2011 Legislative Session

Connecticut -  Road to Recovery

Summary of Accomplishments

Below, we’ve listed many of the bills we passed during the 2011 session. The title of the bill, or act, provides a link to a summary of its activity (text, amendments, votes, analyses, etc.) Brief summaries are organized under the following categories:

JOBS & The ECONOMY

Bradley Airport

This bill remakes the way Connecticut oversees its airports by creating a new, 11-member Connecticut Airport Authority whose goal is to turn airports like Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks into job-making engines of economic development. The bill provides for the Airport Authority to take over from the DOT the management, operation and development of Bradley International and five other state-owned, general aviation airports: Brainard, Groton-New London, Danielson, Windham and Waterbury-Oxford.

AAC the Connecticut Airport Authority; SB 1003, PA 11-84

First Five

The First Five jobs creation program provides substantial state financial assistance to the first five new businesses in Connecticut that create at least 200 new jobs by July 1, 2013 or invest at least $25 million and creates at least 200 jobs within the next five years. The bill exempts these first five business projects from various legislative caps on financial assistance amounts, and it expands the Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit from $500 million to $750 million and expands the Job Creation Tax Credit from $11 million to $20 million.

AAC Creating the First Five Program; SB 1001, PA 11-86

UConn Health Center

This bill expands and renovates the UConn Health Center and is projected to create at least 16,000 high-quality jobs, attract millions of dollars in federal funding, and improve access to health care for families across Connecticut. Specifics of the plan include:

  • Renovation of the UConn Health Center to increase bioscience research capacity and productivity, increase the number of clinical/translational scientists, and expand incubator facilities to foster new business start-ups;
  • Construction of new patient tower and new ambulatory care facility;
  • Creation of the Connecticut Institute for Primary Care at Saint Francis Hospital intended to increase the number of primary care providers in Connecticut;
  • Establishment of a comprehensive cancer center to expand clinical trials; and,
  • Investment in a UConn-sponsored health disparities institute designed to enhance the delivery of care to minority and medically underserved people.

AAC the University of Connecticut Health Center; SB 1152, PA 11-75

UConn Technology Park

This bill provides bonding for a world-class research and technology park at the University of Connecticut’s main campus in Storrs. The $172.5 million project is expected to create thousands of high-quality jobs and generate tens of millions of dollars in federal and private funding. The project calls for construction of a 125,000 square-foot multi-story building comprised primarily of large, flexible-use laboratories containing specialized equipment for collaborative industry-university research. The tech-park will eventually include multiple buildings, many of which could be privately funded. Additionally, the biennial budget includes an ‘Innovation Partners Eminent Faculty Program’ to attract the nation’s top scientists and leverage millions of dollars in federal and private investment.

AA Authorizing Bonds of the State For Capital Improvements; SB 1242, PA 11-57

Pre-seed Funding

This bill allows the University of Connecticut and state universities to take advantage of up to $150,000 in “pre-seed” economic assistance to help commercialize any university-owned technology that it may be developed with private companies.

AAC Qualified Private Investments for Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated’s Preseed Program; SB 1173

Permit Extension

This bill gives developers more time to complete certain ongoing projects without seeking re-approval of their permits from a land use commission or an inland wetlands agency.

AA Extending the Time of Expiration of Certain Land Use Permits; SB 859, PA 11-5

Streamlining State Bid Processes

This bill eliminates the requirement for contractors and bidders to indicate their compliance with state ethics laws, and laws banning collusion, each time they enter into a state contract. Rather, it requires that they provide affirmations only when there is a change to the information they previously filed.

AAC the State Set-Aside Program, Filing Requirements of State Contractors, and Evaluation of Contractors and Subcontractors; SB 882

Rail Freight Bridge

This bill provides $3 million for repairs to the Hartford-East Hartford railroad bridge over the Connecticut River, the viability of which serves a dozen businesses east of the river with a combined 500 employees.

AA Authorizing Bonds of the State For Capital Improvements Authorizing Special Tax Obligation Bonds of the State for Transportation Purposes and Authorizing State Grant Commitments for School Building Projects; SB 1242, PA 11-57

Insurance & Financial Services Clusters

This bill requires the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis of Connecticut’s insurance and financial services clusters.

