OPA: 2013 Annual Legislative Report

 

 

 

Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities

2013 Annual Legislative Report

Prepared by

Beth A. Leslie

Legislative and Regulations Specialist

860-297-4300

Beth.Leslie@ct.gov

This report is available in alternative format upon request.  Please contact us at:

Toll-free 1-800-842-7303 (for both voice and TTY)

Or

60-B Weston Street

Hartford, CT 06120

www.ct.gov/opapd

INTRODUCTION

July 2013

All in all, the legislature covered a lot of ground this session.  I hope this report will be helpful in understanding what it accomplished, and that it will encourage readers with an interest in disability rights issues to become more involved in discussions with their own State Representatives and Senators.     


James D. McGaughey

Executive Director


Bills are listed under the following subject headings:

Accessibility, Building Code & Public Accommodations

Budget

Education

Employment--see Labor

Government Administration, Organization & Service Delivery

Handicapped Parking

Health & Health Care --see Insurance bills under "Insurance"

Housing

Insurance

Intellectual Disability

Judicial (Criminal Justice)

Labor (including Employment, Workers' Compensation, Family & Medical Leave)

Long Term Care

Mental Health

Palliative & End of Life Care

Probate (Including Guardianship & Conservatorship)

Taxes, Revenues & Fees

Transportation, Mobility (Handicapped Parking Listed Separately

Voting

Stay Informed / Following The Legislature

Copies of bills, public acts and special acts are available on the legislative website at: www.cga.ct.gov .  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.  Be sure to look at the bill history—if there is not a Public Act number or Special Act number, then the bill did not pass and therefore is not a law. The exception is that House Joint Resolution did pass. But because it is a resolution it does not get a Public Act or Special Act number.

The legislature also has an Office of Legislative Research (OLR) that maintains summaries of Public Acts as well as reports and information on a wide variety of topics. You can conduct searches on specific topics or browse the list of reports that are available.  The OLR website address is www.cga.ct.gov/olrOn the OLR home page, click on "NEW" in the top left corner to see research reports created this month.  Clicking on "Archives" will bring you to reports from past months and other items of interest.

Legislative Website

Copies of bills, public acts and special acts are available on the legislative website www.cga.ct.gov   The top middle 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.

How This Report Is Organized

This report contains information on legislation affecting people with disabilities passed during the 2013 legislative session.  “HB” stands for House Bill. Members of the State House of Representatives introduce House Bills. House Bills are numbered 5001 and higher. In the 2013 Regular Session, there were 1688 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 2013 Regular Session, there were 1166 Senate Bills introduced.

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 2013 Regular Session, there were over 300 Public Acts.

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 2013 there were more than 20 Special Acts.

Resolution Act

A resolution is a statement by the General Assembly that is not a law. Used to approve nominations or labor contacts, place constitutional amendments on the ballot, or express the legislature's collective opinion. In 2013 one Resolution Act was passed and it is listed under the topic “VOTING”.

Accessibility, Building Code & Public Accommodations

Special Act 13-6 (SB 521) AN ACT CONCERNING A REPORT ON THE SURVEY OF ACCESSIBILITY IN AND TO STATE BUILDINGS. This act requires the Commissioner of Administrative Services to submit a report to the legislature by January 1, 2014 concerning the results of the survey of accessibility in and to state buildings for persons with disabilities being conducted by the Department of Administrative Services. Effective date: June 3, 2013

Public Act 13-239 (SB 842) AN ACT AUTHORIZING AND ADJUSTING BONDS OF THE STATE FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS, TRANSPORTATION, ELIMINATION OF THE ACCUMULATED GAAP DEFICIT AND OTHER PURPOSES. Section 2 includes $2 million in each of the next two years for bonding to improve accessibility of state buildings. Section 2 effective date: July 1, 2013

Budget

Public Act 13-184 (HB 6704) AN ACT CONCERNING EXPENDITURES AND REVENUE FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2015. This act appropriates funds for state agencies and programs for FY 14 and FY 15. Effective date: July 1, 2013

Public Act 13-234 (HB 6705) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HOUSING, HUMAN SERVICES AND PUBLIC HEALTH. Several sections affect people with disabilities:

·Section 80 eliminates Medicaid coverage for chiropractic services.

