New Month, New Fiscal Year
10:20 am
Tue July 1, 2014

New Laws Take Effect in Connecticut

Connecticut's revised state budget and a host of new laws take effect Tuesday after being passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dannel Malloy.

Fracking

Among the new laws is a three-year moratorium on the processing and storage of waste from fracking. The bill faced last-minute uncertainty as it was debated for three hours in the legislature near the end of the session.

Conn. enacted a moratorium on fracking waste.
Conn. enacted a moratorium on fracking waste.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

One of the proponents of the bill was State Representative Matt Lesser, who spoke with WNPR earlier in the year.

"I think the cleanest, easiest way of addressing this issue is simply to prevent it from coming here in the first place," he said. Lesser said different chemical cocktails are used at individual drill sites, which would make it impossible to know exactly what is in the waste coming to Connecticut.

Opponents to the legislation say the problem is being overblown. "This is not the next biblical plague that many want to make it sound to be," said Eric Brown from the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Concussions

Also on Tuesday, the State Board of Education will be required to begin developing a new concussion education plan.

Here's WNPR's report on the bill when it it passed the Connecticut House of Representatives.

The bill requires schools to give parents a consent form regarding the school's concussion education plan. A coach or principal must notify a parent within 24 hours after a student athlete is pulled from a game for a suspected concussion. The child will not be allowed to participate in any physical activity until cleared by a doctor.

The bill also requires all coaches to complete an initial concussion training course, with refresher courses every five years. School districts will have to report all concussions incidents to the state Board of Education on yearly basis.

Malloy gives his State of the State address to the legislature.
Malloy gives his State of the State address to the legislature.
Credit Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CT Mirror

College Savings Account

New legislation creating the CHET Baby Scholars program becomes law. The program, which was part of the new state budget, offers new parents up to $250 for investing in a tax-free college savings account. It was touted by Governor Malloy at the start of the session during his State of the State address.

"Is that investment going to pay for a full college education 18 years later? Of course not," Malloy said. "But it can give new parents a boost right when they need it most, and it can help encourage college saving right from the start."

Campus Sexual Assault Prevention

Another new law that takes effect requires Connecticut colleges and universities to adopt new policies for handling sexual assaults.

Jillian Gilchrest, director of public policy at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services called the legislation the first of its kind in the nation. 

"This is requiring that all institutions of higher education in Connecticut –-- private; public; if you have residential; if you don'’t have residential -- it's going to be required that you implement these best practices," Gilchrest said.

Connecticut's legislation followed recommendations recently released by the White House on preventing sexual assault on college campuses.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.