Winners And Losers From The 2008 Legislative Session
Associated Press, Staff Reports
May 08, 2008
Criminal justice: In the wake of two deadly home invasions, in Cheshire and New Britain, a bill that toughens penalties for repeat offenders passed both houses. Despite the state's budget problems, Gov. M. Jodi Rell expects to find $10 million to pay for more prosecutors, probation officers and other criminal justice workers. She signed the bill Wednesday.
Ethics Reform: A long-awaited bill revoking the pensions of corrupt officials and public employees, failed on the final day of the session.
Global warming: The bill will make Connecticut the fifth state to adopt mandatory limits between now and 2020 on greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to global warming. State agencies will have to adopt policies to meet the new caps. Rell said she will sign the bill.
Teen driving: Tougher rules for teen drivers, such as an 11 p.m. curfew, more behind-the-wheel training and parental attendance at driver education classes passed, and Rell has signed it.
Mortgage relief: Reacting to the subprime mortgage crisis, lawmakers passed a bill that includes new, affordable refinancing programs with flexible credit underwriting to help homeowners, and tightens restrictions on mortgage lenders. Rell is expected to sign it.
Minimum wage: Lawmakers boosted the hourly wage from $7.65 to $8 beginning Jan. 1, 2009, and to $8.25 beginning Jan. 1, 2010. Unclear if Rell will sign the bill.
Health insurance: A campaign to open up the state employee health insurance program to small businesses, municipalities and nonprofit agencies to help them save money made its way through both houses, but Rell's signature is iffy.
Safe toys: Lawmakers approved limits for lead in children's products. Any products that fail to comply will be banned. Unknown if Rell will sign.
Voting age: Voters will be asked in November to amend the state constitution and allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries as long as they turn 18 by the general election. Unknown if Rell will sign.
Noose hanging: Bill makes it a crime to use nooses to intimidate people. The legislation stems from several high-profile noose-hanging incidents in Connecticut. Unknown if Rell will sign.
Casino smoking: An effort to ban smoking in the state's two tribal casinos was snuffed out after the House failed to take the bill up for a vote.
Bottle bill: A push to expand the longtime bottle redemption bill to include plastic containers for water, juice, sports drinks and flavored teas fell flat again.
Rental assistance: Because of the decision to stick with the 2008-09 budget approved last year, funding was not included to provide rental assistance to public housing tenants.
Plastic bag ban: Despite concerns about plastic grocery bags littering the environment, a bill that would have stopped stores from using them died during the legislative process.
Open container: A bill banning passengers from having an open container of alcohol got snagged in the House after hours of debate — the second year in a row that the issue has died there.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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