OPA: Legislative Update

Legislative Update


This report is available in WORD format or an accessible format on request. Please contact Beth Leslie at 860-297-4369 or Beth.Leslie@ct.gov



Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities

 2016 Annual Legislative Report

 New state laws affecting people with disabilities.

 June 6, 2016

 Summaries from the Office of Legislative Research are used in this report.

 Legislative Website

Copies of Acts, public Acts and special Acts are available on the legislative website www.cga.ct.gov   The bottom of the first page of the legislative website allows you to enter the Act number or public or special Act number. You are then brought to a screen that shows the Act number and title as well as the status of the Act and links to various documents including the Public or Special Act. The Act is the official wording of the new law.

 

Office of Legislative Research

Summaries from the Office of Legislative Research are used in this report.

The Office of Legislative Research ("OLR") is the Connecticut General Assembly's nonpartisan research arm. OLR staffs all non-fiscal Legislative committees; write reports annually for legislators and committees; analyze Acts; summarize public Acts; prepare reports summarizing Acts affecting particular occupations, industries, and segments of the population; summarize major Acts passed each session; and perform other services for the Legislature. The OLR website address is: www.cga.ct.gov/olr

 

Legislative Office Of Fiscal Analysis

The legislature has a nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis which does a very good job explaining the state budget. The website address is www.cga.ct.gov/ofa

 

LEGISLATION REGARDING THE OFFICE OF PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

 

Public Act 16-66 (HB 5537) AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATUTES.

Sections 47 through 50 of this Act makes changes to the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. The other changes made in this Public Act that affect people with disabilities are summarized under the heading “HEALTH”.

Effective July 1, 2017, the Act eliminates the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (OPA) and the Board of Advocacy and Protection for Persons with Disabilities (“the board”). OPA currently provides protection, advocacy, and client assistance functions to people with disabilities and investigates alleged abuse of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The board currently advises the OPA executive director on matters relating to advocacy policy, client service priorities, and issues affecting persons with disabilities.

The Act also establishes the Connecticut protection and advocacy system (“the system”), which is a nonprofit entity to be designated by the governor to serve as the state's protection and advocacy system and client assistance program. Under the Act, the system must provide protection and advocacy services for people with disabilities, as provided by federal law; and a client assistance program for people with disabilities as provided by federal law. (Certain federal funding is contingent on the state having such a program in place.) Former OPA employees and board members may serve on the system's board or work as a system employee, provided they are not employed by the system while employed by the state.

The Act requires the Office of Policy and Management, by October 1, 2016, to issue a request for information from nonprofit entities regarding their ability to serve as the system; and requires the governor to designate an entity to serve as the system by July 1, 2017. For the governor's designation, the Act waives certain state contracting requirements, including those related to privatization contracts and personal service contracts.

It transfers OPA's Abuse Investigation Division investigatory responsibilities to the Department of Rehabilitation Services effective July 1, 2017.

It transfers the protection and advocacy and client assistance functions to the newly designated system effective July 1, 2017. The Act allows OPA, prior to its elimination and with approval from the Office of Policy and Management, to contract out any of its non-investigatory services to one or more non-state entities. For this purpose, the Act waives requirements related to state contracting and privatization of state services.

The Act requires OPA, by November 1, 2016 and in consultation with the board, to submit a plan to the OPM secretary that (1) is consistent with state and federal law, (2) provides for the effective transfer, by July 1, 2017, of OPA's protection, advocacy and client assistance program functions to a nonprofit entity, and (3) includes any proposed legislative changes. Any work in progress, other than investigations, on July 1, 2017, must be completed by the system in accordance with federal regulations and in the same manner and with the same effect as if OPA completed it prior to its elimination.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except for the provision that eliminates OPA and the board, which is effective July 1, 2017.

New laws are summarized under the following topics:

ACCESSIBILITY

ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES

AUTISM

BUDGET

DEAF, HARD OF HEARING

EDUCATION, INCLUDING TRANSITION SERVICES (all ages)

EMPLOYMENT

GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION

HEALTH AND HEALTHCARE

HOUSING

INSURANCE

INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY

LONG TERM CARE

MENTAL HEALTH

PROBATE

SUBSTANCE USE

TRANSPORTATION/MOBILITY

 

ACCESSIBILITY

PUBLIC ACT 16-3 (SB 191) AN ACT CONCERNING INSTALLERS OF RESIDENTIAL STAIR LIFTS.

This Act establishes a residential stair lift technician's license. By December 31, 2016, the consumer protection commissioner, after consulting with the Elevator Installation, Repair and Maintenance Board, must adopt regulations to establish the license. The regulations must include the amount and type of experience, training, continuing education, and exam requirements, if any, for anyone obtaining and renewing such license. The initial license fee is $150; the annual renewal fee is $75. The license is valid for one year from the date of issuance. The Act specifically states that licensed tradesmen whose licenses allow them to install and repair residential stair lifts may continue to do so and are not required to obtain a residential stair lift technician's license.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

PUBLIC ACT 16-78 (HB 5050) AN ACT MODERNIZING THE SYMBOL OF ACCESS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.

This Act requires the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) commissioner, by January 1, 2017, to promulgate a policy and adopt regulations designating a new symbol of access for people with disabilities. The symbol, which replaces the international access symbol, must (1) depict a logo with a dynamic character leaning forward with a sense of movement, be readily identifiable, and be simply designed with no secondary meaning and (2) provide for the equivalent facilitation and accessibility as the international access symbol.

Beginning January 1, 2017, the Act requires that any references in the State Building Code to the international symbol of accessibility be deemed to mean the new symbol established under the Act. It requires use of the new symbol in all buildings and structures constructed, substantially renovated, or expanded on or after that date.

The Act similarly replaces the international symbol of access with the new symbol for (1) special license plates and temporary windshield placards for individuals with disabilities or who are blind, or the parent or guardian of such individuals, and (2) parking space signs for such individuals that are replaced, repaired, or erected on and after January 1, 2017. In addition, the Act replaces “handicapped” with “reserved” on the parking signs, which currently read “handicapped parking permit required,” and “violators will be fined.”

