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News from State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr.

April 27, 2016

Capitol address
Legislative Office Building
Room 3200
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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Capitol: 860-240-0455
Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420
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Protecting Pollinators, the Keystone to Agriculture

VIDEO: Pollinators
Last week, I spearheaded the bipartisan passage of a bill that establishes the most comprehensive pollinator protection plan in the country. SB 231, An Act Concerning Pollinator Health, encourages the development of pollinator habitats while limiting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are believed to be largely responsible for colony collapse disorder and the worldwide die-off of bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Pollinator die-off is a major environmental crisis, and I'm proud that we were able to reach across the aisle and find innovative solutions to this problem at no cost to taxpayers.

Connecticut beekeepers report a nearly 60 percent loss of both wild and managed bees within the last two years, on top of significant losses over the last several years. Honey bees are responsible for about 80 percent of pollination worldwide. Their pollination is necessary for the production of two thirds of the top human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world's nutrition. Without pollination, Connecticut farms would suffer crop failure, leading to economic losses for the state. Connecticut has 56 farms producing fruits, nuts or berries, plus 398 farms producing pumpkins. All of these farms are dependent on honeybee pollination.

Helping Veteran-owned Small Businesses

I stood side-by-side with veteran small-business owners and a bipartisan group of state senators in support of a bill to support veteran-owned small businesses providing additional bidding preferences under state contracting laws. This bill, which passed unanimously in the state Senate, will make Connecticut the most "vetrepreneur" friendly state in the nation.

VIDEO: Vets Biz
Retaining and attracting veteran-owned businesses is a priority for the Senate Democrats as part of our larger commitment to those who served our nation. This legislation is a continuation of a multi-year focus by the General Assembly-led by the Senate Democrats-on improving the lives of our vets, supporting them in every way possible and helping to ensure they can earn a living.

Working With Business to Reduce Plastic Waste

VIDEO: Plastic bags
Single-use paper and plastic bags have a negative environmental impact that greatly outweighs the value they provide to consumers. I worked alongside representatives from the grocery and retail industries to pass a bill that will cut down on plastic waste in the environment while supporting the interests of Connecticut businesses. Connecticut uses about 950 million plastic bags every year. Many of these bags end up littering our streets and polluting our waterways. Most plastic bags are made from natural gas, and require roughly 2.2 billion pounds of fossil fuel and 3.9 billion gallons of fresh water to produce. The process needed to make plastic bags produces a billion pounds of solid waste and 2.7 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.

SB 226, An Act Concerning Single-Use Carryout Bags cuts down on the wasteful use of single-use plastic bags while encouraging the use of recyclable bags. The bill requires that by July 1, 2018, half of the single-use plastic and paper bags in stores must be 100 percent recyclable, made with at least 25 percent recycled material, and be designed for multiple reuses. This requirement will extend to all plastic bags by July 1, 2020.

The bill also requires that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association and the Connecticut Food Association. Under this MOU, grocery and retail stores will work toward a 33 percent reduction in the distribution of paper bags and single-use plastic bags by 2021. Incentives will be established to encourage the reduced use of these bags and the increased use of reusable bags and bags made of recycled or biodegradable materials. Participating supermarkets, grocery stores and retailers will also establish their own plastic packaging recycling programs to further reduce plastic waste.


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My mailing address is:
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., Legislative Office Building, Room 3200, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Capitol telephone: 860-240-0455, or Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420

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