Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 93

    February Session, 2018

Substitute Senate Bill No. 193

Senate, March 28, 2018

The Committee on General Law reported through SEN. LEONE of the 27th Dist. and SEN. WITKOS of the 8th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION STATUTES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 21a-118 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) For the purpose of enforcing the provisions of chapter 417, chapter 419b, except with regard to permittees holding both a restaurant and a bakery permit and this chapter, the commissioner, or his authorized representative, is authorized (1) to enter, at reasonable times, any factory, warehouse or establishment subject to this chapter, or to enter any vehicle being used to transport or hold food, drugs, devices or cosmetics in intrastate commerce, and (2) to inspect, at reasonable times, such factory, warehouse, establishment or vehicle and all pertinent equipment, finished and unfinished materials, containers, labeling and advertisements, records, files and papers therein.

(b) If an inspection reveals a violation of any provision of this chapter concerning a food factory, food warehouse or food establishment, the commissioner shall notify the owner of such factory, warehouse or establishment of any such violation and his right to a hearing under this section by certified mail within fifteen days of the date of such original inspection. Such owner may contest the violations cited in such notice by requesting a hearing in writing by certified mail within fifteen days of the date of receipt of such notice. The commissioner shall grant such a request and conduct a hearing in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. The cost of all reinspections necessary to determine compliance with any such provision shall be forty dollars an hour and shall be charged to such owner, except that if the first reinspection following the original inspection indicates compliance with such provision no charge shall be made.

(c) If an inspection reveals a violation of any provision of chapter 417, chapter 419b or this chapter concerning any food, drug, cosmetic or device by any establishment licensed or registered in accordance with the provisions of [chapter 417] said chapters, the commissioner may impose a civil penalty of not more than five hundred dollars per separate violation, and suspend or revoke the license or registration of such establishment after notice and a hearing conducted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

Sec. 2. Subsection (b) of section 30-39 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(b) (1) Any person desiring a liquor permit or a renewal of such a permit shall make a sworn application therefor to the Department of Consumer Protection upon forms to be furnished by the department, showing the name and address of the applicant and of the applicant's backer, if any, the location of the club or place of business which is to be operated under such permit and a financial statement setting forth all elements and details of any business transactions connected with the application. Such application shall include a detailed description of the type of live entertainment that is to be provided. A club or place of business shall be exempt from providing such detailed description if the club or place of business (A) was issued a liquor permit prior to October 1, 1993, and (B) has not altered the type of entertainment provided. The application shall also indicate any crimes of which the applicant or the applicant's backer may have been convicted. Applicants shall submit documents sufficient to establish that state and local building, fire and zoning requirements and local ordinances concerning hours and days of sale will be met, except that local building and zoning requirements and local ordinances concerning hours and days of sale shall not apply to any class of airport permit. The State Fire Marshal or the marshal's certified designee shall be responsible for approving compliance with the State Fire Code at Bradley International Airport. Any person desiring a permit provided for in section 30-33b shall file a copy of such person's license with such application if such license was issued by the Department of Consumer Protection. The department may, at its discretion, conduct an investigation to determine whether a permit shall be issued to an applicant.

(2) The applicant shall pay to the department a nonrefundable application fee, which fee shall be in addition to the fees prescribed in this chapter for the permit sought. An application fee shall not be charged for an application to renew a permit. The application fee shall be in the amount of ten dollars for the filing of each application for a permit by a charitable organization, including a nonprofit public television corporation, a nonprofit golf tournament permit, a temporary permit or a special club permit; and for all other permits in the amount of one hundred dollars for the filing of an initial application. Any permit issued shall be valid only for the purposes and activities described in the application.