The Act also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except that the provisions concerning license plates, placards, and parking space signs are effective January 1, 2017.

BACKGROUND

International Symbol of Accessibility

The 2010 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Standards for Accessible Design, published by the U.S. Department of Justice and applicable to public and private entities, require the use of the international symbol of accessibility in several different contexts (e.g., entrances, elevators, restrooms, and parking space identification signs). They allow covered entities to use designs, products, or technologies that are different from those specified in the standards as long as the alternatives result in “substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability” (i.e., the equivalent facilitation exception). If an alternative is challenged, the covered entity is responsible for demonstrating equivalent facilitation (Standard 103).

In May 2015, the Federal Highway Administration ruled that certain alternatives to the international symbol of accessibility, including those with a dynamic character, were not permissible for use in traffic control device applications (Official Ruling No. 2(09) – 111 (I)- International Symbol of Accessibility).


PUBLIC ACT 16-215 (SB 388) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES' RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE ADOPTION OF THE STATE BUILDING AND FIRE CODES.

This Act removes the process for adopting the state building and fire codes from the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (UAPA), which establishes procedures that agencies must follow when performing certain administrative functions such as adopting regulations. It instead establishes a different adoption process for these codes, which involves the Codes and Standards Committee and the State Fire Prevention Code Advisory Committee. The former committee works with the state building inspector and state fire marshal to adopt and enforce the state building and fire codes (CGS § 29-251); the latter advises the state fire marshal on the adoption and administration of the fire prevention code (CGS § 29-291a).

Before a code is adopted, the Act requires that the Codes and Standards Committee, in the case of the building code, and the Fire Prevention Code Advisory Committee, in the case of the fire prevention and fire safety codes, post the following information in a conspicuous place on the Department of Administrative Services' website:

1. Code changes, amendments, and repealers and provide an opportunity for public comment;

2. Public comments received before the codes are adopted; and

3. One document that compiles and shows proposed changes, additions, or repealers and dates of approval.

The Act requires the state building inspector and state fire marshal to take appropriate steps to advise the public on how to obtain copies of the applicable code.

Finally, the Act makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

 

ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES

PUBLIC ACT 16-149 (HB 5289) AN ACT CONCERNING PROTECTIVE SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE PERSONS.

This Act broadens the circumstances when the Department of Social Services (DSS) commissioner must disclose the results of an investigation into suspected elderly abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment, but limits the type of information that may be disclosed. Under current law, if the elderly individual is a long-term care facility resident, the commissioner must, upon request, disclose the investigation's results to the person who initially reported the suspected abuse. The Act (1) requires the commissioner to disclose an investigation's results to the person who made the report, regardless of whether the elderly individual resides in a long-term care facility, and (2) restricts what information may be disclosed.

The Act also requires the DSS commissioner to develop a plan to (1) incorporate the federal Administration for Community Living's Voluntary Consensus Guidelines for State Adult Protective Services into the state's elderly protective services program and (2) align state elder abuse data collection with the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System standards (see BACKGROUND). The commissioner must submit the plan, along with any legislative recommendations, to the Aging and Human Services committees by July 1, 2017.

The commissioner must also develop an educational training program to promote accurate and prompt reporting of elderly abuse, neglect, exploitation, and abandonment. The Act does not specify a time-frame for developing the training program, which must be available to mandated reporters (see BACKGROUND) and other interested people on DSS' website and in person or otherwise at various times and locations throughout the state, as determined by the commissioner.

Under the Act, the Commission on Aging must evaluate the elderly protective services system and recommend whether it should be expanded to serve individuals age 18 years and older. The evaluation must describe (1) the current protective services structure, including any gaps in the current system; (2) the need, if any, for an expanded protective services system; (3) protective services models in other states; and (4) the overall capacity of the current system to meet present and future needs. The commission must submit its findings to the Aging and Human Services committees by October 1, 2017.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

 

AUTISM (including Applied Behavior Analysis)

PUBLIC ACT 16-03 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION (SB 502 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION) AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE AND OTHER ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) services.

Sections 47-50 and 63 of the Act makes DSS, rather than the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), the lead agency for (1) coordinating state agency functions that have responsibility for ASD services and (2) purposes of the federal Combating Autism Act and applying for funding associated with ASD responsibilities. It also makes several conforming changes. Under the Act, DDS retains the authority to license community living arrangements and companion homes for individuals with ASD.

The Act shifts, from DDS to DSS, a requirement to report to the governor on any funding and legislation needed to provide necessary ASD services. It also eliminates the requirement that the report be completed annually and makes the Human Services Committee, instead of the Public Health Committee, a required recipient of this report and an annual report DSS currently issues on the status of a Medicaid-financed home and community-based program for certain individuals diagnosed with ASD.

Division of ASD Services

The Act moves the Division of ASD Services from DDS to DSS, but the DDS commissioner retains the authority to investigate reports alleging abuse or neglect of an individual receiving division services. It also makes several conforming changes.

The Act also allows DSS to adopt regulations defining ASD and establish eligibility standards and criteria for ASD services. Current law requires DDS to adopt such regulations, though it has not yet done so.

Starting February 1, 2017, the Act also (1) shifts from DDS to DSS a requirement to report annually on the division's Activities and (2) makes the Human Services Committee, instead of the Public Health Committee, a required report recipient.

ASD Advisory Council

The Act adds the Office of Early Childhood commissioner as a 25th member to the ASD Advisory Council and designates the DSS commissioner, instead of the DDS commissioner, as a council co-chair. By law, the council advises the commissioner on autism-related matters.

The Act also requires the DSS commissioner, instead of the DDS commissioner, in collaboration with the council, to designate services and interventions that demonstrate empirical effectiveness for treating ASD.

ASD Definition

The Act specifies that ASD has the same meaning as set forth in the American Psychiatric Association's “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-5).

The Act makes an exception for a law pertaining to applied behavioral analysis services for students with ASD.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016, except for the provision that defines ASD, which is effective upon passage.

