a sport, an art if you will, that is becoming less and less popular. I hope that my colleagues will reject this bill this evening and stand up and say that Connecticut does not agree with promoting violence or weakening protections for workers. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Senator Flexer. Will you remark further? Senator Guglielmo. You have the floor, sir.

SENATOR GUGLIELMO (35TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and I will be very brief. I just want to remind the body that MMA has been going on in Connecticut for many years whether we pass this Bill or not it will continue to go on in Connecticut. It is a regular event at Mohegan Sun. I realize they are a sovereign nation but that doesn't change the fact that MMA events are performed in Connecticut. There is Full Benefit Bridgeport. Some of our major cities who arenas whether you like the sport or not it is popular. It will draw fans to these major cities who will help with the ancillary things people will eat out, all the things that we, that our cities need in order to thrive and survive. So, I hope that the other members will support this. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Fasano you have the floor.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I agree with the comments by Senator Beth Bye relative to the injury issue and Senator Flexor. I believe this to be a barbaric sport to the extent that it is a sport. I believe it to be something that is rolling gladiator, if you will. On the other hand, there are a lot of sports that have a lot of injuries. You go on the internet, there are people risking their lives doing stupid thing son the internet just to get that million views. Madam President while I detest the sport, we never pay to see the sport, that's what people opt to do. You don't have to go see it. You don't have to watch it on TV. You don't have to buy a ticket but there are people who for whatever reason do enjoy that activity. There are clubs throughout the state, throughout this country. It is a fitness thing to many folks. So why I do not agree and would not participate or watch such an event, I do think that having legislation that does its best that it could to protect those who wish to do it, and bringing opportunity to our cities, that want to bring that venue, it is not an illegal activity. It is going to be questionable whether we are going to pass it and regular it, so Madam President I am going to vote in support of this measure but no way to I condone the activity, I just think that we should regulate it and it does have a place. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President, still in the House somewhere. (Laughter). Madam President I rise in opposition to this bill and I was listening to the comments of course that Senator Bye and Senator Flexer and Senator Guglielmo as well as Senator Fasano. I don't think there is a question here of whether MMMA is entertaining but the question before me, and what I think should be before this Chamber is the health risk. The health risk is much higher because this is combat. This is violent combat that happens in these particular matches. This isn't boxing per se. This is a situation where concussions are usually in 30 or over percent of the population that these players that engage in this particular sport. This is where broken bone and massive injuries to the body in a variety of places, not just the head and the brain occur. And let me tell you something, we can of course reminisce and look at the career of Muhammed Ail and some of our very famous boxers and wrestlers and we have respect for them but in the out years, in the out years, when these players are a little bit older, and as they proceed along in these sports, the injuries become profound and there is scientific evidence and data for that. University of Toronto has done extensive studies on this and the cost to us in health care costs is very, very large. Not to mention that there is loss capacity as well as effects of participating in being a member of the community and the family. This has an effect on the whole family not just on the player. So, I have to say that anyway taking away the coverage and the benefits that these players have, which I think they deserve, they really deserve because this in many cases is an extreme sport if you will. I consider it mimicking combat in an area. By doing that I feel that it is a health effect and a public health effect and a cost to us in the long run that I cannot see taking away from the players. So, I will be voting no on the legislation. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Senator Gerratana. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you very much Madam President. I would to align my remarks with that of Senator Fasano. I understand that this is a very robust and very aggressive sport. However, this is these are professional athletes, men and women who train, promote this sport and work out and promote their bodies and their techniques. Other cities and towns across the United States have enjoyed some of the revenue from this type of entertainment. I for one will not be brining Mrs. Larson to this anytime soon and with that, if there is no further discussion I would ask for Roll Call vote.

THE CHAIR:

Question is a Roll Call vote. There will be a Roll Call vote. Is there further remarks on the Bill, if not, the Clerk please announce the pendency of a Roll Call.

THE CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all the members voted? If so, please check the board that your vote is properly recorded and the machine will be closed and the Clerk will announce the tally.

THE CLERK:

House Bill No. 6266

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 27

Those voting Nay 9

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes (Gavel). Mr. Majority Leader, you have the floor.

SENATOR DUFF (25th):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President if we can mark the next item as PT and move on to calendar page 26, Calendar 460, House Bill 6012.

THE CHAIR:

The Clerk, please call.

THE CLERK: On page 26, Calendar 460, Substitute for House Bill Number 6012, AN ACT CONCERNING CONSUMER PROTECTION IN EYE CARE.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana you have the floor Madam.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Good evening. I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and passage of the Bill in concurrence with the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening to you Madam and the motion is acceptance and passage. Will you remark, ma'am?

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Yes, Madam President. Madam President, this bill comes to us from the eye specialists in our state who raise concerns before our Public Health Committee on the best practice standards when it comes to contact lens prescriptions. I just let the Chamber know this is only for contact lenses, not for eye glasses. Practitioners such as ophthalmologists and optometrists agree that an initial complete eye exam as is defined in the Bill is essential for maintaining the standards of medical care related to eye health. The Bill also bans the use of remote refractive device in an exam as the sole basis for issuing a first time prescription or its renewal. Now how will this work? Under the Bill this means for contact lens prescriptions only, a patient would have to see a practitioner for a complete eye exam for a prescription. A practitioner has the ability to write a prescription for one year, for three years or even longer. It could be that, I'm sorry. When the patient needs to renew this initial prescription he or she will have to go back to the practitioner for another prescription, for another exam and a prescription. After that a patient subsequent prescriptions are not considered initial or renewals and are not subject to this legislation. With the testimony before our committee and also with the evidence that I researched on the CDC website I and the Public Health Committee feel that this is appropriate public health policy to bring before this Chamber and I certainly hope that members will support the legislation. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Gerratana. Will you remark further? Senator Somers, you have the floor, madam.

SENATOR SOMERS (18TH):

Yes, good evening Madam President. I rise in support of this Bill. This Bill has been talked about extensively. It has been extensively vetted also. This Bill is really a consumer protection bill and it will clarify our recently adopted telemedicine statues as they apply to contact lenses which are actually in direct contact with your cornea. This Bill maintains a patient's right to purchase contact lenses from any provider that they choose with the caveat that the first time they go for a contact lens prescription, they have to see the doctor. Then upon the initial renewal, which could be a year or two years later depending on what the doctor decides they have to see a doctor again. And after that they are allowed to use this refractive device which I will add is not cleared by the FDA and it is something that you do on your cell phone. So just to kind of put in perspective why I think this is so important, and this is actually a personal story that happened to my husband who is a physician and saw a patient who came in who was a truck driver who was having trouble seeing out of the right side of his eye. He went to the eye doctor and they found a tumor. He came back to my husband at that point. He was selling everything and moving on in the remainder of his life. But those types of things happen, you need to have a real eye exam. You need to see a clinician. And that would never be picked up when you are doing an eye exam from your cell phone. So that is why we in the Public Health Committee feel it is so important the first time that you are getting a prescription for contact lenses again, one of the most common causes of eye infection because you are actually contacting the cornea is to see a physician. They we are asking, when that prescription is up, the initial renewal, you go and see the doctor again, just to make sure that everything is okay. After that from years on you can go ahead and use this refractive device which is not an eye exam but it will measure what your prescription should be in the future. So, this is a consumer protection bill. It is in harmony with the best practices and the recommendations of both the FDA, the optometrists and the ophthalmologists and both the Connecticut Association of Optometrists and the Connecticut Society of Eye Physicians in conjunction with the Public Health Committee have worked together to provide the best legislation that we can without being overly burdensome. The technology is simply not there to do an eye exam via cell phone or telemedicine. So, I urge your support of this Bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Somers. Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Berthel. You have the floor, sir.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Good evening Madam President. I rise in support of the Bill as well and I would like to align my thoughts with those of Senator Gerratana and Senator Sommers. I see this not only as a public health policy bill which is a good thing for us to do and not only as a consumer protection bill which is also a good thing for us to do, but I also see this as also protecting a bit of our local economies. When we allow these procedures and this type of exam to be done via telemedicine and over a phone, we are taking the opportunity for practices that have been built in all of the towns that we represent throughout this great state and all throughout the Circle, we are taking those exams out of those offices and those practices that have been build. And we are taking essentially work away from members of our community, our neighbors, or friends, our relatives whomever they may be who have made an investment and have taken the time to have their practices in our town. So, I think we are also, and again, protecting public health, protecting consumers but we are also protecting jobs and I think that it is important for us to do that and we are doing this for all of the right reasons this evening. So, I would urge support as well. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Senator Berthel. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Fasano, you have the floor, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. If I may to the proponent of the Bill, Senator Gerratana?

THE CHAIR:

Please frame your question, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you. Senator Gerratana is it the intent of this bill to ban physicians from using remote refractive devices, a technology that is used by a variety of companies to renew a prescription after a patient is received two in-person eye exams?

THE CHAIR:

To you Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. No, there is no intent to ban the use of the remote refractive device. One the patient has had two in-person eye exams, the first for the initial prescription and then of course the second to renew that initial, that first time prescription. After that the patient can renew the prescription through a service that uses a remote refractive device.

THE CHAIR:

To you, Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Sorry, Madam President. So, if I start having vision problems tomorrow and I go see an optometrist they write me a prescription for contacts. I can go back a year later if everything checks out, your Bill is saying that they would then allow me the patient to renew that prescription thereafter a company that uses these remote refraction devices could be used?

Is that through you, Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

To you, Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Yes. Yes, Senator Fasano. The patient could renew the prescription through a service that uses a remote refractive device thereafter.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano, you have the floor.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

I thank Senator Gerratana for the answers to the questions. Madam President this Bill has been talked about and this building quite a bit. It has been in this Senate Chamber on the agenda for a significant period of time and this is a safety bill and I thank Senator Sommers and Senator Gerratana for bringing this Bill out and basically as I think Senator Gerratana had said, that is simply requires a patient using contact lens to have at least two in-person eye exams, the first being the initial and the second one being renew of that initial prescription. Madam President the purpose for requiring an in-patient exam for the initial prescription is to insure the healthiness and the good condition of the eye, the vessels, and making sure we have sort of a doctor checking on all that and then having the renewal just to make sure everything is going accordingly. Thereafter the Bill does not impose any further requirements or change existing law. It does not ban the use of these remote refraction devices. The patients are free to seek care from the provider of their choice who may use one of these remote refractive devices as long as it is consistent with our rules and regulations. Madam President also under current law the doctors may write a prescription for contact lenses for any length of time based upon their own medical judgement. The law requires at least one year but I could be much longer and the patients at all times are free to purchase their contact lenses from any retailer. Madam President I think the purpose of this Bill is to insure the quality of the care that constituents deserve with respect to their eyes on the first two examinations. Madam President once again I thank the two good senators and I look forward to passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? If not, the Clerk will announce the pendency of a Roll Call vote.

THE CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all the members voted? If so, please check the Roll Call machine to see that your vote is properly recorded. The vote will be closed and the Clerk will announce the tally.

THE CLERK:

House Bill 6012

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill is passed. (Gavel) Mr. Majority Leader.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. We have two more bills that are marked Go. Right now one is calendar page 31, Calendar 526, House Bill 6668 followed by calendar page 5, Calendar 153, Senate Bill 1 if the Clerk can please call those two Bills.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 31, Calendar 526, Substitute for House Bill Number 6668, AN ACT CONCERNING PREGNANT WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. There is an Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gomes, you have the floor, sir.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

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

THE CHAIR:

The Motion is Acceptance and Passage and Concurrence with the House. You may proceed, sir.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. This Bill expands the employment protections provided to pregnant women under the state's Antidiscrimination Law. It requires employers to provide a reasonable workplace, accommodation for pregnant employee or applicant unless the employer demonstrates that the accommodation would be an undue hardship. At this time in order to explain the rest, I move adoption of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill and I yield to Senator Flexer.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Senator Flexer do you accept the yield, madam?

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Through you Madam President, yes I do.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, the Bill before us updates and expands Connecticut's Laws concerning pregnant women in the workplace. It adds pregnant women to the state's Antidiscrimination Laws and makes sure that reasonable workplace accommodations are available for a pregnant employee if she needs them due to the medical conditions that are associated with her pregnancy. The Bill also prohibits employers from limiting or segregating an employee in anyway because of the fact that she is pregnant and it also prevents them from forcing an employee to accept an accommodation in the workplace that she does not necessarily want. This Bill will insure that pregnancy women in Connecticut will have some of the strongest protections in the workplace in the country. I want to thank the leadership of the Labor Committee, Senator Gomes and Senator Miner for their work on this Bill. I am proud that this Bill passed the Senate, excuse me, passed the Labor Committee unanimously. It had broad bipartisan support in the House and I am hopeful that it will enjoy a broad bipartisan support today.

The reasonable accommodations that are allowed under this bill will make sure that women will be able to fulfill the roles that they currently have during their pregnancies so that if issues come up while they are pregnancy, where they may need minor accommodations, like being able to sit in a job where ordinarily sitting is not something that they are supposed to be doing, or if they work in a place where having a beverage or water with you is not ordinarily allowed, but due to the pregnancy having that water is necessary. Small accommodations like that will now be available to pregnant women in Connecticut and I think this is a really important measure for us. More and more women are working in Connecticut for the durations of their pregnancies and it is important for us to move forward with this both for the health of the woman and for health of their unborn child. In the United States, unfortunately we have some of the highest rates of infant mortality and some of that is due to women having to endure a variety of conditions not just in the workplace but throughout their lives in our country and moving forward with legislation like what is before us today will, I believe, help to reduce issues that affect infants and babies with premature birth defects, excuse me. Yeah, birth defects and premature babies and infant mortality in general. The Bill received strong support in the Labor Committee from the March of Dimes and I thought that their testimony was particularly interesting when they talked about how moving forward with this legislation would be able to allow women to have healthier pregnancies and have healthier babies as a result. Again, I strongly support this Bill and I hope that my colleagues in this Chamber will do so as well. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Flexer. Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator Gomes. You have the floor.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

Thank you, Madam President. If there be no objection I move that we put this on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So, ordered seeing no objection. At this time, the Clerk would please announce a pendency of a Roll Call Vote and the machine will be opened.

THE CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all the members voted? If so, please check the Roll Call machine to see that your vote is properly recorded and the machine will be closed and the Clerk will announce the tally.

THE CLERK:

House Bill 6668.

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

Bill passes. (Gavel). Will the Clerk please return to the Call?

THE CLERK.

On page 5, Calendar 153, Senate Bill Number 1, AN ACT CONCERNING EARNED FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gomes, you have the floor, sir.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is Acceptance and Passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. This bill creates a Family and Medical Leave compensation program to provide wage replacement benefits to certain employees taking leave under the State Family and Medical Leave Act. There are many workers that to do not have paid family and medical leave which affects the financial and economic stability of individuals and families. Right now I would like to yield to a person that would know most about that, I yield to Senator Bye for purposes of Amendment, an Amendment I believe makes this Bill a very reasonable law for businesses while providing a huge benefit to workers and families across the state. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Gomes. You accept the yield, Senator Bye?

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Yes, Madam President and I thank Senator Gomes for his leadership on this issue as well as Senator Looney. Madam President the Clerk is in possession of an Amendment LCO 8372. I ask that the Clerk please call the Amendment?

THE CHAIR:

The Clerk is in possession of LCO 8372. Will the Clerk please call?

THE CLERK:

LCO Number 8372, Senate "A" offered by Senator Looney.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

The Motion is Adoption and the Senator seeks Leave. You may proceed, madam.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. I will take a quick moment to describe the Amendment so people in the Chamber are aware of what it is. I think broadly one way to refer to this is it is very much like paid family medical leave policy that passed New York in a bipartisan matter recently. But what this Bill does I will go through first. It limits the protected leave requirements for business with 49 or fewer employees that is it requires employers with at least two but under 50 employees to provide eight weeks of job protected family and medical leave for 12 months. One of the changes this Amendment makes is that they have to be employed there by six months. So that is different from the original Bill which was upon hire. They also have to have worked at least 500 hours during that six-month period. So, one of the things we heard from small businesses was is someone protected the minute they walk in and they were concerned that they needed sometime so that was added. It also requires that employers that have 50 or more employees to provide 12 weeks of job protected family and medical leave with the same length of service requirements. So that is first what it does. Secondly it funds this program through a payroll deduction. An actuarial analysis puts up payroll deduction at 0. 427 of applicable income. In many states this is a shared expense, that is the employer pays half and the employee pays half. In Connecticut this policy is fully funded by the employees.

The second thing it does is it clarifies what counts as family and what this Amendment counts as family like the original bill is a spouse, a sibling, a son, a daughter, a grandparent, a grandchild or a parent to be clear who the leave will count for. So, if you yourself are ill or if any of these family members are ill and you can show that, this will be covered. The next thing that it does that is different than the original bill is it puts a deduction cap on. That is you will only get the payroll deduction up to your first $ 127,000 dollar of income, not a problem for many of us, but for others that mattered and so this Amendment responded to that concern. The other really important part of this policy is wage replacement. That is if you are ill or if a family member is ill and you need to miss work to care for them or yourself, you will have wage replacement. It also talks about municipal and state employees. They can opt into this through collective bargaining and it also, this Amendment, sets up to use bond funding to get it off the ground. So, there would be bonds to setup the computer software, to get the initial employees hired well before the payroll deductions start. So that summarizes the Amendment, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark?

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. At this point, I am going to make my remarks on the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

I would like to do that now, okay. Thank you, Madam President. This earned family medical leave policy is really important to support families through illness, or pregnancy, or time as a new parent. I think it is a value that all of us in this Circle share. The question before us and I think before this Senate and the General Assembly this year has been, "Do we value this enough to enact a policy that supports all families?" That is what is before us. Some good polling done by the Campaign for Paid Family Medical Leave and also by the Small Business Majority which was a federal poll show that 75 percent of Connecticut small businesses support earned family medical leave and nationally 72 percent of small businesses support paid family medical leave. The reason they do, any of you around the Circle, who have been a small employer know that when an employee gets sick, lots of times you end up helping him out or if their family member gets sick and they miss work you replace the wages. This bill sets it up so that there is a system in place that would cover that. Small businesses know that and they support this. It is good policy for families. It is good policy for businesses and it is good for our quality of life in Connecticut. How does this Bill support families? It gives them job protection when they are ill, or if they have a baby, or if they are pregnant and need to miss work of if they have a family member who is sick. And it helps them sustain their family with wage replacement for up to eight weeks for those small employers. Translation this Bill helps protect families from losing their jobs, potentially losing their homes. It helps food on the table during challenging times.

Who does this Bill help the most? It helps those families who are barely hanging on. They are working hard to pay their rent. They are clipping coupons. They are living paycheck to paycheck and it helps their children by assuring that they have a stable place to live, that they have food on the table. That they have that piece of mind knowing that an illness, their own illness or a family member's illness won't wipe them out. Workers who are in the top quartile of earners are much more likely to have access to paid family medical leave. Actually, three and half to four times more likely to have access to this benefit. Most of use serving in the Senate, most of us sitting here could have a family illness happen and miss four or maybe six weeks of work and not lose our homes and not go bankrupt, not be struggling with medical bills plus our rent. Most of us could take those four to six weeks off and I don't doubt that a single one of us would if our family needed us. That is a value that we share. What we try to do in this Circle is translate those values into policies that work for everyone. The question here is do we, as a body, believe in caring for families enough to enact a policy that assures that all Connecticut residents actually have the support they need to care for their babies, to care for their wives, their husbands, their parents? The New York, the Rhode Island, the New Jersey and the California Senates all believed enough to enact such a policy. I want to take a minute to thank CWEALFF. To thank the whole Campaign for Paid Family Medical Leave for their diligent organizing efforts, for their polling, for their phone calls, for their vote counting, for actually creating community conversations.

