OPA: 2012 Annual Legislative Report

2012 Annual Legislative Report
 

2012 Annual Legislative Report

Acts Affecting Persons With Disabilities

Prepared by Beth A. Leslie

Legislative and Regulations Specialist

Beth.Leslie@ct.gov

Office of Protection and Advocacy

for Persons with Disabilities

July 2012

ALL BILLS LISTED BELOW ARE LINKED TO THE CORRESPONDING WEBSITE PAGE FOR THE LEGISLATURE.  IF YOU CLICK ON A BILL YOU WILL BE DIRECTED TO THE BILL STATUS PAGE AND IT WILL HAVE THE FULL LANGUAGE OF THE BILL, A SUMMARY OF THE BILL AND OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION.

Bills are listed under the following topic headings:

BUDGET

EDUCATION

EMPLOYMENT

GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION

HEALTHCARE (insurance listed under INSURANCE)

HOUSING

INSURANCE (including Medicaid and Medicare)

INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY (including Autism Spectrum Disorsder and the terms "Developmental Disability" and "Mental Retardation")

JUDICIAL (including Criminal Justice, Legal Representation, and Discrimination)

LONG TERM CARE

MENTAL HEALTH

TRANSPORTATION/MOBILITY

VOTING

 

 

How This Report Is Organized

This report contains information on legislation affecting people with disabilities passed during the 2012 Regular Legislative Session and 2012 June Special Session.  Bills are organized by subject.  Check the table of contents above for the topics.

 

ALL BILLS LISTED BELOW ARE LINKED TO THE CORRESPONDING WEBSITE PAGE FOR THE LEGISLATURE.  IF YOU CLICK ON A BILL YOU WILL BE DIRECTED TO THE BILL STATUS PAGE AND IT WILL HAVE THE FULL LANGUAGE OF THE BILL, A SUMMARY OF THE BILL AND OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION.

Abbreviations Used in This Document

 

“HB” Stands for House Bill

Members of the State House of Representatives introduce House Bills. House Bills are numbered 5001 and higher. In the 2012 Regular Session, there were more than 550 House Bills introduced.

 

“SB” Stands for Senate Bill

State Senators introduce senate Bills. Senate Bills are numbered starting at 1, and can go up to 4999. In the 2012 Regular Session, there were more than 450 Senate Bills introduced.

 

“PA” Stands for Public Act

Once a bill becomes law it is given a Public Act Number. Public Acts are laws passed by the state legislature that amend the Connecticut General Statutes. In the 2012 Regular Session, there were 209 Public Acts.

 

“SA” Stands for Special Act

Bills with a limited application or limited duration, and bills that are not incorporated into the Connecticut General Statutes, are given a Special Act Number once they become law. For example, the state budget is a Special Act because it is in effect for only two years. In 20012  there were 8 Special Acts.

 

Legislative Website

Copies of bills, public acts and special acts are available on the legislative website   The top right corner of the first page of the legislative website allows you to enter the bill number. You are then brought to a screen that shows the bill number and title as well as the status of the bill and links to various documents including the Public Act. The Public Act is the official wording of the law.

 

Legislative Research Website

The legislature also has an Office of Legislative Research (OLR) office website that is very useful.  This website contains summaries of Public Acts as well as reports and information on a wide variety of topics. You can do searches on specific topics or browse the list of reports that are available.

 

 


BUDGET

In 2012 the state budget was passed during the regular session and the legislation that implements the budget was passed in the special session.  The budget bill itself does not directly address new state laws affecting people with disabilities.  Two “budget implementer” bills do address disability issues and are included in this report.

 

Public Act 12-1 of the June 2012 Special Session (HB 6001) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2012

This Act is 474 pages long.  It literally implements the state budget.  It addresses several disability issues, which are summarized in the following separate subject areas:

Government Administration

Insurance

Judicial

Long Term Care

Public Act 12-2 June 2012 Special Session (SB 501) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN PROVISIONS CONCERNING GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION.  

This Act is 195 pages long.  It literally implements the state budget.  Most of this bill does not address disability issues, but two sections address special education and are summarized under the following subject area:

          Education

EDUCATION

Public Act 12-2 June 2012 Special Session (SB 501) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN PROVISIONS CONCERNING GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION.  

