PA 15-5, June Special Session—SB 1502

Emergency Certification

AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2017 CONCERNING GENERAL GOVERNMENT, EDUCATION AND HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.

SUMMARY: This act makes many unrelated changes, including changes to the budget act.

Among its budgetary changes, the act:

1. limits the scope of the new 6% gross receipts tax on certain ambulatory surgical centers ( 130);

2. eliminates provisions in the budget act (a) increasing the sales and use tax rate on computer and data processing services from 1% to 2% on October 1, 2015 and 2% to 3% on July 1, 2016 and (b) for such services sold on or after October 1, 2015, exempting from the tax services performed by an entity for one of its affiliates ( 132-134 & 516);

3. preserves a sales and use tax exemption for certain employer-provided parking ( 135);

4. extends the sales and use tax to coin-operated car washes ( 136);

5. limits the amount of keno revenue the state may distribute to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes ( 138);

6. delays, by one year, the effective date for implementing mandatory combined reporting ( 139-153);

7. reduces the budget act's net General Fund appropriations by $14 million in FY 16 and $27 million in FY 17 ( 155 & 156);

8. carries forward prior years' unspent balances from FY 15 and requires them to be used in FY 16 ( 89-92);

9. exempts individuals from interest assessments due to an underpayment in estimated income tax created by the budget act's provisions ( 435);

10. imposes an alternative limit on net operating losses (NOL) certain corporations may carry forward ( 482);

11. modifies the newly established municipal revenue sharing and motor vehicle property tax grants ( 494); and

12. adjusts revenue estimates for FY 16 and FY 17 for the General Fund and Special Transportation Fund (STF) ( 496 & 497).

Among its other significant provisions, it:

1. establishes the quasi-public Connecticut Port Authority starting on July 1, 2015 instead of October 1, 2015, extends the authority's jurisdiction to cover state harbors as well as ports, and transfers authority over maritime and most harbor and port-related laws from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to the authority ( 1-39, 165, 166, 519 & 523);

2. requires contractors awarded “municipal public works contracts” or contracts for “quasi-public agency projects” to comply with state set-aside program requirements ( 58-71 & 88);

3. requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the next time an electric distribution company (EDC) files a request to amend its rates, to adjust the company's residential fixed charge so that it only recovers the fixed costs and operation and maintenance expenses directly related to metering, billing, service connections, and providing customer service ( 105);

4. establishes a 13-member Aquaculture Advisory Council that must report annually to the governor and Environment Committee on the status of the state's shellfish industry ( 116);

5. subjects certain nonprofit hospital and college properties to property tax ( 238-241);

6. establishes a 29-member Education Planning Commission to develop and recommend the implementation of a strategic master plan that states a clear vision and mission for developing a sustainable, equitable, and high-quality public education system for Connecticut ( 263);

7. creates new duties relating to special education and assigns them to various entities, including the State Department of Education (SDE) and State Board of Education (SBE) ( 264-285);

8. creates a process by which local and regional boards of education may obtain waivers from certain state statutes and regulations in exchange for demonstrating innovative ideas ( 301);

9. expands certain individual and group health insurance policies' required coverage of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) services and treatment ( 347-353);

10. reduces HUSKY A coverage by lowering the income limit for non-pregnant adults ( 370);

11. makes several changes in the Department of Social Services' (DSS) Medicaid provider audit process ( 400);

12. requires the labor commissioner to contract with consultants to create an implementation plan for a paid family and medical leave program and perform an actuarial analysis on the funding needed to sustain such a program ( 413);

13. makes the STF a perpetual fund and prohibits the legislature from passing any law that would authorize the use of STF funds for anything other than transportation purposes ( 432, 433 & 514);

14. makes several changes to the law's requirements for applying pesticides, including lawn care pesticides, to (a) municipal playgrounds, (b) school grounds, and (c) state agency properties ( 436-440);

15. establishes a “regional election monitor” within each of the state's planning regions to represent, consult with, and act on the secretary of the state's behalf before and during each election, primary, recanvass, and audit ( 442-444); and

16. establishes a 13-member commission to assess how the state's tax policies affect economic growth and recommend how the state can promote such growth ( 498).

The act also makes numerous minor, technical, and conforming changes.

A section-by-section analysis of the act appears below.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below.

1-39, 165, 166, 519 & 523 — CONNECTICUT PORT AUTHORITY

This act establishes the quasi-public Connecticut Port Authority on July 1, 2015 instead of October 1, 2015 with jurisdiction over state harbors and ports. It transfers oversight of maritime and most harbor and port-related laws from the DOT to the authority as of July 1, 2016.

Among other things, the authority must:

1. coordinate port development, focusing on private and public investments;

2. pursue state and federal funds for dredging and other infrastructure improvements and maintain navigability of all ports and harbors;

3. work with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and state, local, and private entities to maximize the ports' and harbors' economic potential;

4. support and enhance the overall development of maritime commerce and industries; and

5. coordinate the state's maritime policy and serve as the governor's principal maritime policy advisor.

To help achieve these and other goals, the act, among other things:

1. gives the authority bonding power;

2. permits it to enter a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DECD for (a) administrative support and services and (b) management and operation;

3. requires it to enter into at least one MOU with DOT to help effect the transition of ownership, jurisdiction, and authority over the state's ports and harbors from DOT to the authority;

4. allows the authority to hire employees who (a) must receive the same life insurance, health insurance, and retirement benefits as state employees but (b) are not considered state employees for collective bargaining purposes; and

5. specifies that the authority, in performing an essential public function, is exempt from paying taxes or assessments on any property it acquires or uses or any income it derives from them.

The act also transfers from DOT to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) the powers and duties of existing harbor boards and boards of harbor commissioners. It places harbor masters under the direction and control of DEEP rather than DOT.

It eliminates on (1) July 1, 2015 the Connecticut Maritime Commission, which, among other duties, supported the development of the state's deep water ports, and (2) July 1, 2016 the State Maritime Office, a DOT office responsible for maritime operations and staffing the maritime commission. It also terminates the Port Authority Working Group on July 1, 2015 instead of October 1, 2015.

The act also makes other minor and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016, except provisions (1) creating the port authority and its board of directors, (2) authorizing an MOU with DECD, (3) requiring at least one MOU with DOT, (4) governing the Port Authority working group, (5) eliminating the Connecticut Maritime Commission, and (6) making certain conforming changes, are effective July 1, 2015.

1, 2, 38 & 39 ‒ Port Authority

Under prior law and the act, the authority is a body politic and corporate, a public instrumentality and political subdivision of the state, created to perform an essential public and government function. It is a quasi-public agency, not a state department, institution, or agency, and thus is subject to statutory procedural, operating, and reporting requirements for quasi-public agencies, including lobbying restrictions and an ethics code.

The authority continues as long as it has bonds or other outstanding obligations and until it is legally terminated. Termination does not affect any of the authority's outstanding contractual obligations. On termination (1) the state succeeds to these obligations and (2) all of the authority's rights and properties pass to and become vested in the state.

The act subjects the authority to existing statutory requirements that quasi-public agencies must have the state treasurer's or deputy treasurer's approval for (1) issuing bonds or borrowing money secured by state-backed or state-guaranteed capital reserve funds and (2) any investment or contract relating to interest rates, currency, or cash flow that subjects a state-backed capital reserve fund to potential liability ( 38).

As is the case under existing law for other quasi-public agencies, the act exempts the authority's directors and staff from personal liability for actions taken in issuing bonds, or for damages or injury caused while performing their duties and within the scope of employment, so long as the actions are not wanton, reckless, willful, or malicious ( 39).

Authority Purpose. Under the act, the authority must:

1. coordinate port development, focusing on private and public investments;

2. pursue state and federal funds for dredging and other infrastructure improvements to (a) increase cargo movement through the ports and (b) maintain navigability of all ports and harbors;

3. market port and harbor economic development and work with DECD and state, local, and private entities to maximize the ports' and harbors' economic potential;

4. support and enhance the overall development of maritime commerce and industries;

5. coordinate the planning and funding of capital projects promoting the development of ports and harbors;

6. develop strategic entrepreneurial initiatives available to the state;

7. coordinate the state's maritime policy activities;

8. serve as the governor's principal maritime policy advisor; and

9. undertake other responsibilities assigned to it.

Authority Powers. The authority's powers and governance requirements summarized below are generally the same as under prior law that was to take effect October 1, 2015.

The authority may:

1. have perpetual succession and adopt bylaws;

2. adopt and modify an official seal;

3. maintain one or more offices;

4. sue and be sued in its own name;

5. develop an organizational and management structure to best achieve its goals;

6. create a code of conduct for board members consistent with applicable law;

7. adopt rules, which are not considered regulations and are therefore exempt from the regulatory approval process, to conduct its business; and

8. adopt an annual budget and operating plan, including a requirement that the board approve the budget or plan before it takes effect.

The act also allows the authority to (1) invest in, acquire, lease, purchase, own, manage, hold, and dispose of real property and (2) lease, convey, deal in, or enter into agreements with respect to the property on any terms necessary or incidental to carry out the authority's purpose. These transactions are not subject to approval, review, or regulation by any state agency, except the authority cannot convey fee simple ownership (i. e. , full ownership) in land under its jurisdiction and control without approval from the State Properties Review Board and the attorney general.

Under the act, the authority may employ assistants, agents, and other employees necessary or desirable to carry out its purposes; set their compensation; establish and modify personnel procedures; and negotiate and enter into collective bargaining agreements with labor unions. The authority's employees are exempt from the classified service and are not state employees for collective bargaining purposes. But the act regards them as state employees for life insurance, health insurance, and retirement benefits. It requires the authority to reimburse the appropriate state agencies for costs they incur because of this provision.

The authority may engage consultants, attorneys, and appraisers to carry out its purposes.

Board of Directors' Duties. Under the act, the board must:

1. develop and recommend to the governor and Transportation Committee a state maritime policy;

2. advise the governor and committee on the state's maritime policies and operations;

3. support the development of maritime commerce and industries, including state ports and harbors;

4. recommend investments and actions, including dredging, required to preserve and enhance maritime commerce and industries; and

5. conduct studies and present recommendations on maritime issues.

The board must hold a public hearing to evaluate the adequacy of the state's maritime policies, facilities, and support for maritime commerce and industry at least once a year.

By January 1, 2017, and annually afterwards, the board of directors must submit a written report to the governor, and copies to the Transportation Committee. The report must include:

1. a list of projects to support the state's maritime policies and encourage maritime commerce and industry;

2. recommendations to improve existing maritime policies, programs, and facilities; and

3. other appropriate recommendations.

Board Members. The authority's governing board is composed of 15 voting members. Members include the following state officials or their designees: the commissioners of DEEP, DOT, and DECD, the state treasurer, and the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary, all of whom are ex-officio members. Four members are appointed by the governor, two for four-year terms and two for two-year terms. Legislative leaders appoint the remaining members, as follows: one each, for a four-year term, by the House speaker, Senate president pro tempore, and Senate minority leader; one each, for a two-year term, by the House majority and minority leaders and the Senate majority leader. Successor members appointed by the governor and the legislative leaders serve four-year terms, starting on July 1 in the year of their appointment.

The appointees must include:

1. individuals with experience or expertise in at least one of the following areas: (a) international trade, (b) marine transportation, (c) finance, or (d) economic development;

2. a member or employee of a local port authority;

3. an elected or appointed municipal official from a coastal municipality with a population of 100,000 or less; and

4. an elected or appointed municipal official from a coastal municipality with a population of 50,000 or less.

Eight directors comprise a quorum to transact business or exercise power. The board may act by a majority of the directors present at any meeting at which there is a quorum, except as the act provides. The board may delegate to eight or more directors necessary and proper powers and duties under the act and the board's bylaws.

Appointed board members may not designate someone to perform their duties in their absence. An appointee who fails to attend three consecutive meetings or half of all meetings in a calendar year is deemed to have resigned. Any vacancy that occurs other than by a term's expiration must be filled for the remainder of the term within 30 days, in the same way as the original appointment.

Board Officers. The board selects a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and other officers it believes necessary from its members. The chairperson serves a two-year term.

The initial board members may begin serving immediately on appointment but cannot serve beyond the sixth Wednesday of the next regular legislative session unless confirmed by the legislature. All subsequent appointments must be made with legislative advice and consent according to law.

Reimbursement and Conflicts of Interest. Directors serve without compensation but are reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred performing their duties. They may be privately employed or in a profession or business subject to state ethics and conflict of interest laws, rules, and regulations. Regardless of the law, however, it is not a conflict of interest for a trustee, director, partner, or officer of any person, firm, or corporation, or any person with a financial interest in the person, firm, or corporation, to serve as a director, provided he or she complies with applicable state ethics laws.

Removal of Board Members. An appointing authority may remove a board member for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office. Before doing so, the appointing authority must give the director a copy of the charges against him or her and an opportunity for a hearing, to be held at least 10 days after receiving notice, where the director may respond personally or through an attorney. When a director is removed, the appointing authority must file with the secretary of the state (1) a complete statement of the charges against the director, (2) the appointing authority's findings on the charges, and (3) a complete record of the proceedings.

Executive Director. The board appoints an executive director as the authority's chief administrative officer. The executive director (1) cannot be a board member, (2) receives compensation set by the board, (3) serves at the board's pleasure, and (4) is exempt from classified service.

The executive director directs and supervises administrative affairs and technical activities at the board's direction. He or she must approve all salaries, allowable expenses for the authority and its employees and consultants, and incidental authority expenses.

The executive director must attend all board meetings; keep a record of authority proceedings; and maintain and have custody of all books, documents, and papers filed with the authority, the authority's minutes or journal, and its official seal. He or she may (1) make copies of the authority's minutes, records, and other documents, and (2) use the seal to certify them as true copies on which people may rely. The executive director must perform other duties as the board directs.

Reporting Requirements. The board must report annually by December 15 to the governor and the Commerce, Environment, and Transportation committees on its (1) activities, (2) operating and financial statements, and (3) legislative recommendations.

It must also submit to the Appropriations, Commerce, Environment, and Transportation committees a copy of any authority audit conducted by an independent auditing firm within seven days after the board receives it.

3-6 ‒ Bonding Authority

The act authorizes the authority to issue bonds to carry out its responsibilities, which include renovating and improving state ports.

The authority can issue bonds to finance (1) general improvements, and back them with some or all of its revenue from the ports, or (2) a specific improvement, and back it only with the revenue the improvement generates. It may seek the treasurer's help in issuing the bonds and appoint a committee or individual as the board's delegate in connection with their issuance.

The authority must repay the bonds no later than 30 years after issuing them.

It may use proceeds from the bond sales for:

1. paying labor and material costs related to project construction;

2. acquiring, including by condemnation, land, property rights, rights-of-way, franchises, easements, and other interests in land in connection with project construction or operation, including any damages;

3. paying machinery and equipment costs;

4. creating reserves to pay principal and interest that accrues during project construction and for six months after its completion;

5. covering initial working capital, administrative expenses, and legal, architectural, and engineering expenses and fees;

6. covering the costs of audits and preparing and issuing notes and bonds; and

7. paying all other expenses incident to project planning, acquisition, and construction or the start of operation.

The bonds do not count toward the state's bond cap, and only the authority is liable for them. The act generally exempts the state, municipalities, and other political subdivisions from any obligation to repay the bonds. It (1) exempts the principal and interest payments to the bondholders from all state and local taxes except the estate and gift tax but (2) requires that interest payments be included when calculating excise and franchise taxes.

The act allows the authority to determine how it will issue and repay the bonds and the terms and conditions it may include in its agreements with bondholders. It also declares the bonds negotiable instruments under the Uniform Commercial Code, subject only to registration requirements. The act makes the bonds securities in which governments and private entities may invest. The authority may sell the bonds at a price and time it chooses (1) at a public sale on sealed proposals or (2) by negotiation.

The act authorizes or requires several actions to assure bondholders that the authority will repay them, including securing the bonds' principal and interest by a mortgage covering all or part of a project. It specifies that the state will not limit or alter the authority's rights until the authority repays its outstanding bonds. It authorizes the authority to create one or more special capital reserve funds to finance a project or refund bonds previously issued by the authority or state to fund a project. The total amount of bonds secured by the funds cannot exceed $50 million. It also appropriates from the General Fund any amount needed to maintain these special capital reserves at the required minimum level. These funds must be appropriated as needed annually by December 1. The authority's chairperson or vice chairperson must certify the amount to the treasurer and the OPM secretary.

Under the act, the authority may secure principal and interest payments by pledging its revenue. Pledges are valid and binding at the time they are made and subject to a lien without any action on the bondholders' part. The act allows the authority to secure the pledge by entering into an agreement with a trustee representing the bondholders' interests (i. e. , trust of indenture).

The act allows the authority to issue bonds to refund outstanding bonds and specifies conditions for doing so. It also allows the authority to use its funds to purchase its bonds and those of the state and dispose of bonds as the bond agreements allow.

7 ‒ Tax Exemption and PILOT Program

The act specifies that the authority, in performing an essential public function, is exempt from paying taxes or assessments on any property it acquires or uses or any income it derives from them. Prior to June 30, 2018, the act deems authority-owned property and facilities to be state-owned real property for the purposes of the state's Payment-In Lieu-Of-Taxes (PILOT) program, under which the state provides grants to municipalities in place of taxes that would otherwise be paid on authority-owned property and facilities.

8MOU With DECD

The act allows DECD and the authority to enter into an MOU in which (1) DECD provides administrative support and services, including all staff support necessary for the authority's operation, and (2) management and operational activities are addressed, including joint procurement and contracting; sharing services and resources; coordinating promotional activities; and other arrangements to enhance revenue, reduce operating costs, or achieve operating efficiencies.

The MOU's terms and conditions, including provisions on the authority's reimbursement of DECD for administrative support and services, must be as DECD and the authority determine are appropriate. The MOU must terminate by June 30, 2018.

9 ‒ MOUs With DOT

The act requires the authority to enter into MOUs with DOT to help (1) the authority govern the state's ports and harbors and (2) effect the transition of ownership, jurisdiction, and authority over the ports and harbors from DOT. The MOUs must include the:

1. assets, funds, accounts, contracts and liabilities, and powers and duties associated with the ports and harbors that will be transferred to the authority by deed, lease, management contract, agency agreement, assignment, or assumption, and the manner of the transfers;

2. time or times the transfers will take effect; and

3. reimbursement to the state for the services provided under any MOU.

The authority must periodically advise DOT of its readiness to accept any lease, assignment, or transfer according to any MOU with respect to ports and harbors and must execute the necessary documents and contracts to effect these transactions. The leases, assignments, or transfers may not be unreasonably delayed or withheld.

If any bonds or other obligations issued for port or harbor projects or purposes remain outstanding, the treasurer must also be party to the MOU. Once a power, duty, asset, fund or account, or contract or liability is transferred to the authority, DOT cannot afterward exercise the power, perform the duty, or act with respect to the asset, fund, account, contract, or liability.

When implementing an MOU, the authority must comply with existing contracts, bonds, or obligations. The authority may, with the treasurer's consent and approval, assume state obligations for projects or purposes relating to ports and harbors that remain outstanding and indemnify and release the state from all liability and expenses related to those obligations. An assumption by the authority and release of the state is subject to the terms of any indenture and State Bond Commission approval.

The authority must do everything required by applicable federal and state laws, regulations, rules, or relevant contracts to effect the lease, assignment, or transfer of ownership, jurisdiction, or authority to control, operate, and maintain the ports and harbors in the authority's best interests. DOT cannot be paid for any leases, assignments, and transfers.

10 & 11 ‒ Port Authority Working Group

PA 14-222 created a working group to prepare and submit recommendations to DECD on the powers and duties of the authority's board. Under prior law, the working group was to terminate on October 1, 2015. Under the act, the working group terminates on July 1, 2015. No further action of the DECD commissioner is needed on and after that date.

12 & 18-21 ‒ Harbors and Harbor Masters

The act transfers jurisdiction over state harbors from the DOT commissioner to the authority. But it transfers from DOT to DEEP the powers and duties of existing harbor boards and boards of harbor commissioners. It allows these boards to advise DEEP and perform the duties the DEEP commissioner delegates to them.

Harbor masters, appointed by the governor, have general care and supervision of the harbors and navigable waterways over which they have jurisdiction. The act places harbor masters under the direction and control of DEEP, rather than DOT. It requires DEEP to adopt regulations on the procedure for handling violations of a harbor master's order. It authorizes the DEEP commissioner to decide whether a vessel is derelict without consulting with DOT and authorizes him to remove such a vessel according to state law.

13 & 523 ‒ Acquisition and Disposition of Property

The act authorizes both the authority and the DOT commissioner, instead of just the commissioner, on behalf of the state, to acquire, own, build, maintain, or operate on, at, or near the seaboard or any navigable waterway any of the following: land, or any harbor, wharf, dock, pier, quay, canal, slip, or basin, or any appropriate harbor facility, shed, warehouse, vault, railroad track, yard, terminal, equipment, or other facility related to transporting goods or people by water, as the authority or commissioner deems necessary. It correspondingly repeals a law allowing the DOT commissioner to sell excess land or rights in it.

The act authorizes the commissioner or authority, as appropriate, instead of just the commissioner, to confer concessions privileges. But the DOT commissioner retains the power to lease or grant any interest in the State Pier in New London or any navigation property DOT owns or controls with approval from the State Properties Review Board, OPM, and the attorney general.

14-17 ‒ Harbor Improvement Projects

Under current law, the DOT commissioner may initiate harbor improvement projects. Starting July 1, 2016, the act authorizes the (1) authority to initiate harbor improvement projects and (2) authority executive director to recommend these projects to the authority board. It requires the authority to (1) contract for the provision of goods and services to improve harbors and waterways, (2) provide the funding the contracts require or enter into agreements with other state agencies to provide such funding, and (3) administer the contracts.

It authorizes the authority, rather than the DOT commissioner, to spend funds from the state harbor improvement account to initiate harbor improvement projects and to seek reimbursement to the fund from the federal government for federal dredging projects. It requires harbor improvement agencies to submit an approved harbor improvement plan to the authority instead of DOT and, as under prior law, the DEEP commissioner. Municipalities may adopt plans DEEP and the authority approve.

It authorizes the authority, instead of DOT, to contract with a municipality or federal or state agency for state financial assistance for harbor improvement projects. The authority, rather than DOT, must submit applications for financial assistance to DEEP, and the DEEP commissioner must report his findings in writing to the authority.

22-28, 165 & 166 ‒ Marine Pilots

Starting July 1, 2016, the act transfers, from the DOT commissioner to the authority, licensing and regulation of marine pilots.

Specifically, it (1) moves the Connecticut Pilot Commission from DOT to the authority ( 23); (2) requires the authority to set pilotage rates ( 24); and (3) authorizes the authority to execute agreements with other states for a marine pilot rotation system in state waters, including Long Island Sound ( 27).

Effective July 1, 2016, the act deems existing DOT regulations on, among other things, pilots' conduct and duties ( 25), embarking and disembarking of pilots and vessel operation and equipment ( 28) duly adopted written procedures of the authority. After that date, the authority must adopt any modifications or additions to the written procedures according to state law.

It also creates an alternative path for applicants to get marine pilot licenses, and transfers administration of that path from DOT to the authority as of July 1, 2016 ( 22).

Alternative Path. Section 165 of the act creates an alternative path for applicants to get marine pilot licenses, effective July 1, 2015. Prior law required applicants for a pilot's license for any state port or waterway, including the Connecticut waters of Long Island Sound, to have a certain number of passages on ocean-going vessels of at least 4,000 gross tons during the 36 months before they apply.

Section 165 adds an alternative “extension of route” in which an applicant currently licensed by the DOT commissioner for eastern Long Island Sound and at least one of the ports of Bridgeport, New Haven, or New London may obtain a license for state waters, including the Connecticut waters of the Sound.

In such a case, the applicant (1) must have obtained a federal first class pilot's license of unlimited tonnage issued by the U. S. Coast Guard covering Connecticut waters, including the Sound, for which the individual has applied for an extension of route and (2) can document that, within the 36 months immediately preceding his or her application, the applicant has made six round trips through the port or waterway for which he or she is applying. He or she must have done so as an observing pilot on vessels under enrollment or register subject to state compulsory pilotage laws, during which time the applicant piloted the vessel under the supervision and authority of a state-licensed pilot.

The act transfers this licensing authority from DOT to the authority, effective July 1, 2016. It allows applicants licensed by the authority, and presumably, pilots licensed before July 1, 2016 by DOT, to take advantage of this alternative extension of route.

29-35 ‒ Transfers of Responsibility

By law, the DEEP commissioner, in consultation with the public health commissioner, may enter into agreements with other states or the federal government on matters related to flood control, navigation, and harbor improvement. Prior law required the DEEP commissioner to request from and consider the recommendations of the DOT commissioner on (1) river and harbor improvements, and (2) the navigability of streams and rivers. The act allows, rather than requires, the DEEP commissioner to request and consider recommendations of the DOT commissioner and the authority's board, as appropriate, on these matters ( 32).

The act also:

1. subjects people to fines of up to $1,000 for removing, damaging, or destroying buoys, beacons, and channel markers or floating guides the state, rather than DOT, has placed in state waters in the proper exercise of its authority ( 29);

2. makes it the DEEP commissioner's responsibility, rather than the DOT commissioner's, to determine if there are structural hazards in tidal waters and order them removed or dismantled (the DEEP commissioner already has this authority in other state waters) ( 30);

3. requires a harbor management commission to consult with the authority, and not DOT, when preparing or causing to be prepared a management plan for the most desirable harbor use (it continues to require the commission to consult with DEEP when preparing such a plan); requires the plan to be submitted for approval to both DEEP and the authority, instead of DEEP and DOT; allows it to be adopted if both approve it; and requires both DEEP and the authority to review the plan annually ( 31);

4. requires the DEEP commissioner to consult with the authority, rather than the DOT commissioner, when considering encroachments in tidal, coastal, or navigable waters ( 34);

5. requires the DEEP commissioner to notify in writing the authority, rather than the DOT commissioner, when designating or laying out channels and boat basins in tidal and coastal waters, and authorizes the authority board to initiate such proceedings ( 33); and

6. requires the DEEP commissioner to provide, or require an applicant to provide, notice to the authority, if appropriate, when considering whether to issue a permit for dredging or similar work in state waters (prior law required him to provide such notice to the DOT commissioner, among others) ( 35).

40 — STF MONEY FOR CERTAIN DEEP AND DSS ACTIVITIES

By law, money in the STF must be used first for debt service on special tax obligation bonds and to pay for certain transportation projects. The remaining funds must be appropriated to pay general obligation bonds issued for transportation projects and budget appropriations for the departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles.

Under the act, the remaining STF funds must also be appropriated to pay for (1) DEEP boating regulation and enforcement and (2) DSS transportation for employment independence program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

41 — COMMUNITY INVESTMENT ACCOUNT (CIA) FUNDS FOR CONNECTICUT TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION

The act increases, from $200,000 to $380,000, the amount of CIA funds that DECD must distribute annually to the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to supplement its technical assistance and preservation activities.

By law, the CIA contains land use document recording fees town clerks remit to the state treasurer. Money from the account is distributed quarterly to the agriculture sustainability account and to the departments of Agriculture, Economic and Community Development, Energy and Environmental Protection, and Housing. From January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, PA 15-244 ( 93) diverts to the General Fund, on a quarterly basis, 50% of the funds deposited in the CIA.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2016

42 — FIRST FIVE PLUS EXTENSION

The act extends the sunset date for the First Five Plus economic development program by one year, from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2016, and makes a conforming change. Under the program, the economic development commissioner can provide loans, tax incentives, and other forms of economic development assistance to businesses committing to create jobs and invest capital within the law's timeframes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

43-46 — CHANGES IN HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR MENTAL OR NERVOUS CONDITIONS

This act delays the effective date of the following health insurance coverage requirements enacted in PA 15-226 from January 1, 2016 until January 1, 2017:

1. intensive, family- and community-based treatment programs that focus on environmental systems impacting chronic and violent juvenile offenders;

2. other home-based therapeutic interventions for children;

3. chemical maintenance treatment (i. e. , when a person is admitted for the planned use of a prescribed substance under medical supervision); and

4. extended day treatment programs for children or youth with emotional disturbance, mental illness, behavior disorders, or multiple disabilities.

The act also broadens three health insurance coverage requirements enacted in PA 15-226 by providing coverage for:

1. intensive, home-based services that address specific mental or nervous conditions in a child without requiring the services to also remediate problematic parenting practices and address other family and educational challenges affecting the child's and family's ability to function;

2. evidence-based family focused therapy that specializes in juvenile substance use disorder treatment but not necessarily in delinquency; and

3. short-term family therapy intervention that need not include juvenile diversion programs that target at-risk children and address adolescent behavior problems, conduct disorders, substance use disorders, and delinquency.

The act applies to individual and group health insurance policies issued, delivered, renewed, amended, or continued in Connecticut that cover (1) basic hospital expenses; (2) basic medical-surgical expenses; (3) major medical expenses; or (4) hospital or medical services, including those provided through an HMO. Due to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), state insurance mandates do not apply to self-insured benefit plans.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2016 for the provisions repealing coverage provisions, and January 1, 2017 for the provisions reenacting them.

47 — DEEDS FOR PROPERTIES SOLD AT A TAX SALE

Among other things, PA 15-156 ( 6) requires a deed for a property sold at a tax sale (i. e. , tax collector's deed) to specify that the property may be encumbered by municipal and state liens. This act eliminates the requirement that the deed specify that the property may be subject to state liens.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

48-49 & 518 — CONTINGENCY APPROPRIATION

The act eliminates a requirement that the budget the governor submits to the legislature include a recommended appropriation for contingencies of up to $100,000 in each fiscal year. Under prior law, the governor could approve expenditures from the contingency appropriation whenever (1) an emergency existed and (2) he determined that a budgeted agency's needs warranted an increased appropriation or that emergency expenditures were necessary.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

50 — MICROBEADS

The act phases in bans on manufacturing, importing, selling, or offering for sale personal care products and over-the-counter drugs with intentionally added synthetic solid plastic particles of five millimeters or less in size that are (1) used to exfoliate or cleanse and (2) intended to be rinsed or washed off the body and deposited into a sink, shower, or bathtub drain (i. e. , microbeads).

The act applies to:

1. products or their components intended for rubbing, pouring, sprinkling, spraying on, introducing into, or applying to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering its appearance (i. e. , personal care products) and

2. personal care products with labels required by federal regulation identifying them as drugs (i. e. , over-the-counter drugs).

It excludes products the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) commissioner determines need a prescription to distribute or dispense.

Phased-in Bans

Personal Care Products. The act generally prohibits, beginning December 31, 2017, manufacturing for sale personal care products with microbeads except for over-the-counter drugs. Starting December 31, 2018, it bans importing, selling, or offering microbeads for sale.

If a study on the availability of biodegradable microbeads for use in personal care products is not completed by December 15, 2017 (see below), the act bans the manufacture, sale, import, and offer for sale of these products with intentionally added biodegradable microbeads starting July 1, 2018.

Over-the-Counter Drugs. Beginning December 31, 2018, the act prohibits manufacturing over-the-counter drugs with microbeads for sale. Starting December 31, 2019, it prohibits importing, selling, or offering them for sale.

Regulations

The act allows the DEEP commissioner to adopt regulations, in consultation with the DCP commissioner, to implement the act.

Penalties

Violators of the bans on personal care products or over-the-counter drugs with microbeads or the DEEP regulations are subject to fines of up to $5,000 for a first violation and $10,000 for subsequent violations.

Biodegradable Microbeads Study

By August 15, 2016, the DEEP commissioner must accept an application on behalf of a personal care product manufacturer for a study at the commissioner's request by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE). The study must determine whether a biodegradable microbead is available for use in the personal care product that does not adversely impact the environment or the state's publicly owned treatment works.

Under the act, the application must (1) require the microbead manufacturer to disclose the biodegradable microbead's chemical parts or composition and (2) be in a form the commissioner prescribes.

The commissioner must ask CASE to perform the study once he receives the application. CASE may establish a fee for the study, which the manufacturer must pay through DEEP.

After receiving the request and fee from the commissioner, CASE must begin the study, which includes:

1. a CASE-appointed study committee to oversee it;

2. use of a CASE-selected research team with biodegradable microbead expertise to conduct relevant research and author a study report; and

3. study committee meetings that allow the applicant, DEEP, and interested people to obtain information about the study.

Under the act, CASE must complete the study and issue the final study report to the commissioner by December 15, 2017. The commissioner must review the final report and forward it and any of CASE's legislative recommendations to the Environment Committee by February 1, 2018.

The act exempts from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act any study-related information or materials submitted by an applicant to DEEP or CASE that the applicant indicates upon submission is a trade secret or privileged.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

51 — GROUP-WIDE SUPERVISOR FOR INTERNATIONALLY ACTIVE INSURANCE GROUPS

The act requires the insurance commissioner to select a group-wide supervisor for certain internationally active insurance groups that are also active in Connecticut. She must do this in cooperation with regulatory officials in other jurisdictions (state, federal, or international) where members of the insurance group are domiciled. The group-wide supervisor must be the commissioner or one of the other regulatory officials. The act specifies the (1) factors the commissioner must consider when selecting a group-wide supervisor and (2) commissioner's powers and responsibilities when selected to serve in that capacity. It allows the commissioner to adopt regulations to implement its provisions.

By law, an insurance company authorized to do business in Connecticut that is in a group of two or more affiliates (i. e. , an insurance holding company system) must register with the Insurance Department. Under the act, each registered company must pay for the department's reasonable expenses incurred in administering the group-wide supervisor provisions. These include retaining attorneys, actuaries, and other professionals, and reasonable travel expenses.

Definitions

Under the act, a “group-wide supervisor” is the regulatory official authorized by his or her jurisdiction to conduct and coordinate group-wide supervisory activities and determined or acknowledged to be the group-wide supervisor of an internationally active insurance group.

An “internationally active insurance group” is an insurance holding company system that (1) includes an insurance company registered in Connecticut as a member of a holding company system and (2) has (a) written premiums in at least three countries with at least 10% of the gross written premiums from outside of the United States and (b) total assets of at least $50 billion or total gross written premiums of at least $10 billion, based on a three-year rolling average.