AAC a SWOT Analysis of State’s Insurance and Financial Services Clusters; SB 1068, Special Act 11-6

Job Growth

This bill requires a study of how to convert the state automotive fleet to alternative fueled vehicles, clarifies last year’s initiative on a loan forgiveness program, and creates a task force to study the barriers that hold back business in Connecticut.

AAC The Continuance of The Majority Leaders’ Job Growth Roundtable; HB 6525

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The BUDGET & FINANCES

The Biennial Budget

Connecticut’s two-year budget includes more than $700 million in spending cuts and $1.6 billion in labor concessions from state employees. It doesn’t rely on borrowing or fiscal gimmicks to fund operating expenses, it fully funds the state’s pension obligations, and it remains under the state spending cap. At the same time, the budget protects state levels of municipal aid, which helps towns and cities avoid raising local property taxes. The state raised some taxes but made efforts to make the tax code more progressive; proposals to eliminate the property tax credit for homeowners and to raise the gas tax were rejected. The budget also establishes a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for thousands of low-income workers.

AAC the Budget for the Biennium ending June 30, 2013, and Other Provisions Relating to Revenue; SB 1239, PA 11-6

Elimination of Charge on Electric Bills

Thanks to increased revenues, the General Assembly was able to eliminate the surcharge on electric bills that costs the average rate payer as much as $5 every month.

AA Implementing the Revenue Items in the Budget and Making Budget Adjustments; HB 6652, PA 11-61

Higher Education Reorganization

This bill increases the efficiency and effectiveness of Connecticut’s colleges and universities by eliminating the boards of trustees for CSU, the community colleges and Charter Oak State College and creating a new Board of Regents with expanded duties that will oversee all of them.

AA Implementing Provisions of the Budget Concerning General Government; HB 6651, PA 11-48

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ENERGY & The ENVIRONMENT

Connecticut’s Energy Future

This year’s major energy reform will help to lower Connecticut’s energy costs and electric rates (amongst the highest in the nation) while moving the state toward clean and efficient energy. To achieve this, the legislation creates the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut’s first full-time dedicated energy agency since the 1970s. The bill seeks to help create the industries, jobs and businesses necessary to facilitate a clean energy economy in Connecticut. It also:

  • Creates the Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority to leverage private capital for clean energy projects
  • Improves electricity contracting and procurement procedures to lower rates
  • Orders a study of electric market rules and their effect on higher rates
  • Supports zero-emission and low-emission electric generation, without picking winners amongst particular technologies
  • Establishes a one-stop shop to proactively reach out to businesses and consult with them on available programs and reducing their energy costs

Learn more on our special Web page, Connecticut’s Energy Future.

AAC the Establishment of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Planning for Connecticut’s Future; SB 1243, PA 11-80

Kleen Energy & Thomas Commission

As a result of the deadly explosion at the Kleen Energy plant in February 2010, this bill prohibits anyone from using flammable gas to clean or blow an electric generating facility’s gas piping. This bill prohibits the Connecticut Siting Council from issuing a certificate to build a power plant unless the applicant demonstrates that he or she has retained, for the duration of the project, at least one special inspector to help the local fire marshal review construction plans and inspect the facility during construction, and has paid a fee to be used to help train local fire marshals in power plant construction issues. This bill imposes a fine up to $100,000, imprisonment for up to two years, or both for anyone who fails to comply with the bill.

AA Adopting Certain Safety Recommendations of the Thomas Commission; HB 5802

Clean Water Funding

The state bonding bill authorizes approximately $472 million over the two years for loans for various Clean Water Fund projects. The Clean Water Fund is Connecticut’s environmental infrastructure assistance program established in 1986 to provide financial assistance to cities and towns for the planning, design and construction of wastewater collection and treatment projects and other pollution control projects. This is especially important considering that 90 Connecticut towns—about a quarter of the state—have publicly owned sewage systems with an average life expectancy of 20 years. These investments result in better pubic health, cleaner rivers and a healthier Long Island Sound.

AA Authorizing Bond of the State for Capital Improvements Authorizing Special Tax Obligation Bonds of the State for Transportation Purposes and Authorizing State Grant Commitments for School Building Project; SB 1242, PA 11-57

Paint Stewardship Program

This bill establishes a program for retailers to collect and dispose of old, unused and unwanted architectural paint that might otherwise be thrown away in landfills.