This Act is 195 pages long.  It literally implements the state budget.  The state budget is a bill with the dollar allocations for state programs and services.  If state statutes need to be amended to reflect changes in the funding for state programs and services then another bill, called an “implementer bill” is used to make such changes.  This act is an implementer bill.  Most of this bill does not address disability issues, but two sections address special education.

Section 138 of the Act adds additional types of professional development that local and regional boards of education are required to offer their certified employees regarding special education students. It requires boards to offer professional development that includes training in (1) the implementation of student individualized education programs (IEPs) and (2) the communication of IEP procedures to parents or guardians of students who require special education and related services. This training must be offered to certified employees with an endorsement in special education who hold a position requiring this endorsement.

Under state and federal special education law, an IEP is crafted for each special education student to address his or her individual needs.

Section 139 of the Act allows the state treasurer to execute a deed quitclaiming (i.e. renouncing) any right, title, and interest the state may have from any undischarged liens for monies previously advanced to the American School for the Deaf for construction and development.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012 for Section 138; Upon passage for Section 139

Special Act 12-3 (SB 384) AN ACT CONCERNING TEACHER PREPARATION.

The Act requires the State Board of Education in consultation with the Board of Regents for Higher Education, to study and report on issues concerning teacher preparation. Both agencies have staff with expertise in this area. Disability issues such as special education and learning disabilities are not directly mentioned but could be addressed in this study.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

Public Act 12-88 (HB 5347) AN ACT CONCERNING THE REPORTING OF CHILDREN PLACED IN SECLUSION.

Under current law, (CGS 46a-152), each local or regional school board, institution, and facility that provides special education to a child must record (1) each instance when a child is placed in seclusion or when physical restraints are used on him or her and (2) the nature of the emergency that necessitated the action. Parents must be notified each time seclusion or restraints are used, and the entities must include the information in an annual compilation for the state.

This Act requires local school boards and other entities providing special education to children, when recording instances in which a child was physically restrained or placed in seclusion, to indicate whether the seclusion was in accordance with the child's individualized education program (IEP) or either action was an emergency. The Act provides that this reporting requirement does not apply to instances of in-school suspensions, as defined in the state's education law.

The Act also requires, rather than allows, the State Board of Education (SBE) to review and summarize the information the entities provided on seclusion and restraints, including whether such actions resulted in physical injuries to the child. The SBE must provide these summaries annually to the Children's Committee for inclusion in the children's report card. By law, the committee issues an annual report card on the progress of state policies and programs promoting the well being of children.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

Public Act 12-116 (SB 458) AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL REFORM.

This Act makes numerous revisions and changes in education statutes and programs. Section 90 of the Act requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to identify school districts that disproportionately and inappropriately identify minority students as requiring special education due to reading deficiencies. It requires these districts to submit annual reports to SDE describing their plans to reduce the misidentification of minority students by improving reading assessments and interventions for K-3 students.

The Act also requires SDE to study the plans and strategies the districts use that demonstrate improvement in this area. The SDE study must examine the correlation between improvements in teacher training in the science of reading and the reduction in misidentification of students requiring special education services. For this section, “minority students” means those whose race is defined other than white, or whose ethnicity is defined as Hispanic or Latino by the federal Office of Management and Budget for U. S. Census use.

EFFECTIVE DATE for Section 90: July 1, 2012

Public Act 12-173 (HB 5353) AN ACT CONCERNING INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND OTHER ISSUES RELATING TO SPECIAL EDUCATION.

This Act makes several changes to the state's special education law. It requires additional opportunities for meetings and the exchange of information between school district officials and parents of students in, or under evaluation for, special education; requires teacher certification preparation, in-service training, and professional development to include expanded instruction and training regarding implementing individualized education programs (IEPs); and addresses state grants for special education costs.

The Act also requires any IEP for a child identified as deaf or hearing impaired to include a language and communication plan developed by the child's planning and placement team (PPT). It specifies a number of items that the plan must include. The Act does not appear to expand current requirements under state law and regulation, but it adds specifics to state law.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012 for the section regarding IEPs; the provisions regarding special education and private schools and the language and communication plan for deaf and hearing impaired students takes effect upon passage.

Public Act 12-198 (HB 5348) AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICINE TO STUDENTS WITH DIABETES, THE DUTIES OF SCHOOL MEDICAL ADVISORS, THE AVAILABILITY OF CPR AND AED TRAINING MATERIALS FOR BOARDS OF EDUCATION AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE DURING THE SCHOOL DAY.

