Ride-hailing rules among new laws in Connecticut
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Rules for ride-hailing services and conditions for selling event tickets are among a host of new laws set to take effect in Connecticut with the new year.
Also starting Monday, most prescriptions for controlled substances must be submitted to pharmacists electronically, while the Department of Correction will not be able to place most inmates under age 18 on restrictive housing status, commonly referred to as solitary confinement.
Some highlights of legislation about to become law in the state:
RIDE HAILING SERVICES
With the new year, ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft must register annually with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and pay a nonrefundable $50,000 initial fee and subsequent annual renewal fees of $5,000. The same new law also gives the DOT commissioner the ability to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a company’s registration for various reasons, including if it engaged in misleading or untruthful advertising.
Ride-hailing services also must obtain background checks for their drivers. Companies are barred from signing up drivers who have been convicted in the prior seven years of driving under the influence, fraud, sexual offenses, using a motor vehicle to commit a felony, acts of violence or acts of terror.
Uber, which has operated in the state since April 2014, said it supports the new legislation. Connecticut will now be the 43rd state with a comprehensive law addressing ride-sharing companies.
“Uber is excited to continue providing Connecticut riders with access to safe, affordable transportation and our Connecticut driver-partners with flexible economic opportunities in 2018,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
One new law taking effect on Monday expands the range of eligibility for infertility coverage.
Under current law, coverage is limited to people who are “presumably healthy” and unable to conceive a child or sustain a successful pregnancy during a one-year period. The new law removes the “presumably healthy” limitation, extending coverage to more patients.
Another new law requires certain individual and group insurance policies to cover medically necessary inpatient detoxification services for people diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder.
That same law requires most prescriptions for controlled substances to be electronically transmitted. Prescribers had been allowed issue prescriptions for controlled substances in writing, orally or by electronic transmission.
Margherita Giuliano, executive vice president of the Connecticut Pharmacists Association, said her organization has been working with the Department of Public Health since October to prepare pharmacists for the new law, which is intended to help reduce the number of fraudulent prescriptions.
“Obviously it’s not going to be totally smooth in the implementation process,” Giuliano warned, adding how there are exceptions in the new law for prescribers who don’t yet have the ability to transmit prescriptions electronically. “A lot of the burden is going to fall on the pharmacists” to make sure any written prescriptions are legitimate.
“We imagine there’s going to be a learning curve for the implementation process,” she said.
Legislation that prohibits Connecticut’s Department of Correction from holding most individuals under age 18 on administrative segregation takes effect with the new year.
The bill cleared the Senate on the final day of this year’s regular legislative session.
At the time, ACLU of Connecticut Executive Director David McGuire said the bill “takes an important step toward justice.” He said his organization will “continue to work toward stopping solitary confinement once and for all in our state.”
The new law also requires the DOC commissioner to study the use of restrictive housing for inmates and report to the General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2019. Additionally, the agency must provide annual data on the use of restrictive housing and administrative segregation.
The same law requires the agency, within available appropriations, to provide certain training and promote wellness for correctional employees who interact with inmates.
A new law that essentially bans so-called “paperless ticketing” for events in Connecticut will take effect on Monday.
Supported by ticket-reselling companies, the law prohibits an original ticket seller from using systems that don’t allow purchasers to buy tickets that are transferrable to anyone. Proponents of the legislation argue that various venues have been using paperless ticketing to make it more difficult for people to transfer or sell their tickets to someone else.
But some venues in Connecticut have complained the new law ultimately will make tickets more expensive for consumers.