HARTFORD — State Sen. Joseph Crisco, Jr. (D-17) joined Gov. Dannel Malloy in his Capitol office Aug. 16 as he ceremonially signed into law two bills championed by the senator.
One of the bills, Public Act 13-178, “An Act Concerning the Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health of Youths,” was one of Crisco’s signature legislative efforts.
“In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, we passed an historic, comprehensive package of reforms that included significant mental health provisions,” Crisco said in a press release. “This companion legislation digs deeper into addressing the root causes of these tragedies, making early identification and intervention a priority. This law ensures that our state will have a solid system of mental health support commensurate with the task of addressing children’s mental health issues in Connecticut.”
PA 13-178, which officially became law on June 24, serves as a complement to the gun violence prevention and child safety law which was passed by the legislature in reaction to the December 2012 school shootings in Newtown.
The new law seeks to reduce mental, emotional and behavioral health issues in children through enhanced prevention, early identification and intervention, better communication and consistency between home visitation programs, and new initiatives.
The law creates a Children’s Mental Health Task Force to study the effects of nutrition, genetics and psychotropic drugs on children and report back by Sept. 30, 2014.
The second bill, Public Act 13-93, “An Act Authorizing Firefighters to Conduct Charitable Fundraising Boot Drives on State Highways,” allows special event permits for “boot drives” held by firefighters statewide.
Recently, local law enforcement agencies and the state Department of Transportation raised safety concerns about the charitable “fill-the-boot” events. According to the press release, firefighters in Derby were ordered to end a fundraiser because it took place on a Route 34. In 2010 they were notified by the DOT of a prohibition on boot drives along state highways.
“When requested, these permits will allow firefighters to lawfully hold their fundraisers in locations where traffic controls are already in place and the speed limit is reasonably low,” Crisco said in the release. “This law is a commonsense solution that allows our firefighters to continue to raise essential funds to purchase equipment or provide monetary assistance to fire victims, while adhering to safety protocol so as to ensure that no firefighter or passerby is put in harm’s way.”