Jan 24, 2014
07:31 AM
The Connecticut Story

Victim's Privacy, Mental Health Among Connecticut Task Forces That Will Report to Legislature in 2014

Victim's Privacy, Mental Health Among Connecticut Task Forces That Will Report to Legislature in 2014

Members of the Connecticut General Assembly regularly pass legislation creating task forces to better delve into issues of public concern. Task forces created in 2013 will report back with recommendations to the legislature in 2014. Here’s a sampling of some areas where recommendations are due in this legislative session:

Victim privacy and the public’s right to know:
An act passed by the legislature exempted the release of photos, videos and images showing homicide victims and some audio recordings while simultaneously creating a 17-member task force to make recommendations about how to balance victim privacy with the public’s right to know. This law was passed after relatives of the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School asked that the crime scene photos showing the deceased not be released.

Food in funeral homes:
A 10-member task force was created to study the issue of permitting food and beverages to be served at funeral homes. Under current state law it is banned. Connecticut is one of four states that has such a ban.

Sale of cats and dogs:
The state created a task force to study pet shops’ sales practices. Animal advocates want the state to ban the sale of cats and dogs from stores that may get animals from inhumane or substandard puppy mills. The task force is expected to make recommendations on how to amend the state’s current laws to reduce the number of pets sold from substandard conditions.

Mental health:
Several different task forces, studies and programs were established to study mental health and report back to the legislature. A behavioral-health services task force was created to primarily focus on mental-health care for people aged 16 to 25, as was a children’s mental-health task force. The task forces will look at clinical care—including ways to improve health screening in general and of children in public schools—and intervention by examining what is available for students in need of help as well as the assistance available to school districts.

Legal disputes involving the care and custody of minor children:
Prompted by concerns from parents about the costs of divorce and child custody cases, the task force was created to look into what creates such hardship. The task force will examine the role of guardians ad litem and legal expenses when it comes to child custody.

Childhood obesity:
A task force was created to study the effects of childhood obesity and explore ways to alleviate it. The members specifically will look at ways to increase physical activity in children, find programs to eliminate childhood obesity and recommend a pilot program through a board of education to schedule recess before lunch in an elementary school.


Victim's Privacy, Mental Health Among Connecticut Task Forces That Will Report to Legislature in 2014

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