(3) The applicant, immediately after filing an application, shall give notice thereof, with the name and residence of the permittee, the type of permit applied for and the location of the place of business for which such permit is to be issued and the type of live entertainment to be provided, all in a form prescribed by the department, by publishing the same in a newspaper having a circulation in the town in which the place of business to be operated under such permit is to be located, at least once a week for two successive weeks, the first publication to be not more than seven days after the filing date of the application and the last publication not more than fourteen days after the filing date of the application. The applicant shall affix, and maintain in a legible condition upon the outer door of the building wherein such place of business is to be located and clearly visible from the public highway, the placard provided by the department, not later than the day following the receipt of the placard by the applicant. If such outer door of such premises is so far from the public highway that such placard is not clearly visible as provided, the department shall direct a suitable method to notify the public of such application. When an application is filed for any type of permit for a building that has not been constructed, such applicant shall erect and maintain in a legible condition a sign not less than six feet by four feet upon the site where such place of business is to be located, instead of such placard upon the outer door of the building. The sign shall set forth the type of permit applied for and the name of the proposed permittee, shall be clearly visible from the public highway and shall be so erected not later than the day following the receipt of the placard. Such applicant shall make a return to the department, under oath, of compliance with the foregoing requirements, in such form as the department may determine, but the department may require any additional proof of such compliance. Upon receipt of evidence of such compliance, the department may hold a hearing as to the suitability of the proposed location. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to applications for airline permits, charitable organization permits, temporary permits, special club permits, concession permits, military permits, railroad permits, boat permits, warehouse permits, brokers' permits, out-of-state shippers' permits for alcoholic liquor and out-of-state shippers' permits for beer, coliseum permits, coliseum concession permits, special sporting facility restaurant permits, special sporting facility employee recreational permits, special sporting facility guest permits, special sporting facility concession permits, special sporting facility bar permits, nonprofit golf tournament permits, nonprofit public television permits and renewals. The provisions of this subdivision regarding publication and placard display shall also be required of any applicant who seeks to amend the type of entertainment either upon filing of a renewal application or upon requesting permission of the department in a form that requires the approval of the municipal zoning official.

(4) In any case in which a permit has been issued to a partnership, if one or more of the partners dies or retires, the remaining partner or partners need not file a new application for the unexpired portion of the current permit, and no additional fee for such unexpired portion shall be required. Notice of any such change shall be given to the department and the permit shall be endorsed to show correct ownership. When any partnership changes by reason of the addition of one or more persons, a new application with new fees shall be required.

Sec. 3. Section 21a-2 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) A toll-free telephone line, available to consumers throughout the state, shall be established in the Department of Consumer Protection for the handling of consumer inquiries and complaints concerning consumer goods or services in the state or any other matter within the jurisdiction of the department and its licensing and regulatory boards. The line shall be in operation from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday each week, exclusive of those legal holidays on which state offices are closed, and shall be restricted to incoming calls.

(b) The Department of Consumer Protection shall process the intake of consumer complaints concerning consumer goods or services in the state and any other matter within the jurisdiction of the department. In order to assist in the resolution of consumer complaints, the department may notify, in writing, the respondent against whom a complaint was received of the allegations against them and require a written response be provided to the department not later than thirty days of receipt of such notice.

(c) For purposes of this section, "credential holder" means a person certified, licensed, permitted or registered with the Department of Consumer Protection. In the event the department provides written notice to a respondent who is a credential holder that a complaint has been filed against him or her, and said respondent fails to respond not later than fourteen days of receipt of such notice, the commissioner may impose a fine of up to two hundred fifty dollars for failure to respond to the department. The commissioner may subsequently waive the imposition of the fine if the respondent demonstrates good cause for his or her failure to respond within the prescribed period.

(d) In the event the department provides written notice to a respondent who is not a credential holder that a complaint has been filed against him or her, and said respondent fails to respond after receipt of such notice, the respondent may be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars for failure to respond to the department. Written notice for purposes of this section shall include notice sent by registered or certified mail or hand-delivered to a respondent.

