PA 10-1, June 2010 Special Session—SB 501

Emergency Certification

AN ACT CONCERNING THE REAL ESTATE CONVEYANCE TAX, THE CONVEYANCE OF CERTAIN PARCELS OF STATE LAND, ADJUSTMENTS TO CERTAIN PROGRAMS IMPLEMENTED THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, A REPORT ON TAX CREDITS, JUVENILE JUSTICE, ABSENTEE VOTING BY MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY, REVISIONS TO VARIOUS TASK FORCES, COMMISSIONS AND COUNCILS, AND AMENDMENTS AND MINOR AND TECHNICAL CHANGES TO CERTAIN SPECIAL AND PUBLIC ACTS OF THE 2010 REGULAR SESSION

SUMMARY: This act extends the expiration date of a higher municipal real estate conveyance tax rate for one year and exempts foreclosures by sale and short sales from the tax. It makes changes to the FY 11 budget act as well as to other laws enacted in the 2010 regular session relating to Medicaid, HUSKY Plus, juvenile justice, tax credits, school construction projects, and appointments to commissions and task forces. It authorizes conveyances of state property, establishes a temporary high risk insurance pool in conformance with the federal health care reform law, and changes state election law to comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act.

Finally, the act makes minor and technical changes and corrections in public and special acts, including bond acts, passed in the 2010 regular session.

These and other changes are described in the section-by-section analysis below.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below.

1 & 2 — MUNICIPAL REAL ESTATE CONVEYANCE TAX

The act extends the expiration date of the basic 0. 25% municipal real estate conveyance tax rate for one year, until July 1, 2011. In doing so, it also maintains the optional rate of up to 0. 5% allowable in 18 eligible municipalities for the same period. Under prior law, the basic municipal rate was scheduled to drop from 0. 25% to 0. 11% on July 1, 2010. Because 18 towns are eligible to impose an additional tax of up to 0. 25% on top of the basic rate, the maximum rate allowable in the 18 towns under prior law would also have dropped from 0. 5% to 0. 36% on that date.

The act also (1) restores an exemption, eliminated in 2009, from the tax for transfers made pursuant to a foreclosure by sale and (2) exempts from the tax transfers of a seller's principal residence when the transfer is (a) in lieu of a foreclosure or (b) a “short sale,” which, under the act, means that the sale price is less than the total amount the seller owes on the property for mortgages and liens for municipal property taxes and utility or other charges that have priority over mortgage liens (see BACKGROUND).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010 for the municipal rate extension and October 1, 2010 for the exemption provisions.

3 — FY 11 UNALLOCATED LAPSES

The act increases the unallocated General Fund lapses for FY 11 by $1. 73 million, from $87. 78 million to $89. 51 million. It reduces FY 11 net General Fund appropriations by a corresponding amount, from $17,668,900,229 to $17,667,170,229.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

4-17 — CONVEYANCE OF STATE PROPERTY

The act:

1. authorizes conveyances of state property to the municipalities of Portland, Marlborough, Manchester, Wallingford, New Haven, and Simsbury, and the Lake Phipps Special Taxing District;

2. amends prior conveyances in Bridgeport, Middletown, and New Britain;

3. leases state property to the municipalities of Bridgeport and Burlington; and

4. requires the development of a plan for the Cedar Ridge facility property in Newington should it be declared surplus.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

New Conveyances

Conveyances to Municipalities. The act requires the following conveyances from the agencies to the towns named for the purpose specified:

1. the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to Portland for construction of a fire house (1. 83 acres);

2. the Department of Transportation (DOT) to Marlborough (. 46 acres at fair market value);

3. DOT to Manchester for road alignment and traffic mitigation purposes, provided that state funds may not be used for the construction of a flyover ramp (1. 517 acres);

4. DOT to Wallingford for municipal purposes (. 593 acres);

5. DOT to New Haven for traffic mitigation purposes (2. 7 acres);

6. DOT to Simsbury (two parcels totaling 3. 59 acres at fair market value); and

7. the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to New Haven (. 52 acres at fair market value).

The conveyance from DECD to New Haven also releases a deed restriction that required the parcel to be used for low- and moderate-income housing only. The conveyance from DOT to Simsbury must (1) consist of land deemed excess by DOT and (2) not break the continuity of the existing land-banked rail line.