·Section 85 permits the Department of Social Services (DSS) to designate categories of durable medical equipment in addition to customized wheelchairs for which reused equipment, parts and components are to be utilized when practicable.

·Section 107 expands the duties of the Long Term Care Ombudsman to being a pilot program July 1, 2014 to serve home and community-based care recipients in Hartford County.

·Section 108 allows the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) to charge  fee to any person or entity receiving assistive technology evaluation and training services under the Connecticut Tech Act Project.

·Current law allows DSS to establish and administer a demonstration home and community based long term care services project for persons who are eighteen years of age or older, who are institutionalized or at risk of institutionalization, and who meet the financial and level of care eligibility criteria established in regulations adopted for the Connecticut home-care program for the elderly. Section 121 of this public act allows the DSS Commissioner to implement policies and procedures needed to carry out the provisions while in the process of adopting regulations. 

·Section 126 allows DSS to establish a step therapy program for prescription drugs. 

·Section 152 allows the Department of Education to establish a pilot program to study the incidence of injuries, and concussions in particular, to high school students during participation in interscholastic athletic activities.  Effective date: July 1, 2013

Public Act 13-247 (HB 6706) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2015 CONCERNING GENERAL GOVERNMENT. Section 60 authorizes several state agencies (Social Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services and Correction, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and the executive director of the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch to develop housing for 160 individuals and families identified as “frequent users of expensive state services” and reallocate existing resources for the necessary support and housing resources. Section 68 requires municipalities to apply the same zoning regulations as used for single family homes to hospice facilities providing care and services to six or fewer persons. Section 385 affects disability pension provisions for individuals who participate in the Municipal Employees Retirement System. It affects individuals who are disabled on or after January 1, 2013. Effective date: July 1, 2013

Education

Public Act 13-264 (SB 1002) AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY SCHOOLS. Requires schools with agreements to work closely with community resources be able to assist students with disabilities including emotional, behavioral and developmental conditions. Effective date: July 1, 2013

Public Act 13-187 (SB 1070) AN ACT CONCERNING A SCHOOL NURSE ADVISORY COUNCIL AND AN ADVISORY COUNCIL ON PEDIATRIC AUTOIMMUNE NEUROPSYCHIATRIC DISORDER ASSOCIATED WITH STREPTOCOCCAL INFECTIONS. (listed under Health & Health Care)

Public Act 13-287 (SB 1137) AN ACT CONCERNING THE SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTER ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND A STUDY ON THE PROVISION OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES AT SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTERS. (listed under Mental Health)

SB 1160 AN ACT CONCERNING GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND CHILDREN'S SAFETY. (listed under Mental Health)

Public Act 13-133 (HB 6292) AN ACT CONCERNING TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS. The act requires teacher candidates to complete training in an additional competency area: children's social and emotional learning and development. This training must provide instruction about (1) a comprehensive, coordinated social and emotional assessment of, and early intervention for, children whose behavior indicates social or emotional problems; (2) the availability of treatment services for these children; and (3) referrals for assessment, intervention, or treatment services. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Employment—See Labor

Government Administration, Organization & Service Delivery

Public Act 13-125 (SB 837) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT ON AGING. The act establishes a Department on Aging effective January 1, 2013 and transfers to it all functions, powers, duties, and personnel of the Department of Social Services' (DSS) Aging Services Division. It required DSS to continue to administer programs that became the new department's responsibility until the governor appointed an aging commissioner.  Effective date: January 1, 2013. (But the commissioner was not confirmed until April 18, 2013)