Determining or Acknowledging the Group-Wide Supervisor

The act specifies the conditions for determining or acknowledging the appropriate group-wide supervisor. Under the act, the commissioner may determine that she is the appropriate group-wide supervisor for an internationally active insurance group that conducts substantial insurance business operations in Connecticut and act in that capacity as the act specifies.

Alternatively, she may acknowledge that the regulatory official of another jurisdiction is the appropriate group-wide supervisor for an internationally active insurance group that (1) does not conduct substantial insurance business in the United States or (2) conducts substantial insurance business in the United States but not in Connecticut. She may also acknowledge a regulatory official of another jurisdiction as group-wide supervisor if the insurance group conducts substantial insurance business in the United States and in Connecticut when she determines, based on the act's criteria, that the other official is the appropriate group-wide supervisor.

Under the act, an insurance holding company system that does not qualify as an internationally active insurance group may also request the commissioner to determine or acknowledge a group-wide supervisor.

When another jurisdiction's regulatory official is acting as the group-wide supervisor, the act requires the commissioner to acknowledge him or her as such. But the commissioner must determine or acknowledge a different group-wide supervisor for the insurance group when a material change in the group results in (1) the largest share of the group's premiums, assets, or liabilities being held by member companies domiciled in Connecticut or (2) Connecticut being the domicile of the top-tiered insurance company or companies in the group. (In industry practice, a top-tiered company refers to the company at the top of the holding company system. )

The act allows a regulatory official determined or acknowledged to be the group-wide supervisor to determine that it is appropriate to acknowledge another regulatory official to serve as the group-wide supervisor. He or she must consider the same factors the commissioner considers when determining who should be the group-wide supervisor (see below). The acknowledgment must be made in (1) cooperation with, and subject to the acknowledgement of, other regulatory officials of the jurisdictions where the insurance group's member companies are domiciled and (2) consultation with the insurance group.

Factors to Consider

When determining who should be the group-wide supervisor, the commissioner must consider:

1. the domicile of the insurance group's member companies that hold the largest share of the group's premiums, assets, or liabilities;

2. the domicile of the insurance group's top-tiered insurance company or companies;

3. the locations of the insurance group's executive offices or largest operational offices; and

4. whether the regulatory official of another jurisdiction who is or is seeking to be the group-wide supervisor (a) is operating under a regulatory system the commissioner considers substantially similar to that provided under Connecticut law or is otherwise sufficient in terms of group-wide supervision, enterprise risk analysis, and cooperation with other regulatory officials and (b) provides the commissioner with reasonably reciprocal recognition and cooperation.

Notice of Determination or Acknowledgment

Before issuing a determination or acknowledgment, the commissioner must notify the member insurance company registered in Connecticut and person who ultimately controls the internationally active insurance group of the pending decision. She must give the insurance group at least 30 days to submit additional information pertinent to the decision.

The act requires the commissioner to publish in the Connecticut Law Journal a current list of internationally active insurance groups for which she has determined herself to be the group-wide supervisor. She must also post the list on the Insurance Department's website.

Information Collection

By law, the commissioner may order insurance companies to produce records, books, or other information in the possession of the company or its affiliates as are reasonably necessary to determine compliance with the holding company requirements. Under the act, she may also collect, from any insurance company registered in Connecticut, any information she needs to determine or acknowledge who should be the group-wide supervisor of an internationally active insurance group. By law, if a company fails to comply with such an order, the commissioner may examine any affiliate to obtain the information (CGS 38a-14a).

Activities Authorized

The act authorizes the commissioner to conduct and coordinate the following activities for an internationally active insurance group she supervises:

1. assess the enterprise risks within the group to ensure (a) management identifies the material financial conditions of, and liquidity risks to, the group's member insurance companies and (b) reasonable and effective mitigation measures are in place;

2. request from the group's member companies information necessary and appropriate to assess enterprise risk, such as information about governance, risk assessment and management, capital adequacy, and material intercompany transactions;

3. coordinate and, through the authority of the regulatory officials where the group's member companies are domiciled, compel companies to develop and implement reasonable measures designed to ensure the group can timely recognize and mitigate material enterprise risks;

4. communicate with the regulatory agencies through a supervisory college (a group of insurance regulatory officials) where the group's member companies are domiciled and share relevant information subject to state law's confidentiality provisions; and

5. enter into agreements with, or obtain documentation from, any Connecticut-registered insurance company, any other member of the internationally active insurance group, and any other regulatory agencies where the group's member companies are domiciled, to establish or clarify the commissioner's role as group-wide supervisor, including dispute resolution provisions.

Such agreements or documentation cannot serve as evidence that a company or person within an insurance company holding system not domiciled or incorporated in Connecticut is doing business here or is otherwise subject to Connecticut's jurisdiction.

In addition, the commissioner may conduct and coordinate other activities needed to effectuate the act's purposes.

Cooperating Through Supervisory Colleges

Under the act, if the commissioner acknowledges that a regulatory official of a jurisdiction not accredited by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is the group-wide supervisor of an internationally active insurance group, she must reasonably cooperate through a supervisory college or otherwise with the group supervision that supervisor undertakes. But this cooperation must comply with Connecticut law, and the group-wide supervisor must recognize and cooperate with the commissioner's activities as a group-wide supervisor for other internationally active insurance groups.

The commissioner may refuse to cooperate if she determines the recognition and cooperation are not reasonably reciprocated. She may enter into agreements with, or obtain documentation from, any Connecticut-registered insurance company, any of its affiliates, and any regulatory official of another jurisdiction where the group's member companies are domiciled to establish or clarify that official's role as group-wide supervisor.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

52 – WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPROVED PROVIDER LISTS

Workers' compensation law generally requires an employer or its workers' compensation insurer to pay an injured employee's prescription drug costs directly to the provider (i. e. , pharmacy). If the employer uses an approved providers list, the act requires the employer to provide a copy of it to an injured employee within two business days after the employee reports a work-related injury or condition to the employer.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

53-55 — BIOSCIENCE INNOVATION FUND ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS

The act allows Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CI) to use Bioscience Innovation Fund money to pay for its administrative costs, including peer review costs, professional fees, allocated staff costs, and other out-of-pocket costs related to administering and operating the fund.

Under the act, CI may use no more than 5% of the total amount allotted for the year in the fund's operating budget to pay for its administrative costs, and expenditures from the fund for administrative costs do not have to be approved by the fund's advisory committee. The act also specifies that it does not require CI to risk or spend CI's funds to administer the Bioscience Innovation Fund.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

56 — IDENTIFICATION VERIFICATION FOR UTILITIES

Under the act, public service companies (i. e. , utilities) that require a potential customer to disclose his or her Social Security number (SSN) must verify the SSN before opening a new account to ensure that it does not belong to a minor (i. e. , someone under age 18). The act requires public service companies to cross reference the provided number with the customer's (1) legal name, (2) aliases, (3) date of birth, (4) current address, and (5) phone number. The act allows public service companies to use a third-party company to verify this information.

The act also makes minors immune from liability for payment of an unpaid bill to a public service company for services an adult obtained by fraudulently using the minor's SSN.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

57 — NOTICE OF FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM IN LEASES

The act requires landlords to include a notice in each dwelling unit's lease disclosing whether the unit has a working fire sprinkler system. If a unit has a working system, the lease must also include a notice indicating the date of its last maintenance and inspection. Both notices must be printed in a uniform font of at least 12-point, boldface type.

Under the act, a “fire sprinkler system” is a system of piping and appurtenances designed and installed according to generally accepted standards so that heat from a fire automatically causes water to discharge over the area, extinguishing the fire or preventing it from spreading.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

58-71 & 88 — SET-ASIDE REQUIREMENTS AND CHRO ENFORCEMENT

The act subjects certain state-financed public works contracts awarded by municipalities to state set-aside requirements for small and minority contractors. It similarly applies these requirements to projects administered by certain entities receiving state assistance from quasi-public agencies. The act subjects contractors awarded such contracts to, among other things, existing law's nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities' (CHRO) enforcement authority.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015, except the provision applying the act's requirements to CI and the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), which is effective January 1, 2016.

58, 59 & 88 ‒ Set-Aside Contracts

The state set-aside program requires state agencies and political subdivisions (other than municipalities, under prior law) to set aside 25% of the total value of all contracts they let for construction, goods, and services each year for exclusive bidding by certified small contractors. The agencies must further reserve 25% of the set-aside value (6. 25% of the total) for exclusive bidding by certified minority business enterprises (MBE) (see BACKGROUND). The act requires contractors awarded “municipal public works contracts” or contracts for “quasi-public agency projects” to comply with these requirements if the (1) contract involves state financial assistance and (2) total contract value exceeds $50,000.

Beginning October 1, 2015, a municipality that awards a municipal public works contract must state in its notice of solicitation for competitive bids or request for proposals or qualifications that the general or trade contractor must comply with the above set-aside requirements and the law's nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements (see below). The act specifies that these requirements do not apply to municipalities that have set-aside programs under which the MBE set-aside equals or exceeds 6. 25% (currently Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven).

Beginning October 1, 2015, the act similarly requires any individual, firm, or corporation entering into a quasi-public agency project contract to notify the contractor before awarding the contract of the above set-aside requirements and the law's nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements. It specifies that this requirement does not apply to CI or CRDA until January 1, 2016.

A “municipality” is any town, city, borough, consolidated town and city, or consolidated town and borough. A “municipal public works contract” is the portion of an agreement, financed in whole or in part by the state, entered into on or after October 1, 2015 between a municipality and any individual, firm, or corporation for constructing, rehabilitating, converting, extending, demolishing, or repairing a public building or highway, or other changes or improvements in real property. These contracts exclude alliance district projects that are financed with state funding of $50,000 or less. (Alliance districts are the 30 school districts in the state with the lowest district performance index, which is a weighted measure of student mastery test scores by district. ) A “quasi-public agency project” is the construction, rehabilitation, conversion, extension, demolition, or repair of a building, or other changes or improvements in real property, pursuant to a contract entered into on or after October 1, 2015 and financed in whole or in part by a quasi-public agency using state funds.

For both types of contracts, state funds include matching expenditures, grants, loans, insurance, or guarantees.

61 ‒ Set-Aside Goals

By law, state agencies and political subdivisions other than municipalities must annually notify the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) commissioner of their certified small contractor and MBE set-aside goals for the current fiscal year. The act moves the annual reporting date from August 30 to August 1. It specifies that municipal public works and quasi-public agency project contracts are not subject to this reporting requirement.

62 ‒ Program Administration

By law, DAS is responsible for administering the set-aside program for public works contracts and state contracts for goods and services. The act (1) makes CHRO responsible for program administration with respect to municipal public works and quasi-public agency project contracts, including providing training sessions, and (2) allows the commission to adopt regulations to implement the program's requirements.

The act specifies that public works contracts awarded by a quasi-public agency itself (rather than an entity receiving state funds from a quasi-public agency) are subject to the requirements that apply to state agency public works contracts (e. g. , such contracts are subject to the above goal requirements).

63 & 64 ‒ Nondiscrimination Requirements

Under existing law, all contractors that enter into contracts (regardless of value) with the state or one of its political subdivisions, other than a municipality, must file a representation or documentation with the contracting agency indicating they comply with state anti-discrimination laws. The act extends this requirement to contractors that enter into municipal public works or quasi-public agency project contracts except that it requires these contractors to file the representation or documentation with CHRO rather than the contracting agency. It prohibits municipalities and entities from awarding contracts to contractors that have not provided the representation or documentation.

The act also extends to these contractors requirements that they, among other things, (1) state in their job advertisements that they are “affirmative action-equal opportunity employers,” (2) comply with nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements and orders issued by CHRO, and (3) provide CHRO with access to certain employment practice records. The contractors must also agree and warrant that they will make good faith efforts to employ MBEs as subcontractors and materials suppliers. They must include these provisions in every subcontract entered into to fulfill any obligation of a municipal public works or quasi-public agency project contract.

Under prior law, these requirements did not apply to contracts where each contractor was a political subdivision of the state. The act applies the requirements to contracts between political subdivisions that are (1) municipal public works contracts or (2) quasi-public agency project contracts.

65 ‒ Minority Business Enterprise Review Committee

The act requires the Minority Business Enterprise Review Committee to conduct an ongoing study of municipal public works contracts and contracts for quasi-public agency projects. It allows the committee to request information from CHRO on contractors' compliance with the nondiscrimination provisions described above. Under existing law, the committee has these duties and authority with respect to state agencies.

66-68 ‒ Affirmative Action Requirements

Under existing law, the successful bidder for a public works contract awarded by a state agency or political subdivision, other than a municipality, for more than $500,000 and paid for in whole or in part with state funds must file with and obtain CHRO's approval for an affirmative action plan before the contract is awarded. The act extends this requirement to bidders for municipal public works or quasi-public agency project contracts that meet these criteria. It also extends to the municipality or entity a requirement to withhold 2% of the total contract price per month from a contractor that does not have an approved affirmative action plan.

Under existing law, if a contractor is not subject to the above filing requirement, it still must file an affirmative action plan with CHRO if it (1) has 50 or more employees and (2) is awarded a public works contract by a state agency or political subdivision other than a municipality for more than $50,000. (The plan does not need to be filed before the contract is awarded. ) The act also extends this requirement to such contractors that enter into municipal public works or quasi-public agency project contracts exceeding the $50,000 threshold.

70 ‒ Municipal Contract Compliance Programs

The act allows CHRO to permit a municipality to use its own contract compliance program if the commission determines that the municipality's program is at least equivalent to existing law's nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements. A contractor that enters into a municipal public works contract with such a municipality may be relieved from complying with certain statutory contract compliance requirements as long as it complies with the municipality's program. By law, CHRO may similarly allow state agencies to use their own compliance programs.

69 & 71 ‒ Enforcement

The act subjects contractors with a municipal public works or quasi-public agency project contract to CHRO's enforcement authority if they violate the law's nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements. If after a hearing CHRO finds noncompliance by the contractor with respect to such requirements, it may, among other things, (1) order the municipality or entity to withhold 2% of the total contract price per month from such contractors, (2) prohibit the contractor from entering into further municipal public works or quasi-public agency project contracts for a specified period of time, or (3) refer the matter to the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting authority.

The act similarly prohibits municipalities and entities from entering into a municipal public works contract or quasi-public agency project contract, respectively, with any bidder or prospective contractor that does not comply with (1) the law's nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements or (2) orders issued by CHRO. Under existing law, this prohibition applies to state agencies. The act also allows CHRO to order municipalities and entities to refrain from contracting with non-complying contractors.

Additionally, the act modifies provisions affecting CHRO's contract compliance enforcement (see CHRO below).

Background ‒ Definitions of Certified Small Contractor and MBE

By law, a “certified small contractor” is a business that (1) maintains its principal place of business in Connecticut, (2) had gross revenues of $15 million or less during its most recent fiscal year, and (3) is independent. MBEs are small contractors owned by women, minorities, or people with disabilities. The owner must have managerial and technical competence and experience directly related to his or her principal business activities (CGS 4a-60g(a)).

71-87 — CHRO

The act makes numerous changes to the CHRO statutes and other anti-discrimination laws, including several minor, technical, and conforming changes.

It makes certain technical changes to conform to changes to another CHRO statute (CGS 46a-83) in PA 15-249.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

71 ‒ Contract Compliance

By law, CHRO can issue a discrimination complaint against a contractor or subcontractor if it determines through its monitoring and compliance process that the contractor has not complied with anti-discrimination and affirmative action requirements for state and public works contracts. The act requires the complaint to be scheduled for a hearing before a human rights referee instead of a referee or hearing officer.

By law, if the presiding officer (i. e. , the referee) makes a finding of noncompliance after a hearing, he or she can take a range of specified actions. The act requires the presiding officer to order the relief needed to achieve full compliance with any anti-discrimination law and required contract provisions.

The act also makes changes to some of the existing authority the presiding officer has after finding such noncompliance. It specifically allows the officer to order two or more remedies designed to achieve full compliance.

Under existing law, the officer can order the state to retain 2% of the total contract price per month on any existing contract with the noncomplying contractor. The act (1) specifies that this refers to the amount the state must withhold until CHRO approves the contractor's affirmative action plan and (2) requires this amount to be deposited in the fund that holds penalties collected for certain fraudulent acts related to qualification as an MBE.

Prior law allowed the presiding officer to notify the attorney general when there was a substantial or material violation or the threat of such a violation of the required anti-discrimination and affirmative action provisions in state contracts. The act allows such notice only for substantial violations or the threat of such violations. Similarly, the act allows the presiding officer to recommend to a contracting agency that the agency declare a contractor to be in breach of contract only for substantial violations, not merely material violations, still occurring after a specified period of time.

The act allows the presiding officer to recommend to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Department of Justice that appropriate proceedings be instituted under laws related to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, in addition to Title VII itself, when necessary.

By law, CHRO must adopt regulations to implement these provisions.

Fraud Related to MBE Qualification. Existing law allows CHRO to assess a civil penalty of up to $10,000 if it determines through its monitoring and complaint procedure and following a hearing that a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier has (1) fraudulently qualified as an MBE or (2) performed services or supplied material on behalf of another contractor, subcontractor, or supplier, knowing it has fraudulently qualified and that the supplies or material will be used for a set-aside contract. The act specifies that these provisions also apply to service providers.

73 ‒ Deprivation of Rights Based on Mental Disability

By law, it is a discriminatory practice to deprive someone of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by state or federal laws or constitutions based on certain factors (such as the person's race, sex, or physical disability). The act adds mental disability to this list.

74 & 75 ‒ Discriminatory Practice Complaint ‒General Provisions

The act eliminates the notarization requirement for discriminatory practice complaints alleging housing discrimination. This change makes state law consistent with federal Housing and Urban Development procedures.

It requires the commission to provide, rather than serve, the claimant a notice (1) acknowledging receipt of the complaint and (2) advising of the time frames and forum choices in the anti-discrimination law.

By law, CHRO retains jurisdiction over a complaint pending before it, even if it fails to comply with certain time requirements. The act further provides that for discrimination cases in Superior Court, the court retains jurisdiction even if CHRO failed to comply with these time requirements.

75 ‒ Complaints Pending More Than Two Years

By law, if a discrimination complaint has been pending for more than two years, and the CHRO investigator has not yet issued a finding as to whether there is reasonable cause that discrimination occurred, either party can petition the Hartford Superior Court for an order requiring CHRO to issue a finding by a specified date. The act eliminates the option of serving the hearing notice on CHRO's legal counsel, requiring it to be served on the executive director exclusively.

Existing law generally requires the court to award the petitioner court costs and attorney's fees for the associated hearing, unless CHRO shows good cause for not issuing a finding by a certain date. The act sets this as the date ordered by the executive director for the investigator to issue a finding rather than the later of this date and two years after the complaint filing as under prior law. (By law, the award is discretionary and capped at $500; certain petitioners are ineligible. )

77 ‒ Certification of Complaint

By law, if a CHRO investigator who finds reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred fails to eliminate it within 50 days, the investigator must certify the complaint and results of the investigation (within 10 days after the 50-day period) to the executive director and attorney general. The act specifies that the investigator's conclusion that conciliation has failed is conclusive.

Under prior law, after a complaint was certified, the chief human rights referee had to appoint a hearing officer, hearing adjudicator, or human rights referee to act as presiding officer to hear the complaint or conduct settlement negotiations; a volunteer attorney could also supervise a settlement. The act eliminates references to hearing officers or adjudicators for these purposes. It requires the chief referee to appoint (1) a human rights referee to act as presiding officer to hear the complaint and (2) a different referee or a volunteer attorney to conduct settlement negotiations. It applies this same requirement to complaints heard after early legal intervention. It also makes similar changes concerning complaints filed by CHRO against contractors and subcontractors.

The act requires any hearing, hearing conference, or settlement conference to take place at CHRO's Hartford office unless all parties agree to a different location. It eliminates the option for CHRO to choose on its own another location for a hearing.

By law, the attorney general or CHRO legal counsel can withdraw the certification of a complaint and remand the case to the investigator upon determining that a material mistake of law or fact was made in the reasonable cause finding. The act also allows cases referred for an administrative hearing after early legal intervention to be remanded if CHRO legal counsel determines that further investigation is needed. In either situation, the act requires the investigator to complete any required action within 90 days after receiving the file.

The act grants the chief referee, rather than CHRO generally, the authority to allow the parties in employment discrimination cases to engage in alternative dispute resolution.

Existing law allows a presiding officer to enter a default and order necessary relief if the respondent fails to timely file an answer or appear at the hearing after receiving proper notice. The act allows this if the respondent fails to answer within 15 days after the complaint was served rather than the time limits set by CHRO regulations.

It expands the grounds for default orders to include failure to appear at the hearing conference or settlement conference after proper notice. It also extends the authority to enter defaults to a volunteer attorney assigned to supervise the settlement. It provides that if a volunteer attorney enters a default, the chief referee must assign a referee to act as presiding officer to award relief.

78 ‒ Written Findings of Fact After Hearing

The act requires that CHRO presiding officers' factual findings after the hearing be in writing. This applies regardless of whether the officer found evidence of discrimination. It specifies that the presiding officer must also serve the order on the complainant, not just the respondent.

79 & 80 ‒ CHRO Petitions for Relief and Related Matters

The act specifies that CHRO, and not an individual commissioner, has the authority to bring a petition for injunctive relief in employment discrimination matters involving employers with at least 50 employees. The decision must be based on the executive director's belief that such relief is necessary instead of an individual commissioner's; however, unlike prior law for individual commissioners, the act does not require the executive director to follow the investigator's recommendation. The act allows such petitions to be made in Hartford Superior Court in addition to the venues allowed by existing law (i. e. , the district where the respondent resides or where the alleged discrimination occurred).

For housing or public accommodations discrimination matters, the act specifies that if CHRO, rather than an individual commissioner, believes that injunctive relief is needed or punitive damages or a civil penalty would be appropriate, the commission may bring a petition seeking such relief.

It also provides that the (1) chief referee, and not the commission chairperson, must schedule a hearing within 45 days after any temporary injunctive relief or restraining order and (2) executive director, and not the chairperson, may petition to make a temporary injunction permanent in several types of matters.

81 ‒ Reopening

By law, a complainant or respondent can ask CHRO to reopen a case by applying within two years of CHRO's final decision. The act specifies that an application for reopening is not permitted if the complainant (1) has been granted a release from CHRO jurisdiction or (2) has not been granted a release but has filed a court case.

84 ‒ Venue for Civil Action After Release From CHRO Jurisdiction

The act allows someone who has obtained a release from CHRO jurisdiction to bring a court case in the district where he or she resides, in addition to those venues already allowed (i. e. , generally, the district where the discrimination allegedly occurred or where the respondent transacts business).

87 ‒ Whistleblower

By law, CHRO's executive director, through the supervising attorney, may assign legal counsel to represent CHRO in a hearing or appeal concerning alleged retaliatory action related to whistleblowing by an employee of the state, a quasi-public agency, or large state contractor. The act provides that CHRO legal counsel may intervene as a matter of right in these hearings or appeals without permission from the parties, hearing officer, or court.

89-92 — FUNDS CARRIED FORWARD

The act carries forward prior years' unspent balances from FY 15 to FY 16 and requires them to be used for other purposes in the same agency, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Funds Carried Forward for a Different Purpose

Agency

Amount

Prior Purpose

New Purpose

89(a)(1)

DEEP

Up to $100,000

Other expenses

Other expenses:

•$40,000 to the New London County 4-H Camp

•$135,000 for the West River Watershed Plan

•$300,000 to Action for Bridgeport Community Development, Inc. for its weatherization program

•$50,000 to provide drinking water for certain residents affected by contaminated groundwater

•$180,000 for the aquatic invasive species management program

89(a)(2)

DEEP

Up to $205,000

Solid waste

89(a)(3)

DEEP

Up to $200,000

Environmental conservation

89(a)(4)

DEEP

Up to $200,000

Environmental quality

90

DEEP

Up to $40,000

Solid waste

Dam Maintenance:

•$20,000 for a hydrology study in Ledyard

•$20,000 for a hydrology study in East Hampton

 

91

Judicial Department

Up to $250,000

Juvenile alternative incarceration

Grant to the COMPASS Youth Collaborative, Inc. Peacebuilders program

92

OPM

Up to $1,100,000

Tax relief for elderly renters

Litigation/settlement account

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

93 — BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS GRANTS

The act requires $1,000,000 of the funds appropriated in both FY 16 and FY 17 to the SDE for Neighborhood Youth Centers to be made available for grants to the state's Boys and Girls Clubs of America in each fiscal year.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

94 — YOUTH SERVICES PREVENTION

The act specifies that the Judicial Department's Youth Services Prevention appropriations must be distributed to certain governmental and non-governmental entities, in both FY 16 and FY 17. Table 2 provides each grant recipient and amount received.

Table 2: Youth Services Prevention Grants

Grant Recipient

Grant Amount Each FY

Boys and Girls Club of Stamford

$113,110

Archipelago Inc. – Project Music

35,000

Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church

148,110

Prudence Crandall Center, Inc.

16,788

Family Enrichment Center of the Hospital of Central Connecticut

16,788

OIC of New Britain Inc. - Project G. R. E. A. T.

50,000

Pathways/Senderos

50,000

Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc.

100,000

Mi Casa, Hispanic Health Council

35,000

Charter Oak Amateur Boxing Academy and Youth Development Program (COBA)

30,000

Southwest Boys and Girls Club/1 Chandler Street, Hartford

30,000

Youth Challenge

34,000

Grant Recipient

Grant Amount Each FY

BSL Educational Foundation of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc.

30,662

Town of Windsor - Collaborative

31,000

Supreme Being, Inc.

31,000

Phillips Metropolitan Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

25,000

Windsor Troop 49

5,000

North End Action Team

156,700

The Village Initiative Project, Inc. - VIP College Prep and Life Skills

111,975

Bridgeport Caribe Youth League, Inc.

80,000

McGivney Community Center, Inc.

31,975

Serving All Vessels Equally

211,151

Walnut Orange Walsh Neighborhood

60,394

St. Margaret Willow Plaza NRZ, Assoc. , Inc.

60,394

Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury

60,394

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Waterbury

60,394

Waterbury Police Activity League, Inc.

60,394

Rivera Memorial Foundation, Inc.

60,394

Dixwell Children's Creative Arts Center

124,004

Police Athletic League of New Haven

50,000

Arte, Inc.

174,004

'r Kids Family Center

50,000

Guns Down, Books Up

74,004

EIR Urban Youth Boxing, Inc.

50,000

Foster Buddies Network/Hartford Boxing Center

45,986

Police Athletic League of Hartford

30,000

OPMAD, Inc.

20,000

Samuel V. Arroyo Center, Hartford

20,000

Wakeman Boys and Girls Club, Southport

20,000

Walter E. Luckett, Jr. Foundation

111,975

Little League Baseball, Inc.

40,538

New London Youth Football League

40,539

East Hartford Youth Services

85,150

Manchester Youth Service Bureau

85,150

Boys and Girls Club of Bridgeport, Inc.

61,975

Bridgeport Caribe Youth League, Inc.

50,000

Upper Albany Collaborative

32,662

C. U. R. E. T

20,000

Hartford Knights

50,000

Blue Hill Civic Association

20,000

Artists Collective

35,000

Ebony Horsewomen

35,000

Youth Challenge

25,000

Goodworks, Inc.

27,662

M. G. L. L, Inc.

62,000

City of Hartford Southend Boys Scouts

15,000

Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation/City of Hartford

45,000

Kenneth R. Jacksons Mentoring Services, Inc.

111,975

Mount Aery Development Corporation

111,975

Girls, Inc.

16,712

Boys and Girls Club of Meriden

16,712

Beat the Street Community Center

16,712

Meriden YMCA

16,712

Women and Families Center

16,712

City of Meriden/Youth Services Division

16,712

City of Meriden/Police Cadets

16,712

Rushford Hospital Youth Program

16,712

New Opportunities of Greater Meriden/Boys to Men Program

16,712

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

95 — DSS FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE PROGRAM GRANTS

For FY 16 and FY 17, the act requires DSS to provide grants under the Fatherhood Initiative Program proportionately to the same providers that received funding in FY 15. In FY 15, the Fatherhood Initiative Program provided $87,720 in grants to:

1. Career Resources in Bridgeport,

2. Families in Crisis in Hartford,

3. New Haven Family Alliance in New Haven,

4. Madonna Place, Inc. in Norwich,

5. Family Strides, Inc. in Torrington, and

6. New Opportunities, Inc. in Waterbury.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

96 — CRADLE TO CAREER NETWORK GRANTS

The act requires the Department of Labor (DOL) to distribute its FY 16 and FY 17 appropriations for the Cradle to Career Network as grants to the private entities listed below to establish a public-private partnership with community organizations to improve the Network. Each of the following entities will receive $50,000 in both FY 16 and FY 17:

1. United Way of Coastal Fairfield County in Bridgeport,

2. The Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk on behalf of Norwalk ACTS,

3. United Way of Western Connecticut in Danbury, and

4. The Bridge to Success Community Partnership in Waterbury.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

97 & 98 — RETIRED TEACHERS' HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUM ACCOUNT

The act removes the annual cap of $150,000 on health care benefit consultant costs (i. e. , professional administrative fees) that may be paid from the Retired Teachers' Health Insurance Premium account for health benefit plans offered to members of the Connecticut Teachers' Retirement System.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

99-101 — MINIMUM WAGES FOR LEGISLATIVE CONTRACTORS' EMPLOYEES

The act generally requires the Joint Committee on Legislative Management to require contractors and their subcontractors to pay at least $15 per hour to their employees providing services at the Legislative Office Building, State Capitol, or Old State House. The committee must include the requirement in any of its contracts for contractual services or personal service agreements entered into, executed, or extended on or after July 1, 2015. The requirement does not apply to those employees who receive services from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

The act's minimum wage requirement applies regardless of whether the employee is required to be paid at a lower rate under the state's standard wage law, which generally requires private contractors providing certain services in state buildings to pay their workers a wage rate determined by the labor commissioner. If the standard wage law requires an hourly wage rate greater than $15, the employee must receive the greater wage rate.

The act also prohibits the committee from waiving the $15 hourly minimum requirement under its authority to waive certain contracting requirements as “minor irregularities” when considering bids and proposals.

By law, “contractual services” covered by the requirement are services provided by people other than state employees for, among other things, laundry and cleaning; pest control; janitorial work; security; machinery or equipment rental, repair, or maintenance; advertising; and data entry and processing (CGS 2-71p). “Personal service agreements” are written agreements defining the services or end product to be delivered by a person, firm, or corporation hired by the committee, but not employed by the state, to provide services to the General Assembly (CGS 2-71t).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

102-103 — EDC PROPOSAL FOR GRID-SIDE ENHANCEMENTS

The act requires each electric distribution company (EDC) (i. e. , Eversource and United Illuminating) to submit at least one proposal to DEEP for a pilot program to build, own, or operate grid-side system enhancements, including energy storage systems. The proposed programs must demonstrate and investigate how distributed energy resources (DER) can be reliably and efficiently integrated into the electric distribution system in a way that maximizes the value they provide to the electric grid, electric ratepayers, and the public.

The proposal must complement and enhance various initiatives that support DER, which, under the act, appear to include the programs, products, and incentives available through (1) the Connecticut Green Bank and the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, (2) the law's requirement for EDCs to purchase renewable energy credits from certain zero-emission (Z-REC) and low-emission (L-REC) generation projects, and (3) other similar programs that support DER deployment.

Under the act, “grid-side system enhancements” are investments in distribution system infrastructure, technology, and systems designed to enable DER deployment and allow for grid management and system balancing. They include energy storage systems, distribution system automation and controls, intelligent field systems, advanced distribution system metering, communication, and systems that enable two-way power flow. A “distributed energy resource” is a:

1. customer-side or grid-side distributed resource that generates electricity from a Class I renewable energy source (e. g. , solar or wind power) or Class III source (e. g. , certain combined heat and power systems);

2. customer-side distributed resource that reduces demand for electricity through conservation and load management (e. g. , programs that pay customers to reduce their usage during times of peak demand);

3. energy storage system located on the customer-side of the meter or connected to the distribution system; or

4. microgrid.

DEEP must evaluate the proposals and may approve them if they show how (1) grid-side system enhancements can be reliably and cost-effectively integrated into the electric distribution system and (2) they maximize the value provided to ratepayers. Any proposal DEEP approves must also be reviewed and approved by PURA. PURA must approve a proposal if it concludes that investing in the enhancement is reasonable, prudent, and provides value to ratepayers.

The act allows the EDCs to enter into joint ownership agreements, partnerships, or other contractual agreements for services with private entities to carry out the proposals. Until its next rate case, an EDC must recover its costs for the proposals from all of its customers through a fully reconciling component of all EDC customers' electric rates. At the next rate case, the costs must be recoverable through the company's base distribution rates (i. e. , they are incorporated into the company's regular distribution rates).

DEEP must evaluate the approved proposals and submit a report to the Energy and Technology Committee by January 1, 2017. The report must evaluate the performance, costs, and benefits associated with grid-side system enhancements procured under the act.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

104 — CLASS I PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT

The law requires the DEEP commissioner, under certain conditions, to solicit power purchase agreement proposals from Class I renewable energy sources built on or after January 1, 2013. If a proposal meets certain conditions, the commissioner can require an EDC to enter into a PURA-approved power purchase agreement for up to 20 years with the proposal's Class I facility.

For assessment years starting on and after October 1, 2015, the act allows municipalities to abate up to 100% of the property taxes due for any tax year for any Class I renewable energy source subject to one of these power purchase agreements. The abatement (1) cannot be for longer than the power purchase agreement's term and (2) must be approved by a vote of the municipality's legislative body, or if the legislative body is a town meeting, by its board of selectmen.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

105 — LIMITED RESIDENTIAL FIXED CHARGE

The next time an EDC files a request to amend its rates, the act requires PURA to adjust the company's residential fixed charge so that it only recovers the fixed costs and operation and maintenance expenses directly related to metering, billing, service connections, and providing customer service. Under the act, a “residential fixed charge” is any fixed fee charged to residential electric customers, including a (1) fixed charge for distribution basic service, (2) distribution customer service charge, (3) customer charge, or (4) basic service fee that is separate and distinct from any per kilowatt-hour distribution charge.