This Act allows a qualified school employee selected by the school nurse or principal to administer an emergency glucagon injection to a student with diabetes, under certain conditions and with a written authorization from the student's parents and a written order from the student's Connecticut-licensed physician. The Act also bars a school district from restricting the time or place on school grounds where a student with diabetes may test his or her blood-glucose levels, if the student has written permission from his parents or guardian and a written order from a physician.

The Act extends required educational guidelines for school districts in how to manage students with life-threatening allergies to cover students with glycogen storage disease. It requires the State Department of Education (SDE) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) to issue the new guidelines by July 1, 2012, and school districts to develop individualized health care and glycogen storage disease action plans for their students with the disease by August 15, 2012. The plans must allow parents or guardians of students with the disease, or those they designate, to administer food or dietary supplements to their children with the disease on school grounds during the school day. The Act bars claims against towns, school districts, and school employees for damages resulting from these actions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012, except for the provisions relating to students with diabetes and the required guidelines and plan for students with glycogen storage disease, which are effective on passage.

EMPLOYMENT

Public Act 12-126 (HB 5233) AN ACT CONCERNING WORKERS' COMPENSATION FOR FIREFIGHTERS.

This Act extends workers' compensation coverage for mental or emotional impairment to a firefighter diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because the firefighter witnessed the death of another firefighter while engaged in the line of duty. To be eligible, the firefighter must be diagnosed by a licensed and board certified mental health professional who determines the PTSD stems from witnessing the death of another firefighter and is not subject to any other exclusion under workers' compensation law. It extends this coverage to volunteer or paid uniformed municipal firefighters.

The workers' compensation benefits under the Act are limited to treatment from a practicing psychologist or psychiatrist on an approved list established by the Workers' Compensation Commission chairperson. This differs from full workers' compensation coverage in that it does not provide wage replacement benefits.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage and applicable to any claim filed on or after that date.

Public Act 12-33 (HB 5312) AN ACT CREATING A PROCESS FOR FAMILY CHILD CARE PROVIDERS AND PERSONAL CARE ATTENDANTS TO COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN WITH THE STATE.

This Act allows certain family child care providers and personal care attendants (PCAs) to collectively bargain with the state through an employee organization (i.e., a union) over reimbursement rates, benefits, payment procedures, contract grievance arbitration, training, professional development, and other requirements and opportunities. It explicitly states that child care providers and PCAs are not state employees and, except for the bargaining rights provided in the Act, do not have the rights, obligations, privileges, and immunities statutorily provided to state employees.

With regard to the Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) portions of the Act, it establishes a collective bargaining and arbitration process for PCAs and grants them many of the same rights and duties given to state employees under the collective bargaining law for state employees. It also specifically excludes certain subjects from collective bargaining and prohibits any provision in a contract or arbitration award from reducing PCA services. It requires the General Assembly to affirmatively approve any contract or arbitration award that would require additional appropriations to maintain existing service levels.

The Act creates a PCA Workforce Council to study and plan for improving PCA quality, stability, and availability. It also requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the council to compile and maintain lists of covered child care providers and PCAs, respectively, and provides liability protection for the state under certain circumstances.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION

 

Public Act 12-1 June Special Session (HB 6001) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2012.

This Act is 474 pages long.  It literally implements the state budget.  The state budget is a bill with the dollar allocations for state programs and services.  If state statutes need to be amended to reflect changes in the funding for state programs and services then another bill, called an “implementer bill” is used to make such changes.  This act is an implementer bill.  Most of this bill does not address disability issues, but sections 28 through 95 address the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services.

Sections 28 through 95 make the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, created by Public Act 11-44, a stand-alone entity rather than a bureau within the Department of Social Services; renames it the Department of Rehabilitation Services,; makes the department head a commissioner instead of an executive director, and makes the newly named bureau a successor authority to the previously named bureau. Under Public Act 11-44, the bureau was authorized to perform all of the administrative and programmatic functions of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind, the Commission on Deaf and Hearing Impaired, and other state rehabilitation services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

HEALTHCARE (INSURANCE LISTED UNDER “INSURANCE”)

Public Act 12-1 June Special Session (HB 6001) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2012.

This Act is 474 pages long.  It literally implements the state budget.  The state budget is a bill with the dollar allocations for state programs and services.  If state statutes need to be amended to reflect changes in the funding for state programs and services then another bill, called an “implementer bill” is used to make such changes.  This act is an implementer bill.  Most of this bill does not address disability issues, but two sections address medication administration.