Handicapped Parking

Public Act 13-282 (SB 1040) AN ACT CONCERNING COUNTERFEIT AND NONFUNCTIONAL AIRBAGS AND UNLAWFUL PARKING IN SPACES RESERVED FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. This act requires a municipal police officer to issue a written warning or a summons when the officer sees a vehicle parked illegally in a handicapped space. Police officers will be able to see how many times the person has already parked illegally in handicapped parking. Effective date: October 1, 2013

Health & Health Care (Insurance Bills Listed Under 'Insurance')

Public Act 13-242 (SB 465) AN ACT CONCERNING NEWBORN SCREENING FOR ADRENOLEUKODYSTROPHY. This act requires, once reliable testing methods are validated, all health care institutions caring for newborn infants to test them for adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), unless, as allowed by law, their parents object on religious grounds. Like existing law that requires these institutions to test infants for cystic fibrosis, severe combined immunodeficiency disease, and critical congenital heart disease, the test for ALD is in addition to the Department of Public Health's (DPH) newborn screening program for genetic and metabolic disorders. Effective date: EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013

Public Act 13-264 (SB 1002) AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY SCHOOLS. (listed under Education)

Public Act 13-187 (SB 1070) AN ACT CONCERNING A SCHOOL NURSE ADVISORY COUNCIL AND AN ADVISORY COUNCIL ON PEDIATRIC AUTOIMMUNE NEUROPSYCHIATRIC DISORDER ASSOCIATED WITH STREPTOCOCCAL INFECTIONS. (HB 6644 makes a technical correction changing the original “task force” to “advisory council” for consistency and accuracy.) This act requires the State Department of Education (SDE) commissioner to create a School Nurse Advisory Council. The act also establishes an advisory council on pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) and pediatric acute neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) The school nurse advisory council section is effective July 1, 2013.  The advisory council on PANDAS and PANS section took effect June 24, 2013.

Special Act 13-11 (HB 5979) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND DEMENTIA. Please note that section 65 of Public Act 13-208 makes a technical change to this act and adds the Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services to this task force. Effective date: June 18, 2013.

Housing

Public Act 13-250 (SB 886) AN ACT CONCERNING AGING IN PLACE. Encourages changes in state policy and local plans of conservation and development to allow persons requiring services and supports to stay in their home instead of moving to a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility.  This act also expands the list of occupations that are mandated reporters of abuse or neglect of elders to include: persons paid by any institution, organization, agency or facility to care for an elderly person.  The act also requires employers of people who care for the elderly to provide mandatory training on detecting potential abuse and neglect and their obligations under state law to report suspected abuse or neglect. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Public Act 13-109 (HB 6396) AN ACT CONCERNING LIVABLE COMMUNITIES. This act defines “livable community” as a community with affordable and appropriate housing, infrastructure, community services and transportation options for residents of all ages.  The act defines “age in place” as the ability of residents to stay in their own homes or community settings of their choice regardless of age or disability. The Commission on Aging shall establish a livable communities initiative and work with organizations and individuals to plan informational forums on livable communities, investigate innovative approaches to livable communities nationwide, and identify various public, private and philanthropic funding sources to design such communities.  Also, the act requires the Commission on Aging to establish a single portal on its website  for information and resources concerning the livable communities initiative.  Finally, the Commission on Aging must report annually, beginning July 1, 2014 to the legislature on the initiative. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Special Act 13-3 (HB 6574) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO CONSIDER IMPEDIMENTS TO FAIR HOUSING CHOICE. This special act requires the task force to report back to the legislature by February 5, 2014. Effective date: May 28, 2013.

