New laws for 2017 include hike in minimum wage

Some say time can pass without anyone becoming a sixpence the richer, but that’s not the case in Connecticut for 2017, according to the state Department of Labor.

Among the various new laws coming into effect on Jan. 1 is the hike in the minimum wage for Connecticut workers, to $10.10 an hour, according to the labor department. That’s up from $9.60 an hour.

Connecticut was the first state to reach a $10.10 minimum wage, according to a release from the governor’s office.

“No one who works full-time should live in poverty,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in his statement. “We believe hard-working men and women, many of whom are supporting families, deserve fair wages.”

The increase in the minimum wage matters in Wilton, because the town has many outlets that likely pay the minimum wage. It is not the only law that will have an impact on day-to-day life in Wilton.

Also on Jan. 1, a law requiring certain residential restoration service providers to register as home improvement contractors takes effect.

This expands the scope of the home improvement registration law by requiring anyone performing water, fire, or storm restoration or mold remediation to register with the Department of Consumer Protection as a contractor. The act requires any contract for repair, remediation or mitigation work relating to a claim under a personal or commercial risk insurance policy to comply with the home improvement law’s required contract content requirements.

The act also requires contractors conducting home improvement repair work related to a loss covered under these insurance policies to provide the insured with a written notice of the work to be completed and the estimated total price, according to the Connecticut General Assembly law information website.

Another new law will have a direct effect on helping people with legal troubles in the past to find work. Employers will no longer be allowed to ask about a prospective employee’s arrest or conviction history on an initial employment application, unless required by state or federal law, such as working for a bank.

When it comes to trouble with the law, those who seek looser marijuana laws will also have reason to be glad in the new year. As of Jan. 1, advanced practice registered nurses will be able to certify, sign or otherwise document medical information for patients to be certified to purchase medical marijuana from outlets such as the one in Bethel.

Previously, only doctors could certify patients for medical marijuana.

Also in the new year, some medical insurance policies must cover three-dimensional mammograms. Under existing law, policies cover only baseline mammograms for women ages 35 to 39, and annual mammograms for women 40 or older.

Another new law that received quite a bit of publicity when it was passed involves a change to the official disability symbol used on parking spaces and on cars. The symbol, which replaces the international access symbol, must depict a logo with a dynamic character leaning forward with a sense of movement, be readily identifiable, and be simply designed with no secondary meaning.

Beginning Jan. 1, the act requires that any references in the State Building Code to the international symbol of accessibility be deemed to mean the new symbol established under the act. It requires use of the new symbol in all buildings and structures constructed, substantially renovated, or expanded on or after that date.

The act similarly replaces the international access symbol with the new symbol for special license plates and temporary windshield placards for individuals with disabilities and parking space signs that are replaced, repaired or built after Jan. 1. In addition, the act replaces “handicapped” with “reserved” on the parking signs that currently read “handicapped parking permit required.”