New State Laws That Affect Businesses & Consumers In Connecticut

October 20, 2009

I encourage my constituents to learn about as many of our state laws as possible because every single piece of legislation passed by the General Assembly in some way affects the quality of life in Connecticut. That is why over the past several months I have written quite a lot about many of the new laws we passed this year.

This week, I would like to take this opportunity to describe the highlights of some newly passed laws that affect businesses in Connecticut and, in some cases, their customers.

Among the new laws I supported is Public Act 09-18, An Act Concerning Disclosures By Home Improvement Contractors And New Home Construction Contractors which requires contractors to include a disclosure provision in new home and home improvement construction contracts that includes every corporation, limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship, and any other home improvement or new home construction contractor in which they were shareholders, members, partners, or owners within the past five years. Among other provisions, state law requires new home contractors to register with the state Department of Consumer Protection and advise customers to contact the state agency for their registration and complaint history.

Also, I supported Public Act 09-83, An Act Increasing The Penalty For Foreign Corporations And Other Entities That Transact Business Or Conduct Affairs In This State Without Authority which increases the penalty the Secretary of the State can impose on foreign business entities that conduct business in Connecticut without the required certificate or registration. The new law increases the penalty from $165 to $300 per month, or part of a month, these businesses are in violation. However, the state cannot impose the penalties if the foreign business entities obtain the required certificates within 90 days of starting to transact business in the state.

This year, the General Assembly adopted Public Act 09-239 An Act Concerning Consumer Privacy and Identity Theft which broadens the definition of identity theft, increases the penalty for criminal impersonation, creates the crime of unlawful possession of personal access devices, and increases the penalties when the victims are at least 60 years old. Among other provisions, this new law allows perpetrators to be prosecuted where the victim lives, rather than where the alleged crime was committed; extends the statute of limitations from two to three years and specifies that damages include documented lost wages and financial loss suffered by victims of identity theft; and requires employers to obtain and retain employment applications in a secure manner, and to use reasonable measures to make them unreadable when disposing of them. I voted in favor of this new law.

I voted in favor of Public Act 09-53, An Act Concerning Eligibility Requirements For Senior Citizen Discount Programs that requires disclosure of the eligibility requirements for any senior discounts offered by individuals, firms or corporations by posting signs at the point of display, cash register, or store entrance.

And, I voted in favor of Public Act 09-70, An Act Concerning Updates To The Family And Medical Leave Act that allows employees to take unpaid family and medical leave to care for immediate family members or next of kin who are current members of the military, National Guard or reserves with a serious injury or illness received in the line of duty.

As always, I welcome the opportunity to discuss our new laws. I can be reached at my legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421, or via e-mail to [email protected].