New laws in Connecticut taking effect January 1, 2017

- FILE - State Capitol building in Hartford. (WTNH / Noelle Gardner)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As the calendar changes from 2016 to 2017, a number of new laws will take effect in Connecticut. CT News Junkie compiled a list of new laws that go into effect in our state.

Beginning New Year’s Day, certain health insurance policies must cover three-dimensional mammograms. Under existing law, policies have to cover baseline mammograms for women ages 35 to 39, and annual mammograms for women 40 and older.

David Cadden, Quinnipiac University professor emeritus said, “In this case you are increasing the chance of being able to detect tumors but at the same time you are exposing to people to greater levels of radiation. It’s going to cost more to have a 3D mammogram and naturally their costs are going to go up and naturally they will pass that on to everyone else.”

Another health-related law taking effect, the state’s medical marijuana program.
“They are going to have the ability to designate whether you can get out of a health club contract because of a disability– all the way to writing prescription for
health based marijuana,” said Cadden. Starting January 1st, advanced practice registered nurses can certify patients for medical marijuana use. Currently, only doctors can certify patients.

Also a new law, employers will no longer be allowed to ask about a prospective employee’s prior arrest record, criminal charges, or convictions on the initial employment application, unless it’s required by state or federal law. Cadden added, “”This is a big step forward. and I think like everything in life it’s a question of trade offs. you may be hiring a convicted felon but at the other hand you might exclude convicted felons or even people with misdemeanors. In some cases you need to be bonded if you are in an environment like a bank where you are handling money at which case you would have to disclose that.”

Another change for 2017, Connecticut’s minimum wage will increase to $10.10 an hour. Cadden said, “The most recent studies indicate that there will be an impact among teenagers and people without a high school degree but that by and large if you raise the minimum wage in a gradual manner it should have no significant impact on employment.”

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