OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 406

AN ACT REQUIRING THE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION TO WAIVE CERTAIN INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR BEAUTIFICATION EFFORTS ON STATE PROPERTY ALONG A HIGHWAY.

SUMMARY:

This bill prohibits the Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner from requiring any applicant to obtain insurance as a condition of issuing a permit to engage in beautification efforts on state property along a highway.

The bill prohibits anyone injured in person or property while engaging in, or as a result of, a beautification effort from bringing a civil action for damages against the state or the commissioner.

By law, the DOT commissioner may issue encroachment permits, which allow holders certain non-travel-related uses of highway rights-of-way. The law typically requires permit applicants to obtain insurance. Generally, anyone may sue the commissioner for damages if he or she is injured as a result of a defective highway, bridge, or sidewalk the commissioner is responsible for maintaining. However, permittees must hold the state and its employees harmless in any suit for damages.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

BACKGROUND

DOT Encroachment Permit

DOT regulations define any intrusion or use of a highway right-of-way for purposes other than traveling as an “encroachment” (Conn. Agencies Reg. 13b-17-1). The transportation commissioner has statutory authority to allow certain non-travel related uses of the highway right-of-way through issuance of encroachment permits (CGS 13b-17). The commissioner may issue such permits to individuals, businesses, utility companies, municipalities, or other state agencies when certain conditions are met, including obtaining insurance (Conn. Agencies Reg. 13b-17-9).

Under the regulations, the insurance requirement may be waived for municipalities, public service companies, and churches when these entities actually perform the work.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

19

Nay

0

(03/19/2012)