The act exempts rates for residential electric heating services from the fixed charge limit. It also prohibits PURA, when determining an EDC's new residential fixed charges, from causing a cost-shift to other rate classes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

106 — NATURAL GAS EXPANSION PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT

The act allows municipalities, by a vote of their legislative bodies or, if the legislative body is a town meeting, their boards of selectmen, to abate up to 100% of a gas company's annual personal property taxes to facilitate natural gas expansion projects. The municipality can abate the taxes for up to 25 tax years. The gas company must include the abatement when calculating the “hurdle rate” for gas expansion projects within the municipality.

In general, when a gas company seeks to expand its distribution system, the “hurdle rate” refers to the amount of projected new distribution revenues needed over a 25-year period to pay for the expansion. If the expansion will not pay for itself in this period, the new customers served by the expansion must pay for the shortfall through an additional contribution-in-aid-of-construction (CIAC) charge. (Presumably, including a property tax abatement in a hurdle rate calculation will lower the hurdle rate and thus decrease the (1) likelihood that new customers must pay a CIAC or (2) amount of the CIAC, if applicable. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015 and applicable to assessment years commencing on or after October 1, 2015.

107 — HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

The act requires the Low-Income Energy Advisory Board to recommend ways to improve the implementation of heating assistance programs, particularly those created to benefit low-income households, by coordinating and optimizing existing energy efficiency and assistance programs. The recommendations must consider:

1. securely sharing DEEP's, DSS's, community action agencies', EDCs', and municipal electric companies' (a) heating assistance program applicant data on customer energy usage levels, past participation, and eligibility for energy assistance and efficiency programs and (b) other data relevant to improving coordination between the programs and their administrators;

2. exploring current energy assistance and efficiency programs' costs and benefits and maximizing customer benefits through their participation in any combination of the programs;

3. streamlining the programs' application process and possibly developing joint electronic applications;

4. making the programs more accessible and feasible for renters, including how to best secure landlord permission; and

5. coordinating efforts to best improve boiler and furnace replacement programs.

The board must report its recommendations to the Appropriations, Energy and Technology, and Human Services committees by January 1, 2016.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

108 — PURA STUDY ON EXPIRING RETAIL SUPPLIER CONTRACTS

PA 15-90 requires PURA to develop recommendations and guidance about just and reasonable generation service rate increases for residential customers who allow a fixed contract with a retail electricity supplier to expire and begin paying the supplier a month-to-month rate. The act instead requires PURA's recommendations and guidance to address changes customers in these circumstances may experience regarding their rates and the terms and conditions of their service.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

109 — MUNICIPAL UTILITY SECURITY DEPOSITS

By law, municipal gas or electric companies can require customers to provide a security deposit that covers the cost of up to three months of gas or electricity. The act allows customers of municipal gas or electric utility companies to pay their required security deposits by cash, letter of credit, or surety bond.

It also allows municipal electric companies that are members of a municipal electric energy cooperative to return half of a nonresidential customer's security deposit if the customer's account remains in good standing for two years.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

110 & 111 — REGIONAL SERVICES GRANTS FOR COUNCILS OF GOVERNMENTS (COG)

PA 15-244 ( 207) requires, beginning in FY 17, OPM to distribute regional services grants to COGs on a per capita basis, based on Department of Public Health (DPH) population estimates. This act eliminates the requirement that these grants be distributed on a per capita basis, instead requiring them to be distributed based on a formula determined by the OPM secretary.

PA 15-244 requires COGs to use the grants for planning purposes and to achieve efficiencies in delivering municipal services on a regional basis, including regional consolidation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

112 — CIVIL ACTIONS TO COLLECT PAST DUE PAYMENTS TO EMPLOYEE WELFARE FUNDS

The act allows an employee to sue for unpaid wages over an employer's past due payments to an employee welfare fund. The payment must be past due under a written contract's terms or the rules and regulations adopted by the fund's trustees. Under the act, an “employee welfare fund” is a trust fund established by one or more employers and one or more labor organizations, or other third parties that are not affiliated with the employers, to provide benefits (e. g. , healthcare, disability, or retirement benefits) for employees and their families or dependents.

In such actions, the law generally requires an employee to be awarded up to twice the amount owed plus costs and attorney's fees. (PA 15-86 made an award for double damages mandatory unless an employer shows a good-faith belief that its underpayments were legal; prior law allowed courts to award up to double damages. ) The labor commissioner can also (1) collect the past due payments plus interest or (2) bring a legal action to recover up to twice the amount owed plus costs and reasonable attorney's fees. The act applies to all employers; however, it appears that the federal ERISA may preempt this provision from applying to private sector employers and employees (see below).

The act also allows such an aggrieved employee to bring a civil action against (1) a sole proprietor or general partner, or officer, director, or member of a corporation or LLC who failed to make the required payment or (2) any employee of a corporation or LLC who was designated to make the payment but failed. Under the act, these people can be found personally liable for the amount due plus costs and reasonable attorney's fees. It appears that ERISA may also preempt this provision from applying to private sector employers and their employees.

ERISA Preemption

ERISA is a federal regulatory scheme for private sector employee benefit plans. Among other things, it sets requirements for benefit plan funding and fiduciary duties and specifies the civil remedies available to address violations. In general, the U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that state laws providing alternative enforcement mechanisms to ERISA are preempted because they undermine Congress's intent to replace conflicting or inconsistent state and local regulations with a uniform body of federal law and regulation (Ingersoll-Rand Co. v. McClendon, 498 U. S. 133 (1990)). The U. S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals also found that ERISA preempted a New York law that made corporate officers personally liable for a failure to contribute to an employee welfare fund (Romney v. Lin, 94 F. 3d 74 (1996)).

Because ERISA preemption is generally limited to private sector employers and employees, the act's provisions may only apply to public employers and employees.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

113 — LABOR PEACE AGREEMENTS

The act requires the state, in certain state-backed “hospitality projects,” to require contracts for hotel or concession area operation or management services to include a labor peace agreement between the contractor (including any of its subcontractors, tenants, or licensees) and the labor organization representing or seeking to represent the hotel's or concession area's employees. Under the act, a “labor peace agreement” is an agreement that requires the labor organization and its members to refrain from engaging in labor activity that may disrupt the hotel's or concession area's operations, including strikes, boycotts, work stoppages, and picketing.

The requirement applies if the state has a “substantial proprietary interest” in the hospitality project. The state has such an interest if (1) its investment in the project is at least $6 million or 20% of the project's costs, whichever is less, which must be reimbursed under a finance agreement or (2) the project has a contract, lease, or license that entitles the state to receive rents, royalties, or other payments in connection with a property provided by the state and based on the project's revenue. The act requires the labor peace agreement to remain effective until the state's financial investment is fully repaid.

Under the act, a “hospitality project” is a (1) capital project involving a restaurant, bar, club, cafeteria, or other food and beverage operation within a hotel's premises or (2) concession area used to provide food and beverage or news and gift services within the premises of a state-owned or -operated facility financed or contracted for by the state. A “capital project” is any acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, or remodeling of any structure (1) used or intended for commercial purposes and (2) financed in whole or in part with funds or property from or arranged by the state, including grants, loans, bonds, revenue bonds, tax increment financing, real property conveyances, or other means.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2016

114-115 — CONCUSSION INFORMATION FOR YOUTH ATHLETES

The act requires youth athletic activity operators, beginning by January 1, 2016, to annually make a written or electronic statement on concussions available to every youth participating in a youth athletic activity and his or her parent or legal guardian.

The operator must make the statement available when the youth registers. The statement must be consistent with the most recent information provided by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on concussions and include information on:

1. concussion signs or symptom recognition;

2. how to obtain proper medical treatment for someone suspected of sustaining a concussion;

3. the nature of concussions and their risks, including the danger of continuing to engage in athletic activity after sustaining a concussion; and

4. proper procedures for allowing a youth who sustained a concussion to return to athletic activity.

Under the act, no operator or operator's designee is subject to civil liability for failing to make the written or electronic statement regarding concussions available, as required by the act.

The act also makes a technical change.

Youth Athletic Activity

The act defines “youth athletic activity” as an organized athletic activity involving participants between ages seven and 19 who:

1. either (a) engage in, or practice or prepare for, an organized athletic game or competition against another team, club, or entity or (b) attend an organized athletic camp or clinic intended to train, instruct, or prepare participants to engage in organized athletic games or competitions and

2. either (a) pay a fee to participate in the game or competition or attend the camp or clinic or (b) have a municipality, business, or nonprofit organization sponsor their participation cost.

It excludes any college or university athletic activity or an athletic activity incidental to a nonathletic program or lesson.

Operator

The act defines “operator” as any municipality, business, or nonprofit organization that conducts, coordinates, organizes, or otherwise oversees any youth athletic activity. It does not include a municipality, business, or nonprofit organization that only provides access to, or use of, a field, court, or other recreational area, either for compensation or not.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

116 — AQUACULTURE ADVISORY COUNCIL

The act establishes a 13-member Aquaculture Advisory Council and places it in the Agricultural Experiment Station for administrative purposes. The council must meet quarterly and, beginning by July 1, 2016, report annually to the governor and Environment Committee on the status of the state's shellfish industry and any related recommendations.

Duties

Under the act, the Aquaculture Advisory Council must:

1. develop a recommended plan to expand the state's shellfish industry,

2. recommend procedures for having maps with the names of state shellfish bed lessees publicly available,

3. review the state shellfish leasing process and recommend to the governor and Environment Committee any changes to the leases or leasing process,

4. review health and safety standards relating to the state's shellfish industry,

5. review existing laws and procedures on recreational shellfishing,

6. review other coastal states' laws and regulations on shellfish size and recommend changes to Connecticut's related law,

7. coordinate with other states to inform recommendations on how to further develop the state's shellfish industry, and

8. provide recommendations on policies of the Department of Agriculture's (DoAg) Bureau of Aquaculture.

Membership

The council is made up of (1) the DoAg, DPH, and DEEP commissioners, or their designees; (2) three members appointed by the governor; and (3) seven other appointees, appointed by the legislative leaders. The 10 appointees must meet specified qualifications, as shown in Table 3. Appointments must be made by October 1, 2015. The governor must designate the chairperson, and the council must elect a vice-chairperson from among the members.

Table 3: Appointee Qualifications

Appointing Authority

Number of Appointees

Required Qualifications

Governor

3

One shellfish industry representative licensed to operate less than 1,000 acres of shellfish beds

One marine habitat conservation organization representative

One marine studies scholar

Senate president pro tempore

1

Recreational shellfisherman

Senate majority leader

1

Shellfish industry representative licensed to operate at least 2,500 acres of shellfish beds

Senate minority leader

1

Shellfish industry representative licensed to operate 1,000 to 2,499 acres of shellfish beds

House speaker

2

One chief executive officer of a coastal municipality west of the Connecticut River

One unspecified

House majority leader

1

Chief executive officer of a coastal municipality east of the Connecticut River

House minority leader

1

Shellfish commission representative

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

117 — WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION FOR EMPLOYEES OF SHELLFISH GROUND LESSEES

Under the act, an officer or employee of a state shellfish grounds lessee may not take or threaten to take any personnel action against another employee of the lessee in retaliation for that employee giving (1) information to the leasing agency (e. g. , the state or municipality) about the shellfish grounds lease or (2) testimony or assistance in any whistleblower proceeding.

If personnel action is taken or threatened in violation of the above prohibition, the aggrieved employee or his or her attorney, within 90 days after learning of the incident, may file a complaint against the lessee with the chief human rights referee. The chief referee must assign the compliant to a referee, who must hold a hearing and issue a decision on whether there was a violation. The referee must act as an independent hearing officer.

The referee may order a state shellfish grounds lessee to produce without a subpoena (1) an employee to testify as a witness and (2) relevant books, papers, or documents. If the lessee fails to do so within 30 days after the order, the referee may consider that as supporting evidence for the complainant.

If after the hearing the referee decides there was a violation, he or she may award the employee reinstatement, back pay, reestablishment of employee benefits, reasonable attorney's fees, and any other damages. Any party to the proceeding may appeal the referee's decision to Superior Court.

The act requires the chief human rights referee to adopt regulations to establish procedures for filing complaints and noticing and holding hearings.

As an alternative to filing a complaint with the chief human rights referee, an aggrieved employee, after exhausting all administrative remedies, may file a civil action in Superior Court for the judicial district where the alleged violation occurred or the employer has its principal location.

Lastly, in any complaint or civil action brought against a lessee for a personnel action that happens within two years of the employee providing information to the leasing agency about a lease, there is a rebuttable presumption that the personnel action is in retaliation for the employee's action. (A “rebuttable presumption” is an assumption of fact accepted by the referee or court until disproved. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

118 — SHELLFISH TESTING LABORATORY REPORT

The act requires the DoAg commissioner, after consulting with the DPH commissioner, to report to the Environment Committee by January 1, 2016 on the need for and viability of establishing a laboratory east of the Connecticut River for testing shellfish. The report must include:

1. a description of the required laboratory testing for shellfish as prescribed by DPH, DoAg, or law;

2. an explanation of the standards a shellfish testing laboratory must meet;

3. a description of any equipment and facilities required to perform the testing;

4. the qualifications any person who performs the testing must possess;

5. an assessment of the adequacy of existing state facilities to perform testing for the state's shellfish industry; and

6. the volume of testing that could occur at a facility established east of the Connecticut River.

The report must also (1) identify any existing privately owned facilities, state resources, or state facilities that could adequately and appropriately serve as a testing laboratory east of the Connecticut River and (2) include a cost-benefit analysis on modifying existing state resources or facilities to perform the testing.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

119 & 120 — AGRICULTURE HEARING OFFICERS

The act expands the DoAg commissioner's authority to designate people he deems qualified to carry out certain agency functions, including administrative proceedings.

By law, the commissioner may designate a DoAg (1) deputy commissioner to act in his place if he is absent and (2) deputy commissioner, employee, assistant, or agent to administer or enforce statutes, regulations, permits, or orders.

The act allows the commissioner to also designate:

1. a DoAg employee to act in his place when he is absent;

2. a DoAg deputy commissioner, employee, assistant, or agent to be a hearing officer in an administrative hearing;

3. more than one qualified person to conduct an administrative hearing, with one serving as the presiding officer; and

4. any qualified person, who the commissioner may pay, to be a hearing officer for a contested case.

Under prior law, the authority to issue a final decision after a hearing was placed solely with the commissioner. The act authorizes the commissioner to direct a hearing officer to make a (1) proposed final decision or (2) final decision. But the commissioner or a deputy commissioner must consider and make final decisions for modifications or reconsiderations of contested cases.

Under the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (UAPA), final decisions are those resulting from a contested case where the affected party is given a right to a hearing. A “contested case” is an agency proceeding that determines a person's legal rights, duties, or privileges by statute. The UAPA regulates how agencies conduct these cases, including (1) determining the parties, (2) setting notice requirements, (3) guiding the conduct and record of the hearing, and (4) setting rules for appeals. Only an agency's final decision can be appealed to Superior Court.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

121 — FARMLAND RESTORATION PLANS TO INCLUDE SHELLFISH

PA 15-22 allows the DoAg commissioner to partially reimburse a farmer for the cost to develop, implement, and comply with a farmland restoration plan under the state's farmland restoration program. The act specifies that a (1) “farmland restoration plan” includes conservation and restoration plans for leased or franchised shellfish beds and (2) “farmer” includes a lessee or franchise holder of a state or town shellfish bed.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

122 — DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES (DRS) ADMINISTRATIVE PRONOUNCEMENTS

Existing law authorizes the DRS commissioner to issue administrative pronouncements interpreting tax laws. The act eliminates a requirement that he adopt regulations codifying the pronouncements. Prior law required him to (1) publish a notice of intent to adopt regulations implementing a pronouncement within 180 days of issuing it and (2) submit the proposed regulations to the legislative Regulation Review Committee within six months.

By law, the pronouncements do not have the force and effect of regulations and must include a notice of this fact. However, taxpayers may, by law, rely on them.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

123 — TAX INCIDENCE REPORT

The act delays, from December 31, 2016 to February 15, 2017, the deadline by which DRS must submit its next tax incidence report to the legislature. By law, DRS must biennially submit to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and post on DRS's website a report on the overall incidence of the income tax, sales and excise taxes, corporation business tax, and property tax.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

124 & 125 — RELIEF FOR INNOCENT SPOUSES

The act eliminates the two-year deadline by which certain “innocent spouses” may apply to the DRS for relief from paying taxes, interest, and penalties for improperly reported or omitted items on their tax return.

The law allows the DRS commissioner to excuse a taxpayer who files a joint tax return from paying taxes, interest, and penalties if his or her spouse (or former spouse) improperly reported or omitted items on their joint tax return. It establishes three types of relief for such taxpayers (i. e. , innocent spouses): innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, and equitable relief (see Background). Prior law required taxpayers to apply for relief within two years after the DRS commissioner first attempted to collect the tax. The act eliminates this deadline for taxpayers applying for equitable relief but maintains it for those applying for innocent spouse or separation of liability relief.

The act also allows rather than requires the DRS commissioner to adopt regulations necessary to carry out the innocent spouse relief provisions. As under existing law, taxpayers applying for equitable relief must do so according to procedures the DRS commissioner prescribes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Background ‒ Types of Relief for Joint Filers

The law establishes three types of relief for certain joint filers: innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, and equitable relief.

Innocent spouse relief excuses a filer from paying a tax deficiency attributed to items his or her spouse improperly reported or omitted from their joint tax return, thus requiring DRS to collect the deficiency from the other spouse. Separation of liability relief allocates the deficiency between the joint filers according to each individual's responsibility for the debt.

Equitable relief is for filers who do not qualify for innocent spouse or separation of liability relief. The DRS commissioner may grant equitable relief to such filers if, taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it is inequitable to hold them liable for all or part of any tax or deficiency.

126 — SUBMITTING FEDERAL W-2 FORMS TO DRS

The law requires employers, annually by January 31, to provide each employee with a written statement that shows the amount of wages paid and income tax deducted and withheld from such wages during the previous calendar year (i. e. , federal Form W-2). Prior law required employers to file copies of these forms with DRS, generally by the last day of (1) February, for employers filing paper returns, and (2) March, for employers filing electronic returns (Conn. Agencies Reg. , 12-707-1(c)). The act requires employers to file copies of these W-2 forms by January 31 each year. In doing so, it also requires employers to file the state form reconciling the total amount of Connecticut income tax they withheld from wages during the previous year (i. e. , Form CT-W3) by January 31 each year. Under state regulations, employers must file the Form CT-W3 at the same time as filing the W-2.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

127 — DRS SPECIAL POLICE AGENTS

The act allows the DRS special police agents appointed by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioner to operate anywhere within DRS, rather than only in its special investigation section. By law, these special police agents have all the powers of state police and serve at the DESPP commissioner's pleasure.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

128 — RACKETEERING ACTIVITY

The act expands the definition of “racketeering activity” under the Corrupt Organization Racketeering Act (CORA) to include certain cigarette tax law violations. In doing so, it subjects a person or entity that engages in a pattern of these violations to prosecution under CORA. Specifically, it applies to:

1. fraudulent making, uttering, forging, or counterfeiting of cigarette tax stamps or causing or procuring the same;

2. willful uttering, publishing, passing, or rendering as true any false, altered, forged, or counterfeited stamps;

3. knowing possession of any such false, altered, forged, or counterfeited stamp;

4. using a cigarette tax stamp more than once to evade the cigarette tax;

5. tampering with, or causing the tampering of, a cigarette tax metering machine; or

6. possessing, transporting for sale, selling, or offering for sale 20,000 or more cigarettes (a) in any unstamped or illegally packaged stamped packages or (b) that the law prohibits from bearing a tax stamp as described below.

By law, cigarette distributors and dealers cannot put a state cigarette tax stamp on and sell a cigarette package if it:

1. is not labeled in conformity with the federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act and other applicable federal label and warning requirements;

2. is labeled in a way prescribed by the U. S. Department of the Treasury indicating that the cigarettes are intended for export and are exempt from taxation (e. g. , "For export only" or "For use outside U. S. ");

3. was imported into the United States after January 1, 2000 in violation of federal law restricting the importation of cigarettes that have been previously exported;

4. violates federal trademark or copyright law or if federal taxes have not been paid on it;

5. has been modified or altered by someone other than the manufacturer, or someone authorized by the manufacturer, including with a sticker or label that covers information described in the first two prohibitions listed above;

6. is produced by a cigarette manufacturer, or belongs to a brand family, that is not listed in DRS's Connecticut Tobacco Directory (i. e. , its listing of tobacco product manufacturers and their brand families that comply with the state's tobacco settlement law); or

7. is not included in the Connecticut Fire-Safe Cigarette Directory (i. e. , the State Fire Marshal Office's listing of cigarette manufacturers in compliance with the state's fire-safe cigarette laws).

CORA subjects violators to (1) one to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both; (2) forfeiture of property acquired, maintained, or used in violation of CORA, including profits, appreciated value, and sale proceeds;  and (3) forfeiture of any interest, claim against property, or contractual right affording a source of influence over any enterprise the violator established, operated, controlled, conducted, or participated in. Violators are also subject to the fines and penalties associated with the underlying crimes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

129 — PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATION FUND

Under existing law, if there is a balance in the Probate Court Administration Fund on June 30 exceeding 15% of its authorized expenditures in the coming fiscal year, that excess is transferred to the General Fund.

The act overrides this provision for FY 15 by requiring any balance in the Probate Court Administration Fund on June 30, 2015 to remain in that fund.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

130 — AMBULATORY SURGICAL CENTER TAX

PA 15-244 ( 172) imposes a 6% gross receipts tax on DPH-licensed and Medicare-certified ambulatory surgical centers. This act allows the centers to seek remuneration for this tax. It also excludes from the tax (1) the first $1 million of a center's gross receipts in the applicable fiscal year or (2) any portion of those receipts that constitutes net patient revenue of a hospital liable for hospital taxes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

131 — CITIZENS' ELECTION FUND TRANSFER TO GENERAL FUND

On or after July 1, 2016, the act transfers $7,750,000 from the Citizens' Election Fund (CEF) to the General Fund for FY 17. CEF provides funds to candidates participating in the state's campaign financing program and is mostly funded by a statutorily determined amount of abandoned property sale proceeds that escheat to the state. The state treasurer administers the fund, which is a separate nonlapsing General Fund account.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

132 — SALES TAX REVENUE DIVERSION

PA 15-244 ( 74) requires the DRS commissioner to direct a portion of sales tax revenue to the STF and Municipal Revenue Sharing Account (MRSA) according to a specified schedule. The act adjusts the schedule for the revenue diversion as shown in Tables 4 and 5.

Table 4: Sales Tax Revenue Diverted to MRSA

PA 15-244's Timetable for Revenue Diversion (quarters ending on or after)

Act's Timetable for Revenue Diversion (months beginning on or after)

% Diverted to MRSA (% of 6. 35% sales tax revenue)

December 31, 2015 but prior to July 1, 2016

January 1, 2016 but prior to May 1, 2017

4. 7%

July 1, 2016 but prior to July 1, 2017

May 1, 2017 but prior to July 1, 2017

6. 3

July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017

7. 9

Table 5: Sales Tax Revenue Diverted to STF

PA 15-244's Timetable for Revenue Diversion (quarters ending on or after)

Act's Timetable for Revenue Diversion (months beginning on or after)

% Diverted to STF (% of 6. 35% sales tax revenue)

December 31, 2015 but prior to July 1, 2016

October 1, 2015 but prior to October 1, 2016

4. 7%

July 1, 2016 but prior to July 1, 2017

October 1, 2016 but prior to July 1, 2017

6. 3

July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017

7. 9

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage and applicable to sales occurring on or after October 1, 2015

132-134 & 516 — COMPUTER AND DATA PROCESSING SERVICES

The act eliminates provisions in PA 15-244 ( 74 & 76) (1) increasing the sales and use tax rate on computer and data processing services from 1% to 2% on October 1, 2015 and 2% to 3% on July 1, 2016; (2) for such services sold on or after October 1, 2015, exempting from the tax services performed by an entity for one of its affiliates (i. e. , a person who directly or indirectly owns, controls, or is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with another person); and (3) imposing use tax on internet access services as of October 1, 2015.

PA 15-244 ( 75) expands the types of computer and data processing services subject to the tax to include the creation, development, hosting, and maintenance of a website on the world wide web. The act delays this expansion from July 1, 2015 to October 1, 2015.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage and applicable to sales occurring on or after October 1, 2015 except for the (1) use tax provisions, which are effective upon passage; (2) temporary restoration of the world wide web service exemption, which is effective July 1, 2015 and applicable to sales occurring on or after July 1, 2015; and (3) provision subjecting world wide web services to taxation as of October 1, 2015, which is effective October 1, 2015 and applicable to sales on or after October 1, 2015.

135 — SALES AND USE TAX ON EMPLOYER-PROVIDED PARKING

The act repeals a provision in PA 15-244 ( 75) that, beginning July 1, 2015, would have eliminated the sales and use tax exemption for non-metered motor vehicle parking in an employer-operated lot with 30 or more spaces (1) owned or leased for a minimum of 10 years and (2) operated for the exclusive use of its employees. In doing so, it maintains the existing exemption for such services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015 and applicable to sales occurring on or after that date.

136 — SALES AND USE TAX ON CAR WASH SERVICES

The act extends the sales and use tax to coin-operated car washes. PA 15-244 ( 75) extended the tax to car wash services, but excluded coin-operated car washes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015 and applicable to sales occurring on or after that date.

137 — SALES AND USE TAX FILING AND REMITTING DEADLINE

The act extends the deadline for filing and remitting monthly and quarterly sales and use taxes from the 20th day of the month to the last day of the month following the end of the applicable filing period. Retailers that must remit the taxes on a weekly basis must continue to do so as the law or the revenue services commissioner requires.

In extending this deadline, the act also extends the deadline for remitting room occupancy taxes and prepaid wireless enhanced 9-1-1 (E-9-1-1) fees, which are tied to the sales and use tax filing and remittance periods.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015 and applicable to periods ending on or after December 31, 2015.

138 — KENO

PA 15-244 ( 103-106) allows the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) to offer keno games, but not until OPM enters into separate agreements with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes regarding CLC's keno operation. The act limits the total amount of gross keno revenue the state may give to a tribe under an agreement to 12. 5% of that revenue after subtracting prize payments.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

139-141 — CORPORATION INCOME TAX SURCHARGE

PA 15-244 ( 83 & 84) (1) extends the 20% corporation income tax surcharge that was set to expire after the 2015 income year (i. e. , by January 1, 2016) for two additional years to the 2016 and 2017 income years and (2) imposes an additional temporary 10% surcharge for the 2018 income year. The act delays the effective date of these provisions to January 1, 2016 and applicable to income years starting on or after that date, rather than June 30, 2015 and applicable to income years starting on or after January 1, 2015. It also makes conforming changes to provisions imposing the surcharge on companies that file combined or unitary tax returns to reflect the delayed implementation of combined reporting as described below.

EFFECTIVE DATE: June 30, 2015 for the effective date delay; January 1, 2016 and applicable to income years starting on or after that date for the conforming changes.

139-153 — COMBINED REPORTING

139-147 & 149-153 ‒ Delayed Effective Date and Technical and Conforming Changes

The act delays by one year the effective date for implementing mandatory combined reporting. PA 15-244 ( 138-163) requires any company that is part of a corporate group engaged in a “unitary business” and subject to the Connecticut corporation tax to determine its corporation tax liability based on the net income or capital base of the combined group. The act makes this requirement effective January 1, 2016 and applicable to income years starting on or after that date, rather than June 30, 2015 and applicable to income years starting on or after January 1, 2015.

The act makes various conforming changes to PA 15-244's combined reporting provisions to reflect the one-year delay, including (1) delaying by one year the repeal of previous combined and unitary return provisions, (2) eliminating special estimated tax filing deadlines and safe harbor provisions for taxpayers required to file combined returns in 2015, and (3) delaying by one year the date by which the DRS commissioner must publish a list of jurisdictions he determines to be tax havens.

It also makes various technical changes and corrections.

144 ‒ Affiliated Groups

PA 15-244 ( 140) gives combined groups the option of determining their members' net income, capital base, and apportionment factors on an affiliated group basis. Under the act, an affiliated group includes any member of the combined group, determined on a worldwide basis, incorporated in a “tax haven” (i. e. , in a jurisdiction meeting specified criteria, including a tax regime that is favorable for tax avoidance). The act specifies that such a member may be excluded from the affiliated group if the DRS commissioner is satisfied that the member is incorporated in the tax haven for a legitimate business purpose.

144 ‒ Water's-Edge Basis

PA 15-244 ( 140) requires combined groups to file on a water's-edge basis unless they elect a worldwide or affiliated group basis. The act requires groups filing on a water's-edge basis to include any member that earns more than 20% of its gross income, directly or indirectly, from intangible property or service-related activities, the costs of which generally are deductible for federal income tax purposes against the income of other group members (whether currently or over a period of time). Groups must include such members only to the extent of such gross income and its related apportionment factors.

145 ‒ Deduction for Certain Publicly Traded Companies (FAS 109 Deduction)

PA 15-244 ( 141) allows certain combined groups to claim an offsetting deduction over a seven-year period, beginning in the 2018 income year, if the combined reporting requirements result in an aggregate increase in their members' net deferred tax liabilities or aggregate decrease in their net deferred tax assets. The act additionally allows them to do so if combined reporting results in an aggregate change from a net deferred tax asset to a net deferred tax liability. It also delays, from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017, the date by which combined groups intending to claim this deduction must file a statement with the DRS commissioner.

148 ‒ Investments in Connecticut Partnerships

By law, multistate corporations that invest in Connecticut partnerships or limited liability companies are subject to special apportionment provisions. Under these provisions, companies that are limited partners in Connecticut partnerships (other than investment partnerships) but are not otherwise doing business in Connecticut pay tax only on their proportionate share of the average value of their partnership interest. But if the DRS commissioner determines that the corporate limited partner and the partnership are parts of a unitary business engaged in a single business enterprise, the corporation is generally taxed according to standard apportionment rules. The act requires that corporate limited partners and partnerships that are members of a combined group filing a combined unitary tax return also be taxed according to standard apportionment rules. (PA 15-244 ( 149) makes similar changes in regard to how such corporate limited partners must apportion their partnership income for corporation tax purposes. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2016 and applicable to income years beginning on or after that date, except for the effective date delay, which is effective June 30, 2015.

154 — DRY CLEANING ESTABLISHMENT SURCHARGE

By law, dry cleaning businesses must register with the revenue services commissioner and pay a 1% surcharge on their dry cleaning retail gross receipts. The act imposes a $1,000 penalty each time they fail to register and prohibits them from providing dry cleaning services until they do so. The commissioner may not waive the penalty.

Under the act, beginning in 2015, dry cleaning businesses must also annually renew their registrations by October 1 as the commissioner specifies. He must send a “nonrenewal notice” to each business that fails to renew its registration, and those that fail to renew within 45 days of the notice face a $200 penalty, which the commissioner may impose once during any registration period.

The commissioner may waive the failure to renew penalty if he is satisfied that the failure was unintentional and not due to neglect, but to reasonable cause. If the commissioner chooses to do so, he must follow the statutory procedure for waiving penalties over $1,000 (CGS 12-3a). That procedure requires each proposed waiver to be approved by the Penalty Review Committee, which consists of the revenue services commissioner, comptroller, and OPM secretary or their representatives.

By law, the revenue the dry cleaning surcharge generates funds grants for preventing, containing, or remediating pollution resulting from the hazardous chemicals used in dry cleaning. Eligible dry cleaners may apply to DECD for these grants.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

155 & 156 — FY 16 & FY 17 APPROPRIATIONS ADJUSTMENTS

The act adjusts funds appropriated from the General Fund in the budget act (PA 15-244) for state agencies and programs in FY 16 and FY 17. Specifically, it (1) reduces (a) Medicaid funding by $1. 5 million in FY 16 and FY 17 and (b) the Reserve for Salary Adjustments by $13 million in FY 17 and (2) creates a new target savings lapse of $12. 5 million in FY 16 and FY 17. The act's total adjusted net appropriations are shown in Table 6.

The act also authorizes the OPM secretary to make specified General Fund allotment reductions in FY 16 and FY 17 in order to achieve the targeted savings the act requires.

Table 6. Revised FY 16 and FY 17 General Fund Appropriations

FY

New Net Appropriation

Change from PA 15-244

16

$18,161,553,801

($14,000,000)

17

18,711,158,675

(27,000,000)

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

157 — COMPETITIVE BIDS ON CONTRACTS PAID FOR WITH U. S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (U. S. DOT) FUNDS

The act exempts contracts that may be paid for with U. S. DOT funds from certain aspects of DAS's selection process for (1) competitively bid contracts and (2) proposals submitted in response to a DAS request. This effectively means such contracts must be awarded to the lowest responsible qualified bidder or most advantageous proposer.

DAS generally awards contracts for which it puts out to bid to the lowest responsible qualified bidder. If within 10 days that bidder refuses to accept the contract, however, DAS may award the contract to the next lowest responsible qualified bidder. A similar 10-day deadline and selection process applies to a person, firm, or corporation submitting a proposal in response to a DAS request for proposals.

The act conforms the DAS selection process when using U. S. DOT funds to federal requirements that state and local governments receiving federal highway grant funds “award contracts for projects only on the basis of the lowest responsive bid submitted by a bidder meeting established criteria of responsibility” (23 USC 112 and August 23, 2013 Memorandum of Opinion for the Acting General Counsel Department of Transportation).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

158 — DOT LAND ACQUISITION

The law allows DOT to buy or condemn land for state highways, bridges, highway maintenance storage areas, and garages.

Under prior law, the commissioner, if he determined it to be in the state's best interest, could buy, lease, or otherwise acquire or exchange land, buildings, or both for use as a highway maintenance storage area or garage. The act extends this authority to include the acquisition of such property for more general highway or bridge uses. As under existing law, a state referee must approve a purchase costing more than $100,000.