I know Senator Moore and I went to a conversation in Hartford about what this means to families of color in Hartford and around the state and it means the same thing it means to all of us. We want access to this benefit so we can support our families and help others support theirs. I want to close by saying that the last few days of sessions are hectic for all of us here. In the past few days we've been discussing bills that have had all this pressure for us to vote on. We just did MMA because there was a lot of pressure to vote on that bill. We are voting on casinos. We are working, there is diligent work going on about an energy bill because that must pass. Because people are concerned and making sure that Connecticut does well and our economy does well. Each of those proposals has strong supporters and detractors. This Bill has strong supporters and detractors. But I can't help but posit the pressure being exerted on behalf of families in Connecticut compared to the pressure being put on us around economic development issues. These two things are not separate.

People live in Connecticut. Companies move to Connecticut because of our quality of life and our progressive policies. New York, Boston two cities that have been in the Connecticut news a lot. They have more progressive policies in this area and 35 percent of young people coming out of college said that they would move to a state that had a paid family medical leave policy. The three bills I mentioned are about industries that want to enhance their bottom line in Connecticut and they want us to do things to help them enhance their bottom line in Connecticut. Those first three bills are being negotiated at pressed and traded as we speak. I would argue that families health and economic wellbeing are critical for Connecticut's economy too and critical for our workforce, critical for our quality of life, critical for our economic future. So I ask that going forward that the Chamber give families in Connecticut the same pressure, the same focus, the same energy as we give other items before us. And Madam President I would like to yield to Senator Flexer. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Bye. Senator Flexer, do you accept the yield, madam?

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Madam President, yes I do.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I rise in strong support of the legislation that is before us and I first of all want to thank the tremendous leadership of our Senate President Martin Looney for making this Senate Bill 1 and leading the conversation on this issue, this year. I think it is critically important for a variety of reasons that Connecticut move forward with instituting a system of earned family leave in Connecticut and I also want to thank Senator Gomes and Senator Osten for their work in the Labor Committee and the other members of the Labor Committee who have worked on this and I want to associate myself strongly with the remarks just made by my good colleague Senator Bye in support of the legislation.

The time is now for Connecticut to finally put in place a system of earned family and medical leave. The current system of unpaid family and medical leave just isn't working for too many workers in our state and frankly for too many people across the country. Right now only 12 percent of private employees, private sector employees and 17 percent of public sector employees have access to paid leave through their employers. Connecticut voters strongly support a system of earned family leave in Connecticut. According to polls from the AARP 83 percent of voters in our state support moving forward with earned leave in Connecticut. And across the country it is actually a bipartisan issue. We have seen this issue debated in other states, where it has passed in other states with Republican and Democratic support. The issue of family leave has been discussed by the Republican Administration in Washington.

I hope that in Connecticut we can have bipartisan support for this initiative as well, 77 percent we just learned in the past week, 77 percent of small business owner's support creating a system of paid leave in Connecticut. The reason is it benefits employers and I have had a lot of conversations with employers about this issue and I can't deny that there are some who don't support moving forward with this. But when you dig a little bit deeper you have conversations with business owners about the current system and how it is actually working for them. You see that it really isn't working for them. I have talked with business owners who have had employees that they value a great deal, who have had medical crisis in their families.

They have had babies born that ended up in the neonatal intensive care unit, they have had illnesses of parents and those small business owners, when their workers face those crisis in their homes, they step-up. They help fill the gap. They recognize that the most important thing to support that worker is to allow them to be with their family in that time of crisis. And who bears that burden but the small business owner. The small business owner cobbles together a way to continue to pay that employee so that they continue to care for their family and their loved ones and that burden falls on the small business. If we move forward with this legislation in creating a system of earned family and medical leave in Connecticut that burden would be shifted and it would be shared amongst all of us throughout the community and it would insure that people could care for their loved ones when that time of crisis or that time of joy, the joy of welcoming a new child or adopting a new child into the family, people would have the time necessary.

Too many women in particular and men too they return to the workforce far too quickly after having a child. I have spoken with many of my peers who are either parents or becoming parents or are considering having another child or their first child and a big part of the consideration on how big their family is going to be or whether or not they are going to have a family is whether or not they can afford to take the time off necessary, whether they, whether the mother can take the full maternity leave that is necessary, whether the father can afford to take any time off at all to care for that new child. It is unfortunate that in Connecticut we've been unable to move forward with this and I think this is an issue that will help us keep young people in our state and I will share with you two stories.

I had a high school colleague of mine who had lived in California for a while and she had had her first child in the State of California where not only do they have a system of earned family medical leave but they also have a temporary disability insurance program and so when she had her first child in California she was able to take many, year, weeks off in order to welcome her first child into their family. When she and her husband decided to have a second child they chose to move home to Connecticut so that they could be closer to family and she was stunned to discover that not only in Connecticut did we not have the temporary disability program that they had in California but that we didn't have the earned family leave program either. So someone came home to be closer to her family here in Connecticut and then discovered that we didn't have as strong of family protections in this state as she would have enjoyed being away from her family 3,000 miles away.

I have another friend of mine who was offered a job here in the State of Connecticut, had a job in the State of New York, and chose to stay working in the State of New York because they have this system of earned family and medical leave and she knew that it would be much easier when she and her husband have their second child or if they chose to have a third or a fourth child to do that if she stayed in Connecticut and perhaps the strongest proponent of this measure that I have heard from has been a friend of mine who is a small business owner in my district and she has talked about how she would like to be able to give these sorts of supports to the people who work in her business especially if it is an emergency but also as her employees are choosing to have children of their own and she has also talked to me about how it has been difficult as a business owner and a young mother to juggle when she has had her children and the maternity leave that she needs but she still needs to go into the business to work her hours because she just simply can't afford to not, to not be there, and not be making that money.

In her business she can't afford to hire somebody else to pick up the slack. That is why moving forward with this system is so important for a variety of reasons and Connecticut is being left behind. Almost all of our neighbors either have this system or are looking at this. New Jersey has had it for several years. Rhode Island has a successful earned leave program. New York passed this program in 2016 and again I would remind my colleagues in the Chamber that was a bipartisan initiative. Massachusetts is once again considering this legislation. If we could move forward with creating a system of earned family and medical leave we will be keeping young workers here in the State of Connecticut. We will be creating a system that says to workers and to businesses we value you.

We think it is important that you be able to take care of your family again in that time of joy or in that time of crisis. I hope that the Chamber today will support this measure and I will just share with you lastly my own personal story. Thirteen years ago, or almost 13 years ago, my dad was in a very serious motorcycle accident and it was right before a very important deadline in my job at the time and it was one of my first jobs out of school, and I had to drop everything, absolutely everything to be able to care, not only for my father at a moment when we didn't know he was going to live or die, but also frankly to care for my mother and my sister and to insure that my sister despite the crisis we were going through that she would continue to be able to go to her classes and be able to finish school and to care for my mother who was frankly a complete wreck.

I was very blessed at the time to have an employer that said, "Take care of your family, do what you need to do. Make sure your dad is going to be okay. Help your mother make the critical decisions that she has to make to insure that your father will be able to continue to live and don't worry about this job and don't worry about your paycheck. We will pay you for as long as we can because we know what your family is going through. " Unfortunately for far too many people in a similar situation in the State of Connecticut they aren't afforded that benefit. They do have to worry, not only about what is going to happen to their family and the kind of crisis that my family had to endure but they have to worry about how they are going to pay the rent and be able to pay the bills at the same time. That is far too high a burden for anybody to have to bear. It is critical that Connecticut move forward with this system of earned family and medical leave and I hope that my colleagues will support this measure and at this time, Madam President, I would like to yield to Senator Kennedy.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Senator Flexer. Do you accept the yield, Senator Kennedy?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes, I do, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

You have the floor, sir.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I too rise in support of this important measure to adopt earned family and medical leave here in the State of Connecticut. We've heard in the last several moments the importance of what establishing a program like this will do for Connecticut's families. We've heard aobut the importance of wage replacement for people who need to take time off to care for themselves or a member of their family who is experiencing a medical problem. We have heard about the importance of job security, to know that if you take time off from your job to take care of a newborn child or a son or daughter with a serious health condition or a parent with a serious health condition you know that there is going to be a job there waiting for you when you are finished with those responsibilities and you are not stressed out trying to take care of a member of your family and also wondering to I have a job waiting for me when I am done with this medical crisis.

You know, I have my own personal experience with this issue because as many people in the Circle know, I had a very life-threatening illness when I was only 12 years old. I was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in my right leg and very, very rare. Doctors were very worried. The children with my, there is about 400 children every year that are diagnosed with the type of bone cancer that I had and at the time there was a 20 percent survival rate for children diagnosed with osteosarcoma even with an amputation, 20 percent of children lived. And so, it was a very stressful time for, now I was 12 years old, so I was just had in mind to try to get back to school, etc. but you know it was a very stressful time for my parents and for about a two-year period I was in the hospital obviously for the operation but for two years after that, had to go in and get chemotherapy.

It was an experimental chemotherapy at the time called high does methotrexate. I was the sixth person enrolled in a clinical trial at the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber in Boston and very grateful for the care that I got there but my father accompanied me to all of my cancer treatments. We had to fly up. I was living in Washington, fly up, he was there. I was extremely sick. I would go home. My father would take care of me. He would give me my injections. He learned how to give injections by practicing on oranges with needles and syringes so he was in many ways my primary caregiver at home. Now, no one ever asked him to give up his pay thankfully. He was blessed to have the support of the voters of Massachusetts. He was an elected official at the time and he was he had his job security. He had his job open.

There wasn't a single person that whole two years who ever asked him, are you, what are going to do about your pay check. Now he was in a fortunate position where he was able to take his time off and care for me but there were a lot of other families who I met and who he met that were having to make some very difficult choices about having to take care of their children, quit their jobs to take care of their children. That was the issue that these families faced. This was a disease that impacted many different types of families like we know it does. And so, I want to make the argument tonight that this is just not an issue for helping families and for workers. This is a major issue in the disability rights movement because if you have a child with a serious illness or you have a child with a serious disability, and you are a two-parent working family, what that means is one parent almost inevitably has to quit their job because of the care commitments of that child and circumstances are, if you have a child with a serious disability you have endless doctor's appointments. You have endless hospitalizations. You have to devote yourself and I must say that more often than not it is the women of our state who take up this caregiving responsibility, we know that, about 90 percent of all caregivers in our state are women, either the daughters of somebody who, an elderly parent who needs help or the mother of a child with a serious disability and it is frequently the mother, I am not saying that is right, okay but that is what happens is so this issue really disproportionately affects working women in our state.

And we know for an example, because many people know I'm very interested in this issue trying to provide independent living for people with disabilities. There are about 400,000 people with disabilities in our state.

This is not like some kind of narrow issue we are talking about. What we are talking about tonight is an issue that actually could potentially impact a lot of people. There is about 600,000 caregivers. We need to do everything we can to support caregivers because if we don't support caregivers people go on public assistance. People end up needing more care, more expensive care. I would argue that if parents aren't there to take care of their elderly parent, it parents aren't there to take care of their child with the disability who do we think is actually going to take up that role? It is going to be the, us, our society because we are a caring society and we pay for these things. So, I think you can also as my friends and colleagues have just said a few moments ago, not only is this the right thing to do but it is the financially right thing to do because we can make a financial argument and unfortunately we live in a time now where we do have to make a financial argument for a lot of the policies that we pass in this General Assembly. But on this issue I think we can.

Now after his, my father's experience with me, because he spent so much time in the hospital, talking to other families many of whom incidentally had gone bankrupt because we know that being medically under insured and not having insurance is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in our country, is the lack of health insurance which is a whole other issue which we are not talking about tonight, but is related of course, but he went back to congress and worked on family and medical leave. Now we all know because we have heard from our colleagues that although that is really important because it does hold open your job and provides that job security component, it doesn't have any kind of wage replacement component whatsoever. So, although it was passed twice in congress it was vetoed by President George Herbert Walker Bush and we had to wait until President Clinton came into office before that law was finally signed in 1993. So, we do have experience in how this law has worked in our country so we can imagine easily how this can happen even though we don't have a system in place yet in Connecticut we can imagine how this can work in Connecticut. So, because this is an important women's issue because this is a critical issue facing families who have a member with a disability, a child with a disability or a parent with a disability, this is a disability rights issue and I am really pleased to see and know that our Senate President Marty Looney has put his, the force of his office and leadership behind this issue and really declaring that this is an important part about what our General Assembly should really be about. And we need to send an important message to the families in Connecticut that we, we want to be a state of family values and for that reason I support this legislation and I hope we can pass it and at this point I would like to yield the floor to my friend and colleague Senator Moore.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Kennedy. Senator Moore, do you accept the yield, madam?

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Madam President, I would like to first salute my colleagues who have looked for, looked at this from their different perspectives. I would like to look at it from the human perspective of how it impacts not only families but women diagnosed with breast cancer. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and has to go through any type of treatment or test many times there is this period of time where she is going through treatment and can't get anything done for nausea and other effects of the treatment. Many times that woman has to go to work during her treatment because she can't afford to stay home and take care of herself. Also, even someone in our family can't afford to take days off and not be paid to take care of them. And in the 20 years that I've been doing breast cancer advocacy I've been around over 100 women just in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford that have gone through breast cancer and I can tell you from everything that I know at least 90 percent of them had to go back to work or were not able to take the time that they needed to heal their bodies because they couldn't afford to take the time off.

I also want to share with you a personal experience that I believe that all of us are going to experience as we watch our parent's age. About 10 years ago my mom was experiencing some health problems and some were related to her being elderly. She was in her 80s but she had never been sick before. She had a bout of congestive heart failure and had to go into the hospital. Upon her release they said that someone would have to be with her for 24 hours a day.

My mom raised six children since I was the age of 12 years old when my father died and never remarried, never did anything except for taking care of her children. And when she was in the hospital we were talking about perhaps putting her in a nursing home while she recouped, my mom said to me, "I raised six kids, and six kids can't raise me?" And that cut so deep. I said to my mother, she calls me Mary. She said, "Mary, why can't you stay with me" and I said, "Ma, I have a mortgage and I have responsibilities. I can't take off without pay. I run a nonprofit. I don't have paid vacation. I don't have any of that. I can't do it. " I had five other brothers and sisters and I'm going to tell you the stress that was created among the family, who can take off, none of us could.

We were all working. We all have responsibilities. We all have children. We all had jobs that if we had some vacation time we could give a day or two here but we weren't going to be able to take care of my mother. And this went on for like a couple of weeks and the doctor said well what are we going to do are we going to take her home, who is going to take care of her? And finally, my youngest sister who worked for the City of Bridgeport as an HIV Aids counselor said, she would stay home with my mother. She did and she lost her job. Her job was given off to someone else. She didn't get her job back and she took care of my mother. She made a huge sacrifice for the whole family which I salute her but I don't think it was fair for her to have to give up her job because she had no leave. And this is just one story of how it can impact a whole family. But it is not just the paid family medical leave but it was what happened to all my siblings and all the things that went on, who should take care of my mother and none of us being able to. I credit my sister's generosity as what pulled us through but I believe that there is something in the way of paid family medical leave, my sisters and brothers; we could have tag teamed to take care of my mother.

I also think about what I was doing when I was working and the level of commitment I had to my job that it had to get it done, but my heat was not there every day. I was really concerned about what was going to happen to my mother and who was going to take care of her. But I also worried about the stress level on my younger sister of having to take care of my mother and not be able to have an income. We settled it out within the family and I want to say my mother only takes one aspirin a day, she is going to be 102 on July 13th and I credit to that hereditary factors, she doesn't worry about anything. Money has never been important to her but I also credit to her that she has a family that is taking care of her and that we all tag teamed but it was one sister who gave up everything, even her career, to make sure that my mother had everything that she needed. Paid family medical leave is not just good for families it is good for business. When I talk about the stress that I was feeling while my mother was ill, I think about what was my performance like at that job? It probably wasn't at its optimum because I was very concerned about my mom and I was really concerned about my sister but I was also concerned that my mother knew that I had not taken time off to take care of her other than a day or two and to this day, I have dedicated every Sunday since my mother was sick, that I don't schedule anything on that Sunday and that is my day that I stay with her because I can't do it during the week.

This paid family medical leave is good for business, it's good for individuals. AARP has said 83 percent support this Bill and those are people 50 years and older, those are the people who are going to be taking care of their parents because just like my mom said that, I know your parents have said the same thing to you, "You better not put me in a nursing home" and my mother holds us to that. I ask that you support this Bill because it is the right thing to do for families. When I return to my district when this session is over people are going to talk about the budget but people are also going to ask me what did you do for families. You might have raised taxes, you might have increased some other things, you might have protected us from things, but what did you for families? I don't mean just the families in Hartford. I don't mean just the families in Windsor. I mean all of the families in Connecticut. What did you do for the family? And when I go back I want to say well I voted for paid family medical leave. I voted for that and I tried and I urge my colleagues to support it also. Madam President I would like to yield to Senator Winfield.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Moore. Senator Winfield, do you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Thank you. So, I was supposed to think a little bit about what I was going to say and maybe write somethings down and the things you do when you are discussing one of these bills. I didn't have time. So, I am going to talk about my mother. July 31st of this year will be five years since she passed almost as long as it took her to die. -- During the nearly five years it took her to die, I spent a lot of that time trying to be present in all of the places where I was. Some of us have experienced the loss of a parent. It is devastating. It upends your world. But watching her die for that period of time was worse than even her death itself. I was fortunate in some ways. I don't have the kind of leave we are talking about at my job, my other job but she was close enough that at night after I worked I could drive to New York to the hospital and see her and spend some time with her even for the almost year she spent in a coma. I was fortunate to be able to do that. There was a point at which as our story goes our mother didn't know she had cancer. I dealt with all of her medical and I didn't think it was something that she needed to know. I thought she needed to focus on trying to be a strong as she could. There was a point at which the doctors told her that she had a couple of days to live. Now the problem is my mother was strong and she lived for another two years. But when they told her that I was fortunate to be able to be there with my mother and do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, look at a woman who was able to look at me and have a conversation with me and joke with me even and say good-bye to her forever. It didn't work out that way but I was fortunate to be able to be there. I was fortunate because I was close but during all of that time, I was not present in the place where I needed to be present. I wasn't able to be the employee I needed to be. And when my mother died I realized something, I always thought I came here because of a kid that I encountered one day and the story this young man told and in a way that is true, but the reality is that I came here because of my mother is where my story begins.

And I always tell the story of my mother because it is important to my understanding of why I am here and why I stand up and I just talk in the way I talk and I express in the way I express. My mother's story began not in the story she thought it began in. We all think our story begins when we are born. My mother's story began a longtime before, probably in the story of a woman named Araminta Ross who we now commonly known as Harriett Tubman because Harriett had the name Araminta and she married a man named Tubman. My mother was a daughter of Araminta who was a daughter of Harriett. My mother was Araminta was a daughter of Harriett who was a daughter of Araminta and I never really, I knew those names, I knew the connection Harriett Tubman I just didn't understand the connection in my mother's life. And right before my mother died, because I got to spend time with her, she talked to me about her story. -- My mother told me (crying) that she hadn't done anything of note in her life because I got to be there with her. Like any child I wanted to say something to her, to make her understand that she had done something important.

