Substitute House Bill No. 6657
          Substitute House Bill No. 6657

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-249


AN  ACT  CONCERNING THE DELIVERY OF HUMAN SERVICES
IN NORTHEASTERN CONNECTICUT.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section 1. (NEW) As used in this act:
    (1) "Northeastern region"  means  the towns of
Brooklyn,    Canterbury,   Eastford,    Killingly,
Plainfield,  Pomfret, Putnam,  Sterling,  Thompson
and Woodstock;
    (2) "Human services"  means  services provided
to persons or  families experiencing difficulty in
meeting their basic  human  needs for (A) physical
survival, including their  need for food, shelter,
clothing and maintenance  of  minimum  income, (B)
preparing for and  sustaining  employment, (C) job
readiness,  including  employment   and   training
programs  and  child  care  programs,  (D)  social
support and interaction,  especially  in  time  of
personal  or  family  crisis,  (E)  assistance  in
addressing specific pathologies,  such  as health,
mental health and  substance abuse, and (F) access
to  available  appropriate   services,   such   as
education,    transportation,   information    and
referral  services  and   includes   remedial  and
preventative services targeted to low and moderate
income individuals and  families,  by age group or
by specific need;
    (3) "Negotiated investment  strategy"  means a
mediated negotiation process  to  solve  problems,
resolve conflicts, develop  plans for joint action
and to implement  those  plans  by  involving  all
affected  interests  and  which  requires  (A)  an
implementation   plan   to   establish   coherent,
coordinated strategies to  guide  and  target  the
investment of time and resources by all public and
private interests and (B) a written agreement that
sets forth each  party's roles and commitments and
provides for subsequent  monitoring  to assure the
commitments are carried out; and
    (4) "State agency"  means  each  state  board,
authority,   commissioner,   department,   office,
institution, council or other agency of the state,
including, but not  limited  to,  each constituent
unit  and  each   public   institution  of  higher
education.
    Sec. 2. (NEW) (a) There is established for the
Northeastern region a pilot program to address the
human services needs  of  such  region.  The pilot
program   shall   allow   local   governments   in
partnership with public  and  private providers of
human services and human service users, educators,
business  and  other  appropriate  individuals  or
groups to establish a program to address the human
services needs of  the  Northeastern  region.  The
goals  of  the  pilot  program  shall  be  to  (1)
implement  a regional  partnership  strategy  that
allows  the  Northeastern   region  to  coordinate
programs and carry  out the complex, sensitive and
lengthy process of  community-based planning based
on a unified  vision that results in strengthening
the community; (2)  nurture human development; (3)
achieve  opportunities  for  all  persons  in  the
community and (4)  incorporate  the  principles of
caring, prevention and healing.
    (b)   Decisions   in   the   development   and
implementation  of the  five-year  strategic  plan
developed under section  4  of  this  act shall be
made through a  negotiated  investment strategy as
provided in section 3 of this act.
    (c)  The  pilot   program  shall  include  the
establishment  of  a   regional   human   services
negotiating council made  up  of five sectors: (1)
Local,  state  and   federal   elected   officials
servicing the Northeastern  region; (2) public and
private   human   service   providers   from   the
Northeastern region; (3)  users of human services;
(4) persons who  shall include, but not be limited
to, educators and  representatives of labor and of
business;  and  (5)  state  and  federal  agencies
involved  in  human   services.   The  negotiating
council  shall prepare  the  plan  required  under
section 4 of this act.
    (d) Each sector  identified  in subsection (c)
of this section  shall  designate  five persons to
serve as the negotiating team for such sector. The
process for selecting the team shall be determined
by each sector.  Sectors and teams shall establish
a schedule and  procedures.  Each  team shall have
one  vote in  the  decisions  of  the  negotiating
council. The five-year  strategic  plan  developed
under section 4 of this act shall not be effective
unless  unanimously approved  by  the  negotiating
council.
    Sec. 3. (NEW)  (a)  The  Institute  of  Public
Service at The  University  of  Connecticut  shall
organize  the negotiating  council  and  call  the
first meeting of  the  negotiating  council  on or
before August 1,  1997.  The  negotiating  council
shall, with the  assistance  of such Institute for
Public Service, prepare  and  issue  a request for
proposals for a  qualified mediator to coordinate,
organize, facilitate and  mediate  the  negotiated
investment strategy process. Prior to securing the
services of a  mediator,  the  negotiating council
shall acquire the  funds  necessary to obtain such
services including funds  to support the operation
of the negotiating  council  and  participation by
each sector.
    (b) Prior to  or at the first joint meeting of
the negotiating council,  the  members may request
and exchange information  about  issues related to
the formation of  the five-year strategic plan. On
or before the  first  meeting or between the first
two  meetings  of  the  negotiating  council,  the