The act also (1) reduces, from 120 days to 90 days, the length of time a property owner can continue to live rent-free on land DOT has condemned and (2) limits this rent-free occupancy to owner-occupied homes. It also expands the law to allow owner-operated businesses to operate on these properties rent-free for 90 days and applies these provisions to land DOT purchases as well as condemns. The 90-day period runs from the date DOT files a (1) certificate, in the case of a condemnation, or (2) deed, in the case of a purchase.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

159 — DOT ALTERNATIVE CONSTRUCTION METHODS

By law, the DOT commissioner may designate certain projects to be built using alternatives to the traditional “design-bid-build” construction process. Such alternatives include the “construction manager at risk” (CMAR) and “design-build” processes.

In a CMAR contract, an owner (e. g. , DOT) contracts with a construction manager who works with the project designer and provides labor and material and manages the project during construction. By law, the CMAR contract must guarantee the maximum price. (In a design-build contract, an owner contracts with a single entity that both designs and builds a project. )

The act allows the commissioner, when he designates a project for a CMAR contract, to have DOT personnel do the design work or contract with an architect or engineer to do so. As under prior law, the act requires the CMAR contractor to provide input during the design process.

Under prior law, the CMAR contractor was responsible for the project's construction and had to select subcontractors for this work through a low sealed bid process. The act allows, rather than requires, the CMAR contractor to be responsible for construction and eliminates the CMAR's responsibility to select subcontractors through sealed bids.

The act allows the DOT commissioner to permit the CMAR contractor to undertake a portion of the construction if the commissioner finds the construction manager general contractor can perform this work more cost-effectively than a subcontractor. It requires trade subcontractors, selected through a process the commissioner approves, to perform all the work the general contractor does not perform.

The act allows the commissioner to put the project out to bid under DOT's traditional highway construction bid process if no agreement can be reached on a guaranteed maximum price.

By law, the commissioner must obtain competitive proposals for CMAR and design-build projects by advertising the project at least once in a newspaper with a substantial circulation in the area where the project is located. The act allows him to also provide this notice on DAS's State Contracting Portal or other advertising methods likely to reach qualified CMAR general contractors or design-build contractors as appropriate.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

160 — USE OF CONSULTANTS FOR DOT PROJECTS USING ALTERNATIVE CONSTRUCTION METHODS

The act requires the DOT to issue a request for proposal, rather than bid package, when using alternative contracting methods.

By law, the commissioner must have DOT employees perform development services and inspection work after the performance of the first two alternative construction projects (although he may continue to use consultants after this time if necessary to complete work on these projects). By law, development services include the project's size, type, and desired design character; performance specifications; quality of materials; equipment; workmanship; preliminary plans; or other information DOT needs to issue a bid package.

The act allows the commissioner, after the first two projects are performed, to use consultants to design a CMAR project if he determines that DOT lacks the capacity and technical expertise to do so. He must make this determination after assessing the project delivery schedule, staffing capacity, and required technical expertise required for the project. But the act specifies that detailed design work on design-build contracts remains the contractor's responsibility.

The act requires the commissioner to create a program to train DOT employees to support alternative project delivery methods. This training may be provided on projects using consultants. The commissioner must report annually by October 1 to the governor on (1) the department's progress in training its employees, (2) improving the diversity of its technical expertise, and (3) building internal project delivery capacity.

The commissioner's authority to use consultants under prior law ended on the earlier of (1) when the governor notifies the Transportation Committee that consultants are no longer needed to complete alternative construction projects or (2) January 1, 2019 unless the legislature reauthorizes their use. The act extends (1) how long DOT can use consultants by three years to January 1, 2022 and (2) the 2022 deadline another three years until January 1, 2025, if the governor certifies that the continued use of consultants is necessary to complete alternative delivery projects.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

161 — INDEMNIFICATION OF METRO NORTH AND THE OPERATOR OF THE HARTFORD LINE

The act allows the DOT commissioner, if he finds it is in the state's best interest, to indemnify and hold harmless Metro North Railroad against claims brought by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) or other third parties against Metro North related to M-8 rail car operation on Amtrak property, provided the indemnification does not relieve Metro North of liability for its willful or negligent acts or omissions.

The act also allows the commissioner to indemnify and hold harmless the operator of the new rail passenger service on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line if (1) he finds it is in the state's best interest to do so and (2) Amtrak requires the operator to indemnify Amtrak and hold it harmless. DOT has not yet selected an operator for this service.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

162 — REPAIRING AND MAINTAINING CERTAIN STRUCTURES

By law, the state must maintain and repair any structure, such as a bridge, that spans a (1) railroad line and supports a municipal road or (2) rail right-of-way a state agency has purchased. It also requires the commissioner to adopt regulations establishing a method for the state to share maintenance and repair costs with municipalities for structures that span a railroad line and support a municipal road.

The act authorizes the DOT commissioner to enter into an agreement with municipal officials to maintain, and remove snow and ice from, a footpath or sidewalk on either of the structures described above. It also makes conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

163 — QUICK CLEARANCE OF HIGHWAYS

The act generally exempts wrecker operators from liability for property damage to a vehicle, its contents, or the surrounding area when removing a vehicle blocking a limited access highway travel lane. Wreckers may remove such a vehicle only at the direction of police or a traffic authority that has determined that the wrecked vehicle's location poses an emergency and a threat to public safety. The wrecker operator must use all reasonable care to limit further damage to the vehicle, its contents, and the surrounding area.

By law, a violation of law regarding wreckers is an offense. A first violation is an infraction, and each subsequent violation is a class D misdemeanor (see Table on Penalties).

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

164 — ENHANCED ACCIDENT RESPONSE PLAN

The act requires the commissioners of DOT, DESPP, and DEEP to report by January 1, 2017 to the Environment, Public Safety and Security, and Transportation committees on the development and implementation of an enhanced accident response plan.

The report must include at least a description of:

1. existing programs and policies;

2. steps being taken to implement these programs and policies statewide;

3. interagency initiatives to ensure a prompt, coordinated, and efficient response to accidents or other traffic incidents;

4. efforts to include other individuals and groups critical to the plan;

5. any federal programs to improve accident or traffic incident response, including the availability of federal funding to implement them; and

6. goals to improve the plan for the coming year.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

167 — AMTRAK OVERPASS

The act requires DOT to take all necessary steps to cover a deteriorated Amtrak overpass in West Hartford. These steps must include, on the overpass' east side, designing, building, and installing an overhead sign spanning New Britain Avenue and covering the overpass.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

168 — COMMUTER RAIL BRANCH LINES

The act requires DOT to continue planning to improve the Danbury, New Canaan, Norwalk, and Waterbury branch rail lines, including upgrading and electrifying them. (Norwalk is a terminus of the Danbury line. ) The department must report by January 6, 2017 to the Transportation Committee on its progress and provide additional updates to the committee upon request.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

169 — STATE RAIL LINE STUDY

The act requires the commissioner to study options for the operation of state rail lines. He must report to the Transportation Committee on his findings by January 1, 2017.

The study must include researching rail line operators and contacting the contracting agencies that employ the rail line operators.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Rail Line Operators

For rail line operators, including Metro North, the study must ascertain, for each company:

1. its experience in rail line operation,

2. the terms of the contracts under which it operates and the mechanisms used to enforce the contract terms,

3. performance standards for quality of service and safety, and

4. its experience working with other stakeholders in responding promptly and effectively to concerns about rail line operations.

Contracting Agencies

The commissioner must obtain a summary of the structure and governance of rail lines subject to the contracts and ascertain contracting agencies' “lessons learned” and best practices.

The study also must examine the competitive procurement of rail operation contracts. Specifically, it must study the feasibility and legal and labor issues of procurement models and the schedules and costs of the procurement process.

The act requires the commissioner to conduct the study in a way that does not interfere with commuter rail service procurements that DOT is conducting or plans to conduct, including finding an operator for the Hartford line.

170-195 — BRIDGE AND ROAD NAMING

The act designates:

1. Route 272 in Torrington from Route 4 north to Hodges Hill Road the “Richard W. Nardine Memorial Highway” ( 170);

2. Route 173 in Newington from Richard Street north to Route 174 the “Robert J. Seiler Memorial Highway” ( 171);

3. Route 106 in Wilton from the New Canaan-Wilton town line east to Route 53 the “Air Force First Lieutenant Charles M. Baffo Memorial Highway” ( 172);

4. the access driveway to the DOT's Colchester Repair and Electrical Facility at 80 New London Road the “Lisa Maynard Memorial Access Road” ( 173);

5. Route 63 in Watertown from Bunker Hill Road north to Route 6 the “Guy E. Buzzannco Memorial Highway” ( 174);

6. Route 35 in Ridgefield, north from Limestone Road to Route 7 the “Maurice Sendak Memorial Highway” ( 175);

7. Route 160 in Rocky Hill from Route 3 east to Gilbert Avenue the “James Vicino Memorial Highway” ( 176);

8. Route 127, East Main Street, in Bridgeport, from Route 130 north to Route 1 the “65th U. S. Infantry Regiment, 'The Borinqueneers' Memorial Highway” ( 177);

9. Route 196 from Route 66 to Main Street in East Hampton the “Russell Oakes Memorial Highway” ( 178);

10. Bridge number 00649 on I-84 west passing over Route 10 in Southington the “Lieutenant Michael J. Shanley Memorial Bridge” ( 179);

11. Bridge number 05349 on Route 82 east over the Yantic River in Norwich the “Benjamin Demond Memorial Bridge” ( 180);

12. Bridge number 0429 on Route 4 in Farmington passing over the Farmington River the “Albert M. Glenn Memorial Bridge” ( 181);

13. Bridge number 00049 on I-95 over Richards Avenue in Norwalk the “Army Specialist David R. Fahey, Jr. Memorial Bridge” ( 182);

14. Route 243 in Woodbridge the “Joseph Anastasio Memorial Highway” ( 183);

15. Bridge number 00638 in Middletown the “Major General Maurice Rose Memorial Bridge” ( 184);

16. Route 1 Mianus River Bridge between the Cos Cob and Riverside sections of Greenwich the “Honorable David N. Theis Memorial Bridge” ( 185);

17. Route 138 in Lisbon the “Aaron Dwight Stevens Memorial Highway” ( 186);

18. Bridge 01752 on I-84 west in West Hartford, the “Lt. Col. George W. Tule Memorial Bridge” ( 187);

19. Route 194 in South Windsor north from U. S. Route 5 to Troy Road the “Thomas F. Howe Memorial Highway” ( 188);

20. Route 10 in Cheshire north from Bartlem Park to the Cheshire Police Station the “Medal of Honor Highway” ( 189);

21. Route 83 in Glastonbury from Howe Street north to the Glastonbury-Manchester town line the “Thomas P. Sheridan Memorial Highway” ( 190); and

22. Bridge 00488 on Route 66 in Windham the “James Carey DeVivo Memorial Bridge” ( 191).

The act also:

1. requires DOT to attach, to existing signs at exit 21 east and west on I-84 in Waterbury, or another nearby location it determines, language indicating the location of a monument honoring Father Michael J. McGivney ( 192);

2. renames the “Major Raoul Lufbery Highway” as the “Major Gervais Raoul Lufbery Memorial Highway” ( 193);

3. designates Bridge number 3372 A and B on I-84 in Hartford the “Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Bridge,” and repeals a law naming a portion of I-84 in Hartford the “Tuskegee Airmen Highway” ( 194); and

4. renames the “John A. Dolan Memorial Bridge” on I-84 east in Southington as the “Trooper John A. Dolan Memorial Bridge” ( 195).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

196 & 207 — DRIVER TRAINING FOR PEOPLE WITH MEDICALLY WITHDRAWN LICENSES

The act authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) commissioner to allow people whose licenses have been withdrawn for medical reasons to drive on a limited basis in order to get their license reinstated. After a hearing, the commissioner must (1) determine that the affected person does not have a health problem that inhibits his or her ability to drive safely and (2) require the person to pass a road test to have his or her license reinstated. Such people may drive only when being trained by a licensed driving instructor or while taking a road test with a motor vehicle testing agent.

The act also allows the commissioner to permit people who have had their licenses withdrawn because of a physical or mental disability to drive with an instructor for the Department of Rehabilitation Services' (DORS) driver training program. By law, people with disabilities that do not make them incapable of driving may receive training under the DORS program, including training with adaptive equipment. After a person successfully completes the program, the DMV commissioner may waive the road test and issue a driver's license with any restrictions recommended by DORS.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

197 & 212 — ELIMINATING OBSOLETE STAMP PROVISIONS

The act eliminates obsolete provisions that required an official stamp issued by the DMV commissioner for a 60-day temporary registration transfer (1) by a person or firm between one vehicle used in connection with the business to another and (2) by a dealer transferring a buyer's current registration to the vehicle it sells to the buyer.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

198, 200 & 203 — TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING CHANGES TO MOTOR VEHICLE STATUTES

The act makes several technical and conforming changes to the motor vehicle statutes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

199 — ISSUING AND RENEWING LICENSES

Under the act, the DMV commissioner may issue or renew any license, permit, or identity card by any method he deems secure and efficient. These methods may include producing these documents at a centralized location and mailing them to an applicant.

The act specifically allows the commissioner to issue temporary licenses, permits, and cards to an applicant to use until he or she receives the permanent one in the mail. These temporary documents are valid for 30 days or until the applicant receives the permanent one, whichever is earlier.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

201, 202 & 204 — CONFORMING STATE COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSE (CDL) LAW TO FEDERAL LAW

Federal law requires state CDL laws to be consistent with federal regulations. The act conforms state law to federal regulations regarding self-certification of commerce type and medical certification (49 CFR 383. 71(b) & 391. 41).

Self-Certification

The act requires first-time CDL and commercial instruction permit applicants and CDL holders applying for permit renewal to self-certify the type of commerce in which they expect to or currently engage (i. e. , non-excepted interstate, excepted interstate, non-excepted intrastate, or excepted intrastate). The DMV commissioner cannot issue or renew a CDL to anyone that does not make the certification, and must downgrade a CDL to Class D operator's license within 60 days of a CDL holder's failure to self- certify.

Medical Certificate

In conformity with federal law, the act also requires CDL applicants and holders to have their medical certificates completed by a federally certified medical examiner who is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Under previous federal law, a CDL applicant or holder could have any licensed medical professional complete the required certificate.

By law, CDL and instruction permit applicants must submit a copy of a medical examiner's certificate, prepared by a federally-certified medical examiner, indicating that he or she is medically certified to drive a commercial vehicle. CDL holders must submit a new medical certificate every 24 months, or within a shorter time period if indicated by the medical examiner on the CDL holder's previous certificate.

By law, DMV is prohibited from issuing a license or instruction permit to anyone who has not submitted a medical examiner's certificate. If a CDL or instruction permit holder does not submit a certificate within the required timeframe, the act requires the commissioner to, within 60 days of the date the holder becomes uncertified, downgrade the CDL to a Class D operator's license or cancel the instruction permit.

For CDL applicants and holders who have submitted a medical certificate and self-certified as engaging in non-excepted interstate commerce, the act requires the commissioner to post a medical certification status of “certified” on the Commercial Driver's License Information System for the applicant or holder.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

205 & 206 — MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD

By law, the Motor Vehicle Operator's License Medical Advisory Board advises the DMV commissioner on the medical aspects and concerns of licensing motor vehicle operators. The act allows physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to (1) serve on the board and (2) complete physicals and medical reports requested by the board for the purposes of licensing decisions. Under prior law, only physicians and optometrists could perform these functions. The act also allows these physicals and medical reports to be completed by medical professionals licensed outside of Connecticut.

By law, the Connecticut State Medical Society and the Connecticut Association of Optometrists submit nominees from the specialties the law requires to serve on the board, and the commissioner selects board members from the nominees. Under the act, professional medical associations that have physician assistant or APRN members may also make such recommendations. The act also adds occupational medicine to the list of specialties required on the board. Under the act, the board must meet at least annually instead of at least twice a year.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

208 — HEAVY DUTY TRAILER REGISTRATION FEE

The act eliminates a separate method for determining, for registration fee purposes, the weight of a tractor that is limited to pulling a heavy duty trailer. Under the act, registration fees for tractors that pull heavy duty trailers are determined in the same manner as the fees for all other tractors.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

209-211 — ADMINISTRATIVE AND TRANSCRIPT FEES

The act specifies that the fee for a transcript of a DMV hearing applies only to a hearing transcribed by DMV. It also specifies that administrative fees apply to dealers and repairers that fail to provide proof of bond renewal or replacement or insurance renewal or replacement. Prior law imposed the fee on those dealers and repairers that failed to continuously maintain bond and insurance requirements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

213 & 214 — FLASHING LIGHTS STATUTES REVISION

The act revises and reorganizes the statutes regarding the use of colored and flashing lights. Among the changes, it:

1. eliminates obsolete provisions referring to purple and green lights for interstate public service vehicles;

2. eliminates a provision permitting commercial motor vehicles to use green identification lights;

3. eliminates a requirement that blue and green flashing light permits, which are issued by the chief executive officer of a volunteer fire or ambulance department, be filed with DMV; and

4. allows student transportation vehicles accommodating students with disabilities to use flashing lights in a color other than red when discharging passengers.

The act also makes numerous technical changes to these statutes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

215 — ELIMINATING PROVISION REGARDING SEIZING REGISTRATIONS AND LICENSE PLATES

The act eliminates an obsolete provision requiring the DMV commissioner to direct a motor vehicle inspector or police officer to seize the registration or license plates of a person whose license or registration was suspended for failing to show proof of financial responsibility.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

216 — ELIMINATING WAITING PERIOD FOR DUPLICATE TITLE

The act eliminates the requirement that the DMV commissioner wait 15 days before issuing a duplicate certificate of title.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

217 — REGULATIONS REGARDING VEHICLES OPERATING NEAR HORSES

The act incorporates in statute existing regulations regarding a motorist operating near a horse or rider. The regulations (1) require such a motorist to reduce his or her speed or stop to avoid endangering the rider or frightening or striking the horse and (2) prohibit a motorist from blowing a horn or causing loud or unusual noise in a manner to startle or frighten the horse. By law, these provisions must be included in DMV's instruction manual for motor vehicle operation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

218 — OPERATING GOLF CARTS ON ROADS BY PEOPLE LICENSED OUTSIDE OF CONNECTICUT

The act permits people with out-of-state driver's licenses to operate a golf cart on roads where such operation is permitted. Prior law restricted such operation to people licensed in Connecticut.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

219 — LIMITED LICENSE STUDY

The act requires the DMV commissioner to review DMV's issuance of limited licenses. By law, the commissioner may issue a license, with any limitations he deems appropriate, to a person with a health condition that could affect his or her ability to drive, provided the applicant demonstrates that he or she can drive safely.

Under the act, the review must (1) consider the criteria used by DMV to issue or renew limited licenses, (2) compile limited license holders' driving record data, and (3) consider whether the limitations imposed ensure the safety of the public while recognizing the needs of limited license holders.

DMV must report the results of the review to the Transportation Committee by February 1, 2016. The report must provide information on the issuance of limited licenses, data on limited license holders' driving records, and any recommended administrative or legislative changes to the process of issuing limited licenses.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

220 — ALLOWING CERTAIN YOUNG DRIVERS TO TRANSPORT PASSENGERS WHEN RETURNING FROM EMERGENCIES

The law establishes certain passenger and hour restrictions for 16- and 17-year-old licensed drivers but makes an exception for licensees who are active members of an emergency medical services organization or a volunteer ambulance or fire department when they are responding to an emergency. The act specifies that such 16- or 17-year-olds may transport passengers and drive during restricted hours while returning from, in addition to responding to, emergencies.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

221 — LICENSE PLATE LOTTERY STUDY

The act requires DMV to study the feasibility of creating a license plate number lottery program and allowing license plate numbers to be sold at an online auction on DMV's website. DMV must identify and assess (1) options for conducting the lottery and sales and (2) any associated costs and benefits. It must report its findings and recommendations to the Transportation and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees by January 1, 2017.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

222 & 223 — MEDICAL PERMITS FOR PEOPLE WITH SUSPENDED LICENSES

Existing law allows certain people whose licenses have been suspended to apply for special “work” or “education” permits that allow them to drive to and from work or higher education institutions or private occupational schools. Under the act, individuals may also apply for “medical” permits that allow them to drive to and from ongoing, medically necessary treatment. Individuals may not apply for this permit until DMV adopts regulations specifying the qualifications needed to obtain the permit. The act also makes a conforming change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

224 — PENALTY FOR DUMPING SNOW IN PARKING SPOTS RESERVED FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The act prohibits a private parking area owner or lessee or his or her agent from dumping or placing, or allowing someone else to dump or place, accumulated snow in a parking spot designated for a person with a disability. Violators face a $150 fine for a first violation and a $250 fine for each subsequent violation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

225 — PUMPING GAS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Existing law requires that gasoline retailers, upon request and for no additional cost, help anyone with a disability license plate to refuel his or her vehicle at self-service pumps. The act specifies that retailers must also provide this service to individuals with removable disability windshield placards.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

226 — REVIEW OF TRANSPORTATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS

The act requires each local and regional board of education to review the transportation arrangements for its special needs students, both in and out of district, and make appropriate changes to ensure the students' safe transportation. The changes may involve placing school bus monitors or cameras on the vehicles used to transport the students.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

227 — DMV INSPECTORS EXEMPT FROM PROHIBITION ON HAND-HELD CELL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING

The act exempts sworn DMV inspectors performing their official duties from the law prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

228 — MEN'S HEALTH LICENSE PLATES

The act allows DMV to issue, beginning January 1, 2016 and within available appropriations, “Men's Health” commemorative number plates. The DMV and Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioners must agree on a plate design that enhances public awareness of efforts to treat and cure prostate cancer.

The act creates a Men's Health account to be used by the DPH commissioner to enhance prostate cancer awareness and support research. It also sets a $60 fee that DMV must charge for the number plates and designates $15 of that fee for DMV's administrative costs related to issuing the plates. DMV must deposit any fees not designated for administrative costs into the Men's Health account.

The act prohibits using Men's Health license plates for anything other than official registration marker plates but allows DMV to reproduce or market the Men's Health plate's image on clothing, recreational equipment, posters, mementos, or other products or programs that the commissioner deems suitable to support the Men's Health account. Any money received from such marketing must be deposited into the account.

Finally, the act permits the DMV commissioner, in consultation with the DPH commissioner, to adopt regulations establishing standards and procedures for issuing, renewing, and replacing Men's Health number plates.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Men's Health Account

The act establishes a Men's Health account and requires the DPH commissioner to use the money in the account to (1) enhance public awareness of efforts to treat and cure prostate cancer and (2) support research for prostate cancer treatments. The account must be a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund and contain any money legally required to be deposited in the account. The act also allows the public health commissioner to accept donations to the account and requires that any donations received be deposited into the account.

Fees

The act requires DMV to charge $60 for Men's Health number plates, of which $45 must be deposited into the Men's Health account and $15 must be deposited into a DMV-controlled account and used to cover the plate's production, issuance, renewal, and replacement costs. DMV may not charge a fee to renew Men's Health number plates or to transfer an existing registration to or from a registration with Men's Health number plates.

Under the act, Men's Health number plates must have letters and numbers selected by the DMV commissioner, and he may charge a higher fee, in addition to any fees permitted by law, for number plates that (1) contain the numbers and letters from a previously issued plate, (2) contain letters in place of numbers, and (3) are low-number plates.

229-232 — DMV ONLINE INSURANCE VERIFICATION SYSTEM

The act requires DMV to establish an online insurance verification system in order to:

1. confirm that a vehicle owner or operator obtains and continuously maintains the insurance coverage required by law;

2. provide DMV and insurers with an effective way to comply with the law's provisions on motor vehicles, vehicle highway use, and property and casualty insurance; and

3. reduce the number of uninsured motor vehicles on state highways.

The system must be available at all times, in the manner prescribed by DMV, to state and local law enforcement and other authorized government agencies for insurance verification purposes. It must generate reports that may be useful to implement the act, as determined by the commissioner.

Under the act, the system must include (1) vehicle and owner information for all active registrations, provided by DMV, and (2) a record of each active motor vehicle insurance policy, provided by each insurer.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Data Submission

The act requires each insurer to submit a record of each active motor vehicle insurance policy for vehicles registered or garaged in the state on the submission date. For commercial fleet policies, insurers may provide a fleet policy number that covers their insured vehicles.

Insurers must electronically submit this data monthly on the date and in the format required by DMV. Insurers may submit data more frequently if they choose. The act also makes conforming changes regarding data submission in the insurance laws.

DMV must, at least monthly, (1) update the system's database with the records provided by insurers, (2) match the department's vehicle and owner information with the submitted records, and (3) compare all current vehicle registrations with the insurer's records.

Real-Time Verification

The act requires that the system (1) be capable of sending requests to verify motor vehicle insurance using insurer's online web services and (2) allow state and local law enforcement agencies to access the database in real time.

Under the act, each insurer must create an online web service that is accessible through the system in order to verify a vehicle's insurance in real time. DMV may, at its discretion, develop alternative methods for verifying commercial vehicle policies issued by insurers that write fewer policies than a threshold number established by the motor vehicle commissioner in consultation with the insurance commissioner and insurers.

Information Use and Disclosure

The act permits DMV to use the information in the system's database to administer and enforce motor vehicle, highway use, and property and casualty insurance laws and impose sanctions permitted under law. It also permits law enforcement officers to access the system to determine whether a vehicle owner or operator has insurance.

Under the act, all information in the system's database is considered a motor vehicle record and can be disclosed only for purposes authorized by state law and the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act.

Third-Party Vendor

The act allows DMV to contract with a third-party vendor to develop and maintain the system under the department's direction and management. DMV may do so only if the vendor enters into an agreement to protect the confidentiality of the system's contents.

Liability

Under the act, insurers are not liable for any information they provide to DMV or a vendor, including any erroneous information they may provide or omit in good faith.

Neither DMV nor its vendor is liable to anyone for gathering, managing, or using the information in the system, as long as they do so according to the act.

233 — SIGNAGE NOT NEEDED TO TOW VEHICLES IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

PA 15-42, effective October 1, 2015, requires that private commercial property owners or lessees, in order to tow vehicles, post signs indicating that unauthorized vehicles on the property may be towed.

The act allows private commercial property owners or lessees to tow unauthorized vehicles without posting signs warning that the vehicle may be towed if the vehicle is:

1. parked in a space reserved for a person with a disability without the appropriate license plate or windshield placard,

2. in an area reserved for authorized emergency vehicles,

3. within 10 feet of a fire hydrant,

4. blocking building access or entry or exit from the property, or

5. left for 48 hours or more.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2105

234 — RESTRICTING INSTANCES IN WHICH BOOTING VEHICLES IS PERMITTED

PA 15-42 allows (1) owners or lessees of private property, or their agents, to render immovable an unauthorized vehicle parked on their property (i. e. , “boot” the vehicle) and (2) lending institutions to boot vehicles for repossession purposes. Under the act, vehicles may be booted only upon instruction of a private property owner or lessee, or his or her agent.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

235 — SALES AND USE TAX FOR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS VEHICLES

The act eliminates language in PA 15-46 that exempts certain hazardous materials vehicles from the sales and use tax.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

236 — DRIVE-ONLY LICENSES NOT FOR VOTING PURPOSES

The act clarifies that the back of “drive-only” licenses must contain language stating that the license cannot be used for voting purposes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

237 — SERVING NOTICE OF PARKING FINES BY THE HARFORD PARKING AUTHORITY

By law, municipalities taking part in a DMV program to facilitate the payment of parking fines must serve notice of the violation in person on the driver of the vehicle or, if the driver is not present, conspicuously place the notice of violation on the vehicle. The act allows the Hartford Parking Authority, if the driver is not present, to also notify the vehicle's registered owner of the violation by regular or certified mail.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

238-241 — HEALTH SYSTEM PROPERTY

238 ‒ Property Subject to Taxation

The act imposes the property tax on (1) real property that certain “health systems” acquire on or after October 1, 2015 that is subject to the tax at the time of the acquisition and (2) any personal property used to deliver healthcare services at the property. By law, a “health system” is a (1) parent corporation of one or more hospitals and any entity affiliated with that corporation through ownership, governance, membership, or other means or (2) hospital and any affiliated entity. The act applies to such acquiring health systems that had, for the 2013 fiscal year (ending September 30, 2013), at least $1. 5 billion in net patient revenue from facilities located in the state. Its provisions do not apply to real and personal property within such an entity's campus (i. e. , the physical area immediately adjacent to a hospital's main buildings and other areas and structures not strictly contiguous to such buildings but within 250 yards of them).

The act specifies that the real and personal property taxes it imposes are the liabilities of, and must be paid by, the health system and not a hospital or affiliated entity. Its requirement supersedes any property tax statute or special act that exempts from property taxes real or personal property held by or on behalf of health systems. Existing law generally exempts hospital and sanatorium property from property taxes (CGS 12-81 (16)).

239 ‒ Validating Tax Treatment of Health System Property

The act validates, for property tax purposes, the acts and proceedings of a municipality's officers and officials concerning the tax treatment of health system property on the 2014 grand list and prior lists. It requires the municipality to continue to tax or exempt such property, as applicable, in subsequent tax years. In doing so, it supersedes any contrary statute, special act, charter, or ordinance.

240 ‒ Fixed Real Property Tax Assessments

Existing law allows a municipality, with its legislative body's approval, to fix the property tax assessment increase resulting from improvements made to real property used for specified purposes. (Fixing the assessment freezes the property's taxable value for a set period, thus allowing its owner to improve the property without paying taxes on the improvement's value. ) The act expands the types of projects that qualify for the fixed assessments to include property improvements used by or on behalf of health systems.

By law, the period for fixing the assessment depends on the value of the improvements:

1. up to 100% of the increased assessment for up to seven years for projects costing at least $3 million,

2. up to 100% of the increased assessment for up to two years for projects costing at least $500,000, and

3. up to 50% of the increased assessment for up to three years for projects costing at least $10,000.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage; the provision subjecting certain health system property to property taxes is applicable to assessment years beginning on or after October 1, 2015

241 — RESIDENTIAL REAL PROPERTY USED OR INTENDED FOR STUDENT HOUSING

The act generally subjects to property tax any residential real property held by or on behalf of a private nonprofit institution of higher learning that is intended for or used as student housing. Under the act, “residential real property” is any house or building, or portion thereof, rented, leased, or hired out to be occupied as a home or residence for one or more students. The act does not apply to dormitories, which it defines as buildings maintained by a private nonprofit institution of higher learning, containing living or sleeping facilities with at least 20 beds, intended for or used as student housing.

The act's requirement supersedes any property tax statute or special act that provides a property tax exemption for real or personal property owned by or on behalf of such institutions, except for the statutory exemption for college property owned by seven educational institutions (i. e. , Connecticut College for Women; Hartford Seminary Foundation; Trinity College; Wesleyan University; Yale College; and Berkeley Divinity School and Sheffield Scientific School, which are part of Yale;  CGS 12-81(8)).

By law, “private, nonprofit institutions of higher learning” are educational institutions or independent colleges or universities that (1) provide instruction beyond the high school level, (2) offer or accept transfer of college-level credit, and (3) are either licensed or accredited by the Office of Higher Education to offer degrees. Independent colleges or universities are nonprofit institutions established in Connecticut that (1) have their home campuses here, (2) are not part of the state public higher education system, and (3) do not have the primary function of preparing students for a religious vocation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage and applicable to assessment years beginning on or after October 1, 2015

242 — DISTRICT HEATING SYSTEM INCENTIVE PROGRAMS

The act requires each gas company to develop a district heating system incentive program to reduce natural gas demand in the state. It defines a “district heating system” as a thermal loop natural gas demand reduction system that (1) is located in a designated area, (2) is designed to capture at least 30 million British Thermal Units of waste heat annually, and (3) distributes at least 75% of that waste heat to the premises of end use customers located in the system's service area.

Under the act, each company must submit its plan for an incentive program to the Energy Conservation Management Board and DEEP as part of the conservation and load management plan, which the law requires electric companies to prepare in coordination with gas companies. The board and DEEP have discretion to approve or disapprove the incentive program plans.

The act requires that a company's incentive program provide a one-time incentive payment to end-use customers who connect to a district heating system for heating purposes on or after March 1, 2016. The payment must be based on the customer's projected natural gas demand reduction during the period the customer commits to using the heating system's services. The projected reduction must be based on the customer's weather-adjusted historical usage data from the previous three years. The incentive payment to the customer cannot exceed the incentive payment made for equivalent natural gas demand reductions in the state's conservation and load management plan.

The act allows a district heating system's owner or operator to charge end-use customers a connection charge up to an amount equal to the incentive payment that the customer received.

The act requires PURA to ensure that the gas company revenue needed to fund the incentive payments is provided through a fully reconciling conservation adjustment mechanism (in the company's rates) that cannot exceed $9 million in total. The revenue to fund the incentives must be (1) in addition to the revenue authorized to fund the conservation and load management fund, (2) paid over at least a two-year period once it exceeds $2 million, and (3) collected only from the customers of the gas company in whose service area the district heating system is located.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

243 & 244 — SURROGATE PARENT PROGRAM

The act establishes, within available appropriations, a surrogate parent program administered by SDE in consultation with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) commissioner. Under the program, the SDE commissioner must appoint a surrogate parent for any foster child selected by DCF who resides in DCF's Region 3 (i. e. , the Eastern Connecticut service region, comprising the Middletown, Norwich, and Willimantic areas). The act does not specify the criteria DCF must use to select the children.

In this context, a surrogate parent is a person appointed by the SDE commissioner as a child's advocate in the educational decision-making process in place of the child's parents or guardian.

The appointed surrogate parent must represent the foster child in the educational decision-making process if the child's parent or guardian agrees or fails to object to the surrogate's appointment. The parent or guardian must receive identical notice as the surrogate parent and may revoke the surrogate's appointment at any time.

The act requires the DCF and SDE commissioners, starting by January 1, 2016, to annually report on the surrogate parent program to the Children's and Education committees.

