Monday, April 30, 2012

Legislative Round up

The 2011-2012 legislative session was a big year for action and inaction at the Connecticut legislature. How did some of the hot button issues fair? According to the Hartford Courant’s analysis of some of this year’s major bills:
Online Gambling? It went nowhere, with the Governor’s proposal not even being introduced in committee.
Banning those 18 and under from using tanning beds? Although the bill was introduced in committee, it died without any action.
Legalization of ‘medical marijuana’? The bill passed 95-51 in the House and as of today awaits action in the Senate.
Raising the state minimum wage? The bill passed 88-62 in the House and as of today awaits action in the Senate. The law would raise the current $8.25 minimum hourly wage to $8.50 in 2013 and to $8.75 in 2014.
Allowing some of the state’s largest cities to install ‘red light cameras’? The bill was voted on favorably in committee and awaits action in the House.
Ending Connecticut’s “blue laws”? The bill allowing alcohol sales on Sunday in package stores and supermarkets as well as on the holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day passed the House 116-27 and awaits action in the Senate.
Guaranteeing that citizens can videotape police officers? Passed in the Senate 22-11 and awaits action in the House.
Perhaps the most notorious bill signed into law this year was the repeal of the state’s death penalty, which will not apply to those inmates currently on death row.
Questions or Comments? Contact Jared Cantor.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Death Penalty Axed in Connecticut

Governor Dannel Malloy’s signing of a Senate Bill 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies, has made national headlines. With its passage, Connecticut has officially become the 17th state to abolish the death penalty. Malloy cited the “unworkability” of Connecticut’s death penalty as a major factor for signing the bill. In the last fifty two years only two people have been put to death, Joseph “Mad Dog” Taborsky in 1960 and Michael Ross in 2005. The repeal of the penalty will not be retroactive, and the eleven inmates currently on death row, including Cheshire murderers Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, will not be affected.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

State Continues to Encourage Hiring

Another feature of the State of Connecticut’s Jobs Bill (which we blogged about back when it was passed in 2011) is being touted by Governor Malloy in order to stimulate job creation in the state. The STEPUP program will provide funds for companies to hire and train new employees who have been previously unemployed. The employer must be a small business with less than fifty employees. The benefits include a wage subsidy for each eligible employee for up to six months. During the first month of employment, the program covers up to 100% of the eligible employee’s earnings, up to $20.00 per hour, exclusive of benefits. Months two and three provides up to 75% of the employee’s wages; months four and five provides up to 50%; and months six provides up to 25%.  Funds will also be available for small manufacturers to cover new employee training costs. For more information about qualifications check out the fact sheet availableonline.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For Easter, Avoid Dyed Rabbits

Although it might seem cute and a good idea for an Easter gift, it is illegal in Connecticut to offer for sale any dyed chickens, ducklings, other fowl or rabbits. According to the statute (CGS 53-249a), a person who dyes, colors or otherwise treats an animal so as to make them an artificial color is guilty of a crime and subject to a $150.00 fine. As "A Connecticut Law Blog" succinctly wrote on this issue, "Don't Dye the Easter Bunny."

Questions or Comments? Contact Jared Cantor.

U.S. Supreme Court - Strip Searches of All Incoming Inmates Constitutional

On April 2, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution did not prohibit jail authorities from performing strip searches of all incoming inmates, regardless of whether the inmate was being held on a minor crime. The facts underlying that decision, as reported in numerous news outlets such as the New York Times, involved the arrest of Albert Florence, who was a passenger in his wife's car when she was pulled over in New Jersey for speeding. When a record search was performed, the computer inaccurately reported there was an arrest warrant for Mr. Florence because of an unpaid fine (the fine actually had been paid years earlier). Mr. Florence was then arrested and held for one week in two separate jail facilities, being strip searched in both when he was admitted. Mr. Florence then sued, claiming a violation of his right under the 4th Amendment to be free from unreasonable searches.

Questions or Comments? Contact Jared Cantor.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Thinking of Writing Someone’s Term Paper? Think Again, as it’s Against the Law

As final exams approach, students often find themselves swamped with papers, exams and assignments and not enough time to complete them all before the end of the semester.  In such a moment of exasperation, overwhelmed student A may turn to someone, such as student B or an online service C that writes papers for students, for “help” in writing that lengthy term paper or finishing an assignment in exchange for a sum of money.  Although the assignment will now be finished in time, student A may worry about someone finding out that the assignment was not really written by him/her and the possibility of academic sanctions.  Student B, on the other hand, may think that he/she is in the clear because it is student A that is submitting the assignment that A did not actually write.  Company C too may feel safe because its terms of use disclaim any liability for whatever student A does with the purchased report.
In Connecticut, however, student B and company C should be worried because it is against the law for B or C to prepare A’s “term paper, thesis, dissertation, essay, report or other written, recorded, pictorial, artistic or other assignment” when it is submitted under A’s name as if the work was his or her own.  Student B and company C do not even have to know that A will submit the paper under his/her own name, the law makes B and C liable if “under the circumstances [they have] reason to know” student A will submit the paper under his or her own name as if A wrote it.
Connecticut takes this issue so seriously that under the law, the Attorney General is tasked with bringing a lawsuit against student B or company C seeking an injunction preventing them from continuing to write other students’ papers.  For writing A’s paper, student B may also be charged with a class B misdemeanor, for which student B could spend a maximum of six months in jail and be fined not more than one thousand dollars.
Questions or comments? Contact Jared Cantor.