State briefs — help for seniors and grads; drug disposal

Here are a few matters that could impact residents of Wilton if they are enacted into laws by the Connecticut General Assembly.

‘Granny pods’ & local zoning

Planning & Zoning Commissioners may have one more housing issue that supersedes their regulations, if “granny pods” are approved by state lawmakers. Such a bill would allow seniors to age in place in temporary health structures or “modular medical homes” to be placed on single-family properties without special use permits presently required under local zoning laws.

This proposal is intended to reduce the number of people in institutions and increase the number of seniors who can remain at home while receiving care. This is listed as one of the “important issues that face the General Assembly” by the Office of Legislative Research. Bills have already been passed that would help seniors get grants to renovate their homes to accommodate the challenges of aging.

Prescription drug disposal

Disposing of the unfinished prescription painkillers would get easier if this bill is passed. Taking prescription drugs back to a pharmacy for disposal may be permitted if this bill becomes law. The General Assembly is considering making it easier to dispose of prescriptions to avoid possible abuse since prescription opioids (painkillers) have been linked to drug addiction.

Opioid addiction is considered a contributing factor in the epidemic of heroin overdoses. This law would offer an alternative for prescription disposal, since flushing drugs down the toilet can affect groundwater. Presently, local police take unfinished prescriptions. This bill proposal is No. 487 and has been referred to joint committee of the General Law Committee.

Keeping college grads near home

To avoid brain drain and make Connecticut more affordable for college graduates legislators are considering a bill to give tax credits to students receiving an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited institution in this state. The credit would also be given to graduates from institutions in other states if they move here within two years of graduation. If it becomes law, the tax credit can be claimed for five consecutive years. It is proposed bill No. 5586. A public hearing was held March 3.

Not taxing Social Security

Seniors would not need to pay tax on Social Security no matter what their income is if this bill goes through. This bill would exempt Social Security benefits from state income tax. At this time, people receiving Social Security who are single with an income no more than $50,000 or married filing jointly making no more than $60,000 are exempt from state income tax on their Social Security benefits. This is house bill No. 6987. On Mar. 3, this proposed bill was referred by the house to Committee of Finance, Revenue and Bonding.