New laws take effect Oct. 1 - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New laws take effect Oct. 1

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

NEW LAWS TAKE EFFECT OCT 1st 

Senate Bill No. 1032

AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017, AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND OTHER PROVISIONS RELATED TO REVENUE, DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATIONS AND TAX FAIRNESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. 
Public Act No. 15-244 (See Sec. 209)
Summary
House Bill No. 7061

SUMMARY: This act appropriates funds for state agencies and programs and estimates state revenue for FYs 16 and 17. It carries forward unspent balances from prior years' appropriations and directs funds to be spent for specific programs and purposes, adjusts FY 15 appropriations to cover deficiencies, and transfers revenue from various sources to the General Fund for FYs 15 through 17.

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AN ACT CONCERNING DEBIT CARD FRAUD AND PENALTIES FOR COLLECTION OF RENTAL PAYMENTS ON FORECLOSED PROPERTY.
Public Act No. 17-26
Summary
House Bill No. 7015

SUMMARY: This act expands credit card crimes to cover crimes involving debit cards. It defines a “debit card” as any card, code, device, or other means of access, or combination of them that (1) is issued or authorized to debit an asset account held directly or indirectly by a financial institution and (2) the cardholder may use to obtain money, goods, services, or anything of value. The card itself does not have to be called a debit card. The act specifically covers payroll and ATM cards but excludes checks, drafts, or similar paper instruments and their electronic representations. The act also changes how notice of a card's revocation must be sent for purposes of these crimes and expands certain credit card crimes to cover falsely loading payment cards (i.e., credit or debit cards) into digital wallets.

The act also makes it a form of larceny for a previous mortgagor of real property against whom a final foreclosure judgment has been entered to continue to collect rent after a final judgment if he or she has no right to do so. Generally, larceny crimes punish someone who wrongfully takes property from its owner, intending to deprive the owner of the property or appropriate it to someone else. The penalty for larceny varies, based on the value of property taken, from a class C misdemeanor to a class B felony (see Table on Penalties).

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AN ACT CONCERNING HUMAN TRAFFICKING.
Public Act No. 17-32 (See Sec. 1-6, 8-10)
Summary
House Bill No. 7309

SUMMARY: This act makes various changes in laws that pertain to human trafficking. The act principally:

1. adds to the Trafficking in Persons Council's membership and expands its charge;

2. adds to the types of conduct punishable as a trafficking in persons crime and increases the penalty for the crime;

3. reduces the penalty for patronizing a prostitute when the victim is a trafficking victim;

4. creates a new crime (“commercial sexual abuse of a minor”), punishable as either a class A or class B felony (see Table on Penalties), and repeals the class C felony penalty for the crime of patronizing a prostitute for conduct involving a minor;

5. expands the list of people and entities required to post a notice about services for human trafficking victims and imposes a penalty for violations;

6. requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) commissioner to consult with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioner in developing an educational and refresher training program related to human trafficking; and

7. requires the attorney general to develop and report on a proposed certification to include in state contracts to conform, to the extent legally feasible, with the provisions of federal Executive Order 13627, Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts.

It also makes technical and conforming changes.

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AN ACT CONCERNING THE LEGAL AGE TO MARRY IN THIS STATE. 
Public Act No. 17-54
Summary
House Bill No. 5442

SUMMARY: This act (1) prohibits anyone under age 16 from being issued a marriage license under any circumstances and (2) narrows the circumstances in which such a license may be issued to a 16- or 17-year-old.

Under prior law, a 16- or 17-year-old could be issued a marriage license if the registrar of vital statistics had on file the written consent of the minor's parent or guardian. If the minor was under age 16, he or she also needed the written consent of the probate judge where the minor resided. (The probate judge's written consent alone could suffice for a minor's marriage license if no parent or guardian was a U.S. resident.)

Under the act, a minor under age 16 may not be issued a marriage license. A 16- or 17-year-old may only get a marriage license if the probate court where the minor resides approves a petition filed on the minor's behalf by his or her parent or guardian. The court must schedule a hearing on the petition and notify the minor, his or her parents or guardians, and the other party to the intended marriage. The minor and the petitioning parent or guardian must attend the hearing, and the court may, at its discretion, also require the other party to the marriage to attend the hearing. After a hearing on the petition, the court may approve the license if it finds that the:

1. petitioning parent or guardian consents to the marriage,

2. minor (a) consents to the marriage based on an understanding of the nature and consequences of the marriage and (b) is sufficiently capable of making that decision,

3. minor's decision to marry is voluntary and made without coercion, and

4. marriage would not be detrimental to the minor.

