Mental health parity for insurance policies, a new certification for local Registrars of Voters, new disclosure requirements for generic drugs, police body camera regulations, and various tax changes are just a few of the new laws that will go into effect Friday, Jan. 1.
Also, the budget adjustments approved by the General Assembly on Dec. 8 and signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday will require the Office of Fiscal Analysis to issue a quarterly report on overtime granted to each state agency and state employee.
And for the first time a unitary tax on certain businesses with a presence in Connecticut and other states will be implemented on Friday. It’s slightly different than the one implemented in June, which was scrapped after the business community complained about how that tax would impact their desire to continue doing business in Connecticut.
There are also a number of changes being made to Connecticut’s medical system.
A new law that goes into effect this week codifies specific services that certain health insurance policies must cover for mental and nervous conditions. By law, a policy must cover the diagnosis and treatment of mental or nervous conditions on the same basis as medical, surgical, or other physical conditions.
Another new law requires drugs sold only as generics to include the manufacturer’s name and the website and toll-free telephone number of MedWatch, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s drug safety and reporting program. The information may be placed on the prescription container label, packaging, or receipt.
Stemming from the problems in Hartford and beyond during the 2014 election, a number of changes are being made in how local Registers of Voters operate.
Under prior law, registrars and deputy registrars could opt to become certified by voluntarily participating in a training course developed by a six-member committee. A law that goes into effect on Friday makes that certification a requirement.
Starting Jan. 1, registrars will be required to complete at least eight hours of training per year to maintain their certification. The Secretary of the State must prescribe the training and must direct a registrar who fails to fulfill the annual training requirement to “take remedial measures,” which the Secretary of the State must prescribe.
Another new law increases the threshold of funds a person must receive from a client in order to be considered a lobbyist. The threshold was increased from $2,000 to $3,000 for 2016.
A timely new law requires the state Department of Public Safety to issue regulations for the use of body cameras and authorizes the Office of Policy and Management to start distributing grants to local police departments to purchase the equipment. The new provisions of the law fall under An Act Concerning Excessive Use of Force, which was proposed by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus in response to bad police behavior against minorities in several states.
Under another new law, the Judicial Branch also will start collecting data about members of the armed forces who are granted permission to join accelerated rehabilitation programs and pretrial drug education and community service programs.