But I was not able to do it. But I was able to be there with her. And I know now that my mother (chuckle) she did a lot of important things. She gave me the passion that I have for people. She gave me the perspective that I have for the things that we work on here because my mother spent her life understanding what Harriett's mission was which was to go back for those who had been left behind cause Harriett got free but she felt like she wasn't free until everybody else was.

So that became the work of my life. So, it wasn't the young man that I thought put me here it was the work that my mother had done on me. And so, if I had the chance today to talk to her of course, I would tell her that you had done something important. That you had created in me, a desire to go back. But I wouldn't know that was part of my story if I didn't have the opportunity to be there with my mother. I wouldn't know that that was her story either. That is an important thing. I wouldn't be able to stand up today and tell a story about my mother that connects to the story of everybody here. This is not a bill that is about women or people with disabilities or whatever the other thing is, it is a story about all of us. This is about humanity. We come here to say that we offer a little bit of safety to people. It is at the core of what we do. I hope that we get to vote on this Bill and I hope that if we do get to vote on this Bill that we take than into account that we think about our own individual stories but that we think about our humanity and when we do we cast a vote in the affirmative. Thank you, Madam President. I would ask that if I could yield now to Senator Gerratana.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Winfield. Senator Gerratana would you accept the yield, ma'am?

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I will accept the yield.

THE CHAIR:

You have the floor.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

You know, Senator Winfield you hit right on what I was going to talk about and that is this is a part of being a human being. This is what it means to be a human being. I listened to Senator Moore, Senator Flexer, Senator Bye. All made excellent points and I was thinking about it and thinking that there isn't anything more important. And there isn't anything more important to our families in our state and in our country that the ability to be able to take care of our families. Families are most important. And of course, taking care of ourselves I think is just as important. Having the ability to do that and I know that I have been, I took care of my dad so I have been in a similar situations and I was fortunate enough to do that. I can't imagine that if you don't have that ability, if you cannot do that, how much anguish that you may suffer. I am convinced that having the very problems that we have to deal with everyday in our life these challenges that we could not meet them.

I mean personally that is something that for whatever reason you feel that you failed. You failed in your humanity. You failed in your ability to take care of the people that you love. You know, I look at this Amendment as an Amendment that improves the quality of life and that I say there is nothing more important. We talk about our state in economic ways. We talk about our state in ways that we feel we have to improve our education and our education resources, bring companies into our state and businesses into our state. But I always say look at the people, invest in the people. Make laws and I felt my whole career has been up here to do that, make laws that invest in the people and make their lives better and their quality of life better. This has been my mantra and my reason to be in the legislature.

It goes beyond public service. I remember Senator Marion Hanley serving with her on the Public Health Committee. I see Senator Osten laughing and we both said in unison one time when we were talking because we were Co-Chairs of Human Services and we were talking to someone who basically wanted to cut a lot of the social services in our state and we both said together, (laughter) "First do no harm" and I though wow, I know a physician or a practitioner may use that term but it is really true. First do no harm. And not only that, go beyond that, go beyond that saying of first do no harm and do good. Do good for the people. Senator Moore you said very well this is something I bring back to my constituents. This is so valuable. So very valuable that as I say it goes to the core of our humanity and what we do. This is really essential. So many states have taken this up in a variety of ways. We know that some of the states have programs that are unfunded others that have an established a fund. That would happen under this legislation. And that kind of security and being able to do that I think is what we should be doing here tonight.

Our neighbors Rhode Island, New Jersey, the State of California. I know New York is coming on-line as of January 1, 2018. We should be part of that. You can talk all you want about economic development but something like this has a much greater impact, a much better impact and makes our state the very best that it can possibly be when we do this kind of legislation for the people that we serve. There is no better way in my mind and no better cause and no better reason to serve as a legislature than to do something like this. I certainly hope that tonight we will be able to get to vote on the Bill. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this. I've stated my reasons. I think everyone around the Circle who has spoken have done so very eloquently and I thank you Madam President and at this time I would like to yield the floor to Senator McCrory.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Senator Gerratana. Senator McCrory, do you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Yes, Madam President. Thank you, Madam President. I just briefly want to add my voice to the conversation. There is not much I am going to say that hasn't already been said. We've heard some passionate stories about people taking care of their parents, their loved ones and I too feel the same way. And I just want everyone to know that like we said, we are here, we should be taking care of those who have no voices.

I am at a point in my life where my dad is getting older, my mom is getting older and I am already taking days off from work to take care of them, to be with them. I have that ability. My wife and I both work, we alternate days, and we will get through it. We will find a way. But there are thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of people who are not as fortunate as I am who have loved ones too, who they would like to spend time with, but they work an hourly wage and if they don't work, they don't get paid. And when they don't get paid, their families don't eat. And if their families don't eat tragedy comes to those people. They lose their homes. DCF gets involved. We don't want that to happen.

We want to give people opportunities just like we have to take care of their families, to take care of their loved ones. If it is not happening today, it is going to happen in the future for us all. My parents aren't going to be here forever. The stories they give us, they raise us up to a point that we start to raise them again. It goes in cycles and I just encourage all of my colleagues here to think about this. One thing we can do that can help everyone, all of us have a parent, all of us have a parent that is going to get older. All of us have a sibling that we love and we always want to be there. We never want to be at that funeral and regret the fact that you wasn't there when they needed you. But they were always there when you needed them. So I encourage my colleagues to support this measure and hopefully get a vote on it. Madam President I would like to yield to Senator Osten. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator McCrory. Senator Osten, do you accept the yield, madam?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Yes, Madam President and it is nice to see you up there tonight.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

I rise in strong support of this piece of legislation and I think it is the time for us to have this discussion. This bill before us tonight has been changed dramatically since the legislation that passed the Labor Committee and it deals with the issues that many people brought up revolving around the potential cost to businesses and dealing with the long-term costs to establishing a program such as this. And I think that we have dealt in a comprehensive complete fashion to present before this body a Bill that will provide us with the supports necessary for our constituents in our state. We all have our own personal stories. I watched my sister die in front of us when she passed away from cancer before she was 50. I like Nancy Regan am participating in the long good-bye with my mom, as she starts suffering as she and like her siblings, from the complications of Alzheimer's. You know we all wear colors so that we can say what we are supporting and today is wear purple day for those families who are suffering from family members having Alzheimer's. And like Senator Moore I try to spend every Saturday with my mom and bring her to church and sometimes out to dinner and make sure I have that dedicated time with her because there will be a time when she won't really remember who I am or who anybody else in my family is.

I thought it was so telling when my sister Ellen came back from California and she said to us all, "You know you guys are just going to have to take some time off from work and help mom out" and I said to her, I said, "What do you mean, take time off from work?" Well in California they received paid family leave. We don't have that luxury here in Connecticut. It is high time the federal government brought the United States into the same realm as other industrialized countries. I imagine that if they can do it, so can the greatest country on earth. But for me the most telling timeframe was when I had my daughter molested and I had to deal with all of the complications that happen as a result of that. And you know many times we don't help out with mental health care and so I worked two jobs to pay for her care when she was young. People told me it would get better and when I got home from working those two jobs I dealt with the complications that happen when a young child is molested. And perhaps if I hadn't had to work so much things would of been different. Each and every one of us has to deal with a family issue and we all struggle as Senator Moore said with not being there for our family members. Each day I wish I could have been there more, than I had to work the hours that I worked, and if I didn't work those hours we wouldn't have had a place to live. I've been a single mother since my daughter was a year old with no support systems coming in. Our hearts are torn apart when we can't be there for our families. We don't do good work when we have not to be with our families when it is necessary. I am not going to bore you with the details of what happened but I am going to tell you that this is a moral issue. It is a humanity issue. It is time that we deal with this issue and I urge my colleagues to support this piece of legislation that provides us with the ability to be human, to be there and to live and work through these issues and it is mine turn to accept questions on the Amendment before us and Senator Gomes.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you Senator Osten. Senator Gomes you have the floor, sir.

SENATOR GOMES (23RD):

I didn't think that this would wind up to be so moving and I realize now that what we do in this Circle here is like what family does. I come from a family of ten children and I was devastated when my brother died at 43 years of age and I was 41 and later on my mother, we wouldn't think of putting anybody in our family in a home, but just like Marilyn says, I raised you, you raise me. All our family, if we have any problems, we get together and we take care of 'em and I thought my family was unique. I find out that everybody sitting around this Circle does the same thing. I knew Senator Winfield before either one of us ever came up here and we did things together. I have known Marilyn since she was seven years old. You think about that, her father died when she was 12. I actually rented a room, an apartment from her father in her house, and Marilyn was one of those kids running around in the yard when I was married with my first wife. We go way back.

Ten kids that I grew up with, six of them are gone. I am the oldest one and I am the oldest one of all the cousins and everything, so I am the male patriarch of the family when it comes to everybody. I realize what it means when you talk about family. I also got involved with a lot of families when I was an international rep for the United Steel Workers. You didn't just negotiate your wages and benefits, preserved their jobs, and so on and so forth. You got entwined with the families and if something happened in the families you're at their house, you're there to do something. This unpaid leave is the most valuable thing that us in this Circle could ever do for anybody because this is what keeps families together. Families cannot stay together if they cannot afford to stay together. That is why real families don't put their relatives in a nursing home. They get together and they take care of them. We wouldn't think of doing that in our family. But that is not to say that you can't do it or you won't do it, cause some people can't afford to do what we do, rally together and take care of your family. It is just a good thing to be here. It is a moving thing because you listen to everybody else's problem and you realize that you're not the only one that got one. And I want to thank all my friends and the Senators in the Circle here for showing me what the Circle is really all about. I want to thank you and I hope that you support this and I hope that we pass this. And I want to yield to my illustrious leader, Majority Leader.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Thank you, Senator Gomes. Senator Duff, you have the floor, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I rise to support this legislation today and know that there have been a number of moving stories today about why Connecticut should be the next in line of states on paid family medical leave. Madam President I am sure it has been said earlier that the United States is really one of the, I think it is the only country, industrialized country that does not enjoy paid family medical leave for its employees and clearly the stories that have been told tonight by members of the Circle have been very moving and very real. I am sure we all can talk about issues with our own families and how our own schedules have helped or hindered us in caring for a loved one. I will be happy to give a couple of my own stories that we have and you know it is going to be at a time where and what we have seen I think in the private marketplace is we've seen companies that have begun to offer paid family medical leave because, not only because it is the right thing to do but really because their employees are demanding it. And if you want to keep a good skilled workforce, you want to keep your employees, you want to make sure they're productive, you want to make sure that you don't have a turn over, you have to kind of get in with the 21st Century and offer benefits that are really in line with the times. Especially now as the baby-boomers are aging and we have the sandwich generation and that there are people who sometimes as my wife likes to say, we're all balanced on the head of a pin at times and one little move and we fall off. That is definitely the case for parents with young children and especially maybe you have older parents at the same time.

So, it is difficult for a lot of people sometimes fail to balance those things and if you have a relative, close loved one who is in the hospital or sick it turns your life around. It literally almost becomes a fulltime job to care for a loved one and many times you are then trying to juggle your kids, or your family member or your job and it becomes really difficult to do all things and all things well. I will just mention again a couple of personal stories myself when my grandmother was sick and she was in her final few months of her life I would imagine that anybody would feel the same way about a grandparent who was getting ill, that your grandparent is somebody who as a grandchild is irreplaceable. Hopefully somebody you think will be with you forever and I remember my grandmother and I am sure many, all grandchildren feel this way with their grandparents, would feel that grandmothers never think that their grandchildren could do wrong, ever. The only thing my grandmother said I could do wrong was I wasn't the best driver in the world. But other than that I think she thought I was perfect to the chagrin of I would imagine everybody else. But she was my best defender and when she was sick I was fortunate in a sense that my other job besides this job is being a realtor and that allows me a flexible schedule. So, I have the ability to not always be in the office and still be able to get done what I need to get done but no everybody has that ability so in some ways some of it fell on me to help because I was the one with the flexible schedule and I can pick up in places where other people could not. And so, when you see a loved one who is failing, who desperately wants to get better, who is in the hospital, who may know in the back of their mind that they are never coming out of the hospital, I would imagine that having a loved one there at that moment is pretty important for that person and pretty important for the loved one as well. So, when my grandmother passed away I at least felt like, I at least felt like I could, I had spent the time with her to give her some quality of life and for me to not feel like I had not spent the time necessary that I think she deserved in her final days.

In addition, when my children were born my wife was fortunate enough to work for a company that provided paid family medical leave and so she was home for I believe it was about eight or ten weeks and so to me that was extremely important for us as a family that she was able to be there and she was getting her full pay while she was home in those very formative times. And where would we be, and we were fortunate to have that but where would we be if we didn't have that? I mean thankfully we have my parents and my mother-in-law at the time who were helpful as well as a family unit but not every family has that and if she didn't have that time I am not sure what we would have done as our children were just newborn. So when we think about how we are able to schedule our own selves here around the Circle and how fortunate some of us are to be able to have flexible schedules but there are a lot of people who work these days who do not flexible schedules who do not have the opportunity to make choices about whether they can take time off for, to care for a loved one or if they have to go to work because they have a risk of being fired, not being paid that day or some other choice that doesn't fit in with the values that they have or the wants they have as taking care of their family.

So, while I commend Senator Looney and Senator Bye and everybody who spoke today on this issue so eloquently and that we are bringing this issue to the floor of the Senate today to have a debate and a discussion on what is an important issue. I view this as an issue of when, not if we have this in the State of Connecticut. One that is important for the quality of life and for our values here in the state. We see state after state after state now having paid family medical leave. We see millennials who make choices based on what states have paid family medical leave and so it is important for us to continue to fight this fight, to bring out the issues and bring out the importance of caring for our loved ones at the most critical time and saying to us that as a society we are going to balance out our work life and our home life and that we value the time that we have with our loved ones. So, Madam President I appreciate everything that has been said again and I would urge my colleagues to support this Bill that is extremely important for us here in the State of Connecticut for men, women, children, seniors, young people really every citizen throughout the State of Connecticut. And with that Madam President I would like to yield to our Senate President Senator Looney.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Duff. Mr. President do you accept the yield?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Yes, I do, Madam President and thank you

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

And thank you to our majority leader for the yield. Madam President I rise in support of this Amendment which of course becomes the Bill. As Senator Duff said nearly every so called advanced western democracy already has paid family and medical leave as a matter of national policy. Unfortunately, here in the United States we are required to attempt to do it state by state because of the absence of federal policy in this area and I believe that we are moving forward toward that time and that is why it is so important to have this debate in this Chamber this evening to help move that process forward yet another step.

Because of the testimony presented here this evening by members about the struggles in their own lives and their own families, the terrible choices that have to be made between earning a living and at the same time being concerned or wracked by painful feelings of not being able to be present with a relative, an aging relative or a young child as much as one would like to be. People should not have to make that choice in a modern democracy that prides itself on being humane. We often hear all the time that employers want to have loyalty in their employees. Well it should be a two-way street Madam President and we are not asking employers to pay anything other than the administrative costs of collecting the money from their employees. This is an entirely employee funded plan and the Amendment that was offered this evening answers some of the questions that have been raised earlier about open-ended benefits and all of that.

It provides that in a progressive way that on the sliding benefit formula that lower paid workers would receive a higher percentage of their working wage than higher paid workers would, that those who are making up to $ 385 dollars a week would get 100 percent of their earnings as benefit; 80 percent for amounts between $ 385 and $ 769 and 66 percent of earnings over $ 769 but a maximum weekly benefit of $ 1,000 dollars. So, it gives the assistance in monetary terms where it is most needed while providing the benefit to everyone. According to a 2016 Institute for Women's Policy Research report that was entitled "Implementing Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance in Connecticut" the report noted that only 13 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers and fewer than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave through employer provided short-term disability insurance.

And it is even worse for lower income families with those with incomes below $ 25,000 dollars a year, the working poor, 63 percent of leaves taken are uncompensated and while some Connecticut workers may be eligible for the 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave per year under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act many Connecticut employees are not eligible for that. So given the real world makeup of our modern day workforce filled with so many, many people who are working parents with young children or part of the sandwich generation as said caring for children and elderly parents at the same time, it is really critical that providing for a reasonable level of paid family and medical leave is something that should be seen as a fundamental right, a humane adjustment, it is also essential to the health and well-being of our workers in terms of worker productivity.

As mentioned if someone is tormented by worry about an elderly parent or young child, how productive is that person during the hours in which he or she is on the job, because his or mind is always elsewhere. Working families should not have to face the prospect of economic ruin when they are presented with serious family needs such as caring for a newborn or a spouse or a parent and 74 percent of Connecticut children live in households where the parents work, where both parents work and a lack of paid family and medical leave means the parents of these 550,000 children in our state are unlikely to have the ability to take time from work to care for these children without a severe financial loss. And studies have shown that children thrive when their mothers are able to take 10 or 12 weeks of leave when they are born, that nurturing time is critical in the development of a young child. It has been found that when a mother takes at least 12 weeks of paid leave the infant is more likely to receive the required early medical checkups, to breastfeed and to get critical immunizations within the medically preferred timeframe and that a large number of our constituents also face the overwhelming burden as we said of caring for adult family members and there are 777,000 people over the age of 60 in our state and many workers are finding themselves both caring for children and for aging parents. Nearly 62 percent of workers aged 45 to 74 provide care for a family member, 37 percent for a spouse or partner, 16 percent for a parent or in-law, 6 percent for another adult relative. In a survey conducted by the AARP in 2014 found that over half of Connecticut residents age 40 and older say that they have provided care on an unpaid basis for an adult loved one who was ill, frail, elderly or disabled and the typical family caregiver in Connecticut is a married woman in her 50s and again so much of this care burden falls on women and we know that they are the, in effect, the safety net and backstop in all of their own families most of the time and those women who are bearing this burden while working are just as likely to be working fulltime.

In fact, 43 percent are working fulltime as their non-caregiving counterparts about 46 percent and about 15 percent said they have taken more than a week off without care, without pay to care for a family member in the past year. So, these are the realities of today's workforce. There are many more working parents and working adult caregivers than in the past as people are living longer, what this means in some cases that they are living longer in frail health. The number of years that people live beyond retirement is now much greater than it was several decades ago but that often means additional years and sometimes a decade or more of frailty at the end of life. So because it is so necessary and beneficial to our modern workforce while actually being positive for an employers and I think Senator Flexor said in her earlier comments that now we are seeing younger workers who are mobile are actually looking for states that have adopted this benefit as an attractive element in what they would consider a state where they would want to live in and work in so that we see transitions now in our millennial workforce that the young people just coming out of college in their 20s often want to lives as single people in Boston or New York, New York City or in Brooklyn but as they turn 30, marry and begin to have families of their own their concerns change and they are looking for social supports of this kind and looking for a humane environment for workers who have family obligations. So, in our region in addition to New York State that adopted this legislation last year in a strongly bipartisan vote, three other states including our neighbors Rhode Island and New Jersey in addition to the District of Columbia provide for paid family and medical leave to their workers.