Under existing law, unchanged by the act, emancipated minors are treated as adults for marriage purposes and therefore are not subject to these restrictions. (By law, a minor must be at least age 16 to be emancipated.)

The act also makes technical and conforming changes.

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AN ACT REQUIRING EMERGENCY GENERATORS IN CERTAIN HOUSING FOR THE ELDERLY.
Public Act No. 17-62
Summary
Senate Bill No. 772

SUMMARY This act requires each privately owned, multifamily housing project in a municipality with a population between 130,000 and 134,999 to install and maintain at least one emergency power generator. The generator must be capable of providing at least four hours of sufficient electrical power to each (1) unit for heating, water, lighting, and critical medical equipment and (2) passenger elevator.

The act defines “privately owned, multifamily housing project” as real property that (1) consists of, or encompasses, a building at least 15 stories high with age-restricted dwelling units and (2) is wholly or partially subject to a mortgage insured under the federal National Housing Act.

AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR REVISIONS TO ELECTRIC SUPPLIER COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS REGARDING ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS, RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARDS AND ADVERTISING AND CONTRACT PROVISIONS, THE PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY'S REPORTING OF ELECTRIC RATES AND HYDROELECTRIC GENERATION AT CERTAIN DAMS.

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AN ACT CONCERNING SWATTING.
Public Act No. 17-72
Summary
Senate Bill No. 26

SUMMARY: This act expands the crime of falsely reporting an incident in the first degree, which is a class D felony (see Table on Penalties), to include making such a report with the intent to cause a “large scale emergency response” (i.e., “swatting”). Under the act, the court may order individuals convicted of swatting that resulted in a large scale response to make financial restitution to the state and local departments and agencies that provided the emergency response. The court must order the restitution under terms it deems appropriate if any of the responding agencies or departments request restitution and the court finds that they incurred costs associated with the response.

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AN ACT CONCERNING HARASSMENT OF A GUIDE OR ASSISTANCE DOG OR THE HANDLER OF SUCH DOG.
Public Act No. 17-102
Summary
House Bill No. 7214

SUMMARY: This act makes it a class C misdemeanor (see Table on Penalties) to intentionally interfere with a blind, deaf, or mobility impaired person's use of a guide or assistance dog. The punishable actions include intentionally harassing or annoying a (1) blind, deaf, or mobility impaired person; (2) guide or assistance dog that accompanies such person; or (3) person training a dog as a guide or assistance dog.

A person training a guide or assistance dog includes someone who:

1. is employed, and authorized to engage in designated training activities, by a guide dog organization or assistance dog organization that complies with the membership criteria for a professional association of guide or assistance dog schools, and who carries photographic identification indicating that employment and authorization, or

2. volunteers for a guide or assistance dog organization that authorizes the volunteer to raise dogs to become guide or assistance dogs and has the dog identified with ID tags, ear tattoos, bandanas on puppies or coats on adult dogs, or leashes and collars.

The law gives individuals who are blind, deaf, or mobility impaired the right to be accompanied by a guide or assistance dog while travelling on public transportation or in any place of public accommodation. This same right extends to individuals accompanied by such dogs for training purposes.

The act also makes several minor, technical, and conforming changes.

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AN ACT CONCERNING HATE CRIMES.
Public Act No. 17-111
Summary
House Bill No. 5743

SUMMARY: This act makes several changes to the state's hate crime laws, including enhancing penalties in some cases. Among other things, the act:

1. modifies the elements of certain hate crimes that deprive someone of his or her rights (§ 1);

2. imposes minimum fines for certain hate crimes, including deprivation of rights; desecration of property; cross burning; and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias (§§ 1 & 5-7) (see Table on Penalties);

3. allows the court to cancel or reduce the minimum fines the act imposes if the court states on the record its reasons for doing so (§§ 1 & 5-7);

4. enhances the penalty for desecrating a house of religious worship (§ 1);

5. increases the penalty for 1st and 2nd degree threatening when the threat affects a house of worship, religiously-affiliated community center, or day care center (§§ 3 & 4);

6. increases, from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony, the penalty for 3rd degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias (§§ 5-7);

7. allows the court, as a condition of probation or conditional release, to require hate crime offenders to participate in certain programs (§ 2); and

8. replaces the Hate Crimes Advisory Committee with a new State-Wide Hate Crimes Advisory Council within the Office of the Chief State's Attorney (§§ 8 & 9).

