HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut lawmakers closed out the 2022 legislative session on May 4. Juvenile crime reforms, limits on marijuana advertising and making Juneteenth a state holiday were among the bills that advanced to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk in the final hours of the session.
Many of the major bills of the three-month-long session have already cleared the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.
Here are highlights of some key bills that are on Lamont’s desk or signed into law.
Procedures for juvenile arrests are updated under legislation that cleared the Senate. It’s part of an effort to clamp down on juvenile crime in Connecticut.
Among the changes, an arrested juvenile must be brought before a judge within five business days after the arrest, and courts are allowed to order electronic monitoring if the child has been charged with a second or more vehicle or property thefts.
The bill also increases the maximum period, from six to eight hours, that a juvenile may be held in a lockup without a judge’s order.
CHILD MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
Three wide-ranging bills attempt to address the youth mental health crisis, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the bills would make mobile crisis centers available 24/7 statewide by June 30, 2023, and require the University of Connecticut to study the mental health effects of social media and mobile phone use on children.
The two other bills address in-school and early childhood mental health programs, the state’s psychiatric staffing challenges and the availability of treatment.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS – SIGNED Public Act 22-19
One of the first abortion-related bills to pass in years in Connecticut expands who can perform abortions to include advanced practice registered nurses, nurse-midwives, or physician assistants.
It also attempts to protect Connecticut providers from legal action stemming from out-of-state laws, as well as the patients who travel to Connecticut to terminate a pregnancy and those who help them.
Tougher restrictions on marijuana advertising cleared the Senate, including barring ads from cross-border retail cannabis establishments such as the billboard ads that have popped up along the state’s border with Massachusetts.
It prevents anyone without a Connecticut cannabis-related license from advertising the product and cannabis services within the state. The same bill also bars Connecticut licensees from using images of the cannabis plant as well as from advertising on an illuminated billboard between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and from advertising within 1,500 yards of a school or church.
The same bill tightens rules for “gifting” marijuana. Some legislators have raised concerns about cannabis bazaars, where people “barter” for marijuana, essentially circumventing the state’s regulated marketplace.
A bill that prevents job licensure boards from imposing blanket bans against groups of people based on their record of arrest or conviction cleared the Senate. Instead, the legislation allows such boards to review people’s licensure applications individually.
The boards would be allowed to deny someone a license because of an arrest or conviction only if it’s related directly to the person’s job.
Lawmakers approved legislation making Connecticut the latest state to officially recognize “Juneteenth” as a state holiday, honoring the day in 1865 when enslaved Black people in Texas were freed with the arrival of federal troops.
Juneteenth became a federal holiday last summer — the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.
CLEAN AIR ACT
Lawmakers passed a wide-ranging bill aimed at reducing vehicle emissions in Connecticut, including the likely adoption of California’s clean air standards for certain trucks and a requirement that all school buses be emission-free by 2040.
The bill prevents a prisoner from being held in solitary confinement for more than 15 consecutive days or 30 days within a two-month period.
The measure also prevents any minors under the age of 18 from being held in isolated confinement for any amount of time.
Consumers will be able to know when their personal information is being tracked and how it’s being used under a data privacy bill.
With hundreds of bills submitted each session, most never make it to the Senate or House floor for a vote.
High-profile bills that faltered this year include:
- Legislation that would allow Tesla to sell its EVs without having dealerships in the state
- A ban on flavored vaping
- Several housing zoning reform bills, including one that would have allowed more dense residential development around train stations
The Associated Press contributed to this report.