New Jersey began providing this benefit back in 2009, Rhode Island enacted its program in 2013. California also was among the first to do this a decade ago. So, there are so many reasons why this policy should not be seen just as a frill or an option it should be considered part of our fundamental policy to in fact enable workers to be productive in the workplace and at the same time not be torn by the kind of needs that have them working with pain and anxiety about what is happening at home while they are in the workplace. So, this I think is an important debate for us to have this evening Madam President and I believe strongly that having this debate here in the Circle this evening will prove instrumental in moving this Bill forward to ultimate passage. I think that there is a growing wave and a concern that we have to look at this benefit more broadly than just, is this going to be an inconvenience to employers. That is the narrowest and I think the most inadequately based of this whole thing. It is a way of in effect failing to present the best face that Connecticut could present in terms of attracting people because of the perceived humanity of Connecticut policy. We are beginning now to lag behind other states in this area, states within our own region and that should not be the case. So, Madam President I would urge that we, having had this debate this evening and the riveting testimony of so many of our colleagues I believe that we should be moving forward and that this debate this evening will ultimately prove productive as a seed that was planted that will grow to full flower. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Mr. President. Senator Duff, you have the floor, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President again I think we all have had some valuable time on this issue and certainly have certainly appreciated the words that have been said in the Circle and have brought out a very important issue here on Tuesday, the second to last day before the end of session in this Chamber on this issue and but I think at this point I need to move to mark this Bill passed temporarily.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President if the Chamber can now stand at ease.

THE CHAIR:

The Chamber will stand at ease.

The Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff, good evening, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Good evening Madam President. Madam President is there business on the Clerk's desk, Senate Agenda 2?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk

THE CLERK:

Is in possession of Senate Agenda Number 2 dated Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move that all items on Senate Agenda No. 2 dated Tuesday, June 6, 2017 be acted upon as indicated and that the agenda be incorporated by reference in the Senate Journal and transcript and I would ask for that the items be placed immediately on the Calendar please.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I have a number of items for our Go List please.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 18, Calendar 401 House Bill 7081, like to mark that item go. On calendar page 51, Calendar 443, House Joint Resolution Number 63 would like to mark that item as go. On calendar page 51, Calendar 444 House Joint Resolution Number 67 like to mark that item go. On calendar page 51, Calendar 445 House Joint Resolution Number 73 I'd like to mark that item go and on calendar page 51, Calendar 446 House Joint Resolution Number 74 like to mark that item go and on calendar page 26, Calendar 459 House Bill 7126 like to mark that item go.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 18, Calendar 401 it is House Bill Number 7081, AN ACT CONCERNING THE CLAIM AGAINST THE STATE OF MILLICENT CORBETT.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, Senator Doyle. How are you this evening, sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Very good, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Great.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

I move acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Adoption of the Resolution

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. This Resolution is a resolution that the Judiciary Committee determined after thorough review that it was appropriate to permit Ms. Corbett the opportunity to present her claim against the State to the Claims Commissioner and I urge that the Chamber to approve this Resolution.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Seeing, oh Senator Kissel. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. I do stand in strong support of this and I would urge its passage in conjunction with the House. Ms. Corbett had been serving the State of Connecticut for many, many years providing services with her house and periodically she would get billed by the Department of Developmental Services and then all of a sudden there was a lapse of time, she was merely waiting for the bill. Her claim is less than $ 10,000 dollars and by the time she realized that no bill was going to be forthcoming the time for her to file a claim had lapsed and so fundamentally she has provided the services and the State owes her the money and I would urge my colleagues to support this. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Without objection I move that the Resolution to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered. Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 51, Calendar 443, House Joint Resolution No. 63, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE DISPOSITION OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AGAINST THE STATE PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 53 OF THE GENERAL STATUTES.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. I move acceptance of Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the Resolution.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is then Acceptance and Adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. This Resolution is a resolution that as the Chamber may be aware the Judiciary Committee gets many claims presented to it each year. This is a resolution that contains 27 sections or really 27 cases that the Judiciary Committee after further deliberation decided to affirm or approve the decisions of the Claims Commissioners. So basically 27 cases that the Judiciary Committee agreed with the recommendations of the Claims Commissioner. I urge the Chamber to approve this Resolution. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Resolution? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much. I would like to be associated with the remarks of my friend and colleague Senator Doyle and again I am urging adoption of this Resolution in concurrence with the House, it has already been acted upon by the House and again we use one of these Resolutions for the agglomeration or bringing in all the other cases that had come before us where we believe the Claims Commissioner exactly spot-on and we are not going to overturn those decisions whatsoever. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. If there is no objection I move this Resolution to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

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

THE CLERK:

Also on page 51, Calendar 444, Substitute for House Joint Resolution No. 67, RESOLUTION VACATING THE DECISION OF THE CLAIMS COMMISSIONER TO DISMISS THE CLAIM AGAINST THE STATE OF JAMIE GENOVESE, ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE ESTATE OF TONI MARIE GENOVESE AND REMANDING THE CLAIM TO THE CLAIMS COMMISSIONER FOR A HEARING ON THE MERITS.

THE CLERK:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. I move Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and adoption of the resolution.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Adoption. Will you remark on the resolution, sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. This claim again is a single case or claim that was presented to the Claims Commissioner. The Judiciary Committee upon review of this file and in unanimous fashion made the decision to, at a vote of 39 to zero, wanted to double check, 39 to zero that basically the Committee decided they want to order the dismissal of the claim against the estate and the dismissal by the Claims Commissioner was vacated by the Judiciary Committee and therefore this resolution is vacated and this claim is remanded to the Claims Commissioner for a hearing on the merits. So, what all that means is basically the Judiciary Committee determined that there may be some merit to this case and therefor the Judiciary Committee recommended that this matter be brought to the Commission for hearing of the merits. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I would urge my colleagues to support this resolution as well and again just so that the record is very clear, this would be in concurrence with the House. The House has already acted upon this favorably and the Judiciary Committee is not recommending one way or another regarding this matter but is merely asking that this matter be reviewed by the Claims Commissioner a second time and there is elements in the charge to the Claims Commissioner explaining some of our views as to what the underlying law is that would allow the Claims Commissioner to move forward with this claim. So, I would urge my colleagues' support. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Kissel. Will you remark further on this Resolution? Will you remark further? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. If there is no objection I move that the Resolution to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

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

THE CLERK:

Page 51, Calendar 445, Substitute for House Joint Resolution No. 73, RESOLUTION VACATING THE DECISION OF THE CLAIMS COMMISSIONER TO DENY THE CLAIM AGAINST THE STATE OF MELISSA STEINHILPER, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF AMANDA MONINGTON AND REMANDING THE CLAIM TO THE CLAIMS COMMISSIONER FOR A HEARING ON THE MERITS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Good evening again, Madam President. I urge adoption of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Acceptance of Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Adoption of the Resolution in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Adoption in concurrence with the House. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. This is a heartbreaking case in my humble opinion. Amanda Monington died unexpectedly in one of our state parks, Enders State Forest in my district in the Town of Granby and apparently in that State Forest there is a path and it is, there is no signage indicating that if you follow this path you will get to a dangerous part in the park and this path will lead you up to the top of a waterfall and there is a history of individuals falling from the waterfall and this young lady was hiking along this path, 14 years of age, slipped and was severely injured and was Life-Starred and died shortly thereafter. I believe her father was so heartbroken that he has recently passed away very untimely, very early death. I do not understand why our state forests, are state park has no signage, there is no railing and indeed on the very day that the Judiciary Committee held our public hearing where this young lady's mom came to testify and present here heart wrenching testimony another individual on that exact same spot fell and was severely injured. And just a few weeks ago another individual, at that exact same spot, fell and was severely injured so I, this is in my district. I want to get to the bottom of this and as a dad, and I have a 13-year-old and a 21-year-old but if I lost a child out where it should be safe, not doing anything dangerous, and she or he was 14 years old I would be heartbroken. So, this matter, I believe deserves the attention of the Claims Commissioner and I would urge my colleagues to support this Resolution.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. I want to associate myself with the remarks of Chairman Kissel. This is a particularly troubling case and I urge the Chamber to approve this Resolution. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further on this Resolution? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Seeing no questions or comments, I would urge this; request this matter be placed on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

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

THE CLERK:

Page 51, Calendar 446 Substitute for House Joint Resolution NO. 74, RESOLUTION VACATING THE DECISION OF THE CLAIMS COMMISSIONER TO DENY THE CLAIM AGAINST THE STATE OF MARIAN O'SHEA, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF MICHAEL O'SHEA.

THE CLERK:

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I would urge Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Adoption of the Resolution in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Passage on the Resolution. Will you remark in concurrence with that?

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Yes, Madam President. This is an interesting matter and heartbreaking in its own right. Mr. O'Shea clearly had problems over the years with alcohol. That was freely stated before the Judiciary Committee but when he was arrested for driving under the influence and it was not his first one, he voluntarily turned himself in and was about to face the mandatory minimum for that charge that he was facing. While he was in incarceration the Department and he was an older gentleman as well, either in his late 60s or early 70s, but upon incarceration he was in fine health even though he had these lifestyle issues.

This information was provided to the Department of Corrections and there is certain procedures that if an individual has had these problems in the past, there is a certain protocol that needs to be followed if those individuals start to exhibit certain signs and I am not exactly sure of what those signs are but they are combination of like chemical levels in the system, his blood pressure and things like that. So after a period of time he was brought to UConn Health Center but according to much of the testimony before us was not given the treatment that was necessary for him and indeed what is very interesting that it was either his daughter or daughter-in-law is a longstanding emergency room nurse and she came and said, this was all wrong and while she was not an expert per se, in the public hearing, she certainly had qualifications that we could take credibility in because she deals with emergency situations on a daily basis for over two decades.

The sum and substance of the net result of this is, this individual within a very short period of time, a few months, who had gone into the Department of Corrections died and so the allegations are that had he received appropriate medical treatment while being incarcerated that would have never have happened and certainly as much as he was in there for driving under the influence and there was no one injured, there was no accident or anything like that, there is a certain minimal standard that our Department of Correction needs to maintain when they have custody of individuals and there is a real question as to whether than minimal standard was met and that is why I would urge my colleagues to support this resolution.

Let it go for another hearing and see what the net result is and again the family members would very much appreciate a full investigation into this as well. And I will state while not condemning the Department of Corrections there is some question as to past practices regarding medical treatment and the Commissioner and his crack staff are very much aware of this and have made great strides over the last few years in addressing these issues. This matter goes back a little bit before those efforts were being made and so I think it is enough of grey area that it deserves a review by appropriate individuals. And again, I would urge my colleagues to support this Resolution. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on this Resolution? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. I again would like to associate myself with the remarks of Chairman Kissel. This is a case that again was presented, it was a troubling case cause it alleged improper care was provided to this individual, Mr. O'Brien and if it was things would have been different so therefore the Committee as a whole made a decision that they thought this was worthy to overturn the decision and entitle this person to a hearing. So, I urge the Chamber to approve this Resolution. Thank you very much.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much. It is Mr. O'Shea, I apologize (laughter) for that, the late Mr. O'Shea and seeing no questions or comments I would urge this Resolution to our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Not seeing any objections, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 26, Calendar 459, Substitute for House Bill No. 7126, AN ACT REGULATING TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANIES AND TAXICABS. There are Amendments.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease please. -- The Senate will come to order. Senate will come back to order. Senator Larson. Good evening, sir.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Good evening, Madam Chairman. How are you doing this evening?

THE CHAIR:

Fantastic and you, sir?

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

I'm well. Has it stopped raining?

THE CHAIR:

I have no idea, sir. I've been in this place too.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Madam President I move Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill in conjunction with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Passage in conjunction with the House. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Yes. Thank you very much Madam Chairman. This Bill is the culmination of several committees and several years of work and I wanted to thank my Senate Co-Chair Kevin Kelly and especially I wanted to thank Senator, excuse me, Representative Shawn Scanlon who has done incredible amounts of work on this bill, so much so he is actually one point was an Uber driver, it really got into the weeds on this particular Bill.

So, this Bill does a number of really important things and you know, several years ago Uber started their business practices in the State of Connecticut and effectively parachuted in behind some of the taxi regulations and created quite an opportunity and also quite a stir as well. And so, working very diligently over the last several years with both Uber and Lift and the taxi business we've actually come to some firm agreement on some terms. Now understand this is not a perfect bill. I believe this is a good bill. I would urge my colleagues tonight to pass this Bill.

There are issues that certainly will need to be worked out. Even in the taxi business alone as we stand today in Connecticut that seems to be a continued work in progress. But I will say that through diligent efforts on our part, working not only with the Insurance Committee but also the Transportation Committee. I think we have a Bill that will solve a number of these issues and in as much as this is ten o'clock the night before we are going to adjourn I would like to see cooperation on this so that we can move this forward and I believe we have this. This Bill in summary creates new regulatory structure for transportation network companies, TNCs, IG, Uber, and Lift and modifies certain aspects and livery vehicle regulations to make them more similar to the structure the Bill creates for TNCs. Regarding the TNC Bill, the Bill does the following among other things: Requires TNCs to annually register with the Department of Transportation requires TNCs to obtain background checks on TNC drivers, prohibits them from allowing persons to be a TNC driver under certain conditions. If the person has certain criminal convictions, etc. , establishes operating requirements for TNCs related to signs, signage, driver identification, drug and alcohol policies, fares including dynamic prices, establishes insurance requirements and minimum coverage for TNC drivers, establishes requirements for TNCs related to nondiscriminatory prices, etc.

The Bill is quite thick, there are 13 different sections in this Bill effectively Section 1 is Definitions, Section 2 is the TNC Registration piece, the TNC must register with DOT, gives the commissioner the power to suspend or revoke licenses for various reasons. Section 3 is TNC Regulations, driver and license Plate of TNC, decal of TNC Company, fare must be disclosed, receipt must be given, no cash, prohibits consecutive hours of 16 hours within a 24 hour period, allows dynamic pricing with notice and includes features that confirms understandings, caps dynamic pricing at 2. 5 times, no discriminatory policy, need to assist in wheelchair accessibility and the DOT can audit TNC more than four times per year. Whatever found to be subject to disclosure under FOIA open to law enforcement, state, feds, and courts, etc.

Section 4 is background checks and vehicle inspections. No drivers allowed within the last three years, more than three moving violations, one serious traffic violation, had their license suspended. No drivers allowed who in the last seven years convicted of DUI, fraud, sex crimes, use of car for felony terrorism, no driver allowed on sex offender registry, 19 years of age is the minimum and a driver must report in 24 hours along with four moving violations, one serious traffic violation, suspension of license, conviction of DUI, fraud, sex crimes, terror, then TNC kicks off on a platform inspection. Car must have four doors, not older than 12 years, can't transport more than 8 people including the driver. Driver needs to certify every two years that they have done a 19-point inspection program on their vehicle. Section 5 covers insurance.

The TNC company must have 50,000 for personal, 100,000 for accident, 25 for property damage, $ 1 million dollars when a passenger is involved for personal accident and damage. If the drivers' coverage doesn't cover the TNCs must. Sections 6 and 7 the Ts can't be taxis. Amended the definition of taxi cab and livery to be specifically include TNC vehicles and doing so it specifically exempts TNCs from all taxi and livery regulations.

Section 8, 9 and 10 remitting fines to municipalities require the court to remit to municipalities half of the fine it collects from people convicted of operating unauthorized TNC, taxi service, livery service, or household goods and moving companies. Section 11 DOT Help for taxis, requires the DOT commissioner to give them teared rates, discounts, promotions, electronic meter versus hard meter. Section 12 again taxi background checks allows them to do the same check as the TNC while they await for fingerprint and background checks.

So, you can see that in fact a lot of specific work has gone into this Bill and I think that this is has been a very well cooperated. Again, this is not a perfect bill, it is a very good bill, it is a great start. I would urge my colleagues to pass this Bill and move us forward. There are some issues that may crop up as we look and evaluate but I don't think there is anything that cannot be worked out and again I would just like thank both my Senate Co-Chair and Representative Scanlon for their effort on this piece of legislation. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Kelly, good evening, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Good evening Madam President. I also rise to align my remarks with my fellow Co-Chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee Senator Larson. With regards to a lot of the work that went into this Bill and for his persistence and guidance in getting the Bill to where it is today. I would also like to thank State Representative Shawn Scanlon who was really the point person and leader of this Bill and this initiative in our committee and bringing together the parties both Uber and Lift as well as the taxi cab industry.

As Senator Larson indicated this is an imperfect Bill but it has taken the dialogue and conversation a great way to where hopefully these TNC and taxi cabs can exist together. You heard the number of areas in which the Bill covers and for the most part, I also support the Bill. But there is one aspect of the Bill which I do think is an issue and is problematic and that is the $ 50,000-dollar fee for entry as a TNC into the market. And the reason for that is that most of these TNCs are national companies. The Ubers the Lifts and so they compete and they exist in 50 different jurisdictions but the local cab company for the most part operates in just one or two, three geographic areas of the State of Connecticut and to me that is not really putting everybody on the same level playing field. So, from my perspective I would like to see a fee that is a lower amount that would encourage more participants into the market and therefore have more competition and more availability to the local companies that are here and based in Connecticut. For that reason Madam President, the Clerk is in possession of LCO 8601. I ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO No. 8601, Senate "A" offered by Senators Fasano and Kelly.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Yes. Thank you. Basically, this Amendment would reduce that fee for entry from $ 50,000 dollars to $ 5,000 and as I indicated I think this is, the $ 50,000 is a barrier to entry into the market and that the $ 5,000 would be more reasonable as a fee to charge for administrative purposes and it is something that I believe the cab companies and any other competitor could afford and would encourage more competition and hopefully lower prices in this area. For that reason, I would ask that the Circle support the Amendment and urge its approval. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you, Madam Chair. I certainly can appreciate Senator Kelly's remarks. As things have worked through this building and through different chambers and so forth things have come forward and have been added and included and so forth and respectfully in light of the time situation if we do amend this Bill this will go back to the House and I don't think we will have sufficient time to have action taken on it. I would just urge at this time that my colleagues reject this Amendment with the understanding that I believe we can work through this, get this taxi and Uber and Lift situation on the road, working, validating what we are trying to accomplish and then at some point reevaluate that piece of it and so I would urge my colleagues to reject and I would ask that the vote be taken by roll.

THE CHAIR:

Roll Call Vote will be had. Senator Fasano, good evening, sir.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Good evening Madam President. I apologize, I cannot seem to find my jacket but I will at some point.

THE CHAIR:

That's okay, you very good to me.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President, I rise to support the Amendment put forth by Senator Kelly. I think $ 50,000 dollars is a significant sum of money given the nature of the business. I think a $ 5,000-dollar sum is certainly more appropriate. I take to heart Senator Larson's comment that it would have to go back down to the House and I appreciate that but nevertheless it is a significant barrier and I think that this is an important change we are making to the law and therefore I would like to see more people have the opportunity to take advantages as opposed to a large company but other folks to come in and do their business. So, Madam President I look forward to some support to pass the Amendment. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Amendment? Will you remark further, if not, Mr. Clerk will you please call for Roll Call vote on Senate "A", the machine in open.

THE CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

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

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Linares, for voting. Mr. Clerk will you please call the tally?

THE CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule "A"

Total number voting 36

Those voting Yea 18

Those voting Nay 18

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Chairman is going to vote Nay only because of all the work that has been done before hand. Mr. Clerk. I think the vote has been taken and the Bill has been passed, nope, sorry, sorry. The Amendment failed. (Gavel) That's it. Got us a little nervous there didn't I Larson? Will you remark further on the Bill? Would you remark further on the Bill? Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Good evening Madam President. Madam President I rise to support the Bill as amended. I have to say that the Transportation Committee had many public hearings and many debates around the issue of Uber in Connecticut. It is a change in the way in which business is being conducted. It is in fact a major disruption of our systems that is happening in all areas in fact and is a wave that has caught on all throughout the country.

