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New Laws Taking Effect October 1, 2011

September 26, 2011

On October 1st, more than 125 new state laws will go into effect. These laws cover issues pertaining to the environment, public safety, veterans, public health and more.

As many of them will impact our state’s families, I think it is important to highlight a few.

Beginning October 1st Connecticut veterans will be eligible for a fee waiver when obtaining a state identification card. The act, Public Act 11-197, authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner to waive the $22.50 non-driver identification card fee for any applicant who is a blind veteran. Family members requesting death certificates for veterans are also eligible for fee waivers. Public Act 11-49 waives the $20 fee for one certified copy of a veteran’s death certificate when the deceased veteran’s spouse, child, or parent requests a copy.

To better protect our children, the state will be implementing a 2009 piece of legislation that bans a dangerous chemical. The chemical bisphenol-A will be banned in the sale, manufacturing or distribution of infant formula and baby food stored in plastic containers, jars, and cans containing bisphenol-A. It will also be banned in reusable food and beverage containers containing bisphenol-A.

As crime is an ever evolving problem with the onset of new technologies, Connecticut state law will now also address certain electronic crimes. Public Act 11-221 expands the definition of criminal impersonation to include the use of an electronic device to impersonate another person with intent to defraud, deceive, or injure, that results in personal injury, financial loss, or the initiation of judicial proceedings. However, the law does not apply to law enforcement officers performing their official duties.

The last bill I would like to highlight is one that is aimed at a small group of Connecticut businesses. An Act Concerning the Sale of Wine With Gift Baskets – Public Act 11-250 – creates a gift basket retailer permit, with an annual $200 permit fee, that allows the retail sale and shipment of wine in gift baskets to both in-state and out-of-state consumers.

If you would like to read about all laws effective October 1st of 2011, please take a moment to go online. Interested readers can find the entire list – more than 125 – of new laws, along with descriptions and legislative history, by visiting www.cga.ct.gov and then clicking on the tab “session information.”

Although most of these are good pieces of legislation, few actually to do what is most important for Connecticut – create jobs. Connecticut desperately needs legislation that puts folks back to work and helps our businesses retain employees, but frankly the General Assembly has little, or nothing, to show in that area come October 1st.

Growing up, I was raised to select my priorities and then to stay on task until the project is completed. That’s exactly what I have worked do to since being elected to office – I have remained focused on the idea that growing jobs will grow our way to a stable fiscal climate.

Our Governor however, did not stay on task. It is now early fall and Governor Malloy is finally addressing his January promises of bringing jobs to Connecticut. Connecticut remains closed for business, and in the past weeks we have all read about impending layoffs at Sikorsky Aircraft. If we had acted sooner, many of the people facing unemployment, as well as higher taxes, might not be.

So, during the upcoming special ‘jobs’ session, I will continue to advocate for policies that ease regulations and burdens on job creators. I will also push for legislation that revives our skilled workforce and puts Connecticut’s manufacturing industry back to work. If we are going to get serious about putting our state back into a competitive job environment, we can not continue to wait, and certainly can not afford to continue with anti-jobs legislation that further weakens our employers.

As feedback from constituents plays an important role in developing effective legislation, I encourage workers and employers to contact me with suggestions and ideas before the coming October jobs session. Please e-mail me at Kevin.Kelly@cga.ct.gov.

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