Two of the most significant—and potentially damaging—pieces of legislation approved this year are among several new laws set to go into effect on July 1. Unless vetoed by Gov. Rell, the two measures would expand state government’s reach into health care and put taxpayers on the hook for untold millions of dollars:

PA 09-147 (HB-6582) would open the very expensive state employee health plan to small businesses and other groups on an unregulated, self-insured and financially risky basis.

• PA 09-148 (HB-6600) would set in motion a fully state-run health care system in Connecticut by implementing the “SustiNet Plan” under an unregulated, self-insured and financially risky system.

By itself, either measure is far too costly for Connecticut taxpayers, especially with the state facing a recession and a huge—and still unresolved—budget deficit. Ironically, neither measure would increase the number of people with access to quality, affordable health insurance.

CBIA is asking Gov. Rell to veto both measures as well as another, PA 09-188 (HB-5021), that also will raise health care costs by mandating health insurance carriers to cover more special treatments and procedures. Mandates are leading factors in driving up health care costs, and Connecticut has one of the highest totals of mandates in the nation.

Fortunately, another new law effective on July 1 could help the state avoid adding to Connecticut’s mountain of health care mandates. PA 09-179 (HB-5018) will require the review and analysis of all existing and proposed health benefit mandates to determine their relative costs and benefits.

Positive acts
Other positive new laws as of July 1 (or earlier as noted) include:

  • PA 09-202 (SB-1033)–establishes a tax credit for the construction of “green buildings.”
  • PA 09-70 (SB 710)—updates the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act to reflect recent changes to the federal FMLA (effective May 27, 2009)
  • SB-1014—promotes the use of technology to improve the quality of public education.
  • HB-6901 (Special session)—improves the quality of public school education by making it easier for mid-career professionals to become teachers via the Alternate Route to Teacher Certification program and offers ways to help charter schools.

More July 1
Other measures slated to go into effect July 1:

  • PA 09-157 (SB-1080)—among other things, requires certain chain restaurants to disclose certain nutritional information (including calorie counts) related to their standard menu items
  • PA 09-183 (HB-6502)—requires private contractors doing business with the state to pay their employees the same prevailing wage rates and benefits as employees working under the union agreement covering the same work.

While most other new state laws will go into effect on Oct. 1, some will be in effect as soon as the governor signs them. Among this group is Public Act 09-141 (SB-271), which will promote the development of brownfield sites in the state. Another, Public Act 09-230 (HB-6467) helps the state set the foundation for promoting “smart growth” by defining the term and “principles of smart growth.”

Here is a complete list of new, business-related laws.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860-244-1925 or bonnie.stewart@cbia.com..