It is something that we need to move forward with and not be left behind. And I have a personal story with regards to Uber I must say that I actually was going into Manhattan one day on business and was actually sideswiped right on Park Avenue by an Uber driver and that was quite an interesting experience because we were debating this Bill here in Connecticut and here it was, when he finally exchanged information, and I found out they were Uber driver, and got really involved in the insurance aspects of what the Uber Organization and what the laws and regulations are in New York it brought a lot of issues right to the forefront and so for me this legislation really involves straightening out how insurance would be pursued if you were in an accident with someone that was an Uber driver and it brought out some problems and loopholes that need to be closed that I now feel much more comfortable and confident that Connecticut has taken a look at that and making sure that we know who is responsible party and how Uber would deal with those kinds of situations where there might be an accident.

So, I rise in full support of this. I am glad that the Insurance Committee has taken a strong look at this and has worked out a method that will give us some good oversight and regulation with regards to this new method of securing a ride to and from your destination. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Good evening Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, sir.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

I would like to thank Senator Larson, Senator Kelly and Representative Scanlon for their work on this Bill. I think it is a great collaborative effort among the legislature and industry working together to attract them to grow in this state, specifically Uber and Lift and any other ridesharing companies that come about. Uber is one of the fastest growing business models in the world, has a tremendous amount of economic value but there is also a tremendous amount of social value. In today's day young kids can get a safe ride home. People across our state can always find a safe way home with Uber on their phone. So, I rise in support and am very happy to see this bill, hopefully pass the Chamber today. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR LEONE (27TH):

Good evening Madam President. Thank you very much. I rise in support of the Bill as Amended and hopefully to final passage and I also want to associate my remarks with all the other good senators that have commented. Also wanted to thank Senator Larson, Senator Kelly and obviously Representative Scanlon who has put in so much effort in the House and the reason why I want to give him such accolades and thanks is because this was an issue that come in front of us is Transportation a couple of years ago and myself along with my Senate Co-Chairs Senator Boucher and Representative Guerrero and others down in the House.

We came at this issue when it was sort of new to Connecticut and the impact that it was beginning to have in terms of the value and its rapid rise in the market and at the same time disruption it was having on our taxi industry and the older model of transporting citizens that needed rides throughout the state. This is another example of when the changing markets, the changing economics, the changing technologies is moving faster than what our original methods and processes and legislations were accustomed to. And so what we had to do was quickly try to learn all the nuances as to what was good and what was maybe not so good and figure out how we could create an environment where we had some measure of input and control but at the same time not wanting to disrupt all the good aspects of what it was providing to the customers and our constituents and I can't tell you how many people that have become subscribers and have been converted to the new TNC model and the one thing many of them had said was don't break it. It is a new technology everyone is buying into it. But at the same time we wanted to protect those that are providing such a good service and their livelihoods were wrapped up in that and so the effort that we put in to try and create a framework, unfortunately we ran out of a little bit of time and a lot of the sticking issue was regarding the insurance and a good example was provided by my Senate Co-Chair but the nuances weren't just completely flushed out. So unfortunately, it didn't make it that year but we were we all know that it was going to come back. We all knew we wanted to work on it and the Insurance Chairs were happy to provide their input and their expertise on shaping that to get over the sticking points.

I am happy to say that they have done a fine job in dealing with the issues that were causing a lot of concern and then to also piggyback and make what we originally looked at even stronger and better by trying to bring the two parties into a collaborative effort. I think we got so much further as a result of that because it made it through multiple committees as a result of that. And as mentioned even though it is not a perfect Bill, it is a very good Bill and what we should never try to do is have perfect get in the way of very good or even good. Because if you are always having to make it perfect, what you do is end up not passing anything and I don't think we can afford to not pass legislation over this industry because if issues arise where we had a measure or the ability to prevent it and we don't then we should be held accountable and I don't think that's what we want to do. So, I want to thank all the members and the leadership for their input, their great work. As mentioned there is a little bit more work to do and I think that can all be resolved moving forward because we don't have to start from scratch. Then we only have to fix what it is not working and I think this is a good step, a very good step, maybe not a perfect step but a very good step in the right direction so I would urge its support. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Good evening Madam President. I stand for the purpose of questions to the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Larson, for your hard work with you and your Co-Chairs on the Committee. I participated in a TNC Working Group last summer. I was not privy to a lot of the negotiations as time went on during this legislative session though remained very interested in the outcome and I still have some concerns, so of which perhaps my questions will help out with. If you could share with us the TNCs that operate in Connecticut, how many of them are currently operating.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam President.

Unlike yourself I was not privy to that working group but I am glad that you were part of that so you may be very well advanced with your knowledge of this Bill as well. To my understanding there are two and I believe that they are affectionately called Uber and Lift.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And the $ 50,000-dollar registration fee in this bill is that compatible with what other states charge for a registration fee?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam President.

My understanding was that this was sort of a negotiated number through the House. It originally started higher but through some back-and-forth with members of the House of Representatives it was brought down to $ 50 and is my understanding that several of our surrounding states have a comparable number at that limit.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan:

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And the fee renewal of $ 5,000 dollars is that comparable to other states?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

I believe so.

Through you, Madam Chair, I believe so.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And through you, Senator what is the penalty for operating an unregistered TNC under this Bill?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson, sorry.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President. If you just give me a minute I have to check my notes.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease.

The Senate will come back to order. Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President.

Through you, my understanding through staff it is a Class B misdemeanor.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Larson. Line 239 talks about fingerprinting that is required to be a TNC driver and there was an awful lot of discussion about background checks. That is frankly one of my major concerns of TNCs based upon the pretty scary stories of failure to have proper background checks in other states in the United States with TNC drivers. And so, could you share with us under this Bill what is the background check process, it a fingerprint background check through the FBI required as it is for taxi drivers?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thorough you, Madam Chair.

That is my understanding. Yes, it is required.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and through you.

Senator Larson is the TNC driver not qualified to begin work until after clearance of the fingerprint background check.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Could you have him repeat that question?

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan would you mind repeating the question please?

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Senator Larson, is the fingerprint background check through the national data base, FBI, state police, whatever process is determined most appropriate, is that required prior to a TNC driver being authorized to begin work?

Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Okay, so it's now my understanding that a, what would be referred to as routine background check as you would through a normal employment process would be dealt with, with the TNC company if you will and that a fingerprint check is not required for the TNCs but it is my understanding that it is in fact for the taxi service.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and through you.

Why the difference between a taxi driver qualification for background check and for a TNC driver?

Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Let me start with the taxi driver first. That is what my understanding is. The current regulation although what we are trying to obtain for taxi drivers is an opportunity for people to get hired, have their background check run while they are anticipating the fingerprint to be complete and then should something be detected in either the background check or the fingerprinting, that individual would be no longer eligible to drive. As far as the TNC right now that requirement is not necessary.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And Senator Larson you may know that a school bus driver in Connecticut cannot begin work even at the beginning of a school year until that background check is completed. In fact, you may recall as a result of the longlines for background checks for gun permits, it was, they were so busy they were holding up sort of the background checks that had to be held, had to be done for school bus drivers in that particular school year and so we had to sort of double-up and work overtime to make sure we could get all those school bus drivers cleared. But they had to have a fingerprint background checks not a ABC background check.

Through you, Madam President.

Do you have a comment on that?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Chair.

I am reading an ACT CONCERNING MOTOR VEHICLES AND LIVERY SERVICE, this indicates that the TNC must also obtain a driving record check and background check on the person by doing one of the following: Conducting or having consumer reporting agencies regulated under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, conduct a local, state and national criminal history records check including a search of publically accessible state and national sex offender registries, arranging for the person's fingerprints to be submitted to the FBI for national criminal history checks to the State Police Bureau of Identification for a state criminal history records check. So, I don't know that the fingerprint is mandatory if you will, and I don't know if I am saying that right, but I think it is either/or.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

I am sorry, Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I think that is sort of a show stopper for me personally. I don't believe that a retail background check that the TNCs have discussed in a working group is an adequate process for something like this that is being regulated in the State of Connecticut. A taxi driver has to go through a much more thorough background check than that being provided currently by Lift and Uber. And we have very lengthy conversations about this in the TNC Working Group over the summer. In fact, it seemed every session that we had at the TNC Working Group that issue came up.

It certainly was raised by me on several occasions and so I fear that we have not addressed a very serious issue that has arisen in multiple states across the country that the background check process currently being used by the TNC operators in other states have not had a thorough enough process and their vetting therefore found them approving someone who ultimately was disqualified, not by their information that they found but by ultimate information discovered in several cases by media. So, there was some pretty back characters driving Uber cars and it wasn't discovered by Uber it was discovered by others. And so, I am very disturbed and discouraged and concerned that the Bill before us has not taken the warnings from other states across the country about this problem, has not listened to the concerns of myself and others during the TNC Working Group over the summer and frankly I am just very disappointed. Perhaps you have any further comment on that, I would appreciate it.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson do you have any further comments, sir?

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you Madam Chair.

And I think that the Senator does make some very valid points. My understanding is that we've now have them comporting to a background check and moving in that direction. It may not be perfect as I mentioned in my opening comments and certainly you make some very valid points with that. I think that as we grow in this industry and in this Bill I don't necessarily see that see. I don't see what you are referring to as something that could not be accomplished as we continue to work forward with these organizations. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Well I will share with you quite publically that the concern that Uber and Lift, primarily Uber had with a state police or an FBI background check was that it took too long. That they can hire a credit reporting agency to create a background check in a matter of days. I think I heard 48 hours was sort of the norm and it is a relatively inexpensive process and that background check process allowed them to accelerate putting someone on the road. That is exactly my point. My point is if you are in the taxi business in Connecticut you're going through a fine tune background check to make sure that you are not a bad apple and this doesn't do that. So that's got to get fixed. And I urge you to keep that in mind.

Through you, Madam President.

If I may move on to the inspection process. That was another concern that was voiced on many occasions over the discussion of TNCs over the last several years frankly and has certainly has been a concern in other states and that is the inspection of a vehicle before it begins service as a TNC.

Through you, Madam President.

Senator Larson can you share with us what is the process that this Bill approves as a vehicle inspection?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair.

Referring to page 32 of summary in the Bill and it talks about vehicle safety certification before using a vehicle as a TNC vehicle. The Bill requires TNC driver to certify to the TNC that the following equipment is in good working condition, foot brakes, emergency brakes, steering mechanism, windshield, rear window, other glass, windshield wipers, headlights, taillights, turn indicator, brake lights, front seat adjustment mechanism, doors, horn, speedometer, bumpers, muffler, exhaust system, condition of the tires including tread depth, interior and exterior rearview mirrors, seat safety belts, airbags for driver and passenger. TNC drivers must certify every two years and the TNC must maintain certifications for at least three years.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Larson. That's a thorough clarification of what the Bill says. That is a self-certification. A self-certification of an inspection done by the vehicle owner and in Connecticut taxis, limousines and school buses all are inspected quite thoroughly and in person by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Those inspections are I believe in many cases up on a lift where they are actually looking under the vehicle, they have a mechanic or someone who seems to qualified as a mechanic to test the vehicle and if I'm not mistaken it is also road tested. So, I understand that a TNC may not need a road test inspection but it certainly needs something far beyond a self-inspection by an unqualified vehicle owner. So, I am wondering if you could share with us what was the form of negotiation that a TNC would qualify for such a light weight inspection and taxis are still under the three-grade inspection.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you. Through you, Madam Chair.

As I look at again on page 32, the Vehicle Safety it does indicate that this Bill requires the TNC driver to certify, to the TNC, that the following equipment is good working condition. So, I would believe that certification would mean that much like you take your care to an auto emissions place or to some type of a garage that there is some type of a paper trail if you will that in fact those items have been covered.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and through you.

I think if you look at state statute for taxis and other public transportation vehicles it is far more thorough in statutory language what is required. This is about as loose at it comes. And I know why. Because it is was Uber put on the table. You see that is part of what, the more I get into the Bill, it is the more aggravated I get that this is an Uber bill. This is not a Connecticut General Assembly Bill. This is not a taxi bill. This is not a realistic or even reasonable or responsible in my humble opinion regulation of public transportation in the State of Connecticut. Uber said this is how we do it in other states and this is how we are going to do it in here and I feel like that is what we are doing and that is exactly why it is wrong. You see, the State of Connecticut should not be allowing a global company who incidentally, Uber has been kicked out of cities and countries all over the globe. They have gotten themselves in trouble for bulldozing their way into an area and saying, "I'm sorry we don't follow your rules. " Well yeah now it is in writing they don't follow our rules cause taxis in Connecticut have to jump through hoops and be painted yellow and you know, show up and do certain things several times a year and carry, if I'm not mistaken, they have to carry a whole bunch more insurance that an Uber driver does. It is a double standard and it doesn't make sense to me why a company gets to determine what they are going to operate under. What their rules are going to be. Now I am not saying that in such a way to blame Senator Larson or anybody who has worked real hard on this Bill, I'm just saying that their persistence. I mean their army of lobbyists that have been running around this state for the last three years. I think it is just got out of hand. And I am wondering why we are not looking at the problems that surfaced in other states and other countries and said Okay, we're Connecticut we are going to do it the right way and we think we have a good system to regulate public transportation in Connecticut and Uber we would like you to do business in Connecticut but we want you to follow some pretty simple rules. You got to do a full background check. You got to verify that your equipment is operational and safe, not a self-certification.

Through you, Madam President.

If I may to Senator Larson touch one probably the most important thing in your realm and that is insurance. And this is sort of the third peg of the thing that really is bothered me about the Uber phenom across America frankly is the insurance coverage on the vehicle. No I wonder if you could clarify for me what is the requirement of the Uber driver to show for insurance before they are allowed to go on the road.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you, Madam President and through you.

Section 5 of the Bill talks about those exact requirements. The TNC company must have $ 50,000 for personal, $ 10,000 for accident, $ 25,000 for property damage. My understanding is that is the underlying limit for the individual driver and then once the individual activates his Uber ride or individual, when they engage that customer there is $ 1 million dollars that blankets over the top of that.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and through you.

Senator Larson, so if I want to be an Uber driver and I currently have the state minimum requirement of liability and body damage on my car that is required under state regulation and statute which I think this year we may consider raising that and also the minimum required under my loan agreement. Many people who are driving Uber cars have a loan on their car and so you have to carry collision damage insurance and all. So, what I am trying to do is be sure that the insurance guideline for Uber is the same as the insurance guideline for my insurance company and my bank. If you could just clarify if that all sort of lines up.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you. Madam Chairman, through you.

My under understanding is the current minimum limits of automobile insurance currently in the State of Connecticut are 20/40/10. We tried a couple of months ago here in the Senate to increase those limits and that was rejected in the house and so we are debating I guess whether we would raise those up again or not. So, the underlying requirements for the Uber driver as I look at these are higher than the current minimum standards that we require here in the State of Connecticut for maintaining liability insurance in the State of Connecticut and then the TNC corporation would effectively layer either an umbrella or over that coverage once there is an activation of the application. So, if you are driving and the moment you are summoned to a location, you would then have a million dollars' worth of additional coverage over your underlying requirement. Then certainly when you pick up somebody and you are driving them someplace you have that and then when they step-off of your vehicle that million dollars of liability leaves your car.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And so, to zero in, thank you Senator Larson that makes perfect sense. To zero in on the relationship between the Uber driver and the Uber driver's insurance company. I have insurance that I am required to have for personal use of an automobile. Now I am getting into a discussion that was my fourth major concern about Uber this past summer during multiple meetings of the TNC Working Group and that was insurance on the car of the Uber driver. So here is my point. Uber operated across the country by saying to an Uber driver show us your insurance policy. Show us your proof of insurance, you have to carry a minimum amount of insurance, and the Uber drive would do that. Here is my insurance card or whatever it was that they were looking for. There was one minor mega missing question. The missing question was "Oh, by the way," Uber driver, "did you tell your insurance company that you are going to use your car as a taxi?" You see our insurance policy is for personal use, yours and mine I think unless you have a commercial vehicle. Mine is for personal use and a personal use insurance policy on a car is a fractional cost of what it is for a taxi. So, my point is that in other states across the country, Uber drivers were running around with personal lines insurance driving an Uber and it was perfectly okay with Uber because they had their umbrella policy and they figured they were covered but if they got in an accident low and behold their insurance said, "Well you didn't tell us that you were driving a taxi. We're cancelling your policy and now you are in the risk pool. " So now my $ 1,200-dollar insurance policy just went to $ 3,100. See what I'm saying? Now this has happened across the country and I am very worried this is a consumer protection concern, I am very worried about Uber drivers not having the right protection. Now it sounds like you may have adjusted the requirements so the Uber driver has to go and get some extra certificate but if you could please clarify that to be sure that concern is not going to be a problem here in Connecticut.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair.

I understand what you are trying to get to. I don't know if I can adequately answer that. The straight answer would be for me is that in order to qualify as a TNC driver you must have these underlying limits of 50/100/25 and you must have coverage in force. That is the minimum amount that you need to certify yourself as an Uber driver and then the Uber Corporation or the TNC company, Lift, etc. would effectively put an additional $ 1 million dollars over your existing policy to provide you with that additional coverage. Now you ask a couple of questions that are somewhat skeptical is not the right word, I understand 100 years ago I used to sell personal lines insurance so I am sort of familiar with what you are talking about with underlying coverage, lapsing coverage, gapping and so forth. But it has been my understanding that this, once the Uber application is applied with a customer, this million dollars' worth of coverage goes forward. I don't off the tip of my tongue what the minimum requirement is for a Connecticut taxi cab driver. I'm not familiar with that. I am sure I could get that information for you but my understanding is that this is comparable if not more than what a taxi cab driver would provide. The question that you also entertained with regards to whether or not my personal lines covers me for what may or may not be perceived as a commercial enterprise when I am driving in a taxi I think is subject to policy limits and conditions inside whatever those regulations may vary from carrier to carrier. So, I don't know that I can answer that but that is my best opportunity to do that. And then certainly knowing that in today's model right now without any of these regulations of any of these requirements they are still providing these services and what this Bill is effectively trying to do is to capture these and to start to enforce and put some regulations in place understanding to that there is a requirement to report to the DOT which is not available today. So, there are, we are walking into this with the understanding that we are trying to accommodate and at the same time put these restrictions on so there are consumer protection issues so that the people that we represent can feel confident when they get involved that there is some consumer protection, that there has been some degree of background check; that this vehicle has been exercised and that there is some reporting to the DOT. I am an Uber client myself. I live in East Hartford, I take a $ 9. 00 dollar Uber ride to the Yard Goats and come and go. It is wonderful, right? And so, I have always been concerned about this and I, one of my passions about this was to start to talk about this. My kids are away at school. They have Uber apps. It's convenient, it's affordable, etc. but at the same time and the end of the day we want to make sure that there is consumer protection that those vehicles are okay. Inside this Uber application you can actually rate your driver and you can also rate the service of this which is one of their models, which is what appealing to these folks. So, I think that they are trying to get there and we are trying in this legislation to start to capture that, drill into where we can continue to improve but for the sake of not having anything currently in play we are starting. And almost to the point where Senator Kelly spoke about barriers to starting these companies, you know, I somewhat agree with that number. So, we are trying to build not only a business relationship but the requirements that we think are a start and then once we have had some experience with this maybe we can drill into where we find the holes and where we may need to have to beef these things up. All good questions.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and thank you Senator Larson and I sense from the moment you stood up today, tonight, with your introduction of the Bill how passionate you were to see to it that this was going to be a good fit and the right way to go forward. I understand that right from the beginning. I know that a lot of people have worked on it with that sense of mind. I am just still worried and so that is why I am still asking questions. Hopefully somebody is taking notes because these are holes in the deal that we have to fill. We have to plug these holes because other states have already learned these mistakes and the TNC Working Group identified those problems and we've got to get all of those problems worked out in this Bill. And so, I am grateful that you are willing to continue to try to do that. The insurance concern that I have is this, apparently there are some other states wherein a TNC driver before they get certified part of their certification process for insurance is they have to go purchase an additional rider on their insurance only available through some insurance carriers. I don't even know if it is available in the State of Connecticut yet. Hopefully the insurance commissioner is already on this and already knows all about these things but an additional rider has to be purchased, sort of like if you buy uninsured coverage. That is always an option. So, you have an extra option to buy on the policy, here is the problem. I don't know how much it cost in Connecticut but the Uber driver has to go and spend the money to get that to get qualified as an Uber driver and it should be part of the insurance verification process. Why, because I understand Uber has a corporate umbrella policy but we are local state legislators and we have to look out not for the big guy with the army of lobbyists running around the State of Connecticut for three years trying to get what they want. We have to look out for the Uber driver and the Uber drivers trying to put food on the table and doesn't have money and so we have to be very careful that we are protecting them and here is the problem. If they don't have that special rider and they are out running around driving an Uber they are going in the risk pool. They are going to get caught in an accident, if they have an accident the insurance adjustor is going to figure it out and they are going to get thrown into assigned risk pool and for the next three years minimum they policy premium is going to be three times what it was. So, we have to make sure that doesn't happen.

