Many new state laws will go into effect on Oct. 1, including some that take small steps toward improving Connecticut 's economy--and others that will make it harder to do business in the state. As part of the state's new two-year budget, state fees of all kinds will increase at the same time.

Among the positive laws are those that promote regulatory relief for small businesses, the redevelopment of brownfields, and greater cooperation between municipalities; another new law clamps down more tightly on identity theft.

However, legislators also approved a new law that makes it more difficult for employers to anticipate and resolve pay discrimination cases, and another that hands plaintiffs and trial lawyers a decided advantage in the filing of certain insurance claims.

Also, fees to most agencies are increased to at least $15; doubled if under $150; hiked by 25% if between $150 and $1,000; and increased by $250 if over $1,000. Fees to the Department of Environmental Protection are similarly increased: those under $150 are doubled; those from $150 to $1,000 increased by 25%; and fees over $1,000 are hiked by $250. New fee schedule.

Promoting economic development

One welcome new law is PA 09-19 , which requires state agencies to determine how any proposed regulations will affect Connecticut 's small businesses. If a new regulation would hurt small businesses, then the agency responsible would have to find another way to accomplish its purposes.

PA 09-231 promotes regionalization by encouraging municipalities that are part of the same federal economic development district to work together on projects, and share in the real and personal property tax revenues.

PA 09-235 promotes the redevelopment of brownfields in Connecticut . It clarifies and bolsters municipal liability relief; makes it easier to recover cleanup costs from potentially responsible parties; and limits the liability of those who take ownership of certain brownfields to remediate and redevelop them.

PA 09-55 adopts provisions of the federal model business corporation act, making Connecticut a more attractive place in which to incorporate.

Identity theft

PA 09-239 increases criminal penalties for identity theft and the misuse of personal information. It also penalizes employers for not properly handling employment applications.

Human resources

One of the more troublesome new laws is PA 09-101 , which expands Connecticut 's wage discrimination laws by significantly lengthening the timeframe—to three years from an alleged violation--in which an employee may make a wage discrimination claim. It also increases penalties on employers and expands whistleblower protections.

PA 09-25 requires employers of mechanics, laborers and similar job classifications to maintain and submit monthly wage and hour reports for those employees to the Department of Labor.

Business law and liability

PA 09-240 unfairly tips the legal playing field to plaintiffs by requiring automobile insurance providers to disclose their clients' policy limits to allegedly injured parties—before those individuals file a claim.

Health care

PA 09-46 expands the information health insurance carriers must provide to the state for its annual consumer report card.

PA 09-126 relieves employers of health insurance premium payments for employees who are terminated (but not laid-off). Employers must, however, give their insurance carriers advance notice and must also credit the employees for any prorata premium paid.

For a complete summary of business-related legislation adopted in the 2009 Connecticut General Assembly, go to cbia.com.