CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Senate was called to order at 10: 17 o'clock a. m. , the President in the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning everyone. The Senate will come to order. Good morning everyone. I know we're all excited about being back even though we didn't leave. It's good to be here to right now I'd ask all of you to please rise and direct your attention to Rabbi Lazowski who will lead us in prayer.

DEPUTY CHAPLAIN RABBI LAZOWSKI:

Almighty God, as we stand in the threshold of a new legislative year, 2018; O Lord we, we invoke your all-wise presence, now and in all the days ahead. Renew our hope and replenish our understanding that we may do great things for our state. Let us work together to dispel anguish and gloom, so that our state of Connecticut will be in full bloom. Fill our hearts and our minds with wisdom and understanding and with compassion, that we may think clearly, choose wisely, and act nobly. Help those gathered in this chamber to represent their communities, districts, and state. Guide them to serve with integrity, sincerity, faith, and courage. Banish pridefulness and self-interest from our hearts. Help us march forward together in the spirit of humility, respect, honor, and love. Bless and preserve our nation and this state. Bless our governor and our lieutenant governor. Defend our troops from harm and keep them safe from danger. Hear us as we pray and let us all say, Amen.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Rabbi. At this time, I am going to ask our two great leaders, Senator Looney and Senator Fasano, would you come up and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance?

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH)/SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

(All) 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 all very much. I'm gonna ask at this time if you will stay standing. I ask you all to join me and please stand to join me to help us recognize our military, our veterans, and their families who are at the foundation of our democracy and the freedoms we enjoy, so I'd ask for a moment of silence. [Silence]. Thank you very much, so at this time, everybody can be seated.

I'm just gonna take a point of my own personal privilege at this time and of course, want to welcome you all back and a special thanks to, of course, the leaders of the Senate. This is my 35th opening day, 3 years of staff, and 32 years as an elected official. For the past 8 years, this Senate circle has been like a family to me. Next year, I won't be standing up here with you and some of you have decided not to seek reelection or seek other offices. For those of you who aren't running again, I want to thank you for your service and for giving back to the state that we all love. I've been fortunate to work with all of you in this chamber. Your camaraderie, your efforts on behalf of our residence, your humor during long days and nights of debate, these have gotten us all through some very tough times. There comes a time when we turn over the mantel of leadership when we teach and trust in the next generation of leaders and for me, my kids, and my grandkids, the time is now. Of course, I'm not sure about how my husband, Michael, feels about it. I think he's gonna have to go get a job. [Laughter]. This year, as the years' past, we have a lot on our plates. We all know that we haven't yet built a sustainable budget. We all support a strong economy, more jobs, and the initiatives that attract residents and commerce to our Connecticut, our wonderful state. We were elected to find solutions to these problems and I know that we can. It is our responsibility and our obligation to each citizen, the business community, and the next generation.

Despite the many challenges we face, Connecticut has a proud history of standing up for what's right. We have come together as one people during crisis and disasters and we embrace a commitment to just and equality. On healthcare, while others are fighting to rollback progress, here in Connecticut we built one of the strongest healthcare exchanges in the nation, ensuring that more than 100,000 residents could afford healthcare coverage through the exchange and that more than 220,000 low-income working individuals would have healthcare insurance. In 2017, the United Health Foundation report Americas health rankings has Connecticut's 5th in the nation. While there is more work to be done, that is something to be proud of and we all did it together. Over the past 8 years, I've watched the people of this state come together during major challenges, through record snowstorms, hurricanes, flooding, and superstorms. Neighbors help neighbors, coming together as one to protect each other. One of the darkest days in Connecticut's history also unleashed a groundswell of love and support for Newtown families and the communities and resulted in bipartisan action to address gun violence. Our communities rose up against acts of racism, homophobia, antisemitism, and religious bias, coming together to protect the victims and speak out for unity, justice, and love. We recognized that our most important duty is to our residents.

Democrat or republican, republican or democrat, we have stood up and stood together for the people of Connecticut and to build a better future for our children and our grandchildren. I know we can show the people of this great state that we understand and embrace our responsibilities, that behind every piece of legislation we pass we are working to build a fair, more just place for all people and one that reflects our own legacy of service; so I just want to say to all of you thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship and your service, and I wish you the best of luck in this session. Okay, at this time, Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President and good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

I would just like to begin by welcoming back all of the members for this new session, although it seems increasingly the gap between sessions grows shorter and shorter and one tends to merge into the other so quickly, but it is always true I think that the beginning of every session is a sign of renewed hope and an opportunity to reflect on what an honor and blessing it is that each of us has been entrusted by the people of our district with the honor of serving in the Connecticut State Senate of whichever party we are in. That is an extraordinary blessing and a gift to be cherished. This is my 38th opening day of a session and I will tell you that every single day when I'm getting off that Capitol area exit I still get a rush in seeing that gold dome in a sense of how wonderful it is that the people of my district have chosen me to be here all of that time, so we face a lot of challenges. The last year was nothing but challenges but I think that we had came through it with something to be proud of as an example to the rest of the country about how to work in a bipartisan way to achieve something that had to be achieved and meeting our responsibilities in a way that reflected that we take those responsibilities seriously.