Sec. 4. Subsection (b) of section 51-164n of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, any person who is alleged to have committed (1) a violation under the provisions of section 1-9, 1-10, 1-11, 4b-13, 7-13, 7-14, 7-35, 7-41, 7-83, 7-283, 7-325, 7-393, 8-12, 8-25, 8-27, 9-63, 9-322, 9-350, 10-193, 10-197, 10-198, 10-230, 10-251, 10-254, 12-52, 12-170aa, 12-292, 12-314b or 12-326g, subdivision (4) of section 12-408, subdivision (3), (5) or (6) of section 12-411, section 12-435c, 12-476a, 12-476b, 12-487, 13a-71, 13a-107, 13a-113, 13a-114, 13a-115, 13a-117b, 13a-123, 13a-124, 13a-139, 13a-140, 13a-143b, 13a-247 or 13a-253, subsection (f) of section 13b-42, section 13b-90, 13b-221, 13b-292, 13b-336, 13b-337, 13b-338, 13b-410a, 13b-410b or 13b-410c, subsection (a), (b) or (c) of section 13b-412, section 13b-414, subsection (d) of section 14-12, section 14-20a or 14-27a, subsection (e) of section 14-34a, subsection (d) of section 14-35, section 14-43, 14-49, 14-50a or 14-58, subsection (b) of section 14-66, section 14-66a, 14-66b or 14-67a, subsection (g) of section 14-80, subsection (f) of section 14-80h, section 14-97a, 14-100b, 14-103a, 14-106a, 14-106c, 14-146, 14-152, 14-153 or 14-163b, a first violation as specified in subsection (f) of section 14-164i, section 14-219 as specified in subsection (e) of said section, subdivision (1) of section 14-223a, section 14-240, 14-249, 14-250 or 14-253a, subsection (a) of section 14-261a, section 14-262, 14-264, 14-267a, 14-269, 14-270, 14-275a, 14-278 or 14-279, subsection (e) or (h) of section 14-283, section 14-291, 14-293b, 14-296aa, 14-300, 14-300d, 14-319, 14-320, 14-321, 14-325a, 14-326, 14-330 or 14-332a, subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of section 14-386a, section 15-25 or 15-33, subdivision (1) of section 15-97, subsection (a) of section 15-115, section 16-44, 16-256e, 16a-15 or 16a-22, subsection (a) or (b) of section 16a-22h, section 17a-24, 17a-145, 17a-149, 17a-152, 17a-465, 17a-642, 17b-124, 17b-131, 17b-137, 19a-30, 19a-33, 19a-39 or 19a-87, subsection (b) of section 19a-87a, section 19a-91, 19a-105, 19a-107, 19a-113, 19a-215, 19a-219, 19a-222, 19a-224, 19a-286, 19a-287, 19a-297, 19a-301, 19a-309, 19a-335, 19a-336, 19a-338, 19a-339, 19a-340, 19a-425, 19a-502, 20-7a, 20-14, 20-158, 20-231, 20-249, 20-257, 20-265, 20-324e, 20-341l, 20-366, 20-597, 20-608, 20-610, 21-1, 21-38, 21-39, 21-43, 21-47, 21-48, 21-63 or 21-76a, subsection (d) of section 21a-2, as amended by this act, subdivision (1) of section 21a-19, section 21a-21, subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 21a-25, section 21a-26 or 21a-30, subsection (a) of section 21a-37, section 21a-46, 21a-61, 21a-63 or 21a-77, subsection (b) of section 21a-79, section 21a-85 or 21a-154, subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 21a-159, subsection (a) of section 21a-279a, section 22-12b, 22-13, 22-14, 22-15, 22-16, 22-26g, 22-29, 22-34, 22-35, 22-36, 22-38, 22-39, 22-39a, 22-39b, 22-39c, 22-39d, 22-39e, 22-49 or 22-54, subsection (d) of section 22-84, section 22-89, 22-90, 22-98, 22-99, 22-100, 22-111o, 22-167, 22-279, 22-280a, 22-318a, 22-320h, 22-324a, 22-326 or 22-342, subsection (b), (e) or (f) of section 22-344, section 22-359, 22-366, 22-391, 22-413, 22-414, 22-415, 22a-66a or 22a-246, subsection (a) of section 22a-250, subsection (e) of section 22a-256h, section 22a-363 or 22a-381d, subsections (c) and (d) of section 22a-381e, section 22a-449, 22a-461, 23-37, 23-38, 23-46 or 23-61b, subsection (a) or subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 23-65, section 25-37 or 25-40, subsection (a) of section 25-43, section 25-43d, 25-135, 26-16, 26-18, 26-19, 26-21, 26-31, 26-31c, 26-40, 26-40a, 26-42, 26-49, 26-54, 26-55, 26-56, 26-58 or 26-59, subdivision (1) of subsection (d) of section 26-61, section 26-64, subdivision (1) of section 26-76, section 26-79, 26-87, 26-89, 26-91, 26-94, 26-97, 26-98, 26-104, 26-105, 26-107, 26-117, 26-128, 26-131, 26-132, 26-138 or 26-141, subdivision (2) of subsection (j) of section 26-142a, subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 26-157b, subdivision (1) of section 26-186, section 26-207, 26-215, 26-217 or 26-224a, subdivision (1) of section 26-226, section 26-227, 26-230, 26-232, 26-244, 26-257a, 26-260, 26-276, 26-284, 26-285, 26-286, 26-288, 26-294, 28-13, 29-6a, 29-25, 29-143o, 29-143z or 29-156a, subsection (b), (d), (e) or (g) of section 29-161q, section 29-161y or 29-161z, subdivision (1) of section 29-198, section 29-210, 29-243 or 29-277, subsection (c) of section 29-291c, section 29-316, 29-318, 29-381, 30-48a, 30-86a, 31-3, 31-10, 31-11, 31-12, 31-13, 31-14, 31-15, 31-16, 31-18, 31-23, 31-24, 31-25, 31-32, 31-36, 31-38, 31-40, 31-44, 31-47, 31-48, 31-51, 31-52, 31-52a or 31-54, subsection (a) or (c) of section 31-69, section 31-70, 31-74, 31-75, 31-76, 31-76a, 31-89b or 31-134, subsection (i) of section 31-273, section 31-288, subdivision (1) of section 35-20, section 36a-787, 42-230, 45a-283, 45a-450, 45a-634 or 45a-658, subdivision (13) or (14) of section 46a-54, section 46a-59, 46b-22, 46b-24, 46b-34, 47-34a, 47-47, 49-8a, 49-16, 53-133, 53-199, 53-212a, 53-249a, 53-252, 53-264, 53-280, 53-302a, 53-303e, 53-311a, 53-321, 53-322, 53-323, 53-331 or 53-344, subsection (c) of section 53-344b, or section 53-450, or (2) a violation under the provisions of chapter 268, or (3) a violation of any regulation adopted in accordance with the provisions of section 12-484, 12-487 or 13b-410, or (4) a violation of any ordinance, regulation or bylaw of any town, city or borough, except violations of building codes and the health code, for which the penalty exceeds ninety dollars but does not exceed two hundred fifty dollars, unless such town, city or borough has established a payment and hearing procedure for such violation pursuant to section 7-152c, shall follow the procedures set forth in this section.