Unless otherwise noted, each conveyance:

1. is subject to the State Property Review Board's (SPRB) approval within 30 days;

2. must be made at a cost equal to the administrative cost of the conveyance, including legal fees; and

3. for those conveyances with a specified purpose, reverts to the state if the recipient uses the parcel for any purpose other than that specified in the act.

When an agency conveys property at fair market value, the value is determined by the average appraisals of two independent appraisers chosen by the agency's commissioner.

Lake Phipps Special Taxing District. The act conveys at no cost, from DEP to the Lake Phipps Special Taxing District in West Haven, seven parcels of land and a dam structure that were previously conveyed to DEP from the Lake Phipps Land Owners Corporation pursuant to a 1990 judgment order. The act excludes portions of three of the parcels that had previously been conveyed to other parties. The conveyance is subject to SPRB approval within 30 days.

Amended Conveyances

The act amends a 2007 conveyance of a 1. 008 acre parcel from DOT to the Bridgeport Port Authority. The act allows the port authority to lease the parcel or portions of it for economic development or waterfront-related purposes. It also requires DOT to grant the port authority a right-of-way to and from the parcel. The original conveyance required the port authority to use the property for economic development and waterfront-related purposes, but did not allow it to lease the property.

The act amends a 1999 conveyance of four parcels totaling 3. 31 acres from the Department of Children and Families to Middletown for municipal purposes. It conveys to Middletown improvements to the previously-conveyed parcels and requires those improvements to be used for municipal purposes. The original conveyance did not include the improvements to the parcels.

The act amends a 2009 conveyance of a . 06 acre parcel from DOT to New Britain by eliminating the city's obligation to pay fair market value for the land. It retains the requirement that New Britain cover the conveyance's administrative costs. It also requires New Britain to use the land for economic development purposes or the property reverts to the state.

Leases

The act requires the following leases of state property, for five years at a cost equal to the administrative cost of the lease, from the agencies to the municipalities named for the purpose specified:

1. DOT to Bridgeport for public parking (1. 25 acres) and

2. DEP to Burlington for recreational purposes (14. 19 acres).

Bridgeport may renew its lease for two additional five-year periods. Neither municipality may sublease the property, with one exception. Bridgeport may sublease its parcel to Mercy Learning Center for parking purposes at no cost to the center.

Both leases are subject to SPRB approval within 30 days and the property reverts to the state if the recipient uses the parcel for any purpose other than that specified in the act. If DOT requires the Bridgeport parcel for transportation needs, it may terminate the lease by providing Bridgeport 30 days' written notice.

Plan For Cedar Ridge Property

The act requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary and the DEP and Department of Public Works commissioners to develop a plan to preserve a 10-acre parcel of the Cedar Ridge facility property in Newington as open space, provided the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) commissioner certifies to OPM in writing that the property or any portion of it is surplus. The plan must allow Newington to use the 10-acre parcel for passive recreation.

18 — TAX CREDITS FOR HIRING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

PA 10-75 authorizes insurance premium, corporation business, and personal income tax credits for businesses hiring Connecticut residents with disabilities. This act expands the range of new employees that qualify businesses for the credits to include people with blindness.

Under PA 10-75, a business can claim the credit for hiring new employees who:

1. live in Connecticut;

2. can see, but have other physical or mental impairments that make it hard for them to find work;

3. receive vocational rehabilitation services from the Department of Social Services' Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS);

4. were hired after May 6, 2010; and

5. did not work for a related business during the previous 12 months.

Under the act, the business can claim the credit for hiring people who are blind or receiving services from the Board of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB). It also allows the business to claim the credit for hiring people with disabilities who were employed by a related business as long as they did not receive services from the BRS or BESB. As under PA 10-75, the business can claim the credit for Connecticut residents hired after May 6, 2010.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage and applicable to income years beginning on or after January 1, 2010.

19 — TAX CREDIT RESERVATIONS FOR HOUSING PROGRAMS

By law, businesses qualify for tax credits in exchange for contributions to nonprofit organizations developing low- and moderate-income housing through the Housing Tax Credit Contribution (HTCC) program administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA). The total amount of all tax credits cannot exceed $10 million in any fiscal year. Under prior law, until November 1 each year, the authority had to set aside $2 million of the total amount for the Supportive Housing Pilots Initiative or the Next Steps Initiative and also $1 million for workforce housing.