AA Establishing a Paint Stewardship Program; SB 828, PA 11-24

BPA Receipt Paper

This bill prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of thermal receipt or cash register receipt paper containing the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which is a known endocrine disruptor. The bill takes effect on October 1, 2013 as long as the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency identifies a safe, commercially available alternative to using BPA in these receipts.

AA Prohibiting the Use of Bispehnol-A in Thermal Receipt Paper; SB 210

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EDUCATION

In-state Tuition For Students Without Legal Immigration Status

This bill allows students without legal immigration status to attend in-state colleges and universities at in-state tuition levels—as opposed to the much higher out-of-state rates—if they attend and graduate from a Connecticut high school and if they file an affidavit swearing to legalize their immigration status. It’s estimated that this bill affects a mere 200 students (about one-tenth of 1 percent) out of the 120,000 who attend Connecticut’s state colleges and universities every year.

AAC Access to Postsecondary Education; HB 6390, PA 11-43

Bullying

This bill strengthens Connecticut’s existing anti-bullying laws, adds electronic “cyberbullying” to the list of prohibited activities and expands the number of mandatory school reporters and the responsibilities of school districts. Provisions include:

  • Expansion of the definition of bullying to cover written, verbal, and electronic communications; physical acts; and gestures by a student or a group of students directed against another student that causes the student physical or emotional harm or damages his or her property;
  • Increased accountability by making the school principal responsible for investigating bullying whether it occurs in or out-of-school, if it affects the school or students in the school or school district, and requires all school employees—not just teachers and administrators—to report bullying incidents they see or that are reported to them.
  • Requirement that schools and school districts adopt safe school climate plans to address bullying, and adds requirements that schools establish deadlines for reporting, investigating and notifying parents and guardians about bullying incidents; prohibit retaliation against those who report bullying; and require school officials to notify police when they believe bullying conduct constitutes a crime.

AAC the Strengthening of School Bullying Laws; SB 1138

Achievement Gap

This bill focuses on school readiness, particularly in underachieving districts, by calling for new curricula specific to students prekindergarten through 4th grade to ensure their readiness in both reading and math. The bill also permits underperforming school districts to expand the length of each school day and increase the overall number of school days as desired and as necessary to help close the achievement gap.

AAC Closing the Academic Achievement Gap; SB 929, PA 11-85

Early Childhood Educators

This bill changes the educational requirements for early childhood teachers in state-funded early childhood programs by requiring that as of July 1, 2015, 50 percent of such staff must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, childhood development or a related field, or they must have a teaching certificate with an endorsement in early childhood or special education. By July 1, 2020, all such staff must have one of those advanced degrees.

AAC Requirements for Early Childhood Educators; SB 927, PA 11-54

Early Childhood Education

This bill creates a coordinated system of early care and education and child development. It requires that the governor appoint a planning director who is charged with developing a plan that will address the needs of children from birth to age 8. It also increases the membership of the Early Childhood Education Cabinet.

AAC Early Childhood Education; SB 1103

Charter Schools

This bill addresses teacher and administrative certification standards in the state’s charter schools by allowing the state commissioner of education to issue a waiver so that up to 30 percent of a charter school’s faculty and administrators may work at the school without state teacher certification. Current law requires all charter school teachers to be state certified or hold a 90-day, temporary state certificate.

AAC Charter Schools; SB 1104, PA 11-60

Higher Education Strategic Plan

This bill modifies Connecticut’s Higher Education Strategic Plan to establish numerical goals for 2015 and 2020 that eliminate the postsecondary achievement gap between minority students and the general student population, and to increase the number of people earning bachelors and associates degrees as well as the number of people completing coursework at community colleges. The bill also requires the state Department of Education to require school districts to include ‘unique identifiers’ on student transcripts to help track students in the Early Childhood Information System.

AAC Revisions to the Higher Education Statutes; SB 858, PA 11-70

Vo-Tech Task Force

This bill creates a task force to look into issues regarding who should operate the state’s vo-tech school system and ways to improve our vo-tech system.

AA Implementing Provisions of the Budget Concerning General Government; HB 6651, PA 11-48

Adult Education and Expulsions

By law, an expelled student who is at least 16 years old may attend adult education as part of an alternative educational opportunity during the expulsion. This bill specifies that a student attending adult education during an expulsion period is not required to withdraw from regular public school in order to do so.

