From curbing opioid abuse to making affirmative consent the law to a Student's Bill of Rights and more, a number of important laws go into effect today. You can find a listing of all the laws going into effect here.
TACKLING CT'S OPIOID EPIDEMIC
In recent years, Connecticut, like other New England states, has seen a heartbreaking increase in fatal opioid overdoses.
This lifesaving law will:
Increase access to Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid abuse
- Allow any licensed healthcare professional to administer Narcan
- Require municipalities to equip their first responders with Narcan
- Allow pharmacists to prescribe Narcan
Limit opioid prescriptions, reducing the risk of addiction
- Caps first-time adult prescriptions at 7 days
- Caps all prescriptions for minors at 7 days
- Contains exceptions for certain medical conditions
Add more on-the-ground experts to the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council, such as:
- An emergency medical technician
- A licensed drug and alcohol counselor
While there is still more work to be done, this legislation is a historic step forward in both combatting opioid overdose and preventing new cases of opioid addiction.
LEGAL SERVICES FOR THE POOR
Making sure that everyone is treated fairly and has reliable access to legal services has been a priority of this legislature. Access to reliable counsel for criminal defendants has not been a problem, but the same is not true in civil court proceedings. This new measure will increase certain court filing fees and direct that increased revenue to funding legal services for the poor.This law also permits the use of existing grant funds for the program.
A task force will also study access to counsel in civil matters, and report its findings to the General Assembly later this year.
AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT: "YES MEANS YES"
As of July 1, all Connecticut public and private universities must adopt policies establishing 'affirmative consent' as the standard definition of consent in their investigations of sexual assault.
Affirmative consent is defined as an active, clear, and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person.
Often referred to as the 'yes means yes' standard, it recognizes that a sexual assault can occur without a victim actively saying 'no.' For example, a victim may be unable to say 'no' if she or he is:
- Impaired by drugs or alcohol
Here's what the legislation does:
- Changes the conversation about consent from 'no means no' to 'yes means yes'
- Creates a uniform standard across Connecticut colleges and universities
- Requires universities to educate students about affirmative consent
And what it doesn't do:
- Presume guilt of any party
- Affect sexual assault investigations within the criminal justice system
PROTECTING SCHOOLCHILDREN FROM TEACHERS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Our top priority is to ensure that children are safe when they go to school, which includes protecting them from sexual predators. While a school may fire a teacher who has been accused of sexual abuse, in the past boards of education did not always share information about personnel misconduct, so that teacher was often able to get a job in another school district.
The new legislation:
- Promotes a safe school environment
- Requires local and regional boards of education to share findings of certain misconduct with other boards of education
- Ensures that local and regional boards of education have information concerning whether a job applicant has been found to have committed abuse or sexual misconduct
- Makes Connecticut the fourth state in the nation – joining Missouri, Oregon and Pennsylvania – in requiring boards of education to share information about sexual abusers
STUDENT LOAN BILL OF RIGHTS
Applying for college loans can be complicated and confusing. We created an office of the Student Loan Ombudsman to assist students in navigating the loan process and educate them about the different options they have for repaying their loans. The Ombudsman is responsible for handling student issues and complaints about their loan servicers, and will be investigating these claims to ensure that students are being fairly treated. Certain provisions of this law went into effect last year; the rest go into effect now.
AN ENTREPRENEUR LEARNER'S PERMIT PILOT PROGRAM
This year we created an "Entrepreneur Learner's Permit." The pilot program's purpose is to encourage and assist first-time entrepreneurs in starting new information services, biotechnology and green technology businesses by providing reimbursements to such entrepreneurs for any state filing, permitting or licensing fees associated with the formation of such a business in the state. Interested applicants should contact Connecticut Innovations for deadlines and requirements.
THE NEW CONNECTICUT RETIREMENT SECURITY PROGRAM
This year we improved the retirement security of workers in the state who do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or payroll deduction individual retirement account by establishing the Connecticut Retirement Security Authority, which is charged with overseeing the Connecticut Retirement Security Program. The program will help establish Roth Retirement Savings Accounts or Roth IRAs for eligible employees in the state. Roth IRAs allow account holders flexibility in saving money and provides greater ease of access to an account holder's savings than a traditional IRA. The Connecticut Retirement Security Authority will also study whether participants would prefer a traditional, tax deductible IRA.
RECRUITING MORE MINORITY TEACHERS
Research has shown that a diverse teaching workforce that reflects the students they serve improves outcomes and inspires students of color and English Language learners to purse higher education. As in most states across the country, teachers of color are underrepresented in Connecticut schools.
We've passed a law to help recruit more minority teachers by improving the existing Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force:
- Increases the size and scope of the task force
- Requires a review of existing state-sponsored recruitment efforts
- Explores pathways for existing school employees to gain teaching certification
TRAINING SCHOOLCHILDREN IN CPR, COMPUTER PROGRAMMING AND SAFE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Starting this fall, all public schoolchildren will receive training in CPR and safe use of social media, as well as instruction in computer programming. These courses promote health and safety as well as ensure that students are getting instruction in a skill that is becoming more key in more professions. (Boards of education may accept gifts, grants and donations, including, in-kind donations, designated for the purchase of equipment or materials needed to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction.)