Through you, Madam President.

Are you aware of that and what the cost is in Connecticut for the additional rider on the policy?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson:

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chairman.

So, this is my understanding of what would happen. So, if I am going to apply to be an Uber driver, right? I've got to verify that I've got at least underlying limits and how would I do that? I would go to my insurance agent and I would ask him to provide me with a certificate of insurance and I would ask that my agent name, I don't know if the TNC needs to be named as an additional insured. So, you are the local agent, you come to me and ask for an certificate of insurance and I want to know where it is getting mailed to so I am going to mail this off because I want to verify that you have at least the minimum limits of insurance. So, your first question about whether a personal lines vehicle can be used to carry passengers and if that is legal. I think at that point between the insurance agent and the customer and then the hand-off to the TNC company to verify the underlying limits in the policy and I think that sort of answers the question that you are talking about. So that is sort of the paper trail if you will for continuity of coverage and knowing that there is underlying coverage in there. As far as the excess lines or risk pool if you will traditionally depending upon the attributes of a driver is how you end up in those high-risk pools, either violations or the like or accidents if you will. So, 100 years ago I used to sell property casualty and so I am a little familiar and may have forgotten some of the stuff but to your point I don't know that there is an extra surcharge and it would seem to me that you ended up in a high-risk pool then you would not be eligible to become a Uber driver because there is a list of sort of violations and points if you will that kick you off from access to the app. I am not sure that answers your question but it occurred to me when you were asking before what the trail is and what the sequence would be with the contact so that would allow you for the overall, I will call it umbrella, although I am not sure it is an umbrella of a million dollars.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Larson. We almost connected, not quite. Here is the problem. The problem is I am an Uber driver and I show Uber my policy, because I have a copy of the policy, I don't have to call my insurance agent, I already have a copy and it shows all that and I show them a valid insurance card and you send it off to Uber in signup process, it's all part of it, and they say okay you're covered. You're good. Uber up until very recently and I don't know about today never asked the future Uber driver, the candidate to be an Uber driver never asked him, "Did you tell your insurance company that you are going to drive an Uber now?" Because if I tell my insurance company I am going to drive an Uber now my insurance company is going say, "Well your current policy won't cover you. " What does that mean? That means that if I get in an accident my insurance policy will likely pay for that accident, the umbrella policy from the Uber Corporate Office will pay whatever excess is necessary. Now keep in mind umbrella policies are only over and above what my policy pays and then after the accident I get a notice of cancellation. That is why I am in the risk pool. It is not because I was speeding three times or four times six months ago it's, the example I'm using is I got thrown into the risk pool because I never notified my insurance company I was an Uber driver because nobody told me to and I didn't think about it. That's my point. We have to be looking out for our Uber drivers because I don't Uber is. And that's got to be part of this Bill.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam President.

So, I'll go back to my whether I provide a certificate of insurance or if I show them a copy of my policy and I am at the Uber desk looking to authorize you as a driver, sign you up, give you the credentials and so forth. It would seem to me that before I turned you on as an Uber driver that I would have to verify that you had the underlying requirements and that your coverage was acceptable. I can't speak for individual insurance companies but there may be permissible use for this activity with certain companies. I don't know that for a fact. So, there may be that opportunity and there may be clear lines on certain carriers that say you cannot do this activity and I think it would be incumbent upon the Uber folks to identify those companies that will not allow this to happen because, think about this. If I am only requiring my new, I don't know if they are employees, this opportunity requiring underlying coverage and my million dollars I am not sure if it is an umbrella policy or if it in fact becomes first dollar when the machine is turned on. There are two variations of that theme. So, I am relying on the TNC to verify the insurance protection from the applicant because I am going to be on the hook for the additional million dollars. I think that is how that transaction works. But that is I don't want to say speculation, I think that is exactly how it would come to be.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Larson. I don't want to belabor the point of the sign-up process, and verification but I will tell you that it was my understanding that I could be an Uber driver in Connecticut and never shake hands with Uber. Think about that. I could be an Uber driver and do everything in the sign-up process on-line. Everything, everything because now you are telling me it is a self-certification to inspect my car. Now it was my understanding in TNC Working Group this summer that there was in some states required that there go be an independent inspection of a car at a garage and they had to fill out a piece of paper and sign it and that was part of the inspection process. But my point is that this is really got to be tightened up. It's really got to be tightened up because I don't believe based upon experiences of other Uber drivers across the country who have been what I am describing to you, I don't believe that their sign-up process is in the best interest of the Uber driver. I believe their sign-up process is in the best interest of Uber and only Uber. So, we need to make sure that this legislation is rock solid and military strong.

My final point through you, Madam President to Senator Larson.

If I am an Uber driver and I have a car loan is that issue addressed in the Bill before us tonight?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Through you, Madam Chair.

If I could just back up to your previous concern Senator, again I am looking at page 8 of 13, AN ACT CONCERNING MOTOR VEHICLES AND LIVERY SERVICE which I believe is germane here. If there is a disagreement between the TNCs driver's insurer and the TNCs insurer over which the company must defend the claim, the TNC insurer has the duty to defend the claim. So, if there was in fact a gap in coverage on the driver's primary policy this policy would defend the claim so that there would be the issue getting back to the fact the TNCs insurer is looking for that underlying coverage for responsibility but is also on the hook for that $ 1 million dollars at the point of the accident. Now I don't know if this Bill specifically to your question I don't know if this Bill specifically calls out additional insurance for a loan. So, for example if I was to become an Uber driver, I have a loan on my private passenger vehicle right? And I have, probably have a lot of liability and I've got an umbrella policy and so I don't have a, my bank is probably named as an additional insured on my automobile insurance although I don't even know if that is accurate, but so they understand that I am carrying coverage because I have a long on the car and the bank's real responsibility in the vehicle is the property damage of the vehicle not necessarily the liability is my understanding. Hopefully that answers your question.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President and thank you Senator Larson. So here is my concern about a Uber driver who has a personal lines insurance policy on their car and also has a car loan on their car. They told their insurance agent that I am using this for personal use and going to drive back and forth to work, they always ask how many miles you driving back and forth to work. That's the only real question you get about it. But one of the questions that insurance will ask are you using it for commercial purposes and we say no when we buy the car because we are not driving Uber then and when I sign the loan paperwork, whether I do it through Ford Motor Credit or GMAC or - that doesn't exist anymore, Chrysler Credit or whoever it is, or my credit union one of the questions on every retail installment contract for an automobile loan in the State of Connecticut is are you using this vehicle for personal use or commercial use? And if I am using it for commercial use the bank may not accept your loan or if they are going to accept your loan and let me say that this may also be for a leased vehicle if I am going to go through that bank they may accept the loan but not at 2. 9 percent but at 8 percent. Interest rate is higher, you are a higher risk. It's commercial use. Different ballgame. If it is a leased vehicle the agreement I have personal use, it has leased end value. That's for personal use. If I tell the leasing company that I am going to drive Uber they are going to lower the lease end value and my payments go way up. See? So that disclosure is required when you lease or purchase a car with a loan. Uber is not telling their drivers that this could be a problem. Why is it a problem? Well here's the problem. If I have a lease agreement for personal use and I am using it for Uber I am in violation of my lease agreement. What does that mean? Well if you read the lease agreement it will probably say that they can accelerate all the payments. So, if I crash the car or total the car under Uber they are going to accelerate all the payments or if I have a loan agreement the same thing applies. That kind of language exists. Personal use only. So, to address that issue because none of the other concerns that I have been addressed I'd like to share with you an idea that I think would be helpful in this regard.

Madam President the Clerk should have LCO No. 8827, I ask the Clerk to call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO No. 8827 Senate "B" offered by Senator McLachlan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Briefly summarized what this does, Senator Larson, is to try to address the concern about a financed vehicle being used for a TNC and here' what, it's very simple. No motor vehicle that is subject to a lien which includes the leased vehicle may be operated as a Transportation Network Company vehicle without the advanced written consent of the holder of such lien. Now why am I asking for that? It is very simple. If Uber doesn't flush this issue out with their potential Uber driver, this Amendment is going to force them to do that. Why do we want to do that? This is a consumer protection issue. Consumers don't know any better. They are being recruited to drive Uber. They are not being told about the concerns of insurance companies,. They are not being told about the concerns of a bank or finance company or lease company. So, we have to look out for their best interests in this transaction to be recruited as an Uber driver. Once they notify their bank or leasing company that they want to be an Uber driver if the bank or leasing company says okay, I'll give you a certification, roll it. Roll the car. You're in. I move adoption. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark Senator Larson?

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you, Madam Chair. Senator I understand your concerns with regards to this. However, I am not certain that I agree frankly. I think that there are instances where regardless how you're purchasing your car, whether or not you need to inform your bank or your loan company or your lease company, what the actual use is, my understanding is that in order to register the car in the State of Connecticut you have to carry a certain amount of insurance and in order to get a bank loan you need to be able to pay that bank loan and then as you are describing what would be individuals desire to either reduce their insurance premiums by not being forthcoming, I don't know. So, I don't disagree that goes on but I would just say that in light of the time of this I think that as I mentioned earlier I would urge rejection of the Amendment in as much as effecting this proposition at this particular point would jeopardize the effort of two of our legislative committees and I would ask that the vote be taken by roll call.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark? Will you remark? Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I rise to support the Amendment. Madam President if one thing we've learned is Senator McLachlan is a very good lawyer for him to catch this. I think that is an important factor if this Amendment goes down it is my hope that in order to protect against this loophole should this Amendment fail that somewhere along the line we fix this bill for this problem because I believe this is an issue which could be a huge hole in this bill. So, Madam President I am going to support the Amendment just because I think it is important to raise this issue and then I look forward to maybe Senator Larson, at some point in time, trying to figure out how we can plug this hole. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark. Will you remark further? Mr. Clerk if would announce the pendency of a Roll Call vote on the Amendment.

THE CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call Vote has been ordered in the Senate on Senate Amendment Schedule "B". Roll Call ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check and make sure your vote has been appropriately recorded. Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On Senate Bill Amendment Schedule "B"

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 18

Those voting Nay 18

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Amendment fails. (Gavel) Senator McLachlan.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Well that was a close vote huh? (Laughter) She didn't get to vote though. Thank you, Madam President. Senator Larson thank you again for your answering and spending time with us and answering these questions. I know I belabored some points but I did that for a reason because I asked some of those same questions last summer and I thought there were some policy makers at that table but they didn't make it this document. So, I am hopeful that those folks were listening now and that as you start to edge through some fixes, implementer bill, whenever you are going to try to do those things that that can be worked out. But I just want to summarize ever so briefly here are my concerns. Number One: An Uber driver needs a better background check than what Uber wants to do for us. An Uber driver has to have the same background check as a taxi driver, a school bus driver in the State of Connecticut. That's the way it's got to be. No questions, that's the way it's got to be. Why? Because if I am doing a ABC background check through a third-party vendor I don't have the same level of comfort of its completeness that I get through the FBI and through the Connecticut State Police. So that's number one, background check and if that means that the Uber drivers got to sit on the sidelines for a few extra days, I'm sorry you've got to do that.

Number Two: The insurance has got to be rock solid to protect the Uber driver. That is our constituent. You know, I really don't care about Uber. In fact, the more I think about this whole process the ways it's happened in Connecticut I really don't care about Uber. I don't like the way this whole thing has gone down. I don't like corporate people telling legislators how they are going to do business in the State of Connecticut. I understand that we have to, we have to make our state business friendly but I don't like the idea of a business bulldozing their way into our regulations and that's what's happening. So, the insurance has to rock solid, absolutely rock solid. The inspection process cannot, I don't believe in my humble opinion, I don't believe that an inspection process can be self-certification by the Uber driver. It has to be done by an independent party. Even if you send him down to the emissions station and have the garage do it. Somebody else has got to look at the car. And last, but not least, is the issue of the failed Amendment that I just ran. Listen I spent a longtime in banking. And I know what a retail installment contract says in the State of Connecticut and I am telling you that a lawyer for the bank is going to shut down this Uber driver like a flash if they find out that they are driving a lease car with Uber because that's not the deal they made with the bank. So, we have to flush that out. We can't have an Uber driver whose struggling to make a $ 250 dollar lease payment on their car get in an accident, get bounced around by their insurance company and they have the right to be bounced around because they never told the insurance company that they were going to drive an Uber taxi and they are using a car for commercial purposes against what the policy says they can do and then get in an accident and have to get the bank to sign off, because the bank is a loss payee, the bank has to sign off on the check to fix the car but the bank wants to know what happened in the accident and they get wind that they have been using it for a commercial vehicle it's over. That's a repossession. You see we've got to look out for our Uber drivers. And that's all I've been trying to advocate for since last summer and I am just very hopeful that somebody in this building got the message tonight. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Larson.

SENATOR LARSON: (3RD):

Thank you, Madam Chair. Senator McLachlan I got the message and as I had mentioned to your earlier I was not part of that working group and I share some of your concerns and I believe that as we are moving forward with this legislation I think that each and every one of your concerns is valid. I think some of these do need to be flushed out and it would be our interest from the insurance prospective and I will give you my word as a Co-Chair in the Insurance that we will take those notes and we will try and figure out and make sure that your concerns have been addressed. And I appreciate the dialogue frankly, you know this is new and currently there are no regulations whatsoever and they are operating in the State of Connecticut and for all of the intentions and all of the good will that you have talked about and that has not been taking lightly whatsoever and that we may through investigation and through process and just letting this start to run as a business entity in the State of Connecticut I think we are going to find out where there may be other gaps and where we can strengthen responsibilities but at the same time I think we're seeing, you know, an awful lot of technology starting to move in the State of Connecticut and start to push ideas along and so forth. This is an opportunity for us to put some regulations in place, monitor, track and then where appropriate take your concerns and other concerns into play. It was mentioned earlier in my remarks and I think I was a little quick to sort of jump the gun but I did want to appreciate Senator Leone and Senator Boucher as well as Representative Guerrero for their efforts. This has been a three year process between a couple of different committees and so forth and even this year as my first opportunity to get back into the Insurance Committee along with my dear friend, Senator Kelly who has been my steward in this committee and again I just want to reiterate my thanks for everything that State Representative Shawn Scanlon has put together and keeping us all on track with regards to how this should go forward and I would appreciate the Senate's support on this effort.

Through you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark. Will you remark. The Senate will stand at ease.

The Senate will return to order. Will you remark? Will you remark further? Seeing no remarks, Mr. Clerk if you will call for a Roll Call Vote.

Senator Martin, Senator Wong. Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

House Bill No. 7126

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 28

Those voting Nay 8

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR: (Gavel. ) The Bill passes. Mr. Clerk. Do we have anything else? Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President is Senate Agenda No. 3 on the Clerk's Desk?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk?

THE CLERK:

Is in possession of Senator Agenda No. 3 dated Tuesday, June 6, 2017. It has been duplicated and is on Senator's desks.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I move that all items on Senate Agenda No. 3 date Tuesday, June 6, 2017 be acted upon as indicated and that the Agenda be incorporated by Reference in the Senate Journal and transcript and also that it be immediately placed on the Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Would the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution now 8655, LCO No. 8655.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution No.  63 RESOLUTION CONVENING THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN SPECIAL SESSION, LCO No. 8655 it is offered by Senators Looney, Duff, Fasano,

Witkos, etal.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. Senator Looney. I will yield to Senator Looney please.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Mr. Majority Leader and thank you, Madam President. Madam President I move Adoption of Senate Joint Resolution No. 63.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered. Please continue.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President it is, this is the provision calling us, ourselves into a Special Session to deal with issues related to the biennial budget, revenue to balance the budget, and Bills and Resolutions needed to implement the state budget for the biennium also for bills concerning state bond authorizations and their underlying programs and projects and school construction. Would urge adoption of the Resolution.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered. Do you have further remarks Senator Looney?

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

I believe that Senator Fasano does, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President thank you very much and thank you to Senator Looney. Madam President this is a very restrictive call in terms of what we are going to do in Special Session which is to get our business done and do the budget. Madam President is all expectations that the conversations that we are having will lead to a successful conclusion. So, Madam President I would appreciate support for this Special Call for Special Session. Because of the limited scope for which we are being called in to act it limits the ability of other things to take place and centers around the budget and bonding. So, Madam President I look forward to its passage.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark? Will you remark further? Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I certainly agree with Senator Fasano's comments that it does deal with the main issues that remain unresolved at the end of the regular session and would urge Adoption of the Resolution.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Seeing no remarks, Mr. Clerk if you would call for, announce pendency of a Roll Call and call for a Roll Call Vote.

THE CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

Senator Somers, Senator Logan, Senator Kelly. (Gavel) Have all members voted? Have all members voted? Please check your votes and make sure they have been properly recorded. Mr. Clerk if you could call the tally.

THE CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution No. 63

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 36

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

[Gavel] Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I move for immediate transmittal to the.

THE CHAIR:

I still have to say the Bill is passed.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Ah, so sorry. (Laughter)

THE CHAIR:


(Gavel with Laugher) Thank you, the Bill is passed
. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I move for suspension of our rules and immediate transmittal to the House. Actually, I don't think we need to suspend. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Without objection so ordered. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I have some items for our Consent Calendar please.

THE CHAIR:

Oh, please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. On calendar page 25, Calendar 457, House Bill 7164 would like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 22, Calendar 432, House Bill 5077 would like to place item on our consent calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar pate 50, Calendar 480.

THE CHAIR:

Sir, did you say fifteen?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Fifty.