Section 11 of this Act permits a registered nurse (RN) to delegate the administration of medications that are not injected into patients to homemaker-home health aides who obtain certification for medication administration. Administration may not be delegated when the prescribing physician specifies that a nurse must administer it. The law already allows residential care homes (RCHs) that admit residents requiring medication administration assistance to employ a sufficient number of certified, unlicensed personnel to perform this function in accordance with DPH regulations (CGS § 19a-495a).

Section 12 provides that nothing in the Nurse Practice Act can be construed to prohibit a PCA employed by a registered homemaker-companion agency from administering medications to a competent adult who directs his or her own care and makes his or her own decisions pertaining to assessment, planning, and evaluation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

Public Act 12-13 (SB 56) AN ACT CONCERNING CRITICAL CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE SCREENING FOR NEWBORN INFANTS

Requires newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-202 (SB 188) AN ACT CONCERNING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS FOR LEAD POISONING PREVENTION.

This Act establishes eligibility criteria for local health departments seeking funding from the Department of Public Health (DPH) to help finance lead poisoning prevention and control services. By law, DPH must provide such funding within available appropriations. The Act conditions a local department's funding eligibility on DPH approving its lead program, which must include case management, education, and environmental health components.

The Act requires local health departments to use any funding they receive through the program for the lead poisoning prevention and control services specified in the Act and other DPH-approved lead program purposes. It allows local health departments to provide these services directly or to contract for them.

The Act also removes DPH authority to adopt implementing regulations for the lead poisoning prevention and instead establishes reporting requirements for local health departments seeking funding from this program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

 

Public Act 12-110 (HB 5497) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM REVIEW AND INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF HEARING INSTRUMENT SPECIALISTS AND AUDIOLOGISTS.

This Act allows a licensed audiologist to fit or sell hearing aids without (1) obtaining additional licensure as a hearing instrument specialist (previously called “hearing aid dealer”) or (2) completing additional educational and training requirements. Existing law already includes the fitting or selling of hearing aids within an audiologist's scope of practice. Audiologists receive training in these functions as part of their doctoral degree education and supervised postgraduate work experience.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-55 (HB 5389) AN ACT CONCERNING THE PALLIATIVE USE OF MARIJUANA.

This Act allows a licensed physician to certify an adult patient's use of marijuana after determining that the patient has a debilitating medical condition and could potentially benefit from the palliative use of marijuana, among other requirements. The Act lists the following conditions—cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome, Crohn's disease, posttraumatic stress disorder and also allows the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) commissioner to approve additional conditions. There are requirements for written prescriptions, pharmacists must be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection, and there are some elements that are not clear: for example, a person allowed to have this drug can only have a one month supply but does not set what quantity equals a one month supply.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Beginning October 1, 2012

HOUSING

 

Public Act 12-41 (SB 94) AN ACT CONCERNING THE EQUAL TREATMENT OF RENTERS WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES.

This Act extends the current protection for persons who are elderly or have a physical disability from eviction to tenants who either have mental disabilities or permanently reside with certain family members who do. A physical or mental impairment generally includes hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS-Related Complex, and intellectual disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, and caring for oneself.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-69 (SB 105) AN ACT CONCERNING THE RENTAL REBATE APPLICATION PERIOD.

This Act extends, from four to six months, the period for submitting applications under the rental rebate program for the elderly and people with total permanent disability. Under prior law, the application period for the previous year's rebate was from May 15 through September 15. The Act extends the application period to April 1 through October 1.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-24 (HB 5225) AN ACT CONCERNING SECURITY DEPOSITS OF SENIOR CITIZENS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN PUBLIC HOUSING.

This Act lowers the annual interest rate that housing authorities, community housing authorities, and other corporations must pay on security deposits made by senior citizens and individuals with disabilities living in public housing. Prior law required housing authorities and other corporations to pay an annual rate of 5.25%. Starting January 1, 2013, the Act instead requires them to pay at least the average savings deposit interest rate paid by insured commercial banks as published in the Federal Reserve Board Bulletin in November of the prior year (i.e., deposit index). (The deposit index for calendar year 2012 is 0.16%.) By law, housing authorities and other corporations must return security deposits to these tenants after they have lived in the housing for at least one year.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

INSURANCE, INCLUDING MEDICAID AND MEDICARE

Public Act 12-1 June Special Session (HB 6001) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2012.

