Thursday, September 30, 2021

Changes To The Hate Crime And Other Laws In Connecticut Tomorrow!

On October 1st changes to the Connecticut Hate Crime laws take affect, they are just a few word changes but will have a significant impact on the laws.

The law changes “because of” to “motivated in whole or in substantial part by.” It does seem like much but it packs a major punch.

I was briefed by the Division of Criminal Justice during a meeting of the Governor’s Hate Crime Council and what was explained to us was that the change does is change the law from the requiring the only motive of the attack being bias to be bias just as to be one of the components. Suppose you were robbed and the robber sees that you are trans and calls you a derogatory word, then hits you. The way I understand it that under the existing law that couldn’t be a hate crime because it wasn’t solely bigotry but also robbery. Under the new law going into effect tomorrow it would be a hate crime because it was in part based on bias.

So what are the punishment for hate crimes?
  • § 53a-181j Intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the first degree is a Class C Felony*
  • § 53a-181k Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Second Degree is a Class D Felony
  • § 53a-181l Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Third Degree is a Class E Felony
  • § 53-37 Ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race is a Class D misdemeanor
  • § 53-37a Deprivation of a person's civil rights by person wearing mask or hood: Class D felony
That is a biggie! A real biggie! The state statute says,
Any person who, with the intent to subject, or cause to be subjected, any other person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities, secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of this state or of the United States, on account of religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness or physical disability, violates the provisions of section § 46a-58 while wearing a mask, hood or other device designed to conceal the identity of such person shall be guilty of a class D felony.
Did you get that?

So if they are wearing a mask while attacking you because you are trans the assault the crime gets bumped up to a Class D felony!

Then we have;
  • § 46a-58 Deprivation of rights. Desecration of property. Placing of burning cross or noose on property. Penalty. Restitution
Any person who, acting alone or in conspiracy with another, for the purpose of depriving any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws of this state or the United States, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws of this state or the United States, engages in the use of force or threat, as provided in section 53a-62, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, except that if bodily injury results such person shall be guilty of a class C felony or if death results such person shall be guilty of a class B felony.
  • § 53a-62 Threatening in the second degree: class A misdemeanor or class D felony
  • 53a-40a Persistent offenders of crimes involving bigotry or bias. Will increase the sentence.
Also swatting, calling in a fake crime is also bias crime if it is based on a protected class.
  • § 53a-180(a)(4) Falsely reporting an incident in the first degree can be either class D felony or a class C felony
  • § 53a-180c Falsely reporting an incident in the Second Degree is either Class A misdemeanor or a class E felony
  • §53a-180d Misuse of the emergency 9-1-1 system for bias can be a class A or B misdemeanor
  • This statute has been changed to include us!
  • § 53a-181c Stalking in the First Degree is a class D felony
  • §53a-181d Stalking in the Second Degree is a class A misdemeanor
The statute reads in part…
(3) "Personally identifying information" means:
(A) Any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity, such as name, prior legal name, alias, mother's maiden name, Social Security number, date or place of birth, address, telephone number or biometric data;
(B) Any information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, financial, education, consumer or employment information, data or records; or
(C) Any other sensitive private information that is linked or linkable to a specific identifiable individual, such as gender identity, sexual orientation or any sexually intimate visual depiction.
(b) A person is guilty of stalking in the second degree when:
(1) Such person knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at or concerning a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to
(A) fear for such specific person's physical safety or the physical safety of a third person;
(B) suffer emotional distress; or
(C) fear injury to or the death of an animal owned by or in possession and control of such specific person;
(2) Such person with intent to harass, terrorize or alarm, and for no legitimate purpose, engages in a course of conduct directed at or concerning a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear that such person's employment, business or career is threatened, where (A) such conduct consists of the actor telephoning to, appearing at or initiating communication or contact to such other person's place of employment or business, including electronically, through video-teleconferencing or by digital media, provided the actor was previously and clearly informed to cease such conduct, and (B) such conduct does not consist of constitutionally protected activity; or
(3) Such person, for no legitimate purpose and with intent to harass, terrorize or alarm, by means of electronic communication, including, but not limited to, electronic or social media, discloses a specific person's personally identifiable information without consent of the person, knowing, that under the circumstances, such disclosure would cause a reasonable person to:
(A)Fear for such person's physical safety or the physical safety of a third person; or
(A)Suffer emotional distress.
(c)For the purposes of this section, a violation may be deemed to have been committed either at the place where the communication originated or at the place where it was received.
(d) Stalking in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
This is something that I didn’t know, so if someone tells people that you are trans they might be committing a crime.

