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Substitute House Bill No. 5498

Public Act No. 10-190

AN ACT CONCERNING STATE CONTRACTS FOR MICRO BUSINESSES, UTILITY DEPOSITS FROM CONNECTICUT BUSINESSES, THE SET ASIDE OF DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CONTRACTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, GRANTS FOR REGIONAL REVOLVING LOAN PROGRAMS FOR MICROENTERPRISES, AND THE ISSUANCE OF ELIGIBILITY CERTIFICATES FOR CERTAIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 4b-57 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2010):

(a) Whenever consultant services are required by the commissioner in fulfilling the responsibilities under section 4b-1, and in the case of each project, the commissioner shall invite responses from such firms by advertisements inserted at least once in one or more newspapers having a circulation in each county in the state except that the commissioner may receive consultant services under a contract entered into pursuant to subsection (d) of section 4b-51. The commissioner shall prescribe, by regulations adopted in accordance with chapter 54, the advance notice required for, the manner of submission, and conditions and requirements of, such responses.

(b) In the case of a project, the responses received shall be considered by the selection panel. The panel shall select from among those responding no fewer than three firms, which such panel determines in accordance with criteria established by the commissioner are most qualified to perform the required consultant services. In the case of any project that requires consultant services by an architect or professional engineer, additional criteria to be considered by such panel in selecting a list of the most qualified firms shall include: (1) Such firm's knowledge of this state's building and fire codes, and (2) the geographic location of such firm in relation to the geographic location of the proposed project. The selection panel shall submit a list of the most qualified firms to the commissioner for the commissioner's consideration unless fewer than three responses for a particular project have been received, in which case the panel shall submit the names of all firms who have submitted responses.

(c) In the case of consultants selected under subsection (d) of section 4b-51, the responses received shall be considered by the selection panel. The panel shall select, from among those persons responding, a list of those persons most qualified to perform the consultant services. Knowledge of the state building and fire code and whether the consultant is a micro business, as defined in subsection (c) of section 4a-59, shall be considered in determining a consultant's qualifications.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) No public service company, other than a telephone company, shall require a deposit from any customer or prospective customer, other than a residential customer or prospective residential customer, in excess of an amount equal to such company's charges for one and one-half months.

(b) The Department of Public Utility Control shall initiate a proceeding to examine the collection of deposits by public service companies, other than telephone companies, from any customer or prospective customer, other than a residential customer or prospective residential customer. Such examination shall include, but not be limited to, consideration of (1) criteria used to determine creditworthiness of such customers, (2) criteria for when the public service company shall return the deposit plus interest, and (3) provisions for collecting deposits from such customers moving from one location to another within the same service area of the same company. On or before January 1, 2011, the department shall report, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, the results of such proceeding to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2010) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, the Department of Transportation may set aside any contract or portions thereof, or require any general or trade contractor or any other entity authorized by the department to award contracts to set aside a portion of any contract for contractors or subcontractors that had gross revenues not exceeding three million dollars in the most recently completed fiscal year prior to the contract award. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to diminish the total value of contracts that are required to be set aside by the department pursuant to section 4a-60g of the general statutes.

Sec. 4. Section 8-240p of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

There is established a pilot microloan program for microenterprises under which the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development shall make [a grant] grants to the Community Economic Development Fund or any other regional revolving loan programs within the state. Said fund shall use said grant to support the growth and development of microenterprises.

Sec. 5. Section 8-240q of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

The grants provided under section 8-240p, as amended by this act, shall be used to:

(1) Identify appropriate microloan applicants state-wide;

(2) Evaluate the need for a prospective microloan applicant's business in the community in which the microenterprise is or would be located;

(3) Evaluate community support for a prospective microloan applicant's business in the community in which the microenterprise is or would be located;

(4) Work in conjunction with other community-based nonprofit organizations, state and federal agencies and with the Community Economic Development Fund or any other regional revolving loan programs within the state to assist prospective microloan applicants in preparing and finalizing business plans;

(5) Assist prospective microloan applicants in identifying and accessing other appropriate business resources, including those providing business management training;

(6) Track client data, level of service and outcome of services provided; and

(7) Promote microenterprises and coordinate the delivery of services by microenterprise support organizations to microenterprises.

Sec. 6. Section 8-240r of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

The Community Economic Development Fund or any other regional revolving loan programs within the state shall consider the following criteria in making a grant to a microloan generating organization:

(1) Sources and sufficiency of operating funds for the microloan generating organization;

(2) The ability of the microloan generating organization to provide the services required under section 8-240q, as amended by this act; and

(3) The proven ability of the microloan generating organization to identify and prepare successful applicants to economic assistance programs similar to the program established in section 8-240q, as amended by this act.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development may issue an eligibility certificate for a program under section 32-9j, 32-9p, 32-9r or 32-9t of the general statutes to a business that has a North American Industrial Classification code, provided the business meets the specifications of the Standard Industrial Classification Manual code, in said section 32-9j, 32-9p, 32-9r or 32-9t. Nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the commissioner to expand eligibility for any benefit conferred by the issuance of such a certificate to a business that would not have been eligible due to its Standard Industrial Classification Manual code.

Approved June 9, 2010