Every year, there are always some new laws that take effect on January 1. Here are the ones that just officially went on the books here in Connecticut and may impact you the most this year. According to the Connecticut General Assembly, here are some of the new laws that took effect on January 1.

1 - New Background Check Requirements

The new law adds criminal background check requirements for current and prospective state employees in positions involving exposure to federal tax information, it also requires background checks of all new employees of child care centers, group child care homes, family child care homes and Care 4 Kids providers.

2 - Changes To Passport To The Parks Program

A new law in 2019 will establish a fee on motor vehicle registrations to support a new Passport to the Parks account, which must be used for operating state parks and campgrounds, funding soil and water conservation districts and environmental review teams, and beginning with the 2019 fiscal year, paying the expenses of the Council on Environmental Quality. This also exempts Connecticut motor vehicles from parking fees at state parks, forests and recreational facilities.

3 - Cigarette, Tobacco Product Tax Increases

This new law will increases the state cigarette tax from $3.90 to $4.35 per pack. It also reduces by 50 percent the cigarette tax on modified risk tobacco products, and imposes a per pack floor tax on unsold inventory. The tax on snuff tobacco products will also increase from $1 to $3.

4 - Insurance coverage requires essential benefits

In 2019, this health care change will require most health insurance policies to cover anything that falls within the following categories: Ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalizations, maternity and newborn health care, mental health and substance use disorder services (including behavioral health treatment), also prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventative wellness services and chronic disease management, and finally pediatric services, including oral/vision care. It also requires that health insurance politics cover a 12-month supply of an FDA-approved contraceptive drug, device or product when prescribed.

5 - Insurance Coverage Requires Essential Benefits

Just what we need, another law regarding health care. This health care change will require most health insurance policies to cover anything that falls within the following categories: ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalizations, maternity and newborn health care, mental health and substance use disorder services (including behavioral health treatment), prescription drugs, rehabilitative services and devices,  laboratory services, preventative wellness services and chronic disease management, and finally pediatric services, including oral/vision care. It also requires that health insurance politics cover a 12-month supply of an FDA-approved contraceptive drug, device or product when prescribed.

6 - Changes To Employers' Salary Question

This new law prohibits employers from asking or directing a third party to ask about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history. Employers are allowed to ask about other factors contributing to an employee’s compensation (such as stock options) but employers cannot ask about the value. Employees can also sue within two years over an alleged violation of this law.

7 - Revisions In Addressing Domestic Violence

This law change requires a peace officer to arrest the person the officer believes is the dominant aggressor. It doesn’t prohibit dual arrests, but it discourages such arrests when appropriate. This new law also doesn’t apply to college/university students who live together in on-campus housing, or tenants who live together in a residential rental property who are not in a dating relationship.

8 - Changes coming for income tax deductions

2019 will also feature some changes to income tax deductions. New laws will Increase the income thresholds for the Social Security income tax exemption while also delaying, by two years, the scheduled increase in the teacher pension income tax exemption. It is also set to phase out, from 2019 through 2025, the income tax on pension and annuity income for taxpayers with incomes below a specified threshold. Finally, it will also establish a deduction of up to $10,000 for expenses related to donating an organ for transplants occurring on or after January 1, 2017.

So there are some of the biggest additions and changes to laws in Connecticut, all are now on the books and in full effect for 2019.