In 2014, Connecticut made national news coverage with some “interesting” bill proposals such as banning whole milk from daycares to fight childhood obesity and regulating the volume of movie theaters to protect people from hearing loss. Neither of these bills had any scientific backing and thankfully neither were passed. But that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from proposing a new batch of “interesting” legislation that may raise a few eyebrows. Here are some of this years’ strange offerings:
1. An Act Concerning Baby Changing Stations in Restaurants. This bill introduced by the Public Health Committee will require restaurants with restrooms to have a baby-changing station in each of its men’s or women’s restrooms or in a unisex restroom, provided they have one. The bill would only apply to new restaurants or businesses that are making substantial renovations to its restrooms. This bill is meant to address all those times that you are stuck at Capital Grille with a baby who is in serious need of a diaper change.
2. Resolution Commemorating the Seventeenth Anniversary of the Connecticut-Taiwan Sister-State Relationship. It is never good to forget your anniversary with your sister-state but the seventeen-year marker just doesn’t have the warm and fuzzy feeling you get with the twentieth. This resolution celebrates the United States’ long-standing trade with Taiwan and its “robust free-market economy.” Perhaps Connecticut should wait another three years and then send Taiwan something really special.
3. An Act Concerning Music and Art Therapy. The Department of Public Health wants to make it illegal to refer to oneself as a music or art therapist without paying a $315 licensing application fee. To obtain said music therapist license, one must either be certified by the Certification Board of Music Therapists, have practiced music therapy for a period of eight years or earned at least a master’s degree in music therapy. The bill also enacts “disciplinary action” for a number of reasons including “fraud or deceit in the practice of music therapy,” and perhaps subjecting patients to Justin Bieber songs.
4. Resolution Supporting the Reunification of Ireland. Introduced by the Government Administration and Elections committee, this resolution reaches back 100 years to the Easter Rising of 1916. It formally calls upon Great Britain and Ireland to fulfill their Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and reunify Ireland. If passed this resolution will be sent to the ambassadors and prime ministers of both countries.
5. An Act Prohibiting the Sale and Trade of Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn and An Act Concerning Cecil’s Law. The Environment Committee has raised a pair rather odd bills this legislative session. Odd because sale and trade of ivory is already prohibited under U.S. law and while rhinoceros horns are considered more valuable than gold, the demand comes from Southeast Asia where it is used as a party drug, hangover cure and a means to bribe politicians and businessmen. Likewise, the Cecil the Lion law would prevent big-game trophy hunters from returning home with their prize kill. Not only can you not return to Connecticut with your taxidermied elephant but the bill also prohibits sale, transport and importation of any product manufactured from the African big five, which includes both black and white rhinos.
6. An Act Concerning Economic Development. This might not sound weird but bear in mind that last year the state of Connecticut created the Commission on Economic Competitiveness in order to “develop policies that promote economic growth.” This year, the Banking Committee wants to establish a task force to find out how the state can encourage business development and spur economic growth. Lawmakers seem to be suffering some form of economic amnesia, which begs the question; what have we been doing all these years?