OLR Bill Analysis

SB 501

Emergency Certification

AN ACT IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN PROVISIONS CONCERNING GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION.

SUMMARY:

A section-by-section analysis follows.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below.

1 — CHILD ADVOCATE

By law, the advisory committee to the Office of the Child Advocate must prepare and submit to the governor a list of candidates for child advocate upon a vacancy in the position. The committee must meet to consider and interview successor candidates and submit a list of between five and seven individuals, ranked in order of preference, for appointment to the governor within 60 days of the vacancy. The bill requires the committee to submit such a list to the governor by July 31, 2012 for a vacancy occurring after January 1, 2012 and before the bill's passage. The position is currently vacant.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

2 — DEADLINES FOR CONSENSUS REVENUE ESTIMATES

The bill extends the deadlines for:

1. the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary and the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) director to issue the initial consensus revenue estimate for the current biennium and the three following fiscal years from October 15 to November 10 annually;

2. the comptroller to issue the initial estimate if the secretary and the director do not agree on a joint estimate, from October 25 to November 20 annually; and

3. issuing all consensus revenue estimates or revisions to the next business day when any statutory deadline falls on a weekend or holiday.

By law, the OPM secretary and the OFA director must issue (1) the first consensus revenue estimate by a specified date in the fall of each fiscal year and (2) any necessary consensus revisions of those estimates or a statement that no revision is needed by January 15 and April 30 annually. The law also specifies deadlines for the comptroller to issue an initial and any necessary revised revenue estimates if the OPM secretary and the OFA director cannot agree.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

3-12 — FILING DEADLINES FOR CERTAIN PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS

Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment (MME) and Commercial Vehicle Exemptions

The bill allows certain taxpayers to receive property tax exemptions for particular grand list years, as shown in Table 1, even though they missed the statutory filing deadlines for them. The exemptions are for:

1. machinery and equipment used for manufacturing, biotechnology, or recycling (CGS 12-81(72)) and

2. new and newly acquired commercial trucks (CGS 12-81(74)).

Table 1: Exemption Application Deadline Waivers

Town

Grand List

Type of Property

4,5

Windsor

2009 & 2010

MME

6

Seymour

2010

MME

8

Bridgeport

2010

MME

9

Waterbury

2010

MME

10

Hartford

2010 & 2011

Commercial trucks

12

Durham

2011

MME

By law, property owners must apply to local assessors for these exemptions by November 1, annually. The bill waives this deadline for property owners in the towns and for the grand lists shown above, if they apply for the exemption within 30 days of the bill's passage and pay the statutory late fee.

In each case, the local assessor must (1) verify eligibility for and approve the exemption and (2) refund any taxes paid on the property.

Request to Reconsider Denial or Modification of MME Exemption ( 3)

The bill allows a taxpayer in Danbury to file a written request to the OPM secretary to reconsider the secretary's modification or denial of the town assessor's decision to exempt certain MME, despite the taxpayers' failure to meet the 30-day deadline for filing the request. The request pertains to property on Danbury's grand list for the October 1, 2006 assessment year.

The bill gives the taxpayer 30 days after its passage to file a request together with all documentation and information the secretary requested in the original modification or denial letter. The secretary has 30 days from the request date to consider the information and make a decision.

If the taxpayer is aggrieved by the decision, he or she can ask for a hearing according to the regular statutory procedure. If the secretary finds that the taxpayer is eligible for the exemptions, the secretary must notify Danbury's assessor. Danbury must reimburse the taxpayer for any taxes already paid on the exempt property.

Refund of Penalty for Failing to File a Personal Property Tax Declaration ( 7)

The bill allows a taxpayer in Brookfield to receive a refund of the 25% penalty assessed for failing to file a personal property declaration for the 2009 grand list, even though the taxpayer missed the deadlines for filing the declaration (November 1, annually) and appealing to Brookfield's board of assessment appeals. The taxpayer must (1) apply for the refund, in the manner Brookfield's assessor determines, by June 30, 2012 and (2) have paid all real and personal property taxes due to the town. Brookfield must reimburse the taxpayer for any penalty paid on the personal property.

Exemption for Nonprofit Organization Property ( 11)

The bill allows a nonprofit organization (i. e. , an organization organized exclusively for scientific, educational, literary, historical, or charitable purposes or to preserve land for open space) to receive an exemption for real property on Middletown's 2010 grand list even though it missed the deadline for filing the required property tax exemption statement (November 1, quadrennially). The organization must apply for the exemption within 30 days of the bill's passage and pay the statutory late fee to be considered to have filed the statement in a timely manner.

It requires the Middletown assessor to approve the exemption after confirming the fee payment and the property's eligibility for the exemption. Middletown must refund any excess taxes, interest, and penalties the organization paid on the exempt property.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

13 — ODD FELLOWS' HOME OF CONNECTICUT

The bill increases, from $ 10 million to $ 25 million, the maximum value of real and personal property that the Odd Fellows' Home of Connecticut may hold at any one time and still retain its estate, property, and endowment fund exempt from state taxes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

14 & 15 — COMMISSIONER'S NETWORK OF SCHOOLS

The education reform act (PA 12-116) establishes the education commissioner's network of schools to improve student academic achievement in low-performing schools and steps the commissioner, district turnaround committees, and local and regional boards of education must take regarding the network, including creating turnaround plans for each school.