In times of difficulty and challenge, there was an old Irish prayer that my mother used to say. It involved a mixed metaphor, but I think it had a message and it was get down on your knees and thank God you're on your feet. [Laughing]. If you think about that, it is a little mixed but it does convey a message and I think that is that we all need to be thankful for the blessing of being here despite the challenges that we face, but it is an honor to be the ones who are selected to face those challenges and Madam President, I want to thank you especially for the extraordinary gift to the people of the state of Connecticut that your service has been since your first election to the House of Representatives in 1986. I remember when you came in, in that election, we became friends and colleagues during the 8 years that you served in the House and then, of course, for 16 years after that as the State Controller at beginning of the 1994 election and then since the election of 2010 as our Lieutenant Governor.

Your career in state government is an extraordinary example, I think, to people about what it means to be engaged in public service with the right attitude, the right temperament, the right purpose, the right motivation, and the right values and that is something, Madam President, I am -- I am sorry that you won't be here with us next year because every year your presence here is a blessing to all of us, so I want to thank you so much and also want to thank Senator Fasano for his friendship and his hard work and good faith in all of the difficult work that we have done in the last several years, the last year in particular under our unique arrangement here, and looking forward to another year where despite difficulties I think we can come up with results the people of Connecticut will be proud of. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator Looney. Thank you for those kind words. Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I echo the words of Senator Looney but if I also may add, Madam President, your years of service as a legislator and your commitment to healthcare in this state is unmatched. The humor that you've brought to our circle at times when we have long hours is much needed and much thankful for because I think that lightened up a lot in this chamber and noticed that humor has a way of breaking down barriers, and I thank you for that and I have enjoyed that, and I wish you the best of luck. I know you won't be far from this building. I know you'll be doing much more for the state of Connecticut cause that's who you are on the inside. I might also add that your years of service exceeds the life of Senator Art Linares -- [Laughter] -- just for a measuring rod.

In addition to that, I just want to say a year ago, when we had the chamber and we had a tie 18/18, Senator Looney and I had made a commitment to each other and to this chamber that our chamber was not going to be a malfunctioning chamber where at 18/18 business was not gonna proceed and the Senate was going to be irrelevant to the matters in this building, and I think by having that agreement and having the people around this circle who respected that agreement and worked together to accomplishment the betterment for the state of Connecticut we showed that this state on a bipartisan methodology can advance itself in a good way; and I'm very proud of what this chamber stood for and stands for and the work ethic by all 36 state senators in this circle, so I'm proud to be back. It's a stormy day today. I don't think that's gonna last all session. We will get through it. We do have many challenges and many ideas to go forward including this budget but last year showed the ability of each side to listen intently and substantively and appreciate each other's point of view, and that's why we had a bipartisan budget and I look forward to the same result this session. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you and thank you for your kind words, Senator Fasano. At this time, Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25th):

Thank you, Madam President, and good morning and good morning to members of the circle. I too just want to take a brief moment to thank you, Madam President, for your years of service to the state of Connecticut. We were never colleagues in the House of Representatives but when it came time for me to run, you were, as we've always joked about, came down in the middle of a snowstorm in Norwalk to help knock on doors with me at a time where I didn't have any grey I don't think at the time but by the end, we both looked the same because our hairs were both full of snow after knocking on doors, and from that, we have developed a deep friendship with each other and almost familial in a sense that my mom and my whole family just thinks of you as one of our own; and I think that's how a lot of people feel about you in the state of Connecticut is that you're not just Nancy Wyman, Lieutenant Governor, you're everybody's Nancy and you're somebody who we all love to see around and be around and you do, as Senator Fasano said, bring that humor just at the right time many times when there's a little tension or maybe people aren't having a good day. You're the one who can break that very quickly and we know that how sincere and how much you care for the state and how much you've actually accomplished and many times without a lot of bragging or anything else, you've accomplished things quietly and affected so many lives in such a positive way, so we thank you for your service and I know that we'll continue to say good things about you as the rest of the session proceeds but I'd be remised if I didn't thank you right now for your good work.

Certainly, as Senator Looney and Fasano said, we have worked together in this chamber and I want to acknowledge also Senator Witkos cause we worked together on session days to move the business forward and working together as leaders, I think we got a lot accomplished year and I look forward to the same as well this year, this session, and I couldn't have had a better partner with Senator Looney and Senator Fasano and I certainly had our laughs and arguments and others during our budget session but we got through that windowless room with our -- with some of the Piccadilly and other things that we were eating and drinking until the wee hours of the night negotiating a budget together, but we've had good partnerships and good friendships together and I know that will certainly continue; so I want to welcome everybody back again today for what is our short session but I know that we have a lot to do and we will continue to work together to move our agenda forward for the people of the state of Connecticut. With that said, Madam President, I would like to see if there's any business on the Clerk's desk.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

In possession of Senate Agendas No. 1 and 2, both dated Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move all items on Senate Agendas 1 and 2 dated February 7, 2018 to be acted upon as indicated and that the Agenda be incorporated by reference into the Senate Journal and Senate Transcript.