AAC Adult Education; HB 6433

Supporting Local Education

Two bills introduce a number of new initiatives to protect and strengthen local schools, including a School Choice incentive program and an ECS study task force to examine our current state education funding formula. Another bill restores the commissioner of education’s power to issue waivers to school districts to employ substitute teachers who do not hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

AA Implementing Provisions of the Budget Concerning General Government; HB 6651, PA 11-48

AA Implementing the Provisions of the Budget Concerning the Judicial Branch, Child Protection, Criminal Justice, Weigh Stations, and Certain State Agency Consolidation; HB 6650, PA 11-51

AAC Substitute Teachers; SB 933, PA 11-27

School Breakfast

This bill increases the eligibility for the school breakfast grant program by changing the threshold from 40 percent of all students receiving free or reduced lunch to only 20 percent of all students receiving free or reduced lunch.

AA Implementing Provisions of the Budget Concerning General Government; HB 6651, PA 11-48

Truancy Clinic

This bill establishes a pilot truancy clinic in Waterbury. The purpose of the clinic is to identify and resolve the systemic causes of absenteeism using non-punitive procedures. Under the bill, an elementary or middle school principal can refer the parent or guardian of a truant child—or one at risk of becoming a truant—to the truancy clinic.

AAC A Pilot Truancy Clinic in Waterbury; SB 982

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PUBLIC SAFETY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Marijuana Decriminalization

This bill reduces possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana from a class C misdemeanor to a violation, punishable by a $150 fine for a first offense and a $200 to $500 fine for subsequent offenses. Individuals under 21 years-old would have their driver’s license suspended for 60 days. Anyone with three or more offenses would be referred for participation in a drug education program at their own expense.

AAC The Penalty for Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses; SB 1014, PA 11-71

Preventing Domestic Violence

This year’s domestic violence bill strengthens victim’s access to restraining and protective orders, improves information sharing about domestic violence incidents between state agencies, and facilitates victims’ access to services. The legislation expands the ability of victims who have experienced a pattern of threatening or stalking to request a restraining order, and clarifies that people of any age (including teens) can request a restraining order to protect them from a partner who has subjected them to abuse. The bill also fixes a contradiction in state law that currently exempts people in dating relationships from arrest when a domestic violence crime is committed, so that police have clear authority to make such arrests.

AA Concerning Domestic Violence; HB 6629

Kleen Energy & Thomas Commission

As a result of the deadly explosion at the Kleen Energy plant in February 2010, this bill prohibits anyone from using flammable gas to clean or blow an electric generating facility’s gas piping. This bill prohibits the Connecticut Siting Council from issuing a certificate to build a power plant unless the applicant demonstrates that he or she has retained, for the duration of the project, at least one special inspector to help the local fire marshal review construction plans and inspect the facility during construction, and has paid a fee to be used to help train local fire marshals in power plant construction issues. This bill imposes a fine up to $100,000, imprisonment for up to two years, or both for anyone who fails to comply with the bill.

AA Adopting Certain Safety Recommendations of the Thomas Commission; HB 5802

Disaster, Terrorism and Children

This bill requires the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to amend Connecticut’s civil preparedness plan to include planning and activities specifically for children and youth in the event of natural or man-made disasters and terrorism.

AAC Children Affected by Disaster and Terrorism; SB 983, PA 11-66

Youth Prostitution and DCF Notification

This bill requires a police officer who arrests a 16- or 17-year-old on prostitution charges to report suspected child abuse or neglect to DCF.

AA Requiring The Department of Children and Families to be Notified When a Youth Is Arrested for Prostitution; SB 1044

Truancy Clinic

This bill establishes a pilot truancy clinic in Waterbury. The purpose of the clinic is to identify and resolve the systemic causes of absenteeism using non-punitive procedures. Under the bill, an elementary or middle school principal can refer the parent or guardian of a truant child—or one at risk of becoming a truant—to the truancy clinic.