The bill changes the definition of an “approved not-for-profit educational management organization,” which under PA 12-116 can be chosen to manage a network school. The bill removes the restriction that a not-for-profit organization with experience and a record of success in improving student achievement for low-income or low-performing students must be located out of the state, thus allowing in-state organizations with the same record of success to be eligible to manage a network school. The bill leaves unchanged the authorization for a non-profit that currently operates a state charter school in the state to manage a network school.

PA 12-116 requires the commissioner to develop a turnaround plan for one school for the school year beginning July 1, 2012. The bill permits the commissioner to approve a turnaround plan for another network school for the same school year that assigns the school management, administration or governance to an approved not-for-profit organization. It also requires the commissioner to negotiate matters related to the plan in accordance with collective bargaining procedures detailed in PA 12-116.

The bill reduces the number, from five to four, of school turnaround plans for school years 2013 and 2014 that can choose a not-for-profit organization to manage the school. But if the commissioner does not exercise the option of approving a turnaround plan for the 2012 school year that includes using a not-for-profit management organization, then he can still choose five of such plans to be implemented over the 2013 and 2014 school years.

It also makes several technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

16 & 17 — COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND TURNAROUND PLANS

PA 12-116 requires the local school board and the teachers' or administrators' union to negotiate on any matters in an approved turnaround plan or a plan developed by the commissioner that conflicts with provisions of an existing union contract.

It sets out two detailed tracks for these negotiations, one for turnaround plans agreed to at the local level and approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) and another when (1) there is no consensus on the local plan, (2) the commissioner deems the local plan deficient, or (3) no local plan is developed. For the track regarding non-consensus or no sufficient plan, a bargaining referee must determine whether the matters that conflict with the existing agreement are to be negotiated under existing bargaining parameters or through impact bargaining.

The bill specifies when the 30-day period for negotiations begins. If the board of education and the teachers' or administrators' union agree on all or certain components of the turnaround plan, the 30-day negotiation period begins when the turnaround plan is presented to the board and the union, rather than beginning when the agreement is reached by the turnaround committee.

If the board and the union do not agree and the components are sent before the bargaining referee, then the 30-day period begins when the referee makes a determination on the type of bargaining, rather than when the agreement is reached by the turnaround committee.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

18 — EDUCATIONAL MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS

PA 12-116 bans a not-for-profit educational management organization chosen to manage a network school from employing the school's principal, administrators, and teachers. The bill expands this to prohibiting them from employing any person who works at the school.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

19-21 & 25-27 — STATE CHARTER SCHOOL GRANTS PAID THROUGH TOWNS

PA 12-116 requires the state to pay certain grants for state and local charter schools to the town where each school is located as an addition to the town's Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant, and requires the towns to pay the amounts the education commissioner specifies to each charter school's fiscal authority.

The bill delays the deadlines for the initial payments of the per-student grants. It requires the state to make the first payment to the towns by July 15, rather than July 1, and requires towns to pay the charter schools by July 20 rather than July 15. The first payment is 25% of the grant based on the charter school's estimated enrollment on May 1. The payment deadline changes apply to annual per-student grants for (1) state charter schools of $ 10,500 for FY 13, $ 11,000 for FY 14, and $ 11,500 for FY 15 and thereafter and (2) qualifying local charter schools of up to $ 3,000 starting in FY 14.

The bill also removes a requirement in PA 12-116 that startup grants for new state charter schools that help the state meet the desegregation goals of the 2008 Sheff settlement agreement (“Sheff charters”) be paid through ECS grants to the towns where they are located. Instead, it maintains the existing requirement that the state pay this grant directly to the Sheff charter school's governing authority.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

22 — PAYMENT OF ECS GRANT INCREASES FOR ALLIANCE DISTRICTS

PA 12-116 requires the state comptroller to hold back any ECS grant increase payable to an “alliance district” town in FY 13 or any subsequent fiscal year and transfer the money to the education commissioner. Under the act, the commissioner pays the funds on condition that they are spent according to the district's approved district improvement plan and any guidelines the SBE adopts.

The bill specifies that, when the funds are paid to an alliance district town, the town must pay them to its board of education to implement the improvement plan.

The alliance districts are the 30 districts with the lowest student performance on statewide mastery tests, according to a district performance index established in PA 12-116.  

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

23 & 24 — TEACHER EVALUATION AND SUPPORT PROGRAM

Deadline to Implement District Evaluation Programs

By law, SBE must adopt guidelines for a model evaluation and support program for teachers and school administrators by July 1, 2012. PA 12-116 requires the evaluation programs used by local school districts to be consistent with the new guidelines, unless SBE waives the requirement for a district that already has a program that substantially complies.

Unless they receive a waiver, this bill requires all school districts to develop and implement programs consistent with the guidelines by September 1, 2013.

Pilot Program Requirements

For the 2012-13 school year, PA 12-116 requires the education commissioner to (1) administer a teacher evaluation pilot program based on new SBE guidelines as of July 1, 2012 and (2) select between eight and 10 districts to participate in the pilot. This bill allows groups of districts to participate as consortia and allows the commissioner to count each such consortium as one district for purposes of the pilot program.