THE CHAIR:

I'm seeing no objections, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you. Madam President, would the Clerk please call Senate Joint Resolution No. 1, please?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Joint Resolution No. 1, RESOLUTION CONCERNING PUBLICATION OF LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN, PRINTING OF BILLS AND EXPENSES. LCO NO. 351, introduced by Senators Duff, Witkos, and Representative Ritter.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move the amendment -- I'm sorry. I move the resolution.

THE CHAIR:

The motion is on movement. Is there any question on the adoption of the resolution? I'll try your minds. All those in favor please say, aye.

(All) Aye.

Opposed? Amendment is adopted. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move that the resolution be immediately transmitted to the House of Representatives.

THE CHAIR:

So ordered.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the Clerk call Senate Resolution No. 1 from Agenda No. 2, please?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution No. 1, RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PRINTING OF THE SENATE JOURNAL. LCO NO. 321, introduced by Senators Duff and Witkos.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

The question is on adoption. I'll try your minds. All those in favor please say, aye.

(All) Aye.

Opposed? The motion is adopted. The resolution is adopted. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the Clerk please call Senate Resolution No. 2 from Agenda No. 2 please?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution No. 2, RESOLUTION CONCERNING ROLL CALL AND READING OF THE SENATE JOURNAL. LCO NO. 323, introduced by Senators Duff and Witkos.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Question is on adoption. I'll try your minds. All those in favor please say, aye.

(All) Aye.

That's kind of weak guys, c'mon. [Laughter]. Thank you. The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I would ask the Clerk to please call Senate Resolution No. 3 from Agenda 2.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Resolution No. 3, RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO INFORM THE HOUSE THAT THE SENATE IS READY TO MEET IN JOINT CONVENTION. LCO NO. 324, introduced by Senators Duff and Witkos.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption of the resolution. I'll try your minds. All those in favor please -- [Pause] -- now, say whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's do this together -- [Laughing] -- cause we're working together this year. We'll try your minds. All those in favor please say, aye.

(All) Aye.

There we go. The motion's adopted -- the resolution's adopted, and Mr. Majority Leader.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. We're making a committee. Would you -- I'd like to ask that you, Madam Lieutenant Governor, appoint the committee.

THE CHAIR:

I will appoint Senator Gomes, Senator Guglielmo, Senator Cassano, and Senator Markley to the committee.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. That concludes the official business that we have right now. I know we do have some points of personal privilege and certainly -- [microphone shuts off].

THE CHAIR:

Okay. What happened to -- I'm sorry. Senator did you push -- Senator Duff. Senator Duff, please speak.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

We have points of personal privilege I know from some members and certainly, this is the opportunity for them to be recognized. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

That's great. Thank you very much. Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President, and I also want to thank you for all the work that you've done for the state of Connecticut in bringing us all together in times that have been somewhat difficult, but you have always been someone that believed in working with everyone for Connecticut's best interest and I think that we should all follow your lead. I have a couple of people that I stand for a point of personal privilege, and I would like to introduce a couple of people. First, I'd like to introduce Mrs. Sinko. If you could, stand, Mrs. Sinko.

THE CHAIR:

Yes.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Mrs. Sinko is here today from Norwich, Connecticut. She is someone who always keeps the people in Norwich informed on all of the things that are going on. She is joined by her daughter, Barbara. She is the grandmother of Kelly Sinko who is former Senate dem staffer and now a member of the Governor's Budget Office. Mrs. Sinko served Connecticut by being a registered nurse at Backus Hospital in Norwich and her daughters all became registered nurses and work, at least, her daughter who is with her today works at Backus Hospital in Norwich. I'd like the circle to give a round of applause for Mrs. Sinkos for her years of bringing us all together for healthcare for all. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Yes. Welcome, Mrs. Sinko. It's nice to see you again. We go to the same beauty parlor.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

[Laughing].

THE CHAIR:

Thanks.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

I also would like to introduce Beth and Paul Hanlon, and I'd like them to stand today. We are here today to honor their daughter, Grace. Their daughter Grace went to the 4-H camp in North Franklin Since she was 7 years old. When she was 16, she was going around to view colleges. She was an active athlete, an excellent scholar, someone who any one of us would have been proud to have her fill a seat up here. Grace passed away in a tragic motor vehicle accident on the way home from viewing a college in Rhode Island. They, instead of being mired in grief and we all grieve for the loss of Grace, have been working to expand the 4-H camp in North Franklin in their daughter's name, and I cannot say enough for what they do.