 

BUDGET

PUBLIC ACT 16-03 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION (SB 502 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION) AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE AND OTHER ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

This Act is summarized under the following topic headings:

Autism

Deaf / Hard of Hearing

Education

Employment

Government Administration

Housing

Insurance



DEAF, HARD OF HEARING

PUBLIC ACT 16-03 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION (SB 502 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION) AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE AND OTHER ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

Deaf and Hard Of Hearing Interpreting

Section 80 of the Act allows, rather than requires, DORS to provide deaf or hard of hearing interpreting services to any person or entity upon request. By law, unchanged by the Act, anyone receiving interpreting services through DORS must reimburse the agency at rates it establishes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

 

EDUCATION, INCLUDING TRANISITON SERVICES (all ages)

PUBLIC ACT 16-03 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION (SB 502 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION) AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE AND OTHER ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

Educational Aid for Blind Children

Section 81 of the Act allows, rather than requires, DORS to use funds appropriated to its Educational Aid for the Blind and Visually Handicapped Children account to provide the following for blind or visually impaired children: (1) specialized books, materials, equipment, and supplies; (2) adaptive technology services and devices; (3) specialist examinations and aids; and (4) preschool programs and vision-related independent living services, excluding primary education placement.

Under current law, DORS must spend funds appropriated to the account on these supplies, services, and programs first, before spending funds in other ways allowed by law (e.g., to pay for teaching services). The Act removes this requirement.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) Reductions And Exemptions

By law, a town is prohibited from budgeting less for education than it did in the previous FY, unless it can demonstrate specific achievements or changes within its school district. This prohibition is commonly referred to as the minimum budget requirement (MBR).

Section 127 of the Act allows a town to reduce its MBR when it experiences an ECS decrease in a fiscal year in an amount equal to the ECS decrease, as calculated under the Act and described above. By law and unchanged by the Act, alliance districts are prohibited from reducing their MBR in FYs 16 and 17.

Current law allows towns to claim an MBR exemption for earning district performance index (DPI) scores among the top 10% of all districts; however, DPI has been eliminated from statute and replaced with other measures that the State Department of Education (SDE) uses to rank school districts. The Act specifies that accountability index scores instead be used to rank districts when determining MBR relief.

By law, SDE may calculate accountability index scores for each public school district and school using multiple student, school, or district-level measures, as weighted by SDE. Such measures must include the performance index score and high school graduation rates and may include (1) academic growth over time, (2) attendance and chronic absenteeism, (3) postsecondary education and career readiness, (4) enrollment in and graduation from higher education institutions and postsecondary education programs, (5) civic and arts education, and (6) physical fitness. SDE has announced all the factors it now uses in the accountability index, and they include additional factors such as standardized testing participation rates.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016


PUBLIC ACT 16-188 (SB 179) AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATION ISSUES.

Section 5 of this Act establishes a task force to review, streamline, and align state policies relating to school climate, bullying, school safety, and social-emotional learning.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016.


PUBLIC ACT 16-92 (SB 317) AN ACT CONCERNING DYSLEXIA.

This Act establishes additional requirements for applicants seeking a teacher certification endorsement as a remedial reading, remedial language arts, or reading consultant. Beginning July 1, 2017, it requires that they complete a reading and language diagnosis and remediation program that includes supervised practicum hours and instruction in the detection of, and evidence-based structured literacy interventions for, students with dyslexia. This requirement applies to initial applicants for any of the three levels of teacher certification (initial, provisional, or professional) as well as certified teachers seeking the endorsement.

The diagnosis and remediation program is in addition to the existing requirement that applicants achieve a satisfactory score on the State Board of Education (SBE)-approved reading instruction exam or a comparable reading instruction exam with minimum standards equivalent to the SBE-approved exam. (The Act makes both the existing exam requirement and the new program requirement effective July 1, 2017, which has the effect of removing the existing requirement for one year.)

Under the Act, dyslexia has the same meaning found in the State Department of Education's guidance manual for individualized education programs (IEP) under special education law (IEP Manual and Forms, revised January 2015). The manual defines dyslexia as a type of learning disability that affects reading, specifically spelling, decoding words, and fluent word recognition. It states that dyslexia (1) is neurobiological and often inconsistent with a student's other abilities and (2) results from a significant deficit in phonological processing (i.e., difficulty manipulating individual sounds of spoken language).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016


PUBLIC ACT 16-189 (HB 5469) AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT DATA PRIVACY.

This Act restricts how student information may be used by (1) entities that contract to provide educational software and electronic storage of student records (“contractors”) and (2) operators of websites, online services, or mobile applications (i.e., apps).

Regarding software contractors that do business with local or regional boards of education, the State Board of Education (SBE), or the State Department of Education (SDE), the Act:

1. Requires contracts between such contractors and boards of education, SBE, or SDE to contain specific provisions relating to the use and security of student information;

2. Prohibits such contractors from using personally identifiable information from student records to engage in advertising or for any purposes other than those contractually authorized; and

3. Requires boards of education to notify parents within five business days of executing a contract with such contractors.

The Act also voids any (1) contract provision between these parties that conflicts with the above requirements and prohibitions on or after October 1, 2016 or (2) contract between these parties that fails to include the above required provisions.

For operators of websites, online services, or mobile apps, the Act does the following:

1. Requires such operators to maintain reasonable security practices to protect student information and delete student information upon student, parent, guardian, or board of education request;

2. Prohibits such operators from engaging in targeted advertising, creating student profiles for purposes unrelated to school, or selling or disclosing student information, with some exceptions;

3. Allows such operators to use student information and de-identified student information for purposes related to student learning or operational improvements.

The Act also requires school districts to withhold the release of student directory information if the local or regional board of education determines that a request for such information is not related to school purposes.

The Act does not provide any specific enforcement mechanism or penalties; however, existing law provides a civil penalty for each violation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016, and the provision regarding (1) contracts is applicable to contracts entered into, amended, or renewed on or after that date and (2) directory information takes effect July 1, 2016.