PA 12-116 also requires the pilot evaluation programs to, among other things, provide training to teachers being evaluated. This bill requires the programs to instead provide orientation to such teachers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

28 — TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL BUDGETS

PA 12-116 creates a new technical high school system board to govern regional technical high schools. It gave the board the authority to approve or disapprove system budgets without modification as proposed by the technical high school system superintendent. The bill authorizes the board to amend and approve the budget. It requires the board to submit the approved budget to the State Board of Education and the Office of Policy and Management following existing agency budget procedures. The bill eliminates the provision that if the technical system board disapproves the budget, it must adopt an interim budget that remains in effect until the superintendent submits and the board approves a modified budget.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

29 — CONNECTICUT AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION BOARD

The bill requires the board of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station to annually choose a vice president from among its members. The law already requires the board to annually choose a president, secretary, and treasurer.

The bill also authorizes the president and vice president to excuse members' meeting absences. By law, the board must meet at least quarterly and a member is considered resigned if he or she fails to attend three consecutive meetings or half of all meetings in a calendar year.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

30-125 — TECHNICAL REVISIONS

The bill amends PA 12-162. Beginning October 1, 2012, that act specifies when insurers may impose a hurricane deductible under homeowners and certain other policies issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2012. The bill applies that provision to policies issued or renewed on or after October 1, 2012, thus preventing the provision's retroactive application ( 95).

The bill also conforms the state's statutory duration of daylight savings time to the change in federal law, which became effective in 2007 (15 USC 260a, P. L. 109-58, Energy Policy Act of 2005). The bill ( 31) requires daylight savings time to begin on the second Sunday of March (rather than the first Sunday in April) and end on the first Sunday in November (rather than the last Sunday in October).

The bill doubles, from one to two years, the duration of a license to operate a driving school, and correspondingly adjusts the initial license fee from $ 350 to $ 700 and the fee for each additional place of business from $ 88 to $ 176. This conforms to changes PA 12-81, 46, makes in the duration and fees for renewing such a license and for each additional place of business ( 125).

PA 12-192 allows the labor commissioner to disclose certain employment information that identifies individual employees or employers to the president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) for use in his official duties to the extent necessary to evaluate programs at higher education institutions BOR governs. The bill makes a conforming change by removing a reference to institutions of higher education and their governing boards from a provision establishing safeguards ensuring that only certain authorized people have access to disclosed information stored in computer systems ( 119).

By law, a juvenile may object to the entering of a nolle prosequi on a delinquency charge and demand either a trial or dismissal. The bill allows a child, rather than a juvenile to make such an objection. Since the term “juvenile” is not defined in statute, it is not clear if these terms are synonymous ( 80).

It makes minor, technical, conforming, and grammatical corrections in the general statutes and corrects incorrect references.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012; except for provisions correcting a definition reference in the sales and use tax exemption ( 58), deleting an obsolete reference in the education statutes and correcting and updating references relating to education and higher education ( 103, 119 & 120), and correcting a reference to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( 121), which take effect July 1, 2012; and provisions updating references to the emergency services and public protection department ( 104 - 115) and specifying that school paraprofessionals can begin accruing hours towards family and medical leave from the date regulations take effect, rather than the date they are adopted, which take effect upon passage ( 117).

126 & 173 — REGULATION OF INSURANCE COMPANIES

The bill advances, from October 1, 2012 to July 1, 2012, the effective date of provisions of PA 12-103 ( 6) that allow the Insurance commissioner to initiate, be a member of, or participate in a supervisory college. This is a temporary or permanent forum for communication between and cooperation among state, federal, and international regulatory officials.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

127 & 173 — INSURANCE HOLDING COMPANIES

The bill makes a minor change in PA 12-103's provisions regarding insurance holding companies. By law, each insurance company that is authorized to do business in Connecticut and is a member of an holding company system must register with the Insurance commissioner and file a registration statement containing specified information. The act additionally requires that the person controlling an insurance company subject to the registration requirement file an annual statement regarding the risks within the holding company system that pose a risk to the company. The bill requires that the first statement be filed by, rather than not before, June 1, 2013.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

128 — SOCIAL INNOVATION INVESTMENT

The bill allows the OPM secretary or his designee to enter into an outcome-based performance contract with a social innovation investment enterprise for the purpose of accepting specified federal funding (a U. S. Department of Justice FY 12 Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Program Demonstration Category 2 Implementation grant).

Under the bill, a social innovation investment enterprise is an entity created to coordinate nonprofit service providers' delivery of preventive social programs. The entity must have the capability to:

1. create a social investment vehicle (an investment product the enterprise establishes to raise private investment capital),

2. enter into outcome-based performance contracts (see below), and

3. contract with service providers.

The contract must (1) establish outcome-based performance standards for nonprofit service providers' preventive social programs and (2) provide that investors in a social investment vehicle receive a return of their investment and earnings on it only if the enterprise meets such standards. The contract can provide for payments from the social innovation account established by the bill to the enterprise, investors, or both.

Under the bill, when the secretary enters such a contract with a social innovation investment enterprise, he must comply with the law's requirements regarding privatization contracts (e. g. , he must conduct a cost-benefit analysis and a business case meeting specified criteria).

The bill also establishes a separate, nonlapsing social innovation account in the General Fund. The account consists of any money the law requires to be deposited in it, and any interest accruing to it. The bill allows funds to be transferred from the general fund to the social innovation account.