I'd like you to know that Paul is a 26-year military veteran serving both the Army National Guard and regular Army. I met Paul because he takes community into his heart. I was driving home on Christmas Eve with my grandchildren's Christmas presents in the backseat and I got a flat tire. He stopped and changed my tire and started talking to me about what all of us have done up here for veterans and how much we had done for veterans and that's why he was here. His wife, Beth, serves our country by working with special education children in the Norwich school system and when you talk about families that have given everything, they have. We miss Grace everyday and I'd like the circle to stand in a moment of silence for Grace and if you're ever looking for a way to honor a special young lady, come to the 4-H camp at North Franklin, which all of you have voted to give a small grant to honor children of veterans to let them go to camp. If you wouldn't mind, standing for a moment in silence I would appreciate it. [Silence].

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you both for coming today and thank you for always giving back. Bless you two. Senator Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

But, before I do, I wanted to join the chorus of your many admirers here in this circle. I really appreciate everything that you've done, Nancy, to serve the people of Connecticut and it sounded like you were almost making kind of your retirement speech up there or something. I hope that's not the case because we have a lot of work to do but I know -- I hope that you feel an incredible sense of appreciation from all of us in this chamber.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR KENNEDY (12TH):

Thank you so much for everything you've done. I rise for a point of personal privilege to salute a number of Connecticut athletes who are currently on their way or in South Korea representing our nation in the world Olympics. I am very fortunate to have three such athletes from my district. I invited them all here today but they're already training for their events and their families are with them, but I think it's important that the chamber recognize their incredible accomplishments and we look forward to watching them on TV in the coming weeks. One is Mac Bohonnon. He is the 2015 world champion freestyle skier. He is the only male aerialist in the Sochi Olympics, and he is representing the United States again this year. He is joined by Kiley McKinnon who is also a freestyle skier. She started skiing when she was 3 years old. She left Daniel Hand High School in Madison to pursue skiing full time, and we wish her luck in the upcoming freestyle skiing events. Finally, I want to just recognize Zach Donohue who is a figure skater. He actually started skiing in East Haven's Veteran's Memorial Ice Rink, so for those of us who live on the shoreline and have children, we've spent many, many hours at that ice rink and it's fantastic to know that one youngster developed the kind of skill to go on and represent our country, and I know I am bursting with pride at the prospects of all three of these incredible athletes and I would like to ask the circle to rise and recognize their achievement; but before I do, I want to yield the floor to my friend and colleague, Gayle Slossberg, because I think she too has an Olympian from her district. Thank you very much -- [microphone shut off].

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Slossberg, will you accept the yield?

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Yes, I will, Madam President, and thank you and thank you to Senator Kennedy for the yield. Yes, in Milford, we are also bursting with pride over our Olympian, Mark Arcobello who grew up in Milford. He played hockey at Fairfield Prep. He went to Yale, so he is uniquely Connecticut where he played hockey. After that, he played as a forward in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers, the Nashville Predators, the Pittsburg Penguins, the Arizona Coyotes, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, so he's run the gamut; but since 2016, Mark has played professionally in the National League of Switzerland as a right wing for SC Bern. This year Mark along with the other Olympians that Senator Kennedy has mentioned will be playing with Team USA at the Olympics in South Korea. Mark played with Team USA in the 2015 World Championships in the Czech Republic where Team USA placed 3rd. This year, we hope this Milford native leads his team, our team, to the top of the podium and brings home a gold medal, and we are very excited in Milford and before we ask for the circle to please rise and recognize these fabulous athletes, I too want to add my thank yous to you, Nancy -- or Lieutenant Governor Wyman, for your leadership, for your friendship, and for being a role model to all, especially to women. You've shown the way. This is how you get it done and now, if the circle would please rise and congratulate all of our Olympians and wish them the best success. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

I feel like chanting GO USA, GO USA, GO USA but I won't do that. Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO (4TH):

Thank you, Madam President. It is indeed a pleasure for me to rise and before I introduce my guest, I would like to too thank you very much for your service over the years. I remember a meeting that I attended up in Tolland, Connecticut. Senator Mike Skelly, the Board Ed Chairman was Bill Dowd, and you were a member of the Board of Education and the purpose of the meeting was to convince you to run for the House. What you have done since then has been remarkable, and your friendship is lifelong. Thank you. I have indeed a very great honor to be able to introduce to my fellow senators, staff, and guests Pam Cranford. Pamela and I both live in Manchester, Connecticut. You probably have heard recently that Manchester was named by Money Magazine as the best place to live in Connecticut and we are very, very proud of that honor, and that is because of people like Pam who have dedicated so much to the lives of others. Pamela Floyd Cranford and I both graduated from UCON with MSWs and both have been people persons. She is a passionate person about helping others and has dedicated her life to supporting children and families in Connecticut. She has worked for the Department of Children and Family Services, DCF, for 29 years. In fact, next month will be her 30th, as a social worker and a program manager. As a licensed clinical social worker, Pamela advocates daily for the care of our youth.