This Act is 474 pages long.  It literally implements the state budget.  The state budget is a bill with the dollar allocations for state programs and services.  If state statutes need to be amended to reflect changes in the funding for state programs and services then another bill, called an “implementer bill” is used to make such changes.  This Act is an implementer bill.  Most of this Act does not address disability issues, but the sections 2 and 17 address insurance.

Section 2 of this Act subjects most nonemergency Medicaid dental services to prior authorization and directs the DSS commissioner to limit nonemergency dental services provided to adult recipients. This latter provision includes allowing for one periodic dental exam, one dental cleaning, and one set of x-rays yearly for healthy adults. The Act provides that these dental benefit limitations apply to each client regardless of how many providers serve the client. DSS is in the process of establishing client-centered medical homes that include a dental home that coordinates a client's dental care. The client-centered medical home model is a way of providing health care that is client focused and puts doctors, not insurers in charge of medical decisions. A primary care doctor coordinates care with specialists, hospitals and pharmacists.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

Section 17 of the Act allows DSS to “cover” chiropractor services for Medicaid recipients provided it does not spend more than $250,000 annually for this coverage. These services can be coordinated with other initiatives under the Medicaid program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-44 (SB 205) AN ACT CONCERNING INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR THE BIRTH-TO-THREE PROGRAM.

This Act changes requirements for individual and group health insurance policies that provide coverage for medically necessary early intervention (birth-to-three) services as part of an individualized family service plan. Existing law prohibits payments for birth-to-three services from applying against any maximum lifetime or annual limit in the policy. The Act also prohibits payments from causing: a loss of benefits due to a policy limit; an insured child or family member to be denied health insurance coverage; and a policy rescission or cancellation. The Act also expands the list of policies that must provide birth-to-three coverage to include certain policies amended or continued in Connecticut, rather than only those delivered, issued, or renewed here.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

 

Public Act 12-102 (SB 410) AN ACT CONCERNING ADVERSE DETERMINATION REVIEWS.

This Act expands the information that health insurance carriers must provide to covered persons or their authorized representatives, upon request, when they make an adverse determination (e.g., deny coverage), both in the initial determination and reviews of this determination. It requires carriers to provide copies of the information within one calendar for an urgent care request or five business days for a non-urgent request.

Subsection (38) of section 38a-591a of Connecticut General Statutes defines “urgent care request” as a situation where not providing the medical care “could seriously jeopardize the life or health of the covered person or the ability of the covered person to regain maximum function” or the medical provider’s opinion is that denial of coverage “would subject the covered person to severe pain that cannot be adequately managed without the health care service or treatment being requested.”

The bill does not apply to self-insured plans covered by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) or plans that provide health care services solely for workers' compensation benefits.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-150 (SB 97) AN ACT CONCERNING GUIDELINES FOR HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR BREAST MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING.

Removes a requirement that specified health insurance policies cover breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) under the same circumstances as breast ultrasound screening (i.e., when a woman has dense breast tissue or an increased risk of breast cancer). It specifies that the policies must cover breast MRI in accordance with American Cancer Society guidelines.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Public Act 12-190 (SB 98) AN ACT CONCERNING DEDUCTIBLES FOR SCREENING COLONOSCOPIES AND SCREENING SIGMOIDOSCOPIES.

This Act bars insurers from charging a deductible for procedures a physician initially undertakes as a colorectal cancer screening colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. Some insurers currently charge a deductible when these screening procedures discover a polyp, which is removed at the same time.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2013

INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY, including AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER  (covers former terms “DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY” and “MENTAL RETARDATION”)

Public Act 12-44 (SB 205) AN ACT CONCERNING INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR THE BIRTH-TO-THREE PROGRAM.

This Act is summarized under the heading “INSURANCE”.

Public Act 12-66 (SB 309) AN ACT CONCERNING PROBATE COURT OPERATIONS.

This Act makes several changes to probate law and related matters, including section 15 which changes requirements for attorneys for people with intellectual disabilities in connection with the court's review of their guardianships. By law, after a guardian is appointed for someone with an intellectual disability, the probate court must review the guardianship at least every three years. Prior law generally required the review to be based on written reports submitted by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), the guardian, and the ward's attorney. The Act eliminates the requirement that the ward's attorney submit a report. It instead requires the court to provide the attorney with a copy of any report on the ward submitted by the guardian or DDS.

