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July 1 marks the start of over 90 new laws in CT. Here are some to know about

FILE: The legislative session opened in Hartford on February 7, 2024.
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Starting July 1, new measures will go into effect which track a wide array of policy, from how old a kid needs to be to start kindergarten, to which stores can sell THC-infused beverages in Connecticut.

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Summer is upon us, and with it brings beaches, sunshine and many new Connecticut laws.

The General Assembly passed over 170 bills in its 2024 regular session, and an omnibus bill during its special session in late June.

Starting July 1, dozens of those laws – including some from previous legislative sessions – are officially in effect in Connecticut. The new measures track a wide array of policy, from how old a kid needs to be to start kindergarten, to which stores can sell THC-infused beverages in Connecticut.

July 1 also marks the start of a new three-year phase-in that will require paid sick days for more workers across Connecticut. That law impacts workplaces of 25 employees or more this year and will expand to include smaller workplaces in coming years.

In schools, new laws now give Connecticut educators more leeway on mandated reporting requirements; as a result of the changes, teachers may now speak with injured students and make a judgment call over whether to report it to state authorities.

There will also be changes to health care regulations, with Connecticut health care providers and hospitals now barred from reporting medical debt to credit agencies, a law designed to shield vulnerable populations from damaging hits to their credit scores.

Here’s some of the other new measures in effect July 1:

Medicaid eligibility for more young people

Residents and undocumented children ages 15 and under in Connecticut can now enroll in HUSKY, the state’s Medicaid program. The previous age limit was age 12. Gov. Ned Lamont approved this expansion in 2023.

Residents, including immigrants, ages 16 to 18 are still not covered under HUSKY.

Heightened security for absentee ballot drop boxes

Changes to the election process are also coming. These include video surveillance at absentee ballot drop boxes and only allowing the actual voter to request a replacement absentee ballot.

Connecticut’s election security has come under scrutiny in the wake of political dysfunction in Bridgeport. But as the Associated Press has reported, voting irregularities are rare.

Restrictions on the sale of THC-infused drinks

Beverages infused with THC, an intoxicating compound found in cannabis, can now only be sold at licensed cannabis retail shops or package stores in Connecticut. Under the new law, sale of these drinks to people under 21 is also banned.

Improvements to nursing and home-based care 

Sweeping changes passed by state lawmakers include granting temporary Medicaid coverage, known as “presumptive medical eligibility,” for home-based care if needed, so individuals can choose to live in a care facility or at home. It also requires the creation of a home care services provider registry so people may search for an aid.

New kindergarten cutoff age

The legislation approved in 2023 requires that kids must be at least age 5 by Sept. 1 to automatically be eligible for kindergarten in Connecticut. The prior cutoff was age 5 by Jan. 1.

Parents or guardians are able to fill out a waiver to enroll their child if they don’t meet the cutoff. As the CT Mirror reported, Connecticut was one of the last states to have a September cutoff date.

Mandated wheelchair repair times

There’s now an enforceable time limit for wheelchair repairs in Connecticut. The 10 business day limit applies if there’s insurance authorization and replacement parts are available.

Wheelchair users in the state have said they wait weeks to months for in-home repairs, which affects their quality of life.

Learn more:

New laws in Connecticut usually take effect Jan. 1, July 1, and Oct. 1. The complete list of acts effective this month are on the General Assembly's website.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. She has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.

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