With the legislative session cut short by COVID-19 and Gov. Ned Lamont handling the pandemic through executive order there are only a handful of new laws going into effect on January 1, but they are significant.
“This legislation is not an anti-police measure. Rather it’s a bill about holding those who don’t follow the law accountable,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said during one bill signing.
The police accountability measure passed in July was controversial because officers felt they were being unfairly punished for the actions of officers in other states.
“The conversation should be centered on those people who have not been able to get justice even when we’ve seen some of the things we’ve seen,” Sen. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) said during the debate.
Under the law starting on January 1 officers and troopers will be required to submit to a behavioral health assessment at least every five years as a condition of continued employment. They will also be required to display their name and badge number on the outside of their uniform.
The 13-member Police Accountability Task Force is also expected to submit a preliminary report to the legislature.
“It’s going to make a great force even better and I hope it serves as an example for those around the country,” Lamont said during the bill signing.
The other significant law going into effect involves our electric grid.
“It’s time to put the ratepayers ahead of the shareholders. It’s time to take back our grid,” Sen. Norm Needleman (D-Essex) said during the debate on October 1.
PURA Chairwoman Marisa Gillett said “passing this bill that would help PURA bring some needed accountability and framework to the task in front of us.”
That accountability starts on January 1 when the electric utility companies are expected to deliver a report on storm response to both regulators at the Public Utility Regulatory Authority and the legislature’s Energy & Technology Committee.
More than 800,000 customers were without power at the height of Tropical Storm Isaias, which ended up being more outages than eversource energy predicted before the storm hit.
The report which is due by the end of the week is expected to include a cost-benefit analysis that identifies the resources spent during the last five major storm events.