Beginning in October, applications to start a new business, manufacturing production line, or expand an existing business will get priority treatment under a new law that modifies the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's permit process.
The process was modified with the passage earlier this year of SB 265, which requires DEEP to change its permit forms to prioritize certain applications.
A business may now request a pre-application meeting with DEEP. The agency must, within 30 days of receiving the request, make a reasonable effort to schedule a meeting with the applicant, identify the information it needs to process the application, and provide the applicant with a estimated decision date.
Once the application process is completed, DEEP must survey the business for feedback on its experience with the new process.
CBIA asked the legislature to support this bill because business decisions regarding expansion require regulatory certainty within a reasonable period of time.
Having to wait many months for a permit decision can kill investment and job growth.
The law is one of several bills lawmakers passed in the 2018 General Assembly session and the governor signed.
Another law that relates to DEEP, SB 9, implements the department's revised Comprehensive Energy Strategy, creating new, aggressive annually increasing Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements.
The law also reduces penalties for noncompliance with RPS requirements and calls for additional charges on ratepayers to fund clean energy and efficiency programs.
It also seeks to reduce the burden on ratepayers of shared solar programs and stabilize funding for clean energy and efficiency programs.
One other DEEP-related law, SB 268, changes state and municipal brownfield remediation programs, including extending the maximum period for repaying certain loans from 20 to 30 years.
It also extends existing tax benefits for current owners to future purchasers.
Other New Laws
Other new laws scheduled to take effect Oct. 1:
SB 197 adds biological products to existing laws governing substitution of a generic drug as long as the substitute is an interchangeable biological product and the prescribing doctor has not prohibited the substitution.
This law should benefit patients and the industry.
SB 193 creates a mechanism for the Department of Consumer Protection to address a consumer complaint made against anyone in an area where DCP has jurisdiction.
The law requires DCP to notify the person about whom the complaint was made via certified mail and require that person to respond with 30 days or be subject to a $250 fine that may be waived if the person shows good cause for failing to respond.
HB 5252 allows indirect purchasers of products to pursue economic damages for antitrust violations.
HB 5258 modernizes and streamlines arbitration procedures by adopting the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act. It codifies arbitration rules, standards, and common practices, some of which were previously not regulated by statute.
SB 472 among other things, increases from 12 to 24 months the length of time certain businesses must provide identity theft mitigation services to customers in the event of a data breach. The provision applies to any business that, in the course of ordinary business, owns or licenses electronic data that includes personal information.
This law also prohibits credit rating agencies from charging a fee to place, remove, or temporarily lift a credit security freeze and requires, as a condition of placing the freeze, a consumer to enter into an agreement limiting claims he or she may have against the agency.
HB 5309 expands the powers and duties of the Connecticut Port Authority, authorizing it to enter into joint business ventures to advance its purposes, charge fees for its services, and provide loans, grants, and other forms of financial assistance.
The act also exempts recreational vessels less than 200 feet long from state laws on harbors and ports, including pilotage requirements.