 

EMPLOYMENT

PUBLIC ACT 16-03 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION (SB 502 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION) AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE AND OTHER ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

Department Of Rehabilitation Services' (DORS) Employment Program

By law, DORS may receive state and federal funds to administer, within available appropriations, an employment opportunities program for individuals with the most significant disabilities. Currently, the program may serve such individuals who do not meet the eligibility requirements of supported employment programs administered only by DDS and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). Section 60 of the Act makes individuals with the most significant disabilities who do not meet the eligibility requirements for such DSS programs eligible. By law, “individuals with the most significant disabilities” include those who (1) have serious employment limitations in at least three functional areas or (2) require significant ongoing disability-related services on the job to maintain employment.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016


PUBLIC ACT 16-118 (HB 5438) AN ACT DELETING OBSOLETE STATUTORY PROVISIONS CONCERNING WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

This Act makes the following changes in statutes concerning the Department of Rehabilitation Services' (DORS) programs:

1. Eliminates DORS workshops for blind people (DORS has not operated the workshops since 2003),

2. Eliminates eligibility for state employee health insurance coverage for blind individuals formerly employed in DORS workshops,

3. Eliminates labeling and registering requirements for certain goods made by blind people, and

4. Eliminates a requirement that entities supported in whole or part by the state that purchase products or services provided by persons with disabilities (excluding blindness) do so through DORS.

By law, DORS may expend up to $10,000 per fiscal year per person for services for individuals who are over age 21, blind or visually impaired, and deaf. The Act specifies that services provided through this expenditure are community inclusion services, conforming to agency practice. Under the Act, "community inclusion services" assist people with disabilities to connect with their peers without disabilities and with the community.

The Act also allows, rather than requires, DORS to adopt regulations to establish reimbursement rates for people or entities receiving interpreting services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

 

GOVERNMENT ADMINSTRATION

PUBLIC ACT 16-66 (HB 5537) AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATUTES.

The portion of this legislation regarding the office of protection and advocacy for persons with disabilities is summarized at the top of this report.

PUBLIC ACT 16-03 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION (SB 502 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION) AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE AND OTHER ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

Consolidation of Legislative Commissions

Sections 129-177 and 210, of the Act eliminates the six legislative commissions and replaces them with a (1) 63-member Commission on Equity and Opportunity and (2) 63-member Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors. With the exception of continuity of authority and transfer of officers and employees, the (1) former constitutes a successor to the African-American Affairs Commission, Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, and Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission and (2) latter constitutes a successor to the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, Commission on Children, and Commission on Aging. Both are part of the legislative department.

The Act establishes the same duties for the Commission on Equity and Opportunity as it establishes for the Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors, but it targets them to their respective constituencies. Generally, these duties parallel the six legislative commissions' current duties.

Under the Act, the Commission on Equity and Opportunity must be organized into three policy divisions focusing on issues affecting the following underrepresented and underserved populations: African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Latinos and Puerto Ricans. Similarly, the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors must be organized into three policy divisions focusing on issues affecting the following underrepresented and underserved populations: women, children and families, and elderly individuals. Both commissions may adopt regulations to carry out their duties.

The Act makes several minor, technical, and conforming changes to implement its provisions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016, except that a technical provision substituting the names of the successor commissions for the eliminated commissions in 2016 regular and special Acts is effective upon passage.

 

HEALTH and HEALTHCARE (Insurance Acts listed under ‘INSURANCE’)

SPECIAL ACT 16-2 (SB 119) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY HOARDING.

This Special act establishes a task force to study issues concerning hoarding. The task for shall (1) review current methods used by various public agencies to address hoarding, (2) identify barriers faced by public agencies to intervene and assist persons who compulsively hoard, (3) create a framework to coordinate the efforts among state and local public agencies to address the public safety and health issues associated with hoarding, and (4) study whether it is permissible to waive a period of Medicaid ineligibility with regard to an individual who compulsively hoards and whose assets have been discovered after such individual applies for Medicaid.

The task force will include a member of the Connecticut Fire Marshals Association; an attorney with experience representing municipalities; a member of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association; a representative of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities; a local building inspector; a residential landlord; a local animal control officer; a residential real estate management company representative; a physician with experience in treating persons with compulsive disorders; a representative of a municipal human services department; a local health director; a representative of legal aid assistance programs in the state; and a representative from a mental health advocacy center.

The following state agencies will also be represented on the task force: Emergency Services and Public Protection; Aging; Public Health; Mental Health and Addiction Services; Social Services; Chief's State Attorney; State Building Inspector; State Fire Marshal; and Chief Animal Control Officer.

Not later than January 1, 2017, the task force shall submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the legislative Public Safety and Security Committee. The task force shall terminate on the date that it submits such report or January 1, 2017, whichever is later.

Effective Date: May 23, 2016


PUBLIC ACT 16-23 (HB 5450) AN ACT CONCERNING THE PALLIATIVE USE OF MARIJUANA.

This Act makes various changes to the state's medical marijuana program, which the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) administers. Among other things, the Act:

1. Allows minors to be qualifying patients, subject to certain additional requirements and limitations beyond those that apply for adults;

2. Adds to the list of qualifying debilitating conditions for adults;

3. Requires patients to select a dispensary from which they will purchase marijuana, and subjects patients to a possible enforcement hearing if they possess marijuana obtained from another source;

4. Allows dispensaries to distribute marijuana to hospices and other inpatient care facilities that have protocols for handling and distributing marijuana;

5. Specifically allows nurses to administer marijuana in licensed health care facilities;

6. Allows the DCP commissioner to approve medical marijuana research programs, requires him to adopt regulations on licensing research program employees and related matters, and requires research program subjects to register with the department;

7. Requires the DCP commissioner to adopt regulations on licensing marijuana laboratories and laboratory employees;

8. Makes changes to qualifications of and other matters concerning the medical marijuana board, including allowing the board to recommend that a medical condition, treatment, or disease be removed from the list of qualifying debilitating conditions; and

9. Requires dispensaries to report annually to DCP.

The Act also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016


PUBILC ACT 16-25 (SB 70) AN ACT CONCERNING TELEHEALTH PROVIDERS.

This Act adds licensed speech and language pathologists, respiratory care practitioners, and audiologists to the list of health care providers authorized to provide health care services using telehealth. Under the Act, they must provide telehealth services within their profession's scope of practice and standard of care, just as other telehealth providers must under existing law.

