New Connecticut budget, moratorium on fracking waste, concession education bill take effect


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HARTFORD, Connecticut — Connecticut's revised, approximately $19 billion state budget, a temporary moratorium on the storage and disposal of fracking waste, and new legislation designed to help protect student-athletes from the dangers of concussions are among the new laws poised to take effect Tuesday.

Following are highlights of some major new pieces of legislation, most passed during this year's session of the General Assembly, that are set to become law:

CONCUSSIONS: The State Board of Education will be required to begin developing a new concussion education plan. Local school boards will ultimately be prohibited from allowing student-athletes to participate in intramural or interscholastic sports until they and their parents are taught about the new concussion plan. The same new law also requires the State Board of Education to collect information each year about the occurrence of concussions from all school districts and report that data to the Department of Public Health.

COLLEGE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed CHET Baby Scholars Trust program becomes law. Part of the revised state budget, the initiative offers new parents up to $250 for investing in a tax-advantaged college savings account. Under the new program, the state will provide $100 to Connecticut families that open a 529 college savings account by their child's first birthday or within the first year after an adoption. Families that save an additional $150 in the first four years would receive a state match of $150, for a total of $250 in state funds. There are currently more than 100,000 CHET accounts.

CAMPUS SEX ASSAULT POLICIES: After receiving a report of a sexual assault, colleges and universities across Connecticut will be required to immediately provide written notification to the victim of their rights and options under the school's policies. The institutions must also establish campus resource teams, which will review their school's policies and recommend standards for providing support and services to students and employees who have been assaulted. All colleges and universities must also enter agreements with at least one community-based sexual assault crisis service center and one community-based domestic violence agency, where victims can access free and confidential counseling.

FRACKING WASTE: For the time being, waste coming from hydraulic fracturing operations in other states will not be stored or disposed of in the state of Connecticut. The temporary moratorium will last until the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection adopts regulations on the matter. DEEP will have until July 1, 2017, to submit its new regulations to the General Assembly's Regulations Review Committee. Connecticut lawmakers had originally considered an outright ban on drilling fluid and other waste generated as a byproduct of gas exploration. However, that proposal drew criticism from lawmakers who considered a permanent ban to be premature. There is no fracking occurring in Connecticut.


Source: Office of Legislative Research

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