The act also makes a conforming change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

245-252 — EDUCATION GRANT CAPS

The act maintains existing caps on certain state education formula grants to school districts and regional education service centers (RESC) for two additional fiscal years, through June 30, 2017. The caps require that grants be proportionately reduced if the state budget appropriations do not cover the full amounts required by the statutory formulas. The caps apply to state reimbursements for:

1. health services for private school students (CGS 10-217a);

2. intradistrict transportation for private school students (CGS 10-281);

3. adult education programs (CGS 10-71);

4. RESC operations (CGS 10-66j);

5. school districts' special education costs and excess costs, (a) including those for special education students under an order of temporary custody for whom no financially responsible district can be identified (“no-nexus students”) and (b) excluding no-nexus students committed to DCF (CGS 10-76d & 10-76g);

6. excess regular education costs for state-placed children educated by private residential facilities (CGS 10-253); and

7. school transportation grants (CGS 10-266m).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

253 & 254 — AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER OPERATING GRANTS

The act requires that operating grants for agricultural science and technology centers (“ag-science centers”), which the law establishes at $3,200 per pupil, be within available appropriations.

Additionally, it extends permission through FYs 16 and 17 for local or regional school boards to spend their state grant for an ag-science program even if the grant exceeds the total budgeted amount approved by their respective municipality or regional school district. The act thus overrides statutes that limit the total amount a board may spend on education without additional authorization from the town or regional district.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

255 — SUPPLEMENTAL OPEN CHOICE TRANSPORTATION GRANTS

The act (1) expands eligibility for supplemental transportation grants for the statewide interdistrict public school attendance program (i. e. , “Open Choice”) and (2) authorizes the grants for FYs 15-17. The Open Choice program aims to improve academic achievement; reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation; and provide public school students a choice of educational programs.

By law, SDE must provide Open Choice transportation grants to local or regional boards of education or RESCs, within available appropriations, in amounts up to $3,250 per pupil. Prior law allowed the education commissioner to distribute supplemental grants only to RESCs, if needed, to offset Open Choice transportation costs that exceed the per-pupil grant. The act (1) makes local or regional boards of education eligible for these supplemental grants and (2) changes, from September 1, to October 1, the date when the number of students transported is determined for each year.

Prior law provided ongoing authorization for the grants for each fiscal year. The act authorizes the grants only for FYs 15-17.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

256 — PRIORITY SCHOOL DISTRICT (PSD) GRANTS

The act distributes the PSD grant appropriation for FYs 16 and 17 across three categories, shown in Table 7.

Table 7: Priority School District Grant Funding Distribution

Category

FY 16

FY 17

Priority school districts

$37,252,757

$38,342,720

Extended school building hours

$2,994,752

$2,994,752

School accountability

$3,499,699

$3,499,699

The PSD program provides grants to districts with significant poverty for (1) early reading programs, (2) summer school, and (3) extended school building hours for enrichment and recreational activities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

257 — YOUTH SERVICE BUREAU GRANTS

Under prior law, beginning in FY 13, youth service bureaus could receive grants only if they (1) were eligible to receive them in FY 07 or (2) applied by June 30, 2012 after the host town approved the local contribution. The act also makes bureaus eligible if they applied for a grant during FY 15.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

258 — COMMISSIONER'S NETWORK OF SCHOOLS

Prior law allowed the education commissioner to make targeted interventions at low-performing schools that she selects for the program known as the commissioner's network of schools. The act increases the number of schools the commissioner may select for the network by allowing her to select up to (1) 25 schools for the network in a single school year, rather than 25 total, and (2) five, instead of two, schools from one district in a single school year. It also removes the cap on the number of schools from a single district that can be in the network at any one time. Under the act, all selections must be made within available appropriations. It also makes technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

259-261 — BIRTH-TO-THREE PROGRAM LEAD AGENCY

The act makes the Office of Early Childhood (OEC), rather than the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), the lead agency for the Birth-to-Three program, which provides early intervention services to families with infants and toddlers who have developmental delays or disabilities. DDS remains a participating agency for the program under the act.

Additionally, it requires the OEC commissioner to post notice online using the secretary of the state's eRegulations system, rather than print notice in the Connecticut Law Journal, of the agency's intention to adopt or amend regulations about fee collection from program service recipients. It also makes several conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

262 & 521 — BIRTH-TO-THREE HEARING TESTS     

The act establishes an October 1, 2015 deadline for the early childhood commissioner to require, as part of the Birth-to-Three program, that notice of the availability of hearing tests be given to parents and guardians of children receiving program services who are exhibiting delayed speech, language, or hearing development. (PA 15-81, which this act repeals, (1) imposes the same deadline for DDS to require the notice and (2) contains similar notice and regulatory provisions. )

The notice required under the act may include information on the benefits of, and available financial assistance for, hearing tests for children, as well as available hearing test and treatment resources. The act allows the commissioner to adopt implementing regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE:   July 1, 2015

263 — EDUCATION PLANNING COMMISSION AND STRATEGIC MASTER PLAN FOR THE CONNECTICUT PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

The act establishes a 29-member Education Planning Commission to develop and recommend the implementation of a strategic master plan that states a clear vision and mission for developing a sustainable, equitable, and high-quality public education system for Connecticut.

The act requires the commission to issue a preliminary report by April 15, 2016 and the strategic master plan by February 15, 2017. The preliminary report must address the strategic master plan's development and include any legislative and funding recommendations. The strategic master plan must include (1) specific goals and benchmarks for implementation and (2) any legislative and funding recommendations. Both reports must be submitted to the Education and Appropriations committees and the governor.

The commission terminates when it submits its master plan or on February 15, 2017, whichever is later.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

Planning Commission Membership

Under the act, the commission has 29 voting members. Table 8 lists the appointing authorities, number of appointees, and the qualifications and background that each of the appointees must possess. The act requires that the commission membership reflect the state's geographic, racial, and ethnic diversity.

Table 8: Planning Commission for Education Voting Members and Appointing Authority

Number of Appointments

Appointing Authority

Qualifications and Background

5

House speaker

Current or former rural school district superintendent

Certified public school teacher currently employed or retired for at least one year

Person with knowledge of and experience with special education

Person with systems building knowledge and experience

Representative of an organization of boards of education

5

Senate president pro tempore

Current or former superintendent of an urban school district with a charter school and interdistrict magnet school

Certified public school teacher currently employed or retired for at least one year

Person with early childhood education knowledge and experience

Person with civil rights knowledge and experience in education equity, access, and quality

Person with adult education knowledge and experience

Number of Appointments

Appointing Authority

Qualifications and Background

2

House majority leader

Current or former superintendent of schools for a regional school district

Public high school student

2

Senate majority leader

Current or former suburban school district superintendent

Parent or guardian of a public school student

2

House minority leader

Statewide business organization representative

Scholar with experience and expertise in the field of pre-K-12 education

2

Senate minority leader

Entrepreneur

Scholar who has experience and expertise in higher education

9

Governor

Certified public school teacher currently employed or retired for at least one year

Parent or guardian of a public school student

Person with civil rights knowledge and experience in education equity, access, and quality

Person with knowledge and experience in academically advanced curriculum development

Five additional members who do not have any specific qualifications

 

n/a

Education and early childhood commissioners (ex-officio)

Commission Operations

Under the act, members must elect commission cochairpersons at the commission's first meeting. The act also specifies that vacancies must be filled by the appointing authority and members serve without compensation except for necessary expenses incurred in performing their duties.

The act allows the commission to (1) seek the advice and participation of any person, organization, or state or federal agency it deems necessary; (2) within available appropriations, retain consultants to help carry out its duties; and (3) receive funds from any public or private sources to carry out its activities.

Commission's Duties

The act requires the commission to:

1. articulate a clear vision and mission for developing a sustainable, equitable, and high-quality public education system that (a) coordinates the components of education reform, (b) clarifies how these components of education reform work together, and (c) provides every child with access to an educational experience that meets the child's needs, and

2. develop and recommend the implementation of a strategic master plan to carry out the vision and mission.

Master Plan

The act requires the commission to consider specific issues and to examine and recommend changes to education funding policies in developing the master plan.

The commission must address:

1. how to better organize public education and streamline the various and disparate mandates, initiatives, and reforms that compete with the articulated vision and mission;

2. the way public education uses data and supports to inform and improve education in the state;

3. whether and to what extent the accountability system assesses public education's most worthy outcomes; and

4. the identification and analysis of the most significant factors that affect and support public education's most worthy outcomes for all students, including poverty, socioeconomic and racial isolation, language barriers, and parental engagement in a student's education.

In addressing these issues, the act requires the commission to consider determining:

1. public education's most worthy outcomes and the means to achieve them;

2. the extent to which public education prepares students to meet the challenges of work, citizenship, and life after graduation;

3. strategies to develop statewide education leadership goals and to enhance education leadership in conformance with the goals;

4. ways to ensure effective communication and partnership between school districts and the families of children who attend school in the district, with particular focus on diversity;

5. ways to share best practices within public education, including learning across methodologies, models, and structures of educational excellence;

6. necessary innovations to excel in both competitiveness and character;

7. the extent to which public education empowers students and educators to excel, innovate, and build on strengths; and

8. best practices that ensure high quality instruction and promote continuous systemic improvement.

Under the act, the commission must also examine and recommend changes to funding policies, practices, and accountability to:

1. align funding policies, practices, and accountability with the strategic master plan;

2. ensure that all school districts receive equitable funding from the state; and

3. determine and recommend measures to promote the adoption of ways to most effectively use resources.

264-285 — DUTIES RELATED TO SPECIAL EDUCATION

The act creates new duties relating to special education and assigns them to SDE, SBE, the education commissioner, DSS, RESCs, the State Education Resource Center (SERC), the Auditors of Public Accounts, and local and regional boards of education.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

SDE Duties

264 – Reporting on Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funds Received. Beginning with FY 16, the act requires SDE to annually report to the Education Committee on:

1. the total amount of (a) federal funds received under IDEA, (b) IDEA funds SDE paid to local or regional boards of education, and (c) IDEA funds SDE paid to each individual local or regional board of education and

2. a description of how the state spends IDEA funds, including which programs receive them from the department.

The act does not specify a reporting date.

268 – IEP Advisory Council. The act establishes a 13-member IEP Advisory Council to help the education commissioner develop a new IEP form that is easier for practitioners to use and parents and students to understand. SERC must provide administrative support to this council. Table 9 below describes the members and their respective appointing parties.

Table 9: IEP Advisory Council Membership

Appointing Authority

Member(s)

House speaker

Advocate for parents/guardians of special education students

Public school special education teacher who is a member of the American Federation of Teachers - Connecticut

Senate president pro tempore

School superintendent

Connecticut State Advisory Committee on Special Education representative

House majority leader

Public school principal

Public school teacher who is a member of the Connecticut Education Association

Senate majority leader

Advocate for parents/guardians of special education students

RESC Alliance representative

House minority leader

Director of pupil personnel

SERC representative

Senate minority leader

Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) representative

American School for the Deaf representative

n/a

Education commissioner or her designee (ex-officio)

   

The act also allows the education commissioner to appoint any SDE employee with expertise in special education to serve as a non-voting member.

Appointing authorities (1) must make their appointments within 30 days after the act takes effect (July 30, 2015) and (2) fill any vacancies. The House speaker and Senate president pro tempore must select the council's chairpersons from among its members. The chairpersons must schedule the council's first meeting and hold it within 60 days after the act takes effect (August 29, 2015).

The council terminates on the date the education commissioner submits the new IEP form to the Education Committee or January 1, 2017, whichever is later.

267 ‒ IEP Form. The act requires that the newly designed IEP form include a brief description of the state parent training and information center established under IDEA and SDE's Bureau of Special Education, as well as contact information for each. This description must appear in a conspicuous place on the first page of the IEP form using at least 12-point Times New Roman font.

Under the act, the education commissioner must submit the new IEP form to the Education Committee by January 1, 2017.

269 & 270 ‒ Digital IEP Form Software. The act requires SDE to (1) purchase, through a competitive bidding process, digitized IEP form software that allows users to create, submit, and share digital copies of students' IEPs and related documents and (2) provide the software at no cost to local and regional boards of education and the technical high school system.

By October 1, 2015, SDE must issue a request for proposals (RFP) to eligible software companies. The RFP must require that the software meet the following criteria:

1. allows authorized users to create and submit a complete digital copy of a student's IEP and related documents to the portal and share it with (a) SDE for purposes of a remote audit and (b) boards of education or technical high schools responsible for a transfer student;

2. provides 24-hour access to an unlimited number of authorized users;

3. provides an electronic catalog of goals and objectives aligned with SBE curriculum standards;

4. allows boards of education and the technical high school system to purchase additional programs to supplement the software; and

5. protects a student's IEP and related documents that are created, submitted, and shared through the software from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure under current industry standards.

When evaluating the RFP responses, SDE must consider the types of software that boards of education and the technical high school system currently use and have successfully implemented. If the RFP responses yield software proposals that do not satisfy the RFP requirements, or cost more than the amount appropriated to the department for the software purchase, SDE is not required to buy any software. SDE must then study the feasibility of creating and administering its own digital IEP form software for boards and technical high schools to use. The department must submit this study, if necessary, to the Education Committee by April 1, 2016.

If SDE chooses to purchase a program from among the RFP responses, it must distribute the associated software at no cost to the following recipients:

1. for the 2016-17 school year, to 50% of the state's local and regional boards of education and 50% of the technical high schools and

2. for the 2017-18 school year, to the remaining local and regional boards of education and technical high schools.

Boards of education and the technical high school system must use the SDE-provided software unless the board or system is bound by an agreement with a software company that predates SDE's provision of the software. In that event, the act requires the board or system to use the SDE-provided software after the agreement expires.

272 – Programs and Services Information. The act requires SDE to distribute upon request complete and accurate information about special education programs and services offered by the state, local and regional boards of education, RESCs, and other providers to organizations representing or providing services to parents and guardians of children requiring special education services, unless they are prohibited from doing so by state or federal law.

282 ‒ Interagency MOU. The act requires SDE to enter into MOUs with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), OEC, DDS, DCF, DSS, and Department of Correction about providing special education, health care, and transition services to children. The MOUs must (1) account for current programs and services, (2) utilize best practices, and (3) be updated or renewed at least every five years.

It also allows the above agencies, other than SDE, to enter into MOUs with each other as necessary for the same purpose. The MOUs must meet the same criteria listed above.

SBE Duties

266 – Transition Resources and Services. The act requires SBE, in collaboration with BRS, DDS, and the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, to:

1. coordinate transition resources, services, and programs to children requiring special education services;

2. create, and update as necessary, a fact sheet describing the state agencies that provide transition resources, services, and programs;

3. disseminate the fact sheet to local and regional boards of education for distribution to parents, teachers, administrators, and boards of education; and

4. annually collect information about transition resources, services, and programs provided by other state agencies and make it available to parents, teachers, administrators, and boards of education.

Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, SBE must annually send the fact sheet to each board of education for annual distribution to the parent of a child requiring special education services in grades six to 12 and the board must distribute the fact sheet at the child's Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting. A parent includes the (1) child's parent or guardian requiring special education services, (2) surrogate parent, or (3) pupil, if he or she is 18 years old or is an emancipated minor.

DSS Duties

265 – Feasibility Study on Medicaid Fund Report. The act requires DSS to study the feasibility of compiling an annual report on Medicaid funds received for special education services. The study must examine how DSS would include the following in an annual report:

1. the total amount of (a) federal funds received through the Medicaid School Based Child Health Program for special education and related services, (b) such funds paid by DSS to fund the services, and (c) such funds DSS paid to each provider of the services and

2. a description of how the funds are being spent, including which programs receive these funds from DSS.

The act requires DSS to submit the study to the Education Committee by January 1, 2016.

RESC Duties

274 – Special Education Funding Working Group. The act establishes a 14-member RESC special education funding working group to:

1. study the funding provided to and expenditures by RESCs for providing special education services, including funding sources and the ways in which RESCs use them, and

2. make recommendations about ways RESCs can access additional special education funding and use it more efficiently while expanding special education services, such as transportation, training, and therapeutic services.

The RESC Alliance must provide administrative support to the working group. Table 10 below describes the members and their respective appointing authorities.

Table 10: Special Education Funding Working Group Membership

Appointing Authority

Member(s)

House speaker

Appropriations Committee member

Capitol Region Education Council representative

Senate president pro tempore

Chief executive officer of a town, city, or borough

Area Cooperative Educational Services representative

House majority leader

Director of pupil personnel

Education Connection representative

Senate majority leader

School superintendent

LEARN representative

House minority leader

Connecticut Association of School Business Officials representative

EASTCONN representative

Senate minority leader

CABE representative

Cooperative Educational Services representative

n/a

Office of Policy and Management secretary and Education commissioner or their designees (ex-officio)

The act requires the above appointing authorities to (1) make their appointments within 30 days after the act's effective date (July 30, 2015) and (2) fill any vacancies. The House speaker and Senate president pro tempore must jointly select one of the working group's chairpersons from among its members; the education commissioner or her designee must serve as the second chairperson. The chairpersons must schedule the working group's first meeting and hold it within 60 days after the act's effective date (August 29, 2015).

By July 1, 2016, the working group must report its findings and recommendations to the Education and Appropriations committees. The group must terminate on the day it submits the report or July 1, 2016, whichever is later.

275 – Regional Model for Special Education Services. The act requires each RESC, in consultation with SDE, to develop its own regional model for providing special education transportation, training, and therapeutic services for all school districts the RESC serves. Each model must take into account the least restrictive environment for students receiving special education services and include a:

1. regional transportation plan, developed in consultation with public transit districts, that provides transportation to children requiring special education and related services;

2. regional educator training plan that provides special education training to teachers, school paraprofessionals, and administrators that includes (a) instruction on classroom techniques to improve the provision of special education services to children and (b) the implementation of scientific research-based interventions;

3. regional plan for providing therapeutic services, including speech, physical, and occupational therapies; and

4. plan for providing transportation, training, and therapeutic services in a manner that makes them readily available to each school district the RESC serves, rather than by a school district's request.

By October 1, 2016, each RESC must submit its model to SBE and the Education Committee.

284 – Survey of Special Education Services and Programs. By July 1, 2016, the act requires each RESC, in consultation with SDE, to survey the special education services and programs provided in its region to identify the need for enhanced or new services and programs. The survey must include:

1. an inventory of special education services and programs provided to public school students by local and regional boards of education and private providers,

2. the number of students receiving special education services or in special education programs provided by a board of education or private provider,

3. the cost incurred by each school district for all such special education services and programs, and

4. the cost incurred by each school district for each special education service and program.

Each RESC must develop and maintain its own survey procedure and may conduct subsequent surveys as needed.

285 – New Service and Program Feasibility Study. The act requires each RESC to study the feasibility of providing and administering new special education services and programs that are of equal or greater quality than those currently provided in its region by local or regional boards of education or private providers. The study must:

1. identify new and current special education services and programs the RESC provides;

2. account for the (a) least restrictive environment for students receiving special education services and (b) areas of need identified in the survey of special education services and programs described above;

3. consider the infrastructure, planning, personnel, funding, and additional needs required to initiate and maintain RESC special education services and programs; and

4. include recommendations for sites for future RESC special education services and programs and a timeline for their implementation.

By October 1, 2016, each RESC must submit its feasibility study to SBE and the Education and Appropriations committees.

SERC Duties

271 – Assistive Technology Equipment-Sharing Program Study. The act requires SERC to study assistive technology equipment-sharing programs and specifically examine:

1. the effectiveness of Connecticut's existing equipment-sharing programs,

2. board of education access to these programs, and

3. ways to create a plan to make these programs available to those that lack access to them.

SERC must report its findings and recommendations to the Education Committee by January 1, 2016.

273 – Special Education Learning and Training Calendar. The act requires SERC to accept submissions from special education advocacy groups, local and regional boards of education, RESCs, and other providers about public special education learning and training opportunities in order to make a public calendar. The act allows SERC to post the calendar on its website and use its discretion to exclude from the calendar any event it determines is not a legitimate learning or training opportunity.

It also (1) allows the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center to reproduce and share the calendar and (2) requires SDE to post a link to it in a conspicuous location on the department's website.

283 – Longitudinal Student Data Study. The act requires SERC to study the collection, assimilation, and reporting of longitudinal student data related to special education outcomes. The study must examine the feasibility of:

1. expanding the Preschool through 20 Workforce Information Network (P20 WIN) (see Background - P20 WIN) to include DDS and BRS participation and

2. using the network to create an annual report on students who received special education and have exited the public school system, including their subsequent employment and participation in state programs, at regular intervals over a 10-year period following their exit from the public school system.

The study must also project the costs of this annual report and P20 WIN expansion to include additional agencies.

SERC must submit study findings to the Education Committee by January 1, 2016.

278-281 ‒ Auditors of Public Accounts Duties

The act requires the auditors to examine the records and accounts of certain private providers of special education services. It defines a private provider as any private school, agency, or institution, including a group home, that receives state or local funds to provide special education services to any student with an IEP or individual services plan written by the student's local or regional board of education.

278 ‒ Audit Authorization and Purpose. Under the act, the auditors serve as an agent of the local or regional board of education while examining the records and accounts of a provider that (1) has entered into an agreement with a board of education or (2) receives any state or local funds to provide special education services in connection with any grant made by any state agency under state law or any public or special act. The auditors' examination must include a compliance audit of whether the private provider expended these state or local funds for allowable costs in accordance with (1) state and federal law and (2) the IEP program or individual services plan for each child receiving special education and related services from the provider.

278 ‒ Audit Frequency. The act requires the auditors to examine private providers' records and accounts at least once every seven years; however, no provider may be examined more than once in a five-year period unless the auditors found a problem with the provider's records and accounts during that time.

It also requires that the audits conducted in one year be, as much as practical, approximately evenly split among SDE-approved and -non-approved private providers. Additionally, the auditors must, as much as practical, prioritize auditing those providers that:

1. receive the greatest amount of state or local funds to provide special education services,

2. provide these services to the largest number of students with individual service plans from a local or regional board of education, and

3. have the largest proportion of state and local funds for the provision of these services in relation to their total operational expenses.

Under the act, the auditors may consult SDE during the course of an audit and share any preliminary findings with the department.

278 ‒ Audit Findings. The auditors must report their findings to the (1) local or regional board of education that contracted with the private provider or completed an IEP or individual services plan for a student receiving services from the provider, (2) education commissioner, and (3) Education Committee.

279 – Audit Cooperation from Boards of Education. The act requires each local and regional board of education to annually give the auditors the following information: (1) the number of students under the board's jurisdiction who receive special education and related services from a private provider and (2) the amount of money the board paid to these providers during the previous fiscal year.

281 – Audit Cooperation from Private Providers. The act requires providers to submit to these audits and provide access to all records and accounts necessary for the audit.

276 ‒ Teacher Certification Requirements

Prior law required initial and provisional certificate applicants (those seeking the first two levels of teaching certificates) to complete at least 36 hours of special education coursework on (1) the growth and development of exceptional children, including handicapped and gifted and talented children and children who may require special education, and (2) methods for identifying, planning for, and working effectively with special education students in a mainstream classroom. The act eliminates this 36-hour requirement for a year and reinstates it starting July 1, 2016.

It also expands special education coursework requirements for initial teacher certification as of July 1, 2016 by requiring a person to also complete one or more courses in special education about classroom techniques in reading, differentiated instruction, social-emotional learning, cultural competencies, and assistive technology. Any person issued an initial certificate before July 1, 2016 does not have to comply with these new requirements.

277 ‒ Parental Rights in PPT Meetings

The act specifies that parents and guardians have the right to (1) participate in all portions of the PPT meeting at which a child's IEP is developed, reviewed, or revised and (2) have the student's assigned school paraprofessional, if the student has one, be present and participate in all portions of the PPT meeting. It requires boards of education to inform parents and guardians of these rights immediately after identifying a child as needing special education and also at each PPT meeting.

Background ‒ P20 Win

P20 WIN is a data-sharing system designed to gather student data from SBE and the Board of Regents for Higher Education and workforce data from the Department of Labor to identify:

1. high school indicators that are the best predictors of students' success in college or the workplace,

2. teacher preparation programs that produce graduates whose students have the strongest academic growth, and

3. postsecondary certificates and degrees that lead to significant earning differences.

286-298 — BILINGUAL EDUCATION AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS (ELL) PROGRAMS

The act makes a number of changes to the laws affecting bilingual education, ELL, and language support services. Among other things, it requires SDE to provide bilingual students with more time in bilingual programs if certain criteria are met. For ELL students, (1) SDE must establish an ELL student pilot program in four school districts and have the pilot program independently evaluated and (2) each of the six RESCs must study the feasibility of providing enhanced ELL services to the districts in their respective regions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

286 & 290 ‒ Bilingual Education

The act establishes a process and criteria under which a student may receive more than the prior maximum of 30 months (three school years) of bilingual education. Under the act, an eligible student may spend up to an additional 30 months in a bilingual education program if (1) the board of education responsible for educating the student asks SDE for an extension and (2) SDE agrees, using standards the act requires SDE to develop, that an extension is necessary. In addition, SDE can decide, without a request from a local board, that an extension is necessary using the same standards. By July 1, 2016, SDE must, in consultation with public higher education institutions, bilingual education programming experts, and bilingual education teachers, develop standards for determining whether an extension is necessary for a student who has already received 30 months of bilingual education.

By law, a public school student is eligible for bilingual education if his or her (1) dominant language is not English and (2) proficiency in English is not sufficient to assure equal educational opportunity in the regular school program (CGS 10-17e).

286 ‒ Language Support Services

By law, a board of education must provide language-transition support services to any student who does not meet the English mastery standard after 30 months of bilingual education. The act extends this requirement to students who do not meet the English mastery standard at the end of the bilingual extension period the act creates. The act also requires the boards to provide academic support services to such students.

Under prior law, language-transition support included tutoring and homework assistance, as long as they were not part of a bilingual program. The act eliminates this option but adds other research-based language development programs. By law, the board may continue to provide programs such as English as a second language (ESL), sheltered English, and English immersion in these situations.

By law, a school district must meet with the parents or legal guardians of an eligible student to explain the benefits of the district's language program options. The act specifies that this requirement includes any native language accommodations that it has for Connecticut mastery examinations.

287 ‒ Annual Bilingual Program Grants and Evaluations

By law, SBE must annually provide grants to school districts that provide bilingual education and evaluate the effectiveness of each district's bilingual education and ESL programs. SBE determines the grant amounts based on a formula applied to the amount appropriated for the program. For FYs 16 and 17, the act appropriates $1,916,130 for the grants and deletes the general reference to the appropriation for this purpose.

It also specifies that SBE must spend any amount appropriated in excess of $1,916,130 for (1) creating the bilingual extension standards, (2) funding the ELL pilot program, and (3) funding the RESC survey (see 297 & 298), as the act specifies. Under the act, SDE must distribute any unspent grant funds as of November 1 on a pro rata basis to each local or regional board of education that receives a grant for a bilingual education program.

288 ‒ ESL Teachers

The act requires, rather than permits, districts unable to hire enough certified bilingual teachers for a school year to apply to the education commissioner for permission to use certified ESL teachers instead. By law, the commissioner may grant a request for good cause.

289 ‒ RESCs and Bilingual Education Study

The act requires SDE to study the feasibility of using RESCs to help local and regional boards of education that have low enrollments of bilingual education eligible students (presumably this means districts whose number of eligible students is less than the 20-student threshold that triggers the bilingual education mandate). The study must examine how to provide bilingual education, language transition, and academic support and may include ESL programs, sheltered English programs, English immersion programs, or other research-based language development programs related to ELL students.

SDE must report its findings and recommendations to the Education Committee by January 1, 2016.

291 ‒ Language Acquisition Information for Parents

The act sets a July 1, 2016 deadline for SDE to give boards of education information on (1) research-based best practices on how to involve eligible students' parents and legal guardians in the language acquisition process and (2) native language accommodations for statewide mastery exams.

292 ‒ Language Acquisition and In-Service Training

The act expands the programs that SBE, within available appropriations and using available materials, must assist and encourage local and regional boards of education to include as part of their teacher in-service training programs. The act adds second language acquisition, including language development and culturally responsive pedagogy.

293 ‒ Annual Report on Academic Progress of Bilingual Education Students

The act requires SDE to monitor the (1) academic progress of bilingual students and (2) quality of bilingual education programs offered by local and regional boards of education by annually collecting and disaggregating their mastery examination data. Beginning July 1, 2016, SDE must annually report on its findings regarding the data to the Education Committee.

294 ‒ ELL Pilot Program and Evaluation

The act requires SDE to establish an ELL pilot program for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years for the (1) three school districts with the largest total number of ELL students and (2) school district with the largest percentage of ELL students in its student population. The program must be established in consultation with public higher education institutions and language acquisition experts. The RESC that serves the region in which each participant is located must provide administrative support to the district to implement the pilot program.

Pilot program participants must develop research-based language acquisition plans for ELL students in consultation with SDE, public higher education institutions, or language acquisition experts. They must consider such things as the (1) school district or region size, (2) ELL student population characteristics, (3) school district or region geography and demography, and (4) number of bilingual education teachers and the native languages of the student population.

The act requires SDE to contract with an independent evaluator from a higher education institution or a professional evaluator with expertise in language acquisition to evaluate the ELL pilot program. The evaluation must be submitted to SDE and the Education Committee by October 1, 2017.

295 ‒ Mastery Examinations and ELL Students

The act prohibits the state mastery test scores of certain ELL students from being used to calculate the school or district performance indices. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the students' scores may not be included in the index calculations if the students are identified as ELL, as defined by law, and have been enrolled in a school in Connecticut or another state for fewer than 20 school months.

The act also requires SDE to develop and offer, beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the mastery examinations in the most common native languages of ELL students who are taking the tests and any additional native languages of students when mastery examinations in such native languages are developed and have been approved by the U. S. Department of Education.

296 ‒ Alliance District Plans and ELL Students

By law, alliance districts must submit a plan to SDE in order to receive the increase in education cost sharing aid that started in 2013 for alliance districts. The act expands the list of things that may be included in an alliance district plan by adding provisions for enhancing bilingual education programs or other language acquisition services, including participation in the act's ELL pilot program.

By law, alliance districts are the 30 school districts with the lowest District Performance Index (DPI) scores based on 2013 student mastery test scores ( 326-333 of the act authorize SDE to revise the index).

297 & 298 ‒ RESC Survey and Feasibility Study for Improved ELL Services

The act requires each of the state's six RESCs to:

1. conduct a survey, by July 1, 2016, of ELL services and bilingual education programs provided in the RESC's region to identify the need for enhanced or new RESC-provided ELL services and bilingual education programs and

2. study the feasibility of providing and administering new ELL services and bilingual education programs at least equal to those the local and regional boards of education currently provide in that region.

The survey must at least include:

1. an inventory of ELL services and bilingual education programs boards of education provide to public school students,

2. the number of students receiving ELL services or enrolled in bilingual education programs provided by a board, and

3. each school district's (a) total cost for all ELL services and bilingual education programs and (b) cost for each service or program.

Each RESC must develop and maintain its own survey procedure and can conduct subsequent surveys as necessary.

The feasibility study must:

1. identify new and current ELL services and bilingual education programs the RESC provides;

2. consider the areas of need identified in the survey;

3. consider the infrastructure, planning, personnel, funding, and additional needs required to initiate and maintain RESC-provided ELL services and bilingual education programs; and

4. recommend sites for future ELL services and bilingual education programs the RESC could provide and a timeline to implement the programs.

Under the act, each RESC must submit the feasibility study by October 1, 2016 to SBE and the Education Committee.

299 — HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS TASK FORCE

The act requires the high school graduation requirements task force (created by PA 15-237) to study the feasibility of substituting a student's participation in interscholastic athletics for the physical education credit in order to satisfy the high school graduation requirements.

Under PA 15-237, the task force must also study the (1) alignment of the high school graduation requirement changes with the Common Core State Standards and (2) feasibility of adding training in CPR as a high school graduation requirement. It must submit a report to the Education Committee by January 1, 2016.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

300 — ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT (ESEA) WAIVER

Beginning July 1, 2015, the act requires the education commissioner to comply with the following procedures before submitting an ESEA waiver application to the federal government: (1) offering notice and comment periods, (2) sending the application and comments to the Education Committee for a public hearing, and (3) including additional materials in the waiver application package. The U. S. Department of Education grants waivers to states from ESEA provisions (more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act, the reauthorized version of ESEA) to give them standardized testing flexibility in exchange for compliance with federal accountability and curriculum standard initiatives.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

Notice and Comment

The act requires the commissioner to comply with two notice provisions. First, if the commissioner is considering applying for a federal ESEA waiver when developing the agency budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the act requires her to notify the Education Committee about this possibility. Second, if the commissioner intends to seek an ESEA waiver, she must publish notice of this in the Connecticut Law Journal along with a (1) summary of the waiver application and (2) description of the comment submission process.

The act also requires the commissioner to allow for a 15-day written comment submission period prior to submitting the waiver application to the Education Committee. Once the comment period ends, the commissioner must include all written comments when she submits the waiver application to the committee for a public hearing.

Public Hearing

Within 30 days of receiving the application, the committee must hold a public hearing and subsequently inform the commissioner about any recommendations it may have regarding the application. The act also requires the committee to send any additional written comments it receives at the hearing to the commissioner.

Application Contents

After the hearing, if the commissioner submits the ESEA waiver application to the federal government, she must also include the following materials: (1) any written comments received during the 15-day comment period, (2) the Education Committee's recommendations, and (3) any additional written comments received by the committee at the hearing.