THE CHAIR:

Fifty. So sorry.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Calendar page 50, Calendar 480 House Bill 7069, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 14, Calendar 364, House Bill 7062 like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Calendar page 21, calendar 416, House Bill 7243, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 26, Calendar 471, House Bill 7032, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio you standing up for? Okay. Never mind. Seeing no objection, please continue.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 30, Calendar 492, House Bill 7080, would like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 32, Calendar 532, House Bill 7192, would like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 35, Calendar 551, House Bill 7013, would like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 16, Calendar 381, House Bill 7169, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 18, Calendar 397, House Bill 7120, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 25, Calendar 455, House Bill 7102, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On Calendar page 38, Calendar 562, House Bill 7263, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 29, Calendar 487, House Bill 7205, like to place that item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President and some items for our Go List for this evening.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

On calendar page 32, Calendar 534, House Bill 7190, like to mark that item Go. On calendar page 25, Calendar 449, House Bill 7105 Go. On calendar page 28, Calendar 482, House Bill 7194 Go. On calendar page 15, Calendar 370 House Bill 7002 Go. On calendar page 34, Calendar 542 House Bill 6992 Go. On calendar page 30, Calendar 493 House Bill 7132 Go. On calendar page 8, Calendar 260 House Bill 5884 Go. On calendar page 43, Calendar 587 House Bill 7222, Go. On calendar page 49, Calendar 452 House Bill 6356 Go. On calendar page 8, Calendar 265 House Bill 7007 Go. On calendar page 21, Calendar 418, House Bill 6741 Go. On calendar page 39, Calendar 567 House Bill 7213 Go. On calendar page 42, Calendar 582 House Bill 7036 Go. On calendar page 43, Calendar 588 House Bill 7044 Go. On calendar page 20, Calendar 413 House Bill 5764 Go. On calendar page 24, Calendar 441 House Bill 7296 Go. On calendar page 33, Calendar 535 House Bill 7195 Go. On calendar page 33, Calendar 536, House Bill 7311 Go. On calendar page 33, Calendar 538 House Bill 5963 Go. On calendar page 34, Calendar 545 House Bill 6041 Go and on calendar page 43 Calendar 590 House Bill 7253 Go. And we have to calendar page 29, Calendar 488 House Bill 5554 Go. The clerk can please call the Bills in that order please.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 32, Calendar 534 House Bill No. 7190 A N ACT CONCERNING MEDICAID PROVIDER AUDITS AND ELECTRONIC VISIT VERIFICATION.  

THE CHAIR:

Good evening, still, Senator Markley.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Good evening, Madam President and thank you very much. 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 in concurrence with the House?

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Under the direction of the Federal Government the Department of Social Services has adopted a system of electronic visit verification for DSS Contractors, both health care providers and companions who go to homes to perform services for elderly and infirmed individuals. It is a way of confirming that the work takes place, what work takes place and when it takes place and actually confirming that it takes place where it is supposed to take place exactly as it is described electronical visit verification.

This transition from paper records to electronic records has been difficult for providers and I think challenging, understandably challenging for the department. Over the last few months we had many reports from service providers that they struggled with the new system, that I was difficult to enter codes correctly, that they weren't necessarily having the confirmation that needed from DSS that the visits which had in fact had been performed were properly logged with the department. We are still not certain that every problem is involved in this has been resolved. I do feel like the department has been attentive to this. They have met in the presence of the Chairs of the Committee with providers to try to address these problems and as a Committee we've had meetings to try to understand what was going on and figure out how we could be helpful in it.

What we've done as a Committee is brought forward a Bill which says that for four months after the mandatory implementation of this electronic visit verification extrapolation of errors which might have been inadvertently made by providers because of the difficulties of the system will not be charged against them. Understand that in the human services area we have a system of extrapolation that applies to many kinds of providers. Dentists are another profession which to some extend has suffered from what can sometimes seem to be a harsh systems of extrapolation. The department goes in and examines records.

THE CHAIR:

Excuse me, Senator. I'd ask the Senate to please lower their voices and take their conversations outside as we cannot understand what Senator Markley is saying in discussion.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I hope that the reduction in volume actually makes it possible for me to be understood. I'm not sure always when I discuss these Human Services topics. The extrapolation is a principle that says that by examining a limited number of records and establishing a rate of errors, that rate can then be applied across the entire number of services which have been provided by a given individual or corporation. The problem with that is if you have two errors out of a hundred say that are examined you might be looking at 5,000 actual services performed and that same rate will be assumed and fines will be charged based on that rate.

It is something that on one hand makes sense from the departments point of view and yet on the other hand can sometimes be very burdensome on providers. It is something that we have tried to address on Human Services and will return to again next session I expect. This form of window is an attempt to give providers a relief from that kind of burden of fines. What we want to do with this Bill. Well, what we want to do with this bill is provide this window of relief. What I want to make sure for purposes of legislative intent is that it is not to be meant that because this Bill says that there will be a four month exemption from this process of extrapolation that we mean to say that extrapolation then must be performed after the four months is over. In fact, one of the aspects of electronic visit verification is that extrapolation should no longer be necessary because every visit will be recorded so the errors could actually be counted directly. It is not a matter of going through paper records to ding out but rather simply examining a data base and seeing how many errors there are. So, it is our hope that the department in this area will be able to get rid of, get away from extrapolation and we don't want to give an indication that we feel that extrapolation necessarily needs to continue. It also doesn't mean that providers can't challenge after the four-month period any errors that might occur. So, with that explanation of the bill, I would encourage my colleagues to support passage this evening. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Moore, good evening, ma'am.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Good evening, Madam President. Madam President I rise in support of this Bill. I want to thank my Co-Chairs in the House on Human Services any my Co-Chair Senator Markley for this work. We worked with the Department of Social Services providers, a lot of input, a lot of time was spent on this Bill and I think this is the best that we could come up with and we will be probably revisiting it again. I ask that the Chamber support this. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I just want to express my appreciation to Senator Markley for this riveting and fascinating explanation of extremely interesting topic that had us all mesmerized and I want to express my strong support for the Bill. Thank you, Senator Markley.

THE CHAIR:

I think, Senator Suzio thank you. (Laughter) Senator Markley but I'm not sure. Senator Markley.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Madam President I will say no more but that if there is no objection I might suggest that this be placed on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, sir. So, ordered. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President if the Clerk could PT the next item we can move on to calendar page 28, Calendar 482, House Bill 7194.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 28, Calendar 482, House Bill No. 7194, AN ACT CONCERNING EXCEPTIONS TO THE TEN-YEAR REPOSE PERIOD FOR CERTAIN PRODUCT LIABILITY CLAIMS.

THE CHAIR:

Good evening still, Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. It is evening, shy of just a few minutes of our final day of our regular session. Madam President I would move Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Passage in Concurrence. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. Typically, in the State of Connecticut we have a ten-year statute of limitations for bringing a product liability claim. What this would do is would change it for certain products namely heavy equipment typically used on construction sites and what it would do is it would change the statute of limitations if there was an injury on the job and the statute of limitations would be for the expected useful life of the product and this was borne out by a very unfortunate instance here in State of Connecticut where an individual was working on a construction site and the bucket on a crane loosened and feel on the individual ultimately killing him. His wife came, his widow came and testified before the Committee and the manufacturer said, "Well we're not responsible because it has been over the ten years" and the argument back was but this heavy equipment is expected to have a useful life of in excess of ten years and it is not really fair. It would not apply to that case but going forward it would apply and manufactures should be held liable if the products they are putting out to the public, even if it heavy equipment, has an expected life in excess of ten years and I would urge my colleagues to support this bill. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes, thank you, Madam President. Similar to the earlier claims, I do associate myself with the remarks of Senator Kissel. This piece of legislation was considered by the Judiciary Committee, it was narrowed a bit, but I think it provides a reasonable compromise to provide some satisfaction for individuals that are in a difficult situation and are entitled to some redress and I urge the Chamber to approve this piece of legislation. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? It not, Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Seeing no other questions or comments I would like to ask to have this placed on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH): Happy Wednesday.

THE CHAIR: Oop, (laughter) thank you. It will be, sir.

THE CLERK:

On page 15, Calendar 370 House Bill No. 7002 AN ACT CONCERNING PERSONAL RISK INSURANCE RATE FILINGS.

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry. Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

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 KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Yes. This Bill would extend the sunset date for personal risk insurance rate filings in order to allow the use of flex-rating my insurers until 2021. Flex-rating may allow insurers more flexibility in establishing rates that are responsive to the market to encourage competition within the market place by creating more option and incentivizing insurers to lower their rates. I would certainly, this is a Bill that come before us periodically, normally it is extended for two years. We have this Bill for four years and I would move its adoption.

THE CHAIR:

You have to do that, sir. If you just comment on the Bill please.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Right. Madam President if there is no objection I would like to move this to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on this matter Bill? Will you remark further on this Bill? If not Senator Kelly we will move it the Consent Calendar. Thank you.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 34, Calendar 542, excuse me.

THE CHAIR:

House Bill 6992.

THE CLERK:

House Bill No. 6992, AN ACT PROTECTING THE INTERESTS OF CONSUMERS DOING BUSINESS WITH FINANCIAL PLANNERS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory. Good morning, sir.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Well good morning, Madam President. Madam President I move Acceptance Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Passage. Will you remark, sir in concurrence with the House?

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Madam President, we do have an Amendment is, I'm sorry. The Amendment is LCO 7755.

THE CHAIR:

Senator McCrory that has already been adopted, that's a House Amendment so you are doing it in concurrence with the House, it has already been adopted and you don't have to call it again, sir.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

I move to encourage the House. I'm sorry, ah, and I move for the summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Just tell me what you want to do what's on the Bill.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Summarize, okay.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Well, Madam President the Amendment actually requires the Banking Commission to provide information on its Departments website and share that information with the Department of Consumer Protection on the Department's website. The purpose is to provide protection for consumers who receive investment advice from financial planners. Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Is that on the entire bill, sir?

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Yes, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. So, at this time I would ask would anybody like to comment on this Bill before us. Would you like to comment? Seeing no comments. Sir?

SENATOR MCCRORY (2ND):

Madam President, I ask that this Bill be moved to the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Do I see any objections? See any objections? No objections. Sir, it will moved to the Consent Calendar. Thank you, sir. Senator Duff, you are rising, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President the Clerk can now call calendar page 25, Calendar 449, House bill 7105. Senate stand at ease for a moment?

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease and it has been PT'd. Are we going back, sir? Taking it off the PT List? Thank you. The Senate will stand at ease. -- Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President again for calendar page 25, Calendar 449, House Bill 7105. If we can mark that as Go now and I will yield to Senator Logan.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Logan, will you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Yes, I do, Madam President. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH): Madam President, pursuant to Senate Rule 15, I wish to recuse myself from the debate and consideration of this Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. Please leave the Chamber as quickly as possible and we will continue the debate. Thank you, sir. At this time, I'd call on Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is Acceptance and Passage in concurrence with the House. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. This is a bill that comes to us through the Energy and Technology Committee. It came to us on a vote of 24 to zero. What is does is it make alignment between the overearnings measurement with valuation time that utility corporations use and allows for a mechanism for when the rate of return, the authorized rate of return is exceeded for sharing between the rate payer and the company and I would urge this company, this company (chuckle). I would urge this Chamber to pass this Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? If not, oops sorry, Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Good morning

THE CHAIR:

Good morning, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

I rise in support of this Bill. This is a good Bill and right an opportunity to make things better for the billing

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Winfield.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Yes, Madam President. If there is no objection I ask.

THE CHAIR:

Sir, we can't at this time.

SENATOR WINFIELD (10TH):

Never mind, I'll ask for a Roll Call.

THE CHAIR:

Roll Call vote will be had. Mr. Clerk will you call for a Roll Call vote. The machine will be open.

THE CLERK:

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

Immediate Roll Call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

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

THE CLERK:

House Bill 7105

Total number voting 35

Necessary for Adoption 18

Those voting Yea 35

Those voting Nay 0

Those absent and not voting 1

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes (Gavel). Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 30, Calendar 493, Substitute for House Bill No. 7132, AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROVISION OF NOTICE OF A CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION BY AN EMPLOYEE TO AN EMPLOYER OR WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSIONER.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning, sir.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Move Acceptance to the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Adoption with, in concurrence with the House. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. This piece of legislation deals with Worker's Compensation Law, when an employee gets injured on the job the employee has two options to provide notice. They can either send notice to the, they can send written notice to the employer or they can provide it to the last or to the last known address of the actual business. What this bill does, it's technical but it clarifies that if the employee, the injured employee, desires to provide notice to the employer they must do by certified mail and it also allows the employers to post a copy in the office or somewhere in the business premises, the address for the employee so that the employee will know where to send this notice via certified mail. It is a piece of legislation that was brought to the attention of the Judiciary Committee because clearly at some point, some employees have had difficulty determining where and providing adequate notice to the employer. It is a good piece of legislation and I urge the Chamber to adopt it. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much Madam President and good morning to you this fine Wednesday.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning to you on this fine last day of Session. Maybe.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Exactamundo. It is always great to do notification by certified mail, return receipt requested because it creates the requisite paper trail that can be later used to verify that notice was actually given. It is a very common sense proposed legislation in concurrence with the House and I am happy to associate myself with remarks that my friend and colleague the Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee Senator Paul Doyle and I would urge my colleagues to support this Bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

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

THE CHAIR:

On page 8, Calendar 260, House Bill No. 5884, AN ACT PROHIBITING THE USE OF COAL TAR SEALANTS ON STATE AND LOCAL HIGHWAYS.

THE CHAIR: Senator Kennedy. Good Morning, sir.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Good morning, Madam President. Madam President I move Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Passage in concurrence. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes. Very briefly this Bill prohibits the use or application of road highway and surface sealants made from coal tar on any state road or highway of the state. It is being supported by the Commissioners at the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Many of us know coal tar is an environmental hazard that can cause cancer. It is not stable, it breaks down and goes into our rivers and streams and causes of economic and environmental hazards. It's been banned in two other states that many localities because of its toxic effects on our environment and I urge my colleagues to void in passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Good morning, Senator Miner. How are you today, sir?

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Good morning, Madam President. I am well thank you. How are you?

THE CHAIR:

Great.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

That's good. So, I too stand I support of the Bill. I actually reached out to most of the communities in the Northwest corner to find out if anybody even uses this stuff anymore and I couldn't find anyone that admitted to putting it on a road so I don't think this hurts anybody. I actually think it is good for the environment not to use it and I join my colleague in support of the Bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

If there is no objection in the Circle I would move to place this item on our Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections it is so ordered. Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Page 43, Calendar 587, Substitute for House Bill No. 7222AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH'S VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATUTES.  

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana, good morning to you, ma'am.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Good morning, Madam President (laughter). I move Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

The Motion is Acceptance and Passage in concurrence. Will you remark.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Yes, Madam President. Thank you. This is the Public Health Committee's annual reviser's bill that come via the Department of Public Health. What I am going to do is highlight some parts of the Bill. You should have in front of you as well as a description of the different sections but I will just touch on some of the highlights and of course be happy to answer any questions. Most of the Bill are technical changes in the DPH statutes, variety of areas that regulate practitioners, regarding advisory councils, facilities, and reporting requirements.

Some of the technical are clarifying changes include Section 1 which is health care facilities should submit their fee payment along with their license application. Section 15 adds health care institutions caring for newborns must test for critical, congenital heart disease. This sections adds that the institution's administrator must enter this information into the DPHs newborn screening system for genetic and metabolic disorders. Section 17 eliminates the requirement for the Quality of Care Advisory Committee to meet on a semi-annual basis but the discretion of the commissioner. Then there are a few more substantive changes. Section 24 is a modification of Senate Bill 841 which prohibits DPH and the Board of Examiners of Embalmers and Funeral Directors from taking disciplinary action against a licensee who received notice that their score on the National Board Examination was invalidated and now they are allowed to take the, retake the test over a 16-month period. Sections 33 and 34 clarifies changes of the Bill to be passed out of here, Senate Bill 937.

It has passed both chambers but we are making some clarifying changes in there that LCO hadn't made. Section 40-41 include certified stroke centers and stroke ready hospitals in our state and language regarding them and Section 45 includes language from Senate Bill 317 that also passed out of here but adds another member of the workgroup. If anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer them. You can certainly read all the different sections of the Bill and I urge the Chamber to adopt this Bill. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio. Good morning to you, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Well a very good morning to you too, Madam President. I just have one brief question for the proponent of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir. Thank you.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Would you clarify the changes in Section 6 to the "Do not Resuscitate Order if you wouldn't mind?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Oops. Yes, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Oops (laughter), okay.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

I got entangled in the cord here.

THE CHAIR:

I'm glad you're okay now, ma'am.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

I am going to give you, Senator Suzio, what the Department of Public Health gave me, not what the

description is in the underlying Bill. Section 6 would clarify current statute regarding the issuance of a Do Not Resuscitate order. The language will make it clear that measures included in a DNR reflect the current standards of care that include the treatment that may be withheld and what assisted treatment may be provided. And that is from our Statutes 19-580d.

Through you Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio did you hear that. I heard it. There was some background noise but I think I heard it well enough to get the gist of it. This just caught my attention only because I am a Court Appointed Conservator for a handicapped person who was near death only back in November and I was asked about the, whether I wanted to proceed with medical procedures that would keep him alive and they asked about the Do Not Resuscitate order in situations and thankfully I decided to keep the treatment going and he did, he did beat the odds and he survived and he is back to his normal health right now. But that just caught my attention Madam President and I just wanted to develop a better understanding of what the change, it mentions a change. I just wanted to understand the change. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Gerratana.

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Yes, through you Madam President.

I just want to delineate for Senator Suzio I am actually looking at the Bill now and reading it. It says for purposes of this section, I don't have the citing in 198-580d but it does say, "For purposes of this section" so what it is doing is just delineating and making clear what was not clear in this section and I will just tell you a DNR means an order written by a physician so it makes clear that it has to be an order written by physician or an advanced practice nurse for a particular patient to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation of such patient and that would include chest compression, defibrillation, or breathing or ventilation of such patient by any assistive or mechanical means including but not limited to mouth-to-mouth, bag valve, mask and endotracheal tube or ventilator. So that clarifies actually what is currently in the law.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. That does indeed get very specific and it does clarify my question. I thank the proponent of the Bill.

Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator McLachlan. Good morning to you, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

Good morning, Madam President. I just stand for purposes of comments and thanks to the Co-Chairs of the Public Health Committee and the Department of Public Health for their work on a couple of specific things in this bill that were very helpful to constituents of my district. Number one is the pulse oximetry test result process that has been added. You may recall a few years back where this General Assembly passed a process for newborn babies to check for congenital heart defects and we found a way now to track the results of those tests and that is in this Bill and we're grateful for that being added and also I want to thank a lot of hard work put into helping our the embalmers find a way to get properly licensed that had a difficult time with their license process and both the Co-Chairs were very helpful and I am very grateful. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR GERRATANA (6TH):

Madam President, I would ask for a Roll Call vote please.

THE CHAIR:

A Roll Call Vote will be had. Mr. Clerk, will you call for Roll Call Vote, the machine will be open.

THE CLERK:

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

THE CHAIR:

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

House Bill No. 7222

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 35

Those voting Nay 1

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

(Gavel) The Bill passes. Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

Page 49, Calendar 452, Substitute for House Bill No. 6356, AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC NOTICE OF TREE REMOVAL ON MUNICIPAL PROPERTY.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy. Good morning again, sir.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Good morning, Madam President. Madam President I move Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Passage in concurrence. Will you remark, Sir?