She is a loving parent. Her two sons went to Manchester public schools and both went on to obtain master's degrees. Most recently, Pamela was elected to the Manchester Board of Directors, which in most places is called the city council or the town council. We still haven't changed that. I know she will serve Manchester with distinction and I am very happy that she was able to take a short break from work and be my guest this morning, as I know she is eager to get back to her work at DCF, but it's important that we give her a warm welcome and a thank you for her service to the state of Connecticut, to the people of Manchester, to the children and families who need her most. Pam. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Pam, very, very much. We really do appreciate all you -- I just want to know, Senator Cassano, did you go to school with Pam? Cause she looks a lot younger. [Laughing]. Now, Senator Linares and then Senator Boucher.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for a point of personal privilege and first, I'd like to thank you for your 35 years of public service. As Senator Fasano pointed out, that's longer than I've been alive and --

THE CHAIR:

Alright, that's enough of that. [Laughter].

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

It's been an honor serving with you and thank you for your hard work and dedication to this state. Today, Madam President, we are joined in the Senate circle with the 2018 Connecticut Kid Governor, Megan Kasperowski, 5th grader at Brownstone Intermediate School in Portland. Fifth graders from across Connecticut voted for seven final candidates and Megan won on her platform of stronger than cancer, lifting spirits and changing lives. She was inaugurated at the Old State House on January 26. She will spend her 1-year term participating in public programs by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network to raise awareness of those in our state who are fighting cancer. She is here today with her mother, Lauren, and grandmother Mary Lombardo. You can follow Megan's term on CTKG, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and although she's kid governor, I did hear, Madam President, that she is considering throwing her hat in the ring for adult governor this year. [Laughter].

THE CHAIR:

Why not.

SENATOR LINARES (33RD):

[Laughing]. I would ask the Senate to join me in a warm welcome for Connecticut's kid governor. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Congratulations and know that the work you're gonna do in the next year is really gonna mean something. I hope you'll come back and visit us. Okay, thank you, again. At this time, Senator Boucher -- I'm sorry -- and then Senator McLachlan and then Senator Flexer. I got it down now. Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Good morning.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning.

SENATOR BOUCHER (26TH):

Our great Lieutenant Governor, I rise for a point of personal privilege but before that, I also want to share in the gratitude and thanks to you for your amazing service. You say that you came in in 1986, and that was the year that I was elected to our local board of education and that's how I became familiar with you and your work on the education committee of the legislature at that time. We were serving at some very interesting times when we had Sheff vs. O'Neill, when we had the creation of an education cost sharing formula, so I guess we go way back but your service has been exemplary and you've treated us all with great kindness and respect on all sides of the political isle and it's greatly appreciated, and I'm sure we'll see a lot more of your service to the state of Connecticut, but we are grateful.

I am very, very delighted to introduce this chamber to a young man by the name of Bradley Harper. Bradley has just transferred to the state of Connecticut very recently, and we're very fortunate of that because not only is he bringing his talent as an attorney and soon we hope will be passing the bar here in Connecticut and he resides -- he and his partner reside here -- his husband in fact -- reside here in Hartford and we're very fortunate that your husband was able to drag you here because he is also a very talented retina surgeon that will be a great asset to our state but more importantly, he immediately became interested in our state government and he's here to learn more and we hope to see a great deal of his participation. It's always good when you get someone coming to Connecticut from North Carolina, where we lose a lot of our residents to, so welcome Bradley. We're so proud and privileged and I hope that you will all rise and give him a warm welcome and say welcome to Connecticut, welcome to our state Senate. Thank you. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Bradley, thank you so much. Thank you for coming to our state and so glad that you're interested in politics. Senator McLachlan, I believe you're next.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24th):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

And, I too join the circle in congratulating you for fine service to the state of Connecticut and especially to the state Senate. We are grateful for your humor, as Senator Fasano, has said because at the most important time when it seems things were tense and not moving along you put everything in perspective with your wisdom so we appreciated that very much and wish you the very best.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir.

SENATOR MCLACHLAN (24TH):

I stand today with several guests from several areas of the state but beginning with Tim and Lucy Snow of New Britain, Senator Gerratana's constituents. Lucy is the coordinator of the Connecticut Capitol Prayer Walkers and so we have people here at the State Capitol that are very interested in our spiritual welfare and spend time here at the Capitol prayer for the staff and the elected officials here at the state Capitol. Lucy and Tim were grateful for your service and I have several others, Gregg Healey and Pastor Marian McIntosh are the co-leaders of the Connecticut Capitol Prayer Network. They meet here monthly and are very concerned, along with faith's leaders from across the state of Connecticut who come here to the Capitol on a monthly basis. Again, they are here looking out for our best interests in every way and especially in our faiths wellbeing.

We have a dear friend of mine from Danbury and his wife, Joel and Cheryl Urice. Joel is the host of a community television program in the greater Danbury area. Those are unsung heroes that spend all of that time in community TV letting the residents of the towns know what's going on behind the scenes, and we're very grateful to Joel and especially to Cheryl for allowing him to spend all that time looking out for our community, and last but not least is some of my favorites to see here today. The youngest of the delegation from Western Connecticut, the Western Connecticut State University College republican president, Christy Petricone [phonetic] and also with her is the vice president of the Western Connecticut State University College republicans, Lucia Wilk [phonetic]. We are grateful that you are carrying the torch of the next generation interested in the political process. I know that we have a very engaged democratic club at West-Con and so it's always exciting to see that the debate begins early and especially that in my hometown I'm glad to see you engaged in the process, so if the circle would join me in welcoming all of these special guests, we would appreciate it. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Thank you all for coming today. I appreciate it. At this time, it will be Senator Flexer.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

Good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning, Senator.