The act moves the deadline for the set-aside to 60 days after CHFA publishes its list of housing programs that will receive tax credit reservations (September 1 in practice), rather than November 1. It also makes any supportive housing initiative, not only the Supportive Housing Pilots Initiative and the Next Steps Initiative, eligible for the $2 million tax credit reservation. After the deadline, unused tax credits become available for any housing program eligible for tax credits under the HTCC program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

20 — HIGH RISK POOL

The act establishes a temporary high risk insurance pool pursuant to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It authorizes the Health Reinsurance Association (HRA) to enter into contracts with the federal and state government to administer the temporary pool, which must be separate from any other plans or risk pools that HRA already administers.

The PPACA creates a temporary high risk pool to provide health coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions who have been uninsured for six months. The pool remains in place until broader PPACA coverage requirements take effect in 2014. The federal Health and Human Services secretary will determine the minimum benefits that the pool must offer.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

21 — MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT FOR ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS

The act requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner, to take any actions needed to qualify for Medicaid funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) for (1) DSS health information technology planning activities and (2) incentive payments to hospitals and eligible health professionals who are meaningful electronic health record users. It requires the DSS commissioner to disburse any incentive payments the department receives to these hospitals and health professionals (see BACKGROUND).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

22 — MEDICAID HOME- AND COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES

The act authorizes the DSS commissioner, by January 1, 2011, to evaluate whether the state should seek to institute optional Medicaid home- and community-based services that the federal PPACA makes available to states with enhanced reimbursement (see BACKGROUND).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

23 — SAGA CONVERSION TO MEDICAID

The act allows funds appropriated to the State Administered General Assistance (SAGA) medical program for FY 10 to be deemed appropriated to the state's Medicaid account in order to maximize federal revenue. This occurs on federal approval of a Medicaid state plan amendment that DSS has already submitted. The federal government approved the amendment in June 2010.

It permits funds recouped in FY 11 from medical providers due to the conversion of the SAGA medical program to Medicaid to be spent under the Medicaid program for that fiscal year. (DSS is recouping funds paid to providers between April 1 and June 30, 2010 and subsequently repaying these amounts to ensure maximum federal Medicaid reimbursement. The conversion was effective retroactive to April 1, 2010. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

24 — MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY FOR INDIVIDUALS MEETING STATE-ADMINISTERED GENERAL ASSISTANCE (SAGA) CRITERIA

The act explicitly requires the DSS commissioner, subject to federal approval, to administer Medicaid coverage for low-income adults required by the PPACA and PA 10-3. DSS must use the SAGA medical assistance eligibility rules, which include the use of (1) the Medicaid “medically needy income limit” (about $500 per month for most residents of the state), (2) a $150 employment deduction from income, and (3) a three-month extension of assistance for individuals who lose eligibility because their earnings have increased above the income limit. The act requires the commissioner to implement this provision while in the process of adopting it in regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

25 — PAYMENT FOR STATE HUMANE INSTITUTIONS SERVING MEDICAID RECIPIENTS

Under prior law, payments for supporting Medicaid recipients who received care in a state mental hospital could be made to the commissioner of administrative services, who had to keep an accounting of them and turn them over to the state treasurer. The act instead allows DSS to pay all bills for services provided by state humane institutions to Medicaid recipients to the state agency that provides the services or oversees the institution's operations. The state's humane institutions include the above hospitals, community mental health centers, treatment facilities for children and adolescents, or any other facility or program administered by the departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Developmental Services, or Children and Families.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

26 — PRESUMPTIVE ELIGIBILITY FOR HUSKY B CHILDREN

The act permits the DSS commissioner to implement presumptive eligibility for children applying for HUSKY B if it is cost effective to do so. By law, DSS must do these eligibility determinations for children applying for Medicaid, in accordance with federal law. The commissioner adopts regulations to establish standards and procedures for designating organizations as “qualified entities” that can grant presumptive eligibility. These same provisions apply under the act if DSS uses presumptive eligibility for HUSKY B applicants.

Presumptive eligibility means that children are presumed to be eligible for assistance (hence can start receiving benefits immediately) based on statements made by their caretaker relatives. Complete eligibility determinations are done after initial eligibility is granted.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

27 — REVIEW OF TAX CREDITS

Reports

The act requires the DECD commissioner, in consultation with the revenue services commissioner, to evaluate and report every three years on tax credit and abatement programs enacted to recruit and retain businesses. The commissioner must submit the reports to the governor; the OPM secretary; and the Appropriations, Commerce, and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees starting by January 1, 2011. The reports are in addition to DECD's regular required annual reports.

