Bills to ban minors from buying or smoking e-cigarettes and to set tough new state standards for animal-abusing “puppy mills” were among the 23 pieces of legislation signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy Tuesday.
Electronic cigarettes have become hugely popular among younger smokers, and lawmakers were fearful the e-cigarette fad would encourage a new wave of nicotine addicts. The ban prohibits anyone under age 18 from buying or possessing any “electronic nicotine delivery system.”
E-cigarette advocates insist these products can actually help people quit smoking. But the fear from health activists is that e-cigarettes, which can come in many different flavors, would entice lots more kids into smoking.
The new law, which takes effect on Oct. 1st, will also crack down on sales of individual loose cigarettes.
Animal rights activists have been pushing for years for tougher state laws to prevent unscrupulous dog and cat breeders from selling puppies and kittens that haven’t received proper care and treatment.
The “puppy mill” legislation signed into law by Malloy will take effect Oct. 1st and requires the state to develop strict new standards for in-state dog and cat breeders. It will also prohibit the sale of animals by breeders who have violated U.S. Department of Agriculture standards or animal welfare regulations.
Pet stores will also be required to post any USDA violations where customers can see them. People who buy animals that are in need of veterinary care can apply to have the pet store reimburse their costs up to $500.
Another bill signed into law Tuesday is designed to expand Connecticut’s system of “cross-reporting” of animal abuse cases to the state’s Department of Children and Families. Advocates of the legislation point to research that shows child abuse and animal abuse often happen in the same households, and that an abused dog or cat can offer a warning signal that child abuse may be occurring.
Currently, animal control officers only report animal abuse cases to the state when they feel compelled to take an animal away from its owner. Under the new law, which goes into effect in November, those local officials would be required to report all sorts of suspected animal abuse to the state. In addition, state agencies will be ordered to report the number of such cases to the legislature.
Improving safety for skiers using chair lifts in Connecticut is the intent of another bill Malloy signed into law. The new law, which takes effect Oct. 1, expands the safety checks ski lift operators must complete when people get on, including making sure the restraints are in place.
Two young skiers, one six-year-old and a 14-year-old teenager were injured in separate chair lift incidents in January, one at Ski Sundown in New Hartford the other at Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall.
The new law will set requirements for restraints and padding around ski lift towers.
As of Tuesday, Malloy had signed into law 100 bills passed during the General Assembly’s 2014 session and vetoed two.