SENATOR FLEXER (29TH):

I have a small suggestion for Senator McLachlan. Perhaps in the Government Administration Committee in response to what Senator Linare said a minute ago -- I rise for a point of personal privilege. I forgot that -- but perhaps we could consider a constitutional amendment in the GAE Committee since neither Senator Linares nor Kid Governor Megan would meet the current constitutional requirements for governor, maybe we could change that. [Laughter]. Madam President, I also want to rise and just briefly take this opportunity to honor you and to thank you for your tremendous service. A few moments ago when Senator Duff referred to you as everybody's Nancy I got goosebumps because that was such an accurate statement, and I cannot express clearly enough the great admiration and frankly love that I have for you and you're tremendous model of public service to the state of Connecticut. What you have done over the course of your career and the incredible issues that you have made a huge difference on from education to healthcare and of course, the great work you've done for our veterans. You are beloved in that community. I've seen that firsthand because you have been the strongest advocate that veterans in our state could ask for. You have just been a role model to so many of us and a great mentor to us. I am grateful for your friendship and I don't know that the state of Connecticut has ever had a better Lieutenant Governor, and I'm very sad that you won't be standing in that position a year from now, but I just want to thank you, thank you very much; and Madam President, I am very privileged today to have the opportunity to share this date with students from Killingly High School, trying to be a role model for young people and letting them see the legislative process, which I know you have done so well throughout your career, Madam President.

We have students here with us today from Killingly High School who are here on a job shadow to see what it's like to be a state legislator and I would like to introduce Dylan LeDuc who is here with us and if the chamber would please give him a warm welcome. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Welcome, Dylan. I hope you do get involved in politics. Senator Berthel and then Senator Martin. Senator Berthel.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Madam President, I will also add my comments as one of the members of the circle who has been here the least amount of time with you. I thank you as well for your distinguished service to the great state of Connecticut and to the people, and it will be a very different place coming next year when we come back into session without you there and your humor, so thank you and I hope you -- despite what everyone else has said, I hope that you will truly take some time to retire and enjoy some time off with your extended family. Madam President, I rise for the purpose of a point of personal privilege.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Thank you. I am blessed today to have my two sons here with me for opening day. This is officially my first opening day in the Senate as I came in, as we know, in a special election last February. My son, Matthew, 13, my son, Paul, 11, both students at Swift Middle School in Watertown. They don't have any school today thanks to mother nature. I think all of the state of Connecticut is out of class today in terms of our schools being closed, but they would have been here either way and as Senator Linares and Senator Flexer just spoke to young people truly represent the future of Connecticut and the future of our nation. They will be future business leaders, they will be future parents, maybe future members of our military, and I don't know if I say in a good way or a bad way but possibly future elected officials -- [Laughter] -- so, at any rate, if the members would please join me in welcoming not only Matthew and Paul but all of the young people in our great chamber this morning, that would be appreciated. Thank you, Madam. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Matthew and Paul, you should be very, very proud of your dad. Your dad is a very special person and we're glad to have him in this circle, and I know that you are proud of him. Aren't ya? Yeah, you should be. Senator Martin.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

First, let me congratulate you and thank you also along with my colleagues around the circle here for your years of service but for taking the time specifically for when my uncles visited the Capitol, who both are military vets, you took time out of your busy schedule to say hello and take a photo with them and I know that meant a lot to them for you having done that. Also, I just want to let you know that my wife loves your shoes and we're probably all going to miss you walking through the circle here and seeing okay what type of shoes does she have on today, so thank you.

I'd like to introduce two people. Some of you have already met my wife but for me, it's kind of special. I have two of my best friends in the chamber here today. One is my wife who is my biggest cheerleader. I've mentioned that before. Some of you have called her a Rockstar and gotten to know her and she lights up a room when she comes into it and besides being beautiful, she's my best friend, so my wife, Roxanne. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Please put on Senator Martin's, thank you.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

And, the second person is a person that I've known longer than my wife. He and I go back to college, to our college days and became best friends there. Actually, a native of Danbury, Connecticut, transported to now Providence, Rhode Island. He is the best of the best in his field, a nurse anesthetist, highly respected at the Providence Hospital and throughout probably the region -- New England region, so I can't say enough about this person, both of them. I am so grateful for them being in my life, helping me become a better person. I'd like you to welcome my friend, Christopher Coball [phonetic]. Thank you. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Senator -- no problem. Senator Martin, please.

SENATOR MARTIN (31ST):

Just one last thing. Recently diagnosed with lung cancer, had surgery, went through chemotherapy and is now cancer free.

