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New Laws Go Into Effect On Jan. 1

by Hugh McQuaid | Dec 27, 2013 1:31pm
(5) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Law Enforcement, Labor, Public Safety, State Capitol, Transportation

Hugh McQuaid photo

With the arrival of the New Year a handful of new laws go into effect on Wednesday including a 45-cent hike in the state minimum wage, an increase in fines for distracted driving, and elements of this year’s gun control legislation.

More than two dozen state statutes are scheduled to kick in next week, like the first phase of a two-year plan to raise Connecticut’s minimum wage to $9 an hour.

On Wednesday morning, the minimum hourly wage for most workers will rise from the current $8.25 to $8.70. The minimum wage will increase another 30 cents in 2015.

The new law adjusts tip credit rates over the next two years so that restaurants and hotels are not required to increase the wages they pay their waitstaff and bartenders. Hourly wages for waitresses and waiters will remain at $5.69 and bartenders will continue to make $7.34. Tips from patrons are expected to make up the difference.

Drivers also can expect to pay stiffer penalties if they are caught using a cellphone or some other electronic device while they are driving. After Wednesday, the fines will be $150 for a first distracted driving offense, $300 on a second offense, and $500 for any subsequent offenses. Previously, fines ranged from $125 to $400.

Under the law, distracted driving violations will cost at least a point against a driver’s license and records of the offenses will be made available to car insurance companies, who can use the information when they calculate their rates for drivers.

January also brings changes for the state’s gun owners. By Wednesday it will be too late to register to keep weapons categorized as assault rifles under legislation passed following the Sandy Hook murders.

The new law added about 100 guns to a list of weapons specifically banned in Connecticut and broadened a “physical characteristic test” of military-style features that will qualify a gun as an assault weapon. The expanded definition of assault weapon includes the AR-15 style rifle the gunman used in Newtown.

Although it did not require gun owners who had previously purchased the weapons to get rid of them, the law does require them to register the guns with the state. The deadline to register is Tuesday.

The legislation made similar requirements for owners of ammunition magazines that carry more than 10 rounds. The magazines can no longer be sold, but people who owned them before the law passed can keep them if they are declared to the state before Wednesday.

The law includes serious penalties for not registering the equipment. Charges for possessing one of the banned guns after the deadline could range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony. Penalties for possession of a magazine that can carry more than 10 rounds range from a $90 fine to a Class D felony. Connecticut residents convicted of any felonies are no longer considered eligible to own firearms.

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(5) Comments

posted by: ASTANVET | December 27, 2013  5:04pm

If a gun is registered when you purchase it (paperwork that goes to public safety - how then are we suppose to “re-register” it to make it safer?  This state continues to trample right after right… confiscate more and more money to give it to someone else to buy political power.  Great job CT - the lack of constitution state!

posted by: GoConnecticut | December 27, 2013  11:37pm

Guns that are not registered are removed from legal use.  People who have sold them, moved, or don’t register for any reason.  That is how this law makes things a little safer while still allowing people to keep their guns.  They could have declared them all illegal you know.  They did not do this.  Your rights to keep the guns you have were protected.

posted by: ASTANVET | December 28, 2013  5:41pm

GoCt, you kind of miss my point - my rights are far from protected.  If you don’t see incrementalism in these laws, you are not paying attention.  First, ex-post facto this makes what was once perfectly ‘legal’ to possess no longer legal by administrative action or inaction.  This law has law enforcement baffled on how to enforce it.  This is the trap - we (responsible gun owners) are put in a position to NOT be law abiding citizens if we disagree with this law as so many do.  There are many who will not comply (i’m not one), but it does demonstrate that the CGA is at odds with the citizenry.  How do you suppose the State PD is going to reconcile discrepancies between what is on the books as registered and who has a “new” registration?  Probable cause to get a search warrant right?  This is serious business GoCT - serious business.  Quick question, do police serve search warrants for a gun investigation by a soft knock or a swat team?  Say that person is a multiple tour combat veteran?  How do you think they are going to execute those warrants?  All of this was for some political expediency, and brought on us with a poorly crafted law.  This law would have NEVER changed any of the events of last december.  I do not feel safer, my children’s schools are no more safer today from a deranged person.  The only thing that was attacked in this law is the black plastic guns that liberals hate… and my right to live as a free person.

posted by: GarbageManCometh | December 30, 2013  12:18pm

I would also like to make comment to GoConnecticut’s post.  First, I’m not sure what you mean by “Guns that are not registered are removed from legal use, ” considering that—at least, for now—not all ‘long guns’ require the owner to apply for a ‘Certificate of Possession of Assault Weapon’ (hereafter referred to as a CPAW), and considering that an owner of what is now defined in Connecticut as an ‘assault weapon’ can remove it from the state and thereby legally avoid applying for the CPAW.

Further, I don’t understand as to how the (new) law has made anyone any safer.  You’ll have to explain that to we Connecticut gun owners.  By the way, even the legislators concede that had the new law been in place throughout 2012, it would not have at-all protected the Sandy Hook children and teachers, but that ” ... something had to be done.” (?)  I guess that makes sense to you.  To me, it does not.

The legislature could not target the owners of illegal guns—criminals—who commit nearly all gun-related crime, considering that such criminals cannot even be identified.  So they targeted the only gun owners they CAN identify—we LEGAL gun owners—and have legislated to positively criminalize us, just to purport themselves as having ‘done something.’
And no, ‘they’ (I presume you mean the state legislature) could NOT have declared them all (long guns?) illegal.  They certainly tried, but thankfully, they failed.

Still, I think ASTANVET would agree that the new law is another incremental step that paves the way for future legislation intended to make gun ownership legally and financially painful so as to force Connecticut gun owners to either sell/transfer their guns, remove their guns from the state, or leave the state entirely.

Finally, the new laws have not protected gun owners; rather, the new law serves to TARGET gun owners, first for taxation, and later, for confiscation if taxation doesn’t force gun owners to sell or transfer their registered guns via an FFL.

posted by: ASTANVET | December 30, 2013  10:30pm

Garbage - spot on man - the next step is taxation… then an administrative review - you HOPE that all your paperwork is in order…i mean, the DESPP didn’t review it, didn’t give a receipt when they took it, didn’t issue a certificate number when you submitted it - so you have to, again, HOPE you’re in compliance.  We may not know we are felons until the warrant is issued all because there was no feedback during the process… yeah, my rights haven’t been infringed… we (gun owners) are all talking about living in fear of the government.  How sad is that - that we fear the very government that is elected to protect the state and federal constitution.  It is a sad day in CT