Sec. 5. Section 21a-430 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) No person shall place or cause to be placed in a public place a donation bin for the donation of clothing or other articles unless such person has been granted permission to place such donation bin in such public place by the owner of such public place or by such owner's duly authorized agent and unless such bin contains a notice in block letters at least two inches high stating: (1) If the donation is for a charitable purpose, (A) the name of the nonprofit organization that will benefit from the donation, (B) the name and contact information of the owner of such bin, and (C) that the public may contact the Department of Consumer Protection for further information, or (2) if not intended for a charitable purpose, that such donation is not for a charitable purpose. Such notice shall be on the same side of the bin where the donation is likely to be made. As used in this section, "public place" means any area that is used or held out for use by the public, whether owned or operated by public or private interests, and "donation bin" means a large container commonly placed in a parking lot for the purpose of encouraging individuals to donate clothing or other items.

(b) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars.

Sec. 6. Section 42-150u of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) No provision in a written contract for the purchase or lease of goods or services primarily for personal, family or household purposes that provides for the payment of liquidated damages in the event of a breach of the contract shall be enforceable unless (1) the contract contains a statement in boldface type at least twelve points in size immediately following such liquidated damages provision stating "I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS CONTRACT CONTAINS A LIQUIDATED DAMAGES PROVISION", and (2) the person against whom such provision is to be enforced signs such person's name or writes such person's initials next to such statement. Nothing in this section shall validate a clause that is a penalty clause or is otherwise invalid under the law of this state.

