CONNECTICUT, USA — October 1 brings a new month and also new Connecticut state laws.
From juvenile crime to online dating safety to police accountability, here are some of the laws going into effect this month:
Various changes will take place when it comes to the arrest of a juvenile. An arrested juvenile must be brought before a judge within five days of their arrest.
The changes also allow the court to order electronic monitoring if a child was charged with a second or subsequent motor vehicle or property damage arrest.
And also, in certain circumstances, the change in law will increase the maximum period that a juvenile may be held in a community correctional center without a judge's detention order. Before the change, the time was six hours. It has now been increased to eight.
Municipal police departments around the state must be notified if the buyer or transferee of a gun fails a background check. If there is no police chief to notify, the town's first selectman or borough warden must be notified.
By law, before a handgun sale or transfer, the person much complete a Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) application.
The process includes DESPP conducting a national instant criminal background check and making a reasonable effort to see whether or not there is any reason to disqualify the person from possessing a handgun. Similar requirements are in place for long gun sales or transfers.
Under this act, if DESPP denies the transaction, the commissioner must notify the town or city that a reason prohibits the person from owning the gun or why they are not eligible to receive a long gun.
Specifically, DESPP will be required to notify the police chief/first selectman where the person lives.
This act requires that law enforcement officers notify a deceased person's next of kin about the deceased's death within 24 hours of identification.
The act also requires the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to investigate any value to report a death as required. It will allow the OIG to make recommendations for disciplinary action if the officer fails to contact the next of kin.
The act says that if an officer cannot notify any next of kin, the officer has to document the reason for the failure or delay and any attempts to make the notification.
If no notification is made, the deceased person's next of kin are allowed to request an OIG investigation into the lack of notification or timely notification.
Online Dating Safety
In an effort to make online dating safer for users, this act will require online dating operators to give Connecticut users safety awareness notifications before allowing them to use their platforms.
Online dating platforms must conduct a background check to determine whether or not the user has been convicted of state or federal crimes.
The act then also requires the online dating operators to offer safety notifications that are "reasonably designed" to increase the awareness of safer online dating practices, including statements like:
- “Use caution when communicating with a stranger who wants to meet you.”
- “You should not include your last name, electronic mail address, home address, phone number or any other identifying information in your online dating profile or electronic mail messages or communications until you feel comfortable with the other user. Stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for personal or financial information or attempts in any way to coerce you into revealing such information.”
- “If you choose to have a face-to-face meeting with another user who you met on the online dating platform, tell a family member or friend where you will be meeting and when you will return. You should not agree to be picked up at your home. Always provide your own transportation to and from your date and meet in a public place with many people around.”
- “Anyone who is able to commit identity theft can also falsify a dating profile.”
The act also authorizes the Department of Consumer Protection commissioner to penalize violators up to $25,000 per violation.
The new law requires that dogs be provided with adequate shelter when out of doors for more than 15 minutes during National Weather Service advisories of extreme heat or cold, if the animal's health and safety is threatened based on its breed, coat thickness, physical condition and other factors.
It also prohibits tethering a dog this way without providing potable water at least twice every 24 hours.
Shelters, in the case of extreme heat, must provide shade and ventilation for the dog to maintain its normal body temperature. For the cold, the shelter must be raised at least two inches off the ground and be sufficiently enclosed to allow the dog to keep its body temperature normal. It also must have a solid roof, walls for wind protection, and dry bedding.
The act makes various changes to the laws affecting Whiting Forensic Hospital and Connecticut Valley Hospital already put in place.
Specifically, beginning Oct. 1, the Whiting Forensic Hospital's advisory board will be re-established as an oversight board, removing the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) commissioner from the board's membership and expanding the board's duties.
It will also require DMHAS to consult with a licensed health care provider who will approve and evaluate a transfer of an acquittee (the act defines an acquittee as someone found not guilty of a crime due to mental disease or defect) from maximum-security confinement to another facility for medical treatment.
It will eliminate the requirement that DMHAS gives the Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB) immediate written justification of the transfer. It will also require Whiting Forensic Hospital to establish a risk management review committee to review requests.
Signed in May 2022, this act establishes June 19, known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, as a legal state holiday. By law, these holidays are also bank and credit union holidays. The first Juneteenth to be recognized in this way will be June 19, 2023.
Chief State's Attorney Accountability
This act allows the Criminal Justice Commission to reprimand and suspend the chief state’s attorney, rather than only being able to remove him as the previous law states.
The act also prohibits the chief state’s attorney, deputy chief state’s attorneys, and state’s attorneys from being an elected officer of the state or any political subdivision. It will also prohibit full-time assistant state’s attorneys and deputy assistant state’s attorneys from being elected as a state officer.
The act comes after Richard Colangelo, the chief state's attorney in years past, retired in February 2022 amid a political scandal after questions were raised about his hiring of a budget official's daughter while pressing the official for pay raises.
These are just some of the many laws and changes going into effect October 1. For a full list, head here.
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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