Special Act 13-22 (HB 6610) AN ACT CONCERNING FEDERAL MEDICAID WAIVERS. (listed under Long Term Care)

Public Act 13-208 (HB 6644) AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATUTES. The act removes Residential Care Homes (RCHs) from the statutory definition of “nursing home facility” and establishes a separate definition for these homes. The act redefines an RCH as an establishment that (1) furnishes, in single or multiple facilities, food and shelter to two or more people unrelated to the proprietor and (2) provides services that meet a need beyond the basic provisions of food, shelter, and laundry. RCHs do not provide nursing care or nurse supervision. The act also adds to the nursing home patients' bill of rights, the right of each RCH resident to be transferred or discharged from the home in accordance with state law. The law already provides this right to nursing home and chronic disease hospital patients. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Insurance

Public Act 13-84 (SB 1029) AN ACT CONCERNING HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS. This act requires individual and group health insurance policies delivered, issued, renewed, amended, or continued in Connecticut that cover (1) basic hospital expenses; (2) basic medical-surgical expenses; (3) major medical expenses; and (4) hospital or medical services, including coverage under an HMO plan to at least maintain current levels of benefits for insured persons who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder before the release of the most recent (fifth) edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Effective date: June 5, 2013.

Public Act 13-131 (HB 5767) AN ACT CONCERNING SYNCHRONIZING PRESCRIPTION REFILLS. This act prohibits certain health insurance policies that cover prescription drugs from denying coverage for refilling any drug prescribed to treat a chronic illness if the refill is made in accordance with a plan to synchronize the refilling of multiple prescriptions. The plan must involve the insured, a practitioner, and a pharmacist. The act applies to individual and group health insurance policies delivered, issued, renewed, amended, or continued in Connecticut that cover (1) basic hospital expenses; (2) basic medical-surgical expenses; (3) major medical expenses; (4) hospital or medical services, including coverage under an HMO plan; or (5) single-service ancillary health coverage plans, including dental, vision, and prescription drug plans. Due to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), state insurance benefit mandates do not apply to self-insured benefit plans. Effective date: January 1, 2014

Public Act 13-307 (HB 6546) AN ACT CONCERNING COPAYMENTS FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY SERVICES. This bill prohibits certain health insurance policies from imposing a copayment that is greater than $ 30 per visit for in-network physical therapy services performed by a state-licensed physical therapist. Due to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), state insurance benefit mandates do not apply to self-insured benefit plans. Effective date: January 1, 2015.

Special Act 13-13 (HB 6553) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE INSURANCE. This act creates a task force with a deadline of October 1, 2014 to report on the feasibility of establishing an insurance program to provide short term benefits to workers who are unable to work due to pregnancy or the birth of a child, non-work-related illness or injury, or the need to care for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Intellectual Disability

Public Act 13-20 (SB 874) AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES' STATUTES. Creates an Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Council. The council will terminate on June 30, 2018. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Public Act 13-139 (HB 6388) AN ACT CONCERNING INTERMEDIATE CARE FACILITIES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES. This act updates terminology used in numerous statutes regarding the provision of developmental disability services. It substitutes the term “intellectual disability” for “mental retardation” and “intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities” for “intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded” to reflect changes in federal law and within the developmental disabilities community. Effective date: October 1, 2013.

Judicial (Criminal Justice)

Public Act 13-47 (HB 6641) AN ACT CONCERNING THE SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A PERSON WHO IS PHYSICALLY HELPLESS OR WHOSE ABILITY TO CONSENT IS OTHERWISE IMPAIRED. This act adds to and updates certain factors for determining guilt in cases of 2nd and 4th degree sexual assault involving a person with a physical or mental disability. Under existing law, it is 2nd degree sexual assault to have sexual intercourse, or 4th degree sexual assault to have intentional sexual contact, with someone who is physically helpless. The act expands the definition of “physically helpless” for these purposes to include someone who is physically unable to resist an act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact. Under prior law, it was also 2nd degree sexual assault to have sexual intercourse, or 4 th degree sexual assault to have intentional sexual contact, with someone who is “mentally defective” and consequently unable to consent. The act eliminates this offensive term by replacing references to “mentally defective” with “impaired because of mental disability or disease.” Effective date: October 1, 2013.