Existing law already allows the following health care providers to provide healthcare services using telehealth: licensed physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants, occupational and physical therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, optometrists, podiatrists, psychologists, marital and family therapists, clinical or master social workers, alcohol and drug counselors, professional counselors, and certified dietician-nutritionists.

Under existing law, telehealth provisions do not prohibit various licensed and certified health care providers from (1) providing on-call coverage for another provider, (2) consulting with another provider about a patient's care, or (3) issuing orders for hospital patients. The Act expands the definition of “health care provider” to apply to all telehealth providers, in addition to others specified in current law.

By law, “telehealth” means delivering healthcare services through information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient's physical and mental health.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016


PUBLIC ACT 16-39 (SB 67) AN ACT CONCERNING THE AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF ADVANCED PRACTICE REGISTERED NURSES.

This Act allows advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to certify, sign, or otherwise document medical information in several situations that currently require a physician's signature, certification, or documentation. Examples include:

1. Certifying a patient for medical marijuana use (except for glaucoma),

2. Issuing “do not resuscitate” orders,

3. Certifying a disability to cancel a health club contract, and

4. Certifying a disability or illness for continuing education waivers or extensions for various health professions.

In a few situations not involving written documentation, the Act similarly extends to APRNs authority or responsibility that currently applies only to physicians (e.g., notification to specified people before removal of life support).

The Act extends certain reporting requirements to APRNs regarding specified types of patients or conditions (e.g., reporting to the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) when a blind person comes under the APRN's care).

The Act allows optometrists to document vision-related information in a few situations that currently require a physician's documentation (The Act also extends this authority to APRNs.) It also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016, except January, 1, 2017 for the provisions extending authority to APRNs in regards to marijuana.


PUBLIC ACT 16-66 (HB 5537) AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATUTES.

This Act makes changes to the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (OPA). These changes to OPA are summarized at the beginning of this report.

This Act also:

Creates a new designation of dental assistant and requires dental professionals to take continuing education in infection control;

allows nursing home patients to receive methadone treatment for opioid addiction at the nursing home;

Recognizes in statute a category of psychology technicians and allows them to provide services related to psychological testing;

Creates a diabetes advisory council in DPH, within available appropriations; and

Among other things, the Act also makes changes affecting various licensed institutions, including hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care homes; tattoo technicians; various licensed health care professionals; the medical orders for life sustaining treatment pilot program; wells for semipublic use;; newborn screening; medication administration by unlicensed personnel; music or art therapists; hospice care residences; medical assistants; Medicaid overpayment audits; and funeral directors and embalmers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016, except as otherwise noted.


PUBLIC ACT 16-159 (SB 132) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES' RECOMMENDATION ON INVOLUNTARY FACILITY ADMISSIONS.

This Act makes a technical change by updating terminology in a statute on placement in a facility for persons with intellectual disability. It replaces the outdated term “adult incompetent” with “an adult for whom a guardian or involuntary conservator has been appointed.”


PUBLIC ACT 16-214 (SB 371) AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF EXPERIMENTAL DRUGS.

This Act allows certain terminally ill patients, under specified conditions, to access medications and devices not approved for general use by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Act applies to investigational drugs, biological products, or devices (hereinafter “investigational drugs”) that have completed Phase 1 of an FDA-approved clinical trial and are still part of the trial. To qualify for the program, patients must meet certain eligibility criteria and complete a detailed informed consent document.

The Act allows investigational drug manufacturers to provide eligible patients with investigational drugs. Manufacturers can charge eligible patients for the investigational drugs they provide. The Act allows health carriers (e.g., insurers and HMOs) to cover investigational drugs, and it specifies when carriers may deny coverage to patients being treated with them.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

 

HOUSING

PUBLIC ACT 16-03 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION (SB 502 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION) AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE AND OTHER ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

Rate Freezes For Residential Care Homes, Community Living Arrangements, And Community Companion Homes

Under section 46 of the Act, regardless of rate-setting laws or regulations to the contrary, the rates the state pays to residential care homes, community living arrangements, and community companion homes that received the flat rate for residential services in FY 16 remain in effect in FY 17. State regulations permit these facilities to have their rates determined on a flat rate basis rather than individually on the basis of submitted cost reports (Conn. Agencies Reg. § 17-311-54).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016


SPECIAL ACT 16-05 (SB 88) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY THE ZONING OF TEMPORARY HEALTH CARE STRUCTURES.

This Special Act creates a task force to study “the zoning of temporary health care structures and to develop a model zoning ordinance for temporary health care structures.”

The Special Act defines "temporary health care structure" as a transportable residential structure that provides an environment in which a caregiver may provide care for a mentally or physically impaired person, is primarily assembled at a location other than its site of installation, is limited to one occupant who is the mentally or physically impaired person, is not larger than three hundred gross square feet and complies with the applicable provisions of the State Building Code and Fire Safety Code.

The study must include an examination of regulations, ordinances and legislation pertaining to temporary health care structures in other states.

The Special Act definition of "mentally or physically impaired person" is: “a person who requires assistance with two or more activities of daily living, including, but not limited to, bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, meal preparation, shopping, housekeeping, transfers, bowel and bladder care, laundry, communication, self-administration of medication and ambulation, as certified in writing by a physician licensed in this state”

Not later than January 1, 2017, the task force shall submit a report to the Department on Aging, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association and the legislative Planning and Development Committee and Aging Committee. The task force shall terminate on the date that it submits such report or January 1, 2017, whichever is later.


PUBLIC ACT 16-74 (SB 153) AN ACT CONCERNING SECURITY DEPOSITS FOR AGE-RESTRICTED PUBLIC HOUSING.

This Act requires housing authorities, community housing development corporations, and other corporations providing state-assisted public housing to the elderly and individuals with disabilities to allow these tenants to pay security deposits in installments, pursuant to a written agreement. Under the Act, the written agreement must include a schedule of installment payments and a determination of the tenant's ability to pay according to the schedule. The installments must be (1) reasonable in light of the tenant's income and (2) paid in equal amounts and at approximately equal intervals not exceeding one month, over a period of at least 12 months. The Act specifies that it does not prohibit a housing authority or corporation from waiving a security deposit requirement or extending installments beyond 12 months.