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AN ACT CONCERNING BOXING EVENTS AND MIXED MARTIAL ARTS MATCHES.
Public Act No. 17-116
Summary
House Bill No. 6266

SUMMARY: This act eliminates a mixed martial arts (MMA) promoter's liability for the health care costs an MMA competitor incurs from an injury, illness, disease, or condition resulting from an MMA match, for the entire duration of the injury, illness, disease, or condition. It instead requires MMA promoters to provide liability insurance and death benefits at the same level that boxing promoters must provide under existing state regulations for boxers (Conn. Agencies Reg. § 29-143j-15a). Specifically, MMA promoters must provide (1) insurance coverage of at least $20,000 for an injured competitor's medical, dental, surgical, and hospital care and (2) death benefits of at least $50,000 to the estate of a competitor who dies as a result of participating in an MMA match.

The act applies to any person, firm, or corporation that employs or contracts with someone to compete in an MMA match. It also codifies in statutes the above insurance and death benefit requirements for boxing and sparring promoters.

Additionally, the act eliminates (1) the 5% gross receipts tax that boxing and MMA promoters were required to pay under prior law, (2) the requirement for such promoters to file a surety bond with the emergency services and public protection commissioner as a condition of licensing, and (3) related reporting provisions on MMA and boxing matches and event receipts.

The act also makes conforming changes.

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AN ACT PREVENTING PRESCRIPTION OPIOID DIVERSION AND ABUSE.
Public Act No. 17-131 (See Sec. 4, 12)
Summary
House Bill No. 7052

§ 6 — CERTIFICATION TO PRESCRIBE AT-HOME OPIOID USE DISORDER TREATMENTS

By October 1, 2017, the act requires DPH to post information on its website about the ability of a prescribing practitioner to obtain certification to prescribe at-home medication to treat opioid use disorder (e.g., Suboxone). (The act does not specify the type of certification or the certifying organization.) This information must include a list of educational requirements, available courses, and any waivers from these requirements.

§ 7 — ALCOHOL AND DRUG POLICY COUNCIL (ADPC)

By law, the ADPC is charged with (1) reviewing state policies on substance abuse treatment programs and criminal sanctions and programs and (2) developing and coordinating a statewide plan for these matters.

Opioid Fact Sheet

By October 1, 2017, the act requires the ADPC to develop a one-page fact sheet on opioid drugs that must:

1. be written in clear and readily understandable language and in at least 12-point font,

2. include the risks of taking an opioid drug and the symptoms of opioid use disorders, and

3. include services available in Connecticut for people experiencing these symptoms or who are otherwise affected by an opioid use disorder.

The council must make the fact sheet available on the DMHAS website for health care providers and pharmacists to use and encourage them to disseminate it to anyone the (1) provider treats for opioid use disorder symptoms, (2) provider issues a prescription for or administers an opioid drug or opioid antagonist, or (3) pharmacist dispenses an opioid drug or issues a prescription for or dispenses an opioid antagonist.

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AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE TAKING OF MUSHROOMS AT STATE PARKS AND ON OTHER STATE PROPERTY.
Public Act No. 17-150
Summary
Senate Bill No. 129

SUMMARY: This act allows people to take mushrooms for their personal use from property under the control of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (e.g., state parks). Under the act, the state is not liable to a person, or his or her heirs or assigns, who does so.

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AN ACT REQUIRING THE REGISTRATION OF ANIMAL SHELTERS.
Public Act No. 17-167
Summary
House Bill No. 6334

SUMMARY: This act requires a person who wants to operate or maintain an animal shelter in Connecticut to register with the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) commissioner and comply with DoAg regulations on sanitation, disease, humane treatment of cats and dogs, and public safety protection. Under the act, an “animal shelter” is a private entity operating a building or facility used solely to house homeless animals for rescue or adoption but that is not in a private residence.

Under the act, DoAg must issue a registration to a person upon application and payment of a $50 fee if the person complies with applicable state regulations and, for an initial registration, municipal zoning requirements. A registration lasts until the second December 31 following issuance, is renewable biennially by that date, and may be transferred to another premises with the commissioner's approval.

The act authorizes the commissioner, or his agent, to inspect an animal shelter at any time. If, in his judgment, the shelter is not being maintained in a sanitary and humane manner that protects public safety, or if he finds that contagious, infectious, or communicable disease or other unsatisfactory conditions exist, he may (1) fine the shelter up to $500 for each affected animal, (2) order that the conditions be corrected, and (3) quarantine the premises and animals.

Under the act, the commissioner may revoke or suspend the registration of a shelter that fails to comply with his regulations or orders or any state law relating to animals. Anyone aggrieved by a commissioner's order may appeal to Superior Court. Anyone operating a shelter without a valid registration is subject to a fine of up to $200.