Under the Act, within 30 days after receiving a copy of such a report, the ward's attorney must meet with the ward about the report. Within this same time frame, the attorney must also give the court written notice indicating (1) that he or she has met with the ward and (2) whether the attorney or ward is requesting a hearing. The Act specifies that these provisions do not prevent the ward or his or her attorney from requesting a hearing at other times as the law allows.

EFFECTIVE DATE FOR SECTION 15: January 1, 2013

Public Act 12-136 (HB 5437) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEFINITIONS OF MENTAL RETARDATION AND INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY.

This Act updates the statutory definition of “mental retardation” to mean (1) a significant limitation in intellectual functioning and (2) deficits in adaptive behavior that originated during the developmental period before age 18. Under the Act, “significant limitation in intellectual functioning” means an intelligence quotient (I.Q.) more than two standard deviations below the mean. An I. Q. must be measured by general intellectual function tests that are individualized, standardized, and clinically and culturally appropriate to the individual. The Act requires that adaptive behavior be measured by tests that are individualized, standardized, and clinically and culturally appropriate, but does not require that they test intellectual functions.

By law, mental retardation has the same meaning as intellectual disability in most statutes. (PA 11-16 substituted the term “intellectual disability” for mental retardation in several statutes to reflect changes in federal law and common usage.) Among other things, the definition is used in laws dealing with criminal law and the provision of services to people with intellectual disabilities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

JUDICIAL, INCLUDING CRIMINAL JUSTICE, LEGAL REPRESENTATION & DISCRIMINATION

Public Act 12-1 June Special Session (HB 6001) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2012.

This Act is 474 pages long.  It literally implements the state budget.  The state budget is a bill with the dollar allocations for state programs and services.  If state statutes need to be amended to reflect changes in the funding for state programs and services then another bill, called an “implementer bill” is used to make such changes.  This act is an implementer bill.  Most of this bill does not address disability issues, but section 142 addresses competency to stand trial.

By law, a court may order a defendant it finds incompetent to stand trial to the custody of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) commissioner for the purpose of rendering him or her competent. These defendants are placed in a mental health facility unless they are too violent to be accommodated.

 

Section 142 of this Act expands the exception to placement, specifies that those defendants not placed remain in the Department of Correction's (DOC) custody, and outlines the responsibilities of commissioners of both departments with respect to them. The Act also permits a court to require notice if a defendant found incompetent to stand trial because of an intellectual disability is released from custody before the statute of limitations for prosecuting him or her expires.

 

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-22 (HB 5150) AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONNECTICUT UNIFORM ADULT PROTECTIVE PROCEEDINGS JURISDICTION ACT.

This Act establishes rules and procedures for Connecticut probate courts to interact with courts in other states about conservatorships. It establishes factors the probate court must consider when deciding whether to decline jurisdiction because another state is a more appropriate forum and authorizes special jurisdiction to allow the probate court to take limited actions, such as appointing a temporary conservator, when the court does not otherwise have jurisdiction.

The act establishes a procedure to transfer a conservatorship to another state and for the probate court to accept a transfer from an out-of-state court. It allows conservators appointed in another state to register with the appropriate probate court in Connecticut, requires probate courts to create a public registry of this information, and allows the conservator to exercise his or her powers in Connecticut except as prohibited by Connecticut law.

The act also allows a probate court to communicate with a court in another state about proceedings covered by the act, request that the out-of-state court take certain actions, and communicate with and respond to similar requests from an out-of-state court. The act applies to conservator of the person, who are appointed to make decisions for an adult, and conservators of the estate, who are appointed to manage an adult’s property proceedings begun on or after October 1, 2012. The act's jurisdictional provisions do not apply to proceedings begun before that date but its provision on communicating with out-of-state courts, interstate transfers, and registering out-of-state appointments do apply, regardless of whether a conservator of the person or estate order has been issued.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-25 (HB 5287) AN ACT CONCERNING THE APPOINTMENT OF A GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR A PERSON WHO IS SUBJECT TO A CONSERVATORSHIP PROCEEDING OR A PROCEEDING CONCERNING ADMINISTRATION OF TREATMENT FOR A PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITY.

This Act limits the circumstances under which judges or family support magistrates can appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL).  A GAL is a person assigned to make findings and recommendations about a litigant when a court is concerned that this person is incapable of making his or her own decisions. Currently, court GAL appointments and functions are purely discretionary and vary considerably from court to court.