Report Information

The act requires DECD to include the following information in its report:

1. a baseline assessment of each tax credit or abatement program it administers, including the aggregate number of jobs associated with eligible taxpayers and the aggregate annual revenue these taxpayers generate through direct taxes on them and indirectly through their employees and their contribution to the state's economy;

2. a listing, by program, of the tax credits or abatements the state approved during the preceding calendar year;

3. an assessment of the fairness, performance, burden, economic impact, and incidence of the corporation business and insurance company taxes;

4. the cost to the state and businesses of administering and complying with the corporation and insurance premium taxes and their credits; and

5. the methodology and assumptions used.

The DECD must also include a summary and evaluation of each tax credit or abatement program it administers. The summary and evaluation of each program must include:

1. an assessment of its intended goals;

2. the value of each credit and number of taxpayers granted it in the previous 12 months, categorized by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code;

3. the value of the credits claimed and carried forward, by NAICS code;

4. an assessment and five-year projection of the potential effect on the state's revenue of any allowable credit carry-forwards;

5. an analysis of (a) the credit's economic impact, (b) its statutory and programmatic goals and whether the goals are being met, and (c) if possible, obstacles to meeting the goals;

6. the types and value of credits assigned, with a summary of the NAICS codes of those to which they are assigned;

7. a cost-benefit analysis of the revenue foregone compared to the economic activity the credit creates;

8. the cost to the state to administer the program and a comparison between that cost and the net revenue generated by each program;

9. the average aggregate administrative and compliance cost to the state and businesses; and

10. a recommendation whether the program should be continued, modified, or repealed, along with the basis and expected economic impact of the recommendation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

28 — JUVENILE MATTERS DEFINITIONS

The act amends various definitions applicable to juvenile matters, in most cases to conform statutes to reflect the increase in juvenile court jurisdiction to those age 16, rather than 15.

But it also (1) excludes emancipated minors from juvenile court jurisdiction, (2) makes 1st and 2nd degree failure to appear a delinquent act only if it involves failing to appear at a delinquency proceeding of which the child had notice, and (3) excludes from the definition of “serious juvenile offense” that portion of the risk of injury statute that involves placing a child in a situation where he or she is likely to be endangered or have his or her morals impaired.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

29 — DISCLOSING DELINQUENCY RECORDS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

The act requires delinquency proceedings that contain information that a child has been convicted as delinquent for specified offenses to be disclosed to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The department must use the records in determining whether administrative sanctions on the delinquent's driver's license are warranted. It may not further disclose the delinquency record.

The covered offenses are:

1. misrepresenting one's age to get an identity card or using someone else's card;

2. using someone else's motor vehicle registration or driver's license;

3. operating with a revoked or suspended license;

4. reckless driving;

5. failing to bring a vehicle to a full stop when signaled by a police officer;

6. leaving the scene of an accident;

7. drag racing;

8. if a minor, using a fake or borrowed license to buy alcohol; and

9. if a minor, possessing alcohol.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

30 — TRANSFERRING CASES TO JUVENILE DOCKET

The act allows judges to transfer cases involving 16-year-olds (and beginning July 1, 2012, 17-year-olds) from the youthful offender, adult, or motor vehicle docket to juvenile court. The transfer provision applies to matters for which the juvenile could be subject to imprisonment. Driving under the influence claims are not subject to this process.

The transfer is triggered by the motion of any party or the judge hearing the case; it must be raised before trial or entry of a guilty plea. The judge must find that (1) the youth is charged with an offense or violation occurring on or after January 1, 2010 and (2) after a hearing considering the facts and circumstances of the case and the youth's prior history, the programs and services available in the juvenile court would more appropriately address the youth's needs and the youth and community are better served treating the youth as a delinquent.

Under the act, the court ordering the transfer must vacate any pleas entered in the matter and advise the youth of his or her rights. The youth must (1) enter pleas on the docket for juvenile matters in the jurisdiction where he or she resides and (2) be subject to prosecution as a delinquent child.

The act specifies that transfer decisions cannot be immediately appealed.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

31 — ADMISSIBILITY OF JUVENILE CONFESSIONS

By law, in juvenile proceedings, confessions of children under age 16 are not admissible against the child unless a parent who has been given Miranda warnings is present. For those age 16, admissibility is determined based on the totality of the circumstances.