The bill requires the OPM secretary to spend the account funds to facilitate moderate and high-risk offenders' reentry into the community. The secretary can apply for and accept public or private gifts, grants, or donations to enable the account to be a source of payments to investors in a social investment vehicle.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

129 — BERLIN MORATORIUM

The bill extends by one year, the Town of Berlin's current four-year moratorium from the affordable housing land use appeals procedure. It requires that one year be subtracted from the duration of the next moratorium that the town receives. By law, a town may qualify for a moratorium from this procedure by obtaining a certification from the economic and community development commissioner showing it meets a specific threshold of affordable housing units.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

130-133 — MUNICIPAL SEWER BONDS

The bill makes various changes to laws allowing municipalities to issue bonds to finance sewer projects. Under existing municipal sewer system law, municipality means any (1) metropolitan district; (2) town, city, borough, consolidated town and city, or consolidated town and borough; and (3) village, fire, sewer, or combination fire and sewer district or other municipal organization authorized to levy and collect taxes.

Revenue Pledge

Existing law allows municipalities to issue bonds to acquire or build sewer systems that are secured by (1) the municipality's full faith and credit, (2) pledged revenues from sewer system use charges, or (3) both the municipality's full faith and credit and pledged revenues from sewer system connection or use charges or benefit assessments.

The bill requires any such revenue pledge to be (1) valid and binding from the time it is made, (2) immediately subject to a lien without physical delivery of the money, and (3) valid and binding against all parties with claims against the municipality, regardless of whether the parties received specific notice of the lien.

The resolution, trust indenture, or agreement that contains the pledge must be filed with the municipality's clerk, or district clerk in the case of a metropolitan district.

Redemption Terms

The bill allows the body authorizing the bonds, or a municipal officer, board, or commission authorized by such body, to determine bond redemption terms. The law already allows the authorizing body or designated municipal officer, board, or commission, to determine other aspects of the bond issuance, including the form of the bonds, their date, and the dates of principal and interest payments.

Bonds Sold at a Premium

The bill allows municipalities to issue sewer bonds that are sold at a premium or discount with accrued interest. Currently, they are limited to issuing bonds sold at par with accrued interest or at a discount.

Although current law does not appear to allow municipalities to issue bonds at a premium, it requires any premium received from bonds, notes, or other debt obligations, minus issuance costs, to be applied to the first principal payment. The bill allows municipalities to also use the premium for project costs, including capitalized interest.

Bond Structures

The bill allows municipalities to issue bonds with the same maturity date that bear different interest rates. Under current law, they can issue fixed-rate bonds and bonds with different rates for different maturities.

Existing law allows municipalities to issue term or serial sewer bonds. A term bond matures on a specific date; a serial bond matures at regular intervals each year over the life of the bond.

Current law (1) specifies how the debt service on serial bonds must be structured and (2) requires a sinking fund for any term bonds issued. The bill specifies that any sewer bond issuance is deemed to meet these requirements if they would have been met by the issue taken together with all of the previously issued bonds, notes, or other obligations the municipality declares as part of a single financing plan.

Bondholder Agreements

The bill explicitly allows municipalities to include provisions in their agreements with bondholders that specify:

1. how reserves derived from any revenue source will be created, maintained, managed, and used;

2. the conditions under which it issues refunding bonds;

3. the procedure, if any, for amending or repealing any contract with bondholders, including the number or percentage of bondholders that must consent to the amendment or repeal, the manner in which they must consent to it, and any restrictions on individual bondholder rights; and

4. how reimbursement or other similar agreements will be executed in connection with credit facilities, including letters of credit, bond insurance policies, remarketing agreements, and agreements to moderate interest rate fluctuations.

The bill also explicitly allows the municipality's agreement with bondholders to take the form of a trust indenture between the municipality and a corporate trustee it approves.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

134-137 — EXEMPTING CERTAIN ASSOCIATIONS FROM THE INSURANCE STATUTES

The bill exempts Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(23) tax-exempt organizations (those that primarily provide insurance to veterans and their dependents) from most Connecticut insurance laws. To be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(23), an organization must:

1. have a principal purpose of providing insurance and other benefits to veterans or their dependents,

2. have more than 75% of its members be past or present members of the U. S. armed forces, and

3. be an association organized before 1880.

The bill requires such organizations to file financial statements with the insurance commissioner annually by May 1 and pay a $ 10 filing fee for each. The commissioner, when he deems necessary, may require the organizations to file statements quarterly or more frequently.

Under the bill, if the commissioner determines that such an organization has not maintained qualified assets sufficient to meet its liabilities and minimum capital and surplus requirements as determined by the commissioner, he may order the organization to increase its capital and surplus. If the organization is unable to do so, the commissioner may order it to stop assuming any additional liabilities in Connecticut until the time when it can meet the capital and surplus requirements.

By law, fraternal benefit societies must file financial statements with the insurance commissioner annually by March 1. The bill increases, from $ 100 to $ 175 per day, the fee a society must pay if it fails to timely file a complete statement. The bill allows the commissioner to waive the late filing fee if (1) the society cannot file on time because the governor of its domiciliary (home) state proclaims a state of emergency that prevents the society from filing the statement or (2) the society's domiciliary state's insurance regulator has allowed it to file the statement late.