The Act applies when the court is being asked to order that an individual be given psychiatric medication or hospital treatment against his or her will, or when a litigant, by request, has a court-approved conservator to handle his or her daily or financial affairs, or both.  The Act prohibits the appointment of a GAL when a person with mental illness has filed a habeas corpus writ.  A habeas corpus write is a petition to court claiming a person has been unlawfully held in custody or unlawfully medicated.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 12, 2012

Public Act 12-42 (SB 114) AN ACT CONCERNING SERVICES FOR VETERANS IN PRETRIAL DIVERSIONARY PROGRAMS.

This Act allows veterans and certain of their relatives to use the accelerated rehabilitation (AR) program twice rather than just once. The Act broadens eligibility for two other diversionary programs, the diversionary program for people with psychiatric disabilities and the pretrial drug education program, by adding certain veterans and related people. It provides veterans and related people with access to state and federal departments of veterans' affairs (DVA) services as an alternative to services from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

LONG TERM CARE

Public Act 12-1 June Special Session (HB 6001) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2012.

This Act is 474 pages long.  It literally implements the state budget.  The state budget is a bill with the dollar allocations for state programs and services.  If state statutes need to be amended to reflect changes in the funding for state programs and services then another bill, called an “implementer bill” is used to make such changes.  This act is an implementer bill.  Most of this bill does not address disability issues, but sections 9, 10, 14 and 104 address long term care issues.

Sections 9 and 10 of the Act increase from 75 to 125, the total number of people who can participate in two private assisted living pilot programs (one Medicaid- and one state-funded, administered by DSS). The programs help pay for assisted living services, but not room and board, for people living in private assisted living facilities who have used up their own resources. (Participants must use their own funds to pay their room and board costs.) To qualify, applicants must be Connecticut residents at least age 65; reside in a private assisted living facility; need help with one or more activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, or taking medication; and qualify functionally and financially for the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders.

EFFECTIVE DATE for Sections 9 and 10: July 1, 2012.

Section 14 of the Act requires participants in the Medicaid Personal Care Assistance Waiver Program, which offers PCA services to adults with severe disabilities age 18 and older who meet the program's eligibility criteria to nevertheless transition to the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) at age 65. CHCPE is a Medicaid- and state-funded program that provides home- and community-based services to frail individuals age 65 and older.

EFFECTIVE DATE for Section 14: July 1, 2012

Section 104 of the Act generally gives the Department of Correction (DOC) commissioner the discretion to release certain inmates from custody for nursing home placement for palliative and end-of-life care, under certain conditions. DOC must supervise in the community any inmate released in this manner. The placement must be in a licensed community-based nursing home under contract with the state. Before the commissioner can authorize such a placement, the DOC medical director must determine that the inmate is suffering from a terminal condition, disease, or syndrome or is so debilitated or incapacitated by it as to (1) need continuous palliative or end-of-life care or (2) be physically incapable of presenting a danger to society.

The Act allows the DOC commissioner, as a condition of the nursing home placement, to require the medical director to periodically review and diagnose the inmate during his or her release. An inmate must be returned to DOC custody if the medical director determines that the inmate no longer meets the criteria for release described above.

EFFECTIVE DATE for Section 104: July 1, 2012

 

 

Public Act 12-33 (HB 5312) AN ACT CREATING A PROCESS FOR FAMILY CHILD CARE PROVIDERS AND PERSONAL CARE ATTENDANTS TO COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN WITH THE STATE.

This Act is summarized under the heading “EMPLOYMENT”.

 

 

Special Act 12-6 SB 138 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY "AGING IN PLACE".

Establishes a task for to study how the state can encourage “aging in place”. The task force must specifically address infrastructure and transportation improvements, zoning changes to facilitate home care, enhanced nutrition programs and delivery options, improved fraud and abuse protections, expansion of home medical care options, tax incentives, and incentives for private insurance.  This Special Act does not specify any particular age group or population and therefore may address aging in place across the lifespan.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Public Act 12-6 (SB 139) AN ACT CONCERNING NOTIFICATION OF FINANCIAL STABILITY OF NURSING HOME FACILITIES AND MANAGED RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITIES TO PATIENTS AND RESIDENTS.