The act provides that admissions, confessions, or statements, whether written or oral, made by a 16 year old to a police officer in connection with a case that gets transferred to the juvenile court from the youthful offender or regular docket or from a motor vehicles docket are admissible in juvenile court.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

32-34 — RESTORATION OF HUSKY PLUS SERVICES

PA 10-179 repealed the HUSKY Plus program. The act restores the program, which requires DSS to provide supplemental benefits to children enrolled in the HUSKY B program (1) in families with incomes no higher than 300% of the federal poverty level and (2) who have extraordinary physical health or behavioral health needs that exceed the standard HUSKY B benefit package. The program must be run within available appropriations.

The act also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

35-39 — ABSENTEE VOTING BY MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY AND CITIZENS LIVING ABROAD

The act changes state election law to comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which Congress passed in October 2009 and applies to the November 2010 general election (see BACKGROUND). Generally, it allows (1) applications for absentee ballots to be issued and returned electronically and (2) military and overseas absentee ballots to be issued electronically. The applicant or voter determines whether the application or ballot is delivered electronically or by another permitted method.

The act makes U. S. citizens age 18 and older who were born outside the country but whose parent or guardian was a Connecticut resident before leaving the country eligible to vote by presidential or overseas ballot in a federal election administered in Connecticut. It also extends, from noon to 5: 00 p. m. , the close of the mandatory voter registration session held to admit certain individuals on the last weekday before a regular election.

The act also makes technical and conforming changes.

Issuing Applications Electronically

The act authorizes town clerks to transmit absentee ballot applications by electronic means and requires them to do so at an applicant's request. By law, clerks may also issue absentee ballot applications in person, by facsimile, or mail.

Under the act, any application that is transmitted electronically may also be returned electronically, provided the applicant also mails the original to the town clerk, either separately or together with the completed absentee ballot. An absentee ballot is not counted unless the completed original application is mailed to the clerk.

Issuing Absentee Ballots Electronically

The act authorizes town clerks to transmit absentee ballots by electronic means to active duty members of the armed forces, their spouses or dependent family members living where they are stationed, and other U. S. citizens living outside the country. It specifies that town clerks must transmit the ballot either by mail or electronically at the elector's request. Under prior law, town clerks issued these absentee ballots by mail or in person.

The act's provisions apply to two types of overseas absentee ballots. The first is a blank ballot that members of the armed forces and their family members living with them may use to vote in a regular election and that town clerks must make available beginning 90 days before the election before the candidates are known. For this ballot, town clerks subsequently send the list of candidates as soon as it is available.

The second is a blank ballot that any elector living abroad or members of the armed forces and their family members living with them may use to vote in a primary or regular election. Town clerks send this together with the list of candidates and questions to be voted on, as soon as they are available.

In both cases, when the clerk issues a ballot electronically, he or she must include a secretary of the state-prescribed certification that the elector must complete, sign, and return with the completed ballot in order for it to be counted.

Eligibility

The act authorizes U. S. citizens age 18 and older who were born outside the U. S. but whose parent or guardian was a Connecticut resident immediately prior to leaving the country to vote in a federal election administered in Connecticut using a presidential or overseas absentee ballot. Prior law did not allow them to do so.

Under the act, such an individual is eligible to vote in the Connecticut town where his or her parent or guardian formerly resided provided he or she (1) is not registered to vote and not voting in another state, territory, or U. S. possession; (2) has a valid passport or identification card and registration from the U. S. secretary of state or alternative form of identification; and (3) has not forfeited his or her electoral privileges due to a disenfranchising crime.

Voter Registration Session

The act conforms the hours for the mandatory voter registration session held on the last weekday before a regular election for individuals who qualify after the registration cut-off (seven days before the election) to the similar session held on the same day for armed forces members (CGS 9-25). It does this by extending the closing time, from noon to 5: 00 p. m. , for the mandatory voter registration session, which must start at 9: 00 a. m. By law, current and former (i. e. , those discharged within the preceding calendar year) armed forces members may register to vote until 5: 00 p. m. on the last weekday preceding a regular election.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

40-46 — APPOINTMENTS

State Commission on Capitol Preservation and Restoration

The act allows the public works commissioner to appoint a designee to the commission and attend its meetings. Prior law made the commissioner an ex-officio member of the commission and required her to attend the meetings.