The bill also makes technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

138 – TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND IEPS

The bill adds additional types of professional development that local and regional boards of education are required to offer their certified employees regarding special education students. It requires boards to offer professional development that includes training in (1) the implementation of student individualized education programs (IEPs) and (2) the communication of IEP procedures to parents or guardians of students who require special education and related services. This training must be offered to certified employees with an endorsement in special education who hold a position requiring this endorsement.

Under state and federal special education law, an IEP is crafted for each special education student to address his or her individual needs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

139 — AMERICAN SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF

The bill allows the state treasurer to execute a deed quitclaiming (i. e. , renouncing) any right, title, and interest the state may have from any undischarged liens for monies previously advanced to the American School for the Deaf for construction and development.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

140-151 & 172 — CONVEYANCE OF STATE PROPERTY

The bill (1) authorizes conveyances of state property (a) to the towns of Bloomfield, East Hartford, East Haven, New Britain, New Haven, Tolland, and Windsor and (b) in the town of Enfield to the Shaker Pines Fire District 5; (2) amends prior conveyances in Barkhamsted and New Hartford, and Greenwich; and (3) repeals prior conveyances in Bristol, Manchester, Marlborough, and Windsor Locks.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

140-146 & 149-151 — New Conveyances

The bill requires the following conveyances from the agencies to the towns (and in one case, a fire district) named for the purpose specified:

1. the Department of Transportation (DOT) to East Hartford for open space (two parcels totaling . 82 acres for administrative costs);

2. DOT to East Haven (. 49 acres for fair market value, as determined by the average appraisals of two independent appraisers chosen by the commissioner, plus administrative costs);

3. the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), on behalf of the Judicial Department, to New Britain for economic development (. 89 acres for $ 60,000 plus administrative costs);

4. DAS, on behalf of the Department of Developmental Services, to Windsor (. 73 acres for a negotiated price plus administrative costs);

5. the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to Bloomfield for a golf course (36. 05 acres for administrative costs);

6. the Department of Economic and Community Development to New Haven for economic development (. 52 acres for administrative costs);

7. DOT to Tolland for economic development (3. 2 acres for administrative costs);

8. DECD to New Britain for a community park (. 32 acres for administrative costs); and

9. the Department of Correction to Shaker Pines Fire District 5 in Enfield for firefighting education and training (10 acres plus any improvements on the property for administrative costs).

Additionally, the New Haven conveyance releases a deed restriction that requires the property to be used only for low- and moderate-income housing.

Each conveyance is subject to the State Properties Review Board's approval within 30 days. Conveyances with a specified purpose (other than the New Haven conveyance) revert to the state if the recipient sells, leases, or uses the parcel for any purpose other than that specified in the bill, except that the bill allows New Britain to sell the parcel conveyed by DAS on behalf of the Judicial Department. Additionally, the East Hartford parcels revert to the state if it needs them for transportation purposes, and the conveyance by DAS to New Britain reverts to the state if it is not used for economic development within two years of the bill's passage.

The New Haven parcel reverts to the state only if the city sells or leases all or a portion of it for purposes other than economic development or business support. The bill also requires New Haven to transfer to the state any consideration received for selling or leasing the parcel that is not otherwise allocated for public improvements.

For the Windsor conveyance, the bill requires DAS and the town to negotiate the purchase price, which must be reduced by the amount the town pays for necessary improvements. Absent an agreed price, the parcel will not be conveyed. If the parcel is conveyed and Windsor refuses to pay the amount owed, it reverts to the state. The bill does not specify a deadline for Windsor to pay or agree to pay the amount owed.

147 & 148 — Amended Conveyances

The bill amends a 2008 conveyance of a . 44 acre parcel in Greenwich from DOT to the Greenwich Historical Society by allowing the society to use the land for purposes consistent with its mission. The property's use is currently restricted to parking purposes.

The bill amends a 2008 conveyance of a 3. 2 acre parcel in Barkhamsted and New Hartford from DOT to Regional Refuse Disposal District One by allowing the district to exchange a portion of the parcel with abutting property owners to construct a water well line on the abutting property. The conveyance's provisions require the property to be used for economic development purposes and prohibit the district from selling, leasing, or otherwise exchanging the property.

172 — Repealed Conveyances

The bill repeals prior conveyances from DOT to the following towns:

1. Bristol (. 11 acre in 2011),

2. Manchester for road alignment and traffic mitigation (1. 517 acres in 2010),

3. Marlborough (. 46 acre in 2010), and

4. Windsor Locks for municipal purposes (20,000 square feet in 2006).

152—ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

The bill allows the OPM secretary, regardless of other state laws, to authorize state agencies to contract with private and nonprofit entities to facilitate the public's electronic utilization of government programs and services. Before seeking authorization to enter into such an agreement, an agency must use competitive bidding or competitive negotiation to select entities to participate in the agreements. The agency must provide notice of a bid solicitation or request for proposals in a form and manner that the secretary determines will maximize public participation in the bidding or negotiation process.

Under the bill, the agreements may allow the private or nonprofit entity to collect applicable statutory or regulatory fees owed to the state and remit such amounts as defined in law. The bill allows the entity to charge an administrative fee, which must be deposited into the General Fund, but the Finance Advisory Committee must approve any administrative fee for electronically utilizing government programs or services.

