HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s first major abortion-related legislation in years, which seeks to legally shield providers and patients from other states’ bans on the procedure, will go into effect Friday.
The legislation was passed by the Connecticut General Assembly in late April and signed into law by Democratic Governor Ned Lamont in May in response to a Texas law which authorizes lawsuits against clinics, doctors and others who perform or facilitate a prohibited abortion, even in another state.
Since then, the United States Supreme Court has overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade. About half of states are expected to ban or severely limit the procedure now that the High Court has left it to them.
The Connecticut Attorney General’s office is “ready to advise agencies if the state is asked to facilitate an extradition or use state resources to assist in another state’s investigation/proceeding,” said this week a spokesperson for Attorney General William Tong in an email.
Connecticut’s new abortion law, which also expands the types of clinicians who can provide early abortions, is among a handful of key state laws and tax changes that go into effect Friday.
Here are some highlights:
Connecticut’s new law creates a legal cause of action for abortion providers and others when sued in another state for helping an out-of-state patient obtain “reproductive health services” that are legal here. This will allow them to recover certain costs incurred to defend themselves in court.
The new law also limits the governor’s discretion to extradite a person accused of providing legal abortion services in Connecticut, as well as the involvement of Connecticut courts and agencies in such criminal or civil prosecutions. This includes issuing subpoenas and signing a subpoena.
Language in the revised state budget, a large part of which Also taking effect Friday, applies the same protections to those facing an out-of-state judgment regarding gender-affirming health care that is also legal in Connecticut.
Meanwhile, Connecticut’s new law allows advanced practice registered nurses, nurse midwives, or physician assistants to perform vacuum aspiration abortions during the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. Other states have taken similar action to expand the pool of suppliers. Sarah Gordon-Brilla, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said the first cohort of advanced practice clinicians are being trained to perform aspiration abortions, a common early abortion that involves an aspiration procedure.
Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, a group that opposes abortion and has questioned whether advanced practice clinicians are qualified to provide the procedure, predicted that the new law’s provision “will be probably challenged in court”.
Connecticut diesel tax will increase by 9 cents per gallon due to a scheduled rate adjustment calculated by the Department of Revenue Services. This means that the tax, which is currently 40.1 cents per gallon, will increase to 49.2 cents per gallon.
The rate is currently scheduled to remain in effect until June 30, 2023.
A 2007 state law requires the diesel tax to be updated annually, based on a complex statutory formula. The fixed price tax was created to provide predictability for businesses. This year, however, it was unclear where the rate might land given rising diesel prices.
Lamont was criticized by his Republican opponent Bob Stefanowski for not working to suspend the increase. The governor said he did not want to give tax relief to out-of-state truckers.
The new state budget, however, extends the 25-cent-per-gallon tax holiday for gasoline through Nov. 30. It was originally scheduled to expire on Thursday. It also includes a new lower cap on local motor vehicle taxes, affecting 75 communities. Meanwhile, legislation increasing the state working income tax credit from 30.5% to 41.5% of the federal credit for workers of modest means takes effect.
The budget also includes a new personal income tax credit of $2,500, effective Friday, for taxpayers who had a stillborn child who would have been claimed as a dependant. A hundred families should be eligible.
Connecticut workers who earn minimum wage will receive a pay raise on Friday.
Under a state law that Lamont signed in 2019, the state’s minimum hourly wage will increase from $13 to $14. The rate is then expected to increase to $15 per hour on June 1, 2023. As of January 1, 2024, the same law requires wages to be indexed to the Employment Cost Index, which is calculated by the department American Labor.
Meanwhile, the salaries of judges and magistrates are expected to rise by around 5% on Friday.