Capital briefs

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Plan exempts military retirement pay from tax

HARTFORD — A proposed plan would fully exempt retired veterans from paying state income tax on federally-taxable military retirement pay.

“We can never do enough to thank our veterans for the incomparable sacrifices they have made for our safety and freedom,” said state Sen. Joseph Crisco (D-17) in a press release. “Our retired military personnel are some of the most dedicated public servants and volunteers Connecticut has, and we must do everything we can to keep them here. This legislation will help do just that, and will make an impactful difference in the quality of life for our retired veterans.”

Current law in Connecticut provides for a 50 percent exemption of federal retirement pay to retired members of the armed services, according to the release. This existing exemption benefits approximately 11,000 Connecticut veterans, resulting in $3.9 million in foregone revenue in fiscal year 2014 and $4 million in fiscal year 2015. Increasing the exemption to 100 percent would roughly double those figures, the release said.

Variable electricity rates target of proposed bill

HARTFORD — Proposed state legislation would impose a ban on variable-rate electricity contracts.

If enacted, Senate Bill 573 would ban variable rates charged to residential electric customers for electric generation service.

“What we’re looking to do with this legislation is simply keep suppliers honest and accountable to consumers,” said state Sen. Joseph Crisco in a press release. “Consumers are being sold a false bill of goods when they contract with the expectation of a stable rate, only to see dramatic increases down the road. Consumers deserve to be protected from this sort of deceptive business practice.”

Last year the General Assembly passed Public Act 14-75, which enacted several reforms for the protection of electric consumers, according to the release. The act includes a requirement, which goes into effect in July, that every residential electric customer’s monthly bill must display their rate for the coming month.

Bill would require information on safe sleep practices

HARTFORD — Legislators are pushing for legislation that would require hospitals to provide information about safe sleep practices to parents of newborns before they bring their child home from the hospital.

“The death of any infant is a tragedy,” said state Sen. Joseph Crisco in a press release. “But what makes these deaths all the more heartbreaking is that they can almost certainly be prevented if parents follow the most up-to-date safe sleep practices. This important legislation will help achieve this by ensuring that all new parents are informed about safe sleep practices before their children leave the hospital.”

According to the State Child Fatality Review Panel’s 2013 report reviewing infant and toddler deaths in Connecticut, infants are more likely to die from unsafe sleeping conditions than from child abuse or from accidental injury, including car accidents, choking, drowning or falls, the release stated.

In 2013, there were at least 18 Connecticut children whose deaths were associated with unsafe sleep environments, according to the release. The average age of these children at their time of death was 3 months old.