Judiciary Updates

April 17, 2017

As you may know, I have the distinct honor of serving as the House Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a key committee in the General Assembly having cognizance over of all matters relating to courts, probate, criminal law, human rights, the law of business organizations, and civil penalties. As the Committee has now reached its deadline for reporting out bills for the 2017 Session, I wanted to share with you some highlights of the bills we have passed out of Committee on key topics.

Increasing access to justice and free speech:

  • SB 364 - provides increased access to legal counsel for indigent individuals in certain civil matters.
  • SB 981 - creates an expedited process for dispose of claims filed against individuals to try to deter them from exercising their Free Speech rights to complain about matters of public concerns.

Reforming our Criminal Justice laws:

  • HB 5743- increases the penalty for committing a hate crime, crimes which have unfortunately been on the rise in Connecticut and around the Nation in recent months.
  • HB 6002 - ensures that minors charged with texting explicit pictures receive education and intervention and are not faced with a felony charge.
  • HB 7257 - reforms the investigatory grand jury system to provide for more efficient operation and to facilitate the investigation of criminal conduct involving abuse of governmental authority.
  • HB 7302 - limits the use of solitary confinement in our correctional centers.

Regulating police conduct:

  • HB 7258 - strengthens the Alvin Penn Racial Profile Prohibition Act.
  • HB 7285 - ensures compliance with statutes concerning the acceptance, processing and investigation of a complaint from a member of the public relating to alleged misconduct committed by law enforcement agency personnel.

Protecting victims:

  • HB 7262 - ensuring that crime victims have increased access to information regarding a defendant’s term of imprisonment and release date.
  • HB 7299 - strengthens our laws concerning domestic violence.
  • HB 7309 - combats human trafficking through increased penalties, training and awareness.

Improving our business statutes:

  • SB 12 - allows for the establishment of benefit Limited Liability Companies, which are businesses that measure success based on positive impacts of society, not just profitability.
  • HB 7132 - provides better clarity to employees and businesses on the process for filing a workers compensation claim.
  • HB 7311 - continues our ongoing effort to improve and strengthen our business incorporation statutes to encourage investment and business growth.

Protecting our seniors

  • SB 884 - cleans up our power of attorney and substitute decision maker statutes to make them more user friends and to reduce the risk of financial fraud.

Saving our City money:

  • SB 366 - allows a municipality to recover the cost of its employees appearing in court in certain civil matters.
  • SB 885 - allows self-insured municipalities (such as Bridgeport) to recover medical payments made on behalf of employees injured by another party in a tort action.

As always, if you have any questions on these bills or any others as they move through the legislative process feel free to call me at (860) 240-1371 or email me at Steve.Stafstrom@cga.ct.gov.