THE CHAIR:

Yes! [Applause]. Alright! Congratulations. It's nice to see you healthy. Thank you so much for being here. I have Senator Bye and then Senator Formica.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Good morning, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good morning.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

I rise for point of personal privilege. I know there will be much more to say later but it seems like now's the moment to remind you about how much we value you in the circle and as I've been listening to my colleagues, I would say what came to my mind, Madam President, is that you lead with love. It's no accident that your major accomplishment is healthcare. Our state had the best healthcare exchange, has the best healthcare exchange possible right now in this nation. It's saved lives, saved lives of so many, and made people's lives better and that we will remember you for. You know what it is to be caring and you know how to be tough, and I think what strikes all of us is your humility. Listening to your comments with your head down, it's so hard for you to talk about yourself and take credit and part of that is because the way you work, is you bring people together and they all work together. It's never been about you and our state is a better place because of your service, so I want to introduce a few people if the chamber will indulge me.

I want to start with a young man that I met at church just a month ago. His name is Issam Borea [phonetic]. Issam, will you please stand? Issam came to this country to escape persecution and imprisonment for his efforts to spread democracy throughout Egypt and the whole Middle East in fact. He was an organizer on the ground helping to speak up for things like free speech, government that is a democracy, and he had just been living a middle class life before things started to fall apart in Egypt, and he is a reminder about its individuals that can stand up and make a difference and I'm so proud to call him a friend and to have gotten to know Issam and grateful that our nation has welcomed him as an immigrant, so Issam, we're so glad you're here. If the chamber can give Issam a round of applause. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Welcome -- welcome, Issam. Thank you for coming here and I know what you bring with you will make this country a better place. Thank you.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I would also like to introduce the Deputy Mayor of West Hartford, Beth Kerrigan, who some of you may know as Beth Kerrigan of Kerrigan vs. Connecticut. She and her family spent a decade fighting for the right for Connecticut residents to marry and I know Tracy and I appreciate it every day, Beth, and thank you for your service on our town council. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Yes! Thank you. Thanks, Beth.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

I can't blame them and Madam President, I just have to take a moment to express my gratitude to the circle. My family -- Tracy is here this year -- and my family is in a very different place but last year, I wasn't even in the state on this date and it was the support of Senator Looney -- Senate President Looney, Senator Fasano, Senator Duff, and Senator Witkos, leaders were all supportive and helpful. Senator Linares, my co-chair in higher ed took extra responsibility, as did the chairs of my other committees, so this circle was just such a wonderful support last year that I can't help but take a moment to thank everybody and particularly you, Madam President. You called twice a week and checked in with us all the time and have been such a wonderful support. It's, again, back to your healthcare focus. It's about the people, so I just want to take a moment to thank people and then recognize my intern, Jimmy Boise [phonetic]who is here from Trinity and I'll close by introducing my wife, Tracy Wilson, who is a Rockstar in here. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Love you guys. Thank you.

SENATOR BYE (5TH):

She said I didn't have to introduce her this year but I really had to and also to celebrate the recent publication of her book, Essays About the History of West Hartford, over 400 pages and the focus is really on the power that individuals have to use their energy and courage and caring to build community, and so we're really proud of Tracy's accomplishment in West Hartford as our town historian. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Thank you, Tracy. At this time, Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you very much. First, while we're speaking of Connecticut Olympians, I'd like to add the name of Ryan Pivirotto, a speed skater, from East Lyme who will be joining those in competition over in South Korea, so we're proud of him. Too, I echo and agree with the comments made, all of the nice comments that were made about you this morning and your legacy I believe it to be with my experience with you, your kindness and your character, and I think that should be an example for all of us who serve no matter which political affiliation we have, Madam President, and I am most grateful for having the opportunity to serve in this great circle with you and watch you in your tremendous leadership as you lead the way through some of these minefields that we have here, so thank you for that.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Also, I have no family joining me here today but I thought it would be important to take a minute to thank the family that's here each and every day that I get the opportunity to work with, not only the great senators but all of the staff and the interns who work so hard. Our challenges are great. Our work is long and hard and the people who get the least amount of credit are the people who do the most amount of work, and I'd like to ask the chamber to rise and thank and appreciate all of the staff in this building who work so do damn hard to make sure we get this done and I look forward to working with them all again, and I thank them for the opportunity to work with them. Thank you, Madam President. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Thank you, Senator. Senator Fonfara and then Senator Suzzio.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President, and good morning. It's great to see you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Madam President, I wanted to thank you for many things here this morning, not the least of which is your service to the state of Connecticut. Way back some 30 years ago, you began your journey on the education committee, sharing that committee, doing great things for the children of this state. Your work on behalf of veterans, as well as those in active service, your many years as the comptroller overseeing the finances of this state, your great sense of humor that we will always remember about you whether you're here in our presence or otherwise, your unparalleled partnership with Governor Malloy, and your loyalty to him, a character trait that I think is in short supply these days.