The Act eliminates the requirement that housing authorities and the corporations noted above return security deposits to elders and individuals with disabilities after the tenant has lived in the housing for one year. It instead requires them to return security deposits when the tenancy terminates.

Finally, the Act makes technical changes. It expands the definition of “security deposit” to include installment payments and replaces an outdated reference to the social services commissioner with the housing commissioner. By law, the housing commissioner is responsible for housing for the elderly and individuals with disabilities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016 and applicable to individuals whose tenancy begins on or after that date.

 

INSURANCE (including Medicaid)

PUBLIC ACT 16-03 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION (SB 502 JUNE SPECIAL SESSION) AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE AND OTHER ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage

For those who are eligible for full Medicaid assistance and also have Medicare Part D coverage (i.e., dually eligible), section 43 of the Act requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to pay for the portion of Medicare Part D prescription drug copayments that exceeds, in the aggregate, $17 in any month. Under current law, such beneficiaries must pay the full cost of their Medicare Part D prescription drug copayments.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

Burial Expenses for Public Assistance Recipients And Indigent Individuals

Sections 44-45 of the Act decreases, from $1,400 to $1,200, the maximum amount DSS pays toward funeral and burial expenses for State Administered General Assistance (SAGA), Temporary Family Assistance (TFA), or State Supplement Program (SSP) recipients and certain other indigent individuals. It also limits the indigent individuals for whom DSS will pay such expenses. Currently, DSS covers funeral and burial costs up to the allotted maximum for individuals who die and either do not (1) leave a sufficient estate or (2) have a legally liable relative to cover such costs. Under the Act, DSS must pay such costs only if the decedent did not leave a sufficient estate and has no legally liable relatives to cover the costs.

Currently, the amount DSS contributes for funeral and burial costs for a deceased TFA or SSP recipient must be reduced by the (1) amount in any revocable or irrevocable funeral fund or prepaid funeral contract or (2) face value of the recipient's life insurance policy. The Act eliminates a provision that permits any person to contribute to the funeral and burial costs for such decedents without diminishing the state's obligation to pay. The Act instead requires DSS to further reduce its payment by (1) the net value of liquid assets in the decedent's estate, and (2) contributions over $3,400 towards the funeral and burial costs from all other sources, including friends, relatives, other persons, organizations, agencies, veterans' programs, and other benefits programs.

The Act also aligns the restrictions on the amount DSS must pay for SAGA recipients and indigent individuals to those discussed above for deceased TFA and SSP recipients. It does so by (1) increasing, from $3,200 to $3,400, the outside contribution amount above which DSS must reduce its payment towards funeral and burial costs and (2) requiring DSS to reduce its payment by the net value of all liquid assets in the decedent's estate.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016


PUBLIC ACT 16-12 (SB 107) AN ACT CONCERNING THE TREATMENT OF THE CASH VALUE OF LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES WHEN EVALUATING MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY.

Current law prohibits the Department of Social Services (DSS) from determining that an individual is ineligible for Medicaid solely based on having a life insurance policy with a cash value less than $10,000, provided the (1) individual is pursuing the policy's surrender and (2) proceeds are used to pay for the individual's long-term care once the policy is surrendered. This Act eliminates the requirement that proceeds be used to pay for the individual's long term care.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage


PUBLIC ACT 16-195 (SB 262) AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONNECTICUT FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT AND ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY SERVICE.

This Act requires certain private employers and the state to allow their employees to take unpaid time off when federal regulations determine a need exists arising from the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent being on Active duty or notified of an impending call or order to Active duty in the armed forces (U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force and any reserve component of these branches, including the Connecticut National Guard performing duty under Title 32 of federal law (e.g., certain Homeland Security missions)). Regulations adopted by the U.S. labor secretary determine the situations qualifying for leave.

Under the Act, in such circumstances (1) private employees may take up to 16 work weeks of unpaid time off during any 24-month period (see BACKGROUND) and (2) state employees may take up to 24 weeks within a two-year period. These amounts are already allowed by law for other reasons (e.g., certain family-related matters, such as births and other health issues).

As under current law, in order to qualify, a private employee must (1) work for an employer with at least 75 employees and (2) have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,000 hours during that time. State employees must be permanent, which means holding a position in the (1) classified service under a permanent appointment or (2) unclassified service and serving in the position for more than six months, except for employees in federally funded positions as part of a public service employment, on-the-job training, or work experience program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage


PUBLIC ACT 16-198 (SB 298) AN ACT CONCERNING TELEHEALTH SERVICES FOR MEDICAID RECIPIENTS.

This Act requires the Department of Social Services (DSS), within available state and federal resources, to provide Medicaid coverage for telehealth services that the commissioner determines are:

1. Clinically appropriate to provide via telehealth,

2. Cost-effective for the state, and

3. likely to expand access to medically necessary services for Medicaid recipients who experience undue hardship accessing appropriate health care services.

The Act requires the DSS commissioner to seek a federal waiver or amend the state Medicaid plan to obtain federal reimbursement for the cost of covering these services. By law, the department must submit a Medicaid waiver application or state plan amendment to the Appropriations and Human Services Committees for approval, denial, or modification.

Lastly, the Act requires the commissioner to report by January 1, 2018 to the Human Services and Public Health committees on providing telehealth services to Medicaid recipients.

Under the Act, “telehealth” means delivering health care services through information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient's physical and mental health. It includes:

1. Interaction between a patient at an originating site and the telehealth provider at a distant site and

2. Synchronous (real-time) interactions, asynchronous store and forward transfers (transmitting medical information from the patient to the telehealth provider for review at a later time), or remote patient monitoring.

Telehealth does not include using fax, audio-only telephone, texting, or e-mail.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

 

INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY

PUBLIC ACT 16-49 (HB 5255) AN ACT CONCERNING GUARDIANSHIP OF PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY.

This Act updates terminology and makes unrelated changes to statutes governing probate court processes to appoint guardians for adults with intellectual disabilities.