The commission has 12 members. The governor, House speaker, and Senate president pro tempore appoint two each; the House and Senate minority leaders appoint one each; the Legislative Management Committee chairpersons each appoint one; and the Commission on Culture and Tourism chairperson appoints one.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Advisory Council for Special Education

PA 10-175 reduced the council's membership from 37 to 30 and revised appointments to the council. This act:

1. adds back one member for a total of 31,

2. increases the education commissioner's appointments from eight to nine,

3. requires the commissioner rather than the Senate president pro tempore to appoint a representative of a Connecticut higher education institution with a teacher preparation program, and

4. requires the Senate president pro tempore to appoint a member of the Connecticut Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Waste Reduction Task Force

PA 10-75 establishes a 12-member task force to determine how state agencies and departments can reduce or eliminate duplicative procedures and paper usage. Eight of the task force members are appointed by legislative leaders and must include corporate executives, economists, information technology experts, and those representing any other interest the appointing authority considers appropriate.

This act allows one of the House speaker's two appointees to be a legislator.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

Task Force on Converting Legislative Documents to Electronic Form

The act revises appointments to, and the membership of, the task force established by PA 10-179 to study converting legislative documents from paper to electronic form. It increases the task force's membership from 15 to 17. It also requires the group to study an additional issue, namely the need to protect the authenticity of, and preserve, legislative documents.

Instead of four members of the Association of Connecticut Lobbyists appointed by the majority leader of each legislative caucus, the act requires the task force to have: (1) one member of that association appointed by the Senate majority leader, (2) a public member appointed by the House majority leader, and (3) the House and Senate minority leaders or their designees. Instead of making the three supervising committee administrators members, the act requires the chairpersons of the Legislative Management Committee to appoint two staff people. Finally, the act adds the following members or their designees to the task force:

1. the Legislative Commissioner's Office director,

2. the secretary of the state, and

3. the Freedom of Information Commission executive director.

The act retains as members, as required by PA 10-179, up to two state agency liaisons appointed by OPM and the following people or their designees: House and Senate clerks, state librarian, Legislative Management Committee chairpersons, and director of the legislative Office of Information Technology.

The act also:

1. extends the deadlines for (a) making appointments from June 1 to July 15, 2010 and (b) holding the first meeting from July 1 to August 15, 2010 and

2. requires the Legislative Management Committee chairpersons to select the task force chairs from among its members rather than requiring the committee chairpersons or their designees to serve as task force chairpersons.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Achievement Gap Task Force

The act adds one member, appointed by the governor, to the nine-member task force established by PA 10-111 to study, monitor, and consider effective ways to close the academic achievement gap between racial and socioeconomic groups in Connecticut.

The task force already consists of the education commissioner or the commissioner's designee and eight members appointed by legislative leaders as follows: two each by the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore and one each by the House and Senate majority and minority leaders.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Task Force on Individualized Education Programs

The act adds one member, appointed by the governor, to the task force to study individualized education programs for students eligible for special education established by SA 10-9, thus increasing the membership from 22 to 23. The act requires the governor's appointee to be an adult who formerly received special education services.

Under SA 10-9, the task force consists of the commissioners of education, higher education, and developmental services and other members appointed and with the qualifications as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Task Force Appointing Authorities, and Member Qualifications

Number

Appointed By

Qualifications

1

Education commissioner

Official of the State Department of Education's Bureau of Special Education

4

One each appointed by the Senate president pro tempore, House majority leader, and House and Senate minority leaders

General Assembly members

2

Senate president pro tempore

Connecticut Association of Boards of Education member

Parent of a child requiring special education

2

Senate majority leader

Regional educational service center representative

Parent of a child requiring special education

3

Senate minority leader

Representative of vocational, community, or business organization providing transitional services to children with disabilities

Connecticut Association of Private Special Education Facilities member

Parent of a child requiring special education

2

House speaker

Connecticut Association of School Administrators member and a local education official

Parent of a child requiring special education

2

House majority leader

Person working in special-education-related services field

Parent of a child requiring special education

3

House minority leader

Connecticut Association of Pupil Personnel Administrators member and administrator of special education program

Special education teacher

Parent of a child requiring special education

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council

The act reverses a change made in PA 10-179 ( 71) that reduced the Senate minority leader's council appointments from two to one by eliminating the requirement that he appoint a member of the advisory council on Medicaid care management oversight. Under this act, the Senate minority leader once again appoints two members, one of whom must be a provider of community-based services for children with behavioral health problems and the other a member of the advisory council on Medicaid care management oversight.

