Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Electronic Resources #2 and 2009 Amendment to the Wetlands Act

In the last post I surveyed some of the useful links for legal resources. I thought I would move on to ways to access cases online until I read the Law Libraries' Newslog entry for last Friday. Click here to go to the Newslog. The Newslog itself is a gem. Don't take my word for it. The website "Justice Served," click here to go to the website, in 2006 awarded the Connecticut Law Libraries website as one of the top ten court websites in the world stating: " The state court portal itself is a past winner, but this law library site is worthy of separate honor as best in its class." We covered how to access the official version of the 2009 General Statutes, through the Connecticut General Assembly's website. But then we were faced with a gap. What about any changes in the last legislative session? Courthouse librarian Chris Roy posted a link to the table of statutes affected by the public acts passed in the 2009 session. This document was drafted by the Legislative Commissioners' Office. Click here to read "General Statutes Amended or Repealed in 2009."

By knowing the sections of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act, §§ 22a-36 through 22a-45, we can easily check to see if there were any statutory changes. Scrolling down to page 24 of the document, we see that a new section was added to the wetlands laws: § 22a-42a (g), by 2009 Public Acts, 09-181, section 3. Now, going back to the General Assembly's website, www.cga.ct.gov, you can find the "Quick Search" function at the top of the page. The default search is for a bill, but using the drop-down arrow, you can replace "bill" with "Public Act." Add the bill number, in this instance "181," and change the year to 2009. Hit the "go" button on the far left. The text of the public act is the top document listed under the category "Text of Bill."

Here's section three of the public act:

"Sec. 3. Section 22a-42a of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (g) as follows (Effective from passage):
(NEW) (g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (2) of subsection (d) of this section, any permit issued under this section during the period from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2009, inclusive, shall expire not less than six years after the date of such approval. Any such permit shall be renewed upon request of the permit holder unless the agency finds that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that requires a new permit application or an enforcement action has been undertaken with regard to the regulated activity for which the permit was issued, provided no such permit shall be valid for more than eleven years."

The governor signed the bill on July 2, 2009. Thus, as of that day wetlands permits issued during the three year period (7/1/06-7/1/09) automatically are in effect for six years, without need for the permittee to request an extension or for the agency to act on it. There is even a summary of the public act prepared by the OLR (the office of legislative research). On the same page with the text of the public act, look in the right hand column and scroll down to "Bill Analyses," and click on "Summary for Public Act No. 09-181."

In closing, I can't overlook the fact that the court law librarians are what makes the Newslog such a gem and the courthouse libraries such an invaluable resource. Recently, librarians Karen Yeltema, George Booth, Chris Roy, Jeff Dowd and Catherine Mazur have posted entries. More than once (in this blog) Jeff Dowd helped me connect-the-dots and get it right. Click here for info on how to contact a librarian by phone or e-mail. Due to the budget crisis, six courthouse libraries are slated to be closed in the next six months, leaving ten courthouse libraries open. All of the librarians will remain employed.

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