Conn. weapons laws, rail fare hike begin in 2014

Associated Press Updated: December 31, 2013 at 5:15 pm • Published: December 31, 2013 0

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A requirement for state public safety officials to create a registry of people convicted of offenses involving a deadly weapon is one of a host of new laws taking effect in Connecticut on Wednesday.

The registry, which will also track those found not guilty of deadly weapon offenses by reason of mental disease or defect, was part of the package of laws that passed earlier in 2013 in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Offenders must register with the state within 14 calendar days after being released from prison, providing such information as current home and email addresses and identifying information, including a physical description. The registration must be maintained for five years.

That same legislative package also requires assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines to be registered with state authorities as of Jan. 1. Hundreds of people have been lining up at the headquarters of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection in Middletown in recent days, seeking the documents that enable them to keep the now-banned items.

"They better be in line; otherwise you'll lose your chance to register and make legal in this state those weapons," warned Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Also on Jan. 1, some transportation-related changes will take effect, including the third of three commuter rail fare increases. The average rate increase of about 5 percent will be applied across all rail fares, including weekly and monthly combined bus/rail tickets.

Most CTTransit bus and ADA Paratransit fares will increase Jan. 19.

Additionally, truckers who fail to clear their moving vehicles of snow and ice will be liable for fines ranging from $75 to $1,250. They're exempt from the fines when the snow, sleet or freezing rain begins or continues while the truck is moving.

A compromise delayed the effective date of the law for commercial vehicles in exchange for its final passage in 2010. The state's trucking industry fought for 20 years to block the bill, and it's selling a product that allows drivers to scrape the tops of their big rigs.

"This is a law meant to protect citizens and motorists from these elements that can be very dangerous when coming off traveling trucks on our highways and streets," Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Melody A. Currey said earlier in December.

The law has been in place for motorists since 2011, a Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman said.

Other new laws set to take effect Wednesday include:

— State and local law enforcement officers will have to follow new procedures when carrying out a civil immigration detainer for someone in their custody. The law prohibits police from detaining the person unless the officer determines that specific public safety risk factors exist. If the person is to be detained, the officers are required to notify federal immigration officials that the person will be held. The person must be released if federal officials fail to take the person into custody within 48 hours.

— With some exceptions, a new law will require sellers transferring titles to one- or two-family dwellings built before Oct. 1, 2005, to provide the buyer with an affidavit. Among other things, it must certify that the building is equipped with carbon monoxide detection and warning equipment, or that the building does not pose a risk of CO poisoning because it doesn't have a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage.

— A new law increases the income limit for participants in the state's breast and cervical cancer early detection and treatment referral program from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 250 percent. Participants still must be 21 to 64 years old and lack health insurance coverage for breast cancer or cervical cancer screenings.

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