AAC A Pilot Truancy Clinic in Waterbury; SB 982

Bail Bonds

This bill will help prevent bail bond ‘undercutting.’ This occurs when the premium on a bail bond is decreased to almost nothing, allowing the recipient to leave jail with a minimal stake in their return to court. The legislation allows bail bond agents to extend credit to their clients. The client must make a minimum 35 percent down payment of the bond premium, ensuring a personal stake in their return to court, with full repayment due within 15 months. The bill also makes adjustments to various other bail bond regulations, licensing and insurance requirements, and increases reporting standards.

AAC Surety Bail Bond Agents and Professional Bondsmen; SB 28, PA 11-45

Recording of Interrogations

This bill improves the reliability of confessions by people charged with very serious felonies by providing that statements they make during an interrogation are presumed to be inadmissible in court, unless that interrogation is videotaped.

AAC The Electronic Recording of Custodial Interrogations; SB 954

Workplace Violence in Health Care Settings

This bill applies workplace violence prevention and response standards to hospital and most other institutional health care workers, adding them to the list of other front-line responders such as public safety, emergency medical and public transit workers who are already covered under state law.

AAC Workplace Violence Prevention and Response in Health Care Setting; SB 970

IDs at Health Care Workplaces

To improve security and safety for patients, this bill requires any health care employee who gives direct care to a patient to wear an employer-issued photo-identification badge during working hours.

AA Requiring Health Care Providers to Display Photographic Identification Badges During Work Hours; HB 5045, PA 11-32

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CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

Crack Down on Fraudulent Behavior Analysts

Individuals who misrepresent themselves as board certified behavior analysts could be found guilty of felony charges under this bipartisan legislation. The bill cracks down on people who fraudulently represent themselves as board certified behavior analysts, primarily for the treatment of children with autism. The penalty for this new criminal offense would be up to five years in prison and up to a $500 fine for each offense.

AAC Misrepresentation As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst; SB 799

Tenant Commissioners

This bill allows public housing tenants to elect a commissioner of their choice to the local municipal Public Housing Authority. The commissioner may be chosen by the board of a local tenant council or by an election of all tenants. Residents may also petition for an election to be held. Ten percent of the tenants or 75, whichever is less, must sign a petition for it to succeed. The bill also expands some Public Housing Authority boards from five to seven members in order to ensure tenants and minorities are well represented.

AAC the Selection of Tenant Commissioners; HB 6461

Child Identity Theft

This bill expands the type of conduct that constitutes an identity theft crime. Under current law, knowingly using both another person’s name and their identifying information to obtain money, credit, goods, services, property or medical information is illegal. The legislation closes a loophole in the law that would allow a child’s identity to be stolen by simply using their identifying information alone, without use of the child’s name.

AAC Child Identity; SB 958

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HEALTH CARE & INSURANCE Reform

Sustinet & Pooling

This omnibus health care reform bill gives the Office of the Comptroller the ability to create insurance plans and pool employees of municipalities and non profit organizations with state employees to take advantage of economies of scale in order to reduce overall health costs. With this bill Connecticut joins 24 other states that allow municipalities to purchase health insurance with their state insurance plans. The bill also brings Connecticut in conformance with the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which extends coverage for young adults and prohibits denial of coverage for certain due to preexisting medical conditions.

AAC Healthcare Reform; HB 6308, PA 11-58

Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange

The Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange is a quasi-public agency that will operate a Web site where individuals and small employers can compare and purchase health insurance plans. The goal of the Exchange is to reduce the number of Connecticut citizens without adequate health care. The Exchange was created to satisfy requirements of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which takes effect on January 1, 2014.

AA Establishing A State Health Insurance Exchange; SB 921, PA 11-53

Paid Sick Leave

This bill requires certain service sector companies with 50 or more employees to provide paid sick leave for those workers. The bill allows hourly workers to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work—up to a maximum of 40 hours per year—after 680 hours of work (about four months of full-time work).

AA Mandating Employers Provide Paid Sick Leave to Employees; SB 913, PA 11-52

MRI’s For Breast Exams

This bill requires insurance coverage of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for breast cancer screening after a woman is found to have heterogeneous or “dense” breast tissue. The bill also provides MRI coverage if a woman is determined to be at increased risk for breast cancer due to family history or prior personal history. Current law requires insurance policies cover baseline mammograms for women age 35 to 39 and yearly mammograms for women age 40 or older.

