New business-related laws that go into effect in Connecticut on Monday, Oct. 1 include measures on unemployment compensation, data security, environmental issues, and aspects of healthcare.  Here’s a brief review of those new laws.

Labor and Employment

Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund: Following the 2008 recession and the massive toll it took on states’ unemployment compensation trust funds, federal rules were changed to require states borrowing money for benefits to increase their targeted reserves. Consequently, the legislature enacted a measure (PA 12-46) that increases the target amount of revenue that must be retained in the fund from $625 million to approximately $1 billion over the next five years.

Unemployment compensation hearings: Another measure (PA 12-125) clarifies procedural ambiguities regarding unemployment compensation hearings to allow employers more options for participating remotely or in person. By law, the Department of Labor may hold hearings in person, by telephone, or by electronic means. This law prohibits the administrator or examiner from unreasonably denying a request for an in-person hearing if a party insists upon it.

Second Injury Fund: Under PA 12-77, the state’s Second Injury Fund will be able to seek writs of attachment from a workers’ compensation commissioner against employers who fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

State Taxes

Roll-your-own tax:  Roll-your-own tobacco stores in the state are subject to annual licensing fees, and their customers are liable for cigarette taxes per PA 12-1 (of the June special session).

Partial structuresare made subject to the property tax in PA 12-157

Marketing Connecticut

A program to promote state-made products will be set up and administered by the DECD, within available resources, under PA 12-1 (from the June special session).

Environment

Water Quality Permits: Under PA 12-100, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is required, under certain conditions, to conduct a hearing at an applicant's request on an application for a water quality certification or a permit to conduct certain activities in tidal, coastal, or navigable waters below the high tide line. If the applicant disagrees with the final decision, the applicant may appeal the decision to the Superior Court.

Coastal Management: Responding to the aftermath of two major storms that hit Connecticut in 2011, PA 12-101 makes several changes to the Coastal Management Act (CMA) and laws regulating certain activities in the state's tidal, coastal, or navigable waters. Among many other things, it considers the rights of private property owners when developing, preserving, or using coastal resources  and the potential impact of a rise in sea level when planning coastal development to minimize certain needs or effects.

General Law

Notice of data breach: Businesses that experience a material data breach must now notify the state attorney general. This is in addition to the company’s other notification obligations. (PA 12-1 of the June special session, Section 130)

Telephone solicitors: Telephone solicitors are prohibited from, and penalized for, intentionally transmitting inaccurate or misleading caller identification information.  PA 12-79

Mechanical contractors: Penalties are imposed for the violation of mechanical contractor registration requirements. PA 12-18

Healthcare

Vaccines and medications: Two new measures allow personal care assistants (PA 12-1) and licensed pharmacists (PA 12-207) to administer vaccines. Another act (PA 12-207) requires children’s vaccines to be obtained from the Department of Health. 

Payments and coverage: Also under PA 12-1 of the June special session,the Department of Social Services is allowed to cover chiropractor services for Medicaid recipients, and payments to independent community pharmacies are increased for the dispensing of medicine to Medicaid recipients.

Infant testing: Hospitals and other healthcare institutions that provide newborn care must test infants for critical congenital heart disease (unless the parents object to the testing on religious grounds), per PA 12-13.

Defibrillators : All higher education institutions are required to have at least one automatic external defibrillator (AED) located at their athletic departments, and at least one person trained in AED, by  PA 12-197.

Consumer information: PA 12-102 adds to the types of information and data that most health insurance carriers are required to provide to individuals when their coverage is denied (called an adverse determination)

Food donations: PA 12-123 requires property and casualty insurance carriers (which cover food spoilage) during official “States of Emergencies” to cover donations of perishable food from grocery stores and restaurants to temporary emergency shelters.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or bonnie.stewart@cbia.com.