The Act expands the types of entities that the probate court may appoint as guardians for adults with intellectual disabilities to include, in addition to private, nonprofit corporations authorized under current law, (1) for-profit corporations, (2) limited liability companies, (3) partnerships, and (4) other state-recognized nonprofit or for-profit entities. Under the Act, this change applies to both (1) plenary guardians, who supervise all aspects of an adult's care, and (2) limited guardians, who supervise certain specified aspects of an adult's care. By law, unaffected by the Act, residential care homes cannot be plenary guardians, and hospitals and nursing homes cannot be plenary or limited guardians.

The Act makes several changes to the confidentiality of documents in guardianship cases. Under current law, applications for guardianship and subsequent records of probate court proceedings must be sealed, except for the guardian's name. Under the Act, records related to guardianship cases are confidential; the Act expands the exception to include the protected person's name. Current law allows disclosure of records to the respondent, the respondent's counsel or guardian, and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) commissioner or her designee. The Act instead allows disclosure to all parties in the case and their counsel, DDS, and the Office of the Probate Administrator. Under current law, the probate court may disclose records to other parties for cause shown, as long as the court gives notice to the (1) respondent, respondent's counsel, or guardian, and (2) DDS commissioner or her designee. The Act instead requires the court to give notice to the (1) respondent, (2) respondent's counsel, (3) guardian, and (4) DDS.

The Act renames “ward” under current law as “protected person.” The definition still refers to a person for whom the probate court grants guardianship.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016, except for a technical provision on probate court fees, which is effective July 1, 2016.


PUBLIC ACT 16-60 (SB 294) AN ACT CONCERNING SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY.

This Act allows an individual determined by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to be eligible for department funding or services, or his or her legal guardian or representative, to request from DDS a copy of (1) the individual's “priority status” for residential services, (2) the request for funding or services submitted to the regional “planning and resource allocation team,” and (3) any decision the team makes on the request.

Additionally, if the individual receives annual funding or services from DDS, he or she, or his or her guardian or representative, may request a copy of his or her individualized service plan and “level of need assessment.” DDS must furnish any copies requested under the Act.

The Act requires DDS to report annually to the Public Health and Appropriations committees on the number of individuals determined by DDS to be eligible for DDS funding or services and who (1) have unmet residential care or employment opportunity and day services needs or (2) are eligible for the department's behavioral services program and are waiting for a funding allocation.

Additionally, the Act requires the DDS commissioner, at least annually, to provide to individuals who receive annual DDS funding or services or their guardians or representatives, information about (1) the regional advisory council's statutory responsibilities and (2) how to access information about the council's meetings. By law, the DDS commissioner must appoint at least one such council for each state developmental services region it operates. The councils are responsible for consulting and advising the regional director on (1) the needs of individuals with intellectual disability (ID) in the region, (2) the region's annual plan and budget, and (3) other matters it deems appropriate.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage


PUBLIC ACT 16-142 (HB 5587) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A COUNCIL TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING SERVICES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.

This Act establishes, within the Council on Medical Assistance Program Oversight (MAPOC), a standing subcommittee to study and make recommendations on children and adults with complex health needs. It requires the subcommittee to consist of MAPOC members appointed by the council's chairpersons and other individuals to advise the council on the specific needs of these children and adults. The non-MAPOC members must serve terms set by the chairpersons.

Under the Act, the subcommittee must submit reports to the governor, MAPOC, and the Children's, Human Services, and Public Health committees on the efficacy of support systems for children and young adults age 21 or younger with developmental disabilities, with or without co-occurring mental health conditions. The first report is due by July 1, 2017; the second is due by January 1, 2018.

For purposes of completing the two required reports, the Act requires the following individuals to be on the subcommittee:

1. The child and healthcare advocates, or their designees;

2. A family or child advocate;

3. The executive directors of the Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, or their designees; and

4. An expert in diagnosing, evaluating, educating, and treating children and young adults with developmental disabilities.

For the Act's purposes, “developmental disability” means an individual's severe, chronic disability as defined by federal law.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016


LONG TERM CARE

PUBLIC ACT 16-159 (SB 166) AN ACT EXPANDING UTILIZATION OF PATIENT-DESIGNATED CAREGIVERS.

This Act extends to nursing homes existing requirements for hospitals regarding the designation of patient caregivers at the time of a patient's discharge. Specifically, the Act requires a nursing home, when discharging a resident to his or her home to:

1. Allow the resident or his or her representative to designate a caregiver at, or before, the time the resident receives a written copy of his or her discharge plan;

2. Document the designated caregiver in the resident's discharge plan;

3. Attempt to notify the designated caregiver of the resident's discharge; and

4. Instruct the caregiver on post-discharge tasks with which he or she will assist the resident at home.

The Act specifies that it does not create a private right of Action against a nursing home or its employees, contractors, or consultants. It prohibits these entities and people from being held liable for services a caregiver provides or fails to provide to the patient in his or her home.

Additionally, the Act does not affect (1) health insurers' benefit plan or reimbursement obligations, (2) a resident's discharge or transfer from a nursing home to another facility, or (3) a patient's proxy health care rights.

The Act allows the Department of Public Health (DPH) to adopt related regulations. It also makes a conforming change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

 

MENTAL HEALTH (includes “Behavioral Health Utilization” work group legislation; see 'PROBATE' for civil commitment and other related issues)

PUBLIC ACT 16-130 (HB 5456) AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES FOR REVISIONS TO THE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES STATUTES.

This Act makes technical changes in Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services-related statutes. Specifically, it substitutes the term “substance use disorders” for “substance abuse problems” to reflect current practice and comply with the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016


PUBLIC ACT 16-158 (SB 131) AN ACT CONCERNING THE WORKING GROUP ON BEHAVIORAL HEALTH UTILIZATION.

The Commissioner of the Insurance Department has convened a working group develop recommendations for behavioral health utilization and quality measures data that should be collected uniformly from state agencies that pay health care claims, group hospitalization and medical and surgical insurance plans established pursuant to section 5-259 of the general statutes, the state medical assistance program and health insurance companies and health care centers that write health insurance policies and health care contracts in this state. The purposes of such recommendations include, but are not limited to, protecting behavioral health parity for youths and other populations.