In a recent case, a woman with severe disabilities alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by her mother's boyfriend. The woman was nonverbal but was able to communicate in limited ways. The man was found guilty at trial, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. A majority of the state Supreme Court agreed with the Appellate Court that there was insufficient evidence to show that the victim was “physically helpless” within the meaning of the prior definition of that term in the sexual assault statutes. The court noted that “even total physical incapacity does not, by itself, render an individual physically helpless.” Rather, under prior law, the term applied only to someone who, “at the time of the alleged act, was unconscious or for some other reason physically unable to communicate lack of consent to the act” ( State v. Fourtin, 307 Conn. 186 (2012)).

Effective date: October 1, 2013.

Labor (Including Employment, Workers' Compensation, Family And Medical Leave)

Public Act 13-225 (SB 434) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES AND E-GOVERNMENT, EXTENSIONS OF EXISTING CONTRACTS, A STATE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COORDINATOR ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND SETTLEMENTS BY THE CLAIMS COMMISSIONER. Current law establishes a committee to encourage employment by the state of people with disabilities. The committee must advise state agencies regarding adaptation of employment examinations and alternative hiring processes for, and reasonable accommodation of, such individuals. It must also review state agencies' (1) career mobility programs, (2) programs of accommodation and entry level training of people with disabilities, and (3) employment practices with respect to such individuals. The bill eliminates the above requirements and instead requires that the committee, upon the state ADA coordinator's request, advise him regarding (1) employment by the state of people with disabilities and (2) how the state can fulfill its other ADA obligations, including its obligations as a provider of public services and a place of accommodation. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Public Act 13-227 (SB 761) AN ACT MAKING THE JANITORIAL WORK PILOT PROGRAM FOR PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY OR A DISADVANTAGE PERMANENT. This act makes permanent the janitorial work pilot program for people with a disability or a disadvantage, which was established in 2006 and is administered by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). It extends, with some modifications, the pilot program's existing requirements and establishes new ones and allows the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) and the Judicial Branch to participate in the program.  Also, the act requires the legislative Government Administration and Elections Committee to continue studying the program's effectiveness. Effective date: October 1, 2013

Long Term Care 

Public Act 13-70 (SB 519) AN ACT CONCERNING TRAINING NURSING HOME STAFF ABOUT RESIDENTS' FEAR OF RETALIATION. Existing law requires a nursing home administrator to ensure that all nursing home staff receive annual in-service training in an area specific to the patients' needs. This act requires the training to include patients' fear of retaliation. Specifically, the training must discuss patients' rights to file complaints and voice grievances, examples of what constitutes or may be perceived as employee retaliation against patients, and ways to prevent and alleviate patients' fear of such retaliation. The public health commissioner must make conforming changes to the Public Health Code. The act also requires the state long-term care ombudsman to create and periodically update a training manual that provides nursing home administrators guidance on structuring and implementing this new training requirement. EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013

Special Act 13-11 (HB 5979) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND DEMENTIA. (listed under Health & Health Care)

Public Act 13-109 (HB 6396) AN ACT CONCERNING LIVABLE COMMUNITIES. (listed under Housing)

Special Act 13-22 (HB 6610) AN ACT CONCERNING FEDERAL MEDICAID WAIVERS. This special act requires the state Department of Social Services (DSS) to conduct a cost benefit analysis of home care versus institutional care for children.  This analysis is for children eighteen and under who are on Medicaid or HUSKY Plan Part B.  DSS must also report to the legislature on other Medicaid waiver programs or state plan options the state may apply for to provide home care services to Medicaid recipients age eighteen years of age and under.  Both the cost benefit analysis and the report to the legislature are due not later than July 1, 2014.  Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Mental Health

Public Act 13-178 (SB 972) AN ACT CONCERNING THE MENTAL, EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH OF YOUTHS. The Department of Children and Families must develop a comprehensive implementation plan, across agency and policy areas, for meeting the mental, emotional and behavioral health needs of all children in the state, and preventing or reducing the long-term negative impact of mental, emotional and behavioral health issues on children. Not later than April 15, 2014, the commissioner shall submit and present a status report on the progress of the implementation plan to the legislature.  The Commissioner must submit an actual implementation plan by October 1, 2014.  And each year by October 1, from 2015 through 2019 the Commissioner must report to the legislature on the status of the plan. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