(b) For purposes of this subsection, "personal emergency response system" means a twenty-four-hour-per-day electronic alarm system placed in an adult's home that enables him or her to obtain immediate help in case of an emergency. In the event a consumer dies during the term of a consumer contract or consumer lease for a personal emergency response system, the consumer contract or consumer lease for such system shall be deemed terminated upon such consumer's death and any penalty provision contained in the contract or lease regarding early termination shall be unreasonable pursuant to section 42-421.

[(b)] (c) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to (1) contracts between a consumer and an agency of the state or any political subdivision of the state or of the federal government, (2) negotiable instruments, (3) contract provisions for late fees, prepayment penalties or default interest rates, (4) contracts originated or held by an institution, or any subsidiary or affiliate of such institution, that is regulated by the Department of Banking or by a federal bank regulatory agency, provided, in the case of a contract originated or held by a subsidiary or affiliate of such institution, the subject matter of the contract is an activity that is financial in nature or incidental to such an activity as described in the Bank Holding Company Act, 12 USC 1843(k)(4), and (5) contracts originated or held by a person, firm or corporation licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles in accordance with the provisions of section 14-52 or 14-67a.

Sec. 7. Section 20-306a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The practice of or the offer to practice professional engineering in this state by individual licensed professional engineers or the practice of or the offer to practice land surveying in this state by individual licensed land surveyors under the corporate form or by a corporation or limited liability company, a material part of the business of which includes engineering or land surveying, is permitted, provided (1) such personnel of such corporation or limited liability company as act in its behalf as engineers or land surveyors are licensed or exempt from licensure under the provisions of this chapter, and (2) such corporation or limited liability company has been issued a certificate of registration by the board as provided in this section. No such corporation or limited liability company shall be relieved of responsibility for the conduct or acts of its agents, employees or officers by reason of its compliance with the provisions of this section, nor shall any individual practicing engineering or land surveying be relieved of responsibility for engineering or land surveying services performed by reason of his employment or relationship with such corporation or limited liability company. All final drawings, specifications, plots, reports or other engineering or land surveying papers or documents involving the practice of engineering or land surveying which are prepared or approved by any such corporation or limited liability company or engineer or land surveyor for use of or for delivery to any person or for public record within this state shall be dated and bear the signature and seal of the engineer or land surveyor who prepared them or under whose supervision they were prepared.

(b) A qualifying corporation or limited liability company desiring a certificate of registration shall file with the board an application upon a form prescribed by the Department of Consumer Protection accompanied by [an] a nonrefundable application fee of five hundred sixty-five dollars. Each such certificate shall expire annually and shall be renewable upon payment of a fee of three hundred seventy-five dollars. If all requirements of this chapter are met, [the board shall authorize] the department [to] shall issue to such corporation or limited liability company a certificate of registration within thirty days of such application, provided the department or board may refuse to authorize the issuance of a certificate if any facts exist which would entitle the commissioner or board to suspend or revoke an existing certificate.

(c) Each such corporation or limited liability company shall file with the [board] department a designation of an individual or individuals licensed to practice engineering or land surveying in this state who shall be in charge of engineering or land surveying by such corporation or limited liability company in this state. Such corporation or limited liability company shall notify the [board] department of any change in such designation within thirty days after such change becomes effective.

(d) Individual members of a limited liability company or owners of a corporation that practices or offers to practice professional engineering or land surveying services in this state are not required to be individually licensed under the provisions of this chapter.