301 — INNOVATION WAIVERS FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS

The act creates a process by which local and regional boards of education may obtain waivers from certain state statutes and regulations in exchange for demonstrating innovative ideas in their place (i. e. , “innovation waivers”). It also requires boards of education that have received these waivers, as well as the education commissioner, to give progress reports on their success.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

Innovation Waiver Process

The act requires the education commissioner to establish a process, by September 15, 2015, to invite innovation waiver requests from boards of education for waivers to certain statutes in Title 10 of the Connecticut General Statutes over which SBE has jurisdiction, or related agency regulations. The act prohibits, however, waiving any federal law requirements and certain state statutes. These state statutes govern:

1. school health and sanitation;

2. state grants to public schools, the minimum budget requirement, and transportation;

3. teacher certification, tenure, and collective bargaining;

4. assessments, remedial assistance, the statewide mastery examination, and reading and literacy initiatives;

5. municipalities' obligation to maintain public schools serving grades kindergarten through 12;

6. school year length;

7. courses of study;

8. special education programs and services;

9. school attendance duties;

10. high school graduation requirements;

11. student support and remedial services;

12. school and district accountability;

13. documentation of students and teachers of racial minorities and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches;

14. racial imbalance correction;

15. student suspension; and

16. transportation of private school students.

Commissioner Review and Recommendations. The commissioner must determine the form and manner by which boards may submit their requests for waivers. The act requires boards to demonstrate that:

1. the waiver would stimulate innovation or improve school district operations or student academic performance;

2. they can address the intent of the statute or regulation for which an innovation waiver is being sought in a more effective, efficient, or economical manner; and

3. the waiver would protect sound educational practices, student and school personnel health and safety, and equal learning opportunities.

The act instructs the commissioner to review waiver requests and allows her to recommend up to 10 for legislative approval. She then must report these recommendations to SBE, along with goals or benchmarks to measure the waivers' success.

SBE Review and Recommendations. Under the act, SBE must review the commissioner's report and make its own written recommendations for approval or rejection of each waiver request. SBE must submit these recommendations in report form to the General Assembly annually by March 15. The recommendations must explain the reasons for each approval or rejection suggestion. SBE may recommend that a waiver request be:

1. approved if it sufficiently demonstrates (a) how the waiver would stimulate innovation or improve administration of school district operations or student academic performance and (b) that the submitting board can address the statute or regulation for which the waiver is sought in a more effective, efficient, or economical manner or

2. rejected if it (a) is not based on sound educational practices, (b) endangers student or school personnel health or safety, or (c) compromises equal learning opportunities.

Together SBE and the commissioner must ensure that no more than 20 waivers or waiver renewals (see below) are simultaneously in effect when submitting recommendations to the General Assembly.

General Assembly Approval. Upon receiving SBE's report, the General Assembly has 30 days to disapprove by joint resolution recommendations to grant waiver requests, in whole or in part. If the General Assembly fails to act within that time, SBE's recommendations are automatically approved.

Waiver Terms. The act gives the education commissioner the authority to decide the term of each waiver's validity, up to a maximum of two years. The commissioner must notify boards in writing about whether their requests have been approved or denied.

Waiver Renewals. Under the act, boards of education granted waivers have the option to seek a one-time renewal for up to two additional years. The commissioner determines the form and manner of the renewal process, and the renewal request must describe how the original innovation waiver's implementation has been successful in achieving the goals or benchmarks that the commissioner established for it. The process for granting a waiver renewal is identical to the process for initial approval.

Waiver Revocation. The act allows the commissioner to revoke a waiver or waiver renewal if she finds that its implementation (1) is not a sound educational practice, (2) endangers student or school personnel health or safety, or (3) compromises equal learning opportunities.

Progress Reports

Boards of Education. Under the act, boards of education that have been granted waivers must do the following:

1. submit to SBE (a) annual progress reports about their respective waiver or waiver renewal's implementation and (b) a final report about the results of the waiver or waiver renewal, including whether it has achieved the commissioner's goals or benchmarks by the conclusion of its term;

2. post these results on their websites;

3. share these results with other boards upon request; and

4. if the waiver or renewal is successful, provide instruction and training about its implementation to other boards on request.

Education Commissioner. The act requires the commissioner to submit an annual report to the General Assembly beginning March 15, 2018 that describes the innovation waiver request invitation process. It may also include any recommendations for legislation.

302-305 — WINCHESTER SCHOOL DISTRICT RECEIVER

Receiver Responsibilities

The act requires the education commissioner, by August 1, 2015, to appoint a receiver for the Winchester school district to become the district's chief executive officer vested with the duties, rights, and responsibilities of the board of education as prescribed in state law. The act assigns to the receiver all contracts and agreements, including collective bargaining agreements, made in the name of the Winchester Board of Education.

The receiver serves at the pleasure of the education commissioner and is paid by SDE. The commissioner may give the receiver additional responsibilities that are consistent with the act's provisions.

Under the act, the receiver is also responsible for:

1. managing all aspects of the school district;

2. developing the school district budget and delivering it to the town manager in accordance with the Winchester town charter;

3. providing a mechanism for parent, teacher, and community involvement in the schools;

4. supervising and directing the school district's day-to-day operations and its staff and employees, including the superintendent and all school administrators;

5. reprimanding, suspending, or terminating staff, employees and administrators consistent with any collective bargaining agreements or employment contracts;

6. reviewing and analyzing the fiscal practices of the school district and implementing improvements to such practices, if necessary;

7. identifying and applying for grants for which the school district may be eligible; and

8. reporting to the commissioner, as soon as practicable, any evidence of criminal or fraudulent activity discovered.

Receiver's Required Reports

The receiver must report to the commissioner periodically on his or her activities; the school district's financial condition; his or her recommendations on further state involvement in the school district's operations, including changes to the act's provisions; and other topics the commissioner requires. The reports must be provided on a schedule and in a form the commissioner prescribes. The commissioner must provide copies of all the reports to SBE and the Winchester Board of Education.

Receiver's Term and Staff

The receiver's term expires two years from the date of appointment, although SBE may extend the receiver's term for up to two additional years. The receiver can, with the commissioner's approval, hire up to two other people to assist him or her in exercising the receiver's duties. The additional staff will report to the receiver, serve at his or her pleasure, and be paid by SDE.

Board of Advisors

The act creates a seven-member board of advisors for the Winchester school district appointed by the education commissioner. The board must provide advice to the receiver on the performance of his or her duties and responsibilities.

At least three board members must be Winchester residents. Employees of the town of Winchester or the school district, or any of their immediate family members, may not serve on the board.

Repayment Agreement and Repayment Waiver Process

The commissioner must enter into a repayment agreement with the town of Winchester or the Winchester school district for reimbursement of any state overpayments of special education aid. The agreement applies to state aid provided from FYs 13 to 15.

The agreement must (1) be in writing and (2) require the first payment to SDE, or adjustment to future SDE payments to the school district, be received or debited on or before April 30, 2016 and the balance paid on or before April 30, 2020. The act waives the state law that requires that state education aid overpayments be paid back in the immediate two fiscal years after the overpayment is discovered.

Under the act, the town of Winchester may apply for a waiver of repayment if it meets criteria established by the commissioner and demonstrates (1) significant improvement in the school district's fiscal and financial practices and (2) that structural changes ensure the district is properly handling taxpayer funds. The application must be in a form prescribed by the commissioner. Waiver approval requires a recommendation from the commissioner and a majority vote by SBE.

The act specifies that the receiver does not have authority over the obligation of the town to pay the state back for any special education overpayments.

Winchester and the Commissioner's Network of Schools

The act adds all Winchester public schools to the commissioner's network of schools for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. To do this, the act exempts these schools from the statutory criteria for the network program, which includes the commissioner selecting schools based primarily on low academic performance. The network of schools program authorizes the commissioner to make interventions at low-performing schools that are tailored to suit the individual school's situation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

306 — PERMANENT CAP ON PRIORITY SCHOOL DISTRICT (PSD) GRANTS

The act requires that state grants to PSDs be proportionately reduced if the state appropriation for them does not match the amount of the grants payable to districts under the PSD law. The state provides these grants to help improve student achievement and enhance educational opportunities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

307-322 & 343 — SHEFF SETTLEMENT AND MAGNET SCHOOL PROVISIONS

The act (1) makes a number of changes to conform the education statutes with the 2015 Sheff v. O'Neill settlement agreement and (2) renews certain existing provisions for FYs 16 and 17. Sheff is the landmark school desegregation case in which the state Supreme Court ruled that Hartford school children were not being given an equal educational opportunity because of racial and economic segregation (238 Conn. 1 (1996)). Settlement agreements subsequent to the Sheff decision rely on voluntary desegregation methods with towns in the Sheff region.

The region encompasses Hartford and its surrounding towns: Avon, Bloomfield, Canton, East Granby, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Farmington, Glastonbury, Granby, Manchester, Newington, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, South Windsor, Suffield, Vernon, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Windsor, and Windsor Locks.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

307 & 311 – Renewing Certain Magnet School Grant Laws

The act renews, without change, the following Sheff magnet school provisions for FYs 16 and 17:

1. the $13,054 per-student grant that all Sheff host magnets (a magnet school operated by, and is part of, the district it is located in) receive for out-of-district students;

2. the ban on host magnets charging tuition for out-of-district students attending preschool or kindergarten through grade 12 (except for the Great Path Magnet School that Hartford operates); and

3. the $2,000 per-student transportation grant for Sheff magnet schools.

307 – Magnet School Grants

The act changes the per-student grant for non-host Sheff interdistrict magnet schools (those operated by RESCs, colleges, and other entities approved by the education commissioner) for FYs 16 and 17 and each following year. Under prior law, if a school enrolled less than 60% of its students from Hartford, it received a per-student grant of $10,443. The act (1) extends the $10,443 grant through FYs 16 and 17 and (2) creates a second tier with a lower per-student grant when a school enrolls less than 50% of its students from Hartford.

The per-student grant for the new tier is:

1. $7,900 for half of the total number of non-Hartford students enrolled at the school over 50% of the total enrollment, and

2. $10,443 for all the remaining non-Hartford students and all Hartford students at the school.

307 – Grant Payments and Payment Schedule for Magnet Schools Operated by Independent Colleges or Universities

Under prior law, a magnet school that used a trimester school calendar and was operated by an independent college or university was eligible for the same per-student state magnet school grant ($10,443) as other Sheff magnets. (The Goodwin College Senior Academy magnet school appears to be the only one affected. )

Under prior law, a student must have been enrolled for at least two of three trimesters for the school to receive the grant. The act instead makes the school eligible for grants if it enrolls students on at least a half-time basis as follows:

1. students enrolled for at least two semesters a year make the school eligible for a grant equal to 65% of the grant for a Sheff magnet, or

2. students enrolled for at least one semester a year make the school eligible for a grant equal to 32. 5% of the grant for a Sheff magnet.

In addition, the act applies the new per-student grant method described above regarding schools with less than 50% of their students from Hartford. This means that when these schools have less than 50% of their students from Hartford, they will have grants determined using the two–tiered method with a per-student grant of either $7,900 or $10,443. Then, depending upon whether the student attends for one or two semesters, the semester percentages will be applied.

Lastly, the act also changes the payment schedule from the state to the school from three payments a year to two. Under the act, the two payments are: (1) 50% of the grant by September 1, based on estimated enrollment for the first semester on September 1, and (2) the remaining 50% no later than May 1, based on student enrollment for the second semester as of February 1.

The May payment must be adjusted to reflect actual enrollment in the magnet school for those who have been enrolled for (1) at least two semesters of the school year or (2) for only one semester.

307 – Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts & Greater Hartford Academy of Mathematics and Science

The act establishes specific per-student grant levels for two half-time magnet school academies administered by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC).

For the Greater Hartford Academy of Arts, the act establishes a per-pupil grant of 65% of the standard RESC magnet grant ($7,900) when less than 55% of the students are from a single town. This results in a grant of $5,135 per student for FY 16 and each following year.

For the Greater Hartford Academy of Mathematics and Science, the act phases out per-student magnet school grants over a three-year period. It provides a $6,787 per-student grant as follows:

1. FY 16, students in grades 10 to 12;

2. FY 17, students in grades 11 and 12; and

3. FY 18, students in grade 12.

The act specifies that the math and science academy is not eligible for any additional grants under the magnet school grant law.

307 & 343 ‒ Cap on East Hartford Magnet School Tuition Payments

The act places a cap on the amount of tuition the East Hartford school district must pay during FYs 16 and 17 to magnet schools if more than 7% of the district's student population attends magnet schools. For any number of students beyond the 7% threshold, the district is not responsible for the first $4,400 of tuition.

Under the act, SDE, within available appropriations, is financially responsible for any loss of tuition to the magnet school, subject to possible proportionate reductions if the total of the tuition recovery payments exceeds the amount appropriated for that purpose. The act earmarks $220,818 of SDE's magnet school budget in FYs 16 and 17 to defray interdistrict magnet school tuition costs charged to East Hartford.

308 – Renzulli Academy Grant and Enrollment Policy

The act ends the annual grant of up to $250,000 to the Hartford school district for the Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy. It also repeals the provision allowing students from outside of Hartford to apply for admission at Renzulli.

313 – School Construction for Three Hartford Schools

The act provides for a higher school construction state reimbursement, 95% of eligible costs instead of 80%, for new construction for three Hartford magnet schools:

1. Montessori Magnet at Moylan School,

2. Hartford Prekindergarten Magnet School, and

3. Betances STEM Magnet School.

The act allows for the higher reimbursement rate in either of two scenarios, both in FY 16: (1) CREC uses the 95% reimbursement rate to construct the schools on behalf of, and under a written agreement with, Hartford or (2) Hartford uses the 95% rate and constructs the schools without a partnership with CREC. In either scenario, Hartford is responsible for the local cost share and any project costs that are ineligible for state reimbursement.

The agreement between Hartford and CREC, if there is one, must outline the roles and responsibilities of the two parties and be approved by the education commissioner.

322 – Magnet Enrollment Compliance Plan for Noncompliant Schools

The act permits a magnet school that is not compliant with the racial enrollment requirements for magnet schools and is not assisting the state in the integration goals of the Sheff court decision and consequent stipulation to continue to be eligible for magnet school operating grants if the (1) school submits a compliance plan to the education commissioner and (2) commissioner approves the plan.

Magnet schools are, by law, designed to create racial integration. A school's student body must be at least 25%, but no more than 75%, racial minorities. Furthermore, no school district participating in the magnet school can provide more than 75% of the enrolled students.

307 — PRIORITIZATION FOR ADDITIONAL MAGNET SCHOOL SEATS

Prior law allowed SDE to limit payments to a magnet school to an amount the school was eligible to receive based on its enrollment level on October 1, 2013. It permitted SDE to prioritize additional magnet school funding in the following order:

1. increases in enrollment for a school adding planned new grade levels;

2. increases in enrollment for a school moving into a permanent facility for the school year starting July 1, 2014;

3. increases in enrollment for a school to ensure compliance with the state magnet school law's requirements for racial and economic diversity, special curriculum, and at least a half-time educational program; and

4. new enrollments for a new magnet school starting operation on or after July 1, 2014, to help meet the 2013 Sheff stipulation.

The act extends this mechanism for FYs 16 and 17 and adds specificity to the criterion about planned new grade levels. It specifies planned new grade levels are for (1) the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years and (2) the 2014-15 school year and funded during FY 15. Also, for the permanent facility criterion, the act specifies that the move must occur during the 2014-15 to 2016-17 school years.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

307 — STATEWIDE MAGNET SCHOOL PLAN

The act requires the education commissioner to send the comprehensive statewide plan for interdistrict magnet schools to the Appropriations Committee in addition to the Education Committee. PA 15-177 requires the commissioner to submit the plan by October 1, 2016.

By law, the commissioner cannot accept applications for grants to establish new magnet schools outside the Sheff region until this plan is developed.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

307 & 314 — MAGNET PRESCHOOL TUITION

The act requires, beginning with FY 16 and for each following fiscal year, a RESC operating a preschool magnet school program to charge tuition of up to $4,053 to the parent or guardian of an enrolled student. It prohibits a RESC from charging tuition if the child's family income is less than or equal to 75% of the state median income. The act makes SDE, within available appropriations, financially responsible for any tuition that is unpaid by families meeting this criterion.

Under prior law, (1) a RESC was permitted, but not required, to charge tuition on a sliding scale based on the income of the parent or guardian, and (2) the tuition was capped at the difference between the per student cost to run the preschool program and the amount of per-student state aid the school received.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

323 & 465 — OEC EXEMPTIONS FROM CLASSIFIED SERVICE

The act exempts OEC's professional and managerial employees from the state employee classified service. By law, positions exempt from the classified service are not subject to civil service exam requirements and other hiring and promotion procedures. (Sections 323 and 465 in the act are identical provisions. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

324 — SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAM GRANTS

For FY 15 and beyond, the act increases the maximum per-pupil school readiness program grant by $257, from $8,670 to $8,927. School readiness programs are open to children ages three through five who are too young or not ready to enroll in kindergarten.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

325 — EARLY HEAD START PROGRAM

The act expands the purpose of the OEC commissioner's competitive grant program for Head Start grantees to include Early Head Start initiatives. Specifically, the act requires that this grant program, designed for nonprofit agencies and local and regional boards of education that are federal Head Start grantees, assist with increasing the:

1. number of children served in programs that are both a Head Start program and Early Head Start grantee or delegate,

2. number of Early Head Start children served above those who are federally funded, and

3. hours for children currently receiving Early Head Start services.

Additionally, it requires the commissioner's existing Head Start advisory committee to expand its advisory duties to include the coordination, priorities for allocation and distribution, and utilization of Early Head Start funds.

Early Head Start provides child development and family support services to low-income infants, toddlers, pregnant women, and their families.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

326-333 — MEASURES FOR CALCULATING SCHOOL AND DISTRICT PERFORMANCE

The act creates alternative measures for SDE to use when calculating school and district performance. Under prior law, these calculations were based on the weighted sum of school or district statewide mastery test scores for specific subject areas, known as a “school performance index” (SPI) and “district performance index” (DPI). Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the act replaces SPI and DPI calculations with new measures known as an “accountability index” (AI) and a “performance index” (PI).

The act does not identify formulas for using AI and PI measures to calculate school performance. Instead, it requires SDE to report to the Education Committee by January 1, 2016 to explain and compare the formulas and scores of the SPI, DPI, AI, and PI.

The act requires SDE to revise several of its required performance calculations and reports to reflect the shift from using SPI and DPI to PI beginning in the 2015-16 school year. It also prohibits local charter schools from holding an enrollment lottery if the school is among the bottom 5% of schools when ranked highest to lowest in AI rather than SPI.

The act also (1) redefines the terms “mastery test data of record” and “educational reform district,” (2) extends the timeframe for withholding Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant increases from alliance districts, and (3) makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

Alternative Measures for Calculating School and District Performance

Under prior law, SDE calculated school and district performance using SPI and DPI, respectively. These indices measured performance by calculating the weighted sum of statewide mastery test scores for mathematics, reading, writing, and science. The act replaces these indices with AI and PI, which are not subject-specific, to measure school and district performance beginning with the 2015-16 school year. It also removes several school subject performance and district subject performance index terms and definitions that become obsolete upon use of AI and PI calculation measures (e. g. , “school subject performance index for mathematics” and “district subject performance index for mathematics,” among others).

Accountability Index

Under the act, AI refers to the score resulting from multiple student, school, or district-level measures, as weighted by SDE, which must include (1) PI (see below) and (2) high school graduation rates. Additional AI measures may include the following:

1. academic growth over time,

2. attendance and chronic absenteeism,

3. postsecondary education and career readiness,

4. enrollment in and graduation from higher education institutions and postsecondary education programs,

5. civic and arts education, and

6. physical fitness.

The act does not contain a formula that uses these measures to calculate an AI score for schools or districts.

Performance Index

Under the act, PI refers to the score, as calculated by SDE, using the mastery test data of record assigned to student subgroups, schools, or districts. The act does not contain a formula that uses these measures to calculate a PI for schools or districts.

Explanatory Report

The act requires SDE to report to the Education Committee by January 1, 2016 to explain and compare the formulas and scores of the SPI, DPI, AI, and PI. The report must include:

1. an explanation of all four indices' formulas and data weighting,

2. data categories used to compute these indices,

3. the four index scores for each school district and a comparison of these scores, and

4. an explanation for why AI and PI scores differ from SPI and DPI scores.

Alliance District Performance Calculations

In general, an alliance district is a school district in a town that is among the state's lowest academic performers. The act requires that, beginning with the 2015-16 school year, towns' and alliance districts' performance be measured by AI rather than DPI. By law, SDE must use data in the calculation from (1) each school under the jurisdiction of the alliance district's board of education and (2) any state or local charter school located in the alliance district, as long as the board of education and charter school have a mutual agreement to do so.

Statewide Performance Management and Support Plan

Prior law required SDE to annually prepare a statewide performance management and support plan to (1) classify districts in need of improvement, (2) classify schools into one of five categories, and (3) identify “focus schools” with a low-performing subgroup of students. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the act requires the plan to classify schools into five categories based on their AI rather than their SPI.

The act alters the definitions of each of the five categories so that they are (1) based upon AI, rather than SPI, and (2) no longer based upon changes in SPI over time, growth in student achievement as measured by standardized assessments, and high school graduation and dropout rates.

It also changes the definition of “focus schools. ” Under prior law, the term referred to schools with a low-performing subgroup of students using aggregate measures of student academic achievement and growth. Instead, the act replaces this definition by referring to the U. S. Department of Education's broader definition in its ESEA Flexibility policy document updated June 7, 2012 (see Background ‒ Focus Schools Under ESEA Flexibility Policy).

Additionally, the act requires SDE to make corresponding changes to its annual publishing and posting of the plan on its website. Prior law required the department to publish and post (1) a list of schools ranked highest to lowest in SPI scores, (2) a description of the formula and manner in which each school's SPI was calculated, and (3) alternative versions of the formula used to calculate SPI at grade levels other than elementary grade levels. The act requires that these postings use AI rather than SPI.

Commissioner's Network Reports

By law, the education commissioner must annually report to the Education Committee (1) on the academic performance of each school participating in the commissioner's network and (2) a comparison and analysis of all the schools participating in the network.

For both reports, prior law required the commissioner to include the SPI for each school in the network. The act instead requires her to include (1) each school's AI, rather than SPI, score and (2) trends for AI, rather than SPI, scores during the period that the school is participating in the network.

Mastery Test Data of Record

The act broadens “mastery test data of record” to include the mastery test data available after the annual statewide mastery tests are administered. Prior law limited the data of record to data available after December 31 following the exam administration.

By law, a local or regional board of education may request that SDE adjust its mastery test data of record. The act shortens the timeframe by which the board may make this request from November 30 after the test administration to August 30.

Educational Reform District

The act redefines “educational reform district” to refer to a school district in a town that has one of the 10 lowest AI, rather than DPI, scores when all towns are ranked highest to lowest based upon these scores. These districts are eligible for various targeted grants and services to address educational needs.

Alliance District Funds

Prior law required the state comptroller to withhold any ECS grant increase over the FY 12 amount that is payable to an alliance district through FY 15. The act extends this holdback requirement through FY 17; therefore, any ECS increase over FY 12 must be transferred to the education commissioner.

Background Focus Schools under ESEA Flexibility Policy

The ESEA Flexibility policy document, dated June 7, 2012, establishes the following criteria for designating schools as “focus schools”:

1. has the largest within-school gaps between the highest-achieving subgroups and the lowest-achieving subgroups or, at the high school level, has the largest within-school gaps in the graduation rate;

2. has a subgroup or subgroups with low achievement or, at the high school level, a low graduation rate; or

3. is a Title I-participating high school that has a graduation rate less than 60% over a number of years and is not identified as a priority school.

334 — ROGERS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OPERATING GRANT

The act waives, for FY 16, the statutory enrollment-based limits on magnet school student operating grants for Rogers International School in Stamford as the school expands into an additional location. Under existing law as amended by this act ( 307), SDE (1) may limit the amount of per-pupil operating grants to a magnet school based on the school's October 1, 2013 student enrollment and (2) must approve additional operating grant aid based on a ranked list of enrollment increase scenarios.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

335 & 336 — PRIORITY SCHOOL DISTRICT GRANT TO NORWALK

For FY 15 only, the act increases by $250,000, from $2,020,000 to $2,270,000, the additional statutory grant provided annually under the PSD grant program for Norwalk (i. e. , the municipality with the sixth-largest population in the state based on the 2010 Census). The act also makes the conforming change that up to $250,000 of unexpended FY 15 PSD funds do not lapse and are available in FY 16 to Norwalk.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

337 — ADDITIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL SEATS

The act requires that some of the state budget appropriations to SDE for ECS grants in FYs 16 and 17 go towards funding additional seats at two charter schools — Common Ground High School (New Haven) and Highville Charter School (Hamden).

For Common Ground High School, the act earmarks $495,000 in each year for FYs 16 and 17 to fund up to 45 seats. For Highville Charter School, the act earmarks $440,000 in each of these years to fund up to 40 seats.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

338 & 339 — BILINGUAL TEACHER CERTIFICATION

Temporary Certification

By law, SBE may grant one-year nonrenewable temporary certifications to applicants if they meet certain requirements (e. g. , are certified to teach in another state and completed a year of successful teaching in that state in the year immediately preceding the application). Under the act, the SBE can extend a certificate in the bilingual education endorsement area for an additional two years if the applicant is employed by a local or regional board of education and teaching in a bilingual education program.

Certification

Under the act, an applicant for a bilingual teacher certification can qualify for certification without passing an oral competency test for English but must demonstrate oral and written competency in the language of instruction. It requires a showing of oral competency in the non-English language by an appropriate method specified by SDE. By law and unchanged by the act, applicants must pass written competency on English tests and the other language.

Under prior law, successful applicants were required to meet certification requirements in both (1) elementary or secondary (i. e. , subject area expertise in the area they will teach) education and (2) bilingual education. The act instead requires that applicants meet the appropriate coursework requirements in (1) either elementary or secondary (subject area expertise) education and (2) bilingual education. The act allows SBE to issue an endorsement in bilingual education when these criteria are met and the applicant passes SBE-approved examination requirements for bilingual education.

The act also removes obsolete language.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

340 ─ INTERNATIONAL TEACHER PERMIT

The law allows SBE to issue an international teacher's permit in teacher shortage areas to applicants who meet certain criteria, including holding a proper visa and a bachelor's degree or the equivalent. The act permits applicants who will be teaching as part of a bilingual education program to substitute, for the bachelor's degree requirement, completion of SBE-prescribed coursework or training to achieve proficiency deemed equivalent to a bachelor's degree.

An international teacher's permit is valid for one year and may be renewed once for an additional year. The permit must be requested by a local or regional board of education, which must attest to a plan for supervising the teacher. Shortage areas are teacher certification or endorsement areas for which SDE has documented a shortage of available teachers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

341 — TEACHER EVALUATION REPORTS BY SUPERINTENDENTS

The act extends the deadline, from June 30 to September 15, for local and regional public school district superintendents to annually report to the education commissioner on the implementation status of the teacher evaluation and support program, including evaluation frequency, aggregate evaluation ratings, the number of unevaluated teachers, and any other topics SDE requires.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

342 — SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS

PA 15-168 requires a local or regional school board that assigns a school resource officer to a school to enter into an MOU with the local police department or State Police that defines the officer's role and responsibilities. It defines a “school resource officer” as a local or state police officer who has been assigned to a school.

The act limits this definition to local police officers and eliminates the option of entering an MOU with the State Police. It also (1) requires, rather than allows, the MOU to include a graduated response model for student discipline and (2) makes minor and technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

344 — COSTS FOR THE MORGAN SCHOOL IN CLINTON

The act requires, regardless of school building project laws or SBE or Department of Administrative Services regulations, that costs associated with construction-related professional service fees relating to site acquisition for the construction and purchase of a site for the Morgan School in Clinton be reimbursed as eligible project costs, provided the costs do not exceed $1. 7 million.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

345 — TRANSFER OF CERTAIN DPH PROGRAMS TO THE INSURANCE FUND

The act transfers funding for the following DPH programs from the General Fund to the Insurance Fund:

1. needle and syringe exchange,

2. AIDS services,

3. breast and cervical cancer detection and treatment,

4. x-ray screening and tuberculosis care, and

5. venereal disease control.

By September 1 annually, the OPM secretary, in consultation with the DPH commissioner, must determine the amounts appropriated for the above listed programs and inform the insurance commissioner.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

Public Health Fee

The act requires all domestic insurers and HMOs (“health carriers”) that conduct health insurance business in the state to annually pay the insurance commissioner a “public health fee” she assesses them. The fee must be deposited in the Insurance Fund. Under the act, “health insurance” applies to coverage for (1) basic hospital expenses; (2) basic medical-surgical expenses; (3) major medical expenses; or (4) hospital or medical services, including coverage under an HMO plan.

Under the act, health carriers must annually report to the insurance commissioner the number of insured or enrolled lives in Connecticut as of May 1 immediately preceding the date for which the carrier is providing health insurance coverage. This number must exclude lives enrolled in Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans, DSS-administered medical assistance programs, or workers' compensation insurance.

Health carriers must report this information by September 1 annually in a form and manner the commissioner prescribes.

The act requires the insurance commissioner, by November 1 annually, to determine each health carrier's assessment for the current fiscal year. She must do so by multiplying the number of reported lives by a factor she determines annually to fully fund the DPH programs' appropriation.

The insurance commissioner, by December 1 annually, must provide each assessed health carrier a statement of its proposed public health fee. The carrier may object to the proposed fee by December 20. After making any necessary adjustments, the commissioner must provide a final assessment by January 1. The assessment must be paid to the department by February 1 annually. Any health carrier aggrieved by the assessment may appeal to Superior Court by March 1.

346 — NEWBORN SCREENING PROGRAM FEE

The act increases, from $56 to $98, the minimum fee that DPH must charge hospitals for administering its newborn screening program.

By law, all health care institutions that care for newborn infants must test them for more than 40 genetic and metabolic diseases and conditions, such as phenylketonuria, HIV, and sickle cell disease. Screening occurs primarily through DPH's newborn screening program. The law requires DPH to set a fee that covers all program expenses, including initial testing, tracking of infants, and treatment.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

347-353 — BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD) SERVICES

The act:

1. expands certain individual and group health insurance policies' required coverage of ASD services and treatment,

2. expands existing law's group policy behavioral therapy coverage requirements for people with ASD and also applies it to individual policies,

3. eliminates maximum coverage limits on the Birth-To-Three program,

4. requires the developmental services commissioner to designate certain ASD services and treatments,

5. requires the insurance commissioner to convene a working group to develop recommendations on behavioral health data collection, and

6. makes technical changes by updating the names of certain reference compendia and making conforming changes ( 352).

The coverage provisions apply to health insurance policies delivered, issued, renewed, amended, or continued in Connecticut that cover (1) basic hospital expenses; (2) basic medical-surgical expenses; (3) major medical expenses; or (4) hospital or medical services, including those provided through an HMO. Due to the federal ERISA, state insurance benefit mandates do not apply to self-insured plans.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2016, except for the DDS-designated effective treatment and the data collection working group provisions, which are effective upon passage, and certain technical changes, which are effective July 1, 2015.

347-351 ‒ ASD Treatment and Services in Individual Policies

The act requires that individual policies conform to several coverage and limitation provisions that existing law requires of group policies regarding ASD-related services.

Covered Services. Prior law required that individual health insurance policies cover physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy services for individuals with ASD to the extent that such services were covered for other diseases and conditions under the policy. Under the act, individual policies must instead cover ASD diagnosis and treatment, including:

1. behavioral therapy (see below);

2. prescription drugs prescribed by a licensed physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse to treat ASD symptoms and comorbidities, to the extent they are covered for other conditions under the policy;

3. direct (a) psychiatric or consultative services provided by a licensed psychiatrist and (b) psychological or consultative services provided by a licensed psychologist; and

4. physical therapy, speech and language pathology services, and occupational therapy provided by a licensed physical therapist, speech and language pathologist, or occupational therapist, respectively.

As is the case for group policies, the act requires that individual policies cover, for individuals with ASD, treatments that are:

1. medically necessary;

2. identified and ordered by a licensed physician, psychologist, or clinical social worker; and

3. in accordance with a treatment plan developed by a licensed physician, psychologist, or clinical social worker, pursuant to a comprehensive evaluation or reevaluation.

The act also allows, for group and individual policies, behavior analysts certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board to develop treatment plans.

As with group policies, the act specifies that ASD constitutes an illness for the purposes of applying the statutory definition of medical necessity. (Medical necessity is one criterion insurers use to make coverage determinations. )

Coverage Limitations and Prohibitions. As is the case for group policies, the act prohibits individual policies from:

1. limiting the number of visits an insured may make to an ASD provider pursuant to a treatment plan on any basis other than lack of medical necessity and

2. requiring coinsurance, copayments, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket expenses that place a greater financial burden on access to ASD diagnosis and treatment than the diagnosis and treatment of any other covered medical, surgical, or physical health condition.

The act prohibits insurers, HMOs, hospital or medical service corporations, and fraternal benefit societies from reviewing a treatment plan, in accordance with its utilization review requirements, more than once every six months unless the insured's licensed physician, psychologist, or clinical social worker agrees a more frequent review is necessary or changes the insured's treatment plan. Inpatient treatments and services are exempt from this provision.

The act requires that diagnoses be valid for at least one year unless the insured's licensed physician, psychologist, or clinical social worker determines a shorter period is appropriate or changes an insured's diagnosis.

The act specifies that coverage is subject to other general exclusions and limitations of individual health insurance policies, including coordination of benefits, participating provider requirements, restrictions on services provided by family or household members, and case management provisions.

The act also specifies coverage must not be construed to:

1. limit or affect any other covered benefits available (a) under the policy, (b) specific to mental and nervous conditions, or (c) through the Birth-To-Three program;

2. limit or affect any obligation (a) to provide services under an individualized education plan or (b) imposed on a public school by the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act; and

3. provide reimbursement for special education and related services unless required by state or federal law.

347 & 348 ‒ Behavioral Therapy Coverage for People with ASD Under Group and Individual Health Insurance Policies

Prior law defined “behavioral therapy” under group policies as any interactive behavioral therapy derived from evidence-based research, including applied behavior analysis, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other therapies supported by empirical evidence of their effectiveness in treating individuals with ASD. It consisted of therapy:

1. for children younger than age 15; and

2. provided or supervised by a (a) behavior analyst certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, (b) licensed physician, or (c) licensed psychologist. (“Supervised by” is the face-to-face supervision of ASD services for at least one hour for each 10 hours of therapy the supervised individual provides. )

Such coverage could also be subject to a maximum yearly benefit based on the child's age (e. g. , $50,000 for a child younger than age nine).

