CONNECTICUT, USA — It's a new year, so new laws will be in effect beginning January 1.
Some pave the way to clear cannabis convictions, while others pave the way for truck drivers to pay more for driving through the state.
Here's a breakdown of the new state laws in the new year:
Beginning on the first of the new year, Connecticut residents convicted of possessing cannabis will have their records cleared as part of the state's 2021 law, which legalized the recreational use of the drug for adults.
Also, by Jan. 1, the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council, along with the departments of public health, mental health and addiction services, and children and families, must make recommendations to Gov. Ned Lamont and other committees regarding cannabis' impacts on young adults, efforts to promote harm reduction, and other impacts cannabis use will have on residents.
The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) must also make written recommendations to Lamont and several legislative committees on whether to authorize events that allow for cannabis usage, including whether to establish a cannabis event license.
While not part of the law, another cannabis update is expected to occur in 2023. DCP announced that recreational sales of cannabis will begin on Jan. 10.
Highway Use Fee
The Highway Use Fee goes into effect on Jan. 1 and it will be imposed on certain heavy load carriers, tractor-trailers, and others.
The fee is calculated based on the vehicle's weight and the number of miles driven in the state. The per-mile rate increases based on the gross weight, ranging from 2.5 cents per mile for vehicles weighing 26,000-28,000 pounds to 17.5 centers per mile for vehicles weighing more than 80,000 pounds, or about the same weight as a fully loaded tractor-trailer.
Beginning with the next legislative term, Jan. 4, an act will increase the base legislator salary and the salaries for specified leadership positions which includes the governor. It also requires adjusting the amounts for inflation in each subsequent term.
The salaries for the governor, lieutenant governor, and constitutional officers are equal to the specified salaries in the judicial branch. The Supreme Court chief justice's salary, currently $226,711, would be for the governor and the Superior Court judge for the others.
For the following terms, the act generally links the elected office salary with the corresponding judicial salary.
Gov. Ned Lamont, who made over $50 million in 2021, said he would not be taking the governor's salary for his second term.
In the new year, part of a criminal justice bill will be enacted that establishes a process that erases conviction records for most misdemeanor convictions and certain felony convictions after a specified period.
It also establishes a separate process for erasing misdemeanor convictions committed by minors before July 1, 2012. Attorneys for people who are subject to immigration matters will be allowed to petition for their clients' erased records.
The bill also states that the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), while consulting with the judicial branch and Criminal Justice Information System, to develop and implement an automated process for criminal record erasure.
This part of the bill also begins on January 1. The act allows DESPP to post information on its website or otherwise disseminate information about which records are subject to erasure and specifics that the provisions do not require the destruction of paper records.
Discrimination in various contexts based on someone's erased criminal history record will also be prohibited beginning in the new year.
Starting in 2023, Connecticut will increase lead poisoning testing and ramp up its intervention efforts. The act will now align the state's childhood lead poisoning standards to the standards set by the federal government.
The act also lowers the threshold for blood lead levels in people at which the Department of Public Health (DPH) and local health departments must take specific actions.
It requires primary care providers to conduct annual lead testing for children from 3-5 years old whom DPH says to be at a higher risk of exposure.
Other health and environmental acts going into effect include prohibiting chlorpyrifos on golf courses or for cosmetic or nonagricultural uses. Chlorpyrifos is a "restricted use" pesticide used mainly to control foliage and soil-borne insects and pests. Because chlorpyrifos is a restricted-use pesticide, it can only be applied by someone who is certified under state law or is directly supervised by a certified individual.
These types of pesticides are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DEEP to potentially cause "unreasonable adverse health or environmental effects."
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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