The working group consists of the Insurance Commissioner, the Healthcare Advocate, the Commissioners of Social Services, Public Health, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Children and Families and Developmental Services and the Comptroller, or their designees, and may include representatives from health insurance companies or health care centers or any other members the Insurance Commissioner deems necessary and relevant to carry out the working group's duties under this section.

This Act adds requires the working group to include recommendations on two additional subjects: (1) the number of prior authorization requests for behavioral health services and the number of denials for such requests compared with the number of prior authorization requests for other health care services and the number of denials for such requests, and (2) the percentage of paid claims for out-of-network behavioral health services compared with the percentage of paid claims for other types of out-of-network health care and surgical services.

The Insurance Commission is required under this Act to submit a report of the recommendations to the legislative Insurance, Human Services, Public Health, and Children’s Committees not later than January 1, 2017.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

 

PROBATE (including GUARDIANSHIP and CONSERVATORSHIP)

PUBLIC ACT 16-07 (SB 219) AN ACT CONCERNING PROBATE COURT OPERATIONS.

This Act makes various substantive, minor, and technical changes in probate statutes. Among other things, it: establishes a process for a probate court, after finding it does not have jurisdiction to hear a matter, to transfer the matter to another probate court if that court would have jurisdiction; Allows a person under voluntary conservatorship and not represented by an attorney to waive certain rights following a hearing to determine if the waiver represents the person's wishes; Adds to the list of probate matters subject to the general $225 filing fee; Adds to the courts with jurisdiction over petitions to remove a parent as guardian or terminate parental rights; and expands the type of entities that may serve as conservators so that instead of just “corporations”, the Act allows a corporation, limited liability company, partnership or other entity recognized under the laws of this state, whether or not operated for profit.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016


PUBLIC ACT 16-40 (SB 142) AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE CONNECTICUT UNIFORM POWER OF ATTORNEY ACT AND ADOPTION OF THE CONNECTICUT UNIFORM RECOGNITION OF SUBSTITUTE DECISION-MAKING DOCUMENTS ACT.

This Act delays the effective date of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOA) (adopted in PA 15-240) from July 1, 2016 to October 1, 2016. It also designates the existing sample form that is part of the UPOA as the statutory “long form” and creates a new statutory “short form” for creating a power of attorney (POA). It makes changes to the provisions governing estate planning powers in the long form.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016, except the provision delaying the UPOA's effective date is effective upon passage.

 

SUBSTANCE USE

SPECIAL ACT 16-04 (HB 5620) AN ACT CONCERNING A STUDY OF IMPEDIMENTS TO INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER TREATMENTS.

This special act requires the Insurance Commissioner study the impediments that exist, if any, for insureds to receive treatments for substance use disorders under their health insurance policies or health benefit plans. Such study shall include, but need not be limited to, (1) the extent to which coverage is provided under health insurance policies or health benefit plans, (2) the types of treatments covered under such policies or plans, (3) the requirements, if any, that insureds must meet for such treatments to be covered under such policies or plans, and (4) the cost-sharing requirements for insureds for such treatments. Not later than January 31, 2017, the commissioner shall submit a report, to the legislative Insurance and Public Health Committees, summarizing the commissioner's findings.

EFFECTIVE DATE: From Passage


PUBLIC ACT 16-43 (HB 5053) AN ACT CONCERNING OPIOIDS AND ACCESS TO OVERDOSE REVERSAL DRUGS.

This Act contains various provisions on opioid abuse prevention and treatment and related issues. It:

1. Prohibits, with certain exceptions, a prescribing practitioner authorized to prescribe an opioid drug from issuing a prescription for more than a seven-day supply to an adult for the first time for outpatient use or for a minor;

2. Makes various changes to the electronic prescription drug monitoring program, such as expanding who may serve as a prescriber's authorized agent, modifying reporting deadlines, and decreasing prescriber reviews for prolonged treatment of schedule V nonnarcotic drugs;

3. Allows any licensed health care professional to administer an opioid antagonist (e.g., Narcan) to treat or prevent a drug overdose without civil or criminal liability;

4. Requires municipalities, by October 1, 2016, to amend their local emergency medical services (EMS) plans to ensure that specified first responders are equipped with an opioid antagonist and trained in administering it;

5. Prohibits certain health insurance policies that provide prescription drug coverage for opioid antagonists from requiring prior authorization for these drugs; and

6. Requires the Public Health Committee chairpersons to establish a working group on the issuance of opioid drug prescriptions by prescribing practitioners.

The Act also makes changes affecting the (1) practice of auricular acupuncture, (2) scope of practice of alcohol and drug counseling, (3) disciplining of controlled substance registrants, and (4) Alcohol and Drug Policy Council.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below

 

TRANSPORTATION / MOBILITY (see “ACCESSIBILITY” for new design for accessible parking and other signage)

PUBLIC ACT 16-54 (HB 5403) AN ACT INCREASING PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS IN CROSSWALKS AND FAILURE TO EXERCISE DUE CARE TO AVOID HITTING A PEDESTRIAN OR CYCLIST.

This Act increases the penalty for two motor-vehicle infractions to violations punishable by a fine of up to $500. But the Act subjects the violations to the same procedures as those governing infractions, which allow a person to pay the fine by mail without a court appearance or contest the fine in court.

The Act's penalties apply when a motor vehicle operator:

1. Fails to give the right of way, slow, or stop as appropriate for pedestrians at crosswalks; passes a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk; fails to yield to pedestrians and others when crossing a sidewalk; or fails to reduce speed and stop as necessary to yield to a blind pedestrian carrying a white cane or guided by a guide dog or

2. Fails to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or person propelling a human powered vehicle or fails to give a reasonable warning to avoid collision (such as sounding a horn).

Currently, the conduct described first above is punishable by a fine, fee, and surcharge totaling $181 and the second by a fine, fee, and surcharge totaling $92.

The Act's fine is also subject to a $15 additional fee, which the state must remit to the municipality where the violation occurred.

By law, infractions and violations subject to the infraction procedures are not considered crimes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

 

 







 




Content Last Modified on 6/6/2016 3:17:39 PM