 The act requires different resources to work together in the community to improve communication and promptly identify and refer children with issues to an appropriate treatment program and plan for follow up with the family. The act requires training for school resource officers in nationally-recognized best practices to prevent students with mental health issues from being victimized or disproportionately referred to the juvenile justice system as a result of their mental health issues. DCF must provide phased-in, ongoing training for mental health care providers in evidence-based and trauma-informed interventions and practices. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

The Office of Early Childhood, shall provide, to the extent funding is available, professional development training to pediatricians and child care providers to help prevent and identify mental, emotional and behavioral health issues in children by utilizing the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Competencies, or a similar model, with a focus on maternal depression and its impact on child development. NOTE: the legislature did not pass legislation to create the Office of Early Childhood.  Governor Malloy issued an Executive Order to create the office.  It is unclear how public and special acts referring to the Office of Early Childhood will be implemented. Effective date: October 1, 2013.

The birth-to-three program shall provide mental health services to any child eligible for early intervention services pursuant to Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Any child not eligible for services under said act shall be referred by the program to a licensed mental health care provider for evaluation and treatment, as needed. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Not later than December 1, 2014, the Office of Early Childhood shall provide recommendations for implementing the coordination of home visitation programs within the early childhood system that offer a continuum of services to vulnerable families with young children. Vulnerable families with young children may include, but are not limited to, those facing poverty, trauma, violence, special health care needs, mental, emotional or behavioral health care needs, substance abuse challenges and teen parenthood. NOTE: the legislature did not pass legislation to create the Office of Early Childhood.  Governor Malloy issued an Executive Order to create the office.  It is unclear how public and special acts referring to the Office of Early Childhood will be implemented.  Effective date: October 1, 2013.

The Judicial Branch may seek public or private funding to perform a study to determine whether children and young adults whose primary need is mental health intervention are placed into the juvenile justice or correctional systems rather than receiving treatment for their mental health issues. Effective date: October 1, 2013.

A Children's Mental Health Task Force will study the effects of nutrition, genetics, complementary and alternative treatments and psychotropic drugs on the mental, emotional and behavioral health of children. A report produced using a results-based accountability framework is due to the legislature by September 30, 2014.  Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Public Act 13-264 (SB 1002) AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY SCHOOLS. (listed under Education)

Public Act 13-287 (SB 1137) AN ACT CONCERNING THE SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTER ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND A STUDY ON THE PROVISION OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES AT SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTERS. The act directs the Department of Public Health, in consultation with the Commissioner of Children and Families and the school-based health center advisory committee, to study the provision of behavioral health services by school-based health centers in the state.  The study can only be produced if the Department of Public Health receives private or federal funds for the purpose of conducting the study. If a study is conducted it must be reported to the legislature by February 1, 2014.  Effective date: upon passage.

Public Act 13-3 (SB 1160) AN ACT CONCERNING GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND CHILDREN'S SAFETY.  The act broadens the mental health provisions that disqualify a person for a gun permit, handgun eligibility certificate or possession of firearms. Previously, a person confined in a psychiatric hospital by probate court order within the preceding 12 months of an application is ineligible for a gun permit or eligibility certificate. The act extends this period to 60 months. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

The act makes ineligible any person who voluntarily admitted himself or herself to a psychiatric hospital during the preceding six months. But someone is not ineligible solely due to alcohol or drug treatment. Effective date: October 1, 2013.

The act requires the State Board of Education to encourage school boards to include mental health first aid training as part of their in-service training programs for certified teachers, administrators, and other pupil personnel. Mental health first aid training teaches participants to recognize signs of mental disorders in children and adults, and connect them with professionals who could provide suitable mental health services. The act also requires the SDE commissioner to consider whether to require mental health first aid training as part of teacher education programs leading to professional certification. By January 1, 2014, he must report his recommendation on this matter to the Appropriations, Education, and Public Health committees. Effective date: April 4, 2013.

