Connecticut residents will see some changes in 2021. Here is a quick look at five laws that go into effect when you wake up on January 1st.
1. THE FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT
You might see a slightly lower paycheck in 2021. Look for a decrease of around .5% starting January 1st. In 2019, the Connecticut Legislature passed the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. So what does that mean for you? Private businesses with at least one employee will be taxed. That income will provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees during a 12 month period. Employees in Connecticut will be able to take this leave starting January 1, 2022. The leave can be for health issues, taking care of a sick spouse, child, parent, grandparent, sibling or even someone close to you. This leave time will also be available for you to donate an organ (Pipe organs not included. More of the kidney variety), military service (excluding Call of Duty campaigns on your X Box) or domestic abuse issues.
2. POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY
So what is happening with our police? The Police Accountability Act passed during a special legislative session this past summer. Some provisions of this new law have already gone into effect. Those provisions include making it mandatory that a police intervene if his or her fellow officer is using excessive force. It also places certain restrictions on police searches and imposes penalties for residents reporting incidents based solely on race. Starting January 1, arresting officers or officers who have daily interaction with the public will have to prominently display their badge on the top layer of their uniform. Police officers will also have the added responsibility of submitting to an annual behavioral health assessment every five years by a board-certified psychiatrist or psychologist. The Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Council will also see some changes to the group’s membership structure. Membership will be increased to 21 (which will include the Police Academy’s Commanding Officer). Appointments from the Governor will be reduced from 17 to 11. Six legislative appointments will be added. You will also see additional efforts to recruit, retain and promote minority officers. These efforts must be reported to the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
3. REGULATION OF ELECTRIC UTILITIES
If you recall this past summer, Connecticut residents were not too happy with Eversource’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias. Let's be frank. It sucked. Thousands of people had no power for days while rates kept going up. Starting January 1, electric companies must report to PURA and the legislature’s energy committee. They will have to explain how they prepare and respond to emergencies like snowstorms and hurricanes. This report will need to include assessments before and after storms, an analysis of infrastructure, and a breakdown of linemen and equipment. Based on this report, PURA will establish what is required by the electric utilities including minimum staffing requirements based on the seriousness of the emergency. If the electric company doesn’t meet the standards, PURA can impose civil penalties. The penalties cannot be passed down to you and me as customers.
4. INSULIN PRESCRIPTIONS
Good news for people suffering from diabetes. Starting January 1, residents will have access to one emergency related prescription a year. In addition to insulin, the prescription covers diabetes devices, syringes, test strips and glucagon drugs, Pharmacists will be required to give a 30 day price capped emergency supply of diabetes related drugs and devices to residents who have less than a week supply of insulin or other related items. The law will limit the cost to your insurance plan co-payment. If you don’t have insurance, the pharmacist must charge the typical price of these items,
Starting January 1, Connecticut’s senior citizens will be able to claim 28% of their pension and annuity income provided that they earn less than $75,000 a year or, for married couples, less than $100,000 a year. This is twice the amount you were able to deduct last year.