The council advises the DSS and DCF commissioners on the planning and implementation of the Behavioral Health Partnership.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

47 — NONPRIME HOME LOANS

The act changes the definition of “nonprime home loan” for purposes of their regulation.

The law sets criteria for what constitutes a nonprime home loan and imposes requirements on making these loans. For example, excluding Federal Housing Administration loans, the law prohibits lenders from (1) making nonprime home loans unless they reasonably believe, when the loan is consummated, that the people incurring the debt will be able to (a) make the scheduled payments and (b) pay the related taxes and insurance and (2) offering nonprime home loans that contain a prepayment penalty.

The previous statutory definition of nonprime home loans included those with principal amounts not exceeding (1) $417,000, for loans originated from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010 and (2) the conforming loan limit set by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) for loans originated on or after July 1, 2010. The act eliminates the provision tying the amount to limits established by Fannie Mae, instead setting $417,000 as the limit for the definition of nonprime home loans.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

48 & 49 — SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

Highland Park School – Manchester

PA 10-108 overrides statutory and regulatory requirements to allow Manchester to change an extension and alteration and roof replacement project at Highland Park School to a school renovation project. This act specifies that Manchester can change the project scope as well as its description and limits the project's total cost to $13. 1 million.

Duggan School – Waterbury

PA 07-249 overrode statutory and regulatory requirements to allow Waterbury to change the description of a project to build a new elementary school to a project to renovate Duggan School. PA 07-249 made the change on the condition that the state reimbursement grant for the Duggan School renovation not exceed the grant for a new school. This act allows Waterbury to change the project scope as well as the description and limits the project costs eligible for state reimbursement to $39,662,469. (PA 10-108 already authorized a $3. 255 million increase in the state's grant commitment for the project, from $24,722,500 to $27,977,500. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

50 — OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS IN DSS MEDICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

PA 10-3 ( 12) eliminates DSS payments for most over-the-counter drugs purchased by enrollees of the department's medical assistance programs, beginning May 1, 2010. It exempts insulin and insulin syringes and drugs that must be covered under federal law. This act also exempts nutritional supplements for individuals who must be tube fed or cannot safely ingest nutrition in any other form. (Children under age 21 who are Medicaid-eligible can still get these drugs. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

51-57 — ALLOCATING FUNDS FOR BOND POOL PROJECTS

PA 10-44 authorizes up to $58. 6 million in new state general obligation bonds and divides the money into three pools for specified projects in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven as designated by the State Bond Commission. Depending on the designation, for two of the pools, PA 10-44 requires the commission to allocate funding through the most appropriate of several listed state agencies. These are (1) for the economic and community development project pool, the DECD or DEP and (2) for the pool for infrastructure and other specified programs, DECD, DEP, the Department of Public Safety, or DSS.

This act instead requires the commission to allocate the money to OPM, who must distribute the money for the project to whichever of the listed agencies is most appropriate. It also authorizes the project grants to be distributed through OPM rather than the listed agencies.

The act also makes technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010 for the bond pool changes. The technical changes take effect on various dates.

58 — STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL SCHOOL SUBCOMMITTEE

PA 10-76 specifies which State Board of Education (SBE) members may chair its vocational-technical (V-T) school subcommittee. Under this act, starting April 1, 2011, the subcommittee chairperson must be one of the two SBE members who (1) have experience in manufacturing or in a trade taught in the V-T system or (2) are alumni of, or have taught at, a V-T school. It deletes a requirement that, after that date, the subcommittee chairperson be the SBE member who either (1) has agriculture experience or (2) is an alumnus of, or has taught at, a regional agricultural science and technology education center.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

59-71 — TECHNICAL CHANGES

These sections make technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various

72 & 73 — INACTIVE BOND FUNDS

To allow the state treasurer to close out inactive bond funds, SA 10-1 reconciles bond authorizations originally adopted between 1967 and 1986 to actual project allocations. This act corrects two of these revised authorizations as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Revised Authorizations for Inactive Bond Funds

Original Authorization Date

Agency

For

Prior Law

SA 10-1

The Act

1973

DOT

Bureau of Aeronautics – runway facilities improvements at Trumbull Airport

$52,815

$58,000

$55,000

1984

OPM

Municipalities located outside area of presidential disaster declaration of June 14, 1982 – reimbursement for flood-related costs and expenses not otherwise reimbursed

380,887

580,000

500,000

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

74 — REPEAL OF DEADLINE EXTENSION FOR PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION