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes. Very briefly, Madam President, there has been a growing concern across the State of Connecticut about the indiscriminate removal of trees by utility companies albeit in the interest of public safety. Many instances this tree removal in many cities happens by surprise with no public notice or opportunity to object and that the perceived risk to traffic safety and to or power don't seem to justify the large extent of the removal. So, this Bill it basically establishes a much more clear transparent process for before government actors or utilities can cut down trees, it would require utility companies to file formal written requests to the cities or towns for permission to cut down a tree.

It also contains some common, important common sense exceptions such as when a tree poses and immediate hazard. It has gotten the support of many municipal leaders including the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities who are looking for clarification in the tree removal process and uniformity in the consent procedures from abutting properly owners and the like a more predictable and consistent among municipalities in the state. So, for this and other reasons I urge my colleagues to support this Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Bill Senator Miner? Good morning.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Good morning, Madam President. I have a few questions if I might to the proponent of the Bill?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President it is my recollection that there was some opposition to the Bill. I think the utility companies were concerned about undo delay and if the gentleman could describe for the Chamber what the process will be under this new legislation.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. Before a utility, what the important change that this Bill makes is there is something called a Utility Protection Zone in many municipalities across the state, and this is actually municipal property but in Utility Protection Zones, What this Bill does is, up until this point, utilities would have more, less requirements for notifying the town, abutting property owners and the like of the need to do tree work in the Utility Protection Zones so now this new proposal requires that utility companies may notify the municipality about an intention to remove a tree even if it is in the Utility Protection Zone.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And so, I understood the gentleman to say may notify. Does the Bill say that they may notify the municipality or does it say that they shall notify the municipality prior to removing a tree?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

In response to the question of my colleague, I may have misspoken. I did misspeak. I should say because this Bill would require utility companies to formally notify the municipality.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And so, in the case of my, the street that my wife and I have a house on, on East Chestnut Hill, so if there was a tree in front of our house, it would be necessary then if the power company thought that tree should come down to protect public safety, the fall zone, the wires not only to notify me as a property owner but to notify the tree warden in the municipality in which I live. Is that correct?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Well there is an exception as I just mentioned before.

Through you, Madam President.

For, if a tree poses an immediate hazard or in dangers powerlines or public safety that tree, the utility company would be able to remover that tree without this notification process.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And so, in that case of immediate danger it wouldn't matter whether it was my wife's favorite tree or the town's favorite tree, if it was in their professional opinion an immediate hazard and danger to the public then they would be authorized under this through some expedited process to remove that dangerous tree?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Through you, Madam President.

Yes, that is my understanding of the legislation.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

And Through you, Madam President.

So, in all other cases where they may want to do things as a precautionary measure, maintenance as opposed to hazard, distance back from power lines, that sort of thing those would require a more expansive process where not only the property owners are notified but the town itself is notified?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Through you, Madam President.

Yes, that is my interpretation of the Bill before us.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And so, in the case when my wife says all right, take the tree down, and the town say whoa, whoa, timeout. I'm the tree warden and I don't want that tree taken down. What happens in that case?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Through you, Madam President.

There are existing, currently existing notification laws in our state regarding the removal of trees. So, this new law would not displace the current law that we have. In fact, we have updated as the good Senator probably knows just in the last couple of years since super storms Irene and Sandy the General Assembly has modernized and updated the notification process for tree removal. What makes this development, this new proposed law unique is it does as I mentioned before speak to the Utility Protection Zone because many people, citizens believe that without some sort of additional rules of trees in that Utility Protection Zone they are at risk for surprise cutting. Many people wake-up in the morning, there is a truck outside their house and they are cutting down a beautiful old tree and that is the thing that has upset so many people in many of our historic towns and cities around are state.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. And so this is intended to still provide some protection for the public, some expedited procedure for the utility in the case of what would be determined to be a damaged or sick tree that could be eminently falling on the wires of causing damage but still provides some level of expected conversation when there may be a tree that they would like to trim or they would like to take leaders off of or in fact they may want to remove but they recognize that under this Bill or they should recognize that may require more conversation and more notice as you point out rather than having somebody wake up in the morning and find that they are already there to remove it.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

My colleague is correct. There, the Bill is quite technical in nature as many of these laws are governing the rules on the posting and notification of trees. So, half of this Bill really talks about the posting requirement and by posting means that a sign of some sort is affixed to the tree so that alerts the abutters and other people that there is an intention to take the tree down so that gives people an opportunity to object if they so choose. So again, we have some posting requirements already in place but again this would, I think, offer more protections to the citizens of the municipalities.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Miner.

SENATOR MINER (30TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the gentleman for his explanation. I do recall that when we had the hearing there was this give and take about how much is too much, what kind of protection should we be putting in place? I to think this strikes a balance. I believe perhaps the utilities still feel that this goes a little bit too far but I've heard from my constituents that more often than not, some level of trimming that has gone on is almost far too much trimming and some removals have been in their mind unwarranted. So, I too join my colleague in support of the Bill. Thank you, Madam President.

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President and I apologize this may have already been answered but the $ 10,000 dollar fine or fee that is charged as a result of noncompliance of this issue, is that new to this piece of legislation or was that in this statute before?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Through you, Madam President.

I don't know the answer to that question. I could, if you could give me a moment, I could ask legislative staff to take a look at that statute quickly. I do know that the fee did come in the Judiciary Committee as something that some people objected to but I can't speak to you, I'm sorry.

Through you, Madam President.

I can't speak to you to say for sure whether this is a new fine or whether this is consistent with existing tree removal fines.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten if you would like the Senate will stand at ease.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Yes please.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Yes, thank you. So, I do have what I believe is the answer to my friend and colleague's question. It does subject companies to civil penalties up to $ 10,000 dollars for each violation in addition to other penalties under law. So, I think that what that, how I would interpret that is that there probably is some existing underlying penalties for tree removal and this would add to that set of violations that could occur under this law.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much Madam President and through you, Madam President.

If a tree is taken down and they have complied with this and there is triangle of abutters and one abutter says yes and one abutter says no, and the tree is in that municipal right of way who prevails on that?

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Through you, Madam President.

I would imagine that it would sort of be a fact specific determination. In every care it seems under the scenario that you just outlined where notification was, the company did actually do the right thing in complying with the law. You're saying some abutters may have gotten the notice, other people didn't what would happen in that situation, I would imagine that, that would be exculpatory but again I would think that, that would sort of be a fact specific determination.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much Madam President. Madam President I would ask for a Roll Call vote on this Bill and I appreciate all the work that has been done on this but I have some unanswered questions and am leaning towards not supporting it although I will be considering it. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Bill? Will you remark further on the Bill? If not, Mr. Clerk will you call for a Roll Call Vote and the machine will be open.

THE CLERK:

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

Immediate Roll Call 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.

House Bill No. 6356

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 34

Those voting Nay 2

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes (Gavel). Mr. Clerk will you call the next bill.

THE CLERK:

On page 8, Calendar 265, Substitute for House Bill No. 7007, AN ACT CONCERNING AN INNOVATION INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR NONPROFIT PROVIDERS OF HUMAN SERVICES.

On page AN ACT CONCERNING AN INNOVATION INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR NONPROFIT PROVIDERS OF HUMAN SERVICES.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Moore. Good morning, ma'am.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Good morning, Madam President. Madam President I move Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill as Amended by the House in concurrence with the House.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Passage in concurrence with the House. Will you remark, ma'am?

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President this is an act concerning an innovation incentive program for nonprofit providers of human services. The Bill allows for an incentive program where nonprofit providers who meet their contractual obligations to the state will be able to utilize any unspent funds to encourage innovation and efficiency in the delivery of human services.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise in support of this legislation. I think it is a very interesting idea that we developed in the committee. We've heard from many human services providers who say that they find ways to save money and provide services effectively but then the savings are taken back by the Department of Social Services and they are not able to expand what they can offer because they lose that payment. The idea behind this bill is to give the Department an opportunity to actually return this money to the providers who have found ways to deliver services more efficiently as an incentive to them and as a service to the clients that they provide for. There has been considerable negotiation with the Department. I would say it is by no means at this point a prod. We hope that they will embrace the notion and depending on what happens we can revisit this next session but I would urge my colleagues here in the Circle to support this Bill

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further on the Bill in front of us? Will you remark further on the Bill in front of us? If not, Senator Moore.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

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

THE CHAIR:

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

THE CLERK:

On page 21, Calendar 418, Substitute for House Bill No. 6741, AN ACT CONCERNING THE RIGHT OF COUNSEL TO ACCESS RECORDS IN CERTAIN ABUSE AND NEGLECT PROCEEDINGS.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio. Good morning to you, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Well, a very good morning to you too, Madam President. Madam President I move Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Acceptance and Passage. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Yes, Madam President. Madam President this is a bill which provides in situations involving child abuse, alleged child abuse by a competent witness, it allows for counsel representing the child immediate access to certain records including the records of the Department of Social Services as well as medical records and the Clerk has in his possession an Amendment, LCO 6561.

THE CHAIR:

Sir, that Amendment has been called. It is already House Amendment Schedule "A", so you do not have to call it again since it is in concurrence with the House.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you very much. I'm still learning. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

No problem, it's okay, so am I, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

And as it was amended it did amended the original Bill which had some language that had to be tightened from any party to the party representing the child would have access to the records.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Bill? Anybody remark further on the Bill? Senator Moore.

SENATOR MOORE (22ND):

Good morning again, Madam President. Madam President I rise in support of this. I want to thank my Co-Chair and kids and also the other members of the Committee but I also want to recognize Representative Luxemburg who introduced the Bill and I urge support. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. I to wish to compliment by fellow Co-Chair Senator Moore for her work on this Bill and on the Committee and in light of the fact that this is the slam dunk of the night, I urge that this be put on the Consent Calendar if there is no objection.

THE CHAIR:

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

THE CLERK:

On page 39, Calendar 567, Substitute for House Bill No. 7312, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES' RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STATE TAXATION AND COLLECTION AND IMPROVING TAX GAP COMPLIANCE.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara. Good morning, sir.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

It is morning isn't it Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

It sure is, sir.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Feels like.

THE CHAIR:

It feels like morning.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

It feels like the next night to me anyway.

THE CHAIR:

It might be soon, sir.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

It is good to see you nonetheless, Madam President. I move for Acceptance of the Joint Committee's Favorable Report and Passage of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is for Acceptance and Passage in concurrence with the House.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Madam President, this Bill changes a number of policies and procedures as it relates to the Department of Revenue Services. Madam President I will go over a handful of these, there are several but in particular it changes the order or partial payments, it includes income from nonqualified dividend, deferred compensation in income tax filing. It would allow for weekly remittance of sales tax that can be filed through a trust account or service provider.

It would allow, changes the renewal for sales tax permits from five years to two years, allows the Commissioner of DRS to impose a security bond on employers for withholding tax purposes, requires reporting entities to file a form 1099K with the DRS, that is an important provision for us to hopefully be able to identify those that are using the Use Tax but not filing that as is currently required under law. Allows the tax warrants issued by the DRS to extend to 180 days, extends the background check for all DRS employees in compliance with federal law, establishes a single room occupancy rate of 11 percent for bed and breakfasts and establishes a regulatory procedure for tax preparers and facilitators. There are a number of other provisions Madam President. I urge adoption of the Bill.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Bill? Senator France good morning to you, sir.

SENATOR FRANCE (42ND):

Good morning. Madam President and I also stand in favor of this Bill and I want to thank Senator Fonfara for his good work on this. I know he spent a lot of time with DRS folks as have I. The only question that I have for him because I was not necessarily part of the conversation.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara prepare yourself.

SENATOR FRANCE (42ND):

The most recent conversation was with the proposal to collect sales tax on a more frequent basis meaning in the Bill on a weekly basis and is that something that you agree with and something that you could support going forward?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Through you, Madam President.

I would and I believe that is a tool that the Commissioner has as you know, we've worked to and the Commissioner has worked to identify ways to insure compliance with our sales tax and this is one of those provisions.

Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator France.

SENATOR FRANCE (42ND):

Thank you, Madam President. And that is the only part of this Bill which is a huge one that I have some question marks about and so I look forward to continuing that conversation going forward because I just don't want to put the onus on retailers to have to do this unless it is a very easy thing to do. Thank you very much.

Madam President, through you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Markley. Good morning to you, sir.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Good morning, Madam President and thank you. I rise just for a couple of brief questions to the sponsor of this Bill. I am curious about Section 10 which involves DRS tax warrants for a continuous order to withhold intangible personal property for up to 180 days. I must simply pled ignorance on this and wonder if the sponsor of the Bill could explain to me what is involved in that?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President and through you.

Senator Markley currently when the department issues or has a tax warrant issued it is a single instant time in which the institution in which that warrant is applied, let's say it is a bank and it is a warrant for a savings account, a bank account, and if there insufficient or no funds there, once that is determined it would extinguish that warrant. It could be the very next day that funds are put into that account but the warrant would not have affect. This provides and, not an opportunity for the ability of the warrant to be extended for a period of time so DRS would not have to go through that process each week or each month in order to determine whether there were funds available for collection.

Through you.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Markley.

Thank you, Madam President and thank you for that very satisfactory response. Let me ask about one other section, or the Sections 12 - 14 about the bed and breakfast occupancy tax rate and I wonder, through you Madam President if that is a new tax or what the current tax situation for these bed and breakfasts is?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President.

Yes, currently as I understand it, the tax on the room is 15 percent and on meals and service it is 6. 35. The industry and the DRS have worked to come up with a single rate, a combined rate of 11 percent much easier to file, much easier to keep records on, very difficult you can imagine both for the Department and for the bed and breakfast to be able to determine what is the proper rate when sometimes it is difficult to be able to segregate out which is which. So, this would make it much easier for everyone and a fair rate to be applied.

Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Markley.

SENATOR MARKLEY (16TH):

Thank you again, Madam President and thank you to Senator Fonfara for convincing me that it is an excellent idea. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

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

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Yes, Madam President unless there is objection I would ask that this Bill be placed on the Consent Calendar.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objections, so ordered, sir. Senator Duff why do you rise, sir?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President I, we're going to have caucuses, immediate caucuses. Senate Democratic Caucus and I will let my. Senate stand at ease for a moment.

THE CHAIR:

Senate will stand at ease.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Madam President we are just going to stand at ease for the purposes of caucus. We will be back in very shortly.

THE CHAIR:

Very shortly?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Senate Republican caucus too and there will be Senate Democratic caucus for the purpose of caucusing one Bill immediately. Thank you. Stand at ease please.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease and the Republicans are also caucusing. -- The Senate will come back to order. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President will the Clerk now please call calendar page 5, Calendar 178 Substitute for Senate Bill 778.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

On page 5, Calendar 178, Substitute for Senate Bill No. 778, AN ACT CONCERNING EXPENSES FOR CONSULTANTS BORNE BY TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROVIDERS. Senator Witkos why do you stand, sir.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH)):

Good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning, sir.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH)):

Good morning Madam President. I rise pursuant to Rule 15 and ask leave of the Chamber for an appearance of a potential conflict of interest and a recusal on final vote.

THE CHAIR:

Please leave, sir. Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Good morning, Madam President. I would like to recuse myself under Senate Rule 15 to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest or impropriety.

THE CHAIR:

You are excused, sir.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you, ma'am.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. Will you remark further? Senator Fonfara. Wait a minute. Senator Logan, I'm not sure. Okay, I'm sorry. Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I would like to be recusing myself under Rule 15. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Logan. I apologize.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Madam President, pursuant to Senate Rule 15, I wish to recuse myself from the debate and consideration of this Bill

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. You will all leave the Chamber.

Good morning Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Good morning, 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 FORMICA (20TH):

Yes, Madam President. Thank you. The clerk is in possession of an Amendment, LCO No. 948. I ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

I'm sorry, did I misspeak? 8848, please forgive me.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

THE CLERK:

LCO No. 8848, Senate "A" offered by Senators Formica, Osten, etal.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move Adoption and waive the reading and seek Leave to Summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on Adoption. Will you remark, sir?

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you. Yes, Madam President. This is a strike-all Amendment which would bring the opportunity for a new policy for the state with regard to energy. This particular Amendment calls for an evaluation or appraisal of nuclear energy in the State of Connecticut and I would just like to give a little background before I go into this. There has been a lot of discussion and conversation with regard to this opportunity to say the least over the course of this session. As the Senator of the 20th District and the Co-Chair of the Energy Committee I believe that this is the right move for the State of Connecticut both in terms of energy policy and in term of economic opportunities for our state and the region. I would like to thank the good bipartisan work that we did on the Committee including my Co-Chair Senator Winfield, Senator Reed. I would like to thank Senator Duff for his personal involvement, certainly the Governor's Office for their involvement and the hard work, Senator Osten, and Senator Fassano as we moved for this compromise opportunity for legislation.

This is as much as jobs bill as an energy stability bill. There are 1,500 high paying jobs here in the State of Connecticut, thousands more indirect jobs that generate about $ 110 million in annual salaries and a $ 1. 5 billion economic impact to the State of Connecticut. But more importantly what this Bill will do is to evaluate the power and how it is done here in the State of Connecticut and in the region. Nuclear in Connecticut provides the equivalent of 50 percent of the power used each and every day in the State of Connecticut. This Bill, this Amendment will work to provide stabilization over a minimum of the next three years if that will be determined by DEEP.

So, if I may just go over a little of the Amendment. In the Section 1 defines the best interest of the rate payers and also the eligible nuclear power generating facilities and it would include both of the facilities in the independent system operating area. Item B calls for an appraisal of those nuclear facilities by DEEP and if that appraisal says that opportunity is necessary they will implement a competitive process to procure nuclear power. DEEP must then report on January 1, 2018 the results of the appraisal. The results are deemed approved unless both Chambers of the Legislature reject the results by March 1, 2018. DEEP must then begin implementing the process chosen by May 1, 2018. The DEEP appraisal process shall assess the current economic conditions of the nuclear facilities, the projected economic conditions of the nuclear facilities, the impact of the nuclear facility, retirement before July 1, 2027 and also it would include an appraisal of the electricity markets, security, fuel diversity and grid reliability, the state's global warming greenhouse gas reduction goals and also the impact on the state regional and local economies.

After completing this appraisal DEEP shall determine if a competitive procurement process is necessary and shall act and may conduct two potential opportunities, actually three. They could do nothing if that is what the appraisal determines or they make changes in the standard service which would require the EDCs to purchase 685 megawatts up to 1350 megawatts of power from a nuclear facility in any range from three to ten years providing stability to our energy rates and also to our generators. Also, they have a choice of issuing an RFP for zero carbon baseload generation which would include hydro. There are other opportunities throughout the Bill. The costs associated with this appraisal will be paid by the nuclear facility in Connecticut with a cap up to $ 1 million dollars. So, I stand here before all of you to try to express what I believe to be the most important Bill that we have here in the State of Connecticut in my view this particular session. There have been 13 closures of nuclear facilities announced in the near future, all of which are closing before their expiration and their expected life date and five have already closed. This is a problem that we need to look at and I think the solution that this Bill provides is the opportunity for DEEP who is the experts here in energy policy to look at it and come up with an opportunity to tell us what we should be doing.

Without nuclear in the State of Connecticut we are down to basically one opportunity and that would be natural gas while we develop renewables and we all know that renewables are the bridge to the future of energy both here and around the world. We just don't have the opportunity to get that amount of renewables in the next few years