Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed into law two high-profile bills passed by the General Assembly. One, which passed unanimously, imposes new requirements on how colleges and universities respond to student reports of sexual assault. The other is a controversial measure that allows nurse practitioners to practice independent of doctors.

The sexual assault bill requires that colleges and universities provide students who report being sexually assaulted free counseling services and plain-language notice of their right to seek disciplinary action and to receive free health and counseling services. Colleges and universities will also be required to provide prevention and awareness programs for all students and employees, and police and other first responders and safety personnel will be required to receive training on responding to allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence.

The measure was proposed in response to allegations that UConn failed to respond appropriately to students who reported being sexually assaulted.

The nurse practitioner bill was more controversial.

Current law requires that nurse practitioners have a collaborative agreement with a physician, but the measure Malloy signed removes that requirement for nurse practitioners who have worked for at least three years. Supporters of the measure say it will increase access to primary care by making it easier for nurse practitioners to open their own practices. But opponents warn that it could lower the standard of care for patients.

Malloy also signed a bill that gives people more time to pay when they are facing big hikes in their long-term care insurance premiums.

Under the measure, people whose rates are rising by more than 20 percent will be allowed to spread the premium increase over at least three years. The bill also requires long-term care insurers to notify policyholders about rate increases and the option of reducing their benefits to reduce their premium costs.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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