The act changes the definition of behavioral therapy by:

1. extending the age limit from age 15 to age 21 and

2. requiring therapy be consistent with the services and interventions designated by the DSS commissioner (see below).

The act also (1) repeals the yearly coverage limit for this therapy and (2) requires that individual policies cover it on the same terms as group policies.

349 & 350 ‒ Coverage for Birth-to-Three Services in Individual and Group Health Insurance Policies

The act repeals coverage limits for Birth-to-Three program services. Prior law limited coverage to (1) $6,400 per child, per year, up to $19,200 total per child for the three years under group and individual policies, or (2) $50,000 per child, per year, up to $150,000 total per child for the three years for a child with ASD who is receiving early intervention services under group policies.

351 ‒ DDS Commissioner's Designated Services and Interventions

The act requires the DDS commissioner, in consultation with the Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Council, to designate services and interventions that demonstrate, in accordance with medically established and research-based best practices, empirical effectiveness for treating ASD. The commissioner must update the designations periodically and whenever he deems it necessary to conform to changes generally recognized by the relevant medical community in evidence-based practices or research.

353 ‒ Insurance Department Data Collection Working Group

The act requires the insurance commissioner, by October 1, 2015, to convene a working group to develop recommendations for uniformly collecting behavioral health utilization and quality measures data from:

1. state agencies that pay health care claims,

2. group hospitalization and medical and surgical plans established by the comptroller for state employees and certain other individuals,

3. the state medical assistance program, and

4. health insurance companies and HMOs that write health insurance policies and health care contracts in Connecticut.

The recommendations' purposes must include protecting behavioral health parity for youth and other populations.

Members. The working group consists of the (1) healthcare advocate; (2) insurance, social services, public health, mental health and addiction services, children and families, and developmental services commissioners; and (3) comptroller, or any of their designees. It may also include representatives from health insurance companies or HMOs or any other members the insurance commissioner deems necessary and relevant to carry out the group's duties.

Data Collection and Recommendations. The group must determine the data that should be collected for analyzing:

1. coverage for behavioral health services;

2. adequacy of coverage for behavioral health conditions, including ASD and substance use disorders;

3. the alignment of medical necessity criteria and utilization management procedures across the agencies, plans, programs, insurers, and HMOs from which data is collected;

4. the adequacy of health care provider networks;

5. the overall availability of behavioral health care providers in Connecticut;

6. the percentage of behavioral health care providers in Connecticut that are participating providers under (a) the group hospitalization and medical and surgical insurance plans established by the comptroller, (b) the state medical assistance program, (c) health insurance policies, and (d) health care contracts; and

7. the adequacy of services available for behavioral health conditions, including ASD and substance use disorders.

The working group's recommendations may include data on:

1. per-member, per-month claim expenses;

2. the median length of a covered treatment for an entire course of treatment by levels of care;

3. utilization review outcome data grouped by levels of care, age categories, and levels of review;

4. the number of in-network and out-of-network health care providers by location and provider type;

5. health care provider network management data by location and provider type; and

6. health care provider network fluctuations, their causes, and the decisions insurers, HMOs, and state agencies make regarding the approval of providers to join a network.

By January 1, 2016, the insurance commissioner must submit the group's recommendations to the governor and Insurance and Real Estate, Human Services, Public Health, and Children's committees.

354 — PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING PROGRAM

Under the prescription drug monitoring program, DCP collects information on controlled substance prescriptions to prevent improper or illegal drug use or improper prescribing. By law, pharmacists and other controlled substance dispensers must generally report certain prescription information to DCP under the program, such as the dispensing date, dispenser identification and prescription numbers, and patient identifying information.

Under prior law, they had to report this information to the program at least weekly. Starting July 1, 2016, the act requires them to report to the program immediately after dispensing controlled substances but in no event more than 24 hours after doing so. Starting on that date, the act also requires that the information be submitted electronically in a DCP-approved format, eliminating the option of other DCP-approved methods of reporting by pharmacies or outpatient pharmacies that do not maintain electronic records.

As under existing law, these reporting requirements apply to (1) pharmacies; (2) nonresident pharmacies (i. e. , out-of-state pharmacies that send prescription drugs into the state); (3) outpatient pharmacies in hospitals or institutions; and (4) practitioners who dispense controlled substances.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

Background – Related Act

PA 15-198 ( 5) makes various changes to the prescription drug monitoring program, such as requiring practitioners, before prescribing more than a 72-hour supply of a controlled substance, to check the patient's record in the program.

355 — ACUTE CARE AND EMERGENCY BEHAVIORAL SERVICES GRANT PROGRAM

The act establishes a grant program in the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to provide funds to organizations providing acute care and emergency behavioral health services.

The grants are for providing community-based behavioral health services, including (1) care coordination and (2) access to information on and referrals to available health care and social service programs. The commissioner must establish eligibility criteria and an application process.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

356 — PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES STUDY

The act requires the DMHAS commissioner to study the current adequacy of psychiatric services. She must do so in consultation with the children and families and social services commissioners and behavioral health providers, including hospitals and advocacy agencies.

The study must include:

1. a determination of how many short-term, intermediate, and long-term psychiatric beds are needed in each region of the state;

2. the average wait times for each type of bed;

3. the impact of wait times on people needing inpatient psychiatric services, their families, and providers of this type of care;

4. identification of public and private funding sources to maintain the necessary number of beds;

5. access to outpatient services, including wait times for initial appointments;

6. available housing options; and

7. access to alternatives to hospitalization, including peer-operated respite programs.

The DMHAS commissioner must report on this study to the Appropriations, Human Services, and Public Health committees by January 1, 2017. The report must include recommendations on:

1. expanding utilization criteria to increase access to acute, inpatient psychiatric services statewide;

2. increasing the number of available long-term, inpatient hospital beds for people with recurring needs for inpatient behavioral health services;

3. funding to increase the number of psychiatric beds;

4. placing additional psychiatric beds in health care facilities throughout the state; and

5. funding to increase alternatives to hospitalization, including access to outpatient services, housing, and peer-operated respite programs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

357 & 358 — BEHAVIORAL SERVICES PROGRAM

The act renames DDS's “Voluntary Services Program” as the “Behavioral Services Program” to reflect current practice. The program serves children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities and emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

359 — STUDY OF COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH CARE SERVICES

The act requires the DSS and DPH commissioners to study the effectiveness of providing community-based health care services in the state. They must submit a preliminary report on the study by February 1, 2016, and a final report by June 1, 2016, to the Human Services and Public Health committees.

The study must include at least a review of:

1. the health care needs of people who use the 9-1-1 system when the emergency department is not the most appropriate place for them to receive community-based health care services;

2. the feasibility of providing short-term follow-up home visits for people recently discharged from a hospital until other providers are able to provide home visits or other follow-up health care services;

3. the need for, and feasibility of, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel providing home visits to people at a high risk of being frequent, repeat users of the emergency department, to help them manage chronic diseases and adhere to medication plans;

4. the need to provide ancillary primary care services for populations in areas with high 9-1-1 use for nonemergency situations;

5. the current best practices in mobile integrated health care;

6. the scope of practice for EMS personnel;

7. practice guidelines for community-based health care services; and

8. Medicaid authority to cover these services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

360-366 — GENETIC COUNSELOR LICENSING

Subject to certain exemptions, the act requires that anyone practicing genetic counseling be licensed by DPH. The licensure application fee is $315, and licenses may be renewed annually for $190.

The act establishes licensure qualifications, application and renewal processes, and grounds for disciplinary action. It allows DPH to issue nonrenewable temporary permits under certain conditions. It also allows the commissioner to adopt regulations to implement genetic counselor licensing and specifies that no new regulatory board is established for genetic counselors.

Under the act, “genetic counseling” means providing services that address the physical and psychological issues associated with the occurrence or risk of a genetic disorder, birth defect, or genetically influenced condition or disease in an individual or family.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015, except the provisions on licensure applications, qualifications, and renewals are effective upon passage.

361 ‒ Restrictions on Practice and Exceptions

The act generally prohibits anyone without a genetic counselor license or temporary permit from (1) practicing genetic counseling or (2) using the title “genetic counselor,” “licensed genetic counselor,” “gene counselor,” “genetic consultant,” or “genetic associate”; the designation “LGC”; or any title, words, letters, abbreviations, or insignia that may reasonably be confused with genetic counselor licensure.

These restrictions do not apply to:

1. state-licensed physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, or nurse-midwives;

2. individuals who provide genetic counseling while acting within the scope of practice of their license and training, as long as they do not present themselves to the public as genetic counselors;

3. individuals employed by the federal government to provide genetic counseling; or

4. students enrolled in certain programs of which genetic counseling is an integral part, if they are performing genetic counseling under the direct supervision of a licensed genetic counselor or physician.

The exemption for students applies to those enrolled in a (1) genetic counseling program, (2) medical genetics program accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling or American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics, or (3) graduate nursing or medical program in genetics.

362 ‒ License Applications, Qualifications, and Renewals

Starting October 1, 2015, the act requires the DPH commissioner to issue a genetic counselor license to any applicant who submits, on a DPH form, satisfactory evidence that he or she is certified as a genetic counselor by one of the national boards noted above.

As an alternative way to qualify, an applicant may submit satisfactory evidence that he or she, before October 1, 2015, (1) practiced genetic counseling for eight years, (2) earned a master's or doctoral degree in genetics or a related field from an accredited higher education institution, and (3) attended a continuing education program approved by the National Society of Genetic Counselors within five years of applying.

The act also allows for licensure by endorsement. Such an applicant must provide satisfactory evidence that he or she is licensed or certified as a genetic counselor (or as someone entitled to perform similar services under a different title) in another state or jurisdiction. That jurisdiction's requirements for practicing must be substantially similar to or greater than those in Connecticut, and there must be no pending disciplinary actions or unresolved complaints against the applicant in any state.

Licenses are subject to annual renewal. To renew, licensees must provide satisfactory evidence that they (1) are certified by either board noted above and (2) have completed continuing education as required for that certification. (Thus, all licensees must become nationally certified within a year of becoming licensed. )

363 ‒ Temporary Permits

The act allows DPH to issue nonrenewable temporary permits to licensure applicants with at least a master's degree in genetic counseling or a related field. The permit allows them to practice under the general supervision of a licensed genetic counselor or physician and is valid for up to 365 calendar days after the person receives his or her degree.

The act prohibits DPH from issuing a temporary permit to someone against whom professional disciplinary action is pending or who is the subject of an unresolved complaint in any state. It allows the commissioner to revoke a temporary permit for good cause, as she determines.

The temporary permit fee is $50.

364 ‒ Enforcement and Disciplinary Action

The act allows the DPH commissioner to take disciplinary action against a genetic counselor for:

1. failing to conform to the accepted standards of the profession;

2. felony convictions;

3. fraud or deceit in obtaining or seeking reinstatement of a license or in the practice of genetic counseling;

4. negligence, incompetence, or wrongful conduct in professional activities;

5. an inability to conform to professional standards because of a physical, mental, or emotional illness;

6. alcohol or substance abuse; or

7. willfully falsifying entries in any hospital, patient, or other genetic counseling record.

By law, disciplinary actions available to DPH include (1) revoking or suspending a license, (2) censuring the violator, (3) issuing a letter of reprimand, (4) placing the violator on probation, or (5) imposing a civil penalty (CGS 19a-17). Under the act, the commissioner may also order a licensee to undergo a reasonable physical or mental examination if his or her physical or mental capacity to practice safely is under investigation.

The act allows the commissioner to petition Hartford Superior Court to enforce any disciplinary action she takes. She must give the person notice and an opportunity to be heard before taking disciplinary action.

367 — DPH AMBULANCE RATE-SETTING

The act allows the DPH commissioner to increase the maximum allowable rates she sets for licensed and certified ambulance services, effective on or before July 15, 2015. The act specifies that this does not otherwise alter the commissioner's existing statutory rate-setting authority for emergency medical services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

368 — OMBUDSMAN PILOT PROGRAM

Prior law required the state long-term care ombudsman to, personally or through representatives of her office, implement and administer a pilot program serving home- and community-based care recipients in Hartford County. The act limits the program to within available appropriations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

369 — SERVICES FOR BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

The law allows the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), within available appropriations, to employ certified teachers of the visually impaired to fulfill requests from school districts. Prior law allowed funds appropriated for this purpose to be used to employ rehabilitation teachers, rehabilitation technologists, and orientation and mobility teachers to evaluate and train blind or visually impaired children. The act instead allows DORS to use the funds to employ any type of additional staff. The act also removes a cap on using only 5% of funds for these purposes to employ special assistants to the blind and other support staff needed to efficiently deliver services.

Under prior law, DORS had to estimate the funding needed to pay the teachers' salaries, benefits, and related expenses. The act removes benefits from this calculation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

370 — DECREASE IN ELIGIBILITY FOR HUSKY A

By law, DSS provides Medicaid coverage to children younger than age 19 and their parents or caretaker relatives through HUSKY A. Under prior law, the income limit for this program was 196% of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($39,376 for a family of three). The act reduces HUSKY A coverage by lowering the income limit for non-pregnant adults (i. e. , parents or caretaker relatives) to 150% FPL ($30,135 for a family of three).

Federal law requires state agencies to include a 5% income disregard when making certain Medicaid eligibility determinations. Under the act and including this disregard, the HUSKY A income limit for parents and caretaker relatives in a family of three is effectively $31,140.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 1, 2015

371 — TRANSITION FROM HUSKY TO EXCHANGE

Under the act, before terminating coverage for a parent or needy caretaker relative who, beginning August 1, 2015, loses eligibility for Medicaid, DSS must review whether the person remains eligible for Medicaid under his or her current coverage category or a different category.

The act requires the DSS commissioner and the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) to ensure that parents or needy caretaker relatives who lose Medicaid eligibility are given an opportunity to enroll in a qualified health plan (QHP) without a gap in coverage. HIX must enlist the assistance of health and social services community-based organizations to contact and advise those individuals of health insurance coverage options.

Beginning November 1, 2015 and ending December 1, 2017, the act requires DSS and HIX to report quarterly to the Council on Medical Assistance Program Oversight (MAPOC) on the number of parents and caretaker relatives who, due to the changes in Medicaid income eligibility effective August 1, 2015:

1. were no longer eligible for Medicaid,

2. remained eligible after DSS' review,

3. lost Medicaid coverage and enrolled in a QHP without a gap in coverage,

4. lost Medicaid coverage and did not enroll in a QHP immediately after such coverage loss, and

5. enrolled in a QHP but were disenrolled for failing to pay premiums.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

372 — MEDICAID INCOME ELIGIBILITY CONVERSION

The act adjusts the Medicaid income eligibility limit for pregnant women to reflect federal Affordable Care Act requirements and current DSS practice. It also eliminates an obsolete requirement.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

373 & 374 — HUSKY B COVERAGE

Under prior law, HUSKY B provided non-Medicaid health coverage for children in households with incomes of more than 196% of the FPL, requiring households (1) between 249% FPL and 318% FPL to pay for coverage on a sliding fee scale, (i. e. , subsidized coverage) and (2) with more than 318% to pay full premium, (i. e. , unsubsidized coverage). The act eliminates eligibility for unsubsidized HUSKY B coverage for children with household incomes of more than 318% FPL.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 1, 2015

375 — TEMPORARY FAMILY ASSISTANCE (TFA) AND STATE ADMINISTERED GENERAL ASSISTANCE (SAGA) RATES

The act freezes payment standards for the DSS-administered TFA and SAGA cash assistance programs at the FY 15 rate for the next two fiscal years. It retains the existing formula for calculating increases for future years.

TFA provides temporary cash assistance to families that meet certain income and asset limits. In general, SAGA provides cash assistance to single or married childless individuals who have very low incomes, do not qualify for any other cash assistance program, and are considered “transitional” or “unemployable.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

376 — STATE SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM (SSP) RATES

The law generally requires the DSS commissioner to annually increase payment standards (i. e. , benefits) based on the consumer price index within certain parameters. The act freezes SSP payment standards for the next two fiscal years (FYs 16 and 17).

Under SSP, DSS provides cash assistance to supplement federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. (An individual not receiving SSI may still qualify for SSP if his or her monthly Social Security, private pension, or veteran's benefits are low. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

377 & 394 — NURSING HOME RATES

The act generally caps Medicaid reimbursement to nursing homes at FY 15 levels for the next two fiscal years. Facilities that would have been issued lower rates due to an interim rate status, change in allowable fair rent, or other agreement with DSS must receive the lower rate.

The act also extends for the next two fiscal years the commissioner's authority, within available appropriations, to provide pro rata fair rent increases. At his discretion, this may include increases for facilities that have undergone a material change in circumstances related to fair rent additions or moveable equipment placed in service in their 2014 and 2015 cost reports and not otherwise included in their issued rates.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015, except for the provision pertaining to the acuity-based reimbursement methodology ( 394), which is effective upon passage.

Acuity-Based Reimbursement Methodology

The act additionally allows the DSS commissioner to implement an acuity-based methodology for Medicaid reimbursement of nursing home services. When developing the system, he must (1) review the skilled nursing facility prospective payment system developed by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as other methodologies used nationally, and (2) consider recommendations from the nursing home industry.

The commissioner may implement policies as needed to carry out the provisions on the new methodology while in the process of adopting the policies as regulations, as long as he posts them on the eRegulations system and the DSS website before doing so.

377 — FACILITY EMPLOYEE SALARY INCREASES

Starting July 1, 2015, the act requires DSS, within available appropriations, to adjust facility rates in accordance with standard accounting principles prescribed by the commissioner, for each nursing home, residential care home (RCH), and intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disability (ICF-ID). The adjustment must provide a pro-rata increase based on direct and indirect employee salaries reported in the facility's 2014 annual cost report, adjusted to reflect (1) subsequent salary increases and (2) reasonable costs (a) mandated by collective bargaining agreements with certified collective bargaining agents or (b) otherwise provided by the facility to its employees. Under the act, an “employee” for these purposes does not include:

1. a facility's manager or chief administrator,

2. a person required to be licensed as a nursing home administrator, or

3. anyone who (a) receives compensation for services under a contract and (b) is not directly employed by the facility.

The act allows the commissioner to establish an upper limit for reasonable costs associated with salary adjustments beyond which the adjustment does not apply. The act specifies that it does not require the commissioner to distribute the adjustments in a way that jeopardizes anticipated federal reimbursement.

A facility that receives the adjustment but does not provide the required salary increases by July 31, 2015 may have its rate decreased by the adjusted amount. Of the total amount appropriated for these increases, up to $9 million may go to increases based on reasonable costs mandated by collective bargaining agreements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

378 — ICF-ID RATES

The act caps at FY 15 levels the rates DSS pays ICF-IDs (group homes) in FYs 16 and 17. But it allows for higher rates if (1) a capital improvement is made to a home during either year for the residents' health or safety and DDS approved it, in consultation with DSS, and (2) funding is available. Under the act, homes that would have received lower rates in FY 16, FY 17, or succeeding fiscal years because of their interim rate status or some other agreement with DSS must receive a lower rate.

The act also extends DSS' authority, for FYs 16 and 17, to pay a fair rent increase to an ICF-ID that has (1) undergone a material change in circumstances related to fair rent and (2) an approved certificate of need (CON) for the change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

379 — DSS PAYMENTS TO BOARDING HOMES

For FY 16 and FY 17, the act freezes room and board rates paid by DSS at FY 15 levels for private residential facilities and similar facilities operated by regional educational service centers that provide vocational or functional services for individuals with certain disabilities (non-ICF-ID boarding homes (see 378)). Within available appropriations, the act allows rates to exceed the FY 15 level only for capital improvements (1) made in FY 16 or FY 17 for the health and safety of residents and (2) approved by DDS in consultation with DSS. The act also requires DSS to issue lower rates for FY 16 and any subsequent fiscal year because of an interim rate status, a change in allowable fair rent, or an agreement between DSS and the facility.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

380 — RESIDENTIAL CARE HOME (RCH) RATES

When DSS determines a facility's rate, fair rent is the amount that accounts for the facility's costs for property and other large assets.

Beginning with FY 16, the act requires DSS to provide fair rent reimbursement to RCHs at the greater of $3. 10 per day or the allowable accumulated fair rent reimbursement associated with real property additions and land as calculated daily.

Under law unchanged by the act, DSS must provide an additional reimbursement for additions placed in service after the 1996 cost year. It is unclear how the act affects those properties eligible for this additional reimbursement.

The act also caps at FY 15 levels the rates DSS pays RCHs in FYs 16 and 17 except that the commissioner may, at his discretion, provide proportional fair rent increases to facilities that have documented fair rent additions that (1) were placed in service during the 2014 and 2015 cost report years and (2) are not otherwise included in the issued rates. Additionally, starting in FY 16, any RCH that would have been issued a lower rate because of an interim rate status, change in allowable fair rent, or other agreement with DSS must receive the lower rate.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

381 — DSS REIMBURSEMENTS TO PHARMACIES

The act reduces the reimbursement DSS pays pharmacists for dispensing brand name drugs to DSS medical assistance (e. g. , Medicaid) recipients. Under prior law, DSS paid the average wholesale price (AWP) of the drug minus 16%, plus a $1. 70 dispensing fee. Under the act, the reimbursement is reduced to the AWP minus 16. 5%, plus a $1. 40 dispensing fee.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

382 — SUPPLEMENTAL INPATIENT POOL FOR LOW-COST HOSPITALS

Prior law required the DSS commissioner, within available appropriations, to establish a supplemental inpatient pool for low-cost hospitals. The act allows him, within available appropriations, to instead establish a supplemental inpatient pool for certain unspecified hospitals. Neither the act nor the law defines “supplemental inpatient pool.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

383 — CONNECTICUT HOME CARE PROGRAM FOR ELDERS (CHCPE)

CHCPE provides home- and community-based services to frail elders as an alternative to nursing home care. The program has state- and Medicaid-funded components. By law, the state-funded component provides services to individuals who (1) are at least 65 years old, (2) are inappropriately institutionalized or at risk of inappropriate institutionalization, and (3) have income and assets within certain limits. For those who apply to the program in FY 16 and FY 17, the act further limits eligibility for the state-funded program to only those who (1) require a nursing home level of care or (2) live in affordable housing under the state's assisted living demonstration programs.

The act increases the required co-payment from 7% to 9% of the cost of care for participants in the state-funded portion of CHCPE who do not live in such affordable housing. By law, such participants with income over 200% FPL must also pay an amount of applied income determined by DSS.

By law, the asset limit for this program is (1) for single people, 150% of the minimum community spouse protected amount (CSPA) and (2) for married people, 200% of the minimum CSPA. The CSPA is the amount of assets the spouse of someone in a nursing home who applies for Medicaid may keep when his or her spouse becomes eligible for Medicaid. The act requires the minimum CSPA used to establish asset limits for the state-funded portion of the CHCPE to be the federal minimum instead of a minimum established in the DSS policy manual. (In practice, these are currently the same. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

384 & 385 — BURIAL EXPENSES FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE RECIPIENTS AND INDIGENT INDIVIDUALS

The act decreases, from $1,800 to $1,400, the maximum amount DSS pays toward funeral and burial expenses for someone on public assistance (including TFA, SAGA, or SSP) or who is otherwise indigent. Under the law, this maximum amount is reduced by the amount the individual has in any revocable or irrevocable funeral fund, a prepaid funeral contract, or the face value of the person's life insurance. Other sources may contribute to the funeral and burial costs, but the law caps the amount others may contribute for a SAGA recipient or person who is otherwise indigent. The act increases this cap from $2,800 to $3,200.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

386 — MEDICARE PART D PRESCRIPTION DRUG CO-PAYMENTS

The act eliminates DSS's obligation to pay Medicare Part D prescription co-payments for those who are eligible for full Medicaid assistance and have Part D coverage (i. e. , dually eligible). Under prior law, full benefit dually eligible individuals paid Part D prescription co-payments of up to $15 per month, and DSS paid anything in excess of that amount.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

387 — MEDICATION ADMINISTRATION

The law permits a registered nurse to delegate to homemaker-home health aides who obtain medication administration certification the administration of medications that are not injected into patients, unless the prescribing physician specifies otherwise. Under the law, administration may not be delegated when the prescribing physician specifies that a nurse must administer the medication.

The act requires the DSS commissioner to monitor Medicaid home health savings that have been achieved by having homemaker home-health aides, instead of registered nurses, administer medication. If, by January 1, 2016, the commissioner determines that the savings are less than the amount assumed in the 2016-17 biennial budget, DSS may reduce home health care Medicaid rates for medication administration to the amount necessary to achieve the assumed savings. But before reducing the rate, the act requires the commissioner to report to the Appropriations and Human Services committees about provider-specific cost and utilization trend data for patients administered medication in their homes.

If DSS determines it must reduce the medication administration rates, it must examine the possibility of establishing a separate Medicaid supplemental rate or a pay-for-performance program for the providers, as determined by the commissioner, who have successfully delegated medication administration to homemaker-home health aides as described above.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

388 — EMERGENCY MEDICAL REIMBURSEMENT

By law, DSS must limit reimbursements to Medicaid providers for Medicare coinsurance and deductibles so that when combined with the Medicare payment, the providers receive no more than the maximum allowable under the Medicaid fee schedule. The act eliminates an exemption from this reimbursement limitation for payments to emergency medical services providers whose rates are set by the public health commissioner.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

389 — AMBULANCE REIMBURSEMENT RATES

By law, DSS sets reimbursement rates for ambulance transportation of Medicaid recipients. Beginning with FY 16, the act requires DSS, subject to federal approval and within available appropriations, to revise the Medicaid payment methodology for ambulance services to apply a relative value unit (RVU) system similar to the Medicare payment methodology. RVU assigns a numeric value for ambulance services relative to the value of a base level ambulance service. For example, under Medicare, non-emergency basic life support (BLS) transportation is the base unit and assigned an RVU of “1. 00. ” Other ambulance reimbursement rates are determined in proportion to the BLS value (e. g. , emergency advanced life support (ALS) services are assigned a value of 1. 90).

Under the act, non-emergency BLS must be designated as the base unit and the following services must be assigned relative values: emergency BLS, non-emergency ALS, emergency ALS, and paramedic intercept services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

390 — MEDICAID ORTHODONTURE COVERAGE

The act requires DSS to cover orthodontic services for a Medicaid recipient under age 21 when the Salzmann Handicapping Malocclusion Index (SHMI) indicates that the recipient's correct assessment score is 26 points or greater, subject to prior authorization requirements. (Prior to the act's passage, it was DSS' practice to generally cover such services when the SHMI score was 24 points or greater. ) The SHMI measures malocclusion (i. e. , teeth misalignment) by using weighted measurements of various factors, such as tooth spacing, overbite, and missing teeth.

If a recipient's SHMI score is less than 26 points, DSS must consider additional substantive information when determining the recipient's need for orthodontic services, including:

1. documentation of the presence of other severe deviations affecting oral facial structure and

2. the presence of severe mental, emotional, or behavioral problems or disturbances, as defined in the must current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (currently the DSM-V), that affect daily functioning.

The act allows the commissioner to implement policies and procedures necessary to administer these provisions while adopting regulations, as long as he publishes notice of intent to adopt regulations on the eRegulations system within 20 days of implementation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

391 — NURSING HOME BED MORATORIUM

The act indefinitely extends DSS' moratorium on accepting or approving requests for a certificate of need (CON) to add new nursing home beds. It removes DSS' ability to modify the capital costs of prior approvals. It also eliminates, modifies, and adds exemptions to the moratorium.

Under prior law, beds reserved solely for AIDS or traumatic brain injury patients were exempt from the moratorium. The act no longer exempts these but instead exempts beds for patients requiring neurological rehabilitation.

The law exempts from the moratorium Medicaid-certified beds relocated to new facilities to meet a priority need identified in the state's strategic plan to rebalance Medicaid long-term care supports and services. To maintain this exemption, the act additionally requires (1) at least one currently licensed facility to close as part of the relocation and (2) the new facility bed total to be at least 10% lower than the total number of relocated beds. The act eliminates a requirement that relocations to new or existing facilities result in a reduction in the number of nursing facility beds in the state but retains requirements that relocations or closures do not (1) adversely affect the availability of beds in the area of need and (2) result in an increase in state expenditures.

By law, Medicaid-certified beds relocated from one licensed nursing facility to another are exempt from the moratorium. Under the act, to be exempt, these beds must meet a priority need identified in the state's strategic plan to rebalance Medicaid long-term care supports and services.

The act eliminates exemptions from the moratorium for requests for:

1. Medicaid-certified beds relocated from a licensed nursing facility to a small house nursing home (though the act retains the exemption for relocating beds from one facility to another);

2. up to 20 beds from certain facilities that do not participate in Medicaid or Medicare;

3. up to 20 beds from certain freestanding facilities dedicated to providing hospice care services for terminally ill persons; and

4. up to 60 new or existing Medicaid certified beds relocated from a licensed nursing facility in a city with a 2004 estimated population of 125,000 to another location within that city.

The act also eliminates obsolete provisions pertaining to CONs in effect on August 1, 1991.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

392 — FACILITY CLOSURE RATE

The act allows the DSS commissioner, at his discretion, to revise the rate paid to a nursing home, RCH, or ICF-ID that is closing. An interim rate during the facility's closure must be based on (1) a review of the facility costs, (2) the expected duration of the close-down period, (3) the anticipated impact on Medicaid costs, (4) available appropriations, and (5) the relationship of the rate requested by the facility to the average Medicaid rate for a close-down period.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

393 — MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT FOR HOSPITALS

The act changes requirements in how DSS reimburses hospitals for the services they provide to Medicaid recipients. It establishes a four-year time frame for DSS to broaden hospital-specific diagnosis related groups (DRG) used to calculate rates for acute care hospitals and children's hospitals.  It also makes changes to the Medicare Ambulatory Payment Classification (MAPC) system used to calculate rates for outpatient and emergency room episodes of care.

It specifies how these rates should be calculated before DSS implements the modified MAPC system and limits how rates are calculated after implementation. The act also limits, to within available appropriations, several existing requirements concerning Medicaid reimbursement to hospitals.

Rates for Acute Care Hospitals

By law, DSS must base Medicaid rates for acute care hospitals and children's hospitals on DRGs. Such a system permits payment based on the severity of each patient's illness. By law, DSS must annually determine in-patient payments for each hospital by multiplying the DRG relative weights by a base rate. The act limits this requirement to within available appropriations.

The act establishes a four-year timeframe, beginning January 1, 2016, for DSS, within available appropriations and at the commissioner's discretion, to transition hospital-specific DRG base rates to statewide DRG base rates by peer groups. DSS determines the peer groups, which the act defines as groups of (1) privately operated acute care hospitals, which the DSS commissioner may subdivide into smaller peer groups at his discretion; (2) publicly operated acute care hospitals; or (3) acute care DPH-licensed children's hospitals.

Rates for Outpatient and Emergency Room Care

By law, DSS must pay hospitals for outpatient and emergency room episodes of care based on prospective rates that the DSS commissioner establishes in accordance with the MAPC system, in conjunction with a state conversion factor. The act (1) excludes publicly operated psychiatric hospitals from this requirement and (2) requires DSS to pay such rates for all other hospitals within available appropriations.

The act makes changes to the MAPC and includes language addressing rates both before and after the changes. The act changes how DSS must modify the MAPC system to provide payment for services the system generally does not cover. Prior law required the MAPC system to be modified to cover at least services including pediatric, obstetric, neonatal, and perinatal services. The act instead requires the system to be augmented to cover at least services including mammograms; durable medical equipment; and physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Prior to implementation of the modified MAPC system, the act requires DSS to base each hospital's charges on the "charge master" in effect on June 1, 2015. Generally, a charge master is a list of pricing information for procedures and other products hospitals can provide to patients. After implementation of the MAPC system, the act limits annual aggregate increases in each hospital's charge master to the annual increase in the Medicare economic index.

Under prior law, for those outpatient hospital services that lack an established MAPC code, DSS had to base payment on a ratio of cost to charges, or the fixed fee in effect as of January 1, 2013. The act instead requires, beginning when the MAPC system is implemented, DSS to pay for such services in accordance with a fee schedule or an alternative payment methodology determined by DSS.

Other Rate Provisions

Under the act, DSS is not required to increase paid or set rates to any hospital based on inflation, including any current payments or adjustments based on dates of service in previous years.

By law, DSS sets rates for freestanding chronic disease hospitals. The act requires DSS to do so within available appropriations. Until the DRG payment system is in place, the law requires DSS to set rates for hospitals receiving state funding and freestanding chronic disease hospitals based on the lesser of (1) the reasonable cost to such hospital or (2) the charge to the general public for ward services, or for hospitals with no ward facilities, the lowest charge the hospital imposes for semi-private services. The act maintains this requirement but requires DSS to promulgate such rates within available appropriations.

The law also requires DSS to set rates for:

1. the cost of special services rendered by acute care hospitals based on the reasonable cost to each hospital of providing special services to state patients and

2. outpatient clinic and emergency room visits to acute care hospitals until the DRG payment system is in place.

The act requires DSS to set or adjust all of these rates within available appropriations. By law, DSS may adjust the payment rate for hospitals for the year in which they furnish services to reflect fluctuations in hospital costs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

395-398 — ELIMINATION OF INTENSIVE CASE MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS IN MEDICAID

The act eliminates all requirements related to the provision of intensive case management services (ICM) to certain Medicaid recipients. DSS, DCF, and DMHAS contract with administrative service organizations (ASOs) to administer medical and behavioral health services for people who receive assistance under HUSKY Health. The act eliminates provisions requiring these ASOs, beginning July 1, 2016, to also provide ICM services that include, among other things:

1. identifying hospital emergency departments with high numbers of “frequent users” (i. e. , Medicaid clients with at least 10 annual emergency department visits);

2. creating regional ICM teams to work with emergency department doctors; and

3. assigning at least one ICM team staff member to participating emergency departments during hours of highest use.