The bill requires agreements to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and ensure that the public can still use nonelectronic means to access government programs and services. It prohibits the OPM secretary from authorizing agreements that adversely affect people's ability to apply for or receive assistance or benefits from the Department of Social Services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

153 — EAST HARTFORD REFERENDUM VALIDATION

The bill validates an East Hartford bonding referendum held on November 8, 2011 that was otherwise valid but for the town's failure to properly publish notice in a newspaper with general circulation in the town. It also validates, as of the date taken, all otherwise valid acts, votes, and proceedings of East Hartford officers and officials pertaining to or relying on the referendum. In the referendum, voters approved a $ 7 million appropriation and bond authorization for the town's flood control system.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

154 — ENERGY AUDITS FOR OIL-HEATED HOMES

Under current law, the home energy services audit program subsidizes customers who heat with oil or other nonutility fuels. Although the program is funded by charges on gas and electric bills, current law requires that the audit charge must be the same, regardless of how the property owner heats his or her home. The bill instead requires that the charge reflect the contributions made to the Energy Efficiency Fund by each type of customer, subject to a $ 99 cap.

Current law limits the subsidy that customers who heat with gas or electricity provide to those who heat with oil or other nonutility fuels to $ 500,000 per year. The bill eliminates the subsidy cap until August 1, 2013.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

155 — GIS DATA SHARING

The bill requires electric companies to provide certain utility pole data to the geographic or geospatial information systems (GIS) analyst or coordinator, or other equivalent official, of any municipality, regional planning agency, regional council of elected officials, or regional council of governments who requests it.

Under the bill, electric companies must share GIS data for poles they own or jointly own that are located in the municipality or the area served by the regional organization. The data include pole ownership, ID number, XY coordinate location, height, classification, and street or post light wattage size. The bill also allows the companies to provide the location of medical hardship accounts to a municipality that requests this information for public safety reasons during an emergency.

Before receiving the data, the municipality or regional organization must demonstrate to the electric company that it has appropriate procedures to keep the data confidential. The municipality or regional organization must only use the data internally and cannot publicly disclose it without the company's consent. The bill exempts any data shared under the bill from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

156 — COMBINED HEAT AND POWER/ANAEROBIC DIGESTER PROGRAMS

Under current law, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) must establish three-year pilot programs to (1) provide financial incentives for installing combined heat and power (CHP) systems with a generating capacity of less than 2 megawatts and (2) anaerobic digesters with a maximum capacity of 1. 5 megawatts. The bill expands the maximum size of the (1) CHP systems under the program to 5 megawatts and (2) the anaerobic digesters to 3 megawatts. The bill requires CEFIA to examine the appropriate financial assistance for each CHP project and increases the maximum assistance from $ 350 to $ 450 per kilowatt.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

157 — PROPERTY ASSESSED CLEAN ENERGY (PACE) PROGRAMS

By law, municipalities may establish PACE programs under which they loan money to local residents and businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. The loans are backed by a lien on the improved property that is treated like a property tax lien, other than not having priority over existing mortgages.

The bill (1) requires CEFIA to establish a separate PACE program for qualifying commercial property (including multifamily buildings with five or more units) and (2) allows municipalities to participate in this program under a written agreement approved by their legislative bodies.

The bill requires CEFIA to:

1. develop program guidelines governing the terms and conditions under which state financing may be made available to the commercial program, including, in consultation with representatives from the banking industry, municipalities, and property owners, developing the parameters for consent by existing mortgage holders;

2. establish the position of commercial sustainable energy program liaison within CEFIA;

3. establish a loan loss reserve or other credit enhancement program for qualifying commercial real property; and

4. adopt standards to ensure that the energy cost savings of the improvements over their useful life exceed their costs.

It allows CEFIA to:

1. serve as an aggregating entity to secure state or private third-party financing for the energy improvements and

2. use the services of one or more private, public, or quasi-public third-party administrators to administer, provide support, or obtain financing for the program (existing law has a similar provision for municipal programs).

The bill allows CEFIA to make appropriations for and issue bonds, notes or other obligations to finance the improvements. The bonds or other obligations must be issued in accordance with the law governing CEFIA bonds. They may be secured by a pledge of revenues derived from the commercial program, including revenues from benefit assessments on qualifying commercial real property.

The bill's provisions regarding the program are generally similar to current law, with CEFIA taking the place of the municipality. But, the bill:

1. allows CEFIA to require participating municipalities to levy a benefits assessment on participating properties;

2. requires that the energy audit or renewable energy feasibility analysis assess the energy cost savings of the proposed project over its useful life;

3. gives the lien priority over existing mortgages, but requires that the property owner give existing mortgage holders at least 30 days' written notice of his or her intent to participate in the program before the lien is recorded;

4. authorizes variable interest loans; and

5. allows participating municipalities to assign the liens to CEFIA and allows CEFIA to sell or assign the liens.

Under the bill, the notice that must be given to prospective participants in the commercial program is somewhat different than that required under current law. Under current law, the municipality must give prospective participants a notice that encourages them to seek legal advice to understand the potential consequences of participating in the program. Under the bill, municipalities that establish commercial programs must disclose to the property owner:

1. the costs and risks associated with participating in the program, including risks related to the failure property owner's failure to pay the benefit assessment; and

2. the effective interest rate of the benefit assessment, including fees charged by CEFIA to administer the program, and the risks associated with variable interest rate financing.