AAC Insurance Coverage for Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging; SB 10, PA 11-67, SB 18

Medical Test Results

This bill requires clinical laboratories to allow patients to directly receive test results when they are undergoing repeated testing, and to supply those test results to any other provider who is seeing the patient for treatment, diagnosis, or prognosis purposes.

AAC Patient Access and Control Over Medical Test Results; SB 1201, PA 11-76

IDs at Health Care Workplaces

To improve security and safety for patients, this bill requires any health care employee who gives direct care to a patient to wear an employer-issued photo-identification badge during working hours.

AA Requiring Health Care Providers to Display Photographic Identification Badges During Work Hours; HB 5045, PA 11-32

Ophthalmologist and Optometrists

This bill requires an HMO or preferred provider network which provides benefits for ophthalmologic and optometric services to provide them equal access to all health plans.

AAC Contracts with Ophthalmologist and Optometrists; HB 6310, PA 11-38

Clinical Trials

This bill expands the coverage health insurance requirements regarding medically necessary hospitalization services and other routine patient care costs associated with cancer clinical trials and off-label cancer prescription drugs to include all disabling or life-threatening chronic diseases rather than cancer only.

AAC Health Insurance Coverage for Routine Patient Care Costs for Certain Clinical Trial Patients; SB 21

Mental or Nervous Conditions

This bill adds to the list of unfair or deceptive insurance acts or practices the refusal to insure or continue to insure, limit the amount or kind of coverage available to, or charging a different rate for the same coverage to an individual diagnosed with a mental or nervous condition.

AAC Mental or Nervous Conditions Under the CT Unfair Insurance Practice Act; SB 314

Screening and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

This bill expands coverage to include prostate cancer treatment if it is “medically necessary” and extends prostate cancer screening requirements to certain individual and group health insurance policies in Connecticut.

AAC Insurance Coverage for the Screening and Treatment of Prostate Cancer; SB 396

Changes to Insurance and Related Statutes

This bill makes statutory changes to improve existing insurance benefits that cover basic hospital, surgical, and other major medical expenses. Its expansion of required health insurance benefits helps policyholders make full use of their coverage and increasingly holds insurers accountable for that coverage.

AAC The Legislative Commissioners’ Recommendations for Technical Revisions and Minor Changes to the Insurance and Related Statutes; SB 849, PA 11-19

Radiology and Colorectal Cancer Screening

By law, certain health insurance policies must cover colorectal cancer screening. This bill prohibits these insurance policies from imposing a coinsurance, copayment, deductible or other out-of-pocket expense for any additional colonoscopy a physician orders for an insured person in a policy year.

AAC The American College of Radiology and Colorectal Cancer Screening Recommendations; SB 923, PA 11-83

Prescription Drugs for Pain Treatment

This bill prohibits certain individual and group health policies that provide prescription drug coverage from requiring an insured to use an alternative brand name prescription drug or over-the-counter drug before using a brand name prescription drug prescribed by a licensed physician for pain treatment. But, it allows these policies to require an insured to first use a therapeutically equivalent generic drug.

AAC Health Insurance Coverage of Prescription Drugs for Pain Treatment; SB 1083

Life Insurance Task Force

This bill establishes a task force to examine ways to allow an insured person with a life insurance policy to convert that policy to a long-term care policy.

AA Establishing a Task Force to Study Life Insurance Policy and Annuity conversions and the Provision of Certain Notification by Life Insurance Companies; SB 1153

Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Board

This bill creates the Connecticut Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Board charged with establishing a state umbilical cord blood collection program to promote the collection of umbilical cord blood units from genetically diverse donors for public use.

AAC The Establishment of the Connecticut Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Board; SB 152

Long-Term Disability Income Protection

This bill requires the legislature’s Program Review and Investigations Committee to study a variety of long-term disability insurance matters, such as the average percentage of income such policies cover and the maximum dollar limits of such policies, among other issues.

AA Requiring a Study of Offsets in Long-Term Disability Income Protection Policies; SB 34

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VETERANS

Veterans’ Property Taxes

This bill expands current law to mandate that towns waive the interest owed on property taxes for members of the military who are serving in Afghanistan. Presently, only Armed Forces members serving in Iraq or the Middle East qualify for this tax waiver, a geographic region that excludes Afghanistan.