members  shall prepare  preliminary  positions  on
issues related to  a  five-year strategic plan. At
the first meeting of the negotiating council, each
of the five  members  shall  agree in writing to a
set of rules  of  procedure  consistent  with  the
negotiated investment strategy process.
    (c)   Following  the   initial   exchange   of
information,  the  members   of   the  negotiating
council shall negotiate their differences. Between
meetings, members shall  continue  to work towards
the resolution of  differences  and  may establish
subcommittees to facilitate  such efforts. Written
position papers shall  be  prepared  and exchanged
through the mediator. The mediator shall summarize
points of agreement  and  disagreement.  Unanimous
agreement on issues  shall  result  in  a  written
memorandum of understanding  which  will  then  be
circulated by the  mediator.  The  members  of the
negotiating council shall  determine  when to meet
jointly and shall  establish  formal  and informal
deadlines for the work of the negotiating council.
After each meeting elements of the final agreement
shall be incorporated  into the final agreement by
the mediator. After agreement has been obtained on
all outstanding issues,  such  agreements shall be
incorporated into one  document  and signed by all
participants in the  process  and  adopted  by all
agencies  and  authorities   represented   in  the
negotiations. The council  may  be  called back at
the call of  any  one  of  the  council members to
review or discuss issues as they deem necessary.
    (d) All meetings  of  the negotiating council,
except  caucuses of  members  initiated  during  a
joint meeting of  the  council,  shall  be  public
meetings and advertised  to  the  general  public.
Meetings shall be  held  in facilities that permit
the observation by  members of the general public.
The  negotiating  council   shall  hold  a  public
hearing  in  the   Northeastern  region  upon  the
completion  of  the   five-year   strategic   plan
prepared pursuant to  section  4  of  this act and
prior  to  the   adoption   of  the  plan  by  the
negotiating council.
    Sec. 4. (NEW)  (a)  On  or  before  October 1,
1998,  the  regional   negotiating  council  shall
develop a five-year  strategic plan that addresses
the  human  services  needs  of  the  Northeastern
region.  Such  plan  shall  be  submitted  to  the
legislative body of  each  town  constituting  the
Northeastern region, the  United  States Congress,
the  Secretary  of   the   Office  of  Policy  and
Management and the joint standing committee of the
General  Assembly  having  cognizance  of  matters
relating to appropriations.
    (b)  The five-year  strategic  plan  shall  be
developed  by means  of  a  negotiated  investment
strategy and shall  set  forth goals to meet basic
human  needs  for   the  Northeastern  region  and
establish benchmarks to  measure  progress towards
achieving  such goals.  The  plan  shall  identify
regional  issues  and   needs  and  resources  and
address efficiency and  effectiveness  of  service
delivery. The plan  shall  be  consistent with the
planning and policy  objectives  of the state that
are implemented in  the  state  budget  and  shall
comply with state  and federal law. The plan shall
include  a  project  component  relating  specific
regional and local  proposals  to  state  planning
goals  and  a   component   which   describes  the
administration and fund  distribution process. The
project component shall  be  updated annually. The
plan shall include  a  description of the planning
process used to  identify needs and set priorities
for the region,  a  description of the programs to
be  funded,  a   description  of  any  eligibility
standards to be  used,  an implementation schedule
and a budget  detailing  the specific use of funds
available under the  regional human services pilot
program and related funds. The plan shall identify
opportunities for state  agencies  to award grants
on a regional  basis  and  shall  identify  state,
local  and  federal   funding   sources  and  make
recommendations for legislation  to  implement the
plan for the  biennium beginning July 1, 1999. The
plan shall include  an  analysis of the fiscal and
administrative   impact   on    the    state   and
municipalities outside of the pilot region. If the
plan recommends continuation  of  the  negotiating
council, the negotiating council shall continue.
    (c) The five-year  plan  developed  under this
section shall not  impact existing state, local or
federal funds received  by human service providers
or the existing  programs  of  Northeastern region
human  service  providers.   Any   realignment  of
existing human service  programs  shall be done by
an affirmative action of the governing body of the
program  and  be  consistent  with  the  five-year
strategic plan.
    Sec.  5.  (NEW)   (a)   In   preparing  budget
proposals for the biennium beginning July 1, 1999,
the  Secretary  of   the   Office  of  Policy  and
Management and the joint standing committee of the
General  Assembly  having  cognizance  of  matters
relating  to appropriations  and  the  budgets  of
state  agencies  shall   consider   the  five-year
strategic plan developed  pursuant to section 4 of
this act.
    (b) In preparing  their budgets for the fiscal
year beginning July  1,  1999,  the  towns  in the
Northeastern region shall  consider  the five-year
strategic plan developed  pursuant to section 4 of
this act.
    Sec. 6. This  act  shall  take effect from its
passage.

Approved June 27, 1997