The bill requires the municipality to notify the owner that he or she may rescind any financing agreement under the program within three business days after entering the agreement.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

158 — CLEAN ENERGY FINANCE AND INVESTMENT AUTHORITY

The bill expands the types of technologies that CEFIA can promote through the Clean Energy Fund to include all class I renewable resources; most of these resources are already eligible for this support.

Under current law, CEFIA is deemed to be a quasi-public entity for certain purposes. The bill specifies that CEFIA is a political subdivision of the state. It allows CEFIA to provide grants, loans, loan guarantees, or debt and equity investments in accordance with its procedures (the quasi-public authority analog to regulations. ) The bill allows CEFIA to use its own accountant, rather than those of Connecticut Innovations, to meet its Clean Energy Fund audit requirements

The bill requires that the authority's board members elect the president of the authority (its CEO).

The bill allows CEFIA to secure any bonds it issues with special capital reserve funds (SCRFs), discussed below.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

159 & 160 — CEFIA BONDS

The bill allows CEFIA to issue revenue bonds with terms of up 20 years. The authority must use the bond proceeds for its purposes under current law, which include the promotion of renewable energy and the financing of energy efficiency projects.

The bill allows the:

1. authority to issue “clean energy” bonds backed by Clean Energy Fund revenues, including the existing renewable energy charge on electric bills;

2. bonds to be backed by the full faith and credit of any public or private body; and

3. authority to issue bonds that are federally taxable.

Under the bill, the state pledges not to alter the renewable energy charge until (1) the bonds are paid off or (2) it makes adequate provisions to protect the bondholders.

Under the bill, the clean energy bonds are not state obligations and only the authority is liable for them. They do not count towards the state's bond cap.

The bill allows the authority to determine how it will issue and repay the bonds and specifies the kinds of terms and conditions it may include in its agreements with the bondholders. The bill makes the bonds securities in which governments and private entities may invest. The authority may sell the bonds (1) at a public sale on sealed proposals at a price and time it chooses or (2) by negotiating with investors.

The bill authorizes or requires several actions to assure bondholders that the authority will repay them. It specifies that the state will not limit or alter the authority's rights until the authority repays its outstanding bonds. The bill also allows the authority to secure that pledge by entering into agreements with a trustee representing the bondholders' interests (i. e. , a trust of indenture agreement). The act requires the authority to secure principal and interest payments by pledging its revenue, which is also immediately subject to lien without any action on the bondholders' part.

The bill allows the authority to issue bonds to refund its outstanding bonds and specifies conditions for doing so.

The bill exempts the principal and interest payments to the bondholders from all taxes except estate and succession taxes, but requires bondholders to include these payments when computing excise and franchise taxes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

161 — SPECIAL CAPITAL RESERVE FUNDS (SCRFS) FOR BONDS

The bill allows CEFIA to establish of one or more special SCRFs in connection with its bonds. The issuance of bonds backed by a SCRF requires approval of the OPM secretary or his deputy and the treasurer. The maximum amount in bonds backed by a SCRF is $ 50 million.

Money credited to and held in the SCRF must be used solely to (1) buy, or pay interest or principal on, the bonds the fund secures or (2) pay redemption premiums on them if they are redeemed before maturity. Funding in the SCRF cannot fall below a minimum capital reserve level.

Although the bonds secured by a SCRF are not backed by the state's full faith and credit, the state undertakes a contingent liability for the bonds by allowing the authority to establish these funds. The state's liability is to maintain the minimum reserve on an annual basis and restore it to the minimum if it falls below the required amount in any particular year. If funding in the SCRF falls below the mandated level as of December 1st of any year, the shortfall is “deemed appropriated” from the General Fund. The shortfall must be repaid within one year, subject to bondholder agreements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

162 — PRIVATE ACTIVITY BOND CAP

The bill entitles CEFIA to part of the allocation of the state's private activity bond cap, which is currently earmarked to municipalities, CT Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority, and CT Student Loan Foundation (27. 5% of the capped amount goes to municipalities and authorities under current law).

Private activity bonds are issued by quasi-public authorities and municipalities. They are backed by the credit of private borrowers or pools of borrowers, who pay the bond debt service. Federal law (1) caps the amount of such bonds that can be issued in each state each year and (2) exempts these bonds from federal tax if they are issued for specified purposes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

163 & 164 — CEFIA AND ETHICS LAWS

The bill subjects the CEFIA staff and directors and people dealing with the authority to the same ethics laws that apply to other quasi-public authorities. It subjects CEFIA to the laws governing other quasi-public authorities regarding “procedures” (the equivalent of regulations), reporting, and audits.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

165 — TREASURER APPROVAL OF SCRFS

The bill expands the procedures for the state treasurer's approval of bonds backed by SCRFs to apply to such bonds issued by CEFIA.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

166 — CEFIA - EXEMPTION FROM PERSONAL LIABILITY

The bill exempts CEFIA directors and staff from personal liability for their actions, so long as they are not wanton, reckless, willful, or malicious.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

167 — LOW-INCOME ENERGY ADVISORY BOARD

The bill:

1. requires the Low-Income Energy Advisory Board to elect its chairperson and vice-chairperson (under current law the OPM secretary serves as the chairperson);

2. removes the ability of the OPM secretary and the Department of Social Services commissioner or their designees to vote on board matters;

3. adds the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner or his designees as a non-voting board member;

4. requires that the DEEP commissioner or his designee, rather than the OPM secretary, provide notice of meetings to board members and space for its meetings, maintain minutes, and publish the board's reports;

5. allows all, rather than just specified, members of the board to name designees to serve on the board; and

6. makes a technical change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

168-170—REVALUATION PHASE-IN

Existing law gives towns the option of phasing in all or part of the increases in real property assessments after a property revaluation over a period of up to five years. For the 2012 assessment year (beginning October 1, 2012 for tax bills due July 1, 2013), the bill allows towns to similarly phase-in all or part of post-revaluation assessment decreases and establishes three phase-in methods that are comparable to the existing methods for assessment increases. It applies the same procedures for implementing a phase-in for assessment decreases that already apply to phase-ins for assessment increases, specifically those for (1) determining a phase-in factor, (2) approving the phase-in, and (3) discontinuing the phase-in. New construction built during the phase-in period must be assessed according to standard assessment procedures (i. e. , 70% of fair market value).

The bill makes other conforming changes.

Implementation Options

The bill establishes three phase-in methods for assessment decreases that are comparable to those under existing law for assessment increases.

Dollar Phase-In. Under the first, each parcel's assessment in the revaluation year must be subtracted from the parcel's assessment for the assessment year before the one in which revaluation is effective. The annual amount of the parcel's assessment decrease is the result of the subtraction divided by the number of years of the phase-in term. Thus, if the parcel's pre-revaluation value is $ 150,000 and its new value is $ 100,000, and the town chooses a five year phase-in, the assessment would decrease by $ 10,000 each year ($ 50,000 divided by 5). But, if a town chooses to phase in only part of the assessment decrease, the amount of the decrease that is not subject to the phase-in is not reflected in this calculation.

Ratio Phase-In. Under the second method, the required 70% assessment rate must be subtracted from the ratio of the total assessed value of all taxable real property for the assessment year before the one in which revaluation is effective to the total fair market value of such property as determined from sales records in that year. The annual incremental rate of assessment decrease applicable to all real property is the result of the subtraction divided by the number of years of the phase-in term. Thus, if the total assessed value in the pre-revaluation year was 90% of fair market value, the 20% difference between this number and the 70% rate would be phased in over the number of years of the phase-in term (e. g. , 4% per year over 5 years). Before determining the annual rate of assessment decrease, a town that chooses to phase in part of the assessment decrease must multiply the result of this subtraction by the proportion of the decrease that is not subject to the phase-in, to determine the assessment rate that is not subject to the phase-in.

Ratio Phase-In by Property Class. The third method divides properties into classes and phases in the rate at which the assessment decreased for each class. The property classes are residential, commercial, and vacant land. Commercial property includes apartments containing at least five units, industrial property, and public utility property.

Under this method, the required 70% assessment rate must be subtracted from the ratio of the total assessed value of all taxable real property in each property class for the assessment year before the one in which the revaluation is effective to the total fair market value of such property in each class as determined from sales records in that year. The annual incremental rate of assessment decrease applicable to all real property in each class is the result of the subtraction divided by the number of years of the phase-in term.

If there are no sales records for a class or not enough sales within each class to extrapolate a rate of increase for the entire class, the assessor must use the second method to determine the phase-in for the affected property class.

Partial Phase-Ins

As under the existing revaluation phase-in law, a town that chooses to phase in a part of an assessment decrease must establish a phase-in factor, which cannot be less than 25%, and apply this factor to all parcels in town, regardless of their property classification. The town must multiply this factor by the total assessment decrease for the parcel to determine the amount of the decrease that will not be subject to the phase-in. Thus, a town could choose to implement 50% of the assessment decrease immediately and phase in the remaining 50% over five years.

Approving the Phase-In

As under current law, the municipality's legislative body must approve the phase-in, which cannot exceed five assessment years, including the revaluation year. Its chief elected official must notify the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary in writing within 30 business days after the legislative body decides to implement or discontinue the phase-in. Failure to do so subjects the official to a $ 100 fine.

Discontinuing the Phase-in

The legislative body may discontinue the phase-in, as under existing law. It may do so at any time before the phase-in is completed, so long as it is done by the assessment date for the assessment year in which the discontinuance is effective. In the following assessment year, assessments must reflect the values of real property established by the revaluation, subject to (1) additions for new construction and reductions for demolitions occurring after revaluation and by the date of its completion or discontinuance and (2) the rate of assessment applicable in that year.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012, and applicable to assessment years starting October 1, 2012

171 – PROJECT 150

By law, the electric companies must enter into long-term contracts to buy the power produced at 150 megawatts of renewable energy generation plants. Under current law, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) cannot extend the deadline for the plants approved for this program beyond the deadlines specified in their contracts. The bill creates an exception under which PURA must grant an extension, upon request, of such latest in-service date by 12 months for any project located in a distressed municipality, with a population of more than 125,000 (i. e. , Bridgeport and New Haven, according to the 2010 census).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon Passage