AAC Interest Owed on Property taxes by Members of the Armed Forces Called to Active Service; SB 377, PA 11-62

Veterans’ Licenses and ID Cards

This bill requires the state DMV to include a person’s status as a veteran on his or her state driver’s license or identity card. The bill also extends a free lifetime pass to state parks, forests and recreational facilities to any resident who is a disabled wartime veteran, as defined under state or federal law.

AAC the Indication of a Person’s Status as a Veteran on a Motor Vehicle Operator’s License and Identity Card; SB 371, PA 11-68

Diplomas for Korean War and Vietnam War Vets

This bill expands a school boards’ authority to award high school diplomas to veterans who did not receive them because they left high school for Korean War military service.

AAC High School Diplomas for Korean War Veterans; HB 6319, PA 11-17

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GOVERNMENT & ELECTIONS

Elections

This bill makes several changes to election laws, including establishing a procedure for assigning ‘unknown votes’ in the event votes are cast for a cross-endorsed candidate under more than one party designation. This bill also requires the secretary of the state to recommend an online voting method for military personnel who are stationed out of state.

AAC Revisions to Elections Related Statutes; SB 939

Election Integrity

This bill establishes procedures to address issues that may arise at polling places, including requiring the registrar of voters to develop a municipal emergency contingency plan to address ballot shortage solutions. The bill also authorizes the secretary of the state to access polling places and review them for election law compliance.

AAC The Integrity of Elections; SB 942, PA 11-46

Paperless Task Force

This bill implements several changes in order to reduce state agencies’ paper usage. Among other things, it requires fewer printed copies of legislative documents and publications and provides for a more limited distribution of printed documents and publications.

AA Implementing The Recommendations of the Legislative Paperless Task Force and the Task Force to Study the Reduction of State Agency Paper and Duplicative Procedures; HB 6600

Divestment From Iran

This bill requires the state treasurer to divest existing investments—and to halt further investments—in any security or instrument issued by Iran, and it expands a similar law concerning divestment from companies doing business in Sudan.

AAC The Powers of the State Treasurer, Divestment of State Funds Invested in Companies Doing Business in Iran and Sudan, and the Membership of the Teachers’ Retirement Board and The Connecticut State Employees Retirement Commission; SB 881, PA 11-82

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CHILDREN & FAMILIES

DCF Differential Response

This bill, among other provisions, allows the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to refer to community providers cases it deems ‘low risk,’ rather than investigating those cases.

AAC The Department of Children and Families’ Differential Response and Poverty Exemption</i>; SB 1199

DCF Changes

This bill replaces DCF’s structure of area directors, offices and advisory councils in current law with regional directors, offices and advisory councils.

AAC a Regional Structure for the Department of Children and Families and Miscellaneous Changes to the General Statutes Concerning the Department of Children and Families; HB 6227

School Breakfast

This bill increases the eligibility for the school breakfast grant program by changing the threshold from 40 percent of all students receiving free or reduced lunch to only 20 percent of all students receiving free or reduced lunch.

AA Implementing Provisions of the Budget Concerning General Government; HB 6651, PA 11-48

Child Identity Theft

This bill expands the type of conduct that constitutes an identity theft crime. Under current law, knowingly using both another person’s name and their identifying information to obtain money, credit, goods, services, property or medical information is illegal. The legislation closes a loophole in the law that would allow a child’s identity to be stolen by simply using their identifying information alone, without use of the child’s name.

AAC Child Identity; SB 958

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OTHER LEGISLATION

Governor’s Horse Guard

While the First Company Governor’s Horse Guard was originally scheduled to move from Avon to join the Second Company in Newton, this bill maintains the two separate facilities and allows nonprofit organizations receiving contributions that support the Horse Guard to use the two facilities for fundraising purposes without charge, as long as it does not interfere with the facilities’ military use.

AA Implementing Provisions of the Budget Concerning General Government; HB 6651, PA 11-48

Teacup Raffles

This bill eliminates the $250 prize limit on teacup raffles. As a result, qualified organizations conducting bazaars may operate teacup raffles and award prizes consisting of gift certificates or merchandise of unlimited value. The bill also authorizes ‘golf ball drop’ raffles and allows organizations conducting them to award cash and other prizes.

AA Eliminating the Limit on Teacup Raffle Prizes; SB 417

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