Madam President, you remember we came in together in 1986 and you came, as Senator Duff said, you knocked on doors for me in a primary some 30 years ago with then Speaker Irv Stolberg and a number of our colleagues. There was nothing to gain for the House democratic caucus in coming to knock on doors for me. There was going to be a democrat in that seat no matter what, but I've never forgotten you doing that and talking to my constituents in the south end. I can still remember it to this day and I thank you for it, Madam President, and for your friendship.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

First of all, I would like to second the sentiments of every single one of my colleagues who have risen in the chamber recognizing your years, your decades of public service to the people of Connecticut in various capacities. You are indeed an example and an inspiration to all of us as we seek to serve the public in the best ways we possibly can, although I might admit that when I heard Senator Osten get up speaking about your departure from public office that we should all emulate your example I wasn't quite certain what she meant by that but then I understood. [Laughter].

I want to recognize several people in the audience who I would like to call to your attention. First of all, I'd like to recognize the members of my family, my wife Kate who's been my best friend and mate for going on 47 years and my daughter, Katelyn and my son, Joshua. [Applause]. We also have in the gallery Dr. Steve Minkler and his wife Karen. Dr. Minkler is dean and acting president of Middlesex Community College, and Dr. Minkler played an indispensable role with respect to the Middlesex Community College campus in Meriden. That campus was threatened with closure because of the cost of running and the budget issues that we have, and Dr. Minkler played a key role in coordinating with the local board of education and moving the Middlesex Community College campus to the brand new Platt High School, and to me what happened in that situation, is a great example that we ought to think about and might motivate us here as we seek to deal with the budgetary problems in Connecticut because in resolving a budget problem we actually improved, I think, the educational services that are available to young folk in Meriden and the surrounding communities. The facilities at Platt High School would rival that of any college and it's a fantastic example to me of what we can do in responding to the budget crisis, not only to meet it and solve it, but to perhaps even render a better service to our communities, and I just want to personally thank Steve for the key role he played in it and of course, Dr. Minkler like all of us, his spouse is key in his life in supporting him like my spouse is to me. Thank you both very, very much. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio, please. Okay.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Sorry, just one more guest I want to call to your attention. Sitting in the gallery too is Tom Auray. Tom is president of Bridgeport Fittings and he is a very active member of the New Haven Manufacturer's Association, and Dr. Minkler and Tom were sitting at the table with me this morning having breakfast and engaged in an animated conversation about what we can do to foster collaboration between the educational community and the business community in Connecticut, and that certainly is going to be a very key component of Connecticut's recovery and I'm glad to be, I hope, a catalyst in initiating some communication between key people in the business community and the leaders in our education community. Tom, thank you for joining us today too. Thank you all very much. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

At this time, are there any other points of personal privilege. Senator Hartley, good morning.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

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

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

And, if I might just very briefly join my colleagues in saying it was kind of surreal to hear your opening remarks today, madam, and as we go forward in this session, myself and all of the members in this chamber will relish every day that you will be leading us on the Dias and of course, to always celebrate your incredible legacy with regard from the days of chairing education, to moving on to being our lieutenant governor and distinguishing this state with regard to healthcare issues, but if I might very briefly, I've just been graced with one of my colleagues, a member of the Waterbury/Naugatuck delegation, that is Representative Rosa Rebimbas and with her today she is joined by part of the Rebimbas dynasty from Naugatuck, her cousin Celeste Rebimbas and students of Naugatuck High School, Sarah, Jessica, and Melissa have also weathered the 84 traverse to be here with us on this opening day so if my colleagues would join me in welcoming them to the Senate. Thank you very much, Madam President. [Applause].

THE CHAIR:

Welcome to the chamber. Thank you for coming up and visiting. We appreciate it. At this point, Senator Kelly -- did you -- I apologize. Senator Kelly.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you, Madam President. I rise for the purposes of a Journal notation.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR KELLY (21ST):

Thank you very much. Senator Kevin Witkos was not here today unexpectedly for family reasons.

THE CHAIR:

Our prayers are with them. At this time, Senator Duff -- okay.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, do we have a report from our Committee? Have they discharged their duties?

THE CHAIR:

They haven't gone yet. [Laughing].

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Oh, they haven't gone yet. Okay.

THE CHAIR:

They -- if the Committee would like to run downstairs -- not run. Senator Guglielmo, you too. Senator Guglielmo. Tony. You're down. You're gone. Outta here. [Laughing]. We have had the report from the House ready. Senator Duff, would you like to stand at ease?

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Yes. Thank you, Madam President. Are we waiting for the report to come back or we assume that everything's okay.

THE CHAIR:

The House already came up and said they were ready for us, so.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Oh, okay. Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I think then we'll assume that our Committee will do its job and not get waylaid on the way downstairs to the second floor and I believe the Governor's address is at noon and we'll meet in Joint Convention at noon, and so I would move that we adjourn until the Joint Convention.

THE CHAIR:

All those in favor, please say, aye.

(All) Aye.

It doesn't matter. We're gonna do it anyway. The Senate will stand adjourned subject to the call of the chair. Senators, please proceed to the House.

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

TOP