Sec. 8. Section 20-306b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) One or more architects, each of whom is licensed under the provisions of chapter 390, one or more landscape architects, each of whom is licensed under the provisions of chapter 396, one or more professional engineers or one or more land surveyors each of whom is licensed under the provisions of this chapter, may form a corporation or limited liability company for the joint practice of architecture, landscape architecture, professional engineering, land surveying services or any combination of such practices or services, provided (1) one or more persons licensed as architects, landscape architects, engineers or land surveyors under chapter 390, chapter 396 or this chapter own not less than two-thirds of the voting stock of the corporation or not less than two-thirds of the voting interests of the limited liability company, and the members of each profession forming the corporation or limited liability company together own at least twenty per cent of the voting stock of the corporation or at least twenty per cent of the voting interests of the limited liability company, (2) the personnel in responsible charge of the practice of architecture for such corporation or limited liability company shall be licensed under chapter 390, the personnel in responsible charge of the practice of engineering or land surveying for such corporation or limited liability company shall be licensed under this chapter, and the personnel in responsible charge of the practice of landscape architecture for such corporation or limited liability company shall be licensed under chapter 396, and (3) such corporation or limited liability company has been issued a joint certificate of registration by the Department of Consumer Protection, [at the direction of] the Architectural Licensing Board, the State Board of Landscape Architects or the appropriate members of the State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors designated to administer the provisions of this chapter with respect to professional engineers or land surveyors. Such corporation or limited liability company shall, upon request by the Department of Consumer Protection, Architectural Licensing Board, State Board of Landscape Architects or the State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, provide the requesting [board] agency with information concerning its officers, directors, members, beneficial owners and all other aspects of its business organization. Corporations for such joint practice in existence as of July 1, 1992, may continue to be governed by the provisions of this subsection as revised to 1989, provided the certificate issued under this section did not expire more than two years before that date.

(b) Application by such corporation or limited liability company for a certificate of registration under this section shall be made to [all applicable boards jointly] the Department of Consumer Protection on a form prescribed by the department and accompanied by [an] a nonrefundable application fee of five hundred sixty-five dollars. Each such certificate shall expire annually and shall be renewable upon payment of a fee of three hundred seventy-five dollars, if all requirements of chapter 390 or 396 and this chapter with respect to corporate or limited liability company practice are met. The department or boards by joint action may refuse to authorize the issuance or renewal of a certificate if any facts exist which would entitle the commissioner or boards to suspend or revoke an existing certificate.

(c) Any corporation or limited liability company issued a certificate under this section shall be required to comply with all provisions of chapter 390 or 396 and this chapter with respect to corporate or limited liability company practice.

(d) No such corporation or limited liability company shall be relieved of responsibility for the conduct or acts of its agents, employees, members or officers by reason of its compliance with the provisions of this section, nor shall any individual practicing architecture, landscape architecture, engineering or land surveying be relieved of responsibility for services performed by reason of his or her employment or relationship with such corporation or limited liability company.

(e) Except as provided in this section, each individual member of a limited liability company or owner of a corporation formed in this state for the joint practice of architecture, landscape architecture, professional engineering, land surveying services or any combination of such practices or services is not required to be individually licensed under the provisions of chapters 390, 396 or this chapter.

[(e)] (f) All fees collected under this section shall be paid to the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund.

[(f)] (g) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection, with the advice and assistance of the Architectural Licensing Board, the State Board of Landscape Architects and the appropriate members of the State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors designated to administer the provisions of this chapter with respect to professional engineers or land surveyors, shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to carry out the provisions of this section.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

21a-118

Sec. 2

from passage

30-39(b)

Sec. 3

from passage

21a-2

Sec. 4

from passage

51-164n(b)

Sec. 5

from passage

21a-430

Sec. 6

from passage

42-150u

Sec. 7

from passage

20-306a

Sec. 8

from passage

20-306b

GL

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Consumer Protection, Dept.

GF - Potential Revenue Gain

Up to $48,750

Up to $48,750

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

This bill makes various changes to the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) statutes and results in a potential revenue gain to the state.

Section 1 allows the DCP Commissioner to impose a civil penalty of not more than $500 to any inspection violation concerning food, drug, or cosmetic devices licensed or registered in the state. Previously, the Commissioner could revoke or suspend the license or registration of the establishment. It is expected that 10 fines per year will occur. If the fines are all levied at the maximum $500, this would generate $5,000 in general fund revenue.

Section 3 allows the DCP Commissioner to impose a fine of up to $250 if a respondent fails to respond to a complaint filed against them. The Commissioner may waive this fine for credential holders. In FY 2017 there were approximately 175 cases where this fine could have been imposed. If the fine was imposed at the full amount for every case it would have generated $43,750 in general fund revenue.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 193

AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION STATUTES.

SUMMARY

This bill makes various unrelated changes in the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) statutes. It:

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

1 — ENFORCEMENT OF CERTAIN CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS

Bakery Inspections

The bill specifically authorizes the DCP commissioner to inspect bakeries, food manufacturing establishments, and food warehouses, and vehicles they use to transport food within the state, in order to enforce the Connecticut Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act. But the bill's authorization does not extend to facilities for which the licensee holds both a restaurant and bakery permit. (DCP licenses, rather than permits, bakeries.)