This Act requires nursing homes, residential care homes, rest homes with nursing supervision, and chronic and convalescent nursing homes to provide notice to prospective and current residents if a facility is placed in receivership or files for bankruptcy. It requires managed residential communities (facilities in which assisted living services are provided) to notify prospective and current residents if it files for bankruptcy.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-91 (HB 5476) AN ACT EXPANDING CONSUMER CHOICE FOR LIFE SUPPORT CARE AT HOME.

This Act requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) commissioner, within available appropriations, to establish and operate a two-year, state-funded pilot program for up to 10 ventilator-dependent Medicaid recipients who live in Fairfield County and receive medical care at home. Under the pilot, the participants can hire their own licensed registered nurses (RN) and respiratory therapists directly. (Medicaid rules generally require these professionals to be hired by home health care agencies, which send them to Medicaid recipients' homes.) DSS must annually screen the participants to determine whether they can continue to manage their care.

The Act requires nurses and therapists participating in the pilot to (1) submit to criminal history background checks and (2) certify, in writing, that they will not terminate a patient's care unless they provide at least two weeks written notice, except in an emergency. It requires DSS to annually screen pilot participants to determine whether they are able to manage their care.

The Act requires the commissioner to report by January 1, 2015 to the Appropriations and Human Services committees on the pilot program, including its cost-effectiveness and care continuity. The Act also requires the DSS commissioner, by July 1, 2013, to survey Medicaid recipients who are receiving continuous skilled care at home and report by January 1, 2014 on the survey results to the Human Services Committee.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

Public Act 12-118 (SB 232) AN ACT CONCERNING A MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN LONG-TERM CARE BEDS.

By law, most health care facilities need a certificate of need (CON) from the state if they wish to, among other things, (1) establish such a facility, (2) transfer ownership or control, (3) add beds to it, or (4) purchase equipment. This Act extends, from June 30, 2012 until June 30, 2016, the Department of Social Services' (DSS) moratorium on CONs for new nursing home beds. The law exempts certain nursing home beds from the moratorium, including those used by AIDS patients.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Public Act 12-119 (SB 234) AN ACT CONCERNING CERTAIN SOCIAL SERVICES PROGRAMS.

This Act, among other things, establishes the Community Choices program to assist the elderly, people with disabilities, and their caregivers in gathering information and making long-term care decisions; and removes the cap on the number of participants under the Katie Beckett Waiver and allows as many participants as can be served within available appropriations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except the provision concerning the Katie Beckett waiver, which is effective July 1, 2012.

Public Act 12-201 (SB 157) AN ACT REVISING THE DEFINITION OF A CHILD CARE FACILITY TO CONFORM WITH THE DEFINITION OF A CHILD.

This Act raises the maximum age of a person placed for the first time in a child care facility from under age 18 to under age 21. By law, child care facilities are congregate residential settings licensed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The DCF commissioner can petition a court for permission to place a child committed to her custody in such a facility if the child cannot be satisfactorily cared for in a foster home because he or she has developmental or physical disabilities, mental illness, emotional issues, or behavioral disorders.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

MENTAL HEALTH

Public Act 12-48 (SB 337) AN ACT CONCERNING THE SILVER ALERT SYSTEM.

This Act allows the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) commissioner to authorize DMHAS employees certified as police officers to file missing person reports with the state's clearinghouse for missing persons. The clearinghouse, which is within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), operates a SILVER Alert system to help locate seniors and mentally impaired adults reported missing by specified individuals. The Act requires the clearinghouse to provide assistance when DMHAS police officers file such reports.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

TRANSPORTATION / MOBILITY

Public Act 12-104 (HB 5557) AN ACT MAKING ADJUSTMENTS TO STATE EXPENDITURES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2013.

Section 18 of the Act bars the transportation commissioner from increasing fares for buses or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Paratransit Services between January 1 and December 31, 2013.

EFFECTIVE DATE: from passage

VOTING

Public Act 12-57 SB 214 AN ACT CONCERNING PERMANENT ABSENTEE BALLOT STATUS FOR THE PERMANENTLY DISABLED.

Under this Act, electors who have permanent absentee ballot status automatically receive an absentee ballot, rather than an application for one, for each election, primary, and referendum in the municipality in which they are eligible to vote. The law requires registrars of voters to send an annual notice in January to determine whether such electors (1) continue to reside at the address on their application and (2) may remain on the permanent absentee ballot status list. If a notice is not returned within 30 days or returned as undeliverable, the registrars must remove the elector from permanent absentee ballot status, but not from the voter registry list.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2013



Content Last Modified on 7/5/2012 12:29:56 PM