Being pulled over by police for talking on your cell phone will cost you more in the new year and you may want to rethink sending a quick text while you're stopped at a light as a host of new laws that took effect Jan. 1 in Connecticut upped the fine for such actions.
And if you ever wondered why refreshments aren't served during funeral home calling hours, it's actually prohibited by law.
Connecticut is among four states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, that prohibit the serving of food or beverages in funeral homes, according to the Department of Public Health statute.
A new law passed by the Connecticut General Assembly creates a 10-member task force to study the serving of beverages and prepackaged food at arrangement services in funeral homes.
New legislation in Connecticut takes effect in January, July and October. The General Assembly reconvenes on Feb. 5 and the session adjourns on May 7.
Below is a selection of some of the new laws. See the General Assembly website for a full list.
- AN ACT CONCERNING SYNCHRONIZING PRESCRIPTION REFILLS
This act prohibits certain health insurance policies that cover prescription drugs from denying coverage for refilling any drug prescribed to treat a chronic illness if the refill is made in accordance with a plan to synchronize the refilling of multiple prescriptions. The plan must involve the insured, a practitioner, and a pharmacist.
- ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF CUSTODIAL INTERROGATIONS
An oral, written or sign language statement of a person under investigation for or accused of a capital felony or a class A or B felony made as a result of a custodial interrogation at a place of detention shall be presumed to be inadmissible as evidence against the person in any criminal proceeding unless: an electronic recording is made of the custodial interrogation, and such recording is substantially accurate and not intentionally altered.
Allows eligible people to register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day and requires the secretary to establish and maintain an online system for new voter registration applications and changes to existing registrations
AUTOMOTIVE GLASS WORK
The act bars insurance company representatives and third-party administrators from steering an insured to a licensed glass shop owned by the insurance company, claims administrator, or their parent company, unless they provide the insured with the name of at least one other shop in the area where the glass work is to be performed.
Steering occurs when a claims representative or administrator gives the name of, or directs an insured to, a particular glass shop, or schedules an appointment with it for the insured.
- REVISIONS TO TRANSPORTATION STATUTES AND DESIGNATION OF ROADS AND BRIDGES IN HONOR OF PERSONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
This act changes the way the Department of Transportation disposes of excess property and makes a number of other changes in transportation laws, including:
The portion of Route 151 in East Haddam from the East Haddam-Haddam town line east to Route 149, the “Private First Class Peter P. Golec Memorial Highway,” and the portion of Route 3 in Cromwell from the Cromwell-Rocky Hill town line south to Evergreen Road, the “Paul Roger Harrington Memorial Highway”
- DISTRACTED DRIVING AND REVISIONS TO MOTOR VEHICLE STATUTES
Increases the fines for using a hand-held cell phone or other electronic device while driving, creates a task force to study prevention of distracted driving, and makes other changes in the cell phone law.
Increases driver's license renewal fees and changes other motor vehicle fees
Expanding the ban on drivers' use of hand-held cell phones to include use when a vehicle is temporarily stopped because of traffic, road conditions, or traffic control signs or signals
Allows certain people convicted of driving under the influence to drive to probation appointments in the first year of driving only cars equipped with ignition interlock devices
The act eliminates a requirement that the photograph or digital image on driver's licenses and non-driver identification cards be in color.
It increases the first offense from $125 to $150; second, $250 to $300; third and following from $400 to $500
- TASK FORCE ON FOOD IN FUNERAL HOMES, COLON HYDROTHERAPISTS, PODIATRY PRACTICE AND COUNTERFEIT CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
Allows licensed naturopaths to delegate the provision of colon hydrotherapy services to a colon hydrotherapist, under certain conditions and creates a task force to study the provision of beverages and prepackaged food at arrangement services in funeral homes.
What bills would you like see proposed or passed? Tell us in the comments section below.