It also eliminates requirements that ASOs with access to complete client claim adjudicated history, beginning July 1, 2016, annually analyze Medicaid clients' use of hospital emergency departments and report on such use to DSS and the Council on Medical Assistance Program Oversight. The act eliminates DSS' obligation to use the report to monitor ASO performance.

The act also removes a requirement that DSS ensure that contracts with a medical ASO include provisions requiring the ASO to:

1. assess primary care doctors and specialists to determine how easily a patient can access services;

2. inform Medicaid clients about, and connect them to, primary care providers; and

3. arrange primary care provider visits for frequent emergency department users after they visit an emergency department.

The act instead allows DSS to contract with the behavioral health ASO to provide intensive care management, a term the act does not define. In practice, DSS defines this term as various services using licensed care managers to help people with complex health care needs better understand and manage their care. By law, contracts with the medical ASO must include a provision to reduce inappropriate use of hospital emergency department services. The act allows this provision to include intensive care management. Prior law required DSS and DMHAS, in consultation with OPM, to ensure submission of eligible expenditures for intensive case management to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for Medicaid reimbursement. The act eliminates this requirement and instead requires submission of eligible expenditures for intensive care management.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

399 — PRESCRIPTION REIMBURSEMENT

By law, DSS must reimburse providers for all prescription drugs provided under DSS' medical assistance programs and pay licensed pharmacies a professional fee for each prescription dispensed. For otherwise eligible prescriptions, the act requires DSS to pay for the original prescription and any refills a licensed authorized practitioner orders within 12 months. The act specifies that DSS must pay a professional license fee for each approved refill.

The act excludes from its requirements prescription drugs that are (1) schedule III or IV controlled substances and (2) not dispensed directly by a practitioner (other than a pharmacy). By law, unless they are renewed by the practitioner, prescriptions for such drugs may not be (1) filled or refilled after six months of the date of the prescription or (2) refilled more than five times.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 1, 2015

400 — MEDICAID PROVIDER AUDITS

The act makes several changes in the DSS Medicaid provider audit process.

Principally, it:

1. modifies the circumstances in which DSS can determine over- or under-payment by extrapolating audited provider claims;

2. prohibits DSS from extrapolating an overpayment or attempting to recover an extrapolated overpayment beyond the payment's original dollar amount if the provider presents credible evidence that a DSS error caused the overpayment;

3. allows providers aggrieved by an audit finding to request a contested case hearing under the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (UAPA), instead of a review by a DSS designee as under prior law;

4. prohibits DSS from recouping a contested provider overpayment based on extrapolation until a final decision is issued;

5. requires DSS to give providers that will be audited (a) written notification of the statistically valid sampling and extrapolation methodology (SVSEM) the auditors will use and (b) additional information at the start of the audit;

6. eliminates a requirement that DSS adopt regulations pertaining to its provider audit practices and include a copy of these regulations with the provider's audit notification; and

7. requires DSS, by January 1, 2016, to establish audit protocols for homemaker companion services. (The law already requires DSS to adopt such protocols for various other providers and services. )

The act also makes technical and conforming changes.

Extrapolation

Use in Audits. By law, extrapolation means determining an unknown value by projecting the results of a review of a sample of claims to the entire population of claims from which the sample was drawn.

Prior law prohibited DSS from finding that an overpayment or underpayment was made to a provider based on extrapolated projections unless (1) the provider had a sustained or high level of payment errors, (2) documented educational intervention had failed to correct the error levels, or (3) the aggregate claims' value exceeded $200,000 annually.

The act instead prohibits DSS from making such findings based on extrapolation unless the total net amount of the extrapolated overpayment calculated from SVSEM exceeds 1. 75% of total claims paid to the provider for the audit period.

Under the act, “SVSEM” means a methodology that (1) is validated by a statistician who has completed graduate work in statistics and has significant experience developing statistically valid samples and extrapolating the results of the samples on behalf of government entities, (2) provides for the exclusion of highly unusual claims that do not represent the universe of paid claims, (3) has a 95% confidence level or greater (i. e. , at least a 95% probability that the result is reliable), and (4) includes stratified sampling when applicable. Stratified sampling is a sampling method that involves dividing a population into smaller groups based on shared attributes, characteristics, or similar paid claim amounts.

Assessment Based on Extrapolated Claims. By law, a provider must be allowed at least 30 days to provide documentation in connection with any discrepancy found in an audit and brought to the provider's attention. The act specifies that the documentation may include evidence that errors concerning payment and billing resulted from a provider's transition to a new payment or billing service or accounting system.

The act prohibits DSS from extrapolating an overpayment or attempting to recover an extrapolated overpayment if the provider presents credible evidence that a DSS error or an error by a DSS-contracted auditor caused the overpayment, but it allows DSS to recover the original overpayment amount.

Aggrieved Providers

Under prior law, a provider aggrieved by a decision in the final audit report could submit a written request for a review of all items of aggrievement. The act instead allows an aggrieved provider to submit a written request for a contested case hearing in accordance with the UAPA. When a provider requests such a hearing to contest an overpayment based on extrapolation, the act specifies that DSS cannot recoup the overpayment amount until a final decision is issued after a hearing. Like the review under prior law, the hearing must be presided over by an impartial DSS designee who is not an employee of (1) the department's Office of Quality Assurance or (2) a DSS contracted auditor. As under prior law, a hearing decision can be appealed to court.

The act allows a provider, during the hearing, to claim that a negative audit finding was due to the provider's compliance with a state or federal law or regulation. Following the hearing, the act requires the designee to issue a final decision within 90 days of the close of evidence or the date final briefs are filed, whichever is later.

Provider Notice

By law, DSS, at least 30 days before auditing a provider, must give the provider written notice of the audit unless DSS or a DSS-contracted auditor makes a good faith determination that (1) a recipient's health or safety was at risk or (2) the provider was engaging in vendor fraud. The act requires the notice to also include the SVSEM to be used in the audit.

Additionally, at the start of the audit, the act requires DSS or the contracted auditor to disclose to the provider (1) the name and contact information of any assigned auditors; (2) the audit location, including whether the audit will be conducted on-site or through record submission; and (3) how to submit the requested information.

Claims Subject to Audit

Under the act, no audit can include claims paid more than 36 months before the date claims are selected for audit. A scanned copy of documents supporting a claim must be acceptable when original documents are unavailable.

Clerical Errors

By law, clerical errors discovered during an audit do not constitute a willful violation of program rules without other evidence. Prior law did not limit the errors that could be categorized as “clerical” but specified that they included recordkeeping, typographical, scrivener's, or computer errors. Under the act, a clerical error is an unintentional typographical, scrivener's, or computer error.

Prior law required DSS to provide free provider training on how to enter claims to avoid clerical errors. Under the act, the training is to avoid errors generally.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

401 — TWO-GENERATION PILOT PROGRAM

The act establishes a two-generation school readiness and workforce development pilot program, paid for with state and available private funds. An interagency working group consisting of various state agency officials and stakeholders oversees the program. The program operates through June 30, 2017 in the following six locations: Bridgeport, Colchester, Greater Hartford, Meriden, New Haven, and Norwalk. The pilot sites must work together as a learning community, informed by technical assistance in best practices.

The pilot program must (1) foster economic self-sufficiency in low-income households by delivering academic and job readiness support services across two generations in the same household and (2) serve as a blueprint for a statewide two-generation school readiness and workforce development model. It may also include opportunities for statewide learning in two-generation system building and policy development.

The working group must report to the Human Services and Appropriations committees by January 1, 2017.

Pilot Program Requirements

Under the act, the pilot program must include:

1. early learning programs, adult education, child care, housing, job training, transportation, financial literacy, and other related support services, offered at one location wherever possible and

2. a workforce liaison to gauge the needs of employers and households in each community and help coordinate the program to meet those needs.

It must also include partnerships between state and national philanthropic organizations, as available, to provide the pilot sites and interagency working group with technical assistance in phasing-in and designing (1) model two-generation programs and practices, (2) an evaluation plan, (3) statewide replication, and (4) program implementation.

Additionally, the program must develop a long-term plan to deliver its services statewide. The plan must include (1) the targeted use of temporary family assistance program funds, to the extent permissible under federal law, to support two-generation programming and (2) state grant incentives for private entities that develop this programming.

Interagency Working Group

Under the act, an interagency working group oversees the pilot program and consists of:

1. the correction, early childhood, education, housing, labor, public health, social services, and transportation commissioners, or their designees;

2. the chief court administrator, or his designee;

3. one member of the Appropriations Committee, appointed by the House speaker;

4. one member of the Human Services Committee, appointed by the Senate president pro tempore;

5. representatives of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and scholars who are experts in two-generation programs and policies; and

6. other business and academic professionals needed to achieve goals for two-generation systems planning, evaluations, and outcomes.

The act does not specify how non-state officials are appointed.

The act requires the staff of the Commission on Children to serve as the working group's organizing and administrative staff.

The act requires coordinators of two-generation programs in each participating community and any organization serving as a fiduciary for the program to report quarterly to the working group.

Reporting Requirement

The act requires the interagency workgroup to report to the Human Services and Appropriations committees by January 1, 2017. The report must include:

1. the number of families the program served;

2. the number of children who have improved academically, including (a) achievement band increases and (b) improvements in reading comprehension and math literacy;

3. the number of adults who (a) received job training, completed job training, enrolled in educational courses, and obtained educational certificates or degrees and (b) obtained jobs since receiving program services;

4. the program's cost in both state and private funding; and

5. recommendations to expand the program to additional communities statewide.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

402 — COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS

The act appropriates $517,500 in FY 16 to DSS for the Medicaid shared savings program for community health centers. The act specifies that the funds do not lapse at the fiscal year's end and must remain available for this purpose through FY 17.

The act also appropriates $422,327 per year in FYs 16 and 17 to the General Fund's community health services account for the DPH commissioner to provide grants to community health centers. When awarding the grants, the act permits the commissioner to consider the amount of (1) funding the centers received from DPH grants disbursed in FY 15 and (2) uncompensated care the centers provided.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

403 — FEDERALLY QUALIFIED HEALTH CENTER (FQHC) PAYMENTS

Under prior law, DSS had to distribute funding to FQHCs, within available appropriations, based on cost reports the centers submitted to DSS, until the Appropriations and Human Services committees approved an alternative payment methodology.

The act instead allows DSS to develop an alternative payment methodology to replace the encounter-based reimbursement system. The Appropriations and Human Services committees must approve the new methodology.

Under the act, until the methodology is implemented, DSS must distribute supplemental funding, within available appropriations, to FQHCs based on cost, volume, and quality measures the DSS commissioner determines.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

404 — NURSING HOME RESIDENT COMMUNITY TRANSITION

Under the act, if a nursing facility has reason to know that a resident is likely to become financially eligible for Medicaid in the next 180 days, it must notify the resident or the resident's representative and DSS. DSS may (1) assess the resident to determine if he or she prefers and is able to live appropriately at home or in some other community-based setting and (2) develop a care plan and help the resident transition to the community.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

405 & 517 — SWIMMING POOL ASSEMBLER LICENSE

License Requirement

The act creates a swimming pool assembler license for people who assemble above-ground swimming pools. (It repeals PA 15-244, 217, which creates a pool installer license. )

By law, anyone who, for financial compensation, builds or installs permanent spas or in-ground or partially above-ground swimming pools more than 24 inches deep must be licensed as a swimming pool builder and registered as a home improvement contractor with DCP (CGS 20-340d). The act creates a swimming pool assembler license for people who, for financial compensation, assemble above-ground swimming pools more than 24 inches deep and subjects these licensees to license and registration requirements similar to those that apply to swimming pool builder licensees under existing law, including registering as a home improvement contractor. People building or assembling pools on their own residential property are exempt from the requirements under the law as well as the act.

As is the case for the swimming pool builder licensee, the act prohibits the swimming pool assembler licensee from performing electrical; plumbing and piping; or heating, piping, and cooling work without being licensed by DCP to perform this type of work.

As is the case for the swimming pool builder licensee, the initial fee for the swimming pool assembler license is $150, and the annual renewal fee is $100. The annual fee to register as a home improvement contractor is $120, plus $100 annually for the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund.

The act does not contain specific penalties for swimming pool assembler license violations. But by law, DCP may impose penalties for violations, such as suspending or revoking DCP licenses. Under the act, a swimming pool assembler licensee who violates the home improvement contractor registration provisions is also subject to a range of penalties.

Implementing Regulations for Swimming Pool Assemblers

By April 1, 2016, the act requires the DCP commissioner to adopt implementing regulations establishing, among other things, the amount and type of experience, training, continuing education, and examination requirements for getting and renewing a swimming pool assembler license.

Once DCP adopts regulations, the act prohibits anyone from assembling, for financial compensation, an above-ground swimming pool more than 24 inches deep, except on his or her own residential property, without first obtaining a DCP pool assembler license and registering with DCP as a home improvement contractor.

Anyone who applies for a license before January 1, 2017 does not have to take a license examination, provided his or her experience and training are equivalent to that required to qualify for the examination under DCP regulations.

Exemptions

Under the act, an applicant for a pool assembler's license who holds a swimming pool builder license or limited swimming pool maintenance and repair contractor's license must be issued the license without examination and is not required to complete continuing education requirements for the pool assembler's license.

Home Improvement Contractor Registration

The act requires swimming pool assembler licensees to comply with the registration requirements that apply to home improvement contractors under existing law.

Fees. By law, home improvement contractors must register with DCP and pay a $220 annual fee, including $100 for the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund. This fund reimburses consumers unable to recover losses suffered because the contractor failed to fulfill a contract valued at more than $200, up to $15,000 per claim (CGS 20-421 & 432).

Requirements. Among other things, registered contractors must (1) include their registration numbers in advertisements, (2) show their registration when asked to do so by “any interested party,” and (3) use written contracts that meet certain statutory requirements (CGS 20-427(a) & 429).

Violations and Penalties. DCP may investigate, refuse, suspend, or revoke a home improvement contractor's registration and impose fines. It may impose civil fines of up to $500 for a first offense, $750 for a second offense, and $1,500 for subsequent offenses for such violations as working without the required registration or willfully employing an unregistered individual (CGS 20-427(d)).

In addition to other remedies in law, certain violations involving (1) fraud or misrepresentation are class B misdemeanors and (2) failure to refund money for home improvement work not done in a specified time are class A or B misdemeanors depending on the price of the work (see Table on Penalties) (CGS 20-427(c)).

Finally, a violation of the home improvement contractor laws constitutes a violation under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CGS 20-427(c)).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015, except the provision ( 517) repealing the license created by PA 15-244 is effective June 30, 2015.

406 — FAILURE TO FILE FOR ENTERPRISE ZONE PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION

The law requires property owners eligible for the five-year enterprise zone property tax exemption to annually file an application with the local tax assessor to claim the exemption. If a property owner does not file the application by the statutory November 1 deadline and is not granted an extension, the owner waives his or her right to the exemption for that assessment year.

The act allows a property owner that missed this deadline to remain eligible for the exemption if (1) he or she received a certificate of eligibility on or after October 1, 2009 and (2) the property is located in a New Haven County municipality with between 18,500 and 19,500 people according to the 2010 federal census (Ansonia).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

407 — SMALL BUSINESS EXPRESS AMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES

The act increases, from 4% to 5%, the percentage of Small Business Express program funds that DECD may use to cover the program's administrative costs, but requires DECD to dedicate the additional 1% to develop capacity for capital construction projects for minority business enterprises.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

408 — URBAN AND INDUSTRIAL SITE TAX CREDIT CAP INCREASE

The act increases, from $800 million to $950 million, the total amount of business tax credits available under the Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment (UISR) program.

UISR credits are available to any type of business investing in a project that will generate enough sales, personal income, and other tax revenue to recoup the foregone business tax revenue. The state may approve up to $100 million in tax credits per project, and the credits are claimed over a 10-year period according to a statutory schedule. The tax credits apply to insurance premium, corporation, air carrier, railroad company, cable TV, utility company, and other specified business taxes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

409 — NEW MARKETS TAX CREDITS

Existing law allows qualified community development entities (CDEs) or the businesses that invest in them to serve as a conduit for bond-funded grants intended to fund projects undertaken by other entities (grant recipients). A CDE may do this only if substantially all of the proceeds go to the grant recipient to undertake the project. The act allows the CDE to reinvest the proceeds directly in the project following a foreclosure brought against the grant recipient or its affiliate. The act also specifies that grants may only be channeled through CDEs if the program or project funded by the grant is located in the state.

CDEs are entities eligible to receive federal New Markets tax credits. Under federal law, the U. S.  Treasury allocates a share of the annual aggregate New Markets tax credits to qualified CDEs.  They in turn make the credits available to private entities that invest in business projects in low-income areas.  The credits equal 39% of the qualified investments, taken over seven years.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  July 1, 2015

410 — TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

The act allows the OPM secretary, in consultation with the transportation commissioner, to use available funds, including urban action bond funds, to make grants or loans to (1) support and encourage "transit-oriented development" projects and (2) encourage the development and use of port and rail freight facilities and services. The law already authorizes DECD to make these grants or loans in consultation with the transportation commissioner.

The act specifies that it does not affect the state's authority to enter into agreements to facilitate transit-oriented development projects on state property.

“Transit-oriented development” is the development of residential, commercial, and employment centers within walking distance, or one-half mile, of public transportation facilities, including rail and bus rapid transit services, in order to encourage the use of those services (CGS 13b-79o).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

411 — OPERATION FUEL FUNDING

Starting July 1, 2015, the act increases, from $1. 1 million to $2. 1 million, the amount that must be annually transferred from the funds collected by the systems benefit charge (SBC) to Operation Fuel, Inc. for energy assistance. It also increases, from $100,000 to $200,000, the amount of the funds that Operation Fuel can use to administer the program.

The SBC is a charge on electric bills that helps fund various energy-related public policy costs. Operation Fuel, Inc. is a private nonprofit organization that provides limited energy assistance to households ineligible for other energy assistance programs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

412 — SAFE BOATING REGULATIONS

PA 15-25 requires the DEEP commissioner to amend regulations that set out the content of safe boating operation courses. The revised regulations must (1) require the safe boating courses to include content on safe water skiing and (2) provide procedures for DEEP to issue and revoke safe water skiing endorsements.

The act allows the DEEP commissioner to include in the amended regulations provisions establishing a fee for a safe water skiing endorsement and an alternative online course for the endorsement.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

413 — PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE IMPLEMENTATION

The act requires the labor commissioner, in consultation with the state treasurer, state comptroller, and commissioner of administrative services, to establish the procedures needed to implement a paid family and medical leave (FML) program.

The labor commissioner, by October 1, 2015, must contract with a consultant to create an implementation plan for the program. At a minimum, the plan must:

1. include a process to evaluate and establish mechanisms, through consultation with the above officials and DRS, that requires employees to contribute a portion of their salary or wages to a paid FML program, possibly by using existing technology and payroll deduction systems;

2. identify mechanisms for timely claim acceptance; claims processing; fraud prevention; and any staffing, infrastructure, and capital needs associated with administering the program;

3. identify and report on mechanisms for timely employee compensation distribution and any associated staffing, infrastructure, and capital needs; and

4. identify and report on funding opportunities to assist with start-up costs and program administration, including federal funds.

The act also requires the labor commissioner, by October 1, 2015 and in consultation with the treasurer, to contract with a consultant to perform an actuarial analysis and report on the employee contribution level needed to ensure sustainable funding and administration for a paid FML compensation program.

The labor commissioner must submit a report on the implementation plan and actuarial analysis to the Labor and Appropriations committees by February 1, 2016.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

414 — APPOINTEES AND NOMINEES FINGERPRINTING AND CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD CHECKS

The act allows the governor to require anyone appointed or nominated as a department head or chief justice or judge of the Supreme, Appellate, or Superior courts to be fingerprinted and submit to state and national criminal history records checks.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

415 — STATEWIDE SEXUAL ABUSE AND ASSAULT AWARENESS PROGRAM

The act extends, from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016, the date by which the Department of Children and Families (DCF), together with the Department of Education and Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. , or a similar organization, must identify or develop a statewide sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program for use by regional and local school boards. It also extends, from October 1, 2015 to October 1, 2016, the date by which school boards must implement the program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

416 & 417 — UCONN GRAD STUDENTS' HEALTH CARE

The act permits the UConn Board of Trustees (BOT) to provide health care coverage for UConn graduate assistants, graduate fellows, postdoctoral trainees, and certain graduate students through the partnership plan, provided the university pays all related premiums and expenses. The partnership plan is the state-administered health insurance plan for non-state public or nonprofit employers.

The act prohibits UConn from charging premiums and expenses to the General Fund.

Specifically, the act permits the following to be enrolled in the partnership plan:

1. UConn or the UConn Health Center graduate assistants, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate fellows; and

2. UConn graduate students participating in university-funded internships as part of their graduate program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

418 & 419 — HOMELESS YOUTH PROGRAM

The act transfers on July 1, 2017, from DCF to the Department of Housing (DOH), responsibility for administering the state's homeless youth program. However, it requires DOH to administer the program in collaboration with DCF, within available appropriations.

The act expands program eligibility to include homeless youth age 23 or younger, instead of only those under age 21. By law, the program may provide public outreach, respite housing, or transitional living services to youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Beginning by February 1, 2018, the act requires the DOH and DCF commissioners to jointly submit an annual program report to the Housing and Children's committees. Under prior law, the DCF commissioner submitted a report to the Children's Committee. By law, the report must include recommendations for programmatic changes, outcome indicators and measures, and benchmarks for evaluating progress.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017

420 — OFFICE OF STATE BROADBAND

The act establishes an Office of State Broadband within the Office of Consumer Council (OCC). It requires the Office of State Broadband to work to increase access to broadband to every state citizen and increase access to, and adoption of, ultra-high-speed gigabit-capable broadband networks.

The act allows OCC to (1) collaborate with public and nonprofit entities and state agencies and (2) provide advisory assistance, including help in procuring grants, to municipalities, local authorities, and private corporations to expand broadband access in the state and foster innovative broadband approaches.

The act requires the new office to include a broadband policy coordinator and other staff as the consumer counsel deems necessary to perform its duties.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

421 & 422 — NOTICES OF ABANDONED PROPERTY

The act eliminates a requirement that the state treasurer biennially publish notice of abandoned (i. e. , escheated) property in a newspaper with general circulation in the county of the apparent owner's last-known address. It instead requires that she post this notice on her office's website. By law, the notice must list all abandoned property with a value of $50 or more that was (1) reported and transferred to the state treasurer during preceding calendar years and (2) not previously published (or, under the act, posted online). Existing law also allows the treasurer to make the notice available electronically through other telecommunications methods that she deems cost effective and appropriate.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

423 — "FRAMEWORK FOR CONNECTICUT'S FISCAL FUTURE" REPORTS

The act requires the OPM secretary or his designee to (1) review the nonprofit Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century's reports titled, Framework for Connecticut's Fiscal Future and (2) submit any recommendations regarding the reports' findings to the governor and the Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees by February 1, 2016. The reports (1) assess the state's systems for (a) providing long-term care; (b) administering correction, parole, and probation programs; (c) providing pension and other post-employment benefits; and (d) delivering public and human services and (2) describe how the state can use technology to improve these systems and programs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

424 — EXECUTIVE BRANCH EXEMPTIONS FROM CLASSIFIED SERVICE

The act exempts the following positions within the Executive Branch from the state employee classified service:

1. Director of Communications 1;

2. Director of Communications 1 (RC);

3. Director of Communications 2;

4. Director of Communications 2 (RC);

5. Legislative Program Manager;

6. Communications and Legislative Program Manager;

7. Director of Legislation, Regulation, and Communication;

8. Legislative and Administrative Advisor 1; and

9. Legislative and Administrative Advisor 2.

By law, positions exempt from the classified service are not subject to civil service exams and other hiring and promotion procedures that apply to classified service positions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

425 — STATE AGENCY INTERPRETERS FOR HEARING IMPAIRED PERSONS

The act requires state agencies unable to meet a request for deaf or hard of hearing interpreter services with their own staff to ask the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) to provide the services before requesting them from elsewhere. It allows a state agency to seek interpreting services elsewhere if (1) DORS cannot fulfill the agency's request within two business days or (2) the agency has good cause to need such services immediately. The act applies to any office, department, board, council, commission, institution, or other executive or legislative branch agency.

The act exempts DORS from its requirements if it needs interpreting services related to an internal matter and the use of department interpreters may raise confidentiality issues. The act also does not affect preexisting interpreting services contracts.

By law, anyone who receives compensation for providing interpreting services must be registered with DORS and meet certain qualifications (CGS 46a-33a). The act specifies that interpreting services provided by state agencies must comply with this law.

By law, DORS must provide interpreting services, to the extent interpreters are available, if requested by any person or public or private entity. Service recipients must reimburse DORS through rates set by the department's commissioner (CGS 46a-33b).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

426-428 — MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER CONVEYANCE FEES

The act changes dealer conveyance fee notification requirements. Among other things, it requires new and used motor vehicle dealers to (1) notify prospective buyers that dealer conveyance fees are negotiable and (2) state the conveyance fee separately in vehicle advertisements and when quoting the vehicle sale price. It bars dealers from adding the conveyance fee to the sale price at the time the buyer signs the sales order.

It requires the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (PRI) to compile information on conveyance fees and report to the Transportation Committee by January 15, 2016. It also makes conforming changes.

Conveyance and Processing Fees

By law, a motor vehicle dealer may charge a conveyance or processing fee to recover reasonable costs for (1) processing all documentation and (2) performing services related to the closing of a sale, including registration and transfer of ownership. The law does not define reasonable costs or cap the fees.

The act requires dealers to notify prospective buyers that the fee is negotiable and to include it but state it separately when quoting the sale price.

Prior law required dealers to provide the buyer with a written statement or prominently display in their place of business a sign specifying (1) the conveyance or processing fee amount; (2) the services for which it is charged; (3) that the fee is not payable to the state; and (4) that if a buyer chooses to submit documentation required for registration and transfer of ownership to the DMV, the dealer must reduce the fee by a proportional amount. The act requires dealers to (1) also specify on both the written statement and the sign that the fee is negotiable and (2) provide buyers with the written statement and prominently display a sign containing this information.

Motor Vehicle Advertisements

The law requires that advertisements for motor vehicles state, in at least 8-point bold type, that the dealer conveyance or processing fee is one of several costs excluded from the stated price. The act requires that the advertisement separately state, in at least 8-point bold type, the amount of the dealer conveyance or processing fee immediately next to the phrase “dealer conveyance fee. ” By law, a new car dealer who violates the advertising provisions faces a fine of up to $1,000 and possible DMV suspension or revocation of its license. The act also subjects used car dealers to these penalties.

Reporting Requirements

The act requires licensed new and used car dealers continuously in business between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015 to report the following information to PRI by November 1, 2015:

1. the average amount they charged as conveyance or processing fees in each month between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015;

2. a description of how they calculated the fee and the reason for any month-to-month variance in the fee; and

3. their name and address and whether they sell new cars, used cars, or both.

PRI's Responsibilities

PRI must publicize the act's requirements and develop and distribute a form dealers may use to submit the required information. Car dealers that choose not to use the form must submit the required information in a way that reasonably conforms to the act's requirements.

PRI must allow dealers to submit the information either by mail or email and take any steps necessary to ensure the information is reported accurately and completely. PRI must compile the required information, including a description of the methodology used to collect and report it, and submit it in a report to the Transportation Committee by January 15, 2016.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

429 — NAMING THE STATE ARMORY DRIVEWAY

The act names the driveway running in front of the State Armory from the Legislative Office Building to Broad Street the “Chief Michael J. Fallon Way.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

430 — PRIVATE OCCUPATIONAL SCHOOLS

The act reduces, from 0. 5% to 0. 4%, the percentage of tuition revenues that private occupational schools must pay into the private occupational school student protection account. By law, the account is used to refund tuition to students unable to complete a course at a private occupational school because the school becomes insolvent or stops operating. It is funded by (1) quarterly assessments on private occupational schools' tuition revenue received from Connecticut students and (2) other fees related to the schools' operations.

The act also removes a conflict in prior law by eliminating a provision that prohibited schools from being assessed for payments if the account balance exceeds $2. 5 million. A separate provision in existing law requires certain schools to continue paying into the account even if the balance exceeds $2. 5 million (CGS 10a-22w).

Additionally, the act allows the Office of Higher Education's executive director to assess the account for all direct expenses incurred for administering the account that exceed the office's normal expenditures. Under prior law, the executive director could assess the account only for the office's accounting, auditing, and clerical expenditures. The act also repeals obsolete language.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

431 — CLAIMING FILM PRODUCTION TAX CREDITS

The act extends, from four to six years, the time during which entities may claim film production tax credits that are authorized on July 1, 2015 or later.

By law, entities seeking credits must apply to DECD for a credit voucher entitling them to claim credits for the film production expenses they incur. Under the act, they may claim all or part of the credits for which a voucher is issued on or after July 1, 2015 in the year in which the production expenses occurred or in the next five income years. Existing law allows entities to claim tax credits authorized after January 1, 2006 in the year in which the expenses occurred or the next three income years.

As under existing law, film production credits can be used against the corporation business or the insurance companies taxes and may be sold or otherwise transferred.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

432, 433 & 514 — SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDS (STF) LOCKBOX

The act makes the STF a perpetual fund and restricts the use of STF funds to transportation purposes only, including paying debt service on state obligations incurred for transportation purposes. The act prohibits the legislature from passing any law that would authorize the use of STF funds for anything other than transportation purposes. It is unclear whether these provisions are enforceable restrictions on future legislatures (see Background -“Legislative Entrenchment”).

Under the act, all funds the law requires to be deposited in the STF on or after June 30, 2015 must continue to be deposited in the STF as long as the state continues to collect the funds.

Beginning July 1, 2015, the act requires all funds collected by the state from the use of highways, expressways, and ferries to be deposited in the STF, except as necessary to make direct payments of debt service on state obligations incurred for transportation purposes.

The act also repeals a similar provision that would have been effective July 1, 2015 restricting the use of STF funds to transportation purposes.

By law, the STF pays for state highway and public transportation projects. It is supported by a number of revenue streams, including the motor fuels tax, motor carrier road tax, petroleum products gross earnings tax, certain motor vehicle receipts and fees (e. g. , driver's license fees), and surcharges on motor vehicle related fines and penalties (CGS 13-59 et seq. ).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Background ‒ Legislative Entrenchment

Legislative entrenchment refers to one legislature restricting a future legislature's ability to enact legislation. The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that such a provision is unenforceable, writing that “to hold otherwise would be to hold that one General Assembly could effectively control the enactment of legislation by a subsequent General Assembly. This is obviously not true, except where vested rights, protected by the constitution, have accrued under the earlier act.

434 — HARTFORD ELECTION MONITOR

The act establishes a temporary election monitor in a municipality with a population of 124,000 to 128,000, according to the most recent federal decennial census (i. e. , Hartford). The election monitor's purpose is to detect and prevent irregularity and impropriety within the municipality in managing election administration procedures and conducting elections.

Specifically, the monitor must (1) conduct inspections, inquiries, and investigations concerning any duty or responsibility required by state election law and carried out by a municipal official or his or her appointee and (2) immediately report to the secretary of the state any irregularity or impropriety discovered. Toward that end, the act requires that the election monitor have access to all records, data, and material maintained by, or available to, any such municipal official or appointee.

The act (1) specifies that the election monitor is not a state employee and (2) requires the secretary of the state to contract with an individual to serve in this capacity until January 1, 2017, unless she terminates the contract for any reason before that date. The election monitor must be compensated in accordance with the contract and reimbursed for necessary expenses. The municipality must provide office space, supplies, equipment, and services necessary for the monitor to properly carry out his or her duties.

The act specifies that it does not prohibit the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) from taking an authorized action. By law, SEEC, among other things, investigates alleged election law violations, inspects campaign finance records and reports, refers evidence of violations to the chief state's attorney or the attorney general, and levies civil penalties for elections violations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

435 — INTEREST ARISING FROM INCOME TAX CHANGES

The act exempts individuals from interest assessments due to an underpayment in estimated income tax created by the provisions of the budget act (PA 15-244). Among other things, 66 of the budget act increases marginal income tax rates for those with taxable incomes over (1) $500,000 for joint filers, (2) $250,000 for single filers and married people filing separately, and (3) $400,000 for heads of household.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

436-440 — PESTICIDES

436 & 437 ‒ Notice of Pesticide Applications on School Grounds

Direct Notice to Parents or Guardians. By law, schools, other than regional agricultural science and technology education centers, must provide certain information about pesticide applications directly to parents, guardians, or school staff who register to receive it. Slightly different notice requirements apply based on whether a school has an integrated pest management (IPM) plan. IPM is the use of all available pest control techniques, including judicious pesticide use when needed, to maintain a pest population at or below an acceptable level, while decreasing pesticide use (CGS 10-231a & 22a-47).

By law, the notice provided by schools without IPM plans must include the target pest. The act extends this requirement to schools with IPM. The law already requires both school types to disclose the (1) pesticide's active ingredient, (2) date and location of application, and (3) name of a person who may be contacted for more information.

The act requires each local or regional board of education to indicate on its website's homepage how parents may register for prior notice of pesticide applications. For schools without IPM plans, the act requires notice to be sent electronically, rather than by mail as prior law required. By law, schools with IPM plans must send the information by any means practicable.

Internet and Social Media Notice. Under the act, for schools with or without IPM plans, beginning October 1, 2015, each local or regional board of education must also, at least 24 hours before applying pesticide in any school building or on school grounds, post the notice provided to parents or guardians (see above) either on or through the:

1. homepage of the school's website or, if the school has no website, the homepage of the board's website and

2. school's or board's primary social media account.

Under the act, “social media” is an electronic medium where users create and view user-generated content, such as videos or photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, or instant messages.

By law, at schools without IPM plans, an emergency pesticide application may be made to address a human health threat as long as notice is provided to those who requested it on or before the application date. The act requires the notice to also be published online and on social media at the same time as registered individuals are notified.

Electronic Mail Notification or Alert System. The act requires a board of education, by March 15 each year, to send through its or its schools' email notification or alert systems or services (1) the notice required to be sent directly to parents or guardians before a pesticide application (see above) for applications made since January 1 of the same year and (2) a list of the notices for applications made between March 15 and De