PA 10-162 and SA 10-8 contain similar provisions allowing taxpayers in Seymour to receive a statutory property tax exemption for manufacturers even if they missed the deadline for claiming the exemption. Both acts provide similar procedures for claiming the exemption. But PA 10-162 allows taxpayers to claim the exemption only for real property on the 2009 Grand List while SA 10-8 allows them to claim it for real and personal property on that grand list. This act eliminates PA 10-162's narrower authorization, thus allowing taxpayers to claim the exemption for real and personal property under SA 10-8.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

BACKGROUND

Real Estate Conveyance Tax

With some exceptions, Connecticut law requires a person who sells real property for $2,000 or more to pay a real estate conveyance tax when he or she conveys the property to the buyer. The tax has two parts: a state tax and a municipal tax. The applicable state and municipal rates are added together to get the total tax rate for a particular transaction.

In addition to the basic municipal tax rate of 0. 25% until July 1, 2011 and 0. 11% thereafter that applies in all towns, 18 specific towns have the option of levying an additional tax of up to 0. 25%. The 18 towns are: Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Bristol, East Hartford, Groton, Hamden, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Norwich, Southington, Stamford, Waterbury, and Windham.

Foreclosure by Sale

Under a foreclosure by sale, any party can ask the court to force a sale of the property. The court appoints a committee to sell the property, after which the court grants the deed to the purchaser. The borrower whose home is being foreclosed may stop the sale by paying his or her mortgage. A “foreclosure by sale” is distinct from a “strict foreclosure” or bank foreclosure through which a lender asks the court for the deed.

ARRA Medicaid Incentive Grants

Under Title IV of ARRA, the federal government will pay 100% of the costs eligible health professionals and hospitals incur to purchase, implement, and operate (including support services and staff training) certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. And it will pay 90% of state administrative expenses related to implementing these incentives. State-designated entities that promote the adoption of EHR technology are also eligible to receive incentive payments through arrangements with eligible professionals under certain conditions.

The incentive grants are made through state Medicaid agencies (i. e. , DSS) to certain health professionals and hospitals that provide services to specified minimum percentages of Medicaid beneficiaries and are “meaningful users” of EHR. Incentives can cover up to 85% of the net allowable costs of technology. They are available for up to six years. The maximum incentive grant is $63,750.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers this program, recently proposed regulations defining “meaningful use. ” The Stage 1 criteria, which take effect in 2011 if adopted, focus on electronically capturing health information in a coded format, using that information to track key clinical conditions, communicating that information for care coordination, and initiating reporting of clinical quality measures and public health information. The criteria contain 25 objectives and measures for professionals and 23 for hospitals. Additional reporting requirements would take effect in 2012.

PPACA Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Incentives

PPACA creates a new Medicaid community-based attendant service option for people who want to remain at home or in a community-based setting but need an institutional level of care. The option becomes available October 2011. States that choose to adopt this in their state Medicaid plan will receive a six percentage point increase in their reimbursement rate. (Connecticut would receive 56% rather than 50%). PPACA also:

1. enhances the Medicaid HCBS state plan benefit by expanding services that can be available and eliminating state discretion to cap participants,

2. offers financial incentives to states that are currently spending less than 50% of their Medicaid long-term care dollars on community-based services, and

3. (a) extends until 2016 the Money Follows the Person demonstration program under which states receive enhanced reimbursement rates for moving people from nursing homes to community settings and (b) reduces from six months to 90 days the minimum institutional residency requirement for eligibility and prohibits states from imposing a longer one.

MOVE Act

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA) (P. L. 99-410) requires U. S. states and territories to allow certain U. S. citizens to register and vote by absentee ballot in federal elections. The MOVE Act (P. L. 111-84) requires states, by the November 2010 general election, among other things, to:

1. establish procedures allowing UOCAVA voters to request voter registration and absentee ballot applications by mail or electronically for general, special, and primary elections for federal office;

2. designate at least one means of electronic communication for (a) UOCAVA voters to request voter registration and absentee ballot applications, (b) sending voter registration and absentee ballot applications to voters, and (c) providing UOCAVA voters with election and voting information;

3. develop procedures for transmitting blank ballots to UOCAVA voters by mail and electronically for general, special, and primary elections for federal office; and

4. develop a free access system that allows a UOCAVA voter to determine whether his or her absentee ballot was received.

OLR Tracking: SC: ND: CR: ts