Did you know that nearly 100 new laws went into effect on October 1st? Below we outline ten pieces of legislation that may affect your business or family.
This year, we helped protect victims of domestic violence by requiring that domestic abusers subject to a temporary restraining order give up their firearms until a hearing. Thanks to emotional testimony from Rep. Robyn Porter the bill passed the house 104 to 42. Women are five times more likely to be killed when their abuser has access to a gun. This piece of legislation was aimed at combatting that startling statistic. Connecticut’s new legislation was supported by a recent Supreme Court case - Voisine v. US - in which the court ruled that those who commit “reckless” acts of domestic abuse may be prohibited from owning guns, even if the charges do not rise to the level of felonies. A person’s right to life should come before the right to have a gun.
This bipartisan action was about getting children the medicine they need to be free from suffering. After an emotional public hearing during which parents testified about the debilitating conditions their children faced and how they thought medical cannabis could help, the legislature amended the state's 4-year-old medical marijuana program to include patients under 18. This would allow the parents of children with childhood epilepsy and other severe neurological conditions to use liquid forms of the drug that have been found to sharply reduce seizure episodes. Adolescent patients will need a prescription from their doctor and will only have access to non-smokable forms of the drug.
Animal lovers pushed for the passage of this legislation nicknamed "Desmond's Law." The law allows judges to appoint volunteers to advocate for cats and dogs involved in court cases. The name comes from the case of a shelter dog that was starved, beaten and strangled to death in Branford in 2012. Animal cruelty is often a red flag for future violence. Yet from 2002 - 2012, only 18% of animal cruelty cases in CT resulted in conviction. This law will help make our communities safer.
Cities and towns now must train first responders and ensure access to an overdose reversal drug. The measure is part of a broad piece of legislation to target the opioid overdose epidemic that has plagued Connecticut. This bill allows any licensed healthcare professional to administer drugs aimed at preventing opioid overdoses and requires municipalities to equip their first responders with an opioid antagonist. Earlier this year CT negotiated a price cut on Narcan, the leading drug
Ensuring reliable access to legal services for the poor continues to be a priority of this legislature. This new measure will increase certain court filing fees in a revenue gain of approximately $1.2 million annually. The additional revenue generated by this legislation will be used for legal services for the poor. This law also permits the use of existing grant funds for the program.
It’s not uncommon for student loan borrowers to have gripes about the often complicated process of paying back their loan. This legislation will regulate student loan servicers, and educate students and their parents through the loan process. The legislation will require student loan servicers to register with the Department of Banking and the Office of Student Loan Ombudsman. This way, any complaints filed by students against the loan servicers and their universities can be resolved more easily.
The bill establishes an Entrepreneur Learner's Permit pilot program to encourage and assist first-time entrepreneurs in certain business sectors by reimbursing them for state fees associated with forming a business. Connecticut has become a popular home for start-up companies and this bill will encourage more entrepreneurs to get started. This is a pro-business, bi-partisan bill that will benefit Connecticut's economy.
This bill gives a 15% price preference to veteran-owned small businesses that want to bid on state contracts. In other words, a veteran-owned business bidding $100 on a state contract would win out over a competing business bidding $87 because 15% of $100 is $85. This bill would make it easier for veterans to start and maintain local businesses in Connecticut.
This bill expands the list of specialized physicians authorized to provide health care services using telehealth. Telehealth holds the promise to significantly impact some of the most challenging problems of our current healthcare system: access to care, cost effective delivery, and distribution of limited providers. The convenience and effectiveness of telehealth will led to improved health outcomes across the state.
This legislation will encourage the development of bee habitats while limiting the use of certain pesticides. Connecticut’s beekeepers lost nearly 60 percent of their bee colonies last year. Experts say the problems are likely a combination of pesticide use, lack of suitable habitat for bees and other pollinators like butterflies, and diseases. We must support our farmers and our agriculture production.