New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
10 new Connecticut laws that take effect Oct. 1
The Connecticut General Assembly debated and adopted several public acts in its 2021 regular session and June Special Session. Gov. Ned Lamont later signed the bills into law. Almost 100 new laws took effect July 1, but here’s a look at 10 major laws that are scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.
Medical marijuana patients who are 18 or older can start growing up to three mature and three immature plants at home starting Oct. 1. There’s a cap of 12 total plants per household under Public Act 21-1. Starting in July 2023, all adults over age 21 will be able to grow plants at home under the same rules.
As of Oct. 1, new smoking restrictions will take effect. It will be prohibited to smoke anything — tobacco, marijuana or vaping — within 25 feet of any door, window or vent intake of any retail space, restaurant or any building open to the public. The smoking restrictions are baked into the extensive marijuana bill, Public Act 21-1.
Public Act 21-78 first expands the general definition of domestic violence to include a wider range of behaviors that include isolation, stalking, threatening or “coercive control,” which includes deprivation of basic necessities and forced sex acts, among others. The definition of “best interest of the child” is also broadened to include the child’s physical and emotional health.
Additionally, the act provides easier access to some assistance programs, creates a grant program for free legal assistance for certain restraining order applicants and establishes more protections for tenants, such as being
allowed to change locks if they are identified as a protected person in a restraining order. Most of the provisions put forth in this act will be effective starting Oct. 1.
Starting on Oct. 1, Public Act 21-44 will establish an emergency lien assistance program within the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. The program will be able to offer loans to homeowners facing foreclosure due to liens from municipal water or sewer charges, municipal tax debt, or association assessments and fines accrued at condos and similar types of housing.
Gender wage discrimination
Public Act 21-30 generally requires employers to provide equal pay for “comparable” work regardless of gender that is performed under similar working conditions. The new law, which is effective starting Oct. 1, also requires employers to offer job applicants and employees a “wage range” for their positions, which can be a scale of pay among current employees with similar positions or the budgeted amount for the job.
Employment age discrimination
Starting Oct. 1, it will be illegal for employers to require a job applicant’s age, birth date or graduation date on an initial employment application. That would be considered a “discriminatory employment practice” under Public Act 20-69. It is already illegal to advertise a job in a way that restricts applicants based on race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental or intellectual disability.
The ‘Bottle Bill’
Certain retailers will be required as of Oct. 1 to have at least two reverse vending machines at their place of business under the state’s revamped beverage container redemption law, also known as the “bottle bill.” The law, Public Act 21-58, also increases the handling fee distributors must pay to dealers and redemption centers from 2.5 cents to 3.5 cents per beverage container. Starting in 2023, the list of containers that must be redeemable also expands, and in 2024, deposit amounts must be at least 10 cents rather than the 5 cents currently in effect.
A new law expands the rules for when drivers must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks that don’t have traffic lights or a crossing guard. Starting Oct. 1, drivers will be required to slow or stop if a pedestrian is within any portion of the crosswalk, steps to the curb at a crosswalk’s entrance and indicates intent to cross by raising a hand or arm to oncoming traffic. Extension of any body part, cane or walking stick into the crosswalk entrance also indicates intent to cross under Public Act 21-28.
Ice cream trucks
A new law requires drivers passing ice cream trucks in the process of selling ice cream to stop and proceed slowly. It also establishes safety equipment requirements and operating rules for the ice cream trucks. Public Act No. 21-20 is also known as “Tristan’s Law,” named after a 10-year-old Connecticut boy who was struck and killed by a car after buying ice cream in June 2020.
A new law bans offering for sale or promotional purposes food packaging with polyfluoroalkyl substance, also known as PFAS, intentionally introduced during manufacturing or distribution starting Oct. 1. Public Act 21-191 also puts restrictions on firefighting foam with PFAS, but that part of the law is already in effect.