New State Laws That Make A Positive Difference In People’s Lives

August 27, 2009

When not busy negotiating a state budget, Governor M. Jodi Rell has dedicated some of her time this summer to holding formal bill signings to focus public attention on new laws that will have a positive impact on the lives of Connecticut residents.

Those new laws include one I co-sponsored, Senate Bill 948 (Public Act 09-209), An Act Concerning Implementation of the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act. This new law will implement the 2008 federal Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (S. A. F. E.) Act by imposing conditions on licensing for mortgage professionals, including education and testing. Furthermore, this new law mandates foreclosure mediation. As Governor Rell said when signing this bill into law, mediation is an effective tool that homeowners can use when trying to avoid foreclosure.

Governor Rell also signed a series of new laws intended to improve the quality of life for Connecticut’s 250,000 veterans. These include: Senate Bill 846 (Public Act 09-176), An Act Concerning The Disabled Veterans” Property Tax Exemption, to permit veterans to submit documents verifying their disability just once to local assessors unless the federal Veterans’ Administration modifies their status. This new law is intended to make it easier for both veterans who qualify for the tax exemption and the local assessors who administer the program.

Other pro-veterans legislation signed into law by the Governor include: House Bill 6394 (Public Act 09-163), An Act Concerning the Military Family Relief Fund, which expands eligibility for state assistance to eligible members of the armed forces who are not currently on duty; House Bill 6564 (Public Act 09-90), An Act Concerning The Award Of Ribbons And Medals, which clarifies that wartime veterans who were living in Connecticut when called to active duty and who died on or after January 1, 2000 will be awarded medals and ribbons by the state; and Senate Bill 1063 (Public Act 09-117), An Act Concerning Eligibility For Benefits For Veterans In Service In Time Of War, defines wartime service to mean at least 90 cumulative days, instead of 90 consecutive days, and expands the pool for eligibility for war service benefits by changing the dates of Operation Will from February 1, 1987 to July 23, 1987.

Families will especially appreciate that Governor Rell has signed two new laws intended to protect the health and safety of children. One of those bills, Senate Bill 533 (Public Act 09-199) An Act Concerning Notification Of The Release Of A Registered Sex Offender Into The Community, goes into effect on September 1st. Under this law, the state Department of Public Safety must notify schools superintendents when a released convicted sex offender lives, or is planning to live, in their communities. The new law mandates the type of information that must be included in the e-mail notification. A new database will allow school districts to register for e-mail notifications when a sex offender moves into, or out of, their communities.

Also, Governor Rell signed legislation into law that calls for the state Department of Education to develop regulations regarding students self-administering asthma inhalers and epinephrine injectors, or epipens. The new law, Senate Bill 755 (Public Act 09-155), An Act Concerning The Use Of Asthmatic Inhalers And Epinephrine Auto-Injectors While At School, goes into effect on August 15th. Connecticut has been one of only three states without a system in place for students to self-administer their asthma inhalers, and only one of 10 without an epipen protocol.
I encourage anyone who has any questions about our new state laws to contact my legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421, or to e-mail me at [email protected]. I always look forward to hearing from you.