(Updated 3:53 p.m.) Starting Saturday, a dozennew laws go into effect, including one that seeks to end cash-only bail for certain misdemeanors.
That new law will prevent judges from setting money bail for misdemeanor charges unless it is a family violence case or the judge believes the individual is dangerous. In addition, it requires courts to hold a bail review hearing within 14 days of arraignment, instead of 30 as is allowed by current law.
With the implementation of the reforms, it is expected that the state will save approximately $31.3 million over the next two years. It is estimated that the new law will reduce the pretrial population by 330 inmates — approximately 10 percent of the total pretrial population.
“The system of pretrial justice that we have been operating under for many decades has resulted in many unintended consequences that often have adverse effects on public safety,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who worked for two years to pass the legislation, said. “The effect of a few days of detention for people who have been accused of misdemeanors and not released simply because they do not have the ability to pay can be devastating and far reaching — possibly leading to the loss of employment and housing, which only exacerbates the kind of instability that can lead to a life of crime.”
Malloy also signed a bill into law Friday that would limit opioid prescriptions to seven days for adults and five days for children.
“It is a complex crisis that does not have one root cause, nor does it have simple solution, but we need to do everything in our power to treat and prevent it,” Malloy said. “Our work on this front will not be finished until our communities and our families are no longer struggling with the grave costs of this illness.”
The Department of Public Health is also required to post the certificates of healthcare providers able to prescribe on its website.
There are other effective dates in the bill, but the prescription limitation and website posting takes effect Saturday.
Other laws that take effect Saturday include a law that delays the implementation of heightened graduation requirements for high school students. Freshman entering school in 2019 will now have to earn 25 credits, instead of the current 20 credit. Another law would require the Department of Education to come up with guidelines for providing information and assistance to local and regional education boards about services for gifted and talented students.
Also starting on July 1, a new task force will be formed to look at developing a universal preschool program.
The governor also signed legislation that authorizes the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to open a new casino in East Windsor. That legislation was effective upon passage and allows the governor to move forward in amending Connecticut’s current revenue sharing agreements with the two tribes.
As of Friday afternoon, Malloy had signed 135 bills into law during the 2017 legislative session.
If the legislation was not effective immediately upon passage it will go into effect Oct. 1 or Jan. 1, 2018. Malloy still has several bills waiting for his signature.
Gridlocked by partisanship and a $5.1 billion budget deficit there was little legislation, aside from dozens of task forces, that the General Assembly was able to get passed this session.
The part-time legislature is already in extra innings trying resolve its budget woes, but as of Thursday there was no clear path for that to happen.
Unable to agree on even a temporary budget solution, the General Assembly didn’t convene before the start of the new fiscal year to act on a state budget. That means Malloy will have to run the state through an executive order.
Operating the state through executive order does not allow the governor to consider any new sources of revenue, which means the revenue the state does have will go toward paying down debt, pensions, and payroll. That means deep cuts to spending.