NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Several new laws are taking effect in Connecticut on Friday. The laws cover a wide range of hot topics including abortion care, catalytic converter thefts, and solitary confinement.
For a complete list of what goes into effect on July 1, click here. News 8 has a breakdown of 10 important laws set to take effect Friday.
Abortion ‘Safe Harbor’ (Public Act No. 22-19)
The Reproductive Freedom Defense Act will protect medical providers and patients from out-of-state legal actions. The same law allows advanced practice registered nurses, nurse-midwives, or physician assistants to perform aspiration abortions, the most common type of in-clinic abortions, in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Minimum Wage Increase (Public Act No. 19-4)
Under a scheduled increase bill signed into law in 2019, the minimum wage will increase from $13 to $14 per hour. The minimum wage will increase to $15 on June 1, 2023.
Catalytic Converters (Public Act No. 22-43)
A spike in catalytic converter thefts prompted changes regarding the receipt and sale of the part, including prohibiting anyone other than a motor vehicle recycler or motor vehicle repair shop from selling more than one unattached converter to a scrap metal processor, junk dealer, or junkyard owner or operator in a day. Scrap dealers will be prohibited from buying catalytic converters that are not part of motor vehicles. The law also establishes several recordkeeping requirements, such as affixing or writing a stock number on converters and requiring receipt maintenance.
New laws will restrict cannabis-related advertisement and sale possibilities. Cannabis billboard advertisements will be limited to between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. and prohibited within 1,500 feet of specified buildings (i.e., certain schools). The law also prohibits out-of-state entities and individuals from advertising any cannabis or related services.
Paid Family Leave (Public Act No. 19-25)
Connecticut’s paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) laws will be strengthened. Employers will be required to notify their employees at the time of hiring, and every year thereafter, about their entitlement to family and medical leave and family violence leave and the terms under which the leaves may be used, about the opportunity to file a benefits claim under the FMLA program.
Police Body Cameras, Dashboard Cams (Public Act. No. 20-1)
All police officers in Connecticut will be required to wear body-worn cameras and each patrol vehicle must-have dashboard cameras. There are exceptions to this law for officers working undercover and regarding recordings involving minors.
Solitary Confinement (Public Act 22-18)
The new law requires that any isolated confinement includes at least four hours a day out of an inmate’s cell. This will increase to five hours per day in 2023. The least-restrictive environment is to be maintained for the safety of the inmates, security personnel, and other staff in an effort to minimize the use of solitary confinement. It also prohibits holding minors in isolated confinement.
Indoor Air Quality in Public Schools (Public Act 22-118)
In response to concerns over air quality in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, a grant program was created to reimburse boards of education or regional education service centers for costs associated with installing, replacing, or upgrading heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems or other air quality improvements. Boards of education will also be required to conduct inspections and evaluations of the HVAC system in each school building every five years and take any necessary corrective actions.
Diesel Tax Increase
The state’s diesel fuel tax will increase nine cents from 40.1 cents a gallon to 49.2 cents per gallon until June 30, 2023. Preexisting state law requires the diesel tax to be updated annually, based on a complex formula calculated by the Department of Revenue Services that takes into account daily fuel prices at two terminals over the previous 365 days.
AAPI Education (Public Act No. 22-80)
Beginning with the 2025-26 school year, local and regional school boards will be required to include Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) studies in their social studies curriculum. AAPI studies will also be added to the state’s existing required program of instruction for public schools as part of the social studies curriculum. This law makes Connecticut the first state to require and fund teaching Asian American history.