As prepared by FOCUS Government Affairs
Dear Members of Big I CT,
Connecticut's legislative session came to a close on June 9, and the general assembly subsequently convened a special session to address unresolved legislation including the Cannabis legalization bill and Budget Implementer. The “Budget" bill is comprised of two (or sometimes more) bills; a budget bill that appropriates funds and a budget implementor bill that designates revenues and states how these funds will be allocated. The budget implementor typically becomes an "aircraft carrier" or "Christmas tree" bill and can be used as a vehicle for any number of bills that didn't otherwise make it through the legislative process. Originally included in the implementor bill was a bill imposing new data security requirements on CT businesses, but that was removed after significant opposition. The General Assembly adjourned on June 17th, and barring a special session, will not return until January 2022.
Overall, some major democratic priorities were passed this session, including adult use cannabis, online and sports betting, the elimination of the religious exemption on vaccinations, expansion of voting access, expansion of the "bottle bill," and a state budget with bipartisan support. Other democratic priorities such as aid in dying, prescription drug caps, public health option, and nursing home changes were not met.
Workforce Development in the Insurance Industry
Workforce Development Issues at Public Higher Education Institutions Related to the Insurance Industry-PASSED
The bill requires the governing bodies of Connecticut colleges and universities to consult with insurance industry employers to study workforce development issues related to the insurance industry. This is a great first step toward developing a comprehensive workforce development plan for the industry to help fill Connecticut's future insurance jobs. We have worked alongside other business and industry advocates to ask for this common-sense proposal and it ultimately passed both chambers.
HEALTH INSURANCE AND HEALTH CARE IN CONNECTICUT. - DID NOT PASS
This bill was a priority for the Comptroller and for Democratic leaders, Representative Scanlon, Co-Chair of the Finance Committee, and Senator Lesser, Co-Chair of the Insurance Committee. This would have required the Comptroller to establish a fully insured group health insurance and pharmacy plan for multiemployer plans, nonprofit employers, and smaller employers. The Public Option faced opposition from many republicans and moderate democrats, including Insurance House Chair Kerry Wood bringing out an amendment to gut the bill. This was the first crack in the armor for this bill as industry leaders expressed opposition due to increasing costs. Ultimately, some union labor groups began to line up in opposition to the public option as well which resulted in the bill ultimately not being acted upon this year.
Insurance Department Proposals
Insurance Departments Recommended Changes to the Insurance Statues-PASSED
This bill, among other things reduces the hour requirements for an applicant for an insurance producer license from 40 hours to 20 hours, in line with NAIC model language. After working with Commissioner Mais, the proposal was adopted by the legislature.
Crumbling Concrete Foundations-PASSED
This bill extends the $12 surcharge sunset date from 2029 until 2041. It also extends the captive insurance company that administers the crumbling foundations fund into perpetuity. It was initially scheduled to sunset in June 2022. We were successfully able to hold off any proposal that would have increased the surcharge or that would redefine the peril of collapse for purposes of home insurance. The bill passed both chambers.
Data Privacy Breaches
This bill expands the data breach notification law to apply to additional types of information and cover additional individuals who keep this information. The bill generally shortens the maximum notification period, from 90 to 60 days after the security breach was discovered, for data managers to inform consumers and the attorney general.
Consumer Privacy- DID NOT PASS
This bill establishes a framework for controlling and processing personal data as well as establishes responsibilities and privacy protection standards for data controllers. Additionally, this bill grants consumers the right to access, correct, delete, and obtain a copy of personal data and to opt out of the processing of personal data for certain purposes, requires data protection assessments and authorizes the attorney general to bring an action to enforce the bill's requirements. While the initial language of the bill was acceptable, we saw an 11th hour amendment that would have subjected agents to the bill, but we were able to successfully block the amendment. The final bill was included in the implementor, but contained exemptions for businesses with less than 100,000 CT consumer records and data subject to the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, effectively exempting all CT insurance agencies. The bill was ultimately stripped from the implementor and is not likely to be raised until 2022.