The act creates a 20-member task force to study the provision of behavioral health services in Connecticut, with particular focus on providing such service to 16- to 25-year-olds. The task force must produce its report by February 1, 2014. Effective date: April 4, 2013.

The DMHAS commissioner is required under this act to expand the Assertive Community Treatment program to three additional cities. The program uses a person-centered, recovery-based approach that provides people diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness, including those released from commitment, with assertive outreach, mental health and peer support services, vocational assistance, education concerning family issues, and information to develop wellness skills. Services must be provided by mobile, multi-disciplinary teams in community settings. DMHAS currently operates four ACT teams in Manchester, Middletown, New Britain, and Norwich. Effective date: July 1, 2013

The act requires the DMHAS commissioner to provide case management and care coordination services to up to 100 people with mental illness who are involved in the probate court system and who, on June 30, 2013, are not receiving these services. Effective date: July 1, 2013

The DCF commissioner must develop a regional behavioral health consultation and care coordination program for primary care providers who serve children. The program must provide timely access to a consultation team that includes a child psychiatrist, social worker, and care coordinator; patient care coordination and transitional services for behavioral health care; and training and education on patient access to behavioral health services. The act requires the DCF commissioner to submit a program plan by October 1, 2013 to the Appropriations, Children, Human Services, and Public Health committees before implantation January 1, 2014. Effective date: April 4, 2013.

In general, insurance carriers must make a coverage determination within 15 calendar days for non-urgent requests but within 72 hours for urgent requests. The act treat as urgent requests those for a service or treatment for substance use disorder or co-occurring mental disorder and inpatient services, partial hospitalization, residential treatment, or intensive outpatient services needed to keep a covered person from requiring an inpatient setting in connection with a mental disorder. Effective date: October 1, 2013

The act expands the responsibilities of the safe school climate committees. These committees, primarily tasked with duties related to bullying prevention, are now required to collect, evaluate, and report information about disturbing or threatening student behavior, even if it falls outside the definition of bullying. Effective date: April 4, 2013.

The act requires the DMHAS commissioner, in consultation with the education commissioner, to administer a mental health first aid training program. Training must teach participants how to recognize signs of mental disorders in children and adults, and connect them with professionals who could provide suitable mental health services. Effective date: April 4, 2013.

Public Act 13-130 (HB 5727) AN ACT CONCERNING THE TIME FOR PARENTAL NOTIFICATION WHEN A CHILD IS ADMITTED TO A HOSPITAL FOR DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT OF A MENTAL DISORDER. This act reduces, from five days to twenty-four hours, the time within which a hospital must notify a parent or guardian of a child age 14 or older or in the custody of the Department of Children and Families that the child was admitted for the diagnosis or treatment of a mental disorder without their consent. The law allows a hospital to admit a child age 14 or older without parental consent if the child agrees in writing. The DCF commissioner can admit any child under her custody to a hospital without going through probate court if (1) the child's legal counsel consents in writing and (2) if age 14 or older, the child agrees. Effective date: October 1, 2013

Special Act 13-11 (HB 5979) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND DEMENTIA. (listed under Health & Health Care)

Public Act 13-114 (HB 6465) AN ACT CONCERNING ANIMAL THERAPY. This act requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF), by January 1, 2014 and within available appropriations, to develop and implement training for certain DCF staff and mental health care providers on the healing value of the human-animal bond for children, value of therapy animals in dealing with traumatic situations, and benefit of an animal-assisted therapy program.  The act also requires the development of a crisis response program using the response team to provide animal-assisted therapy to children and youths living with trauma and loss. Effective date: October 1, 2013

Palliative & End Of Life Care

Public Act 13-55 (SB 991) AN ACT CONCERNING AN ADVISORY COUNCIL ON PALLIATIVE CARE. This act establishes, within available appropriations, a 13-member Palliative Care Advisory Council within the Department of Public Health (DPH). The council must analyze the current state of palliative care in Connecticut and advise DPH on matters related to improving palliative care and the quality of life for people with serious or chronic illnesses. The act requires the council, by January 1, 2015, to begin annually reporting its findings and recommendations to the DPH commissioner and Public Health Committee. Effective date: October 1, 2013.