One thing that the presenter mention to a question about the First Amendment and hate crimes, a 2017 Supreme Court ruling in Matal v. Tam set down limits for hate crimes. However, the courts have not thrown out hate crime laws just added limits.

What probably is covered by the First Amendment is someone who just yells at derogatory words at you, but if they threaten you or assault you the hate crime laws will probably protect you (Lawyers don’t like to give a yes or no answers, they will say something like “it most likely...”).

Also all hate crimes are based on motive and intent which is very hard to prove in court, I sometime half-heartedly say if you are being beat up get them to say that they are beating you because you’re trans.

  • *A Class B felony is punishable by up to 40 years and additional fines up to $15,000.
  • A Class C felony is punishable by to up to 10 years and additional fines up to $10,000
  • A Class D felony is punishable by five years and a fine of up to $5,000
  • A Class E felony is punishable with up to three years in prison.
  • A Class A misdemeanor – is punishable by up to one year in jail.
  • A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • A Class D misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.

Other laws that goes into effect tomorrow is Public Act No. 21-69, An Act Deterring Age Discrimination in Employment and what it does is,
By Ronni Newton
September 27, 2021

A law that was championed by the Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who chairs the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, as well as state Sen. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford), becomes law in Connecticut on Oct. 1 and was lauded Monday at a press conference at the Elmwood Community Center in West Hartford by those who have been fighting to overcome age discrimination.

The law makes it illegal for employers to require information on an initial application that would reveal an applicant’s age – not only the individual’s birth date, but also dates like when they attended or graduated from high school and years spent working at past jobs.
“It is critical to all of us to support the implementation of this legislation,” she said, and organizations like the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supported it, and understand the critical need for workers. The ACLU states that six of 10 workers over age 65 have seen or experienced age discrimination, and it’s even more apparent among women and people of color, she said.

“This is a fight for our older workers, it’s a fight for women, it’s a fight for people of color, and hopefully it will give our older workers a better opportunity to have access to the many jobs in our state that remain open,” Bysiewicz said.
When I was laid off in 2007 I was 59 and I knew that I could never get a job that paid as much as the job that I was laid off from so I took early retirement. 

The Hartford Courant reports that these laws are also going into effect tomorrow...
Grow your own marijuana
For the first time, medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow their own weed in their homes, starting Oct. 1. The new law says they can grow six plants in their home if they are 18 or older with a maximum of 12 plants per household — regardless of how many people are living there.

Little nips will be taxed
In addition, retailers will start charging a five-cent surcharge on “nips,’’ which are miniature bottles of liquor. The “nips’' are expected to generate an estimated $4.5 million per year for cities and towns, based on the sale of 90 million nips bottles per year in Connecticut. That includes 3.1 million sold in Hartford, 2.4 million in Manchester, 2.2 million in Bristol, and 1.5 million in East Hartford.

Domestic violence
The law will now include nonviolent acts like financial and psychological abuse, which advocates said will help judges to rule in cases where they have not seen any physical violence.

The new law details the concept of nonviolent abuse or “coercive control,” saying that it includes “isolating the household or family member from friends, relatives, or other support,” as well as “depriving the household or family member of basic necessities,” according to a legislative analysis.

Safety around ice cream trucks
The legislation requires ice cream truck owners to install safety equipment that includes flashing lights, caution signs, signal arms, and front convex mirrors by May 2022. It also prohibits ice cream sellers from stopping in high-traffic areas.
And in another Hartford Courant article they also list another law,
Employers are required to tell applicants how much a job pays under a Connecticut law that takes effect Friday, breaking from standard practice that gives employers discretion in disclosing the salary at different times in the hiring process.
Employers must disclose the pay range they anticipate relying on when setting wages for a position. The range could be an applicable pay scale, previously determined wage ranges for the job, actual wage ranges for current employees or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position.
While NBC Connecticut reports that these additional laws will go into effect October 1st.
Seat Belt Requirement
One new law will require anyone inside a vehicle to wear a seat belt. The current law requires drivers and front-seat passengers as well as all rear-seat passengers between 4 and 16 years old to wear a seat belt. Anyone older has not been required to wear a seatbelt while riding in the back seat.

Breastfeeding in the Workplace
One new law is about breastfeeding in the workplace.

It says any employee may, at her discretion, express breast milk or breastfeed on-site at her workplace during her meal or break period and an employer "shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in private.

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