Existing law establishes similar requirements and penalties for commercial kennels, pet shops, groomers, and animal training facilities.

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AN ACT CONCERNING COMPUTER EXTORTION BY USE OF RANSOMWARE.
Public Act No. 17-223
Summary
House Bill No. 7304

SUMMARY: This act creates a specific class E felony offense for computer extortion involving ransomware (see Table on Penalties). Under the act, this offense consists of introducing ransomware into a computer, computer system, or computer network and demanding payment to (1) remove the ransomware; (2) restore access to the computer, system, or network or data contained therein; or (3) otherwise remediate the ransomware's impact. These actions may also be considered computer crimes, computer-related offenses, and extortion under existing law (see BACKGROUND).

The act defines “ransomware” as any computer contaminant or lock placed or introduced without authorization into a computer, computer system, or computer network that restricts the authorized person's access to the affected computer, system, network, or data contained therein. It does not include (1) authentication required to upgrade or access purchased content or (2) blocking access to subscription content in the case of nonpayment.

The act defines a “computer contaminant” as any set of computer instructions designed to modify, damage, destroy, record, or transmit data held by a computer, computer system, or computer network without the data owner's intent or permission.

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AN ACT CONCERNING CAMERA AND RECORDING DEVICES AND EQUIPMENT USED BY POLICE.
Public Act No. 17-225 (See Sec. 3-4)
Summary
House Bill No. 7308

SUMMARY: This act expands a grant program administered by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary that reimburses municipalities for, among other things, purchasing body cameras for use by sworn members of municipal police departments. Generally, it (1) expands the types of equipment eligible for the program to include electronic defense weapon recording equipment and first-time purchases of dashboard cameras; (2) expands the program's coverage to include additional law enforcement personnel; and (3) extends the program by one year, to FY 19. Under the act, however, any reimbursements must be provided within available resources.

The act also establishes a 26-member task force to examine the use of body cameras by state and municipal police. It must report its findings and recommendations to the Judiciary and Public Safety committees by February 1, 2018.

With respect to municipal police departments that use body cameras, existing law requires their use when police officers interact with the public in a law enforcement capacity, with certain specified exceptions (e.g., encounters with undercover officers or informants). Under the act, body cameras must be used in accordance with the department's policy, if it is adopted in accordance with guidelines maintained by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioner and Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST).

Lastly, the act makes minor, technical, and conforming changes.

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AN ACT CONCERNING RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REGARDING THE NOTIFICATION OF STATE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT OPPORTUNITIES BY THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT AND THE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION, PARKING SPACES, WAYSIDE HORNS, THE DISPOSITION OF EXCESS STATE PROPERTY, HEAVY DUTY TRAILERS, FLASHING LIGHTS ON MOTOR VEHICLES, CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS, PESTICIDE APPLICATION BY RAILROAD COMPANIES, THE "MOVE OVER" LAW, ROAD DESIGN STANDARDS, AND ROAD AND BRIDGE DESIGNATIONS.
Public Act No. 17-230 (See Sec. 1-8, 11-14, 16-17)
Summary
House Bill No. 7055

SUMMARY: This act strengthens motor vehicle child restraint (car seat) requirements and subjects violators to the penalties under existing law.

It eliminates a law requiring the Department of Transportation (DOT) to offer excess highway property to the municipality in which the property is located before selling it. (DOT is still subject to another law requiring all state agencies to notify state and local officials before selling any land they own in a municipality.)

The act changes other laws affecting handicapped parking, railroad crossings, pesticide spraying by railroads, notification procedures for certain DOT and UConn contracts, oversize and overweight vehicle permits, the “move over” law, the display of lights on vehicles used by state construction inspectors, parking in New Haven intersections, and road design standards.

It requires DOT to conduct several studies and install certain signs on certain highways. It also makes a technical change (§ 13) and names a number of roads and bridges.

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AN ACT ESTABLISHING A FARM DISTILLERY MANUFACTURER PERMIT.
Public Act No. 17-232
Summary
House Bill No. 7072

SUMMARY: This act establishes a farm distillery manufacturer permit, which allows Connecticut farms to manufacture, store, bottle, wholesale distribute, and sell distilled alcohol or spirits they produce on their property, including whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum. It sets the annual permit fee at $300.

Under the act, permittees may produce up to 10,000 gallons of alcohol or spirits annually. They must grow at least 25% of the fruit or crops used to make them, and may not sell any other distilled alcohol or spirits they did not manufacture. And the act allows permittees to offer free samples and tastings and retail sales for off-premises consumption, unless the towns in which they are located prohibit such activities by ordinance or zoning regulation.

For the complete list, click here.

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