Probate (Including Guardianship & Conservatorship)

Public Act 13-81 (SB 984) AN ACT CONCERNING PROBATE COURT OPERATIONS. The act provides that the rules of evidence apply in all conservatorship proceedings, rather than only hearings on applications for involuntary conservatorship. The act also allows a minor's parent or guardian who anticipates that the minor will need involuntary conservatorship after turning age 18 to file a conservatorship application during the 180 days preceding the minor's 18th birthday. A hearing on such an application must be held within 30 days before the minor turns 18. A probate court order approving such an application can take effect no earlier than the minor's 18th birthday. The act also specifies that if any person subject to an involuntary conservatorship notifies the probate court that he or she wants to attend a conservatorship hearing but is unable to do so, the probate court must schedule the hearing at a place that would facilitate the person's attendance. Effective date: October 1, 2013.

Taxes, Revenue And Fees

Public Act 13-224 (SB 383) AN ACT ESTABLISHING A MUNICIPAL OPTION TO PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR ONE HUNDRED PER CENT DISABLED VETERANS. This act allows municipalities to increase the additional property tax exemption for “100% disabled” veterans with limited income from two times the veteran's base exemption.  Currently, up to $ 3,000 worth of a 100% disabled veteran's property is exempt from property tax (“base exemption”). Such veterans whose household income, excluding veteran's disability payments, is no more than $ 18,000, if single, or $21,000, if married, are eligible for an additional exemption of two times the base exemption (i.e. e. , $ 6,000 of property is tax exempt). If such veterans have more income than the statutory limits, they are eligible for an additional exemption of only one and a half times the base exemption. Under the bill, municipalities may provide an additional exemption of three times the base exemption (i.e. e., $ 9,000 of property is tax exempt), instead of twice the base exemption, to eligible veterans. EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013 and applicable to assessment years on or after October 1, 2013.

Transportation / Mobility (Handicapped Parking Listed Separately)

Public Act 13-7 (SB 853) AN ACT CONCERNING TECHNICAL AND OTHER REVISIONS TO STATUTES CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION SERVICES. The act increases the amount that the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), within available appropriations, may spend to purchase wheelchairs and placement equipment (from $3,500 to $20,000 per unit) and adaptive equipment, including equipment to modify vehicles (from $10,000 to $120,000 per unit). The act removes DORS' authority to purchase modified vehicles costing up to $25,000 for people with disabilities and instead allows the department to purchase the equipment to modify such vehicles for up to $120,000 per unit. In practice, DORS only pays for necessary adaptations and modifications made to a vehicle; it does not purchase the actual vehicles. Effective date: July 1, 2013.

Voting

Resolution Act 1 (House Joint Resolution 36) RESOLUTION APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO GRANT INCREASED AUTHORITY TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY REGARDING ELECTION ADMINISTRATION. This resolution proposes a constitutional amendment to (1) eliminate the requirement for electors to gather on Election Day to cast votes for state officers and General Assembly members and (2) remove restrictions on absentee voting. The ballot designation to be used when the amendment is presented at the general election is: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?”

The state constitution currently sets the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in specified years as the day of election for legislative and statewide offices. With one exception, it requires electors to gather at a meeting on this day to elect General Assembly members and state officers. The exception authorizes the General Assembly to pass a law allowing electors to cast their votes by absentee ballot if they will be out of town, are sick or have a physical disability, or the tenets of their religion prohibit secular activity on Election Day (Article Sixth § 7). The General Assembly has exercised this authority.  This constitutional amendment would allow the General Assembly to make more changes in where, when and how people cast their votes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The resolution will appear on the 2014 general election ballot. If a majority of those voting in the general election approves the amendment, it will become part of the state constitution.



Content Last Modified on 7/9/2013 3:36:02 PM