Enforcing Food, Drug, Medical Device, and Cosmetic Laws

If during an inspection of a food, drug, medical device, or cosmetic factory, warehouse, or other establishment (including bakeries) (“facilities”), the DCP commissioner finds a violation of the laws governing such food and supplies, the bill authorizes her to impose a civil penalty of up to $500 per separate violation.

Additionally, the bill authorizes her to suspend or revoke a food or cosmetic facility's license or registration. Existing law authorizes her to suspend or revoke the license of a drug or medical device facility if her inspection reveals a violation of applicable laws. The bill also allows the commissioner to suspend or revoke applicable registrations.

As is the case for license suspensions and revocations under existing law, before imposing the civil penalties or license suspensions or revocations the bill authorizes, the commissioner must provide facilities with notice and an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act.

Existing laws provide various enforcement mechanisms for laws concerning food, drugs, medical devices, or cosmetics.

2 — ENTERTAINMENT OFFERED BY ON-PREMISES ALCOHOLIC LIQUOR PERMITTEES

The bill allows alcoholic liquor permittees authorized to serve alcohol for on-premises consumption to change the type of entertainment they offer at any point in the year, rather than just at permit renewal. As is the case when applying for a change at renewal, under the bill, permittees must place notices in the local newspaper and affix a DCP placard on their building or some other publically visible location.

3 & 4 — FAILURE TO RESPOND TO CONSUMER COMPLAINTS

The bill specifies that DCP must process the intake of consumer complaints concerning consumer goods or services in the state, as well as any other matter in the department's jurisdiction. Existing law requires the department to maintain a toll-free telephone line for such consumer inquiries and complaints (CGS 21a-2).

The bill authorizes DCP to (1) notify in writing a respondent against whom a complaint is received of the allegations against him or her and (2) require a response be provided to the department within 30 days.

The bill gives respondents that DCP certifies, licenses, permits, or registers only 14 days to respond before allowing the DCP commissioner to impose the fine. But the commissioner may waive the fine if the respondent demonstrates good cause for failing to respond within the prescribed period.

In the case of respondents that DCP does not credential, failure to respond is treated like an infraction and violators may be subject to a fine of up to $250. Presumably, such respondents have up to 30 days to respond before being fined. Under the bill, the fine may only be imposed if the department sent the notice by registered or certified mail or hand delivered it. Violators may pay the fine without having to appear in court in accordance with the mail-in procedures for infractions and certain violations.

5 — DONATION BIN OWNERS' CONTACT INFORMATION

This bill requires anyone placing a donation bin in a public place to include on the bin, in block letters at least two inches high, the contact information for the bin's owner.

Existing law requires the bin to list additional information, including the owner's name and information on the bin's purpose.

6 — TERMINATION OF PERSONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEM CONTRACTS

The bill deems (1) terminated upon a consumer's death any consumer contract or lease for a personal emergency response system and (2) unreasonable any contract or lease provisions that set a penalty for early termination. Under the bill, these systems are 24-hour electronic alarm systems placed in an adult's home so that the adult can obtain immediate help in emergency situations.

7 & 8 — ARCHITECTURE, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING, AND LAND SURVEYING COMPANIES

Nonrefundable Fees

The bill specifically makes the application fees to register with DCP nonrefundable when the applicant seeks to register as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) offering (1) engineering or land surveying services or (2) any combination of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, or land surveying services.

Company Owners

The bill also authorizes individuals who do not hold an individual engineering or land surveying license to own a corporation or LLC offering engineering or land surveying services.

Under existing law, unlicensed individuals may own up to one-third of the voting interests in a corporation or LLC offering any combination of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, or land surveying services. The bill specifies that individuals that do not hold an individual architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, or land surveying license may own a corporation or LLC offering any combination of these services.

The bill also makes minor and conforming changes to reflect the practice of applying to DCP for registration.

COMMITTEE ACTION

General Law Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

16

Nay

1

(03/15/2018)

TOP